The Need for Better Theory
Posted by greg2213 on September 11, 2011
The Reference Frame discusses the need for good theory in science. The remarks on Climate models, below, are just a small part of an essay that covers black holes, quamtum mechanics, the need for a better understanding of math and theory among “we the people,” and a few other things.
So the reliance on the climate models is due to a shortage of proper theory, not an excess of it. Those people just don’t understand the things themselves. But they think that if they have an access to expensive computers, these computers may compensate for their personal ignorance. Except that they can’t.
The machines aren’t miraculous and the programs were written by some people. If you can’t do certain calculations without a computer, not even approximately, you won’t even be able to design the tests that will decide whether the models behave properly (at least not when you only claim that your models only reproduce some overall properties of a chaotic system).
A religious belief that the model is omniscient won’t help you. If the model is wrong, other people – better theorists than you – may ultimately see that the model is wrong, regardless of the strength of your beliefs. And if you believe some things despite the evidence, then you are a demonstrable bigot.