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January 18, 2007

Undermining Science

Heidi Cullen lacks a knowledge in the basic workings of science; what is funny about this is she is a climate expert at The Weather Channel. She believes strongly that global warming is a big problem for this planet. Now, this is, in and of itself, not the basis for the criticism; while I find people who believe global warming to be rather naive, at least she can try to back it up with experimental findings. However, she now is suggesting that anyone who disagrees with the theory should lose their scientific certification.
"If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval. Clearly, the AMS doesn't agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns.
What she fails to note in all this is that scientific theory is not a perfect thing. Scientific theory, to be good theory, must be falsifiable; that is, a scientific theory cannot be made in a way so that it is not challengable. Good theory should be able to stand on its own against criticism. She claims that she is tired of politics getting involved in the debate, but she introduced politics on her own by calling for those in charge to rescind the status given to these scientists.

Many comment on her blog concerning her views. One commenter named Dan wrote:
It is really good to know that this country and its so called professionals, have gotten to the point that they belive that someone who does not think like they do should be stripped of there AMS Creds. Welcome to the new USSR.
Throckmorton stated:
The Weather Channel is not a scientific institution. It is a media outlet. It is known in meteorological circles as "The Commercial Channel". It is known for male talking heads with egos, and female talking head with low cut sweaters. Nice. I am a meteorologist and on the rare occasion when I watch it, I do only that: turn the sound down and watch a quick view of radar and satellite loops. Then I get on the internet and look up actual model data and output for myself. Watching the Weather Channel for scientific reasons is like watching SpongeBob to get oceanographic information.
And a Michael posts a good response to her "theory":
...for the last 11 years the sun has actually been far more active than usual. It is now nearing the end of a CYCLE that will see a reduction in solar flares and general solar activity. Sit tight for the next 10 years, because the MAIN HEATER OF THE EARTH is cooling off for a while. Look it up. (http://www.sec.noaa.gov).
There are a lot more comments, including more criticism, some who are bashing those criticizing Miss Cullen (apparently, those who call out "fascists" don't seem to have any trouble using it for their needs), and a few Christians using scare tactics to convert people (ugh, see here and here if you want my opinion on scare tactics within Christianity). And if you go there, let Heidi Cullen know that science is supposed to promote many different theories, not censor people.