The Anti-Engineering Crowd

Engineers have to get things right. They design things which have to work in the real world. When bridges fall down, there are consequences. If your computer doesn’t work, there are consequences. If a rocket crashes, there are consequences.

By contrast, many scientists have the luxury of living in the world of thought. They can toy around with ideas and models and concepts, normally without consequence for being wrong. You would not want  a scientist designing a bridge, or performing surgery. They generally don’t have the necessary skills.

We see the disconnect between climate science and reality constantly. One of my favorite examples is the idea of the “ice shelf collapse” due to “global warming.”

An engineer looks at this picture and sees stress fractures in a thick piece of ice. A polar scientist with global warming on his mind, might see CO2. There is no evidence of melt in this picture. None, zip, nada, nil. The idea that this clean, smooth crack is due to melt  is ludicrous.

Another example is the idea of “ice sheet collapse” where the bulk of the Greenland Ice Sheet quickly slides off into the ocean. Again, we know that the ice sheet over Greenland has depressed the land underneath by several thousand feet. There are also  mountains underneath the ice. Ice can not slide out of a 3,000 foot deep bowl. Again, the idea is ludicrous.

The idea that winter storms and winter snow extent are increasing due to “excess heat” defies any rational thought. Yet the idea is bandied around effortlessly by some in the climate science community.

The fact that GCMs do not verify would cause an engineer to be concerned. Yet some climate scientists march forwards with the blinders on. Because the anti-engineering crowd doesn’t believe there are consequences for being wrong.

We need both scientists and engineers. Scientists are the dreamers. Engineers are the boring, practical people. Any government daft enough to accede policy decisions to scientists will get exactly what they deserve.

——

BTW – I have degrees in both science and engineering …..

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21 Responses to The Anti-Engineering Crowd

  1. John Edmondson says:

    It is even more important to point out that some “scientists” are more expert at fraud than dreaming.

    A classic example being the GISS temperature record at Kathmandu in Nepal.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/11/more-gunsmoke-this-time-in-nepal/

    If you tried this in the financial world, criminal proceedings would follow.

    • Henry says:

      John,
      you are partially correct. We are witnessing the total corruption of both scientific and financial sectors. Our government, government funded science as well as financiers are as corrupt as ever and push their one world agenda on everyone under the pretext of climate change, terror, you name it.
      None of the crooks ever get in jail and until such time that the government we have is thrown out there is no hope of any hearings in any of the above areas. As far as I am concerned, the West is dead until the corrupt politicians are thrown in jail.

  2. LetsGoViking says:

    Indeed.

  3. Retired Engineer says:

    Here is a quote from one of the newer blogs run by a climate scientist. The discussion was about hurricane Katrina.

    Climate Scientist:
    “The catastrophe was caused by a combination of poor engineering, destruction of the barrier islands, etc. as you mention, as well as by poor emergency management. “

    Comment from a retired engineer:
    “The Corps of Engineers wanted to repair and upgrade the levees in New Orleans and submitted a plan to do so ten years before Katrina. But the plan to upgrade them was delayed by a 10-year long lawsuit by the Sierra Club.”

    • Ted A says:

      Then why isn’t the Sierra Club sued for all the damages caused by their delaying lawsuit.

      • JTW says:

        Because the Sierra club IS the de-facto government and court system.

        The greenies control the government, the courts, and the prosecution agencies, as well as through their mass propaganda efforts have made it known that anyone daring to question them will be ruined financially, socially, and criminally.

  4. John Edmondson says:

    Henry,
    You are right there are corrupt people everywhere. Unfortunantely for the dishonest, reality always has the last laugh.
    Steve’s analysis of jim hansen’s GISS 1988 predictions:-

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/16/is-hansens-recent-temperature-data-consistent/

    makes my point. The computer models of the earth’s climate used my GISS,CRU or the IPCC simply don’t work.
    This is where all fire should be concentrated. Once these models have been proved to be total failures (which seems obvious , but crucially not proven ), the whole AGW house of cards will collapse.

  5. drdrwilliams says:

    “We need both scientists and engineers. Scientists are the dreamers. Engineers are the boring, practical people. Any government daft enough to accede policy decisions to scientists will get exactly what they deserve.”

    Yes, we do need both scientists and engineers. But categorizing them so neatly is incorrect. If engineers didn’t dream, we wouldn’t have tall buildings, long bridges, and fast cars. Ten percent or so of the scientists and engineers are dreamers; the rest are indeed boring, practical people who keep the wheels turning.

    And don’t forget that the ranks of successful dreamers includes those who are neither scientists nor engineers. Kodachrome was developed by two professional musicians. Harley Earl showed the engineers in Detroit what they were missing. The list is long and continues to grow despite the ranks of scientists and engineers who insist that “that’s not possible” or “we’ve tried that before”.

  6. Dr T G Watkins says:

    It’s quite interesting to note the way that the word “scientist” is slightly changing meaning, at least in the US. It is almost taking on a derogatory feel.
    For me, a retired anesthesiologist, there is a clear distinction between the ‘Arts’ and ‘Science’. In simple terms the former deals in opinion and feelings and the latter in fact and evidence. I consider all engineers to be scientists and the majority of our society depends on their vision and expertise.
    Did this change coincide with the inclusion of economics and sociology as ‘sciences’.
    Just a thought.

    • Louis Hissink says:

      Yes, the problems we have in climate science is a direct result of the social sciences encroaching the physical sciences. Climate is basically a topic in geography (it was when I was an undergraduate) and then one had the impression that the geography school were staffed by wishy-washy feely types while the school of geology by no nonsense empiricists.

      Rather we should describe the socials sciences as post-normal sciences, and the empirical onces as science, as it always was.

      Given that Holdren has redefined the terminology by introducing the term ‘climate-disruption’, it behoves us to then label the science he does as post-normal.

  7. What you mean “we”, Kimosabe.
    I ask this from the home to the greatest civil engineering failure in US History, “2nd only to Chernobyl” according to Ray Seed of UCal Berkley: the Federal Flood of New Orleans 8/29/05.
    That catastrophe had nothing to do with climate change, and everything to do with man-made disaster.
    Thank you.

  8. Pingback: The Anti-Engineering Crowd | Real Science | Climate Change History Explore and Learn

  9. Kevin says:

    As an engineer in the Aerospace Field I must ask;

    Anybody want to fly on my new airplane design after I state:
    “This airplane is VERY LIKELY to remain airborne” ?

    Just asking……

    Cheers, Kevin

  10. I think the problem started when they started sticking the word science on lots of fields of study without requiring quantitative rigor traditionally associated with the term .

    While the “climate scientists” construct elaborate supercomputer finite element models , they screw up the most basic physics . Rather than taking the gray body temperature of an object in our orbit , about 279 kelvin , 10c south of our observed temperature , as their null hypothesis , they use the coldest temperature possible to calculate given our observed albedo . From there , rather than the rather straight forward precise computations of the effect of source and object spectra on the object’s temperature , they invoke some sort of computations of forcings , a rigorous definition of which , I have never been able to find . I don’t see how their computations can be anything but false since 2/3s of the temperature difference they are “explaining” is just getting back up to the temperature produced by a flat spectrum . No wonder they can babble about non-linearities and “runaways” while never producing unambiguous quantitative derivations .

    I cannot but find it anything but pathetic that people can spend entire careers in “climate science” academia and reach positions of inordinate power and never have groked the most inescapable constraints on the temperatures of radiantly heated objects .

  11. Pingback: Igor Struggling To Keep Hurricane Status | Real Science

  12. paulm says:

    What a twerp you are.

  13. mkelly says:

    Bob Armstrong says:
    September 19, 2010 at 11:58 pm
    “never have groked”

    Ah a Heinlein fan.

    As a mechanical engineer I have often been saddly amused by what people put forth as the reason things happen. The breaking off of the large Greenland glacier several weeks ago is an example. On another blog I put forth that as a cantilever structure it was going to break off at some point anyway an melting had nothing to do with it. Cantilever stress was not acceptable as a reason for ice sheets to break off.

    P.S. Steve good to see you have your own site. You will do well.

  14. brad tittle says:

    Cantilever Stress — Ok, y’all are going to give me nightmares about stress diagrams.

    On a related note, try and explain why “Give me a lever long enough and I will move the world” people are missing part of the equation.

    Why don’t we make turbines with massive diameters?

    (That was rhetorical… It is meant to imply that as the diameter increases the mass of the supporting structure is gonna increase as at least the square. The rotational inertia of the structure also increase in some unwieldy manner. The mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, materials engineer have to find the compromise that makes all the goals come to a reasonable solution.)

  15. TEXinDFW says:

    Any idiot knows that the warmer it gets the more it snows…. why, just this summer in Dallas it reached 107 degrees… and i had drifts up to the eaves of my house.

  16. Mark Luhman says:

    After a life time of waking up from November, through March and experience temps with a minus in front of it. I decide enough of that, Now I lived were through May through September triple digit are the norm. I rather face them temps one ten and above than minus ten or below. have experience minus fifty and plus one eighteen I can tell you one eighteen is better. So if the world is warming bring it on it a plus not a minus (the pun was not by design.)

    Mark L of Mesa AZ, formally Fargo ND

    PS as being trained as an electronic technician I do under stand the limitation and inaccuracy of instrumentation. To bad climate scientist do not. Only a fool thinks that you can accurately measure something consistently to a ten of a degree, instrumentation drift is larger than that!

  17. Bernie says:

    You skipped over the biggest difference between engineers & scientists: engineer follow rules while scientists create them. Yeah, every now and then engineers develop rules for fatigue life, proper design of struts and spans, and all that good stuff. But, engineers don’t invent materials, and generally don’t give a damn beyond the material specification sheet so they know how use it to design widgets. Ask an engineer if it will break, ask a scientist how it will interact. Engineers put science to work, scientists create science.

    PS – This is also why scinetists are often viewed as fruads – how can you create science? After all, everyone knows the answer is in the back of the book, what is there to create?

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