Computer simulation models and scientific uncertainty in policy making

A Listmania! list by Emc2 (Tropical Ecotopia)
(VINE VOICE)   
The list author says: "Now that the US has shifted its policy regarding climate change, an opportunity exists to discuss this and other key long-term issues without emotion or psychologizing arguments. Such an open debate will require shifts in several dimensions. From the point of view of the philosophy and sociology of science, the tradition of the scientific process must be respected, with its normal uncertainties explicitly recognized as part of any debate, without scientism, exaggerations or oversimplifications. An urgent and serious discussion is missing regarding the need to falsify or established refutability criteria for predictions based on computer simulation models, such as those used in global climate and financial risk. These are complex systems, full of uncertainties, which depend on the future state of the economy and technological advances. From the social and democratic point of view, honest dissent must be allowed, without ad hominen attacks. Reason and the best arguments should dictate the policy options that get implemented. Any kind of spiral of silence must be avoided and political correctness stripped out of its current dogmatism. This is the only way we are going to chose the wiser courses of actions regarding climate change mitigation, development of safe biotechnologies and transgenic foods, safe drugs and vaccines, and a more reliable economic and financial system.
The following is a list of books that deal with all of these concepts, from the definition of falsifiability and the real nature of scientific uncertainty, all the way to the traps hindering an open and honest political debate. Books on two specific fields were included: financial risk modeling and global climate modeling. The former, already discredited due to the 2008 Financial Crash. Falsifiability at a very high price. As for the latter, we are still in time of implementing sensible mitigation policies that makes economic sense, with a reasonable interpretation of the precautionary principle."
Science in the Age of Computer Simulation
1.  Science in the Age of Computer Simulation by Eric B. Winsberg
The list author says:
  "A review of computer simulation from the point of view of the of philosophy of science. Probably this is the first serious approach to the epistemology of simulation and includes a specific discussion of climate models. 2010"
$24.46   Used & New from: $16.75

Lies, Damned Lies, and Science: How to Sort through the Noise Around Global Warming, the Latest Health Claims, and Other Scientific Controversies
2.  Lies, Damned Lies, and Science: How to Sort through the Noise Around Global Warming, the Latest Health Claims, and Other Scientific Controversies by Sherry Seethaler
The list author says:
  "Very comprehensive, aimed for the general public, provides you with the tools to do your own critical thinking, and very helpful for policy decision making in light of the normal scientific uncertainties and limitations of science in progress. Covers almost all topics included in the other books on this list. Highly recommended. 2009"
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4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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The Logic of Scientific Discovery (Routledge Classics)
3.  The Logic of Scientific Discovery (Routledge Classics) by Karl Raimund Popper
The list author says:
  "Required reading to understand how the scientific process works, and why falsifiability is so important for any preposition or methodology to be considered truly scientific. The lack of refutability is precisely one of the key unanswered questions by simulation modelers, and not many practitioners are paying attention at how good their forecasts are. Aimed for scholars, not an easy reading.1959"
$23.02   Used & New from: $14.59
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

Popper Selections
4.  Popper Selections by Karl Raimund Popper
The list author says:
  "A summary of Popper's key publications. Recommended in case you just want to know about falsifiability, but do not want to read the whole thing. Other materials cover Popper's take not only in the hard sciences but also in the social sciences and historicity. 1985"
$23.81   Used & New from: $4.49
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
5.  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn
The list author says:
  "The classic about how science progresses and how new paradigms are born. The perfect complement to Popper's work, even though Kuhn and Popper do not agree in everything. This work is more of the sociologist approach, but philosophy of science after all. 1977"
$12.35   Used & New from: $0.10
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)

Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity
6.  Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity by M. Hulme
The list author says:
  "This book was included in The Economist list of Best Books of 2009. By a famous climate scientist, truly a must read regardless of your side on this debate. This is quite an original analysis of the sociological and philosophical aspects of this debate. 2009"
$26.52   Used & New from: $8.19
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

The Future of Everything: The Science of Prediction
7.  The Future of Everything: The Science of Prediction by David Orrell
The list author says:
  "Comprehensive and technical, but accessible to general audiences. The scope includes forecasting in economics and finance, biology, and climate science, and highlights how practitioners are in denial of the limitations of modeling of complex systems and the magnitude of their errors. A must read if you have a genuine concerned on how politicized science is dominating the political agenda. 2007"
$15.13   Used & New from: $6.17
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (Infrastructures)
8.  A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (Infrastructures) by Paul N. Edwards
The list author says:
  "The author takes into a historical tour and goes into all the details to build a solid rebuttal against one of the main arguments against the consensus: why is silly to question the validity of climate simulation models. However, the author avoids any discussion about falsifiability. 2010"
Used & New from: $13.94
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Climate of Uncertainty: A Balanced Look at Global Warming and Renewable Energy
9.  Climate of Uncertainty: A Balanced Look at Global Warming and Renewable Energy by William Stewart
The list author says:
  "A rare work standing in the middle ground of the controversy, presenting the views of both sides of the debate and their attempts to manipulate us. Despite criticism that might arise particularly from the warmer side, Stewart is bold and politically incorrect enough to delivers what he promises. Finally someone dared to break the spiral of silence. Highly recommended. 2010"
Used & New from: $35.54
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Simulating Nature: A Philosophical Study of Computer-Simulation Uncertainties and Their Role in Climate Science and
10.  Simulating Nature: A Philosophical Study of Computer-Simulation Uncertainties and Their Role in Climate Science and by Arthur C. Petersen
The list author says:
  "This book goes right to the core of the issue but too academic to my taste. 2007"
$52.75   Used & New from: $5.01

The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It
11.  The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It by Scott Patterson
The list author says:
  "An interesting take on how mathematical models can be taken too far away. The 2008 financial crisis spoke louder. 2010"
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3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

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The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence
12.  The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence by Benoit Mandelbrot
The list author says:
  "For those who think nobody saw the 2008 Financial Crash coming. Since the 1960s Mandelbrot discovered why financial risk modeling and its underlying theory couldn't be trusted for future forecasting, but consensus was he was wrong. 2006"
$13.78   Used & New from: $6.48
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Incerto)
13.  The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Incerto) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The list author says:
  "A must read, notwithstanding Taleb's arrogance. Despite of the uncertainties, the proven lack of reliability to predict the 1987 October Crash, and the 2000 Dot-com Bubble, financial risk models were considered reliable. A book written before the 2008 Financial Crash that makes crystal clear the limitations of forecasting. 2007"
$19.89   Used & New from: $0.02
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (971 customer reviews) | 20 customer discussions

The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Financial Markets
14.  The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Financial Markets by George Soros
The list author says:
  "Soros takes his own explanation and even proposes his own paradigm, but in the end, a successful market speculator shows us why financial models and economic theory are no good for forecasting, and were unable to predict the 2008 Financial Crash. 2009"
$12.46   Used & New from: $0.01
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming
15.  An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming by Nigel Lawson
The list author says:
  "One of the few books about the global warming controversy that raises the issue of lack of fasifiability intrinsic to climate simulation models. But Lawson most important contribution is his analysis on how to go about mitigation even with all the uncertainties. A good example on how policy making should be guided by reason and common sense, considering the economic impact of those decisions. 2008"
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4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud**And those who are too fearful to do so
16.  The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud**And those who are too fearful to do so by Lawrence Solomon
The list author says:
  "Chapter 8: “Models and the Limits of Predictability” presents criticism by renowned physicists Freeman Dyson and Antonino Zichichi, questioning the confidence and validity of climate simulation forecasts, particularly regarding the use of parametrization or “fudge factors”. Also look for Hendrik Tennekes arguments regarding the lack of falsifiability from Popper’s philosophical point of view. 2008"
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4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

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Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air
17.  Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air by David J. C. MacKay
The list author says:
  "An excellent example of what makes sense and what doesn't in order to reduce greenhouse emissions, and MacKay just applied back-of-the-envelope calculations and common sense. Policy should be based on such rational analysis, without emotional appeals, and above all, without the hot air. Available for free in PDF in the internet. 2008"
$29.57   Used & New from: $19.83
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

Retreat of Reason: Political Correctness & the Corruption of Public Debate in Modern Britain
18.  Retreat of Reason: Political Correctness & the Corruption of Public Debate in Modern Britain by Anthony Browne
The list author says:
  "How political correctness is hindering the public debated, and is being guided by emotion, ad hominen attacks, instead of the value of the arguments and reason. Despite being written for social issues, the criticism also applies in the context of several of the current scientific debates and controversies, particularly those involving  environmental groups. 2008"
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4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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The Spiral of Silence: Public Opinion - Our Social Skin, 2nd Edition
19.  The Spiral of Silence: Public Opinion - Our Social Skin, 2nd Edition by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann
The list author says:
  "Another interesting book regarding how the media influences the political debate, leaving a dissenting minority silenced by fear of social rejection. Though a theory developed in the context of the social sciences, research has now move toward the presence of this effect in the debate regarding biotechnologies. Are we beginning to witness a spiral of silence among scientists? 1993"
$23.63   Used & New from: $12.94
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Sidney Hook on Pragmatism, Democracy, and Freedom: The Essential Essays
20.  Sidney Hook on Pragmatism, Democracy, and Freedom: The Essential Essays by Sidney Hook
The list author says:
  "Don't miss the essay "The Ethics of Controversy", the perfect complement for those who want to deepen the "Retreat of Reason." 2002"
$26.59   Used & New from: $12.86
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

State of Fear
21.  State of Fear by Michael Crichton
The list author says:
  "No, there is no mistake nor a tribute. Though I consider this sci-fi work one of Crichton's worst novels (see my review), his Author's Message at the end of the book (where he made explicit his opinion on global warming and environmentalism), and the Appendix I, “Why Politicized Science is Dangerous”, are worthwhile the reading. Check also YouTube for his speeches on politicized science. 2004"
$8.08   Used & New from: $0.01
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,568 customer reviews) | 9 customer discussions

Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
22.  Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven D. Levitt
The list author says:
  "Skeptical about the similarities between financial and climate models? Just read Chapter 5, and any coincidence with Crichton arguments, well, it is not a coincidence but simple rational thinking. 2009"
$20.83   Used & New from: $0.01
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (778 customer reviews) | 5 customer discussions

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The Black Swan and What's Wrong with Nassim Taleb's Viewpoint. 52 Dec 6, 2011
Monte Carlo simulation software 0 Nov 5, 2011
The bell curve and the customer reviews 1 Jun 11, 2011
If Amazon would please care to explain the difference 1 Jul 4, 2010
The Great Intellectual Fraud ?! 0 May 9, 2010
Which should I read first? 3 Apr 21, 2010
Quants 10 Mar 17, 2010
How The Non-Scalable Half Lives 0 Jul 8, 2009
Introducing my new book 1 Jun 13, 2009
Black Swan's practical consequences for businesses 0 Jun 6, 2009
Eliminating guesswork in global warming? 3 Feb 10, 2009
Kindle price of Popper's "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" 0 Jan 7, 2008
 
   

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Emc2 (Tropical Ecotopia)
(VINE VOICE)   
Qualifications: Engineer, Master of Science, and Master in Public Administration
Last updated: 3/18/11
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