The forecast was changed. The typhoon curved. The task force was hit. Lives were lost. Bryson wrote that he was astounded that a forecast based on the laws of physics would be changed on the basis of nothing but argument from authority.
For the Caine Mutiny Typhoon, there was plenty of evidence available to the Third Fleet that a typhoon was about to hit. From 1802 to the present, American naval officers have used Nathaniel Bowditch’s The American Practical Navigator as a guide to everything nautical, in particular as a guide to signs of impending tropical storms. Such signs were present in abundance shortly before the Fleet was hit. The meteorologists of the Fleet told Bryson that they warned Halsey, but he rejected their advice with the scornful “I don’t believe you.”
The Fleet meteorologists were lying through their teeth. As is made clear in the 2007 book Halsey’s Typhoon by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, the fleet meteorologists did not believe the typhoon was anywhere nearby. The Bowditch signs were there, and Halsey knew them, but he deferred to the meteorologists who believed the typhoon was far away. The fleet meteorologists, like “scientists” who believe in AGW, were covering up failed past predictions. They were willing to smear the reputation of America’s greatest admiral in order to protect their sorry asses. (Full disclosure: my father was on Adm. Halsey’s staff.)
But why did Halsey believe the meteorologists against the evidence of his own eyes? The report of the Board of Inquiry on the disaster answers that question. Halsey simply accepted the authority of his chief meteorologist, against his own experience. The report listed the “qualifications of this “expert” — his degrees, the numerous courses on climate studies he had taken, his years flying over hurricanes. But in contrast to Bryson’s successful forecasts, two of which I have described above, not one correct forecast was mentioned by the Court of Inquiry! I find this extraordinary. Imagine picking an admiral on the basis of the prestige of an officer’s education. Halsey himself had two famous victories, the Battle of Guadalcanal and the Battle of Leyte Gulf. I admire Halsey immensely, but he was wrong to give any weight at all to mere academic credentials, rather than performance credentials like his own. For true scientists, one knows the achievements, not the academic credentials. Albert Einstein discovered relativity (everyone knows E = mc2), he discovered the photon, and he discovered gravitational waves. But where did Einstein go to school? Who cares?
What counter-intuitive predictions have the Global Warmers ever made? I invite you to look. I myself could not find a single counter-intuitive prediction made by any major Global Warmer. But I have found cases of them trying to cover up failed predictions.
In The Caine Mutiny, Van Johnson’s character, faced with disaster due to the obviously false predictions made by the ship’s captain (Bogart’s character), tells the crew to ignore the orders of the man with rank but no performance credentials, and saves the ship.
Perhaps we should do the same.