Does the absence of a workable model refute a hypothesis? I think this makes some sense – after all what is a hypothesis other than a model?
Here’s an extremely interesting article by a skeptic of economics, Jonathan Schlefer, claiming that there is no “invisible hand”, or equivalently, that the general equilibrium model at the core of economic thinking is simply invalid. He also shows that the widespread belief to the contrary is consequential.
This is doubly interesting to us because it reflects in the opposite way on climate science skepticism. Nobody has ever proposed a model of climate which is not sensitive to greenhouse gases that actually works as well as the models in use in mainstream science. Schlefer asks:
The failure to model the invisible hand is ironically powerful. Any given economic model might well be implausible. But if the brightest economic minds failed for a century to show how some invisible hand could move markets toward equilibrium, can any such mechanism exist?
Similarly, if climate models are really off base in suggesting that the system is sensitive to greenhouse gases, you would think that the fossil fuel interests, with their armies of PhDs, would have by now constructed a model that works as well which is not sensitive in that way. It is the fact that nobody has done so that is as indicative of the success of climate science as the status of economic models is indicative of the failure of economic science.