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Old 12-09-2010, 19:48   #181
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Stark,

There is a lot of questionable data in this debate also.
There is a lot of proved inaccurate data too. There is a difference.
What I note is that all this stuff about what will happen has been spit out of a computer model.
These models are fraught with "one sidedness".
.
No citations to support this view? Sounds like pretty questionable data to me.

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Lots of numbers out there.

One that sticks in my mind is that if every personal conveyance was turned off tomorrow the total world production of CO2 the day after would drop by 0.02%.

These global warming, err climate change (a new term now) arguments continue as Science is the new religion. This will produce sects as in the past and they will war with each other, like in the past.

One group will try to dominate the other by proving they are right and convincing (or forcing) others to become compliant. They will then "win" and eat better.
Science is the new religion? Surely you jest. Science and religion are by and large diametrically opposed. One suggests belief is a function of faith and the other suggests belief is a function of evidence. Prehaps you're confused as to which is which?
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Old 12-09-2010, 21:50   #182
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Gord, I did not see your post until tonight, and my response copying one source of the material, got deleted. Guess you win.
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Old 13-09-2010, 07:51   #183
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Science is the new religion? Surely you jest. Science and religion are by and large diametrically opposed. One suggests belief is a function of faith and the other suggests belief is a function of evidence. Prehaps you're confused as to which is which?
Ha, ha , ha, a True Believer!

Unfortunately. for millions of people it really is.
A quick critical analysis of how science is perceived by a good portion of the public supports this.
E.g.: look at Stephen Hawking's recent newspaper article about the creation of the universe.

If you're not in "the trade" there's almost no way to independently determine if you're being handed a bunch of drivel or not. Requires a lot of faith on the part of the recipient. And of the course the way certain shibboleths are defended (screaming and derision) really does smack of a fundamentalist attitude.

The supposed opposition of religion and science is a false dichotomy.
(and no, please don't pull out the tired old Galileo line)
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Old 13-09-2010, 13:10   #184
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... If you're not in "the trade" there's almost no way to independently determine if you're being handed a bunch of drivel or not. Requires a lot of faith on the part of the recipient ...
While I may not agree with your general thesis, this is an insightful observation, that I’ve been loath to explore. Thanks for breaking the ice.
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Old 13-09-2010, 14:33   #185
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While I may not agree with your general thesis, this is an insightful observation, that I’ve been loath to explore. Thanks for breaking the ice.
You're welcome. These days most people (general public) have no idea how anything works, even fairly simple things. If someone doesn't even know how their car works, or how electricity is made, how will they be able to determine if someone stated an obscure hypothesis as a proven fact?

A: They won't; and will therefore be subject to being manipulated by people they believe "know better" (even if they don't) or conversely be driven by emotion rather than data.

Not a good situation if one wants to get to the truth of an issue.
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Old 13-09-2010, 16:22   #186
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You're welcome. These days most people (general public) have no idea how anything works, even fairly simple things. If someone doesn't even know how their car works, or how electricity is made, how will they be able to determine if someone stated an obscure hypothesis as a proven fact?

A: They won't; and will therefore be subject to being manipulated by people they believe "know better" (even if they don't) or conversely be driven by emotion rather than data.

Not a good situation if one wants to get to the truth of an issue.

It seems to me that your scenario would require a rather vast conspiracy of evil scientists in collusion to lie to the ignorant public.

If a scientist states an obscure hypothesis as a fact, wouldn't it be reasonable to think that other scientists would be pretty quick to comment? That's why a real scientist would never state a hypothesis as a fact.
From what I read and am able to understand, scientific papers are loaded with caveats and qualifications. Scientists say things like "probability" and "likely' and they define those terms very carefully.

I believe it was Stephen Schneider that said that it would be stupid for climate scientists to declare that the science was completely settled. Why would they be needed any longer if the science was settled?

The climate is a complicated, difficult and confusing subject. You have to be a scientist to fully understand it. But to suggest that science is become the new religion and that these scientists, (as opposed to the scientists that have brought us so much wonderful technology and information that has improved our lives in recent history) are somehow corrupt is insulting not only to the scientists themselves, but to everyone who respects their commitment and dedication to their chosen profession.

Really, doesn't it take more "faith" to believe in a conspiracy theory like that than to believe what the scientists are telling us. That man is a significant impactor of the climate?
It does for me.
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Old 13-09-2010, 16:34   #187
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Not understanding because of not being able to understand or not wanting to understand? They are very separate issues. I have noticed that many of the people who argue against climate change don't seem to want to actual study the problem and make an informed decision and often use outdated arguments that have been put in the public conciousness with little background information by devisive and sound bite oriented media.

It isn't that hard to find good, reputable sources to read about it:
The National Academies: Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Science | Climate Change | U.S. EPA
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Old 13-09-2010, 18:48   #188
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Science is the new religion? Surely you jest. Science and religion are by and large diametrically opposed. One suggests belief is a function of faith and the other suggests belief is a function of evidence. Prehaps you're confused as to which is which?
Nope.

But it took me a couple of years to see the light.
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Old 13-09-2010, 21:15   #189
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Not understanding because of not being able to understand or not wanting to understand? They are very separate issues. I have noticed that many of the people who argue against climate change don't seem to want to actual study the problem and make an informed decision and often use outdated arguments that have been put in the public conciousness with little background information by devisive and sound bite oriented media.

It isn't that hard to find good, reputable sources to read about it:


IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Yea right.
From above.
IPCC Technical Paper VI - June 2008

http://mclean.ch/climate/IPCC.htm
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Old 13-09-2010, 23:18   #190
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Yea right.
From above.
IPCC Technical Paper VI - June 2008

The IPCC under the Microscope

So far a pretty weak arguments. The first two citations don't come up for me the next one the Science and Public Policy Institute are conservative wonks and the paper starts with the rather silly argument that the surface air has been cooling the last six years. Science and Public Policy Institute - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

They are a political think tank not a science institute.

Next is an article in the Canada Free Press. Hardly a scientific journal and if there is any form of peer review it is for political content.

Really this stuff just punctuates my point.
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Old 14-09-2010, 02:29   #191
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Nope.

But it took me a couple of years to see the light.
Are you talking about science or science as portrayed by the media? They appear to be 2 completely different animals. I can only think of one person I know who really knows anything about science.
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Old 14-09-2010, 06:35   #192
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. . . Science is the new religion? Surely you jest. Science and religion are by and large diametrically opposed. One suggests belief is a function of faith and the other suggests belief is a function of evidence. Prehaps you're confused as to which is which?
This is sooo easy. Just think/observe the ongoing religious sponsored "creation scientist" warfare that has been ongoing in the USA for decades. Suffice it to say, when any "crusade" scientific or otherwise, needs to re-label itself to try to avoid being referred to by its past debacles, you end up with the audience starting to question the veracity and motivation of the messengers of doom.
- - And I keep wondering about Knothead's comment "The climate is a complicated, difficult and confusing subject. You have to be a scientist to fully understand it."
- -
Exactly who is a scientist? I know I am a car driver as I have a governmental issued license after passing a test and I have an aviator's license because I have a government issued license after taking tests. So who decides that a particular person is a "scientist?" And that only these "self-selected few" can "fully understand" a potential subject. Sure sounds like exactly what religion has been doing for thousands of years - only an officially trained member of a "church" can fully understand and everybody else just has to take their word for it on "faith."
- - Who is a scientist? Actually, anybody and everybody who declares themselves to be a scientist. Generally in the public education systems there are courses/classes in one form of "science" or another. So you can posit that these folks have been "trained in science" and have been subjected to some form of testing to pass the classes. Are they all scientists? Why not?
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Old 14-09-2010, 07:54   #193
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... And I keep wondering about Knothead's comment "The climate is a complicated, difficult and confusing subject. You have to be a scientist to fully understand it."
- - Exactly who is a scientist?...
... So who decides that a particular person is a "scientist?" And that only these "self-selected few" can "fully understand" a potential subject ...
I think that Knothead’s point was less about any “official” definition of scientist, than it was intended to note the complexity of climate science, and the likelihood that many/most of us will not really understand the technical issues involved.

Accordingly, I think a scientist (for Knothead’s purposes) will be someone who has knowledge of, and understands, climate science. This will likely have taken (many) thousands of hours of dedicated study.

The more intelligent amongst us can probably decide for themselves whether they are climate scientists, or not; and (to a lesser extent) judge the credentials of others.

Here’s one man’s opinion about “who’s a scientist?”
Scientist - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 14-09-2010, 07:58   #194
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It seems to me that your scenario would require a rather vast conspiracy of evil scientists in collusion to lie to the ignorant public.

If a scientist states an obscure hypothesis as a fact, wouldn't it be reasonable to think that other scientists would be pretty quick to comment? That's why a real scientist would never state a hypothesis as a fact.
From what I read and am able to understand, scientific papers are loaded with caveats and qualifications. Scientists say things like "probability" and "likely' and they define those terms very carefully.

I believe it was Stephen Schneider that said that it would be stupid for climate scientists to declare that the science was completely settled. Why would they be needed any longer if the science was settled?

The climate is a complicated, difficult and confusing subject. You have to be a scientist to fully understand it. But to suggest that science is become the new religion and that these scientists, (as opposed to the scientists that have brought us so much wonderful technology and information that has improved our lives in recent history) are somehow corrupt is insulting not only to the scientists themselves, but to everyone who respects their commitment and dedication to their chosen profession.

Really, doesn't it take more "faith" to believe in a conspiracy theory like that than to believe what the scientists are telling us. That man is a significant impactor of the climate?
It does for me.
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Are you talking about science or science as portrayed by the media? They appear to be 2 completely different animals. I can only think of one person I know who really knows anything about science.
Asked and answered. Note, I made no comment about climatologists. You supplied that. As well as the conspiracy theory.

As to that, it's a lot easier to get grant money to study some civilization destroying threat than something of purely "scientific" interest. No conspiracy necessary.

The same thing's been going on in magentic fusion research for years- supressing funding for a pretty obvious solution to get more money to keep established prof's (and their grad students) afloat. And they've been at it since the 50's.

"Big Science" is only very collaterally altruistic.

Prognosticative climatology is ripe for "grant money mining". The set up is perfect:

1) Mathamatically intractable system (if you can't solve Navier-Stokes, you can't solve for climate)

2) multiple independent variables: makes for a very "plastic" modeling scenario

3) Threat of imminent (depending of how you set up the above) disaster

Bring on the $$$

Note, that is not to say that there may not be a problem, or that there are not people who are really trying to find the truth. But how to separate the wheat from the chaff? That's the question.
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Old 14-09-2010, 08:33   #195
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I think that the problem most people have in thinking that science is the new religion is that very few people actually know any scientists. Almost everyone gets their information second or third hand through the media. Unfortunately these media have little if any knowledge of science. It is the media that interprets a hypothesis as fact. I'm sure if you actually were able to talk to the scientist who put forth the hypothesis you would get a very different interpretation than the one you read in the media.

I have been out of science for about 25 years but my wife still works in environmental research. There is one problem with current environmental research and that is if you can't tie your work to global climate change you won't get funded. None of the active scientists I know think that this is a good thing, but funding is handed out by government agencies and this is their agenda, not the scientist's. They would like to do pure science, that is to find out how things work in the real world, but unfortunately funding for that kind of research has pretty much dried up. This is due to politicians making headlines by criticizing research that they don't understand, so know unless there is a tie to some possible human disaster they don't fund the research.

In one famous case a few years ago, a politician in the US criticized a federal agency for wasting the tax payers money for studying the sex life of a snail. The agency promptly stopped the funding. Unfortunately the work these guys were doing was extremely important scientifically. These snails have a very specific and fixed sexual behavior and a very simple brain with very large nerve cells. The cells were so large and so few it was actually possible to put electrodes in every cell in the animals brain and to study how these cells worked together to produce this behavior. They were learning a tremendous amount about how brains worked by studying the simple brain of these animals.

After a few incidents like this government agencies pretty much stopped funding pure science and only funded science that could be justified to politicians who probably had simpler brains that the aforementioned snail. Remember that science is funded by non-scientists and they set the agenda based on the political winds. After all it is much easier for a politician to make headlines by saying that an agency is wasting $200,000 a year to study the sex life of a snail than to say we're investing $200,000 a year to find out how brains work.

All this having been said, it does not mean that scientists in the peer reviewed process are publishing skewed results. Competition for funding is such that it's pretty hard to get bad science through. The problem is that with the advent of the internet there are now a number of non-peer reviewed outlets where less scrupulous people passing themselves off as scientists can now "publish" their findings. Unfortunately almost no one in the media or public has any understanding of the difference between the two outlets and a lot of garbage gets passed off as science. A fine example of this has been seen on this forum in a thread about sunscreen killing our coral reefs. The science behind this study was pure crap and it was "published" in a non-peer reviewed online environmental web site. Unfortunately the media picked this up as fact and some of our members fell into their trap. When I was in science I stopped talking to the media, because these people were so incompetent that they never got the facts correct in their publications, even when I had them read back to me what I had said to make sure they understood it.

If you want to know what the actual scientists have to say, stick to reading their articles in peer reviewed journals. If you don't have enough knowledge to understand what they are saying, don't try to relate what they say to others as fact. If you do, you will be doing what the popular media does. Unfortunately the world has become so complicated that we must often trust "experts" in their field and science is only one of these areas. Not many people act as their own lawyer, doctor, computer engineer, and even automobile mechanic, why does everyone think they can be a scientist. Even within science there is a large diversity just like in any other field. Climate study is just one field in science and a very specialized one at that.

Osirissail asks “Exactly who is a scientist”? Unfortunately his answer to his own question is completely wrong. A scientist is someone who has an advanced degree or at the very least a full bachelors degree in a scientific field of endeavor. That would be physics, chemistry, biology, geology, oceanography, etc. Not only do they need this degree, but the must be working as professionals in their study area. I was a scientist at one time in my life, because I was actually doing studies, conducting experiments, and publishing professional papers in my field. I now no longer call myself a scientist because I have not done that for nearly 25 years. I now consider myself trained in science and thus perhaps better able to understand scientific papers in my former area of expertise than a layman, but I’m not a scientist. Even within science, my expertise was limited to my area of training which was at a general level marine biology and oceanography with an emphasis on the biology. While I had basic training in chemistry and physics, I certainly could not have been considered a scientist in either of these fields, or any other scientific field. Climate scientists are people that study climate for a living with advanced scientific degrees from accredited universities and publish their results in professional peer reviewed journals. They often use large supercomputers and complex mathematical models to describe the climate. As professionals they strive continually to improve these models through the scientific process. They are not just any old hack who decides to call themselves a scientist. Are they 100% correct, not a chance, and every one of them will tell you so. What they will tell you is that the best models we have available for modeling the climate are in general agreement. It’s kind of like the models for predicting the track of a hurricane. If you look at a web page showing these models you will often see a cluster around the predicted track with a few outliers. Climate models are the same types of models and the farther out you go the less accurate they are likely to be. That’s why some predict a catastrophic runaway greenhouse effect and some predict an ice age.

With regards to climate change, climate will always change, always has, always will, at least up to the point where the Earth is stripped of its atmosphere and oceans by some cosmic event. People talk about stabilizing the climate, but the only way to produce a stable climate is not to have one. Humans do like the idea of a static world, but we don't have one and we cannot live in one. In 1979 my wife was doing an environmental study on the Gulf Islands National Seashore near Pensacola when hurricane Frederick hit. She was continuing her study after couple of weeks after the storm when she was happened upon by the media who asked for an interview. The reporter asked her how much damage had been done to the natural environment of the barrier Island by the storm. My wife's answer was "None". She explained that hurricanes are a natural and integral part of the existence of barrier Islands and that while some sand may have gotten moved around and some plants uprooted that these were natural processes of change required for this environment to exist and as such could not be considered damage.

This issue with global climate change is that people think that the climate should be static, it should not. Is the earth warming, you bet, at least for the last 200 years or so. Is it man made, partially. Remember the earth is emerging from the "little Ice Age" which was probably caused by a 1% drop in the sun's output that lasted about 400 years. The earth would be warming now to some extent even without human input. Are we adding to the rate of change, probably. What are the long term effects, quite frankly we don't know. At the extremes, we get a runaway greenhouse effect mostly caused by the release of large amounts of methane from the permafrost or from methane hydrates, or we shut off the Atlantic conveyor system and switch to a new ice age. Will sea levels rise, probably, unless they fall due to a new ice age. Will they change? Indeed they will. Sea levels have never been static and never will be. I live near the Atlantic coastal plain in the US. It got to be the coastal plain because it used to be under water. It did not rise out of the water, sea level fell. Around 10-20 thousand years ago sea levels were about 300 feet lower than today, of course the northern hemisphere was covered with Ice a mile or more deep. If the earth warms significantly more in the next hundred years, some areas will become deserts, growing seasons will lengthen the further north one goes. Coastal cities and low lying countries will be inundated. People will have to move. Of course if the Atlantic conveyor shuts down growing seasons will be shortened, sea levels will fall, the coastal plain will expand greatly, Island nations will expand their land areas, coral reefs will only exist at the equator, and hurricanes will be much weaker. Of course people living at higher latitudes will need to move south as the ice envelopes their land.

I’ve nearly written a book on this so I’ll shut up now.
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