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Old 01-08-2010, 00:18   #61
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heres a link to a good opinion on this piece of junk science
Walking the Plank-ton | Watts Up With That?
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Old 01-08-2010, 00:25   #62
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well, I certainly don't share your cynicism. Ask yourself why so many scholars spend seven or eight years of grad school and then maybe a year or two of post-doctoral fellowships to prepare for a career where they make a fraction of the salary of persons in industry with similar levels of education. The fact is, they enjoy the life of the mind and the pursuit of knowledge. Yes, you could call that "an agenda," but it's an agenda that supports the common good.

I just spent two years researching and writing a paper that has been accepted for publication in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal next spring. Know what I'll be paid for that? Not a dime. Know how much grant money I got in support of the research? Not a dime. But no complaints because I consider it part of the job. I'm an educator. My job is to make the world a better place. I do that with my teaching, and I do that with my research.

And I have every reason to believe that my colleagues who just published the paper on plankton decline feel the same way about what they do.
Well said indeed, and I share your passion. A few of the negative attitudes towards science and scientists I read here (and elsewhere) make me sometimes wonder why I bother, but to paraphrase one of the greatest scientists - ignorance more frequently begets these attitudes than does knowledge. There are those who value the work and the hard-won knowledge, even if some others don't.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:33   #63
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"Trust but verify" It is now the job of scientists to prove the hypothesis by independent methods. Let's not drink the kool-aid prematurely.
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Old 01-08-2010, 13:26   #64
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I am amazed at the total lack of reading comprehension skills by the mass media and others including ourselves. It seems to be a dead skill these days. From the source article in Nature Magazine is this:
"Analyses of satellite-derived phytoplankton concentration (available since 1979) have suggested decadal-scale fluctuations linked to climate forcing, but the length of this record is insufficient to resolve longer-term trends."
- Two things - one it is a satellite derived which means nobody down on the ocean is actually measuring anything. And the two "huge" modifiers that shift almost anything said into the "possible but we don't know" category -> "suggested" is a powerful modifier along with "insufficient" which supports the first thing - nobody actually got down and really measured what was going on. They just think that "maybe" there is a decrease.
- - As others have said above the "disc" method is fraught with inaccuracy of a magnitude to put it into the same huge "maybe" category.
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Old 01-08-2010, 13:44   #65
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Eventually the sun will become a red giant and melt the Earth's crust...so whats it matter?
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Old 01-08-2010, 14:57   #66
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Eventually the sun will become a red giant and melt the Earth's crust...so whats it matter?
This is a good illustration of relativity that I mentioned in my previous rant (er...post). I talked about humans being a speck in the earths history and a mere parasite of the mother host. From David M's perspective, the
Earth is the actually a speck of a much larger something that I can't even comprehend. Think I am slipping back to the '60s. Am I just a piece of atomic matter in the fingernail of a giant!
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Old 01-08-2010, 15:56   #67
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Or - humans are only an itch on the back of an ant who is walking under the raised foot of an elephant. However, our human ego is 10 to the 23rd power bigger than the elephant.
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Old 01-08-2010, 19:28   #68
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Well said indeed, and I share your passion. A few of the negative attitudes towards science and scientists I read here (and elsewhere) make me sometimes wonder why I bother...
Let me first start off with the fact that I have no negative attitude towards science or any legal profession. Period.

Second, why do you care what some guy says on a Cruising Forum about scientist? Hopefully you chose your profession because you enjoy it and not to satisfy others. The helping man kind should be a side benefit.

Third, I have noticed first hand that many "professionals" (scientist, engineers, doctors, ect..) do not like their work to be questioned by people other than other "professionals". I do not understand this. If you called the marina and said every time you start you engine a horrible cloud of smoke comes out the back and they said that was normal, would you question them? If you had a big bleeding bump on you skin with 20 hairs growing out of it and you doctor said it was no big deal when you talked to him on the phone, would you question that? I would. Everyone has questions about things that is being told to them. It is human nature.

People needs to respect other peoples professions also. Someone should not think that they are "better" than another person just because they spent more time in school than the other guy or girl.

Many non "glory jobs" or "helping man kind" take years of school or practical experience to master and serve a crucial role in our society.

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Old 02-08-2010, 03:24   #69
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I am amazed at the total lack of reading comprehension skills by the mass media and others including ourselves. It seems to be a dead skill these days. From the source article in Nature Magazine is this:
"Analyses of satellite-derived phytoplankton concentration (available since 1979) have suggested decadal-scale fluctuations linked to climate forcing, but the length of this record is insufficient to resolve longer-term trends."
Exactly! That was exactly my point in my first post in this topic where I said "The problem is that many of these tests are done by proxy - you do a test, get result XXX and then infer what is happening to YYYY rather than observing YYYY directly. For example, phytoplankton are observed by using a Secchi disc which you lower into water and watch until it vanishes and you then measure the depth it disappears at. Since phytoplankton absorb light the depth it disappears at tells you how many phytoplankton are between you and the disc. In other words, from the depth you infer the plankton count."

There's too much of this sort of stuff going on these days and climate related science is one of the biggest offenders. For instance many of the climate temperature figures are deduced by proxy from tree rings but I have yet to see a study that definitively ties a certain tree record to a given temperature record. What about other factors - species, south facing slopes, nutrition, rainfall, etc.

The same is true of the secchi disc. Maybe we are polluting the oceans less and the water is simply cleaner than it has been for quite a while? Certainly dumping sewage at sea has been reduced...

But the biggest factor that get overlooked is this

SCIENCE IS NOT A SET OF THINGS THAT ARE RIGHT OR WRONG

Science is a PROCESS - a methodology rather than a rule book. You posit a hypothesis from which you develop a theory that makes testable predictions and you then carry out experiments to validate or invalidate those predictions. Rinse and repeat.

The nature of this process is that some of the results will be wrong and will be invalidated by other future experiments. Over time the body of knowledge becomes better but it will never be 100% correct.

This paper about the plankton will now be subjected to exactly the kind of skeptical review that it is getting. If it is correct then the results will stand up. If it is incorrect then the paper's results will be invalidated. This is exactly how science should work. Where it gets tricky is when a group now has the results it wants and then attempts to prevent any further research that would invalidate their result. That isn't science, that's politics.

In the long run, nature cannot be ignored. This is the danger that the climate scientists face. If their MODELS predict things that do not happen then they are in trouble because nature defines what "correct" is. Nature is the standard against which all our theories and models are measured. In case of a mismatch it will not be nature that is wrong.
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Old 02-08-2010, 14:04   #70
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heres a link to a good opinion on this piece of junk science
Walking the Plank-ton | Watts Up With That?
Nature mag is the god standard. It does NOT publish junk science. THe reference you quote is the worst kind of junk opinion. His biggest argument is he just doesn't believe it? Give me a break!
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Old 02-08-2010, 14:10   #71
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Nature mag is the god standard.
funny. but I suspect they'd rather be considered the "gold" standard.

The point is well taken, nonetheless. Nature is one of the two top peer-reviewed science journals in the world.
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Old 02-08-2010, 14:13   #72
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... If you called the marina and said every time you start you engine a horrible cloud of smoke comes out the back and they said that was normal, would you question them? If you had a big bleeding bump on you skin with 20 hairs growing out of it and you doctor said it was no big deal when you talked to him on the phone, would you question that? I would. Everyone has questions about things that is being told to them. It is human nature.
Wrong analogy here. If you went to a specialist who told you the skin lesion is cancerous and must be removed, then got a second opinion, which was the same, would you go home saying 'hey, I've had lots of sores, and so have my friends and none were cancer, so I don't believe them' ???

Questioning is one thing, knowing your limits is another.
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Old 02-08-2010, 14:15   #73
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funny. but I suspect they'd rather be considered the "gold" standard.
LOL! my bad typing, Bash. You got what I meant.

Margo
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Old 02-08-2010, 14:19   #74
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This I talked about humans being a speck in the earths history and a mere parasite of the mother host.
All thing change of course. But does that mean we should act like a suicide bomber and take much of the rest of life on earth with us while we commit suicide?!

I love life, I respect life, I am in awe of the "miracle" that is life on earth. I believe our purpose, if we have one, is to admire and protect life as we find it.
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Old 02-08-2010, 14:41   #75
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Wrong analogy here. If you went to a specialist who told you the skin lesion is cancerous and must be removed, then got a second opinion, which was the same, would you go home saying 'hey, I've had lots of sores, and so have my friends and none were cancer, so I don't believe them' ???

Questioning is one thing, knowing your limits is another.
Or, another slight twist to that:

If you went to a specialist who told you the skin lesion is cancerous and must be removed, then got a second opinion, which was the same, then went to a palm reader that tells you everything is OK, then looking on WebMD, there is a sentence that says "sometimes they go away on their own", and a human interest reporter says "There is no definitive proof that surgery is always needed", etc...

...

Most quotes in the media is focused on the sensational. On both sides. There is no such thing as fair and balanced reporting. Debates almost never have a person who is objectively looking at the issue. It is the nutcase as far to one side as they can find debating with the nutcase as far to the other side as they can find.

The most important thing to understand is that the so-called "news" media is really an entertainment industry. One that big business heavily plays with huge budgets. One scientist said that the industry he was arguing against had a disinformation budget several times the total of all research budgets in his entire field. He said it wasn't worth his time to even try to defend himself in the media. In this case, most of the articles the media got were from the industry. So the quotes from the opposing side were picked by them because they had some snappy replies for them.

I'm not saying the industry because I don't want to turn the debate down that path. I also will not say who the scientist was, because I know him. I just want to point out why I don't believe anything I get from the media. I Google the people that are being quoted and follow the path.

In general I trust the scientists. I just don't trust the media to accurately present the scientists view.

-dan
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