Friday, September 3, 2010

If you do not agree that Global Cimate Change is real...

Originally posted 8 June 2009:

What other parts of science do you not believe are true?
 
Do you believe that the Theory of Gravity is correct?  Or, do you believe in Intelligent Falling?

Do you believe in evolution?  Or, do you believe in Intelligent Design?

Do you believe in the theory of atomic structure?  Or, something else is responsible for how physics and chemistry work?

Do you believe in DNA?  Or, do you believe that God chooses what characteristics to give your child?
What about the theory of how the Universe works, and the life cycles of stars and galaxies?  Or, do you believe that God created it all in 6 days?

Do you believe that the Earth and the other SEVEN planets are orbiting the Sun? Or, does everything revolve around the Earth?

Are plate tectonics real?  Or is there some other explanation for volcanoes and earthquakes?
 

Is the Earth (approximately) a sphere -- or is it flat?


Do you believe that medical drugs are developed using scientific methods? Or, are they just lucky guesses?

You see, you can't believe in just parts of science -- it all works the same: we explore the unknown, and as we find out more and more, we theorize about how it works. Then, based on the evidence and peer review, the accepted theory emerges; and is continuously tested and debated. Things settle more, as scientist come into closer and closer agreement.

This is how it is for all scientific endeavors -- they are not just making this up! Global Climate Change is real and it is the predominant scientific conclusion that humans have affected an abrupt change in the climate, by burning old carbon fuels; releasing millions of years worth of old carbon in about 150 years.

A few naysayers here and there may be right -- but on the other hand, maybe the large majority of the scientists who study this are right? Which is the bigger risk: that the naysayers are right and we conserve too much fuel and move to renewable energy anyway -- or, we keep on keepin' on and the ocean rises 40 feet in the next 100 years or so, and parts of the world go into an ice age, other parts go into drought, etc. etc. etc. -- who knows what the risks are??

Are you willing to take that risk?

Post Script:
Since Intelligent Design is a renaming of Creationism -- and neither one of them is science, then you can believe in it if you want to.  The Theory of Gravity is science, and so it remains true whether you accept it or not.  If you choose to take a similar tact to believing in Intelligent Design instead of accepting Evolution as the science that it is, then you might need to try to work out calling gravity Intelligent Falling as well.

My intent is to point out that science is a process where based on the facts, we humans work to understand and name the best -- and most consistent theories possible to make all the facts that we know to fit together.  Scientists are constantly testing all the theories, and exploring the unknown.  When they find something that they cannot explain -- they DO NOT just attribute it to some unknown cause; like we all do in our faiths all the time!  This is the different between science and faith.  Science looks to either find out more about the unknown, until either the new thing fits into the accepted theory, or they have to change the theory to fit with everything that has come before AND with the new thing.  Faith simply accepts the unknown thing without question.

I apologize for this sentence in particular: "Or, do you believe that God created it all?".  Later on I edited this to say "Or, do you believe that God created it all in 6 days?".  There is a BIG difference there, because it means something very different -- so again I apologize.

The difference is that one could believe that a God created the world as a matter of faith AND the creation process is what science is working to explain and understand.  But believing that God created the universe, the world, and all living things in a literal 6 days is a matter of faith which is conflict with science.  I hope that I have made the difference a little clearer.

Again, it was not my intent to debate the difference between faith and science; though this is obviously part of the discussion.  My main point was to try to point out the need for consistency in the understanding of science:  if the scientific process has produced strong theories (which are very different from hypothesis') for things like gravity, atomic theory, plate tectonics, evolution, electricity, astronomy -- all of these things and much more -- are *inseparable* from the way we live and the way we understand all things in science.  To be intellectually consistent, all of these and more -- including global climate change must be accepted as a whole!  If you reject one part, then you must reject all the others, too -- because they are part of the whole.

This certainly does not mean that one cannot question any or all of these things -- this is what scientists do ALL THE TIME!  This is EXACTLY what scientists DO all the time.  But to throw out the theory of evolution say, on the basis of a few examples, is frankly throwing out the baby with the bath water.  If one is to pronounce that any part of accepted science as bunk, then one had better be ready to show that they have a fully working alternative theory -- and to defend it scientifically, through accepted scientific process.

I urge all of you who are interested in this to watch a NOVA video online, or the next time it is broadcast on your local PBS station:

PBS NOVA page
Watch show online

Sincerely, Neil

4 comments:

  1. Yes I believe in Global Climate change.

    Climate changes all the time. There have been ice ages and warm periods throughout Earth's history. Greenland is covered in ice but at one time they had vineyards there.

    I find the science of Anthropogenic Global Warming a bit more spotty. Science is based on reproducible, falsifiable experiments.

    Weather prediction accuracy drops of after a few days. And we are supposed to accept 50 year predictions from models extrapolated way past observed data, historical evidence, or sound physical theory?

    If the earth gets warmer then there will be benefits and costs. Drought will increase in some places and rainfall in others. Longer growing seasons will probably be a net benefit.

    That is not to say that I don't support the move to more efficient and less polluting forms of energy. Those measures increase productivity and living conditions and decrease health costs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes I believe in Global Climate change.

    Climate changes all the time. There have been ice ages and warm periods throughout Earth's history. Greenland is covered in ice but at one time they had vineyards there.

    I find the science of Anthropogenic Global Warming a bit more spotty. Science is based on reproducible, falsifiable experiments.

    Weather prediction accuracy drops of after a few days. And we are supposed to accept 50 year predictions from models extrapolated way past observed data, historical evidence, or sound physical theory?

    If the earth gets warmer then there will be benefits and costs. Drought will increase in some places and rainfall in others. Longer growing seasons will probably be a net benefit.

    That is not to say that I don't support the move to more efficient and less polluting forms of energy. Those measures increase productivity and living conditions and decrease health costs.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, but this change is happening in a tiny fraction of the time. Change over millions of years allows evolution to adapt -- but change in a hundred years will have an effect that is unprecedented.

    Neil

    ReplyDelete
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