Science is science and belief is belief and just because you believe in science doesn’t make it true. Just because you believe or don’t believe in something does not make it true or false. Belief has never moved the truth needle, and many treat science as if it was a religion. There are no beliefs in science, but many believe in science.
I’ll say it now and I’ll say it again in this lifetime: no one should call themselves a scientist who does not examine critically their science.
All of us who have taught science, performed RCTs (randomized controlled trials), performed the statistical analysis of outcomes of studies, or who have just ventured in for a little look, must stand objectively over science with a critical eye. This is rocket science. This is brain surgery. Future generations depend on the harsh criticism of our work. (This is why mathematicians always check their math!)
In our paper Studies Show, we give you a clear and concise picture of scientific proof and all the influences that can manipulate the outcome. But now let us discuss scientific truth.
Like belief, just because “science” makes a claim doesn’t make it true either.
Science presents hypotheses which are suppositions. An hypothesis proposes an explanation of “some thing” based upon limited evidence. It is a suggestion only, a suggestion that is testable. It’s also falsifiable. It lives in limbo.
Whereas a theory is a tested and well-substantiated, unifying explanation of reality. It is backed by actual evidence that is verifiable. And remember always that the word “prove” originally meant “to test,” and so when someone says this is proven, it really means that it has been tested, and tested thoroughly.
Additionally, any scientist worth his salt will tell you that what we know today could be modified by new factors discovered tomorrow. Many things stand the “test of time” and some things get modified because of the natural entropy within the system.
Again, just because “science” makes a claim does not make it true. What makes it true is the diligent and relentless testing and retesting that goes into that claim.
And when someone says, “It’s only a theory,” in a silly attempt to cast doubt upon that theory, well, that person doesn’t really know science.
It’s almost like saying “it’s only a fact,” except that facts could be looked at as simply theories that have become accepted. Facts are, indeed, evidence of proof. And they have context. Many manipulators of “truth” use contextless facts in order to persuade the listener to believe something that is provably untrue.
On the internet today there is a political debate that started with “Democrats are the party of slavery.” And they back this up by telling us that Lincoln (you’ve heard the Republican party called the “Party of Lincoln) freed the slaves. QED! (quod erat demonstrandum)
The argument is used to attack one party as being “bad” (they loved slavery) and the other party being good (we freed the slaves) when all sorts of context is missing from their facts.
Historians (real historians who have worked for years uncovering nuances the average person doesn’t even know exist) know the contexts of these “facts” and I’ve truly enjoyed reading their presentations (I have one below for you). However, the entire argument boils down to the simple fact that the makeup of political parties changes over time. A party can be conservative for a while, then slowly change to hold liberal and progressive ideals, or the other way around, while the name of the party does not change.
One huge “proof” put forward in arguments on this subject concern the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Following LBJ’s signing of it, the Republican party grew quite a bit larger as Southern Dixiecrats (conservative leaning Democrats) left the party and joined up with Republicans. However, Dixiecrats had been leaving the Democratic party (due to policies extending civil rights) since 1948. And this, friends, is how political parties change and why the “fact” that “Democrats are the party of slavery” is not a very good fact because it is missing a truckload of context.
An online friend of mine, by the name of Kevin Kruse, is a professor of history. Here is his thread on the subject that is much more scholarly than my take you just read above. He knows his stuff and is a damn fine teacher: Thread by Kevin Kruse.
So, before we leave here we need to sum up how science is done properly:
We have an hypothesis that is testable, that becomes a theory when thoroughly tested and substantiated by facts, which have contexts.
New facts discovered in the future can modify that theory, just as new testing can debunk that theory, though most are debunked while still an hypothesis.
There are theories that have been completely debunked, but don’t Google that because 99.9% of the time what they call a theory is just an hypothesis and because of their weak standing, they’re very open to being debunked.
One theory that was accepted for a long time was the theory of the “aether” (often spelled ether), which was the medium through which light traveled about in space. You see, sound waves needed a medium to travel within (sound cannot pass through a vacuum), and so it was theorized that light must need a medium too, hence the aether. But this theory was finally tested in the summer of 1887 by Albert Michelson and Edward Morely, and they concluded that there is no such thing as ether. Later scientists would learn that light was quite different from sound in that it is both a wave and a particle, and that blew everyone’s mind.
Scientists have a saying: “You never really understand a new theory. You just get used to it.”
So, with that discussion out of the way, let us get on with the Theory of Global Climate Change.
Yes, it started way back in the 1800s, with a Swedish chemist by the name of Svante Arrhenius. His contributions to science were quite substantial. He created theories about electrolytes that stand today, and found immortality in creating an equation concerning the rate of constants in temperature changes during chemical reactions, now known as the Arrhenius Equation.
As for climate change, he was the first person to link CO2 emissions to climate change, and here is a bit from the ultra famous Encyclopaedia Britannica:
Cosmic physics was the term used by Arrhenius and his colleagues in the Stockholm Physics Society for their attempt to develop physical theories linking the phenomena of the seas, the atmosphere, and the land. Debates in the Society concerning the causes of the ice ages led Arrhenius to construct the first climate model of the influence of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), published in The Philosophical Magazine in 1896. The general rule that emerged from the model was that if the quantity of CO2 increases or decreases in geometric progression, temperature will increase or decrease nearly in arithmetic progression. Linking the calculations of his abstract model to natural processes, Arrhenius estimated the effect of the burning of fossil fuels as a source of atmospheric CO2. He predicted that a doubling of CO2 due to fossil fuel burning alone would take 500 years and lead to temperature increases of 3 to 4 °C (about 5 to 7 °F). This is probably what has earned Arrhenius his present reputation as the first to have provided a model for the effect of industrial activity on global warming.
And, of course, his work in climate change was largely ignored for 60 years.
Before we go any further, shouldn’t we explain the difference between climate and weather? I bring this up because groups of morons seem to jump on unrelated facts to debunk climate science. They use things like a snow ball to prove that the earth couldn’t possibly be warming.
Here goes: Weather is what happens day to day. It rained today, and tomorrow it’s going to be sunny, and we might have snow by the weekend. Climate, on the other hand, consists of patterns in weather averaged over a period of time, most often in 30 year increments. So a snowball in the winter doesn’t really wipe out the 120 degree day last summer in which birds dropped dead, falling out of trees.
In the 1950s our military poured a lot of money into science, but not for the sake of science. Our military’s job is to protect and defend our country, so they poured the money into making bigger and better rockets and a side effect was a bit of science published in Popular Mechanics talking about how we’re warming up a bit due to a “greenhouse” effect. Soon afterwards, Dr Gilbert Plass of Johns Hopkins used computers to prove that adding CO2 to the atmosphere did soak up and radiate more heat.
Do you remember the Bell Telephone Science Hour on television during the fifties? My interest in health started way back then when I watched an episode called Hemo the Magnificent.
In 1958, Bell Telephone created an episode called, The Unchained Goddess. It will take a bit to find the part, but they talk about our CO2 production causing the earth to warm and eventually melting glaciers.
We were warned.
Even LBJ’s scientific advisory panel produced a study with a clear warning about CO2 productions and in 1965 LBJ wrote, “ . . . this generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through radioactive materials and a steady increase in carbon dioxide from fossil fuels.”
An argument I’ve often heard in an attempt to debunk Global Climate Change is, “But what about the scientists in the seventies who predicted another ice age was coming?”
Whataboutism has never solved a single problem. But it did influence me to go and find out where the hell this crap got started. And this is what I found.
A climate scientist by the name of Professor Steven Schneider took a look at a graph of temperature changes since we first started tracking this kind of thing and noticed, in the seventies, that since the 1940s there appeared to be a flattening out of the graph. He hypothesized that perhaps all the smoke we were producing was covering the sky protecting us from the sun’s rays leading to global cooling. He’s since then realized he was wrong, but he denies ever predicting a coming ice age. It was all the whackos who grabbed onto his hypothesis and ran with it (all the way to the nuthouse) screaming about the coming ice age.
As for the seventies, even the movie Soylent Green blamed the lack of food on Global Climate Change from the earth heating up so much that farms failed. And in 1977, the Global 2000 Report to Jimmy Carter was clear and explicit: “Rising CO2 concentrations are a concern because of their potential for causing a warming of the earth…. Agriculture and other human endeavors would have a great difficulty in adapting to such large rapid changes in climate.”
It was in the seventies when Exxon’s own scientists concluded that their products would severely affect the climate, and their corporate offices buried it all by spending millions on a misinformation campaign. And today they are funding another effort to convince us that they did nothing wrong and that they are fighting climate change too. Understanding the #ExxonKnew controversy.
But get this: it was a study out of Stanford in 1968 called a “Final Report to the American Petroleum Institute” that kicked it all off, and it was from this report that I taught climate change in 1972 to fifth graders at Foley Outdoor Education Center in Pine River, Minnesota.
They’re doing everything except leaving the CO2 in the ground where it won’t affect our climate.
There is a very simple fact that is staring us in the face and that is we must leave that CO2 in the ground. We’ve reached the highest concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere in 3 million years: 408 parts per million.
When I came upon this group (keep reading), I was at a loss. I’d never expected to find people this stupid.
No, CO2 is not poison. It’s a chemical animals give off. It’s also given off by burning things. You can suffocate if there is too much CO2 and not enough oxygen. But . . . .
I found a group of braindead climate deniers on the web who presented research findings on how much CO2 we can live with and survive, because they think, for some reason, our focus on CO2 has to do with CO2 poisoning. They’ve posted studies showing how we can survive with more than 500 parts per million in our atmosphere. It would not poison us.
I’m sure they move in circles where they are considered geniuses, but I’ve never had to deal with such ignorant inanities in my life and when I first ran up against them, I just did not know how to respond.
Climate scientists are NOT worried about CO2 poisoning. They’re worried about CO2 creating such a huge greenhouse effect that the planet will become unlivable.
I’ve even heard this argument:
Until 100% of scientists agree on global climate change, I’m still going to doubt it.”Ima D Nier
Well, I have news for these folks. There is 97% agreement, and in the realm of science, that means 100%, because there will always be a small percentage of clowns who’ve been paid to say something contrary.
Everyone should visit NASA’s site: Scientific Consensus: Earth’s Climate is Warming.
And before we get into refuting climate change deniers, many of us will be hit by trolls with “links.” Links must be magic things to these people. They’ll even send you links to YouTube where professional looking videos will try to convince you climate change isn’t happening or if it is happening that human activity has nothing to do with it. The greatest refutation you can give the professional skeptics is this: NASA can thread a needle 300 million miles from earth, your skeptics can make videos.
I think I’ll listen to NASA.
Ya know? I really don’t know why we have to do this in the first place. But here goes:
When the internet was three different networks, ARPANET, BITNET and NSFNET and still in its infancy, everyone predicted how a World Wide Web would establish a repository for all the information in the world; how it would be the greatest teaching device ever designed, and how we’d all be better off learning and growing and reaching upo to our higher selves.
Yeah, well they said the same thing about television.
Who knew that conspiracy theories and bullshit would spread like wild fires in a windstorm?
For those who want to know, rather than think they know already (let’s face it: for some people, making themselves right while making others wrong is how they get instant ego gratification, more powerful than a ton of “likes”), there are websites with the facts and contexts brought forth by climate science, and you can pass it onto your climate change denying friends.
Here is a very good one out of the Governor’s office in California.
Wherever you roam, you will find climate change deniers. People will grasp at straws everywhere just to reassure themselves that their world isn’t crumbling around them.
Take a look at a political cartoon attacking “scientists.”
We’ve already talked about the first one, so let’s take a look at the third one: Global warming and rising sea levels will wipe entire nations off the map by 2000.
I’ve found where this comes from; deniers love to send around the following meme:
The problem is, deniers are not the brightest bulbs on the tree. They see things but they don’t really read things, and if they read things they don’t comprehend things, so here is the original article:
U.N. Predicts Disaster if Global Warming Not Checked
PETER JAMES SPIELMANN
June 29, 1989
What the article “actually” says is that by the year 2000, we might (notice the “could be” in the first sentence) have reached the “point of no return.”
The article never said that by 2000 all entire countries would be under water.
That cartoon above says it’s attacking “scientists,” but it’s not. As always, we have to take into consideration who we are dealing with.
Sometimes we just have to accept George Carlin’s statement: “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of ’em are stupider than that.”
We’re dealing with very stupid people, and science is conducted by very educated people, and never the twain shall meet, nor shall they barbecue together.
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