Let’s put brain cells on this

The new IPCC report on climate change is due out in September.  This week the maintstream media shared a preview of its findings, which will also be found on its homepage.  You can read this Politico summary right now.

I don’t need to say too much about the issue of climate change itself.  It is here, the entire globe is experiencing it and we have vivid examples on our home turf.  Here in Southern California, I have witnessed a dramatic shift in the twenty or so years that I have lived here.  When I arrived on the West Coast, it was warm but temperatures stayed in the high 80’s on the hottest days.  Now, 100F+ summer days are not unusual.  In addition, the threat of wildfires has increased dramatically.

Growing up in the mid-Atlantic states forty to fifty years ago we had four distinct seasons. It meant habitually cold snowy winters, followed by moist mild springs, hot, wet summers and dry, crisp, cool autumns.  Now it can be 90F in February in NYC and no one is shocked anymore.

I watched a sad program on CNN by Morgan Spurlock on Drought last week.  It speaks for itself and is worth watching.

Obviously the upshot of all this is, the atmosphere is warming significantly, things are hotter than they have been in thousands of years, the dry spots are increasingly drier and the wet, wetter.  Severe floods, hurricanes, droughts, wildfires are occurring with increasing frequency.  Low lying cities will be under water by the end of the century, if things continue at this rate.  Most of us accept this as settled science.  Fact.  Verifiable by accepted methods.

I don’t need to fulminate on either the stupidity or the ignorance of those who believe the fossil fuel flunkies who pretend to deny this data.  Clearly, it is a frightening forecast and will now require dramatic changes and some sacrifices.  The fact that there will be economic benefit to this country and others by making the switch to earth-cooling practices seems to be overshadowed by the relentless flow of disinformation emanating from people like the Koch Brothers.  This infamnia is no different than the one that militated against the dangers of nicotine, some forty years ago or so. There are plenty of distinguished and world-class, recognized scientists shouting the warning now, just as they did then, in various media for those who have ears to hear.

All I want to do is clarify something.  It is one thing to deny climate change as if it is merely a theory instead of an axiom, or settled science.  It is quite another to mischaracterize science as a religion or a cult.  This fallacious thinking is beyond stupid, it is irresponsible and highly destructive.

It is bad enough when someone as fatuous as Michele Bachmann ‘reasons’ that carbon dioxide is part of nature (Did you take chemistry, ma’am? Ever hear of ‘supersaturation’?). But, when someone in a position of authority and influence like John Boehner says that the notion of climate change is comical and that carbon dioxide is not a ‘carcinogen’, every sane American should be deeply troubled.  The third person in line to be the most powerful leader in the world sounds like a flat-earther!

SCROLLWORK SPACERS

But, even that is not what this post aims to address. I want to make the concept of science, simple. Here is what science is: measurement of the physical world through the five senses.

That measurement is achieved in a variety of ways and its extrapolation generates theories or hypotheses to be further tested by five-sense measurement.  What is produced by this method is empirical data that are facts.  Science is merely a systematic measurement approach.  The best we have to date.  It has been done, formally or informally since hominids became homo sapiens sapiens some three million or so years ago.

It also applies to the social, psychological and behavioral sciences, which measure the observable outcomes of inter-relationships between actions/interactions (some of them inter-personal, other intra-personal, i.e., internal or interior like thoughts, ideas, emotions) and the real or tangible (phenomenological) world.

Math is not identical to science.  Mathematics is a logical model of inferences that can be used as a symbolic language to quantify the qualitative data that all sciences generate. Math is like logic and language.  It is a system of elegant and easily manipulated symbols that we call integers or numbers.

Math and some sciences dovetail neatly, like physics and the applied sciences of engineering or medicine.  It is a pure, internally sound system that does not need to have any relationship to measurable fact or empirical phenomenon to be validated. It only needs to establish ground rules (which can be arbitrary) and a set of laws and then a set of deductions from those laws to generate new ones.  Math is a stand-alone discipline that can be pure and theoretical or applied and empirically verifiable.  That is why people like Einstein could construct a theory that was far ahead of the physics (a science) of his day. And, that is also why mathematicians and some scientists have ivory tower value.  They devise hypotheses and assumptions that can be tested or never tested, verified or refuted.

Because scientists adhere to a discipline and ethic of questioning, even their most sacred axia, they refer to settled science postulates as ‘theories’.  Theory in common language and theory in the sciences have two different meanings.  The trouble with words is that they mean different things in different settings and it is easy to confuse them. This confusion plays right into the Machiavellian hands of  shills for monetary interests.  They unleash their diabolical slander on an unsuspecting and uneducated populace and then let those unwitting dupes go to the polls and make misinformed decisions that have had dire consequences.

Scientists are trained to be humble.  Every PhD student knows this.  It is part of the philosophy of science courses that all scientists in this country must take during their training.  Thus they modestly refer to the ‘theory of relativity’, ‘theory of evolution’, ‘theory of gravity’, ‘theory of global warming’, when every one of these is settled scientific law.

Science is an approach, a set of steps, a proven method.  It is not a cult, religion, philosophy, fantasy, fairy tale, obsession or a political or economic tool (unless it is abused and misused for those purposes).  It is the shortest route to the truth that we have in this physical universe.

Anyone who doesn’t know that is not doing their homework, as it is the open secret.

So, if the crazies in this country want to humiliate themselves on the world stage by being science deniers, they had better start building a fire-proof arc, stat.

POST A DAY 2013

29 Comments on “Let’s put brain cells on this

  1. Climate change deniers will continue to deny, no stopping them, no reasoning with them. My only hope is that enough of the reasonable people in the world will get on board fully so we can at least attempt to reverse the damage that may actually at this point be irreversible – perhaps we can slow it down, at least? I agree with philosophy that simply refuses to engage these people as it’s futile and they have no argument to stand on. I just worry there are too many of them to get past as the people with brains in the world try to move forward with addressing the issue.

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    • You are so right and this worries me too. I think that most of them are right here in the good ole USA, embarrassingly. Even fourth world countries are on board, TG. They simply have to outnumber ‘us’ and cancel out our national stupidity. I guess I am counting on backlash on all these wacky extreme positions and hopefully putting our government back in the hands of rational people.

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  2. I very skeptical on this topic. Nowhere in any analysis is ever the science of the earth’s history
    GEOLOGY ever referenced. If you have any knowledge in this field , you will find it very
    difficult to accept a lot of this “politically” driven conclusions,

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  3. I’m sorry, but every “geological fact” contradicts the current “claims”. This is a fact
    made without question by even Cornell University. Scientific “facts” aren’t the result
    of a “consensus” or vast majority’s. 2 + 2 = 4. Not a vast majority’s conclusions. In
    a geologic perspective, we are still “warming” from the “ice ages”. I would fear a
    return to that sort of Earth’s behaviors. And as for sea levels rising, do we have any
    absolute measurements from let’s say just a few thousand years ago to see if in terms
    of the Earth’s history there might be a “trend” to make a conclusion ? This whole
    concept is based on pure “speculation” framed in terms to instill “fear” in those willing
    to believe same. That it has become a “cause” endorsed by Al Gore , The UN , and
    major Corp. entities positioned to make huge $ gains in its applications should raise
    the most serious of objective thought and critical thinking considerations. . Human
    “pollutions” are serious problems solved, thank goodness by the humans most
    concerned with their consequences. Great strides are made in these areas and continue. which is really good news for the Planet. But that we have the audacity
    to imagine we can influence the earth’s behavior is beyond logical comprehension.
    Check your Geology knowledge again. Ask yourself how many scientists in this
    area have had there findings found to be false and without merit as has been the case with many of the those making these “global warming claims”. Best Ron.

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  4. Beth: Thank you for entertaining my thoughts. I agree with you and am behaving in your manner as best as possible to “help the planet” as best we should. Still, I maintain
    us “humans” are not provided with the power to alter for perpetuity the course of this
    Earth’s history. I’m sorry , the “dust bowl” was the result of poor farming methods
    meeting a severe climate . When the farming methods were changed to protect
    the land (pollution or whatever , properly addressed by the humans affected) the
    land returned to it’s past productivity. The “climate” did not return because of the
    remedial farming methods. We just have had severe drought conditions in this area.
    How come no “dust bowl”. You’ve got the cause and effect upside down. Lastly, I
    don’t get my facts or beliefs from Breitbart , Drudge etc. The first “fact” I mentioned
    came from the source of the science of Geology not Main Stream Media headlines.
    Critical thinking. Warmest regards, Ron.

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    • Beth: I admire your convictions. Also you wit , obvious intelligence and many of your insights per your delightful blog. However on this one topic I find serious disagreement
      based on #1 Geology and the Earth’s history. #2. The recent numerous contradictions
      by noted climate scientists about the “data” used and it’s conclusions. We know,
      scientific facts are not the opinion of the majority or a “consensus”. I beg you to visit
      the web site : whattsupwiththat.com blog of guest Barry Brill of 8/31/2013. It covers
      IPCC and all current “questions”. Of that 2% of deniers , please check with noted
      climate scientist’s : Tung & Zhou — Yu Kosaka & Shang-Ping Zie — Katz —
      Fyfe Gillett & Zwiers., I ‘m going to this length simply to try to illustrate some
      objective “critical thinking” on the topic. I feel very strongly that reverting to
      name calling (Koch Bros.. whomever they are) and slandering religious beliefs as
      the basis for any contradicting thoughts is WAY BELOW your intelligence –I’m positive.

      Lastly, your premise that human land uses (dust bowl) create “climates”
      condusive to the human endeavors thereon , begs the conclusion that such regions as the Imperial Valley in Calif and its “bounty” is the result of human activity creating
      the “climate” in that area. Surely you can’t believe that humans came upon this area and decided to make a “climate” to accomodate their business wishes and success !!!
      It’s obvious the “climate” exists first and that “humans” will manage to screw up its
      benefits through ignorance or direct misuse . As you’ve correctly noted the agriculture
      pollutants and land miss managements are things thankfully us humans can correct
      given our very responsible abilities to “change” what needs to be changed to our benefit. We are correcting a component within not the all encompassing aspects.

      In agreeing with you. I have to relate my experiences with the very real “pollution”
      atmospheric that I have seen and now see it corrected by efforts that you so
      clearly state i.e. Madrid Spain , Pusan, Korea , La, Cal. Tokyo ,Japan, Lima, Peru
      Canton , China. Bombay , India. I have been there under conditions that were
      honestly making it “hard to breath”. Now !!! So we can correct and strive to make
      the planet a better place for sure. Within the context of (its) behavior first.

      Once more, thank you for indulging herewith. Sincerely, Ron

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  5. Hi again Beth. I’m continuing to enjoy your blog on your many many topics. I came across an obvious “fact” really virtually never mentioned in the world’s continuous
    global warming topic. Please go to http://dailycaller.com/2013/10/19study-global-warming-could-yield-11-6-trillion-in-increased-crop-production …… Per the end of the
    ice age , man’s “production” has grown expotentialy due to warming climates. It
    should follow that this trend (warming) can also provide some “positive” benefits.
    Let’s hope so. Best Ronnie

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  6. Hi Beth: Oops !! I’m becoming a “pest” for sure. But many interesting “observations”
    keep popping up re. our topic. I found this one to be very current and especially topical.
    Take a look if you will. www. climatedepot.com/2013/10/18/new-study-2013-ranks-as-one-the…… Thanks. Ronnie

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  7. Hi Beth: Your “Annabelle” is one for the books. Wonderful . Coincidentally, as I’m sure
    you’ve probably seen, our “topic” is in the news again –big time– please check out
    http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/article/Prairies-vanish-in-the-US-push-for-green-energy-4977288.php#photo-5456340 Some really serious “unintended consequences” of the quest to reduce carbon / global warming .. Here’s another
    real “dust bowl” in the making. A tragedy easily reversed I’m hoping some severe
    logic intercedes on all parties here. Best. Ron.

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  8. Hi again Beth: I’m honestly flattered on your interest that I might have a “blog”.. Sorry, I can’t begin to imagine myself having such talents as you (and Marey Mercey)
    illustrate daily…not to mention my lack of “tech knowledge”.

    Anyway, I was mystified by your reply here. I thought we were on the “same page”
    on /about your major concerns of the planets’ “survival’ re. its natural beauty and
    habitat. I couldn’t agree with you more. My concerns on this aspect center on the
    unintended consequences of pursuing a physical course of action(s) to affect an
    unidentified utopian result set forth by theoretical “scientific projections”

    Along with the alarming report of destructive agriculture practices, I’m referencing here further more of the very real current harms done to our wild birds / protected species /
    Eagles , etc. This is very alarming and honestly , totally unnecessary as attributed
    to these “wind farms”..Further to that, I have to note/ask ,you’ve stated you are from the East. Have you ever seen the”scar” these farms present on the skyline view of the
    extraordinary scenery of upstate NY & Penna.? Have you ever been up close, I mean standing next to or spent time within 1/2 mile of their operations? The noise is
    horrendous and is being “litigated’ as harmful to humans happening to live near by.
    Not to mention the killing of the birds and flying bats by the thousands. You
    told the wonderful story of Annabelle and your Cape Cod vacation this Summer .
    You and I both know the late Sen. Kennedy was the major force behind outlawing
    wind farms being allowed in this area. Can you imagine your view of the Ocean
    with these monsters covering the horizon? Yes , and you surely wouldn’t endorse their construction.

    Further to “wind farms” , it has been reported from both the US and Europe , these
    installations ALL have to be backed up by full power generating facilities (Gas/Oil /Coal/Nuclear) in order have electric power when the “wind doesn’t blow” !! It has
    been shown that farms all operate on subsidies and are making electric power more expensive with no offset benefits what so ever. Please, ref. the articles herewith.

    www. breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/09/11Study–Wind-farms-killed-67eagles-in-5-years

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/11/12Oops- Solar-Energy-Plants-are Killing-
    Rare-birds.

    Lastly, I just can’t get my arms around your distaste for the Koch Bros. and “petroleum”.
    Didn’t the Rockefeller’s make a little bit of money with Standard Oil ? Do you hold them
    in the same regard ? We certainly can’t deny that virtually EVERY thing , every thing
    physically created to benefit all humans today has its origins in the benefits of
    “petroleum”. You can’t name a thing other than human intelligence that today isn’t the result of the technology enabled through petroleum. Many of the current “tech-billionaires” live extraordinarily “lux” lifestyles. Are we to demonize them for their behavior / success ?? There are “bad apples” in all levels of humanity–top –to bottom..

    In closing, I’ll keep checking into your blog on it’s merit , surely to enjoy the voyage. Thanks for accepting my rants on a very real concern of mine. Ronnie

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  9. Beth: a very urgent “please’ here on Breitbart. I am not quoting or endorsing Brietbart. I have noted on that site and others, significant “news stories” per the topics mentioned. The articles were from AP , Wash. Post , NYT , etc. It was the “news” I wanted to bring to your attention (not Breitbart) as it seemed to dove tail exactly with your (and my) concerns !! Give them a read. I’m sure it will further your understanding of our mutual concerns.

    As for “oil”. No I’m not in the “oil biz”. My working days were with textiles and garment mfg. HOWEVER , I did have a very , very lucky break way back in time in Tulsa Okla.
    A close classmate of mine was into “wildcatting” for oil and I was in a syndicate with him
    and we “struck oil”.. Back then we sold our find as quickly as possible to a “major” and took the cash to move on. That cash served as my “start-up” for the family enabling
    me to purchase a very nice farm and raise T’bred horses and have the kids , especially my daughter become a very accomplished “horse women ” of many awards in the show ring (suburban Phila.) as my Daughter and Sons have told me in grateful acknowledgement, what they experienced in their growing up is almost not available
    (financially) today. Which is to say , I’m hard pressed to understand the how I having
    earned some money in the oil biz has “hurt people” ? BTW , even way back then
    while I was on site during drilling , we were very cognizant and purposely left the site
    as close to how we found the bare land before the activity. AND, “fracking” was a
    process involved back then. It has been going on since “when”. There isn’t a documented fact of it having contaminated or harmed it’s surrounding area. Yet the process is demonized today beyond any realities. Such a shame. I have In-laws
    in Pa. near Elmira who have active nat gas wells within site of their property and
    they are so well hidden and in concert with the landscape ,they had to be very
    specifically pointed out. All used the fracking process to no ill effects ! I’m not in
    favor or careless irresponsible techniques . But now with the nat gas discoveries
    we are really closing in on some real carbon reductions !!! This should be good news !!
    This could allow for more natural energy sources without additional contamination. A real win-win situation. As I’m sure you’ve read nat gas is being hailed as the answer to Diesel fuel for the “transportation” industries (trucking / rail ,etc.) There is a small boom going on in the mfg. of diesel engines (Cummins) for this specific use. Next autos ?? Which is to say, let’s try to get Beth to be a little more “up-beat” about this oil situation.
    Ronnie.

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  10. Beth: Another significant “warning” www. americanthinker.com/2013/11ethanols_growing_cost_to_our_food_security.html .. Ronnie

    Like

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