Sunday, 12 October 2014

A response to Bob Francis

This is in response to the following face book discussion.

First off psychology is a science. It is highly statistical science but if you want to be a Scientologist like Tom Cruise go for it.
Second you don't start with a theory. You start with repeatable observations and experiments, analyse the observations in unbiased manners, things like double blind tests, and you formulate a falsifiable hypothesis which can also be independently verified. A scientific theory is a well substantiated explanation of some area of the natural world that arrived at after repeated applications of the scientific method. Continually testing new and existing data to see if the current theory is still accurate. If it isn't either the theory is falsified and may have its domain of applicability reduced and it is replaced by a new theory that makes more accurate predictions or more predictions.
Newton's law of gravity is an example of a Theory that while wrong is still widely used but its domain of applicability is reduced.
Your statement that they've stopped checking observations is disingenuous or ignorant, take your pick. It is like saying biologists have stopped checking if evolution. It is continually examined. New scientists in learning their field continually test current hypotheses and theories and many main stream scientists do the same.
Your example of Einstein is a good one. He originally predicted that GR indicated a non static universe and introduced a cosmological constant to keep it static. He later said that was "the biggest blunder in my career" and it was removed from GR for a very long time. Then we continued to test GR over the next 80 years. ~20 years after GR was published we found something that didn't add up within GR and that was the galactic rotation curves that indicated that galaxies where rotating to fast for the amount and distribution of matter within the observed galaxies. Pop forward another ~60 years and we discover that there is unseen mass around almost all galaxies. Mass that is at best very weakly interacting electromagnetically. Pop forward another 10 years and we discover that the expansion of the universe doesn't indicate that it is going to slow down but never quiet reach zero thus will expand forever and it isn't slowing down and never has been slowing down to cause a "big crunch" but in fact is speeding up and dark energy is introduced as the cause of the Hubble expansion.

The SAME type of stuff goes on with climate change. To say it doesn't ignores all the scientific work out there and frankly shows a very poor understanding of the scientific method.

You know why appropriate action isn't being taken. Because of people like you that want to deny the science kick up a stink if money was sunk into fixing the problem. Would you right now be willing to go through the pain and expense that it will take to fix the problem? The IPCC report is not only about the science but there is a whole volume that goes into mitigating the problem and it factors in how much people are willing to do. The science of psychology on this matter is pretty clear. People generally have very short term impulses that work against fixing problems like this. Politicians have short term goals of getting reelected. People might like the idea of not fucking over the environment or even other people but when they can be fooled or self deluded into believing that there isn't a problem they'll take the greedy option. Take Easter island as an example. That society kept cutting down trees and at some point you'd think that they might consider it a bad idea to continue to do so but no...they didn't. They cut down EVERY tree on that island. They destroyed their civilization. This isn't some "soft science" hypothesis. We know they did it. Captain Cook discovered the island before the population completely dwindled out. The boats they had were pitiful meaning they couldn't even fish properly any more.

So again if you don't know what is in the IPCC report please shut up and stop making false statements about the report and all the science in the report because YOU and everyone like you, including Fox News, CNN, etc. Everyone that either knowingly or unknowingly makes it look like the science isn't in or says that it isn't science because, even though you haven't investigated the issue you are sure that all those scientists are doing bad science, it it is treated as a "religion" is the problem.

Religions have "Truths" that are not independently verifiable. That is why we have thousands of denominations of the "Christian" religion, forget about all the other religions. Science, including the science of climate change is search for the best explanation to observed physical facts. The observed physical fact is our climate is changing. The fact isn't based off of 1 piece of data. It is from many different areas of the relevant sciences using data from many different sources. If you want to know about it then there is the IPCC report which makes it very easy to get a very large amount of work that has been done on the topic. Think of the IPCC report as a HUGE scientifically reviewed paper.
Are there still questions? Yes! Does that mean we should ignore everything we know until all those questions are answered? Not if you care about your grand children and great grand children. You and I might miss much of the problems. But Steven, Melissa, Bryan and Joshua won't. They'll be in the thick of it. And because simply pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere isn't a instant fix they are quickly being set into a future they'll not even be able to properly mitigate given the current science. It will take hundreds of years to get the oceans to return to normal. We'll never get back some of the aquatic life that is dying off because they can't evolve quick enough to the changes in their environment do to climate change.
The "taxing production" isn't a scientific solution. It is a political solution to try to motivate companies to change in a manner that is less economically impactful. I don't think that carbon should be taxed either. It is a stupid political trick to get people to think that the governments and companies are trying to do something. What needs to be done? Read the volume of the IPCC report that goes into that. There are many ideas that can be implemented put forth by many people much more knowledgeable then you and I. Not only "scientists" but others like economists.
It is like if you went to the doctor and they told you that you have a tumor in your head and they recommend an invasive surgery because based on their knowledge you'll die if it isn't removed. You might go to a few other doctors to get a second, third and forth opinion. Now imagine you've gone to 100 doctors about the issue and 98% of them agree that you need to get it operated on. None of them will guarantee your survival. Of the 2 others 1 suggests you use this drug that they say will help and you know that doctor has received a lot of money from the pharmaceutical company that makes that drug. Last doctor isn't sure that the tumor will continue growing or even if it does that it does you might have a better quality of life not operating. Then Alex, your neighbor, comes over and says that through meditation you can heal yourself. A work mate comes to you and says all you need to do is use a pillow with magnets. And another person that noticed you reading up on the topic of brain tumors while on the train tells you they heard that brain tumors actually can make you smarter. Who are you going to listen to? In reality you probably wouldn't get to 10 doctors. You'd be faced with doctors on one side pretty much in universal consensus about what you should do and quacks on the other side. Then CNN picks up your story and they'll bring 1 of the doctors on and Alex on to have a "debate". Hopefully most people will walk away hearing that all the doctors you went to see agreed on the treatment but a good percentage of people will hear that meditation has been found to work, even though there isn't any science or real evidence behind it, and they'll think you should go down that route because it is less invasive. That is what it is like. You can disagree but, by what you've posted, you clearly don't understand the issue.

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