Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reject Obfuscation In 2011

I don't claim to even remotely be an expert on global warming but I do believe in the scientific process without question.  Recently, I heard an interview on a podcast of a young woman (could have been a teenager) who claimed that there is not enough evidence to suggest that global warming is real.  While I do agree with others that the warming trend we are observing could potentially be cyclical in nature, I will argue that there is enough data to suggest that at the moment it is real.  I do not think there is enough historical data nor do we have sufficiently accurate models to definitively suggest that current global warming is permanent.  It would be very arrogant for scientists to think that nature is not robust enough to potentially adapt to man's impact on this planet.  There could be a point of reversibility in the weather pattern such that the trend could be potentially rolled back.  I'm open to the transient nature of the current crisis.  However, I'm also open to its permanence if the data, consisting of near-term past, current and long-term future, shows otherwise.  This is how theories are proven or disproven in the sciences.

What bothers me about the young woman interviewed in the podcast is when the reporter asked if there is anything that can change her position on the issue, the answer is a simple "no".  At that moment , I just realized that there is a high likelihood, that she also does not believe in evolution as a process and most likely, a practicing evangelical Christian.  Nothing, absolutely nothing can change her mind on global warming -- and yet, she uses words like "data", "evidence", "conclusions", etc in her language.  If fact, she even suggested that the opposing viewpoint be presented to 5th graders studying this in the schools.  Opposing viewpoint based on what data?  I say, she's trying to obfuscate her real agenda.  I'm beginning to see that there is a coalition in this country that not only intends to oppose real trends like global warming but also have a more strategic agenda of making sure the scientific process is minimized in discussions that affect human interests.  The church, in particular, had been going after scientists and the scientific process ever since it was proven that the earth is not the center of the universe.

I don't think education of any kind can change people who refuse to accept factual data.  In fact, I think it's an absolute waste of time to even discuss any issue with them. However I do think that educating my kids on the process of hypothesis-data-conclusion is of utmost importance in ensuring that they don't end up joining this modern day version of the flat-earth society.

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