-

The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

-

viewpoint

Do you believe in science?

| Monday, February 17, 2014

I was thinking about global-warming nudge science in general. Science takes a theory for how something works in the world and either proves it, disproves it or says that, currently, the answer is not known. This is usually done with evidence.

So, what do people using the scientific method say about whether or not global warming is happening? Are they credible? Is science credible?

If you don’t think or believe global warming is happening, you don’t think the scientists are correct. By the scientists, read almost every scientist who has studied this particular question. If you don’t believe these people, these scientists, these experts in the field, then you don’t believe in science.

If you still don’t believe in global warming and thus don’t believe in science, then do me a favor, give me your cell phone. Give me your clothes. Give me your accessories. Give me your home and everything you own. Without science, none of the modern conveniences would be possible. In fact, without science, more than half of the people reading this would be dead by college age, due to some curable disease, lack of food or general violence.

Name one thing in your life science did not contribute to. Oh, the Bible, you say? What’s it written on? What is used to write it? Paper and ink are the result of science, trial and error, testing the hypothesis or the theory. What else do you have?

You are free to overlook the wonders of science and, thus, global warming; you are the hoax. You’re hoaxing yourself into believing manure (which also turns out to be a result of elementary science when it comes to farming). Also, give me your phone, seriously, especially if it is new and has more memory, because my phone doesn’t have enough.

Rob McKeon
Ph.D class of 2010
Ambridge, Penn.
Feb. 16

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: , ,

About Rob McKeon

Contact Rob
  • Khan

    I am shocked that an argument this facile would be presented by a Ph.D. candidate. Clearly you managed to avoid any classes in philosophy as an undergraduate. Your argument essentially boils down to the suggestion that if you disagree with the current scientific consensus on a particular issue then you don’t “believe in science.” I’m not sure what that trite phrase is actually supposed to mean, but that’s too big of a question to delve into in a comments section, so we’ll leave it for now.

    I would argue that the only reason an individual should be disinclined to question consensus is if that consensus is always correct. Unfortunately, as you well know, scientific consensus is frequently incorrect and has been numerous times in the last half century specifically on the issue of climate change. You then go on to claim that every discovery in the history of mankind is attributable to “science.” What you mean by this is entirely unclear, especially given that the scientific method wasn’t developed until the 17th century.

    In the meantime, I wish you the best of luck in your inquiry that avoids questioning any consensus of the scientific community.

    • Robert

      The word genocide wasn’t coined until the 20th century but that doesn’t mean there were genocides before it. The scientific method was used long before the term was coined or fully explained.

      If you disagree, prove it. What evidence do you have to suggest global warming isn’t happening and isn’t caused by us? Do you agree that we use more energy as a planet than ever previous? Even if every use of energy was the most efficient, heat is still created as a result. Just having seven billion people could increase global warming from the constant heat we put off. It’s entropy. Thermo, it’s fun stuff.

      Anyhow, I wish you well. I suggest finding somewhere to live with higher ground. You’re free to not believe in global warming but it’s only because you have proof against all argument as Herbert Spence has said:

      “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”
      –HERBERT SPENCER

      • Khan

        You fail to engage any of my criticisms on even the most basic level, and you have no idea what knowledge I possess with regard to climate science. I never said that climate change isn’t a real and pressing concern. I simply pointed out that concluding that skepticism toward scientific consensus defines an individual as not “believing in science” is facile to the point of being absurd. What you actually mean by your assertion is anyone’s guess.

        Furthermore, I’m not sure you understand how science actually works. The burden is not on the skeptic to prove that a hypothesis is not true. You continue to display your own ignorance and lack of self awareness. Stick to your studies on “thermo” and “entropy.”

        • Robert

          I don’t have to debate whether global warming is happening or not. Over the past decade, just about ever credible scientist studying it has shown global warming is occurring and is our fault. There is a massive consensus, and the people that don’t believe in global warming, don’t engage in a scientific argument looking at the facts. So this was a critique of their stances of not examining the experiments or the studies done, but still using the spoils of science to benefit their lives. Nobody questions the theories that are the basis of electricity, which have also been proven, yet they question global warming. Being a skeptic is fine, but when presented real evidence, bountiful evidence, then only the ignorant remain skeptical because they refuse to admit they are wrong. The burden is on the skeptic to investigate to the fullest extent rather than deny the existence of a phenomena that will ultimately cause our extinction. The results of this area of science are far more important to just say we agree to disagree, which is why I say if you don’t believe it, then why do you believe anything else science has brought forth? How do you believe in cell phones and talking to people across the world with video in real time?

          • Khan

            Your arguments consist of non sequiturs and unsubstantiated claims. What do we know? We do know that global temperatures in the lower atmosphere and oceans have risen roughly one degree over the past century, and that man has likely played some role in this process. The extent of anthropogenic causes in climate change, model based projections, potential outcomes, and efficient courses of action are all unsettled to varying degrees and largely up for debate. You seem to be unaware of this so I suggest you take your own advice and actually do some reading.

            The obvious fact that you remain unable to grasp is that the scientific consensus has been and is frequently incorrect. Furthermore attempting to silence dissenting voices is distinctly unscientific. There are legitimate debates to be had regarding climate science and disagreeing with the prevailing perspective does not define an individual as not “believing in science.” (A ridiculously trite and nonsensical accusation.) If you think that our understanding of climatology is on par with our mastery of electricity and radio waves I don’t know what to tell you. You’ve clearly lost the plot, and any semblance of a coherent point.

  • RJD

    Well this is a timely article… I’m not sure if the author intended his piece to be satire or not.

    http://news.yahoo.com/jet-stream-shift-could-prompt-harsher-winters-scientists-132931128.html

  • bradfregger

    “Science takes a theory for how something works in the world and either proves it, disproves it or says that, currently, the answer is not known. This is usually done with evidence.”

    If you’d have done any research on the subject at all, instead of focusing on those scientists whose reputations depend on the “consensus” being right. If you’d have taken a look at the climate and associated scientists who have grave doubts about AGW and are voicing those doubts at grave risk to both their funding and their reputations, you would realize that, “currently the answer is not known.”

    And, if you are so naive as to believe the “consensus” doesn’t have the power to silence those that oppose the current hypothesis, you must be either very young, with a rude awakening ahead of you, or very old and set in your ways.

    Finally, it is ridiculous for you to suggest that AGW deniers don’t believe in science. The truth is we believe that AGW fanatics are completely ignoring the scientific process and trying their best to spin the data to fit their initial hypothesis when any intelligent observer can easily see the predictions based on the hypothesis are not working out … the hypothesis is flawed.

    • Robert

      My concern is that if you are wrong, by the time we do anything, it’ll be too late. If you are right, it’s just money. I hope I’m wrong that global warming isn’t happening, but I fear it might be too late. Please, do the research yourself if you think there is some huge conspiracy. Send me the results. Show me the study.

      • bradfregger

        Robert, first, anything I show you will be attacked by the AGW fanatics. However, I can assure you that for the past 50 years I have read much of the research on both sides of the question (my Master’s is in Societal Futures from San Jose State University) and there is no doubt in my mind that we are nowhere near understanding what drives climate change; there is much more research that needs to be done. However, here is a link to the best “denier” site on the Internet and they can explain that side of issue much better than I can; plus,, they have many articles by respected climate scientists that agree that much more research is needed.

        http://www.climatedepot.com/

        In the main, your fear has been driven by the media (they love a good world-ending story) and scientists whose funding depends on the AGW hypothesis being right. Well over 95 percent of the money spent on researching this issue has gone to scientists who commit to describing the impact of catastrophic global warming. Very little funding has gone to try and determine the actual processes that drive climate change.

        Right now, the only thing we really know is that the climate changes all of the time and that there have been times in recorded human history when it has been significantly warmer than it is now. In fact, the vast majority of the time the Earth is much colder than it has been for the past 10,000 years. Human civilization has thrived because of this essentially warm climate. When it gets cold, very little happens that is positive for societies, survival is the main focus.

        While we do have the coincidence that this specific warming spell seems to relate to the use of fossil fuels by western societies. To draw the conclusion that that is the cause and calling it a fact is really over the top. In fact, there is also the relationship between sun spot activity and climate change, a relationship that goes back much further than the relationship of CO2 and global warming.

        Finally, in response to your statement, “it’s just money.” That’s like saying to an alcoholic, “It’s just one drink.” It isn’t just money, it’s the socio-economic health of the United States and the Western World. The potential problems, even deaths, resulting is a significantly bigger issue than many of the global warming scenarios; including some of the more dramatic ones. And, the rich won’t carry this burden, this burden will be carried by the lower, middle, and upper-middle classes. Governments know that this is where the money is and they will do anything to hide costs of this effort from those classes. The lower classes and the poor will suffer the greatest harm, because of the dramatic increases in costs for heating, cooling, and transportation. In fact, I am convinced that deaths due to heat and cold will rise significantly.

        There is no doubt in my mind that the AGW hypothesis is extremely weak and that it is idiocy to create public policy on a guess and a gamble.

        A past business acquaintance of mine wrote one of the first books on this problem back in the early ’90s and he said the same thing to me that you said when I pointed out that there was little evidence to support this hypothesis, “If I’m right the world as we know it will end, my estimation is that we only have a decade before it will be too late. If you’re right, we’ve only wasted money and some effort.”

        Well, as you know not much has changed in the way of global warming for the past two decades.

        I’m not aware of single prediction that has been realized. For me, it’s kin to the preacher who tells his flock, “Christ is coming three years from now. It’s time to sell everything and get prepared for His coming.” Then, when Christ doesn’t show he says, “I just got the timing off … but, he’s coming soon, so you still need to get prepared.”

  • luis42663@mail.ru

    At first i accept the condition why not science is absolutely true because this real performance has in front of take to circle of science structure which is so educative value in our human life. So all the readers has follow to hard and soul anywhere moment.Thanks for science information.