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Old 03-03-2014, 04:06 PM   #21
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In Uncertain Science...Uncertain World the author explains how science moves forward based upon uncertainty. The opponents of say, climate change, pounce upon that normal and desirable uncertainty in order to smear the scientific community. Ie. if there is disagreement on any topic or subject they crow, "Aha! See? The scientists can't even agree amongst themselves!"
Uncertainty is good. It makes you think, and think real hard about the evidence you present.

If you work in science someone may even ask you to calculate it. Someone may question how you know the measurements you made were correct. Usually this happens when the results are unexpected.

You never really know, and never really are 100% correct... I've never known a measurement that doesn't have an error associated with it and I've never known a model that wasn't correlated to a measurement or a theory that wasn't confirmed by empirical evidence.

Only fools are certain, because certainty is an illusion humans create.
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Old 03-03-2014, 04:26 PM   #22
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In Uncertain Science...Uncertain World the author explains how science moves forward based upon uncertainty. The opponents of say, climate change, pounce upon that normal and desirable uncertainty in order to smear the scientific community. Ie. if there is disagreement on any topic or subject they crow, "Aha! See? The scientists can't even agree amongst themselves!"
On the contrary its those Pro Warming extremists and rogue climatologists that are trying to hi-jack a science issue and turn into a political one that are the problem. And by pointing at each individual weather event being caused by warming is not helping either. The most recent example is the dreaded Polar vortex. As usual the Climatologist had to retract her statement, if you call it a retraction.

Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis said:
“The media certainly had a field day with the “attack of the polar vortex” in early January, and in their hyping of the story, some misquoted me (and others) by saying that climate change caused the unusual cold spell. Of course this sort of event has happened before, and this one wasn’t unprecedented.

I also agree that greenhouse-gas induced warming will reduce, not increase, the likelihood of breaking cold temperature records — the data already show this.”
The IPCC needs to throttle stuff like this and start asserting their authority.
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Old 03-03-2014, 04:55 PM   #23
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Another cute way of attacking science occurs when certain groups of people point to gaps in the fossil record as disproof of evolution. Then when someone finds a fossil that bridges the gap they trumpet, "Aha! there are now TWO gaps in the fossil record"! Can't win.

Habitat destruction, deforestation and draining of wetlands are huge drivers of extinction I would think.
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:01 PM   #24
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[QUOTE=cityboy;214373]On the contrary its those Pro Warming extremists and rogue climatologists that are trying to hi-jack a science issue and turn into a political one that are the problem.

By your definition then 99% of climate scientists are rogue.

I can only speak for myself, but if I don't feel well, I rely on a medical doctor for a diagnosis. If I go to 100 doctors and 99 tell me I'm very sick, I would tend to believe them vs the 1 that disagreed.
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:19 PM   #25
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On the contrary its those Pro Warming extremists and rogue climatologists that are trying to hi-jack a science issue and turn into a political one that are the problem.
By your definition then 99% of climate scientists are rogue.

I can only speak for myself, but if I don't feel well, I rely on a medical doctor for a diagnosis. If I go to 100 doctors and 99 tell me I'm very sick, I would tend to believe them vs the 1 that disagreed.
I'm going to be the first to say that is a terrible argument. If this were a few hundred years ago 99 out of the 100 would have put leaches on you and if you lived it would have been from some other phenomena which the doctors had no clue about.

Granted we have learned a lot more since then, but you can't use those kind of arguments as proof, at least not in science.

There is no safety in numbers, well not unless you are a wilderbeast. But I will also be the first to say that the counterarguments are bunk as well... same goes for evolution. Failure to complete a theory is not definitive proof that the theory is incorrect.

Really all one can do is wait and take data. I won't live that long, but I really don't think anyone would be happy to say they were right if it does turn out that global warming is true...

As a species, if a threat may exist, then we need to be proactive. We need not wait until an asteroid is on target with the Earth to devise a solution, that is if we wish to survive... we need to think now - before it is too late!
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:22 PM   #26
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Uncertainty is good. It makes you think, and think real hard about the evidence you present.

If you work in science someone may even ask you to calculate it. Someone may question how you know the measurements you made were correct. Usually this happens when the results are unexpected.

You never really know, and never really are 100% correct... I've never known a measurement that doesn't have an error associated with it and I've never known a model that wasn't correlated to a measurement or a theory that wasn't confirmed by empirical evidence.

Only fools are certain, because certainty is an illusion humans create.

only thing i'm certain of is that i'll be cracking a cold one in T-minus 5,4,3,2,1 ahhhh
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:24 PM   #27
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I'm going to be the first to say that is a terrible argument. If this were a few hundred years ago 99 out of the 100 would have put leaches on you and if you lived it would have been from some other phenomena which the doctors had no clue about.

Granted we have learned a lot more since then, but you can't use those kind of arguments as proof, at least not in science.

There is no safety in numbers, well not unless you are a wilderbeast. But I will also be the first to say that the counterarguments are bunk as well... same goes for evolution. Failure to complete a theory is not definitive proof that the theory is incorrect.

Really all one can do is wait and take data. I won't live that long, but I really don't think anyone would be happy to say they were right if it does turn out that global warming is true...

As a species, if a threat may exist, they we need to be proactive. We need not wait until an asteroid is on target with the earth to devise a solution, that is if we wish to survive... we need to think now - before it is too late!

I think you are just trying to be provocative. It's not a few hundred years ago, it's now. Medicine is science. You go in circles about how nothing is definitive. If that is taken literally, nothing we know would actually work consistently. Maybe things just have to be "accurate enough". You argue everything both ways, which is interesting but leads to no useful conclusions.

Last edited by Neil; 03-03-2014 at 05:39 PM.. Reason: fixed quote tags.
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:32 PM   #28
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I think you are just trying to be provocative. It's not a few hundred years ago, it's now. Medicine is science. You go in circles about how nothing is definitive. If that is taken literally, nothing we know would actually work consistently. Maybe things just have to be "accurate enough". You argue everything both ways, which is interesting but leads to no useful conclusions.
No I'm not. I'm speaking the truth.

And medicine and science are sometimes so unrelated it's sickening. Show me the true science in testing any drugs. If that were the case then there would be no lawsuits, there would be no recalls. And even worse look at psychology and understanding the brain.

The scientific method is not always practical in those cases. They use studies which are much different than a true experiment.

And really if you understood what I was saying you would see I am only arguing for one side, and that is science. It is the only side I ever argue for. Yet I don't believe very many actually understand it or what it means.

If you want definitive answers, read the Bible. You take it as it is and you don't question it. Everything is based on faith.

Science doesn't work that way. Science is constantly questioned. I constantly question what I study or measure. And it still works. I do it every day. I understand uncertainty.

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Old 03-03-2014, 05:41 PM   #29
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No I'm not. I'm speaking the truth.

And medicine and science are sometimes so unrelated it's sickening. Show me the true science in testing any drugs. If that were the case then there would be no lawsuits, there would be no recalls. And even worse look at psychology and understanding the brain.

The scientific method is not always practical in those cases. They use studies which are much different than a true experiment.

And really if you understood what I was saying you would see I am only arguing for one side, and that is science. It is the only side I ever argue for. Yet I don't believe very many actually understand it or what it means.

Your suggesting that less than 100 percent success means something is a failure? I'm sure you would agree that the drugs and treatments available today have something to offer humanity. I'm pretty sure it wasn't all guesswork. I don't know what psychology has to do with the original point, why not bring in Zoroastrianism? If you don't feel that a 99 percent consensus is relevant, or worse a "herd mentality", I respect your right to say that, but say it without the straw man arguments.

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Old 03-03-2014, 05:50 PM   #30
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No straw man here. Just a practical and practiced professional in the sciences and the scientific method.

Read up on what I wrote. Maybe it will occur to you. I can't argue because you are not going to get what I am saying. You want an ANSWER! You don't realize science doesn't give answers, it generates more questions.
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:50 PM   #31
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[QUOTE=Glen;214375]
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On the contrary its those Pro Warming extremists and rogue climatologists that are trying to hi-jack a science issue and turn into a political one that are the problem.

By your definition then 99% of climate scientists are rogue.

I can only speak for myself, but if I don't feel well, I rely on a medical doctor for a diagnosis. If I go to 100 doctors and 99 tell me I'm very sick, I would tend to believe them vs the 1 that disagreed.
I gave a specific example of Rogue. Nowadays you can get anyone to say anything. Regardless if she was part of the consensus her initial statement was flat out wrong. The reason she retracted her statement about Warming causing the Vortex was that she was pressured by her peers. In the article I read there were numerous statements against her position by prominent climatologists. This was one of the rare examples of self censorship by the Climate community. I wish they would do more of this.
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:58 PM   #32
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I'm gonna have to teach you guys how to use the quote function. You know if it comes out wrong you can edit your own posts, eh?
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:32 PM   #33
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No straw man here. Just a practical and practiced professional in the sciences and the scientific method.

Read up on what I wrote. Maybe it will occur to you. I can't argue because you are not going to get what I am saying. You want an ANSWER! You don't realize science doesn't give answers, it generates more questions.

Please don't patronize me. I'm not a scientist but know enough that your statement that there are no answers is beyond silly. You take the fact that we don't know everything and seem to suggest that means we don't know anything.

Proof of my incompetence is the inability to get these damn quote responses properly outlined. Help Neil!
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:45 PM   #34
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I just thought of something I probably should have mentioned previously in my argument.

I know you just want me to state a position and argue it. I'm more 50% on the side of global warming - but that really doesn't matter, and that's what I realized.

I'll give a scenario, which seems unrelated... but I assure you is.

The earth will be hit by an asteroid in it's future. It has been in the past, and it will again. Science won't be able to predict this in any certainty until very close to the actual event. There are a million reasons why, but that being said, it doesn't mean that the earth won't be hit at some time. There is also a small probability that my first statement is false and it will never be struck again. This is an unlikely outcome, so to make those who want definitive answers, we'll say it MUST be true.

Now the earth may be struck by many asteroids in it's future, but how many will cause mass extinction. Again, science cannot give us the answers. If the event were to happen, it may be able to predict it with some degree of accuracy close to actual event.

Now lets consider climate change. The chances are highly in favor that the Earth will experience a climate change in it's future. It has gone through many in it's past, or at least we have some degree of data that provides evidence that it may have. No actual measurements from those times exist so we have to infer them from modern day measurements.

So we can assume that the Earth may undergo a climate change in the future, the odds are high. Exactly when or how is the issue. Climatologists argue it going to happen very, very soon. And we aren't even certain how many of them agree on this. Some evidence exists, but evidence also exists of asteroids and proximity to the Earth. We also know there are plenty we can't see, because space is dark, so many are lurking out there that could be in a direct path with the Earth.

So we have some evidence that things are changing, the evidence is there, within our measurement error. But we really don't know the course, that is all speculation. It is like one of those dark asteroids out there... we are modelling it will hit us and cause a mass extinction. The real question is not who is right, it is why do we play the odds?

Would we play the odds with an asteroid? Or would we just ignore it until it was a few miles away, and then panic. Would we keep our 'eye' on it and decide if it was a threat in the future, when possibly it is too late to deflect it? Seems illogical.

So who really cares what the outcome could be, why not focus on regulation of the issues that cause problems now. We all know too much of anything is not a good thing. So why should CO2 be any different? And do we really want to gamble on such an event if there is some suggestion that it could be stopped?

That is the position I am in and the argument I will always stand by. Even if the models predicted that there was 1/1000 chance that we'd cause a mass extinction, why would we risk it? If we have the intelligence to understand the consequences, then maybe we ought to be more careful with our ecosystem or suffer the fate.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:03 PM   #35
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l'oiseau,

If I could figure out how to break quotes out I would, but it never works for me. I will let this be my last response on this matter. You stated I want you to argue for a position, I never suggested that. You posted that my example argument to Cityboy was terrible. It then went round and round for you to basically say you agree with the OP's position, but had to argue a bunch of points on how you got there and how there are no answers, only questions. Very existential but not practical, IMHO. I'm not interested in hijacking Vt's thread any further, so I'll let you have the last word.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:11 PM   #36
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Looks like the NWS meteorologists didn't get the memo....




Statement as of 2:50 PM EST on March 3, 2014

public information statement
National Weather Service Albany NY
250 PM EST Mar 3 2014

February 2014 was colder than normal by some 3 to 6 degrees across
the local area.

Average temperature (departure from normal):

Albany ny: 21.9 degrees (-4.0)
Glens Falls ny: 17.6 degrees (-3.7)
Poughkeepsie ny: 23.0 degrees (-5.6)
Bennington vt: 19.6 degrees (-5.4)
Pittsfield ma: 19.3 degrees (-4.5)

It was the 7th snowiest February for Albany NY since 1885.

1) 40.7 inches 1893
2) 34.5 inches 1962
3) 32.3 inches 1926
4) 31.7 inches 1950
5) 30.1 inches 2011
6) 28.6 inches 1993
7) 28.1 inches 2014
8) 27.5 inches 1899
9) 26.1 inches 1914
10) 26.0 inches 1958 & 1988


Looking a period December-January-February (meteorological winter)
it was colder than normal by around 2 degrees.

Average temperature (departure from normal):

Albany ny: 23.1 degrees (-2.5)
Glens Falls ny: 19.2 degrees (-2.2)
Poughkeepsie ny: 26.2 degrees (-2.2)
Bennington vt: 22.5 degrees (-2.1)
Pittsfield ma: 21.6 degrees (-2.0)

it was the 12th snowiest Dec-Jan-Feb for Albany NY since 1884-85.

1) 82.1 inches 2002-03
2) 79.2 inches 1890-91
3) 76.6 inches 1970-71
4) 76.4 inches 1977-78
5) 76.2 inches 2010-11
6) 74.4 inches 1947-48
7) 72.1 inches 1969-70
8) 70.9 inches 1986-87
9) 69.7 inches 1963-64
10) 69.5 inches 1945-46
11) 68.3 inches 1993-94
12) 63.1 inches 2013-14


Our seasonal snowfall stands at 65.2 inches through March 2nd.

For more check out our Post on facebook and check out our climate
Page at www.Weather.Gov/aly/climate
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:17 PM   #37
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Please don't patronize me. I'm not a scientist but know enough that your statement that there are no answers is beyond silly. You take the fact that we don't know everything and seem to suggest that means we don't know anything.

Proof of my incompetence is the inability to get these damn quote responses properly outlined. Help Neil!
I'm sorry to be that way. But most people really do want 'the answer.' This is why they turn to news, media, and science. I think it is something about our education - they teach us there must be an answer and you must find the right one.

When science finds 'answers', they always lead to more questions. This is why scientists argue. This why science 'grows'. This is why theories remain theories. Laws in science are rare, and many of the traditional laws have been shown to need some amendment... but the amendments are still theory.

And what I meant about medicine and psychology has to do with how things are measured. We can't practically or ethically do experiments on people or living things like we can on light and matter. Medicine is a branch of science, but is not the base. Physics is considered the base, the simplest - the set of rules which our world obey in simplest terms. Then comes Chemistry. The interaction of atoms and all forms of matter. Elements and compounds obey the simple laws of Physics, but then add their own properties of complex interactions when combined. Chemical compounds make up living beings, and this is the basis for Biology. In this case compounds are combined into machines and structures which can perform functions within cells. Cells make up more complex structures which make up complex multi-celled organisms. This is the hierarchy of the fundamental sciences. Medicine is a branch of biology.

Every time we go up, the rules become more complex because of multiple interactions - in fact much like this computer I am typing on. Binary voltages are combined with some basic rules (logic) to create many, many higher functions. Just like physics to biology. It gets incredibly more complex the higher up we go. Climate is a very complicated system much like the body... and predicting anything is very, very difficult.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:26 PM   #38
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l'oiseau,

If I could figure out how to break quotes out I would, but it never works for me. I will let this be my last response on this matter. You stated I want you to argue for a position, I never suggested that. You posted that my example argument to Cityboy was terrible. It then went round and round for you to basically say you agree with the OP's position, but had to argue a bunch of points on how you got there and how there are no answers, only questions. Very existential but not practical, IMHO. I'm not interested in hijacking Vt's thread any further, so I'll let you have the last word.
I was merely pointing out that your argument wasn't viable in terms of the history of science. The majority has been wrong before, that is my only point. I don't know any other nice way to put it.

I agree that we shouldn't take risks with our environment, that is the only thing I agree on, although I think I'm the only one who eluded to that, so I guess I'm agreeing with myself. And I agree that science has always thrived on uncertainty, always will. Critics will always say scientists don't know jack because they have different views, but by evolving these views are discussed and put the test, and eventually we weed out the crud and come with something useful, but that by no means confirms absolute truth. All science is subject to revision when new findings are brought to the table (usually trying to answer one of those many questions that were generated when searching for the answer). That is the beauty of it. It always gets better.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:58 PM   #39
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I agree that we shouldn't take risks with our environment, that is the only thing I agree on, although I think I'm the only one who eluded to that, so I guess I'm agreeing with myself. And I agree that science has always thrived on uncertainty, always will. Critics will always say scientists don't know jack because they have different views, but by evolving these views are discussed and put the test, and eventually we weed out the crud and come with something useful, but that by no means confirms absolute truth. All science is subject to revision when new findings are brought to the table (usually trying to answer one of those many questions that were generated when searching for the answer). That is the beauty of it. It always gets better.
l'oiseau, the history of science has always been one of powerful, ground-breaking hypotheses followed by long periods of refinement. There is some oscillation to that process but it always manages to converge. That, to me, is the beauty of the scientific method.

See this for a layman's review of the history of climate change science, with links to all the important pieces along the way:
http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

So here we are in the midst of a great experiment of our own making. The earth is undergoing its first step input of CO2 in the atmosphere. We don't know its impulse response. If climate is under-damped we're in big trouble.

As I said in the OP, climate change is only one of three afoot influencing the mix of species on this planet. The question is, through climate change, spreading invasives and killing off other species have we created a situation that leads to our own destruction?
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:01 AM   #40
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So I have two questions.

Is it possible to keep putting all the byproducts of burning fossil fuel in increasing volume into the atmosphere and not cause climate change?

How?

I don't think the answer to the first requires rocket science.
I do think an answer to the second requires magic.
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