Showing posts with label climate change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label climate change. Show all posts

11 October 2013

Understanding science and technology

Truth is truth, and we have to deal with that, even if it seems terribly inconvenient. In particular, scientific facts are truth in the sense that they are demonstrable (by the scientific method) and effective (because they lead to technology that works).

George Boole
George Boole
Denying something that is a well-established theory and has stood years, decades or even centuries of attempts to disprove it is, well, foolish. Yet this is often what believers do (of all faiths) when faced with a scientific finding that seems to contradict articles of their faith.

And the technologies that work for us every day include some that demonstrate the effectiveness of those disputed scientific findings.

Some examples - The science around evolution, for example, underpins some effective technologies in plant and animal breeding, agriculture and medicine.

The science of geology explains the ancient origin of rocks and the movement of the continents but also underpins the petroleum and mineral extraction industries.

And the hotly disputed science around climate change is providing predictive technologies that are already showing their worth in longer term forecasting. Although this is not a religious argument per se, it is being argued in similar ways to the conflict over evolution.

Some of the earlier science/religion debates that were once high profile are now long-forgotten. Few people would argue today that the Catholic church was correct and Galileo wrong about the earth not being at the centre of everything.

Accepting science and religion - And here's something else that's interesting. Why are certain scientific ideas argued against so vehemently while others attract little or no attention? For example, Joshua 10:12-13 tells us that the sun and moon stood still in the sky. Yet this is not leading to a mass denial of angular momentum, classical mechanics or orbital mechanics which clearly show such a thing to be impossible.

Can we not accept that science attempts to describe and explain the physical universe while religion attempts to describe and explain the spiritual realm? The physical universe is known and understood by observation, experiment, and careful thought. The spiritual realm is known and understood by revelation. Why should science and religion be seen as in conflict? Science deals with that which is provable, religion deals with that which is not.

(The photo shows George Boole, who developed the mathematics for processing values of true and false. His work underpins some of the theoretical aspects of modern computing.)


Questions:

  • Is it helpful to keep science and religion separate in our minds?
  • Why is there no widespread science of "religiology"?
  • Why is there no widespread religion of "sciencism"?
  • Does it make sense to begin with a conclusion and then look for supporting evidence? In a court of law? In science? In religion?

See also:

10 February 2013

Sixteen years climate myth

For some decades there have been constant disputes between climate scientists and those who deny that humanity is causing global temperatures to increase. This article presents a video made by Skeptical Science to show that one of the more recent claims by the deniers is wrong.

The Skeptical Science website
Skeptical Science is dedicated to debunking arguments that deny burning fossil fuels causes climate change.

One of these arguments is that there has been no detectable warming during the last sixteen years and Skeptical Science made a video (below) to show why this is false. It's well worth watching whatever your views on the science.

More detail about the 16-year claim is available on the Skeptical Science website.

No room for doubt - The temperature trends are very clear and the rate of fossil fuel burning is still rising year on year. Some countries are reducing their output already, but most are not. It's already far too late to prevent serious effects, but these will become even worse if we just carry on as we are.

Global warming sceptics have repeatedly clutched at every straw they can. Again and again they have attempted to find fault with the measurements, the reasoning or the conclusions and every time the scientists have show that the sceptics are the ones with the faulty reasoning. The 16-years argument is one of the most recent of these insubstantial straws.



Take a look at Skeptical Science's website for more information on all aspects of the data and discussions. It's also worth referring to the Wikipedia article on the continuing controversy. The great majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening and is caused by human activity.

Questions:

  • Who will best understand global warming data, professional climate scientists or the media?
  • Climate warming may be severe, is it wiser to make cuts or just carry on as usual?
  • Are there simple things you could do to reduce your own, personal energy use?

See also:

07 January 2013

The climate in 2012 and 2013

Global warming is real and is coming to a country near you. In fact it's coming everywhere and the effects will be very serious. Here's a report on some of the main points as discussed in a recent series of New Zealand radio shows. What can you do about it? Try to make more people aware of the facts.

A frosty scene in EnglandA series of ten minute slots in a New Zealand radio show provide a useful climate update. Listen to Glenn Williams discussing the climate with Gareth Renowden.

They review some of the worst weather events in 2012 including Hurricane Sandy, and look to the coming year for hints of what to expect next.

The stunning lack of official action to reduce our impact on climate also gets a mention.

We're now in a place where we must expect a severely changed planet, perhaps four or even six degrees celsius warmer than it is right now. Carbon dioxide levels are continuing to rise and are likely to top 400 ppm in 2013. The consequences involve considerable sea level rises, ocean acidification, serious ocean ecosystem damage and further loss of Arctic sea ice.

My own conclusion is that we are doing nowhere near enough to limit our carbon dioxide output at a time when the pace of change is proving to be far faster than we expected just a few years ago.

There's much more detail about all these matters at the Skeptical Science website.

Oh, and if you don't live in New Zealand don't think you don't need to listen. You do. You really, really do. We all need to listen.

Questions:

  • Is there anything you can do to help make more people aware of the facts?
  • What do you think will happen if we do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
  • On present showing, do you think humans are looking after the Earth well?

See also:

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