There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus: Period.

"Aliens Cause Global Warming” is a rather interesting speech given by Michael Crichton which may have you thinking hard about your opinions on such things as global warming and the danger of secondhand smoke.

We often base our own views on controversial subjects on our understanding of what most experts think, but this sort of reasoning is fallacious, even if we don't have a real alternative.

Tags: Crichton, Michael, global, secondhand, smoke, warming

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Its not so much people who are skeptical of climate science or a consensus that my comments were geared towards, but rather organizations which have some support from actual persons with PhDs or Masters in relevant fields... using information in a manner that anybody with any degree ought to know better than.

Science is done by concordance, which is to say consensus of research. Consensus of researchers tend to follow, thus your attack on consensus based science is weak.

I agree.  There is the concept that the more scientists that challenge a scientific principle, the more evidence there is that the principle is sound.  This is a fundamental truth.  The more people who challenge a piece of software and find it to have no faults, the more reliable the software can be considered.  The more people who use a tool and find that tool to be useful and without design flaws, the better chance that the next person will not find flaws.  This is a logical progression, I can't see why it is confusing.  "Consensus" in the world of science is not just a bunch of people "voting" on what is their favorite hypotheses, it consists of people actually examining and challenging those hypotheses and determining which has less flaws and is more robust and applicable.


I think, as you point out Arcus, the problem here is the word "consensus".  I think it is being confused just as "theory" is confused (I think sometimes on purpose) by the people who are in the Cult of Jesus.  They confuse "An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture" with "Scientific Theory" which is "A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena". In the way that the OP appears to use it, it means "group solidarity in sentiment and belief (and we all know how useless a "belief" can be)", whereas, in the scientific community, it is actually "the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned", where that judgement is based on extreme scrutiny of the subject, weighed by the experience and expertise of the examiner.  This is a HUGE difference.

The problem in terms of climate change science is that those who challenge the current orthodoxy aren't refuted, they are shunned, attacked personally (for example, based on the source of their funding, and ad hominem fallacy), and their careers threatened. Just because they interpret the data differently or have reasons to doubt the quality of the data. While some are unqualified knee-jerk yahoos, quite a few are credentialed experts, even if they are in the minority. Being in the minority doesn't mean they are wrong.

And remember, not all of those lumped together as "doubters" doubt that climate change is real. In fact, most do. There are a variety of views ranging from "it's a natural cycle," to "it's a lot more complex than just the human factor" to "humans play a role, but climate change is but one problem on the table and devoting too much attention to it threatens to take our attention away from they dying oceans, ridding the world of disease, conquering poverty, and enfranchising the disenfranchised."

Hasn't it been determined - theoretically, at least - that there is a tipping point, beyond which Earth can never recover, bur rush irreversibly into becoming another Venus? If so, wouldn't it be prudent to err on the side of caution? Be a shame to conquer disease and poverty, just to broil, just sayin' --

@archae - Don't get me wrong.  I am ALL for getting off of oil as much as we possibly can.  Another "theoretical threat" is the depletion of the world’s readily available oil reserves. I say “theoretical” because some people dispute this as well, but it's clear that oil reserves are getting harder and more expensive to access. It would also be prudent to preserve these as much as possible, since crude oil is used for much more than just fuel (and other uses contribute less CO2 to the atmosphere).

But a much more demanding reason to get off of oil as fuel asap is that the more money we pump into the Middle East, the more dangerous that part of the world becomes.  I saw an interview with a panel of people years ago (pretty sure it was before 9/2001) where there was an ex-CIA officer talking about how, during the cold war, we supplied Russia with money to persist that threat, whereas with Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., we are not only pumping money into that system, we are actually BUYING the weapons for them.  How true that is, since I just heard a story on NPR where they were saying that the Iraqi military is selling the weapons that we supply them to both sides of the conflict within that country.  Amazing, isn't it?  But not surprising.  If our safety is what really matters, we need to get off of foreign oil as soon as possible.  Not only would we stop pumping money into that region of the world, but we could pull our military out and stop being the world’s police, making our relations with those countries less precarious. The government knows that we as a people know these things, which is why every president since Nixon has been using that as a talking point for election, but no one is willing to cut the $70B subsidies that the oil companies use to buy the people who give them subsidies and put that money to work HERE.

If our government gave a rat's ass about the people of this country (this is a bi-partisan complaint, by the way, not just pointing to W's cronies that are still in power), we'd pump that money into solar power and Thorium reactors (WAY, WAY, WAY safer, cheaper, easier to build, faster to build and better in every way compared to Nuclear reactors) and cut our energy usage, create jobs, cut energy costs, and cut pollution all in one fell swoop.

So, why aren't we doing these things?  You'd have to ask the people in charge.  This should be one of the loudest debates in the current election instead of trying to butt in to whether two consenting adults should be allowed to enter into a civil union or not.  THIS is why xianity is so devestating to our country; they divert attention from things that really matter and all they care about is pushing their nonsensical, delusional superstition on everyone and everything else can just be damned.

If our government gave a rat's ass about the people of this country (this is a bi-partisan complaint, by the way, not just pointing to W's cronies that are still in power), we'd pump that money into solar power and Thorium reactors (WAY, WAY, WAY safer, cheaper, easier to build, faster to build and better in every way compared to Nuclear reactors) and cut our energy usage, create jobs, cut energy costs, and cut pollution all in one fell swoop.

I'm sure the Republicans would say "what money?" Also, the public at large isn't all THAT interested in cutting energy. They just want gasoline to be artificially cheap (like it is now even at pushing $4/gal). I'd love to live in the world you describe but it sure as hell ain't this one.

Sorry for the confusion. I didn't mean to imply that people wanted to cut energy.  What I was saying is that people wanting us to stop buying Middle Eastern oil.  People want our government to stop pumping money into and supporting the Middle Eastern conflicts. And most people want our military out of the Middle East.  Cutting energy usage (and therefore expense) is just an advantageous by-product.  But then again, who doesn't want to cut their energy bill?  I know *I* would be happy cutting my electric bill by anywhere from 20 to 60 percent.  As a matter of fact, I plan on doing just that when I buy my next house.

It should be noted that the US is becoming less and less dependent on imports in general and from the Persian Gulf in particular, and given a few more years the US will be independent of Middle Eastern oil. (That's not to say that imports will cease, but that has to do with oil being a global commodity and refineries are geared for specific grades.)

I heard someone on the radio say that it's a myth that we are using our own oil more and more and are thus becoming less dependent, because all oil goes into a world market where it gets mixed in with all the other oil in the world. You may live in Kansas where they are producing oil locally, but it's unlikely that is the oil going into your car there. In fact, it might be from Saudi Arabia, Canada, or Venezuela.

Check the EIA link above for import numbers and you will realize that it's a good reason to fact check what you hear on the radio or read in the papers.

A bit more than half of US oil is produced domestically, the other major suppliers being Canada, Mexico, Saudi, Venezuela, and Nigeria. Once Brazil really start pumping the heavy Saudi crude will most likely be crowded out since it's more expensive to refine than light and it's easier to ship it to China and India.

Be that as it may, the less oil we use, the less we need to import or produce ourselves.  I've never heard an estimate that says we can produce enough to be completely oil independent without some major change in our transportation sectors, but even if we could, it would still be faster and easier to do so if we cut energy usage as well as made electricity much easier and cheaper to produce by building Thorium reactors.

The point is, we have a paved superhighway to energy independence, but our brilliant politicians want to keep us on our current course using goat trails.

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