Author Topic: Consensus as science  (Read 327843 times)

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #100 on: August 01, 2019, 03:45:33 PM »
Frozen embryos are not alive. :P

Despite the fact that they are not alive by scientific consensus, there are lots of people trying to claim they should still be treated as human life.

And I'll concede that there are illucid people who will make the claim that normal embryos are not alive. I think we can safely leave them aside from the group of people forming a scientific consensus.

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A group of cells is not living. An embryo is not alive when it first forms. It becomes alive, as a fetus, but it is not alive.

The other people on that random site were capable of understanding both the question and guarding against the potential implications. I suspect that is overwhelmingly the case. If the people you are interacting with are saying that, they don't know the definitions properly, but I'd say they clearly mean "person".

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #101 on: August 01, 2019, 04:02:11 PM »
And I'll concede that there are illucid people who will make the claim that normal embryos are not alive. I think we can safely leave them aside from the group of people forming a scientific consensus.

I guess I would ask what cross-section of the populace goes to that site. I don't think I've actually ever come across someone making the marked distinction between life and person; as in "Of course it's alive, but a non-person life." It doesn't happen all that often, but whenever I have interacted with someone heavily invested in the topic (on either side), in basically all cases they've never even heard of the position that both parties may have rights, with the priority going to the mother; or the position that a human being's rights are granted at some arbitrary point during pregnancy (the typical position being that they are granted immediately at birth).

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If the people you are interacting with are saying that, they don't know the definitions properly, but I'd say they clearly mean "person".

I have to be honest, I myself don't even know the definition of "person"! If asked to define exactly what it means in the way you use it, I couldn't. What do you think it means?

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #102 on: August 01, 2019, 04:32:07 PM »
An entity treated as a person. More specifically in law, it is referred to as a "human being" for instance in murder statutes. Pretty sure you can't make a fetus a beneficiary. In other words, having the rights of a human being.

In the dictionary, person is defined as "a human being regarded as an individual."

Moral Person

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  • a being that possesses certain human characteristics in addition to the human genetic code
  • characteristics often suggested might be the ability to think, to imagine, to communicate
  • but the lists of characteristics put forward may be designed to limit the definition of human in the way the speaker wants

Pete at Home

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #103 on: August 01, 2019, 04:34:39 PM »
“Person” means whatever the folks with the most guns say it means.

At present it means

An entity that is either:

A living human being who has totally been removed from the birth tract.

A corporation, charter, or other legal entity defined by law as a “person”

Yeah, that’s right up there with life liberty and persuit of happiness. Very inspiring.

Seriati

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #104 on: August 01, 2019, 04:42:54 PM »
An entity treated as a person. More specifically in law, it is referred to as a "human being" for instance in murder statutes. Pretty sure you can't make a fetus a beneficiary. In other words, having the rights of a human being.

Not sure what you mean by this, but you can make your descendants that have not yet even been conceived into beneficiaries, you can easily make a fetus one.

Crunch

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #105 on: August 02, 2019, 08:22:38 AM »
By the way, I should just mention that I made the above points not to begin a drawn-out debate about the definition of human life, but rather to remark on the fact that the issue non-trivial, and that if you're going to make fun of Crunch it would be good to at least not hand-wave away very tough issues. I don't know if Crunch intended his remark as a silly gotcha moment, but being charitable I can see a theoretical case for his comment about human life being quite relevant to the consensus discussion.

I did not intend this as a gotcha moment. Consensus is not science, that’s my point. That this particular consensus cuts the other ideological way was meant to show why the idea of consensus as science is wrong. It’s a logical fallacy.

That you see those who believe in consensus as science saying one consensus is correct and one is not just demonstrates my point that consensus is not science. If they truly believed consensus was science, they’d blindly accept the start of human life as they do AGW.

We don’t hold a vote to determine that “the science is settled”. That’s not science. It’s ideology, closer to Lysenkoism than science.

« Last Edit: August 02, 2019, 08:26:00 AM by Crunch »

Pete at Home

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #106 on: August 02, 2019, 08:39:52 AM »
Corporations: a person who can eat other people and not be considered a cannibal

Seriati

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #107 on: August 02, 2019, 10:47:33 AM »
I did not intend this as a gotcha moment. Consensus is not science, that’s my point. That this particular consensus cuts the other ideological way was meant to show why the idea of consensus as science is wrong. It’s a logical fallacy.

That's not really nuanced enough though.  It's not "consensus" that is science.  We have actually consensus on a lot of facts and it doesn't make them into science.  There's a consensus that the Yankees have more world series titles that the Red Sox, but no one mistakes that for science.

The biological definition of life is a definition, it's made up, there's no study that "proves" or even tests it and it's not a claim for anything more than a very basic proposition - a human organism begins at the point of conception - just like any other organism.  I do think there's some very silly mental gymnastics that some go through to avoid admitting that because they find the implications unpleasant to consider but it's still a definition and not a piece of data.

It's like saying that we have a "consensus" on the what the word "sky" means.  Which we do, but only for general purposes, we have sub-parts and sub-definitions and almost certainly could have reasonable disputes about the exact point the sky ends above the planet.  But none of that is a data driven conclusion or observation it is just an agreement on meaning.

That's a completely different statement that a consensus about what's happening, or an interpretation of a data.  A trial jury comes to a consensus about guilt and that consensus becomes a reality with a legal consequence but it can still be erroneous.  A consensus on a conclusion is an informed and rational judgment that interprets the facts and that we can have confidence in -to a certain standard - which in some legal cases is beyond a shadow of a doubt, and in others merely more likely than not.

That's what's so hard to work out here.  Climate science is closer to "more likely than not" but it's advocates want to treat it like it's "beyond a shadow of doubt" and it's opponents as "possible, but no more likely than any other explanation."

In short, there's no conflict between not letting a definition control your view of an issue, definitions are for communication clarity, and finding a conclusory consensus of informed persons persuasive or even controlling on an issue.  Those two "consensuses" are very different things.

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #108 on: August 02, 2019, 11:00:58 AM »
Seriati,

I think Crunch's issue is less to do with how much weight of fact a consensus communicates; rather it's largely about interpretation of how to deal with facts. For instance the hard data on a topic may suggests something obvious, or not obvious at all, but in both cases you still have to decide what to do about it. In jury trial for instance the facts may be clear that person A killed person B, or somewhat unclear, but if you know that you personally believe it would be unjust to punish person A for doing it (for whatever reason) the issue of the facts themselves and of what to do may diverge if you believe the law shouldn't apply there. Whereas by contrast someone who believes in strict adherence to the law will be mostly interested in the facts and nothing else; did he do it or not. Likewise, is someone's moral position strictly guided by facts, such that they will be a slave to the facts and refuse to continue holding positions if the fact pattern changes? Or is it the kind of person who will cling to their belief and be resistant to altering it even in the face of new information?

Crunch's point seems to me to be that the consensus-oriented claim in climate science seems like it's taking the position that you have to follow the facts wherever they lead, and that in this case the facts say AGW; whereas in other realms of life the same people will be resistant to altering their opinion and seem to have a dug-in position that it would be very difficult to change under any circumstances, even though in the other realm they claim that other people should readily change their positions when confronted with data. So I think his argument is that this is inconsistent and self-serving. I'm not certain he's making the specific case that consensus is irrelevant in logical discourse.

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #109 on: August 02, 2019, 12:12:19 PM »
Again with the focus on climate science. Sad. Are there not thousands of scientific understandings and conclusions to explore? When somebody confronts me with data that a 9 week fetus can THINK, I'll readily change my opinion.

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #110 on: August 02, 2019, 12:31:37 PM »
Again with the focus on climate science. Sad. Are there not thousands of scientific understandings and conclusions to explore? When somebody confronts me with data that a 9 week fetus can THINK, I'll readily change my opinion.

Define "thinking" in this context?

By week 7 it is claimed that the mouth of a fetus is capable of feeling sensation, which would indicate a level of primitive thought/response is possible by week 9.

Week 20 is far less disputed, as that's when the nervous system is basically complete beyond final development of the brain... Which won't complete until a person is beyond 20 years of age.

Seriati

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #111 on: August 02, 2019, 12:31:48 PM »
I think Crunch's issue is less to do with how much weight of fact a consensus communicates; rather it's largely about interpretation of how to deal with facts.

I think this sentence (and everything else you wrote) is actually too much of a compound description, in that it combines different elements and treats them as a single thing.

By "fact" you seem to mean both data (temperature record), interpretation (climate trend) and causitive conclusion (caused by man), while I think Crunch disputes the first and the third (I'm just guessing that he believes they can correctly run the calculations in 2 after they've adjusted 1), I don't think it's entirely fair to try to treat them all as facts.

The third is not a fact, there's not a single study or experiment that demonstrates anything but correlation, and that's the same thing as causation.  It's literally, the case of the jury making an informed conclusion.

The second, is just math.  The models have potential and known flaws, and have built in bias (e.g., they all include mandatory carbon forcing, which dictates a specific result).  All they are doing is changing the form of data (both the temperature record, but also the entire formulation of the logical rules that are the model itself are data), into a different more easily read format.  There is zero new knowledge at this stage.

The first is non-arbitrary measures - which could have human error, or be influenced by artificial factors (e.g., the UHIs), but are very unlikely to have been corruptly recorded by intent.  It's also largely an extrapolated rather than direct data set.  It also includes adjustments that have been made deliberately to the records and there can be a lot of dispute around the appropriateness or accuracy of those adjustments.

There's a lot of room for error in that, and that's an awful lot to cram into a single concept of "fact," which includes a lot of stuff that isn't a fact.

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Crunch's point seems to me to be that the consensus-oriented claim in climate science seems like it's taking the position that you have to follow the facts wherever they lead, and that in this case the facts say AGW;...

I don't think Crunch would claim, or even agree, that climate science has followed the facts where they lead, I suspect he thinks they've driven the facts to where they want them to lead.  It's pretty certain he wouldn't say that the facts lead to AGW. 

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...whereas in other realms of life the same people will be resistant to altering their opinion and seem to have a dug-in position that it would be very difficult to change under any circumstances, even though in the other realm they claim that other people should readily change their positions when confronted with data. So I think his argument is that this is inconsistent and self-serving. I'm not certain he's making the specific case that consensus is irrelevant in logical discourse.

That may be the case, but in that case he'd be better off using a non-definitional example.

Again with the focus on climate science. Sad. Are there not thousands of scientific understandings and conclusions to explore? When somebody confronts me with data that a 9 week fetus can THINK, I'll readily change my opinion.

Which "opinion" is subject to change?  That the organism that was conceived is human?  Or that we should change abortion laws?

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #112 on: August 02, 2019, 12:37:22 PM »
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Which "opinion" is subject to change?  That the organism that was conceived is human?  Or that we should change abortion laws?

My position is very simple. If it can't think, its not human and has no rights. Reasonable people can argue that point, but that's where I'm at. I will bow to scientific fact if they can prove a 9 week fetus is self-aware.

Seriati

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #113 on: August 02, 2019, 12:48:16 PM »
Not going to bother, Crunch was right at least with respect to you.  The 9 week fetus is a human organism it is alive.   That has nothing to do with whether it can think or should have rights.

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #114 on: August 02, 2019, 12:50:45 PM »
Seriously, what?  Over and over I've stipulated that such an organism is human life that deserves no rights. How am I denying any science? I'm saying when science says MY criteria are broken, I'll readily change my opinion.

Seriati

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #115 on: August 02, 2019, 12:56:58 PM »
Maybe you can clarify:

Over and over I've stipulated that such an organism is human life that deserves no rights.

My position is very simple. If it can't think, its not human and has no rights.

You seem to be asserting it is both human life and not human life.  If its the latter, I'd like to know what species you believe it is part of.

scifibum

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #116 on: August 02, 2019, 01:36:12 PM »
Right. Literally nobody contests that a human being originates from the union of a sperm and an egg (leaving aside clones and other extreme edge cases), or that zygotes are part of human life. The contended points are about what constitutes a person with rights that must be balanced against the rights of others (mainly the pregnant woman), and outside of deliberately simplified preaching to the choir and propaganda designed for stupid people, there's also a consensus (and it is the law) that a near term fetus should have more protections than a zygote or embryo.

I think you may be experiencing (in a good way) a preponderance of reasonable people here at Ornery, because I have literally never met someone IRL who is pro-choice and takes this position. The overwhelmingly prevailing opinion 'on the street' is that a person "is not alive" until they have a functioning heart; or alternatively until "they can live apart from the mother". YMMV on exactly which clause is invoked to imply that 'parasitic things attached to the mother' don't count. Your phrase "human being originates from" does carry within it the possibility to deny that it *is* alive even though its life did originate there. The 'whose rights must be protected most' argument is a reasonable one, but I think you will find this position to be akin to a unicorn if you go about looking for people who espouse it. In fact, even suggesting that there may be a conflict of rights will more likely than not enrage a significant segment of pro-choicers. The idea here is that even proposing that "life" or "some lesser set of rights" is on the table leaves wiggle room to argue about 'how much life' or 'what sorts of rights', and that is generally deemed to be an unacceptable thing to admit into plausibility.

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The OP is far from a gotcha. I never claimed that consensus is more important than scientific rigor. But it's a fact that people who study climate with scientific rigor almost all come to compatible findings about global warming and what is causing it. The controversial questions of when-does-a-developing-human-being-acquire-rights aren't necessarily amenable to scientific inquiry, although more focused questions such as what-percentage-of-zygotes-die are definitely questions that science can address.

If I had to guess, I would think the linkage between fetus-rights and climate science is that I don't think most pro-choice people would change their opinions on abortion regardless of what such-and-such study happened to show regarding the technical development of a zygote/fetus/human. That being said, I also think most pro-life people wouldn't budge based on some new study either. I suspect Crunch's point was that the "you have to listen to scientists" claim wouldn't actually be endorsed by people on certain topics where any position other than the one they already have would be a priori unacceptable. And I do think there is some truth to that.

When "life begins" is a useless framing for abortion rights or fetal rights. If you're asking people on the street if a developing fetus is alive and they are saying no, they are answering a different question: something about a threshold for abortion rights or fetal rights. They do not think a fetus is not alive by any reasonable definition of "alive". If they are using the term "person" they probably mean to attach some legal significance to that term.

"...Crunch's point was that the "you have to listen to scientists" claim wouldn't actually be endorsed by people on certain topics..."

Among other things this depends on agreeing that when "life begins" is an important concept when discussing fetal rights or abortion rights. It's not.

We should listen to scientists.

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #117 on: August 02, 2019, 01:43:42 PM »
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Which "opinion" is subject to change?  That the organism that was conceived is human?  Or that we should change abortion laws?

My position is very simple. If it can't think, its not human and has no rights. Reasonable people can argue that point, but that's where I'm at. I will bow to scientific fact if they can prove a 9 week fetus is self-aware.

Can you prove a 6 month old child is self-aware?

Just wondering if you draw the line on self-awareness not being relevant.

Crunch

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #118 on: August 02, 2019, 01:57:46 PM »
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Among other things this depends on agreeing that when "life begins" is an important concept when discussing fetal rights or abortion rights. It's not.

The majority of scientists in this study agreed that it was, in fact, an important concept. They also agreed that biologists were most qualified to determine this question. You are going against the consensus.

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We should listen to scientists.

As long as they say the “correct” things.

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #119 on: August 02, 2019, 02:28:03 PM »
By "fact" you seem to mean both data (temperature record), interpretation (climate trend) and causitive conclusion (caused by man), while I think Crunch disputes the first and the third (I'm just guessing that he believes they can correctly run the calculations in 2 after they've adjusted 1), I don't think it's entirely fair to try to treat them all as facts.

You are right that Crunch has been disputing which of these things are or are not facts. But the post I'm arguing about it specifically the one where he asked why abortion-rights advocates don't seem to follow their own advice about listening to scientists. Notwithstanding the accuracy of his comparison, this particular point doesn't hinge on which things are or are not facts, and seems to me more generally about whether people are being consistent about whether they'll listen to parties that say things they don't like.

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...whereas in other realms of life the same people will be resistant to altering their opinion and seem to have a dug-in position that it would be very difficult to change under any circumstances, even though in the other realm they claim that other people should readily change their positions when confronted with data. So I think his argument is that this is inconsistent and self-serving. I'm not certain he's making the specific case that consensus is irrelevant in logical discourse.

That may be the case, but in that case he'd be better off using a non-definitional example.

That may be. But I was sort of defending him against mockery, more so than advocating for his example being absolutely the best. Even a case that isn't the best may still have something noteworthy in it to inspect.

Seriati

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #120 on: August 02, 2019, 03:18:25 PM »
I'd be shocked if Crunch thinks I'm mocking him.  I even understand his meta-argument and generally agree that the "party of science" only believes in science when it supports what they already believe.  I was just pointing out that it would be more effective if he attached a more equivalent analogy.

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #121 on: August 02, 2019, 03:26:01 PM »
I'd be shocked if Crunch thinks I'm mocking him.  I even understand his meta-argument and generally agree that the "party of science" only believes in science when it supports what they already believe.  I was just pointing out that it would be more effective if he attached a more equivalent analogy.

IT should also be pointed out that a lot of the "science" the Democrats and company push, isn't really "science" as most people would define it. At least, none of the "hard sciences" as it were.

The closest they get to "hard science" is the underlying theory supporting most of their much vaunted climate models. However, the models themselves are very "soft" on the science side of things.

"Gender theory?" Soft Science. It even goes against hard science in some cases(there are how many genders?**).
Political Science is a very soft science, arguably a science by name only.
We could work our way down the list.

**It should be noted, I personally think that much of what we consider to be "gender roles" are social constructs in general, so trying to make a biology case for it one way or the other is rather silly. The people who make an issue over "Gender Identity" in general(goes for both sides) really need to find better things to spend their time on.

But the "hard science" of biology still reigns supreme. For the overwhelming majority of cases, there are only two genders, male or female. There are other (rare) factors that can move someone strongly into a more androgynous state, and various other (rare) iterations in between, but that doesn't necessitate the need to redefine (and confuse) the language to suit whatever it is they're wanting to push. Their underlying biology still remains predominately male or female. Yes there are culture issues, and while it can be argued that language reflects culture, creating new gender definitions and categories is going about things ass backwards.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2019, 03:34:42 PM by TheDeamon »

Wayward Son

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #122 on: August 02, 2019, 04:20:30 PM »
It's not so much that consensus is science, but science needs consensus. :)

Science says that human life begins at conception.  But scientifically prove what "human life" is.

Science can prove a definition of what "human life" is, but it can't prove what is meant by "human life."

Is "human life" some cells of a human that are living, even if most of the body is dead?

Is "human life" when the brain is still living?

Is "human life" a bunch of cells that could develop into a human body if it is in a mother's womb?

Without a consensus of what "human life" is, science cannot prove anything about it.

And remember, "consensus" is not something scientists sign up to.  No one tells scientists "you must believe this."  Rather, consensus is what most scientists choose to believe.  That is why I keep comparing it to a jury.  A jury isn't told what to believe.  Each individual comes to his or her own conclusion, and the verdict is found when they reach a consensus.

If a vast majority of scientists come to the same conclusion, not from being told what to believe but from their own reasoning, then that tells you something, much like a jury coming to a conclusion about the facts of a trial.  It's not perfect, of course, but it's better than any other method we've come up with for finding what the facts are.

I'm sure some of you will say, "The experiments determine the facts."  Well, guess what?  Scientists use experiments as the determinate for what is factual, along with close observation and models.  So when the experiments make clear what the facts are, you have a consensus.  When the observations make clear what the facts are, you have a consensus.  When all the models reasonably model what is happening, whether it be inside a star or a climate system, you have a consensus.  Because scientists like to be right, and a majority will follow the best way to determine that.

When a majority of scientists come to a consensus about a theory, that theory is the best/most productive one we have.  That is the power of consensus.  Like a jury, when many minds independently study something and come to the same conclusion, it is the best bet that that conclusion is the best one we have.

Wayward Son

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #123 on: August 02, 2019, 04:54:13 PM »
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Quote from: Wayward Son on July 31, 2019, 10:48:59 AM
Or do you believe the entire field of astrophysics is not "science?" ;)  I mean, exactly which of your objections do not apply to our knowledge that the sun is primarily run by fusion of hydrogen atoms?

We not not *know* that the sun is primarily run by nuclear fusion. That has been the leading theory for a while, but never observed or corroborated. I'm not saying it isn't true, but that we're only in a position at present to say that as a theory it seems to fit the data the best. It would surprise many, but confound few, to ultimately learn that there's no fusion in stars at all and that the exposions are generated some other way.

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And we certainly don't know if there are unknown unknowns that could be the real reason the sun shines.  But does anyone question the consensus that we do know how the sun shines?

There isn't fusion because there's a consensus. If there's fusion it's because there's fusion. Our best guess is no more than that. That's not nothing, but it's not a fact either. So we work under the assumption there is fusion, make calcualtions using it as a premise, and see where that goes. The whole thing may prove to be bogus eventually when we learn about a new quantum property that fits the data much better.

Thank you for illustrations my point, Fenring.  You assert that we don't *know* that the sun is primarily run by nuclear fusion.  But if we don't know this, this basic fact about the sun, can we say that we know anything?

And if we don't know anything, then what are we doing researching astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, or any science whatsoever?  We don't really *know* anything about them.  So how can we make new discoveries, when we haven't established any discoveries in the past?

Which comes down to what you mean by *know*.

What scientists mean by "know" is that we have a theory (which means the idea is well-established in the science and just about everyone agrees it is true--i.e. a consensus :) ) which nicely explains practically all known phenomenon for the subject, but is open to revision if the evidence warrants it.  It is not something that we know is true and shall be true, forever and ever.  Nor is it something that is just tentatively believed, and can be dismissed at a whim.  It is in between those extremes, siding toward "true" as it continues to withstand the tests of scientists and time.

But since we don't really *know* that theories are true in the absolute sense, can we rely on them?

And there's the thing: we can rely on them for as long as they are reliable.  So long as the theories continue to produce predictions within the margins of error, we can rely on them.  And anyone who dismisses a theory which continues to produce correct results within the margins of error does so at their own peril.  Because then you are denying a useful tool to predict what will happen.

So far, from what I've heard and the consensus of scientists, the climate computer models have produced good predictions within the margins of error.  They are based on established theories of thermodynamics, radiation and such that have so far withstood the test of time.  And they all point to one thing:  that the CO2 we are adding to the atmosphere is the primary driver for the global warming.  For as long as most of these models show this, and their predictions are reasonably accurate (within the margins of error), then it is reasonable to rely on their results.

We ignore them at our own peril.

Crunch

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #124 on: August 03, 2019, 07:12:10 PM »
I'd be shocked if Crunch thinks I'm mocking him.  I even understand his meta-argument and generally agree that the "party of science" only believes in science when it supports what they already believe.  I was just pointing out that it would be more effective if he attached a more equivalent analogy.

It was the one that hit the news as a thread about scientific consensus was moving here. Whaddya gonna do?

Grant

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #125 on: August 04, 2019, 11:29:52 AM »
Consensus isn't science, but replication is, and it's pretty close to consensus.  When you have a consensus of findings, consensus of data, you have replication, and bam! Science!  Consensus of hypothesis isn't science. 

But policy based on science is best with consensus.  This is logical and everyone does it.  If 9 out of 10 surgeons say that you have to get that tumor removed, you would be wise to have it removed.  It could be that the 9 surgeons are wrong and the 1 surgeon is right.  It happens.  It's happened throughout history.  It will happen again tomorrow.  But you're still always better betting with 9 rather than with 1. 

I know some people can't wrap their heads around this fact.  I'm sorry for them.  You can't always know everything.  You make you best decision you can based on the best opinions of the best people and that's it.  You can be wrong.  You will be wrong.  Suck it up, buttercup.  Chances are that you're not a genius.  Chances are, instead, that the smarter you are, the bigger your misconceptions. 

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #126 on: August 04, 2019, 06:39:05 PM »
And then you have disputes over data. And Evidently Dr. Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama at Hunstville missed the memo about UHI.

http://www.drroyspencer.com/2019/08/july-2019-was-not-the-warmest-on-record/

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We are now seeing news reports (e.g. CNN, BBC, Reuters) that July 2019 was the hottest month on record for global average surface air temperatures.

One would think that the very best data would be used to make this assessment. After all, it comes from official government sources (such as NOAA, and the World Meteorological Organization [WMO]).

But current official pronouncements of global temperature records come from a fairly limited and error-prone array of thermometers which were never intended to measure global temperature trends. The global surface thermometer network has three major problems when it comes to getting global-average temperatures:

(1) The urban heat island (UHI) effect has caused a gradual warming of most land thermometer sites due to encroachment of buildings, parking lots, air conditioning units, vehicles, etc. These effects are localized, not indicative of most of the global land surface (which remains most rural), and not caused by increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Because UHI warming “looks like” global warming, it is difficult to remove from the data. In fact, NOAA’s efforts to make UHI-contaminated data look like rural data seems to have had the opposite effect. The best strategy would be to simply use only the best (most rural) sited thermometers. This is currently not done.

(2) Ocean temperatures are notoriously uncertain due to changing temperature measurement technologies (canvas buckets thrown overboard to get a sea surface temperature sample long ago, ship engine water intake temperatures more recently, buoys, satellite measurements only since about 1983, etc.)

(3) Both land and ocean temperatures are notoriously incomplete geographically. How does one estimate temperatures in a 1 million square mile area where no measurements exist?

Grant

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #127 on: August 04, 2019, 07:14:35 PM »
And then you have disputes over data. And Evidently Dr. Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama at Hunstville missed the memo about UHI.

That's why I think most of this science crap should be left to the scientists. 

It's just my opinion, but there are different levels of faith that I put in different fields of science.  If 90 out of 100 physicists tell me tomorrow that tomorrow a black hole will open in the mid-Atlantic, I'd probably cash out my portfolio.  Geology, pretty good.  Biology, usually. Climatology?  Meh.  What did you fail to get into climatology? 

Then you have sciences like psychology.  I'm not a scientist, but if I was one, or a mathematician, I'd basically look upon psychologists as witch doctors.  They're having a major problem with replication of past experiments that were supposedly "groundbreaking" and that everybody was working upon assuming it was solid science. 

Then you have the social sciences.  They're not even witch doctors.  They're basically fire worshipers.  Then you have gender and race studies, which really isn't a science anyways.  It's straight up philosophy.  It just happens to be an en vogue philosophy now in academia. 

Personally, instead of trying to measure temperatures, we should simply be measuring the adverse effects that these temperatures are supposed to produce.  This means predicting effects first, not spotting an effect and then attributing it to Zuul, the Destructor, in the form of climate change.  Sea level rise and ice cap melt are good, measurable indicators.  Yes, sea levels have been rising over the past 200 years.  That's pretty concrete.  Yes, glaciers are melting.  It's all pretty concrete unless they are really screwing up their measurements. 

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #128 on: August 04, 2019, 07:21:36 PM »
And one better. A post, on "a Climate Skeptic site" no less, by one of the contributing authors of the published paper on UHI's that was being cited earlier. And he is leading me to correct my statement regarding UHI. It's measurement station siting that's important.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/05/03/mosher-microsite-bias-matters-more-than-uhi-especially-in-the-first-kilometer/

But he also provides this perspective:

Quote
To many readers the maximum bias figure of 1.7C in Tmin at 100% urbanity may seem low, especially when you consider the figure at the top from Oke which shows a UHI of up to 8C. The difference lies in the methodology. Much of the early work done on UHI focuses on UHI max for any given day. They select conditions that show the largest values of UHI that can occur. Oke’s chart, for example, represents the maximum value of UHI observed on a given day. For example, he would select summer days with no clouds, and no wind and measure the max difference between a rural point of reference and a city point of reference. In the studies that show high UHI values they typically do not calculate the effect of UHI on monthly Tavg over the course of many years, as GT and Wang did. Since cloud free wind free days do not occur 365 days a year for years on end, the overall bias of UHI is thus lower for monthly records, annual records, and climate records. In one study the number of ideal days in a year for seeing a difference between urban and rural was 7 days of the year. A 40 year study of London nocturnal UHI, found that the average UHI was ~1.8C, and only 10% of the days experienced UHI over 4C. In short, Average monthly UHI is less than the maximum daily UHI observed at optimum conditions for UHI formation.

The current best estimate by the IPCC is that no more than 10% of the century trend for Tavg is due to UHI and LULC. If we take the century trend in land temperatures to be 1.7C per century, for example, then the 10% maximum bias would be .17C on Tavg. The IPCC does not make an independent estimate for Tmin or Tmax, only Tavg, because the major analysis products only use Tavg.

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In Berkeley Earths study of UHI we broke some ground by being the first study to use satellite data for urban surface to classify the urban and the non urban. We used a MODIS data set with a 500m resolution. However, two things concerned me about that dataset: 1) the imagery was taken during northern hemisphere winter and could falsely classify snow covered urban as rural. 2) the true resolution was more like 1km as a pixel wasn’t defined as urban unless 2 adjacent 500m pixels were urban. 1kmsq is not a small area. To accommodate for this and to accommodate for location errors we looked at 10km radius around each site and a site was classified as Non rural if it had 1 urban pixel. Our results found no difference in trend between urban and non urban. Still, the 1 km sq resolution bothered me. We can now address that issue with higher resolution data.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 07:25:01 PM by TheDeamon »

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #129 on: August 05, 2019, 08:10:12 AM »
Quote
Then you have the social sciences.  They're not even witch doctors.  They're basically fire worshipers.  Then you have gender and race studies, which really isn't a science anyways.  It's straight up philosophy.  It just happens to be an en vogue philosophy now in academia. 

I will tend to agree with your rankings, while suggesting that the issue isn't whether the scientists are more capable, but that their problems are harder to design experiments for.

That doesn't mean there aren't good studies in the area of gender and racial bias. Resume tests are particularly contoured and useful.

Seriati

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #130 on: August 05, 2019, 01:42:06 PM »
I thought this was an interesting and approachable piece on one aspect of the pollution debate. 

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/02/the-best-and-worst-countries-for-air-pollution-and-electricity-use

It kind of speaks to why the US is both bad and good, and why China is really just bad but doesn't always appear on the naughty list.  Specifically, if you look at the carbon emission lines and power consumption lines, you can't help but note that rich countries where it gets really cold, or really hot, are heavy contributors.  Large American homes, with low occupancy being heated to toasty in the winter and cooled to Arctic in summer really adds up.  Want to help?  Put solar panels on your roof, turn of the AC and wear sweaters in the winter.

Meanwhile, China doesn't show up on that naughty list because it leverages a massive poor population with no real amenities, but it does show on the direct pollution measure - where the US excels - notwithstanding comparable levels of industry.  That's one where it's directly measured and not discounted for population.

One truth, the current US/European consumption model is not sustainable as applied to the entire world's population.  If we're going to get serious about lifting global populations out of poverty, we can have no more tolerance for anything but maximum efficiency in production.  China has 4x the population of the US, if they consumed at the same level you could kiss any "2 degree" limit good buy.

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #131 on: August 05, 2019, 09:19:15 PM »
Don't forget India, Indonesia, or Africa in all of that. :)

Barring some major breakthroughs in battery tech, and a few other options, CO2 energy for grid power isn't going away in our lifetime.