Author Topic: Consensus as science  (Read 324873 times)

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #50 on: July 30, 2019, 01:40:44 PM »
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We could have some very significant under-ocean "hotspots" that operate on multi-decadal time-scales (much like those oscillations in the Pacific and Atlantic) and the reason they're being missed is because they haven't (appreciably) changes states since the satellite record began being global in the 1980's. So what we understand as "normal" for Earth's geothermal forcings may in fact not be normal at all. And of course, we're back to that other matter, that as they study the deep ocean and learn more, the value they're using for geothermal keeps going up. Yes, they made an educated guess, but it seems they low-balled it, and only time will tell by how much.

I think that's the plot from Pacific Rim, not a legitimate scientific hypothesis.

Pacific Rim had aliens and mecha. Mecha would be cool, but I doubt (extra-planetary/dimensional) aliens are involved.

You're also trying to turn it a "bit further" than I was going and using it make a Sci-Fi "B Movie" of it.

Here's theory: There is a "pocket" of magma off the coast of Canada/south of Greenland--along the Gulf Stream coming up the east coast that shifted sometime around 1970 in the North Atlantic Ocean which in an "isolated system" would have raised deep water temperatures by about 2 degrees (C). But as it isn't an isolated system, and we have the overturning currents among other things in play, it  cause water temps to only increase by 0.2 degrees instead(because thermal transfer takes time--to surface instrumentation, it just looks like the water is "retaining heat" rather than gaining it). However, being deep ocean, we don't have instrumentation present in this region, which possibly could be the size of Texas for all we know. Do you not think that would have a significant ripple effect in weather for much of Europe and Asia?

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #51 on: July 30, 2019, 01:56:19 PM »
I wasn't sure where to post this question, but as I didn't want to disrupt JoshuaD's intention in the other thread I'll post it here. Since we're talking about how much or whether consensus should play a role in science, I would like to know what people here think (especially the liberals, I guess) about active measures to make changes to the atmospheric composition. So let's take it for granted that human-caused climate change is a major problem that must be dealt with, and also that there is a fairly limited timeframe (let's say 20 years) to roll it back before bad things start to happen. Joshua in the other thread asked what people actually feel should be done (or not done) about this, but I'd like to ask about one specific thing: terraforming technology. There are a few scenarios here:

1) It is possible to completely desist emitting CO2, or at least enough to stop making the problem worse.
2) It is possible to mitigate CO2 output, but only enough to slow the increase but not stop it, lengthening the timeline of danger.
3) It is not realistically possible to do anything significant about our CO2 output.

In case (1) I imagine the idea is that even though the levels are high now, as long as they stay put we'll be ok? So let's bypass this case and check it off as an 'ok' result, so long as achieving this doesn't cause more harm than it prevents. The question for this case would be whether this result came as a result of technology switch-over, or due to heavy restriction on what we now call civilization.

In cases (2) and (3) I assume the idea is we'd need to actively do something besides legislate about CO2, and this is primarily the issue I want to ask about. Let's say, for example, that a new tech was developed that could literally pull CO2 out of the air, much more efficiently than planting umpteen trees. I assume it would store the carbon in some kind of storage which we could, I dunno, bury or whatever. If such a tech existed, what sort of test would have to be passed in order to determine whether it was safe or advisable to use it? And even if it was going to be used, what parameter would be set in order to measure whether the global climate was moving in a direction we want with no unintended side effects? And how would it be determined how much to use it, and what final level of CO2 to leave in the atmosphere?

I'm asking because this is a not-implausible scenario to find ourselves in. Current the push is for people to accept the climate science theory so that we can 'do something' about it. But even if that push were accepted and there was something positive to do about it, what threshhold of understanding would be considered a base minimum before we could feel with confidence that we could mess with the atmospheric composition directly?

If this sounds sci-fi, I'd like to propose that I find it very unlikely that carbon output will be reduced artificially (like by legislation) on an international level in the timeframes climate scientists are discussing. That leaves either doing nothing, or else developing a game-changing technogy, either to replace carbon-emitting tech, or to remove carbon directly.

Or is there some other option I'm missing?

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #52 on: July 30, 2019, 02:54:19 PM »
1) It is possible to completely desist emitting CO2, or at least enough to stop making the problem worse.
2) It is possible to mitigate CO2 output, but only enough to slow the increase but not stop it, lengthening the timeline of danger.
3) It is not realistically possible to do anything significant about our CO2 output.

With current tech, even stuff on the near-horizon, option number 1 is a non-factor in the next 20 years, unless you intend to put in place measure that are likely to kill a few billion people.

Option 2 is somewhat plausible, but only if we as global society decide to go "all in" on technologies(like Nuclear) that there is very considerable push-back against. (Transportation is the big factor in the inability to eliminate CO2 entirely)

Which leaves option number 3 as the most likely outcome.

That said, there is technology out there that seems to be able to extract CO2 from the air and render it into a form that could be readily used by transportation, which could help moves things towards being "CO2 Neutral" all things said and done. Of course, that tech is fairly Energy intensive, so unless you have it hooked up to a renewable power source, or a Nuclear (Fission or Fusion) source, you're running straight back to option 3.

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #53 on: July 30, 2019, 03:49:10 PM »
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We could have some very significant under-ocean "hotspots" that operate on multi-decadal time-scales (much like those oscillations in the Pacific and Atlantic) and the reason they're being missed is because they haven't (appreciably) changes states since the satellite record began being global in the 1980's. So what we understand as "normal" for Earth's geothermal forcings may in fact not be normal at all. And of course, we're back to that other matter, that as they study the deep ocean and learn more, the value they're using for geothermal keeps going up. Yes, they made an educated guess, but it seems they low-balled it, and only time will tell by how much.

I think that's the plot from Pacific Rim, not a legitimate scientific hypothesis.

Pacific Rim had aliens and mecha. Mecha would be cool, but I doubt (extra-planetary/dimensional) aliens are involved.

You're also trying to turn it a "bit further" than I was going and using it make a Sci-Fi "B Movie" of it.

Here's theory: There is a "pocket" of magma off the coast of Canada/south of Greenland--along the Gulf Stream coming up the east coast that shifted sometime around 1970 in the North Atlantic Ocean which in an "isolated system" would have raised deep water temperatures by about 2 degrees (C). But as it isn't an isolated system, and we have the overturning currents among other things in play, it  cause water temps to only increase by 0.2 degrees instead(because thermal transfer takes time--to surface instrumentation, it just looks like the water is "retaining heat" rather than gaining it). However, being deep ocean, we don't have instrumentation present in this region, which possibly could be the size of Texas for all we know. Do you not think that would have a significant ripple effect in weather for much of Europe and Asia?

I was only thinking about the weird rift. :)

So you want to counter a hypothesis with millions of measurements and thousands of papers with a hypothesis that has never been tested? It could also be the size of Liberty Island for all we know.

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #54 on: July 30, 2019, 04:09:13 PM »
I was only thinking about the weird rift. :)

So you want to counter a hypothesis with millions of measurements and thousands of papers with a hypothesis that has never been tested? It could also be the size of Liberty Island for all we know.

The mid-Atlantic ridge is a prime candidate as well. :)

DonaldD

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #55 on: July 30, 2019, 05:15:23 PM »
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The bigger thing on mentioning UHI though was to point at it "contaminating" the data sets that have been used to produce evidence of warming in many locations, and the UHI encroached upon the reporting stations that were being used.
This tells me that you clearly did NOT understand that your initial point regarding heat islands affecting the temperature record has been shown to be without merit, and that this was demonstrated 10 years ago.  Either that, or that you are incapable of processing conflicting information, specifically that this very point that you are again making has been shown to be without basis... that, or that you are incapable of admitting it.

Seriously, you made a claim.  It has been shown to be wrong.  You are now making a point of not admitting your error.  All while bemoaning what you mistakenly perceive to be this very pattern is others

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #56 on: July 30, 2019, 06:19:25 PM »
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The bigger thing on mentioning UHI though was to point at it "contaminating" the data sets that have been used to produce evidence of warming in many locations, and the UHI encroached upon the reporting stations that were being used.
This tells me that you clearly did NOT understand that your initial point regarding heat islands affecting the temperature record has been shown to be without merit, and that this was demonstrated 10 years ago.  Either that, or that you are incapable of processing conflicting information, specifically that this very point that you are again making has been shown to be without basis... that, or that you are incapable of admitting it.

Seriously, you made a claim.  It has been shown to be wrong.  You are now making a point of not admitting your error.  All while bemoaning what you mistakenly perceive to be this very pattern is others

Except I'll take your 10 year old study and raise you the more recent audit of reporting stations that have been used for data in the recent past. While the impact on the data may not be "significant" it certainly was in play with many of the audited locations. In a few cases, stations even moved several miles. My favorite has to be a close tie between the one station that had been used for data which turned out to have their temperature recording station located next to a parking, and less than 10 feet away from a heat exchanger for an air conditioner/heat pump unit. That the location was initially surrounded by orange groves 50-some years ago and was also completely "built in" for miles around it also was sure to have had "no impact" on the quality of the data it had been producing due to urban encroachment.

Some other stations were found to be on roof tops, and a number of other equally goofy locations, none of which would qualify them as being valid data collection sites for scientific use. Maybe good enough for the local news guys, but not for science. Yes, those locations once identified were "corrected" in the data by and large, and it didn't "significantly" impact the outcome all the same, but there is plenty of erroneous data being fed into the system.

DonaldD

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #57 on: July 30, 2019, 06:26:51 PM »
What you are still missing is that the dramatic photos and descriptions have nothing to do with the data that came out of those stations.  Those dramatic photos and descriptions (the plural of "anecdote" is not "data", BTW) were exactly what triggered those analyses that I mentioned earlier, and the analysis of the data showed no warming bias in those questionable sites, nor in urban sites in general.

That you continue to ignore the data and analyses, instead focusing on dramatic photos and your own common sense, is exactly your problem. You are basically saying "I do not care what the data for the questionable sites actually is; my common sense tells me the data must be corrupted and showing a warming bias,  even if the data says otherwise"

Seriously - just read the studies (see Muller/Koch/BEST/UHI)

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #58 on: July 30, 2019, 06:35:01 PM »
A temperature recording station next to an air conditioner's heat exchanger doesn't bias results for the reporting station? How? In what alternate universe?

Crunch

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #59 on: July 30, 2019, 06:54:32 PM »
In the universe where science is conducted by voting on whether or not a theory is true. You know, if everyone says it then it must be true. It’s in that universe, the one with 13 genders that humans can change between at will. Do you even science, bro?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 06:56:50 PM by Crunch »

DonaldD

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #60 on: July 30, 2019, 07:07:03 PM »
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A temperature recording station next to an air conditioner's...
You're pointed to the actual studies showing that you were mistaken, and instead of taking the opportunity to educate yourself, you rationalize why the data and analyses must be wrong, without even looking.  This tells us all we need to know about your inability to accept new ideas and conflicting data. You're basically incapable of being educated.

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #61 on: July 30, 2019, 11:14:22 PM »
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A temperature recording station next to an air conditioner's...
You're pointed to the actual studies showing that you were mistaken, and instead of taking the opportunity to educate yourself, you rationalize why the data and analyses must be wrong, without even looking.  This tells us all we need to know about your inability to accept new ideas and conflicting data. You're basically incapable of being educated.

Oh, I'll get around to it. You do realize there are multiple layers to "no impact" as you're wanting to sell it.

Impact on final conclusions may be minimal ie "no impact" but I think once drilled into, other points will conflict with how you're trying to "sell" it.

Nobody is claiming the earth isn't warming. What is disputed is by how much, the quality of the data(going back to "by how much?") being used to determine this, and what factors involved are possibly not being "properly accounted for in modeling" which seems to be a not insignificant number of items. ("Things we know we don't know" and how they can bite us when people are trying to sell Trillion Dollar efforts based on said models)
« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 11:17:09 PM by TheDeamon »

Pete at Home

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #62 on: July 30, 2019, 11:33:05 PM »
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Nobody is claiming the earth isn't warming

Nobody here, perhaps. Google “earth isn’t warming” and you may find otherwise, since only half the hits link to anti-denier articles.

Anyone who paid attention in middle school physics should be able to explain how earth may be heated without increasing temperature. Just as your iced drink stays at the exact same temperature as it absorbs heat that melts the ice.  Cheers.

 One good thing that we’re conducting this discussion over the World Wide Web:  Unlike a live discussion our argument does not directly add to atmospheric carbon dioxide.

DonaldD

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #63 on: July 31, 2019, 02:28:44 AM »
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You do realize there are multiple layers to "no impact" as you're wanting to sell it.
You still refuse to address the basic mistake you continue to make.  You made a claim that UHI effects were so damaging to the temperature record that they were the the very first reason you had for disbelieving in AGW.

There are studies showing that the temperature stations that should be affected by UHI do not show warming inconsistent with the rest of the temperature stations. In fact, there is a slight bias in urban sites to less cooling.

This is purely a question of mathematics. If you exclude UHI affected stations, the resulting temperature anomalies are essentially unaffected.  Instead of admitting that you did not know this, and instead of then looking at these studies and maybe reevaluating part of your position, you double down on your resistance to addressing new knowledge, instead focussing on how I am "selling" the purely mathematical analyses that happen to undercut your misunderstanding, one that you should have set aside a decade ago.

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #64 on: July 31, 2019, 02:56:14 AM »
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You do realize there are multiple layers to "no impact" as you're wanting to sell it.
You still refuse to address the basic mistake you continue to make.  You made a claim that UHI effects were so damaging to the temperature record that they were the the very first reason you had for disbelieving in AGW.

There are studies showing that the temperature stations that should be affected by UHI do not show warming inconsistent with the rest of the temperature stations. In fact, there is a slight bias in urban sites to less cooling.

I haven't gone about trying to dig up a 10 year old report to read it just yet, not in a big hurry. As to cooling being noted in some UHI's. Entirely possible in arid climates thanks to this wonderful thing called humidity. Humidity is a natural dampener on both ends of the temperature spectrum, the more of it there is, the more energy it take to hit a certain temperature. Ditto for high humidity and cooling. It's part of why Dewpoint is often a fairly reliable indicator for what the low could be for the night. It's also why there is a heat index/humidity index.

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This is purely a question of mathematics. If you exclude UHI affected stations, the resulting temperature anomalies are essentially unaffected.  Instead of admitting that you did not know this, and instead of then looking at these studies and maybe reevaluating part of your position, you double down on your resistance to addressing new knowledge, instead focussing on how I am "selling" the purely mathematical analyses that happen to undercut your misunderstanding, one that you should have set aside a decade ago.

And now you're showing what I was initially pointing, you're looking at an abstraction being done at a high level. NOAA itself has guidelines for what their reporting stations are supposed to be adhering to when it comes to being part of their network for those studies. Those guidelines exist for a reason. A thermometer placed next to a blacktop parking lot is going to have a very noticeable warm bias compared to one that is compliant with NOAA guidance. For reasons that should be pretty self-evident. Likewise, a sensor placed in close proximity to an in use air conditioner is likewise going to get skewed results due to an active heat source being nearby.

Bad stations are bad stations, and can skew data. And going back to "Earth is a green house" even without specific commitments on the AGW aspect of Global Warming, UHI in aggregate probably is having some impact in its own right, but it's largely in the "hand waving" range for the scientific community because its hard to track and "properly attribute."

And hey, even the Weather Channel seems to (indirectly) be in agreement with that much:
https://weather.com/science/environment/video/architects-call-for-glass-skyscraper-ban

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #65 on: July 31, 2019, 03:35:50 AM »
And hey, even the Weather Channel seems to (indirectly) be in agreement with that much:
https://weather.com/science/environment/video/architects-call-for-glass-skyscraper-ban

I can't really make head nor tail of other parts of your argument with DonaldD, but watching this brief clip, it looks like the proposed solution (if the report is to be taken seriously) is to avoid all of the following problematic things:

-Building glass buildings
-Building concrete buildings
-Using A/C
-Building any buildings
-Demolishing any buildings

Since these all contribute greatly to the world's CO2 emissions. And if their figures are to be taken seriously, it's the A/C and building/demolishing that occupy the lion's share of worldwide emissions. I don't know if that makes sense, but assuming it does it basically validates what I said earlier today, which is that emissions will never realistically be reduced. You are simply not going to get anyone to (a) cease construction, (b) never demolish anything, and (c) stop using A/C. I mean, these are basically preposterous things to even hope for. I won't even address the logic of saying that glass buildings are bad because the sun heats them, requiring a lot of A/C, because if you follow this argument to its end, it means all that office space would have to be otherwise employed in low-rise buildings, and thus thousands of workers, all working in a single air conditioned tall building, will now be working in a hundred different air-conditioned smaller buildings, each of which would certainly be larger than the office space they occupied in the large building. I guess the smaller buildings wouldn't attract quite as much heat due to fewer windows, but I find it hard to believe that it's more energy efficient to cool a hundred small buildings rather than one single skyscraper.

I wouldn't mind seeing some kind of chart showing the total % carbon emission per type of human activity, and then to inspect which things on that list could realistically be curtailed. Would a carbon tax even make a dent in anything, or would it just shift wealth around and do little else other than hurt those who can't sustain paying it while enriching those who can afford it and even gain more of a monopoly because of it? And if lowing carbon emissions isn't going to happen, then what's the use again of all the argument on the topic? Why not just end social hostilities and go all-in on tech research or something, which at least everyone (other than certain areas of big money) on the civilian side would probably be happy about. But yeah, if the top suggestions in the civil engineering front are to ban large buildings, curtail building and demolition, and try to get people to stop using A/C, it's not going to go very far.



 

DonaldD

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #66 on: July 31, 2019, 07:49:10 AM »
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And now you're showing what I was initially pointing, you're looking at an abstraction being done at a high level
No.  incorrect.  There is no abstraction. You gave UHI as a reason to disbelieve that AGW is occurring ("I believe a lot of temperate recording stations have been significantly impacted by Urban Heat Island over the past 100 years as well.") Yet at a very detailed level, these temperature stations have been demonstrated to show consistent warming with all other stations. Remove those stations, and the warming trend does not change in any significant way. 

Your very specific hypothesis was shown to be inaccurate based on studies that were designed to analyze this very specific question. This has nothing to do with any of my motives, notwithstanding you trying to make it about those.

Seriati

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #67 on: July 31, 2019, 09:54:16 AM »
I think part of the problem here is that DonaldD is talking in a very abrupt manner.  Urban Heat Islands are not a myth, they are well documented.  It's also well documented that certain ones at certain times can be cooler than the surrounding area, generally for reasons associated with topology, fauna and humidity.  What's not particularly well understood is how much UHIs actually contribute to global warming/cooling in aggregate; nor how much changes in land use do.  We know they have effects, but nailing the precise effect down is difficult.  But that's a point of substance.

What DonaldD is referring to are purpose built studies (of course, you are free to question whose purpose) that are trying to isolate the impact of the UHIs on the temperature record.  Those studies seem to have found that notwithstanding the fact that UHIs have impacted the temperature record (up or down) in certain locations that the aggregate impact is not significant to their analysis.

That's a more basic statistical application than climate models themselves, and accordingly should generate higher confidence.  It's still of course subject to flaws in the studies (where they exist), flaws in the records (though this should be minimized) and any bias in any adjustments to temperature records included.  And this still touches on the inherent quality problem of the data where almost no good (or even reasonable) record extends for even 100 years back from today.

Wayward Son

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #68 on: July 31, 2019, 10:48:59 AM »

Earth is Warming.  I guaranty we don't know Earth's current temperature, not on the surface, not in the atmosphere generally, not from the surface to the edge of space, and certainly not in the entire volume thereof.  What I can't know is how accurate our estimates are and what the real margin of error is (the calculated margin is nonsense). 

I guaranty we don't know what Earth's temperature was in any of the those volumes as a historical matter (and some are completely impossible to have measured given the way we indirectly measure historical temperatures).  What I can't know is the margin of error on the estimates, or whether the indirect measurements we do are less accurate than the direct ones we are attempting now, or even if they are more accurate.  It's literally possible that the indirect historical measures actually encode more relevant data than the real time measures, of course it's literally possible they're completely noise.

I guaranty, the way we have built the models using micro data research is heavily biased towards that which we easily understand, can get too or have researched, which is a heavy bias.  What I can't know is what else is out there, or if we by random chance have pieces of it correct.

Putting that aside, let's assume that we are in fact warming (and there are plenty of people that make reasonable cases this is not the case, and others who make nutty cases), then that leads to the question of what's causing it.

These are very erudite criticisms of our state of knowledge, but I believe they exaggerate the uncertainty, for two reasons.

First, what do you mean by "know?"

When you say, "we don't know Earth's current temperature, not on the surface, not in the atmosphere generally, not from the surface to the edge of space, and certainly not in the entire volume thereof," exactly how much don't we know?  For instance, let's say we measure the temperatures in Detroit and Chicago to a tenth of a degree, and they are both at 98 degrees F.  Does that mean we have no idea of the temperatures between those cities?   Could there be a field in between that is at -40 degrees, for instance?  Of course not.  We know enough about thermal dynamics and weather to know that such an anomaly would be readily detectable through winds and such.  Not to mention satellite measurements.  And not to mention the thousands of people who pass through the areas every day, none of which have ever frozen to death between those cities on a hot summer's day. :)

So while you object that "I can't know is the margin of error on the estimate," you can know that there are outer bounds on those estimates.  So you can't completely discount all measurements and extrapolations from them.

Second is that models are a legitimate way to conduct science.  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 don't "know" its temperature.  We don't "know" the actual margins of error.  We don't "know" if the models we created using micro data isn't heavily biased.  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?  Even you?

And what about black holes, background radiation, supernovas, etc.  Don't we "know" anything about them?  Or is all we know is that there are shiny things in the sky? ;)

I also noticed something you didn't guarantee above.

You didn't guarantee that AGW isn't happening.

This is important, because there are a few things I can guarantee, too.

I can guarantee that CO2 levels in the atmosphere are increasing.  We have the measurements.

I can guarantee that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.  We have over a century of research about that.

So I can guarantee that CO2 is trapping more heat in our atmosphere than it did in centuries past.

No matter what the other data says, it doesn't change these facts.

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Caused by People.  That's our second "consensus" item.  It's caused by people.  This by the way is almost completely reliant on a single correlation.  As the human population's technology and pollution have increased the "measurements" we are able to do appear to have increased.  That's it.  There's no experiment that confirms it.  So how do we get from correlation to causation?  Well honestly we can't.

However, we can approach the limit by eliminating other potential causes (again assuming we are even correct about the temperature).  As with any purely observational Science, we become more certain of a theory by eliminating other potential causes as a source.  And that's the whole lot of what is going on.  If the correlation breaks the theory  falls apart (which is why things like a "pause," a medieval warm period, and historically far higher carbon concentrations at lower temperatures are so damaging that they have to explained away).

Modelling though?  Total red herring, and literally not a science experiment.  It generates zero data.  It runs zero experiments.  It settles zero factual questions.  What it may be good for is generating hypothesis, and if we get tuned enough correctly making predictions.  I personally don't believe it's close to there yet, but reasonable people can disagree.

Why is it dangerous to treat this "consensus" as meaningful?  Well mostly because we only know of a correlation and have not shown a causative effect.  That means that contrary evidence will either "break" the model completely, or lead to "narrative explanations" of things that altered the course (whether these are actual refinements, or literally just covering for a broken hypothesis is in the eye of the beholder).  If it's just a false correlation, and we implement ridiculous and damaging policies, they will (a) do no good, and (b) be credited with any correlative change.

So if we do nothing, and nothing happens.  Proof it was a mere correlation.  If on the other hand we completely rearrange the world, destroy all economies and kill have the population, and nothing happens.  Proof we "saved" the world.

On the flip, if there is a causation and we do nothing it gets worse.  But if we "do something" and it's the wrong thing it will also get worse and maybe much worse (which is why I'm so opposed to international treaties that punish the most efficient producers).

But let's not kid ourselves.  Consensus on AGW is literally consensus on a hypothesis, and literally one that's incapable of being tested.

Except that it is far, far more than simple correlation.  We know that CO2 traps heat.  So we expect that increased levels of CO2 will trap more heat.  That is not just correlation.

Here's a thing that we don't emphasize enough.  The computer models of our climate are not intended to "prove" that global warming is occurring.  What I stated previously "proves" that.  What the computer models can do is help us better understand exactly how it is affecting our climate, in greater detail.  They might even show that there are other factors that mitigate our emissions of billions of tons of CO2 and it is not warming our planet.  Dig it:  the computer models are our best chance of showing that AGW is not occurring.  Otherwise, we are left with those basic facts above.  And they all point to AGW being true.

And while there are other sources of CO2 than our emissions, nevertheless we are still emitting billions of tons of CO2 each year.  Any natural source increase the global warming effects.  And other source of heat increases the temperature increases we are creating.

We know we are trapping more heat in our atmosphere.  The only question is how much and how quickly.  A good model of our climate system will help us get a more accurate answers to those questions, and maybe even show that we actually aren't affecting the overall system.  But so far, the models haven't.  And until they do, we have to assume that the basic physics is correct, that the models are reasonably accurate, and that we are the main cause of rising temperatures on Earth.  To do otherwise is to kid ourselves.

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #69 on: July 31, 2019, 11:12:22 AM »
Wayward,

Just a few quibbles, which may reflect on the confidence you're showing in our understanding of climate:

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.

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And what about black holes, background radiation, supernovas, etc.  Don't we "know" anything about them?  Or is all we know is that there are shiny things in the sky?

You're mixing apples and oranges here, but you do know that until the last few years it was not a basic assumption that there were definitely black holes? Sure, relativity predicted them, and it seemed quite likely they might be found, but until found they were just a theory. Note again this was until super-recently when scientists believed they directly observed some of them, and it's been a preeminent theory for almost a century. Until the observation was made many said they expected black holes, but few said there were black holes. Background radiation isn't a theory but just an observation so we can toss that one out of the issue. As for supernova we luckily have an easier time observing this phenomenon so it's not such a mystery that it exists, although we're still guessing as to what causes it. You are severely overstating astrophysical confidence in knowing about black holes and the nature of supernovae, the way you put it.

This may or may not reflect on the accuracy of your statements about AGW, but if your level of discretion is similar on both fronts then I would suggest you at the very least check your own freedom of belief and note that your overly-forward statements about stellar phenomena (about which we know much more than climate science) may mark you as being innately 'a believer' in terms of temperament. That's not inherently a bad thing (it may even be a good thing), so long as it's not confused with accuracy about what are facts and what are theories.

Another example of a theory often confounded with being a fact is evolution. It's definitely the best theory around to explain how we got here, but as of now it doesn't explain it. All it offers is a suggestion that a series of undisclosed steps theoretically could get us from point A to point B. It is a very sound theory and seems on some levels of analysis to bear results, but it hasn't been (and really cannot be) tested in terms of generating life from acids and proteins, and from those one-celled organisms step by step up to us. We simply cannot say with authority this really happens, even though it's surely the best narrative we've got to explain it. And yet how many people do you think clue into the fact that it's still called the theory of evolution? It's because the standard is very high to call something a fact, and even higher to call it uncontroversial.

NobleHunter

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #70 on: July 31, 2019, 11:18:40 AM »
Point of fact: the Theory of Evolution makes no attempt to explain abiogenesis.

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #71 on: July 31, 2019, 11:29:07 AM »
Point of fact: the Theory of Evolution makes no attempt to explain abiogenesis.

Well this is part of the difficulty. How we got here is not some fluid repeating step with obvious recursive patterns that can get us from A to Z. Some stages of development that seem to be necessary for the entire process to have occurred seem hard to understand, and the theory of evolution is the only catchall I know of that tries to explain our generation based on patterned repetetiveness. Abiogensis is one such step, but there are others, such as how cells formed in the first place, or why there seems to be a trend towards increased complexity in life forms over time. My point is that Darwin's understanding of breeding techniques was a helpful thing to keep in mind but by no means proves anything about how we got here.

NobleHunter

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #72 on: July 31, 2019, 12:04:40 PM »
Except it's not trying to explain "how we got here." It explains speciation and how variations within a species play out over time and successive generations. Abiogenesis isn't a step evolution has to explain because the theory pre-supposes the existence of life, any more than a theory of planetary formation needs to explain stellar evolution or the big bang.

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #73 on: July 31, 2019, 12:22:59 PM »
If there's no viable alternate theory, then you're going to have a consensus about the last one standing. It can eventually get proven wrong, refined, or otherwise improved. There's certainly a lot more evidence than there is for crackpot irreducible complexity arguments for creation out of whole cloth 6000 years ago, or that squids are actually aliens.

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #74 on: July 31, 2019, 12:24:48 PM »
Except it's not trying to explain "how we got here." It explains speciation and how variations within a species play out over time and successive generations. Abiogenesis isn't a step evolution has to explain because the theory pre-supposes the existence of life, any more than a theory of planetary formation needs to explain stellar evolution or the big bang.

That depends on what you mean by "speciation." One objection made by evolution deniers (for what it's worth) is that although evolution can create separate strains of a species (like breeds), and even have them diverge quite a bit, it doesn't have the ability to effectively create more complex breeds out of less complex ones. In other words the claim is that evolution can move sideways or downwards, but not upwards in complexity. I don't think this sort of objection is taken seriously as an argument proving anything in the negative, however this line of thinking does beg the question of how any convergence of lesser forms into greater forms even happens. How do one-celled organisms form into multicellular organisms? How do those form into plants and animals? It's not so much that evolution needs to tackle abiogensis per se, but if a single principle guides both the intitial generation of life as well as subsequent stages of complexification, we certainly don't know what that principle might be (if there is one). We don't need to solve abiogensis to be able to discuss speciation, except that we don't know whether to even frame evolution as being a series of unrelated flukes or as a continuing process that was based on inevitable processes that continue to this day. My point is that we are far from "understanding" evolution, even though much study has gone into it.

NobleHunter

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #75 on: July 31, 2019, 12:33:26 PM »
That depends on what you mean by "speciation." One objection made by evolution deniers (for what it's worth) is that although evolution can create separate strains of a species (like breeds), and even have them diverge quite a bit, it doesn't have the ability to effectively create more complex breeds out of less complex ones. In other words the claim is that evolution can move sideways or downwards, but not upwards in complexity. I don't think this sort of objection is taken seriously as an argument proving anything in the negative, however this line of thinking does beg the question of how any convergence of lesser forms into greater forms even happens. How do one-celled organisms form into multicellular organisms? How do those form into plants and animals? It's not so much that evolution needs to tackle abiogensis per se, but if a single principle guides both the intitial generation of life as well as subsequent stages of complexification, we certainly don't know what that principle might be (if there is one). We don't need to solve abiogensis to be able to discuss speciation, except that we don't know whether to even frame evolution as being a series of unrelated flukes or as a continuing process that was based on inevitable processes that continue to this day. My point is that we are far from "understanding" evolution, even though much study has gone into it.

That sounds entirely too teleological. While it would be nice for evolution everything about life, I think its actual scope is more limited.

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #76 on: July 31, 2019, 12:38:43 PM »
It's really simple. Random mutations happen. Detrimental mutations die off. Beneficial mutations are propagated. Mutations that are neutral can stick around or not. Mutations reduce entropy

The Surprising Origins of Evolutionary Complexity

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In their 2010 book Biology's First Law, McShea and Brandon outlined a way that complexity defined in this way could arise. They argued that a bunch of parts that start out more or less the same should differentiate over time. Whenever organisms reproduce, one or more of their genes may mutate. And sometimes these mutations give rise to more types of parts. Once an organism has more parts, those units have an opportunity to become different. After a gene is accidentally copied, the duplicate may pick up mutations that the original does not share. Thus, if you start with a set of identical parts, according to McShea and Brandon, they will tend to become increasingly different from one another. In other words, the organism's complexity will increase.

See, there isn't a big mystery to it. There isn't some "fatal flaw". It is the consensus view because everything else is nonsense. Even when Darwin came up with the idea, he wasn't quite sure of the mechanism, but he could still be confident that a supernatural being didn't whack a pinata and have humans fall out.

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #77 on: July 31, 2019, 12:56:08 PM »
You guys aren't getting it. I'm not interested (right now) in discussing the different aspects of evolution. My point is to include it in the list of things that are strong theories but are not called facts. There are many things we don't know about it and can't put directly to the test, just like stellar formation and solar fusion. It would be proper to say that there are leading theories in these, and improper to say that "everyone knows that fusion powers stars". My commentary is on the strength of the claim being made, and the language going into it regarding a "consensus" that points to the facts as being established. In no other scientific field would a strong theory base be called a fact, nor would people be expected to fall in line when declining to accept it. That points to the politicization of climate theory. I know the reasons for the urgency, but I am pointing at (in this case) Wayward's asumption that AGW is just as well-confirmed as fusion in stars when in reality the latter is not a confirmed fact. Do you see my point?

DonaldD

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #78 on: July 31, 2019, 01:27:24 PM »
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In no other scientific field would a strong theory base be called a fact, nor would people be expected to fall in line when declining to accept it
In the scientific arena, people are not expected to "fall in line".

The majority of the confusion arises in this area in the non-scientific arena and having confidence in false expertise: as one example, people continue to raise urban heat island effects on urban sited temperature stations as a reason to disbelieve AGW in general: this is an internet/general populace issue, not a scientific concern.  Anybody who brings up UHI without any knowledge of the underlying scientific history is of course not going to be taken seriously, because they are raising points that have been addressed already, and have not even bothered to review the studies in this area.

Now, if someone who is familiar with the knowledge in an area of expertise, and brings forward new points while addressing previous studies and possibly brings up issues with those earlier findings - well, their findings might not be immediately welcomed (there is of course resistance to new ideas, especially if there is a body of evidence being refuted) but such a person would not be faulted for bringing forward such a challenge.

NobleHunter

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #79 on: July 31, 2019, 01:38:07 PM »
You guys aren't getting it. I'm not interested (right now) in discussing the different aspects of evolution. My point is to include it in the list of things that are strong theories but are not called facts. There are many things we don't know about it and can't put directly to the test, just like stellar formation and solar fusion. It would be proper to say that there are leading theories in these, and improper to say that "everyone knows that fusion powers stars". My commentary is on the strength of the claim being made, and the language going into it regarding a "consensus" that points to the facts as being established. In no other scientific field would a strong theory base be called a fact, nor would people be expected to fall in line when declining to accept it. That points to the politicization of climate theory. I know the reasons for the urgency, but I am pointing at (in this case) Wayward's asumption that AGW is just as well-confirmed as fusion in stars when in reality the latter is not a confirmed fact. Do you see my point?

Anyone in a related field who does not accept the Theory of Evolution as a whole (rather than specific aspects or interpretations) would absolutely be expected to back that up with an alternate explanation. Which they would be unable to provide and have very little credibility as a result.

The better point is that while climate science has a whole bunch of solid Laws and Theories for building blocks, there's no overall Theory of Climate which neatly explains all or most observations. The problem wouldn't be with stellar fusion in this comparison, it'd be with climate science.

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #80 on: July 31, 2019, 01:51:04 PM »
You're mixing apples and oranges here, but you do know that until the last few years it was not a basic assumption that there were definitely black holes? Sure, relativity predicted them, and it seemed quite likely they might be found, but until found they were just a theory. Note again this was until super-recently when scientists believed they directly observed some of them, and it's been a preeminent theory for almost a century. Until the observation was made many said they expected black holes, but few said there were black holes. Background radiation isn't a theory but just an observation so we can toss that one out of the issue. As for supernova we luckily have an easier time observing this phenomenon so it's not such a mystery that it exists, although we're still guessing as to what causes it. You are severely overstating astrophysical confidence in knowing about black holes and the nature of supernovae, the way you put it.

Which isn't to mention that astrophysicists aren't trying to radically alter the planetary economy in order to support one of their theories.

Although we might want to consider some contingencies for their theorized Gamma Ray Burst scenario, but we're pretty thoroughly screwed if that happens anyway.

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Another example of a theory often confounded with being a fact is evolution. It's definitely the best theory around to explain how we got here, but as of now it doesn't explain it. All it offers is a suggestion that a series of undisclosed steps theoretically could get us from point A to point B. It is a very sound theory and seems on some levels of analysis to bear results, but it hasn't been (and really cannot be) tested in terms of generating life from acids and proteins, and from those one-celled organisms step by step up to us. We simply cannot say with authority this really happens, even though it's surely the best narrative we've got to explain it. And yet how many people do you think clue into the fact that it's still called the theory of evolution? It's because the standard is very high to call something a fact, and even higher to call it uncontroversial.

The interesting one for me on that front recently has been the entire concept of Speciation in general, as the thing that is supposed to delineate a different species is they're not supposed to be able to interbreed and have fertile offspring.

Further exploration and research into the Human Genome is now showing that Homo Sapiens interbred with Neanderthals, Denisovians, and evidently a third species of humanoid that hasn't been further identified just yet. I have further appreciated the seeming irony in the matter that the mixing with Neanderthals evidently was most prominent in Europeans and Eurasians in general, while it has yet to be found among Africans. Ah, the White Supremacists of 50 years ago have to be rolling in their graves. Joke's on them, it wasn't the black man who had the most in common with the Neanderthal, it was the white guy.

Pete at Home

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #81 on: July 31, 2019, 02:13:57 PM »
I’m a solid 5% Neanderthal and proud of it. Those on my FB may have noticed changes to my pics since I found out. Low brow means a bigger frontal cortex. Damned cromagnons didn’t wipe us out by their ability to compose music or sail the stars.  Y’all were just more efficient hunters and wiped out the game.   We’re going to rise again, and this time, we’re going to stay out of your way. Plant gardens. Hunt ostriches with Spears. ;)

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #82 on: July 31, 2019, 02:22:33 PM »
If you have a preponderance of evidence then it may as well be a fact for all practical purposes.

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Even then, a hypothesis needs to be tested and retested many times by many different experts before it is generally accepted in the scientific community as being true.

There are thousands of different hypotheses that relate to the theory of evolution. Time and time again it has proven out. We don't have to evolve a single celled organism all the way into a human in order to accept that evolution was the mechanism. We don't have to fly into the sun to understand that it is nuclear fusion based on observation.

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A scientific theory consists of one or more hypotheses that have been supported by repeated testing. Theories are one of the pinnacles of science and are widely accepted in the scientific community as being true. A theory must never be shown to be wrong; if it is, the theory is disproven. Theories can also evolve. This doesn’t mean the old theory was wrong. It’s just that new information was discovered.

Hypothesis, Theory, or Law

When enough scientists do a lot of work reviewed by other scientists, that's how you achieve understanding. When you have enough understanding, you act on it.

I think the more direct parallel to climate science was the science about tobacco usage. Powerful industry does everything possible to protect its interests, and make it seem like the science wasn't sound.

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Little and his Hill & Knowlton colleagues constructed a basic science research program into aspects of carcinogenesis that had no potential to resolve the question that the tobacco industry had promised the American public would be at the center of attention: do cigarettes cause serious disease? Little became the industry's primary spokesman in obscuring this question. The sharp disjuncture between the research agenda of the TIRC and the commitment to resolving the controversy about smoking and health is a major indicator of the committee's essential public relations goals. In the end, the TIRC was designed to direct attention away from the issue of immediate concern to the American public and American medicine: the health effects of smoking.

In this way, the tobacco industry managed to sustain the widespread perception of an active and highly contested scientific controversy into the 1960s despite overwhelming evidence and scientific consensus that smoking caused serious disease. According to the TIRC, many independent and responsible scientists continued to voice opposition to these findings. In reality, over the course of the decade, such views were increasingly marginal and limited to those with financial ties to the TIRC.

But skepticism does not indicate that there is not consensus. With each passing year, skepticism concerning the relationship between smoking and cancer was increasingly dominated by industry resources and public media. Doubt was no longer a matter of culture or training but the carefully crafted centerpiece of an industry effort to sow confusion and heighten debate through explicit attempts to disrupt the process of normative science. The TIRC marks one of the most intensive efforts by an industry to derail independent science in modern history. And, as shown subsequently, others would follow the tobacco industry's road map, drawn in the 1950s.33

Inventing Conflicts of Interest: A History of Tobacco Industry Tactics

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #83 on: July 31, 2019, 03:11:23 PM »
I notice that there is very little said about what happens if realistically we cannot reduce CO2 emissions all that much. I mean, even if everyone unanimously agreed that it should be done, I'm asking what if it really can't in the world we live in. I'm not sure it's at all clear that the public fight over this even amounts to anything, unless it could be shown that a proposed solution would follow that could actually be carried out with realistic chances of success.

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #84 on: July 31, 2019, 03:32:45 PM »
I notice that there is very little said about what happens if realistically we cannot reduce CO2 emissions all that much. I mean, even if everyone unanimously agreed that it should be done, I'm asking what if it really can't in the world we live in. I'm not sure it's at all clear that the public fight over this even amounts to anything, unless it could be shown that a proposed solution would follow that could actually be carried out with realistic chances of success.

The only options on the table for even starting down the road to viable carbon free is Nuclear Fission or Fusion. Anything else is simply a delusion, or an environmental disaster of an entirely different kind due to land use changes in the name of renewable energy.

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #85 on: July 31, 2019, 05:31:37 PM »
Solar and wind will replace fossil fuels within 20 years

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The reality is that the rising tide of solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind energy offers our only realistic chance of avoiding dangerous climate change.

No other greenhouse solution comes close, and it is very hard to envision any timely response to climate change that does not involve PV and wind doing most of the heavy lifting.

Together, PV and wind currently produce about 7% of the world’s electricity. Worldwide over the past five years, PV capacity has grown by 28% per year, and wind by 13% per year. Remarkably, because of the slow or nonexistent growth rates of coal and gas, current trends put the world on track to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2032.

So, no, we don't need nuclear. Nor should we like to replace digging one thing up and setting it on fire with digging another thing up and setting it on fire, replacing atmospheric carbon with millions of tons of radioactive waste slowly leaking into ground water. Plus, do you really want to put nuclear plants in every country? Are they all up to the task of operating them safely, and disposing of the waste?

What's the worst that could happen? - Tsunehisa Katsumata, Tokyo Electric Power

When's the last time you heard about a terrifying windmill disaster?

Crunch

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #86 on: July 31, 2019, 06:28:53 PM »
So those of you that continue to insist that consensus is science are fully on board with the idea that a human life begins at the moment of conception. Right? We have an overwhelming consensus from scientists that confirm this so you must be accepting it.

Otherwise, why is one consensus correct and another not?

DonaldD

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #87 on: July 31, 2019, 06:47:37 PM »
Try to keep up, Crunch.  It's as if you haven't understood a single word posted in the past 2 pages.

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #88 on: July 31, 2019, 06:57:14 PM »
Life is not synonymous with rights. Brain-dead people are also human life according to scientific consensus. Personhood is a socially defined construct, and generally can't be subject to purely scientific analysis. But you already knew all of that, you just chose to ignore it so you could have your gotcha moment.

In fact, science has made it very clear that a fertilized embryo does not have the characteristics that we normally use to determine whether there is meaningful life, including a nervous system as the most basic.

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #89 on: August 01, 2019, 01:38:53 AM »
Solar and wind will replace fossil fuels within 20 years

Quote
The reality is that the rising tide of solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind energy offers our only realistic chance of avoiding dangerous climate change.

No other greenhouse solution comes close, and it is very hard to envision any timely response to climate change that does not involve PV and wind doing most of the heavy lifting.

Together, PV and wind currently produce about 7% of the world’s electricity. Worldwide over the past five years, PV capacity has grown by 28% per year, and wind by 13% per year. Remarkably, because of the slow or nonexistent growth rates of coal and gas, current trends put the world on track to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2032.

So, no, we don't need nuclear. Nor should we like to replace digging one thing up and setting it on fire with digging another thing up and setting it on fire, replacing atmospheric carbon with millions of tons of radioactive waste slowly leaking into ground water. Plus, do you really want to put nuclear plants in every country? Are they all up to the task of operating them safely, and disposing of the waste?

What's the worst that could happen? - Tsunehisa Katsumata, Tokyo Electric Power

When's the last time you heard about a terrifying windmill disaster?

Solar and Wind only work if you have NG or Hydro backing it up.

Until somebody has a major breakthrough on battery tech at least.

And funny you complain about the waste stream of Nuclear, while you ignore the waste stream of Solar in particular, which requires digging up all kinds of interesting things.

With nuclear, the radioactive material needed to fuel my energy needs for a lifetime is about the size of a marble.

With wind power, the waste stream for the PV's to support my lifetime evergy needs will likely be able to cover a (American) football field.

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #90 on: August 01, 2019, 08:40:27 AM »
A lot less digging for solar than fossil, but I concede the point to nuclear without bothering to verify actual amounts. Yes storage is an issue for renewable. The article that I linked touches on that, and there are existing solutions - including pumped hydro.

A study was recently completed that suggests there are enough suitable sites to allow for global reliance on renewable.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sciencealert.com/scientists-spot-530-000-potential-pumped-hydro-sites-to-meet-all-our-renewable-energy-needs/amp

TheDeamon

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #91 on: August 01, 2019, 10:29:39 AM »
A lot less digging for solar than fossil, but I concede the point to nuclear without bothering to verify actual amounts. Yes storage is an issue for renewable. The article that I linked touches on that, and there are existing solutions - including pumped hydro.

A study was recently completed that suggests there are enough suitable sites to allow for global reliance on renewable.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sciencealert.com/scientists-spot-530-000-potential-pumped-hydro-sites-to-meet-all-our-renewable-energy-needs/amp

Which brings us back to:

The only options on the table for even starting down the road to viable carbon free is Nuclear Fission or Fusion. Anything else is simply a delusion, or an environmental disaster of an entirely different kind due to land use changes in the name of renewable energy.

They found "suitable sites" did they? Good luck trying to get approvals to actually build those sites out. Or dealing other likely "unintended impacts" of operating such systems. (Water eventually mineralizing/turning to salt water over enough cycles, potentially playing with the "scent" migration paths of fish, etc) Which isn't to mention habitat issues and hydrological problems that are likely to come with weeks/months/years of water levels constantly shifting by "significant amounts." A number of levee systems may not appreciate that. Although I doubt anybody would trying for anything close the scale that was witnessed with the Oroville Dam several years ago. (Where flow rates changed by ~100,000 cfs-- compared to the power plants ~12,000 cfs)

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #92 on: August 01, 2019, 10:50:08 AM »
So ya think it's going to be easier to get hundreds or even thousands of sites for fission reactors approved and built out on a global basis, huh? Remember only 31 countries have any nuclear power generating capability. I guess there's no downside to Iran building another couple of dozen reactors?

This isn't to say that I think nuclear can't help accelerate the process of decomissioning fossil plants. A carbon tax would at least help keep existing nuclear plants from shutting down, which is happening under price pressure from cheap freedom gas. It might even encourage some new construction. I only object to characterizing it as the only way forward.

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #93 on: August 01, 2019, 11:23:08 AM »
At the risk of further derailing things with another tangent:

Life is not synonymous with rights.

True. However this runs the risk of confusing science with jurisprudence. It is not the case that the current state of law has got any relation to ontology (i.e. what does or does not exist) or to morality. Law is some combination of protecting current interests, compromise so that people can co-exist (which has some overlap with the previous point), and going along with historical trend. Probably some other factors. None of this pertains to moral questions. Something can be legal and be completely immoral (as we see often enough), and likewise a set of rights afforded to group of entities does no ipso facto imbue them with certain properties because the law grants them rights. And I assume you're referring to legally designated rights, rather than natural rights. Because if you're going to go the natural law route you won't be standing on firm ground to suppose that life doesn't grant rights.

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Brain-dead people are also human life according to scientific consensus.

You would seem to be defeating yourself on the legal front here, since I'm pretty sure it would be murder to stab someone who's brain-dead.

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Personhood is a socially defined construct, and generally can't be subject to purely scientific analysis.

Not quite. It would be closer to say that the idea that personhood is a socially defined construct is a socially defined construct. Because to make that claim you are already defining personhood as 'that which the state deems personhood'. So you're basing your idea of where personhood comes from in an assumption after the fact. What if it were the case that personhood isn't something we can grant someone, but that they just have? This is analogous to a natural law argument, so from that standpoint we'd be talking about ontology rather than law, in which case science comes back into it.

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In fact, science has made it very clear that a fertilized embryo does not have the characteristics that we normally use to determine whether there is meaningful life, including a nervous system as the most basic.

Science absolutely does not say that. As if a larval stage of a fly isn't really a fly because it can't fly! The life cycle of any animal has various stages, only some of which have certain characteristics we like to associate with life. Anyhow the 'list' of things life can do (e.g. locomotion, reproduction, ingestion, etc) are things done at various stages in the life cycle, and not necessarily all at once, and certainly not necessarily all of them apply. It's a rough (that is to say, bad) way of trying to pin down what life is like, without having a better or proper definition. But I suppose your term "meaningful life" is a special case, where you mean meaningful...to us? I know of no use of the phrase "meaningful life" in science, and likewise in philosophy I haven't heard of that kind of category. Are you talking about distinguishing between humans and bacteria kind of thing, in that we have no compuction wiping out bacteria, and your idea is that this is because they don't have a well-developed nervous system?

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #94 on: August 01, 2019, 12:10:53 PM »
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.

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #95 on: August 01, 2019, 12:16:28 PM »
I don't think I'll feed the derailment much further, there are many points we could explore for sure. We don't call it murder when a doctor or family members ends treatment. More enlighted countries allow active termination or euthanasia, though those methods are called . Meaningful life is defined by the owner of it, or by a guardian on their behalf in the context of ending it.

None of those question have much bearing on consensus of "human life", as such scientists would also stipulate the the brain dead are biologically "alive". We won't even have to bother with polling them on the ethical questions, will we?

TheDrake

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #96 on: August 01, 2019, 12:25:06 PM »
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.

Fair enough, I assumed an "and therefore, you should call abortion murder". I don't think anyone is denying the consensus scientific opinion that an embryo is human life, just not drawing the same conclusions about what that entails.

scifibum

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #97 on: August 01, 2019, 01:49:30 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.

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.

scifibum

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #98 on: August 01, 2019, 01:53:46 PM »
Just another reminder that "life begins at conception" is both nonsensical (sperm and eggs are alive prior to conception) and designed to bait people into having the argument using inaccurate terminology. Abortion rights aren't predicated on when "life begins". Roe v. Wade wasn't decided on a finding that life begins at 6 months of fetal development.

Fenring

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Re: Consensus as science
« Reply #99 on: August 01, 2019, 02:05:35 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.