Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Prozac visions

From wikipedia:

"Appeal to authority is a fallacy of defective induction, where it is argued that a statement is correct because the statement is made by a person or source that is commonly regarded as authoritative. The most general structure of this argument is:

1. Source A says that p is true.
2. Source A is authoritative.
3. Therefore, p is true.

This is a fallacy because the truth or falsity of the claim is not necessarily related to the personal qualities of the claimant, and because the premises can be true, and the conclusion false (an authoritative claim can turn out to be false).

On the other hand, arguments from authority are an important part of informal logic. Since we cannot have expert knowledge of many subjects, we often rely on the judgments of those who do. There is no fallacy involved in simply arguing that the assertion made by an authority is true. The fallacy only arises when it is claimed or implied that the authority is infallible in principle and can hence be exempted from criticism."

Read that last line again - Short form:
Counting noses does not establish a particular belief as FACT.

Compare the level and quantity of research between AGW claims and when 'cold fusion' was claimed by Pons and Flieschmann. Thousands of researchers tried to DUPLICATE the results and failed, which discredited the theory. That's the way things are supposed to work. IMHO, that's not happening with AGW.

Whenever AGW has been challenged - and there *ARE* legitimate scientific questions that have been raised - using an appeal to authority as ultimate vindication is both absurd and irresponsible. It only takes ONE discrepancy to bring the basis of a theory into question. More than enough legitimate questions have been raised about AGW. (Ex: the missing "hotspot", assumptions about cloud effects, accuracy of temperature readings, solar cycle impact, etc.)

Again - I'm not challenging the concept of climate change: things get hotter and colder from time to time - established historical records PROVE that. There is NOT proof the results from man-made actions (i.e., producing CO2) are the TRIGGER (or 'tipping point') for the entire process. There are far more indications that OTHER processes have a much greater impact on the system as a whole. And those processes are COMPLETELY outside human control.

Does that mean we shouldn't pursue alternative energy? Of course not. Do we need to immediately turn the world economy upside-down to effectively pursue energy alternatives? NO.

All I'm saying is let's get the politics out of the way and let Science do its job. That means when you theorize, it *must* followed by test, test, test to DISPROVE (not confirm). And that means you test the validity of data you're using, too. When we *know* enough about Real causes and effects, we can figure out what to do. Then try it, measure the results, adjust, test again, etc. When we can accurately measure the results to insure we achieve the desired outcome - THEN we'll be able to develop a plan of action. If needed.

Let me say that I agree 100% with your statement that AMERICAN ingenuity has the capability to solve many problems. We've been pretty good at it. But let's tackle the problem (CO2) *after* we prove it exists.

As for going after energy alternatives - we're already working on that, and we need to work harder. Not because of some misguided desire to prove we puny humans can affect (control) the environment... Not to support the self-serving objectives of political power brokers... But because access to cheap, plentiful energy is the only proven economic engine which can raise the standard of living (and long-term survival) for our species.

- Steve

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