I have recently become aware of two camps of thought with regard to global warming/climate change, niether one relating to religion vs science. On one side is the internationally recognized theory of rapid devastating change and on the other a token uncertainty of the actual changes occuring in terms of what effects we may be facing and how quickly they will emerge.

As a "regular sort" I don't really know a lot of the science involved with our changing conditions and so I guess that puts me in between the two in this arguement. They both have very valid points and the answer to this riddle is important- so what do you all think?

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Well, it's a continuum. You can certainly acquire a lot of scientific knowledge just by browsing Wikipedia, if scientific knowledge includes concepts, facts, history, etc, which I think it does. I don't think it's so easy to get trained in applying the scientific method that way, though, or to understand very deep and very technical fields like particle physics. But then, an encyclopedia is about breadth, not depth. Still, much of becoming a credentialed scientist is simply reading scientific literature. There's no reason a layperson can't do that, and a lot do, albeit generally not in a rigorously disciplined way. And as you point out, access to journal papers, where much of current science lives and breathes, is not generally available. I'm not a huge believer in the wisdom of crowds by any means, but I don't discount expertise acquired outside of academia.
Both of you guys, well said.

Reading and comprehending are different things. I find people can regurgitate what they read, but most fail to be able to draw the proper conclusions from it. The difference between someone who is a scientist by degree, and one from opinion. In my line of work, I'm often amazed by some peoples inability to understand simple line graphs yet they make decisions based on them.

50% of people finished in the bottom half of their high school classes in science, yet once in the real world...their opinions are supposed to hold equal weight.
Of course a completely lay person can acquire scientific knowledge, in an ideal circumstance. If said lay person goes to the library and reads all the peer reviewed publications on CC, GREAT :)

But on the internet, in areas such as CC where big $$ are at stake, pseudo-science and real science coexist to a scary degree, and it is for this reason alone we're even debating AGW. Were it only scientists in this conversation, this whole debate, although with minor arguments, would barely exist.

On the topic of AGW, the internet IMO does more harm than good, by allowing "publication" of unpublishable trash...
John D, the next step IS aggressively reducing CO2. You reject this and offer no next step.

I am quite sure you throw your candy wrappers and McDonald's to-go bags out the window of your auto also.

I carry a medium bucket in my two vehicles and if I am walking toward my vehicle out in public, I will pick up the trash you folks throw on the ground and put it in the bucket when I get to my vehicle. This trash is used to light my wood fire and the ashes are distributed all over my property. The local museum, 45 miles away, clears and prunes their many trees as needed and when I can, I stop and get some. I cut that wood up with my chain saw and burn it for heat. All of my prunings and clippings go through my chipper/shredder and I mulch the ground around my fruit trees and yearly vegetable garden. By winter I am eating that trash as canned fruits and vegetables.

I bring my own cloth bags to the store when I shop.

My car gets better mileage (53.4 mpg) than 99.99999% of the cars in America, and I bought and re-built it myself for $1285 total.

I use my pickup ONLY when I have a load of wood or materials to pick up.

My house is deeply insulated. I share rides to town for shopping. My phone bill is $19.85/mo., my electricity $60 to $85/mo. and I don't have TV, cell phones, I-Pods (whatever the hell they are) and all of the electronic clutter that de-humanizes us and eats up all the oil.

I work at it for myself and it looks like, for the lazy bastards out there that say GW isn't real.
...it´s to late now - that´s, what I think. But no reason not to try to stop the global warming furthermore, as maybe the worst scenarios could be avoided...
Nice option for a scuba-diving holiday in Amsterdam, New York or Hamburg...
Wow, holy crap Adriana. Thanks for all of that- it's a lot to chew on but, as usual, highly appreciated. This may also be the time to shift the focus of this discussion just a little bit. Now this is somewhat a matter of opinion but how much of our ACC theory is entirely certain?
a. 50% or less
b. 50% or more
c. 75% or more
d. about 99%
e. 100%

The reason I ask this question is much more simple than most of you would think. Say we're around 90% certain of our calculations and predictions. If we act as though it's 100% true, how baddly could we be hurt by that 10% uncertainty? I'm not saying that anyone's right one way or the other I'm just curious at to what extent people agree with ACC theory.

I think that I'm a firm C. Most all of what I see and hear of ACC makes sense and stands up to logical skepticism. However due to the fact that this is a new and not terribly exact science I maintain that there is much we don't know that some people claim to know for certain (largely the same issue I have with religious extremists). I think that it is obvious that the sooner we get our heads out of our asses and cease polluting/start cleaning up the better off we'll be in the long run. To a very large extent this means ceasing extraneous production of goods and materials (fashionable BS, useless junk toys, most chemical production, junk/unreliable/unnecessary vehicles, etc)- but that would take the money out of the hands of the vast majority of wealthy folk, indeed would probably destroy the world's economy as we know it (boohoo). My perspective is drawn from an overwhelming skepticism of what we actually know and a cynicism for the way that humans promote their opinions (educated or otherwise) as certainty.
Oh no Duane, not at all. The basics of ACC (anthro climate change) makes sense to me but I feel that we quickly move outside of what we know and understand and into what we strongly assume, which is not the same thing at all. I do admit that it may be my lack of understanding contributing to my thought that we are a long way off of ending up like Venus (I assume that is the sister you're refering to). It seems like we're similar to Venus but dissimilar not to share her fate (at least not any time soon). A part of me doubts that we're that close to destroying our environment so completely and that it seems more likely that we'll have some very bad weather for a few hundred years and lose a bunch of species but are fully capable of surviving any changes we're making.
Just to be clear I do not think that we should ONLY try to weather the coming shit storm- I agree with Ogden (to an extent) that we should concentrate on cleaning up the mess we've made so far. But (watch this) I also agree with Larry in that while we're cleaning up we need to bend ourselves to the task of coming to a true and full (as is possible) understanding of our climate and the challenges inherent with caring for our planet properly.
Overall I wish we could just admit that we don't know much at all and eliminate a lot of the BS and thus fear of the subject. That, of course, is not going to happen. The fear is that too many people will take uncertainty as a weakness of science (as a lot of fundies already do) and the staggeringly stupid supermass of people will turn away from the light of science. Naturally I think that is bull, but what the hell do I know?
Well I'm kind of a MFer when it comes to dwelling on the uncertainties. Maybe people like me exist to give us even the slightest notion that we could be wrong about something or that our information is limited in a way that could impact our reaction to the threat. I do not think there is any harm whatsoever in cleaning up the mess that we've made and ceasing to do the things that are harmful to the planet. I have more trouble believing that at this stage in the game we can avoid a negetive change of climate nor the death of many of our planet's species. Basically I think we should drop everything and get to cleaning. If we did that, it would probably amount to the best we could possibly do right now.
I start to get very concerned when someone suggests sudden and radical "solutions" which may end up doing more harm then good. I sum up this thought by pointing out that any radical action beyond what I've already stated (stop what we're doing and clean up) could have far reaching and devastating consequences of their own. We're trying to solve the problem while maintaining our economic structure (which admittedly keeps us somewhat under control). I doubt the possibility of being able to affect the necessary changes without destroying/abandoning all of our bad habits (materialism, superstition, greed- wealth in general, mass armed conflict, to name the basic few).
I agree with this. Somehow people forget that independent of GW, there WILL be long term economic impact from not doing anything that exceeds the economic impact of actually doing something.
Thanks Judd, I suddenly feel as though I am being read. ;)
Oh No David, we know one hell of a lot.

The problem is that a too large percentage of us IGNORE one hell of a lot.

Larry just doesn't want to do anything therefore he is against it all.

The lazy, the selfish and the inconsiderate are the ones that will continue to litter no matter what happens.



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