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North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Try to keep science objective

Try to keep science objective

Norman, OK
Post #: 66
While reading the recent post on this board; New Book - "Climate Change Reconsidered", I clicked on the link and was reading the "key findings" to decide if I should take the time to look at any of the 880 page report. I decided not to waste my time. I must state I'm not a liberal, democrat or environmentalist. I don't support any of the proposed regulations based on "global warming". But once again I'm seeing what appears to be another case of questionable science in this debate.

For example, one of the "key findings" in chapter 8 on the subject of species extinction states, "The four known causes of extinctions are huge asteroids striking the planet, human hunting, human agriculture, and the introduction of alien species (e.g., lamprey eels in the Great Lakes and pigs in Hawaii)." Huh? Aside from the fact one of the largest mass extinctions in early history was likely caused by the effects of massive volcanic activity, this overlooks that 99.9% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct and the primary cause of this (and for the creation of new species) is natural selection, one of the established pillars of biology. I also use this exact same point to counter calls by environmentalists to spend money on "endangered species". Since thousands of species will go extinct this year (whether humans are here or not) then why waste millions of dollars trying to keep one species from extinction. And how would you decide which species anyway?

My point is I've seen basic science ignored by both sides of this political debate. I've seen the tired argument that a few of the glaciers in Antarctica are growing at a few inches per year while ignoring that most of the others worldwide are retreating by feet. I've seen claims that the ice at the North polar region isn't retreating when the retreat is visible to the naked eye when comparing satellite photos from thirty years ago and today. I've seen the basic chemistry of carbon dioxide ignored. It is a simple gas, the properties of which were understood long before anyone conceived of the notion of global warming. It was called a greenhouse gas before it became a political topic. It's properties mean that the more of it you have in the atmosphere, the higher the temperature will be. The question is how much causes how much warming and that's where the study and debate should focus (at least the science part of the debate). More important than the science of the liberals (which yes, also can be questionable) is the reasoning behind their motivation. And as we know, this reasoning is often faulty.

I couldn't care less if the planet is heating up or if the temperature increase is manmade. We have significantly more important problems we should be dealing with. I'm simply saying if science is to be used in a debate, let's get as much of it right as we can.
Old T.
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 1,014
I think this is a thoughtful post, Chad. Thank you for taking the time to comment!
Mesquite, TX
Post #: 59
Right on, Chad.

Here's a terrific video (worth 40 minutes of my time, anyway) demonstrating intelligence, rationality, and objectivity:

T.J. Rodgers: brainy badass

You can click on the individual segments seperately, if you don't have 40 mnutes non-stop.

As in every subject of human debate, the key to "getting as much of it right as we can" is found in epistemology - specifically, the intransigent dedication to real and full objectivity, based on 'ruthless logic' (a favorite Rand phrase). Objectivity and intellectual honesty being largely volitional- and very challenging- tasks, they too often go unachieved. This leaves the opening for politics and faith to worm their way in, and before you know it Chad the Fireman and Chuck the Electrician are paying for public projects aimed at averting 'catastrophes', based on the zeal and ambitions of folks like Al Gore.
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