So I finally have mod points again, and there's a new discussion about global warming. It's another occasion when slashdotters can show their scientific insight to be on par with the rest of the people out there -- the janitors, the waitresses, the scientists, the clowns and the teachers, and everyone else not reading Slashdot. Most people have little understanding of science, and that goes for slashdotters as well.
I'm not a scientist myself (although I do have six years of university education), but I'm a bit fed up with the apologists writing things like ' I'll believe in global warming the minute "scientists" find something to agree on'. As if it's not proper science if there's little consensus, and if there's no One True Way. If there is just one un-scientific lesson science can teach us, it must be that consensus can be wrong. Science is work, and work in progress, not a collection of undeniable truth. I'm not going to be more specific than that, since different sciences have to have different methods, and I'm not going to exclude even for example history or sociology just because they don't fit in with the methodological demands of physics, which also completely fails to explain historical or social phenomena. So let's just be vague about it, and say science is about trying to explain stuff. Falsifiability gives a way to test whether a theory or hypothesis can explain what it claims to explain, and is therefore usually demanded in the more serious hard sciences.
The fact that claims like 'There is not going to be a climate change, so we should do nothing to prevent one' is more easily falsifiable than 'There is going to be one, if we don't prevent it by not burning so much fossil fuel' does not make it any more scientific, though. Both are (most of the time) uninformed opinion. So is mine. I fear climate change, and I base my fear on the fact that CO2 levels have been rising steadily since measurements were started (pdf with graph linked here), and that the weather is changing (just ask the insurance companies). Therefore, I find the first kind of uninformed opinion most irritating, and I'll mod accordingly. I'm not abusive, though.
I've written earlier that I dislike the rampant abuse of 'overrated' in discussions like this one, so I feel I have to apologize for giving one to this. But what else could I do? It was modded up twice as 'insightful', but it doesn't have any insight. Neither is it a troll, maybe not even completely wrong. Perhaps we can't really affect the climate. Perhaps we can. Anyway, what made me mod it down was the following:
I think its rather presumptuous to assume man can have any impact on the weather. But maybe some of you fear that we could lower the global temp if we all opened our refregerator doors in unision. A volcano can dump more greenhouse gasses in an hour than man can produce in a year. We can little affect the global climate fir good or bad. We can only go with the flow.
The second sentence is disgustingly condescending, but the rest of the reasoning is purely mythical (oh, and I see from the replies that his comment has got that the volcano thingie was just plain wrong). What's the insight in this? There's none. This is just a belief.
Oh, and I also apologize for not writing better (intellectually) about science. English isn't my first language, so it's often hard enough for me complete sentences. I think I was just trying to say that some people should have a bit more respect for people trying to understand things they don't understand themselves.