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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Jez, you have no basis for your assertion that the ice caps would be melting right now in the absence of humans, and all the evidence refutes that claim. If you can't back up your wishful thinking with evidence, then you're wasting everybody's time, including yours.

Global temperature has been relatively stable (flat) for around 10,000 years. We are no longer simply warming from the last ice age. All the evidence points to this warming trend being something unprecedented and human-caused. Predicting average global temperature trends is not only possible, but it has been done successfully.
Noo what I am saying is the icecaps would be melting if we were here or not,

Which is again like saying "I'm going to get sick and die someday whether I'm a smoker or not."

Absolutely true. But smoking is likely to accelerate that sickness and death.

Just like we have icecaps and glaciers melting much, much faster than they would be if we humans weren't making our contributions.
erm .... no. Knowing exactly what the climate will do on an exact date is neither possible nor necessary to say, "We're pissing our own bed, and it's only going to lead to ugliness."

If I make oreo cookies my primary food group, no doctor can predict that I'll get X disease on Y date and it will kill me in exactly Z number of years. But the doctors can all agree that it will very likely more so than not lead to no good.
I have not been presented with any of the evidence that I hear spoken of so often.

- National Geographic has a good primer, though over-simplified for some of us science geeks.

- RealClimate.org is more science-geeky if you want to get into the nitty gritty.

- If you're looking for some raw, "But can we see any of the changes right now?" type stuff, go to images.google.com and search for glacier before after. Also do a google search on "larsen ice shelf."

There. Now you've been presented with some of the evidence! Yay!

And just like being presented with evidence for Evolution in science class, you either choose to believe it, or you argue that there are missing links. There are some rogue scientists who say it's a hoax. You haven't personally touched the fossils/melting glaciers for yourself. Your favorite politician says it's a scam. Just because most of the scientists in the world say so doesn't mean it's true.
Touching the melting glaciers is all very emotive but the fact is the climate changes, it always has done, nobody that I know denies this. It may not change in a way that we like and it certainly does not change in a way we can predict and its almost certainly impossible to stop it.I am sure that ten thousand years ago when the ice sheets started to retreat from europe, Uuuugh said to Bluuug 'But Ive been there and Ive touched the melting glaciers myself. Clubbing Today says its due to us not worshiping the third rock on the left.'
Jez, you're in grand company with lots of famous people who said various scientific endeavors were impossible. It's pretty easy to predict that the Earth will heat up if we add thick puffy blankets of insulation around it, which we are doing. The current warming is not predicted by any naturally occurring trends that have caused warming in the past. But then, I guess heavier-than-air flight was impossible, too.
Touching the melting glaciers is all very emotive but the fact is the climate changes, it always has done, nobody that I know denies this.

So if I sprinkle rat poison on my salad would you say I'm not doing myself any harm because everyone gets sick from time to time? Because for all I know I could get killed in a car crash tomorrow?
So, humanity is NOT having any sort of an effect on the world? No one sais that the climate doesn't change on its own. No one has ever made this claim. The claim that IS made is that we are having an effect on our climate that would not occur naturally. We ADD to climate change.
sigh.....no I am not saying that humanity is having no effect I am saying that the effect is an unknown amount in a trend which would occur anyway and is exactly the type of behavior which led to a succesion of iceages and warm periods over the past couple of billion years, and as the trend towards warming or cooling is a natural feature of the climate it might be slightly more sensible to say OK we know the climate changes, we cannot stop it so why don't we try to work with those changes instead of trying to fight them?
Jez, how do you know this warming trend would occur anyway? How do you know this warming is exactly the type of behavior which led to a succession of ice ages and warm periods over the past couple of billion years? How do you know this trend isn't caused mostly by human activity? How do you know that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are not the primary driver of this warming trend? Climate researchers around the world have spent the last several decades ruling out those possibilities based on abundant evidence to the contrary. If you know something they don't, please present your evidence. So far, what you've said looks like a completely uninformed opinion based on wishful thinking. If you don't have any actual knowledge to inject into the discussion, then you're not helping.
If you know something they don't, please present your evidence. So far, what you've said looks like a completely uninformed opinion based on wishful thinking.

And that seems to be the trend, one that endears me less and less to the climate-deniers. One side says, "I believe X and here's some credible science sources to back it up." The other side says, "I don't believe X just because" offering little or no credible sources to back it up.

Jason, I think it was you who turned me on to this site:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11462-climate-change-a-guide-...

John, Jez, if you find something in this article series that is scientifically flawed, and you have some equally credible data to back it up other than "I just don't buy it," awesome. Otherwise, the wishful-thinking defense only strengthens the case for AGW.
Bah, just a hysterical ANTI-earth science ANTI-biological science status quo idolatrer. He chooses his own skepticisms. Unfortunately, hidden driving economic forces can supplant science in these discussions. But of course he doesn't fess up to why he's only anti-science on environmental issues, as if they weren't 'serious sciences' duh
Why even bother reading people like that?
He's only skeptical as long as his pocketbook won't suffer. He's biased and disinforms.
Not my kind of atheist.
If one is to go for science against woo, one must go all the way, not stop at pocketbook.

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