Now let me make it quite clear here: I AM NOT A SCIENTIST.
However, I do have a degree so that makes emiinently qualified to talk about things outside my area of expertise and have other people quote me because I happen to put forward an idea that agrees with their world view.
See, you can tell everyone, Rossleigh agrees that there is a special fairy that steals your other sock and all the biros and hides things for a few days before putting them back in the drawer where you looked about three times. I’m not wrong, Rossleigh backs me up and he has the letters B.Ed Creative Arts after his name.
Of course the fact that we both agree does not make something true. For something to be accepted as true, we need what’s called evidence, which brings me back to a thing called scientific method.
I’m not going to try to expain scientific method in any accurate way here because I’m sure that some know-it-all who actually has a qualification in the area of science will try to point out where I’m wrong just because they happen to have a degree in the topic under discussion. With that out of the way, I’m going to explain in lay terms how science works.
Science is the clash of ideas. What I mean by that is that scientists will develop hypotheses about a particular phenomenon and then perform experiments to see if their hypothesis is disproved. It’s a lot harder to prove a hypothesis, so science usually only moves forward when one is disproven.
To give you a practical example. Freddie believes that every time he wears his lucky socks, Richmond win. He argues that he can prove this because he bought his lucky socks a few weeks ago and Richmond hasn’t lost a game since. Now, I happen to have an alternative hypothesis which is: “Freddie is an idiot and his socks have nothing to do with whether or not Richmond wins.” Of course, should Richmond win the first six games of next season and lose the seventh when Freddie’s socks are in the wash, it still doesn’t prove his theory, nor does it disprove mine. However, the first time that there’s a loss with Freddie wearing his lucky socks, then my theory is starting to have more validity than his, but given my theory also included the bit about Freddie being an idiot, I have a long way to go before I can get him to accept my hypothesis.
Unlike Freddie and me, scientists don’t often get involved in name-calling just because they disagree. I’m sure that it happens, but Nils Bohr and Albert Einstein didn’t start suggesting that the other one was an idiot incapable of thinking for himself just because they disagreed over quantum physics. Generally, scientists will seek to develop an alternative hypothesis and then test it.
For example, what happens when I wear Freddie’s lucky socks? Possible hypotheses: 1. Richmond win because someone is wearing them; 2. Richmond have an enormous loss because I’m wearing them; 3. There is no relationship whatsoever between the socks and the performance of a football team.
Now given I’m relatively sane. I would try to prove hypothesis 3, but I suspect that were I to wear them and Richmond suffered a loss, Freddie would refuse to behave like a proper scientist and accuse me of actually knowing that hypothesis 2 was correct and that it’s all part of some AFL conspiracy to stop them winning.
I guess you can see where I’m going with this…
I think that it’s fine for average lay person like me to speculate about how climate change is just an AFL conspiracy to get larger crowds at games. Or that it’s the Chinese trying to shut down American manufacturing. Or a group of scientists who decided that, rather than investigate any of the thousands of real problems that the world faces, they’d rather make up something and dedicate their working lives to obtaining funding from governments because that would be so much easier than getting funding for real problems, and much more satisfying emotionally. Or a cartel of Jewish bankers and socialists… Whatever!
However, when a scientist starts to suggest that climate change isn’t real and that it’s just a conspiracy, I have to wonder why they aren’t actually putting forward an alternative hypothesis that challenges the climate scientists. When they start to argue like Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt, I can’t but think that they’re sounding about as sane as Freddie who is blaming me for the slump in Richmond’s form is a result of my refusal to give Freddie his socks back.