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Science And Other Unproven Theories Like Climate Change…

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.

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  1. Peter F

    Rossleigh how can I prove my hypothesis that I would have been better off not having read your message?

  2. Rossleigh

    Unfortunately you can’t, Peter, because there is always alternative hypothesis that were you not reading me, you may have been reading about Scott or Donald and experiencing a rise in blood pressure…

  3. Keith Davis

    Talking about socks … my red/green party socks are trotted out hopefully on every election day … all that has proved in recent times is that when I wear red/green party socks greed always seems to manage to trump heart and progressiveness at the national level … the evidence for that one is in. Next time I’m going barefoot!

  4. Florence Howarth

    Economics so-called facts that work under yesterdays environment are unlikely to work today.

  5. Kaye Lee

    As Rossleigh said, we usually disprove things rather than prove them. People have theories, we test them, and rule out the ones we can disprove. So far, no-one has been able to disprove the ‘theory’ that human-emitted greenhouse gases are responsible for the rapid global warming observed over the last few decades despite the millions invested by the fossil fuel barons in their mouthpieces to try to cast doubt. It has been the deniers whose theories have been disproven time and again.

    Sometimes, evidence is basically incontrovertible.

  6. Kaye Lee


    I have been writing about politics for some time now.

    I have written….

    Tony Abbott is unelectable.
    Labor will never knife Julia Gillard
    The Liberals can’t dump Abbott
    Turnbull will prevail due to lack of a viable alternative
    I will be able to retire from writing about politics after the election

    I’m batting zero.

  7. Ingrid Srubjan

    I loved reading this this. I joined a group, Global Warming Fact of the Day, a while back, to get a handle on the science, language and action going on with climate change mitigation. It is a joy, for the range of science, the friendliness of moderators and members and the insights into cutting edge science that I can relate to. I became a moderator even though I am not a physical scientist. It took quite a bit of guts, managing the science enough to understand the issues and to consider myself as having any value as an admin. My background is social science. But my degree gave me precious skills, and I have used them. On the science, we have to cut to the chase. Reduce carbon emissions, dramatically. We also have to help spread the word. The anti case is largely built on right wing money, the Kochs and the Murdochs etc. This is important. It means that that this money supports the likes of the Heartland Institute in the US and the IPA in Australia. This is behind orchestrated denial. Think organised crime. Lately, Greta Thunberg is targeted a lot but it isn’t real. It is planted by bots, hidden deniers, trolls and all the rest. I get them trying to apply to the group, and I have learned how to pick them. When deniers spring up in comments we give some a chance but boot others. For lovers of social democracy this is quite a step. But we are flat out dealing with the increased interest so have no time for deniers. And the urgency of the speed of climate change is profound. Without going into all the ins and outs of speaking about catastrophe, humanity is in dire threat and scientists aren’t fully revealing the worst concerns. This is not a reason to bail out, but it is alarming.

  8. Andy56

    florence, economics is kind of based on facts. Cherry picked facts and ideology in a bubble. Every economic theory assumes certain human behaviours. And when they get it wrong, its something else. Some other explanation such as the J curve. The other classic economic idea is that because it hasnt worked, we need to go harder, we weren’t even trying. Boy does economic theory need a swift kick up the backside.

  9. David Bruce

    Could someone enlighten me and provide the evidence of the percentage of Carbon Dioxide in human-emitted green house gases, by weight or by volume? What is the percentage of methane, ozone, carbon monoxide? What other gases are humans emitting which can be classified as greenhouse gases. I am working on adjustments to my climate model because there are a parts of the Pacific Ocean that are cooling and they should be warming. When we publish science articles we try to be very precise with our definitions so as not to confuse the media nor the political scientists. Our data is getting more precise because we have more smart sensors in more locations now, as well as new satellites, providing 24/7 photo coverage of the world weather. Accuweather is one such provider and we are seeing a lot of evidence of incoming energy at the north and south poles right now which is causing beautiful auroras (eg northern lights).

  10. Kaye Lee

    “the percentage of Carbon Dioxide in human-emitted green house gases….What is the percentage of methane, ozone, carbon monoxide?”

    Global Manmade Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Gas, 2015

    Global Emissions

    “What other gases are humans emitting which can be classified as greenhouse gases.”

    The primary greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone.

    Human activities since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution have produced a 45% increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide from 280 ppm in 1750 to 415 ppm in 2019. This increase has occurred despite the uptake of more than half of the emissions by various natural “sinks” involved in the carbon cycle. The vast majority of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions come from combustion of fossil fuels, principally coal, oil, and natural gas, with additional contributions coming from deforestation, changes in land use, soil erosion and agriculture (including livestock).

    “there are a parts of the Pacific Ocean that are cooling ”

    If you are doing climate modelling, you are no doubt aware of this research.

    Weather isn’t climate.

  11. wam

    Scientists usually work from definitions.
    the weather conditions prevailing in an area in general or over a long period.

    Every scientist will accept that the climate has been continually changing by natural processes and most believe man is a major influence in the current change..

    I have no problem attributing human activity, in returning greenhpuse gases over the last 200 years that took billions of years for nature to sequester, as a factor influencing the natural climate change process.
    Unfortunately many Australians with a god background , don’t accept an hypothesis like mine. These indoctrinated god made us all and the earth seem to be elected.
    The discovery of kepler 452b will render the bible stories of god redundant. Although I expect the boys of the bible religions will have a strategy prepared. Will it weather the storm???????
    The best friend the rabbott had was booby who with one blow killed climate change and confirmed him as the leader.
    Your socks reflect an effective slogan for the government add the lie about economic management and scummo wins.
    Take a chance dump the green and get albo off his arse.

  12. Keith

    David Bruce

    You might find this review interesting.

    Letter signed by “500 scientists” relies on inaccurate claims about climate science

    Half truths, cherry picking, and down right deceit have been employed by deniers.

    But, Pages 2 provides numerous examples from continents and oceans, it makes the denier opinions look stupid.
    Pages2 provides numerous artefacts going back thousands of years which display how the Northern and Southern Hemispheres have been out of phase in relation to climate. The changes in climate during the Roman period, Medieval period, and Little Ice Age were not experienced in the Southern Hemisphere, nor all parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

    The climate is changing, deniers are not even promoting adaptive necessities.
    It appears politicians have been bought by fossil fuel interests … LNP and Labor.

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