Why Science is Not “Settled”


Really, there are two reasons, maybe more. The first is that however our understanding of a science seems to fit the real world, eventually we come up with new theories. Newtonian physics worked great until Einstein described something else.

Secondly, as good as our data collection might be, there are always new discoveries. Some Christians point out that God doesn’t want bored scientists, so he created a vast, complex universe. Or, the universe is actually, naturally vast and complex.

Which brings us to Climate Science. I would be more sure of climate predictions if we didn’t see stories like this:

A supercolony of 1.5 million penguins went unnoticed until now

three adelie penguins walk together

from Quartz Media:

This meant there were more Adélie penguins in the Danger Islands than in the rest of the Antartica Peninsula combined, as the researchers report in the study, which was published in Scientific Reports. They called the area “a major hotspot of Adélie penguin abundance.”  

[I carved that out of a wordy, sciency section. The entire article is worth a read.]

Not to be too picky here, but if scientists have been closely examining Antarctica for a long time, but missed a million and a half penguins, maybe our understanding of the region is incomplete.

I still keep seeing on responsible scientific websites, ground-breaking and interesting work being done on how the oceans churn up to reduce climate change/warming, or how measuring the actual effect of greenhouse gasses is impossible.

Maybe, just maybe…science isn’t good enough yet to predict global climate with any accuracy. Because that task is even harder than counting penguins.

 

 

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2 Responses to Why Science is Not “Settled”

  1. But wait! There is consensus of man-made warming in the computer models! It must be true!

    Well, technically, there is catastrophic global warming in the computers, so that’s true. Planet Earth? Not so much.

    There is warming, but that’s only because we’re completing a warming cycle from the Little Ice Age. However, the upcoming Maunder Minimum may start to cool the planet.

    There is more than enough unreported disagreement to show there is actually no consensus on man causing the planet to warm at an alarming rate.

    Like

    • And we don’t do science by consensus. If a particular theory works then it makes sense to use an accumulation of agreement (and reliable data) to choose a strategy of action. My heart doctor relied on good data, and the agreement of many in his field to decide to put in stents. As soon as new information rolls in, he’ll change his course of action.
      In climate science, new information comes in, new data is massaged…yet it all is reinterpreted to match the existing theories.

      Ask an astronomer about the wandering stars (planets) that did not fit the earth-centered models. So-called scientists invented odd theories to explain why some of the stars did not move in a way which supported the Earth-centered idea.
      That’s not science.

      Like

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