Thinkers June 15 2010: WHEN IS SCIENCE PSUEDO?

Extropia DaSilva: This week (wonders what is up with Khannea)…this week, we are asking ‘WHEN IS SCIENCE PSUEDO’..
Archmage Atlantis: *Exxtie tries to herd the cats*
Extropia DaSilva: We have more access to information and knowledge than ever before. That makes filtering flawed thinking more crucial than ever.
But how is one to tell what is psuedoscientific, and what is a maverick alternative theory, unjustly pushed to the far fringes?
Zobeid Zuma: I lurve the scientific method! But it’s surprisingly hard to stick to, rigorously.
Lem Skall: any theory, even if proven false is scientific as long as it follows the scientific method
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Aha. The problem is one of dissemination 🙂
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Who cares, for instance, if I pubblish something on, say. my blog…
Gwyneth Llewelyn: I can use the scientific method for sure
Gwyneth Llewelyn: But nobody will bother to check
Extropia DaSilva: It used to be clear. Some famous philosopher, forget who, said that a scientific theory is one that can be falsified. However, with things like M-theory we have theories beyond practical falsification, and yet it is considered scientific, so that definition (was it Kant?) is no longer valid it seems.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: So it’s pseudo-science unless it’s published on peer-reviewed journals.
Zobeid Zuma: Science is all about the steady accumulation of *tested* knowledge. The question then becomes, which hypothesis are worth testing?
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Well, you can publish untested hypothesis on peer-reviewed journals… it’s just “work in progress”
Barbarra Blair: but it must be testable
Archmage Atlantis: The real question, is which were tested, and how
Gwyneth Llewelyn: On the other hand, you can publish whatever you wish that has been tested over and over again on your own blog, but it won’t be “science”
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Barbarra, not always. Extie is right on things like cosmology
Extropia DaSilva: Well…no. As I said, many theories of particle physics and cosmology are not testable, nor ever likely to be until we are posthuman with type II power at our control.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Superstring theory is “accepted science” even if it is untestable
Barbarra Blair: It will not be accepted unless you can at least propose a test
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Exactly
Lem Skall: Gwyn, exactly, it is still science, it’s just still in progress until it’s independently confirmed
Barbarra Blair: Superstring theory is not really accepted as science
Barbarra Blair: just for that reason
Gwyneth Llewelyn: You can’t on superstring theory — we’re not even close to define how it might be testable in the future
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Right, Lem!
Gwyneth Llewelyn: So it’s just… a theory
Zobeid Zuma: You have a whole spectrum ranging from. . . kooks and cranks. . . con artists. . . plausible-but-discredited science. . . to “real” science that’s outside the mainstream. . .
Barbarra Blair: Not even a theory, since it can’t be tested.
Extropia DaSilva: Superstring theory is not accepted?
Barbarra Blair: Not really.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Ha 🙂 welllllllll
Gwyneth Llewelyn: that’s arguable 😉
Archmage Atlantis: bitch fight
Lem Skall: I think it’s still science even if it is not tested yet
Gwyneth Llewelyn: What about holographic entropy? 😉 Is that science or not? 🙂
Zobeid Zuma: My favorite example of science right on the edge is. . . Cold Fusion.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: They have renamed that, Zob 🙂
Gwyneth Llewelyn: A LOT is published on Cold fusion every year. Really, quite a lot
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Just the name got bad reputation, so they avoid it
Extropia DaSilva: It has its oponents. usually people with their own, different but equally untestable cosmologies. But it is still mostly considered the front runner for quantum gravity.
Gwyneth Llewelyn would bet on holographic entropy 😉
Archmage Atlantis: She asked to be called Zo, Gwyn
BillyBobsMojo Xenga: holographic entropy….?
Gwyneth Llewelyn: oh sorry — thanks for reminding me
Barbarra Blair: Yes, string theory has so many variables that is is more curve fitting than a theory.
BillyBobsMojo Xenga: never heard of that before
Zobeid Zuma: Cold Fusion is right in the area where some people are pursuing it — in a scientific manner, but with limited resources — while the mainstream is afraid to be seen even looking at it, for fear of their reputations.
Richard Dianthus is Online
Lem Skall: IMO, once it is presented to others for discussion and verification it is science unless it is BS that is deliberately made up knowing that it is false
Fael Illyar is Offline
Gwyneth Llewelyn is betting that verlinde will get a Nobel for that — but it’s years before his theories can even be formulated in a way they can be tested
Extropia DaSilva: I think all cosmology is doomed to eventually grow into a theory that cannot be tested. Just seems fitting for a subject like ‘why the universe exists and why it is the way it is’.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: I agree Lem — BUT there is a catch: it depends on WHERE you “present to others”
Zobeid Zuma: The idea of gravity tied to entropy is intuitively appealing to me — but that doesn’t make it true. :/
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Extie — before Morgie appears — perhaps that’s because cosmology is too close to religion? hehe
Zobeid Zuma: Then you have Polywell fusion. . . Which is *not* cold fusion, but is outside the mainstream approach to fusion, and has had a terrible time getting any funding.
Lem Skall: Gwyn, it’s not WHERE, as long as it is doen in a way that makes it acceptable to other scientists to judge it
Zobeid Zuma: The US Navy is funding them, but it’s a shoestring compared with ITER.
Extropia DaSilva: One commentator distiunguished science from psuedoscience by saying one offers explanations that explain what we see around us with reasonable simplicity, whereas the other offers nothing of the sort, or maybe what looks like an explanation (spritis did it) but really is not if you look closely.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Right, Zo 🙂 Read this: 😉 It makes for fun reading
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Not quite, Lem
Gwyneth Llewelyn: There is an “establishment”
Shorahmin Femto is Online
Extropia DaSilva: hello Ishtar.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: e.g. you have to publish on *acceptable* places
Gwyneth Llewelyn: or present…
Ishtar Roussel: HI Ex, got to relog brb
Extropia DaSilva: kk
Gwyneth Llewelyn: you can’t just come up with a theory, announce an event in, say, SL, and expect it to be “accepted” as mainstream science.
Zobeid Zuma: Thanks for that URL Gwyn, I’ll grovel over it in detail later.
Lem Skall: Gwyn, I don’t think you HAVE TO
Gwyneth Llewelyn: No…
Gwyneth Llewelyn: You don’t “have to”
Gwyneth Llewelyn: You just “need to” if you wish to be part of mainstream science,
Archmage Atlantis: We have the answer,, it is 42
Zobeid Zuma: Oh yeah. . . That was one problem with Polywell. They were working for the Navy, everything was classified, and they couldn’t publish anything.
Flight Stick: All Go
Gwyneth Llewelyn: and that means, if you wish to get grants to continue your research 🙂
Archmage Atlantis: WE just don’t know what it means
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Zo, aye… that’s a typical problem
Gwyneth Llewelyn: hehe Archmage
Lem Skall: I think that if anyone would come up with some theory that would become totally obvious, then it won’t matter if it’s on youtube
Gwyneth Llewelyn: It means “six times seven” 😉
Zobeid Zuma: Con artists have a similar excuse. “I can’t tell anyone how my water-powered car works, they’d steal my invention!”
Gwyneth Llewelyn: I think you might be right, Lem 🙂
Gwyneth Llewelyn: … but it wouldn’t get any funds lol
Extropia DaSilva: Thing is, Einstein’s paper on special relativity would still be a valid ( and one of the most important) scientific theories, whether he had it published in a mainstream science journal or not. So I do not think that alone is what tells science from psuedoscience.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Zo — in fact, the same applies to “art” too. it’s not only science that requires an “establishment” to validate the work done.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Right, Extie! But if Einstein wouldn’t have published it anywhere,
Gwyneth Llewelyn: but, say, distributed it via the Internet,
Gwyneth Llewelyn: today we wouldn’t have relativity 🙂
Gwyneth Llewelyn: … just quantum mechanics hehe
Extropia DaSilva: It helps. I take a theory that is published in Nature more seriously than a theory posted on some blog.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Relativists would be crackpot lunatics
Gwyneth Llewelyn: 😀
Archmage Atlantis: backup,,,,to Extropia’s coment….it was goood
Singularity Soler is Online
Gwyneth Llewelyn: And so would most people, Extie — specially the people that are part of the scientific “establishment”
Singularity Soler is Offline
Lem Skall: but if you could just get the attention of someone important enough, even just ONE person, and then that person would endorse it then it could still catch on
Gwyneth Llewelyn: someone with a *reputation* might get off with a blog post saying “I have this theory… which I hope to publish soon somewhere…”
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Lem, oh yes. Quite so
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Endorsement is crucial
Scarp Godenot is Online
Zobeid Zuma: Cold Fusion caught on very quickly, there was wild enthusiasm for it. . . briefly. . .
Gwyneth Llewelyn: But peer-reviewed publication is what matters.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: There still is, Zo!
Lem Skall: so most people would read it if it was published in a journal or if Stephen Hawking would tell them “I think you should look into this”
Archmage Atlantis: True,, Lem
Extropia DaSilva: On my favourite forum you get topics like ‘UFO’s explained!’ ‘Capitalism is ending’! ‘Scientists use brain cells to run a robot!’ ‘Synthetic life created in lab!’ ‘Aritificial intelligence is a pipedream and a fantasy!’ ‘Alex Chu’s immortality rings really work and can make you live forever!’ and so on. So you really have to know what is nonsense and what is not on that forum:)
Zobeid Zuma: No. . . There’s not wild enthusiasm for it. There’s low-key, low-budget, outside-of-mainstream research. Not wild enthusiasm.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: A friend of mine (himself a published scientist; he designs electric-powered spaceships for ESA 🙂 ) has as hobby to collect peer-reviewed articles on cold fusion. There are really hundreds per year, and all are “mainstream science”. None use the words “cold fusion” in them.
Archmage Atlantis: Although I tend to listen to the cookie monster
Lem Skall: whoa, what is that forum? I want it
Shorahmin Femto: I think two things are end-running peer review, many more people are somewhat knowledgabe about many more things and the internet gives direct access to a huge number of them. “Peer Review” is dieing
Zobeid Zuma: What are they calling it now?
Barbarra Blair: peer review is changing, not dying.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Shorah, hardly 🙂
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Like Barbarra said.
Extropia DaSilva: Mind-X on I love it. It has every bonkers theory going, plus genuine exciting cutting-edge science. Not always easy to tell them apart.
Barbarra Blair: You can be self-published, say in arXiv, and people will comment on your work
Lem Skall: oh, THAT freakshow ;P
Extropia DaSilva: yeah.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Reputable scientists quote Kurzweil routinely 😉 Not on his theories, though, just selected passages 😉
Barbarra Blair: that is a type of peer review, in that your peers will read your work and pass judgement on it post-publication
Gwyneth Llewelyn: arXiv is a GREAT example!
Extropia DaSilva: I did hear one person wanted to set up a kind paper, conditions for entry being your work must first be rejected by the major scientific papers like Nature.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: it’s definitely acceptable to *discuss* things, formally or informally, with one’s peers — that still makes it ‘science’ — even before official publication
Barbarra Blair: Nature rejects nearly everything.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: And the ‘net is great for that
Archmage Atlantis: To be young, and to think one can save the world, …..sigh
Shorahmin Femto: sorry I missed the beginning but seems we are equating “peer reviewed” with non-pseudo-science”. That’s not true
Barbarra Blair: Oh, you can have peer review in pseudo science also.
Morgaine Dinova: Shora++
Gwyneth Llewelyn: (hi Morgie!=
Extropia DaSilva: Not just nature…(hello Morgie) conditions state your theory must be rejected by all major papers.
Shorahmin Femto: Scientific American has a pseudo science piece every issue
Extropia DaSilva: Does it?
Morgaine Dinova: That’s not what Shorah meant I think. You can have peer-reviewed without it being good science.
Lem Skall: so a problem I see is how we laymen can distinguish between real science and pseudoscience, but is that important? or isn’t it important only for specialists to be able to tell the difference?
Gwyneth Llewelyn: So does the Skeptical Enquirer 😉
Barbarra Blair: Well, heck, that would take years to submit a paper to every major journal.
Extropia DaSilva: Oh is it SLB again?
Morgaine Dinova: Hi Gwyn 🙂
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Ahhhh Morgie — ok, sure, of course
Morgaine Dinova: Hi Extie 🙂
Gwyneth Llewelyn: And Lem, yes, I think that question is actually way more important
Zobeid Zuma: Somebody invented an impulse drive that seemed, in theory, like it should work. . . . Hard to get a test device funded, though.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: And not even “laypersons”
Gwyneth Llewelyn: I *do* have a problem with my sources too — for instance, should I quote Wikipedia or not?
Zobeid Zuma: That was a case where even if it failed, we would have learned something from how it failed. It would have been good science.
Lem Skall: never heard of laywomen ;P sounds kinky though
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Wikipedia is not always a reputable source. So does that make my work less acceptable?
Gwyneth Llewelyn: lol Lem
Archmage Atlantis: Scentific method is a tool…..not a belief….nor a philosophy… never a religion
Shorahmin Femto: so-called scientific inquiry is used for al kinds of political objectices from head bumps to ice caps gone in five years. its all pseudo science
Gwyneth Llewelyn: hehe
Morgaine Dinova: Gwyn: it’s an approximation. For anyone working in the field, it’s not an authoritative source, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t provide a great source of material to help research.
Zobeid Zuma: I can’t even find the guy’s name now. . . When I google for “impulse drive” I get a bunch of links to long-discredited ones like the Dean Drive.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: I agree, Morgie, but it should be avoided *if* there are better sources
Extropia DaSilva: I think one way is this. Real science leads to technologies that most people can see actually work. So, we all know Maxwell’s equations for electomagnetism work because of all the electrical appliences that rely on it. And when we all go and get nanobots in our brains or uploaded into computers, Kurzweil will have been proved to not be a crackpot either.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Not all real science leads to technology 🙂
Gwyneth Llewelyn: And what about the soft sciences? 🙂
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Hardly any of them lead to technology 😉
Ataraxia Azemus: Not all real science even leads to understanding.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: … they’re still science though
Extropia DaSilva: I did not say it was a perfect method. Just one way that works some of the time.
Lem Skall: oh, Extie, so that would mean that science is real only if it’s tayght at high school level
Shorahmin Femto: Kurzweil didn’t do science on this case, he extrapolated from current conditions
Archmage Atlantis: Nor does all belief lead to tech
Zobeid Zuma: Ah yes! The Woodward Drive! –>
Lem Skall: taught*
Barbarra Blair: The soft sciences never seem to advance. They argue the same fundamental questions over and over again.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: ha Barbarra 😉
Morgaine Dinova: Gwyn: I wouldn’t say “avoid” WP at all, because the VAST majority of science-related articles are reasonably factual, and vastly more accurate than anything on the telly.
Scarp Godenot: Ataraxia: I must strenuously disagree with you the point of science is to lead to understanding. It is understanding by definition.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Having to work with a lot of “soft scientists”, they’d eat you alive if they heard you 😀
Archmage Atlantis: True Barbara
Extropia DaSilva: Well, a soft science like psychology is less soft now that we are getting better at monitoring how brains process information.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Morgie, can I quote you on that? hehe
Archmage Atlantis: As long as they argue it is discovery
Ataraxia Azemus: Scarp, a whole lot of theoretical physics gets hung up on observations and abstractions.
Barbarra Blair: The soft science don’t seem to learn from their own research.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Extie: I was thinking about sociology, history, archaeology… 😉
Morgaine Dinova: Gwyn: soft science isn’t science, in reality. Maybe it will be one day, but by then it’ll be “hard”.
Gwyneth Llewelyn *snickers*
Archmage Atlantis: When they conclude, it is war
Ataraxia Azemus: We can determine that we can’t determine the state of a particle but… Where’s that get us?
Extropia DaSilva: Ok but it is not psuedoscience, either.
Gwyneth Llewelyn imagines throwing Morgaine & Barbarra into a pit surrounded by soft scientists
Shorahmin Femto: it gets us to stop looking?
Barbarra Blair: Like this: they just did a study that shows that children raised by Lesbians thrive to a greater degree than other children.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Not even that, Shorah 🙂
Barbarra Blair: You can be, next year, some study will say the opposite.
Morgaine Dinova: Science is anything that uses the scientific method, properly. Soft sciences only use it in a handwaving way, that’s what makes them soft.
Archmage Atlantis: That can be done here Gwyen
Lem Skall: psychology is not that soft , theories have been able to explain stuff and even lay the foundation to solution in treating problems
Barbarra Blair: like what?
Gwyneth Llewelyn: hehe
Archmage Atlantis: what purpose would it serve
Scarp Godenot: All of science is up for anyone who is interested to show contrary arguments. The arguments are ongoing, but they are not just opinions. The arguments are based on other strings of proven argument.
Gwyneth Llewelyn points out that the old definition of hard vs. soft science was, “is it based on maths?”
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Clearly that fails on, say, economy for instance
Gwyneth Llewelyn: just an example
Barbarra Blair: or chemistry etc.
Zobeid Zuma: But science sometimes doesn’t work as it should, Scarp. Sometimes it becomes subject to dogma and vested interests.
Morgaine Dinova: Lem: the mathematical models in soft sciences tend to be weak, and the measurements cannot be made security — they’re affected by too many variables outside the mathematical model.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Chemistry is a soft science these days? omg I’m totally outdated
Shorahmin Femto: no math in chemistry? What univers is that?
Morgaine Dinova: Chem isn’t soft.
Archmage Atlantis: Scarpl I seem to remember you like math, am I correct?
Barbarra Blair: no, I mean math is not the only hard science evidence.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: ah whew Morgaine
Ataraxia Azemus: Psychology is AWESOME, but trying to make it fit into some model of empirical science doesn’t work.
Zobeid Zuma: And sometimes you just need a new generation of scientists to come along, who aren’t burdened by the need to un-learn old ideas.
Scarp Godenot: I don’t necessarily like math
Ataraxia Azemus: Chemistry is squishy science.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: heh Ataraxia 🙂
Shorahmin Femto: that’s plain nuts
Extropia DaSilva: Hmm..well Cynthia Brezeal the roboticist uses theories from developmental psychology to make robots that interact with people by picking up on, and giving off, social cues, so I would say DP is something of a real theory and not mere handwaving. It leads to cool robots!
Morgaine Dinova: Barbarra: maths has nothing to do with scientific evidence. It’s used in the theory side only, and in processing observations.
Barbarra Blair: Naw, chemistry is science.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: “if it smells, it’s chemistry; if it goes bang, it’s physics”? 🙂
Ataraxia Azemus: Hahaha
Extropia DaSilva: I like cool robots.
Shorahmin Femto: sometimes my chemistry went bang too
Lem Skall: science can be based also on observation, what about anthropology for instance or studying animal cultures?
Zobeid Zuma: ITER is an example of a vested interests. You have a lot of “top scientists” who insist it’s the way to go for fusion power, while they plan their retirements around it.
Shorahmin Femto: perhaps objective vs subjective is part of it. The Mead fiasco for example
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Computer Science is also a soft science. The only bit of CS that is based on a mathematical formulation that creates results according to equations and is predictable are compilers 🙂
Scarp Godenot: Let’s get something straight here. No knowledge can be gained with two sides just spouting opinions. Both parties to a reasoned search for truth must be willing to find the truth without regard to their ‘position’ . This is done by using logic and reasoning. That is science.
Lem Skall: it is science if it finds general patterns among animals for instance
Ataraxia Azemus: I like uncool robots! Trashbot and Laundrybot never get any love.
Zobeid Zuma: And then there’s Global Warming. . . errr, I mean Climate Change. 😀
Lem Skall: Comp Sci is more like a technology really
Morgaine Dinova: Lem: they’re soft in large part. If you can’t apply the scientific method precisely to a discipline, it’s soft, like it or not.
Ataraxia Azemus: That sounds like philosophy, Scarp… Science needs observation, too.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Beware, Zo, you can be banned from Scarp’s land for saying that 😉
Extropia DaSilva: Hard science refers to any theory that can give you precise calculations. ‘How much does a hydrogen atom weigh’. Soft is any theory that cannot be so precise ‘why did the person behave like that’?
Archmage Atlantis: Gwyneth Llewelyn: “if it smells, it’s chemistry; if it goes bang, it’s physics”? 🙂 ….if it is math, it simply is
Gwyneth Llewelyn: oh I like that, Arch 🙂
Lem Skall: Morg, but THERE IS scientific method in observation, for example you need large enough samples
Barbarra Blair: well, technically math isn’t, but ok
Scarp Godenot: Yes, global warming doesn’t depend on your ‘belief’ in order to be occuring. YOu are welcome to investigate the facts if you care to do so.
Archmage Atlantis: ty Gwyh
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Extie: so is quantum physics soft? 🙂
Zobeid Zuma: You have groups being paid by industry to cast doubt on climate change, and equally invested groups who see it as a way to grant money and career advancment.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: uh oh
Gwyneth Llewelyn sees the storm of discord approaching
Barbarra Blair: Something can be hard science and still be wrong, say, like string theory.
Scarp Godenot: Zobeid, you are just only half right there with that statement.
Ataraxia Azemus: Quick! Measure it!
Ataraxia Azemus: That’s science.
Archmage Atlantis: What u say is correct Zo
Extropia DaSilva: No. Quantum physics has given the most precise measurements of any theory. Accurate like…um…like measureing the distance of the West coast to the East coast of america to the width of a hair and getting it dead right.
Lem Skall: err, I think that global warming has been a failure in terms of science, mostly a lot of handwaving and very little scientific method
Barbarra Blair: In fact, if it CAN’T be wrong, then it’s not science.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Extie: by failing to say where a particle is and how fast it is moving at the same time 😉
Archmage Atlantis: Agree,
Morgaine Dinova: Global warming / climate change is a very good example. The physics and chemistry sciences that underlie climatology are hard sciences, but climatology has only soft-science models implemented in its GCMs, and they’re very threadbare at best, not at all accurately predictive. That’s what caused the discipline to go off the rails recently. In the absence of a working scientific method in climatology, people resorted to hand-waving. Human interpretations are not science, even when done by people in lab coats.
Zobeid Zuma: Eventually there will be sound scientific answers to climate questions, but that’s probably decades out still.
Scarp Godenot: So you people actually think that scientists are lying for career advancement? That is absurd on its face. You can’t get away with lying in science. there are too many others working in the same areas.
Lem Skall: maybe ANYTHING is true in some parallel universe so it’s ALL science
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Oh Barbarra — I love that definition!
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Morgie, excellent summing up 🙂
Gwyneth Llewelyn: And I believe the same applies to a lot of soft science too.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: e.g. economy
Barbarra Blair: Climate change is a conclusion based on scientific work, but it could be wrong.
Barbarra Blair: don’t think so, but it could be.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: it’s based on statistics, which is definitely good, solid maths
Lem Skall: Scarp, they are not lying but they are not using arguments that are scientific enough
Morgaine Dinova: Yep, a human interpretation, at best.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: But that doesn’t make economy “good or solid”
Archmage Atlantis: Ok now I know why me x-partner used to get angry with me at curandpaste
Zobeid Zuma: Well, they have gotten *caught* at several lies. So when you say they can’t get away with it. . . Yeah, we’ve seen that. 😛
Scarp Godenot: Global warming science does not depend on anything other than direct measurable observations , Period. The facts are there if you would like to see them.
Lem Skall: they just DON’T HAVE arguments that are scientific enough
Extropia DaSilva: Not sure why climate change is a controversy. It is not controversial to say carbon is a greenhouse gas. It is. It is not controversial to say modern industry is pumping millions if not billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. So put them together and the conclusion is obviousl surely?
Barbarra Blair: That is just wrong, Lem.
Barbarra Blair: the errors were errors in method, not lies; and they were not really significant, either.
Lem Skall: Barb, yes it is very wrong of scientists, I agree ;P
Extropia DaSilva: It might be true that we cannot do anything to PREVENT climate change.
Zobeid Zuma: Only if you think the world is that simple, Extie.
Shorahmin Femto: you’re a nutter Scarp LOL The warming is demonstrable, the cause is debatable
Morgaine Dinova: Extropia: that conclusion is a human one, because we’re used to confusing correlation and causation.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Well, science can still be science if the methods are wrong and the conclusions even wronger — so long as you’re allowed to do them right next time 😉
Scarp Godenot: Sharahmin. I can show you the data if you are open minded enough to consider that you are wrong.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Aye, morgaine!!! That should be written on top of ALL universities on the world!
Barbarra Blair: Science makes mistakes.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: “Correlation is NOT causation”
BizTutor Magic is Online
Shorahmin Femto: I am often wrong
Gwyneth Llewelyn: every scientist should have that tattooed on their foreheads
Gwyneth Llewelyn: (in reverse, so they can read it on the mirror hehe )
Lem Skall: Scarp, show me the data that shows the exact causality
Morgaine Dinova: Yep Gwyn. The observations could have been made, but wrongly. By not having sacred books, science allows it to be corrected, in time.
Scarp Godenot: I will not argue with those who are not looking for the truth. It is pointless.
Gwyneth Llewelyn *nods* and really hopes it remains that way, Morgie
Zobeid Zuma: Well, it’s a process. . . Science is the search for truth, even when we haven’t quite found it yet.
Shorahmin Femto: he he, sounds familiar. I must go RL only allowed a brief drop in. Thanks folks
Barbarra Blair: Well, that is the other test of sciecne; is it willing to admit that it is wrong?
Archmage Atlantis: mind fatige….have to go home, change to human, and find a dance partner
Gwyneth Llewelyn: nice to have seen you, Shorah 🙂
Extropia DaSilva: Micheal Shermer of the Skeptics society said the people who say man-made climate change is false are not skeptics, but denialists.
Shorahmin Femto: bye all
Archmage Atlantis is Offline
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Exactly, Barbarra
Gwyneth Llewelyn: “question everything”
Zobeid Zuma: Sometimes, Barbarra. But it doesn’t come easily. That’s human nature.
Extropia DaSilva: bye Shor!
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Of course not, Zo — specially if your monthly salary comes from that 🙂
Shorahmin Femto is Offline
Scarp Godenot: Science NEVER says it is the final word ever. That is the basis of science. everything is open to discussion. But let’s not confuse discussion of rational argument with opinion. Unreasoned opinion carries no weight at all in science.
Morgaine Dinova: Zobeid: it’s dangerous to say “Science is the search for truth”, and not even accurate. If science ever found “truth”, that would be the end of science, because you can’t disprove “truth” in future, else it’s not “truth”.
Barbarra Blair: Oh, sure, eveyone want to be right. But science is willing to revise.
Lem Skall: Scarp, you are not listening to us
Keela Latte is Online
Extropia DaSilva: You are right, Scarp. The default opinion of the scientist is ‘I do not know’.
Barbarra Blair: What did we misunderstand, Lem?
Morgaine Dinova: Scarp is fine, what’s your beef with him Lem?
Zobeid Zuma: Extie, my favorite example in the climate debate is Bjorn Lomborg. In his book he started by taking the IPCC reports at *face* *value* and accepting everything in them. Then he crunched the numbers and concluded “This is not a crisis. We have other issues that should take priority.” And he was *savaged* for it.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: For instance, I’m actually appalled that “quantity” of publication is more important than “quality” when applying for funds 😛
Oceanis Decosta is Offline
Morgaine Dinova: Aye Gwyn 😦
Gwyneth Llewelyn admits to be a Lomborg fan… and quickly avoids being hit by a megaprim thrown by Scarp
Lem Skall: Barb, read the discussion later when it comes out in Extie’s blog
Extropia DaSilva: Climate change is going to happen. It matters not what we do. We have to prepare for the change. I do think other things should get priority, not least of which is workinf out a viable way to replace fossil fuels.
Barbarra Blair: How to respond to a problem uncovered by science is a political problem not a scientific one.
Morgaine Dinova: Science seeks to model reality, more and more closely. “Truth” doesn’t come into it, beyond “It’s true that this models it closely”.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Nice one, Barbara! And so true!!!
Lem Skall: I live in Canada and I welcome global warming ;P
Extropia DaSilva: Science theory is a fiction that coincides with reality, at least to the level of accuracy we have tested it so far.
Morgaine Dinova: Yep
Gwyneth Llewelyn: I live in Portugal, and yesterday the statistically hottest night of the year was colder than in January…. brr
Morgaine Dinova: Wow Gwyn, hehe
Extropia DaSilva: Yay! I said something Morgie agreed with. Kudos to me.
Morgaine Dinova: lol
Gwyneth Llewelyn: yay Extie 🙂
Ishtar Roussel: I am in Germany and it is cold compared to recent years!
Lem Skall: it’s Merkel’s fault
Extropia DaSilva: who?
Gwyneth Llewelyn: hehe in any case, Ishtar, this year will be handwaved as an anomaly that messes up the statistical data series and just ignored. Which is a standard practice 🙂
Morgaine Dinova: Extie: unfortunately, the religious nutters always take that accurate statement wrongly.
Lem Skall: Angela Merkel?
Gwyneth Llewelyn: (Chancellor of Germany, Extie)
Extropia DaSilva: Oh yeah. Him.
Zobeid Zuma: Is 1934 still the hottest year on record, officially?
Lem Skall: Her
Scarp Godenot: OK, this shows the nonunderstanding of where the science of global warming is: The great fluctuations in climate were PREDICTED in the nineties for crissake. I wish if you care about this you would look at the science please.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Her 😛
Extropia DaSilva: Joke, Lem.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Anyway, Scarp, I think we all agree that climatology IS a science.
Morgaine Dinova: It’s a science in its early stages.
Lem Skall: Scarp, you can have a group predicting one thing and another group predicting the opposite, that still does not establish causality
Ataraxia Azemus: Scarp, but that’s pretty normal actually. Society takes a loooong time to catch up with some new discovery/theory/prediction.
Extropia DaSilva: I never know what that MEANS ‘since records began’. Particularly is it always seems to be the ‘hottest/wettest/dryest’ month/day/week since ‘records began’.
Luisa Bourgoin: will the gulf stream affect climate?
Barbarra Blair: Lem you have that all the time in every science.
Barbarra Blair: Then you do the test and see what happens.
Ataraxia Azemus: A few decades isn’t too bad in getting into the Acknowledgement Sphere.
Barbarra Blair: In climatologyk, it we are doing the test.
Extropia DaSilva: Well Scarp quite a few people still refuse to believe in evolution. So climate change denial is sad but hardly to be taken with surprise.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Personally, I question the usage of a statistical model to make predictions about chaotic phenomena, but that’s just me. It doesn’t make any theory based on statistical models “less scientific” or “pseudoscience”. It might just be using the wrong model to study phenomena, and that might get fixed soon.
Barbarra Blair: Too bad the test can have such dire consequences.
Luisa Bourgoin: since the 90th we got considerable more computing power for finer grades of data modulation. and way more sensory input comming in via sattelite
Zobeid Zuma: Climate science is indeed science — but it’s been corrupted by political pressures from multiple directions, plus it’s still — as Morgaine says — in the early stages.
Scarp Godenot: We have now measured the atmospheric carbon ratios exactly year dating back 200,000 years using air trapped in ice cores. We know that what we are experiencing now has nothing to do with any normal fluctuations. This is another fact.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: I agree, Zo (and I agree with Morgie too)
Lem Skall: I predict next year will be wetter than this year, I have a 50/50 chance to be proven right and if that turns out true does it mean that it proves my scientific prediction?
Gwyneth Llewelyn: 😀
Barbarra Blair: That is not scientific, that is craps.
Extropia DaSilva: Oh I agree with Zo. There is a lot of greenwash mixed up in the climate change debate.
Barbarra Blair: Now tell me WHY next year will be wetter.
Extropia DaSilva: more precipitation.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Because his little finger is tickling?
Lem Skall: because I say so
Barbarra Blair: that is dogma.
Luisa Bourgoin: for weather forecasts, you need tons of data. surfaces of cities, reflection grades, possibilities of storing heat
Lem Skall: right, my knee injury tells me so
Ataraxia Azemus: Is it swelling or throbbing?
Extropia DaSilva: My spidy sense is tingling..
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Right, so you’re just basing an hypothesis on uncorrelated data 🙂
Morgaine Dinova: What groups predict is irrelevant. All that matters in science is what a hypothesis predicts in exact measureable terms, and whether that prediction is observed within error bounds. None of that is happening in climatology currently, because our theories are very primitive and cannot yield testable hypotheses yet. Not even retrospective ones. (Eg. we can’t make a GCM that matches climate variation properly in the past.)
Zobeid Zuma: We *are* putting more resources to the problem, more satellites, more buoys, etc. That should help going forward. . .
Lem Skall: Ata, are you talking about my knee or something else?
Ataraxia Azemus: I do not believe in throbbing, personally. I find it unreliable and incoherent as a scientific model.
Morgaine Dinova: lol
Scarp Godenot: Global warming theory shows that extra heat at the equator needs to be dissipated by mixing with colder air from the poles. More heat means more violent mixing. This is what we see now as record cold and hot temperatures at the same time happening all over the world.
Morgaine Dinova: Throbbing FTW!
Ataraxia Azemus: Your call, Lem.
Lem Skall: ah, with my call, it’s both
Luisa Bourgoin: agreed, the throbbing data I would not include into any calculations … its to personal perceptive
Gwyneth Llewelyn: And subject to Lem lying just to prove his point in 2011 😉
Zobeid Zuma: Maybe all this CO2 is just staving off the ice sheets. :/
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Granted, after the meteor strikes in 2012, the question will be moot anyway 😉
Ishtar Roussel: well, the top and bottom of what I know about climate change was gained watching Al Gore’s documentary, that was scary enough….
Lem Skall: Scarp, that STILL does not establish causality
Luisa Bourgoin: can you transfer small scale experiments like heating water in a bottle onto ocean scale sizes?
Gwyneth Llewelyn blames the CO2 used to put pressure on beer
Extropia DaSilva: So..obviously Scarp does not think this…but does anyone here think climate change is psuedoscience, rather than simply a real scientific theory that happens to be wrong?
Barbarra Blair: nope.
Morgaine Dinova: Strictly speaking, I guess climatology should not be called a science, YET. But politics intervenes there.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: No, it’s definitely science.
Lem Skall: yup
Jamie Marlin is Online
Extropia DaSilva: …I assume some of you DO think it wrong?
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Even with politics mixed… it IS science
Ataraxia Azemus: No. Climatology is a mess and a big fat umbrella term, kinda sorta, though.
Scarp Godenot: Btw, CO2 measurements are happening daily on the top of a high mountain in hawaii. These measurements are so accurate they show fluctuations in the economy due to up and down industrial production. This dates back to the seventies by the way.
Barbarra Blair: Lem, do you know enough aboutg climatology to judge whether it is pseudo-science?
Zobeid Zuma: I think it’s somewhat dysfunctional science. . . but no, not pseudoscience as such. What I do find interesting is how sanctimonious some people are on one side of the debate, calling their opponents “enemies of science”.
Luisa Bourgoin: science for sure! just question remains, how far that affects politics
Lem Skall: even being wrong sometimes does not make it unscientific
Gwyneth Llewelyn: It will stop being a science if people are not allowed to question it though 😛 which is becoming truer every year
Lem Skall: Barb, I know nothing
Extropia DaSilva: This IM is for Gwyn ( Jamie Marlin: Yes! I would love to go with you!)
Barbarra Blair: Scientist do question it, however.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: (yay Extie!)
Lem Skall: go where?
Barbarra Blair: It is just hard to find evidence to the contrary.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Hopefully they will be allowed to continue to do so, Barbarra
Morgaine Dinova: Gwyn: it WANTS to be a science, and more importantly, it CAN be one, because it’s entirely based on physical and chemical processes. But it’s certainly not able to use the scientific method on the macro scale yet. Not even close. Heck, it can’t even predict tomorrow’s weather properly 🙂
Zobeid Zuma: The questioning of global warming came perilously close to being tarred as pseudoscience, or “denial”, there for a while.
Luisa Bourgoin: indeed, expressing doubt onto any theory makes the base foundations of science, and scientific work
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Exactly, Morgaine 🙂
Scarp Godenot: Questioning science is not equivalent to saying ‘I don’t believe it’. Questioning science needs to posit an alternative explanation. Anything less than that is just useless noise.
Morgaine Dinova: It’s gonna take a while, maybe 50 years, to bring climatology out of its nappies.
Luisa Bourgoin: Morgaine, tomorrow is possible … but five days in advacne equals gambling
Luisa Bourgoin: dont ask about 30 years
Zobeid Zuma: And you dishonestly imply that critics of global warming hysteria don’t have their own models. 😛
Lem Skall: Scarp, you prove why it’s not just god punishing us
Ataraxia Azemus: You can ask me about 30 years. I’m taking bets.
Morgaine Dinova: lol
Barbarra Blair: Look, if a lot of volcanos erupt, it could well get cooler. That is kind of beside the point.
Zobeid Zuma: 50 years was my estimate too. 😀
Scarp Godenot: We don’t have 50 years. Sorry but that is where the evidence points us right now. I don’t want this to be true. but I am not afraid to look at the facts, and so should all of us.
Khannea Suntzu is Offline
Barbarra Blair: Lem is willing to let 40 people from bangladsh move into his place if he is wrong.
Extropia DaSilva: Say it gets hotter or cooler on average in so many decades time. How do we know that is due to human activity and not climate change that would have happened, anyway?
Lem Skall: Barb, are they hot Bangladeshi women?
Khannea Suntzu is Online
Barbarra Blair: oops din din so long
Extropia DaSilva: bye
Luisa Bourgoin: the good thing about whole climate change debate .. it makes us reconsider our current implementation of civilisation. safe to assuem there is still room for improvements
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Oh quite so
Scarp Godenot: Human activity is provable. It is not in doubt that this is the cause of the carbon rise. There is indisputable evidence of this.
Archmage Atlantis is Online
Extropia DaSilva: Ok we need to wrap up so would anyone like to finish this sentence: The difference between science and psudoscience is…..
Zobeid Zuma: If it was indisputable, I don’t think so many people would be engaged in disputing it.
Morgaine Dinova: Scarp: without a scientific theory that has survived scrutiny, those “facts” of yours do not mean anything except in your chosen interpretation.
Richard Dianthus is Offline
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Extie: … where you publish it
Lem Skall: Scarp, what is disputable is the quantitative effect of carbon on climate
Scarp Godenot: Zobeid, those who are disputing it are not using the scientific method they are only spouting their opinions for their perceived political and economic gains.
Morgaine Dinova: Scarp: rubbish
Scarp Godenot: rubbish is not an argument
Gwyneth Llewelyn grins
Richard Dianthus is Online
Extropia DaSilva: are you saying ‘carbon is a greenhouse gas’ has been disproved?
Morgaine Dinova: Scarp: the detractors are telling you that you don’t have the backing of the scientific method for your human interpretation. And they’re right.
Lem Skall: Scarp, I don’t have any political or economic gains to make
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Carbon is not a gas. So, yes, disproved 🙂
Scarp Godenot: Carbon Dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas by the way, just the biggest.
Extropia DaSilva: thought methane was worse?
Ishtar Roussel: it is the human way… the progress of global warming will continue whilst people find ways to argue about
Lem Skall: ooops, I am guilty for the methane
Gwyneth Llewelyn: “big” and “worse” are not correlated 🙂
Zobeid Zuma: Carbon is a weak greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing. The degree of effect on the climate is in dispute, and the impact and repercussions of that are in dispute, and the effectiveness of any mitigation schemes is in dispute. . .
Scarp Godenot: Methane is 24 times more potent as a greenhouse gas, yes.
Extropia DaSilva: Anyway…NEXT WEEK SLnetworking. The continuing evolution of SL now involves integrating it with social networking sites. But is this really the best strategy, or a step in the wrong direction?
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