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Science & UncertaintyRSS

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I have a theory that bigfoot exists!

Oh really, what is your evidence? Many people are confused about the definition of the word 'theory,' especially with climate change.

Models are unreliable?  You mean late for photo shoots?

Models are unreliable. I agree -- they are often late for photo shoots, and sometimes never show up at all!

To find truth, hire a detective.   To just win, hire a lawyer.

If you want to find the truth, hire a detective (or scientist). If you just want to win, hire a lawyer (or PR firm).

"Believe" in it?   No.  It's about evidence, not belief.

"People ask me if I believe in global warming. I tell them, 'No, I don't,' because belief is faith; faith is the evidence of things not seen. Science is evidence of things seen. To have an open mind, we have to use the brains that God gave us to look at the science."—Dr. Katharine Hayhoe.

Science drags us 'kicking and screaming' toward truth

"Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth, despite our best efforts to avoid it."

Partial evidence:  Like blind men feeling an elephant.

Partial evidence can be very misleading. Remember the "blind men feeling an elephant" allegory? One feels a leg and says it's a tree. Another the trunk; i'ts a snake! Another pats the body and calls it a wall. The only way to figure out what's really going on is to look all the evidence together.

"Cherry pickers" deceive by getting you to focus on only one piece of evidence, ignoring the rest. Whether performed by magicians or lobbyists, the technique works until the audience catchs on.

If 10 people said your house is on fire, you'd act.

"If ten people told you your house was on fire, you would call the fire department. You wouldn’t really care whether some of them thought that the place would be incinerated in an hour and some of them thought it would take a whole day."—Elizabeth Kolbert.

Are models wrong? No, they're 'useful'.

“Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful” — George E. P. Box

Scientific theories are like ropes with many strands

Question: "What is the single most important piece of evidence supporting global warming theory?" Answer: "What is the single strand that is most important in holding a rope together? Finding one single strand that can be cut to break the rope is very unlikely." — Dr. Richard Alley

If common sense were enough, we wouldn't need science.

"It may not be common sense, but if common sense were good enough, we wouldn't need science."

My doctor can't say how and when I'll die.   So mortality is not real?

No doctor can tell us exactly how and when we'll die. But that doesn't invalidate the reality of mortality. We can be quite certain that we won't live forever.

Science: not a democracy, its a dictator of the strongest evidence

"Science is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship. It is the evidence that does the dictating." - author John Reisman

More exciting than the best mystery plot

"To a patient scientist, the unfolding greenhouse mystery is far more exciting than the plot of the best mystery novel."—Dr. David Schindler

Reject climate change? Then you are rejecting science itself

'If you disagree with the science of human-caused climate change, then you are disagreeing with science itself,' — World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

Forecasts vary:  from "pretty awful" to "unspeakably horrible"

Yes, the models disagree. Their range of disagreement in their estimation of climate futures is between pretty awful and unspeakably horrible. None estimates a pleasant future.

Uncertainty? In science, 95% certainty is the gold standard

“In science, 95 percent certainty is often considered the gold standard for certainty.” - Seth Borenstein Associate Press science writer

A political issue? That's like choosing sides over E = mc2

"Climate change has taken on political dimensions...That's odd because I don't see people choosing sides over E = mc2 or other fundamental facts of science." — Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, Host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.