View Full Version : The Truth
18th-October-2008, 05:04 PM
Here's some homework; I want you all to watch Derren Brown's 'Messiah' and 'The system' (available on surfthechannel.com) and as many episodes of Penn and Teller's 'Bullsh*t' as you can (also available on surfthechannel.com)
This is free (aside from whatever you're paying for the internet) and very, very enlightening.
The purpose of this is to show you how much bull... you know... is being fed to you day in, day out. For example, you know the claim that passive smoking increases your likeliness of lung cancer by 25%, right? What about the claim MADE BY THE SAME PEOPLE that smokers return to normal heath 4 years after they stop smoking? Here's how the facts average out (2003, although the only difference that makes is that there were MORE smokers, so by now results will have dropped even further); of 100,000 (it could be more, I wasn't entirely sure if it was 100,000 or 1,000,000) people who worked around smoke (e.g. in bars) yet don't smoke themselves 12.5 got lung cancer, compared to 10 who didn't work around smokers. The more accurate figures are in 'bullsh*t'.
And about that name; Penn & Teller were worried about people sueing them for saying they were liars, yet upon investigation it seemed that calling them bullsh*tters was fine.
Enlighten yon selves.
18th-October-2008, 05:59 PM
Penn&Teller are fun. And a lot of perspective. I mostly agree with them.
(Although not always. There was for example a Bullshit-episode about climate warming, where they in effect did call 'global warming' bullshit. Now they are right when debunking all the esoteric idiots who involve themselves with that topic, and i suppose they are right about Al-Gore-worshipping^, but climate change, and the anthropogene aspect as well, still are scientifically proven phenomena. Despite what idiots may say about it.) So, sometimes they too tell bullshit ;)
I'll look into the other videos you mentioned.
18th-October-2008, 06:28 PM
I'm actually not positive that's true, Ogion. I'm not up on this stuff... but one of my environmentally-obsessive friends said there's actually been a reduction in global average temperatures over the past year or two, and the reason he became so environmental is because of global warming. This summer his reason changed to "well... it might not be global warming... but no matter what it is, using up all our planet's non-renewable resources as quickly as we are just seems like it has to fuck it up some way."
I've also heard that there's a tremendous liberal bias in the scientific community on the subject... so when someone tries to write a paper giving all the evidence and saying "global warming isn't happening," it gets shot down in peer review before the public gets to read about it.
I really have no idea (obviously), but my skin crawls a little bit when people call something "scientifically proven." Science doesn't prove... it only disproves until we rule out other possibilities.
18th-October-2008, 07:34 PM
Well, i understand that there are many political and ideological things which people tie together with this, buti am not one of them.
To reduction in temperature last year: I didn't say climate warming, i did say climate change. But even then: Climate isn't last year, it isn't this year. Climate is a description of the average atmospheric conditions (there are many) of a period of time at least spanning 30 years! What you had last year in contrast to the previous one is weather. Weather is the actual condition at one moment. The weather of a year may not be one weather condition, but it sin't climate neither.
To scientifically proven: Yes, you are right. Science doesn't prove anything. It just states theories and bring aspects which make it reasonably safe to speak of a 'rule' or a 'fact'. As far as humans ever can go in terms of '100% sure' science does its thing. It normally formulates 'rules/regularieties' which come from observation and logic.
So, it is not scientifically proven, with your choice of definition of the word proven. But it is widely accepted and when you look at it closer it is quite comprehensible and sounds very convincingly. At least i am talking of the basics in climatology.
BTW, many of the basics, like CO2 as a absorbing and thus gas-warming-agent, have been discovered quite early. CO2s effect in a gas in regards to light absorbtion has been 'discovered' in the 19th century.
There is no magic to climate and its change. Weather is actually much more complicated than climate. (Like the movement of a gas. The movement and behaviour of the gas is easy. The movement of the molecules inside isn't, see "Brownian motion"). I am not saying climate would be really simple to understand, but it isn't quantum physics. The reason for so many people to say different things about it and sometimes contradicting ones are because they don't look atthe whole system. There are causalities and chains of events in this system which at first glance doesn't seem intuitive. But they are. Take for example the "Climate warming could lead to a colder Europe". That seems stupid, right? No. Climate warming can lead to the melting of the arctic ice and especially the ice of greenland. Now, when this ice enters in massive quantities the northern atlantic, it will lead to a relative desalination of the water (logically, more water, same amount if salt). Now, in the northern atlantic there is something at work which drives the gulf stream further in the north, becoming the northatlantic stream. This is facilitated by salty water coming from the south, which becomes saltier while moving northwards due to vaporisation. Slatier water is heavier than water with less salt. So in the north atlantic it has become significantly saltier than the rest of the water coming from the north. So it descends to the bottom of the ocean. That brings water on the surface northwards, to compensate. You can imagine it as being some cycle: On the surface north, down to the ground and southwards again. There it rises again... If there comes however large quantities of unsalty water (from the ice), then this cycle is likely to stop doing what it is doing right now. That would lead to a significant drop in temperatures in western and northern Europe.
There are many more causal chains like this. Some of them are positive feddback loops. (Like: Warming water leads to melting ice in the arctic, which leads to a reduction in albedo, reflection of light, which leads to a stronger heating of the water; the energy of the sunlight won't reflect anymore of the ice but will be absorbed by the water; which leads to a stronger melting of ice...).
I am sure there are a lot of idiots saying stupid things about climate, but that doesn't mean nothing about climate is right. I am studying physical geography at university, i think i have some insight there. It is of course up to you if you trust this information of me, but if you are really interested you can of course go to the library of your university and go check the books on climatology and physical geography instead of taking the words of your "environmentally-obsess[ed]" friend as representative for the scientific knowledge about our planet (I don't want to be offensive, but this was really no clever post of yours, with "environmentally-obsessive friends" and "I've also heard").
One last thing: Knowledge and insight in this topic isn't just ten years old. There is a long history of research in this field. But i acknoledge that there is massive hype and stupid media coverage about it, which doesn't help. Please let the political and ideological biases out, then you can see for yourself what it is about our planet.
18th-October-2008, 08:04 PM
Ahhh... Penn and Teller. Thanks to lack of structure in the senior cycle Religion curriculum, my class has spent the last 8 weeks watching their shows whenever our teacher can't find the next Exorcist movie or when no one can make sense of that badly subtitled Phillipine one about Ouija boards, despite extensively researching the plot... Good times.
18th-October-2008, 08:06 PM
Oh hey, at looking at my post i want to say that i don't want to hijack this thread. My answer just seemed to took a life of its own (that and that i can't see the whole text i write while writing, so it doesn'T seem that much...;))
18th-October-2008, 08:06 PM
Has anyone ever done an acid/base titration with a color indicator? You mix up a basic or acidic mixture and add the opposite to a burette. You add the contents of the burette drop by drop until BAM, the color changes completely. Sometimes from clear to opaque, other time from opaque to clear (the latter is more impressive imo). Then you swap the burette for one containing the the opposite pH and drop, BAM it goes in reverse.
Why did I mention that? That's what scientists are afraid will happen with global climate change. We've seen some indicators, which you also see in the experiment I'm talking about, but nothing near what we think will happen when we hit the transition point.
We know that human civilization is producing more CO2 than has been produced in any one period of time that we are certain exists. We also know that the ocean contains a huge amount of CO2 dissolved. What happens when it becomes saturated? Well, we don't know. We know that it already contains a lot, and that its unlikely to dissolve as much in the lower depths of the ocean. Can you see why there may be something to fear regardless of temperature? That may have alerted us to the problem, but it is not the biggest cause for concern. What effect will that have on marine life? What effect will it have on weather patterns traveling over the ocean?
Is it the end of the world? Probably not, but I think its a major issue that we should continue to worry about and try to fix.
Right... Penn and Teller. I liked the Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide episode. People are smart, but when it comes to things like politics, they are intellectually lazy. Its more important to them to feel like they're a part of something than to know that that something is right.
18th-October-2008, 09:42 PM
lol point taken ogion :D. I wasn't even giving my views there at all (except for "science only disproves"), but I'd never heard most of that before. *shrug*, now I'm just closer to knowing. Thanks for the response.
18th-October-2008, 11:28 PM
its called complexity theory. the planets climate is a non linear system. no one thing affects it exclusively, its the interaction of all the parts. in a linear system, one could say "CO2 going into the atmosphere = global warming" but there are a lot more variables at stake (not to mention the average temperature in 98% of antarctica has actually dropped in the past 30 years).
if you're at all interested in complexity theory, non-linear systems and the environment, check This (http://www.crichton-official.com/video-speeches-smithsonian.html) out (its long, but i found it very interesting. This (http://www.crichton-official.com/speech-complexity.html) is the transcript if you don't want to watch the whole video).
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