I have spent a lot of time measuring the weathering rates of marble gravestones. During my studies, I have discovered a trend that says that the rate changes over time. But that is not what this is about. It is about the data and how you can use that to model some of the ‘so-called’ climate debate.
So let’s say I measure 1,000 gravestones and see that the rate that they weather is around about the same in all but 100. In those 100 the rate is way less. So, if you like 10% buck the trend. So I measure another 1,000 and find that around 90% show the same trend and 10% show some different rate.
So what do I do? I publish my findings about the 90% and what they show us about the weathering rate of marble gravestones. In my published item I mention that 10% and how they buck the trend – but feel that the overwhelming evidence of the 90% of the stones is the important things to consider.
What I don’t do is create a youtube video about the 10% and how they overrule all the other findings of the 90%. I don’t give talks about how the 90% of the gravestones are telling us lies and that the 10% of the gravestones are the only real ones we should be looking at!
Like that would be stupid…right?
And yet that is what is happening with the climate change debate. The overwhelming data says that the Earth is warming because of the increase in greenhouse gases caused by human activity. It is well published. It is now given the support of the vast majority of the scientific community.
A few people go create youtube videos or give talks (which end up on youtube) providing some outlier evidence or just opinion based on their belief (and I use that word deliberately). And they make out that that this information is the only true information – and that the overwhelming data showing climate change is on us is false.
People well trained in science get it…but not the general public
We understand the process of science and we get it. But folks who have no or little scientific training don’t. They feel that if it is on youtube, then it has to be given equal weight. So its like 10% of my gravestones should be given the same weighting as 90% of my gravestones. And that is just crazy!
We used to think that science would speak for itself.
But it doesn’t anymore. People need to understand the process of science, the way that we debate science, and how science goes through a cycle that allows results to be reviewed and reproduced. And that consensus is important in moving forward and that outliers, while not ignored, are seen for what they are.
We need to talk to people about that process and how it works. We need to let people know that we don’t BELIEVE in climate change – but rather it is a fact that we have evidence for. And that while people have opinions about climate change, opinions do not overrule scientific fact.
Ok…guess I need to go back to my gravestones. They have no opinions – just super cool data that can be used to understand what is happening in our atmosphere.