Nature of science lost on letter writer regarding climate change
To the Editor:
Mr. Jim Scanlon, in his recent campaign on a single issue (climate change) and against a single candidate (Rand Paul), is confused about the nature of science.
Science questions and seeks answers, but is never decided finally as it continually reevaluates prior hypotheses or solutions. Debate continues precisely because it is undecided.
Questions remain concerning: 1. Reliability, 2. Cause, 3. Effect 4. Degree, 5. Solutions, 6. Priorities, 7. Economics.
Mr. Scanlon’s evidence of selected data points of particular weather events, locations and times is the very definition of biased unscientific information.
Healthy skepticism is prudent because of a host of historical erroneous scientific claims and solutions. One study found 65 percent of scientific papers were retracted because of poor ethical judgment (The Scientist, 12/17/2012). Doomsday promoters have been with us forever, but none suggesting the destruction of the world has been correct yet.
Daunting questions remain concerning whether the degree climate change is natural or human caused or is global cooling (1970s), global warming (1990s) or just unspecified climate change (2000s). Even more daunting are proposed solutions, considering that nearly all of economic production (e.g., food, plastics, steel, etc.) depends upon hydrocarbons for energy and/or materials because of its vast economic superiority. Substantial increased cost would effectively reduce the standard of living of everyone, but disproportionately for the poor. Hydrocarbons are the foundation for a vast portion of the worlds improved standard of living and sustaining of a geometric increase in population over the last 100 years.
An equitable, agreeable and enforceable convention by all nations is most daunting, without which proposed solutions would be ineffective.
Once government, rather than the market, is proposed as a solution, the issue transforms from scientific to political. Suggestions science is finally decided and there is no more question is the province of propaganda and not continual scientific inquiry.
Dr. Paul perpetuates inquiry in multiple areas beyond climate change and across party lines. Dr. Paul is skeptical of the constitutionality, justness and effectiveness of NSA domestic spying, civil forfeiture, undeclared interminable wars, unsustainable government debt, programs and retirement systems, borrowing from our enemies and our children, debasement of money, excessive regulation, taxation and subsidies of businesses and individuals. In addition, he has proposed viable solutions.
Only 25-30 percent of respondents believe the country is heading in the right direction. Change will come only when voters consider candidates dedicated to the Constitution and that continue to inquire and discard those who suggest all further consideration and debate should cease.
Eldon L. Rash