Oh, and you members of the Church of Global Warming, you can rename yourselves Climate Change but I wouldn’t if I were you. That just makes you more unbelievable.
One of the worst and shortest jobs I’ve ever had was rock picking. One year in early summer, my brother and I worked for a neighbor picking rocks out of his field. Each winter the frost in central Minnesota would push very large rocks up to the surface. Our neighbor had a piece of farm machinery with long steel forks he’d pull behind his tractor that would lift the largest boulders. My brother and I would walk behind and pick up the medium and smaller rocks.
Where did those rocks come from? They came from glaciers that melted around 30,000 years ago and that left way too many rocks in central Minnesota. The glaciers also left Minnesota with thousands of beautiful lakes.
What melted those glaciers?
They melted long before there were any significant human activities — our ancestors were still hunting the wooly mammoth.
That seems to suggest larger, much longer-term weather patterns. Weather patterns that go far beyond the seasons, far beyond El Niño and La Niña cycles — patterns that span tens of thousands or even millions of years.
Given our current inability to accurately predict much smaller weather cycles, is it reasonable to think that we are currently capable of fully and precisely understanding these much larger weather patterns? Is the science really settled?
A flux in understanding in science is a healthy thing. It reflects healthy curiosity, open-mindedness and a willingness to challenge current thinking. Pluto was a planet, then it wasn’t, and now maybe it is again. At one point in time, the majority of doctors in the United States smoked cigarettes and doctors endorsed different cigarette brands in advertising. Now, of course, they don’t. We were told egg yolks were bad for our health, and now we’re being told they’re not.
Climate change itself as an area of concern has morphed over the decades. It began in the 1970s as concern over global cooling and a pending ice age. It then became concern about a hole in the ozone layer, then global warming, and now climate change.
It’s very reasonable for science to evolve as new studies are done, new methods are developed and old ideas are challenged.
Regardless of the politicized nature of the climate change debate, isn’t it reasonable to expect that science will change as it refines its understanding of how much man-made activities affect the weather relative to solar flares, larger weather patterns, etc.? How do we know a given prescription will meaningfully reduce what are currently believed to be negative impacts of man-made activities? For example, the Weather Channel’s science section notes “according to some scientists, the restoration of ozone over Antarctica might have negative effects on global warming.”
Science is dynamic, not static. It reflects our best understanding of very complex systems at any given point in time. The universe is an unimaginably complex set of complex systems. It’s hard to imagine that the science will ever be settled.
I hope we’ll always be learning something new, that we’ll always be refining our understanding. That’s why I’m a skeptic.