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Monday, July 18, 2011

~ do you believe in the pink and plump?

This morning I heard Rob Oakeshott phrase something rather eloquently on the science of Climate Change. To paraphrase, he asked would you take your child to the doctor if they were sick? Wouldn't you be negligent if you did not? If your car was malfunctioning, wouldn't you take it to a mechanic?

This is to say that we rely, sensibly, on experts to inform and advise us on subjects in which we are not conversant.

Why most of Australia - seemingly - wishes to dispute the overwhelming evidence provided by specialist authorities on climate science and economics beggars belief. The well has been poisoned, that is clear. Fearmongers are at large, conspiring with other agents of unreason. I see sallow-faced pamphleteers smacking their thin lips in sordid anticipation. And merchants, pink, corn-fed, redolent of baby powder, lining their wallows with profit ...

All of it working to muddle our heads on this most critical of issues. For all her faults, I feel deeply for Julia Gillard at this moment. She is facing a storm of sheer madness, the outrage of the greedy, the vitriol of the hateful - yet she is refusing to back down. I wish there was more I could do.

Science is science. It is method not opinion. The science that gives us life-saving drugs, microwave ovens, iphones, sophisticated crash-restraints, plastic, podiatry, GPS systems, X-ray machines, Predator drones and Zhu Zhu pets is the very same science that has been advising us, firmly, for decades, to act on climate change.

The scientist observes, measures, experiments and records. He or she examines the data, shares it with other scientists, and may draw conclusions. An hypothesis may result. The process is then repeated as many times as necessary. If there is sufficient evidence, a theory may be presented to the scientific community. The theory is then subject to review by peers and, if it is a good one, may be published in a journal.

But, no matter how much evidence accrues to back it up, it will only ever remain a theory - for in science nothing is certain. Will the sun rise tomorrow? It is not certain. Just very very likely.

This is the scientific (or empirical) method. It has brought us from the dark ages of fear and superstition to unparalleled levels of civilisation.

If we ask ‘do you believe in climate change’ we are asking ‘do you believe in science’.

Do you believe in science?

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3 comments:

Pink Light said...

Well said Sam. I can't believe the level of ignorance in the community over this issue. We should be celebrating the fact we have a government that is actually willing to do something about an important issue that has consequences for the future not just for the next election. Any of my friends who support the luddites on this issue can fuck right off.

sam sejavka said...

Thanks. And I agree with you almost entirely ... Though the debate has been getting heated enough for rational debate to be put aside in favour of warfare. I try to be rational, to explain the facts ... but I do find myself flaring up a lot more lately.

gavgams said...

Good stuff, Sam,,, it is well said
,, and another thing...
I hate it how Rob Oakeshot is parodied (and shot down) for verbosity. He's got courage and a better brain than a hell of a lot of em I know about.

ps,: Have you seen the Yes2renewables web site?
If no then check it out