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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Unscientific Opinion

At the heart of nearly everything we know and believe about the world is the issue of trust or credibility. In a sense, only those things which we experience ourselves can be truly known. No one however accepts as true only those facts which they have proven for themselves. Everyone believes something or other based on what somebody else has told them. This is simply an act of faith. If you accept what someone says about something when you have no knowledge or experience of that thing yourself, then you are saying that you trust what that person says. They have authority and you accept that authority as a basis for truth. This kind of knowledge can also be thought of as indirect knowledge.

I am not a scientist. My mind struggles occasionally with logical deductive reasoning and I don't have a great head for facts and figures. I failed chemistry and I suck at maths. My opinions on climate change ( I have decided to ban the term "global warming" from my personal vocabulary)therefore are pretty unscientific.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a different kettle of fish. This allegedly authoritative Nobel Prize winning 2007 report was supposed to reflect only peer reviewed science. The concept of peer review is extremely important in the establishment of scientific fact. The IPCC has had its credibility eroded with the revelation that some of its facts on glacial melts are rubbish: mere speculation by an independent Indian scientist who himself is evidently not an expert in the field. The full story, as reported in the media last week, can be read elsewhere. My point is that I just don't trust what the scientists are saying about climate change.

Climate Change skeptics are in the minority we are told by climate change believers but according to one concerned believer who was interviewed on ABC radio last week, the skeptics are winning the publicity war. The vociferous minority is doing a great job of either convincing the average citizen that the whole "end of the world" shebang is malarchy, or at the very least lulling them into a false sense of security. At this point, I am not even convinced that the skeptics are the dummies and deniers they are painted out to be.

Even if I am in the minority, who is to say that the minority is wrong? About two thousand years ago, a small group of dedicated men who held a very counter cultural and unpopular view of the world, actually changed it for the better.I could cite numerous examples but think about how often a small voice emerges from obscurity and ridicule to true greatness.

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