Some Thoughts on the March for Science


(system) #1
The mainstream practice of science is still our best shot at understanding God’s Creation.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/deborah-haarsma-the-presidents-notebook/some-thoughts-on-the-march-for-science

The Language of God gives evidence for an intelligent designer, so why is BL anti-ID?
Evolution is secularism, not science
(Lonnie E Schubert) #2

I have lost all respect for BioLogos. Foolish to support political activism. Disgraceful.


(Jay Nelsestuen) #3

From the article:

BioLogos does not engage in partisan politics; these positive comments about the goals of the March are not an endorsement of a Democratic agenda.


(George Brooks) #4

@Lonnie_E_Schubert

It appears that the BioLogos office is just as concerned as you are about “political activism”.

“The challenge is that the March was obviously triggered by recent political events in the US. Many marchers held anti-Trump signs, and many rallies featured anti-Trump rhetoric, even at sites in other countries.”

“BioLogos does not engage in partisan politics; these positive comments about the goals of the March are not an endorsement of a Democratic agenda.”

" Of course some marchers argued for and against particular policies; such political debates are part of setting policy in our democracy. Yet more marchers were arguing for something more basic: that policy discussions must be grounded in well-established scientific findings."

" In a sense, they were protesting against the politicization of science, by insisting that scientific findings are true for all of us and cannot be ignored or summarily rejected by any political party. Unfortunately, the responses of some Christian groups to the March for Science have moved the conversation about science and Christianity in the wrong direction."


(Phil) #5

Enjoyed the observations and grudgingly agree that we have to be advocates for our position. We live in an increasingly fragmented society, and if a position is not taken, our viewpoints will be ignored. The march was only a blimp in the news cycle, and the important work one on one with our friends, students, and society must follow.


(Larry Bunce) #6

Activist demonstrations are largely symbolic, but they can show that more than a few kooks hold a certain position. The March for Science was organized to protest anti-science statements made by Trump, so that gave it a political slant, but demonstrations are the way opinions are heard in a democracy. Scientists can’t wait for the next election to express their opinion, since even a short cut-off of funding could ruin decades of ongoing research.


(Steve Schaffner) #7

Are you thinking a Goodyear or more of a Hindenburg?


(Phil) #8

Hum. Rather than exercise my editing powers, better I accept my mistake in humility, though renting an airship for the next march is an idea…


(Mark Twombly) #10

It might be useful to follow the money and understand the real agenda behind this:

Is this really about honest inquiry, or funding preconceived notions?

I’ve noticed even in the news in 2017 how EPA nominee, then chief, would be villified for having the audacity to encourage inquiry regarding the ‘settled science’ of climate change.


(Steve Schaffner) #11

It’s really about honest inquiry.


(George Brooks) #13

@marktwombly,

I think you might be disappointed by any earnest effort to follow the money …

The meme below successfully mocks the idea that scientists are the ones pursuing the money … while the fossil fuel companies are, purportedly, the ones who are truly indifferent as to whether billions of dollars of carbon-based fuel should be left underground or not …


(Chris Falter) #14

Shapiro states:

Bill Nye isn’t interested in a scientific debate about global warming — how much is occurring, the measurement techniques at issue, the sensitivity of the climate to carbon emissions, the range of factors that affect the climate.

Shapiro seems to be unaware that climate scientists have been working quite diligently on all these issues for many decades, and have reached a very strong consensus on the conclusions.

Pruitt, a lifelong Oklahoma Republican politician, has received $300,000 of funding from the oil industry over the years. The Republican AG group that he led for 6 years also relied heavily on the oil industry for funding. That does not mean that what he says on the issue is automatically wrong. And there is no reason to question his sincerity. There is reason, however, to recognize that his assault on the strong scientific consensus is quite political in nature. And he is objectively wrong on the issue.

So there is now a lifelong politician with deep oil industry connections and loyalty, like Pruitt, in charge of an agency with a scientific mission that happens to step on oil industry toes. And he wants to stop decades of scientific research efforts that are inconvenient for the oil industry. That is why scientists were marching last Saturday.

Note: I voted in the 2016 Republican primary in SC.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #15

I suspect that the word “inquiry” doesn’t really fit where you used it — it would be a wonderful improvement if it did! That’s what scientists have been doing for some time now enabling them and us to know as much as we do.


(Brad Kramer) #16

What if I was to suggest that smoking really doesn’t cause lung cancer? Or that there was no link between prenatal alcohol abuse and birth defects? Should I be praised for having the “audacity to encourage inquiry”, or might some less laudatory phrase be more appropriate (such as “no, this is settled science, you don’t know what you are talking about”).

Which is to say, let’s be careful not to automatically assign villain status to scientific institutions protecting a well-established consensus, and hero status to those attacking it.


(Mark Twombly) #17

Thanks to all for chiming in.

Is the scientific evidence for man made global warming (now changed to ‘climate change’ because of the pause in warming) really as strong as smoking causing lung cancer? Really? If so, NOAA wouldn’t have to change or misreport their data. Just saying…

I’m not assigning villain status to scientific institutions or oil companies necessarily. But we need to be honest about the data and the financial incentives impacting scientific research. Yes, ‘big oil’ is a problem, but is ‘big government’ not? One might be much larger than the other - I encourage readers to investigate which actually is bigger - but neither are sources of objectivity, and both fund research for their own ends.

I am not a scientist. But when I continually hear - as I have loud and clear in this conversation - that the science is settled, shut up - this raises red flags for me. This type of argumentation, on any subject, should raise red flags for all of us.

  • MDT

(George Brooks) #18

@marktwombly,

The problem with Climate Change science is it is much more complex than the science of Smoking Causes Cancer.

For example, the “pause” is an artifact of one particularly hot year, more than a decade ago, and which is used to manipulate statistics to show there is no warming “in the long view”.

However, if we look at a 100 year chart, that “pause” is non-existent… because volatility spikes are not being averaged out. Most of the hottest months ever recorded have all been since that spike so many years ago.

The Milankovitch Cycles is actually the system which produced the regular cycling of Ice Ages, and the warm periods in between, by incrementally forcing CO2 to be released by our oceans or allowing the CO2 to be re-absorbed by the oceans. At 400 ppm, the M. Cycle is effectively “swamped out”, and will not reappear again until ppm levels get back to under 280 (which will take centuries), or until continents continue to drift so much that the cycle can start again (but this will take millions of years, and there’s no guarantee that the drifting continents are heading in the right direction!).

8 times, in 800,000 years, CO2 levels cycled back and forth between 180 and 280 ppm. The earth was in a “sweet spot” (in terms of ocean currents and continental configuration) that allowed for this clean and simple swing between one or the other extreme. And by extreme, we should pay special attention to this:

280 ppm was enough to melt mile high glaciers sitting comfortably on top of Manhattan. And 180 ppm was enough to build them up again.

Even if the Earth’s atmosphere goes no higher than the current 400 ppm level, virtually all our glaciers (except for a few regional exceptions) are now programmed to entirely melt away. Unfortunately, the time it takes for nature to re-absorb CO2 is much slower than the time it takes for humanity to harvest millions of years of CO2 from fossil-fuel extraction and use.

Mark, the science is quite clear and settled. And the people who own the fossil fuel deposits hate the idea of leaving any in the ground … because that’s money they will never be able to make. Coincidentally, these people are the same ones who oppose taxation for any types of “fixes” or “mitigations” that might soften the inevitable turmoil that climate change will bring to the masses all around the world.

But I think you and they are missing the point. If we use a NASA-like agency structure to support cutting edge research in alternative energy, we can create alternatives that are Cheaper than fossil fuel.

This will lead to:

  1. more and better high-tech jobs (just like those created by the original NASA);
  2. American leadership in an ever-growing industry;
  3. National independence; and
  4. a free-market response - - by making other forms of energy Cheaper - - all the nations of the world will want it and will be able to afford it.

Jesus told his followers to pay their taxes… and that was with imperial Rome to boot!

The science-deniers are missing the opportunity of a lifetime … and I don’t mean measured in their lifetimes … but in the lifetime of the entire planet Earth!


(Mark Twombly) #19

I can’t demonstrate the point better than you have already. Thank you.


(Chris Falter) #20

Hi Mark,

What you have demonstrated is that critics of the climate science consensus often do not really understand what they are criticizing. For example, you professed belief in a trend that is 100% contradicted by the data…

Actually, there has been no pause since 1998. Temperatures have continued to increase in every climate system, and 2016 shattered all the previous records for global average temperature.

No one is saying that, Mark. What people are saying is,“Why don’t you listen to the reliable scientific findings we already have, instead of quoting misinformation?”

I do not question your sincerity, but I do question your sources of information on these climate science issues.

There is always room for further research in science. And there is plenty of room for discussing what the best responses to anthropogenic global warming are, based on economic and political considerations.

The one thing we cannot do is nothing.

“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge.” Proverbs 27:12

Have a great weekend,
Chris


(George Brooks) #21

@marktwombly,

How does the summary I provided for the once cyclical nature of Ice Ages and Glacier Melting fit into your world view?

NOAA is not mis-reporting their findings. They are developing more precise correlations between CO2 and the inevitable rise in temperatures…

Perhaps you could show us where the “Pause” is in this graph?

To my eyes, it looks like there hasn’t been a genuine pause in more than half a century …


(Bill Wald) #22

The globe is 2/3rds water. Water has a higher specific heat than land. The oceans can get warmer while the land gets colder. The graph would not represent this phenomenon which seems to be the case.