March 24, 2007




I thought you might want to see a picture of me spending the last three months of my life researching Global Warming for SEEING THE UNSEEN, Part 2. Notice the sizable volume of climate research I have under my arm, not to mention the determination I am showing to thoroughly get inside this issue.

This is the price I have paid for spending twelve or thirteen weeks of Deep Cogitation trying to make sense out of an issue that people who have spent twelve or thirteen years on either side still cannot present coherently.

During my time at the Midvale School, I thought I would be able to learn enough about this issue to reach a solid conclusion, and then, as a public courtesy, I would Explain It All To You. That was rather an arrogant assumption on my part, but one made with the best of intentions.

What I have learned will not shed any light on whether or not Anthropogenic Global Warming is "real" -- although I have in fact come to a fairly comfortable conclusion based on a fair amount of study... and it might be a mistake to assume what that conclusion is until you read it.

I have, however, found something that I can comment on with some degree of confidence. In the last three months at Midvale I have encountered the line between being scientifically literate and being an actual scientist. And my conclusion is there is no small degree of change needed on this issue -- and other nasty aneurisms where politics and science meet. That politicians and celebrity spokespeople have let us down on this one is taken as granted. Scientists have let us down, let us down dreadfully, by doing both more and less then they should.

So rather than discuss the pros and cons of Global Warming, I want to address what I have learned concerning the obligation of scientists in a democracy and how we as a culture had better learn to deal with science as a factory to produce data, not policy... and how both lay people, and especially politicians, have an obligation to understand the essentials of the scientific method, and most importantly, to learn to respect the limits of what it can and cannot tell us. Taught effectively, that would be a lesson all of us at good old Midvale could use.

So, I'm putting my carbon graphs away, and hope some small effort at explaining how we can learn to weigh evidence would be more useful than adding another small injection of hot air into the Perfect Storm of the day. Because I have come to the conclusion -- and you are of course free to disagree -- that while the science is scary, the politics are terrifying.

I've got two weeks of hiatus starting first week of April. Expect SEEING THE UNSEEN Part 2, and AMERICA AT THERMOPYLAE before Tax Day.

I haven't been dead. I've been reading. I just haven't gotten around to that PULL sign that's been right in front of my nose.

Posted by Proteus at 3:36 PM