Blake Snow

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Will the real scientist please stand up: I’m dumbfounded on cause of global warming

The temperature of the Earth’s surface is uncharacteristically rising. That’s a measurable fact. What’s unclear is the cause of the change: Stinky humans who are skilled polluters… or Mother Nature spiking the climate like she’s done before (the Ice Age, the Little Ice Age, etc)?

There are two groups behind two popular theses. The first group, whom I will call “believers,” vigorously accept that humans undeniably cause climate change. They are thereby antsy to implement an immediate solution, least they be burned by planetary hell fire at some future date. The second group, whom I will call “atheists,” believe in no such thing, arguing that “intervention” is a farce, and we are just another brick on the wall. In their disbelief, they don’t want to prove or confide in anything. (My metaphor has range—not to mention irony, no?)

Oddly enough, both sides treat their argument as scientific fact—like the law of gravity—while arrogantly ridiculing the other side, quite unfairly at times. It’s a major turn off. That said, as a global warming “agnostic,” I’m ready to become either “a believer” or “an atheist.” I’m just hoping someone can answer the following eight questions first.

  1. In 2007, a United Nations scientific panel found that human activity has “very likely” been the driving force of global warming over the last 50 years. Is this the most credible source for the argument that humans cause global warming? By credible, I mean a reputable authority in a position to make such a call, and I’m not crazy about the United Nations nor the use of the word “panel” as a source. What’s more, I’m having a hard time finding actual sources as opposed to general consensus. Help!
  2. It seems like “the believers” have accepted “very likely” at face value and are no longer actively testing the hypothesis of human caused global warming like good science should. Is this true? Are scientists still testing the hypothesis that humans cause global warming? It would sure be nice to be actively working towards conclusive evidence, no?
  3. Given the ramifications in the case that humans cause global warming, I understand how “believers” might be anxious in preparing a response to a probable thesis. That said, are there other examples where society correctly acted upon a probable thesis before it became scientific fact?
  4. Is natural variance (or otherwise inexplicable change in climate) completely out of the question as a cause of global warming? If so, is there a credible source that supports or entirely rules out this thesis? Again, undocumented general consensus rules here, which is bad science.
  5. Why aren’t the “atheists” trying to prove their point by testing their hypothesis? It seems the majority of them just want to tell themselves how it is rather than trying to prove their argument with scientific data.
  6. (Not really a question, but an excellent point.) The weather man can’t even accurately predict the next 24 hours of cloud cover. Discuss.
  7. I like polar bears and realize they, along with other species, are on the brink of extinction. However, the extinction of dinosaurs before humans roamed the earth leads me to believe that our world and climate can change for unexplained reasons. So is Mother Nature capable of “finding a way” to support the food chain in the event of further extinction, like that smart scientist from Jurassic Park once said? Although not directly related to the cause of global warming, I wonder if unnecessary empathy towards endangered species has led many to believe that humans are entirely in control of climate change, even though they may not be.
  8. I believe money and politics have led to bad science in determining the cause of global warming. For example, if humans don’t cause global warming, millions of researchers will be out of jobs that are currently dependent on grant money and other funding earmarked to reverse global warming. On the other hand, if humans do cause global warming, there is a huge associated cost and major inconvenience to our way of life, especially in rural and poor countries like Africa, so long as going green is as costly as it currently is. Therefore, it seems both the “believers” and “atheists” have grossly exaggerated reality in an effort to win the argument with the loudest voice, instead of following the scientific method to produce conclusive evidence. Am I wrong?

Is that too much to ask?

See also: The most objective report on global warming you’ll ever read

DISCLOSURE: I’m all for sticking it to oil companies, treating our planet with respect, and searching for smarter ways to use energy (e.g. I think wind energy is rad, if it can effectively be harnessed). I think carbon credits are a joke. I consider people who kill or torture animals, plant life or top soil for fun to be ignorant, although I make an exception with legalized hunting to reduce the number of deer I hit with my car. I am affilated with no political party, although I favor limited governement and greater state power. I’m a big fan of checks and balances. And I think the Constitution is awesome.