Denying Progress (reprinted from the Metro Spirit, 9-25-14)
The history of science is littered with periods where a grand consensus of individuals champion incorrect theories. For nearly two thousand years, no one challenged Aristotle’s “statement of fact” that heavier objects fall faster. Galileo disproved that during the 16th century. How about the absolute fact that the Earth is the center of the Solar System? Copernicus tore down that consensus. Did someone forget to tell Magellan that the world was flat? Thank goodness he didn’t get the memo.
Even more recently, the current view of quantum mechanics, now widely regarded as definitive, resulted from a grand consensus championed by Niels Bohr. This consensus dismissed a competing view from Louis de Broglie, even though the theory explained a significant omission. One hundred years later, fluid dynamicists have resurrected de Broglie’s theory and suggest that it might help close some of the gaps in current thinking.
And the list goes on and on.
Scientists need to keep a degree of skepticism regarding their results. Once researchers stop believing that their results could be wrong, the science transforms into politics, and the scientists transform into evangelists. Eventually you get to a point where the science doesn’t matter. The belief becomes more important than the observation.
So for any educated individual to say that man is the absolute cause of climate change is, in my humble opinion, a very closed-minded opinion.
At this point, I know that a significant number of you just cursed me. (I could sense the tremors in the Force.) Climate change theory has evolved beyond science and has become a litmus test issue for politicians and activists. Supporters of the cause are regarded as intelligent, insightful and heroic. Those that so much as ask a question are immediately outcast and labeled as Deniers!
So before I get tarred and feathered, let’s make one thing perfectly clear. When it comes to climate change, I’m NOT a denier. It’s quite the opposite. The opinion that mankind can impact the Earth’s environment is very reasonable.
As a matter of fact, as a champion of space exploration, I wholly support mankind’s efforts to develop the technology needed to terraform new worlds. While the vast consensus argues against mankind’s impact on the environment, in reality, the very modest temperature increase we’ve observed over the last 100 years is actually a grand success. History will look back on this period as the time where mankind took its first feeble steps to master the environment on a global scale.
Aren’t we fortunate to live during such a time? Isn’t it a great privilege to live among the individuals that took the first steps to transform inhospitable planetoids such as Mars, Callisto and Titan into habitable worlds? Aren’t you proud that your children will be able to colonize new planets because of what we accomplished during this generation?
Climate change is vitally important skill that mankind must possess if we are to explore space. Rather than moving backward, I encourage readers to develop a climate change vision. For example, think of what climate change could mean for Augusta.
Over the next 100 years, the sea level is forecasted to rise somewhere between two and six feet. That’s not nearly enough to help Augusta’s economy. This city should provide incentives that help achieve a 136-foot rise in the sea level. This change in sea level will allow Augusta to become a coastal metropolis! And considering that most of Florida will be underwater, Augusta would naturally become one of the primary vacation and port destinations on the East coast!
It’s time to stop blindly accepting the chorus of those opposing climate change. In reality, opposition to climate change is just a futile attempt to maintain the status quo and keep us chained to this world. Those that want to turn back the clock are suppressing innovation and growth. To truly progress, we need to embrace the new environmental diversity created through global warming. Only then will we be free to fly among the stars.
Until next time, I’m off the grid@gregory_a_baker