Saturday, August 25, 2007

on some people's education

I've been spending a lot of time lately on other websites, most notably those of the Billings Gazette. Some thinking is really starting to get me down. I wonder where some people picked up what little science they know and why they believe what they do about a category of knowledge that has led to the world which we know: computers, smart phones, electronic date books, digital television, and a host of other things. With the reactions to such thing as global warming, they seem to indicate just how ignorant they are about the processes of science. Let's take evolution for instance. Science calls it a theory. So people say, with a shrug: "it's just a theory." And that's correct. But they don't understand that a theory in science is something with a heavy weight of discovery and thinking behind it. A theory is one step from being a law, but science now recognizes that there are so few conditions in the universe without some exceptions that they don't offer many laws. Even the so-called Law of Gravity only is a law in very limited circumstances. Outside of something as limited as the solar system, gravity seems to take on all kinds of not well understood aspects.

Then, let's look at global warming. Yes, there are some heretics out there who seem to think that humans flooding the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses don't play a significant role in global warming. One cited by Discover Magazine a few months ago blames changes in the sun. Yet, the vast majority of scientists have come to a conclusion that we are facing extensive changes in our world with the warming trend, no matter what's causing it. And if greenhouse gasses are playing a role, even a minor one, we need to do what we can to curtail their production and exhaustion into the atmosphere. How are you and I going to react when the people of countries like Bangladesh and China and India and Florida and California begin to move away by the millions from their flooding homelands? Do you want to own beach front property in southern Montana?

Creationists and IDers particularly say about evolution teaching in schools: Let's teach the argument! That's echoed to some extent in slightly different terms not having to do with the schools by Exxon and other global warming antis. What they don't seem to recognize is that there is no SCIENTIFIC argument in either case, particularly evolution. The evolution argument is about the political aspects, not the scientific ones. Without an understanding of evolution, all science collapses. The arguments about global warming also seem to be mostly political, although people always want to toss in the economic aspects and talk about a balance between saving the earth and saving jobs. And that particular argument is discussion apples and oranges. If there is not earth, there are no jobs! Money does not count in the global warming situation. And so-called free markets or free enterprise answers won't work either.


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