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What is Science? How would you define “Science”?

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Presentation on theme: "What is Science? How would you define “Science”?"— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Science? How would you define “Science”?
Science is knowledge. Knowledge attained through study or practice. Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena. The term science also refers to the organized body of knowledge people have gained using that system.

2 Inquiry Scientific Inquiry – To ask a question or series of questions
Basic skills of scientific inquiry Observing, Collecting, Organizing, and Measuring Uses of Scientific Inquiry Explain, Connect, Predict, and Hypothesize

3 Public vs. Private Researchers in academic and governmental settings seek to broaden human understanding of the world around us. Work is shared among all through publication. Researchers in corporations seek improvements in products and processes for profit. Work is typically proprietary and not shared.

4 Scientific Method This describes a generalized approach to science. However, not all scientific discovery necessarily follows this overview! The scientific method begins with a question. Ex) What causes (bee) Colony Collapse Disorder? Ex) Do people consuming large quantities of antioxidants have lower rates of cancer?

5 Scientific Method Step two begins with the design of experiments based on the question. Observation of basic phenomena Data collected and analyzed Repeatability of experiment Manipulation of variables

6 Scientific Method Goal of experiments
To find a pattern Propose a hypothesis – a tentative explanation of some natural phenomena The hypothesis is then further tested with more experiments. At this point, a scientist in the public sector might choose to publish his or her work in a Journal.

7 Scientific Method A Journal is usually a highly specialized publication available to other scientists in a particular discipline of science. Each article is peer-reviewed and contains several important pieces. Methods / Materials Results Conclusions

8 What is “Peer” Review?

9 Scientific Method A key component of science is skepticism.
Other scientists will try your experiment in hopes of disproving your hypothesis. These scientists may submit a letter to the same journal refuting (or supporting) your results.

10 Scientific Method When a hypothesis has been thoroughly tested and continues to work, then it becomes a theory. A theory is a thoroughly tested explanation of some natural phenomena. A theory is still tested by performing more experiments. A theory can later be proven to be false!

11 True or False? Science is done by consensus – that is groups of scientists gather to “vote” on what the explanation is for basic phenomena. Science provides the “truth” in observations of natural phenomena. Scientific explanations are only accepted after all attempts at falsification are exhausted.

12 How to be a Scientist Be skeptical – question EVERYTHING
Observations and data MUST always agree with the explanation Results MUST be repeatable

13 Example: Global Warming
Key Messages of UN IPCC Report: Human activities have led to large increases in heat-trapping gases (“greenhouse gases”) over the past century. Global average temperature and sea level have increased, and precipitation patterns have changed. The global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases. Human “fingerprints” also have been identified in many other aspects of the climate system, including changes in ocean heat content, precipitation, atmospheric moisture, and Arctic sea ice.

14 Greenhouse Gases The term is a misnomer!
At night, some gas molecules absorb outgoing radiation. This prevents our temperatures from falling drastically at night. Nighttime temperatures on Mars plummet over 100oC!

15 Climate Quiz What gas molecule accounts for over 90% of the “greenhouse” effect? A) CO2 B) CH4 C) O2 D) H2O E) N2

16 NOAA Climate Data Center
Public Data? Raw or altered? Stations used? Does it match anecdotal evidence?

17 Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick
Are tree ring data a proxy for temperatures? Why does proxy data stop in 1950? Steve McIntyre,

18 Two Views “Their*” theory – our planet’s climate system is highly sensitive to carbon dioxide concentrations. Fact: Every computer Global Climate Model (GCM) treats carbon dioxide as an exponential factor when projecting temperatures into the future. *Referred to as “warmists” by skeptics or “The Team” – see for those who believe in this theory. Skeptical blog:

19 Climate Memes Meme – an idea, behavior, or style repeated throughout a culture. “Warming is unprecedented.” Answer: It was actually warmer many times in past on our planet. “97% of all climate scientists agree that global warming is attributed to man.” Answer: Survey sent only to those who published a paper with the words ‘global warming’ in it.





24 Data Quality? Temperature records can be spoiled by poorly located instruments. Many “official” stations located at busy airports. Selective removal of “cooler” stations.

25 UHI = Urban Heat Island

26 Fact: Logarithmic Effect
Absorbance of radiation by any molecule is logarithmic – each additional molecule absorbs a fractionally smaller and smaller amount of energy. Climate models treat CO2 as an exponential factor (like an accelerant in a fire).

27 Log Function Graph

28 Climate Models


30 Positive Benefits Plants are literally starving for CO2.
Some estimates place a 15% increase in food supply from added CO2. Warmer periods in history have been times of human success whereas colder periods have been times of human suffering. Life expectancy ca about 40 y.o., ca about 80 y.o. Energy usage and medical advances are responsible for improving life expectancy.

31 Energy and Poverty Over 700 million people in Africa lack access to electricity. Diseases like malaria, cholera, AIDS, etc. kill millions each year. Life expectancy is less than 45 y.o. in 11 countries of Africa. Paul Driessen, “Eco-Imperialism”

32 Alternative Theory So if not CO2, then what does control global temperatures? Many possible factors like: The Sun and solar cycles Ocean cycles – PDO, AMO and others Changes in the Earth’s orbit (precession, obliquity, eccentricity) are known to have produced the ice ages (Milankovitch cycles)

33 Solar Cycles

34 Sunspot History

35 Pacific Decadal Oscillation

36 Climategate Many climate researchers have refused or stone-walled efforts over the years from FOI requests. In November, 2009, and again in November, 2011 (aka Climategate 2.0) a large collection of files and s were leaked from East Anglia University’s (UK) Climate Research Unit (CRU). “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” - Phil Jones, Head of the CRU at East Anglia (emphasis added by me).

37 Climategate 2.0 Emails revealed that Researchers:
Cherry-picked data to support their case. Regularly peer-reviewed each others work. Bullied Journal editors to not accept skeptic papers. Travelled often to international conferences to “present” their case. Refused to share data and methods with skeptics. Conspired to destroy data and records to avoid FOI requests. Actions clearly that were criminal!

38 Dr. Richard Lindzen, MIT “The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well.” Complete article Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

39 I was an alarmist… MSNBC April 23, 2012: 'Gaia' scientist James Lovelock reverses himself: I was 'alarmist' about climate change & so was Gore! “The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago.” “The climate is doing its usual tricks. There's nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said. “The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time... it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising -- carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that…”

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