The Treehouse Blog

Climate Change

on Dec.28, 2009, under Politics, Science

I’ve been giving some thought recently to educating myself about the studies behind climate change.  It’s a very charged issue and one that could have profound impacts through either its effects or the effects of trying to combat it.  It’s also one that’s difficult to discuss.  The term “global warming” has lost its literal meaning and now connotes the heat-death of the world with dead Polar Bears and permanently flooded coastlines.  But what are models really predicting and with what certainty?  What data are these models based on, and with what accuracy?  I’ve just about concluded that I can’t trust anyone but myself look at the primary sources and not the distilled summaries, but that sounds like a massive undertaking.

It was brought to my attention recently that the late Michael Crichton had given a speech about his skepticism of “global warming” (the non-literal term) and I had to give it a read.  In case you don’t know, he’s the author of books such as Jurassic Park which I thoroughly enjoyed for their technical detail.  Not to mention he was working on the movie adaptation of his book The Andromeda Strain while still in medical school, if I remember correctly – so a pretty gifted guy.  While I think his speech makes some oversimplifications (just as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth does – yes, I have seen it), there is one point he makes that I emphatically agree with: “I [regard] science as the business of testing theories with measured data from the outside world. Untestable hypotheses are not science but rather something else.”  If I do manage to do some reading on this, that sentiment will be the standard I measure against.

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