February 17, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Consensus on global warming?

Donald Sensing has been positively obsessed in recent weeks about the latest "surge" (!) of alarm with regard to global warming. On Friday he challenged the widespread notion that there exists a solid consensus among scientists about this trend and its main causes. He distinguishes between scientific fact and scientific consensus, something that few laymen grasp. The point being that just because there is a broad consensus that temperatures have been rising in recent decades (a factual matter) does not mean there is a similarly broad consensus as to whether this trend will continue, or why it is happening. He quickly gets to the heart of the matter:

But a collection of facts do not comprise scientific knowledge any more than a pile of feathers makes a duck. Facts, though crucial, are intermediary. Facts must be interpreted. Scientists relate facts to formulate theory. The major usefulness of theories is to make predictions and inferences about nature, what it is and how it works and how it will work.

Music to my ears! I was especially pleased that he made such a big point about the widespread expression "Just a theory," which he states "is an accusation that actually makes no sense." I spent a great deal of effort explaining the difference between facts and theory in connection with evolution in January 2005. I heartily recommend reading all of Rev. Sensing's eloquent and thoughtful post.

Random tech tidbits

I'm old enough to remember the Apollo moon landings, and am proud to have insisted that my younger brother John, who was of kindergarten age, watch the moon walk in living black and white. He didn't fully grasp the significance of it at the time, but eventually he was grateful that I provided him with a "first historic event in my memory." Anyone can enjoy these lunar surface panoramas. Hat tip to Shaun Kenney.

Tanner Godarzi recently suffered the heartbreak of an iMac that recently "passed away." See his fond remembrances, and thoughts about how the iMac saved Apple from probable bankruptcy, at applematters.com. Non-Mac users could never understand...

Archives Search

I have added a new Archives Search function on the Central archives page. It was in "beta version" stage for the past few weeks, and I'm pretty sure the bugs in it have been taken care of. Because of the heavy amount of server processing that is involved, it is only available to those who have registered for this Web site. Don't be shy, sign up today! It's free and your information will be secure.