~ PROLOGUE ~ HOW I MET THE CLIMATE ~ THE MEANING OF SCIENCE ~ THE STATE OF THE CLIMATE ~ BEGINNING
ONE CHANCE ~ TRIBES ~ SENTIENCE ~
~ AGONY ~ LETTER TO PRESIDENT REIF OF MIT
WHO IS AT FAULT ~ CRITIQUE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES ~
WORLD CLIMATE AUTHORITY ~ A BIT OF BIO ~ APOLLO 8 ~ EPILOGUE
2. Seeing Through A Thought
Perhaps one of the oldest knockdowns in an argument is "Ah! I could see right through that."Which, of course means someone was trying to fool us, to put a "fast one" by us.
This time I would like to think about just one person. You (or me). How often do we pull a 'fast one" on ourselves? How often are we certain something is true.
Looking back over 70 years or so, when did my "insight," my ability to "see in" or at least to look more deeply improve. Or at least I stopped fooling myself so much. I think. After 40 (slowly), after 70 better.
One way to learn a bit is to examine scientists trying to be certaain. Gravity's Kiss, is the story of the detection of gravity waves (we will leave the science aside for now). Einsten thought they were too weak to ever be detected. The whole experiment took about 50 years. When the first very clear results came within hours of the activation of the third generation system in 2015, 300 scientists spent six months debating every world in the scientific paper to be submitted to Physical Review Letters, debating exacty what was to be claimed was discovered. This in a situation where the signal detected (simultaneously in two faciities in opposite corners of the U.S.) was almost ridiculously clear. There was going to be zero possibiity of any criticism of the experiment, the logical thought behind it, or the results claimed in the paper. There wasn't. (Note: PRL is the premier journal in this field focusing on short, 2-4 page, reports. This article was 24 pages!)
We are often (varies all over map) more or less clear in what we are saying (leaving out simple day to day events). Probably my least favorite is "I just know. I can't tell you why. I just have this feeling..." doesn't tell me anything, no matter who says it.
At least as bad was President Trump sowing his doubts about President Obama's place of birth. "I've been hearing things..." Here the onus is on the listener: "O.K. Who said it, when, to whom and on what did they base their claim." Another is to believe someone because they were "sincere."
When you get down to it there are two ways to approach a hunk of information, knowledge, opinion, etc. And some of us are better at detecting this than others, although I think we all do it to one degree or another.
The scientists in Gravity's Kiss wanted to believe badly and they had good reason to just accept the results. However, this this field of "hard science" being "right" means I have beaten the crap out of the evidence to try to prove that it is wrong. And I have gotten others to do the same thing. And only when I am on the verge of collapse, and, my colleagues all agree do we publish. (In this particular instance there were three immediate Noble prizes.)
There are three other versions of this problem:
1. I don't care which way it goes.
2. I don't want it to be true.
3.I3. I am going to beliedvewhat I want to no matter what th4 eidence.
The last is disastyetr. It is Donald Ytump prrtdosonified. The reult is thateither a group of people all believe the same batch of lies or everyone believes a different lie. In this case everone might jut as well be spakeing adifferent langjage and no matter how muuch ake thinking hqpp4nw, it i alll bulhip.Then for ourselves:
1. How badly do I want to believe it.?
2. How much do I trust the source?
3. How well do I undertand the issue at hand?
However, the overriding issue is morality which includes truth. It is often tough to get to the bottow of things as they say. But in your own mind and spirit, it must be the goal.
It should mean that you do a lot of doubting about many things. But as you go you gain a bit of confidence that your eyes are seeing fine.
Probably the one group I would leave immediately was the Tea Party when membership meant that global warming could not be real. I dont't how many lied to themselves, but they are a part of the catastrophe we are heading to for which we yet don't even have a name. At that time it was just climate change.