Unless you are a scientist working on a very specific area of research and actually understand a particular phenomenon in detail, you take everything else stated as true by science on faith. When I argue with my friends we need to change society to slow down global warming I’m really preaching on faith – my faith in a particular idea. I can’t personally prove its true. I’m testifying for the global warming gospel. I am not a scientist. I read a lot of popular science books and magazines, and that isn’t science either, nor does it make me a scientist or even scientific in my thinking. Popular science books are the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John gospels of the world of science. The real enlightenment is through understanding experiments.
Last night I attended the Memphis Astronomical Association meeting and heard a lecture about how the speed of light was figured out over the centuries. We are told the speed of light is 186,282 miles per second in a vacuum. I can’t prove that. The lecture last night covered several methods that scientists used since the 17th century to calculate the speed of light. If I wanted to I could recreate those experiments myself and have a better understanding – one that is not based on faith.
For our culture to be based on scientific experience rather than faith we need to train kids to practice science. Even though measuring the speed of light is a difficult problem, there are probably many many ways to get the job done. One creative approach I found was by melting marshmallows in a microwave. I have no idea if this experiment is real or not. Right now it’s in the faith realm. There are other stories like it on the net but using cheese instead of marshmallows. My point is people can come up with creative ways to solve the problem. Teachers need to find more of these experiments to help raise kids to understand how things actually work. If the marshmallow experiment is bogus, then they need to learn why?
I’m reading Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and in one chapter he explains how much astronomy can be achieve by an ordinary person with a stick. I don’t need to duplicate these stick experiments because Tyson explains them so well that I’m willing to accept them as true. However, I think our schools would be better if we actually let kids do these stick experiments. Knowledge is more than words. Our society is failing because people live too much in fiction and not enough in fact.
When I argue with my friends about global warming I need to understand the science behind the concept and I need to do some experiments on my own to have experience, or at least read about specific experiments and understand them. So I’m wondering what are a basic list of experiments that can prove that people are impacting the global weather? These can be thought experiments too – Einstein discovered a lot about reality with some good thought experiments.
From my reading, most scientists now support the idea that humans are impacting the global environment, but many people do not believe that or refuse to believe that. Global warming is a vital issue with many people but it ranks very low among all vital issues the public is considering in the current presidential campaign. If the impact of global warming will be as dire as some scientists predict it should be rated #1. Why isn’t it then?
There are very few climatological scientists in the world, and few people want to take up the discipline as a hobby. Most of the talk about global warming deals with CO2. Normal people have to take on faith that extra carbon in the atmosphere is bad and that people are at fault by adding it to the air in their daily lives. I meet lots of people who flat out say they don’t believe this. How can I counter this belief without whipping out a series of scientific proofs to change their mind?
Our society and all the other societies around the globe need to be more scientific in their thinking. Faith in science doesn’t cut it. We need an educational system where more real experiments are practiced by school kids. After that, they need to study of historical experiments until their logic is a sixth sense in which they view the world. We need to develop a mind set where we can understand scientific ideas and not just argue the ideas on faith, like ancient religious scholars discussing how many angels fit on the head of a pin.
Now all I have to do is go out and find those proofs – any help will be welcomed.