How Theoretical Possibilities Are Creating Problems in Other Areas Besides Climate Change

As everyone is all too aware, this has been the week of Kavanaugh versus his accuser. It now looks as if this farce will continue for at least one more week, and possibly more of bitter debate between the major US political parties. As a result it is much harder to learn about the “ordinary” events of the week, including even alleged climate change as a result of increasing worldwide emissions of CO2. This has never been a hot news topic even in the quietest of weeks. But with every added bit of news concerning an alleged almost sexual encounter by a proposed new Supreme Court justice during high school 30 years ago, the alleged potential terrible events on an unknown night in an unknown place by unknown people takes on increasing significance, and the alleged terrible (but actually good) increase in temperatures due to human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide lessens.

As noted last week, if attention is devoted to what is actually affecting the climate as measured by careful econometric analyses, rather than what could be happening based on what is allegedly theoretically possible, the basis for a bitter political divide would be greatly reduced in the case of climate. Similarly, if attention were devoted to the virtues of the legal philosophies of proposed jurists rather than their alleged high school social life, we would all be better off.

Fortunately, science provides a method for determining what the major effects of increasing CO2 are, but no one can reconstruct what actually happened 30 years ago at an alleged but forgotten high school party no matter how many FBI background investigations are carried out.

The Unfortunate Spread of Unproven, Theoretical Beliefs to Other Areas Besides Climate

Unfortunately, as modern US politics has become steadily more polarized and less and less based on an objective analysis of real, verifiable events, the dominant role of theoretical, unproven beliefs found in the climate debate appears to be spreading to other areas of substantial uncertainty and political conflict. It is hard to believe that confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee would take more than two weeks of undivided attention by the national media. But then it was and is difficult to believe that the country would spend several decades debating the proposition that climate is determined by changes in human emissions of a trace gas fundamental to life on Earth rather than changes in our source of warmth and light, the sun, and other astronomical bodies and what effects changes in CO2 has had on temperatures (apparently no significant effect). And that the two major political parties would have significantly different political views on any of these topics.

But such is the current reality. Scientific beliefs and long forgotten high school parties have become the basis for political beliefs rather than the subject of science and the scientific method and timely police investigation of alleged crimes.

But such is the current state of national political debate. It appears likely that the situation will grow worse rather than better as long as the two parties are so close in terms of relative power and influence but so far apart on so many issues, each with its own segment of mass media supporters. What is needed is more attention to verifiable information as to what actually happened and less to theoretical but unproven hypotheses as to what may have happened.

via Carlin Economics and Science

September 29, 2018 at 10:33AM

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