By Walter E. Williams
June 2, 2015
*** begin quote ***
President Barack Obama’s stance, expressed in his 2014 State of the Union address, is that the debate is settled and climate change is a fact. Obama is by no means unique in that view. Former Vice President Al Gore declared that “the science is settled.” This “settled science” vision about climate is held by many, including those in academia. To call any science settled is sheer idiocy. Had mankind acted as though any science could possibly be settled, we’d be living in caves, as opposed to having the standard of living we enjoy today. That higher standard of living stems from challenges to what might have been seen as “scientific fact.”
According to mathematician Samuel Arbesman’s book, “The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date,” many ideas taken as facts today will be shown to be wrong as early as five years from now. Arbesman argues that a study published in a physics journal will lose half its value in 10 years.
Many academics know that to call any science settled is nonsense. But their leftist political sentiments and lack of academic integrity prevent them from criticizing public officials and the media for misleading a gullible public about global warming.
*** end quote ***
I can always count on Professor Wilaims educating me.
I never had heard about the “Half-Life of Facts”.
As a fat old white guy injineer, “facts” were always “facts”.
There are certain absolutes in this world: π, ℊ, 𝑒, and lying politicians.
There are certain moral principles: The Golden Rule (i.e., do unto others), the Zero Aggression Principle (i.e., don’t hurt people or steal their stuff), and Karma (i.e., what you do, comes around back to you).
There are a lot of “theories”. For example, Evolution, Conspiracy, and Global Warming / Global Cooling / Climate Change,
Personally, I have always used the DIKW (i.e., data, information, knowledge, wisdom) paradigm to understand the world and structure my memes accordingly.
Note that “facts” don’t appear in my paradigm because, for the most part, when people tell me “facts”, they are not very absolute.
In my mind, “facts” are “information” subject to verification and testing.
Thanks for Professor Williams educating me that there is no such thing as “settled science”.
# – # – # – # – #