AND SOMETIMES WE LEARN THAT WE DO NOT HAVE IT QUITE RIGHT
In our rapidly changing world, wise public policy is becoming increasingly dependent on the best scientific information available. Public policy depends on consensus—majority rules. Science, on the other hand, depends on just one investigator who happens to come up with the most reliable conclusions that are verifiable by new and often more precise observations.
Scientists understand that observations are rarely complete—that interpretations often vary. There is usually considerable room for discussion and debate. Debate is as important to science as consensus is to politics. But debate needs to be based on observations, not opinions.
We are all consumers of climate. As we watch climate change, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to understand what is happening, whether we might be partially to blame, what actions we can take to minimize the changes, and how we can best adapt to these changes.
For 150 years, many scientists have concluded that changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations must be the cause of changes in climate. People who feel a strong need to take action right away to reduce greenhouse emissions say “look, the science is settled. We all understand greenhouse-warming theory. We need to stop debating and get on with reducing greenhouse-gas emissions before it is too late.”
Yet these same people cannot explain why average global temperatures remained nearly constant from 1998 to 2013, in the clearly-observed, global-warming hiatus, while greenhouse-gas concentrations continued to rise steadily at ever increasing rates. They cannot explain why no one has ever measured experimentally in the laboratory or in the field, the amount of warming that occurs when greenhouse-gas concentrations are doubled. They cannot explain why ocean heat content continued to escalate throughout the global warming hiatus. They cannot explain why 2015 is suddenly the hottest year on record.
New observations show that volcanic eruptions have major effects on climate, not only causing cooling, but also causing sudden warming (WhyClimateChanges.com). How can slow and steady increases in greenhouse gas concentrations cause the sudden warming of the world out of ice-age conditions within years that has been observed clearly, dozens of times? What is the relative importance of ozone depletion caused by volcanic eruptions versus greenhouse gases?
There is always more to learn. That is what makes science challenging. That is what makes pursuing science fun.
The purpose of this non-profit organization Science Is Never Settled is to remind people of what all good scientists know, science is never settled. New observations bring new needs for debate. Help put the debate back into science. Let’s work together to try to understand what is really happening and why.
We seek to distribute fundamental information about science, the scientific method, and how science can inform wise public policy with the help of public relations organizations, via radio, television, print media, websites, social media, press releases, wire releases, and similar venues. We seek to break down the silos and to put the debate back into science.