‘The scientific method is a way to ask and answer scientific questions by making observations and doing experiments. The steps of the scientific method are to: Ask a Question. Do Background Research.’ – http://www.sciencebuddies.org/
Growing up as a kid in the sixties and seventies, I was enamored with science – the space program and geology were youthful passions. For Christmas one year I got a subscription to a National Geographic space club of some sort. I got a monthly, TV Guide-sized magazine (and cool storage boxes to keep them organized in my bookcase) and once in a while I got to order a model of some sort to build: a lunar landing module was a favorite, though getting the legs glued on straight vexed me for quite some time. As for the geology part, I have always loved rocks, and would pick up cool ones, encouraged, to my parents later chagrin (ask my mom about the eleven case of rocks they had to dispose of when they sold our house) by my Gramps, who at least feigned the same curiosity as I in all things mineral, and encouraged me filling my pockets with favored specimens at every turn.
Science was cool when I was a kid.
While I was always inquisitive and curious and did ample scientific experimenting on my own – other Christmas and birthday gifts I treasured were my Skill Craft Chemistry set and my microscope – science was not my strong suit in school. Still, like most kids of my vintage, I soaked in every televised moon launch and landing (big, box TVs on rolling stands in the hallways at school for every Gemini and Apollo liftoff and splashdown, oh yeah) and just generally enjoyed exploring nature and the world around me.
Which is why I really don’t get all the folks who, vocally and publicly, shun scientific ideas like global warming and the dangers of fracking, to name two. Did these folks never get introduced to the scientific theory in school? I did and I can put it into very easy-to-understand concepts why these things don’t strike me as odd but opposition to them does.
Global warming doesn’t seem logical to you? Think on these examples for a few minutes:
So the world has been humming around for millions of years (even if you are among those of a faith-based belief that the world is just a few thousand years old, same rules will apply here) and just going about its planet thing without much in the way of human screwing around to foul it up. At least until the industrial revolution gets rolling, then we start digging up, pumping up and burning up more and more stuff from the earth that cities start getting bigger, and most get soot covered and grimy because of the stuff we dig, pump and burn. Pretty basic cause-and-effect stuff here, hard to deny any of that – there is plenty of historical and literary record.
So why then is the idea that after millions/thousands/a-whole-big-bunch-of-years of pristine air and water being fouled by a few hundred years of spewed gunk seem so illogical to so many?
Ahh, here is where the scientific method comes through as always! Don’t believe in global warming? Let’s gather our materials, kids! You’ll need a working stove, a frying pan, and a pound of bacon. Ready to experiment?
Here we go!
First, unwrap your bacon, put it in the frying pan. Put the frying pan on the stove, get the burner going and cook the bacon. Then keep cooking the bacon. More. Keep cooking the bacon until it can’t be cooked anymore or until your smoke alarm goes off. Then keep cooking the bacon.
The soot stains and smell of burned bacon will have permeated your ceiling, and will likely remain until you repaint it. Now, multiply the same basic scenario about 986 billion times and tell me that the concept of global warming is far-fetched.
And before you even go there, don’t be the idiot who shares this post and proclaims me the idiot who blames global warming on over-cooked bacon. And for the record, I’m not big on the cow flatulence theory, but have no real desire to put that to the test.
I could also give you the details about cleaning the tar off the walls of the apartment my two-pack-a-day, widowed grandfather occupied for twenty years, but that’s probably better saved for a post on why I will never be a smoker.
Now about that fracking stuff being just hunky-dory. Kids, don’t try these at home.
People who think that there is no harm in displacing millions/billions of tons of rock by means of hydraulic pressure strike me as really naïve or else they have always lived in places with level, even sidewalks. Like in Steppford, or something.
The house I rented when I first moved to New Orleans was nice, but when they started to demolish the house next door, cracks started to appear in the foundation. They did street work out front and the cracks got bigger. A friend of mine in Minneapolis had the city repairing multiple foundations in his neighborhood after a year’s worth of street work created small cracks in foundations and walls that then became bigger cracks and structural concerns.
My mom’s stepmother’s house was on a primarily residential street that got a fair amount of truck and bus traffic; every time a truck or bus rumbled down the block, the stuff in her china cabinet would rattle like crazy. Eventually, her house got cracks in the front steps and foundation. I can cite numerous other, similar incidents.
Full disclosure, here: I am a Christian, a man of faith, but also a logical thinking guy who doesn’t see things in terms of pure black-and-white. I know that a lot of people of varying faiths don’t believe in global warming, or the dangers of fracking, or a lot of other things that have a lot of evidence behind them; I also know of a lot of others see that these things do happen, but who say it doesn’t matter, because G-d gave humans dominion over the earth, so anything goes. This goes directly against the concept of stewardship (a biblical term that refers to a manager who is responsible for the goods and property of another) my readings and understanding of scripture put me solidly in the stewardship camp.
Just one note for the we-can-do-whatever-because-God-made-us-the-top-of-the-food-chain folks: ‘dominion’ is mentioned juts six times in the Bible, while stewardship is referenced over sixty.
Though this is one idea I can’t back up with scientific theory, I am quite certain that G-d meant of us to take care of the world – not obliterate it for selfish means.
Guess you could say I’m kind of a frying-pan-Copernicus.