Climate change your mind, skeptic

People who doubt that mankind has had an effect on the climate of the earth puzzle me. I am a person of faith, and not a scientist, but I am fascinated by science, and the creativity involved, and I do believe strongly in the scientific method.

Wscientific-methodhen well over ninety percent of the world’s scientists agree on something, I think it is foolish to doubt their logic, their methods, or their conclusions are incorrect or politicaly motivated.

The scientific method (question, pose hypothesis, experiment, analyze results, form a conclusion) has a lot going for it in areas aside from science.  But aside from simply accepting the claims of others, there is something I have in my own home that using in simple, accidental, experimentation convinced me that the theories behind greenhouse gasses and climate change are legit.

It’s bacon.

The earth has been hanging around for millions of years, and aside from the natural life cycles of natural pollutants like forest fires, volcanic eruptions, and flatulating cows, it is not unreasonable to believe that a couple of centuries of an industrial revolution pumping all the junk we do into the atmosphere of the planet has had an undesirable effect.

Bacon is a perfect example.

Grab a pound of bacon, throw it in a basic, twelve-inch frying pan, put it on the stove and turn the burner on beneath the pan.  Cook the bacon and then don’t stop cooking the bacon. Let the bacon fry to a crispy brown and then let it simmer to a crispy, charcoal-black shade. Cook the bacon until the bacon no longer is visually identifiable as bacon and scientific-method-editthen keep cooking the bacon until every smoke alarm in the house has triggered in tandem.  Then, turn off the stove, shut off the smoke detectors, let the pan cool down, throw out the bacon char (and probably the pan, too).

Then look up at the ceiling of your kitchen.

That sooty, greasy, glop you see? It’s not going away anytime soon. It will be there, timeless in its heaviness. Just like your favorite roadside diner that still has the same grill and deep fat fryer they have had in place like stucco since 1967.  You have just replicated the classic American diner ceiling in your own kitchen. Ambiance.

Ample proof, and documentable, that global warming is indeed caused, at least in part, by mankind.

Obviously, one pan of bacon is not absolute proof of anything, but if you replicate this experiment, which, according to National Safety Council statistics is done at a steadily increasing rate on a daily basis in America (with statistically alarming spikes on Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day) and extrapolate the results outward mathematically, manmade global warming is easily believable.

Because….bacon.

Oh, and, if you have a textured ceiling in your kitchen, you will also have more faith in the theory that dinosaurs became extinct by being choked,  en masse, not by gasses produced by a huge asteroid strike or volcanic eruption, but by the smoke and grease from billions of wild boars who were barbequed by the conflagration triggered by the aforementioned asteroid.

Try this experimentation yourself, kids, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. As a wise old man once bacon1told me, “Don’t ask a question if you aren’t ready for the answer.” Global warming is real.

The proof is in the bacon. And on the ceiling.

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Adamantly not skeptical

‘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/

Apollo11 modelGrowing 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 skillcraftchemlab2rolling 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 Minneapaolis 1906start 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 baconsmoke 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 fracking4 fracking2door, 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 Copernicusgoes. 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.