Sunday, January 18, 2009

Born Knowin' Nuttin'

Knowin' Nuttin is Oklahoma-speak for "Knowing Nothing" as in we are all born knowing nothing and only through our own efforts and the efforts of benevolent teachers and parents and community do we learn anything at all. So people are often surprised that I listen to global warming skeptics. I'm curious about how they came to hold their belief system about climate change. They obviously have had a different set of information thrown in their path so I'm curious to see if their position is based on science or second-hand science or group think or their religion or their politician or denial to remain sane, et al.

Scientists state that science is an evolving field that builds on cumulative knowledge. That makes a lot of sense to me. It takes great humility to be able to adjust your position based on new facts as they become available. The opposite would be true, supreme arrogance, if scientists carved every theory in stone. The media can be unforgiving of this evolution. Even by definition a "learning process" is a process, adaptable, shifting, learning, cumulative. There is new discussion that climate change is just a risk management analysis. Being able to access which path to take is less about arguing about the validity of the science and more about being able to recognize and choose the least risk option.

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