/ Is the Earth Doomed?

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TryfAndy on 23 Jan 2013
About time scientists started using succinct titling http://bit.ly/UFCHZj

This bit interested me most, especially as someone bound by objectivity in my work (I'm not a scientist, but I do take a good interest in it all).

'...What is the responsibility of scientists, many of them funded by taxpayer dollars through institutions like the National Science Foundation, to tell us just exactly how f*cked we are? Should scientists be neutral arbiters who provide information but leave the fraught decision-making and cost-benefit analysis to economists and political actors? Or should they engage directly in the political process or even become advocates for policies implied by their scientific findings?'

GrahamD - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to TryfAndy:

The accuracy of the answer is only as good as the ability of the audience to understand. Most people want complex issues boiled down to yes/no answers and if you want that you have to expect that the answer you got won't necessarily answer the question you thought you asked.
Wiley Coyote - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to TryfAndy:
In answer to your question: No. The earth will be just fine. It will trundle along as it has for billions of years. We, by contrast, along with an awful lot of other species, may be f*cked.
TryfAndy on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

I think that putting the results in a way that is more accessible to the audience is also important though, the title of the presentation in question being a good example.
If it has the ability to appeal to a wider audience than just journals & peer reviews, despite being a little bit blunt, then surely that's a good thing?

As for yes/no, if that's what it takes to make a difference in this case then it could well be useful to ignore the fact that nothing is yes/no and just tell the uninformed it is for the sake of the planet.
TryfAndy on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:

I'm sure I'll make a fantastically interesting fossil. My preserved stomach contents alone will astound future humanontologists as to how one person could possibly eat that much bacon.
Dave Kerr - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to TryfAndy:

Science is political because knowledge is political. Science and scientists don't exist in a bubble of neutrality.
pauldr - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to TryfAndy:

If Cameron gets in office again prob
Timmd on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:
> (In reply to TryfAndy)
>
> Science is political because knowledge is political. Science and scientists don't exist in a bubble of neutrality.

It's the application or sharing of knowledge which can be politically motivated, but the knowledge itself isn't political.

The answer is for scientific knowledge to be shared more widely. Plus more accurately I dare say.
Jim C - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to TryfAndy)
> In answer to your question: No. The earth will be just fine. It will trundle along as it has for billions of years. We, by contrast, along with an awful lot of other species, may be f*cked.

Spot on WC .
The OP should possibly have said -
Is Earth F#cked for being able to continue to support human life.

John_Hat - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to TryfAndy:

No, the Earth will be fine.

Suggest you read the excellent site: http://qntm.org/destroy

Including:

You've seen the action movies where the bad guy threatens to destroy the Earth. You've heard people on the news claiming that the next nuclear war or cutting down rainforests or persisting in releasing hideous quantities of pollution into the atmosphere threatens to end the world.

Fools.

The Earth is built to last. It is a 4,550,000,000-year-old, 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000-tonne ball of iron. It has taken more devastating asteroid hits in its lifetime than you've had hot dinners, and lo, it still orbits merrily.


and

There is evidence that in the past, asteroids have hit the Earth with the explosive yield of five billion Hiroshima bombs - and such evidence is difficult to find.
ThunderCat - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to TryfAndy:

No.

I like this illustration:

http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/the-history-of-life-represented-on-a-clock/

We're nothing. We're not even a blink or a flash in the darkness. When we're gong the earth won't even be aware we've been here. It will warm up and freeze and warm up and freeze countless more times before eventually being swallowed up in our dying sun.

ThunderCat - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to ThunderCat:

"gong?" "Gone", rather.
Al Evans on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to TryfAndy: No but obviously the human race is, nothing can play the odds for ever, hopefully it will be millions of years yet though.
GrahamD - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to TryfAndy:


> I think that putting the results in a way that is more accessible to the audience is also important though, the title of the presentation in question being a good example.

I disagree. In trying to 'make things more accessible' you will simplify things and therefore the nuance is lost. Why should someone with no education in climatology be expected to understand climate at anything other than a superficial level anymore than I would expect to be able to perform brain surgery on the strength of a newspaper article.
Phil79 - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to TryfAndy)
> In answer to your question: No. The earth will be just fine. It will trundle along as it has for billions of years. We, by contrast, along with an awful lot of other species, may be f*cked.

As a species we survivied an ice age, I can't imagine a few degrees of warming is going to do us all in.

Although thats not to say modern civilisation isn't f88ked, as it doesn't appear to be very resiliant to big changes.









Wiley Coyote - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Phil79:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> [...]
>
> As a species we survivied an ice age, I can't imagine a few degrees of warming is going to do us all in.
>
> Agreed. This is just a personal bugbear. All this sanctimonious hysterical 'Save the Planet' rubbish gets on my wick. As I said, the planet has survived far worse than this over the last 4bn years and will be fine. If they mean 'Save my pecious skin and, if possible, my cushy lifestyle too and maybe that polar bear that was swimming round on the telly' let them say so.
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phja - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to TryfAndy:

As said before, the earth will go on just fine, humans are just one more selection pressure for many species...the main difference is that, unlike all other selection pressures, we have a choice what we do

Humans wont be fooked...we will go on fine just like the earth...there will just be less of us then there are atm...and as if they haven't had it bad enough already it will be the populations of the third world that will suffer the most.

Simple fact is that humans are too good at what we do!!

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