Sunday, March 06, 2005

Ecology of Thought

If one looks at what can happen when a thought runs rampant, then what is rejected on the basis of skepticism and boldly spoken when given the evidence?

Faulty conclusions arise from faulty information? This would be the position in order to reject what others take as, common knowledge by the world community, and is rejected by the United States?

Next, and slightly more troubling, we have some rather misleading and selective recollection regarding Jim Hansen's testimony to congress in 1988. "Dr. Hansen overestimated [global warming] by 300 percent" (p247). Hansen's testimony did indeed lead to a big increase in awareness of global warming as a issue, but not because he exaggerated the problem by 300%. In a paper published soon after that testimony, Hansen et al, 1988 presented three model simulations for different scenarios for the growth in trace gases and other forcings (see figure). Scenario A had exponentially increasing CO2, Scenario B had a more modest Business-as-usual assumption, and Scenario C had no further increases in CO2 after the year 2000

“I do not think anything, young man. I know. That is the purpose of my research - to know things, not to surmise them. Not to theorize. Not to hypothesize. But to know from direct research in the field. It’s a lost art in academia these days, young man-you are not that young- what is your name anyway?”
“Peter Evans.”
“And you work for Drake Mr. Evan?”
“No, for George Morton.”
“Well, why didn’t you say so!” Hoffman said. “George Morton was a great, great man. Come along Mr. Evans, and I will buy you some coffee and we can talk. Do you know what I do?”
“ I’m afraid I don’t, sir.”
“I study the ecology of thought,” Hoffman said. “and how it has led to a State of Fear.”

Michael Crichton, State of Fear, page 450


Anonymous Carlos said...

Excellent. This is the second time I read State of Fear and the experience has been quite interesting. The passage where Evans is by means of a socratic approach cognitively dislocated from his strong-held beliefs by Balder only goes to show once again that, paraphrasing the novel,people usually believe passionately in what they know the least.
Conventional wisdom is a dangerous thing.

April 22, 2008  
Anonymous RaggedtyAnn said...

I am just re-reading the State of Fear and it is very thought provoking. Are you still writing about this subject or not, but it doesn't seem to be on this blog, so where else.

August 13, 2011  

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