1. Discussion related to "Earth 2100" (an ABC production)
Some initial comments and questions
before the general discussion
What is the difference between:
prove new things
Mathematical reasoning is:
- (proof by substitution)
- All men are mortal
- Socrates is a man
- Socrates is mortal
- (proof by "syllogism")
- Deduction can prove things
- Mathematics uses deduction
- mathematics can prove things
- (proof by syllogism again!)
3. Science is different from math!
- Science is based on:
- (not deduction)
- All apples that break off the tree,
- fall down
- Therefore, if I shake this apple tree,
- and an apple breaks off,
- it will fall down
- Not a proof!
- Can you think of a counterexample?
- That which goes up has always come down
- Therefore, if I throw this up, it will come down
- Not a proof! Can you think of a counterexample?
4. Science needs more than induction
Humankind has always sought reasons
Scientists call those reasons
"theories" and "hypotheses"
Theories are the big ones
- continental drift/plate tectonics
Hypotheses are the ---little--- ones
- If the ground gets waterlogged,
- water will get into my basement
- IFSC majors learn
- more employable things than physics majors
Conclusion. . .
science does not prove!
(by refuting inductive "truths")
(because the theories predict)
5. The phrase "scientific proof" makes no sense!
- Science does not prove things!
- It explains things and finds evidence
- If only everyone actually knew that
- Not just you, but also
- the average person
6. Comments on Earth 2100
. . . Worst case scenario
consistent with best science available
. . . The main cause depicted was
. . . Secondary causes were
rising sea level
poverty and hardship
. . . Effects were ultimately
. . . . . . So things could be that bad, but might not
7. Climate science uses theories
implemented as complex
- There are variations among
- different models
- Their global warming computations make
- different predictions
Almost all (never all, right?)
climate specialists agree:
- Global warming is happening, will get worse, and is a serious problem
- That is the consensus among climate scientists
- No math-style deductive proof is possible
8. Politics and special interests
are a different ball game
. . . Some economic interests
if nothing is done
. . . . . . Naturally, they will impede change
. . . . . . . . . That is one case of
famous economist Adam Smith's
9. Your turn:
Earth 2100 discussion
What technologies are envisioned
and what are their plausibilities?
10. The sea wall concept
- We live in Arkansas,
- which is in the United States,
- we are Americans and
- speak English
- Some people live in Holland
- What is the elevation in Holland,
- what country is it in,
- what is the nationality of its people, and
- what language do they speak?
What can we say about
its storm surge barrier?
Called the "van Maeslantkering"
- "Closure of the van Maeslantkering"
Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier
- Sluiting Maeslantkering Nieuwe Waterweg
- "Maeslant barrier" (aerial view)
Ever see the doors of the lock of the Big Dam Bridge?
11. What is the connection between
epidemics and global warming?
- Any diseases already spread to the US?
- Any that may soon?
What are some tipping points to social stability?
- Long-term blackouts
- Transportation network breakdown
- Where would you want to live if things went bad?
- How about Arkansas?
- Little Rock?
What can you do now?
12. Could Earth 2100
really happen like that?
There are different cases:
Earth 2100 depicts the worst case
Probably won't be that bad
But it is possible
Hard to predict for sure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUEnXOX-qEQ (Chaos (Lorenz) wheel as a garden water feature)
...buy beachfront property cautiously
What signs portend a worst case scenario?
CO2 is a relatively known factor
CH4 (methane) is less so
. . . but it has strong greenhouse effects
If northern ice melts
. . . and dark permafrost ground is exposed
. . . and warms up from sunlight
. . . and melts
. . . and releases methane
Then start worrying more
If oceans start releasing methane
. . . due to warming waters
Then start worrying more
No methane spike, no worst case
. . . probably
. . . watch for news on methane releases
13. Hyperpowers are historically limited in time
But how can we stay that way?
14. What are the natural tendencies that
cause hyperpowers to be time-limited?
- Over-confidence from past successes
- Inner rot
What can be done to prevent it or delay the inevitable?
Why successful societies collapse
Earth 2100 quotes someone asking what
the person who cut down
the last palm tree on Easter Island
could have been thinking
That is straight out of Diamond's book
(Diamond appeared several times in the movie)
Easter Island, Rome, the Anasazi, the Mayans, the Greenland Norse, ...