Getting peeks at the the coming peaks

CCGroup post 2/12/09

responding to Alex:
Phil, I liked your coded message. You mean a threshold like ‘peak oil’? Or the peak carrying capacity of the earth in terms of population? The question is, how do you propose to reduce demand? Right now, governments are doing their damnedest to stimulate demand to save the global economy from implosion. You’re saying let’s reduce demand. How? How is this going to work? Asking a question for which there’s no answer is probably a good way to get no answer. :)

Thanks very much.  My usual worry is not leaving people with questions, but getting none in return. Whether any answer about the future is more than half an answer, after all, depends on what question you ask.   The best available answer to what “people want to know” is often only speculation.

Yes, “being able to see thresholds before crossing them” would apply to “peak oil” and to the carrying capacities of things.    For example, the rate at which a scalar peak like “peak oil” is approaching is visible in the derivative rate long before.    Continue reading Getting peeks at the the coming peaks

Missing from the scientific message

Dot Earth comment 2/12/09 regarding misreading short term trends:

Too Much Hot and Cool Hype? – A leading British climate expert berates climate campaigners of all stripes for overstatements.”

There’s an interesting add-on to how people are often confused by statistics and trends being interepreted without any actual causal mechanism identified. I’ve seen that in lots of “whacko conspiracy theory” kind of science discussion that is all over the blogs these days.

The confusion seems to be between scientific answers and questions.

How often the error is clearly visible in the work of rather distiniguished scientists too, points to how we are all rather inept at “public science” discussion.   If science is to lead the world it can’t be done in a closet where sloppy reasoning gets sorted out in private. Continue reading Missing from the scientific message