So the United States has announced it’s withdrawing from the Paris Accord, the international agreement with nonbinding measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. Now everyone’s up in arms, speaking in exasperated tones about the travesty of this decision.
“But… but… the science,” they say. Yeah, let’s talk about science.
Is science really all it’s cracked up to be?
One of the most important facts about science is that you can never absolutely prove anything with it. Let’s take gravity as an example. Isaac Newton is famous for that whole apple-falling-out-of-the-tree thing and his “law of universal gravitation.” The apple falls. He writes an equation. And introductory physics students are punished for centuries.
But he could be wrong. What if a skydiver jumps out of a plane and never hits the ground? That’s the end of gravity. All it takes is one case of something not following the scientific idea — whether hypothesis, theory, or law — and that idea is dead. That’s how science works.
In fact, I just saw an article on Twitter the other day about a surprisingly large number of skydivers who have been reported as missing because they jumped out of a plane and were never seen again. I think Earth now has, in addition to the ozone layer, a skydiver layer. That’s my “theory.” (Or is it an alternative fact? I get those confused sometimes.)
Who gave scientists such an exalted position in the world anyway? We’re talking about people who could have been arrested for indecent exposure (Archimedes), are self-confessed trespassers and safe crackers (Richard Feynman), and who were illegal immigrants (all those Jewish scientists who escaped Nazi Germany). These are people so vain they’ve got at least five different varieties of “Luxuriant…