How much is enough data?

global warming comic

I had a conversation with a coworker and we discussed how much data you needed to come to a conclusion. It was interesting.

His thought was that because of the entirety of history, and the little we know about it, we can’t claim global warming is caused by man. What he said made sense. I don’t disagree that we have incomplete data about the history and past, but on the other hand, it seems a little intellectually dishonest as well.

global warming comic
global warming comic

At some point, we have to make decisions based on what we know. To me, everything has a lack of data. I don’t like having to make decisions based on incomplete information. Unfortunately, life forces us to make decisions with incomplete information. So in those cases, I try to listen to my intuition and ask the universe for help. (Yes some might call this prayer but I think the universe is intelligent)

We have maybe 800,000 years of data on the weather. Certainly not enough to conclude anything for certain. On the other hand, it is clear that the weather temperature is increasing. Was this caused by man? I don’t know the answer to this. I do know that I trust science and the scientific process. So to me, when most scientists believe in global warming I will trust them and go along with it. I don’t really have an interest in investigating every question and at some point, you have to trust in logical, intelligent, and scientific people.

Now on the other hand, you could say that that same science and logic makes you doubt the theory of global warming. The wonderful thing about this theory is that it is just a theory. Which by its meaning isn’t a law. I have never heard anyone say “The Law of global warming”. A law like gravity is supposed to be beyond reproach. It is supposed to be true, no matter what we might find out in the future.

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If global warming isn’t caused by man, or man doesn’t significantly add to it, then clearly we can continue our self-destructive ways. Who needs clean air, renewable energy, or junk like that? I think that even if global warming is proven to be a hoax in the future, the pros outweigh the cons of believing in it.

Should we believe things that are true because they are convenient or helpful? No of course not. All I am saying is that given the two choices of acting in a proven and obvious helpful way, and a less helpful way, what would you say is the wisest course of action?