Monday, August 25, 2014

Thought Experiment

1. Alright bro, you want me to prove via the scientific method that man-made global climate change is not occurring? As you wish.

First, the scientific method. Not everyone agrees exactly on the steps, but I will go with the commonly agreed upon steps in the hopes that this is sufficient.
1) Observe a situation.
2) Form a hypothesis regarding a question related to what has been observed.
3) Test the hypothesis via experiment.
4) Analyze the results of the experiment to determine whether or not it can be determined whether or not the hypothesis is correct, and if it can, then also whether or not the hypothesis is correct.

The first step, of course, is something we have all been doing our entire lives. We experience climate change. We experience human activity.

The second step is to form a hypothesis. In this case, that hypothesis is that man-made global climate change is not occuring.

The third step is to test the hypothesis via experiment. In this case, I am going to test my hypothesis via thought experiment.

First, consider what it means for a process (such as global climate change) to be 'man-made'. Everything in this Universe is connected to everything else in this Universe, be it directly or indirectly. For something to be 'made' or caused by something else, that cause has to be the direct cause or the root cause. The reason I specify both 'direct cause' and 'root cause' is because they are not always the same, while there are other in-between factors that are not themselves the cause but rather something related to the other factors. Consider, for example, a line of one hundred dominoes. The first one falling ultimately leads to the last one falling. The first domino falling is the root cause of the last domino falling. The ninety-ninth domino falling is the direct cause of the last domino falling. Of course dominos two through ninety-eight are all part of the process as well, but to say that any one of those is not simply a part of the process, but rather the cause itself, for the final domino falling, is absurd. We are talking about a single cause, not every step.

Now, the question here is whether or not man-made global climate change is occuring. If man's effect on global climate change is neither the root cause (domino one) or the direct cause (domino ninety-nine), but rather a piece along the way (say, domino sixty-six), man is not the cause of global climate change, rather, global climate change is 'made' by either the root cause or the direct cause, depending on your interpretation.

Now then, what is the root cause and what is the direct cause? Is man one of those, or is man, in fact, not the true culprit?

First let's consider the direct cause. Climate is directly caused by factors such as heat (the amount of kinetic energy in the atmosphere), humidity (the amount of dihydrogen monoxide in the atmosphere), and other such factors. This is on a molecular, atomic, and subatomic levels. A change in climate is caused by a change in the factors that cause climate. For example, a change in the amount of kinetic energy in the air, or a change in the amount of dihydrogen monoxide in the air, will result in climate change. This is the direct cause; even if man is responsible for this, man is not the direct cause.

It is clear, then, that man is not directly responsible for global climate change, but it was already determined that, depending on your interpretation, something could be considered 'man-made' if man is the root cause as opposed to the direct cause. What, then, is the direct cause for global climate change? Is it man? In this case, of course, the word 'man' means 'mankind', or the human species, as opposed to 'adult male'. Our question, then, is whether or not the human species is the root cause of climate change.

4096-character limit for post, so this will be continued in a second and a third post.
2. Part 2/3

For the human species to be the root cause of something, there must not be something else that cause the human species to be responsible, in the same way that domino two is not the root cause because domino one made domino two do its part. That leads us to question whether or not there is something that causes the human species to act in ways that lead to global climate change (given that the human species does act in ways that lead to global climate change, which I believe we can agree on). Many human activities are a piece of the domino chain leading to global climate change. For example, the production of oil, and the use of gasoline. But is there something else that causes us to produce oil and to use gasoline? What about to create factory farms, one of the biggest contributers to global climate change? Or to build and fly airplanes? Did we, humans, simply decide one day 'Hey, let's make gasoline and farms and cars and airplanes!'? If you put a baby in a confined environment, giving it only what it needs to live, would it make these things? Would it even contemplate making this things, desire to make these things, or even fathom the possibility that these things could exist? No. Rather, we, humans, made these things because of a cause. Multiple causes, actually. We created gasoline to power vehicles, we created vehicles for transportation. This is a result of our desire for transportation. Of course, our desires could be considered a part of us, but there is a root cause beyond our desire: The magnitude of the planet we live on. We develop vehicles for transportation because of our desire to travel, and we desire to travel because of the vast size of this planet, being too big to walk on foot to our destinations. Of course there are factors other than vehicles, but what about power plants? Humans build power plants so we can have electricity. Why do we want electricity? For heat, light, communication, among other things. Why do we want heat? Because of the climate where many of us live. It is and always has been too cold for humans to live comfortably without artifical heating in many areas of Earth. Why light? Because nowhere on Earth is always naturally lit by a star or any other source. Why communication? The same reason as travel, Earth is too vast for us to simply walk over to whoever we want to talk to. Simply put, every single thing that humans do that contributes to global climate change is caused by another factor, that factor being something about the nature of Earth. It might be Earth's size or Earth's climate or something else. Regardless, it is not humankind itself.

The final step of the scientific method is to analyze the results of the experiment. Analysis: The root cause is the nature of this planet, and potentially other factors that influence us, our lives, and our decisions. The direct cause is molecular, atomic, and subatomic factors like kinetic energy and humidity. Does that analysis answer whether or not global climate change is man-made? Yes, it identified what global climate change is actually made by, that not being man, and therefore that global climate change is not man-made.

4096-character limit for post, so this will be continued in a third and final post
3. Final post, pastebin of whole thing as one part rather than split into three posts is here: http://pastebin.com/6FZXHNZ9

Of course some might find this insufficient so let me provide a second experiment. Back to step three. Another thought experiment of sorts.

The question is whether or not man-made global climate change is occuring. The article 'is' refers to now. It is not future like 'will' or past like 'has'. Time is quantized. Therefore, 'is' refers to this exact Planck time. The question, then is whether or not man-made global climate change is occuring at a given Planck time when the question is to be answered. Of course it takes far more than a single Planck time to analyze and answer the question, but that is due to the limits of information processing; 'is' still refers to the present which is always, at any instant, that exact instant, that exact Planck time. Then is man-made global climate change occuring at the current instant, at a single Planck time? Global climate change is a process. A process is a change, an event. An event is subjective to time. It occurs over time. The quickest of events happen over the change from one Planck time to the next. Therefore, they are subjective to at least two Planck times, not a single Planck time. Therefore, at any given one Planck time, not a series of Planck times but at a single Planck time, no process is occuring or can be occuring. Because our question is whether or not man-made global climate change IS occuring, not will occur or has occured, it clearly cannot be because no event IS occuring at this present Planck time.

Analysis: Global climate change, man-made or not, IS NOT occuring. Global climate change will occur, and has occured. But at a single Planck time it IS NOT occuring, and therefore man-made global climate change is not occuring.

There, two proofs that man-made global climate change is not occuring. You might reject one but you can't reject both!

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pls respond

Response:

This is a rather interesting thought experiment. But, there is a flaw in the logic. You state the first domino is the root cause, but you neglect to include whatever it was that caused the first domino to fall in the first place. The domino doesn't just spontaneously fall, something has to make it fall. So, by your line of logic, domino one cannot be the root cause.

But, of course, something else made whatever it was that caused the first domino to fall, so that must be the root cause. And, then something else made that second whatever, and so on. By your line of logic, there is only one root cause for anything - the Big Bang. Nothing else can be a cause because it is in between the root cause and the direct cause.

So, let's look at it again.

Everything is a root cause and also a direct cause for something, somewhere. Simple cause and effect. We cannot state we are not responsible for out actions merely based on an argument that we are not the root cause. If someone steals a car, the law doesn't allow a defense where the thief claims it isn't their fault because someone in the past wanted to make transportation faster and invented cars. If cars had never been invented, then they could not have stolen one, so it is the inventor's fault. Even if someone else made the decision to put the car in the field of view of the thief, the thief still is responsible for the decision to steal it.

In the same way, we cannot say we are not responsible for causing climate change because the world is big and necessitated we invent cars and power plants. We made the decision to do things to the environment we knew would change it and lead to global warming.

Ultimately, the challenge is not to prove why we are causing global climate change, the challenge is to prove it isn't happening. Which you tried to address in your second thought experiment.

You used the idea that 'is' means 'this particular Planck time,' which is about 10^-43 seconds in length. In fact, the global climate will be slightly different at the end of a Planck time than it will at the beginning. If there is any change at all (Hopefully, no one is thinking there is absolutely no change at all), then there has to be change in the period of a Planck period of time, even if it is a very small amount. If there was no change, then stacking countless Planck periods end-to-end would result in no change, no matter how many Planck periods we used. The fact that there is change over many Planck times means there is change over a single Planck time.

Add to that the fact that you said yourself that we are causing man made global warming and I can say with confidence that you did not prove man made global warming is not real.

It was an interesting attempt, though.