Allison Bailes Does Science on 7 Minutes of BS

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Science podcast on 7 Minutes of BS

Dan Morrison was my editor when I first started posting some of my articles over at Green Building Advisor.  He's now on his own and one of the things he does is the 7 Minutes of BS podcast for ProTradeCraft.  If you haven't checked it out, get over there.  It's amazing.  Dan interviews a  lot of the top building science minds in the US and Canada.  He was a builder early in his career but has been in journalism for quite a while now and the production values of this podcast are really high.

He interviewed me last year for this podcast on science.  In it, I discussed the scientific method, evolutionary psychology, peeling paint on the walls of insulated houses, hygrothermal modeling, and, yes, even climate change.  Take a listen.

If you'd prefer to read the transcript, click --> Science:  7 Minutes of BS.

And be sure to check out the other episodes of the podcast.  They span all the usual building science topics:  air barriers, vapor permeance, mechanical ventilation, and much more.  Keep your eyes open for a new one on dew point coming out sometime later.  Dan interviewed me for that at Building Science Summer Camp this year.

 

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Ohhhh, I thought the scientific method was make observations, then ignore anything that does not agree with your hypothesis, e.g., global warming, both sides.

Allison
Bailes

That's not true of both sides, Bruce.  There are actual scientists doing real science on one side and companies putting big money behind people willing to cast doubt on the real science.  It's easy to do because science can never definitively prove something true.  We can keep adding more and more evidence, but all it takes is one experiemental result to disprove something.  And since most people don't understand how science works, they believe the people they agree with about other things.

I have some experience being on both sides of the debate. Basically the debate boils down to both sides having a few subjective ideas and using govt to bludgeon one side into compliance. Govt is clearly on the AGW side because it entails more regulations which dovetails nicely with the innate human desire to be "doing something". "Doing something" is a powerful motivator and is reflected in the scope and amount of govt regulations. Voters and lobbyists continue to demand that their govt "do something" which results in a govt that is perpetually increasing size/scope. The anti-GW crowd is generally suspicious of the intentions of their govt because history is full of examples where their govt used fear, lied, cheated, murdered its fellow citizens for dubious reason. As a result they believe, rightly or wrongly, that govt has a vetted interest in promoting AGW rather than being an unbiased observer/participant. The see AGW science as being one-sided because there's an assumption that the AGW field is seen as a gravy train for grants and taxpayer funds and nobody will publish anything which might take that bunch bowl away. They fear that there's a "herd mentality" with regards to AGW research. The anti-GW crowd reads articles where it was found that hundreds of published scientific articles were found to be complete fabrications and/or the govt relied upon faulty science to push a policy agenda. If the govt relies on faulty research for something as simple as recommended diets or whether or not to administer vaccines or approve a drug then what makes one think that couldn't happen with regards to AGW?

In a nutshell it's about a lack of trust.

I think JC presented a very thoughtful description of our attitudes.

Allison
Bailes

JC,

I'm not going to address all the points in your comment but I will say that a lot of it presents a false equivalence between two sides that aren't equalivalent at all.  Scientists do research and get to have it accepted only by publishing it in peer-reviewed journals.  This process isn't there to support only the ideas in favor but to bring forth ideas that have scientific merit and eliminate those that don't.  And it's not hard to weed out the bad stuff.  It's called experimentation and showing data that agree with modeling.  That's what scientists do.

And that gets me to your comment about data:

"The anti-GW crowd reads articles where it was found that hundreds of published scientific articles were found to be complete fabrications and/or the govt relied upon faulty science to push a policy agenda."

Anyone can publish an article online.  Organizations with enough money have nice looking publications they can publish in, too.  And those with the right connections can even get anti-scientific ideas published in mainstream publications. 

And that's exactly what happened here with this alleged data-forging scandal.  There was no scandal but a lot of people think there was because they saw a news report about it.  Dig a little deeper and you can find out that it was completely manufactured. Its propagation relies on ignorance of science.  Here's an article in Business Insider that lays it all out:

People wrongly claimed that a major government institution faked environmental data — and it caused an uproar

And here's one from Snopes:

NOAA Scientists Falsely Accused of Manipulating Climate Change Data

That lack of trust you posit as the source of the problem has been artificially created by people who, often intentionally, create uncertainty in the general population where little to none really exists among scientists.

~ ab3

I have to ask, which side does Al Gore seem to be on? Does he have altruistic reasons to jet around so he can tell us what is going to happen? I am referring to the fact he has much to gain by generating fear and defining himself and his people as the top men at the commanding heights.

Allison
Bailes

I don't care about Al Gore.  He is a red herring.  He is not a scientist.  He is a politician who has taken an interest in the subject.

I thought you were saying casting doubt, is an impediment to real science.

On the subject of weather change related to CO2, I don't think I have ever seen anyone discuss just science without going off onto an important tangent of political policy.

Allison
Bailes

Nope.  The opposite.  Science is all about casting doubt.  That's what science does best.

Mark Johnson, CO2 and climate change are becoming inextricably linked in the media for obvious and compelling reasons. Your statement indicates that you really haven't bothered to search beyond articles in mass media. Understandable, as comprehending rigorous studies can be a challenge. It's much easier to simply believe stuff.

"Science is all about casting doubt".

^ one of the truest things ever said about science that must be appreciated. Perhaps also one of the most important things ever said.

Science is great, I am glad we are explicitly talking about that. I was thrown by the offhand remark about corporations funding "science" which implied that only one kind of result gets reported in the end. I sure hope we don't get into a Lysenko type era here, there are plenty who would use the subject to create ever-more control of all human activities in the name of weather control.

Allison
Bailes

Mark, I had to look up Lysenko on Wikipedia:

Lysenkoism (Russian: Лысе́нковщина, tr. Lysenkovshchina) was a political campaign conducted by Trofim Lysenko, his followers and Soviet authorities against genetics and science-based agriculture.

The climate change deniers, funded by billionaires, seem to be doing exactly the same thing.

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