We’ll Always Have Paris

Today is a red letter date in the history of the world, as the Paris Accord comes into effect. Or maybe it isn’t. The political and activist side of the climate community is portraying the accord as a breakthrough and the beginning of a turnaround in the world’s self-destructive path. But many of us who are scientific and technical professionals have a far less sanguine view of the whole thing. [more]

Who Decides What is True?

There’s no Supreme Court of Truth, no supreme authority that affixes an imprimatur of “scientific fact”.

Yet we believe many things to be true which we could not have known about without science. It’s obvious that science can draw conclusions which are effectively certain, but it’s less than obvious how this happens. How does speculation turn into hypothesis, then established theory, then fact? It’s a social process more than a formal one. [more]

Projecting a persuasive image of a desirable and practical future is extremely important to high morale, to dynamism, to consensus, and in general to help the wheels of society turn smoothly.

– Herman Kahn