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A syllogism for climate change
by -- March 6th, 2017

As it gets harder for anyone to believe that the global climate is not changing, the argument seems to be shifting to whether or not the changes are caused by humans.  For this, I remember the concept of a syllogism from my sophomore class in philosophy.  Herein, some logic:

            Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere warms the Earth.

             Humans emit carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

              Humans are warming the Earth.

2 Comments

  1. Ken Ross
    Mar 6, 2017

    About the most effective way to convince an average person to accept such an an inconvenient truth as climate change is to show him/her by irrefutable evidence that something is actually happening, that it is or will be hurting the person or those dear to her/him, and that specific things can be done to lessen or avoid the damage. It helps greatly to understand the person’s emotional, religious, economic, political, educational, and other barriers to acceptance of the inconvenient truth. To communicate with a larger audience, much the same applies.

    A good example for the Maine Coast would be pointing to the progressive warming of the Gulf of Maine causing disease and reduced catches of lobsters, Maine’s flagship extractable natural resource. The changes can be verified by fishermen, thus strengthening the credibility of the problem and the science affirming it.

    There are other examples of convincing proof of harmful change, though perhaps not enough. In any case, it is difficult to succeed by trying to abstractly convince people of the nature and validity of the scientific process or why we should trust most scientists. These are efforts that should be built into the K-12 and higher educational system and reflected in media coverage, a vital but long-term task.

  2. L.c.Lorraine
    Mar 8, 2017

    One estimate from the International Journal of Oil, Gas and Coal Technology is that humans have extracted 135 billion barrels of oil since 1870, the vast majority of which has been combusted. It is more difficult to estimate the amount of coal that has been extracted around the world and combusted, as it has a much longer history, but in 1905, the United States alone mined over 350 million tons. It is likely that, in its long history, trillions of tons of coal have been mined and combusted. Then, there’s natural gas, peat, wood, forest fires (intentional and not) and other minor sources of carbon dioxide.

    One does not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that trillions of pounds of carbon dioxide have been extracted in an “inert” form from below the earth’s crust, combusted, and added to the troposphere by humans and that this has a greenhouse effect. The troposphere is really a very small place with a small volume.

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