[Coral-List] Climate talks in the 1970s

Szmant, Alina szmanta at uncw.edu
Sat Dec 19 13:16:59 EST 2009

I lived in Rhode Island (in the NE USA) through the 1978 great blizzard and remember well the 'ice age coming' talk of the times, but it was just that, talk.  There were not the studies and concensus building among science data sets that has gone on in the past decade(s) over the present trend in climate change.

Ben, as one of the old-timers, I'd like to commend you on your astute observations about our present dilemma with the non-science public not knowing how to deal with, being able to understand, and/or accept the uncertainty built into the scientific method for growing our knowledge base.  We learn early on how during our scientific training how to deal with uncertainty, but most of the public has no understanding of the physical, chemical or biological processes involved with climate change, responses of ecosystems to climate change, or much of anything else, and so they are faced with accepting (or not) what scientists tell them based on faith rather than reasoning.  This is bad, bad, bad, because when you don't understand the rational basis of a scientific message then you can't make an intelligent choice between two groups offering opposing conclusions (even is 95 % support one conclusion and 5 % the other).  That in my opinion, is where 'we' (US public) is stuck today.  The solution is better science education starting in Grade 1, but we have to start with teaching the teachers science, because in my experience, they don't get it either.

Dr. Alina M. Szmant
Professor of Marine Biology
Coral Reef Research Program, Center for Marine Science
University of North Carolina Wilmington
5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane
Wilmington NC 28409
Tel:  (910)962-2362; fax: (910)962-2410;  cell:  (910)200-3913
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml..noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Ben Richards [br at hawaii.edu]
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2009 2:33 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Climate talks in the 1970s

To answer a subsequent question raised by Dr. Shinn's YouTube videos, I would be interested to hear from "older" coral-listers if the level of scientific consensus on global cooling in the 1970s was anywhere near the current level of consensus on climate change?  The YouTube videos of History channel retrospectives on Discovery Channel-style TV shows from the 1970s are interesting, but certainly do not carry as much weight as a similar body of peer-reviewed papers in reputable journals.  My impression, though it may be false, is that the ice-age predictions of the 1970s did not have nearly the level of scientific backing as do current hypotheses?  Am I correct?


<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
Benjamin L. Richards
Graduate Student
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
46-007 Lilipuna Rd
Kaneohe, HI 96744

work: (808) 236-7440
cell: (808) 782-1734
fax: (808) 236-7443

email: br at hawaii.edu
AIM: reefben


"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought."
                                - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi -

Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

More information about the Coral-List mailing list