Sunday, August 5, 2012

WSJ: "Bad Theories Happen to Good Scientists?”

Chicago AM Sunday 5 August 2012

Editors, The Wall Street Journal


The Wall Street Journal's Matt Ridley, in an article “When Bad Theories 
Happen to Good Scientists” [3 parts, July 21 and 28, August 4] describes 
“confirming bias”, a psychological phenomenon where the traditional 
approach to a new hypothesis (try to destroy it ) appears in the case of 
climate change, to be “like defense attorneys building a case, collect 
confirming evidence.”  He adds that “much published research on the 
impact of climate change consists of confirmation bias by if-then 

Could the confirming bias sufferers by cured by a simple mathematical 
model?  Project the 4.5 billion year age of the planet on to an 80-year 
human lifetime. Such a model shows one year of earth time equivalent 
to 0.562 seconds of an 80-year human life span. This means humans 
first appeared in our model earth 39 days ago. They had no idea of 
measuring temperature before Galileo's 1593 thermometer invention, 
4 minutes ago to our senior citizen. Discovery of carbon dioxide in 
1630? 3 minutes 30 seconds ago. 

If a doctor took a senior citizen's blood pressure and got 120 over 80, 
took a second reading 5 minutes later and got 124 over 78, would she 
call an ambulance?

Arnold H Nelson

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