Some real, actual scientists have been speaking about their work recently – and about how they know that what they think is wrong. Not wrong wrong, like thinking that Wincanton is in Dorset, or that Captain Sensible could actually sing, but wrong as in not quite right – right enough to explain just about everything, but not, for instance, how much matter there is in the universe.
Let’s see what one of them has to say:
“The data so far has confirmed that our theory is really really good, which is frustrating because we know it’s not!” Prof Shears says. “We know it can’t explain a lot of the Universe. So instead of trying to test the truth of this theory, what we really want to do now is break it – to show where it stops reflecting reality. That’s the only way we’re going to make progress.”
Here’s another one:
“We have a fantastic model – that we hate,” he chuckles. “It has stood up to precision measurements for 50 years. We get more and more precise, and it stands up and stands up. But we hate it, because it doesn’t explain the universe.”
And back to Prof Shears again:
“We think now that the answer has to lie in some new physics,” says Prof Shears. She hopes the near doubling of the collision energy will offer a peek. “We’ve got a million crazy ideas. All we can do is to keep our options open, to sift through the data – and to look for the unexpected.”
Got that? These guys admit they’re wrong, and they find it exciting. It means they need to roll up their sleeves, ditch some old ideas and do some serious thinking. They’ve spent entire careers, and billions of pounds, smashing atoms apart and they’re still wrong, but at least they admit it.
Now, billions of pounds is serious money even these days, right? Who else gets to spend that kind of money in science? Hey, wait – there’s these guys:
“The difference between 2007 and 2013 is that in 2007 the scientists claimed 90 to 100 percent certainty that climate change is the result of human activity. This year it was 95 to 100 percent.”
That must be some pretty good science they’ve got there. At least 95% certainty. Any advance on 95%?
The likelihood that global warming since 1880 is due to natural variability can be ruled out “with confidence levels greater than 99 percent, and most likely greater than 99.9 percent,” Lovejoy said.
Only 99.9% certain? Pah! Amateur.
“Our new CSIRO work provides an objective assessment linking global temperature increases to human activity, which points to a close to certain probability exceeding 99.999%.”
Finally, a team who know what they’re doing! CERN need to get them on the phone.