The tide is turning

One of the initial “problems” following my TBI was separating symptoms. It seems odd to me, although many things seem odd to me, that my doctors appeared to be dodging responsibility, blaming various symptoms as resulting from a condition in which they did not specialize. “Oh you’ll need to see a (insert specialty) about that” was a shared mantra; was it the MS, or the TBI, or maybe something else? As I zeroed in on the diagnosis of SCDS, I found another area of overlapping symptoms. As I heal from that surgery, I find many of my TBI/MS symptoms relieved at least in part. Much of the brain fog has lifted, I am able to focus and organize thoughts better. My neuropsychologist discharged me from therapy the other day, satisfied that although my recovery is not complete, I have the necessary tools and coping skills to move forward on my own, I am capable of self evaluation.

As I considered the topic I will be writing about this time, it occurred to me that this may turn out more in the style of some of my earlier writing, a variety of events tied by synchronicity. It may end up appearing as the ramblings of a damaged brain, or it may be clear enough to communicate a hidden reality.

I want to start with the “March for Science” held this year on 22 April, at various sites around the globe. I wrote about the march previously, it had appeared to have lost a true science base, appealing to populists who talk about science without understanding it. Nonetheless, it appears some scientists did not care they were being represented by a steampunk contingent and a celebrity with a bachelors degree in engineering, or perhaps they were reacting to the farcical world in which anybody can call themselves a scientist. A group (thirty thousand) of scientists spoke out about global warming. They stated global warming is a hoax. A non-scientist friend disagreed, and presented the following graph.

 

Misrepresentation of CO2 levels

 

As someone with the dignity and respect for scientists not to call myself a scientist, I point out the features of this graph. The graph is properly indexed, with the first eight hundred thousand years of data identified as coming from ice cores. The last sixty years of data were drawn from another source, an observatory atop a volcano. The graph indicates a series of cycles, each roughly one hundred thousand years, in which the level of CO2 rises and falls. At the point the ice core samples revealed the latest peak, the data source changes to Mauna Loa observatory, which indicate higher levels of CO2 than had ever been recorded in an ice core.

There is no indication of the data from Muana Loa previously (largely because the data was not being collected), we have no idea how the measurements made there compare to samples from ice cores. All we know is in the last sixty years the levels from the Muana Loa data have been exponentially higher than any ice core sample.

We also do not know how this might suggest global warming, as actual temperature data from the last twenty years have shown steady  global temperatures. While there is a debate as to whether CO2 is a warming or cooling effect on the globe, the cyclic patterns which took place for six hundred thousand years before there was a species identified as remotely human would indicate humans had nothing to do with those CO2 levels. As those levels in Mauna Loa’s data peaked over the last one third of their data, actual temperatures have remained stable. But it is a shocking graph, until you read it.

When I was twenty, I drove an ice cream truck, for a company called Tropical Ice Cream. In one of the neighborhoods in my territory lived a man who owned his own ice cream truck, and was not a friendly competitor. One day a little boy was among the crowd at the window, and he said “Tropical Ice Cream is bad, they gave me wrong change.” Not recognizing the child, I asked him why he said that. “Bill (the other ice cream truck driver) told me.” Some folks just repeat what they have heard, without considering the facts. I’m sure the AGW fanatics will continue to argue about science with actual scientists, after all, they heard it from Bill Nye the science guy.

Another science based theme which has been pushed since the March for Science is the anti-vaccination cult. It took the British medical journal, The Lancet, nearly twelve years to retract Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 paper suggesting a link between childhood vaccines and autism, as “utterly false.” His license to practice was revoked six months later. But the anti-vaccination crowd will hear nothing of it, continuing to insist on various reasons vaccines must cause autism without any data to back their claims.

This attack on science is more direct. Rather than falsely claiming to be backed by science, the anti-vaccination crowd contends the scientists who have failed to find any data connecting vaccines and autism are corrupt, paid off by pharmaceutical companies. When it comes to anything even resembling facts in the matter, they are misunderstood or misconstrued. Nonetheless, the anti-vaccination front was represented at the March for Science. Of the many reasons I did not participate in the march, this hypocrisy is the epitome.

Science is designed to be challenged. It is designed to be challenged by other scientists, not celebrities and laymen. It will always be misconstrued or denied for political reasons, it took the Vatican three hundred and fifty years to apologize to Galileo. This year, after an election that highlighted false news, a populist March actually revealed truths; not from the lips of the marchers, but from the scientists to whom the marchers claimed the desire to provide a voice. Many of the marchers are like that little boy next to the ice cream truck, repeating what they heard. They tend to passionately defend the beliefs they have been told they hold, but the scientists are standing up, and their response has been “That is not what we said, that is not science.”

The tide is turning. It may require another three hundred and fifty years, but eventually science will be respected again.

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5 comments on “The tide is turning

  1. Mari Collier says:

    It has definitely turned for you! I don’t believe that we will be able to change anything about how the climate change is happening. No one wants to return to a primitive life style and that is the only way to cut down on all the human created pollutants in the air. The climate will change and change again. So thankful that you are back to being you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. markrhunter says:

    I hope you don’t get too much grief from all those people who are against free speech and differing views … they know who they are.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mike R says:

    If this is what cognitive dysfunction looks like, bring it on. Bringing together events tied only by their synchronicity takes brain power. I don’t mean to lessen or lighten your remaining symptoms, simply point out the complexity, and the ability to capture it and write very well about it. This is my good news for the day! As one of the suffering band of brothers and sisters, I delight when any of us make a turn for the better.

    How well I know the specialist dilemma. I’m pending a visit to a blood cancer specialist due to some strange lab tests found by my rheumatologist. At the same time that she made the referral she ordered additional tests to clarify things. Those tests proved negative–a relief, but it also puts into question the need for the oncologist. With each test or diagnostic procedure a provider orders there is the chance that it might result in a false conclusion and treatment that is not only not needed, but could be harmful. The various cancer screenings fall into this category. A good example is colonoscopy. Sticking a long tube up a persons rectum sometimes results in harm–even death. The odds of detecting colon cancer early and saving lives must be weighed against the odds of killing people from the procedure.

    Scientism, versus science, can be quite harmful. The chart that you included and commented on is a good example. When political actions are taken or forced due to poor interpretation of data, it can be foolishly expensive, limiting to liberty, and otherwise harmful. But folks rarely consider the harm that can be caused in an effort to “do the right thing.” We rarely are aware of the issues of power and money that influence so-called scientists and do-gooder politicians and celebrities.

    Sin marches on. It’s a wonder that any good results. Well, not really a wonder. It is the common grace of God.

    Liked by 1 person

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