A new paradigm shift

It was lovely to see a letter expressing skepticism about climate change

It was lovely to see a letter expressing skepticism about climate change (Science on thin ice, Sept 19).

As it happens, this year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Thomas Kuhn’s little book (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) on paradigms – about how science changes.

Kuhn wrote about how science putters along for years with everyone agreeing on basic ideas. Then someone says, ‘wait a bit, this isn’t right, we have to change,’ and eventually, people say, ‘you know, you have a point.’ This is the paradigm shift.

Regarding climate change, we have two schools of thought: that climate shifts occur, have occurred in the past, and that there is no big deal with the current slight changes.

And that cutting forests and burning coal and oil have so changed the atmosphere that we are on the cusp of a runaway warming process.

A geologist has even proposed that we are at the start of a new geological age which he calls the Anthropocene – the human caused era. In other words, the second scenario is a paradigm shift.

Of course one doesn’t know whether we are in a paradigm shift until it has occurred, and science is never about certainties, only about probabilities. But, if I may contradict the writer of the previous letter, there is a measureable sea level change.

Of course this is not all about science, there are business and political interests which would be impacted if climate change occurs and this colours attitudes regarding investments and funding.

There is big money dependent on denying climate change.

Joe Harvey

Oak Bay

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Hundreds celebrate Year of the Rat in Victoria’s Chinatown

Lion dancers and kung fu demonstrations on display

Camosun student shares story of overcoming struggles to inspire others

Provincial Tuition Waiver Program helps former youths in care attend post-secondary institutions

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read