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6:11 AM
@Sklivvz You can't prove anything in science, the best you can do is falsify or corroborate. Having something published in a peer-reviewed journal does not mean that it has been proven, just that it has withstood the basic sanity check that is peer review. Whilst in science there is sometimes "speculation", there are also references to peer reviewed studies, so I doubt the answers would be that different. Sorry, I find the comment length limit to irritating for discussion.
 
6:43 AM
OK, I understand what you are saying, but it certainly doesn't correspond to my experience of this network. You can certainly prove stuff in science, we do that all the time. What you can't prove is that a particular model is the "final" or "most refined" model you're going to get. But once a model works, in most cases, it works. Science is predictive.
The science sites on this network tend to be way more speculative than this one. For example on physics we get a ton of questions on research level science, and most of these questions don't have a fact-based answer. If we get asked if a phenomenon happens, there's a difference between "we've measured it" and "theory X predicts it, but we have no practical confirmation of said theory".
 
 
2 hours later…
8:31 AM
Science being predictive is unrelated to the question of whether something can be proven. It is impossible to prove a causal relationship based on observations, you also need a-priori assumptions (this has been known since Hume/Kant etc.).
A more important point is that a peer-reviewed paper proves nothing. Peer-review shouldn't be regarded as more than a basic sanity check. The thing that indicates acceptance of a study is citations, i.e. its findings or methods are taken up by the scientific community. They are better than "some journalist says", but they are not definitive, unless they have evidence of acceptance by the research community.
There is also the point that some skeptic ideas are so odd that there are no peer-reviewed papers that show that they are wrong, and never likely to be because common sense ought to be enough to show that they are wrong. And example of this is the residence time argument which says that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is natural, because CO2 only lasts a couple of years in the atmosphere. The premise is true, the conclusion is false. The only reason that there is now a peer-reviewed article
refuting this is because I wrote it, in the hopes that skeptics would stop wasting their time (and making themselves look silly) by continuing to bring it up.
We don't prove stuff all the time in science, we refute and we corroborate with experiemnts, but we don't prove as there is always irredicable doubt and underpinning assumptions that may be questioned. Nobody has proven we evolved from apes, for examples, but the explanation is convincing and the corroboration from the evidence fairly strong, so most of us accept it, but that doesn't make it proven.
 
 
7 hours later…
user35386
3:46 PM
How does any of this relate to the question of whether we should deflect all climate change related questions to another StackExchange?
 
user35386
Seems this is all just debating what could be considered dicta in sklivvz's reasons. His first point still stands: dispelling pseudoscientific claims is within our territory.
 
I was suggesting that the scientific questions go to the EarthSciences.SE, rather than the pseoduoscience ones. To be fair to the skeptics, a lot of the arguments are misunderstood science rather than pseudoscience. For instance asking whether climate change will affect the polar vortex on the other hand is not at all pseudoscience and seems like a straight science question to me.
BTW, I do realise that not everybody is required to agree with me! ;o)
but it seemed a reasonable suggestion...
 
user35386
4:03 PM
But how do you judge a question's science v. Pseudoscience nature without presuming the answer?
 
4:16 PM
There is a fairly developed literature on the distinction between science and pseudoscience, and it certainly doesn't depend on the answer. I would say it depends on the methodology relative to the claim, hence the one on trends in RSS is closer to pseudoscience as it is based on cherry picking in contravention to standard statistical procedures,
whereas the one about the polar vortex was basically asking of the physics were reasonable (although misread as being about temperature rather than precipitation).
It isn't too difficult for somebody both skeptical and numerate to be able to identify cherry picking, but a good understanding of the effects of climate change on the polar vortex is a pretty specialist subject, and while I have done my best to give a reasonable answer, I am by no means an expert. ES.SE is very likely to have expertise (for a start they definitely have a very well respected glaciologist).
 
4:40 PM
"Did both higher temperatures and an ice age exist at CO₂ levels ten times the present?" is also a science question, at least as it was following Articuno's edit, rather than as originally posed by Cinncinatus.
 
user35386
4:55 PM
@DikranMarsupial I thought the question about RSS was whether the data was accurate, not about any conclusions drawn from the data.
 
@DikranMarsupial meh, that's word play. I think we've proven that gravity exists, we've proven that it behaves with a newtonian law with high degree of approximation, we've proven that its first correction is enisteinian. Any other further gravity law must reduce to those. Where the uncertainty is, is on the boundaries of validity of the theories... how they break, but not that they are largely valid.
 
user35386
So, why wouldn't that be a question you would migrate to EarthSciences?
 
It's undeniable that science amasses knowledge and that the knowledge is real, differently from e.g. theology or philosophy. Why? because we do experiments, and experiments give us valid knowledge
 
user35386
@DikranMarsupial "the one on trends in RSS is closer to pseudoscience as it is based on cherry picking" - as I see that, that requires knowledge that the answer will involve reference to cherry-picking. The question doesn't present that.
 
I think the difference between the questions that belong here and the question that belong on es is that we can answer only if a notable claim is true.
 
user35386
5:00 PM
As usual with proposals like this, I'm trying to figure out what test we would use to distinguish between questions that we would keep and questions we would migrate.
 
Re RSS, fair enough the question as posed is science (but very trivial as the data are published and there are several online places you can plot trends and verify it). The sub-text is pseudoscience, but you only get that if you follow the link and read the article.
 
es should accept questions like "why, how, explain to me this"
 
user35386
@Sklivvz That's the status quo, correct?
 
The polar vortex one is different though because the article behind it is just reporting some science.
 
@Articuno yes
 
user35386
5:01 PM
@DikranMarsupial That assumes the conclusion
 
@DikranMarsupial wait what? how do you know anything in climate science then? Just by thinking really hard?
 
user35386
It seems that if somebody asks a question that's based on a true claim, then the claim is reporting science.
 
user35386
Can we not address any claim that happens to be true? Because it is science?
 
sorry, I can't conduct a discussion if I am getting two people posting faster than I can type.
 
fair enough, that was not intentional, i'll shut up
 
user35386
5:02 PM
Okay, I'll wait until later.
 
user35386
Oh, okay me first :)
 
/me facepalm
 
It would be easier if we just discussed one topic at a time. Can we finish the discussion of the RSS post first?
 
go ahead
I'm not very interested in the "what is knowledge in science" topic anyways :-)
 
The article underpinning the RSS post is not pseudscience because of the conclusion it draws ("the answer") but because of its methodology. The conclusion is obtained by multiple cherry picking, which is pseudoscience. As a contrast, the article behind the polar vortex one is not pseudoscience as it is based on published studies.
 
user35386
5:06 PM
But we weren't asked to assess the article underpinning the RSS post.
 
user35386
We were asked whether the data in the graph was accurate.
 
user35386
Are you saying we should dig past the notable claim to the source of the notable claim and judge whether the question is on-topic here based on the methodology used by the original source of the notable claim?
 
True, but then again whether a dataset has some particular trend in it is not a notable claim. It is just a fact that can be easily checked. The thing that is a notable claim was only in the article.
 
user35386
@DikranMarsupial By our definitions established at meta, the claim that "graph X is accurate" is a notable claim as long as many adults believe that "graph X is accurate"
 
Uhm can I suggest one thing here? There's always going to be claims which come to clearly biased sources which belong here. There are always going to be question clearly only about the science that belong elsewhere, and there are always going to be questions that are somewhat in the middle.
The conditions for migrations are generally speaking that a question should be clearly off topic where it's posted, but a good question for where it's sent.
In practice this limits migrations a lot.
 
5:10 PM
@Articuno, I don;t think anybody disputes that the RSS data is what it is, which is why I don't view it as a notable claim.
 
user35386
@DikranMarsupial Our criterion for notability doesn't require anyone (even the asker) to dispute the notable claim.
 
@Articuno we've another criterion, which is often forgotten. We don't do "research-level" science here.
 
I am not sure why this is such an issue, I was just making the suggestion that some questions here would get more informative answers elsewhere.
 
user35386
Notability of a claim X is one-way: whether many adults believe X to be true.
 
The polar vortex question definitely would be research level, if you actually want an answer from somebody that actually understands it properly.
 
user35386
5:13 PM
@Sklivvz Sure, that's another issue, but I was addressing Dikran's point that "the graph was accurate" is not a notable claim. It is a notable claim by all of our definitions.
 
@DikranMarsupial right, that's fair enough. When you have enough rep you can vote to close and in any case you can flag for migration. Also, you can maybe ping the earthscience mods to see if they want the question.
 
user35386
@DikranMarsupial Nobody disagrees with you, I think.
 
But migrations work this way: it would be a closure here, then a copy would be opened there, but if they don't want it, it basically gets closed everywhere. In other words, there's no guarantee that a migrated question gets an answer at all
 
@Sklivvs That is interesting, I didn't realise questions could be "pulled" as well as "pushed". I'm sure ES.SE wouldn't have wanted the RSS question, but they may well have been interested in the polar vortex one.
 
they are pushed, but can be rejected. they cannot be pulled
 
5:16 PM
@Sklivvz, in that case I am not sure of the point in pinging an ES.SE mod.
 
because if they close it, it gets closed everywhere.
 
user35386
is it possible to un-migrate a question and reopen?
 
Right, so procedure would be to contact ES.SE to guage interest, then suggest the migration here, which would then have a greater likelihood of happening as a good home had been identified?
 
well, that's if there is any debate on where the question belongs
if it clearly does not belong here, and it's a good question, we should migrate (just flag it, and off it goes)
 
user35386
@Sklivvz i.e. questions about "why", or "how", etc.
 
5:19 PM
point being that it's going to be closed here anyways
or obviously research level (which are likely to be non-notable)
"explain the science to me" or "I need help in doing science" do not belong here
 
Given then discussion above, it is hard to think of any climate related question that would not belong here. As I said the polar vortex one is research level (to answer properly).
 
"I've read this on the news, is it true?" does
@DikranMarsupial look at the homepage of es.se (earthscience.stackexchange.com). I don't see many questions that would belong here
 
5:35 PM
I think that is because most of the climtology questions are here! Unfortunately the ES.SE is rather quieter than it really ought to be, given that it covers climatology. IIRC the Area 51 forum that was one of those that made up ES.SE had plenty of climate skeptic questions.
 
6:10 PM
we should pipe in the es mods to get their opinion
 
Having seen gracchus' (good) question at ES.SE, I think you may be right as I am not sure the experts will be able to provide an answer at a low enough level to be useful. Contacting the ES mods may be a good idea, they might not want these sorts of questions anyway.
 

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