Ironic Predictions

I last left this blog on an ambiguous note. Followed by another unannounced absence, this might have seemed strangely ironic. It was for me--that post was written the day before my Thanksgiving break, and I had absolutely nothing planned--except to write. That, as you might have guessed, is exactly what I didn’t do. Hence the ironic part: I’ve been obsessing over prediction lately (that’s what I had intended to write about) yet I can’t seem to even predict my own behavior. Can we hope to predict anything, let alone global changes? That’s the big question.

Now, while I didn’t exactly write, I was at least thinking about it. In fact, I couldn’t help it... all the subjects I have been studying (philosophy of science, environmental science, mathematics) have been merging together under the same headings, tying into one another in various ways. Even my holiday plans and decorations haven’t been immune. While I’ll save the holiday stuff for a later post, it still might take a while to explain exactly how all these research interests are fitting together. (Don’t worry, I won’t go quiet again before doing so.)

To start, I think I’ll just share a page of outlines from my notes and try to give an idea of where I might be going with this:


I’ll definitely be going into greater detail on this over the coming weeks, as these notes encompass two separate papers I need to write, as well as a panel presentation for a small, local blogging workshop. While I’m working on writing the papers and setting up my presentation, I’d also like to blog about climate change and the predictive nature of science. But, as you can see from my notes, it is a fairly broad subject. So, I’d like to pause here, and see if you, my dear readers, have any questions or particular subjects that you’d like me to focus on in the coming weeks.

Here are some of the questions I’ve been focusing on lately:

  • What are the basics of climate change? (How greenhouse gasses relate to global warming, or the various impacts of warming, etc.)
  • How have we dealt with prediction in the past? (The history of predictive science, etc.)
  • How predictive science is distinguished from predictive psuedoscience like fortunetelling and astrology? (In other words, the demarcation problem.)
  • How are climate change predictions are made? (Using computer models, how they are constructed, etc.)
  • How does the nature of time affect our abilities to study the future? (This one gets into arguments of metaphysics and is perhaps one of the most complex questions posed here--but it is also one of my favorites.)

If anyone would like me to go into detail on any of these, or has other questions that fit in these subjects, please let me know, either in the comments or via e-mail. Otherwise, I may tend to jump around or go off on weird tangents. (Not that I mind proceeding that way.) If this all sounds a little dry, don’t worry. I have a few lighthearted bits to share over the coming weeks which should seem relevant.... and of course, as I mentioned above, the holidays are coming, with the promise of silly seasonal delights. In the meantime, don’t forget; I am taking requests!


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