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1 Skip Intro  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 3:15:30pm
So everyone who says during a blizzard “so much for global warming”… shut up. You’re wrong.

Usually they say “it’s all part of God’s plan, so shut up”.

2 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 3:34:29pm

I think evolution is, but AGW is a pretty damn good get too.

3 jc717  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 3:51:35pm

Greatest scientific achievement??? I wouldn’t even put it in the top 10.

4 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 3:59:46pm

re: #3 jc717

Can you explain your reasoning?

5 freetoken  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 4:10:45pm

Off the top of my head, I’d say Galileo and his telescope was the biggest of hits. He didn’t invent it, but was the first to really make something out of it. His observation that the Earth wasn’t the center of God’s creation around which everything is centered pretty much changed everything.

6 StephenMeansMe  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 4:17:18pm

Given the progressive nature of scientific discoveries it’d be pretty darn hard to independently rank them. But as scientific facts, “Earth is not the (physical) center of the universe” doesn’t come close to “Earth’s climate is warming, with substantial contributions from human activity, and this will have dire consequences.” (The moral facts of Earth’s “central” place, e.g., aren’t scientific, they just got stapled on.)

Similarly our successful avoidance of all-out nuclear war seems like a fairly amazing feat of civilization. Hopefully we can also avoid ecological apocalypse from climate change.

7 freetoken  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 4:18:04pm

re: #3 jc717

I’d put it around #8, but it doesn’t stand by itself but is rather part of the process about discovering about the Pleistocene and the ice advances and retreats, and how the Earth surface the past 3 million or so years has been on a knife edge between states.

8 jc717  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 4:20:00pm

re: #4 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut

Can you explain your reasoning?

At the end of the day it’s some relatively straightforward observations and math. I don’t mean to demean it at all, I just don’t put it in the same realm as paradigm changing discoveries like relativity, A/H-bombs, electricity, evolution, computers, etc.

Global warming research hasn’t had a drastic affect on humanity, imho.

9 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 4:22:18pm

re: #5 freetoken

You’ve got to give more than half of the credit there to Copernicus, though.

10 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 4:25:10pm

re: #8 jc717

At the end of the day it’s some relatively straightforward observations and math. I don’t mean to demean it at all, I just don’t put it in the same realm as paradigm changing discoveries like relativity, A/H-bombs, electricity, evolution, computers, etc.

Global warming research hasn’t had a drastic affect on humanity, imho.

If you’re going by ‘effect on humanity’, then the discovery of fire-making is probably the greatest scientific discovery.

If you’re talking about the number of different areas of science that have to be melded together in order to come up with a strong theory, then I think AGW is a very good candidate. Those measurements you poo-poo so easily aren’t easy to make, aren’t easy to calibrate.

I think a way to think of it that makes it easier to recognize the incredible achievement of it is that it’s a measurement of energy moving through an incredibly complex system, a tracking of entropy and energy transfer through transmission after transmission. In the end, saying something is just math isn’t a criticism, if you’ve reduced it to just math you’ve done an amazing job of fidelity.

11 freetoken  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 4:28:12pm

re: #9 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut

Certainly. Copernicus is an interesting historical character, a polyglot who spans the old way of thinking and the new (scientific) age.

Yet it was the empiricism of Galileo, and others, in which the new age found its strength.

12 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 4:36:40pm

re: #11 freetoken

Copernicus was empirical as well. So was Ptolomey, for that matter.

I think you could argue that the scientific method itself could be called the greatest scientific discovery. But there is no way that when talking about the greatest scientific discovery we’re talking about something discovered by just one person. Darwin make the incisive leap to evolution, but it was the modern synthesis that made it an incredible scientific discovery, one that could be exponentially explored.

I think you’re missing the point of what the video is talking about; we’re not selecting “Which scientist had the biggest impact or personal discovery or whatever”, it’s about what the greatest scientific achievement of humanity is.

I think I am finally going to cop out and say that the discovery and promulgation of the scientific method is our greatest scientific achievement, with evolution coming second, and AGW after that. Modern astronomy— arguably, it allowed AGW research. Probably about on par, hierarchical ranking gets a little silly.

13 Romantic Heretic  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 5:09:04pm

It’s only greatest if it saves our species’ ass.

14 RadicalModerate  Fri, Jul 5, 2013 5:45:01pm

I don’t think that it qualifies as our “greatest” achievement - the collective effort to put a dozen men on the moon and safely bringing them home still takes the #1 spot for me.
That being said, the discovery of AGW very well may be the most important one, as it has brought a quantifiable measurement to what may be one of mankind’s greatest threats.

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