What distinquishes evidence based systems like science from conspiracy theories like QAnon and fakenews?

Now is a good time to explain it again because QAnon's #SaveTheChildren is hurting innocent children and helping Trump to make more victims.
QAnon is extreme but not so fringe anymore, now that we have Republican senators and Trump gamely embracing it.

You and I might "know" that it's a load of crap, but how can we explain the difference between QAnon and evidence based science?
It's all about the scientific method and how it uses empiric evidence that can be challenged and must fit into a plausible theory that can be disproven.
The wikipedia entry is short but good (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientifi…).

But even more than an elaborate method, science is a mindset.
So if you read anything that is controversial and you don't want to play the role of gullible fool, ask yourself a couple of things:
1) How can the answers that are provided be questioned using empirical evidence?

If the evidence is too vague to question, or if people are not even trying to disprove it, you know you've found a conspiracy theory, a religion or an episode of the X-files.
Science is actually rather mundane that way. It's not about have genius level intelligence (although that never hurts of course) but about carefully establishing every fact before you start theorising.
2) Is the theory internally consistent?

You might think that consistency is only for lesser mortals, and I admit that finding your pet theory is not consistent is no fun. But if you want something that is not just in your imagination, you MUST be consistent.
Actually that's a very powerful verification mechanism. Someone once asked J.B.S. Haldane how the theory of evolution could be disproven and he answered: "fossil rabbits in the Precambrian". Imagine that: just 1 set of rabbit bones in the wrong place...
So please dear reader/journalist: question the evidence and check if all parts of the theory can be true at the same time. A lot of lives depend on it. And that's not hyperbole.

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More from @AukeHoekstra

16 Oct
.@MLiebreich proposes to base EU policy on aggregated telemetry data instead of lab. tests. Of course! Why didn't I think of that earlier?
The problem with the lab tests is that they don't reflect reality. They are paid for by the manufacturers instead of by an independent and adversarial organization like the EPA. The manufacturers use loopholes to game the tests. (This part of the problem doesn't exist in the US.)
But even if we organised EPA style advesarial testing, it is very hard to account for actual use. E.g. of plug-in hybrids that can or cannot be a match for someone's travel pattern and can or cannot be plugged in all the time.
Read 4 tweets
14 Oct
New paper in @Nature shows how to prioritize ecosystem restoration for maximum effect: 60% less extinctions and 300 Gt CO2 stored by restoring 15% of converted lands.



I think fertile land is our most precious commodity.
As @hausfath points out (ht @Gio_tweets) the authors equate 300 Gt CO2 to 30% of human emitted CO2 that ended up in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution.

This is technically true, but it's only 15% of all CO2 we emitted.

What's going on here?
Well, the fact is that humans emitted 2000 Gt CO2 and only half of it ended up in the atmosphere. The rest was absorbed by the oceans (and the land).

Why is that important?
Read 7 tweets
14 Oct
The aviation industry is pretending to work on emission reduction but in fact its 'behind closed doors' lobbyist dominated ICAO organisation and the Corsia program seem only intend on cooking the books.
Also, not mentioned by prof. Helge Peukert is the idea that your flight doesn't emit CO2 because the airline planted trees. Unfortunately that is something we need to do anyway and the amount of trees you can plant and its effect is limited.
So we are left with an industry that only want to grow, knowing that this means more CO2 emissions, and is trying every trick in the book to avoid improving the situation. This needs to change!

Let's start by having them pay taxes just like everybody else. Esp. tax kerosine!
Read 5 tweets
13 Oct
Good point by @EmilDimanchev: addressing climate change seems costly only in economic model that adhere to the myth the current situation is optimal, ignoring path dependency.

Talking to him gives me hope: brilliant young man that chooses making a difference over making money.
And here the consistency right @nworbmot sheds some more light on the issue.
For me these kinds of reasonings made me want to develop better pathways in NEONresearch.nl using ABM as outlined in this article: hindawi.com/journals/compl…

(I'm looking for a post-doc that wants to be my right hand person practically managing NEON to max. output btw.)
Read 4 tweets
8 Oct
Miracle cure eFuels comes to the rescue of the German car industry! That is what I understand from the recent reactions in German politics. E.g. from @_FriedrichMerz (@CDU) as discussed by @Stefan_Hajek in @wiwo.

Unfortunately, reality is uncooperative.
You see, it IS eminently possible to power the trusted combustion engine with fuels that are produced using low carbon electricity. That's not the problem.

The problem is that you need A LOT MORE ENERGY while propping up an engine whose only advantage is that it can burn stuff.
Let's look at that engine first. Don't get me wrong: Germany should be proud at the heights to which it has taken this extremely complex marvel of engineering. The electric motor is simple by comparison. But also better on all fronts. Image
Read 6 tweets
8 Oct
Grand demonstration today in Heeze-Leende of a new perpetuum mobile from energytowers.de.

It promises continuus energy without nuclear, fossil, wind or solar.

Can you see if it will work as advertised?
(Explanation starts at 40 seconds and ends at 1:36.)
Perpetuum mobiles violate the first or second law of thermodynamics so scientists scoff at them. But often it is not trivial to prove a specific perpetuum mobile will not work.

In this case though it's analogous to an old idea that's already been disproven called the float belt.
Read 9 tweets

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