How (not) to simplify complex systems like climate change

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shawn
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How (not) to simplify complex systems like climate change

Post by shawn » Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:23 pm

I read a lot of adult's opinions that climate change is a hoax to soak the government for research money. A common argument is that some scientists study global dimming, and some study global warming. Their simplistic view is that these two, real effects either cancel each other out, or slightly better, that either effect could win out in the end with no telling yet.
Here's a simple analogy to help these folks along with this conundrum, which has little effect on younger students, being much more open-minded. Read critically, and let me know if it's useful:
I'll give you some money, and I'll take some money from you. I give you five dollars, and I take ten. Are we even? Of course not. Anthropogenic global dimming increases the albedo, but that reflects less energy than is trapped by anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Will it come out even in the end? Probably not! Not every financial transaction is fair, nor is every energy transaction.
Do you have any stories about dealing with armchair charlatans? Please reply.