March 29th meeting.
Job for next week
Remember, please send us some short comments about the readings
by Tuesday evening (email@example.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org). Just a sentence or two is absolutely fine
(and not an enormous amount more please!!). Don't feel like you have to
address all of the questions, or spell correctly. Just send us the top
one or two thoughts that struck you about the reading and about the
The point is to give something to base a class discussion around, and
to keep focussed on a particular direction. We'll read and assimilate
them before class, and then maybe synthesize them (briefly) at the
start of next class to stimulate discussion.
Questions: (with slight
These were the questions we came up with last time. How do the
conventional science 'recipes' help or not help us, in our field, deal
with these questions?
- What does falsifiability mean, practically, in Earth/Climate
- What about low hanging fruit versus other problems? (are there
typical properties that such problems have)?
- What about the law of diminshing returns? (i.e., incremental
progress from herculean efforts)
- How do you know if the fruit is good? (i.e., are simple models
always the best models)?
- How do we test our hypotheses, and what does it mean? (perhaps
when it is a model and not nature, and therefore not 'real')
- How do you know how complex you should expect your particular
system to be? (can you anticipate the complexity you expect the right
answer to have?)
- What does 'useful' mean? (perhaps what constitutes a useful
answer in our field?)
- What does parsimony really mean as a good goal in the messy
reality of Earth/Climate Science?
Week 1 readings:
Stanford enceylopedia entry on Kuhn (pdf)
Stanford encyclopedia entry on Popper (pdf)
Popper responding to Kuhn (pdf)
Selections of Popper's words (doc)
Lakatos: Science as a successful prediction (pdf)