When in fact, the perception was that it was not going to be as bad, but it was actually an upgrade. Things were getting worse as the models were coming in. So that’s an example of how we get boxed in by our perceptions.
So, the question becomes, how do we expand our radius? The area of a circle is “pi r squared.” We increase the radius, we increase the area.
How do we expand our radius of understanding about science?
Here are my thoughts. You take inventory of your own biases. And I’m challenging you all to do that. Take an inventory of your own biases .Where do they come from? Your upbringing, your political perspective, your faith — what shapes your own biases? Then, evaluate your sources — where do you get your information on science? What do you read, what do you listen to, to consume your information on science? And then, it’s important to speak out.
Talk about how you evaluated your biases and evaluated your sources. I want you to listen to this little 40-second clip from one of the top TV meteorologists in the U.S., Greg Fishel, in the Raleigh, Durham area. He’s revered in that region.
But he was a climate skeptic. But listen to what he says about speaking out.
Greg Fishel: The mistake I was making and didn’t realize until very recently, was that I was only looking for information to support what I already thought, and was not interested in listening to anything contrary.
And so I woke up one morning, and there was this question in my mind, “Greg, are you engaging in confirmation bias? Are you only looking for information to support what you already think?” And if I was honest with myself, and I tried to be, I admitted that was going on.
And so the more I talked to scientists and read peer-reviewed literature and tried to conduct myself the way I’d been taught to conduct myself at Penn State when I was a student, it became very difficult for me to make the argument that we weren’t at least having some effect.
Maybe there was still a doubt as to how much, but to say “nothing” was not a responsible thing for me to do as a scientist or a person.
J. Marshall Shepherd: Greg Fishel just talked about expanding his radius of understanding of science.
And when we expand our radius, it’s not about making a better future, but it’s about preserving life as we know it.
So as we think about expanding our own radius in understanding science, it’s critical for Athens, Georgia, for Atlanta, Georgia, for the state of Georgia, and for the world.
So expand your radius.