150: Tom Murphy, part 1: Do the Math, the language of nature

March 8, 2019 by Joshua
in Podcast

Everyone thinks about the environment. Nearly everyone gets bogged down in questions.

  • What’s best?
  • Will this or that change make a difference?
  • What does all the science mean?
  • What should I do?

Science answers some of these questions. Science is the study of nature. People associate it with going to the moon or people in lab coats, but it’s about nature — sunsets, gravity, why the sky is blue, as well as global warming, pollution, and resource depletion.

Using computers, motors, eye glasses, and so on means your life relies on science. I find it beautiful, which is why I got the PhD in physics.

Not understanding science or math means not knowing how to reach or understand answers resulting from studying nature and its patterns. Even understanding science doesn’t mean knowing the answers. You have to do the experiments and calculate the results.

Tom Murphy created his Do The Math blog to calculates the main questions on environment: solar, wind, nuclear. When someone says we can’t grow forever, why not? What works and what doesn’t, independent of how you feel about it?

This episode is long, but I believe it may be the most important conversation I have on understanding environmental issues.

We don’t talk about the math details, which you can find on his site.

The point of understanding the math is to liberate you from arguing about opinion to learning priorities and what works in what order.

I urge you to listen to it through and to read his wonderful blog.

Read the transcript.

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