Are Scientists Always Smart?

Guest post by Steven Goddard

There is no question that some of the greatest minds have been scientists.  Da Vinci, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Edison, Einstein, Fermi, Feynman are a few names that come to mind.

But how about the consensus?  One of the most famous cases of consensus science gone ridiculous involved the theory of Continental Drift.  In 1912, a German scientist named Alfred Wegener introduced the theory that the continents were not stationary, but rather moved.

http://www.spacetoday.org/images/SolSys/Earth/WholeEarthSatMap/EarthMapSatImagesGoddard890x459.jpg

Any child can see that the continents fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, yet the scientific community took over 50 years to stop ridiculing Wegener and accept his theory.

“Utter, damned rot!” said the president of the prestigious American Philosophical Society.

Anyone who “valued his reputation for scientific sanity” would never dare support such a theory, said a British geologist.

“If we are to believe in Wegener’s hypothesis we must forget everything which has been learned in the past 70 years and start all over again.” Geologist R. Thomas Chamberlain

further discussion of it merely incumbers the literature and befogs the mind of fellow students.”    Geologist Barry Willis

Sound familiar?

http://travel.state.gov/images/maps/brazil.gif

http://www.globalkids.info/v3/content/africa.jpg

Several earlier scientists had also observed the obvious – from Wikipedia :

Abraham Ortelius (1597), Francis Bacon (1625), Benjamin Franklin, Antonio Snider-Pellegrini (1858), and others had noted earlier that the shapes of continents on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean (most notably, Africa and South America) seem to fit together. W. J. Kious described Ortelius’ thoughts in this way:[1]

Abraham Ortelius in his work Thesaurus Geographicus … suggested that the Americas were “torn away from Europe and Africa … by earthquakes and floods” and went on to say: “The vestiges of the rupture reveal themselves, if someone brings forward a map of the world and considers carefully the coasts of the three [continents].

Not only do the continents fit together, but Wegener observed that their geology matched.

http://www.scientus.org/Wegener-DuToit.jpeg

http://www.scientus.org/Wegener-DuToit.jpeg

And the fossils match.

. Wegener-Continental Drift-Fossils

http://www.scientus.org/Pellegrini-Wegener-1.gif

We see a parallel to global warming.  The earth is not warming out of control.  Sea level is not rising out of control.  The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are not collapsing.  The IPCC documents have been shown to be littered with junk science and fraud.  The hockey team has been shown to be misusing their positions.  Yet the consensus hangs on to the ridiculous, for the same reasons they did from 1912 to 1960.  No one wants to “forget what they learned and start over again.”

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254 thoughts on “Are Scientists Always Smart?

  1. “We see a parallel to global warming.”

    No we don’t. This is such a simple logical flaw that sceptics should never, ever repeat it. It makes us look like all the crank science fans (although Galileo is generally their favourite).

    There are plenty of examples of science accepting amazingly bizarre theories in quite short notice, despite scientists having to learn things from the ground up. Quantum theory never had to put up much fight. Birds descending from dinosaurs was pretty quick too.

    There are lots more examples of science rejecting pretty obvious ideas, on the basis that they were totally wrong. Lamarkianism (Lyshenkoism) is one good one.

    If you want to prove AGW is wrong, then you need to prove AGW is wrong. Nothing else will do. Going off on a tangent about how other scientists were wrong in the past is totally and utterly irrelevant.

  2. Even worse – the 1928 annual meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geologist included an entire symposium on disproving, debunking, defaming, reidculing, and trying to put to rest the well-articulated ideas of one man, who was almost 100% correct.

    Wegener not only concluded that some of the continents were together, he concluded that there had been one supercontinent (Pangaea), that it had split first along an east-west line into a northern (Laurasia) and southern (Gondwana) continent, and then later into east and west sub-sections (Correct), and that before Pangaea, there had been a precursor super continent (correct again).

    The important thing was that it was all supported by evidence which his critics chose to ignore. THAT is the real similarity to our current situation.

  3. No.

    More than half of PhDs’ intellectual scores are not high enough to support genuinely independent thought. Add to that — objectivity is needed — something not everyone posessses.

  4. Einstein’s contribution to science is immeasurable, but when that guy stepped into politics/economics he was clueless. He loved socialism, which always baffled me because the guy didn’t live his own life that way. Growing up, he was so mad at the schools for the rigid way they taught that he started reading a ton on his own. He thought about physics like no one else did, in part, because he was such a hardcore individualist and didn’t want to approach it like anyone else. Sometimes he even made up his own math symbols.

    You get all these brilliant scientists who think they’re brilliant in other areas, and a lot of times it just ain’t true. It’s like that for most any intellectual. They grow up with everyone saying how smart they are, which may very well be the case, but it does not always mean they’re smart about everything.

    This is exactly what’s been going on with this climategate stuff. These people think they know how the world should be managed, and they let that sentiment override everything they stand for.

  5. No.

    Only half of PhDs’ have intellectual scores high enough to support thinking outside the box (according to some sources). Add to that — objectivity is needed — something probably fewer than half of the population has in abundance. Moreover, a load of self confidence is needed to handle the criticisms and admit mistakes.

    Tough to find all the needed factors in one person.

  6. Aw Mooloo… I’ll add to what I’m sure will be a chorus.

    “WE” don’t have to prove anything. Those who BELIEVE in AGW have to prove it. Currently there is no credible evidence, the evidence that has been presented has been shown to be flawed, the physics don’t add up, the people involved were caught with their hands in the cookie jar (disrupting the peer review process), and the pockets are deep for promoting the idea.

    But the idea itself has not only not been proven, but has been convincingly enough disproved for anyone who will simply look.

  7. If Edison said that genius was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, then in the case of AGW I would suggest something like 90% imagination and 10% perspiration.

    If we can up the perspiration levels, as we have seen with the huge efforts of Anthony, Steve et al, and cut down on the imagination, we might head back towards a real science.

  8. This reminds me of the whole deal about Cold Fusion. There was lots of excitement at the time. It was shown to be an artifact. Artifacts in science are common when you don’t control every parameters. It’s often not easy to see that the signal can be an artifact some times.

    The science from the the IPCC is what is called “Pathological science” and billions of dollars have been put into studying artifacts that certain scientists were not smart enough to figure out it was just that… artifacts.

    Def.: Pathological science is the process in science in which “people are tricked into false results … by subjective effects, wishful thinking or threshold interactions”. The term was first used by Irving Langmuir, Nobel Prize-winning chemist, during a 1953 colloquium at the Knolls Research Laboratory. Langmuir said a pathological science is an area of research that simply will not “go away” —long after it was given up on as ‘false’ by the majority of scientists in the field. He called pathological science “the science of things that aren’t so”

  9. Mooloo:

    “If you want to prove AGW is wrong, then you need to prove AGW is wrong. Nothing else will do. Going off on a tangent about how other scientists were wrong in the past is totally and utterly irrelevant.”

    No, you are wrong. It is up to the proponents of the hypothesis to prove it, not for rationalists to disprove same.

    It is impossible to falsify an hypothesis that is based purely upon conjecture, assumptions, and computer modelling.

    The trouble with the Warmers is that they have lost sight of the Scientific Method, or perhaps had no concept of the Scientific Method in the first place.

    I suppose that this is the best outcome we can expect from the “dumbing down” of education in the latter part of the 20th century.

  10. Jack,

    Amen and Amen! We skeptics don’t have to prove anything, except that the hypothesis can be falsified – if only once.

    The AGW hypothesis has been falsified by its own authors…several times in the last few months.

    Put down the Koolaid and step back, no one needs to be hurt here.

    Mike Bentley

  11. Mooloo –

    “If you want to prove AGW is wrong, then you need to prove AGW is wrong. Nothing else will do. Going off on a tangent about how other scientists were wrong in the past is totally and utterly irrelevant.”

    You seem to forget the null hypothesis.

    The obligation of proof lies, not with those who are skeptics of AGW, but with those who posit that the climate is dramatically changing. Actually, Wegener’s “Continental Drift” Theory is similar to AGW – in that it was doubted until a mechanism – seafloor spreading – was discovered to explain the process. Unlike AGW, Plate Tectonics brings together many disparate parts into an understandable whole. AGW, on the other hand, requires the dismissal of the MWP, the UHI, post-LIA warming to make its case.

  12. TR-104195, Developments in Advanced Concepts for Nuclear Effects in Deuterated Metals, 1994, Electric Power Research Institute.

    Find it on the Web. 234 Page report. Please stop making “Cold Fusion” a whipping boy, for “unproven” science.

  13. Mooloo (20:21:05)

    This article is not suggesting that because the consensus has been wrong in the past, therefore it is wrong now. It is merely suggesting to keep an open mind and not to assume that the consensus view is necessarily the more credible.

  14. They (AGW’er) have certainly made Herculean efforts to hide the refuting real-world evidence while at the same time fallen over themselves to pick out special places to support thier hypothesis. Some of it they just plain made up, and that is where AGW turned from a wrong theory into a hoax.

    At a time when we most need to know exactly where things stand, we have a record that has been damaged. Record late snow in Dallas, TX and across the deep South plus rare snow in Rome underscores the need to know.
    Exaclty where do things currently lie as to the southerly track of cold in the N.Hemisphere?

  15. Mooloo

    If you want to prove AGW is wrong …

    . The burden of proof is on those proposing the novel model. Has anyone yet quantitatively validated models predicting catastrophic AGW?

    Has anyone shown that global temperatures are following IPCC’s projections with better uncertainty than the default warming trend? (Nature may not be cooperating)
    Has anyone shown IPCC’s projections to be more accurate than Don Easterbrook’s 2001 projections of cooling till 2040, then heating till 2070, then cooling till 2100?

    Let the real “scientific” games begin!

  16. To be fair, Wegener and everybody else had no idea how continents could plow through the crust. In parallel, anyone who understands Thermodynamics and the behavior of gases has no idea how a trace gas could cook the planet. When lots of new technology and observations opened up the field of plate tectonics, all the centuries of geological observations were, in a sense, jacked up and plate tectonics was slid under as a new foundation. In the case of Climatology, all the books have been cooked, the observations have been corrupted, and the data disappeared. So Climatology now has to restart from scratch.

  17. LOL,

    I have occasionally brought up this very point that “consensus” has been very wrong before.I would bring up this example along with J.Harlan Bretz (you look it up) to show that consensus is not the proper metric in determining if the “lone rascal” is wrong.

    AGW believers would get irritated,when I do that and burrow deeper into the consensus silliness,by pushing the appeal to authority,post a long list of links and think he has made his point.And other dam excuses.

    Too many AGW believers are simply lemmings who will bodily follow the “charismatic leader”, such as Al $$$ Gore or some other people who have a conflict of interest a mile long,that AGW believing lemmings amazingly overlook.

    Consensus is a common tool in politics and common with ignorant followers,who has no idea what a scientific method is.

  18. I think line of reasoning drifts dangerously close to creationism.

    You’re not going to win a fight against scientists by claiming scientists are stupid. They’re not.

    Point out conflicts of interest where they exist (not hard to find), sloppy research where it exists (not hard to find), present alternative possibilities (that’s harder and an area where skeptics need to do some more work).

    If you want to argue with scientists about their area of expertise you need to put the work in. Otherwise, the only stupid person in the argument is you.

  19. As a skeptic, it’s great to see a history lesson about how lots of people were wrong.

    But as our first commenter pointed out, to prove “AGW” wrong there’s some serious scientific work required, not history.

    In fact, AGW is made out of lots of different elements of science, some of which are strong and some of which are weak.

    Even to talk about disproving AGW needs some definition, because lots of “AGW adherents” might disagree with, as examples:

    – the removal of the MWP from last 1000 years’ climate reconstructions
    – the fact that sea level rise is “accelerating”
    – how reliable GCMs are
    – whether clouds are understood well enough for us to understand climate

    Lots of “AGW skeptics” might agree that:

    – sea level is rising and global temperatures have increased in the last 100 years
    – more CO2 in the atmosphere will increase the radiative forcing at the earth’s surface

    And surprisingly there is a lot of published science supporting many of the different elements that make up the core AGW proposition. Not all from a few people. And from long before the IPCC existed.

    Some of the basics, like quantifying the radiative effect of CO2 and water vapor, go back 30-40 years.

    As you can see in CO2 – An Insignificant Trace Gas? Part Five

    And if – as a basic proposition – CO2 doesn’t have a warming effect on the surface, why is there downwards longwave radiation measurable at the earth’s surface which matches the absorption characteristics of CO2, O3, CH4? Where does it come from?
    As you can see in CO2 – An Insignificant Trace Gas? Part Six – Visualization

  20. Ray (20:42:47) : Pathological Science..

    “Cargo Cult Science” as Richard Feynman put it.

    Or Post Normal Science if you want to make it sound better than junk.

  21. A better parallel for AGW would be eugenics, as the late, great Michael Crichton pointed out:

    Imagine that there is a new scientific theory that warns of an impending crisis, and points to a way out.

    This theory quickly draws support from leading scientists, politicians and celebrities around the world. Research is funded by distinguished philanthropies, and carried out at prestigious universities. The crisis is reported frequently in the media. The science is taught in college and high school classrooms.

    I don’t mean global warming. I’m talking about another theory, which rose to prominence a century ago.

    Its supporters included Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Winston Churchill. It was approved by Supreme Court justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis Brandeis, who ruled in its favor. The famous names who supported it included Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone; activist Margaret Sanger; botanist Luther Burbank; Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University; the novelist H. G. Wells; the playwright George Bernard Shaw; and hundreds of others. Nobel Prize winners gave support. Research was backed by the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations. The Cold Springs Harbor Institute was built to carry out this research, but important work was also done at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Johns Hopkins. Legislation to address the crisis was passed in states from New York to California.

    These efforts had the support of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the National Research Council. It was said that if Jesus were alive, he would have supported this effort.

    All in all, the research, legislation and molding of public opinion surrounding the theory went on for almost half a century. Those who opposed the theory were shouted down and called reactionary, blind to reality, or just plain ignorant. But in hindsight, what is surprising is that so few people objected.

    Today, we know that this famous theory that gained so much support was actually pseudoscience. The crisis it claimed was nonexistent. And the actions taken in the name of theory were morally and criminally wrong. Ultimately, they led to the deaths of millions of people.

    Certainly there are examples of people derided as crackpots by mainstream scientists who turned out to be right. There are also many more examples of people derided as crackpots by mainstream scientists who actually were crackpots.

    I don’t know whether AGW is wrong or not. All I do know is that every time I get close enough to examine a key piece of evidence for AGW, it falls apart under examination. I am then told that although this piece of evidence doesn’t hold, there’s lots of other evidence somewhere (usually behind a firewall) that “all scientists agree” must be conclusive evidence of AGW. Can I see this evidence? No, because you’re not a mainstream scientist/activist/musician/whatever.

    In other words, I lack prior belief in the truth of AGW – a religious axiom.

  22. Mooloo is obviously not familiar with the scientific method. Nor was Mr. Goddard offering evidence to falsify the AGW hypothesis. He was simply trying to put the current “debate” in the larger historical context.

    Moreover, Mooloo doesn’t know his history. Quantum theory was still not taught at some American universities even after the bombs were dropped on Japan. They had to wait for the old-school heads of the physics depts. to literally die. And the academic battles over the endothermic dinosaur theory were brutal, if not much noticed by the public. Many academics would prefer to go to their graves before renouncing their lifetime accumulation of work for a new paradigm based on new evidence…no doubt we shall witness more of the same behavior from the gurus of AGW.

    As far as I am aware the only “amazingly bizarre theory” ever adopted en masse on short notice in the history of science was the AGW hypothesis. I suspect this was due to the immature nature of the scientific evidence involved combined with various cultural and sociopolitical impetuses, (environmental millenarianism and collectivism) which distorted the usual plodding nature of scientific progress.

    But as any good student of Enlightenment values knows–the science is never settled.

  23. Ray (20:42:47) :

    This reminds me of the whole deal about Cold Fusion. There was lots of excitement at the time. It was shown to be an artifact. Artifacts in science are common when you don’t control every parameters. It’s often not easy to see that the signal can be an artifact some times.
    ———–
    Reply:

    Sorry Ray, but that’s a bad analogy. Cold Fusion was “debunked” because the signatures that identify hot fusion were applied to it. Well, you can imagine that wasn’t too applicable–kinda like using your wife’s candy thermometer to measure earth’s terrestrial temperature; the wrong tool for the job.

    Google or Bing LENR, which is the acronym “cold fusion” has migrated to get rid of the stigma that was never justified. (LENR stands for Low Energy Nuclear Reactions.) The “hot fusion” people (physicists, by the way) jumped all over it to discredit it since it didn’t fit in with their “theories”. Problem is, the physicists were just like the AGWers, bowing to their cherished theories and demanding the world follow their textbooks, which were more than 100 years old, rather than taking a fresh look at the real world.

    The chemists, who by the way aren’t as tied to the theory as the theoretical physicists, went into their laboratories and kept working with it, discovering more and more interesting characteristics about it until they came up with a pretty solid explanation.

    If you pursue the topic, you’ll see a lot of pros and cons, but all the current activity regarding LENR is happening overseas–the hot spots right now are Israel and Japan. There have been numerous patents filed on the phenomena and there’s even a medical device (upgraded since it was first introduced) that’s based on LENR. The US Navy, to their credit, have begun investigating the process, and maintain that the phenomenon is real.

    Sad that the US has decided not to participate in this field–the theoretical physicists did such a good job of debunking the process (in actuality demonstrating their unyielding stubborness by relying on outdated theories) that “cold fusion” lost all funding support in the US. But it didn’t die. Indeed, research is continuing in a number of countries outside the US.

    After I researched it several years, I’ve come to the conclusion that cold fusion has more promise than hot fusion. One of the amazing aspects of the process is that cold fusion appears to be the perfect nuclear reaction–there’s no untoward radiation (hence their difficulty in detecting it); in fact, the research indicates it can be used to render highly radioactive materials completely innocuous. You could hold a “Mr. Fusion” in your hand and have no worries whatsoever. And with a couple of liters of heavy water (about $50 a liter now) and the right configuration using paladium (rather more expensive than heavy water!), you could have a basement heating supply that would last 30, 40 maybe 50 years for a few thousand bucks. There’s even evidence it can be used to generate electricity directly, but we’ll see where that goes. Considering how the weather’s going and fuel prices and supply a big question, I’d be happy just for the long-term heating unit.

    Truly exciting stuff.

  24. Read Thomas Sowell’s ‘Intellectuals and Society’ for an informative discussion on how ‘intellectuals’ get things wrong repeatedly and too often with disasterous results. I would have previously referred to such individuals as pseudo-intellectuals for their inability to use their big brains except within their narrow subjects (an inability to recognize their limitations), but have since adopted Dr Sowell’s definition of ‘intellectuals’ and could never call myself one again. See an excellent interview (5 part) with Dr Sowel discussing his book at Hoover Intstitution/NRO’s Uncommon Knowledge site: http://tv.nationalreview.com/uncommonknowledge/

  25. And if – as a basic proposition – CO2 doesn’t have a warming effect on the surface, why is there downwards longwave radiation measurable at the earth’s surface which matches the absorption characteristics of CO2, O3, CH4?>

    Here lies the problem Mr Doom. You begin by putting words in the skeptics’ mouths, and then arguing against them. The question is NOT if you can measure downward longwave radiation or not. The question is does the presence of CO2 result in a net increase in energy retained? The latter question is far more relevant than the former. The latter question is governed by the laws of thermodynamics which say no, have been repeatedly demonstrated by experimentation to be accurate, and which are in general agreement with long term observation of the climate via the geological record.

    A wise old woman once explained to me that she could prove that man had never landed on the moon. Mosquitos! she said. Huh? said I. If they can’t even get rid of mosquitos, how could they possibly figure out how to go to the moon? she asked. I had no more answer for her than I do for your question.

  26. Mooloo – the article is simply pointing out that history is littered with the debris of flawed scientific ideas which were believed by a majority, ie. a flawed consensus.

    And it isn’t up to people who disagree with a theory to prove it wrong – the burden of proof lies with those who are proposing the theory – those who are saying we all have to change the way we live.

  27. Intelligence does not a scientist make. Look it is not about being intelligent. It is about observation and honesty. I have looked at the information that has been bandied about by people who believe in AGW and I agree in general terms that man does effect temperature. Where I deviate is in the acceptance that CO2 is the main driver of it. I reject the casual denial of UHI by these same scientist hell bent on saying it can only be CO2. What about agricultural changes that have occurred in the last 100 years ( talk about changing the humidity of areas and evaporation rates of water ) Science does not blind itself in peer review, rather it uses peer review to find the whole, not give a stamp of approval. That is where peer review has failed us…

  28. This reminds me of the whole deal about Cold Fusion. There was lots of excitement at the time. It was shown to be an artifact. Artifacts in science are common when you don’t control every parameters. It’s often not easy to see that the signal can be an artifact some times.

    Actually Cold Fusion was assumed to be an artifact. It is real. Not well understood yet. Too many theories. Not enough data.

    And lysenkoism? It works too. In some cases.

    The deal is: the science is never settled. Only engineering is settled. And how you do that changes with understanding. Designing structures with Young’s modulus is easier than using spring constants.

  29. Science & western civilization?

    1st – pre Classical Greece period- some Asia minor mathematicians and metaphysicians

    2nd – Classical Greece period- lots of “natural” philosopher (i.e. scientists)

    3rd – Classical Roman period- natural philosophers and engineers

    4th – Lights Out (Dark Ages) – scientists? zippo outside of religious dogma yes men

    5th – Renaissance – scientists are born again

    6th – Enlightenment – scientists see the light and multiply

    7th – “Post Enlightenment”- massive science on a scale not known in the history of mankind

    8th – Now Period (I don’t have a name for it) – political manipulation of science by democratic (yes, democratic) gov’ts

    9th – Future – ???? [ but I am an optimist in spite of denying it on other WUWT posts]

    John

  30. The consensus anti-Wegener position was hung up on the fact that continental material is less dense then sea floor material. As less dense material can’t push its way through more dense material, they stopped there. If you don’t want to believe something, it’s very easy to declare the first problem it encounters a deal breaker. (Less dense material can ride on top of more dense material and be carried anywhere the plate wants to carry it.) Quantum theory provided answers to problems that had no prior consensus explanations; Continental Drift faced a united front. Most scientists do not change their minds, they retire. Just think of Fred Hoyle’s life-long take on the Big Bang theory. Or how Dr Marshall was treated when he advanced his theory of what causes peptic ulcers. (It’s got nothing to do with stress.) It takes more than merely being right to upset a science wide-consensus.

  31. I’m busy right now creating anomalons with a beam of N-rays into a jar of polywater, which has a memory of being bathed in mitogenetic rays from the jungles along the Martian canals. Bigfoot brought it in an ESP-powered UFO, in trade for the skull of Piltdown Man.

  32. The thing I always get back to is a comment Einstein made (and a situation he was in).
    Back before ww2 most German Scientists were effectively public servants, the government funded them. And as the government in 1938 was ferociously anti-semetic, there was a document wherein something like 300 German scientists refuted relativity (effectively to keep their jobs but most of the scientists wernt physicists anyway)- Einstein when he heard of it was heard to say “If they were right it would only have taken one”

    I just keep seeing parallels with that and whats gone on recently, the IPCC with its huge number of non-scientists claiming consensus by weight of numbers, published information saying effectively “hey..this isn’t right..we need to look closer at it” being ignored. People being labled “warmist” or “denier”. Basic errors in reports where either the facts obviously havn’t been checked or they’ve been added in the hope that no-one would notice.

    And now we had the recent admission from Doctor Jones “maybe I should have kept better records”

    Its all very depressing…I’m starting to wonder if scientists should be licenced and required to pass a Theory or Science 101 class every 5 years

    Sorry for ranting

  33. scienceofdoom,

    You cite measurements of downward radiation. Were those measurements taken during the day or at night? Your link doesn’t say, and the answer is extremely critical to your argument.

  34. I strongly remember thinking as a kid in the 60’s that the teachers’ answers of coincidence explaining the congruent shapes of the Africa and SA facing coasts were unlikely.

    Since my parents wouldn’t buy me a computer for my bedroom and wouldn’t allow me to connect to the ‘net, my thoughts on the subject remained isolated for decades.

  35. ‘Any child can see that’ the continents fit together like a jigsaw. As a child in the late forties, looking at a world map, I never doubted it and often discussed it with my friends. Guess I wasn’t so sceptical in those days.

  36. In logic as in law, one cannot prove a negative. Skeptics need not refute the AGW hypothesis –not a theory, which requires proof– because, as we have recently seen, the assertion is not falsifiable: When cool is warm and warm is cool, when “global warming” causes both drought and flood, mere facts never will suffice to settle issues.

    Despite geophysically short time-frames, whereby Warmists constantly distinguish “climate” from mere weather, the burden of proof accordingly lies solely upon them. Alas, Edward Lorenz’s Chaos Theory renders linear extrapolations from complex dynamic systems mathematically impossible, while Boltzman’s Second Conservation Law of thermodynamic entropy equates any global atmospheric Greenhouse Effect with perpetual motion (see Gerlich and Tscheuschner’s March 2009 paper published by Germany’s renowned Institut fur Mathematische Physik).

    On this basis, what “facts” Warmists adduce are notoriously subject to selective bias (“cherry picking”), clandestine statistical manipulation (erasing 85% of temperature stations, fraudulently “homogenizing” disparate data-sets, deflating time-series’ origins while inflating end-points, and so on), grotesque misrepresentation of manifestly skewed results (2350 read as 2035). The fact is, “climate studies” are not an empirical, experimental discipline but an ad hoc exercise of hindsight akin to botany, inherently incapable of projecting future non-random but indeterminate events in any context.

    Since 1979, satellite images immune to fudging have definitively crimped Climate Cultists’ attempts to substitute “belief” for objective, rational, scientific evidence. No-one cares what academics here or so-called “skeptics” there believe… from Ptolemaic epicycles to atomic and germ theories, claques of “experts” have always anathematized dissenters from prevailing orthodoxy. “Belief” that hot air rises, water runs downhill, is meaningless– what counts is measurable fact. Ten-pound and one-pound cannonballs rolled down inclined planes will reach end-points simultaneously, and if Aristotle disagrees in theory– so much the worse for him, and his whole qualitative vs. quantitative edifice to boot.

    To think that absent Climategate, despite McIntyre, McKitrick, and others, a Green Gang of no more than thirty close-knit collusive ideologues might well have subverted not only science but post-Enlightenment industrial/technological civilization at its root, is a dire thought. Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)
    is a Luddite sociopaths’ fraud perpetrated for decades in bad faith under ridiculously false pretenses, without a grain of integrity or even common sense. Arguments from Authority, by Stipulation (“it’s true because we Ascended Masters say it is”) need no refutation. Illegitimate as science, logically invalid, Warmists’ empty rhetoric is a puerile distraction from looming issues such as an impending 70-year Maunder Minimum, perhaps even the overdue onset of a new Ice Age.

  37. So, we’ve proved scientists can be idiots. Which doesn’t prove they are always idiots.

    And Pasteur got it worse, and with more consequence.

    Do I think the consensus of current day climatologists shows dangerous evidence of hubris? You bet I do. But that doesn’t make them wrong. Time will tell.

  38. Every child also understands that record cold and snow in the deep south is not caused by excess heat (unless they have been through public school global warming indoctrination.) Cold is the absence of heat.

    Yet we have a certain percentage of scientists who delude themselves into believing otherwise.

  39. For me, Climategate is such a gripping narative because it plays out so many subplots. Everything from placing thermometers to the intricacies of the human psyche. Plus, of course, it is happening in real time. (Actually reading CRUTape letters too, which fills me in on a lot of detail as I am late to the party)

    I am not sure that we are quite there yet. There are so many entrenched views that I don’t know how we will move forward. I am grateful to the poster who mentioned Eugenics. I think this has a somewhat chilling and ironic twist that Eugenics got swallowed up into Nazism, and led to the Holocaust. I find the current use of the word “denier” particularly poignant in this regards.

    My mother was brought up in Nazi Germany and has some tales of a gun pointing at her head when she was 12 because she wouldn’t Sieg Heil Hitler.

    My hope is that we can not only get a rational and modern approach to climate science, but that we will acknowledge these days as a darker moment of human history and intellectual freedom.

    If we shove it under the carpet, like Eugenics, then that is the worst kind of denial.

  40. Yes scientists are smart. Real scientists. But this sorry, farcical agw saga has led the lay person to confuse real scienctific knowhow with bullshit. One such ignogrunt claimed agw was beyond doubt because Al baby and his kind said so. I mentioned my background was chemistry and atmospheric physics and that I thought agw was a joke supporting multiple hidden agendas. Oh no, not so, was his “considered opinion” The IPCC scientists, in his shallow view, were the only real scientists. This fellow was a shop assistant with zero scientific knowledge and convinced that the real science was IPCC. Thank MSM for much of this. And be thankful real science led to the engineering, medical and energy marvels of technology that we enjoy and benefit from today.

  41. It is impossible to prove AGW is wrong, because the AGW predictions adapt to whatever the weather is. Ten years ago we were told that snow was rapidly becoming a thing of the past, now we are told that record snow is because of AGW. Drought and heat has been replaced by floods and cold. Hurricanes have been replaced by lack of hurricanes. AGW is a religion, not a science.

    It will take 300,000 years for Antarctica to melt at current NASA estimated melt rates. Al Gore doesn’t need his mechanical lift.

  42. geo,

    I am working on a chart that shows data flow from sensor to product for all ocean buoy, satelite and ground based processes, etc, etc.

    It was your following post that prompted me to start is

    ”””’geo (17:25:38)” said :
    “This is cool, I like it. . . but you know what I’ve really been wanting recently?
    A data flow diagram of data sets starting as raw data, going through a process (and who owns that process) and then being used as an input into the next process and the next data set, etc.
    So like how does raw data aggregate into GHCN and GISS and CRUTEMP and data models and who does a process and where along the line.
    I’d really like one of those.””””

    I have almost got the left side column of the chart done that shows comprehensive list of the sensors: buoy, shipintake, satellite, balloon, aircraft, land/ice, etc. In parallel working on the tempurature “products” that will be the right hand column of the chart. Next is evolve the processes between. Taking time, but it helps me understand the RC, CA, WUWT, Air Vent, Lucia, stuff. Will be sharing parts of it in the future to get a reality check on what I am doing.

    John

  43. I have spent my entire life suspended at this divide between science and anti-science.

    Some anti-scientists are ecologists and/or environmentalists. They amongst others recognize and appreciate partial, fragmented, distributed, multiply directed process. … In short, ‘holistic’ process.

    The problem with ‘anti-science’ is that by definition, it is indescribable. It is nevertheless real. The fundamental, essential obstacle is that it cannot be perceived as a single, instantaneous ‘totality’.

    If one is unable to engage and bind the ‘totality’ with sufficient rigor for intended purpose, then not even an open/dynamic system approach will be appropriate.

    Anti-scientists become frustrated by the inability to describe what they understand. They react and respond to being criticized for expressing gibberish. There is no alternative but to put up with the dumbstruck lack of effective expression or to opportunistically and covertly adopt meaningful tokens of science in a pseudo-scientific manner. You know what? That is OK. Given the choice between “that” or nothing, “that” is at least ‘something’ even if it is wrong or nonsensical.

    Scientists simply cannot grasp and engage what ‘exists’ yet is also fundamentally or for reason otherwise, … “indescribable”.

    The usual explanation that scientists provide when they realize that they have it ‘wrong’ is that the situation was ‘misconstrued’. That is another way of saying that the problem was badly formed.

    Climate is a large, multi component structure and process. If it is insufficiently described, so as to effectively extrapolate for intended purpose, it is not ‘science’.

    If one cannot do science then one struggles to render the situation into a form which is sufficiently effective as description and/or else fall back upon methods of critical thinking which are not intensely rooted in “description”.

    To my casual perusal and mostly inexpert eye ….

    … Although the argument for AGW has the appearance of being hard science based on proven, verified, quantitative analysis, it’s strength and honest merit is qualitative.

    By qualitative, I mean that a large number of arrows are pointing in the same and commensurate direction towards a ‘warming trend’. Is that the whole story? … a done deal and proven, indisputable scientific fact? No. Far from it, I suspect.

    For me what has be demonstrated so far is 1/3 of the story. Ignoring the remaining 2/3rds of the process invites the outcome to widely depart from what is predicted.

    The earth has been around for a long time. Over the course of that history, it can almost be taken as given that the climate, atmosphere and other components that go into constituting the entire global climate system has been strongly perturbed. Mechanism(s) act to restore or to shift to some equilibrium. The earth’s history does not seem to indicate a runaway instability, save perhaps for a fondness for ice ages.

    It is all very well to demonstrate and assert that the trend is towards increasing temperature and increasing CO2. Nevertheless, by describing and emphasizing only the start of the trend, one ignores the follow on trend and the hysteresis effects.

    The description of the hysteresis follow on consequences seems to be missing. The trend only continues in a monotonic manner so long as it is seen to be and/or is predicted to be trending (or persisting) as expected.

    Without having a good understanding of the salient hysteresis processes, one doesn’t even have half of the description.

    Environmentalists have traditionally been anti-science. They do not inherently trust science’s earnest, stalwart insistence that science understands and the science is correct. It amuses me to see them do an about face and support science because ‘science’ currently appears to support their view point. It amuses me to see environmentalists call skeptics ‘anti science’.

    I am a proud ‘anti science’ scientist. I know to mistrust my own opinion. My skepticism is born out of hard earned personal experience at being wrong, wrong, wrong, … wrong.

  44. Another issue that the consensus felt was bs involved the landscape of Eastern Washington State – the Channeled Scablands. When proposed by Bretz as having involved a catastrophic flood, the idea was not received well. Many years later when the source of the water and the mechanism of the flood were explained, then did the concept become accepted. And by then many of the old antagonists had died.

    Likewise, continental drift morphed into plate tectonics only after a force and mechanism were explained.

    It is up to the AGW crowd to show a force and a mechanism that supports their theory.

    Until they do it is right for all the rest to remain skeptical.

  45. “Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.”
    – Michael Crichton

  46. Can’t prove a scientific theory right, can only come up with a counter example (in some cases the counter example blows the theory entirely or forces modifications) or continue to not disprove it up to the present by making predictions with the theory then confirming that the predictions are correct (usually by measuring something) within some uncertainty bounds.

  47. No, of course scientists are not always smart. Scientists are human (except of course for Commander Data) and therefore subject to the same set of temptations and errors as other humans. I have heard a rumor that some scientists may additionally suffer from inflated ego, but of course that may be a lie.

    Thirty excellent examples of smart people, including some scientists, being wrong can be found at http://listverse.com/2007/10/28/top-30-failed-technology-predictions/

    One of my favorites is No. 8, the well known Lord Kelvin remark that “heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”

  48. I disagree with the article.
    If you want to have a scientific process that maintains high quality standards
    than you have to accept that there is a high barrier, until the scientific community accepts a new theory.
    I do think every scientist accepts that. That is why we have to defend our Ph.D. thesis with scientific experiments, data and arguments and why we call it “defend”, because we know this barrier is there for very good reasons. If we sit in the “defense meeting” on the other site, we happily help to build up this barrier with scientific experiments, data and arguments . We do everything that the candidate who overcomes this barrier with scientific experiments, data and arguments can be proud that he met the high quality scientific standards.
    There is no shortcut.

  49. Re: Mooloo (Feb 12 20:21),

    If you want to prove AGW is wrong, then you need to prove AGW is wrong. Nothing else will do. Going off on a tangent about how other scientists were wrong in the past is totally and utterly irrelevant.

    I respectfully disagree. AGW isn’t just about the science. Large proportion of the population is involved in this debate. many are saying “200 scientists can’t all be wrong” etc
    This example shows/reminds people that a concensus of respectable, established scientists can indeed be wrong.

  50. It is a great shame that Wegener never lived to see his work accepted, unfortunetly in science things dont progress until the current gate keepers die. And yes, AGW appears to be the same!

    Funilly enough, in Al Gores movie he uses the analogy of how a child hood friend noticed the continents fitted together but was told he was wrong by the teacher! To me this is an example of how a touch of common sense is far more useful than an army of scientists!

    I work with scientists and have at times helped out with papers (normally review) and reviewed other outputs and I am often amazed at how they miss the elephant in the room (not all of them of course). I recall one scientist who called me to help him with a paper, he was developing a set of equations to estimae the attenuation of flow through a basin once full and wanted me to review what he had done against established hydraulic modelling packages and real data I held. Within 5 minutes I had found an error in his maths which was obvious to me, but worse than that, I had to explain to him the whole concept was flawed as a basin once full has no attenuation effect, flow in displaces water resulting in the same outflow – the effect of the time between and the storage available were irrelenvant! This was basic hydraulics and yet a professor is hydraulics at a highly respected university had missed it completely. At least he thanked me for me time and for helping him out!

  51. Steven Goddard wrote:
    ”” There is no question that some of the greatest minds have been scientists.  Da Vinci, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Edison, Einstein, Fermi, Feynman are a few names that come to mind.””

    Steven,

    I offer what I consider a very frightening possibility. What if those you listed are actually normal human minds. What if our culture & educational methods were not effective on them, so they are therefore natural capacity normal humans. Perhaps most of us & those around us everyday are not normal.

    John

  52. The average IQ of graduate students when I was in school was 115. That’s abysmally low, but probably includes all fields.

    Smart is as smart does. A Mensa member was deep fat frying food for a picnic and got a spur-of-the-moment bright idea to hard boil an egg by dropping it into the hot oil. The egg, of course, blew up like a little grenade, drenching everything in hot oil: stove, walls ceiling, floor. Through some odd geometric juxtaposition, she was untouched and much wiser than before. “Experience is something you get five minutes after you need it.” –Stephen Wright.

  53. A revered professor once told our class “A PhD does not mean someone is smart. It means they worked hard.”

  54. Fred (21:53:03) :

    If you don’t want to believe something, it’s very easy to declare the first problem it encounters a deal breaker.

    And if you’re smart it’s easier to defend your refusal to “get it.” Edward de Bono called the facility smart people have for justifying their arrogant snap judgments “the intelligence trap.”

  55. so will Neal Adams finally be recognised for his expanding planet theory?

    No because the expanding earth theory conflicts with known and demonstrable scientific results and makes predictions which fail every experiment.

    I had a good look at the “Expanding Earth” hypothesis and while the video is superficially interesting, the claims fail key experimental tests.

    That’s the standard, not who believes in it.

    Face it, everyone has a favourite hypothesis which is extremely unlikely to be true, scientists included. A physicist professor friend remarked to me that 90% of what she has hypothesized turns out to be false. With grad students its 98%, the rest even higher.

    It’s not that scientists are infallible on every topic, its that every topic must be tested by experiment.

  56. The problem is not the science. The problem is the politics. If we can get the politics out of the science, the science will look after itself.

  57. I worked out continental drift at 5 years old without being told about it just by looking at a map. Logic fails many adults.

  58. When I was a little kid in the 1950’s I could see that South America and Africa fit together, sort of, but it wasn’t until they came up with topo charts of the Mid Atlantic Ridge that we had any real reason to believe they were once unified. The geology similarities could easily have been coincidence.

    They didn’t start mapping the ocean bottom until the mid 50’s, so continental drift was an interesting theory maybe a little better than the barycentric theory that keeps cropping up here. There are lots of off-the-wall theories around, always have been. Some of them prove out, some don’t, but displaying 20-20 hindsight invites Muphrey’s Law.

  59. @John Whitman

    “…..
    4th – Lights Out (Dark Ages) – scientists? zippo outside of religious dogma yes men
    …”

    Roger Bacon…

  60. For what it’s worth, probably nothing, I think it’s o.k. that someone with a bee in their bonnet , a wayout hypothesis, goes for it and perseveres regardless of criticism. We know, as Popper said, we’re all theory ridden. That’s what probaly triggers our exploration in the first place. HOWEVER, (post second glass of wine,) however, the scientific method, requiring open critical review of a falsifiable hypothesis, its data, methodology,replication, brings ‘us or the other guy’, back to the field. (Racing terminology,.My father pioneered photo finish technology.)When that goes wrong, i.e. stringent criticism of the evidence, real data is replaced by postmodern science, then ends justify the means. The critical process must be upheld. Guess you’d call this a rant…

  61. Just to add to the chorus of responses to Mooloo’s silly statement: Mooloo, you stated in so many words that the matter of scientists being wrong in the past is totally and utterly irrelevant.

    Man, when you miss the point, you really miss it! The article is making the point that *consensus* is meaningless. Decades ago, the ‘consensus’ was that continental drift was impossible.
    Did you see that quote by Geologist Barry Willis? “Further discussion of it merely incumbers the literature and befogs the mind of fellow students.” Or, in shorthand: “The time for talking is over. The science is settled.”

    Here’s another glaring one:
    “If we are to believe in Wegener’s hypothesis we must forget everything which has been learned in the past 70 years and start all over again.” (Geologist R. Thomas Chamberlain)

    Kind of like this slightly more recent comment:
    “We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” (Phil Jones)

    Do you still think the comparison is “totally and utterly irrelevant,” Mooloo?

  62. Two points.

    1, the consensus view used to be humanity couldn’t materially effect the climate – there were people sceptical of that view…

    2, Steven Goddard (or anyone here) is free do to the research, present the evidence, and gather the data that refutes accepted science. So far what we’ve from said has just been a load of profit for the final nail industry…

  63. Mooloo (20:21:05) :
    If you want to prove AGW is wrong, then you need to prove AGW is wrong. Nothing else will do.

    ————
    Mooloo read this:

    “Hypotheses are rejected or fail to be rejected depending on study results. When data support a hypothesis, it cannot be concluded that the hypothesis is true, only that it has not been rejected. In addition, a hypothesis is only rejected or not rejected at some statistical level. The scientific method cannot “prove” that a hypothesis or theory is correct, only that alternative hypotheses or theories are rejected. The potential correctness of a hypothesis or theory increases as alternate hypotheses are rejected.”

    Source: http://tinyurl.com/ybuau25

  64. If the question was modified to ask “are climate scientists always smart?” then the answer is easy and obvious. No

    Its worse that just being dumber than average They are a very select and elitist group that has contrived to protect their priviledged position..by cooking the data eg Mann, and then hiding it from further scrutiny eg Jones..the have engaged in blatant political lobbying,eg Hansen and they have remained silent when there as been clear misuse of the information for financial gain by others eg Gore.etc etc

    They have spent upwards of $80bn and all they have to show for it is a highly dubious document called the IPCC thats riddled with stupid errors but on the basis of which we were expected to hand over the keys to the collective Treasuries,bankrupt economies and put thousands out of work and into penury.

    They deserve or condemnation.. they are not smart at all… they have to be the most stupidest people imagineable

    …and to top it all off.. their silly hypothesis is readily falsifiable

  65. Here are some funny historical examples of observations and conclusions being drawn, particularly when Warmists conclude it must be CO2 because we can’t think of anything else.

    Observation: Every year in the spring, the Nile River flooded areas of Egypt along the river, leaving behind nutrient-rich mud that enabled the people to grow that year’s crop of food. However, along with the muddy soil, large numbers of frogs appeared that weren’t around in drier times.

    “Conclusion”: It was perfectly obvious to people back then that muddy soil gave rise to the frogs.

    Observation: In many parts of Europe, medieval farmers stored grain in barns with thatched roofs (like Shakespeare’s house). As a roof aged, it was not uncommon for it to start leaking. This could lead to spoiled or moldy grain, and of course there were lots of mice around.

    “Conclusion”: It was obvious to them that the mice came from the moldy grain.

    http://biology.clc.uc.edu/courses/bio104/SCI_meth.htm

  66. Correction:

    “…this is particularly relevant to Warmists who conclude that the recent warming must be down to manmade CO2 because we can’t think of anything else.”

  67. Try again.

    Being smart has nothing to do with academic prowess. Scientists are almost universally stupid when it comes to the realities, skills, pitfalls and social graces of the wider World as their focus is on a rather restricted World where 2+2 always equals 4.

  68. John, you said:

    In logic as in law, one cannot prove a negative

    Can you prove this negative statement logically?

    Or to put it in less of a smart-aleck way: if one can’t prove a negative, doesn’t it become impossible to prove a positive? After all, for every proposition there exists some other proposition of which it’s a denial. “All bachelors are single” is logically equal to “no bachelor is married.”

    Those sentences are, perhaps, artificial; how about “the current warming is due to human activity” and “the current warming isn’t a result of any other, natural variation”? They’re effectively synonymous claims, aren’t they? But if the proponent phrases it the first way, they have to prove a positive; the second way, they have to prove a negative—i.e. to rule out all possible natural explanations.

    It was an excellent post though.

  69. Responding to comment “Dodgy Geezer (00:42:48) : ”

    Dodgy,

    Yes, your point is excellent. From the dates below it does look like Bacon was a transition guy from religious orthodoxy of the late Dark Ages toward the next periods that forwarded toward scientific method.

    He appears to me to be pivotal figure in transition from Dark Ages forward.

    Roger Bacon, 1214 to1292
    Dark Ages, ~5th Century (~400s AD) to ~ late 11th Century ( ~late 1200s)

    John

    I got Dark Ages info from :
    From http://www.history.com/
    The Dark Ages, otherwise known as the Early Middle Ages, was a period in European history from the collapse of Roman political control in the West—traditionally set in the 5th century—to about the late 11th century. It should be emphasized, however, that the fixing of dates for the beginning and end of the Dark Ages is arbitrary; at neither time was there any sharp break in the cultural development of the continent.

  70. This calls to mind a quote from Robert Heinlein “The way of staying young is having the ability to unlearn old truths”. Maybe they just don’t know how to do that.

  71. Does that meant that because Plate Tectonics is the current scientific consensus, it must be wrong, and the Expanding Earth theories should be taken seriously?

  72. M. Simon

    That’s an interesting paper (by Miskolczi). Did you read the paper? Or just the article by the Portland journalist?

    The article cites Miskolczi: “During the 61-year period, in correspondence with the rise in CO2 concentration, the global average absolute humidity diminished about 1 per cent.

    And she also says:

    ..In the 5 years since he first published his results, not one peer review has come back disproving his theory, or his Constant. To date, not one scientist has come forward to disprove Miskolczi’s theory that the Earth’s climate is at equilibrium..

    And yet, is that true? No.

    Many papers have been published which show that relative humidity has been constant, ie absolute humidity changes with temperature.

    This is a key question in atmospheric physics – and has been for a few decades. Whether or not it is conclusively answered who could say. And yet the journalist says “not one paper..”

    A Matter of Humidity, Dessler, Science Vol 323, 2009.

    One paper is sufficient to prove the journalist wrong.

    To be a skeptic means to ask questions..

    Be prepared to ask questions at Science of Doom

  73. John F. Hultquist (23:12:11) :
    It is up to the AGW crowd to show a force and a mechanism that supports their theory.

    Until they do it is right for all the rest to remain skeptical.

    Small correction. it is our right for all to remain skeptical.

    The point with AGW crowd is that there is a trend to take that right away, they don’t call us deniers for nothing.

  74. Average is average and not just in science. What about painting, music, architecture or even cooking? True geniuses are exceptionally rare. Let’s say it was decided we need more poets or music composers. No amount of education would do that. The spark has to be there to start with. The average bureaucrat scientist doesn’t have the fine-grained discrimination of the greats.

  75. Many of those names you mention are not scientist in the way we think of them these days. Feynman, certainly, he’s my hero. Eistein, patent clerk, the others mostly philosophers. The premise is right and of course in the world of physics where nearly everything is not visible to the naked eye, it is models that rule, mathematical models. The difference in climate ‘science’ (I find that hard to say, climate and science together) is the way in which they test the models. Eistein’s work is still be empirically tested today and much of quantum mechanics as well. Parts of the maths models that work empirically are used without real concern the rest await to be fully proven.
    Climate modelling is completely different. If the model doesn’t follow reality then tweak the variables or say that the reality is wrong.

  76. janama (22:02:09) :

    so will Neal Adams finally be recognised for his expanding planet theory?

    Re the expanding earth concept, there was a Symposium at the University of Tasmania a copule of years ago to honor the work of Prof S Warren Carey and his disciples, including my former highly respected boss, John Elliston.

    Carey lamented that some aspects of proof would rely on satellite and moon-earth measurements yet to be done and that he would no longer be here when the results came in.

    I have a CD of the Symposium if you are genuinely interested. It is another story of a theory that the old school would like to forget. Yet, it might be right. One of its rationales was to do away with the need to subduct plate edges. It asks a number of questions that classical geologist simply cannot answer – and they are valid and pertinent.

  77. For anyone who has worked in science, the reason is clear: science is like a Royal Court. It is not done to challenge your superiors who are, by implication, your betters.

    The reality in my generation was this: science was suitable for practically gifted folks who benefitted from a lot of academic instruction.

    It was a disaster for really bright kids who needed TECHNICAL INSTRUCTION and mentoring, but could read up most things alone and actually could think critically early on.

    When you get a lot of folks who were good experimenters but whose critical faculties weren’t Mensa-like, you produce a community which is happiest in quiet experimentation mode and doesn’t enjoy radical upstarts challenging them.

    It’s why, often, the great ones start out at less prestigious places, because there, they get less interference from on high whilst they are establishing their career.

    Scientists are full of self-interest like anyone else.

    And if senior folks can blackball your next promotion, grant or publication submission, you’d better learn fast to play the game.

  78. There were good reasons to reject Wegener’s work. How could any one accept tidal forces making continents plough through the oceans? There were two things missing from Wegener’s work: measures of relative continental motion and a plausible mechanism. Having to deal with creationists and a few crackpots over this same issue I’m very disappointed to see this in this blog. This is a very bad post.

  79. Well we see a similar proces of denial going on in the global warming debate: Wegner was a meteorologist, and an excllent one or Germany would not have named its central meteorological (NOT geological!) institute after him. Geologists of the time denied him a hearing because he was not “one of them”. Climatologists today play the same game: they either have big supercomputers and toe the official IPCC line or else they’re not funded but ridiculed instead. And epistemologists who point out that they follow a belief system rather than refutable sciencific principles are ridiculed because … who’d have guessed … they’re not climatologists. Small wonder they aren’t. Neither am I a theologian.

  80. Hi folks,

    States of snow!

    49 US States have some snow cover, ex. Hawai.

    Never registrated bevor.

    Look for an article, Anthony!

  81. “If you want to prove AGW is wrong, then you need to prove AGW is wrong. Nothing else will do. ”

    Infact that conclusion is wrong. Alarmists have to prove AGW/ACC is happening. They have so argued, so they have to prove it…

  82. Science and politics should never collude, the Nazi experience should make it illegal. Common sense is a quality that eludes most politicians and some scientists, together you have a dangerous mix. Common sense along with truth has been less common of late. Thank you Anthony,give these prevaricating obfuscating pseudo scientists every encouragement to hang themselves on their own petard. Followers will slowly whither,the hard core more vociferous in their screams of flat Earther. Prime minister Brown only today screaming the loudest. Wayne

  83. The late Stephen Jay Gould wrote quite an interesting piece on the continental drift saga.
    I read it in one of his books, so it was probably originally printed in “Nature”.

    To summarise and paraphrase, during the early stages of the discipline of geology there was a rather fundamental split between catastrophism (the world was shaped by infrequent catastrophic events of unknown cause) and uniformitarianism (the world was shaped by gradual action of known processes).
    By the early 20th century, the uniformitarian view had gained ascendency, largely due to fit with observations at various scales.

    The ability to fit the continents together as a jigsaw puzzle was seen as an interesting oddity.

    Absent a suitable mechanism, continental drift seemed to be harking back to catastrophism. This would be especially so if the lineage could be traced back to earlier catastrophist proposals.

    After a viable mechanism with observational backing was proposed, the improved explanatory power of plate tectonics gave it traction. The fact that the proposed mechanism was uniformitarian wouldn’t have hurt, either :)

    Leaving Gould’s article, the slow acceptance of the “dinosaur killer asteroid” hypothesis also appears to be a catastrophist vs uniformitarian (large-scale vulcanism) argument. The asteroid hypothesis now seems to be the most favoured, but vulcanism still has its adherents. The asteroid impact may have triggered vulcanism, but there is (or was some years back) some doubt as to whether the vulcanism may have preceded the asteroid strike.

  84. Filipe:
    “There were two things missing from Wegener’s work: measures of relative continental motion and a plausible mechanism.”

    Well, yes, but if there isn’t a concept of moving continents, then it is a bit difficulty to start any hypotheses about how this could work, isn’t it?

    Anyway, it was not mentioned in the article that in Europe, Wegener’s hypothesis was considered quite plausible. I have a geological textbook from 1943 where it is described with pictures as the most probable of all the other possibilities.

  85. Are politicians always smart?

    Obviously not!

    Obama keeps on pushing for solutions to solve a non existing problem, putting us all in “green shackles” and our economy off down the drain:
    From Drudge report:
    “NYT SATURDAY: White House officials are searching for ways for Obama to ‘use executive powers to advance energy, environmental and other policy priorities’… Developing…”

  86. Steve Goddard (22:46:14)

    “Every child also understands that record cold and snow in the deep south is not caused by excess heat.”

    And every adult should know that what happens in one region doesn’t reflect what might be happening in the world as a whole.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/02/january-2010-global-tropospheric-temperature-map/

    Spencer: “As can be seen, Northern Hemispheric land, on a whole, is not as cold as many of us thought.”

    Wegener showed a correlation between the shapes of the continent back in the twenties, but he was hard pressed on the causation. In contrast Arrhenius worked out from first principles a causal relationship between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and global temperature more than one hundred years ago, though a correlation was not observed until much more recently.

  87. Funny how Al Gore uses the same story to make the opposite point, well actually he makes the same point but he views the warmers as the modern version of Alfred Wegener where as sceptics see him as the modern sceptic.

  88. The real parallel with the historical controversy over continental drift is not with AGW; the claim that the scientific community holds a consensus on AGW is merely their own propaganda. There is no such consensus, and there never has been. The real parallel with Wegner’s case for continental drift is the case that Svensmark, Shaviv, Soon, and others in the solar and astrophysical fields are making for the role that solar-modulated high-energy cosmic ray flux plays in earth’s cloud cover and hence climate. Like Wegner, who as a meteorologist was an outsider to the field of geology, they come from outside of the mainstream of climate science–and have gotten a similar reception. Like Wegner, they are now being ignored, dismissed, ridiculed, and suppressed–in this case, not just by the AGW crowd, which brooks no competition, but by much of the rest of the scientific community which has been distracted by the activisism of the AGW advocates. My own judgment is that the evidence they have produced so far is just as compelling for their case as Wegner’s was for his in his day.

  89. It could take a while. Max Planck is reputed to have said “Science advances one funeral at a time” …

  90. “Does that meant that because Plate Tectonics is the current scientific consensus, it must be wrong”

    No, but imagine someone on an internet message board tried to argue that Plate Tectonics is wrong. There would be no need to simply scream “Consensus!” at him and rest your case. Instead, you could point out that the continents fit together pretty well and that the geological and fossil elements of the continents seem to match up pretty well too. Indeed, it’s possible to summarize the best evidence for continental drift in just a few sentences.

    In other words, “consensus” is what people rely on when they don’t actually have good arguments on the merits.

  91. As far as scientists being smart goes, I think most of them would do pretty well on IQ tests. But are they really trained to be skeptical as so many claim? I don’t think so. I think they are trained to be (and selected to be) conformists. Perhaps nobody sits them down and explicitly says so, but they must learn pretty quickly that to get ahead, they need to please their advisors; their dissertation committees; hiring committees; tenure committees; grant committees; and so on. And the easiest way to do this is by conforming yourself to the popular views.

  92. I was nearly failed in my Geology course because, as an engineering student, I could not accept that mountains were formed by SHRINKAGE of the earth’s surface due to cooling (tension) . It seemed to me that only compression could have formed mountains.
    I was told accept that mountains were formed by shrinkage or I might fail the course. I passed the course (and hence got the engineering degree I wanted) but writing what I knew to be untrue bugged me.
    I think similar pressure is applied today to students to accept AGW theory. Fortunately the leaked CRU e-mails have emboldened some to stand up for what they secretly knew.

  93. The “back radiation” that IR budgets, GCMs, and AGW is so dependent upon, it should be viewed as relative to what abosrbs it (positive, negative, or the same),
    rather than merely added up.

    In this simple respect AGW models, proponets, and believers are,
    creationists.
    “energy creationists”

    Even (most “mainstream”) sceptics are not “energy realists”,
    in this most basic of respects.

    Stupid, misconcieved, blinded by their own lack of knowledge and / or understanding (and no doubt vested interest pension funds as well…) of the basics seems applicable to the vast majority of “consensus” and “sceptic” climate scientists alike.

  94. John Whitman (01:17:05) :

    Responding to comment “Dodgy Geezer (00:42:48) : ”

    Dodgy,

    Yes, your point is excellent. From the dates below it does look like Bacon was a transition guy from religious orthodoxy of the late Dark Ages toward the next periods that forwarded toward scientific method.

    He appears to me to be pivotal figure in transition from Dark Ages forward.

    Roger Bacon, 1214 to1292
    Dark Ages, ~5th Century (~400s AD) to ~ late 11th Century ( ~late 1200s)

    John

    I got Dark Ages info from :
    From http://www.history.com/
    The Dark Ages, otherwise known as the Early Middle Ages, was a period in European history from the collapse of Roman political control in the West—traditionally set in the 5th century—to about the late 11th century. It should be emphasized, however, that the fixing of dates for the beginning and end of the Dark Ages is arbitrary; at neither time was there any sharp break in the cultural development of the continent.

    But don’t, please, just stick to Europe. When we were in the Dark Ages the Arab civilisation was way ahead (by the time of the Abbasids). Most of the enlightenment’s favourite Greek texts came to us via Arabic translations. Non-muslims also enjoyed more freedom than non-christians in Europe. They were pretty good at maths then, as were the Hindus.

  95. Maybe the back radiation addition misconception would be better phrased as,

    “heat creationists”
    or,
    “IR creationists”
    or,
    “thermal creationists”,

    but creationists they are all the same.

  96. John Blake – your last paragraph was brilliant.

    With your permission. I would like to quote it.

    Jack Linard

  97. @John Whitman

    “…it does look like Bacon was a transition guy from religious orthodoxy of the late Dark Ages toward the next periods that forwarded toward scientific method….”

    Bacon was a staggering guy, to me the most amazing mind that we know in history. There is actually very little known about him, just fragments, which makes him even more tantalising.

    People often confuse him with Francis Bacon, who lived around 1600, but in fact he lived in the 1200s, as far back from Francis Bacon as Francis Bacon is from us.

    In those days the concept of dispassionate scientific knowledge had not been invented. Knowledge was what was revealed to you by authority – the most important source being, of course, the Bible. Roger Bacon single-handedly invented the concept of academic research knowledge, developed by a string of universities, and tested by experiment. For this he was locked up in the March of Ancona for 13 years.

    If you read the few translations of the bits of work that exist you will be amazed. At one point he, to quote Blish:

    “…begins to talk about the continuum of action, an Aristotelian commonplace in his own time, but withing a few sentences he has invented – purely for the sake of the argument – the lumeniferous ether which so embroiled the physics of the nineteenth century, and only a moment late throws the notion out in favour of the Einsteinian metrical frame, having skipped completely over Galilean relativity and the inertial frames of Newton….”

    No wonder he was locked up. Serves him right for being 700 years ahead of his time….

  98. Science created a barrier that anyone outside cannot possibly have any chance of crossing. Arrogance that no matter what you say will be wrong until proven right.
    How can you prove anything when automatically it is incorrect before even being seen.
    Debating right and blaming wrong here still misses the point!

    Understanding the mechanics of how this planet works in conjuction with the atmosphere has not been studied.
    So observational science must do.
    Mechanics is how the planet works but science crapped out on a single gas.

  99. Stumpy – hydraulics is not science – it’s engineering. Leave it to those who do, not to those who think about postulating what might happen under certain (possibly global warming influenced) scenarios

  100. The Power of an ATOM is not what you observe on the outside But, the mechanics of how it works on the inside!

  101. We need not go so far back in history to find this effect. The doctor that hypothesized that Helicobacter pylori caused stomach ulcers was raked over the coals and ridiculed for a number of years until they figured out he was right. The true method of science is to take what is considered the consensus and to find places where it fails. These failures allow us to learn more by being able to modify our understanding to better predict the future. That is why the second any politician says that they are a believer in “intelligent design” or creationism, they get scratched off my list of people I might vote for. Neither of those predict the future. They only lamely explain why we are where we are.

  102. another classic example of the “settled science” proving to be wrong is the Nobel Prize won by West Australian biologist, Barry Marshall. He proved that the scientific consensus on the cause of ulcers was wrong – and got a more deserved Nobel than Barack and Al for his efforts

  103. Tom P (03:28:27) :

    You’re back again with your usual crap. Arhennius did indeed say that CO² molecules could be heated by incoming IR radiation. What he never got right was how a more energetic CO² molecule would affect the rest of the atmosphere.

  104. Mooloo

    “If you want to prove AGW is wrong, then you need to prove AGW is wrong. Nothing else will do.”

    This is the thinking from the witch hunts. People knew implicitly that certain individuals were witches. Bad things that happened were mysteriously caused by their secret evil arts.

    The key point is that the onus was on them to prove that they were not witches. The obligation on disproof, not proof. The argument of evil influence through magic was impossible to disprove in fact.

    Not only AGW but much environmental activism uses “science” with the logic of the witch-hunt for justification. CO2 emissions? Nuclear power? Genetic modification? Nano-technology? etc… The “precautionary principle” says that once we have a superstitious fear of something, then the accusation of harmful effect needs to be disproved. And the hypothesised effects are carefully designed to be suitably nebulous, uncertain and shrouded in statistically near-impossible analysis that such disproof of harm is near impossible.

    Witches were burned, drowned etc on the “precautionary principle”.

  105. Jaye (23:23:38) :

    As Feynman said.

    guess —– construct theory —— test theory with experiment. If experiment proves theory wrong go back to guess.

    Climate science. Guess —-Contruct theory — make model to fit theory eureka —– theory was correct.

  106. Filipe,

    Newton couldn’t explain the mechanism of gravity. Did that make him wrong? An intelligent critic of Wegener would have said “clearly the continents have moved and we need to determine how.”

    Feynman said “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.”

  107. david wawn (05:38:07)

    David it’s worth explaining what Barry had to do to get the conscensus broken. He was a wonderful Aussie and a great scientist.

  108. Derek
    Ranting against “creationists” does not establish validity to any supposed “consensus” on abiogenesis. Recommend you explore Uncommon Descent, and books by Michael Behe etc. No one has yet come up with an quantifiable theory of abiogenesis to replace Louis Pasteur’s Law of Biogenesis Omne vivum ex ovo, Latin for “all life from eggs” i.e., “life comes from life”. Accounting for the recursive irreducible complexity of the simplest self reproducing cell remains a challenge in the Origin Of Life.

  109. jlc (05:17:35) :

    Hydraulics is science (physics). Newton came up with some of the theories we still use to this day when he was but a young schoolboy playing in the stream at the bottom of his garden. That sir is science, I can assure you.

    The application of the principles in engineering.

  110. I will answer the question posed by the title. I earned a PhD in Physical Chemistry at an Ivy League university. I’ve worked in the sciences my entire career (over 25 years). I can emphatically say that scientists aren’t always “smart”. I can also say that there are few truely “Smart” scientists, especially of the caliber of Newton, Einstein, Feynman, etc. Actually, I’ve known quite a few “dumb” scientists and wondered how they graduated from any college with a degree. One major problem with typical scientists is that they want to boil everything down to a single factor. The world is multivariate. Science does not really teach multivariate analysis…rather it focuses research on very pointed, specific, and univariate research. Global Warming is a classic example: the entire worlds temperature can be linked to CO2 levels. Really? No need to worry about earth’s tilt relative to the sun, sunspots, solar flux, particulate matter in the air, moisture in the air, sea temperature, ocean currents, ocean level, amount of vegetation on the land, etc. The only factor that seems to be the center of attention is CO2 for these GW scientists. And tree ring proxy data? This suffers from the same problem….tree ring width from 1000 years ago can directly and exactly illustrate temperature at that time without knowing a myriad of others factors that were occuring 1000 years ago? It’s the oversimplification of the world that tends to make scientists not too “smart” and makes them highly prone to errors and poor predictions.

  111. Ideally, science requires an independent mind. Institutionally, this is beat out of one. First, one must spend years and years in school pleasing teachers. Then, one must get grants and get published, in both of which endeavors non-conformity to the paradigms of the time are punished. Finally, one must get tenure, which can be denied for any reason, including incollegiality (not getting along with your fellow department members). It is amazing anything original can be produced at all after such mental homogenizing.

  112. Filipe

    Newton devised the mathematical model (guess) than fitted with what he saw. That model was then tested by physical experimentation and found to fit the model so scientists ran with the model until it was proven inadequate. Then we moved on to Einstein, Hook, etc but not in that order. The Newton model has been seriously remodeled but it still fits for everyday applications. As scientists say “within the limit it works, at the limit we need something else”. That is not the premise under which climate science has been operating. I find it almost impossible to put science along side the word climate.

  113. Peter Hearnden,

    No one is claiming that humans can’t influence the climate. Anthony works tirelessly to demonstrate that they can with his Surface Stations Project, as does Roger Pielke Sr. etc. with his discussions of land use changes.

    What I object to here are ongoing claims of 2-6 meter sea level rise, 6C rise in temperature, etc. Things that clearly are not happening.

    Your straw man is dishonest.

  114. I am surprised your article does not mention Henrik Svensmark.

    Any child can see that the sun influences our climate and that clouds have a huge effect on surface temperature.

    Why not investigate and try to find out how these pieces fit together?

    Could cosmic rays be the link?

  115. Wegener’s opponents from c. 1912 made an unstated assumption, to effect that deep-ocean basins are geophysically similar to continental landmasses. On this basis, geologists in good faith posed all manner of hypothetical features to deny “continental drift” despite the patently obvious interface of (say) Africa with South America, particularly when one takes account of continental shelves. Textbooks through the early 1960s continued treating Russia’s Ural Mountains chain as an anomaly, unaware that this marked a subduction zone similar to those engendering the Andes and the Himalayas.

    Beginning in 1964 following the International Geophysical Year (1957 – ’58), deep-ocean “bathymetric” surveys discovered that miles-deep basins in fact bore no resemblance to continental “plates”. (The U.S. Navy’s submersible “Trieste” plumbed the Marianas Trench to a depth of 11,000 meters/36,000 feet in 1960). Rather than cling to an outworn hypothesis refuting Wegener in theory, geologists leapt on the new data, plotting “sea-floor spreading” along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge with concomitant magnetic reversals and other features that derived “plate tectonics”, a brand-new scientific discipline, in no more than a few years.

    The contrast with today’s so-called “climate science” could not be more plain. Warmists such as Briffa, Hansen, Jones, Mann,Trenberth et al. have exactly zero basis for alarmist pronunciamentoes. Regardless of whether Planet Earth is undergoing a cyclical rebound from a 500-year Little ice Age following the Medieval Warm, nothing whatever supports their anthropogenic CO2 “greenhouse effect”, an on-paper
    assertion based on circular computer models whose spurious data-bases, invalid “adjustments”, bad faith extrapolations render them mere propaganda exercises, the antithesis of objective, rational, scientific method. In fact, extrapolating any such effect is mathematically and physically impossible.

    The sooner and more strongly these peculating fraudsters are exposed for the agenda-driven ideologues they are, the better will be not only science but political discourse. On a positive note, this sorry episode serves as an historic warning of what happens when incompetent, corrupt, unworthy claques of true believers push ruinously politicized junk-science in worldwide venues during this Communication Age. Individual intelligence is not the issue; like J.B. Rhine, Immanuel Velikhovsky, Trofim Lysenko, Climate Cultists’ “movement” con-job is not smart.

  116. It is up to “Scientists” to prove “Science”. It is up to each field of Science to prove it is correct in it’s assertions, laws and formulae. One field may challenge another whenever the two (or more) begin to approach (and converge and touch and blend).

    The failure of Science and Scientists of the 20th and 21st Centuries (and it has happened in earlier times to a lesser degree) has been the loss of control over what is Science, who are Scientists, what is True and what is Not. Politicians are now in control of Science and Scientists and the Truths and Not-Truths of Science.

    The AGW hysteria (or the coming Ice Age hysteria?) is the failure of Science and Scientists. You reap what you sew.

    If there are any true “Doctors Of Science” (or Philosophy, or Economics, or -ad infinitum) in the world today who are worthy of the name. It is on their shoulders that the burden rests. It is up to them to fix the mess their predecessors –or they themselves– have created and bestowed upon their craft and trade.

    You are what you eat, and Science (and Philosophy, and Education, and Younameit) has been eating a lot of crap lately. (Remember the first Law of Civilization – “Never trust a politician any farther than you can throw them.”)

  117. Unlike other scientific controversies the greater problem with the AGW dispute is that AGW is being used as justification for massive tax increases and redistribution of wealth. Therein lies the basis for such fierce resistance to this unproven theory. It goes well beyond dissenting opinions between different scientific factions and the “see I told you I was right” attitude.

  118. Jeremy,

    Svensmark has an interesting theory which may or may not prove to be correct.

    We all learned about Wilson’s cosmic ray cloud chamber experiment in school.

  119. When skeptics come accross riduculous AGW theories that they are then supposed to disprove in order to prove them not true, it is easy, but not too polite, to refer to such theories as BS. I would suggest a more refined term, that could be used consistently – just call such theories a bunch of “mooloo.”

  120. DLH (06:11:28) :
    Were was I ” Ranting against “creationists” does not establish validity to any supposed “consensus” on abiogenesis. ”

    I was merely stating, absolutely correctly, that back radiation in the proposed forms “creates” enrgy / heat / IR out of nothing.

    Let me illustrate your misconception.
    Two objects one emitting IR object a) at 50w/m2, and object b) emitting 100 W/M2.
    The “sum” of this is obviously,
    -50 + 100 = +50

    It most definately is NOT,
    +50 + 100 = 150.

    Get the misconception yet. ?

    “energy” has been created out of nothing, hence,
    perfectly correctly,
    “energy creationalist”…………

  121. Ray said: “Def.: Pathological science is the process in science in which “people are tricked into false results … by subjective effects, wishful thinking or threshold interactions”.”

    N-Rays anyone? The parallels are there, same with Cold Fusion, AGW, continental drift, and any number of scientific and engineering issues throughout history, including the present. You can see the same thing in the high end audio world, with people who swear by the effects of magic bricks, exotic wire, etc. Main difference is that if the audio nuts want to believe that, it only costs them money for overpriced, useless junk, the AGW alarmists will wind up costing us not only money, but lives.

  122. Continental drift was rejected not least because it was a ridiculous idea for its time – there was no mechanism for moving continents about. Too much force and too much energy was required. In fact, Arthur Holmes – a top notch geophysicist not a “mere” meteorologist – did propose the substance of the mechanism that is now accepted as correct – mantle convection – as early as 1928. But being a very honest fellow and a proper scientist he recognised that this was just a conjecture, there was no substantive evidence for it. Consequently acceptance or rejection of the conjecture would have to wait upon some evidence. Actual evidence in the shape of the mid ocean ridges and magnetic stripes in the sea floor didn’t come until the 1950s and 1960s. Thus it was by no means unscientific to be sceptical about continental drift until the 1960s.

    Though Naomi Oreskes is generally barking, she’s written quite a good book about how the politics of science and the theory of continental drift interacted :

    At present, the Arthur Holmes approach is the only scientific one for global warming too. There are some interesting conjectures, but there is just insufficient evidence to how much of a problem global warming might turn out to be.

  123. Please allow me to write the above down more clearly.

    object a) emitting at 50 w/m2
    and,
    object b) emitting at 100 w/m2

    Object a) emits (minus) 50, and recieves (adds) 100 = net gain of +50.
    ie, -50+100=+50

    Object b) emits (minus) 100, and recieves (adds) 50 = net loss of -50
    ie, -100+50=-50

    IF there were a third object at absolute zero inbetween,
    then it might just recieve,
    object a) (adds) 50, and object b) (adds) 100 = net gain of +150.
    ie, +50+100=+150
    But there ain’t an “object c)”, so that is ridiculous.

  124. Willis Eschenbach (04:02:10) :

    It could take a while. Max Planck is reputed to have said “Science advances one funeral at a time” …

    That’s a pithy quote, but it doesn’t quite explain the process. He also said something to the effect that there are no revolutions in science, rather the old guard die off and a new group who have learned to think differently take their place.

    With regard to how rapidly the theory of seafloor spreading went mainstream. In 1961 someone who believed in it was probably considered a nut, and by 1963 if one didn’t believe in it they were considered a nut.

    Often a few influential people maintain the status quo. There were stirrings of a theory of continental drift in the 1930s (the geographer Philip Lake for instance), but Sir Harold Jeffreys was set against it, in much the way that Lord Kelvin was set against an earth that was more than a few millions of years old in the 1890s–eminent scientists too certain of their own correctness.

  125. @Mooloo (20:21:05) :

    “Quantum theory never had to put up much fight. ”

    You are quite wrong there. Remember the famous exchange between Einstein and Max Born where there is the famously paraphrased exchange of Einstein and Born (note they never actually said this)
    Einstein: “God does not play dice with the Universe.”
    Born: “Don’t tell god what to do.”

    It may not have put up the fight that other theories have, but it hit a lot of resistance from a lot of physicists.

  126. Mooloo

    “If you want to prove AGW is wrong, then you need to prove AGW is wrong. Nothing else will do.”

    We haven’t been SHOWN that AGW might be credible. In fact we haven’t been shown that “Global Warming” is true, or to put neutrally, we don’t have a credible record of the earth’s temperature(s) over the last 150 years.

    With this available, work could start on the science, with theories being proposed and discussed. Only after that, with probably several interations, would credibility grow. Without that, it’s not science. And if it is not science, then post-normal science does not come into it; that would be only for those who have “believed”, perhaps!

    In many science experiments, the ‘experiment’ can be repeated independently by different people, using different equipment, in a different country at a different time of year. We could go on ….! But for AGW, we cannot go back in the past and measure temperatures – from anywhere, so we need the raw temperature data that has already been collected and the associated information. Until that, we are not skeptics, just data poor.

    PS: nearly speaking of poor data, why hasn’t http://www.surfacestations.org initiated a reaction by the authorities to improve the quality of the weather stations – or have I missed something? Or are they ‘climate stations’?

  127. The inability to explain a dynamic mechanism was no excuse. The geologic, geomorphological and paleontological records demonstrated unequivocally that Wegener was correct about the former relative positions of the continents.

    Did scientists doubt the existence of life before DNA was discovered?

    Wegener’s critics demonstrated a lack of critical thinking skills.

  128. John Whitman (22:56:00) :

    I am working on a chart that shows data flow from sensor to product for all ocean buoy, satelite and ground based processes, etc, etc.

    ++++++

    Verrrrry cool! I hope Anthony will agree to publish it when you’re done. We’ve really needed a flow chart on how these things aggregate, and which data goes where! All those acronyms are confusing as hell, particularly as folks go acronym hopping from USHCN to GHCN to CRUTEM to GISS to etc etc

  129. “Mooloo (20:21:05) :
    […]
    If you want to prove AGW is wrong, then you need to prove AGW is wrong. Nothing else will do. Going off on a tangent about how other scientists were wrong in the past is totally and utterly irrelevant.”

    Ok, if you want it. AGW posits that earth warms. Surface temperature show slight cooling for the last 12 years. Even though we increased athmospheric CO2 by 38 %. So where else can the heat / the stored energy be? In the oceans. Argo measurements show that the oceans don’t accumulate heat since 2003.

    QED. There you go.

  130. Well if anything we can lump the error or wisdom of global warming under group-think. The consensus is meaningless.

  131. Steve Goddard (06:26:24) :

    “You claim “one location” of unusual cold and snow.”

    I claim nothing of the sort – it is rather you who made a spurious point about temperatures in the Deep South. Again, as Spencer said “Northern Hemispheric land, on a whole, is not as cold as many of us thought.”

    stephen richards (06:03:30) :

    “You’re back again with your usual crap. Arhennius did indeed say that CO² molecules could be heated by incoming IR radiation. What he never got right was how a more energetic CO² molecule would affect the rest of the atmosphere.”

    Crudely argued and quite wrong. The major problems with Arrhenius’ original analysis are to do with treating the atmosphere as a single slab and neglecting the effect of water vapour. The kinetic theory of gases shows how injecting energy into one gas will cause heating of the atmosphere as a whole – Arrhenius certainly got the simple thermodynamics right.

  132. The science was settled.

    “Danish physicist Niels Bohr proposed in 1913 that the electrons in atoms are arranged in shells surrounding the nucleus, and that for all noble gases except helium the outermost shell always contains eight electrons.[11] In 1916, Gilbert N. Lewis formulated the octet rule, which concluded an octet of electrons in the outer shell was the most stable arrangement for any atom; this arrangement caused them to be unreactive with other elements since they did not require any more electrons to complete their outer shell.[14]

    In 1962 Neil Bartlett discovered the first chemical compound of a noble gas, xenon hexafluoroplatinate.[15] Compounds of other noble gases were discovered soon after: in 1962 for radon, radon fluoride,[16] and in 1963 for krypton, krypton difluoride (KrF2).[17] The first stable compound of argon was reported in 2000 when argon fluorohydride (HArF) was formed at a temperature of 40 K (−233.2 °C; −387.7 °F).[18]” – from Wikipedia

    In 1963 I presented the Bartlett work at a graduate chemistry seminar and was almost stoned, such heresy, everybody KNEW that the ‘noble’ gases would not mix with the commoners.

    They now acclaim the man who they reviled and ridiculed – http://acswebcontent.acs.org/landmarks/bartlett/bartlett.html.

  133. scienceofdoom,

    Whether the measurements were taken in the day or at night is fantastically important when you’re claiming to measure downward IR flux. More than half of what we receive from the sun is already in the IR, so a daytime measurement is just measuring spectral lines by shining a light source through a gas. Anyone could do that in a lab with just air. The energy measured is just solar energy.

    If at night, what was the upward flux? When talking about IR, the Earth would still be radiating because the IR radiation is thermal. What was the surface temperature and what was the atmosphere’s temperature profile at the time of measurement? What was the humidity profile?

    One of the complaints the skeptics have is that you can fling poo on a page, say it proves global warming, and a science journal will approve it for publication within a day.

  134. I live in a street (in Cambridge) populated with fellows and lecturers at the University.
    I sometimes wonder if the rarified atmosphere in which they exist bestows upon them an adequate ration of common sense….

    Anyway – on the matter of continental drift, I understand that Florida was originally part of West Africa – as the geology is totally different to neighbouring states…

  135. Steve: Svensmark has an interesting theory which may or may not prove to be correct.

    Agreed. The CERN CLOUD experiment may help prove or disprove the cosmic ray part. We may have results soon.

    My point is that the way the continents fit together like a jigsaw is similar to the sun and cloud cover being screamingly obvious places to look for global climate drivers. From an atmospheric physics perspective, sun and clouds both seem like the best candidates for playing a major role while CO2, a trace gas, is such a poor candidate for a primary driver. This is so obvious that a child can understand it.

  136. The real story here is about the sociological environment of scientific communities.

    Even if scientists where infinity intelligent, they’d still be herd animals like the rest of us. If the herd is going in one direction, it is a rare individual that will choose to go the other way. This theoretical herd of infinitely intelligent scientists will apply their intelligence to mock them.

    To my mind, the best scientists are borderline autistic (a la big bang’s Sheldon). These people can abandon their own ideas with no thought to social consequences.

  137. The real story here is about the sociological environment of scientific communities.

    Even if scientists where infinity intelligent, they’d still be herd animals like the rest of us. If the herd is going in one direction, it is a rare individual that will choose to go the other way. This theoretical herd of infinitely intelligent scientists will apply their intelligence to mock them.

    To my mind, the best scientists are borderline autistic (a la big bang’s Sheldon). These people can abandon their own ideas with no thought to social consequences.

    And herein lies the problem with the “save the world” sciences (sociology, environmental science, climate science, etc). They inadvertently select for people who want to save the world: people who are both highly socially aware, and who are pre-disposed to believe that we are causing problems.

  138. I refuse to believe in continental drift.
    I`m convinced that way back when the solar system was forming and proto planet Theia hit the earth, it wasn`t in fact a planet but but a huge ball of seltzer.
    Over time the `outfizzing` of Theia has resulted in the earth expanding.
    Hmm…who could i sell this to?

  139. Reply to ASK-AN-EARTH-SCIENTIST

    Subject: Snow in Hawaii

    I would like to know if it can snow in Hawaii??

    The answer is “yes”. It snows here every year, but only at the very summits of our 3 tallest volcanoes (Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and Haleakala). The snow level almost never gets below 9000 feet in Hawaii during the winter, but since these mountains are taller than 13,000 feet, 13,000 feet, and 10,000 feet, respectively, they get dusted with snow a few times a year. It rarely stays on the ground for more than a few days though.

    Although the rest of the island chain enjoys warm tropical weather the entire year-round, there have been “freak” cold storms a few times this century that have brought local snow storms down to as low as 3000 to 4000 feet. This snow has melted very quickly, however.

    Ken Rubin, Assistant Professor
    Department of Geology and Geophysics
    University of Hawaii, Honolulu HI 96822

    Guys – Florida is hardly covered with snow! (Nor Georgia.)

    But, if you just count the prescence of snow, then ALL 50 STATES HAVE SNOW RIGHT NOW!

    (Feb. 13, 2010)

  140. As a kid, I stuck a map of the World on the ceiling over my bed, so every morning and night I’d spend some time staring at it through the dim light and could not help noticing how South America and Africa seemed to fit together. So, when Tuvo Wilson came to my university on his speaking tour reviving Continental Drift, I had no problem accepting the hypothesis as reasonable – and that is all that it had become at the time. The dominant hypothesis (consensus is too strong a word) to explain transcontinental distributions of fossil and living organisms involved fanciful ‘land bridges’ and the like – really, just as crazy an idea as moving continents, but essentially untestable, because a land bridge could always be invoked (sort of like AGW and CO2).

    Lots of biogeographers had their careers invested in land bridges and lots of other scientists with no real knowledge were happy to slag the ridiculous idea of moving continents. The real difference between AGW and Continental Drift is that the facts were allowed to triumph because billions of dollars had not been spent to buy opponents, media, and politicians. I’m not sure that facts matter much for AGW or that the ‘skeptics’ have much hope. Even many skeptics seem to accept the unproven assumption that the World has warmed significantly over the last hundred years and every damned politician-scientist that I’ve seen more or less apologising for Climategate-IPCC repeats ‘the science is proven’ lie ad nauseum – and without challenge.

  141. Lee Moore (07:14:49) :

    At present, the Arthur Holmes approach is the only scientific one for global warming too. There are some interesting conjectures, but there is just insufficient evidence to how much of a problem global warming might turn out to be.

    You mean the science isn’t settled?  :-)

    There is evidence that falsifies the AGW hypothesis.

    AGW tries to explain warming in the last half of the 20th century as primarily due to increases in CO2. The only true support for AGW are computer models that assume as a postulate that as CO2 causes surface temperatures to increase, specific humidity in the radiative zone must also increase. It is this positive feedback of increased humidity in the radiative zone that reduces OLR (Outgoing Long wave Radiation) resulting in global warming. If the specific humidity does not increase in the radiative zone then there is nothing stopping the OLR from radiating out into space. Note that the transport of latent heat by evaporation to the top of the convection zone means that increases in specific humidity in the convection zone are not a significant factor.

    Peer reviewed papers such as Paltridge’s “Trends in middle- and upper-level tropospheric humidity from NCEP reanalysis data” and Solomon’s “Contributions of Stratospheric Water Vapor to Decadal Changes in the Rate of Global Warming” show that specific humidity in the radiative zone has gone down as CO2 has gone up; a negative feedback in contradiction to the assumptions built into all of the IPCC climate models.

    A key requirement of AGW has been contradicted by the data.

    Mike Ramsey

  142. Mooloo (20:21:05) [first comment on the thread]:

    Spoken like a scientist wanting to protect his bailiwick from close scrutiny (contain the damage).

    Laboratory science is in good shape — that’s the source of Man’s technological wonders — ideas can be experimentally tested with results either validating or falsifying the proposed physical relationship at issue.

    Field sciences, often times, have wondered off course because it’s hard to devise experiments that can test (falsify) the ideas in these various disciplines.

    The other commenters are right: It’s the AGW proponents that must demonstrate their hypothesis has validity, not the other way around.

  143. Since we agree to disagree on this Subject, I offer a OXYMORON: ACADEMIC INTEGRITY?
    Dedicated to the University of Pennsylvania for the whitewash of DR
    Micharl Mann.
    Enjoyed the comments on this post.

  144. Guenter Hess (23:39:45) :

    I disagree with the article.
    If you want to have a scientific process that maintains high quality standards
    than you have to accept that there is a high barrier, until the scientific community accepts a new theory. ….
    There is no shortcut.

    Unfortunately, with regard to AGW there was a shortcut. It was politicized, and became a bandwagon, which all manner of politicians, NGOs, scalliwags, and carpetbaggers of all types happily clambered aboard. Many scientists, much to their discredit simply went along, often because that was where the funding was, because of peer pressure, and because their jobs were at stake if they didn’t. The damage done to science has yet to be tallied, but no doubt it will be enormous.

  145. As a confirmed skeptic, I must, alas, side with mooloo. “proof” is required neither to confirm an hypothesis, nor to discredit it. “proof” is required only to change someone’s mind in regard to the hypothesis. For those who believe global warming to be human caused, proof they are wrong is required, regardless of how weak the evidence that brought them to their original conclusion.

  146. One thing is for sure.

    Sometimes its difficult to say this is “voodoo-science” and
    this is not.

    Look at the miskolczi discussion here;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/06/26/debate-thread-miskolczi-semi-transparent-atmosphere-model/

    Unfortunately the thread ends abrubtly at precisely the same moment as Miskolczi enters the debate himself.

    I have’nt kept my knowledge on radiation up to shape, so I cannot say whether he is right or not. Kirchoffs law, or not
    Kirchoffs law…..

    Should’nt this man be allowed to have a seminar where other physisists could challenge his theory right on, and a paper resulting from that? Put some money on that, IPCC!

    Discussions in writing is like having an email-war that never ends….

    If he is right, it would be fantastic. If he is mistaken at some point of his reasoning, it could be clarified.

  147. Geoff Sherrington (02:04:26) :

    “I have a CD of the Symposium if you are genuinely interested. It is another story of a theory that the old school would like to forget. Yet, it might be right. One of its rationales was to do away with the need to subduct plate edges. It asks a number of questions that classical geologist simply cannot answer – and they are valid and pertinent.”

    Geoff, you are confusing me. How can one do away with the need to subduct plate edges? It is not a matter of need; it is an observed phenomenon. Many studies have been carried out on the seismicity of plate boundaries resulting in a three-dimensional structural models of the subducting plates. Subducting plates are just facts.

  148. “yet the scientific community took over 50 years to stop ridiculing Wegener and accept his theory”

    This is a very kind rendition of the remark most likely written by a geologist. In fact proof of the shifting of continents intruded itself on the science in the form of the discovery in the 1950s of the transform faults along the Mid-Atlantic ridge where the separation of the Americas from Europe and Africa took place and the ridge, of course, also faithfully parallels the relevant coasts. The scientific community had behaved so abominably toward Wegener (W died long before he was vindicated) that the ugly term “plate tectonics” (more appropriately a dental mechanics term) was adopted for the phenomenon and Wegener’s term was left buried with him, with no acknowledgement. I was a student during the 50’s and 60’s and, in the early years, like the AGW stuff, it was worth your career to espouse such a heretical theory. Actually, South African geologists had accepted it decades before European and North American scientists. I apologize for not having links – one of the advantages of being old is you know history from living through it.

  149. Lee Moore (07:14:49)

    “Thus it was by no means unscientific to be sceptical about continental drift until the 1960s.”

    But it did betray a poverty of imagination, courage and vision.

  150. Craig Loehle (06:13:44) :
    “Ideally, science requires an independent mind. Institutionally, this is beat out of one. First, one must spend years and years in school pleasing teachers. Then, one must get grants and get published, in both of which endeavors non-conformity to the paradigms of the time are punished. Finally, one must get tenure, which can be denied for any reason, including incollegiality (not getting along with your fellow department members). It is amazing anything original can be produced at all after such mental homogenizing”

    Hear hear! (British tribal dialect for “strongly agree”).

  151. Gary Pearse (10:00:20) :
    I had a HS science teacher-she just died recently,bless her, who was fond of saying:Wegner is right!-this was heresy for any one to say in the 60’s!
    She educated a whole generation of people in the facts of Wegner’s theory.
    by the time I got to University, the edifice was cracking.Oh, one of the Geology
    profs. was an early student of hers…
    The same thing is happening to AGW…

  152. Chris Schoneveld (09:33:38) wrote: “Subducting plates are just facts.”

    Mid-ocean spreading ridges have been observed & measured. The total length of these “spreading ridges” is about 40,000 miles.

    There has been a failure to observed & measure an equal length of “suducting plates” (or an equal distribution around the world).

    And the evidence for “subducting plates” in many instances is ambiguous.

    Geology is a field science where a priori assumptions have played a significant role in the development of its theories.

    But once consensus grabs ahold of any field science, it’s hard to dislodge the consensus even in the face of significant contradicting evidence.

    Climate science tends to be a consensus science discipline, thus, opinion, as opposed to empirical evidence often has more weight in the deliberations of its members.

  153. Interesting article but the science of global warming is a new theory based solely upon the assumption that a small rise of CO2 is amplified by water vapor and positive feedback, that has been built into most climate models. This goes completely away from the classical climatology espoused by such giants as Reid Bryson, Fred Singer, Roger Reville, Claude Allegre and the literally thousands of scientists patiently studying the real world instead of tweaking the models or extrapolating from them as if they were truth. Here a young but emperical science has been hijacked by a type of activist science that believes computer manipulated data and the results of models over what the real world tells us. For example, study of the cooling periods of the past shows that these are times of increased storminess in the Northern Hemisphere but the computer based “climate scientists” have tried to assure the longevity of their theory by asserting the opposite, i.e warming causes increased storms. The AGW theory is akin to the hypothesis that cancers are caused by power lines in spite of the extensive medical literature that describes complex, multifactoral causes.

  154. Tom P,

    The Northern Hemisphere has been plenty cold. Due to the negative AO, the cold air is spread out wider and thinner than “average” – so more land area is freezing than “average.” That is why we have seen record or near record snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere for the entire winter.

    The “average” temperature is not a particularly meaningful metric right now and is being widely misinterpreted by alarmists. The Canadian Arctic and Greenland just aren’t as quite as cold as they usually are.

  155. No one has to prove AGW wrong. The believers in AGW have to prove it true. This is no mean task. Correlation does not necessarily equal causation. As far as I know, to date there exist absolutely no empirical evidence of man-made global climate change.

    I would add this comment. I believe the CFC/ozone hole fraud had the an even more rapid acceptance than the CO2/AGW fraud. It laid the groundwork for the AGW scam.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/the_cfc_ban_global_warmings_pi.html

  156. The resistance to continental drift was in part because the observations supporting it were in isolation. Sceptics were quite correct to demand answers to certain questions, but when the workings of the system as a whole were understood, the sceptics had no choice but to stand down. The climate debate is the opposite, a consensus having been formed around observations in isolation while sceptics continue to investigate the system as a whole and show that the conclusions drawn are less credible the more we know about the system as a whole. In particular, I continue to be amazed at the ease with which the AGW proponents regularly attribute an extra 3.7 w/m2 of energy being retained on earth as if this was a new energy source in addition to the sun itself. CO2 does not, and cannot, generate any additional energy. It can, at best, change the manner in which energy flows between ocean, land and atmosphere layers. In brief, a change in cyclical fluctuations, but not a change in the ultimate equilibrium of the system. I believe the following model is closer to the argument that the AGW proponents are presenting than is the greenhouse model:

    Take a tall glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Open it and pour it half full of honey, then close the lid. Mark on the outside of the jar the level of the honey. Now pick the jar up and shake it vigorously. Put it back down and quickly mark the level the honey is now at. If we observe certain factors in isolation, we come up with certain conclusions.

    The first conclusion is that the level of honey is now lower, so shaking the jar must have destroyed some of the honey. As we continue to observe however, we note that the level of honey seems to be slowly rising. Where is the honey coming from? Close inspection reveals that there is honey dripping off the inside of the lid as well as sliding down the sides. We can conclude from this that the lid and the glass are creating honey. In fact, we can measure how fast the level of honey is going up, assume that it will continue to do so at the same rate, and calculate how long it will take before the honey fills the jar and forces the lid off or the jar to explode. As further observation reveals that this does not happen, that instead the honey simply levels off at the exact same level as before, we have to ask some new questions. Why did the lid and glass stop making honey? Is it a temporary pause, and all we must do is wait and the making of honey by the lid and glass will resume?

    The answer of course is that the lid and glass never did make honey. The observation that they did was made in isolation, the predictions of the jar filling up and exploding based on isolated facts proven wrong simply by waiting for the system as a whole to return to equilibrium. CO2 can no more add energy to the earth system than jar lids can manufacture honey. By no means is the earth system “closed” in the same way that the jar is, but the analogy is apt. You can’t increase the amount of honey in the jar with inserting some from outside the jar. Similarly, you can’t increase the amount of energy retained by the planet (and hence its temperature) except by inserting additional energy into the system. As CO2 only interferes with how energy flows through the various layers, and introduces no new energy itself, we need only wait a sufficient time period for equilibrium to assert itself and show that this.

    While the jar of honey only has a limited number of factors governing its system, the planet of course has multiple energy inputs and multiple cycles that govern fluctuations and make this difficult to discern. But continued insistence that CO2 manufactures energy and could lead to a tipping point makes no more sense than concluding that jar lids makes honey and will do so until the jar explodes.

  157. If one changes the question Are Scientists Always Smart? into a statement:Scientists are always smart, this clearly is, to me, a non sequitur since [most] scientists are human and, as such, fallible.

  158. Mooloo (20:21:05) : “Going off on a tangent about how other scientists were wrong in the past is totally and utterly irrelevant.”

    Mooloo, he DID make the case, and it wasn’t a tangent.

    Fact: plate techtonics had supporting evidence, but was dismissed/attacked by the establishment.

    Fact: the AGW establishment has little to no _supporting_ evidence, but it attacks anyone who points that out.

    They’re a bit different, but come on… those differences hardly make it an “irrelevant tangent”.

  159. Many other examples of scientific consensus that were tightly clad with an impenetrable scientific exterior designed exclusively for those that would disagree:

    The various syndromes of the Autism spectrum (eventually broken by the very mothers accused of being cold)

    Schizophrenia (not caused by the devil, child abuse or trauma)

    Organic Brain Dysfunction, now known as various forms of processing deficits that can easily be seen with brain scans while performing visual symbol based reading tasks or calculations.

    Stuttering, once an emotional deficit, now has strong genetic links.

    Red Hair, once thought to be an inherited color, is now understood to be a malfunctioning melatonin gene.

  160. Engineering denial at the Olympics

    “The technical officials of the FIL were able to retrace the path of the athlete and concluded there was no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/olympic_games/vancouver_2010/luge/8513794.stm

    After watching the video of the accident, it is pretty clear that the track design was grossly deficient – the wall wasn’t high enough. I used to be a giant slalom racer, and there is a reason why they don’t line the edges of ski hills with steel beams. Athletes make mistakes and shouldn’t pay with their lives.

    Too bad Feynman isn’t around any more. He was instrumental in demonstrating NASA’s negligence in the Challenger explosion.

  161. Are Scientists Always Smart?

    They are not half as stupid as they seem when they lie about the obvious:

    a.) The inside of the Sun is filled with lightweight elements (H, He) too.

    b.) Solar neutrinos from H-fusion oscillate away before reaching detectors.

    c.) Hydrogen is fuel for, not a waste product of, the solar engine.

    d.) CO2 – not the Sun – controls Earth’s climate.

    e.) Neutrons attract each other; Nuclear rest mass data are misleading.

    Politics and science are a lethal mix, as will become evident when the public finally realizes that science is now a propaganda tool of world dictator(s).

    Regretfully yours,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Emeritus Professor of
    Nuclear & Space Science
    Former NASA PI for Apollo

  162. Tom P, let’s talk about water vapor. Are you saying that the infinitismally small % of CO2 we have in the air (0.03% of the stuff that makes up our atmosphere) of which only 14% of that is man-made CO2 emissions, has caused more water vapor? Or has just heated it up more than normal? And let’s be clear that we are talking only about the 14% of the 0.03% number and the small increase we have seen in that 14% because of increased emissions. I want you to explain to me your understanding of how this tiny, tiny % increase of man-made emissions causes AGW, and if you consider this warming to be significant (as in outside the error bars).

  163. John Whitman (01:17:05) :

    Roger Bacon, 1214 to1292
    Dark Ages, ~5th Century (~400s AD) to ~ late 11th Century ( ~late 1200s)

    The late 1200s are the late 13th century, not 11th.

    Pascvaks (06:30:02) :

    You reap what you sew.

    Shouldn’t that be, “You rip what you sew.”?

  164. Man, I am enjoying reading the posts on this site! Most contributors are lucid, bright, rational. And most share the view that the AGW hypothesis is a busted flush (yeah, yeah, I know that concensus isn’t decisive including this one).
    Since I began weighing the arguments, and tracking them to their sources, I have reached the following conclusions:
    1. It’s “neoapocalypticism” – just the latest scare story in a series going back millennia. Deluges; reds-under-the-bed; barbarians-at-the-gates; ghouls and devils; UFOs – we’ve been here before. Fear must be a basic human need.
    2. The debate is political/religious in nature – not scientific. To question the AGW dogma is cursed as heresy; the public, unable to think for themselves, defer to a prophet (Gore) and chief priests (Jones, Mann et al.). TRUE science is falsifiable – that is, hypotheses are subject to being demolished by contrary data.
    3. Gravy Train: To paraphrase Churchill, never in the field of human science was so much moolah paid to so many bent scientists for so little truth. In the hacked Climategate e-mails, did anybody catch the Russkies asking for East Anglia’s research money “to my personal account to avoid paying tax”?
    4. Politicians: more wrong than evil. You can hardly blame our governments for taking advice from their official scientific advisers. In Britain we have strangelovian nutjobs advising the Prime Minister.
    5. Watermelons. (Green on the outside, red on the inside.) The selfsame people who used to yell about smashing the wicked capitalist system have dusted off their megaphones and mutated into hard line eco-warriors. The BBC Radio 4 recently broadcast a hilarious piece entitled “Living With Four Degrees”. There were AI’s explaining that the roads would melt, and the coasts evacuated. (Oh, sorry, AI = articulate idiot.)

    It’s now looking like we good guys are winning, and the scaremongerers discredited. Now I hope that public opinion will force our governments to derail the gravy train.

  165. @davidmhoffer: TYPO (?): Change to “without” in:

    You can’t increase the amount of honey in the jar with inserting some from outside the jar.

  166. Thomas Sowell, eminent scholar and philosopher, latest treatise is “Intellectuals and Society” (Basic Books 2009). In the introductory chapter, Dr Sowell defines and distinguishes between intelligence and intellect as follows:

    “The capacity to grasp and manipulate complex ideas is enough to define intellect and of reason itself, but not enough to encompass intelligence, which involves combining intellect with judgment and care in selecting relevant explanatory factors and in establishing empirical tests of any theory that emerges. Intelligence minus judgment equals intellect. Wisdom is the rarest quality of all — the ability to combine intellect, knowledge, experience, and judgment in a way to produce coherent understanding. Wisdom is the fulfillment of the ancient admonition, With all you’re getting, get understanding.” Wisdom requires self-discipline and an understanding of the realities of the world, including the limitations of one’s own experience and of reason itself. The opposite of intellect is dullness or slowness, but the opposite of wisdom is foolishness, which is far more dangerous.”

    “George Orwell said that some ideas are so foolish that only an intellectual could believe them, for no ordinary man can be such a fool. The record of twentieth century intellectuals was especially appalling in this regard. Scarcely a mass-murdering dictator in the twentieth century was without his intellectual supporters, not simply in his own country, but also in foreign democracies, where people were free to say whatever they wished. Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler all had their admirers, defenders, and apologists among the intelligentsia in Western democratic nations, despite the fact that these dictators each ended up killing people of their own country on a scale unprecedented even by despotic regimes that preceded them.”

    Irrespective of brilliance, persons who lack experience, common sense or judgment invariably satisfy the qualifications to be “foolish.” This seems to be a common trait of too many modern scientists. When they lack ethics too, the outcome is corrupt science along with all of its unacceptable accouterments.

  167. Roger Knights (12:34:04) :
    @davidmhoffer: TYPO (?): Change to “without” in:

    You can’t increase the amount of honey in the jar with inserting some from outside the jar>

    OOPS. Yes thats what I meant.

  168. John Whitman:

    Your ages of science is missing the Medieval period; the Dark Ages ran from 450- 950 A.D. and the Medieval Period lasted from 950 to 1350 A.D. The Dark Ages were a period of fertile technological development in Europe, in which Chinese, Roman and Arab and older technologies were adapted and changed to produce a new society that was economically based on the use of artificial power from wind and water mills, especially the vertical water mills (the latter a 1st century Roman invention, that was not widely used in the Roman era for fear of displacing slave labour and leading to idle workers). You do not see the adoption of energy dependent technologies to such a high degree in China or the Middle East prior to this development in Europe, partly because irrigation and navigation were held to be more important uses of streams and rivers in these regions.

    Because European population fell so dramatically in the Dark Ages due to various iterations of plague, and due to constant incursions at different times by barbarians, Mongols and Islamic forces, Europeans in the Dark Ages were focussed mostly on survival; standards of living fell massively in the 5th century. This was not conducive to scientific inquiry.

    While the Roman Catholic church was focussed on the afterlife and did not encourage science, astronomy and medicine remained important disciplines, and ‘scientists’ other than Roger Bacon -all of them clergy – were involved in theoretical queries as well as practical astronomy (needed for horoscopes and setting church calendar dates). The problems that engaged them included trying to understand the nature of motion, the question of what lies outside of the universe and what is the motion of the universe, and what the heavens were made of; at the University of Bologna, human dissection (cadavers) was introduced in medical teaching in the 12th century (1100s) for the first time since it was briefly allowed during the Hellenistic period in Ancient Alexandra. An excellent source for building up your knowledge of science in this period is: The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, Prehistory to A.D. 1450 by David C. Lindberg.

  169. Tom P.

    Aristotle worked from first principles, too. I’ve often through that AGW “science” resembled nothing so much as Aristotle’s belief that heavier objects fall faster than light ones. It makes sense, no? Arrhenius worked from first principles in a linear system with no variables. Surely the complexities of a chaotic climate system cannot be reduced to letting the insights of a 19th century scientist have the last word?

  170. scienceofdoom (01:44:18) :
    George Turner (21:59:27) :

    You cite measurements of downward radiation. Were those measurements taken during the day or at night? Your link doesn’t say, and the answer is extremely critical to your argument.

    -This was from the article CO2 – An Insignificant Trace Gas? Part Six – Visualization.

    It’s nice to see someone else referencing the Evans and Puckrin paper. I first came across it quite some time ago and have tried to raise it for discussion in several comment threads over the last year, without much success. Most people can’t seem to get past the authors attempts to screw themselves into the floor trying to put an AGW spin on measurements that actually seem to offer the best contradiction of the AGW hypothesis that I’ve seen.
    Although they did detect an increase in downwelling longwave radiation attributable to CO2, their measurements suggest that almost all of it occurred in the cold dry air of the Canadian winter, which I would think most Canadians would not see as a bad thing. Living in Minnesota myself, I know that I don’t. The model they used to construct their profile of DLW for the preindustrial past seems to do a fairly accurate job for most of the nonH2O greenhouse gases, but can’t come within the broad side of a barn for H2O. The variations in the H2O contribution, both seasonal and interannual, dwarf not only the incremental changes in all the others, but their overall contribution as well. In fact for the winter which showed the greatest increase in DLW from CO2, the total DLW was below their preindustrial model because the H2O element was over estimated by more than 5 times the increase from CO2. In the warm moist air of summer the CO2 contribution is almost completely suppressed [less than 4% of the total] which would seem to indicate that in Tropical and Subtropical latitudes where temps and humidity are generally higher than Canadian summers year round CO2’s contribution to the greenhouse effect is negligible, if not in total at least in any incremental change.
    What I’ve found most interesting is that this experimental technique would seem to offer a clear path to quantifying once and for all the contributions of the various atmospheric gases to greenhouse warming, yet having done several fairly deep Google rummages over the last year, I haven’t come across any efforts to broadly replicate this work, which was done over a decade ago. Evidently no one has been willing to come up with the grant money to fund such a project. I wonder why that is?

  171. “As far as I am aware the only “amazingly bizarre theory” ever adopted en masse on short notice in the history of science was the AGW hypothesis. I suspect this was due to the immature nature of the scientific evidence involved combined with various cultural and sociopolitical impetuses, (environmental millenarianism and collectivism) which distorted the usual plodding nature of scientific progress.”

    Perhaps because for the first time in an area of significant public/political interest, proponents have succeeded in dressing up soft science in the trappings of hard science. AGW pretends to be about physics, when in fact it is about statistical analysis: little different from sociology and just as vulnerable to spin and skew.

  172. They say that there are three types of mind:

    First rate minds are interested in ideas;
    Second raters are interested in facts and events;
    Third raters are interested in other people.

    I have often observed people who are very good at quizzes and puzzles give *amazingly* fast responses to questions. I have also noticed that in the workplace, such people make binary decisions about real world problems very quickly – which embarrasses me, because I’m still trying to unpick the knots and tease apart the dense wool in my brain, and to come up with some sort of ‘fuzzy’ multi-dimensional boundary, never mind a razor sharp binary decision. What I also notice is that, over time, their decisions are shown to be wrong or, at the very least, simplistic, but they don’t understand why. By then, it is too late to go back and take a more considered view, so they are stuck with trying to work with their flawed decision.

    I wonder if many scientists are just ‘second raters’ who appear very intelligent because of their lightning fast, but over-simplistic, brains..?

  173. Filipe (02:10:23) :

    There were good reasons to reject Wegener’s work. How could any one accept tidal forces making continents plough through the oceans? There were two things missing from Wegener’s work: measures of relative continental motion and a plausible mechanism. Having to deal with creationists and a few crackpots over this same issue I’m very disappointed to see this in this blog. This is a very bad post.

    So wegner being proved correct means nothing to you?

  174. My first post:

    Mooloo said:”If you want to prove AGW is wrong, then you need to prove AGW is wrong. Nothing else will do.”

    Which is simple enough to understand, and quite obviously true, and clearly says precisely NOTHING about the BURDEN of proof. Yet …

    CodeTech: ““WE” don’t have to prove anything.”

    Jack: “it is the warmists who have to prove AGW right”

    Kaboom: “No, you are wrong. It is up to the proponents of the hypothesis to prove it, not for rationalists to disprove same.”

    John Egan: “The obligation of proof lies, not with those who are skeptics…”

    David L Hagen: “The burden of proof is on those proposing the novel model.”

    Wes George: “Nor was Mr. Goddard offering evidence to falsify the AGW hypothesis.”

    … six people miss that simple point, with varying levels of abuse. Getting a bit over-excited, guys, aren’t you?

    WE (skeptics) do not have the burden of proof wrt AGW, BUT,…

    … IF …

    you want to prove AGW is wrong, then you need to prove AGW is wrong.
    Nothing else will do.

    Get it?

  175. I am glad to see that Geoff Sherrington (02:04:26) raised the memory of Professor Warren S Carey. I think the record will show that Carey was one of the earlier scientists to give credence to Wegener’s work. What Geoff does not mention is the sequitur to the concept of drifting continents followed by Carey, which is “an expanding earth”. This was the how he explained so-called subduction, as questioned by Chris Schoneveld (09:33:38).

    In his book “Expanding Earth” (1976, Elsevier) he observed that the continents did not fit precisely as suggested by Wegener on a present day-sized earth, but they would fit much better on a smaller diameter globe. Some of his observations and questions stand today, others have been answered or refuted by subsequent investigations.

    But memorable (to me) is the statement towards the end of his book: he asks — why does the earth expand? His frank answer was that he did not know, but he stood by his empiricism.

    The idea of an expanding earth is now a generally rejected hypothesis, but … is the current paradigm of continental drift another consensus science?

  176. For George Turner:

    Commenting on the downward longwave radiation in CO2 – An Insignificant Trace Gas? Part Six – Visualization, George wrote:

    ..More than half of what we receive from the sun is already in the IR, so a daytime measurement is just measuring spectral lines by shining a light source through a gas. Anyone could do that in a lab with just air. The energy measured is just solar energy..

    There’s an interesting fact about radiation that everyone should know – to do with Planck’s blackbody radiation theory..

    Solar radiation has its peak at 0.5um wavelength and 99% of its energy is below 4um in wavelength.

    Terrestrial radiation – that emitted up from the surface of the earth – has its peak around 10um and 99.9% of this radiation is above 4um in wavelength.

    You can see this graphically at CO2 – An Insignificant Trace Gas? Part One

    Therefore, it is very easy to distinguish energy radiated from the sun from energy radiated from the earth.

    And if we were to look specifically at the proportion of solar energy above 14um (e.g. for CO2), it is 0.02%.

    This is why downwards longwave radiation at the earth’s surface demonstrates the absorption and re-emission of the earth’s radiation by “greenhouse” gases including CO2 and CH4.

  177. Pamela Gray (12:09:35) :

    “I want you to explain to me your understanding of how this tiny, tiny % increase of man-made emissions causes AGW, and if you consider this warming to be significant (as in outside the error bars).”

    Humans have produced a 39% increase in CO2 as admitted by Monckton. That’s hardly tiny.

    The warming trend we’ve seen, whether measured by ground stations or satellites, is statistically significant at the 95% level.

    vigilantfish (13:02:48) :

    “Surely the complexities of a chaotic climate system cannot be reduced to letting the insights of a 19th century scientist have the last word?”

    Of course not. That is why there has been much work since Arrhenius in better understanding these complexities. But the approach of Arrhenius has a firm underpinning in thermodynamics. To say that an increase in CO2 cannot possibly warm the atmosphere is to reject some basic tenets of physics.

  178. Good provokative subject. In how many areas must a person be to be an
    expert? When Einstein was driving around the campus, I read, not a hedge was safe Have often wondered if some of the people acknowledged as genius didn’t
    have some weak spots. In other words, if his mind was in the clouds, were his feet touching the ground? I feel sure there were some who would qualify.
    ANOTHER OXYMORON: ACADEMIC INTEGRITY- FOR THE WHITEWASH OF DR MICHAEL MANN.

  179. Re: Consensus pro and contra…

    This post made my head spin a little because it inverts the arguments of a major AGW advocate, Naomi Oreskes. You may recall her name from the mention it got in Gore’s film: she wrote the article about “research” into the literature, supposedly demonstrating an overwhelming consensus pro AGW.

    She happens to be a historian of science, with a background in geoglogy – mining, in fact. I believe she wrote a book, or maybe her dissertation, on the controversy surrounding discussed in this post, the arguments before the theory of plate tectonics became accepted.

    What’s a little bizarre is that Mr. Goddard focuses on the the people who resisted the theory when it was new, refusing to abandon their “consensus.” They were dead wrong, the consensus was shown to be bunk.

    I would argue that the consensus claimed by the AGW folks doesn’t even exist. There’s a big difference in the two cases: then, people said, “Bunk! The continents don’t move!” And most agreed. Now, the AGW folks say, “CO2 is baking us! We all agree on that!”

    Finally, Oreskes, cites the controversy over tectonics in the opposite way from Mr. Goddard! She points to the few who persisted in denying the validity of the plate theory long after most agreed it had been conclusively demonstrated. She classes AGW skeptics with them! For her, the lesson is the rightness of consensus science.

    What she fails to note is the vastly different nature of the evidence and logic behind the two positions.

    She wrote an entire chapter on this topic, expanding on her famous short article. It’s a very illuminating look into the psyche of AGW proponents. I have reviewed it here: http://iamyouasheisme.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/everywhere-at-home/

  180. Tom P (15:36:25) :
    ” That is why there has been much work since Arrhenius in better understanding these complexities. But the approach of Arrhenius has a firm underpinning in thermodynamics. To say that an increase in CO2 cannot possibly warm the atmosphere is to reject some basic tenets of physics. ”

    Are you referring to his first or second paper on the subject?

    HINT – He revised almost all his own work in the second paper…

    Everyone else – see my previous posts re back radiation – AGW disproven full stop.
    Are you ignoring this because it also disproves the greenhouse effect “theory”. ?
    ADVISORY HINT – Please check thread title before answering.

    AND derek with a small d, change your name I was posting here first.
    I do not want to be confused with you, maybe you might not want to be confused with me either come to think of it from your point of view.

  181. Pamela Gray said:

    I want you to explain to me your understanding of how this tiny, tiny % increase of man-made emissions causes AGW, and if you consider this warming to be significant (as in outside the error bars).

    I think there are really two very important questions there, and separating them out is what helps to increase climate understanding.

    The first question, hard for non-physicists to understand, is how an apparently insignificant trace gas, increasing by a few ppm every decade, can actually do anything to the surface temperature of the earth.

    The second question, hard for anyone to know the answer to, is what actual effect this has had on the surface temperature of the earth.

    The reason the second question – well the answer to the second question – is so tricky is that climate is full of many complex effects. These different effects are often inter-linked, sometimes reinforcing, sometimes cancelling out. And many unknowns, or poorly knowns.

    You can see this in the last million years of the earth’s temperature history at the Science of Doom article – An Inconvenient Temperature Graph

    Back to the first question, well there is a whole series starting at CO2 – An Insignificant Trace Gas? – Part One. This might answer your question.

    But one point worth noting is that the “skeptical” scientists whose work is featured here like Dr Roy Spencer, Prof Lindzen – are all people who understand and agree with the radiative effect of CO2 at the earth’s surface.

    Their real question, and mine, is all about the feedbacks – and about the other effects of climate.

    More CO2 having a warming effect – “all other things being equal” – is basic physics. It didn’t start with the IPCC. It didn’t start with observations of temperature changes and scientists trying to find a cause.

  182. “Dr. Dave (11:13:45) :

    No one has to prove AGW wrong. The believers in AGW have to prove it true.”

    Thats not how science works. AGW is a hypothesis, which is a tentative explanation or assumption. To be valid, the hypothesis must be testable, and, more importantly, it must be refutable. AGW is neither, in part because peer review governs who may receive funding for research, and attempts to refute AGW do not get funded and the results, if self funded, are not easily published.

    When a hypothesis is tested, it is either supported or refuted. If the hypothesis is refuted, then an alternative hypothesis is posed and the process continues. If a hypothesis is not refutable, it does not meet the minimum requirements of the scientific method.

    Hypotheses and theories can never be proven true using the scientific method. Therefore, science advances only through disproof. To be scientific, theories can never be proven true, but all theories must be refutable.

    It is a myth that scientists are beholden to the truth. Most scientists in academia and who have tenure and who do research requiring grants are held hostage by the prevailing paradigms. Graduate students soon learn the folly of trying to disprove their professors paradigm and getting that PhD, let alone getting tenure down the road, by saying everyone else is wrong.

    Disproving the existing paradigm and getting the disproof accepted by those who careers are based on teaching and researching this false paradigm is a monumental task.

    So when you think about the story of the emperor wearing no clothes, think about scientists who support AGW publicly. They really have no choice. Seems only retired scientists or rich ones are in a position to debunk the AGW scam, and MSM does not give them much attention.

    Does anyone think a lowly patent officer could get his theories on special relativity and quantum mechanics published today. Peer review = censorship by those who have a vested interest in the prevailing paradigm.

    Academic science is now in the Dark Ages, the only difference is those who question a prevailing paradigm are labeled denialists or skeptics, and not heretics. At least Copernicus got his views published, and Galileo would have had no problems so long as he presented his ideas as an hypothesis and not proof (he did not really have proof and was wrong in some aspects of his hypothesis).

  183. Scienceofdoom:
    This is why downwards longwave radiation at the earth’s surface demonstrates the absorption and re-emission of the earth’s radiation by “greenhouse” gases including CO2 and CH4>

    First of all, its RADIANCE not radiation. Second, the earth has a tiny, tiny amount of its own radiance, due to its hot core, friction from tides, and so on. Most of earth’s radiance is second hand radiance. That is, it absorbs energy from the sun and re-emitts it at a longer wave length. So….

    Any energy absorbed from the earth by CO2 would be third hand from the Sun. So at any point in the process, we’re talking about energy from the Sun. At no point are we talking about any NEW energy. Just energy from the Sun and where it went and for how long.

    Since there is no NEW energy being put into the system, and the amount of energy being put in will, over the long term, equal exactly the amount of energy coming out, all you get at most is a short term fluctuation. If I am wrong, then you have invented perpetual motion.

  184. Tom P.

    The warming trend we’ve seen, whether measured by ground stations or satellites, is statistically significant at the 95% level.

    —-

    Warming from when, statistically significant at the 95% level compared to what? Are we warmer now than at any time in history? Hardly. What is the basis of your argument? Perhaps if we had 300-400 years of satellite data, oceanographic data, and a continuous unadjusted temperature record using thermometers in non-urban settings going back about 1000 years I might agree with you. To base this argument on a mere 30-40 years of data is ludicrous. The historical written evidence from the Medieval warm period, combined with archeobotanical and archaeological evidence, indicates that that era was warmer than our current era. One of the remarkable features of recent environmental sciences is that no sooner do we discover new methods of measurement and discover new phenomena, we discover that we are at some critical crisis point with regard to whatever phenomenon has just been uncovered. Like many readers at this site, I am not convinced that a few degrees warmer will necessarily result in global catastrophe, and the revelations that Greenpeace and WWF were the sources of the most alarmist prophecies with which our children and the public and general were terrorized renders AGW polemics completely hollow. Worse, the terrorizing of children via this propaganda – and they have been overtly targeted – is a form of child abuse.

  185. Scienceofdoom:
    More CO2 having a warming effect – “all other things being equal” – is basic physics>

    The point being that if you actually knew anything about physics you would know that all other things are NEVER equal. Every action has an equal and opposite re-action. Gosh darn, I think a physicist said that. The act of heating something up cannot, and does not, exist in isolation. It has consequences.

    Heating something up IS a feedback loop all by itself. The amount of energy it takes to heat something up 1 degree is a roughly linear relationship. The amount of energy it radiates back out as a result goes up exponentialy. So to maintain a linear temp increase you need an exponential power increase to keep up.

  186. Derek (16:02:14) :

    All of Arrhenius’ work concluded CO2 created warming, whether on its own or in combination with water vapour.

    As to your conjecture that climate scientists don’t understand the sign of heat flow: yes, you’re right; some people aren’t really smart.

  187. may Io ask for help from someone good with equations please.

    This is the Penman equation…

    Penman’s formula: E0 = (0.015 + 0.00042T + 10−6z) [0.8Rs − 40 + 2.5Fu(T − Td)] (mm day−1), where T is the daily mean temperature (i.e. the average of the extremes), z is the elevation (m), Rs is the solar irradiance of the lake’s surface, F stands for (1.0 − 8.7 × 10−5 z), u is the windspeed at 2 m, and Td is the dewpoint temperature.

    What I need to know is, which has a stronger influence on the equation, T temperature or Rs solar irradiance?

    Thankyou in advance

  188. davidmhoffer:

    You are correct that the earth’s radiation is 2nd hand. The sun warms up the earth, the earth emits radiation at a different range of wavelengths (as Planck’s formula explains).

    ..Since there is no NEW energy being put into the system, and the amount of energy being put in will, over the long term, equal exactly the amount of energy coming out, all you get at most is a short term fluctuation. If I am wrong, then you have invented perpetual motion.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion over this topic.

    (Here’s an analogy. I know it’s analogy. Analogies don’t prove anything, they illustrate) – If you put a roof on your house it’s warmer at night than without your roof. No new energy has been created and yet it works and the house is warmer.

    Not a perfect illustration – because the roof also stops the sun’s energy coming in as well as stopping the (2nd hand) earth’s energy leaving. Whereas CO2 doesn’t absorb solar radiation, instead it passes right through..

    Back to the “that’s perpetual motion therefore it can’t be true” argument –

    All that happens with CO2 and other “greenhouse” gases is that some of the energy that leaves the surface of the earth, instead of heading off out into space is absorbed and re-radiated. It is radiated both up and down. No new energy is created.

    This adds some warming at the earth’s surface. It is not “perpetual motion”. If the sun switched off, the earth would cool down very quickly.

    Upwards longwave radiation from the surface of the earth is around 390W/m^2.

    Upwards longwave radiation at the top of the atmosphere is around 240W/m^2.

    Where does the missing energy go? What happens to it?

    Why is there downward longwave radiation at the earth’s surface (it’s not solar, it is at different wavelengths). Where does it come from? And why does this downwards energy match the absorption profile of CO2 (14-16um), CH4, O3 etc?

    The answer is easy.

  189. I was glad to see J. Harlen Bretz’s name surface in this discussion.

    The “consensus” in the geologic community against Bretz’s proposition of the great floods that scoured eastern Washington state (and created the magnificent Columbia gorge) was based on the then prevalent “religion” of uniformitarianism (if I recall the term correctly), which had been adopted as a substitute for the biblically based “catastrophism.”

    The consensus geologists simply *could not imagine* the huge floods needed to create the channeled scablands, as it didn’t comport with their religion.

    It was only after Pardee described the source of the flood waters, what is now known as Glacial Lake Missoula, that the scales were lifted from the eyes of the consensus. And, because the geologic consensus was every bit as abusive to Bretz as the AGW consensus folks are today to anyone who brooks their position, Pardee had to couch his paper in terms that distanced himself from Bretz, so that he wouldn’t be similarly excoriated.

    To make a long story short, the “consensus” folks finally came around. Bretz was fortunate enough to outlive most of his critics, and he finally won the Penrose Prize for his brilliant and difficult field geology.

    The good news for us today is that things are moving swiftly enough that Steve McIntyre and the other “skeptical” scientists will have their arguments prevail over the “consensus” in a much shorter time.

  190. Most people regard it as axiomatic that if CO2 is a greenhouse gas, then increasing its concentration in the atmosphere must eventually warm the planet. To demonstrate that this is not necessarily so, it should be possible to make a sealed box ‘model planet’ with one or more sides made of glass, a means of setting the internal CO2 concentration, an internal temperature sensor and an external filament bulb ‘sun’. A climatologist or other scientist could be challenged to model its behaviour. Can he predict whether increasing the concentration of CO2 in the box will increase its average temperature, or decrease it? If the modeller feels capable of predicting the climate of the whole planet, then this should be a doddle.

    Without cheating, what simple mechanisms could cause an actual reduction in average temperature with increasing CO2? Well, for example if the box contained a mechanism whereby increasing internal temperature tripped a reduction of transmissivity of the glass with some hysteresis (you could do it with a mechanical or LCD shutter), then increasing CO2 would cause the average internal temperature to either rise or fall, depending on the precise settings. Even if the modeller was told the basic mechanism, he could not predict the direction of change without very accurate measurements of all parameters and even a tiny tweak to the mechanism would render his predictions useless.

    Could something like this be used to make the point?

  191. Oliver K. Manuel (12:08:05) :

    I wonder whether some of this is an artifact of WW II?

    How so?

    Up until WW II, basic research science (as opposed to applied technology which has always been competitive and secretive) was mostly an open process; general principles were to be shared. But with the advent of WW II, a cloak of secrecy was dropped over basic research because it was felt that elemental physical principles could be converted into technological advantage, and, thus, military advantage (scientific secrecy was necessary to survival).

    This mind set did not end with the Allied victory, as the Cold War started right up from the end of WW II.

    And, not only secrecy in basic research, but also, a structure was imposed with people being insulated and layered from each other. Each succeeding layer was supplied information on a “need to know” basis.

    Thus, there were some scientists within the “inner circle” with access to all relevant information and others in outlying circles with less information (and possibly less understanding).

    Haven’t we seen this in the Climategate with scientists refusing to provide their source data for independent analysis by outsiders not within the “team”?

    Possibly, it has become acceptible within some scientific communities for “inner circle” scientists to be aware of certain physical relationships and feel no compulsion to educate “outside the circle” scientists of these physical relationships.

    Yes, I know, secrecy is not part of the scientific method — but secrecy and searching for competitive advantage is part of Human Nature.

    I suggest, in some circles this desire to retain proprietary knowledge — and retain the benefits, therefrom — as knowledge is power, leads to a self-justification and a willingness to mislead others, to perpetuate their own power, and maybe just as important, their emotional sense of power.

    Sound far fetched?

    Maybe, but, then, again…

    Follow the money…and take into account Human Nature.

    These two axioms have a basis in human experience.

  192. Scienceofdoom
    Why is there downward longwave radiation at the earth’s surface (it’s not solar, it is at different wavelengths). Where does it come from? And why does this downwards energy match the absorption profile of CO2 (14-16um), CH4, O3 etc?>

    Ah, but it IS solar. It started out at the sun as sw. It got absorbed by the earth and radiated back up as lw. some of that gets absorbed by CO2 etc and re-radiated or conducted etc in all directions, some of which goes back down to earth. BUT… we’re still talking about energy that originated at the sun.

    Scienceofdoom:
    Upwards longwave radiation from the surface of the earth is around 390W/m^2.
    Upwards longwave radiation at the top of the atmosphere is around 240W/m^2

    Nyet. At 0 C, radiance is about 320 watts/m2. At 30 C, its about 550 watts/m2. You can’t just average the numbers from low to high across the globe and get the right answer either. you get a curve with a peak or high about mid day, but you also get a curve with a peak at the equator as compared to the poles. The average between the lows and the highs is NOT the average of the curve. check out ERBE for example, and you will discover that the planet retains energy at the equator (where it is warmist) and loses it at the poles (which are cooler) which may seem counter intuitive. Temp variance is WAY higher at the poles, so when the planet warms, the temp increase at the poles is out of proportion and the amount of radiance to space also out of proportion.

    If you measure all the energy going in at TOA vs all the energy going out at TOA, you will find that they net to zero over time.

  193. Most people regard it as axiomatic that if CO2 is a greenhouse gas, then increasing its concentration in the atmosphere must eventually warm the planet.

    More a result of investigation and application of the various physics laws derived (maybe you didn’t really mean axiomatic..).

    And a fair proportion of people who understand the radiative forcing from CO2 don’t believe the climate is well enough understood to be accurately modeled.

    ..Even if the modeller was told the basic mechanism, he could not predict the direction of change without very accurate measurements of all parameters and even a tiny tweak to the mechanism would render his predictions useless…

    I think I see what you are saying. There are unpredictable/unknown elements to climate?

    But I think that the climate science community already get that point.

    Take clouds. In the chapter “The radiative forcing due to clouds and water vapor” in the 2006 book “Frontiers of Climate Modeling” by Kiehl and Ramanathan, the authors of the chapter discuss how well the cloud effect can be quantified. It’s very complex but appears to be around -18W/m^2 radiative forcing – around 4 times the effect of doubling CO2. So lots of discussion then about how much that changes with other climate effects, what improvements need to be made to various measurements that are already being done, what can be deduced so far, how much uncertainty there is, etc.

    Or the 100s of other papers on clouds, e.g. Tsushima and Manabe “Cloud Feedback on Annual Variation of Global Mean Surface Temperature” (2001) trying to ascertain the relationships between temperature and clouds.

    Well maybe I didn’t get your point.

    But if I did – this is what climate scientists spend their time doing – trying to figure out what all the effects are, where they come from and how they can be quantified.

    The politicians of climate science are not so interesting to listen to with: “the science is settled“, but the climate scientists are very interesting.

    Interesting climate science at Science of Doom

  194. David
    Could something like this be used to make the point?>

    It may result in useful information, but it would not serve to make the point. Your external heat source would be roughly linear across the box surface. The sun is shining on a curved surface that spins. So the energy input peaks at mid day and falls to zero from dusk to dawn. But it ALSO peaks at the equator and falls to zero at the poles. Plus, maximum water vapour in the atmosphere about doubles for every 10 degrees C, so there is a LOT more at the equator than at the poles, and greenhouse effect of water is much larger than CO2. Plus temperature variability at the poles is much higher than at the equator, and the amount of energy the planet radiates back out varies with the temp in degrees K raised to the power of 4. In fact, one of my pet theories about the problems facing the climate models is that temperature variance is highest at the poles, and the that’s the area we have the least data on.

    In any event, I think you can see where the box just would not anywhere near resemble what actually happens on a planet.

  195. davidmhoffer:

    You are correct that there isn’t just one surface radiation value.

    And you are correct that at the top of atmosphere (TOA) the incoming and outgoing match. At around 240W/m^2.

    The outgoing OLR is the average across the globe across the year. At any one time of course it is different. For anyone who wants to see it, check out the global picture for one month (June 2009).

    The question is then, what is the average surface radiation from the earth?

    Is it 240W/m^2? No!

    240W/m^2 implies a surface temperature of 255K or -18’C. Even allowing for variations this is a long way off the surface temperature.

    If you take the average surface temperature of 15’C you get an average of 390W/m^2.

    Strictly speaking it’s not the right average which is why temperatures should not have an arithmetic mean applied – but let’s not get into that..

    You have to work out the energy for each temperature and average that. (or because radiation is proportional to T^4 we can average that instead).

    This works out to approximately 396 W/m^2.

    So the surface average radiation upwards is 396 W/m^2.

    The top of atmosphere average upwards radiation is 240W/m^2

    Still an issue – the surface upward radiation is NOT 240W/m^2.

    The simple answer to this measurable phenomenon is the radiation from the earth is absorbed by the “greenhouse” gases and re-emitted, both upward and downward.

  196. ScienceofDoom:
    So the surface average radiation upwards is 396 W/m^2.
    The top of atmosphere average upwards radiation is 240W/m^2>

    I’m not going to go check your numbers but just consider what you are saying. your claim is that 156 w/m2 is being retained as extra energy kept inside the atmosphere over the long term. If you are right the planet should ignite in a few days.

    The thing to measure is how much energy is going in versus out at a given point. As you stated, the energy in at TOA equals energy out at TOA. If you were to measure energy in (all wave lengths) at earth surface versus energy out at earth’s surface (again, all wavelengths) you would again get a net of zero over the long term.

  197. davidmhoffer:

    The planet won’t ignite.. Of course, you knew that..

    What happens to the longwave energy absorbed in the atmosphere and reradiated downwards?

    Let’s ask the question first – if this downwards longwave radiation wasn’t there what would the situation be like? – well, the surface temperature would be around -18’C (255K)

    So what happens to the longwave energy absorbed and reradiated downwards?

    It is not accumulated, stored up and ready to explode.. instead, it increases the surface temperature(compared with the situation if it wasn’t there), which raises accordingly to the annual global “average” of +15’C (288K). (Again, let’s ignore the “averages” issue and think approximately)

    If you like, the increase in temperature is the negative feedback to an increase in energy. You put more energy in and the surface temperature raises to a new equilibrium so that energy balances throughout the system.

    Would you mind if I put some of your questions onto a page on Science of Doom relating to the CO2 question?

    I think your questions have been well put and similar to what a lot of people have in their minds but can’t easily express. This is not an intuitive subject and seeing common questions and how they are answered will help many others.

  198. ScienceofDoom:
    Would you mind if I put some of your questions onto a page on Science of Doom relating to the CO2 question>

    You may, but I can only keep up with so many blogs and wuwt alone is pretty over whelming, so I can’t commit to answering you on your blog. That said, you are still comparing the wrong numbers. Being old and tired and soon asleep, I will leave you with a simple math problem. If you can come up with the answer to this question, you can answer your own:

    Three guys check into a hotel and decide to split a room. The desk clerk says it is $30 and they each give him $10. After they go up to their room the desk clerk realises the room is only $25. He pulls five $1 bills out of the till and gives them to the bell boy. On his way up the stairs, the bell boy starts thinking that the three guys will want to split the change evenly, which will be a hassle for him. He considers keeping the change, but the desk clerk will probably ask if they got their change when they check out in the morning. He decides to compromise. He knocks on their door, explains they were over charged, and gives them each one dollar, keeping two for himself.

    Now let’s do the math. They each paid $10 and each got $1 back, so they each paid $9. Three times $9 is $27. The bell boy kept $2. That totals to $29. Where’s the missing dollar?

    when you understand where the missing dollar is, you will understand where the missing energy is.

  199. davidmhoffer:

    nice question, I hate these because they confuse me, but eventually..

    Three times $9 = $27 – that’s what they paid.
    The desk clerk kept $25
    The bell boy got $2.

    So all the maths lines up.

    I have a question for you.

    If 99.99% of physicists know that:

    1. longwave energy radiated from the earth’s surface is around 390W/m^2 (or let’s say 396W/m^2)

    2. only 240W/m^2 of this leaves out of the top of the atmosphere

    3. the reason for the difference isn’t a measurement error but is the explanation I gave above

    How likely is it that the explanation is wrong?

    Thanks, I will put some of your questions on a blog page, you are welcome to comment there, but no need to if you don’t have time, my aim there will be illustration of common questions

  200. Thanks to all who attempted actual science by raising the issue of the expanding Earth. Notice the ease with which the non-expanding model is crowned with the halo of current consensus.

    Notice how this consensual impetus easily overrides the clear evidence of own eyes: when viewing the Neal Adams Earth expansion animation posted above.

    In that YouTube video, we can clearly see that the continents fit perfectly together on a smaller Earth. It’s topographically precise. The picture is as clear as a solved jigsaw.

    Once any human mind sees the expanding earth model, that should destroy all other explanations, because of the simplicity of its perfect 3D solution.
    (Similar to how the simple heliocentric model of the solar system displaced the laughable complexity of the attempted geocentric modelling.)

    3D Solutions Rule! OK!

    And yet, bright minds here are swayed by consensus dismissal of Earth expansion. Consensus?!

    We flit, like butterflies from consensual ghetto to consensual ghetto. Daring not to alight anywhere in between. We always have, with rare exception.

    David asked:

    “I wonder if many scientists are just ’second raters’ who appear very intelligent because of their lightning fast, but over-simplistic, brains?”

    No. They are not second-rate scientists. They are first-class engineers who think they are scientists. Others think they are scientists too, which empowers this delusion. But they should not be confused with scientists –whom they vastly outnumber.

  201. How does one predict the future? That’s what it comes down to. “Are scientists always smart?” is one question we should always be asking ourselves, when we’re considering the future and the problem of risk.

    The problem is we’re trying to talk about the future. Maybe you have a scientific model that predicts what your house will be worth in 20 years. But it is still, no matter how sophisticated and grounded in data and expertly calculated, it is still a prediction and the future cannot be known. So we have to always try to judge the risk.

    You board a bus and sit in your seat. You are overcome with a powerful feeling that something is desperately wrong. What do you do? Do you tell yourself, “I have no data, no evidence, no rationale, so I am being silly–I shall remain in my seat.” Or do you get off and catch the next bus instead? How do you assess that risk?

    Yes scientists are generally smart. But that doesn’t mean we take their theories as gospel when predicting the future. It’s the future. It cannot be known in the way that I know the present. We have to assess risk. Yep, scientists tend to come up with some really cool technology–but that’s never a guarantee. I would speculate that this is why the man in the street doesn’t believe AGW. It’s about the future. They probably, I speculate, see in in the light of a science fiction movie. Science fiction is supposed to be about what we could imagine to be true, in the future, and what that entails. Climate models produce scenarios. These models are so general and vague and so far in the future that people can’t engage with them as a reality. And that’s correct, see, they are not reality. They are a game of risk.

    When faced with this argument some people have said to me, “right so you don’t believe the sun will rise tomorrow, because the future cannot be known?” Well, if they have to resort to “the sun rising” as an example of what they are sure about, then where does that leave everything else that isn’t the subject of the laws of gravity operating on giant masses in empty space following cycles that have repeated since man can remember?

    It is very easy to be an expert about something that hasn’t happened yet. It is easy to appear to understand a subject. It is great to gather data from the present and build models and try to understand. But the future is about trial and error. How many buildings collapsed, medical procedures failed, vehicles exploded, chemicals leaked, and so on, how many mistakes have been made on the path to knowledge? Maybe it is just me but this seems to me to be common sense.

    What I find most worrying is that these scientists proclaimed “certainty” and “consensus” for all practical purposes, about the future. That one fact alone, when out into my risk calculator, says, “don’t trust them”.

  202. Tom P. – Thanks, there is no point in discussing here, with the people present (see below) how much Arrhenius reduced his own estimations or why.

    scienceofdoom (19:43:52) :
    ” So what happens to the longwave energy absorbed and reradiated downwards?

    It is not accumulated, stored up and ready to explode.. instead, it increases the surface temperature(compared with the situation if it wasn’t there), which raises accordingly to the annual global “average” of +15′C (288K). ”

    No it does not neccesarily increase the surface temperature, it is absorbed RELATIVELY, if warmer it warms by how much warmer it is compared to the surface, or if cooler it merely slows the absorbers rate of cooling by that amount.

    To assume it is merely added to the surface as you have is
    CREATIONALIST.
    energy creationalist, which is how MAN made (misconcieved) global warming has come about.
    It is all completely imaginary, you are talking “rollocks”.

  203. This is precisely the reason that that I’ve always maintained that arguing about temperature is futile.

    The Earth is usually always either warming or cooling and the fact that at on any given time frame it is doing either one or the other should come as no surprise.

    In order to resolve the issue of AGW what we should be discussing of course is whether CO2 can actually warm the atmosphere.

    The simplest test for such enquiry is to compare a transparent container of pure CO2 to another of ordinary air. By exposing both containers to the same heat source simultaneously we should be able to observe the results to see exactly how pure CO2 compares to ordinary air in the domain of radiant heat.

    I find it staggering that even now after all this time, that people who consider themselves scientists, still have not yet performed such a simple test to establish or debunk the AGW hypothesis.

    Myself not being one to be content to simply talk the the talk, have conducted many such experiments and can only conclude that in all my tests, ordinary air outperforms CO2 in the domain of radiant heat every time.

    I have uploaded a couple of my test as videos on to my web page which can be viewed by clicking on my name above.

  204. scienceofdoom (21:23:11) :

    You say the retained radiation drives up the temperature – natural greenhouse effect. I go along with that.

    But increased temperature increases blackbody/greybody radiation. Temperature must increase until a new equilibrium is reached and outgoing radiation equals incoming radiation (summed across all wavelengths).

    James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt proudly boasted a few years ago they managed to measure/model (i don’t know how exactly they computed it and don’t bother to try and understand) a radiative imbalance of 0.85 W/m ^2.

    Link:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1110252

    Personally i find this result next to meaningless; it’s a pretty tiny imbalance, probably drowned in noise. It would be useful to find the stored energy on earth.

    I just wanted to point out here that even the AGW people say that there is nearly exactly as much radiation going outwards as comes in.

  205. DirkH:

    Your concept is right and your points are spot on.

    Energy balance is all about the top of atmosphere.. the earth’s climate as a complete system.

    Broad-brush concept
    If we look at the top of atmosphere (TOA), outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) = incoming shortwave (solar radiation). Unless there is significant heating up or cooling down.

    This is the standard energy balance idea. Everyone in physics subscribes to this idea. The number is around 240W/m^2 (expressed as a global average in terms of the earth’s surface area).

    We can measure OLR using satellites. We can measure incoming solar with satellites.

    At the earth’s surface and in the atmosphere it is more complicated. There is convection and latent heat movement as well as radiation. It doesn’t mean that energy balance doesn’t exist – but it means that adding up radiation budgets isn’t the whole story.

    Specifics
    As you rightly point out the “imbalance” at TOA from Hansen is drowned in noise.

    There’s no confusion because this is all written up. In Trenberth and Kiehl’s 1997 paper “Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget” they explain that the instrument uncertainty for the top of atmosphere balance is enough that they explicitly fix the incoming and outgoing to the same value.

    And in the introduction and the conclusion to their paper they explain that there are gaps and uncertainties in the knowledge which need further work.

    Their 1997 paper is well worth a read – you can currently find a copy online. There is a link towards the end of CO2 – An Insignificant Trace Gas? Part Five

    In Trenbert and Kiehl’s 2008 update, instead of constraining OLR = solar radiation they explicitly use the TOA imbalance calculated by Hansen.

    The imbalance is calculated (I think – from other commentaries I have read – but haven’t actually read the paper) by looking at increases in ocean heat content over the last 20 years or so.

    In the end, Trenberth and Kiehl’s results aren’t really affected by a 1W/m^2 imbalance, they are just trying to explain all the numbers to the best of the knowledge available.

    This is science – applying theory to measurements. Finding the gaps, explaining where further work needs to be done, identifying uncertainties. And in the papers – perhaps surprising to people who don’t get the opportunity to read these papers – even from the “scientists who are politicians as well” you mostly just see science.

    In summary, energy out = energy in (unless there is heating or cooling).

    At the top of atmosphere energy is transferred compleletly through radiation, so the radiation numbers balance.

    At the earth’s surface there is radiation PLUS convection and latent heat so the pure radiation numbers don’t balance.

    Although there are questions about exactly how much solar radiation the atmosphere absorbs, and exactly how much energy imbalance exists, the global average energy balance situation is quite well understood.

  206. Not being a “hard” scientist (nor an engineer) but just a “soft” sociologist/political scientist/economist I have the following question:

    Having studied he entire literature on the “climate change/AGW” issue I find particularly interesting the adiabatic theory of Sorokhtin and al as presented in the bok “Global Warming, Global Cooling: Evolution of Climate on Earth.” published by Elsevier in 2007.

    Based on this book – which builds it’s case on the most elementary relationship in physics – gas pressure versus gas temperature – this book argues that the “hothouse effect” (as the authors call it to differentiate it from the greenhouse effect in order not to “be” inside the radiative GHG theory, the so called delta between earth without atmosphere and with it, normally (but not always – read Gerlich & Tcheuschner) assumed to be 18C+15C = 33C level)) results from the pressure of the column of atmospheric gases above us.

    As the existance of the adiabatic effect seems to be “obvous” in the sense of being absolutely basic in the framework of physics, as atmosphere abnove us has weight and therefore, has to has pressure) the fact that there is no mention of the possible contribution of the adiabatic effect to tempeature in most if not all of the AGW literature (including most sceptics, who focus on ensitivity) is for me the conclusive proof that the entire greenhouse effect theory based on “radiative forcings” must be bogus or, at least, fundamentally incomplete.

    Could you please comment, “hard” scientists?

    Regards

  207. Anyone wanting to further discuss AGW / radiation budgets / etc
    is more than welcome to join in the layman aimed discussions at

    http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/forums/index.php

    scienceofdoom you have avoided answering my posts so far,
    answer this please, as it is the basis of “back radiation”, remembering that the atmosphere is cooler than the earth’s surface.

    How does a cooler thing warm a warmer thing. ?

    My simple example given earlier shows that can not happen.

  208. ScienceofDoom (and Oliver!)

    Congrats on figuring out the math problem. You would be shocked how many well educated people stumble around for a couple of days and then come back begging for the answer.

    There were several posts after mine addressing your question, so I think you get my drift. It makes no more sense to compare a single lw number at toa to a single lw number at earth surface than it does to add the change the bell boy got to the amount the three guys paid. If you agree that energy out at toa is equal to energy in at toa, then by default the total amount of energy INSIDE of toa cannot be changing. All you have is the SAME amount of energy being recirculated in different ways. You can argue that CO2 would change the manner in which the energy circulates, and you might be right, but you cannot attribute NEW energy into the system as a whole from CO2.

    to extend your house with a roof analogy… Suppose your house has no heat source like a furnace or even people living in it, Suppose it is in a constant environment of 0 C. What’s the temp inside the house? Answer, 0 C. Now wrap 10 meters of insulation around the house. What’s the temp inside the house? Answer, 0 C. The insulation generates no energy, and so can’t change the temperature inside the house.

  209. davidmhoffer (07:28:00) :

    David, I have just seen this video, made by Dr. Zagoni,
    (2007 IPCC reviewer) about the Dr.Miskolczi paper;

    I have also read through this thread, which ends abruptly, just
    when Dr.Miskolczi enters the scene;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/06/26/debate-thread-miskolczi-semi-transparent-atmosphere-model/

    And I have read his paper here;

    http://miskolczi.webs.com/

    But my knowledge on radiation has dwindled over the years,
    so I’m no longer able to follow him….
    Maybe I would, if I was 25. Now. But I not.

    Have you looked at it? Any comments?

  210. KWIK
    I watched the video only. And my physics education was several decades ago (I’m not 25 anymore either!). As a consequence the detailed calculus was over my head in that I would have to re-educate myself to confirm one way or the other on the details, but I understood the logic and fundamentals. In brief, he showed that the energy balance must be zero, that the data confirms this, and that the net effect on the temperature gradiant between earth surface and top of atmoshphere from CO2 is so small as to be a rounding error. Excellent explanation in my opinion based soley on the fact that it agrees with mine of course :-)

  211. On average, the amount of incoming and outgoing radiation for the planet has to be balanced. This is the first law of thermodynamics.

    In reality, the amount of outgoing radiation is (on average) slightly larger than incoming due to radioactive decay of Uranium and other elements found in rock magma, and seawater.

  212. davidmhoffer (08:58:02) :

    hehe! Yes, it does agree with yours!

    Some sharp brain needs to look at it additionally to Dr. Zagoni and the Peer reviewers. Just so his theory gains acknowledgement.

    Why not here, revewed by Lindzen? That would be something!

  213. I think Steve may have missed some of the points of the webpage where he got his graphics from (www.scientus.org/Wegener-Continental-Drift.html). The page has other examples where the scientific community accepted a new theory that had more problems than Wegener’s Continental Drift theory. When Darwin presented his theory, it had two big holes in it (not one like Wegener’s). Based on the then current knowledge of inheritance, evolution by natural selection would have been impossible. There was also no good explanation for the Cambrian explosion as well. Scientists seemed to accept the theory well before there were satisfactory explanations for these flaws. A theory does not have to be bullet-proof before it is accepted. This has application to the climate controversy as well. People might ask where the bulk of the evidence points as the scientists who were quick to accept Darwinism did. The same applies to the early supporters of Galileo’s Copernicism, the science of the day more strongly supported the alternatives to Copernicism.

  214. Pepi,

    Wegener presented clear, irrefutable evidence that the continents were connected at one time. The geography, geology, geomorphology and paleontology left little doubt that he was correct.

    The lack of a mechanism for continents splitting and moving was no excuse for the multi-decade dissonance of the “consensus.”

    And scientus can present any viewpoint they want. By including the links, I was acknowledging that I found the quotes on their site.

  215. The science may well be found wanting, but this was never really about the science.
    It is/was/still-is about social politics, the “science” of persuading us to go back to walking/cycling/horses and wattle-and-daub huts.
    If you cannot persuade the “electorate” then there is no hope of stopping the agw bandwagon, and most of the “electorate” are easily persuaded by indoctrination.

  216. From http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=bFTcfbQc-TEC&oi=fnd&pg=PA53&dq=%22double+helix%22+watson+mothers+of+scientists&ots=tX6agh_QYp&sig=hiSlbcG6iUlZlV8_nPjuRLSiKIM#v=onepage&q=mothers&f=false

    On page 14 of the book “The Double Helix: The Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA” James Watson made the following observation:

    Of course there were scientists who thought the evidence favoring DNA was inconclusive and preferred the genes were protein molecules. Francis, however, did not worry about these skeptics. Many were cantankerous fools who unfailingly backed the wrong horses. One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and the mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.

  217. preferred the genes were protein molecules

    should read

    preferred to believe that genes were protein molecules

    Fingers faster than the brain.

  218. Pepi (09:45:42) :

    When Darwin presented his theory, it had two big holes in it (not one like Wegener’s). Based on the then current knowledge of inheritance, evolution by natural selection would have been impossible. There was also no good explanation for the Cambrian explosion as well. Scientists seemed to accept the theory well before there were satisfactory explanations for these flaws.

    Pepi,

    No one knew about the Cambrian explosion at the time Darwin presented his theory. In fact, no one, except the original discoverer of the Burgess Shale, Charles Walcott, and his sons, were aware of the existence, let alone significance, of this find. From 1909 until 1924 he recovered over 65,000 fossils and was attempting to fit them into existing taxa and theories. There are still arguments ongoing about what it all means. Some believe all the finds can be placed in modern phyla. Others say no. In any event, no new phyla in the animal kingdom since the Cambrian.

  219. Robert Franks (11:26:04) :

    “Debunking Pangea”.

    If this was true, where was all the water at that time? Added later
    via meteorites? That would be an awfull lot of meteorites.

  220. davidmhoffer (07:28:00) :

    “It makes no more sense to compare a single lw number at toa to a single lw number at earth surface than it does to add the change the bell boy got to the amount the three guys paid. If you agree that energy out at toa is equal to energy in at toa, then by default the total amount of energy INSIDE of toa cannot be changing. All you have is the SAME amount of energy being recirculated in different ways.”

    I think your problem is due to sloppy units. When one speaks of W/m^2, one is speaking of power density, not energy density. Without a doubt, overall power-in must balance overall power-out, or you will get a buildup of energy, which is the time integral of power. But, that says nothing about the amount of energy retained.

    Think of an electrical RC circuit. I have a resistance in parallel with a capacitor and apply a voltage across it. In the steady state, the current is V/R, and the power is V^2/R, which I will assume is constant. The steady state energy contained in the capacitor is 0.5*C*V^2.

    I will now increase the resistance to R2 but keep power going in to a constant. This requires that the voltage change to V2 = V*sqrt(R2/R). The capacitor will adjust its energy level to 0.5*C*V2^2 = 0.5*C*V^2*(R2/R) in the new steady state. Since R2 is greater than R, the energy content has increased by the factor R2/R, even though the power is the same.

  221. davidmhoffer:

    We all agree “no new energy” can be introduced by CO2. I’m not claiming “new energy”. You said:

    to extend your house with a roof analogy… Suppose your house has no heat source like a furnace or even people living in it, Suppose it is in a constant environment of 0 C. What’s the temp inside the house? Answer, 0 C. Now wrap 10 meters of insulation around the house. What’s the temp inside the house? Answer, 0 C. The insulation generates no energy, and so can’t change the temperature inside the house..

    Of course, I agree. Insulation does nothing in this case. (And with no sun warming the earth, CO2 would do nothing to lift the temperature above absolute zero).

    Now, let’s change the analogy to match earth. An energy source is introduced which warms the surface of the house. And the surface temperature raises up to let’s say 10’C (it will reach some steady state temperature, we don’t know what the number is).

    Now, if we add a roof does the temperature stay at 10’C, or does it go higher?

    I believe it goes higher.

    Was new energy created? No.

    How can it be then, that the temperature at the surface of the house has increased?

  222. Jerzy Strzelecki:

    Unfortunately the Google book preview misses out the pages which explain the theory so I’ve no idea how they construct their argument.

    You said:

    As the existance of the adiabatic effect seems to be “obvous” in the sense of being absolutely basic in the framework of physics, as atmosphere abnove us has weight and therefore, has to has pressure) the fact that there is no mention of the possible contribution of the adiabatic effect to tempeature in most if not all of the AGW literature.. is for me the conclusive proof that the entire greenhouse effect theory based on “radiative forcings” must be bogus or, at least, fundamentally incomplete..

    Every basic treatment (and advanced) of atmospheric physics that I have seen, of course introduces the pv=nRT relationship and its effect on the climate. In fact, I haven’t seen such a thing as an “AGW book”..

    Convection dominates heat transfer in the lower atmosphere. What happens?

    The surface of the earth is warmed by radiation from the sun. We can measure the value at the earth’s surface. It doesn’t warm the lower atmosphere through radiation because the lower atmosphere is almost transparent to the sun’s radiation (99% inside 0.1um to 4um wavelengths) The surface heats up and warms the lowest levels of the atmosphere which now, because of the “ideal gas law” expand and therefore rise.

    Then, in these physics books, you get a few chapters explaining the various convective effects, little or lots of maths depending on the author’s plan, the environmental lapse rate of 6.5K/km and the adiabatic lapse rate that would be expected of around 10K/km – why the difference, the effect of moisture on the lapse rate, lots more graphs…

    Well, atmospheric physics is an interesting subject. It includes much about the ideal gas law, the pressure column, the lapse rate as well as the effect of absorption and re-emission of longwave radiation by various gases (CO2, CH4, O3 etc).

    It’s not true that atmospheric physics – which includes the “greenhouse effect” – ignores the existence of the gas laws.

    Look at a book, take the first one I found online, I haven’t read it: “An introduction to atmospheric physics” By David G. Andrews, look up the google preview for the contents page.

    Chapter 2 “Atmospheric thermodynamics”
    -the ideal gas law
    -atmospheric composition
    -hydrostatic balance
    -entropy and potential temperature
    … etc more of the same.

  223. Bart,
    Agreed, I get sloppy with the terms. Power = energy/unit if time

    Scienceofdoom,
    Putting a roof on the house is not that good an analogy because we’re going from an open system that allows convection to one that doesn’t and so on. Think of it more like this. You have a house heated by an external heat source that goes on and off. The peak on temp at centre of house is +10 degrees and the peak off temp is -10 degrees. The average is 0. Now wrap a whole bunch of insulation around the inner walls of the house. Depending on what the temp inside the house was, you would get a fluctuation in temperature that would eventually settle out. The temp inside the house at centre would wind up at a new high of +5 and a new low of -5. The average temperature inside the house would be 0, the same as before. HOWEVER, if you were to measure the temperature gradient from the centre of the house to the outer wall, you would find that THAT had changed to a more gentle slope than before. If you measured temperature at a single point in the system for a short period of time after the insulation was inserted, you would “observe” either a warming trend or a cooling trend depending on where you started, but in the long term… nada.

  224. Jack Simmons (11:02:02) :

    No one knew about the Cambrian explosion at the time Darwin presented his theory. In fact, no one, except the original discoverer of the Burgess Shale, Charles Walcott, and his sons, were aware of the existence, let alone significance, of this find. From 1909 until 1924 he recovered over 65,000 fossils and was attempting to fit them into existing taxa and theories. There are still arguments ongoing about what it all means. Some believe all the finds can be placed in modern phyla. Others say no. In any event, no new phyla in the animal kingdom since the Cambrian.

    ————————————————————————————
    Jack,
    Darwin predated the discovery of the Burgess Shale and during his day the problem with the geologic record wasn’t called the Cambrian explosion. But Darwin knew he had a problem with the sudden appearance of fossils of the main divisions of the animal kingdom in the Cambrian strata and the inability to find transitional forms in strata predating the Cambrian. He used part of Chapter 10 of the Origin of Species to try to explain it.

  225. >>
    scienceofdoom (04:13:48) :

    There’s no confusion because this is all written up. In Trenberth and Kiehl’s 1997 paper “Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget” they explain that the instrument uncertainty for the top of atmosphere balance is enough that they explicitly fix the incoming and outgoing to the same value.
    &lgt;&lgt;

    There’s a slight mismatch that they sort of ignore.

    >>
    In Trenbert and Kiehl’s 2008 update, instead of constraining OLR = solar radiation they explicitly use the TOA imbalance calculated by Hansen.

    The imbalance is calculated (I think – from other commentaries I have read – but haven’t actually read the paper) by looking at increases in ocean heat content over the last 20 years or so.
    &lgt;&lgt;

    The imbalance is roughly 0.9 W/m^2 which they spend great deal of time justifying. My question is where do they get the IR window value of 40 W/m^2? They sort of make it up.

    >>
    In the end, Trenberth and Kiehl’s results aren’t really affected by a 1W/m^2 imbalance, they are just trying to explain all the numbers to the best of the knowledge available.

    This is science – applying theory to measurements. Finding the gaps, explaining where further work needs to be done, identifying uncertainties. And in the papers – perhaps surprising to people who don’t get the opportunity to read these papers – even from the “scientists who are politicians as well” you mostly just see science.
    &lgt;&lgt;

    Or it’s bad science. Using the KT 1997 model, I can disprove the GHG theory with a simple MS Excel spreadsheet.

    Jim

  226. I skimmed the responses and didn’t see any biographical stuff on Wegener. It should be mentioned that Wegener was a Meteorologist! He was also an Arctic explorer and the German polar research institute bears his name:

    http://www.awi.de/en

    These fellows discovered in a survey that the Arctic Basin ice was much thicker than expected at the same time the Catlin Follies were drifting around in the dark finding ice thinner than expected.

  227. Pepi (20:19:04) :

    Pepi, thanks for clearing that up.

    I was aware of Darwin’s recognition of the problems the fossil record posed to his theory. As you said, he didn’t call it the Cambrian big bang.

  228. >>
    Baa Humbug (16:37:33) :

    This is the Penman equation…

    Penman’s formula: E0 = (0.015 + 0.00042T + 10−6z) [0.8Rs − 40 + 2.5Fu(T − Td)] (mm day−1), where T is the daily mean temperature (i.e. the average of the extremes), z is the elevation (m), Rs is the solar irradiance of the lake’s surface, F stands for (1.0 − 8.7 × 10−5 z), u is the windspeed at 2 m, and Td is the dewpoint temperature.

    What I need to know is, which has a stronger influence on the equation, T temperature or Rs solar irradiance?

    Thankyou in advance
    <<

    If you take the partial derivatives of E0 WRT Rs and T, the derivative WRT Rs is simpler. If we only deal with Rs and T (ignoring the other variables), then the partial derivative of E0 WRT Rs depends only on T while the partial derivative of E0 WRT T depends on both Rs and T. I would say that T has a stronger influence on E0, but that’s just a cursory look. A more detailed look might say the opposite.

    Jim

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