Climate facts versus climate theories

Guest essay by Andy May

Sometimes people ask climate skeptics if they believe in evolution or gravity. They want to ridicule our skepticism by equating man-made climate change to evolution or gravity. Evolution and gravity are facts and man-made climate change is a hypothesis. Equating “climate change” to gravity or evolution is valid, as all three are facts. Climate changes, gravity holds us to the Earth’s surface and species evolve. Gravity and evolution have generally accepted theories of how they work. Einstein developed our current scientific theory of gravity. Newton provided us with his descriptive “Law of Gravitation.” Newton’s law tells us what gravity does and it is very useful, but it tells us nothing about how it works. For that we need Einstein’s theory of relativity. Theories and laws are not necessarily related in science. A law simply describes what happens without describing why. A scientific theory attempts to explain why a relationship holds true.

theory-vs-fact

In the scientific community, for both a law and a theory, a single conflicting experiment or observation invalidates them. Einstein once said:

“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”

So, let’s examine our topics in that light. Newton’s descriptive law of gravity, based on mass and distance, are there any exceptions? Not to my knowledge, except possibly on galactic sized scales, black holes and probably on very, very small sub-atomic scales. In everyday life, Newton’s law works fine. How about Einstein’s theory of gravity (Relativity), any exceptions? None that I know of at any scale.

How about evolution? Species evolve, we can see that in the geological record. We can also watch it happen in some quickly reproducing species. Thus we could describe evolution as a fact. It happens, but we cannot describe how without more work. Early theories of the evolutionary process include Darwin’s theory of natural selection andLamarck’s theory of heritable species adaptation due to external stresses. Due to epigenetic research we now know that Darwin and Lamarck were both right and that evolution involves both processes. For a summary of recent research into the epigenetic component of evolution see this Oxford Journal article. Thus well-established facts and scientific laws rarely change but theories do evolve. I might add that while facts and laws don’t often change, they are easily dismissed when contradictory data are gathered. The modern theory of evolution is a good example of where competing theories can merge into one.

Most scientific theories begin as hypotheses. A hypothesis is best described as an idea of what might be causing a specific event to occur. A proper scientific hypothesis, like a theory, must be falsifiable. That is, we must be able to design an experiment or foresee an observation that will make the hypothesis false. “Climate change” is not falsifiable, it is not a scientific hypothesis or a theory. “Man-made climate change” is a scientific hypothesis since it is falsifiable. Hypotheses and theories are evolving things, new facts and observations cause them to change. In this way we build the body of science. Science is mostly skepticism. We look for what does not fit, we poke at established facts and laws, at theories and hypotheses. We try and find flaws, we check the numbers. Worse, science done properly means we spend more time proving ourselves wrong than we do proving we are right. Life is tough sometimes.

So how does this fit with the great climate change debate. I’ve made a table of phrases and identified each common phrase as a fact, theory, law, hypothesis, or simply an idea. These are my classifications and certainly open for debate.

Table 1

In Table 1 we can see that the comparison of man-made climate change and the possibility of a man-made climate catastrophe are not really comparable to the theories of gravity and evolution. Man-made climate change is more than an idea, it is based on some observations and reasonable models of the process have been developed and can be tested. But, none of the models have successfully predicted any climatic events. Thus, they are still a work-in-progress and not admissible as evidence supporting a scientific theory.

The idea of man-made climate change causing a catastrophe at the scale of Islamic terrorism is pure speculation. The models used to compute man’s influence don’t match any observations, this is easily seen in Figure 1 which is Dr. John Christy’s graph of the computer model’s predictions versus satellite and weather balloon observations. I should mention that satellite and weather balloon measurements are independent of one another and they are independent of the various surface temperature datasets, like HADCRUT and GHCN-M. All of the curves on the plot have been smoothed with five year averages.

Figure 1

The purple line going through the observations is the Russian model “INM-CM4.” It is the only model that comes close to reality. INM-CM4, over longer periods, does very well at hindcasting observed temperatures. This model uses a CO2 forcing response that is 37% lower than the other models, a much higher deep ocean heat capacity (climate system inertia) and it exactly matches lower tropospheric water content and is biased low above that. The other models are biased high. The model predicts future temperature increases at a rate of about 1K/century, not at all alarming and much lower than the predictions of the other models.

One can consider each model to be a digital experiment. It is clear that the range of values from these digital experiments exceeds the predicted average temperature increase. This does not give us much confidence in the accuracy of the models. Yet, the IPCC uses the difference between the mean model temperature anomalies and observed surface temperatures since 1950 to compute man’s influence on climate. In Figure 2 we see the model runs in light blue and yellow and the model averages in blue and red. Overlain on the plot are surface temperature measurements in black. In graph (a) the models use a scenario that the IPCC believes represents both natural and anthropogenic climate forcings. In graph (b) they use a scenario that they believe represents only natural climate forcings.

Figure 2 (click on the figure to see Chapter 10 of the most recent IPCC report, “Detection and Attribution of Climate Change,” these graphs are on page 879)

The graphs are quite small and cover over 150 years, but even so, significant departures of the observed temperatures from the model mean are quite apparent around 1910, 1940 and in recent years. Further the range of model results is annoyingly large making it difficult to accept the mean value of the runs in a computation of man’s influence. But, in any case graph Figure 2(b) shows a flat natural climate trend and all of the observed temperature increase from 1950 to today is ascribed to man. This result has generated a lot of criticism from Soon, Connolly and Connolly, ProfessorJudith Curry and others. In particular Soon, Connolly and Connolly (SCC15) believe that the IPCC chose an inappropriate model of the variation in the sun’s output (TSI or total solar irradiance). There are many models of solar variation in the peer reviewed literature and it is a topic of vigorous debate. Eight recent models are presented in Figure 8 of SCC15 (see Figure 3). Only low solar variability models (those on the right of Figure 3) are used by the IPCC to compute man’s influence on climate although just as much evidence exists for the higher variability models on the left. The scales used in the graphs are all the same, but the top and bottom values vary. At minimum, the IPCC should have run two cases, one for high variability and one for low. SCC15 clearly shows that the model used makes a big difference.

Figure 3

Wyatt and Curry (WC13) believe that natural temperature variation due to long term natural cycles is not represented correctly in Figure 2(b). Their “Stadium Wave” suggests that considerable natural warming was taking place in the 1980’s and 1990’s. If the long term (30 years or so) cycles described in WC13 were incorporated into Figure 2(b) the amount of warming attributed to man would be much less. Wyatt does consider variation in total solar irradiance to be a possible cause.

Any computer Earth model must establish a track record before it is used in calculations. The Earth is simply too complex and natural climate cycles are poorly understood. If natural cycles cannot be predicted they cannot be subtracted from observations to give us man’s influence on climate. The debate is not whether man influences climate, the debate is over how much man contributes and whether or not the additional warming dangerous. This observer, familiar with the science, would say the jury is still out. Certainly, the case for an impending catastrophe has not been made as this requires two speculative jumps. First, we need to assume that man is the dominant driver of climate, second we need to assume this will lead to a catastrophe. One can predict a possible catastrophe if the most extreme climate models are correct, but the record shows they are not. Only INM-CM4 matches observations reasonably well and INM-CM4 does not predict anything remotely close to a catastrophe.

In the study of the process of evolution the problem is the same. Some believe that the dominant process is natural selection and epigenetic change is minor. Some believe the opposite. Everyone believes that both play a role. As in climate science, figuring out which process is dominant is tough.

Recent climate history (the “pause” in warming) suggests that we have plenty of time to get our arms around this problem before doing anything drastic like destroying the fossil fuel industry and sending billions of people into poverty due to a lack of affordable energy. We owe a lot to cheap fossil fuels today. As Matt Ridley computed in “The Rational Optimist” a Kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity cost an hour of work in 1900 and only five minutes of work today. The average house (in the US) uses 911 KWh of electricity a month. This cost an impossible 114 eight hour days of work in 1900 and a more reasonable nine days today. If the projections in WC13 are correct, the “pause” may go on for quite a while, giving us much more time. We don’t have to jump off an economic cliff today.


Andy May has been a petrophysicist since 1974. He has worked on oil, gas and CO2 fields in the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, China, UK North Sea, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela and Russia. He specializes in fractured reservoirs, wireline and core image interpretation and capillary pressure analysis, besides conventional log analysis. He is proficient in Terrastation, Geolog and Powerlog software. His full resume can be found on linkedin or here:AndyMay

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324 thoughts on “Climate facts versus climate theories

  1. Not meaning to be to picky or precise…well, yes. Of course I mean to be.
    One of your examples under theory, “dinosaur extinction”, is actually, fact. The CAUSE of the extinction, now that’s theory.

      • Or not, ristvan . . it is just this sort of pretend scientific known that has allowed the CAGW clan to flourish, it seems to me . . They want their share of the pie . .

      • Very, very unlikely, There were huge numbers of dinosaur species, but after the claimed extinction, very few new species that could have evolved from dinosaurs. So unless all those species somehow evolved into just a few species, it couldn’t happen..

      • “evolved” and “evolution” are misnomers; the “sauropods” variegation was not sufficiently acute for them to survive and the unsuccessful variants became extinct along with the origin species, any surviving variants had to have “evolved” variegated at a much earlier time in order to have been widely divergent enough to survive. So we can succinctly say “dinosaurs (mega-sauropods) became extinct but prior evolved concurrent species of the same genus had sufficiently selected to survive the extinction mechanism” because the survivors may have DEVOLVED due to extreme food and/or environmental stress. Never use a “theory”‘s name as a word, that is unscientific.

      • Just a real quick clarification on the dinosaur extinction – there were several periods of extinction where dinosaur populations crashed, and probably the most important was actually about 10 million years before the final KT event, where the diversity of large-bodied species dropped dramatically (most notably, for all the Jurassic Park fans, this was the era that saw the disappearance of the carnosaurs and the rise of the tyrannosaur clade), and only smaller bodied animals seemed to have survived – niches that had now been filled by mammals, and small bodied maniraptoran theropods – i.e. birds. The KT extinction was the double-event that finally wiped out most major dinosaur lineages, after they had been made vulnerable by the earlier extinction event just before the Late Cretaceous.
        That’s the current thinking, anyway. It’s not like I was there.

      • Joel,
        My compliments on that closing;
        “It’s not like I was there.”
        I consciously try to “qualify” what I write, as what I believe, what seems to me to be true, what I’ve made of a matter, etc. And, I see what those who don’t bother to so “qualify” say, as suspect, in terms of potential deception (self or otherwise).
        And, I believe I have detected an intentional injection of what I’ll call “linguistic certainty” in the realm of evolution theory, which when I was young was still spoken of as a theory . . Some prominent media personalities began speaking of Evolution (the total package kind) as an established fact (among other siencey things that are theoretical), and their names are surely recognizable to most commenting here . . and every one of those prominent *voices of science* I am aware of, later endorsed as if “settled science”, the CAGW theory . .
        I believe it behooves Evolution proponents to eschew the linguistic certainty talk-talk (at least), so as to render the CAGW as settled science talk-talk less mundane in the ears of laypersons. That’s what I was trying to convey with my “They want their share of the pie” comment above . . unless of course they favor a techno-cratic dictatorship sort of governance, as Mr. Eisenhower warned of way back when . .

      • John,
        Evolution is a fact as well as a body of theory explaining that fact. Same as gravitation.
        All the non-avian dinosaurs went extinct at the K/T boundary. Only the birds survived.
        Joel,
        Carnosaurs may or may not have gone extinct before the K/T disaster, but large bodied herbivores didn’t.
        There is some evidence that carnosaurs (Allosaurus relatives) did not fully die off earlier, despite being largely replaced as predators by coelurosaurs (such as tyrannosaurs) in the NH and abeliosaurs in the SH. While usually thought to have gone extinct by 85 Ma, the clade might have survived in Australia.

      • No, not really. Had they survived they would indeed have evolved. As hard as people have looked – and they have searched very hard – there are no known dinosaurian survivors. The nearest are birds and they are not dinosaurs as much our scrub jay friend likes to pretend he is.
        I would also argue that Mr. May’s definitions of theory and fact are debatable. A fact is a “first order” interpretation of data. It is a “fact” that available data appear to show that the planet is warming at present. It also a fact that an uncertain fraction of that “warming” is a direct result of manipulations of the raw measurements intended – no aluminum hats please – to reduce perceived instruments biases. Until someone captures a living dinosaur, it is considered a “fact” that they are extinct. Theories are internally self-consistent explanatory statements that describe and ideally, explain a body of facts, assuming the theoretician has an accurate grasp of of the entirety of those “facts.”
        Mr May makes a comparison between Newton’s Law of Gravity and Eistein’s Theory of Relatvity. In reality they are very similar theoretical generalizations about the motion of masses in space. GRT and SRT are somewhat more generalized than Newton’s Law, mainly because Einstein had greater and more detailed and precise observational data (facts) with which he worked. But they both address the same phenomena, and they are both intended to be universally true descriptions of the behaivour of mass and energy in space. Relativity better handles some phenomena that were unobserved in Newton’s time. At present issues like excess kinetic energy in galaxies are presenting problems that vanilla Relativity cannot “explain” – i.e. can’t model. Thus we now have discussions of both Dark Energy and Dark Matter. Both Newton’s theory – which he named a “Law,” and Einstein’s theories were adequate in the face if the available “facts” – the observations, the data, available to them, and the measurement and observation methods available at the time the theories were formulated. Neither one actually helps us “understand” gravity any better. In fact what gravity is continues to be a matter great interest in physics.

      • Duster,
        Birds are indeed dinosaurs. Not only their anatomy but genetics show this to be the case. Tyrannosaurs made the same proteins as their fellow feathered coelurosaurian theropod dinosaurs, the maniraptoran ancestors of birds.
        Birds and their fellow living archosaurs, the crocodilians, share 93% commonality in DNA. Thus, birds likely shared at leat 94-95% with the pterosaurs, which are on the same branch of the archosaurs as birds and other dinosaurs, 95-96% with ornithischian dinos, 96-97% with their saurischian fellows, 97-98% with other theropods and 98-99% with other coelurosaurs, especially maniraptorans.
        Birds are not just dinos, but most closely related to “raptors” and troodontids, the smartest known extinct dinosaurs.
        [The mods do NOT want to see any flying crocodilian TRex’s overhead, lest the dragon droppings fall opun their heads. .mod]

      • Garbo: What I meant was is that large-bodied animals disappeared AFTER the KT boundary (and apparently didn’t rebound for some time). The preceding Late Cretaceous extinction culled out several long-established branches of animals – not necessarily related to body size – and, of course, some patches of these animals endured in isolated pockets – which doesn’t seem to be the case after the KT boundary. Which suggests to me that the KT extinction was an ‘event’ that selected against large-bodied animals rather than a typical cyclical extinction.

      • Joel,
        Larger animals were indeed preferentially killed by the K/T catastrophe, as is usual for mass extinction events, but lots of smaller ones were also wiped out, both by land and sea.
        Bear in mind that the vast majority of bird species also died out during the K/T extinction, along with all small as well as big non-avian dinosaurs and the then still surviving giant pterosaurs. At sea, the big marine reptiles disappeared, but so too did the ammonites and a great many fish.
        Paleontologists disagree over the extent to which dinosaur diversity was already in decline before the K/T disaster. I personally don’t see the Campanian as more speciose than the Maastrichtian, but some do.

      • Garbo: I’m not arguing your point really, just clarifying mine. Yes, the KT was a large general extinction event, but what I was saying is that survivability favored small-bodied animals. And, whatever the diversity that existed among dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous (which I agree, is hard to know since our information comes from a fossil record that is, at minimum, 60-plus million years old – and, of course, we’re also probably looking at a larger sample out of North America than the rest of the globe, so there’s record-bias there – but it does seem that a few species dominated in large numbers), my contention is that it was the second extinction event, on the tail of another (at least in geological time), that was instrumental in taking out a population that had not fully recovered. And I happen to think that the lack of small-bodied dinosaur species, other than bird-relatives, to fill the empty niches, was a primary reason that the dinosaurs themselves failed to bounce back, and were more less replaced by mammals.
        Of course, all this speculation and uncertainty does underscore the primary point that started all of this – theory versus established fact, and there is a difference. The fact is, they’re gone – how, why, in what order, will probably always be restricted to theory.

      • Joel,
        IMO there is no convincing evidence that an abnormally small number of species existed at the end of the Cretaceous. It was long commented that North America seemed to lack a mid-sized predator in the Maastrichtian (last age of the Cretaceous), so that that role must have been filled by adolescent T. rexes. But just last year, this guy was found in the iconic Hell Creek Formation:
        http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_29082395/dakotaraptor-ruled-hell-creek-formation-lethal-predator
        The Maastrichtian was IMO just as diverse as the Campanian. Maybe more so, possibly with more bird species.

      • Gabro (sorry, I just realized I’ve been calling you ‘Garbo’): My guess is that there were a few other sickle-claws running around, and probably a few smaller and mid-size tyrannosaurs too – like I said, records are spotty and it’s silly to assume that we’ve found every species – and I’m not trying to speak in absolutes, here. But the fact that they are relatively unknown in what is one of the better known Mesozoic time periods (just by being the most recent) does indicate that they were less common.

      • Joel,
        Preservational environment is at least as important as age. In North America, we have very good beds from the Triassic and Jurassic, as well as Cretaceous.
        What is lacking from Hell Creek is sauropods, although Alamosaurus has been found almost that far north.
        The end Cretaceous IMO was not depleted. The top predators were different in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The break up of Pangaea was a boon to diversification. The remarkable thing in the North and to a lesser extent in the South was the amazing rise of all sizes of feathered coelurosaur theropods, to include omnivorous and herbivorous forms, ranging from tiny birds to giant tyrannosaurs.
        The emergence of ceratopsids and pachycephalosaurs is almost as remarkable.

      • Mods:
        Ixnay on the flying tyrannosaurs.
        Joel:
        No worries on the Gabro/Garbo deal. I don’t vant to be alone.

      • Gabro,
        “Evolution is a fact as well as a body of theory explaining that fact. Same as gravitation.”
        I consider people who would equate what can be demonstrated in reality, to something which can only be demonstrated in imagination, silly.

      • Gabro,
        “The incontrovertible fact of evolution has been demonstrated over and over again.”
        Evolution is a term with many meanings, this thread is experiencing evolution for goodness sake. What is point of your incredibly vague declaration?

      • PS~
        The incontrovertible fact of climate change has been demonstrated over and over again.
        Cute, eh?

    • Well that’s right.
      In East Timor, Timor Leste, the average wage is $1.50 an hour.
      So giving them windmills and solar, except for point use, will destroy their economy.

    • Well, if you insist on being picky…
      The dinosaurs did not all go extinct since the bird is now considered a theropod dinosaur.
      The cause of the extinction of many dinosaurs at the Cretaceous–Tertiary boundary is actually several competing theories.
      But I got your point, and that of the author.

  2. Evolution as a chaotic physical process is a fact. Evolution as a creative process is a theory.

    • a little too black-and-white…I’d say all there are only theories…some are so well established that people no longer try to disprove them an they are routinely used to make accurate predictions, others are highly speculative.

      • your theory that they are a theory is a highly speculative conjecture and is useless for proving anything except about your crappy epistemology.
        ‘too black and white’? and what is gray, sir, but black and white – you simply fail to resolve the dots.

      • What better proof of utter uselessness than someone picking on Dr. Spencer’s statement with a rather childish narrow interpretation of colors coupled with an ad hominem.
        Talk about fail to resolve dots.

      • I can agree there is evidence, but regardless of whether evolution tells the whole story, the fossil record (as far as I know) lacks the clearly “morphing” creature remains Mr. Darwin himself called perhaps the strongest evidence against the “just evolution” concept.
        We can imagine that this sort of critter evolved from that sort of critter, easily enough, but have no candidate actual critter remains that can be rationally called “proof” that truly significant changes occurred in any critter line, as far as I know.

      • I do agree with Roy Spencer (a Law is a theory that is so well established that …..), but it was still a very good article and a valuable process. Good food for thought. I would have put Theory and Law the other way round in the table so that the table went hard to soft left to right. I also question whether Einstein’s theory has really explained how gravity works or whether it is simply another way of seeing it.

      • David, this happens all the time, even (and especially) at dr. spencer’s own blog. This lack of respect for THE nicest of people is sickening… It’s why i’m in favor of heavy moderation (as in deleting comments). Commenting is a priveledge, not a right!

      • Even if the observed events seem to fit the the idea being tested – the idea might still be wrong – the observed events may also fit other ideas, more precise ideas or more powerful ideas – hence, even a successful test cannot be regarded as a conclusive evidence for the truth of the idea.
        Einstein never claimed that his theories were true, he proposed them as theories being able to predict more precisely than other theories certain outcomes for a certain set of conditions.
        “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”
        – Albert Einstein

      • I forgot to say that I tend to agree with Roy Spencer. Inductivist will always be left wit the following challenge:
        “The epistemological idea of simplicity plays a special part in theories of inductive logic, for example in connection with the problem of the ‘simplest curve’. Believers in inductive logic assume that we arrive at natural laws by generalization from particular observations. If we think of the various results in a series of observations as points plotted in a co-ordinate system, then the graphic representation of the law will be a curve passing through all these points. But through a finite number of points we can always draw an unlimited number of curves of the most diverse form. Since therefore the law is not uniquely determined by the observations, inductive logic is confronted with the problem of deciding which curve, among all these possible curves, is to be chosen.”
        – Karl Popper; the logic of scientific discovery
        In a multivariate system this will rapidly become much more difficult and might even become insolvable.
        I still think facts do exist. I can state that if I drop a ball from 5 meter it will take 3 seconds +/- 0.5 second @ 95 % confidence interval before it hit the ground. If it then repeatedly takes 1.0 second +/- 0.1 second @95% confidence interval it is a fact that my idea was wrong. If it repeatedly takes 3 seconds +/- 0.5 second @ 95% confidence level i could report the test and the conditions influencing the test, state the results of the test. I could then say that my idea has so far passed this test – that would be a scientific set of statements.

        • Science or Fiction
          The problem to which you make reference is called the “problem of induction.” A scientific theory is a procedure for making inferences. The problem is of how to select these inferences from a larger set of possibilities. This problem was solved in 1963 by Ronald Christensen, building on work by Claude Shannon and many others. It was solved by the idea that these inferences can and should be selected by optimization of the selected inferences. Optimization is facilitated by the fact that in the probabilistic logic, an inference has a unique measure. This measure is the entropy of the inference. Rather than select the inferences through optimization climatologists select them by intuitive rules of thumb called “heuristics and biases.” This approach has led them to a dramatically suboptimal solution to the problem.

          • I will have to look into “heuristics and biases” to understand what that is about.
            Regarding optimizing, I tend to think that any optimizing procedure will rest on the premiss that an accurate idea is among the ideas I optimize between. for a complex multivariable system that isn´t necessarily the case. Further, I would think that any optimization will at most be valid for the conditions under which the data used for optimization was collected. Anything outside these conditions will be an extrapolation – one of many kinds of induction.

          • Science or Fiction
            To understand optimization you would have to change your way of thinking. The optimization is of the inferences
            that are made by the model. The general circulation models make no inferences. Thus it would be impossible to optimize these
            inferences. By the way, as they make no inferences the GCMs provide us with no information. Without information we cannot control the
            climate.

          • @ Terry Oldberg
            Is there an easy way to express your ideas about optimization? If my memory serves me right – I had a brief look into a piece of yours about optimization some time ago, maybe you can provide a link to it again. Most of all I would appreciate an easy to catch summary of the method.

          • Extrapolation is a kind of induction.
            The heat capacity of water at 20 C is 4.182 kJ/(kg*K), at 25 C it is 4.180 kJ/(kg*K) at 30 C it is 4.178 kJ/(kg/K)
            I will accept that the problem of induction has been solved the day you can show me how to find the heat capacity of water at 35, 40, 45 and 50 degC – without measuring the heat capacity at these temperatures.
            Until then – whatever you have found, however the method of yours improves anything – it has not solved the problem of induction.

          • I don´t think I constructed a strawman – from the second link:
            “That the missing information in an inference exists as the measure of an inference and that this measure is unique has the consequence that the problem of induction can be solved by optimization. ”
            The claim was that optimization can solve the problem of induction, I gave you one very simple example of a problem of induction which your method clearly cannot solve.
            (For anyone interested in this example – The specific heat capacity of water seems to be linearly declining as temperature is increasing at 20, 25 and 30 degrees. However, at 40,45 and 50 degrees it has turned back up again.)
            I think the idea, or any indication, that your method can solve the problem of induction draws attention from any beneficial, features the method you propound might have.

          • Science or Fiction
            Are you familiar with thermodynamics? Its second law describes selection of an inference by optimization of the entropy of this inference. Did you know that your HDTV is based upon selection of inferences by optimization or that your telephone is based upon the same principle? Whenever inferences are made there is the opportunity for optimization of them. Whenever inferences are not made there is not the opportunity for optimization of them. Climatological models make no inferences thus being unfit for optimization. If one wishes to muddy the waters one has only to switch the topic to situations in which inferences are not made.

          • @ Terry Oldberg
            I am not considering Climate models in our little conversation here.
            My thesaurus provides the following explanation of Inference:
            a conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning
            The only thing I am considering here is the claim, quoted above, which I interpret as an unconstrained claim that optimization can solve the problem of induction.
            Extrapolation is the simplest form for inductive reasoning I can think of. I gave a very simple problem of induction related to extrapolation. My claim is that optimization cannot solve the problem of induction given by the example I provided. Hence a general claim that optimization can solve the problem of induction must be wrong.
            You can prove me wrong by demonstrating how the method of optimization can solve the problem of induction which I provided.
            I am quite sure that the method has it´s applications – but it is not a general solution to the problem of induction.

          • Science or Fiction
            Optimization solves the problem of induction. Heuristics and biases do not solve this problem. If you know the opposite to be true please compose a syllogism in refutation of my claims and publish it here in this thread for the scrutiny of your fellow bloggers.

          • @ Terry Oldberg
            No optimization cannot solve the easiest thinkable problem of induction for which I provided an example. You claim that your method has a capability to solve it – demonstrate it. The burden of proof is yours.
            I am quite sure there are many more who would like to see an example.
            Illustrated by this comment from Judith Curry to your Part II article called:

            The Principles of Reasoning. Part II: Solving the Problem of Induction

            “I think it would be instructive for you to do a Part III (pending our host’s continued indulgence) that consisted of a worked example illustrating your solution to inference.”

          • Science or Fiction
            You just applied the proof-by-assertion fallacy. You are wasting my time. So long.

          • @ Terry Oldberg
            No I did not. I asked you to demonstrate your assertion – by solving a simple problem of induction – by the method you claim can solve problems of induction.
            You have so far failed to demonstrate that your method can solve the simplest problem of induction I can imagine – extrapolation. I will wait – so long.

          • Science or Fiction
            The study of heuristics and biases was pioneered by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Kahneman’s recent book “Thinking Fast and Slow” would be a good place for you to begin your studies.

      • Dr Spencer, I agree. A long time ago, I found it illuminating to read Asimov’s thoughts in an article entitled The Relativity of Wrong. Laws are truths only not only because we haven’t found a more precise way of expressing them but because they work so well.
        A useful example he brought up is the earth-is-flat notion. This is still used constantly to this day by tradesmen, not because they are sun-worshipping Sumerian troglodytes but because it is ridiculous to expect them to care about the ovoid surface of the earth when building your house. For the context in which they build, the earth is flat because they don’t need the precision in a home to match it precisely to the curvature of the earth.
        Flip it over, and you can’t do the same with something like GPS satellites. There is no end to the precision sought by the function, as the more precision introduced in pretty much every aspect, the better positional reading you can return. The curvature of the earth is needed not only for accurate location information (if the earth’s surface curve model in the GPS calculations was off by even 1 foot, it would drastically alter the reported location) but also to establish stable orbits for the GPS satellites themselves.
        It’s the same reason that Newtonian Physics still exists while Relativistic Physics is more precise. In most cases, Newtonian Physics is precise enough. In some cases, however, Relativistic Physics adds needed precision.
        I find it handy to think of the Hypothesis/Theory/Law relationship like this. Based on context, a Hypothesis can move into Theory and eventually Law because it predicts so well in a given context, even if it isn’t precisely true.

      • Thanks Dr. Spencer that was the sort of feedback I was after. Hypotheses and theories are clearly the same, since the difference is a judgement call. “Law” as a simple description of the what happens, seems a little arbitrary. But, facts versus the others, even though we know facts can come and go? I like having the term fact to use when debating science, at least for a period of time a fact is universally accepted, even if it can go away tomorrow. Language is tough, making science clear is tough.

      • “A useful example he brought up is the earth-is-flat notion”
        Yes indeed, it is used in physics book in many exercices: “we assume the gravitational field is constant”. That’s the same as saying Earth is flat! Or Earth is round and has infinite radius.
        Also, the Earth is round and fixed and the “sun” is at infinite distance and turning around it every “day” is good enough when you navigate the Earth (unless you are quite large, or move with very little friction).
        Then, the Earth is round, its center is fixed, and it’s turning, and the “sun” is at infinite distance and its angle is slowing turning is useful too.
        BTW, does anyone knows if the Apollo missions had a fixed center of the Earth, or Earth revolving around the Sun?

      • This is correct. All we have are theories, some better or worse than others. A fact is a theory which is true. Whether or not a theory is true is something independent of what we think. When we say that evolution is a fact, we mean that the theory (or some theory) of evolution is true. We never escape from theories.

      • Evolution is a fact as well as a theory explaining those facts. Same as gravitation.
        Evolutionary theory makes testable predictions and they are shown valid, ie not falsified.
        CAGW, not so much.

      • JohnKnight
        July 26, 2016 at 10:04 pm
        “Morphing” is common in the fossil record, and gets more so every year, in a large number of lineages, including our own. We have good fossil sequences in a variety of plant and animal phyla. Maybe fungi, too, but that’s not my best subject.
        For instance, the skulls of the earliest tetrapods (four-legged land animals) match those of ancestral lobe-finned fish, bone for bone. The whole sequence in the evolution of the mammalian jaw and ear is recorded in stone, as is the transition of land-living artiodactyls into whales.
        However fossil transitions are backed up now by genetic transitions. We can actually see the genetic changes that gave rise to anatomical “morphing”.

    • The concept of evolution having a destination or goal is fantasy. The only reason for animal life on this planet is to use DNA to make more DNA. Anything that happens along the way is essentially meaningless.

      • Good point. Survival of fittest, and all that. The classic intelligent design eye counter argument is deconstructed in detail in my ebook The Arts of Truth. ID contains a fundamental disception about evolution. In fact, the ‘modern’ eye evolved three different ways, reponding to different fitness. All likely during the Cambrian explosion of multicellular life. And amusingly, squids have more logically designed modern eyes than any vertibrates.

      • “Anything that happens along the way is essentially
        But then everything is “meaningless” until someone comes and assigns meaning.

      • Correct. Evolution is not teleological. It just is.
        This applies not only to animals, but to plants, fungi and microbes.

    • The textbook definition of evolution is “a change in gene frequency in a population over time”. Gene frequency is a term of art referring to the percentage of a population having a particular gene such as the one for blue eyes. Within that context, evolution is a fact. It is also a fact that all known forms of life use nucleic acids as the machinery of heredity, with identical or nearly identical codes and forms of machinery for translating nucleic acid sequences into amino acid sequences. It is also a fact that certain genes are found throughout the animal kingdom, serving essentially the same functions in every organism. The only possible explanation for that is that all of these organisms are related, meaning that they have common origins. That is what is meant by the fact of evolution. How this all came about over enormous periods of time is still a matter for speculation, although the vast majority of observations are consistent with the notion of natural selection as a primary mechanism.

      • @Simple touriste: Correct, but I was trying to keep it relatively simple. And as a matter of fact, my ’70s vintage evolution textbook says “gene frequency”. But of course it means alleles in the modern sense.

      • Actually life developed very quickly on earth, if it did arise here and not in space.
        How abiogenesis occurred isn’t entirely speculative. In the past dozen years or so, there have been great advances in our understanding of pre-biochemical evolution.

    • “Creative” evolution (acquisition of useful traits programmed in DNA) of micro-organisms is easily observed on a short timescale.

    • Andy May I suggest you read John West’s “Darwin Day in America” and follow that with Steven Meyer’s “Darwin’s Doubt” which dispute’s your claim that Evolution is an accept fact. Even Darwin had his doubts about his theory. And so do I.

    • Evolution as a creative process is a fact, that is, a scientific observation.
      New species and genera emerge from existing ones all the time. It’s not only observed in the field but created and recreated in the lab.

  3. For what it is worth, there are multiple exceptions to Newton’s law of gravitation that have been observed,
    starting with the precession of the perihelion of Mercury (known and unexplained before Einstein), along with gravitational lensing of light and the more recent observations of gravitational waves.
    I would also question where “6+6=12” is a fact or is it made up — the answer depends on whether or not you are a plationist and believe that numbers have an independent reality outside of humans. Nor is it clear why
    Newton’s second law is stated as an “unequivocal fact” when it is just as much a theory as anything else.
    Finally I would suggest that “man made climate catastrophe” is a prediction not an idea. Although I am not
    sure what scale the author is using to rate both climate catastrophe and islamic terrorism. Or even if it is
    possible to make such a comparison. Terrorism is a statistically speaking a very minor problem and people are far more likely to be killed in traffic accidents for example than be killed by a terrorist. Not to mention the fact that in the UK on average 2 women a week are killed by their partners and no-one calls domestic abuse a existential threat (like the republicans have done for terrorism).

    • Well, technically claims that ‘Climate Change’ is a bigger threat to the planet than terrorism are accurate. However, that’s because ‘Terrorism’ represents 0 threat to the ‘planet’, therefore most anything will be a greater threat.
      “Sometimes people ask climate skeptics if they believe in evolution or gravity.”
      I find this occurs as soon as the person I’m having a discussion with wants to deflect attention from the fact that they can’t argue the facts, so, they try to discredit the person, Happens all the time. “You probably believe the Moon landing was faked” is a current favorite.

      • It’s MY personal favorite, since in my experience those who are 100% believers in “manmade climate change” are far more likely to think the Moon landings were faked.

      • 9-11 was a minor problem if you lived outside Manhatten. If you lived in China it in all likeyhood
        had no impact on your life. There are 7 billion people in the world and so the percentage killed was less than one thousands of one percent. Which is not to say that it was not a tragedy and an appalling act of violence but just to try put it in some sort of perpective. Another way of look at
        the relative probably of dying is that more people died on the roads because of deciding not to fly than died in the attacks. Statistically speaking your chances of dying as a result of terrorism are tiny. So governments should concentrate on the most probable causes of death rather than the
        ones which get the most publicity.

    • man… amateurs – this stuff is not just awful, it’s godawful.
      too painful to witness…
      no wonder you can’t think straight.

    • A prediction ostensibly based on data is a theory, and vice versa.
      It has often been said that the value of a theory is in its ability to predict.
      If you don’t suspect you have a handle on how things work (theory) then your “prediction” is not even that… it’s just a guess.

      • Anne:
        I offer the following disambiguation of terms for your consideration:
        A “theory” is a procedure for making inferences.
        A conditional prediction is a “predictive inference.”

    • Germ…
      You are obviously oblivious as to how many people ISIS and their sister terrorist organizations have killed in Africa, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, etc over many years as part of their agenda as they murder and rape a huge amount of people who do not subscribe to their version of Islam. Remember how many were killed in one day on 9/11.
      Don’t drink the cool aid.

      • The point is that we need to be callous and ask what is a huge amount of people given that
        there are 7 billion plus on the planet. Of course even one person dying from terrorism is one to
        many and we should act to prevent such deaths. But when it comes to the probability of a human being killed as a result of terrorism that number is sufficiently small that I do not consider terrorism a major threat. As I stated originally 2 women a week in the UK are killed by their partners – which means over any year a women has more chance of being killed by their partner than by a terrorist but because this number is constant it doesn’t make the news or impact politics in the way that a
        terrorist act does. Or if you want another example Harold Shipman killed nearly 200 people – again far more than all the Muslim terrorists in the UK combined but there are far fewer checks on GPs than on Muslims.

    • Mercury’s perihelion precession is not an exception to Newton’s Law.
      Einsteinian corrections to Newton’s Law using the ‘Theory of Relativity’ account for the discrepancy.
      Gravitational lensing of light? As applied to by Newtonian law? That’s quite a stretch.
      Where would you start the calculations? Estimate unknown mass and direction by bent light?
      Until one is ready to calculate problems using the Theory of Relativity, Newton’s Law of Motion serves.
      Terrorism is a major problem. Terrorist murders may be miniscule compared to total populations, but the terror spread by those murders is very real.
      “Full Definition of terrorism
      1 : the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion”
      You may be correct in regards to what makes absolute fact versus working theory. As Dr. Spencer alluded to, the table above with it’s fact column isn’t correct.
      There are accepted proven working theories.
      There are postulated, as yet unproven, theories.
      There are proposals.
      There are ideas.
      There are darn few facts.
      That doesn’t change the Newton’s Law issue to for all practical Earthly purposes, Newton’s Law of Motion, serves quite admirably without need for corrections.
      Until disproved, Newton’s Law of Motion stands quite well in the proven working theory category.

      • “Terrorist murders may be miniscule compared to total populations” tell that to Iraq and Libya, your classification of terrorism is deeply flawed

      • Mark:
        Libya – 6.3 million
        Iraq – 36.5 million
        Terrorist murders are miniscule. The fear terrorism spreads affects far greater portions of the populations.
        My classification of terrorism was taken right from the dictionary as linked in my previous comment.
        “Full Definition of terrorism
        1 : the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion”

    • “I would also question where “6+6=12” is a fact or is it made up”
      I suggest a simple arithmetic statement consistent with the definition of the arithmetic operation used in the statement is a fact.

  4. Andy, terrific guest post.
    I add one further quibble to your lead in table. Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity are both facts and laws at this point. Mercury’s precession and gravitational lensing are among the macro facts establishing the laws. The best engineering example is GPS satellite atomic clock signals. They beat 7 microseconds per day slower due to orbital velocity time dilation, and 45 microseconds faster due to Earth’s gravity spacetime curvature. The net is 38 microseconds per day, or 38000 nanoseconds. This would translate into 10 km/day positional error if not accounted for. Consumer garden variety GPS is good to less than 10 meters every day. Example drawn from the introduction to my ebook The Arts of Truth.

  5. “This cost an impossible 114 eight hour days of work in 1900 and a more reasonable nine days today.” There must be some flaw in your figures here. You imply that, since most people work 22/23 days per month, the average electric bill is almost half the average take-home salary. That is clearly not correct. The median American take-home pay is $800/week or thereabouts, but the average American electric bill is nowhere near $300/week, nor $300/month.

    • It’s $300 a month in Houston in the summer. How I enjoyed living in a place where you could turn off the furnace and the AC for two months in the spring and two months in the fall. It was like getting a raise.

  6. INM-CM4, over longer periods, does very well at hindcasting observed temperatures. This model uses a CO2 forcing response that is 37% lower than the other models….
    and after all this time…and all the variables they try to fit in….they still end up with a linear model

    • Model parameters they like to call effects of the system, but they are not, they are just parameters they can adjust. It’s called bogus science.

  7. Now just try and define your “greenhouse gas” using scientific language. One might just as well say “magic gas”. Equally undefinable. Not a fact at all.
    Give it a try. Bear in mind that filling a room with CO2 (for example) results in no increase in temperature at all. There isn’t even any scientific definition of the “greenhouse effect”.
    It’s about as silly as a “greenhouse gas”. It just goes to show that educational qualifications don’t prevent the holder from being delusionally psychotic, fraudulent, gullible, or just plain silly.
    CO2 heats nothing. Not even planets.
    Cheers.

    • “CO2 heats nothing. Not even planets.”
      You are right, it adds no heat. All it does is slow the process of Long Wave IR reaching the top of the atmosphere, because more collisions/re-emissions with molecules that are sensitive to the LWIR occur.
      But you are wrong on the definition. It is in fact a greenhouse gas under current terminology. It’s a fact and there’s no getting around it no matter how much you say “…delusionally psychotic, fraudulent, gullible, or just plain silly.” When you do that, you’ve already lost the argument.

  8. Now just try and define your “greenhouse gas” using scientific language. One might just as well say “magic gas”. Equally undefinable. Not a fact at all.
    Give it a try. Bear in mind that filling a room with CO2 (for example) results in no increase in temperature at all. There isn’t even any scientific definition of the “greenhouse effect”.
    It’s about as silly as a “greenhouse gas”. It just goes to show that educational qualifications don’t prevent the holder from being delusionally psychotic, fraudulent, gullible, or just plain silly.
    CO2 heats nothing. Not even planets.
    Cheers.

    • Fill a room with CO2 and the temperature will not rise unless you add an IR source. But it will stay warmer longer after that source has been removed. Now, as a test, If you stand in that room full of CO2 as the IR source, the room will warm slightly. Then, after you die from CO2 toxicity and your body cools from a lack of endothermic activity, the room will cool down, though slower than a room with little to no CO2 would.

  9. I am not with you regarding evolution. 1) You have not defined the term.
    I accept that mutation occurs, since it is reproduced in a lab. There is evidence.
    Is mutation evolution? In terms of information content, I am not sure if there is a net increase in the information content.
    I accept natural selection. It is a reduction in the gene pool, and a reduction in the information content. It can be reproduced in the lab.
    Common descent is absolutely speculative and there is insufficient fossil data to support a comprehensive theory of common descent. Recently neanderthals were found to have integrated with sapiens rather than sapiens evolving from neanderthals.
    Beginning of life the primordial soup theory is untrue.
    I advocate science and knowledge.
    Using evolution as a catch all phrase to describe natural selection or alternatively mutation while at the same tine implying or inference of common descent and the beginning of life, is undisciplined. I think if you want to use “evolution” as a corner stone to scientific rigor and established fact, you should be less vague and more specific about what you mean by evolution.
    There is no accepted model for the beginning of life. Evolution, as a mechanism to yield the first life is not fact. If it is, show me. Make life from nothing in a lab.

    • I highly recommend the short book version of a very massive long book on an alternative theory for the origins of life. Cairns-Smith’s Seven Clues to the Origin of Life. Cambridge University Press, my edition is 1985. Only 130 pages including two appendices and a glossary of terms. He, and I, would agree with you that the simple primoridal soup hypothesis doesn’t fly for several very fundamental reasons. He identifies and solves via an alternative hypothesis each of the seven problems in turn, with no divine intervention or panspermia (which just translocates divine intervention) required. The clay hypothesis. Literally.

      • Regarding “panspermia” there is no evidence for this, although the opposite is currently observable where life has been know to leave the Earth and survive in space, the moon and probably on Mars (in bacterial form), we should call this observation “spermpansia”.
        The idea of a “primordial soup” is very crude as it stands, I agree, although the Earth has a huge rich planetary ocean, and this ocean is conductive and it has all the ingredients for life (like a soup) So lets take this “primordial soup” in an electrically conductive ocean and add reversing, rotating magnetic solar poles, that strike this conductive ocean every 11 and 22 years for millions of years causing “La nina” “El nino” along with cyclical planetary changes in seasons and changes in lunar tides and replenished minerals through volcanism… sooner or later chemical systems will form and life will take hold (with a blessing from the big man if you like).
        The panspermia idea relies upon an Earth being sterile of life [while having the only favourable conditions for life] until a comet orbiting in the solar-system [with unfavourable conditions for life] collides with Earth and brings life to the planet. (don’t get me started on the idea of life coming this way from another random planet with life around another random star)
        Regarding Evolution, this is the adaptation of life in relation to it’s environment, traits that animals have today have evolved from and can be seen in dinosaurs.
        ristvan says above “Birds evolved from the raptors. They survived. T. Rex did not”
        This is not entirely true, the tyrannosaurus was a predator and predators today have the same evolutionary traits, adaptation in large herbivorous dinosaurs that survived in herds have the same traits as large herbivorous animals today, dinosaurs that travelled in flocks and nested have the same traits as animals today including birds, there are even dinosaurs that migrated seasonally both prey and predator which are traits in modern animals.
        So the evolutionary process of adaptation is clearly seen throughout the fossil record, obviously some types of animals die out, for a wide variety of reasons and this still occurs, usually with very specialised or isolated animals.
        It could be that dinosaur extinctions occurred when two land masses collided as continents move over time and got close enough it introduce new animals, that in-turn caused an ecological change and wiped the indigenous animals out until a kind of balance was restored, we see this occurring today as well, it doesn’t even have to be a land mass collision, any type of bridge could introduce new animals such as an increase in ice that some animals adapt to and cross, and we see this with bears.

      • you might be interested in this recent paper
        life started in a hydrothermal environment
        http://phys.org/news/2016-07-ancestor-microorganisms-life-hydrothermal-environment.html
        http://cdn.phys.org/newman/csz/news/800/2016/studytracing.png
        A speculatively rooted tree for rRNA genes, showing the three life domains Bacteria, Archaea, and Eucaryota, and linking the three branches of living organisms to the last universal common ancestor (the black trunk at the bottom of the tree). Note that the most modern models now place the origin of the eukaryotes within the archaeal lineage. Credit: wikimedia, CC BY-SA

      • According to your chart the highest form of life is Green Filamentous Bacteria, and the second highest is Slime Molds.
        Just as I thought.

      • vukcevic,
        Thank-you.
        Question: the diagram shows a very low triple branch. Ie one initial sprout branch yield 3 branches.
        Is that theory? Or is a demonstrable fact? Or is it an assumption?

      • Paul Westhaver
        July 28, 2016 at 9:00 am
        Vuk’s diagram is a fact. It’s based upon relatedness, ie shared derived traits and genetic and anatomical similarity.
        As I noted above, we eukaryotes (organisms having cells with nuclei, with rare exceptions such as red blood cells) evolved from archaea, by symbiosis with bacteria, which became our organelles, such as mitochondria and chloroplasts. The nuclei themselves appear to derive from viruses.

    • Paul, GREAT comment… When agw proponents pejoratively refer to agw skeptics as creationists, we know exactly what they are getting at.

      • So you say that people should not think for fearing ridicule from the conformists? I reject that principle on its face. I reject bad science from all corners equally.
        1) Read what I wrote and tell me where I am wrong. That is the scientific process.
        2) Where did I mention creationism? That was spontaneously generated from your mind.

      • No, the point i was trying to make is that the author, as you say, did not define the term (of evolution). He seemed to view it as natural selection alone which is not what the agw crowd is getting at when they bash agw skeptics…

    • First let me say that I have absolutely no problem with the concept of evolution or that species can evolve given long enough time periods. Further, and maybe its because I am not a religious sort of person, I have never figured out how the TOE conflicts with the Bible.
      That being said, the dirty secret re: evolution is that many (most?) intermediate life forms have never been found.
      That is, fossil evidence, say, of a long extinct creature has been found as well as its “evolved” descendant(s) (perhaps its present, existing form), but no trace has been found of its intermediate states, which Darwinian Theory postulates.
      Instead, the fossil evidence seems to indicate that species evolve quite suddenly (geologic/evolutionary time scales); as if the “orderly” change over time never happened (i.e., instead of A,B,C,D,E we have A,B,C, E).
      Stephen Jay Gould coined the phrase, “Punctuated Equilibrium” to describe this.
      One of these days they will figure out which portions of the TOE are accurate and which not. Unfortunately if anyone questions anything at all about the TOE you are immediately characterized as a knuckle dragging, simian-human mongrel. (You know, the same way the AGW religious zealots characterize we heretics re: AGW).

      • JT, sufficient intermediate forms in sufficient clades have been found to rather well found the theory. The time scales for punctuated equilibrium make intermediate fossil forms less likely, but hardly impossible. You don’t have to explain every one to know you have a generally valid explanation.

      • John Tyler to your point…
        In 1976 I studied grade 10 biology from the BSCS textbook. My teacher was Miss Newman. She held a class on the Haekel Embyos. She showed a picture of the embryos(chicken, human, lizard, etc) and claimed 1) that they all looked alike and 2) the embryo growth schemes showed an accelerated rerun of evolution. I was 14 or 15 and told my teacher that the embryos did not look the same to me and that the embryos did not look like they could survive as a species at many points in their growth. WOW… Did I get ostracized!!
        Miss Newman is now dead. Her mutations turned her into a giant non-self-sustaining tumor.
        As it happened Dr. Ken Miller at Harvard agreed with me:
        http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/embryos/Haeckel.html
        Because the hack biologists are so quick to proclaim theory as fact and they ridicule you if you disagree, I am happy to remind them of their 2 centuries of Bu11 Sh1t pseudo science.

      • PH, my refutation did not rest on embryology. It rested on intermediate fossil forms from several clades. And on alt theories (they are just that) of primodial evolution. The primordial soup hypothesis does not solve several problems; the self / nonself membrane, rna self synthesis being just two. But you have failed to recognize there are alternative theories like the clay hypothesis that solve all these issues without divine intervention. Doesnt mean right. Means you need to reconsider and rebut.

      • Paul Westhaver
        July 26, 2016 at 5:58 pm
        Haeckel’s diagrams overstated the similarity of embryos, but the fact is that ontology does repeat phylogeny. Bird embryos grow teeth, like their dinosaur ancestors, then resorb them, for instance. They also grow long, bony tails before the bones are compacted to form a pygostyle or “Parson’s Nose”. Human and other ape embryos grow and resorb tails. Cetaceans grow legs, which in some species survive into adulthood, hidden within layers of skin and blubber. In a case of Stupid Design, the testes of mammals descend from their ancestral, fishy position in the chest to outside the body, creating potential hernias by the holes they leave behind during this passage. The number of such instances is gigantic.
        The evolution of new species, genera, families, orders, classes and phyla from ancestral forms is a fact.

    • What’s your point? Life started, life evolved. you don’t need to know how life started to be able to show that evolution is by far the best way to describe hat has happened since, and to be able to use evolution to predict accurately what will happen in the future.

      • I guess my point is that no theory at all should be immune to challenge. Evolution does make sense and it sounds logical to me. But that does not mean it should be immune from challenge.
        Just because a theory sounds very plausible and logical, is does not mean that later evidence will be discovered that overturns a theory that presently is the prevailing dogma.
        Theoreticians have an obligation to try to explain why certain anomalies exist, and in doing so a scientific field of study is placed on firmer ground.
        As for life on earth, who knows??
        Maybe some aliens from another solar system dropped early humans on earth. After all there are billions and billions of other solar systems, stars and their planets. It is just as logical to proclaim we all evolved from aliens (true, we have zero evidence of this) who dropped by earth on day to visit and left us $24 worth of DNA trinkets (and totally bypassing the evolutionary story of a common ancestor of apes and humans).
        As for the future, why has “evolution” of species seemed to have ceased? How is it that apes, birds , etc., for example, are not evolving into …… whatever.
        And by the way, all that is needed is for a very modern looking human fossil, dated to be about 2,000,000 years old, discovered in say Mongolia or Uzbekistan, to entirely place the human evolution “story” in total turmoil.
        By the way, for many folks, AGW “is by far the best way to describe what has happened and what will happen in the future.”

    • Evolution is primarily environment driven, the environment dictates, there is no “lucking into a mutation hat suits an environment, that is just nonsense imo
      Gene switching, and changes during pregnancy due to effects on the mother who’s philology changes things in the fetus.
      Yes random mutations happen, but for diversity of species not evolution as we see it, it’s for survival of a species not direct adaption of a species to a given environment, that change happens through experience of the parent passed to the offspring over generations

      • So
        Random mutation, genetic diversity
        Generational mutation, adaption to environment
        That’s how I see it in my “uneducated” way

      • Mutation is a source of the genetic diversity upon which evolution operates.
        Environmental changes can and do drive evolution via natural selection, but new species also evolve without natural selection, by stochastic means such as breeding isolation, genetic drift and the founder’s principle.

    • ‘There is no accepted model for the beginning of life. Evolution, as a mechanism to yield the first life is not fact. If it is, show me. Make life from nothing in a lab.’
      And wolfdasilva before:
      ‘Maybe so, but evolution as a theory for creating life is taken as true without evidence, just like man made catastrophic global warming.’
      Folks, evolution has double ought zero to do with the origin of life. Your comments are naive. At best.

    • Common descent is a fact, ie a scientific observation. No fossils even required. Common descent is apparent at the molecular and genetic levels.
      Mutation increases genetic information. The evolution of novel structures and systems has been observed over and over again.
      Evolution is a fact and evolutionary theory is at least as well established as gravitational theory.
      Science is self-correcting. The relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals is an example of more information improving understanding, same as with Einstein’s improvements on Newtonian gravitational theory. There was no consensus on the precise relationship between AMHs and Neanderthals until the past few decades, when new fossil and genetic discoveries clarified it. Some still hold out for a regional hypothesis, but the preponderance of evidence favors Out of Africa, with some genetic input from Neanderthals and Denisovans to non-African populations.
      It is a fact that eukaryotes, such as us, evolved as a symbiosis among both prokaryotic groups, ie bacteria and archaea, which themselves share biochemistry, differing in their membrane structure.

    • Mutation is more likely to destroy information than create it. But natural selection turns the mutation into information. Each threshold that gets passed by that mutation from cell division, through embryological development, juvenile, adult stages, to successfully reproduction weeds out the immediately or strongly deleterious mutations. The redundancy of gene families and pair chromosomes combined with internal and developmental homeostasis makes the organism relatively robust to mutations, allowing those that survive a chance to contribute positively immediately or at some point in the future. Keep in mind also that much of the proteins encoded by genes are not at critical active sites, and that much of the difference between species such as chimps and humans is not in the proteins, but in their levels, locations and timing of expression. The greatest adaptation that life as evolved is evolvability, this robustness to mutation.

  10. I think that some of the basic definitions here are not the scientific ones.
    In science a theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed, preferably using a written, pre-defined, protocol of observations and experiments.
    They provide a understanding of observed facts and make predictions about untested facts, which were then substantiated before the hypothesis became theory. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge.
    Examples are germ theory of disease and the general theory of relativity.
    The greenhouse effect is a consequence of theory of optics. The fact that we have increased the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere isn’t a theory, it’s known from measurement. Optics predicts that we would then see an increase in global mean surface temperature, and this has been observed:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/graph_data/Global_Mean_Estimates_based_on_Land_and_Ocean_Data/graph.png
    But that wont ever progress to “Theory”. It is due to optics.

    • It is very clear looking at that plot that there is no first order correlation between CO2 and temperature. That is notwithstanding that the GISS data is heavily adjusted such that the veracity of the plotted data is moot.

      • It is very clear looking at that plot that there is no first order correlation between CO2 and temperature.

        I’m uncertain as to the value of approximating a GCM as a first order dynamic system, nor of approximating the forcing function with CO2 alone.
        But give or take the fact that you’re sampling the heat of the earth system by near surface temperature, and the fact that the time constant of the system is decades it would be approximately first order until you get a lot of albedo changes, volcanic eruptions and other greenhouse gas and anti greenhouse gas emissions.
        What aspect of that graph makes it “very clear” that it isn’t?
        If its the lack of smoothness, I think you’re seeing the consequence of sampling the near surface in the context of changes and oscillations in ocean and air currents.

        the GISS data is heavily adjusted such that the veracity of the plotted data is moot
        The adjustments to the GISS data have lowered the warming by adjusting up the old bucket-based sea surface temperature measurements, but for the bulk of that line, you’d need adjusted and unadjusted side by side to see the difference. They don’t affect the shape of the curve.

      • Richard : what are the different factors that affect global temp ?
        That’s said, if you don’t see the increase, you should consult a doctor.

      • “the GISS data is heavily adjusted”
        and what about satelite obs ? No adjustment ?
        satelite that provide 3D temperature field, even not measured with thermometers… Which means based on empirical relationships…
        You are so funny.
        No there is first order correlation :
        Temp is increasing and CO2 too. You are so funny.
        Note that the CO2 forcing is a logaritm of the CO2 concentration, and that other factors affect global temp.

      • Seth, if your graph went all the way back to 1850 (as the above WFT plot) we would observe that recent warming is merely the third incarnation of the 30 year “jesus cycle”. The entirety of the temperature record demonstrates that recent warming would be there without anthropogenic GHGs anyway. The only question remaining is whether or not anthropogenic CO2 is padding the total…

      • Seth, don’t be ridiculous… Your graph there is using ipcc models. (didn’t you read the post?) This is the THIRD incarnation of the 30 year cycle of warming as well we are seeing the THIRD 30 year cycle of cooling (commonly known as the pause). This demonstrates that recent warming is largely natural, something that could not have been realized a few decades ago…

      • It works best to define “theory” as a procedure for making inferences as defining it this way provides us with a solution to the problem of induction. The problem is of how in a logically defensible way to select the inferences that will be made by the theory. The solution is to select these inferences by optimization of the value of the unique measure of an inference in the probabilistic logic: the entropy of this inference.

      • What’s the statistical significance of that change in slope from late 1966 to the start of 2003 compare to the start of 2003 to date?
        A lot of papers have been saying the difference isn’t statistically significant.
        (Michael Mann’s excluded, but it’d be hilarious to see his work held up here).

    • Seth
      There are serious problems with using this graft to infer the Greenhouse Gas, i.e. CO2, Theory to explain recent warming. For example, temps rose from 1910 to 1940 at roughly the same rate as from 1980 to 2010. But CO2 did not rise much from 1910 to 1940. So one could say that this graft does not support a Greenhouse Gas Theory of warming, but suggest other variables are at play.
      Also some data sets show almost no warming in the last 20 years, certainly no more than the baseline of slow warming which has prevailed since the 1700’s. Yet CO2 has risen substantially in the last 20 years. Again by showing a poor correlation of CO2 with temp changes, the predominant Greenhouse Gas models are refuted.
      CO2 probably belongs in any model which will attempt to explain and predict global temps, but its relative importance among the many possible variables is highly uncertain. Indeed, one might venture to say that CO2-driven global warming is not a “fact”, nor a generally acceptable “theory” among skeptical scientists, which is to say all scientists who remember that skepticism is a critical element of all good science

      • There are serious problems with using this graft to infer the Greenhouse Gas, i.e. CO2, Theory to explain recent warming. For example, temps rose from 1910 to 1940 at roughly the same rate as from 1980 to 2010.

        You have to use all the forcings and a decent model to get how the temperature responds to which forcing.
        But on the simple level the observation of warming is what was expected.

        But CO2 did not rise much from 1910 to 1940.

        CO2 changes the energy balance at the top of the atmosphere. It takes decades for the warming to have happened. An increase in CO2 in 1925 would cause a response that is a warming throughout the 20th century post 1925, with 60% of it’s final total effect having happened by something 1950 to 1975 range.
        But modelling shows that the warming of the early part of the 1900s isn’t strongly anthropogenic:
        https://i2.wp.com/3.bp.blogspot.com/-REBSH2A7IE0/Uv02RUaq9oI/AAAAAAAAAME/0DW13Q2r4s4/s1600/meehle_2004.jpg

        Also some data sets show almost no warming in the last 20 years

        You might be mistaken about that. Warming has been very strong last year and this.

        certainly no more than the baseline of slow warming which has prevailed since the 1700’s.

        Certainly?
        I would tend to disagree. What data are you using to derive this certainty?
        The warming of the first half of last century is stronger that the mean estimate of warming of the century before:
        https://www.metabunk.org/attachments/awww-oocities-org_marie-mitchell_rogers-com_climate_files_1800yearglobaltemperature-jpg.3769/

        Again by showing a poor correlation of CO2 with temp changes, the predominant Greenhouse Gas models are refuted.

        Again, the reason you use a model is you don’t expect a correlation on that time scale. There is a time lag of decades.

        CO2 probably belongs in any model which will attempt to explain and predict global temps, but its relative importance among the many possible variables is highly uncertain.

        The uncertainties are getting smaller:
        http://www.realclimate.org/images/ar4_fig_spm_2.png

        Indeed, one might venture to say that CO2-driven global warming is not a “fact”

        Well we know it is responsible for most of the recent warming.

        nor a generally acceptable “theory” among skeptical scientists

        The theory would be optics. It’s acceptable as a theory.

      • “Well we know it is responsible for most of the recent warming.”
        ABSOLUTE RUBBISH !
        Most of the GISS warming is from infilling and adjustments
        All real warming comes from El Nino (Not-CO2 related) events and ocean cycles.

    • Seth
      July 26, 2016 at 4:28 pm
      The fact that we have increased the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere isn’t a theory, it’s known from measurement.

      Not so fast. How does the measurement of concentration of greenhouse gases show that “WE” have increased it. This is not a fact, perhaps there needs to be a further category of “unsubstantiated allegation”.
      SteveT

      • IIRC, isotopic measurements of carbon isotopes show that the CO2 in the atmosphere is mostly from natural sources. So it is shown by the pesky O-CO NASA satellite that tracks CO2 concentrations around the globe. In this case NASA policy is not tell, not show, not talk about it. And the same happens with the satellite that measures CFC concentrations in the atmosphere, biggest in the equator, lowest at the poles. I does not fit with the apocaliptic theory, so don´t tell, don´t show.

  11. I promise not to repeat this post again, but it is just as relevant in this thread as it was in the other. If it hadn’t already been obvious, it is becoming very clear that in the US, at least, the “Climate Change” movement has only one true goal: To provide a platform to support planted stories throughout the mass media which will scare low-info voters into voting for the Democrat Party.
    That’s it, that’s the only real game going on – different versions of the same game are being played in the other democracies. But there’s no “science” going on, and there hasn’t been for a very long time.

    • I promise not to repeat this post again, but it is just as relevant in this thread as it was in the other. If it hadn’t already been obvious, it is becoming very clear that in the US, at least, the “Climate Change” movement has only one true goal: To provide a platform to support planted stories throughout the mass media which will scare low-info voters into voting for the Democrat Party.

      Once you tie any position to that of a political group, you guarantee resistance to evidence by people who associate with the opposite political group. If you want a frank discussion of the facts, this point you’re repeating is counter-productive. If you want to guarantee a drawn out debate regardless of the facts, it’s one of the most powerful things that you can say.

  12. Good post. My standard on theories is whether one can do engineering reliably with it. If one can plug input into the model the theory requires, and get reliably useful results, then the theory is adequate for that use.
    Unlike Paul Westhaver, I conclude common descent is reasonably well demonstrated, as RNA/DNA is common to all life I know of, as are sets of genes doing common things, as is the coding for amino acids in RNA/DNA.

    • TH, see my comment above on GPS engineering. Einsteins theories of relativity work well enough to be granted ‘law’ status.

    • Tom,
      I think common descent is fine as a theory, but it is not a demonstrable fact either by a weak and diffuse fossil record or by DNA/RNA. No process or species to species chain is in evidence . So it is a theory or a reasonable overarching principle.

      • PW, read the new study of prokyrotic genomes finding a LUCA set of genes for both after studying 6 million bacteria and archae genomes. Been in the MSM all week.
        Your ‘common decent has weak to no evidence’ is just a wrong statement. We have it in the fossil record for birds, for snakes, for cetaceans, and for many other clades as transitional fossils are found. Newest is snakes from burrowing lizards. And now we have it for single cell organisms. Genes going back over 3 billion years. More than a hypothesis. A pretty strongly supported (by many facts) theory. Not yet a law.

      • The strongest evidence is the common/shared DNA/RNA coding by triplets for amino acids, which is truly arbitrary. The only reasonable explanation for the common coding is common descent (unless God or whatever is playing a mysterious game).

      • Tom,
        I listened to Leonard Susskind regarding the anthropic knife edge of the cosmological constant. I would say the odds of that happening are far more remote that amino acid triplets. ie 10^ -122
        He makes an interesting point though.
        He says that [compared to 1/infinity 10^-122] may be the only circumstance that worked.
        See 6:15 of the video, especially 8:20.

        Maybe the triplets are there because that is the only way they ever manifest.

      • Right, the same genes for vital processes and structures appeared separately in thousands of species, separated by millions of years of first appearance.
        Occam’s Razor suggests you are wrong, as does every form of common sense.
        There is clearly a process – mutation and natural section – as you admit. Evidence will always be lacking in your terms unless we invent a time machine because organic matter decays. You are not proving the theory wrong, simply asking for more evidence than is required for it to be right.

      • Close but not quite.
        Leonard Susskind says something different, as a principle.
        He says that an infinity of [universe] systems are created but only a narrow few survive. Hid did not say that successful systems are created separately, and identically. The ones that continue are those that have the physics just right.
        I suggest something similar to Susskind’s reasoning. We witness a narrow few triples because out of the many many possibilities, only they, for some reason, are successful in producing self-replicating life so only they are in evidence. The won the survival competition?
        I suggest that since my postulation requires the least amount of effort, it may well satisfy Brother William of Ocham’s, aphorism. After all, I am using Leonard Susskind’s idea.
        On a separate matter consider the second law of thermodynamics… entropy as it relates to information. Mutation and natural selection cannot account for the creation of information. Natural selection is a reduction in information, a bottleneck in a species. Individual’s and their genes die off because they cannot compete with individual that have a genetic trait that is better for a certain circumstance. The individual that dies off may possess other beneficial attributes but not relevant at a critical time. We know that is true since the human genome was reduced to a single ancestor (female) who had a certain mitochondrial DNA sequence. The species that survives already had the successful gene.
        If you say randomness and chance yielded billions of ordered functional sequences, then I suggest that you calculate the odds of that, and time required to accomplish it, since it is within the scope of science to perform such a calculation. Human DNA has about 10^9 base pairs. Science must do a better job and explaining the creation of that information. Wild assertions without the rigor of the underlying math is belief, not science. I am driven by science. eg how long for 1000 monkeys with 1000 typewriters to produce a Shakespearean sonnet? (about 28 billion years) You too can do that calculation.
        Now.. information creation is fundamental to creating evermore complex organisms. So I contend that since no mathematically demonstrable random model can yield a complete function genome of anything really, then we are stuck with an unverifiable theory. So it is a theory. Now, what natural alternative means my be at work? What physics and chemical processes have the biologists missed? There are clearly big leaps, punctuating the fossil record. What happened? I am curious to know.

      • Pauj,
        As noted above, common descent is a fact, not a theory or hypothesis.
        Of course we don’t have a record of every species or variety in a chain for every living organism, but every possible source of evidence clearly shows that all life on earth derives from a Last Common Ancestor. This conclusion is inescapable from every sort of evidence, with none against it.

      • Paul Westhaver
        July 27, 2016 at 10:21 am
        Mutation and natural selection not only can create new information, but do so all the time. That’s why the simplest protocells had a lot less genetic material than do modern organisms, fewer even than the simplest cells and viruses today.
        One easy way for genetic innovations to arise is via duplication mutations, to include the whole genome, as in polyploid organisms. This makes available a huge suit of genetic material in which beneficial new mutations can occur with minimal risk to the organism.
        I’ve already referenced a simple instance of new genetic info, the single point mutation which allows sugar-eating microbes to consume nylon. Similar changes permit nectar-drinking insects to suck blood. Human brain growth was due to a single mutation, as was our upright walking, associated with the fusion of two ancestral ape chromosomes into human chromosome #2 (if a gross chromosomal change be a mutation).
        You fail to understand elementary biology. Natural selection selects the organisms in a population best adapted, ie fittest, to survive and reproduce under prevailing conditions. An organism with a favorable mutation might not survive if it also has less adaptive mutations. It’s not a reductive process.
        The odds aren’t against life, but favor its emergence under the right conditions, thanks to organic chemistry. RNA self-assembles naturally in ice, on minerals and under other circumstances. It’s also a catalyst. Enzymatic properties have been found in chain only five nucleotides long. Nucleotides, amino acids, sugars, phosphates and all the other components of life arrive here on meteorites. They also grow here from simpler chemicals and elements naturally. DNA replaced RNA as the genetic info storage system by evolutionary means, because it’s so much more stable. Removing an oxygen atom from the ribose allows the double helix to form.
        If there appear to be big leaps in the history of life, it’s only because the rate of evolution varies. This happened during the Cambrian, when hard body parts fueled an arms race, such that sensory organs and jaws developed.

      • Just like a “biologist”…. making all kinds of assertions such to hang onto a belief in an assumption.
        Never capable in carrying out objective mathematical analysis. How long would it take to randomly assemble 10^9 base pairs? Simple question. No answer from the “scientists”.
        God inspired the bible. How do we know? The Bible said so. Who wrote the bible? Men inspired by God.
        Evolution is a fact. The evidences is all around you. How do you know? Because everything evolved.
        2 examples of circular reasoning.
        Real scientists have no fear of challenging their assumptions. Religious zelots (among the scientific crowd) want to advance THEIR pov and never doubt their own voice.

      • Paul,
        I don’t know why something so simple is so hard for you to grasp.
        Nucleotides don’t randomly assemble in DNA today. The sequences are passed down with a few changes, or in some cases total duplication. Mutations in DNA can and do occur more or less randomly, but the vast majority of the genome doesn’t change in each generation. Indeed, much of it has been preserved and conserved since the beginning, which is one evidence of common descent.
        The first living thing didn’t even use DNA. Simple protocells consisted of a self-assembled membrane containing self-assembled components, to include RNA, which acts as both genetic information storage system and metabolic catalyst. The self-assembly of lipid membranes and RNA has been observed in the field and lab. The natural separation of membranes and catalytic functions of RNA have also been observed. Nucleotides, amino acids, sugars and phosphates, ie the constituents of life, both arrive here from space and self-assemble from simpler compounds on earth.
        Over time, due to its evolutionary selective advantage, DNA replaced RNA as the genetic storage apparatus in cells, but not in all viruses. RNA now however still carries out the transfer and messenger functions, as well as serving as the core of the ribosome, ie protein factory. As noted, the lack of an oxygen atom in the ribose of DNA allows it to form a double helix, more stable than RNA.
        You really ought to study a subject before presuming to comment upon it.

      • …Never capable in carrying out objective mathematical analysis. How long would it take to randomly assemble 10^9 base pairs? Simple question. No answer from the “scientists”.
        so.. how long…. biologist who can’t do simple math.

      • Paul,
        The point is that they don’t randomly assemble now.
        If you want to know how long it took for genomes to reach their present order of magnitude from the first genome, which might have been as small as an oligomer or polymer of just five monomer nucleotides, the answer is less than 3.4 billion years, from around 3.9 billion years ago to sometime before 500 million years ago, when large animals with hard body parts became abundant.

      • I should add that, since sponges have almost as many genes as humans (and 70% the same), a multicellular level of genome complexity might have arisen as early as a billion years ago.
        The oldest fossil sponges yet found date to more than 600 million years ago, but their genomic complexity is already so great that that level may well have been reached hundreds of millions of years previously.
        The free-living, single-celled ancestors of sponges (and all other animals), choanocytes (flagellated cells with a collar of protoplasm at the base of the flagellum, numbers of which line the internal chambers of sponges and which resemble sperm), by contrast, have less complex genomes.

  13. there is still the question about what is the use of government action.

    Lots of governments protect the lives and assets of their citizens by regulating the release of chemicals that cause health problems or damage the productivity of land.
    It’s a good idea and it works well enough, in that people live and make a living much better than if anyone could just dump industrial chemicals into the groundwater.
    In the case of fossil fuel combustion there’s simpler market based solution: apply a tax when comes into the country or out of the ground. Done. The market then sorts out the best processes and materials for use throughout the economy.

  14. Seth wrote:
    “The greenhouse effect is a consequence of theory of optics. The fact that we have increased the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere isn’t a theory, it’s known from measurement. Optics predicts that we would then see an increase in global mean surface temperature, and this has been observed:”
    Let me fix that for you;
    The RADIATIVE greenhouse effect is a HYPOTHESIS DUE TO THE MISAPPLICATION of THE theories (sic) of optics. The fact that SOMETHING HAS increased the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere isn’t a theory, it’s known from measurement. MISAPPLICATION of Optics predicts that we would then see an increase in global mean surface temperature, and this WHEN TOTALLY IGNORING ERROR BARS has been observed : (and then he supplies a graph whose label includes the word “ESTIMATES”)
    Estimates are not, never have been and never will be observations.
    Cheers, KevinK.

    • The GHE has been shown in the lab. It can be calculated. It is real. Pretending it doesn’t exist is Flat Earth territory. What cannot be shown in the lab, nor observed over short periods, are the various amplifying and damping feedbacks of this watery planet. Especially against a noisy backgound of certain (but uncertain amplitude) natural variation shown by MWP and LIA on centenial scales, and Arctic ice variation on decadal scales. Suggest you sharpen your argument.

      • Sorry Rudd, but the Radiative Greenhouse Effect has never been demonstrated in any laboratory experiment.
        In contrast numerous experiments have shown that “back radiation” has no long term effect on the temperature inside a “greenhouse”. Are you aware that farmers routinely fabricate greenhousse out of plastic film that is transparent to IR radiation and these greenhouses have the same internal temperature (everything else being equal) as greenhouses that have been assembled with plastic films that are opaque to IR radiation.
        You can call me a “flat earther” all you like but I make my living by designing “applied radiation physics” equipment (aka “Optics”). My designs function as predicted, unlike the “Radiative Greenhouse Effect”. And we can and do routinely model “back radiation” and can actually predict the results when it is present.
        I can assure you that there is no “Radiative Greenhouse Effect” that has any effect on the average temperature at the surface of the Earth be it flat or otherwise.
        Suggest you study the theory and observed behavior of an Optical Integrating Sphere (AKA an Ulbricht Sphere). Specifically the concepts of “self absorption” and “transient response time”. These optical devices have been around for over a century, it is about time climate science attempts to understand how they function.
        And also study how Multi Layer Optical Interference Filters function, “back radiation” is key to the operation of these ultra thin optical devices.
        Cheers, KevinK

      • KevinK, simply not true. The labs use long glass tubes with various concentrations of CO2, and measure the attentuation through scattering of infrared frequency lasers. Easy to google, if you would just try. Blanket den!*l of basic physics is not the way forward.
        Your backradiation argument shows a lack of understanding of the actual GHE physics. Which has little to do with optics. It has to do with quantum absorption of infrared frequency photons by certain molecules, and the consequences of that. Only incoming solar radiation warms. Backscattered infrared is a manifestation of the GHE scattering of infrared by CO2 and H2O. It hinders cooling outbound LWR. GHE is not about direct heating. It is about hindered indirect cooling. Disproving a false conception of GHE is possible, but not useful.

      • The GHE has been shown in the lab
        =======================
        I’m with KevinK on this. CO2 is added to greenhouses as a fertilizer, not a warming agent. Quite frankly is is scientific malpractice to attribute CO2 to greenhouse warming. Greenhouses warm by limiting convection. No greenhouses add CO2 to aid in warming.
        Limiting convection is the true GH Effect. CO2 functions like horse manure, it is fertilizer.

      • My understanding of this is that it is an optical ‘thickening’ of the atmosphere – which leads to
        increased height of the effective radiating level. This in turn increases the lapse rate and thus
        the surface temperature. I think DWLWIR as a warming effect is irrelevant given that 70% of
        the Earth’s surface is a selective surface.
        The big assumption is that the flux remains the same or even increases (feedbacks are net
        positive – required I think to support CAGW).

      • ristvan writes

        It hinders cooling outbound LWR. GHE is not about direct heating. It is about hindered indirect cooling.

        Whilst I agree that GHGs will have a tendency to warm, your (admittedly highly simplified) argument is insufficient to describe the mechanism. By “hindering” you essentially mean IR makes more stops on its way out of the atmosphere. But the GHGs themselves do the radiating so more of them also means more radiation trying to leave.
        Its only when you include the impact of the lapse rate into the argument that it makes sense. Its a necessary component of the argument.

  15. There are sound philosophical reasons for defining a “fact” as a kind of inference and a “theory” as a procedure for making inferences. These definitions identify the relationship between a fact and a theory. Under these definitions a “fact” differs from a non-factual inference in the respect that information needed for a deductive conclusion from an argument is not missing.
    Under these definitions, “global warming” is neither fact nor theory. It is a term that is commonly used in making an argument that is an “equivocation.” An equivocation looks like a syllogism but isn’t. Thus, while it is logically proper to draw a conclusion from a syllogism it is logically improper to draw a conclusion from an equivocation. To draw such a conclusion is the “equivocation fallacy.” The “global warming” scare is based applications of this fallacy under which “global warming” changes meaning in the midst of an argument and conclusions are drawn from this argument.

  16. I do not accept as fact that carbon dioxide is a ‘greenhouse’ gas, nor has such been verified in the laboratory.
    Carbon dioxide is a radiative gas. it absorbs and emits photons at various specific wavelengths. That is what has been verified in the laboratory.
    What the effect of this property, outside laboratory conditions , ie., in Earth’s atmosphere, is moot. We do not have the observational and empirical data to know what it is doing.
    The balance of evidence suggest that there is no first order correlation (on any scale) to levels of CO2 and temperature, and the fact that there is strong evidence (but not conclusive evidence) that levels of CO2 are a response to temperature, strongly undermines the assertion that CO2 is a ‘greenhouse’ gas.
    Of course, given that the data is not fit for purpose and cannot withstand the ordinary rigours of scientific inquiry means that it will be a long time before we have any definitive answers.

    • Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas (using the colloquial phrasing.) Whether the atmosphere has ways of dampening that effect or amplifying it is a theory which needs to be continuously studied, but the physics of carbon dioxide and its relation to energy retention is well understood.
      You don’t really prove anything by sticking your fingers in your ears and singing.

      • Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas
        ================
        CO2 is used in greenhouses to enhance plant growth. No commercial greenhouse in the world uses CO2 to warm the greenhouse, because it doesn’t work. Greenhouses warm by either:
        1. limiting convection.
        2. burning fossil fuels.
        Don’t agree? Show us the evidence. Where are the greenhouses that use CO2 for warming for something larger than a shoebox?

      • And yet you can build a regular greenhouse out of plastic film that is opaque or transparent to IR radiation and get the same temperature inside.
        How is it exactly that a very thin plastic film that is fixed in space and does not respond (significantly) to convection or conduction cannot replicate the alleged wondrous properties of 0.04% of the gaseous atmosphere that is a “radiative gas” ?
        All us “flat earther’s” still await an explanation, any explanation that matches the observations might do.
        But the “The Ocean’s Ate My Warming” seems an awfully lot like the Westminster Dog Show (my dog ate my homework).
        Cheers, KevinK (no fingers in my ears, and I can’t sing to save my life)

      • @lorcanbonda “You don’t really prove anything by sticking your fingers in your ears and singing.” Helpful, lends a lot of credence to your argument. Not.

      • “Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas”
        Yes it is used in convection limited greenhouses to promote plant growth.
        Other than that, it has ZERO warming effect in an open atmosphere.
        If you think it does… PROVE IT or STFU !!

    • I agree with Richard Verney here,
      CO2 is radiative gas (in the temperatures experienced on Earth but only in a few specific frequencies of EM radiation). So yes, that is a scientific “fact” under what we are talking about. But beyond that, we have no idea what it really does in the atmosphere.
      At the surface, it is colliding with 8.7 billion other gaseous molecules every single second. If it absorbs a photon in the specific EM frequencies, it now becomes much more energetic and the collision frequency increases by a factor of a thousand. It is just intercepting some photons in some frequencies and then exchanging that energy with the rest of the atmospheric molecules around it within a nanosecond – a billionth of a second.
      The other atmospheric molecules like N2, O2 and Argon are not radiative gases in the energy spectrum of Earth. But they are picking up energy by collisional energy exchange with every other atmospheric molecule (whether radiative or not) and every surface molecule that they are colliding with 7 billion times per second. Okay THAT is another scientific “fact” that climate science says NOTHING about. Sorry, N2, O2 and Argon are as energetic as the warm atmosphere dictates. It DOES NOT even matter whether they are radiative or not. They are absorbing energy and are never at “ground” state. Gorund state occurs at 3K, not 288K.
      And then, what radiative gas is sending the Earth’s energy back to space. Well that is CO2 and H20 again. THAT is also a scientific “fact”. CO2 is cooling off the Earth in the high stratosphere because now the collisional energy exchange falls to below 50% and CO2 is emitting away the Earth’s heat to space. Once the stratosphere gets to -50C, CO2 is the main molecule emitting the Earth’s energy to space. THAT is a scientific “fact” again. CO2 cools off the Earth here.
      There is no way anyone can really tell what CO2 does the Earth’s temperature in this scenario. Maybe it does nothing and only the bulk of the atmosphere matters at all. Maybe it warms the lower surface levels of the atmosphere but cools the upper levels. Maybe, maybe, maybe. No climate model is going to emulate collisional energy exchange that occurs at 8 billion times per second.

      • I built a working simulator of 100 atoms, slowed down zillions of times. It is ridiculously difficult for the simulator to properly calculate the path of the molecules as they collide. It is sort of like juggling. The computer ends up having to be everywhere at once to calculate the next collision, and when two molecules trap a third between them, and the third starts rattling about between them, try and find enough computer cycles to keep the simulator working. Either time slows to near zero, or you sacrifice realism.
        Now try and expand 100 atoms to planetary scale.

      • BE, there is a better way to formulate your thought, much more effective in the political arena.
        CO2 is a GHG. And, based on lab stuff and pure Planck a doubling would increase T by 1C. Based on grey earth models, maybe 1.2C without feedbacks. Lindzen’s number, so use it.
        The problem is that there are positive feedbacks like probably water vapor and negative feedbacks like probably clouds. So the net effect is uncertain. Current energy budget observational calculations suggest a total effective sensitivity of 1.5-1.8—- so no cause for alarm. Provably wrong GCMs nearly double that, but are contradicted by almost 150 years of observation—even when using provably fiddled surface temp data.

  17. Gravity is a fact. How and why we stick to this big rock… now that’s a theory. As is the evolutionary explanation as to how we got to exist on this rock.
    I guess us skeptics are wrong sometimes too.

    • conflicts will be more likely due to rising CO2. John Kerry and others are actively pushing this.
      ===============
      One is more likely to find that conflicts are rising due to John Kerry and others.

    • There are several. And about 50 years ago up to the present. And chimps share >99% geneic overlap with humans. Differences exclude newer discovered epigenetics.

      • Get a grip. Daily we hear that Climate Change is the greatest threat to the future from this nincompoop, only because real dangers remain “dirty words” in the PC world of the WH, and must never be spoken. Luckily he is your nincompoop not mine. Not that this is any great comfort.

      • You get a grip, pal. Displays of racial bigotry are ugly regardless of one’s position on issues.

      • AJ (SJW), Obama’s stupidity has nothing to do with his mixed race. Every race and ethnicity on Earth includes a substantial number of hopeless fools.
        We don’t need knee-jerking thought policemen crying “racism” every time they see a non-white character in a cartoon. I bet you wouldn’t say a word if it were D. Trump in this cartoon.

      • John@EF: I don’t like the image. I’d never post it. But that is irrelevant. This is America. We mock our presidents. Do a google image search of BushHitler or Bushmonkey if you don’t believe me. Nobody’s liberty is harmed and nobody’s life is impacted by the stupid photoshop. Get over it. If you want to live in a sterile, conformist society where people are not allowed to freely express themselves, you have plenty of options to choose from. Totalitarian creeps with a desire to repress expressions they don’t like are far more repulsive to me than a stupid photoshop.

  18. RM+NS evolution as the mechanism of the diversity of life on earth not only did not happen; it could not have happened. It is 19th century thinking, rotting like a whale carcass in the withering sun of a 21st century understanding of information and its properties. Otherwise, great article!

  19. I don’t accept many of these so called facts. 6+6=12 is out of place here, being defined by the number system and the operators such that if I changed the base the answer would be wrong. To call it a fact you have also explain all the terms and by doing so, end up saying nothing more that 0=0 (I can rearrange it to do just that) so it has no new useful information that applies to the world of science. Saying Global Warming is a fact is just plain wrong. You would need an infinite number of unquestionably accurate data points with provably no systematic errors to get close to elevation beyond a theory. Saying we have emitted CO2 at greater levels than at any time since 1840? Did we then and do we now measure every gram of CO2 emitted? And even then, isn’t this just data? Data may be a fact, but data alone doesn’t give you anything useful. Interpretation of the data is useful, but always is theoretical and subject to alternatives at any time in the future.

    • “6+6=12 is out of place here, being defined by the number system and the operators such that if I changed the base the answer would be wrong.”
      Yep. I can state unequivocally that 6+6 = C (hexadecimal, i.e. base 16), or 15 (base 7), or 14 (Octal – base 8)etc.

      • Hey guys, the notation is not the number. The numbers behave the same no matter which notation you use. 6= VI = 110 = C = 15 = 14, etc. The equation represents the fact that adding two numbers of equal dimension results in a number twice as large, based on the axioms of the number theory we all commonly use. People can, and have, devised number systems where the associative property in arithmetic doesn’t apply.

  20. the Russian model “INM-CM4.” It is the only model that comes close to reality.
    ============
    That in a nutshell says it all. Want to know what is going on in Climate and the US elections, ask the Russians.
    All the Americans can do is bitch and moan that the Russians hacked their email. Trying all the time to hide the simple fact that it was the Americans that wrote it.
    Hey, no problem. Don’t blame the messenger. The US has fixed elections all over the globe for the past 100 years. Why should it be any different at home? America has the best politicians money can buy.
    Every last one of them would sell your country out in a heartbeat for money on the table. Anyone that won’t doesn’t last the day. They are hounded out of office by planted stories in the US media.

    • “All the Americans can do is bitch and moan that the Russians hacked their email. Trying all the time to hide the simple fact that it was the Americans that wrote it. ”
      Should be:
      All the Leftwing Democrats can do is bitch and moan that the Russians hacked their email. Trying all the time to hide the simple fact that it was the Leftwing Democrats that wrote it.
      In fact, you should substitute “Leftwing Democrat” for “American” in your entire post.
      The Right wing is glad to see the DNC emails and the corruption they reveal. We hope the Russians, or some other actor, will turn over a copy of Hillary’s private server sometime soon. Maybe a hack of the Clinton Foundation emails.

  21. Tautology.
    Mr May,
    You may want to revisit the posting for multiple instances of tautology or circular definition.. eg “Theory of Natural Selection” is a “theory”. ummmmm ok.
    You also use “evolve” within your argument of evolution. Generally, that weakens your point. I paraphrase [evolution is a fact because organisms evolve].

    • Paul,
      Natural selection is a fact, not “just a theory”.
      Zeke,
      The theory of evolution is most certainly falsifiable. As Haldane said, a rabbit in the Cambrian would falsify it.
      Evolutionary theory makes testable, falsifiable predictions, which when found valid confirm the theory. But evolution itself is an observed fact.

    • Biologist wanna be can’t do math nor can it read. Mr May wrote:”Theory of Natural Selection” in his table. I suggest you take it up with him.

      • Paul,
        I did the math for you, which should have been easy for you, too.
        I guess one could still call natural selection a theory, since we still speak historically of the heliocentric theory of the solar system. But now both natural selection and the sun positioned near the center of the solar system are observations as well as theories, ie facts.

      • Wanna be biologist.. where is the math? I actually have done it for 10^9 base pairs and 1000 monkeys with 1000 type writers writing a sonnet by Shakespeare.
        So where is you math? You said you answered it. I don’t see it. So wanna be biologist, must you resort to BS and obfuscation to make your circular argument points?
        I ask yo again…
        How long does it take to randomly assemble 10^9 base pairs into a functioning organism?
        Biologist CAN’T do simple math.

  22. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas
    ===========================
    This is not a fact. Greenhouses do not use CO2 as a warming agent. Greenhouses use CO2 is used to enhance plant growth.
    Calling CO2 a greenhouse gas is the worst kind of scientific misdirection. Sure greenhouses use CO2, but they don’t use it to create warming. Until CO2 is shown experimentally to actually warm greenhouses no warming can be attributed to CO2.
    For every experiment that has shown CO2 to create warming in a greenhouse, there are two others that show it has no effect; that the effect is due to experimental design. Pump CO2 into a greenhouse. Tell us how much warming you find.

    • I think most people get the fact that real greenhouses work by restricting convection and have nothing
      to do with so-called greenhouse gases.

      • Right. The expression “greenhouse gas” refers to how we used to believe greenhouses work, not the way (we now believe) greenhouses actually work. Language is full of such metaphorical references to outmoded ideas and we shouldn’t let this distract us. The meaning of “the greenhouse effect” is that the atmosphere is more transparent to short wave than to long wave radiation. As far as I know, that’s true.

      • I have been taught “greenhouse gas is like a greenhouse” less than 20 years ago.
        So which one is it: we just recently learnt how greenhouses work or it’s long settled science but the climate communicators couldn’t get the message out to even their minions?

  23. There really isn’t any fundamental difference between “laws,” theories, and hypotheses. The definition of what constitutes a “fact” that is given above — namely, “an idea or truth that has unequivocally been proven to be true” — is not useful. Evolution is not a good example of a “fact,” simply because the entire body of knowledge is so large and complex, and is sure to contain some errors (even if these may not be fundamental ones).
    The example of “6+6=12” is correct. However, it can be shown to be true based on only logic itself, and therefore is not a good example of an empirical fact. A better example for that would be a single, isolated observation, such as the reading of the thermometer outside my window this morning at 8 a.m; or, to give a hypothetical example that would prove Einstein wrong, the detection of a photon that flies above vacuum light velocity.
    For those interested in the logical side of this sort of thing, I recommend Karl Popper’s book “Logic of scientific discovery” or maybe a shorter essay that summarizes the key ideas from the book.

    • “Evolution” is not an example of a proposition. Thus it lacks a truth value. Lacking a truth value, “evolution” cannot have the truth value of “true.” Thus, “evolution” is not a fact for a fact is a proposition having a truth value of “true.”

      • Well, I took “evolution” to mean “all current forms of life arose through evolution.” But you are right, it wasn’t clearly spelled out, neither by me nor in the head post.

      • In fact, I had an even more comprehensive idea of “evolution” in mind when writing my first comment; basically all the known and assumed facts related to the theory of evolution.

      • Evolution is the proposition that all life on this planet came from a common primordial ancester. So as such, all present life forms could, in theory, be traced back to this theorized primordial “super” organism. Extraordinary claims like this(!!!) would in all reasonableness, require equally extraordinary evidence. In my view the evidence, so far, is still languishing in the inconclusive tray.

  24. Great article. Great comments. I take issue with your contention that CO2 is a “greenhouse gas” because It is “verifiable in the laboratory”. Are there any laboratories the size of a planet? In what way does the atmosphere resemble a greenhouse? Does there exists anything that is a “greenhouse effect”?

    • Karabar, see several of my comments upthread. You want to win, then NEVER open with CO2 is not a GHG. It is. The issue is its planetary impact given uncertain feedbacks. Modeling that has not worked. Model T is much higher than observational T where it counts, in the atmosphere where GHE occurs. Sea level rise not accerleating as modeled. And so on. We have observational evidence that the effect (sensitivity) is about half of what has been modeled. And yherefore of no concern.

  25. Rudd wrote;
    “KevinK, simply not true. The labs use long glass tubes with various concentrations of CO2, and measure the attentuation through scattering of infrared frequency lasers. Easy to google, if you would just try. Blanket den!*l of basic physics is not the way forward.
    Your backradiation argument shows a lack of understanding of the actual GHE physics. Which has little to do with optics. It has to do with quantum absorption of infrared frequency photons by certain molecules, and the consequences of that. Only incoming solar radiation warms. Backscattered infrared is a manifestation of the GHE scattering of infrared by CO2 and H2O. It hinders cooling outbound LWR. GHE is not about direct heating. It is about hindered indirect cooling. Disproving a false conception of GHE is possible, but not useful.”
    Rudd, with all due respect, I am quite aware of how spectroscopy works. Long tubes, attenuation, scattering. lasers, got it. I do not “deny” any of that. And frankly “google” is not a technical reference work I would rely on in my profession.
    “hindering” cooling is not a precise technical term. Conductive thermal insulators (the pink “batts” in your ceiling) function by slowing the rate at which thermal energy flows through a system. Look up thermal diffusivity for a better understanding.
    The backscattered IR (something we can model) DOES NOT hinder cooling. The returning photons have no interaction with the outgoing photons.
    The “Radiative Greenhouse Effect” delays the continuous flow of photons through the atmosphere by causing some of them to make “another trip” through the atmosphere and hitting the surface another time (or multiple times). Given the dimensions of the atmosphere (say 5 miles) and the speed of light (670,616,629 mph, on a good day) this delay is not long enough to “hinder” the flow of energy through the system and has no effect on the average temperature. This is clearly shown in the total lack of correlation between temperature and CO2 concentration over any timeframe measured (decades, millions of years, higher CO2 lower temperatures, lower CO2 higher temperature, no correlation).
    The CO2 concentration changes the “response time”, ie the time it takes for the gases in the atmosphere to warm up/cool down after sunrise/sunset.
    Ironically the climate paleontologists have been looking at the wrong end of the time scale, they should be studying what happens over milliseconds, but there is no temperature database to support that,
    Cheers, KevinK.

    • K&, I tried, gently. You are exactly the sort of ‘skeptic’ that Obummer uses to ridicule the entire CAGW opposition. Please stop or at least tone it down. Why hand ‘illiteracy’ ammo to warmunists? You cannot win your argument no matter how vehemently repeated, cause it just aint so. You are like Hansen raging about meters of SLR by 2060. Educate yourself more. Try essay Sensitive Sensitivity and its footnotes. Don’t present such an obviously discreditable target.

      • Rudd, there is no correlation between average temperature and CO2 concentration, none. Folks that have been very well funded to find it have come up lacking (limp hockey sticks and all that).
        Rather that lecture me about “sensitivity” perhaps you could point out SPECIFIC errors in my analysis ? Perhaps my quoted value for the speed of light is too low by say 6 orders of magnitude, that might just make the “GHE” something to worry about.
        WHY is it exactly that agricultural greenhouses made of IR transparent plastic and IR opaque plastic show essentially the same temperature inside ???? This should not be if the “GHE” is real ???
        So next I suggest you look at different time scales, milliseconds not millions of years.
        And I don’t give a darn about being a “target”, foolishness will always be shown in the end.
        “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” From an influential guy.
        And for the record my predictions; “temperature and SLR are going to do what ever the heck they want to do, and we have no way to predict them”, are much closer than any of Dr. Hansen’s predictions.
        Strongly suggest you get some “Applied Radiation Physics” education, you are sorely lacking. Again strongly suggest you “study up” about the optical integrating sphere, it is the best analogy for the gaseous atmosphere of the Earth.
        Cheers, KevinK (a “target”)

        • There is a “correlation” in the sense that the correlation coefficient is non-nil.However, the maxim that “correlation is not causation” is well founded.

    • KevinK,
      Foolish Warmists will never accept standard physics. They don’t understand that silly terms involving the word greenhouse might just as well use the word banana, for all the real world relevance it has.
      CO2 heats nothing.
      Cheers.

      • Mike, yes I know, but I do enjoy “pushing” their buttons.
        Never a specific criticism, just the usual; “you should read more”, “you just can’t understand our really complicated explanation”, yada yada yada.
        Just once I would like a specific criticism like; your value for the speed of light is wrong.
        It is truly a belief, not science.
        Cheers, KevinK

      • MF, that is true. Agreed. But misconstrues the GHE. It is about reduced cooling, not about heating. Your ilk just keep handing stupid stuff to the other side. Please stop. Please. Or at least go elsewhere, as to not further pollute AW’s excellent and otherwise credible blog

      • ristvan,
        Might I respectfully suggest that if you really think that CO2 in the atmosphere elevates temperatures to above those which would apply in the absence of any atmosphere, you might at least supply a falsifiable hypothesis.
        Repeatedly claiming the existence of a “GHE” (about as relevant as claiming a “CO2 heating effect”) without a falsifiable hypothesis is purely unscientific.
        As I wrote, you might as well say that CO2 heats the planet due to the “banana effect”. It also has nothing to do with greenhouses, insulation with miraculous heating power, or anything similar.
        Nonsense all the way down. CO2 heats nothing, and cannot stop temperatures falling under clouds, at night, in the winter, or in the shade. Neither the greenhouse effect or the banana effect have any effect.
        Cheers,

    • I believe the mechanism is that the average time it takes for before an exited CO2 molecule radiates a photon having the same energy it absorbs is much slower than the average time it takes before an exited CO2 molecule transfer energy to molecules it collides with.

  26. Now just try and define your “greenhouse gas” using scientific language. One might just as well say “magic gas”. Equally undefinable. Not a fact at all.
    Give it a try. Bear in mind that filling a room with CO2 (for example) results in no increase in temperature at all. There isn’t even any scientific definition of the “greenhouse effect”.
    It’s about as silly as a “greenhouse gas”. It just goes to show that educational qualifications don’t prevent the holder from being delusionally psychotic, fra*dulent, gullible, or just plain silly.
    CO2 heats nothing. Not even planets.
    Cheers.

    • “Bear in mind that filling a room with CO2 (for example) results in no increase in temperature at all.”
      You were proven wrong by an early experiment Mike, apparently you haven’t done the research. That experimentalist filled his room with CO2 and found +5F increase in temperature by thermometer. Read up on gas extinction coefficients.

  27. So I’ll quibble with the table. According to your definitions, if ‘evolution’ is a fact (things change, stuff happens …) then so is relativity. Light bends in a gravitational field. Observable fact. The GPS system is designed with relativity. Indeed, when you look at it, relativity is more of a ‘fact’ than evolution.
    Which leads to another point. I’m not sure using evolution as the headliner example here is the best approach. Climate changes. Evolution happens. Both of these are facts but they are not really scientific facts until accompanied by an explanation for how the climate changes and how (and on what time scale) evolution happens. “The sun appears to go around the earth” was an observation, but not really a scientific one. “The earth is at the center of the universe” is a little more of a scientific statement and was, obviously, testable and found wrong. Galileo insisted to his dying day that the planets had to go in circular orbits because … well because they simply had to go in circular orbits. That idiot Kepler who was postulating elliptical orbits was suggesting something that, in Galileo’s opinion was simply wrong on basic metaphysical principles. And so it goes. Scientific argument, explanation, mathematical theories, experimental observation, laced with lots of argument and plenty of human failings.
    We know much of AGW-driven climate science is already failing. We see it in the CO2 fertilization effect, the refusal of the atmosphere to obey the models, the remaining mysteries of cloud feedback, ocean heat, aerosol physics, and so much more. So much interesting science to investigate — what a tragedy that it has somehow been reduced to the phrase ‘settled science’.

    • That “light bends in a gravitational field” is a generalization from specific instances in which it was observed that light bent in a gravitational field. Is this generalization true? No, in the next event an instance could be observed in which it was not true that light bent in a gravitational field. Thus, the proposition that “light bends in a gravitational field” is a theory rather than being a fact.

      • I think a better wording of the statement would be “light bends in a curved gravitational field(such as one near a suitably massive object)”. Unimpeded by mass a gravitational field is flat and light flies straight.

  28. Several issues.
    Some ‘facts’ are only ‘true’ in certain contexts.
    Newtons laws don’t hold up at large scales, this doesn’t mean they are untrue, but that they are only true in certain contexts, or perhaps only at certain scales. They don’t seem to hold up at the subatomic level either, within quantum thermodynamics. One idea is that different ‘laws’ apply at different scales within the universe, both at the very large and the very small, what ‘laws’ we know seem to break down. This is certainly debated.
    Numbers are a human invention. They don’t exist in nature. So to say 6+6=12 is only true in terms of logic, but there is no such thing as a ‘6’ or a ’12’, these are only representations of reality, they are not reality itself. This might be pedantic, but you would be surprised how many get in a muddle over it.
    If you think mathematics is the universal god, at the quantum level numerical scale doesn’t seem to apply. The quantum level seems to exist without any scale, which is why you get things like instantaneous effects (proven in the lab), and ‘spooky action at a distance’, as termed by Einstein. An electron seems ‘connected’ with another electron over distances to the scale of the universe itself.
    ‘Numbers’ is also what also got the Pythagoreans all in a muddle when they didn’t like the idea the square root of 2 was ‘irrational’ (i.e. can’t be expressed as the ratio of two whole numbers) and where we get the word irrational meaning ‘illogical’. They actually believed numbers were ‘real’ things, like apples or people, and to believe otherwise was illogical. But actually there is nothing illogical or irrational about the square root of two, it is simply a magnitude that exists on a spectrum; what might be called ‘irrational’ is ascribing some kind of absolute reality to invented arbitrary divisions like integers.
    Even Hawking stumbles down the Pythagorean numerical cult path, with his book ‘God created the integers’; actually man did, and many depictions of ‘god’ are also only created by man. (‘If an ox could draw a God, he would draw it in the shape of an ox’. Or, if a physicist who studies atomic bangs could come up with an origin to the universe, would he come up with a Big Bang (?)).
    Numbers are still worshipped as some kind of ‘god’ to mathematicians. If reality is a spectrum, as suggested by Einstein’s space-time, then numbers (which are essentially arbitrary divisions) have limited value in representing and describing reality.
    Another example one could also describe is how ‘infinity’ is a convenient invention of mathematicians, there is good evidence that infinity does not actually exist in this universe, which is itself, not infinite (which is also why it can’t be infinitely old). (This does not imply that ‘infinity’ can’t exist outside this universe, just that there is solid empirical evidence it doesn’t exist within it. And furthermore, if the universe can’t be infinitely old, and you can’t get something coming from nothing, it actually implies that there must be an ‘infinity’/or ‘ultimate cause’ outside of space-time-the ontological argument). For example, people often say there is ‘an infinite amount of numbers, or magnitudes, between 1 and 2’. This is untrue, if quantum thermodynamics holds. For example, it seems you can’t get below a certain physical value for things like quanta (packets of light), and measurements seem to indicate that space itself has an absolute limit to being divided. In other words, physical measurements seem to indicate that there is not an ‘infinite amount of values’ between two points in space, this is an invention. The concept of ‘infinity’ itself as a legitimate part of an equation and a symbol was debated for some time by mathematicians, and should probably be withdrawn.
    I would also say that natural selection, man-made climate change to some degree, the fact that some dinosaur species are already extinct, and relativity, are all facts, as ‘facts’ are defined. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they apply in all scales at all times and in all contexts, or that they automatically over-ride all other variables. The human mind does this, because the mind is pre-disposed to drawing gods in our own depiction and then applying them in all contexts (the will to power), like an ox drawing an ox god.

      • Ok. By the way i also tried to get into oil, but ended up in metals, because they only gave oil jobs to those who pandered to their British oil overseers (the high marks I got were irrelevant), who are now running things like coral reef science. Australia is still just a colony, after all.

  29. Re: Your Figure 1 and the variety of failed climate models.
    There is a thin purple line that seems a better match with observations. It seems like a fairly obvious question: How do the assumptions/calculations of that model differ from all of the others?

  30. The problem is not a scientific one, it is a problem of rhetoric.
    Clearly change happens. The climate changed before the advent of mankind — most notably from a anoxic composition before biological photosynthesis thru the “Great Oxygenation Event” about 2 billion years ago. Change happens. But that is not what the alarmists are saying.
    So, we talk about human caused changes. And clearly human activity has changed climates here and there, from time to time, as when the Sinai Peninsula can be seen from space to turn from yellow to green to yellow again whenever the political control shifts from Egypt, to a neighboring nation, and back. Over grazing is so frequent a problem with such severe climatic (and economic) changes associated with the issue that we give it a name — “the tragedy of the commons”. And yet here again to agree with the alarmist that human activity can cause such changes does not mean we agree with the entire proposition. It’s not what they mean.
    And so we come to carbon dioxide, and clearly the excavation and combustion of fossil fuels removes carbon from the ground and puts it into the air. This is a change. Clearly any action has some sort of reaction, so there is a change resulting in changing the composition of air. But it is not at all clear when and where and how much and how costly, or beneficial, that change may be. It is CERTAIN however that the change, of whatever size and direction and speed, is NOT GLOBAL. And it is not, solely, WARMING. The Arctic warm while the Antarctic cools. Some areas are wetter and some dryer. Some places the night time is cloudier, and other places clouds are thinner. Some places see the range of temperatures from day to night narrowing, while others see wider swings. Stipulating that changes to the atmosphere result in consequential changes, even the alarmists have surrendered the argument when they abandoned the term “global warming” — because we can’t actually see one similar common effect across the entire globe. “Change” — okay, but NOT “warming”.
    And as soon as we admit that we’re discussing changes here and there, beneficial and detrimental, drastic and mild, sooner or later, reversible and irrevocable, some foreseeable and some wholly beyond our ability to predict — the basis for international action by super-governments collapses. We are NOT all in the same boat. We are not all suffering from the same risks. Some of us may be at some risk in some places, and others may in fact want more rain, or warmth, or ice-free channels thru the polar regions, or other changes. Various factions who have various problems, or opportunities, do not resolve their different viewpoints peacefully via government actions. Governments tend to be very blunt instruments on big problems. Governments go to war. Sometimes they form treaties and alliances, first, in order to make the sides clearer and the wars bigger. But governments go to war as surely as water runs downhill. “Business as usual”, in James Hansen’s terminology, goes into conflicts at a vastly reduced scale. Competitors may go bankrupt, but few are devastated. Winners and losers tend to survive to contest again in other markets. Changes in the actual environment are quickly met with changes in the economic and business environments. And on the whole things tend to improve — not everywhere, not all at once, and not for all. But there’s no reason to suppose that business as usual can’t exploit changes in climate any less effectively than business exploits, and profits from, resource depletion, waste disposal, and technological change generally.

  31. Sorry, but General Relativity is still a theory and it is currently patched up with dark matter and dark energy. If these predicted mechanisms aren’t eventually found, then it has problems. Evolution is a theory too, albeit extremely successful and productive, it has changed too often to be a fact. Successful explanations and predictions don’t turn theories into facts.

    • Martin,
      “Evolution is a theory too, albeit extremely successful and productive”
      What has it produced? . . I mean other than the idea that it’s productive ?
      Eugenics seems about as “useful” as it gets ; )

      • I meant scientifically productive, hypothesis generation, making sense of the order and behavior we see, etc. Even making contributions outside the field, such as genetic algorithms, etc.

    • Evolution is both a theory and a fact, as with gravity. Both evolution and gravitational attraction have been observed. Both facts have a body of theory explaining them.
      Evolution has been productive in many practical ways. It has led to great scientific, mathematical (statistical) and medical advances.

  32. “Predicts” is inaccurate. “Projects” is accurate. Modern climate models do not “predict” but rather “project.” Projections differ from predictions in providing no information about the outcomes of events.

  33. Ferd..
    I always read your posts and find them informative. As an Engineer, I am knowledgeable about radiation, but my question will expose how limited my detailed knowledge of the greenhouse theory is. Several questions come to mind. Assuming the theory is correct, it seems as though the greenhouse gas theory is presented as a one cycle process. The CO 2 captures a portion of the energy radiated from earth which is subsequently radiated back to earth and that is the end. In my mind it would seem that the process continues as the energy would be radiated back and forth multiple times with only a portion captured each cycle until the remaining “heat” becomes small. While the sun is adding heat during the daylight hours, this stops when the sun sets which is evident since the earth temperature rises in the summer when the day is longer and the shorter night hours reduce the net energy radiation to space.
    What is wrong with this scenario?

    • @ catcracking
      Yes, your idea (I hesitate to call it a theory as I would not wish to be pulled to shreds over the use of that word!) makes sense to me too. I think the example of the warming or no warming effect in a greenhouse, by adding large amounts of CO2, could be somewhat spurious?
      My reason for saying that is that in a greenhouse situation, one is not dealing with the radiative effect of heat, such as it is from the Earth into the atmosphere – because there is no ‘implied’ heat inside a greenhouse. Therefore, I do go along with the idea that CO2 (on its own) would not cause warming – which as others have said above, confirms.
      Whether CO2 in the atmosphere has any effect on warming I have yet to see any solid proof. If it does have any effect, from what I have read, it is barely measurable.
      I found the discussion on this subject (CO2) quite exhilarating and wish it had not come to an end. But generally I come to these threads after everyone has gone to bed so, for me, none of the questions I might think of to ask, get answered.

    • catcracking July 26, 2016 at 9:14 pm
      “… the energy would be radiated back and forth multiple times …”

      An average, the energy represented by a photon coming in from the Sun, spends time in about 8 billion different molecules before it is re-radiated to space. That is a lot of back and forth. How many of those molecules are CO2? Climate science acts as if it is 7.999 billion while in reality, it is probably just 50% of 0.03% of the 8 billion.

  34. with respect the author should go and read a little philosophy of science and rewrite the article removing the word ‘fact’ from it.
    The cause is not helped here.

  35. Governments are actually better at starting wars unnecessarily than they are at fighting them.

  36. Sorry Andy but I must disagree and add to the chaos
    Your definition of Fact…an idea or truth [?] that has been proven to be unequivocally true……..doesn’t hold up
    A fact is only a “fact” within the limited range in which we can test it.
    It is generally the case that when we decapitate someone they die…but there may be circumstances where they survive. It’s happened with chickens _____https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_the_Headless_Chicken
    Similarly it is a “fact” that the gravitational constant is 6.674×10−11 N⋅m2/kg2 but it may have been different in the past, may be different in the future, may be different elsewhere in the universe or may be totally different in some other universe.
    Or it may depend on how stuff is distributed…https://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0202058.pdf
    Similarly the speed of light is a “fact”…or is it ?
    http://www.livescience.com/29111-speed-of-light-not-constant.html
    Perhaps it’s a fact that light at least has a speed…or does it ?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/18/us/scientists-bring-light-to-full-stop-hold-it-then-send-it-on-its-way.html
    All is flux saith the preacher..

    • Facts and Laws are temporary things to be sure. From my essay: “I might add that while facts and laws don’t often change, they are easily dismissed when contradictory data are gathered.”

      • Facts are not temporary. Facts are the way things are. They are entirely independent of our theorizing (except, of course, when they are facts about our theorizing). “Contradictory data” can show that what we thought was a fact is not a fact after all. The fact was a fact all along.

  37. Sorry but 6 + 6 = 14. It is not an unequivocal fact that it equals 12. You have made an invalid assumption of a decimal system in your statement of what is unequivocal fact so it is not a fact except in a specific context.

  38. Overall, I agree with this article, but I must confess a bit of dissapointment over the table. The extinction of the dinosaurs (non-avian dinosaurs, that is) is a fact. HOW the dinosaurs went extinct is a theory – a theory with much supporting evidence. As is the Big Bang.
    However, this article seems to fall for the common misconception that layman’s theory = scientific theory. Am I just misinterpreting something here or did this article truly mix up the two?

    • There is much evidence that the Big Bang theory is BS.
      Besides, “scientists” are as often misguided by their egos and/or corrupt as “laymen.”
      Today, it is much more probable that an independent layman would have a more balanced, informed, and rational opinion than a Mann-like government bureaucrat who went through the loops and hoops of the Academic maze to get a piece of paper that allows him a sinecure of washing bottles and sorting buttons at real people’s expense.

  39. A theory is a conjecture that has _so far_ resisted all attempts to disprove it. No theory is ever proven. All theories are always provisional.

    • That was my overall point, thank you. In a way it is also true of facts and laws. It is just that, IMHO, facts and laws are replaced and theories are modified. Fine distinction to be sure. Thanks for the comment, this whole hypothesis, theory, law, fact distinction is semantic. That is why I wanted this sort of debate.

  40. Q: What proves that Leif Svalgaard is marching in the 5th column?
    A: “Only low solar variability models (those on the right of Figure 3) are used by the IPCC to compute man’s influence on climate although just as much evidence exists for the higher variability models on the left.”

  41. “In the scientific community, for both a law and a theory, a single conflicting experiment or observation invalidates them”
    No, this is really not true. The problem is that observations are often theory laden. It is quite rational when confronted with one contrary observation to question whether it is what you think, and whether it really means what you think it means.
    If we find that its not warming as predicted, its quite reasonable to ask whether there is something wrong with our measurements.
    The thing that has gone wrong with climate science is not this, which is quite normal in all science. Its rather that the quality of the analysis and the quality of experiment and quality of the theories is defective.
    If you like, there is nothing in principle wrong with making adjustments to past temps. Its just that the ones they have made are lacking in justification.
    Need to read some more philosophy of science.

  42. Andy May
    Thanks for trying to address fact, hypothesis, theory and law.
    Within the scientific method, “facts” should be equated to “objective observation” not law.
    “Climate change” is commonly used as an equivocation by climate alarmists to imply “catastrophic majority anthropogenic global warming.” rather than the scientific definition of long term change (> 30 years average).
    Your use of “evolution” is another ambiguity or equivocation mixing degenerative microevoution, creative macroevolution, and abiogenesis.
    Microevolution: The facts of mutations are observed to degrade function and explained as the hypothesis/theory of “microevolution” and a degeneration of existing function. e.g, sickle cell anemia.
    Secondly the term “evolution” has multiple meanings in common usage. Your usage is at least confusing.
    is an hypothesis that advocates claim to be a law by equivocation over multiple meanings. Micro evolution
    Mutations are widely observed and often cause degeneration or degradation of existing functions such as numerous cancers as documented in the database OMIM – Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man
    That has more than 21565 documented mutations. Similar change and degradation of function causes development of resistance to drugs. Such mutations are best termed “micro-evolution”.
    Micro-mutation with differences in geological fossils is commonly extrapolated to the hypothesis of creative macro evolution of new function.
    The mathematical probability of such is astronomically small. In reality, macro-evolution is unable to explain the Cambrian explosion of genomes etc.
    See Doug Axe Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed.
    review.
    Michael Behe Limits of Evolution
    Yet advocates claim that macroevolution is not just a “hypothesis”, or even a “theory” but a “law” fact” because we see complex organisms – by presuming materialism and excluding the alternative hypothesis of intelligent design. By blurring of terms “evolution” is then used as an equivocation by leveraging the facts of mutations to assert the incredibly improbable creative generation of new forms.
    For quantitative math on why creative macro evolution doesn’t work see Publications at Evolutionary Informatics Lab
    Thirdly, there is no credible theory for the abiogenic origin of life of a self reproducing cell forming by stochastic processes from inert chemicals. That is even more remote than macro evolution.
    As such, “evolution” is the polar opposite from gravity on a quantitative scientific basis.
    Please avoid using evolution in your examples.
    Your terms “relativity” as a “theory” but Newton’s gravitation as a “law” are confusing. The distinction between law and theory used to be taught but language is changing. See:
    Why is Einstein’s theory of relativity still a theory?Physicist Mark Barton opines:

    Because somewhere around 1900, the fashion changed, especially in physics. Theory had tended to mean “far-fetched, over-complicated, speculative explanation” and law had tended to mean “well-established regularity, presumptively decreed as a literal law for natural things by God”. Suddenly that changed. Scientists kept discovering interesting regularities, but pretty much stopped calling them laws. Conversely, “theory” became the neutral term for a logically structured attempt to explain something.

    Please add Post Newtonian gravity as a theory along with Special Relativity and General Relativity.
    See: Gravity: Newtonian, post-Newtonian and General Relativistic

    • Thanks, you make some valid points and the definitions of these terms have changed a lot over time. But, commonly a “law” is something like Ohm’s Law and is descriptive. Theories and hypothesis (which can be considered the same thing) are attempts at explaining why something happens, trial ideas meant to be modified at some point. I’ve read about the finer points of evolutionary theory that you mention, but that is getting too far in the weeds. I chose evolution as an example because it is a well known case of two opposing theories that merged. I suspect that at some point in the future something similar will happen in climate science.

      • “I chose evolution as an example because it is a well known case of two opposing theories that merged. ”
        … what? What 2 opposing theories?
        1) abiogenesis and 2) God?
        I’m pretty sure there are various other theories out there. I’m pretty sure both can not be proven scientifically and am more sure that both are polar opposites and are opposed to any attempt at merging.

      • captainfish
        The scientific hypothesis alternative to abiogenesis is intelligent design where observed evidence has the appearance of being caused by intelligent agents not stochastic chaos per the 4 laws of nature.

        The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion. . . .Positive evidence of design in living systems consists of the semantic, meaningful or functional nature of biological information, the lack of any known law that can explain the sequence of symbols that carry the “messages,” and statistical and experimental evidence that tends to rule out chance as a plausible explanation.

        See IntelligentDesignNetwork.org

      • David,
        Intelligent Design is not a scientific hypothesis. It does not and cannot make falsifiable hypotheses. It is not just an unscientific, religious faith, but indeed anti-scientific, since it trows up its hands and says, “That’s irreducibly complex!”, so there is no reason to find out how such a structure or process arose.
        Behe for instance considers microbial flagella “irreducibly complex”, but since he gave up on the problem, the evolution of these structures, which vary widely among bacteria, has been explained. They are anything but irreducibly complex. Many of their parts have functions on their own.
        https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13663-evolution-myths-the-bacterial-flagellum-is-irreducibly-complex/
        Under oath in the Dover case, Behe was forced to admit that evolution is a fact.
        That case also showed, hilariously, that so-called “ID” texts were simply packs of creationist lies reworded.

    • Completely and totally wrong. Sorry.
      Mutations can be beneficial, deleterious or neutral. In an changed environment, formerly lethal mutations can become beneficial.
      One example is nylon-eating bacteria. From time immemorial, sugar-eating bacteria which suffered a simple point mutation were doomed to die out. But after nylon entered their environment, the same mutation became hugely beneficial.

      • YOU bear burden of proof to show beneficial mutations sufficient to overcome harmful mutations. OLIM shows mutations harmful – cancers etc. Where are the “beneficial” ones? Sickle cell anemia is still harmful to health though better survival of malaria. Rhetoric and hand waving do not make science. Your lack of evidence does not prove “totally wrong” assertion. I gave two books & publications documenting the issues I raised. You gave assertions! Start studying Aristotle and logical fallacies. Then try the scientific method summed up by Richard Feynmann.
        Evidence so far >> 20,000 to 0 for Harmful to beneficial mutations.
        For quantitative forward calculating population dynamics see
        Mendel’s Accountant by John C. Sanford et al. You bear the burden of finding positive mutations are able to dominate over harmful ones. Current evidence is harmful ones progressively accumulate dragging down a species. OLIM & cancer rates support that. Good luck on your Sisyphean task..

      • I have all the evidence in the world.
        The proof is everywhere around you. All living things carry mutations. Most are neutral, some harmful and perhaps fewer beneficial.
        Beneficial mutations get preferentially passed to the next generation. The most harmful mutations don’t accumulate because they’re lethal.
        Nylon-eating bacteria are able to exploit a whole new food source. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria proliferate in the hospital environment without competition from those strains still susceptible to drugs.
        Some 30 to 80% of plant species result from whole genome duplication, or polyploidy, an extreme mutation event. Many animals, including humans, also have evolved partially through polyploidy.

      • Gabro “Most are neutral, some harmful and perhaps fewer beneficial” is highly wishful thinking. Look at reality and you will find most mutations are harmful to some degree. “Beneficial are vanishingly small and extremely difficult to benefit over mutation degradation. Check out Mendel’s Accountant for yourself with the best experimental published data you can find. Listen to Doug Axe, the scientist quantifying capabilities of mutations to form enzymes – After he and others diligently tried to form enzymes by darwinian mechanism – only to find that they could NOT be formed in the lab as neoDarwinism predicted. A huge disappointment. Nylon is a pure synthetic introduction. Nylon-eating bacteria is again a degradation of natural function.

      • David,
        You are spewing creationist garbage to a real, practicing life scientist whose evolutionary research has saved untold numbers of lives.
        Sorry, but come back after you’ve actually taken college biology courses, let alone PhD and med school.
        Your creationist pack of lies is beyond laughable.

  43. “The idea of man-made climate change causing a catastrophe at the scale of Islamic terrorism is pure speculation.”
    Nevertheless there is a a convergence Islamic terrorism with environmentalists -and that’s about all political fractionisms:
    Islamic terrorism as environmentalists want to reestablish feudalism, the base of their economy shall be feudalism, the wealth of their economy shall be counted in domestic livestock including their slaves.
    Whereas the base of developed economy is capitalism, whether chinese capitalism, russian or US.
    The base of developed economy, it’s agent and wealth are science, technology and as virtual as real money.

  44. i see a lot of nitpicking on the terms in just that little scheme of facts laws and theory
    some forget here that you don’t build a bridge using quantumphysics, but using Newtonian laws of gravity to calculate forces and loads.
    it is also a fact that species evolve. the why they evolve question is another matter that is still in full debate and is a theory, but species evolve by adapting, that’s a fact that has been observed everywhere. like this birds in cities do sing differently then the same species of birds in rural area’s.
    why this happens is a theory: the theory is that the city birds use the best audible frequencies for their kind to be sure to be heard above the noise of the city. That’s not proven yet so that’s the “why question, that is a theory”.
    to be really correct you should have said “6+6=12 in a decimal system” however it is safe to assume we all know this applies to a decimal system when using it as a simple descriptive example. i did read it as being in that context.
    air with increased CO2 is a bigger insulator gas then the air we breathe now it heats up more slowly but releases the heat more slowly which is what greenhouse gasses do. so CO2 is a greenhouse gas. it’s a fact. that of course decoupled from the CO2 induced warming meme.
    what i question is why there is not so much info to find about the INM-CM4 model? It seems indeed to be the most correct hindcast. It’s a pity to find apart from the abstract nowhere some in depth articles about it.
    it would be interesting to see an article about how it scores with reality, and how it achieves this, and where it is underestimating/overestimating the actual data….
    that’s actually the big question i am asking

  45. I note that there is much discussion on how CO2 operates within the atmosphere versus the lab.
    As noted in the text book below, we do acknowledge CO2 to be radiantly active gas, which absorbs and emits radiation of a limited number of frequencies. The text book goes into detail how CO2 does this from page 563 onward. Its a good read.
    Water vapour (H20) operates in a similar manner to CO2, but over a wider range of overlapping frequencies.
    As shown on pages 571/572 show me that H2O gram per gram is twice as active as CO2 at transmitting radiant energy.
    Taking into account that H2O is much more prevalent in the atmosphere informs me we should ignore CO2 and consider H2O instead.
    The concept that CO2 does not transmit ‘heat’ energy through the atmosphere out to space concerns me because:
    The only way that the suns energy, having done its work warming the surface slightly, can leave into outer space is via radiation.
    Don’t get me wrong, all gases take part in the ‘heat’ energy transfer by conduction and convection, but eventually we reach the genuine top of the atmosphere. How does the heat energy make the last jump into free space?
    For example, we use hydrogen to cool grid scale electrical generators: http://www.energy.siemens.com/hq/pool/hq/power-generation/generators/SGen-3000W.pdf as an example.
    Here Hydrogen is conducting the heat from the alternator to a heat exchanger.
    So all gases in the atmosphere move ‘heat’ around but only radiant active gases can dump it out into space.
    The radiant gases listed in the book below are: CO2, H2O, CH4, O3, NH3, N2O, and SO2.
    The list is in the book author order, note he has CO2 listed first, I suspect H2O should be listed first in the list.
    N2 and O2 are not radiantly active.
    If I have it wrong please let me know, I like to learn.
    A heat transfer textbook third edition by Lienhard & Leinhard – the file I have is ahttv131.pdf
    Freely downloadable. You may find a slightly later edition, they do update it from time to time.

  46. The difference between gravity and climate change is a bit confusing. If all the reports of the latter hits you on the head and you die, will the cause be the former or the latter?

  47. Wow …. the level of nit picking is astounding. I personally like the article, and unlike some here, I get the meaning of what the author intended.
    This is my favorite …. “6+6=12 in the decimal system”. …. um … how bout this …
    I have this many rocks in one pile, and the same many rocks in another pile, when I put them all into one pile, I will have the sum of the two piles. There is no alternative outcome … unless you are talking about animals … for which case. …….
    I have have one male cat, and put it with one female cat … miraculously, now i have 10 cats [mom, dad, and 8 kittens]. …. so in that case, 1+1 = 10! …. btw .. anyone interested in a kitten??

    • Well, it depends. 6 gallons of water + 6 gallons of alcohol do not equal 12 gallons of water/alcohol mixture.

    • …and be careful when you put those rocks into one pile, lest one be broken and your total how many goes up ; )

    • ..No, A “Green House” has no convection, THAT is why it gets hot, not because of CO2 !

  48. Your first graph showed your falsity: Evolution is a theory. It has not been proved unequivocally true. And species do not evolve: animals adapt.

    • Evolution is a scientific theory, not just a simple “layman’s” theory. It has been proven through genetics, the fossil record, vestigial structures, homologous structures, etc, etc, etc. Species certainly have evolved. For instance, whales still have bones left over from their four-legged ancestors. Bones that do nothing and are completley useless. These are an example of vestigial structures.
      Every species is technically a transitional species. Species are always changing, just very slowly.

      • Evolution is a fact, with a body of explanatory theory. Same as universal gravitation. Theory is subject to refinement, as when Einsteinian gravitational theory supplemented Newtonian. Same thing happens with evolutionary theory, but the fact of evolution remains, as does gravitation.

      • Should also add, that as in all real science, startling new observations can shake up theory. This happened recently in astrophysics, with the apparent discovery that the rate of expansion of the universe is accelerating.

  49. I have an idea that I put up for discussion. Time is a consequence of the deterioration of space. That is why time is (mostly) linear and irreversible. This might also explain entropy.
    Comments?

  50. The post seems to imply that there is disagreement over the magnitude of TSI. As I understand it, most proponents of significant solar influence don’t deny that TSI is just as tiny as the IPCC says it is. Where they differ is in saying there are other solar influences than TSI (for instance the Svensmark mechanism via cosmic rays deflected by the solar wind).

    • “TSI is just as tiny as the IPCC says it is”. This, of course, should read “variation in TSI is just as tiny as the IPCC says it is”.

  51. simple-touriste ( July 28 at 10:53 am )
    Well said. For global warming arguments, “forcing” is a term of deception. It is used in support of applications of the reification fallacy. Under this fallacy, an abstract object is treated as if it were a concrete object in making an argument. Here, the abstract object is the abstract Earth whose temperature is “forced” to rise. If they existed, concrete Earths would constitute the statistical population for the ongoing study of the global warming phenomenon but there is no such population. A similar role is played by reification under the “forcing” argument.

    • “Here, the abstract object is the abstract Earth whose temperature is “forced” to rise.”
      It isn’t just abstract and a thought experiment, it’s un-physical. You can’t construct a consistent zero GHG Earth, or it would be a dead, dry body with little climatic similarity with the Earth that supports vegetal life.
      It’s like saying Earth is a big Moon (planet) body (not a moon obviously) with an atmosphere.
      Climate science is pretty much the typical Hollywood movie.

      • simple-touriste
        We agree on the point of fact but express this fact in differing languages. In the philosophical literature the distinction is between “abstract” and “concrete” objects. A “concrete” object is a really existing physical object such as the Earth on which we live. An “abstract” object is “abstracted” (removed) from those features in the common set of features of a set of concrete objects whose values vary among the elements of this set. Thus, for example, the abstract “cow” lacks the feature of “color” as concrete cows vary in their colors.
        Abstraction and reification are opposite processes but while abstraction is possible reification is impossible. It is impossible because information about the missing features and feature values must be fabricated. Fabrication of information is prohibited under the principle of entropy maximization under constraints expressing the available information ( the MaxEnt ). The MaxEnt has been described as the “principle of honesty in inferences.”

  52. CAGW is a repeatedly falsified hypothesis.
    Evolution and gravitation are facts with a large body of explanatory theory.

    • Gabro:
      I disagree. CAGW is not falsifiable for it makes no predictions. It makes “projections” that are turned into predictions through applications of the equivocation fallacy.

      • Although IMO it has been falsified, since the earth cooled dramatically from 1945 to 1977, despite rapidly and steadily increasing CO2.
        Callander considered his 1938 hypothesis of (beneficial) man-made warming falsified by the severe winter of 1962, for instance. He at least made bold predictions, unlike today’s trough-feeders.

    • OK. In that case, it’s not scientific at all, since it doesn’t make testable, falsifiable predictions.

      • Gabro:
        That’s correct. The opening pages of IPCC AR4, report of Working Group I address this issue directly. According the report falsifiability is the outmoded idea of the old, dead philosopher of science Karl Popper and in the modern era falsifiability has been replaced by peer review. This is an attempted coup d’etat that has thus far been quite successful. If all goes according to plan our new masters will be peer reviewers promoting pseudoscientific public policies benefiting themselves.

      • Yup. Today we have false prophets like Oreskes trying to hijack science with the philosophy of consensus rather than the scientific method and falsifiability.
        Her ilk want to falsify science in the vernacular sense of the term.

      • Gabro, you are right about the earth cooling dramatically but your dates are wrong. There are some idiotic global temperature curves around showing WW II as a warm spell which influenced your choice of 1945 as the start of cooling. In actual fact cooling started late in 1939 and continued throughout the war until the Battle of the Bulge. The first battle where this became obvious was the battle of Suomissalmi in January 1940. Stalin had sent two divisions into central Finland to cut Finland in half. The battle was fought at minus forty Celsius in one meter of snow. The Russian divisions were preceded by a tank column and the Finns had no anti-tank weapons. They improvised by attaching a fuse to a gasoline bottle and throwing them at the tanks. They got all the Russian tanks and started to work at stopping the infantry column.They cut it into segments first and then destroyed one segment at a time. The Russians lost 9000 men and had to pull back. A year later Germany attacked Russia. Soviet high command, remembering the loss of their tanks at Suomissalmi, decided to use the Finnish gasoline bottles against the invading Germans. Only they were now called Molotov Cocktails and their first use by Finns against the Russians was never mentioned. There is one more thing to remember about the cold wave of World War II. It was preceded by a thirty year warm spell which started in 1910. No way can this warming be attributed to the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. That is because the only way you can stop greenhouse warming is by individually plucking out all the absorbing carbon dioxide molecules from the air. I am pretty sure this did not happen at the start of the Finnish Winter War. I notice also that in warmist literature they have stopped talking about “warming since the start of the industrial age” and prefer to say that anthropogenic warming first became noticeable about 1950.

  53. Arno,
    Precisely when the Early 20th Century Warming began and ended is debatable. The global temperature records have been so corrupted, it might be impossible to state with high confidence the actual years.
    There were warm years during WWII as well as cold.
    You could be right that the warming cycle lasted from 1910 to 1939, but it also could have been 1918 to 1945, accidentally coinciding with the ends of the World Wars. Callendar thought that the world was still warming in 1938.
    What is more certain however is when the Mid-20th Century cooling ended, which was in 1977, the year of a dramatic shift in the PDO, which I well remember (although the PDO was then unknown). Whether the cooling started in 1939 or 1945 however doesn’t much affect the fact that the hypothesis of global warming man-made CO2 fails due to falling temperatures despite steadily rising CO2 for 32 years after WWII.

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