Scientists aren’t stupid, and science deniers are arrogant

Debating those who reject scientific facts has been a hobby of mine for several years now. It’s not a very rewarding hobby, and it comes with high stress levels and periodic fits of rage, so I don’t particularly recommend it. However, it has exposed me to countless pseudoscientific arguments on pretty much every topic you can imagine, and on each of those topics, I have found that not only do people with no formal training in science think that they know more than the entire scientific community, but in almost every case, they think that there is a fundamental and obvious problem that essentially all scientists have either missed or are willfully ignoring. If you think about this for a minute, it’s rather incredible. It’s amazingly arrogant to think that you can, via a few minutes of Googling, find a fundamental and obvious problem that essentially every scientist everywhere in the world missed, despite their years of training and experience. Nevertheless, that is exactly what most anti-scientists think (though they wouldn’t usually put it in those terms). Therefore, my intention is to provide several examples of this type of thinking using arguments from a variety of topics. Hopefully, this will illustrate the absurdity of this type of hubris and demonstrate the key point that I want you all to take home. Namely, if you think that you have found a simple and obvious problem that virtually every scientist on the planet missed, you are almost certainly wrong.

Note: Before I begin, I want to clarify that if you are one of the people who uses these arguments, I do not want you to think that I am attacking or belittling you. As I have previously written about, I used to be one of you. So, if you feel like I am making fun of you, realize that I am also describing my former self. To put that another way, I don’t think that you are stupid, but you are misinformed, and you are behaving irrationally.

This figure from Hansen et al. 2005 shows the effect of both the natural and anthropogenic drivers of climate change. Notice how only anthropogenic sources show a large warming trend. Also, see figure 2 of Meehl et al. 2004.

Let’s begin with climate change arguments. There are many that I could choose from here, but let’s start with the argument that the current warming is just a natural cycle because the climate has changed naturally in the past. If you like to use this argument, then I have several questions for you. Do you honestly think that climatologists never thought of this? Do you really think that the people who spend their lives collecting those data on past climates never even bothered to check and see if the current warming was part of a natural trend? I realize that I probably sound flippant here, but I’m actually asking these questions sincerely. Do you truly think that the entire scientific community is so hopelessly incompetent and stupid that they never even bothered to check the natural drivers of climate change? If you do, then I have news for you: they aren’t. Scientists have looked at past climate changes (Lorius et al. 1990; Tripati et al. 2009; Shakun et al. 2012), and they have very carefully looked at the natural drivers of climate change, and they have consistently found that the current warming does not match natural cycles and can only be explained by including our greenhouse gasses in the analyses (Stott et al. 2001; Meehl, et al. 2004; Allen et al. 2006; Wild et al. 2007; Lockwood and Frohlich 2007, 2008; Lean and Rind 2008; Foster and Rahmstorf 2011; Imbers et al. 2014).

A very similar argument proposes that the sun is the cause of climate change, and I have frequently encountered people who seem to truly think that scientists have never examined that possibility. Again, how stupid do you think scientists are? Do you really think that it never occurred to any of them that the giant nuclear furnace in the sky might be the problem!? News flash, it did. They’ve studied the sun’s output repeatedly and have consistently found that it is not the main driver of our current climate change (Meehl, et al. 2004; Wild et al. 2007; Lockwood and Frohlich 2007, 2008; Lean and Rind 2008; Imbers et al. 2014).

Similarly, climate contrarians love to point to the Antarctic sea ice and say, “the sea ice is increasing, so global warming can’t be happening.” Again, do you really think that scientists aren’t aware of that fact? Do you honestly think that thirty seconds on Google showed you a fact that the entire scientific community is ignorant of? Or, if they are aware of it, then what, are they just too stupid to comprehend it? There’s really only three possibilities here, and they are all nuts. To think that scientists have somehow missed this or are ignoring it, you have to think that all scientists are either stupid, hopelessly ignorant, or involved in some form of insane and enormous conspiracy. The more rational conclusion, however, is clearly that the situation must be more complex than a simple increase in sea ice would lead you to believe, and scientists must have information that you didn’t uncover via your degree from Google University. That is, of course, reality. For one thing, although Antarctic sea ice had increased (see note), ice shelves and glaciers globally are down and we keep setting new record highs for annual average temperature (WGMS 2013; Parkinson 2014; Stroeve et al. 2015). Further, when you look more closely at the situation with the Antarctic sea ice, you’ll find that it is being caused by a complex combination of factors including the levels of ozone in the atmosphere, shifting ocean currents due to ice melting elsewhere, etc. Gillett and Thompson 2002; Zhang 2007). My point is that these simple, obvious arguments almost never work. Reality is more complex than that.

Note: At the time of writing this, Antarctic sea ice was actually unusually low, but that is likely just a fluctuation, and it is too early to draw any solid conclusions. Thus, it may return to being high in the near future. Nevertheless, there is a very consistent global trend of decreasing ice.

we did not evolve from apes but we share a common ancestor with themClimate change deniers are, of course, not alone in their hubris. Creationists are right up there with them. Probably one of the most common examples of this type of flaw from creationists is the classic argument, “if humans evolved from apes, then why are there still apes?” As with the climate change arguments, I have to ask, do you honestly think that scientists are this stupid? Just think about this for a second. If this argument actually worked, then it would mean that basically every biologist for the past century missed an extremely obvious problem. To fully comprehend just how crazy that is, realize that we are talking about people who spent close to a decade receiving intensive training in biology and then spent the rest of their lives actually doing biology. You really think that in all of that they somehow missed the fact that humans and apes are both still around? Do you really believe that despite years studying every detail of fossils, constructing and comparing cladograms, etc. they never stopped to think about the fact that apes are still here? Do you honestly think that they are going to have their entire life’s work brought crashing down by a simple 11 word question? Does that seem rational to you? It shouldn’t. The reality is, of course, that this argument is a strawman fallacy. Evolution tells us that modern apes share a common ancestor with us, rather than us evolving from them. So, it is the creationists who missed something obvious and fundamental, not the scientists (to be fair, some creationist organizations do eschew this argument, but it is, nevertheless, common among the general public).

Another common creationist argument is the claim that evolution defies the laws of thermodynamics because those laws say that things constantly become more disorganized, whereas evolution says that things become more organized. Here again, do you honestly think the Google has endowed you with a better understanding of thermodynamics than people who spend their entire lives studying it? Do you really think that every scientist in the world is so fundamentally wrong about an extremely basic concept in science? And let’s be clear, here (and in the other arguments) you aren’t just saying that they are wrong, you are saying that they have all missed an extremely obvious, elementary problem that a high school student could see. That’s crazy. Once again, reality is far more rational, because reality tells us that systems are only required to become more disorganized when they are closed (i.e., when they aren’t receiving energy from other sources), but the earth is an open system (i.e., it gets energy from the sun) so things on it can, in fact, become more organized (that’s why trees can grow, you developed from a simple, single-celled zygote, etc.; details here). So, once again, it is the science deniers who are missing something obvious and fundamental, not the scientists.

Finally, this post certainly wouldn’t be complete without at least one example from anti-vaccers. I thought a lot about which argument to use here out of the many that I have to choose from, but I think for the sake of this post, the best example is the argument that vaccines aren’t effective because during many (but not all) outbreaks, most of the people who get the disease are vaccinated against it. As with every example that I have given, at a quick glance, it sounds like a really good argument. It seems like a slam dunk against vaccines, but if you think about that for five seconds, that should bother you. If this is such clear evidence that vaccines don’t work, then why haven’t any scientists or doctors paid attention to it? Why aren’t the people who publish these statistics concerned by them? Again, if you found this with a few minutes on Google, then why isn’t the scientific community aware of it? Or if they are aware of it, why don’t they care? The answer isn’t conspiracies, Big Pharma, or lizard-people. It’s simply that scientists are better at math than anti-vaccers are. It is true that in many ourbreaks (again not all), most infected people were vaccinated, but that is only because most people were vaccinated. When you look at the actual proportions, you consistently find that the disease rates were much higher among the unvaccinated. To give an analogy, most car accidents involve sober drivers, but that doesn’t mean that driving drunk is safer. Rather, it is a simple by-product of the fact that most people drive sober. When you look at the proportions, you find that the rates of car accidents are higher among drunk drivers.

I could continue to give many other examples both from these topics and pretty much every other “debated” topic in modern science, but I think it would be more profitable to spend the remainder of this post dealing with the counter arguments that I expect to receive. All of these are ones that I have dealt with in the past, so I will be brief here and will simply direct you to my other posts for more details.

First, you may be tempted to accuse me of an appeal to authority fallacy. However, there is a huge difference between appealing to authority and deferring to experts. I’m not saying that these things are true because scientists say that they are (that would be fallacious). Rather, I am trying to get you to engage in a simple exercise in plausibility. Ask yourself, does it honestly seem reasonable that untold millions of people with advanced degrees, years of training, years of experience, scores of publications, etc. missed something fundamental and obvious that you were able to find on Google? No, it doesn’t. Again, that doesn’t automatically make the scientists right, but it should make you very, very cautious about saying that they are wrong. It should give you great humility, and you should fact check extremely carefully using really good sources before you conclude that you are right and essentially every scientist in the world is wrong. To put that another way, you don’t need to be an expert to think that experts are right, but you do need to be an expert to think that they are wrong.

the fact that scientists wrong past conspiracy laughet atNext, you might try to say something like, “well, scientists have been wrong in the past” (debunked here) or “they laughed at Galileo, but he turned out to be right” (debunked here). There are numerous problems with this, so see my other posts for details, but I’ll give a Cliff Notes response here. First, scientific concepts have been discredited before, but they have always been discredited by other scientists doing real research. Second, most of the examples of scientists being wrong come from well before modern science even existed. If you limit yourself to the last 150 years or so (i.e. the age of modern science), you will find far fewer examples of a widely accepted concepts being discredited. Third, when those concepts were discredited, it wasn’t by some simple and obvious thing that everyone except for non-scientists were hopelessly ignorant of. It’s always been something complex or non-intuitive or usually both. It’s been something that had to be revealed by careful research, not an 11-word question. It’s never been something like scientists not bothering to check if the sun is driving climate change. To illustrate this, the Newtonian concept of gravity is one of the best examples of something that was widely accepted in the modern scientific era that turned out to be wrong, but that was discredited by the amazingly complex concept of relativity! Further, Newton wasn’t wrong so much as incomplete (as usually is the case).  Another good example is the concept that continents are stationary. This was replaced by plate tectonics, which, again, is neither obvious nor simple. Finally, it is worth mentioning that the days of a lone maverick operating outside of the norms of science are long gone. Modern science is an incredibly collaborative process, and new paradigm-altering conclusions come from teams of scientists with years of research, not someone sitting on their couch watching Youtube videos.

conspiracy theory skeptic science expertAt this point, you might contend that scientists are fully aware of these problems and are just covering them up for the sake of money, but that is insane. Arguing that essentially all of the world’s millions of scientists are involved in some sort of massive conspiracy is downright idiotic. I’ve talked about the math behind this before, but, in short, there is no motive in most cases (a lot of research is done by independent scientists), and just the sheer size of the conspiracy makes it implausible (it would have to involve every government, every health organization, every scientific body, and every university on the planet). Further, this argument is 100% an assumption. The burden of proof is on you to provide actual evidence that the world’s entire scientific community is corrupt, and unless you can do that, this is an ad hoc fallacy.

As a final attempt at a counter-argument, you might appeal to “dogma’ in science, and claim that there are scientists who see the problems but don’t speak out for fear of ridicule from their peers. This is, however, a complete misunderstanding of how science works. No scientist has ever been considered great for going along with the accepted wisdom of their day. Every great scientist was great precisely because they discredit the accept views of their day. To put that another way, for me personally, as a young biologist, nothing could possibly be better for my career than disproving evolution. If I actuaindiana jones fortune and glory kidlly had simple and compelling evidence that it was wrong, I could publish in any journal of my choosing, I would have my pick of universities to work at, and I would almost certainly receive a Nobel Prize. Disproving evolution would result in me going down in history as one of the great minds of the 21st century. So, why haven’t I or any of the thousands of other ambitious young biologists published that evidence? Because it doesn’t exist! This idea that you have to blindly go along with the “dogma” to get anywhere in science is totally backwards. You don’t get grants to confirm things that everyone already knows. Rather, you get grants, fame, and recognition for pushing boundaries, studying new ideas, and discrediting commonly held views. That’s how you achieve fortune and glory in science.

I find it baffling that so many people think that scientists are arrogant simply because scientists claim to know more about science than non-scientists.

My point in all of this is really quite simple. When you approach any scientific topic, you should do so with an appropriate amount of humility as well as an appropriate amount of respect for the fact that thousands of people spent their entire lives studying a topic that you are only learning about through Wikipedia. Anytime that an argument requires you to think that the entire scientific community is hopelessly stupid, ignorant, incompetent, etc. you should be extremely skeptical. Scientists aren’t stupid, and if you think you have found something simple and obvious that all of them have missed, you are almost certainly wrong. It is the epitome of arrogance to think that a few minutes or even hours on Google have endowed you with a better understanding of science than the collective scientific community gained through countless years of training and experience.

Literature Cited

  • Allen et al. 2006. Quantifying anthropogenic influence on recent near-surface temperature change. Surveys in Geophysics 27:491–544.
  • Foster and Rahmstorf 2011. Global temperature evolution 1979–2010. Environmental Research Letters 7:011002.
  • Gillett and Thompson 2002. Simulation of recent Southern Hemisphere climate change. Science 302:273–275.
  • Hansen et al. 2005. Earth’s energy imbalance: confirmation and implications. 308:1431–1435.
  • Imbers et al. 2014. Sensitivity of climate change detection and attribution to the characterization of internal climate variability. Journal of Climate 27:3477–3491.
  • Lean and Rind. 2008. How natural and anthropogenic influences alter global and regional surface temperatures: 1889 to 2006. Geophysical Research Letters 35:L18701.
  • Lockwood and Frohlich. 2007. Recently oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 463:2447–2460.
  • Lockwood and Frohlich. 2008. Recently oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature. II. Different reconstructions of the total solar irradiance variation and dependence on response time scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 464:1367–1385.
  • Meehl, et al. 2004. Combinations of natural and anthropogenic forcings in the twentieth-century climate. Journal of Climate 17:3721–3727.
  • Parkinson. 2014. Global sea ice coverage from satellite data: annual cycle and 35-year trends. Journal of Climate 27:9377–9382.
  • Shakun et al. 2012. Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation. Nature 484:49–54.
  • Stott et al. 2001. Attribution of twentieth century temperature change to natural and anthropogenic causes. Climate Dynamics17:1–21.
  • Stroeve et al 2012. The Arctic’s rapidly shrinking sea ice cover: a research synthesis. Climate Change 110:1005–1027.
  • Tripati et al. 2009. Coupling CO2 and ice sheet stability over major climate transitions of the last 20 million years. Science 326:1394–1397.
  • WGMS 2013. Glacier Mass Balance Bulletin. World Glacier Monitoring Service12.
  • Wild et al. 2007. Impact of global dimming and brightening on global warming. Geophysical Research Letters.
  • Zhang 2007. Increasing Antarctic sea ice under warming atmospheric and oceanic conditions. Journal of Climate 20:2515–2529.

 

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168 Responses to Scientists aren’t stupid, and science deniers are arrogant

  1. realthog says:

    An excellent and very useful essay — many thanks for it!

    loan maverick

    I like it!

    Like

    • Ethan T says:

      Hey, I agree with most of what you are saying, but why is evolution still a theory then? Creationists cannot prove their position, but neither can evolutionists or else it would not be still be called the ‘Theory of Evolution’.

      Like

      • realthog says:

        You might want to check the definition of the scientific term “theory” in your dictionary.

        Like

      • Fallacy Man says:

        This is a very common misconception about the definition of the word “theory.” In science, a theory is not an educated guess or something that we are uncertain about. Rather, it is an explanatory framework that has been rigorously tested and repeatedly shown to have a high predictive power. In other words, theories are general explanations that we are extremely confident in because they have repeatedly passed tests and can accurately predict the outcomes of future tests/experiments. For example, if you catch a cold, it is a fact that a virus made you sick, but it is the germ theory of disease that explains that viruses, bacteria, etc. made you sick. Similarly, if you look at a bacterium under the microscope, you can establish the fact that it is made of a cell, but it is cell theory that tells us that all living things are made of cells. Similarly, atomic theory tells us that all matter is made of atoms, the theory of universal gravity tells us that everything with mass produces gravity and is acted upon by gravity, etc. So in science, a theory is actual an explanation that we are extremely confident in. Indeed, they are the bedrock of our understanding of the universe. As such, when it comes to evolution, it is a fact that life on earth evolved for millions of years, but the theory of evolution by natural selection provides the general explanation for how and why that evolution took place. We have tested that theory over and over again, and it has always passed, so we are extremely confident in it. Indeed, we have come as close to “proof” as is possible in science.

        So, in summary, the theory of evolution by natural selection is not a theory because it hasn’t been proved, rather it is a theory simply by its very nature (i.e., it is an explanatory framework that explains facts and predicts the results of tests/experiments). No amount of future evidence can ever promote it to some higher state, because the status of theory is already the highest status it can achieve.

        Now, you may be wondering what a law is. It is a very common misconception that a law is higher than a theory, in reality, they are essentially the same thing. The exact distinction varies by field and, honestly, by the scientist you are talking to. Some argue that a law is the mathematical aspect while the theory is the general explanation, while others say that they are totally interchangeable. Regardless of which camp you fall into though, everyone agrees that they have equivalent certainties, and things don’t get upgraded from a theory to a law.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hank G. says:

        Why is there a theory of gravitation? Everyone agrees that gravity exists, since we don’t float of the earth. The theory of evolution is not whether it happened but how it happenedl

        Like

        • hankgillette says:

          “off the earth”

          Like

        • Fallacy Man says:

          Because, again, a theory is just an explanatory framework that has been rigorously tested and consistently passed those tests. It has nothing to do with how certain we are or whether nor everyone agrees with it (fun fact, there are actually people who don’t agree with gravity, but, just like evolution, their beliefs don’t have any effect on reality).

          Like

        • Roger Smith says:

          When you say “Everyone agrees”, it tells me that you’ve never searched for Flat Earth Proofs or Why Rockets Don’t Work on YouTube. There are a FRIGHTENING number of idiots out there. Actually I just switched windows and searched for Gravity Debunked.

          Weep for the Betsy DeVos-like scholars of the Internet.

          Like

          • kelvinsdemon says:

            The phrase “Laws of Nature” understates how adamant the *Principles of Operation of the Universe* are. There are laws against murder and theft, but murder and theft occur, and are sometimes punished. The “Law of Gravity” cannot be broken. If the Lord God Almighty decreed these “laws”, there is no way on earth — let alone in all the oceans of the world — that the Son of that God could walk upon the stormy water of Galilee in a human body. So indeed NO, a mere Law is not as binding as that which any given scientific theory endeavours to describe. And by the way, the constant ‘c’ in Einstein’s Mass Energy equation is defined as the highest speed at which physical information can travel. Had the observation which seemed to show that neutrinos travel faster (by a tiny amount) than electromagnetic radiation, then ‘c’ is simply the speed of neutrinos.

            On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 10:55 PM, The Logic of Science wrote:

            > Roger Smith commented: “When you say “Everyone agrees”, it tells me that > you’ve never searched for Flat Earth Proofs or Why Rockets Don’t Work on > YouTube. There are a FRIGHTENING number of idiots out there. Actually I > just switched windows and searched for Gravity Debunked. ” >

            Like

          • Foz says:

            You want the real copperplate grade A crazies you want to look up the chem trail / con trail theories. My favourite is that they’re a chemical weapon being used by atheists to kill angels (the angels they don’t believe in)

            Like

      • For the same reason gravity is still a theory.

        Like

      • You can’t be serious.

        Like

      • Mike Hager says:

        Because you don’t understand science. You know that arrogance, the article mentioned? You are the epitome of that.

        Like

      • bionicjoe says:

        Question => Hypothesis => Theory (if hypothesis is correct & proven repeatedly) => Law (if Theory is universal)

        We also have a “Theory of Gravity”. It’s a theory because gravity is a proven concept except at sub-atomic scales. There needs to be more research to provide a theory of everything that applies universally. It is a “Law of Gravity” from atoms & larger.

        Creationists have a question. It can’t be a hypothesis because it can’t even be tested.
        Evolution has been tested, re-tested, and scientifically revised & reviewed for 200 years. Hence the theory holds up to scientific scrutiny.

        Like

    • kelvinsdemon says:

      Quite so. The Hansen 2005 article cited above gives quite clearly the concept that at a rate measured in watts per square metre, the absoption and retention of outgoing energy from infrared radiation emitted by land an sea surfaces, gives an imbalance between energy received by and energy emitted from the Earth, measured in watts per square metre. A net input of energy to an object, greater than its energy output, implies that the object retains heat and its temperature rises, unless it is a block of ice, for example, which until entirely melted stays at the temperature of its “freezing point”.
      I am incidentally sick and tired and I admit, disdainful of people who think the theory of gravity is merely that unsupported things fall!
      The orbit of this planet is almost circular, because gravity makes its velocity change direction, even although its speed hardly changes. That is an acceleration, and happens for the same reason as a bomb falling, but for quite sophisticated reasons of vector mathematics. An asteroidal or cometary Near Earth Object, or indeed one from distant space, will likewise hit or miss us partly depending upon how close to the Earth it seems to be heading, and the danger of gravtational capture at that distance is inversely proportional to its speed.

      Like

  2. I feel your pain.
    Also, this is a very concisely written, elegant essay. I’ll be sharing, not on my blog but elsewhere. Keep up the good work!

    Like

  3. Excellent as usual. I have heard everyone of your examples many times. This is a very helpful compilation of quick responses to many common anti-science claims.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sean G. says:

    Love it!

    Like

  5. Judith Foster says:

    I suspect a silly typo in this sentence from your article:
    “When you look at the actual proportions, you consistently find that the disease rates were much higher among the vaccinated.”
    And then there is “a loan maverick operating outside of the norms of science”. Is this someone who lends money to pseudo-scientists?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dave says:

    Loved your blog. Very detailed and I could not agree more with you. I debate such anti science morons on regular basis and it is remarkably frustrating at times because they are intellectually dishonest, willfully ignorant or just down right stupid, insecure and they need to feel important by making shit up.

    Like

  7. andreboco says:

    I loved your cool and calm dissection of the problem. I concur. One question please. How do you grapple with the ” follow the money” argument when it comes to scientific research?
    I am in the health field and I have watched the government grant money being dold out to push the ” heart hypothesis”. This failed science is now been shown to be a money based scandal, deftly supported by the sugar industry, in an attempt to vilify fat. All the experts and all of the health organizations agreed to take government money to sponsor studies supporting the “heart hypothesis” and then fell lockstep behind the heart hypothesis which Is, only now, being left in the trash bin of pseudoscience

    How can we be sure this money tainting is not behind the science of climate change?

    I look forward to your answer, Andre

    Like

    • Most research, including climate change research, is not beholden to governmental, coprorate or even institutional interests. Institutionally, tenure exists so that research can maintain its independence.

      Where we do see direct, specific tainting of research on climate change is from moneyed interests for whom casting doubt on climate change is to their benefit. So to answer your question: money tainting is behind the science of climate change — the criticism of the concept, that is.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chris Parsons says:

        Well, theoretically, “if” you have tenure you’re protected. But in order to get tenure (which is becoming rarer and rarer), or promotion, increasingly university administrators are forcing faculty to bring in big bucks – which usually means industry or Government funding – which might have strings attached. I’ve had university administrators and leading academics suggest to me that I should seek grants from ethically dubious sources with bad reputations (e.g. fossil fuel companies, companies that have criminal environmental and animal welfare violations) because they pay well, and it would be good for my career. The sooner they get rid of academic ranking and promotion systems based on how much money you bring in, the better.

        Like

        • Agnes Kim says:

          That’s true. I was surprised to read a press release last year that announced that Penn State researchers had found that fracking had no ill effect on ground water supplies. That surprised me so I checked the paper and I found the funding sources (the fossil fuel industry). I am not an expert so I could not judge how reliable the conclusions were, but they were for sure worthy of suspicion. I will reiterate what James Cowling said. Climate and energy research sponsored by industry (where most of the money is nowadays) tends to conclude that fossil fuel is harmless. With climate, however, the evidence is so overwhelming in the other direction, that such “tainted” research is very difficult to publish in reputable journals. This stresses how important government funding for research is. It does not have nearly the same amount of special interests attached to it than private funding does.

          Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      It is always a good idea to look at the funding sources and conflicts of interest for papers, but you should be careful how you use that information. It is a warning sign, but not enough to automatically discredit a study. In other words, it should make you look more closely at a study to see if it was done correctly.

      Perhaps most importantly, you should look at the entire body of literature. If all of the independent studies say one thing, and all the studies with conflicts of interest say the opposite, that is a good sign that something is amiss.

      Finally, science has a wonderful way of working itself out. The example that you provided demonstrates this. Eventually, enough independent scientists will study a topic enough to counterbalance corporate interests, and the truth will emerge (or facts anyway, some people distinguish between truth and fact).

      Like

    • Stephen B Baines says:

      I have a few responses to this.

      First, If monetary interests were driving climate change research, the bias would be in the opposite direction. The money is with the fossil fuel companies. No climate scientists are getting rich off drug patents. Funding for climate research, and environmental research generally, has been flat for 20 years, so if it were a strategy, it has not worked that well! The fact that so few have defected is a sign of how powerful the case is for climate change. You can’t argue against climate change without damaging your reputation as an objective observer. Literally no one receives money from George Soros either!

      Second, as the post suggests, there is a strong incentive in science to argue against the status quo. Success in that regard will make you famous. If there is a crack, someone will find it eventually, and others will realize they are right. People have a “snake oil salesmen” idea of scientists trying to dupe a naive public. But in reality, scientists are not talking to the public at all. They are talking to each other. They are really more like car salesmen trying to sell cars to other car salesmen.

      Third, I don’t know a single climate scientist who wants to be right about AGW. It’s not fun. It’s an extreme challenge that we may not meet. It hurts them and their families personally. As an ecologist I can tell you we are pretty damn unprepared to deal with it.

      Finally, you can’t ignore something as big and clear as climate change. I tell my students they will be stuck studying it for their whole lives, because it will be the challenge of our times. The reason people talk about it all the time, is because it affect everything. For real. Ignoring it would be like worrying about your cable bill when the house was burning down. So if it seems like it shows up in a lot of grants, that’s why.

      Like

      • A short while ago, I published a short blog post on Skeptical Science to show how “absurd” the notion is that climate scientists are in it for the money. It contains a short interview snippet with Richard Alley, a quote from Katharine Hayhoe and links to some older articles.

        http://sks.to/absurd

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hugh Tuller says:

        I would add one more thing: Integrity. The argument that scientists seek money to fund research is true; however, they are not amoral. As a scientist I may need a grant to fund my research; however, grants (at least reputable ones) never require a researcher to produce results that the granting authority desires. Secondly, scientists who falsify their data would be destroying their career. If discovered (which would likely happen in peer review), that scientist would be exposed as a fraud and never be able to work again. Furthermore, all past research by that scientist would be questioned. By deciding to please the donor, the researcher is putting their entire career and personal integrity on the line.

        Like

      • Dominic Purdue says:

        “First, If monetary interests were driving climate change research, the bias would be in the opposite direction. The money is with the fossil fuel companies.” – Nonsense! The real climate change money is in Carbon Tax levied by Governments around the world. There is so much money involved that not only does it dwarf any commercial interest funding, but it is guaranteed to hopelessly bias the research.

        Like

  8. skypilot says:

    You build good strawmen WRT AGW: ‘do I think scientists ignore alternate hypotheses?’ Sadly, the evidence is a resounding yes. But it takes smarter people than Joe Sixpack to know what isn’t presented or addressed.

    The dearth of studies into alternative hypotheses is suspicious. I suspect a bandwagon effect, where grant agencies fail to fund research that might disagree with their agenda.
    Fortune tellers like James Hansen of Nasa GISS are easily testable. They fail miserably, yet everyone ignores the failures. He has claimed almost every year is the ‘warmest,’ but fails to point out that the claim is within the margin of error. On two occasions he deleted a winter month data set and replaced it with a summer month data set. When it was discovered, Nasa saluted and corrected the calculation, which invalidated the ‘warmest’ claim. The retraction was printed on the back page of the Belt Valley Eagle, keeping the ‘warmest’ perception alive.

    James Hansen predicted worldwide famine and rapid rise in sea levels by 2010. It didn’t happen.
    Unfazed, he went out the door ‘searching for the hidden heat’ that explains the global temp flatline, aka ‘hiatus.’

    Despite the rise in CO2, the globe has not warmed as the computer models predict. Michael Mann made his hockey stick look impressive. Now we know that he manipulated the data. It made the front page of IPCC AR3. Corrected with better data, the dramatic hook disappears. Mann’s corrected graph is buried in the appendices of IPCC AR5.

    Christie made use of GISS computer models to show that the absence or presence of the extra atmospheric CO2 predicts no change, just as observed.

    I can find zero credible studies that look at solar flares and solar wind vs cosmic rays and cloud cover. Yet, we can show by experiment that it is a real phenomenon.

    Remember the laws banning sulfur dioxide gasses, because they were ‘proved’ to increase aerosols that caused AGW? No? It was allowed to expire after EPA forced power plants to spent millions to abate what turned out to be a non-issue.

    We should continue to collect data, but pass no laws. Indeed, we have a bunch that need to be repealed. EPA will not renew licenses on a dozen or more 1000 MW coal plants unless they meet emissions that only gas or nuke can meet (Or invent a commercial-grade carbon sequestration scheme). There is no available replacement for a dozen 1000 MW generators. None.

    NAS and EPA have spent over $40B to get social policy that at it’s best will reduce the predicted rise in global temp by 0.05F. This is not a wise use of resources.

    Like

    • realthog says:

      Thank you for this worked example of what our host’s essay is about.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fallacy Man says:

      This is far too much of a Gish Gallop for me to respond to everything, but here are a few highlights.

      First, what do you mean by, a “dearth of studies into alternative hypotheses”? There have been tons of them, several of which I cited in this post. You are displaying exactly what I described (i.e., assuming that scientists haven’t taken the obvious steps, when they did in fact take those steps).

      Similarly, scientists have looked at solar flares, solar winds, etc. This article provides a nice overview of why they can’t account for the current warming.
      http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/045022;jsessionid=AA649D386252BE26EF65AC147498EABC.ip-10-40-1-105

      Finally, you are dead wrong about the models and predictions. The current warming does actually closely match the models. I provided more details and numerous citations to the relevant literature here https://thelogicofscience.com/2016/10/17/25-myths-and-bad-arguments-about-climate-change/#Bad%20Argument/Myth%20#5
      Further, lets not forget that 2016 was the hottest year on record, and it replaced 2015 as the hottest year, and 2015 replaced 2014 as the hottest year, and 2014 replaced 2010. 18 of the 20 hottest years on record have occurred in the past 20 years. The planet is unequivocally warming, and that warming matches the predictions of the models (not to mention the satellite measurements which clearly show that our CO2 is trapping additional heat energy). Details and sources here https://thelogicofscience.com/2017/01/23/how-long-is-long-enough-do-we-need-more-climate-data/

      Like

      • kelvinsdemon says:

        Dear fallacy man, I hate how often I have to say this, the reality and urgency of the need to stop altogether the burning of fossil carbon for energy is incontrovertible.
        BUT the proposed cure by “renewable” is hopeless,
        Nuclear power is the only alternative to the fossil solar power, including the oxygen to burn the carbon, that ousted wind, rain, and sun. Wind turbines are not superior to sail, renewable wood did not exist in Dickens’s Britain any more, so even the poor were burning coal to keep warm.
        It’s an ugly example I know, but the bombing of Nagasaki with plutonium proves that fissile nuclear isotopes CAN be manufactured in sufficient quantity to be a sustainable resource.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Fallacy Man says:

          I don’t agree that renewable are hopeless, as they are getting better and better all the time. However, I do agree with you that an immediate switch to nuclear is needed as a stop gap while we continue to optimize renewable energy sources.

          Like

          • Kalani says:

            Speaking of renewable energy – Canada created a prototype tidal generator in 2009? IIRC and I haven’t heard much about it since. Tidal stream generators show considerable promise given how ~40% of our population live within 100km of a coastline, and given how much surface area we could potentially use with Tidal Generators.

            Ideally, my hope is that we figure out a way to convert CO2 into a cost-effective, and safe fuel source, as it would help mitigate (if not solve) the greenhouse issue entirely, especially if we can return the carbon to the ground in the process.

            Like

            • Kalani says:

              Even if we find alternatives to fossil fuels for power and plastics, the plethora of pharmecuticals that rely on oil-based derivatives means that I cannot foresee us completely ending our reliance on fossil fuels any time in the next few hundred years (not unless we find renewable alternatives to the long-chain carbon molecules used in pharmecuticals).

              Like

              • This is one of the saddest things to write about. AGW is truly horrible. It reminds me of what happened when I spun slowly about on a highway on black ice going 70 in January in South Dakota many years ago. It happened all so slowly, that I had time to look around me and assure that nothing was sharp, and ready to fly and that I was buckled in. I had time to take deep breaths and wait for the inevitable catch of the tires on grass and the flipping end over end. I was lucky in that I didn’t, and that my muscle-memory motor skills took over from the defensive driving course.

                Global climate change is exactly like that. We see it coming. We can do almost nothing about it. We strap ourselves in and hope that we personally won’t get whacked by it. We hope that when we stop spinning that there will be people there on the side of the road to give us a hand on the other side.

                I hate to say it, but I think that only large-scale population reduction and control will solve the issue, or a willingness to have more than half the world’s population reduce down to a fully agrarian lifestyle with the carbon footprint of a typical house-pet.

                These are, of course, dire thoughts on the depressive side of things.

                Thanks for showing me this website while I’m doing my taxes.

                Debby Double Downer.

                Like

          • Eliyahu says:

            The problem with nuclear as a primary source of energy is public relations and popular misconceptions about plant design. The public sees Generation One and Two plants failing or developing problems and presumes that nothing has been done about plant design in the meantime and, thus, nuclear power is inherently too dangerous. I think that if we had put as much R&D money into new designs such as liquid thorium reactors, we’d be building those systems near every major city and wherever else we need power.

            Clearly, there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution for power. There are many places and many situations where wind, solar, geothermal or hydro generation are the best and most economically viable sources. In some places, a combination of different sources will be the best. The one certainty, though, is that fossil fuels are not what we need anywhere.

            Like

            • Sorry, but as long as you don’t know what to do with the lethal waste of nuclear plants this is not a morally acceptable alternative. Nuclear power means are dropping a deadly garbage bomb on future generations.
              As for the funding argument. if half the funding that went into nuclear power had gone into renewables and energy storing we wouldn’t have to discuss nucelar power by now.

              Like

              • kelvinsdemon says:

                There is a total of less than 80,000 tons of slightly used nuclear fuel from the entire history off civilian power in the USA, and I DO know what to do with it. It is erroneously called “spent” fuel, because during the fears of the Cold War the Carter administration forbade reprocessing, which both France and Russia do to theirs. No, they don’t make bombs with it, that’s far too difficult compared with building the kind of reactor that produces bomb grade plutonium directly.
                It is “waste” only because it is official policy to waste it. Two reactor designs have conclusively demonstrated how to use it.
                By comparison with the annual production of 2500 tons of used fuel that our 50-year-old LWR technology cannot use, coal burning generates 130,000,000 tons of solid
                waste containing arsenic and other chemical toxins that last forever, whereas the unusable portion (<4%) of the used nuclear fuel ceases to be as radioactive as the parent ore in a century or two.
                Gas turbines, which are essential backup to the "renewables" so popular with the anti-nuke believers, emit not only 44 tons of CO2 for every 16 tons of gas, they also emit thousands of tons of highly acidic nitrogen oxides per GWa of energy provided.

                Like

    • Ens Josh says:

      “Remember the laws banning sulfur dioxide gasses, because they were ‘proved’ to increase aerosols that caused AGW?”

      Um, no, I don’t remember that. What I recall is that emissions of SO2 were restricted to reduce acid rain. Aerosols would cause cooling. More or less opposite to AGW.

      Good try though.

      Like

  9. Janna says:

    You rock! I look forward to each of your posts!

    Like

  10. Francis says:

    I admire your work. Thanks for the time, effort and thought you put in to your articles.

    Like

  11. While I firmly believe that you’ve made a diligent effort to be fair, I don’t think you’ve given a fair hearing to the dissent. Here’s why…

    I will agree that the majority of the anti-science folks are guilty of the sins you describe. However, there are still far better arguments that you don’t address.

    Scientists can be wrong and still convinced they are right. My favorite example is Lord Kelvin’s belief that friction caused the sun’s heat and light. He was absolutely convinced he was right. Instead, he fell prey to the “unknown unknowns.”

    A far more recent example involves the discovery that ulcers are caused by the helicobacter pylori bacterium, not stress. The reaction of the medical science community was not unlike that of the global warming crowd today. They mocked the bacterial explanation and cited a broad consensus that stress was the true cause of ulcers.

    I don’t doubt that greenhouse gases have some impact on the environment. I’ll concede that it might be a significant impact. And, I agree that – to the extent that humans have the ability to create GHGs – we could be causing significant warming. I fully trust scientists to be able to figure that stuff out.

    But, nevertheless, there are still some nagging problems with the claims made by the global warming crowd. First of all, there is no clear consensus on the affects (warming, cooling or neutral) of vapor. It appears that one-third of the models take each view. There is also disagreement about the degree of that impact, whatever it might be.

    I have asked scientists to explain how there can be such diversity of degree and direction, and yet have the models agree on the end result. When I ask that question, I’m called a “denier.” But, I’m not denying anything. I’m asking a legitimate question that deserves an answer.

    I have also asked for an explanation of how the models are actually constructed. This is not a small deal. Computers make it possible to plug in a set of data and then create an equation that describes the data. This is the digital equivalent of drawing the target around the bullet holes. I have no idea whether that is happening in the climate modeling world, but it’s one possible explanation for the vapor diversity described above.

    But, when I ask about the process, I am again called a denier.

    I don’t understand why scientists can’t just explain and defend their methods. And, if they refuse to do so that doesn’t magically turn me into a denier. Indeed, my question is premised on the idea that there could be a perfectly valid explanation for these things. That said, I am well within my rights to believe that their refusal might mean they don’t actually have an explanation.

    On the subject of creationism, you rely on a straw man. (Or straw ape, I suppose.) I’m pretty familiar with the creationism and intelligent design arguments, and I have never heard anyone rely on a question as dumb as “if humans evolved from apes, then why are there still apes?”

    I’ll take you at your word that you’ve heard that argument before. But, it’s absolutely not the most common, nor the best argument for creationism. Far and away, the best argument for biological creationism is the fact that there is no scientific evidence at all to support abiogenesis. At best, scientists have managed to demonstrate that simple proteins can be created in an environment that, while highly unlikely, is still within the realm of metaphysical possibility.

    It is the very definition of a priori.

    So, I’ll turn your central question back around on you. Do you really believe that people who disagree with you have never thought about these things? Do you really believe that you’ve presented the best version of the opposition?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eric says:

      Your question about vapor would be best addressed by looking at the primary literature where the construction of the models should be spelled out. It would probably be more fruitful to actually check there than to act like you’ve scored a point by stumping some random blogger with it. I doubt there’s an explanation that’s readily communicated in any lower level of technicality.

      There is evidence to support abiogenesis, and you specifically mentioned some of it. It’s not a total slam dunk at this point, but it does at least indicate plausibility. I can’t even image the mental gymnastics you’re doing to go from the spottiness of the evidence we have for abiogenesis to “therefore creationism.”

      There are an uncountably infinite number of hypotheses one could generate to explain anything, and even completely ruling one out (for instance abiogenesis) would not prove or support some random other explanation with no scientific support whatsoever.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wasn’t trying to stump anyone. As far as I know, this post wasn’t really about the truth of the claim for global warming. It was about the arrogance of assuming that scientists haven’t thought through their arguments.

        I agree with him on that point. I’m making a slightly different point. I’m saying that – while there are a lot of arrogant/ignorant folks out there, it would be nice if the science community could respond to sincere questions with sincere answers.

        Instead, it seems like we’ve reached the point that anyone questioning the scientific orthodoxy is labeled a “denier” and shamed out of the conversation. That helps nobody.

        Along those lines, I don’t need a lower level of technicality. I can follow any well-reasoned argument. That’s not the point. Indeed, even if I already knew the answer, it wouldn’t change my argument. I’m saying that it’s a good faith question, and rather than reply with a good faith answer, many scientists resort to personal attacks and evasion.

        On abiogenesis, I think we disagree on the definition of evidence. My definition of evidence is “a demonstrable fact that increases the likelihood that some controverted matter is true.”

        There is nothing that meets that test for abiogenesis. Nothing. At best, scientists have proven that it’s not impossible. You say it’s not a slam dunk. The reality is that you don’t even have a basketball yet.

        I don’t need to jump to any conclusions. I don’t need a conclusion at all. This is basic epistemology. I don’t need to hold my own opinion in order to challenge the validity of yours.

        Finally, to your last point, I think you might want to think through the ramifications of excluding random processes.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Fallacy Man says:

      I want to begin by directly addressing your closing questions. You said, “Do you really believe that people who disagree with you have never thought about these things? Do you really believe that you’ve presented the best version of the opposition?” In these questions, I think that you are presenting a straw man of my intentions. I was not at all trying to present “the best version of the opposition.” I’m not in any way shape or form saying that these are the best arguments that they have. There are certainly more thorough and well thought out arguments (they’re still wrong, but less obviously so). So, my point was simply to demonstrate the type of arrogance and folly involved in presenting these “simple” and “obvious” arguments and pretending that scientists never bothered with them.

      Similarly, there certainly are science deniers who have thought things through more carefully and don’t make the type of ridiculous arguments that I presented here. Nevertheless, there are a great many who constantly make these absurd claims and clearly have not thought it through. For example, the creationist argument that I presented is one that I have personally heard from countless people. That’s admittedly anecdotal and I can’t pretend to know the percent of creationists who use it, but based on my observations, it is quite common among the general public. Is it, the “most common, [or] the best argument for creationism”? No, and I never said it was. Again, the point of the post wasn’t to set up the best opposing arguments, then knock them down. Rather, the point was to show why these simple arguments are foolhardy.

      Moving on to the rest of your post, I have rarely found that scientists are dismissive of questions in the way that you are describing. Indeed, a great many of us spend a lot of time trying to answer questions and address public concerns (thus, the existence of this blog). In my experience, things only take a turn for the worse after the non-scientist shifts from simply asking questions to refusing to accept answers. Granted, that is just my personal experience, so perhaps yours differs, but I have not personally seen the type of behavior that you are describing with any regular consistency.

      Now, regarding your questions on models, any modeling paper will go into great lengths explaining exactly what its model does. So if you pick a model that you are interested in and look up the paper, you should have no trouble finding the details you are after in the methods section (if you can’t get access to it for free online, try a university library or emailing the authors, alternatively, there is Sci-Hub, but it’s legality is questionable at best).

      Obviously different models are run differently, so, again, you’ll have to look up a particular model that you are interested in, but more often than not, what scientists try to do is sub-sample the available data and use one sub-sample to build the model, then use the other sub-sample to validate it. In other words, they construct a model using one range of dates, then test it on a different range to ensure that it works. The ultimate test then comes by seeing if it accurately predicts the climate of the future, and despite what some would have you believe, our models have actually done a very good job at that (details and sources here https://thelogicofscience.com/2016/10/17/25-myths-and-bad-arguments-about-climate-change/#Bad%20Argument/Myth%20#5)

      As far as models disagreeing on the inputs, the fact that they all produce the same general trend even though they disagree about the effects of certain factors is actually really good evidence that we understand the central picture very well. In other words, if you have a really strong main effect, then you can still produce roughly the same trend even if you are wrong about the roles of more minor components. So the fact that we keep getting the same trend, even with different model settings, suggests that we are correct about the central role of greenhouse gasses, and the other factors are indeed of lesser importance (to be clear, they are still at play, and some models will be better than others based on whether or not they got those factors correct).

      Finally, regarding abiogenesis. First, let’s be clear that any arguments about abiogenesis are not arguments about evolution, because evolution only deals with what happens after life formed. So even if you proved that life could not have formed, you would not have done anything to address the theory of evolution. Second, I think that you are somewhat misunderstanding the situation with abiogenesis. Science will never be able to tell us exactly how the first cell formed, because (unlike things like biological evolution) no direct evidence was left behind for us to examine. As such, all that science can do is answer the question, “is it plausible that life formed on its own?” and that’s all it needs to do. For abiogenesis to be used as evidence of a creator, you would have to demonstrate that it is simply impossible for a cell to form on its own. All that science has to do is show that it is plausible, and the creationist argument fails (more on that in a moment). Currently, there is actually a lot of evidence to suggest that the formation of a cell is completely plausible (even likely). We’ve been able to make amino acids for decades (which is no small feat btw), but is a lot of research that is now looking at how those acids and other simple components could form into a more complex structure, and it is looking very promising. Sure, we don’t have the full puzzle assembled yet, but we are making progress, and this is one of the most complex puzzles anyone has ever tried to build.

      Things brings me to my final point, using the fact that scientists do not currently know exactly how a cell can spontaneously form as evidence of a creator is logically invalid. It is a fallacy known generally as an argument from ignorance, and more specifically as a God of the gaps argument. For everything that science currently understands, there was a point in history at which scientists didn’t understand it. So you can’t use a current gap in our knowledge as evidence of a creator. So if that is the best argument for creationism, then creationism is in pretty serious trouble, because that argument is fallacious. Unless you can demonstrate that it is impossible for a cell to form on it’s own, its simply not a valid argument.

      Now, you could try to flip that and say, “by scientists are committing the same fallacy by assuming that it was possible even though we haven’t demonstrated that yet.” There is, however, a serious flaw there. That argument is predicated on the assumption that there is a God. In other words, there is an extra (and rather extraordinary) assumption involved in that, and you would need to provide strong evidence for that, before it became a viable alternative. In other words, you would need to demonstrate the existence of God before supernatural creation became a legitimate hypothesis. In contrast, science isn’t required to make any assumptions about God. Even if he exists, that wouldn’t mean that he created the first cell or that abiogensis is impossible. So the burden of proof falls to creationists.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the thoughtful response.

        On climate models, you’re essentially making a perspicuity claim. That is, the models get the big things right, and we don’t need to worry about minor details. That seems to be more of an engineering mindset than science. In other words, we know that the system works within acceptable tolerance. That’s fine as a general principle. I guess the question really comes down to what are we going to DO as a result of that knowledge? If we’re going to clean up the environment, then cool. If we’re going to load up a spaceship and colonize Mars, we might want a higher level of certainty.

        I have to take issue with your use of the “God of the gaps” terminology. That phrase is misused by atheists. The term was invented by Christian philosophers to describe the heresy of of a shrinking God.

        There are some Christians who believe that God is merely an a magic interloper who drops by from time to time, offering up miraculous toys for his worshippers. Like I said, that view is a heresy. It is outside the pale of orthodoxy. And, faced with the scientific advancements of the 18th and 19th centuries, these heretics began trimming their list of miracles. As a result, God was being placed in an ever-shrinking box.

        Christian leaders spoke out against this “God of the gaps” interpretation and urged an orthodox view – i.e. that God created a world governed by scientific principles, and God is in no way diminished by our discovery of those principles. Atheists have taken the heretical view and pretend that it is mainstream Christianity. (Or, creationist view, if you want to be more ecumenical.) It’s not. Mainstream Christianity and atheists agree that the “God of the gaps” argument is nonsense.

        It’s interesting that you accuse me of making an argument from ignorance. In doing so, you are guilty of a fallacy of your own. To begin with, your construct is an argument from ignorance in its own right, just the reverse. More directly, though, you are relying on a false dichotomy. That is, you insist that the only options are to be certain of creationism or to be certain of evolution.

        I would suggest that the better approach is to begin unconvinced that either is true and then hold both views to their proof. I can accept the moral and philosophical truths of Christianity and rely on mere plausibility to support my belief in Creationism. Indeed, that’s precisely what you’re doing from a naturalistic point of view. You have chosen to rely on the plausibility of the natural explanation and put your faith in the proposition that science will one day figure out the rest.

        We are both entitled to hold those views so long as they remain plausible. The truth is that the burden of proof lies on the person trying to change someone’s mind.

        Like

        • Fallacy Man says:

          I think that you are miss-representing my comment in several ways. First, I did not suggest that we don’t need to worry about the smaller details of the models. Understanding them will help to refine and improve our predictions and scientists are working on precisely that. To quote my comment, “to be clear, they are still at play, and some models will be better than others based on whether or not they got those factors correct.” My point was that the fact that there are minor components that we don’t understand does not invalidate the models or provide strong evidence against them, and I stand by that.

          Next, you took issue with me accusing you of a God of the gaps argument, but is that not exactly what you did? Couldn’t we sum up your entire argument as, “Science hasn’t been able to prove that life arose naturally, therefore God did it”?

          Next, you suggested that I was also committing an argument from ignorance fallacy, but I already addressed that in the original comment. To summarize, first there is actually a lot of scientific evidence showing that life could arise on its own, and we are learning more all the time. Second, that only “alternative” to life arising naturally is a creator, but that is an extraordinary leap. You would need to present strong evidence that such a being even exists before it would become a valid scientific alternative.

          Finally, you said, “We are both entitled to hold those views so long as they remain plausible” and “you insist that the only options are to be certain of creationism or to be certain of evolution.” There are several important things here. First, you are talking about abiogensis, not evolution. We are extremely certain of evolution. Second, the fact that something is plausible does not necessarily mean that it is rational, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it is scientific. Finally, my point is that the only way that you can use a lack of understanding about the origin of life as evidence for creationism is if we are actually certain that life could not arise naturally. Unless you can prove that, it is the very definition of an argument from ignorance/God of the gaps argument. I know you dislike me saying that you are committing a God of the gaps argument, but that is exactly what you are doing. To illustrate, imagine that tomorrow a scientist manages to create a cell in a test tube, would you not then agree that you had placed God in an ever shrinking box?

          Like

        • BENJAMIN M MITCHELL says:

          I’m sorry but your statement “The truth is that the burden of proof lies on the person trying to change someone’s mind.” is simply wrong. The burden of proof has always belonged to the person making the claim. There is evidence supporting the Evolution (not mere plausibility) of systems (both biological and artificial). While there are some missing pieces to this puzzle – there is sufficient evidence to allow for a Theory on Evolution. The part your missing is that we do hold both the same level of scrutiny – after looking at all the facts – Evolution is the ONLY one with any real evidence.

          The counter argument in favor of Creationism can’t make the same claim. In this case it’s the claim that Creationism (via God) is equal in evidence (plausibility is NOT evidence) to Evolution. Your claim of Creationism requires you to first prove the existence of ANY God(s) (not just your God – evidence of any God would do) and then additional evidence that this God decided to intervene – simply to create us. These are extraordinary claims and require equally extraordinary evidence to support them. The whole concept of Creationism is predicated on the existence of God and can’t stand on it’s own. Therefore you must first provide evidence for God first and that burden lands squarely on the shoulders of Creationists not the rest of us.

          Regards,
          an Athiest and an Engineer

          Like

        • Fallacy Man says:

          After writing the response above, I thought of what I think is a far better way to explain the difference between claiming that God created the first cell and claiming that it is most likely just a natural process that we don’t understand.

          First, every unknown that science has ever explained has turned out to be not God. In other words, every single time that science has ever solved a mystery, the answer has been a natural explanation. Second, science has provided us with a very good understanding of how the universe formed via natural processes, how it slowly changed into a universe with stars via natural processes, how heavy elements were made in the furnaces of those stars via natural processes, how planets formed form those elements via natural processes, etc. In other words, we have at least a reasonable understanding of everything right up to the formation of life (there are certainly gaps in our understanding, but none large enough to even attempt to insert God into them). Then, following the formation of life, we have an extremely good understanding of what happened afterwords. Fossils, genetics, biogeography, etc. have all shown us how life evolved in great detail (again, via natural processes). So, science has shown entirely natural processes for everything right up to the formation of life, and for everything following the formation of life. It is only that one step that we don’t understand yet, and you are trying to insert God into that gap. Further, as I have already said, we are filling that gap in more and more with each passing year. We actually have quite a bit of the puzzle together.

          Given all of that, it is completely rational and in no way an argument from ignorance fallacy to expect the the most likely solution for the current gap is yet another natural explanation. To put that another way, if you were correct that “assuming” that a natural explanation existed was an argument from ignorance fallacy, then that logic would apply to all unanswered scientific questions. For example, I am currently conducting research to solve the mystery of why some frog populations are recovering from disease outbreaks while others are not. Scientists have looked at this before and no answer has emerged yet. Does that mean that I am committing an argument from ignorance fallacy by assuming that a natural explanation exists rather than acknowledging that perhaps God performed a miracle? Of course not! Yet that is exactly what you are doing with abiogenesis. You are saying, “science hasn’t given us the explanation yet, therefore God.”

          Now, let’s look at the “alternative” to abiogenesis, and I’m not talking about God, I’m talking about the Force as portrayed in Star Wars. You see, I believe that it is real, and the Force caused the first cell to form. Further, I think that the best argument for it is the fact that science can’t currently explain the formation of the first cell. Therefore, I feel justified in inserting the force into that gap. I think that, at worst, you should be unconvinced about whether or not the Force caused the first cell to form.

          Now, you no doubt think that sounds crazy, and you are, of course correct. You would be completely justified in demanding physical evidence for the existence of the Force before you accept it as a plausible alternative to abiogenesis. Further, you would be completely correct that I am committing an argument from ignorance fallacy. However, that is logically no different from what you are doing. You have to provide physical evidence for the existence of God before you can propose a creator as an alternative to a scientific explanation. The fact that we don’t currently understand abiogenesis does not make it rational (or even plausible) to think that it was a creator. If it did, then it would also be rational for me to use it as evidence of the Force.

          Like it or not, your argument is a God of the gaps argument. It is nothing more than saying, “Science doesn’t understand this yet, therefore it is evidence that God did it.” You seemed to admit in your comment that this type of thinking was flawed and placed God in an ever shrinking box, so why are you using it here? The reality is that the box people put God in has shrunk so far that only abiogenesis and a handful of other exceedingly complex topics remain, yet you are still trying to confine God to that minuscule container. The only difference between you using God as an explanation of abiogensis and someone 100 years ago using God as the explanation for a “miracle” is that the “miracles” were simple enough for science to solve quickly, whereas abiogenesis is complex enough to require more time.

          Like

    • Stephen B Baines says:

      1) Individual scientists, like Kelvin, can be wrong. Way wrong. That’s why consensus matters. Kelvin would have had to convince others he was right, and, in the end, he failed. The evidence supported a better model. Science is a social construct. I actually think this is one reason that extreme conservatives and libertarians have a problem with science – it seems very individualistic at first (at least the stories well tell are), but in the end it does not allow for individual freedom. You are a slave to evidence as interpreted by others – and you have to convince others. Science is not about celebrating the individual, but explaining observed phenomena that are repeatable. Individual inspiration and creativity are important, but not when you adhere to ideas slavishly in the face of opposing data.

      2) There is no climate model where water vapor has a negative effect on warming, so I’m not sure from where you are getting that. It is always an amplifier of warming, no matter what the driver of change (sun, albedo, greenhouse gasses — doesn’t matter). That hasn’t been a debate for decades or longer, at least since Manabe published the first climate model in the 60s and probably since Bert Bolin and Plass in the 50s!. That is probably why you are receiving short-shift from climate scientists. They think a quick read of the IPCC reports on the issue should clear that up. That’s why they were written!

      I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. You must be confused with clouds. It is true that climate models don’t deal with clouds that well, and that is why there is still only 95% certainty that climate change is caused by humans according to the IPCC. But there have been models (namely by Lindzen) that have tried to invoke a compensatory effect by clouds, and they have failed spectacularly, repeatedly. Other models, like those by Spencer, have tried to explain warming based on some crazy amplification of cloud effects, but they make wildly unrealistic assumptions about key parameters, like mixing depth of the oceans which we can actually observe. Spencer has never been able to publish that work in peer-reviewed journals because it doesn’t meet even the most basic standard of acceptance for a model! His acolytes fulminate, because they are ideologically bound and not thinking scientifically.

      We know clouds haven’t caused the current warming, cuz we measured them. Plus, we have historical variations in climate indicate a climate sensitivity very close to what models predict, even though the models don’t do a good job at clouds. That suggests that clouds are not that key. Most empirical estimates of current conditions indicate that clouds are an amplifier of warming. Although there is some noise in that data, there is nothing to suggest the effects of clouds are large enough to offset the effect of CO2 or to account for warming. Once again, I think the IPCC is too circumspect on the issue, but it is a committee basically.

      3. Creationism. It’s true, we have not created life in the lab yet. But we have created the biomolecules on which life depends, as you mention. That is a step in the right direction, and right now we have no reason to believe that given enough time and the right circumstances more complex molecules could develop. The argument that life has not been created is an argument of the gaps. The question to ask in response to such an argument? What has creationism offered in response other than pure faith that is not subject to test? How do you determine if a whimsical intelligence started life, or is running the universe? There is no there there, in scientific terms – it’s an untestable proposition because whimsy has no rules around which you can construct hypotheses. I think the more interesting question is whether this event that created life was really reproducible, or whether we are the sole beneficiaries of an improbable event. That’s why finding life elsewhere will be such a breakthrough.

      Like

    • ecmparsons says:

      To be fair to Lord Kelvin, he was trying to explain the natural world in Dickensian times, a good 50 or so years before the discovery of the proton, let alone nuclear fusion. He wasn’t working with radio telescopes, particle accelerators or any of the other toys of today’s scientists.

      Like

  12. Angela Stahlfest-Moller says:

    Not a science denier
    I am the exact opposite

    Relativity is flawed

    Major idea is that because we can’t tell if we are in a room on earth with weight due to gravity or in a room on a spaceship accelerating at 9.8 m/s squared; they are the same.
    No they are not
    Acceleration due to gravity does not require movement.
    Kinetic acceleration does require movement.

    Another is that time and distance are connected because of the speed of light ratio of distance to time, m/s.
    1. A ratio does not show connection.
    A bucket with 3 apples and 4 oranges in it is a ratio of 3/4 apples to oranges.
    Does not mean apples are connected to oranges.
    2. If you divide any object into 100 equal pieces theneach piece will be 1/100th the original volume, 1/100th the original mass and 1/100th the original absolute charge but each piece will not be 1/100th the age they will all be brand new.
    Same for some space that has been empty for x years.
    Each piece will be 1/100th volume of the original but not 1/100th the age.
    There is no connection to time.
    Time is what we exist in.

    An atomic clock is said to not be affected by gravity. This is false, gravity affects all substances.
    We have standard temperature and pressure in science because we know that changing the environment of an experiment has an effect.
    Different gravities are a charge in the environment.
    An atomic clock counts the number of times an electron changes energy levels up then back.
    On earth in one gravity the count is x in one second.
    On moon or in space in a lower or balanced gravity the count is more than x in one second.
    Note: Both are ‘in one second’.
    As x count, taken from atomic clock in one gravity, is defined as one second and the count of atomic clocks is different in lower or higher gravities: the fact that all the counts occur in one second is ignored.
    Leaving the only answer to be the ridiculus statement that time is changing.

    Look at it this way.
    “Gravity does not affect atomic clocks therefore a different count, in one second, means the seconds must be different’ is a false statement accepted as true and used as ‘proof’.
    If ‘All eggs are square and black’ is accepted as true then you can ‘prove’ over and over again that chickens do not lay eggs.

    This is what is actually happening.
    In high gravity the atom is held together more tightly and the movement of the electrons are restricted leading to low counts.
    In low gravity the atoms are held together less tightly and the movement of the electrons is less restricted leading to a higher count.

    Here is another way to put it

    Take 2 identical metal rulers
    Place one in a freezer for a year and the other in an oven for a year.
    Then use each ruler to measure 1m.
    Find oven 1m is longer than freezer 1m.
    Conclude
    Temperature affects metal rulers
    Or temperature affects distance
    Temperature affects metal rulers is accepted

    Now the same for 2 atomic clocks
    Place one at sea level and one in space for a year and count the ticks
    Then compare counts
    Find sea level clock has a lower count than space clock
    Conclude
    Gravity affects atomic clocks
    Or gravity affects time
    Gravity affects time is the accepted answer

    Both cannot be correct
    It is called critical thinking
    B)

    Thank you for your time, Angela

    Liked by 1 person

    • Daimonie says:

      “Major idea is that because we can’t tell if we are in a room on earth with weight due to gravity or in a room on a spaceship accelerating at 9.8 m/s squared; they are the same.
      No they are not Acceleration due to gravity does not require movement. Kinetic acceleration does require movement.”

      You actually can’t. What seems to be presented as counter arguments are arbitrary nonsense. IF you are in a reference frame accelerating at g, this will give rise to a fictitious force equal to mg. That’s simple to derive; it is deductive. Take coordinates in a reference frame at rest, say the height z(t). The height of the elevator/spaceship is L(t), the movement within is z'(t). Suppose the elevator is accelerating upward at a rate g. The net force on a body within the elevator is F.

      The acceleration in the reference frame is: a(t). In the elevator frame, it is unknown but denoted b(t).
      Newton’s second law: F = m a(t) = m ( g(t) + b(t) ); F – m g(t) = m a (t) . Behold, an effective force that is indistinguishable from gravity.

      [Another is that time and distance are connected because of the speed of light ratio of distance to time, m/s.]
      Blatantly false. This is just nonsense; the concept of space time is not based on dimensional analysis. Rather, it is based on two fundamental propositions, the postulates of special relativity. The laws of physics are invariant between inertial frames. And thus, the speed of light, as calculated by Maxwell’s equations, is invariant between inertial frames as well.

      [An atomic clock is said to not be affected by gravity. This is false, gravity affects all substances.]
      How can you even get this wrong? From wikipedia: “Gravitational time dilation is a form of time dilation, an actual difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers situated at varying distances from a gravitating mass. The weaker the gravitational potential (the farther the clock is from the source of gravitation), the faster time passes. Albert Einstein originally predicted this effect in his theory of relativity and it has since been confirmed by tests of general relativity.[1]
      This has been demonstrated by noting that atomic clocks at differing altitudes (and thus different gravitational potential) will eventually show different times. ”

      “In high gravity the atom is held together more tightly and the movement of the electrons are restricted leading to low counts.”
      False. Gravity is not strong enough to affect this; this is why we can safely ignore it in the Schrödinger equation and in Dirac’s equation and most other things dealing with quantum physics. The electromagnetic force is far stronger on such scales, and takes ultimate precedence.

      As for your examples, what are you trying to prove? You’re not giving an argument against relative time.

      “Temperature affects metal rulers is accepted”
      “Or temperature affects distance”
      An established fact, yes. The expansion of matter due to higher temperatures is well established.

      “Gravity affects atomic clocks”
      “Gravity affects time is the accepted answer”
      Or any other kind of clock. Even the ‘internal’ clock of muon decay is affected. Looking into the experimental evidence would serve you better than making weird analogies.http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Relativ/muon.html

      “It is called critical thinking”
      It seems to be called cognitive dissonance.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Daimonie made some good points there – I believe many physicists would find the complaints in the parent-comment here a bit odd, as do I. To contribute thoughts from someone with finer grasp of physics than I do, I’ll relay some >>comments<>Physics tells us they are indistinguishable from gravitational point of view – with the exception of tidal forces: if your room is large enough, you can also measure tidal forces that are generally not achievable through linear acceleration. In any case, gravitational forces being indistinguishable does not mean otherwise ‘the same’. If you would like to understand these concepts more, you can look into how GPS satellites work.<>According to special relativity, there is only spacetime. They are not separate. The Lorentz transformation tells you the relation of time and space for different observers. c is just a scaling factor. Physicists set it to 1, no dimension (not m/s).<>Who says? Not scientists. An atomic clock is affected by gravity. Daimonie pointed this out too.

      For the rest? The above length of text is a physics-term-poetry about some kind of fantasy world. An attempt to apply classical physics thinking on scales where it doesn’t apply. This is not how physics works.<<

      Physics is very fascinating field in many ways. Of course one may simply enjoy the apparent paradoxes one can build while ignoring the proper way to apply and interpret concepts of physics, too, but that doesn't really make for relevant criticism of science.

      Hope you have a good day!
      Iida/Thoughtscapism

      Like

    • Daimonie made some good points there – I believe many physicists would find the complaints in the parent-comment here a bit odd, as do I. To contribute thoughts from someone with finer grasp of physics than I do, I’ll relay some comments from my SO, who did his PhD in theory of relativity:

      “Major idea is that because we can’t tell if we are in a room on earth with weight due to gravity or in a room on a spaceship accelerating at 9.8 m/s squared; they are the same.
      No they are not”

      Physics tells us they are indistinguishable from gravitational point of view – with the exception of tidal forces: if your room is large enough, you can also measure tidal forces that are generally not achievable through linear acceleration. In any case, gravitational forces being indistinguishable does not mean otherwise ‘the same’. If you would like to understand these concepts more, you can look into how GPS satellites work.

      “Another is that time and distance are connected because of the speed of light ratio of distance to time, m/s.
      1. A ratio does not show connection.”

      According to special relativity, there is only spacetime. They are not separate. The Lorentz transformation tells you the relation of time and space for different observers. c is just a scaling factor. Physicists set it to 1, no dimension (not m/s).

      “An atomic clock is said to not be affected by gravity.”

      Who says? Not scientists. An atomic clock is affected by gravity.

      For the rest? The above length of text is a physics-term-poetry about some kind of fantasy world. An attempt to apply classical physics thinking on scales where it doesn’t apply. This is not how physics works.

      Physics is very fascinating field in many ways. Of course one may simply enjoy the apparent paradoxes one can build while ignoring the proper way to apply and interpret concepts of physics, too, but that doesn’t really make for relevant criticism of science.

      Hope you have a good day!
      Iida/Thoughtscapism

      Like

    • A poem that fizzed,
      Riding waves of tepid thought,
      Wishing makes it so.

      Like

  13. Excellent post.
    You have a typo in this sentence:
    “When you look at the actual proportions, you consistently find that the disease rates were much higher among the vaccinated.”

    Like

  14. Dave says:

    I too engaged in that hobby for a long time. Many, if not most of them are religious. You can’t argue with the religious. They’ll quote pseudo-science to you all day. When you show how every one of their arguments is flawed, they either quote scripture or just keep insisting that they’re right. Scientists are atheists, after all, so it’s a giant atheist conspiracy or those poor scientists are just blind to the truth or can’t accept it because they’re atheists. Yes, this is what’s believed so no, they don’t think scientists are stupid, just fools (“a fool says in his heart…yadda yadda”). There’s also sites with “experts” that these nutters quote in these arguments (the original “fake news”). That emboldens them, too.

    Like

  15. Pressed on Quotidian Hudson

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Bargainexpert says:

    David Hiersekorn, the problem with your argument for creationism vs. abiogenesis is that the plausibility for abiogenesis is based on evidence whereas the plausibility for creationism is based on personal belief and preference.

    Like

  17. Maureen Banashak says:

    You are one of those loser science popularizers- just like that fool, Neil Tyson…… I cannot believe how BADLY that FOOL, Neil Tyson , butchered the meaning of Eo=mc2. No, it does NOT even deal with matter, NOR does it EVER say “it is a recipe for converting matter to energy and back again. ” My godness is Tyson STUPID….That is soooo off base and wrong it is sad…..

    Energy and matter are NOT related- at all. Energy is strictly a number- useful mathematical fiction. A property only. Purely mathematical.

    The origin of the universe is NOT currently KNOWN by the way…. Sagan and Tyson were kerks- arrogant jerks spreading misinformation. STOP OVERSTATING SCIENCE. IT HAS ITS SERIOUS FLAWS, TOO. Nor can it solve many of life’s problems….. It has its specific purpose.

    But there is so much more to life than science. And these other things are valid. Feynman hismelf noted that.

    Like

    • realthog says:

      Forgive me, but is this a parody?

      Like

      • Maureen Banashak says:

        No, it’s not. Energy and matter are NOT, NOT related. Tyson is as an ASS, a MISINFORMED ass spewing misinformation,. Tyson is all bluff- he does NOT HAVE A CLUE. I know particle physicists.. Tyson BUTCHERED Einstein’s wrok. E0=mc2, NOT E=mc2. And the meaning Tyson claimed is TOTALLY WRONG.

        Like

        • BENJAMIN M MITCHELL says:

          LOL – “I know particle physicists” and therefore some of the most well-respected and known Scientists are “ASS”. I doubt you know any ‘physicists’ other maybe Dr. Google. I see where your trying to go with your completely ass-backwards argument but you’ve missed the point of the papers your trying to claim as evidence to support your argument. Which stems from a lack of understanding around the principals of Mass and Energy on your part – i can only assume.

          Like

          • Juan Sanchez says:

            YOU are the person in error. You do not know your butthole from a hole in the ground. Matter and energy are NOT related.NO TRANSFORMATION is ever occurring. Tjhatg isnot possible. Energy is NOT stuff or a thing, neither is mass.

            Mass is something different from matter. NOR is mass converted into energy. I KNOW particle physicists. TYSON IS A STOOGE WHO IS WRONG. TYSON IS A DISGRACE TO WELL RESPECTED PARTICLE PHYSICISTS.

            Like

          • Juan Sanchez says:

            Neil Tyson is LAUGHABLY IGNORANT and spreading MISINFORMATION about E0=mc2. You will never admit it. I can PROVE it. I KNOW particle physicists. There does NOT, NOT exist a complete equivalence between mass and energy, you foolish person.

            TYSON IS SPREADING GROSS MISINFORMATION IT IS A MAJOR- MAJOR scinece MISCONCEPTION that energy and matter are transformed into one another and vice versa NO. NO and NO.

            ONLY PARTICLES ARE EVER TRANSFORMING into one another,. PARTICLES ARE NOT ENERGY- PARTICLES ARE ALL STUFF.ENERGY IS NOT STUFF.

            THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE IS NOT CURRENTLY KNOWN. TYSON IS A BAFOON. A TYPICAL SCIENCE POPULARIZER AND INCOMPETENT.

            THIS WHOLE WEBSITE IS HOKEY NONSENSE.

            Like

            • Daimonie says:

              Nuclear reactors.

              Class dismissed.

              Like

            • John C. says:

              So, you expect that readers of these comments will believe ANY of your statements, when you can’t even utilize proper grammar, syntax, spelling, or evidentiary citation?!? Not to mention the VAST amount of “Conspiracy Craziness” exuding from your posts! You need to face your own ego, and come to terms with the reality that you DON’T have ANY answers that are more credible or plausible than the ones presented by the global Scientific community, and, until/unless you have ACTUAL evidence to show otherwise, you need to realize that YOU are the one with the misunderstanding and the incorrect information … NOT the Scientists!! 😡

              Like

    • kelvinsdemon says:

      No, Tyson is neither the stupid nor the ignorant one here. Einstein predicted that a given quantity of mass, if it disappeared, would release a seemingly prodigious amount of energy. In so doing, he indicated the solution to the most vexing problem identified by William Thomson, who for his work as Professor of Natural Philosophy (which most of us now call Physics) at Glasgow University got him a peerage, as Baron Kelvin of Largs.
      Kelvin attempted to account for the power emitted by the Sun, and was sufficiently dissatisfied with anything he could think of, that he declared it was the most important unanswered question in physics.
      Einstein’s mass energy equation provides the answer.
      The answer, as moderately well informed people now know, is that in every star that still has hydrogen, the enormous temperature and pressure of the core causes four hydrogen nuclei one after another to merge into becoming a helium nucleus.

      In terms of the standard atomic unit, (one twelfth of the mass of carbon 12),
      Hydrogen has a mass of 1.008, Helium is 4.0026. So when 40,320 kg of hydrogen have become helium, the helium has a mass of 40,026 kg, and the difference in mass has become energy. Multiply 294 kg by the square of the speed of light, you will get a figure for a remarkable quantity of energy, and the reality of it has been amply demonstrated.
      The fact that the products of the fission of a U-235 or Pu-239 nucleus by a neutron have a total mass of slightly less than the nucleus that was split, accounts for 47% of the electric power that is supplied to my house.

      Like

      • Juan Sanchez says:

        And Tyson IS WAY OFF BASE-LAUGHABLY IGNORANT and butchering Einstein’s work-misrepresenting it. Tyson spreads misinformation.

        Like

      • Juan Sanchez says:

        There is NO-NO matter EVER transfoeming into energy-which is only a number. Energy and matter are NOT related, you ignorant science popularizer/Internet commenter wannabe…..

        Nor is it correct to claim mass is transformed into energy.

        Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion involve CHANGES IN BINDING ENERGIES. THERE IS NO MASS TO EBERGY CONVERSION, FOOL. MY INFO IS DIRECTLY FROM THE LATE LEV OKUN. Tyson is a stooge. Tyson is a fool who spreads misinformation-kaku, Greene and Coxx butchered E=mc2 as well…..

        Mass and energy are NOT the same. There does NOT EXIST A COMPLETE equivalence between mass and energy. This is crucial.

        The ONLY energy being put equivalent to mass is the REST-energy-ONLY. Eo=mc2 is the correct notation for objects at rest.

        Like

        • realthog says:

          transfoeming

          Transfoaming?

          Like

          • Juan Sanchez says:

            YOU GOT YOUR BUTT HANDED TO YOU.

            THIS WHOLE WEBSITE IS ABSOLUTE HOKEY NONSENSE. SCIENCE POPULARIZER BULLSH@T

            THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE IS NOT KNOWN ABY ANY SCIENTIST.

            MATTER AND ENERGY ARE NOT- NOT transformed into one another, ENERGY IS NOT STUFF – AT ALL. IT IS A NUMBER.

            Like

            • laughingfish13 says:

              Can you show us your sources, please?

              No?

              Imagine that. A science denier without any sources!

              Like

            • MacIomhair says:

              If you are so sure energy and matter are not converted into one another, perhaps you could volunteer to stand at ground zero of a nuclear test? Because of course, splitting the atoms will not result in any excessive discharge of energy and so you will be absolutely fine, no harm could possibly come to you.

              Like

        • kelvinsdemon says:

          It is better to be arrogant and correct, than objectionally loud and ignorant.

          Like

      • Juan Sanchez says:

        Neil Tyson is LAUGHABLY IGNORANT and spreading MISINFORMATION about E0=mc2. You will never admit it. I can PROVE it. I KNOW particle physicists. There does NOT, NOT exist a complete equivalanece between mass and energy, you foolish person.

        TYSON IS SPREADING GROSS MISINFORMATION IT IS A MAJOR- MAJOR scinece MISCONCEPTION that energy and matter are transformed into one another and vice versa NO. NO and NO.

        ONLY PARTICLES ARE EVER TRANSFORMING into one another,. PARTICLES ARE NOT ENERGY- PARTICLES ARE ALL STUFF.ENERGY IS NOT STUFF.

        THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE IS NOT CURRENTLY KNOWN. TYSON IS A BAFOON. A TYPICAL SCIENCE POPULARIZER AND INCOMPETENT.

        THIS WHOLE WEBSITE IS HOKEY NONSENSE.

        Like

        • laughingfish13 says:

          Saying it multiple times in the same ways with multiple sock-puppets does not make it more true. 🙂

          Like

          • Janet Whitaker says:

            It IS true, guy. YOU ARE THE AMATEUR WHO IS MISTAKEN. TYSON IS A MISINFORMED ASS. LEV OKUN KNOWS HIS STUFF. Tyson got E=mc2 TOTALLY WRONG-DEAL WITH IT. E=mc2 is not even true written that way……..

            Like

            • Janet Whitaker says:

              Once again: There does NOT exist a COMPLETE equivalence between mass and energy,, as ALL PROFESSIINAL WORLD CLASS PARTICLE PHYSICISTS ALREADY KNOW!. Okun was one of the greatest.

              This is contrary to what those ASSES Cox, Tyson, Greene and Sagan claim. Those science pooularizer anus holes are misinformed themselves and spewing total misinformation.

              This website is total bullsh#t……..

              Like

          • Janet Whitaker says:

            I am here to educate you, you Internet stooge. For objects at rest , Eo=mc2. The REST ENERGY IS THE ONLY , ONLY energy being put equivalent to mass. Eo is the rest-energy.

            What exists is a mass, energy, MOMENTUM RELATION.
            For objects in motion, energy is ALWAYS G R E A T E R! than mc2……

            There does NOT exist a *complete* equivalence between energy and mass. They are NOT the same thing.. EINSTEIN’S DISCOVERY WAS THE REST -ENERGY!

            Like

        • MacIomhair says:

          “Particles are stuff” – well, that’s disproved Einstein very succinctly. Thank you for your contribution to advancing humanity – your Nobel Prize is in the post.

          Like

  18. Maureen Banashak says:

    By the way: There are EXTREMELY TOXIC INGREDIENTS added to many vaccines, fool. There is LOTS of corruption in science: including marketing Neurontin ( Gabba-Pentin) for off label pain treatment, Vioxx as well. Stains drugs are another scam they are very toxic – can cause neurological disorders.

    By the way, fool , what were the Apollo 11 astronauts DOING IN LOW EARTH ORBIT on July 19th 1969????? This is incontrvertable PROOF- footage formerly classified, never meant for public consumption of them FAKING BEING HALF-WAY to the Moon when they clearly are in low Earth orbit and putting a transparency on the lens to LOOK like the Earth is small….

    Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      You are clearly way too far down the rabbit whole to be worth it. I suggest that you start looking at good sources and stop indulging in conspiracy theories.

      Like

    • MacIomhair says:

      You do realise that with the technology of the time, faking the Moon landings was more difficult than actually going there?

      Like

  19. Maureen Banashak says:

    Dr. Grier Director of Genetics University of Maryland SAYS VACCINES HAVE EXTREME TOXINS put in. WAKE UP,. LOSERS:

    4: 10 mark features this scientist:

    Like

    • kelvinsdemon says:

      I am worried about the University of Maryland, now.

      Like

    • I have always found that abuse is the best way of demonstrating the validity of an argument. It’s why all great thinkers throughout the ages have always included, phrases such as “my conclusions are right and yours are wrong because you’re a LOSER.” Note how the use of capital letters adds weight to the argument.

      Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      So we should believe one notorious quack instead of mountains of actual research? That’s what is known as appeal to authority fallacy. Further, if you insist on blindly believing people rather than looking at evidence, why should we believe Grier instead of the literally millions of scientists and doctors who disagree with him?

      Like

      • Juan Sanchez says:

        LOTS OF CORRUPTION AND MONEY INVOLVED. I know amny, many peopel who got flu shots this year who GOT VERY SICK FROM THE FLU. COCHRAN REPORT ADMTIS THERE IS NO EVIDENCE/DATA THAT the influenza vaccine WORKS.

        SUCK IT.

        Like

        • MacIomhair says:

          Shouldn’t you be counting your toes in the Oval Office right now? Frankly, all I can suggest is “read a book” – and a real one, not something whose author is “some nut off the internet”.

          Like

      • Juan Sanchez says:

        YOU ARE NAIVE. LOTS OF CORRUPTION IN “SCIENCE.’ INCLIDING NERONTIN OFF LABEL USE. TOTAL CORRUPTION DR BEATRICE GOLUMB EZPOSES ALL OF THIS DURING HER LECTURES ON VACCINES.

        PFIZER ADMITTED GUILT OF GHOSTWRITING AND HAD TO PAY APPROXIMATELY 400 MILLION DOLLARS.

        THSI IS WELL KNOWN NEWS.

        Like

        • laughingfish13 says:

          Yeah. Well-known fake news.

          I think you missed your exit trying to get to the Trump-Supporters blog.

          Like

  20. Maureen Banashak says:

    SCIENCE IS N-O-T RATIONAL:

    Like

    • laughingfish13 says:

      You’re funny, Maureen-Juan. Please, stick your head up your own ass more so we can all continue laughing as you swallow the poisoned kool-aid conspiracy lunatics keep feeding you. Open your eyes, sheeple.

      Like

  21. Thanks for the enormous effort that you have applied to this vexing problem. Although it’s a sport, I don’t think that illogic can be fought with logic. Like so many other psychological pathologies, change only comes after realisation, which only comes after failure- and then rarely, as blame simply replaces opinion.

    For a different take on the issue, try looking at my 250-page ebook “Warming to You- Falling for Me”, wherein Bruce, a scientist tries to explain how Science works to Jane, his very literary, but scientifically devoid partner. It’s downloadable at Apple at https://geo.itunes.apple.com/au/book/warming-to-you-falling-for-me/id997636467?mt=11&uo=6.

    Like

  22. Stephen B Baines says:

    I think this is a very rational response to arguments that are, unfortunately, not based on rationality. That’s not to say those arguments shouldn’t be taken seriously, just not at face value. People who make such arguments are either justifying a world view that deliberately excludes science in favor of faith, or that reinforces a social construction that places scientists among a group of selfish cultural elites with no interests in their own well being. I think both trends are a function of our society’s harshness. First that it forces people to look to faith to give their life meaning, and second that it has led to a cultural separation between educated and non-educated that did not exist many decades ago.

    Like

  23. kelvinsdemon says:

    About Global Oceanic Warming, and the problem of an extra 100 ppm or more of CO2 in the atmosphere. It is not relevant that climate models are difficult to design, even relatively ignorant folk have heard of the butterfly effect. So actual prognostications of how hot it’ll be next year are pretty certain to be wrong.
    The thesis of global warming is that this planet is failing to re-radiate as much energy as it receives from the sun, so it gets hotter. EPA uses the term “radiative forcing”. It does not mean that everywhere is going to get warmer. Chiefly it means that the oceans and the land as a whole will retain more heat.
    The surface of the land and the sea radiates energy out as low energy photons, and the colder it is, the lower the infrared photon energy. Carbon dioxide captures infrared, so some of it does not escape as fast as solar radiation is coming in.
    The difference between a litre of water and a kilogram of ice is 300 kilojoules, 300 kJ of energy.
    The difference between a litre of water and a kilogram of its vapour is 2250 kJ, or thereabouts.
    If the surface of the water is one degree warmer, the adjacent air, at 100% humidity, contains more water vapour. So a seemingly small increment in the temperature of all the water in all the seas of the Earth, is a devil of a lot of heat.
    So the EPA records of the concentration of CO2, which has been rising year after year during the entire time the records have been kept, is proof enough that burning fossil carbon has to stop. So must the felling of trees at any greater rate than what they are regrown. It is not enough that wood is “renewable”. It has got to be being renewed!

    Like

  24. Peebs says:

    I really enjoyed Maureen’s input. She proved all which was stated in the Article, Then tries to justify her beliefs with YouTube videos which just confirm her biases.
    Toxins in vaccines; Really?

    Like

    • laughingfish13 says:

      I think to some people, logic is toxic. That’s what Maureen-Juan the sock-puppeteer must mean by “toxic compounds” in vaccines. Or maybe they have been drinking the conspiracy kool-aid so long, they can’t think rationally anymore.

      Stay asleep, your conspiracy theory overlords are in control.

      Like

  25. bucketrides says:

    Just discovered your blog – very worthy endeavour, good luck! I’ll be looking at what you write from time to time.

    Like

  26. me says:

    Are there no creationists who are scientists?

    Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      Sadly, being a scientist does not guarantee that you are rational, and it is entirely possible to be extremely well-informed in some areas and extremely poorly informed in others. It’s also possible to simply be a quack (there are unfortunately several of those in the world). Having said that, creationists are extremely rare in science. I should clarify though that creationist organizations like Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research have multiple people with advanced degrees working for them, but I would contend that those people do not meet the definition of “scientist.” A scientist is not someone with an advanced degree, but rather someone who does science and contributes to our scientific knowledge, and they do not meet those standards.

      Like

      • According to whom do “they not meet those standards”? The scientists who have swallowed the evo-kool-aid?

        Like

        • Fallacy Man says:

          First, they openly admit that they are starting with the conclusion that God created the earth 6,000 years ago, then looking for evidence to support that conclusion. That is, by definition, pseudoscience, because science always starts with the evidence, then reaches a conclusion. So by their own admission, they are not following the scientific method. Second, they do not publish in peer-reviewed journals (you know, where actual scientific evidence is published). Thus, they objectively do not meet the standards of being scientists.

          Like

    • kelvinsdemon says:

      There are no creationists who are scientists. They might have science degrees, and even work in scientific technology.
      But any person whose God is stupid enough not to have created the principles of Nature in such a way that evolution and Natural Selection will occur , AND that abiogenesis also happens, naturally, in as many places as the Almighty chooses to set the probability, is worshiping a dunce, a false God, and breaking the Second Commandment.

      Like

    • Cubist says:

      Are there creationists who are also scientists? Sure there are! Similarly, there are baseball fans who are also scientists—NY Yankees fan Stephen J. Gould was much better known as a paleontologist. But just as Gould wasn’t doing science when he was rooting for the Yankees, so it is that creationists aren’t doing science when they do… religious apologetics, or whatever else it may be that creationists do.

      A prime example of a person who does creationism while, independently, they also do science, is Andrew Snelling. Dr. Snelling is a YEC (Young-Earth Creationist) who is also a mainstream geologist; Snelling’s published work in mainstream science, which fully accepts the multi-gigayear timescale for Earth’s existence, is about as good as any other geologist’s work, and at the same time, Snelling’s published work in the field of YEC flatly rejects the mainstream multi-gigayear timescale to support YEC’s few-thousand-years timescale.

      Like

  27. Adam Sacks says:

    Scientists are people with preconceptions, biases, and turf defenses, just like everybody else. Years of training teach scientists to think in particular ways and not others. This is useful up until a point, that point generally being when the prevalent paradigm runs into irreconcilable data. Thomas Kuhn spelled some of that out when he ignited widespread controversy with The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in 1962 – the controversy hobbles along but the basic precepts are pretty well established and I won’t elaborate right now.

    Pertinent here is that a paradigm is a belief system, supported by research, until it has to change. Climate science is the current case in point. I’ve been a climate activist with scientific training for almost two decades, and to me the dominant paradigm has decidedly failed. It is very slowly changing, but in this era of planetary emergency we don’t have time for the normal practice of science to takes it usual leisurely course.

    The failure of mainstream climate science as I see it is as follows:

    Climate science has been “owned” by physical scientists for over 200 years (with the remarkable exception of biologist and polymath Alexander von Humboldt). Physical scientists in general have little understanding of biology. Therefore they see biological systems as *affected by* geophysical forces but generally blind to how biological systems *drive* geophysical forces. In fact, biology began creating the features and dynamics of planet earth once it calmed down as a celestial body around 4 billion years ago. Today the earth we know is almost entirely the product of living things, evolving, engaging in symbioses, creating millions of chemicals unknown in abiotic environments.

    If biology can give us an oxygen atmosphere, thousands of mineral species, rain falling from the skies (most condensation nuclei are of biological origin), it is not unreasonable to hypothesize that biology can address anthropogenic global warming (which is itself a product of biology, as are we humans). Yet, in numerous conversations with mainstream climate scientists over the years about the potential of biological approaches to climate, I have met with almost uniform dismissal.

    To me, those scientists are the climate deniers. The emissions reduction paradigm, as logical as it may seem, simply hasn’t worked. They deny that there may be driving forces of climate that they haven’t considered. They don’t even want to consider that they haven’t considered these questions. They will reflexively say “There’s no science behind it,” even though there’s a possibility that the science exists but they haven’t looked at it (the science does exist, but across many disciplines – the silo-ization of science is another unscientific aspect of the practice of science – and it’s struggling to make its way into the mainstream).

    I’m not going to elaborate further here, it’s a long story. Suffice it to say that there is good reason to believe that greenhouse gases are a symptom of global warming – and a very problematic symptom – but not a root cause. The root cause lies on the billions of anthropogenically desertified acres around the world, and the solution lies there as well. This is very good news because eco-restoration is low-tech, inexpensive, applicable across global ecosystems, rapid and very effective. But we have to grow regenerative practices from the current millions acres by three orders of magnitude. More information on the Biodiversity for a Livable Climate website, http://bio4climate.org, and in the videos from our eight conferences over the past 2.5 years.

    Like

    • Juan Sanchez says:

      YOU ARE CORRECT. Good point . These dopes on here cannot see it. Nor do these dopes realize science STARTS with ASSUMPTIONS- SOME assumption. Both University of California at Berkeley admits this in its teachings , as well as Alan Guth. Guth has to UNDO a lot of the nonsense the science popularizers like Tyson, Sagan and Coxx put out. The unknowing public is being misled by these average at best scientists who are spreading hokey misinformation.

      MOST of the public is not aware that the origin of the universe is not known by any scientist today.

      Like

    • kelvinsdemon says:

      Adam Sacks, it grieves me to have to tell you that you are simply wrong. Chemists and physicists at this moment are worried about what carbon dioxide and other acidic emanations from the burning of fossil solar energy sources (carbon and hydrocarbons, AND the oxygen to burn them) is doing to the pH of the oceans. I have written elsewhere in this thread why Global Warming is indeed caused by the retention of solar heat by increasing amounts of carbon dioxide.
      One thing to note, is that there is a great delusion about the capability of solar and wind energy the push back fossil carbon.
      Only the really recent “alternative energy” of massive atomic nuclei can defeat the fossil solar that ousted “immediate” and “recent” solar from about the date of the discovery that a coal fire could keep you as warm as the wood that had mostly been cut down and not “renewed”.

      Like

    • kelvinsdemon says:

      Adam, one more thing. It took a very long time for oceanic micro-organisms to evolve enough photosynthesis to make a difference, your four billion years is wildly exaggerated. As far as I know, the atmosphere was still unaffected by them until the ferrous salts in solution were oxidised to ferric oxide, creating for instance the great red cliffs of the iron mines in Australia. Then the oxygen bubbled out, and oxidised the thin amount of methane that was keeping the oceans warm enough to be liquid at the surface. CO2 being so much weaker a GHG per molecule than CH4, the first result is believed to have been the freezing of most of the oceans.

      Like

  28. Juan Sanchez says:

    Being well known means NOTHING. The dopey general public is awed by these hokey science popularizer douchebags. They are ASSES- TYSON AND CREW ARE ASSES.

    Matter and energy are NOT reaklted. NOR do they transform into one another,.

    LASLTY, , the ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE IS NOT CURRENTLY KNOWN.

    NONE OF YOU ON HERE CAN REFUTE THE ABOVE TWO STATEMENTS BECAUSE MY SOURCES FOR THEM ARE TOPS.

    TYSON IS AN ASS AND A DISGRACE TO ACTUAL SCIENTISTS- ACCOMPLISHED PARTICLE PHYSICISTS AND COSMOLOGISTS.

    Like

    • realthog says:

      MY SOURCES FOR THEM ARE TOPS

      Name them.

      Like

      • Juan Sanchez says:

        LEV OKUN, ALAN GUTH, AND SEVERAL OTHERS WHO I WILL METION TO YOU PRIVATELY.

        TYSON IS AN ASS. INCOMPETENT POPULARIZER.

        Like

        • realthog says:

          Okun’s dead. Have you a citation for Guth?

          OTHERS WHO I WILL METION TO YOU PRIVATELY.

          I’m waiting.

          Like

          • Richard Sanchez says:

            Guth’s commentary can be found at numerous Closer To Truth episode interviews which YouTube features. Guth also debunks myths of science at New England Physics Misconceptions page.

            There are (reasonable) ASSUMPTION Guth must make to do his work. All scientists start with a few assumptions. Humans will never know WHERE the laws of physics come from, nor the deepest lawszGuth, Deutsch, Einstein, Feynman all think/thought Nature is far smarter and creative than any man.

            There is NO scientific method. Scientists use thousands of methods-serendipity played a huge role, too. The Scientific Method is a GRADE SCHOOL LIE. LEE SMOLIN MOTES THIS, TOO

            Like

        • Richard Sanchez says:

          Okun has books, you fool. I also communicated in 2012. Tyson is TOTALLY OFF BASE regarding E=mc2. Tyson butchers the meaning and he also does not get that E=mc2 is the wrong notation. Einsten got sloppy in popular writings. Einstein himself knew the CORRECT notation for objects at rest is Eo=mc2.

          Like

          • realthog says:

            So what you’re saying, Maureen, is that indeed you don’t have any relevant citation for Alan Guth stating the, er, “unorthodox” physics you’re spouting, and you decline to name all these “TOPS” particle physicists whom you know.

            In fact, the only evidence you seem to have for your claims is your willingness to call the rest of us, not to mention most of the world’s respected scientists, FOOLS and LOSERS and STUPID while leaning on your caps-lock key. This is not, I’d suggest, the way to get your hypotheses published in Nature.

            Like

            • Richard Sanchez says:

              I just gave them, you effin loser. It is YOUR JOB. To do the work. Yet I kindly told yoy what to read. Suck it. I presented much evidence. Use the material, fool.

              Like

              • realthog says:

                I just gave them, you effin loser.

                You gave your information in a comment subsequent to the one to which I responded and that I had not at the time seen.

                Do you think you could stop being so toddlerishly rude, please?

                Like

                • Richard Sanchez says:

                  You saw it in time. Matter and energy are NOT related. None of you understand that Sagan dramatically overstated science and overstepped its bounds. He was NOT brilliant. Weinberg is brilliant…..

                  Like

            • Richard Sanchez says:

              You are really slow, perhaps retarded. I feel sorry for how dumb you are. You have been spoonfed information. Use Google.

              Like

              • kelvinsdemon says:

                Fallacy Man, it may interest or even amuse you to know that one of the most staunchly Christian of the scientists of the 19th century, later elevated to the peerage as Lord Kelvin, calculated on the best thermodynamic knowledge then available, and with one of the very best brains — his own — that the Earth is at least 20 million years old, and not more that 100 million. This leaves no excuse for any Christian to believe the Archbishop of Armagh, Ussher’s earlier estimate of 6000 years. Both Ussher and Kelvin were Protestants born in Northern Ireland. Kelvin was Professor of Natural Philosophy at Glasgow University.
                He even added, with scientific caution: “unless there is some source of energy of which we are unaware”. That is not the Royal “we”, nor even the baronial one. It referred to the knowledge available to every competent scientist of his day, until Becquerel, and the Curies discovered radioactivity. Now we know that his best estimate, 40 million years, was low by two orders of magnitude.

                Like

            • Richard Sanchez says:

              New England Physics Misconceptions, retard. Use Google. WATCH GUTH ON VIDEO, FOOL.

              Like

            • Richard Sanchez says:

              Lev Okun was elite. He named the Hadron. He was HEAD of ITEP…..

              Like

            • Richard Sanchez says:

              Neil Tyson is a BAFOON. GOOGLE PAUL LUTUS, FOOL. BEING PUBLISHED MEANS NOTHING. SIMPLY BEING PUBLISHED…..LOTS OF TOTAL JUNK IS PUBLISHED EVERY DAY. LY WHEN OTHERS TAKE UP YOUR WORK AND HAVE SUCCESS DOES THE RESRACH MATTER SIGNIFICANTLY. LOTS OF GATEKEEPING AND POLITICS CAN BE FOUND IN JOYRNALS. JULIAN SCHWINGER TALKED OF THIS. PEOPLE ARE DECEIFUL, SCIENTISTS ARE MORE GUILTY THAN ANYBODY. FURTHER, ACTING THE PART AND HAVING JOURNALS IS NOT DOING SCIENCE AS LUTUS NOTES.

              Like

            • Richard Sanchez says:

              And stop OVERSTATING science . That is WHY Sagan was DENIED TENURE AT HARVARD IN 1967 because his colleagues did NOT LIKE HOW HE PANDERED AND EXPLOITED THE PUBLIC, PREYING ON THEIR DESIRES, DRAMATICALLY OVERSTATING SCIENCE, OVERSTATING HIS OWN AGENDA AND BEING AN INSUFFERABLE ARROGANT OBNOXIOUS PRICK. THAT IS WHAT HIS COLLEAGUES THOUGHT.

              Like

    • kelvinsdemon says:

      Juan Sanchez says that the origin of the Universe is not known, Presumably not, to him.
      The question he may be asking may be “By whom did it originate?” as many people do.
      The question itself probably betrays what I shall call anthropo-narcissism.
      It is known that the universe is very different from what the authors of the Hebrew Book of Genesis wrote. Their ignorance is only ignorance, not stupidity. Perhaps we all agree that we are not stupid enough to believe that tale.
      But visual, X-ray, and radio astronomy all indicate that the origin of the Universe was a single mass, equal to whatever the entire mass now is that a certain number of thousands of million years started expanding, probably from a single four-dimensional point of space-time, appropriately called the Big Bang by a brilliant scientist who didn’t believe it, and thought of a more attractive explanation which was sufficiently well expressed that it could be in theory refuted.
      Quite amazingly, it now seems to have been so refuted. Very very old samples of the Universe have been observed using light which left them a very very long time ago, and they are denser than more recent samples.

      Like

    • MacIomhair says:

      I am pretty sure NdGT is a human, not an ass, so point 1 refuted. What source do I have? Well, the same source that tells me that the Grand Canyon is not a pair of underoos.

      Next, the origin of the universe is not known. And it may never will be. That’s the beauty of science – science knows its limits, it knows to perpetually ask and not to simply accept that the Universe is the result of the invisible flying spaghetti monster farting after a particularly hot mutton vindaloo.

      Science can trace the origins of //the observable universe// to a few seconds after the Big Bang. The Big Bang itself is evidenced everywhere we look beyond our own tiny planet. It is quite simply a fact. Heck, even the Vatican accept the Big Bang theory as true (and Evolution fwiw) – they just also add in the gody bits.

      Like

  29. To play the Devils Advocate.

    Climate deniers will counter all of your arguments with the statement that it is only in recent history that our instrumentation was good enough to measure phenomena accurately. Any data before say the turn of the previous century (1900) is suspect. And that all modern measurements give us tiny changes of a few tenths or hundreths of a degree-with extreme variation year-to-year, location-to-location.

    So, to your argument #1-climate has changed in the past too-but all past measurements are suspect.

    ..and so on, to your argument #2-the suns impact on climate change-but all past measurements are suspect….etc. ad nauseum.

    Like

    • kelvinsdemon says:

      Charlse Lange, I have realised that Climate Change is too timid a term, and leads to discussions about climate, which are irrelevant. The problem is human-caused Net Warming of this Planet, and it is far easier to show why than to build climate and weather models,
      The Earth receives in a day about 8000 times as much radiant energy as the rate of human industrial “energy production”. It has to get rid of the incoming energy at the same rate.
      There is plenty of evidence that there are gases, carbon dioxide and carbon tetrahydride in particular, that capture the escaping infrared photons, keeping that energy as vibrational heat, and sharing it with the adjacent atmosphere. Increasing concentrations of CO2, or worse, CH4 leaks from “fracking”, can and do interfere with the radiation balance.
      So more energy is captured by the biosphere, not at the rate of CO2 emissions, but at a rate proportional to the already accumulated excess CO2. That is, the excess over what was comfortable in the last few millennia from 1800 backwards.
      There is a modest chance that corals and oceanic photosynthesisers will survive the presently inevitable rise in temperature, but not the even further releases that coal and methane burning :”natural” gas turbines continue to emit.

      Like

  30. Richard Sanchez says:

    Einstein’s great discovery was the REST-ENERGY. There does NOT exist a *complete* equivalence between energy and mass. Mass is a Poincare scalar that is ALWAYS THE SAME in different refernce systems. Energy is the fourth component of a four vector (E, p) and is DIFFERENT in difference refernce systems.

    Like

  31. Ginge says:

    I wanted to say that you said only that humans are descendants of apes, but not that we are apes (which we are).
    Also, that one reason people who are vaccinated get diseases is due to unvaccinated people allowing the virus or bacteria to mutate its DNA leading to a different strain that isn’t protected by said vaccine.
    Other than that this is great. Love it

    Like

  32. Jason Blank says:

    Thanks for a very interesting article.
    I mostly agree however since 2010 I have been having some specific doubts about the scientific community based on the response to the Nobel prize winning concept of quasi-crystals:
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jan/06/dan-shechtman-nobel-prize-chemistry-interview
    If challenging established concepts leads to ad-hominems by top scientists like Pauling (“Danny Shechtman is talking nonsense, there are no quasi-crystals, just quasi-scientists.”) rather than challenges to their work it leads me to question whether or not the scientific community is infected with self-interested biases in their work.
    Additionally the fact that social “science” has been moving further and further from the scientific method and more towards activist policies makes me cringe. I went to a top uni for both science and humanities and even my sociology professors warned me about how the peer review process will likely pass most works if it agrees with their biases.
    Finally, I hope your point about science being wrong before and it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong now is a bit tongue in cheek. I would argue that the goal of science should be to find where it is wrong and change it so we get an even closer approximation to reality, not accept that our existing conclusions are right and rest on our laurels. Most of the groundbreaking discoveries in scientific history came from challenging established facts. (I will read the other article later, this is more of a place holder).
    What are your thoughts?

    Like

    • kelvinsdemon says:

      The cleverest piece of sarcasm about poor scientific method was the comment that “It seems that confirmation of Cold Fusion can only be done at a University that has a top rank football team.”

      Like

    • Skeptical Scientist says:

      In fact, I was once part of a peer-review process. We had people code their submissions we a colored paper clip. We knew that if it had a colored paper clip it came from a “friend” and it was immediately placed in a different pile.

      A problem here is that there is an automatic assumption that scientists cannot be bought other than those scientists who happen to work for pharmaceutical companies, tobacco companies, and so forth, However, if that scientist belongs to the IPCC ,then that scientist must be believed and any scientist who does not belong to the IPCC is just someone who hasn’t got a clue.

      Few ideas are more laughable then the idea that 97 percent of scientists agree. That alone should be cause for skepticism. Of course, to those who have replaced religion with climate any skepticism is deem sacrilegious.

      Like

      • realthog says:

        Few ideas are more laughable then the idea that 97 percent of scientists agree.

        So you’re saying it’s laughable that physicists are largely in agreement about relativity, biologists about evolution, and so on?

        Like

        • kelvinsdemon says:

          Actually, folks, the problem is that *Nature is arrogant*. Nature will not listen to ANY arguments. Phlogiston was a great idea, but it didn’t work. You can believe all you like that your body can fight off tetanus, but if you get a cut where there’s been animals about, your body might have to overcome lockjaw before it wins. Better to keep current the information that identifies tetanus to your immune system.

          On Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 7:15 PM, The Logic of Science wrote:

          > realthog commented: “Few ideas are more laughable then the idea that 97 > percent of scientists agree. So you’re saying it’s laughable that > physicists are largely in agreement about relativity, biologists about > evolution, and so on?” >

          Like

  33. Gautam Gangopadhyay says:

    Excellent article. Reading the point about vaccination I would like to cite an example that I often use. Since an overwhelming majority of people die in bed, does that mean that lying in bed is the most dangerous activity?

    Liked by 1 person

    • kelvinsdemon says:

      G.K.Chesterton has a delightful essay “On Lying in Bed” in which he wishes for a long paintbrush to do ceiling painting, in emulation of the Sistine Chapel.
      He also speculates that “When our Lord said :Use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do” he may have meant wallpaper.
      I believe that the American “Pledge of Allegiance”, an utterance vastly inferior to the Declaration of Independence, repeated daily by schoolchildren in some districts, falls under the same condemnation.

      Like

  34. Andy says:

    Reblogged this on lvl-42.

    Like

  35. I may use this article in the future, saying may because I have yet to choose whether I want to become a teacher part time. This article itself is likely to be an invaluable teaching aid when it comes to many things scientific Vs. Non-scientific, at the very least taken into consideration when teaching others maths&sciences in general.

    Like

  36. laughingfish13 says:

    Excellent article, and useful. Although, I do have to question what the conspiracy kool-aid drinkers here think they are doing. One result, or a handful of results, supporting you does not mean that the other evidence is wrong. That’s just a consequence of doing science. Millions believed that proteins contained heritable information until DNA was proven scientifically to be the “transforming principle”. Millions believed that the sun revolved around the earth before that was proven wrong.

    But no, go right ahead and keep letting correlation = causation in your eyes. Because everyone knows that if a few people disagree, those few people who disagree are always right. We sure do love our underdogs who get the better of “the man” in the United States, don’t we? This, despite the fact that the world does not, has not ever, and will never work that way. Let me guess… all you science-denying neophytes who got your credentials from Google University voted Trump, didn’t you? Exactly.

    Like

  37. kelvinsdemon says:

    Richard Sanchez wants us to stop overstating science. I wonder what he thins should be given the credit for our current level of comfort on this dangerous planet, and what we are going to use to correct the damage done by technology in the hands of people whose thinking comes from primitive ancient notions of blamelessly ignorant people.

    Like

  38. Peter Kvint says:

    James Hansen is a criminal environmental activist. He has no formal scientific training. His models can not reproduce past climate changes. How am I able to discuss science with a climate clergyman?

    Like

    • realthog says:

      James Hansen . . . has no formal scientific training.

      That’s a flat-out lie. From Wikipedia:

      He was trained in physics and astronomy in the space science program of James Van Allen at the University of Iowa. He obtained a B.A. in Physics and Mathematics with highest distinction in 1963, an M.S. in Astronomy in 1965 and a Ph.D. in Physics, in 1967, all three degrees from the University of Iowa. He participated in the NASA graduate traineeship from 1962 to 1966 and, at the same time, between 1965 and 1966, he was a visiting student at the Institute of Astrophysics at the University of Kyoto and in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Tokyo. Hansen then began work at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in 1967.

      Like

    • kelvinsdemon says:

      Peter Kvint, you might try learning some science first. Climate models are difficult, and unnecessary to the essence of the problem.
      Specifically, the available history of the Carboniferous period, the simple law of thermodynamics that says an object, such as a planet, gets hotter until it radiates out as much energy as it is receiving from external sources. CO2 interferes with that process.
      Your accusations and apparent ignorance may be feigned, which suggests that you are an agent of the fossil carbon fuel trade. If it is mere genuine ignorance and stupidity, you should now be aware that you are aiding and abetting the people who are in the process of radically altering the biosphere.

      Like

  39. KWHammes says:

    Nicely stated

    Like

  40. Skeptical Scientist says:

    Does not a single one of these scientists count as having a valid opinion? http://www.petitionproject.org/ Are only those scientists who belong to the IPPC to be believed and no others? My understanding is the 97 percent figure comes from a whopping 77 scientists actually responding. Meanwhile, the many scientists who disagree, or have doubts, are ignored. Out of those scientists within the IPCC, several apparently expressed hesitation or reservations, but they were counted as affirmative.

    If we were to put 10 nutritional scientists in a room and ask them to debate the value of mega dosing Vitamin C we would probably not achieve 97 percent agreement. And yet, we are told to buy the 97 percent figure on a subject as complex as global warming. The 97 percent figure should represent the idea that perhaps something does smell right, rather than gospel truth.

    Then we read about how NOAH had data collection problems (to put it nicely) and so much more and yet we are told to believe hook line and sinker that the scientists within the IPCC are the only ones to be taken seriously even though millions of dollars in research funding is on the line.

    The bottom lime is that there are scientists who disagree and not all the answers reside only within those individuals who belong to the IPCC.

    Like

    • realthog says:

      Does not a single one of these scientists count as having a valid opinion? http://www.petitionproject.org/

      How many of those are climate scientists? And how many of them, for that matter, are dead . . . and were at the time of “signing”?

      My understanding is the 97 percent figure comes from a whopping 77 scientists actually responding.

      Where did you find this ungrounded rumor? It’s a new one to me. And are you saying that all the countless climate scientists who’ve published on their subject, acknowledging the influence of AGW, somehow don’t count?

      Then we read about how NOAH had data collection problems (to put it nicely) and so much more

      Where do you read this?

      Our host headed his essay “Scientists aren’t stupid, and science deniers are arrogant.” Does it occur to you that it might be a teensy bit arrogant of you to assume that you’re so wondrous bright as to have come up with these objections that qualified climate scientists are too stupid to have examined?

      Like

  41. Bill Watson says:

    If you’re not stupid, why do you persist in using the nonsensical “climate change deniers”? Perhaps you are unstupid in your field, but a complete dunce when it comes to basic English language comprehension.

    Like

    • realthog says:

      f you’re not stupid, why do you persist in using the nonsensical “climate change deniers”?

      Pray explain why this phrase is a “nonsensical” description of people why deny the reality of climate change. I’d be really interested to know.

      Like

  42. Bill Watson says:

    Change is what the climate does. It is in the nature of climate to change. I don’t know anyone of sound mind who denies the reality of climate change. Do you? It is in the nature of weather to change also. Would you ever consider calling someone a weather change denier? Of course not, that would be nonsensical.

    Like

    • realthog says:

      As you very well know, the denial concerned is of imminent and catastrophic climate change.

      Let’s get this straight. You arrogantly and very rudely said to our host:

      Perhaps you are unstupid in your field, but a complete dunce when it comes to basic English language comprehension.

      In fact, he merely deployed the accepted term used to describe people who deny the conclusions of established climate science. You may think that the usage is illogical, but so are a zillion other accepted usages in the English language. If you’re really insistent on pointless hair-splitting, go pick a fight with them.

      Me, though obviously we have to live with the language the way it is rather than the way we might prefer it to be, I actually prefer the term “AGW-deniers” to describe the denialist dimwits. I’d recommend it to you.

      Like

  43. Bill Watson says:

    In this case, you do not have to live with the language the way it is. You can, and should, use the language to say what you mean, with precision and clarity, instead of degrading it in the Orwellian doublespeak/hate speak pejorative sense as it is deliberately employed with “climate change denier.”
    If human caused imminent and catastrophic global warming is what you intend to convey, then say so. To substitute “climate change (denial)” is, as I said, deliberately, and dishonestly, pejorative. The term is accepted by whom, exactly, other than the deliberately dishonest and pejorative prone?
    If climate change is the term for CAGW, then what is the term for climate change, in the traditional sense of describing what the climate naturally does? I’d be really interested to know.

    Randall Carlson has much to say on the issue. Here is a small bit of it:

    “Now let me state for the record: It is my belief that humans ARE influencing the climate in multiple ways, not only through introduction of CO2 into the atmosphere but through deforestation, agricultural and industrial activities, and expansion of urban areas. But here is the undeniable fact: the climate of this planet has changed profoundly, dramatically, even catastrophically and has done so repeatedly, on any scale that we care to measure, and it has done so without any help from humans. Don’t call me a climate change “denier” or even imply the same because that will be a complete mischaracterization of my position on the matter. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the climate changes. In fact, it is my opinion that the real climate change deniers or “denialists” or whatever the hell you want to call them are those who refuse to look at the palaeoclimatological record of natural variability, and choose instead to believe that a slight increase in an atmospheric trace gas portends our doom.”

    http://sacredgeometryinternational.com/randall-carlson-climate-change-real-deniers

    Read all of it…….. if you got the guts.

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  44. Bill Watson says:

    And you and the host are stupid if that is the level of your discourse. You made some charges, back ’em up. Of course you won’t because you can’t. Carlson has an open invitation to debate anyone from the global warming cult side. Anyone. But none of the top spokesmen will. Because they’re gutless, like you. They’d rather lobby for the imprisonment of dissenters, as Stalinist scientists are won’t to do.

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    • realthog says:

      Carlson has an open invitation to debate anyone from the global warming cult side. Anyone. But none of the top spokesmen will.

      Explain to me, prithee, why they should waste their time doing so. And don’t you think it’s just a tad arrogant of him to expect them to do so?

      They’d rather lobby for the imprisonment of dissenters

      Could you produce exactly one example of this?

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