03 Apr 2019

Taking a Poke at “Settled Science”

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Nobody seriously intelligent, nobody who really understands Science, nobody with common sense or an independent mind swallows the Global Warming Catastrophist nonsense.

Myles Weber, at Quillette, explains that the widely-accepted “greenhouse effect” does not work as Science at all. It’s really just an inaccurate metaphor that appeals to the popular imagination.

As a university professor, I am best positioned to report on the widespread incompetence and malfeasance found specifically in academe. A work colleague once corrected me on a matter concerning the greenhouse effect. With no scientific training, he had recently moderated a panel discussion on climate change in an attempt to convince students to support our university president’s Green Initiative, which as far as I could tell reduced carbon dioxide emissions not at all but placed undue strain on the university’s finances, which in turn put upward pressure on tuition costs. I mentioned to my colleague in passing that, from an educational standpoint, the term greenhouse gas was an unfortunate misnomer since the architectural design of an actual greenhouse is not closely related to the physical properties of tropospheric greenhouse gases.

This has been my go-to analogy to explain how some people have confused the two phenomena: The sentence “Like Placido Domingo, Bob Dylan sings for a living” does not convey the same meaning as “Bob Dylan sings like Placido Domingo for a living.” It’s true that carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and other gases drive the Earth’s average temperature higher than it otherwise would be, just as the design of a greenhouse makes the interior of that structure warmer than the surrounding environment. But the processes by which the warming occurs in these two instances are quite distinct, in the same sense that a troubadour’s vocals in no way resemble an operatic tenor’s. The confusion resulting from the term greenhouse gas, I suggested to my colleague, made it that much harder to explain the general workings of our climate to students, who might end up believing greenhouse gases form a solid barrier to convection or, conversely, that a greenhouse reradiates invisible light energy as heat energy at select frequencies.

My colleague assured me I was misinformed. As a bonus, he did so in front of our department chairwoman just as I was about to go up for tenure. Greenhouses, he explained, are in fact warmed primarily by extra concentrations of carbon dioxide imbedded in the glass plates of the building. Well, I conceded, a small, perhaps even measurable amount of warming might occur in a greenhouse as a result of elevated CO2 levels in the glass panels; indeed, a greenhouse’s temperature also rises when a human being steps inside and exhales warm air. But these are insignificant considerations that have nothing to do with the structure’s basic design. During the day a greenhouse will be warmer than the surrounding environment regardless of whether a human enters it and breathes or whether the clear panels contain extra CO2 or are carbon free.

My colleague—our department’s self-appointed expert on climate matters—was undeterred. “It’s just like my front porch at home,” he insisted. “In the afternoon the porch is much warmer than the rest of the house during the summer—you really bake in there—because of the carbon dioxide in the windows.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond politely to this new assertion. Glass is an insignificant reservoir of CO2—that much was still true. Moreover, as the sun reaches its zenith on a summer day, perpendicular windows serve as fairly ineffectual portals through which visible light energy may pass. Under these conditions an enclosed porch becomes warmer than the rest of the house due largely to a third process, called conduction, owing to the porch’s uninsulated roof and walls, which receive the brunt of the sun’s rays and pass heat into the building. (Björk sings nothing like Bob Dylan or Placido Domingo, in other words.) If you’ve ever lived in an attic apartment in the summer, even if you kept the window shades drawn, you have felt the power of conduction.

I thought I saw signs of sympathy on our chairwoman’s face as she looked on, and a sense of relief passed over me, but it turned out her sympathy was not on my behalf but, rather, my colleague’s. After I reaffirmed that carbon dioxide was an incidental consideration in these cases, the chairwoman asked: “Well, how does a greenhouse work then?”

I first inquired whether she was serious, for I didn’t want to believe that two college professors in succession both lacked a basic understanding of the simple workings of a greenhouse, but that was the reality. I therefore explained, “Visible light energy passes through the transparent panels and gets converted into heat energy when it strikes the plants, tables, and floor. This warms the surrounding air, which rises, but the convection process is impeded by the solid glass panels, trapping the heated air inside.”

My department chairwoman glanced at our colleague, then at me. “Oh,” she said. Then she turned and walked away.


4 Feedbacks on "Taking a Poke at “Settled Science”"


First, there is no such thing as settled science. Science is skeptical of everything, everywhere, all the time. If you take even a casual glance at the history of science, you will see settled science overturned by more science which is overturned by more science, ad infinitum.

Euclid’s concept of our universe as infinite was overturned by Einstein’s concept of the universe as bounded which is now being overturned by the concept of entanglement.

What would prove anthropogenic global warming (AGW) false? If nothing, then it is not a rational belief and certainly not science, but pseudo-science, a faith. If something can prove AGW false, what is it, where has it been tested by experiment, and what were the results? Good luck getting an answer about that from the global warming doomsday cult.

The experimental method consists of noticing a pattern, forming a conjecture about it, developing that into a hypothesis about it, and, then, a falsifiable proposition that can be tested to show the hypothesis to be true or false. The AGW mob has skipped over this pesky vetting to declare AGW true by assertion, fallacious logic.

Richard Feynman called this cargo cult science, where numbskulls put on an appearance of science without the intellectual rigor. In the case of AGW, it’s socialism in a lab coat.

You don’t need to be a genius to figure out AGW is a scam. When extremist liberals scream that the Earth is doomed and that only they can save you if only you give them tens of trillions of dollars and vast unaccountable political power, then anyone with any street smarts can smell the stink of deception.

Seattle Sam

This is not science. It’s politics. Name me one other scientific theory where support/opposition is skewed heavily by party affiliation. Is the General Theory of Relativity supported only by people of one party? Is Hubble’s Law a Republican theory?

Craig Austin

Confusing “climate” science with
real science is like confusing astrology with astronomy. They may appear similar, but one is a distant cousin who makes wacky predictions for rubes.



That’s precisely true. Astronomy is science while astronomy is pseudo-science.


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