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Thank God, it's irreversible.

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  • #31
    Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

    Originally posted by Ghent12 View Post
    With regard to the water and CO2 quip, you have a markedly different understanding than what it appears Burt is getting at. I don't know if he's addressed it or not, but you seem to be tilting and windmills. The theme with regards to CO2 in Rutan's presentation is clear--it is essential and limited. It is a limiting factor in plant growth and development, hence more CO2 will allow a plant with otherwise the same quantity of nutrients and water to better thrive. Alternatively, the same plant can be grown with more CO2 and fewer of the other necessities for growth. That's what I got from his presentation anyways.
    The boldface statements may be what you got from his presentation, but it isn't what he actually says. He never once says "with otherwise the same quantity of nutrients and water" or anything like it. What he actually says is wrong. I quoted it directly before and I'll even include more of the context this time:

    Note, the green life along the Nile river and the dead desert elsewhere. When co2 is greater in the atmosphere, plants need less water to thrive.
    He then shows a picture of the deserts of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, presumably to imply that he knows how to make them green.

    A cursory glance at the Calvin cycle I posted shows that no matter how much CO2 you add, you can't reduce the consumption of the other main ingredients (water and light) for a given unit of growth. This shows that the italicized statement in your argument is false as well. The consumption is stoichiometrically balanced. This means that the relative consumption rate of each is fixed. Six CO2 molecules for six H2O molecules. Having seven CO2 molecules around doesn't somehow magically let you get away with using only 5 H2O. Each molecule has to react before the next step of the cycle can begin.

    His statement to the contrary does nothing but show that the author does not remember high school chemistry.

    In particular, he doesn't understand the concept of a "rate-limiting reagent" in that field. These apply to reaction rate constants (K) which do depend on reactant concentrations, but do not relate at all to altering the stoichiometric balance of a reaction. Properly applied, they come into play through applying Le Chatelier's principle, as I alluded to in my last post. There could well be interesting things that one can say about this principle regarding climate change, but that's not where he goes at all.

    Where these rate constants NEVER come into play is in altering the ratio of reagents consumed in a given chemical reaction. That's defined by the available bonding sites and electron affinities of the atoms and molecules themselves. It comes directly from the way in which electrons arrange themselves around carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. There is no direct route to influencing that arrangement based on molecular concentrations. (Again, you don't get to consume 5 instead of 6 water molecules, just because you have excess CO2.)

    But this guy doesn't understand that aspect of the term "limiting reagent". He is very clear that he thinks he can use LESS water with MORE CO2.

    It is easy to explain how such a basic error might be made. I would guess that he encountered somewhere the phrase "CO2-limited plant growth" and completely misunderstood the way in which the term "limited" was being used.

    He thought "limited" was being used in the everyday colloquial sense, rather than the chemistry sense (applied through the rate-constant K). They are different, and one consequence of that difference is that he gets the basic chemistry completely wrong, which allows him to arrive at absurd conclusions.

    It's kind of sad, really, how he's embarrassing himself by piling so much on top of such a basic error. He really should look in a chemistry textbook glossary. That's all it would take to see where he's gone wrong.

    I wonder why he can't be troubled to do so?

    Originally posted by Ghent12 View Post
    Strawmen, really? Why would you use strawmen? You are arguing against a contention not made.
    It is not a straw man argument to point out that Rutan's assertion necessarily requires an unstated assumption, in this case one which must be patently false.

    Just because he didn't state the assumption explicitly doesn't mean that his argument doesn't rely critically on it.

    It is also entirely valid to point out when one's discussion partner is trying to hide invalid physics by putting forward equally invalid logic. Please stop doing that.

    Originally posted by Ghent12 View Post
    This presentation by Rutan was clearly built to speak to a broad audience, such as those with about a high school education in matters of science.

    Rutan is far surpassed in understanding by anyone who DOES remember their high school education in science. He himself clearly does not.

    The two errors I pointed out initially would be identifiable by an attentive high schooler taking chemistry, and physics, respectively. They should have been entirely obvious to anyone possessing any further technical background.

    Ratan says he is an engineer, and I have no reason to doubt that he has in the past obtained such a degree. But he has obviously forgotten the essential understanding that gives that credential any weight at all.

    As an engineer myself, I not only had to take high school chemistry, but university-level inorganic and organic chemistry. It's been a while, but I still remember enough to suggest that either he is working way outside the realm of his expertise, or he is an entirely incompetent engineer.

    You are free to pretend that incompetents like Rutan are experts if you wish, and even to assert that in public. But don't expect respect for your own technical judgement to remain intact as you do so.

    It's a bit like expecting people to respect one's judgement, while one hands out papers that argue the earth is flat.

    Honestly, what would you think of someone who handed you such a flyer?

    That they were waging a noble struggle against a conspiracy in the scientific community?

    Or that they just don't know what they're talking about?


    • #32
      Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

      Originally posted by santafe2 View Post
      I guess it's good to know there are fanatics on the GW side as well..."McPherson, however, did say that his apocalyptic view of global warming was a minority view, saying there are maybe 10 others in the scientific community that thought along the same lines as himself."

      I suppose I'm relieved to know there are only about 10 scientists that think the sky is falling. I really dislike these apocalyptic proselytizers. The Jonestown approach never turns out well for anyone.

      The atlantic monthly ran a feature article about two months ago on exactly that theme, written by the
      guy who wrote 1491 and the "we'll never run of oil article". I think Hill is his name. Somewhat interesting, no matter what side you're on. When you ask "how quickly will the ocean rise" the answer is just not very scary.


      • #33
        Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

        Originally posted by vt View Post
        All we've gotten from the global warming control freak, tax radicals is falsified data and record cold. There has been no warming for well over a decade.

        If these idiots really believed we had a problem they would be marching for massive new nuclear energy plants, and teleconfering for all knowledge work. They would ditch their SUVs for bikes and stop flying all over the world for "the end of the world" conferences.

        It's all an academic grant scam as they don't have the mental capacity to do real research of value in their fields.

        The American public is wise to this charade as all public opinion has shifted massively away from this charade.

        There models have completely failed. They really have never worked. I spent my whole working career creating and running models. If they did not at least give a reasonable prediction after the fact I modified them. If their results were not reasonable with changes in the real world data then i changed them. However, I do not see any minds being changed here. I will wait for my granddaughter, who is the second smartest person I have ever known to get her doctorate in Meteorology to give me the real answer
        Last edited by jiimbergin; 11-10-14, 05:14 PM.


        • #34
          Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

          Originally posted by santafe2 View Post
          As long as the debate remains civil which apparently we can mostly accomplish here, there is some value to addressing the assertions of the iTulip climate change denial community. Until I, and a few others, began posting here again, the iTulip "Climate Change" threads were more like the Climate Denial threads. I don't care to change any opposing poster's point-of-view but I disagree that spectators cannot learn something of value. For every poster in these threads there are 3-4X spectators and a few people will post honest questions as long as the discussion remains civil.

          As for the validity of the debate, you could make the same argument about any large issue during any time period where the change in points-of-view is not perceptible. But nature is slowly changing and as it does, more people will understand that it may be prudent to manage this issue instead of denying its existence.
          fair enough. perhaps there are more people with open minds than i assumed - i tend to be pessimistic in these matters.
          i would like to ask a couple of questions of those who don't think there is agw:
          1. do you accept the data that the world is warming, whatever the cause might be?
          2. do you accept the data that sea level is rising, whatever the cause might be?
          3. how often do how many miami neighborhoods have to have ocean water in the streets to be convinced that sea level is rising?
          4. whatever the cause of global warming, do you think it is possible for people, in concert [what an assumption!] to do anything about it?


          • #35
            Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

            Pessimism aside, how do you explain the 18 year pause in so called global warming?


            Noted climate scientist Judith Curry puts the alarmists in their place:




            • #36
              Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

              Originally posted by jk View Post
              whom is this debate aimed to persuade? i haven't noticed any of the principle contributors moving an inch in their assertions. maybe some spectators have learned something, but i'm skeptical.

              i guess all the participants can mutter "there are none so blind as those who will not see," and watch what happens as we continue to rack up record warm years and regularly see ocean water in the streets of miami.

              I'll be honest, I don't really think the climate change argument itself is productive at all, I'm mostly just trying to call scientific fouls where I see them. Climate change just happens to be the topic on this site where the layer of garbage is particularly thick. For a long time I avoided the flourishing irrationality that was the Climate Change forum entirely, but I now think that was a mistake.

              Here's why: This is mostly a community-policed site. The first-line mechanism to raise the quality of debate is pointing out when people use misleading or scientifically invalid arguments. And if they persist in using invalid arguments, sometimes it is necessary to demonstrate clearly the folly inherent in that, and the loss of respect appropriate to that.

              It's been said that "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing." And a similar statement could be made for science in society. The only thing necessary for irrationality to take hold in our society is for people who are themselves rational to sit back and leave the loony-bins of the world alone to grow in certainty as they echo the same garbage back and forth.

              One might even say that is what the two-party system has devolved to. Two loony-bins, echoing their own narratives to themselves.

              But as I've said, my own interest in this thread is to root out garbage masquerading as science. If people know the junk science they post is going to be challenged on its merits, perhaps they will look for better-justified arguments to contribute instead, so that they might wind up looking less foolish than they have in the past, and they do now.

              This may be a bad plan on my part. There will always be some who are only re-invigorated with defensiveness when their errors and credulity are pointed out. If I can be convinced that my approach is counterproductive, I will happily reconsider it. Arguments always welcome.

              But this problem with junk science is real. If it is allowed to stand unchallenged, even in an unmoderated forum, that gives it a patina of legitimacy which might confuse less well-informed readers. And people do need to be shown the difference between real science and garbage, if science and technology is to continue to bring progress to our society. It is a necessary part of the education of a qualified electorate, which is part of the benefit that iTulip provides to its readers.

              I must admit, however, that it would be easier to simply agree that from now on Climate Change is not a topic that is either productive, or germane to the iTulip thesis, and end all discussion of the question.

              Not more educational, but easier.

              I suppose the choice depends on what EJ and the various FREDs think they want to do with the iTulip site. Does its scope include this debate, or doesn't it?

              If not, it is easy enough to delete the forum, and discourage the topic. I, for one, would rather spend my time trying to understand political economics, than feeling obligated to play science referee here.
              Last edited by astonas; 11-10-14, 06:23 PM.


              • #37
                Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

                Originally posted by astonas View Post
                I must admit, however, that it would be easier to simply agree that from now on Climate Change is not a topic that is either productive, or germane to the iTulip thesis, and end all discussion of the question.
                Second this; utterly pointless to spend another erg on it. How many more topics will these vandals and graffiti artists put off limits, I wonder?

                FWIW, I've added a couple of the worst offenders to the ignore list. Three+ years of enduring dumbassery is enough for me and the aborted fetus porn cinched the deal.
                Last edited by Woodsman; 11-10-14, 06:41 PM.


                • #38
                  Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

                  Originally posted by vt View Post
                  Beg your pardon, it hasn't been warming to 17 years!


                  The problem with alarmism is that it ignores the long term and only concentrates on recent history:
                  This post might exemplify the pot calling the kettle black. I think it is you who are ignoring the long term and concentrating on recent history.

                  Global warming and/or climate change is caused by humans adding green house gases to the atmosphere. We've been doing that for over 250 years. We've been doing it more quickly in the last 60 years or so. About the shortest time frame one can seriously use is 30 years. That's about how long it takes for the land, the oceans and the atmosphere to assimilate the increase in CO2. What we emit today will not fully effect us until about 2045-2050.

                  Let me make a couple of points regarding your contention.

                  It is painful enough to review links by non-scientist hacks like Monckton but even more disheartening to have them tossed around iTulip without the poster reviewing what the chart is telling us. It is intellectually dishonest for anyone to say that a chart showing a likely upward trend is flat. I don't have the most recent numbers but two years ago the most likely upward trend was .09C with an uncertainty of .13C. That is the range is -.04C to .22C. It is possible that the trend has been flat for 17 years but it's highly unlikely.

                  We can only get a relatively flat trend line by cherry picking the mid 1990s start date, a period where a very strong El Nino drove temperature up dramatically. To be useful, one should start 30 years prior to today and the trend will be obvious.


                  • #39
                    Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

                    Originally posted by Ellen Z View Post
                    I am still waiting for someone to respond to the real-world examples that convince me that climate change is happening, which I listed previously:
                    ___Plants blooming earlier each spring,
                    ___Birds returning to nesting areas earlier each spring,
                    ___Plants and insects expanding north into the temperate zone,
                    and many similar examples.
                    Early avian migration, extension of summer, contraction of winter, northern migration of planting zones are all well researched and documented. Farmers certainly understand the problem. I don't think there's any controversy here. In order of their standing, the 10 warmest years on record are 2004, 2007, 2009, 2006, 2002, 2003, 2013, 1998, 2005 and 2010. We'll have to wait two months but it's all but certain that 2014 will knock 2004 off the list and may be the hottest on record, (world wide).

                    Deniers love to say there is no warming in the last 17 years but if they were honest brokers and clear thinkers they would wonder why all of the 10 warmest years are in the last 15-16 years. Every decade since the 1920s has been, on average, warmer than the previous decade. Some people might see a trend.... Those of us concerned about the issue of warming instead of working to deny it are looking at 1998 as the outlier that defines a serious near term trend. When it falls off the list, which it will, I suspect we'll be having a more substantive conversation.


                    • #40
                      Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

                      Originally posted by astonas View Post
                      But this problem with junk science is real. If it is allowed to stand unchallenged, even in an unmoderated forum, that gives it a patina of legitimacy which might confuse less well-informed readers.
                      Same reason I'm willing to deal with this issue here.

                      Originally posted by astonas View Post
                      I must admit, however, that it would be easier to simply agree that from now on Climate Change is not a topic that is either productive, or germane to the iTulip thesis, and end all discussion of the question.
                      Not soon, but it will come. Warming is moderated for now, oil is cheap, the US$ is fine and inflation is contrived. All of this will change over time and so will the iTulip thesis.


                      • #41
                        Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

                        Originally posted by santafe2 View Post
                        Not soon, but it will come. Warming is moderated for now, oil is cheap, the US$ is fine and inflation is contrived. All of this will change over time and so will the iTulip thesis.
                        This is so, santafe2. And there may yet be a way to discuss the portions of ongoing relevance without the religious furor. But we don't seem to have come across it yet.

                        For me the continuation of debate is not about whether the subject at hand is important. Instead it ultimately comes down to a question (as in all economics) of how to allocate scarce resources.

                        The educational mission is indeed important. I have received very kind private comments thanking me for clarifying technical points that had been obfuscated, and I do regret the loss of a forum that could continue to do that. I know that it will be missed.

                        But the clarification effort is also by definition incredibly vast. There are infinite ways to make elementary scientific errors, especially when sufficiently motivated to do so. And there are infinite ways to try to hide these with false logic. So a commitment to not let these go unchallenged is also an open-ended obligation.

                        We have to ask ourselves: Do we spend our most finite resource (time) playing scientific whack-a-mole with the unconvincible? Or do we at some point acknowledge that those who are able to be swayed by logical argument have already been moved, and the remainder will choose to remain steadfast in spite of all argument, no matter how embarrassingly basic the errors in their arguments are shown to be?

                        The purist in me would insist on continuing to shine light on the various and numerous misrepresentations. It is after all not very hard to find the flaws, and pointing them out to others appears to be genuinely appreciated. But each one does take a small amount of time, and there are an infinite number of them.

                        The realist in me knows that I only have so much time in my life, and there are many fields to further explore, through discussion here.


                        • #42
                          Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

                          Thanks, Ellen, for this information.

                          You are also of course correct that keeping a sharp eye on the natural world provides information in ways beyond the mere measurement of a single metric. And when analyzed correctly and systematically, this can provide better predictions of possible effects as well.

                          I'm sorry that I suggested earlier that your points were merely anecdotal. That did you a disservice.


                          • #43
                            Re: Thank God, it's irreversible.

                            From wikipedia:
                            ] The controversy has focused on a small number of emails[29] with 'climate sceptic' websites picking out particular phrases, such as one in which Kevin Trenberth said, "The fact is that we canít account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we canít".[20] This was actually part of a discussion on the need for better monitoring of the energy flows involved in short-term climate variability,[30] but was grossly mischaracterised by critics.[31][32]



                            • #44
                              Stopping the Unstoppable!

                              Originally posted by Ghent12 View Post
                              Good news everyone, there's nothing realistic we can do to stop it.

                              It looks like nature stopped it for us: