Archive for April, 2010

Is Science Just Another Religion? Part 1

April 12, 2010

A common theme in science fiction involves a highly advanced society in which people no longer understand the basis of science and technology. In such societies science is often just a series of beliefs that are to be accepted without question like in a religion.

The Star Trek episode “Spock’s Brain” dealt with a society in which the people had little understanding of anything, even though the women lived in a climate controlled environment underground with sophisticated technology that required Mr. Spock’s brain to operate. Installing Spock’s brain had required one of the women to put on a machine that temporarily provided her with the knowledge to accomplish the task. After completing the task she forgot everything.

“For the World Is Hollow…” was another such episode with a priestess in charge of the knowledge taking orders from a machine viewed as a god.

Is our society moving in that direction? Is science on our planet becoming just another religion possibly a primitive religion based on a wizard’s magic?

Some people who call themselves scientists claim that slight changes in the minor atmospheric gas carbon dioxide (CO2) can affect the temperature of the entire atmosphere.even though CO2 comprises less than 400 parts per million (0.04%) of the atmosphere. That sounds more like magic rather science. That’s not the tail wagging the dog. That’s a few hairs on the tail wagging the dog. The earth’s land and water is the dog and the atmosphere is it’s tail.

If the claim by the priests of global warming that what they are doing is accepted practice by modern science, then science has become nothing more than a form of religion. It is based on acceptance of beliefs by faith rather than rigorous examination of physical reality through experimentation and observation.

Real science used to be based on verification through experimentation and observation. Global Warming “science” is based on acceptance of long disproved 19th Century beliefs.

French polymath Jean Baptiste Fourier first suggested that greenhouses were heated by trapping infrared radiation (IR) in the early 19th Century. He then suggested that the atmosphere was heated by gas molecules such as carbon dioxide and water vapor absorbing IR.

Physicist R.W. Wood tested this hypothesis in 1909 with an experiment involving identical greenhouses and demonstrated that the greenhouse that trapped IR was the same temperature as one that didn’t trap IR. The experiment disproved Fourier’s theory.

Global warming believers rely on consensus which is a political concept not a scientific one. Real scientists rely on facts and will abandon a theory when evidence contradicts the theory. During the 19th Century the consensus among physicists was that atoms were the smallest particles of matter and could not be further divided. They abandoned that consensus when Sir J.J. Thomson demonstrated the existence of the electron and suggested the existence of two other charged particles he called “protons” and “neutrons”.

A more recent consensus involved a belief that the human brain stopped developing new cells. Research over the last few decades has demonstrated that the human brain continues to produce new brain cells through it’s life.

Real science is mathematically rigorous. Global Warming “science” is mathematically ridiculous. The only evidence for what they call global warming is something called an average global temperature.

ā€œIt is impossible to talk about a single temperature for something as complicated as the climate of Earth,ā€ according to thermodynamics expert Professor Bjarne Andresen, of the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen. ā€œA temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system. Furthermore, the climate is not governed by a single temperature. Rather, differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, etc. which make up the climate.ā€

In real science, including the social sciences, averages went out with slide rules. Averages cover up too much information. For example, the numbers “0” and “100” have the same average as the numbers “20” and “80” but if those temperatures represent temperature ranges for different areas, those areas would have different climates.

Real scientists qualify their claims, particularly predictions, because they realize there is still much they don’t know. The soothsayers of Global Warming claim there can be no doubts about their explanation and imply they have the gift of prophecy. They claim they can predict what climate will be decades in the future even though they cannot always get tomorrow’s weather forecast correct.

Real scientists look for better evidence when people question their theories. The priests of Global Warming treat those who disagree as heretics and call them names like “contrarian” and “denier”.

Real scientists are concerned about potential data errors and examine alternate explanations for results. The priests of Global Warming ignore the issue entirely.

They claim global warming has occurred even though they only claim a change in temperature during the 20th Century of about 0.7 C which is a only a 0.25% change. Such a change could easily result from data errors. Accuracy within 0.25% may be possible under controlled laboratory conditions, but is impossible in the diverse locations chosen for temperature measurement.

Investigative weather journalist Anthony Watts has studied the sites used for temperature measurement in the U.S. and discovered equipment next to heat sources such as pavement and air conditioner heat exhausts.

Steve McIntyre has reported on the tendency of the HO-83 Hygro-Thermometers used during the 90’s at some U.S. stations to produce artificially high readings under some circumstances.

The claim that the priests of global warming are scientists raises doubts about the credibility of science because it implies that all physical sciences are based on beliefs rather than thorough study of physical phenomena. If the recent harsh winters in various parts of the world continue all science will be discredited not just the pseudo science associated with global warming.

Real scientists need to borrow a phrase from Mr. Spock and tell the wizards of global warming to go play with their beads and rattles.