[Coral-List] Global Warming Theory

David M. Lawrence dave at fuzzo.com
Mon Mar 9 10:50:57 EDT 2009

It seems your contact has been plagiarizing the late, not-so-great, 
Michael Crichton.  They pull the same, tired plays out of the same, 
tired playbook.

Lysenko?  What the hell does Lysenko have to do with this?  There is no 
Joe Stalin using an Orwellian Ministry of Truth to tell us all what to 

I'm a champion of Alfred Wegener -- see my book Upheaval from the Abyss 
for details -- but the concern over AGW is nothing like the entrenched 
resistance he faced.  People resisted his ideas despite the considerable 
evidence he presented that the continents have moved.  They 
cherry-picked what little data existed that contradicted his examples, 
insisted on a defensible mechanism before accepting evidence of movement 
(which was like insisting on knowing why the plane crashed before 
acknowledging that the plane has, in fact, crashed), didn't/couldn't 
understand some of what he presented, and none of them had the vital 
data from the ocean floor that finally settled the matter.

With AGW, first it is a ludicrous red herring to claim that AGW 
researchers assert that "that our weather and climate are primarily 
people-driven."  Actually, it's worse that a red herring, it's an 
outright lie.  Anyone who makes that claim immediately forfeits 
credibility on the matter.

AGW researchers say that human activities affect the climate.  Like it 
or not, we do.  We do it locally, regionally, and globally.  We have 
documented such effects repeatedly.

The science of the "greenhouse effect" is nothing new.  It wasn't 
created by a bunch of unwashed, sandal-wearing, ex-domestic terrorist 
aging hippies who seek to destroy our capitalist way of life.

The effect, and the mathematics behind it, was first described by Jean 
Baptiste Joseph Fourier in 1827.  (Remember Fourier transforms? Yes, 
that Fourier.)

Fourier's ideas were examined by Svante Arrhenius, who published the 
results of his research in 1896.  You can read the original paper here: 

Funny, Arrhenius predicted that a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere 
would result in an increase in average global temperatures of 
approximately 5-6°C.

What's funny about it?  The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report -- with those 
fiction-producing GCM models -- now predicts a doubling of CO2 (570-660 
ppm) will produce a warming of 4-4.9°C.  That's pretty damned close to 
what Arrhrenius estimated using much simpler math.

If anyone wants to see a readable critique of climate "skeptics" 
strategies, check my essay "Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid: Michael 
Crichton's State of Fear" in the book, "The Science of Michael Crichton" 
(BenBella Books 2008).



NOTE: I see I missed a typo in citing Arrhenius's paper in my Crichton 
essay.  There, I listed the as year 1869 (not 1896), when Arrhenius 
would have only been 10 years old!

Eugene Shinn wrote:
> Wow! I suspected there may be fireworks but did not expect so much 
> deep philosophical soul-searching analysis. That's good!
>       Over the weekend I read an essay by a friend of long standing, 
> Bob Foster, a geologist and one of the leading AGW contrarians  in 
> Australia. He has just edited an upcoming issue of the UK journal 
> (Energy & Environment 2009, vol. 20 no 1 & 2 ) He said " After 5 
> months of misery, it is now "in press" at last. He said, "I chose 
> natural drivers of weather and climate, albeit broadly interpreted, 
> as its subject - being a deliberate challenge to the assertion of the 
> Great and the Good that our weather and climate are primarily 
> people-driven."
>       Bob wrote an extensive essay/introduction to the vol.  and sent 
> me a preprint.  On the 4th page of his introduction, after describing 
> the contributions of the various authors, he says. "Now is the time 
> for a digression. I was at Adelaide University during the last decade 
> of the half-century struggle between the then-dominant paradigm of 
> Hutton/Lyell Uniformitarianism, and Wegener's theory of Continental 
> Drift. If we students had admitted we preferred continents that 
> drift, we may well have been failed. (Ironically, the overthrow of 
> Flood Geology - all sediments were either pre-diluvian or 
> anti-diluvian- by uniformitarianism, had itself been a giant step 
> forward.) Scientists are herd-animals; they revere consensus, and are 
> protective of the status quo. Here quoting noted geologist (and 
> contributor to this volume) Cliff Ollier: R. T. Chemberlin said 
> geologists might well ask if theirs could still be regarded as a 
> science when it is "possible for a theory like this to run 
> wild"...And: Sir Harold Jeffres disposed of continental drift 
> as...."an explanation which explains nothing which we wish to have 
> explained".
>       Sadly, antipathy to new ideas is endemic in science. When John 
> Maddox introduced peer-review to NATURE, he found he had to exempt 
> Fred Hoyle and Louis Leaky; because reviews of their papers were so 
> trenchantly negative. Two of the authors I sought out for this issue 
> suffered some (not all) negative reviews - to the point where higher 
> authority has felt unable to grant them "Refereed" status. But, both 
> papers survive-and both are interesting and thought-provoking"
>       Later in the introduction Foster brings up echos of Russia's 
> Lysenko affair. One of his authors quoted James Hansen (climate 
> scientist at NOAA) at a hearing organized by Senator Tim Wirth. In it 
> Hansen said about companies that emitt CO2, "In my opinion, these 
> CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature. If 
> their campaigns continue and "succeed" in confusing the public, I 
> anticipate testifying against relevant CEOs in future public trials."
>       The final words  about Lysenkos power in Russia were ominous. 
> "The director of the Institute of Genetics at the USSR Academy of 
> Science, Nikolai Vavilov, was a Mendelian theoretician of 
> high-standing. But in 1940, Vaivilov was arrested; and after 11 
> months of interrogation, he and two colleagues were tried and 
> sentenced to death. His sentence --only--was commuted; but he died in 
> prison. "
>     The readers may remember  Lysenkos theory that ste Russian science 
> for many years. It said that evolution is rapid and changes are 
> acquired over a generation. Thus, the environment/political system 
> could mould  humankind.  It fit the politics and government policies 
> of the day. Pretty Scary! Is anything like that happening today?
>       So, even though the story I contributed about psychological help 
> for climate deniers was intended as humorous I could not help but 
> wonder. People have done some really serious and crazy things in the 
> past...not to mention silly wars. Are we going into a period of 
> craziness again? I look forward to reading the entire vol of "Energy& 
> Environment" when it becomes available. Possibly some coral-list 
> readers will want to read it as well. Meanwhile, lets hope this 
> unusually cold winter is nearly over. Gene

  David M. Lawrence        | Home:  (804) 559-9786
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