the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Skeptic’s Creed

Posted by Jeff Id on July 18, 2010

People have made several suggestions for the creed of the scientific skeptic.  In an inspired moment created by several commenters, I wrote this.

———–

Climate Skeptic’s Creed

I understand the radiative capture of CO2

I accept that radiative capture causes warming.

I acknowledge that there is climate feedback to warming.

I assert that the rest is unknown.

———–

It’s nice and short, goes against the duma view, and leaves plenty for consideration without taking a soft approach.

The only suggestions I didn’t like were the ones which added specificity to the language even though the original didn’t contradict the specific.  Of course there were some who’s specificity did contradict these basic truths which I cannot help.


32 Responses to “Skeptic’s Creed”

  1. intrepid_wanders said

    Only one thing to add…

    I accept that scientific records and literature show strong evidence that the Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age will always exist in historical records.

  2. Mark T said

    Why do you have to have a creed? Are you afraid nobody will take you seriously if you don’t capitulate some irrelevant fact (or opinion)? If so, then you a) already start off in a defensive hole, giving anyone you are debating a head start and b) must not have a strong case (or don’t think so) anyway and you’re hoping such a capitulation will win someone over to your view.

    I’ve never understood why anyone has to declare some position on irrelevances before any discussion as if it truly makes a difference. I just don’t get it. You’re conceding red herrings before they are even offered, and once they are, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve cited your creed for the morning or not, you still have to chase the herring and the distraction has done exactly what it was intended to do.

    Mark

  3. Gilbert K. Arnold said

    Jeff:

    I can modify the one I posted earlier with the link to reflect this one. I still like the quote at the bottom. Get’s a sly dig at the “consensus” view.

  4. Gilbert K. Arnold said

    #2:

    It doesn’t necessarily have to be used as starting point in a debate. You could just post it on your wall as a reminder of why we fight this fight. And if you don’t want to proclaim a “creed” or “credo”, if you prefer that term, that’s entirely up to you.

  5. Brian H said

    Crossposting from the “Incredible” thread:
    “… the radiative component of heat transfer of CO2, though relevant at the temperatures in combustion chambers, can be neglected at atmospheric temperatures.”

    Have you encountered an experimental or theoretical disproof of this? If not, the proper verb should be “doubt” or “question” or perhaps “wonder”.

    Grammarnazi note: “who’s” means “who is”. “Whose” is the possessive. >:) ;)

  6. Brian H said

    And really, Jeff. “basic truths”? Maybe “Credo” is the word you prefer! 8-O

  7. Cement a friend said

    I do not understand the need for a creed.
    With regard to the first three points do you understand Miskolczi’s new paper which can be downloaded via the following
    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/07/miskolczis-death-knell-on-greenhouse.html (click on paper, then download at the top)
    The following is also worth reading http://kirkmyers.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/miskolczi-destroys-greenhouse-theory/

    From my experience I do not accept back radiation. I know from measurements of electric current that there is only a current when there is a voltage difference and electricity flows from high to low voltage. My experience with heat exchange (conduction, convection, phase change and radiation)measurement is that heat flux occurs only from a higher enthalpy state to a lower enthalpy state which is nearly always from high temperature to low temperature.
    Many heat exchange processes can be characterized by electrical circuits. One can not model a process before one has measurements. That is the problem with the AGW hypotheses. There are no reliable measurements of trends over acceptable time spans in surface temperatures, atmospheric composition (including the trace gas CO2), solar changes (which affect the earth), ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns, etc etc.
    Making predictions from biased models put together by people who do not understand the processes and then inputting unreliable data is just nonsense.
    My thoughts
    Has there been significant warming over the last 110 years? Not from the data raw data I have seen in my country.
    Has there been a significant change in the level of CO2 and H2O gas in the atmosphere over the last 110 years? Some information from past measurements indicate CO2 has varied over that period and the present level is not exceptional. There is some evidence that precipitation (in my country)has been increasing slightly. Overall, one has to say that there are divided opinions.
    Are the present climate and the present climate changes exceptional? No! there is a huge amount of evidence (largely from geology some of which I have personally noted) that the climate has been significantly different over extended periods of time and that some of the changes were very rapid.

  8. M. Simon said

    Why we fight?

    To stop the wallet extraction scheme. It is not about science. At all.

  9. M. Simon said

    My experience with heat exchange (conduction, convection, phase change and radiation)measurement is that heat flux occurs only from a higher enthalpy state to a lower enthalpy state which is nearly always from high temperature to low temperature.

    Have you measured the change in differential radiation among several radiators when one of them changes temperature? That is the relevant experiment.

  10. M. Simon said

    Let me try that again:

    My experience with heat exchange (conduction, convection, phase change and radiation)measurement is that heat flux occurs only from a higher enthalpy state to a lower enthalpy state which is nearly always from high temperature to low temperature.

    Have you measured the change in differential radiation among several radiators when one of them changes temperature? That is the relevant experiment.

  11. Brian H said

    #7;
    Your final phrase, “some of the changes have been very rapid”, opens the door to one of the Warmists’ explicit scare-“scenarios”. That is, since the climate has demonstrably “flipped” in the past, we MIGHT be about to cause another “flip” (presumably by putting CO2 levels partway back to where they usually were?). In any case, it’s such a dangerous mystery that ANY change is dangerous, so the only thing to do is to try and keep things exactly as they are, however that is, and however hopeless the effort, because change of climate is so HORRIBLE!

    Or something like that! :D :D D:

  12. Russ said

    Jeff, you should have added this at the bottom of your Climate Skeptic’s Creed:

    I’m a man

    And I can change

    If I have to

    I guess!!!!

    HAHAHA.

    Thats for all the belly ach·ing greenies (that sound like women out there) HAHAHA!!!!

  13. Bart said

    Jeff, Don’t you confuse unknown with uncertain?

    This is my shorthand for the mainstream scientific view on climate change (without ifs and buts and weasel words that could surely be added of course)

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/what-do-we-know/

    – The direction of the (expected) changes is clear:

    – Globe is warming

    – It’s due to us

    – It’s bad news

    – Carbon is forever; Aerosols are not

    – Uncertainty + Inertia = Danger

  14. Jeff Id said

    Carbon is forever? — wow.

    What percentage of the minimal warming we have measured would you attribute to Man vs nature vs UHI (sighting issues)?

  15. JS said

    It remains glib, obscure, and fatuous.

    Climate Skeptic’s Creed [ climate 'science' is already demeaned by attitudes based on faith - are you trying to add some more?]

    I understand the radiative capture of CO2 [DO you really? Quantum mechanics is not easy.]

    I accept that radiative capture causes warming. [ of what?]

    I acknowledge that there is climate feedback to warming. [ meaning what? If you warm something it notices it?]

    I assert that the rest is unknown. [ the rest of what? ]

  16. Bart said

    “Forever” is not to be taken literally, just as your “unknown” I guess.

    According to Ramanathan and Feng (2009), global average surface temperatures have increased by about 0.75 degrees Celsius since the beginning of the industrial revolution, of which ~0.6 °C is attributable to human activities (the remainder is primarily due to solar forcing in the first half of the 20th century). The 0.6 exists of positive GHG forcing, partially offset by negative aerosol forcing, and a portion is still “in the pipeline”. UHI is accounted for in the temp anomalies, of course imperfectly, though according to many analyses also satisfactorily.

  17. Jeff Id said

    I was going to point out that the saying is diamonds are forever :D.

    I’m curious about UHI in these papers. Which UHI studies you prefer besides the Jones fiasco and the partial copying of Anthony Watts project. It’s real curiosity on my part, no gotchas.

  18. kim said

    We don’t know what caused the warming since the end of the Little Ice Age. We don’t know whether it will continue. We know what CO2 does in the lab and not in the world. We don’t know what the sun is doing and how that might effect the climate.

    We know Bart knows enough to know it’s bad news, but he seems to base that on his own guilt rather than on objective evidence.
    ======================

  19. kim said

    I presume that Bart is talking about residence time of anthropogenic CO2 and other related phenomena of the carbon cycle. About which we certainly don’t understand the enhanced feedbacks from increased CO2, which will likely shorten the time to complete resequestration of this human supplied aliquot.
    ================

  20. kim said

    Diamonds are only forever relative to the brief life of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    ==============

  21. mrpkw said

    That looks good !!

  22. Genghis said

    I ‘know’ very little and the more I learn it seems the less I really ‘know.’

    Do increasing levels of CO2 seem likely to increase warming? Sure, just like adding insulation to a house increases warming. Does that mea culpa make me a credible climate scientist now?

    I didn’t think so : ) It might concede the debate though because now that we have established that I am a prostitute we are just haggling over the price (or temperature) so to speak.

    The starting point that I think we should use is that there are a lot of variables that affect temperature and that CO2 is only one of many.

  23. Brian H said

    Insulation does not ‘increase warming’. It slows the movement of energy from hot to cold spots. In both directions. It is useful for moderating swings.

    But because of the unique characteristics of IR interception and blackbody and fingerprint absorption and radiation, etc., the effects of CO2 or other GHGs differ significantly from conductive and convective insulation and isolation. On its own, without the other two, there is no actual trapping of heat; IR is not itself heat, and doesn’t stay trapped.

    So the analogy is misleading.

  24. Genghis said

    It is a very simple analogy. If you add insulation to a centrally heated house the temperature in the house will be higher than one without insulation, if all the other variables stay the same.

    Yes CO2 isn’t that clear cut, but the general idea is the same though. Like after opening a hanger door, putting insulation on the walls may not matter either, there are lots and lots of variables.

    I am not willing to concede (yet) that changing one variable causes positive forcing in the other variables. My experience is that the other variables when pushed, tend to be negative.

    I think the history of the climate tends to verify my anecdotal experiences.

  25. Brian H said

    But I think the analogy is quite limited. To push it a bit, I think the “R-value” of the insulation is quite low. The heat capacity of the air is miniscule compared to either water or land; the amount of heat it can “buffer” is correspondingly tiny, and thus the delay and heating it can cause is tiny.

  26. Genghis said

    “and thus the delay and heating it can cause is tiny.”

    Yes, just like CO2.

    It seems everyone is working really hard massaging the numbers to try and detect minuscule signals.

  27. anonym said

    Can we refer to this as the No-Consenus Consensus, then? ;)

  28. Jeff Id said

    #27, Actually, that was part of the fun for me. Just how the heck can anyone get a group of natural skeptics to agree on anything. As far as I can see, the cold reception got a couple of yeses and a bunch of skepticism. haha.

    It’s no different than I expected, but that was part of the fun of this post.

  29. Brian H said

    #28;
    So, Jeff, UR basically saying we’ve been successfully pwned?

    On balance, probably a worthwhile jape and caper. p-\ Can you do other tricks? :-D

  30. Jeff Id said

    #29, I don’t think threads happen that often here where people agree with everything I say. When I try to nail down peoples views on AGW in a few very broad lines, it didn’t have much chance.

    It does fit my views though, and it’s broad enough it could fit most but skeptics are skeptics. Some wrote in to tighten it further, some said you don’t need a creed, some liked it enough to make a fancy document out of it. I like it because it states the obvious and leaves the rest of the story for discussion.

    I want a t-shirt.

  31. Brian H said

    It over- and mis-states the presumptions the CAGW Cult would like us to accept.

  32. But I think the analogy is quite limited. To push it a bit, I think the “R-value” of the insulation is quite low. The heat capacity of the air is miniscule compared to either water or land; the amount of heat it can “buffer” is correspondingly tiny, and thus the delay and heating it can cause is tiny.

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