the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Another Opinion Post

Posted by Jeff Id on February 23, 2014

I heard a radio host in Kalamazoo, comment on a letter written in by a listener on emotion and opinions.  The idea was that emotions and opinions cannot be wrong and at least the emotion can’t-be-wrong claim is  a common thread in human culture and one of my apparenlty numerous pet-peeves.   First, emotions are chemical and electrical reactions to lifes inputs.  We have little control over them but we can control them.   For example it is quite possible to be angry about something we shouldn’t be.   Say there is an individual who vociferously describes an opinion on a scientific matter that goes against basic scientific observation, sometimes that makes me angry.   Is that anger right or is it wrong?   One could step back and observe that the individual making the false claim is not at fault for lacking the mental faculties to parse the nature of the issues and change the emotion.   Either way, anger, really doesn’t make sense in those sorts of cases, yet I do get grumpy about incorrect statements.  It seems like the emotion ‘anger’ is wrong in this situation, although it is a mild example.

What if someone gets so emotional about some non-threatening issue, they murder or commit extreme violence?   I think those situations are extreme examples of ‘wrong’ emotion.  Or what if someone is diagnosed with some form of psychosis and emotions are seemingly coming at random. I would say from examples like that are clear examples of emotion being ‘wrong’.   Yet somewhere along the way, the hubris of mankind has resulted in a popular culture defininition for our emotions as something that cannot be wrong.  Somehow, unless we are full-on psychotic, our emotions are infallable.  When put that way, I get angry at those who spout such obvious untruths regarding emotion..  :D

Joking asiade, this radio host was hollering amen’s and thank-yous after reading a letter which in paraphrase claimed that not only emotion, but opinion cannot be wrong.  In my “opinion” the host and the writer are both wrong, so someone in our group of opinion holders must by definition be wrong.  To me this whole concept of any form of belief-based infallability is another symptom of our mentally self-pleasuring progressive culture.  The excited host presented the issue so strongly that it left me thinking that infallability of opinion is the next frontier for the only slightly less ignorant concept that emotion cannot be wrong.  I hope our progressive cancer isn’t going in that direction, it literally seems impossible to deny reality to the level we already do in society so I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised.

22 Responses to “Another Opinion Post”

  1. timetochooseagain said

    We are basically dealing with, on some level, people who believe reality is what it is, and people who believe reality is whatever they want it to be.

    I have to admit that I feel at times like an Objectivist when I realize just how correct it is to view progressivism and subjectivism as one and the same thing.

  2. M Simon said

    I place no reliance on virgin or pigeon my method is science my aim is religion.

  3. Brian H said

    Agreement on what is real and apparent improvements in survival prospects tend to make one happy, and the converse. One may be mistaken in these reactions, and we all are from time to time. Who hasn’t experienced, quickly or slowly, a change of attitude, opinion, and feeling about a subject or person?

    Ethical rightness and wrongness of feelings and reactions is a whole ‘nother subject, and has only partial overlap with the above.

  4. Gary said

    Jeff, read Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow” (,_Fast_and_Slow) for a take on what you describe. Emotional thinkers are stuck on System I and may have little capacity for System II.

  5. omanuel said

    I would not have figured it out if my research mentor (P.K. Kuroda) had not assigned a research project in 1960 that led me to discover for myself that the spirit of Stalin survived the end of WWII, has an insatiable appetite for tax funds, and will not be easily defeated now. Punishing Climategate clowns like Michael Mann, etc. is therefore useless.

    In 1946 George Orwell started writing his warning to us.

    In 1946 Fred Hoyle said the internal composition of the Sun was changed from iron (Fe) to hydrogen (H) and was unanimously adopted without debate or discussion. See pp. 153-154.

    Precise experimental data on pages 19-27 of my autobiography identify many of the falsehoods that led us into slavery after WWII ended.

  6. steveta_uk said

    Jeff, were you angry at the time of writing this blog post?

    There is an unusually high error rate for you throughout the post – it almost reads like something from Lucia ;)

    Were you perhaps thinking of the one-and-only DC when you wrote “Say there is an individual who vociferously describes an opinion on a scientific matter that goes against basic scientific observation, sometimes that makes me angry.” ?

    • timetochooseagain said

      It’s interesting. Cranks like him don’t make me angry. After a while I reached a kind of enlightenment where science cranks can’t make me angry anymore.

      No, the things that make me angry that are analogous, are when people claim that the law of demand is magically suspended in low and unskilled labor markets. And that to suggest otherwise is to disagree with “economists.” Things of that nature. That’s infuriating.

      Count down till a sycophantic RB trots along to spew nonsense about economics….

    • Jeff Id said


      I may have just gotten done writing a reply to that unnammed indivdiual. ;D

  7. Not CO2 said

    CO2 cannot cause any warming, full stop.

    [reply: zzzzz ]

  8. Not CO2 said

    William Connelly is stumped now by Wikipedia of all things, where he loves to edit to give things a nice greenhouse flavour.

    The new Wikipedia Second Law statement clearly demolishes that “net” effect business that tries to claim a single one-way radiation process does not have to obey the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Wiki now reads …

    “Every process occurring in nature proceeds in the sense in which the sum of the entropies of all bodies taking part in the process is increased.”[

  9. PeterB in Indianapolis said

    Opinions are like a**holes… everyone has one, but no one particularly wants to hear about anyone else’s.

    Seeing as how a**holes are frequently wrong, and opinions are like a**holes, clearly, opinions can certainly be wrong.


    • Jeff Id said

      “no one particularly wants to hear about anyone else’s.”

      And I started a blog just to get them off my chest. :D

      • PeterB in Indianapolis said

        Well Jeff, your blog also contains much that is factual, and at least I usually agree with the majority of your opinions, so I am ok with that :)

  10. Me again said

    Yawn. Another week and still no explanation (other than mine) for the Uranus troposphere temperatures and “lapse rate” – not here, and not on any of about 10 other climate blogs. And if you don’t want to clutter this vent, you are all welcome to debate me here on DrRoySpencer

    • steveta_uk said

      I rarely visit WC’s “Stoat” blog, but did yesterday and was quite pleasantly surprised.

      His level of ranting seems to be reduced considerably over years gone by, and he did appear to try and engage contrarian opinions.

      In particular, I was surprised how much time he spent trying to educate our favourite anti-CO2 loon, and to get sensible responses from him regarding various issues around radiation, feebbacks, etc.

      Unfortunately, after a sequence of questions from WC went ignored, or answered by irrelevant responses about Uranus, he did end up snipping all of the loon’s responses, saying that he would continue to do so until some attempt to answer his questions had been made.

      What I found particularly odd was that another commenter had indeed given a complete and reasonable reply to the question about the temperatures on Uranus, which was simply ignored by the loon who continued to claim that nobody else in the Universe could understand the things that he does.

      I’m really fascinated by a mind-set that seems to really believe that everyone else in the world is wrong about basic physics, but simply cannot, or will not, see the valid responses when they are presented.

      • Jeff Id said

        ” he did end up snipping all of the loon’s responses, saying that he would continue to do so until some attempt to answer his questions had been made.”

        Sounds familiar. I’m rather pleased that I/we had the patience once to argue him so much into a corner that his mantra changed. He had only one option left other than standard physics, it made literally zero sense, so he took it and refused to discuss any longer. Looking back at it, I can recall the frustration at beating an answer out of him. I’m completely serious that it must be some kind of personality disorder but it is difficult to imagine what drives him.

        • D o u g said

          What drives me is the fact that maybe a trillion dollars or more has, or soon will be wasted on carbon dioxide aid rather than savings lives with humanitarian aid. You are part of the conspiracy that’s indirectly killing people. Is that what drives you, Jeff and others?

          [snip nonsense]

          [reply: Doug, that is the admission I have been looking for. What drives you has nothing to do with science. It is politics and by your actions, you own politics have pushed you beyond reason. Even the strongest believers don't want to kill anyone, they do what they do because like you, they see wealth distribution and increased redistribution from industry as a ligitimate way to cure poverty. If they use money to save the world from being warm, they just imagine the use of more to save the poor. Like your book, Gavin Schmidt literally wrote a paper with others about rectifying models with observations which concluded that models don't need rectifying which belies the existance of the paper.

          You and they are wrong in both your science and your economics.

          If you want some advice, and I know you do.... :D Let the science take you where it does in the future and argue other issues separately. I work hard to live by that rule. An attorney told me recently that when you take a position which is counter to reality simply because you think it is to your advantage, you often find it bites you in the end. ]

          • Alex Hamilton said

            The book is excellent and contains ground-breaking physics which stands up to the test of empirical evidence, both in the study pertaining to the correlation of temperature and precipitation, and also in the evidence everywhere from inside the Earth’s crust to the distant plamet Uranus.

          • D o u g said

            Yes Jeff, I did first “let the science take” me where it does. And I found fallacies in the “science” because as Roy Spencer stated in his “Misunderstandings” article (#6) there was an assumption that isothermal conditions would prevail in the absence of water vapour and radiating gases. That would not be in accord with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, because entropy could still increase. Molecules moving upwards after a collision would have to create the extra gravitational potential energy out of nothing if their kinetic energy could not decrease.

            Of course the reality is that KE does decrease by the amount that PE increases and vice versa, and so we have, for mass M, height differential H, temperature differential T, acceleration due to gravity g and weighted mean specific heat, Cp ….

            PE = -KE
            M.g.H = – M.Cp.T
            giving the autonomous thermal gradient as …
            T/H = -g/Cp

  11. D o u g said

    Regarding the study I did showing water vapour cools, here’s an excerpt from my book which you could consider as a possible methodology for your own study. The results of the study appear here.

    … it is well known and acknowledged that water vapour leads to a lower thermal gradient, otherwise known as the “wet” or “moist” adiabatic lapse rate. Rather than the dry rate (calculated from the -g/Cp quotient to be -9.8C/Km) high levels of water vapour are known to reduce the gradient to about -7C/Km and even down to -6.5C/Km in the very humid Equatorial regions. The main argument in this book would thus suggest that, because water vapour makes the thermal gradient less steep, we should expect a lower surface temperature when the new radiative equilibrium is established. Thus it appears that water vapour should have a net cooling effect.

    It seems remarkable that this apparent contradiction does not appear to have been investigated with what could be a relatively low cost study, compared with the funds that have been spent on other climate research. Because of this, the author spent just a few hours analysing temperature and rainfall data for 15 cities, in order to give an indication of how a more comprehensive study could be conducted.

    It was considered most appropriate to select towns and cities within the tropics, which extend between the Tropic of Cancer (at about 23.5° North) to the Tropic of Capricorn (at about 23.5° South) because the Sun will be directly overhead any particular city twice a year. By selecting data for the hottest month this will usually correspond to the month in which the Sun passed through its Zenith, or the following month. As other variables may have affected the Northern Hemisphere, it was decided to limit the study to the Southern Hemisphere and to select the hottest month out of January, February or March, though nearly all turned out to be January. Such a selection avoids the need to make compensations for the angle of the Sun at latitudes outside the tropics.

    It is noted that flat islands such as Singapore have very regular maximum and minimum daily temperatures, and this is almost certainly due to diffusion, convection and wind from the air just above the ocean surface, where the air temperature is governed by the water temperature. A similar effect occurs to a lesser extent with coastal cities, as well as with some cities that are close to large inland bodies of water. Hence it was decided not to include cities that were less than 100Km from the coast or such bodies of water.

    It was also considered that there would be a need to adjust temperatures to what would be expected at a common altitude, and 600m was selected. Cities with altitudes outside the range 0 to 1200m were then excluded so that uncertainties relating to assumed temperature gradients (lapse rates) would be unlikely to exceed about half a degree at the most. It was decided to use a temperature gradient of -7C/Km for the third with the greatest rainfall, -8C/Km for the third with the least rainfall and -7.5C/Km for the middle third of the cities in the sample.

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