Prevailing theories have been proven wrong before

Written by Keith Bryer

It is said that Galileo’s middle finger is displayed in Florence, Italy, thus in death “giving the finger” to those who put him under house arrest for daring to claim the Earth was not the centre of the universe. That the sun orbited the Earth was the scientific consensus of the time, backed by Biblical texts.

psi 4

The penalty for Galileo’s effrontery in saying otherwise was not only prison and then house arrest. He was also forbidden to claim the obvious as fact. He could claim it only as theory.

Time has proved the 16th century scientific-religious consensus spectacularly wrong. Galileo was right. Reason triumphed over superstition.

Meanwhile, in the 21st century, we are asked to wait another 100 years before the truth or fallacy of the prevailing climate theory is proven true or false. Meanwhile, as the Pope once demanded, mouths and minds must be securely shut.

The parallels between what Galileo endured, and what opponents of the climate change gospel have to put up with, are obvious to those of a rational mind.

Alarmist theories

They are branded “deniers”, instead of honest sceptics of an all-encompassing theory. Some lose their jobs or their working conditions are made intolerable. They have not been put in jail – yet.

To those climatologists who soldier on, testing theories on the edge of acceptance by the prevailing climate priesthood, feel compelled to insert caveats in their findings, grovelling to escape establishment censure.

An example of this is evident in a recent media release by Boston University on the results of climate research that suggests the world might be already benefiting from a rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

The researchers coming to this conclusion were not sceptics who doubted the alarmist theories of global warming caused by industry. On the contrary, they supported the thesis (and probably still do). Nor were they a single pair hoping to extract more research money by coming to correct conclusions. They undertook this research in an attempt to find out if the claims by climate sceptics that higher CO2 levels were beneficial to the planet.

Embarrassingly, they found the sceptic claim was correct by using 33 years of satellite data.

Reading the Boston University media release, their attempts to avoid being cast into utter darkness, like Galileo, are quite clear. They acknowledge every confirmation that more CO2 greatly enhanced plant growth as shown by satellite images, by quickly adding a rider that, of course global warming and increased CO2 is nevertheless, overall, bad.

“We were able to tie the greening largely to the fertilising effect of rising atmospheric CO2 concentration by tasking several computer models to mimic plant growth observed in the satellite data,” the professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University said, swiftly adding: “(CO2) is the chief culprit of climate change.”

Another of the 34 researchers said: “The greening over the past 33 years reported in this study is equivalent to adding a green continent about two-times (sic) the size of mainland USA (18 million square kilometres).”

CO2 fertilisation

A French researcher added that: “Other studies have reported an increasing carbon sink on land since the 1980s, which is entirely consistent with the idea of a greening Earth.”

That is exactly what sceptics have claimed for years.

This had to be followed by a grovelling before the climate change establishment, so he is immediately quoted as saying: “The beneficial aspect of CO2 fertilisation in promoting plant growth has been used by contrarians… to argue against cuts in carbon emissions to mitigate climate change. CO2 fertilisation is only one, albeit a predominant, reason why the Earth is greening. The study also identified climate change, nitrogen fertilisation and land management as other important reasons.”

Not out of the green woods yet, and digging the hole deeper is this: “While the detection of greening is based on measurements, the attribution to various drivers is based on models, and these models have known deficiencies. Future works will undoubtedly question and refine our results,” an Australian team member said.

Well yes indeed, predictions based on computer predictions of the future climate are fallible. The climate sceptics have been saying so for years.

As for more research questioning and refining the results, it will be really embarrassing when the critics turn out to be climate alarmists and the refiners of these arguments are all climate sceptics.

Galileo’s middle finger may be beginning to twitch.

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Comments (6)

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    Jerry L Krause


    Keith, you drew our attention to Galileo who, I believe most of us can agree, ‘paved’ the road which led to what might be termed modern science. And I believe most of us can agree he did this by writing Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences. However, this book, as translated to the English language by Crew and de Salvio and published in 1914, was never assigned as a textbook to be read by any of my chemistry or physics professors. And I, as a chemistry instructor, never assigned it as a textbook to be read by my students. Near the end of my retirement I did finally read it. But it has taken decades for some of what I read to begin to sink into my consciousness.

    Maybe you have asked: What were these two new sciences? Some of what is commonly known about Galileo is that he dropped bodies of significantly different weights (masses) from the leaning Tower of Pisa and observed they reached the ground at approximately the same time. Thus, proving that bodies twice as heavy did not fall twice as fast. And by various experiments (observations), we commonly know that, he demonstrated that bodies did not fall at a constant speed, but instead fell at an accelerated rate. So, if he were to be classified according to the modern classification of scientists, most, would probably conclude he was a physicist. At least that was the general impression I had before I began reading his book.

    But having read it, I must conclude that the dialogues of the first two days were about material science (chemistry?). And it was the dialogues of the third and fourth days, clearly stated to be about motion, which were about physics.

    I have seldom (actually never according to my memory) read that Galileo considered matter to be atomistic or that he was an alchemist. This, the failure to grasp what Galileo was writing about is somewhat documented by a comment made by Crew and de Salvio as they translated: “Seeing that water has less firmness [consistenza] than the finest of powder, in fact no consistence whatever, we may, it seems to me, very reasonably conclude that the smallest particles into which it can be resolved are quite different from finite and divisible particles; indeed the only difference I am able to discover is that the former are indivisible. The exquisite transparency of water also favors this view; for the most transparent crystal when broken and ground and reduced to powder loses its transparency; the finer the grinding the greater the loss; but in the case of water where the attrition is of the highest degree we have extreme transparency. Gold and silver when pulverized with acids [acque forti] more finely than is possible with any file still remains powders,* and do not become fluids until the finest particles [gl’ indivisibili] of fire or of the rays of the sun dissolve them, as I think, into their ultimate, indivisible, and infinitely small components.” “*It is not clear what Galileo here means by saying that gold and silver when treated with acids still remain powders. [Trans.]”

    For the translators, with their comment, admit they are not aware of to what Galileo was referring. Now it is known that later Newton and Robert Boyle, and probably other members of the Royal Society, were alchemists. Again, I repeat: I have never heard it suggested that Galileo was.

    Alchemist were a group of people (primarily men) who were, somewhat secretly, trying to make gold and silver from much less expensive materials. And based upon what we now know, they appeared to be very naïve (a nice way of saying they were stupid). However, what seems to be overlooked is the historical fact that for nearly two thousand years it had been accepted knowledge that the four elementary forms of matter were earth, water, atmosphere, and fire. Hence, if these four elements of matter were combined in the right way one should be able to make gold and silver. And it seems that the translators did not know that [acque forti] acid was aqua regia (and even now my Word spell checker does not know how to spell regia). Which is a certain combination of concentrated hydrochloric acid and nitric acid that is capable of dissolving gold and silver.

    What Galileo described is sometimes now referred to as a gold sol or silver sol. And if you google ‘gold sol’ you will find: “Known, or at least used (perhaps proceeding by accident without much understanding of the process) since ancient times, the synthesis of colloidal gold was crucial to the 4th-century Lycurgus Cup, which changes color depending on the location of light source.[7](Wikipedia) It is true that this ancient process was discovered without much understanding, but it should not be described as an accident.

    Aqua regia is required to dissolve the gold as the first step in synthesizing the colloidal gold. Neither hydrochloric acid nor nitric acid occur naturally in a concentrated form. Hence, someone (these ancient alchemists) had to synthesize concentrated hydrochloric acid and nitric acid and then to find that the proper portions of these acids which were capable of dissolving gold. But to call, what these alchemists were doing as they did this experiment or that, without understanding, in their purposeful attempt to synthesize gold, an accident misses the point of experimentation (observation). We do an experiment because we do not know what will happen (be observed). We might think we understand what will happen but until the experiment is done we do not know what will happen. Einstein put it this way: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”

    Now, reread what Crew and de Salvio translated and consider (imagine) water evaporating (disappearing into thin air) or the vapor from warm, but not boiling hot, condensing on a cold surface which Galileo, or any alchemist, could have simply done.

    Better yet, get a copy of Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences and read all of it; trying to imagine all that Galileo could have seen (imagined) in the various situations upon which the dialogues were based. Do this considering that Einstein is also credited with stating: “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” And, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

    The point of focusing attention upon the alchemists is they were ‘natural’ experimenters and thoughtfully considered the many little things they observed. And thereby they learned (understood?) something about the natural world in which they were living. And they did lead us out of the dark ages.

    Have a good day, Jerry

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    Jerry L Krause


    Keith, in a previous response to your post, I reviewed certain historical facts that groups of scientists, in the 20th Century, attempted to intimidate and censor certain other scientists who had ideas, like Galileo did, that were not compatible to the accepted ideas of this majority. This even though these different ideas were supported by actual observations (or experiments). And I reviewed how it seems that modern scientists do not seem to try to stand on the shoulders of previous giants such as Newton.

    A historical fact is that Newton began the third book of The Principia with his four rules of reasoning in philosophy. I only claim to well understand the first two but these two seem quite adequate for my purposes. The first (as translated by Motte) was: “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.” Related to this rule, I believe, is a quote attributed to Einstein: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Newton’s second rule was: “Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes.” This rule, if applied, is the reason I believe I do not need to consider Newton’s third and fourth rule.

    I illustrate what I believe by considering that Richard Feynman, whom I consider to have been a giant, taught a freshman physics class at Caltech in 1961 the following (The Feynman Lectures on Physics). “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis (or the atomic fact, or whatever you wish to call it) that all things are made of atoms—little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence, you will see, there is an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied.”

    Here, Feynman introduces another process, imagination, to compliment reason (thinking). Here again we find that Einstein also endorses Feynman’s comment about imagination. “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” And, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

    I have already considered that Newton considered it was possible that planets, by their gravity, might capture the vapors of the tails of comets. It has been long accepted that the density gradient, which given the invention of the barometer is well observed, of the earth’s atmosphere is the result of the action of gravity upon the motions of the atmospheric molecules. So, given a closed gallon bottle of atmosphere, do I need to consider there is a similar density gradient of the atmosphere in the bottle? Of course, by Newton’s second rule the atmospheric molecules in the bottle must behave just as the ‘free’ molecules of the atmosphere. Of course, it seems likely we could never observe the gases density gradient the must exist in the galloon bottle. So, we must imagine it because we consistently reason (Newton’s second law) that it must exist.

    Now, it commonly considered that in lower layer of atmosphere termed the troposphere there is a temperature gradient because it is such an observed temperature gradient which defines the troposphere. Now, it is commonly understood that the cause of this atmospheric temperature gradient, like that of its density gradient, is the result of the action of the earth’s gravity. However, in this case some, many it seems, do not believe this gradient is the result of gravity upon individual atmospheric molecules. These people believe it (the gradient) has to be due to the action of gravity upon a rising parcel of many molecules during an adiabatic (no energy to added to or removed from the parcel) condition. Others seem to believe the greenhouse effect is factor involved in this issue. The addition of these possible factors to the action of gravity upon the atmospheric molecules, which are accepted to cause the density gradient, complicates an understanding of the general existence of the temperature gradient.

    Here, before going forward, we must recognize the importance of the word—generally. For an observed fact is that, given a clear sky condition during the nighttime, by sunrise a not so shallow atmospheric layer at the base is formed which has a temperature gradient that is the opposite (inverted temperature gradient) of that generally considered to ‘always’ exist. But I have just complicated issues by referring to the known (observed) temperature gradients.

    So I go back to what I expect no one wants to question. If a ball is thrown upward with some given speed, we expect its speed to decrease as its kinetic energy is converted to gravitation potential energy. And at some altitude, depending upon the initial upward speed, we expect its speeds to decrease to zero after which it begins to fall back to earth at an accelerated rate because of the action of gravity upon it. Of course, in this scenario, we must do what physicists are prone to do, which is to ignore the action of the ball moving through the atmosphere upon its speed. So we expect the ball reaching the surface has the same downward speed as the speed at which it was thrown upward.

    However, relative molecules moving upward at a given speed and downward at given speed, there is an empirical law known as the ideal gas law which has been observed by physical scientists which forces the conclusion that while gas molecules might frequently collide with one another, that between collisions their motions are not influenced by the other molecules. However, by consistent reasoning with regard to the ball thrown upward, we must conclude that when a molecules motion is upward, its speed must be decreasing; and when its motion is downward, its speed must be increasing. Now, I come back to the gallon bottle of atmosphere which had an imagined density gradient. And I ask: Can you imagine that it also has a temperature gradient if its condition is adiabatic? But you maybe ask: What about the temperature inversion which forms during the nighttime?

    My answer is, given the clear sky condition, that the atmospheric condition is not adiabatic. Energy is being radiated to space by the earth surface and the greenhouse gases of the atmosphere.

    Have a good day, Jerry

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    Why do people call CO2 a “fertilizer” ?

    CO2 is plant food – the basic source of carbon used in building all of the complex molecules of life.

    Fertilizers provide other molecules necessary for organic chemistry especially the difficult to come by nitrogen in a form easily utilized by plants.

    CO2 is basic plant food without which all plant life will die along with the rest of us – we should remind the idiots who support the unproven hypothesis of global warming/climate change/climate disruption or whatever insane name they develop when the last one is shown to be ridiculous of this indisputable fact every day.

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    Jerry L Krause


    In Have You Read? Have You Considered? I continued:

    One might ask: To whom was Feynman referring when he stated: “But I don’t know whether everyone realizes this is true.”? Feynman, to my knowledge, never directly answered this question. But in a 1979 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, about Immanuel Velikovsky I read: “In his first book, Worlds in Collision (1950), he hypothesized that in historical times an electromagnetic derangement of the solar system caused Venus and Mars to approach the Earth closely, disturbing its rotation, axis inclination, and magnetic field. … The animosity of the U. S. scientific community toward Worlds in Collision caused the original publisher, threatened with a boycott of its scientific-textbook division, to turn Velikovsky’s work over to a firm not involved in textbook publishing.”
    Then years later, while reading my issue of Chemistry and Engineering News I learned about controversial observations that Lewis Frank, a notable scientist with the influence to force, over the objections of the peer reviewers, the publication of these observations and his explanation for them in the April 1986 issue of Geophysical Research Letters. About what occurred after this he, in the July 13, 1997 issue of The Washington Post, wrote: “Scientists reacted to my announcement as if I had plowed through the sacred field of established science with a bulldozer. I had. If the small comets were real, one scientist commented, textbooks in a dozen sciences would have to be rewritten. And so scientists dismissed the small comets, in much the same way they discounted Alfred Wegener and his theory of continental drift in the early part of the 20th century.”
    Lewis Frank’s case is evidence that a scientific community did not heed Feynman’s injunction to them in 1955. This case and that of Alfred Wegener are evidences that all of the scientists involved had not likely read Isaac Newton’s scientific classic: The Principia. For about comets Newton had written (as translated by Andrew Motte): “The vapours which arise from the sun, the fixed, stars, and the tails of the comets, may meet at last with, and fall into, the atmospheres of the planets by their gravity, and there be condensed and turned into water … .” And relative to the issue of continental drift, it is generally considered that a serious mistake, which Wegener and the other proponents of continental made, was when they were challenged by doubters to explain how continents could drift; they tried to. In the final page of his book Newton, about gravity, had written: “But hitherto I have not been able to discover the cause of these properties of gravity from phenomena, and I frame no hypotheses; for whatever is not deduced from the phenomena is to be called as hypotheses; and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy. In this philosophy particular propositions are inferred from the phenomena, and afterwards rendered general by induction. Thus it was that the impenetrability, the mobility, and the impulsive force of bodies, and the laws of motion and of gravitation, were discovered. And to us it is enough that gravity does really exist, and act according to the laws which we have explained, and abundantly serves to account for all the motions of the celestial bodies, and of our sea.”
    Newton has been credited with stating: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing of the shoulders of giants.” These two modern cases seem to be evidence that some modern scientists no longer try to stand on the shoulders of giants and Frank’s case is evidence they have ignored Feynman’s wisdom.

    Have a good day, Jerry

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    Jerry L Krause


    Today in the USA we are remembering those who fought and died for our liberty. Your comments about Galileo, who had the courage to fire the first shot of modern science, and Feynman, who, it seems, saw, in 1955, that science had a problem. The following is the first page of an essay I wrote last year.

    Have You Read? Have You Considered?
    Jerry L. Krause 2015
    Author’s Note: I understand that these questions cannot be answered until the specific objects of the questions are identified. I have asked these undefined questions and have kept this essay brief in hope that you will at least read its first page.

    Today, few scientists likely know that Richard Feynman gave a public address, The Value of Science, at the 1955 autumn meeting of the National Academy of Sciences unless they have read his book, titled “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”. At the end of this book, which was published in the fall of 1988, about 9 months after Feynman had died, was the transcript of this 1955 address with a preface which gave a context to the address.
    “When I was younger, I thought science would make good things for everybody. It was obviously useful, it was good. During the war I worked on the atomic bomb. This result of science was obviously a very serious matter: it represented the destruction of people.
    “After the war I was very worried about the bomb. I didn’t know what the future was going to look like, and I certainly wasn’t anywhere near sure that we would last until now. Therefore one question was—is there some evil involved in science?
    “Put another way— what is the valve of the science I had dedicated myself to—the thing I loved—when I saw what terrible things it could do? It was a question I had to answer.
    “The Value of Science is a kind of report, if you will, on many of the thoughts that cameto me when I tried to answer that question. Richard Feynman”
    In the introduction to his third value of science he stated: “Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty—some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain. Now, we scientists are used to this, and we take it for granted that it is perfectly consistent to be unsure, that it is possible to live and not know. But I don’t know whether everyone realizes this is true. Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question—to doubt—to not be sure. I think it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained. Herein lies a responsibility to society.”
    About three pages of transcript later he concluded the address with: “It our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom, to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations.”

    Have a good day, Jerry

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      Jerry L Krause


      Sorry, somehow I messed up and submitted twice. Jerry

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