Undeniable and Unfalsifiable

Written by Dr. Pierre R. Latour

Is global warming unfalsifiable? A blogger on Qurora.com recently said so.

Definition of UNFALSIFIABLE: not capable of being proved false.

Since 2000, atmospheric global warming, AGW, promoters and green house gas theory, GHGT, theorists have claimed their theories were undeniable and anyone who denied them was a denier, an intended derogatory term. In January 2014 one went further and claimed AGW was unfalsifiable.

Logic. Unfalsifiable is a legitimate conclusion from mathematics. Once a math theorem is proved, it is automatically unfalsifiable. 3 + 3 = 6, always and everywhere. If Y > X and Z > Y, then Z > X. The area of a circle in a plane of radius r is Pi*r*r. Nobody will ever falsify those truisms. That is what math does for us.

The claim that AGW is unfalsifiable is merely a claim, assertion, postulate, proposal, theory. Its proponents must provide evidence to prove and verify it before rational people can accept it as true. Unsupported claims are to be summarily dismissed.

There is no consensus on a commonly accepted mathematical description and quantification for the GHGT and associated AGW model to determine the effect of increased CO2 on atmospheric temperatures. This is why the UN IPCC continues to operate and GHGT modelers resort to empirical data fitting correlations that fail to predict. Since the math model does not exist, it has no predictive power. It is impossible to prove it is unfalsifiable and therefore it should not be accepted as scientific theory, let alone a correct one. This proves the assertion on Quora is false.

An unfalsifiable law of nature is the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which Sadi Carnot used to falsify the possibility of building a perpetual motion machine that created energy. Engineers routinely use it to avoid attempting to build impossible heat engines because it is always valid, always works and is unfalsifiable.

Back radiation. A basic tenant of GHGT is radiant energy transfers from colder atmospheric CO2 molecules to the warmer surface by a new mechanism, back radiation from cold to hot. It is described in the well-known K-T diagram for Earth’s global energy flows (1) showing an average back-radiation rate of 333 w/m2 from the atmosphere absorbed by Earth’s surface. Note this value exceeds the 161 absorbed from the sun! And surface radiates at 396! (The error is confusing radiation intensity, which depends on body temperature and emissivity, with radiant heat transfer between two bodies which depends on the difference in their intensities. Confusion may have arisen because they share the same engineering units, w/m2. The diagram (see right) should show one up arrow with value 396 – 333 = 63.KT Energy Budget

Perpetual motion machine. Using only one law of physics, the first Law of Thermodynamics conservation of energy, and infinite sequence convergence mathematics, I proved the back-radiation postulate of GHGT constitutes a perpetual motion machine creating energy (2). That is a sufficient proof GHGT is not unfalsifiable, and in fact is actually false.

I think this conclusion is unfalsifiable, because I proved it with logic, the foundation of all mathematics, physics and proper use of the English language.

CO2 effects. It is true everything (energy and matter) in the universe is connected to everything else by the four fundamental forces of nature (gravity is one), but most connections are very weak.

Increasing atmospheric CO2 does affect the properties of the atmosphere (heat capacity, density, absorptivity, emissivity). I know of several energy transfer mechanisms affected, some leading to higher temperatures in some parts of Earth, some causing lower temperatures of other parts. All effects are rather small, most cancel out, and the net effect is vanishingly small and could go either way, depending on which mechanism dominates and which temperature one is thinking of.

Introducing a radiating dipolar gas molecule like H2O and CO2 would absorb some incoming solar radiation if the spectra overlap, a cooling effect below. It would increase the resistance to surface radiation transfer, causing surface to radiate more intensely at a higher temperature to transfer through the atmosphere to space at the same 239 rate fixed by global energy balance, a warming effect below. The rate of consumption of CO2 and solar energy by photosynthesis chemical reaction in plants increases with CO2 concentration and temperature of the atmosphere, a cooling effect.

Conclusion. So I am willing to accept CO2 affects a temperature, but I don’t know which, where, why, how or how much. Nobody else does either. Which is why AGW scare mongering is a hoax built on fraud. (Bogus is a more appropriate adjective than unfalsifiable because unfalsifiable is not very useful.)

I proved global warming is not unfalsifiable. Further I proved it is false. AGW promoters are wrong. QED.

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1. Trenberth, Kevin E, John T Fasullo, Jeffrey Kiehl, “Earth’s Global Energy Budget”, Bulletin of American Meteorological Society (BAMS), March, 2009, pg 311-324. http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/staff/trenbert/trenberth.papers/TFK_bams09.pdf

2. Latour, Pierre R, “No Virginia, cooler objects cannot make warmer objects even warmer still”, Nov 2013, PSI.org, http://www.principia-scientific.org/no-virginia-cooler-objects-cannot-make-warmer-objects-even-warmer-still.html

 

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Comments (14)

  • Avatar

    Pierre Latour

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    It occurs to me a GHGT promoter claim that GHGT is unfalsifiable tosses the GHGT out of the realm of knowledge – science, which is limited to the falsifiable by definition, into the realm of belief – religion, superstition, which is not so limited. All you need to do there is have faith and believe.

    Which proves GHGT is a scientific hoax.

    I think that is a good move. The GHGT promoter probably disagrees and regrets stepping into the unfalsifiable swamp.

    I like reconciliation, consensus, peace and harmony. That is the purpose of philosophy and its subsidiaries, seeking truth for enlightenment and education.

  • Avatar

    Pierre Latour

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    Riley Hunter: I got your point about the distinction betweeen knowledge and belief, science and religion, God and fairies, years ago. I did not comment on it because it goes without saying, it is simple and moot, as you say. We each have a knowledge storage bin and a belief storage bin. I believe.

    Thanks for your acceptence of the main point of my essay.

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    Riley Hunter

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    [quote name=”Pierre Latour”]
    Riley Hunter: I gave a respected reference for the definition of unfalsifiable used by the Qurora blogger and adopted it for my essay. Seems reasonable thing for an author to do. What more must I do?

    If you claim it is wrong, you have a duty to provide your favored definition. Otherwise the rest of us can only dismiss your claim as unfounded.

    When you say someone is wrong, you have a duty to explain why if you don’t wish others to asses your claim as empty and discard it out of hand.

    You say “if something is unfalsifiable, it is therefore true”. You are incorrect. However, if something is true, like 3+3=6, it follows that it is unfalsifiable. That follows from the definition of truth.

    .[/quote]

    I did explain exactly what I meant, quite clearly, I thought. Look back at my posts. Of course I’m not saying “if something is unfalsifiable, it is therefore true”. That would be completely illogical. I don’t really want to go through it again, because I reckon I was pretty clear before, but of course you are right when you say that, if something is in fact true it can be said to be “unfalsifiable”, as you say, by definition. However that is far too trite and is not what is meant by “unfalsifiable” when talking about scientific theories. “Unfalsifiable”, in science, is used to refer to a theory that cannot be falsified, even if it is in fact false. Examples of this are that there is god, or that there are fairies living at the bottom of my garden. I”m pretty sure these things are not true, but I can’t prove it – they are unfalsifiable. Do you get it yet? It’s a pretty simple point – you should get it. Does everyone else here have any trouble with this?

    By the way, I also appreciate that you say you can falsify (and you have in fact falsified) GHGT (which does not surprise me) so my point about “unfalsifiable” is just a side issue and is moot. That is why I was so brief in my very first post. My point doesn’t really matter. Your falsification of GHGT is the real point. So well done. I hope you are right and it catches on.

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    Greg House

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    [quote name=”Pierre Latour”]Greg House: My essay does not claim the 239 w/m^2 value for Earth’s rate of radiation to space from the K-T diagram is correct, […] I am unaware of the fallacy you suggest.[/quote]

    Right, you did not claim explicitly this value was correct and the point you made was not bound to whether the correct value was 239 or 932 or whatever. But a reference to a false value like yours creates the impression that the this value is correct. Unfortunately, this value is central to the warmists “greenhouse effect”. So, if you are unaware of the fallacy, I humbly suggest you get aware of it by carefully going through the calculation.

  • Avatar

    Pierre Latour

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    Greg House: My essay does not claim the 239 w/m^2 value for Earth’s rate of radiation to space from the K-T diagram is correct, only that the value depends on Earth’s energy balance: output rate = input rate (= 1366*0.7/4) and will not change with increasing CO2 because it does not affect that energy conservation equation. I am unaware of the fallacy you suggest.

    Riley Hunter: I gave a respected reference for the definition of unfalsifiable used by the Qurora blogger and adopted it for my essay. Seems reasonable thing for an author to do. What more must I do?

    If you claim it is wrong, you have a duty to provide your favored definition. Otherwise the rest of us can only dismiss your claim as unfounded.

    When you say someone is wrong, you have a duty to explain why if you don’t wish others to asses your claim as empty and discard it out of hand.

    You say “if something is unfalsifiable, it is therefore true”. You are incorrect. However, if something is true, like 3+3=6, it follows that it is unfalsifiable. That follows from the definition of truth.

    Pat Obar: If your quotation is mine, I do not recall writing it and I don’t agree with it. (It was not from this essay.)

    I agree the S-B equation gives radiation intensity, potential, radiance or irradiance, not flux or energy transfer rate, even if they have same units, w/m^2.

    The latter is given by law of radiant energy transfer between two bodies radiating with intensities I1 and I2 by q = I2 – I1. The convention is energy transfers from the body with the greater I, so if q > 0, energy transfers from body 2 to body 1.

    The former from S-B is the maximum energy transfer rate when surroundings are at 0K, with I = 0, as you say.

    I don’t think you contradicted anything in my essay.

    Claudius Denk: I accept your definitions. Converting them to unfalisfiable, I get 1) incapable of being falsified; 2) unable to be proven false.

    I proved the GHGT is not incapable of being falsified and is not unable to be proven false.

    So far everyone seems to agree the Qurora claim that the GHGT is unfalsifiable is a false claim. I am willing to accept the GHGT promoters believe but cannot prove it, whatever it is. Now that they claim it is unfalsifiable, they are saying it is outside science, like religion. I agree.

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    Riley Hunter

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    [quote name=”Claudius Denk Solving Tornadoe”][quote name=”Riley Hunter”]And also I suspect AGW advocates will be completely confused by this conversation and will, therefore, see it as supportive of the AGW premise.[/quote]

    Ha. Thanks and I agree. If you’re like me you’ve been arguing with these idiots since the mid 1990s. Nowadays I often don’t bother arguing with them. I’ve moved to abuse. These idiots can’t be convinced of anything so it’s more satisfying for me now just to rudely abuse them. That’s all they deserve :o)

  • Avatar

    Claudius Denk Solving Tornadoe

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    [quote name=”Riley Hunter”]Sorry, I was being too brief. Of course I agree with those definitions. It’s the contextual use that I think was wrong. When people in science talk about “unfalsifiable” it is a criticism of the theory – i.e. it is not a good scientific theory if it is not falsifiable (a la Karl Popper).[/quote]I agree with everything you’re saying here and I suspect that Dr. Latour would agree also. And also I suspect AGW advocates will be completely confused by this conversation and will, therefore, see it as supportive of the AGW premise.

  • Avatar

    Riley Hunter

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    Or, to put it another way, to say a theory is falsifiable is to say that it can be falsified if it is in fact false. A theory is unfalsifiable if it can’t be shown to be false even if it is false. The example of 3+3=6 does not meet these tests – if it was false (like 3+3=7) it could easily be falsified.

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    Riley Hunter

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    Sorry, I was being too brief. Of course I agree with those definitions. It’s the contextual use that I think was wrong. When people in science talk about “unfalsifiable” it is a criticism of the theory – i.e. it is not a good scientific theory if it is not falsifiable (a la Karl Popper). The claim that something is “unfalsifiable” doesn’t lend support to the theory, as is suggested in the article above, where the example of 3+3=6 is said to be unfalsifiable and therefore true. This is arse-about. To use the example in your definition above, the theory that God exists and created everything is unfalsifiable because there is nothing we can do to prove it false. Just like I can’t prove that there aren’t fairies living at the foot of my garden. Because these are not falsifiable they are not good scientific theories (Popper). The same is often said about the AGW climate change stuff – it can’t be falsified – doesn’t matter what happens, hotter, colder, snow, rain, droughts etc it’s all due to “climate change”. This is of course unscientific and all bullshit. On the 3+3=6 example, I would say that this (if it were a theory) IS falsifiable, just like 3+3=7 is falsifiable. It is a very trite example though because it’s not really a theory. “Unfalsifiability” usually refers to theories.

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    Claudius Denk Solving Tornadoe

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    [quote name=”Riley Hunter”]I know you have Dr. before your name, but your definition of “unfalsifiable” is wrong. Nonetheless, I agree with your conclusion, that AGW theory is rubbish.[/quote]

    Fal´si`fi`a`ble
    1. Capable of being falsified, counterfeited, or corrupted.
    2. able to be proven false, and therefore testable; as, most religious beliefs are not falsifiable, and are therefor outside the scope of experimental science.
    Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co.

    Well, as you can see, these are two very different meanings. The one that seems to be applicable in a scientific discussion is, IMO, the second.

    I wonder which of these two meanings the blogger from Quora.com intended.

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    Pat Obar

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    Dear Dr. Latour,
    From your referenced article this I must take issue with:
    “The Stefan-Boltzmann law radiation law says radiation rate is proportional to its absolute temperature **4, no T difference involved; the radiation rate of 150 is proportional to its radiating T = (65.6 + 273)**4, no matter what the surroundings”
    First there is no Stefan-Boltzmann law only a carfully crafted Stefan-Boltzmann Matematical equation concerning the maximum radiativm flux
    between two infinate parallel surfaces with “different temperatures” at any separation with the no flux absorbed by the intervening medium (A Pascal vacuum).This equationv, crafted by Stefan, Boltzmann, Planck, with some help from Jimmy Maxwell
    With no vacuum, No !00% emisivity or no two temperatures All is mathematicalycCorrect but has nothing to do with the physica Yyour taking apart that perfict equation has never been demonstrated.
    Please demonsteate any flux to absolute zero as your claim that flux equals radiance with the S-B equation into PI steradians.
    Radiance is only a potential for but never a flux. The radiative flux always depends on the at the orher end. I.E. potential temperature^4

  • Avatar

    Riley Hunter

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    I know you have Dr. before your name, but your definition of “unfalsifiable” is wrong. Nonetheless, I agree with your conclusion, that AGW theory is rubbish.

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    Ian W

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    If you add a radiative gas CO2 to non-radiative gasses O2 and N2 then the CO2 will gain energy from collisions and start radiating the energy gained from the collisions as IR photons. This radiation of atmospheric heat by atmospheric CO2 is left out of the Trenberth Mickey Mouse diagram as it would destroy the AGW hypothesis.

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    Greg House

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    [quote]at the same 239 rate fixed by global energy balance,[/quote]

    Dear Dr. Latour,

    I humbly suggest you look into the calculation of this value. Maybe you will find out that it is a fallacy.

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