Laugh

Cidu Bill on Jun 20th 2013

cidu-pardon-laughed.gif

Filed in Bill Bickel, CIDU, Pardon My Planet, Vic Lee, comic strips, comics, humor | 72 responses so far

72 Responses to “Laugh”

  1. chemgal Jun 20th 2013 at 12:25 am 1

    By the way, you stink.

  2. Folly Jun 20th 2013 at 12:32 am 2

    Y’all think your $#!+ don’t stink, but it does.

  3. James Schend Jun 20th 2013 at 01:13 am 3

    They laughed at him because he’s a stand-up comedian, and never was a scientist?

  4. billybob Jun 20th 2013 at 01:19 am 4

    Nobody expects the Italian Inquisition…

    They all laughed at Christopher Columbus, when he said the world was round…

    And this is the last of your toilet paper.

  5. furrykef Jun 20th 2013 at 02:39 am 5

    Everyone knew the world was round in Columbus’s time. They also knew it was a hell of a lot bigger than Columbus thought. Luckily, Columbus did run into a big land mass on his way to India, though.

  6. James Pollock Jun 20th 2013 at 04:46 am 6

    Actually, Columbus DIDN’T run into a big land mass on his way to India. He hit Hispaniola, a largish island.

  7. Jeff S. Jun 20th 2013 at 07:31 am 7

    Eratosthenes, an ancient Greek mathematician, calculated the size and shape of the Earth around 240 BC. And his measurements were in the ballpark of the actual size, too.

    People knew the size of the Earth by Columbus’ time.

  8. Elyrest Jun 20th 2013 at 08:01 am 8

    billybob - That was the first thing I thought of too. A George Gershwin classic.

    They all laughed at Christopher Columbus
    When he said the world was round
    They all laughed when Edison recorded sound
    They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother
    When they said that man could fly

    Ella Fitzgerald doing it beautifully - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpcEhFlwYi0

  9. Judge Mental Jun 20th 2013 at 09:23 am 9

    I think everybody has missed it thus far. They are also laughing at him because he has toilet paper on his shoe. Note it stuck to his right foot (our left) and trailing behind his left foot

    To reiterate: the legend is that everyone laughed at Galilleo for his “crazy” notion that the sun revolved around the earth, but they also laughed at him for being a dweeb with TP stuck to his shoe.

  10. Bj Jun 20th 2013 at 09:58 am 10

    Judge Mental has it! They laughed *only* at the TP stuck to his shoe. Later, they made him recant the assertion that the bat cave was out of air freshener; thus his last words, often mistranslated, were actually “Eppure puzza.” (”And yet it stinks.”)

  11. Powers Jun 20th 2013 at 09:59 am 11

    Judge: You’re right. I didn’t see the TP. The artist failed to make it prominent enough to be laughed at.

  12. Folly Jun 20th 2013 at 10:01 am 12

    Oh wow. I think Judge Mental is right. Missed that. I’ll put a slightly different spin on it though. They all laughed at him when he said the sun didn’t revolve around the earth but the timing was a coincidence as they were laughing at the TP not the statement.

  13. Paperboy Jun 20th 2013 at 10:20 am 13

    Thanks, Judge Mental!

  14. chemgal Jun 20th 2013 at 10:21 am 14

    Yup. Totally missed that. But I’m enjoying listening to Ella! Thanks Elyrest!

  15. fj Jun 20th 2013 at 11:35 am 15

    Perhaps they are all laughing because Galileo brought an armillary sphere with him, and it clearly has the earth at its center…

    Probably not, though…

  16. Bob Jun 20th 2013 at 11:55 am 16

    This is one argument against the colorization of daily comics. The paper on his shoe would be more noticeable in black and white. That checkerboard pattern on the floor didn’t help, either.

  17. Andrew Jun 20th 2013 at 12:04 pm 17

    Reminds me an old strip from Sam Hurt’s Eyebeam comic, as best as I remember:

    Ratliffe: Yeah, well they laughed at the Wright Brothers, they laughed at Einstein, they laughed at Ford.

    Eyebeam: … And some day, Ratliffe, they’ll laugh at you.

  18. Cidu Bill Jun 20th 2013 at 12:27 pm 18

    Just for the record, I spent way too much time trying to work the Gershwin song into the subject title.

  19. Boise Ed Jun 20th 2013 at 12:40 pm 19

    [5] “Everyone knew…” Everyone knows that climate change is affecting us, too, and yet there are whose who continue to deny it.

  20. billybob Jun 20th 2013 at 03:36 pm 20

    James Pollock @6 actually in 1498 he landed in South America in the delta of the Orinoco River, and knew from the size of the river it was much larger than any of the islands previously visited, and in 1502 landed in North America, travelling from Honduras to Panama. Although he spent 4 months in Panama and learned there was another ocean across the isthmus, he didn’t bother to “discover” the Pacific Ocean.

  21. Keera Jun 20th 2013 at 03:44 pm 21

    Elyrest @8, thanks for that link! I love Ella’s voice!

  22. Pinny Jun 20th 2013 at 06:14 pm 22

    Re #19 (Boise Ed)

    You may very well be correct, but 40 years ago “Everyone”‘ knew that climate change was affecting us, too, and yet there are whose who continue to deny it.” Except that back then they were referring to global COOLING.

    Those who are old enough will remember when the scientific community was frustrated that the lay folk were not taking the threat of global cooling seriously enough.

    Those who are too young to remember can search the web for duplicates of the studies, etc. that existed then. Here’s one link to start you off:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/01/global-cooling-compilation/

  23. James Pollock Jun 20th 2013 at 06:54 pm 23

    In the 1930’s, people in Oklahoma and thereabouts were pretty aware of climate change.

  24. farmer Jun 20th 2013 at 07:27 pm 24

    Boise Ed #19,
    Nitpicking perhaps, but there’s a big difference between being aware of changes in the climate and being convinced that humans are the primary or driving cause of it. I’m fully in the latter camp, but it misplaces the debate to lay the difference on knowledge of the pattern as opposed to agreement on its cause.

    James Pollock #23,
    Experiencing one extreme of a natural climatic cycle, exacerbated by poor land management, is not the same thing as being “aware of climate change”. They were, perhaps, aware of climate variation.

    To my understanding, one prime reason Columbus’ plan was so often dismissed was the fact that current maritime technology wasn’t up to the task of sailing across an ocean sizeable enough to span the known arc west from Europe to Asia. Educated people roughly knew the distance, just as they knew it was shorter to get there around Africa, so there was no reason to strike westward on a voyage that (without landfall) would almost certainly kill the crew before the ship ever made it. The mistake assumption was that no intermediate land existed to make the voyage practical, not that it was geographically impossible.

  25. Todd Jun 21st 2013 at 03:13 pm 25

    Far as I know, in the time of Columbus, most of the population was illiterate and uneducated. They listened to the church, that claimed the earth was flat. If you spoke against the church’s teachings, you were a heretic, and could get in big trouble, even if you were royalty.

    And climate change is bull because it doesn’t mean anything. The change of the name from global warming, which actually means something, is proof that they’re not telling the truth. You don’t obfuscate if you’re honest.

    On the other hand, we’re going to run out of fossil fuels some day, so let’s get on with finding a replacement that isn’t giving us asthma and other health problems.

    (I’m a believer in global cooling now. If it’s getting hotter, then there should be more water in the air from evaporation. More of that water should be making it to the north and south poles to become snow on the glaciers. If it’s becoming colder, there’s less water in the air, and it’s not reaching as far north and south.)

  26. fj Jun 21st 2013 at 05:05 pm 26

    @Todd
    Church historians and leaders such as Eusebius (3rd-4th century), St. Augustine (4th-5th century), St. Bede (7th century), the Blessed Hermann of Reichenau (11th century, who– by the way– used Eratosthenes’s method to make his own estimate of the Earth’s circumerference), and St. Thomas Aquinas (13th century) all wrote that the Earth was spherical. None of them were branded heretics for believing a spherical earth, and (obviously, given the titles above), many of them were canonized/beatified. The most influential and widely used astronomy text book from the 13th century to the age of Copernican revolution was “De Sphaera Mundi” (The Sphere of the World), which was written by a Catholic monk (Johannes de Sacrobosco), and clearly teaches that the Earth is a sphere.

    There were definitely people in the church who believed the earth was flat, but it was never a dogma of the church. Among educated people of the late middle ages and early renaissance (including leaders of the church), it was general knowledge that the Earth was a sphere.

  27. Boise Ed Jun 21st 2013 at 06:47 pm 27

    So, Todd [25], all the hundreds of photos of ice caps and glaciers disappearing are just faked, or what? All the sea and land species that have moved or died out are just playing game with you? And just so you’ll have some more facts to deny, note that changes in climate cause circulatory changes which cause some areas to get cooler at times, and some to get warmer, and coastlines to get a bit higher. But go ahead and build yourself an oceanside house; and oh, you might as well build it in hurricane country because they’re not getting any worse, are they?

    Jeff [7], Eratosthenes’ feat simply amazes me.

  28. James Pollock Jun 21st 2013 at 08:23 pm 28

    “If it’s getting hotter, then there should be more water in the air from evaporation. More of that water should be making it to the north and south poles to become snow on the glaciers.”

    Your first statement doesn’t imply the second one.

    “Climate change” is a more accurate term than is “Global Warming”. There are natural effects at work causing climate change (for example, at the longer-term end, there’s continental drift).
    Temperature regulation of the Earth as a whole is an almost completely self-regulating system (We aren’t going to get the kind of greenhouse effect Venus has). However, life on earth DOES have the ability to change local ecosystems, up to and including on a global scale (the biggest change being the one that put free oxygen into the atmosphere in the first place). Humans are not alone in changing the environment (for example, beaver dams create wetlands, and the role of plants in controlling erosion is well-studied). The tendency is to see natural forces overwhelming human engineering at every scale and to therefore assume that no human activity can permanently affect nature, without seeing things on a long-enough time scale.

  29. Lost in A**2 Jun 21st 2013 at 09:25 pm 29

    (I remember reading about the greenhouse effect in a seventh (?) grade science book back in the mid-60s.)

  30. Kilby Jun 21st 2013 at 11:25 pm 30

    @ Jeff S. (7) & fj (26) - There were actually two competing estimates of the earth’s circumference, one was quite accurate (approx. 25000 mi / 40000 km), but the other one was 1/3 smaller (18000 mi). Columbus both planned and interpreted his journeys on the basis of the smaller figure, that’s why he continued to insist that he made it all the way to India.

  31. Detcord Jun 22nd 2013 at 05:39 am 31

    Ah! Joy, the old anthropogenic global warming issue has risen again. I LOVE it. :)

    farmer(24) You’ll be pleased to know that I am totally outside your camp. The climate is always changing - though not always to a time-scale humans can perceive. They did, however, perceive the last great climate change event - which occurred 6,000+ years ago - and swamped huge areas of inhabited land mass. (Great Flood anyone?)

    One might argue that that massive global warming episode is still going on, while others might argue that it isn’t (how would they know?). What can’t be argued is that that 6,000 year old even was man-made. Not no way. Not no how.

    What climate scientist have not yet demonstrated an ability to fathom is how that great even came about. Knowing this is key if one is bound and determined to assert that humans are the cause of whatever climate changes are currently perceived. In short, they have to minutely explain the fundamentals of that event and then show how today’s climate is being affected by something else. A gargantuan task - and one that has not yet been done.

    Hence those who assert Anthropogenic Global Warming is taking place now are simply spewing a load of Hot Air… Wait - could THAT be the cause?
    :)

  32. AZ Mike Jun 22nd 2013 at 12:05 pm 32

    For what it’s worth, most people in the middle ages knew the world was round. Sailors have all known it, as they are able to watch a ship disappear bit by bit over the horizon until the top of the mast is the last seen. The spherical nature of the earth just wasn’t very important to the common man, unless he was a surveyor. It didn’t really affect his or her day to day life. The heliocentric theory was promoted well before Galileo (including by the Catholic cleric Copernicus). Galileo attracted attention because of 1) his fame as a scientist, 2) political machinations involving the Medici family, in which Galileo was more-or-less a pawn, 3) Galileo’s own rather prickly and dogmatic personality, 4) the rise of biblical literalism in Catholicism as a reaction to the Protestant Reformation, and 4) the nature of the academic peer-review process in place at the time.

    The university and academic system was created and run by the Catholic Church as a way to promote learning and science (seen as a way to glorify God), and they had always maintained an interest in it. Most scientists in the middle ages, including the founders of many modern-day sciences, were priests, clerics, or monks. (Very few others had time, and the study of God’s creation and its order was seen as a good and holy act.) As such, the Catholic Church, through its academic institutions, maintained an awareness and oversight of the research being done through its institutions. Galileo’s work on heliocentrism got the okay from the Church as long as it was published as a theory instead of fact. (And to be honest, the research that confirmed Galileo’s theory was not yet available). Galileo, who as I said had a rather undiplomatic and dogmatic personality himself, insisted on publishing the theory as fact in the form of a dialog, using an idiotic sock-puppet character obviously patterned on the Pope whom Galileo called “Simplicius” (”Simpleton”). The Pope was a friend and patron of Galileo’s, and he didn’t take that well. Galileo also offered his theological opinions on scripture, which was seen as an intrusion into a field that was not his own, to a Church that was smarting under Protestant attempts to do the same. Comparisons with the political nature of the modern academic peer review process are probably apt.

    It was also unproven theory (and partially wrong in some of Galileo’s calculations and theories - he thought tides were caused by the oceans sloshing about as the earth orbited around the sun, and Kepler was correct on the calculation of orbits as elliptical rather than round, where Galileo was wrong). There were a lot of competing theories in science at the time that were weighed and even then, rushing to judgement on a theory was not encouraged. Even high members of the Church at that time like Cardinal Bellarmine said:

    “If there were a true demonstration that the sun is at the centre of the world and the earth in the third heaven, and that the sun does not circle the earth but the earth circles the sun, then one would have to proceed with great care in explaining the Scriptures that appear contrary, and say rather that we do not understand them than that what is demonstrated is false. But this is not a thing to be done in haste, and as for myself I shall not believe that there are such proofs until they are shown to me.”

    Augustine said pretty much the same thing back in the 400s. Biblical literalism was never a big tradition in the Catholic Church, but the Reformation caused some to swing towards it as a response to the increasing popularity of some Protestant literalist doctrines.

    If you consider that all the people involved were powerful, passionate Italian males, one of whom was a celebrity who publicly disrespected another, even more powerful male (who had previously been one of Galileo’s best friends), it seems less like a science vs. religion conflict than a subplot of The Sopranos (”He wrote THAT about me??”).

    For what’s worth, urban legends and junk history aside, Galileo didn’t invent the telescope (he borrowed one from the Jesuits), was never tortured, never threatened with execution, never executed, never imprisoned, and his sentence was house arrest at a friend’s villa in Florence to partake of his table and wine cellar, rebuild his strength after the trial, and pray. He did, as some are surprised to learn, remain a faithful Catholic to his death and continued to partake of the sacraments. His daughter was a nun (Marie Celeste, named because of Galileo’s fascination with the heavens, and the collection of his letters to her (”Galileo’s Daughter” by Dava Sobel are worth reading.)

  33. Boise Ed Jun 23rd 2013 at 12:04 am 33

    [31] Intentional ignorance continues to amaze me. The mechanism is well-known, the ocean and air currents have been mapped, the glaciers and ice caps have been documented, and yet there are those who continue to stick their heads in the sand. Go buy yourself some beachfront land in Nauru.

  34. James Pollock Jun 23rd 2013 at 04:19 am 34

    The fact that climate change is occurring is readily observed, although it takes patience.

    It is absurd to argue that actions of mankind are solely responsible for it. It is equally absurd to argue that actions of mankind are not responsible for it at all. The question of just how much effect mankind’s actions are having on the global environment is a scientific one. Science is a slow, gradual process; it doesn’t always have an answer handy when you want one.

    The question of what, if anything, we should do about climate change, is a political one.

    PS Detcord, your timeline is off (at least locally). The Missoula Floods, which created the Columbia Gorge, occurred 13,000 to 15,000 years ago. Archealogical evidence suggests that the area has been inhabited ever since.

  35. Detcord Jun 23rd 2013 at 06:29 am 35

    James Pollack (34)

    I’ve written that “the climate is always changing”, so I can’t entirely dispute your first sentence. I can dispute your assertion that it is readily observed - even though you mute your assertion by stating, “it takes patience”. Anyway, I think we both agree that the climate is changing. A natural, normal phenomena that has been occurring for eons - and whose mechanisms for these change are but poorly understood by mankind.

    I also agree with your assertion that it is absurd to suggest that, “mankind is solely responsible for it”, and I agree it is “possible” that mankind may be having an affect on the climate. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence that implies that mankind is having an effect. The stronger indication is that we humans don’t really understand the mechanisms of climate change - other than we know it happened many times in the past and for most of that time humans did not even exist.

    I hear your comment about times lines - and you may have a point. On the other hand, I have read assertions that we are still in an Ice Age. Indeed, I was taught that the presence of permanent sheet ice anywhere on the planet was the definition of an Ice Age.

    Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_age asserts that we are in an Ice Age now (something else I was taught at school). The definition of an ice age is the presence or expansion of continental sheet ice (including ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers). This current “Ice Age” is deemed to have begun 2.6 million years ago and continues to this day - so I don’t think humans can be blamed for its initiation. [and both our timelines are technically wrong]

    It is also asserted that the Earth is in an interglacial period - which means the Earth is getting warmer - but is still in an Ice Age. When it turned into an Inter-Glacial is not certain. I have seen many figures, including this one,

    “According to the ice-core criterion it is extremely difficult to find a clear boundary, because the measurements still differ too much and alignments are still under construction. Many find a decline of temperature significant enough after 4800 BC. Another criterion comes from bio-stratigraphy: the elm-decline. However, this appears in different regions between 4300 and 3100 BC”. [see Wikipedia’s “Atlantic (period)”]

    This fits my 6,000 year ago assertion - and it is every bit as valid (and as wooly) as yours. What it really says is that we don’t really know - except that we know we are currently in an Ice Age.

    The real trick is determining, defining and, most importantly, predicting (accurately) when the next significant climate change event will occur. I am fairly confident you will agree (based on your comments) that we humans are not in a position to give such an accurate prediction now - nor are we able to accurately explain the mechanism of Climate Change change. [excepting, perhaps, the effects of Continental Drift]

    Given your last comment - which I do not dispute - I believe that the effects of the Interglacial are experienced at different times and at different places. Doggerland - now know known as the North Sea - was inhabited by humans 8,000 years ago [6,500 BC - which is probably where my figures came from (i.e. off by 2,000 years)]

    I would hope that “what we do about Climate Change” - if anything - is guided not by politics, but by well researched science based on facts and solid reasoning generated by a broad spectrum scientists in a multiple of disciplines [i.e. not just climatology].

    Ta :)

  36. Detcord Jun 23rd 2013 at 06:30 am 36

    and apologies, Bill, for the length. It is much longer than I thought.
    :(

  37. Treesong Jun 23rd 2013 at 11:05 am 37

    If I may be excused for continuing the digression:

    The ‘global cooling’ bullshit is not a particularly relevant argument–science progresses, after all–but I got into an online argument about it in April so it’s fresh in my mind. If it were phrased ‘a small minority of scientists were predicting an imminent ice age’, I wouldn’t object, but it sounds like a parallel is being made with today’s consensus (97% of scientists publishing on climate agree there is anthropogenic warming), and that’s at best highly misleading. Peterson et al. ( http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1 , which is interesting in general) found 68 papers from 1965 to 1979 discussing imminent climate change (within a century or so), of which 7 predicted cooling and 44 predicted warming, even back then when climatology was just getting started and the role of aerosols was even less certain than it is today. The cooling predictions had pretty much disappeared by 1980.

    As for the claim that we can’t explain climate change–we have reasonable explanations for paleoclimate change, and an unshakable explanation for the current changes. The denialists (mostly religious or libertarian fundamentalists) can only deny the observed warming; they can’t explain it.

    Anyone who wants to know the truth about AGW, including the mountains of evidence for it and the remaining uncertainties, should go to www.skepticalscience.com for demolition of myths like the above, or ‘it hasn’t warmed since year X’, or ‘it’s the sun’, or….

  38. James Pollock Jun 23rd 2013 at 04:30 pm 38

    Consider this analogy. Forest fires occur, with varying frequency. Some are created by natural events… mostly lightning strikes. Some are created by careless management of campfires. The fact that some wildfires are natural in origin has no bearing on whether or not we should try to limit the number of wildfires caused by careless campers.

    And the question of what to do about wildfires remains a political one. On the one hand, allowing a wildfire to burn damages standing timber and destroys natural habitat. In some cases, it also threatens human habitat. On the other hand, fire is a natural part of the forest ecocycle, and some plants can grow only if a fire occurs first. Plus, of course, fighting wildfire is an expensive business, in both money and casualties.

    The difference between wildfire and climate change is the time scale.

  39. Detcord Jun 23rd 2013 at 05:56 pm 39

    James, I am not sure your analogy is relevant. Though wild fires are natural events, the causes and effects of wild fires are well understood. Likewise, the mechanisms to deal with them are also understood and have been applied on many occasions to good effect. How politics gets involved in the management of wildfires escapes me - other than to occasionally provide funding to help people deal with them.

    I don’t think anyone has a clear understanding of the mechanisms of how Climate changes - save that we know that the movement of the continents - and the rising of mountains as a result - seems to be a factor, but clearly not the only one. Sure, we have theories, and these stand or fall on the efficacy of Climate Change predictions. As does any other scientific inquiry. I don’t think anyone can claim to have successfully made even a single accurate climate change prediction. And of course, to be relevant, they would have to make thousands before they could claim to have a theory that “seems” to fit the data.

    That has not happened. Until it does, our “management” of Climate change could easily do more harm than good. And - given the timescales - we probably won’t know we’ve made a dangerous error until it is way too late.

  40. Cidu Bill Jun 23rd 2013 at 07:33 pm 40

    I recently heard an analogy similar to James’s: a group of ballplayers given steroids will hit significantly more home runs. The cause-and-effect is evident, even though you can’t attribute any given home run to the steroids.

  41. James Pollock Jun 23rd 2013 at 09:05 pm 41

    “the causes and effects of wild fires are well understood.”
    No, the effects are NOT well understood, particularly the intersection of ecology, biology, and geology.

    ” How politics gets involved in the management of wildfires escapes me - other than to occasionally provide funding to help people deal with them.”
    Seriously? Start with the basic question of “fight the wildfire” or “let it burn”. You’ve been out of the country, so you probably missed the huge uproar over the decision to let wildfires burn in Yellowstone a few years back. Forest management (of which wildfire management is just a small piece) is a hugely political discussion.

    Given your preference to not engage climate change at all because “we might do more harm than good” (particularly over the long haul), you might want to look into wildfire management, which is involved in a similar debate. There is a theory advanced that by limiting wildfires over the last 60 years in the American west, we’ve created the potential for larger and more intense wildfires now and in the future, because the forests have been retaining fuel that otherwise would have been consumed a little at a time.

    Next up, the question of “what do we do about climate change” isn’t confined to “how do we stop or reverse it”, but also “what do we do if climate change adversely affects us?” For example, does the prediction of more and more powerful atmospheric storms suggest a change in the way insurance for extreme weather events is managed? Does the predicted increase in sea level, modest as it is, have ramifications for flood control? Will expected changes in sea ice affect shipping and fishing? Do we need to plan for refugee populations? These are all questions that need answers whether or not human activities are involved in creating the climate change.

  42. jajizi Jun 23rd 2013 at 11:26 pm 42

    The science of climate change is certainly well enough understood to know that we are causing it. The science of anthropogenic global warming is not in doubt. It follows rigorously from settled and well-tested science. It has been predicted for as long as the effect of carbon dioxide on climate has been understood, in the late nineteenth century.

    What is it that you think is in doubt? The chemistry of combustion was established hundreds of years ago, and can be demonstrated in a high-school chemistry lab. The rate at which humankind is consuming fossil fuels is visible all around us, and can be estimated quantitatively. The change in atmospheric chemistry can be directly measured. The greenhouse effect was discovered in 1824; carbon dioxide was identified as a greenhouse gas in the 1850s. None of this is new, radical, or speculative.

    Multiple experiments, in multiple places, over decades, have shown reproducibly that the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is rising, at a rate consistent with the rate of human consumption. Human activity is the largest known source of added CO2.

    There are a number of additional tests that show that the CO2 increase is not from natural sources. For example, if CO2 comes from combustion, oxygen concentration in the atmosphere should decrease in proportion to the CO2 increase. This has been measured and verified. Another test: The isotope ratio of carbon in fossil fuels is different from that for naturally occurring carbon in the atmosphere. If human activity is the cause of changing CO2 levels, the isotope ratio of atmospheric carbon should be changing. Again, this has been measured, and is consistent with the hypothesis. There really is little room for doubt that atmospheric concentrations are increasing, and that human activity is the cause.

    Similarly, the greenhouse effect is well understood and tested, by experiments and observations both on earth and on other planets. The effect of CO2 on climate has been understood in some detail for over a century. Atmospheric scientists knew by the beginning of the twentieth century that human activity would eventually affect the climate, although, based on combustion levels at the time, it did not seem urgent. By the 1940s and 1950s, they knew it was already becoming detectable.

    The nature of the warming observed now is consistent with increased greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect traps heat at the bottom of the atmosphere, causing the lower atmosphere to warm while the stratosphere cools. This is exactly what is happening now. It is consistent with greenhouse warming, but is consistent with no other hypothesis, such as increased solar insolation. Increased solar output would heat the top of the atmosphere as well as the bottom.

    No one has eve claimed that any changes in climate ever are caused by humans. But to suggest that scientists don’t know what is happening now is simply false. Our reaction should be guided by science, not by politicians and ideologues who simply deny what they don’t understand.

  43. Detcord Jun 24th 2013 at 05:57 pm 43

    Aw James, Come ON! Did you really mean this? “No, the effects are NOT well understood, particularly the intersection of ecology, biology, and geology.” How about Lightning, drought, volcanoes, forest management, human carelessness (i.e cigarettes, untended camp fires, playing with matches etc.) and the fact that some plants rely on fire to spread and sprout their seeds. This is not rocket science and you are better than this.

    Here’s a site that supports your assertion: http://www.planetforlife.com/co2history/ but they ruin it in their graph showing that Carbon Dioxide has risen and fallen sharply over a series of millennia. It happens whether humans are involved or not - and the periodicity is episodic and reasonably regular. So, is the alleged rise in CO2 causal or co-incidental? This is something statisticians are supposed to determine. One just does not look at a graph and say, “Yup, that’s it”.

    I confess I am a bit bemused by your phrase, “…preference to not engage climate change at all…” Huh! I am “engaging” now! [ just not on your side ;) ] What I am opposed to is the idea of rushing off and acting on a hypothesis. A hypothesis is just a Scientific Wild A** Guess {SWAG} and I wouldn’t bet the farm, house, or the human race on such a poorly understood concept. I am amazed you seemingly are.

    Yes, I mean “poorly”. I have yet to see anybody in the Climatology department explain (prove) the mechanism of change and accurately predict the result (repeatedly). You’ve shown some interesting anecdotal material, but that is a long way from a tried and tested theory (note: not hypothesis) supported by huge number of accurate [and relevant] predictions.

    Your last paragraph I won’t dispute. Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst sounds like good advice… mostly.

  44. James Pollock Jun 24th 2013 at 06:27 pm 44

    “James, Come ON! Did you really mean this? “No, the effects are NOT well understood, particularly the intersection of ecology, biology, and geology.””
    Yeah. Fortunately, it’s self-evident. We know that in some cases, fire is bad (leaving denuded slopes open to erosion). We know know that in some cases, fire is good (it’s part of the lifecycle of some plants… seeds won’t sprout if they haven’t been cooked, and some plants cannot compete with the forest canopy but thrive in fire-cleared areas. But is the a well-understood formula for the relatively simple binary question of “let it burn” vs. “fight the fire”? There’s an economic and a political answer, but not a scientific one. And that’s before you even get complex questions like “if we fight the fire, how best do we do that?”

    “Here’s a site that supports your assertion”
    What does this site have to do with my assertion? Hint: this is the first time I’m writing “carbon dioxide”.

    “I confess I am a bit bemused by your phrase, “…preference to not engage climate change at all…”
    That came from this: “I don’t think anyone can claim to have successfully made even a single accurate climate change prediction. And of course, to be relevant, they would have to make thousands before they could claim to have a theory that “seems” to fit the data. That has not happened. Until it does, our “management” of Climate change could easily do more harm than good. And - given the timescales - we probably won’t know we’ve made a dangerous error until it is way too late.” That sounds like paralysis by analysis… don’t do anything for fear of doing the wrong thing. The thing is, the climate will go on changing whether you do anything or not.

    “I have yet to see anybody in the Climatology department explain (prove) the mechanism of change and accurately predict the result (repeatedly).”
    Of course not. Matters of faith are not subject to proof.

    “You’ve shown some interesting anecdotal material, but that is a long way from a tried and tested theory”
    I have? I made one reference to a specific event, the Missoula Floods (actually a large series of events, covering hundreds of years) to correct your dating of the Flood, which you had as “6000+” years ago. Now, 13,000 to 15,000 years IS “6000+” years, but the margin of error is rather poor.

  45. Detcord Jun 25th 2013 at 03:49 am 45

    Sorry James, but I am spinning in confusion by your response. You seem to have interspersed comments from my previous post with comments from yours leaving me totally lost. I have no idea where you are coming from (or which bits are mine or yours).

    What really blows my mind is your, “matters of faith”, comment? Since when did “faith” play a part in science? The two are antithetical - in my opinion. Please tell me you were attempting to make a joke here.

    Oh! and “some” is a subjective term. I was trying to recognise your contribution, but it’s your privilage to scoff at your own input to the debate.

    I detect a heightened degree of concern on your part with regard to forest management and forest fires in particular. Do you have a more personal interest in this area than is normal for a CIDU Climate Change debate?

    You also challenged my assertion that, “…the causes and effects of wild fires are well understood”. When I followed-up with concrete examples, you simply reasserted that [the causes] weren’t [well understood] and made an odd comment about intersections. Huh!?

    No comment [that I can find] on my Carbon Dioxide link? I thought that one to be pretty interesting. By their analysis, over eons - CO2 jumps up and down like a yo-yo - and nobody seems to know why. Doesn’t this interest you?

    Perhaps not. Well…, C’est la vie! … and chacun à son goût :p

  46. Lost in A**2 Jun 25th 2013 at 01:48 pm 46

    I’m going to jump in.

    Detcord, there are two people arguing against you. You have conflated their arguments, assigning all to James Pollock. jajizi was discussing CO2.

    When involved in these kinds of discussions, I find it useful to re-read the previous comments, to make sure I maintain awareness of context. I also find such a review helpful in remembering what I’ve written, so that I can know that I’m not being misquoted.

    Someone once wrote, “Politics is how keep from killing one another.” It’s the mechanism used to decide questions among people. Consider the related word, “polite.” Essentially, every decision among humans is political.

  47. James Pollock Jun 25th 2013 at 02:39 pm 47

    “You seem to have interspersed comments from my previous post with comments from yours leaving me totally lost. I have no idea where you are coming from (or which bits are mine or yours). ”
    In English writing, there are these things called “quotation marks” that help with this. In academic writing, quotation marks are assisted by footnotes, which surprisingly, don’t make it easier to read. But the fact that you can’t recognize your own words when interspersed with those of others is troubling.

    “What really blows my mind is your, “matters of faith”, comment? Since when did “faith” play a part in science? The two are antithetical - in my opinion.”
    Not at all. Like every other philosphical construct, science REQUIRES faith. For example, some articles of faith required to make science even work are A) The universe has rules B) The rules don’t change C) Humans can discover and understand those rules. All of these are axiomatic to the scientific method.

    Now, if you think that I’m suggesting that this topic is one of faith rather than science to you, that would be accurate. And I don’t argue matters of faith to the true believers, as it’s a waste of time.

    “You also challenged my assertion that, “…the causes and effects of wild fires are well understood”. When I followed-up with concrete examples”
    Except, well, you didn’t. We know what starts a forest fire. We know very little about what mechanisms exist naturally to control them, because it hasn’t been a topic of study. The same is true of the effects of wildfire… the focus of study has been “how can we regrow more timber as quickly as possible” rather than “what are the natural processes at work here.” And… there are different types of forests, which all have, or at least potentially have, different answers to the questions of “what natural processes are at work here”.

    “you simply reasserted that [the causes] weren’t [well understood] and made an odd comment about intersections.”
    Thing is, if you look, I didn’t discuss causes OR intersections. I talked about effects of wildfire, and how little we truly understand them.

    “No comment [that I can find] on my Carbon Dioxide link? I thought that one to be pretty interesting. By their analysis, over eons - CO2 jumps up and down like a yo-yo - and nobody seems to know why. Doesn’t this interest you?”
    No. But if CO2 jumps up and down like a yo-yo, it sounds like a feedback loop.

  48. Winter Wallaby Jun 25th 2013 at 02:59 pm 48

    For example, some articles of faith required to make science even work are A) The universe has rules B) The rules don’t change C) Humans can discover and understand those rules. All of these are axiomatic to the scientific method.

    Those are axiomatic, but I don’t know that I’d call them articles of faith. The reason that we think (A-C) are true is that using those assumptions has worked very well for making testable predictions and inventing useful things. Different people use the word “faith” differently, but “well-tested assumption” strikes me as almost the polar opposite of “article of faith.”

  49. Treesong Jun 25th 2013 at 05:51 pm 49

    Detcord @45:

    “It happens whether humans are involved or not - and the periodicity is episodic and reasonably regular. So, is the alleged rise in CO2 causal or co-incidental? This is something statisticians are supposed to determine.”

    No, scientists are supposed to determine that. Statisticians suggest; scientists explain. And they do have an explanation for the ups and downs you refer to: Milankovich cycles. YCLIU. Trouble with that, for the denialists, is that we should still be in a cooling-off part of the cycle.

    “What I am opposed to is the idea of rushing off and acting on a hypothesis. A hypothesis is just a Scientific Wild A** Guess {SWAG} and I wouldn’t bet the farm, house, or the human race on such a poorly understood concept.”

    Let me correct your spelling: “I wouldn’t bet the farm, house, or the human race on such a well-understood, abundantly supported concept that follows from basic scientific principles understood for a hundred years. I would, however, bet the farm, house, and human civilization on my total ignorance of the facts.”

    “By their analysis, over eons - CO2 jumps up and down like a yo-yo - and nobody seems to know why.”

    Well, if you have your head neck-deep in the denialist mud, it may look that way. The explanation (heating = CO2 amplification of Milankovich effects due to outgassing from oceans) is out there.

    “I have yet to see anybody in the Climatology department explain (prove) the mechanism of change and accurately predict the result (repeatedly).”

    Well, if you have your head neck-deep in the denialist mud, it’s rather hard to see the full, clear, and irrefutable explanations. And if your standard of proof is ‘I’ll believe it when Florida is underwater’, you’ll probably die before you’re convinced. Considering the noisiness of the climate signal, climatologists have been doing a pretty good job of predicting for decades. Hansen in 1981 did better than any denialist since. See http://www.skepticalscience.com/comparing-global-temperature-predictions.html .

    All you’ve been doing is saying ‘I don’t believe it! You can’t make me! La-la-la-la-laaa!’ This is ignorance speaking, not evidence. Dunning-Kruger.

  50. Detcord Jun 26th 2013 at 02:38 am 50

    Thanks Treesong. I haven’t had such a good laugh as your text provided in a long time. What a hoot!
    :)

  51. Detcord Jun 26th 2013 at 03:01 am 51

    Winter Wallaby (48)

    I’m afraid I went a bit existential there - ala Donald Rumsfeld. You know, the guy who spoke of things we know we know; things we know we don’t know; and things we don’t know we don’t know. I think this is pretty profound.

    Putting, “Cogito ergo sum*”, aside for a moment, how do we know all this reality is actually real? Well, we don’t … really. We accept all this because we believe what we see, touch, hear etc. is real. Is it? I don’t honestly know. I assume so, but how do I really know this isn’t all a tiny little dream in God’s mind - hence my “article of faith” comment.

    *”cogito ergo sum” is pretty profound too - IMO

  52. Detcord Jun 26th 2013 at 03:35 am 52

    James: I believe my response to Winter (above) acknowledges your point in what I think is your second paragraph. Yes, Science REQUIRES faith - in the most profound way.

    Nevertheless, I am still having trouble noting when you stop quoting me and start writing for yourself. For example, in the 3rd line [on my screen] of your second paragraph, you quote my comment - but without quotation marks. I guess I am easily confused…

    I fully concur with your 3rd paragraph. The one that starts with “Now…”. At least, I think I do. If everything is an article of faith - which you do not state, but do imply - then from your perspective isn’t everyone a true believer? Even you?

    I think you should re-read your 4th paragraph. “Cause and effect”, as I wrote, is not the same as “Control” as you wrote. My concrete examples of the causes and effects of fire still stand. Given your “Control” comment, I must refute it thusly. In most common cases, we humans attempt to control fire by regulating its access to fuel and oxygen. It often works too. Fire is alleged to be one of the first things humans learned to control. First or not, humans certainly do control it… most of the time.

    Finally - yo-yos - to use your analogy, go up and down for a reason. I postulate that those oscillating CO2 levels are doing so for a reason too. I just don’t know what it is yet. I do know it is not oscillating anthropogeniclly.

  53. James Pollock Jun 26th 2013 at 03:35 am 53

    You REALLY HAVE lost track of which bits are yours and which are mine, haven’t you?

  54. James Pollock Jun 26th 2013 at 04:18 am 54

    “I fully concur with your 3rd paragraph. The one that starts with “Now…”. At least, I think I do. If everything is an article of faith - which you do not state, but do imply - then from your perspective isn’t everyone a true believer? Even you?”
    No, that’s set off into a different paragraph because it is different from what came before. And “everything is an article of faith” is a gross mis-statement of what I said. In fact, I listed off an extremely finite list of “articles of faith” for scientific method. (Euclidean geometry has only five.) Christianity has only two (three if you’re a fundamentalist).

  55. Detcord Jun 26th 2013 at 06:25 am 55

    James, (54)

    First, I am amazed to have received a response so soon. I am at least 5 or 6 hours ahead of you and I did not expect a response untill much later. :)

    Fortunately - I can discern - this time, when you’ve quoted me. Your response, which starts, “No, that’s set off into a different paragraph…” I do not understand. What “different paragraph” are you referrng to?

    I liked your, “science requires faith”, comment and picked up on it. It’s a bit Matrix-esque - but who’s to say it isn’t, when one thinks about it a bit. Cogito ergo sum is the only cogent response - IMO - and we may (at the end of things) find it was wrong. Who knows?!

    Your “gross-mistatement of what I said” comment is a bit odd. I very clearly wrote that you did not state, “everything is an article of faith“. So, why the fuss? I did say it implied it though. That is my interpretation. Fuss about that (though I am entitled to an opinon).

    I confess your last sentence puzzles me a bit. [A bit???] Euclidean geometry has 5 articles of faith, while Christianity has only 2 or 3?

    I’ve studied Euclidean geometry at Uni and I don’t recall any acknowledged articles of faith in those studies. I guess one of the Christian one’s you are thinking of would be the Nicene Creed? I remember arguing with a Nun on that one as it seemed to me to be antithetical to the principles of Christianity. I also note there are more that 3 creeds of this sort listed by Wiki. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creed.

  56. jajizi Jun 26th 2013 at 09:18 am 56

    By their analysis, over eons - CO2 jumps up and down like a yo-yo - and nobody seems to know why.

    Nobody “seems” to know why because you “seem” to know so little about the science. In fact, a great deal is known about the oscillations in CO2 over the ages. Just because you haven’t followed the scientific literature doesn’t mean everybody is as mystified as you.

    But more to the point: The current increase is far greater and far steeper than anything else ever observed before the present era. (Are you even reading that plot correctly? There are three curves. The green one is taken from ice cores showing CO2 levels over about 400,000 years. The second, the black vertical line at the left-hand end, is direct measurements of CO2 over the last 60 years. The third, in red, is marked “10 Year Projection”. I don’t know when the plot was made, but the CO2 level has already passed 400 ppm. So the “10 year projection” has already occurred. The current skyrocketing CO2 level towers over any of the yo-yo oscillations observed in the past.)

    There is simply no mystery at all what is causing it. At the risk of repeating my earlier post, we know about how much CO2 human activity is putting into the atmosphere. It would be a huge mystery if the CO2 level was not increasing. It is preposterous to deny that we know what the cause is.

    A hypothesis is just a Scientific Wild A** Guess {SWAG} and I wouldn’t bet the farm, house, or the human race on such a poorly understood concept.

    Oh well. It is probably a waste of time to argue with anyone who would flaunt this much ignorance in a single sentence.

  57. fj Jun 26th 2013 at 09:51 am 57

    @Detcord
    James is referring to the five foundational postulates in Euclidian geometry:
    1. Through any given pair of unique points, there is exactly one unique line that passes through both.
    2. Every line segment has one unique midpoint.
    3. For any give pair of unique points there is exactly one circle containing the second point with the first point as its center.
    4. All right angles are congruent to each other.
    5. (Euclid’s Parallel Postulate) Given a line and a point not on the line, there exists one unique line that passes through the given point which is parallel to the first line.

    Please note that there are additional assumptions made in Euclidean geometry (e.g., things equal to equal things are themselves equal), but from the above five postulates and a few very reasonable assumptions, all of Euclidean geometry is derived. These are very much articles of faith, particularly the last one. Non-Euclidean geometries replace #5 with an alternative, and still can produce a rational, consistent geometry.

    I’m less certain about what James would think that the two articles of faith for Christianity. I REALLY doubt it was the Nicene Creed (or any sort of similar creed), since the purpose of most Christian creeds is not to delineate Christians from non-Christians, but rather one group of Christians definition of orthodox Christianity from that of a different group whose view is seen by the first group as heretical (For example. the Nicene creed was a reaction against Arianism). However, if I had to reduce Christianity down to two fundamental postulates, I’d say they would be:
    1) There is one true God
    2) Jesus, the son of God, is the savior of mankind

    (#2 really sounds like two postulates stuffed into one.) Most branches add additional postulates. Catholicism adds Apostolic authority and faith in church traditions. Protestantism replaces these beliefs typically with the assumption that salvation is by faith alone. Inherent in most protestant theology is a belief in the “primacy” and “sufficiency” of scripture. To get to fundamentalism, we have to add belief in biblical inerrancy and relative literalism, although fundamentalists typically point to five basic “fundamentals” they consider non-negotiable:

    1) Biblical inspiration and the inerrancy of scripture as a result of this
    2) Virgin birth of Jesus
    3) Belief that Christ’s death was the atonement for sin
    4) Bodily resurrection of Jesus
    5) Historical reality of the miracles of Jesus

    Numbers 2-5, though, actually all derive from #1: they just help define the degree to which a fundamentalist must literally interpret the scriptures he/she believes to be inerrant.

  58. Detcord Jun 26th 2013 at 12:48 pm 58

    fj (57)

    Interesting post - and not a sour note in the lot. Nice. :)

  59. Winter Wallaby Jun 26th 2013 at 12:50 pm 59

    Detcord, no offense intended, but I have trouble believing that you’re reading and thinking critically about what other people have written when you can’t even tell which things you wrote, and which things other people wrote.

  60. Detcord Jun 26th 2013 at 12:52 pm 60

    jajizi (56)

    Oh yes! I am definitely not worth arguing with. A complete waste of time I’d say. So… why’d you do it?

  61. Detcord Jun 26th 2013 at 01:10 pm 61

    Winter (59)

    No offense taken. I do think you may have misconstrued my comment - just a bit tho… I can easily see and read what I’ve written. However, when a respondent clips some of my text into their own missive, and doesn’t make the shift in authorship clear, well, I sometimes get confused and occasionally frustrated. If you consider that a weakness, well… that’s your call. :)

    I also come to the office very early in the morning (for Britain anyway) to get things done before the crowds and demands come in. Between efforts I post to CIDU - which may be a bit hasty in the making. It doesn’t help that I don’t touch-type either. Most of my family do - but I just can’t seem to get the hang of it. C’est la vie! Ta!

  62. Winter Wallaby Jun 26th 2013 at 01:17 pm 62

    Detcord #61: That comment at #48 that I was quoting and responding to was a comment by James P. At #51 you seem to think that I was quoting you.

  63. James Pollock Jun 26th 2013 at 01:21 pm 63

    “when a respondent clips some of my text into their own missive, and doesn’t make the shift in authorship clear”
    Again, that’s what the quotation marks are for.

  64. Winter Wallaby Jun 26th 2013 at 01:35 pm 64

    James #63:

    “when a respondent clips some of my text into their own missive, and doesn’t make the shift in authorship clear”

    James, who are you saying isn’t be clear? Me? Or James? Am I the respondent?

    Or am I replying to myself? So confused. :(

  65. Detcord Jun 26th 2013 at 02:45 pm 65

    Winter W (64)

    I can assure you he is referring to me. I have difficulty seeing those quotation marks - and James sometimes forgets to use them (or I really miss them). I was hoping he’d do something to make his or my text (that he copies) more clear, like putting my content in bold in his missives, but at present I still have difficulties.

    I think he’s made some good points, but when I have to dig them out to get at them, I do get a bit frustrated. I am trying to curb that tho…

  66. Detcord Jun 26th 2013 at 02:57 pm 66

    So, James - now that I’ve made a plea for clipping clarity and Winter Wallaby has demonstrated an alternative way to quote someone else’s text, would you be a gent and use this technique when quoting my text. I guess my eyes are not quite up to seeing the tiny (to me) little marks - hence my confusion.

    Winter - I used to know how to do those quote marks of yours - but I have forgotten. :( Would you be kind and describe how you did it?

    Thanks ;)

  67. Winter Wallaby Jun 26th 2013 at 03:15 pm 67

    Detcord #66: It’s the blockquote tag. i.e. ****** stuff here ******, but without the stars.

  68. Winter Wallaby Jun 26th 2013 at 03:16 pm 68

    OK, that didn’t work. Before the quote, but LessThanSign, followed by “blockquote”, followed by GreaterThanSign. After the quote, do the same thing, but put a ‘/’ before the word “blockquote”

  69. James Pollock Jun 26th 2013 at 04:23 pm 69

    I comment on many blogs. Some allow HTML, some do not. Rather than try to remember which do and which do not, I use standard punctuation that works everywhere.

  70. Detcord Jun 26th 2013 at 05:42 pm 70

    How’s this

    ?

  71. Detcord Jun 26th 2013 at 05:43 pm 71

    Nice one Winter… That worked fine. :)

  72. Mark M Jun 26th 2013 at 11:39 pm 72

    Wait, Galileo believes in climate change?

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