by Jacqueline Brook
Science is not “real,” as the lawn sign declares.
Science is often merely theoretical, unproven. It is always evolving. It is often over-hyped (to attract more grant money), poorly carried out, and often can’t be replicated. Science can be utterly biased and downright fraudulent. Some ‘scientists’ write and publish papers, and when their work is questioned, they refuse to provide their data. Sometimes because the experiments were never even done.
I just listened to a story on the NPR program “Reveal” that dove into how new theories on how we learn to read—that were enthusiastically embraced by schools and teachers around the world—led us to a place where two-thirds of fourth graders in this country can barely read. A spectacular failure!
So, why are scientists and academics treated as infallible and unquestionable Gods when they can get it so wrong? When they have perhaps utterly handicapped two-thirds of the kids in this country?
I question the whole ‘climate change’ narrative. That makes me subject to name calling—in Trumpian fashion. I am a “skeptic,” a “denier.” Clearly no question I put forth is valid. Because the science is “settled.”
Last year, a science-changing volcanic eruption happened. The Hunga Tonga volcano blasted an enormous amount of water up into the stratosphere. As far as I know, in this reality, whatever comes up must come down. Why are we not asking if this is the reason for our exceptionally rainy summer and the many flood events that have occurred around the world this year? Why is the conversation limited to “carbon emissions”?
On a Columbia University web page entitled “How Exactly Does Carbon Dioxide Cause Global Warming?”, climate scientist Jason Smerdon recommends an experiment for kids. “Smerdon recommends filling one soda bottle with CO2 (perhaps from a soda machine) and filling a second bottle with ambient air. ‘If you expose them both to a heat lamp, the CO2 bottle will warm up much more than the bottle with just ambient air,’ he says.”
I want to know how this experiment is valid. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) keeps pushing this premise that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere in pre-industrial times is the level we should be striving to get back to. Allegedly 280 parts per million (ppm). We’re allegedly up to about 420 ppm these days. That pre-industrial time period is also known as the Little Ice Age.
When I email scientists like Jason Smerdon and ask them things like how to do that experiment above in a valid way with 280 ppm of CO2 in one bottle and 420 ppm in the other, I never get an answer. In other words, how do you fill 2 bottles with fresh air and reduce the amount of CO2 in one bottle down to 280 ppm? But, Smerdon would have students do the experiment with a million parts per million of CO2 in one of those bottles. If that experiment is being done in our local schools, I think I should get a large portion of my property taxes back. It’s science teaching that’s like the teaching of new reading methods—that resulted in so many kids not being able to read.
I would also like to know how long a CO2 molecule “traps” heat for. The only person I’ve been able to find online who will go out on a limb is a guy named Gary Novak. He asserts that “What little radiation is absorbed [by CO2] is re-emitted in 83 femtoseconds.” That’s 83 quadrillionths of a second. A scied.ucar.edu page uses the very scientific language “Some time later, the [CO2] molecule gives up this extra energy by emitting another infrared photon.” I wrote to them and asked how long “some time later” was. I never got a reply.
Apparently, none of my questions on the subject are even worth responding to.
All I want to see/hear/have is a much broader conversation. For me, listening to journalists and politicians talk about ‘climate change’ is like watching someone walk into a dense forest, point at a single tree, and say “That is the forest.” After all, we reside on a gigantic orb, hurtling through space, with volcanoes, earthquakes, tectonic plates, a moon, tides, and a wobbly axis. It’s a pretty complex world.
For further reading, see:
This commentary is by Jacqueline Brook, an occasional artist and designer who reads and does research incessantly. She lives in Putney.