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LJWorld.com weblogs Science Becoming Religion

Is Physicist Stephen Hawking Overrated?

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Professor Stephen Hawking's support for the global warming myth raises doubts about his knowledge of physics.

Professor Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" is one of the books I would like to reread if I could find the time. However, after learning that he supports the global warming myth I would read the book a little more critically than I did the first time.

Hawking says he's concerned about earth becoming as hot as Venus, but the alleged "greenhouse effect" cannot explain temperatures on Venus as I noted in my previous post.

I hope that Hawking is simply repeating something he's been told, but hasn't taken time to examine. If Hawking took the time to examine both sides of the debate over global warming he would realize that global warming is based on a long discredited 19th Century theory that is inconsistent with the laws of thermodynamics. The so called greenhouse effect represents a form of perpetual motion machine that is inconsistent with accepted thermodynamic theories

Jean Baptist Joseph Fourier claimed in 1827 that greenhouses worked by allowing in sunlight and then trapping the infrared radiation produced inside to heat the greenhouse. R. W. Wood disproved this theory in a 1909 experiment that indicated no significant difference in temperature between a greenhouse that "trapped" IR and one that was transparent to IR. In fact in the initial run of the experiment the transparent greenhouse heated faster because the one that reflected IR reflected incoming solar IR back into space.

The greenhouse in R.W. Wood's experiment trapped a much broader spectrum of IR than CO2 interacts with. If that greenhouse didn't heat up more than a greenhouse that didn't "trap" IR, then how can anyone believe that CO2 could cause heating by interacting with IR.

The whole idea that a gas comprising less than 0.04% of the atmosphere can determine its temperature by interacting with a small range of infrared radiation (IR) sounds more like magic than science.

Supporters of the greenhouse gas theory have an extremely superficial view of earth's very complex energy system. They believe that earth must radiate as much energy as it receives from the sun and thus maintain a radiative balance even though such a situation is impossible.

In the first place 70% of earth is covered by water which doesn't radiate well. Much of the solar radiation is absorbed by plants which store it as the electron bonds that hold complex carbon molecules together instead of converting it to heat and then radiating it into space.

Before the ground can convert heat to radiation much of the heat energy is conducted to the air. Bodies of water also release heat energy to the atmosphere through the evaporation of water. Physicists define heat as the kinetic energy or motion of atoms/molecules. As air molecules move up from the ground gravity slows them down by converting part of their kinetic energy (heat) to potential energy. The slowing of gas molecules means they become cooler because heat is the motion of molecules. Thus, earth's atmosphere is gravity cooled rather than being radiation cooled.

Earth is actually radiating more energy into space than it did in 1900. Human generated radiation has greater wattage than natural radiation and the energy is radiated in a much broader spectrum ranging from x-rays through long wave radio waves. Satellites can detect human settlements by the difference in radiation they produce compared to vegetation covered areas.

The data that those who claim global warming say supports warming temperatures in the 20th Century is inadequate for that purpose. They claim only a 0.25% increase which could easily result from changes in equipment or inaccuracies in the thermometers used in 1900 which were not as accurate as those used today. Changes in the thermal characteristics of the thermometer sites could explain the increase, particularly considering that many of today's sites are at airports with heat producing asphalt that did not exist in 1900.

A change of only 0.25% might be significant in the controlled conditions of a laboratory with precision equipment, but not in the open air with equipment that may not always be in good operating condition.

Mathematicians Bjarne Andresen, Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick have pointed out that the idea of a global average temperature is absurd. "A temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system. Furthermore, the climate is not governed by a single temperature. Rather, differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, thunder, etc. which make up the climate".

Most real scientists, including social scientists, gave up using broad averages decades ago because such averages cover up too much information. For example, in climate the amount of time the temperature is above or below freezing is more important than the average temperature of the region because long periods of below freezing temperatures favors snow/ice cover and long periods of above freezing temperatures favors melting. Snow melts depend upon heat distribution not any global average. Significant melting could occur even if global temperatures were cooler because melting snow absorbs heat and cools the air. In order to melt, a single gram of snow must absorb enough heat to cool 80 grams of water 1 C.

Temperatures went up and down in the 20th Century while the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere gradually increased. The heat generated by human activity also increased and would be the more likely cause of any human caused heating. Replacement of plant covered areas by pavement also directly causes heating of the air.

Hawking has apparently failed to read the essay by Dr. Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner - (Falsification of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effects Within the Framework of Physics�) which points out the claim of greenhouse gases and a greenhouse effect conflict with established physics theories.

Hawking may also be unaware that NASA scientist Ferenc Miskolczi has revealed that the equation used to calculate catastrophic warming contains a major flaw. The equation falsely assumed an atmosphere of infinite thickness. Such a condition might be consistent with a black hole, but not the planet earth.

The claim that CO2 has some ability to control air temperature is a cancer growing on science. Many astrophysicists believe that the earth is about to enter a period of colder temperature associated with the sun entering a portion of a centuries long cycle in which it is less active. If the astrophysicists are correct, all of science may be discredited if the claim that global warming is based on science has not been abandoned.

A major difference between science and religion is that science relies on verification through repeated observation and experimentation while religion relies on acceptance of beliefs. The experiment that examined heating in a greenhouse demonstrated that trapping IR didn't cause higher temperatures. Unfortunately, those who believe that humans can control the environment through changes in a minor atmospheric gas aren't interested in scientific proof.

If Professor Hawking wants to protect science he needs to talk to those scientists who question global warming and then change his opinion.

Comments

Roland Gunslinger 3 years, 3 months ago

Hmm... one on hand we have a noted physics genius and on the other we have a school janitor... which to believe, which to believe. Ugh! Such a hard decision...

Liberty275 3 years, 3 months ago

Interesting question. Seriously.

Leonard Susskind. Mr Susskind was a plumber, a guy that plumbs, like plunging drains, other people's drains, that later in life became a professor of theoretical physics and disproved Hawking's theory that information could be destroyed by a black hole.

Peter Macfarlane 3 years, 3 months ago

It is not a question of who to believe. It is a question of the public's understanding how science is done.

Excellence is science is achieved through hypothesis testing. Science is not in the business of proving anything; in fact the business that science is in is very much the opposite: looking for inconsistencies that disprove hypotheses. The mechanism that allows science to do its work is argumentation based on interpretation of the existing evidence. Thus, it is possible for two scientists to draw two different conclusions from the same set of data. Resolution of this conundrum comes about when the scientific community reviews the work of these scientists and comes to its own set of conclusions that may or may not support one or either scientist.

Environmental systems, including Earth's climate, are highly complex and our ability to characterize them sufficiently for prediction is limited. This is where hypothesis testing comes in. We don't know how the system operates perfectly and never will. However, we can use our understanding of science to propose ideas about how these systems work and what causes them to function in certain ways. This is where hypotheses enter the picture. Hypotheses are designed to express our ideas about how systems work based on analysis of the data we have accumulated.

We know that climate change has been has been occurring throughout Earth's history. This is not in dispute amongst the scientific community. What is in dispute is the influence of human activity on climate. To bring this down to the present debate: how much of the change we have seen in climate over the last 400 years is caused by natural variability and how much by human activity? Both sides in the scientific debate are relying on the same set of data; for the most part, the difference is in its interpretation. It is important to note that for both sides, the data are not perfect and are not well distributed across the globe. As a result neither side has a perfect understanding of how climate functions, past, present, or future and both sides use the uncertainty in the data to argue for or against claims made based on the data.

With all of the attention being drawn to the debate, what is lost on the public is that the climate is changing one way or the other and we need to be prudent and take steps to adjust to that reality.

verity 3 years, 3 months ago

"With all of the attention being drawn to the debate, what is lost on the public is that the climate is changing one way or the other and we need to be prudent and take steps to adjust to that reality."

I'll second that.

devobrun 3 years, 3 months ago

Testing an hypothesis, dowser? You mean conducting experimentation? How 'bout when people climb on board an airplane to test Newtonian mechanics? The airplane was designed using Newton's laws and other scientifically derived and engineering derived rules.....all coming from hypothesis and experimentation. And now every time a person uses the airplane, he tests the hypothesis. Now that is testing. Testing for quantity, quality, and meaning.

A climate data point comes every 30 years, or is it 10 years. Hmmn, time scale ill-defined. The temperature measured in the climate equation is done in a few thousand places in the world, at five feet above ground. Hmm, ill-defined temperature.

Climate science is a joke. Go to some of the climate model sites and you will see them talk about computer runs.....and call them experiments. Nope, not like climbing on a airplane, they aren't experiments.

Liberty275 3 years, 3 months ago

"global warming or the other great liberal lie, evolution"

Yes, global warming is a cynical lie propagated by greedy men (mostly a man) of influence and embraced by people of a political mindset as well as by scientist wanting to get another grant, but evolution is pretty much a ringer. It's a well proven theory. Yes, it has holes, but so does our understanding of things as common as the bottom of the sea... or the ocean above us.

Besides all that, whether evolution is a correct or not, any sort of god hocus pocus is utterly unacceptable. If anything, god was a martian from another solar system and his "son" was the (you know what word to put here) child of a young Jewish girl raped by a roman soldier and his miraculous conception a lie made up to protect herself from her own kind.

So it's either evolution or... "poof, here we are". I'll take evolution as long as it doesn't start lining the pockets of something like the green scam machine (or as I say, "Big Green") that managed to grasp a few strings away from our corporate overlords to make us dance even dumber than we already were.

pace 3 years, 3 months ago

Lib, are you being serious? Either way your conspiracy theory and understanding of science is really funny. Everyone has a right to their feelings but lordy lordy. some opinions do have more weight than others,some are based on feelings. I don't agree that people should just follow their feeling. Your statements are a great example of that.

Liberty275 3 years, 3 months ago

I was always taught that science is theory and each theory was gauged by how well proven it is. Evolution is well proven as you can see the similarities and differences between fossils as species change over millenia. Global warming itself is merely a prediction based on computer models written by men. You can write a computer model to say what you want it to. Further complicating the endeavor is proving any actual trends are due to man or just natural fluctuations. That was the point of the image of glacial till in Kansas I posted down-thread. There were no humans around to make the glacier hovering north of Lawrence recede, so that hints that the climate can and has drastically changed without being affected by man. I don't know if the guy that identified that image ever got the point or not.

In the mean time, greedy men are trying to sell the idea of "carbon credits" and scientists would be foolish you not follow the grant money associated with the political football of AGW. When they start promoting "evolution credits" I'll probably be more critical of that theory as well because money corrupts.

I believe what I believe, you are free to believe as you see fit.

pace 3 years, 3 months ago

Science is not just theory, There is your problem. Go back and get schooled.

Liberty275 3 years, 3 months ago

lol. It is all theory. Truth is the domain of the the philosopher.

pace 3 years, 3 months ago

If you change words definition to fit a flawed thought process you only seem a fool, if you believe that science is all theory and nothing else you are a fool.

Stuart Evans 3 years, 3 months ago

Evolution is a fact; you've been misinformed.

liberallibrarian 3 years, 3 months ago

Wait. What? What is happening? Is this a joke? This guy's questioning the relevance of Hawking? I'm beside myself. This is a joke, right?

devobrun 3 years, 3 months ago

Yep, he isn't really questioning Hawking. He is challenging AGW and disrespecting Hawking because the hawk says he believes in AGW.

No, Hawking stepped down from the Newton chair because he is irrelevant in the very field where he works. Hawk's big-bang is down to about 4% of the explanation of the origin of the universe, anyway. Dark energy, dark matter, and parallel universes, and.......well, Hawking hasn't been involved in any of that other stuff.

Oh, and the LHC experiments are starting to show that dark energy and dark matter might be hogwash too. Sigh, cosmology is in a pickle. All dressed up and no where to go. It's a good thing cosmology is irrrelevant to our daily lives.

Liberty275 3 years, 3 months ago

Not even close. While Hawking probably isn't the most advanced theoretical physicist in the world today, he is the most influential on the layman. Anybody that takes our minds off insipid reality shows and gives us something to think about, even things we don't have the intellect to understand, is making a huge difference to mankind. He has some pretty good peers as well, Michio Kaku being the most famous - and Brian Cox, who by coincidence is the only man on Earth with a chance of turning me gay. I'd think about it. Pretty hard.

Liberty275 3 years, 3 months ago

I hope I didn't offend your delicate sensibilities, B.

;-)

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

Wow, Global Warming is a lie? Who knew? 95% of the scientific community must be wrong!

Thanks for opening my eyes! I think I'll go burn some coal now!

Liberty275 3 years, 3 months ago

The same 95% that predicted a new ice age 30 years ago.

devobrun 3 years, 3 months ago

100% of the physicists were wrong about Newton in 1850. And that was in a field that is testable. They eventually figured out a testable hypothesis that explained Newtonian errors. A series of hypotheses and experiments led to explanations at the margins of physics. It was methodical, and testable and proper science.

Since climate can't be tested.....heck it can't even be defined, this argument will go on forever. Climatology is the study of climate. It is a study, but it isn't science because it is so ill-defined and it can't be tested. It is one induction after another, run through a computer model. What a joke.

ljwhirled, at what point in time does one stop using the term weather and start using the term climate? Is it days, months, years, 30 years? There is no clear answer because climatology is a mess. It used to be a backwater area of atmospheric research. It used to be speculation of weather folks at the bar Friday evening.

Until Jim Hansen came along and decided to make it political. And that is where we are, ljwhirled. Lousy science promulgated by political groups to support various agendas. None of it testable.

Liberty275 3 years, 3 months ago

I've heard that NASA used plain old Newtonian physics for many of their guidance systems.

Reason McLucus 3 years, 2 months ago

I suspect that many of those who call themselves climatologists are people who failed at predicting the weather and didn't want to have to learn a new field. Other than those who predict hurricane season, no one remembers if a climatologist is wrong, but they do remember if it rains on what is supposed to be a sunny day.

verity 3 years, 3 months ago

You lost me at "the global warming myth."

You know this how? You may doubt the conclusions drawn from the facts we know, but to declare that it is a myth says more about your ideology than about anything else.

Liberty275 3 years, 3 months ago

Here's a deal. You give me something I can see within 100 miles of Lawrence that offers some proof of anthropogenic global warming and I'll go look at it if you explain the following photograph from around Wamego, Kansas.

http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Publications/PIC/28figures/fig6.jpg

funkdog1 3 years, 3 months ago

Looks like rocks left from glaciation. Now what's your point?

Katara 3 years, 3 months ago

It is obviously a work of Satan and therefore a thing that should be feared. Duh.

Liberty275 3 years, 3 months ago

Isn't everything a work of our great lord Satan (peace be upon her)? She did a nice job burying dinosaur fossils.

"I don't think Lib is being serious here. lol"

No, I'd actually like to see evidence of AGW somewhere within 100 miles of Lawrence. Going to see it would make a nice weekend trip. We could take a dog, get a hotel and have a good time while seeing the sight.

pace 3 years, 3 months ago

I don't think Lib is being serious here. lol

verity 3 years, 3 months ago

Dowser: "To bring this down to the present debate: how much of the change we have seen in climate over the last 400 years is caused by natural variability and how much by human activity?"

Yes, that is the question. But to deny that any of it is caused by human activity seems to be the result of an ideology and believing what one wants to believe rather than actually looking at history and at the facts as known.

devobrun 3 years, 3 months ago

Actually looking at history and facts?

Where do you find those, verity? Ship's logs from whalers off the coast of Cape Verde islands in 1720? Facts. Controlled experiments. Cause and effect experiments. What a joke the whole thing is. There are no facts or experiments regarding climate, verity. There is no definition of climate.

All this is a computer model, verity. Computer projections Facts......sheesh.

jayhawxrok 3 years, 3 months ago

Opening sentence let me know I was dealing with another flat earth moron. Why does the paper waste its time with these idiots?

Gareth Skarka 3 years, 3 months ago

Another redneck hayseed against science.

In Kansas.

I'm shocked. No, really.

verity 3 years, 3 months ago

Oh, autie, even if I didn't agree with you, your opinions would still be entertaining.

jonas_opines 3 years, 3 months ago

"Does lawrenceguy40 automatically equate using one's brain to being some kind of evil liberal?"

Fearing and condemning what you don't understand (in this case, using one's brain) is a classic theme of humanity. LG40 is just a little less. . . unfiltered about it all.

Or, ya'know, he's just a fake. Still can't quite make up my mind about it, but maybe I just don't want to believe that anybody could Actually be that utterly,continuously, and self-righteously off-base.

Ken Lassman 3 years, 3 months ago

OK, Mr Reason, I have nothing against your right to state your opinion, which I'll take as yours and not someone elses, OK? So I'll just reject in on simple grounds that your sources are obscure, rejected by the vast body of recognized science, and therefore are just that: your opinions.

Take your outlandish supposition that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas, and that some experiment in the early 1900s by some gentleman RW Wood has disproven it. Well, that's just so clearly wrong that we can stop right there. Read over the rather in-depth explication on exactly how CO2 IS a greenhouse gas here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/does-greenhouse-effect-exist-intermediate.htm

Now without this opinion of yours, the whole piece falls apart.

devobrun 3 years, 3 months ago

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/abs_temp.html

What is the definition of climate Doug? And what is the definition of temperature of the earth, Doug? And what happens when science is ill-defined?

Avery Pearson 3 years, 3 months ago

Why are the liberals always lying and propagating myths? what went wrong? Why can't they be more like their upstanding, moral, always right, conservative peers? Also... Why do we choose sides like sports teams?

Chris Golledge 3 years, 3 months ago

What is the saying? Something to the effect that any technology sufficiently advanced looks like magic to those who don't understand it. In this case, the science only looks like religion to the author, for the same reason.

Oh, and Liberty275, get your facts straight; even 30-40 years ago, most scientists thought warming as a result of more GHGs would dominate cooling as a result of more aerosols.

Liberty275 3 years, 3 months ago

"Something to the effect that any technology sufficiently advanced looks like magic to those who don't understand it."

Also, Something to the effect that fraud can look like a cure to people looking to buy one, and can be packaged by scam artists so it sells better.

"even 30-40 years ago, most scientists thought warming as a result of more GHGs would dominate cooling as a result of more aerosols."

Yet there is no evidence man has caused either. While I won't deny we have an impact on the environment, I remain unconvinced we have the ability to make any significant change either way even if we tried.

Chris Golledge 3 years, 3 months ago

So, you are changing the subject, thereby implying that you were wrong, but you just don't want to admit it. OK, thanks for demonstrating you don't really want to have a rational debate.

verity 3 years, 3 months ago

Anyone who can explain difficult concepts in language that the layman can understand has my admiration. I have come to the conclusion that the more difficult to understand a person's writings are, probably the less they know and are just using big words to try to seem intelligent. I could name some names, but I won't.

". . . if we guess wrong . . ." Indeed. Species have become extinct before.

heygary 3 years, 3 months ago

Interesting that the same egocentric mentality which gave rise to the conservative premise that mankind was created in God's image also fosters the liberal dogma that we pitiful humans are having a negative influence on mother earth and can have a positive influence if only we embrace green!

melott 3 years, 3 months ago

  1. Your previous post is so full of doo-doo that I can't even begin to list all the reasons why.
  2. Yes, Hawking is overrated, but it has nothing to do with his comments on climate.

a physicist. which you are not, reasondude.

camper 3 years, 3 months ago

Well as I see that measurements of CO2 continue to increase exponentially, and satellite photos show an alarming reduction in polar ice area in such short time spans, I'm beginning to wonder.

Surely man cannot have that type of impact. But then I ask "didn't farm practices cause soil erosion and have a local impact during the dust bowl"? No way.

Steinbeck was on to something in his book "Sea of Cortez". In so many words he observed that the succes of marine species ultimately led to their extinction. They proliferated, dominated other species, and eventually consumed their resources thus beginning the downfall. We humans just may be the same. But I still have faith in our brains....but not some of the brains on this thread. We can find ways to conserve and pollute less if we had the will.

And lets just say that we are having an impact. It may be hundreds of years before the catastrophe. But I guarantee if that happens, the deniers might just be the most foolish to ever walk the face of this earth. Can we somehow congratulate them now on this accomplishment?

This is why I think we should all be very concerned about the impact we may have....and what we leave for those who come after.

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