Friday, July 03, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

David Gross', Nobelists' painful AGW publicity stunt

Sixty years ago, on July 15th, 1955, Max Born, Werner Heisenberg, Hideki Yukawa, Otto Hahn, and 14 other Nobel prize winners signed the Mainau Declaration against the use of nuclear weapons. It was a decade after Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the fear made sense. The superpowers had accumulated lots of nukes and their destructive character had been observed.

These days, there is another meeting of the Nobel laureates at Lindau. Nobel prize winners including David Gross performed something that cynics in Deutsche Welle call "a stab at relevance" or "a publicity stunt": the 2015 Mainau Declaration on "climate change" (see the PDF file with the declaration).

Brian Schmidt, the 2011 Nobel prize winner in physics for his (and their) experimental discovery of the dark energy, became the spokesman for this publicity stunt. David et al., don't you feel a little bit painful? Or, more precisely, too painful?

To continue with this most important example from my viewpoint, David Gross is an amazing physicist. But he's still part of the far left-wing group think that has contaminated most of the scholarly institutions in the U.S. and most other Western countries. I've heard him talking about things like "climate change" a few times.

One of these monologues – and I think that you might find similar ones publicly – was something I couldn't forget because it shed some light on a previously underestimated motivation for such attitude. He proudly said something like: "Scientists have become amazingly powerful. For example, the climate scientists say something about CO2 and hundreds of billions of dollars are immediately redirected. Isn't it great?"

Well, it may be great, but isn't it worrisome or embarrassing? Or do you really believe that if and when someone becomes powerful, he's automatically wise and his decisions are wise? What makes David Gross' attitude possible is that he must identify himself as a member of the same community that includes fraudsters like Michael Mann and his kin. I couldn't identify with any of those. These individuals are not real scientists, with the integrity and other features that this description demands. The actual link between David Gross and e.g. Michael Mann isn't science; it is the left-wing ideology and it's shameful if David and others try to pretend something else, to lie to themselves.

Mainau Declaration 2015 on Climate Change

We undersigned scientists, who have been awarded Nobel Prizes, have come to the shores of Lake Constance in southern Germany, to share insights with promising young researchers, who like us come from around the world. Nearly 60 years ago, here on Mainau, a similar gathering of Nobel Laureates in science issued a declaration of the dangers inherent in the newly found technology of nuclear weapons—a technology derived from advances in basic science. So far we have avoided nuclear war though the threat remains. We believe that our world today faces another threat of comparable magnitude.
OK, the first sentence boasts that they're the smartest folks in the Milky Way. They come from "around the world". It's not really true because they come mostly from the U.S. and the places where Nobel prizes are often being won, but let's not be picky.

What's more important is that despite your Nobel prizes, you present no evidence that would be relevant and it's because you don't really have the slightest clue about the problem. Despite your Nobel prizes, you are mainly a bunch of old Gentlemen who are happy to sign any left-wing petition that someone offers you.

Your boasting is on par with that of the Argentine pensioner named Jorge Mario Bergoglio who declared himself the second most important human being on Earth after Jesus Christ and who decided to (literally) preach about the global warming hoax, too. A difference is that this top apparatchik in the Catholic Church has at least written about 100 pages of text about the issue – while you, the Nobel prize winners, have only managed to compose 5 superficial paragraphs that in no way exceed what we expect from the intellectual giants of Leonardo DiCaprio's magnitude.

Incidentally, even though the nuclear weapon threat 60 years ago was real, the doomsaying predictions have turned out to be wrong – along with the recommendations that were done by the signatories. No nuclear war has started in the 6 decades after that petition. And the existence of a large number of nuclear weapons may actually be partially or mostly credited with the peace that the developed countries have enjoyed since the Second World War.

And what about the claim that the global warming hoax is a threat of comparable magnitude as the nuclear Armageddon? Please, you don't really believe that, do you? The existing nuclear bombs are undoubtedly enough to kill a vast majority of the mankind if used in a certain way. But the global warming? Even if the most insanely overstated predictions of a 5 °C warming (up to 2100) were right, you just don't die from these changes of the temperature. For most people on Earth, such a warming would be a net benefit. And those for whom it would be bad would have many simple ways to adapt. But the actual change of the global mean temperature will be comparable to 1 °C and even the sign is pretty much uncertain although the warming is slightly more likely than cooling.
Successive generations of scientists have helped create a more and more prosperous world. This prosperity has come at the cost of a rapid rise in the consumption of the world’s resources. If left unchecked, our ever-increasing demand for food, water, and energy will eventually overwhelm the Earth’s ability to satisfy humanity’s needs, and will lead to wholesale human tragedy. Already, scientists who study Earth’s climate are observing the impact of human activity
This kind of reasoning shows that when it comes to issues outside their rather narrow expertise, the dear Nobel prizes can rationally think at most as well as average schoolkids at a basic school. First, the increasing consumption really means the mankind's ability to deal with the resources – it's a sign of the progress, not something one should be a priori frightened by. And the sentence starting with "If left unchecked" is nothing else than the repeatedly debunked Malthusian nonsense that no sensible person may be seriously persuaded by.

If some resource becomes scarce or if we approach its limits, its price will go up and this increased price will automatically push the people to lower its consumption or find alternatives. The mankind can never "overspend" such a resource because it's mathematically impossible! And no resource we really need is anywhere close to be saturated. For example, the total mass of water on Earth is 1.4 x 1021 kilograms, about 4 billion times the total mass of the whole mankind. Globally, we can't run of water in the next century (and much more than that).

For a more urgent example, people consume at most as much food as they may produce. The total amount of food we can grow has increased substantially because of many reasons – including more advanced technologies, genetic engineering, and the increase of the CO2 concentration in the air (which must be thanked for about 20% increase of the crop yields). The Earth is demonstrably able to feed 7 billion people. It is doing so every year. The population may grow to 8 billion people at some point. Will the Earth be able to feed 8 billion?

Well, if the population will reach 8 billion, the answer is clearly Yes! If the Earth weren't able to feed that many people (or another number), the population would simply not grow. In civilized countries, people would have fewer children because they would think that they can't feed them. In poorer countries where the value of the human life is not equally high, people could have the same number of children but a smaller percentage would reach adulthood – they could die of hunger.

At any rate, Nature unavoidably regulates the human population much like it regulates many other things. The number 7 billion people may look large relatively to the population in the past but the population in 1900 was higher than the population in 1800, too. There is absolutely no reason to think that the current population is in any sense close to any "ultimate" or "physical" limit. To suggest that the current population must be close to a physical limit is nothing else than an irrational Malthusian fearmongering which is logically equivalent to the Jehovah Witnesses' claims about the judgement day.

(And unlike the climate change alarmists, even those religious people have learned not to repeat the claims about the persistently delayed deadlines. Their predictions have failed too many times and they have already realized how painful they have been.)

The claim that climate scientists are "already observing signs of human activity" is at least questionable. But even if we decide that it's true, it's not such a big deal that we may observe signs of human activity in the climate or any other layer of the Earth. In the microwave spectrum, the Earth looks like a bright star – because of the people. Whether you like it or not, we are really masters of this blue, not green planet. To one extent or another, this has been the case for centuries or thousands of years. This fact is in no way a reason to worry. It may be a source of pride. If something just becomes observable, it is very far from the level at which it is dangerous. The more accurate measurement apparatuses and methods we have, the greater gap between the "observable level" and "dangerous level" exists.
In response to the possibility of human-induced climate change, the United Nations established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide the world’s leaders a summary of the current state of relevant scientific knowledge. While by no means perfect, we believe that the efforts that have led to the current IPCC Fifth Assessment Report represent the best source of information regarding the present state of knowledge on climate change. We say this not as experts in the field of climate change, but rather as a diverse group of scientists who have a deep respect for and understanding of the integrity of the scientific process.
Sorry but if you are able to praise the IPCC which has violated tons of absolutely rudimentary scientific quality standards while it was preparing its reports (those were documented and analyzed by lots of others, including Robbert Dijkgraaf's IAC, an umbrella organization above the world's academies of sciences, which had made recommendations to the IPCC to improve their methodology and all those recommendations were completely ignored even in the next, fifth report), then you simply don't have a deep respect for or understanding of the integrity of the scientific process. You are pissing on the integrity of science.

The work of the IPCC is one of the most despicable examples of a political abuse of science since the era of eugenics. And the reason is not just the fact that Rajendra Pachauri, the recently fired IPCC boss, is a perverse sexual predator – although there probably exists a correlation between his sexual behavior and the subpar science or pseudoscience that he was supervising. The reason is that the IPCC simply didn't objectively or honestly manipulate with the data. Every person who is not completely blinded and who is interested in these matters must have figured that out.

Conclusions of the IPCC were based on cherry-picking, distortion of the evidence, inclusion of unscientific literature printed by NGOs, blackmailing of honest scientists, and so on, and so on. For observers in the whole world, the 2009 ClimateGate correspondence between the IPCC members became the clearest insight into the unbelievable corruption that determined almost all the important behavior of the IPCC.
Although there remains uncertainty as to the precise extent of climate change, the conclusions of the scientific community contained in the latest IPCC report are alarming, especially in the context of the identified risks of maintaining human prosperity in the face of greater than a 2°C rise in average global temperature. The report concludes that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the likely cause of the current global warming of the Earth. Predictions from the range of climate models indicate that this warming will very likely increase the Earth’s temperature over the coming century by more than 2°C above its pre-industrial level unless dramatic reductions are made in anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases over the coming decades.
The IPCC report doesn't contain any genuine evidence that anything dangerous is taking place with the climate. Also, the meme about the 2 °C limit is nothing else than a pure superstition built around a randomly picked number – well, not quite randomly picked because it was deliberately chosen to be "just a little bit higher" than the temperature change that has been observed, in order to bring the predicted judgement day around the corner. Nothing special happens when the average temperature of some area increases by 2 °C relatively to a random baseline – and even the smarter and more honest alarmists have acknowledged this obvious fact.
Based on the IPCC assessment, the world must make rapid progress towards lowering current and future greenhouse gas emissions to minimize the substantial risks of climate change. We believe that the nations of the world must take the opportunity at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015 to take decisive action to limit future global emissions. This endeavor will require the cooperation of all nations, whether developed or developing, and must be sustained into the future in accord with updated scientific assessment.
There is no quality scientific research done by the IPCC reports, its selection of the literature is biased, and the conclusions can't be trusted. But more generally, science can simply never say things like "the world must make rapid progress towards something". Science is not "normative". A century ago, science couldn't really "imply" that handicapped people or some ethnic groups should have been eliminated, either, even though the eugenicists tried to make this structurally isomorphic claim to the alarmists' claim above. Whether people decide to abandon one technology or another is up to their values and priorities and those can't be "dictated" by a report, even if it were scientifically credible, and the IPCC reports have never been.

On another page on the server of the Lindau meetings, Peter Doherty (the 1996 Nobel prize winner in medicine) said:
They say that we may expect the breakdown of civil society in 21. century. And the poor on the planet are going to be the most affected, as always.
The idea that "the poor on the planet are the most affected" is nothing else than a widespread Marxist lie about the human society. At the end, capitalism and technological progress (with extremely special and important thanks to the fossil fuels, too!) have primarily improved the life of the most ordinary people, and very dramatically. It's especially their life – the most ordinary people's life – that is better than at any previous point of the human history. And there exists no reason to expect that these improvements will stop or be reversed. For this reason, the quote is a shameful lie. When the physicists listen to similar "quotes", can't they see that their petition is nothing else than an artifact of their perverse extremist political delusions and it has nothing whatever to do with science – with the human activity in which they have made special achievements?

On the Deutsche Welle page, Gross is quoted as saying:
2015 is a critical year for climate change, claims Gross.
Do you really believe this extraordinarily stupid and self-evidently irrational claim? You have calculated the beta-function of QCD to be\[

\beta (g)=-\left(11-{\frac {2n_{f}}{3}}\right){\frac {g^{3}}{16\pi ^{2}}}.

\] A nice result. Now show me the analogous calculation that implies that "2015 is a critical year for climate change"! Why isn't the result 1871 or 1917 or 1945 or 1968 or 2009 (Copenhagen+ClimateGate) or 2035 or 2055 or 2350? You know that this statement – and all other statements you have made – is complete bogus, don't you? It's the cheapest imaginable way to get the attention of the most gullible listeners, to create a sense of urgency by a claim that has absolutely no justification.
Later, David Gross complained to DW the media was uninterested in asking detailed questions about the content of the declaration. It's a bit difficult to do that when you're not allowed to see the content. We were set up.
Well, I have reproduced the full text of your petition for everyone to see what sort of atrocious activities you are doing on your vacation in Germany. The complaint that the "media are not doing enough" to spread the hysteria is pretty incredible. Readers are still drowning in hectoliters of this stinky garbage and the situation was even worse in 2007 or so when the global warming hysteria peaked.
Still, the laureates say it's in part the media's responsibility to influence public opinion.
Sorry but the ethical media's responsibility is to honestly inform the readers and viewers.

It's embarrassing that these famous physicists have endorsed this despicable petition. By their relative fame, they are lowering the prestige of physics that has been considered not just another discipline of human activity but a hard science. I am also sure that such events reduce the young talented people's desire to make important breakthroughs and win the Nobel prizes.

Incidentally, Ivar Giaever is among the 65 participants of the 65th Lindau meeting, too. At least someone who hasn't lost his mind completely, you may say. Well, the number of signatories is just 36 which is about 55% of the participants – and this percentage probably overstates the actual one because some of the 36 signatories were actually not present (i.e. 36 is not a subset of those 65). Haven't they forgotten to stress the fact that it's 97% of the scientists who agree, so that 36/65 = 0.97? Or did they decide that this claim would be too obviously preposterous? Sadly, the statements they failed to omit are comparably preposterous.

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