Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Krysten Byrnes

I had thought that GW would be the last skeptic standing (see previous post), but they seem to be coming out of the woodwork lately. I reported yesterday about Nigel Lawson’s new book. This morning, NPR did a long piece (www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89619306) about 16-year-old Kristen Byrnes taking on Climate Scientists with her web site home.earthlink.net/~ponderthemaunder. It seems in part to be a way for her to collect donations to her college fund; let’s hope that succeeds because she might learn something. Right now her scientific credentials seem minimal. For example, she said on the show that CO2 does not reflect heat back to earth, which is quite correct but irrelevant; the mechanism of global warming, known since 1850 by the way, is that CO2 absorbs certain frequencies from the earth’s radiation and then radiates energy in all directions.


al fin said...

Her credentials seem minimal? At 16 years old? She is smart, articulate, fearless, curious, skeptical, and just getting started.

Tony, I would pay to see you debate Kristen Byrnes on climate change, minimal credentials and all.

Good science is not about credentials. You could fill a small city with mediocre scientists with excellent credentials. These are "herd scientists" who lack the courage, energy, and skeptical attitude to step away from the crowd (consensus herd).

Try not to slap them down before they are even born, Tony. That would mean you are doing far more harm than good.

Margaret said...

Krysten Byrnes is RIGHT! What she doesn't say, is that the Global Warming Hoax will kill millions, maybe billions, if the Hoax is not ended. There is a food crisis now due to both hyperinflation and Biofuels using up corn etc.

Furthermore, developing countries need nuclear power and other high tech infrastructure-without which they will die...DDT killed mosquitos, malaria kills humans-when will this evil, unscientific madness end?

Al Gore is promoting policies which are killing people, and he hates people and wants to reduce their number massively- just read his book!

I am a Democrat, but not an unscientific fool.

Kristen, what you are doing by sticking to the truth, against popular opinion, is courageous, and it's HUMAN! You go girl!

I recommend that people watch a video put together by British scientists called "The Great Global Warming Hoax"

Tony Welsh said...

Thanks al fin for your comment. I meant no disrespect to Krysten in saying that her credentials were minimal. They may be exceptional for a 16-year-old but that is hardly the point. And it is clear she has no understanding of the science, as the example I gave indicates. It is also interesting to me that she plans to study architecture rather than physics, and that she might design green buildings. I cannot help wondering what would constitute a green building for someone who thinks climate change is a hoax.

Far from being a herd, many scientists were skeptical at one time but have become convinced. It is also worth noting that in general they were not skeptical about the fact that climate change would occur -- which has been understood since 1850 -- but about whether we were currently observing it. If it were not to occur we would have to rethink a lot of the science we thought we learned in the last 150 years.

The situation is quite simple. Radiation from the sun has a different spectrum from that radiated from the earth, the former have more ultraviolet because the sun is hotter than the earth. (This is in accordance with the quantum mechanical theory of black body radiation, and if that is wrong we are in real trouble!) Because greenhouse gases have absorption spectra which make them transparent to UV radiation but less so to lower frequences, they act like the glass in a greenhouse. I don't think anyone questions that this is why the earth is not uninhablitably cold, as it would be without greenhouse gases. As one would expect, the greater the concentration of greenhouse gases the greater this greenhouse effect is. More specifically, a higher concentration will increase the temperature at which the earth is in equilibrium, with inward and outward radiation the same.

The number of skeptical scientists now seems to be very small; only 19 delegates to a recent skeptics' conference in New York self-identified as scientists.

I have no problem with people questioning the science, but it seems to me that they should do so using scientific methods. Just saying you don't believe it is no more valid than Mbeke saying he does not believe HIV causes AIDS.

Tony Welsh said...

Margaret, just shouting "RIGHT" does not make it so.

However, I totally agree with you about biofuels; making ethanol from corn makes no sense and was subsidised (long before GW saw the light on climate change, btw) to satisfy the powerful farm lobby.

I also agree with you about DDT, though I am not sure I see the relevance.

And I also agree about nuclear power; it is surely going to play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As for Al Gore hating people, this is just plain daft. He might be a bit shy but I don't think that makes him guilty of genocide.

Which is not to say that reducing or reversing population growth would not help, but that is a policy choice that non-scientists have every right to have opinions about. This should not be confused with the science which says climate change is real. (See my comment to al fin for more on the science.)

Finally, I am not sure of the relevance of the fact that you are a Democrat. I would be more interested to know whether you are a scientist.