Diamond planets and climate science

Astrophysicist Matthew Bailes writes in The Conversation:

Recently my colleagues and I announced the discovery of a remarkable planet orbiting a special kind of star known as a pulsar.

Based on the planet’s density, and the likely history of its system, we concluded that it was certain to be crystalline. In other words, we had discovered a planet made of diamond. …

Our host institutions were thrilled with the publicity and most of us enjoyed our 15 minutes of fame. The attention we received was 100% positive, but how different that could have been.

How so? Well, we could have been climate scientists.

Imagine for a minute that, instead of discovering a diamond planet, we’d made a breakthrough in global temperature projections.

Let’s say we studied computer models of the influence of excessive greenhouse gases, verified them through observations, then had them peer-reviewed and published in Science.

Instead of sitting back and basking in the glory, I suspect we’d find a lot of commentators, many with no scientific qualifications, pouring scorn on our findings.

Comments

  1. #1 chek
    September 17, 2011

    David Duff, your ability to infer isn’t quite powerful enough for you to recognise your limitations in using it.

  2. #2 Bernard J.
    September 17, 2011

    [David Duff](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/09/diamond_planets_and_climate_sc.php#comment-5219453).

    >I hadn’t realised until now that scientific ‘truth’ is decided by a ‘vote’ in which the majority always wins.

    Ah, see, you’re falling for that trap of being wrong yet again.

    At least you’re being consistent, I suppose.

    It’s only in the minds of dissembling prats such as yourself that scientific understanding is determined by “vote”. In the real world hypotheses are tested and retested, and the results scrutinised, and the most robust and parsominious analyses accepted by the majority.

    Humans, being humans, will always be represented by a minority of individuals who cannot see the noses in front of their faces. In the case of anthropogenically-caused global warming, parsimony and robustness very strongly indicate that the consensus that so riles you is in fact correct, and that the denialists are not.

    I’m losing track of how many times you’ve been wrong just on this thread, but if [your celibacy has not in fact rendered you childless](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/09/diamond_planets_and_climate_sc.php#comment-5215677), your progeny may want to keep a close eye on you lest your profound mind burps are an indication of advancing dementia.

  3. #3 GSW
    September 17, 2011

    @chek

    “Nope, not even my son’s friend at CTAMOP talks like that.”

    He might, if he was half as daft you as you seem to be.
    ;)

  4. #4 GSW
    September 17, 2011

    @Tim

    Any chance Jonas can be released from his cell yet?

  5. #5 Jeff Harvey
    September 17, 2011

    *The fact that the combined influence of every human activity since 1850 is roughly the equivalent of a pebble on a 30 mile beach when compared to what the sun can do seems to have escaped them*

    What utter trash. Has the sun been responsible for clearing half of the world’s wet tropical forests in the past century? Kick-starting a mass extinction event? Dramatically altering the chemical composition of the air and water, leading to hyper-eutrophication of freshwater systems and destruction of coastal marine ecosystems? Significantly reducing a range of vital ecosystem services as described in the 2006 Global Ecosystem Assessment?

    In response to GSW’s question: Not only keep Jonas and his ignorance confined to his own thread, but restrict the gibberish spewed by GSW to that thread as well. These two clowns have been clogging up Deltoid for the past two week and their love-in means that they deserve one another.

  6. #6 chek
    September 17, 2011

    GSW said: “He might, if he was half as daft you as you seem to be”.

    QED I believe, Mr. Not-quite-so-smartarse.

  7. #7 David Duff
    September 17, 2011

    Kick-starting a mass extinction event

    Ooops, Christ, where, when, nobody told me!

    Dramatically altering the chemical composition of the air and water, leading to hyper-eutrophication of freshwater systems and destruction of coastal marine ecosystems?

    OMIGOD! They must be dying like flies – nobody told me!

    Significantly reducing a range of vital ecosystem services as described in the 2006 Global Ecosystem Assessment

    But . . . but . . . the population figures keep going up, that’s ‘up’ as in the sense of more and more people, zillions of them, are living and reproducing. How do they do it? No, no, I don’t want a biolgy lesson, I just want to know when real things in the real world are likely to impinge on your phantasy land. I mean, shouldn’t someone tell the, er, “Global Ecosystem Assessment“?

    Chek, my ability to infer is only limited by the sloppy and, dare one suggest, unscientific English of the likes of Andrew Strang who wrote:

    It would be scientifically significant if he was leading a large group of say many hundreds from the 48,000 membership

    Now, Chek, do tell, what would you infer from that?

  8. #8 GSW
    September 17, 2011

    @chek

    Exactly, QED.
    ;)

  9. #9 John Mashey
    September 17, 2011

    Fortunately, relatively few Nobel physicists go weird in their old age. I only know two personally, Arno Penzias and Burt Richter and they are both ‘pretty sensible.
    Arno has “retired” into venture capital @ NEA, including being on boards of energy & solar companies.

    Burt “retired” from being SLAC Director into climate and energy issues.

    in ~2005, I heard a short version of this talk at a little (~20-230 people)local town meeting. The first half of the talk might look familiar. I loved this session, which I mentioned here at Deltoid.
    The best part was Q&A. Two guys rather foolishly tried to challenge him by repeating classic science memes that required violating basic laws of physics. After he patiently explained why they were wrong, he then pointed out that he knew the few scientists personally who had generated those memes, and they were not well thought of… The two guys visibly shriveled as they suddenly realized they’d made total fools of themselves in front of their neighbors, and slunk out as soon as they could

    Rather that babbling incoherence, Burt had taken the time to study up on climate and talk to experts, noting in his book that having a Nobel does tend to open doors. See book.

    SO:
    1) Most old male* physicists remain sensible and often quite productive. (* most old physicists are male). For various reasons I’ve had lots of contact with physicists over the years, have visited many national labs, am an APS member and talk to physicists.

    2) When well-educated people espouse nonsense, one looks for underlying reasons, such as those cataloged here

    One can only speculate, but for Giaever I’d look at TEC5 “going emeritus”, IDE2, POL2.

    Put another way, consider the set of physicists, say APS members. From the study I did, ~0.5% of them were willing to sign a silly petition. The demographics were very skewed towards retired/emeritus (and conservative and male, with the caveats in detail in my report).

    HENCE:
    a) OLD, MALE PHYSICIST says nothing about the likelihood of believing climate anti-science. If anything, OLD PHYSICISTs are less likely to believe such than the general population, since believing such takes strong motivation to ignore sophomore physics. Remember, only a tiny fraction of APS members signed the silly petition, I’d guess a much lower fraction than the general US population.

    HOWEVER
    b) PHYSICIST ESPOUSES CLIMATE ANTI-SCIENCE seems to imply OLD MALE PHYSICIST much more likely, i.e., over-represented.

    PhD physicists ought to know better … and almost all of them do. When one doesn’t, a lot of people who obviously know little about physics point at them as an authority.
    (D-K relevant).
    People might try telling that to Burt from 5 feet away, but let me get out of the road first.

  10. #10 chek
    September 17, 2011

    Well quite, GSW. But thanks for drawing attention to the daftness of this week’s denier flash-in-the-pan, although sadly soon to be as forgotten as every other denier two day wonder.

    These supposedly monumental denier PR events have a shelf life shorter than warm oysters, don’t they.

    @ David Duff #106 – I would infer a disagreement to be thrashed out in the literature for years if not decades. Which is not at all the same thing as a vote, as you seeem to think.

    But that’s not what it is. Single, superannuated cranks with time on their hands and internet access are ten-a-penny.

  11. #11 GSW
    September 17, 2011

    @chek

    Your son’s friend is a ‘denier’? Have you spoken to your son about forming “inappropriate relationships” with that “sort of person”.
    ;)

  12. #12 Stu N
    September 17, 2011

    David Duff…

    >>Kick-starting a mass extinction event

    >Ooops, Christ, where, when, nobody told me!

    < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternary_extinction_event>

  13. #13 chek
    September 17, 2011

    You’re floundering now GSW.
    I’d introduce you to petard, but I see you’re already well acquainted.

  14. #14 GSW
    September 17, 2011

    @chek

    Sorry chek you’ve lost me, are we still talking about physicists using K?

  15. #15 John Mashey
    September 17, 2011

    re: #97

    Like any other group of people, Nobelists vary in personality.
    Shockley had always been difficult, even before he went into the eugenics stuff.

    Arno is especially amusing: one of his favorite lines is that while most have won Nobels for things they were looking for, he and Bob Wilson got one for something they were trying to get rid of.

    Of course, Arno is used to humor, as in this prank a bunch of my old buddies (watch to end) played on him with help of Penn and Teller.
    At that point Arno was VP Research @ Bell Labs.

  16. #16 Andrew Strang
    September 17, 2011

    David Duff, happy to rephrase the point @97 – ‘It would be significant in the debate if he was leading a large group of say many hundreds from the 48,000 membership.’ And FWIW I don’t admire sarcasm.

  17. #17 chek
    September 17, 2011

    You’ve been lost for a long time, GSW.

    That much became obvious with your unprompted, fawning admiration for “philosophers” of Jonas calibre.

    @ John #114. Surely one of the most expensive practical jokes ever!
    Apart from the Radio Gliewitz jape, of course.

  18. #18 John Mashey
    September 17, 2011

    116: Oh, I don’t think it was at all expensive.
    it’s not like there was a lot of SW to do, that lab had often played with voice synthesis or recognition and there were other jokes that had been discussed that might have had serious consequences, but not this one.

    But the point is that Rob&Dennis figured they could do this with their boss’s boss’s boss (of about 1000 people) and make a video of it … and not have Something Really Bad happen the next day.

    67: “Ivar Giaever’s comments on global warming are an embarrassment to physicists and Nobelprize-winning physicists in particular.”

    I disagree: they are an embarrassment to *Giaever*.
    Any senior researcher knows of others who once did truly Nobel or at least NAS-class work and then go weird in later life, in various degrees from silly to pernicious. Again, there aren’t many, but people certainly know who they are.

    Really, it takes intense motivation for a physicist to (in essence) reject conservation of energy and quantum mechanics.
    Very few do so, although there were about 200 on the APS list, plus a few ME students and Nasif Nahle (“biocab”) and a few others.

  19. #19 John Mashey
    September 17, 2011

    re: 116

    re: hundreds
    actually not.
    If Giaever were a climate scientist, leading hundreds of such to resign from AGU, that would be noticeable.
    Hal Lewis (one of the organizers of the APS petition) resigned also from APS a while back. Ho-hum.
    All 200 signers of the APS petition could quit APS …
    and it would be no big deal. Some others would breathe sighs of relief, given the amount of time wasted by this silliness. Really, this like brain surgeons resigning because they disagree with cardiologists on heart disease.

    At Princeton, (NAS members) Austin & Happer were campaigning hard for that. Princeton Physics is a big (60+ people) department. They signed up one more guy (Sal Torquato) from that list, and did *not* sign up Curtis Callan, who was APS President in 2010.

    In any case, APS is organizing a Topical Group on Physics of Climate, whose charter should be read *carefully*.

    I have heard of one case where a society policy statement was changed via threat of mass defection, but that was AAPG, which finally got dragged into a (still-begrudged) more neutral stance on AGW.

  20. #20 David Duff
    September 18, 2011

    @ Andrew Strang.

    My apologies if I did indeed descend to sarcasm but they’re a rough old crowd around here and it sometimes necessary to get your retaliation in first!

    Even so, I believe you are still missing my point. It matters not a fig whether Giaever speaks for hundreds, or thousands, or even just for himself. Only one thing matters in a scientific controversy and that is, is he right or wrong? The whole history of science is of tiny minorities of scientists eventually overthrowing the majority view.

    Not for the first time, when considering ‘warmers’ I am reminded of the man going to heaven and being shown round by St. Peter. They passed a stockade with very high walls and sign posts everywhere ordering complete silence. Asking St. Peter what that was all about he was told that inside were the Puritans and they remain convinced they are the only ones in heaven.

  21. #21 Jeff Harvey
    September 18, 2011

    Duff’s never heard to temporal lags. Just because a population rises in no way indicates that it is not living off of natural capital. In the mindset of duffers like David Duff, a decline in a resource must instantaneously result in deleterious effects on a population. It simply does not work this way – humans are living in deficit, as evidenced by the ratio of extinctions:new species, the loss of tropical forests, groundwater supplies, soil fertility, marine fish and whale stocks, and other environmental indicators. The crux is that there is still ‘water in the tank’ to use an analogy, although the amount going out exceeds the amount going in. Our species is living in deficit, but we were blessed in that our arrival as the dominant species coincided with greater biological diversity being present on the Earth than at any time in the planet’s history. But, over the past century and especially over the past 50 years, we have taken a lot more out of the system than the system is able to sustainably replace. There is nothing whatsoever that is controversial about that statement; even the outdated neoclassical economists would be hard pressed to disagree.

    New technologies are enabling us to dig deeper, extract resources more effectively, and to deplete ecosystems more efficiently than ever, countering the effects of losing resources locally. But how long into the future can this be sustained? Numbskulls like Duff must think that humans are not at all limited by any constraints imposed by nature; we should continue along the same trajectory, and that we can survive just fine in a planet where 90% of its biota is extinct, where tropical forests have been all but eliminated, where soils are barren and lifeless, and where groundwaters have been sucked dry, where most of nature has been replaced by concrete. A planet fit for cockroaches and microbes. Is that it Duff? Everything is hunky dory?

    You perfectly fit the adage of the guy who jumps off a 100 story building, and as he plunges past the 30th story, gives a thumbs up and yells, ‘everything’s fine!’.

  22. #22 Jeff Harvey
    September 18, 2011

    *The whole history of science is of tiny minorities of scientists eventually overthrowing the majority view*

    But Duff, you nitwit, they did it with scientific proof. The current bunch of deniers don’t do much in the way of science. Most of these people have never done any relevant scientific research in their lives, and instead, like creationists, spend most of their time (if at all) trying to poke holes in the studies showing evidence for AGW, as if by finding flaws in it that will supposedly prove them to be correct.

    The fact is that, with few exceptions, the deniers are driven by their own political and idealogical views, and damn the science. If this weren’t the case, other fields of science that have less political overtones would be heavily populated by contrarians, but that is seldom the case. Contrarians come out of the woodwork in big numbers (often supported by big money from polluting industries) when public policy is involved. And, to reiterate, where is their science? Many of the most prominent denialists haven’t done any kind of research in decades, and certainly not in fields that are relevant to climate.

    Your views are even more myopic than those of Jonas, if that is remotely possible.

  23. #23 David Duff
    September 18, 2011

    @ Jeff

    Not for the first time, Jeff, I would suggest, with all due deference, that your opinions would carry greater weight were you to avoid the insults. You see, insults tend to indicate bluster, and bluster indicates a shaky foundation for opinion.

    Now to the main thrust of your argument in your first comment to the effect, and I paraphrase, that humans are using up natural resources which they are unable to replace – I hope I am not distorting the essence of what you write. You may be right but my scepticism is based on real-life experience – the Ehrlich/Simon bet which, I would remind you, Ehrlich lost. In fact, everything that ‘Ehrlich the Doomster’ ever forecast from the 1970s onwards in the way of a coming catastrophe has proved false. Now, I would suggest that a sensible man in 2011 would look back at that dismal record of failed
    prognostications and take a suitably cool approach to anything his latter-day disciples might have to say.

    As to your second comment, you write:

    they did it with scientific proof“.

    “They” being scientists who put forward theories which up-ended contemparary certitude. Sorry, but you are wrong. Take Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (from Wiki):

    Soon after publishing the special theory of relativity in 1905, Einstein started thinking about how to incorporate gravity into his new relativistic framework. In 1907, beginning with a simple thought experiment involving an observer in free fall, he embarked on what would be an eight-year search for a relativistic theory of gravity. After numerous detours and false starts, his work culminated in the November, 1915 presentation to the Prussian Academy of Science of what are now known as the Einstein field equations. These equations specify how the geometry of space and time is influenced by whatever matter is present, and form the core of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

    Did you notice those dread words “thought experiment” and “theory”? Nothing there about “scientific proof”! Indeed, when in 1915, he finished his paper and presented it to the scientific world, at least one critical part of the theory was completely untested and unproven, ie, that gravity bends light waves. He had to wait five years before Eddington published the results of his 1919 measurements taken during a solar eclipe which confirmed Einstein’s theory. To add a note of delicious (to me, at any rate) irony, it is now thought that Eddington’s observations were not of the highest quality and barely made the case!

    Now, Jeff, have another go, but this time try and avoid the insults, it makes conversation much more enjoyable – and productive.

  24. #24 Jeff Harvey
    September 18, 2011

    David, OK, let’s be polite.

    However, first of all, the infamous Simon/Ehrlich wager is a non-starter. Ehrlich should have realized this when he foolishly agreed to the conditions set by Simon. How can one evaluate the health of ecosystems across the biosphere on the basis of the price of metals? A: you can’t. In 1994, Ehrlich and Steve Schneider made a new offer to Simon to make a similar bet on the basis of ecological indicators 10 years down the road. There were 15 of them that varied from water quality to extinction rates to soil fertility. Simon refused to bet on any of them. Why? Because he knew that he’d lose. This refused bet received little attention from the denialists. Ehrlich later admitted that he would have been happy to lose the second bet, as it would have showed things were indeed improving. But its clear that every current indicator of environmental quality is still in decline. And therein lies the rub.

    With respect to novel scientific ideas, its clear that you are guided by your own idealogical bias. After all, David, you are not a scientist are you? If so, why do you belittle the conclusions of the 2006 Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, in which several thousand of the world’s leading ecologists and economists contributed, and then try and vindicate the views of one old retired physicist who not only downplays the effects of climate change but of acid rain and ozone depletion? To be honest, this shows that you wear your heart on your sleeve. Imagine if the situation was reversed: that the prevailing wisdom on climate warming was that it is natural, and that a few old retired scientists came forward and claimed that in reality it was largely mediated by human actions. Would you,of all people, be arguing that we should pay these guys more attention? Of course not. So, given that you lack the scientific expertise, why it any different now?

  25. #25 GSW
    September 18, 2011

    @Jeff

    “that the prevailing wisdom on climate warming was that it is natural, and that a few old retired scientists came forward and claimed that in reality it was largely mediated by human actions.”

    I can’t answer for David Jeff, but I’d read the papers and decide for myself. You?

  26. #26 Eli Rabett
    September 18, 2011

    GSW, you lack the knowledge and training to make a rational decision on the matter.

  27. #27 Chris O'Neill
    September 19, 2011

    opinions would carry greater weight were you to avoid the insults

    No doubt the ignorant old duffer thinks the same applies to facts.

  28. #28 Vince Whirlwind
    September 19, 2011

    Actually, it’s been fairly clear that he lacks the intellect required to gain the knowledge needed to make a rational decision.

  29. #29 David Duff
    September 19, 2011

    Excellent, Jeff, excellent – toujours la politesse and all that sort of thing! And I am happy to say that we can begin with an agreement – Ehrlich is indeed a fool! Not only did he make a foolish bet with a wiser man but none, absolutely none, of his catastrophic, apolcalyptic visions have come to pass.

    As to your second paragraph, alas and alack, we are *all* guided to some extent by what you call our “idealogical bias”, er, and that includes you! As the late but not so very great Nikita Kruschev put it, I think he might have been banging the lecturn at the United Nations with his shoe at the time, “There are no neutral men!” Also, you are quite right, I am not a scientist, I am glad to say because, quite frankly, well, it’s not a very respectable profession these days. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with scientists, I’d let them in my golf club any day, but you wouldn’t want one to marry your daughter, would you?

    Allow me to tell you of my innocent, unscientific foray into global climate. It began back in the ’70s when all sorts of, er, scientists were warning of imminent global freezing. (Whenever I bring this up people rush to tell me that it wasn’t so, it was just a few mavericks, but I can only tell you that I failed to register even a whimper of protest from any, er, scientists at the time.) I was really worried, despite enjoying some corking summers during the ’80s which have hardly ever been repeated since! (Yeah,yeah, I know, weather’s not climate – still!) Then, suddenly it wasn’t global freezing it was global warming, but you know, once bitten twice shy (‘as any fule do know’!) so this time, with the aid of the internet, I decided to take a long cool (sorry , no pun intended) look because, as it happens, I do care what happens to my world.

    I read carefully the layman’s explanations of why the globe was about to overheat, and then I read the (very rare in those early days) words of those who were sceptical – in the very best and honourable *scientific* meaning of the word. As the dispute grew, it was not so much that I believed the ‘sceptics’, as that I was *unconvinced* by the ‘warmers’ who, it seemed to me, were evading various ‘black holes’ in their propositions. Then, suddenly, the ‘warmers’ changed their name and became, er, ‘changers’, and that clinched it for me.

    Also, and this is totally unscientific for which I make no apology, the tone of the two sides was very apparent from the beginning of the dispute. The behaviour of their supporters is *not* the responsibility of the experts and I judge neither side by that. However, it was the behaviour of the experts themselves which absolutely clinched matters in my head. I will not reprise old disputes but the behaviour of the regulators at the RealClimate site was positively totalitarian in nature – to other scientists, not just their supporters. The shenanigans at UEA removed any doubts in my mind – and pleae don’t point at the laughable so-called ‘investigations’ which followed.

    Even so, I remain alert in case the ‘changers’ come up with something that actually stumps the ‘deniers’.

  30. #30 GSW
    September 19, 2011

    @David

    “I’d let them in my golf club any day, but you wouldn’t want one[scientists] to marry your daughter, would you?”

    Steady on old chap, you can’t tar us all with the same UEA brush, some of us are honest, upstanding members of the community, although I have to admit, the RS is doing us no favours and has taken a bit of a dive of late.
    ;)

  31. #31 Chris O'Neill
    September 19, 2011

    I failed to register

    Yep, that’s what morons do.

  32. #32 Jeff Harvey
    September 19, 2011

    Duffer,

    Put away the nonsense about ‘global cooling in the 70′s. That is pure and utter gibberish that has long since been debunked. Grow up.

    As far as Paul if concerned, he is one of the world’s leading scientists, and winner of the Craafoord Prize (The Nobel Prize equivalent in ecology). Given your deference to *some* Nobel Prize winners and their outlandish views, it is typical of you to write trash about someone whose empircal research you have never read.

    The you write, “*absolutely none of his catastrophic, apolcalyptic visions have come to pass*

    Really? The fact that almost one billion people today are receiving such little nutrition that there brains are literally wasting away? That’s more people than were alive in 1930. That extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times above the natural background rate? That the planet is losing as many as 30,000 genetically distinct populations every day? That groundwater stored under the Oglalla aquifer and the great aquifer underlying the China plain is being extracted at rates that far exceed recharge – and that within 20 years both will be depleted? That the Colorado River is dry before it reaches it mouth? That deserts are expanding across the globe, and are projected to expand rapidly in the coming 50 years, especially in drylands that are the bread baskets of the world? That 50% of tropcial forests are gone, and the Amazon lost a record amount of forest in 2010? That the Amazon has expereienced two devastating “once in a century” droughts in the past 5 years, and that more than 30% of these forests have been felled, high-grade logged or suffered understory loss via fire? That invasive plants and animals are decimating natural populations of native species on every continent? That coral reef bleaching is such an epidemic that within 50 years or less there will not be any corals left? That humans have fished down the food chain to such an extent that we’ve eliminated >90% of top level predators in coastal marine ecosystems and that these have been replaced by lower trophic levels such as jellyfish? I could go on and on but I will leave it there for now…

    Duffer, please go away, if you are going to continue to write such utter tripe. I know that you are scientifically illiterate but I gave you the benefit of the doubt. Then you come back with the nonsense of your last post.

  33. #33 David Duff
    September 19, 2011

    GSW, well, I’m not a harsh man and provided you wear a tie and don’t mention the war, er, the climate war, that is, we might make an exception in your case!

    Oh, Jeff, Jeff, sorry, but I can only give you E for effort on that one! I mean, you are supposed to keep the courtesy going for a bit longer than just one comment.

    If I may remind you gently, it was *you* who described Ehrlich as foolish for taking that bet, not me. As for scientific prizes they don’t mean a thing to me – it’s everyone else here who bandies about the various baubles and bangles of their favourite scientists so I just threw in his Nobel prize because I thought it was the done thing. Incidentally where or who is that well-known spelling mistake “Craafoord”, I’ve never heard of him, her or it?!

    As for your long list of so-called ‘disasters’, sorry, but they don’t impinge on me or mine. They are, so to speak, ‘local events, dear boy, local events’! (If you’re not English and over the age of 50 that last joke will not mean much, sorry.) What I mean is that I don’t care if the Amazon jungle loses all its trees. I once spent some time in a jungle and a thoroughly nasty, wet, smelly, God forsaken dump it was. The sooner the jungles are concreted over the better, then we can build houses and put in some nice theme parks to save all those ghastly things with four or more legs so that the little kiddies, and some soppy adults, an oooh and aaah over them – so long as they’re safely behind glass, that is!

    Anyway, you mentioned population but obviously you failed to take on my earlier comment pointing out that the global population is growing, not shrinking. The *rate* of increase is slowing but I suspect that’s mainly due to us ‘rich’ westerners failing to bother to breed because we’re ‘rich’ enough to look after ourselves in our old age, and let’s face it, kids are an expensive pain in the arse. Also, the Chinese mass murder of girl children and the one-child policy has also ‘helped’.

    Now, just so I can be clear about this because I am easily confused, are you a ‘warmer’ or a ‘changer’?

    Ooops!

  34. #34 David Duff
    September 19, 2011

    Sorry! Cut off my own tail, silly old fool that I am.

    What I meant to add was that you dismissed global cooling as “gibberish”. Actually, I think it is a possibility and if that is right then we are in for some considerable and very real difficulties. Seen the price of wheat recently?

  35. #35 Holly Stick
    September 19, 2011

    So Duff whinges about courtesy while he himself insults the scientist he is addressing:
    “…Also, you are quite right, I am not a scientist, I am glad to say because, quite frankly, well, it’s not a very respectable profession these days. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with scientists, I’d let them in my golf club any day, but you wouldn’t want one to marry your daughter, would you?…”

    Clutch those pearls, you hypocritical old fool.

  36. #36 David Duff
    September 19, 2011

    Holly, I’m distraught! Have I said something to upset you? After all, it is here, on this very blog, that the most vile insults are hurled from one set of scientists against another; usually, it must be stated in fairness, from the ‘Warmers’/'Changers’ against the ‘Sceptics’ because they outnumber them about ten to one. So, Holly, I hope you and I can join hands – that’ll be nice, won’t it? – and call for end to it and a return to civility. Then we can all be decent chaps and, er, chapettes, once again.

  37. #37 Jeff Harvey
    September 19, 2011

    *What I mean is that I don’t care if the Amazon jungle loses all its trees. I once spent some time in a jungle and a thoroughly nasty, wet, smelly, God forsaken dump it was. The sooner the jungles are concreted over the better, then we can build houses and put in some nice theme parks to save all those ghastly things with four or more legs so that the little kiddies, and some soppy adults, an oooh and aaah over them – so long as they’re safely behind glass, that is!*

    Anyone who writes such utter garbage as this DOES NOT DESERVE a polite reply. I will not be baited here. May I suggest, David, that you crawl back into the pit of ignorance from which you emerged?

  38. #38 David Duff
    September 19, 2011

    Oh dear! Have I said BLX in church? Better be off then, I suppose.

  39. #39 Nelthon
    September 19, 2011

    Duff isn’t even an interesting troll. Just ignore the child.

  40. #40 Bernard J.
    September 19, 2011

    You had better be off then. This is a science blog, and you’re using science as a six-month old baby would use a sharp knife.

  41. #41 SteveC
    September 19, 2011

    From the OP:

    I suspect we’d find a lot of commentators, many with no scientific qualifications, pouring scorn on our findings.

    And so it proved to be. Kudos to those here (e.g. Jeff, Bernard, et al) who’ve tried educating the assorted trolls, but really (and forgive the jaded tone), is it worth the effort?

  42. #42 Chris O'Neill
    September 19, 2011

    Our current moron:

    the Chinese mass murder of girl children

    Local events, dear boy, local events.

  43. #43 ben
    September 20, 2011

    Duff, it’s a good thing you didn’t bring up the whales.

  44. #44 David Duff
    September 20, 2011

    I had intended to make a dignified exit but I feel I must reply to Ben’s last comment.

    I can’t bring up whales, Ben, because I don’t eat them but I am told that parts of them are quite delicious. It’s possibly whale meat that has made the Japanese the vigorous and industrious people they are. Perhaps I should try it.

    And, Jeff, I do hope I haven’t upset you too much but I really don’t give a stuff for all those natural disasters – er, so long as they are nowhere near me – because they have happened ever since the world began to cool and form a globe. Rivers dry up, rivers erupt; mountains slide down, mountains are forced up; trees grow, trees die. However, the odd thing is that in the tiny little fragment of time in which we humans have been around, we have proved rather adept at, er, adapting. I see no reason why we shouldn’t continue so to do.

    Now, must pop round to my butcher and see if if he has any whale meat, I’d love to give it a try.

  45. #45 Wow
    September 20, 2011

    > It’s possibly whale meat that has made the Japanese the vigorous and industrious people they are.

    Eskimos eat whale meat and they live in the arctic.

    If you go eating whale meat, maybe you’ll end up in the arctic.

    And Dai, I guess you really don’t care about all those murders and how terrorists have blown people up because they’ve not blown anyone up you know.

    It’s nice to know you support terrorism.

  46. #46 chek
    September 20, 2011

    David Duff said :“… we humans have been around, we have proved rather adept at, er, adapting. I see no reason why we shouldn’t continue so to do”.

    Which is precisely the point, Duff.
    You’re not adapting to new circumstances, you’re ignoring the information about those circumstance because you don’t like them.

    And so will perish the criminally, stupidly smug.
    Wondering WTF just happened, I expect.

  47. #47 ben
    September 20, 2011

    And so will perish the criminally, stupidly smug. Wondering WTF just happened, I expect.

    Yeah, right, and so will perish the ordinary, stupidly smug. Seriously, how smug was the look on your face when you typed that?

  48. #48 Wow
    September 20, 2011

    Since Dai is the one leaving with a huff, ben dover, that would be irrelevant to chek’s statement on Dai running away like Brave Sir Robin.

    Seriously, how far was your head up your arse when you wrote that?

  49. #49 John Mashey
    September 20, 2011

    Firefox+Greasemonkey+KILLFILE

  50. #50 Joe
    September 21, 2011

    So shorter David Duff can be summed up as “Fuck everyone and everything that is not me.”

    Well at least you finally admitted that the reason you deny climate change is that as long as YOU do fine well who then climate change must not be too bad or non existent. And if a couple of million people or entire groups of species or even the odd ecosystem suffers, well that’s just too tough!

    Oh and your comment about jungles being nasty places that should be concreted over just shows your appalling ignorance of how intact ecosystems are vital to our survival as a species. Red up a bit more before blabbering on about things you clearly don’t understand.