Given the law of conservation of mass, how the heck can you say humans aren’t responsible?
David Piepgrass
1

#### A buffer “solution”

Imagine that atmospheric CO2 levels are part of a dynamic system that responds to perturbations, like a buffer solution reacts to acids and bases.

In a buffer solution, if you add acid, it is neutralized back to the buffer point. If you add base, it is neutralized (in the opposite direction of pH), back to the buffer point.

If this is true of the atmospheric CO2 system, new additions of CO2 are compensated for by increases in natural sinks, and we would also assume that new *sinks* of CO2 would be compensated for by increases in natural sources.

Mass is conserved, but the system is more dynamic than you thought it was.

#### Basic thermodynamics

Let’s do a slightly different example to illustrate how simple physics don’t apply to complex biology. Imagine a bucket of hot water, and a metal pipe. Through the simple application of thermodynamic laws, when you put one end of the metal pipe in the hot water, eventually that heat will travel through the pipe, and cause the other end to heat up.

Now, do the experiment with a person. Have them put one hand in the hot water. Tell me how long you’ll have to wait for their other hand to get warm as per the basic laws of thermodynamics.

As you may have intuited at this point, the problem is that the human body pursues homeostasis with all kinds of complex and interconnected systems, and will take the heat of the hot water in the bucket, and respond with sweating which would create evaporative cooling, or even slow the metabolism down in order to compensate. Wait as long as you want, and the hand out of water will still be a toasty 98.6 degrees :)

#### The demarcation problem

Uh… science isn’t done by gathering evidence?

While certainly a part of it, that’s not what makes science science. Astrology gathers evidence. They have all kinds of fancy charts and measurements, and telescopes. What they don’t have is falsifiability, and unless you understand that *that* is how to recognize science from pseudo-science, you end up falling down rat holes, and believing people who don’t deserve your trust.

#### Watch the data closely

Take a look at your graph again. Note the early period of warming in the early part of the 20th century is at the same rate as post-1970. The hiatus between 1940–1970 seems particularly odd, don’t you think?

I’m sure you’ll agree that CO2 emissions increased dramatically post WW2. How was a rate of warming (look at the slope) as fast as we saw post WW2 possible pre-WW2?

#### Trust no one

It’s counterproductive to assume scientists are corrupt, incompetent, and/or dishonest.

Insofar as being critical, I find rather than looking at someone and seeing if they wear a business suit or a lab coat, I ask them for their necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statement. The one who can show the goods is the one I’m going to pay more attention to :)

As Feynman famously said, “science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”.

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