Scientists: Universe 80,000,000 Years Older Than Previous Estimates

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Astrophysicists are updating their estimates of the age of the universe, and moving science closer to the moment of creation than ever before:

”It’s a big pat on the back for our understanding of the universe,” California Institute of Technology physicist Sean Carroll, who was not involved in the project, told The Associated Press. ”In terms of describing the current universe, I think we have a right to say we’re on the right track.”

The Big Bang — the most comprehensive theory of the universe’s beginning — says the visible portion of the universe was smaller than an atom when, in a split second, it exploded, cooled and expanded faster than the speed of light.

The Planck space probe looked back at the afterglow of the Big Bang, and those results have now added about 80 million years to the universe’s age, putting it at 13.81 billion years old.

The probe, named for the German physicist Max Planck, the originator of quantum physics, also found that the cosmos is expanding a bit slower than originally thought, has a little less of that mysterious dark energy than astronomers had figured and has a tad more normal matter. But scientists say those are small changes in calculations about the universe, whose numbers are so massive.

Dark Matter, of course, remains something of a theoretical construct whose existence has not been proven emphatically. However, it existence has been inferred from gravitational effects on physical objects that cannot be accounted for otherwise. It may turn out that there is no “dark matter” per se, but that the gravitational effects are due to something that our current science has not yet fully accounted for.

As for this discovery itself, it’s worth noting that another unmanned space vehicle has helped to enhance our understanding of the universe in which we live and, perhaps, bring us closer to the day when we understand how the universe came into existence.

Of course, none of this applies in the Bible Belt.

Photo via The Boston Globe

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Science & Technology
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Temperature estimates from thousands of years ago, however, are exact. To the degree. Literally. There the science is settled.

    Never mind.

    The Bible belt quip reeks of DSM-level issues, but that aside it does touch upon one of the most amazing ironies of our politics. For every hyper-secularist liberal hack on the Internet there are dozens if not scores if not hundreds or even thousands of people of faith. It’s a weird state of a democracy when such small numbers of people have such disproportionate political influence. Then again, the reverse of that would be far worse, I would think.

    That all said, I never was a science buff, and attended a New York public school system for goodness sake, so it’s a miracle I even can walk and chew gum simultaneously. I have no idea how old is the universe. And ultimately at a certain level I don’t care. What am I supposed to do about it? But I do prefer, however, to the extent my tax dollars directly fund or subsidize education and research, that they go to figuring out that question, rather than airheaded liberal arts pursuits. Having a better idea scientifically of how and why we got here has real value in the real world. Quite unlike gender studies, sociology, journalism, philosophy, humanities, political science, etc.

  2. jd says:

    Wow. They were 1/2 of one percent off? Inexcusable.

  3. Ben Wolf says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Make yourself useful and get me a sammich.

  4. Neil Hudelson says:

    Shorter Tsar: …

  5. Surreal American says:

    Shorter Tsar.

    Why not Smarter Tsar? They’re both equally non-existent.

  6. bk says:

    Hey Tsar, if the universe was a stock, I would short it. Now isn’t that chatteringly ironic?

  7. rudderpedals says:

    That’s a lot of missed birthday presents. I’m glad Doug’s on the hook for them and not me (I’m still trying to get a grip on entanglement)

  8. Tony W says:

    I’m just glad the BBT Theme Song remains reasonably accurate, not sure the Barenaked Ladies could do it justice if they tried again.

  9. cd6 says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    That all said, I never was a science buff

    Well knock me over with a feather

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    That all said, I never was a science buff,

    No shit….

  11. MM says:

    “I’m no science buff, therefore I know nothing about argument from incredulity”

  12. Scott O says:

    it’s a miracle I even can walk and chew gum simultaneously.

    Call me skeptical.

  13. Franklin says:

    the visible portion of the universe was smaller than an atom when, in a split second, it exploded, cooled and expanded faster than the speed of light.

    This sentence, if true, blows my mind.

  14. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    “moving science closer to the moment of creation onset than ever before:”

    Fixed it for you Doug. Please remember that “creation” implies intent and a “creator” and I know that you don’t want to sound like one of those Bible Belt guys.

    And all you other scientists out there–Keep the faith, baby!

  15. Dave says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: The beauty of science is nothing is settled if you have data to disprove a well known fact. Following that, I happen to live in a state where the people who think the Bible is 100% the word of God, and therefore science is wrong, hold most of the power and it sucks. These are the people who give us abstinence education despite the higher rates of : pregnancy out of wedlock, abortion rates and rates of new STI infections. But since the bible is 100% right and all science is the devil we know that both evolution and global warming are lies from the pits of hell. I mean just ask any Republican representative in on the House Science, Space and technology committee.

  16. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    As soon as I saw the headline, I made a prediction to myself: Doug will gloss over the truly significant information in this announcement to focus on the adjusted age of the universe (which is essentially a rounding error) and toss in a totally gratuitous cheap shot at creationists.

    Astonishingly, I was correct.

    The real significance here is that not only do we have more evidence for the “dark matter” theory, but we’re starting to get hints at just what its true nature is (besides a placeholder for a very significant amount of mass we can’t account for otherwise).

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio…

  17. aFloridian says:

    I think the “Bible Belt” comment was nothing more than an attempt to pander to a liberal readership that is often more hostile to Doug than the other bloggers. Too bad.

    A problem is I’ve often seen from both the religious and the atheists is a desire to try to force everyone else to see things your way and mock those that don’t. Yes, we’ve long known that religious folks do this, but I am constantly bombarded now by people who want to mock religion and talk about how any who isn’t an atheist is an idiot. I get tired of both.

  18. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @aFloridian: A problem is I’ve often seen from both the religious and the atheists is a desire to try to force everyone else to see things your way and mock those that don’t.

    A lot of liberal beliefs are, essentially, religion without that whole icky “God” thing. Look how they treat the heretics and blasphemers who don’t toe their fundamentalist line on, say, global warming.

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  20. C. Clavin says:

    Luckily this sort of meaningless research will now be cut.
    What a waste of good money.
    There are rich people who need more tax cuts dammit!!

  21. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    For a little historic context: 100 million years ago was about the midpoint of the Cretaceous period, and roughly half the length of the Mesozoic Era. So, as I said… rounding error.

  22. Tony W says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Look how they treat the heretics and blasphemers who don’t toe their fundamentalist line on, say, global warming.

    Mocking those who reject logic and reason against all evidence is not the same as subscribing to a indefensible and cynical doctrine written hundreds of years ago to keep the masses in their place.

    I never understood why somebody would promote “faith” as a good thing. Religion is the opposite of science – rigid belief despite the facts. It deserves no quarter among those who are truly interested in understanding and resolving the problems of the day.

  23. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tony W: I never understood why somebody would promote “faith” as a good thing. Religion is the opposite of science – rigid belief despite the facts. It deserves no quarter among those who are truly interested in understanding and resolving the problems of the day.

    There are a lot of people who don’t have a fully-developed internal moral compass. Religion offers an ethos and code of conduct and guiding moral principles to such people.

    And there are a lot of people who are both religious and scientific. The two are not necessarily in opposition; many people find them complementary. It’s only the fundamentalists on both sides who see them as incompatible.

  24. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Look how they treat the heretics and blasphemers who don’t toe their fundamentalist line on, say, global warming.

    Those people are ostracized because they are claiming that their denial of climate change is somehow scientifically based.

    As I keep writing, on the subject of climate change, there is significant scientific debate on it’s scope, extent, and ultimate effects (i.e. how big will it be and how bad will it be). But there is no serious question about (a) whether it is happening (it is) and (b) whether or not the human race is contributing to it (we are).

    But the fact that so many people deny both of those things, and claim the facts back them up (which they don’t), is the reason that they are ostracized.

    Oh, and on this particular subject, it’s not just liberals who go after people who don’t toe “the party line”… let’s not forget what happened to Jim Manzi a few years ago when he actually dared to say that Climate Change was happening as part of an article on NRO.

  25. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @matt bernius: And just what happens to those who question just how much human activity affects climate, who think that maybe global warming has been holding off an ice age, and who think that the backers of anthropogenic global warming have been engaging in some seriously questionable “science” to back their demands for radical changes in the way we conduct our lives?

    Oh, yeah, we know — we’ve seen it. The most recent example was the jihad waged against the Heartland Institute. And let’s not forget all those liberal “true believers in SCIENCE!!!!” who called for prosecuting and even lynching the “deniers.”

  26. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Find me examples of any mainstream scientists — you know, the ones who follow the modern scientific method and publish in actual peer reviewed journals or peer-reviewed books — who are making those arguments.

    Seriously. If you want to “do science” there are specific ways of doing it.

    And please don’t go down the utterly BS path of “vast conspiracy within the scientific community to suppress alternative research.” That’s repeatedly proven to be false.

    The fact is that the denier stuff is invariably self published or publishing in non-scientific sources, without process, and yet, wants to be taken seriously as “science.”

    You can’t have it both ways.

    Again, produce any actual science to support any of your ridiculous claims and I’ll read them. But don’t ask to be taken seriously if your not willing to play by the rules.

  27. Rob in CT says:

    I’ve always viewed “Dark Matter” as a placeholder. A physics term for “here there be dragons” basically. I also have little doubt physicists will figure it out eventually.

    As for the old, tired bit about religions w/o God: one can have quasi-religious belief in things without a deity, yes. It’s a little harder, though. God is the ultimate appeal to authority. Religion is like ideology with an appeal to supernatural authority. Philosophers and other thinkers at least have to construct an argument other than “my sky fairy says so.”

    The shot at liberals over global warming is dumb, though, for the reasons already stated. A far better choice would’ve been anti-vaxxers (who, while certainly not exclusively liberal, do seem to lean left). The core point is that belief that is unshakeable – belief immune from evidence – is not something to be celebrated.

    Oh, and the Heartland Institute is a pack of liars, Jenos. Wingnut welfare queens peddling nonsense.

    Who called for lynching?

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And just what happens to those who question just how much human activity affects climate, who think that maybe global warming has been holding off an ice age, and who think that the backers of anthropogenic global warming have been engaging in some seriously questionable “science” to back their demands for radical changes in the way we conduct our lives?

    They get called idiots and should be ignored…. If you had an ounce of intelligence you would already know that, but instead you call them martyrs for truth which is a joke.

  29. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The most recent example was the jihad waged against the Heartland Institute.

    Right… The Heartland Institute… i.e. the people who argued throughtout the 80’s that smoking doesn’t cause cancer. The folks who recently ran the “Unibomber believed in global warming campaign.” The same organization that has a habit of misrepresenting scientists statements — i.e. making them appear that they are denying climate change when they are not?

    Hard to understand how anyone would have a problem with their attempts to deny climate change.

    Show me one credible scientific thing that they have produced and again, I’d be willing to look at it.

    But don’t pretend that they are some type of victim.

  30. J-Dub says:

    Wow, just yesterday I learned that seals are actually dog mermaids and now this.

  31. matt bernius says:

    BTW, @Jenos Idanian #13 I see your “jihad against heartland” and raise you with accounts of intimidation, libel claim, anthrax scares, and death threats against climate scientists.

    Scientists who speak up quickly become targets. Both Milloy and his counterpart Marc Morano, who runs the site ClimateDepot.com and once declared that climate scientists “deserve to be publicly flogged,” occasionally publish the e-mail addresses of climate researchers, a stunt that can result in scientists receiving a flood of vitriolic messages. A few weeks before our meeting, Milloy had offered a $500 bounty for a video of anyone who would heckle Mann with “an alarmism-debunking” question during the California leg of his book tour. The hecklers never materialized but, as with the white powder in Mann’s letter (which the FBI determined to be cornstarch), the threat made an impact.

    Source: Popsci article linked above

  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @matt bernius: You really need to work on your arguing skills. Pulling off the “both sides do it” argument while at the same time trying the “my side is better than yours” argument is beyond most rhetoricians.

    And in the Heartland case, you have a very well-regarded figure on “your’ side that not only hacked into Heartland’s records, but actually forged a key document when he couldn’t find the “smoking gun” he desperately wanted to find.

    One would think that such conduct would make Peter Gleick a pariah among his peers, but he was forgiven his trespasses and rehabilitated, and once holds his position at the Pacific Institute.

  33. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Gleick did not hack into the Heartland account. He only released the results — which included the allegedly forged document. BTW, no one has proven the source of that particular memo. Nor has Gleick ever confessed to writing it. So there is no proof that Gleick was responsible for that.

    BTW, you seem to forget that deniers also have hacked into email accounts to release bomb shells.

    But speaking of needin to work on argumentative skills, I’m still waiting for all that scientific evidence you are going to produce to actual argue from facts that Climate Change isn’t happening or any of the other points you raised in your initial missive.

    So any time… Either produce some actual science or STFU.

  34. matt bernius says:

    Finally, as to why Gleick was reinstated, as well as a summary of the evidence against the claims that he forged the email, I suggest reading the following two summaries:
    > http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/07/peter-gleick-reinstated-heartland-expose?INTCMP=SRCH
    > http://scholarsandrogues.com/2012/06/07/memo-digital-forensics-pr-lakely/

  35. C. Clavin says:

    Jenos actually typed:

    “…There are a lot of people who don’t have a fully-developed internal moral compass….”

    With no apparent sense of self-awareness.

  36. C. Clavin says:

    “…So any time… Either produce some actual science or STFU…”

    I would presume the operative word there is “ACTUAL”

  37. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @matt bernius: So any time… Either produce some actual science or STFU.

    I bet my PhD in climatology is as far along as yours (as in, nonexistent), so I won’t bother getting into “my experts can beat up your experts” games. And I find it quite disheartening that someone who claims to have such reverence for SCIENCE!!!! is so intolerant of skepticism and so fiercely protective of your One True Faith against the heretics and infidels.

    Instead, I’ll bring up things that I can readily understand, and show why I’m so skeptical about your SCIENCE!!!!

    1) Some of the loudest voices on the subject of global warming/climate change have some of the biggest carbon footprints. Al Gore is probably the most prominent, with his mansions and private jets. As Professor Reynolds likes to say, “I’ll believe there’s a crisis when those who say there’s a crisis start acting like there’s a crisis.”

    2) Many of the same arguments used to support global warming were also used to argue in favor of global cooling. And now are being used to talk about “climate change.”

    3) It seems like everything that happens is linked to global warming. Even opposites. We were warned of an above-average hurricane season because of global warming. Then we had a below-average hurrcane season, and that was proof, too. We were told that we’d have more severe winters because of climate change, and then mild winters were proof of it. And average winters? Proof, too.

    4) I’ve yet to see a believer in SCIENCE!!!! cite something that would be evidence against climate change. I’ve never heard anyone say “if X happens, it shows that climate change is a real problem, but if Y happens, it’s evidence that it isn’t such a pressing concern.” (This is closely related to #3, but different enough to deserve its own point.

    5) The biggest contributors of greenhouse gases are developing countries like China and India (especially China), but all the attention seems to be on the US — which has been reducing its greenhouse gases fairly steadily for some time now. If it’s a real problem, why aren’t the major producers being harangued?

    6) For most of my life, I’ve been told that the biggest problems we face all require the same kind of solution: the US must radically change our fundamental way of life in some way. After all these years of hearing all these different problems all come with the same proposed solution, and so many of them quietly fading away without that solution coming to pass, I’m a bit cynical and find myself wondering if the “solution” is the real goal, and all these “crises”:just excuses to try to achieve it.

    7) This one is out there in conspiracy theory land, but it hangs together enough to make me wonder. So many of the “clean energy” solutions seem to hinge on China. They hold a significant percentage of the available rare earth elements that are proving critical in various energy solutions, meaning that they stand to profit greatly from growth in that area. At the same time, they are a huge producer of greenhouse gases and lots of other pollutants, yet are never cited as the “environmental villains” like oil companies and electric utilities and coal mines are. That makes my spider sense tingle something fierce.

    That’s just seven examples of why I’m a skeptic about this whole thing. I could probably cite another seven, but this isn’t my blog. And I’m not saying that it isn’t real; I’m just saying that I haven’t been convinced as of yet.

    And those who, like me, don’t have the scientific background to properly analyze all these studies and reports and come up with an informed opinion, yet are still True Believers in your cause… how effing gullible are you?

    It might not be gullibility. It could be some innate need to feel sanctimonious about something. It could be a bit of inferiority, and you think you’re borrowing the intellect of others by parroting things you can’t possibly fully understand. It could be sheer pig-headedness in that you have convinced yourself that if certain people oppose a thing, it must be good and right.

    Or there could be other reasons why you reject the innate scientific trait of skepticism and instead have embraced this new faith-based climatology. Quite frankly, I don’t care.

  38. Scott O says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    There are a lot of people who don’t have a fully-developed internal moral compass.

    This reminds me of something I heard recently. It was a suggestion, half serious, that atheists shouldn’t try to convince religious folks that there is no god because if they were successful those former believers would become robbers and rapists.

  39. Scott O says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    1) Totally irrelevant.

    2) BS, but feel free to give us some links.

    3) It seems?

    4) I believe in think SCIENCE!!! is how we figure things out. But I’ll play your game. If by the year 2000 we don’t see glaciers much smaller than they were in pictures from the 1930s that would be evidence that global warming isn’t occurring.

    5) We don’t live in China.

    6) I thought we were discussing whether or not global warming is happening.

    7) Get some tinfoil.

  40. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Scott O: Actually, the debate is a lot more concrete: do we need to make radical changes in how we live our lives because of global warming? On that, I’m remaining skeptical.

  41. Ben Wolf says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    1) Yes, we need to change our souces of energy.

    2) No, we aren’t going to make that change.

    3) We’re very likely already locked in for a 3-4C rise in global temperatures, which is game over for our civilization. We waited too long.

  42. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Ben Wolf: 1) Absolutely. And just who is holding up so many energy sources? Here’s a hint: it ain’t the right that protests nuclear power plants, wind farms that might hurt birds, solar farms that might inconvenience the deserts, and other proposed solutions.

    2) I’m all for it.

    3) If we’re already doomed, then why the hell not party like it’s 1999? If we’re already falling off the cliff, why not enjoy the flight?

  43. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Wow, so much crap, so little to actually say…

    I find it quite disheartening that someone who claims to have such reverence for SCIENCE!!!! is so intolerant of skepticism and so fiercely protective of your One True Faith against the heretics and infidels.

    Let’s start here. I am actually very supportive of skepticism. However, what you are practicing is not skepticism, it’s denialism that pretends to be skepticism.

    True skepticism — which all science is based on — required you not only to “not trust” the other party’s assumptions, but to also not trust your own assumptions. Therefore, a true skeptic seeks out the scientific information and facts to test both assumptions. Looking at the basis for your skepticism, it’s clear you’ve never attempted to do so as your “proof” either has nothing to do with the “science” of the issue (see item #’s 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7), is demonstratively a false premise (see item # 2), fails to understand the concept of science (see item # 4), or is based on a flawed understanding of what scientists are saying (see item # 3).

    Moreover, the fact you refuse to provide even a few links to anything peer reviewed, scientifically published literature to back up any of your initial claims again demonstrates the weakness of the “skepticism” that you are basing your argument on. And the retreat to “neither of us are Climatology PhD’s” is a cowards position that doesn’t understand the production/use of science or being an honest skeptic.

    As for your other points:

    #1 Al Gore has a big carbon footprint… So frickin what? Tell me what does this have to do with the SCIENCE of global warming. So immediately, you demonstrate that you don’t care about scientific facts… only your personal biases. At best you are mistaking political skepticism for scientific skepticism — they are not the same thing.

    #2 Scientists predicted a new Ice Age in the 70’s. Total bullshit. Of 68 climate papers published in peer review during the 70’s, only 10% suggest global cooling, 28% took no stance, and 52% PREDICTED WARMING (source with citations). A few people published popular books on the possibility of a coming ice age. It was far more of a popular media story than anything else (you know that MSM you tell me you don’t trust in general). The study of Global Warming/Climate Change, on the other hand started in the mid 50’s and has continued since them.

    Further, the fact your are citing this demonstrates your misunderstanding of skepticism, as the entire “scientists predicted an ice age in the 70’s” is so easily disproven. For the basic facts, with citations to back up their claims, see the above link.

    #3 – It’s alway’s caused by global warming. First, if you took to time to research this (again, the action of a real skeptic) you would know this is a great example of a topic where scientists are actual skeptical and are continually trying to understand what relationship, if any, there is between extreme weather and climate change. And this is an area where current research has overturned past findings.

    The short answer, when it comes to hurricanes, is that initial predictions that climate change would increase the number of hurricanes was incorrect. Though, if you look at tropical storms versus hurricanes, the number has steadily continued to climb at pace with warming trends.

    Getting back to hurricanes there has been an overall increase in *rainfall* and *flooding* from hurricanes which corresponds to predictions about the effect of climate change. And few scientists have attempted to claim — as you suggest — that reduced numbers of hurricanes are a result of global warming. (Source with citations)

    Again, a real skeptic would have looked into this.

    #4a – Never seen anyone cite something that would be evidence against climate change.
    First of all, please point me to anything a denier… er, skeptic has written suggesting climate change could be happening. Bu beyond that, see the actual story about the evolving science around hurricanes for an example of saying something is not being caused by climate change. If your thesis was true they would not even admit that there were less hurricanes.

    #4b – “I’ve never heard anyone say “if X happens, it shows that climate change is a real problem, but if Y happens, it’s evidence that it isn’t such a pressing concern.”
    That’s because, generally speaking, most of the widely predicted X’s have all come true (melting of arctic sea ice, retreat of glaciers, rise of sea levels, etc). But more so, what you are suggesting isn’t how science is practiced. And, btw, when deniers attempt to debunk claims, i.e. say X isn’t happening, you end up with stuff like this (skeptics having to admit AGW).

    Continued in second post to avoid spam filter.

  44. matt bernius says:

    As for the rest:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    #5 – “The biggest contributors of greenhouse gases are developing countries like China and India (especially China), but all the attention seems to be on the US”
    Correct. Scientists agree with you. This is a policy issue, *not* a scientific one. Again you confuse political skepticism with scientific skepticism and use your concerns about the former to justify your continued denial of the latter.

    #6 – “After all these years of hearing all these different problems all come with the same proposed solution, and so many of them quietly fading away without that solution coming to pass, I’m a bit cynical and find myself wondering if the “solution” is the real goal, and all these “crises”:just excuses to try to achieve it.”

    Again, what does this have to do with science? Further, couldn’t this be used as a rational to be skeptical of the debt crisis? Or the social security crisis. Again, this is policy issue, not a scientific one. So no true scientific skepticism there.

    #7 – China conspiracy
    This makes absolutely no sense… especially since research demonstrating global warming began in the 70’s. Again there is no science here.

    So to tally it up, only two of your 7 seven reasons to be skeptical about the science have anything to with the science. And of those, neither really address the facts, only your flawed and easily corrected understanding of the facts. Most of the 7 rely on dodgy logic and easily dis-proven facts.

    This is not skepticism, You are not a skeptic on this issue (at least of the science).

    You are a denier trying to pretending you know something when all you know is bullshit. And that’s why I don’t have to respect your skepticism. Because it isn’t skepticism at all.

  45. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @matt bernius: Apparently you skipped right over my opening, so let me sum it up for you:

    I’m no scientist, I have no Ph.D in climatology, and I have no pretensions that I am qualified to evaluate scientific research. Which means that any such arguments from me would boil down to “my expert can beat up your expert,” and that’s totally pointless. Instead, I base my skepticism on the points I cited — areas where I do feel I am qualified to make judgments. So all your efforts to show that my points aren’t scientific? Congrats, you showed what I declared up front. Please report to the Department of Superfluous Redundancies Department.

    I cited Al Gore because he has been awarded multiple prizes and citations as an expert on spreading the word on global warming, including a Nobel Prize, for his work in that area. If a man so well-versed in the matter acts like there’s no real crisis, then that’s a hefty blow to the credibility of the cause of which he is so closely tied and has been so widely honored.

    For most of my life, I’ve heard about “because of X, we need to radically change how much energy we use, and what kind of energy we use,” where X has been any number of reasons. “Climate change” is merely the latest. While I happen to agree with the sentiment — we do need to move away from fossil fuels, and as a general principle we should use less energy if we can — inevitably X has turned out to be BS. The problem that has yet to be addressed is that 1) fossil fuels, especially petroleum, are incredibly efficient sources of energy, and 2) so much of our infrastructure is devoted to the very efficient refinement and use of fossil fuels — to the point where any substitute has a huge handicap compared to fossil fuels. Hell, just look at the way we handle gasoline — huge networks of pipelines, tanker trucks and ships and train cars, and gas stations everywhere. Plus about a century of development into gasoline-powered vehicles to wring every bit of efficiency out of every drop of gas. There’s a lot of inertia invested in that system.

  46. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Apparently you skipped right over my opening

    No, I read it. But since you took the time to respond even after this went off of the homepage, I’ll do the same.

    I’m no scientist, I have no Ph.D in climatology, and I have no pretensions that I am qualified to evaluate scientific research. Which means that any such arguments from me would boil down to “my expert can beat up your expert,” and that’s totally pointless.

    Jenos, already you’ve demonstrated a profound lack of understanding of how science works. Of course you’re not a climate expert. Neither am I. That’s why science relies on the peer review process in which people who *are* experts check the work of other people claiming to be experts.

    The problem with Climate Deniers, is that they pretend that this system doesn’t exist or doesn’t work. You cannot find experts working within the scientific process who are skeptical of the following facts:

    1. The earth is warming at a previously unheard of rate, and
    2. Humans are playing a significant role in that warming process.

    Beyond that, there is actually a lot of skepticism about many things. But those two facts are not in question, except by deniers who claim to be skeptics.

    This isn’t expert vs. expert. This is wingnut versus science. Science wins here. And anyone who pretends it is expect vs. expert cannot claim to be an honest skeptic.

    Instead, I base my skepticism on the points I cited — areas where I do feel I am qualified to make judgments. So all your efforts to show that my points aren’t scientific? Congrats, you showed what I declared up front. Please report to the Department of Superfluous Redundancies Department.

    So you admit that the basis for your skepiticsm of climate *science* is completely *unscientific.*

    This is exactly why I have said you are not an honest skeptic. An honest skeptic deals with the science. A dishonest skeptic (i.e. a denier) such as you invents reasons to avoid actually dealing with the science.

    You are, by your own admission, an irrational denier of science.

    And that is why I don’t have to respect your viewpoint on this subject.