Monday, July 09, 2012

Claim of arsenic-eating bacteria refuted, while climate-change denialism sputters on.

Back in 2010, Science published a claimed discovery of a bacterium that substituted arsenic for phosphorous throughout its DNA.  Now that claim has been deflated by a couple of new papers, also published in Science.
It turns out that while the bacteria can tolerate high levels of arsenic, the bacteria need phosphorous to grow. This example illustrates that science is a self-correcting process. An initial erroneous claim is refuted by subsequent work.

The world of climate change denial is quite different: arguments that were refuted long ago pop up again and again: The Earth isn't warming. It's all the Urban Heat Island Effect. The Sun is getting warmer. It's atmospheric water vapor, not  carbon dioxide. Besides, the greenhouse effect violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Etc. Etc.

It really is like arguing with creationists: Evolution can't be happening,  because that would imply that the Bible isn't inerrant. The Bible is God's Revealed Truth. How do we know? Because the Bible is the word of God. And how do we know it's the word of God?  Because the Bible says so.

Just remember: you read it first on Rabett Run.


Pinko Punko said...

The latest post at Open Mind, concerning a WUWT screed is highly troubling. They are more aggressively embracing the "all science is corrupt, not just climate science" model now.

Anonymous said...

How dare you imply that creationism is mere bible thumping? Creationism became scientific before you were born and has been scientific and beyond (aka intelligent design, aka ID) for a quarter century. Of course evolution violates the second law of thermo. What could be more obvious? But there are lots of ramifications that make it even cleared for the thermo-challenged. Evolution produces irreducible complexity, which you almost know is not natural from the name alone. Meanwhile, the second law is related to entropy which is in turn related to information. Evolution creates information in violation of the law of conservation of information. This is closely related to specified complexity which is clearly related to irreducible complexity. All of this implies ID. Finally, the all powerful Explanatory Filter only allows ID as the explanation of any non-trivial evolutionary shenanigans.

Once you grasp the laws of science and beyond, there is a simple empirical test you can do yourself (ideally on the first day of a certain month) which makes it all clear in minutes. If nothing else, you will have to admit that compared to creationists your planetary physics deniers are unimaginative dullards.

Pete Dunkelberg

Anonymous said...

Pinko, "It's a conspiracy!" is a standard for cranks. See e.g.

Accusation: “No credible scientists or scientific agencies believe this theory”
Response: “That’s because they’re part of a conspiracy to hide the truth!”

Pete Dunkelberg

dbostrom said...

They are more aggressively embracing the "all science is corrupt, not just climate science" model now.

That's inevitable. The extra energy we're harboring can't be hidden and is going to be inexorably and increasingly visible in a steadily expanding range of research disciplines. Any discipline acknowledging what cannot remain invisible will have to be thrown into the corruption bucket; to accept observation of what can't vanish would require admitting being a victim of fallacy.

It's hopefully the case that as the pool of "corrupt" disciplines expands in range and depth the number of people equipped to believe in such an unlikely circumstance will diminish.

John Mashey said...

1) When it comes to zombie arguments, it is always worth citing SkS list.

2) NCSE has long helped the science teachers of America fend off creationist hassles. In last few years, they've started getting analogous requests on climate, have added a climate topic, and hired Mark McCaffrey.

NCSE's director Eugine Scott, coined the term Gish Gallop, useful in climate as well.

3) Still, another good analogy might be birthers, as a USA Today Editorial wrote:
'Taken together, these developments ought to leave the deniers in the same position as the "birthers," who continue to challenge President Obama's American citizenship — a vocal minority that refuses to accept overwhelming evidence.'

However, there is a good cast of characters who could vie for the Orly Taitz role.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lumpus Spookytooth, phd.

most people know that God did not write the Bible, but that's okay because you're just attempting to make Christianity in general look stupid, but instead make yourself look stupid by assuming ignorance.

Regarding climate change denial, the only way you get the scenario you want is through magical 300% positive feedbacks that don't exist and it's just as stupid as creationism.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lumpus Spookytooth, phd.

can we talk about arguments that you can't and won't refute such as

GAT is below average, so how do you know the below GAT temperatures are attributable to man?

atmospheric co2 is below average, so how do you know the below average levels have caused any warming?

here's your answers:

1 big pathetic appeal to authority, that's all you've got.

There exists no basis of comparison in global warming science because an example can be found at some point in history that refutes the narrative.

If a basis of comparion exists, please name it. Otherwise, please continue to cheap shot people's personal beliefs such as religion and tell us all why you're so right that you need to keep burning co2 to get the message out.

Anonymous said...

@pinko punko

I missed grandmaster gambino's latest dictate, how many people read it, 5?

Maybe that's because he censors everyone who disagress with him, which is pretty much everyone!

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Lumpus Spunkydrawers, Please refute this--when has an advanced, global civilization managed to survive a period of rapid climate change?

Dude, the "Global Average Temperature" is irrelevant to the present because we do not live in an "average" time. So, splain to me how we are supposed to feed, clothe and house 10 billion people when:
1)Fossil fuels are running out

2)Intensive agriculture is depleting one-time winfalls such as glacially deposited topsoil and deepwater aquifers

3)Climate is warming and research shows that GDP growth decreases on average by one percentage point for every degree the temperature rises

4)Oceans are acidifying so that there will be no coral reefs from where fish can spawn to replenish depleted fisheries stocks

5)And on and on.

Off topic--are you really as stupid as you appear?

dbostrom said...

While Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. PhD is dormant in his refractory period take a brief moment to note that ATI and their ideological inquisitor Chris Horner are on the hunt again:

American Tradition Institute seeks the release of emails with journalists to find details that could be used to discredit science

Targeted individuals include Katherine Hayhoe and Andrew Dessler.

Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that if ATI generates an actionable $10 of anger in each of 1000 climate blog enthusiasts, the Climate Science Defense Fund could enjoy a $10,000 boost in finances thanks to ATI, probably enough to put a lot of glue in ATI's treads.

Me, I'm $250 mad. Crazy too, maybe. Any other mad crazy people here?