Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Nasif S. Nahle - a look at Science in a Vacuum

{edited 7/16/14 evening}

Back on October 23, 2012, {Before creating WUWTW to funnel my "virtual dialogue with climate science denialist" types into}, I wrote a post about Nasif Nahle over at citizenschallenge.blogspot.com a biologist by training and experience.  The man's interests extend beyond biology to a whole spectrum of our planet's processes.  He's a guy I can identify with, you know that spirit of curiosity encompassing all of this creation we inhabit.

But Nahle has taken his passion a step further and we have our differences.  He occasionally comments, though always saying pretty much the same thing.  His most recent comment,
7/13/14 - It's not my own reality. Science has to do with experimentation. If you're a scientist, you could REPEAT my experiments and then report your results. As long as you don't do it, you'll be lying. (At Nasif S. Nahle... Google "Scholar"... and atmospheric CO2 cooling )
has inspired me to bring his conversation over here.  Like myself, Nahle has lots of conviction and we've invested a good deal of our lives soaking up all the information we can, devoting time to "specialize" here and there as we fancied.  Like myself among a certain crowd we've attained a degree "authority."  Even within our-own-eyes we feel we have attained an above average level of understanding and deserve some of the trust a few have in us. 

Now, here's where the difference comes in,
and it has to do with that all important "ego thing"
The big question: How full of our selves are we?

Myself, I believe in my understanding.  I do so because my decades long skeptical pursuit of information is a process, a life's adventure.  I am open to new information and validating that info is the game.  I have had my ego bruised and battered, publicly and privately by having my presumed understanding shown to be way out of date, or way off the mark.  But that's part of the fun - like getting bruised while cavorting on canyon lands slickrock, it's part of the game of life and learning, otherwise we wouldn't be out there in the first place.  

I appreciate that my understanding is provisional, always vulnerable to newer or better information.  Thing is, when proven wrong while the bruises heal whole new realms of understanding and appreciation have opened up to us.  I love it!  To me that's what life and growing and being witness to this incredible creation we were born into is all about. 

I also understand that folks who have spent years and live's focused on studying specific issues know way the heck more than I do.  Experts are experts for a very good reason!  And though at times I might think I know plenty and them mistaken - I'd never imagine that my fragmentary knowledge could trump their professional understanding.  Only fools could ever presume to achieve expert status with the ease of a bit of dedicated part-time study. 

And only a fool can't accept that the higher math of science is a "For Members Only" affair - if you don't comprehend it, you don't comprehend it and should butt out.  Making sweeping and earth-shattering claims with fragmentary understanding belongs to the realm delusion.

Yet, here we have a jack of all trades claiming to contradict decades worth of the generally accepted physics of atmospheric Carbon dioxide and Republican/Libertarians are eating it up. 

And the internet's echo-chamber is afire with this self-proclaimed professor claiming that a century's worth of investigation, including intensive studies by US Air Force scientists is bogus, because they missed a fundamental element in atmospheric radiative transfer - one that the biologist Nahle caught.  It boggles the mind that anyone can give this man's fantasy more than a moment's consideration before trashing it.

But nope, instead we have the Republican/Libertarian science denial machine embracing this contrarian Mr Nahle enabling his illusion to go viral and thus feeding yet more confusing bullshit to faith-based folks who don't want to know - rather pretending we still live in some 1950s world.  

Actually, we should get real, an awful lot of them want End Days to happen already, so catastrophic climate change is fine by them.  

That's what rationalists are dealing with, 
consider Nahle's words:
Other Nasif comments5/22/14  -  Science is based on evidence. Read the references, make the proper calculations and repeat my experiments. That's the only way to falsify what I say in my articles. Regarding my scholarity and CV, these are very clear and I can demonstrate it anytime and everywhere. on Nasif S. Nahle... Google "Scholar"... and atmospheric CO2 cooling 
4/5/14  -  I recommend you to examine the information in my papers and experiments, not my personality. Regarding the latter issue, I have nothing to hide and my work is based on scientific research. I always recommend to my readers to revise references, f√≥rmulas, etc. After doing it you will find that I'm adhered to science. on Nasif S. Nahle... Google "Scholar"... and atmospheric CO2 cooling 
3/28/14 - Sorry to tell you, but you're attacking me (ad hominem argument), not the science in my investigations. on Nasif S. Nahle... Google "Scholar"... and atmospheric CO2 cooling
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It dramatizes one of the favorite contrarian tactics - inviting, nay demanding, that a messenger type must actually redo experiments or personally assess the scientific data - implying that doing otherwise is somehow "lying".  Why it would be "lying" to not pretend to be an expert, I haven't figured out.  

The thing to remember is that it takes an expert to understand Nahle's formulas and experiments along with their context - telling me, or any lay-person, to 'see' it for themselves or shut up is pure crazy-making. 

Being a non-expert I take my cue from other clues, such as where has Nahle's papers been used or reviewed by actual experts working in the field?  The only place you'll find his work featured is his own blogs and contrarian blogs were politics rather than examining and learning is the order of the day.

Has Nahle's work become a part of the greater dialogue among experts?  No, it has not - that is with the exception of a few reviews where his errors are outlined and his work dismissed.

After all, please think about it - we have many complex modern marvels (various forms of communications, military heat seeking missiles, satellite Earth Observations, etc.) that depend on an exquisite understanding of the behavior of gases throughout all the layers of our atmosphere or these systems couldn't operate properly.  Yet they do.  

But, Nahle's message is that it's all a lie.  His thinking demands that we ignore the extensive research American military did of our atmosphere and it's various components in the 40s, 50s, 60s including all the technology subsequently built up around this precise knowledge.

Nahle claim makes no rational sense, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, not extraordinary rhetoric - and spending his efforts convincing uneducated lay-folks is not "science" it's politics. 
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A collection of informative links:

Nasif Nahle at his blog
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Original post at citizenschallenge.blogspot
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Nahle's academy
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Nahle's Wiki page, self authored 
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Joe B. makes claims supported by Nahle's work - these claims are stacked up against the science.
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Another look at Nahle's approach to science, including many links to further information.
Argument from Authority
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An introduction to Air Force atmospheric research
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Being a part-timer and out in the sticks, it's been difficult tracking down specific information regarding the early Air Force atmospheric testing that led the way to heat seeking missile development, but here's a good source of general information.  
Should anyone reading this know some details about the 
US Air Force's Geophysics Laboratory's atmospheric studies that were conducted at 
Hanscom AFB, MA in the 50s, 60s please do share.

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nasif Nahle is a crazy man - a slayer who thinks that more carbon dioxide cools the atmosphere instead of warming it.

It takes a very special form of denial and ignorance of all the evidence to think that.

citizenschallenge said...

FYI Nasif, I'm going to be heading out on a job a few days and there's a good chance there won't be any wifi where I'm going, so any comments may take a while to go through moderation.

Good providence Willing I'll be back.

Unknown said...

Well... I'm not a slayer and I'm not a denialist. I just carried out experiments that demonstrate that the global warming and climate change are not man-man-made phenomena, but absolutely natural.

citizenschallenge said...

Oh dear. First off, I doubt you are actually Nasif.
Second, I didn't call Nasif a "slayer" - though he most certainly is a climate science denialist.
Third, I'm sure Nasif is absolutely convinced he's discovered the "truth" and that tens of thousands of experts are ignorant.
Fourth, that he's convinced himself that the various modern marvels that depend on a thorough understanding of atmospheric gases and how their radiative physics function, actually operate by magic.
Fifth, that he's convinced himself that society injecting over 2.5 gigatonnes worth of greenhouse gases per month into our thin atmosphere has absolutely no impact on our atmosphere's dynamics.

But, that doesn't mean he knows what he's talking about!
Science in a vacuum is an ugly thing.
Why not try to learn about what real experts have discovered?

ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/climate-science-history
www.lenntech.com/greenhouse-effect/global-warming-history.htm

citizenschallenge said...

As for this "absolutely natural" business, increasing our atmosphere's GHG concentrations naturally increasing our atmosphere's insulation abilities and thus warming our planet is absolutely natural. No argument there.

What is unnatural is the extreme amounts of GHGs society has been injecting into our thin atmosphere in a geologic blink.