According to the IPCC, “greenhouse gases” send back to the surface some IR radiation which originally came from the surface, thus increasing the surface temperature:
“The Sun powers Earth’s climate, radiating energy at very short wavelengths, predominately in the visible or near-visible (e.g., ultraviolet) part of the spectrum. Roughly one-third of the solar energy that reaches the top of Earth’s atmosphere is reflected directly back to space. The remaining two-thirds is absorbed by the surface and, to a lesser extent, by the atmosphere. To balance the absorbed incoming energy, the Earth must, on average, radiate the same amount of energy back to space. Because the Earth is much colder than the Sun, it radiates at much longer wavelengths, primarily in the infrared part of the spectrum. Much of this thermal radiation emitted by the land and ocean is absorbed by the atmosphere, including clouds, and re-radiated back to Earth. This is called the greenhouse effect. The glass walls in a greenhouse reduce airflow and increase the temperature of the air inside. Analogously, but through a different physical process, the Earth’s greenhouse effect warms the surface of the planet. Without the natural greenhouse effect, the average temperature at Earth’s surface would be below the freezing point of water. Thus, Earth’s natural greenhouse effect makes life as we know it possible. However, human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests, have greatly intensified the natural greenhouse effect, causing global warming.”
Recall what we discussed in a previous post: in science, what we seek to identify is the physical principle which underlies a phenomenon. By identifying and understanding the underlying principle, we thus understand reality. If we can mathematize the principle and justify it on a-priori mathematical absolutivity, then the phenomenon becomes a scientific Law, such as the Laws of Thermodynamics or Kepler’s Law of Universal Gravitation, or the Laws of Least Action or Least Time. We can also engineer the physical principle and use it to our benefit, to produce products, services, and generally, to create wealth and increase the standard of living of people, etc.
The obvious question: is the underlying principle of the atmospheric greenhouse effect actually defined, anywhere?
All I have to tell you, is that “No, it is not.”
What does the IPCC, the world’s supposedly most scientifically informed organization on climate matters, have to say about the greenhouse effect? Only that it is analogous to, but different from, the glass walls in a greenhouse. That’s no definition of a scientific principle! And yes, that is the sound of my voice laughing!! What the hell does “analogous to, but different from” have to do with stating a scientific principle? Nothing. The IPCC proves that the AGHE can’t actually even be defined. If they could define it, and if anyone could, they would, but they don’t, and never have. As I’ve said elsewhere, the AGHE is an enigma, a comparison of two numbers who’s comparison simply doesn’t have a physically defined meaning at all.
But let’s look into the logic of this explanation by the IPCC a little deeper. First, what do they say about how a real greenhouse functions: “The glass walls in a greenhouse reduce airflow and increase the temperature of the air inside.”
This statement isn’t even correct. Glass walls do indeed reduce airflow, but it is not really the walls which are most important – the IPCC forgot to mention the ceiling. Then they say “and increase the temperature”, which means that the glass walls are the cause of the increase in temperature. Do the glass walls have a source of heat? Do they generate power? They don’t do those things of course, and so it makes no sense to say that the walls “increase the temperature”. The walls are inert objects and have no way of affecting the ambient temperature, in a causal sense, at all. What the walls (and ceiling) do represent is better described as a boundary condition of the physical phase-space; they don’t cause something to happen, but they affect what the actual originating causes have in effect on the system they bound.
What really happens in a real greenhouse is that sunshine, which as we have seen can generate extremely warm temperatures approaching +100oC, warms the interior surfaces inside the greenhouse because sunlight passes through the glass ceiling and walls. Have you ever been on a hot sandy beach where the sand burns your feet? That is what sunlight can do to surfaces. What happens next, on a beach, is that the air in contact with the hot sand warms up by conduction, then rises, expands, and cools, and cooler air from above comes down and replaces the warm which has displaced it. This process is called convection, and it happens automatically, all the time. But what would happen if you could stop convection?
If you stopped convection, the air in contact with the hot ground wouldn’t rise away, and so that air would just keep increasing in temperature until it matched the temperature of the ground. Given that the ground is heated to high temperature from the sunlight, that means the air will also become very hot. That is the underlying physical principle which governs the behaviour of a real greenhouse. See how that works? See how the underlying physical principle can be identified, manipulated, and engineered? See how it makes sense, is clearly identifiable, describable, and explainable? See how it does what you expect it to, once you’ve identified the boundary conditions? The glass-ceiling allows sunlight to enter but then it stops the warm air, heated by contact with the sunlight-heated surfaces inside the greenhouse, from rising away, expanding, and cooling. The warm air gets trapped, and so it keeps on warming up to the ability of the input sunshine to generate temperature. There is no more heat generation occurring than that which is coming from the input sunshine in the first place, and it is the rigid glass barrier which causes the warm air to be trapped.
A commentator on another thread quoted this description of the GHE he had been given:
“Triatomic molecules (H2O, CO2, NO2, etc.) in the atmosphere absorb the infrared coming up from the planet’s surface and re-emit that radiation in all directions, including back to the surface, thereby preventing that radiation from escaping directly into space. This is what creates the greenhouse effect. It’s very similar to how a blanket keeps you warm on a cold night. The blanket doesn’t create any heat itself – it just keeps heat from escaping.”
This is very similar to the IPCC explanation, and notice the related statement that “radiation prevented from escaping to space is what creates the GHE“. Well, that’s not how a real greenhouse works, which functions by trapping hot air, and so the analogy is that trapping radiation has the same effect as trapping hot air.
This is a very subtle ruse, so we must go through this carefully. When the air gets trapped, it is able to continue heating up to the temperature of the sunlight-heated surfaces it is in contact with. The air gets to a higher temperature than it would have been if it were free to rise and expand. But, does trapped radiation rise to a higher temperature? Does trapping radiation shift its frequency spectrum and make it hotter? No it does not. The radiation from the surface is an output result from the temperature that the surface already has, and so the radiation already corresponds to that temperature. The radiation does not increase in temperature, nor can it create an increase in temperature.
However, here’s the real thing: a real greenhouse also traps radiation, but this trapped radiation has no effect on the temperature inside. There are thousands of real greenhouses in the world. Thousands. We have a lot of greenhouses. It has never been reported, from any of these real greenhouses, that increasing the carbon dioxide concentration inside the greenhouse caused an increase in temperature. Never! And, it has never been understood that the trapped radiation inside a greenhouse contributes in any way to the air temperature inside, but only that the cessation of convective cooling is what changes the temperature inside.
So, the atmospheric greenhouse effect is said to cause heating on the surface by virtue of an (supposed) underlying physical principle, backradiation, by which a real greenhouse does not actually function, even though a real greenhouse also has backradiation. A real greenhouse has backradiation but the backradiation has nothing to do with the heat inside. You’re then tricked into thinking that the trapped hot air inside a real greenhouse is somehow analogous or similar to this non-existent underlying physical principle of backradiation heating.
Is that not an amazing degree of fraudulent subtlety? It is no wonder that so few people are able to see through the lie.
Thus the IPCC totally dismantles the causal chain in a real greenhouse, and then says that the atmospheric greenhouse effect is “analogous but different” to this a-causal and non-existent sequence. The IPCC has completely abandoned the world of rationality and reality and a hyperreal simulacrum has then been shoved between your eyes and the underlying truth.
In regards to the “blanket analogy”, again, a blanket functions by preventing convective cooling, just like a real greenhouse. Blankets have nothing to do with trapping backradiation, and only everything to do with trapping warmed air. The same is true for insulation in a house, etc. Backradiation and blankets or insulation have nothing to do with each other, and this is part of the same ruse as described above. Even so-called space blankets only work by trapping warm air; they’re convenient for backpacking, emergency supplies, etc., because they are a rigid structure that can be folded and stored into an extremely compact space, and because they are extremely light weight. They can outperform a “cloth” blanket because any cloth blanket is permeable to air and so is not 100% efficient at trapping hot air, whereas the space-blanket is totally impermeable to air and doesn’t allow any air exchange through its surface at all.
Note that real blankets and real greenhouses do the opposite thing that the atmosphere actually does, or in other words they stop the atmosphere from doing what it would naturally do, which is have warm air rise, expand, and cool. That is exactly what CO2 does as well, and it does nothing to prevent it because it is part of that process.
Here’s the thing: if there is an underlying physical principle borne out of the laws of reality in which an object can heat itself up some more, to a higher temperature than the input energy creating the heat in the first place, then the principle should be clearly defined and with a direct explanation as to the mechanism, without recourse to non-existent analogies. Further, the principle should be engineerable, and thus exploitable, and concise demonstrations of the function, without confounding analogies and effects from unrelated phenomena (such as hot air trapping), should be made.
You can do work with temperature. That is important. The underlying premise of the AGHE is that backradiation (i.e. self-radiation) makes the surface hotter than the input. If you can make something hotter than the input, you can then get more work output than the input. You can thus see how important and useful such a thing would be if we could identify the functioning principle and thus engineer it. But you also can see that it is a plain violation of thermodynamics. So, if it can be engineered, then please do it! Please, show that it can be done. Be the first person to beat the Laws of Thermodynamics. The world will rejoice at the possibilities unleashed.
Now if other supporters of the AGHE want to say that it only traps heat at night and slows down cooling, well, they’re just inventing a new version of the AGHE which therefore means nothing, and it also destroys the scientific credibility and integrity of the entire premise. We may thus actually state that the scientific credibility and integrity of the AGHE has already been destroyed. The whole atmosphere retains heat at night and greenhouse gases have nothing to do with this fact, and, the real place where heat actually gets trapped and then released at night, keeping things warmer, is in the latent heat of H2O, which has nothing to do with backradiation and the AGHE. Also, the 99% of the atmosphere which is nitrogen and oxygen do not radiate, which means that they are almost 100% efficient at retaining heat overnight. Greenhouse gases, on the other hand, do radiate, and so they are the portion of the atmosphere that actually allows for atmospheric heat loss. This is just another example of the subtle but sophisticated ruse that is the anti-human philosophy centered around the atmospheric greenhouse effect.
See Alan Siddons’ related article on this issue here.
“If we can mathematize the principle and justify it on a-priori mathematical absolutivity, then the phenomenon becomes a scientific Law….”
a-priori means to be without a prior principle, fact, or evidence. It means just popped out of nothingness. This is absolute nonsense. If scientific laws popped up that way, they would simply be arbitrary and without foundation in fact, observation, and experiment. They would be right only by accident. Since there are vastly more ways to be wrong than right, it would very likely be fatal to rely on such laws.
You bypass a proper epistemology in which ALL knowledge is derived from observation, experience, and experiment. Even math has such a foundation. None of it has simply popped out of nothingness. It takes a vast amount of observation, experience, and experiment even to arrive at the notion of math let alone to discover the laws of nature.
There are three logical states: true, false, and arbitrary (neither true nor false). The arbitrary has no connection with reality and is not even false. One might attempt to connect the arbitrary to reality and determine that it is either true or false, but until that is done it contains no information and must be treated as such.
Math is not a cause of anything. It is only a result … a consequence. The so called pure maths pretend to be only self reflexive but they too derive from the self same source of all knowledge: observation, experience, and experiment,
Reality is real and NOT subject to our whims, notions, fantasies, and psychotic ideas no matter how much we want them to be in control nor how beneficial we might think it would be. Magic is inoperative in this universe and wishful thinking is totally ineffective in bringing it about. Yet that is exactly what you are using when you call on “a-priori mathematical absolutivity” to produce scientific laws.
I suggest that you stop guessing and start looking at reality, thinking about what you see, and checking your premises that guide you to your conclusions!
Thanks Lionel. However, I do not agree that reality simply is, without reason. Improvements have been made in Idealism since Kant.
1. from a general law to a particular instance; valid independently of observation. Compare a posteriori ( def 1 ) .
2. existing in the mind prior to and independent of experience, as a faculty or character trait. Compare a posteriori ( def 2 ) .
3. not based on prior study or examination; nonanalytic: an a priori judgment.
Valid independently of observation is the important part. 1+1=2 is valid independent of observation. The Law of Least Time is a mathematical law, Thermodynamics is large number theory, Kepler’s Law of Gravitation is mathematical.
I reject that knowledge is limited to observation. Observation, experience, and experiment do not comprise the totality of existence: WHERE are the laws of physics? WHY are they mathematical? WHY does something exist rather than nothing? If these questions aren’t approachable, then that means that reality is unknowable, and arbitrary. We can’t explain why, it just is. We’re then limited to a sense-perception comprehension of reality, believing something like the color red is real or that motives are found in objects themselves, rather than what uses them. I have no reason to be satisfied with that or refrain from thinking differently. Observation, experience, and experiment can not explain Why, they simply state what is. The mind, rationality, and mathematical logic explains Why.
There is no magic in 1+1=2. Although in a sense it is magical because it is the only thing which is a-priori and independent of experimentation. This is essential proof that ontological mathematics is indeed the cause of reality. I agree that reality is real; I simply want to understand why.
Stop that supercilious crap that you must know everything before you can know anything. If that were true, you can not even know that. If you know everything, you would not be asking “Why?”. If you didn’t know something, you wouldn’t be posting on the internet. So cut the crap!
You cannot know “1” without observation, experience, experiment, and thinking about those things. That one thing and one thing makes a conceptual two things is firmly based upon knowing “1” first. It is not, never was, and never will be a-priori. You can call it that but calling something a name does not make it that thing.
You are falling for one of the oldest intellectual scams: the analytic and synthetic dichotomy. Which, on the surface, analytic means true according to your definitions and synthetic means presumed true because of empirical evidence. However, at its base, means If it is about reality you cannot know that it is true and that if you know it is true it cannot be about reality. This is the intellectual scam that Plato, Kant, and all of their subsequent followers pulled to destroy the mind of man and make room for faith and the ultimate rape and pillage of civilization that is currently well underway.
The so called advances in Idealism resulted in Post Modern Philosophy which holds that man cannot know anything and Post Normal Science which holds that knowledge consists of agreement among the chosen ones. Reality is unknown, unknowable, and rejected by the practitioners of your so called Idealism. Climatism is but one of its far too many instances.
The concept “why” is much equivocated. In common language it is taken to mean how did something become as it is. However, the real meaning is what is its purpose? Purpose pertains only to rational conscious entities of which we know only one: man. To ask the why of natural law and of the universe is to presume that a rational conscious entity created the universe and had a purpose for doing it. If such an entity exists, produce him/her/it and demonstrate the mechanism by which he/she/it created the universe and the natural laws that guide it. Then, have him/her/it tell us what was/is its purpose. Until you can do that, we can know that only man can have purpose and his purpose is totally and completely up to him. The universe and all that is in it merely is and does according to what it is. There is a lot of how, some of which we know, but there is no purpose beyond what we make of it. I plan to make the most of it and I invite you to do the same.
This post is an excellent examination of the “how” and “what” and breaks apart the false and deceptive description of the “greenhouse gas” effect. When you deal with reality, you bring clarity and logic to the discussion and that has enduring value.
However, again you fall into the trap of “why”. The universe really is just is. The “why” is an entirely human defined artificial construct that means nothing to the universe. That we can say 1 + 1 = 2 is a purely human created and artificial notation we use to describe relationships that we perceive in the universe around us. It is just as valid to say 1 + 1 = 10. The very structure of mathematics is based around our perception of the universe around us. We have 10 digits on our hands, hence a base 10 numbering system makes sense to us. We use a technology that stores and transfers data as a binary state. That is why binary notation makes sense to us.
Try and delve into the “why” and you fall into the realm of dogma which is inhabited by the religious deceivers that you despise so much. The universe just is. The laws are not “stored” anywhere. They are just a human notation for describing relationships that we experience in the universe around us.
Stay in the reality of the “how” and “what”. Do not get lost in the meaningless discussion of “why”. It is a pointless and circular argument with no resolution because it has no basis in the reality of the universe.
You’re misinterpreting a lot of what I said and redefining it. That is ok.
There is only one question that truly exists: Why is there something rather than nothing?
There is no greater question. It does not imply the need for a purpose. Although, as you point out, we somehow create our own purpose, i.e. “I plan to make the most of it”, as you said. That’s probably the next-most important and obvious question to ask: Why do we create purpose?
As for the nihilists who also deny purpose, they can thus deny themselves, and they do, via Climatism! If existence is pointless besides being hedonistic, this is merely nihilism; evolution will not favor minds as these.
Of course, Plato and the related philosophy did not create Christianity, but Christianity copied many of the elements and went insane with it. That not Plato’s fault, it is the fault of every stupid individual who chose to be stupid rather than rational. Stupid people are exploitable by the powers that be who are here to exploit them. Christianity came in to undo what had been started with the Greeks.
The God Game:
“Is mathematics something that rational people discover about the universe, or is it something that rational minds invent? The latter option is inconceivable because if it were true it would lend maximum support to Kant’s hypothesis that minds create reality. If a mind can construct something as complex as mathematics, what couldn’t it invent?”
“Just look at the best theories of science: almost entirely expressed mathematically. If mathematics is simply a formalism, a self-consistent game, then the same must also be true of the most successful scientific theories, which means that we know nothing of the world and it might as well be Kant’s noumenal universe (about which we must remain silent).”
Thus, empiricism as the source of reality is a fraud. It breaks down back to Kant’s noumenal universe in any case. What is called “ontological mathematics” is the actual Platonic domain; Plato created his “Domain of Forms” while studying with the Pythagorean Illuminati, and he was kicked out for publicizing this interpretation. He never got to learn that the Pythagoreans were referring to mathematics as the arche. In a sense, this was a mistake that the creators of Christianity were able to subsequently exploit.
Why is there something rather than nothing?
Can we define any prerequisites for the basis of reality?
How do we have the ability to create purpose?
If those questions are unapproachable, then we can not know what reality is, but only as it appears. Empiricism thus reduces to Kant’s noumenal and phenomenal domains. Simply denying that the noumenal domain exists doesn’t refute the noumenal domain, because the denial in and of itself creates the noumenal domain by avoiding the most important questions of all. The solution is thus to find a synthesis at a higher level.
I have not been referring to “why” as in the sense of requiring emotional religious meaning. Why and and your “how” are probably synonymous.
Why is there something rather than nothing?
Can we define any prerequisites for the basis of reality?
Mathematics and logic provide the answer. Science is in figuring out “how”.
In regards to mathematics being a construct: The God Game:
“Is mathematics something that rational people discover about the universe, or is it something that rational minds invent? The latter option is inconceivable because if it were true it would lend maximum support to Kant’s hypothesis that minds create reality. If a mind can construct something as complex as mathematics, what couldn’t it invent?”
“Just look at the best theories of science: almost entirely expressed mathematically. If mathematics is simply a formalism, a self-consistent game, then the same must also be true of the most successful scientific theories, which means that we know nothing of the world and it might as well be Kant’s noumenal universe (about which we must remain silent).”
Take the Law of Least Time and the physical phenomenon of refraction. Photons follow the EXACT mathematically rational path…the ONLY mathematically rational path. There is a single mathematically rational path; observation shows us the path, but doesn’t tell us WHY that path. Empiricism can never answer “why that path”. Snell’s Law based on empiricism is not an explanation, but only a mere description. Ontological mathematics can perfectly answer exactly why that path, and Snell’s Law, and the observations, occur. So then, what is reality? Is matter somehow magically following the mathematically perfect path? How does matter “know” how to be mathematical? How does matter know how to follow the only rational mathematical path, and why would it choose to do so? Where is the Law governing this behavior of matter stored? How does matter tap into it? Or is reality simply actually mathematical, as all of science has proven to date, and thus these questions are answered. Either reality is knowable or it isn’t. It not being knowable is totally irrational. 1+1=10 is irrational.
Why is the Law of Least Time for refraction the only mathematically rational path?
There is a relatively simple equation which describes the “time of flight” for a photon traversing the media, dependent only upon the refraction angle. This equation doesn’t tell you the time required, or predict it for you, it just tells you that there is such a time, given the refraction angle that might be set up. From observation however, we know that there is only a single angle that photons will refract through, given a known angle of incidence. It happens that the angle of refraction is the single angle that results in a minimum of the time of flight (least time) for the photon, as measurable empirically and as computed from the equation which describes that.
But is there a mathematical a-priori justification for that? Any angle of refraction could have been equally likely. In fact, there is a mathematical justification, in that the minimum-time solution is the only place the equation describing the time of flight is unique – it is the refractive angle at which the derivative of the time equation, with respect to the refractive angle, is zero.
If we apply Leibniz’ Principle of Sufficient Reason (after having applied his calculus), we can ask, what is the sufficient reason that it is this way and not another? Or in other words, is there a sufficient reason that the path of the photon is the same as the exact mathematical path which gives the least time of flight, which is the only place where the equation is unique in its passage through zero in its derivative?
The sufficient reason is that it is the only rational path, because any other path would have no rational basis, nor have any possible mathematical justification, and therefore reality would not be rational, which would be catastrophic to reality. What could be a sufficient reason that the angle of refraction would correspond with a time of flight of the theoretical mathematical minimum, but multiplied by, say, 1.234? And if the angle of refraction were such a thing, what would be the sufficient reason that it would be the “positive” refractive angle rather than the “negative one”, given that these are symmetric about the minimum-time angle? Reality would break down if reality didn’t do the rational thing because it could do anything rather than a single thing, and the rational thing has a mathematical justification and explanation because it is the only solution which is mathematically unique. We label that uniqueness under science as the “Principle of Least Time”, but mathematics was there in the first place.
So in fact, we do find a mathematical justification for the appearance of a Universal Principle. The Law of Least Time is the only mathematically rational solution, and it can be justified as such. In fact, without the mathematical solution, it is the mind which retreats at justifying any particular solution, and empiricism simply can’t explain it at all.
If it is as you say, you are using “Why” in the sense of how, then use the word “How”. As I commented above, “Why” smuggles in the sense of purpose and intent on the part of a conscious entity where “How” does not. Ones thinking can be seriously mislead and derailed by such unthinking and improper use of critical words. Precision of thought depends upon precision of language. If the language used is fog, the thought will be fog. It is the good old garbage in – garbage out kind of thing.
There is no why there is something rather than nothing. There is no how that something came from nothing. What you are asking for is to prove existence from non-existence. If nothing exists, you couldn’t even ask why. Existence exists. Period end of report.
The fact that existence exists is implicit in everything we do, know, think, experience, and wish. It is the most general and universal statement about the nature of the universe that we can make. Exactly because of that, it is not a-priori. In fact, you must use existence exists in any attempt to disprove it. It stands at the base of all thought but it is built upon the entirety of human knowledge, experience, experiment, and thought.
You confuse man’s ability to form abstract ideas and his subsequent ability to evade the connection of those abstract ideas with reality when you claim reality at its base is mathematical. We communicate complex behavior of reality with mathematical equations. Yet you treat them as fundamental to reality rather than only a very specialized description (aka model). f = ma is a good description except that it is neither exact nor complete. Even Einstein’s restructuring of the relationship is not exact or complete. They are both only approximate descriptions (ie model) of and aspect of reality. They are quite useful for engineering purposes but they are still only models applicable only within a context where their error is small enough to ignore safely.
As I said before, math is a consequence and not a cause. It is as based as much upon contact with reality as is the statement that water is wet, rocks are hard, and fire is hot. What can we do with the what and how is what matters. The ultimate what that is done depends upon human purpose (ie human why) but even that cannot escape the what and how part. It is necessarily bounded by it. All human thought and conceptualization begins with reality and must end with reality or it is nothing but brain static!
Follow brain static if you must but don’t expect anything but more static as a consequence.
I agree that something that can not come from nothing – that existence can not come from non-existence. Agreed that it is irrational to try to disprove existence. Existence exists, period – but Why? (i.e How?). Empiricism can not answer that. Empiricism can explore what all the physical processes are in existence, but it can’t explain where they came from, and it can’t explain why existence exists. It can’t state where the physical laws are, why laws exist, and why they’re mathematical.
One can state that existence just exists. If there is a rational way to state “a because” for existence, i.e., a “why” for it, it is interesting to consider it if it can be done and if it is consistent and rational. And by rational, I mean having nothing to do with a worshipful creator because that is obviously not rational, and not an answer – it merely changes the rational question to ‘why the creator exists’.
The answer that this supposed creator “just exists”, “just because”, is not a rational or satisfying answer. And so you see, it is no different than saying “existence exists, and it exists just because it is existence”. That is why I won’t accept that statement from several of you. It is only different in that it doesn’t require worship and obedient slavery, but it has no actual rational basis for superiority in terms of a rational explanation. Giving as an answer to the relevant question that “existence exists” is as rationally empty as saying “God exists”.
Why does existence exist? Not in terms of who we need to worship or any such irrational insanity as that, but a rational logical WHY. Why is there something rather than nothing? These can be answered without playing the usual games of shifting the question to an entity or idea you’re supposed to “just accept”.
Let me start at the bottom of your response and work backwards.
1 + 1 = 10 is rational in the binary dialect of the human language of mathematics. Reality is knowable because we can use our minds and senses to determine what is the nature of a thing and how it interacts with the rest of the universe.
Reality is simple. It just is. It does not go any deeper than that. As rational beings we can strive to know more and understand more about the universe. We can describe what we find in many ways but the most useful of these ways is in mathematical terms. Mathematics is a language without emotion, without dogma, without the “why”, which is precisely why it is so useful at describing reality.
Light follows the mathematically definable path because that is what it does. To do anything else would mean that more energy would be required and the universe does not give anything for free. There is no “why” to be fathomed. The “what” and “how” are deep enough and will never be entirely known by humans.
Mathematics is just a language. It is a useful language for the reasons I stated above. Just because we can create a language to communicate precise ideas does not mean we can create reality. That is truly irrational.
Mathematics is a rational way to describe reality. To give it any more power than that is to spoil its purity and move into the realms of irrationality.
Also, F=ma is a simple statement of a mathematical derivative. It is a Law because it is entirely natural, because mathematics can not say anything other than F=ma, i.e., F = dp/dt = m * dv/dt where p = m*v. This is the single result mathematics can give for the things we label velocity and mass and their multiplication. It is a Law because it is mathematical truth. And in the ideal case, reality does follow this purely mathematical law.
It doesn’t follow the ideal case when you add in friction and other things. But are these other physical effects non-mathematical? Is it impossible to describe them mathematically? If we can’t describe them mathematically, then what are they? Of course, friction and all these other things can be factored in mathematically. It is not as if to describe reality more accurately, for the purpose of an application with many complicating factors, that we’ll go and use something other than mathematics to continue describing it, and more accurately. Just because it is difficult to correctly factor in all the effects mathematically, does not mean mathematics is incapable of doing so or that something other than number is at the heart of describing the process. If you can’t use mathematics to describe reality, all you have left is magic! That is, faith in something, such as a creator God, or that existence just exists. ‘Existence exists’ might not require faith, but it also isn’t an answer as to how (why) existence just exists.
I did not realize that you were using binary when stating 1+1=10. But that is only another way to write mathematics, it is not another form of mathematics. In binary 1+1=10 is the same truth as 1+1=2 in decimal; did you know that Leibniz also laid the foundation work for the creation of binary? He was the world’s last polymath.
I agree that reality is. I ask why it is. Stating it “just is” is no different than not being able to ask what created the creator God as a religionist. What if it were possible to rationally state how existence just is, i.e. why it just is? It is in fact possible.
“Mathematics is a language without emotion, without dogma, without the “why”, which is precisely why it is so useful at describing reality.”
Yes! That is: 1+1=2 does not require a why. It just is. Mathematics is the only thing which is validly tautologically true. This begins to get to the mathematical explanation for why existence exists.
Yes mathematics is a language, but it is not just a language – it is the language of reality. Consider the question: did we create mathematics, or are we discovering mathematics? When we formulate scientific theories and give the mathematical foundations, are we creating the mathematical foundation, or discovering it?
F = dp/dt = m * dv/dt is not a creation: it is what exists. We discovered what exists when we derived that formula.
Mathematics is the only way to rationally describe reality. There is no other rational description that exists. This only has as much power as it needs to, in that reality must itself be rational in order to exist. The given rationality of reality and the unique and matching degree of rationality of mathematics is not coincidental. That would be a cosmically inexplicable coincidence.
This is getting quite tiresome. For you, consciousness (idea) is primary and existence (reality) is secondary. For me, existence (reality) is primary and consciousness (idea) is secondary. You have cause and effect inverted. It is pointless to continue the conversation.
No. Mind and reality are the same thing. For you, materialism is reality and “just is”, whereas for me, mind is reality, and has a reason for existing – reason in the rational explanatory sense and based on pure a-priori absolute logic and mathematics, not requiring any further justification. The mind can comprehend this and it has. The cause of reality is not found in material empiricism; those things only tell us what reality looks like, but implicitly can not say anything about their own causes, and provide only their own descriptions.
Reality can only cause mind if reality is in fact mind. You can not get mind from non-mind, just like one can not get existence from non-existence. Thus there is no difference between reality and mind, and existence. The solution for materialists is thus to deny that they have a mind altogether! And they have done so. What is it that you’re labeling as “reality” and distinguishing from mind? Merely material. Material which you have no way of justifying. Non-life, non-mind which somehow creates life and mind. With the reasons unknowable. The fact that our minds can understand reality implicitly requires that mind is on a par with reality; if mind is not on par with reality, then reality is not knowable, but there is no rational reason to think that the foundation of reality is not knowable, as we have obviously been knowing it, through science and particularly through mathematics. The same goes for mathematics: the fact that reality is mathematical implicitly requires that mathematics is on par with reality. Mathematics, mind, reality, and existence are thus all the same thing. Materialism is the phenomenon of reality. Materialism and empiricism tell us what reality looks like, but not what dictates it. The a-priori math of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem even dictates that reality will not be mechanistically dictatable, and thus implies the existence of free mind and free will.
Joseph, when you describe reality as you do in this post, you do it with clarity and rationality. When you try and go to the “deeper” reality behind reality you get all existential and go of into a semantic and philosophical abyss at the bottom of which there is no truth, just more abyss.
Lionell’s last comment encapsulated the issue very well. You are mixing cause and effect. The mind is the firing of a large number of neurones in the brain reacting to sensory stimuli and stored information. It is not magical. Nothing that it does is magical in any real sense. It is part of the reality of the universe and a very small part at that. Believing anything else is arrogance of monumental proportions.
The only foundation to reality is more reality. Cogitating on the “why” is ultimately pointless and means leaving rationality and reality behind.
Stick with reality. You seem to be good at that.
This is not an issue of mixing cause and effect. Existence can not come from non-existence and mind can not come from non-mind. The explanation that mind is a result of a large number of neuronal firings is not an explanation of mind at all.
The idea that reality “just is” leaves the door wide open for religious belief, mystery, mythos, etc. It is a statement that fundamentally implies that reality is not ultimately knowable; you can’t explain why reality exists or how it just exists, it is just something that is. Thus, the mystery is left wide open.
The door to mysticism can be shut completely by finding the rational, mathematical explanation for why and how reality exists. This is the only way to close the door on irrationality. If the mind can not determine a rational explanation for why and how reality exists, then that means that either the mind is not ultimately capable of being rational, and/or that reality itself is not ultimately rational. Therefore, the idea that reality “just is” and is not rationally justifiable is totally irrational, and insane. There is no justification for that position and it thus reeks of faith.
The only reason to choose to take the position that the why and how of reality is not ultimately knowable, that it “just is”, is a hidden and subtle and self-deluding attempt to keep reality mysterious and unexplainable, and thus to keep the door just slightly open for faith. The belief that reality “just is” is ultimately a sign of faith. Yes this might be better than believing in a creator God, but it doesn’t actually go any further or do any better.
Why not choose to go further and understand the entirely rational justification for existence? Not to do so leaves the door wide open for irrationality and faith, whether realized or not, and it also requires that the mind and/or reality are not ultimately rational or knowable, which is an absurdly irrational position in and of itself.
There is a rational justification for existence, and there is no reason in the world other than a desire for mystery and faith to not explore it and then accept it. That is how this goes down.
Why is there something rather than nothing?
Can we identify any rational prerequisites for the basis of reality?
How is it that we create purpose?
To not answer those and leave them as mystery, as “reality just is and don’t ask any further”, is exactly the same thing as saying “God just is and don’t ask any further”. The only difference between these two positions is one of purpose: one is nihilistic and the other provides a sense of purpose. Neither position provides a rational, final answer, and thus both are based on faith. The answer to existence is not whether it has purpose or not. The answer to existence is found in a complete rational account of it. Purpose may or may not be found after that.
Given a long enough period of non-existence, there is definite possibility that after a finite period there will be a universe exactly like this one that spontaneously emerges.
Given a large enough span of non-existent-ness, there is a definite possibility that there will be a universe exactly like this one within that distance of this one.
The universe is possible, so it must exist, any other conclusion is nonsensical.
Joseph, when you talk about physics and real things like the greenhouse effect you are dealing with real things and do it well. When you talk about mind vs non-mind or existence vs non-existence you really go off the rails.
You are wrong when you say that “reality just is” is as bad as “God just is”. One deals with what we can perceive and interact with, the other doesn’t. It is same with the discovery of how the universe operates compared to why it exists. The former deals with what we can perceive and interact with, the later does not.
You give yourself away when you dismiss my rational description of the mind. You want things to be more than they are. You want the mind to be this great key that unlocks the “why” of everything. It is the pursuit of the “why” that sends people to realm of religion and dogma, of Gods and demons, of divine purpose and our “special” role in it. It is the “why” that is the ultimate waste of the ability of the mind because it is unknowable, because it does not exist.
You ask “Why is there something rather than nothing?”. The answer is self evident. If there was nothing, there is no question. Since there is a question, there must be something.
You go on to ask “Can we identify any rational prerequisites for the basis of reality?”. I think that this question is framed incorrectly. It is better phrased as “Can we identify any rational prerequisites for our understanding of reality?”. Yes we can, through the process of science and the language of mathematics. Yes mathematics can describe everything in the universe because it is the ultimate in rationality. We may never be able to understand anything perfectly but that is because we are imperfect.
There is nothing nihilistic about deciding that the rational and real universe is all that there is. It is completely wrong to think that purpose requires a “why”. Faith can be a powerful motivator, but it does not have to be the faith in the divine. You can have faith in very real and important things like your friends, family even humanity as a whole or even the real universe. Purpose can absolutely be defined or created from the reality around us. We can effect the reality that affects us and so dealing with that reality can be full of purpose and even faith.
The way to defeat the religious is to ignore the “why”. Doing so does not give them an opening, rather it closes the door entirely.
That description of the mind is not a rational description. Saying that mind is “a bunch of neuronal firings” is meaningless, and doesn’t explain anything. It is a statement of materialism and materialist sense-perception is a fraud. The color red doesn’t actually exist; matter has nothing to do with solidity and protons aren’t solid little objects; reality requires the number “i” to be described and the number “i” has nothing to do with materialism and sense-perception; at the fundamental basis of reality is the phenomenon we call energy and energy can only be described mathematically and is purely abstract. Mind is only as significant as it needs to be be: able to understand the basis of existence in a rational way, given that reality is rational and that the mind must also be rational in order to exist. What we perceive as “matter” is a phenomenon of reality, not reality itself; reality itself is something else that we understand with mind, with mathematics.
Yours is a totally contradictory position. You state that your mind understands the reason for existence – you give a reason yourself. Then you say that the reason doesn’t actually exist. Your answer “If there was nothing, there is no question. Since there is a question, there must be something” could possibly lead you to a more fundamental rational comprehension if it has been further developed. But that answer is also completely irrational particularly given your position because you state that the existence of “question” justifies “something”: where is this magical thing you call “question”? It can only exist in mind; “question” doesn’t exist without mind. Thus you are the staunchest mental idealist without realizing it: the mind creates reality via this thing you call ‘question’. If ‘question’ doesn’t exist in mind then it’s just some magical property of the universe which again you can not justify.
These thoughts need to be sorted out in your mind. It takes time. Read all of the works linked for you. You give an answer for why something exists but then you paradoxically reject that there’s any justification for the justification you just gave. At the core of these contradictions is a wish to keep existence unexplainable and mysterious, to have faith in reality as it is rather than having a fully rational justification for it as it is. You start down the path but then run away from the possibility that the answer will actually be found.
You state “Can we identify any rational prerequisites for our understanding of reality?”. This is a perfectly Kantian statement, denying that the mind encounters true reality and that the most the mind can say about reality is how the mind perceives it. Like Kant you have followed Descartes and made true reality an absolute unknowable. All you have to realize is that the mind exists in reality and then the inevitable rational conclusion is that the mind can therefore understand ultimate reality. Saying that we can only understand reality in terms of how our minds perceive it, but not true reality itself, it what specifically and purposefully (known or not) generates mystery for both the mind and reality itself, separating mind from reality, and leaves room for faith and belief in whatever this true reality is…permanently un-understandable just like God. Only in a rational account of reality can the mystery be resolved. The solution then becomes power , and purpose depending on what you choose to do with it. There is no mystery left after a rational justification for existence becomes understood. There is no rational reason to reject a complete rational justification for existence and neither is there a reason to reject that such a thing is possible; the only reason to do those things is at heart a desire for faith, and mystery.
You state: “We may never be able to understand anything perfectly but that is because we are imperfect.”
Now that gives yourself away. Now we see what is driving your skirting around the edges, accepting and not accepting the existence of rationality and defending mystery. You are still infected with Abrahamism and belief in self-denial and imperfection. This goes right to the heart to your desire to keep reality mysterious, so that you may one day have a way out of being imperfect. Your understanding and justification for reality may be imperfect, but mine isn’t 🙂 Mine is totally perfect and it completely justifies both why and how reality exists, and the nature that it exists in; it requires no faith, no mystery, no unexplained phenomena or entities which just need to be accepted “as is”, it has no contradictions and it is 100% rational, explains purpose and why we create purpose, and what its end is. There is no faith, only absolute logic and absolute ontological mathematics. It is an edifice of absolute rational sublimity.
Ignoring “why” is exactly what creates the opening for faith and mystery; ignoring “why” is the absolute and best defense for faith and mystery that can possibly be. Rationality, logic, mathematics, science, and philosophy have never and could never be about ignoring “why”, and only a rational account of “why” can wrest it from religious superstition. Ignoring “why” so that you can pretend ignorance is some sort of explanation for reality is ridiculously, laughably absurd.
You have very eloquently proved my point. Any discussion about the “why” is ultimately circular and pointless and your latest comment is a prime example of that.
My description of the mind is entirely rational. In fact is purely rational as it devoid of emotion and the irrational. Matter and energy are the two fundamental states of everything we can perceive (directly or indirectly) in the universe. They are reality in a very real sense. If you like string theory and therefore believe that there are oscillating stings at the basis of everything, then fair enough. But until we can perceive that in any real sense, it is speculation and remains a theoretical construct that may or may not be proved correct in the future. That does not change the nature of the universe, it just changes our understanding of it.
You accuse me of Abrahamism and yet you go into the same realms of deeper mysteries and underlying truths. You are not guilty of Abrahamism, you are just competing with it. I prefer not to even participate in that discussion. We are imperfect. That is self-evident. We are a short-lived mammalian species on a ordinary planet in an insignificant solar system in an unremarkable galaxy, amongst billions of such galaxies in the universe. It is you that is being irrational in thinking that the mind is anything else but the firing of a large number of neurones, affected by chemical changes in the host body and using stored data to interpret the information supplied by our sensory inputs. This is reality. Putting us or our mind in any “special” place or ability or fundamental truth of it all is just another version of what Abrahamism does. The main difference with your view is that there is no associated guilt trip so there is no hook for power over others which is probably why it will not catch on.
Reality just is. The “why” is for priests and philosophers. You choose to be a philosopher. That’s OK. I do not. The universe has no “why”. The “why” is a purely human construct to shield ourselves from the immensity of the universe and our absolute insignificance. Embrace the universe in its immensity and ourselves in our insignificance and you can free yourself from needing the shield of “why”.
The problem here is that you are afraid of giving a “why”. Several of you seem pathologically afraid of answering why. So you thus say ignoring it is the answer to why. This position has no rational support whatsoever, and has nothing to do with thinking. “How” does reality exist is the same question as “why” it exists, if you simply remove whatever emotional hang ups you have with the word “why”.
String theory is wrong, because it is not rational. String theory is premised on an entirely irrational pretext mathematically and is therefore wrong. We already know that. But worse than that, your belief in materialist sense perception can not even explain its own origins, and it violates the most basic rational premise that existence can not come from non-existence, which was even quoted by one of you earlier. It is funny to see a materialist use that statement because they have absolutely no clue how it undermines their entire world-view. Scientific materialism is not based on eternality, it is based on creation. The Big Bang as traditionally presented is simply another form of creationism, where non-existence somehow creates existence 13.7 billion years ago, something from nothing, followed by purposeless evolution that will eventually run out and degenerate into a permanent heat death for infinity. It is such a childishly naive and rationally incompetent premise that it is amazing that it survives. The only difference materialist creationism has with Abrahamist creationism is that it removes God and purpose; but removing God and purpose is arbitrary and doing that doesn’t make it a superior or a fundamentally different answer in terms of rationality and cause. It is simply another version of the same premise, that creation “just happened”, or that “existence just exists”. That is merely another competition with Abrahamism.
The idea that all is meaningless is another foundation stone in the fraud of climate alarm and the related anti-human policies infecting the populace today. Abrahamism is based on faith; nowhere have I deferred to faith or asked anyone to just accept something ‘as is’. There are no holes and nothing left unturned in rationally logical ontological mathematics. On the other hand, scientific materialism can’t even explain itself, can’t even explain how the Big Bang could create something from nothing, can’t explain where its physical laws are stored, or why they exist, or why matter and energy should even bother following them. Scientific materialism is an obvious intellectual fraud. The only reason it so successful with the masses is because of the products and services it creates out of material. Yes this is a good, but to say that it is “all” is extremely uninformed; scientific materialism didn’t answer the questions we were seeking or resolve its own obvious short comings, it just distracted the masses with gadgets, good as they might have been; sweeping the questions and rational shortcomings under the rug is not an answer. Insisting the question can be ignored is not an answer.
Ignoring a question is an absurd position to take for its answer. It is insane. It is the equivalent of absurdist “entertainment” such as the Jackass movies, but in the frame of rationalism.
The “why” is a question for philosophers, indeed. Irrational people, typically based on their personality type, choose to listen to priests instead and refrain from their own cogitation. Scientific materialism is an obvious fraud as it states that existence came from non-existence, that the Big Bang just magically occurred for no reason 13.7 Billions years ago. Existence came from nothing, did some stuff for a while, then devolves to basically nothing once again for infinity, in the permanent heat death. This is ridiculous. Rationally, it is ridiculous. Not in terms of emotion or purpose, but in terms of simple logical rationality, this scientific materialist premise is ridiculous. Now you can go ahead and believe that reality is so absurd as that, and people should feel free if that belief suits them. But it will never stand in place for what already exists as a rational, complete, logical, and mathematically justifiable explanation for it all.
This not to say that scientific materialism shouldn’t be dialectically explored to its limits; it has to be and it is by people such as yourself and Lionel, whether you realize you’re engaging in entirely mental philosophy or not. But eventually you will realize your own cognitive dissonance, that you have no answer whatsoever to how existence could come from non-existence in the Big Bang, no answer to why physical laws bother to exist, no answer to why matter bothers to follow physical laws, no answer as to why physical laws and reality is so perfectly described by mathematics. I know it is the wish of creation-believing materialists to not have an answer to these things and that they get some sort of nihilistic satisfaction about keeping reality ultimately unknowable and mysterious, but the premise is already self-defeated when statements are made that ‘not-knowledge’ is to be used for ‘knowledge’ in the single specific case of where rational knowledge would be most profound – in answering how and why is it that reality exists; anywhere else, ‘knowledge’ is the standard, but in this single unique case the ignoring of the question is somehow the standard. Just like ignoring where “God” came from for the Abrahamists, scientific materialists insist on ignoring where reality came from (i.e., why reality exists). This is to keep the mystery of reality alive, rather than answered. It is a rearguard defense for the religious irrationalists.
The answer is out there. No faith is required. Absolute Rationality is demanded. You don’t have to be afraid of finding purpose, if that comes out of it. The denial of purpose is where emotion comes in to this debate. It is some form of fear. Not minding whether purpose may be found or not, and acknowledging it if it is, is the only rational way out.
It is a flaw of language that we are struggling to explain how something can exist without having previously come into being.
Cause and effect are part of the universe, not something that *happens* to a universe.
All of time exists in the same sense that this moment does, as does the moment before I wrote this, as does the moment now when I am writing this, and as does the moment when you are reading it in the future from my perspective.
Asking when/where/how/why the direction which bounds concepts like “began” and “before” itself *began* is a broken question, is it not?
The universe is, and we are it observing itself.
As for deity-concepts, I’ve been reading a lot of Lovecraft, and I much prefer the idea of no deity-concept whatsoever over the alternative, as I find the idea of such a concept which is concerned with a bunch of silly apes on a damp little rock to be absurd from the outset. Given how inhospitable most of the universe is, any deity-concepts which make sense are either actively malevolent electric space-donut skyfathers or simply uncaring in the lovecraftian sense, though I’m not sure which fantasy-universe would be more terrifying… electrical space-donuts who punish you eternally for eating pork… or cosmic horrors who accidentally fracture your mind simply by noticing you.
I’m glad to live in a universe where there is no reason to think those are anything but scary fictions.
We are going around in circles because you are trying to answer the unanswerable because it does not exist. I recognise that it does not exist and therefore do not waste any neurone firings on it.
I more interested in your take on string theory and why it is mathematically untenable. As I said before, string theory is speculative and so I do give it any weight. However, there is a “what” question that arises from that. What are the indivisible components of the universe around us? There are atoms, particles and sub-atomic particles. However far down do we go before we hit that which has no component, it is entirely itself with no structural complexity at all? At this level is energy and matter the same or are they still fundamentally different? That is a useful question to ponder.
Max said: “I’m glad to live in a universe where there is no reason to think those are anything but scary fictions.”
We HOPE! 🙂
Yes, the sides on this issue are that either we can understand why reality exists, or there is no answer and we can’t understand why reality exists. Of course it makes no sense to say we can’t understand why reality exists since all science is about is understanding what reality is and why it exists. If we can’t fundamentally understand why reality exists then science is merely some fluke.
You have to go through all the books linked for you to understand the problem between quantum mechanics and relativity, and what is wrong at the heart of the meta-paradigm of string theory. It relates directly to the question of why reality exists.
TS said: “What are the indivisible components of the universe around us?”
You are specifically asking about a rational prerequisite for the basis of reality, which is what I asked if we could ask earlier, to which you said asking such a question was meaningless and unanswerable.
TS said: “However far down do we go before we hit that which has no component, it is entirely itself with no structural complexity at all?”
Why are you even asking such a question? I’ll take your position now for parody: stop asking questions like this because you seem to think that the mind can answer questions to which we have no sensory experience. Since we can’t sense what might be down there (if we could we would have sensed it and known about it) there’s no point in asking about it. If you ask about it you might create an answer which can’t be sensed and therefore can’t be real, and so you’ll create a religion based around an answer to which we have no sensory experience. It will be brain static and if brain static and brain noise is relevant for you, go ahead, but don’t think that I need to bother understanding your brain noise.
TS said: “At this level is energy and matter the same or are they still fundamentally different? That is a useful question to ponder.”
But you might then come to a realization of how and why reality exists at a fundamental level, and we must ignore this question because ignoring the question is the best answer to it, because if we answer it we might find a meaning or a purpose. Any answer that might result in a meaning or purpose, whether it does or not, is wrong because this is an arbitrary standard for what can constitute an answer – the only valid answers are those in which it is impossible for meaning or purpose to exist. If we answer what is the fundamental basis of reality, by definition it is a meaningful answer, and so therefore the question must be ignored, because it can’t be answered without being meaningful. The answer to your question is to ignore it. You just have to accept that reality exists and trying to find a reason and answer as to why it exists and what its fundamental basis is smacks of mental idealism and a desire for religion. It makes mind superior to reality if mind can answer where reality comes from.
Truly your questions are the correct questions to ask, and they have answers. You’re not the first to ask them, and the person to finally get it altogether was Leibniz, a few hundred years ago. It depended on calculus, or I should say, calculus was a derivative of Leibniz’ answers to those questions. You should read the set of those books linked for you, if you want your entirely rational and justifiable questions answered, and answered in an entirely rational and justifiable way.
All this talk above is perhaps very interesting to some or all of you, but it also shows me that you are missing the boat a little. Mathematics consists of fundamental premises and axioms, posed by our brains, from which we progress by a set of rules we are supposed to follow. None of you stated this, but I may be wrong about that. After all, there are many kinds of mathematics, and let’s not forget that. What we use in climate science is well defined by the mathematical theory of calculus and some function theory. You don’t need string theory to get where you want. But in addition, I believe that once we agree on what math to use, we apply it to observable phenomena, and then MAKE PREDICTIONS about certain futures, such as will we all perish in 50 or 100 years due to following through with the mathematics applied to the phenomena at hand.The outcome of these predictions are what counts for us, in real life. These predicted outcomes are perceived differently by each of us, and if you wish to define what it means to you, just go ahead and be happy. There is however a pretty common perception associated with the predictions, and that is “doom” by a large number of people, whether you call them Bozos or Liberals. However, some people, fewer than the doomsday people, apply the math and predictions with a different outcome, not associated with doom. These fewer people use the same math that the Bozos use, but reason in such a way, that no doom results. Now, it always MUST be supported by EXPERIMENTS as been addressed by some of you. It appears that the facts, properly defined, are in favor of the more optimistic non-doomsday people, and that is very nice. Of course, one should also not forget that the doomsday people are also very much in want to CONTROL other people, and therefore willing to bend the science/math and above all, the statistics (yet another form of math!).
I was very impressed and very happy to read the Postma article he just posted, in fact, he stated what I have been trying to articulate, be it with less success. I have myself been able to show how the “feedback” argument runs into trouble, using mathematics and concepts of stability. But then, that whole concept really doesn’t exist anyway as Postma so aptly demonstrated. I have some knowledge of EM wave propagation and energy transfer, and I wholeheartedly concur with his arguments. OK, I have not really addressed the conversation as others did, and I apololgize, but I had to support Postma.
Oh yes the conversation about mathematics and metaphysics is far beside the point of climate alarm. Some of it is based on private email communications that came back to here. If you’re subscribed, I’ll be writing a post referencing where all of the above discussion came from, with links so that people can go to the source.
Thanks for the feedback re: the subject of this blog.
I wouldn’t call approximations of the Navier-Stokes equations “well defined” as far as the mathematics behind climate science goes.
Joseph, you tried to make a parody of me and succeeded in making a parody of yourself (no offence taken or meant). I think that we have been talking past each other to a degree as I was talking about the “why” related to purpose (which you used in your explanations) and you have now shown that your “why” includes “how” and “what”.
I am glad we agree that the indivisible components of matter and energy are the real questions to be answered. That is a “what” question about the nature of matter and energy, not a “why” question of the “purpose of it all”. The universe has no purpose. It just is. It does have a nature at the core (a “what”) which is worth pursuing. Whether or not mathematics will get us there or deeper and deeper observations do, only time will tell. You favour mathematics and that has a lot of merit in my book, but until we can build something that works in the real universe using that mathematics, they will remain speculative by nature.
Apologies for the parody but it was the best way for me to delineate the way in which we are talking past each other. I do not understand why there is such a difference in the way we understand the term “why”. I say: Why does reality exist; Why do laws of nature exist; Why are they mathematical; Why do we create purpose; etc.
But you do explain what the difference is, and, it is exactly the difference of which I was making the parody: that whatever the answer might be, the standard for the answer is that it must not be meaningful. That is an arbitrary and therefore not a rational criterion for what can be a valid answer. The universe may very well have a purpose and that must be allowed in the answer; the criterion of purposelessness is an arbitrary and irrational criterion unless the criterion has a pre-existent purpose, and it does, in the diminution of mind and humanity. So, we see that the arbitrary criterion of purposelessness as the standard for the answers does in fact have a pre-existent purpose, and paradoxically a purpose which exists only the mind. It is the same purpose as Climate Alarm and Abrahamism. What is the scientific materialist proof that the answers must indicate purposelessness? By definition that is not something which an experiment can ever prove. It is an idea held only in the mind – it is only an interpretation which can be chosen, in the mind, a-priori.
To say that the universe must have no purpose is to say that human life ultimately has no purpose. Oh yes you can make the most of it while you have it, but, that is still arbitrary and reduces to hedonism, and nihilism. Sure, you make your own purpose, but why would evolution have created a species that creates a sense of purpose? Humans are fundamentally not required in a purposeless universe. Nothing in fact is required, it didn’t even need to bother existing. All of our immense internal drive to create purpose in our lives, what we spend our entire life doing (we are essentially purpose-generating machines), is pointless and meaningless. This is all an interpretation, not a scientific proof; it is fundamentally a philosophical position in metaphysics, not the result of a scientific experiment. The position is absurd by its own standards. Humans are a creation of this universe; why would a purposeless universe create a species that does nothing but seek out purpose? It is therefore the universe that seeks out purpose because humanity is not some separate entity to the universe or outside it; we are a natural result of universal processes and principles, and anything we do is necessarily a reflection of those universal processes and principles by the definition of our existence in and of this universe. One can thus easily scientifically argue, let alone metaphysically, that purpose is a goal of the universe, given that we, one of its most or the most complex creations we know of, do nothing but seek and create purpose.
Yes, the difference is between allowing the possibility that human life has purpose and is meaningful beyond our particular lives, vs. holding that existence is ultimately purposeless. There is no scientific proof which can be offered that reality is purposeless, therefore this position is a choice, i.e. an interpretation.
The difference in these positions is scientific materialism vs. mental idealism/ontological mathematics. Everybody is familiar with the former but almost no ones knows about the latter because it hasn’t really been “let out” until now. Scientific materialism is fundamentally flawed, limited, and irrational. It can’t explain itself, can’t explain why physical laws exist, why they’re mathematical, where the laws are stored and why matter obeys them, and what ultimately “created” reality. It only tells us “what”, but not “how” or “why”. The big bang came from nothing: scientific materialism can not explain why or how it came from nothing, and so it just equates everything with nothing in the interpretation of being meaningless, as a choice. Ontological mathematics can resolve the solution that materialism can’t, and it does so without making any unjustified choices, in a purely rational way and without recourse to belief or un-knowable entities, etc. Don’t worry so much about avoiding purpose; that may or may not be what is found at the basis of reality. Life and mind may in fact have an infinitely profound purpose, as opposed to an infinitely meaningless irrelevance.
I hear too may things being stated that are super philosophical, such as “ontological mathematics”, while being somehow concerned about purpose. I frankly don’t know what ontological mathematics is, or means. Purpose is something we, as humans, create, to justify our existence. I am getting old, does that have a purpose? On the other hand, in having become old, I find it purposeful to write down my WW2 experience, for younger generations to understand that period of history, and since there are people who found a purpose in studying history. I feel it justifies my existence, and as such I am an existentialist, with a purpose. As an observer, I note that there are many purposes that humans have expressed or created, and that those purposes create sometimes conflicting situations, causing very destructive events to take place, by purpose! War is such an event, need I say more?
Indeed. I think some people worry that purpose inevitably creates war. I don’t think it has to. The problem is when you try to force your purpose (or lack thereof) to be valued by other people; you can see that very battle occurring here!
Made an edit to the above post of 2013/01/29 at 8:37 AM
Joseph, I think where we actually differ is in the nature of “purpose”. I think that you are including “motivation” in your concept of “purpose” and that is where I disagree. The universe has no motivation. It just is. In the enormity of the universe, creating a species like us is a statistical certainty or even a statistical population (more than one). We are just an outcome of complex chemical reactions over very long time periods. In fact there were eons of time where we did not exist, but life thrived on this planet. We are part of the universe but were not specifically created by it under any motivation. If we were, why were we not “created” millions of years ago or millions of years from now? We are at outcome of the complexity of the universe, not a goal that was achieved. We are intelligent with complex motivations and desires and so can decide, either individually or collectively what our “purpose” or “motivations” are to achieve outcomes, but that is by definition a human construct of trying to understand the “why”.
The universe has no goals. It just is. By trying to put human characteristics on the universe you are trying to make humans into more than what they are, which is exactly what the Abrahamists do. Imposing entirely human characteristics on the universe at large is the thought process of every religion that we have ever invented. It is a way of overcoming insignificance. There is nothing human about the universe other than the fact that we are in it. It is pointless trying to put human characteristics on something that is infinitely more complex and larger than we are.
The true beauty of science and mathematics is that there is no motivation involved in either. They are purely rational thought processes without the pollution of “motivation”. That is precisely why they will improve our understanding of the universe that exists without “motivation”.
[Reply: By removing human motivations and conceptions from the fabric of the universe is to remove humans as a creation of the universe. This is much like environmentalism which never considers anything that humans do as “natural”; it makes humans some unnatural or at best “accidental” entity residing in the universe. This makes humans less than they are, which leads to the genocide that environmentalism is trying to create. Because we come from the universe we reflect what the universe is: a teleological entity, oriented towards the future, not the past, but using the past for platform development. This is not an interpretation, this is fact. Fact: we came from the universe; Fact: we reflect only what the universe can create; Fact: what we create and what we intend and what our goals are are reflections of the universe’s intentions and the universe’s goals, because there is no difference between humanity and the universe.; Fact: evolution proceeds from low-complexity to high-complexity, using developments of the past for “platform support” in the future.
It is an interpretation, even a religious framework or in general a simple belief system, when we say that there is no purpose. Given that “no-purpose” is generally a belief system held by materialist scientists, it is interesting and paradoxical that they can not actually empirically demonstrate in a scientific experiment that purposelessness actually exists. They can’t prove by their own standards that purposelessness is absolute, hence, it is a belief system. That being said, it is a belief system that the dialectic of materialism needs to explore and exhaust. But its not the only game in town. We are the universe. Motivation inside us is motivation inside the universe, of the universe. The only way for that not to be true is if we are not of this universe. Given that we are of this universe, and that we create purpose, consciously, means that the universe creates and has purpose, and motivation. This is the only factual rational truth; all else is a belief system.
In terms of complexity, we are the most complex creation of the universe. Stars and galaxies etc are what we find out there…there’s not much else besides stars and galaxies, and they’re all over the place. They are in fact not all that complex, and given their population number not all that unique – the laws of physics and reality easily create stars and galaxies and they’re not all that complex nor unique, although they’re quite interesting given their novelty. But mathematically the complexity of our brain is far, far beyond anything we find in outer space. As far as we know, we’re it, the pinnacle of complexity in the universe.]
Let’s forget the semantics and the philosophy. Does CO2 reradiate and warm the surface during the day? If not, does it prevent cooling, and thus raise the night-time temperature? I read a lot of these blogs, on all sides of the question. It seems to me that the thoughtful alarmists and warmists say no to the first question and yes to the second, although they rarely come out and plainly say so. Both questions will never be resolved by debate, because too many people have too much to lose by stating the answer is “no”.
We need a definitive experiment and demonstration, performed by an impeccable authority. Max has done something along these lines. I would love to hear the details Max. Please see if Joe will pass on your email address to me.
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Reply: Agreed on the experimentation.
“By removing human motivations and conceptions from the fabric of the universe is to remove humans as a creation of the universe.”
Mind boggling [bottling? JP] lack of rational logic right there. Human motivations apply to humans. They do not apply to anything else. You are trying to humanise something that is not human which is completely irrational. Clearly what we do is “natural” because we are “natural”.
[JP Reply: I don’t think you understand what rational logic is. What we do is a reflection of universal principle, by definition. Our motivations are the motivations of the universe, by definition. You have a hard time understanding this because you are ultimately antagonistic towards to your own species, and fearful of being a failure within it. It is not irrational, it is simply incredible; that which is incredible is not in any way necessarily irrational. You admit that we are natural and that anything we do is natural but then you run away from the responsibility of what that implies, because it implies the possibility of failure and it is the denial of the possibility of failure, due to your fear of it and your emotional hang ups about it, which drive you to run away from the rational acknowledgement of what human existence and the human mind implies.]
The Green gang (they do not deserve the term “environmentalist”) consider us to be outside nature, not a part of it. This is also not rational, which gives you and the Green gang something in common.
[JP Reply: Your entire philosophy is based around separating human development and motivation from any relevance in the universe. In order to deny the possibility of failure. This is exactly the basis of the genocidal philosophy of the greenies. Separating human development from the universe is the definition of irrationality and it is a choice, a chosen interpretation, that has no scientific, rational, or mathematical support. It is a chosen interpretation driven by an emotion, of the fear of what it implies for your personal responsibility and lifetime experiences.]
“In terms of complexity, we are the most complex creation of the universe.”
Wow. Monumental arrogance on an galactic scale. We know very little about the universe and can perceive just a minute fraction of it. You would have more justification in pontificating about the contents and biodiversity of the ocean from no more than the smell of it than you do making such statements about the universe from what we can perceive of it.
We are a short-live mammalian species on a blue planet in an unremarkable solar system in an insignificant galaxy in an unimportant part of the universe. We are not the pinnacle of creation.
[JP Reply: And now we really see your self-hatred and hatred of human life coming through, once again. You are a greenie whether you realize it or not. The universe is pointless without the human mind; we are the point of the universe and the universe means nothing without us in it. These, and that we are the most complex creation of the universe, are mathematical facts, that a person has to be totally irrationally obsessed with self-debasement and an ultimate desire for harming other people, to deny. It is a mathematical rational fact that we are the most complex creation that we know of in the universe, and that we have a responsibility towards the opportunity to become more and more complex yet. It is a mathematical fact that the universe creates purpose through humans, by the definition of our existence by said universe, and that we are manifestations of that purpose. We are it, we are the point, and with that comes the responsibility towards the opportunity, and the responsibility towards all of our own lifetime experiences. The mathematically inevitable opportunity to become Gods! To deny this is do deny your own existence, and that of humanity, and this is specifically the greenie religious agenda. Such denial is the basis of the subsequent creation of a worshipful, punishful God infinitely more important than humans are. It makes the environment more important than humans.]
It is self evident that backradiation is total BS.
A blanket or any other mechanisms humans employ to keep warm rely on trapping warm air.
This is also the reason animals that live in cold climates have fur to act as their “clothes”.
If the animal or human die and the production of warmth through metabolism ceases no amount of trying to “trap radiation” will prevent the inevitable loss of body heat to match the environment.
Similarly no amount of insulation will cause a rock to be come hotter without external energy.
Joe is so right in his point that backradiation cannot cause heating it is a scandal that so many people with PhDs can try to concoct fairy tales as to how it happens.
All you need to do is consider Planck curves to see that backradiation is BS !
The hotter object’s curve completely contains the colder one’s curve. The equilibrium curve is somewhere between the 2 – lower than the hotter curve but higher than the cooler curve.
This FACT is COMPLETELY consistent with a uni-directional flow of energy from hot to cold – the hor object is losing energy whilst the cold object is absorbing energy to arrive at an equilibrium temperature dependent on the properties of the bodies considered.
There is no possibility the hot object’s curve is ever exceeded.
I also love the idea that radiation is some special property not accounted for in well known properties of materials – this is complete BS as well.
It is impossible to measure thermodynamic properties of substances exclusive of radiative properties – how would one achieve that.
Climate science is BS. Academia should hang its head in shame for not at least challenging this.
I’ve bolded the really great part Rosco, thanks for that analysis.
Joe and Rosco, forget for a while sky rocketing philosophies and let’s do some math. I’m not a physicist but I look forward to your comments.
We need a vacuum chamber with black painted walls. In the middle we have an upright iron rod A, heated by an electric current, and connected to a thermometer by which we can continuously monitor its temperature. At some distance there is a cold iron rod B. When A has reached maximum temperature, the current is shut off, leaving a thermodynamically isolated system.
A emits radiation by which it cools. The thermometer will show decreasing temperatures according to Newton’s Cooling Law. Part of its radiation hits B, making that B’s temperature goes up. Part of B’s radiation may hit A. This is called back radiation.
Let TA(t) be A’s observed temperature and TB(t) B’s observed temperature at time t. Let RBA(t) be the positive contribution to TA(t) by B’s back radiation. This is an operational function only, as it is the difference of A’s temperatures with and without B.
If B’s back radiation effectively contributes to A’s temperature, RBA(t) > 0. In that case it will take more time for the vacuum chamber to reach equilibrium than without B. It is said that B slows down A’s cooling rate. The experiment can be done without B (with compensation for lost heat capacity) or we could use a screen, blocking its radiation to A.
Let’s define LA(t) as A’s temperature in the absence of B, or
TA(t) = LA(t) + RBA(t). 
Define for x>0 the differential
DA(t+x) = LA(t) – LA(t+x). 
RBA(t+x) > DA(t+x). 
From 2 and 3
RBA(t+x) > (LA(t) – LA(t+x)). 
From 1 and 4
TA(t+x) > (TA(t) – RBA(t)). 
RBA(t) = 0. 
From 5 and 6
TA(t+x) > TA(t). 
Equation 7 contradicts the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, since it says that A’s observed temperature at (t+x) is higher than its observed temperature at t.
Therefore, Equation 3 and Equation 6 must be false,
RBA(t+x) <= DA(t+x),
RBA(t) 0. 
(RBA(t) = 0) implies (RBA(t+x) 0. In that experiment at any moment the contribution to A’s temperature by B’s back radiation must be equal to or less than A’s temperature some time (x) ago minus its temperature now (t+x), in case B were absent. A look at the strictly decreasing temperature curve of A (following Newton’s Law) may illustrate this point.
The text so far shows that effective back radiation does not violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics but that this Law restricts its temperature effect. As said, during the experiment B’s temperature goes up. So does the intensity of its back radiation. According to Newton’s Law the differential shrinks with time, making that back radiation must have a decreasing effect on A’s temperature, becoming zero as equilibrium is reached. The criticism of back radiation should concentrate on this miraculous affair.
Something went wrong during transmisson: Equation 9 reads (RBA(t) = 0) implies (RBA(t+x) <= DA(t+x)).
And also text is lost. Can you repair this?
(RBA(t) = 0) implies (RBA(t+x) 0. In that experiment …
Something goes wrong because of brackets. Insert
Now it is possible, e.g. by using a screen, to block B’s back radiation to A. We can experimentally realize RBA(t) = 0, and by removing the screen, RBA(t+x) > 0. In that experiment …:
Thank you for this post, and for the link to the Siddon article. I want to confirm that I have properly understood your points.
I have long known that any object having a temperature over 0K will radiate some longwave light. In the absence of conduction or convection, two objects radiate each other, but the higher temperature object radiates more, and the net result is a heat transfer from warmer to cooler object. It seems that some people use the term “back radiation” to refer to the radiation from a cooler object (atmosphere) toward a warmer object (earth’s surface).
Radiative heat transfer requires that the cooler object is capable of absorbing the radiated infrared light. If I understand you, N2 and O2 (99% of air) do not absorb such radiation, and cannot be warmed in this way, while triatomic molecules can and do absorb. And yet, because of conduction, convection, and the water cycle, all molecules in a parcel of air at a given altitude will have the same temperature and will radiate as a consequence of the kinetic energy level of those molecules. That radiation is however insignificant in scale, except at the top of the atmosphere where radiation is the only means of heat transfer.
In your last paragraph, you discuss the “blanket” analogy, and state that
“Also, the 99% of the atmosphere which is nitrogen and oxygen do not radiate, which means that they are almost 100% efficient at retaining heat overnight.” My question is: How can N2 and O2 block radiation if they are transparent to it.
Again, I appreciate your efforts to educate people like me.
The point about N2 and O2 not radiating very much is an emissivity issue, it does not mean that they block radiation. They are transparent to most of the radiation, but they pick up heat from conduction with the surface, the water cycle, etc. Once they have this heat, they can’t radiate it away because they emit extremely poorly. They have no other way to lose heat, so, with low emissivity, they retain heat very well or alternatively they can maintain a higher temperature for a given amount of radiation they might put out. H2O of course gives out latent heat in the air and helps keep things warmer that way, and it also has a higher capacity to store heat in any case. The other triatom CO2 basically sucks heat out of the rest of the air to keep all of its degrees of freedom in oscillation, but has higher emissivity than the rest of the atmosphere and therefore allows the atmosphere to radiatively lose heat energy.
Thanks for the clarification. It seems that alarmists have turned the role of CO2 upside down–it facilitates the escape of heat from the atmosphere, rather than trapping heat and increasing warming.
Does increasing the CO2 lead to global cooling, or are such increases offset by decreases in water vapor?
Well as far as trapping heat goes, heat is only trapped in the basic thermal capacity of a substance, or in latent heat if a molecule has that property. CO2 only traps heat as a function of its thermal capacity, which is about the same value as that of standard air in any case. The historical record does show that, after CO2 was increased during an interglacial, the temperature dropped again into an ice-age, so the geological evidence is certainly there that CO2 may cause global cooling.
An even more powerful demonstration of heat “trapping” is animal fur.
There is no actual “layer” of protective heat trapping material in this. It is simply that the dense matting of protein cylinders that comprise hair reduce convection and thus reduce heat loss from the skin but there is no real continuous barrier – it is reminiscent of a forest breaking up wind flow.
Obviously there can be absolutely no “trapping” of radiation in this scenario – again – no “barrier”.
If CO2 causes cooling by providing an increase to the radiation of the Earth to space it may be a real problem – I do not for one minute believe it causes global warming – especially at the tiny fraction of the atmosphere it is.
Phew… after all of that philosophical discussion, I’m spent. Good reading though! I really appreciate the great writing by all you folks. Very educational for me. I’m just a stupid software engineer so it takes a while for this sort of thing to sink in. I can only handle 1’s and 0’s … 🙂
What I really want to know is, who’s going to give me my money back? I have been promised all sorts of “global warming” from breathing out CO2, but I am still freezing my ass off here in Nashville, TN, where we just finished 3 straight days of snow, on March 27th! I have a lot of golf to play and so far we are missing spring. This is really beginning to cramp my golf style.
Someone really ought to speak up and let them know that their magic GHE machine is broken! I want a refund!
“I can only handle 1′s and 0′s”
Squid, you just need to add “pie” to your repertoire and you’ll be an absolute genius! 🙂
Pie? I love pie! .. Banana cream, Apple, Lemon, Key Lime .. it’s all good! 🙂
I guess I have just been eating, sleeping and drinking this computer stuff a bit long. I think my wife might agree. She gives me blank stares while bobbing her head pretending she is understanding my conversation of fuzzy logic algorithms. hahaha…
I would like to thank you Joe, for all of your excellent writing here and with the folks over at PSI. I will continue to be making these blogs my permanent stops for my continuing education. It is truly great work that you folks do and although I am not much of a physics or mathematics mind, I believe I have a pretty firm grip on logic and logic processing (been doing it a long time). I sure do get a lot out of what you folks present and I hold it very valuable to me. You should all be very proud.
I sincerely thank you!
Cheers squid. Why don’t you read some of those Illuminati books I’ve linked to? Those are a heck of a lot more fun than this! You’ll also eventually get the “pie” reference 😉
I will do that … thanks!
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There is a Greenhouse Effect.
It does exist. You can verify it by theory backed up by observation. Certain gasses close the atmospheric window open to the surface through which to emit IR radation.
The energy that cannot be pushed through the atmospheric windown is converted/conducted/evaprorated/radiated etc. through the atmosphere to various levels/media (mainly the phases of H2O in the upper troposphere, CO2 in the tropopause and O3 in the lower stratosphere) to push out the energy at slightly lower temperatues.
Because the cloud layer, troposphere and lower stratosphere are at a lower temperature than the surface of the earth, overall each has to warm up a bit to push out all the incoming radiant energy.
That is the Greenhouse Effect.
However, there is no back-radiation from clouds or the troposhpere. That is a complete nonsense, which distracts from the real Greenhouse Effect that does occur.
First lets ask ourselves some observation-provable questions:
a) What happens to hot air?
b) What happens when you heat a gas (like air)?
c) How much energy is stored in the 10km and 10 tonnes of atmosphere above every square metre of Earth when the Earth heats it up during the day and it rises up by 5cm?
d) How much energy is returned by the 10km and 10 tonnes of atmosphere above every square metre of Earth when the Earth collapses by 5cm during the day (during which time it continues to radiate out space)?
e) If you are numerate and have a basic grasp of physics … and have done the sums in c) and d): where does back-radiation come into it?
I hope this has been enlightening into the real physics behind the Greenhouse Effect!
Next time someone mentions “back-radiation” hold a book up to a lamp. How much light comes through?
The Earth is looking through 10,000 pages of book ( in the IR spectrum) at the clouds. How much ‘back-radiation’ from the clouds gets to the Earth?
If you forget this, please pick up a book and hold it to the light,
The Light is Truth
The light shone on the book does not heat the lamp up. So your example disproves the greenhouse effect right there. Thanks.
The lower temperature of the atmosphere does not mean that the colder atmosphere makes the warmer surface warmer.
There is no atmospheric greenhouse effect.
Following the the philosophical debate (for a while at least, the comments went on too long to read to the end), I have never known mathematics to tell me the why of anything. That all of the what and the how of reality can be (eventually) represented and described by mathematics is self evident. As to Joseph’s assertions that the why can be answered by maths as well, this has not yet been shown. It may be one day, or maybe it won’t. Is this YOUR purpose in life Joseph? All I know is that humanity has not proven your hypothesis yet. Regardless of any internal logical consistency with your faith, at this point, faith it remains. It is not the extension of ontological mathematics, it is the games of theoretical mathematics. You desire it to do something it so far hasn’t been able to do: “answer the ultimate question of life the universe and everything”. 42
Read them! 🙂
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