Shawn Otto’s New Book: The War On Science

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I’m going to publish my full review of The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It by Shawn Otto closer to the publication date, which is June 7th. (I believe you can use the above link to pre-order the book.) But I just wanted to let you know the book exists, and is amazing, you will want to read it. You will definitely, absolutely, not want to not read it. It is a must read.

This isn’t just someone yammering about the lack of respect for science in America, or about the Republican Party’s antiscienceosity, etc. Shawn’s book is actually a history of science, in a sense, exploring the interrelationship between major evolutionary changes in how science works and how it has related to the parallel evolution of politics, and how politics works. It really is one of the more important books on this topic written.

Shawn also wrote the novel Sins of Our Fathers. Here is an interview Mike Haubrich and I did with Shawn about that book. And, here is a more recent interview from Ikonokast, with Shawn, about science and anti-science.

Here’s a way to get a special, signed, copy of the pre-print of Shawn Otto’s book, and donate to a good cause at the same time:

Here’s a great way to support the environment and good environmental policy action while getting ahold of a collectible pre-publication version of my next book, THE WAR ON SCIENCE. I have just a couple collectible uncorrected advance reader copies left, and I’ve donated two of them to the DFL Environmental Caucus, who is auctioning them off on Ebay as a fundraiser. These have gone for over $200 each at other fundraisers. I will sign and personalize them for the winning bidders per your request and mail them to you. If you care about science-related environmental issues like climate change, clean water, clean energy, and a host of others, then policy action is where the rubber hits the road, and electoral politics like the kind the DFL Environmental Caucus engages in helps bring pressure to bear on lawmakers on the campaign trail, giving them reason to do the right thing when it comes to passing evidence-based policy. So bidding massively on this book should be a no-brainer. Help the world, help your kids and grandkids, help the DFL Environmental Caucus, and get a great book at the same time. What’s not to love? Dig deep! And PS: if you’re a lobbyists, ignore this. They don’t solicit donations from lobbyists during the regular legislative session.


Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
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24 thoughts on “Shawn Otto’s New Book: The War On Science

  1. The Great Climate Change Bamboozle
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
    H. L. Mencken

    Earth’s carbon cycle contains 45,000 Gt (E15 gr) +/- 850 GT of stores and reservoirs with a couple hundred Gt/y +/- ?? ebbing and flowing between those reservoirs. Mankind’s gross contribution over 260 years was 555 Gt or 1.2%. (IPCC AR5 Fig 6.1) Mankind’s net contribution, 240 Gt or 0.53%, (dry labbed by IPCC to make the numbers work) to this bubbling, churning caldron of carbon/carbon dioxide is 4 Gt/y +/- 96%. (IPCC AR5 Table 6.1) Seems relatively trivial to me. IPCC et. al. says natural variations can’t explain the increase in CO2. With these tiny percentages and high levels of uncertainty how would anybody even know?

    Mankind’s alleged atmospheric CO2 power flux (watt is power, energy over time) increase between 1750 and 2011, 260 years, was 2 W/m^2 of radiative forcing. (IPCC AR5 Fig SPM.5) Incoming solar RF is 340 W/m^2, albedo RF reflects 100 W/m^2 +/- 30 (can’t be part of the 333), 160 W/m^2 reaches the surface (can’t be part of the 333), latent heat RF from the water cycle’s evaporation is 88 W/m2 +/- 8. Mankind’s 2 W/m^2 contribution is obviously trivial, lost in the natural fluctuations.

    One popular GHE theory power flux balance (“Atmospheric Moisture…. Trenberth et. al. 2011 Figure 10) has a spontaneous perpetual loop (333 W/m^2) flowing from cold to hot violating three fundamental thermodynamic laws. (1. Spontaneous energy out of nowhere, 2) perpetual loop w/o work, 3) cold to hot w/o work, 4) doesn’t matter because what’s in the system stays in the system) Physics must be optional for “climate” science. What really counts is the net RF balance at ToA which 7 out of 8 re-analyses considered by the above cited paper concluded the atmosphere was cooling, not warming. Of course Trenberth says they are wrong because their results are not confirmed by the predicted warming, which hasn’t happened for twenty years.

    Every year the pause/hiatus/lull/stasis continues (IPCC AR5 Box TS.3) IPCC’s atmospheric and ocean general circulation models diverge further from reality.

    As Carl Sagan observed, we have been bamboozled, hustled, conned by those wishing to steal our money and rob us of our liberties. Hardly a new agenda.

    BTW I have a BSME same as Bill Nye so I’m as much a scientist as he is.

  2. From above:

    Mankind’s gross contribution over 260 years was 555 Gt…

    Here’s a fun exercise that any professional engineer should be able to do without breaking a sweat.

    Take that 555 Gt carbon and convert it to PPM CO2 in the atmosphere. 260 years ago, the atmospheric CO2 concentration was approximately 280 PPM. It is now just a bit over 400 PPM. How does the number you compute compare with the observed ~120 PPM increase? Show your work.

  3. References: IPCC AR5 Figure 6.1 and Table 6.1

    Derivation of 2.12 factor in Figure 6.1 footnote:
    383 ppmv CO2 * 44.00 CO2 / 28.69 Air = 582 ppmm CO2
    582 ppmm CO2 * 5.148 E18 Pg Atmos =2.995 E3 Pg CO2
    2.995E3 Pg CO2 / 3.67 = 815.97 Pg C
    815.97 Pg C / 383 ppmv CO2 = 2.12 Pg C / ppmv CO2

    Pg = Gt = E15 g

    1750: 280 ppmv * 2.12 GtC / ppmv = 594 Gt C
    Anthro Gross: 555 Gt C / 2.12 = 262 ppmv
    Anthro Net: 240 Gt C / 2.12 = 113 ppmv (43% WAG’d, fudged)
    2011: 390 ppmv * 2.12 Gt C / ppmv = 827 Gt C

    Total Carbon in global balance: 46,713 Gt +/- 850 Gt, +/- 1.8%
    Percentage of atmospheric C to total C
    1750: 594/46,713 = 1.27%
    2011: 827/46,713 = 1.77%
    Atmos C change: 1.77 – 1.27 = 0.5%
    Total uncertainty band = 3.6%
    Atmos C relative change: 0.5/3.6 = 14% of uncertainty, i.e. too small for anybody to really know.

  4. Per IPCC AR5 chapter 6 page 3/106

    1750, 278 ppmv = 589.4 Gt (by proxies, e.g. tree rings, ice cores, leaf stomata, sediments, i.e tea leaves, & Ouija boards)
    Anthro CO2 production in 261 years between 1750 and 2011 pulled from between some “expert’s” butt cheeks.

    Gross 555 Gt, 262 ppmv

    555 Gt exceeds the increase, complicates explanations/excuses, and must be partitioned 57% sequestered by ocean and vegetation, 43% retained in atmosphere, based table 6.1 created from between some “expert’s” butt cheeks.

    Net 240 Gt, 113.2 ppmv

    390.5 – 278 = 112.5 Wow, what a coincidence! Although what does one expect from “dry labbing” the assignment.

    2011, 390.5 ppmv = 827.9 MLO

    “They” can’t determine the origin of 3.6% of the carbon in the balance, “they” sure as hell don’t know the origin of 0.5% of it.

  5. 1750: 280 ppmv * 2.12 GtC / ppmv = 594 Gt C
    2011: 390 ppmv * 2.12 Gt C / ppmv = 827 Gt C

    Percentage of atmospheric C change
    1750: 594
    2011: 827 = 594 + 233
    Atmos C change: = 233 / 594 = 39%
    Total uncertainty band = 3.6%
    Atmos C relative change: 39/3.6 = 1080% of uncertainty, i.e. too large for anybody to really ignore

    Nickie Boy flunks math, and should have his PE revoked. However, Nick, there’s a career for you in some oppressive third-world country as the Minister of Propaganda, as you seem to be seriously committed to pushing false and misleading statements toward whatever credulous souls might get suckered by your dressed-up rubbish.

  6. You can’t consider the atmospheric carbon separate from the entire 46,713 GT carbon balance. IPCC doesn’t.

    Those who do are just spouting propaganda.

  7. And you can’t consider the increase in atmospheric carbon separate from the consequential impact on climate. IPCC doesn’t.

    Those, like you, who insist on doing so are just spouting propaganda.

  8. IPCC AR5 Table 6.1 tabulates what some “expert’s” butt cheeks speculate happened to 315 Gt of anthropogenic C, i.e. 57% of 555. How “they” know this is a mystery to me especially since the 160 Gt vegetation sink is +/- 90 Gt, +/- 50%! A total uncertainty of 180 Gt! What did they use for these numbers, pairs of dice?

    What is clear is that what happens in the atmosphere doesn’t stay in the atmosphere and atmospheric CO2 and anthropogenic CO2 are just part of that boiling, churning, chaotic, mélange of 46,713 Gt of carbon, no CO2 molecule uniquely distinguishable from any other.

  9. I fully believe you when you state that it’s a mystery to you how climate scientists know their field of study.

    1. So far, as usual, nothing but trash talking trolls.

      Got science?

  10. It’s seeming more and more that “PE” really stands for Phys Ed. Maybe this latest buffoon teaches gym class.

  11. We do. And it’s mildly entertaining to watch you try to pervert it to meet your self-serving political goals.

    Clue: Science doesn’t work that way, Nick buddy.

    1. So what do you have? Far as I can tell, bupkis! Lots of hot air. Hat no cattle, boat no paddle.

  12. Nick, here’s another clue: Pick any one of the climate science-oriented blog posts on Greg’s blog… and READ them. Hint: Follow the links to research results… and READ them.

    Here’s the bad news for you: The truth about climate change is not going to satisfy your personal political agenda. And that’s just too bad. You don’t get any options there.

    1. Here’s my recommended reading list. Pay special attention to the ones on scientific FRAUD!!

      [Nicholas, we have a rule on this blog. This is a science blog and a great deal is invested here in science education. In order to avoid confusion, we don’t have links to science denial sites or resources. Therefore all the part of this comment that are links or references to science denial sites or resources have been deleted. There was not much left, sorry. gtl]

  13. Why is it that people who claim to be engineers so often are completely incompetent in statistics and at the same time are devotees of some form of crankery (no climate change, creationism, vaccines and autism) – things where they insist they are right when data and science show the opposite?

  14. Nick, science is not a political subject that can be argued and won by the best debater. Science eats politics; never the other way around.

    If you start arguing pseudoscience to try to win a political agenda and bend science to cater to your self-interest, you’ve already LOST your argument.

  15. 1750, 278 ppmv = 589.4 Gt (by proxies, e.g. tree rings, ice cores, leaf stomata, sediments, i.e tea leaves, & Ouija boards)

    Ice cores are not proxies for estimating palaeoatmospheric composition. They allow direct sampling and analysis. Misdescribing them and then dismissing the evidence they provide is conclusive proof that Nicholas Schroeder is clueless and bluffing.

  16. Sounds mighty desperate of you, Nick. Which isn’t surprising, coming from someone who uses lies and deceptions for his “arguments”.

    I shouldn’t have to point out to you that you can’t “win” with lies & deceptions. Why is it that you can’t offer honest arguments? Is it because you can’t find any that support your political position on the subject?

    Isn’t it frustrating when reality lines up against your self-interest and you’re left with nothing to counter it? Here’s a suggestion: Stop trying to warp the world to agree with you; change your agenda to agree with the world as it is. You’ll be much happier, even if the world isn’t perfect.

  17. I shouldn’t have to point out to you that you can’t “win” with lies & deceptions. Why is it that you can’t offer honest arguments? Is it because you can’t find any that support your political position on the subject?

    Hence the war on science. Which is why we have not-even-wrong arguments about anthropogenic CO2 presented alongside flat denial of the ice core gas analyses. It beggars belief, really. But it’s definitely a war on science:

    we have been bamboozled, hustled, conned by those wishing to steal our money and rob us of our liberties.

  18. What would be hilarious, if not for the pathos and the gravity of the subject at hand, is that this is like watching Neanderthals picking a battle with the U.S. Third Army.

    They just can’t grasp that they’re fighting a senseless conflict against something they cannot defeat. They don’t get that they’ve lost the fight before it even got started. It’s amazing that kind of mindset exists. Talk about cognitive dissonance!

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