When ideology rebuts physics

I have received some requests asking me to respond to a supposed rebuttal by a blogger, Hans Schreuder, of the ten physics facts I listed last last week in my post, “Physics trumps right-wing ideology.”  This “rebuttal” has been making the rounds on various denialist blogs, and is easy to find with your favorite search engine.  Not one to be overly modest or equivocal in his rejection of the laws of physics, Schreuder calls the law of conservation of energy (discovered by Galileo) an “old superstition” and concludes by proclaiming, “Please note that we have refuted all ten of your points, not just one…”

One repeated criticism of my physics fact list is that I did not provide references.   I can understand why those who are unfamiliar with a subject would like citations to facts they didn’t know, but it is considered superfluous by scientists to clutter up a basic tutorial with citations to information that is widely known and accepted by those in the field. Most elementary physics textbooks, for that reason, do not have extensive lists of references to Newton.

For example, I could have written:

PHYSICS FACT #6: Conservation of energy is a fundamental law of physics (Galileo, 1638; Liebniz, 1689; Mohr, 1837). When more energy comes in than goes out of a system, it warms up (Lavoisier & Laplace, 1780; Thompson, 1798; von Mayer, 1842; Helmholtz, 1847; Grove, 1874).

But these citations are not helpful to anyone who has the most basic knowledge of physics.  They are also not helpful to anyone who lacks the most basic knowledge of physics, like many denialist bloggers.   Nor are they helpful to those who reject the fundamental laws of physics, like Schreuder (who in his “rebuttal” of  “physics fact #6” calls it an “old superstition”)!  Anybody who dismisses conservation of energy as an “old superstition” is not to be taken seriously, and devoting a blog entry to a point-by-point counter-rebuttal would be counter-productive.

However, it is worth drawing attention to the fact that Shreuder’s “rebuttal” supports my contention that such anti-science denialism is ideologically-driven.   A quick search on his name reveals that he has a blog called “I love my carbon dioxide” with a logo “I (heart) CO2 — love it”.    The home page contains lots of bright colors, exclamation points, and links in ALL CAPS that shout things like “The TRUE POWER of CARBON DIOXIDE” and “THIS SITE NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT PLEASE — even just ONE dollar”.

If Schreuder wants to give the impression that he has an objective approach to the science of climate change, and wants to debate the physics community about the laws of physics, it might be a good idea not to start with the axiom that a chemical compound is something that should be loved and defended, regardless of what the science says.   Having a website that gives the appearance of snake-oil hucksterism probably doesn’t help, either.

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23 Responses to When ideology rebuts physics

  1. Paul Braterman says:

    I chased up the Schreuder posting. It has exactly the same relationship to climate science that AnswersInGenesis has to evolution, and anyone who cites it stands self-convicted of Dunning-Kruger level ignorance.

  2. Scott Newman says:

    If a denialist fell in the woods and no one was there, I would deny he fell.

  3. sunsettommy says:

    Hello sir,

    Your excuse is weak because Hans Schreuder is the one who made his reply to your blog presentation.Not one of those average “denialists” of the world.

    He has a science degree and access to those science papers you showed.Therefore it is to HIM you can make a reply to.Why not make your counterpoint as part of your claim that you think he is wrong.

    Instead of just lobbing name calling and ad homonyms at him?

    • puckerclust says:

      First of all, you are the one who lobbed a homonym, even though it appears to have been by accident. But if Mr. Schreuder convinced you that he is a scientist, he is probably shrewder than you are. OK, now you can accuse me of lobbing homonyms.

      • Hans Schreuder (Holland)
        Retired analytical chemist and technical contractor Hans Schreuder has long been a staunch and highly regarded critic of the greenhouse gas theory and a leading commentator, using his website as a publishing hub for fellow scientists critical of the theory.

        Hans also co-authored the groundbreaking paper, ‘A Greenhouse Effect on the Moon?’ with Alan Siddons and Dr. Martin Hertzberg. He is also a member of Mensa.

      • puckerclust says:

        At least he loves his CO2. Quite the statement of unbiased, disinterested science.

      • mandas says:

        John O Sullivan!!!

        Long time no see. Last time I conversed with you on a blog you were going to sue Al Gore and all the climate scientists in the world for fraud etc.

        How is that going?

  4. sunsettommy says:

    Like these,Mr. Puckerclust?:

    “However, it is worth drawing attention to the fact that Shreuder’s “rebuttal” supports my contention that such anti-science denialism is ideologically-driven.”

    and,

    “A quick search on his name reveals that he has a blog called “I love my carbon dioxide” with a logo “I (heart) CO2 — love it”. The home page contains lots of bright colors, exclamation points, and links in ALL CAPS that shout things like “The TRUE POWER of CARBON DIOXIDE” and “THIS SITE NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT PLEASE — even just ONE dollar”.”

    and,

    “Having a website that gives the appearance of snake-oil hucksterism probably doesn’t help, either.”

    It is amusing that you spent most of your time attacking him and his website he runs,with insults and ad homonyms.Than to just answer his rebuttal that made clear you do not agree with.

    Since it is clear that you will not answer his counterpoints,why not drop it and ignore him.?

    • puckerclust says:

      I’m not sure how accurately describing and quoting a website is an attack, but I agree that ignoring him is the appropriate next step. Good advice.

      • Stop being a blowhard and at least try to rebut Schreuder on the science. You doomsayers are all the same, whenever a real scientist confronts you with facts you respond with insults and hand waving.

      • puckerclust says:

        It it doesn’t reflect well on you that you think what I wrote is “hand waving”. I cited Galileo, and Mr. Mensa disagrees.
        The analytical chemist disagrees with physicists dating back to the 17th century about the laws of physics. Not much more I can say. I agree with the commenters who say “ignore him”.

      • Perhaps it is you who should be ignored as yet another intellectual lightweight? You have failed in your challenge and been debunked on all 10 of your spurious ‘facts.’

      • puckerclust says:

        I fully admit that I’m an intellectual lightweight compared Galileo and the other scientists who did the original research I listed in my list of facts that were “debunked” by Mr. Schrewder. You might remember that Galileo has been “debunked” before.

      • sunsettommy says:

        Mr. Puckerclust,

        I submit that you have failed to defend your position.Your confidence in your bare bones presentation was apparently too shaken.His replies are too hard for you to answer.

        “However, it is worth drawing attention to the fact that Shreuder’s “rebuttal” supports my contention that such anti-science denialism is ideologically-driven.”

        This the best you can do?

        EPIC FAIL!

        My contention is that you are afraid to carry on the tradition of science skepticism.You rather be snobbish,than answer another scientist’s counterpoints.

        That is how I am seeing it.

        Good day sir.

      • puckerclust says:

        Thanks for your interesting views on how scientists should behave.

  5. John Mashey says:

    Well, at least I learned a new term: “ad homonyms”.
    I wonder what that could mean.

  6. Helen Bang says:

    Great material for my comedy though.

  7. Alan D McIntire says:

    Science is ideologically neutral. You should be careful when alleging that ” Physics Rebuts Right Wing Ideology”. I think you are falling into the same logical trap that Social Darwinist theories were used to justify colonizing “less developed” nations, and replacing their cultures with “superior western culture”.

    One might argue that we humans originated in the warm plains of East Africa, and that
    a warmer world would be much more suitable for humans and for the animals of East Africa which evolved alongside of us, therefore to oppose the supposed current warming of the world is to act in direct opposition to our natural evolutionary interests.

    – A McIntire, CAGW atheist

    • puckerclust says:

      Science is indeed ideologically neutral. Therefore, it trumps any ideology (such as CAGW atheism) that requires faith and is based on what a person wants to be true, rather than on fact and logic. Social Darwinism is another ideology that is trumped by actual science. Your speculation that a warmer world would be “better” for humans is a very simplistic view that is not supported by any scientific evidence.

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