Friday, July 29, 2011


The journal New Scientist has an article that seeks to explain how something could come from nothing as it must have in the creation of the universe ex nihilo. I'm not sure how well they succeed.

Here's an excerpt from the article's lede followed by a video clip on the topic:
Around 13.7 billion years ago time and space spontaneously sprang from the void. How did that happen? Or to put it another way: why does anything exist at all? It's a big question, perhaps the biggest. The idea that the universe simply appeared out of nothing is difficult enough; trying to conceive of nothingness is perhaps even harder.
The question this all raises, I guess, is where did the quantum energy and the force of gravity come from that made the universe possible? If the universe sprung from the quantum flux then how do we explain that?

After all, if there was a preexisting quantum vaccum such that the universe didn't really emerge from nothing, then that vaccum is in fact the embryo of the universe and we're still left with the question of where it came from. Did it always exist? Where did the laws which govern the quantum world come from? Are we to just consider this level of explanation the terminus, and say that the quantum vacuum just is a brute fact with no need of explanation? Is that not a science-stopper?

Bad Day for the AGW Community

Yesterday was a bad day for the global warming community. First there was an article by James Taylor at Forbes in which Taylor notes that more heat escapes the earth's atmosphere than the climatologists' computer models had predicted:
NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.

Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is "not much"). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds.

Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.
Then there was the revelation that the initial warnings of polar bear peril that served as the symbol of global climate change have been called into question and the research scientist responsible for them suspended from his duties for suspected fraud.

All in all, not the sort of news one would hope for when one is trying to rebuild public trust and mobilize the world to radically alter our way of life.