Golly, but The Heretic is a play that appears to be genuinely useful art, something that actually challenges the paradigm. Brice Bosnich reviews it (see below), Andrew Glikson rails against it (so, it must be useful).
Glikson says, rightly: “Opinion and “belief” are no substitute for evidence. Those who doubt the basic laws of nature and empirical data are always welcome to submit research to peer review journals…”
To which Jo Nova says to Dr Andrew Glikson, “Skeptics can name 900 papers that support our views. And you still haven’t found that one mystery paper with observations that suggests CO2′s effect will be catastrophic eh? Is there any evidence?“
Glikson can name (as he did in our debate) hundreds of papers that are irrelevant, not based on observations, or are based on a logical fallacy. Climate models are not observations of the real world. Glikson’s faith in his theory is unscientific.
Before Glikson demands we disprove him (and we can) he needs to show he has some observations that support him. Until then, man-made global warming is just another religion.
Guest Post: Brice Bosnich
Just back from seeing The Heretic in Melbourne on Tuesday. The theater was full. This is my reaction.
a) Leaving aside the scientific message, I would score the play as a 7.5 out of 10, where 10 is metaphysical perfection.
b) It is set in an earth science department, recently retooled as climate science, of a British university.
c) A cast of 6 is involved; a female faculty member (lecturer?) and her daughter, an anorexic greenie going though youthful rebellion, a male student who is green but delights in scientific rationality, a former military type janitor whose reason for existence in the play remains obscure to me, a human resources female and the male professor of the department.
d) The play is dominated by the female faculty member.
e) The female faculty member and the professor did a fine job of their parts, the anorexic and the male student did an awful lot of shouting as a substitute for acting subtlety and the human resources women, although appropriately over-painted and over-dressed, was not sufficiently desiccated to be truly representative.
f) The play opens showing a white board (Panasonic!) on which is written the (accepted) logarithmic relationship between CO2 concentration and forcing. The science described in the play is remarkably accurate.
g) The female faculty member finds the theory of AGW and its purported consequences to be unsupported by facts. Her professor, although probably sharing a similar view, adheres to the official line because of the considerable advantages he sees for himself and his department and the nasty consequences of not toeing the line.
h) Whereas the professor could reluctantly live with the faculty member’s conclusions, he is outraged when she expresses them to her students in class and, worse, on TV.
i) As a consequence the professor attempts to get rid of the heretic, with the help of human resources.
j) Although the lecturer gets death threats, human resources does nothing. The military type janitor seems to be involved with the death threats.
k) The rest of the play is about the interactions between the various actors.
My wife who is not a scientist found some of science talk in the play obscure, eg linear versus logarithmic relationships etc. As I said, I did not find the play especially engaging, but as an accurate representation of the state and politics of climate science it was right on the money. As Dr Johnson said about Scotland, “Sir, it was worth seeing, but it was not worth going to see.” (We drove from Canberra!)
(Professor Brice Bosnich, FRS, is Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Professor in Chemistry at The University of Chicago, Emeritus, and is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Research School of Chemistry, The Australian National University. Prof Bosnich was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2000.)
Dr Andrew Glikson objects to The Heretic in a letter to its author
Mr Richard Bean
Melbourne Theatre Company
Dear Mr Richard Bean
As an Earth and paleo-climate scientist of some 45 years-long experience and more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, I suggest the show “The Heretic”, which I have not seen but about which I have read, can only lead to trivialization and further denial of what the scientific world regards as the greatest threat humanity and nature are facing.
I suggest the show plays into the hands of those who support the use of the thin terrestrial atmosphere (breathable thickness of less than 10 km) for further carbon emission on top of the 350 billion tons of carbon already emitted since the 18th century and >150 billion tons carbon released by land clearing, fires etc.. As shown in my enclosed paper, the pace of CO2 rise over the last 40 years, recently reaching >2 ppm CO2/year, has now exceeded any recorded for the last 65 million years, while the atmospheric level of 394 ppm CO2 is now near that of the warm Pliocene era some 3 million years-ago. Our empirical evidence is based on direct observations of the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere system by the world’s climate monitoring bodies – including NOAA, NASA, NSIDC, Hadley-MET, Tyndale, Potsdam, CSIRO, BOM and other.
Opinion and “belief” are no substitute for evidence. Those who doubt the basic laws of nature and empirical data are always welcome to submit research to peer review journals where their papers will be treated the same as any other. In so far as their propositions are upheld, anyone who is able to demonstrate as if:
The Earth’s climate is not warming, or
The anthropogenic release of >500 billion tons of carbon since the 18th century is not the primary factor responsible for global warming
is bound to receive the highest accolades.
I wonder whether such a show, if concerned with denial of the holocaust of world war II, would have been conceived?
I suggest that, given the threat of anthropogenic global warming to the terrestrial climate and to marine ecosystems, a theatric show making mockery of the gravity of the climate issue for future generations can only be seriously mistaken.
Earth and paleo-climate scientist
Australian National University