YouTube Comments: Losing Patience

I’ve been active on YouTube for almost a year, and I’ve been producing videos for about half a year. For me it all started with following a few channels and joining the discussions.

SpaceRip is one of the channels where I contribute now and then. And the last video I had a serious discussion on with another user was the video “Global Temperature Puzzle”:

The discussion I had on that video took the better part of two weeks and was triggered by the following comment:


In England only around 25% of people believe this type of one-sided ill informed scaremongering

Because there’s still no credible scientific evidence showing that mankind can significantly affect an entire planets global temperature one way or another, there is only opinion consensus gut feelings, and this is not science

The same thing happened with the global cooling (imminent ice age 1970) scare there was opinion consensus gut feelings,and the majority of scientists were wrong

Now this comment goes completely against everything we know about climate change or what actually happened in the past. For example we know very well that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that we are increasing it.

Not to mention that it was the media that talked about the imminent ice age in the seventies. If you take a look at what was actually published on climate change you notice that only 7 papers predicted global cooling and 42 papers predicted global warming.

Now credit where’s credit due, he did concede he was wrong with his statement that the majority of scientists in the seventies predicted global cooling. But he continued with his argument that it’s not us that’s causing global warming and that an increase in CO2 is actually a good thing.

After a few days of responding to each other we went into such detail that I posted the following comment where I explain how we know it’s us that’s increasing CO2 levels and the consequences of it (with comments limited to 500 characters it was a pain to post this response):

He’s talking about the processes involved in the carbon cycle of our planet and how it influences the isotope content of the atmosphere (O and C).

We don’t know if we’ve identified all processes and we don’t understand them fully yet. This is a caveat he has added in case some error is in his paper due to something we don’t know yet (this is mostly aimed at the older sample data of millions of years, harder to verify correlations).

On page 16 chapter 3.3 he starts talking about how we identified the changes in carbon isotopes and why we have a high confidence of the results. He also gives a plot of the increase in CO2 and the drop of isotope 13C.

The significance of this is mentioned on page 3 (second bullet), where he explains that 13C has changed due to our burning of 13C depleted fossil fuels. This is why we can track in our atmosphere where our carbon is going and that it’s indeed largely us introducing this carbon.

I hope this explains it a bit as this is a very simplified explanation of what’s in the article. So this is what I mean with how we know the carbon is coming largely from us.

Now about the research paper from the KNMI, what they did was measure weather extremes. They were especially interested in temperature extremes (both cold and hot). What they saw is that there was a significant increase in the hot extremes/days and decrease in cold extremes of the 70% of the samples landmass of the planet.

This just proves it’s getting hotter, but this ties in with my previous article about the tracking of isotopes in the atmosphere. And how the increase of CO2 is linked with the burning of fossil fuels and other activities of us which changes this. This is why I say we know it’s us and we know it’s getting warmer (although this is based on more than these two articles).

You quote the following sentence from the abstract to counter my assertion made with this article that a 3C rise is probable with a business-as-usual scenario:
The quest to determine climate sensitivity has now been going on for decades, with disturbingly little progress in narrowing the large uncertainty range.

What this actually means is how sensitive our climate is with responding to the rise in CO2. Or better said how big the temperature rise is for a certain amount of CO2 in our atmosphere and what we should use as limits and targets in possible mitigation schemes.

So the premise of this paper is looking at what kind of temperature rise we might be looking at with a doubling of CO2 (this paper is quite complex so I’m leaving out bits here). And the number he mentions 3C is actually between the estimated numbers of 1.5C and 4.5C in temperature increase (note that the IPCC wants to limit climate change to 2C increase in temperature).

It also goes into scenarios of mitigation and how this will influence temperature and details about the processes and what we know of them. So what he is bemoaning is that we yet have to get this margin of error of 1.5C really down even though our knowledge about this area has increased a lot.

And about your evolution point, yes species will evolve to take up niches. The problem is this normally takes millions of years, although this is speeded up in mass extinction events, this still takes a long time before we have good functioning biotope. And we’re not talking about just the loss of single species, habitat collapse is a real risk here.

And that can seriously alter how plentiful the environment is where we live in (just think of the time needed for developing good crops for a changed climate). For example there is a real risk that we would be left with a ocean mostly populated with jellyfish. And although this is something we probably can cope with reasonably, the other effects on humans I gave you are serious.

And I don’t call just picking a few sentences from the abstracts of those articles as completely refuting them.

Now this was a very detailed explanation of several scientific paper I was citing in the previous comments. And how it refutes several of his points and why global warming is such a concern to scientists. His response to this detailed explanation (which was in fact the third in a row) was the following:


Mark Twain
Life on the Mississippi Chapter 17

Now, if I wanted to be one of those ponderous scientific people, and ‘let on’ to prove what had occurred in the remote past by what had occurred in a given time in the recent past, or what will occur in the far future by what has occurred in late years, what an opportunity is here!
Geology never had such a chance, nor such exact data to argue from! Nor ‘development of species,’ either! Glacial epochs are great things, but they are vague–vague. Please observe:–In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year.
Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period,’ just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long,and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

Predicting future events using scientific methodology can be risky especially when there’s unknown variables in the equation, thus the caveat not entirely for the reasons you offer “(this is mostly aimed at the older sample data of millions of years, harder to verify correlations)”

And I don’t call just picking a few sentences from the abstracts of those articles as completely refuting them”
I never said I completely refute them, I said”or should I show you the underlying problems with any anthropogenic global warming model which will allow me to pick them apart”

He was already testing my patience with the way he was discussing me and how he was attempting to refute my points and the papers/data I was citing. So I was already annoyed with him when he posted the quote of Mark Twain as a response. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back that made lose patience with him:

So in short you can’t discuss me on the actual data and evidence in the papers itself. I’ve explained my points with references to actually published papers, and even answered several of your questions in great detail about what is said in those papers. Taking the effort to rewrite those papers in concise and clear language (and referring to the parts of the paper where you can find the original points).

And then you give me a passage from a book written by Mark Twain (great writer btw), a book first published in 1883. A memoir written when we were taking our first real scientific steps, but still had a lot of trouble actually getting a grasp at what we were seeing. Like we haven’t made significant steps forward since then. Throwing a quotation from a memoir at me when I’ve taken the effort to explain research papers…

You have a point with that we shouldn’t just project what we see into the future/past. But in climatology we don’t say “oh we see a rise of 1C in 25 years, so we will see a similar rise in 25 years”. Those projections are based on way more than just seeing something. They are based on actual scientific understanding and real life data. The data in the papers shows that we base our research on a truly complex situation with complex answers.

Why do you think there are error margins in those projections? Why do you think we add certain caveats to research papers? I admit this in any discussion I have on climate change. However this doesn’t mean that it’s a logically fallacy we are basing the science on. If it was this, it would never withstand academic criticism.

Science works on degrees of certainty, and never can it give 100% certainty of something. However a scientist would say “our confidence is high”. And some even dare say in public that it’s proven. Do you think they would risk their academic careers if they can’t back this up?

And sorry about the misquote, I meant to say picking apart. But pointing at a few caveats in the abstracts of research papers is not picking them apart. That much should be clear by my responses and explanations on questions you posed.

Also you say:
“Predicting future events using scientific methodology can be risky especially when there’s unknown variables in the equation, thus the caveat not entirely for the reasons you offer”.

Seriously, is this the best answer you can give me when I added a caveat myself to shorten the bloody thing I wrote as a response? When I was pointing to parts in the papers and explaining them, you pick the one sentence where you see a opening to counter, and do so without actual references to research, or why it wasn’t what it meant according to you.

For someone like me who actually has contacts in the scientific community, who has gained the respect of medical researchers by my accurate translations of research they’ve done to something people can understand. Giving me such an answer after the effort I’ve taken I truly see as an insult. Especially when this is the coffee table I’m sitting behind currently:

I’m done with discussing this with you, as you sir are nothing less and nothing more than a denier with the discussion tactics you use and how you counter me.

So if you have ever wondering how I respond when someone gets me angry on a forum, now you know.

Collin Maessen is the founder and editor of Real Skeptic and a proponent of scientific skepticism. For his content he uses the most up to date and best research as possible. Where necessary consulting or collaborating with scientists.