Friday, May 31, 2013

From Darwin's Dangerous Idea: why we can believe scientific theories

The following quotation is from Darwin's Dangerous Idea, by Daniel C Dennett.  This quote applies to all strongly-confirmed scientific theories, including global warming.

"The fundamental core of contemporary Darwinism, the theory of DNA-based reproduction and evolution, is now beyond dispute among scientists. It demonstrates its power every day, contributing crucially to the explanation of planet-sized facts of geology and meteorology, through middle-sized facts of ecology and agronomy, down to the latest microscopic facts of genetic engineering.  It unifies all of biology and the history of our planet into a single grand story.  Like Gulliver tied down in Lilliput, it is unbudgeable, not because of some one or two huge chains of argument that might–hope against hope–have weak links in them, but because it is securely tied by hundreds of thousands of threads of evidence anchoring it to virtually every other field of knowledge. New discoveries may conceivably lead to dramatic, even 'revolutionary' shifts in the Darwinian theory, but the hope that it will be 'refuted' by some shattering breakthrough is about as reasonable as the hope that we will return to a geocentric vision and discard Copernicus." [Emphasis in the original]."

Denialist "arguments" are rubbish because they don't unravel any strands, let alone enough to let Gulliver get up.

Everything you need to know to refute climate denial trolls

 ClimateProgress contains a superb reference for rebutting 99 climate-denial trolls.

Each troll (skeptic argument) is followed by a one-line rebuttal, a paragraph rebuttal, and links to multi-page references containing nothing established science.

Read this page, keep calm, and you *will* win any argument with the trolls.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: P. furiosus turns CO2 directly into industrial chemical

UGA discovery may allow scientists to make fuel from CO2 in the atmosphere:

Here is the abstract of the referenced article PNAS. I don't have a subscription:

Exploiting microbial hyperthermophilicity to produce an industrial chemical, using hydrogen and carbon dioxide:
Here is an earlier article from PNAS, in full:

Mechanism of oxygen detoxification by the surprisingly oxygen-tolerant hyperthermophilic archaeon, Pyrococcus furiosus: