The Semantics of Science Are My Area of Expertise

Jim:
Let me take one more shot at explaining the error that I think you slayers are making.

There are three things:
1) Energy, a thing;
2) Heat, heated, or heating (flux), a process in which energy changes its location; and
3) Relative temperature (up, down), the result of the process of heat, heating, and being heated (or the result of flux).

You slayers have, IMO, erroneously assumed that the LoTs (Laws of Thermodynamics) refer to #2, a process. In actuality the LoTs refer to #3, the result of the process of heat/heating, relative temperature (up, down). And this involves the net gain or loss of energy, which, BTW, is not directly measured or measurable but is inferred from the temperature measurements.  In short, you have made the common mistake of conflating the concept of heat (flux) with the concept of temperature measurement.

Anonymous:
I understand perfectly what the 2nd LoT refers to, and you are correct, it refers to “heat”, which is the “result” of the energy.

Jim:
The word heat is ambiguous. This ambiguity lies at the heart of your misconception. If you clear up the ambiguity you will eventually also clear up your misconception. But that is going to take a lot longer than you think. (Trust me, I know.) You need to be extremely deliberate about clearing up any ambiguity then, and only then, you need to rethink your argument.

Anonymous:
You keep speaking of this “ambiguity” … There is no ambiguity here. Temperature has nothing to do with what I am talking about. Temperature is an arbitrary measurement and has nothing to do with the exchange of energy nor the heat as the result of that energy. This is simply “energy” and “heat” .. period.

Jim:
That you believe temperature has nothing to do with it is the problem. The laws of thermodynamics were developed to explain (interpret) the data — and that data was, you guessed it, temperature measurements.

You slayers have conflated the concept of flux with the concept of relative temperature measurement. In casual parlance these two different concepts can be referred to as “heat, heating, an/or heated.” This is the source of the ambiguity. Only if you stop using the ambiguous words, (“heat, heating, and/or heated”) and you employ more scientifically concise terminology (such as “flux” or “temperature measurement”) is there any chance for you to overcome this misconception.

Like I said, it’s going to take you a long time to get over this. The problem is deeper than you realize. Ambiguity is what created the misconception. But ambiguity is not itself the misconception. The misconception involves a false belief about the nature of flux that you formed when you were under the spell of the ambiguous terminology. Flux (notice I didn’t use the ambiguous word heat) does go in all directions (up, back, down, sideways, etc.). A relative increase in temperature (notice, once again, I didn’t use the ambiguous words heat or warmth) only takes place in the cooler object (as an implication of its proximity to the hotter object). And a relative decrease in the rate of cooling does take place in the hotter object (as an implication of its proximity to the cooler object). The hot to cold only stipulation of the LoTs is in reference to the measurable change in temperature in the two objects. That’s it. The LoTs do not say that the flux only goes one way. They say that the relative increase in temperature only goes one way.

IOW, as a result of the ambiguous terminology you formed a false belief that flux only travels from hot to cold. But avoiding the ambiguous terminology is not going to kill the belief. Beliefs do not die easy. It’s going to take time.

The semantics of science are my expertise. Many people carry some form of scientific misconception that has its origins in semantics. (It’s especially common in evolutionary theory, for example. And climastrology. And, to a lesser degree, in meteorology.) Once these beliefs are formed they are almost impossible to refute. The intellectual mechanism that is involved is the same intellectual mechanism that underlies the human tendency to form strong religious beliefs.

Additionally, once beliefs are formed people tend to collectivize with those to whom with which they share the same beliefs and the same semantics. The internet has exacerbated the problem by making it really easy for people of similar scientific beliefs and similar semantic assumptions to find each other, allowing them to reinforce each other’s misconceptions and providing them moral support for stubbornly adhering to their semantic assumptions. (Sound familiar?)

4 responses to “The Semantics of Science Are My Area of Expertise”

  1. Tom OregonCity says :

    “Heat” is — read the equations — a net term, with unit type Joules. Temperature reveals Heat, but is also determined by heat capacity and mass of the object.

    Slayers don’t like discussing energy flux, because you can’t use the whole, fraudulent “2nd law violation” meme when you discuss simple energy flux into and out of an object.

    Some start ranting about S/B law being inapplicable, because gases aren’t black bodies (duh), black bodies have no mass (silly: without mass there is no object, and no absorption). Others claim wavelength of a photon approaching a surface dictates whether that photon can “heat” the surface or not (a complete misunderstanding of energy flux, instead depending on wavelength fairies as traffic cops, which isn’t in any of my Physics textbooks). Some even imagine that “a watt has a second in it” (in spite of unit description kg x m^2 / s^3. One, Alberto Miatello, doubles down on the idea that the moon cools quite slowly, and he does this by simply averaging the temperature difference across 11 days, when the reality is that the temperature drops like a stone in the first hours after sundown, then flattens out for the remaining “night”. His comments about MY complaints on his work are… amazing! Just scary, how far from demonstrable Physics this stuff gets, which is why they had to create a club just for their intellectual elites, Principia Scientific International, or PSI.

    By the way, how’s that for a deliberately-created title just to get a Greek letter as an icon? Oooh, maybe it’s just the trident they would like to use on warmists and “luke-warmists” (what they call the rest of the skeptical community)

    One other thing I’ve noticed: the less actual Physics in someone’s background, the snarkier the arguments.

    • solvingtornadoes says :

      Tom:
      “Heat” is — read the equations — a net term, with unit type Joules. Temperature reveals Heat, but is also determined by heat capacity and mass of the object.

      Jim McGinn of Solving Tornadoes:
      In a sense (correct me if I’m wrong) temperature is a “proxy” of heat. It doesn’t literally measure heat (nor are temperature’s units directly representative of heat) but it can be used to infer heat and/or energy by including heat capacity and mass of the object into an equation.

      Tom:
      Slayers don’t like discussing energy flux, because you can’t use the whole, fraudulent “2nd law violation” meme when you discuss simple energy flux into and out of an object.

      Jim McGinn of Solving Tornadoes:
      My guess is that the word “flux” was created to avoid the ambiguity that underlies this misconception that heat (flux) only goes from hot to cool.

      Tom:
      Some start ranting about S/B law being inapplicable, because gases aren’t black bodies (duh), black bodies have no mass (silly: without mass there is no object, and no absorption). Others claim wavelength of a photon approaching a surface dictates whether that photon can “heat” the surface or not (a complete misunderstanding of energy flux, instead depending on wavelength fairies as traffic cops, which isn’t in any of my Physics textbooks).

      Jim McGinn of Solving Tornadoes:
      Yes. It’s amazing how they so casually dismiss these kinds of arguments. Another argument that is in the spirit of this argument (and one that was similar to a comment that you made on CoS) involves posing the question, how does the cooler object know it’s the cooler object and, somehow, turn off its flux? Beginning in September of 2013 I posed this question 2 or 3 times on PSI and, predictably, was ignored.

      More recently they presented an explanation for the assertion that, as you describe, a “wavelength of a photon approaching a surface dictates whether that photon can “heat” the surface or not.” They call this the bicycle wheel analogy. In personal email with the person that created this analogy (squid 2112) I attempted to explain the shortcomings of using analogies for a scientific explanation:

      *begin cut and paste*

      squid 2112:
      I will refer back to my bicycle wheel analogy, . . . It explains exactly why you will never be able to heat an object with a cooler one. Not even Obama can break this particular law

      Jim:
      Your analogy is, by your own description, an analogy. Did you intend this to be taken literally? Obviously not. Obviously you are not suggesting there are little bicycle wheels as part of reality. Maybe you are talking about electrons circling an atom. I don’t know.

      squid 2112:
      It describes PERFECTLY how energy transfers (or doesn’t) from one molecule to another.

      Jim:
      I’m not buying this. I’m not saying your analogy is wrong, I’m saying that an analogy can never be wrong, and that is a problem with it being taken seriously on a scientific level. Moreover, I think your analogy is confusing, possibly misleading. If I was you I would stick to terminology using the terminology of thermodynamics/physics.

      squid 2112:
      And because of this physical and undeniable property of nature, we get the LoT’s. The LoT’s could not exist if my bicycle wheel analogy were not true and vise versa.

      Jim:
      IMO, it’s just an analogy.

      squid 2112:
      My analogy passes the null hypothesis test, is empirically observable and has been tested and measured for centuries.

      Jim:
      I’m not saying you are wrong. I believe you are mistaken but I can’t prove it. Whatever the case, if you believe it then you need to make an argument to that effect. All you have at this juncture is an analogy. You don’t, or don’t yet, have anything empirical on this, as best as I can tell.

      squid 2112:
      Because of this physical law of the universe, what you are suggesting cannot possibly happen. End of story. I don’t care how many ways from Sunday you throw in this twisted logic, or that twisted logic, you cannot get there from here and you cannot get around the FACT that the ONLY way a molecule can become MORE excited than it already is, is ONLY if it is excited by something that is already excited MORE than it is. Period. End of story.

      Jim:
      I perfectly open to the possibility that you know something that I don’t know.

      squid 2112:
      This one, very simple, self evident FACT completely blows out of the water ANY notion that a cooler object can make a warmer object warmer still.

      Jim:
      Yes, I agree. But, apparently, you think that this statement means something that I don’t think it means. (Warmths, being synonym of heat, is equally ambiguous.) Maybe it would help if you just avoided the analogy altogether and present a more fully explicated argument. That’s my best advice.

      *end cut and paste*

      Jim McGinn of Solving Tornadoes:
      In retrospect I have an even better, or more concise, explanation as to why analogies should be avoided in science. And this explanation is one that should resonate with skeptics of AGW: The “Greenhouse Effect” is an analogy!

      Tom:
      Some even imagine that “a watt has a second in it” (in spite of unit description kg x m^2 / s^3. One, Alberto Miatello, doubles down on the idea that the moon cools quite slowly, and he does this by simply averaging the temperature difference across 11 days, when the reality is that the temperature drops like a stone in the first hours after sundown, then flattens out for the remaining “night”. His comments about MY complaints on his work are… amazing! Just scary, how far from demonstrable Physics this stuff gets, which is why they had to create a club just for their intellectual elites, Principia Scientific International, or PSI.

      By the way, how’s that for a deliberately-created title just to get a Greek letter as an icon? Oooh, maybe it’s just the trident they would like to use on warmists and “luke-warmists” (what they call the rest of the skeptical community).

      One other thing I’ve noticed: the less actual Physics in someone’s background, the snarkier the arguments.

      Jim McGinn of Solving Tornadoes:
      I tend to think of PSI as being comprised of engineers that have made the mistake of confusing their measurements for reality itself. Hopefully they will learn from this. But probably not. Probably they will just become more entrenched . . . and more isolated.

  2. Insane James says :

    e spirit of this argument (and one that was similar to a comment that you made on CoS) involves posing the question, how does the cooler object know it’s the cooler object and, somehow, turn off its flux? Beginning in September of 2013 I posed this question 2 or 3 times on PSI and, predictably, was ignored.

    More recently they presented an explanation for the assertion that, as you describe, a “wavelength of a photon approaching a surface dictates whether that photon can “heat” the surface or not.” They call this the bicycle wheel analogy. In personal email with the person that created this analogy (squid 2112) I attempted to explain the shortcomings of using analogies for a scientific explanation:

    *begin cut and paste*

    squid 2112:
    I will refer back to my bicycle wheel analogy, . . . It explains exactly why you will never be able to heat an object with a cooler one. Not even Obama can break this particular law

    Jim:
    Your analogy is, by your own description, an analogy. Did you intend this to be taken literally? Obviously not. Obviously you are not suggesting there are little bicycle wheels as part of reality. Maybe you are talking about electrons circling an atom. I don’t know.

    squid 2112:
    It describes PERFECTLY how energy transfers (or doesn’t) from one molecule to another.

    Jim:
    I’m not buying this. I’m not saying your analogy is wrong, I’m saying that an analogy can never be wrong, and that is a problem with it being taken seriously on a scientific level. Moreover, I think your analogy is confusing, possibly misleading. If I was you I would stick to terminology using the terminology of thermodynamics/physics.

    squid 2112:
    And because of this physical and undeniable property of nature, we get the LoT’s. The LoT’s could not exist if my bicycle wheel analogy were not true and vise versa.

    Jim:
    IMO, it’s just an analogy.

    squid 2112:
    My analogy passes the null hypothesis test, is empirically observable and has been tested and measured for centuries.

    Jim:
    I’m not saying you are wrong. I believe you are mistaken but I can’t prove it. Whatever the case, if you believe it then you need to make an argument to that effect. All you have at this juncture is an analogy. You don’t, or don’t yet, have anything empirical on this, as best as I can tell.

    squid 2112:
    Because of this physical law of the universe, what you are suggesting cannot possibly happen. End of story. I don’t care how many ways from Sunday you throw in this twisted logic, or that twisted logic, you cannot get there from here and you cannot get around the FACT that the ONLY way a molecule can become MORE excited than it already is, is ONLY if it is excited by something that is already excited MORE than it is. Period. End of story.

    Jim:
    I perfectly open to the possibility that you know something that I don’t know.

    squid 2112:
    This one, very simple, self evident FACT completely blows out of the water ANY notion that a cooler object can make a warmer object warmer still.

    Jim:
    Yes, I agree. But, apparently, you think that this statement means something that I don’t think it means. (Warmths, being synonym of heat, is equally ambiguous.) Maybe it would help if you just avoided the analogy altogether and present a more fully explicated argument. That’s my best advice.

    *end cut and paste*

    Jim McGinn of Solving Tornadoes:
    In retrospect I have an even better, or more concise, explanation as to why analogies should be avoided in science. And this explanation is one that should resonate with skeptics of AGW: The “Greenhouse Effect” is an analogy!

    Tom:
    Some even imagine that “a watt has a second in it” (in spite of unit description kg x m^2 / s^3. One, Alberto Miatello, doubles down on the idea that the moon cools quite slowly, and he does this by simply averaging the temperature difference across 11 days, when the reality is that the temperature drops like a stone in the first hours after sundown, then flattens out for the remaining “night”. His comments about MY complaints on his work are… amazing! Just scary, how far from demonstrable Physics this stuff gets, which is why they had to create a club just for their intellectual elites, Principia Scientific International, or PSI.

    By the way, how’s that for a deliberately-created title just to get a Greek letter as an icon? Oooh, maybe it’s just the trident they would like to use on warmists and “luke-warmists” (what they call the rest of the skeptical community).

    One other thing I’ve noticed: the less actual Physics in someone’s background, the snarkier the arguments.

    Jim McGinn of Solving Tornadoes:
    I tend to think of PSI as being co

  3. McFly Sucks says :

    e spirit of this argument (and one that was similar to a comment that you made on CoS) involves posing the question, how does the cooler object know it’s the cooler object and, somehow, turn off its flux? Beginning in September of 2013 I posed this question 2 or 3 times on PSI and, predictably, was ignored.

    More recently they presented an explanation for the assertion that, as you describe, a “wavelength of a photon approaching a surface dictates whether that photon can “heat” the surface or not.” They call this the bicycle wheel analogy. In personal email with the person that created this analogy (squid 2112) I attempted to explain the shortcomings of using analogies for a scientific explanation:

    *begin cut and paste*

    squid 2112:
    I will refer back to my bicycle wheel analogy, . . . It explains exactly why you will never be able to heat an object with a cooler one. Not even Obama can break this particular law

    Jim:
    Your analogy is, by your own description, an analogy. Did you intend this to be taken literally? Obviously not. Obviously you are not suggesting there are little bicycle wheels as part of reality. Maybe you are talking about electrons circling an atom. I don’t know.

    squid 2112:
    It describes PERFECTLY how energy transfers (or doesn’t) from one molecule to another.

    Jim:
    I’m not buying this. I’m not saying your analogy is wrong, I’m saying that an analogy can never be wrong, and that is a problem with it being taken seriously on a scientific level. Moreover, I think your analogy is confusing, possibly misleading. If I was you I would stick to terminology using the terminology of thermodynamics/physics.

    squid 2112:
    And because of this physical and undeniable property of nature, we get the LoT’s. The LoT’s could not exist if my bicycle wheel analogy were not true and vise versa.

    Jim:
    IMO, it’s just an analogy.

    squid 2112:
    My analogy passes the null hypothesis test, is empirically observable and has been tested and measured for centuries.

    Jim:
    I’m not saying you are wrong. I believe you are mistaken but I can’t prove it. Whatever the case, if you believe it then you need to make an argument to that effect. All you have at this juncture is an analogy. You don’t, or don’t yet, have anything empirical on this, as best as I can tell.

    squid 2112:
    Because of this physical law of the universe, what you are suggesting cannot possibly happen. End of story. I don’t care how many ways from Sunday you throw in this twisted logic, or that twisted logic, you cannot get there from here and you cannot get around the FACT that the ONLY way a molecule can become MORE excited than it already is, is ONLY if it is excited by something that is already excited MORE than it is. Period. End of story.

    Jim:
    I perfectly open to the possibility that you know something that I don’t know.

    squid 2112:
    This one, very simple, self evident FACT completely blows out of the water ANY notion that a cooler object can make a warmer object warmer still.

    Jim:
    Yes, I agree. But, apparently, you think that this statement means something that I don’t think it means. (Warmths, being synonym of heat, is equally ambiguous.) Maybe it would help if you just avoided the analogy altogether and present a more fully explicated argument. That’s my best advice.

    *end cut and paste*

    Jim McGinn of Solving Tornadoes:
    In retrospect I have an even better, or more concise, explanation as to why analogies should be avoided in science. And this explanation is one that should resonate with skeptics of AGW: The “Greenhouse Effect” is an analogy!

    Tom:
    Some even imagine that “a watt has a second in it” (in spite of unit description kg x m^2 / s^3. One, Alberto Miatello, doubles down on the idea that the moon cools quite slowly, and he does this by simply averaging the temperature difference across 11 days, when the reality is that the temperature drops like a stone in the first hours after sundown, then flattens out for the remaining “night”. His comments about MY complaints on his work are… amazing! Just scary, how far from demonstrable Physics this stuff gets, which is why they had to create a club just for their intellectual elites, Principia Scientific International, or PSI.

    By the way, how’s that for a deliberately-created title just to get a Greek letter as an icon? Oooh, maybe it’s just the trident they would like to use on warmists and “luke-warmists” (what they call the rest of the skeptical community).

    One other thing I’ve noticed: the less actual Physics in someone’s background, the snarkier the arguments.

    Jim McGinn of Solving Tornadoes:
    I tend to think of PSI as being co

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