End of World or Unscientific Hysteria?
Here’s the claim David Cardill makes in the youbute video below:
We’re running out of oxygen due to fossil fuel burning. All the birds are dead/dying and humanity is at the brink of suffocation.
The claim is easy to debunk (further down) but I think there’s a more interesting phenomenon here than just being wrong.
I suggest people who make crazy claims could suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect plus other flaws. The DK effect alone doesn’t explain it since the subjects can’t recognize shortcomings in their argument even when presented conflicting yet credible information. Some DK+ people have shortcomings including a lack of interpersonal skill, lack of science skill, closure to new information and confirmation bias.
This package of flaws is a rut. Lack of tools to present an argument and lack of the argument itself puts them in a desperate situation where they may engage in ad hominem attack, conspira-speak and just plain stupid-speak.
Check out his response to my youtube comments below.
Debunking the Claim
The claim is based on a graph he shows that is sloped downward. He clearly doesn’t understand the units or how the measurements are made but it’s the only thing he has (aside from anecdotal and off-topic drivel).
Here’s the problem with the claim. Oxygen is going down but it’s going down slow. The organization that measures and publishes atmospheric oxygen levels (where the data from his graph comes from) has the following on their front page:
“Oxygen levels are decreasing globally due to fossil-fuel burning. The changes are too small to have an impact on human health, but are of interest to the study of climate change and carbon dioxide”.
Oops… no wonder he leaves the reference out.
What’s actually happening here is he doesn’t understand the graph. It’s pretty clear in the video but if you have a look at his response to my youtube comment (below) you’ll notice that he says the graph:
“visually looks like it’s decreasing significantly” and also “they show the oxygen declining at about 45 degree angle downwards”.
Here’s a quick grade-school level primer I put together to show how the angle of the line doesn’t carry meaning unless you understand the axes of the graph.
There are other painfully wrong arguments he’s making where he doesn’t understand conversions between decimal fraction, percent and parts per million. I won’t bore you with these grade-school details unless someone asks.
Especially since the Scripps O2 Program (where the guest in the video gets his data) explains it all pretty well.
These are the comments for the video entitled “World’s Most Serious Environmental Crisis: Oxygen disappearing from the Air (with David Cardill)”.
I posted this rebuttal to his claim (his answers below). His response is loaded with conspira-speak, ad hominem and other garbage.
Atmospheric oxygen loss due to fossil fuel burning is small. That Cape Grim graph you show at 9m 30s is likely from Scripps Atmospheric Oxygen Research. The units (which if you were actually a physicist or engineer you would have known and understood) are likely molecules per million since that’s what they usually use. Oxygen loss comes out to about two one thousands of a percent per year (0.00188%). There’s around 21% oxygen in the atmosphere so this is a very small drift. You conveniently left out the reference for that graph because the source also states that oxygen loss is small and not concerning. Especially compared to other impacts of fossil fuel (http://scrippso2.ucsd.edu/faq). CO2 is measured in ppm because it’s very small. We are currently around 400ppm which is 0.04%. The small drift upwards in CO2 is causing issues whereas the small drift downward in oxygen isn’t. Four hundredths of a percent on something that’s over 20% isn’t very significant. Your linking of loss of wildlife to oxygen loss is frankly quite ridiculous. There are many other factors behind animal populations. I’m not posting this expecting something intelligible from you, I’m posting this so others can see what bunk you are promoting and the lack of evidence of your claims. — Darcy Whyte
His answers are in these snaps from the youtube video. Loads of drivel and ad hominem.
Birds of a Feather
Not sure if you’ve notice but most of the time if you believe in a form of nonsense you probably believe in other nonsense.
Flat earthers, anti-vac, chemtrail-heads and other people lacking scientific literacy (and numeracy) all seem to have the same patterns. They don’t really have the answers to the questions you ask them so they ramble on about other stuff.
Great for further convincing themselves but they never rise to the challenge so they may be in this rut indefinitely.
David Cardill in the video above goes on about dinosaurs, photographing people’s souls, an uneducated account of how atmospheric oxygen is measured and countless other sidetracks. Below is another example of the same pattern in a typical “Flat-Earther”.
I think conspiracy theorists all share some of the same characteristis. As a rule if you believe in one you probably believe in the rest.
If I’m chatting with someone and they are talking about one of these items, I often ask if they believe in any of the other items. If so, it’s an alert that they may not be scientifically literate…
So for fun I made up this handy checklist to evaluate what stage one is at.
You believed in Sasquach when you were a teen. Perhaps a little Lochness Monster and UFO’s on the side. But you out grew it.
As an adult you believe in one of chem-trails, 911 conspiracy or lunar conspiracy… but you don’t talk about it. You may believe in perpetual motion. You think your cottage is off the grid because it has a solar panel (but you run gas for large appliances).
You believe in all of chem-trails, 911 “truth”, lunar conspiracy and you talk about it. You’ve used the statement “That’s what they want you to believe”, in the past week. You think you saw a perpetual motion machine once. You like the following vocabulary: Sheeple, Big Oil, Big Pharma etc… (going to Big Rig Pub is okay, that doesn’t count)…
You deny anthropogenic climate change
Tinfoil hat. You drink lithium structured water.
Sasquach (Big Foot)
You think you can make a perpetual motion machine.
This just in. As it turns out conspiracy theories are right as this secret footage shows: