The Great Moon Hoax — No Not That One!

Humans first walked on the moon 50 years ago, yet there are some people who don’t think it happened. This story is not about them. It turns out there was another great conspiracy theory involving a well-known astronomer, unicorns, and humanoids with bat wings. This one came 134 years before the words “We chose to go to the moon” were uttered.

The 1835 affair — known as the Great Moon Hoax — took the form of six articles published in The Sun, a newspaper in New York City. Think of it like “War of the Worlds” but in newspaper form — reported as if true but completely made up. Although well-known astronomer John Herschel was named in the story, he wasn’t actually involved in the hoax. Richard Adams Locke was the reporter who invented the story. His main goal seemed to be to sell newspapers, but he also may have been poking fun at some of the more outlandish scientific claims of the day.

A Telescope Beyond Belief and a Yarn Spun Out of This World

The first of the six articles touted that Sir John Herschel had made amazing discoveries at the Cape of Good Hope and that the articles originally appeared as a supplement to the Edinburgh Journal of Science. If you want to read the original, you can find the text at the Museum of Hoaxes. However, here’s a short summary: Supposedly, Herschel had created a huge telescope using a new principle, shipped it to South Africa, and had visualized many amazing things with it.

In the story, the new telescope was supposed to be a large tubeless reflector, although later they talk about a giant lens. The image formed was further magnified by a water drop microscope. We think. Keep in mind, the thing didn’t really exist, and the text is hard to parse so some of it could be Star Trek-style technobabble. We especially liked “hydro-oxygen microscope.” We were also amused that when Herschel and David Brewer came up with the idea, Brewer reportedly said — we aren’t making this up — “Thou art the man!” We guess things haven’t changed so much over the last 200 years.

The final instrument was said to have a 24-foot diameter, weigh almost 7 tons, and could magnify up to 42,000 times. Supposedly, the new telescope had found planets around other stars and could see objects on the moon as clearly as you’d see something with your own eyes one hundred yards away. And what did he supposedly see? At first, there were reports of red flowers. There were also a number of types of lunar trees that eventually gave way to a lake.

Like all good stories, there was a slow reveal. They found slender pyramids — surely the sign of intelligent life. Then they observed animals of various types. There was something like bison and one animal described as a “monster” resembling a goat.

By the fourth installment, the scientists observed winged humanoids that appeared to engage in conversations complete with gestures. They named these winged people Vespertilio-homo (bat man — no kidding). They also claimed to find an abandoned temple made of sapphire. Near the temple lived a higher form of the bat people.

The downside to the giant lens was that the sun caused it to start burning down the building. The telescope was saved, though, and Herschel started looking elsewhere during the new moon. He found the rings of Saturn were from volcanic smoke. The paper supposedly omitted some other details as not interesting to the general reader.

Tall Tales Die Hard

The story spread, first across the country, and then throughout Europe. It took about a month for the New York Herald — a competitor of The Sun that had temporarily shut down due to fire — to call out the story as a hoax.

It is often claimed that the Sun’s circulation went up because of the hoax, but that may not be true. It is true, though, that they turned a great profit from the sales of a pamphlet with the story and lithographs. There is evidence that the paper sold 60,000 pamphlets in a single month. Today only sixteen of them are known to exist and they sell for a lot more than the original penny.

On the Hoax Museum site, they break down that about half the New York newspapers (other than The Sun) seemed to buy into the hoax, although half of those were skeptical about it. Perhaps the biggest tell was that the Edinburgh Journal of Science had not even existed for several years at the time of printing, having merged with another journal in 1833. The people who did realize it didn’t have a great way to tell everyone else, either, so it was largely ignored.

Herschel was at first amused by the attention. He really had been in South Africa at the time of the hoax. However, he later grew tired of people asking about his moon discoveries. But the story gets even stranger. Edgar Allen Poe, who had been a colleague of Locke, claimed the piece was plagiarized from his own work, “The Unparalleled Adventures of One Hans Pfaall,” which had appeared under a different title two months earlier in a literary magazine. Both because of the nature of the publication and the obvious satire, few if any people believed Poe’s account of a man flying a balloon to the moon and living there for five years.

In later years Locke did admit to writing the hoax, although he may not have worked alone. In addition to trying to sell more papers, there is some thought that he may have been poking fun at contemporary science reporting. For example, Thomas Dick wrote a popular book where he computed that the solar system had nearly 22 trillion inhabitants and the moon was home to over 4 billion. You might wonder how he arrived at such a number. Dick was a church minister and assumed that God would will that all his creation would be inhabited. That included asteroids, planetary rings, and moons. Computing the surface area of all those things and knowing the average population density in England led to his claim.

New Technology: Steam-Powered Printing Press

You usually think of the War of the Worlds hoax as an early mass media manipulations. That was almost 100 years after the Great Moon Hoax. But the technology of the relevant era drove both the hoaxes. In 1938, radio was a new medium and was in many people’s homes. In the 1830s the steam-powered printing press made it possible for The Sun to produce many copies of the paper cheaply and so the paper had a large readership ready to belive the story.

The Sun was the first successful penny paper — more affordable than the six-cent papers. With large cities, low prices, and steam-powered printing presses, the penny papers were the radio or TV of their time. They also tended to cater to more humble readers with crime reports, sensational stories like the moon hoax, and advertisements for things you wouldn’t see in the six-penny papers.

Where Will the Next Hoax Occur?

We would like to think that our technologically savvy population would laugh at something like the Great Moon Hoax today. Common knowledge and common sense have come an unfathomable distance since the 1830s. Now, most people would discount these claims at face value, and there’s a huge community of astronomers (both professional and hobbyist) around the world who would refute such claims.

It seems to us that while most of the world is worried about the rich getting very rich while the poor get very poor, we also worry about the divide between people who have basic science knowledge and critical thinking skills versus those who don’t. That divide seems to be getting bigger and in a world increasingly dependent on science and technology, that strikes us as dangerous. One thing we think helps is to normalize a deep interest not just in the results of science and technology, but in the fascinating details of each new discovery.

64 thoughts on “The Great Moon Hoax — No Not That One!

  1. Critical thinking and skepticism has always been difficult for humans. It’s too easy to believe your own fantasies are true and find others that want to believe that the world doesn’t have the harsh limitations that the real world imposes on people. There are alway people that want the prestige that comes with possessing knowledge that no one else has without doing the actual work it takes to gain such knowledge. And there are also those that believe the world is full a of fools and there is a buck to be made in creating fantasies. Some of those people create hoaxes, other make movies, or write fiction.

        1. If both sides would stop making hysterically exaggerated claims like this it might be possible to get some real research done.

          Not that either of you would accept such research no matter what the results were…

        2. Jonathan, who cares about any “sides”? All I care about is what science says. Science. Not any person. Just science.

          Science tells us that earth’s radiance cannot decrease without a corresponding DECREASE in earth’s temperature. Warmizombies are forever insisting that “greenhouse gases” somehow cause the earth’s radiance to decrease in some way, with a corresponding INCREASE in earth’s temperature. Any such arguments can be summarily dismissed as FALSE.

          Science says that temperature cannot increase without additional energy, and the 1st Law of Thermodynamics says that although energy can change form, energy can NEVER be created. Warmizombies, however, are forever insisting that certain energy form changes, e.g. short-wave infrared to long-wave infrared, somehow result in a temperature increase which implies energy is being created. Any such arguments can be summarily dismissed as FALSE.

          Science tells us, per the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, and by Planck’s Law as well, that cooler matter cannot increase the temperature of warmer matter, either by conduction or by thermal radiation. Nonetheless, warmizombies are forever insisting that photons emitted from the earth’s (warmer) surface are somehow absorbed by the (cooler) atmosphere and then “reradiated” back to the earth’s (warmer) surface where it is somehow absorbed, thus increasing the warmer surface’s temperature inviolation of both the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and Planck’s Law. Any such arguments can be summarily dismissed as FALSE.

          Physics and Chemistry apply to all matter, always, everywhere. Warmizombies are forever insisting that science somehow does not apply to earth. Until the current laws of physics are shown to be false, Global Warming and Greenhouse Effect arguments should be summarily dismissed as FALSE.

        3. “Science tells us that earth’s radiance cannot decrease without a corresponding DECREASE in earth’s temperature. ” That is only true sentence for a black body, which Earth is not. Earth radiance can decrease without a decrease in temperature due to the change in emissivity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emissivity) and reflectivity. And those factors are changed by greenhouse gases.
          It’s easy to take one simple law of physics and claim something, however real word systems tend to be much more complex. For CO2 level history see this graphics: https://xkcd.com/1732/

        4. This is the point that you need to acknowledge that you are scientifically illiterate and that you, as much as anyone, need to research actual science and see what it says.

          Science tells us that it is not possible to trap heat. Now you don’t understand how that can be because the people that manipulate you take advandate of your scientific illiteracy and confuse you with gibberbabble and control you with fear.

          From The MANUAL : (http://politiplex.freeforums.net/post/2)

          HEAT: noun
          In the Global Warming theology, “heat” means whatever it needs to mean at any given moment. The term is employed by Global Warming believers to shift semantic goalposts as necessary. It’s meaning can shift fluidly between “temperature,” “increase in temperature,” “thermal energy,” “flow of thermal energy,” “radiance,” “convection,” “absorption of electromagnetic radiation,” “energy,” “conduction,” “infrared,” “plasma,” “work,” “power,” “radioactivity,” “electrical energy” and others as convenient.

          I realize that there are some people you trust who are manipulating you under a religious dogma that is based around the mistaken notion of “trapping heat” which Is simply not possible according to physics. If you were to read up on the above listed concepts you will find that they cannot be “trapped.” I also recommend becoming an expert on the Stefan-Boltzmann Law which makes it clear that earth’s radiance and earth’s temperature both move in the same direction, never in opposite directions, i.e. if anyone tellse you that Greenhouse Gas lowers/reduces/slows earth’s radiance in some way while increasing earth’s temperature you can immediately flag that argument as FALSE because earth’s radiance and temperature cannot move in opposite directions.

          Just go with science. Ignore people’s opinions. Science is not subjective, is not based on anyone’s opinions and is not determined by democratic vote or general consensus by any group.

          I hope that helps.

          1. You talk about the law of thermodynamics, but fail to acknowledge that the Earth isn’t a closed system.

            You say heat can’t be “trapped”, but if the sun weren’t here, the Earth would be nothing more than a cold rock.

            All you do is take scientific concepts and apply them or their terminology completely wrongly to whatever you ‘re trying to (dis)prove.

            Try this: heat up a stone and heat up a piece of metal. Notice how slowly one retains and releases heat and how quickly the other. Consider what insulation and ventilation accomplice. Now take what you’ve experienced, and think about how that could apply to the Earth as whole.

            It’s no use trying to apply scientific concepts you don’t understand. Which is actually what the scientists you so dis are doing for a living.

  2. “It seems to us that while most of the world is worried about the rich getting very rich while the poor get very poor, we also worry about the divide between people who have basic science knowledge and critical thinking skills versus those who don’t.”

    Who is this ‘us’ and ‘we’ you refer to? Seems like pretty divisive language to me…

    “That divide seems to be getting bigger and in a world increasingly dependent on science and technology, that strikes us as dangerous.”

    For someone who appears to be trying to paint themselves into the camp that has “basic science knowledge and critical thinking skills”, using a word like ‘seems’ in the grand conclusion that is supposed to convince us that something ‘dangerous’ is occurring is weak.

      1. To point out the prevalent hypocrisy, irrationality/sentimentalism and sectarianism that’s taught and encouraged nowadays, I would say. Coincidentally, the modern-day equivalent of penny newspapers are one of the most powerful instruments that enable this.

        1. Exactly. Uses divisive language and then ponders in the next sentence why there is a divide. Claims a moral high ground of being informed and well versed in the scientific method and then in the next sentence justifies his conclusion and world view with a statement of something that ‘seems’ to be happening.

          Those shouting “LOOK AT THIS SENSATIONAL DIVIDE!!!” ‘seem’ to always be the ones with their hands on the blade that is making the cut, usually with a little added smugness to poison the wound.

      1. religion? The truth seems to be what you belief, not what is actually there. Trust nothing, doubt everything. Is this really a 10k resistor, could someone walk on water. Are foreigners taking our jobs. Is the earth a sphere or a disk on the backs of four elephants on the back of a turtle? That sort of thing.

        Of course we have the internet now to make things easier/worse.

        1. The human problem is that we have to fight our own natures and preferences when establishing our “truths”.
          For instance, I really wish Discworld existed, but I have to regretfully admit it doesn’t. But when presented evidence of its existence I am more readily convinced by that because I have a deep desire for it to be true!
          It is how we weigh our evidence that causes our differing perceptions of the exact same data.

      2. The fact that Exxon did internal research that found climate change was not only directly linked to C02, but that they themselves were a major contributor to those emissions will not convince you

        The continual record breaking temperatures will not convince you

        The exponential rise in climate related disasters will not convince you

        The US military’s research into climate change presenting a major threat to operations will not convince you

        Clearly, every capable scientist in their field is participating in a hoax, its those who stand to financially benefit from your ignorance that will really stand the test of time I am sure

        Only an American could get huffy about being called a loon for denying climate change when entire cities are being devoured in wildfires overnight. Thats some next level denial.

        1. “The continual record breaking temperatures will not convince you”

          What about the record breaking cold temps?

          “The exponential rise in climate related disasters will not convince you”

          Hasn’t happened. That is totally false.

          “The US military’s research into climate change presenting a major threat to operations will not convince you”

          It wasn’t research. It was a political declaration with no empirical evidence behind it.

          “Clearly, every capable scientist in their field is participating in a hoax, ”

          Over 33,000 scientists signed a declaration that there is not enough evidence to support man-made climate change. Even the founder of the weather channel said it’s bogus.

          “Only an American could get huffy about being called a loon for denying climate change”

          Lord Monckton?

          “entire cities are being devoured in wildfires overnight”

          That town (not an entire city) was burned precisely because of idiot environmentalists who refused to let fire breaks be made in forests. In the past, entire regions burned after a lightning strike because there was nothing or no one to stop the fires. It’s quite natural.

        2. Exxon did no such research. “Climate Change” is a completely undefined religious concept that is not supported by any science.

          You were gullibly manipulated into regurgitating someone else’s religious dogma.

        3. Roughly 1000 years ago every monastery in the uk had a profitable vineyard, it was warm enough in the uk to grow grapes!
          a few hundred years later in 1309 to 1814 it was so cold the river Thames froze.
          in a few more years it will be warm enough to grow grapes in the uk again.
          Once it gets as hot as it will get it will all get cold again, just like it has every time before.
          When you’re being dragged through space by a ball of fire it is reasonable to expect some temperature fluctuations.

        4. @John blacktorn

          Fortuitously this was just published: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49086783

          Yes, it’s been hot, and yes it’s been cold, but never globally and on this scale.

          And to the person who brought up the latest spat of harsh winters: more extremes in weather does not disprove global warming, but is more than likely the cause of it.
          To know if the planet “globally” “warms” you need to look at all the data points together. (Like in the above mentioned paper.) +5 +5 +5 +5 -10 is still +10!

    1. This aphorism, of unclear origin, appears to first be cited circa 1880.
      Given that world population was approx 1.6 billion then, vs. current population of
      ca 7.6 billion, one would expect the frequency of sucker birth might be several times higher now just from the increased number of people being born.

      Of course the number of births per thousand individuals has declined significantly in that time in more developed nations. Infant mortality has also been reduced, so many more of the people born today survive to adulthood.

      Without knowing at what age the assessment of gullibility was made, it is hard to
      estimate how the figure should be adjusted for changing demographics.

    2. I even see people online who claim to know about history and be really sciencey, but they still believe that hoax about the Netherlands having had an economy based on tulips that once crashed.

      Nobody can find the year their economy had problems, but they still believe in the mythical tulip depression.

  3. I think the headline answers your own question about whether modern readers would fall for a similar hoax: You had to specify “No, not that one.” This is an age where a mistrust of science and a disbelief in the nature of objective truth helps a lot of hoaxes spread on the Misinformation Superhighway, at least within a core of true believers. Just look at what happened when a dishonest doctor put together a hoax study that was supposed to drum up demand for a line of thermerisol-free vaccines he planned to sell later.

  4. “…a competitor of The Sun that had temporarily shut down due to fire…”

    So, the earth has two suns, but one’s been shut down because it’s… on fire? (c:

    1. Well obviously, it was either on fire in the wrong place or the wrong sort of fire.

      Probably the latter if it’s being run by the same people who ‘run’ the rail network in south-east England.

  5. Exactly. There is no actual way to accurately measure global temperature, or CO2 levels, neither are consistent across the globe, ever. You can get a rough approximation, but no where near the precision needed for the tiny amounts being hyped as critical, spread over a long period of time. The historic data doesn’t exist in an any reliable, accurate way either, basically guessing. The connection between warming and CO2, was a fore-drawn conclusion, the science, created to to convince people of a non-issue. The danger is in that we actually need CO2, us it every day. Every living thing on the planet, is carbon based. That carbon comes from the foods we eat. Plants are the only thing that pull carbon directly from the environment, CO2. We need to eat, we need plants to provide our carbon, and planets need lots of CO2. The population continues to grow, requiring more carbon, more food, greater need for CO2. Commercial greenhouses, even home-growers, augment CO2, to encourage faster growth, stronger, heather plants. Just look it up for yourselves, how much CO2 a plant can make efficient use of, and what we are being sold as planet killing levels…

    1. Obviously if climate change were only about the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere no one would mind. It’s not only more CO2 in the atmosphere though, it’s the temperature increase that comes with it that’s the terrifying thing, and the likelihood of a runaway climate change that will outright kill a large portion of the biosphere.

    2. “The danger is in that we actually need CO2,”

      No. There is 0% chance of us having too-low levels of CO2. There is a (mostly) set amount of carbon on Earth. Over the last century or few, we have been, at a global scale, sawing, mining and pumping it out of the reservoirs that have held much of it since before our species existed. We have been using our machines to convert most of that previously-trapped carbon to CO2.

      1. Science (Biology) has already answered this question. CO2 is a life-essential compound. The world would benefit by having lots more of it in our atmosphere. If we lose the trace amounts we have then life on earth goes bye-bye.

        It takes either a special type of gullibility or a hatred for life to allow oneself to believe that a life-sustaining compound is poison/pollution. Perhaps you can tell me which one it is.

        1. Bernard, poisons and pollution are INDEPENDENT of quantity. If I examine a small drop of snake venom under a microscope to examine its properties, it doesn’t lose its poisonous properties just because there is too little.

          If I were to take a 1 oz. shotglass of industrial sludge and dump it in the middle of Lake Tahoe, I have polluted the lake. The DA isn’t going to say “He only dropped in one ounce, which is too little, so he obviously didn’t pollute.”

          “Too much” of anything is lethal. That doesn’t make everything pollution and everything poison. It just means that “too much” of anything, including non-poisons and non-pollution, is lethal.

          Otherwise, if everything is poison and everything is pollution then nothing is poison and nothing is pollution … and that would be absurd.

          CO2 is a life essential compound; it is not poison.

          One more time, poisons and pollution are INDEPENDENT of quantity.

          1. That’s just completely wrong.

            Poison or pollutant is not a property of a substance, it’s a property of its relation to something else.

            Sugar is only a pollutant when you put in the tank of your car and prevents your car from running.
            Snake venom is only poisonous because it harms a living being.

            And just as a few grains of sugar on a tank of gas won’t harm it, a single drop of snake venom won’t harm a human.

            So yes, quantity is in effect very much a factor when talking about a poison or pollutant relation.
            The correct (scientific) way of discussing this would be for instance:
            * 1ml of this snake venom is poisonous to a mouse
            * 15ml of this snake venom is poisonous to a human male of average weight

            Water poisoning as a term is in fact accurate. When you consume too much water in too short a time you will be poisoned by it.

            The reverse by the way also applies. Homeopathy is no longer a medicine since the actual medicine is so far diluted it no longer cures the illness. (It might be effective as a placebo depending on the illness, but a simple sugar cube would be just as effective as whatever they’re putting in those homeopathy pills.)

            You talk about me being under a religious dogma, but it’s you who’re using definitions and concepts in a way reminiscent of flat earthers and other religious extremists. You use words like “Poison” and “Pollutant” as if they’re some holy ideas, and you twist scientific concepts like thermodynamics (handily only picking up the words and parts you like) to try and prove a point.

      2. Not all the plants and trees we cut/kill, get burned, least not for a while. We use those materials in other ways, like building materials, clothing, paper, landscape mulch… But, the plants are still dead, and not pulling CO2. The current 400 ppm/0.04%, just a rough estimate, isn’t spread out evenly across the globe either. Less than 20% of what plants can efficiently make use of. A lot of plants are dormant during the cold months, fall/winter. Global Warming only defines average warming, at an alarming rate, doesn’t really deal with how we achieve that warming. Fewer winter months, milder winters, less drop at night, some parts of the globe super hot, some stay ‘normal’… Plants kind of like greenhouse effect, warmer climate, more CO2. You have to figure that stronger, healthier plants are going to convert larger quantities of CO2 faster as well.

        The main point though, is that plants feed all life on the plant, provide the dietary carbon we need. Eating burnt toast for breakfast doesn’t work. We keep clearing land, so the green areas need to do better, not just okay. I’m not convince there is any unnatural warming, let alone any relation to CO2. Not sure why we should be afraid of a slightly warmer climate anyway, cold is far more deadly. Weather needs a difference in temperature, storms happen where the hot and cold meet. ‘Trapped’ heat would lessen the temperature differential, calmer weather. Floating ice melting, does,t raise the liquid level at all, grade school experiment with ice water… Glaciers have been melting and disappearing since the ice age ended, just a few holdouts, because of their sheltered locations.

        This is our first inter-glacial, so we don’t really have a basis to compare, no normal. Me can guess, we can ‘believe’, but we really don’t know. Global Warming demands that we ‘believe’, and have faith in a weak hypothesis, theory is just stretching the data a little too much. Proxies and analogs aren’t legitimate data. The actual data to support global warming to support global warming doesn’t exist yet, still being recorded, takes a while.

    3. Gosh, darn, if only we had a robust, mathematically rigorous way of discerning probability distributions, deducing central limit theorems, inferring population means, and extracting trends amidst noisy signals that could then be used to measure temperature… Hmm, maybe we could call this field of enquiry “statistics”

      1. Statistics are a great way to paint the data into any flavor or direction one wants, and are inherently unreliable because of this.

        Personally, I find it interesting that everyone is looking at CO2 as the cause of “global warming”… Sorry, I guess “climate change” is the current term, when the biggest contributor to the greenhouse effect, by a HUGE margin, is water vapor. Let’s see us go without that for a while…
        One last thing: People have been scared of climate change for as long as I can remember, which is quite a long time. In the 1970’s, scientists were actually considering ADDING pollution to the atmosphere to help prevent the predicted “little ice age” (never happened). Then in the 1980s I read about how, if the climate continued to warm at the rate then shown, by the 2020s the oceans would have risen by enough to cover most, if not all, coastal cities in the world. Popular Science even had diagrams showing New York and Boston underwater. I’m still waiting for the ocean to rise…

        So yeah, not all of us believe the hype about the climate. The simple fact of the matter is that the Earth’s climate is always changing. I’d be more concerned if it stopped!

        1. @IBDaMann:

          As a physics and chemistry double of long ago, your lack of rigor concerning how the greenhouse effect works is disturbing. Take your own medicine and try reading about it. The big ball of fire in the sky is an energy pump.

          I do not believe climate change is (entirely) caused by humanity. The data are lacking to prove the case, IMO. But: you are spreading pseudo-science. Please stop it.

    4. TV stations have the latest state-of-the-art equipment to forecast the weather and are often far off. But people believe you can take those models, extrapolate them to the entire earth, and prove than man caused a 0.7 degree increase in temperatures over the 20th century – riiiiiight!

      The one thing missing and anthropomorphic climate change believers will get angry with you for asking about is the margin of error. Temperatures in the 1880s and 1920s had different standards, hence a larger margin of error. Heck, parallax error alone was on the order of at least a degree or two. But they can use those numbers for 0.7 degrees? Yes, it’s 0.7 +/- 5 degrees, probably.

      1. “Temperatures in the 1880s and 1920s had different standards, hence a larger margin of error.”

        Yes, that also concerns me. Today some met sites can measure temps within a hundreth of a degree
        with some level of confidence. I highly doubt the met thermometers of those eras were within 1 degree of accuracy. Algebra showed me that if one data point is only good to two significant digits, then your end result can only be accurate to two significant digits. It doesn’t matter if all the other data points are accurate to 7 significant digits.

        Today we can record temperatures continuously, 24/7/365 through automation. A hundred years ago most met sites may have taken two temperature readings a day.

        1. First, you are confusing accuracy and precision. Second, we do not have the means to measure the entire earth’s average temperature to any usable accuracy. If you take a quick brush up of statistics then you’ll see why.

  6. I don’t know who “progressives” are in the “US” or why you call them “moonbats”, however I do know that science is the best framework we have for critical thought.

    1. When “The Scientific Method” is properly used, yes, then “science” is a great framework for critical thought.
      To bad that a lot of “science” today is a bunch of academics cranking out papers in an effort to retain and increase government funding and change public opinion without presenting real facts to justify their opinions.

      1. Have you considered offering your services as a peer reviewer for the journal Nature, to put an end to the wishy washy, emotional, subjective opinion pieces they keep accepting for publication?

        1. “Peer Review” has nothing to do with science. It is a publishing term that applies to any subject matter looking to be published.

          No “peer reviewer” owns science and gets to declare what is science and what isn’t. If a “peer reviewer” is offering his opinion on an article or paper then he’s not reviewing science.

          Only the scientific method gets to say what *isn’t* science.

      2. Science is not a paper cranked out by an academic. Science is not someone’s opinion. Science is not the result of a democratic vote. No organization or institution owns science and gets to determine what is and isn’t science.

        Science *is* a collection of falsifiable models that predict nature. Any and all people are welcome to apply the scientific method to prove any such model false.

        1. When dialogue descends to the level of name calling, ad hominem attacks and straw man arguments, it is time to do better things with one’s time. In closing, if physics precludes the possibility of a greenhouse effect that traps heat, i.e. reduces the rate of loss of thermal energy to the universe which is at ~50K, how is it that a tomato grower can extend the growing season with a glasshouse, or my well insulated house with equator facing glazing can get to ~298K in mid winter without supplemental heating, while it is ~283K outside, or for that matter, the ground does not routinely freeze overnight from radiative cooling?

  7. When the Axial precession of the earth lines up with the closet approach to the sun, as it is now for the north pole, you would expect higher average temperatures in the northern hemisphere, with the closer approach mitigating the winter, and an average colder southern hemisphere with the winter lining up with the furthest distance, hotter summers at the short close approach, but colder winters. The reason the effects don’t average out is closest approach is any non-circular orbit spends more time further from the primary than close to it. This is a good explanation for the growing ice sheets in Antarctica. The Axial precession takes approximately 26,000 years to complete a full rotation, it is expected to have a alignment with perihelion every 13,000 years alternating poles.

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2010/09/deep-freeze-didnt-affect-southern-hemisphere first paragraph quoted below was the opposite side of the cycle.
    “Approximately 13,000 years ago, as the last ice age was winding down, Earth’s Northern Hemisphere reverted to a near-glacial period called the Younger Dryas. Temperatures dropped by 15˚C, and giant ice sheets again advanced south from the Arctic. But things were much different in the Southern Hemisphere. New data reveal that the globe’s bottom half continued to warm its way out of the ice age, even as the north temporarily plunged back into a another deep freeze.”

    I believe human activity can have a significant impact on the climate, which is pretty good considering we are estimated to be 1/10000 of the biomass, I do not believe human activity is the complete explanation for the current climate trend.

  8. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a hoax, but it’s definitely a case of worthless politicians hijacking something for selfish reasons. Note how the discourse is never about empiricism or data reproduction, or even practical pollution reducers like nuclear energy or reducing the West’s economic dependence on the torrent of cheap plastic crap, it’s always some variation of “you dirty heathens better support my flagrant cronyism and predatory taxation scheme or you’re horrible trogs who hate Glorious People’s Science!” It reminds me a lot of eugenics, really, which had the same problem and ultimately got a lot of people killed.

    Local radio guy here said it best, city people just want to complain on someone else’s dime.

  9. It’s only California progressives that are called Moonbats, and the reason is because they nicknamed their favoritest governor ever “Governor Moonbeam.”

    I’m sure there are progressives in other places that support Governor Moonbeam, making them Progressive Moonbats, but generally support for local politicians is local. Moonbats are from California.

    In the Pacific Northwest we’re called Treehuggers.

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