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Phlogging Phlogiston: The Real Origins Of Global Warming Hysteria

Politics / Climate Change May 20, 2012 - 09:08 AM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleGlobal warming lives on in the minds, or at least the somber pronouncements of leading politicians, corporate chiefs and some opinion manipulators, but is now essentially dead.

To quickly reach the status of a Great Cause it was necessary to decorate the "theory" of global warming with scientific credentials, and above all make it idiot-friendly. At its most basic, global warming theory (called "anthropogenic global warming" theory or AGWT) is as idiot-friendly as the official story of what happened on September 11, 2001 in the USA. We are told that five airplanes were hijacked by dangerous Islamic fundamentalists by order of Afghanistan's Taliban or only with their friendly help. They flew around for rather a long time but America was so terrified no fighter planes were sent to bring down the hijacked planes. Two of the planes disappeared, but three were crashed into carefully chosen targets, not including nuclear power plants, oil refineries, pesticide factories, the White House or suchlike. Three immense tower blocks in New York then collapsed, one of them without being hit by an airplane at all, and the Pentagon was slightly damaged, probably not by an airplane. Afghanistan was then invaded in a colonial war rampage, by the USA and some other countries described as "democratic".

The rulers of the same democratic countries were also very quick to "sign on" to AGWT, for a number of very easily defined, but never stated reasons, with their government-friendly media supplying the rationale: "fighting" global warming is as vital as fighting the Taliban. In fact even more so because it is a threat to life on Earth, while the Taliban are only rather strict about how female persons dress, do not approve of pornography, football or rap music and have a tendency of sponsoring terrorism, in the same way as Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

Even today, some grown-up persons still claim to believe the 9 / 11 story, so why shouldn't they also believe in AGWT ? This is one of the few reasons that global warming continued to attract support, from idiots, for so long.

Fighting global warming and the evil gas CO2 is a 21st century equivalent of being concerned about the action of phlogiston (or imagined existence of imaginary phlogiston) in the 17th and 18th centurues. The great minds who most feversighly peddled AGWT, to their personal profit, such as Britain's James 'Gaia' Lovelock, make a point of not explaining where their pet theory comes from, but anyone with enough time to waste reading 'Gaia' will surely find the origin.

Aristotle's spheres and the Magic Ether linking them help to explain AGWT. All three "religions of the Book" also draw on the magical ether, which we can call the atmosphere and its gases - with their angels which flit between the 3 to 7 spheres of Aristotle's Universe - but by the 17th century in Europe the "ether" had become a little bit more scientific. More important, it had become able to be modified and corrupted, and made less transparent, and more hostile to angel flight by substances which humans produce when they burn combustible materials, notably coal. CO2 was at the time not given special status, but was replaced by "phlogiston":  Aristotle’s' phlogistos, which means "burning".

In the 17th century, the role and function of the Earth's atmospheric gases was unknown, making for a mix-and-mingle of myth, religion and science. We find the same mix-and-mingle faithfully reflected in publications from the UN IPCC today, the panel of experts on supposed global warming supposedly caused by the emission of "greenhouse gases" which are claimed to change the ether, or atmosphere.

17th century European scientists argued that all combustible substances, but especially fossil fuels contain phlogiston but they are "dephlogisticated" when burned. Before combustion, these substances which burn in air are said to be rich in phlogiston. The 17th century proof of this, for scientists of the time like Becher and Stahl, was that combustion soon ceased in an enclosed space, which to them showed that air had the capacity to absorb only a definite and limited amount of phlogiston. When air had become completely phlogisticated it would no longer serve to support combustion of any material, nor would a metal heated in it yield a calx (now called an oxide). More sombre, phlogisticated air could not support life, which 17th century European scientists proved by placing mice in belljars filled with a mixture of CO2 and nitrogen oxides: the mice died.

Thus, phlogiston was described or imagined as basically the opposite of the role of oxygen in combustion. When Rutherford discovered nitrogen in 1772 he explained the results as due to the phlogiston theory: the residue of air left after burning, in fact a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide, was "phlogisticated air", having taken up all of the phlogiston. However, by that time, the phlogiston theory was receiving serious opposition notably from champions of "the oxygen theory", to the extent that Joseph Priestley, the British chemist who discovered a range of gases including oxygen, hydrogen chloride, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide and nitrous oxide almost violently resisted the "oxygen theory" of scientists like Lavoisier. Priestley clung to the phologistion theory, the same way the most irreductible and best paid members of the IPCC cling to CO2 theory.

Today, AGWT artists resist any idea that CO2 is not radically increasing global or regional or local temperature (they call them "global average temperatures"), in the same way 9 / 11 believers cling on to the Taliban Theory for explaining the sudden demolition of large buildings in New York in 2001.

Priestley resisted the oxygen theory of chemistry to the end of his life. For Priestley, phlogiston was more than just the active principle of fire—it was the active principle of life. His "scientific theory" merged with his religious beliefs, the same way that James 'Gaia' Lovelock explained so sincerely and fervently, for a moderate fee, that his Blue Gaia goddess was sullied and denigrated by CO2.

For Priestley, if phlogiston was the active principle of fire, heat, light, electricity, acids, chemical reactivity, and life itself, then it was probably also the active principle of the ether and its homologue in human beings, the spirit. This accorded well with his fundamentalist Unitarian belief in a single omnipresent active principle in the Universe. He believed that air saturated with phlogiston could be "revivified" (or dephlogisticated) by green plants in the presence of sunlight, but accumulations of phlogiston in the atmosphere - even small increases - would act to block out sunlight, saturate the air with phlogiston, and permit emanations of heat, from the strange or even diabolical center of the Earth, to increase temperatures and favour an even more rapid "phlogistication" of the atmosphere.

Read: greenhouse gas effect. CO2 and the quickly expanded list of other sometimes very exotic gases, present in truly minute quantities on the atmosphere relative to the "huge" 0.038% that is CO2, are all said by AGWT defenders to be rapidly "phlogisticating" our planet. We must act against this very dangerous process, we were rantingly told by the charlatans who profited from AGWT.

To be sure, Priestley was not exactly comparable with James 'Gaia' Lovelock: apart from being a real scientist who had made real discoveries, he was also somewhat radical in his politics, and paid for it. He supported the American colonists in their revolution against the British and supported the French Revolution. He made enemies as a result of his political beliefs, and in 1791 his house and laboratory in Birmingham were attacked and burned to the ground by a mob. He later fled to the USA.

Today, or at least recently, any attempt at contradicting the CO2 Phlogiston theory may result in the miscreant being turfed out of their job, sacked from their scientific association, or simply shunned by polite company - but as in previous ages, the child-minded, defenders of AGWT will be forced to retreat.

Why they were able to insinuate themselves into both the scientific and political establishments of many countries is a complex story, but almost certainly features the "primitive vigour" of the CO2 Phlogiston theory. It is above all primitive, it appears to be dramatic, it seemingly has scientific credentials, and lends itself to huckstering and bombast.

Exactly like 9 / 11 the theory is idiot-friendly, very idiot-friendly. Even at the end of the 18th century,  when Lavoisier's theory of oxygen became impossible to deny any longer, defenders of phlogiston were typified by the position of James Hutton, the British geologist and Christian fundamentalist. Hutton was particularly interested in what happens when coal is burnt - like any AGWT defender, today.

Despite lauding Lavoisier, or being obliged to do so, Hutton could say: "When coal burns, it produces two distinct effects; first, by the oxigenating of the gravitating carbonic substance, producing fixed air or carbonic acid in an elastic state. Secondly, in thus changing the nature of coal, there is produced a great quantity of light and heat". He then added that 'present chymnists': "must necessarily leave some natural appearances unexplained while they give a most accurate analysis with regard to the gravitating matter of bodies". Hutton implied that the 'chymnists' were neglecting the role of phlogiston.

Hutton believed that light and especially sunlight, were 'transcending principles', directly linked with the Heavenly Spheres. Fossil fuels like coal are derived from vegetal materials produced by sunlight, he noted, and claimed that if they are burnt in excessive quantities they will release too much phlogiston - which can harm life itself. He therefore proposed reafforestation of England's already fast disappearing woodlands, or at least the use of green pot plants in rooms heated by coal, which can be compared with many of the solutions to Global Warming proposed by defenders of AGWT, today.

Such nice ideas, like taking bottles to the Bottle Bank in the family 400-horsepower 4WD sedan car "to save the planet", however lacks vigour. In 2006, in an interview with the supposedly serious newspaper 'The Independent' (UK), James 'Gaia' Lovelock proclaimed that "billions will die before the end of the century from runaway global warming", produced by an accumulation of phlogiston. This was of course terribly vigorous, and book sales of works by "Jim" Lovelock were increased by the splendid scientific-seeming vigour of his outbursts.

The extreme primitive nature of the "theory" behind global warming was easily confused, by the idiot general public and their political leaders, of course conferred it a form or type of vigour - ideally suited to a semi-educated consumer public that rants and roars at football matches and slobbers in front of People Celebrities. Much more worringly, large numbers of the so-called Scientific Community were apparently pleased to give lip service to the CO2 Phlogiston doctrine, or "theory", for several years.

Opposing this primitive and degenerate theory has required much patient effort by real and therefore unbiased scientists and unbiased laymen, but today the process of completely discrediting this fool's doctrine is nearly complete.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2012 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

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