Dr Chilingar, AKA Dr Chill

Most of you haven’t seen Sizzle, but there is one global warming denier in the movie who is a wonderfully strange character, Dr Chilingar. He is interestingly idiosyncratic, but the movie didn’t really pursue his views very far…but Tim Lambert has. Chilingar is guilty of comparing CO2 over billions of years to human CO2 over centuries and using formulas that assume greenhouse effects don’t change to argue that greenhouse gases will have no effect.

<hack> <hack> Excuse me, I had a little cough.


  1. alex says

    “hey, if you look at global warming from this side and twist your head round under your own arse, and ignore that bit, it doesn’t look like global warming at all, it looks kind of like a duck.”

  2. John Yates says

    It might just be me, but I often get the impression that the folk who say that the threat of global warming is being exaggerated are, more likely than not, religious. Stupid, bone-headed religious folk. You know, the crowd that are likely to say something like, “those stupid scientists with their highfalutin scientific evidence and their evolution and their scare stories.” The one thing that the global warming deniers and the religous have in common is their steadfast refusal to engage with the evidence. Whenever I hear a global warming denier rant their ignorant nonsense, I automatically get the impression they’re probably religous.

  3. steve murphy says

    You deal with creo-bots; Tim deals with climate-bots. Different bots; same fundie mindset. The game of whack-a-mole never ends.

    It gets me so depressed that I need a cracker to cheer me up….:)

  4. True Bob says

    As an engineer, it really annoys me when engineers behave stoopidly. Engineer creationists*, engineer conspiracy theorists, engineer GW deniers, etc. Worse, these particular guys appear to be carrying water for the petrol products industry (like they care beyond profits). It amazes me that so many are religio freaks and not rational thinkers. Ah well, I saw plenty of them in my collage (GaTech ’85 BME) as well.

    *These guys are the worst. Just because (generic) you think it looks designed does not mean it is. Open your minds to a wider perspective, especially timespans and the OBVIOUSLY common descent. I fear they opened their minds so far that their brains fell out.

    PS I think many “lay” science publications and common media are guilty in perpetuating and encouraging stoopidity. Just yesterday I saw an article online LiveScience, saying deep sea thermal vents inside the arctic circle were releasing water at “more than double the boiling point of water”. Then why didn’t the picture show water vapor blasting out of the smoker? Oh yeah, they really meant the temperature was greater than sea level boiling water. It’s as bad as when Zippy the Weatherman says “tomorrow will be twice as cold as today”. Yeah, moron, how are you measuring that? AAAAARRRRRRRGGGGHHHH.
    /pet peeve rant

  5. says

    Does Dr. Chilingar bear any resemblance to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Dr. Challenger?

    The latter is extremely unpleasant and arrogant, makes wild claims against the scientific consensus, and often becomes violent in the face of differing opinion. Being a fictional character, he usually turns out to be right.

  6. mds says

    It’s as bad as when Zippy the Weatherman says “tomorrow will be twice as cold as today”. Yeah, moron, how are you measuring that? AAAAARRRRRRRGGGGHHHH.

    Obviously, twice as cold means half as hot. For example, if it’s a -10°C today, tomorrow it will be -141°C, so remember to wear a jacket!

  7. True Bob says

    mds, if it’s 0C today, what will twice as cold be?

    But like I said, a pet peeve.

  8. True Bob says

    Frack, mds, it took me a second reading to see what you did. Either way, it still annoys me because what they mean and what they say are not related. “Twice as cold” just doesn’t make any sense, but that’s what they say vice saying “half as hot”. It isn’t that hard to understand, it’s just lazy.

  9. says

    True Bob #6,

    Any old asswipe can call himself an engineer. Even then, there’s an awful lot of us (legit engineers) who are largely undifferentiated: civil, mechanical, electronic, etc. engineers are all lumped in together as “engineers” in a way that scientists tend not to be. There’s also a clear and very unfair bias: we don’t generalise with “bloody scientist” every time Michael Behe opens his stupid mouth, but let an engineer say something stupid and watch the chorus of “stupid engineer” comments pour out.

  10. tim Rowledge says

    #14 – damn right. It annoys me when we see the “oh, an engineer, duh, those guys know nothing about science, they all …” {add further crap as appropriate} variety of comments here.

    Sure, there are people with engineering qualifications that are stupid. (I do my best not to be among their ranks, with variable success). There are others that are religious wackaloons. There are people with actual science PhDs that ditto. Ditto people with biology related qualifications. Enough with the gross generalisations already!

    In my anecdotal experience the ones that look at a natural organism and say “ooh, that’s complicated, it must have been designed” are the ones that are already religiously committed (oh, do they need to be committed) and and/or have no idea just how complicated natural organisms are.

    Those of us with experience in the design/build/debug/repair world tend to understand that natural things are waaaaaay beyond mere designability. We know in our bones about hacks, fudges, (un)natural selection, mutation, cross-breeding, inter-dependency, etc etc.

    The stupidity is stupidity. It isn’t part of engineering.

  11. Nentuaby says

    Why, it would be a brisk -136.5 degrees Celsius, True Bob.

    (273 kelvin / 2, of course)

  12. Fiziker says

    Time to start making your coughing XHTML compatible. I also cough with <hack /> now.

  13. frog says

    Emmet: Any old asswipe can call himself an engineer. Even then, there’s an awful lot of us (legit engineers) who are largely undifferentiated: civil, mechanical, electronic, etc. engineers are all lumped in together as “engineers” in a way that scientists tend not to be.

    Naah, you find a lot of ass-wipe engineers in every discipline. The problem you’ve got in engineering even worse than science is an overspecialized education. You find the same ass-wipery in medicine.

    It goes like this: “I’m clearly very smart. And I’m clearly very educated with my (MD|Masters in Engineering|…). So I must be an expert in anything, even though I’ve only ever read a couple of books outside my field.”

    It’s now infiltrating biology. At the graduate level, education at many institutions are atrocious — they accept kids who went through the pre-med program and never learned anything but memorized cell biology and organic chemistry. Then, instead of giving them seminars on interesting problems out of the literature, you get more intro-style memorize random crap coursework.

    At the end you get techs — just like in engineering and medicine — who think because of their expertise in one tiny area they are educated in any sense. Where else do we get such ideas as “gay genes”, other than from people who have no idea about anything but gene transcription?

  14. J says

    I think engineers and mathematicians often suffer from (a) excessive confidence in their own knowledge and intellectual abilities, and (b) ignorance of real natural science. Both factors compound to turn them toward religion and global warming denialism with a frequency apparently above what you would expect for people of their intelligence.

    I would imagine that there is at least as much diligence and general “cleverness” required for engineering and mathematics as sciences like biology. However, from biology you actually learn interesting facts about how the world is, and your eyes are opened to the vast explanatory power of science. Engineering and mathematics are more abstract and technical, but less enlightening.

  15. mds says

    True Bob @ #13: Even if you picked an arbitrary zero point (e.g. 0°C), I could see people using “twice as cold” to refer to both twice as far from the basepoint (-10°C to -20°C), or half as far (20°C to 10°C), depending on the starting temperature. Similarly twice as hot. Perhaps we’re just lacking some nice term to express distance from a zero point like that. “The temperature will be twice as far from 0°C tomorrow, while maintaining sign” doesn’t really roll off the tongue. “The temperature will be twice as characteristic tomorrow”?

    I try to keep myself from saying things like twice as cold (or even twice as hot, unless I really am talking about differences of hundreds of degrees), although I’m sure I slip up, since while it’s sloppy speaking (and encourages sloppy thinking about the nature of heat, and its absence), it’s concise and generally understood.

  16. True Bob says

    #18, that’s why my #13. I saw that and gave the engineer’s distress call: “D’oh!”

    The temperature thing annoys me particularly because I are a ME, and we look at heat transfer. Not my only language pet peeve, like “there’s now 10 times more”, when they mean “now containing 10 times as much”. 10 times more means X + 10X, not 10X.

    It’s sloppiness or laziness, and would be so easy to be precise and not stoopid. The first example I mentioned said water was “twice the boiling point of water”, which is not even wrong – phase diagram, please? Hell, anyone living in Denver knows there’s not a single boiling point of water. “Scalding” would’ve been far better, or just ID the temp.

    As far as chuckleheaded engineers, I think it’s more the prior expectation of goddiness, but I am sure there’s also a role for the rote “education” process. Not how I was taught, but then I am extra special.

  17. J says

    Those connecting engineering to rote memorization are being disingenuous. Biology is far more heavily dependent on rote memorization than engineering, and always has been. Engineering students are tested on their ability to solve intricate problems under timed conditions.

    Now, of course, this doesn’t mean engineering courses actually teach many interesting facts about the world, as biology courses do.

  18. Longtime Lurker says

    Wow, gotta love his “molester-stache”. Dr Chilingar sounds like a name out of an H.P. Lovecraft story… he’s just biding his time until Antarctica thaws enough for him to explore the primordial city of the Old Ones.

  19. says

    Think global warming is bogus, wait until you learn the truth about the Earth-Moon system. The moon isn’t getting farther away, the Earth is shrinking. Just look at these facts.

    1. It doesn’t take as long to get places as it used to. Traveling from San Diego to Sacramento once took as long as a month. Today it can take as little as 8 hours.

    2. What were once daunting terrain features in the landscape as a small child are now minor obstacles to the adult. Why, what once wore out attacking Confederate troops at Gettysburg are hardly noticed by visiting tourists.

    3. Where once you needed a shopping cart to hold $20.00 worth of groceries, you can now ask the aforementioned small child to lug for you.

    4. Finally, there is the fact that people are becoming more dense. This can be seen in the increasing difficulty in cognition as thoughts become tangled up and distracted in an increasingly compressed brain.

    As you can see, the Earth is shrinking. This is why the Moon appears to be getting farther away, and the universe appears to be expanding.

    (Nota Bene At this moment I must invoke Poe’s Law, because the above is too ludicrous for someone to not have proposed it seriously somewhere on the Web.)

  20. Tim says

    No discrimination between climate doubters and those who doubt it’s entirely anthropogenic, tsk. Perhaps more could be achieved through the carrot of low/no carbon energy and reforestation than with the stick of carbon rationing. We’ll do what we do best, adapt to new conditions and survive as a species, the polar bears will likely do the same, though some individuals won’t, this won’t be their first climate change.

  21. JoJo says

    J #25

    Now, of course, this doesn’t mean engineering courses actually teach many interesting facts about the world, as biology courses do.

    That all depends on what you find interesting. If I’d thought that biology was more interesting than engineering, I would have become a biologist rather than an engineer.

  22. J says

    You must find the technical side of engineering interesting. Perfectly understandable. But surely it is not the factual content of the subject which you’re so attracted to, which really isn’t very enlightening at all.

    “Did you know that the Young’s modulus of steel is 190-210 GPa?”
    “Wow! That is just incredible. What a positively stunning piece of information!”

    Never happens, does it?

  23. says

    I think engineers and mathematicians often suffer from [ the same woo-friendly issues ].

    Yikes! I’m in trouble then, as I was educated as both.

  24. J says

    Well I said “often”, not “always” or even “usually”. You should only consider yourself in trouble if you think you do satisfy (a) and (b).

  25. Jeeves says

    Scarily enough, I took a class from Dr. Chill, I believe one of the last he taught at USC.

    He is bizarre, our nickname for him was Dr. Crazypants. It was sad, he got pulled in to teach an Environmental Engineering course when one of the regular professors had to drop the night class. So once aweek, from 6:30 to 9:10 we had Dr. Chillingar. He would usually spend the first 15 minutes bragging about his career, usually the same things – The shaw of Iran named an oil field after him – he is an honorary consul to Hondouras (He married the Prime Ministers daughter at the time this honor was granted), etc etc.

    He always ended it bragging that he had met with Condi Rice, and that the Bush admin listed to him. Scary right?

    Class was disorganized, and he often covered the same things from a huge stack of overhead pages that he would write on and then reuse. Didn’t learn anything, and was very angry at the wasted cost of those units.