Comment Of The Day: “Electric Cars And The Following The Science” Lie

Come to Ethics Alarms for the mile-wide and inch deep reflections of the ethicist, stay for the enhancement, perspective and enlightening analysis by the readers who know what they are writing about.

Sarah B.’s superb Comment of the Day needs no more introduction, and besides, don’t read me on this topic when you should be reading her.

Here is her COTD on the post,”Electric Cars And The “Following The Science” Lie.”


First, anyone who says “follow the science” has forgotten what science means. Science is a process that states a method for determining the most likely reason for something. Science requires us to observe a phenomenon, hypothesize about the phenomenon, posit a fair test of the hypothesis, complete the test several times with the same inputs, and compare the results of the tests with the observed phenomenon. The better correlated the test with reality, the better the hypothesis and the more likely it is to be true. Conversely, if you cannot replicate your test or your test or your test does not correlate well with reality, it is either time to scrap the test or the hypothesis.

Anthropogenic climate change is not science by the centuries old definition. The tests are mostly unable to be replicated, and the results have been proven false, time and again. To follow the science, it is time to scrap that hypothesis and move on.

Second, I was amazed to see such low requirements for electric cars to validate their “green” existence. Most studies I have read on this subject put the threshold far closer to 100,000 miles before even coming close. The best I have seen before this one puts us nearer to 75,000 miles than 25,000 miles.

Third, this study only deals with the formulation of the battery. If one considers where we are getting the energy, and as other commenters have noted, solar and wind are not nearly so clean as you would like to think. Heck, think of all the chemicals that need to go into making those panels, even though they cannot give us power 24/7/365 like burning fossil fuels. Life cycle analyses on electric cars, considering batteries, electricity, grid concerns, etc tend to push them to obscene mileage, well above expected battery life. In this instance, they are not unlike windmills, with an expected 30 year life and a 37-52 year payback period, sans government intervention.

Fourth, no one bothers, when discussing electric vehicle, to discuss the basic laws of thermodynamics. These laws are just like the laws of gravity, not caring whether or not you like them. They don’t care what is fair. They don’t care what is socially acceptable. They don’t care if they inconvenience some more than others, because if you are too stupid to get on the wrong side of these laws, you will pay the price. So, thermodynamics state that whenever one transforms matter to energy, or energy to another type of energy, or energy to matter, that there will be a loss in total energy. To take a simple example, we get most electricity by burning coal. The rock is in the ground. We have to spend energy to get it out of the ground and pulverized. Now we’ll start into some of the math. Coal is burned. The gas is used to make steam, the steam is used to turn a turbine that makes electricity. The gas is cleaned. This process has a maximum theoretical efficiency of around 45%. Most of the power plants run at about 33% because theoretical efficiency is not anywhere close to real world possiblity. So for every 100 units of energy the coal gives off, you get 33%.

Let’s now get some minor math happening for electric cars. I’m going to skip the big equations and use easily available numbers from reputable sites. For this exercise, we are going to assume that preparing coal for electric generation uses the same amount of energy as preparing gasoline for car consumption, as gasoline and coal are equivalent primary sources, but electricity is not a primary energy source unless you are hooking up your power lines to silk kites. Now, a car that gets gasoline loses 64-75% on inefficiencies and powering auxiliaries. So a car that was given 100 units of power from gasoline gets 25 units of power when all is said and done, with the WORST assumptions on gasoline cars. Continue reading

I Would Say That The “Doomsday Clock” Has Finally Lost All Integrity, But It Never Had Any In The First Place

I hate to repeat myself, I really do. Unfortunately, unethical people keep doing the same damn things over and over while the rest of the public has short memories. I could write this post almost entirely by cutting and pasting from a 2017 post I already re-posted once, in 2020, but it has more ethical implications for us now.

Last week, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced that it will not move the time on the infamous “Doomsday Clock” closer to “midnight,” which symbolizes curtains for civilization. This, said the Washington Free Beacon, raised “questions about the practices of an institution several legacy media outlets refer to as scientific.” A whether the clock would move forward after citing criteria the organization used in the past, such as armed conflict involving countries with nuclear weapons, a spokesman from the group said the time would remain unchanged and declined to answer any follow-up questions about how the heck that could be the case.

After all, last week President Biden was openly talking about World War III. Russian president Vladimir Putin has put his nuclear arsenal on “high alert,” and NATO has mobilized its response force for the first time since its inception. The West has installed crippling sanctions against Russia, which Putin, who is alleged to have gone nuts, has pronounced as acts of war. So why is the clock frozen in place when one would think it would be speeding terrifyingly forward?

Shut up! These are scientists! Why don’t you trust them? They’re smarter than you, and they know best! Science denier! Now put your damn mask on and trade your car in for a bicycle. Continue reading