You must be pretty dumb. Not the royal “you”. You as in you, dear reader.
This isn’t me saying it. This is Harvard. Our best university, and therefore our best scientists, are saying you must suffer from cognitive defects.
Why? Because you breathe.
Yes. The act of breathing is making you stupid. Hey, it’s not me. It’s Science!
No, it’s more than that. This is peer-reviewed Science, so it cannot be disputed. The paper is “Associations of Cognitive Function Scores with Carbon Dioxide, Ventilation, and Volatile Organic Compound Exposures in Office Workers: A Controlled Exposure Study of Green and Conventional Office Environments” by Joseph G Allen and a slew of other great minds, in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
From the Abstract:
Objective: We simulated indoor environmental quality (IEQ) conditions in “Green” and “Conventional” buildings and evaluated the impacts on an objective measure of human performance: higher-order cognitive function.
Methods: Twenty-four participants spent 6 full work days (0900–1700 hours) in an environmentally controlled office space, blinded to test conditions. On different days, they were exposed to IEQ conditions representative of Conventional [high concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)] and Green (low concentrations of VOCs) office buildings in the United States. Additional conditions simulated a Green building with a high outdoor air ventilation rate (labeled Green+) and artificially elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels independent of ventilation.
Results: On average, cognitive scores were 61% higher on the Green building day and 101% higher on the two Green+ building days than on the Conventional building day (p<0.0001). VOCs and CO2 were independently associated with cognitive scores.
Each of the people was paid 800 bucks. Which is a lot of money, and would tend to encourage cooperation. Meaning participants might help scientists by giving them the answers the scientists hoped for. Of course, the scientists say the conditions were “blinded”, which if true would eliminate cooperation. Skip that for now.
A complex statistical model ensued, and the parameter associated with adding about 1,000 PPM of CO2 to the background air concentration of about 400 PPM gave a wee P for lower test scores. Our scientists, like everybody else, then used the p-value fallacy to infer it was CO2 that caused lower scores.
Take a breath. Exhale.
That exhalation contains about 4% CO2. If you’ve just walked up a flight of stairs, or are lounging on the couch after a big meal, the number can be a lot higher or a tad lower. In any case, 4% is 40,000 PPM.
Which means there’s a figurative ton of CO2 sloshing around in your lungs—at all times. You don’t get a day off where you are free from this dumb-inducing gas. Adding 1,000 PPM to the input breath changes the lung amount by about 2%, plus or minus.
It’s this teeny tiny additional amount to this ever-present gas what our great scientists claim is making a causative difference in test scores. An amount you’d get from walking up the stairs. There is a serious ailment called acidosis, which can happen in extreme CO2 conditions, something around 15,000 to 50,000 atmospheric PPM, but we’re nowhere near that.
They’re right that CO2 makes people dumber, but it isn’t because of any chemical effects. It’s purely political.
For instance, they say “evidence mounts for CO2 as a direct pollutant”, which is dumb. Do they even know that plants eat CO2? That CO2 plus water provide almost all of the mass of every plant?
Science now is, in many and in an increasing number of fields, the process whereby a politically pleasing theory is proposed and scientists are tasked with finding evidence in its favor.
Now about that so-called blinding. A lot of papers like this are in the too-good-to-be-true category. The results go in their favor, which is odd given the scenario. Yet something must explain the results. Good luck perhaps accounts for some of this, which is always possible when the focus is on wee Ps.
The rest could be sensory leakage.
I know a lot about psychic testing (I even wrote a book about it). Psychic tests are infamous for initial reports of effects which are subsequently proved to have been caused by sensory leakage. Crude example: you can see the value of the card in the reflection of the guy holding it.
Consequently, psychic tests go to great pains to eliminate any possibility of leakage. Still, the number of reports that are eventually disproved cannot be counted. It’s just far, far, far too easy to communicate to people what is going on, even if you don’t use words. And when people know what’s happening, the results of experiments can’t be trusted.
My suspicion is that’s what’s happening here. Of course, I don’t have proof and am no making an accusation. But it’s certainly a possibility.