God help me, but I love being right. Must be the combination of Irish and Scottish genes.
The physics of it goes: the electricity required to run the ceiling fan is converted directly to heat which is released into the room and will, therefore, raise the temp since simply moving the air around does not technically "chill" it.
The reason you feel cooler with the fan on is due to the wind chill effect increasing convective heat loss on your body; i.e., the breeze created by the moving air evaporates the sweat from your skin faster. Faster evaporation = cooler human.
Since moving to San Diego and acquiring two of these portable air conditioning things that look a whole lot like the girl robot in Wall-E, I've noticed that they don't do near as good of a job at cooling the place as my old window A/C units used to. I couldn't figure out why, until I applied the fan information to the air conditioning problem.
Both machines contain a compressor which is part of the cooling system. The compressor uses a lot of electricity (trust me - I about fainted right there at the mailbox when I opened my first power bill!) and all that electric is converted to heat the same as what a ceiling fan does.
In a window A/C, the compressor is hanging outside the window, thus the only thing INSIDE the room is the cool air streaming through the vent (or at least any heat coming from the unit is minimal).
With a portable A/C, the whole thing is inside the room - cool air flow AND compressor creating heat. So the way I see it, the machine is fighting itself and slurps up power faster than a Republican can abuse the environment. ACK.
Oh sure... most of these portable jobs have an exhaust pipe you have to put up to a window, which I suppose was some engineer's idea of solving the problem of expelling the heat from the compressor. Pfsssshh. They must've forgot to request that the tube itself be insulated against releasing heat back into the room, or more likely, it just wasn't in the budget.
So that, kids, is why I don't use my ceiling fans even tho I like having them because they look pretty (they actually come in handy in the winter if you're not sitting under one), and why my portable A/C units that cost twice as much as the window ones suck swamp water in comparison. At least now I know. It is also why I will make damn sure the next place I live has central heat and air. Shame, that. It's really the only flaw this condo has.