Science Fakers

Thursday, May 21, AD 2015

 

Law Professor Elizabeth Foley nails it at Instapundit:

THEY’RE NOT SCIENCE DENIERS, THEY’RE SCIENCE FAKERS: What is it about progressives and their manipulation of scientific data?  It’s not just global warming climate change; now it’s social science on gay marriage.

According to the study, people from communities hostile to gay marriage could have their opinions shift dramatically after spending just a few minutes speaking with a gay person who canvassed their neighborhood promoting gay marriage. . . .

The study, among other things, lent support to the notion that those opposed to gay marriage simply don’t know or interact with open homosexuals. More broadly, it was seen as an important development in the science of how people can be convinced to change their minds on ideologically-charged issues.

The study began to fall apart when students at the University of California at Berkeley sought to conduct additional research building off of it, only to find major irregularities in how its research was apparently conducted. . . . 

Donald Green, a professor at Columbia University and a co-author of the paper, made the decision to retract it after having a confrontation with co-author Michael LaCour, a graduate student at UCLA. While LaCour maintained that he hadn’t fabricated the data, he was also unable to produce the original source files supposedly used to produce it. When he failed to write-up a retraction, Green took the initiative and did so himself.

Guess some folks think they can fake it ’til they make it.  Or maybe it’s just Alinsky’s “the ends justify the means.

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15 Responses to Science Fakers

  • “social” science has always been a politicized swamp,

    No, there are conscientiously conducted studies and there is junk work. The real problem would be the questions which are not asked because there is too much uniformity in defining what constitutes a worthy questions.

    What’s odd about this is that the perpetrator stands accused of inventing a piece of survey research out of whole cloth and his accusers are other social researchers who have co-authored pieces with this fellow LaCour’s co-author. LaCour’s co-author has repudiated the paper.

  • “No, there are conscientiously conducted studies and there is junk work.”

    Margaret Meade comes to mind as a patron saint of modern anthropology:

    http://faculty.usfsp.edu/jsokolov/314mead1.htm

    Outright fakery is at the very core of most “social” sciences.

  • Dr. Sheldon Cooper comments on the so-called “social sciences,” in general, and this issue, in particular, “This is why I have no respect for the field.”

    .
    Seriously, behavioral or post-modern academics/journalism/scholarship consist of credentialed cretins deriving conclusions based on ideology and not fact/logic. It relies on anecdotes and stereotypes incorporated in mental emotional filters to misrepresent and misunderstand data, events, and facts. In fact, the academy is venal. Its purpose is to advance the ideology/narrative and provide continual propaganda for charlatans such as Clinton and Obama, and for the progressive program. Behavioral academics/scholarship seamlessly imbeds fabrications into facts. In it, all reading is arbitrary and personal. A theory cannot be proved only disproven. Behavioral academics invent facts, deny/ignore errors, display arrogance and execrate anybody providing opposing evidence. For those liars, truth, facts, realities, and history do not exist. They are clay in their hands. They use them to make a point, to do good as they see it. And whatever they need to twist or omit is justified by their purity of intentions – and they always have the purest of intentions.

  • Donald R. McClarey provided a link to Freeman’s paper, and his conclusions about Mead’s work are pretty damning. Her work is discredited as fakery or unbelievable incompetence.

  • Deleted your last comment Art. Try again without the personal insult. I include in “social” sciences: anthropology, sociology, political science and parts of economics. I await with eager anticipation your defense of these citadels of unbiased, factual and objective science.

  • “Social Science” puts me in mind of “Socialist Reality”.

  • William P Walsh wrote what I was thinking.
    .
    If men were the automatons that behaviorists claim they are, the behaviorist psychologists could not have invented the amazing nonsense called “behaviorist psychology.” So they are wrong from scratch–as clever and as wrong as phlogiston chemists.
    .
    Notebooks of Lazarus Long in Time Enough for Love by the late Robert Anson Heinlein

  • Michel Foucault was surely right, when he observed that the objective features of a phenomenon so little constrain the ways it is classified and theorized that these features can be disregarded in trying to understand why a particular classification system or scientific theory has been adopted.

  • Cut out all that tainted grant (and other) politicized money and watch this “crisis” go down faster than the Hindenburg.

    These erratic eco-scientists would have Christ arrested for trying to crush a mountain with the weight of people when he gave His “Sermon on the Mount”

  • Big problem with social sciences is figuring out an objective measurement– and a way to distance yourself from the data enough to interpret it. People are complicated.
    There’s the additional problem of when it’s licit to do experiments at all.

  • Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen was a Social Scientist: verdict conclusion first, trial evidence after.
    .
    I say that as a historian who preferred the humanities to social science. Probably why I failed to prosper in academe, at least in part.

  • It is worth remembering that Sociology was founded by Auguste Comte and has always reflected his belief that “For the human mind, each branch of our knowledge is necessarily required to pass successively, in its progress, through three different theoretical states” In the “theological state,” the human mind explained phenomena by “supernatural agents” and by arbitrary wills conceived in the image of man. In the “metaphysical state,” it explained them by abstract entities and hidden causes (“abstract forces inhering in bodies, but distinct and heterogeneous”). In the “positive state,” it does not seek to explain them, it observes them as facts and unifies them by laws, and so makes itself capable of rational prediction (it restricts itself to “considering them as subjected to a certain number of invariable natural laws which are nothing else than the general expression of the relations observed in their development”).

    Comte insisted that sociology, and science in general, seeks nothing but laws or invariable relations between phenomena, whereas metaphysics seeks causes. Science asks only the question “how” without ever asking the question “why” and rises above simple empirical observation only in order to foresee facts or phenomena in a deductive manner. For him, the paradigm of a scientific law is a differential equation, describing, not the causal relationship between phenomena, but the functional relationship between variables.

  • Auguste Comte, the French buffoon who started the Religion of Humanity:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_of_Humanity

    More on this intellectual charlatan:

    http://www.thegreatdebate.org.uk/Comte1.html

  • Donald R. McClarey wrote, “Auguste Comte, the French buffoon who started the Religion of Humanity:” – The very same.
    His Religion of Humanity was aptly described by Thomas Huxley as “Catholicism without Christianity.” Jacques Maritain has pointed out that this project only seemed feasible because, “It is a fact that at Comte’s time a noticeable part of the French bourgeoisie had already inaugurated this kind of Catholicism. If Comte could dream of founding an atheistic Catholicism, it was because the class in question had among its most solid members a number of practical atheists, more or less brought up by Voltaire and Béranger. They called themselves Catholic, though in all their principles of conduct they denied God, Christ and the Gospel, and upheld religion for merely temporal and political reasons — preserving social order and prosperity in business, consolidating their economic power, and keeping the lower classes in obedience by means of a virtuous rigor sanctioned from on high. The existence of this type of so-called Catholics made the idea of creating an atheist version of Catholicism less impossible; at the same time, the sort of inconsistency and hypocrisy which affected them was for the founder of positivism an incitement to endeavour to regenerate them. The religion of humanity was, so to say, a reply to their negativeness. It told them: Admit what you are — and instead of adoring God with your lips without really believing in Him, and instead of being socially useless, because you despise the commandment given to you to love each other, adore the Great Being which is made known to you by sociology, and make yourselves useful by serving it with that atheistic love which is called altruism.

    Such an appeal was bound to remain unheard, because no matter what love and devotedness one spoke of, this was precisely what the persons thus addressed did not want at any cost; besides, they had no desire to deprive themselves of the slim chance offered to them by a Christian death, in case the priests were prating more than fairy tales.”

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Right, Left and Science

Wednesday, January 9, AD 2013

Daniel Sarewitz has a post at Nature in which he decries the trend among many scientists of acting as shrill Democrat partisans:

The US scientific community must decide if it wants to be a Democratic interest group or if it wants to reassert its value as an independent national asset. If scientists want to claim that their recommendations are independent of their political beliefs, they ought to be able to show that those recommendations have the support of scientists with conflicting beliefs. Expert panels advising the government on politically divisive issues could strengthen their authority by demonstrating political diversity. The National Academies, as well as many government agencies, already try to balance representation from the academic, non-governmental and private sectors on many science advisory panels; it would be only a small step to be equally explicit about ideological or political diversity. Such information could be given voluntarily.

To connect scientific advice to bipartisanship would benefit political debate. Volatile issues, such as the regulation of environmental and public-health risks, often lead to accusations of ‘junk science’ from opposing sides. Politicians would find it more difficult to attack science endorsed by avowedly bipartisan groups of scientists, and more difficult to justify their policy preferences by scientific claims that were contradicted by bipartisan panels.

Go here to read the rest.  The comments to the article are instructive and reveal the battle going on within the scientific community regarding partisanship:

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19 Responses to Right, Left and Science

  • Valuable insights Donald. Bookmarked for review. Thanks.

  • Maybe I’m a Romantic, but I thought back in the day there were massive rewards for successfully demonstrating scientific findings were false. If there wasn’t such a system, there should. Couple that with an iron-clad rule that Congress can make laws based on scientific conclusions only if they have been subjected to rigorous and multiple double-blind researches as opposed to models.

  • I published in Science journal in 1999, and thus maintained a subscription off and on since then. Two years ago, we cancelled it because we were sick of the constant bombardment in the mail with literature asking us to donate and support extremely left liberal political policies, in the name of science. They were unabashedly partisan.

    For a while I was just curious to know how far it went — it was Obama this and Obama that, global warming this and global warming that, save our universities from anti-science people, etc. — until I’d had enough. I contacted them a few times to tell them I saw right through the partisanship and was disappointed. No response, just kept asking me for money.

    Very disappointing.

    Also, if you notice, much of what they call evolutionary discoveries are directed at trying to demonstrate that our ability to think evolved (so they can say there is no soul, no God), and that all kinds of sexual deviancy are really just normal evolutionary developments.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking article, Don.

  • It’s an interesting subject, but I’m not sure that I agree with the Nature editorial. The goal shouldn’t be balance in politics among scientists; it should be the removal of political considerations from science.

    A side note, but an example: when did we start listening to Nobel non-Peace Prize winners for advice on peace? Every year you see a group of physicists or whatever issuing their policy prescriptions on human rights and politics. The kind of person who wins a Nobel Prize is very smart, but he may typically be one who throws himself completely into his work. Better a smart person’s advice than a dumb person, but better someone who’s smart in the field he’s talking about than someone who’s spent the last 30 years looking at bacteria in a college lab. Of course the bacteria guy is going to think that Republicans are anti-science. He read it in the one newspaper article he’s seen in the past decade.

    The ugly parallel that I thought of when reading the article was racial balance. These days, we judge committees on whether they “look like America”. We root against a football team if they have a mostly-white coaching staff. But color has nothing to do with their quality or sportsmanship. Likewise, I don’t want to see a bipartisan scientific report filled with policy recommendations. I want to see sound science stated clearly, with costs, benefits, and risks spelled out for the policy expert and voter to consider.

    The missing virtue is humility. Science requires humility. Like its Enlightenment relative America, it requires checks and balances because it knows that humans are fallible. A humble scientist would never endorse a candidate as a representitive of his field of study.

  • I was a Radiation Monitoring System Engineer at a Westinghouse Pressurized Water Reactor about a decade and a half ago. The following statement in the article is 100% correct:

    “We have the example of distinguished Taiwanese scientists begging that attention be paid to the inadvertent experiment of exposure of thousands of persons to radiation by accidental contamination of reinforcing bars with cobalt 60. That inadvertent experiment seemed to show that the risks of radiation have been vastly overstated, and that, of course, threatens the radiation hysteria industry.”

    This effect is called radiation hormesis. More about this is discussed here:

    http://www.radpro.com/641luckey.pdf

    Please go to the right bottom side of PDF page 15 or physical page 35 to start reading about the Cobalt-60 contamination of structural steel in a Taiwanese apartment complex that led to an apparent rise in health and longevity of the residents.

    The current radiation exposure limits mandated by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission are so absurdly low that exposure to these limits is completely inconsequential. The fact of the matter is that a little radiation is GOOD for you.

    About 1.7 billion years ago a naturally occurring deposit of uranium in Okla, Gabon, Africa went critical and fissioned on and off for hundreds of thousands of years:

    http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/Files/Okloreactor.pdf

    The result was a subsequent proliferation of all manner of various life forms through the central part of the African continent.

    Junk science? That’s the anti-nuclear groups of UCS, WISE and NIRS, and the rest of liberal progressive Democrat Academia. That’s why when a previous contributor here referenced Academia for his source of information on all things nuclear and radiation, I just about puked. How about some really truthful information, say from a submarine reactor operator, or a radiation health physicist, or a commercial nuclear power engineer? Liberal professors in colleges and universities are just about “done educated into imbecility”.

    One more thing: I do not agree with materialistic evolution, either, and for good scientific reasons. The following web site run by astrophysicist Hugh Ross who is an Evangelical Protestant Christian has a ton of information that reconciles the fossil record with what the Bible says:

    http://www.reasons.org/

    The two things I believe in? Science and Divine Revelation in the Bible, Tradition and the Church. Pope JP II said in his encyclical Fides et Ratio that they go together, and he was 100% right. That encyclical ought to be required reading for every Christian regardless of denomination.

  • “A side note, but an example: when did we start listening to Nobel non-Peace Prize winners for advice on peace? ”

    Or, considering some of the Nobel Peace Prize Winners, any Nobel Prize winners on the subject of peace.

    People can be very bright in one area of life and complete idiots in others. One of Bertrand Russell’s wives noted that he was unable to boil water for tea even after she gave him written instructions as to how to do it. One of the problems in our society currently is that too much power has flowed to the legal profession and our government’ awash with laws and regulations that no one can fully comprehend and which are often contradictory, is proof of that sad fact. We have confused glibness, credentials and technical expertise in narrow fields of knowledge with wisdom and as a result have often exiled common sense and broad experience of life from our decision making process.

  • A side note, but an example: when did we start listening to Nobel non-Peace Prize winners for advice on peace?

    The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Linus Pauling, Le Duc Tho, Yasser Arafat, Bernard Lown & Co., Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchu, Jimmy Carter, Albert Gore, and Barack Obama. Of course we are listening to someone else.

  • Legal “experts” mishandling things at the beginning, journalists misreporting things at the end. The actual experts in the middle don’t stand a chance.

    And then, after all that is done, non-experts getting equal say. Everything from youtube to evangelical Bible study encourages each person to weight his opinion equally against the people who’ve actually studied the subject. (And comment threads permit the same thing.)

    I made a comment on Foxfier’s “culture war” thread about the importance of learning how to filter information. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that this skill is *the* skill for the information age. Oh, I’ve got a good one: let’s say that we’ve left the information age and entered the excess information age. Handling garbage statistics and disguised opinions is increasingly important.

  • I was recently told by a good friend who work at a local large college – specifically with sheep reproduction – that there is no difference in stem cells. Adult and embryonic is all the same just simple stem cells. I was going to comment but I knew it would go no where and mean nothing if I did… But the obvious is missing from that thought process. I am sure if the emrbyo had a chance to say something it would be different…

  • Robert: ” I am sure if the emrbyo had a chance to say something it would be different…”
    The embryo has much to say. Scientists do not and often refuse to listen. The speaker in the video says that he is for Embryonic Stem Cell research. Informed consent from the sovereign person who is created equal to every other human being in the human species, self-evident truth, is forbidden. Embryonic stem cells are human body parts taken wihout consent or permission from the sovereign person.

    Stacy Trasancos: “Also, if you notice, much of what they call evolutionary discoveries are directed at trying to demonstrate that our ability to think evolved (so they can say there is no soul, no God), and that all kinds of sexual deviancy are really just normal evolutionary developments.”

    Some scientists say that there is no soul, no God. Man’s ability to think may have evolved, but man’s soul is metaphysical, no material parts and therefore cannot change or evolve. Man’s sovereign personhood is created and endowed to him by our Creator. Unalienable rights are not legislated for him by the state. The Majority of One, often discarded. Man recognizes the magnificent sovereign person as who he is created. The magnificent design of man’s body and soul dictates respect. The human being exists because God exists. God is life. If the human being is alive, then God is his life. Beauty does not need reason to exist, cannot sized or counted or captured.
    Scientists tell us that man only uses 11 % of his brain. This coming from a man using only 11% of his brain. If man’s thinking evolved, this means that 89% of science is faith. 89% of the atheist’s brain is religious. It is not all very scientific.
    Sexual deviancy in animals, I have observed scientifically, is a matter of dominance, not of lust. Lust is peculiar to man and is not of beauty and virtue.

  • I am not sure that the solution proposed by Sarewitz in the Nature article would be a complete fix for the problem. Having token dissenters or token conservatives in the academy and on journal boards will help, but will not change what I think is the real problem. There are a lot of scientists doing bad science out there and their peers, the academy, and the science journals are not calling them on it.

    Many bemoan the lack of scientific literacy among non-scientists, but the real problem is lack of scientific literacy among actual scientists. There is a lack of understanding of basic logic and confusion about what science can be certain of. The abuse of statistics by scientists is widespread. It lends itself to great parody. My favorite is this:
    http://www.jsur.org/ar/jsur_ben102010.pdf

    Besides the token conservatives, some additional solutions would be:
    1. Better training of scientists in logic, science theory, and how statistics can be miss-used (Mann’s hockey stick would make the perfect case study).
    2. Total transparency in the peer-review and article acceptance processes at science journals.
    3. The insistence that all papers include links to all raw data, program codes used and any other information needed to completely reproduce the author’s work.
    4. The insistence that anything written in a summary of a paper actually be supported by the facts presented in the body of the paper. (Anyone who’s looked at the IPCC reports knows exactly what I’m talking about.)

    I work in the energy industry. My industry is the perfect storm of multiple bad sciences (environmental extremism, global warming alarmism, nuclear paranoia) and idiotic government policies derived from them. I can’t express the level of my frustration at finding out that the extension of the wind energy production tax credit had been included in the fiscal cliff deal.

  • If I recall correctly Bertrand Russell wrote (in Why I am not a Christian) that what distinguishes a scientist from a religious believer is his innate scepticism, a stance that enables him ever able to change his theories in the light of experiments and experience. He can change his current beliefs as easily as he changes clothes without feeling much angst about it. Now this may have been true of Russell. the philosopher, mathematician and all-round gadfly; though I suspect that he like most others who turn away from Christianity , did so for reasons having to do with Jesus Christ’s severe injunctions on sex (which in fairness none of us can live by except through Grace,) rather issues of pure science. But this is not true of the average scientist working today. There is an inertia associated with the years of study and ideological training that cannot be easily jettisoned without impacting his career and life prospects, hence much of his defensiveness. Most people would have a warm feeling reading how Gottlieb Frege set aside ten years of work logic on account of an apparently decisive objection from Russell, but few of us would be as sanguine at the prospect.

    The modern scientist is a victim of the “Renaissance Man” effect wherein he has to be knowledgeable in a host of subjects. The average physicist knows far more than Einstein did in 1905, (the papers he wrote that year can be read by a diligent physics freshman,) but is unable to make a decisive contribution because of the sheer numbers of physicists at work today and the overwhelming complexity of the field. This is apart from the peer review process, where the editors are ever ready to spot any plagiarism unlike the case with Einstein where got away without attribution in at least two of his papers.

    The prestige of science today, has little to do with the work of the current generation of scientists, much of the science that has impact on our lives were the work of natural philosophers working in the empirical tradition of the nineteenth century as exemplified by such (most of whom were religious) men as Faraday, Maxwell, Babbage, Boole, Pasteur, Edison, Parsons and Kelvin to name only a few. To them and their influence on subsequent generations we owe the electric generators, telephones, engines, radio, penicillin, electronics and all the impressive systems and gadgetry without which modern life would not be possible. The Wright Brothers were mechanics.

    In those days it was possible to conduct experiments with very little money. According to Steven Weinberg it took only about sixty pounds of His Majesty’s money for Ernst Rutherford and his assistants to establish that an atom is mostly empty space with a hard centre. The search for the Higgs particle on the other hand required the use of multi-billion dollar facilities and subsequent examination for resonances by hundreds of highly-qualified scientists. A maverick scientist begging for cash to run an experiment counter to the prevailing orthodoxy would thus be on own, for who in government is prepared to go against a cabal that has billions of dollars behind it. The fear of being labeled a flat-earther, and losing one’s job is ever present

    Dissidence must be made costly in order to keep the plum jobs and financial backing, and is largely suppressed by blatant hypocrisy.Thus we have the spectacle of the global warming scientists who even while drawing billions from the government teat, and denying the contrarian scientists the same, accuse the sceptics of being in the pay of Exxon or Shell. As the fable of the Emperor’s new clothes indicates such a level of untruth cannot be sustained without the cooperation of legions. And the legions don’t work for free, they too demand their pound of flesh, hence we have a situation where if it is indeed the case that there is global warming, a neat solution would be to build more nuclear reactors which produces no carbon dioxide to replace the coal-fired generators. Instead we have the anomaly that thanks to the greens everything else except nuclear power is considered.

    Such ideological cooperation is apparent in many fields, and is clearly evident in the nonsense about the spread of AIDS. It is has been clear for many years now that homosexuals are seven to ten times as likely as normal people to get AIDS, (and let’s face it the sodomites among the heterosexuals are not queuing up to admit to sodomy) thus a valid hypothesis is that sodomy causes AIDS. But try to get funding to test this on a large scale. The howls of protest from Obama down to the kindergarten teachers, with possibly a jeremiad from Marvin Heir about a hidden plan for a second Holocaust this time of homosexuals, would quail any such attempt. Or for that matter try launching any studies into IQ differences between races.

    In totality then, given the nexus of patronage, ideology, money and influence that the practice of science in the US has to deal with, the confederates find a natural home Democratic Party. And thus the same type of fools who write books such as The Republican War On Science would never consider subjecting the Democrats to the same. This even as the average Republican tends to have a better education and greater common sense.

    For similar reasons it is usually the engineers having a comparable education with physicists, but not beholden to patronage and having to build reliable working systems instead of imaginary hand-waving, who tend to be skeptical of Darwinism and other grand theorising that have little support by way of clear experiments.

  • please read : … the confederates find a natural home in the Democratic Party …

  • @Paul

    I, too, was skeptical of macro-evolution for a time, but the fact that the Church recognizes there is no conflict between evolution and Christianity and, indeed, now seems to subscribe fully to the theory, has helped assuage my doubts, which were admittedly not based on science. I am of the opinion that strict creationists and Genesis literalists suffer from a lack of imagination and an unfortunate tendency to limit the genius and power of God.

    The more interesting question to me has to do with how certain Catholic doctrines should be understood in light of what we now know about evolution. I speak specifically with regards to the ensoulment, the origin of our species, the unique nature of man, and common parentage.

  • @ JL,

    Thank you. I refer the reader to Pope Pius XII’s encyclical, Humani Generis:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis_en.html

    The Pope states in paragraph 37:

    “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents.”

    We know the Pope was correct because in 1987, geneticists in the journal Nature examined the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 147 people across all major racial groups. These researchers found that the lineage of all people alive today falls on one of two branches in humanity’s family tree. One of these branches consists of nothing but African lineage.The other contains all other groups, including some African lineage. The geneticists concluded that every person on Earth can trace his or her lineage back to a single common female ancestor who lived around 200K years ago. Because one entire branch of human lineage is of African origin and the other contains African lineage as well, the study’s authors concluded Africa is the place where this woman lived. The scientists named this common female ancestor Mitochondrial Eve. There was one Adam and one Eve exactly as Pope Pius XII states.

    Now I also refer the reader to Dr. Gerhard Schroeder’s work (he is an orthodox Jew and a physicist who does REAL science):

    http://geraldschroeder.com/AccordingToGod.aspx

    Please click on the “Articles” field in the horizontal bar near the top of the page. I summarize with math equations Dr. Schroeder’s thoughts on correlating days of creation with the 13.73 billion year history of the universe here (the equations are the same as those for radioactive decay which as a former Radiation Monitoring System Engineer, I do know something about):

    http://commentarius-ioannis.blogspot.com/2009/07/correlation-of-creation-days-with.html

    The one theological problem I have is this. Romans 5:12 states, “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.” If old Earth History Creationism is therefore correct, then death pre-existed Adam’s sin and that is not consistent with what St. Paul wrote. So this means that I am not as smart as I think I am because I can’t figure all this stuff out. But just because I can’t figure it out does NOT mean that science and divine revelation are inconsistent. Rather, it means that I am a fallible human being who “sees through a glass darkly now.”

  • @Paul

    Thank you for the references. Humani Generis is clearly something I must read on the matter. I’ve also heard that the-Cardinal Ratzinger’s “In the Beginning…” is particularly insightful. I’ll get to your other resources when I have the time and the resolve to plow through scientific text (which might admittedly be never!).

    Perhaps Paul refers more to spiritual death than the biological variety? The capacity for the soul to turn away from God and thus be lost? Whatever the case, the intersection of evolution and Catholicism is highly fascinating and extremely difficult for me to fully understand.

    The doctrine of common parentage is one to which I know Catholics must assent, but evolution still raises all sorts of questions and complications. If one species of near-humans was evolving toward human status, how did only two cross this threshold? What happened to the rest? Did they become “human” biologically, but, for whatever reason were not ensouled? And what can be said of other humanoid species, such as the neanderthals? Their apparent capacity to create art seems to cast doubt on GKC’s dichotomy of degree and type, a notion that I always found very explanatory and romantic. Were they not ensouled?

    I also do not quite fully comprehend Church teaching on Original Sin. I tend towards explanations of it and its effects as a sort of gradual propensity of man to turn away from God, thus resulting in a fallen state of creation, to which all are born into. However, the Church has consistently, as far as I know, maintained that the Fall was a single event in history. If this is the case, then I have no way of understanding how such a condition is transmitted from one generation to the next. Sin doesn’t seem like something that can be passed on through genetics, and Jesus clearly condemns this Jewish belief. So how then is the stain of original sin, something intrinsic to humans and not an extrinsic condition of their reality, passed on from father to son?

    Clearly lots of questions. But the dearth of answers, as you indicate, is hardly an indication that the Church’s theology is wrong nor incompatible with science. I just feel like a petulant, impatient child who wants his mother to refine an explanation of something in light of what he just learned in science class.

  • Folks, I taught an Apologetics course on Mitochondrial Eve that JL and I briefly disucssed here. This is the substance of that course. It demonstrates that there was a real Eve, and one day we will be able to demonstrate that there was a real Adam, too. Yes, I plagiarized shamelessly from Dr. Hugh Ross, Dr. Gerald Schroeder, Pope Pius XII, etc.

    A geneticist, Dr. Wesley Brown, in 1980 noticed that when the mtDNA of two humans is compared, the samples are much more similar than when the mtDNA of two other primates — for example, two chimpanzees — is compared. Brown found, in fact, that the mtDNA of two humans has only about half as many differences as the mtDNA of two other primates within the same species. This suggests that humans share a much more recent common ancestor.

    In 1987 geneticists in the journal Nature examined the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 147 people across all major racial groups. These researchers found that the lineage of all people alive today falls on one of two branches in humanity’s family tree. One of these branches consists of nothing but African lineage. The other contains all other groups, including some African lineage. The geneticists concluded that every person on Earth can trace his or her lineage back to a single common female ancestor who lived around 200K years ago. Because one entire branch of human lineage is of African origin and the other contains African lineage as well, the study’s authors concluded Africa is the place where this woman lived. The scientists named this common female ancestor Mitochondrial Eve.

    Evolutionists maintain that the Mitochondrial Eve was not the first — or only — woman on Earth during the time she lived. Instead, this woman is simply the most recent person to whom all people can trace their genealogy. According to them, there were many women who came before her and many women who came after, but her life is the point from which all modern branches on humanity’s family tree grew. If true, then why is she the only one to have successfully passed down her mtDNA?

    When the researchers in the 1987 study looked at samples taken from 147 different people and fetuses, they found 133 distinct sequences of mtDNA. After comparing the number of differences among the mtDNA samples within races, they found that Africans have the most diversity (that is, the most number of differences) of any single racial group. This would suggest that the mtDNA found in Africans is the oldest. Since it has had the most mutations, a process which takes time, it must be the oldest of lineages around today.

    The two distinct branches contained the mtDNA found in the five main populations on the planet:

    African
    Asian
    European
    Australian
    New Guinean

    Researchers found that in the branch that was not exclusively African, racial populations often had more than one lineage. For example, one New Guinean lineage finds its closest relative in a lineage present in Asia, not New Guinea. All of the lineages and both of the two branches, however, can all be traced back to one theorized point: Mitochondrial Eve.

    So how did Eve end up being humanity’s most recent common ancestor? We shall investigate that, as well as some arguments lodged against the Mitochondrial Eve theory. But first, what is DNA, what are mitochondria, and why do scientists use mtDNA to track lineage?

    Biologists have been aware of mitochondria since the 19th century. In the late 1970s the value of using the DNA within mitochondria to track ancient human history became clear. Mitochondrial DNA differs in a few key ways from nuclear DNA — the variety of DNA located within the nucleus of each of one’s cells determines eye color, racial features, susceptibility to certain diseases and other defining characteristics. mtDNA, on the other hand, contains codes for making proteins and carrying out the other processes mitochondria undertake.

    The genes carried in the form of nuclear DNA are the result of a merger between mother’s and father’s DNA — this merger is called recombination. mtDNA, however, is derived almost exclusively from the mother. This is because the egg of a female human contains lots of mtDNA, while male sperm contains just a bit of mitochondria. A function of a single mitochondrion is generating power for the cell containing it, and sperm use a few mitochondria in the tail to power their race towards the egg for fertilization. These mitochondria are destroyed after the sperm fertilizes the egg, and thus any mtDNA that could be passed on from the father’s side is lost.

    This means that mtDNA is matrilineal — only the mother’s side survives from generation to generation. A mother who gives birth only to sons will see her mtDNA lineage lost. Examination of mtDNA so far has yielded only rare and unusual cases where paternal mtDNA survives and is passed onto the child. Mitochondria are also valuable to evolutionists because copies of the exact same mtDNA one has can be found in cells throughout one’s body. Within each cell, too, there may be thousands of copies of mtDNA. Conversely, the nuclear DNA in a cell usually contains just two copies. It is also easier to extract mtDNA than nuclear DNA, since it is found outside the fragile and more rapidly decaying nucleus of the cell.

    What all this adds up to is that a one’s mtDNA is the same as one’s mother’s, since there is no recombination to form a third version, distinct from both one’s mother’s and father’s but a combination of both. This makes mtDNA much easier to track from an anthropological standpoint. Humans have been around for a long time. In the hundreds of thousands of years we’ve been walking the planet, our numbers have grown. How is it that only about 200K years ago a single woman became the great-grandmother of us all? Does NOT human history go further back than that? We will now examine how humanity may have come close to extinction, setting the stage for Mitochondrial Eve to leave her enduring legacy.

    It was estimated that Mitochondrial Eve lived about 200K years ago. With a margin of error included, she would have been alive between 500K and 50K years ago. Given that Eve is thought to have lived during a time when there were other women alive, how is it that all of us alive today descended from her alone? There are a couple explanations for how only Eve’s mtDNA alone could have survived Most likely a combination of converging factors is responsible.

    The likeliest possibility is that an evolutionary bottleneck occurred among humankind while Eve was alive. This is a situation where a large majority of the members of species suddenly die out, bringing the species to the verge of extinction. This sudden decrease in numbers is NOT due to any kind of failure to adapt. Instead, it’s more likely the result of a catastrophe of some sort, for example, the result of a comet hitting the Earth or a super volcano eruption. Afterward, just a few members remain to repopulate the group and continue to evolve. Bottlenecks are suspected to have taken place at different times in humanity’s history Thus, it is credible that an event like this could have taken place during Eve’s lifetime.

    A 1998 report concluded that about 70K years ago, humanity was reduced to only about 15K people on the whole planet. With very few people spread out across the planet, humankind was on the verge of extinction. The event that caused the near-loss of our species was an eruption of Mount Toba in Sumatra. This volcanic eruption was so immense that it:

    Lowered global temperatures
    Killed off the animals and plants that nourished humans, and
    Spurred the coldest ice age the planet has seen, lasting 1,000 years.

    The Mitochondrial Eve theory evokes similar scenarios. IF the human population was reduced dramatically, AND there were NOT many women around to bear children, THEN the stage is set for one “Lucky Mother” to emerge as a most recent common ancestor. It is possible that after a few generations, the mtDNA of the other women died out. IF a woman produces only male offspring, THEN her mtDNA will NOT be passed along, since children do NOT receive mtDNA from their father. This means that while the woman’s sons will have her mtDNA, her grandchildren will NOT, and her line will be lost. It is possible that this was the cause of Eve emerging as the sole “Lucky Mother” who in essence gave birth to us all.

    Alternate Hypothesis – A reviewer of this presentation asked: Is it truly Eve we are talking about or is it not more likely that the “Lucky Woman” was Noah’s wife? She fits the conditions described exactly…except the literal readers of the Bible would place her more in the 5,000 – 10,000 BC range. While the Bible states we have one common mother in Eve, the events that have occurred since then would seem to make it impossible to ascertain what she was like. Only Noah’s wife, or the wives of his sons could be the focal point of our mtDNA since the Flood. And the Flood provides exactly the kind of cataclysmic event that would have created a bottleneck as described in this presentation.

    The reason why this alternative does not seem tenable is that the Great Flood of Noah appears to have been a localized event around the Black Sea area instead of an inundation that flooded the entire planet. If a world-wide flood had occurred, then today there would not be massive fresh water lakes with separate salt water oceans because such a flood would have equalized salt content everywhere. There are additional archeological reasons to think this was localized around the Black Sea area, as well as linguistic reasons pertaining to the use of the word “land” or “earth” in the Genesis account. One only objection to a world-wide flood is the migration of all diverse species from Antarctica in the south and the Artic in the north, and from North and South America that would be required across the vast oceans to the Middle East where Noah was located so that they could be housed in the great Ark for the duration of the flood. Such is simply non-feasible.

    Now back to Mitochondrial Eve. Although talk of genetic mutations and DNA sequences makes it seem complex, at its core, tracking mtDNA is based on a deceptively simple notion: People whose ancestors were once closely related should have almost identical mtDNA. mtDNA can undergo mutations over time, but it takes time for these mutations to occur. Logically, the fewer there are, the less time has gone by since two families’ ancestors diverged. Those people who have just a few differences in their mtDNA sequences would be more recently related than those sequences which bear many differences.

    Let us suppose your great-great-grandmother on your mom’s side — whom we’ll call Mildred — had a sister, whom we’ll call Tillie. Both shared identical mtDNA which they received from their mother. But imagine that Tillie and Mildred had a terrible argument, and Tillie moved across the country, while Mildred’s descendants — including you — stayed put. Tillie and Millie never spoke again. Both women gave birth to girls, and so their matrilineal mtDNA was passed on. But as the generations continued, the families of the two grew less and less aware of the existence of the other branch, until neither line was aware of the other. But the two lines are about to be inadvertently reunited. Researchers placed a national advertisement asking for test subjects for a study of recent human population trends using mtDNA for mapping. By coincidence, you and a distant cousin of yours on Tillie’s side of the family both decide to volunteer. After they collect a DNA sample from you, the researchers compare your mtDNA to the sequences from the other candidates. Lo and behold — they find that two volunteers are cousins. Comparing your mtDNA to your cousin’s, the geneticists should be able to tell about how long ago Tillie and Mildred had their argument. If they checked the local populations of your area and your cousin’s area, they should also be able to tell whether it was Tillie or Millie who migrated, by finding which population shared more of the mtDNA present in your family line. More people with the same mtDNA means that that sequence has been around longer. What’s more, they can also conclude that since you and your cousin share similar mtDNA, you have a most common recent ancestor, the woman who is mother to Tillie and Mildred. Since it takes a while for mtDNA mutations to occur, it would be pretty difficult for these imagined geneticists to pin down you and your cousin with accuracy. But when this technique is extrapolated over a period spanning tens or hundreds of thousands of years, it becomes much more viable. Not everyone accepts the Mitochondrial Eve theory, however.

    Evolutionary mapping through the use of mtDNA is inexact. As mtDNA study continued after the late 1970s, scientists discovered a property known as heteroplasmy — the presence of more than one sequence of mtDNA found in the same person. Even within a single person, there are differences between mtDNA that make comparing one person or group to another tricky. The 1987 study of the Mitochondrial Eve came under attack when it was pointed out that the “African” population the researchers sampled was actually made up almost entirely of African-Americans. Is it possible that in the few hundred years since Africans had been imported to the Americas against their will that African-Americans’ mtDNA had mutated enough so as to render the sample useless? In the face of the criticism, researchers took an additional sample of Africans living in Africa, but found virtually the same results.

    Another problem with mtDNA study is the differences in the rate of mutation. If a particular sequence of mtDNA was concluded to develop a mutation in 1,000 years, then would two strains of mtDNA from the same lineage with two mutations have diverged about 2,000 years ago? This is how researchers decided Mitochondrial Eve was living around 200,000 years ago. The researchers assumed that mtDNA mutates at a consistent rate. However, the rate of mutation for mtDNA is uncertain and immeasurable. If we look at the rate of mutation among a whole group of organisms, say, all people alive today — called the phylogenetic rate — we might conclude that mtDNA mutates at a consistent rate. But if we look at a single family line within that larger group — the pedigree rate – we will most likely find an entirely different rate of mutation.

    Since the “mutational clock” used by the researchers was called into question, they expanded the date for Eve’s existence to between 500,000 and 50,000 years ago. Decades after the Mitochondrial Eve study was published, the results are still hotly debated. Are we all descended from a most recent common ancestor who lived 200,000 years ago? Can mtDNA even tell us precisely? These questions remain unanswered by science and frame the future work of evolutionary geneticists. But the 1987 study changed the way we think about ourselves as humans. It pointed out that somewhere down the line of history, we are all related.

    Genesis chapter 2 states the following:

    The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being. Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed…The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it. The LORD God gave man this order: “You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.” The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” …So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”

    Pope Pius XII stated: “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now, it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the teaching authority of the Church proposed with regard to original sin which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam, and which, through generation, is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own” (Humani Generis 37).

    The story of the creation and fall of man is a true one, even if not written entirely according to modern literary techniques. The Catechism states: “The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents” (CCC 390). Conclusion: If there is no Fall, then there is no Redemption.

  • “The missing virtue is humility. Science requires humility” (Pinky)
    True True .. and really so does every field of study and every method in search of truth

  • Very interesting essay and discussion…regarding human evolution:

    Even if in some sense true, it seems to me that it had to have reached ‘Omega’ (at the Incarnation?). Perhaps now its locus is entirely spiritual (i.e. we ‘evolve’ if/as we become holier, saintlier, imitating Christ), leading us to the Kingdom of God.

Flash: Science Says Conservatives Are Crazy and/or Stupid.

Wednesday, May 16, AD 2012

 

 

One of the more depressing aspects of the age in which we live  is the prostitution of what is called Science for political ends, by people who claim to be scientists.  The pursuit of truth is a noble endeavor.  At its best that is precisely what Science is.  Too often currently what is called Science is politicized junk with a clear agenda at its core.  Andrew Ferguson in The Weekly Standard examines this phenomenon in regard to the attempt by liberal academics to claim that those holding conservative political views are irrational, selfish or just plain stupid.

Earlier generations of leftists knew the power of Science to discredit their political opponents. Most famously, in the years following World War II, Theodor Adorno and his fellow sociologists developed the F scale—“F” for fascism—to identify the “authoritarian personality” that so often gave rise to political and cultural conservatism. They discovered that conservatives suffered (unconsciously!) from “prefascist tendencies” like “intolerance of ambiguity” and “moral rigidity.” They acquired this scientific knowledge by reading questionnaires filled out by 180 respondents during the last year of World War II. Among the respondents were Rotarians, patients at mental hospitals, San Quentin inmates, students at the University of California, and members of the Lion’s Club.

You don’t hear much about Adorno anymore. As a political figure he was too extreme, and as a social scientist he was too transparently political, to remain in good repute with scientists who have persuaded themselves that they have no ideology. In time it became clear that in pretending to plumb the authoritarian personality, Adorno and his “investigators had arrived at their conclusions in advance” through a “set of self-validating procedures,” as the great sociologist Christopher Lasch put it.

Our generation of Democrats, in and out of the press, have now rediscovered Adorno’s methods, and put them to the same purpose. Edsall himself has become a booster of a series of “studies” that together form, in his words, “an extensive academic critique of the right.” The studies are boring, which is why the few people who bother to look them up rarely get beyond the one-paragraph summary. But they’re worth studying for an insight into the way Adorno’s heirs, our own psychopundits, continue his work.

The studies rely on the principle that has informed the social sciences for more than a generation: If a researcher with a Ph.D. can corral enough undergraduates into a campus classroom and, by giving them a little bit of money or a class credit, get them to do something—fill out a questionnaire, let’s say, or pretend they’re in a specific real-world situation that the researcher has thought up—the young scholars will (unconsciously!) yield general truths about the human animal; scientific truths. The scientific truths revealed in Edsall’s “academic critique of the right” demonstrate that “the rich and powerful” lack compassion, underestimate the suffering of others, have little sympathy for the disadvantaged, and are far more willing to act unethically than the less rich and not so powerful.

How do we know this? A paper called “Power, Distress, and Compassion: Turning a Blind Eye to the Suffering of Others” describes a study put together by a team of social psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, a few years ago. Graduate assistants managed to collect 118 undergraduates, most of them under the age of 21. The kids agreed to participate in the experiment because they were given $15 or class credit for a psychology requirement. A skeptic might point out that the sample of participants was thus skewed from the start, unnaturally weighted toward either kids who badly need $15 or psych majors. And all of them, by definition, were the kinds of kids who want to go to college at Berkeley. Almost half of the participants were Asian American; only 3.5 percent were African American. Caucasians made up less than 30 percent.

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6 Responses to Flash: Science Says Conservatives Are Crazy and/or Stupid.

  • Furthermore, biology, chemistry, physics, etc. are sciences.

    The areas of so-called scholarship which you enumerate are large systems of rank opinions supported by huge volumes of unadulterated bull$#!+.

    You can add academic economics to your list of scholastic superstitions.

    When you add craven credentialed cretins to the mix . . . A wasted young mind is a terrible thing.

  • Shaw, can you explain to me why you are trashing economics due to the inanities currently incorporated into the practice of social psychology (intermediated by hacks in the press corps)?

  • Well, as the greatest scientific mind of all time once said “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  • Theology is the science of God. God asks us to trust Him and love one another. Let us look behind science to learn why “the scientists” have only contempt for conservatives.

  • Art: When I am not reading The American Catholic, I may be reading several economics profs’ blogs. Thus, I am qualified to trash economists.

    Case in point, In 2006 one famous econ prof blogger was asked if it was a good time to buy a house. Effectively his answer was, “Have at it. What could happen?”
    And, none of them know why (PS: Dodd-Frank doesn’t solve it, either) we are where we are today.

    They are blinded by ideology: wealth and income redistribution; failed Keynesian (Keynes was at a meeting of economists and quipped I am the only one here who is not a Keynesian) stimuli. and the commenters – OY!

    They keep trotting out this communism-lite stuff that never works. Here is what Keynes, effectively, said about that (communist socialism), ” . . .Future economists and historians will marvel at how a concept so dull and illogical could have exercised such force on so many . . .”

    Mary,

    I am sorry. My opinion: theology is the study of stuff made up about God. Similarly, philosophy is the art of making up stuff about stuff.

    I know. I am a Phillistine.

  • T. Shaw: “I am sorry. My opinion: theology is the study of stuff made up about God. Similarly, philosophy is the art of making up stuff about stuff.
    I know. I am a Phillistine”
    Definitions I had not heard before. and no, you are definitely not a Phillistine.

Global Warming as a Substitute Religion

Monday, July 11, AD 2011

 

 

 

 

In these days we are accused of attacking science because we want it to be scientific. Surely there is not any undue disrespect to our doctor in saying that he is our doctor, not our priest, or our wife, or ourself. It is not the business of the doctor to say that we must go to a watering-place; it is his affair to say that certain results of health will follow if we do go to a watering-place. After that, obviously, it is for us to judge. Physical science is like simple addition: it is either infallible or it is false. To mix science up with philosophy is only to produce a philosophy that has lost all its ideal value and a science that has lost all its practical value.

G. K. Chesterton

One of the more pernicious follies of our time is the mixing of politics, science and religion.  The Global Warming scam is a prime example of what a noxious brew can result from this.  Among many of the elites in Western society, environmentalism has taken on all the aspects of a religion.  The religious left has been eager to climb on to this new religion.  Based upon very dubious science, and fired with the faith that has traditionally been given to religion, powerful forces throughout the West are eager  to implement revolutionary changes in our society, most involving a radical expansion of government control over industry.

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12 Responses to Global Warming as a Substitute Religion

  • That is exactly what the religion of anthropogenic global warming is all about.

  • Another way in which belief in AGW is like a religion: it (allegedly) explains the problem of evil. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and even earthquakes and tsunamis (I believe) are all blamed on global warming.

    Plus, people who scoff at the notion that God would send natural disaster as a punishment for sins like abortion (I don’t personally believe that either, but I say this just to make a point) have no trouble embracing the idea that “Nature” or “Mother Earth” sends them as punishment for using the wrong light bulbs, driving old cars, or simply failing to believe in the One True Faith. Case in point: the liberal blogger/commentator who stated a couple of months ago that residents of states affected by recent tornado outbreaks had it coming because they are represented by “climate change deniers.”

  • Plus, a large plurality of AGW adherents are better credentialed than the majority of “Cargo Cult” believers . . . [sigh].

  • Here’s the link to the blog post I referred to earlier:

    http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/04/28/175004/global-boiling-denier-tornadoes/

    In fairness, however, it should be noted that even many liberals thought this sentiment was obscene and uncalled for.

  • Another way it’s a religion: it’s based on faith. Sure, you can postulate scientific theories based on evidence at hand, but in the end you really can’t prove that man is causing global warming. Even if you can demonstrate through data that the Earth’s temperatures are warming, there’s no way to conclusively prove that this is a result of human behavior or that these increased temperatures are beyond what is normal for the planet’s history.

  • “Thank heavens for a rambunctious new media:  talk radio and the internet, where ideological conformity is impossible to enforce.”
    This made me laugh. Ideological diversity from Limbaug to Hannity

  • Oh there are liberal talk show hosts on radio Kevin, but in a free market to gain listeners the vast majority of them are as popular as the plague. Cheer up Kevin, however, you still have National Public Radio which has found ways around that terrible requirement that a radio talk show needs to be entertaining to gain listeners.

  • Why is it that liberals think that anything that sounds like Marxist NPR is an example of diversity to be emulated?

    The fact of the matter is that Limbaugh and Hannity ARE examples of diversity opposed to the liberal Democrat group think of NPR and like-minded pseudo-news outlets, and it is this that liberal Democrats cannot stand.

    Democracy is only for the Democrats who all think the same way – anthropogenic global warming. Right wing conservatives don’t deserve a voice because that’s so diverse as to be opposed to diversity.

    And that is precisely the logic behind liberalism’s AGW.

  • I do not think it is a substitute religion or necessarily invalid as science. Some of the people promoting it are eminent scientists (e.g. Lonnie Thompson). Of course, so are some of the critics (and Dr. Thompson seems to have misplaced his raw data).

    The trouble is that it has decayed into a class and subcultural marker and a trough for organized appetites.

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  • What??? Now it is global warming. I am going to have to get rid of my train loads of parkas I bought in the 1970s when I was told we were going into the ice age because of human activity . . . maybe I can exchange the parkas for swim suits & sun screen . . .

Global Warming Freezing Temperatures Hit the Globe

Tuesday, January 12, AD 2010

As freezing temperatures continue to grip the nation and the world I thought this political cartoon apropos to the many climate change proponents that continue to peddle this pseudoscience.

Which is why I am promoting the possibility of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution for the Separation of Science and State.  The new law would make it possible to separate the radical environmentalists and their socialist allies from imposing their false faith in scientism upon Americans.

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33 Responses to Global Warming Freezing Temperatures Hit the Globe

  • While the U.S. has been unusually cold of late, this hasn’t been true of most of the world.

  • BA,

    Could catch.

    Generally speaking.

    😉

  • The over-politicization of the issue of climate change has generated massive-marketing of misinformation and false presumptions, across the political spectrum, about the reality of climate change. This, I think, is a glaring example of it.

    The theory of global warming concerns the increase of the average temperature of the planet, particularly since the latter part of the nineteenth century. Even the most irreputable sources on the subject, e.g. Wikipedia, even points out this very point in its first line on the subject (“Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth’s near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation“).

    This is a very basic and fundamental fact in regard to climate change. What are the implications of such fact? The reality of global warming does not claim that we should never see temperatures fall beyond normal trends, even to the point of seeing record temperatures in terms of coldness. Temperatures can, and do in fact, rise in certain areas and fall in others. The rise in global temperature, as the theory asserts it, is not evenly dispersed throughout the planet in every geographic location.

    Those who are convinced of the reality of climate change — which includes our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, by the way, as well as his Venerable predecessor — believe that the average rise of global temperatures in certain places creates ecological, and therefore, profound dilemmas, and even crises, for socio-economic justice particularly for third world nations — the affects of climate change, arguably, effect these people because of their geographical location. An increase in global temperature which arguably causes the rise of sea levels will affect the amount and pattern of precipitation, affecting agricultural yields which still is the source of economic vitality for many poor nations. Other effects include increases in the intensity of extreme weather. I need not go into more detail because the direct point is not to argue for the theory, but to make a criticism toward the pseudoscience claim.

    The bottom line is that pointing out abnormally cold temperatures in one specific geographical region hardly amounts to “throwing a wrench” into the theory — which in its very definition speaks of the average global temperature. The foundations of the theory of global warming is not shaken by such a critcism. It may be, and is, argued against on other grounds and whether those criticisms hold any water is not the point here. But this very criticism here, if anything, unveils ignorance of a very basic premise of global warming which it seeks to discredit.

    It must be said that no reasonable mind can conclude that everyone who believes in climate change are alarmist ideologues — not that anyone ever asserted such a thing.

    But here is a thought for the skeptics: when Galileo wanted to propose the heliocentric model of Copernicus to replace the geocentric model which had been the status quo consensus for quite some time, he had to propose a new theory and account for all the data and phenomenon that was thought to be explained best by the previous working hypothesis and demonstrate that the case for the new hypotehesis was indeed stronger–that is how science works.

    If you don’t believe in, say, evolution, then it follows that one should propose an alternative theory that readily explains the natural phenomenon just as evolutionary theory claims to do and this new theory should account for any failures or lackings in the theory its seeking to replace. It should, in other words, be a better theory. Again, this is how science works.

    Simply put, everyone who believes in climate change is not some liberal alarmist population control freak. I can speak for myself and I surely am not; neither is the Holy Father. If global warming is pseudoscience and nothing more than a conspiracy, I would imagine you would win more converts if you found, say, a counter-theory and argued for it — a theory that explains, despite the fact that global warming is a farce, why the polar ice caps have not gotten the memo. I have never seen whole bodies of glaciers melt because of consistently cold weather. Why are penguin populations dying? Why are sea levels rising? The climate change debate — and the politicization of it — can go back and forth forever. But if you can succeed in undermining the theory at its edifice by proposing a viable scientific alternative, then you might may just have a case. It certainly would be a better one than casting doubt because scientists wrongly dressed up data that, perhaps, didn’t give off the alarmist impression some research donors or other interest groups might have desired — no intelligent mind would conclude that an independent phenomenon’s reality is contingent on human thought about the truth of that reality, even if there was a scandal that involved people who believe in that very reality.

    But maybe this is really a case as to why we should not politicize science.

    That’s my two cents.

  • Eric,

    I’ve not seen anyone explain why the skeptic’s basic argument is wrong. The argument is that whatever warming we are seeing is the Earth’s recovery from the mini ice age, that the RATE of warming has remained consistent over a period of several hundred years, including a few centuries during which humanity’s use of hydrocarbons was nil or very low, that temperature does not correlate perfectly with carbon dioxide levels but does correlate with solar activity, that human civilization has weathered warmer periods than any that are projected for the 21st century (and that could not have possibly been caused by human activity), that Co2 is not harmful and actually has positive benefits, and there is more, but that should suffice for now.

    It is claimed, and I have seen many fancy charts attesting to, that there was a Medieval Warm Period. There are apparently many scientists who accept it, and it was evidently a fact that one of the leading global warmists tried to deny with his “hockey stick graph.”

    I really, honestly, humbly, sincerely would like to understand why these claims are either wrong or lies. Saying that skeptics are paid by big oil is also a non-answer. I don’t know if what I presented here constitutes in your mind a “viable scientific alternative”, but until I see a satisfactory rebuke of these claims, I will remain skeptical, especially in light of the documented anti-life, anti-family, agenda of the secular environmental movement headquartered at the United Nations (an agenda which is acknowledged and rejected by Pope Benedict, I might add – his recognition of warming trends in no way implies a political support for the UN agenda).

    I support less consumerism and materialism as a matter of spiritual health – I certainly don’t need to be frightened with apocalyptic scenarios in order to take seriously the Church’s already consistent moral argument against these things.

    Right now we have international institutions – the UN and the Chinese government – publicly declaring, openly declaring, that population reduction via the one child policy of forced abortion, sterilization, kidnapping and withholding of benefits to the poor has proven an effective means of reducing humanity’s “carbon footprint.” The clear choice is being establish for us by these institutions; begin taking drastic measures to address “overpopulation” or face the consequences of global warming.

    In the face of such inhuman madness, and with the possibility that the challenge of the skeptics might bear fruit if they are given a chance to more fully develop their critique before an international audience, I say we must err on the side of respect for human life, we must err on the side of skepticism for now – while continuing to take seriously the Church’s already powerful argument against excessive consumerism, which has no need of a global warming theory.

  • Eric,

    The science is questionable.

    Then there is the hurdle that this is man-made.

  • “I’ve not seen anyone explain why the skeptic’s basic argument is wrong. The argument is that whatever warming we are seeing is the Earth’s recovery from the mini ice age, that the RATE of warming has remained consistent over a period of several hundred years, including a few centuries during which humanity’s use of hydrocarbons was nil or very low, that temperature does not correlate perfectly with carbon dioxide levels but does correlate with solar activity, that human civilization has weathered warmer periods than any that are projected for the 21st century (and that could not have possibly been caused by human activity), that Co2 is not harmful and actually has positive benefits, and there is more, but that should suffice for now.”

    The theory of global warming posits that the average temperature of the earth is increasing and that the uneven affects of this has, regardless of its cause, negative consequences in certain regards for certain populations. There is in fact legitimate disagreement about whether or not global warming is solely a naturally occuring phenonmenon, a human-induced phenomenon, or some combination of both of these with varying emphasis on human effects. In other words, not everyone who believes in global warming has in fact a universal, identical belief about its causes. It is entirely parallel with the wide acceptance of evolution with a great number of disagreements over the details.

    Moreover, the argument you just posited — that of the skeptics — acknowledges that there is some sort of warming that is the result of a mini ice age. Therefore, there is warming, it is naturally occuring, and there is nothing to be concerned about insofar as human activity. There is an entire camp of global warming proponents who think this very thing and are critical of the analysis of others who accept climate change.

    This counter-argument may even well be true because it acknowledges global warming as a natural status quo which accounts for all the natural phenomenon we see — the criticism is, as it usually is, the extent of human activity influencing global warming if it does at all. That argument does not even deny global warming, in the sense, that there has been an increase in the average global temperature — it is simply a different reading of the same data, with the conclusion that the temperature rise is apart of a greater naturally occuring and repetitive cycle that has nothing to do with human activity and should not be met with great alarm. That is the position of one of my environmental professors when I was a student who completely accepted the reality of global warming as obvious but disagreed with other conclusions he thought to be unfounded.

    “I really, honestly, humbly, sincerely would like to understand why these claims are either wrong or lies. Saying that skeptics are paid by big oil is also a non-answer. I don’t know if what I presented here constitutes in your mind a “viable scientific alternative”, but until I see a satisfactory rebuke of these claims, I will remain skeptical, especially in light of the documented anti-life, anti-family, agenda of the secular environmental movement headquartered at the United Nations (an agenda which is acknowledged and rejected by Pope Benedict, I might add – his recognition of warming trends in no way implies a political support for the UN agenda).”

    I never made a claim about the skeptics having partisan interests. No, I don’t find what you presented as a “viable scientific alternative” because I don’t see how it denies global warming; in fact, the contrary is true. Moreover if you must remain a skeptic, than do so. However I think it is a basic fallacy of logic to say that X makes argument Y, but since X uses Y to promote immoral means, Y must not be true. Moreover, the advocates of a theory cannot be reduced to what some in the movement are saying. I (obviously) believe in the theory of global warming, as do Pope Benedict XVI and countless other pro-life, pro-family, pro-religion people who somehow see no point of contradiction in our belief. The issues at have at their source false philosophical presumptions not climate change — it is merely being wrongly used as an agent, a Trojan horse to promote a moral evil. Climate change itself is not the thing to be opposed in my view.

    “In the face of such inhuman madness, and with the possibility that the challenge of the skeptics might bear fruit if they are given a chance to more fully develop their critique before an international audience, I say we must err on the side of respect for human life, we must err on the side of skepticism for now – while continuing to take seriously the Church’s already powerful argument against excessive consumerism, which has no need of a global warming theory.”

    I obviously will disagree because our disagreement is fundamental. I’m not going to–not that I have to–discontinue believing something I believe to be objectively true because other people who acknowledge the same reality in the context of their false philosophical and metaphisical worldviews interpret that reality in a such a way that they use it to promote a false evil. This happens with just about every movement you can think of.

    And you’re right, the Church makes a case against consumerism rather well. But I doubt the Church believes it “needs” global warming to make that case. Rather by the judgment of the Holy Father and many scientific experts in the Vatican, it does seem to be the case — an objective reality of which they cannot deny because its inconvenient in other respects. All we can do is Catholics is apply ethical norms to whatever circumstances may arise — indeed, I think God asks no more of us than this.

  • Tito,

    Not every proponent of global warming actually believes that it is man-made. I have read entire scientific articles where the scientist in question is convinced of the reality of global warming and at the same time believes that human activity has nothing to do with it.

    There is not a “one-size-fits-all” view on global warming.

  • The theory of global warming posits that the average temperature of the earth is increasing and that the uneven affects of this has, regardless of its cause, negative consequences in certain regards for certain populations

    This is certainly true. At the same time, an increase in the average temperature of the earth also has positive consequences in certain regards for certain populations, regardless of its cause. Whether the negative consequences outweigh the positive consequences for a given amount of warming is not, I think, something we have a good grasp on, particularly given that the field has become so politicized. The views of climatologists prior to the politicization of the field is probably best summed up in the fact that what we call the Medieval Warm Period used to be called the Medieval Climate Optimum.

  • Eric,

    “There is in fact legitimate disagreement about whether or not global warming is solely a naturally occuring phenonmenon, a human-induced phenomenon, or some combination of both of these with varying emphasis on human effects.”

    The atmosphere of urgency – and in some cases, hysteria – surrounding the Copenhagen meeting, the orchestrated propaganda (such as using school children to beg Obama to save the world for the polar bears – a despicable, Goebbels-like tactic), the magnitude of the changes that the environmentalists wish to impose upon the governments and economies of the world, and the fact that population levels are now linked to carbon levels, all suggest to me that the substantial majority of this movement believes that humanity’s actions play a large enough role in GW to warrant drastic, immediate action.

    It is one thing, and I support it, to prepare for a rise in sea levels due to naturally occurring global warming. Such is our duty to the vulnerable and poor peoples of the world.

    But if there is, as you say, legitimate disagreement as to the role that human activity plays in this phenomenon, then Copenhagen (and next, I believe, Mexico City), which aimed at significantly altering the global economic and political systems, is at best an irresponsible, hasty response – at worst it is a thinly-concealed power grab. This is logically undeniable.

    ” No, I don’t find what you presented as a “viable scientific alternative” because I don’t see how it denies global warming; in fact, the contrary is true.”

    Eric, it ought to be clear that the skepticism is with regards to the role that humans play in global warming. Many of the skeptics – as ought to be self-evident from the claims they make – do not deny warming trends. What they are skeptical of is the contribution of humans, and what such a contribution would logically imply on the economic, political, and social fronts.

    If it wasn’t clear before, I hope it is now.

    “However I think it is a basic fallacy of logic to say that X makes argument Y, but since X uses Y to promote immoral means, Y must not be true.”

    That is not my argument, Eric. Because I don’t think you are deliberately trying to misrepresent me, allow me to restate what I said before: “until I see a satisfactory rebuke of these claims.” Meaning, I am not declaring that the immorality of the secular environmentalists renders the theory of AGW false; I am arguing that in light of both their clearly stated motives AND the possibility that they may simply be wrong on the science, gives us a legitimate reason to remain skeptical of their entire political agenda.

    The rest of your post still rests on the incorrect assumption that I am speaking of global warming as such.

    My apologies for not having made it crystal clear, 100% clear in the original post – I am talking about skepticism of man-made global warming, of a human contribution to warming trends that is so great that it warrants the sort of drastic, sweeping changes demanded by radical environmentalists, the UN, the Obama administration and other institutions.

    In this case I would say you are mistaken if you believe that you have incontrovertible proof that human contribution to global warming is as great as the alarmists make it out to be, alarmists who are not on the fringe but who are the driving force of the entire international push to “fight climate change.”

  • And let me make another thing clear – if the skeptics are right about man’s contribution to global warming, that it is not significant or is nil, then the wind will be taken out of the sails of a mounting anti-life agenda. That is why it is important to subject these claims to the closest scrutiny.

    Of course, if the skeptics are wrong, and the human impact is great – so great that it does warrant drastic political action on pain of major worldwide catastrophes that could potentially cause millions of deaths – then it is hard to argue against the logic of population control. We would be obliged to do it, to resist it at every turn, but in that case the wind would be in our faces and we would be bailing water.

    In the interests of making things easier and not more difficult for ourselves, let us remain skeptical. To remain skeptical is no offense to the truth because the skeptics have raised points that I, albeit as a layman, find quite logical. The facts they present, I am in no position to judge, so I can only judge the reasonableness of their claim until someone can say, “these are not the facts.”

  • Joe — I don’t think I actually ever stated whether or not I believe human activity has any affect on warming trends. Even if there is such a thing, I don’t think the lunacy of the alarmists, which is independent in its reality would have any logical bearing over whether human contributions are real or not.

    In fact, I tend to think that global warming is by and large a natural phenomenon — though I am convinced that human activity is minimally a factor, or at least, I’m open to that possibility.

  • Eric,

    I don’t think you did either. So I should apologize for arguing against AGW as if you did argue for it.

    But I do want to get the argument out there. So again, my apologies.

  • Sometimes we endure hard times, my friend.

    Moreover, I want to add — sometimes when we are debating “global warming,” which I look at solely as a scientific subject, there is a lot of reference to political activity by a group of people who believe in global warming which I see entirely as another subject.

    Much of our disagreement is over the emphasis of association.

  • Eric,

    It isn’t another subject if the science is being guided by the politics – which in the light of scandals such as climategate, to me, is a real possibility. Then we do have to question the human motives at play.

    Yes indeed, science in an ideal world should be kept separate. But when scientists are complaining that their critics might use the Freedom of Information Act to access their data, they aren’t talking about science in that case, but something political, something non-scientific at any rate. And when what I think are credible claims are made that the original IPCC reports on climate change were modified by non-scientific, essentially political bodies, then again politics becomes an issue.

    We do not live in a world of “pure science”, but a fallen world in which scientists themselves are not exempt from human problems. The skeptics claim that the Medieval Warm period, or “optimum” as BA said it was once called, was simply removed from history in order to create the now-discredited “hockey stick chart.” So it appears there is a pattern of, if not outright falsification, manipulation of facts and data, historical and contemporary, to present a certain view.

    We cannot blind ourselves to these real events in the interests of keeping science pure. If these scientists themselves may have poisoned the well, we would do well to drink from it with caution.

  • And…

    ” I don’t think the lunacy of the alarmists, which is independent in its reality would have any logical bearing over whether human contributions are real or not”

    I hope you understand, that is not my position. I would never argue such a foolish thing. The lunacy of the alarmists is simply a more pressing reason to take the claims of skeptics seriously. If they are defeated on the facts, the will be defeated politically. If they are not, then the battle is more difficult. So why not see where the skeptics might take us?

  • Again, the Weart book is worthwhile reading. The second edition is updated from the 2003 release, and probably contains more of the mountain of evidence.

    And yes, while the American *weather* is cold and snowy these days, please don’t fall into the usual trap of mistaking weather, which is what’s happening outside the American door at this moment, for climate, which is the pattern of atmospheric conditions for a region or a planet, over a period of time.

    Also yes, there is an increase in warming trends over the past century, and especially the past forty years which is unprecedented in any warming period since the last glaciation.

    So sure, for the first time in eleven millennia, something natural may be happening. It’s possible. But given the correlation of greenhouse gas emissions, it’s not the most likely answer.

    Alarmists have a political and financial motive, even more so than scientists. Of course, they probably won’t be alive when the North Atlantic flushes with glacier melt and the planet springs back into an ice age. But there’s nothing wrong, so they say, with eating, drinking, and being merry with Big Oil in the meantime.

    The worst thing I saw coming out of the UEA e-mails was that scientists think alarmists and skeptics are nuts. Big deal.

  • The worst thing I saw coming out of the UEA e-mails was that scientists think alarmists and skeptics are nuts.

    If so then you must not have looked at them that closely.

  • It is true that below average temperatures in the US does not negate global warming if it is true. It will also be good to remember that when there are above average temperatures this summer, and the media is screaming “Global Warming!!!!!!!!!!”, that does not necessarily prove global warming either.

    Let’s see the data.

  • “Let’s see the data.”

    Have you read the book yet? If the data is unconvincing, then read the book.

    I don’t listen to the media when they doubt climate change; why would I pay attention when they promote it? They’re only trying to sell toothpaste, cars, and Viagra.

  • Actually would like to see the data that apparently is not being presented in the English University studies. Also with what appears to have been not presented in Russian and Austrailian studies. Also with US studies.

  • Phillip, read the book, man.

    As for your second blog link, Big Oil alarmists are well aware that climate trends in the tropics are far less than at the poles. Otherwise, why would Arctic Ocean ice melt more quickly than the Amazon turn into a desert? That politically minded people would zero in on Australia’s Northern Territory isn’t a surprise. They know the global climate is changing, so why not focus on an area where change is minimal?

    As for your other link, the blogger’s problem is that he can’t get raw information. He suspects there’s a problem with the NASA or GISS data, but he can’t prove it. I have no doubt he would like to prove it, and I wish him the best in his quest for information. If I had it on my computer, I’d send it to him.

    As for saving raw data, as a person with a background in science, I’m not really surprised or dismayed by it. As I said before, if you want to consider yourself well-informed on climate change, read a book, not a blog. If you choose not to read the literature, you’ve chosen the easy path of ignorance. At the very least, you should keep yourself informed from the scientists themselves, rather than the global-warming-alarmist talking head on MSNBC.

  • Not an argument Todd. Looking at it from a scientific perspective. Being from a scientific background you know the raw data needs to be saved so questions like this can be addressed. The fact that organizations are refusing to release it, suggesting it be deleted in emails, and fighting FOI requests is concerning.

    Again this is not to say Global Warming isn’t occuring. Just saying release the raw data for independent peer review.

  • BA and Eric,

    I need to be more precise with my retort.

    I don’t believe global warming is man-made.

    But I do allow for the possibility that there is a recurring cycle that allows for global warming now.

    I’m glad we’re all Christian.

  • Stop the presses, hold the phones, cease and desist everything!

    BA and I agree! 100%!

    🙂

  • Blackadder writes January 12, 2010 A.D. at 3:01 pm:
    “While the U.S. has been unusually cold of late, this hasn’t been true of most of the world”.

    Those caught in the largest snowfall of the decade in England and France and much of Europe might take this statement as a shining example of U.S. provincialism.

    Of course, it has not been “unusually cold of late” below the Equator.

  • Eric Brown writes:
    “But here is a thought for the skeptics: when Galileo wanted to propose the heliocentric model of Copernicus to replace the geocentric model which had been the status quo consensus for quite some time, he had to propose a new theory and account for all the data and phenomenon that was thought to be explained best by the previous working hypothesis and demonstrate that the case for the new hypothesis was indeed stronger–that is how science works”.

    As matter of fact, Galileo did not account for the majority of the data. This was done by Kepler, not relying on a heliocentric theory. [NB: Galileo did not “like” gravity; he also opted for the planetary orbits as perfect circles].

    Galileo’s was a mathematical theory. This is why Card. Borromeo suggested that he propose it as such.

  • Would I be considered too impossibly retrograde to wonder if there is much truth in the theories of global cooling so fashionable four decades ago. These scientific fads are rather tiresome, constantly changing as they do. Sounds like phlogiston.

    Curiously global cooling and global warming seem to have the same solution – prevent babies. Might it be that the solution is the driving force behind both theories.

  • I don’t think anyone denies that Global Warming is a reality. After all, modern temperature taking only started around 1850, when it is acknowledged that that was the end of the Mini Ice Age.

    The dispute is the extent to which MAN has caused, or influenced global warming. My personal view after reading a lot of evidence from both sides; MANKIND MAY have influenced warming to a small extent, but the body of evidence appears to support a natural cycle. The bullshit surrounding Co2 as a “Toxic Substance” is simple lunacy – we need Co2 in our lungs to prompt our next breath; and the acidifying of the oceans by the absorption of Co2 has been debunked as patently false. The politicisation of the topic has cast much doubt on the veracity and credibility of those scientists involved. Indeed, last week we had one of the top IPCC scientists stating that in view of current climate events, we may be in for a 30 year or so “Mini Ice Age.” So who can you believe?

    The above link to Climate Change in Australia is interesting; there wer similar droughts and fires there in the late 80’s/early 90’s when I had lived ther for 10 years and returned to NZ in 1988. The ElNino effect does to Oz what they have stated in the loink, but that does not apply to all the South Pacific. El Nino gives us here in NZ strong and wet sth,westerlies, which cause flooding on our west coast, and droughts on the east coast- and generally cooller that normal temperatures.
    This past winter, we had our coldest May on record.
    We had our coldest October since 1945.
    2008 we had more snowfall than for 30 years.
    2009 (last winter) we had more snowfall for 60years – in some areas, the most in living memory.
    Last summer was wetter than usual, and cool.
    This summer is much cooler than usual.
    So what does this mean – I dunno.

    I think God is sitting there in heaven having a chuckle about this conceited creation – humanity – who think they are a prime cause – smarter than Him.

    I think I’ll chuckle along with Him.

  • I was also wondering why it was so cold in South Texas this winter. So I asked the climate scientists over on http://www.RealClimate.org . They explained it was due to a strongly negative arctic oscillation — a shift from the weather pattern going from west to east to a north to south patterns. They gave me links to data showing that the average temp for the entire world was still above normal warmer, and that it was much warming in the West Arctic, some 7C warmer.

    As Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given unto you.” Or something like that.

    Those with good and sincere hearts will not be dissuaded from mitigating climate change.

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Junk Science Part II

Wednesday, November 25, AD 2009

A follow up to my initial post here on what is becoming known as Climategate.  Now news comes from New Zealand about massaging of data by global warming proponents.

The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there.

The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.

In New Zealand’s case, the figures published on NIWA’s [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research] website suggest a strong warming trend in New Zealand over the past century.

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6 Responses to Junk Science Part II

  • Jim Salinger was fired from NIWA earlier this year, but the reason never came out into the public domain. Now the reason is obvious.
    The revised data seems to show similar data to the graphs I have seen on OISM.org , in refutation of the AGW scenario.
    Locally, we have just had the coldest October since 1945. Winter last year was the coldest since 1973 – this winter just gone was colder – we had more snow on the Southern Alps than before – some say the most in living memory. The Cabbage trees are flowering about a month early – nature’s indication of a warm dry summer.
    Is this a proof of AGW?
    Nope – I recall in my lifetime this happening fairly regularly. I think this summer will be cooler than those in the 60’s when I was a callow youth – those lazy hazy days of summer were warmer then, and again warmer in the 90’s. Recent summers are cooler than previous.
    Maybe our bro’s across the Tasman in Australia would disagree – they are heading for one of the worst bush fire seasons in quite some time; will be interesting to see what the AGW pundits make of it.

  • I think around the world Don science bloggers are going to be checking data that has been amassed by global warming advocates. This whole thing is beginning to stink of group think and outright fraud.

  • Thanks Rick.

    Actually we do get large iceburgs floating past the bottom of the South island fairly regularly, some come part way up the east coast of the South Island not far from Dunedin and Christchurch, and tourist operators offer helicopter flights to them – they land on those that are stable and flat enough.
    But we’ve had a pretty wet winter as well as a cold one – so the Aussies should send out a ship and lassoe this ‘burg because they’ve has a fairly dry winter – they could do with the water.
    Both the NZ and the Oz governments have been focussing on pushing through Emission Trading Schemes over the past few days, in time for the Copenhagen conference – just so they can wave and say “look at me, look at me” for doing something about CC. What I want to know is, all the extra taxes (carbon) that are going to be levied, where does the money go? Our ex PM, Helen Clark, who is now in charge of the UN Development Fund is going to give all our hard earned dollors to “third worls countries” like China and India – that’s where the money goes. Clark “bought” her job with the UN by donating millions to the UNDF while she was PM, thus giving her a shoe in for the job.
    Its all part of a Marxist plot (Helen was a Labour -read marxist/left wing politicion, and radical feminist to boot) – wait and see. Don’t have time right now to expand – will later if I can.

  • > he claims NIWA has a good explanation for adjusting the temperature data upward. Wratt says NIWA is drafting a media response for release later this afternoon which will explain why they altered the raw data.

    In a reliable scientific study, such adjustments would be documented, explained, and justified as part of the methodology. It would be in the original publication.

    To say ‘we have good reasons for this, which we did not disclose before, but don’t worry, we will come up with an explanation’ means one thing: they got caught.

  • Hopefully this will be one more step towards scuttling plans to hamper the private sector with ever-increasing regulation… could we see both cap-and-trade and ObamaCare die in the Senate?

Junk Science

Saturday, November 21, AD 2009

A fascinating insight into the world of scientists who are advocates of the theory of man-made global warming was given by hackers who stole a huge amount of data and e-mails from the  Climactic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England.  To my complete non-surprise, in many of their e-mails the scientists seem to be much more concerned about advocating the “party line” of the reality of man-made global warming instead of engaging in disinterested science.  John  Hinderaker at Powerline has a fascinating look at some of the e-mails here.  Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is on top of the story.  A good overview is here.

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38 Responses to Junk Science

  • What is also surprising to me, is that they are losing credibility day by day. That is a pleasant surprise.

    As the evidence continues to grow of the farce of mand-made global warming it’s one less thing we can worry about as time goes by.

  • My husband laughed himself sick.

  • The undeniable facts are these:
    – The world has been getting warmer for the past 500 years.
    – The warming has accelerated over the past century.
    – External processes (Solar radiation, the galatic environment, or some alteration in the Earth’s radiation belts) can’t account for the acceleration of warming.
    – Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased measurably since industrialization.

    We know that political people were denying warming trends as late as ten years ago. The evidence is clearly all against them, so now a common fallback position is that it’s not our fault.

    That might be, but no serious scientist has uncovered a plausible mechanism for the acceleration of warming trends. It seems to coincide exactly with the emission of industrial byproducts into the atmosphere.

    Hacking into e-mails is enjoyable enough as an adolescent prank or as criminal behavior, but it doesn’t change the facts. The science of climate change has been debated within the scientific community among climatologists, astronomers, physicists, and other experts. The consensus is a reality.

    That some business interests see this news as a threat to profits and power is also undeniable. But, you know, things change. New markets open up. Other people get a chance tomake money in new businesses. That those businesses might be wind turbines, solar power cells, and local agriculture, and not Middle Eastern oil or over-sized cars or maybe not even corn-based ethanol is just the way it is. We’re not talking junk science as much as we’re talking junk economics.

    Climate change skeptics, if they are insistent and incurious, may well be targets of ridicule. I don’t sympathize.

  • I’d add one more fact. Greenhouse gases, including carbon emissions have a global warming effect. We can argue about the extent of the warming, the extent to which carbon emissions contribute to it, and what to do about it but deniers usually go too far and deny the basic facts. Too often I hear, “It’s cold today, therefore global warming is a farce.” Talk about unscientific!

  • It’s a good idea to switch to clean energy and less consumption regardless of whether or not human activity is the primary cause of global warming.

    What we don’t need is to be told how to run our lives by Al Gore. These people couldn’t care less that millions of unborn children are killed through abortion.

    We should remember that the Church has much to say about environmental issues. In Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict writes,

    “But it should also be stressed that it is contrary to authentic development to view nature as something more important than the human person. This position leads to attitudes of neo-paganism or a new pantheism — human salvation cannot come from nature alone, understood in a purely naturalistic sense. This having been said, it is also necessary to reject the opposite position, which aims at total technical dominion over nature, because the natural environment is more than raw material to be manipulated at our pleasure; it is a wondrous work of the Creator containing a “grammar” which sets forth ends and criteria for its wise use, not its reckless exploitation.”

    Sounds like a good starting point for me.

  • The undeniable facts are these:
    – The world has been getting warmer for the past 500 years.
    – The warming has accelerated over the past century.

    The ‘undeniable facts’ are disputed by, among others, this fellow:

    http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/archive/pr0310.html

    .

    I believe the recorded increase in global temperatures over the last century or so has been on the order of 0.6 F, with a period of decline during the period from 1945 to 1980 (during which Carl Sagan and others began to push global cooling scenarios). Got other stuff on my mind, Todd.

  • Too often I hear, “It’s cold today, therefore global warming is a farce.” Talk about unscientific!

    Indeed! Just as ridiculous is to say this decade or this century or this millennium is warmer and man must be making it so, therefore man can and must reverse it.

    As silly as it would be to measure the temperature of two particular days and draw a conclusion about the climate trend in a century, that would still be more accurate than measuring mean temperatures in two centuries and drawing a conclusion about the climate trend over 5 billion years. Given what we know about the cycles of the earth’s climate, I think it would be insane to expect the climate to remain static across centuries. None of this is to say that’s it’s not possible that our activities can’t effect climate to some degree, however, a change in climate does not mean that it must be man’s activities causing it.

  • Art, regarding, “The ‘undeniable facts’ are disputed by, among others, this fellow …”

    I didn’t see anything in his piece that wasn’t a surprise when I took GEO204, Climatology.

    The problem with warming trends, as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age show, but that melt from Greenland alters the Gulf Stream and plunges Europe into another Little Ice Age. My real concern would be an alteration of monsoon patterns for South Asia. Nothing like famine and ensuing political instability for one to two billion Asians.

    ” … a change in climate does not mean that it must be man’s activities causing it.”

    Well, ok … But nobody has come up with another reason for it.

  • Wait, you’re worried about something that might happen, so we’ve got to beggar the first world, oppress the third world out of ever advancing to a decent level of life (because that would have too big of a carbon foot-print) and put in power a whole ton of folks who view humans as pests? Sounds like the probable cure is worse than the theorized disease.

    Well, ok … But nobody has come up with another reason for it.

    Yes they have– solar cycles. Which matches up with warming on other planets, plus the lack of sun spots matches up with the recent lack of heating.

    If you’re really interested in disputations on your information, Todd, I’ve got a post here that is basically a grab-bag of refutations, quibbles, ignored information and such.

  • (Side note: every time folks feel the need to point out that there’s nothing wrong with trying to live more efficiently, use less and such, I can practically hear my grandfather saying something to the effect of:
    “Wait. You are working on making it cheaper to heat and cool someone’s home, you want to lower their power bill and make it so that they can help people who are starving or in other trouble live better lives, and the only way you can talk them into doing it is to tell them the world will end if they don’t? Son, you need to hire a salesman– you couldn’t sell ice in Death Valley.”)

  • “Wait, you’re worried about something that might happen, so we’ve got to beggar the first world ….”

    Wait, I thought this post was about computer hijinx. Who said anything about poverty? Are we totally dependent on Dick Cheney and the Saudis or do we have freedom to explore new business opportunities?

    “Yes they have– solar cycles. Which matches up with warming on other planets, plus the lack of sun spots matches up with the recent lack of heating.”

    All disproven. Solar cycle changes do not affect climate in the way that atmospheric greenhouse gases do. Likewise warming on other planets and on Earth is a myth. The world is getting warmer. Get used to it.

  • The world hasn’t been getiing warmer for the past decade:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8299079.stm

  • Stick to the law, counsellor. You’re better at that. I posted on this last month: http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/lets-chill-on-global-cooling/

    Follow the links there for a debunking. It would seem 2005 superceded 1998 as the warmest on record.

  • Indications are that this was a whistleblower, not an outside hacker. Not that it’s relevant anyway.

  • Todd, stick with attempting to get congregations to sing. The Global Warming Pause is real and the Warmists are hard pressed to explain it:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,662092,00.html

  • Wait, I thought this post was about computer hijinx.

    It was, until you changed the subject to science.

    Does that mean you want to go back to the emails on how these folks are falsifying science, and plotting to cover it up?

    Are we totally dependent on Dick Cheney and the Saudis or do we have freedom to explore new business opportunities?

    Guess that means you just want to change the subject again, to a non-siquitor. You might want to look into the “solutions” folks are offering for global warming– uniformly, they consist of stopping business, retarding advancement and taking money by force.

    All disproven.

    BS. I’ve got links to well-supported articles, you’ve got only your own assertions– got any support?

    Solar cycle changes do not affect climate in the way that atmospheric greenhouse gases do.

    Very true. The solar effects can be shown, and actually match up with historical cycles– in a manner of speaking, they can predict the past. (This is different from other computer models.)

    Likewise warming on other planets and on Earth is a myth.

    I’m afraid you’re mistaken, as this is the top response to “global warming mars” on google. And NatGeo believes in AGW/CC.

  • In a logical world, climate change is about science. Not politics.

    I read over the Spiegel piece, and it’s not convincing. The uptick in global temperatures is real. If you want to draw a line from 1998 to 2008 you’re going from a warm year to a slightly cooler year. Try a statistical trend dating back to the 16th century.

    Statisticians were given the temperature data without knowing what it was. They all agreed there’s an increase and it’s not leveling off or dipping. Ships are still sailing the Arctic Ocean, and the Northwest Passage is now a reality.

    Personally, I care little for the particular solutions politicians are offering. It has yet to be seen if human beings can reverse the warming trend. What I’m choosing to attack here is the mindless meme that either the warming trend is non-existent or that human industrialization is the main cause for an acceleration not seen in centuries.

    I respect Donald and others for their tenacity and their intellect on other issues. But I’m sorry to say, guys, you’re heading for an F in science and math. Better stick to the culture wars. It’s what you do best.

  • Not the Northwest Passage thing again. That’s been hammered on for the last decade, and not very accurately.

    To quote:
    Here is a photo of the St. Roch. It’s a wooden ship, not some massive, metallic icebreaker. According to the Vancouver Maritime Museum web site, this 104 foot wooden ship sailed through the Northwest Passage from 1940 to 1942, that was from west to east. In 1944 it did it again from from east to west. King George VI awarded Captain Henry Larsen, and the crew, the Polar Medal for making the 1944 voyage

    You say:
    But I’m sorry to say, guys, you’re heading for an F in science and math.
    While failing, massively, at basic research– guess you need to stick to personal attacks, eh?

  • Look, this is the way it goes here: hackers stole some e-mails and suddenly climate change is discredited? Hardly.

    The world is getting warmer. I read the science behind it in books, scientific publications, and I talk to real scientists at real universities.

    Donald and others quote the Guardian and Der Spiegel. It’s like a seeker getting her or his information on Catholicism from Time or Newsweek. If you want the facts, go to the source.

    I don’t know if any fencesitters are still following this discussion, but if you have doubts, don’t trust anybody here–even me. Just find the scientists who can communicate the facts.

    What’s to do on the political front is still up in the air. Take with a grain of salt anybody who uses the but-we’ll-go-broke argument to deny climate change. With that, I leave this discussion to anyone else that can insert more sense into it.

  • Look, this is the way it goes here: hackers stole some e-mails and suddenly climate change is discredited? Hardly.

    Among the e-mails is a set of exchanges on a non-esoteric topic: a discussion of the means of arranging for the dismissal of the editor of Geophysical Research Letters for the offense of publishing a paper by Dr. Willie Soon et al. of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center. People tend to lose some of the authority with which they speak when they are exposed as crappy institutional politicians. If that bothers you, tough.

  • Todd,

    Your comments are well read and respected, but you’re lacking something vital.

    And that is an avatar. Why not throw up a pic will ‘ya!

  • Look, this is the way it goes here: hackers stole some e-mails and suddenly climate change is discredited? Hardly.

    No, this is the way it goes:
    Someone supposedly hacked into a AGW supporting group’s email and released evidence they were cooking the books. (There is a lot of suspicion that it might be a leak, rather than an actual hack.)

    This indicates that the supporters of global warming realize it can’t stand on its own.

    That, needless to say, gives more weight to the information already out that points towards anthropogenic climate change being discredited.

    Just find the scientists who can communicate the facts.

    My blog post up above is a good place to start– has a wide range of scientists represented, along with specific points where AGW supporting scientists have been shown to be questionable.

    I read the science behind it in books, scientific publications, and I talk to real scientists at real universities.

    And yet you ignore scientists to quote an AP story that basically says “I selected data, removed all identifying information, and sent it to statisticians– see, it proves global warming!”

    It’s insanely easy to see how that could be innocently warped– what years did he send? Where did he get his measurements? Where did those he got his measurements from get their information, since many city measurements have been shown to be tainted by inappropriate placing. (Such as putting a thermometer by an AC exhaust.)

    How about responding to the actual content of the information you dismiss?

    You haven’t responded to the information on the Northwest Passage (sailed over a century ago) to the information on “global warming” on Mars (not a myth, counter to your claim) the effects of solar variation (which can actually be shown, correctly, via computer model) or the weakness of AGW climate models. (which can’t manage to accurately predict the past– a pretty simple test of a model, since all the information is there)

  • Someone supposedly hacked into a AGW supporting group’s email and released evidence they were cooking the books.

    If they have been “cooking the book” then why does their data show an absence of warming over the last decade? Are they just really stupid in addition to being really evil?

  • If they have been “cooking the book” then why does their data show an absence of warming over the last decade?

    More complicated than that is the short answer.

    Some information on book-cooking here, but here’s a snippet:
    The story began when Steve McIntyre, the same researcher who was largely responsible for destroying Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” graph purporting to show unprecedented warming in the 20th century, turned his attention to a famous article published by Keith Briffa of East Anglia’s CRU in 2000. This article analyzed the diameters of tree rings, including rings from an area called Yamal in Siberia, and conveniently generated another hockey-stick shaped graph. You can read an account of the ensuing controversy here. McIntyre’s work appeared to show that Briffa had cherry-picked trees in order to get the result he was looking for. One fact that this story highlights is that global warming alarmists publish their results in scientific journals, but refuse to make the underlying data publicly available so that the validity of their analyses can be checked.

  • Example:
    From: Phil Jones
    To: ray bradley ,[email protected], [email protected]
    Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
    Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
    Cc: [email protected],[email protected]

    Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
    Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or first thing tomorrow. I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999 for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998. Thanks for the comments, Ray.

    Cheers
    Phil

    Prof. Phil Jones
    Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
    School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
    University of East Anglia
    Norwich Email [email protected]
    NR4 7TJ
    UK

  • A more extensive rundown, with many emails linked on page 2.

  • Blackadder —

    They’re “cooking the books” not in the sense of inventing data out of thin air (in which case you’d have a valid point), but in the less thrilling but still extremely damaging sense that they have now been shown to have: 1) strained to come up with statistical models that help prove what they already “knew” to be true; 2) privately confessed to less certainty than they ever showed in public; 3) schemed to block articles from being published that would disprove their work.

  • Oh, and on top of that, they schemed to destroy emails and data so as not to have to answer FOIA requests. Now you’re a lawyer . . . if a whistleblower lets you know that the defense is scheming to destroy a bunch of evidence so that you can’t find it in discovery, what are you going to ask the judge to infer about the contents of the evidence?

  • Anono,

    Do you have any evidence that this was the result of a”whistleblower” as opposed to a hacker as it being reported?

    I don’t deny that there is some pretty damaging stuff in the emails, but it seems an exaggeration to say that the emails prove global warming is a hoax.

  • Well, his link does make an argument that if it is a hacker, it’s a rather odd one; no bragging, only two very quiet attempts to get the information out… “disgruntled employee” would fit the facts as well as “strange hacker.”

  • Where I come from gobal climate change has a simpler name:

    Seasons.

    We need to be mindful of our home not worship it. Additionally, try as we might, we do not get to destroy the world. God made it and He will end it.

    In the meantime, enjoy the warming. You people that are always crying about man made global warming are the same ones usually bitching about being cold. So what is it, too warm or too cold? Eat a hamburger, put on a sweater and quit crying.

    If you leave the rest of us alone to drive SUVs and crank the A/C and drink American beer; then we’ll let you worship all the trees and ants you want, drink your wheatgrass lunches and beat your tribal drums in your Birkenstocks while not showering (just don’t stand too close). Then we can let evolution take its course and see which ‘species’ survives. 😉

  • Do you have any evidence that this was the result of a”whistleblower” as opposed to a hacker as it being reported?

    What’s the evidence that it’s an actual hacker, would be the first question.

  • Anono,

    The University says that they were hacked. You said that “[i]ndications are that this was a whistleblower, not an outside hacker.” My question is what indications you were referring to?

  • Well, you could try reading the link I posted with that remark. And also try thinking about whether some random outside hacker would know which emails to target out of probably hundreds of thousands over the past decade.

    Anyway, that’s beside the point (which you’re studiously avoiding). Hacker or not, this whistleblower has done an immense public service in showing how the great scientists’ feet are made of clay. And how they seem to act as if they have something to hide. (Now why would genuine scientists whose data analysis is on the up-and-up need to threaten deletion as soon as someone wants to see their data? Hmmm.)

    Check out the posts here: http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/ for some interesting posts. E.g., http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/steve-mcintyres-at-it-again/

  • Blackadder: what you are missing is that this particular group of scientists have had a very great influence on media and public perceptions of AGW. Mann, of course, is the guy who developed the famous “hockey stick” Al Gore made prominent use of in his film. So this isn’t about some obscure group of geology students engaging in a little jiggery-pokery to get A’s from their professors. It’s about deception and fraud among scientists whose work is being used as rationale to restructure the global economy.

    If you actually read the emails (link provided at Powerline) you will see they admit to massaging the data, and also discuss targeting skeptical scientists. If AGW is “settled science,” why does the data need to be massaged?

    Todd and restrained radical: you both seem to operate under the assumption that only people who work for evil capitalist organizations and industries can be corrupted. Scientists who get many millions in grant money from the government are apparently pure in heart and are never tempted to falsify data or suppress evidence in order to produce the results they desire (the ones which will bring them even more grant money). Do you think that human greed will vanish if capitalism does? Some survivors of the old USSR would like to have a word with you.

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