Popular “Science” Shuts Down Comments

Tuesday, September 24, AD 2013

 

 

 

Popular Science is shutting down comments.  Why?  Well I guess because robust debate can be bad for science:

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.

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11 Responses to Popular “Science” Shuts Down Comments

  • The origins of climate change and evolution are their examples of “scientific certainty”?

    Not that “scientific certainty” is all that good of a phrase; I can think of some things that are certain that sciences has verified, but popular theories aren’t them!

  • I made the first comment on the story below, and was responded to in various ways, mostly just ad hominem attacks, but when I tried to respond back to these comments of others, I was unable to because I was censored off the site.
    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/09/24/some-professors-outraged-engineering-education-magazine-publishes-anti-gay-letter

  • Hm, someone should ask them what they think of Galileo. See how long it takes them to realize the hypocrisy.

    Every scientific theory is one experiment away from obsolescence.

  • More astounding is the credentialed imbeciles’ utter lack of self-awareness. They’re not searching after truth, but building the agenda.

    Their “scientific certainty” is ideology.

    They unwittingly take whole chapters out of the playbook of the Medieval Inquisition, sans enhanced interrogation techniques.

    Meanwhile, the Obama regime is acclerating the US crash-dive into bankruptcy by executive order – dismantling coal-generated electricity capacity.

  • I deal with these people all the time. They are invariably liberal progressive Democrats and they have dominated nuclear energy forums. They are die-hard materialists, and tolerate absolutely no dissent from their creed of atheistic evolution, global warming, etc. They denigrate anyone who has religious faith – and openly and without apology – and they think that just because they are smart, they know everything and are godlike in intellect. They disregard that most scientists who created this edifice of science on which they stand were themselves Christian. Invariably they are shocked to learn Roman Catholic Belgium priest Father Georges Lemaitre came up with the idea of the Big Bang as a consequence of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, or all the other scientists who were Christian (e.g., Louis Pasteur, etc.). They refuse to read anything that bona fide modern scientists like Dr. Hugh Ross (a Protestant) or Dr. Stephen M. Barr (a Roman Catholic) have to say (read Dr. Barr’s book, “Modern Physics and Ancient Faith” – it is freaking GREAT!). When they are told that Pope Pius XII dealt very intelligently with the Theory of Evolution in his encyclical “Humani Generis”, or Pope John Paul II discussed the unity of truth in reason and faith within his encyclical “Fides et Ratio”, they shut down and refuse to read those too. They are so “open minded” that anything which opposes their preconceived world views they discount as the myth of a sky god. They don’t even want to hear what and who Yahweh is – the creator of the sky, the one who is outside of space and time, matter and energy. They are the most obnoxious, intolerant, divisive, inconsiderate, and unkind group of people you would ever encounter.

    BTW, everyone should have the links on science below as internet favorites – one is Catholic and the other is Protestant. And everyone should educate himself in science. We shouldn’t let ourselves be bamboozled by these liberal materialist miscreants. As St. Peter wrote, we should ever be ready to give a defense of the faith that is within us. And one last thing: every Catholic should read “Humani Generis” (I taught an apologetics class on it one time) and “Fides et Ratio” – they are on the Vatican web site. There are no excuses for being ignorant any longer.

    Magis Center or Reason and Faith with Father Robert J. Spitzer
    http://www.magisreasonfaith.org/

    Reasons to Believe with Dr. Hugh Ross
    http://www.reasons.org/

  • If only the US Bishops had such righteous indignation over the Deposit of the Faith!

    You would think these scientism freaks have suddenly found religion by suspiciously adopting their own doctrine of infallibility.

  • Pingback: THURSDAY MORNING EDITION | God & Caesar
  • Popular Science? You mean it’s still around?

  • Popular Science? You mean it’s still around?
    Ron

    How much longer until the 100th anniversary of Pop Sci’s prediction of the flying car?

  • Science, falsely so-called, provides only confusion when used in politics and the courts to push an agenda. For instance, many people think there is such a thing as marriage between humans who share the same sexual apparatus, when it is impossible for marriage and offspring to occur when two of the same gender attempt to couple together. When grown men and women fight over whether there is such a thing as “Gay Marriage,” it confuses children who need to have guidance in these matters that is simple and straightforward, and certainly not a matter to be argued about. Some of the gravest scandals have been perpetrated by the scientific community. And openly discussing matters with children present that should be left to academics behind closed doors is an example of this.

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.

Science Si! Scientism No!

Thursday, December 6, AD 2012

Above all, do not attempt to use science (I mean, the real sciences) as a defence against Christianity. They will positively encourage him to think about realities he can’t touch and see. There have been sad cases among the modern physicists. If he must dabble in science, keep him on economics and sociology; don’t let him get away from that invaluable “real life.” But the best of all is to let him read no science but to give him a grand general idea that he knows it all and that everything he happens to have picked up in casual talk and reading is “the results of modern investigation.” Do remember you are there to fuddle him. From the way some of you young fiends talk, anyone would suppose it was our job to teach!

                                        CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

 

Austin L. Hughes at The New Atlantis has a first rate look at science and scientism:

 

An additional strength of the falsifiability criterion is that it makes possible a clear distinction between science properly speaking and the opinions of scientists on nonscientific subjects. We have seen in recent years a growing tendency to treat as “scientific” anything that scientists say or believe. The debates over stem cell research, for example, have often been described, both within the scientific community and in the mass media, as clashes between science and religion. It is true that many, but by no means all, of the most vocal defenders of embryonic stem cell research were scientists, and that many, but by no means all, of its most vocal opponents were religious. But in fact, there was little science being disputed: the central controversy was between two opposing views on a particular ethical dilemma, neither of which was inherently more scientific than the other. If we confine our definition of the scientific to the falsifiable, we clearly will not conclude that a particular ethical view is dictated by science just because it is the view of a substantial number of scientists. The same logic applies to the judgments of scientists on political, aesthetic, or other nonscientific issues. If a poll shows that a large majority of scientists prefers neutral colors in bathrooms, for example, it does not follow that this preference is “scientific.”

Popper’s falsifiability criterion and similar essentialist definitions of science highlight the distinct but vital roles of both science and philosophy. The definitions show the necessary role of philosophy in undergirding and justifying science — protecting it from its potential for excess and self-devolution by, among other things, proposing clear distinctions between legitimate scientific theories and pseudoscientific theories that masquerade as science.

By contrast to Popper, many thinkers have advanced understandings of philosophy and science that blur such distinctions, resulting in an inflated role for science and an ancillary one for philosophy. In part, philosophers have no one but themselves to blame for the low state to which their discipline has fallen — thanks especially to the logical positivist and analytic strain that has been dominant for about a century in the English-speaking world.

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6 Responses to Science Si! Scientism No!

  • Thank you, Donald. Now shared on Facebook and at my blog. BTW, this same idiotic anti-science attitude on the part of liberal leftists permeates everything they say and do. We face it constantly in the nuclear energy industry with their idiotic fear mongering, their deliberate ignoring of the facts, or distortion thereof, and their hype of useless crappy renewable junk energy. Sure, not the same thing as this topic, but the attitude of those who worship science is the same everywhere. They really do not know science and they do not want to know science.

  • They use the “scientific method” the way a drunk uses a lamppost: for support not illumination.

  • T. Shaw, it’s all the same. These kinds of people want to:

    Legalize dope smoking
    Mandate teaching of atheistic evolution in public school
    Shutdown safe, clean, cheap nuclear power plants
    Rely on useless crappy wind mills and shiny tin foil solar mirrors
    Outlaw guns, Bibles, wearing of Rosaries and Crucifixes, and public prayer
    Remove Christmas Trees and Nativity Scenes
    Parade half-naked sodomizers in civil rights parades
    Murder unborn babies

    The analogy of what a drunk uses a lamp post for is very apt. They are the drunk smoking dope while leaning on the lamp post.

    PS, I’ll be damned before they remove my Bible, my statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary or my Crucifix in my office at work, and I don’t care how many hateful stares I get as I do my lunch time walk in the hallways with a cane in one hand for my bad leg and praying my Rosary in the other hand. Everytime they want an answer about some esoteric nuclear equation, they invariably come to me.

  • I haven’t visited The New Atlantis’ site in a while, but from what I remember they’ve had some really provocative articles about science.

  • From my pottish reading, at the time when Sir Karl proposed his falsifiability criteria, two malign systems, Marxism and Freudianism which had scientific pretensions, held the minds of many who considered themselves intellectuals. It was apparent to him and to many others that these enterprises were essentially fraudulent, especially when they claimed the mantle of science; in that they had equipped themselves in such a way as to be rendered immune from any attempts at refutations. Any attempt at refutation would be met by the Marxists with accusations of a lack of class consciousness or by the Freudians as the outworking of some suppressed desires in the unconscious. They were closed self-referential systems that made sense only to their votaries. This is in itself may not be so bad for the rest of us, had they not then claimed in the name of their pseudo-scientific cults the right to reorder societies and morals to forment violence and anarchy. By his simple device of genius, Popper made all their scientific claims moot. Hence the howls of protest from another corner, that of SJ Gould who was both a marxist and a darwinist, which is yet another one of these irrefutable systems. For the darwinist could apparently explain both statis and change; if for aeons nothing happened: moss and lichen were all that were, this is because there were no selective advantages for the darwinian mechanism to work on. But the Cambrian Explosion which brought forth a whole swathe of bodily forms, (in a time period that any sensible person would realise was too short for their development through the accumulation of small beneficial changes) is also an example of natural selection in action. Thus Darwinism can explain both the profusion of forms and their nonexistence.

    The religion of man-made global warming too shares the hallmarks of the above, the same type of lies, the same cultish behaviour of the votaries, the same denigraton of those who oppose them as unintelligent dolts to be cast to the outer darkness and so on.

    His scientific epistemology is one of humility, we can be truly sure only when we are wrong, since we know at least that we are wrong.

    Sir Karl followed truth wherever it may lead, in later life he and Sir John Eccles developed a philosophy of mnd the three worlds, that accepted something like Plato’s theory of Forms since there really is no other way to account to for the awesome complexity of the mind.

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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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The New Paganism: Climate Change

Wednesday, January 6, AD 2010

The Pagans are coming out of the woodwork, or more properly named, coming out of the ice sculpture.

What is turning into an annual event in Fairbanks, Alaska, a frozen ice sculpture of Al Gore, or what the locals call “Frozen Gore”, was unveiled.

Steve Dean sculpted the two-ton ice block in tribute to Al Gore and his ‘theories’ of man-made Global Warming.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports with my emphases and comments in this truncated article:

This year’s version includes special effects, thanks to a system that pipes the exhaust from a Ford F-350 out of Gore’s open mouth. Compeau [who funded the ice sculpture] will fire up the truck periodically this winter to create the “hot air” effect.

50 years [ago]. The average temperature for 2009 was 27.8 degrees in Fairbanks, about one degree warmer than normal, said Rick Thoman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Last winter, however, was unusually cold in Fairbanks. Temperatures in the winter months of 2008-09 were about 4 degrees below normal, according to National Weather Service figures.

The mocking tribute of Al Gore and the pseudoscience that he uses is cause for concern.  We need to start a movement to begin the separation of science and state in order to protect Americans from environmentalist fanatics such as Al Gore.

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73 Responses to The New Paganism: Climate Change

  • Al Gore is hardly a fanatic. Environmental fanatics attack whaling boats, live in trees for a few years. Gore wrote a book, won a prize, and has speaking gigs. No different from any other celebrity.

    I’ll grant you that celebrity is never a good engine to drive an issue, modern media outlets aside. But if you want to whine about paganism, look to the movement that has taken over every Sunday and holiday: professional sport.

  • Todd,

    Fanatics is defined as a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.

    I think that fits Mr. Gore well.

    Don’t you know that we should listen to celebrities on how to vote? 😉

  • One who elevates the spotted owl over the needs of families, for instance, the loss of 30,000 logging jobs, is a fanatic. It is madness.

  • If I can put my excessive reasonability hat on:

    – I’d say that it’s not political programs based on “science” that are a problem, but rather programs which are based on fundamental mistakes about human dignity. Eugenics treated people as only being worth the sum of their traits, and treated humanity as an improveable commodity. It violated basic human dignity when it forced “defective” people to be sterilized. None of this has anything to do with the “science” of eugenics (which turned out to be wrong as well) but rather with not respecting human dignity. Similarly, environmentalists suffer from a poor understanding of human dignity when they get into thinking of humanity as a “cancer on the planet” or see human lives as worth the same or less than animal lives, or seek to violate human life in order to reduce the effects of humanity on the planet.

    – There are some interesting ways in which environmentalism can fit into the same slot which paganism appealed to in the human mind, but I don’t think it’s right to simply equate environmentalism and paganism.

    – Gore is a bozo in part because he gets the actual science involved wrong — and one of the big problems with a lot of environmental advocacy is that it proposes changes which would have very little measureable impact on the scientific metrics involved, yet would involve a lot of negative impacts on society.

    – I’m not jazzed about the idea of a “separation of science and state”. To the extent that science is a way of knowing about the universe, one doesn’t want to rule it out of influencing political thinking any more than one wants to rule religion out of political thinking. However, it’s important to understand that science does not and cannot make moral or policy prescriptions. It can’t say “We must pass this law”. It’s only predictive, as in “If we make this change, this will be the result.” Anyone who claims that science says more than that is selling something.

  • DC

    You are right, environmentalism is not paganism, though both pagans and Christians can be environmentalists. As Pope Benedict himself has made clear, environmentalism is intricately connected to Catholicism and its pro-life message. If there are non-pro-life environmentalists encouraging evil, as there are, that must not be used to judge environmentalism itself– rather, it should be used as an example of where some environmentalists need to come to grips as to why one should be an environmentalist- reasons which include the whole of the Gospel of Life.

    ” “Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions? Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of ‘environmental refugees’, people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement?” Pope Benedict XVI.

    Don’t call him pagan!

  • However, it’s important to understand that science does not and cannot make moral or policy prescriptions.

    Good points in your comments, though in the past eugenicists were able to pass the Racial Integrity Act.

    And I’m sure environmentalists will be pushing for radical legislation to tax and control American lives following the Copenhagen Climate Conference.

  • Tito

    Just because someone makes a statue does not mean they are pagans; are you going to say all the artists in the world, unless they are making icons and statues of the saints, are making idols?

  • “I think that fits Mr. Gore well.”

    Disagree. Mr Gore has his post-political career. He’s far from exuding the qualities of the extremists of the environmental movement.

    Now, Mr Gore may be far away from denizens of the anti-science or anti-AGW wings, and certainly extremists on their side. Distance doesn’t equate with extremism.

    I’ll back up much of DC’s comment. Eugenics is a horrific, anti0life pseudo-science. I don’t see any reasonable connection with the green movement. It might be that some greens advocate population control as part of an uninformed strategy. I don’t see eugenics gaining traction in either the mainstream green movement or in society at large.

    Steering human beings away from hydrocarbon fuel makes great sense politically, economically, and scientifically.

  • HK,

    Of course not.

    Art can be used as a beautiful expression of God.

    From Michelangelo to Bach, art has been an integral part of enhancing our spirituality and worship of God.

    But I’m sure you knew that already just as much as you know I was referring to much of the “science” that is used to control peoples lives in the climate change movement.

  • I don’t see eugenics gaining traction….”

    I don’t know – seems China’s one child policy got kudos at Copenhagen. That may not be eugenics per se, but it certainly seems like some traction in that direction.

  • I don’t think explicitly means what you think it does. Watch this:

    The Ten Commandments explicitly refer to Wensleydale Cheese – “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s [including his Wensleydale, Stilton, Cheddar, or other cheeses].

    mmmm, mmmm, delicious!

  • Why thank you for clarifying that Inigo Montoya.

    Signed,

    Vizzini

  • Did you kill his father 15 years ago?

    Words have meaning, at least they used to. What does “environmentalism” mean? It seems to be an ideology and that makes it incompatible with Catholicity. That doesn’t mean aspects of it cannot be integrated into a Catholic worldview but environmentalism and Catholicity cannot go hand and in hand.

    Conservation, which may be part of environmentalism, is not only compatible with our faith, I am fairly confident that it is the first commandment from God, He told Adam to tend His Garden. Adam was not permitted to destroy or worship the garden, but he had to take care of it for God as His steward. Of course, Adam screwed up, so some of us, his children, worship the garden and others want to destroy the garden. Some of us, are sons of the Most High, if sons than heirs and we are not only heirs to His promise, but we are also heirs of His garden, our planet, and we want to tend His garden, conserve it, enjoy it, populate it with large Catholic families, use it to benefit others and glorify God. I don’t think that can be considered environmentalism.

    EnvironMENTALism is a mental disorder just like other ISMs including Communism, Socialism, Democratism, Mammomism, Liberation Theolgism, American Idolism, and yes, the cult of Al Goreism too. Heretics should be burned at the stake, or we can simply stake them and let the Anthropogenic Global Warming burn them eventually. 😉

  • One particular phrase grabbed my attention: “the science says…”

    One of the first principles of science is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.

    It’s often repeated: “but the science says…”

    It seems as though some of the scientists in the AGW debate (see the recent Climategate episode) have gotten caught up in being fooled themselves.

  • Big Tex,

    “the science says…” is the equivalent to what liberal extremists accuse Christians of saying “the Bible says…” when defending their position.

    It has become their religion, ie, science or what I call scientism, to use in place of God.

    Sad.

  • “It has become their religion, ie, science or what I call scientism, to use in place of God.”

    Another example of taking one’s own subjective situation and interpreting others’ actions,words, etc., as if they thought the same way you did.

    Scientists approach their vocation dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, and if they’re lucky, wisdom. As in most all professions, some fail at both. Some even let science become their life, and these folks may be right, but they err in the social or political application of their “life.”

    I can appreciate that scientists and others trained in science would get frustrated at the intentional ignorance tossed their way in an attempt to form a logical dissent.

    What’s undeniable is that world temperatures have been on the rise due to natural cycles since the Renaissance. Trends toward warmer temperatures have ticked up at greater rates over the past century, more than would seem to be explained by the post-Little Ice Age trend. The attempt at rationalizing: “No, the weather isn’t getting warmer …” followed by “Okay, it’s getting warmer, but it’s not our fault …” followed by ” Okay, maybe we contributed some, but we can’t do anything about it …” has been all over conservative faces for the past decade or more.

    Even if climate change weren’t a worry, it would seem to make sense for the US to unilaterally cut its use of hydrocarbons for political reasons, if nothing else. Why would loyal Americans want to continue to use West Asian oil if we could develop alternatives at home? Why wouldn’t oil companies embrace the creativity and ingenuity of their homeland, if not their science staffs? If we’re talking about religion or quasi-religion here, let’s not let Big Oil and its followers off the hook.

  • When scientists cannot agree on the global warming trends, if there are any or even affected by man, then why do we have to listen to celebrities such as Al Gore who doesn’t even have a science degree?

    Especially with scientists heavily in opposition to the theory that man is the primary cause of global warming by 100:1, how can we take any of the science at face value at all?

    And I haven’t thrown in the fact of the huge climate controversy that came out of East Anglia university of doctored and made-up numbers. Europe has accepted that these figures are wrong, why hasn’t the liberal elite here in America?

    Because it is their religion.

  • Tito

    Which scientists and in which fields? Secondly, does the lack of agreement of scientists make for truth or that we can ignore the issue? After all, it’s a classical argument against Christianity: Christians can’t agree with themselves, so why be Christian?

  • Henry K.,

    Both you and I know the answer to your question.

    As Catholics we have the three pillars that hold up the Church: 1) Sacred Scripture, 2) Sacred Tradition, 3) the Magisterium.

    😉

  • “Just because someone makes a statue does not mean they are pagans”

    I wonder if that applies to soldiers who wear insignias, or regular American families that fly a flag on the fourth of July.

  • “When scientists cannot agree on the global warming trends …”

    This is just fantasy. Every climatologist knows the temperature trends are rising. All accept that the increase in temperature has accelerated over the past century or so. Has human industry the cause?

    100%? You’ll find some. 90%? 70%? Probably more like these numbers.

    This is like your attempted “expertise” on liberation theology. If you want to be taken seriously, bring a few climatologists to the discussion to raise the bar and challenge you. If you prefer to repeat political talking points and cocktail talk, then we mark another AC topic under the label “ignorance here,” and move on.

    And let’s be clear: there’s no problem with a person not educating her or himself on climate change. The problem is when such folks pretend to be serious commentators.

  • Todd,

    Now you’re just trashing me with no evidence.

    Keep up your malicious comments Mr. Pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ voter. (irony eh?)

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  • The Montreal Protocol was a good example of science working with government for the common good. CFC’s were destroying the ozone and most countries, including the US, took the advice of scientists and regulated it. I don’t think you will find many today who will dispute the fact that we would have been in big trouble if they had remained unregulated.

  • Tito,

    I think you are a serious commentator and I like your observations. My only concern is how big is your carbon footprint? Mine is huge but not as big as Al Gore’s.

    The assertion that Global Warming, Climate Change or whatever convenient moniker they are giving it this week is a religion is a very valid point that needs to be discussed more often.

    I tend to confuse most people because I don’t fit the stereotype of a ‘conservative’ so when a ‘liberal’ meets me for the first time they tend to let their guard down. After I play with their heads as if they were a drunken kitten I ease them into exposing the fallacy of their own argument (if you let a liberal talk long enough they will refute their own position and then deny it). Once the argument has been destroyed I acknowledge that they are actually a logical human being who is in severe self-denial. Then they lash out at me.

    When it comes to this particular topic their emotional reaction (it has to be emotional because if they tried to react reasonably they would have to acknowledge that they propose and invalid position) is to yell at me, “How can you not believe in Global Warming!*&^%?”

    If it isn’t a religion, why do they want me to believe in it? If it is a fact then belief is not needed. If belief is required then it is either a religion or a lie or a religion of lies.

  • Brian,

    The evidence is still out on CFC and the Ozone hole. It seems that was a cyclical thing and not caused by man.

    The more plausible analysis is that CFC were a convenient tool to bring about totalitarianism through environmental concerns. It didn’t work. So they moved on to something that is so prevalent and necessary for life to function, impossible to control and concerns everyone: CO2. By making warming as a result of carbon emissions the neo-paganism of environmentalism will place us all under the yoke of the spirit of this world.

    The conflict between environmental neo-paganism and the Catholic Church is inevitable. My money is on Christ’s Church.

  • What if some of us see idolatry in the stubborn refusal of some Americans to consider the possibility of global warming because it will require making changes, even modest sacrifices, to their consumerist lifestyle?

    You can see idolatry in any movement, which is why the charge doesn’t have any bearing on the truth or untruth of human induced climate change.

  • “The evidence is still out on CFC and the Ozone hole.”

    Really?
    Odd since we’ve been able to verify most of it in laboratories. Not to mention that the ozone has been recovering now that CFCs have been regulated. But I guess you have your sources.

  • Every climatologist knows the temperature trends are rising.

    Aye, 0.6 C over more than a century. Bug me about somthing else.

  • I don’t dispute that the temperature of parts of the globe are increasing. I just haven’t seen any evidence that points the finger at man as the cause. I have also seen no evidence to indicate that any of the life-threatening measures proposed by enviro-fascist fanatics will do anything to reduce the temperature increases.

    I agree with you about certain aspects of ‘materialism’; however, other aspects of good stewardship of the material given have provided a rise in the standard of material well-being of God’s children. The wealthy man of 150 years ago had a lower standard of material well-being than a ‘poor’ American today.

    Someone please tell me why the same people running around screaming about global warming are the same ones always bitching and shivering because it is cold?

  • I think that given:

    a) the undemocratic nature of the massive, world-changing political program that the warming alarmists wish to impose upon the entire planet,

    b) the unfortunate existence of bona fide scientists who are skeptical of the contribution of human activity to global warming

    c) the pretty clear evidence that human civilization has survived historical periods considerably warmer than anything we may be facing in the near future,

    d) the climategate scandal that revealed dishonest attempts to alter and/or hide findings that ran against the ‘consensus’,

    and most importantly,

    e) the anti-life, population control, eugenicist ideology of many of the major players in the secular environmental movement,

    that

    We have every right to be skeptical of this movement, to question and even resist its attempts to take control of the global economy through carbon taxes and other regulations, and to give the skeptical scientists and others a fair hearing.

    If our choice is between a possibility that human activity might cause a slight rise in temperature and sea levels on the one hand, and shutting down all debate, levying massive taxes, and handing over more sovereignty to an international body that is vehemently opposed to Catholic teachings on sexual morality – I’ll take my chances with the C02.

  • “I’ll take my chances with CO2”.

    Heretic. Blasphemer. Burn him. Wait. No. Hargrave is made of carbon – if we burn him we’ll be contributing to global warming. What do we do? Mother Gaia save us. 😉

  • Some Copenhagen attendees saw it for what it was, a tool for the UN to establish a Marxist one-world government. Since this is all clearly anti-human and anti-Catholic (you know those evil breeders) it must be of the spirit of this world.

    Additionally, it seems that someone, probably the guy that designed the planet in the first place, set it up so that CO2 is absorbed in a stable ratio. It seems that since 1850 nature (no not Mother Gaia, just plain old planet Earth) has absorbed the CO2 that has been created, even the increased amount since man industrialized.

    As we face the worst winter in 25 years and global temperatures plummet, store shelves go bare over fears of being snowed in and ski addicts are in a frenzy we should re-think this whole global warming thingy.

    Let’s all say it together, “CO2 is our friend, Ohmmmmmm!” Televise that on C-SPAN.

  • “Now you’re just trashing me with no evidence.”

    Trashing you? Hardly. I had the course in climatology thirty years ago. I read the scientific literature. There is no discussion among scientists on warming trends. They’re happening.

    You’re also incorrect on my being pro-abortion. Been pro-life all my life. Another example of drawing illogical conclusions.

    “As we face the worst winter in 25 years and global temperatures plummet …”

    Another example of the dictatorship of relativism. Clearly AK doesn’t live in the southern hemisphere these days.

  • A few decades ago the EPA would have hesitated in classifying CO2 as a hazardous gas. By the time they are fourteen most youngsters would have learnt that for plants, CO2 + water + sunlight = oxygen + plant substance, and that CO2 is a byproduct of the respiration of almost all living things. The EPA are confident that the rot in the education system is so widespread that they fear no ridicule from the populace, they being too dumb to care.

  • Ivan,

    I fear that you might be right.

  • Todd,

    157 dead in India due to . . . extremely cold weather.

    Didn’t it snow in Saudi Arabia last year?

    NWS stated that we set 1200 cold temp records across the US last week, including Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Imagine the shock of all the yenta snowbirds; they wake up and think they’re back in Noo Yawlk.

    And, no I don’t live in the Southern Hemisphere. . I hail from North America by choice and the South by the Grace of God.

  • Sadly, Ivan is probably right, education has been so dumbed down intentionally by the designers of the god-state that most people wouldn’t know how to formulate a question. We have become a nation of parrots. Squak, poly want a cracker, squak, global warming.

    Nevertheless, to keep the remnant of thinkers quiet they will soon shift back to global cooling and the parrots will run around fearing a new ice age and calling for global taxes and population reduction (I think they are aiming for 500,000,000 according to the Georgia Guidestones).

    Warming, cooling, heck, just go with Global Climate Change. Nov. 2008 was proof that undefined ‘change’ works best on the Idiocracy generation that was born when slick willy became president, oh the horror, the horror!

    BTW – Todd, where I come from, you know the ignorant South, do you know what we call climate change? Seasons, you know, Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn – crazy, huh?

  • Brian, some of us also see the AGW scam as an excuse to further widen the scope of government and its’ control over the proles (Al Gore, aka Elmer Gantry, and the Beautiful People can of course, buy themselves out of the restrictions they wish to place on ordinary people by purchasing carbon credits. That the sale of carbon credits happens to enrich Al Gore, is, I am sure, just a concidence.)

    The very idea that “the science is settled, so shut up” is in and of itself profoundly unscientific. So is “hiding the decline” and jiggering data to come up with the results you want.

    It’s all utter rubbish. And I believe the snake-oil salesmen who have been peddling it know that very well. They want more power over human beings, that’s all. Unfortunately, the well-meaning and creduous are taken in, but fewer and fewer with each passing day (she typed, as she listened to winter storm warning reports on the radio predicting 10-12 inches and a bad commute tommorrow morning.)

    Brian, you are so quick to suspect corporate wrong-doing (and there are certainly corporate wrong-doers). Why do you frequently seem to assume that those who wish to expand the power of the state are driven by warm and fuzzy altruism? History says otherwise.

  • Hargrave,

    Yes it is sad. CO2 may or may not be a greenhouse gas working its effects according the Arrhenuis theory. That does not bother me, what struck me was the alactrity and insousiance with which the EPA made its pronouncement. There surely was someone there thinking “Hang on a minute, I myself am breathing out carbon dioxide every few seconds. Let us put this to the public in a different way.” No, they were bold enough to expect no contradiction from the public. It encapsulates for me what the bureaucrats really think about the proles.

  • Donna,

    History certainly states otherwise. Usually, the misanthropes that perpetrate government and corporate wrong-doing are the same ilk. Not just cut from the same cloth – they are the same ilk.

    Look at the Goldman Sachs-NY Fed-Treasury Dept incest that has been going on since the meltdown, actually since 1910 – but that’s another story. What about Imelt from GE, who stands to make trillions when we are forced to use crappy ‘green’ technology.

    Corporatism is alive and well in America. Funny how they pit the right against the left because of the left’s love of government, and the left against the right for the right’s love of big business – the enemy is the same. AGW is the perfect tool for the Big Government/Big Business club to rule us little people. Fools.

  • Donna,

    I’m sorry that I or others gave the impression that the “science is settled”. That seems to be a very misleading way of putting things. It is my understanding that science is never “settled” as a legal dispute might be. The way we look at things is constantly expanding or being revised by new discoveries, new data, and the way that the peer review process exposes ideas up to the critique of others.
    While we can talk about a “theory of global warming”, to be accepted or rejected, the reality is that there myriads of separate theories that attempt to explain climate data from various fields. When we speak of a consensus, we are not saying that somehow the majority of scientists have said “yea” in some kind of informal vote, if that were even possible. Consensus means that there some basic correlation between many different and independent attempts to explain the data. Kind of like Newman’s cumulation of probabilities. Some explanations are stronger than others, but the bigger picture, the paradigm, remains strong.

    Speaking of Newman, think of religious belief. When I ask you the reason why you or another believe in Christian revelation, the answer, I suspect, cannot be reduced to one idea. There are many ideas or reasons for why we believe what we do. Some, perhaps, are stronger than others.

    Many so called climate skeptic scientists question certain theories involved with global warming, but do not necessarily doubt the consensus, which seems quite strong.

  • “A few decades ago the EPA would have hesitated in classifying CO2 as a hazardous gas. By the time they are fourteen most youngsters would have learnt that for plants, CO2 + water + sunlight = oxygen + plant substance, and that CO2 is a byproduct of the respiration of almost all living things.”

    I’m not impressed with this argument. Nitric oxide is a hazardous waste and yet is essential to life. So what. It’s context that’s important. CO2, like anything else I suppose, become hazardous in the wrong context.

  • “… do you know what we call climate change?”

    AK, you’ve made the basic error in high school earth science, confusing weather with climate. Back to ninth grade, my friend.

  • Todd,

    I’m just curious – have you ever changed anyone’s mind about anything?

  • I had the course in climatology thirty years ago. I read the scientific literature. There is no discussion among scientists on warming trends. They’re happening.

    You missed this one:

    Sagan, Carl, Owen B. Toon and James B. Pollack
    “Anthropogenic Albedo Changes and the Earth’s Climate” Science, New Series, Vol. 206, No. 4425 (Dec. 21, 1979), pp. 1363-1368

    The money quote is on page 1367, second column:

    “All changes except for urbanization produce an increase in the Earth’s albedo and a cooling of the planet.”

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  • “All changes except for urbanization produce an increase in the Earth’s albedo and a cooling of the planet.”

    If only we had listened to science back in the 70s!

    We could have prevented this global ice age we are in the midst of, and worldwide famine that caused billions of deaths!

    When will people learn to trust the “settled science”!?

    Seriously, there were mainstream scientists calling for the building of CO2 FACTORIES to head off a coming ice age! Imagine if we had done it! Why should we ever listen to these people?

  • Back in the 60s and 70s there were papers that predicted cooling and papers that predicted warming (far more of the latter). The science behind cooling was weaker and was discredited by other scientists even before those predictions could play out. That is not inconsistency, that is how science works.

  • The inconsistency is in the alarmism. If they had just made their predictions quietly, that would be one thing. But with these predictions always come hysterical calls for drastic action.

    That is why this science is suspect. Because, as you rightly say, science is constantly being revised and updated. Yet if the science today is predicting a dangerous trend, then in the minds of some people, it is dangerous to wait and see if further developments will disprove today’s theory – we must “act now”, we must scare the children with stories of cute cuddly animals dying because of disaster X.

    Our “science czar”, hardly some backwater nobody, and his colleagues were among those who predicted the cooling and called for massive increases in CO2 emissions. Now they call for the opposite. The problem is with their alarmism and their draconian politics.

  • Joe, thanks for the question. Happy to respond: yes; I once talked a friend out of having an abortion. Amazing, but true, and apologies to my stalker who prefers to bring up my voting record.

    Art, the Sagan-Pollack paper addressed albedo, not atmosphere. Albedo is the reflectivity of planetary surfaces and cloud cover. The money quote basically says that except for small slivers of pavement and some buildings, human beings have no effect on the Earth’s albedo. Farms pretty much equal forests. The key piece here is that Sagan was an astronomer, not a climatologist.

    Carbon dioxide is an odorless, colorless gas. It prevents heat reflected from the earth’s surface from radiating out into space.

    Also, it might be that the result of climate change would be an ice age. Climatologists agree that atmospheric temperature trends will not gradually cool or heat the planet. At some point there seems to be a feedback mechanism to restore a certain equilibrium. If Greenland ice were to melt, for example, not only would shorelines be inundated around the world, but the infusion of cool, low salinity water in the North Atlantic might be enough to send the Gulf Stream to African instead of Europe. Nice for Algeria, Libya, and Egypt who might get grasslands to replace desert. Not so good for Europeans who might be crunched under glaciers.

    Most scientists are not alarmists. The alarmists I see are those like the bloggers on this site.

    Once the people in the discussion can concede the temperature trend is warming, and that human industry is the most likely reason for the accelerated uptick, then people can sit down and start getting serious about solutions.

    People who insist there is no warming or that it’s not their fault and we can’t change it anyway: these people have no place at the discussion. The tide (not to mention rising ocean levels) is against them.

  • Art, the Sagan-Pollack paper addressed albedo, not atmosphere. Albedo is the reflectivity of planetary surfaces and cloud cover. The money quote basically says that except for small slivers of pavement and some buildings, human beings have no effect on the Earth’s albedo. Farms pretty much equal forests. The key piece here is that Sagan was an astronomer, not a climatologist.

    Thanks for your explanation. The thing is, I know what albedo is. I read that paper 14 years ago and inspected it again last night. Sagan et al. were concerned with a number of factors which effect the earth’s albedo, most saliently the expansion of deserts, which they did attribute to anthropogenic factors. Dr. Sagan was an astronomer. He was also relentlessly topical, and the advance of deserts and global cooling were the anxieties du jour. A few years later, it was nuclear winter.

  • Thanks, Art.

    One important thing is that we need to separate the science from public policy. Scientists can bring facts, and some “relentlessly topical” scientists may decide they can suggest or promote solutions. I would say that the public policy addressing climate change will need to be carefully discerned with significant input from outside the scientific community.

    And nuclear winter, yes. I’d say that was a more likely outcome than a new ice age or melting ice caps on a few days in the 20th century.

  • Todd,

    “Once the people in the discussion can concede the temperature trend is warming, and that human industry is the most likely reason for the accelerated uptick, then people can sit down and start getting serious about solutions.”

    I will do no such thing, until the well-presented arguments of skeptical scientists are clearly and plainly, in a manner a layman such as myself can understand, are debunked. I want to see a serious engagement, a serious debate. I do not want to have a “consensus” rammed down my throat.

    You can scoff at this all you like; I don’t trust the institutions that are bringing me the “consensus.” They are human beings, not data-producing androids, with motivations and agendas, with careers and egos to protect.

    The secular environmentalists behind this movement have a vicious anti-life agenda. They are pro-abortion, pro-sterilization, and are now tying it all in with reducing carbon emissions. I’ve seen articles quoting scientists claiming that having children is bad for the planet, and the Chinese government claiming that its one-child policy has resulted in lower carbon emissions than it would have had – significantly lower.

    I don’t care how clearly the scientists see things – when the stakes are as high as they are politically, you are absolutely, completely wrong to say:

    “People who insist there is no warming or that it’s not their fault and we can’t change it anyway: these people have no place at the discussion. The tide (not to mention rising ocean levels) is against them.”

    The tide is not against them. In light of the climategate scandal, revelations of outright deceptions in Al Gore’s film, and other blunders by the global warming crowd, the skeptics have actually gained ground.

    A sound theory has nothing to fear from debate. The argument that the “science is settled” means nothing to me. How could I possibly know that? There are these people who say it isn’t, and who make convincing arguments in their own right.

    So, I mean, you can try as hard as you like to make people here feel stupid for not slobbering all over the mainstream scientists shoes as we kiss and venerate them, but its going to take a little more than ridicule from you to make the grade.

    I’ll make this offer: show me a good website or paper or something that takes on the main arguments of the skeptics from the standpoint of the mainstream, and I will diligently and happily read it.

  • Todd,

    my stalker who prefers to bring up my voting record.

    Interesting that I am the author of this article that I am now a stalker of your voting record.

    I enjoy pointing out that you are only a “self-identified” Catholic that is a Pro-Abortionist that voted for the most Pro-Abortion president in the history of America.

    Your points are pretty much mute since you’ve compromised your faith for the Democratic Party platform.

  • Joe,

    If you look, you will find plenty of material out there that addresses the skeptics point by point, as there is plenty of material that attempts to cast doubt on the idea of global warming. The question is, and I think you yourself brought this up on another post – how do we come to trust our sources?

    For me, methodology as much as content (of which I have a necessarily limited grasp) makes me tend to trust the findings of the IPCC or National Academy of Sciences for example, over some group or person that sets out with the sole purpose of trying to debunk global warming (or promote it!).

    Right off the bat, I would distinguish between scientists who have discovered flaws in the current understanding of some aspect of global warming and those who actively seek to present the strongest case against global warming. There is a big difference here, but unfortunately the two groups are confused. Scientists bring their findings under the critical review of others and try to make sense of their findings with the accumulated knowledge of their field and even beyond. Unfortunately, those with an agenda to promote or disprove the idea of global warming take specific findings out of their original context – that dialogue with the broader scientific community with its respective disciplines. That is not science.

    The IPCC on the other hand is very conservative (not necessarily always correct, btw) with its use of data. If a specific claim is in an IPCC report, you can almost guarantee that it is not simply one stand alone observation supporting it. This , in my view, puts the burden of proof on the skeptics to refute the massive case for global warming across many fields point by point. To this date, I have not seen this. Rather, you tend to get a list of what I mentioned above – random pieces of data taken out of their original context.

    That is why I will not recommend a site that takes on the augments of skeptics one by one..but rather point to one that looks at the bigger picture of what’s going on out there: http://www.realclimate.org/

  • Brian,
    The linked site doesn’t seem overly helpful. Doesn’t seem to present overwhelming evidence against what skeptics raise. Only slightly more scientific than this site:

    http://www.climategate.com/

  • Tito, you may be a blogger, but you’re still a stalker. Your last post also reveals you to be an untruthful stalker. Feh. It’s your site. You can behave however you want to I suppose.

    Joe, as long as the discussion about climate change stays informal, you’re absolutely okay taking the position you take. I have no problem with it. If, however, you expect to be part of a serious debate, your own insistence on conspiracy theories will sideline you, not to mention your unwillingness to engage the topic broadly and seriously.

    The bloggers on this site have already conceded their willingness to tackle a disputed topic (example: liberation theology) but without the requisite knowledge and background. That’s okay too. Like LT, we know that we can expect a lack of curiosity and expertise when it comes to climate issues on this site.

    If you want to e-mail me with a specific request of literature I could suggest, I’m happy to find something suitable. Last word, gents: you’ve earned it.

  • “Last word, gents: you’ve earned it.”

    Promises, promises Todd. You would be much more effective as a commenter on this site if you would contribute something more than your trademark sneer and condescension which are always a poor substitute for reasoned argument.

  • “The linked site doesn’t seem overly helpful. Doesn’t seem to present overwhelming evidence against what skeptics raise.”

    Fair enough. I have found the site helpful to keep up to speed on what’s going on in climate science right now, but it certainly won’t answer everyone’s questions. I can’t resist one more recommendation – that presents the evolution of climate science bruises and all – without getting partisan: The Discovery of Global Warming (2003) by Spencer Weart.

  • Todd,

    You are so unbelievably smug.

    I expect to be a part of serious debate – for serious debate to exist – because the political stakes are unimaginably high.

    “Like LT, we know that we can expect a lack of curiosity and expertise when it comes to climate issues on this site.”

    I see. So in Todd’s world of Newspeak, a request for literature reflects a lack of curiosity. I asked MI for literature on LT, and I asked you for literature on “climate change” – but we’re not curious. Ok.

    Why do I have to email you? Just drop a title or a link. Is that hard?

    And I do not “insist” upon conspiracy theories – I accept their reasonability, their plausibility, because of the human propensity for evil and the historical record of proven conspiracies. In the case of global warming, we have already seen scientists con-spi-ir-ing to conceal data they didn’t like, block skeptics from the debate, and even express a hope that their critics didn’t know that there was a Freedom of Information Act.

    How can you look at all that and wave it away? At what point is it more crazy not to believe that something fishy is going on than to believe that there is?

  • Exactly Brian.

  • Very well …

    “Why do I have to email you? Just drop a title or a link. Is that hard?”

    That something might be hard is irrelevant. I don’t mind putting extra effort out there for a friend or colleague–if that person is serious. Why would I bother making suggestions on one topic when you’ve pretty much dismissed input on another?

    I’d recommend the Weart book. He has a web site, and apparently a revised 2nd edition of the 2003 book I read. It’s a good place to start.

    “You are so unbelievably smug.”

    Well, I do know what I’m talking about. I had a science background before I studied theology. I still keep up with serious science reading, including climatology. I think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to science, and I think I’m on safe ground in dismissing the so-called climategate.

    You think I’m smug? You’ll find very few serious scientists wasting their time even talking to doubters like yourselves. They would call me foolish for even wasting my time in the attempt.

    And to be serious, I can’t tell with some of you AC bloggers if you’re serious or not. You post on LT and you participate in very long threads. Same with climate. You say you’re willing to review information, but you treat a scientific discussion as if it were some kind of political event. Either global temperatures are warming faster than they should be or they’re not. Human beings contribute to all, some, or none of that. Once the determination is made that planetary climate change is a problem, the focus shifts to solutions. It seems pretty clear that the politicians are struggling with public policy solutions at this point, and scientists are back to monitoring conditions.

    Look, I’m not going to fill up your comboxes with the science of climatology. You want me to write up a “reasoned argument?” I’ll be happy to write a guest post for you.

    If you want to continue discussing with me; send an e-mail. It’s time to move on from this thread.

  • “You think I’m smug? You’ll find very few serious scientists wasting their time even talking to doubters like yourselves. They would call me foolish for even wasting my time in the attempt.”

    So we should all be grateful that you’ve decided to lower yourselves down into the pit and commune with us lesser beings?

    Yes, I think you’re smug. I think that I couldn’t imagine a better way to completely turn people off from a cause than to have you as its spokesman. And I think you are incredibly naive if you think science is immune to politics.

    You really, honestly think you are above having to explain yourself, that it is a “waste of time”, that we should all see that, because of your “science background” we should all just shut the hell up and accept what you have to say, and be grateful for the condescending insults that accompany it.

    Please, I beg you, do not waste another second on us. You haven’t moved anyone’s mind an inch, if anything, you’ve moved people in the opposite direction. You really are wasting your time.

  • As for this:

    “I don’t mind putting extra effort out there for a friend or colleague–if that person is serious. Why would I bother making suggestions on one topic when you’ve pretty much dismissed input on another?”

    When did I do that? I’ve never dismissed input on anything.

    And really, its “extra effort” to find me one thing to read? Two minutes of your precious time? Are you serious? Please, don’t bother. We’re done.

  • You think I’m smug? You’ll find very few serious scientists wasting their time even talking to doubters like yourselves. They would call me foolish for even wasting my time in the attempt.

    Among the doubters is Richard Lindzen of MIT. He is one of only about two dozen scholars in meteorology and climatology who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • Realclimate? This Mann-Briffa-Jones outfit? You are surely kidding me.

  • Hahaha…Captain Todd strikes again…the guy who has a science background extending from embryology to climatology…

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