Week in review 8/19/11

by Judith Curry

The Denizens have had an exhausting week battling the skydragons, with over 2,500 comments and still counting.  As a respite, here is some comic relief.

Randy Olson has a post entitled “Climate Balls: Who’s Got ‘Em?

It’s been a feisty week for tough talk about climate action and examination of the President’s masculinity. Which is nice. Gore talked trash in Aspen, Dave Roberts says to kick a conservative white man’s ass for the planet, and Drew Westen thinks Obama’s a wimp.

Roger Pielke Jr. posts a cartoon about how people in science see each other, which is a real hoot.

Donna LaFramboise links to an entertaining youtube video entitled “Stop the Environment.”

Insults

Jean Goodwin has in interesting post on insults, that combines themes from Climate Etc posts on Bardian insights and blogospheric argumentation.   She recommends that if you are going to insult, at least use some verbal dexterity.  She provides a link to the Shakespeare Insult Kit.  Some choice examples:

Thou frothy fool-born maggot-pie!

What trick, what device, what starting-hole canst thou now find out, to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?

[May] the worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul.

Thou art so leaky that we must leave thee to thy sinking.

So, if you must insult other Denizens, please do it with some panache :)

JC note:  my schedule is acutely bizzy the next three weeks, I will do my best to keep posting new material.  Guests posts would be most welcome, also pls send me any interesting articles that you find that might make good posts.

344 responses to “Week in review 8/19/11

  1. Dr. Curry, I wish you the best in your work these next several weeks. It is easy to imagine how busy you must be with starting a new semester.
    I would re-mention approaching Gregory Benford for a guest post. He has written extensively about topics that seem to underlie many posts here.

  2. Wait..

    Does this imply that your students are more work even than denizens?

    Perish the thought!

  3. Dr. Curry
    Thanks for the link to the Stop the Environment video. I found it hilarious. Looking around the blogosphere it seems that despite the actors being more on the proponent side commenters are not sure who is being satirized.

  4. Thanks Dr. C for the great resource link — my favorites, which I can hardly wait to use:

    “You speak unskilfully: or, if your knowledge be more, it is much darkened in your malice.” (I’ll probably be using this one here all the time ;-)

    I think I’ll save these for special occasions:
    “Thou venomed lily-livered scut!”
    “Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon!”
    “[Thou hath] not so much brain as ear wax.”

  5. You still have the “skydragons” label on backwards. CO2-mediated disasters are the dragons invented by the AGW Believers.
    You are trying to slay the skydragon slayers, and thus to protect your skydragons.

    • Good point, Brian, but the Skydragon Slayers are the dragons to the GHE defenders, so their name is turning on them. One persons slayer is another’s dragon.

      Nor have the Denizens been battling the Dragon Slayers, as the Slayers are among the Denizens, along with many Denizens who take no position.

  6. I’d like to see thematic insulting take hold. For example if the topic is the Canadian Arctic, we could use Eskimo insults. Kilimanjaro, switch to Swahili. Cap and trade, quote Rush Limbaugh.

    • omnologos

      If the Canadian Arctic, Yup’ik, Inuit, Inupiaq, Inuvialuit, Kalaalisut might all qualify better (plus Aleut in parts of Alaska, too), as I’m unaware of any generic Eskimo insult.

      Though I suspect I stand to be corrected. ;)

      If you do plan to use such insults, it’s my understanding that singing them will win you more regard, particularly if you sing them in ritual competition. (http://www.jstor.org/pss/3773271)

      I believe that ‘eskimo’ itself is not a completely PC term outside of Alaska, but it’s not exactly a creative insult. I mean, would you want to be called a ‘weather blogger’?

  7. may the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits

  8. I have posted an article at Watts Up With That?

    http://bit.ly/neQItb

    Please let me know the flows in my article.

    Regards

    Girma Orssengo

  9. Bart – I always mix up Eskimos and Inuits. Oops. On the other hand it’d be a tad contradictory for me to apologize now for any insulting words :)

    • Just remember that, like most people living on the margins of populated terrain, Eskimos are InTuitIVE.

  10. The Denizens have had an exhausting week battling the skydragons, with over 2,500 comments and still counting.

    I think the terminology here needs refinement. If it looks like a dragon, but every time you cut off its head it grows two more, shouldn’t we be calling them skyhydras?

    I think the skyhydra experience illustrates something I’ve been saying for a while: if you care about communication, rhetoric, argumentation, advancement of the debate and ultimately agreement and rational action, you have to find a place in your theory for people who are just not willing or able to progress in their understanding, and are not participating in a discussion in a useful way, and will not accept falsification when presented to them.

    This is not a knock on “skeptics,” but rather a general point: all theories involving human behavior have to deal with the full range of how human behave. If you advocate pacifism, you need to have thought about how you will deal with aggression. If you support a free society, you need to have some concept of how people who abuse that freedom to inflict violence on others are going to be addressed. And if you are developing a theory of communication and rational debate, you need some concept of how people who won’t abide by your principles fit in. Do we continue to explain, over and over? For how long? Are these people marginalized — are the rules enforced by social norms? Do we segregate the discourses (blogs here, peer-reviewed literature here, for example) and encourage full participation for all in some while maintaining quality control in others? Can anyone participate anywhere, but we try to train everyone to a high level of distinguishing good arguments from bad? Is that practical?

    I don’t claim to have a answer to these issues; my only point is that any theory of communication about matters of public debate has to include them. Describing ideal communication is all very well, but the world is not ideal.

    • My suggestion is skydemon. Like Maxwell’s demon.

      • I take exception to this comparison and parallel. None of what the ‘dragons’ have done comes close to being associated with the likes of James Clerk Maxwell.

        I mean, at least Maxwell’s Demon was informative. The ‘dragons’ are total and complete lack of effort and time.

      • I am associating consensus CO2GW hypothesis with Maxwell’s demon. There are similarities, but it’s photons instead of molecules and frequency instead of speed.

      • See my comment above. The dragons are the imagined GHG flamers-of-humanity. The slayers are the critics.

    • Good point, Robert.
      It is like the believers who are convinced each weather extreme is a sign of impending climate doom.
      Or like those who persist in claiming Manhattan will be inundated.

    • skyhydras, good one :)

    • John Carpenter

      “if you care about communication, rhetoric, argumentation, advancement of the debate and ultimately agreement and rational action, you have to find a place in your theory for people who are just not willing or able to progress in their understanding, and are not participating in a discussion in a useful way, and will not accept falsification when presented to them.”

      “And if you are developing a theory of communication and rational debate, you need some concept of how people who won’t abide by your principles fit in.”

      “I don’t claim to have a answer to these issues; my only point is that any theory of communication about matters of public debate has to include them. Describing ideal communication is all very well, but the world is not ideal.”

      Some thoughtful ideas Robert, maybe we could just call them ‘idiots’ and track them with a blog, you know, rake them over the coals for being so myopic about their points of view. That will improve the discourse.

      I swear Robert… your like Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

      • You know, I drew a bit of a blank on the title and ended up with something a lot harsher than I intended. If I were naming my blog today I’d call it something else. I may eventually make a switch, like WtD did. If “Climate Etc” ever goes out of business, dibs on the name.

        If you read the actual posts, very little of it is devoted to raking people over any coals. But in any case, few people read the blog, so there is very little impact either way!

  11. Gras – curses are not insults and EPA should be called in to protect the camel fleas that keep dying in your armpits because of the stench.

  12. ‘It isn’t surprising, then, that people believe so strongly that the Earth is a sphere. We are bombarded every day of our lives with information. Television, radio, books and the Internet all compete to tell us things. Society agrees that some ideas are worth debating and that others are not. The idea of a spherical Earth falls into that second category. At some point, our society decided with great certainty that the Earth is a sphere and, consequently, that further consideration is unnecessary and anyone holding an opposing viewpoint is unworthy of debate. That the Earth is spherical is a ‘fact’ and we are, from an early age, told to accept it without question and in the face of our own first hand experience. But as 16th Century mathematician Pierre Simon Laplace stated, “The weight of
    evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness.” The Spherical Earth model is truly extraordinary and runs contrary to all of our senses. Consequently, the burden of proof is extraordinary – and this burden has never been met. But, because the idea is so firmly ingrained in our culture, few of us bother to hold the Spherical Earth model to account.

    This tendency to firmly maintain beliefs while intentionally disregarding opposing evidence –particularly evidence in the form of first hand experience – is intellectually dishonest and unscientific. Man’s quest for truth is furthered only through experience and reason. During the 19th Century, Samuel Birley Rowbotham pioneered an approach to astronomy called Zetetic Astronomy. Zeteticism stresses the importance of reason and experience over the trusting acceptance of dogma. This emphasis on experience as the only source of true knowledge dates back to ancient Greek empiricists such as Aristotle and was also prominent in the more recent British empiricism espoused by John Locke. In his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke states, “No man’s knowledge
    can go beyond his experience.” While second hand ‘knowledge’ is often a useful tool for dealing with practical, day to day tasks, it should not be mistaken for truth and certainty.’

    I think that the idea of effete, pissant progressives kicking good ol’ boy butt is unlikely in the extreme. But the question is – who are the flat Earthers in this debate?

    • There are no flat Earthers in this debate. Locke, while important, was wrong on several counts (because we do make progress and he was writing a long time ago). First, most of what we know we learn from others. In modern jargon, knowledge is social, that is how it can build for centuries. Second, reasonable people of good will can look at the same evidence and come to opposite conclusions. Third, in science nothing is certain. Certainty is not the goal, the goal is understanding as best we can.

    • Chief,

      But society and MANY scientists do not realize that due to the rotation of the planet it HAS different speeds of rotation due to size differences.
      Just our planetary pressure generates mush friction to smooth out what would be an extremely bad experience. Much of the circulation goes from the largest circumference to the smallest circumference.
      Anther coincidence is the suns outer core is in sequence of rotation with ALL the other planets within 1/2 day out of 4.5 billion years no matter the size or density differences(except for the two closest).

    • “This emphasis on experience as the only source of true knowledge dates back to ancient Greek empiricists such as Aristotle.”

      In fact, the Buddha taught this 200 years earlier. He also pointed out that none of our experiences are external, they all occur at our sense doors – eyes, ears, nose, tongue, bodily surfaces and mind – and taught a technique by which each individual can observe reality directly at very subtle levels within their own mind and body. Everything which appears at a sense door has a corresponding sensation on the body. By equanimous observation of the nature of these sensations, we can directly experience the nature of existence at the deepest level: everything is in a flux, physical and mental phenomena arise and pass away with great rapidity, they have no solidity, no continuing essence, no “I, me, mine.” Not knowing this, we develop cravings and aversion which leave the mind unbalanced, unhappy, reactive rather than active.

      The Buddha sought the causes of human suffering, the unsatisfactory nature of conditioned existence, and did so scientifically, turning to deep introspection when other approaches failed. But he did not teach any dogma, belief system or reliance on external authority (nor did he start the religion of Buddhism), he gave a technique by which each person could find truth for themselves.

  13. Likewise, Professor Curry, best wishes for the new semester.

    My revelation of the week: Consensus science is Big Brother’s tool to control people and information. World leaders secretly formed BB formed to protect the world (and themselves) from the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation.

    This noble goal cannot be achieved in democratic societies by deception.

    Yesterday brought encouraging news that Australian citizens are uniting in convoys headed to Canberra for a show of no confidence in their government leaders support for the AGW story and the environmentalist movement [1,2].

    Since world leaders and leaders of scientific organizations and the news media apparently secretly united several years ago to support environmentalism and the AGW story . . .

    Citizens of the world must unite in demanding an end to tyranny and restoration of the basic right of citizens to control their governments.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    1. “No Confidence Rally”, The International News Magazine (19 Aug 2011)
    http://www.international.to/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2035:gillard-convoy-of-no-confidence-rally

    2. “Gillard Has A Problem”, JoNova’s Blog (18 Aug 2011)
    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/08/gillard-has-a-problem-convoy-on-the-way-powers-through-north-queensland/

  14. A post suggestion – unless you have already had it and I missed it – is a review of the three research studies presented in July which predict slowing solar activity.

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/331320/title/Next_solar_cycle_could_be_a_no-show

  15. Judith,

    You have to admit that the “skydragons” do have a cool name.
    And some mildly valid points.

  16. Judith,

    Interesting stories coming out on how scientist had to follow the governments way or the highway for funding and support once trapped into the system.

  17. If thou ist aware of the bare bit of flesh on the underside of the tail that covers a dog’s arse and gets crapped on–the EPA is to productive society as that piece of tail is to the dog.

  18. Convoy heading to the parliament against the carbon tax in Australia

    http://bit.ly/pYlpoD

  19. Dr. C, this may be slightly over the line between policy and politics, but Walter Russel Mead did a rather good job of dissecting the green jobs issue here:

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/08/19/feeding-the-masses-on-unicorn-ribs/

    Here’s the money quote:

    Let me put it this way. A GOP candidate might feel a need to please creationist voters and say a few nice things about intelligent design. That is politics as usual; it gins up the base and drive the opposition insane with fury and rage. No harm, really, and no foul.

    But if that same politician then proposed to base federal health policy on a hunt for the historical Garden of Eden so that we could replace Medicare by feeding old people on fruit from the Tree of Life, he would have gone from quackery-as-usual to raving incompetence. True, the Tree of Life approach polls well in GOP focus groups: no cuts to Medicare benefits, massive tax savings, no death panels, Biblical values on display. Its only flaw is that there won’t be any magic free fruit that lets us live forever, and sooner or later people will notice that and be unhappy.

    • Wander warily,
      Pomegranate, denigrate.
      And spit out the seeds.
      ============

    • The quote is a little out of context to the larger statement regarding pining for sham green jobs;

      “Green jobs are the Democratic equivalent of Tree of Life Medicare; they scratch every itch of every important segment of the base and if they actually existed they would be an excellent policy choice. But since they are no more available to solve our jobs problem than the Tree of Life stands ready to make health care affordable, a green jobs policy boils down to a promise to feed the masses on tasty unicorn ribs from the Great Invisible Unicorn Herd that only the greens can see.”

      The irrational hatred of “big oil” runs deep within the Democratic society especially. How this culture links to “green” and AGW is important in how the academic left is focused. Then you need to link general socialism and the world tilt which is still leftist at the U.N. levels to put it all together.

  20. I recently read something to the effect that it must be embarrassing to some skeptics to see the anti-agw cudgel taken up by guys like Rick Perry. Maybe it was even here.

    As a liberal Democrat I have to admit that it’s true. It does embarrass me. If the goal of skeptics is to convince mostly liberal alarmists that (at the very least) the science is not settled, I can’t think of anything more unhelpful than Rick Perry, or Michele Bachman, or Sarah Palin.

    I must say that as a progressive person, it’s a terrible affliction, this global warming skepticism thing. I was much happier in my alarmist ignorance.

    I pine for the good old days of righteous certainty.

    • I am delighted at the prospect of a skeptical President.

      • How about the prospect of a Creationist President. I would think that as a “skeptic” with an interest in science, you would be concerned with differentiating between different kinds of “skepticism.”

      • I would prefer a creationist president over one who sat in a racist church for 20 years absorbing Reverend Wright’s evil.

      • What about a good old fashioned aethiest – would they stand a chance?

      • A chance against what Louise?

      • If Creationism requires a massive increase in central planning, global weath redistribution, surrendering national sovereignty, undermines the science method and lowers the stature of science by making it partisan then I would be against it in that form.

        The question is really why you could support AGW and of the two movement which do you think has been a broader threat in the last 30 years?

      • Here’s what’s interesting about that, cwon.

        The Creationist element of the rightwing in this country supports massive state intervention in the civil affairs of our citizenry – yet the rightwing politicians who seek to exploit religious fundamentalism as a way to gather political power nonetheless enjoy the support of many of those who consider themselves to be libertarians. It’s fascinating.

        And yes, cwon, I think that the fundamentalist religious right has been a much “broader threat” in the last 30 years than your AGW cabal. That’s why they make chocolate and vanilla, eh?

      • Planned Parenthood is an interesting eugenics experiment that is well funded by the state to kill.

        Why are you in favor of such a massive state intervention?

      • Wow. Non-sequitur much, Bruce?

        I’m trying to figure this one out:

        You are equating concern about the impact of increased political power for religious fundamentalists who have expressed direct interest in basing our government on religious doctrine with supporting eugenics?

        Interesting equation. Could you break that down a bit? And while you’re responding to questions with complete non-sequiturs, could you inform me what % of Planned Parenthood’s state sponsorship goes towards providing abortions?

      • Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the U.S., accounting for approximately 27% of abortions performed in the U.S.

        Margret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood.

        “At a March 1925 international birth control gathering in New York City, a speaker warned of the menace posed by the “black” and “yellow” peril. The man was not a Nazi or Klansman; he was Dr. S. Adolphus Knopf, a member of Margaret Sanger’s American Birth Control League (ABCL), which along with other groups eventually became known as Planned Parenthood.

        Sanger’s other colleagues included avowed and sophisticated racists. One, Lothrop Stoddard, was a Harvard graduate and the author of The Rising Tide of Color against White Supremacy. Stoddard was something of a Nazi enthusiast who described the eugenic practices of the Third Reich as “scientific” and “humanitarian.” And Dr. Harry Laughlin, another Sanger associate and board member for her group, spoke of purifying America’s human “breeding stock” and purging America’s “bad strains.” These “strains” included the “shiftless, ignorant, and worthless class of antisocial whites of the South.”

        Not to be outdone by her followers, Margaret Sanger spoke of sterilizing those she designated as “unfit,” a plan she said would be the “salvation of American civilization.: And she also spike of those who were “irresponsible and reckless,” among whom she included those ” whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers.” She further contended that “there is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.” That many Americans of African origin constituted a segment of Sanger considered “unfit” cannot be easily refuted.”

      • The irony is that alarmist want to return to fundamentalism in order to use less fossil fuels.

      • Yet another commenter that seems to confuse non-sequiturs with answers to questions. There seems to be quite a few of those in these here parts.

      • David – I honestly find that comment hard to believe, so I’m going to ask you to confirm.

        You think that Intelligent Design is a major scientific theory?

        And

        As someone who holds that belief, you think that it isn’t important to identify to what extent religious belief influences how various people who fall under the rubric of “skeptic” interpret scientific information?

        Judith – I seriously hope that you read David’s response to these questions.

      • “You think that Intelligent Design is a major scientific theory? ”

        I wonder what you mean by major. Widely accepted, or a broad theory the explains every aspect of the evolution of Life- such as how dinosaurs, humans, butterflies came into existence?

        It seems the atheists and the church goers agree that humans came from mud. The big difference seems to be about what could called the human soul. Athsists seem very convinced this “soul” if there actually anything one could call a soul, also came from mud.
        As analogy is of computer hardware and software. Both atheists and the church goers, think the computer hardware came from mud, whereas atheist see the software as also coming from mud. Whereas church goers believe the software comes from God.
        Though God also made the mud.
        God made the mud and then He breathed on it. Which is obviously a metaphor. God isn’t a human. God is no more a human than He is lightening bolt or a burning bush.
        So what is this breathing all about? I suppose a breathe of God is a close approximation of inspiration. And inspiration is also a funny word.

        But let’s return to this Intelligent Design theory. It seems it’s about a code which was created by something more intelligent [in terms of technology than humans have been and are at the moment. Something that one could describe as Godlike.
        It seems within within the realm of the possible that at some point humans could design this same code or different codes. This code would need to survive billions of years [somehow] to similar what is indicated in Intelligent Design.
        Is this impossible? And if not impossible has it occurred anywhere and/or at anytime in this universe?

      • Joshua
        Central planning already massively funds Darwinism. Why not equal time for major theories? PS The scientific alternative to Darwinism is Intelligent Design, not Creationism.

      • Here in the UK, any politician who claimed to support Intelligent Design wouldn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of getting elected. We barely tolerate (some of) them going to church,

        Tony Blair didn’t dare convert to Catholocism while still in office – who do you consult for advice Tony, the cabinet or the great sky fairy? The media would have made mincemeat of him.

      • Arggh! Another misplaced post.

        Sorry for the double-post, but I really want to read David’s response:

        David – I honestly find that comment hard to believe, so I’m going to ask you to confirm.

        You think that Intelligent Design is a major scientific theory?

        And

        As someone who holds that belief, you think that it isn’t important to identify to what extent religious belief influences how various people who fall under the rubric of “skeptic” interpret scientific information?

        Judith – I seriously hope that you read David’s response to these questions.

      • Oh dear.

        That’s just a distinction for PR purposes.

      • It’s delusional to think “creationism” has any social scale at all compared to the established PC culture of the left over the past century. Those who are even “religous” have been in large part marginalized by that very society. If you can’t see that why would you be trusted with vague climate measures and variance of what 2 degrees over a century?

        The left dominates almost everything publically funded; education, research science, media of all types, publishing, pop culture/Hollywood and has an active welfare state with a captive audience it directs as a permanent political base of paid support. You choose to worry about bible study groups in the woods?

        I’m not going to down the abortion discussion, I’ll leave that for others but it’s clear “Creationism” is just another part of the smear culture found so much apart of the left’s lexicon. Again rooted in “Progressive” tradition of depicting all opponents as intellectually inferior and backwards. Joshua, it’s an ignorant outlook of the political divide.

        Go play the sniveling link I placed of the panel on Canadian TV (on this page) and if you can’t detect the massive weight of self-rightousness and arrogance then there is no hope in further discussion. Dr. Curry was the best person on the panel but it gets back to how Albert Speer might have described his conduct when things mattered. A total fail with only a question of degree in question. You can see her discomfort but she was more concerned about not offending the pompous panel and host then correcting or being truly critical. They all but all yelled “settled science” in lockstep, she wimpers. These are the people driving “science” right into politics and they know exactly what they want. It certainly isn’t democracy but you are going to stick with red herrings about Creationism, “The Rich” and “Big oil and coal”?? Pathetic.

      • cwon – allow me to offer you some unsolicited feedback on how I would respond to such a post if it were directed toward me – because after reading your first sentence, I can’t imagine why anyone would read further.

        It’s delusional to think “creationism” has any social scale at all compared to the established PC culture of the left over the past century.

        There are two immediate problems with that sentence. The first problem it that it appears that you are calling your interlocutor delusional. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually try to engage delusional people in exchanges about complex topics. And as far as I know, people who aren’t delusional don’t say delusional things. So it seems to me that either you are in the habit of talking to delusional people (in which case I see no reason to exchange viewpoints with you), or you are saying that your interlocutor says delusional things – without actually believing that was he said was delusional (in which case you’re simply insulting him for the sake of insulting me, and thus I can’t imagine why he would see any reason to pursue the conversation with you any further).

        Secondly, looking back to the post you were responding to, it seems that your entire point about the “established PC culture of the left,” is a strawman – as the commenter you’re responding to made no arguments related to the “established PC culture of the left.” So given that your argument is apparently directed at something that some fictional person said, if your comment were directed at me in similar circumstances, I would be at a loss as to how to respond.

        But I will make a note that you feel that PCism not a very important consideration, so If I do refer to you as an “skeptical un-convinced/denier” I can rest assured that you will, in no way, take any offense.

        I will sleep better tonight knowing that.

      • No cabal right Joshua?;

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/20/is-economic-graceful-decline-the-true-agenda-of-some-warmists/#more-45515

        He talks about federal policies that put the economy in a “graceful decline,” one that stimulates small-scale, organic farming and has more of a focus on activities in neighborhoods, towns and states than on national and international affairs. “We need to scale back, to go to ground,” he says in “Eaarth.”

        How old are you Joshua? If you lived in the 70’s you would know about the “Zero Growth Movement” that was very much in academic fashion. Inspired by the Paul Ehrlich and the “Population Bomb”. It was a cornerstone morf into the AGW base movement which was always targeted at energy rationing, defeatism and regulations.

      • Nice way to ignore the question, Bruce.

        So let me ask you, do “absorb” rhetoric when you’re exposed to it? If so, how do you explain your political views even though your’re no doubt bombarded with propaganda from the vast left wing mainstream media? Or, maybe you just have the capacity to filter through different elements in your environment to formulate your political identity, whereas someone like Obama hasn’t that ability? If so, what would the differentiating characteristics between you and Obama be?

        Oh – and two more questions. Seeing as how you think that Obama has “absorbed” the “racist” rhetoric of Wright’s evil – I guess you’re in agreement with Glenn Beck that Obama has a “deep-seated” hatred of white people?

        So let’s put 2 + 2 together, shall we?

        (Believer in over–arching political phenomena despite myriad evidence to the contrary) + (“Skeptic”) = ????????

      • I used to read 2-3 newspapers a day. Now that most are left-wing rags peddling AGW, they don’t get my money. I don’t have cable and don’t watch the MSM propaganda.

        Now what do you think about Obama’s 20 years of hate-filled indoctrination?

      • Bruce, you say “I used to read 2-3 newspapers a day. Now that most are left-wing rags peddling AGW, they don’t get my money. I don’t have cable and don’t watch the MSM propaganda.”

        So you do recognise that your position has become more and more extremist as time progressed?

        Or has that not occured to you (the ‘I’m standing still and everyone else is changing’ delusion)?

      • Where I live there used to be 2 local papers (owned by different companies) and several national papers, some of which were business oriented and skeptical of left wing propaganda. Now most are owned by the same company and there is no middle of the road (let alone right of center) papers available.

        The amalgamation of papers into this uniform left wing nanny state hectoring is what is killing their business.

        They are boring. And they don’t get my money. They are committing left-wing suicide.

        Of course if you love that left-wing pablum, then you must be ecstatic. Except for the fact they will be out of business soon.

      • With Google, Microsoft and Apple having pro-AGW statements too, it is surprising you even have a computer anymore.

      • John –

        As always, I look forward to exchange ideas with you.

        I suppose I see a difference in that by choosing one church over another, in a sense you are making a more deliberative choice than simply sitting down and reading a newspaper you think is filled with leftwing propoganda. In choosing a church, you are making something of a statement about identifying with a community – something that you’re not doing by reading a newspaper.

        However, it is quite likely that to Obama – his choice of church was representative of many things – and there is no reason to assume that he chose that church because he felt that it represented what Bruce deems to be a racist ideology. If one could see a pattern of racism in how Obama conducted his life while attending that church or subsequently, it lend support to Bruce’s ostensible conclusions – but I see no evidence of that; do you?

        But if I may, I think that your question misses my larger point. Bruce seems to have a very selective opinion about his ability to buffer his choice of ideology from external influences and the ability of Obama to do so. Not knowing either of them personally, I feel at a loss as to how to evaluate Bruce’s apparent methodology of differentiation. That’s why I”m asking him, despite his patter of answering my questions with non-sequiturs, to explain his methodology in more detail.

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua,

        Your main point I think I agree with on a whole… that people (Obama in particular) are able to sift through the information they read or are exposed to daily, independently from the source, to make up their mind about how to file the information away into their minds. But, those on the fringes may not be able to do so.

        I do believe Obama does offer some clues as to what his ideology is based on those he apparently ‘hung out’ with prior to his presidential run and so there may be some evidence of this based on his history. I think Bruce is getting at this ‘O’ Reilly’ argument to which I think there is some validity… having said that, I in no way believe Obama to be any more racist than I do any other contemporary politician. I don’t think there is anything wrong in evaluating part of someones ideology based on who that individual is known to associate with. George W Bush certainly got his share of criticism for being intellectually stagnant based partly on his ‘frat boy’ partier image from his past.

        Bruces methodology differentiation in this case appears to be purely political in my view.

      • Actually, Bruce, you didn’t answer my question.

        I’ll repeat it in a modified form given your response. During that previous time when you read 2-3 newspapers a day, did you “absorb” the information simply from exposure in a way that shaped your ideological outlook? If so, how do you explain that you are a “conservative” despite constant exposure to 2-3 newspapers’ worth of left wing propaganda, daily?

        Now what do you think about Obama’s 20 years of hate-filled indoctrination?

        I assumed that my perspective was made clear by the rhetorical nature of my questions – but it is my assumption that Obama could attend the church he attended without being “indoctrinated.” Now that assumption is based on another assumption – that Obama is an adult who is capable of filtering through information and develop his ideology independent of the particulars of any specific information he is exposed to.

        Apparently you don’t think that Obama is capable of such, and I assume that you view yourself, in contrast, as being so capable – so I’m asking for your explanation of why you deem Obama to be incapable of something that you, apparently, are able to do?

        Rest assured, if it is your intent to get me to stop asking you that question by answering with complete non-sequiturs, it will eventually work even if it hasn’t worked yet. Then again, you could save us both time by just saying “I refuse to answer that question.”

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua,

        Not that I am defending Bruce’s position here (I’m not)… but let me ask you a question. Do you think there is a difference (maybe even a big difference) between someone attending a religious service, listening to a sermon compared to reading a newspaper? One seems to hit a little harder on the side of ideological indoctrination than the other… no?

      • No one goes to a church for 20 years unless they agree mostly with what is said.

      • John – I have again misplaced a comment. Please look above (or below?) to see my response.

      • I’ll give this one a shot, Josh–and thanks for the lively dialogue you’ve both provided and provoked.

        President Obama does not seem to me much of a church-oriented guy and since his election to the Presidency has not been noted for his regular church attendance. Rather, President Obama seems to me to fit the profile of a growing segment of our senior political tier–spotted by some “talent scout” at an early age and then rushed through the right schools and jobs to plump up his resume. Similar to President Clinton’s journey, though more superficial and more rushed (Republican counterparts tend to follow the more traditional approach of spoiled-brat rich kid getting to the top through Daddy’s connections).

        My estimate is that President Obama’s adventures with Reverend Wright were a part of a cold-blooded calculation that such an association was of value to his political aims of the moment and account for his ready abandonment of the good Reverend when his usefulness ended.

        On the other hand, President Obama remains dependent on an African-American bloc-vote and, unfortunately, the sort of anti-white, bigotted and hateful views of Reverend Wright are prominent among influential African-Americans and other lefty voting blocs. And we see this in the hyped menace of the Conservative White Male or the Angry White Male and the like. Such inflammatory appeals to race and gender, I’m sure you would agree, Josh, would meet a monumental push-back if applied to any other group.

        Otherwise, I find creationist beliefs in a candidate to be no more consequential than a belief that the Jewish people are God’s chosen people.

      • Mike –

        My estimate is that President Obama’s adventures with Reverend Wright were a part of a cold-blooded calculation that such an association was of value to his political aims of the moment and account for his ready abandonment of the good Reverend when his usefulness ended.

        I agree. He’s a politician. That’s what politicians do. I considered a response more or less identical to that above, but got distracted by other lines of thinking.

        I disagree with almost everything else you wrote in your response – to the point that to respond would take too much time given how much I’ve spend in front of this computer lately. Matters of real import beckon. Briefly though, suffice it to say – as someone who lives and has spent a fair amount of time in predominantly African American communities – you seem to be overestimating the level of influence that racist attitudes have among African Americans.

        Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to discuss the rest of your perspective at another time.

      • The difference between my newspaper reading (other than the obvious fact I read 2-3 different newspapers) and Obamas church attendance is that I stopped reading newspapers that become repulsive to me. I have seen no evidence that anything at Wright’s church changed over Obamas 20 years of attendance … and so I must conclude none of it repulsed him. Ever.

      • Thanks for the response, Josh. I hope you’re right about your estimate of attitudes towards whites in the African-American community and I am wrong. On the other hand, I can’t help but draw certain conclusions when there is a failure to publically denounce and reject even those with extreme views such as “Whites are devils”, the embrace of hateful demeaning stereotypes of whites such as “white privilege”, the disproportionate random black-on-white attacks, the calculated incitement of “white-guilt” for political gain, and the like.

        Of course, when treading in the mine-field of commentaries on race one never gets credit for good-faith (that comment is not directed at you, Josh). But let me say that I, naturally, recognize that anti-white bigotries are not shared by all African Americans or, possibly, even most. But the leadership tier of the African American community seems rather comfortable with such biases, though possibly for cynical, utilitarian reasons.

        Please note, as well, that is not only permissable, but obligatory to insist that discrimination and bigotry still extists against African-Americans (and we are, of course, speaking of whites predominantly as the bigots/discriminators). However, the converse statement is likely to loose one their reputation and livelihood if uttered in our leading institutions of learning, business or the like. My opinion is that African-Americans and white Americans are cut from the same human cloth and neither one nor the other group is either more or less susceptible to racist sentiments.

        But I don’t offer my observations (which, again, I hope can be shown to be mistaken) as an insult. Rather, I think we have a serious deterioration in race relations and a good part of that derives from the race-baiting of individuals that should know better. And that sort of thing needs to stop if we are to rectify the parlous state of race-relations that so sadly contrast with the hopes and dreams of the heady days of the civil rights movement. First step–be honest and analytical about the subject.

      • When the democratic party had a KKK Kleagle as a US Senator it kind of shocks me that your loony lefties think Tea Party members are racist.

      • Keep in mind Dr. Curry supported Obama, gave money to the campaign but is vague on cap and trade support. Doesn’t want to be quatified politically; “No Labels”.

        As for Joshua, has there even been a larger “strawman” than the threat of “Creationists”??? It tops “big oil” in irrational culture hate standards.

      • Joshua, please don’t go into polling because your questions are too vague. I would not vote against a climate skeptic just because they were a creationist, specifically to differentiate between the two forms of skepticism with my vote, if that is your question. I know of no one who confuses the two forms of skepticism, although lots of warmers foolishly try to conflate them.

      • I find it quite peculiar because, here in the UK, if any politician claimed to be a creationist then he wouldn’t stand a cat in hell’s chance of getting elected.

      • And you’ve been really well led lately …. ha ha ha ha.

        Maybe if your country was more open minded it would be doing better.

      • Do you really want to start comparing how well UK is doing compared to USA (with it’s AA+ credit rating and 9% unemployment)?

        Maybe if your country didn’t put quite so much faith in the great sky fairy it would be doing better – In God We Trust?

      • Louise … people can actually look up stuff on the internet.

        “The biggest expansion of faith schools since the 19th century would be encouraged by a Tory government, David Cameron signalled yesterday.

        Senior figures in the Roman Catholic Church have already expressed a strong interest in running the ‘free schools’ proposed by the Conservatives.

        Under the plans, faith groups, charities and businesses could apply to operate the new schools using taxpayers’ money.

        The Tory leader cited his six-year-old daughter Nancy’s ‘excellent’ education at a Church of England school as he declared himself a supporter of faith schools ‘politically and personally’.”

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1246016/Why-David-Cameron-wants-boom-faith-schools.html

      • Louise, “creationist” is a tricky term. At one extreme it might mean Young earth types who believe the world is only 6,000 years old or some such. Thee are few in number. In the middle are those who doubt species evolution, typically on religious grounds, preferring intelligent design, which was the popular theory before Darwin. At the other extreme, roughly half of Americans do not believe that humans are the result of random mutation. They do not doubt species evolution, just human evolution. Many of these people are not religious.

        People who understand these distinctions but still use the term creationist as though it were a specific belief are dishonest.

      • Louise, do you understand just how accurate this statement is? Are you a closet Poe?

      • The above is addressed to this comment by Louise,…

        “I find it quite peculiar because, here in the UK, if any politician claimed to be a creationist then he wouldn’t stand a cat in hell’s chance of getting elected.”

      • David –

        I wasn’t asking you about your voting.

        So, you see no need to differentiate between “skeptics” like Rich Perry or Michelle Bachmann (or I assume Sarah Palin, who I believe has said that AGW is a non-starter because it is hubris to believe that could significantly affect something God created like the Earth (paraphrasing, obviously)?

        So do you think it is appropriate for skeptics to differentiate themselves in other ways, such as those who think that there is no GHE, or those who think that AGW is a socialist, eco-Nazi cabal, or those who think that AGW happens but not to the extent that some say – you know, those sub-categories you spoke of the other day.

        Or is it only the distinction between those who are skeptical due to religious fundamentalist beliefs and those who are skeptical because of a rigorous attention to scientific details that you think unnecessary?

        Oh, and one more question while I’m at it. Do you think that funding is a relevant factor in affecting how people view climate science? If so, how do you feel about the fact that Rick Perry has received millions of dollars from corporations who have a vested interest in energy policy?

      • Joshua, alas, now I do not understand your question at all, if it was not about voting. Specifically what do you mean by “need to differentiate”? As a demographer? As I said before I am generally only interested in what people’s reasoning is, not why they think the way they do. Or are you thinking about tattooing us?

        I don’t happen to know of anyone who offers religious beliefs as a basic anti-AGW argument but if there are such they are in a separate category. There are certainly a lot who offer basic political beliefs, as opposed to scientific arguments. These are the ones who think AGW is a phony scam, power grab or hoax. And they are relatively right because CAGW is primarily a political movement, a power grab by the enviros.

        As to funding, most people get funding because of their beliefs, not vice versa. When I wanted to do policy studies to expose the warmers’ fallacies I sought it from the coal-fired electric power and oil companies, because they were the ones under attack. That is how our advocacy system works. You have to defend yourself. So every interest group funds those who think as they do. But funding does not create belief, rather belief attracts funding.

      • David –

        I can assure you that I have no interest in tattooing anyone, least of all you.

        As I said before I am generally only interested in what people’s reasoning is, not why they think the way they do.

        That’s interesting. It seems to me that the “why” is inextricably linked to how people reason.

        As to funding, most people get funding because of their beliefs, not vice versa.

        So, then, I’ll be sure to distinguish you from the well-represented “denizens” that scientists only write about AGW because they can line their pockets that way.

        I’m out.

      • Joshua, why is a question for psychologists. I am a logician, an issue analyst, not a psychologist. As for funding, if anyone actually claims what you claim then I disagree with them. The AGW scientists get funded because they believe in AGW, as do the funders. They do not believe in AGW because it pays to do so. Read their writings.

      • Joshua, remember the good old days, when our government served the people, rare. How about this?…

        “Social Security cards up until the 1980s expressly stated the number and card were not to be used for identification purposes. Since nearly everyone in the United States now has a number, it became convenient to use it anyway and the message was removed.”

        To damn ‘convenient’, don’t you think?

      • David –

        As I see it, David’ H.’s view that ID is a “major” scientific theory (no doubt, religiously influenced – as no one except religious fundamentalist would come anywhere close to identifying ID as a “major” scientific theory) speaks to his views about what is and isn’t science. As such, if his views are representative to any degree of a significant sub-group of “skeptics,” than the religious views of that sub-group become germane to their views on the science of climate change.

        I think there might be some valid questions as to how representative David H’s views are of “skeptics,” but can’t understand how you could say that his views of ID (since they are reflective of an inherent religious on his views on science) are irrelevant to his views of climate science.

        In point of fact, I would say that David H’s influences are not really an all together different beast than anyone’s views. All of our views on science are influenced by our “motivated reasoning.” For some, the motivations are political. For some, psychological. And for others, religious. None of us is completely free from such influences, although there is probably a difference of degree. And this speaks back to our other disagreement – as I think that examining reasoning without considering the “why” is essentially resting an analysis of a foundation of false dichotomy.

      • Joshua, remember the good old days, when our government served the people, rare

        You mean like back before the 1860s, when the government served all the peo……

        Oh. Wait. I guess you weren’t referring to those people, were you?

      • Joshua (why do we always have the good discussions at the last level?),

        I am not saying that religious influences, or any of someone’s myriad influences, are not interesting or important as subjects. They are just not relevant to the logic of their arguments. I fact you make it sound like a disguised ad hominem, such that certain influences might call their reasoning into question. They do not, as the reasoning stands or falls on its own, as far as logic is concerned.

        There is even a hint of the free will versus determinism issue here. Psychology and sociology posit that we are all caused to believe and think as we do. Maybe so but that does not change the fact that we are rational beings, reasoning our way through life. These are contradictory views of the same behavior.

        One of the big confusions in the climate debate is that people move back and forth from debating the issues to talking about the psychology of the debaters. These are two distinct realms of discourse, which cannot be combined without contradiction. (I think this is an instance of the Russell paradox, but that is a different matter.)

      • David –

        It would be interesting to examine which discussions get better at the more developed stages of discourse hierarchy. My guess is that while that might happen between some discussants, the exact opposite happens with others (see the exchanges with Brandon on that other thread). And also, I would think that between you and me and often between others, some of our discussions have taken divergent paths as they’ve gone further into the hierarchical outline. I can’t imagine a discussion ever getting better with cwon , for example, or Bruce or Jim Own, although I can imagine that happening with Brandon (once he steps away from the keyboard for a spell). Time will tell in that regard.

        I fact you make it sound like a disguised ad hominem, such that certain influences might call their reasoning into question.

        I get where it might sound like that; certainly many people take it that way (I should find a way to express my thoughts more clearly). But I’m not calling the reasoning, per se, into question. I think that it is entirely possible to believe that the bible explains evolution with a completely logical reasoning process – as long as you start with the premise that the bible is the word of god. It all starts with a matter of faith, and beyond that, “motivated reasoning” can ensure a logical Boolean structure that brings you to a creationist conclusion.

        What I am trying to say, however, is that whether or not one views ID as a “scientific theory” is informative as to how one views science. For that vast majority of scientists, there is a leap in logic to say that ID is a scientific theory. The only scientists who don’t think that such a proposition is illogical, are those who base their reasoning on a religiously derived (doctrinaire) foundational premise.

        If one has a particular foundational premise in how they view science with respect to one issue, it doesn’t necessarily imply that they view science based on that premise in all areas – but certainly, if you were a betting man, you’d be putting your money down on the “views all science based on that premise” side of the ledger. Would you not?

        So let’s be clear once again. I am not saying that this perspective applies to all “skeptics.” Nor am I saying, even, that it necessarily applies to all creationists, let alone all YEC’s. What I am saying is that in all likelihood, a belief in ID as a “major” scientific theory is informative as to one’s view of science in general, and that for the people for whom that is true, that view of science in general is relevant to the “how” and the “why” of how they view climate science.

        The same line of reasoning would apply, with all the corresponding caveats, to anyone’s views on climate science: Those who are accused of worshiping at the alter of Al Gore, and those who base their belief re: climate scientists on the writings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I see no reason to exclude creationists, or more specifically, YEC’s from that analysis.

        For all of us, our starting premises are relevant to how we reason to reach our conclusions about climate science. It’s all about confirmation bias (and my new favorite term, “motivated reasoning”), baby.

      • One final piece, David –

        I hope that you read the post above from David Hagen (2:24 PM) – someone who is actively engaged in the climate debate – with respect to Intelligent Design being a “major” scientific theory. Perhaps you will reconsider (what seems to me to be) your rather casual dismissal of links between the religious beliefs of some well-represented segment among “skeptics” and their views on science.

      • Joshua, I have not seen Hagan make any religious arguments against AGW. Have you? His views on ID are irrelevant, and off topic.

      • Mr. David Wojick, In the Climategate emails; Job 37:14-24 was mentioned.
        Very well said, too.

      • Joshua, Now you to can see that it takes a long time to make a slave state.

      • Tom, throwing in a Biblical citation does not make it a religious argument. Typically it is just a way of reinforcing a point.

      • While Joshua worries about people taking bible study classes more seriously than the mean;

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/getting-ready-for-a-wave-of-coal-plant-shutdowns/2011/08/19/gIQAzkZ0PJ_blog.html

        Here is the general economy about to take another bullet for the eco-left and the ideologues running the White House. Perhaps the calculus is raise another 5 million or so for public relief and hope they learn to vote the “right way” in time for next years election. Of course they can’t understand why private sector confidence is in the tank??

        Joshua’s views are pathetic. For a political culture that lives on the “grassy knoll” 24/7 and can’t connect the obvious on any topic what is the point of trying to reason with them? AGW needs to be completely rejected, investigated and I’m sure some of the actors who really did commit fraud for the “cause” need to go to jail. You would ask as much of Enron or Fannie Mae but the complicity of AGW is in fact far greater.

      • cwon – let’s see if you can get past the first sentence in your next post without constructing a straw man.

        While Joshua worries about people taking bible study classes more seriously than the mean

        I have no concern, whatsoever, about people taking bible classes. My brother goes to bible study. He enjoys it a great deal. He can quote a scripture that provides interesting insight into almost any circumstance.

        I do have a problem, however, with religious fundamentalists – who have stated interests in fusing their religious doctrine into foundational working of how governmental policies are developed and implemented – gaining increased power in our governing structure. That is particularly true when those same religious fundamentalists state overtly, as David H. did above, they they consider ID to be a “major” scientific theory.

        Now let’s see if next time you can at least get through the second sentence before you use a straw man argument. Use Bruce’s admirable learning curve as inspiration.

      • David – I just lost a post to the spam-catcher, and of course, forgot to copy it to my clipboard.

        My longer response may soon appear – so please answer it if it does. If it doesn’t show up – I’ll ask you to respond to this one.

        You wrote the other day about differentiations among “skeptics,” so let me ask you, is the only differentiation that you deem irrelevant the one between “skeptics” who base their “skepticism” on a rigorous review of the details of climate science and “skeptics” who are aligned with religious fundamentalism and views on science that include rejection evolutionary theory? It seems that you think other levels of differentiation are important – so I’m somewhat shocked that you seem to think that this differentiation isn’t relevant? How about with people like Sarah Palin, who has indicated that she thinks that it is hubris to believe that humans could affect the planet on a global scale?

    • At least you’re an honest ideologue Pokerguy. While any politician can be bombastic you might consider the downside of blind support to state expansions. You also might look at the characters mentioned outside what the pocket media left spoon feeds the liberal base.

      Just how far the left and all the supporting actors were willing to take a society weak on science logic for a power grab is a reflection of our national decline. Just as reflective as our social debts, aging population, abortion stats or declining birth rates. You would hope that some level of the population beyond the “independents” would see how linked AGW was to declinism and a further loss of individual rights to collectivism.

      For now the silly and obscure variations of climate stats and trends, with really vague phyical doctrines will go on. By in large a smoke screen for the
      political agenda that the consensus or media refuses to even admit exists. It’s why the society is splitting even further. Imagine one of those three in power and how the left will have to adjust to that narrative? The good old days of pushing moderates like the Bush’s around will be a thing of the past. While I can see the flaws in anyone the pent up demand to just spit in the face of the leftist orthodox is very real.

      AGW righeous certainty was as valid (invalid) as most of past liberal doctrines, just a little more backhanded and evil than most. The game of pretend is isn’t a partisan agenda is still largely supported by many of the actors and too a large degree Dr. Curry herself.

      You’re far from alone pokerguy, I give you credit for the admission. Why you “pine” for a prior state ignorance and subordination to political manipulation is something you should ask yourself.

    • You apparently concede the fact that it’s all politics and that global warming is nothing but a hoax and scare tactic.

      • Got shallow? Try this on for size;

        http://www.tvo.org/TVO/WebObjects/TVO.woa?videoid?72107806001

        Just consider the general self-importance, pure arrogance of this panel. No one ever discusses the affiliation of the science community itself or it is quickly minimized.

        Go look the Union of Concerned Scientists and the cartoons on this thread, do you have any doubt what they are about politically?

        If you suffer through the clip, is there a single party who isn’t a liberal/left of center person on the clip? No, there isn’t. It is Canada of course but really this is how discussions should go? Can you imagine how they talk without cameras running? The smug, pompous confidence in IPCC group think bleeds through most every word.

        Main theme of the link; skeptics are irrational and emotional when in fact the opposite is true. AGW is the eco-fringe activist movement. The science is uncertain twaddle. Does Dr. Curry once point out that Climate Alarmism could just be flat out wrong in it’s conclusions? Are any of the actors on the clip self-identified as left of center?

        It’s a whine fest of course but it says plenty about what the consensus is really about. Blind to their own ideologue culture as they bury their heads in their “expert” status.

  21. Daniel Boorstin wrote a chapter on the great American insults of the 19th Century. It was in his series The Americans somewhere that he quoted insults that went on for a paragraph. Before Hemingway spoiled things, Americans loved to be wordy, and insults were grand and flowery. Now, we can do little better than ‘you suck.’ Try “The Americans: The National Experience.”

    • “Before Hemingway spoiled things, Americans loved to be wordy, . . .”

      Terse prose has always been a a part of the American style. Look at the Gettysburg Address. Look at the Declaration of Independence. Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) — try finding a word of more than three syllables in her poetry, you’ll be there a while.

      Hemingway gets a bad rap. Try “The Sun Also Rises.” He can pull out a complex sentence when he needs it.

  22. Dr Curry
    It is, IMHO, fruitless to engage with the Dragonslayers. They have a belief. They are not true skeptics. Nothing will ever persuade them. They believe in their model as the warmistas (alarmists, believers, consensus-acceptors – whatever the PC cognomen du jour is) believe. Please don’t waste the energies of your loyal Denizens in a fruitless cause.
    Better to treat the Dragonslayers as trolls – ignore them.

    • Which party is most closely linked to a fascist inclination? Is it wise to ignore and just treat you like a troll Jan v J?

      • “Which party is most closely linked to a fascist inclination?”

        That would be the ultra-far right Tea Party

        (did I win a cookie?)

      • No Louise, it really looks like it may be U.S…

        In our Nation’s Capitol, in the House of Representatives, on the wall behind & on either side of the Speaker’s chair, are two ‘fasces’, representing the power of the law over the people of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire represents the ‘legs of iron’, in the book of Daniel 2:33. Next is the empire described as: Iron mixed with clay… hmmm UN.

        “The term fascismo is derived from the Latin word fasces. The fasces, which consisted of a bundle of rods that were tied around an axe, was an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrate. They were carried by his lictors and could be used for corporal and capital punishment at his command. The word fascismo also relates to political organizations in Italy known as fasci, groups similar to ‘guilds or syndicates’.

        The symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break.”

        Talk about your O-cult…

      • Wanting the government to live within its means is now described by the mass murdering hate filled left as “ultra-far right”?

        Go abort someone Louise. It will cheer you up.

      • Judith –

        “Go abort someone Louise. It will cheer you up.”

        this can’t be for real, are you happy for your blog to be used in this way?

      • Are you offended easily by legal medical procedures?

      • ian (not the ash)

        “Go abort someone Louise. It will cheer you up.”

        So much for panache…

      • If this is the way you are going to discuss things, please STFU. You are helping give all us Bruces a bad name.

    • Jan v J,

      You are right in that nothing appears to make any effect on them, whatever the reason. There may be some behind the screen influence for some of them, but certainly not to all.

      The question is then, is it better to just ignore them trusting / hoping that also others ignore them or go through all we have seen here thinking that it might have an effect on what others think about these arguments.

      I don’t know, what’s the right answer to that, and we’ll not know even afterwards, because counterfactual histories will never be available for comparison.

    • “Dr Curry
      It is, IMHO, fruitless to engage with the Dragonslayers. They have a belief. They are not true skeptics. Nothing will ever persuade them. They believe in their model as the warmistas (alarmists, believers, consensus-acceptors – whatever the PC cognomen du jour is) believe.”

      So, assume you are correct.
      But realize you are trying to proselytize. If you weren’t proselytizing
      you wouldn’t see discussion as futile.
      I don’t mind talking to Christians, unless they insist on wasting a lot
      time trying to make me believe the same thing they believe in.
      It seems to me the Christian wasting time trying to sell the their religion,
      are doing so because they have some unexamined fundamental doubts in their faith.
      My “solution” is to address their problem.
      Not because I want to change their beliefs [why should I care, I would rather they didn't] but because the discussion is less boring, as compared to hearing shallow unconsidered talking points, repeated endlessly.

  23. Ah, I detect a slight hint of Godwin’s Law being needed. How “green” was Adolf? Have you actually read Agenda 21 and the writings of its most ardent supporters? Oops!

    • Go for broke. Navigate to n*a*z*i dot org without the asterisks. We have some strange creatures inhabiting the outer reaches of the internet.

  24. Lest yee forget until recently global warming alarmism was your most gutless of choices and only now obvious evidence of a malevolent predilection.

  25. Hey Jude, how about a post about climate on other planets and moons? I notice your text book has entries on Venus, Mars, Titan etc. Maybe you could pull from that?

  26. Arguing with the Dragonslayers reminds me of one of the best movies ever made, “A Man for All Seasons.”

    Thomas More: What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
    Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?

    We’ve already seen the Dragonslayers cut down modern physics, statistical thermodynamics, even the distributive law of algebra to get at their “Devil.” How I wish Paul Scofield was around to lecture them.

    • Carve the statistics,
      Longspoon sups with Piltdown Mann.
      Hide the vomitus.
      ==========

    • I think enough people and organizations on the AGW have expressed the wish for their opponents to be symbolically (at least) burned at the stake that your preference for Thomas More.

      “In total there were six heretics burned at the stake during More’s Chancellorship: Thomas Hitton, Thomas Bilney, Richard Bayfield, John Tewkesbery, Thomas Dusgate, and James Bainham.

      Burning at the stake had long been a standard punishment for heresy—about thirty burnings had taken place in the century before More’s elevation to Chancellor, and burning continued to be used by both Catholics as well as Protestants during the religious upheaval of the following decades.

      Ackroyd notes that More explicitly “approved of Burning”. After the case of John Tewkesbury, a London leather-seller found guilty by More of harbouring banned books and sentenced to burning for refusing to recant, More declared: he “burned as there was neuer wretche I wene better worthy.”

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

      • I said I liked the movie (and the actor), not the man (who was of his time).

      • Yes. An AGW supporter prefers fiction to fact. No surprise the Hockey Stick is still defended.

      • Please find and link a comment from me on this site or anywhere else taking a position on AGW, or take your crude and uninformed attacks elsewhere.

      • Bruce is outdoing himself in boorishness today. Going for a record, methinks and forsooth, as it were.

      • I think being a little pointed about AGW supporters trying to prevent anyone who believes in God from ever being President is not boorish.

        “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

        I’m pretty sure that means you don’t lose your job over your religious beliefs.

        Do you think otherwise David Wojick?

      • Looking back I found a lot of insults from you directed at the Skydragons. Crackot was quite common.

      • Crackpot …

      • Ah yes, the old “Mommy, mommy, they did it firrrrrrsssst, Mommy,” line of defense.

        I guess for some folks, it never gets old, eh?

      • I think pointing out that David N prefers the fictional Thomas More to the factual Thomas More who burned heretics at the stake is hardly similar to you calling for your mommy.

        Many AGW supporters do call for people’s careers to be ended (a metaphorical burning at the stake) if they do not share your chicken little AGW syndrome.

        I think on this thread there were many AGW supporters calling for Perry’s career to be ended for not kowtowing to AGW.

      • Bruce – apparently you missed my point.

        Even if you were right about David’s boorishness (I have no dog in that fight), you justified your boorish behavior on the basis of what you identified as boorish behavior on the part of someone else.

        All I can say about that is that when I was about four, my parents explained to me that two wrongs don’t make a right. Now having studied developmental psychology, I learned about certain developmentally crucial periods, were if certain cognitive development doesn’t take place, one’s future development will be forever altered (think of the Wild Child of Aveyron). So it may not be your fault. But I would say that if you were taught that lesson at the appropriate age, now would be the time to reflect back and put that lesson into practice.

      • What wrong did I commit for you to start calling for your mommy?

        What behavior was David N calling me boorish … accusing him of being an AGW supporter?

        Pointing out that Thomas More burned heretics and maybe he shouldn’t consider him a hero

        How cruel and nasty.

      • 1. “A Man for All Seasons” is a really good movie. Really. Watch it. “The Untouchables” was not bad. Doesn’t mean I like Al Capone.

        2. Claes called himself a crackpot first. I merely agreed.

        3. A man who rejects basic algrebra and physics while attempting to make a scientific argument can arguably be called a crackpot on a factual basis.

        4. You didn’t find me taking any position on AGW. You shot your mouth off whithout knowing any facts. Never assume.

      • Actually, considering the track record of supporting the hockey stick and the hockey team I always assume the IPCC and those who defend the IPCC are wrong until they prove otherwise. I take no assertions of superior knowledge at face value.

        Even fictional whitewashes of religious fanatics who burn heretics at the stake have no appeal to me.

      • Show me a comment where I said I was a member of the IPCC, defended the IPCC, supported the hockey stick, or leave me alone and go back to checking all forms of art and science for ideological purity.

      • Even those who defend the positions of the IPCC without referencing the IPCC directly are suspect until proven otherwise.

      • Link to a post where I defended a position of the IPCC.

    • The movie did have a flaw. A scene with a character (can’t recall who, perhaps More) meeting the King on the beach on returning from France was shot near Bamburgh in NE England. I knew the area well, and spotted a World War II pill-box (defensive fortification) in the background. (It would not have been apparent to those not acquainted with those dunes.)

  27. “I would prefer a creationist president over one who sat in a racist church for 20 years absorbing Reverend Wright’s evil.”

    Boy is this a rhetorical stretch. Is that really the best you can do? It’s so 2008. That aside, a creationist President would be an international embarrassment from which this poor riven country of ours would never recover in my opinion. That it could conceivably happen given Obama’s weakness, it beyond depressing.

  28. I wish I were. Your premise, that Obama is somehow a racist is piteable. Moreover, it’s classic projection. I’m truly nauseous.

    • Are you implying black people (or partially back people) cannot be racists?

      Isn’t that a racist sentiment?

  29. “Al Gore’s temper fit is a signal that the great global warming crusade, that has had such a sweet run for the last decade or more, is finally over.

    For those who have a wish to hear the grating sound of a man distempered and frustrated that the cause for which he has given at least a decade of his time, the “greatest moral challenge of our time,” is lost, I recommend listening to Al Gore as he was captured during an address at an Aspen global warming conference two weeks ago. It is a revelation.

    Mr. Gore is not a happy Jeremiah. You hear him on the tape near rage, repeatedly shouting “bulls–t” over the arguments of his critics. He raves about conspiracy – a rebirth of the tactics of the dreaded tobacco industry of a few decades back. He blames “media manipulation” for the refusal of people to take up his gloomy summons. He hisses at “volcanoes and sunspots” as having much or anything to do with climate. “Bulls–!” he cries over and over – perhaps it’s the methane content that has him mesmerized with the word. Listen to this aria: “They pay pseudo-scientists to pretend to be scientists to put out the message: ‘This climate thing, it’s nonsense. Man-made CO2 doesn’t trap heat. It may be volcanoes.’ Bulls-t! ‘It may be sun spots.’ Bulls–t! ‘It’s not getting warmer.’ Bulls–t!”

    For that, Mr. Gore himself has a lot of blame to carry. His own “sputtering righteousness” and his adolescent barks of “bulls–t” to his critics may be a reverse of the Obama declaration. Gore’s meltdown might just be the moment when the people of the planet saw the carney show for what it was.

    http://thegwpf.org/opinion-pros-a-cons/3668-rex-murphy-global-warming-runs-out-of-gas.html

    • Gore’s right. The idea that the recent warming is caused by Sunspots is BS. So too is the idea that volcanoes are doing it. Can’t fault the man for calling it as it is.

      • Haven’t the AGW apologists attempted to explain away the lack of warming by blaming sulfate aerosols?

        And therefore the shortage of volcanoes is the cause of recent cooling.

        “Deshler, who was not involved in the new aerosol study, says explosive volcanic events comparable to the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 are rare. Five to six years after the Pinatubo eruption, climate modelers assumed the cooling effect from stratospheric aerosols had returned to the negligible levels recorded before the eruption.

        But the stratospheric aerosol levels didn’t return to zero. Daniel found that they have increased over the past decade even without a major eruption. He wondered if this was the reason for the slowdown in atmospheric warming.”

        http://www.voanews.com/english/news/environment/Study-Upper-Atmosphere-Particles-Slow-Pace-of-Global-Warming-127323103.html

      • And yet lo and behold claims that recent warming is due to volcanoes or sunspots are still BS.

      • Well, Gore is full of BS for sure. Always has been.

        As for sunspots … maybe he is deliberately trying to confuse his listeners since one of the many changes that have occurred over the 20th century is an increase of bright sunshine. The mount of energy reaching the earths surface HAS changed.

        And anyone who looks into AGW will note that many, many variables have changed, but the AGW cult members always try and blame it on CO2 while minimizing or ignoring other changes.

      • If you peek at the science it is very clear that the significance of the warming influence from rising greenhouse gases is on solid ground. Alternative explanations like sunspots or volcanoes suffer from serious flaws in contrast. Sure factor them in, but you aren’t going to get a lot of warming from sunspots when they’ve trended flat for 50 years. I think Gore will go down in the history books as being one of the few politicians brave enough to get it right.

      • If you peek at the science it is very clear that the significance of the warming influence from rising greenhouse gases is on solid ground.

        Do you mean to say on quick sand?

        http://bit.ly/o7w5fq

      • Again, I’ll repeat, bright sunshine is up over the 20th century. AGWers ignore other factors like increased UV.

        “A peer-reviewed paper [Krivova et al.] published in the Journal of Geophysical Research finds that reconstructions of total solar irradiance (TSI) show a significant increase since the Maunder minimum in the 1600’s during the Little Ice Age and shows further increases over the 19th and 20th centuries…..Use of the Stefan-Boltzmann equation indicates that a 1.25 W/m2 increase in solar activity could account for an approximate .44C global temperature increase…..A significant new finding is that portions of the more energetic ultraviolet region of the solar spectrum increased by almost 50% over the 400 years since the Maunder minimum…..This is highly significant because the UV portion of the solar spectrum is the most important for heating of the oceans due to the greatest penetration beyond the surface and highest energy levels. Solar UV is capable of penetrating the ocean to depths of several meters to cause ocean heating.” [N. A. Krivova, L. E. A. Vieira, S. K. Solanki 2010: Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 115, A12112, 11 PP., 2010 doi:10.1029/2010JA015431]”

        http://www.c3headlines.com/2011/01/new-research-indicates-that-80-of-modern-global-warming-is-due-to-increased-solar-activity.html

      • But does “over the 20th century” mean before 1950? If it does you are going to have a hard time showing how warming in recent decades can be caused by a Sun that peaked in output around 1950.

        I would say it’s necessary to at least show it’s possible to explain recent warming as solar caused with a reasonably competent model in order to advance that possibility.

      • Global brightening occurred in the 1920s/40s time frame then global dimming occurred and then global brightening occurred since the late 1980s.

        Martin Wild has authored several papers on the brightening/dimming/brightening cycle.

        Potsdam – http://i51.tinypic.com/eb3pmb.jpg

        UK

        Pick UK, Sunshine, Annual here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/actualmonthly/

        And lots of others.

      • BSRN average is .5W/m2 per year change

        Thats huge.

        http://i55.tinypic.com/34qk01z.jpg

      • We have sunspot data for the last 100 years, we don’t need to average surface measurements of incoming sunlight to know how the Sun has changed in this regard. Sunspots increased in the early 20th century but plateaued after that. The overall sunspot trend has been as good as flat since the 50s compared to that early 20th century rise.

      • even the TSI reconstruction you linked to shows solar irradiance flat since the 50s:
        http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c0148c7381fc0970c-pi

        Not surprisingly as it seems to be based off sunspots.

      • lolwot: “we don’t need to average surface measurements of incoming sunlight”

        AGWers don’t. It makes it harder for them to stick their fingers in their ears to try and drown out information that challenges their pet theory.

        For those with an open mind, one might ask why none of this is in the IPCC report. The answer is obvious. It ruins the CO2 is evil narrative they try and stick to.

      • TSI is not the amount of bright sunshine striking the earths surface. I am not talking about TSI.

        It is quite common for those who do not wish to understand that a sunny day can put up to 1000W/sqm of energy onto the earths surface while the exact same day can be 400 W/sqm lower or more in energy on a cloudy day.

        .5W/sqm per year can lead to a change of 5W/sqm per decade which far surpasses current claimed warming by CO2. The theoretical extra warming from a doubling of CO2 is around 3.2W/sqm and such a doubling has not occured yet.

      • “I am not talking about TSI.”

        Yet you linked to an article on TSI and sunspots in the first place….So it’s not about the Sun at all then? A change in albedo is not a change in the Sun.

        “.5W/sqm per year can lead to a change of 5W/sqm per decade which far surpasses current claimed warming by CO2. The theoretical extra warming from a doubling of CO2 is around 3.2W/sqm and such a doubling has not occured yet.”

        The .5wm-2 sunlight surface increase is not a forcing as it is a change to the surface not the top of atmosphere, so it cannot be compared directly with the CO2 forcing.

        “For those with an open mind, one might ask why none of this is in the IPCC report. The answer is obvious. It ruins the CO2 is evil narrative they try and stick to.”

        It is in the IPCC report. For those with an open mind, one might ask why you just assumed it wasn’t.

      • lolwot, I tried facts. You aren’t interested. Nothing changes with your cult.

      • I questioned whether those were facts.

        Eg this fact:
        “For those with an open mind, one might ask why none of this is in the IPCC report. The answer is obvious. It ruins the CO2 is evil narrative they try and stick to.”

        Yet here it is in the IPCC report:
        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch3s3-4-4-2.html

        Additionally you cited an article that confused a change in TSI as a change in solar forcing:
        “Use of the Stefan-Boltzmann equation indicates that a 1.25 W/m2 increase in solar activity could account for an approximate .44C global temperature increase”

        The increase in TSI was 1.25wm-2. But that corresponds to an increase in solar forcing of 0.22wm-2, which by the above logic means solar activity could account for approximately less than 0.1C of 20th century warming? Of course I don’t buy the above logic anyway – it assumes a low climate sensitivity.

        You also cited a study by Wild that a 0.5wm-2/year increase in downwelling shortwave at the surface since around 1990. You regarded that as a forcing, but really it isn’t. A forcing is a radiative change at the tropopause, not at the surface.

        Here’s a PDF of a presentation by Wild that shows that the data updated to 2009 the increase is reduced to 0.32wm-2/year:
        http://www.gewex.org/BSRN/BSRN-11_presentations/Tues-MartinWild.pdf

        It also provides context as to the cause of increase in downwelling sunlight at the surface – it looks like part of a recovery to earlier global dimming due to global aerosol emissions. At least the presentation shows that climate models reproduce the pattern of dimming and then recent brightening. The presentation and models also predict a reversal back to dimming due to increased aerosol emissions (eg China).

        Interestingly page 29 of the presentation shows that climate models expect downwelling longwave radiation at the surface to increase by 30wm-2 by 2100 due to rising greenhouse gases. The presentation says this will be the “largest change of all radiative fluxes:
        30 Wm-2 over 21th century”

      • Gore was never even nearly right. ‘A High Court judge today ruled that An Inconvenient Truth can be distributed to every school in the country but only if it comes with a note explaining nine scientific errors in Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film.’

        Volcanoes cause short term cooling as a result of sulphide emissions – tather than warming – indeed there is a suggestion that the volcanoes contributed to recent non warming – by some 0.1W/m^2. This can be compared however to a change of 2 W/m^2 in cloud radiative forcing post 1998. Much of recent warming seems to be a result the cloud feedbacks of Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. There are probably solar drivers for this.

        ‘In the first row, the slow increase of global upwelling LW flux at TOA from the 1980’s to the 1990’s, which is found mostly in lower latitudes, is confirmed by the ERBE-CERES records.’

        ‘The overall slight rise (relative heating) of global total net flux at TOA between the 1980’s and 1990’s is confirmed in the tropics by the ERBS measurements and exceeds the estimated climate forcing changes (greenhouse gases and aerosols) for this period. The most obvious explanation is the associated changes in cloudiness during this period.’

        http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/projects/browse_fc.html

        ‘Earth’s global albedo, or reflectance, is a critical component of the global climate as this parameter, together with the solar constant, determines the amount of energy coming to Earth. Probably because of the lack of reliable data, traditionally the Earth’s albedo has been considered to be roughly constant, or studied theoretically as a feedback mechanism in response to a change in climate. Recently, however, several studies have shown large decadal variability in the Earth’s reflectance. Variations in terrestrial reflectance derive primarily from changes in cloud amount, thickness and location, all of which seem to have changed over decadal and longer scales.’ http://www.bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/

        Judith Lean (2008) commented that ‘ongoing studies are beginning to decipher the empirical Sun-climate connections as a combination of responses to direct solar heating of the surface and lower atmosphere, and indirect heating via solar UV irradiance impacts on the ozone layer and middle atmospheric, with subsequent communication to the surface and climate. The associated physical pathways appear to involve the modulation of existing dynamical and circulation atmosphere-ocean couplings, including the ENSO and the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation. Comparisons of the empirical results with model simulations suggest that models are deficient in accounting for these pathways.’ Lean, J., (2008) How Variable Is the Sun, and What Are the Links Between This Variability and Climate?, Search and Discovery Article #110055

        It is related to decadal modulation of ENSO – e.g. ‘The relationship between hydroclimate and El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has been used in forecasting rainfall and streamflow. This paper presents a lag correlation analysis using rainfall and streamflow data from 284 Australian catchments that show that the ENSO-hydroclimate relationship is a lot stronger when the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) phase is negative compared to when it is positive. The remarkable contrast in the hydroclimate-ENSO relationship between the two IPO phases suggests that the IPO should be considered in developing forecast models, particularly for long lead-times.’

        http://www.mssanz.org.au/MODSIM03/Volume_01/A02/04_Chiew.pdf

        I am returning to my roots here – but the Intedecadal Pacific Oscillation is linked to surface temperature as well.

        More recent work is identifying abrupt climate changes working through the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Southern Annular Mode, the Artic Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole and other measures of ocean and atmospheric states. These are measurements of sea surface temperature and atmospheric pressure over more than 100 years which show evidence for abrupt change to new climate conditions that persist for up to a few decades before shifting again. Global rainfall and flood records likewise show evidence for abrupt shifts and regimes that persist for decades. In Australia, less frequent flooding from early last century to the mid 1940’s, more frequent flooding to the late 1970’s and again a low rainfall regime to recent times.

        Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

        It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

        The modes of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation last 20 to 40 years. As we are currently in a cool mode post 1998 – there seems a distinct possibility of a cooling influence for another 10 to 30 years.

        Beyond that – ‘climate shifts’ are theoretically not predictable at all.

      • Beyond that – ‘climate shifts’ are theoretically not predictable at all.

        Observation shows the shifts are predictable: the 1880s, 1910s, 1940s, 1970s & 2000s.

        http://bit.ly/qGcD9M

      • Girma,

        Prediction implies some insight into at least the present and to how persistent current conditions might be. But the notion that we have seen the limits of multi decadal variability in a record of 100 years is unlikely.

        I presume you are implying that because the shifts persist in the instrumental (and proxy) record for 20 to 40 years – the pattern will repeat. As it seems largely driven by the IPO – there is no pattern. It is a matter of chaotic birfurcation – a shift to a new phase space at irregular intervals of decades, centuries and millennia.

        A shift 5000 years ago from La Nina to El Nino dominant conditions for instance. Shifts over 100’s of years in cyclone intensity reconstructed from storm wrack on Australian beaches. What causes these changes?

        You have a guitar with one string. In scientific terms it is utterly meaningless – statistically incompetent – nonsense. In musical terms – it is a hugely annoying drone.

      • We have to work with what we have.

        Here is the question: What will be the GMT by the 2030s?

        I say about 0.13 deg C!

        http://bit.ly/o7w5fq

      • I assume you mean temperature will increase by that much. So the planet is warming hey? So that proves AGW?

      • Global mean temperature anomaly for 2030s => about 0.13 deg C from its current value of about 0.45 deg C.

      • No Girma is “predicting” a fall to .13.

        Girma. In 2012 what’s your prediction. what number will make you change your mind

      • Decadal predictability depends substantially on the what happens with the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation – actual numbers are BS.

      • Surely it would be more revealing for Girma to predict what the temperature was in 1200AD. I calculate according to Girma’s graph it must have been very very cold. Either that or the graph doesn’t apply to the past, in which case on what basis does it apply to the future?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Listen Numbnut – the the short term variability is there. It simply is.

        ‘Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

        It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

        A cooling infuence over the next decade or three seems likely because of natural variability – and you would have to be a moron to ignore the science in this.

        But to quantify near term predictions based on this is nonsense. Likewise to expect that the pattern is for alternating warming and cooling – based on a couple of 20th variations – is nonsense as well.

      • exactly but what I am thinking of that sets things apart these days is all those rising greenhouse gases

      • Some sanity and facts returned to a gone-astray thread.

      • Chief, your “Gore was never even nearly right. ‘A High Court judge today ruled that An Inconvenient Truth can be distributed to every school in the country but only if it comes with a note explaining nine scientific errors in Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film.’ ” is a bit selective.

        The “Gore was never even nearly right” part in particular is rather an exageration when actually “Mr Justice Burton said he had no complaint about Gore’s central thesis that climate change was happening and was being driven by emissions from humans.”.

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7037671.stm

        The court ruling

      • Daily Mail

      • Next, Bruce will link to the World Net Daily.

      • Come on Joshua, why not get really dirty and point out I linked to the left-wing commie NY Times”

        “Are you reading those liberal rags again? I thought that you said that you stopped reading them because what they print is entirely untrustworthy, and only intended to promote the socialistic goals of statists and eco-Nazis? Don’t you know that nothing printed in the NY Times can be trusted.”

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/08/20/a-modest-proposal-for-reforestation/#comment-102943

        Why not just change your name to “Mommy Mommy”.

      • “Come on Joshua, why not get really dirty . . .”

        I don’t think anyone wants to imitate your style.

        “Are you reading those liberal rags again? I thought that you said that you stopped reading them because what they print is entirely untrustworthy, and only intended to promote the socialistic goals of statists and eco-Nazis? Don’t you know that nothing printed in the NY Times can be trusted.”

        Hey, that’s not bad. We now know what Bruce would sound like in an alternate world in which his highly suggestible nature “imprinted” on the left. Still bellignorant, but from the other side.

        What’s up, Bruce? Are we pro-science folks being too nice, such that you have to insult yourself just to keep the insult-counter-insult trolling going?

        Maybe you need a new hobby. Not reading, you said how reality’s left-wing bias infuriates you. Seashell collection? Stamps?

      • Robert you are not pro-science. You and Mommy Mommy and Louise and lolwot are amazingly incurious about peer reviewed papers that do not support the IPCC and its obsession with CO2.

        Any attempt to discuss science usually ends up with you and your ilk attempting a smear of the source or the person passing on the information.

      • Robert –

        I just love posters like cown and Bruce (hunter seems to have turned it down a notch lately for some reason).

        They make my work so much easier.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Comment appeared up thread.

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/08/19/week-in-review-81911/#comment-103178

        Joshua…Robert…persisting in acting like weasels is not a job description – it’s vocation for you.

      • Yet another comment of substance, eh Chief?

        The unintentional irony continues unabated.

        Long live the Chief !! (of unintentional irony).

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Oh I forgot – you are a witless interlocutor whose only purpose is to act like a weasel. No irony – intended or otherwise. You have ‘work’ that involves making inane comment on blogs? You make comment long on undergraduate level sophistry and short on meaning in any reasonable understanding of the term. Your posts are pointless diversions intended only to disrupt and denigrate. You pick specific contributors to attack with malice. You gang up with Numbnut and Co. to drop in with short derogative comment at every opportunity. All one of which is BS because none of you have any understanding or love of natural philosophy.

        Your ‘unintended irony’ line emerges supposedly from me suggesting that anything more from me than justifed abuse of an intellectually shallow, noxious and disruptive weasel would requires some statement of substance from you first. This you seem incapable of and would rather dump your bile randomly in little weasel piles.

        I do have something substantial upthread – intended to reply to your long and tedious rants about sceptics and intelligent design – why don’t you try addressing that?

      • Sorry, Chief – I missed this earlier.

        Anyway, thanks for reading. It’s nice to know that I can always count on you.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You know I always love talking past you Josh

      • Sorry about the above, somebody quoted the Daily Mail as a source and I couldn’t resist posting this. However, the original post quoting the Daily Mail seems to have vanished.

      • As opposed to the Huffington Post;

        “Fighting Global Warming Could Stave Off Alien Invasion; Report”

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/19/global-warming-alien-invasion_n_931608.html

      • cwon –

        Why did you bring up the HuffPo. Did someone mention it?

        Oh. I forgot, you are compelled to introduce a straw man in the first sentence of all posts.

      • Most print media, regardless of political leanings are in fact rags. They get paid to sell things or as in the case of the U.S. Public Broadcasting system appeal to their base of support.

        I can find a demeaning a link on the NYTimes, any day of the week;

        http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/21/opinion/sunday/20110821_Kornbluth_President.html?ref=opinion

        Starting with the “opinion” section before you want knock the Daily Mail or National Inquirer for that matter.

        You have a thin skin Joshua for so one so obviously driven by partisan blood lust.

      • andrew adams

        No apology necessary Louise, I enjoyed it immensely.

        The Daily Mail must be in a bit of a quandry over AGW. On the one hand it’s yet more evidence of a big left wing plot and there is no real cause for alarm, on the other it’s something else that could give you cancer and affect house prices.

      • BBC’s Roger Harabin, being bullied by Gore (questions Inconvenient Truth)

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7040370.stm

        “Mr Gore’s implication that ice core records prove that CO2 rises drove shifts in Ice Ages – the judge is spot on.

        The vice-president cleverly lures the viewer into making the calculation that CO2 drove historical climate change by presenting graphs and asking the audience if they fit.

        The movie is product of a political debate – as is the court case

        Well, the graphs do fit – but what Mr Gore fails to mention in the film is that mainstream scientists believe that historically the temperature shifted due to our changing relationship with the Sun, with warmer climes unlocking CO2 from the oceans, which amplified global temperature rise.
        I challenged Mr Gore about this in an interview for the BBC’s Newsnight programme in March.

        He responded, accurately, that scientists believe that CO2 is now driving climate change – but that was not what his misleading historical graph showed.

        And after the interview he and his assistant stood over me shouting that my questions had been scurrilous, and implying that I was some sort of climate-sceptic traitor.

        It is miserable when such a vastly important debate is reduced to this. The film and the High Court row are, though, products of their time….”

  30. The Great Con …

    “Even shorter on hard facts, however, was Shukman’s report on a monster new wind farm off the coast of Cumbria, where a Swedish firm, Vattenfall, has spent £500 million on building 30 five‑megawatt turbines with a total “capacity” of 150MW. What Shukman did not tell us, because the BBC never does, is that, thanks to the vagaries of the wind, these machines will only produce a fraction of their capacity (30 per cent was the offshore average in the past two years). So their actual output is only likely to average 45MW, or £11 million per MW.

    Compare this with the figures for Britain’s newest gas-fired power station, recently opened in Plymouth. This is capable of generating 882MW at a capital cost of £400 million – just £500,000 for each megawatt. Thus the wind farm is 22 times more expensive, and could only be built because its owners will receive a 200 per cent subsidy: £40 million a year, on top of the £20 million they will get for the electricity itself. This we will all have to pay for through our electricity bills, whereas the unsubsidised cost of power from the gas plant, even including the price of the gas, will be a third as much.”

    http://thegwpf.org/opinion-pros-a-cons/3667-christopher-booker-the-bbc-steadfastly-avoids-the-facts-about-the-wind-farm-scam.html

  31. Best comment of the week @ Rabett Run

    Curry treats the planet as if it’s a great big departmental meeting.

    • No, I don’t treat the planet at all (other than by my puny personal impact on resources). I discuss science, and acknowledge that there is uncertainty and a range of perspectives. Similar to a departmental faculty meeting, everyone gets to have their say, and we try to come to some sort of sensible agreement regarding whatever decision needs to be made.
      Unlike a discussion of science, I personally make the final decision on a number of different issues involving the department.

      And while we’re at it, my teaching style in the classroom is to spend about 20 minutes lecturing, with the remainder of the 90 minutes being used for group collaborative learning, lightly moderated by myself to keep things on track, answer questions, and evaluate their work. This style carries over to the blog, but there is a two order of magnitude in the volume (i.e. number of comments), and I have a large number of TAs here who are very capable of providing substantial input and critiques of arguments.

  32. Following appearances of Loki and ET at the new age festival of the burning rabett – we might wonder at what wonders might next emerge. Time travellers from an apocalyptic future? Old idea. People who take their interweb non de plumes too seriously, speak of themselves in the third person and disappear up their own fundement? Been done. Although if that is the comment of the week – there might be reason to make a messy withdrawal of the head in order to rally the troops to at least passable efforts. .

    But – Naw – I got nothin’ better than this.

    ‘Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilizational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of Earth’s atmosphere (e.g. via greenhouse gas emissions), which therefore changes the spectral signature of Earth. While it is difficult to estimate the likelihood of this scenario, it should at a minimum give us pause as we evaluate our expansive tendencies.

    It is worth noting that there is some precedent for harmful universalism within humanity. This precedent is most apparent within universalist ethics that place intrinsic value on ecosystems. Human civilization affects ecosystems so strongly that some ecologists now often refer to this epoch of Earth’s history as the anthropocene [79]. If one’s goal is to maximize ecosystem flourishing, then perhaps it would be better if humanity did not exist, or at least if it existed in significantly reduced form. Indeed, there are some humans who have advanced precisely this argument [80-82]. If it is possible for at least some humans to advocate harm to their own civilization by drawing upon universalist ethical principles, then it is at a minimum plausible that ETI could advocate harm to humanity following similar principles.

    The possibility of harmful contact with ETI suggests that we may use some caution for METI. Given that we have already altered our environment in ways that may viewed as unethical by universalist ETI, it may be prudent to avoid sending any message that shows evidence of our negative environmental impact. The chemical composition of Earth’s atmosphere over recent time may be a poor choice for a message because it would show a rapid accumulation of carbon dioxide from human activity. Likewise, any message that indicates of widespread loss of biodiversity or rapid rates of expansion may be dangerous if received by such universalist ETI. On the other hand, advanced ETI may already know about our rapid environmental impact by listening to leaked electromagnetic signals or observing changes in Earth’s spectral signature. In this case, it might be prudent for any message we send to avoid denying our environmental impact so as to avoid the ETI catching us in a lie.’

    \

    • I’m with Jefferson Airplane on this one:

      “You are
      the Crown of Creation!”

      We are not homo perfectus, but we are surely the highest life form yet developed here. And while it’s hard to imagine that life has not arisen in many other parts of the universe and may well in some cases have far surpassed humanity, designing our policies on the basis that ET might be watching and not like them is substituting science-fiction as a religion for a god/God-centred one. The great arbiter above the clouds. Whooo.

      • I’m with Steven Hiller – Y’know, this was supposed to be my weekend off. But no! You got me out here, draggin’ your heavy ass, through the burnin’ desert, with your dreadlocks sticking out the back of my parachute. You gotta come down here with an attitude, actin’ all big and bad. And what the hell is that smell?! [screams and kicks the alien] I could’ve been at a barbecue!

        We are born with a sense of the oneness of the universe a knowledge of good and evil and a personal relationship with God. Giving that up for an idea about evolution is a poor exchange. Let’s see – spiritual wealth or secular materialism? Hmmm – hard choice.

        I’m not even certain that evolution makes sense at all in a four dimensional universe.

        ‘Since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent “now” objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence.’ Albert Einstein

      • Chief,

        Did Albert Einstein have an exact location to find this forth dimension?
        Other than in his head, no exact location can be found with all objects
        moving at unknown speeds and directions to get an exact bearing.

        Sorry. Joe Lalonde (couch potato scientist)

      • Joe – it is the space/time continuum of course. 3 spatial dimensions and time.

  33. Michael Larkin

    Many of us have rebelled against the Abrahamic God (who at times seems as much devilish as divine), and switched over to what Alan Watts calls the “automatic” narrative myth, where everything happens without intent. Intelligence wasn’t there from the start, but is an epiphenomenon that serendipitously appeared in man. And so, we can be free of the Great Dictator and the threat of eternal damnation unless we do as He says, even if that necessitates accepting the utter pointlessness of existence.

    The God-as-potter and automatic narrative myths are equally metaphysical, and proponents of either can be just as fanatically attached to them. I myself rather like the non-Abrahamic narrative of the Hindus, which isn’t too far from the more esoteric understanding of the Trinity (which tends to panentheism).

    Everything is unified: there is no real separation between you, me, electrons, flowers, galaxies and butterflies. All are just different ways for Brahman (the nearest thing Hindus have to “God”) to experience itself. We are all God (or maybe Sons of God). We don’t so much evolve as remember more and more about what we truly are: a particular aspect of a Brahman that is playing a game of hide-and-seek with Itself to stave off eternal boredom.

    Having fixed ideas about how the universe works, and disparaging those of others, closes off consideration of interesting and entertaining possibilities. There is at least one ID proponent I can think of whose intellect and articulacy positively sparkles: Stephen C. Meyer. Had I fixed metaphysical ideas, I couldn’t have brought myself to investigate his work, or that of Rupert Sheldrake, or Alan Watts, each of whom, for me, is as engaging and thought-provoking as, say, Richard Feynman. Certainly, they are all intellectual giants, and who cares whether or not they are right if they broaden one’s horizons?

    There are many hours of spell-binding audiovisual materials concerning these people on YouTube. I wish we’d all unplug heads from backsides and take a look at what else is out there. And if we can’t be bothered to do that, then at least we could learn civility and respect for one another’s narratives. Yes, I know it’s not always easy, and I’m not immune to transgression either.

    • You might like to look at my post of August 21, 2011 at 3:25 am (5.35 pm in Brisbane). I’ve never been one for symbolism or received wisdom, whether or not there is a god or gods, we know that there is human suffering, and I refer above to a universal, non-sectarian, scientifically-based method of dealing with it, which has no belief systems or dogma.

      More info: http://www.dhamma.org/

  34. Michael Larkin

    Damn; the above post of mine should have followed this one: no idea what happened.

    I’m fascinated by those who seek to link scepticism in one area with scepticism in another. The idea is, I suppose, to discredit the likelihood of being correct in the one instance by the likelihood of being incorrect in the other. Hence because a sceptical climate scientist is, let us say, a creationist (thus sceptical of evolutionary theory), then automatically, not only is that scientist wrong in his views about AGW, but (i) AGW scepticism must be wrong whether or not a person is a creationist, and (ii) if a person is an AGW sceptic, then he is probably an evolution-denying crypto-creationist.

    Actually, I don’t know of any climate scientist who is a Young Earth Creationist. Roy Spencer, for example, believes in ID but apparently accepts a long geological record. ID itself has no relationship with climate science, or necessary connection to a specific religious sect.

    Nor is ID necessarily incompatible with evolution. Consider the programmer who programs a machine tool to carve out an artefact of his own design. When he checks the artefact, he finds that he could have designed it better, and so modifies his program. Over a number of iterations, he gradually improves instances of the artefact.

    What has evolved here? Is it the artefact, or the knowledge and understanding of the programmer? I would say the latter, but nonetheless, anyone looking at the artefacts alone without knowing of the existence of the programmer would detect increasing sophistication without being able to demonstrate one artefact actually evolving into another.

    This last might not be an entirely unreasonable working hypothesis that that’s what actually happened. Likewise, it’s reasonable to suppose that, looking at the fossil record, where in general less sophisticated organisms come before more sophisticated ones, the former actually developed into the latter without the necessity for a designer. But one would see exactly the same thing if there actually were a designer, and if what had actually evolved were the designer, not the organisms themselves.

    The trouble is, Christianity has an Abrahamic concept of an omnipotent/omniscient God, and the narrative myth of God-as-potter. It presents no concept of a non-omnipotent, non-omniscient creator who actually evolves in response to feedback from His creations, improving them utilising the “tools” available, viz. matter and the natural laws of the universe.

    This is still a somewhat crude narrative myth, because God, tools and creations are separate. However, in more esoteric understandings, the three are one (Father, Spirit, and Son, all of the same substance), and, who knows, may evolve in tandem. Interestingly, Rupert Sheldrake hypothesises that the laws of the universe do indeed evolve; once a thing happens, it is more likely to happen again, and with enough repetition, a thing can become a “Cosmic habit”.

    • tobbacco, holocaust, moon landing, spherical earth, limits to growth – deniers all.

    • Micheal-

      Hence because a sceptical climate scientist is, let us say, a creationist (thus sceptical of evolutionary theory), then automatically, not only is that scientist wrong in his views about AGW, but (i) AGW scepticism must be wrong whether or not a person is a creationist, and (ii) if a person is an AGW sceptic, then he is probably an evolution-denying crypto-creationist.

      I would agree with you. A climate scientist who is also a creationist (a YEC or some other variety) is not “automatically”wrong in his view. And certainly, the fact that a climate scientist might be a creationist (a YEC or some other variety) would not then cause “skepticism” to be wrong. For sure, one climate scientist being wrong would not mean that all “skeptics” are evolution-denying crypto-creationists.

      Now perhaps you have read someone make those arguments, in which case your points wouldn’t amount to some King Kong-sized straw men, but I haven’t read anyone making those arguments. But even if I had, I would fully agree with you, 100%, that those arguments would be wrong.

      All of that said – if a climate scientist is a creationist, and particularly if he is a YEC, and he thinks that his belief in creationism is supported by scientific facts, and if he believes as David H. stated above (i.e., I”m not making up a straw man about what people say) that ID is a “major” scientific theory, then I think that we know something very particular about that climate scientist’s view of science, and his/her view of what constitutes scientific evidence. We can also know that the climate scientist’s view of science is dramatically influence by religious doctrine (correlation does not prove causation, but I would be highly, highly, surprised if less than 100% of climate scientists who believe that ID is a scientifically supported theory are fundamentalist Christians).

      Further, if a relatively significant amount of “skeptics” are creationists, and particular YEC’s, and if they believe that ID is a scientific theory supported by scientific evidence, that doesn’t tell us anything about the “skeptics” who aren’t creationists, but it does tell us something about how that segment of “skeptics” that are creationists view science and evaluate scientific evidence.

      • Actually some of the intellectual leaders of ID appear to be atheists. I’m pretty sure Michael Berliner is, for example.

      • Really? Got some links?

      • Given that ID is predicated upon a supernatural being that controls evolution – in fact that the evolution of the world requires the guidance of a supernatural being – it seems just a tad unlikely that intellectual leaders of ID would be atheists.

      • Isn’t there a version of ID that just calls for aliens?

      • My god – I thought you were joking:’

        Dembski, in The Design Inference, speculates that an alien culture could fulfill these requirements. Of Pandas and People proposes that SETI illustrates an appeal to intelligent design in science.

        Interesting given all the guffawing that’s been going on these past few days about the NASA research involving aliens and climate change. Guffaw as NASA? No problem. Guffaw as IDers? WARMIST!!!!

      • John Carpenter

        Jim D and Joshua,

        I don’t know if there is an ‘alien’ ID version, but I can see an idea in ID in which the designer is not a ‘supernatural’ being. Perhaps religious folks would interpret such a designer as ‘supernatural’, but perhaps there are beings that are so beyond our intellect, so much more ‘evolved’, we would see them as a ‘god’. I don’t want to come across as a nut job here, but I have to hold out a probability (maybe very small) that we (life on this planet) are part of a design set in motion by an advanced being to let itself ‘evolve’ on its own (an experiment if you will). This allows the idea of a creator and evolution to both exist simultaneously. A scientist who thinks in this way would not cause me any alarm. However, a YEC would likely not embrace this theory.

      • This spam-catcher is getting out of control:

        I’ll repost in parts. The original post may appear anyway.

        John –

        Thanks for the post.

        Beyond Dembski – (noted above), if you read the Wikipedia entry, you will see a lot of evidence that ID is, explicitly, predicated on the existence of a supernatural being – in fact, upon a Christian God.

        Even Demski, actually, is on board with that.

        In this work Dembski lists a god or an “alien life force” as two possible options for the identity of the designer; however, in his book Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology, Dembski states that “Christ is indispensable to any scientific theory, even if its practitioners don’t have a clue about him. The pragmatics of a scientific theory can, to be sure, be pursued without recourse to Christ. But the conceptual soundness of the theory can in the end only be located in Christ.”.

      • John –

        the spam-catcher ate my post.

        It may reappear (I tried multiple times). If it doesn’t, I’ll try to repost from my saved version in sections.

      • Apparently many YEC’s don’t accept ID, because they think that it isn’t biblical enough.

        If you read the Wikipedia entry, you will see a discussion of the idea of ID and evolution co-existing.

        As for your thoughts – yes, I suppose that one could (logically) envision a structure where ID and evolution co-exist without a supernatural designer, but:

        (1) have you considered the logistics involved? I mean, really, could a non-supernatural being “design” the universe as an experiment,

        (2) then you have the sticky problem of whether that non supernatural designer was a product of intelligent design or not. If you think not, then you aren’t really a proponent of ID. If yes, then wouldn’t that designer of the non supernatural designer have to be supernatural?,

        (3) what you would be describing is, explicitly, not what the Davids and Mike and I were discussing. That ID, explicitly, requires a supernatural “designer.” – it is predicated on the idea that the universe could not have evolved absent a supernatural designer.

      • Part II (the problem is somewhere in this section)

        John-

        For most IDers (if not all) Wikipedia shows that ID is, explicitly, predicated on the existence of a supernatural being – in fact, religion specific..

        Even Dembski, note above regarding aliens:

      • Part II, con’t…

        I can’t get Dembski’s quote past the spam-catcher. Anyway, he says that there ain’t no scientific theory without J.C.

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua,

        Yes, you are correct. I know the ID theory came from christianity. My sister is an evangelical born again and she gave me a book on ID to read. I never did finish it… just not a thoery I could buy into. What I meant was, there is an ‘idea’ in ID that could hold true. The ‘designer’ does not necessarily have to have created the universe. The designer may have mearly created the conditions for life to evolve on this particular planet. If such a designer existed, I’m sure it would be considered ‘godlike’ by many of our species.

      • OK, John.

        I think I get it now. So you’re reducing the scope of this ID theory. But in doing so, you might be raising the bar for “evidence” as it has been argued in this thread – because it has been argued that the “evidence” is the irreducible complexity of the universe, and now you’re eliminating that as potential evidence.

      • To me, the genetic code is an amazing consequence of nature, and it is easy to see how some may think it designed. The fact that triplets in the genetic sequence code for amino acids that themselves join into functional 3D proteins has levels of abstraction like a computer program, There are even start and stop statements in the genetic code. I marvel at this part of nature.

      • Joshua, there’s your spam problem right there. Spelling out the C part of JC (not Judith Curry), does get blocked. I had trouble with Cristy spelled properly.

      • Yeah – I thought that might be it, and that’s why I used the abbreviation. It was hard to find because there was more than one instance of that word in my post. What a bizarre thing for the spam-catcher to get hung up on.

      • Yes, I wondered when I hit this before if WordPress has any religious blogs, and how they get by. (i note also that I spell WordPress with a small p and it corrects it).

      • Joshua, Remember? ‘Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.’ Just, where do you see, ‘evolution’?

      • Ton – The fact that I have resisted taking advantage of your comments is proof of evolution.

  35. Here in Australia the legend of the Min Min Light is real and is regularly observed by the populace.
    I for one.

  36. Micheal-

    Looks like the spam-catcher got this one also, so I’ll repost in segments:

    Hence because a sceptical climate scientist is, let us say, a creationist (thus sceptical of evolutionary theory), then automatically, not only is that scientist wrong in his views about AGW, but (i) AGW scepticism must be wrong whether or not a person is a creationist, and (ii) if a person is an AGW sceptic, then he is probably an evolution-denying crypto-creationist.

    I would agree with you. A climate scientist who is also a creationist (a YEC or some other variety) is not “automatically”wrong in his view. And certainly, the fact that a climate scientist might be a creationist (a YEC or some other variety) would not then cause “skepticism” to be wrong. For sure, one climate scientist being wrong would not mean that all “skeptics” are evolution-denying crypto-creationists.

    • Part II:

      Now perhaps you have read someone make those arguments, in which case your points wouldn’t amount to some King Kong-sized straw men, but I haven’t read anyone making those arguments. But even if I had, I would fully agree with you, 100%, that those arguments would be wrong.

      All of that said – if a climate scientist is a creationist, and particularly if he is a YEC, and he thinks that his belief in creationism is supported by scientific facts, and if he believes as David H. stated above (i.e., I”m not making up a straw man about what people say) that ID is a “major” scientific theory, then I think that we know something very particular about that climate scientist’s view of science, and his/her view of what constitutes scientific evidence. We can also know that the climate scientist’s view of science is dramatically influence by religious doctrine (correlation does not prove causation, but I would be highly, highly, surprised if less than 100% of climate scientists who believe that ID is a scientifically supported theory are fundamentalist Christians).

    • Joshua,

      With regard to “intelligent design,” Wiki’s entry for that term contains three observations of nature that support the idea of an “intelligent” plan of design for the universe. You’ve mentioned two perviously–irreducible and specified complexity–and there is a third, termed “fine-tuned universe.”

      It strikes me that the above arguments, while not scientific “proofs”, are observations drawn from nature in a scientific manner that plausibly support an inference of intelligent design in the universe. To mangle a famous illustration, if one finds a pocket watch in the Sahara Desert one can either imagine it to be the product of a watchmaker or the product of a freakish random assemblage of molecules. Either theory accomodates the facts and observations and our current understanding of science, but one survives the slashing attack of Occam’s razor better than the other, it seems to me.

      In that latter regard, I have read (SciAm, I believe), that at a recent conference the multi-verse theory was voted the leading mainstream scientific explanation of the “fine-tuned universe.” In the unlikely event that I have a even a vague understanding of the multi-verse theory, it posits (in one form) that there is some sort of a primaeval vacuum which pops out universes like a pop-corn popper pops pop-corn. And given the the kajillon of universes thus created one (more likely a near infinitude) is bound to exibit the the physical features of our own home sweet home. Thus ruling out any component of “intelligence” in the origins of our universe.

      Assuming, I’ve even half-gotten this multi-verse theory right, it strikes me it has more in common with Ptolemy’s epi-cycles than anything else–absent compelling scientific arguments to the contrary, of course. In addition, the multi-verse theory still doesn’t get us over the hurdle of the Cosmological Argument, it seems to me–just where did the Flying-Spaghetti-Monster-Great-Pumpkin primaeval vacuum come from?

      To wrap things up, Josh, I’ve boldly laid out my intellectual limitations in this comment and the previous related one. Show me where I’m wrong, please. And, for the record, I have a heart-mind conflict on this whole issue. My heart has an unshakable belief in the Almighty (I’ve tried to shake that belief more than once without success) while a portion of my mind, at least, harbors a contempt for theist explanations of nature that would do Louise proud.

      • Joshua,

        Looks like my first comment failed to post. In brief, it argued:

        -That what Wiki calls the Cosmological Argument uses the venerable logic that the origin of the universe requires an un-caused cause and such a thing is not available to the materiel world, which is bound by causality. Hence the need for a supernatural creative origin for the universe, which is not bound by causality.

        -The rejection by “science” of supernatural explanations, which you note, is not historically a feature of science, since scientists have historically found no conflict between the supernatural and the natural–indeed a common view among early scientists was that the scientific method was a powerful means by which to better understand the Almighty and His wonders to behold.

        -I asked for any “scientific” arguments that would justify a rejection of supernatural explanations for the origin of the universe out of hand. And I noted that there were scientists, small in number, that did advocate
        ID and also noted the brute force intimidation and censorship, vice sweet reason and scientific argument, that suppresses such scientists’ views. In that regard, reference was made to the Wiki entry, “Robert Sternberg” and that scientist’s misadventures with the Smithsonian.

        -Further, I argued that to reject a supernatural explanation of the origin of the universe required a rejection of causality as a necessary feature of the material world–not just a little bit but a whole, whole bunch.

        -And I concluded with clarification that I did not “believe” in ID but that it seemed to me a plausible theory given the Cosmological Argument. At the same time, I invited those more learned and perceptive to straighten me out.

      • Mike –

        Sorry that you bothered to re-write that post. I know from experience how incredibly frustrating that is. Even more so when it later appears!!!

        I would offer two suggestions: the first is that if you can wait (I’m usually too impatient) most posts that were culled for apparently randome reasons appear after a while. Not sure how that happens.

        Second – always copy a post to your clipboard before you press “Post comment.” If you’ve done that, you use a systematic series of posts of sections (kind of like a bubble search?) to identify the offending section and just submit that section with some paraphrasing.

      • MUCH easier: install the Lazarus add-on. Saves as you type, for as long as you specify (in version 2.2, FF platform).

      • Yeah – I tried that but had some trouble getting it to work with Chrome. Are you using Chrome? Mine’s been crashing a lot lately, anyway – so I’ll probably just switch back to Firefox.

      • And even if you save – you still have the problem of how to re-post. I don’t find highlighting my comment and copying it to the clipboard too onerous. Of course, whenever I forget to do that, those are the times that my post gets eaten.

      • There’s a newer (v. 3) Chrome and IE variant.
        And reposting couldn’t be easier.

        Right-click in the Reply box, and there are two Lazarus options, text-only, and formatted.

      • Joshua,

        Thanks for the advice. And let me add, it’s a real pleasure chit-chatting with you on this blog.

        Also, just above my 11:15 pm msg is my 10:49 pm msg–that last was the second part of my amateur big-thoughts on ID.

      • Mike –

        I really can’t speak to the multi-universe theories. I can assume that the scientists that propose them do so after a rigorous adherence to accepted scientific practices, and that those practices rest upon a fundamentally different view of what constitutes a scientific theory and scientific evidence than the proponents of ID – but I can’t say for sure.

        As such, I assume that their theory rests on a presumption that experimentation, empirical evidence, and falsifiability are requisites to a viable theory.

        ID rests upon an assumption that a supernatural being exists, and that complex entities must, by definition, be a result of the controlling hand of that supernatural. I have never seen any compelling evidence that a supernatural being exists. I can think of many, many, phenomena which call into question such a proposition (say, the deaths of millions of children each year due to starvation – particularly when we in this country, if we so chose, have enough resources to prevent such wide-scale suffering), although I consider none of the to be dispositive proof.

        I have never heard of an experiment that empirically proved that the supernatural exists – although perhaps this one, (in which a very well-respected scientist used generally accepted, and apparently unassailable scientific experimental processes to “prove” a paranormal phenomenon) while pretty far-removed from the phenomena we’re talking about, is the closest I’ve ever heard about.

        http://www.disinfo.com/2010/11/is-precognition-real-new-study-shows-some-evidence-that-the-human-mind-can-perceive-the-future/

        Now you say that ID is based on what could, ostensibly, be considered observations of nature. That view rests on the determination that from observing nature, you see scientific evidence that a supreme intelligence exists. I don’t see evidence of that thesis that meets a bar of scientific scrutiny. Now my point is that the determination of what kind of evidence would meet such a test inherently relies upon one’s definition of what constitutes scientific evidence – and that such definitions are inherently subjective, and to some degree, arbitrary.

        If I look the intricate design of a variety of mountain wild flowers, amid the spring run-off from snow melt in the San Juan mountains at 10,000 feet, on the crisp sunlight of a newly dawned day, as I did a couple of months ago – and conclude that only an intelligent supernatural being could have created such a phenomenon through a process of directly asserting control, over billions of years, upon the evolutionary processes that have taken place on Earth – I can certainly be sympathetic to that conclusion. Obviously, the thought has run across my mind in such situations that what I was observing comprised scientific evidence of the guiding hand of a supernatural being. But then I think of how my definitions of “beauty,” or “complexity,” or “design,” or “symmetry” are, of course, inherently subjective. And, then I think that I need to remember that when I make such a link between my observations and my conclusions, I need to include my thoughts when I see a pile of dog excrement, or pictures of thousands of children starving to death amid a massive drought that prevents their parents from growing enough food to feed them. But while I am often inclined to go from such observations to conclusions about the scientific basis for the existence of a supernatural being – I, thus far, have always eventually weighed all the evidence I’ve seen and concluded that the evidence supporting the existence of a supernatural being was inherently different, in form, in kind, and in the very nature of the observational processes, from the type of evidence and observational processes that underlie the other kinds of evidence that I think supports scientific conclusions.

        No doubt, I am always looking for some kind of evidence that meets a scientific bar sufficient to scientifically prove the existence of a supernatural being – if I found such evidence my life would be simpler. But in my decades on this planet – I not only never seen any, I’ve never even heard of anyone else demonstrating such evidence. Perhaps if I witnessed a cripple rising to walk after a laying on of hands I might be more so-inclined, but even then, I know about the powers of the human mind to do what we might ordinarily think impossible – and I cannot conclude that such powers of the human mind are by definition, the product of a supernatural being that controls all evolutionary processes that have existed in the universe, let alone this planet. And then also, I must also remember that for thousands of years, humans have believed that they have observed evidence that proves the existence of a supernatural being, in ways that in the current world, in fact in ways that proponents of ID, we categorically reject as being insufficient. There are some interesting recent studies that hypothesize that the desire to seek a supernatural explanation for phenomena we observe is essentially physiologically hardwired into the chemical reactions and electrical activities of our brain.

        I have read a few interesting books about the relationship between science and religion, and the potentially false dichotomies that cleave them in the most commonly found viewpoints in the modern Western world. I understand that there is a certain arbitrariness, at some levels, in how I choose to approach these questions. But all that given, I have still yet to see scientific evidence that proves the existence of a supernatural being, and I believe that any theory that rests upon the supposed existence of such evidence is not consistent with what is generally regarded as the definition of a “scientific theory.” If you have some evidence that meets the bar of what is generally considered to be scientific evidence – evidence that doesn’t rest upon a presupposition that a supernatural being exists, I would be eternally grateful (literally) if you’d point it out to me.

        But that is my rambling response to your post.

      • Joshua,

        Again, a considerable effort on your behalf in preparing your response. Thanks.

        A bit of snark–you seem to be the man of faith not me. I’ve laid out my reservations about the multi-verse theory, such as they are, and suspend my judgement until those concerns are answered.

        Otherwise, it appears we will have to agree to disagree. Except to say, I’ve not claimed ID to be a “proof” of God, but rather a plausible theory given the observation that causality is an apparently essential feature of nature and given the logic of the Cosmological Argument. So what’s so unscientific about that?–peer reviewed papers about polar bears have shown less science than that.

        Frankly, I expected you to take the logic of the Cosmological Argument to task (I assumed you accept that causality is a fundamental feature of nature) and was interested in your view of the matter. But all you appear to have done, Josh, is declare the matter out-of-bounds for “scientific” discussion. In its own way, your reply is just a more civil form of the response Robert Sternberg received from the Smithsonian.
        Might you reconsider and actually take on the arguments I offered on behalf the ID theory, starting with the Cosmological Argument?

        On the other hand, I know you have a real life, Joshua, and there’s only so much time to spend on issues like ID.

      • Might you reconsider and actually take on the arguments I offered on behalf the ID theory, starting with the Cosmological Argument?

        I might – but it would require reading, as I’m not familiar with the term. If you have a link, I’d appreciate it.

        Did you see my other response also? (This thread has become unworkable).

        I readily admit that many of my beliefs rest on some form of faith. I don’t reject faith. I simply feel that it needs to be enumerated and acknowledged when it underlies ones conclusions. IMO – faith, at one level or another, underlies both perspectives, writ large, on ID. However, I think that at a more detailed level, those competing “faiths” have mechanistic differences – primarily in how the incorporate definitions of scientific theory and scientific evidence.

        If you could hit those questions I felt remained unanswered (in my other post to you this morning) , I would appreciate it.

      • Joshua,

        The reference for the Cosmological Argument can be found in the Wiki entry under that term (I provided that in an earlier comment on this subject). Briefly, the argument is that nature is bound up in causality, which precludes a self-starting natural world. Rather, the origin of the universe must lie in a source that is not bound by causality, as is nature, or, in other words, a source that is supernatural. So Robert I ask you:

        –Please explain why the above ID related argument is “unscientific” and why it does not produce a reasonable theory as to the character of the origin of the universe. Here’s the two components of the argument:

        –Nature is bound by causality based on inference from universal scientific observations.

        –Since nature is bound by causality it cannot be self-starting since an un-caused cause violates nature’s commitment to causality. Hence a creative agent, other than a natural one, must be at the origin of the natural world. And such a non-natural creative agent may be fairly described as a supernatural agent.

        In response to your questions at your August 22, 9:37 a. m.:

        -Of course many theories, once held in high esteem, have been overturned. In the case of ID, however, you’ve heard the arguments for it and haven’t addressed a single one head-on. My conclusion is that they collectively make of ID a reasonable theory, but certainly not a proof of ID. And for your further reference, my previous comments have given you wiki references for the ID arguments together with my thoughts on how those arguments lead to a plausible theory, not proof, of ID.

        -As to whether ID is a “major” scientific theory or not, I have no idea. I would say that the Wiki reference to Robert Sternberg shows that leading proponents of the current scientific orothodoxy did not oppose a peer reviewed paper in support of ID with a responsive scientific critique, but with brute-force intimidation, retaliation, and suppression (sounds like the orthodox in another branch of science-huh?). That last suggests that ID is not so easily dismissed on “scientific” grounds.

        -ID like other cosmological theories (see the multi-verse) I’ve encountered is a weak theory scientifically (but we haven’t banned cosmology generally as a branch of science nor banned other weak cosmological theories from science). However, falsifiability and predictions of the ID theory follow:

        –A demonstration that the natural world is not necessarily bound by causality would falsify a critical portion of the ID argument as would a demonstration that relevant complexity and fine-tuning of the universe are readily produced by purely natural processes. Again, ID is a plausible theory of our current state of knowledge not a proof of anything and my contention is that it is a plausible theory given our current state of knowledge.

        –Predictions are a weak point of any origin of the universe theory. As a class, such theories appear to me to be largely speculative, plausible explanations for the universe as it is. However, the collective arguments for ID predict that we will not find natural causes for relevant complexities or the fine-tuned universe and will not find any example, in nature, of an un-caused cause.

        Josh, may I ask that you stay on topic on this discussion and address the specifics of my comment rather than going off on a bender about starving children and the like. I genuinely desire that you put your fine mind to the points I’ve made above and rip ‘em up–but please, do so systematically and with concision.

      • Mike –

        a very long (surprise) post just got lost when Chrome crashed on me. I don’t have the energy to substantially re-write (perhaps to your benefit!)

        Anyway – I think that you vastly overestimate the “fineness” of my mind. I believe that my responses to you have been on point, and have addressed your questions. I can only assume that your different view is rooted in my inability to match your expectations. I can’t address the details of ID because I am not familiar enough with them, but from what I understand, it is predicated upon the existence of a supernatural being – a postulation that I think has not been shown via “scientific evidence.” If you have such evidence, please, let me know how I can see it. I don’t consider a theory to be “scientific” if it is predicated on evidence that is not “scientific evidence.”

        I don’t evaluate the scientific-ness of ID on the basis of comparing it to alternative theories. I also don’t attempt to assess the correctness of ID as compared to alternative theories. However, as I see it, ID tries to answer the why and the cause for origins of the universe, and the only theories that I have encountered and consider to be “scientific” do not attempt to answer those questions – but instead simply seek to subject observable phenomena to experimental processes. I don’t feel compelled to need to know the why or the cause for the origin of the universe, and I am content to accept theories about the origin of the universe that don’t answer those questions. I am quite sure that I am completely incapable of ever understanding the why or the cause. I do not consider other alternative theories, that seek to answer the why and the cause, as scientific in nature (although I don’t pass judgement on their correctness).

        Anyway – my brain is fried on this subject. I’ll take a look at your posts again later – and if I’m better able to understand what you’re saying at that point (and as a result, understand better what you find lacking in my responses), I’ll let you know.

      • I feel your pain, Josh–thanks for the reply and if more is to come, I look forward to that, as well.

      • Mike –

        I was looking at online reviews of a book in which “An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design.”

        Here’s one that I found interesting:

        http://www.amazon.com/review/R1ORLKZGP2RDLS/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1551118637&nodeID=&tag=&linkCode=

      • Mike-

        I think this is beginning to move toward the lines of what you were looking for.

        If I could understand it, I’d plagiarize it, but since I can’t, I’ll just link – along with this one excerpt, which, while not 100% on topic with what we discussed (it is mostly a defense of a non-ID view of science as not requiring an “a priori adoption of a naturalistic metaphysics”), makes the case for why ID can be considered a logical possibility (as I said above, contingent on the starting premise that there is evidence of a “supernatural agency as an explanatory principle in science”), but not a scientific theory.

        In response to the charge that methodological naturalism in science logically requires the a priori adoption of a naturalistic metaphysics, I examine the question whether methodological naturalism entails philosophical (ontological or metaphysical) naturalism. I conclude that the relationship between methodological and philosophical naturalism, while not one of logical entailment, is the only reasonable metaphysical conclusion given (1) the demonstrated success of methodological naturalism, combined with (2) the massive amount of knowledge gained by it, (3) the lack of a method or epistemology for knowing the supernatural, and (4) the subsequent lack of evidence for the supernatural. The above factors together provide solid grounding for philosophical naturalism, while supernaturalism remains little more than a logical possibility.

        Please note items 3 & 4 on that list. Those are very similar to what I talked about earlier – and are what I considered to be on point, although you considered them not to be.

        http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/barbara_forrest/naturalism.html

      • Joshua,

        Again, appreciate you pursuing this matter. As far as the lack of evidence of the supenatural goes, the evidence is precisely those arguments I’ve previously offered.

        That is, nature is bound by causality–and that is as demonstrable a scientific “truth” as their is. Therefore, the natural world cannot be self-starting, since it is bound by causality that does not permit and un-caused cause, yet exists anyway (that last more scientific observation). Since the origin of nature cannot, then, be a natural event, it must be a non-natural or supernatural event. Similarly, the two complexity and fine-tuned universe arguments expand on the above, to make the case that the world as we know it cannot reasonably be attributable to purely natural processes. To illustrate: One finds a pocket watch in the middle of the Sahara. Two theories, at least, of that pocket watch’s orgins are consistent with that find (observation) and our current state of scientific knowledge. Namely, the watch is a product of a watchmaker or is a freakish random accumulation of atoms that just happen to take the form of a fully working pocket watch. Either is possible, but Occam’s razor favors the watchmaker.

        In a very encapsulated form, THAT IS THE EVIDENCE OF THE SUPERNATURAL–THE OBSERVATIONS AND THE INTERPRETATION
        THAT ALLOWS ONE TO PLAUSIBLY INFER THE EXISTENCE OF THE SUPERNATURAL AND THE SUPERNATURAL INFLUENCES ON NATURE.

        It’s been a little bit frustrating to be asked for “evidence” of God, the supernatural, or whatever you want to call it, and then to present the evidence and then be asked for it again. THERE IS EVIDENCE–SEE ABOVE.

        What I would like is an examination of the observations and interpretation of the same that are the foundation of, what seems to me, a plausible theory of supernatural intervention into the natural world at its origin and possibly subsequently. THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M GETTING.

        Again, I’ve provided EVIDENCE and an INTEPRETATION OF THE EVIDENCE that leads to a SCIENTIFIC INFERENCE of the supernatural. Although the EVIDENCE AND INTEPRETATIONS, above, may not survive scrutiny, they need to be SCRUTINIZED AND CRITIQUED vice SKIPPED OVER or made to DISAPPEAR.

        Finally, the point made that there is no epistemology by which to explore the supernatural beyond the observations, noted above, as a reason to preclude the matter from science is hardly scientific. If the ABOVE OBSERVATIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS or EVIDENCE OF THE SUPERNATURAL are sound then we can just rue out bad luck we do not at present have the epistemological tools to get very far scientifically in our inquiries into the supernatural. However, it grossly arbitrary to eliminate the supernatural from “scientific” discussion just as we don’t declare various forms of the somewhat rival multivese theory “unscientific” although we lack the epistemological tools that would allow us to “visit” these alternate worlds. Samey-samey it seems to me.

        So, Josh, what I’m looking for is a critique of the OBSERVATIONS AND THEIR INTERPRETATION that under-pin ID that show they are not reasonably and plausibly supportive of the ID theory, in a scientific manner. Please provide the same as you can find it.

        Otherwise, the author of passage you quoted is trying real hard to “play dumb” rather than addressing the offered evidence for ID.

      • Josh,

        My turn to have my brain fried on this subject. Some corrections to the above:

        Please replace “their” in second line of the second para with “there.”

        Third para from bottom, next to last sentence, add and “is” and an “on that basis” so that it reads “However it is grossly arbitrary to eliminate the supernatural from “scientific” discussion on that basis…”

        A bunch more tweaks are needed, as well, but I’m running out of steam and the above corrections will eliminate the solecisms and defective construction in my last post that most bugs me.

        Thanks for being a good-sport on this ID business, Josh. Actually, I’m surprised there’s been no real live cosmologist show up to sort this whole ID debate out. Probably what we really need at this point.

      • Mike – please look below (starting at 9:59 am) for my response to your (August 23) 12:21 am post.

  37. Part II:

    Now perhaps you have read someone make those arguments, in which case your points wouldn’t amount to some King Kong-sized straw men, but I haven’t read anyone making those arguments. But even if I had, I would fully agree with you, 100%, that those arguments would be wrong.

    • Part III:

      Now perhaps you have read someone make those arguments, in which case your points wouldn’t amount to some King Kong-sized straw men, but I haven’t read anyone making those arguments. But even if I had, I would fully agree with you, 100%, that those arguments would be wrong.

      All of that said – if a climate scientist is a creationist, and particularly if he is a YEC, and he thinks that his belief in creationism is supported by scientific facts, and if he believes as David H. stated above (i.e., I”m not making up a straw man about what people say) that ID is a “major” scientific theory, then I think that we know something very particular about that climate scientist’s view of science, and his/her view of what constitutes scientific evidence.

      • Joshua, you claim that “then I think that we know something very particular about that climate scientist’s view of science, and his/her view of what constitutes scientific evidence.”

        What very particular thing do we know, that is relevant to the climate debate?

      • Perhaps that they are prepared to accept some things based on faith rather than evidence?

      • I wouldn’t go that far – as they believe that they are basing their belief on evidence.

        I would say that we know something in particular about how they define scientific evidence. For example, they believe that carbon dating is not a valid scientific process for determining the age of substances, or they think that the notion of fitting one of each type of animal onto an Ark is not scientifically impossible (if they’re YEC’s). Or if they are creationists but not YECs, we know that they reject the rules of scientific evidence that underscore the evidence for evolutionary theory.

      • I have specifically said that I was talking about scientific theories. That is the topic. Astrology is considered pre-science, as is numerology, because both sought explanatory mechanisms. It was not believed that scientific evidence supported them as the concept of science did not exist at the time. It was probably believed that evidence supported them because those people were not stupid. You should work on your sense of history.

      • Sorry, Joshua, this got posted in the wrong place. As for your argument above, I am talking but ID believers, not YEC’s. ID believers need not reject any rules of evidence (any more than climate skeptics or warmers do). They simply think the evidence for ID is stronger than the evidence for natural selection. Reasonable people can look at the same evidence and come to opposite conclusions.

        You still have not said what this has to do with the climate debate. Which skeptical arguments are rendered false by belief in ID? None that I can see.

      • David –

        Wikipedia is not dispositive, but it is a good place to start a discussion:

        –snip–

        ID seeks to redefine science in a fundamental way that would invoke supernatural explanations, a viewpoint known as theistic science. It puts forward a number of arguments, the most prominent of which are irreducible complexity and specified complexity, in support of the existence of a designer. The scientific community rejects the extension of science to include supernatural explanations in favor of continued acceptance of methodological naturalism, and has rejected both irreducible complexity and specified complexity for a wide range of conceptual and factual flaws.

        –snip–

        Now – I think that wording is a bit subjective – as the definition of “scientific community” is open to debate – but clearly, ID rejects the basic foundational concept of scientific evidence as currently shared among the vast, vast, majority of scientists in the world today. An argument form authority? No – I’m not saying that it is dispositive – but I am saying that viewing ID as a scientific theory tells us that someone rejects the definition of scientific evidence as shared by the vast, vast majority of scientists.

      • No Joshua, they do not reject the definition of scientific evidence. Rather they are willing to accept supernatural entities as explanatory mechanisms. Their difference with the scientific community is on the theoretical side, not the evidence side. The scientific community says quarks are okay but gods are not. The ID folks do not accept this restriction on explanatory entities.

        But once again I ask, what has this got to do with the climate debate? Nothing that I can see.

      • No Joshua, they do not reject the definition of scientific evidence. Rather they are willing to accept supernatural entities as explanatory mechanisms. Their difference with the scientific community is on the theoretical side, not the evidence side.

        I need you to help me with that statement. It seems to me that if you’re willing to accept the supernatural as meeting the standard of scientific explanatory mechanisms, then you are willing to accept supernatural phenomena as scientific evidence.

        I believe that I have explained, numerous times, how I see it as relevant to the climate debate. I certainly respect your right to reject my analysis, but I’m a bit confused as to why you’re asking me that question when I’ve answered it a number of times now.

        Regardless, I’ll answer it again.

        I think it is relevant to the debate – in the sense that it is relevant to understanding some % of the players in the debate – because as I see it, if someone believes that ID is a theory based on scientific evidence, then it enlarges one’s viewpoint of what comprises scientific evidence far beyond the standard definition of scientific evidence.

        Now – you can reject my view of the relationship between ID and scientific evidence. That’s fine. And you can certainly argue that the % of “skeptics” who believe in creationism is relatively small. And you can argue that just because some % of “skeptics” are creationists it doesn’t tell you anything about “skeptics” that aren’t creationists. All fine with me.

        But the basic issue of importance here to me relates to the definition of “evidence” and the definition of what constitutes a “scientific theory.”

        So I’ll ask you again and then check to see if you’ve answered while I was writing this post.

        Do you consider astrology to be a scientific theory?

        If some % of “warmists” thought that the writings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster explained the lack of dinosaurs in the current world (because there are fewer pirates than there used to be) , would you think that their beliefs in that “scientific theory” were instructive as to how they viewed scientific evidence?

    • Joshua,

      I’ve debated whether to enter this discussion of ID, but it is a subject that has occasionally engaged my interest. While I don’t “believe” in ID or any theory of the origin of the universe, here’s where I’ve got on my own and I would appreciate some education that would improve my insights.

      The argument that Wiki terms the Cosmological Argument has been around since at least the time of Plato and has always seemed to me, since I was introduced to the idea (possibly indoctrinated) in my youth. Namely, the need for an uncaused cause for the origin of the universe drives one outside the material world and to a supernatural source of creation. Otherwise, one is left with a strictly material, “scientific” theory of the universe where materiel phenomena, indeed the whole of such phenomena, appear without any cause–a science, in other worlds that excludes causality as a consideration.

      You note, Josh, that supernatural explanations have been excluded by scientist and, in the main, that is true, but is that indeed “scientific.” As Dave has pointed out historically, scientists did not regard the supernatural as inconsistent with science, but rather science was a avenue by which to understand the Almighty and His wonders to behold. So the rejection of supernatural explanations of the origins of the universe, appear to me to be rather arbitrary. Indeed, the actual mechanism by which supernatural explanations are excluded by scientistsdoes not appear to be one of persuasive scientific argument (perhaps there are such arguments) but rather of brute force intimidation and censorship (see the Wiki entry for Richard Sternberg and other other articles dealing with Dr. Sternberg’s misadventures with the Smithsonian–and also note that ID is a theory advocated by some, albeit few, scientists).

      In summary, the theory of a supernatural creative entity, not subject to the material rules of causality, seems to me to be reasonable theory to entertain given the challenge of the Cosmological Argument.

      Let me conclude by saying I’m not a hard-over believer in the supernatural origin of the universe, but would like to know the persuasive, scientific arguments that exclude that theoretical explanation.

      Of course, the above does not get us to point of an “intelligent” designer, which angle I’ll do my best to explore in a second post.

      • Mike –

        Thanks for the interesting post.

        I agree with some of what you wrote:

        So the rejection of supernatural explanations of the origins of the universe, appear to me to be rather arbitrary.

        I have given quite a bit of thought to why I reject all sorts of “theories” that are generally viewed as being unscientific – and I’m not entirely resolved with how I view the subject – (so I’m sure that my response will be overlong, ramble, and contain some illogic and some contradictions. Don’t go too hard on me. )

        For example, I once had a long discussion with a friend about whether applied kinesiology is a rational, and scientific therapeutic methodology:

        AK proponents claim that nutritional deficiencies, allergies, and other adverse reactions to foods or nutrients can be detected by having the patient chew or suck on these items or by placing them on the tongue so that the patient salivates. Some practitioners advise that the test material merely be held in the patient’s hand or placed on another part of the body. A few even perform “surrogate testing” in which the arm strength of a parent is tested to determine problems in a child held by the parent

        At the end of that discussion, I realized that basically my arguments were circular. I felt that the “therapy” she considered efficacious was irrational and unscientific because, essentially, I started with a determination that the therapy she described was irrational and unscientific. In the end, I wound up feeling that indeed, the difference between her view of rational and scientific and my view, essentially, was arbitrary. Can I say, beyond any shadow of a doubt that she couldn’t detect what kinds of foods weren’t good for someone to eat merely by placing a test sample in his/her hand and testing his/her arm strength? No. I can’t “prove” that such a therapy wouldn’t work – although I felt completely convinced hat her belief that AK works was unscientific. Extending to other areas, can I say that someone is “wrong’ if they believe that they can predict someone’s future on the basis of the configuration of the stars and the planets on the day of their birth? No – I can’t prove that they are wrong, but I hold on to a conviction that their belief is not a scientific theory based on scientific evidence.

        I have met some very scientifically literate YECs (actually a couple of them were engineers) who have explained to me that, for example, radiocarbon dating is not a valid scientific methodology, and that Noah’s Ark has been found on a mountaintop in Turkey and has been hidden from the rest of society by a conspiracy of people who would be damaged if the news got out. These were highly intelligent people who worked in scientific fields and who could have extremely rational discussions with me.

        I recognize that my definitions of what is or isn’t scientific is, at some levels, arbitrary. It is arbitrary because I choose to reject supernatural explanations for phenomena as being, essentially, unscientific. I choose to reserve the determination of what is scientific to certain processes that are based on experimental procedures, empirical research, and hypotheses that are falsifiable. Is it possible for someone to consider something to be scientific if instead of meeting those criteria, they can substituted a supernatural explanation for why physical phenomena occur? As far as I’m concerned, yes – they can do that. I can’t know for sure that they’d be wrong. I don’t know for sure that the bible isn’t the word of god. I can’t prove it one way or the other. But I do know that for me, at a personal level and as arbitrary as it is, something scientific needs to be determined on a basis of experimentation, empirical evidence, and falsifiable theses.

        Is astrology falsifiable, based on experimentation and empirical research? Astrologists would answer yes to those questions. My friend who believes in applied kinesiology believes that methodology earns the classification of being a scientific methodology. The engineers who told me that radiocarbon dating is invalid and that Noah’s Ark was found on a mountaintop in Turkey would answer that yes, they believe that for something to be considered scientifically valid, it must be falsifiable. And the reason why they could hold their beliefs and consider them to be scientifically valid is because they, ultimately, believe that the a supernatural explanation for phenomena qualifies a scientific explanation.

        All that said – it remains true that some people define scientific theories, and scientific evidence, as being mutually exclusive with supernatural explanations for phenomena we can’t fully explain, and some don’t. But whether that distinction is, essentially, arbitrary or not, people who accept supernatural explanations for real world phenomena have a different view (unless they are inconsistent in their approach), than those who do not, on how to define scientific theories and scientific evidence.

        There is a reason why the only scientists that you will find who accept ID as a “scientific theory,” based on scientific “evidence” are creationists – who, by definition, accept supernatural explanations for why things happen. The acceptance of supernatural phenomena as being compatible with a scientific explanation for why things occur serves as a marker for how one defines scientific processes.

        That’s the best I can do for now.

        Now let me ask you to answer the questions that I asked David (numerous times, I might add, and I also might add that even though I asked him those questions numerous times he failed to answer them – particularly ironic since he accused me of “ducking” questions that in fact I had answered, numerous times).

        Do you reject astrology as a “scientific theory,” based on scientific “evidence.” If you do, then how do you explain your analysis that ID is a scientific theory because it has been considered to be a scientific theory in the past? Do you consider the “theory” that your future is determined by the configuration of astronomical bodies to be a “scientific theory?”

        If I believed that the low number of pirates explains why global temps warmed during some period of the previous decades, would that be a “scientific theory,” based on “evidence?” Further, if I believed that theory to be “scientific,” and based on “evidence,” would you consider my belief to be instructive as to how I, more generally, view science and the definition of scientific “evidence?”

        Do you think that there is scientific evidence that supports ID?

        Do you think that you can have a scientific theory with no supporting scientific evidence?

        Do you think that, as David H. said, ID is a “major” scientific theory?

        Are there any theories that were considered to be scientific theories in the past that you would currently reject as being scientific theories based on evidence? If so, then what distinguishes those theories from ID?

        Two more points:

        Otherwise, one is left with a strictly material, “scientific” theory of the universe where materiel phenomena, indeed the whole of such phenomena, appear without any cause–a science, in other worlds that excludes causality as a consideration.

        One of my favorite quotes is from Carl Sagan – where he said something to the effect that he didn’t believe in god because he is able to tolerate ambiguity. Personally, I don’t find the notion that there is no “cause” for my existence particularly satisfying. But nor do I consider it satisfying to accept an explanation for my existence simply because it would relieve me of those feelings of ambiguity. To each his/her own – and I don’t judge other people for making different decisions than I make about religious belief. I have deep respect for many deeply religious people. But I still assert that if one chooses (or not) to fully believe that supernatural explanations satisfy their need to know why things happen, that belief system categorizes that individual in relation to how they define scientific theories and scientific evidence.

        Let me conclude by saying I’m not a hard-over believer in the supernatural origin of the universe, but would like to know the persuasive, scientific arguments that exclude that theoretical explanation.

        I am not well-informed on this topic. I would imagine that with the erudite bunch that hangs out here, there are some folks who could address that issue much more comprehensively than I. I can only offer some rather rambling thoughts. Hopefully, someone else reading your comment there, who is more informed, will respond.

        Thanks, again, for your post.

      • Josh,

        Great response, thanks for taking so much of your time. Please note, as well, that I addressed this issue in two comments: the one, above, considered the “scientific” rejection of a supernatural explanation for the origin of the universe and the second one explored the “intelligent” portion of “intelligent design”. That second, follow-on comment, is above and bears the date/time stamp August 21, 2011 10:49 p. m. I’ll make reference to that second comment, below.

        Let me get a few things out of the way, up front. I’m discussing ID, not Santa, not any burning bushes, no Noah’s ark, and, most especially, no Biblical Creationism. That some scientists that advocate ID might also advocate Biblical Creationism is neither here nor there with regards to the scientific merit of ID, except to say some versions of ID may, indeed lack scientific merit.

        Further, let me say that scientific knowledge is the product of a the scientific method. Whatever knowledge that sausage-machine turns out, properly operated, is “scientific.” Nothing else (which is why I and others on this blog are so alarmed by the apparent corruption of the scientific method in Climate Science matters by ideological, political, and profit seeking parasites).

        You’ve asked, Josh:

        -“Do you reject astrology as a “scientific” theory?” Knowing practically nothing about astrology, I have a trusting “belief” that astrology has been discredited through scientific investigation–at least that’s the status of the discipline as I’ve always understood it. However, if astrology is shown through the scientific method to have great powers of prediction, then I would accept its prophetic claims as scientifically well founded. Likewise, if further scientific inquiry actually established a cause-effect relationship between the stars and future events then I would accept astrology as a scientific theory both in terms of its predictive powers and its explanation of those predictive powers. In other words, science is not a fashion industry. Again, if astrology’s claims are scientifically verified then astrology is a scientific theory and, if not, not–and it doesn’t matter if astrology is as as uncool as bell-bottom trousers, duck-tails, and penny-loafers (with a penny) or not. Do you really think otherwise, Josh?

        -See above for your question about pirates. I would note, however, that there are some theories that are so unlikely on the face of it, based on my personal knowledge base, that they are not worth my while. But if someone does scientifically demonstrate a cause-effect relationship between pirates and global warming then believe you me, I’ll be the first to break out the Jolly Roger and sing “HO! HO! HO!”

        -I find a supernatural explanation for the origin of the universe to be a reasonable theory, but not one that is beyond rival, more compelling theories, if such theories exist. In addition, I find ID which posits not merely a supernatural origin for the universe but an intelligence designer as its creator to have a plausible scientific basis. The scientific” basis for that conclusion has two parts:

        –Cause and effect relationships have characterized all natural processes scrutinized by science and such relationships are a well-established, apparent rule of nature. Conjoin that observation with the powerful logic of the Cosmological Argument and one derives a reasonable case for a supernatural origin of the universe (see my above comment for the detailed logic of the argument).

        –Once clears the hurdle of a supernatural origin of the universe, ID then requires a demonstration of an “intelligent” designer. The post I referenced earlier spells out the “scientific” basis for ID’s claim to scientific respectability in that latter regard (August 21 10:49 comment).

        Finally, Josh, Carl Sagan’s totally unscientific basis for a disbelief in God has no place in this discussion as far as I’m concerned. Except to say he knows the score now–too bad he’s unavailable for an interview.

        My turn for a question, Josh. Just what is a scientifically respectable alternative to ID given the Cosmological Argument? And what is the supporting scientific evidence for that compelling rival theory–one that has so displaced ID that ID now now banned from the world from science?

        –The second

      • However, if astrology is shown through the scientific method to have great powers of prediction, then I would accept its prophetic claims as scientifically well founded. Likewise, if further scientific inquiry actually established a cause-effect relationship between the stars and future events then I would accept astrology as a scientific theory both in terms of its predictive powers and its explanation of those predictive powers.

        It seems to me that here, you are holding astrology to a higher bar than that which you apply to ID. Has ID proved to link cause and effect by scientific standards? Has ID proved to be predictive of future events? Has ID been held against a bar of falsifiability to measure hypothesized outcomes with experimental variables?

        -See above for your question about pirates. I would note, however, that there are some theories that are so unlikely on the face of it, based on my personal knowledge base, that they are not worth my while.

        Is the belief in a supernatural being that controls all events that take place throughout the universe, over the course of billions of years, over an area that extends beyond distances that we can even concretely fathom, seem “likely?” I think that the determination of what is, or isn’t, unlikely is inherently subjective.

        But if someone does scientifically demonstrate a cause-effect relationship between pirates and global warming then believe you me, I’ll be the first to break out the Jolly Roger and sing “HO! HO! HO!”

        Has a cause-effect relationship between the existence of a mountain flower, or a pile of dog excrement, or millions of children dying from starvation each year, and a supreme being that controls all complex developments over billions of years and distances so vast we can’t even fully grasp them, been scientifically demonstrated?

        –Cause and effect relationships have characterized all natural processes scrutinized by science and such relationships are a well-established, apparent rule of nature. Conjoin that observation with the powerful logic of the Cosmological Argument and one derives a reasonable case for a supernatural origin of the universe (see my above comment for the detailed logic of the argument).

        Could you outline for me the scientifically supported cause-and-effect nature of the phenomenon of millions of children starving to death each year?

        Finally, Josh, Carl Sagan’s totally unscientific basis for a disbelief in God has no place in this discussion as far as I’m concerned. Except to say he knows the score now–too bad he’s unavailable for an interview.

        That’s fine – but I was giving you an anecdotal influence on how I view these questions. I believe that you have made some similar background-type references (such as your belief in god). I don’t consider them as having no place in this discussion. It would be interesting to interview him, though, as to how he views these topics now; but then again, depending on your viewpoint, “he” is now simply a pile of dust, and dust can’t be interviewed.

        My turn for a question, Josh. Just what is a scientifically respectable alternative to ID given the Cosmological Argument? And what is the supporting scientific evidence for that compelling rival theory–one that has so displaced ID that ID now now banned from the world from science?

        I really don’t have the background to answer that question as it is constructed. I will say, however, that my understanding is that ID has been “banned” because the definition of what comprises viable scientific evidence has changed. Further, it is my supposition that the very nature of your question supposes that one theory can only be considered as un-scientific if it is replaced by an alternative theory. It is my belief that an alternative theory explaining the reason why everything in the universe happens is not needed to reject any particular theory that offers an explanation.

        Allow me to ask you to address these questions. I guess that you think that you have, in which case no sweat; but from my perspective, you haven’t yet answered them.

        Are there any theories that were considered to be scientific theories in the past that you would currently reject as being scientific theories based on evidence? If so, then what distinguishes those theories from ID?

        Do you think that, as David H. said, ID is a “major” scientific theory?

        If I believed that the low number of pirates explains why global temps warmed during some period of the previous decades, would that be a “scientific theory,” based on “evidence?” Further, if I believed that theory to be “scientific,” and based on “evidence,” would you consider my belief to be instructive as to how I, more generally, view science and the definition of scientific “evidence?”

  38. Part IV:

    We can also know that the climate scientist’s view of science is dramatically influence by religious doctrine (correlation does not prove causation, but I would be highly, highly, surprised if less than 100% of climate scientists who believe that ID is a scientifically supported theory are fundamentalist Christians).

    • So this is a long winded ad hom attack on Dr. Pielke we are to presume? As if he is the center of “skeptical”?

      Speaking of straw, try looking in the mirror.

    • Joshua, let’s suppose for arguments sake that you are correct. What does this have to do with the climate debate? Is there some specific skeptical scientific argument that you see as religiously motivated? The role of clouds perhaps, or ocean circulation? Or maybe the problems with CO2 readings from ice cores? Concerns about UHI? You have beaten this line to death without ever saying what difference it makes to the climate debate. It is all vague innuendo so far. In fact you seem to be claiming that religious fundamentalists (Christian or otherwise) can’t be good scientists, which is ridiculous.

  39. Part IV:

    We can also know that the climate scientist’s view of science is dramatically influence by religious doctrine [the next sentence won't pass the spam-catcher but it discussed whether correlation = causation in religious outlook and belief in ID]

    Further, if a relatively significant amount of “skeptics” are creationists, and particular YEC’s, and if they believe that ID is a scientific theory supported by scientific evidence, that doesn’t tell us anything about the “skeptics” who aren’t creationists, but it does tell us something about how that segment of “skeptics” that are creationists view science and evaluate scientific evidence.

    • I’m sure that secular atheistic socialism has far more impact on todays culture of science than what you are concerned about. The culture of death.

      No surprise you can’t see the tyranny of AGW mysticism and how in is linked to the modern left that is tied to the hip with “Scientific Socialism” of long ago.

      Dr. Curry whitewashes it with the term; “activism” and tries to split it from “science”. Many staples in liberal culture themselves are religous replacements including the over weighted importance of politics in their general lives. Another symptom of social decline.

      By in large the “creationist” line is a reflection of the grassy knoll culture you live in Joshua. The non-self-identified politcal culture of the IPCC core (less than 400 people who matter) and are the base of the agenda driven “consensus” are everything to the debate.

      You are the king of strawdogs and red herrings on this blog.

    • Joshua, now blames it all on Saul David Alinsky, in three, two, One…

    • Joshua, you say “it does tell us something about how that segment of “skeptics” that are creationists view science and evaluate scientific evidence.”

      What exactly does it tell us about how they view science and evaluate scientific evidence? Bear in mind that ID is in fact an alternative theory. In fact it was the dominant paradigm in natural philosophy (now biology) until around 1900. I hope you are not claiming that there were no scientists before then.

      • Teaching Intelligent Design as science is not allowed in UK:

        “To meet the requirements of the national curriculum for science, teachers have to teach about scientific theories. Intelligent design is not a recognised scientific theory; therefore, it is not included in the science curriculum”

        http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldhansrd/text/61218w0006.htm

      • Same here Louise, in most places anyway. In the US what is taught is decided at the state and local level. ID is considered to be a religious doctrine. But as I pointed out it was the dominant scientific paradigm for hundreds of years, until around 1900 when Darwinism became dominant.

      • David – you said “Bear in mind that ID is in fact an alternative theory. ”

        Perhaps it is more accurate to say ‘Bear in mind ID WAS is fact an alternative theory’?

        I’m sure there has always been science and scientists. I’m also sure that we don’t class all of the theories that were once thought to be accurate to be current alternative theories.

      • Quite right Louise. I was speaking as a philosopher of science. That is, ID has the logical form of an alternative theory. The fact that it is no longer held does not change that.

      • Quite right Louise. I was speaking as a philosopher of science.

        Well, at least you’re not calling yourself a scientist any more. That’s progress. I’m curious, though; apart from your swiftly forgotten dissertation, have you published any philosophy? Or were you distracted from a no-doubt-promising career in philosophy by you years spent (as you put it) “writing hundreds of articles about the great green menace”?

        Jus’ curious. :)

      • David –

        I’m unclear as to how the history of ID is relevant to whether or not it is considered a “scientific theory,” based in scientific evidence.

        Certainly, you could come up with a long list of beliefs that were considered to be “scientific” that you would no longer categorize as such.

        I mean, you don’t use leaches to treat your children’s illnesses, do you?

        Let me ask you another question. If a significant sub-group of “warmists” felt that the writings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster scientifically proved that a lack of pirates explained why we no longer have dinosaurs (which would be entirely logical if you presume that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is an all-knowing god), would you not consider their beliefs relevant to the perspective of those “warmists” on science in general, and climate change in particular?

      • Joshua, your point was ambiguous. If you mean is ID a currently accepted scientific theory the answer is obviously no. I thought you were asking if ID had the logical structure of a scientific theory, in which case the answer is yes.

        But again, you are ducking my simple question. What difference does this make to the climate debate? Does it make some particular skeptical argument wrong? If not then why are you wasting our time with this off topic issue?

      • I am saying that it is based on a view of scientific evidence that is not consistent with the view of scientific evidence as accepted by the vast majority of the “scientific community.” Both in the sense of how it determines the bar of what does constitute evidence, and in the sense of how it determines what does not constitute scientific evidence.

        I don’t believe I have ducked your question. I believe that I answered, directly, whether I think it makes a particular “skeptical” argument “wrong.”

        But nonetheless, I’ll repeat.

        I do not think it makes an argument “wrong.” I believe that I have stated that at least once if not more. But here I am stating it unambiguously.

        I believe that “wrong” is entirely subjective in this case. If you accept the bible as the word of god, then the belief in ID is certainly not “wrong.”

        I think that a belief in ID tells us about how the proponent of that argument views the definition of scientific evidence.

        I am not “wasting our time.” I don’t feel that I’m wasting my time. If you feel that you are wasting your time, you should understand that it is your decision to do so. I have no power over whether you participate in this discussion or not.

        I would appreciate it, assuming you don’t consider it to be a waste of your time, if you’d answer a couple of my questions.

      • Joshua, if you think that a scientific theory being wrong or right is entirely subjective then we have nothing more to talk about. And as I feared, this argument of yours has noting whatever to do with the climate debate so I have wasted my time hoping it did. Also, your concept of scientific evidence is wrong, as I have explained, and that is not subjective. Sorry if I have not answered all your questions, but I answered a lot.

      • David –

        You said I was ducking a question ,even though I had already answered it more than once – in fact each time you asked although you asked more than once after it had been answered.

        On the other hand, I have asked you a few questions, multiple times, that you have not answered. I’ll ask them again. All of these questions, you did not answer.

        Do you reject astrology as a “scientific theory,” based on scientific “evidence.” If you do, then how do you explain your analysis that ID is a scientific theory because it has been considered to be a scientific theory in the past. Do you consider the “theory” that your future is determined by the configuration of astronomical bodies to be a “scientific theory?”

        If I believed that the low number of pirates explains why global temps warmed during some period of the previous decades, would that be a “scientific theory,” based on “evidence?” Further, if I believed that theory to be “scientific,” and based on “evidence,” would you consider my belief to be instructive as to how I, more generally, view science and the definition of scientific “evidence?”

        Do you think that there is scientific evidence that supports ID.

        Do you think that you can have a scientific theory with no supporting scientific evidence?

        Do you think that, as David H. said, ID is a “major” scientific theory?

        Are there any theories that were considered to be scientific theories in the past that you would currently reject as being scientific theories based on evidence. If so, then what distinguishes those theories from ID?

        Answers to any or all of those questions would be appreciated, David.

      • And David –

        A funny thing happened. As I was about to post my last comment, my power went out and with it went my Internet service.

        Now god controls everything that happens in the universe. And I have a scientific theory that he wanted me to wait to post my last comment to you. What is my evidence? The fact that my power went out, of course.

        There you have it. A scientific theory, with scientific evidence, right? Just like ID. I’m not sure that I’d call it a “major” theory, but a scientific theory with evidence, no?

        Just like ID – I don’t need to create some experimental condition to prove my theory. I don’t need any empirical evidence to prove my theory – outside of the fact that my power went out. I mean the sequence of events to create a thunderstorm and make my power go out just as I was about to respond to you is irreducibly complex. There is no way that could have happened outside of the control and intent of a being that rules the universe.

      • David –

        Do you think that there is scientific evidence to support the “theory” of ID?

        Do you think a “scientific theory” can exist without any supporting scientific evidence?

        Do you think that ID is a “scientific theory?”

        Further, do you think that as David H. said, it is a “major” scientific theory?

        If you answer any of those questions in the affirmative, it marks a solid line of distinction between how you and I view science, and scientific evidence.

      • Joshua, if you go back and study the 19th century works on natural philosophy you will see how ID worked as a scientific theory. There was a great deal of evidence to support ID and it had significant explanatory power. Those people were not fools. Until Darwin came up with a mechanism to explain adaptation without divine action it was the best theory available.

        So while ID is no longer held by most scientists it has all the necessary features of a scientific theory. If you can’t understand how ID could be the dominant scientific paradigm for hundreds of years then you do not understand science. Science did not start in 1900.

      • David –

        The belief in all sorts of phenomenological explanations that we now reject, at one time met the criteria to be considered scientific theory. Subsequent evidence showed that those explanations were based on faulty evidence. Something that is based on faulty evidence does not meet the bar of being a scientific theory. If that weren’t true, then you would have to call astrology a scientific theory. In fact, astrology would be a “major’ scientific theory.

        The fact that ID may or may not have once been considered to be a scientific theory does not lead to a conclusion as to whether ID meets the evidentiary bar of being considered as a scientific theory.

        If you consider ID as a scientific theory, what would be your criteria for rejecting any phenomenological explanations that were once considered to be scientific but, while still viewed as science by some, are rejected by the vast majority of scientists as being based on scientific evidence?

        I’ll refer you back to the questions about astrology.

      • Sorry – I misused the word phenomenological there.

        Maybe you could substitute the word systems, or mechanistic?

      • Joshua, scientific theories are seldom replaced because of faulty evidence. They are replaced because a better theory comes along, one that explains everything its predecessor does plus more. The replaced theory does not stop being good science in its day. Discarded theories are still theories, from a logical point of view.

        But again I ask, what has this to do with the climate debate?

      • David –

        I’m not asking you whether they are “theories,” or “alternative theories.”

        I am asking you whether they are “scientific theories” based on scientific evidence.

        It was once believed that scientific evidence proved that the astronomical configuration on the day you were born explained how your life would unfold. Do you consider such a “theory” to be “scientific” and to meet the criterion of being based on “scientific evidence?”

      • David Wojick, Perhaps the fisherman Peter, was a scientist too. Yesterday…

        Pekka Pirilä | August 20, 2011 at 10:56 am | Reply
        Using scale models is a well known and useful tool in engineering. The models agree never fully on the real system, but in many cases it’s possible to construct models that behave in a very similar way. That requires always that several different properties are matched. In fluid dynamics Reynold’s number is usually the most important parameter that must have the same value in the model as in the real system. Prandl’s number is another common important parameter.

        In the example described by DocMartyn some critical numbers must also be matched to get results of any significance. Without going to the details, it appears totally clear that the small balls must be made to turn much faster than the Earth turns. I cannot tell, what would be the most appropriate length of day, but it might well be closer to 1 min than to 24 hours.

        Such an experiment tells practically nothing unless it’s supported by a careful theoretical analysis that tells the right combination of parameters.

        Tom | August 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Reply
        What if…?
        II Peter 3:8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.

        1000 years, times 360 days= 360,000 night-day cycles (NDC)
        Divided by 24 heavenly hours= 15,000 NDC per HH
        Divided by 60 heavenly minutes=250 NDC per HM
        Divided by 60 heavenly seconds=4.167 NDC; as revolutions per second… for your model?

        David, what do you think of the model Peter gives us, above? Is my math sound? Would this rotation speed work on the ‘small balls’ representing the Earth? Even if we don’t have all the answers, it is helpful to know where to look for the answer.

      • Tom –

        Thanks for you “evidence” that proves the “scientific theory” that proves that the Bible is correct about the age of the Earth.

        Based on that cogent analysis you just provided on the age of the Earth, I am looking forward to your further analysis of the evidence regarding climate change.

      • Joshua, I asked David and scientists like yourself, if Peter is right. I just suggested a theory. Your math is better than mine. Also Joshua, how many ‘ages’ & the duration of each please… I am still unclear about all of that, too. So you aren’t alone, there.

      • Let me play the fool (I’m well-equipped for the role) and ask the some idiot questions:

        What is the leading “scientific” theory of the origin of the universe and what is the scientific evidence of the theory?

        Why is ID (not Biblical Creationism) excluded as a “scientific” theory of the origins of the universe? That is, why is ID an inherently “unscientific” theory?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Mike

        I feel qualified to answer this – I saw a bit of a documentary last night in between bits of CSI:NY and doing unspeakable things with my laptop.

        The leading theory is the big bang theory – although just before that the physical laws of the universe were suspended along with it’s licence to drive a motor car. The universe expanded till it’s present state – and somewhere along the line hooters evolved which then caused guys to become pirates.

        The universe is expected to:

        1. continue expanding because most of it is ‘dark energy’
        2. collase into a big crunch because dark energy is so much horse hooey.

        As it is not known – precisely or even imprecisely – what exactly ‘dark energy’ is I assumed that it is pretty much like Midi-Chlorians and have gone to the dark side as this seems – like – much more profitable.

        Hope this helps – and if you have any other questions I can clean up my laptop and see whatever other ‘documentaries’ are available.

        Cheers
        Rob

      • Thanks Chief for the response. I anticipated a “big-bang” response to my question and intended to take it on with the Cosmological Argument (as in “So just what caused the big-bang?”) and segue into a defense of Intelligent Design. But since I didn’t get any nibbles, I just jumped in with both muddy feet and treated the world to my amateur defense of Intelligent Design anyway. My disjointed comments (don’t know if it was me or the blog program that got them all balled up) on the subject appear at my August 21, 10:03 pm and 10:49 pm comments, and, in response to Joshua’s 11:48 pm comment, my August 22, 1:10 am comment.

        Don’t know if you’re interested, Chief, if a half-baked defense of the ID theory, but the above comments provide such a thing.

        Incidentally, I’ve enjoyed the on-going exchange of ninja-stars between you and Josh. Although Josh has shown no flair for poetry that is your special gift, Chief, he is a good-sport and a game advocate for the loyal opposition–I, for one, am glad to have him on the blog. Him and you? The dream team.

      • Just, like this gentleman:

        Matthew Maury’s seagoing days came to an abrupt end at the age of 33 after a stagecoach accident broke his hip and knee. Thereafter, he devoted his time to the study of naval meteorology, navigation, charting the winds and currents, seeking the “Paths of the Seas” mentioned in Psalms 8:8 “The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” Maury had known of the Psalms of David since childhood. In “A Life of Matthew Fontaine Maury; compiled by his daughter, Diana Fontaine

        Ah, a real scientifc mind.

  40. I have my doubts about Rick Perry but does have a good grasp on the Climate debate;

    http://cei.org/op-eds-articles/wapo-gets-its-pinocchio-dishonest-%E2%80%98warming%E2%80%99-attack-perry

    of course he bought the bridge on this other agenda science topic which really has another statist left-wing agenda attached;

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/274812/rick-perry-s-bad-medicine-michelle-malkin?page=1

    • Citing the Oregon Petition should be an automatic disqualification

      • Only due to your dogmatic beliefs.

        It touches a nerve since the rotting “consensus” is small and a relatively minor science area.

      • Only due to your dogmatic beliefs.

        Yeah, dogmatic contempt for liars and fraud.

        The Oregon Petition? 1999 called — they want their sham back.

        Time for some new material.

      • It’s an example of how dated the argument is and how unconvincing AGW always has been. IPCC? Less than 400 politcally filtered with actual Climate experience, time to be disbanded…….20 years ago.

        Tie it end to end and the same thing will go on 20 years from now. Even if AGW is put on the back shelf there will still be other topics that offer the potential to reduce individual rights and expand government authority.

        A force of evil in the world, you have to live with what side you have chosen.

  41. The original destructive cousin of “settled science”;

    http://reason.com/archives/2011/08/17/how-long-will-it-take-keynes-t

    The power play to take over “science” and expert authority didn’t begin with AGW dogma. It simply changes form from topic to topic.

  42. “Sky-dragons”?

    Robert suggested “sky-hydras” (JC liked it)

    Edim proposed “sky-demons”

    I like “sky-goblins”.

    As in Mencken:

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/hlmencke101109.html

    Max

  43. Chief Hydrologist

    21. How convinced are you that most of recent or near future climate change is, or will be, a result of anthropogenic causes?

    About 85% of ‘climate scientists’ (Bray and von Storch 2010) score it more than 4 on a scale of 1 to 7 – 1 being not at all and 7 being very much.

    Seems about right – I would expect 85% to be wrong at any one time. This for instance.

    ‘Thus in one ETI contact scenario, the ETI use humanity for entertainment purposes just as we use sea lions and seals for this. Shklovskii and Sagan [14] continue to point out that ETI may desire to be the sole galactic power and will eliminate other life forms when they start to get in the way. Similarly, an ETI may simply be interested in using us as a means for growth of their economy. On an individual level they may not be interested in killing us, but may be interested in incorporating us into their civilization so they can sell us their products, keep us as pets, or have us mine raw materials for them. Such a scenario could be harmful or beneficial to us, depending on the methods they use to bring us into their society.’ (Baum et al 2011).

    Not strangely at all – we have all these ‘scenarios’ in our heads already. At least those of us who have read 1000’s of science fiction works and who have likewise seen every science fiction movie ever made. But it is obviously speculation and doesn’t much greater credibility than, for instance, Cowboys and Aliens.

    It remains amusing to speculate about these things – much as it seems to amuse people on other threads to speculate about ideal atmospheres entirely unrelated to Earth. I admit I have yet to catch that particular bug. But on many other things as well – it is something with which the human brain engages with a great deal of enthusiasm. One of the oddest bits of speculation came to my door recently when a smiling old guy handed me a pamphlet which described climate change as God’s punishment and said that the final days were upon us. I got the impression they were quite in favour of this so we should all drive “Chevy Surburban Subdivisions” (quote courtesy of Eli) to bring it on.

    But there are strict conventions defining scientific knowledge and we are on a slippery slope to deny that these apply in some circumstances and not others. Scientific knowledge by definition derives from observation of the natural world. In the case of relativity – it was the observation that the speed of light was invariant wrt inertial frames. With evolution it was a corpus of observations – with results repeated endlessly across the natural world. The experiment of anti-biotic resistance for instance is repeated every day. So let’s distinguish between this and, say, intelligent design for which there can be little observational evidence. We may say that the eye is an example of a structure that could not evolve from other simpler structures. Or that the human brain grew in size for other reasons and people then filled it with language and culture because it was there. But what real evidence is there? Speculation is fun – but I think it pays to keep one eye on the evidence from controlled experimentation. In fact – I think if there is one essential distinction between engineers and scientists it is that engineers are taught to do a final check on calculations and models. A reality check. I have occasionally commented on mad theories here – and you know who you are. I commonly get a reply saying that the hopelessly inadequate data is all we have. Reality check guys – if the data is obviously inadequate – don’t be so dogmatic and claim a new scientific paradigm for which you will be posthumously awarded the Nobel Prize. Seriously – that’s my job.

    From my perspective there seems little in science that doesn’t simply open up more questions. With evolution I keep asking people to convincingly explain the nature of time to me before I can accept it as more than a working hypothesis. In quantum mechanics we are stuck with the fact the photons are both a particle and a wave – from which emerges the many worlds interpretation. To explain the fact that 3 different people see any something 5 different ways – I once posited that we are constantly shifting through parallel worlds. I had to give this up on realising that the generation of new worlds from the collapse of a mathematical function describing the possible location of something we don’t know the nature of – doesn’t really qualify as a testable theory in any universe I know.

    Climate science is likewise in the realm of the untestable for the most part. Little bits are testable. I think that spectral analysis shows quite convincingly an atmospheric greenhouse effect (Harries 2001) . Seriously guys – what else do you need to know about CO2? Conversely – how is this not a demonstrated physical effect?

    Personally – I would then move on to understanding natural climate variability – rather than endless Angels on a pin renditions of ‘adiabatic lapse rates in a gravity well’ or ‘quantum dispensations in an idealised Venusian atmosphere’. For instance, Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

    It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

    Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or three if the recent past is any indication.

    Chaos accounts for most ‘recent warming’ – which all occurred between 1976 and 1998. In my very simple world with one eye on the data – ENSO ‘dragon-kings’ (Sornette 2009) in 1976/77 and 1997/98 account for most of the warming in just these two periods. Most of the rest seems caused by cloud cover change. ‘In the first row, the slow increase of global upwelling LW flux (relative cooling) at TOA from the 1980’s to the 1990’s, which is found mostly in lower latitudes, is confirmed by the ERBE-CERES records… The overall slight rise (relative heating) of global total net flux at TOA between the 1980’s and 1990’s is confirmed in the tropics by the ERBS measurements and exceeds the estimated climate forcing changes (greenhouse gases and aerosols) for this period. The most obvious explanation is the associated changes in cloudiness during this period.’ (NASA/GISS ISCCP-FD). In case you are wondering how a rise can be both ‘relative heating’ and ‘relative cooling’ it is simply a matter of sign conventions. Net flux is always shown with a positive trend showing planetary energy gain.

    Climate obviously shifted into a new state after 1998 – the increase in cloud is shown in both satellite data and in Project Earthshine and in the network model of Tsonis and colleagues. The change in reflected short wave after 1998 is about 2W/m^2. These are decadal changes – mostly emerging from the tropical and sub-tropical Pacific. So there is some expectation that the shift might persist for another decade or three and even intensify.

    As far as I am concerned there is little ‘belief’ in any of this – other than in believing data from reputable sources and in analysis in the scientific literature.

  44. The problem for CAGWers is that many spurious alarmist claims have been made in the energy/environment area over decades, often combined with proposals for strong government controls on individual and business behavior.

    No one ever goes back and complains about the “anti-science” proponents of: massive environmental carcinogenesis, the population bomb, exhaustion of fossil fuels by the year 2000, Alar as silent killer, scaremongering about irradiated food, amphibian extinction caused by human pollution, honeybee extinction due to human pollution, attack of the African killer bees, the irrelevance of IQ, death by GM foods, cellphones causing brain tumors, the vanishing farmland crisis in the U.S., the landfill crisis in the U.S., coffee as dangerous substance, cyclamates as dangerous substances, cesium smoke detectors as hazards, and on and on.

    I’m not even counting the “controversial” cases where the “mainstream” hasn’t caught on to all the scientific evidence, such as acid rain, DDT, radiation hormesis, secondhand tobacco smoke, nuclear power safety, phthalates, and so on. Nor am I counting the many cases where the danger is real but the cost-benefit and risk-risk tradeoffs have been ignored, such as with the Superfund law, PCBs, and arguably asbestos. But the public, especially the public concerned about the relentless drive of bureaucratic statism to control every phase of life, has plenty of reason to be suspicious of eco-panics. It doesn’t help that the proponents of newer scares never admit the falsity of the old ones.

    • Giving you the benefit on the doubt with your list, the point is that “wrong” does not equal “not scientific.” Giving you the benefit of the doubt, in many cases “wrong” would be more consequential than “not scientific,” but the are, nonetheless, not one in the same.

      The question of whether or not ID is “wrong,” is not the same question as whether or not it is scientific.

      Oh, and not giving you the benefit of the doubt – secondhand tobacco smoke?

      Really?

  45. Mike –

    I am moving this to a top-level hierarchy to make the discussion more manageable.

    Now I understand better what you’re asking for. I’ll need to give it more thought, but I do have some quick responses. I expect that in some ways, you will deem these responses insufficient in a similar way that you have characterized my previous responses – but I’m doing the best I can so if you want to continue you’re just going to have to increase your level of tolerance and bear with me. I think that the only way that we can proceed further is piece by piece. My brain just can’t hold all of the branching networks of this discussion with organizing it into chunks.

    That is, nature is bound by causality–and that is as demonstrable a scientific “truth” as their is.

    So – this seems to be the focus of the debate – at least for now (although below you go into other foci as well).

    So the question is whether nature is bound by causality, and whether there is evidence that supports that contention, and further, whether there is evidence that proves that contention. In order to respond on that point, I will need to look at your argument in support.

    Therefore, the natural world cannot be self-starting, since it is bound by causality that does not permit and un-caused cause, yet exists anyway (that last more scientific observation).

    Obviously, here you are stating the argument is so because the argument is true. I will need to break this down further – so I can understand your argument – before I can proceed. Where is your evidence that the universe is bound by causality that does not permit an un-caused cause? I will read on, but my immediate question is, naturally, what is the evidence that millions of children dying of starvation is caused?

    Since the origin of nature cannot, then, be a natural event, it must be a non-natural or supernatural event.

    Until the prior question is answered, I can’t really address this point.

    Similarly, the two complexity and fine-tuned universe arguments expand on the above, to make the case that the world as we know it cannot reasonably be attributable to purely natural processes.

    Again, maybe we can take this one step at a time?

    illustrate: One finds a pocket watch in the middle of the Sahara. Two theories, at least, of that pocket watch’s orgins are consistent with that find (observation) and our current state of scientific knowledge. Namely, the watch is a product of a watchmaker or is a freakish random accumulation of atoms that just happen to take the form of a fully working pocket watch. Either is possible, but Occam’s razor favors the watchmaker.
    In a very encapsulated form, THAT IS THE EVIDENCE OF THE SUPERNATURAL–THE OBSERVATIONS AND THE INTERPRETATION

    (1) You will note in another discussion at Climate etc. from last night – there is the notion that there is some wiggle-room between an “un-caused” explanation and a “supernatural being-caused” explanation. In fact, this is one of the arguments put forth by ID proponents to respond to criticism – that their argument is not, necessarily, predicated upon a supernaturally-caused universe. Of course, there is much evidence that they put forth this contention simply to downplay the religious (more specifically, Christian) foundation of their “scientific theory.” But if you’re going to put this argument forth, then at some point you need to see that your argument in support of ID is not consistent, even, with what proponents of ID, themselves, argue, at times.
    (2) I’m not arguing the plausibility here. I have been arguing that an ID view of the origins of the universe might well be “plausible.” You and I might evaluate the relative plausibility of the different viewpoints – so I question your Occam’s razor argument, as I don’t find the notion of a supernatural entity that controls the activity of an inconceivably vast universe to be very plausible, and further, to address plausibility you need to address the question of what controlled the development of the supernatural entity that controls the universe. But be that as it may, and maybe we can deal with that discussion in more detail, it seems what we should examine first is the nature of the evidence that supports (your) the ID argument – and whether it (a) meets a bar of being considered “scientific,” and (2), whether the act of considering it such differentiates a person in their view of science.

    More generally, when I think of observation and interpretation as usually conceived of in a scientific context, I think of a more direct relationship between observation and the phenomenon being observed/described/hypothesized about. As I see it, you are saying that very complex objects exist, and therefore it is evidence of a designer. To me, evidence that a designer exists must be more direct. For example, the designer says to me: “Hey, Josh, wassup, my man?” I don’t really know how to address this in more scientific terminology, but my sense is that it would go something along the lines of: At least to my understanding – you haven’t allowed room for falsifiability in your linkage between your evidence and your conclusions; e.g, that very complex entities could exist without being “caused,” or designed.

    Let’s just go with this for now. Once you’ve destroyed my thinking here, we can try to move on. At some point, unless someone who is smarter or knows more about this than I weighs in, we should just move this to an email exchange – as this forum will quickly reach the point where it is completely unmanageable, logistically.

    • Joshua,

      I can see you’re heavily engaged in other threads and your interest in this subject may have waned. Fair warning to the other members of the e-salon, what follows is at the level of a freshman all-night dorm room BS session, supplemented by some fading recollections of epistemology and history of science courses I barely passed. Not for the erudite and the discerning except as a source of amusement.

      Josh, you’ve challenged the notion that the natural world is bound by causality. That’s probably the most critical issue. Since science is based on induction, it forms its propositions from a very rigorous and structured system of observation from which reasoned interpretations of those observations are then devised.

      -In such a system of synthetic knowledge, observed regularities form the basis for generalizations and the more subsequent observations agree with a given generalization the stronger the proposition, absent counter-factual observations. While my knowledge of science is limited, I know of no scientific endeavor that has ever identified or proposed in the natural world an uncaused-cause (maybe you know otherwise). Hence the strength of the inductive proposition that nature is bound up in causality. Turn it around–if one abandons cause-and-effect in the science of the natural world then “just ‘cuz” and “things happen” become respectable scientific thinking.

      Your contention, Josh, that a supernatural cause must also be explained in terms of cause-and-effect, on the other hand, has no inductive strength. The inference, rather, is that there is a supernatural capacity for creation that is beyond causality–either capable of self-starting or without beginning. That last inference is the only option, I know of, that can provide the uncaused-cause that gets everything else going. At least, the inference that a supernatural agent, not bound by causality, is at the origin of the natural world (or possibly some super-geek natural world, once or more removed) is at least a plausible proposition and its observational basis and logic is at least as “scientific” as that we find in Charles Monnett’s celebrated work with dead polar bears. Shaky science, I agree, but no worse than the multi-verse theory devised by cosmologists which is treated as an example of “real” science.

      You challenge the idea that a design implies a designer. To the best of my knowledge there is no “proof” that a design pre-supposes a designer any more than thinking pre-supposes a thinker (as in “I think therefore I am”). On the other hand, when a design reaches a certain level of complexity and interdependence of its parts for its functionality then the mind inclines to the idea of a designer–a toast burn that assumes the figure of the Goat of Mendes (Hey! that looks just like what-his-name!) we can attribute to a random chance, but a pocket-watch prompts the notion of a watchmaker.

      -Virtually any proposition involving synthetic knowledge can quickly go into an epistemological death-spiral if you whack it with enough “how do you know you know’s”. Try it. So Mr. “smartypants”, how do you know thinking implies existence? Nice try Descartes, ol’ buddy, but no cigar. I mean, how do know thinking implies a thinker. Yah gotta do better than that. And so on.

      -The only defense I know of to avoid such epistemological death-spirals is, when under assault, to assume the fetal position, grab your butt, and scream at the top of your lungs, “Intuitively obvious!” O. K. I’m in position now. Here goes, “INTUITIVELY OBVIOUS!”

      I’ll leave my response at that, Josh, and return to the real world.

  46. Mike: Part I

    I am moving this to a top-level hierarchy to make the discussion more manageable.

    Of course, now I need to break this into chunks because spam-catcher seems to be hungry for anything I write:

    Now I understand better what you’re asking for. I’ll need to give it more thought, but I do have some quick responses. I expect that in some ways, you will deem these responses insufficient in a similar way that you have characterized my previous responses – but I’m doing the best I can so if you want to continue you’re just going to have to increase your level of tolerance and bear with me. I think that the only way that we can proceed further is piece by piece. My brain just can’t hold all of the branching networks of this discussion with organizing it into chunks.

    That is, nature is bound by causality–and that is as demonstrable a scientific “truth” as their is.

    So – this seems to be the focus of the debate – at least for now (although below you go into other foci as well).

    So the question is whether nature is bound by causality, and whether there is evidence that supports that contention, and further, whether there is evidence that proves that contention. In order to respond on that point, I will need to look at your argument in support.

    Therefore, the natural world cannot be self-starting, since it is bound by causality that does not permit and un-caused cause, yet exists anyway (that last more scientific observation).

    Obviously, here you are stating the argument is so because the argument is true. I will need to break this down further – so I can understand your argument – before I can proceed. Where is your evidence that the universe is bound by causality that does not permit an un-caused cause? I will read on, but my immediate question is, naturally, what is the evidence that millions of children dying of starvation is caused?

    • Part II –

      Since the origin of nature cannot, then, be a natural event, it must be a non-natural or supernatural event.

      Until the prior question is answered, I can’t really address this point.

      Similarly, the two complexity and fine-tuned universe arguments expand on the above, to make the case that the world as we know it cannot reasonably be attributable to purely natural processes.

      Again, maybe we can take this one step at a time?

      illustrate: One finds a pocket watch in the middle of the Sahara. Two theories, at least, of that pocket watch’s orgins are consistent with that find (observation) and our current state of scientific knowledge. Namely, the watch is a product of a watchmaker or is a freakish random accumulation of atoms that just happen to take the form of a fully working pocket watch. Either is possible, but Occam’s razor favors the watchmaker.
      In a very encapsulated form, THAT IS THE EVIDENCE OF THE SUPERNATURAL–THE OBSERVATIONS AND THE INTERPRETATION

      (1) You will note in another discussion at Climate etc. from last night – there is the notion that there is some wiggle-room between an “un-caused” explanation and a “supernatural being-caused” explanation. In fact, this is one of the arguments put forth by ID proponents to respond to criticism – that their argument is not, necessarily, predicated upon a supernaturally-caused universe. Of course, there is much evidence that they put forth this contention simply to downplay the religious (more specifically, Christian) foundation of their “scientific theory.” But if you’re going to put this argument forth, then at some point you need to see that your argument in support of ID is not consistent, even, with what proponents of ID, themselves, argue, at times.
      (2) I’m not arguing the plausibility here. I have been arguing that an ID view of the origins of the universe might well be “plausible.” You and I might evaluate the relative plausibility of the different viewpoints – so I question your Occam’s razor argument, as I don’t find the notion of a supernatural entity that controls the activity of an inconceivably vast universe to be very plausible, and further, to address plausibility you need to address the question of what controlled the development of the supernatural entity that controls the universe. But be that as it may, I’m not addressing the plausibility. What I’m addressing is the nature of the evidence that supports the ID argument – and whether it (a) meets a bar of being considered “scientific,” and (2), whether the act of considering it such differentiates a person in their view of science.

    • I’m having so much trouble at this point with the comment interface that I am close approaching the point where I will need to give up…

      Part II

      Since the origin of nature cannot, then, be a natural event, it must be a non-natural or supernatural event.

      Until the prior question is answered, I can’t really address this point.

      Similarly, the two complexity and fine-tuned universe arguments expand on the above, to make the case that the world as we know it cannot reasonably be attributable to purely natural processes.

      Again, maybe we can take this one step at a time?

      illustrate: One finds a pocket watch in the middle of the Sahara. Two theories, at least, of that pocket watch’s orgins are consistent with that find (observation) and our current state of scientific knowledge. Namely, the watch is a product of a watchmaker or is a freakish random accumulation of atoms that just happen to take the form of a fully working pocket watch. Either is possible, but Occam’s razor favors the watchmaker.
      In a very encapsulated form, THAT IS THE EVIDENCE OF THE SUPERNATURAL–THE OBSERVATIONS AND THE INTERPRETATION

      ….to be continued in Part III…

      • (1) You will note in another discussion at Climate etc. from last night – there is the notion that there is some wiggle-room between an “un-caused” explanation and a “supernatural being-caused” explanation. In fact, this is one of the arguments put forth by ID proponents to respond to criticism – that their argument is not, necessarily, predicated upon a supernaturally-caused universe. Of course, there is much evidence that they put forth this contention simply to downplay the religious (more specifically, Christian) foundation of their “scientific theory.” But if you’re going to put this argument forth, then at some point you need to see that your argument in support of ID is not consistent, even, with what proponents of ID, themselves, argue, at times.

      • (1) You will note in another discussion at Climate etc. from last night – there is the notion that there is some wiggle-room between an “un-caused” explanation and a “supernatural being-caused” explanation. In fact, this is one of the arguments put forth by ID proponents to respond to criticism – that their argument is not, necessarily, predicated upon a supernaturally-caused universe. Of course, there is much evidence that they put forth this contention simply to downplay the religious (more specifically, Chrisxian (substitute a “t)….. foundation of their “scientific theory.” But if you’re going to put this argument forth, then at some point you need to see that your argument in support of ID is not consistent, even, with what proponents of ID, themselves, argue, at times.
        (2) I’m not arguing the plausibility here. I have been arguing that an ID view of the origins of the universe might well be “plausible.” You and I might evaluate the relative plausibility of the different viewpoints – so I question your Occam’s razor argument, as I don’t find the notion of a supernatural entity that controls the activity of an inconceivably vast universe to be very plausible, and further, to address plausibility you need to address the question of what controlled the development of the supernatural entity that controls the universe. But be that as it may, I’m not addressing the plausibility. What I’m addressing is the nature of the evidence that supports the ID argument – and whether it (a) meets a bar of being considered “scientific,” and (2), whether the act of considering it such differentiates a person in their view of science.

      • Looks like I found the problem.. Chrisxian with a “t.”

        Part IV:

        More generally, when I think of observation and interpretation as usually conceived of in a scientific context, I think of a more direct relationship between observation and the phenomenon being observed. As I see it, you are saying that very complex objects exist, and therefore it is evidence of a designer. To me, evidence that a designer exists must be more direct. For example, the designer says to me: “Hey, Josh, wassup, my man?” I don’t really know how to address this in more scientific terminology, but my sense is that it would go something along the lines of: You haven’t allowed room for falsifiability in your linkage between your evidence and your conclusions.

        Let’s just go with this for now. Once you’ve destroyed my thinking here, we can try to move on. At some point, unless someone who is smarter or knows more about this than I weighs in, we should just move this to an email exchange – as this forum will quickly reach the point where it is completely unmanageable, logistically.

      • “…freakish random accumulation of atoms…” funny.

        Okay folk’s ‘That’s Science’…

      • Tom –

        You are mistaken. It is “science” to say that an entity exists, and has existed for billions of years, that can reach across the vastness of the universe, to “cause” everything that has ever happened, as proven by the complexity of natural phenomena, including millions of children dying each year from starvation.

        And, of course, that entity exists without having been designed by some other entity, unless that entity was designed, by an entity that designed it, which was designed by an entity, that was designed by an entity, that was designed by an entity.

        That was designed by an entity. That was designed by an entity.

        That was… well,

        you get my drift.

      • Joshua, Well, how about this: Just say that He, created this glorious ‘fish bowl’ that will only need to be cleaned once?:o)

      • Sounds ominous, Tom.

      • Still haven’t read it?

    • Also, MIke – check out this (from someone who can put together a coherent argument on the topic of your interest):

      http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

      http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design1/article.html

    • Joshua,

      I continue to marvel at your willingness to engage, lively mind, and powers of endurance. Like you, I’ll offer up my responses in dribs and drabs, but will probably spread them out over the next day or so. That’ll allow me to fully digest your thoughts and devise for you worthwhile responses–to the best of my ability to cobble together such replies, that is.

      But to kick things off, I’d like to explore that new twist on ID that’s been introduced. You know, the mind-bending idea that brings us an advanced race of extra-universal super-geeks, so advanced that their birth-control glasses with rubber nose pieces, their pocket protectors, and their research grant applications have evolved to become hard-coded body-parts. And we’re all just the science-fair project of one of their loser bratty kids.

      -The “super-geek” ID theory is no crazier than the multi-verse theory.

      -If the super-geeks’ super-universe remains shackled to causality and exhibits irreducible and specified complexity and fine-tuning, then ID with a supernatural Intelligent Designer merely exits our universe to enter into the super-geek domain as a still-competitive theory.

      -The super-geek ID theory can be discussed in respectable company with impunity and invites an all-night BS session and maybe even a peer-reviewed paper or two. In contrast, mere mention of the ID theory with a supernatural Intelligent Designer will get you expelled from the faculty-lounge, cost you your employment, and fill up your voice-mail with death threats (see the wiki entry for Richard Sternberg). Curious, no?

      • MIke –

        I think that you’ll note that I responded to the super-geek theory in much the same way as I did the supernatural designer theory. I think that in fact, it is subject to the same criticisms with respect to “evidence.” And, in fact, in limiting the scope of evidence, it essentially eliminates the argument that life requires a designer because of it’s infinitely complex design (in the very least, because if a non-supernatural designer could design it, it can be conceptualized by something less than a supernatural being, and thus isn’t infinitely complex). Not to mention, of course, that if you read the Wikipedia entry on ID in full, you will see that the notion of an “alien” designer is rather comprehensively rejected by the major proponents of ID (in that when they aren’t altering their stance for political expediency, they are quite clear that their theory is predicated upon a supernatural designer, and specifically, on that is a god in the Chrisxian tradition).

        I also think that someone walking into a faculty dining room, talking about life being designed by a super-geek alien, they might have a few less than optimal reactions.

        While I may not see anti-religion biases to be as pervasive as you, I wouldn’t doubt that they do exist in academia to some extent (although I haven’t, personally, seen professors in religious studies, who are people of faith, treated poorly in the academies I’ve observed first-hand, and they would be among the academies most likely to be estimated the worst of the culprits). But while that is a related issue, for sure, I think that we should reserve the discussion of whether reactions to ID are purely based on an objective analysis of whether it is scientific, or whether they are influenced by anti-religion bias, for a separate thread in this complex web. I choose to believe that my argument is not based in an anti-religious bent. And at least, I know I am doing my best to control for such a bias.

      • BTW – is our centrist, libertarian leaning host guilty of anti-religious bias because I can’t post the name of a major world religion without replacing one of its letters, or can’t post the name of its Messiah?

        My god, I can’t even write about the war against Chrisxmas!

      • Joshua,

        I’m not tagging you with the super-geek ID theory, Josh. Rather, I having a bit of whimsical good fun with it while using the topic to make some observations (not directed at you).

        And you raise a very interesting point, why is a certain word, often used as a synonym for the term “Messiah,” subject to the spam catcher? Might be a very good reason, but anyone know the rationale?

        And depending on the rationale, the spam catcher set-up might or might not derive from anti-religious bias.

        Haven’t sorted out my thoughts yet on my ID replies, but, I think I’ll reserve the right to note actual or probable or even possible anti-religious bias as it pertains to the ID theory, as appropriate–I mean, why not include that issue in the discussion? Though I do note you disclaim any anti-religious bias on your part, Joshua.

      • My guess is that ironically, the word is tagged to avoid the chance of offending those who view a certain individual as a Messiah.

        There is also a fairly random quality to the offending words that cause post to get culled – but in this case it seems unlikely to be random.

        Not sure I disclaim bias – if bias is there, I claim it – but my goal is to try to control for it to the extent that it is there. The whole point for me in engaging in this discussion is to find out whether my rationale is driven by bias (anti-religious bias or other biases) or by logic. Or perhaps I should say to what extent it is – as I think that bias is inevitable.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        G’day Mike,

        There is about as much evidence for many worlds as ID. The many worlds interpretation comes from wave/particle duality. Electromagnetic energy – made up of photons – acts sometimes as waves and sometimes as particles.

        The position of a particle in the wave is unknown until you look at it – and there it pops up. But the probability of it being anywhere is finite and can be described by a probability density function propagating through time in a Schodinger wave equation. This leads to two things. Firstly, the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics. This says that every collapsed probability – after the particle is actually observed somewhere else – is an actuality in an alternate universe. Most physicists by a close margin are not actually experimenting with mind altering drugs and say that this is just mathematics that doesn’t actually describe events in the real world – the Copenhagen interpretation.

        The second place it leads is much more interesting – the infinite improbability drive. To quote from Douglas Adams.

        ‘The Infinite Improbability Drive is a wonderful new method of crossing vast intersteller distances in a mere nothingth of a second without all that tedious mucking about in hyperspace.

        It was discovered by a lucky chance, and then developed into a governable form of propulsion by the Galactic Government’s research team on Damogran.

        This, briefly, is the story of its discovery.

        The principle of generating small amounts of finite improbability by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 sub-meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea) were of course well understood – and such generators were often used to break the ice at parties by making all the molicules in the hostess’s undergarments leap simultaneously one foot to the left, in accordance with the Theory of Indeterminacy.

        Many respectable physicists said that they weren’t going to stand for this – partly because it was a debasement of science, but mostly because they didn’t get invited to those sort of parties.

        Another thing they couldn’t stand was the perpetual failure they encountered in trying to construct a machine which could generate the infinite improbability field needed to flip a spaceship across the mind-paralysing distances between the furthest stars, and in the end they grumpily announced that such a machine was virtually imposssible.

        Then, one day, a student who had been left to sweep up the lab after a particulary unsuccessful party found himself reasoning this way:

        If, he thought to himself, such a machine is a virtual impossibility, then it must logically be a finite improbability. So all I have to do in order to make one, is to work out exactly how improbable it is, feed that figure into the finite improbability generator, give it a fresh cup of really hot tea … and turn it on!

        He did this, and was rather startled to discover that he had managed to create the long sought after golden Infinite Improbability generater out of thin air.

        It startled him even more when just after he was awarded the Galactic Institute’s Prize for Extreme Cleverness he got lynced by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists who had finally realized that the one thing they really couldn’t stand was a smartass.’

        This inevitably in turn leads to an ontologial proof of the existience of God. An ontological argument uses intuition and reason alone to examine the concept of God and states that if we can conceive of the greatest possible being, then it must exist.

        John Paul Sartre demonstrated in Being and Nothingness that – well – being and nothingness cannot co-exist. At any point in being you can’t just poke your head around the corner and see nothingness. As soon as it is seen it becomes something – perhaps something very unlikely – but something nonetheless. It echoes other great dichotomies – chaos and order, peace and war, light and dark, cool or uncool. Therefore the universe must infinite.

        As Douglas Adams demonstrated above – in any infinite space a finite probability no matter how remote becomes a certainty. Hence the existence of God is demonstrated beyond any doubt.

        I am reminded of the other great contribution of Douglas Adams to ecclesiastical studies. God’s final message is written letters of fire thirty feet high on the far side of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains in the land of Sevorbeupstry on the planet of Preliumtarn, which orbits the star Zarss, which is located in the Grey Binding Fiefdoms of Saxaquine. It can be seen only after crossing a vast desert lined with souvenir stands. “The management apologizes for the inconvenience.’

        Cheers
        Robert I Ellison
        Chief Hydrologist

      • Chief,

        Thanks for your very challenging and enjoyable comment–and thanks for the tutorial. I was somewhat familiar with the many-worlds theory you discussed that is associated with quantum-mechanics. And, indeed, every time I have a brush with that theory, it sends my mind reeling.

        But I believe that there is yet another theory that involves many-worlds that relates to cosmology. And that is the theory I was referring to above.

        That last theory was devised to account for the fine-tuned universe. Since the “tuning” of the universe and its capacity to sustain life, in particular, depends on values for that tuning that are fantastically remote, if left to chance, it begs for an explanation. The ID theory claims the fine-tuned earth as evidence of an intelligent designer.

        A rival theory, however, uses the fine-tuned universe observation to infer a vacuum (I think it’s called a “primaeval” vacuum). And this Flying-Spaghetti-Monster-Great-Pumpkin vacuum spits out universes, of which ours is one, like a pop-corn popper pops popcorn–only more so. And since this FSMGP vacuum disgorges gazillions upon gazillions of uiniverses every micro-second, each with it’s own different tuning, then, sure, you’re bound to end up sooner or later with a universe with our tuning. In other words, the theory overwhelms the apparent improbability of our universe’s fine-tuning by burying it under an equally improbable number of universes that vary in their tuning. Or something like that.

        Incidentally, my use of the term “crazy” for one or another cosmology theory was not mean to be discriminatory. Except for the ID theory, they all seem to me to have a crazy quality not to say, of course, that one the “crazies” might not ultimately prevail). And I acknowledge that my identification of ID theory with good mental health may just be my habituation with the idea through my youthful religious instruction. In other words, Louise and Joshua might insist ID theory belongs in the looney-bin along with all the other cosmological theory crazies.

        I always mean to make these short comments, Chief. Sorry for taking up all this band-width.

  47. This would be off topic on any other thread, soooo…

    A couple of articles for the sinophiles here:

    A Chinese artist’s take on the wonders of Beijing:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/08/28/ai-weiwei-on-beijing-s-nightmare-city.html

    “Beijing is two cities. One is of power and of money. People don’t care who their neighbors are; they don’t trust you. The other city is one of desperation. I see people on public buses, and I see their eyes, and I see they hold no hope. They can’t even imagine that they’ll be able to buy a house. They come from very poor villages where they’ve never seen electricity or toilet paper.

    Every year millions come to Beijing to build its bridges, roads, and houses. Each year they build a Beijing equal to the size of the city in 1949. They are Beijing’s slaves. They squat in illegal structures, which Beijing destroys as it keeps expanding. Who owns houses? Those who belong to the government, the coal bosses, the heads of big enterprises. They come to Beijing to give gifts—and the restaurants and karaoke parlors and saunas are very rich as a result.”

    And a westerner’s similar view of the Beijing economy, from Beijing.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peterfoster/100102374/is-chinas-economic-miracle-built-on-sand-or-cement/

    “PetroChina had fires in Dalian last month (July 16) and October last year, while in July 2010 an explosion in a nearby fuel storage depot caused China’s biggest oil leak, spilling 1,500 tons of oil in the Yellow Sea. To have one accident may be regarded as a misfortune, but four in twelve months? That looks like carelessness to the point of institutional recklessness. No doubt a thorough inquiry will be held to find out – just like on the last three occasions.

    Certainly, it seems as if the Chinese media have been told not to dwell on these matters too heavily: the official Xinhua newswire reports today’s fire, but can’t find space to mention the three other incidents, lest people start to join the dots. On days like these, you wonder how much of the rest of China’s much-vaunted infrastructure, built pell-mell this last decade or so, is on the verge of falling to bits.

    That sinking feeling is what angered people during the Wenzhou rail disaster; it’s what put people onto the streets of Dalian two weeks ago and it is what is, like all the rotten concrete itself, is eating away at the bond of trust between China’s governors and the governed. Every night when I go home to my Beijing apartment, I have the same feeling. The place was built just seven years ago by a reputable (US) developer and, as I have written before, is quietly crumbling.

    It all looks quite swish on the surface, but look carefully and you’ll see the flagstones in the public areas are subsiding drunkenly, the access road to the rear is shot to pieces, the bathroom fittings are corroding and the façades are starting to peel. With an apartments that hardly matters, but when it comes to railways, bridges, petrochemical complexes, 40,000 dams (as my colleague Malcolm Moore reported this week) and even nuclear power stations, we’ll have to pray higher standards have been enforced.”

    As I’ve said before, anyone who thinks they really know what is going on in China, even just in Beijing (let alone the hinterlands), is delusional.