Heterodox Academy

by Judith Curry

I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. I think you should be able to — anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with ‘em. – President Obama

President Obama made some remarkable statements at a town hall meeting yesterday in Iowa on the topic of college affordability [Vox article].  Excerpts:

[A] student asked Obama to respond to Republican presidential contender Ben Carson’s proposal to cut off funding to colleges that demonstrate political bias.

“The idea that you’d have somebody in government making a decision about what you should think ahead of time or what you should be taught, and if it’s not the right thought, or idea, or perspective or philosophy, that person would be — they wouldn’t get funding, runs contrary to everything we believe about education,” he said. “That might work in the Soviet Union, but that doesn’t work here. That’s not who we are.”

“It’s not just sometimes folks who are mad that colleges are too liberal that have a problem. Sometimes there are folks on college campuses who are liberal, and maybe even agree with me on a bunch of issues, who sometimes aren’t listening to the other side, and that’s a problem too. I’ve heard some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. I gotta tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. I think you should be able to — anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with ‘em. But you shouldn’t silence them by saying, “You can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say.” That’s not the way we learn either.”

Here is the youtube of the entire segment.  Watch the whole thing, its exhilarating (reminds me of why I voted for the guy).  Don’t ask me to reconcile this with Obama’s statements about climate deniers.

The problem of political correctness on campuses lack of diverse perspectives in research is a huge and growing.


I am not the only person concerned about these issues.  There is a new group of professors, that I am pleased to be a part of: HeterodoxAcademy.org

Mission. Our mission is to increase viewpoint diversity in the academy, with a special focus on the social sciences.

The problem.  Psychologists have demonstrated the value of diversity—particularly diversity of viewpoints—for enhancing creativity, discovery, and problem solving. But one key type of viewpoint diversity is lacking in most of the social sciences (other than economics) as well as in the legal academy and the humanities: political diversity. 

From the Welcome Statement:

Welcome to our site. We are social scientists and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines. We have all written about a particular problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” It’s what happens when everyone in a field thinks the same way on important issues that are not really settled matters of fact. We don’t want viewpoint diversity on whether the Earth is round versus flat. But do we want everyone to share the same presuppositions when it comes to the study of race, class, gender, inequality, evolution, or history? Can research that emerges from an ideologically uniform and orthodox academy be as good, useful, and reliable as research that emerges from a more heterodox academy?

Science is among humankind’s most successful institutions not because scientists are so rational and open minded but because scholarly institutions work to counteract the errors and flaws of what are, after all, normal cognitively challenged human beings. We academics are generally biased toward confirming our own theories and validating our favored beliefs. But as long as we can all count on the peer review process and a vigorous post-publication peer debate process, we can rest assured that most obvious errors and biases will get called out. Researchers who have different values, political identities, and intellectual presuppositions and who disagree with published findings will run other studies, obtain opposing results, and the field will gradually sort out the truth.

Unless there is nobody out there who thinks differently. Or unless the few such people shrink from speaking up because they expect anger in response, even ostracism. That is what sometimes happens when orthodox beliefs and “sacred” values are challenged.

At HeterodoxAcademy, our contributors have documented the near absence of political diversity in many fields, and we have demonstrated the damaging effects that this homogeneity has on scholarship in those fields. We are not the first to do so. Scholars have been calling attention to this problem for decades… and nothing has been done.

This time will be different. We have come together to pool resources, analyze current trends in the academy, discuss possible solutions, and advocate for policies and systemic changes that will increase viewpoint diversity in the academy and therefore improve the quality of work that the academy makes available to the public, and to policymakers.

JC reflections

I am very heartened by these developments.  I am very intrigued by the group of social scientists in HeterodoxAcademy, and I am reading their relevant publications.

As the only physical/natural scientist so far in the group, the differences and similarities between the social sciences and climate science are interesting to contemplate.

The minority perspectives on climate science are effectively being squeezed out of the academy as individuals choose to join the private sector, retire, join think tanks, or switch research topics.  Further dissenting individuals are emerging from other fields (and are non academics), some of this which is supported by the blogosphere.

Here’s to hoping that we are on the verge of a change.


399 responses to “Heterodox Academy

  1. Unfortunately, with President Obama you are not on the verge of change, not by a long shot. Yes he can, but he doesn’t.

  2. There sheer necessity for an organization such as this is disheartening. What has become of ‘thinking outside the box’? Blogs are a great example. Should one even suggest a thought counter to the propensities of a particular blog (this one included, unfortunately, but thankfully to a lesser extent than many) a chorus of belittlement ensues in an effort to drown out the contrarian view.

    Middle ground has very little place, it seems.

    When something is heard along the lines of ‘these kids these days’ the very first place one should be looking is at their teachers. And we are their teachers.

    Dr. C. Thank you for swimming against the tide. This post is appreciated.

    • You’re not the middle.

      • You’re not the judge.

      • And Danny Thomas is? LMAO.

      • JCH,

        It’s so very easy for you to say that I’m “not the middle”. So why don’t you tell me exactly where ‘the middle’ is so I can know how far off the map I am.

        You think you have some idea of what I’m all about and yet I can’t recall you ever bothering to ask.

        You quite obviously don’t care for how you think I think. Jim2, kindly steps up to remind you that you’re not the judge and Jim2 disagrees with me on several things. Kinda seems like the middle from here, but who am I to judge?

      • I don’t think you have to be in the middle to lament that it is getting hard to maintain a middle position, or to post what Danny Thomas did.

      • Claims to the middle are political/rhetorical.

      • Michael,
        “Claims to the middle are political/rhetorical.”
        And claims to be located elsewhere are what?

      • Danny,

        I’m sure there are lots of people claiming that their views are “off the map”.

      • Michael,
        As vehement as JCH is that I’m nowhere near it, he must know exactly where it is so I’m looking forward to that knowledge.

    • “Middle ground has very little place, it seems.”

      Middle ground has virtually vanished because of PC and blind partisanship:
      Black is black and white is white, no gray is there to share.
      I am right and you are not, no compromise to spare.

      • Johnstorirvin,
        “Black is black and white is white, no gray is there to share.
        I am right and you are not, no compromise to spare.”

        So it seems.

      • Progressives love to compromise.
        When choosing between freedom and a bullet in your head…
        they consider arsenic a fair compromise.

      • Problem is that when politicians compromise, the public often ends up with the worse of both worlds.

    • Danny –

      ==> “When something is heard along the lines of ‘these kids these days’ the very first place one should be looking is at their teachers. And we are their teachers.”

      Funny, ’cause the first places I look are: (1) what evidence do they use to measure and determine some kind of trend, (2) do they make an argument about causality, and if so, what evidence do they use to establish causality and, (3) do they seem to have any axes to grind. Motivated reasoning causes many people to see “kids these days” trends that don’t exist, or to describe them in simplistic/one-sided ways.

  3. Obama always did talk a good talk. I am not American and so can not vote but I decided he would have gotten my vote if I were American when he promised Jerusalem to both sides of the dispute. The heterodox idea is great and I am going to watch it closely. However having watched my husband try to reform the grant system I am dubious it will go anywhere. I hope it does, but …. I guess now that I am retired and washed out I can let my cynicism show.

    • would NOT have gotten my vote. Freudian slip?

    • Tumble,

      “Obama always did talk a good talk.”

      Indeed, while he encourages students to listen to and debate people expressing opposing views, he himself calls his opposition “flat earthers” and accuses them of “holding on to their guns and religion”. He has been a divisive president, utilizing a win-lose form of negotiating that demonstrates little empathy or concern for the other people in the deal – the opposite of win-win. Long term, the USA has a great deal of healing to do, but the transient response, epitomized by candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, is gonna get ugly.

      Obama did that.

      • Talk is cheap, it is what someone does that is important. it is indeed a shame that something like this has to be presented at all. When many of us started university it was expected that you were going to have your beliefs and ideas challenged, not coddled- that was sort of the point of what was called a liberal education. The idea that anyone has some “right” to not be be offended is absurd. In an informed populace good and civil ideas will prevail (tho not immediately, or easily).

      • FOX showed all his speeches, their full length, live every time he gave one during the first primaries. The more Obama talked the less I liked him. The press (excluding FOX) presented him only in soundbites. Coming from an essentially socialist country (Canada) Sanders is a known quantity to me. Trump really worries me because the more I listen to him, the more sense he makes which leaves me wondering about creeping senility.

      • Trump won’t have as easy a time on the CNN debate. Fiorina has a place at the table for this one. Hopefully, they fit Jeb Bush with a shock collar that activates when he begins to doze. Anyways, this might be a good debate to watch.

        From the article:

        “Jake Tapper is going to do whatever he can to get the candidates to go after each other,” said a strategist advising one of the candidates, who declined to be named delivering what could be seen as a criticism of the network. “If somebody is knocked out, CNN will be happy. In the first debate, the moderators controlled the candidates; in this debate, the candidates will have to moderate themselves.”

        Another challenge facing the network is how to handle Donald J. Trump, whose blustery pronouncements and skills as an entertainer have confounded journalists trying to pin him down on policy specifics, and whose lead in the polls has earned him a lectern squarely in the middle of the stage.

        “Part of it is putting him through the rigor,” Ms. Bash said, “but it’s also remembering that this is not a Donald Trump interview — this is a debate among 15 candidates over the course of many hours.”

        “It’s not all about making sure that you press Donald Trump on X, Y and Z,” she added. “It’s maybe pressing him on X because another candidate thinks Y and there’s a genuine disagreement.”


      • I’m sorry Judith, but I have to second this comment, and add the actions of the IRS in targeting conservative-leaning groups. It is very hard to believe that President Obama had no knowledge of these actions. Indeed, he made sure to appoint his supporters at every agency and at all levels. He can hardly be surprised that they engaged in the exact types of behavior that he clearly modeled and approved of.

        President Obama has learned what to say, and how to appear reasonable – but in real actions he has never been so. I hope to learn about science and particularly climate science from you. I hope you are learning about politics from some of the wise heads commenting here.

      • Further,

        Obama is doing this:


        I don’t see this initiative as being consistent with someone who wants free and open debates on issues.

      • TomD – indoctrination anyone?

      • “… he himself calls his opposition “flat earthers” and accuses them of “holding on to their guns and religion”.”

        Sure – but he can justify that by virtue of the fact he was talking about open debate in schools, but he is engaging in politics.

        It may not be right or helpful etc, but it’s true none-the-less.

      • “He has been a divisive president, utilizing a win-lose form of negotiating that demonstrates little empathy or concern for the other people in the deal – the opposite of win-win.”

        I might say the most purposely divisive President I can think of. That he promised so eloquently and with such passion to bridge the divide, when he must have known he was full of it, is almost as spectacular a fraud as CAGW. I bitterly regret being taken in by him.

      • His modus operandi for 7 years has been to present false choices i.e. support the Iran deal or risk war, and instigate conflict within demographic groups, industries, and countries. While I agree with the sentiments expressed in this speech, his actions and previous speeches belie those sentiments. IMO, this is yet another example of pandering to a particular group for political gains. Sorry for being so cynical but this is an Administration that aggressively practices divisiveness, persecution and prosecution of individuals and organizations with contrary views, and “America-Shaming.”

    • “That document cited examples from the U.K. which showed that sending out a letter to late taxpayers which read “9 out of 10 people in Britain pay their taxes on time” led to a 15 percent increase in compliance.”

      That’s better than the normal rude, obnoxious “you have been fined £xxx” and if you don’t pay within one month you will be fined again” when you actually don’t owe anything.

    • “Demagoguery” is apt.

  4. Watch the whole thing, its exhilarating (reminds me of why I voted for the guy).

    Rah-roe. I naturally assumed that, but gushing about it is another matter…

    • Today we learn that Obama swapped 5 terrorist leaders for a deserter (instead of the real Americans held captive) because his purpose for the deal was not to get the deserter back, but to free the terrorists. And get as little as possible in return. Treason, of course, but no surprise. Not that American progressives care.

      But hey, he said some nice words for a change and Judy got a tingle up her leg. Nice words.

      If only academics had some contact with the real world so they could understand the incredible pain and suffering their unicorn fantasies cause.

    • Anyone who voted for Obama should be hanging their head in shame at helping to elect the worst President in the history of the nation on almost any metric. Obamacare is a disgrace and Gruber is more than a footnote to this administration. He is emblematic of it as is Hilarious Godham Clinton and Benghazi and her email and the decades long lying that she has been doing. Eric Holder and gun running. The out of control EPA. Immigration. The very way this President, so full of himself, acts, is despicable. Nixon was rightly excoriated for an Imperial Presidency; Obama pushes us down a path to authoritarian fascism every time he ‘goes it alone’ and does end runs around the Constitution. His lying and contempt for the ‘balance of power’ structure of the government is an ugly thing to witness. Nothing this man has done has added to economic prosperity or the health of Liberty…it’s all about top down control, scare mongering and the rule of the Administrative State with all the misery that brings in its wake.

      Every administration has its flaws, its blemishes, its screw ups. But this administration seems wired for them with the latest being the hideous and totally dishonest Iran deal. There will be many books analyzing this administration and what went wrong…it will be a cottage industry.

      • While I can respect and understand that you may not care for Obama, how about at least not misrepresenting about “going it alone” as he’s certainly not the only one and not even close to the most prolific: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php

        We make it unnecessarily worse when we paint the pictures with only part of the information, especially when we complain that that’s what happens in the climate discussions and don’t apply a higher standard to ourselves.

      • Danny Thomas, you can’t be serious. Do you realize how silly that argument is? Without a single executive order a president could completely eviscerate the Constitution. How would that rate on your scale?

        Try rational thought. It works better that repeating stupid talking points.

      • Stanton,
        Exactly how, by ‘going it alone’ would a president accomplish that? What would be the method or tool?

        Yes, a president can create tendencies within their administration, but that is no where near ‘alone’.

      • Coming from you, that’s priceless.

  5. Related –

    The always interesting Haidt:

    “The Coddling of the American Mind

    In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health.”


  6. Whew! Finally! Something I can whole-heartedly agree with Obumbles on!

    • jim2

      Wait a minute here, you just seemed to agree with Obama AND Josh. I need a lie down…


      • Why do I get the feeling you harbor prejudice against me, Tony? :)

      • Jim2

        Not at all. For example I absolutely understand your liking for Trump and that his wealth enables him to be brutally honest instead of being politically correct. Google the new leader of the British Labour party-Jeremy Corbyn- who in his own way is also brutally honest and sticks to his principles.

        Both share something in common, although they are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum, and that is that they are unelectable.

        As regards what Obama said, he has hit on a very important point. Political correctness and the desire not to offend is stifling debate which in the public sphere OUTSIDE of the internet is far less free than it was a decade or two ago.


      • It’s a long way to November ’16, Tony. When it comes to Trump; the Muslims don’t like him, much of the Wall Street elite don’t like him, the lame stream media elite don’t like him, the political parties’ Central Committee elites don’t like him … to me, that tells me he’s the one to pick. We’ll see.

      • Jim

        In many wayS I hope you are right as the west could do with a leader who uncompromisingly and proudly asserts our traditional values and isn’t swayed by pressure groups.


  7. Judy:
    It is certainly a much needed and worthy mission. If the other members of the group are as courageous as you have shown yourself to be, then good things will result.

  8. The goals of universal education have been sold down the river. The well-rounded education designed to enable people of honesty and integrity to think for themselves no longer exists. It’s not just what’s been lost but what people are being made to become that is so disappointing, like the malignant bully in the film, The Book Thief, who gives Liesel a book and then watches to see that she throws it on the burning heap.

    To Bacon’s view of the social contract between scientists and the rest of the world, we can compare the shameful academia-abetted climate politics of –e.g., Bangladesh:

    Focusing on global warming instead of child nutrition is quite frankly … almost immoral because it is so easy and cheap.” ~Bjørn Lomborg

    Those who are picking up the tab work hard and are tired and tired of being scolded by government experts who have sold their souls for thirty pieces of silver to the priests of global warming. Their climate change gospel is falling on the ears of the masses whose dreams of a healthier lifestyle and emotional and physical self-renewal are like Charles Dickens’ remedy against suicide: “A daily glass of wine, a piece of bread and cheese, and a pipe with tobacco.”

    The business of global warming alarmism seems oblivious to the welfare of others – especially in third world and developing countries full of dangers; but of energy there can be no excess, neither did angel or man ever come in danger by it.

    • by government experts who have sold their souls for thirty pieces of silver to the priests of global warming.

      It’s a conspiracy.. Better watch out.. Don’t say it too much.. The consensus enforcement will swoop in and silence you for good..

    • And if you think about if scientists are committing fraud or intentionally grossly exaggerating the impacts from global warming, then that would be pretty close to evil because of the global policy implications. There is no telling what someone who would do that might also do.

      • Pretty close to evil?

        Government scientists defend their placement of official thermometers in urban areas and then play games adjusting the data for the existence of the UHI effect — is that moral? There has been no global warming going on 2 decades and nearly 3 decades depending on the data set used to arrive at an average temperature of the entire globe and yet, there’s a 97% consensus of opinion among Western scientists that AGW is real. We live in a real world and not the digitized world of the global warming alarmists whose models can never be verified. The concept of a global ‘average’ temperature is nothing more than fallacious reductionist logic to begin with. And, the idea that the Earth’s atmosphere actually works like a ‘greenhouse’ is a false analogy that is more like misleading government-sanctioned propaganda in the classrooms. The only thing we know with any degree of certainty is that Western science has failed Western civilization. The government-education complex has become nothing more than a too-big-to-fail, self-perpetuating bureaucracy that lives off of the blood, sweat and sacrifice of the productive.

        Uncertainty plays a huge role in this issue. It’s not that we expect disaster, it’s that the uncertainty is said to offer the possibility of disaster: implausible, but high consequence. Somewhere it has to be like the possible asteroid impact: Live with it. ~Richard Lindzen

      • @Wag: Government scientists defend their placement of official thermometers in urban areas and then play games adjusting the data for the existence of the UHI effect — is that moral?

        You were always obviously grossly biased, Wag, this just strengthens the case against you. These are feeble arguments discredited years ago and made today only by those unable to come up with any better.

    • “Please pay careful attention to the year 1962. This is the year of The Supreme Court Ruling in the case of ENGEL v. VITALE. The year that prayer was removed from our schools, the Bible in 1963.”

      Seven years before Altamont. Something to consider, that’s all.

    • Wagathon…”The only thing we know with any degree of certainty is that Western science has failed Western civilization. The government-education complex has become nothing more than a too-big-to-fail, self-perpetuating bureaucracy that lives off of the blood, sweat and sacrifice of the productive.”

      That’s quite an indictment. And true. And thoroughly depressing. That Western Science has failed Western civilization is actually painful to contemplate.

      But what can one say when noise is put forward as ‘proof’ of impending doom by PhD’s who should know better and would if they weren’t being led by their pathological ideology? What can one say when a group of scientists release a paper that ‘adjusts’ data to the least reliable data in a set and disappears the pause? What can one say when PhD’s speak of a consensus they damn well know doesn’t exist? What can one say when any scientist in any discipline doesn’t stand up and excoriate those who behave in this manner? which is a stain on the reputation of science and requires that all intelligent people come to its defense. What is there to do when a most odious bureaucrat is put in charge of a UN program that is looking for proof of its thesis and uses its power to slam critics? What can one say or do about a history of bullying and gate keeping and pal reviewing and counseling others to lie for the cause and the many accounts of statistical flim flammery?

      The public face of this discipline is as ugly as it gets with a few exceptions, like our host and Richard Lindzen, and others who are skeptical of grossly exaggerated claims built on unreproducible research, by methods that short circuit the usual behavior of scientists to be skeptics and then mount hideously ugly campaigns to sneer and smear anyone who doesn’t agree.

      It’s very depressing.

  9. JC,
    I wish I could share your enthusiasm that we could have a diversity of views on college campuses. The part of Obama’s message you may have glossed over is the part about bring the diversity in … BUT ARGUE WITH THEM. Now normally this is a good thing but their idea of arguing is protesting and slinging insults at the troglodytes. Just look at how easily Black Lives Matters took over Bernie Sanders event and how he coward to the corner of the stage and let them take over the microphones.

    • Well, there is that. Too often, leftists believe they should be able to violently argue, but the other side should just shut up.

    • Obama:
      “I’ve heard some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. I gotta tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. I think you should be able to — anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with ‘em. But you shouldn’t silence them by saying, “You can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say.” That’s not the way we learn either.”

      Who in their right mind would want to make a presentation when the are presented as racist? Only true racists. College students are indeed coddled.

  10. stevenreincarnated

    There seems to be a lot of complaints on the net about the Obama administration making new regulations regarding speach on campus. How legitimate they are I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t automatically assume he isn’t saying one thing while doing another. He is a politician after all.

  11. Judith, the link that should be to HeterodoxAcademy.org is actually a second link to the YouTube footage.

    I wish you, Jose Duarte and all at the Academy the best of luck.

  12. Time to post this link again, for the newbies:

    “Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Correctness on the University of California” from the National Association of Scholars.

    I lived through this, and have some stories even they wouldn’t publish.


    • Correction, replace “pol. corr.” with “activism”.

    • wow, that is quite a document. can’t think that I’ve seen this before (I probably would have remembered it)

    • John Carpenter

      Just don’t forget to do your due diligence on the National Association of Scholars either.

    • An interesting paragraph from the above linked paper:

      “In their constant efforts to expand the frontiers of knowledge, academic thinkers must continually rethink and reevaluate everything as they come to terms with new evidence, new discoveries, and new theories. Sometimes new developments can make them see everything they thought they knew
      in a different way. All of this sounds a very long way from the temperament of people who cling to an obsolescent political theory and refuse to reevaluate it no matter how badly it turned out to work when subjected to an extensive test in the real world. This is why those extraordinary numbers are so
      important. To surround oneself with grossly disproportionate numbers of people who share a congenial political standpoint just as that standpoint is decisively failing the test of experience looks very much like a way of insulating oneself from the lessons of experience, and a means of avoiding rethinking, reevaluating, and responding to new developments. But that is tantamount to a refusal to be an academic. An academy that contains substantial numbers of people who do not think and behave as academics must do is in serious trouble.”

      Hmm. I think I see parallels in the world of climate groupthink.

      • Goes around, comes around.

        The fundamental assumption of social dialectical theorists is that all relationships—friendships, romantic relationships, family relationships—are interwoven with multiple contradictions. Social dialectics is not a single theory but a family of theories (Montgomery and Baxter 1998).

    • Judith –

      Because you’re so concerned about the corrupting influence of activism, you may want to know that some consider NAS to be an advocacy group.

      • Name a few groups that aren’t.

      • What you REPEATEDLY fail to grasp, is the sort of advocacy Judith rails against. It when scientists throw science under the bus in order to advocate a certain policy. It’s not simply advocacy. You purposely conflate dissimilar scenarios. Muddled thinking. Or, perhaps you do it on purpose? Either way, it’s wrong.

      • jim,,


        Your advocacy sucks, mine is OK.

      • Joshua,

        How could you possibly associate opposition to affirmative action as ‘advocacy’??

      • @jim2: It when scientists throw science under the bus in order to advocate a certain policy.

        It would help if you’d say exactly which scientist(s) were “thrown under the bus”, jim2. Richard Lindzen? Roy Spencer? Pat Michaels? Sally Baliunas? Any others?

    • I think that Rud posted this a while back.

      Note the date of April 2012. No action taken to date.

      Maybe JC or Josh would care to explain what if anything is wrong with NAS.


      • Mark,

        Mr J is using a ” rule for radicals” method – discredit the source. The NAS is a natural consequence of the pc activism that has been in play since the 1970s.

      • John Carpenter

        Mark, all I said was to check the source of that information as diligently as you might with other reports by other NGO’s or advocacy groups…. In addition to looking at their own website, which might come as no surprise to you as being somewhat biased to their own flavor. Check out some of the other articles and information that comes up in the google search and then draw your conclusions. Here’s a hint, we rail against NGO’s like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club for their biased reports… how is the NAS much different from any other NGO? Answer, they aren’t. Everybody has a bias…. everybody.

        Hey, I’m somewhat sympathetic to their message, but you gots to take everything with the appropriate grain of salt.

      • Good point JC. Frankly I don’t take anything at face value anymore. Fortunately with the web there is no need to. I checked out NAS including non NAS sources the first time this piece came around. On balance I concluded that they had something to say worth listening to. Can’t say the same for Greenpeace or the Sierra Club or NWF.

      • @MS: I checked out NAS including non NAS sources the first time this piece came around. On balance I concluded that they had something to say worth listening to.

        “They” = NAS or non NAS sources?

    • The linked report is a refreshingly scathing indictment of both the California and US university systems. Funny how many on the right get attacked for saying exactly what is outlined in this document.

      Kirsten Powers’ outstanding work “The Silencing: How the Left Is Killing Free Speech” cites numerous examples of how universities are spending more time on what to think than on how to think. These findings by the National Association of Scholars offer the deserved imprimatur on a serious problem.

  13. I am in moderation and I have no idea why. Wow…

  14. “15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

    Whatever strangeness this is coming out of Obama’s mouth, we must look at what has happened to the University during Obama’s tenure. In fact it has become all the things he speaks against. Trigger warnings, safe spaces, bias free language regulations….


    It is not clear to what extent Obama himself is responsible for this, but he certainly played a part, as evidenced by his ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to universities that resulted in the institutionalization of the infantilization of women and the assumed criminality of men, i.e. the infamous ‘Yes means yes’ debacle.


    I can’t really tell if Obama is being overtly dishonest, or perhaps he feels a bit of buyers remorse about how grossly ‘Soviet’ the University has become under his tenure, but judging by the fruits, not the words, I refuse to believe for a second that this man actually has any interest in intellectual freedom.

  15. He says the right things, but in the real world does he actually promote the opposite?

    • He says the right things, but in the real world does he actually promote the opposite?

      Great question. Applied to the bible, what did Jesus say, and what did he actually promote? Mark 11:12-14 about cursing the fig tree gives some insight into this question. The next few verses about overturning the tables of the money changers give further such insight.

      Just as Christians today don’t go round cursing fig trees, I seriously doubt whether those supporting Obama’s views also support what you seem to be claiming he “promotes”. How is what you say different from speech based on pure hatred of Obama?

      • How is it at all the same? You seem a very predjudiced person. Why would you think I ‘hate’ Obama? I think he has done some things that we’re the least good of availible option. Some things, I may have had aversion too, might not be so bad in hindsight. Others, worse.

        But, mostly he seems similar to Bush. He just refuses to be a check on congress. Original choice between him and McCain to me was a coin toss. They both were overly tied to legislative branch. McCain probably would have been only marginally better on foreign relations. Economically about the same. He probably would have handled domestic class and race issues better (it’s hard to think he could have handled Ferguson and other police issue worse).

        Stimulus would have been OK, if it focused more reducing the existing mortgage debt burden. He could have guided congress more toward that but insead gave carte blanch to crony projects. Health care was just corporate welfare and and overly combersome system sold with few good changes that did not need to be tied to such a massive mess.

        Obama probably had to make pragmatic decisions on a lot of issues that look idealogically wrong, but there were some were likely actaully blunders. His dealing with Russia stand out as blunders. Iran, he was probably pragmatic and the deal does hold strategic value (keeping oil prices low hurts venezuela etc.) and prevent stress on European countries facing big problems.

        But then, he has also allowed some especially sketch things to go on in the justice department, IRS, and EPA. Things that will affect us more than a few speeches.

      • He also isn’t saying these things to the people who need to hear them, people who are working to institutionalize what he is speaking against.

      • Why would you think I ‘hate’ Obama? I think he has done some things that we’re the least good of availible option.

        Did you mean to answer your own question?

  16. Yesterday, Bernie Sanders spoke at very conservative Liberty University. Nobody asked to disinvite him. Many people came, despite their opposite views on just about every issue. They listened politely, and applauded those things that are universal to all of us. One and a half years ago, Condeleeza Rice was selected to speak at Rutgers University’s graduation. A compelling personal story, for a woman of color to rise from rural Alabama to president of Stanford University and Secretary of State. She is really a very a political person, but of course, the. protest got so large she was disinvited. An interesting contrast. I applaud this initiative, but they have their work cut out for them.

    • One explanation of why people would respect Bernie’s views and not Condi’s might be that only Bernie’s views resonated with the common man.

      The common man is neither leftist nor rightist, he or she speaks to what troubles people today. Whether at Liberty University or Rutgers University, the common man can appreciate that.

      Categorizing universities as to whether they’re left or right is not the solution, it is the problem. One would hope that today’s students could rise up above this petty polarization that their predecessors have bequeathed to them.

  17. Interesting that Jerry Brown is being pummeled by his own natural constituency:


    Also interesting that they can’t take a little rain. Maybe umbrellas are not eco friendly.

  18. The attacks on free speech, or the right to present subjects which may offend others, has a much wider religious resonance.

    In many universities outside of the Arabic world Islamic discussions are held that entail segregation of the audience into gender.


    This would be a but like insisting that Black people sit in one row , Asians in another and Whites in another.

    It is a very pernicious practice which Universities should feel empowered to speak robustly against, but they appear to be cowed by accusations of islamophobia.

    Some universities also refuse to hold debates in which people they believe to be racist are due to talk. If not an outright ban, they are often disrupted. Heckling has always been a feature of such debates but the modern trend is to try to stop the speaker being allowed to address the audience in the first place. Such a case occurred last year when Nigel Farage-leader of the right wing UKIP-was forced to cancel a talk at Cambridge University due to protests


    Ironically of course, in the general election UKIP got three times as many votes as the left wing Scottish Nationalists who seemed to be free of public protests.

    Which makes me wonder; is this an illiberal left wing and illiberal Islamic problem, or are other religious groups and the right wing just as bad in trying to shut down debate?


    • Compare the treatment of Muslims and Christians in the US. A Muslim woman working at Costco was allowed by the courts due to her religion to wear a hijab even though Costco preferred no hijab. But a Christian woman gets thown in jail for not issuing marriage licenses to a gay couple. And a Christian shop owner is fined for not baking a wedding cake for a gay couple.

      Is this truly equal treatment under the law WRT religion?

      • Some opine that Islam is an assertive and uncompromising religion whereas Christianity is not. The church of England is often called wishy washy and Fails to give a strong lead.


      • Even if Christianity is “wishy washy,” whatever that might mean, that is not an excuse to ignore their Constitutional right to their religion, speaking of the US of course; especially if Muslims are protected.

        Frankly, the “wishy washy” argument doesn’t seem like much of one.

      • Jim

        Sorry. All it means in this context is that modern Christianity is not assertive and tends to let others take the lead. They therefore leave a vacuum into which other groups expand.

        It is very unfortunate because on the whole Christianity is a force for good and reason and has been responsible for driving western civilisation for 1500 Years. They should not allow themselves to be sidelined as the alternative is a future that is increasingly more radical and uncomfortable.


      • I think I understand your point, which is not exaclty the issue on which I first commented. But mine is that the nature of the religion shouldn’t matter when it comes to equal protection under the law.

        The problem with almost any statement one makes about this comes with border cases. E.g., is Scientology a religion? I don’t believe it is, so I wouldn’t offer it the religious legal protections under the law.

        At any rate, I’m done with this. I think we’ve both made our respective points.

      • jim2:

        Compare the treatment of Muslims and Christians in the US. A Muslim woman working at Costco was allowed by the courts due to her religion to wear a hijab even though Costco preferred no hijab. But a Christian woman gets thown in jail for not issuing marriage licenses to a gay couple. And a Christian shop owner is fined for not baking a wedding cake for a gay couple.

        Is this truly equal treatment under the law WRT religion?

        There is nothing remotely contradictory, much less remotely contradictory under the law, about what you describe there. Please. If you’re going to claim discrimination, try to find examples where there is something remotely resembling discrimination.

      • Justin

        It may be my ipad but your link didn’t go anywhere. Can you repost please?


      • You are entitled to your opinion, Brandon, but not your own facts.

      • JustinWonder. I’m not a religious person, just for the record.

        But, I do believe the Constitution should apply. If that woman in question didn’t want to issue gay marriage licenses, she should be accommodated in her work place just as the Muslim woman working at Costco. Perhaps a supervisor could have handled the request, or someone else there?

        In the case of the baker, surely the gay couple could have found another baker. No harm no foul.

      • Jim2,
        “she should be accommodated in her work place”……….wonder if that would apply equally if one were religiously/spiritually opposed to say the issuance of drilling permits for oil.

      • jim2, if you want to claim there is some contradiction, you should do something to show there is a contradiction. You haven’t. The Christians in your case were trying to refuse services to people. The Muslim was trying to wear an article of clothing. There is no comparison.

        It is well-established employers must make reasonable accommodations for things like religious beliefs and medical conditions. There is nothing like that allowing people to discriminate against customers based on their sexual orientation, especially not when they’re government employees bound by not to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation. Reasonable accommodation does not mean, “Can refuse to do their job all together.”

        As for the idea businesses should be allowed to discriminate against people based on their orientation because those people could go elsewhere, that’s terribly wrong. Not only is it wrong in the same ways “separate but equal” was, it’s wrong on the facts. There will not always be alternatives people can rely upon (much less equal ones). That idea only works in some fantasy land, a fantasy land where people think they get to enter the public marketplace yet not have to be regulated by the rules of the public marketplace.

      • I’ve already made my case, Brandon.

      • jim2:

        I’ve already made my case, Brandon.

        If you did, I can’t see where. I see where you said you believed a couple things and where you made a somewhat rude remark toward me, but that’s about it. That’s not making a case. Am I missing something?

      • James Kalb on the reverse discrimination:

        “As the process of rationalizing social life extends itself, the tendency grows to view all opposition as evil. Older understandings are presumed irrational, arbitrary, oppressive, and violent. Our elites no longer even argue against them. Justice Kennedy asserts, with the support of the majority of the Supreme Court, that no one could wish to retain the natural and traditional definition of marriage unless from a desire to injure homosexuals. For those who think as he does, it goes without saying that there are no natural patterns of human functioning. The social order can only be a construction, and it should be constructed by the wise and powerful-by the technocrats-for the purpose of achieving subjective satisfaction for the greatest possible number.”


      • Frankly, your response appears to arise out of an anti-Christian bias. From the article:

        First Amendment
        The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.


      • Brandon

        ” The Christians in your case were trying to refuse services to people. The Muslim was trying to wear an article of clothing. There is no comparison.”

        There is always a comparison.

        The christian woman in the first case was trying to practice her religion.
        The muslim in the second was trying to practice her religion

        the woman in the first case refused services
        the woman in the second case refused to serve her employer.

        and there are always differences.

        The question isn’t are there differences.
        The question is are the similarities strong enough to overcome the differences. I think not.

        The muslim religion explicitly requires certain dress.
        The christian religion explicitly requires you to render unto ceaser what is ceasers, that is obey civil authority.

        The argument could be made that christianity requires people to subject themselves to civil authority, so her religion would actually require her to follow the law and issue the licence

      • Wow. I provide a clear explanation of the reasons things work the way they work, including on a legal level, and you provide nothing. You make absolutely no effort to explain how I’m wrong, but instead, basically accuse me of being a bigot.

        I don’t know why I’m still surprised by things like this, but I am. Every time.

      • Well, Brandon. I’ve made my case. As you requested, I pointed out what you seem to have missed. Yet, you still believe yourself to be right about this. Oh well, I’ve done all I can for you.

      • jim2, if you think quoting the first amendment qualifies as making a case, you’re a buffoon who will never convince anyone you’re right. All you’re going to do is make your cause look bad.

        Steven Mosher, I don’t know if you think this sort of semantic parsing actually contributes something of value to discussions or if you just like following me around to say I’m wrong with lengthy comments that accomplish nothing while refusing to even attempt to resolve any substantive disagreements we have. It’s kind of disturbing though.

      • Oh, so now you’re calling me a buffoon. That’s a surefire way to win a logical argument! ;)

      • Well, just to muddy the waters some more. I think in both cases these individuals were acting on their own principles. In the case of the Christian woman if she wanted to make a point she should have resigned, as her job was to follow the new law and provide the documents. In the case of the Muslim woman if she didn’t like the dress code required by her employer she should have quit the job.

        In the first case the person was breaking the law. Perhaps it was her desire to show civil disobedience but generally you go to jail when you do that. Just ask the old civil rights people. I don’t know the law in the second case but the courts ruled a certain way right or wrong so you have to go by that unless the company wins an appeal.

      • I don’t make fun of people in order to “win” logical arguments, but when they decide to abandon any sort of actual discussion in favor of simply labeling me a bigot, there’s no logical argument left to “win.”

        If you want to have an actual discussion, we can. If you want to just resort to useless discussions of people’s character, then well, I don’t know what you expect to happen. Hopefully it’s not any additional responses, but you won’t get them.

      • The examples would be where accomodations are made for muslims students in schools for prayer or other expressions of their faith while christian students and teachers are forbidden to wear a cross.

      • Barnes, I don’t know why accommodations should be made for Muslim prayer. There should be no expressions of religion in schools – the separation of Church and State. If that is the case then apparently PC rules and actual law is being circumvented.

      • Brandon

        “Steven Mosher, I don’t know if you think this sort of semantic parsing actually contributes something of value to discussions or if you just like following me around to say I’m wrong with lengthy comments that accomplish nothing while refusing to even attempt to resolve any substantive disagreements we have.

        1. It’s not a semantic parsing. you said there was NO comparison.
        there obviously is one. The argument is that the christian woman wants to freely practice her religion which means not recognizing gay marriage.
        2. The comment wasnt lengthy. As for my motivations. When I see mistakes I like to correct them. I have a coin. when you make a mistake I flip the coin. heads I respond, tails I ignore it.
        3. I dont think we have any substantive disagreement. so you are presuming there is something to resolve


        It’s kind of disturbing though.

        I am sorry you are disturbed. you should do something about that. take a walk. get some fresh air. relax.

      • Brandon. You continue to make vacuous arguments, such as there is no legal basis for protection of religions. The protection of religious belief is embodied in the Constitution. The fact that you choose to ignore that a support for my argument highlights your disingenuousness.

        There are other legal foundations for this. For example:

        Religious Discrimination & Reasonable Accommodation
        The law requires an employer or other covered entity to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer’s business. This means an employer may be required to make reasonable adjustments to the work environment that will allow an employee to practice his or her religion.

        Examples of some common religious accommodations include flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practices.

        The fact that she works for the government does not void her constitutional and other rights. You may continue to ignore the support for my contention, but again, you will only emphasize the fact that you are simply arguing for arguments sake.

      • Prdvic – that’s the point. While not universal, and frankly not likely common, there have been cases where accomodations have been made for muslims to express their faith while christians were denied the same right. The first amendment states quite clearly that congress shall.make no law with respect to establishing religion or prohibiting the free expression thereof. The intent was to avoid having an officially decreed religion and to allow individuals complete freedom to express and practice whatever religion they chose, or not. Prayer in schools has nothing to do with congress passing a law establishing any kind of religion and there should be no ban on individuals freely expressing their faith.

      • My apologies Ordvic – typing on a note 4 can be a challenge.

      • Barnes,
        I can think of at least one very tricky constitutional issue in separation of Church and State. What we are talking about in fact. Should Muslim women be allowed to wear their headdress to public school? Equally should Christian women be allowed to wear crosses? As far as I know they can? It is my understanding that the only dress not allowed is when they think it will incite violence. You could probably make the argument that any of these types of dress could incite violence. Should public schools be allowed to enforce very strict dress codes or is that unconstitutional and discriminating? I don’t know how this could be resolved, it seems very gray to me.

      • We should back up a bit and ask ourselves if we should allow just any Muslim to enter the US. Sharia law conflicts with US law. If a Muslim agrees to live by our laws and not Sharia law, learns our history, and also pledges allegiance to the US, then let them in. This means legal immigration only and going through the process to become incorporated into Western society.

        To me, this is a larger logical problem from the standpoint of freedom of religion. It illustrates that there will always be problematic cases no matter how detailed the policy.

      • The woman in question was acting as the government and as such has no first amendment rights to not issue marriage licenses to those qualified to get them.

        And it’s Matthew 7 for those who refuse to bake cakes for gay couples.

        It is a reasonable accommodation to allow the wearing of the Hajib.

      • Only the government can “act as the government.” She is an employee and a citizen. The department in question should have had the supervisor handle it or someone else.

        As I said before, being an EMPLOYEE of the government does not void that persons rights.

      • Jim2,

        She is an elected official and can’t be fired, she is not an employee of the government.
        She is the elected clerk of the court and has no supervisor.
        She can be impeached, but the legislature is not in session at the moment.
        She doesn’t have any rights in this matter, just the obligation to do her job as part of the government.

      • Not entirely true, Bob. From the article (my emphasis):

        First, a technical but important legal point: Title VII expressly excludes elected officials. But Kentucky, like about 20 other states, has a state Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) statute that requires government agencies to exempt religious objectors from generally applicable laws, unless denying the exemption is the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest. The federal government also has a RFRA, which may apply to federal court orders issued to state elected officials.

        Such RFRAs are narrower than Title VII (they apply only to the government) but also broader (they apply not just to employment but to all government action). Nothing in them exempts accommodation claims by elected officials. Moreover, the 1963-90 Free Exercise Clause rules that the RFRAs were meant to restore included protections for elected officials, see McDaniel v. Paty (1978); though McDaniel involved a rule that discriminated against religious practice, the plurality opinion treated it as a standard religious exemption request.

        The terms of these RFRAs actually seem to offer greater protection for claimants — to deny an exemption, the government must show not just “undue hardship” but unavoidable material harm to a “compelling government interest.” Tagore v. United States (5th Cir. 2013) illustrates this: When Sikh IRS agent Kawaljeet Tagore sought a religious exemption from IRS’s no-weapons-in-the-workplace policy for her kirpan (a 3-inch dulled symbolic dagger), the court concluded that accommodating the request was an “undue hardship,” but allowed the RFRA claim to go forward, so that the trial court could determine whether denying the exemption “furthers a compelling government interest with the least restrictive means.” On the other hand, Harrell v. Donahue (8th Cir. 2011) took the view that, at least as to federal employees, RFRA provided no protections beyond those offered by Title VII.


      • Steven Mosher, “The argument could be made that christianity requires people to subject themselves to civil authority, so her religion would actually require her to follow the law and issue the licence.”

        That case is actually a lot more interesting. The Supremes killing the DOMA doesn’t write law, it makes one law unconstitutional. Kentucky also has a constitution and the marriage licenses they issue contain the phrase “bonds of holy matrimony” which is part of what the clerk swore to uphold, though marriage licensing is a fraction of her duties. Kentucky legislature should be allowed time to review the implications and revise their paper work and laws accordingly. States can challenge the constitutionality of issuing marriage licenses all together.

        BTW, her refusal may have more legal grounds than the gay judge in Texas that refuses to marry heteros.

      • Jim2,
        She is not free to discriminate against others as a part of our government.
        Federal law trumps state laws.
        The supreme court has ruled that gays have certain rights and no state law or constitution trumps that.

      • “I do not, and would never, impede any person’s right to get married.” – Judge Parker, Dallas County, Texas

      • Well, Bob, the jig is up for you. If you read the article I posted last, it is plain to see to even the most casual observer that accommodations could and should have been made to this person on the government payroll. There are even Federal statutes that can be interpreted that way, it just hasn’t been through the courts yet.

        And, one other point, the Supreme Court does not necessarily have the final word. According to the Constitution, the other two branches of the Federal government have as part of their commission the responsibility to check and balance the Supreme Court. This is merely Civics 101 in the USA.

      • JCH, ““I do not, and would never, impede any person’s right to get married.” – Judge Parker, Dallas County, Texas”

        Right, they can always go somewhere else.

      • Jim2,
        We disagree on whether she is an employee of the government or an elected official.
        If she is an employee, then she can be fired for not doing her job, but the judge that threw her in jail didn’t do that because he couldn’t. Because she is an elected official.
        Yes the legislature can override the supreme court, but I think that has already been tried in this case and you guys failed to even get that process started. All the defense of marriage legislation failed, so now what you have to do is get a constitution amendment to the US constitution going. Good luck with that.
        Civics one oh one indeed.

        And now on to the pause thread, that should be interesting

      • You are obfuscating, Bob. We BOTH agree she is ELECTED.

        I have cited the Constitution, State (Kentucky) regulations, and Federal regulations stating she has protections of her religious beliefs and actions.

        You have conveniently chosen to ignore those. The fact is that gay couples and her rights can be protected at the same time. These protections are not mutually exclusive as you seem to want.

        In fact you are taking the leftist position that anything gays do is OK but anything a Christian does it not OK. That’s the popular, leftist, and lame stream media view, but that view DOES NOT comport with the law.

    • Tonyb,

      “It is a very pernicious practice which Universities should feel empowered to speak robustly against, but they appear to be cowed by accusations of islamophobia.”

      Hebdophobia! ;)

  19. “Civility”, the kinder, gentler way of speaking to one another is the common denominator in university classrooms and social interchanges associated with the rise of political correctness and the intolerance of intellectual diversity. Through the media and their reports from experts, we have been given the words to repeat as a mantra to shout down opposition; the science is settled; this is peer-reviewed science; do your own research and publish it; there is a consensus of scientists who are doing climate science; your argument is unphysical; your in denial, facts are facts. All this, even without name calling; words repeated to silence disturbing thoughts.

    Political Correctness is the Valium one takes to address cognitive dissonance; i.e. trying to hold to dissimilar thoughts about the same subject at the same time. The climate is changing due to mankind. The climate is changing due to natural variation. The climate, like weather is chaotic, non-linear and may not be knowable.

    After taking Valium, the dust settles, and in one’s stupor, you now know you are correct and allow yourself to be guided to what is right and beautiful.
    Nirvana awaits the true believers. Anytime you feel a conflicting thought coming in, take another Valium. All will be well.

  20. Somewhat related – Donna Laframboise writes about trying to re-define free speech.

    Earlier this year, I attended a discussion about free speech. Harvey Silverglate in particular was excellent in discussing various campuses where administrations and/or student organizations declared certain *ideas* off-limits. [Although it was videotaped, I don’t think it’s available.]

  21. Academics acknowledging the heterodox is a bit like a teenager finding sex or a seagull spotting a sick prawn. No words or prompts should be needed.

    How is it possible that educated adults – the most educated in the narrower sense of the word – need to have this pointed out to them or need to point it out to colleagues?

    What next? A windy discourse – maybe even a publish-or-perish “paper” – telling track athletes that physiologists have demonstrated that people run better with legs?

  22. Debate class is great practice. In high school we had to debate both sides of the Vietnam war. Probably such a thing is forbidden now. If you can’t articulate your position, maybe you don’t even know why you believe X. Just pointing to the IPCC for example isn’t much of an argument.

  23. richardswarthout

    I wonder how many are in my shoes. Mostly apolitical but strongly favor reaganomics. IMO many people, including some conservatives, miss the apple regarding this, and when Trump wants the rich to pay their fair share he misses. At the core of the apple, of Reaganomics, is the belief that lower marginal tax rates increase GDP growth. Numerous studies show this and few contradict it.


  24. I wonder if the word crucible, a place or situation in which different elements interact to produce something new (Wiki) is part of the lexicon of Heterodox Academy? Does Heterodox Academy tolerate both heat and light on a topic as complex as climate? I ask this as the more global voice of reasoning seems lost, or at least drowned out by the unrelenting pounding surf of climate activism. Will Heterodox Academy communicate with a world that may be the antithesis of the Academy’s principles?

    Is Heterodox Academy open by invitation only?

    And in a Woody Allen truism, ” Would I want to join a club that would have me?”

      • @RiH008: Will Heterodox Academy communicate with a world that may be the antithesis of the Academy’s principles?

        I think you have that backwards. Will the world that is the antithesis of the Heterodox Academy’s principles communicate with HA? (What are the odds it would even return HA’s phone calls?)

        Good call, Mosher, about RiH008’s misattribution of that quote to Woody Allen. One imagines he doesn’t know much about climate either.

      • Vaughan

        Presumably by your criteria you have just demonstrated that neither you nor Mosh know anything about climate?

        That quote did indeed come from a Woody Allen character in Annie Hall in order to make their own point and to note that Groucho Marx may not have been the originator of that quote;

        “Alvy Singer: [addressing the camera] There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly. The… the other important joke, for me, is one that’s usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud’s “Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious,” and it goes like this – I’m paraphrasing – um, “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.” That’s the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women. ”

        As Mosh might say read more and go beyond the first google reference..


      • Vaughan

        BTW, to finish the story Woody Allen was wrong

        ‘As already seen, Alvy attributed this joke to Sigmund Freud’s Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious (1905). Actually, neither the joke itself nor any likely forerunner appears in that book. Alvy’s creator was probably thinking of a joke which had appeared in Theodor Reik’s Jewish Wit in the following form (2):

        Every day in a coffee house, two Jews sit and play cards. One day they quarrel and Moritz furiously shouts at his friend: “What kind of a guy can you be if you sit down every evening playing cards with a fellow who sits down to play cards with a guy like you!” (Reik, 1962: 57-8)

        Alvy’s confusion of Reik’s book with Freud’s, takes nothing away from Woody Allen’s brilliant use of the joke in Annie Hall.”

        personally I think Groucho’s version was funnier and I’ve no idea if the Jewish explanation is true


      • Vaughan Pratt

        I think Tony has addressed the Woody Allen issue.

        As for my understanding of climate, “One imagines he doesn’t know much about climate either”, all I know is what I observe and read. My observations of weather began when “I wore younger man’s clothes” and set sail upon a vast body of water (Lake Erie). Subsequently, my sailing crafts became smaller and the bodies of water became larger, all of the Great Lakes, the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans and most recently, from the Eastern shores of Lake Huron. The connection between the time of day, wind, water, boat and myself had lessons for myself in reading and appreciating the subtle changes I was about to encounter and react to.

        I learned about weather by experiencing it. Weather models, and in particular weather broadcasts dependent upon those models were a frequent curiosity although, I must admit, rarely did I rely upon such forecasts when risking life and limb more than 12 hours out.

        I’ve more recently read about climate, initially intrigued by the reliance upon mathematics and models as prediction schemes. That there were some thoughts other than what emanated from IPCC was not surprising as I learned more about the models used. My previous experiences with models was in some of the work I use to do. I learned, just like the weather forecasts, to not be terribly enthused with the model output, let alone see this output as a building block or evidence as one would do with say test tubes and their output. Instead, I stuck with observations, responding to what I observed and left the future to come as it may.

        Returning to the original topic of Heterodox Academy:

        ” Will the world that is the antithesis of the Heterodox Academy’s principles communicate with HA?”

        I believe the world won’t know that HA exists until HA announces that it is here, and, has something to say.

      • I love Climate Etc.’s conception of science. You have RiH008 and climatereason arguing one side and others making Popper’s case for the other side.

        If they would just publish their respective theories in a reputable journal so that actual scientists could review and evaluate them, there might be a hope of finding some common ground. As it stands however it’s just chaos with people contradicting each other with no accountability.

      • @RiH008: Instead, I stuck with observations, responding to what I observed and left the future to come as it may.

        Me too. Now explain why what you observed has convinced you that CO2 presents no threat to the planet in this century. Were your observations the same as those who see a major problem coming, or have you drawn your conclusions from different observations?

  25. It is a hopeful development, but will not be meaningful in terms of student education until translated to (a) faculty and (b) guest speakers. I stopped all further contributions to my alma mater last year over this very issue. Sent the big gifts solicitors into a tizzy.

  26. Judith, you say, “Watch the whole thing, its exhilarating (reminds me of why I voted for the guy).

    It is frightening that after witnessing his duplicity for seven years, you still feel the thrill up your leg. Given his harsh rhetoric of sceptics, you should realize he doesn’t believe one thing he said.

  27. MBH98 is not only wrong, it’s the product of an ideologically-driven consensus of intellectually-dishonest deceivers. AGW theory and all of the supporting research rests solely on manipulated data and the use of digital models that fail validation. Climatology is as heterodox.

  28. Spiked-online.com ( Ben Pile associated) has been spending a lot of time talking about the issue of free speech on campus and recently spreading this from a UK focus to the US. Some great resources


  29. I didn’t see it mentioned in the article but heterodox comes from the Greek meaning ‘the other opinion’


    This is somewhat similar to the Latin motto of the royal society established 1660 which translates as ‘take nobody’s word as final’

    It seems a shame that our appetite for debate that is contentious or difficult appears to have waned over the centuries, both in science and the wider world.


    • Excellent point, Tony. But somewhere along the way, “the” in “the other opinion” gradually faded away and heterodoxy came to mean any alternative to orthodoxy.

      But if we insist on “the other opinion”, and if society is divided 50-50 on whether rising CO2 is a threat, which is the orthodoxy and which the heterodoxy?

  30. What happens when heterodoxy becomes the new orthodoxy? All truths matter or no truths matter?

    • Wag, I see it differently. Quality back and forth debate about facts and theories and illogical arguments (ad homs, appeals to authority, and such) are one way to approach truth. Wrote a book about some of the general techniques.
      That debate has been largely beenshut down scientifically (McNutt Science, Sci Am on Judith in 2010, Climategate, Bengstom) and politically (Obama SOTU ‘science is settled’, EPA Congressional endrun). Even in portions of the blogosphere (SKS, Guardian disappeared comments).
      Yet it exists elsewhere and (IMO) is having a growing impact. Here, Climate Audit, books like Monfort’s and Steele’s… And some MSM are beginning to notice, like Lloyd in Austalia and Booker in the UK.
      Reversing massive political momentum in a movement that started with UN support between 1988 and 1992 takes a while. But it aure looks like the tide has turned.

  31. An interesting editorial in the Journal of American Medical Association today summarizing a series of articles regarding biomedical research JAMA Viewpoints:

    Is it possible to recognize a Major Scientific Discovery?

    JAMA. 2015;314(11):1135-1137. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.9629.

    For us to recognize breakthroughs, is it necessarily original research such that primary data is presented in the typical Introduction-Methods-Results-Discussion layout? Does the research always use data collected by the discoverers? Does the discovery always depend on “basic sciences”?

    The conclusion: past accumulated experience in biomedical AND other scientific disciplines suggests that none of these potential hallmarks are sensitive markers of great breakthroughs.

    The provocative question: does the definition of biology include its interface with all other sciences? If so, then the Heterodox Academy would be a good venue for such dialogue.

    • Neat comment. Been giving some independent thought the past few years, just based on a personal experience with a tiny advance (hardly a breakthrough, although an experimentally supported massive revision to 60 years of ‘settled science’) in an obscure corner of energy storage.
      These things are almost always easier to judge in the fullness of hindsight rather than at the time. Maybe Newton’s Principia, Jenner’s vaccination, and Watson/Crick DNA spiral helix are counter examples ‘proving the general rule’ that rich context usually matters.

  32. “Don’t ask me to reconcile this with Obama’s statements about climate deniers.”

    Well, you can’t. You been pimped.

  33. David L. Hagen

    Intolerant Univ. California forbids Intolerance
    Conversely “University of California Seeks to Create ‘Right’ to Be ‘Free From Acts and Expressions of Intolerance’”
    i.e. action diametrically opposed to the First Amendment’s guarantee that:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    The University of California as part of the Government now forbids my “free exercise of religion” by prohibiting “Expressions of Intolerance”, thus “establishing religion” in which they set themselves supreme in the place of God, to absolutely define right and wrong, forbidding all dissent thereof.
    That was precisely why all US States refused to sign the Constitution until that Bill of Rights was first included. Such absolute intolerance is exactly what was objected to by the Seven Bishops 1688 in refusing the King’s coercive order, with the right of petition for redress of grievances from the Magna Carta 1215 cl 61 recodified in the (English) Bill of Rights 1689, which was then preserved in the US Bill of Rights.
    Jesus condemned the Scribes and Pharisees of his day for similar intolerance in imposing strict rules to regulate behavior with supreme intolerance for any exercising the original freedoms of worship involved.
    Obama for once verbally upholds free expression. In practice he very heavily handedly coerces all to his alarmist climate change beliefs. e.g. BarackObama.com “CALL OUT THE CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS”

    that climate change is real and [somewhat] man-made, and affecting communities in every part of the country.

    In reality, 97% of all scientists agree that climate has been changing for 4 billion years, that humans affect climate. The challenge is to determine how much. Its the 400% higher predictions of models than reality for the tropical tropospheric “hot spot” since 1979 where there is divergence between “realists” and Obama’s “alarmists”

  34. David L. Hagen

    errata. Seven Bishops Trial 1688 with transcript.

  35. A president who for the past 7 years demonized just about every person who has ever disagreed with him is now telling people to tolerate opposing views?

    So pure the way this guy plays people – and oh yeah broken clocks are correct twice a day.

  36. stevefitzpatrick

    “Don’t ask me to reconcile this with Obama’s statements about climate deniers.”
    It is more than a little surprising, but I can venture a guess: Mr Obama knows nothing of science, and has surrounded himself with scientific advisors who only tell him about the evil of “deniers”, rather than a balanced presentation of the real uncertainties, and how reasonable people can (and do) weigh the evidence differently. Consider, for example, what John Holdren had to say about Roger Pielke Jr. Last year. Hear “the science” filtered by John Holdren is almost a guarantee of reaching the kinds of conclusions Mr Obama has reached.

    On the other hand, it takes no specific technical skills to appreciate that the silencing of those who disagree with you, because you think they do not deserve to be heard, is contrary to any reasonable understanding of “academic freedom” and “freedom of speech”. He clearly “gets that”. But it seems Mr Obama has a blind spot. Complaints about censoring of unpopular views on campuses are perfectly legitimate, and people have been complaining for a long time. When the behavior does not improve (indeed, it seems to be getting worse), what option does the public have to force a change that behavior except through cuts in public funding?

    I would think a lot more of Mr Obama if he would use his bully pulpit to criticize the obnoxious censoring on campuses which has been going on for far too long, and make clear that public funding comes with certain demands for free speech and academic freedom on campus.

  37. Civility and entitlement seem to be linked in the minds of our “intelligencia”. Namely, I am entitled to be treated civilly. No matter how badly I behave, you are obligated to treat me civily, and, I am entitled to be treated as a human being, with dignity, with justice and to be regarded as a person of importance.

    No you are not!

    That is one of the lessons most people haven’t learned. No one is entitled. We may be endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, amongst these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is no mention of entitlement other than what is stated. Yes, you now, in some states can smoke a joint for your pursuit of happiness. There were plenty of drunken sots around in Colonial days. I don’t think our Founding Fathers had these people in mind for pursuit of happiness except in an exclusionary way.

    Almost all of the modern behaviors clung to by those who perceive themselves to be victims focus around the notions of having rights, rights they themselves do not have to be extended to others. Civility for example. “The police just have to take it.” Bad behavior that is. Intolerance: “Those who don’t believe that carbon is a poison are just flat earthers. They’re climate deniers.”

    For the Heterodox Academy. Can the gathered social scientists really turn their backs upon generations of their literature of their own making regarding legacy abuse? Can they, do they want to admit, that it is the people in the here and now who have to slog through their lives, one step at a time, obtaining their own social justice? self actuation? sole purpose, sole deriving their own meaning of life?

    Such a club would be extraordinary.

    • “We may be endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, amongst these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Not so, rights is a human concept not an innate reality, and any rights asserted in any particular society will reflect aspects of that society.

      • Faustino aka Genghis Cunn

        Of course you are right that “human rights” as well as God are a human constructs and, as such, reflect the values of a particular society. In this case, that is Heterodox Academy, the notion that there is both an interest in and a conscious study of different ideas is in some views, a restoration of the Scottish Enlightenment now on a more global scale.

        My push back has been that academics has fallen into the “Alphonse” charade (After you my dear Alphonse) which seems to have halted clear thinking because of the need to be politically correct although not necessarily polite. The knives of critical thinking are no longer in evidence as much that emerges from the pens of consensus thinkers is “me-too-ism”.

        The crucible in climate science seems to be missing.

    • Kalb on how the scientific obsession and abandonment of God leads to the ‘satisfaction engine’ of modern society.

      “Restricting the category of the real in this manner abolishes higher goods and does away with traditional understandings of morality. This result once seemed to forebode chaos, but the principles of utility and equality are now accepted as substitutes for old moralities. The former principle requires us to treat human interests as desires to be satisfied (utility) or frustrated (disutility), while the latter tells us that all desires deserve equal favor to the extent consistent with the coherence and effectiveness of the system. The result is maximum equal preference satisfaction, achieved through technology and applied to the whole of life, as a supreme moral and social guide.”


      • Nickels, Kalb’s claimed pattern may have some validity, but it is far from universal. He says that “the principles of utility and equality are now accepted as substitutes for old moralities.” Not by me, and not by many others. I gave up God and religion in 1955, but have long followed a strict moral code of which most people of most religions would surely approve. A major flaw in Kalb’s quote is the implication that satisfying desires is a worthy goal. The process of desire, of wanting this and wanting not to have that, leads to a pattern of craving and aversion which can never be satisfied, and is a source of disharmony within and between people. To lead a peaceful and harmonious life, each individual needs to address and overcome this pattern. “maximum equal preference satisfaction” solves nothing.

      • Faustion, Kalb is actually describing the pathological state of the current politic, not advocating it.

        And, of course, he does deal in generalities which are necessary to make statements about the general trend in society. By no means is the argument that people who lose God cannot have morals, it is more a general notion that when a PEOPLE lose the concept of God and turn to science, degeneracy and tyranny result.

        Kalb despises the “maximum equal preference satisfaction” engine and advocates a return to tradition.

  38. stevefitzpatrick

    I read a draft of the paper (from before acceptance for publication). It is an insightful and well documented paper. I have two comments: 1) the authors are in for some trouble from their “peers” and 2) the conclusion section asks “Will psychologists tolerate and defend the status quo, or will psychology make the changes needed to realize its values and improve its science?”, a question with an answer so obvious that it seems almost ridiculous to ask. I predict this will not end well for the authors.

  39. must say, my first reaction to the President’s statement was that it is calculated
    the DC political class is freaked out by Trump (entertaining to watch)
    and they know that Trump’s popularity is largely a reaction to PC
    PC is becoming a laughing stock and Democratic Party marketing types are worried about it being pinned on ‘liberals’ by the public

    what I hear the President sayin’ is …
    “I must leave you now, for there they go, and I am their Leader”

  40. Judith,

    Here’s to hoping that we are on the verge of a change.

    I’ve been hoping too … for 25 years. I think it has been getting progressively worse over those 25 years … and getting worse at an accelerating rate.

    It’s really frightening that an ideologue like Obama could become US President and surround himself with advisers with history of extreme irrational beliefs – such as John Holdren.

    • Yes,,

      Thank god his predecessor was such a shining beacon of rational disinterest.

    • @PL: It’s really frightening that an ideologue like Obama

      Don’t believe a word of what Peter Lang says. I’m an ideologue like Obama and I know for a fact he’s not frightened by me.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        I just saw this comment by Leo Smith on Energy Policy and thought of you the ex Stanford professor, who has retired to a life of trolling and posting juvenile, childish comments on subjects he hasn’t got a clue about (such as energy economics).

        I have many friends of the Left persuasion, and the key feature they all share is that to them political action is about expressing a desire to do the right thing: to address fundamental problems with society as they see it – to achieve a social justice or an environmental ideal. They support and will vote for anyone who expresses these desires clearly, whether or not the actual proposed solutions are sane or out of cloud cuckoo land

        In this mindset, wars haven’t been eliminated, or poverty eradicated, and renewable energy doesn’t work, not because these are impractical ideals, but because we haven’t spent enough of (someone else’s?) money on them.

        Additionally they all, to a man (or woman) see public money as someone else’s money The rich must be taxed, the corporations must be taxed..and, despite often being fairly affluent, they do not consider that the money so spent is in fact their money.

        If you challenge them they will say ‘we have to start somewhere’.

        If you want to challenge the Left, I think that you need to understand this mindset – I call it being trapped in an emotional narrative, where self worth and a clear conscience are equated with supporting a Cause, even if the cause is arrant nonsense.

        I dont have a solution, but I do think that is where the problem really lies. Not with energy policy, but with a culture that panders to low self esteem, is jealous of success, and compassionate towards failure, emphasises hatred and resentment against those who strive to be better, and paints the world as one of conflict where the only way losers will get to win, is by voting in some deeply unpleasant people who will on their behalf, behead the dragons and tuck them up in bed at night with a glass of warm milk.

        Because what counts is not achievement, but intention.

        As I often say, your heart in the right place, your head in the clouds, and your hand in someone else’s pocket…

        “Corbyn in La La Land” http://euanmearns.com/corbyn-in-la-la-land/

      • @PL: the ex Stanford professor, who has retired to a life of trolling and posting juvenile, childish comments on subjects he hasn’t got a clue about

        You may be unfamiliar with the concept of “Professor Emeritus”, Peter. Contrary to what you appear to believe, it means nothing more than forgoing salary (which in my case I can easily afford thanks to my participation in the very early days of engineering workstations) and the right to vote on Academic Council (which I’d never exercised at any time). I still have an office, can teach courses, advise students, serve on committees (I was on the Ph.D. admissions committee the previous two years), and so on.

        If you look at my home page you’ll see that I maintain an active research program in a number of areas of academic interest.

        Unlike you I don’t normally depend on ad hominem arguments to make my case, since science has stronger arguments. But since that seems to be your style I’ll make an exception in your case by comparing you to David Springer.

        You’re no better. Both of you would be more convincing if you’d stick to substantive arguments and not depend so heavily on crude ad hominem attacks like the ones you bring to bear on everyone who disagrees with you.

  41. It’s not just a problem with academia. For those who have not read “Bias” by Bernard Goldberg, you should. And note how he was completely ostracized by the MSM for pointing out and documenting what was obvious to many on the right, but blindingly ignored and denied by the left, and still is.

  42. Value in Vigorous Debate
    Vigorous debate is a core value in Jewish training and life – and Jews are among the most successful people on earth.
    “Two Jews, Three Opinions”

    But just as much as improperly motivated disputes were condemned by our sages, so did they find value in disputes which had a constructive purpose. They particularly appreciated disputes which were motivated by the search for truth. Hence, hardly a page in the thousands of pages of the Talmud does not record strong differences of opinion between the rabbis.

    Stifling debate results in intellectual shallowness, weakness, immaturity etc.
    Political correctness at Universities is debasing students to weaklings unable to grapple with issues to find truth.

  43. Hey, Emile, yr can’t say that!

  44. I congratulate you, Professor Curry, for being part of the Heterodox Academy.

    I wish you success, knowing that the Heterodox Academy’s success will mean I was wrong to suggest that Stalin won WWII and then used physics as a tool to rule a new worldwide government patterned after George Orwell’s futuristic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

  45. The reason I prefer CE to either WUWT or RC is that Judith conceives of and runs CE as heterodoxical. It’s therefore hardly a surprise to find her agreeing with Obama’s endorsement of heterodoxy in academia. Students should be allowed to draw their own conclusions based on the evidence.

    But what of those students who find unconvincing the evidence that man landed on the moon, and who’ve see quite enough “evidence” to convince them that it was all staged as some sort of giant conspiracy. Should their instructors and peers merely say “yes, this is a heterodoxical campus and everyone can believe whatever they want about moon landings, whether vaccination causes autism, and so on”, or should they at least be required to write essays arguing for their views and against what they don’t believe before they can be awarded a diploma?

    If they’re in philosophy I would consider that a bare minimum.

    But what if they’re in a subject that impacts people’s lives, such as medicine, or law, or engineering? Should they be permitted to graduate while expressing beliefs that others would regard as a threat to society?

    Climate science is particularly tricky in that regard because of the huge polarization of beliefs as to whether rising CO2 poses any threat to society.

    Far more evidence against the CO2 threat can be found online than evidence against man having landed on the moon. Based on that metric, it would be entirely consistent to believe that man did land on the moon but that CO2 poses no threat to society.

    Should the knowledge of science graduates be that of what science teaches, or of what can be learned online including why the scientists are wrong?

    I can imagine some from RC saying, “you’re on CE, silly, the answer is a foregone conclusion.” But would that be fair?

    • I take your point, but landing on the moon is a binary question of fact, one that has been validated by billions of observations. Besides trying to establish “threat” on a continuum, AGW has been a theory. Until someone surfaces who actually observed the Big Bang, that also will continue to sit alongside AGW as a theory. However, I will agree that in another few generations arguing on either side of AGW will be more difficult simply by having to acknowledge the preponderance of observational data that will have been gathered over the previous 100 (?) years that should be much more reliable than currently possessed.

      I assume you read the document linked by Justinwonder above regarding the findings of the National Association of Scholars. No one should be comfortable with those assertions.

    • stevenreincarnated

      I don’t thinking claiming CO2 is the climate control knob is comparable to man landing on the moon. It’s more like claiming we have conquered space travel and using the Star Trek series as the primary evidence.

    • Should the knowledge of science graduates be that of what science teaches, […]?


      The “knowledge of science graduates” should be how to questionwhat science teaches”, and that it should be questioned!

    • I’m afraid that problem already exists. Large majorities of young people believe Oliver Stones version of the JFK assassination. They also believe that astrology is the same as astronomy.

    • There is also the question of whether their belief is relevant to their academic focus. How many history of the moon landing majors are there out there?

    • VP – Marginal cases like this can occur, and IMO if the person in question is training to be a physician, that person will fail some tests, I’m thinking. But beyond that, the Professors and students in this case need to argue with this person until they are all blue in the face. If the person doesn’t meet the requirements to become a physician, then he won’t be allowed to be one.

      Also, we can’t make policy based on marginal cases, again IMO.

    • People have all kinds of beliefs and can still have a successful professional career. I met a silicone computer engineer on a plane. He believed in Jesus Christ. In my opinion that belief did not hinder his work. One could point to the fact that Jesus Christ is a compilation character and the two words from two different languages were never used together until Constantine ordered a single book written with that being the name of the character. I don’t think you could convince that engineer that this was true.

      • One could point to the fact that Jesus Christ is a compilation character and the two words from two different languages were never used together until Constantine ordered a single book written with that being the name of the character. I don’t think you could convince that engineer that this was true.

        Perhaps because it almost certainly isn’t.

        “Jesus”, “Ιησους”, in Greek, is actually a transliteration of the Hebrew/Aramaic “Yeshua” (or something like it, there were several versions of the name). It’s the same name (roughly) presented in the English “Old Testament” as “J0shua”.

        That same name (“Ιησους”) is used in the Septuagint for J0shua son of Nun and Yeshua (Hebrew יֵשׁוּעַ) the High Priest, and should, by Paul’s time, clearly be considered a Greek name.

        Likewise, “Christos”, “Χριστος”, is a Greek word meaning “anointed”, used to translate the Hebrew word usually transliterated as “Messiah”. It also was used in the Septuagint, for kings, high priests, and royal prophets. By the 1st century it was often used as a term for a prophesied leader who would free Judea from foreign domination, and thus applied to Jesus the Nazarene after his crucifixion.

        Thus, the claim that “Jesus Christ is a compilation character and the two words from two different languages were never used together until Constantine ordered a single book written” is doubly false (almost certainly, for both cases): both words come from the same language, and Paul used them together frequently in letters usually though to date from the ’40’s or ’50’s.

      • Christ (/kraɪst/; Ancient Greek: Χριστός; from the Egyptian kheru, meaning “word” or “voice”) is a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Māšîaḥ) and the Syriac ܡܫܝܚܐ (M’shiha), the Messiah, and is used as a title for Jesus in the New Testament.[3][4] In common usage, “Christ” is generally treated as synonymous with Jesus of Nazareth.[4][5] The followers of Jesus became known as Christians (as in Acts 11:26) because they believed Jesus to be the Messiah (Christós) prophesied in the Hebrew Bible,[6][7] for example in the Confession of Peter.

        Jesus came to be called “Jesus Christ”, meaning “Jesus the Christós” (i.e. Jesus, the anointed; or “Jesus, the Messiah” by his followers) after his death and believed resurrection.[6][8] Before, Jesus was usually referred to as “Jesus of Nazareth” or “Jesus son of Joseph”.[8] In the epistles of Paul the Apostle, the earliest texts of the New Testament,[9] Paul most often referred to Jesus as “Christ Jesus”, or “Christ”.[10] Christ was originally a title, yet later became part of the name “Jesus Christ”, though it is still also used as a title, in the reciprocal use Christ Jesus, meaning “The Messiah Jesus”.[11]

        Jesus was not, and is not, accepted by most Jews as the Messiah.[12] Religious Jewish people still await the Messiah’s first coming, while Christians await the Second Coming of Christ, when they believe he will fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy.[13] Muslims accept Jesus as the Messiah (known as Isa al-Masih) but not as the Son of God, but still do believe he will come again as Christians believe.[14]

        The area of Christian theology called Christology is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament.[15]

        The word Christ (or similar spellings) appears in English and most European languages. It is derived from the Greek word Χριστός, Christós (transcribed in Latin as Christus), in the New Testament as a description for Jesus. It is ultimately derived from the Egyptian word kheru, meaning “Word” or “Voice” (cognates: logos, chrism; charisma).[16][17]Christ is now often used as if it were a name, one part of the name “Jesus Christ”, but is actually a title (the Messiah). Its usage in “Christ Jesus” emphasizes its nature as a title.[6][11]

        The language of the Israelites was Aramaic

        The name “Jesus” was a common one among the Israelites at the time of Jesus’ birth and it means “Yahweh saves.” Among ancient peoples a name expressed the person’s place in the universe or it could also express a man’s activity or destiny.[8]

        In the New Testament, in Luke 1:31 an angel tells Mary to name her child Jesus, and in Matthew 1:21 an angel tells Joseph to name the child. The Gospel of Matthew places special emphasis on the origin of the names of Jesus, Matthew 1:21-23 discussing the two names Jesus and Emmanuel.[9][10] The significance is underscored by the fact that Matthew pays more attention to the name of the child and its theological implications than the actual birth event itself.[9][10]

      • One word was a name the other was a title. The two words were not commonly used until after Constantine where the name and the title became a first and last name.

      • What a load of nonsense! I’m not surprised you failed to provide a link for the ridiculous claim:

        Christ (/kraɪst/; Ancient Greek: Χριστός; from the Egyptian kheru, meaning “word” or “voice”) […]


        It is ultimately derived from the Egyptian word kheru, meaning “Word” or “Voice” (cognates: logos, chrism; charisma).[16][17]

        About all that proves is the total uselessness of Wiki as a reliable “authoritative” source. The references are a pseudo-scholarly fabulation from 1908 and a Rosicrucian document from a collection of cabalistic magic.

        The word clearly derives from the Greek verb χρίειν, of which it is the past participle. That word, in turn, has cognates in Sanskrit and West European, and thus is highly unlikely to be related to any Egyptian word.

        One word was a name the other was a title. The two words were not commonly used until after Constantine where the name and the title became a first and last name.

        They were used by Paul, in reverse order, in the first century.

        The Roman usage was the same, but influenced by pre-Hellenistic Roman custom: an earned title was inheritable. For example, Germanicus Julius Caesar “received the agnomen Germanicus in 9 BC, when it was posthumously awarded to his father in honour of his victories in Germania.” (from the Wiki article on Germanicus). Thus, AFAIK (and not contradicted by the Wiki article you quoted), the title “Christos” was well known to Roman Christians as a title, which had a regular place in names in their culture.

        A similar custom remains in modern Arabic/Muslim cultures. The notion that “Christ” was Jesus’ “last name” is almost certainly modern, a product of the post-Renaissance legal requirement of giving everybody living in villages an inheritable “last name”: e.g. “John Smith”. The “last name” there is transparently derived from somebody who was a smith (or son of a smith) at the time that requirement was imposed.

        The use of the word “Christos” to (literally) translate the Hebrew “Mashieh” was common centuries before Jesus time (as I noted above), and derived from similar base processes: pouring of oil. In Greek custom this was a simple part of the bath, in Hebrew a formal, and legal, means of anointing somebody with a title such as king, high priest, or prophet.

        (AFAIK the equivalent Hellenistic custom involved the donning of a diadem, although I haven’t dug into its pre-Hellenistic roots.)

      • AK,
        I don’t know how you think that proves that these modern words Jesus and Christ don’t come from different language roots. Or that Jesus is not a compilation character made up from various texts post 100 AD with nothing contemporary recorded or ever recovered with those accounts. Yes I agree that wiki is not the best source but most sights are religious in nature and probably more unreliable. I don’t know what your quibbling about?

      • I don’t know how you think that proves that these modern words Jesus and Christ don’t come from different language roots.

        That’s not what you originally said. You said: “[…] the two words from two different languages were never used together until Constantine […]”. My point is that they were both Greek words at the time, and they were used together by Paul in the mid-1st century.

        (I’m also offended by the ridiculous and anti-scientific notion that the Greek/Indo-European roots, “Chris-” & “Char-“, derive from Egyptian provenance. As offensive as that movie that had a car going around a corner tipping up on its wheels on the wrong side.)

        Or that Jesus is not a compilation character made up from various texts post 100 AD with nothing contemporary recorded or ever recovered with those accounts.

        A ludicrous notion. There is abundant evidence of 1st century “Christians” who honored Jesus the Nazarene (which may or may not have originally meant “from Nazareth” during his lifetime).

        There may have been some redefinition of “orthodox” Christianity as a result of Constantine’s interference. (Well, there almost certainly was, given that Origen was declared a heretic.) But Christianity, and the traditions about Jesus, were not “made up” in Constantine’s time, any more than Pre-exile “Israelite” kingdoms were “made up” in the wake of the Persian conquest.

        Those are despicable politically motivated myths coming out of the modern left wing, with no justification in the evidence. Sort of like “global warming”.

        I don’t know what your quibbling about?

        See above.

      • Jesus and Christ are modern English words. I don’t know if they are exact spelling in all previous Germanic language. Paul and Matthew before him all used Christ as a title It was after they compiled the bible during Constantine that Jesus Christ probably in the Greek versions were used together to describe Jesus.
        The first texts about Jesus still are written on papyrus (uncovered in Eygpt) and are in Museum’s in Spain and one other country. They are dated about 120 AD. All four gospels are said to be written on then but they don’t know by whom. They say there are textually such that they are taken from sources of an earlier time perhaps in the late first century. There are no contemporary writings about Jesus. There is the Dead Sea scrolls some of which date to Jesus’s time but none of those are about him.

      • It was after they compiled the bible during Constantine that Jesus Christ probably in the Greek versions were used together to describe Jesus.

        The “bible” was more or less “compiled” long before Constantine. According to Wiki

        Marcion of Sinope, a bishop of Asia Minor who went to Rome and was later excommunicated for his views, was the first of record to propose a definitive, exclusive, unique canon of Christian scriptures, compiled sometime between 130–40 CE.[23] (Though Ignatius did address Christian scripture,[24] before Marcion, against the perceived heresies of the Judaizers and Docetists, he did not publish a canon.) In his book Origin of the New Testament[25] Adolf von Harnack argued that Marcion viewed the church at this time as largely an Old Testament church (one that “follows the Testament of the Creator-God”) without a firmly established New Testament canon, and that the church gradually formulated its New Testament canon in response to the challenge posed by Marcion.


        In the mid-2nd century, Justin Martyr (whose writings span the period from c. 145 to 163) mentions the “memoirs of the apostles”, which Christians called “gospels” and which were regarded as on par with the Old Testament.[3][31][32] Scholars are divided on whether there is any evidence that Justin included the Gospel of John among the “memoirs of the apostles”, or whether, on the contrary, he based his doctrine of the Logos on it.[33][34] In Justin’s works, distinct references are found to Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, and possible ones to Philippians, Titus, and 1 Timothy.


        Irenaeus of Lyons referred directly to a four-gospel canon (the Tetramorph), c. 180.[4][36] In his central work, Adversus Haereses Irenaeus denounced various early Christian groups that used only one gospel, such as Marcionism which used only Marcion’s version of Luke, or the Ebionites which seem to have used an Aramaic version of Matthew, as well as groups that used more than four gospels, such as the Valentinians (A.H. 1.11). Irenaeus declared that the four he espoused were the four “Pillars of the Church”: “it is not possible that there can be either more or fewer than four” he stated, presenting as logic the analogy of the four corners of the earth and the four winds (3.11.8).

        OTOH, the actual Cannon wasn’t fully finalized until 393-419, long after Constantine:

        Augustine effectively forced his opinion on the Church by commanding three synods on canonicity: the Synod of Hippo in 393, the Synod of Carthage in 397, and another in Carthage in 419 AD (M 237-8). Each of these reiterated the same Church law: “nothing shall be read in church under the name of the divine scriptures” except the Old Testament (including the Deuterocanonicals) and the 27 canonical books of the New Testament. Incidentally, these decrees also declared by fiat that Epistle to the Hebrews was written by Paul, for a time ending all debate on the subject.

        The first council that accepted the present canon of the books of the New Testament may have been the Synod of Hippo Regius in North Africa (AD 393); the acts of this council, however, are lost. A brief summary of the acts was read at and accepted by the Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419. Revelation was added to the list in 419.[11] These councils were convened under the authority of St. Augustine, who regarded the canon as already closed.[12][13][14]

        According to the Wiki article on Fifty Bibles of Constantine:

        It is speculated that this commission may have provided motivation for the development of the canon lists and that Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus are possible surviving examples of these Bibles.[2] There is no evidence among the records of the First Council of Nicaea of any determination on the canon; however, Jerome, in his Prologue to Judith, makes the claim that the Book of Judith was “found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures”.[3]

        I certainly don’t recommend Wiki as an “authoritative” source, however the excerpts I’ve blockquoted accord with my general understanding from studying the primary literature.

        I would agree (based on Eusebius) with the scholars who think that Constantine was primarily interested in peace and quiet. He wanted an end to the riots. (Which IIRC he didn’t get.) Many of the decisions of the Council of Nicaea were later reversed, then re-reversed, etc. There’s no proof, and little reason (IMO) to speculate, that Constantine’s influence did more than, at best, finalize an already closing cannon.

      • Thanks for the information. I hope you didn’t waste too much time, I know I didn’t. Yes I know the Bible was compiled before Constantine and after. He just wanted a single religion for his rule and didn’t and didn’t really care which one it was. He wanted a bible that was universal and he certainly did get what he wanted.

      • Thanks for the information.

        You’re welcome. I’ve spent quite a bit of time studying early Christianity, and while I’d say there’s a very wide envelope within which the actual truth could (probably) be placed, there are still many things that are outside it.

        The notions that Judaism was “invented” after the Persian Conquest, or that the Christian version was “invented” in Constantine’s day, are pretty risable. Not so much because the ideas are objectionable per se, but because they require dismissing huge amounts of evidence with no plausible explanation how it came to be.

        I apologize if I became over-enthusiastic. For the record, my favorite (in terms of likelihood, not liking) theory is very far from both the “faith”-based traditional theories and the newer (text-)critical theories.

      • Right on, thanks for the lessons I learned (something new everyday). Talk to you soon – Philip

    • It would be extremely easy for somebody who believes ridiculous things to get into medical school, and the failure rate for medical students is very low. They will become doctors. A small percentage fail to land a residency.

  46. Ok, I am just about to listen to the Obama speech in the article that seems to have re-energised Judith. Wish me luck…


    • Ok, I just listened to the Obama piece in response to the first female questioner (not the other questioners which didn’t seem relevant to the thrust of this article.)

      I am not a fan of Obama. He reminds me in many ways of Tony Blair in as much he is often full of rhetoric and can be a bit of a blowhard..

      However, listening to his off the cuff response I thought he made his points lucidly and well and spoke sense.

      I can’t see why anyone would be re-energised by the speech (sorry Judith) but on the other hand, anyone here who took great exception to the message would seem to me to be likely to take exception at anything Obama said on any subject.


      • Tony – many people who oppose Obama, including me, don’t object to many of his messages (although there are many messages we do object to). It is his actions that we find objectionable. His behavior, past and present, is contrary to the message he delivered in that speech.

      • And his actions have been horrendous.

      • Barnes and Jim

        As I say, Obama is not my favourite person. All I can say is that his speech sounded reasonable.

        You seem to be insinuating that he says one thing but does another. Do you have examples?


      • Tony – there are many examples. He pledged complete transparency during his administration, but has presided over the most opaque administration in history with the aid of the MSM. The promises made while working to pass Obamacare “If you like your plan/doctor you can keep your plan/doctor”. The language he consistently uses with his opponents works to shut down debate, not encourage it. He consistently demonizes his opponents when they don’t agree with him. The coverups re: the IRS, Bengazi, Bergdahl, etc. His specifically calling out representatives in Congress as “climate deniers” and encouraging those who follow him to essentially shun and silence them. While the joke “how do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving” is unfortunately all too accurate much of the time, Obama has taken lying to a whole new level, and the MSM is complicit in helping him spread his messages.

      • Not only did he miss an easy opportunity to steer debate in a healthy direction post Ferguson etc., he seemed to encourage the unhealthy direction it was headed toward.

      • jim

        Thanks for those links


      • jch

        perhaps those who know more about the current realties in America can comment on whether your 3 year old link contains information that refutes his critics.


      • I think JCH was implying that your statement that he made his points lucidly and well may be exagerated. I don’t know why he would think that.

        More likely, your statement that people who took great exception to the message (I didn’t notice any, but maybe I have my auto-ignore filters running high) would also take exception to anything he said seemed like hyperbole.

        But his link doesn’t seem to have anything to do with these possibilities, it just support the notion that Obama has either been astoundinly ineffective getting this sort of message across to anyone but as small group of university students or he is very hypocritical.

      • Thanks for that link JCH. It helps illustrate my point quite well when, for example, obama claims that government agencies will fully comply with foia requests, which they do with fully redacted documents.

      • Tony – just off the wire …
        WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service revoked the nonprofit status of the veterans benefit organization that hosted and sold tickets to a foreign policy speech by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump aboard a retired U.S. battleship, The Associated Press has learned. The group’s endorsement of Trump at the event also could raise legal problems under campaign finance laws.

        Trump’s campaign did not respond to questions from the AP about whether it was aware that the IRS had revoked the nonprofit status of the Veterans for a Strong America, which sold tickets to Trump’s event for up to $1,000 as a fundraiser. The IRS issued its decision Aug. 10, citing the group’s failure to file any tax returns for three consecutive years, according to IRS records reviewed by the AP.


    • Tale a talismann tony.

  47. You voted for Barack Obama? You helped bring on this mess? Really? You still don’t realize that everything he says is a lie, or will be shortly when he or Valerie Jarrett decide it is time to betray yet another principle that made America great?

    I’m stunned.

  48. The Great seal of the President is clearly displayed on the podium besides Obama in the link to his college speech.. As with all such heraldic devices it attempts to represent a variety of thoughts and ideas, one of which is that the US is the protector of Liberty and Freedom


    I have always thought of that in the physical sense of trying to preserve peace, if necessary through war, but also in the more philosophical notion of freedom of speech and thought.

    I don’t pretend to know if these things remain protected in your constitution but it would seem to me ‘unconstitutional’ and against the notions of liberty and freedom to attempt to close down reasonable discussions in case someone,might be offended as they have different views, although quite obviously with rights come responsibilities.

    As Obama said, students (and the general public) shouldn’t be ‘mollycoddled’ and that this new society has come into being suggests the pendulum has swung too far in favour of the easily offended.


  49. This paper on absence of political diversity in academia is an alarm sounding a wake up call that is long overdue. Dr. Curry’s closing comment , “Here’s to hoping that we are on the verge of a change”, is like hitting the snooze button on this alarm and going back to sleep.

    • I agree about the last sentence. I just got back from travel, was trying to squeeze the post in, to time it with the launch of HA. Now that I am back home, another crazy day, so its hard to keep up and also be punchy

    • Maybe affirmative action for conservatives?…..oh wait, NAS has said that affirmative action is evil.

      How did they put it, it rewards the “the social pathologies of young blacks”….

      • Ensuring diversity based on race, ethnicity, class, religion = bad.

        Ensuring diversity based on political ideology = bad (if libz are in the minority).

        Ensuring diversity based on political ideology when conz are in the minority = long overdue.

  50. Here’s what happens when someone takes truth to power these days.

    NC police chief out after calling Black Lives Matter a ‘terrorist’ group on Facebook


  51. “Don’t ask me to reconcile this with Obama’s statements about climate deniers.”

    Ok, I’ll reconcile it.
    Obama cares nothing for the truth. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
    He’s a politician and only cares about what is politically expedient.
    “The science is settled” is simply a code phrase for “Sit down and shut up! I will tolerate no dissenting views.”

    Tyrants are like that.

  52. A brief look at the website simplifies political diversity to US-style liberal vs conservative which leaves out huge swathes of different politics and doesn’t cover researchers in the rest of the world. For example, here in Britain you have almost all people who want to be called “caring” labelling themselves Left-Wing, socialist, liberal; and then behaving like authoritarian fascists – which is Right-Wing – isn’t it?

    And in Philosophy, Liberalism is contrasted with Freedom; Ideologues with Pragmatic, etc..

    • A British scholar by the name of George Watson; a writer, historian, linguist, translator, would disagree vehemently with the lazy contemporary notions defining socialism, authoritarians and fascists.

      I would recommend looking up the pedigree of the George Watson before reading this:


      So how would one go about creating political diversity in the University? We have solutions for racial injustice called affirmative action in the U.S. Would the same work for higher education towards diverse political viewpoints? I suspect it’s going to be a mountain to climb.

      • diverse political viewpoints?
        I doubt such an atmosphere can be ‘created’
        I think the attempts to create such are the reason for the PC mess
        diverse once meant exactly that
        now it means everyone except a particular group
        creating a ‘diverse’ group means putting an X next to someones’ name
        only one group is considered X material
        we all know who is subject to being uninvited when an ‘inclusive’ atmosphere is being ‘created’
        the underlying lie of social engineering
        not complaining, it’s just the fact of the matter

  53. There are actually people out there on a board filled with smart people who are asking for examples of Barack Obama lying and/or doing the exact opposite of what he promised?

    This is a guy who was elected by people who were fainting when he promised to slow the oceans’ rise.

  54. Tony, for your consideration. The IRS scandal took place under Obama. The Administration has been anything but transparent. From the article:

    The IRS Conservative Targeting Scandal involved:

    Hundreds of conservative groups

    At least 5 pro-Israel groups

    Constitutional groups

    Groups that criticized Obama administration

    At least two pro-life groups

    An 83 year-old Nazi concentration camp survivor

    A 180 year-old Baptist paper

    A Texas voting-rights group

    A Hollywood conservative group was targeted and harassed

    Conservative activists and businesses

    At least one conservative Hispanic group

    IRS continued to target groups even after the scandal was exposed
    10% of Tea Party donors were audited by the IRS

    And… 100% of the 501(c)(4) Groups Audited by IRS Were Conservative

    IRS Commissioner John Koskinentestified before the House Oversight and Government Reform on March 26, 2014. Koskinen told Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) during the hearing that Lois Lerner’s emails were archived and it would take a long time to retrieve them.


  55. moderation … again

  56. Ok, CO2 warms the planet. (radiative balance, GCMs, rising moisture by lapse rate calcs yada yada) Happy Mosh? You didn’t say how much I should argue for. By the way, most skeptics can clearly state the arguments used by warmists. It is the warmists, esp the extreme ones, who don’t seem able to articulate the arguments against their views and simply state that anyone opposed to them must be paid by big oil, since there is in their mind no other explanation for the opposition.

    • This was a reply to Mosher about debating both sides of an issue. He challenged me to debate in favor of CO2 warming the Earth.

      • craig

        Very unconvincing. Case dismissed. Next non problem please.


      • @cr: craig: Very unconvincing. Case dismissed. Next non problem please.

        Not so much unconvincing, Tony, as delusional.

        Loehle and Scafetta published “Climate Change Attribution Using Empirical Decomposition of Climatic Data” in The Open Atmospheric Journal, 2011, 5, 74-86. Although they included 20-year and 60-year cycles in their model, which aren’t particularly controversial, the part of their model with the most relevance to temperature in 2100 was their representation of global warming as being piecewise linear with two pieces, with the break between the pieces being at 1942.

        L&S’s rationale for linearity of the second piece was that climate after 1942 was increasing as the log of CO2, which they claimed was increasing at 1% per year between 1942 and 2100.

        CO2 data from Law Dome up to 1960, the measurements at Mauna Loa since 1960, and the business-as-usual scenario of RCP8.5 from 2015 to 2100, together show that CO2 growth is not remotely like 1% per year except for a moment somewhere around 2050. Well before that it is increasing at much less than 1% a year, while well after it is much more. L&S’s piecewise linear model is based on a wildly inaccurate claim about increasing CO2 since 1942.

        It is the warmists, esp the extreme ones, who don’t seem able to articulate the arguments against their views and simply state that anyone opposed to them must be paid by big oil, since there is in their mind no other explanation for the opposition.

        On the contrary there is a very simple explanation: “their views”, in particular those of Loehle and Scafetta, are easily shown to be based on complete nonsense. Nothing to do with big oil.

    • ==> “By the way, most skeptics can clearly state the arguments used by warmists.”

      Perhaps they can, but as a practice they don’t. That’s why their “skepticism” is dubious.

  57. richardswarthout


    Have you seen the latest poll on the US Republican primary? First and second place are Trump 27% and Ben Carson 23%. Several months ago I favored and spoke to you about Carson. I now favor Carly Fioina and believe she’ll be the next president. There is a big debate tonight between the Republican candidates. If you have the opportunity, I recommend that you record and watch it. You’ll see why my vote will be for her.


    • I at one time supported Fiorina. However, since then she has stated the 14th amendment allows “anchor babies.” That is, foreign women who come into the US to have a child. According to the “popular” interpretation of the 14th amendment, that baby is automatically a citizen of the US. But that interpretation is taken without historical context.

      The 14th amendment was written in the context of slavery. The writers wanted to be sure there was no way to interpret the amendment in such a way that would keep slaved from being classed as citizens.

      Therefore, I can no longer support Fiorina.

      Some references:
      In 1868, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States granted citizenship and equal civil and legal rights to African Americans and slaves who had been emancipated after the American Civil War, including them under the umbrella phrase “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” In all, the amendment comprises five sections, four of which began in 1866 as separate proposals that stalled in legislative process and were amalgamated into a single amendment.

      Here is a rather lengthy exposition of the times when the 14th was written.

    • Richard

      Yes, I remember you were quite keen on Carson. Why have you switched allegiance?

      If you find a link to their debate please post it, I doubt it will be shown on British tv.


      • richardswarthout


        I still like Carson but think Carly would be a more effective president. She’s tough and straight to the point; America’s Margaret Thatcher. The debate starts at 8:00 PM EST; 1:00 AM your time. It is on CNN; will try to find a link for you.

        Look for her latest ad at carlyforamerica.com


      • Richard

        The BBC just did a profile of Trump on the 10 o clock news. They mentioned the 3 hour debate was just about to begin. Hope you have lots of beer and popcorn laid on. If you find a link I will watch some of it, I can’t promise three hours though.


      • richardswarthout


        Do you get CNN International?


      • Tony, if you have a good internet connection, the debate is streamed live on the CNN web site.


      • I have something in common with Thatcher, not so much with Fiorina.

        What organization did Thatcher found?

        Just asking.

      • I cannot believe that the Republicans, sitting where they are after almost two terms of the biggest clown to ever occupy the White House, have decided that instead of addressing real issues are pushing forward their own version of the clown parade.

        “No more settling for uninspiring match-ups like Mitt Romney vs. Herman Cain, John McCain vs. Mike Huckabee, or Dubya vs. Alan Keyes. 2016 was going to be about Big Ideas on turning around a debt-ridden, war-weary, stagnant superpower. A policy wonk’s dream.

        Even better, Republicans could finally laugh at the Democratic primary featuring a corrupt Clinton, a socialist Sanders, and a Bidenesque Biden. Imagine the contrast of tired old Democrats yelling about microaggressions and wiped email servers, as fresh, dynamic Republicans addressed high-level social and economic policy…….

        ……..These are the lofty policy debates dominating the presidential election of a 21st century superpower. We aren’t discussing America’s $18.4 trillion national debt and our insolvent social programs. The stagnant economy and an expansionist China, Russia, and Islamic State. Burning cities at home and burning countries abroad.

        Instead we’re trading GIFs of a reality show star on “The Tonight Show,” giggling about menstruation, and wondering if the most impressive GOP field in a generation are a bunch of “dummies” or if they’re a bunch of “losers.”

        These are serious times. We are not a serious people.”

        Best article I’ve read yet on the Trump Cavalcade Of Unseriousness


    • I too like Fiorina, notwithstanding the anchor baby issue (and,gee, I hope no one is offended by that term!). A Fiorina/Carson ticket would, imo, be tough to beat while providing great entertainment value watching libs try to figure out how to continue the racist/war on women narrative. Trump/Cruz could also be interesting, but a lot less electable.

      • Funny, Barnes :) Fitting for this post of Judy’s. In fact, this blog is a bastion of free speech compared to public schools and universities. And social media I’m guessing, but that is just a guess.

      • Jim2 – agreed. That is why I like this blog – lightly moderated (although you seem to have found your way to the doghouse for some reason:)) not much pc going on here.

  58. richardswarthout


    The anchor baby industry needs to be stopped but I believe Carly’s position is one of facing the facts. There have already been Supreme Court decisions related to the 14th ammendment and most lawyers, including those not usually liberal, see no future in getting a court opinion that could stop that industry; Ted Cruz has, in the past, taken Fiorina’s position. I think you will hear that the best answer is to stop the expectant anchor baby mothers at the border.


  59. Back to climate stuff. El Nino dumped major rain in LA and San Diego CA but not much in N CA and the Sierra mountain snowpack. El Nino is starting in mid Sep re Nov and we are hoping to break the drought with at least an above average rain year. Could be much bigger. How to predict six months in advance? Easier in 100 years cause no one can check the results against observations. The other problem is teasing out natural variations from man made precipitation increases. Looking to see the magnitude of the recent 4 year drought vs historical, i.e. 1977, vs estimates of middle ages mega droughts in 900 to 1200 BC. Suggested data sources would be appreciated.

    • Scott

      Ironically al gore wrote a good book on previous climatic changes and I think the Californian historic droughts were included.

      Here is a book review of his tome, ‘earth in the balance’ from 1992 where again there seemed to have been a substantial Californian drought.


      I have read through the US monthly weather reviews which commenced around 1870 and again they are notable for the frequent references to severe drought.

      One of the reasons for the drought is the enormous pressure on available water resources. I was astounded to see the phenomenal population increase from 1870 to today. It is unsustainable bearing in mind the certainty that, according to history, California will frequently have a severe shortfall in rain and snow.


      • Really, water management would probably suffice. But the leftest way is to find some group to blame, not solving the physical problem, but the political one.

      • Well, I believe that afterall, much of CA is considered a desert, and deserts don’t get much rain in general.

      • Plus we have a governor who says Californians are using way more water than state and federal water management officials planned for while out of the other side of his mouth welcomes millions of illegal water users.

    • Scott

      Just for your info, I took some notes of some US Monthly Weather Reviews I read in the Met Office library last winter and this extract is relevant;
      —– —– —–
      “Jan 1899 midsummer weather was being experienced in California-midday temperature from 70 to 80 f were observed in the great valley and southern California. At San Francisco a max temp of 78f was registered on the 26th the highest Jan maximum recorded during the past 27 years.”

      Authors note; For comparison below are modern records. The one set in 2014 only 1 f higher than 1889 (not 1953 as stated) Look at huge growth in the city-UHI considerations?)


      population of SF in 1899 350,000 in 1906 before earthquake; 837,000 in 2013
      1.4 million in 1900 for all of California 38.8 million in 2014

      this separate note is also interesting;

      —- —— —-

      Considerable droughts in the period 1876 Jan. whilst the average temp has been slightly below normal values on the pacific coast it appears in all other sections of the country to have been decidedly above , the excess amounting to 9f for Tennessee and the Ohio valley , 7.7 for the upper Mississippi, 6.9 for the lower Mississippi ranging down ( through a variety of values) to at its least to 1.5f for Minnesota.

      it should be stated however that although above the average and amongst the warmest month yet, the past January was, except perhaps in Kansas, by no means the warmest January, in which we have recorded that January 1828 appears to have been as warm in Tennessee and throughout the Atlantic and gulf states, the January of 1843 was warmer for new jersey and Maine, 1855 was warmer in the west and southwest, 1853 was warmer on the pacific coast.
      —– —–

      Good luck with finding data relevant to your quest.


      • 1899 is an interesting year. If 1896 was freaky for lethal heat in Eastern USA and Eastern Oz in the same year, I reckon for a two-hemi whammy it’s hard to beat 1899.

        While it had been baking in California, the East Coast experienced the Great Blizzard in Feb of 1899, which reached all the way to the Caribbean. (Pics of kids playing with snowballs on the steps of Florida Capitol!)

        Just for good measure, Australia managed its greatest cyclone and the world’s biggest known storm surge three weeks later. Of course, we were having our great Federation Drought at the time – but a disastrous drought never stops a hurricane or flash flood down here.

        Were all this were to occur now, it would be “unprecedented”. Or if some wet blanket historian were to point out that many precedents exist, it would be a….let me think….”a one-in-a-hundred year event which is consistent with our modelling of more frequent future events of this nature”.

        Do I fiddle well? If I had a business class flight to Paris I could put in more effort. Show me the ticket money!

      • mosomoso

        They are a 1 in a 100 year events which happen every ten years or so….

        Reminds me of the frequent historical references I come across where someone like Pepys says ‘ the greatest heat wave ever known in the history of man’. Meaning of course its been hotter than anyone can remember for a decade or so.

        People have short memories and written historical observations are merely ‘anecdotes’ to be brushed aside, so obviously we need to rely on models claiming whatever the input of incomplete data is programmed to show.


      • stevenreincarnated

        Tony, the 1 in 100 year event argument is a complete joke as far as I can tell. If it wasn’t a complete joke perhaps someone can point me to the study that determined how many potential 1 in 100 year events we are watching so that we might know how many to expect in an average year.

      • Steve

        We have arrived at the curious position whereby well referenced written historical observations are dismissed as ‘anecdotal’ (i.e suspect) whereas the numerical historical observations from often poorly sited and un-calibrated thermometers, where the height of the reading and the time of day are often unknown, are considered to be accurate enough to form a platform with which to change govt policy.

        A revised 1984 scenario where ‘numbers are good, text is bad.’


      • “Tony, the 1 in 100 year event argument is a complete joke as far as I can tell…” – steve

        It’s a misunderstanding of what is meant by a 1-in100 yr event, or rather , it’s an unfortunate way to express that probability, as it leads to just this misunderstanding.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Tony, text may or may not be useful depending upon what is being observed and how it is being described. For instance the observation of an ice free river on such and such a date is a lot more useful than an observation that there is less ice than usual at that time since that would involve a personal judgement. I think there is a lot that can be determined not only from writings but also from possessions. It might be interesting to take a poll of archaeologists and see what they think of the claims of climate scientists.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Michael, please expand on what misunderstanding I might have. I see references to a numerator without a denominator.

      • A less confusing way to express it is as Annual Exceedence Probabilities (x % per year). The 1 in X years format makes people think the event is only expected once in that time frame.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Michael, that’s fine and I understood that already just as you would expect some time periods of 100 years to have no events. That doesn’t change the fact that you can’t determine how unusual the extreme events are unless you determine how may potential events you are watching.

      • It can happen each year.

      • steve,

        that’s a slightly different question.

      • stevenreincarnated

        What is different, Michael? If you make a big deal out of a river having a 1/100 year flood but there are potentially 200 rivers that could have had a 1/100 year flood then you are below average. This isn’t rocket science.

      • AEPs are location specific.

        Your comment is another good reason why the 1 in x yr terminology is best avoided.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Telling the same joke as though it were fact doesn’t change the fact that it is still a joke. You can’t determine the expected frequency of 100 year events without knowing the potential number of events.

      • steve,

        For rainfall there are intensity-frequency-duration curves that allow you to calculate AEPs.

        Check with your local meteorological agency.

      • Like, what are the odds that the smartest man on the planet are all from Australia?

      • stevenreincarnated

        Michael, I’d rather just see the paper that tells me how many 1/100 year events we are watching so that I might estimate how many oh god a 1/100 year event I have to suffer through before we even reach the average. I take it from your non response there is no such paper as far as you know either.

      • There’s a simple childlike hope behind all these “unprecedented” and “one-in-a-hundred year” claims. It’s the hope that nobody will check.

      • JCH | September 17, 2015 at 9:11 am |
        “Like, what are the odds that the smartest man on the planet are all from Australia?”


      • “Hamongog” Who will care about the weather then anyway?

      • Scott

        Thought you might also be interested in this account of Southern California during the years 1853 to 1913 written in 1916. The author makes previous allusions to severe droughts and in 1861 the ‘greatest of all floods’ and tremendous storms with 35 inches of rain in December and January and much damage by flood inundation to buildings in Los Angeles. The account then continues;

        ‘OF all years of adversity before, during or since the Civil
        War, the seemingly interminable year of 1864 was for
        Southern California the worst. ……

        The Southwest, as I have already pointed out, was more
        dependent for its prosperity on natural conditions, such as rain,
        than upon the victory of any army or fleet (Sherman and Grant) ; and as this was the last of three successive seasons of annihilating drought,
        ranchman and merchant everywhere became downhearted.

        During the entire winter of 1862-63 no more than four inches
        of rain had fallen, and in 1864 not until March was there a
        shower, and even then the earth was scarcely moistened…..
        Men were so miserably poor that confidence mutually weak-
        ened, and merchants refused to trust those who, as land and
        cattle-barons, but a short time before had been so influential…….

        [1864-1865] Assassination of Lincoln 329

        As a result of these very infrequent rains, grass started up
        only to wither away, a small district around Anaheim inde-
        pendent of the rainfall on account of its fine irrigation system,
        alone being green ; and thither the lean and thirsty cattle came
        by thousands…..This stampede became such a menace, in fact, that the Anaheimers were summoned to defend their homes and property, and finally they had to place a mounted guard outside of the willow enclosures. Every- where large numbers of horses and cattle died, as well as many sheep, the plains at length being strewn with carcasses and
        bleached bones.

        The suffering of the poor animals beggars description; and so distressed with hunger were they that I saw famished cattle (during the summer of 1864 while on a visit to the springs at Paso de Robles) crowd around the hotel veranda for the purpose of devouring the discarded matting-
        containers which had held Chinese rice……with the approach of summer the drought became worse and worse….Stearns lost forty or fifty thousand head of live stock, and was much the greatest sufferer in this
        respect; and as a result, he was compelled, about June, 1865,
        to mortgage Los Alamitos rancho, with its twenty-six thousand
        acres, to Michael Reese of San Francisco, for the almost paltry
        sum of twenty thousand dollars. Even this sacrifice, however,
        did not save him from still greater financial distress.


        Drought seems endemic to California as does flooding and in that respect the climate reminds me of Australia which seems to be regularly soaked then parched. The current drought is not helped by the vast population increase since the above account was written.


      • tonyb
        Thanks for the second note about CA droughts. I always look for and read your comments except once. Al Gore is automatically suspected of lying and fraudulently claiming something, so I am sorry to admit I skipped your note above on the paper by him. I will enjoy and review this latest comment by you and look forward to almost anything you publish. I go by the legal standard that once one is proven a liar on the stand, don’t give credibility to anything they say. Gore is in that class, you are not.

        A good recent book is “The West Without Water” by Lynn Ingram and F Malamud-Roam. From UC Berkeley. It traces the history of drought and floods in the far west back 20,000 years or so. It does make the required climate bows to current climate change but does not explain what is different now in the variability than the 200 or 120 year droughts from 900 to 1200 BC. It is hard to tease out the various contributions of El Nino, PDO and current changes. Big worry is modifications to the records, BOM in Australia and GISS, NOAA in US. I was looking to compare the 1977 and 1995 droughts to the current one. One curious thing is SF used to show 19″ of rain per year average in the early 2000 and now shows 23″. That automatically moves the baseline so one has to suspect the data.

        Thanks for your responses.

      • stevenreincarnated

        JCH, the odds are 100% if you only count Australians just like the odds are 100% that 1/100 year events are unusual if you only consider the events that happen.

      • Scott

        The book was written by Al gore in 1992 which I assume was before he became a ‘liar.’ Which raises the interesting philosophical question as to whether someone’s early work is acceptable but their later work -once their viewpoint has evolved-is not

        Personally, I would take the delicious irony that someone who can not now be trusted can unexpectedly provide useful information :)

        All the best


      • stevenreincarnated | September 17, 2015 at 12:23 pm |
        ” just like the odds are 100% that 1/100 year events are unusual ”

        Rather, the exact opposite.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Michael, no. That would only be true if the 1/100 year event then became the norm which isn’t likely to be logical in anyone’s mind.

  60. Professor Curry,

    The broad-based Heterodox Academy is ideally suited to examine each news release to see if it might be the missing piece of the Climategate puzzle:


  61. I welcome President Obama’s lip service toward open debate on campus and plan to deploy it with vigor in future debates with would-be censors. But it should be pointed out that it his myrmidons in the Department of Education’s Office of Equal Opportunity who are largely responsible for the problem:

  62. Given a 97% consensus of opinion concerning the validity of AGW theory, belief that all global warming may be natural — e.g., it’s the sun, stupid — is the new heterodoxy and yet not one thing has changed: there still has been no global warming for nearly 2 decades (going on 3 decades depending on how it’s calculated and the dataset used). How unorthodox!

  63. What I now see in Obama’s quote is not an entreaty to engage in a free and open discussion of the facts before making up their minds but rather a challenge to Leftists to take advantage of every opportunity to exercise their dogmatism when talking to anyone with whom they disagree.

  64. Yes, Obama is for diversity of speech on campus. Just like he is for traditional marriage; will let you keep your doctor (think about that for a minute, even if it were true); will not let Iran develop nukes; draws a red line for Syria, ; and will have the most open administration in history…..

  65. Watching the opening statements in the main GOP debate. To sum up the opening statements: I will make the USA GREAT again!!

    • Well Thank God for that!!

      What blunder Obama was. I hope the US voters aren’t dumb enough to vote Democrat again this century.

    • Yes, a lot of repitition. Notice how Tapper did not allow Cruz to address the climate change question. He is possibly the only true skeptic on stage. While the others who answered gave valid responses, they did not challenge the “consensus” position.

    • Fiorina did a good job. I think her star will rise further after this.

      Trump has some warts, for sure; but that is the reality for anyone and at least we can see his.

      And, to quote Chris Matthews as he waxed emotional about Obumbles, I feel a “thrill running up my leg” when Trump tells the world that, yes, he pays, indirectly, politicians of all stripes for a figurative seat at the table. He says what all us serfs know to be true, but the politicians deign to say. I admire that honesty. (And the politicians attempted to use that as a club on Trump. They ended up hitting themselves in the head.)

    • Bush said he killed Trump’s casino project in Florida, but it appears that’s not the whole story. There was a legal dust up between Trump and an associate that killed the deal, it appears.


      And, the Seminoles somehow got past Jeb and got a full-fledged casino built anyways. I’d like to hear from Jeb why that deal wasn’t squashed.


      • Indian tribes have sovereignty over their land; states can’t interfere. That’s why there are so many Indian casinos.

      • richardswarthout

        Here is a link to a transcript and video of the debate. If it works you’ll see why Carly gets praise.


      • I have praise for Carly as well. She did a great job and I’ve changed my mind once again and could vote for her. I think she will see the error of her interpretation of the 14th Amendment (and she may understand the proper interpretation now, but doesn’t want to go there.)

      • Jim

        Wait a minute here. I thought trump was the man? Does Carly have the same values that you saw in trump? Personally I think she is a more credible candidate but has she managed to break the political mould as an outsider that I think was one of trumps main attractions for you.

      • Yes, Trump is the man, and Fiorina is the woman. Now that that’s straight, Fiorina also “tells it like it is,” just not as blunt as Trump. I could also vote for Cruz and Walker. It’s still early.

        Of them all, I would prefer Trump at this juncture. I love it that he wouldn’t say Obumbles is NOT a Muslim. Me? I’m not totally sure that Obumbles isn’t a Muslim either.

      • Jim

        There’s a big article in the telegraph today about trump stumbling over a question about how to get rid of Muslims. He was instrumental at one time about getting Obama to produce his birth certificate but I think he has stepped back from that since running for the presidency.

        I seem to remember Obama singing in a gospel choir revently at a commemoration over the murder of a black man by the police. Other than that I have no idea as to whether Obama is a regular churchgoer which would presumably then refute the Muslim claims.


      • richardswarthout


        Carly is an outsider; closest link to government was serving on a CIA advisory board, hence her considerable knowledge of foreign and military affairs. She was the CEO of Hewlett Packard.


      • Tony. Here is Obumble’s take on his Muslim background.


        He appears to be at a minimum a Muslim “sympathizer.” Islam is simply incompatible with Western values. For the US I would like to see law, to include the interpretation of it, based on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Rule of Law. I would like to see reverence for individual freedom, small government, and simple laws. I want to see our country’s early values preserved, and for the usual smart asses here, no that does not include slavery.

        I’m not sure what you would like to see for the UK, but I’m betting you wouldn’t condone a presentation on how properly to beat your wife. I don’t want to see one shred of Sharia law implemented in the US. If that makes me a bigot or narrow minded, so be it. But if you (figuratively) are gay, you might find yourself on my side of this. We desperately need as a country to control immigration. I only want people here who want to preserve the US in all it’s traditions, learn to speak English, and learn it’s history. You UKinonians and Ozonians have expressed the desire to the US as it once was. What do you believe needs to happen to make it so?

      • Jim

        Interesting link. He seems rather ambivalent. As I say, if he was a regular churchgoer that would refute the claims. Obama lived under british colonial rule and has not been very friendly with Britain

        America needs to regain its confidence and traditional values, enthusiasm and spirit. You seem to have stepped aside As leader of the western world. Immigration has changed your racial make up and i understand white people will soon become a minority.

        How and why That been allowed to happen I don’t know but inevitably it means that the US of today will be a dramatically different place, with different perspectives to the country that existed 50 years ago.

        Our respective govts seem very keen to give away our heritage without Our permission.


      • Islam is simply incompatible with Western values.

        So was Western Christianity prior to, say, 1500. Western Christianity changed, evolved, due among other things to a long series of deadly fratricidal wars.

        Perhaps Islam is entering into their version of these wars today. Remember, for most Islamic fanatics, the real target of their violence is their own moderate co-religionists, the West is just the “Great Satan” responsible for tempting them from the “true path”.

        But IMO the real war is already tilting strongly to the West. In fact, 9/11 and similar events (and attempts) are desperate rear-guard efforts. For us liberated Westerners, the more important war is against the socialists who want to dump us right back into the Dark Ages. Letting them hijack the liberal (in the original sense) attitude towards Muslim liberation is a mistake.

        But Muslims in the US need to be informed that by coming here, they give up the right to intrusive religion. “Freedom of Religion” in America does not mean “freedom to impose your religion on others”. It’s interesting that so many atheist “liberals”/”progressives”/socialists are actually in the same camp with Islamicist fanatics in their efforts to impose their religion on everybody around them.

      • richardswarthout


        The USA was a mess when Reagan became president, and he turned it around. Same thing, IMO, can happen again.

        Somewhat related is an interesting article I read today that describes social and economic stratification in the U.S. Americans have not changed since the 1950s, however those more capable have acquired higher levels of education and higher incomes, and have moved apart from those who are less capable, unrelated to race. Those who are less capable are stratified from the more capable, more so than in the 50s.


      • It is said that America is the least socially and conomicaly mobile society in the developed world


        That seems to fit in with your comment.perhaps that could account for the changes we can observe, as the American dream becomes out of reach to many.


      • Tony, the American dream is to get an education, get a job, make money to support a family and enjoy life. However, it requires more than dreaming. It requires effort and following certain conventions. It doesn’t work out too well for the dropouts and the druggies.

      • richardswarthout


        The article I read was about stratification occurring as a of more university capable people getting university degrees, wheras in the 50s many capable people did not get that opportunity and mixed more with those who were incapable. Essentially the stratification has occurred due to upward mobility of the capable, the result of being born to capable parents. With little that government can do.


      • Note the article is about post-industrial US. Thus, the writers (article and critic) sidestep the outsourcing and automation that has taken away much assembly line work – work that individuals with a lower IQ can do.

        But I have to agree that IQ and aptitude in general varies among individuals and to a large extent determines the sort of calling one can fulfill. This is why the one-test-fits-all idi-ocy of our public schools is doomed to fail from the start – or the tests watered down to the point of meaninglessness.

      • richardswarthout


        True. There are no clear answers. Notice one problem identified by Murray; that so few know how to get from point A to point D. And I would add that few young people even know point D. It took me several years before deciding on electrical engineer. And my experience is common. I believe middle schools and high schools should devote several hours a week guiding students toward a vocation. (In the USA middle school and high school roughly covers 12-18 year olds).


      • Tony, your statement that Obama lived under British colonial rule is not true. Obama was born in 1961 in Hawaii, and his mother took him to the US almost immediately. His parents divorced in 1964, although his father returned to Kenya for a while from 1964, Obama never lived there. And it became independent in 1963, when Obama was 2-y-o.

      • Tony, in his letter, Obama is referring to his father as having been “born under British Colonial Rule.”

  66. Here the University of California’s “Statement of Principles Against Intolerance” prepared by the staff of UC President Janet Napolitano, titled “Recognizing Microaggressions and the Messages They Send:”

    Among the microagressive phrases to be avoided are:
    • ”America is a melting pot.”
    • ”Men and women have equal opportunities for achievement.”
    • ”America is the land of opportunity.”
    • ”Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.”

    Mind-boggling, even to the LA Times:

  67. It’s great Judith, that you mention your voting for Obama. Shows how your politics and your science don;t have to be, and are often not related.

  68. Are the Heterodox members allowed to take the consensus view on any of their issues, or is that generally looked down on? In fact, is there any discussion at all there, or are all their “official” views dictated by the politically “conservative” position? I am wondering about the level of peer pressure to fall in line within that group. What would happen if many of the other members believed the same way as the IPCC consensus, or is Judith there to discourage that?

    • Why don’t you ask how many child molesters are in the group, yimmy? You seem to be looking for reasons to find the association contemptible.

      • No, this is just a way to find out if they have symptoms of the problem they perceive with all the consensus academic views.

    • No yimmy, you are asking if the Heterodoxites have stopped beating their wives. Do you fear they are a threat to the 97% orthodoxy? Maybe the IRS should look into this bunch. Huh, yimmy?

    • Define “their” issues other than getting more conservatives and libertarians into disciplines that now block them.

  69. Interesting article for considering the self-victimization seen so often in the climate-o-sphere, with pearl-clutching from fainting couches about such horrors as the use of the term “denier”


  70. There is hope. Today I happened across a blogger of the liberal persuasion that endorsed the need for rigorous honesty in science:


  71. Pingback: Political bias in the Academy | …and Then There's Physics

    • The problem (IMO) is that “liberal” notions have been built into the social sciences as fundamental assumptions since the days of Margaret Mead. The circular nature of these notions is obvious to “conservatives”, which makes the social “sciences” far less appealing.

      I’m not sure what an alternative situation would be like. To me, it’s obvious that humans have a “language instinct” and also a very analogous “morality instinct”. Less clear but probable, IMO, is a “property instinct”.

      But, like the “language instinct”, the “morality instinct” and “property instinct” (if any) would be very heavily moderated by cultural influences. Thus, property would be a “social construct” mandated by a “property instinct” that expects to find something along those lines in place, just as the “language instinct” expects to find a language, and when it doesn’t, creates one.

      Now, that’s my opinion. I’m not a social scientist, although I don’t consider the majority of credentialed “social scientists” competent to speak on such subjects. But I suspect my opinion would be as abhorrent to many (or most) libertarians as to (American) liberals.

    • I wasn’t going to continue replying to a post on another blog, but I can’t resist this

      willard (@nevaudit) says:

      September 20, 2015 at 12:07 am

      Here, Joshua:

      Suppose that two American friends are traveling together in Italy. They go to see Michelangelo’s “David,” and when they finally come face to face with the statue, they both freeze dead in their tracks. The first guy — we’ll call him Adam — is transfixed by the beauty of the perfect human form. The second guy — we’ll call him Bill — is transfixed by embarrassment, at staring at the thing there in the center. So here’s my question for you: which one of these two guys was more likely to have voted for George Bush, which for Al Gore?

      I don’t need a show of hands because we all have the same political stereotypes. We all know that it’s Bill. And in this case, the stereotype corresponds to reality. It really is a fact that liberals are much higher than conservatives on a major personality trait called openness to experience. People who are high in openness to experience just crave novelty, variety, diversity, new ideas, travel. People low on it like things that are familiar, that are safe and dependable.

      I certainly remember my first look at that image! David, repeatedly portrayed as a subordinate ruler who delivered up “Philistine” foreskins to his Liege-lord Saul, as tribute is depicted as uncircumcised!

      Never mind the actual “historical” reality behind the biblical accounts (which I’m skeptical of: I suspect the reality behind that myth is that the foreskins came from Philistine soldiers who agreed to be circumcised for political advantage). The point is that, In Michelangelo’s day, the literal “truth” of the “Old Testament” stories was generally accepted, yet he felt safe in giving David a foreskin.

      For me, this was the only valid scientific reaction to such a sight. Neither embarrassment now “openness to experience” is entitled to a place at the table. Only scientific inquiry. Why did Michelangelo, an early icon of truthful science, give David a foreskin?

  72. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #197 | Watts Up With That?