Archive for science

Quack detector lesson

Harriet Hall describes a method for Evaluating Treatment Claims: A Primer that is easily adapted to detecting quackery in other fields.

“The e-mail suggested I write an article providing guidelines for consumers to help them evaluate the validity of treatment claims for themselves. On SBM we are constantly stressing the need to apply critical thinking to what you read, and the many pitfalls to be avoided. I’ll try to synthesize some of the principles into a handy list of questions.”

“If you are a desperate patient, it’s only natural to grasp at any straw of hope; but when the evidence is insufficient, the reasonable approach is to withhold judgment and wait for better evidence. You might think, “If it works, I don’t want to wait” but history teaches us that the great majority of these things don’t pan out. It might not do any harm, but then again it might; there might be adverse effects that haven’t been identified yet, it might raise false hopes only to dash them, and if nothing else it might waste time and money or interfere with getting more appropriate care. When you take an inadequately tested medicine, you are essentially offering yourself as a guinea pig in a haphazard uncontrolled experiment that doesn’t even keep records. Of course, that’s your privilege; but I hope you would do it with your eyes open, with a realistic understanding of the state of the evidence.”

It is basic education: critical thinking and sound reasoning with an appropriate skepticism and allowance for precision and accuracy. The fact that using evidence and logic with a reasonable degree of intellectual integrity is so often missing as to need websites with articles like this is troubling. “It might not do any harm, but then again it might;” – think about the recent reports that the U.S. has spent $165B on global warming in recent years and think about the potential for harm in its misuse and misdirection.

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Sometimes growing up wealthy influences your mind

The amazing influence of community wealth:

“having never experienced mass starvation as Indian policy makers have, American policy makers are rushing to negotiate with the same food terrorists who banned DDT in 1972, the only effective means of controlling mosquitoes that spread malaria, a regulatory coup that resulted in more deaths than both world wars.”

It is an opinion about Why India Is Right On Organics: Anti-GMO Activists Are Pro-Death Activists.

“get ready to negotiate with people who claim GMO farmers poison our children and the environment, and who believe there are too many people on the planet, without any evidence for either claim. Some say it’s a green religion. But it’s far worse. It’s an unprecedented form of anti-human anarchy, the very worst of what Jacobins, Bolsheviks, Nazis, and Maoists ever imagined.

“Every other anarchistic revolution was always restrained by physical limits. Whether it was how people could be beheaded in France, shot to death in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, gassed in concentration camps, starved to death, forced into slave labor or have their heads smashed in with rifle butts in communist Cambodia, every other revolutionary-horror inflicted by man upon his fellow man had hard, physical limits.

“But what we face now is a genocidal horror-show that only nuclear holocaust comes close to approximating”

Not having had to face the misery up front and personal is a gift. It tends to shove implications of one’s ideologies off to irrelevance and to foster an approach where ideology trumps reality.  — nice of you can afford it but many can not.

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Hiding reality under a pile of words: ideology, faux philosophy, and crackpots

Modern physics, the ideas inherent in quantum mechanics and fundamental particles, bothers some folks. Sometimes so much they attempt to create an alternate reality. That gets Luboš Motl going. He describes how Philosophy became a euphemism for crackpot physics. What he describes is a phenomena seen in many issues where ideology trumps reality such as in economics, climate, or medicine.

“philosophy has turned into a social movement where one can hide if his ideas have been falsified – killed by a procedure that is the most important building block of the scientific method. Because philosophy as an institution is a hideaway for people who are wrong, it is a factor that isn’t just neutral. Instead, it reduces the efficiency of the scientific method.”

“The point is that the partial evidence and even the rock-solid evidence just doesn’t have the ultimate power to decide and beat other arguments. The ultimate power comes from people who describe themselves as the philosophers. To a large extent, they treat themselves as infallible and their authority as permanent. This intrinsic dependence on the highly imperfect humans – humans that are not subject to any mechanism that would guarantee that they improve themselves or converge closer to the truth – is the real #1 reason why science works and philosophy doesn’t.”

“The principle is about the priority of tools and it’s the calculations that are treated as more powerful in physics than verbal arguments. It is an extremely important principle necessary for physics to work. “

The idea that mathematical calculation is a priority – often asserted in physics as “shut up and calculate” – is also true elsewhere. A standard dictum in management, for instance, is that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. The issues surrounding the measurement of temperature are a major problem in climate change. It is when you define the measures, how they are obtained, and the ‘analysis’ or calculations based on those measures to reach your conclusion that you actually have something for productive discussion or debate.

“This ability of the humans to unify all of their knowledge in this crisp way is stunningly inspiring. People like Carroll who are “sad” if they see concise foundations of physics that leave no room for babbling just hate science – and they don’t belong to science. Philosophers may prefer a world where the foundations of physics require 500 pages of rhetorical babbling. But our world isn’t like that. The “verbal”, conceptual foundations may be summarized in one sentence or two and all the other “details” are a matter of calculations. This conciseness of the foundations is pretty and people who actually like theoretical physics have been attracted by this conciseness (and the expectation that they would unify the foundations even more than that – make them even more concise) – exactly the aspect that repels physics-haters like Carroll.

An ordinary layman could be simply said to be deluded, intellectually insufficient to grasp the true foundations of modern physics. However, people like Carroll are pompous fools, aggressive self-confident idiots who try to paint their intellectual defects in rosy colors and decorations such as the word “philosophy”. They won’t hesitate to claim – and look into people’s eyes while doing so – that their misunderstandings of modern physics makes them intellectually superior while those who dare to understand the basics of modern physics are intellectually impoverished.

The correct term for these people is “arrogant cranks” and the more other philosophers fail to protect their trademark “philosophy” against parasites like Carroll, the more accurately the words “philosophy” and “crackpottery” will be turning into synonyma.”

This brings to mind the recent Congressional hearing about IRS malfeasance. The commissioner also provided this rather arrogant superiority in proclaiming his ignorance of statute and dependence upon what he claimed was “common sense.” It seems that if you can’t calculate, then hubris and a lot of uncommon words make for a good blanket over what is piling up under the carpet.

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Official FUD mongering

“Let’s get one thing clear: The National Climate Assessment is a political call to action document meant for the president’s left-leaning constituency. What pretense of scientific support that decorates it quickly falls away under a close and critical inspection.”

Spreading Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt is a dubious and dishonest tactic. Paul Knappenberger describes how the recently released National Climate Assessment report raises [a] false alarm and how “Politics [is] certainly behind the president’s report.”

It boggles the mind how a ‘science policy paper at such a level could qualify for “Nothing could be further from the truth.” As Knappenberger notes, the assertions don’t even pass the laugh test. Yet they are put out as Truth.

worried?

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Sounding oh so reasonable

Timothy Geigner offers what sounds sensible:

“Climate change is the better term, of course, and the majority of the scientific community firmly believes that there is such a thing as man-made climate change. From there, we could have a discussion about how profound the effects of climate change are, whether they’re actually better or worse, what other contributing factors might be in play in impacting climate, and all the rest, and those would be worthy conversations to have. What we shouldn’t do is try to use the law to silence dissenting opinions, particularly if those opinions come in the form of scientific research.”

But then he goes on to describe how the threat of a lawsuit removed a peer reviewed paper from a journal. See Chilling Effects: Climate Change Deniers Have Scientific Paper Disappeared.

“In other words, a study that was judged by peers to be scientifically sound, has been disappeared over the murky threats of possible legal action. Let that sink in for a moment: science is undone because some people didn’t like it.”

What is completely missing from his reality is the fact that it the climate alarmists who are using lawsuits to squash the debate, not the “deniers” that he impugns. This delusion can also be seen when he asserts:

“Look, if you’re a climate change denier, that’s cool. I don’t agree with you, but feel free to write up your own research, publish any compelling information you can come up with, and all the rest. Consensus is never something I’ve been much interested in; I’d rather have multiple ideas to choose from and study. And, hey, if you think we never landed on the moon, Hitler was actually fighting the lizard-people now running world government, and 9/11 was all a holographic light-show designed to allow George Bush to fulfill his childhood dream of landing on an aircraft carrier in a flightsuit, have at it. I want you to let me know you believe in that stuff, because that’s how I’ll know to keep my future children away from you.”

The simple fact of using the term “denier” for his straw man illustrates the dishonesty. There may be a few fanatics who do deny that the climate changes and that humans have some impact on climate, but they don’t drive the debate. That debate is between alarmists and skeptics. Geigner would indeed get his desire for a reasonable discussion if he could cease and desist with creating straw men, with the ad hominem, and with the misperceptions that he illustrates in his essay. It is those he impugns that seek to “have a discussion about how profound the effects of climate change are, whether they’re actually better or worse, what other contributing factors might be in play in impacting climate” and are unable to do so because they encounter lawsuits, insults, invective, censure, and worse.

UPDATE: for the perspective from the other side, see My complaint letter regarding the Lewandowsky affair by Anthony Watts on his blog. From other entries on the blog, it sounds like he is the one being accused of a lawsuit such as noted by Geigner. The contrast between what Watts offers and Geigner is something to consider carefully as well.

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The propaganda war against willing believers

This example is from the opposition to child vaccination for common diseases. Steven Novella describes More Measles Myths.

“Antivaxxers spread misinformation.” … “Countering anti-vaccine misinformation can be almost a full time job. It is the proverbial game of whack-a-mole, especially in the social media age where old debunked anti-vaccine memes can resurface over and over again” … “Anti-vaccine sources make demonstrably incorrect claims about diseases and vaccines.” … “This is the pattern of behavior of an ideological group engaging in motivated reasoning [wikipedia]. Some of them, however, have computers and spread their misinformation like a virus.”

There is a pattern here, and a correlation with other beliefs that evidence based medicine is a conspiracy or unhuman or not natural or whatever. This one kills children but that is OK as belief is not to be threatened by reality. Defense must be made and such things as denial, projection, and irrational construct are used to maintain the fantasy. worried yet?

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Is this really science?

Cosmos, again. It was popular but was it telling the real story about science? Daniel Greenfield thinks it is The end of science.

“Carl Sagan was the country’s leading practitioner of the mythologization of science, transforming a process into a philosophy, substituting political agendas for inquiry and arrogance for research. Sagan was often wrong, but it didn’t matter because his errors were scientific, rather than ideological or theological. He could be wrong as many times as he wanted, as long as he wasn’t wrong politically..”

Science has become absolute and a belief rather than a process of discovery and learning. It has become something different than natural or human. The term is used as a weapon in the form of the logical fallacy of argument by authority.

“Science works as a process that utilizes a set of tools. It does not innately confer superiority on anyone. A scientist who does not utilize the scientific method is as much use as a carpenter who cannot make chairs or a plumber who cannot fix toilets. A science that exists as a fixed absolute, whose premises are not to be questioned, whose data is not to be examined and whose conclusions are not to be debated, is a pile of wood or a leaky toilet. Not the conclusion of a process, but its absence.

“It isn’t science that gives a thing legitimacy, but the processes of thinking and testing that do. The only authority worth mentioning is also worth questioning. That is as true of science as it is of government. An authority that answers to itself, that derives its power not from an open system, but from a closed system is a tyranny and prone to a failure-denial cycle in which each failure is then covered up by greater abuses of power until the disaster can no longer be covered up.”

“There is nothing to cheer about the return of Cosmos. It’s not science, instead it’s more of the popularized punditry that distorts science into an absolute dogma with a cynical agenda.”

It is ever seeking the priests who answer all questions than seeking out the answers oneself, it is accepting the edict of authority rather than the plebian search for limits and extent of knowledge and its sources.

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The ol’ AGW extreme weather thing.

“Is the president giving orders to his science adviser to make the case that carbon-dioxide emissions are the cause of weather disasters in the United States despite the best science that argues otherwise? Or is his science adviser misinforming the president as to what the collection of science actually says, leading him to pursue carbon-dioxide regulation where it is not needed?

In either case, the situation is badly in need of repair.”

The common view, accepted as axiomatic by many, is that it is Republicans that are “anti-science.” KNAPPENBERGER: Mainstreaming fringe science with John Holdren – “The White House science adviser confuses global-warming fact and fancy” is yet another explanation that belief isn’t necessarily reality, especially on the left.

The Anthropogenic created and caused Global Warming side of ‘humans are a cancer on the planet’ religion has taken a hit recently as there hasn’t been any global warming for a decade or more and there hasn’t been a rise in the incidence of severe weather. That tends to make the proponents anxious and defensive which shows in dissonance behaviors. That gets ugly. Jeffrey T. Brown describes the resulting behavior in Zero Tolerance, Evil Objects, and the Psychosis of the Left

“Indeed, in the example of guns, they expressly believe that some firearms possess quantifiably greater evil than others, depending entirely on their appearance, despite being lifeless objects. An equivalent belief would be that a paring knife is certainly evil, but a carving knife is purely demonic. To a rational person, such an unhinged thought process more than merely hints at lunacy. Inanimate objects do not possess inherent evil. It can’t be built in, absorbed or grown inside a gun. In fact, the only things on Earth that have that ability are people. And yet, despite living in a world defined by reality, evidence, facts, logic and physics, progressives deny all truths that conflict with their beliefs. They practice pure, unadulterated anti-intellectualism. They have substituted magic and mythology for truth.”

The issue is one of control over others and that is why the ‘anti-science’ behavior is primarily a behavior of the left. Sometimes, whether it is climate or guns or medicine or nutrition, the need to force others to behave in accord with fantasy completely overwhelms reality.

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Nature needs some distance. Technology provides it.

A book review by Harriet Hall: Nature vs. Technology.

“For those who dismiss advocates of the “natural” as ignorant of science and deluded by the logical fallacy that natural = best, Nathanael Johnson’s new book is an eye-opener: All Natural: A Skeptic’s Quest to Discover if the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing, and the Environment Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier.”
 …
“He had been taught that good health resulted from forming connections with nature, but he found that nature “generally wanted to eat me.” Now an adult and a journalist, he understands science and how to do research. He tried to read the scientific literature with an unbiased mindset, asking questions about the subjects in his book’s title rather than looking for evidence to support any prior beliefs, and he arrived at pretty much the same conclusions we science-based medicine folks did. But he still appreciates that a natural approach has value, and he seeks to reconcile nature with technology. He calls his book a comfortable refuge from people who are driven to extremes.”
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“He counters the argument that we have insufficient proof that vaccines are safe by citing Wendell Berry’s advice that the trick is not to find certainty, but to act thoughtfully with partial knowledge.”
 …
“Conventional medicine is concerned with helping pragmatically, using the information available to accomplish what it can…you don’t have to know why a fire started to put it out.”

One of the children of the baby boomers struggles to find reality. This is an interesting contrast to Dennis Prager’s comments about Noah: One of the most moral stories ever told. That is about the role of man in nature compared and contrasted to the modern ethos. In Biblical terms, nature serves man. In the modern era it seems that many are trying to turn that upside down.

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FUD Mongering, Organic GMO

“Using scare tactics and propaganda campaigns, anti-GMO activists are trying to convince Americans that GMOs are dangerous — that they are some kind of “Frankenfood.” This ignores more than a century of evidence that shows that the genetics of plants can be manipulated safely to produce better yields, bigger fruits and heartier products.”

“There are plenty of issues America’s farmers and food producers can focus on to better mankind: increasing food production, reducing or eliminating tariffs that keep the food prices artificially high around the world, and finding better methods to provide food to those who cannot grow it themselves.

“Spending time needlessly arguing over whether foods containing GMOs must be labeled is not one of these most important issues. Rather, it is just a way to make the government a part of an advertising campaign intended to enrich a few at the expense of the many.”

George Landrith: Labeling foods with genetic fears – Shoppers wanting organic products don’t need new warnings.

If this keeps up, pretty soon anything you buy in a grocery store will have a little pamphlet of fine print like prescription drugs do. The effectiveness of such labels and warnings gets to be much like the story of the kid who kept crying wolf (wikipedia). The behaviors are characteristic: big, evil, corporate farming out to kill their customers, the common people, and so on. The fact that modern genetic modification is simply a new and faster way to implement the ages old tactic of breeding for characteristics is swept under the rug and anytime it creeps out, it is attacked with vigor and a plentitude of logical fallacies.

It is just another expression of the Left’s war on the impoverished.

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They call this science?

One of the mantras of the left is that of monetary influence. Not just the Koch brothers: New study reveals funders behind the climate change denial effort is an example of just how ridiculous the effort can get to try to prove the point. The stimulus here is a research paper in sociology.

“A new study conducted by Drexel University’s environmental sociologist Robert J. Brulle, PhD, exposes the organizational underpinnings and funding behind the powerful climate change countermovement. This study marks the first peer-reviewed, comprehensive analysis ever conducted of the sources of funding that maintain the denial effort.”

A key item of suspicion is the obsession with Koch Industries and ExxonMobil. But what’s the flaw? Consider:

“To uncover how the countermovement was built and maintained, Brulle developed a listing of 118 important climate denial organizations in the U.S. He then coded data on philanthropic funding for each organization, combining information from the Foundation Center with financial data submitted by organizations to the Internal Revenue Service. The final sample for analysis consisted of 140 foundations making 5,299 grants totaling $558 million to 91 organizations from 2003 to 2010.”

“118 important climate denial organizations” ? That is a big number, especially since there is no organization that has “climate denial” as its primary banner. The suggestion is a typical guilt by association effort that plays games with definitions and terms. Another consideration is the money involved. A half billion is peanuts compared to what is being spent to promote climate alarmism – it’d barely pay for the ‘research’ grants that keep a few of the key players employed.

But, this is the sort of thing that is paraded as important and meaningful in support of allegations of impropriety on the part of those who ask questions and don’t fall into lockstep with the human created climate alarmism. It shouldn’t pass the laugh test but that is of no concern to those who are desparate to find anything that they can use to rationalize their beliefs.

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A softening apprenticeship

The example is about Why graduate medical education is failing

“When a doctor finishes medical school, he or she has been exposed to a lot of data, and has learned a few basic facts about how to be a physician. But the haven’t learned really how to work independently in a field of medicine. That takes the 3-10 extra years of training collectively known as GME to acquire that skill. It is a skill that encompasses a lot of “non-data” abilities, one of the most critical of which is the ability to make a decision independently without having to ask someone if it’s the right decision.”

But standards are being relaxed. Work hours are being forced into the standard job role. Criticism and evaluation are being tempered to avoid emotional trauma. The apprenticeship is being softened and that worries some of the masters.

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Anthony Watts was watching The Challenger Disaster movie on the Discovery channel last night and was inspired by the Professor Feynmann presentation. The quote from Faynmann’s 1974 Cargo Cult Science address appeared in his Challenger appendix report. Here are selections worth reflection.

“In summary, the idea is to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgement in one particular direction or another.

The easiest way to explain this idea is to contrast it, for example, with advertising. Last night I heard that Wesson oil doesn’t soak through food. Well, that’s true. It’s not dishonest; but the thing I’m talking about is not just a matter of not being dishonest; it’s a matter of scientific integrity, which is another level. The fact that should be added to that advertising statement is that no oils soak through food, if operated at a certain temperature. If operated at another temperature, they all will–including Wesson oil. So it’s the implication which has been conveyed, not the fact, which is true, and the difference is what we have to deal with.

We’ve learned from experience that the truth will come out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature’s phenomena will agree or they’ll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it’s this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cargo cult science.”

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.”

“So I have just one wish for you–the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom.”

The behavior noted here is human and can be observed in ideological or political contexts where a lack of integrity or a bit of sliding of the truth is often used to ‘fool one’s self’ and maintain composure. The advice to ‘be very careful’ seems often ignored.

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The illiteracy to most fear

This example is from Via Meadia: A Closer Look at New Nuclear. Nuclear power has been a bogey man starting with the rise of that 60′s phenomena. It is another technology burdened by the ‘reduce to the absurd’ logical fallacy where the overall implications are ignored in order to feed hysteria and hyperbole.

“Nuclear power is a forbidding energy source, both for its spectacular failures in places like Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima, and for its general incomprehensibility. It’s (relatively) easy to understand how burning oil, gas, or coal produce energy, but most of us can’t fathom what goes on inside those monolithic concrete cooling towers and the facilities they lie within.”

“It would be nice to know more about this phenomenon without enrolling in a physics course.”

From a scientific standpoint, combustion is a much more complicated phenomena than fission. Anyone who has tried to start a fire or keep down the smoke from a campfire gets a good acquaintance with this.

As for “spectacular failures” … two were management issues and one a natural disaster. Two of the cited examples have injury and death risks so low that they are not detectable in the noise of normal health statistics. The only thing that makes them spectacular is the hyperbole of the ignorant feeding their fears.

“If you’re like us, much of this will still make you go cross-eyed, but it’s worth reading the whole thing to get a better idea of the options ahead for nuclear energy. The West has already invested in the LWR reactors to help supply its baseload power, and won’t be making the massive investments necessary for a new kind of nuclear power mix any time soon. But as we’ve said before, the developing world doesn’t need to make the same mistakes as the the developed has.”

The issue here is that technology always develops and it is the capitalism related philosophies behind Western Culture that distinguish if from the “developing world.” What prevents the advance of nuclear power technology is the “developed” world has regressed to third world ideologies and stunted the adoption of newer technologies. Consider computing as if regulations, laws, fears, and hyperbole make development of devices any more sophisticated than an 1980′s computer nearly impossible and extraordinarily expensive.

Two phenomena need to be addressed in order for civilization to advance. One is the idea that understanding even simple technological concepts is acceptable and the other is that the fundamental requirement of science – that testable reality rules over fantasy and ideology – gets a priority in decision making. Nuclear power, climate change, vaccinations, and evolution are just a few of the social issues where these two phenomena take a beating.

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It must be the devil that did this! (then to identify the devil …)

Thousands dead and a loving God would not allow this. There must be a Satan to blame. Climate Change, The Philippines and The Problem of Pain takes a look at why “Scientism Does Not Explain Why Evil Things Happen To Decent People.”

“Bad theology and inaccurate science can both lead to adverse, sub-optimal consequences. Decisions made in grief-laden haste are often the most wrong ones we make. The unfortunate error Sano commits is to lapse into Scientism. He does so in believing that a set of scientific data gives a logical explanation to life’s tragedies that offers him a systematic plan of action that will outlaw the repetition of bad things. Sadly for Sano, and for anyone that accepts his heartfelt and emotional appeal, his thesis is not strongly supported by real-world data”

Any time there is a natural catastrophe, the tendency is to find some one or some thing to blame. Envy and resentment tend to flavor the effort. Intellectual integrity is often lost in the soup. “Evil like this makes any thinking human being search for answers. Sadly none better exist than what is offered in verses 4 and 5 of Book I Ecclesiastes.” Things happen and we complicate our lives by trying to find excuses rather than answers.

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FUD mongering exposed: water filters

Steven Novella had a plumber come out to unplug his drains. As a bonus, he got a sales effort for a filtration system that warned about
Monochloramines in Tap Water. The literature, it seems, had correct information. The problem was that it was selected information that did not address the issues of risk versus benefit.

“decisions, however, should be made with full information, and in a proper context. It’s also useful to consider cost-effectiveness. How much money are you willing to spend to achieve what measure of risk reduction? Perhaps that money could be better spent somewhere else, and perhaps there is greater risk in the lost opportunity (for those of us without unlimited funds) from making a major purchase for dubious benefits.”

As with a lot of these FUD mongering efforts, a bit of consideration can shed a lot of light. Monochloramines have been used for 90 years and there has been no epidemic as suggested by the sales literature. Do you really want to spend thousands of dollars on something that hasn’t shown itself to be a real threat over nearly a century?

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Faulty debate, the climatologist’s example

The Coyote identifies The Key Disconnect in the Climate Debate. It is about the the false analogy [wikipedia].

“Human activity altering climate” is not the same thing as an environmental catastrophe (or one’s house burning down). The statement that he is 95% certain that human activity is altering climate is one that most skeptics (including myself) are 100% sure is true. There is evidence that human activity has been altering the climate since the dawn of agriculture. Man’s changing land uses have been demonstrated to alter climate, and certainly man’s incremental CO2 is raising temperatures somewhat.

The key question is — by how much?

This is why there is so much fuss about every climate model being wrong in predicting global temperature averages over the last fifteen years or so. The alarmists have taken the extreme position of those models as Truth and there is significant dissonance being caused by reality not going along with that ideology. That dissonance shows in the use of the ad hominem and other logical fallacies as well as the psychological denial behavior so readily evident that inhibits proper discussion of issues centered on the topic.

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Tergiversations: the media on climate change

Steven Hayward came up with that one in Media Notes: Climate Campaign in a Snit

“The climate campaign has gone to DefCon1 over the tergiversations of Reuters, where alarmist news stories about climate change have fallen by nearly 50 percent following the hiring of an editor (Paul Ingrassia, formerly of the Wall Street Journal) who harbors some skeptical views.”

“There’s a full-scale media outrage under way to purge the heretic. “

It is getting harder to promote anthropogenic caused climate catastrophy so the coverage in that area is dissipating. Taxing Air by Spooner and Carter reviews the science and politics on the issue that also provides a good over-view of climatology. No tergiversations there!

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Evidence based law?

The Lambro opinion described below brings up the idea that perhaps the ‘evidence based’ concept needs to be considered in regards to law as it is in medicine. In might also become useful in other fields, such as climatology, as well.

In medicine, practitioners who use therapies that have not been objectively shown to be effective have adopted terms such as “alternative” and “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and “integrative” to lend credibility to their activities. The created the term “allopathic medicine” to impugn evidence based medicine.

Law is also supposed to be evidence based. A lot of care is invested in procedures and practices to attempt to make sure that bias and ideology is reduced and evidence and fact surface as the primary factors in decisions. The Zimmerman trial was clear enough, based on facts and evidence, that many in the legal profession including the police and prosecuting attorneys directly involved, did not think a prosecution was warranted.

Lambro and others, however, appear not to favor the idea of evidence based law. They have an outcome they desire and will construct an ‘evidence free’ reality to rationalize their desires. In days past, acting on that sort of ‘alternative’ or ‘complementary’ or ‘integrative’ law was called a lynching.

Then there is the lawyer Greta Van Susterin interviewed (see ward world) who claimed that her greater duty as a lawyer was “social engineering.” Evidence based law was dismissed as inferior to doing whatever need be done to engineer society to desired ends.

How long will it be before you see legal businesses bragging about their practice of ‘complementary and alternative law’ (CAL) and coin derogatory nomenclature for those who practice evidence based law like they did for those who practice evidence based medicine?

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Climate alarmism resource

On the climate argument, check this out: Taxing Air -

“Accessible, clearly written and illustrated with simple scientific illustrations, and accompanied by brilliantly wry and telling cartoons, Taxing Air answers – without the spin, evasions or propaganda that pollutes most official writing on climate change – every question you have about global warming but are too intimidated by the an oppressive ‘consensus’ to ask. Your essential guide to the science and politics of global warming.”

ht: Lubos,

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