Archive for science

Just what is science, anyway?

Matt Ridley worries about The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science. Scandals and politics and ideology all wreak havoc.

None of this would matter if it was just scientific inquiry, though that rarely comes cheap in itself. The big difference is that these scientists who insist that we take their word for it, and who get cross if we don’t, are also asking us to make huge, expensive and risky changes to the world economy and to people’s livelihoods. They want us to spend a fortune getting emissions down as soon as possible. And they want us to do that even if it hurts poor people today, because, they say, their grandchildren (who, as Nigel Lawson points out, in The Facts, and their models assume, are going to be very wealthy) matter more.

Yet they are not prepared to debate the science behind their concern. That seems wrong to me.

On the bright side, there is debate based on intellectual integrity and reality. It just isn’t in the usual and normal – old school – methods the establishment still holds dear such as ‘scientific’ journals. The topic is also polluted by a propaganda machine pushed by the MSM and activist groups. Getting through the noise is perhaps a tougher challenge than it has been in the past but that may be that now we can just see the noise a bit better. 

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Manufacturing data: climate alarmists

Fist up is John Cook on Manufacturing doubt about climate consensus.

Scientists have observed distinctive greenhouse patterns such as winters warming faster than summers and a cooling upper
atmosphere. This consilience of evidence has resulted in overwhelming agreement among experts — 97 per cent of climate scientists
agree that humans are causing global warming. But where does the 97 per cent figure come from?

Then there’s Ross McKitrick answering the question that the Claim that 97% of scientists support climate alarm cannot be supported.

In my column I pointed out that people who invoke the 97 per cent consensus often leave vague what is actually being agreed upon.
John Cook does this too: Note that his wording is consistent with a range of interpretations, including that greenhouse gases
definitely cause only a tiny bit of global warming.

He cannot claim that 97 per cent of scientists believe greenhouse gases cause a lot of warming and that this is a big problem, since the surveys either didn’t ask this, or did but didn’t find 97 per cent support.

Who is it that is going psych by putting up the issue of denial as an item of interest? Who is carefully defining terms and issues? Who is alleging “cherry picking” without specification or rebuttal?

Yes behavior is an important factor to consider. But rather than label that behavior in derisive terms (e.g. “denier”), look for choices of words and manner of reasoning. There is a good comparison here.

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What you are up against: climate alarmists and sociology

Matt Manos gets into Why It’s So Hard to Convince Warmists from the perspective of a sociologist. Note that he doesn’t get into the bigotry of the warmists in derisive labels for all who disagree and that he sticks to specific ideas and hypotheses that can be discussed and evaluated.

Penetrating rational ignorance is tough because the position warmists have taken isn’t based on logic. Their position is actually based on an appeal to authority. To question the rationally ignorant warmist is to question the field of science as a whole (to be a science denier) or to question the leadership of their favorite bellwether personalities. This will cause the rationally ignorant warmist to become defensive and try to stand up for their favorite bellwether. The rationally ignorant will also point to their favorite bellwethers and say, “Who am I to doubt all these intelligent people?” It’s intellectually offshoring. It’s lazy. It’s human nature.

 … If you really want to win the debate on global warming, change the opinions of the bellwethers. Change the economic incentives for the global warming scientific paper mill. Otherwise you’re stuck debating only the people who are unable to change their minds because it would cost them personally to do so. Rare is the person intellectually honest enough to bite the hand that feeds or is willing to violate social norms to speak the truth.

Behind this is the basic dilemma: how do people whose interest is in talking about measure and logic get a debate where feeling, emotion, and ideology are the primary factors defining conclusions? Many suggest that the Bellwethers undertake their position for reasons of influence and control. Climate change is a tool for them. The only way to change their views is to remove the potential for warmist alarmism as a path towards control and power. That would require removing the underlying governmental regulatory mechanisms that use weather and climate to rationalize new regulation. 

What that comes down to is the argument for a limited government as a government that does not have the power to tack on a little here and there is not so susceptible to those seeking power and control via corruption and regulatory misuse. 

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A plea to the Pope: Imago Dei

E. Calvin Beisner presents the Cornwall Alliance to Pope Francis: Be Realistic for Humanity’s Sake (energy/climate policy in the balance) and clearly identifies what is at stake.

Alongside good science in our approach to climate policy must be two preferential options: for humanity and, among humanity, for the poor. By this we do not mean to pit humanity against nature, any more than to pit the poor against the rich. Rather, we mean that because humanity alone bears the imago Dei, any effort to protect the environment must put at its center human well-being, and in particular the well-being of the poor, because they are the more vulnerable, the less able to protect themselves.

The case for this is the Biblical ethos of Imago Dei (from Genesis 1:27, wherein “God created man in his own image. . .”) and a rational God.

the Biblical worldview launched science as a systematic endeavor to understand the real world by a rigorous process of testing hypotheses by real-world observation.

Christian and Jewish scholars have performed high-quality science for centuries. They are confident that good science leads toward and will not conflict with the truth about God and man.

As people of Biblical faith, then, we have a commitment not only to truth, but also to the practice of science as one path to truth.

Your concern for genuine science and for the poor requires a more cautious approach, one that carefully considers the scientific evidence regarding the real, not merely the theoretical, effects of human action on global climate, and carefully considers energy technology and economics in seeking to protect the poor from harm.

The world’s poor will suffer most from such policies. The poorest—the 1.3 billion in developing countries who depend on wood and dried dung as primary cooking and heating fuels, smoke from which kills 4 million and temporarily debilitates hundreds of millions every year—will be condemned to more generations of poverty and its deadly consequences.

The key to this is that the environmentalist movement is one that only the wealthy can afford. What is not stated directly is that Biblical belief is being usurped by a belief in Gaia as god and man is demoted from being master to that of being a plague on earth. The issues in the debate are the poor and the truth. It is about what has been seen to improve the welfare of humanity and what is actually known about man’s dominion of the earth versus fantasies about nature and a proper state of the earth as a ball of mud in the solar system.

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Destructive tendencies: the presumption of guilt, conflict of interest version

If you can’t fault the findings, then fault the person who dares to present them. Asserting corruption via a conflict of interest is one means to do this. This bit of dishonesty is getting some attention at the American Enterprise Institute.

AEI visiting scholar Thomas Stossel, MD has a new book — available April 27 — on regulation on the medical industry titled “PHARMAPHOBIA: How the Conflict of Interest Myth Undermines American Medical Innovation.” Many bureaucrats, reporters, politicians, and lawyers have built careers attacking the medical products industry. In this work, Dr. Stossel shows how attacks on doctors who work with industry limits medical innovation and inhibits the process of bringing new products into medical care.

There are two principal reasons for writing the book. The first is to set the record straight about what has been accomplished.

The second reason is to expose how for the past 30 years opportunists have been responsible for minimizing industry’s contributions to health improvements and denying the costs of achieving them. These individuals claim that if health care professionals or researchers take payments from those industries, they become corrupt and risk their reputations by performing flawed research or harming patients for money. The code slur for this alleged behavior is “conflict of interest.” I define these critics as “conflict-of interest narrative instigators.”

These instigators are wrong, and I wrote the book to set the record straight. The book collates the facts and arguments that can be used to rebut the confident but false assertions of the conflict-of-interest instigators.

The “code slur” is a clue that the support for a desired position cannot deal with the realities of the issue but must instead devolve into allegation and innuendo about the opposition. As the author points out, this slur is also a distraction that is used to weigh honest research down with regulations and policies intended to show it isn’t so and to inhibit research by establishing social barriers. We all pay and it is not only in medicine that this occurs.

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Look at everything but the data

In a paper published in Climatic Change, the scientists suggest looking at business interests, partisan predispositions and political ideology for the hurdles to policy action.

“Action on climate change requires courage to face the facts by acknowledging, incorporating and legitimizing the supermajority scientists’ views on the issue while recognizing different opinions beyond science,” says Liu.

At PhysOrg: Hurdles to US climate change action are in economics and politics, not divided science

The question is about the ‘facts’ and how they connect to the conclusions being drawn. It is not only the facts about climate change at concern here, it is the facts about the opinions of ‘scientists’ and the supposed ‘consensus’ being claimed.

Perhaps the key is the focus on “business interests, partisan predispositions and political ideology” rather than on issues, rationale for opinions, and sources of disagreement. It is a diversion that shows flailing for efforts to rationalize ideologies when villains are brought in to substitute for actual matters of measurement and reality.

The task of those seeking massive governmental controls beyond what already exists is that of educating the ignorant. Calling them names and avoiding the questions they ask is not usually a good avenue for achieving that task.

(for a comparison and contrast, see Jennifer Marohasy on a Survey Denying My Position on Climate Change)

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A call to account: EPA on climate alarmism

Robert Bradley Jr: Dear Gina (and Jerry): Where’s the Climate Science Behind Your Plan (Carbon Tax)?. – An exchange between Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Gina McCarthy (U.S. EPA), March 4, 2015 raised the question. It appears that the Congressional Committee wants hard answers supported by proper citation rather than evasion or hand waving.

During the March 4, 2015, Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Fiscal Year 2016 budget, several important questions regarding current climate science and data were raised. Although questions regarding the impacts of climate change were clear and straightforward, none of the questions received direct answers, and many responses contained caveats and conditions.

We write today to emphasize that these questions were not posed lightly or in passing. In fact, questions related to whether projected climate impacts are actually occurring are critical to verifying EPA’s commitment to the best science and data, especially as the agency proposes costly carbon dioxide emissions reductions throughout the United States. Stated differently, given that the Administration’s proposal to fundamentally change the nature of domestic electricity generation is based on the apparent need to avoid “devastating” climate impacts to the United States and the planet, it is imperative that the agency be candid and forthright in assessing the reality of this projection.

EPA must demonstrate its commitment to sound science and data by providing prompt and thorough responses to questions from Congress.

The problem, of course, is that business of “providing prompt and thorough responses to questions from Congress” as the current administration seems to hold contempt of Congress as a higher honor than openness or integrity.

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Earth hour: get people off it for betterment?

Mark Perry explains why Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty, and backwardness citing Canadian economist Ross McKitrick.

“Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.”

“The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.”

Why? What is it that drives those who are able to put their own energy needs into the background to want to deprive others of the freedom and liberty it can bring?

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The difference

See William Connolley at Stoat for an example of the difference between sides in the climate argument.

“All right-thinking people will obviously agree that the top one is better; WUWT is denialism, and AW is primarily known as a blogger, not a meteorologist.”

The topic and entire content is ad hominem buttressed by the vox populi logical fallacy and a straw man thrown in for good measure. There is no discussion of the issues. Opinion is offered as judgment. Anyone who raises a question in the comments about the premise is taken to the woodshed with ‘reduce to the absurd’ type counters.

If you want to learn about climatology and meteorology, look to WUWT. If you want to see the ugly side of human discourse, maybe try Stoat.

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Public servants or public masters?

James Rust says Barack Goes Berserk on Climate ‘Deniers’ (gold stars for fed alarmists?) but the real story is that so many government employees have forsaken their primary duty and become a political arm.

“Organizing For Action (OFA) is a non-profit and community organizing project formed after President Obama’s 2012 re-election to promote his agenda. On March 5, 2015, OFA sent out a letter under President Obama’s signature reporting certain elected officials were climate change deniers with the following statement:

“You’re part of an important team with OFA, with a mission of holding climate change deniers’ feet to the fire.“

“Recent actions of intimidating letters sent to university presidents by Congressman Raul Gripalva February 24 and letters sent February 25 to 100 pro-energy organizations by Senators Markey, Boxer, and Whitehouse protesting alleged conflicts of interest due to compensation received by those who question carbon dioxide from fossil fuels causes catastrophic climate change.”

“Using the Freedom of Information Act, attorney Chris Horner uncovered a March 3, 2009 internal EPA memo to Richard Windsor (EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s cover-up name) that recommended a different approach be used to generate public support for EPA’s policies. ”

“Another example is shown by activities of the Department of Interior’s U. S. Geological Survey (USGS).”

“On February 10, 2015, the Department of Agriculture issued a press release “USDA Announces Funding for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects” which described the availability of $280 million from the 2014 Farm Bill for their Rural Energy for Americans Program (REAP)”

So many agencies with so many governmental employees: you’d think there would be some pushback on the effort to force an ideological fantasy on the public. So far, it seems, it’s just crickets chirping.

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For the greater good

There was a letter sent to several universities inquiring about research funding from several members of the minority party in Congress. That created a backlash that has resulted in a number of FOIA requests to provide insight into the “Climate Empire.” Paul Driessen describes how The Climate Empire Gets Nasty (‘crony science’ for funding, power).

“As the pressure for debate and reform mounts, the Climate Empire insists that its actions serve “the greater good” – preventing catastrophic climate changes. But aside from the absence of evidence clearly linking fossil fuel emissions to significant climate events (or even to phenomena that are simply different in frequency or intensity to what mankind and planet have endured since time immemorial), there are two insurmountable problems with this alarmist tautology.

“The “Greater Good”?

“First, it requires depriving billions of people of reliable, affordable energy today – to prevent hypothetical crises decades from now. And that means causing thousands of deaths each winter in Britain and Europe in households where families cannot afford proper heat – and millions of deaths annually in Third World countries, from lung, intestinal and other diseases that modern energy and living standards would prevent.

“Should the Climate Empire have such life-or-death powers? And who has the moral or legal authority to grant it such powers? Perhaps there was a reincarnation of Moses’ burning bush?”

“a recent analysis by economists William Butos and Thomas McQuade on how “Big Players” can distort climate research and other scientific endeavors” provided topics for a more fruitful discussion than the efforts of the Congressmen.

“Will the lies and other outrages ever stop? Probably not anytime soon. But those of us who believe in the scientific method, evidence instead of models and proclamations, and modern living standards for all who want them must not cease our efforts.

For as Rabbi Tarfon said five centuries ago, “You are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to abandon it.””

Much as Ferguson is revealing the outcome of catering to thugs and criminals due to race by senior government officials, The Mann court case and the assault on Professor Soon are revealing the tactics and that result in changes such as responsible researchers avoiding climate research altogether. The costs, as the economists note, are horrific. To those on the left, those who worship Marx and communism in any form, those costs are of no concern because it is all for the greater good.

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Assuming money corrupts and problems of false equivalence

The climate change related issue of mankind’s doomsday influence on Gaia is getting touchy. The latest is a push by Democratic Party elected representatives based on the assumption that any money used by those who do not agree with them is certain evidence of improper bias. James Rust reports on Stifling Climate Research & Opinion: Another Desparado Mistake

“In the past few weeks, statements of scientists challenging the hypothesis that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels is causing catastrophic global warming are being criticized on ad hominem grounds. The charge is that there exists an inherent conflict-of-interest, owingto their sources of income, specifically income from fossil-fuel companies or pro-fossil-fuel organizations otherwise.

“The starting point (it was surely orchestrated) was the attack on Dr. Willie Soon by the February 21, 2015 New York Times article, “Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher,” by Justin Gillis and John Schwartz.”

“Mr. Gillis and Mr. Schwartz masquerade as science reporters, while doing the bidding of those promoting catastrophic global warming from using fossil fuels. They shortchange the scientific method and implicitly want stopped research into questioning the veracity of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. Their work has inspired others in the U. S. Congress to challenge freedom-of-scientific research.”

“Adding insult to injury, this announcement was issued by the office of Senator Edward Markey”

“Letters of this nature shake-up university presidents’ confidence in their faculty members. With the short time for reply to these lengthy demands, the university presidents and professors will suffer great burdens. Due to the vast amount of university funding coming from federal sources, Congressman Grijalva’s demands may coerce university presidents to explore means of terminating professors cited.”

“Does Michael Mann of Penn State University have to provide all his financial disclosures for the past 20 years when he provides testimony or interviews with the media? The same could apply to Gavin Schmidt with NASA-GISS. We should not forget James Hansen, who used to be with NASA-GISS, flew to the United Kingdom to testify in the defense of Greenpeace activists on trial for the October 8, 2007 vandalism of the Kingsnorth coal-fired power plant. How has former Vice President Al Gore increased his net worth by millions since leaving office?”

“The conflict-of-interest on climate science is the most severe for those collecting funds from the U. S. government whether it is in the form of loans, research grants, or salaries. The top administrators in all federal agencies like Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Interior, EPA, NASA, etc. have been vetted on their views catastrophic climate change is caused by fossil fuels. With the exception of EPA’s Dr. Carlin, I have never encountered a published view of a federal employee questioning catastrophic climate change is caused by carbon dioxide. The penalties from this conflict are too severe of loss of pay increases, promotions, or dismissal.”

“The problems of writings and testimony of U. S. government supported scientists has been demonstrated for years. In November 2009, one thousand e-mail communications among researchers at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and United States researchers showed attempts at adjusting global temperature data and stopping publications of researchers questioning human-caused global warming.”

That last point is one that some are using to say “both sides do it.” The problem is that Climategate, the lawsuits with Dr. Mann, or other supposed ‘Republican’ witch hunts are based on evidence and seeking explanation for assertions and conclusions and statements. That is an entirely different matter than the ad hominem which goes after implied or assumed guilt without any evidence to support it other than not liking what someone says. What makes for the “desperado mistake” is desperation. The facts and evidence do not line up with desired results; reality does not support fantasy. That means one must defend the indefensible and that requires shutting out the unpleasant reality, censoring anyone who tries to bring it to the fore, and all the mechanisms the mind can create to avoid the real world.

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Witch Hunts

Seven academics who had the audacity to speak to Congress about climate change are targets of US Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) who is the ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Roger Pielke, Jr. is one who says I am Under “Investigation”. Stephen Hayward is another target who see it as asking Are you now or have you ever been a climate skeptic?. Here is what Pielke says:

“The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject. I am a full professor with tenure, so no one need worry about me — I’ll be just fine as there are plenty of interesting, research-able policy issues to occupy my time. But I can’t imagine the message being sent to younger scientists. Actually, I can: “when people are producing work in line with the scientific consensus there’s no reason to go on a witch hunt.”

When “witch hunts” are deemed legitimate in the context of popular causes, we will have fully turned science into just another arena for the exercise of power politics. The result is a big loss for both science and politics.”

This inquiry makes McCarthyism look tame. Climate scientists are not the only game in this sort of hunt either. 

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Tell a lie often enough …

But some don’t need convincing through repetition: Scott Johnson on Fournier’s Lie provides an example.

“When I heard former AP Washington Bureau Chief Ron Fournier state in passing on a recent Fox News Special Report panel that “Bush lied us into war in Iraq,” I just groaned. Fournier has moved on from the AP to become senior political correspondent and editorial director of National Journal. Fournier presents himself as the moderate voice of reason and common sense, and he is a distinguished journalist, but the “Bush lied” is a staple of the hard left. I believe that the evidence in support of the proposition approaches nil.”

“If you’re going to charge that “Bush lied,” decency requires that you be able to back it up with a relevant fact or two. Fournier’s response does more than call his own judgment into question; it calls his good faith into question. Judge Silberman’s reference to “the likes of Ron Fournier” justifiably passes a harsh judgment, not just on Fournier’s statement, but also on Fournier himself, and there is no one more qualified than Judge Silblerman to render this judgment.”

When it is no longer a matter of facts and evidence but rather a matter of faith, decisions go sour. The litany of issues where the decisions will have significant social importance is large. The damage from sour decisions is also significant. On the ‘Bush lied’ meme one only has to look at the turmoil in the mid-East to see this. Then there is the anti-vaccination sour decision results showing its odor in California. Climate change, energy production, safe and inexpensive foods, health, … the list goes on and the cost of the sour decisions mount.

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Chemicalz! Toxins! (and cranks)

It’s the Food Babe: “There is just no acceptable level of any chemical to ingest, ever” Orac describes with “Respectful Insolence”.

“The Food Babe makes quite a pretty penny spreading her ignorance and has become sought after to feature in various media appearances, such as magazine covers.”

“Hari was featured in a fairly long feature article in The Atlantic by James Hamblin. ‘The Food Babe: Enemy of Chemicals.’ It’s a relatively amusing title, to be sure, and there’s a lot that’s good about the article. Unfortunately, there’s a lot that’s downright infuriating as well, the more so given that Hamblin is a physician and really should know better. To some extent, he does, but unfortunately in this piece he shows himself far more respectful of pseudoscience of the sort promoted by The Food Babe than a physician should be.”

“Of course, it’s great that Hari cleaned up her act, lost a bunch of weight, and saw her health problems go away. However, as all too often happens, she also attributed her health problems to more than just a poor diet and lifestyle. She blamed the evil chemicalz! She blamed processed foods, various food additives, and basically any synthetic chemical. Over time, as I’ve observed, this belief has morphed into a seeming concept that anything with a long chemical name that she can’t pronounce must be bad. Indeed, it’s evolved, as Hamblin notes, to include even things that are perfectly “natural,” such as isinglass derived from fish swim bladders. Hamblin just doesn’t seem to note that the reason isinglass is bad to The Food Babe is nothing more complex than her revulsion that a product of fish swim bladder is used to make some beers. Ditto the product of beaver anal glands and others:”

“Another thing that drives Hari is an intense competitiveness, which she attributes to her talent as a high school debater. Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, the goal of a debater is not necessarily to come to find out what is accurate and true scientifically. It is to defend your position. It is to attack your opponent’s position. It is to win”

“And why are we giving so many vaccines so early? It’s “too many too soon.” What are all those chemicals in vaccines? They’re “toxins.” Truly, Vani Hari is the Jenny McCarthy of food.

“And like Jenny McCarthy, Hari thrives on the opposition her crusade provokes. She thrives on victimhood. It’s how she rallies her troops.”

It’s another case study of the crank, the snake oil salesman, the deluded and blind to reality types struggling to find simple solutions in a complex world. Health is particularly ripe for this sort of individual but you’ll also find them elsewhere. Look at the climate change controversy, or net neutrality, or vaccines, or large scale energy production, or environmentalism. The plague is expensive and even heartbreaking but, it seems, the purveyors of ilk never seem to notice except to blame the consequences on somebody else.

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Irrational patterns on rational issues

David Harsanyi provides a good summary of politicized science based issues in describing When Liberals Ignore Science — “Media are largely silent about their fear of vaccination and their belief in astrology and UFOs“.

“How do we deal with the false perception that liberals are more inclined to trust science than conservatives? Also, how do we approach the media’s fondness for focusing on the unscientific views of some conservatives but ignoring the irrational — and oftentimes more consequential — beliefs of their fellow liberals?”

“if you walk around believing that pesticides are killing your children or that fracking will ignite your drinking water, or if you hyperventilate about the threat of the ocean’s consuming your city, you have a viewpoint that not only conflicts with science but undermines progress. So how do we approach matters that have been settled among scientists but are not widely accepted by liberals?”

“The perception that one political group is less science-savvy than another is predominately driven by the unwillingness of many conservatives to accept alarmism about global warming and the policies purportedly meant to mitigate it. But when it comes to climate change, volumes could be written about the ill-conceived, unscientific, over-the-top predictions made by activists and politicians. We could start with our own Malthusian science czar, John Holdren, who once predicted that climate change would cause the deaths of a billion people by 2020 and that sea levels would rise by 13 feet.”

“It doesn’t end there. What are we to make of people who mock religion as imaginary but believe an astrological sign should determine whom you date or are concerned that they will be whisked away in a flying saucer?”

The political bifurcation is right in front of your face – consider the Californication meme, for instance. But that doesn’t phase most media reporters whose reports ignore the obvious evidence. For any paying attention, that is a serious issue of cognitive dissonance.

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Lifestyles of fantasy

Amy Parker gives witness to Growing Up Unvaccinated. “I had the healthiest childhood imaginable. And yet I was sick all the time“.

“Back in the ’90s, when I was a concerned, 19-year-old mother, frightened by the world I was bringing my child into, I was studying homeopathy, herbalism, and aromatherapy; I believed in angels, witchcraft, clairvoyants, crop circles, aliens at Nazca, giant ginger mariners spreading their knowledge to the Aztecs, the Incas, and the Egyptians, and that I was somehow personally blessed by the Holy Spirit with healing abilities. I was having my aura read at a hefty price and filtering the fluoride out of my water. I was choosing to have past life regressions instead of taking antidepressants. I was taking my daily advice from tarot cards. I grew all my own veg and made my own herbal remedies.

I was so freaking crunchy that I literally crumbled. It was only when I took control of those paranoid thoughts and fears about the world around me and became an objective critical thinker that I got well. It was when I stopped taking sugar pills for everything and started seeing medical professionals that I began to thrive physically and mentally.”

Potent testimony from one who has learned for those who haven’t.

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FUD Football

Joseph C. Maroon and Julian E. Bailes Jr. are neurosurgeons Weighing the childhood risks of contact sports who think that “Staying on the sidelines carries far more health danger than getting into the game.”

“Fear has created a market for concussion information and products, and the media is overreacting to sensational but unsubstantiated pronouncements and factoids. The anti-football hype is so prevalent that even Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, George Will, asserted, “For all players who play five or more years, life expectancy is less than 60; for linemen it is much less,” without as much as a footnote. It’s a shocking statistic but it’s not an accurate one. Research shows that retired NFL players are living as least as long as their peers and have lower rates of cancer and heart disease.”

“Organized sports are a bulwark against the very real health risks associated with childhood obesity such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disease. These benefits are critical to the health and development of our youth and they serve to show the need for a more balanced approach to how we address the safety of our kids playing contact sports. Unfortunately, participation in youth football nationally and high school football in many regions of the country have substantially fallen in recent years.”

Couple health and children and you have a ripe field for spreading Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt to feed a “we must do something, anything” movement. Consequences and implications and even reality go to the back of the bus. The costs can be horrific.

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Propaganda machine: warmist year evva’ ??

Luboš Motl describes why NOAA, NASA: 2014 was probably not the warmest year on our recordA direct proof that the professional alarmists are intentionally lying. It’s a basic matter of the science of measurement and intentional misrepresentation.

“the two questions are: how much do the error margins of the NOAA, NASA temperature records matter? And if they change the answer to the question whether 2014 was the warmest one, did they know about this fact when they loudly announced that “2014 was the warmest year” or did they overlook that detail?

“The answer is that the answer is heavily affected by the error margins and NASA, NOAA knew that – but were careful to get the wrong answer to the media.”

“The tweet by Gavin Schmidt is a simple example of mass manipulation in action. They publish some of the correct yet inconvenient clarifications at places where almost no one reads – the press conference was attended by a small number of people, Schmidt has a few thousand Twitter followers, almost no one reads the bulk of the IPCC reports etc. – while at the places which matter because millions of people read them, they always post the distortions, oversimplifications, and downright lies.

“This combination of strategies allows them to say that they “did release the truth”. However, they are careful that they only speak the truth when almost no one listens.”

The headlines were sufficient for any but the most gullible to wonder about. Delving just a bit deeper revealed that the claim was based on just 0.02C temperature difference and that the satellite record told a different story. The history of the alarmist climate assertions should also give pause. Perhaps that is why the offense is so offensive to intellectual integrity?

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A tremor in the force

Pope Francis raises eyebrows.

How are we to explain that at the very moment that the oldest Christian communities in the world are being violently destroyed; that while Christians are murdered, raped and tortured in Africa and the Middle East; and while horrific barbarities are committed daily in the name of God, the pope issues an encyclical and travels around the world to talk about climate change?

Senator Marco Rubio, a practicing Catholic, put it succinctly:

“I would also ask His Holiness to take up the cause of freedom and democracy.”

In the long run, this will bring down the Church — just as it has mainstream Protestantism and non-Orthodox Judaism — as well as diminish decency on earth.

It is, moreover, clear that the pope has been so influenced by leftism that he appears to know only the propaganda, not the science. For example, the typhoon in the Philippines had nothing to do with global warming. The leading science journal, Nature, wrote as much:

“Did climate change cause Typhoon Haiyan? There is limited evidence that warming oceans could make superstorms more likely.”

Unfortunately, however, being a wonderful person doesn’t mean you will be a wonderful pope. Any Catholic who tweets, “Inequality is the root of social evil,” as Pope Francis did last March, should be a socialist prime minister, not a Christian leader. The moral message of every Bible-based religion is that the root of evil is caused by poor character and poor moral choices, not by economics. The pope’s tweet is from Marx, not Moses.

Dennis Prager on Pope Francis, the Climate and Leftism.

It is interesting that a Typhoon is the stimulus. A friend who owns a farm in the Phillipines one described the lack of preparedness of his neighbors for such well known hazards as the occasional typhoon. He didn’t think that the sort of preparedness typical for natural disaster typical in the U.S., would work in the Phillipines. That is because un-prepared neighbors would soon be at the door of the prepared farm demanding largess. There is moral failing there, both in terms of lack of preparedness and in respecting neighbors that is much more in line with a Pope’s purview than a fantasy about human caused typhoons. The moral lesson of the story about the three little pigs seems to have been lost with many other lessons from Western Culture.

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