Archive for science

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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Anthropogencic catastrophic climate change: Pope gives hope?

Phil Plait of the Slate shows why the issue is a problem in his praise of the Pope. See Pope Francis to Catholics: It’s time to take action on global warming

“The basic problem here, the very basic problem, is that arguing over climate change isn’t based on science, it’s based on ideology. The facts are overwhelmingly clear that the globe is warming, creating catastrophic effects from pole to pole, and people who deny that are shutting their eyes tightly and sticking their fingers in their ears.”

There is a problem in asserting that views on the issue are based on ideology and then saying “facts are overwhelmingly clear” as if maybe it isn’t. Then there’s the usual ad hominem to add icing to the diatribe.

One clear fact is that there isn’t disagreement about some measures of global temperature. Responsible scientists agree that this measure has increased about 1C over the past century. They also agree that there hasn’t been any such increase in this measure for the last 15 – 20 years. Another fact is that there haven’t been any catastrophic effects from “pole to pole”: polar ice hasn’t melted, hurricanes have been rather mild of recent years, no one has been able to show any statistical patterns in changes in the occurrence of any significant weather. The disagreements come in the form of how global temperature is measured and the quality of that measure, why models used to forecast climate temperatures are off base, the weighting of various climate feedback mechanism and the impact of human influences on them, and the linkage between nominal variations in climate and weather and long term trends.

Ideology would explain the Pope getting involved but an ideology based on dishonesty is the work of the devil and that should be a significant concern to any religious leader.

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Innovation escaping

Dr. Kanav Kahol left Arizona to get back to India in order to develop his idea for medical testing.

“There, he and a team of researchers produced the Swasthya Slate, or “Health Tablet.” The machine, built from sensors and an Android tablet, measures vitals like blood pressure and glucose levels and tests for conditions like HIV and pulse oximetry. Medical labs certified that it was as accurate as pre-existing technologies, and the Indian government has underwritten successful pilot projects using the device in the field. Where it was introduced, the device worked wonders. For example, a complicated antenatal testing process that previously took 14 days can be performed in 45 minutes using the new machine.”

India Welcomes a Medical Innovation Rejected by America tells the story. Too many obstacles here doesn’t help anyone.

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Quackademic

persistence, redefinition of words, anti Western Culture, … It’s quackademic! At Respectful Insolence, it’s  Tooth Fairy science about traditional Chinese medicine, promoted in the Wall Street Journal.

“There’s a term that I wish I had coined but do frequently use to describe this infiltration: Quackademic medicine. Over the last 30 years or so, what was once quackery, rightly dismissed in a famous 1983 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine as a “pabulum of common sense and nonsense offered by cranks and quacks and failed pedants who share an attachment to magic and an animosity toward reason” has become mainstream, evolving from quackery to “alternative medicine” to “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and finally to “integrative medicine.”

“At each stage, the idea was to rebrand medicine based on pseudoscientific, mystical, and/or prescientific beliefs as somehow being co-equal with “Western” or “scientific” medicine through the clever use of language, whose latest term, “integrative” medicine is a near perfect Orwellian twisting of language meant to imply that what is happening is the “integration” of what advocates of integrative medicine like to call the “best of both worlds.”

“If you want to see just how successful quackademic medicine has been at not only infiltrating itself into what should be bastions of science-based medicine but at changing the very terms and language under which it is considered, just look at this article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal yesterday by Shirley S. Wang entitled A Push to Back Traditional Chinese Medicine With More Data: Researchers Marry Modern Analytical Techniques to Centuries-Old Theories on What Makes People Sick

“In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at the article. It’s based entirely on the very hubris behind “integrative medicine,” namely that medicine based on prescientific and religious beliefs, like traditional Chinese medicine, is at least nearly co-equal with medicine based on science and rigorous clinical trials. Or, at least, it would be equal to scientific medicine if there were actually some evidence for it, which these brave maverick doctors and scientists are furiously searching for, no matter how much they have to torture modern systems biology and molecular biology techniques to shoehorn TCM’s fantasy-based “networks” into networks of gene activity being increasingly understood by modern molecular biology.”

“Lots and lots of research money is being wasted studying prescientific superstition such as qi, yin and yang, and “hot” and “cold” applied to human disease, and universities are embracing such twaddle with both arms.”

“It should anger you. It should anger anyone who cares about science and medicine. Sadly, the reaction of the vast majority of physicians is a shrug.”

That shrug seems to be common to many ideas being pushed that threaten who we are and what we have gained over the last two centuries. Do read the shrug link. Some are indeed getting worried.

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Bush bashing, Tyson edition

It appears that another media figure has been caught in an episode of gratuitous and imaginative Bush Bashing. Rich Lowery describes The Cult of Neil deGrasse Tyson

“The problem is the belief of his fans—encouraged by him—that science has all the answers; that anyone who believes in physics must adhere to a progressive secularism; that anyone not on board is—to borrow from the accusations of Tyson’s defenders—guilty of anti-intellectualism, climate “denial” and racism.

“Properly understood, science is a tool, an incredibly powerful one, but still just a tool. G.K. Chesterton wrote long ago, “Science must not impose any philosophy, any more than the telephone must tell us what to say.”

“The Bush quote controversy reminds us that the self-styled champions of science are, like anyone else, prone to sloppiness, pomposity and error. Just don’t tell the adherents of the Tyson cult. It’s not polite to scandalize the faithful.”

There is the usual defense of the acolytes – same behaviors as the climate alarmists and others trying to defend dishonesty and irrationality.

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Death can be ignored if the cause sounds good

Bruce S. Thornton on When Activism Kills

The irrational battle against GMO is just one front in a larger environmentalist war against the modern world. Climate change is another, one equally reflective of the dislike of industrialism and capitalism, which have created and distributed more wealth to more people than was even imaginable a century ago. The attack on hydraulic fracturing, part of the war against carbon, irrationally harms its own goal to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, for the switch from coal to natural gas, which emits half the carbon of coal, to generate electricity can “green” the environment more than anything the environmental lobby does. Particularly in the developing world, economic development, which for now is dependent on carbon-based energy, is the best way to protect the environment in the long run. Spending money on improving the environment is the luxury of those who aren’t worried about their children eating for one more day.

Those who have the luxury of abundant and reliable food can afford to decry the economic expansion that is the developing world’s best hope of mitigating the myriad problems afflicting their people. It is criminal for rich Westerners to agitate for policies that keep the benefits of biotechnology from those desperate for its boons, and to pass the costs of their idealism onto those least able to suffer the consequences.

How many must die before the implications of a desire and fantasy can be considered?

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Anti-reality: vaccine edition

At The American Interest: Terminally Hip Parents Deny Vaccines to Children. “The reason why? Bad science. The Hollywood Reporter has the story“.

“There is a kind of “Boko Haram”, western-knowledge-is-forbidden aspect to a lot of fashionable thought these days. The goal almost seems to be to keep our kids away from the accursed knowledge of Dead White European Men that will warp their innocent young characters. The evil medical accomplishments of the horrible so-called scientists rank, of course, highly in the catalog of Western horrors. And because of these experiments in de-Westernization, kids are suffering, even dying.”

Mass suicide in this case is rather more obvious than usual.

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