Archive for science

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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Agenda driven scientific conclusions

Reihan Salam describes The Agenda.

It’s all too common: The backers of a broad-based political movement claim their cause is steeped in evidence, but a perusal of the research reveals more hope than substance.

After the drafting stage, the validation committee also recognized that the standards were informed by intuition as much as real research.

developers were warned by some researchers that the link between standards and achievement was tenuous, and that other reforms (“enabling conditions”) would be necessary to see real progress.

But the truth is that we know little about the connection between standards and achievement, and it will be difficult to justify standards-based reform without knowing more.

The subject for Salam is Common Core but the same principles apply to Global Warming and other efforts supposedly based on science (but only with a good deal of imagination supported by ideological bias).

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Save the birds?

Going down in flames in the war on fossil fuelsStubborn support for solar power steams the bird lovers.

Bird lovers are trying desperately to halt the expansion of the facility, but aren’t likely to succeed because California and federal officials seem to think that if we lose a few hundred thousand or even millions of birds a year, it will be worth it to cripple the fossil-fuel industry. Besides, say the alternative-energy aficionados, the operators of the facilities are killing far fewer birds every year than house cats.

The government knows what to do about that even if, unlike our wind and sun farmers, they don’t have much of an appetite for eagles or raptors. Since house cats don’t produce much in the way of alternative energy, the government is spending millions to neuter them and thus reduce their number, if not their appetites.

What a country.

What a country, indeed.

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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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