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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

6 Dec - ClimateGate Notes & Open Systems

Dear God, please confirm what I already believe

God may have created man in his image, but it seems we return the favour. Believers subconsciously endow God with their own beliefs on controversial issues.
"Intuiting God's beliefs on important issues may not produce an independent guide, but may instead serve as an echo chamber to validate and justify one's own beliefs," writes a team led by Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
 People may use religious agents as a moral compass, forming impressions and making decisions based on what they presume God as the ultimate moral authority would believe or want," the team write. "The central feature of a compass, however, is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing. This research suggests that, unlike an actual compass, inferences about God's beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing."

Copenhagen climate change conference 2009 

A photograph of the entire Rockefeller Chapel ...Image via Wikipedia
A perfect storm

Twitterers, blogging activists and other interest groups will outnumber the media at the world climate change summit in Copehagen.

In the UN list of 5,000, however, mainstream media representatives are outnumbered by people representing the publications of charities, pressure groups, business interests and non-government organisations. Churches, financiers, wind farm operators, fossil fuel industries, even carbon traders have all gained media accreditation to further their lobbying. New on the block are legions of youth activists from around the world who will be blogging on a scale never experienced at an international political meeting.
What all first-timers to the UN climate process may find hard to grasp at Copenhagen is that this could be the only mass media event in history without a proper beginning or an end, which has no genuine celebrities, no fixed agenda, no guaranteed outcome and is unlikely to throw up clear winners or losers. It's like a cricket Test match in that the rules of the diplomacy game are complex, most meetings are supremely boring, very little may happen for many days and it is all conducted in incomprehensible UN-speak language.

The problem is getting anywhere near the truth. Most countries do their diplomacy in private and do not want anyone – let alone the press – to know what goes on in the negotiations. Beyond that, the talks are so technical* that few can understand them even if they are explained.

( * That kind of 'technical' talk would fit right in with a con : which is why peer review is usually there to prevent it. And why is it not ? )

The prominent climate change sceptics do not speak with one voice
( That's actually a sign their arguments are not programmed to advance an agenda or suppress dissent. )

2009 December 6
IIB permalink

Steve, we’re not as far into exposue in the world of Youtube, as Tiger Woods has 39,800 and Climategate only has 2,820 results.

Upload videos everyone.

Check out Former US Presidents Explain Climategate:

Climategate Explained by JFK & Eisenhower  ***

  The arguments made by climate change sceptics
Includes links list

Comments from Prof. Ian Plimer - The Missing Science... a final word on the nonsense about climate change

oldephartte # 5. December 2009, 06:10
He sure sounds like one who has his head on straight. Given his attitude towards nuclear power, I rather wonder what he knows that might be inconsistent with reports as well.

Quote | Edit | Delete

nepmak2000 # 5. December 2009, 14:59
Yes, then he is quite right! Greece has learned about the dangers of thermal energy below our feet. The Ukraine and parts of Europe still suffer from Chernobyl. Holland learned from the non-validity of wind-energy. Spain is learning about solar power that brings nothing. Then we have modern nuclear energy, France has it, Spain has it as well. Germany as EU major power consumer seems to rather prefer its... coal and Russian gas, heavily subsidised still. It keeps dreaming about the wind... It boils down to 2 things, to my opinion:
a) ancient industry policies (iron industry, military stuff, heavy industries: like Krupp Stahl, automotive, household etc.) and the associated labour markets, of course heavily 'subsidising' The State (guarantee to collect a predictable quantum of income taxes),
(b) completely false 'sciences' and knowledge about 'alternatives' (for what? Oil? Coal? Wood?), hence propaganda for the likewise false, c.q. disastrous means to 'save energy' and keep the 'economy' going. Is the 'economy' the same as The State, the ancient Thief of thieves? Nobody asks if we can save on The State and its governing bodies! The 'economy' would be far better of with 50% less 'State', as very many experts tell, but aren't heard in media. In a global world we no longer need a 'State' in its current practice, is my opinion. It runs nations like a clergy, like a church. It's a 1 to 1 comparison.
We have enough energy around us. There is enough inventive power in the private realm to come up with cheap and economical solutions, wheren't there the 'thieves', the tax over taxes, the theft that curtails free growth and developments. It is more than just 'politics', John - it is the 'clergy' surrounding that as well. Not even some pressure-groups like Greenpeace or the oracle called 'Gore'. But I do agree the latter opened some eyes for the environment, but with excessive and often unreal objectives.
Now we have global cooling, as everybody can see anywhere today. With some ups and downs we are heading -as things appear now and depending the whims of Nature- towards a real new Ice Age, being full-blown with us in the next 50 years. That knowledge based on facts (go outside your city to see them yourself) requires completely different measures and means. In Copenhagen the ill-informed expose themselves still making policies to curb WARMING, what warming, where?! For heaven's sake, should we pay more taxes for their FARCE and get unemployed by these policies? WHO is responsible for this dangerous nonsense for all of us? Obviously people still have little if any knowledge about what really awaits them... I now go skiing in the Sierra Nevada from Granada. The slopes of the Alps will get millions of sportive visitors this weekend. BTW. in places that were still largely green a year or 2 ago on this same day... Now about nuclear energy. People have fears for everything that their sensory system can't register, like radiation that we receive everyday from the cosmos above us, from the soil upon we walk, from the water we drink. It's in many ways good. If you have a cancer you're glad nuclear medicine is there. Then suddenly things get another meaning. I call that 'inconsistent', indeed.

Canada immigration | Canada guest workers | Peacekeepers
There are moments in a country’s history when collective myths become so divorced from reality that almost everyone can hear them burst with a pop. It happened last week in Canada, when stories in the media proclaimed the end of a national identity as peacekeepers, and the birth of one as warriors.

Richard Colvin finished an 18-month posting in Afghanistan in October 2007. During his stay, he repeatedly warned Canada’s political and military brass that prisoners handed over to Afghan authorities by Canadian soldiers faced torture. This constitutes a war crime. Yet the Canadian government did nothing until 2008, after a newspaper broke the story.
Harper’s cabinet ministers reacted to Colvin’s testimony by attacking him as a Taliban lackey. Warrior cultures, it seems, are more concerned with power than truth.


25 Nov 2009, 6:06PM

Mr Monbiot,
While I applaud your attempt to face facts, you still fall into the same bunker mentality that drove the alarmists into this mess. Never think you have all the answers, or that your superior motives impugn you with superior gifts of insight. There is no industry of skeptics. We who challenge the hypothesis of the alarmists (and that is all they are at this moment) do so as we would have our own hypotheses challenged.
If you believe in the NORMAL adversarial approach to science (where the crucible of debate and scrutiny uncovers hidden truths of reality) then you cannot go off making wild claims about the adversaries doing their job. This is no different from the adversarial model found in courts of law.
The reason the alarmists hid raw data, fudged it and were willing to delete it in the face of honest debate is because they relegated themselves a superior to their challengers, thus allowing them the right to break the rules and laws.
There is more than emails showing how these people did just about anything to save the idea that rising CO2 creates higher temperatures. They were will to do anything because they fooled themselves into thinking they were on the side of good and right.
When in reality they are just fallible humans whose hypothesis is falling apart as reality disinclines to agree with their views.
And if you doubt they fudged the data, then you have not seen the code.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/nov/25/monbiot-climate-leak-crisis-response IanPlimer

25 Nov 2009, 6:29PM
This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.

25 Nov 2009, 6:52PM

The climate debate does bear some resemblance to a religious argument - both sides have little or no hard evidence but this does not stop them having an unshakable belief that they are right. Living in the US "South" I'm surrounded by people that don't believe in evolution and am very familiar with the power of mistaken belief.
This article is very disappointing in that it does exhibit strong bias toward the AWG-ist view and denigrates the "deniers". As a scientist who works in an entirely different field I'm appalled at the lack of objectivity that appears to have been shown in this area, both by the subjects of the leaked information and by the author of the above article.
As inhabitants of Earth, we all have a keen interest in knowing about the future of the planet and the effect that we are having on it. We all want to preserve the environment, protect endangered species, reduce pollution...... At the same time we do not want to be lied to or to be "sold" on some viewpoint, by politicians or scientists.
We can see that CO2 levels are increasing, due to both our activities and potentially due to other natural phenomena, we can also see that the average temperature of the planet does fluctuate quite widely (and has been for millions of years). We can understand that there is some possibility that increasing CO2 levels may lead to increased temperatures however we can also allow for the possibility that temperature fluctuations may occur for other reasons. We hear one camp of completely unreasonable bigots arguing that we are entirely responsible for global warming and another camp of completely unreasonable bigots arguing exactly the opposite - what we would like to hear is the results of the objective debate between many scientific experts with widely differing perspectives but access to the same large (and unsanitized) pool of raw data and to research funding that does not come with an "acceptable view" attached to it.
My personal concern is that we have absolutely no idea what we are doing - and in trying to solve the "global warming" problem may either spend trillions of dollars, euros, rmb, bring CO2 levels to a politically acceptable level and then either freeze or melt as the planet's temperature is going to fluctuate regardless. Worse, there are many ideas floating around for climate control and some mad climatologist may convince us that we need an atmospheric sunshade and accelerate the arrival of the next ice age.


25 Nov 2009, 6:52PM

@ elsanasser, 5:57PM

You raise an important issue. A partial answer is that there is a difference between 'closed' and 'open' systems. Roy Bhaskar's 1975 philosophy of science book, A Realist Theory of Science, covers exactly this point.

In direct response to Popper, Bhaskar argues that a distinction must be made between laboratory experimentation which (when successful) isolates a single variable under precise conditions and therefore 'demonstrates' it or 'tests' it - a situation be terms a closed system. It is in these instances that predictions (and Popper's famous 'falsifications') can be made because you have a controllable environment (i.e. the experimental parameters).

Open systems are where you have an unknown or uncontrollable number of variable, of which you might know some, but not precisely how they interact, what they do, and what effects they produce. The only conclusions that can deduce from this ensemble are informed theories of what may happen, not precise predictions (because the complex interaction of all the variable/factors actively doesn't allow for such predictive statements).

What we have with climate science (at least on my understanding) is the observable effects (ice caps melting, etc.), alongside the possibility of laboratory experiments which attempt to isolate individual factors (or mechanisms, as Bhaskar would term them), and then attempts to post-event retrodictively (i.e. to see what factors can be determined to have been part in a particular event) explain what happened and to then see how far they might apply to future events. The main point, however, is that complex, open systems can never be predicted - making Popper's falsification thesis unapplicable to these particular areas. (Laboratory, yes; wider social and natural world, no.)

If anyone's interested, Bhaskar initially termed his theory 'transcendental realism' (in honour of Kant and his distinction between knowledge itself and the world it is meant to represent on the other) but it is more commonly known now as critical realism.

And thanks for you question, you've saved this PhD student a few minutes respite from marking undergrad papers...

Qwazy Quad Rally, Scav Hunt 2005, item #38Image via Wikipedia

Experts call for end of vaccination program

Dandelion Rubber? Researchers Make Russian Dandelion Suitable For Large-Scale Rubber Production
Most natural rubber comes from rubber trees in Southeast Asia, but this source is now under threat from a fungus.

New Source Discovered for Generation of Nerve Cells in Brain
researchers discovered progenitor cells which can form new glutamatergic neurons following injury to the cerebral cortex

Plant Biologists And Immunochemists Develop Hypoallergenic Alternative To Latex

Desert Shrub, Guayule, May Be Fuel Of The Future
Bioenergy can be made from ground-up guayule stems and branches, left after their white, rubber-rich latex has been removed, McMahan noted. The leftovers—a soft, light brown sawdust-like material called bagasse—provide 8,000 to 9,000 Btu per pound, about the same as charcoal.

Guayule, Parthenium argentatum
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