Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Climate mafia, statistics and groupthink

Three posts today that I wish to string together into one theme.

The first speaks to the existence of a climate mafia that has taken over the climate debate and sought to suppress both debate and dissent. The specifics are from Australia but the symptoms are more universal.

The second throws cold water on the claims of veracity from that same climate mafia, using the data supplied by the IPCC to illustrate that the assertion of dogma is not substantiated even by the consensus science it is based upon.

And so to the third post that answers the only remaining question: why does the mafia exist within a seemingly objective field of scientific enquiry? Or, why do so many academics and commentators persist in with the AGW myth despite clear empirical evidence that contradicts its premises and conjecture?

Motl suggests that science operates within the realm of bounded rationality. "Science" is reserved for areas where scientific method is necessary for understanding. "Science" is not necessary within areas of axiomatic political dogma:
  • The case of global warming and equality is completely analogous. The left-wing believers are ready to use the scientific method to analyze all kinds of small questions and phenomena. For example, they may scientifically study the gaugino masses or the squirrels in New Jersey that almost no one outside their narrow field cares about.
  • But in their viewpoint, science has its boundaries, too. When it comes to the fundamental question such as "should the government remove all inequalities between the people?" or "should the government regulate?" or "should the government pay huge and increasing money to the Academia?" or other questions that could directly influence the previous three, there is no room for a scientific debate. The debate is over before it started. These are pre-determined dogmas. "Wrong" answers would make all of their life and work meaningless.
Now, for strictly personal reasons, these three posts are invaluable. For some time I have had to field a perfectly reasonable question from students in my courses:
  • if what you are telling us is the truth, why do so many other professors persist in believing something you have just shown us to be false and/or exaggerated?
The answer is disarmingly simple: my ideological perspective is different from theirs. Thus, I frame the central questions differently, my prevailing constructs are different and my answer to problems, logically, also differs from theirs.

Stasis is premised on command and control, compliance with authoritarian dogma and collective accountability. Dynamism is predicated upon freedom of choice, self-determination and individual responsibility.

Stasis and dynamism are alternative ideologies. One is not more moral than the other: they represent alternative perspectives in the determination of morality:
  • stasis is defined by the collective ...well not all of the collective, just those who are smart enough -- you know, those pigs who run the Farm that all the other animals inhabit -- where science can be an inconvenient truth easily displaced by the correct post-modernist dogma.
  • whilst dynamism is defined by the individual acting as an independent, free-thinker ...which does require political and economic freedom, the whole democracy thing and then requires that people actively engage in the practice of thinking and taking responsibility for their lives.
Stasis pre-dominates because people are (variously) lazy, intimidated, trusting in authority, oppressed or lacking in self confidence and/or esteem. What they are not, generally, is un-educated. Rather, they have been both mis-educated and indoctrinated with the prevailing dogma or predominant paradigm.

Once again, here are Penn and Teller.

And, those leading the world into the church of stasis dogma are the intellectuals, for whom science is a tool of elitist control and intimidation.

If it sounds like a mafia and looks like a mafia, perhaps it is a mafia.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Who's swindling who?

Lots of commentary from all different sources on the Ofcom ruling about the non-AGW video, the Great Global Warming Swindle.  Most of it breaks in clear ideological lines, as pointed out here.
In many ways, the reporting reflects a wider bias in the media.
We are who we are: and, in five years, who we are will be a function of:
  • what we read
  • what we listen to, and
  • who we associate with. 
Our choice. 
The internet provides the means by which more people have more freedom to choose the media and the information they wish to read and listen to than at any previous point in history. 
Some will appreciate Penn and Teller's message, others won't.
Some want people to think for themselves.  Others just wish to assert their authority.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wind bags and wind farms

The answer apparently, is not blowing in the wind.

Here is Dennis Miller's take on Al Gore and Barrack Obama, yesterday's political wind bag and today's: full of promises, somewhat short on performance.

And so it is with wind farms: long on promise, a lot short on performance. Worse, the negative effects of living close to wind farms are becoming more apparent.

All of which may mean that the political embracing of environmentalism may similarly be running out its course.

Which means that politics will once more re-assert the primacy of the lobbyist and the insignificance of science to public policy.

Politics is a function of prevailing ideology. And as both Gore and Obama demonstrate, ideology is more often about image than it is substance -- at least it is for those who seek to package and present images that are meant to signify an ideological perspective and preclude individuals from actually scrutinizing the substantive constructs, ideas and realities that stem from the medium as the message.

I sense we are in a very turbulent phase of transition. Information technology presents all sorts of new media that allow for individuals to access information. It is unclear how much substantive information and perspective individuals are accessing, and how much the new media are simply alternative vehicles by which ideological imagery may be distributed. One indicator will be the path of national elections throughout the free world in the next 2 to 5 years:
  • is voter apathy still pre-dominant?
  • how engaged are ordinary citizen's in the democratic process?
  • is the Woodstock generation finally ready to hand over its influence on politics? and to whom? and,
  • when politician's like Obama say they stand for change, what do they mean? is it really change?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Greens are the enemies of liberty

It has been some time since my last posting...

I noticed today that it had been a while since I posted last and I started to reflect upon why there had been a lull in my need to vent and express outrage at the insanities and inanities of the world. In part it is because I do not teach in the summer and I can work from home, but it is also because I have taken the past few days to just relax, read fiction for pleasure and focus on family events -- not a formal vacation, but not work-centered either.

In this state of relaxed reflection, I realized that nature runs pretty well by itself, unaltered and unfettered, and that unplugging yourself from the media, the news, all politics and gossip, removes a tremendous amount of white noise that does little but generate stress and tension in the normal course of things.

From this realization came the recognition that all policies, laws and rules are just controls intended to manipulate and structure lives and activities to the benefit of those effecting the control, those who seek to manage the lives of others in accordance with their preferences and wishes.

Some rules and controls are obvious and largely non-contentious: they reflect a degree of common respect and trust between citizens. But then there are the others, the policies, the procedures, the imposed requirements, that are not there from any universally recognized principle and benefit but from a proscribed, ideological preference.

One of my favorite movie makers is Robert Redford. His comment was that when he started making movies he thought the world was basically sane and he made films about the little pockets of insanity. Later, he said he realized the world was basically insane and he switched to making films about the the little pockets of sanity.

Well which perspective is correct? You can judge from this sampling of recent news events and posts:
  • It is the mark of shrieking authoritarianism to look upon dissenting views not simply as wrong or foolish, but as criminal. Throughout history inquisitors and censors have sought to silence sections of society by labeling their words as "dangerous" and a threat to safety and stability (on dissenting views on climate)
  • ...the unfortunate thing is radical environmentalists and their agenda have become pervasive. They've captured the momentum and are convincing governments that "the end is near" if we don't do something. The plans they put forward are so radical and oppressive that they're economically ruinous.
  • Today’s Western politicians seem incapable of setting agendas, and instead merely respond to the world, hoping that crisis (environment, terror, pandemic, etc) and being in bed with NGOs will lend them legitimacy.
  • ...the appeal to physics is used as an argument against economic growth and technological development. It is principally a criticism of capitalism, which requires growth and is, therefore, inherently environmentally destructive. It is worth repeating a point we made at the time. The objection to capitalism on the grounds that it contradicts physical laws is a departure from prior objections to capitalism from the Left and is not a criticism of the kind that we would expect the Left to produce.
  • what are the physics of climate?
  • perhaps its just a cult.
  • When Gore can pull off what King Canute could not and repeal the laws of physics that govern how things work in the real world, I'll listen to him.
  • Minister, how many more years of no-warming will it take before you accept that the global warming theory on which you’ve based your huge carbon cutting scheme is actually wrong?
  • Someone please help me out here. Everyone is yelling about fixing the "climate crisis", but I still can't find it - the crisis, that is....The really sad fact is that the site calling itself "Real Climate" suppresses simple observations of what our actual real climate is really doing at the present time. It is run by a NASA employee whose own CV suggests he is partially responsible for creating the climate models which have thus far failed miserably to predict anything accurately. Only in America can we work and pay our taxes so they can be spent supporting our own government employees who in turn churn out false predictions of future planetary meltdown and frighten us all into rushing into massive Carbon Taxes which will in reality not affect the future climate one whit but which might lead to an economic meltdown of our economy.
  • You can say what you like about Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but say anything reviling, scurrilous or ludicrous about a climate change scientist and you will be punished.
  • The ripple caused by a few heretics a couple of years ago is turning into a tsunami against the costly fraud of CO2 induced AGW.
  • These are the seven graphs that should make you ask: What? Has global warming now stopped?
  • The refusal to make publicly available any and all data relevant to the papers used in the IPCC reports would indicate to any logical thinker that there are some very large and well known flaws in the processing of that data. The type of flaws indicated by this blank refusal usually only come about when the results are determined well in advance of the actual research.
Hopefully, this blog provides for you a pocket of sanity within an otherwise crazed and insane social and political environment.

But be aware, our sanity is another's insanity. Which gives purpose to all our lives: if everyone thought the same, who would need to engage their mind on a daily basis?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Have biofuels caused food crisis?

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the recent push into biofuels has had a dramatic and disastrous effect on world food prices, with the most adverse effect on the world's poor. And with that realization has come the rush to consign blame. If nothing else, today's society is guided by censure, not creativity.

This report details some of the factors, but is focussed on pinning the blame on George Bush. But that is only one ideological lens through which the issue can be framed.

Another might be to ask why the push for biofuels in the first place?

And that lens of analysis leads solidly to the dangers of the AGW myth and the inherent dangers of seeking to solve a non-problem and in turn creating a very real, observable problem instead.

Enough to convince anyone to turn skeptic

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Science by intimidation

When articles like this are published in the Globe and Mail, it gives you hope that common sense may yet win out and the political process will begin to step away from the precipice of AGW hysteria and calmly consider what options we may want to pursue to promote sustainable development:
  • economic efficiency
  • social equity, and
  • environmental accountability.
Meanwhile, the necessity for political re-thinking is well explained in this article from Britain.