By JR on Monday, April 28, 2014
"Hate speech" and hate-crime
Leftists routinely claim that hate speech leads to hate crime -- but never offer any proof of that assertion. It is clear why they do not. Because it is false. By Leftists' own definition, conservatives are constantly guilty of hate speech but where is the conservative who has committed a hate crime? There is none. Clearly, hate speech does NOT lead to hate crime.
Crashingly obvious though that is, however, it is not obvious to Leftists. 10,000 instances of hate speech lead to 0 hate crimes? Leftists can see nothing to learn from that. Even if the ratio were 10,000 to 10, there would be 9,990 instances of hate speech that did not lead to hate crimes -- again busting the relationship that Leftists so boldly assert.
Stories are more persuasive than statistics, however, so let me mention one.
Richard Wagner is one of history's most noted antisemites. He was one of Hitler's heroes. Yet in his personal life Wagner was exceptionally kind and supportive to the Jews around him -- and they often cared strongly for him. In behaviour he was a model PHILO-Semite. So racist words did certainly not lead to race-crimes in his case.
I put the whole story up last year, which please see.
What I conclude is that it is only behaviour that matters. Words are just not useful as predictors of evil deeds. So it is only a person who does actual harm to another person solely because of that person's race who is a real racist. It is deeds, not words, that count.
By JR on Sunday, April 20, 2014
Climate "science" as medieval theology
Re: "Why climate deniers are winning: The twisted psychology that overwhelms scientific consensus" -- by Paul Rosenberg
The Rosenberg heading above leads into a long article. The article is too long to reproduce here but I thought I might make a few comments. I initially found it fascinating that the author is an Al-Jazeera journalist with an Ashkenazi surname.
The article is mainly a discussion of work by our old friend Lewandowski. And it is notable that NOT ONE climate fact is mentioned in the article. That Warmists are desperately short of congenial facts probably explains that but it certainly does not inspire confidence in the article. Skeptics, by contrast usually hit you with a graph or two or some statistics at least: An instructive difference.
Like so many Warmists, Rosenberg refers to "the science" but never says what it is. It it "science" that we have had no statistically significant temperature rise in the last 17 years? From Rosenberg you would never know.
The rationale for this strange behaviour by Warmists is usually an appeal to authority in the best Fascist style. Scientists trust the facts. Fascists trust authority.
And trusting authority is so ludicrous! I am also a health blogger and the number of occasions -- even in recent years -- when the conventional wisdom has gone into reverse is phenomenal. The cause of stomach ulcers, the proper treatment of snakebite, the cure for peanut allergy, the role of dietary fat are just some of the 180 degree turns that come into mind in medical science.
I am suffering from a mild bout of diverticulitis at the momnent and I note that many of the diet recommendations for us sufferers have also recently been shown to be the reverse of the truth. See here for a list of recent dietary backflips.
What sane person would "trust the experts" under those circumstances? Lewandowski's central claim is that mistrust of scientific conclusions is paranoid but I think that the cases I have just mentioned show that a skeptical approach to accepted science is simply well-informed. That's why skeptics use all those graphs and statistics. They are well-informed, not paranoid.
So Rosenberg and others have built their castles on sand. The consensus could switch overnight (as it does at times) and they would be left washed away and with nothing to stand on. I may even live long enough to see that happen and have a laugh at it.
So the Rosenberg/Lewandowski theoretical edifice is superficially a substantial and impressive one but its lack of foundations make it no more important than medieval theology.
By JR on Thursday, April 17, 2014
Amusing: Lewandowski revisited
Stephan Lewandowski has written two papers designed to show climate skeptics as nutters. The first was accepted for publication in a good journal but not actually published and the second was published but then withdrawn. Both papers have however been readily available on the internet for some time. The second paper was largely designed to refute the many substantial criticisms of the first.
A major criticism of the first paper is that many of the statements Lewandowski gathered could have been the work of "trolls", impostors or other people not giving sincere responses over the internet. Now that the second paper has been withdrawn on ethical grounds by the journal which first published it, my curiosity about the whole affair was revived and I read the second paper as located on Lewandowski's university site.
My chief curiosity was not about ethical issues. I expect dishonesty from the Green/Left -- witness the "Climategate" emails, for instance. Rather I was interested in the central issue of data integrity. How do they answer the challenge that their data was not a true sample of skeptical thinking?
And their answer is pathetic. They raise the "faking" issue at some length and conclude: "Finally, without a priori specification of what constitutes faked responses, the scamming hypothesis is in principle unfalsiable: there exists no response pattern that could not be considered "fake""
Precisely, one would think. There is no way of rejecting the "fakery" hypothesis because there is no way of detecting what is fake. So the data could indeed be substantially faked. Therefore there is no guarantee that it is not fake. The study is simply inconclusive. It proves nothing because the genuineness of the responses cannot be guaranteed.
Faked responses are a big issue in questionnaire and other psychological research. I battled with that issue for 20 years in my own psychological research. There are ways of minimizing the problem -- all of which I used -- but in the end I concluded that there was no solution to the problem and that survey research is largely useless for its intended purpose. For that reason, I have now spent another 20 years or so devoting my attention to history instead (e.g. here and here). History has its problems but it is my view that it tells us a lot more about human behaviour than psychology does. And the history of Warmism is of an unending stream of failed predictions.
But in any case the whole Lewandowski enterprise is a huge example of one of the informal fallacies of logic: The "Ad hominem" fallacy. Even if he could prove his claim that skeptics are unduly suspicious, it would not mean that they were wrong. But Warmists rarely argue on the science. Abuse of skeptics and appeals to authority is their "modus operandi" -- as we skeptics repeatedly observe in our encounters with Warmists.
By JR on Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Below is an extract of a letter from the Construction Manager at Nauru
Personal information has been deleted. He refers to the damage caused by the illegal boat people to the new facilities constructed for them last year.
"Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. As you may have heard the camp we have been constructing over the past 8 months has been burned to the ground. The riot and subsequent fire occurred on the evening of Friday the 19th
Since then we have constructed a temporary camp (tent city) for the detainees that are not banged up in the Nauru jail.
The accommodation that was burned was of a very high standard and the dining facilities were second to none.
These bastards were being fed better than us worker bees and living in accommodation better than the locals.
Before I came here I was somewhat sympathetic toward refugees believing some were genuine. After the events of the 19th I am of the opinion that the group of male refugees here on Nauru are nothing more than violent arrogant criminals.
The Iranians are no better than the Tamils or any other of the ethnic groups that we have here - they are all the same.
These people are the scum of the earth and should under no circumstance be permitted to live in Australia.
I have attached a before and after snaps of the accommodation buildings only, the rest of the damage is out of the shot."
By JR on Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Social science findings about conservatism
I monitor the academic literature of climate science and medical science with some care. I have separate blogs for each topic. I no longer monitor the social science literature with great care, however. When bits of nonsense from the social science literature come to my attention, I comment on them here. And such comments are not infrequent here.
The latest article appears under the same heading that I have used above and is written by a historian named "Eric Zuesse". Since "Zuesse" means "Sweet one" in Yiddish, I will refer to him as "Sweetie". Sweetie's article is here. It is in an explictly Leftist outlet.
The article is rather long so I will content myself with making a few specific points and then go on to what is the central downfall of Sweetie's thinking.
He opens with the accusation that fundamentalist religion makes you bigoted. One could believe that of Muslims but is it true of Christians? The evidence Sweetie summarizes in support of his claim is however entirely correlational. And the first thing you learn in Statistics 101 is that "Correlation is not causation". To believe otherwise is to commit a logical fallacy. Yet Sweetie boldly asserts: "Religious belief, in other words, causes bigotry".
In case it is not clear to Leftists why that is stupid, the correlation could be caused by a third factor. Both religion and bigotry could be caused by (say) poverty. So religion and bigotry will be correlated but the causal factor is poverty. Religion itself will have caused nothing. It's a pity that I have to give lessons in basic logic but where Leftists are concerned you often have to do that. Fallacies are their speciality.
So that disposes of the first three paragraphs of Sweetie's opus. Or am I being hasty? Can I really write off all those correlations? I will give a second reason why I can. The correlations will usually be very weak. Let me give an example that I have commented on before. There is an article here which presents evidence that religious people are less "reflective'. I would have thought that religious people reflect all the time but there you go.
When you look up the research on which the claim is based, however you find that the correlation between reflection and religion is only .14 even before controls are applied. In other words, the two variables had only about 1.5% of their variance in common. There was a correlation there, all right, but it was so negligible to be of no significance or importance at all. And such low correlations are common in all the literature Sweetie surveys. Leftist researchers make mountains out of pimples. Putting it another way, if there were 100 reflective people you were surveying, you would find that 49 were religious and 51 were not religious. What sort of basis is that for predicting who will be reflective?
So is there any point in my going on from there? Not really but I will anyway.
Sweetie rather likes an article called "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition". I have deconstructed that article elsewhere so will not say much here. Suffice it to say that the article is rather a good example of academic fraud. It purports to be a meta-analysis (a survey of all the research on its subject) but omits to consider around half of the articles available on its subject. It leaves out all articles which have conclusions that did not suit the authors of the "meta-analysis". It is systematically dishonest, in other words. And that is another problem with Sweetie's article. He takes the research he summarizes at face value. If there is any fraud or incompetence in it he does not want to know.
I am honoured, however, that Sweetie does take note of some of my research reports. Other research that Sweetie likes is the opus by Robert Altemeyer and I have commented on that. I have particularly noted that Altemeyer has not the faintest idea of what conservatism is and that his scale of "Right-wing Authoritarianism" (RWA) does not correlate with conservatism of vote. It is a scale of "Rightism" on which Leftists and conservatives are equally likely to get a high score! Altemayer admitted that in one of his books and I have often retailed that fact, apparently to Altemeyer's embarrassment.
Sweetie records Altemeyer's attempt to backtrack on his admission. Altemeyer says he was only being genial in saying that. But there is more to it than that. Altemeyer was actually confronting the low correlation problem I have mentioned above. Even among students the correlation between the RWA scale and vote was tiny. Pretty strange for a scale that measured something that was allegedly right wing! Sweetie's heavy reliance on Altemeyer's work is therefore an edifice built on sand.
After Altemeyer's work, Sweetie goes on to wallow in the Social Dominance Orientation literature initiated by Pratto and Sidanius. Sweetie knows of my demolition of that work but ploughs on regardless -- even though I record a major climbdown by one of the original authors (Sidanius) in response to my critique. Sweetie has the eye of faith. He is a good example of the Leftist tendency to believe what they want to believe and damn the evidence.
But let me now go on to the basic, fatal, underlying flaw in Sweetie's thinking. He fails to acknowledge what Leftism is. He makes much of the common Leftist claim that conservatives are "authoritarian", but what could be more authoritarian than Leftism? The very essence of Leftism is a wish to change society. But "society" is people. So what the Leftist wants to do is prevent people from doing things that they ordinarily would and make them do things they ordinarily would not. And the Leftist proposes to do that by various forms of coercion. How authoritarian is that? It could hardly get more authoritarian. The Leftist claim that conservatives are the authoritarian ones is thus a huge case of Freudian denial and projection. LEFTISTS are the authoritarian ones but they themselves just cannot confront that. They cannot admit what they basically are. Sweetie is a poor thing. He has got about as much self-insight as a goldfish
There is much more I could say about Sweetie's meanderings but I think I have already said sufficient.
By JR on Monday, April 14, 2014
Liberals focus on happy thoughts? Really?
The article criticized below goes back to research by John Hibbing. Hibbing is an expert at applying derogatory names to highly ambiguous stimuli. His research amounts to little else. Changes in skin conductance, for instance, could mean many things but Hibbing always manages to label such changes in a way that is derogatory to conservatives.
He certainly does show some physiological differences between liberals and conservatives but ALL the differences he describes could much less imaginatively be described as showing simply that conservatives are more cautious and more alert for things that they should be cautious about. That conservatives are more cautious is no discovery, however. Conservatives have rightly been described that way -- by both themselves and others -- for over 100 years
Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, whose writing I commend heartily to readers of Somewhat Reasonable, this morning called my attention to some fascinating research reported recently in Mother Jones. It is truly not every day that Kass cites Mother Jones, so I was intrigued.
In ”Can Conservatives be fixed scientifically?” Kass quotes an April 4 Mother Jones article – This Machine Can Tell Whether You’re Liberal or Conservative – as saying conservatives “go through the world more attentive to negative, threatening and disgusting stimuli.”
For reasons that won’t come as any surprise to readers of Somewhat Reasonable, my mind immediately turned to environmental issues, and climate change in particular. Surely Mother Jones and the researcher whose work it reports, University of Nebraska-Lincoln political scientist John Hibbing, would recognize environmental alarmism as a glaring exception to this notion that conservatives are the “negative” ones?
But alas, there’s no evidence Mother Jones or Hibbing recognize this gap in Hibbing’s theory.
Mother Jones reports: “Some of us are more hierarchical, as opposed to egalitarian; some of us prefer harsher punishments for rule breakers, whereas some of us would be more inclined to forgive; some of us find outsiders or out-groups intriguing and enticing, whereas others find them threatening.” (italics mine)
Hibbing and Mother Jones clearly want to conclude conservatives are the ones described by the phrases I’ve italicized. But on climate change and other environmental issues, that’s simply not true.
“Hierarchical” describes people who see the world as being “ranked,” with some groups of people higher than others. Think of the left’s obsession with “class warfare” and you’ll get some idea of where they’re coming from. People who are “more hierarchical” are likely to believe individuals can’t manage their own lives – they need the government to tell them what to do and how to do it. Granted, some conservatives are like that on some issues … but liberals are like that, big time, on energy and environment and climate change issues. It is the liberals, after all, who talk about “global” warming and think a “global” governing body – the United Nations – has all the answers on climate change.
And on climate change, clearly liberals are the ones who “prefer harsher punishments.” They call for Nuremberg trials and even the death penalty for climate change “deniers.”
(N.B.: The phrase “climate change deniers” is not something that would be used by “happy,” “positive” people. Nobody is denying climate change happens. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change notes in Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, “Any human global climate signal is so small as to be nearly indiscernible against the background variability of the natural climate system. Climate change is always occurring.”)
Finally, it’s clearly the liberals who find “outsiders or out-groups” threatening. Why else would they label the scientists who disagree with them “deniers,” refuse to engage in civil debate or even speak at events to share their views in an open forum?
On energy, environment, and climate issues, it is the “conservatives and their rambunctious libertarian siblings,” as Kass calls us, who have a positive message to deliver: that global warming is not a crisis, the likely benefits of man-made global warming exceed the likely costs, and mankind is not the scourge on Earth that liberals make us out to be.
By JR on Sunday, April 13, 2014
Hispanic immigration and Fascism
Ann Coulter seems to be just about the only prominent conservative voice speaking up loudly and unapologetically against amnesty for America's 11 million Hispanic illegals.
And most libertarians have long been scathing about opposition to illegal immigration. For example:
Let it be noted that Jeb Bush deserves kudos for making sense on the immigration issue. When he describes coming to the United States illegally in order to find opportunity as "an act of love, it's an act of commitment to your family," he displays more compassion and decency than any of the fence-building border warriors possess in their shriveled, nativist souls.
So I would like all libertarians to answer me this question:
"Why are you happy to import into the USA millions of Fascists who are ready to vote for Fascist laws and candidates?" That Latin Americans are in general Fascist in their inclinations you can see just by looking at the governments that already govern them. And the Democratic party has plenty of Fascist legislation ready to go if they can get support for it. Federal Republicans already do little else but knock back destructive Fascist legislation from Democrats.
I don't think I have a "shrivelled" soul but I am certain that I have an anti-Fascist soul. Do libertarians have self-hating souls? It sure looks that way to me
Yes. I know where the trouble lies. It lies in the doctrinaire libertarian belief that liberty will solve everything. What that overlooks is that you don't get liberty just by asking for it. You have to preserve and extend it by all means possible. And an important part of that is not letting Fascists get control of your life. When the Brownshirts come knocking on your door, you are going to feel great that you made a pure-souled case for liberty, right?
And in case anybody is childish enough to accuse me of being racist, the authoritarian inclinations of Hispanics could just as easily be attributed to culture as race. The Catholic church could be seen as having a large part in that. Even South America's great "liberator", Simon Bolivar, was thoroughly Fascist once he had wrenched control from the feeble hands of the Spanish monarchy. Bolívar proclaimed himself dictator on 27 August 1828 and the dictatorships have flowed thick and fast ever since. There is a semblance of democracy in most of Latin America at the moment but corruption remains their basic form of government. Does the USA need any more of that?
Once again: With Hispanics you are not talking about just a few families. You are talking about a major voting bloc.
By JR on Sunday, April 06, 2014
Aintree and the Melbourne cup
The Melbourne cup is Australia's richest and most widely-followed horse race. Just after the running of the cup in 2012 I noted a comment from a British journalist that scorned the patrons at the cup. We all know that racegoers generally get rather cheerful on that day of days but I thought the scorn was overdone and unjustified. So I put up a piece on this blog which pointed out that racedays in Britain can be pretty disgusting. I illustrated my point with a few pictures from Aintree, home of Britain's premier jump race, the Grand National.
But my blog has nowhere near a mass audience so I imagine that my comments went totally unheeded in Britain.
I have always found however that the world eventually tends to catch up with what I think so I was pleased that this year a Murdoch tentacle has gone to town on the doings at Aintree. You can see the pictures here in all their glory.
The problem with Aintree is that it is within easy access from Liverpool, a largely working class and underclass city with a high incidence of welfare dependency. And the fat ladies from the council houses of Liverpool seize the opportunity to visit a national occasion and disport themselves.
There is also a collection of photos in Britain's Daily Mail but it takes the Murdoch collection to give you the full horror of it all. If you read only the DM you might think the occasion was a fairly respectable one.
The DM article is in fact a bit of a coverup this year. They have had more graphic pix in previous years. And the reason probably is that a large chunk of the tickets for Ladies' Day went unsold this year. Apparently Brits generally have become disgusted by the occasion and have taken to staying away. So the fat ladies will have only one-another to show off to. There will be very few ladies at Ladies' Day from now on.
The afterlife -- Old Testament versus New
The hope for a life after death among the ancient Hebrews was very down to earth. There were many religions in the ancient Near East which were much more fancy -- religions that said we live on as spirit beings after the death of our bodies. The ancient Hebrews rejected that. Their hope was for a resurrection of themselves in their original bodies at the time of the coming of the Messiah -- when the earth would be returned to its original Edenic condition. They envisaged living in a new Eden.
Their scorn for belief in an immediate life after death is eloquently expressed in Ecclesiastes 9: 5-7, 10.
5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest
That's pretty final. Only a miracle can offer something after that.
Isaiah 45: 18
For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited
Isaiah 65 17
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.
24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.
So, a pretty terrestrial hope for the future.
And, surprisingly, the New Testament recorded that hope too:
For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
And have you ever thought what you are saying when you pray as Jesus taught:
Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done ON EARTH, as it is in Heaven
Again the hope is for a future Edenic Kingdom on earth, not some airy-fairy life in heaven.
St Paul, however, rather upsets the applecart by preaching a version of the old Eastern beliefs that he knew well from his pre-conversion life.
1 Corinthians 15: 6
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15: 42-44
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
1 Corinthians 15: 50-53
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
But Paul was still not preaching an immediate spiritual life. As a good Jew, he looked forward to the day of judgment as the day on which resurrection takes place. Note in verse 6 he speaks of Christ's followers who have died as "asleep". They are not enjoying a new life in Heaven.
What Paul appears to have added is the idea that the Christians of his day were special. They only would undergo a spiritual transformation on the last day. And he expected that day imminently. Some early Christians would need to be resurrected and some would still be alive. So those alive would be transformed rather than resurrected.
But you still believe that you have got a soul inside you which is immortal and flits straight off into the spirit realm when your body dies? That's a pagan doctrine, I am afraid. I could quote text after text but in both the OT and the NT the soul is quite mortal:
27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Psalms 146: 3, 4
3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
As John 3:16 says, eternal life has to be earned (by believing). It is not automatic. The alternative is death pure and simple.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
See you at the Resurrection?
Jewish Community Council of Victoria ‘deeply concerned’ over proposed race law Act changes
This report concerns what is a hot political issue in Australia at the moment: An attempt to tone down Federal hate-speech legislation.
Michael Danby (below) has a good point: With the moderation that is characteristic of Australians, the existing law was enforced for many years with very little controversy. It is when the law got into the hands of an immoderate judge that it delivered an atrocious outcome -- which the Parliament is now trying to prevent for the future
The obnoxious verdict was delivered by Jewish judge Mordecai Bromberg. As a Jew, his great sensitivity to any hint of racism is readily understood. But he should not have allowed that sensitivity to warp his verdict. He should have recused himself from the case. It is he who has made the existing law untenable.
THE Caulfield South-based Jewish Community Council of Victoria says it is “deeply concerned” about proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.
In a statement, it says it wants protections against hate speech maintained and is making a submission to the Attorney-General.
The Abbott Government is proposing to water down the Act in the name of free speech.
The JCCV, however, says freedom of speech is a “very important right but not an absolute right’’. President Nina Bassat AM said “hate speech based on race, ethnicity or religion should be deplored and all members of society should be protected from it’’.
“Just as freedom of speech should be valued, so should the right of people to be part of a free and fair society without suffering the emotional and mental damage caused by hate speech.
“We believe that the Racial Discrimination Act as it stands has been working well and is effective in creating an environment that supports multiculturalism and a harmonious Victorian community.”
She further said it was not just a Jewish issue or an Aboriginal issue, but an issue for all members of society.
Melbourne Ports federal Labor MP Michael Danby has been critical of the proposed changes, telling Parliament on March 27 that Australians would be “scratching their heads’’.
“Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act existed for the 11 years of the Howard government. It worked very well,’’ he said.
“There were 1650 complaints, 500 of those dealt with conciliation and most of the rest were dropped — very few went to court. If it was good enough for John Howard for all of those years, I cannot understand what is not good enough for this government.’’
By JR on Friday, April 04, 2014
"Alles muss anders sein"
Everyone I know sees things in the world about them that they would like to see changed. So the idea that conservatives are opposed to change is ludicrous. The changes they oppose are the hate-driven changes that the Left want, not change in general.
And the changes that the Left want are extreme. The depths of Leftist discontent are to my mind best encapsulated in a saying from prewar Germany: Alles muss anders sein. Hitler used that slogan and so did most of the German Left of the 1920s and 30s
So what does it mean? It is a very simple statement but it needs some thought to get the full impact of it in English. My translation: "Everything must be changed". Everything. You can't get more discontented than that. A Leftist really does have the fires of Hell burning inside him. No wonder Leftist behaviour is so reckless and beyond reason.
Obama's wish to "fundamentally transform" America is saying the same thing using more formal words.
By JR on Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Leftist projection again
Hydrologist Fiona Johnson, the dear lady below, is upset that debate about climate change is uncivil. So who is it who calls skeptics "deniers" (as in "holocaust deniers") and wants to lock them up? FiFi had better start talking to her own colleagues.
And she seems to be shocked that "some people seem to believe that scientists can't be trusted." Would that belief spring from "Mike's nature trick" or "hiding the decline"? Would it spring from the chronic refusal by Warmists to make their raw data available?
And her argumentation about the evidence for global warming is brainless. She says: "For climate change, the evidence is clear that carbon dioxide and temperatures are increasing". But that is not the question. The question is whether CO2 is CAUSING significant warming. It's called the "climate sensitivity" question, dear lady. FiFi is either a fluffhead or a crook
Science is an exciting field to work in. There is a whole universe of problems out there waiting for someone to solve. But science doesn't exist in a vacuum.
For me, the most interesting part of being an engineer is using my research to help individuals, and society in general, make better decisions..
I would imagine the motivation is similar for the hundreds of scientists who spent months compiling the latest IPCC report released on Monday, and the thousands more who've spent their careers trying to understand the mechanisms of global warming, its timeframe and impacts.
The report has been well received by many, but for some people the report seems to be seen as a personal affront, written by a bunch of scientists solely for the purpose of destroying the world that they live in.
The reality is that the IPCC report is a document of careful language and moderated statements, approved by the governments of 195 countries.
When scientists work together to report results, our language is carefully calibrated, with the caveats and limitations of our work thought out and often explicitly discussed.
Science is a dialogue and our work is incremental – there is rarely a breakthrough paper.
We work together in teams and discuss, argue, revise and gradually make progress. This is a lifetime of work; a marathon, not a sprint.
There are many subtleties in any profession and we can't expect people outside of our individual fields to understand these. I don't expect to understand the legal arguments in a court of law or commercial deals. And it is unreasonable to expect that the measurement methods or the scientific process that I take for granted in my work are any more transparent to a lawyer.
At some point, though, unless we have unlimited time to become experts ourselves, we need to trust that the professionals in any field are good at what they do. That's what it means to be professional. But some people seem to believe that scientists can't be trusted.
Some level of scepticism is a good thing – no one should take all information at face value. But thinking that all scientists and engineers are wrong until proven otherwise does not give any credit for the amount of work that goes into my research, the IPCC reports and the work of all other scientists.
Interacting with the media brings another level of complication to the relationship between science and the community. Scientists are used to promoting their research at conferences, to peers and to funding authorities. But our incremental discoveries or improvements may not make for an interesting story for the daily media. Reporting timeframes, particularly in the digital age, are much quicker than the timelines that research operates on.
Information is more available than ever, but is the digital age improving the quality of the conversations? The anonymity of email and comments on websites and blogs means that people end up in a virtual shouting match where rarely anyone is listening properly.
I find it frustrating that the comments in social media and on forums degenerate in a fairly predictable way when it comes to so-called debates about human-induced climate change.
But we are having the wrong debate. For climate change, the evidence is clear that carbon dioxide and temperatures are increasing. Where is the interest in debating observations?
What is more interesting is when we have to make decisions that depend on the values that we hold as a community. Someone may value free markets, someone else may value the natural diversity of our coral reefs, whilst a third may value a large house on the beach. The debate that we need to have is how these values can co-exist or if they can't then how to prioritise them. But the current level of vitriol doesn't promote rational discussions.