African studies

As I am sure most readers here will be acutely aware, many American universities and colleges now have schools of African studies.  And at the core of such studies are claims that the role of Africans in history has been largely ignored or underestimated.  And by recounting little-known stories of achievements by blacks in the past they certainly do no harm and may right a real imbalance in conventional history.  Depending on the teacher, however,  students may also  be told that just about everything invented by whites was in fact invented by blacks.

I thought it was time for me to say something about that type of  claim  so I spent a little time looking at the writings of a man who was prominent in the creation of black studies and who made such claims, Dr. John Henrik Clarke.  The child of sharecroppers, he was clearly a rather clever man and some of his aphorisms are good.  I was rather taken with this one: "A good teacher, like a good entertainer first must hold his audience's attention, then he can teach his lesson".  That certainly holds true of a classroom full of black students but less so of my experiences in teaching white High School students.

There is surprisingly little of his writings available online but his essay here would appear to summarize most of his contentions.  It starts out on a very strange note.  He says: "Africa and its people are the most written about and the least understood of all of the world's people".  Africans are more written about than the Jews, the Greeks or the Romans? It's clearly not true but Clarke gives neither reasoning nor reference for the statement.  And it is a statement he repeated often so he clearly takes the claim very seriously.

And the rest of his essay is of that kind:  A string of questionable assertions unsupported by any recitation of detailed facts or references to sources for each statement.  So the essay is very unscholarly.  More than that, I am sure that I am not the only psychologist who would recognize it as the ramblings of a paranoid schizophrenic.  Paranoids do in general sound reasonable and even persuasive in their delusions -- until you check what they say and find that what they say happened did not happen or was grossly misinterpreted.  Clarke is just imagining things.

But paranoid delusions are not random.  They do have inspiration from somewhere.  And Clarke does tell us his inspirations.  He says that he and his ilk "are using neglected documents by radical White Scholars who are generally neglected by the White academic community".  He is inspired by the distorted writings of hate-filled far Left historians.  It is clear that their writings would suit him but, as with Leftists generally, they only tell half the story in arriving at their conclusions.  Leftists have a very shaky relationship with the truth.

The thing that most clearly shows most of black history as fantasy is its lack of specificity.  When an invention or discovery is mentioned in conventional history you usually get some details:  The name and historical era of the inventor/discoverer, the year of the invention/discovery and some details of what led up to the invention/discovery. And you can normally find plenty of corroboration of those details and further details from multiple sources.  When it is claimed that the claimed inventor/discoverer of something was not whom we are usually told but rather some black man, most of those details are missing.  You are lucky if you even get a name for the alleged black man.  So it is clearly wishful thinking, not fact.

So black studies contain a lot of pseudo scholarship.

Nothing that I have said does of course take anything away from those blacks who have made genuine contributions to knowledge, science and technology -- such as the remarkable George Washington Carver and Madam C. J. Walker, whose contributions are recognized in conventional history.

Is the world really warming up? Planet may be no hotter at the end of the century than it is now, claims new report

The Warmists have of course rejected the findings below so perhaps I should note that the difference between the report below and Greenie claims is the difference between fact and theory.  The report below looks at actual temperatures over a long period and finds no overall trend.  Temperatures are plateaued, not rising.

The Greenie approach, on the other hand, is to construct models of what they think influences temperature and use those theoretical models to make predictions.  But for the Greenie approach to give accuratre climate predictions (which they never do) ALL the influences on climate would have to be specified and measured -- which is a practical impossibility.

Whereas the statistical approach below DOES use all the influences -- because it looks at the end-product of all those influences, not just a select few poorly specified influences. So the statistical approach is in principle a much stronger approach to accurate prediction.

But as Bob Ward says below:  "Statistical models are only valid if you assume that the underlying factors are not going to change in the future"

He is right.  He of course believes that the accelerated burning of hydrocarbons in the second half of the C20 is a new factor influencing temperature -- something a statistical approach cannot account for.  So he is right in theory but is he right in fact? IS the accelerated burning of hydrocarbons in the second half of the C20 a new factor influencing temperature?  That is not only completely unproven but is strongly counterindicated by the poor correlation between CO2 levels and temperature.  So Bob  Ward rejects the study below by assuming what he has to prove.

So if we want to rely on evidence for our predictions, the approach below is the only horse in the race.

Global warming is unlikely to take hold before the end of the century according to a controversial new statistical study.

The report, published by the think-tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation, claims that while winters are likely to be slightly warmer, there will be no change in the summer.

Using statistical forecasting methods, the report, written a statistician at Loughborough University, contradicts predictions made by climate scientists.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has previously warned the planet was on course to experience warming of between 1°F (0.6°C) and 7.2°F (4°C) by the year 2100 based on climate models.

But Professor Terence Mills claims statistical forecasting methods, which uses data from the past to predict the future by identifying patterns and trends, suggests temperatures will change little.

However, he does warn in his report that the forecasts contain 'rather large measures of imprecision'.

Climate scientists have also described the study as 'silly' and pointed out it failed to take account of basic atmospheric physics.

Professor Mills used statistical models that are more commonly used to forecast economic and financial changes and applied them to three climate data sets.

These included records of global surface temperatures, the global lower troposphere temperatures and the Central England Temperature series, which dates back to 1660.

Writing in his paper, Professor Mills argues that climate scientists may have made errors in their predictions by focusing on recent uplifts in global temperatures.

He said such an approach can be 'highly misleading'. 'There is simply no substitute for analysing the entire temperature record using a variety of well-specified models,' he wrote.

Professor Mills work was seized upon by climate change sceptics as evidence that the predictions being made by climate models are exaggerating the risk posed by global warming.

His paper argues that statistical forecasting methods using in predicting complex financial markets and global economies could be put to good use in understanding the relationships between temperatures and factors that cause them to change.

'In terms of the series analysed throughout the paper, a clear finding presents itself for the two global temperature series,' he said.

'Irrespective of the model fitted, forecasts do not contain any trend, with long-horizon forecasts being flat, albeit with rather large measures of imprecision even from models in which uncertainty is bounded.

'The regional CET series does contain a modest warming signal, the extent of which has been shown to be dependent on the season: winters have tended to become warmer, spring and autumn less so, and summers have shown hardly any trend increase at all.

'The monthly pattern of temperatures through the year has remained stable throughout the entire 355 years of the CET record.'

A statement released by the Global Warming Policy Forum, which was founded by former British chancellor Lord Lawson, welcomed the report.

It said: 'His conclusion that statistical forecasting methods do not corroborate the upward trends seen in climate model projections is highly important and needs to be taken into consideration.

'The topic has direct bearing on policy issues since it provides an independent check on the climate-model projections that underpin calculations of the long-term social costs of greenhouse gas emissions.'

However, there was a mixed response from others who had read the report.

David Stern, an environmental economist at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, described the study as 'silly'.

He said: 'This is a prime case of "mathiness" I think - lots of math that will look sophisticated to many people used to build a model on silly assumptions with equally silly conclusions.'

Dr Richard Betts, head of climate impacts at the Met Office described the paper as 'daft' and that current temperatures were already outside the range predicted in the study.

He reacted to reports of the paper by posting updated graphs from the paper showing the current changes in temperatures on Twitter.

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, told Desmog UK: It's an interesting academic exercise with very little value to policy makers.

'Statistical models are only valid if you assume that the underlying factors are not going to change in the future.

'If the underlying factors are changing, then your statistical model just simply doesn't work, and that's widely recognised.

'We know greenhouse gas concentrations are going up and that's a fundamental for temperature and that's why statistical models have very little skill in predicting the future, they're not able to take account of the fundamental physics.'


Some "Semi-empirical" findings!  How lucky we are!

The report below determinedly revives all the old scare about sea-level rise.  The scare has been pretty moribund for a few years now, thanks partly to some heavy hits on it by sea-level expert Nils Axel Morner.

The underlying academic journal article ("Temperature-driven global sea-level variability in the Common Era") is here and one of the authors, young Bob Kopp, has some useful details about it here.

The article was based on some very complex statistical work and in that context we note that the authors describe their work as "semi-empirical".  What does that mean?  It simply means that their results come partly from  guesswork.  And seeing the authors are keen Warmists we can be sure in which direction their guesses tended. And, with the complex nature of their analyses, guesses at various points could make a big difference to the final outcome.  To believe their conclusions would therefore require an act of faith

And in my usual pesky way, I had a bit of a look at the details of the research.  And I note that their methods produce some pretty weird results.  They found, for instance, that sea levels FELL during the Medieval Warm Period.  Isn't warming supposed to cause sea-level RISE?  They try to get around that by reviving the old Warmist claim that the Medieval Warm Period was confined to Northern Europe -- but that is quite simply false.  Evidence of it has been found in places as far apart as Argentina, New Zealand and China.

So have these guys simply lied in order to defend their research methods?  Very nearly.  Kopp says: "Notably, both the decline in sea level and the decline in temperature occurred during the so-called European “Medieval Warm Period,” providing additional evidence that the “Medieval Warm Period” and “Little Ice Age” were not globally synchronous phenomena."

So they say that the warming outside Europe occurred at different times to the warming elsewhere.  And given the uncertainties of dating proxy data that is just barely defensible, if implausible.  It's playing fast and loose with the facts but is not an outright lie.

But their finding that the globe actually COOLED during the Medieval Warm Period  is contrary to all other evidence on the subject that I know of. You would have to have the faith of a Jehovah's Witness to believe their conclusions

Global sea levels rose faster in the 20th century than at any time in the past 3,000 years - and 'climate change is to blame'

Scientists discovered that the 5.5-inch (14cm) global rise is at least twice as much as would have been seen without global warming. In fact, they believe levels might have actually fallen if it hadn't been for soaring global temperatures.

During the 20th century, sea levels across the globe rose faster than in any of the 27 previous centuries. Scientists found that the 5.5-inch (14cm) global rise is at least twice as much as would have been seen without global warming. In fact, they believe levels may have fallen if it hadn't been for rising temperatures

During the 20th century, sea levels across the globe rose faster than in any of the 27 previous centuries. Scientists found that the 5.5-inch (14cm) global rise is at least twice as much as would have been seen without global warming. In fact, they believe levels may have fallen if it hadn't been for rising temperatures

'The 20th century rise was extraordinary in the context of the last three millennia - and the rise over the last two decades has been even faster,' said professor Robert Kopp, lead author of the report published in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences.

The pattern was revealed by a new statistical analysis technique which extracts global data from local records.

No local record measures global sea level. Instead, each measures sea level at a particular location, where it will differ from the global mean.

The statistical challenge is to pull out the global signal.

The scientists built a database of geological sea-level indicators from marshes, coral atolls and archaeological sites at 24 locations around the world, covering the past 3,000 years.

They also looked at tide gauge recordings for the last 300 years from 66 other locations.

Many of the records came from the field work of Kemp, Horton, or team members Roland Gehrels of the University of York and Jeffrey Donnelly of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

This information was used to calculate how temperatures relate to the rate of sea-level change. Using this new technique, the researchers showed that the world's sea level fell by about 11 inches (8cm) between 1000 and 1400AD, when the planet cooled by about 0.2°C.

Global average temperature today is about 1°C higher than at the end of the 19th century.

It also found that , had global warming not occurred in the 20th century, the change in sea level would 'very likely' have been between a decrease of 1.1 inch (3cm) and a rise of 2.8 inches (7cm). Instead, the world actually saw a rise of 14cm.

A companion report also found that more than half of the 8,000 coastal nuisance floods observed at US tide gauge sites since 1950 would not have occurred.

Professor Kopp estimates that sea levels will rise by 20 inches to 51 inches (50cm to 130cm) in the 21st century, if the world continues to rely on fossil fuels.


The journal abstract follows

We present the first, to our knowledge, estimate of global sea-level (GSL) change over the last ∼3,000 years that is based upon statistical synthesis of a global database of regional sea-level reconstructions. GSL varied by ∼±8 cm over the pre-Industrial Common Era, with a notable decline over 1000–1400 CE coinciding with ∼0.2 °C of global cooling. The 20th century rise was extremely likely faster than during any of the 27 previous centuries. Semiempirical modeling indicates that, without global warming, GSL in the 20th century very likely would have risen by between −3 cm and +7 cm, rather than the ∼14 cm observed. Semiempirical 21st century projections largely reconcile differences between Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections and semiempirical models.

doi: 10.1073/pnas.1517056113. PNAS February 22, 2016

Warmists still have a capacity to surprise us

After the shoddy attempt by Tom Karl to "adjust" the warming "hiatus" out of existence, a brand new paper comes as a surprise.  In it, some hard-core Warmist scientists  REVIVE the hiatus.  Perhaps they are scientists enough to conclude that they cannot just ignore the satellite data.  Though they do not accept the complete plateau that the satellites indicate.  They say that the temperature rise has slowed down to a crawl but there is still some warming going on.

The abstract is below.  It is from a long narrative article which looks at possible explanations for the pause -- and they conclude that a serendipitious combination of natural factors has been cancelling out the influence of increased CO2 levels.  But the argument is all very "post hoc" and vague.  You can explain anything after the event but that is trivial. It's making accurate predictions that support a scientific theory -- and the authors admit that their predictions got it wrong.  And a combination of many effects being needed to build the explanation just makes the explanation more and more implausible and less testable.  It's just a last ditch effort to keep the show on the road.

Making sense of the early-2000s warming slowdown

By  John C. Fyfe, Gerald A. Meehl, Matthew H. England, Michael E. Mann, Benjamin D. Santer, Gregory M. Flato, Ed Hawkins, Nathan P. Gillett,Shang-Ping Xie,Yu Kosaka & Neil C. Swart


It has been claimed that the early-2000s global warming slowdown or hiatus, characterized by a reduced rate of global surface warming, has been overstated, lacks sound scientific basis, or is unsupported by observations. The evidence presented here contradicts these claims.


You are not as rational as you think

The article below is unusually fair, considering that it comes from a psychologist at UCI (Peter Ditto) and there is much to applaud in it.  Its central idea, that reason is the servant of the emotions, goes all the way back to David Hume, one of the great British empiricist philosophers of the 18th century.

Ditto extends that thinking to say that political attitudes are not rational either and that they are essentially emotionally based.  As I have often pointed out that there is a large hereditary component in political attitudes, I of course agree with that and have often argued that political attitudes can only be explained at the psychological level.

What is conservative or Leftist in political party programs varies from time to time and place to place so searching for any consistency over time in either can seem a complete failure.  At the psychological level, however, I argue, there is plenty of consistency and order in what people believe.  At its simplest, conservatives are cautious and Leftists are angry.

Where I part company with Ditto is his claim that Left and Right are equally emotional and that their beliefs are therefore equally irrational. I would claim that the Left are much more emotional and therefore much more irrational.  We see that in the way Leftists fly into a rage and want to shut you up if ever you present facts that upset their beliefs. Just try to discuss the research on African IQ and you will rapidly find that out. What you find is that Leftists substitute abuse for rational argument.  Conservatives can get abusive too but normally only after they have presented fact-based arguments.  Leftists skip the fact-based argument part and go straight to rage.

Any conservative blogger can tell you that comments and emails they get from Leftists are almost invariably of that sort. Any sort of reasoned submission from Leftists is so uncommon in  comments on my blog that the sole reasoned  comment I did once receive elicited a whole investigation of it and subsequent post on it from me.  Even then, however, the comment was mostly abusive.  It was just that I could see a reasonable point amid  the abuse.  See here for that episode.

Ditto has done quite a lot of research on his claims and I have read some of it.  You can find links to it here.  The framework for it the one put forward by Jonathan Haidt -- in which Leftists are said to be guided by only two moral principles while conservatives are guided by five.

As I have pointed out on previous occasions, the big problem with Haidt's research -- and the research of those who bob along in his wake -- is that it relies on questionnaires and therefore relies on people describing their thinking honestly.  And the human propensity to lie is so great that that is a rather heroic  assumption.   I did 20 years of questionnaire research from 1970 to 1990 that resulted in over 200 published academic journal articles. And I used all the tricks that psychologists know to catch and correct for dishonest responding.  And I concluded in the end that the whole effort was mostly a waste of time.

The thing that most convinced me that questionnaires are mostly useless came from the fact that my principal research interest was in authoritarianism and attitude to authority.  There can be few things more authoritarian than Communism or wanting to "fundamentally transform" America (Obama's promise), so one would expect Leftists to agree heartily with statements approving of authority and its exercise.  But they do not.  They deny having in their motivations anything like what they actually do in politics.  Their rage-filled motivations are just too dismal for them to admit -- even to themselves, probably.

So in studying the psychology of politics, I now look at what Leftists do and what policies they promote in actual electoral politics.  And I find that all the great tyrannies and political mass murders of the last century have been the work of people who preached some flavour of socialism -- from Lenin to Stalin to Hitler to Mao to Fidel Castro. And to this day American  Leftists speak kindly of the brutal Castro, with Obama's recent visit to Cuba  illustrating that for all to see.  So if that consistency of behavior among Leftists is not evidence of underlying rage and hate among them, I would like to see what would constitute better evidence.  That Leftists claim benevolent intentions is clearly just camouflage.  They want to destroy, not lift up.

The death penalty: does it deter crime? Climate change: are humans responsible? Guns: do their risks outweigh their benefits? You might think your understanding of political issues is based on solid, unbiased facts. You might be wrong.

“People think that they think like scientists,” said Professor Peter Ditto, who studies human judgment and decision making at UC Irvine. “But really they think like lawyers.”

“Scientists don't care what the answer is: they look at the data and draw a conclusion,” said Ditto. “Lawyers know the conclusion they want to reach, then they harness a bunch of facts to support that conclusion.”

And this, said Ditto, is how we construct our political facts, whether we realize we’re doing it or not.
America the polarized

Ditto’s research wasn’t always focused on politics – he started with a more general interest in denial and why people refuse to believe certain things even when presented with strong evidence. That led him to ask questions about health psychology.

“Why is it that when people get confronted with an illness, they sometimes say, ‘No, no, maybe that test is wrong’?” said Ditto. “What we want to believe changes how we think about the information that comes in.”

Then the hyperpolarized, hyperpartisan political environment of the U.S. caught his attention: It's an arena in which people’s emotions so clearly affect their judgements about what is true.

People expect political opinions to be biased, but facts are supposed to be facts: verifiable, unbiased.

“What's so striking is that the two sides have different sets of facts,” said Ditto. “Liberals and conservatives look at the same thing and see something very different. This is exactly the kind of motivated reasoning that I've always been interested in.”
Pot, meet kettle

Anyone who watches politics knows that biases are rampant on both sides of the political spectrum; pure objectivity and politics rarely mingle. But are either conservatives or liberals more biased than the other?

“What we find is both sides are equally biased in their own direction,” Ditto said.

People are savvy at spotting bias in other people’s arguments, but they consistently fail to recognize bias in themselves.

“Everybody is calling each other out for their own sins,” said Ditto. “In psychology we call it the ‘bias blind spot.’” [Freud called it "projection"]

For example, both liberals and conservatives claim freedom as one of their core values, and both sides have similar blind spots when it comes to freedom.

“We're happy to give freedom to people for the things that we think are morally right, and not for things we think are morally wrong,” said Ditto.

Conservatives push for economic freedom, but not freedom around things that they think are morally wrong, like gay marriage or abortions.

“Liberals show exactly the opposite pattern,” said Ditto. “They're comfortable with freedom when it comes to sexual behavior, and less so in economic behavior.”

How morals define your politics

Much of Ditto and his colleagues’ work centers on Moral Foundations Theory, a framework used by psychologists to conceptualize the core values that factor into human morality worldwide: harm, fairness, loyalty, authority/tradition, and purity.

“You see these in all sorts of different cultures. These are the five major things that morality tends to deal with, but different groups differ in how much they weight each of those different kinds of factors,” explained Ditto.

To dig into the details of how morals affect human behavior and political ideologies, Ditto and his collaborators at UC Irvine, New York University, the University of Virginia and the University of Southern California created the website, where anyone online can fill out a series of psychological surveys related to morality. To date, over 600,000 have taken surveys on the site.

From the surveys, it’s relatively easy to pin where people lie on the political spectrum.

“Liberals essentially care about two things, when it comes to morality: harm and fairness. If it doesn't harm somebody or if it isn't unfair then it's morally okay to do,” said Ditto.

Conservatives, on the other hand, aren’t the polar opposite of liberals; they find all five factors to be important.

“Conservatives care about harm and fairness, just like liberals do, but they care more than liberals about group loyalty, authority and tradition, and about purity,” said Ditto.

When Ditto and his team looked through the results from the online surveys, the participants were predominantly liberal, but a third unexpected group participated in high numbers: libertarians.

“If you look at libertarians, they’re low on everything. Their worldview isn’t a deeply moral worldview, it’s more of a pragmatic, utilitarian worldview,” said Ditto.

Morals and practicality

Why don’t we seem to learn from past political mistakes? Because our morals determine the facts, not the other way around.

“What we find is that people's moral visions almost always cohere or are consistent with their practical beliefs. So the things they think are morally wrong, they think are practically ineffective,” said Ditto.

As an example, Ditto brings up waterboarding and controversial enhanced interrogation techniques.

“Almost everybody who thinks that torture is morally wrong also thinks it's practically ineffective. People who have less of a moral problem with it, very often think that it is effective,” said Ditto.

The same pattern is found when people are asked about the death penalty.

“People who think that the death penalty is wrong, also think it's practically ineffective, that it doesn't deter crime,” said Ditto.

Are conservatives anti-science?

Conservatives, particularly in the U.S., are often painted as being generally anti-science for their stances on issues like climate change. Science, ironically, says otherwise.

“It's wrong to say that one group devalues science more than the other,” says Ditto. “Both groups will accept scientific information if it supports what they want to believe, and they'll denigrate it if it doesn't.”

Ditto points to a classic study from researchers at Stanford published in 1979, in which they presented subjects with scientific information that either suggested capital punishment deterred crime or that it did not. The study was the same, only the conclusions were changed.

When asked if the study was a good study, the answers depended on the participants’ beliefs when they went in.

“You saw this wonderful pattern where everybody thought that the study was much better when it supported their side, and they thought it was a less good study when it supported the other side,” said Ditto.

Is there any common ground?

If liberals and conservatives can’t even agree on the basic facts, is there any hope for finding common ground and ending the current political gridlock?

“The two sides are kind of mirror images of each other. Both sides seem to think that the other one is evil. But really if you look, everybody behaves in very similar ways,” said Ditto.

Conservatives and liberals share certain core values: helping disadvantaged people and establishing a basic sense of fairness.

Events can galvanize both sides around a common cause. The Charleston shootings in 2015 led to less support for flying the Confederate flag, regardless of political stripe. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks led to widespread support for military action and security measures that would have been politically impossible before.

Ditto sees room for improvement in how political debates are waged.

“I'm particularly interested in how to make politics more civil. How to get the two sides to understand each other better, and lower the temperature on the political conflict.”

“The real issue in politics is a massive lack of self-awareness,” said Ditto. “If you can get people to realize a little bit of humility, a little bit of recognizing that they're doing the same things that the other side is doing, maybe that will help.”


The causality of CO2 and global warming

I have no idea who Adolf Stips is but I wish him well. He seems to have something to do with the EU and is clearly a keen Warmist but I can find no other information about him. I suspect he is Belgian. You would have to be Belgian to call your kid Adolf these days. Anyway, he appears to believe that mathematical methods can detect causality, which is amusing. I reproduce below the abstract of an article under his authorship which makes that claim. It is an article that does seem to have attracted some attention, as one would expect.

During my student days I took three full-year courses in analytical philosophy, meaning that I did a "major" in that subject.  And that bore fruit in that I had a few articles on analytical philosophy topics published in the academic journals, one of which was well received.  And among those articles was included a look at the topic of causality:  What is cause?

For present purposes, however, I will stick with the minimalist approach of David Hume to that topic -- who -- as is well known -- specified temporal priority and constant conjunction as the sole nature of causation.

But Stips and his merry men note that temperature rises used to cause CO2 rises but they "flipped" recently so that CO2 rises now cause temperature rises. To a Humean and, in fact, anyone with half a brain, that would indicate no causal connection between the two. Constant conjunction is shown but not invariant temporal priority.  So Stips is talking nonsense. How  sad!

In addition to the abstract I reproduce below an excerpt from a  plain English summary of the work in  I have verified  the accuracy of the summary in the original article but the summary is easier to follow.

The whole point of the Stips effort is to address the well-known fact that in paleoclimatological history, temperature rises preceded CO2 rises, which blows Warmist theory out of the water, which asserts the opposite.  Warmists normally ignore that but Stips has bravely taken it on and attempted to circumvent it.

I have zero interest in unravelling Stips's mathematics in order to isolate where his faulty assumptions lie but that he does make faulty assumptions is obvious

On the causal structure between CO2 and global temperature

Adolf Stips, Diego Macias, Clare Coughlan, Elisa Garcia-Gorriz & X. San Liang


We use a newly developed technique that is based on the information flow concept to investigate the causal structure between the global radiative forcing and the annual global mean surface temperature anomalies (GMTA) since 1850. Our study unambiguously shows one-way causality between the total Greenhouse Gases and GMTA. Specifically, it is confirmed that the former, especially CO2, are the main causal drivers of the recent warming. A significant but smaller information flow comes from aerosol direct and indirect forcing, and on short time periods, volcanic forcings. In contrast the causality contribution from natural forcings (solar irradiance and volcanic forcing) to the long term trend is not significant. The spatial explicit analysis reveals that the anthropogenic forcing fingerprint is significantly regionally varying in both hemispheres. On paleoclimate time scales, however, the cause-effect direction is reversed: temperature changes cause subsequent CO2/CH4 changes.

Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 21691 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep21691

An excerpt from the summary in

"The authors applied the same technique to analyse historical air temperatures and CO2/CH4 data from the past 800,000 years, available thanks to the 3,000 meter deep ice core drilled in Antarctica more than a decade ago, which offers scientists a clue on a time scale of 800 millennia. They found a causal relationship between temperature increase and rising CO2/CH4 levels, which is the exact opposite of the results for the last 150 years. This also confirms the validity of the technique, as it is well known from the ice core data that in historical times, increase of temperatures had been followed by higher CO2/CH4 emissions. The causality relationship appears to have started reversing around 5000 years ago. The analysis confirms this opposite trend for the last 150 years, when unprecedented amounts of CO2 started being pumped into the atmosphere in the industrial age"

Prof. Abraham is at it again

He's got stick-to-it-iveness, you've got to give him that. He's got a new article in The Guardian titled: "Fossil fuel funded report denies the expert global warming consensus" and swith a sub-heading:  "The infamous Heartland Institute has distributed to elected officials a nonsense, non-science report full of denial"

And he's actually quite right in one way.  Who can deny that global Warming is the scientific orthodoxy these days?  We skeptics are certainly well aware of it.  The amusing thing is that he goes to great length to prove it -- starting with Oreskes, through Anderegg to John Cook -- though Cook's finding that two thirds of climate scientists took no position on global warming he carefully glides over.

But the whole point of his article is to rebut a Heartland Institute report that criticizes global warming and the only thing that a real scientist would be interested in there would be the climate facts. What are the facts that rebut the Heartland claims?  Scientific questions are decided by the facts, not by opinions.

And he does finally get there, sort of.  Out of the 20 or so paragraphs in his article, two do address climate facts.  Here they are:

"While I won’t spend too much time on the scientifically incorrect or misleading statements in the Heartland report, I will mention a few. In chapter 4, they claim that a doubling of carbon dioxide would result in approximately 1°C warming. They neglected to remind the readers that we have nearly already reached that and we are nowhere near doubling of carbon dioxide yet. The report claims that meteorological observations are consistent with a climate sensitivity of 1°C but they provide no support for this assertion and in fact, the research does not support this.

But even Wikipedia says: ""Without any feedbacks, a doubling of CO2 (which amounts to a forcing of 3.7 W/m2) would result in 1 °C global warming, which is easy to calculate and is undisputed.". Dear me, Prof. Abraham, it seems that Heartland are the orthodox ones on that!  But let us go on:

The report falsely claims that climate models assume all the warming since the industrial revolution is from carbon dioxide. Climate models include many factors in addition to carbon dioxide. The report also falsely claims that models do not attempt to simulate internal climate oscillations. They claim that thawing of permafrost is not likely to emit dangerous methane, which will add to the warming, but they give no evidence to support their claim."

I haven't read the Heartland report but it is true that the Siberian methane scare is widely reported and believed.  But here is an academic journal article which has studied the question --  and found minimal effect of such emissions.  Naughty Prof. Abraham has not kept up with the literature on his subject! No wonder he was reluctant to talk about the facts.

The man is a clown.  My previous comment on him is here.  One of Lord Monckton's scathing comments on Abraham  is  here

What a childish mind! Michael Mann's scientific conclusions were changed by pretty pictures

Michael Mann has just given an interview in which he says his belief in global warming arose when he saw temperature differences represented in color.  The numbers had not influenced him until that point.  See below.  To us real scientists, the numbers are everything but not to the 4-year-old mind of Michael Mann.

So what could cause an adult mind to be so childish?  I am a psychologist so I should be able to ansewer that, right?  Right.  I can.  It's a matter of salience.  When you are dealing with global 20th century temperature records, the numbers are completely salient.  You can't dodge anything about them.  And the most obvious thing about them is how uniform they are. They differ  only by tenths of one degree Celsius. They show that we live in an era of exceptional temperature stability

But when you display the tiny differences as colors, what you see are relativities rather than absolutes.  The absolute magnitude of the differences is no longer salient. It fades into the background. The colors treat as significant differences that are in fact tiny.  The colors do no doubt have a numerical code to go with them but that is only a minor detail of what you see.  Mann wanted to believe so all that had to happen was for small differences to be represented as dramatic ones.  Pathetic!

I am rather amazed that he admitted as much.  He must have been lulled into a false sense of security by an interviewer treating him as a hero

Mann’s PhD examined the natural variation in climate to establish whether this might be at least a partial cause of recent global warming. “So I went into climate research more from the standpoint of somebody who was more on the sceptical side. Some of my early work was actually celebrated by climate change deniers,” he explains.

But then something changed his mind.

Mann started doing research with Saltzman and another of the professor’s former students. This was Robert Oglesby, a postdoctoral researcher who is now with the University of Nebraska working on general circulation modelling (GCM).

Colour Maps

The scientists had privileged access to the very latest technology—including modelling software and even a colour printer.

“This was in the early days of computer printers. So to get a colour printout you had to get special paper, and you would go up to the third floor to the special colour printer, so there was a certain drama. Until you printed it out in colour on paper you couldn’t really appreciate the results.”

They printed out world maps which had been colour-coded to show the rise in temperatures for each of the decades, moving through light yellows for little change to reds for the occasional spot where there had been a significant rise.

These maps are now ubiquitous in climate research and reporting, but this was the first time Mann had produced or even seen one like this.

Discernible Influence

“We were just looking decade by decade where there’s been maps of temperatures: 1900, 1910s, 20s, 30s, all the way to the 70s. And if you compare the 70s map to the 1900s map, there isn’t much of a difference,” Mann remembers.

“But once you get to the 1980s, it's like 'bam!' The map turns bright yellow and red. It was in that moment that I actually think that all of us, including Barry I think, crossed over into weighing more on the side that there is a discernible human influence on climate. This is before the IPCC reached that conclusion in 1995 with the publication of the second assessment report.”

In a single moment, Mann abandoned his scepticism about the reality of human-caused climate change. As it happens, he would dedicate the rest of his working life to understanding the true scientific meaning and implications of those red smudges on an early colour printout.

There were three scientists in the room that day. No politicians, no ideologues, no closet Communists tampering with the ink cartridges.


Mann points out: “The important thing to understand there is that our views on this issue were led by the science we were doing, which is the way it should be. The science that we were doing was not influenced by our views on the climate change issue.”

The colour maps formed part of Mann’s first climate change publication, with colleagues, in a peer-reviewed paper. He then set about trying to place modern climate change in a larger context.

What he found, and what he wrote, would throw him headfirst into a sometimes vicious and soul-destroying battle with the climate sceptics who had previously celebrated his work.

Next time, we look at how the dynamic Professor Bob Watson became chairman of the IPCC in 1997 amidst a groundswell of political activity.


Oh frabjous joy:  A psychological attack on Trump supporters!

Some PR guy has claimed that the big thing characterizing Trump supporters is authoritarianism.  Since I have had more papers on authoritarianism published in the academic journals than anyone else, I am in a good position to comment on this scurrilous attack on Trump supporters.

Calling conservatives "authoritarian" is of course a very old Leftist slur -- tracing back to the writings of Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno and his friends in 1950.  The Adorno work has been pretty thoroughtly demolished but the accusation still pops up occasionally.

It's a tremendous example of projection that Leftists see conservatives as being authoritarian.  What could be more authoritarian than Communism or trying to "thoroughly transform" America?

Psychologists customarily measure authoritarianism in people by asking them a set of questions that allegedly indicate it. Exactly what questions MacWilliams asked he does not give but he does say that they were based on a set that have been going around for some time.

That set asks respondents to choose between paired items indicating preferences for child-rearing values. Respondents were asked to indicate which characteristic is more desirable: (1)  respect for elders or independence; (2) obedience or self-reliance; (3) good manners or curiosity.

So the questions are in fact about child-rearing.  They are not about attitude to authority or authoritarian behaviour.  It's possible that such attitudes about child rearing generalize to various authorities or types of authority but that is not shown.  It is an assertion, not a fact.

So what Mac found was simple:  Trump supporters tend to have old-fashioned views about child-rearing.  Who is to say that that is bad?  Are the permissively treated and drug-addled snowflakes of today better off than the children of yesteryear?  It would take a bold person to assert it, I think.

Even that finding does however have doubts hanging over it.  The set of questions is ipsatively scored:  They don't allow people to choose BOTH alternatives.  That can lead to very distorted findings.  I have written in the journals about such problems on several occasions -- e.g. here.  From a psychometric viewpoint, I would recommend that Mac's work be disregarded.

Australian conservative politician wants to combat adverse opinions about Muslims in Australia

Mr Laundy seems to be a rather low wattage intellect.  He has drunk the  Leftist Kool-Aid -- that less than 1% of Muslims in Western countries engage in terrorism and therefore Muslims are no problem.  Let me give a small analogy to that.  What say you were buying a new car and the salesman told you that this car could blow up and kill you but there is only a very small chance of that happening?  Would you buy that car when other, safer cars in the same price-range were available?  I doubt it.

And importing Muslims into Australia is similar to buying that car.  There are many other needy people we could bring into this country -- persecuted Middle-East Christians, for instance. So why not leave the Muslims to rot in the hellholes they and their ilk have created and bring in more compatible people, people who have NO record of blowing up religious unbelievers?

But surely it is unjust to judge a whole group of people by a few oddballs?  It is, in general.  But this is not about justice.  It is about prevention.  All those who come to us have found refuge somewhere else first.  Australia has no borders with the Middle East.  So let them stay there.  We have no obligation to take in people who just want a better standard of living. So there is no injustice in leaving them be.  And by leaving them be we prevent the attacks that a small minority of them will mount on us.

But attacks on us by a small minority are only a part of the problem.  The basic problem can be found by opening up a Koran and reading almost any page there -- something the entire Left refuses to do.  The Koran is a very hostile, hate-filled book.  It is full of instructions to kill or subjugate non-Muslims.  Start at Sura 9, for instance.  Islam preaches religious supremacism.  As Binyamin Netanyahu said rather wearily recently: We have just got rid of racial supremacism (Hitler) and now we have religious supremacism to deal with.

Just as most Christians don't do what the Bible tells them, most Muslims don't do what the Koran tells them.  To do so would be  difficult and risky.  But the underlying attitude taught in the Koran is still there.  And that matters. At its most basic, Christianity is a religion of kindness, whereas Islam is a religion of hate. There are equivalents in the Koran to the Golden Rule but those teachings apply to fellow Muslims only.  See here. The terrorist acts against us are the tip of an iceberg of hate.

As a result, Muslims are very arrogant towards non-Muslims.  They think they have the truth and we do not.  And that gives them feelings of superiority towards us and makes them at least uncaring about our wellbeing if not hostile to it.  Their religion tells them NOT to adapt or assimilate to our ways.  They want us to assimilate to their ways and are not backward in demanding that.

Why should we put up with such incompatible people?  Why should we invite into our country people who despise us?  It's insane. We should certainly not let any more into our country and should make it a demand on those who are already here that they change their religion or get out. Changing your religion is a common thing in our country.  Let Muslims adapt to that.  Many innocent Australians have died at the hands of Muslims -- mostly in Bali but also in Australia itself.  Let there be no more of that

New assistant minister for multiculturalism Craig Laundy says most inflammatory opinions about Islam and Muslims came from people who were "not well informed".

Malcolm Turnbull's new assistant minister for multiculturalism, Craig Laundy, has vowed to combat "wrong" public perceptions about Australia's Muslims.

Ethnic and religious leaders have reported increased tension in recent months amid the rise of Islamic State and calls from political leaders such as Tony Abbott for a "reformation" of Islam.

Mr Laundy, a former publican from Sydney's culturally diverse inner-west, said the vast majority of inflammatory opinions about Islam and Muslims came from people who were "not well informed" and their views were "wrong".

Although he acknowledged greater "tension" in the community following recent terrorist attacks, Mr Laundy said Australians should "come together in times of challenge, not fall apart".

"People that dive into this debate and say controversial things, I would argue, the vast majority are speaking from a position that is not well informed," Mr Laundy told ABC Radio.

"My job . is to enter the debate, knowing the background and the community, engaging and explaining to Australia the challenges that these communities actually face.

Mr Laundy said Australian Muslims were "not scared" about debating how their religious practices integrated with the Australian way of life, but the discussion should be "respectful" and "informed".

He said the story of Australian multiculturalism was new arrivals "rolling up their sleeves and having a go".

"That has never changed be it the Snowy Mountains workers (from Europe) after World War Two or be it the Hazara Afghanis that are working in local abattoirs around the country as we speak - very good boners, for example - they are here to give their families more opportunities than they had," he said.

"The humanitarian intake visa category is one of the most entrepreneurial classes of visa category we have. I see new arrivals start working for someone else and within six or 12 months they've started their own business."


The enigmatic Arctic

Warmists have long been fascinated by the temperature fluctuations of the Arctic -- mainly because it is the only part of the globe that has warmed up significantly in recent years.  They hint that Arctic warming proves global warming but fail to explain how.  The whole point of the matter is surely that the Arctic warming is NOT global so how is it a proof of something global?

In fact, one could argue that Arctic warming is so anomalous that it should be excluded from global figures.  That would be an "adjustment" or "correction" well in line with what Warmists routinely do to the temperature record.  And if one did make the correction, what would we see?  GLOBAL COOLING!  How strange that the adjustment kings at NOAA, NASA and elsewhere don't make that correction!  Tom Karl, are you listening?

But the erratic Arctic has just excelled itself.  It showed a huge temperature leap in January and the Warmists don't know why.  The pesky old Arctic has made it abundantly clear that it runs its own race and is not part of global temperature trends.

But the Warmists are puzzled by what is going on in the Arctic only because they keep their eyes firmly closed to things that lie outside their normal areas of discourse.  If we broaden our vision slightly, we would conclude that the erratic Arctic is exactly what we would expect if there was a lot of volcanic activity under its floating ice.  Volcanoes are hot but erratic.

And that is in fact exactly what we have in the Arctic.  Most of the Arctic is covered not by land but by floating ice (sea ice) and close to the center of the action is the undersea Gakkel ridge -- which has more volcanic activity than anywhere else on earth.  And those volcanoes are BIG.  And all that has been known for a long time now.  See here.

So the only mystery about Arctic temperatures is why they are thought to be an effect of climate.

New data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest that January of 2016 was, for the globe, a truly extraordinary month.

Coming off the hottest year ever recorded (2015), January saw the greatest departure from average of any month on record, according to data provided by NASA.

But as you can see in the NASA figure above, the record breaking heat wasn’t uniformly distributed — it was particularly pronounced at the top of the world, showing temperature anomalies above 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 1951 to 1980 average in this region.

Indeed, NASA provides a “zonal mean” version of the temperature map above, which shows how the temperature departures from average change based on one’s latitude location on the Earth. As you can see, things get especially warm, relative to what the Earth is used to, as you enter the very high latitudes:

Global warming has long been known to be particularly intense in the Arctic — a phenomenon known as “Arctic amplification” — but even so, lately the phenomenon has been extremely pronounced.

This unusual Arctic heat has been accompanied by a new record low level for Arctic sea ice extent during the normally ice-packed month of January, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center — over 400,000 square miles below average for the month. And of course, that is closely tied to warm Arctic air temperatures.

“We’ve looked at the average January temperatures, and we look at what we call the 925 millibar level, about 3,000 feet up in the atmosphere,” says Mark Serreze, the center’s director. “And it was, I would say, absurdly warm across the entire Arctic Ocean.” The center reports temperature anomalies at this altitude of “more than 6 degrees Celsius (13 degrees Fahrenheit) above average” for the month.

The low sea ice situation has now continued into February. Current ice extent is well below levels at the same point in 2012, which went on to set the current record for the lowest sea ice minimum extent:

“We’re way down, we’re at a record low for this time of year right now,” says Serreze. When it comes to the rest of 2016 and the coming summer and fall season when ice melts across the Arctic and reaches its lowest extent, he says, “we are starting out in a deep hole.”

So what’s causing it all? It’s a complicated picture, say scientists, but it’s likely much of it has to do with the very strong El Niño event that has carried over from 2015. But that’s not necessarily the only factor.

“We’ve got this huge El Niño out there, we have the warm blob in the northeast Pacific, the cool blob in the Atlantic, and this ridiculously warm Arctic,” says Jennifer Francis, a climate researcher at Rutgers University who focuses on the Arctic and has argued that Arctic changes are changing mid-latitude weather by causing wobbles in the jet stream. “All these things happening at the same time that have never happened before.”

Serreze agrees that the El Niño has something to do with what’s happening in the Arctic. “I think this is more than coincidence. That we have this very strong El Niño at the same time when we have this absurd Arctic warmth. But exactly what the details are on that, I don’t think we can say right now,” he says.

In Alaska, matters have been quite warm but not record-breaking this winter, says Rick Thoman, climate science and services manager for the National Weather Service in the state.

“I think this winter is going to get studied like crazy, for quite a while,” says Francis. “It’s a very interesting time.”


Ratbag U.N. Warmist steps down

Good riddance. Those of us who can remember how protective of the Soviet Union American Leftists once were will not be surprised at praise of Communist regimes coming from anybody on the Green/Left. So the fact that a nutty Costa Rican Leftist praised Communist China seems unremarkable.  Exactly what she praised China for is the interesting bit.  Christiana Figueres  praised China for its attention to the atmosphere and pollution.  She thinks they are doing a great job on combatting global warming.  Yet China is undoubtedly the most polluted country on earth.  She praises the earth's biggest polluter for fighting  pollution!  There is no logic in a Green/Left mind.  They have totally lost their grip on reality

After six years as the United Nations’ top global warming bureaucrat, Christiana Figueres is finally stepping down.

The 59-year-old Costa Rican may be done with the U.N., but she will long be remembered for her remarks castigating democracy and praising communist China’s progress on global warming.

“It is with deep gratitude to all of you that I write to formally announce that I will serve out my term as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which finishes on July 6, 2016, and not accept an extension of my appointment,” Figueres wrote in a public letter Friday.

Figueres’s decision to leave the U.N. comes after nearly 200 countries agreed to cut carbon dioxide emissions in Paris late last year. The Paris deal was hailed as a major achievement by environmental groups, but there are already indications the deal may end up being more talk than action.

“The Paris Agreement is a historical achievement, built on years of increasing willingness to construct bridges of collaboration and solidarity,” Figueres wrote. “It has been an honor to support you along this path over the past six years.”

Aside from Paris, Figueres was also known for her comments about how democracy put up too many hurdles to fighting global warming. Figueres praised communist China’s efforts to deploy more green energy and said it was “doing it right” when it came to fighting warming.

“They actually want to breathe air that they don’t have to look at,” Figueres said of China in 2014. “They’re not doing this because they want to save the planet. They’re doing it because it’s in their national interest.”

Figueres also lamented that the deep partisan divide in the U.S. Congress is “very detrimental” to the global warming crusade.

Figueres doubled-down on her support for China’s central planning, telling reporters in 2015 that China “understands that this is what is coming down the pike, this is where job creation is.”

“Why would the United States want to leave that to China?” she said in a somewhat ironic speech since China had just announced its intention to use more fossil fuels as well as green energy.

In 2012, Figueres called for a “centralized transformation” of the world’s economy to fight global warming. Figueres told environmentalist Elizabeth Kolbert this “is a centralized transformation that is taking place because governments have decided that they need to listen to science.”

“So it’s a very, very different transformation and one that is going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different,” Figueres said.


Bureaucracy and canned tomatoes

I initially thought this story was too trivial to be worth mentioning but it is such an hilarious example of bureaucracy in action that I thought I should mention it after all.  I first noticed the story because I do buy canned tomatoes.  I tip a can of them into my crockpot as the first step towards making a curry.  And I had noticed the odd price disparity between different brands.  The "Home" brand I buy from Woolworths costs me only 59c whereas other brands cost as much as $1.40 per can. And the 59c cans come all the way from Italy -- something I have mentioned before.

And the first sentence from the Fairfax news report below is misleading (Fairfax misleading?). The bureaucracy has indeed laboured mightily but the assertion that "The days of cheap tinned tomatoes are over" is nonsense.  The duties recently imposed range between 4% and 8% and they will be levied on the wholesale price.  So say Woolworths buy my 59c can for 50c (it's probably less).  So Woolworths will now have to pay how much extra to put that can on their shelves?  4c.  So now I will have to pay about 65c for my tomatoes.  Why bother?  A 65c can of Italian tomatoes is still going to be hugely competitive  with a $1.40 can of Australian-grown tomatoes.  I can't see the price rise influencing any purchasing decisions at all.

So how come the bureaucracy has laboured and brought forth a nullity? Because it is a rule-following organism. The duty imposed was a dumping duty -- meaning the Italians sell their product for export at a lower prices than they charge local Italian shopkeepers.  They do it because they still have some profit at the lower price and some profit is better than none.  It keeps their volumes and market share up.

And dumping duty is calculated according to strict rules.  You subtract the price to Australia from the price to Italy and express it as a percentage.  You then add that percentage to the Australian price in the form of an import duty.  So, as it happened, the Italian canners were selling us their tomatoes only a touch more cheaply than they charge Italian customers.  The export discount was minor so the dumping duty was minor.  A bureaucrat with a brain would have said "This is not worth bothering about".  But a bureaucrat is not paid to think.  He is paid to follow rules.  And our lot did exactly that.

But that is not the only absurdity.  The big market for tomatoes is for fresh tomatoes.  As little as 2% of Australian-grown tomatoes end up in cans.  So if Italian canned tomatoes took over completely, it would make no important difference to Australian tomato farming.  The growers would continue growing as before.  The main existing canners are owned by Coca Cola so sympathy for them is probably not large -- and they can lots of other fruit so their production lines would not be likely to lie idle.

So we see yet again why conservatives dislike bureaucracy and why Leftists love it.  Leftists hate the society they live in so much that imposing anything inefficient, costly and wasteful on their society seems great to them.

And it is bureaucracy that created the problem in the first place -- the EU bureaucracy.  EU farmers -- particularly French ones -- are prone to huge tantrums if they are not making enough money.  They blockade things, burn things and generally create havoc.  So to placate them, the EU bureaucracy pays them big subsidies.  That 50c can of tomatoes probably cost $1 to produce -- with the EU taxpayer supplying the other 50c

Ain't government wonderful?

The days of cheap tinned tomatoes are over, with the federal government backing a decision to slap anti-dumping measures on two Italian giants that account for half of imported tinned tomatoes in Australia.

The Anti-Dumping Commission found exporters La Doria and Feger di Gerardo Ferraioli guilty of dumping - selling product for less than they sell for in their own country - and causing "material damage" to the local industry.

Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said the government would impose dumping duties on the two players: 8.4 per cent to Feger tomato products and 4.5 per cent to La Doria imports.

"This ruling will ensure that Australia's only canned tomato producer, SPC Ardmona, can now compete equally in Australian stores and supermarkets," he said.

The decision means all 105 canned tomato exporters from Italy will now be affected by dumping duties. An earlier ruling saw Feger and La Doria escape penalty for dumping.

With the price of a 400 gram tin of Italian tomatoes as low as 60 cents on shelves, consumers should expect overall prices to rise. A similar SPC tin is $1.40.

But Coca-Cola Amatil-owned SPC, which has suffered a loss of 40 per cent of volume and reduced profitability during its fight, urged consumers to consider "the quality, value, ethics and food miles" of Australian-grown products.

"This is a win for SPC and our growers, and for Australian industry, which faces daily pressure to compete with cheap imports and those cutting corners and putting slavery in a can," said SPC's managing director Reg Weine.


Mr Weine's "slavery in a can" remark refers to claims that Italian growers use poorly paid illegal immigrants from Muslim lands to do much of their harvesting.  They probably do.

Must not mention the facts behind Trump comments

The writer below says that it is wrong to say  that  Hispanics  have a higher rate of crimes, including rapes.  But they do.  The statistics place them in-between blacks and whites for crime incidence.

And Trump's  comments about a halt to Muslim immigration were not unconstitutional.  The constitution refers to Americans only.  Not people who want to come to America.

And no evidence that Obama has Muslim sympathies?  How about the following utterances from him?

#1 “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam”

#2 “The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer”

#3 “We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.”

#4 “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.”

#5 “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.”

#6 “Islam has always been part of America”

#7 “we will encourage more Americans to study in Muslim communities”

So the writer below has closed his mind.  He wants to accuse Americans of racism and intolerance so he just ignores the real reasons behind Trump's statements.  That the things he singles out may simply reflect realism rather than racism he is just unable to think about.  He is Jewish and Jews are understandably sensitive about racism but seeing racism where it is not does  him no credit

Trump isn’t causing racism and intolerance in this country. He’s revealing racism and intolerance in this country.

When Trump called Latino immigrants criminals and rapists, that should have disqualified him from serious consideration by fair-minded Americans.

When he singled out blacks and Latinos for major crimes, that should have disqualified him.

But it didn’t.

When he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” he was advocating a religious test that goes against the Constitution and everything the United States stands for, and that should have disqualified him.

But it didn’t.  Want to know why?

Because, for at least the third of the Republican electorate that is supporting him — and perhaps a sizable number of Democrats who secretly feel the same way — Trump is an avenue to revolt against having to watch what they say all the time.

One poll in September revealed that 66 percent of Trump supporters believe President Barack Obama is a Muslim, despite no evidence that he’s not a Christian.


Cardinal George Pell strolls around the Vatican with a friend after denying child sex abuse claims - but is 'too ill' to fly to Australia to answer questions

So there's no difference between a stroll in the morning sunshine and an airline trip from Europe to Australia?  That is what the writer below seems to believe. It's just yellow journalism.

I know nothing of his health but His Eminence is only two years older than I am and I no longer fly -- so I can well imagine that he has real medical reasons  for his wish to be interviewed by video only

And that he may have other reasons for that I do not dismiss.  As a strong and prominent conservative  -- he even mocks global warming -- he has been much hated by the Australian Left for some years, and he might well fear that evidence presented in an Australian courtroom might be fabricated to incriminate him.  That would be harder in the Vatican.

False sexual abuse claims have produced huge uproar in Britain recently -- to the great detriment of many innocent men.  London's top cop has recently apologized for one such case.  I have no doubt that His Eminence would be aware of those cases

As police consider travelling to Rome to question Cardinal George Pell over child sex abuse allegations, Australia's top Catholic has been seen strolling along the streets in the early spring sunshine.

Cardinal Pell, 74, dropped into his local café with a friend on Saturday afternoon, the day after explosive revelations that he is the subject of a year-long investigation by Victoria Police for the alleged sexual abuse of up to ten minors from 1978 to 2001.

Just a stone’s throw from St Peter’s Basilica, the Pope's special Jubilee Saturday Mass could be heard from Cardinal Pell’s luxurious apartment block.

Set aside for the Pope’s inner circle, Cardinal Pell's apartment sits on a piazza lined with cafés, souvenir shops and heavy security – Italian police armed with pistols and soldiers with assault rifles patrol the block and intermingle with tourists, padres and nuns alike.

Cardinal Pell’s offices, where he works as a top aid to Pope Frances as Secretariat for the economy reforming The Vatican’s finances, are just a short walk around the corner – and are under 24-hour guard by the city state’s Swiss Armed Guards.

It was revealed last year that the Cardinal spent $5100-a-month on rent for an office and apartment, including $87,000 on new furniture, in a leak to Italy’s L’Espresso newspaper.

But while The Vatican expenses scandal is still the talk of the town in Rome, Cardinal Pell has more explosive allegations made against him back in Australia.

Police want to fly to Vatican City to interview Cardinal George Pell who allegedly sexually abused up to 10 minors between 1978 and 2001, it has been reported.

Ballarat Survivors Group and Care Leavers Australasis Network are also calling for police to take their allegations to Pell.

The Cardinal was seen briskly striding from his offices to his apartment with a small suitcase in tow just hours after the Herald Sun reported the leak on Friday.

However Cardinal Pell vehemently denies the allegations.

A two-page medical report was handed up to support the application that a flight to Australia from Rome, where Cardinal Pell oversees the Vatican's finances, could pose a serious risk to his health.

The details of his health condition have not been released.


Disruptive Green/Left "protests" to be legally curbed in Western Australia

That's long overdue but far-Left "New Matilda" (below) is on its high horse condemning it. They say the word "thing" is too vague but it is not. It is the use to which the thing is put that defines it. If it is used to disrupt other people's lives and activities it's use becomes illegal. It's sheer Fascist arrogance that the Green/Left think they have a right to disrupt other people's lives in pursuit of their personal demons

The mention of U.N. "rapporteurs" is amusing.  They must be the most unjudicial people on the planet.  They regularly condemn Anglosphere countries and Israel while remaining silent about real abuses in Muslim and African coutries

The West Australian government has eschewed the alarm of not one, not two, but three United Nations Special Rapporteurs, and is pressing ahead with a bill that will criminalise legitimate protest activity.

As New Matilda reported in March last year, the Coalition government is moving to criminalise - quite literally - the possession of a "thing". Overnight the draconian anti-protest bill passed through the Legislative Council. It will now proceed to the Legislative Assembly.

If passed, the laws will reverse the onus of proof, giving police extraordinary powers. It carries penalties that would land peaceful protestors in prison for one year, along with a $12,000 fine, or two years and $24,000 in "circumstances of aggravation".

Collin Barnett's Coalition government controls both houses of the West Australian Parliament, leaving Labor and the Greens impotent in their virulent opposition.

Earlier this week three UN Special Rapporteurs - David Kaye, on freedom of expression; Maina Kiai, on freedom of peaceful assembly and association; and Michel Forst, on human rights defenders - slammed the bill in its entirety.

"The proposed legislation will have the chilling effect of silencing dissenters and punishing expression protected by international human rights law," Kaye warned.

"Instead of having a necessary [and]legitimate aim, the Bill's offence provisions disproportionately criminalise legitimate protest actions," he said.

The West Australian government has made clear that the law was inspired by the effectiveness of protest methods at James Price Point and in anti-logging campaigns in the state's south-west.

In their strident criticism, the three United Nations Special Rapporteurs outlined their concerns.

"If the bill passes, it would go against Australia's international obligations under international human rights law, including the rights to freedom of opinion and expression as well as peaceful assembly and association," they said in a joint statement.

"The bill would criminalise a wide range of legitimate conduct by creating criminal offences for the acts of physically preventing a lawful activity and possessing an object for the purpose of preventing a lawful activity."

"For example, peaceful civil disobedience and any non-violent direct action could be characterised as `physically preventing a lawful activity.'"

The government openly admits it is trying to criminalise the use of objects - like `thumb locks', `arm-locks', `tree-sits', or chains - to prevent big developers from conducting their legally approved business.

This is not made clear in the bill, though, which refers only to a "thing" which could be used to prevent "a lawful activity". The President of the West Australian Law Society, Mathew Keogh has previously told New Matilda this "represents a breakdown of the rule of law".

Because of this broad drafting, the bill could be applied to activities other than those the government claims to be targeting, like a union picket line. According to Keogh, "the legislation is so broad it is almost impossible to say how they may be applied down the track".

In addition, anyone who falls foul of the legislation could be forced by the courts to pay police and developers' "reasonable expenses" for the removal of the physical barrier.

According to Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai, "it discourages legitimate protest activity and instead, prioritises business and government resource interests over the democratic rights of individuals".


1 Peter chapter 1:3-5

I went to a Presbyterian funeral on Friday and the text for the sermon was as above.   I should not have been surprised but I WAS rather surprised to note that the minister completely ignored what the text actually said.  He just saw in it what he wanted to see.  Here it is (RSV):

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  who by God's power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time"

The first sentence is an explicit contradiction of the pagan Mumbo-Jumbo known as the Trinity doctrine -- a doctrine accepted by most Christian churches, including Presbyterians.  The Trinity doctrine says Jesus is God and yet we have Peter plainly denying that -- in saying that God is the father of Jesus.   And yet the minister saw no issue in the text.  I will not grumble further about Trinity theology as I have done so often before (e.g. here and here).

And then there is the issue of who goes to heaven and when.  The minister was sure that the deceased was in heaven already but Peter spoke not of Christians going to heaven but rather of Christians having an inheritance which is "KEPT in heaven" and that actual salvation occurs "in the last time" -- the "last trump" (not Donald), as the Apostle Paul has it in 1 Corinthians 15:52 -- when the dead are raised at the second coming of Christ.  And the minister missed that issue too.  Does anybody actually LISTEN to what the Bible says these days?  A lot of clergy clearly do not.

I have carefully not identified the minister and his church as he is clearly just conforming to the traditions of his denomination and probably means well

RRip! It takes a woman to rip another woman to pieces

A woman rises to prominence in Australia and feminist academic lawyer Skye Saunders sneeringly responds (below).  She is on a slow burn below about a conservative woman calling herself a girl.  Feminists hated Margaret Thatcher and Fiona Nash seems to be next in line.  If feminists were primarily interested in empowering women you would think that a woman rising to power would be celebrated.  That it is not shows that Feminists are Leftists first.  Hate is what drives them

"Fiona Nash blazes trail for Nats women," declared the headlines this week.

The embodiment of authentic practicality and fortitude, the newly appointed Nationals deputy leader addressed the media with unwavering confidence. Flanked by a border of supportive crisp shirts and ties, the first woman in Australian history to hold a leadership position in the Nationals affirmed that it was an exciting time for regional -Australia.

But there was a subtle moment during Thursday night's media conference that signified a further ripeness for change.

It happened when Nash was asked: "How will this be a different leadership?" Her response, infused with a tinkly laugh, was: "Probably one of the most obvious differences - I'm a girl."

I am a girl.

A common colloquial term for describing a female adult, playing on enchantment of youth and fresh vulnerability.

Glorious female friendships adopt the term girl to signal so many events of the heart - -indeed, doing anything "with the girls" invokes familiarity and fun. A "coffee with the girls" can be soul food.

But the context in which the term is used is so important.

"I am a girl" is a sentence that trembles under the weight of all that it signifies for women.

Anne Summers reminds that women have gradually acquired a "kind of gut knowledge" that they are outsiders.

To be a girl is not to be a man. Literally, in fact, to be a girl is not even to be a woman.

When a woman refers to herself as a girl, she paints herself as doubly vulnerable.

In some contexts - such as between friends - to give of certain vulnerability is a precious human gift. But in the public moment that the deputy leader of the nationals (elect) referred to herself as a girl, she identified as a junior form of a woman - and the subconscious shift in the conference dynamic was immediate.

Nestled between the six or seven men, there was the girl.

It has been said that women who work in male-saturated -environments are essentially "damned if they do, and damned if they don't". That is, they are damned if they don't impress as being as "good as the men", but they must not threaten the social order by becoming too far removed from the stereotypical feminine persona.

Consciously or not, Nash disarmed any threat to the traditional gender order on Thursday night by choosing a word to describe her status as a National leader that simply did not do her justice - a girl.

Inherent in her response was a familiar echo of the disarming way that women must carry themselves in traditionally male rural spaces, using gender as a tool to express suitable humility and self-deprecation.

More than 15 years ago in The Real Matilda, Miriam Dixson showed that as a dominant social group, men generally had been able to get women to conform to the most convenient definitions of their essential character.

It's time that we as women become serious about changing the dialogue. The deputy leader of the Nationals (elect) is now in a position to identify publicly as an esteemed politician and effective leader of our country.

In doing so, she will exemplify the natural confidence and dignity that we must foster in all Australian women, and particularly those in the male-dominated rural sphere. It truly is time to shine.


Another medical scientist who has got no clue

Despite it being her field, dear little Katie below has not a clue about peanut allergies.  The only prophylaxis against peanut allergies is to expose the child to peanut products from weaning on.  They do it in Israel and Israel has virtually no peanut allergies.

And East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines use a lot of peanuts and peanut oil. Peanut oil is the cooking oil to East Asia that olive oil is to Southern Europe. Peanuts are very oily little kernels.  So children born there are less likely to have allergies.  When their parents come to Australia, however, they usually develop a compromise diet, eating some cheap Western food such as McDonalds.  I once even saw a waiter in a Chinese restaurant eating a bag of McDonalds fries.  So their kids don't get the same exposure to peanuts.  That is how the effects described below come about.  It's just diet.

The academic journal article is: "Nut allergy prevalence and differences between Asian born children and Australian born children of Asian descent: a state-wide survey of children at primary school entry in Victoria, Australia"

Being born in Asia protects Australian schoolchildren from nut allergies triggered by the local environment, the first and largest population study of its kind finds.

The study of 57,000 Australian schoolchildren in Victoria comes as Australia struggles with a growing epidemic of food allergies.

The new research finds Australian-born children with Asian mothers have higher rates of peanut and nut allergies than Asian-born children who migrate to Australia.
Something in the environment is driving the allergic epidemic, researchers say.

Something in the environment is driving the allergic epidemic, researchers say.

The study by the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and the University of Melbourne found being born in Asia seemed to be protective because these children were exposed to a different diet, and bacterial and UV environment.

The findings were exciting because they provided solid evidence that "there's something in the environment that's driving this allergic epidemic", Murdoch Childrens Research Institute researcher Professor Katie Allen told ABC News.

Admissions to hospital in Australia due to anaphylactic shock have tripled over 13 years. They have increased more than sevenfold among children aged five to 14. Allergies to peanuts are the most persistent and dangerous allergies, with the highest lifetime risk for anaphylaxis.

The study also found children from urban areas - such as Melbourne, which has been dubbed the "allergy capital of the world" - are more likely to have a nut allergy than children from rural regions.

Nut allergies were also more common among children of mothers with higher education and socio-economic status. Some of this was attributed to higher reporting rates by parents who are more likely to seek help.

Researchers analysed the results of school entry health reports completed by the parents of 57,000 children, a report filled out by a parent or guardian about their child's health and wellbeing at the beginning of primary school in Victoria.

Of the 57,000 respondents, 2892 parents reported a food allergy (5 per cent) and 1761 reported a nut allergy (3.1 per cent). While Australian-born children of Asian descent were more likely to have nut allergy than non-Asian children, children born in Asia who migrated to Australia were at decreased risk.

Professor Allen said that migration from Asia after the early-infant period appeared to be a protective factor against the development of nut allergy.

"We know there are rising rates of migration from East Asia to Australia," she said.

"Our finding that migration from Asia to Australia after birth can protect against early onset allergic disease such as food allergy provides a potent clue for us to follow when trying to understand why food allergy is on the rise," she said.

Removing children from the Asian environment, or conversely exposing them to environmental risk factors in our Western environment - such as diet changes, microbial and UV exposure - uncovered a genetically determined risk of food allergy in children of Asian descent.


A case study in Leftist stupidity and refusal to learn -- the "stolen generation" myth in Australia

On very shallow grounds, many Australian Leftist historians  have alleged  that 1930s social workers took black (Aboriginal) children from their families willy-nilly and forcibly adopted them into white families in order to make them more like whites.  The allegation  suits the Leftist tendency to see "racism" under every bed.

Australia is a very tolerant, laid back country that has been absorbing people from many cultures for a couple of hundred years but Leftists are determined to find that Australians are racist -- and the "stolen generation" myth serves that purpose.  That the social workers concerned were do-gooder predecessors of today's Leftists doesn't seem to register.

Note the word "generation".  That implies thousands.  But at most one or two dubious removals have been identified.  Only endangered children were removed -- for their own safety -- as various official enquiries in modern times have found.

So how did Leftist historians get it so wrong?  By committing a characteristic Leftist mistake:  Thinking things were simpler than they were.  In particular, they committed a mistake well known to psychologists:  Mistaking attitudes for actions.

Psychologists themselves fall into that mistake at times.  The most hilarious example of that happens when psychologists purport to study the psychology of conservatism -- aiming to disparage it, of course.  They produce sets of statements -- "scales" -- which they believe typify conservative thought and then correlate agreement with them to all sorts of maladjustment.  And when they find a correlation they think they have proved that conservatives are a sick lot.

One problem:  The scales fail to predict vote for conservative political candidates in national elections.  From Adorno, through McClosky to Altemeyer, their lists of "conservative" attitudes do not predict conservative actions.  Which shows you how little Leftists know about conservatism -- or anything else much for that matter.

The best known example of an attitude-behavior gap in fact comes from the era of the allegedly "stolen" generation.  In the 1930s LaPiere asked restaurateurs if they would serve a minority   person.  Most said No.  So LaPiere sent minorities into the restaurants of the Naysayers and found that they almost all were served without demur.  The restaurateurs' attitudes and actions usually did not match.

Why?  Because of practical difficulties, mostly.  Tossing someone out of your restaurant would create an unpleasant scene which was best avoided.

And a similar thing happened among Australian social workers of the 1930s.  Like most people in that era (and indeed today) the social workers saw Aborigines as a sad lot and wished to improve their situation.  And a solution that occurred to some of them was to remove all black children from their families and have them brought up by whites in white adoptive families.  They failed to grasp how profound are the differences between Aborigines and whites.  You are still not allowed to see that, of course.

And the reason why they did not implement that policy was that it was both difficult and mostly illegal.  So it was only when the safety of a black child was threatened that they used their social-work powers to remove that child from its family.  Given the high rate of dysfunction in black families, however, the only reasonably available adoptive families were often white.  And thus the myth of "stolen" children arose among incautious Leftist historians.  Caution is in short supply among Leftists generally.

The myth persists among Australian Leftists to this day and it is such a pernicious myth that social workers are often now afraid to remove endangered Aboriginal children from dysfunctional families.  It's a myth that kills black kids:  Another bad effect of Leftism.

For a systematic debunking of the myth, see historian Keith Windschuttle's magisterial tome "The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume Three, The Stolen Generations 1881-2008". For more concise treatments of the topic see here and here and here (scroll down)