Republican candidates, global warming, evolution, and reality

By Phil Plait | September 8, 2011 12:27 pm

So, last night was another debate among the Republican candidates for President. While Ron Paul appears to have done quite well, at least according to an MSNBC poll, it was Rick Perry who is grabbing headlines.

Of course, that’s because what he said was outrageously awful. About climate science, he said, "…just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell." That analogy is so ridiculous it’s hard to know where to start; but a good place might be to simply say that Galileo had the advantage of being right. Just because a tiny fraction of people claim global warming isn’t real, or that humans aren’t responsible, doesn’t make them correct. Especially when going up against the overwhelming evidence compiled by a consensus of 97% of scientists who study climate as their career.

Also, the religiously conservative Perry should be a bit more circumspect on his analogies. It wasn’t scientists who were fighting Galileo, it was religious conservatives.

Bismillah, no!

Jon Huntsman, as expected, stood up for science, as Sheril Kirshenbaum points out on her new Culture of Science blog. And while I disagree with Huntsman on a number of social and government issues, it’s nice to know one of the Republican candidates is willing to at least dip his toe in reality. But how messed up is it that supporting actual evidence-based research is considered political suicide in the GOP?

If you’re curious about where the other candidates stand on issues of global warming and evolution, Luke Scientiæ has compiled an overview. I’ve looked it over and that article falls into line with what I’ve read elsewhere as well. It’s not a pretty picture; with the exception of Huntsman essentially all the currently viable candidates have gone out of their way to deny basic science such as evolution. That includes Ron Paul.

As Tom Chivers wrote for The Telegraph about this cohort of antiscience candidates:

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution, as the old saw goes. Nothing: not anatomy, not biochemistry, certainly not genetics. Not species distribution or death or the immune system or sex. Nothing. It’s like trying to explain the behaviour of football players without acknowledging the existence of a game of football.

As I’ve pointed out before, the same is true for climate science. It’s de rigeur for Republican candidates to deny global warming, and it’s even worse for Tea Partiers. That’s not surprising as the noise machine rattles on; a recent study that did not link cosmic rays to global warming is being touted as saying exactly the opposite (you can find links to more about that on Greg Laden’s blog). Heck, a paper that got lots of play in the global warming denial sphere was so flawed a journal editor resigned over it, saying it should not have been published. But that won’t even slow things down.

As we get closer to the Republican nomination — yegads, still a year off — expect to see the noise ratcheted up and the rhetoric to get even more heated. This is going to be a very long process, and given what I saw last night, an embarrassing one.


Related posts:

The increasingly antiscience Republican candidates
Did Rick Perry just admit to violating the US Constitution?
Michele Bachmann needs to check her ID
Next up for Congress: repeal the law of gravity

Comments (170)

  1. Mr Ed

    Republican candidates… and reality

    a new cohen

  2. Mike

    Has anyone told Rick that Galileo looked at the evidence, came up with a theory, did experiments – and only then opened his mouth?

  3. James

    — yegads, still a year off — One’s mind boggles at the thought of a process _that_ flawed!

  4. Kieran

    I have no issue believing that if given the chance, most GOP candidates would be happy to start burning scientists at the stake again.

  5. Chris

    Thanks for explaining that Galileo quote. The first time I read it I hadn’t a clue what he was talking about. The scientist was right and it took 360 years for the religious to finally admit their mistake. If it takes that long for climate change, we might as well pack our bags for Mars, because the Earth is so screwed.

  6. If there is a god, I hope he saves us from the republicans.

  7. @Mike,

    Or that what got Galileo in trouble was not that he insisted that the Earth orbited the Sun, but that he made insulting remarks about the Pope? (He insinuated that the Pope was a simpleton.) You can’t openly insult someone who holds supreme power (as the Pope did back then) and not expect reprisal.

    Or perhaps someone should tell Perry that Galileo was a advocate of not taking the Bible literally? I’m sure Perry’s creationist base wouldn’t like that comparison.

  8. The crazy really has ratcheted itself up over the past few years. It’s depressing to think that sooner or later, someone more extreme than GWB will occupy the White House. When that time comes, bob help us all.

  9. CaptTu

    Liftedfrom The Friendly Atheist who lifted it from The Daily Dish…

    Listening to GOP Presidential candidates talk about science is like listening to children talk about sex: They know it exists, they have strong opinions about what it might mean, but they don’t have a clue what it’s actually about.

  10. I don’t know if you caught it, Phil, but George Will took a moment in between naps to swipe at Huntsman and dust off some denialist chestnuts.

    http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/the-conservative-face-of-science-and-the-role-of-consensus/

  11. Gary

    But how messed up is it that supporting actual evidence-based research is considered political suicide in the GOP?

    Uh, just the same way it is in the IPCC-driven climate science community. We’re talking politics here, not scientific fact. Partisans have hijacked the subject for political purposes and financial control. Any objective examination of Al Gore and company makes that very plain. Any scientist who tries to publish research even slightly challenging the current concensus is treated with hostility and obstruction. The chilling effect is seen in the recent admonition of the CLOUD experiment at CERN to publish only the data and not to hypothesize. Similarly it’s evident in the resignation of the editor of the journal, Remote Sensing, you cite above. The editor clearly was pressured by an influential scientist (Trenberth) who received an abject but unnecessary apology.

    I dislike both Republicans AND Democrats, but really despise unethical scientists. Get your head out of the sand, Phil. Politics is infecting the profession and clouding your vision.

  12. *facepalm* It’s like a cadre of 10-year-old boys arguing that Mom only asks them to take a bath because she’s being influenced by Big Soap. Plus, research from the Institute of Mikey Johnson says that going to bed early costs the economy 100 trillion dollars!

  13. Theron

    Um, Gary, the planet really is getting warmer, and all evidence points to humans having something to do with it. It’s only “political” because some powerful people don’t like what that implies.

    Also, the Sun rises in the east. And Elvis is truly dead. (Though the evidence for the last one may be weaker than the other two.)

  14. Carey

    Gary (#10), here’s a tip: referring to the 97% of climate scientists who agree that climate change is happening, and is caused by the actions of humans, as “Al Gore and company” is incredibly stupid. I stopped reading your comment at that point, because any climate change denier who refers to Al Gore is automatically not worth listening to, in my book.

    The natural tendency for conservatives to appeal to an authority figure does not generally apply to scientists, so you really should try a different tack.

  15. Patrick

    Gary, #10: “Partisans have hijacked the subject for political purposes and financial control. Any objective examination of Al Gore and company makes that very plain. ”

    Some may say that Al Gore’s biggest contribution to climatology was his effort to spread the word to the public about anthropogenic global warming. I would instead argue that his biggest contribution to climatology is helping people recognize internet commenters whose opinions on the matter should be ignored. 95% of people who mention Al Gore in any discussion of climate change will inevitably soon demonstrate they have no clue what the hell they’re talking about.

  16. Steve Metzler

    CaptTu:

    I’m so stealing that! Just one tiny adaptation though:

    Listening to GOP Presidential candidates right-wing authoritarians talk about science is like listening to children talk about sex: They know it exists, they have strong opinions about what it might mean, but they don’t have a clue what it’s actually about.

    If you haven’t read this already, you really should. Wing-nut behaviour fully explained:

    The Authoritarians (free PDF)

  17. Derek

    @ #10 –

    Ah yes, I’ve seen this argument before: “there’s a giant conspiracy amongst scientists to hide all evidence contrary to global warming!!!!”

    You might want to rethink this argument a little bit, though. Not just because it’s crazy, unsubstantiated, and unsupported; but also because it doesn’t actually do what you want it to.

    I mean, if we go ahead and just grant your conspiracy theory wholesale, it still leaves us with “Global Warming is real, and man-made.” This is because positing that scientists are conspiring to stop dissenters from publishing does nothing to address the overwhelming evidence they’ve gathered.

  18. Patrick

    Derek, #15: “This is because positing that scientists are conspiring to stop dissenters from publishing does nothing to address the overwhelming evidence they’ve gathered.”

    Nah, man, this thing goes all the way to the top. Declining polar bear populations? Man, there ain’t even no such thing as polar bears. They fly ‘em in from Yosemite and paint ‘em white for the documentaries. Al Gore and the Illuminati have been working on this since the 1800’s.

  19. Russell

    A couple days ago I check the official Republican party stand on global warming.

    “The same human economic activity that has brought freedom and opportunity
    to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. While the
    scope and long-term consequences of this are the subject of ongoing scientific
    research, common sense dictates that the United States should take measured and
    reasonable steps today to reduce any impact on the environment.”

    So what are the candidates doing playing the dinal game? Clearly the stand of the republican part is that we humans have caused global warming. What will happen because of that is not quite clear according to the stand, but there it is.

    If these goofballs don’t follow what we know to be fact, they don’t get my vote. I cant stand that stuff!!!!

  20. Steve Metzler

    Hey Gary! Maybe you should read The Authoritarians too. It would be a noble self-help effort. Or are your reading sources limited to WUWT, Bishop Hill, and Jennifer Marohasy, perhaps?

  21. Mejilan

    Perhaps I was too young and/or immature in years past to pay attention to such issues. But historically speaking, have Republican hopefuls typically been this negligently ignorant of reality, or did the Tea Party movement drag things down to these spectacularly frightening lows?

    I cautiously voted for Obama last time around, mostly because McCain was clearly out of touch and Palin’s unapologetic stupidity scared the crap out of me. As much as I’m displeased with the idea of voting for Obama again, I feel like I’ll have absolutely no choice in the matter. What the hell went wrong with this country?

  22. NSFWJonathan

    lawls @ #10.

    Keep up the amazing work, Phil.

  23. Draa

    @#19 Perhaps I was too young and/or immature in years past to pay attention to such issues. But historically speaking, have Republican hopefuls typically been this negligently ignorant of reality, or did the Tea Party movement drag things down to these spectacularly frightening lows?

    No, I can hardly remember a time when it was this bad with the Republican party. They were never pro science, at least not in my lifetime, but they’ve always went after some other issue and left science to itself. And yes, I blame the extremism in the Teaparty for most of the problems today because science challenges their world view.

    That, and the fact that liberals support science. They automatically have to oppose it because of that and it’s going to be a problem for them going forward. They can’t continue to be anti-science for long. Not and get elected today.

  24. @ 10

    If a scientist in the climate change field has a study backed by solid evidence and methods, that scientist should be able to persuade others that his findings have merit and should be further examined. Maybe I’m uninformed (most likely) but I don’t see much in the way of scientists coming forward with studies to challenge the opinions of the other 97%.

    I know that some will say the mainstream news media doesn’t cover them, but they don’t cover unicorns either.

  25. Bryan D

    Meh, If Romney doesn’t make it to the big show I’ll be sitting out this election. I actually kind of like that fellow and he seems the most level headed of the top field, he looked good during the debate anyway.

  26. Unless I’m misreading his quote, Huntsman implied Republicans should not ignore science because it will hurt them in the polls, not because it’s a stupid thing to do.

    “When you make comments that fly in the face of 98 out of 100 climate scientists, to call into question the science of evolution, all I am saying is that in order for the Republican Party to win, we can’t run from science. … By making comments that basically don’t reflect the reality of the situation, we turn people off.”

    If he were to make it to the White House, who is to say standard GOP doctrine would not overrule election-season practicality?

    They are all a bunch of nits, some only marginally less nitty. And a couple of them are downright frightening.

  27. Zapp Brannigan

    Obama ’12: Because the alternative is so… much… worse.

  28. Keith Bowden

    Cthulhu in 2012 – why bother with a LESSER evil?

  29. RobT

    What I don’t get is why Republicans (read TeaParty) are so anti-science. Today, scientific methods and discovery are pretty much required for the US to remain economically relevant in a global economy. The exception, of course, would be to either manufacture items at an artificially low price, by paying workers next to nothing, or by having large stockpiles of highly sought after natural resource(s).

    Do the Republicans just pick and choose where to apply the scientific method by ignoring it in relation to climate and evolution?

  30. Bruce

    Galileo was outvoted by ONLY 1 vote, but it was the only vote that counted – the Roman Catholic Pope’s.

  31. John Moore

    How much tax money is it going to take to fix GLOBAL WARMING???? I am sure that noone has an answer as to how to fix the problem completely.

  32. ThatSkepticGuy

    Which STILL leaves the Democrats with Anti-Vax and Anti-medical science sentiment, anti-GMO hysteria, homeopathy and other pseudomedicines, 9/11 and JFK conspiracies, Cognitive Behavioral Creationism, Animal “Rights”, Germ Theory denial, New Age Spiritualism . . .

  33. Jess Tauber

    30: What I don’t get is why Republicans (read TeaParty) are so anti-science.

    That at least is easy. Many Teabaggers never got A’s in their science classes (the ones those who weren’t home-schooled were forced to take and didn’t get excused from). So they really don’t get the economic and geopolitical consequences. But even for the otherwise intelligent ones, remember that folks of this type have their clerics telling them that God Is In Control (even a song!). With such miraculous micromanagement there really is no need for science for explanation- its just a distraction from preparation for the Great By and Bye, which after all is why we’re here anyway. Otherwise anything that happens here on earth is only relevant if it prevents the Word from getting through, or prevents worship they approve of, or negatively impacts God’s chosen economic system. In a world expected to end maybe if the election doesn’t go their way (it is after all 2012….), why try to preserve the environment, which we can’t really damage ourselves without approval from Above, if we can’t take it with us? Not like there’ll be nature reserves in Heaven….

  34. Gary Ansorge

    24. Draa

    “and the fact that liberals support science”

    SOME liberals support science however, SOME are also anti-vax, anti-space or anti-anything they disagree with. Remember William Proxmire? A Democrat(usually identified as Liberals) who opposed space exploration and colonization and wanted to strip NASA of its funding.

    From Wikipedia;
    “Proxmire earned the unending enmity of space advocates and science fiction fandom for his opposition to space colonization, ultimately eliminating spending on said research from NASA’s budget.[10] In response to a segment about space colonies run by the CBS program 60 Minutes, Proxmire stated that; “it’s the best argument yet for chopping NASA’s funding to the bone …. I say not a penny for this nutty fantasy”.[11] ,,, In a number of circles his name has become a verb, meaning to unfairly obstruct scientific research for political gain.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Proxmire

    Note the last sentence. It’s all about the DESIRE for power.

    In my opinion, only those who do NOT seek power should be allowed access to it and then for only a limited time. Maybe we should institute a national draft of qualified individuals to serve. I expect they’d hate it but that would be an incentive to get the job done quickly and right.

    Gary 7

  35. ThatSkepticGuy

    “That, and the fact that liberals support science.”

    BS!

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/07/bill_maher_gets_the_richard_dawkins_awar.php

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/385/

    http://ionian-enchantment.blogspot.com/2008/07/liberal-creationism.html

    Go talk to a “Truther” or Animal Rights activist for five minutes, and THEN come back and tell us all how much Liberals support and protect science.

  36. Scott B

    The responses here show much of a waste of time it is to try to say anything reasonable here that doesn’t 100% buy in to the IPCC. Fact is there’s a lot of uncertainty around AGW, there are political forces at play helping to ensure that anything that may raise doubts around the IPCC’s conclusions is kept out of the literature, and even beyond this scientists are not economic specialists and just because they say something has to be done now doesn’t mean it’s the right thing from society. Oh well. Keep following those lemmings.

    And no, I’m not GOP advocate. I just don’t agree with the Dems who want to tank our economy even further so they can fell better about themselves without fixing anything on a global level.

  37. DataJack

    John Moore @32 asked “How much tax money is it going to take to fix GLOBAL WARMING???? I am sure that noone has an answer as to how to fix the problem completely”

    John – That is completely, utterly, and entirely irrelevant. The cost of the consequences of a theory has nothing to do with the validity of that theory. Man-made climate change is supported by all the evidence, and refuted by none of it.

    The consequences may well be dire, but that doesn’t matter. What you are suggesting is tantamount to saying, “if that asteroid were really gonna hit use, it would wipe us all out! So it can’t be true that it’s gonna!”

  38. Bwah. I don’t like when Galileo is posed as martyr and hero. He was an ass, he stole other people discoveries, he offended church and pope (at time there were lots of scientists in church, don’t forget Copernicus himself was part of clergy), and untill he started war noone else wanted Copernicus’ work was not a problem.
    Finally he defended heliocentric “theory” for wrong reasons, using tides as evidence. (with silliness like bottom of the ocean as explanation to why there are two tides daily).

    So yeah. Of course he was right that Earth rotates around Sun, but that’s it.
    – He couldn’t proove it.
    – He was an ass, offending people, stealing discoveries.
    – He lived in wealth and comfort, even during his trials and after them.

    Wanna praise someone? Pick Socrates, Aristoteles, Newton, Feynman, Einstein… Just not Galileo.

  39. Kirk

    It sounds better if you say it like a hillbilly – especially if you are, you know, a hillbilly. “Y’all come on in a sit a spell… how’s your mama and them?”

  40. Ken

    Draa @24: That, and the fact that liberals support science.

    This, mostly. A more blatant example is the reaction to Michelle Obama’s campaign to get kids to eat healthier foods. As at least one wag has said, Obama could get all his opponents to shut up (at least for a while) just by saying “Super-gluing your lips shut is really bad for you. People shouldn’t do it.”

  41. DataJack

    Scott B @34 –
    No, there is not a lot of “uncertainty around” the theory of AGW. There are a number of observations, and a solid theory to explain them:
    1) Temps are going up, on average, everywhere
    2) Last decade was hottest, ever
    3) Last year was hottest, ever
    4) CO2 is a greenhouse gas
    5) Greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere heat planets
    6) We are adding more CO2 to the atmosphere that ever before.

    None of these is in dispute. None. They are observational, scientific, facts.

    The theory is simple, really: The recoded increase in temperature is due to the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. And the increas of CO2 in the atmosphere is due to us.

    Now, what the consequences of this are may be slightly more difficult to pin down. But they have nothing to do with the veracity of the evidence or the theory.

  42. Patrick

    #39: “No, there is not a lot of “uncertainty around” the theory of AGW.” What are you talking about, there’s a ton of pundits and nonexperts going around saying that AGW is nonsense! Why can’t you give equal weight to the positions taken by people who repeatedly demonstrate that they don’t know what they’re talking about?

    #34: “There are political forces at play helping to ensure that anything that may raise doubts around the IPCC’s conclusions is kept out of the literature.” This is funny to me. Did Al Gore and the Democratic Party convince scientists all around the world to play along with American politics? Or is it the nefarious communists, hard at work behind the scenes…?

  43. Gary Ansorge

    35. Scott B

    “Fact is there’s a lot of uncertainty around AGW”

    The only uncertainty lies in the minds of those who eschew taking responsibility for human actions.

    We pollute. We dump our waste in other folks back yards. We don’t want to pay for our excesses.

    CO2 IS a green house gas and we produce more in a year than ten average volcanos. The planet IS warming up. We ARE producing enough CO2 to account for the rise we’ve seen over the last century. We’re most likely the cause of global warming.

    Regardless, I expect we’re just going to live(and die) with the consequences of those actions. I doubt we’ll be able to do anything constructive to reverse global warming. Which is one reason I’m a space colonization advocate.

    GAry 7

  44. Ken

    I’m a regular reader of cracked.com, and earlier this week they had a list of “Five Major Cities That Are Going to Be Destroyed” (http://www.cracked.com/article_19394_5-major-cities-that-are-going-to-be-destroyed.html). San Francisco is on the list, by earthquake. The writer notes, “Never mind that the cost of earthquake-proofing San Francisco would only be around $260 million, compared to the estimated cost of rebuilding after a quake — $200 billion. But hey, we’re not economists.” (The original has links to the studies for the costs – it’s odd, but Cracked often does a better job of citation than actual science blogs.)

    Anyway, John Moore @32 reminded me of this little lesson. You really can’t decide if something costs too much without knowing the cost of the alternatives.

  45. Patrick

    @41: “I doubt we’ll be able to do anything constructive to reverse global warming. Which is one reason I’m a space colonization advocate.”

    The fact that humanity will probably never get around to fixing global warming until it’s too late is one of the main reasons I’m against space colonization. Why spread the problem throughout the universe?

  46. MartyM

    What bugged me even more than the Galileo comment was that he went on to say that if science negatively impacts the economy then it’s not good science. In other words, “if your science influences my friend’s big oil company’s ability to fund my campaign, then I don’t like your science.”

  47. Robin

    What we’re seeing is, possibly in large part, fruit of the extreme polarization of politics and government these days. Sadly, it’s only going to get worse given the public feeding frenzy on this stuff. Frankly, I can’t see potential presidential candidates worth voting for, be they on the right, left, center, or sitting in office.

    Why should we dare to expect reasoned debate, when the public isn’t even interested in reasoned debate?

  48. Ohio Mike

    “But how messed up is it that supporting actual evidence-based research is considered political suicide in the GOP?”

    None more messed up!

  49. Brent

    @43 – Spread global warming throughout the universe? What does that even mean? I’m guessing you are just referring to pollution in general. If so, please consider that the universe is an absolutely enormous place, with plenty of room and time enough for humanity to grow into a more enlightened race.

  50. Brent

    Previous comment should have been directed to 42.

  51. Texas just set a record for the hottest June-August period of any U.S. state, ever. Global warming? Or could it be … SATAN?

    Maybe if they have another prayer rally. Or step up the number of executions. Maybe bring back human sacrifice.

  52. Gary Ansorge

    43. Patrick

    “Why spread the problem throughout the universe?”

    Since we have no evidence for the existence of other sentients in this galaxy, I propose we should do everything in our power to sustain and spread what we have.

    This solar system is big enough(in terms of material and energy resources) to support a human population of trillions. If FTL proves to be unattainable or too expensive for ordinary use(such as wormholes), settling other solar systems would be a very long term endeavor. I’m not concerned about that aspect of space colonization. I just want humanity(and our attendant support species) to have 10,000 more years to live, play, love, fight, laugh, cry, argue and just generally be human.

    We’re one of the most successful species in the history of this old earth. Unfortunately, success breeds its own limitations. Put a batch of yeast in a container of sugar/water and they will quite happily breed until their own waste (alcohol) kills them. They’re successful,,,for a while. So are we. We’re the first species(as fas as we know) to have both opposable thumbs(to manipulate tools) and brains big enough to take life off this planet. We’re TOO successful to remain here. We have to either leave,,,or die.

    GAry 7

  53. JupiterIsBig

    I don’t understand people who say doing something about global warming will “tank our economy”.
    The economy is NOT fossil fuels.
    They do make some things cheaper (while causing lots of medical expenses that you don’t make the oil companies pay for), but what makes the economy work is people spending wisely and sensibly.
    As Phil says – the billions spent on space aren’t packed in a rocket, they circulate here. It’s the same for spending money on creating things more efficiently so we produce less pollution including carbon.

    Actually what makes the economy work is people just spending …

  54. Patrick

    @47: “I just want humanity(and our attendant support species) to have 10,000 more years to live, play, love, fight, laugh, cry, argue and just generally be human.”

    It’s a nice thought, but humanity isn’t going to get away from the problems of Earth by moving into space. Wherever we go, there we are. (Not that I expect space colonization to ever be actually feasible anyway.)

  55. Gary Ansorge

    55. Patrick

    “Wherever we go, there we are”

    True,,,which is one thing I like about humans. Unlike some, I don’t expect humans to be angels. Angels would not have survived very long on the evolutionary trail. Every human alive today probably has an ancestor who ate human flesh, murdered a neighbor, raped, pillaged, ,,and helped a neighbor, loved, showed compassion. These are ALL survival mechanisms. The same thing will likely accompany us into space. So what? Do you think only GOOD (whatever that means) people are worth saving? I want to save the species, including all its worts,,,(it’s what makes humans interesting in the first place).

    Gary 7

  56. Chief

    @5 – If it will take that long to fix earth, lets go to mars and start the samething up. In 360 years we will have two fixed planets under our belt.

    It’s interesting to note that if we have taken all the money put into “the money machine” (ie – overkill of 911’s protectionism), we would have already be well on the way to the goals of global warming reversal in North America. (Not to mention not keeping to the debt reduction schedule of Clinton).

  57. Doug

    I’m actually quite pleased with how levelheaded Romney has been so far on the subject of science. His stance on climate change seems to be (paraphrasing): “I’m not a scientist, but it looks like the earth is getting warmer and we’re at least partly to blame. Reducing our contribution is good, but let’s not waste tons of money on it.” He even takes a pretty good stance on ID — he’s religious, believes in a creator (as is his right), but doesn’t think it’s right to teach ID in schools.

    Compared to the other GOP front-runners, he’s the best you could hope for. He has a remarkable ability to take positions that make most people happy — a true politician, to say the least.

  58. Yojimbo

    @37 Scott B

    What we’ve got heah, is failyah… to communicate!

    and even beyond this scientists are not economic specialists and just because they say something has to be done now doesn’t mean it’s the right thing from society.

    The scientists are like the fire inspector saying “dude, like your whole house is gonna totally burn up if you don’t fix your wiring”, and you’re all “it’s gonna cost too much”. He’s not an economic specialist, which is why you gotta figure out what to do about it. But just because you don’t think you can afford to fix it doesn’t meanyou’re not likely to come home one day to a pile of embers. He’s the inspector, it’s his job to tell you.

    Yeah, you’re right – he’s probably getting paid off by Big Lumberyard…

  59. Patrick

    @55: “True,,,which is one thing I like about humans.”

    So, in other words, if human action eventually makes Earth uninhabitable, you want to preserve the very faults of humanity that led to the pollution of this planet and ship them off along with us when we go to the next. Do you understand how insanely irresponsible that would be? It’s just an interplanetary expansion of the idea that Earth belongs to us and we can do whatever we want with it.

  60. Galileo… blah blah…

    Ok. Let’s have some historical facts here about what actually happened.

    By the time Galileo was working it was already clear to actual astronomers that something was probably deeply wrong with the Ptolemaic understanding of astronomy.

    What really mattered far more than Galileo was Kepler’s work which occurred years before. It better fit the data much better than anything else and the third law showed a relationship between different planet’s orbits, an amazing thing which showed a deep level of elegance and organization that the other systems lacked.

    There are a lot of other common misconceptions like thinking that they were basically just three systems floating around (Ptolemaic, Copernican and Kepler) in the early part of the 1600s there were a lot of other proposed systems. like Tycho’s system (where the sun went around the Earth and the other planets went around the sun) and a lot of other systems. Some people wanted to make Venus and Mercury orbit the sun. Others wanted essentially Tycho’s system but also with the Earth having a diurnal rotation. But most of these systems were already losing to Kepler by the time Galileo came along.

    So the standard “Galileo was persecuted meme” isn’t just stupid for the obvious reasons (his persecution was by some aspects of the church not by astronomers, etc.) but simply because Galileo wasn’t nearly as important in the whole story as he is generally made out to be. This isn’t to undermine Galileo’s accomplishments- they were massive and helped a lot to advance our understanding of astronomy. He is unambiguously one of the greatest and most influential astronomers. But this whole narrative of him being a lone supporter of heliocentrism who helps push for the theory against a tide of disbelief is simply not historically accurate.

    There’s also a more general problem: It is one thing for scientists to disagree with the consensus or majority opinion in their own area. That doesn’t make someone who is not an expert in the area entitled to do the same. Indeed, as a general heuristic, when in doubt, the vast majority of the time, the scientific consensus will be correct or will turn out to be a close approximation of what is correct. The existence of dissenting scientists is therefore not a license for an uneducated layperson to pick and choose what they want to believe.

  61. @37 – See, this is the thing. I would actually have less of a problem with people examining the ample evidence of global climate change and then just deciding “Well yeah, this thing is happening but we can’t afford to do anything about it.” Because at least then, it would show that the evidence has been understood and considered. Instead what’s going on right now is a national “Lalala, I can’t hear you.” Or perhaps “Nuh UH,” which is not much of an argument, and also fails to become reality no matter how many times you repeat it.

    There is uncertainty as to the details of global climate change, but the consensus that it is happening is very strong. I’m sorry, but the dissenting papers thus far have been very poor (like the one published in the Journal of Remote Sensing earlier this year) and show a supreme failure to be rigorous and to address the current arguments against their conclusions. And/or, as with the CERN study the denialists are currently cuddling up to, the conclusions reached in the paper are not the ones actually reached by the research and have been grossly exaggerated by media that seems to have a vested interest in sowing confusion.

    Ask an oceanic geochemist sometime about the gross perturbations in various chemical cycles that have been caused by human activity. Just make sure you have a drink ready when you do it, because it’ll be a long, sad list.

    I’m not surprised that the Republican candidates except for John Huntsman are throwing their weight behind “Lalala, I can’t hear you.” I’m just depressed about it. Very, very depressed.

  62. katwagner

    @52, Zucchi Yes. Let’s talk about Texas. Hottest summer on record, worst drought in 100 years, worst fire season ever with fires for 200 days. I can’t imagine 1400 houses burning down outside Austin where Lake Travis is a mudhole now. They need a hurricane to save them. Rick Perry should pray for one of those, mebbe?

  63. Grand Lunar

    “Bismillah, no!”

    Call me foolish, but what does that mean?

    Anyway, it’s funny to see how the conservatives spare no expense at protraying themselves as people that pick and choose what fields of science they support.

    JupiterIsBig (#54) says it best.
    I’m sick of hearing the Republican canidates say that we need to tap more oil, more coal (seriously?!), ect for a good economy.

    Have they not heard of a potential source from alage that’s current being studied?
    Are they not aware of what solar can do in such reasons that it is viable?
    And what about next-gen reactors*? Or continuing fusion research?

    If anything, the conservative side can be said to suffer from tunnel vision when it comes to energy sources.

    *the fear of outdated reactors that have faced problems not withstanding

  64. James H. (south of Dallas)

    I live in Texas and just despise Perry. I mean really really despise this man. As an educator, I’ve watched as he has tried to dismantle our ed system here by underfunding us this year to the tune of 4 Billion dollars. Cuts everywhere, huge classes. Its crazy. Bottom line with him is: pick ANY topic, and I’m on the opposite side of his. Anything. There is not a single reason to vote for him. A complete fool.

  65. All the debate about actually cleaning up our act reminds me about this comic: http://mccs1977.com/wp-content/2009/12/Global-Warming-Comic.jpeg

  66. brett

    So Phil thinks editor in chief of remote sensing Wolfgang Wagner resigned over an issue of science? ROTFL If so, Phil cant seem to differentiate the politics from the science and vice versa; half the problem with the whole AGW debate.I imagine we will see a whole slew of science editors resigning now over mistakes detected in papers -again ROTFL.The three reviewers who Wagner himself said were very well credentialled and published should be named and shamed as well I guess. Also rather touching that Wagner took the time to write a nice letter of apology to Dr Trenberth (an unrelated 3rd party to the Spencer paper, or maybe not :-)instead of instigating retraction proceedures.This is a JOKE. And are you really equating the discipline of biology and the development of evolutionary theory to the often soft,sloppy practices of climate science in regards AGW (especially over the last 20 yrs). As for politicians they ALL are spivs, both sides, they will say whatever they think their target constituency wants to hear and will win them votes. As for the adolescent practice of ‘personality typing’ people as anti science or pro science by their political persuation- grow up FFS.Phil stick to Astronomy, I love your articles on Astronomy. Think I will just read the Astronomy articles from now on -cheers and all the best

  67. Patrick

    @67: “So Phil thinks editor in chief of remote sensing Wolfgang Wagner resigned over an issue of science?”

    Of course not, brett, it’s obvious that Al Gore and George Soros came to Wagner’s office. “Pretty nice paper you’ve got here, it’d be a shame if something happened to it.” Then Soros knocks a whiteboard off the office door.

  68. John Carter

    Phlogiston Forever!

  69. GMan003

    Uh, just an FYI – you’ve been using the word “bismallah” a lot, quoting the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody. You should probably know that Queen was quoting from the Quran – the rough translation is “In the name of God” (see the “Allah” in it?).

    Considering your normal stance on religion, I find it a bit odd that you’d be doing that deliberately.

  70. brett

    Patrick @68 glad you’ve got the picture right, if not the protagonists ;-) I guess we will have to watch with bated breath for the editor of GRL to resign due to the problems with Andy Desslers’ rebuttal….not

  71. Cindy

    #64 Grand Lunar:

    Listen to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the reference to “Bismillah, no!”
    (Great, now I have that song running through my head and I can’t get it out.)

    It’s funny how the two Mormon candidates come across as the most reasonable and enlightened. I don’t know if it’s because how the Mormon church is viewed or what.

  72. Messier Tidy Upper

    Yeah, the anti-science bias of the Majority of the Republican party and their “base” is a worry. :-(

    I don’t think Mitt Romney is really all *that* bad is he? I get the impression that, in his heart, Romney does respect the science and scientists and could be a relatively good choice. Even if he has been forced to make a few disturbing statements and retreat from past saner ones on science to avoid being politically slaughtered by the majority of anti-science followers and funders on his party’s side.

    I hope Mitt Romney and NOT Rick Perry or another Tea-Partier wins the Republican nomination.

    I’d prefer Jon Huntsman won the Republican nomination but, realistically, I don’t think he’s got much hope of success – which is a big shame. :-(

    Good news is that it looks like Michelle Bachmann may have blown her bolt already and be fading into well-deserved obscurity almost as fast as Tim Pawlenty disappeared. ;-)

    There’s a very long road ahead in which a lot will be said and a lot will happen but, from this far out and another continent entirely, this Aussie observer is predicting & expecting an eventual Romney-Vs-Obama 2012 campaign.

    I fear Obama who has been, I think, hugely disappointing will give us more of the same bitter unproductive partisan politics and lack of progress & has become part of the problem for US politics rather than the solution. I’d still rate Obama as the most likely ultimate election winner though.

    Maybe a Mitt Romney presidency – although NOT likely to be great – will act as a circuit breaker and bring the US back to a more moderate less divided along partisan lines position? Perhaps? Hopefully?

    I’m no fan of any of them really or either side.

    But Flying Sphaghetti Monster save us all if Rick Perry or a Tea Party candidate wins though. :-o :-(

  73. bad Jim

    We’re already operating spaceship Earth. We can’t be confident that we can operate any other spaceship, or a distant planet, until we can take care of the one where we were born. More practically, we won’t be able to seek refuge on another planet until we have what it takes to take care of this one. There are not two distinct technologies, one for home and another for space. There’s no oil or coal in space, for example, nor free oxygen.

  74. All here know full well that both parties have plenty of anti-science in them. Even Obama is pretty poor on science, except for global warming. He’s not into global warming for any scientific reason at all, but rather as a means to further his political ends. As for any other science, Obama is a disaster. Bush, despite all his many problems, tried to put us back on track is space, and Obama came along and took us entirely out of the space business. I think Obama’s actions are exponentially worse than Romney thinking that evolution in the way God made the world. The rest of the field don’t really matter, doesn’t seem any have much of a chance. It will be between Obama and Romney, and I would prefer Romney. He will fund science, and maybe he will try to redirect the space program. I couldn’t car less if thinks he will get to be a God of his own universe if he’s a good enough Mormon.

  75. Sadly, anti-science sentiment isn’t restricted to the United States either. As the Aussie TV science show Catalyst shows here :

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3313559.htm

    (Link has a transcript as well as a video in case the videodoesn’t work -hopefully it will be working but gather there’s been issues with some such video links before.)

    Australian climatologists have been under similar partisan political attack – incl. death threats – as well. :-(

    An excerpt from there :

    Professor Ian Chubb [Chief Scientist of Australia] : We’re back to the Middle Ages aren’t we? I mean, that’s what they tried to do to Galileo, I mean, this is an extraordinary position for my country to be in. I always thought that we would be willing to have an argument, for sure. But sometimes I think ah, you know, how low can we go?

    Anna-Maria Arabia [Head of Science and Technology Australia, the peak body for sixty-two scientific societies, with a collective membership of more than sixty-eight thousand scientists.] :

    I personally received a death threat, um, that was quite explicit about how my life would end. Um, not particularly pleasant things to receive when you’re really just getting on with your job.

    [Italics added for clarity.]

    ***

    There are other disturbing examples here :

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/the_australians_war_on_science_73.php

    (Tim Flannery is an outspoken advocate of action against Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating and popular science author whose many books incl. ‘The Weather Makers’ which is dedicated to that topic. Flannnery was appointed to head the Climate Change Commission established by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Click on my name for his wiki-page.)

    & here also :

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/06/more_on_the_threats_on_and_abu.php

    Both from the Deltoid blog which has much more on climatology and the opposition to science.

    Having arguments about the science and what it’s telling us is one thing.
    That’s not only to be expected but welcomed especially if conducted ina reasonable, polite and rational way focusing on the scientific evidence.

    The scientific debate, however, is settled – just like evolution the scientific evidnece is overpoweringly clear. HIRGO is real and a problem. We need to accept that and move on to arguing over possible solutions or actions to be taken to adapt.

    If the political opponents to the science merely said “we accept the reality of the science but don’t think cap’n’trade’ or carbon taxes or international treaties will be of any use” and put forward other alternatives that would fine and legitimate. But to argue there’s still doubt when there hasn’t been for many years is really pretty stupid and *is* taking an anti-science stance. That costs them respect and makes them, essentially, dishonest or wilfully ignorant to varying extents.

    Worse yet, threatening the scientists themselves with violence, with brutal punishments, with death even merely for doing their jobs is something else entirely and totally unacceptable and abhorrent. When one side of the debate resorts to metaphorically shooting the messenger then that side, I think, has lost. :-(

    Climate Contrarianism is bound to fade away eventually as more overwhelming evidence builds up and the situation becomes indisputable. As more ice melts, more climate related disasters occur and more damage is done making the HIRGO issue ever harder and more costly to mitigate. It can’t fade away soon enough.

  76. Trebuchet

    In reference to #10:
    Gore’s Law: In any internet discussion of Global Warming, the probability that a denier will bring up Al Gore as if that proves the issue is a hoax rapidly approaches one. The corollary of course is that the first person mentioning Gore is assumed to have lost the argument.

  77. Jumpinjez

    As someone in a country where voting is compulsory (Australia), I sometimes wonder if having compulsory voting in the US would change the system.
    Given the arguments used current debates here about a Carbon Tax and our National Broadband Network, I think not….

  78. amphiox

    See, this is the thing. I would actually have less of a problem with people examining the ample evidence of global climate change and then just deciding “Well yeah, this thing is happening but we can’t afford to do anything about it.” Because at least then, it would show that the evidence has been understood and considered. Instead what’s going on right now is a national “Lalala, I can’t hear you.”

    They don’t say that because they know it isn’t true. We CAN afford to do many things about it. But that means prioritizing it above certain other things, and these people don’t want to do that.

    I fear Obama who has been, I think, hugely disappointing will give us more of the same bitter unproductive partisan politics and lack of progress & has become part of the problem for US politics rather than the solution. I’d still rate Obama as the most likely ultimate election winner though.

    Return a Democratic majority to the House, and give a filibuster proof supermajority to the Democrats in the Senate, and you will not have anymore unproductive partisan obstructionist politics with an Obama re-election, AND you won’t have any risk of a President Romney being forced to pander to his regressive base.

    But rest assured that the Democrats will remember what the Rethugs have done to Obama, and any Republican president who also doesn’t have a House majority and Senate super-majority will be tit-for-tatted to a standstill.

  79. amphiox

    We’re already operating spaceship Earth. We can’t be confident that we can operate any other spaceship, or a distant planet, until we can take care of the one where we were born.

    The more spaceships we have, the more pilots and the more crews, and the better our chances that at least one of them won’t screw the hooch. (And, if we’re really lucky, will be around to bail out the others when they do).

  80. Messier Tidy Upper

    Here’s a further irony worth noting :

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/05/the_australians_war_on_science_63.php

    (first comment on there.)

    Perhaps OT but I notice another organisation devoted to denialism pressurism has started up in Australia. Exhibiting the usual hubris of deniers it calls itself the ‘Galileo Movement and contains the usual denier memes. Its founders are the two guys who brought Monckton out to Australia last year and they complain that he was ‘barely’ noticed by the media.

    Posted by: Jeremy C | May 17, 2011 7:55 AM

    (Hope quoting that here is okay netiquette~wise. Apologies & please let me know if not.)

    See the link there to this :

    http://www.galileomovement.com.au/galileo_movement.php

    Ironically (if that’s the right usage) named climate contrarian group.

    The media has played a very negative role in promoting anti-science climate contrarianism too as the series of articles linked here :

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/conversation_series_on_media_a.php

    among many other things reveal. :-(

  81. QuietDesperation

    People still watch debates, huh? Silly ponies…

  82. QuietDesperation

    But rest assured that the Democrats will remember what the Rethugs have done to Obama, and any Republican president blah blah blah…

    You Party loyalists are just *so* *cute*!

  83. Messier Tidy Upper

    @7. Erik : “If there is a god, I hope he saves us from the republicans.”

    Or as Dr Stephen Franklin put it in ‘Babylon 5′ (episode : “Believers”) : “May God save us from false religion.”

    Agreed.

    @53. Gary Ansorge :

    @43. Patrick : “Why spread the problem throughout the universe?”
    Since we have no evidence for the existence of other sentients in this galaxy, I propose we should do everything in our power to sustain and spread what we have.
    This solar system is big enough(in terms of material and energy resources) to support a human population of trillions. If FTL proves to be unattainable or too expensive for ordinary use(such as wormholes), settling other solar systems would be a very long term endeavor. I’m not concerned about that aspect of space colonization. I just want humanity(and our attendant support species) to have 10,000 more years to live, play, love, fight, laugh, cry, argue and just generally be human.
    We’re one of the most successful species in the history of this old earth. Unfortunately, success breeds its own limitations. Put a batch of yeast in a container of sugar/water and they will quite happily breed until their own waste (alcohol) kills them. They’re successful,,,for a while. So are we. We’re the first species(as fas as we know) to have both opposable thumbs(to manipulate tools) and brains big enough to take life off this planet. We’re TOO successful to remain here. We have to either leave,,,or die.

    Seconded and quoted for truth. Well said. :-)

    I hope we expand into space, learn and grow and terraform Mars and other worlds.

    As Kim Stanley Robinson has noted in his ‘Mars’ trilogy – we may have to “terraform” Earth too.

    One understated advantage of building space colonies – it gives us a way of learning more about ecosystems here on “spaceship” Earth.

    Environmentalism and space colonisation and exploration are NOT incompatible and can have mutally beneficial interchanges. Note for instance the role the Apollo 8 “earthrise” image had on raising awareness – or the work of Carl Sagan.

    @14. Theron :

    Um, Gary, the planet really is getting warmer, and all evidence points to humans having something to do with it. It’s only “political” because some powerful people don’t like what that implies.
    Also, the Sun rises in the east. And Elvis is truly dead. (Though the evidence for the last one may be weaker than the other two.)

    Unless you’re on Venus where it rises in the West & sets in the east due to that carbon dioxide smothered planet’s upside down rotation! ;-)

    First bit is spot on though! Oh & Elvis not only lives he’s been cloned repeatedly – ever been to Vegas? ;-)

  84. bad Jim

    We don’t even understand the bacteria living on and in us, or in the soil, or in the ocean. Moreover, the poor job we’re doing managing our home planet demonstrates how far we are from understanding how to terraform another one.

    Just start with energy. The problem that’s threatening us here is learning how to live without fossil fuel. There is no reason to think that any other planet would have any fossil fuels to exploit. Titan has methane, sure, but we’d have to bring our own fossil oxygen to make use of it.

    If we’ve got enough solar power, or anything else, to take care of ourselves off-planet, then we have no problem here. Seriously, folks, we’ve got no future elsewhere if we have no future here.

  85. Jack M.

    It’s good to see Roemer taking sensible stands on the science issues. I had not heard of him until I saw him on The Daily Show. It’s a shame he isn’t a viable candidate at the moment (because the “establishment” doesn’t want him to be, not because he is unqualified).

  86. Robin

    Isn’t nice to be able to sit in a chair and cast political blame? Hmmmm. Politicians do it. People posting on blogs do it. Political parties do it. The electorate does it.

    Which came first: partisan, myopic, and dysfunctional politicians or the idiots that elected them, that encourage the explosive distribution of spittle, and then wonder why things aren’t working?

  87. Impulse725

    There does seem to be a reason Perry chose Galileo. Galileo is frequently invoked in the climate denial circles as an example of a outnumbered scientist who was mocked but eventually vindicated. Don’t forget that deniers do not present or imagine themselves to be anti-science. Perry invoked Galileo to tell climate deniers that he’s their guy and understands them. He doesn’t care that actual scientists see Galileo as a cautionary tale about the futility of oppressing science for religious reason. The crowd he’s speaking to interprets the story very differently.

    http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/09/perry-and-galileo has something on this.

  88. Nigel Depledge

    Gary (12) perpetuated some lies thusly:

    Uh, just the same way it is in the IPCC-driven climate science community.

    Rubbish!

    The climate science community is driven by observations, measurements and predictions based on sound reasoning. Many climate scientists have accused the IPCC of being too careful, of understating the case, because if we don’t sort out what we are doing to the climate, there will be very widespread and dramatic unpleasantness.

    We’re talking politics here, not scientific fact.

    The scientific facts are simple:

    Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate.

    Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased by about 40% since we started widespread and continuous burning of fossil fuels.

    Atmospheric CO2 causes an increase in global average temperature.

    The “politics” side of it is the “AGW is not real” side, supported by a cocktail of vested interests and complacency.

    Partisans have hijacked the subject for political purposes and financial control.

    Yes, they have. How do you propose to get politicians out of the pockets of oil and coal companies?

    Any objective examination of Al Gore and company makes that very plain.

    Al Gore is not a scientist. Al Gore has publicised what the scientists are saying.

    Any scientist who tries to publish research even slightly challenging the current concensus is treated with hostility and obstruction.

    Such as who, where, when and how?

    Come on, you cannot make an assertion like that without backing it up. Come up with the goods.

    ‘Cos, as far as I can tell, all of the available evidence points to two simple conclusions:
    1. Human activity is causing global average temperatures to increase; and
    2. This is going to be a bad thing.

    Anyone purporting to publish science that challenges these conclusions had better have some pretty damned extraordinary evidence, because these conclusions arise from about 35 – 40 years of data collection. Any such new evidence will come under intense scrutiny and criticism (such is the way of science, but the existing conclusions have already been through this process). If it survives, then the conclusions will need to be changed. Thus far, no published study has overturned the existing conclusions.

    The chilling effect is seen in the recent admonition of the CLOUD experiment at CERN to publish only the data and not to hypothesize.

    They found aerosols, but did not show that this had any role to play in cloud formation.

    Similarly it’s evident in the resignation of the editor of the journal, Remote Sensing, you cite above. The editor clearly was pressured by an influential scientist (Trenberth) who received an abject but unnecessary apology.

    And did Wagner at any point allude to pressure? Did he or did he not agree that the paper over which he was criticised should not have been published? Did he or did he not agree that the paper was not of a sufficiently high standard for publication in the journal he edited?

    You claim that Wagner was “clearly” pressured, but you do not back this up with any evidence.

    I dislike both Republicans AND Democrats, but really despise unethical scientists. Get your head out of the sand, Phil. Politics is infecting the profession and clouding your vision.

    And if you think that AGW is anything but a genuine phenomenon, then it is your head that has been clouded.

    Even if GW is not caused by human activity, it is still something we must address as soon as we possibly can.

  89. IW

    Maybe the Republicandidates are not so dumb? If the adage that ‘any publicity is good publicity’ is true (and I offer no warranties), then the more stupid things they say, the better off they are, because when it comes to the vote, most people are not, unfortunately, going to apply any logic here. They’re not going to remember which people said which dumb things or how stupid it made those people appear, they’re going to remember only that this is the name I heard in the media most often, and make the leap of faith that that person must “therefore” be a good candidate.

  90. Tangentially relevant, but I hope rather interesting here is a documentary I saw last weekend on the Nomura “monster” jellyfish – see :

    http://www.sbs.com.au/documentary/program/monsterjellyfish/about/synopsis

    (The full doco “Monster Jellyfish” can be viewed online via that site – at least for me in Oz. Hopefully others can find and view it too – find under ‘Watch video’s’ then browse list scroll down, titled ‘Monster Jellyfish’ Sat. 3rd Sept. 8.30 pm.)
    &

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/photogalleries/giant-jellyfish-invasion-japan-pictures/

    &

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomura%27s_jellyfish

    which used to swarm only once every 40 years but now – probably at least in part due to Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating – seem to be swarming every year and getting worse and more numerous causing major problems.

    There has been a rise in oceanic dead zones -and jellyfish swarms globally wghich is just one more of many indicators that, yes, we do have a problem.

  91. Messier Tidy Upper

    Reflecting on things Galileo~wise reminds me of his alledged sotto voce comment after recanting his belief in the Copernican theory on threat of torture :

    “Eppur si muove” (And yet it does move.)
    – Page 334, Ben Bova, ‘The Story of Light’, Sourcebooks Inc., 2001.

    The Catholic Church insisting on everyone accepting unreality – the geocentric Ptolemaic model of the solar system didn’t make it true.

    Similarly, Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) won’t go away even if Rick Perry wins the US presidency and cancels any research and tries to keep denying the environmental reality.

    You can say the world is flat and 6,000 years old and not warming until you’re blue in the face but it won’t make any of it less wrong.

    Climate Contrarianism cannot improve things and cannot ultimately suceed. All it does is cretae further delay and alllow things to get increasingly bad and the measures we’ll need to take increasingly drastic.

    As Perry himself said recently :

    “You just don’t understand how quickly this can get out out of hand and put people’s lives or their property in jeopardy.”
    (Seen on SBS World News (Australian TV) Tuesday 6th Sept. 6.30 pm.)

    Indeed not, Guv’nor!

    Perry was talking there about the recent Texas bushfires – or wildfires as they call’em over in the States I gather – but it also applies identically to, well, that whole HIRGO climatology problem he denies is real.

    The news segued from there into a story about an ominous new hurricane off the US eastern coast – and followed mention of the drought and heatwave that helped the wildfires get so severe. Go figure. :-(

    Wonder how long it’ll be before the physical observed evidence for HIRGO is so overwhelming that no further denial of reality is possible?

    Wonder what the consequences of that delay will be in lost property, irreversible ecological damage and, tragically, lost human individual lives?

  92. Nigel Depledge

    Keith Bowden (29) said:

    Cthulhu in 2012 – why bother with a LESSER evil?

    I, for one, would welcome the return of our tentacled overlords. (Shortly before going completely hatstand, anyway).

  93. Nigel Depledge

    John Moore (32) said:

    How much tax money is it going to take to fix GLOBAL WARMING???? I am sure that noone has an answer as to how to fix the problem completely.

    I have two different answers to this:

    1. How much tax money (in breaks and subsidies) do the coal and oil industries currently receive?

    2. It really doesn’t matter how much it costs to set up the industries and the changes that are needed to remediate AGW. Sooner or later, our economies will have to shift to low-carbon or carbon-neutral options. (Even if the impact of AGW is far less than expected, coal and oil are finite resources and will eventually run out.)

  94. Nigel Depledge

    Scott B (37) said:

    The responses here show much of a waste of time it is to try to say anything reasonable here that doesn’t 100% buy in to the IPCC.

    Reasonable dissent is fine, but that is not what the BA is commenting on.

    Unreasonable dissent is rightly crushed by – oh noez! – rational argument.

    Fact is there’s a lot of uncertainty around AGW,

    The only uncertainty is around the detail of exactly what the impact will be. That AGW is real and that it will be bad for our modern civilisations are firm conclusions.

    there are political forces at play helping to ensure that anything that may raise doubts around the IPCC’s conclusions is kept out of the literature,

    This is rubbish – it’s not political forces, it’s the force of facts. Many climatologists criticise the IPCC because – no doubt due to political pressure – their latest report understates the most ikely impact of AGW.

    and even beyond this scientists are not economic specialists and just because they say something has to be done now doesn’t mean it’s the right thing from society.

    So, you think widespread famines, mass migrations and wars around the globe are preferable to spending a couple of tens of billion dollars to fix the problem?

    Oh well. Keep following those lemmings.

    The lemmings are the ones claiming that we don’t need to do anything about AGW (and those who follow these claimants out of complacency).

    And no, I’m not GOP advocate.

    You just happen to say exactly the same things that some of them say.

    I just don’t agree with the Dems who want to tank our economy even further so they can fell better about themselves without fixing anything on a global level.

    That fixing AGW will harm the economy is a lie. AFAICT, those who study the issue suggest that, with the right incentives, a new low-carbon economy can be at least as healthy as the one we’ve had for the past 30 – 40 years.

    BTW, you should not blame the Dems for the presernt state of anyone’s economy. Blame the bankers.

  95. How much tax money is it going to take to fix GLOBAL WARMING???? I am sure that noone has an answer as to how to fix the problem completely.

    John Moore,

    You want the short answer? A lot less than the Obama Stimulus/the Iraq War (please delete according to political preference).

    There’s one geonegineering scheme, as I seem to recall, that could kick the problem a hundred years down the line for about a billion dollars. Then there’s the fact that nuclear power keeps being blocked despite its proven safety and cleanliness (incidentally, does anyone seriously think there are not vested coal interests behind the no nuke hysteria?) .

    There’s other stuff: carbon capture technology, opening up the much cleaner Canadian tar sands (dear god how much do I loathe the catchpenny nativism and chauvinism of the Obama foreign office vis a viz Canada?) as a substitute, etc. Think about it.

    As regards the Republican candidates, I wouldn’t worry about it. Remember the Caucus Race in Alice in Wonderland. Their opinions really don’t affect anything long term.

  96. “How much tax money is it going to take to fix GLOBAL WARMING???? I am sure that noone has an answer as to how to fix the problem completely.”

    Who said anything about fixing it completely? Why are you implying that nothing shoudl be done if we cant do everythihng. Is everyting in your life done in such an all or nothing fashion? You just have to steer it in the right direction. #1 encourage population to drop #2 encourage use of the sun (that includes wind, all type of solar), sea and earth as our energy sources #3 encourage innovation about reuse and recycling of industrial and consumer products.

    None of these things require trillions of tax dollars to fix. All of these things improve life in other ways.

  97. TerryEmberson

    Hugo,
    I hate to say it, but Geoengineering is just as bad an idea as controlled economics. Both economics and climate are complex systems for which it is a conceit to believe we can control effectively. Any attempt to control the climate may cause temperatures to plummet or spike uncontrollably, because we can’t effectively anticipate the feedbacks that chaos will create.

  98. @90,91,92 and others discussing similar –

    As I understand it the main problem is that we have been messing with the carbon cycle, taking carbon out of the earth and putting it the atmosphere. It seems it should be doable to take carbon out of the air and return it to the earth as well. Planting a bunch of trees would be too slow, but getting it done by some means is an engineering problem and can be solved. It should cost a lot less than the trillions we throw around at wars and bail outs. I think such is not being done because too many political, academic, and business empires are built on global warming.

  99. QuietDesperation

    geonegineering

    Oh, boy, now there’s a word that makes my tail go all bushy. Crack government team is set into motion to stop globally warmings. Fifty years later everything above latitude 40° is covered in fifty feet of ice. Whoops!

  100. Vince,

    in theory yes. In actuality its harder than that. It comes out of the ground as a dense, energy and carbon rich material. we are trying to put it back in the ground as a compressed gas or as a carbonate (low carbon density). The closer and closer we get to the original carbon density, the more and more energy it uses.

    The solution will be slow that is a fact. First we need widespread understanding that there is in fact a problem. Then its population control, switch to sun and geo, reuse resources. Even just slowing down the rate change would allow more time to adapt to the changes.

    I totally agree that I would rather spend trillions on this sort of thing that on wars and bailouts.

  101. QuietDesperation

    Isn’t nice to be able to sit in a chair and cast political blame? Hmmmm. Politicians do it. People posting on blogs do it. Political parties do it. The electorate does it.

    There’s a difference, though. Politicians do it as part of the general smog generated by the political class to keep everyone below them squabbling and to maintain their power. When they disagree and toss rhetoric, it’s in the “tee hee, wink wink” style used by rivals who know they need one another to maintain their gravy train.

    The bloggers and voters do it because they are good, trained little monkeys who rarely have an original thought.

    And to be honest, finding blame isn’t really an unproductive activity. Just ask the NTSB. Sometimes you need to step back and figure out how things went non-linear, and learn from that. Fault analysis is why you can climb into a big pile of metal and igniting jet fuel without too many worries.

    Which came first: partisan, myopic, and dysfunctional politicians or the idiots that elected them, that encourage the explosive distribution of spittle, and then wonder why things aren’t working?

    There, now, you see? You’re only seeing the first layer. You’re looking at the smog and declaring that the truth. It’s like the movie Inception, except it’s a Deception. There’s lies within lies within lies. At the bottom is not limbo but the real objective reality where “A is A” finally emerges. The smog gets the little people into spittle mode, and they argue against other little people, and the political class chuckles and goes to another $20,000 a plate fund raiser.

    How are the politicians dysfunctional? They are in power and living it up at the expense of everyone else. It’s all cocktail parties and intern sex and having corporations and sycophants show up with gifts and whores. They are there because they are the personality type that craves power over others. They get off on it. Some might argue they are the most successful and adaptable organisms ever evolved.

    And you can’t even blame the voters because even at the primaries they are presented little more than a list of the most successful local sociopaths as sorted out by the media meat grinder.

  102. @91. Nigel Depledge :

    John Moore (32) :”How much tax money is it going to take to fix GLOBAL WARMING???? I am sure that noone has an answer as to how to fix the problem completely.”
    I have two different answers to this:
    1. How much tax money (in breaks and subsidies) do the coal and oil industries currently receive?
    2. It really doesn’t matter how much it costs to set up the industries and the changes that are needed to remediate AGW. Sooner or later, our economies will have to shift to low-carbon or carbon-neutral options. (Even if the impact of AGW is far less than expected, coal and oil are finite resources and will eventually run out.)

    Yup. Peak oil.

    I have a third answer to offer there too – more in the form of a question :

    How much will it cost us if we do nothing?

    In taxpayers money and much else besides.

    Money just has to be spent on some things every so often, infrastructure needs replacing, repairing, maintaining. Tax payers money will be spent on stuff whether it’s good or bad.

    So why not move towards better more energy efficient, more alternative energy sources as we go? Why not keep that in mind when looking at upgrading services, at planning for various items at all levels of government?

    Many – not all but a lot – of the ideas to combat Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating would make good economic and business sense regardless of whether or not the HIRGO idea is correct.

    Reducing light pollution by energy efficent lighting (even having sensor lights for streetlights say) is one such idea that astronomers may benefit from promoting for instance.

    Reducing our dependence on foreign oil – often controlled by hostile nations – is a positive thing. :-)

    Finding and developing new alternative technologies, coming up with innovative different ideas is a good thing. It’s something we learn from – that we benefit from doing in any case, HIRGO or no. :-)

    I’m sure others have pointed this out already but if we act against HIRGO and the unlikely event of 97% of climatologist being wrong turns out to be and it’s false then we still will probably leave ourselves and the world much better off for having acted.

    Also what are the consequences of inaction – of allowing droughts, floods , desertification, etc .. to get worse. What’s the trade offs there? Can they even be calculated given all the uncertainties and risks?

    We keep going as we are, we end up with a worse world and facing problems like Peak Oil, like other nations coming up with alternative technologies and cornering the market in them with having better technologies even if HIRGO ain’t so. We have to change and improve, like it or not.

    (This is coming btw. from someone who admits to being a bit of a traditionalist even a luddite himself! ;-) )

    Science and industry got us into this mess. I’ve a strong feeling that they’re also the only things that will get us out of it too.

  103. Grimoire

    Then its population control

    Yeah, have fun peddling that in the parts of the world with the highest population growth. I love how it’s all “we do this, then that, and put tab A in slot B and, there, it’s better!” while human and cultural elements are hand waved away.

  104. QuietDesperation

    How much will it cost us if we do nothing?

    I dunno. How much?

  105. @ ^ QuietDesperation : Your guess is as good as mine & I don’t think anyobe can really acuraetly know – but I’m guessing an awful lot. :-o :-(

    @ 104. Grimoire : When it comes to population control I think we have two choices

    – do it ourselves voluntarily (&, yeah, that’s going to be durn hard)

    OR

    – Let nature take care of that for us via the usual four horsemen -famine, disease, pestilence and war.

    Realistically, I think there third option of a bit of both is most likely.

    Maybe that’s part of the explanation for what’s happening right now in East Africa. :-(

    Humans are animals too – and like other animals prone to populations reaching plague propertions then crashing as the environment’s carrying capacity is overshot.

    @ 100. QuietDesperation :

    geonegineering – Oh, boy, now there’s a word that makes my tail go all bushy. Crack government team is set into motion to stop globally warmings. Fifty years later everything above latitude 40° is covered in fifty feet of ice. Whoops!

    If its the last resort and things are already headed for apocalpytic catastrophe then I’d rather we tried geoengineering (& we probably will) rather than a worse alternative.

    I’d rather we started on attempting to terraform Mars, Venus or someplace else so we made our mistakes and learnt from them elsewhere rather than here on Earth so that’s another reason for trying that.

  106. LibertysLover

    Solving the question of the origin of man is not going to fix the economy, or end any of our wars, or close any of the 900 military bases we’ve built in over 150 countries. The evolution vs. creation debate is a pointless exercise that has absolutely no baring on anyone’s life at all whatsoever.

    Oh, and carbon dioxide is PLANT FOOD!!!

  107. QuietDesperation

    do it ourselves voluntarily (&, yeah, that’s going to be durn hard)

    Population growth in the first world is slowing. I think that was the other poster’s implication. You need to slow it down in places where, as they say in the South, won’t cotton to our meddlin’ ways, especially where the naughty bits are involved.

    Let nature take care of that for us via the usual four horsemen -famine, disease, pestilence and war.

    Well, that’s a happy view of things. So would you actively protest attempts to solve the problems of famine, disease, pestilence and war. Yes, I’m being facetious, but still… I have a hard time accepting things like that as solutions to anything.

    Wasn’t there a fifth horseman? Fear? Or was that just a movie?

    Humans are animals too

    Yes, but we’re sapient, so we’re supposed to be better than animals.

    If its the last resort and things are already headed for apocalpytic catastrophe then I’d rather we tried geoengineering (& we probably will) rather than a worse alternative.

    Well, yeah, but, while not a denier, I don’t buy into the more catastrophic scenarios for now.

    I’d rather we started on attempting to terraform Mars, Venus or someplace else

    OK. Got several quadrillion dollars burning a hole in your pocket? I know terraforming is a big geek meme, but it’s a scale of engineering we just can’t do now, if ever. It’s not just tossing down some bacteria and letting it bake for a while*. Every science fiction I have read about it is enormously overoptimistic.

    There’s also some issues that probably don’t have solutions. Neither Mars or Venus have significant magnetospheres. The light gravity of Mars is not good for atmosphere retention. Honestly, it seems like a (literally) astronomic hassle versus just mass production habitat structures.

    *while = centuries if not millennia**.

    **Why is “millennia” not in Firefox’s dictionary? Weak.

  108. Just one more link Galileo and the “skeptics” who abuse his name~wise.

    Click on my name for it.

    ***

    @ ^ QuietDesperation :

    Wasn’t there a fifth horseman? Fear? Or was that just a movie?

    Could be. Not that I know of though. [Shrugs.]

    Fear interfereing with successful reproduction – yeah that’s been known to happen. ;-)

    Yes, but we’re sapient, so we’re supposed to be better than animals.

    Don’t you mean we’re *supposed* to be sapient? ;-)

    (Kinda tongue-in-cheek but I sometimes wonder ..)

    Got several quadrillion dollars burning a hole in your pocket?

    Ah, if only, if only ..

    Of course, I’m not suggesting I’m able to pay for it myself. Terraforming would be an international global scale project if its ever done which I hope it will be. Yeah it’s a dream but I think a good and worthy one and formerly unthinkably ambitious human dreams have come true before – like flying and going to the Moon frex. ;-)

    Neither Mars or Venus have significant magnetospheres. The light gravity of Mars is not good for atmosphere retention.

    Indeed so but that’s very long term – I did love the vision outlined in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy – and for that matter in Pamela Sargent’s Venus one.

    Can something like their ideas realy be done? I dunno. I hope so.
    Worth trying one distant day when our technology is advanced enough methinks. :-)

  109. I love how the first few comments are relatively short and as you scroll down they evolve into veritable novels. :)

  110. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Lewis : What’s wrong with veritable novels? ;-)

  111. Joseph G

    @#16 Patrick: Some may say that Al Gore’s biggest contribution to climatology was his effort to spread the word to the public about anthropogenic global warming. I would instead argue that his biggest contribution to climatology is helping people recognize internet commenters whose opinions on the matter should be ignored. 95% of people who mention Al Gore in any discussion of climate change will inevitably soon demonstrate they have no clue what the hell they’re talking about.

    Bahaha! I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s such a convenient litmus test.

  112. Al Gore isn’t just irrelevant – he’s passe too. :roll:

    Gore is NOT a climatologist – and the issue was raised many decades before he arrived on the scene.

    Gore’s (2006 FWIW) movie is already well out of date, he hasn’t said much on HIRGO for ages that I’ve heard of (yeah, okay thats not necessarily conclusive since I’m not a big follower of his) and, yeah, if someone spouting his name they are usually not making much of a positive contribution to the debate.

    What is relevant is the overwhelming scientific evidence showing HIRGO is real. Oddly enough, those that raise Gore’s name rarely if ever seem to grasp that salient fact.

    Good rule of thumb # 1 : The more people required for a conspiracy theory to work the less likely it is to be true.

    Good rule of thumb # 2 : The one group of people leats likely to be part of a Conspiracy theory are probably scientists – they tend to be very independently minded, skeptical and non-conformist.

    Good rule of thumb #3 : If your conspiracy theory require basic physics doesn’t work and isn’t so then it’s a lot more likely your Conspiracy Theory is false than the well-established laws of physics are.

    Combine these three rules of thumb with the “argument” that Al Gore somehow has almost all – 97 % – of the climatologists in the world under his thumb promoting and fudging the (oddly remarkably consistent and powerfully convincing) data for nefarious “Dr Evil” type scheme and, well, you do the (metaphorical) maths.

  113. Anchor

    @105, QuietDesperation: What the Nervous Nellies can’t seem to wrap their one-track minds around is that there are also demonstrably huge potential SAVINGS and PROFITS and JOBS as well as BENEFITS in “doing something” about global warming. Like, say, implementing alternative (non-fossil fuel) energy sources, increasing efficiency/reducing waste and restoring as well as protecting the environment.

    Huh??? What’s that you say? There’s DOLLAH$ in it? Well, hell, why didn’t you SAY so?!?What are we waiting for???

    Only severely underimaginative persons cannot see the advantages in keeping one’s property/planet clean, making sure everything runs optimally, being prepared to work hard and invest in a desirable future that improves upon the present. That handicap would cover the Republicans and Tea Partiers, who demonstrate repeatedly that they have hardly any imagination at all, and are proud of it.

  114. Daniel J. Andrews

    Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

    I used to disagree with Dobzhansky’s statement. Then I went back to school and 10 years later realized he was right, I was more than wrong, and that I’d been lied to all those years. Also learned that evolution wasn’t a theory in crisis or on the verge of collapse, but just the opposite.

    Don’t you mean we’re *supposed* to be sapient?

    There was a letter to the journal Nature suggesting, tongue-in-cheek only slightly, that we rename our species.

    An animal that imperils its own future and that of most other life forms and ecosystems does not merit a single ‘sapiens’, let alone the two we now bear.

    nature.com/nature/journal/v476/n7360/full/476282b.html

  115. Daniel J. Andrews

    Re: geoengineering. There’s also the added complexity of the geopolitical realm to deal with. Who pays for the project? Suppose some countries renege on payments, or can’t afford them? Do we stop geoengineering altogether, in which case, we may get years of warming happening within a shorter period of time. What if some countries are negatively affected by the geoengineering while others are positively affected? Which countries get the vote and how do you weight the vote–by economic power or by number of people affected? How do you even measure negative effects of geoengineering vs negative effects of doing nothing?

    Considering the science aspects are complex enough, I can’t see how we could navigate the geopolitics (which could be failure of imagination and knowledge on my part though). Anyone who can do it should get a Nobel prize though.

  116. Daniel J. Andrews

    The editor clearly was pressured by an influential scientist (Trenberth) who received an abject but unnecessary apology.

    Oh, so you’ve seen the apology, have you? And you’ve seen how Trenberth pressured the editor? Please link–Or admit you’re just parroting talking points. Hint: if you do provide a link, read them yourself first because chances are good the link doesn’t actually say what your sources claim it will say.

  117. Joseph G

    @#30. RobT:
    What I don’t get is why Republicans (read TeaParty) are so anti-science. Today, scientific methods and discovery are pretty much required for the US to remain economically relevant in a global economy.

    In some ways I think the end of the Cold War was the tipping point. The “Sputnik Panic” is a good example – at that point, even (especially?) the most right-wing of the right-wingers were enthusiastic about putting huge sums of money into space technology. Now that enemy # 1 is a bunch of religious zealots, apparently high technology isn’t necessary (perhaps religious zealotry on the right, now, is an attempt to fight fire with fire?)

    The exception, of course, would be to either manufacture items at an artificially low price, by paying workers next to nothing, or by having large stockpiles of highly sought after natural resource(s).

    Sounds like a contemporary GOP economic strategy if I ever heard of it. DRILL DRILL DRILL! LESS REGULASHUNZ! STOP KILLING JORBZ!

    Do the Republicans just pick and choose where to apply the scientific method by ignoring it in relation to climate and evolution?

    Sure looks that way.

    @32. John Moore: How much tax money is it going to take to fix GLOBAL WARMING???

    That’s what we call an “argument from adverse consequences.” Neither the consequences of global warming nor the cost of mitigation efforts have any bearing on whether or not it’s happening (and it is).

    I am sure that noone has an answer as to how to fix the problem completely.

    You may be right. Again, though, that’s irrelevant. We’re talking about people outright denying reality. If you want to debate the costs and benefits of different mitigation strategies, that’s another discussion altogether. If you want to say “I believe that doing nothing is the most cost effective strategy,” I’d disagree with you, but that would at least be a valid opinion.
    The problem is, politicians are so used to thinking of reality as something they can shape through rhetoric, they’ve completely forgotten the difference between facts and opinions.
    What is happening = fact.
    What we should do about it = opinion.

    @33. ThatSkepticGuy: Which STILL leaves the Democrats with Anti-Vax and Anti-medical science sentiment, anti-GMO hysteria, homeopathy and other pseudomedicines, 9/11 and JFK conspiracies, Cognitive Behavioral Creationism, Animal “Rights”, Germ Theory denial, New Age Spiritualism . . .

    Believe me, living where I do in a very new-agey California town, I’m very familiar with ridiculous and disgusting wingnuttery from people on the left side of the political spectrum.
    The difference is that most (if not all) of the things you mentioned are extremely fringe positions, and not endorsed by any mainstream Democrat politicians. You’re not going to hear Obama, for example (or any Democrat running against him) pushing homeopathy, or new age spiritualism, or spinning conspiracy theories about vaccines.
    Among the GOP candidates, on the other hand, this anti-science stuff is a majority position. That’s what’s so scary.

  118. Joseph G

    @ 39 Craven: Bwah. I don’t like when Galileo is posed as martyr and hero. He was an ass, he stole other people discoveries, he offended church and pope (at time there were lots of scientists in church, don’t forget Copernicus himself was part of clergy), and untill he started war noone else wanted Copernicus’ work was not a problem….
    (cut)
    …Wanna praise someone? Pick Socrates, Aristoteles, Newton, Feynman, Einstein… Just not Galileo.

    Or Alan Turing, if you’re looking for a more contemporary martyr.
    Galileo is practically a cliche, for that matter. I don’t know why people with an axe to grind against science like Rick Perry never bring Turing up. There’s a great example of a brilliant scientist whose work was unimpeachable, yet was driven to suicide through the political (anti-homosexuality) persecution he was subject- er…
    Oh. I think I just answered my own question.

  119. BlytheG

    Just to be clear, Rep. Paul accepts evolution as a biological process. After all, he majored in biology before attending medical school. When he was asked during the 2008 election cycle about his views, he said he doesn’t accept it as a theory, with emphasis on the fact that evolution has been used to support a worldview without a creator, in the sense of abiogenesis or spontaneous existence (“something” from “nothing”). He elaborated on his position in his latest book:

    “No one person has perfect knowledge as to man’s emergence on this Earth. Yet almost everyone has a strong religious, scientific, or emotional opinion he or she considers gospel. The creationists frown on the evolutionists, and the evolutionists dismiss the creationists as kooky and unscientific. Lost in this struggle are those who look objectively at the scientific evidence for evolution without feeling any need to reject the notion of an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator. My personal view is that recognizing the validity of the evolutionary process does not support atheism nor should it diminish one’s view about God and the universe.”

  120. Dan

    Willful ignorance is considered a positive attribute if you’re running for the GOP nomination.

  121. Joseph G

    @60 Patrick: @55: “True,,,which is one thing I like about humans.”

    So, in other words, if human action eventually makes Earth uninhabitable, you want to preserve the very faults of humanity that led to the pollution of this planet and ship them off along with us when we go to the next. Do you understand how insanely irresponsible that would be? It’s just an interplanetary expansion of the idea that Earth belongs to us and we can do whatever we want with it.

    Here’s where we get into philosophical territory. Personally, I believe that, yes, the Earth is “ours” (I know ownership is a human abstraction, but it’s not like anyone else has claimed the planet, unless perhaps that claim is on file at the local planning office on Alpha Centauri) to do what we choose with. Of course, I also believe that if we choose to make it a barren hellscape, that’d be criminally negligent, not to mention monumentally idiotic.

  122. Joseph G

    @102 QuietDesperation: And to be honest, finding blame isn’t really an unproductive activity. Just ask the NTSB. Sometimes you need to step back and figure out how things went non-linear, and learn from that. Fault analysis is why you can climb into a big pile of metal and igniting jet fuel without too many worries.

    also

    There, now, you see? You’re only seeing the first layer. You’re looking at the smog and declaring that the truth. It’s like the movie Inception, except it’s a Deception. There’s lies within lies within lies. At the bottom is not limbo but the real objective reality where “A is A” finally emerges. The smog gets the little people into spittle mode, and they argue against other little people, and the political class chuckles and goes to another $20,000 a plate fund raiser.

    How are the politicians dysfunctional? They are in power and living it up at the expense of everyone else. It’s all cocktail parties and intern sex and having corporations and sycophants show up with gifts and whores. They are there because they are the personality type that craves power over others. They get off on it. Some might argue they are the most successful and adaptable organisms ever evolved.

    And you can’t even blame the voters because even at the primaries they are presented little more than a list of the most successful local sociopaths as sorted out by the media meat grinder.

    Quoted for truth. Do you have a blog, perchance? :)

    @104 Grimoire:

    >>Then its population control

    Yeah, have fun peddling that in the parts of the world with the highest population growth. I love how it’s all “we do this, then that, and put tab A in slot B and, there, it’s better!” while human and cultural elements are hand waved away.

    True that. I do think we’re moving in the right direction. The overwhelming evidence is that higher levels of education and standard of living among women lead to a substantial drop in birthrate. Political and social reform that empowers women in the developing world will probably do more to stop population growth (at this point) then yelling at people to have fewer kids. I do think there was a time for that, but I think we’re at the point of rapidly diminishing returns. Between programs promoting social equality and programs distributing condoms for disease control, I’m optimistic that the population will stabilize itself without specific population control measures. Whether that’ll happen soon enough, of course, is the debatable bit.

    The other thing that concerns me is the conspiratards, the Alex Joneses out there who see any reference to population control as “OMG! DEYRE GONNA EXTERMINATE PEEPLZ!” Either that or “OMG! DEYRE CONTROLIN THE POPULATSHUN! WHICH IS US! MIND CONTROLONE WORLD GUVMENTFREEMASONSILLUMINATIARGGG!!!11″

  123. Joseph G

    Also, regarding the Bismallah thing – interesting thing from teh Wiki:

    “The Iranian authorities permitted an album of songs by English rock band Queen to be released in Iran in August 2004, partly because the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” contained several exclamations of the word Bismillah.[5] The group’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury, was born in Zanzibar as Farrokh Bulsara to Indian Parsi parents and was proud of his Persian ancestry”

    By the way, do people ever get banninated for making too many posts in a row?
    I hope not :)

  124. Joseph G

    @114 MTU: Gore is NOT a climatologist – and the issue was raised many decades before he arrived on the scene.

    Gore’s (2006 FWIW) movie is already well out of date, he hasn’t said much on HIRGO for ages that I’ve heard of (yeah, okay thats not necessarily conclusive since I’m not a big follower of his) and, yeah, if someone spouting his name they are usually not making much of a positive contribution to the debate.

    I blame the Nobel Prize Committee for a lot of this. I think they were uncomfortable simply giving that 2007 prize to a faceless panel (the IPCC). Don’t even get me started on the Nobel people, their decisions often don’t make any farking sense to me.
    Anyway, I think they added Gore in there simply so there’d be a relatable face – a person to accept the award. Somehow people got the mistaken idea from this that Gore was in any way involved with the IPCC’s activities.

    @107 Libertys Lover: Oh, and carbon dioxide is PLANT FOOD!!!

    So is water. In fact, water is essential to all life. Take comfort in that fact as your house is being washed away by a flood.

  125. QuietDesperation

    Quoted for truth. Do you have a blog, perchance?

    No, sorry. I’m one of the last six people in California still employed.

    Also, I really actually hate politics. The thought of writing about it formally every day makes me want to join a monastery on a mountain top somewhere. I’d be full derpy within a week.

    I do have an idea for a pro-science and engineering site. I’ve just started mucking about with HTML5 stuff, so, who knows.

    Although a site that follows politicians like a nature show follows animals does have some comedy merit. Problem is I’d go after every last one of them regardless of Party or ideology, so I’d have pretty much no friends.

    Actually, I don’t have any now, so no big loss there. :-(

  126. Muzz

    “The evolution vs. creation debate is a pointless exercise that has absolutely no baring on anyone’s life at all whatsoever.”

    … until evolution loses.
    Before you say it can’t, remember any large group of people can vote themselves the power to be as dumb as they like.

  127. John Sandlin

    LibertysLover @ 107 Says:

    Solving the question of the origin of man is not going to fix the economy, or end any of our wars, or close any of the 900 military bases we’ve built in over 150 countries. The evolution vs. creation debate is a pointless exercise that has absolutely no baring on anyone’s life at all whatsoever.
    Oh, and carbon dioxide is PLANT FOOD!!!

    So should we ask biologists and astronomers to use their years of expertise on fixing the economy? Oh, wait, they don’t have any. Might as well let them continue studying biology and astronomy then.

    Carbon dioxide isn’t plant food any more than oxygen is food for animals, but I get your point. The challenge is we keep cutting down and burning and destroying the very plants that are best at consuming Carbon Dioxide: Tropical Rainforest Trees. We go and pave over paradise and next thing you know we don’t have anything natural left to remove CO2 from the air while we keep putting increasing volumes there.

    The Oceans are sinking huge quantities of CO2 and not keeping up (and meanwhile becoming more toxic to sea life). The weather is so messed up we’re getting droughts and floods all at the same time (be nice if there was a way to transport water from New England and the Mid-West to Texas cheaply). The third world is consuming as voraciously as they can, clear cutting old growth forests to make room for crops (and then the soil stops producing and then need even more acreage) and we’re in a vicious cycle that we don’t currently have a way out of.

    The way we’re headed the IPCC will be considered unreasonable optimists.

    jbs

  128. Regner Trampedach

    Patrick @ 46: Hey, – how about that. It would probably take us less than a thousand years to get to planets around other stars: We, the human race, could be known as “Ebola of the planets” – how can you beat that for a reputation.
    Our moms are going to be so proud of us.
    “Always look at the bright side of life…” :-)
    Brent @ 50: It is not the size of the Universe that is the issue (that should be obvious), it is the size of the planets we colonize and the kind of populations we grow to there, that are relevant. Oh, – and, of course, the Earth’s oceans and its atmosphere are so vast we can’t possibly affect in any way.
    Cheers, Regner

  129. Keith Bowden

    Besides the awful movie, the worst part of Gore’s connection to the conversation about HIRGO is that – if he even truly takes it seriously himself – is nothing but a scheming opportunist, cashing in on the “carbon credit” nonsense. It’s his lack of credibility that’s hurting acceptance of the reality of HIRGO.

  130. NASA didn’t lie to you about the moon landings.
    NASA is not lying to you now about climate change.

    There is no global scientific conspiracy out to getcha.

  131. Infinite12Lifer

    Always capitalize the word Life. I have chosen to do so because I can think of nothing more universally connected to people places & other grammatically correct capitalized words such as the word Life. I questioned myself “we’ll,why don’t you just capitalize the words Love, Son, Dog or Science buddy”(being words representing my most kindled thoughts)…& my reply….”eh, why not?” So if its something I deem important enough I do cap those words, however in writing something others will read I only faithfully capitalize the word Life. On the other hand, I prefer to always set words I deem as lowly & presently pathetic such as politics or devil or christianity with the lower case.

  132. tmac57

    @QuietDesperation-

    *while = centuries if not millennia**.

    **Why is “millennia” not in Firefox’s dictionary? Weak.

    Try it with only one ‘N’.

  133. Messier Tidy Upper

    @125. Joseph G :

    By the way, do people ever get banninated for making too many posts in a row? I hope not.

    If they did I’d have been kicked off long ago too because I’ve been known to post lots in row as well. So no. ;-)

    Sometimes, I just have a lot to say and contribute that’s – hopefully – interesting and worth mentioning. Sometimes perhaps I get a bit carried away but c’est la vie. :-)

    @132. Cedric Katesby :

    NASA didn’t lie to you about the moon landings.
    NASA is not lying to you now about climate change.
    There is no global scientific conspiracy out to getcha.

    Exactly. Seconded and quoted for truth.

    Everyone is prepared to trust NASA’s rocket scientists when they build and operate wonders like the Apollo rockets, the Voyager spaceprobes and the Space Shuttles.

    Everyone is prepared to listen to NASA’s flight surgeon when he tells an astronaut is fit for spaceflight or not. Medical doctors generally are people we listen to and respect generally and are acknowledged as experts.

    So why the blazes don’t we extend that principle also to cover NASA’s climatologists who makes an expert analysis of the condition of the climate and the likely consequences of various courses we follow? :-(

    @107. LibertysLover :

    Oh, and carbon dioxide is PLANT FOOD!!!

    Watch this please :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g093lhtpEFo&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=26

    & this one :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca1A2Uw8ask&feature=related

    & see :

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-plant-food.htm

    as well.

    Also consider this – Manure is plant food too. You want to have the right amount of manure in the appropriate spot(s). You don’t want to have too much manure where it is NOT appropriate do you? Do you? ;-)

    Solving the question of the origin of man is not going to fix the economy, or end any of our wars, or close any of the 900 military bases we’ve built in over 150 countries. The evolution vs. creation debate is a pointless exercise that has absolutely no baring on anyone’s life at all whatsoever.

    Y’know, a fair few ecolutionary and other biologists would disagree with that statement. As would those struggling with bacterial resistence and wtriting textbooks and running museums and zoos. Those are people’s livelihoods too.

    The Evolution Vs Creationism debate is irrelevant here. There is some slight tie-in, I suppose, in that many who argue against the science of climatology also argue against evolution and are or vote Republicans but that seems a little off where you appear to be coming from and is at best tangential to the topic at hand.

    Also at a slight tangeant but I note your chosen username “Liberty’s Lover” – do you think I am opposing that liberty – or that most others who accept the science of Global Overheating wish to reduce the amountof liberty we have? Really? :roll:

    If you do then please provide some evidence.

    That’s just not the case. I am a strong advocate for the liberty of speech, freedom of association, movement, expression and other liberties. I don’t see most clclimatologists, oherscientists or even environmentalists as actually opposing these freedoms or wanting ourliberties curtailed. A few on the fringes maybe but NOT most of them.

  134. Infinite123Lifer

    Ahh, after curiously & carefully reading through the original article & thus 132 posts on a tiny cell phone waiting for my dr to finally see me at 5:06pm (despite having a 3:30pm appt time) I was wonderfully frustrated with the extra 96 minutes I had to spare for some good ol’ fashion…er, some “blogging”. After reading all 132 posts in succession I came to the reality (which usually happens if you think about things in terms of ultimates) that the blog conversation seemed to be disrupting most peoples intended direction in Life (even if it is just a blog). For it is the …..(do I or dont I capitalize Present Moment)…see, if Life is the ultimate connection between the observable experiences than that exists in the Present Moment which is coincidentally, so far as Life exists quite possibly the only place it exists. Of course this way of thinking is not immune to many arguments; such as, if one were to buy on ebay the new “Back to the Future” Nikes for a couple grand then perhaps Life could exist in 2 seperate Present Moments….however noting that if you travel back in time you would undergo a series of Present Moments in reaching another time period.

    This might all sound crazy but so is the obvious mistakes millions of people continue to make. We are products of environment existing individually upon a set of experience. politics, devil, the state of religion as divided without science & wonder & believe & dream working in unison.

    In the future I may actually offer hypothesis & evidence & data in support of my opinions as I may believe them to be simple hypthesis centered around more universally connected theorems both historical and hypothetical in regards to the subject matter.

    & actually….I think I might have ended that 132 post spiegel about what I know to be…for now….the neverending story of government and their peoples.

    Mission Accomplished.

    “Its the size of Texas Mr. President”………….props to the iceberg blog post #…if forgot.

  135. Infinite123Lifer

    I did not mean to refer to things as presently pathetic. As a human I tried carefully to define my explanations. My judgements ultimately do me no good I think….however my gut feelings do. World Peace….less bickering, more problem solving.

  136. Joseph G

    @127 QuietDesperation: Nuts on you not having a blog – I’d definitely put it in my faves. I understand about going crazy, though – I used to intern at a talk radio station. At first I enjoyed being in this atmosphere of rhetoric and debate, but after awhile it just sounded like a bunch of kids bickering.

    I like your “Wild Kingdom: Homo Politicus” idea. I’d love to collaborate on something like that.
    As far as pissing off people across the political spectrum, well, I think that’s necessary now more then ever. And one thing I learned from radio – if you piss people off, they’ll keep reading/listening. Why? I have no idea.

  137. Foraminifera

    Patrick #60 wrote:

    “So, in other words, if human action eventually makes Earth uninhabitable, you want to preserve the very faults of humanity that led to the pollution of this planet and ship them off along with us when we go to the next.”

    First of all it is going to take a lot of effort to make this world completely uninhabitable.
    Secondly it will most likely be so far in the future when we go trying to colonise other extrasolar worlds, that those responsible for global warming( all of us in fact, since most of our domestic activities pump out CO2 ) will be long dead.

    “It’s just an interplanetary expansion of the idea that Earth belongs to us and we can do whatever we want with it.”

    Of course we can do what we like with worlds as there is no one to stop us that we know of; its the effect of what we do that matters. If we’re putting our lives at risk then we’d better change our ways.

  138. Infinite123Lifer

    After gaining some reflection time & getting to a computer where I can actually type and read previous posts with the slightest of hinderances in comparison/compare-a-sense to typing on a vividly weak cell phone my 1st 2 blogs; I have come to the conclusion that my original 3 posts MUST be modified. However, I am unable to do so at this time. It appears posts 133 136 & 137 all were posted less than 24 hours ago. I will read the rules in full first thing finishing this post.

    Rather than correct everything I did not phrase correctly………..in my rookie debut here

    I shall offer this.

    The topic of Headline is…Republican candidates, global warming, evolution and reality…

    Reality is the part of the conversation I was here for.
    Sure Republican candidates, AGW & Evolution are incredibly debatable and our very existence for everything and on everything relies upon our species ability to debate and more importantly usually following a debate….reason.
    When we converge our observations to build a picture for each of our human brains we can imagine with little difficulty just the raw phenomenal perception of “what could happen if a being were to “permanently leave its homeworld” to “leave home worlds” and explore the/their surrounding environment with relative ease”. This idea is a fantastically probably & likely improbably mathmatical possibility plausibly improbable which I believe has a 0%-approaching infintiy chance to play out somewhen, sometime and somewhere…………..in other words, “who am I to really know, but based on my gut, based on my information based on the calculated size of the observable universe, I would bet 2 fingers on my left hand against a million dollars that it will happen eventually and more than likely is happening somewhere sometime somewhen”.

    So if this is a discussion of “Republican candidates, global warming, evolution and reality” then all this speculation about who or when we should go into space at some future date or if it is possible is all excellent stuff, but looks look at the reality. Here are the 4.

    Galileo…..”got outvoted for a spell”……..er, k, uh, .Republican candidates down

    Global Warming…. The Earth warmed before we were here and cooled and warmed and cooled. The Globe warms more now. Some elements of a warming Earth have been demonstrated. Our Oceans give us vast information and detail about the health of our planet…..(health speaking in terms of what would be ideal for the health of the presently living creatures and things on its surface in largely vast over-run land masses).

    Evolution is a wonderful word for such an extraordinary realization. I absolutely love the topic of what came first The God or The Evolution of Things. And my favorite is the explanation from various sorts have concluded that if a God did create the Universe…..he certainly would have been so cleverly Godly. How would you like to take a mathematics course or physics or chemistry course taught by God….oh wow, could you imagine….the closest thing we have is the evidence of our surroundings…Good enough for me. I am sold. I think it would be ok to say that Evolution could be the polar opposite of entropy…though entropy will always win out,,,,,,,,,,what is entropy really up to? I think they compliment each other nicely.

    And Reality, well I have stated far to much of what i believe to be reality thusly perhaps incoherent to some or most or all. A few lines in previous posts a bit to……..preachy? opinionated? Well, see, thats what I am not sure of, with a topic of Reality following republican candidates, GW, and Evolution I just cant help but to think that at lest we are talking about something truly important here.
    The reality of just what are people doing today to improve their surroundings; or perhaps a better line of questioning is “whose degrading our surrounding?, how do i contribute to that degradation, how can i change it”. Having Nationalized high-funded …….debates? arguments? popularity contests?….. its so confusing. What is the Reality of the democratic America, what is the Reality of the Human Condition, what is the Reality of our future our Planet and its Living?

    The reality is that these things are what they are. With some hard work and luck hopefully enough like-minded sensible and perhaps daringly visionary people will gather together to come up with a solution for the worlds major problems( I should beg to think that GREED is at the top of that list)…excuse me the “living’s” greatest problems.

    Hopefully during this time each of us shall continue to experience Life in the Present Moment with all the pressures of negativity surrounding perhaps what is our most basic and pressing and sensible issues: not Republican or Democratic or Independent candidates, but The Candidates, the greatest of us for the positions…see its not the party which is important, its the Candidate it should be the Choice. All of history has prided itself on one thing…People making Choices. Democracy offers a choice to change something. The potency of Global Warming offers us a glimpse and like so many other potential disasters prepares us by letting us know that its time to make choices and take responsible action. Evolution begs me to make choices within myself based on how I got here and how my children exist. Reality…well, the reality is that I cant see a world coming together without bridging the gaps between all things unbridgeable. Thus, it is imperative that all bridges be built and never in need of burning. The reality is until Republican candidates, evolution and reality all work together among countless others & good ol’ Global Warming/Mother Nature/Gaia lets us hang out for a while longer than we would still always be experiencing Life in the Present Moment where choices are made constantly if not consistently self approved.

    But I fear the rich and the powerful do not dare to explore such “nonsensical babble”, perhaps even the reasonable people cannot follow.

    I must read the rules now. I fear I have gone on to far at the inappropriate place. However, I often wonder. I wonder extraordinarily. I wonder what changes the future shall bring.

  139. Bill Stewart

    The Republican Party is pushing the anti-evolution message for two main reasons:
    – It pushes the buttons of the religious conservatives and keeps them supporting the political conservatives, instead of going out and feeding the hungry, healing the sick, freeing the prisoners, and loving their enemies, which are all dangerous activities that might lead to liberalism. (If you don’t think liberals don’t have big well-marked buttons, try talking about abortion some time.) The evangelicals figured out in the mid-2000s that the Republican Party was mostly just using them, without actually caring about their values, but they seem to have been brought back into the fold. In general, it says “Hey, we’re the authoritarians you want to believe about everything.”

    – Promoting anti-science values in evolution makes it easier to promote anti-science values about the environment, and that’s something the Republican Party’s Corporate Sponsors actually do care about. They’re making money selling oil, selling coal, selling cars, selling heavy industrial products, and selling products which produce toxic waste in their manufacturing processes, and they don’t want anybody threatening to mess with that. They thought Al Gore was a really scary dude, and had to stop the anti-global warming movement.

    There are other reasons they find it useful to have a large chunk of the public in the habit of disbelieving things they should realize are true. It’s easier to run a war if your enemies are EEEEVILLL terrorists. Conservatives usually believe in respecting and blindly following their leaders, especially the President, but as long as he’s a Socialist Commie Anti-Colonialist Kenyan Not Born In America, it’s easier to keep following the Republicans you trust and not the President who’s a Democrat.

    The big corporations do need people who know and understand science to develop technologies to make money – but there’ll always be plenty of them around, even if they make it unpopular for half the population. So they’re not worried about that, and they also need customers, and people to work as retail clerks and telephone sanitizers and hamburger-flippers.

    And besides, CO2 has what plants crave!

  140. réalta fuar

    Being anti-science is a litmus test for serious Republican presidential candidates, just as is being against any new taxes on anyone (even though the U.S. has the lowest personal taxes among any of the world’s top economic powers, and the lowest in 50 years on the middle-class, about 70 years for the wealthy). Mutt (hey, it’s a better sounding name than his real one) Romney and Jon Huntsman are both smart enough to know when they’re forced to spout nonsense, but not strong enough morally to stop themselves from doing it.

  141. Infinite123Lifer

    Nicely discussed. Iam taking notes on form & ettiquette does & donts

  142. Nigel Depledge

    LibertysLover (107) said:

    Solving the question of the origin of man is not going to fix the economy, or end any of our wars, or close any of the 900 military bases we’ve built in over 150 countries.

    Did anyone ever claim it would?

    The evolution vs. creation debate is a pointless exercise that has absolutely no baring on anyone’s life at all whatsoever.

    Two words for you – antibiotic resistance. (Not the only reason, but it’s a reasonable starting point.)

    Oh, and carbon dioxide is PLANT FOOD!!!

    So what? It has been shown that, while photosynthesis increases at modest increases of [CO2], larger increases of [CO2] actually decrease the rate of photosynthesis.

    And never mind that the rate of plant growth is almost always found to be limited by some factor other than available CO2.

  143. Nigel Depledge

    Blythe G (121) said:

    Just to be clear, Rep. Paul accepts evolution as a biological process. After all, he majored in biology before attending medical school.

    And if he understood his lectures, he should not accept it as a mere “biological process”, but as the unifying cncept that explains every other part of biology.

    When he was asked during the 2008 election cycle about his views, he said he doesn’t accept it as a theory,

    So, he is anti-reality after all.

    with emphasis on the fact that evolution has been used to support a worldview without a creator,

    This is a strawman. Evolution means a creator is not necessary to explain the diversity of life that we observe, taking the existence of life as a given. Abiogenesis research attempts to explain how life began, but evolution will have occured even if life on Earth was started by a creator-god.

    Very few, if any, atheists have ever suggested that evolution supports the notion of no god. What evolution really did was permit it (prior to 1859, the complexity and diversity of life was often cited as “evidence” for a creator-god).

    in the sense of abiogenesis or spontaneous existence (“something” from “nothing”).

    More strawman argumentation. Evolution does not need the absence of a creator-god to be true. Darwin himself, in On the Origin of Species tacitly assumed that life on Earth was divinely created, but as one or a few forms in the distant past.

    He elaborated on his position in his latest book:

    “No one person has perfect knowledge as to man’s emergence on this Earth. Yet almost everyone has a strong religious, scientific, or emotional opinion he or she considers gospel.

    This is an outright lie.

    That we descended from an ape-like ancestor is as close to fact as anything ever gets. In terms of the fine details, however, scientific opinion is divided and tentative. Conversely, there are some deeply religious folks who are convinced that the sequence of events that gave rise to humans probably matches what science has discovered. The official position of the Anglican Church, for example, is that of theistic evolution (that evolution was essentially god’s toolkit for arriving at the present diversity of life). In the interest of brevity I’ll leave this point there, but there’s plenty more to it than this.

    The creationists frown on the evolutionists, and the evolutionists dismiss the creationists as kooky and unscientific.

    Well, this is kind-of true, but it fails to acknowledge that – as far as anyone can tell – the findings of science are true. And even if evolutionary theory is in some way wrong, we have enough evidence to know with confidence that it is at least a good approximation to how biology works.

    Lost in this struggle are those who look objectively at the scientific evidence for evolution without feeling any need to reject the notion of an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator.

    Not really. This includes some of the most involved figures in the “creation vs evolution” argument. They have hardly been “lost in this struggle”. I don’t remember any names off the top of my head, because to me it doesn’t matter whether someone is religious or not, as long as the argument they make is right. Creationists invariably make wrong arguments.

    My personal view is that recognizing the validity of the evolutionary process does not support atheism nor should it diminish one’s view about God and the universe.”

    This is just a weasel phrase, without any real meaning.

    Evolution permits atheism without supporting it. However, accepting that evolution is true (or at least a good approximation to truth) means that Occam’s razor leads one to at least a position of functional atheism (either the assumption that there’s probably no god, or the assumption that whether or not there is a god, it is irrelevant in day-to-day life). The only position of believing in a creator-god that is consistent with what we have discovered about reality is that of theistic evolution, and more specifically the “hands-off” version of theistic evolution in which an omnipotent and omniscient creator set everything up in the beginning and has had no subsequent need to tinker with creation.

  144. Nigel Depledge

    Joseph G (123) said:

    Here’s where we get into philosophical territory. Personally, I believe that, yes, the Earth is “ours” (I know ownership is a human abstraction, but it’s not like anyone else has claimed the planet, unless perhaps that claim is on file at the local planning office on Alpha Centauri) to do what we choose with. Of course, I also believe that if we choose to make it a barren hellscape, that’d be criminally negligent, not to mention monumentally idiotic.

    There are several different answers to this.

    1. We are borrowing the planet from our children.

    2. What about all the other organisms that live on Earth? Could not the Earth be said also to belong to dolphins, orang-utans, lemurs, iguanas, bees, sequoias, kelp, diatoms, Euglena, Staphylococcus etc.?

    3. What about the mice? (Yes, this is a literary allusion.)

  145. QuietDesperation

    if you piss people off, they’ll keep reading/listening. Why? I have no idea.

    That came up in a survey when Howard Stern was still on terrestrial radio. I think at one point slightly more people listening claimed to hate the guy than like him, and when asked why they listen to someone they dislike, they said, “because I want to hear what he says next.”

  146. QuietDesperation

    Could not the Earth be said also to belong to dolphins, orang-utans, lemurs, iguanas, bees, sequoias, kelp, diatoms, Euglena, Staphylococcus etc.?

    They’re welcome to challenge us for dominance. Until then, no.

    Keep an eye on those bees, though. Shifty little b@stards…

  147. Chris Winter

    John Moore wrote (#32): How much tax money is it going to take to fix GLOBAL WARMING????”

    Based on history, I can assure you that it will cost a lot less than people though it would going in. Part of the reason for this is that fixing global warming fixes other problems too. But part of it is because certain people hike up their estimates of the cost so far that they can fairly be called fearmongers.

    Also, as others have pointed out upthread, doing nothing about global warming will cost a lot more in the long run. Look up the Stern Report from 2006; it’s online. It found that doing nothing will be about five times as costly.

  148. Chris Winter

    Scott B wrote (#37): “The responses here show much of a waste of time it is to try to say anything reasonable here that doesn’t 100% buy in to the IPCC. Fact is there’s a lot of uncertainty around AGW, there are political forces at play helping to ensure that anything that may raise doubts around the IPCC’s conclusions is kept out of the literature…”

    This is mirth-making. There are hundreds of people raising doubts about global warming. There’s even a professional cadre that, collectively, is being paid millions of dollars to spread such doubts. The good news is that there aren’t as many people, or as much money, as there were a few years ago.

    But, when it comes to scientifically verifiable doubts, the picture is far different. You can be sure that if anyone had any solid objection, he would be listened to. In fact, if his objection proved true, he probably would wind up with the world at his feet.

    So the absence of any such disproof of global warming should tell you no one has any information that will hold up to scientific scrutiny.

  149. I don’t understand their rapid insistence on denying Global Warming.

    I mean, really, what is the big deal? The Earth is getting warmer and its cause by human activity. It’s seems like a simple enough idea.

    If you want a political or philosophical debate, then debate on what, if anything, we should be doing about it. Now you have an actual debate.

  150. Darth,

    Deciding what to do about the climate should be a priority, agreed. But the reason the climate change deniers are deniers has little to do with the desire for debate. After all, they ignore basic aspects of reality and commonly regurgitate terrible fallacies over and over again.

    Rather, what I believe is happening is that deniers fall into two camps.

    The first is obvious: those who have an interest in burning fossil fuels, like Exxon (who funded the CEI’s “CO2 is life” propaganda and who pressured Bush Jr. to oust the IPCC chairman in 2002, as leaked White House documents reveal). Exxon are just an example; too many others to mention…

    The other bunch of deniers have their opposition rooted in ideology. This is why ideologies, and religious beliefs, can be so destructive. Ideologies and religion get people to assume a priori something about the world, irrespective of whether there is any evidence for it. Such assumptions, being a priori, will not budge after this point, irrespective of evidence, facts, logic…

    To take an example, imagine some die-hard libertarian. The a priori assumption is that always and in every conceivable situation government influence on individuals is immoral or pernicious. This assumption is unshakable. It follows that since governments attempt to influence people, governments are immoral and pernicious. And from this it follows that their attempts to influence people over climate must be immoral and pernicious,and also deceitful (what else to expect from an immoral government, right?). Therefore, irrespective of any scientific evidence, climate change is simply either plain wrong, or a hoax/conspiracy. Add to this that governments finance scientific research and the whole nonsense picture is complete: governments are paying scientists to lie in order to control the populace. And that’s exactly what the libertarian deniers (e.g. Ron Paul) claim.
    After this, I think that probably the personal determination of each denier to be right about this makes them far more likely to believe and vehemently assert anything at all they hear that sounds like a plausible (to them) ‘debunking’ of climate science. So they repeat pseudoscientific nonsense all over each other.

    Note that the promotion of science could undermine the thing in two places. Firstly, science stresses the importance of examining evidence before coming to believe anything about the world. That directly opposes the a priori ideological or religious assumptions deniers make. Secondly, a more scientifically literate population will be more resistant to the pseudoscience, whose PR effects have been devastating; it has stalled many an attempt to pass imporant, urgent measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

    Finally, I’ll just point out that it’s possible for one individual to belong to both camps. He/she could deny climate for ideological reasons and profit from it personally as well.

    Luke

  151. From comment 107:

    “The evolution vs. creation debate is a pointless exercise that has absolutely no baring on anyone’s life at all whatsoever.

    “Oh, and carbon dioxide is PLANT FOOD!!!”

    ————————–

    1. Evolution underpins all the biological sciences, including modern medicine. If it’s not taught it will make a huge difference: an entire generation of kids will grow up indoctrinated with false, pseudoscientific garbage beliefs, unable to participate in advancing human knowledge and understanding of the world we live in nor in creating new benefits for humankind. That’s hardly of no significance “to anyone’s life at all whatsoever”.

    2. CO2 is used by plants, but the comment completely ignores huge parts of basic reality. Like that CO2 causes the global temperatures to rise (that’s just basic physics) and that with such increases in temperature there will be more desertification, which means fewer places plants can grow, which means less CO2 absorption, which means the whole problem will get worse, and worse and worse. And along with it huge amounts of biodiversity will either perish or migrate (mostly perish), including due to the acidification of ocean water that CO2 causes. CO2 might be plant food, but the plants we have aren’t even able to take up all the CO2 we’re producing, and the result is environmental devastation, and evermore research continues to show.

  152. Infinite123Lifer

    In regards to Luke Scientiae #154:

    I believe the first paragraph explaining the importance of teaching Evolution, among other subjects being essential to the development of mankind through the development of our next generations education to be amazingly exact.

    I am not a history expert by any means and this may not be true: but I believe the russians refused to teach generations of children about specific aspects of molecular medicine and biology which were not accepted in the country at the time. According to the fictional book Contact i read by Carl Sagan at least. And that this caused a significant set-back for russian students who sought to become global leaders in an amazingly complex area of molecular and biological science. I do not know if this is true or not…However

    It is easy to imagine and has been countlessly documented that lore/religous law/lies/beliefs/ and many other mutant variations of “reality” have outweighed solid proof for as long as man has recorded history.

    The truth must always be told. If the fossil record is proof among other things it should be taught. If a man or a woman or a child believes in something divine it should be discussed. All elements of human Life need to be discussed.

    A pointless exercise is assuming you have one, and another pointless exercise is to believe that you know what has absolutely baring or no baring on ANYONES life at all whatsoever. Because there are A LOT of anyones.

    And Nigel #146, thank you for the rundown. Its important to know and correctly define the working elements of a position with so many “unknowns”. I hope they are precise enough.

  153. Infinite123Lifer

    And LukeScientiae #153 thank you for the rundown. Its important to know and correctly define the working elements of a position with so many “unknowns”. I hope they are precise enough.

  154. Nigel Depledge

    Quiet Desperation (149) said:

    They’re welcome to challenge us for dominance. Until then, no.

    Staphylococcus (for example) already outnumber us by about 1,000,000 to 1. How much more dominant could they get?

  155. Nigel Depledge

    Infinite123Lifer (155) said:

    I am not a history expert by any means and this may not be true: but I believe the russians refused to teach generations of children about specific aspects of molecular medicine and biology which were not accepted in the country at the time. According to the fictional book Contact i read by Carl Sagan at least. And that this caused a significant set-back for russian students who sought to become global leaders in an amazingly complex area of molecular and biological science. I do not know if this is true or not…However

    Yeah, look up “Lysenko”.

    IIRC, he was the top biologist in the Stalinist USSR, and he denied evolution. Denial of evolution therefore became the party line. Lysenko’s agricultural policies led to widespread famine in the USSR before he was kicked out.

  156. Nigel Depledge

    Quiet Desperation (149) said:

    Could not the Earth be said also to belong to dolphins, orang-utans, lemurs, iguanas, bees, sequoias, kelp, diatoms, Euglena, Staphylococcus etc.?

    They’re welcome to challenge us for dominance. Until then, no.

    I’ve had an additional thought about this comment.

    You seem to be saying that, simply because we can exploit the Earth and everything that lives on it, we therefore should do so. What is so unreasonable about respecting other forms of life, and perhaps even granting them a right to exist?

  157. Nigel Depledge

    Gary Ansorge (53) said:

    Put a batch of yeast in a container of sugar/water and they will quite happily breed until their own waste (alcohol) kills them.

    Actually, Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a lot more cunning than that.

    Once their bacterial rivals are undetectable (i.e., after the alcohol has killed them off), they switch from metabolising sugar into alcohol to taking in the alcohol they previously excreted and using it as a carbon source. This is one reason why the Carlsbergensis strain is so valuable (it is more amenable to doing what we want it to do).

  158. vtKPO

    Why are you even bringing politics into this debate? Politics and science don’t mix. I also wouldn’t get so offended when people are skeptical about science, even science changes from time to time. Also, can you show me where to find this stat?
    “Especially when going up against the overwhelming evidence compiled by a consensus of 97% of scientists who study climate as their career.”

  159. Chris Winter

    That figure of 97% consensus on climate science comes from a study for the National Academy of Sciences. Wikipedia says:

    A 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analysed “1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers”.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy#On_the_assertion_of_consensus

    The abstract of the PNAS paper is here:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.abstract

    See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

  160. Nigel Depledge

    vtKPO (161) said:

    Why are you even bringing politics into this debate? Politics and science don’t mix.

    Phil did not bring politics into it. That’d be the politicians who are lying about science who’ve done that. Perhaps you should write to your representatives and ask them to keep their noses out of science instead of whining at Phil.

    I also wouldn’t get so offended when people are skeptical about science, even science changes from time to time.

    Two points here:

    First, scepticism is fine, but the point of view of many Rep candidates is not scepticism – it is denial. A sceptic is open to being persuaded by the evidence. The evidence on – for example – AGW and evolution is overwhelmingly that the scientific consensus is correct. Even if we are wrong in some way, our present understanding is at least a good approximation to the truth. In the case of evolution, a very, very good approximation. We know this because of the amount of study that has been done so far – if our ideas about how the world works in these fields were wrong, we would already know by now. Thus, anyone still claiming to doubt the reality of these phenomena is not a sceptic – they are a denier (or have been duped by the deniers).

    Second, science does change from time to time, but so what? It changes from wrong ideas to right ones (or at least, those that are more closely in accord with all the evidence). And some ideas are so firmly supported by all of the relevant evidence that it is unreasonable to continue to doubt them. The only reasonable position to adopt in such cases is to assume that they are true unless evidence comes to light to cast doubt on them. You seem to have no problem with assuming that quantum mechanics is true (or, at least, you have no problem with using a device that uses our understanding of quantum mechanics as part of its fundamental operation). Why not so also for evolution and AGW?

    Frankly, I am getting bored of people claiming to be “sceptical” of the science when what they really mean is one of the following:

    1. Evolution contradicts what my church leaders have told me, and my faith is not strong enough to survive if my church leaders are wrong, so I therefore reject evolution.
    2. If I accept AGW as real, then I’ll have to start feeling guilty about all of the damage I’ve done to the environment so far in my life, and will have to make some changes to do something about it, and these are things I don’t want to do, so therefore I reject AGW.

    The deeper version of (2) is “my corporation makes billions annually by selling coal / oil (delete as applicable) to be burnt for its energy. Acknowledging the truth of AGW will hurt my bottom line, so I will do everything I can to keep at least some doubt in the minds of as many people as I can.”

  161. Bernard Kirzner, M.D.

    Nigel Depledge is right.

    It is useless to argue reasonably with deniers.

    They have reasons other than logic for their opinions and beliefs, whether as a protection against literal interpretation of the bible (evolution vs. Creationism/”Intelligent Design) or to protect big business who finance the deniers.

    (see “Is America allergic to global warming?” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2041576/Republican-denialism-grows-climate-change-splitting-voters-party-lines.html)

    If one remembers all the money spent on confusing the issues around the detrimental effects of smoking, then the global warming “debate” makes more sense. It is not in the energy industries’ best short term gain to support scientific fact, so scientific facts and conclusions must be questioned and confused.

    The solution is to stop arguing the truth, it won’t be heard by deniers.

    The solution is to work like hell to get younger, and also Medicare/Social Security dependent elders, i.e. the statistically more liberal voters to vote and elect a more reasonable congress to pass reasonable scientifically respectful legislation.

    At least Obama won’t veto scientifically accurate legislation. Right? Right? Like the clean air standards issue? Right?

  162. Randall Scott

    I am a scientist that has done the research and experimentation. I was also a staunch Republican at one time. My findings clearly show that mankind’s massive aquatic thermal contribution is actually a greater contributing factor linked to global warming, climate change, and the rapid decline in the planetary ice, than the atmospheric CO2 accumulation. This massive unnatural thermal contribution has accumulated, because the oceans have a predominant inwards direction of conduction. __Most of us have heard the mainstream scientific community, focused on CO2’s alone, openly admit in documentaries that the planetary ice was melting over ten times faster that their CO2 related predictions. I’ve been able to duplicate that very same advanced rate, simply by neutralizing the presence of a downwards direction of conduction within the water that the test ice was floating in. Which is exactly what humanities aquatic thermal build-up has been doing within our planets colder regions, where the downwards direction of conduction is the most vulnerable to such a massive low level thermal accumulation. __Very few people actually understand the thermal dynamics of the oceans, because very few people had ever seriously felt the need to look into it or seriously consider it, because everyone was simply taking it for granted, most likely due to its size and volume. But lets consider the fact that we’ve over fished it, when we didn’t think we could. And we’ve cluttered it with our garbage, when we thought that also couldn’t happen. Hell there islands of trash the size of texas out there, which some stupid scientists have stated are simply to big to clean up. I say its obviously time to create an international aquatic waste management system. Which should require that all sea going vessels be accountable for their volume of garbage. We can develop collection sights along main routes. Trash can be dumped over the side, if contained in marked floating nets, where collection vessels can collect it, weigh it, and bill the shipping company that dumped it. __Its time that Republicans get on board with the very serious concerns surrounding global warming, because if they don’t we all might be facing a far greater expense if we wait. My experiments also clearly show that this condition is accelerating, due to the decline in the cooling potential that the deep water ice and snow packs provided. As the cooling potential drops the heating potential increases, due to the fact that there is no reduction in the suns solar contribution, thus we have continuous thermal gains, as the cooling potential continues to decline, creating this steady warming trend, which has a huge effect upon climate. In order to bring back a thermal balance, we must utilize aquatic thermal venting/cold spotting, by erecting massive ocean based solar structures, fresh water collection structures, as well as desert based elevated solar structures, that allow crops to be grown under them, creating a profit from the efforts, while also creating a substantial cooling effect, by absorbing the normal solar contribution over that given area. Such efforts are all cost effective, though the funding might be very slow due to politics as usual. This is why I also believe that we need to create an international funding agency that would fund such unforeseen emergency or environmental efforts, while also protecting the economic stability of every involved nation, due to the agency also housing that debt. I know that this idea will stir emotions among the wealthy, but once the projects start to turn a profit, I’m certain that they will then be quite interested in purchasing those investments, thus absorbing the IFA’s debt.

  163. Randall Scott

    With such growing evidence, we no longer have the ability to deny this reality. No one has spoken about humanities massive aquatic thermal contribution, until now. Because few people knew that the oceans had a predominant inwards direction of conduction, which normally accounts for about 90 plus percent of the upper surface area taking in more thermal energy than it releases, thus exposing the fact that the aquatic environment simply cannot handle a massive unnatural thermal contribution, as large as humanities, without having an accumulation develop. This is the result of vessels have a water cooled engine. Deforestation, coastal cities dumping their thermal waste into the aquatic environment, through the sewers. Agriculture along the shores. Nuclear power planets along the shores, the industral or corperate invasion of those looking to harvest the conduction value of the oceans to vent off collected thermal waste. From weapons or explosives testing in the waters, etc… There is a very long list of contributing factors that can be reduced, restricted, or better managed, as long as methods are also put into place to compensate for those thermal contributions that continue. Harvesting thermal energy from above thermal vents can be done in an environmentally safe fashion. Last be not least. Research also suggests that extracting oil from under the sea floor, might be increasing the considered normal rate in which thermal energy is being transferred from the hotter planet surface into the colder ocean waters. We must require that the oil industry insure that this isn’t happening. Which they must do by testing both new wells, as well as older nearly dry wells. The research suggests that the detectable increase in thermal exchange isn’t all that apparent until the oil well has began extracting the second half of the wells over all volume. Some wells are different, thus they all need to be tested and limited, until accurate readings have been taken.

  164. Randall Scott

    Republicans really should get on board, because of the very lucrative investment potential that these cooling, cold spotting, electrical generating, and fresh water collection projects would provide, while counteracting humanities many unnatural thermal contributions.

  165. Randall Scott

    People start talking about aquatic warming. Because to few people understand its effects.

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