Extremists More Willing To Share Their Opinions, Study Finds

From Ohio State University, an explanation for the existence of bloggers like Joe Romm and why many moderate scientists don’t speak out. There’s even “fake data” involved.

I’ve seen this phenomenon of extreme views being the most vocal in my own hometown of Chico, where a small vocal group of people often hold sway of the city council because they are the ones that show up up regularly to protest, well, just about anything. The council, seeing this regular vocal feedback, erroneously concludes that the view accurately represents the majority of city residents. The result is a train wreck, and the council sits there scratching their heads wondering why after making such decisions, they get their ears burned off by people unhappy with the decision. Bottom line, we all need to be more active in the public input process if we want decisions to be accurately reflected.


COLUMBUS, Ohio – People with relatively extreme opinions may be more willing to publicly share their views than those with more moderate views, according to a new study.

The key is that the extremists have to believe that more people share their views than actually do, the research found.

Kimberly Rios Morrison

The results may offer one possible explanation for our fractured political climate in the United States, where extreme liberal and conservative opinions often seem to dominate.

“When people with extreme views have this false sense that they are in the majority, they are more willing to express themselves,” said Kimberly Rios Morrison, co-author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University.

How do people with extreme views believe they are in the majority?  This can happen in groups that tend to lean moderately in one direction on an issue.  Those that take the extreme version of their group’s viewpoint may believe that they actually represent the true views of their group, Morrison said.

One example is views about alcohol use among college students.

In a series of studies, Morrison and her co-author found that college students who were extremely pro-alcohol were more likely to express their opinions than others, even though most students surveyed were moderate in their views about alcohol use.

“Students who were stridently pro-alcohol tended to think that their opinion was much more popular than it actually was,” she said.  “They seemed to buy into the stereotype that college students are very comfortable with alcohol use.”

Morrison conducted the study with Dale Miller of Stanford University.  Their research appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.


People with more extreme liberal views in the community may be more likely than others to attend publicly visible protests and display bumper stickers espousing their liberal views, because they think the community supports them.


The studies were done at Stanford University, which had a policy of prohibiting alcohol usage in common areas of all freshman dorms.  In the first study, 37 students were asked to rate their own views about this policy on a scale from 1 (very strongly opposed) to 9 (very strongly in favor).

The average student’s views were near the mid-point of the scale — but most rated the typical Stanford student as more pro-alcohol than themselves.

“There’s this stereotype that college students are very pro-alcohol, and even most college students believe it,” Morrison said.  “Most students think of themselves as less pro-alcohol than average.”

In the next two studies, students again rated themselves on similar scales that revealed how pro-alcohol they were.  They were then asked how willing they would be to discuss their views on alcohol use with other Stanford students.

In general, students who were the most pro-alcohol were the most likely to say they wanted to express their views, compared to those with moderate or anti-alcohol views.

However, in one study the researchers added a twist: they gave participants fake data which indicated that other Stanford students held relatively conservative, anti-alcohol views.

When extremely pro-alcohol students viewed this data, they were less likely to say they were willing to discuss alcohol usage with their fellow students.

“It is only when they have this sense that they are in the majority that extremely pro-alcohol students are more willing to express their views on the issue,” Morrison said.

However, students who had more extreme anti-alcohol views were not more likely to want to express their views, even when they saw the data that suggested a majority of their fellow students agreed with them.

“Their views that they are in the minority may be so deeply entrenched that it is difficult to change just based on our one experiment,” she said.  “In addition, they don’t have the experience expressing their opinions on the subject like the pro-alcohol extremists do, so they may not feel as comfortable.”

This finding shows that not all extremists are more willing to share their opinions – only those who hold more extreme versions of the group’s actual views.

These results have implications for how Americans view the political opinions of their communities and their political parties, Morrison said.

Take as an example a community that tends to be moderate politically, but leans slightly liberal.

People with more extreme liberal views in the community may be more likely than others to attend publicly visible protests and display bumper stickers espousing their liberal views, because they think the community supports them.

“Everyone else sees these extreme opinions being expressed on a regular basis and they may eventually come to believe their community is more liberal than it actually is,” Morrison said.  “The same process could occur in moderately conservative communities.

“You have a cycle that feeds on itself: the more you hear these extremists expressing their opinions, the more you are going to believe that those extreme beliefs are normal for your community.”

A similar process may occur in groups such as political parties.  Moderately conservative people who belong to the Republican Party, for example, may believe that people with extremely conservative views represent their party, because those are the opinions they hear most often.  However, that may not be true.

Morrison said when she and her colleagues were thinking about doing this study, they had in mind the phrase about the “silent majority” in the United States, which was popularized by President Richard Nixon and his vice-president, Spiro Agnew.  They referred to the silent majority as the people who supported the war in Vietnam, but who were overshadowed by the “vocal minority” against the war.

While there may not be one monolithic silent majority in the United States, Morrison said this study suggests that the minority may indeed be more vocal in some cases.

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399 thoughts on “Extremists More Willing To Share Their Opinions, Study Finds

  1. There are so many topicswithin this topic.

    First off, Algore. He is “expressive” and in religious terms could be called a zealot.

    His arguments are 3% facts and 97% emotional. He is afraid of discussion but favors unquestioned claims. He uses visual aids (power point and hocky sticks with smoldering fires)

    In true science there is an emotional ambivalence. “It is what it is”

    Within all of this is man’s hunger or need for affirmation.
    A secondary need is the need for vindication and excercise of vendettas on sources that disrupt affirmation.

    I watch Algore with the sound turned off and see his making stuff up by studying his movements and expressions.

    The i can listen without watching and hear him lay a bit one on us by raising his voice.

  2. Wait. I know where this is going. Bloggers are extremists!

    I suggest that “moderates” are merely comfortable. Another Great Depression will change that.

  3. So we need a study to show this? Seems like obvious human nature to me. Perhaps some people will be enlightened by it.

  4. Why do so many articles about climate change, global warming, global cooling fail to even use the words “Man-Made” as a pre-qualifier when speaking on these subjects?

    Do they all assume that every one is to understand all climate is man-made? Or is it a subliminal suggestion to the audience to get them to believe that climate is their fault? Sounds like a sinister operation to me.

  5. Mt experience is that people with more extermist views see themselves as being superior to others, in possession of the truth, and having a desire to impose their beliefs on other people.

  6. This is the explanation of a good case we all know, of the one who rallies against carbon powerhouses and carbon cargo trains. However it should not be generalized because it would involve all bloggers.
    As far as verbal and writing “extremists” keep their expressions in verbal or written forms there is nothing to worry about.
    However the epithet “extremist” it is “extremist” in itself.

  7. Seems like they have a keen sense of the obvious. Was it necessary for there to be a study about this?

  8. You see the same phenomenon even on this blog where very vocal pushers of pseudo-science are trying again and again to peddle their strange [at at times, extreme] views under the guise that Mainstream Science is faltering and that therefore any hare-brained scheme must be valid. Science literacy in times like today is more important than ever and from reading these weird posts we often see here, one might get the impression that it is lower than it [hopefully] is.

  9. Some of these extremist views are supported by the apparent complicity of knowledge. But knowledge is highly managed these days. Witness the absurd growth of wikipeodia-related results from google searches: 96% of wiki articles rank in the Google top ten.

    While not all wiki-stuff is extreme or biased – it is discomforting to see any one information resource commandeer the market.

    So, the absolutely brilliant guys at Distilled Co. have built a plugin for Firefox users that corrects the issue:

    http://www.distilled.co.uk/blog/seo/search-google-without-wikipedia-a-firefox-search-plugin/

    It tempers the pool from which extremists drink.

    http://www.distilled.co.uk/blog/seo/search-google-without-wikipedia-a-firefox-search-plugin/

  10. Yes. I have noticed an increasing bitterness in the American political debate over recent years, and have worried about it and about where it is going and where it is taking the country. In microcosm it occurs in the climate wars, where you see at one ludicrous extreme the posters on tamino or RC – but one is sorry to say, you also find on this blog crazed rants about world government conspiracies and similar nuttery of a similar tone.

    Yes, of course, you do not think they are crazed rants, they are just sober statements of the danger facing us from out of control left wing liberal conspirators…

    Aristotle was very wise, about this as about many other things. Moderation is the key, restraint in debate, moderation in drawing conclusions from premises, focus on the facts and the argument, not the people. In the end, the science will tell the tale. But it can take a long time and be very expensive in human and financial terms before it finally becomes impossible to deny.

    We should all consider, before posting, whether we are contributing to a moderate and factually oriented debate or not, and if we are not sure, refrain. Select All, followed by Delete, is sometimes one’s most valuable contribution. I know I use it, perhaps less often than I should, but I do use it, and commend it to others.

  11. Isn’t it more accurate to say that people who THINK they’re in the majority are more willing to voice their opinions? “Extremist” is such a relative subjective term it is practically useless in behavioral studies. You could be an “extremist” yourself and may not even know it.

    I don’t think vocalism is the problem in politics. If anything, the real problem is why people in general are not more vocal with respect to politics, to better reflect the public opinion to their representatives.

    But that’s just my two cents.

  12. Anthony,

    It is the same in Grass Valley and Nevada City, it is always the same usual suspects that show up at City Council meetings. After attending several meetings, one can almost predict what is going come out of their mouths. The silent majority is too busy working, taking care of senior family members and helping the kids with home work. Most of the complainers are over 55 and retired, with empty nests, and too much time on their hands. Thus, we get skewed votes toward the liberal point of view, as the council thinks these 10-15 radicals represent the majority view.

    Now that the City and County are streaming video of public meetings, the whining is easier to take with a glass of wine in hand. Unfortunately this new technology removes even more of the silent majority from the speaker podium.

  13. Lief, you may not realize that the burning of fossil fuels and releasing them into the atmosphere has lowered the earth’s gravitational pull and thereby expanded the atmosphere and produced all the observed warming. I have calculated it as exactly 0.6 degrees C.

    How did I do?

  14. Unfortunately this new technology removes even more of the silent majority from the speaker podium.
    In my humble opinion, whithou being an extremist, I think it is precisely the contrary: Thanks to blogs like this, using this technology, we, the silent majority have the speaker podium. (not every time, but most of..:-) )

  15. “Leif Svalgaard (10:59:26) :

    You see the same phenomenon even on this blog where very vocal pushers of pseudo-science are trying again and again to peddle their strange [at at times, extreme] views under the guise that Mainstream Science is faltering and that therefore any hare-brained scheme must be valid. Science literacy in times like today is more important than ever and from reading these weird posts we often see here, one might get the impression that it is lower than it [hopefully] is.”

    WOW !!!!!

    You nailed that one !!!

  16. Seems like they have a keen sense of the obvious. Was it necessary for there to be a study about this?

    I would say yes! Just like when it appeared obvious to me that AGW was real since everyone said the science was agreed, the debate was over – research was needed to prove that.

  17. I appreciate Wattsupwiththat bringing attention to politics that happen at a local level. It is good to keep involved in your city, county, and state affairs. If more people did that, there might be more leadership coming from the citizenry and less coming from Ivy Halls.

    It is very true that those who are gainfully employed and running a household are not usually the people who will constantly show up at protests and townhalls. So the media and local politicians have a skewed view.

  18. It could also be that people that understand that AGW is a hoax, like scientists, engineers and mathematics types, may actually know it’s a hoax. But most of those people I know, I sure would say are extreme or outspoken.

    It may just be that suppressing the opposing view has the effect of amplifying when curious people want to know what it’s all about.

    The best science is open science.

  19. The obvious corollary that comes out of this, is that it is important for the moderate “skeptical community” to make an effort to be heard. That is how you break the “group think mentality” that drives the more extreme members of a group to slowly creep to more and more extreme positions.

    This was the conclusion of research into aircraft accidents that turned out to be caused by flight engineers or second officers that were reluctant to voice their opinion that things were not going well. Many times the perceived stature and “command presence” of the captain/pilot kept them from speaking up even though they were seeing things in their instruments that indicated a problem was developing.

    As a result to some aircraft companies teaching classes to their flight crews about the sinister effects of group think and encouraging them to speak up.

    In the military, there are stories of senior officers recognizing this effect, making explicit statements to subordinates that there was “no rank in this airplane” if you see something wrong speak up.

    That is why blogs like RC are so dangerous. If a person only draws their view of the world from highly moderated sources that actively suppress opposing views, it reinforces that feeling that “everyone feels like I do”, and the obvious conclusion from that world view, that anyone that does not agree with my/our world view is a crack pot and has no value.

    That is why I value this blog so highly, as not only do I get to hear from all sorts of people, but it is useful to understand the mind set of the person with an opposing view even if you do not agree with him. The more you understand his/her world view the easier it is to frame an argument that is constructive. There are some folks here that obviously support AGW, but still debate the subject in a logic and reasonable manner. That helps me to understand that (as is always the case) the opposing view many times includes valid points.

    When I was in high school debate the proposition we were debating was whether or not the U.S. should engage in military assistance programs. Over time we found that if you looked hard enough you could find supporting comments from both affirmative and negative positions, often from the same “authorities”.

    Over time the debaters learned that there are no black and white issues they all have complex aspects and no single “correct” answer, only a series of bits of factual data, seasoned with value judgments. Often placing you in the position of figuring out in your world view which is the more important moral issue to defend.

    Both sides ended up making choices of evil. A good example in this case is our recent discussion of DDT and the consequences of its ban for mosquito control.
    Many of the people who proposed that ban, honestly and earnestly believed they were doing the right thing, and were protecting the world from a serious chemical threat. They simply tuned out or avoided facing the obvious collateral damage of millions of preventable deaths because they did not substitute an alternate, equally effective method of suppression to malaria as they banned DDT.

    Like global warming it was the highly simplified, solution for a poorly understood complex problem that led to bad decision making. As medical doctors know full well, sometimes the best action is to take no action at all.

    The medical dictum “first do no harm” would serve our world well if it was actively taught in engineering classes and science classes as well as medical schools.

    You can’t “fix” a problem you don’t understand, and you are highly likely to make it worse by acting on faulty data, especially if you are unwilling to accept that your proposed solution might be wrong and are willing admit it is not having the results you expect and retreat in the face of further info.

    Sometimes I see similarities between compulsive gamblers and the radical AGW proponents, they are so sure that their “system” will work they just keep doubling down even though it is obvious that they are losing their stake and should just walk away.

    Larry

  20. Yeah, I also was wondering who thought this was “new”. Apparently those researchers have rarely paid any attention to what is going on around them before.

    Most people WANT to belong, have a group identification, be seen as “cool”, and the way to do that is to adopt the mindset of those around you. It is unfortunate that the ones who are most visible (and thus, most emulated) are the vocal extremes.

    I suspect this has been accelerating at a comical rate since the 60s.

    Meanwhile, others deliberately lead the herd in the direction that most benefits them. This explains fashions, pop music, etc. and another topic near and dear to our hearts here.

  21. Extremists are less likely to work hard and are more likely to be slackers who spend more time in coffee houses than chained to their desks. Can’t attend council meetings when one is working until 8 or 9PM every day.

  22. And if they are of the authoritarian mindset they are louder, more frequent, more deceptive and demeaning to those who disagree with them. Hence they want power and label us racists and deniers.

  23. Eric (skeptic) (11:16:01) :
    Lief, you may not realize that the burning of fossil fuels and [...] How did I do?
    Not emotional enough. After correcting the spelling of my name, please submit a much more angry and loaded posting denouncing my comment as the result of DOGMA.

  24. This is a study about… college binge drinking?
    Sorry, my BS detector just blew a hole through my monitor.

    I wonder whether we’d all jump to acceptance of the study, if it didn’t make us feel superior to those deluded extremists.

    Because, of course, I’m not an extremist. And neither are you. It’s those other guys. Who hang out at that other place. They’re the extremists. Poor deluded fools.

  25. We all can’t be “more active” on every issue that ticks us off. Being red in a blue state, or vice versa, would require constant public whining. We need a stridency rating on the ranters (ie, a weighting factor) so the decision makers can separate the noise from the reality.

  26. Adolfo Giurfa (11:42:37) :
    Thanks to blogs every extrimist has an extrimist blog to go where he/she feels free to express his/her opinion.

    But Global Warming is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of science.

  27. Or does this study show that extroverts in college may drink more and shy people drink less?

    Gotta go with Duncan on this one. How this gets extrapolated to politics is beyond a stretch.

  28. How about this extremist?

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iO4WWB8dmaqwd0olzhdiXnpGOBxQD9BCATV80

    By BEN JUDAH (AP) – 5 days ago

    MOSCOW — Moscow’s mercurial mayor, famous for seeding clouds to prevent rain during parades, is escalating his war on weather with plans to slash this year’s snowfall by one-fifth in the Russian capital.

    Mayor Yuri Luzhkov’s office will marshal the Russian air force and air defense systems to intercept advancing storm fronts and hit them with dry ice and silver iodine particles, city officials reportedly said this week.

    The idea is to reduce the amount of snow that clogs Moscow’s frigid streets and costs the city millions to manage.

    Somebody who really changes climate :) for a change. Anthropogenic, that is.

  29. “You see the same phenomenon even on this blog where very vocal pushers of pseudo-science are trying again and again to peddle their strange [at at times, extreme] views under the guise that Mainstream Science is faltering and that therefore any hare-brained scheme must be valid.” Leif

    Well, if science minded its own business and stuck to the scientific method it would not have discredited itself. Perhaps more self policing is called for. “Science” is do for a pruning since it has overstepped its bounds.

    I know no one who denies quantum physics despite how weird it is. But when science pushes macro-evolution despite probability theory then it has overstepped its bounds. Scientists are just as fallible as other humans are outside their field.

    Bring on the cold! Reality has a way of asserting itself.

  30. “Because, of course, I’m not an extremist. And neither are you. It’s those other guys. Who hang out at that other place. They’re the extremists. Poor deluded fools.” Duncan

    Congratulations on completing Critical Thinking 101. Yes, I do judge they are deluded and I am not. That’s life.

    How do I arrive at that conclusion?

    It would take all day.

  31. Both good comments. I also think there are extreme ends to the “science literacy” issue Leif brings up and the many “stupendously stupid” quotes now circulating indicate these folks want to have their say.

    I like the alternative approach put forth (I think) by Best of the Web’s James Taranto on WSJ.com – When some group asks that you, say turn your headlights on from Noon to 1 P.M. for a cause, he promotes the opposite cause by asking that you turn headlights on from 11 P.M. to Midnight. This strategy works well to give visibility or voice to the silent majority.

  32. 10 of the highest temperatures ever occurred yesterday.
    Are you just going to sit there and do nothing!!!

  33. Dave:
    “Isn’t it more accurate to say that people who THINK they’re in the majority are more willing to voice their opinions?”

    Yes. That’s exactly what the study finds.

    ““It is only when they have this sense that they are in the majority that extremely pro-alcohol students are more willing to express their views on the issue,” Morrison said.”

  34. In economics there is a saying often attributed to John Bates Clarke of economist having an “irrational passion for dispassionate rationality”.
    I have colleagues who are professional money managers. One award winning manager who ran billions of dollars said you need to almost have multiple personalities. I tend to use the words “police oneself”. Do I believe this stock will go up because I have freely come to the conclusion or am I seeking out favourable opinion and information. Have I made money on similar stocks in the past and I am now bias. I have bought so many oil companies that I am now rooting for Oil to go up.
    When Mojib Latif sent shock waves announcing that natural cycles may offset the AGW signal for a decade or two I believe he demonstrated that he is still a scientist but even then had to announce that he is “not a sceptic” to appease his more alarmist colleges who could not accept such information because it offended their beliefs.
    This is why I think using the word Hoax is inappropriate. The people who believe in AGW being catastrophic believe it. It strikes to their core. I also believe the majority of scientist would check the box next to something more moderate like “Man is changing the atmosphere with increased CO2, CO2 is a greenhouse gas with the potential to raise temperature, by how much not sure” but if they had to bet to win a prize they would put the number under 3 degrees for overall sensitivity. Their ignorance of economics would also allow them to stay silent on the notion of CO2 reduction as it being “something we need to do anyway”. But as in the above case they would be the beer drinkers who thought they were more conservative than average.
    Those who claim AGW to be a hoax in turn alienate themselves both from the extreme but also from the silent moderates. This is why I put hoaxers and alarmist in a similar category. Hoaxers and Alarmist have already checked the intellectual open-mindedness at the door.

  35. So the most vocal local yokels get listened to by the pollies.

    ‘I believe in moderation in all things, including moderation – Oscar Wilde’

  36. Adolfo Giurfa (11:52:37) :
    The problem is…that our brains are electrical too
    Sometimes unipolar, other bi-polar. :-)M

    And sometimes [apparently] just fried or missing.

  37. Back2Bat (12:39:23) :
    But when science pushes macro-evolution despite probability theory then it has overstepped its bounds.
    Here we go…
    Science has no bounds [and shouldn't have any!].

  38. “Somebody who really changes climate :) for a change. Anthropogenic, that is.” Anna V

    Thank God for the Russians (and the Chinese). This world would be even more insane without their potent competition.

    We (the West) would not dare attempt climate modification because we believe that even though mankind is only natural any attempt to modify nature would be “unnatural.”

    At least the ex-Commies are intellectually consistent.

  39. Leif Svalgaard (10:59:26) : No Dr S, it’s not a vocal minority. You are actually pretty well outnumbered.

    Don’t sell yourself short, you work hard!

  40. A thought like this has probably already been expressed, still, ………really? Did they just say people with extreme views who think they’re in the majority are the loudest? Can we do a study with the same people, pour alcohol down them and see if they get louder or not? Way to go Captains obvious!!! Sarcasm aside, I believe, in the U.S.(I can’t comment about other nations but I suspect it is true in other places as well.) this has been a problem for some time. The vocal minorities are the ones that get attention in terms of media coverage and ultimately legislative or judicial preferential treatment. Thus, reinforcing what conventional wisdom has already taught us; “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

  41. Sounds like junk science to me. How the heck does one measure extremism? How does one know the difference between people who are not much interested in a subject from those who have a “moderate” view.

    It sounds to me like the researchers are confusing extreme and moderate with interest and apathy.

    Moreover, how can one be “pro-alcohol”? What the heck does that even mean? Are they similar to people who are “pro-marijuana” or “pro-abortion”?

    Soft sciences and soft science research usually make me gag. If you think climate is packed full of variables think of the variables involved in sociological research.

    That said, people with narrow, strongly held views do pack Chico city council meetings. That alone makes me more sympathetic to elected officials. Sometimes.

  42. People with more extreme liberal views in the community may be more likely than others to … display bumper stickers espousing their liberal views, because they think the community supports them.

    They think the community supports them? Or they desire the community to support them because they have an inferiority complex?

    Bumper stickers for extremist liberals are a form of personal therapy.

    I don’t know how some of them can see where they’re driving. Some complexes are worse than others.

  43. Leif Svalgaard (10:59:26) :

    You see the same phenomenon even on this blog where very vocal pushers of pseudo-science are trying again and again to peddle their strange [at at times, extreme] views under the guise that Mainstream Science is faltering

    Have those pesky commoners been annoying you again? I know it must be so irritating when they dare try thinking for themselves.

    The thing is Leif, you can do a lot by sharing your learning and helping those who struggle to understand but you are not an infallible god.

    Absurd as some of the ideas here may seem with regard to your field of study, they can do no harm.

    As for “views under the guise Mainstream Science is faltering” then I’m afraid it is. You restore confidence with your approach of public engagement but science as a whole has become a tax sucking whore.

    Many are doing untold damage to society while the rest look away and covet their own little sanctuary.

    If you want to know why the public see scientific opinion as a joke, just look at the dismal record of peer review and the junk submitted and passed by a cabal of fraudsters.

  44. As already stated, this isn’t new.

    People will group and associate with people who think, look and act like themselves. With the internet, even if your views are a minority in your local network, you’ll find a much larger group who think/act/look like you. This reinforces your view as being ‘right’.

    Unfortunately, this leads to a ‘majority’ rule: being convinced that your views are right, and by definition, the opposite view is ‘wrong’, and needs correcting. It’s nigh impossible to correct a majority view (unless you have an ‘equalizer’ – e.g. an army). To that end, you need a ‘majority’ even if it isn’t technically real – a consensus of a subset of the whole group who are recognized to represent the whole group.

    This is done every day – a bench of justices, for example. However, it’s ripe for corruption. Each decision making group which represents the majority cannot have an unlimited reach. Each group can be powerful, but must out of necessity be limited.

    If the majority believe that AGW is real, then we must do something about it. This is an absurdity, for several reasons. But lest not forget that the word ‘consensus’ is being surreptitiously used as an equivalent to the word majority (“there is no debate”, “everyone agrees”). Further it is built on the premise that a majority has the power to act – or rather, the ‘right’ to act.

    But why is it absurd? Firstly, if the ‘majority’ believed in AGW, then they, by default as consumers, have the power to act. All the tools that generate CO2, do so on the demands of this majority. (If the power stations do not have customers they will not exist, and thus no CO2).

    Secondly, and this is the terrifying aspect of ‘majority’ rule, what would happen when the majority makes a decision which affects a minority? I leave it up to the reader to fill in some examples, which exist today, and have existed in the past.

    When one succumbs to majority rule, facts are irrelevant, and the outcome is invariably unpleasant.

  45. People with relatively extreme opinions may be more willing to publicly share their views than those with more moderate views, according to a new study……..as … Kimberly Rios Morrison…. herself speaks out.

  46. Zeke the Sneak (13:14:33) :
    No Dr S, it’s not a vocal minority. You are actually pretty well outnumbered.
    Then I may have to take back my hopeful assessment of science literacy.

  47. The British Government’s line on AGW is pretty extremist. They have recently been running an advertisment during very popular tv programmes which shows a child being read a bedtime story about AGW and how harmful it is (they say). If you are British, reading this, and think that the UK Government should not spend public money on this sort of stuff then you can sign a petition here

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/climate-ad/

  48. Mark Bowlin (11:25:32) :

    The voices in my head tell me I’m not extreme…

    It seems that all our internal voices tell the same…perhaps they are tuning the same cable channel :-)

  49. [I]The key is that the extremists have to believe that more people share their views than actually do, the research found.[/I]
    ————————————
    Of course they do. That’s were problems start.

  50. What a surprise. And here I thought it was the wishy washy moderates who were always spouting off and expressing their views.

  51. MartinGAtkins (13:30:16) :
    Absurd as some of the ideas here may seem with regard to your field of study, they can do no harm.
    Yes, they can. Because a literate voting populace is important [think faith-based schoolbooks].

    Many are doing untold damage to society
    agree, by peddling junk-science.

    look at the dismal record of peer review and the junk submitted and passed by a cabal of fraudsters.
    peer review [which is rather new thing] works reasonably well. It is like Democracy [lots of problems, but we don't have anything better].

    The best defense against the fraudsters is precisely that people can separate correct science from the junk [ID, EU, Astrology, rabid AGW, etc]. This requires constant vigilance. What is lacking is that not enough scientists take the trouble to do this, while there is no shortage of tenacious peddlers of pseudo- and junk- and cult-science. To wit, the already several comments in this very thread [and in some of the other ones]. As Eddy pointed out: this subject draws all kinds of worms out of the woodwork.

  52. Leif Svalgaard (13:39:30) :

    Then I may have to take back my hopeful assessment of science literacy.

    But if I confess, and do not deny, but confess, that:

    “Everything astronomers can see, stretching out to distances of 10 billion light-years, emerged from an infinitesimal speck,”*

    may I have partial credit for being scientifically literate?

    *Sir Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal

  53. Hey Leif,

    You play around a nice convenient playground that is extremely conducive to learning and then you get conceited.

    Why is it that the Universe is even observable from earth? The Solar System could easily be in a thick dust cloud. Oops there goes astronomy!

    Why does nature correspond (at least roughly) to mathematics? A gentle learning curve?

    I don’t need to be a scientist to know your conceit is headed for a fall. A historian could tell you that.

    Keep ridiculing ID. But your side is driven to postulating an infinite number of UNDETECTABLE universes to avoid insurmountable probability problems.

    Who is exercising faith now?

    “Place you bets!”

  54. Never read anything in a sociological study that my grandma hadn’t told me. Cryptically. Why is it that every generation of sociologists has to reinvent the wheel?

    Moderation is overrated. Texans used to say that the only things in the middle of road were dead skunks and yellow lines.

  55. A very similar phenomenon is that the confidence people display regarding some skill is often inversely proportional to their true capability. A partial explanation of why this is so is that truly incompetent people are also incompetent at evaluating their own competence. Extreme individuals are often also quite incompetent and suffer all that comes with it. They are not competent to evaluate their own point of view and not capable of comparing it to the view of others.

  56. My guess is that people who are very pro-alcohol tend to drink a lot. If so, they don’t know that the other drinkers around them are actually drinking moderately because [snip] So when they sober up, they just assume others drank as much as they did since they can’t remember it and therefore believe all drinkers drink as they do. I’m not sure picking alcohol as the test criteirion is a good choice.

    Reply: No profanity or misspelled profanity. ~ ctm

  57. Zeke the Sneak (14:06:30) :
    But if I confess, and do not deny, but confess
    Science is not about confessing or denying, so there is still a long way for you to go.

    Back2Bat (14:14:47) :
    Why is it that the Universe is even observable from earth? The Solar System could easily be in a thick dust cloud. Oops there goes astronomy!
    It could be, and once [or more] was.

    Why does nature correspond (at least roughly) to mathematics? A gentle learning curve?
    Perhaps because we have evolved and adapted our mathematics to describe Nature, e.g. Newton’s invention of calculus to describe motion.

    Keep ridiculing ID. But your side is driven to postulating an infinite number of UNDETECTABLE universes to avoid insurmountable probability problems.
    There may in fact be such. Or each of these universes may have life in many places. The IDer could have had his hands full. Would He have followed the same model [I'm poorly put together, so is evidence against ID] everywhere, or is there a learning curve there too?

  58. Back2Bat (14:14:47) :
    Why is it that the Universe is even observable from earth? The Solar System could easily be in a thick dust cloud. Oops there goes astronomy!
    In fact a lot of the Universe is not visible from Earth [what we can see is infinitesimal small compared to the infinity of space]. e.g. the center of the Milky Way. Unless we observe in long-wave light, that was not known to the ancients.

  59. Don S. (14:16:16) :
    Moderation is overrated. Texans used to say that the only things in the middle of road were dead skunks and yellow lines.

    Goldwater(Arizona) had it right. “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. ”

    We just have to be careful about what leads us to liberty and what doesn’t.

  60. Kevin Kilty (14:27:12) :
    Extreme individuals are often also quite incompetent and suffer all that comes with it. They are not competent to evaluate their own point of view and not capable of comparing it to the view of others.
    To wit, some of the above comments by such individuals.

  61. “Keep ridiculing ID. But your side is driven to postulating an infinite number of UNDETECTABLE universes to avoid insurmountable probability problems.

    Who is exercising faith now?

    “Place you bets!”

    What has poor Leif done to deserve this?
    Infinite universes is a rather out-of-fashion view of quantum mechanics and certainly not something to hang on a solar expert.
    Anyway everyone knows the Flying Spaghetti Monster intelligently designed the World!

  62. Like anyone with a ho-hum attitude about anything, is even going to bother making a comment.

    So is a Big Mac really better than a Jumbo Jack, or is a Whopper much better ?

    Yeah, you could start WW-III over that contentious question.

    Now who footed the bill for the grant money for this momentous study ? Other than me, that is.

  63. Oliver Ramsay (12:38:18) :

    Moderation in all things.
    Including Moderation.

    Moderation in all things.

    I’ll have another glass of Moderation!

  64. Utter Madness…..

    Save the planet: time to eat dog?
    22/10/2009

    The eco-pawprint of a pet dog is twice that of a 4.6-litre Land Cruiser driven 10,000 kilometres a year, researchers have found. Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale, architects who specialise in sustainable living, say pet owners should swap cats and dogs for creatures they can eat, such as chickens or rabbits, in their provocative new book Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living.

    The couple have assessed the carbon emissions created by popular pets, taking into account the ingredients of pet food and the land needed to create them. “If you have a German shepherd or similar-sized dog, for example, its impact every year is exactly the same as driving a large car around,” Brenda Vale said.

    “A lot of people worry about having SUVs but they don’t worry about having Alsatians and what we are saying is, well, maybe you should be because the environmental impact … is comparable.”

    In a study published in New Scientist, they calculated a medium dog eats 164 kilograms of meat and 95kg of cereals every year. It takes 43.3 square metres of land to produce 1kg of chicken a year. This means it takes 0.84 hectares to feed Fido.

    They compared this with the footprint of a Toyota Land Cruiser, driven 10,000km a year, which uses 55.1 gigajoules (the energy used to build and fuel it). One hectare of land can produce 135 gigajoules a year, which means the vehicle’s eco-footprint is 0.41ha – less than half of the dog’s.

    They found cats have an eco-footprint of 0.15ha – slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf. Hamsters have a footprint of 0.014ha – keeping two of them is equivalent to owning a plasma TV. Professor Vale says the title of the book is meant to shock, but the couple, who do not have a cat or dog, believe the reintroduction of non-carnivorous pets into urban areas would help slow down global warming.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/2987848/Save-the-planet-time-to-eat-dog

  65. “I’m poorly put together, so is evidence against ID] everywhere, or is there a learning curve there too?” Leif

    That makes two of us, it really helps to reign in my completly unwarranted
    pride. I can’t imagine the problems you must have. You do very well considering. With your talent I would probably be insufferable which is why I wasn’t given it.

    Peace. (Until the next time you set me off. : ) )

  66. The giant walks among pigmies, generously helping out where he can, and some of the pigmies call him conceited in their rage. Human nature, I guess, but still pitiful.

    Back2Bat, you do a good job of personally illustrating the point of the original post, but it does not reflect well on you. You are a pigmy biting the ankle of a giant!

    Dr. Svalgaard, thanks for sharing some of your knowledge with us, and thanks for your patience in covering the same old ground repeatedly, with grace and humor.

    Dan Murphy

  67. “”” Leif Svalgaard (14:33:12) :

    Zeke the Sneak (14:06:30) :
    But if I confess, and do not deny, but confess
    Science is not about confessing or denying, so there is still a long way for you to go.

    Back2Bat (14:14:47) :
    Why is it that the Universe is even observable from earth? The Solar System could easily be in a thick dust cloud. Oops there goes astronomy!
    It could be, and once [or more] was.

    Why does nature correspond (at least roughly) to mathematics? A gentle learning curve?
    Perhaps because we have evolved and adapted our mathematics to describe Nature, e.g. Newton’s invention of calculus to describe motion.

    Keep ridiculing ID. But your side is driven to postulating an infinite number of UNDETECTABLE universes to avoid insurmountable probability problems.
    There may in fact be such. Or each of these universes may have life in many places. The IDer could have had his hands full. Would He have followed the same model [I'm poorly put together, so is evidence against ID] everywhere, or is there a learning curve there too? “””

    Don’t know how this got into a discusssion of inconsequential discussions.

    My humble opinion; mathematics is pure fiction; we made it all up in our heads, and as Leif said, for the purpose of describing the behavior of our equally fictitious models of what we think the universe is.

    And we know it is all a fiction since absolutely nothing we describe in mathematics, actually exists anywhere in the universe; there are no points or lines or circles or ellipses etc, they are fictional.

    As for multiple universes; IMHO anything we can “observe” as in detect the presence thereof, by any means or mechanism; no matter how bizarre is a part of THE Universe. Anything we cannot detect by any means or mechanism, no matter what; simply has no place in science; philosophy maybe; but science is about that which we can observe; observe meaning detect the presence of by any means, no matter how strange.

    In my view, anything that “exists” must have at least two properties. The first property, would be that property whose observation led to the postulation of the existence of said “thing” say a neutrino; but no fair using that single property to detect the thing; since that is a circular reasoning. So if it doesn’t have at least one other property it is not detectable; and therefore does not exist (within the field of science).
    And that is entirely my humble opinion. Parallel universes, and strings are BS as far as I am concerned; and so far nobody has detected either of those.

  68. Here is a similar example, carried out, neither by a professor nor a group of PhD’s, nor even officially, but by an undergraduate student.
    This British born and parented student was brought up in a cosmopolitan city, outside of the UK exposed to numerous nationalities, and eventually earned a very high quality school leaving certificate.
    The student wanted to continue education in the UK, and so we traipsed around various universities in order to see them, close up.
    We met lecturers and tutors, many of whom kindly gave up their time to see us.
    Most appeared not to be familiar with the student’s certificate, even though it was internationally recognised.
    Eventually a university in the West of the UK was chosen, and term commenced.
    The first thing our student noticed, for the first few terms, was the apparent slackness or lack of work ethic among staff and students. Our student, living on the Continent, was familiar and at ease with, a highly intensive work program, from day one.
    The next thing noticeable was the left-wing views which were seemingly promoted at every turn, and the apparent comfort the fellow students found with these views.
    Our student very quickly learned that to query such views was to invite a torrent of attack from seemingly everywhere.
    So, quietly, without advertising the fact, our student carried out a survey of all of the available newsagents within or near to the university, asking “for a survey” (which it was) of actual numbers of newspapers that were sold each day/each Sunday.
    The results surprised us all. The actual distribution of sales of newspapers on this superficially left-wing campus reflected exactly, to within a small percentage, the national distribution. Newspaper sales in the area were also a reflection of the national average
    In other words, the students were not left-wing at all, neither were they right-wing, but it was prudent for them to appear to be so.
    This survey was carried out about 20 years ago.
    The student had anonymity then and it continues today, to protect against harassment.
    However, the result would appear to support the results shown in your article today.
    In how many other fields of endeavour would we find if we searched diligently enough, similar results?

  69. One first-century Rabbi is credited with saying, “If you are on your way to plant a tree, and someone tells you the messiah has arrived, finish planting your tree, and only then go out to greet the messiah.”

    The apparent urgency of a cause, having a strong belief system, or being part of a majority opinion, does not excuse us from using our brains for more than ballast in our heads. I would hope that, by the time the college kids are ready for retirement, they realize that their own original thoughts, opinions, likes and dislikes, should be worth more than any poll.

    Having been a teenager during the ’60’s, though, I can now laugh at the fallacy of thinking we were all being so individual . . . by all dressing and talking alike. Ah, the days of youth and ignorance . . . and occasional stupidity.

  70. Very perverse study indeed: linking “extremism” with “vocal expression” is simply suggesting to 1) encourage knowledgeable people to shut up for only extremists are vocal 2) those who speak up should not be trusted since they are after all extremists. In any case, speaking up is disqualified. the first point applies to the speaker while the second applies to the audience of the speaker. There is no better way to muzzle dissent.

    As much as there are on every sides of an issue disturbed zealots that can either be silent or vocal, one can see the perverse effect such study can have if instrumented by the dominant side of an issue:

    Truth is it is much easier to appear calm and unfeathered when one is on the dominant, powerfully backed up by media campaign side of the AGW issue while the blattant discrimination suffered by many scientists or informed individuals who are skeptics or realists may wear off the nerves of the best reasonable ones and induce a tendency to more vocal, radical expression just in order to only be heard in an ocean of dominant propaganda.

    Then, it is easier for the dominant side to quote this study and simply dismiss any objection.

  71. Mark Bowlin (11:25:32) : “The voices in my head tell me I’m not extreme…”

    Well, the voices in MY head say you are. Neener-neener.

  72. “”” People with more extreme liberal views in the community may be more likely than others to attend publicly visible protests and display bumper stickers espousing their liberal views, because they think the community supports them. “””

    I like that little gem. Here we are almost a year since the last election; and every day I see many cars that still have Obama/Biden Bumper stickers and the like.

    Even during the pre-election process, I don’t recall ever seeing a McCain/Palin bumper sticker; cars with those bumper stickers were likely to be in the shop having a keying scratch removed.

    While Liberal Political statements seem to go unchallenged (freedom of speech), just try voicing some “conservative” message in the form of a bumper sticker, or a flyer or news bulletin; even removed from news stands by oponents. It is highly likely to get vandalized; because “conservatives” are the big evil.

    The double standard is too obvious to be in doubt.

  73. Let me point out the all extreme views are leftist.

    All extreme governments present and past are of socialist underpinnings.

    We are meant to believe that the right hold extreme views but this is a misconception. Even Hitler was a leftist.

    Basically all subversion is a leftist trait.

  74. “Back2Bat, you do a good job of personally illustrating the point of the original post, but it does not reflect well on you. You are a pigmy biting the ankle of a giant!” Dan Murphy

    Ask Leif if his ankle is bleeding.

    My points are all the more pointed since a mere pygmy is wielding them. I like Leif and he is talented but wrong is wrong whoever says it.

  75. Very interesting …. conclusions I have contemplated every time I see a Suburu Outback roll by with a liberal bumper sticker (common here in Colorado), as well as a few community projects I have been involved in, where there has been a small, but very vocal minority, trying to stop what the overall community wants.

  76. “What has poor Leif done to deserve this?” Sandy

    Does this mean our date is off?

    Leif took a swipe at ID and I took a swipe at him.

  77. Back2Bat (14:54:03) :
    (Until the next time you set me off. : ) )
    As I said: comes out of the woodwork…

    George E. Smith (14:57:32) :
    And that is entirely my humble opinion. Parallel universes, and strings are BS as far as I am concerned; and so far nobody has detected either of those.
    The science bit comes in in predicting and searching for things that would be observed if there were a parallel universe. The neutrino is a good example of this. Or even the ‘atom’. It was only 100 years ago that we found observable evidence of the existence of atoms.

    Back2Bat (15:54:51) :
    Ask Leif if his ankle is bleeding.
    Your bite isn’t powerful enough…

    Back2Bat (16:04:17) :
    “Leif took a swipe at ID and I took a swipe at him.
    Denouncing junk is not a ‘swipe’
    I just put your in the place among the other cults, and if you like that cult, being recognized for belonging to it can hardly be called a swipe.

    About ‘faith': A countryman of mine [Soeren Kirkegaard] defined faith thus: I believe, because I have faith, not because it makes sense, but precisely because it is absurd. If if made perfect sense it can hardly be called ‘faith’. Faith is believing in something that does not make sense, ‘taking it on faith’.

    Science is not about faith, but about being forced to a conclusion by experimental evidence. Often, said conclusion is at variance with ‘common sense’, but so be it.

  78. The study had only 37 subjects, and by scientific convention 5% of these would be considered to be non normal or extremists. Extremists in this case would fall at either end of the spectrum, it’s a two tailed design, (or should have been). That gives a bit less than one extremist pro alcohol, and a bit less than one extremist anti alcohol. I would suggest the sample size is just too small to draw any conclusions.

  79. Anonymity also makes people more inclined to make extreme statements than they would in person. Combine the two forcings:

    1) Anonymity makes one bolder; and
    2) Extreme people are more inclined to express their views;

    and it inevitably leads to ultra-extremist blogs. But I doubt anyone is surprised about this … it’s common sense really.

  80. “Your bite isn’t powerful enough…” Leif

    I spoke the truth so either I am deluded or you are. Since outside your field you seem rather shallow, I’ll go with me.

    Too bad you can’t graciously concede a point. Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.

  81. “Faith is believing in something that does not make sense, ‘taking it on faith’.” Lief countryman

    LOL! Actually faith goes beyond the facts but not against them. Stick to solar science is my suggestion.

  82. “I just put your in the place among the other cults, and if you like that cult, being recognized for belonging to it can hardly be called a swipe.” Leif

    Actually, I value truth and logic. I do mind swipes at them. Since your position requires faith in undetectable universes my position is more logical since there is plenty of historical testimony to a Creator who “stretches out the heavens” (cosmic expansion anyone?) but no historical testimony for alternative universes.

    Live and learn but humility is the secret to greatness.

    Reply: No more debate of Faith, Science, and personal belief. And as always. I don’t care who started it. ~ ctm

  83. Back2Bat (16:46:45) :
    Stick to solar science is my suggestion.
    as you will stick to faith instead of science. Fair enough.

    Reply: No more debate of Faith, Science, and personal belief. And as always. I don’t care who started it. ~ ctm

  84. I’ve enjoyed the banter by Leif Svalgaard and Back2Bat. While I believe in the ID concept, I won’t engage a person that requires evidence to be convinced. If he can’t see it, he won’t. It requires faith for this moment. I would only like to add an aside.

    Dan Murphy (14:55:38) :

    The giant walks among pigmies, generously helping out where he can, and some of the pigmies call him conceited in their rage. Human nature, I guess, but still pitiful.

    Back2Bat, you do a good job of personally illustrating the point of the original post, but it does not reflect well on you. You are a pigmy biting the ankle of a giant!

    Dan, I grant that Leif is, not doubt, of very good intellect, however, blindly idolizing science(ists) is what got us in the whole AGW mess to begin with. I submit that everything has a purpose. Nature shows us this every day. From the smallest of microbes to the largest of mammals, each has a function and purpose. Be it by design or by happenstance, we see that it occurs. What, then, is the purpose of man? Surely, the rest of nature can take care of itself (many think it would be better off without the interference man creates). Or are we here only to ensure that sharks don’t eat all the fish? Or, perhaps, we are just a food source for mosquitoes. I think it’s worth a thought or two.

  85. Let us not forget Sir George Bernhard Shaw:

    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

    Perhaps it is a virtue to be less reasonable ;)

    Unfortunately this does not address all the harm caused by unreasonable “men.”

  86. I think I’ll offer up a sound bite on this discussion of probability between several of the posters.

    In the absence of Reality, Probability reigns supreme.

    Just a thought.

  87. I think that are at least two different paradigms that explain the polarization occurring at the national level. The study sited explains a lot of the emotional reaction that we see.

    A second paradigm is one that is discussed on this forum frequently but is not explained. This paradigm states that the proper place for political decision is found on a continuum from a technocracy to republic citizenship.

    For a scientist, the closer his political beliefs are to a technocracy, the more he wants to be identified as an expert within his peer group. Recognition within the peer group creates a tacit responsibility for support from society and the government. If a scientist’s beliefs are closer to republic citizenship, his emphasis is in explaining his workto all who are interested.

    For a politician, the closer his political beliefs are to a technocracy, the more politics is exercise in representing “recognized” experts, and carrying out the advice of the experts. Discussion by citizens on expert’s theory is irrelevent. The only relevent discussion is who best recongnizes the experts and who is best in converting expert theory into political action. Because discussion outside the expert peer group is irrelevent, the only reponse to such discussion is to point out that the speakers are either not experts, or that they are not experts recognized by their peer group.

    For a politician whose beliefs are closer to republic citizenship, citizens and the representatives have a civil duty to evaluate expert theories and advice where it impact polical decision. There is the recognition that the public will not always choose the correct political course from a technical point of view, but there is also a recognition that unless political decisions are made by citizens that the citizen becomes a subject and loses all responsibility for the support of the government.

    This paradigm explains the move to dominate the scientific bodies described by Richard Lindzen. It explains why James Hansen can complain about being muzzled. It wasn’t that he couldn’t say what he wanted, it was that government didn’t move to implement his suggestions. It explains why AGW says that the science is settled, because only the general agreement of the recognized peer groups are relevent. It explains the lack of debate on AGW in the public forum. It explains the ad homonym attack on any diverging opinions.

    By definition, the readers of this forum are closer to the republic citizenship side of the continuum, with the exception of the posters whose message is that the discussion (web site) is irrelevent, and harmfull to the functioning society.

  88. I’m a left-wing liberal climate skeptic, and a bit ashamed of what’s going on with some on my side of the specturm. A few days ago I was at ThinkProgress, a Progressive blog, trying to get a reasonable conversation going about climate change, and I was quickly labeled a right-wing partisan ideologue and accused of being in the pay of the oil and coal industries. It was hilarious but sad. I was treated to endless ad hominem attacks, without hardly any scientific content. One of the strangest parts of it was hearing Richard Lindzen repeatedly described as an “extremist”. I don’t see quite how one can use that word to describe him, but it seemed perfectly reasonable among these folks. My basic sense is that this whole climate “debate” has become so polarized that the only way it’s ever going to be resolved is after a couple of decades of actual climate change in one direction or another, or the lack thereof.

  89. Leif Svalgaard (17:50:50) :

    James Sexton (17:36:56) :
    What, then, is the purpose of man?
    Well, none that I can see. [even after a Miller or two]. ‘Purpose’ implies ‘intention’.

    Strange, perhaps it is the brand. I’m on my 4th Busch and am now full of self-import!!!
    So, then, are we an aberration? Nature gone wrong? Are there other events and objects in nature that have no purpose? Or, perhaps there is a purpose that we cannot see yet?

  90. “The speck from which space emerges is not located in anything. It is not an object surrounded by emptiness. It is the origin of space itself, infinitely compressed. Note that the speck does not sit there for an infinite duration. It appears instantaneously from nothing and immediately expands.”

    –Paul Davies on the Big Bang

    Dr. S, to be sure I do have a very, very long way to go before I attain this level of scientific literacy. Good evening.

  91. Zeke the Sneak (19:04:14) :

    Wouldn’t you have to be drinking something like Grolsch to be full of import?

    I am pre-supposing you are based in the US… apologies in advance if you are Canadian >.>

  92. conradg (18:52:40) :

    I’m a left-wing liberal climate skeptic,………. One of the strangest parts of it was hearing Richard Lindzen repeatedly described as an “extremist”. …….. My basic sense is that this whole climate “debate” has become so polarized that the only way it’s ever going to be resolved is after a couple of decades of actual climate change in one direction or another, or the lack thereof.

    Sorry you had to go through that, I know both sides can be…….unreasonable. Sadly, though, I don’t remember studying any time in history which climate has ever been static, so, I believe we’ll see climate change for a while longer. I, too, never considered myself an extremist, (it is, of course, a very subjective word) but since I’ve been labeled that by many, I’ve come to grips with it. You should embrace it. Use it to become an extremist in the purpose of truth and justice. But be a cautious extremist and always consider the chance you could be wrong. (Yes, it sounds corny, but it works with the sleep thing.) Good luck and cheers.

  93. Another study stating the obvious. Remember if it is not in a peer reviewed journal it doesn’t exisit. As well as applying this rule to climate science it particularly apllies to medicine. So much for all the human wisdom and common sense passed down over the ages, if its not in a journal forget it!

  94. Bulldust (19:14:51) :

    Zeke the Sneak (19:04:14) :

    Wouldn’t you have to be drinking something like Grolsch to be full of import?

    I am pre-supposing you are based in the US… apologies in advance if you are Canadian >.>

    No, right here in the great state of Kansas!!! While I hesitate to use the abbreviation lol here, I find it appropriate in this instance. Clever!!

  95. Bulldust (19:14:51) :

    Wouldn’t you have to be drinking something like Grolsch to be full of import?

    I am pre-supposing you are based in the US… apologies in advance if you are Canadian >.>

    You all see? This is how internet rumors get started! Grolsch is a Dutch beer. Moosehead is Canadian!!!!

  96. Leif Svalgaard (17:50:50) :

    James Sexton (17:36:56) :
    What, then, is the purpose of man?

    Well, none that I can see. [even after a Miller or two]. ‘Purpose’ implies ‘intention’.

    Sorry, perhaps I missed the intent of your last post. I take it that your post implies there is no ‘intention’ in our world/universe. Interesting, considering you seem a very learned man intent and dedicated on discovering things unknown and revealing truths. If, indeed, there is no “intent”, then why the effort? I’m just asking because from a behavioral point of view, it doesn’t make sense. All the years in academia, all the study only to know the answers to your questions end in no purpose. Very curious. Of course, this is after a few more, so, I may be a little more thick than usual.

  97. James Sexton (19:01:21) :
    Are there other events and objects in nature that have no purpose?
    There are no objects in Nature that have any purpose at all. There are man-made objects with a purpose, because we made them with a certain intention in mind. Now, some people have the hubris to think that they have or serve a purpose, but that is self-delusion, of course.

    Zeke the Sneak (19:04:14) :
    Dr. S, to be sure I do have a very, very long way to go before I attain this level of scientific literacy.
    Indeed you do have a long way to go, but it is worth it. Although, I have a feeling that you’ll never make it.

  98. James Sexton (20:12:35) :
    If, indeed, there is no “intent”, then why the effort?
    Two reasons:
    (1) because it is useful to society and helps us survive which we like to do
    (2) because I’m curious, but it is special kind of curious. If someone from the future would offer to tell me what science discovers the next 100 years, I would refuse the offer. The fun is in finding things out, not to be told how. The fun is the journey, not the destination. Why do people do jigsaw puzzles only to break them down again when they are done? Because there is fun in making the puzzle, not in having the finished result.

  99. Churchill once said that a fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

  100. Leif Svalgaard (20:25:19) :

    James Sexton (19:01:21) :
    Are there other events and objects in nature that have no purpose?

    There are no objects in Nature that have any purpose at all. There are man-made objects with a purpose, because we made them with a certain intention in mind. Now, some people have the hubris to think that they have or serve a purpose, but that is self-delusion, of course.

    Sigh, it must be the beer that urges me to respond. Usually, I don’t engage in such discussions, perhaps it’s your lack of vitriol that forces(of the external kind) this dialogue.

    So, when the bee is compelled to pollinate and then provide sustenance, there is no purpose, just that wonderful happenstance of Nature, as is that keen process called photosynthesis and the myriad of other occurrences that ensures the many cycles of life. All hubris and self-delusion. How sad for the fellows such as Newton that provided the world with such profound hubris and self-delusion in his attempt to understand how Nature worked. But, if this is true, why, then study anything? Things such as the wonderful orb in the sky known as the sun? If it is all hubris and self-delusion, wouldn’t it be enough to enjoy the warmth it provides? Or the light that it emits? Who would care whether it orbits the earth or visa versa? And how would it matter? Why study the gases it consumes or the activity on that orb? Why wonder about the light that it radiates? Wouldn’t it be enough to enjoy the part of the spectrum that allows us to use our optical orbits? Apparently the questions ‘what’ and ‘how’ are the pertinent questions. Why seems impertinent. That’s strange to me because as I study history, the question ‘why’ is usually the most important question that leads to answers unrevealed by the questions what and how.

    Cheers, James

  101. Now just stop all this nonsense!

    There’s barely enough room here for one solipsist.

    None of you really exist anyway.

    You’re just figments of my imagination, so knock it off. …you’re just figments, …you’re just, …you’re
    not.

  102. Leif(16.26.26)
    Soeren Kirkegaard sounds like fun.
    It got me to start wondering what he might say on peer-review, climate models, dendroclimatology, predictions(oops- projections), tipping points ……..:)

  103. Leif Svalgaard (20:32:45) :
    (1) because it is useful to society and helps us survive which we like to do

    But apparently to no end.

    (2)…….Because there is fun in making the puzzle, not in having the finished result.

    My experience is that it is only fun when I have the finished result.(Missing puzzle pieces are indelibly maddening) I suspect it is the same with the great majority of us puzzlers. Regardless of how well one puts the puzzle together, it doesn’t mean whit unless it’s fully articulated. (That’s probably a consensus!!!)
    I agree, that often it is the path(least taken) that gives us satisfaction, but always with a path, there is an end point. (Unless it’s one of those circular walking path that goes around a park which is another maddening occurrence. Why can’t they just walk down the sidewalk??) Sorry, I get tangential sometimes.

  104. James Sexton (20:12:35) : to Leif
    If, indeed, there is no “intent”, then why the effort?

    For fun? enjoyment?

    Well, I want to stick up for Mathematics, even though it is way out of topic.

    I believe ( yes it is a belief, whether positing or negating) that everything is mathematics. The music of the spheres. In a universe where time is another variable, everything is an equation, within time waiting to happen/materialize.

    Analogue: The quantum mechanical state function of an atom, which is fulfilled when conditions became appropriate in the Big Bang ( btw that point of the big bang is everywhere, the universe expanded out of it, so each point in the universe is the center :), a mind numbing thought). Everything is a mathematical state function waiting to be fulfilled within a time frame, from a rabbit to a star. O.K. throw in chaos, it is also mathematics :).

  105. James Sexton (21:26:31) :
    Apparently the questions ‘what’ and ‘how’ are the pertinent questions. Why seems impertinent. That’s strange to me because as I study history, the question ‘why’ is usually the most important question that leads to answers unrevealed by the questions what and how.
    Since humans have intent, the ‘why’ becomes important for history. For an apple falling to the ground, the ‘what’ and ‘how’ are important, but there is no ‘why’. The apple does not any ‘intent’ to fall to the ground. And, as I said, study of nature is important for our survival and for our curiosity.

  106. James Sexton (22:16:40) :
    “(1) because it is useful to society and helps us survive which we like to do”
    But apparently to no end.

    That’s right. To what end do you think? As with (2) it is the journey in life that matters. Enjoy [or suffer] the ride, while you are on it.

    “(2)…….Because there is fun in making the puzzle, not in having the finished result.”
    My experience is that it is only fun when I have the finished result.

    Then imagine that you just stepped out for a moment and when you came back in, somebody had finished the puzzle, or the sudoku, or the cross-word puzzle, or the painting, … That would spoil the enjoyment of making it. no?

  107. Leif Svalgaard (22:21:10) :
    The apple does not (have) any ‘intent’ to fall to the ground.

    True the apple doesn’t, but that doesn’t negate the possibility that something else did have intent for it to fall. I could, for instance, cause an apple to fall. In fact, given the cycles(cycles seem to be designed) of flora and fauna, many have postulated the apple falling was by design.

  108. James Sexton (21:26:31) :

    Apparently the questions ‘what’ and ‘how’ are the pertinent questions. Why seems impertinent. That’s strange to me because as I study history, the question ‘why’ is usually the most important question that leads to answers unrevealed by the questions what and how.

    In my mathematical universe the why becomes the answer of “why climb everest” answer: “because it is there”. Maybe the same is true of bees and trees etc?

  109. Leif Svalgaard (22:21:10) :
    Then imagine that you just stepped out for a moment and when you came back in, somebody had finished the puzzle, or the sudoku, or the cross-word puzzle, or the painting, … That would spoil the enjoyment of making it. no?

    Yes, of course, that would spoil my enjoyment. So, does that mean, because you consider the ‘what’ and ‘how’ meaningful, and something displays a why, you’d ignore it because it ruined your ‘what’ and ‘how’? It shouldn’t. There is so much we’ll never know about our universe/solar system/earth, or even the lump of ground my house is set upon that why is only part of the question. There’s plenty of room for all questions.

    While I’m fairly certain this pleasant discussion won’t change a mind between us, I’d submit that systems and cycles lend to the thought of design. I’ve enjoyed and look forward to other discussions.
    Cheers

  110. James Sexton (22:45:09) :
    True the apple doesn’t, but that doesn’t negate the possibility that something else did have intent for it to fall.
    ‘The’ apple was generic and you do not cause ‘all’ apples to fall. And you misunderstand ‘intent’ and ‘fall’ here. You may disconnect the apple from the tree. That does not cause it to fall [the tree could be growing in the space station]. It is not your intent that moves the apple along on its trajectory. The apple does not have a ‘purpose’ in falling. You might ascribe a ‘purpose’ to it, but the apple doesn’t know that and falls regardless.

  111. James Sexton (22:45:09) :
    True the apple doesn’t, but that doesn’t negate the possibility that something else did have intent for it to fall.
    One could ask the question: “what do you think to what end your life is? or what purpose somebody has in letting you live it?

  112. anna v (22:16:49)
    In my mathematical universe the why becomes the answer of “why climb everest” answer: “because it is there”. Maybe the same is true of bees and trees etc?

    Hmm, almost had me agreeing with you. I, too, am a lover of math. However, I can’t find the equation for “because it’s there”. Perhaps you can show that one to me. Truthfully, while it may be anathema to most parties, I don’t see where ID and the “big bang” are inconsistent with one another. I just see systems and cycles as proof of design, while others see them as happenstance. What does your mathematics say about probabilities as to random chance of all these occurrences happening at the appropriate time and place, given the expanse of time and place in this universe?

  113. James Sexton (21:26:31)

    There exist physicists/mathematicians who are trying to formulate the dynamics of consciousness, way out on left/right field. Bohm, of quantum mechanical fame, was one of them, with his implicate and explicate fields. There is active research going on, too involved for my aging brain :). Your why is really “why consciousness”.

  114. James Sexton (22:57:27) :
    that mean, because you consider the ‘what’ and ‘how’ meaningful, and something displays a why, you’d ignore it
    I don’t know what a display of ‘why’ would look like. Perhaps you could enlighten me?

  115. James Sexton (23:04:41) :
    I don’t see where ID and the “big bang” are inconsistent with one another.
    BB could [and probably did] happen without a why, but explain to me how an IDer could do Her job without a why? When we humans design something it is always with a purpose in mind. The ‘thing’ is designed for something.

  116. James Sexton (23:04:41) :

    anna v (22:16:49)
    In my mathematical universe the why becomes the answer of “why climb everest” answer: “because it is there”. Maybe the same is true of bees and trees etc?

    Hmm, almost had me agreeing with you. I, too, am a lover of math. However, I can’t find the equation for “because it’s there”.

    In my mathematical universe, an atom will absorb a radiation hitting it if it is of the right frequency to be excited to a higher state. That is the equation for “because it is there”

  117. James Sexton (23:04:41) :
    I just see systems and cycles as proof of design
    The flaw there is that design is not needed. Things evolve perfectly well without a designer, so ID is an extraneous and unnecessary assumption.

  118. Leif Svalgaard (23:00:21) :

    James Sexton (22:45:09) :
    True the apple doesn’t, but that doesn’t negate the possibility that something else did have intent for it to fall.
    ‘The’ apple was generic and you do not cause ‘all’ apples to fall. And you misunderstand ‘intent’ and ‘fall’ here. You may disconnect the apple from the tree. That does not cause it to fall [the tree could be growing in the space station]. It is not your intent that moves the apple along on its trajectory. The apple does not have a ‘purpose’ in falling. You might ascribe a ‘purpose’ to it, but the apple doesn’t know that and falls regardless.

    Sigh, this is becoming a rather circular conversation, as I suspected it would. No, all apples fall because of gravity, or not, because of lack of gravity. That, still, doesn’t preclude a design, neither does the awareness or lack thereof of the apples(whether the apples are aware or not doesn’t seem relevant to me). I would suggest that gravity forces the apple to the ground. The causes one of 2 things. Either the apple is consumed thereby allowing another carbon form to further its existence or it seeds and grows a tree that produces more apples to be consumed by herbivores or omnivores or seed. Of course, there’s much more to apples, trees, and gravity. More cycles, more systems all pointing to design.

  119. Leif Svalgaard (23:15:17) :

    James Sexton (23:04:41) :
    I just see systems and cycles as proof of design
    The flaw there is that design is not needed. Things evolve perfectly well without a designer, so ID is an extraneous and unnecessary assumption.

    I would submit that things evolve because they were designed that way.

  120. anna v (23:12:42) : Forgive me anna, I’m still pondering the
    “In my mathematical universe, an atom will absorb a radiation hitting it if it is of the right frequency to be excited to a higher state. That is the equation for “because it is there”” statement.

  121. James Sexton (23:28:23) :
    I would submit that things evolve because they were designed that way.
    evolving is a process, and a thing is not. The essential point is that design is not needed.

  122. Leif Svalgaard (23:41:15) :evolving is a process, and a thing is not. The essential point is that design is not needed.

    Slight semantic correction. Evolution is a process. Evolving is what things are engaged in…….Further, design is essential to facilitate the evolution of things.

    Anna, more semantics, I engage in things(quests), not because they’re there, but because I can. The difference is slight when reading but significant to me. I don’t play the guitar because it’s there(though it has to be there for me to do it) I play because I want to prove I can. Same for mountains and valleys.

    It’s been a great pleasure and honor for me. Sadly, I’m out of beer and it’s late. The mrs. hides the liquor else I become liberally extreme in my conservative views!!!! So, I wish you all a good night.

  123. Amusing back and forth. Speaking of mathematics, you’re aware of course that all numbers, all math, only exists in the mind, not in Nature? Math cannot be the nature of Nature, it is only a way the mind describes Nature. What Nature actually is, and how it operates, somehow coincides at its deeper levels of observation with mind. But if we suggest that math itself is at the root of it, then we are saying that Nature, at it’s root, is simply Mind.

    I would happen to agree with that general idea, but that undermines most of the arguments against Nature occuring without intelligent design.

  124. “Churchill once said that a fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” Andy.s

    Then I am not a religious fanatic but an anti-fractional reserve banking fanatic.

    Notice I quit some time ago but not for lack of ammunition.

  125. conradg, surely after that experience, you’d denounce leftism?!

    By the way, unlike the leftists you described, I’d never decree that all those under the banner of the left are the same. Take yourself for example, a skeptical AGW leftist (as rare as that may be) and people I know who read leftist tabloids because it makes them feel cultured. Nevertheless, they are nice people overall.
    Then there is the group of leftists who are disenfranchised with life or suffer emotional problems and have decided that protesting at a G20 summit and being all hippy-like, is better than dealing with their personal problems.
    And then of course, there are the countless mums and dads who have embraced climate change because environmentalism has become the new R-word.
    I could go on…..take nativism for example……let’s stop there!

  126. My last word on the subject:

    This universe is too young and too small (mass wise) for life to have originated here by chance alone. Folks have run the numbers for the simplest conceivable lifeform capable of evolving (the ability to to store information and replicate) and it is statistically impossible (less than 1 in 10^50, much less).

    So life did not originate in this universe. Now imagine a super universe which, unlike this universe is infinitely old, then life would certainly originate from chaos. That life would be God. Once formed, He could have then created this universe and the life in it.

    There you have it, evolution and Creation reconciled through probability theory, the mass of the universe, the age of the universe, and the Torah.

    “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD,
    “And My servant whom I have chosen,
    So that you may know and believe Me
    And understand that I am He.
    Before Me there was no God formed,
    And there will be none after Me.”
    Isaiah 43:10

    Courtesy of a Christian astrophysicist by the name of Dr. Hugh Ross of reasons.org

    Take it or leave it. I can’t put it any clearer.

  127. Mr. Bat, while agree that all things are conceivable, it doesn’t make sense that it should all boil down to one denomination.

    Plus, you know you will receive a smack on the bottom for discussing religion.

  128. What I want to know is: 1) Who funded this study?; 2) What does this have to do with anything?; and 3) Why didn’t we have professors as attractive as Prof. Rios Morrison when I was in journalism school at Ohio State?

  129. MartinGAtkins (13:30:16) :

    Absurd as some of the ideas here may seem with regard to your field of study, they can do no harm.

    Leif Svalgaard (13:57:38) :

    Yes, they can. Because a literate voting populace is important [think faith-based schoolbooks].

    You’ve thrown a curved ball at me here. I didn’t say that the ideas expressed on this site should be taught in schools. My point was that though some of the absurd postulations may irritate you, they do no harm.

    Should faith based subjects be taught in school? My view is yes but they should be approached as philosophy and not science.

    look at the dismal record of peer review and the junk submitted and passed by a cabal of fraudsters.

    Peer review [which is rather new thing] works reasonably well. It is like Democracy [lots of problems, but we don't have anything better].

    New or not it’s a pigs ear and does not work reasonably well. It’s nothing like and nor should it be a democracy. IMHO peer review should be open to scrutiny by all stake holders. That includes the great unwashed tax payer. If you have nothing better than the corrupt system you have now then you can’t complain when the people consult witch doctors and shamans who’s methods and transparency are equal to the spivs who run your institutions.

    I have taken onboard the rest of you post and hope you don’t think my views are in anyway a personal attack on you or the late Dr. J, Eddy.

  130. How we view ourselves is a very legitimate investigative area. The fast food industry, retail, and hospitality businesses hang on every word. Why? Because it has the potential to increase sales and thus the bottom line. The results are often robust as well. It is very hard to change how you think about yourself. I thought the study was a little light on subjects but the idea was a good one. Do this study again at Oregon State and you will have a much larger subject pool willing to participate. The hardest part would be trying to find moderate anything as the control. Oh wait. That means I would fit under the category of thinking that everyone is an uber-intelligently-designed conservative. But on second thought, all the potheads attend the University of Oregon. And the moderate liberals down there all think that everyone is a liberal-green-hash-head. Ya know what, it IS fun to make anecdotally based generalized statements!

  131. Wow Lief you got em coming out of the woodwork.
    Regarding your comment about scientific literacy, I do believe you have overestimated the state of things.

    Things are the way they are because nature always takes the path of least resistance regardless of appearances.

  132. Back2Bat (04:12:13) :
    My last word on the subject
    One can only hope so.

    This universe is too young and too small (mass wise) for life to have originated here by chance alone.
    This universe is infinitely large [Omega = 1, i.e. flat]. And life does not get started by throwing stuff together at random. Life has very likely started several times over on this very Earth, only to be snuffed out by planetary collisions, e.g. the one that created the Moon.

    Take it or leave it. I can’t put it any clearer.
    One must leave it, as you have clearly demonstrated lack of knowledge about this.

    SamG (05:04:36) :
    Mr. Bat, while agree that all things are conceivable, it doesn’t make sense that it should all boil down to one denomination.
    For the believers there is only one true denomination.

    MartinGAtkins (06:00:53) :
    My point was that though some of the absurd postulations may irritate you, they do no harm.
    The ideas do not harm. The people who hold them, are the harm-doers.

    Should faith based subjects be taught in school? My view is yes but they should be approached as philosophy and not science.
    ‘Faith’ should be thought in schools [Hinduism, Islam, and a smattering of others; curriculum time permitting]. Faith-based subjects are neither philosophy nor science, and should not be taught (in public schools) [think madrases], expect in the context of examples of folly.

    New or not it’s a pigs ear and does not work reasonably well.
    I have reviewed hundreds of papers over time. Just last week I reviewed two [one accepted with minor revision and one rejected]. The reviewers do mostly a superb job [unpaid and often unrecognized].

    peer review should be open to scrutiny by all stake holders. That includes the great unwashed tax payer.
    I agree with that and am doing my part to make that happen. c.f. this on my website: http://www.leif.org/research/Dikpati%20Referee%20Report.pdf
    and this:

    http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20Dst%20paper%20by%20K%20and%20M.pdf

    and this:

    http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20Clilverd%20et%20al%20Reconstructing%20aa.pdf

    and this mother of them all:

    http://www.leif.org/research/No%20Doubling%20of%20Open%20Flux.pdf

    The last one is a review of one of my papers [which was rejected at the time - although later analysis (even by the reviewer) has proven me correct, e.g. as outlined here http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20McCracken.pdf and on this very blog].
    Several of us are working from within the system to achieve full transparency, e.g. with the reviews published as electronic attachment to the papers. This is a long hard slug, but will eventually get there. An important function [present in the current system and should be retained] is that the review should not be a free-for-all peddling of the reviewer’s own viewpoints. Equally important is the removal of pay-walls so that the unwashed masses can actually
    read the papers.

    If you have nothing better than the corrupt system you have now then you can’t complain when the people consult witch doctors and shamans who’s methods and transparency are equal to the spivs who run your institutions.
    I can assure you that the system is not corrupt [although with human being there are always bad apples] and that north of 95% of the cases, the process works well, and the unpaid reviewers are doing the public a great service.

    I have taken onboard the rest of you post and hope you don’t think my views are in anyway a personal attack on you or the late Dr. J, Eddy.
    compared to some of the stinky stuff that is flung my way, yours is a measured, dignified, and glowing contrbution.

  133. peer review should be open to scrutiny by all stake holders. That includes the great unwashed tax payer.
    I agree with that and am doing my part to make that happen. c.f. this on my website: http://www.leif.org/research/Dikpati%20Referee%20Report.pdf
    and this:

    http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20Dst%20paper%20by%20K%20and%20M.pdf

    and this:

    http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20Clilverd%20et%20al%20Reconstructing%20aa.pdf

    and this mother of them all:

    http://www.leif.org/research/No%20Doubling%20of%20Open%20Flux.pdf

    The last one is a review of one of my papers [which was rejected at the time - although later analysis (even by the reviewer) has proven me correct, e.g. as outlined here http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20McCracken.pdf and on this very blog].
    Several of us are working from within the system to achieve full transparency, e.g. with the reviews published as electronic attachment to the papers. This is a long hard slug, but will eventually get there. An important function [present in the current system and should be retained] is that the review should not be a free-for-all peddling of the reviewer’s own viewpoints. Equally important is the removal of pay-walls so that the unwashed masses can actually read the papers.

  134. Leif Svalgaard (10:59:26) :

    You see the same phenomenon even on this blog where very vocal pushers of pseudo-science are trying again and again to peddle their strange [at at times, extreme] views under the guise that Mainstream Science is faltering and that therefore any hare-brained scheme must be valid. Science literacy in times like today is more important than ever and from reading these weird posts we often see here, one might get the impression that it is lower than it [hopefully] is.

    The article suggested extremists were more prone to push their view when they felt they were in a majority. The idea that “Mainstream Science is faltering” can easily be concluded by reading the news reports on said Science. There is a terrible tendency to pull invalid conclusions from obscure inconclusive studies (pick your topic) because the reporter feels comfortable that such a conclusion represents mainstream feelings. Thus the absence of science literacy among reporters can easily appear to be a faltering of mainstream science, if such is not pointed out.

    Unfortunately, all to often the favorite “scientists” of the illiterate reporters are indeed faltering, and “mainstream science” goes largely unproclaimed.

  135. Back2Bat (04:12:13) :

    So life did not originate in this universe. Now imagine a super universe which, unlike this universe is infinitely old, then life would certainly originate from chaos. That life would be God. Once formed, He could have then created this universe and the life in it.
    ——————-

    “God(s)” could quite easily evolve (or have evolved) in this universe simply by an intelligent life form reaching the “Singularity” described by Ray Kurzweil.

    If humans reached the singularity this century, as implied by Kurzweil in “The Singularity is Near”, the IPCC predictions for 2100 are going to look beyond silly, as if they don’t look silly now, and as if anyone will care at that point.

    Why are we wasting money on AGW garbage when we could be performing more real science towards reaching the Singularity in our lifetimes ??

  136. Steve in SC (06:59:58) :
    Wow Leif you got’em coming out of the woodwork.
    Regarding your comment about scientific literacy, I do believe you have overestimated the state of things.

    My hope is that the illiterates are just like the folks Anthony describes that push their views in Chico by shouting louder. My fear is that your are correct and that it is bad. Judging from some of the postings here, it looks grim.

  137. This is a fleshed-out version of something I have been saying for years (at least since the Carter years): “He’s been so far to the left for so long, it looks like the middle to him.” I apply it routinely to politicos and journos.

  138. Leif Svalgaard (07:26:22) :
    Here is a good article about scientists and blogs:
    .

    So in your case Leif, is it altruism, acclaim, reputation, or renumeration?

  139. Tim Clark (08:42:20) :
    So in your case Leif, is it altruism, acclaim, reputation, or renumeration?
    Altruism is a little bit too loaded for my book, but the text under the heading says it better:
    “Some [...] believe outreach and dissemination are as important as curiosity and discovery. Some ]…] dislike inaccuracies and mistruths {love that word} that they instinctively correct erroneous information they encounter”.

  140. Skipping back:

    Life (on Earth) exists solely as the method for DNA to replicate.

    Any other purpose is secondary. What we are is what we made ourselves.

  141. Well, it was fun watching the beer take effect. I turned off my instincts to correct every misspelling and just read for the fun of it. Haven’t enjoyed anything this much since Debate 201.

  142. Leif Svalgaard (08:55:48) :

    Tim Clark (08:42:20) :
    So in your case Leif, is it altruism, acclaim, reputation, or renumeration?
    Altruism is a little bit too loaded for my book, but the text under the heading says it better:
    “Some [...] believe outreach and dissemination are as important as curiosity and discovery. Some ]…] dislike inaccuracies and mistruths {love that word} that they instinctively correct erroneous information they encounter”.

    Ahhh, but I think it’s more than that, you enjoy it too much. ;~D

  143. CodeTech (09:53:31) :
    Life (on Earth) exists solely as the method for DNA to replicate.
    stated differently: a chicken is an egg’s way of making another egg. Still, there is no purpose or intent of part of the egg.

  144. Leif,

    My primary concerns are fractional reserve central banking, the CO2 scare and pointing out that belief in a Creator is throughly logical, in that order.

    I said that was my last word on the subject here so I won’t bother refuting you further.

  145. Tim Clark (10:20:02) :
    Ahhh, but I think it’s more than that, you enjoy it too much.
    Perhaps the folks enjoy the show, moi, I’m just being dumped upon. Here is from another thread:
    “And we have seen this repeatedly in the AGW debate. Dr. Svalgaard, sadly, is caught in this spider’s web of self-delusion.”.
    This is thin gruel in the enjoyment department.

    What ranks high in that department is a recent debate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGrmYR50jJ8&feature=related
    on Iraqi TV that contrasts the view of the world from Holy Scripture and from Modern Science [BTW the science guy also makes an error: the mass of the Moon is not 1/6 of the Earth's, its surface gravity is]. Sadly, this kind of conviction can be found here too, and all too often.

  146. Leif,

    Observing the frequency of those who misspell your first name, I wonder it it’s because they were taught the rule “I before E except after C” in their school days? That works most of the time at least for english words with a long e vowel sound, but not for proper nouns. Out of curiosity, does your name rhyme with “leaf” or with “waif”? I think both ways are in common use.

  147. D Johnson (12:25:11) :
    long e vowel sound, but not for proper nouns. Out of curiosity, does your name rhyme with “leaf” or with “waif”? I think both ways are in common use.
    In Danish there is only one form: ‘waif’ or as I rather prefer ‘life’. The other spelling ‘lief’ is not so bad as it means ‘dear’ or ‘dearest’ in Dutch which we also speak here at home [in California].

  148. Any homeowner’s association could tell you what this article is saying. Mine attempted to enforce a ban on homeowners parking in the street overnight, and they enacted overnight visitor registration and complete bans on non-functional vehicles on the property (don’t get me started on how it was so poorly worded that it technically banned owning a bicycle). The next meeting, they had record attendance, and the comments went for over an hour about how horrible the idea was. It cost a fortune in legal fees to enact a regulation on 1,800 homes for something that about a dozen people actually wanted.

  149. Back2Bat (11:06:49) :
    I said that was my last word on the subject here so I won’t bother refuting you further.
    I’ll accept one more word. How many planets did the creator put life on, in this infinite universe?

  150. “SamG (03:59:47) :

    conradg, surely after that experience, you’d denounce leftism?

    No, I denounce stupidity. There’s plenty to go around on both left and right.

    And honestly, I don’t really blame the general left-liberal gung-ho attitude towards global warming on the political types who embrace it. Must of them are just taking scientists at their word, trusting that they’ve gotten this one right. There might be some advocacy groups who are knowingly exaggerating the scientific basis for AGW, but even they are genuinely convinced that it’s in the right cause. But honestly, if I believed the general scientific “community” who are promoting AGW, I’d be a gung ho reductionist as well. So it”s not the politics that’s at fault in my view, it’s the scientists who have exaggerated their case. I’m not really sure what someone like Obama should do, when all his top science advisors are telling him AGW is a real threat. The left is at least trying to honor the science – unfortunately, it’s the science community that seems to have blown this one big time. The left may embrace the science in part because it goes with their political narrative, but they aren’t, for the most part, willfully trying to distort the science. It’s scientists who are doing that. And it’s science that’s going to pay the price, all the way around, when this fiasco comes crashing down as I suspect it will over the next decade or two.

    I’ve tried arguing to progressives in embracing the entire AGW movement that they are facing the same kind of retribution as Bush, Cheney, and the Neocons are now reaping over the entire Iraq invasion – all the exaggerations about a “slam dunk” case for WMDs have destroyed the credibility of the neocons to a man. And progressives will face the same kind of denunciation when the AGW theory collapses due to lack of actual future warming. Looking back, it will become rather obvious that the signs were there all along, but were ignored because the politics was just too attractive. But most progressives simply aren’t science-oriented, and they don’t know how to skeptically evaluate the science. They just trust that Hansen and the climate community has this one nailed down. And they simply won’t listen to anyone expressing sckepticism. Certainly they should be more open-minded about this, but honestly, scientists are supposed to be trustworthy. Laymen and politicians aren’t supposed to have to figure all this stuff out on their own. Science has really dropped the ball here, or failed to speak up due to cowardice and indecision. They too will reap some serious consequences down the line.

  151. And to think this all evolved from a study of drinking.
    I would like to loudly reclaim that I am a firm believer in global warming.
    I am also a vociferous proponent of global cooling.
    ‘just depends on if it is a hot or cold day. Luck would have it that there is a beverage for all types of weather. Time for another drinkie.
    Have you noticed that when people get a couple of drinks behind their belts thay tend to get louder and sometimes they get right in your face and breath on you? Quite taxing.

  152. Leif Svalgaard (16:25:03) :

    Back2Bat (11:06:49) :
    I said that was my last word on the subject here so I won’t bother refuting you further.
    I’ll accept one more word. How many planets did the creator put life on, in this infinite universe?

    Seems to me that once beliefs become esoteric/metaphysical there is not much to be gained in trying to refute them by logical arguments. It is easy to disprove that an old man with a beard created the world logically, but the metaphysical theories of consciousness, which in a sense create a collective God, are as irrefutable as a belief as is the belief that I am sitting here typing this communication.

    The difference between experiential and experimental. Sitting inside the head and looking out and believing there exists an objective reality.

    It is better to agree to disagree on the beliefs about experience an interlocutor holds, than try to find “proof” that he/she is wrong.

  153. conradg (16:42:54) :
    Science has really dropped the ball here, or failed to speak up due to cowardice and indecision.
    At least THIS scientist has not failed to speak up against pseudo-science like AGW, ID, EU, Astrology, etc, and will continue to do so.

  154. The first moments of the universe are no more accessible to scientists than they are to prophets.

    I think the Queen had it right. “I do not like to build windows into men’s souls.”

  155. Zeke the Sneak (21:28:14) :
    The first moments of the universe are no more accessible to scientists than they are to prophets.
    And what is your evidence for that? For one, prophets can’t access anything before the last ~6000 years where we have some kind of history.

  156. “I’ll accept one more word. How many planets did the creator put life on, in this infinite universe?” Leif

    Infinite? I thought the mass of the universe was known. If so, that combined with the age of the universe puts limits on the probability of life forming in this universe.

    Intelligent life? Just one, this one. The Lord might be doing some terra forming via bacteria and such on other worlds.

    SETI keeps listening but no joy. The Earth is unique. There is a book called Rare Earth if you are interested. I have not read it myself but supposedly it is by two NON-CULTISTS.

    Reply: What can I do to get you two to stop this without clamping down? ~ ctm

  157. “SETI keeps listening but no joy. The Earth is unique”

    Let’s assume we find a stone age tribe that’s had no contact with ‘civilization’. We decide to use hi-tech surveillance techniques to see them in their natural state.
    If a hunter went to the shaman saying he thought he was being watched could the shaman logically reply:
    “If anyone was out there, they’d have to communicate by drums, since that’s the only way to long-talk. We’ve heard no drums so there’s no-one there.”

    Seriously, no star-going civilization with our metabolic rate would be using radio.

  158. The creation moment is not a scientific certainty.

    And coincidentally, whenever men and women are free to hold their own beliefs about that, a flourishing in science and the arts, political and religious freedom, and economic vitality are not far behind.

  159. The Big Bang, or any other creation moment, is not a scientific certainty.

    And coincidentally, whenever men and women are free to hold their own beliefs about that, a flourishing in science and the arts, political and religious freedom, and economic vitality are not far behind.

  160. Back2Bat (22:05:56) :
    Infinite? I thought the mass of the universe was known.
    The mass of the observable universe at any time [and it gets bigger with time because light from further away can reach us at later times] is known. There was once a discussion about whether the universe had positive curvature [closed] and was finite, no curvature [flat] and infinite, or negative curvature [open] and infinite. Observations have long since shown us that the universe is flat and infinite. Finite means that if you keep traveling in a straight line you eventually end up where you started. Infinite means that you do not. In any case, the observable universe is but an infinitesimal small part of the whole universe.

  161. Back2Bat (22:05:56) :
    Just one, this one.
    and how does that follow from logic? please outline the steps in the logical chain of propositions and theorems that lead the that conclusion.

    Zeke the Sneak (22:39:36) :
    And coincidentally, whenever men and women are free to hold their own beliefs about that, a flourishing in science and the arts, political and religious freedom, and economic vitality are not far behind.
    Apart from the circularity [free to hold - religious freedom] the statement is false. The correct statement would be that when men and women do not impress their own beliefs on others – including their children – then a flourishing etc…

  162. Leif Svalgaard (23:04:34) :
    “In any case, the observable universe is but an infinitesimal small part of the whole universe.”

    Ok,ok. I wasn’t goin to say anything, but hey, I like you Leif and after the ‘presision of words comment’, I just had too. :)
    The word infinitesimal already means small or immeasurably minute or even a variable that has zero as its limit. So either you mean our known Universe is majorly minute in comparison to the unknown Universe or you were just emotionally bound to banter the concept of a small small part of the infinite.
    Either way. I’m just teasin.
    And thanks again for setting me straight on the whole magnetic vs electric theory.
    p.s. Now when are you gonna write a article on Jupiters effect on the Sun? :)

  163. “Observations have long since shown us that the universe is flat and infinite. ”

    This is far from settled. And even if it does become settled, it does not mean that the mass of the unvierse is infinite, only that it’s spatial dimensions will expand forever. However, the Big Bang theory states that the universe has a defined and thus finite energy, meaning that it’s mass is finite also. So if the universe is confined to the one that began with the big bang, the universe is finite. However, if there are an infinite number of universes, then there is no end to them.

    Further, if there turn out to be other dimensions, or metaphysical universes not defined by physical law, the size of “reality” can expand in other directions as well. Personally, I’m inclined towards that maximized infinite universe, which includes infinite physical, infinite metaphysical, and infinite dimensionally metaphysical universes without end. Just as there is no reason to think that our observable universe is the limit of physicality, there’s no reason to think that physicality is the limit of existence itself. Furthermore, quantum mechanics has demonstrated that what we observe does not become definable until we observe it. The secrets of the infinite universe are best found in the observing consciousness, not in what is observed.

  164. conradg(16:42:54) :
    “SamG (03:59:47) :

    conradg, surely after that experience, you’d denounce leftism?

    No, I denounce stupidity. There’s plenty to go around on both left and right.

    And honestly, I don’t really blame the general left-liberal gung-ho attitude towards global warming on the political types who embrace it. Must of them are just taking scientists at their word, trusting that they’ve gotten this one right. There might be some advocacy groups who are knowingly exaggerating the scientific basis for AGW, but even they are genuinely convinced that it’s in the right cause.

    To be perfectly blunt, this is nonsense. You simply can not plead ignorance in this day and age. Isn’t it convenient that the believers pick up the ball and run with it, no questions asked and then cast aspersions on the ‘denialists’. Kidding right? Sounds like you’re making concessions for them.
    The need precedes the facts, which is why they have been forcing a specious ideology onto the world and hijacking the science. Like the notion of God, it is easy to believe in something that isn’t there or is not occurring in the present, away from material factuality. This simply confirms our illusions and emotional desires and removes the burden of proof.
    You are neglecting the greenie/leftist agenda.

    But honestly, if I believed the general scientific “community” who are promoting AGW, I’d be a gung ho reductionist as well. So it’’s not the politics that’s at fault in my view, it’s the scientists who have exaggerated their case. I’m not really sure what someone like Obama should do, when all his top science advisors are telling him AGW is a real threat.

    Obama is a politician. Politicians do what’s popular. But Obama is a democrat so he has socialist leanings as well.

    The left is at least trying to honor the science – unfortunately, it’s the science community that seems to have blown this one big time. The left may embrace the science in part because it goes with their political narrative, but they aren’t, for the most part, willfully trying to distort the science. It’s scientists who are doing that. And it’s science that’s going to pay the price, all the way around, when this fiasco comes crashing down as I suspect it will over the next decade or two.

    And who will stand up and confess they were wrong; that they are culpable? Why, when they wanted it all along?? I think you will find that they didn’t believe in the science, the science backed up their agendas, which is why they won’t be hanging around when this fiasco finally comes to an end. Again, I think you misunderstand the greenie/leftist agenda.

    I’ve tried arguing to progressives in embracing the entire AGW movement that they are facing the same kind of retribution as Bush, Cheney, and the Neocons are now reaping over the entire Iraq invasion – all the exaggerations about a “slam dunk” case for WMDs have destroyed the credibility of the neocons to a man. And progressives will face the same kind of denunciation when the AGW theory collapses due to lack of actual future warming. Looking back, it will become rather obvious that the signs were there all along, but were ignored because the politics was just too attractive. But most progressives simply aren’t science-oriented, and they don’t know how to skeptically evaluate the science. They just trust that Hansen and the climate community has this one nailed down. And they simply won’t listen to anyone expressing sckepticism. Certainly they should be more open-minded about this, but honestly, scientists are supposed to be trustworthy. Laymen and politicians aren’t supposed to have to figure all this stuff out on their own. Science has really dropped the ball here, or failed to speak up due to cowardice and indecision. They too will reap some serious consequences down the line.

    Bush-bashing was such a trendy thing to do. Sure, he wasn’t the greatest president but you’ll be hard pressed finding a leftie criticizing the Obama administration, even when he contemplates more troops in Afghanistan than Bush deployed in Iraq. Where are the protesters?
    But sure, he’s about to send your economy down the toilet and you want to play sides?
    I utterly dislike the contemptuous and sinister nature of the left, and the actions of a few imperialists don’t justify the complete dismissal of capitalism.

  165. conradg (02:09:56) :
    However, the Big Bang theory states that the universe has a defined and thus finite energy, meaning that it’s mass is finite also.
    This you need to substantiate. If anything, the total energy may be zero, but that does not mean that the mass is zero.

  166. Leif Svalgaard said:

    Apart from the circularity [free to hold - religious freedom] the statement is false. The correct statement would be that when men and women do not impress their own beliefs on others – including their children – then a flourishing etc…

    Hmmm, I impressed my belief in the scientific method on my children.

  167. Richard Sharpe (07:38:08) :
    Hmmm, I impressed my belief in the scientific method on my children.
    did it help? ;-) I’m reminded the response of a prominent scientist being asked how she promoted interest in science to her daughter: “with a stick”.
    Perhaps ‘belief in’ in the above sentence should be better expressed as ‘acceptance of the usefulness [or power] of’. ‘Belief’ might be reserved for things that might be held to be ‘true’ [whatever that means], while the ‘scientific method’ is more of a process and in itself cannot be ‘true’, only the things we discover through the process might have a truth value. But, I’m quibbling. Anyway, I meant it in the sense just outlined.

  168. How exactly has science ruled out God? Scientists can’t rule out the possibility that the LHC could produce fire breathing dragons,

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/30/cern.particlephysics1

    and even more startling to the average sensible person, scientists are even suggesting someone (or thing) from the future is tampering with the LHC

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/13/science/space/13lhc.html?_r=2

    is the faltering of Mainstream Science, simple scientific illiteracy, or simply the fact the the impossible could be possible, and only hubris rules it out.

  169. Lucy (08:30:38) :
    the impossible could be possible, and only hubris rules it out.
    There is a certain misconception in this. ‘Hubris’ does not describe the state of affairs. Almost everything we think we know has been hard won and many things have not been to our liking. From a ‘human’ standpoint it would arguably be ‘philosophically’ more satisfying and make ‘sense’ to the layman] if Newton’s laws [and views on space and time] were correct, rather then relativity, if ‘classical mechanics’ were correct correct, rather than Quantum Mechanics, if Steady State Cosmology were correct, rather than Big Bang, if ID were correct, rather than Evolution, if fixed continents were correct rather than plate tectonics, if the solar corona was very light ‘coronium’ rather a million degree atmosphere, etc, etc. Unfortunately, our observations force all these ‘inconvenient truths’ upon us. So, our current [vast] understanding is not hubris at all, but humble acceptance of the fact that Nature is more different from what we would like to imagine, perhaps even more different from what we can imagine.

  170. Leif Svalgaard (09:02:44) :
    So, our current [vast] understanding is not hubris at all, but humble acceptance of the fact that Nature is more different from what we would like to imagine
    That being said, there is grandeur in our current world view.

  171. Leif Svalgaard (23:26:01) :

    “The correct statement would be that when men and women do not impress their own beliefs on others – including their children – then a flourishing etc…”

    How can free people be restrained from “impressing their own beliefs on others,” or from directing the education of their own children? This makes no sense at all.

  172. “”” Leif Svalgaard (16:26:26) :

    >>>deletions<<<

    George E. Smith (14:57:32) :
    And that is entirely my humble opinion. Parallel universes, and strings are BS as far as I am concerned; and so far nobody has detected either of those.
    The science bit comes in in predicting and searching for things that would be observed if there were a parallel universe. The neutrino is a good example of this. Or even the ‘atom’. It was only 100 years ago that we found observable evidence of the existence of atoms. """

    Not trying to be argumentative Leif; and of course you're entitled to your opinions too.

    Neutrinons and atoms are concepts that were invented to explain the results of experiments that clearly showed the previous view of reality was inconsistent with experimental observations. Predictions made from new models that included the concepts of atoms, and subsequently neutrinos, were then observed experimentally; confirming the "existence" of those items.

    As I understand the parallel or multiple universe concept; that is a prediction from some theoretical model, which itself has never been verified experimentally; and even the disciples of parallel universes say the nearest "other universe" is so distant from this universe; as to never ever be detectable.

    And as I believe I stated specifically; should we somehow come to "observe" what we would now call a parallel universe; that merely, in my view would expand the scope of THE universe.

    Let's not expand the discussion of whether Pluto isa planet or not (of course it is) to include whether some parts of THE UNIVERSE are actually other universes, rather than simply parts of the universe.

    And I won't accept that something that "vibrates" in any manner that can be imagined to be analagous to the way a violin string "vibrates" is somehow a more "fundamental" primitive entity, beyond the level of quarks; that simply begs the question; "what are the structural elements of a STRING, that interract with each other to produce a vibration, and what are those gizmos that must be even more fundamental than the strings that are built from them.

    And as I said, that is MY opinion; others can disagree; they will have a hard time convincing me otherwise; but they are free to try; I do have an open mind on the question.

  173. “and how does that follow from logic? ” Leif

    I am banned for 24 hours so you’ll just have to wait.

  174. Wait. Since you were not banned for your outrageous insults, Leif, it will be longer than 24 hours.

    REPLY: You post anonymously under a fake moniker, Dr, Svalgaard puts his name to his words, thus he gets more respect in such matters. Further, Dr. Svalgaard made no suggestions of violence as you did. That’s what got you banned.

    My advice, if you want to be on equal footing, put your name to your words. – Anthony

  175. Leif Svalgaard (23:26:01) :

    “The correct statement would be that when men and women do not impress their own beliefs on others – including their children – then a flourishing etc…”

    To clarify:
    I am not aware of any time when people voluntarily refrained from expressing deeply held convictions to others, and they voluntarily did not “impress thier own beliefs on their children.”

    (Whereas we are all aware of examples in history in which they were restrained by the State from doing so.)

  176. SamG

    I don’t want to get too deeply into our political differences here. Clearly you’re from the political right, I’m from the left, and we can assume some major disagreements on a host of issues. That we agree on a basic skepticism towards AGW science has nothing to do with our politics, it’s simply a scientific matter. I’m sure we also agree that the sky is blue and that evolution is real and that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old. You can call me “socialist-leaning” if you like, and I can call you various names too, but I see little relevance in that to the discussion. But I think you have to recognize that you are off-base here:

    To be perfectly blunt, this is nonsense. You simply can not plead ignorance in this day and age. Isn’t it convenient that the believers pick up the ball and run with it, no questions asked and then cast aspersions on the ‘denialists’. Kidding right? Sounds like you’re making concessions for them.

    In fact, most people can and need to plead ignorance on most scientific matters, when they lack the actual training in the field to evaluate the evidence. I’m frankly not qualified to evaluate various theories of physics, quantum mechanics, relativity, etc., much less climate science. The best I can do is defer to the acknowledged experts in the field and try to develop a layman’s understanding of their theories. The same goes for every area of science. Like almost everyone in this country, I am at the mercy of the experts, the actual scientists. I understand of course that science isn’t perfect, that it is all about conjecture, debate, experiment, and painstaking reviews. But bottom line, in most cases I simply have to defer to those who know better. That’s just they way it is for almost everyone in this country.

    That of course gives scientists a tremendous power and responsibility. Most intelligent people respect and defer to the scientific community of experts when it comes to scientific issues, and climate is definitely a scientific issue. The political problems with the AGW hypothesis is rooted in the scientific community itself. One can argue that the science has become politicized, but the bottom line is that there is indeed a “consensus” out there among actual climatologists and other related scientific fields that AGW theory is legit and must be taken very seriously. That is just undeniable. After years of following the debate, I’ve come to the conclusion that this consensus is probably wrong, and that the scientific dissenters are right, but I have to admit that my personal opinion doesn’t carry much weight. I can also understand why most people who respect science would be inclined to accept the scientific consensus, and assume that it’s legitimate. This includes most politicians, most of whom are not even scientifically-minded, or literate in science, much less actual scientific experts in climate.

    The sad truth is that most of those who oppose the science of AGW on the political stage are right-wing anti-science no-nothing douche-bags who have no scientific legitimacy to begin with. Limbaugh, Palin, Inhofe, and their like could care less about the science. They regularly reject the science in far more settled scientific areas such as evolution and the age of the earth. However, even a broken clock can be right twice a day, and this is one issue in which their anti-science stance happens to be right. It happens that their political inclinations force them into a position on this issue which is very convenient for them – just as convenient in its way as it is for environmentalists and progressives to support AGW alarmism. That it will very likely turn out to be the scientifically valid position is mere chance.

    And it’s simply not true that those supporting the politics of AGW don’t ask questions. Unfortunately, the answers they get from the AGW science crowd are fairly comprehensive and convincing enough that most people just bow to authority on the issue. And yes, for some that’s very politically convenient for them, and so they are not as thorough in their questioning as they could be. But honestly what is Obama going to do when his science advisor, Chu, a Nobel-Prize winning physicist, and one of the best guys ever put in that position, with great plans for science all across the board, seems to completely buy into the scientific “consensus”. Chu is not a climatologists, so even he tends to bow to the experts in the field, who tell him the science is solid. Of course he should be more skeptical, and take the science apart, and maybe he does, and for some reason still sides with the alarmists. One can fault him to some degree for that, but how can one really fault Obama, who has no science background at all, for bowing to the wisdom of the “consensus” community when even his Nobel-Prize winning science advisor does so? And likewise with most of the Democrats in the house and the senate. Does Pelosi know jack shit about climatology? Of course not. She just hears all the climatologists, the UN IPCC, endlessly repeating this “consensus” stuff, and she feels obliged to go along with it. Political leanings aside, can you really blame her?

    The bottom line is, it’s the scientists themselves who need to see through this AGW alarmism and put their foots down, and report to the politicians and the public the seriousness of the arguments against climate alarmism. And to date, very few top scientists and climatologists have done so. The weight of scientific authority has been given to the alarmist science, and so that’s where the responsible people feel they need to be. You have to understand just how scientifically illiterate most people are, most politicians are, and how dependent they are on scientists to get these things right. It appears that in this case science has let them down. And unfortunately, a lot of the pressure to correct the science isn’t even coming from the scientific community, but from outsiders and amateur scientists and politically motivated skeptics that too often gives the skeptical community the feel of some crazed conspiracy cult. Or at least it’s been fairly easy for the AGW alarmists to characterize them that way – and unfortunately in many cases its actually been an accurate description. Are Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, Inhofe and their like actually credible spokesmen for this viewpoint? Only if you’re of a similarly crazed political bent, which most people are not.

    You are neglecting the greenie/leftist agenda.

    I actually support a lot of the greenie/leftist agenda. I’m big on alternative energy, on switching away from oil and coal as quickly as feasible and possible. I’m big on preserving the environment. And that shouldn’t be a leftist position, it should be a genuine conservative’s position as well. Conserving is what conservatism is supposed to be about, not rampant untramelled exploitation of the earth. I’m just not willing to support something I think is false in order to promote that agenda. I’m sad to see much of that movement attaching itself to the AGW bandwagon, but I can’t much blame them when the scientific community so clearly supports it. It would be different if the scientific community was telling everyone AGW is bullshit, but the left clung to it anyway. There’s certainly examples of dubious things some on the left clings to which science considers questionable, but this isn’t one of them. That is more often the problem with the right than with the left.

    Obama is a politician. Politicians do what’s popular. But Obama is a democrat so he has socialist leanings as well.

    Actually, cap and trade and various expensive economic remedies for AGW are not popular. Obama is pursuing them because the scientific community keeps telling him how important it is for the sake of humanity. His intentions are good, in other words. He’s willing to buck public opinion because the scientific community is, with few serious exceptions, virtually compelling him to do something serious about it. Obama is a man of reason, who feels compelled to do what is reasonable. In some areas, this means leaning towards government regulation and intervention. And frankly, if the scientific community were right about AGW, he’d be right to do so. But as a politician one can hardly fault him for not overriding the consensus opinion of most scientists on this issue. For some its easy, because they oppose Obama for political reasons, but at this stage, such people seem devoted to opposing anything Obama says or does, regardless of the merits. The right has become crazed and senseless on most issues, and has lost credibility in most people’s eyes. Very few are turning to them for wisdom on how to govern and deal with real problems in the country and the world.

    And who will stand up and confess they were wrong; that they are culpable?

    It is scientists who have that responsibility, not politicians. Politicians have tremendous cover to put in place harmful policies as long as the scientific community gives it not only their expert support and but literal urging. If the scientific community turned against AGW, political support for it would collapse overnight. As long s politicians say they were just following the advice of the preponderant voices of the scientific community, few will blame them for having been wrong. They will not be expected to have known better than scientific Nobel-Prize winners.

    The culpability within the science community should be huge, but I wonder if it will actually ruin many careers. So much of the scientific community has supported AGW that you’d hardly have anyone left if you purged all its supporters. So, I’d expect a few scapegoats to be made, such as Hansen, Mann, Briffa, and many of the modellers. But for most it will be a general amnesty and they will just move on.

    It’s in the layman’s world that the more serious consequences will arrive, in that people will simply not trust scientists as much anymore. It will be a boy-who-cried-wolf problem, such that even when there really is serious science behind various policy notions, people will always be able to compare it to that global warming fiasco, and thus cast doubt on its validity. That will be a serious problem for science and its relationship with the wider world.

    Bush-bashing was such a trendy thing to do. Sure, he wasn’t the greatest president but you’ll be hard pressed finding a leftie criticizing the Obama administration, even when he contemplates more troops in Afghanistan than Bush deployed in Iraq.

    Actually, there are a lot of people on the left criticizing Obama about Afghanistan, and calling for him to get out. The left is critical of Obama on a whole host of things, because they feel he isn’t moving fast enough are far enough on their issues. So this just isn’t true.

    But sure, he’s about to send your economy down the toilet and you want to play sides?

    Are you wacko? Obama came into office amidst the worst economic crisis since the great Depression, with all of us already in the toilet swimming against a strong downward current. If anything, he’s rescued the country from that potential Depression, and he’s not getting nearly enough credit for it. If anything, the opinion of the financial world is that we are now coming out of that recession and on the verge of a recovery. We’ll see how it goes.

    I utterly dislike the contemptuous and sinister nature of the left, and the actions of a few imperialists don’t justify the complete dismissal of capitalism.

    No one in the Democratic Party is dismissing capitalism. Obama is a capitalist through and through, as am I, as are all Democrats. He’s just in favor of better economic regulations to keep capitalism on track. After the great Depression we instituted regulatory controls which kept things going pretty well until we recently repealed a lot of them, and let the banks go wild. The fact is, capitalist pigs need to be kept on a short leash to keep them from becoming feral hogs. They just need to be domesticated is all. No one wants to slaughter them.

  177. conradg (02:09:56) :
    However, the Big Bang theory states that the universe has a defined and thus finite energy, meaning that it’s mass is finite also.

    Leif Svalgaard (05:32:21): This you need to substantiate. If anything, the total energy may be zero, but that does not mean that the mass is zero.

    I didn’t say the energy of the Big Bang, and hence the universe, was zero, I said it was a finite sum. It’s a very large number by our standards, of course, but finite nonetheless. If it were infinite, the Big Bang would still be going on, pouring out endless new mass-energy.

    You are perhaps referring to the total energy balance equations of the Big Bang. Even these, however, leave a finite energy imbalance that results in the observable universe. In no cases are these energies or masses infinite, however. Some of the characteristics of that balance results in theories such as dark energy and dark matter, which are to be tested at the LHC, but even in such theories, while the observable universe is seen as a very small fraction of the total universe, both are still finite in nature.

    My son is actually a student of Joel Premack, the originator of the dark energy/dark matter theory. He once asked Premack what he would do if the LHC destroyed his theory, and he said that he hoped it would, because it would make the universe much more interesting. I wish there were climate scientists who had that kind of attitude towards their own pet theories.

  178. “My advice, if you want to be on equal footing, put your name to your words. – Anthony”

    I don’t need equal footing and I like my moniker. But I will never even hint at violence again since I abhor it.

    Here is my current address if you think me a coward:

    4225 N. 1st Ave., #505
    Tucson, AZ 85719

  179. Zeke the Sneak (11:32:39) :
    How can free people be restrained from “impressing their own beliefs on others,” or from directing the education of their own children? This makes no sense at all.
    People that will not give their children a badly needed bloodtransfusion or give their children a minimum of education can be prosecuted for neglect among other things.

    conradg (13:32:45) :
    If it were infinite, the Big Bang would still be going on, pouring out endless new mass-energy.
    Does not make sense. Substantiate with a link, please. The total energy is probably zero.

  180. Leif Svalgaard (14:28:57) :

    People that will not give their children a badly needed bloodtransfusion or give their children a minimum of education can be prosecuted for neglect among other things.

    Witholding medical treatment or truancy are not what you were talking about at all. You made a broad statement about how science, the arts, political freedom and economic opportunity only flourish when people do not impress their beliefs on others, not even their own children.

  181. Zeke the Sneak (14:58:33) :
    You made a broad statement about how science, the arts, political freedom and economic opportunity only flourish when people do not impress their beliefs on others, not even their own children.
    And you disagree with that? The negation [which you then would agree with] is “science, the arts, political freedom and economic opportunity only flourish when people do impress their beliefs on others”.

  182. Leif Svalgaard (15:52:58) :

    Zeke the Sneak (14:58:33) :
    You made a broad statement about how science, the arts, political freedom and economic opportunity only flourish when people do not impress their beliefs on others, not even their own children.
    And you disagree with that?

    Yes, I do because it is contrary to our Constitution and our laws. “Impressing one’s belief on others” can mean no other than freedom of expression, freedom of association, and free excercise.

    “Impressing one’s belief on one’s own children” is no other than directing the upbringing and education of one’s own children.

    Pierce vs. the Society of Sisters (1925) rendered the state of Oregon powerless in its attempts to force all children to attend public schools:

    ‘The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all gov’ts in this Union repose excludes any power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not a mere creature of the state; those who nurture and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations. Pierce, 268 US 510, 535′ “

  183. conradg: If it were infinite, the Big Bang would still be going on, pouring out endless new mass-energy.

    Leif Svalgaard; Does not make sense. Substantiate with a link, please. The total energy is probably zero.

    Yes, according to the most accepted theories, the total energy of the Big Bang and the total universe is zero. But that includes, depending on the theory, dark energy/dark matter, gravity waves, plus all the matter-energy that exists beyond the event horizon of the big bang and which cannot be observed or known directly. The total energy of the observable universe is not zero, however. It is merely balanced out by other energy vectors such as those mentioned above which are not directly observable.

    As for the universe being “infinite”, I think you need only look up a definition of the word in a dictionary. It means endless. An infinite universe cannot come into being from a discrete location such as the Big Bang theory states without taking infinite time, by definition.

    As for supporting links, I don’t use those. I just call my friend who’s a particle physics professor and knows these things backwards and forewards. Saves me a lot of time. I just spent about an hour on the phone with him shooting the shit, and he clarified a lot of this stuff. You could do your own research, or phone a friend.

  184. Dr S, I do not know if you have become a US citizen or not. The idea that children should be under the gaze and care of state educators, and not the parents, does not surprise me. I have been scrutinizing the Obama Administration’s educational policies:

    1. The health care bill approved by the Finance Comm. includes funding to create a government home visitation program

    2. The president wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends, as well as eliminate summer vacations

    3. The Obama-Biden comprehensive “Zero to Five” plan is a new “universal voluntary” preschool program, which they claim “is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten.”

    4. sign treaty with the UN which would mandate that the state has the final say in what is “in the best interest of the child.”

    5. institute Federal mandatory volunteer youth programs, in which young people serve in the advancement of environmental projects
    (Sponsored by James McDermott, HR1444 Sub section 4B6)

    6. “Aside from improving academic performance, Education Secretary Duncan has a vision of schools as the heart of the community.”

    7. free breakfast, lunch, and probably dinner soon to come.

  185. Leif Svalgaard (23:26:01) :

    Zeke the Sneak (22:39:36) :
    And coincidentally, whenever men and women are free to hold their own beliefs about that, a flourishing in science and the arts, political and religious freedom, and economic vitality are not far behind.

    “Apart from the circularity [free to hold - religious freedom] the statement is false. The correct statement would be that when men and women do not impress their own beliefs on others – including their children – then a flourishing etc…”

    Be precise, Leif. Is “When people do not impress their religious beliefs on others, including their own children. that science, the arts, political and religious freedoms and economic vitality will flourish?” what you believe?

  186. conradg

    Your post is long but I’ll point out that I don’t affiliate myself with right wing ideology and I still entirely disagree with this nanny state you’re endorsing, that is; humans should vindicate their errors because they relied on scientists. You still don’t understand that they want to believe and they will fight hard to keep up the charade that this is really happening.

    I’m not a scientist, nor am I right wing but I detected the B.S right from the beginning. There are many tell-tale signs demonstrating AGW to be an evil twisted lie and you don’t have to be an expert to know this. Wishful thinking on your behalf.

    Finally, those who believe that the existence of AGW is irrelevant, because it will force us to change our energy consumption habits anyway; are wrong.
    If the entire globe is capable of changing through inadvertence, then they are quite capable of flip flopping when circumstances dictate. Good decisions are made consciously and hysteria creates trends.

  187. Zeke the Sneak (16:31:06) :
    You made a broad statement about how science, the arts, political freedom and economic opportunity only flourish when people do not impress their beliefs on others[...]
    “And you disagree with that?”

    Yes, I do because it is contrary to our Constitution and our laws. “Impressing one’s belief on others” can mean no other than freedom of expression, freedom of association, and free excercise.
    Impressing one’s belief is the worst kind of oppression. The Constitution does not give you the right to impress or oppress anybody. It gives you the right [subject to Government and Judicial approval] to express your belief, not to ‘impress’ your belief on other people [impress= forcibly produce by pressure or influence].

    conradg (17:03:47) :
    An infinite universe cannot come into being from a discrete location such as the Big Bang theory states without taking infinite time, by definition.
    The BB did not involve a ‘distinct’ location. All of infinite space expands everywhere. The observable universe is a function of our location and is thus not ‘the’ universe.

    Glenn (18:25:28) :
    Be precise, Leif. Is “When people do not impress their religious beliefs on others, including their own children. that science, the arts, political and religious freedoms and economic vitality will flourish?” what you believe?
    I was very precise. This is what Zeke should have said [cf my remark above]. Personally, I don’t think there is a correlation, perhaps some wishful thinking, but that’s all.Nothing [especially science] flourishes by forcing religion down everybody’s throat.

  188. Also note that infinity can extend vertically from time. It doesn’t have to be a function of ‘boundlessness’, it can be spacial realization of time.

    One sugar please

  189. Leif Svalgaard (10:20:45) :
    “Life (on Earth) exists solely as the method for DNA to replicate.
    stated differently: a chicken is an egg’s way of making another egg. Still, there is no purpose or intent of part of the egg.

    Here’s another take on this, from Robinson Jeffers’ De Rurem Virtute

    … the egg too has a mind …
    … a limited but superhuman intelligence
    Prophetic of the future and aware of the past …
    … and slowly, if it works, the race
    Forms a new race: that is also part of the plan
    Within the egg. I believe the first living cell
    Had echoes of the future in it, and felt
    Direction and the great animals, the deep green forest
    And whale’s track sea; I believe this globed earth
    Not all by chance and fortune brings forth her broods,
    But feels and chooses. And the Galaxy …
    Is not blind force, but fulfills its life and intends its courses. “All things are full of God.
    Winter and summer, day and night, war and peace are God.”

  190. In the absence of Reality, Probability reigns supreme.

    Just a thought. curiousgeorge

    That’s the way I figure it. If nothingness corresponds to 0 on the number line, then it is a highly improbable state. So chaos is the most likely state of things. However, given infinite time then Reality would arise. Having Purpose, He would quickly reign over purposeless chaos.

  191. Back2Bat (07:00:34) :
    Having Purpose, She would quickly reign over purposeless chaos.
    This is not science, but religion, and should not be taught in public schools, except in the context of comparing various religions.” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”

  192. Roger Knights (05:01:17) :
    … the egg too has a mind …
    … a limited but superhuman intelligence

    I almost feels guilty having had two eggs [sunny side up] for breakfast…

    REPLY: OK the obligatory joke…

    This is your limited but superhuman intelligence….
    ssssss…..
    This is your limited but superhuman intelligence on Leif’s plate….

    Any questions?

  193. Fine. Then I will just say when you post Dr. S, you are expressing your radical opinion on education, but you are not “impressing” anyone with it! A new area of law!

    “No Man’s Life Liberty or Property is Safe…While the Legislature is in Session”– Now we have to add our kids to the d*8% list!

  194. Leif Svalgaard (07:37:56) :

    Back2Bat (07:00:34) :
    Having Purpose, She would quickly reign over purposeless chaos.

    Leif,
    Be a gentleman and quote me accurately please. I said “He”.

    This is not science, but religion, and should not be taught in public schools, except in the context of comparing various religions.” Leif

    I agree. But I also think government should have no role in eduction except where absolutely necessary.

  195. “But for my children, I would have them keep their distance
    from the thickening center; corruption
    Never has been copulsory, when the cities lie at the monster’s feet
    there are left the mountains.

    And boys, be in nothing so moderate as the love of man,
    a clever servant, insufferable master.
    There is the trap that catches the noblest spirits, that caught
    – they say – God, when he walked on earth.”

    Robinson Jeffers

  196. Zeke the Sneak (11:23:56) :


    … there are left the mountains….

    I love the mountains!

    …. And boys, be in nothing so moderate as the love of man, …

    Should have warned about the love of women ; )

    There is the trap that catches the noblest spirits, that caught
    – they say – God, when he walked on earth.”

    Lost me there.

    Robinson Jeffers

    I should remember that name.

  197. Back2Bat (11:05:37) :
    Having Purpose, She would quickly reign over purposeless chaos.
    Be a gentleman and quote me accurately please. I said “He”.

    Perhaps, but I often correct quotes [lief - leif, etc] as long as the meaning is not altered. How do you know it is ‘He’? Most primitive religions consider the primary deity a ‘She’ and I did not not want to be parochial or partial to a specific one. You know – level playing field and all that]

    Back2Bat (11:05:37) :
    I agree. But I also think government should have no role in eduction except where absolutely necessary.
    The public should have a role [to negate the excesses of the parents], not necessarily the ‘government’. In a civilized society, we delegate to the public a variety of services: education, protection, defense, old age pensions, basic health care. Correct education is essential, both as far contents [e.g. no ID, astrology, and the like] and availability [e.g. for girls, negroes] are concerned. If a society does not provide that [and a society can choose not to, e.g. in Kansas and by the Taliban] it will be overtaken and left behind, to the detriment of its citizens.

  198. ‘Sometimes the convincing force is just time itself and the human toll it takes, Kuhn said, using a quote from Max Planck: “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” ‘ from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradigm_shift

  199. Lief:
    The BB did not involve a ‘distinct’ location. All of infinite space expands everywhere. The observable universe is a function of our location and is thus not ‘the’ universe.

    I did not say a ‘distinct’ location, I said a ‘discrete’ location. That discreet location is the singularity from which all space, time, mass and energy emerged. How that happened is still the subject of debate, but it is generally agreed that if it did happen, that it involved a discreet quantity of mass and energy. Measuring or inferring that discreet quantity from the perspective of time and space introduces further limitations on the finitude of the observable universe and the energy scale of the original singularity.

    As a further note, there are theories of the universe which could justify the notion that the universe is infinite, but these theories essentially postulate an infinite number of Big Bang-like events occurring within a larger metaspace – in essense that our visibile universe is actually just a discreet black hole of finite energy within a much larger infinite universe of an infinite number of such black holes separated from one another by great distances and inviolable event horizons. In this view, the “Big Bang” is more akin to the explosions of supernovas which create black holes in our own universe. It may just be black holes all the way up and down.

  200. inre: Robinson Jeffers

    Roger Knights (05:01:17) :
    Here’s another take on this, from Robinson Jeffers’ De Rurem Virtute

  201. Leif Svalgaard (23:55:28) :

    Glenn (18:25:28) :
    Be precise, Leif. Is “When people do not impress their religious beliefs on others, including their own children. that science, the arts, political and religious freedoms and economic vitality will flourish?” what you believe?

    “I was very precise. This is what Zeke should have said [cf my remark above]. Personally, I don’t think there is a correlation, perhaps some wishful thinking, but that’s all. Nothing [especially science] flourishes by forcing religion down everybody’s throat.”

    Perhaps political freedom, religious freedom, economic vitality, the arts, flourish when science is forced down everybody’s throat?

    I’m just curious why you put religion and science on opposite sides of the scales.

    Don’t you realize that science, the arts, politics, economies of countries *have* flourished under religious “impression” is an easily supportable claim, unlike your vague and unsupportable theorizing above?

    Or perhaps you are an anarchist who thinks that everything would flourish if nothing was “forced down everybody’s throat”.

    But I have noted a tendency a desire of yours to censor if your views are challenged.

  202. Leif Svalgaard (07:37:56) :

    Back2Bat (07:00:34) :
    Having Purpose, She would quickly reign over purposeless chaos.

    “This is not science, but religion, and should not be taught in public schools, except in the context of comparing various religions.” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion””

    How does the first amendment support your claim that religion should be taught in religion class and not science class?
    And how does “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech” fit in with that?

  203. conradg (13:54:17) :
    further limitations on the finitude of the observable universe and the energy scale of the original singularity.
    the observable universe is a function of our location [a different observer sees a different 'observable universe' that most of the time does not overlap with ours]. So, any discussion of the observable universe has no bearing on the ‘finitude’ and energy and mass of the ‘whole universe’. Could you perhaps stop bringing this up again and again.

    To my knowledge there is no such thing as a ‘discrete’ or ‘discreet’ location [apart from lovers' hideaways], so I interpreted your word as ‘distinct’, perhaps meaning ‘well-defined’.

    By now I have forgotten why you are harping on this. Ah, wait, something with the probability of life. But that has nothing to do with infinite or finite, the universe just has to be big enough. Infinitude is not required.

  204. Leif Svalgaard (12:20:16) :

    Back2Bat (11:05:37) :
    Having Purpose, She would quickly reign over purposeless chaos.
    Be a gentleman and quote me accurately please. I said “He”.

    “Perhaps, but I often correct quotes”

    No perhaps about it, Lief, he said “He”. Correcting quotes is a “no-no”, not a “correction” but an “alteration”. You need to get your head on straight.

  205. Glenn (17:38:52) :
    Don’t you realize that science, the arts, politics, economies of countries *have* flourished under religious “impression” is an easily supportable claim, unlike your vague and unsupportable theorizing above?
    If you read carefully [even what you quoted in your post], you’ll see that I make no such claims. In fact, I said: “Personally, I don’t think there is a correlation, perhaps some wishful thinking, but that’s all.”

    How does the first amendment support your claim that religion should be taught in religion class and not science class?
    Because religion is not science unless it is claimed to be by ‘established religion’ that manipulates the curriculum. And that is what should not be ‘respected’.

    And how does “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech” fit in with that?
    It has nothing to do with that. It is quite common in the Constitution to find such disconnected clauses. Like the amendment continues: “or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”. How does the ‘right to assemble fit? Stick to the subject. Or rather, stick to the topic of this thread.

  206. Glenn (18:05:26) :
    You need to get your head on straight.
    and you are the straight-head police?

    Now, I did not consider this as much a quote as a statement that showed the arbitrariness of the whole thing. If it will make you happy, I’ll profusely apologize to everybody who feel they need such that I have tried to exercise my 1st amendment right to express myself. Happy now?

  207. Leif Svalgaard (18:24:59) :

    Glenn (17:38:52) :
    Don’t you realize that science, the arts, politics, economies of countries *have* flourished under religious “impression” is an easily supportable claim, unlike your vague and unsupportable theorizing above?

    “If you read carefully [even what you quoted in your post], you’ll see that I make no such claims. In fact, I said: “Personally, I don’t think there is a correlation, perhaps some wishful thinking, but that’s all.””

    Yes, you were obfuscating, and failed to answer a simple question with a simple answer, or in lieu of that, to make your own beliefs clearer when asked.
    But I did notice what you said, and it was crystal clear:

    “Nothing [especially science] flourishes by forcing religion down everybody’s throat.”

    How about supporting that claim, or is that just “wishful thinking”?

  208. Leif Svalgaard (18:24:59) :

    Glenn (17:38:52)
    How does the first amendment support your claim that religion should be taught in religion class and not science class?

    “Because religion is not science unless it is claimed to be by ‘established religion’ that manipulates the curriculum. And that is what should not be ‘respected’.”

    Is this same logic used in your science? Gawk. The first amendment makes no mention of “science” and can not possibly be used to support your claim.

    You must surely be perplexed when you read “In God We Trust” on our currency.

  209. Glenn (20:12:09) :
    “Nothing [especially science] flourishes by forcing religion down everybody’s throat.”
    How about supporting that claim, or is that just “wishful thinking”?

    I take it back: the cranks, quacks, fraudsters, bigots, fundamentalists, blood-sucking societal parasites, etc, do flourish.
    If you disagree with me on this, you could, perhaps, show us how imposing sharia law [for example] helps promote science and make flourish the arts and personal liberties.

    Reply: Better yet, can we get off the topic of science vs religion? ~ ctm

  210. Glenn (20:18:39) :
    The first amendment makes no mention of “science” and can not possibly be used to support your claim.
    It makes mention of religion and that proves the point.

    You must surely be perplexed when you read “In God We Trust” on our currency.
    You trust in Allah or Zoroaster or Khawar [whom I feel some affinity with]?
    And, yes, I’m somewhat perplexed, but willing to accept a few insequential quirks.

  211. Leif Svalgaard (18:24:59) :

    Glenn:
    “How does the first amendment support your claim that religion should be taught in religion class and not science class?

    And how does “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech” fit in with that?”

    Lief:
    “It has nothing to do with that. It is quite common in the Constitution to find such disconnected clauses. Like the amendment continues: “or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”. How does the ‘right to assemble fit? Stick to the subject. Or rather, stick to the topic of this thread.”

    It isn’t a disconnected clause, Lief, but that isn’t a valid argument for why it “has nothing to do with it”. This use of “right to assemble” is more obfuscation from you.
    But what I quoted from the 1st *is* relevant to the first part (you previously quoted) to support your claim. You didn’t like the second part because it didn’t work for you. The first part you apparently thought would work for you, but now you would like us to think that it “has nothing to do with that”.

    Do you think it is a good idea to claim in public that “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” has “nothing to do” with “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”?

    Or that freedom of speech has nothing to do with “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” for that matter??

  212. Leif Svalgaard (18:50:17) :

    Glenn (18:05:26) :
    You need to get your head on straight.

    “and you are the straight-head police?

    Now, I did not consider this as much a quote as a statement that showed the arbitrariness of the whole thing. If it will make you happy, I’ll profusely apologize to everybody who feel they need such that I have tried to exercise my 1st amendment right to express myself. Happy now?”

    No, you don’t seem to recognize that it is wrong to deliberately misquote another.
    That infringes on the other’s right of free speech.

    It is a simple matter.

    You need to get your head on straight.

    • Arguments, quotes, or misquotes on a blog have nothing to do with the First amendment until the government becomes involved in censorship. If I in my role as moderator were to screw with your post, it would have nothing to do with your right of Freedom of speech. It would be a violation of our self-imposed blog policies and nothing else.

  213. Leif Svalgaard (20:38:26) :

    Glenn (20:18:39) :
    The first amendment makes no mention of “science” and can not possibly be used to support your claim.

    “It makes mention of religion and that proves the point.”

    Not at all, and as a professed man of science you should be ashamed to make such illogical statements. The first amendment can not be used to “prove” anything concerning science, since it makes no mention of science. This is also a simple point.
    You need to get your head on straight.
    ***********
    Glenn (20:18:39) :
    You must surely be perplexed when you read “In God We Trust” on our currency.

    “You trust in Allah or Zoroaster or Khawar [whom I feel some affinity with]?
    And, yes, I’m somewhat perplexed, but willing to accept a few insequential quirks.”

    You really do need to drop this habit of using such vague concepts and arguments to support claims. The United States may not be an official “Christian” country, but belief in God in this country has not been and is not an “insequential quirk”, no matter how you might think to twist the meaning.

  214. Glenn (20:54:42) :
    but belief in God in this country has not been and is not an “inconsequential quirk”, no matter how you might think to twist the meaning.
    and that is precisely the problem because it gets in the way of proper scientific literacy [as it did in the 17th century], to wit the nonsense of the past scores of postings, including yours.
    P.S. I’m not ‘claiming’ anything. Just expressing my opinion.

  215. Leif Svalgaard (21:18:41) :

    Glenn (20:54:42) :
    but belief in God in this country has not been and is not an “inconsequential quirk”, no matter how you might think to twist the meaning.

    “and that is precisely the problem because it gets in the way of proper scientific literacy [as it did in the 17th century], to wit the nonsense of the past scores of postings, including yours.
    P.S. I’m not ‘claiming’ anything. Just expressing my opinion.”

    P.S. When you make a claim, you can’t claim it isn’t a claim by claiming it is an opinion, Leif. Just before your “P.S.” above you made a claim. It is a simple matter, but I am not surprised to see that you do not realize that. My advice to you is to stick to the more complex subjects so that your illogical claims are more easily concealed.

    As to this silly idea of religion in the US being a “problem”, since the US has been and still is rather “flourishing in science and the arts, political and religious freedom, and economic vitality” despite parents “impressing” religion on their offspring, I’d say again you really need to get your head on straight. Indicting religion as a whole is not a smart thing to do, especially in a country where a majority of people, including scientists, artists, politicians and capitalists hold religious beliefs.

  216. Glenn (22:25:09) :
    Indicting religion as a whole is not a smart thing to do, especially in a country where a majority of people, including scientists, artists, politicians and capitalists hold religious beliefs.
    When their religious beliefs take over their senses, religion becomes a problem. In fact, ‘the’ problem. The 21st century will be the century of biology and the US will not be able to flourish in that [stem cells, evolution, etc]. Religion is mostly to blame for the scientific illiteracy [young Earth, non-BB, etc] that clouds people’s judgment. There is nothing wrong with holding religious beliefs and that is not the problem. The problem is when those beliefs blind people to reality and to the grandeur of this universe in which we live. I do not expect you to see this.

  217. Leif Svalgaard (23:07:01) :

    Glenn (22:25:09) :
    Indicting religion as a whole is not a smart thing to do, especially in a country where a majority of people, including scientists, artists, politicians and capitalists hold religious beliefs.

    “When their religious beliefs take over their senses, religion becomes a problem. In fact, ‘the’ problem. The 21st century will be the century of biology and the US will not be able to flourish in that [stem cells, evolution, etc]. Religion is mostly to blame for the scientific illiteracy [young Earth, non-BB, etc] that clouds people’s judgment. There is nothing wrong with holding religious beliefs and that is not the problem. The problem is when those beliefs blind people to reality and to the grandeur of this universe in which we live. I do not expect you to see this.”

    The self-righteous arrogance and malice required to place me in this imaginary group of yours that will bring down the US must affect your life profoundly. I’m truly sorry for you, that you think to have a monopoly on reality and the grandeur of the universe. Perhaps you have become what you claim is the problem.

  218. Leif,

    To remind you of what we are discussing, you made the claim that the physical universe is infinite, and claimed that Big Bang theory supports this idea. It simply does not. With all due respect, you simply don’t seem to understand Big Bang theory very well. I have patiently tried to explain why your claim of an infinite (potentially) observable universe simply doesn’t mesh with Big Bang theory, but you don’t seem to be listening.

    It has nothing to do with where we observe the universe from, what location we are at. The expanding observable universe is, according\to Big Bang theory, only a small fraction of the actual Big Bang. Most of the mass/energy of the Big Bang is actually outside the “event horizon” of the Big Bang, utterly beyond our ability to observe it. Even so, the total mass of the universe is finite in nature, and the total energy vectors add up to zero. Even the greater mass of the universe, beyond the observable event horizon, is finite as well.

    An infinite physical universe created by a Big Bang event would require that the Big Bang itself be infinite, which would tear apart all of space-time with infinite forces. There could be no universe as we know and observe it in such a case, which is why even on the theoretical level we know that the physical universe is finite, not infinite. As I tried to mention earlier, theories do exist of an infinite physical universe that is NOT created by the Big Bang, but within which expanding singularities do pop up now and then and create finite mini-universes such as ours might be, but even in those cases, our own universe would not itself be infinite. I know of no scientific cosmological theory which describes our observable physical universe as infinite in either mass, energy, space, or time.

    I have no particular agenda involved in the theological discussion you are having.

  219. Glenn (01:41:14) :
    The self-righteous arrogance and malice required to place me in this imaginary group of yours that will bring down the US must affect your life profoundly.
    I think you avowedly place yourself in that group, and I’m afraid that group will at some point be detrimental and will affect people’s lives negatively and profoundly.

    conradg (03:27:00) :
    Even so, the total mass of the universe is finite in nature, and the total energy vectors add up to zero.
    Remember you started out by saying that the energy was some finite large number and that therefore the mass was finite too.

    An infinite physical universe created by a Big Bang event would require that the Big Bang itself be infinite, which would tear apart all of space-time with infinite forces.
    If one assumes that the BB was from a singularity [of zero extent] then to get from the singularity to even a finite size involves an infinitely large expansion factor. Your “would tear apart all of space-time with infinite forces” does not make sense, and even so perhaps the force was infinite. The energy density was. BB theory says nothing about the mass involved. And your obsession with the ‘observable’ universe is misplaced. The ‘observable’ universe is an infinitely small part of the total.

  220. Leif Svalgaard (08:03:40) :

    Glenn (01:41:14) :
    The self-righteous arrogance and malice required to place me in this imaginary group of yours that will bring down the US must affect your life profoundly.

    “I think you avowedly place yourself in that group, and I’m afraid that group will at some point be detrimental and will affect people’s lives negatively and profoundly.”

    I avowedly place myself in an imaginary group you made up? I’ve only challenged you to support your claims, and have not advocated, nor do I advocate or hold extremist religious beliefs. Not that extremism is your main concern, since you have stated that “Religion is mostly to blame for the scientific illiteracy [young Earth, non-BB, etc] that clouds people’s judgment”. Of course, you have made no attempt to support *any* of the claims you have made in this discussion, despite my encouragement of you to do so.

    Why are you willing to go to such extremes to share your religious bias?
    How about just supporting *one* little claim of yours, that I “avowedly” placed myself in the group you define.

  221. Leif Svalgaard (11:44:36) :

    Glenn (11:14:53) :
    I’ve only challenged you to support your claims,

    “What claim(s)?”
    For one, that I have “avowed” some belief you deem dangerous. Others have been identified as well, as anyone can easily go back to and find.

    “And why are you interested in this? What is in it for you?”
    How about what’s in it for you to change reference of “He” to “She”? I’ve only tried to get you to support what you claim, or if you wish, what opinions you have expressed on the topic. In reality, it could be useful to find out whether your claims of what has and what will happen has any merit. You remember reality, right?

    You aren’t about to, are you.

  222. Glenn (12:24:31) :
    I’ve only challenged you to support your claims
    I don’t think anybody cares about your ‘challenge’

    But for the record, the original exchange went like this:

    Zeke the Sneak (14:58:33) :
    was complaining:
    You made a broad statement about how science, the arts, political freedom and economic opportunity only flourish when people do not impress their beliefs on others.
    Me: And you disagree with that?

    Zeke the Sneak (16:31:06) :
    Yes, I do because it is contrary to our Constitution and our laws

    So, I was saying that if people did not impress [by force - implied by impress on] their belief on other people, that that was good in the flourish department. And Zeke disagreed with that, saying it is contrary to the Constitution. And if you agree with him that it is good and supported by the Constitution, that people by force impress their beliefs on other people, then I consider that a dangerous and undesirable view. And since I have grandchildren that as US citizens, that that worries me.

  223. Glenn (12:24:31) :
    I’ve only challenged you to support your claims
    I don’t think anybody cares about your ‘challenge’

    But for the record, the original exchange went like this:

    Zeke the Sneak (14:58:33) :
    was complaining:
    You made a broad statement about how science, the arts, political freedom and economic opportunity only flourish when people do not impress their beliefs on others.
    Me: And you disagree with that?

    Zeke the Sneak (16:31:06) :
    Yes, I do because it is contrary to our Constitution and our laws

    So, I was saying that if people did not impress [by force - implied by impress on] their belief on other people, that that was good in the flourish department. And Zeke disagreed with that, saying it is contrary to the Constitution. And if you agree with him that it is good and supported by the Constitution, that people by force impress their beliefs on other people, then I consider that a dangerous and undesirable view and puts you in an objectionable group. And since I have grandchildren that are US citizens, that worries me.

  224. Leif
    Remember you started out by saying that the energy was some finite large number and that therefore the mass was finite too.

    According to Big Bang theory, the energy of the observable universe is not zero, but is a finite (but very large) number. The energy of the total universe, including that portion which is not observable, which is beyond the event horizon, is also finite, and it’s energy vector cancels out the energy vector of the known universe, which is what leaves the total energy of the Big Bang, and of the universe, as zero. This is because Big Bang theory states that most of the mass/energy of the universe is in the form of either dark mass/dark energy, or mass and energy that exists outside the event horizon of the observable universe. The proportion is uneven, such that the observable universe is perhaps only 1-5% of the total universe, perhaps even much less. However, there is no basis for your statement that the observable universe is an infinitely small portion of the Big Bang. That simply has no basis in current theory.

    If one assumes that the BB was from a singularity [of zero extent] then to get from the singularity to even a finite size involves an infinitely large expansion factor.

    You clearly don’t grasp Bang Theory. One cannot speak of the “size” of the singularity, in that it did not exist in space or time. Space and time emerged from the singularity, so it is meaningless to speak of the singularity in those terms prior to the Big Bang. Your argument is a version of the Zeno Paradox, which suggests that it’s impossible for anything to move, since movement from a zero state of rest would require an infinite series of accelerations and forces. Quantum mechanics gets around this by quantizing all of space and time, such that it is possible for a singularity to expand in size without requiring infinite forces. In fact, it works out to be just the opposite, that our universe could not be the result of infinite forces or produce infinite mass, because if it were, it would require infinite time and infinite initial temperature, meaning it would never cool down to the point where matter, galaxies and stars could form. An infinite Big Bang would, yes, literally tear space and time apart, and create a universe in which all such dimensions were infinite, which is clearly not the case here.

    Your “would tear apart all of space-time with infinite forces” does not make sense, and even so perhaps the force was infinite. The energy density was. BB theory says nothing about the mass involved.

    Yes, it does, actually. That’s what the Higgs Boson is all about. The Higgs Boson is that force which leads to the inflationary model of the Big Bang that accounts for the observable universe coming into being – you know, the one with actual mass? And the energy “density” was not infinite, according to theory. Of course, theory does not describe the singularity itself prior to the Big Bang, only to the first 10^-43 seconds after the Big Bang, because of the limits of quantum mechanics theory. But there is no sense in which one can describe these energies or masses to be “infinite”.

    And your obsession with the ‘observable’ universe is misplaced. The ‘observable’ universe is an infinitely small part of the total.

    You keep making these wild assertions that have no basis in actual scientific theory regarding the Big Bang. We don’t have a Big Bang theory which posits that the observable universe is an infinitely small part of the total Big Bang. Might I point out that you are contradicting yourself here? If the observable universe is infinite, it can’t be an infinitely small part of the total universe. If it’s finite, it can’t have infinite mass. You can’t have it both ways.

    As I’ve said, there are indeed theories that posit an infinite universe, within which Big Bang events occur, but even these theories only posit finite Big Bang events that create finite mini-universes, not infinite ones.

    I’m not sure why you are clinging to this notion that the product of the Big Bang was a universe infinite in space and mass. That simply plays no part in Big Bang theory. So you are just either stubbornly defending a scientifically baseless statement, or you are leaving science behind and making up your own ideas about the universe. Which is fine, but it’s simply posturing to suggest it’s a form of legitimate science.

    As an aside, my physics professor friends describes your entire assertion and argument as “not serious”.

  225. I took what you said at face value, and never assumed you meant some kind of physical force by saying that people shoud not “impress their beliefs on” other people, or even on their own children. That certainly was a hidden meaning.

    I documented the text of Pierce v Society of Sisters, which defines educational freedom in this country here:
    Zeke the Sneak (16:31:06) :

    I have done my level best at documenting Pres. Obama’s educational policies here:
    Zeke the Sneak (17:17:16) :

    I hope that the effort was of value to some parents and grandparents out there. I cannot believe that anyone here really wants government visitation of American homes, or even the elimination of summer vacation, or anything else on the list.

  226. conradg (14:47:24) :
    According to Big Bang theory, the energy of the observable universe is not zero, but is a finite (but very large) number.
    There is this ‘observable’ universe again. The observable universe is always finite, of course. The point was not that arbitrary portion of the whole universe we can observe, but the whole shebang. There is no such thing as the ‘Big Bang Theory’ [except the one by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady]. Post a link to it, if you can, or have your physics professor show you one which you can then post. The universe is flat [to within observational accuracy] and is therefore likely infinite. My definition of infinite was that is you travel in a straight line you do not come back to where you started.

  227. Zeke the Sneak (15:21:05) :
    I took what you said at face value, and never assumed you meant some kind of physical force by saying that people shoud not “impress their beliefs on”
    ‘Impress their beliefs on’ is by force. It doesn’t have to be by physical force. It can be force by authority, for example. Or by sanctions, like ostracism. I was actually flabbergasted that you thought impressing one’s belief on somebody else, by whatever means, was good and was in accordance with the Constitution.

    And there is and should not be educational freedom. If I do not want to teach my children to read or write, but only to learn the Bible, or the Quraan, or whatever, by heart, society should not allow that. If you think educational freedom means the freedom to do this [madrases in the US], then we’ll just have to disagree.

  228. Honestly, has anyone ever been in court for “impressing their beliefs” on another person? This does not sound very serious or actionable to me. There would have to be some real charges.

  229. “And if you agree with [Zeke the Sneak] that it is good and supported by the Constitution, that people by force impress their beliefs on other people, then I consider that a dangerous and undesirable view and puts you in an objectionable group.” Leif Svalgaard

    I do not believe any objective observer would agree that I could be taken in this way. This is a serious mischaracterization. I did invoke rights to free expression, freedom of association and free exercise; I did discuss the “right and high duty” of parents to educate their children. Reading force into my responses is sloppy and inaccurate, perhaps even a deliberate misrepresentation.

  230. Leif,

    There is this ‘observable’ universe again. The observable universe is always finite, of course. The point was not that arbitrary portion of the whole universe we can observe, but the whole shebang.

    I guess you don’t quite understand that what cannot be observed (or inferred by observation) is not a proper field of scientific study. Science can only address what is observable, and possible within the range of verifiable theory. You would like to think the universe is infinite, and no one is ever going to be able to stop you from thinking that, because for some reason you are attached to the idea – which is not much different from some people’s attachment to the idea that God created the universe. Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t, but merely believing it to be true has nothing to do with science.

    When Big Bang theorists talka bout the “observable universe”, they don’t just mean “what we can see with instruments from earth”, the mean “what can be seen from any position in our universe”. The Big Bang sets a limit to the size of the expanding visible universe. That limit is an event horizon, in that we are effectively inside a black hole, which we cannot see out of. What is beyond that event horizon can only be inferred by the theoretical character of the BIg Bang itself, which presumes that most of the mass and energy which emerged from the Big Bang is on the other side of the event horizon. It’s only form of interaction with us is, theoretically, through gravity waves, which may subtly effect this side of the event horizon, creating the accelerating expansion of our universe. And yet, as mentioned before, even that portion of the Big Bang is finite, if considerably larger than our side of it. Just because a universe is observable does not mean it must be finite. But it happens that any universe that emerges from a Big Bang event will, indeed, be finite, both in its observable and unobservable portions.

    Whatever else besides the remnants of the Big Bang that may be on the other side of the event horizon would depend on something else existing “there” (as if such spacial references have any meaning before space came into being) prior to the Big Bang, but that is something which we cannot speak rationally of, because it has no scientific meaning, since it is utterly immune to our observational or theoretical abilities. You can think of it as infinite, you can think of it as a hardware store, a very large fish, a series of turtles standing on one another’s backs, an old man in a grey beard wearing a toga, anything you like really, it makes no difference. It has no scientific meaning in terms of anything we have observed or can infer through theoretical means.

  231. Zeke the Sneak (16:31:06) :
    “Impressing one’s belief on others” can mean no other than freedom of expression, freedom of association, and free excercise.

    Checking around on various rules for conduct, one finds several of the nature: ” More immoral still to try to impress your beliefs on others” or http://www.news-record.com/content/2009/10/07/article/it_isn_t_right_to_impose_your_beliefs_on_others and others. So ‘Impressing one’s belief on others’ is a very negative thing to do. I was taking your statement at face value or at least with a commonly accepted meaning, and thus not misrepresenting you. And as I said, I double-checked with you that I had understood you correctly. If you didn’t mean what you said, then that is another matter.

  232. conradg (01:09:50) :
    I guess you don’t quite understand that what cannot be observed (or inferred by observation) is not a proper field of scientific study.
    Two observers 100 billion light years apart are not in each others observable universe [yet]. Their observations and situation are within proper scientific study as they in the future will be within in each others observable universe. There is no restriction on that number N. We can make that N=100 trillion or 100 gazillion instead of 100 billion. To me, a finite universe means that there is an upper limit to N. I don’t think there is. If you do, or if ‘Big Bang Theory’ predicts a limit to N, then tell me what N is, and why you think it has that value.

  233. Leif Svalgaard (20:34:13) :
    “And there is NOT and should not be educational freedom…”

    Impressing your belief on others, huh. You’d endorse state sponsored forced education, but deny parents to teach their children to do to others as you would have them do to you because that would destroy the world. Rather than sounding like a person with a phobia of religion, you might want to put some thought into all the things you have said in this thread.

  234. Glenn (02:04:51) :
    Impressing your belief on others, huh.
    You are taking my correction out of context [of course]
    I said [with correction]:
    “And there is not and should not be educational freedom. If I do not want to teach my children to read or write, but only to learn the Bible, or the Quraan, or whatever, by heart, society should not allow that. If you think educational freedom means the freedom to do this [madrases in the US], then we’ll just have to disagree.”

    [Leif, you're just escalating here to make a point which could be expressed differently ~ ctm]

  235. Much of science begin as beliefs (and continues under “beliefs” to this day). The Chinese for example, passed down beliefs about the functioning of the human body that are unsupported by ‘modern’ science, yet it worked quite well for them to function and further their existence.

    Our modern day beliefs, accepted by “modern” science, and impressed on young and old alike by the government, Lipid Hypothesis, for example, are not working as well as even ancient Chinese beliefs.

    There must be room for extremists to spout their “opinions”, and there must always be the right for parents to “impress” their beliefs individually on their children. IF government were to put an end to this, it would do so by replacing a myriad of individual beliefs with a single belief. It is not difficult to guess which scenario will most greatly limit the advancement of science.

  236. Leif Svalgaard (01:17:43) :

    Checking around on various rules for conduct, one finds several of the nature: ” More immoral still to try to impress your beliefs on others”

    I see; for example, like college professors who use their classroom to impress their radical political views and pet scientific theories (read: AGW) on students, who must regurgitate the same or risk getting a ‘C.’

    There goes the whole Amercian University educational system!

    HAHAHAHAHA

  237. “IF government were to put an end to this, it would do so by replacing a myriad of individual beliefs with a single belief. It is not difficult to guess which scenario will most greatly limit the advancement of science.” Lucy

    I’m in love.

    conradg,
    Thanks for showing me that a good brain would be worth a 40-day fast. Now, about that will power …

  238. And thank you for your link “Opinion: It Isn’t Right to Impose Your Belief on Others.” I see that no laws were broken and again, it is a matter of expression.

    Therefore, “impress” is a benign word, esp. as it relates to impressing one’s own children with one’s deeply held convictions, or opinions, or “the wisdom of a lifetime.”

    *Except legally it is a term reserved for forceful acts by gov’t:
    im·press2 (ĭm-prĕs’)
    tr.v., -pressed, -press·ing, -press·es.
    To compel (a person) to serve in a military force.
    To seize (property) by force or authority; confiscate.

    http://www.answers.com/topic/impress

  239. Lucy (10:31:46) :
    There must be room for extremists to spout their “opinions”,
    Most civilized societies do not allow ‘hate speech’ or ‘defamation’ or ‘incitement to riot’

    and there must always be the right for parents to “impress” their beliefs individually on their children.
    Which is not the same as impressing their beliefs on other people’s children in school.
    And even the unbridled ‘right’ of indoctrination of your own children is not always good [withholding medical treatment, 'Zion compound in Texas', young Earth, ID, AGW, etc, etc]

    IF government were to put an end to this, it would do so by replacing a myriad of individual beliefs with a single belief.
    Of course not, just offering the children a solid grounding in modern science, so necessary for welfare and progress.

    It is not difficult to guess which scenario will most greatly limit the advancement of science.
    Indeed, as should be obvious from my above comment.

  240. Zeke the Sneak (12:02:07) :
    Therefore, “impress” is a benign word
    The oppressor would always claim such. Even burning a witch was once considered benign and good for society.
    I don’t think you can salvage this. Would my impressing my beliefs on your children be benign?

  241. Leif Svalgaard (12:50:21) :

    Most civilized societies do not allow ‘hate speech’ or ‘defamation’ or ‘incitement to riot’

    “Civilization” is not measured by the number of laws and restrictions a government can impose on its people, but by how few it has. The enforcement of “civilized behavior” is always a very uncivilized process.

    Which is not the same as impressing their beliefs on other people’s children in school.

    Parents should always assume the primary role in educating their children. When they cede that control to a governmental body, they get what they ask for.

    IF government were to put an end to this, it would do so by replacing a myriad of individual beliefs with a single belief.
    (Leif Svalgaard) Of course not, just offering the children a solid grounding in modern science, so necessary for welfare and progress.

    Absurd. Under today’s social and governmental structure, the outcomes of *select* modern scientific research become public policy , whether it reaches into the government school system (Meatless Monday activism in the Baltimore school district lunch program under the guise of encouraging “healthy eating”) or Cap and Trade where we all pay the price for the modern science of global warming.

    Science, you see, turns into a belief system when people begin to adjust their activities to accommodate it’s results. Take the Lipid Hypothesis I mentioned before. Terrible science, that turned into a belief system when it became public policy and people began to adjust their lives to accommodate it. They were believing in its veracity, accuracy and publicized conclusions.

    Once a select bit of science becomes public policy, it becomes the single belief. My two year old, for example, is not allowed to drink whole milk at her daycare because modern science was selectively implemented by government policy and became a single belief system. Now what if I, as a parent, am disallowed from impressing my own belief system at home?

    Your nemesis the perceived influences of religion is trivial compared to the influence governmental policy (based on politically selected ‘scientific’ results) blankets on millions.

    A hundred girls forced to wear long skirts in Texas is really worth millions of children forced to eat soy protein in their school cafeterias?

  242. Perhaps I should put it this way – in the history of the world there are two controlling forces: Either the Church (Catholicism, Islam, etc.) is functioning as the state (lining their coffers at gun point) or the State is functioning as the Church (imposing behaviors based on belief systems (usually politically selected “science”)).

    For a few brief shining moments in this country we had a unique system where the state kept it’s hands to itself, and joining a church was optional. Now it is becoming increasingly clear that the state is rising to its historical role, at the detriment of the church. Always to the detriment of the individual, State v. Church in the role of filling the power vacuum have much more in common than they have in difference.

  243. Lucy (14:37:50) :
    They were believing in its veracity, accuracy and publicized conclusions.
    Because the citizenry has now become willfully ignorant science illiterates. Just proves my point.

    A hundred girls forced to wear long skirts in Texas
    And being raped and forcefully married as the result of parental beliefs.

    Now it is becoming increasingly clear that the state is rising to its historical role, at the detriment of the church.
    having to choose between the two, the state is much preferred as we can influence its policies [called voting].

  244. Lucy (14:37:50) :They were believing in its veracity, accuracy and publicized conclusions.
    Leif Svalgaard (17:11:34) : Because the citizenry has now become willfully ignorant science illiterates. Just proves my point.

    (Lucy)Now it is becoming increasingly clear that the state is rising to its historical role, at the detriment of the church.
    (Leif Svalgaard)having to choose between the two, the state is much preferred as we can influence its policies [called voting].

    What you have pointed out is that the citizens voted themselves into ignorant scientific illiteracy, when the government they voted for created the single belief system (implementing of public policies) and passed down on them bad science.

    But surely you realize that “voting” is as influential in an uncontrolled state as it is a church. I think history is amply clear, that when individual freedoms (vis-à-vis our small American experiment) flourish, voting is relevant. When the states expands its power role (e.g. your neighborhood People’s Republic of XXX), voting becomes window dressing.

    I won’t argue that there may be certain evolutionary influences at work.

  245. Lucy (19:55:20) :
    I think history is amply clear, that when individual freedoms (vis-à-vis our small American experiment) flourish, voting is relevant.
    Individual freedom has nothing to do with how science should be taught. The Soviet Union with very little freedom had an excellent science education. The Chinese as well.
    And it is not clear how well voting works in America where even dead people can vote and where parties accuse each other of stealing elections and where politicians promise each other ‘to deliver the vote’, and where states rig elections by gerrymandering, and where voter turnout is dismal.

  246. There are two problems when religion is mixed with education. First, perspective and philosophy says that religious thought freedom is allowed in one group, but is labeled a terrorist activity in another group. It breeds less freedom, not more, and there are many examples of abuse found right on US soil. Another way of putting it, freedom for my view is allowed, freedom for your view is not. My school can be allowed, yours can’t.

    Second, when religious faith (of any kind) is mixed in with any form of education, knowledge is compromised. If the goal is to mature a faith in a higher power/notion and thus a higher purpose, the ability to advance scientific knowledge and understanding of our universe, from the smallest particle to the largest entity, is diminished, given second place, and thus open to abuse, to say the least.

    My personal view is that religious instruction does not belong in education, be it private or public. The full hours of education should be for the sole purpose of education, by fully trained teachers, meaning that if you want to drive a car, you have to pass a test; if you want to drive your kid crazy teaching the little ankle biter, you have to pass a test. Training in religious thought and practice properly belongs in after school hours. No license required.

  247. Leif,

    Two observers 100 billion light years apart are not in each others observable universe [yet]. Their observations and situation are within proper scientific study as they in the future will be within in each others observable universe. There is no restriction on that number N. We can make that N=100 trillion or 100 gazillion instead of 100 billion. To me, a finite universe means that there is an upper limit to N. I don’t think there is. If you do, or if ‘Big Bang Theory’ predicts a limit to N, then tell me what N is, and why you think it has that value.

    Again, you’re not understanding what the term “observable universe” in Big Bang theory means. It’s not the limitation you describe. Two observers 100 billion light years apart are indeed within the observable limits of the universe, if that is the size of the event horizon, meaning that it would at least be possible for them to see one another given enough time. Everything within the event horizon of the universe is “observable”, theoretically at least. However, most of the universe is simply not observable by anyone within the event horizon of the Big Bang, regardless where you are within it. Most of the mass and energy of the Big Band lies outside of the event horizon, and it is simply not observable by any means. We can only infer it by the characteristics of the mass and energy that is found within the event horizon of the observable universe. Your understanding of Big Bang theory is simply flawed and incomplete. You imagine that all of it is at least potentially observable if we were just closer to it. That is simply not the case. The only way we could observe what is on the other side of the event horizon would be to actually be outside the event horizon, in which case we could not observe anything on this side of it. There is no information that can pass through that event horizon in either direction – except, as I said before, gravity waves, if they ever turn out to exist.

  248. conradg (00:11:12) :
    Two observers 100 billion light years apart are indeed within the observable limits of the universe, if that is the size of the event horizon, meaning that it would at least be possible for them to see one another given enough time.
    Since time does not seem limited in the forward direction [if disagree, explain how], then the observable limits are not finite either. You ideas about the event horizon are wrong. Information passes easily through an event horizon from the outside. And gravitational waves do exist.

  249. “Two observers 100 billion light years apart are indeed within the observable limits of the universe”

    Only when the Universe reaches an age of 100 billion years, until then it is a meaningless distance that doesn’t fit in our ~14 billion year old universe

  250. Pamela Gray (21:21:33) :
    There are two problems when religion is mixed with education. First, perspective and philosophy says that religious thought freedom is allowed in one group, but is labeled a terrorist activity in another group. It breeds less freedom, not more, and there are many examples of abuse found right on US soil. Another way of putting it, freedom for my view is allowed, freedom for your view is not. My school can be allowed, yours can’t.

    What you describe is not a problem inherent in mixing religion with education. It is a problem inherent in mixing the state with education. The state must be neutral, but as I have pointed out above, it cannot be, because it is made of humans. Perhaps if robots ruled the world, religion would not be replaced with politics but since they do not, the state functions on cronyism and greed. You simply trade requiring taxpayers to fund religious education they oppose for requiring taxpayers to fund other ideological education they oppose (Meatless Monday, Day of Silence, Earth Day, Columbus Day, etc.).

    Second, when religious faith (of any kind) is mixed in with any form of education, knowledge is compromised.

    Religious bigotism blinds people to the permeance of other kinds of faith that influence modern education. I maintain, that welcoming the variety of individual opinions (even the extremist views of this article) are a necessity for expanding knowledge. The other option is the state dictates a single belief, and since it controls the education of so many, scientific exploration suffers (Lipid Hypothesis is a stellar example).

    If the goal is to mature a faith in a higher power/notion and thus a higher purpose, the ability to advance scientific knowledge and understanding of our universe, from the smallest particle to the largest entity, is diminished, given second place, and thus open to abuse, to say the least.

    It is interesting that Leif highlighted science education in China and Russia as examples of science flourishing in a totalitarian system. It is true that the Chinese have made brilliant contributions to science under their religious emperors, but lately (under anti-religious communism) they have become more adept at copying and cheating than innovating. The Russians did achieve certain scientific successes, but hardly anything to rival our own. But I assume you can back up your statement with a few examples. I’ve tried to think of some brilliant scientists who had no religion with their education but alas, I come up short. Werner Von Braun for example, was a devout Lutheran, and many of the innovators who professed atheism did so as a rejection of the religion they were taught (Thomas Edison and Charles Darwin for example). In fact, it would seem that including religion in the education expands the mind (and perhaps instills a certain regard for humanity that precludes poisoning for profit), in some cases leading to a rejection of the teaching and in others, not. Would Werner Von Braun been more brilliant if he had rejected religion? I doubt it. Would Edison have been less brilliant if he had not rejected religion? I doubt it.

  251. Sandy (07:36:11) :
    >i>Only when the Universe reaches an age of 100 billion years, until then it is a meaningless distance that doesn’t fit in our ~14 billion year old universe
    No, it is not meaningless in a sense, because galaxies exist at that distance and beyond. The ‘visible’ or ‘observable’ universe at the moment already extends to about 46.2 billion light years.

  252. Lucy (08:00:45) :
    It is true that the Chinese have made brilliant contributions to science under their religious emperors, but lately (under anti-religious communism) they have become more adept at copying and cheating than innovating.
    The Chinese space program is a good example of the recent progress of science in China. Try http://www.signtific.org/en/forecasts/growth-chinese-science-and-technology
    “China has long been a leading exporter of graduate students. In the last 20 years, domestic training programs in science and technology have grown dramatically. PhD production increased fiftyfold between 1986 and 1999, from less than 200 to more than 7,000 degrees granted annually. By some estimates, China now graduates more engineers than the rest of the world combined. Part of this growth has been driven by an expansion of the Chinese higher education system, a trend that seems certain to continue.”

    The Russians did achieve certain scientific successes, but hardly anything to rival our own.

    As with the Chinese, the issue is not achievement, but education, as I pointed out. The average American is scientific illiterate compared to the average Soviet citizen. In China and in the SSSR, science was and is held in high esteem. In the US, it is a badge of honor to be illiterate. C.f. Mummert who I quoted above.

    If you at at your wit’s end thinking about a brilliant atheist, try Steven Weinberg.

  253. Lucy, you misunderstand me when I believe that religion has no place. It has a place if that is what parents want their child to have. It just doesn’t belong in education. It can be after school (as mine was), and on Sunday (as mine was). Freedom of religion will only be truly free when or if it is removed from education. And our collective Science IQ will increase. Bonus!

  254. Pamela Gray (09:21:33) Freedom of religion will only be truly free when or if it is removed from education. And our collective Science IQ will increase. Bonus!

    So do you have even an example to support this idea?

    Leif offered up Steven Weinberg, but unfortunately Weinberg graduated from high school in 1950. The first Supreme Court decision against prayer in public schools only came down in 1948, so it is safe to say Weinberg falls into the catergory with Darwin and Edison of scientists educated with religion who went on to reject it.

  255. “No, it is not meaningless in a sense, because galaxies exist at that distance and beyond. The ‘visible’ or ‘observable’ universe at the moment already extends to about 46.2 billion light years.”

    The universe is estimated to be ~ 14 billion years old so by definition we can’t see more than 14 billion light years in any direction because the light would have set out before the universe began. Given we can look in opposite directions that gives a maximum size of the observable universe of 28 billion light-years.
    How can anything more than 14 bln LghtYrs away be visible to us?

  256. Sandy (09:49:11) :
    How can anything more than 14 bln LghtYrs away be visible to us?
    Because space has expanded. Take a galaxy that we now observe to be 10 billion light years away. Its light that we see now was emitted 10 billion years ago and in those 10 billion years space has expanded so the galaxy is now some 25 billion light years away. We see it now where it was 10 billion years ago, not where it is now.

  257. Lucy (09:48:28) :
    so it is safe to say Weinberg falls into the category with Darwin and Edison of scientists educated with religion who went on to reject it.
    It takes men of that caliber to free themselves from the shackles of religion. You seem to suggest that they could not have made there discoveries if they had not received religious instruction.

  258. Leif Svalgaard (10:17:14) : It takes men of that caliber to free themselves from the shackles of religion. You seem to suggest that they could not have made there discoveries if they had not received religious instruction.

    One of the greatest champions of individuals and individual rights (and an atheist), lived in the center of true absence of religious influence (Soviet Union) but in the complete influence of State beliefs. Ayn Rand, much like Darwin, rose to denounce the belief system that stimulated the collective conscience around her.

    Darned extremists.

  259. Back2Bat (11:47:55) :

    “IF government were to put an end to this, it would do so by replacing a myriad of individual beliefs with a single belief. It is not difficult to guess which scenario will most greatly limit the advancement of science.” Lucy

    “I’m in love.”

    Yea, and now we’re either going to have to either fight for her or share.

  260. Glenn (17:29:03) :

    Yea, and now we’re either going to have to either fight for her or share.

    Well, since I haven’t done a 40 day fast yet, I am caught unprepared for the unexpected “Lucy”.

    Thanks for the laugh!

  261. Leif Svalgaard (13:45:23) :
    Lucy (13:32:46) :
    rose to denounce the belief system that stimulated the collective conscience around her.
    I’m now waiting for you to do the same.

    I denounced the Republicans years ago. Why?

  262. Lief,

    Since time does not seem limited in the forward direction [if disagree, explain how], then the observable limits are not finite either.

    The observable limits of the universe are expanding because the universe is expanding. But it is always limited by the actual size of the universe – meaning, the size of the event horizon of the Big Bang. It doesn’t matter if it is 25, 50, 100, or 100^100 billion light years across, it is still limited, finite, and even calculable. Only after infinite time could it become infinite, which means of course never – and even then only if the universe turns out to be open.

    Your ideas about the event horizon are wrong. Information passes easily through an event horizon from the outside.

    No, it does not. First, all information is destroyed at the event horizon. Second, neither light nor matter passes through the event horizon in either direction. Even light or matter falling into a black hole never actually passes through the event horizon, because of time and space distortions. At the event horizon, all time and space becomes infinite, and thus is torn beyond repair, and all information lost. Light and matter falling into the event horizon encounter such severe time distortions that it takes an infinite time to actually reach the event horizon, which means it never actually gets there. So any information from outside the observable universe never makes it past the event horizon. The only theoretical exception is gravity waves, which have yet to be directly detected, although there are indirect indications that they exist. As yet we have no means of either detecting or using them to see outside the visible universe.

    The most obvious indication that mass exists beyond the observable universe is the accelerating expansion of the observable universe. This is thought to be driven by gravitational both attraction from outside our universe, and Black Hole Hawking Radiation, by which our universe is slowly “evaporating” (Hawking Radiation is quantum energy that is able to pass through the event horizon via wheelchair).

    And gravitational waves do exist.

  263. Leif Svalgaard (19:19:49) :
    Lucy (18:25:25) :
    I denounced the Republicans years ago. Why?
    “much like Darwin…” Did he also denounce the Republicans?

    By his actions Darwin denounced the forced belief systems of the church, and proffered his own beliefs; which interestingly enough you now desire to force on others through the state. If I denounce anything it is you and your ilk who seek to use collective force to control that which should occur naturally through freedom of association.

    I am however, amused by the irony of a self-professed atheist seeking religious confessions.

  264. Leif Svalgaard (10:17:14) :

    Lucy (09:48:28) :
    so it is safe to say Weinberg falls into the category with Darwin and Edison of scientists educated with religion who went on to reject it.

    “It takes men of that caliber to free themselves from the shackles of religion.”

    So those who “free themselves” are of that caliber. I suspect the “silent majority” would disagree; many have and do change or reject some or all of their religious upbringing, and not all of course are of the caliber of Darwin or Edison. It’s a preposterously pseudo-scientific thing for you to say, Leif.

    You seem to suggest that they could not have made there discoveries if they had not received religious instruction.

    Lucy suggested no such thing. Pamela said in essense that science would only increase in an absence of religion in school, and Lucy challenged that: “So do you have even an example to support this idea?” Kind of like I have tried to get you to support some of the other ridiculously extreme claims you have made.

  265. conradg (19:39:12) :
    Second, neither light nor matter passes through the event horizon in either direction.
    Allow me to quote Roger Penrose [one of the foremost experts on cosmology and black holes] from his book “the road to reality”, page 712:

    “Although the horizon has strange properties, the local geometry there is not significantly different from elsewhere. As noted above, an observer in a space ship would notice nothing particular happening as the horizon is crossed from outside to the inside”

  266. Glenn (21:12:26) :
    “So do you have even an example to support this idea?”
    The scientific illiteracy in America is a superb example of that.

    conradg (19:39:12) :
    The observable limits of the universe are expanding because the universe is expanding. But it is always limited by the actual size of the universe – meaning, the size of the event horizon of the Big Bang.
    There is no event horizon surrounding the Universe. An event horizon has a center at a distance R = 2MG/c^2 from the horizon. There is no such center in the Universe. If you disagree, show me where it is.

  267. Lucy (21:03:48) :
    By his actions Darwin denounced the forced belief systems of the church, and proffered his own beliefs; which interestingly enough you now desire to force on others through the state.
    It is called education in science, or science literacy.

  268. Leif Svalgaard (21:34:09) :

    Glenn (21:12:26) :
    “So do you have even an example to support this idea?”

    “The scientific illiteracy in America is a superb example of that.”

    A superb example of the same baseless claim. Say it enough times and some will be convinced, eh?

  269. Leif Svalgaard (21:35:55) :

    “It is called education in science, or science literacy.”

    I think it was a Federal judge who said “Science is what scientists do”. If that is true, then “education in science” is education in what scientists say. Oh, I see now, Leif.

  270. Glenn (22:02:49) :
    “The scientific illiteracy in America is a superb example of that.”
    You may be a prime example of that as well.

    If that is true, then “education in science” is education in what scientists say.
    You got it!

  271. Leif Svalgaard (22:36:02) :

    Glenn (22:02:49) :
    Leif: “The scientific illiteracy in America is a superb example of that.”
    “You may be a prime example of that as well.”

    So your argument has gone from unsupported and baseless claims to childish ad hominems.

    Glenn (22:02:49) :
    If that is true, then “education in science” is education in what scientists say.

    “You got it!”

    Yes, I do. What scientists say matters little.
    You *have* shown in this thread to be a prime example of that.

  272. Glenn (00:21:13) :
    “The scientific illiteracy in America is a superb example of that.”
    “You may be a prime example of that as well.”
    Yes, I do. What scientists say matters little.

    You just proved my point.

  273. Leif Svalgaard (21:35:55) :

    Lucy (21:03:48) :
    By his actions Darwin denounced the forced belief systems of the church, and proffered his own beliefs; which interestingly enough you now desire to force on others through the state.
    (Leif) It is called education in science, or science literacy.

    No. If it is forced, it is a subject of “Might makes Right”. Even though you started this discussion by stating no one should force their beliefs on anyone else, you meant exactly the opposite. You want *some entity* to force *something* on everyone else. And as I (and others) have shown ad nauseam on this thread, the mighty will choose what is right, whether it is a deity chosen by the religious in power or a belief (politically selected bit of questionable science) promulgated by the secular state.

    You’re just picking a particular poison. I’m trying to knock the glass out of your hand.

  274. Leif Svalgaard (06:42:28) :

    Glenn (00:21:13) :
    “The scientific illiteracy in America is a superb example of that.”
    “You may be a prime example of that as well.”
    Yes, I do. What scientists say matters little.
    You just proved my point.

    Glenn indeed made your point very well, you do not seem at all interested in the freedom of thought and exploration of scientific principles or anything an individual cares to pursue. You demonstrate only interest in forcing people to believe what a labeled scientist says, irregardless of the veracity.

    If you cared about accuracy in science, you would not be promoting a state forced belief system.

  275. “And as I (and others) have shown ad nauseam on this thread, the mighty will choose what is right, whether it is a deity chosen by the religious in power or a belief (politically selected bit of questionable science) promulgated by the secular state.” Lucy

    I’d love to wade in and help Lucy, but you are superb. You might be nauseated but I am enthralled.

  276. Pamela Gray (21:21:33) :

    My personal view is that religious instruction does not belong in education, be it private or public. The full hours of education should be for the sole purpose of education, by fully trained teachers…

    It is indeed your personal view. The right of a parent to direct the upbringing of his own child is not devided into myriad little aggregate rights (education, religious instruction, leisure activities, etc.)which can be chipped away at by courts, but it is one fundemental right guaranted by the Ninth Amendment. It is also enshrined in American law by Pierce v Society of Sisters and others.

    No states require homeschooling parents to be certified teachers.

    In American law, the parent is assumed to have the best interest of the child at heart, and the state must show by strict scrutiny standards that it has some interest at stake if it wants to intrude on this most natural and intrinsic of relationships. The arguments I see here basically turn this on its head and automatically assume that the state has the child’s best interest at heart and the parent must prove their fitness to do anything other than what the state mandates.

    This is why I think it is important to view the Obama Administration’s educational policies in total. The fact that they took away the vouchers from poor students in Washington DC and sent them back to failing public schools is indicative of a wider policy which sees the state as the parent of the child.

  277. Zeke the Sneak (14:16:53) :

    In American law, the parent is assumed to have the best interest of the child at heart, and the state must show by strict scrutiny standards that it has some interest at stake if it wants to intrude on this most natural and intrinsic of relationships. The arguments I see here basically turn this on its head and automatically assume that the state has the child’s best interest at heart and the parent must prove their fitness to do anything other than what the state mandates.

    Bravo! What a great country this is (or at least, was)!

  278. Zeke the Sneak (14:16:53) :
    It is indeed your personal view. The right of a parent to direct the upbringing of his own child is not devided into myriad little aggregate rights
    children also have right [or should have], namely to get a decent and rounded education which is not directed by special groups and interests [even if channeled through the parents], but focused on what is best for the child.

  279. Thanks! Lucy has illuminated the subject so wonderfully.

    While greater eyes are looking elsewhere, someone has to watch issues that touch hearth and home. I know that the founder of WUWT has also held school district positions. I really appreciate men and women who give their time and thoughts to children’s education. Worth their weight in gold, every one!

    Cheers!

  280. Dr. S: “children also have right [or should have], namely to get a decent and rounded education which is not directed by special groups and interests [even if channeled through the parents], but focused on what is best for the child.”

    You will be pleased to know then, that the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child creates all kinds of rights like these. Some examples include the right of a child to access any information he wants, regardless of the parents’ wishes. Also a right of children in this treaty is the right to arts and cultural activities.

    And you also may be pleased to know that the kind of education every child has a “right” to in the UNCRC includes instruction on the Charter of the UN, instruction on respect for the environment, and instruction in the doctrine of disarmament.

  281. Zeke the Sneak (15:56:06) :
    You will be pleased to know then, that the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child creates all kinds of rights like these.
    I am indeed pleased. Are you not?
    You seem to be sanctioning the parents that train their little ones to be suicide bombers, to kill infidels, etc.

  282. I cannot help what I “seem to be sanctioning” to you.

    My above post (14:16:53) is very clear and not open to that interpretation.

    The fact that you read, understood, and agreed to that small smattering of the so-called children’s rights, invented by the UNCRC, is revealing enough and does not need any comment.

  283. 28 10 2009

    Leif Svalgaard (09:32:17) :
    Lucy (08:53:50) :
    If you cared about accuracy in science, you would not be promoting a state forced belief system.
    (Leif) And I’m not. Education is not enforced belief.

    MartinGAtkins (06:00:53) :
    My point was that though some of the absurd postulations may irritate you, they do no harm.
    Leif Svalgaard (07:12:41)The ideas do not harm. The people who hold them, are the harm-doers.

    The Marxist idea of education sounds pretty, “Only, subjects such as the physical sciences, grammar, etc., were fit matter for schools. The rules of grammar, for instance, could not differ, whether explained by a religious Tory or a free thinker. Subjects that admitted of different conclusions must be excluded and left for the adults” (Karl Marx), but as you pointed out earlier in this thread, the people who enforce the education are the harm-doers. Even when they subscribe to the Marxist beliefs.

    Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed. – Joseph Stalin

    Our educational policy must enable everyone who receives an education to develop morally, intellectually and physically and become a worker with both socialist consciousness and culture. – Mao TseTung

    Give me four years to teach the children and
    the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.
    – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

    Leif Svalgaard (20:31:53) : And there is and should not be educational freedom.

    Freedom is only suppressed by force.

  284. “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” Jesuit motto

    Freedom is only suppressed by force. Lucy

    Or the threat thereof. Or in an economy dominated by government, by threats to income and lively hood.

    “Give me a Jesuit for seven hours and he’ll want to kill me.” moi

  285. Leif Svalgaard (16:21:19) :

    Zeke the Sneak (15:56:06) :
    You will be pleased to know then, that the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child creates all kinds of rights like these.

    “I am indeed pleased. Are you not?
    You seem to be sanctioning the parents that train their little ones to be suicide bombers, to kill infidels, etc.”

    Um, that if true would be the UN, not Zeke. You seem to be sanctioning the science and scientists and those literate in the science that provides weapons such as bombs (and other things, such as GW alarmism).

  286. Zeke the Sneak (15:56:06) :

    And you also may be pleased to know that the kind of education every child has a “right” to in the UNCRC includes instruction on the Charter of the UN, instruction on respect for the environment, and instruction in the doctrine of disarmament.
    Dr S:
    I am indeed pleased. Are you not?

    I have to wonder at this point if have been mistakenly using the word “education,” when your true meaning is better served by the word, “indoctrination.”

  287. Zeke the Sneak (15:56:06) :

    And you also may be pleased to know that the kind of education every child has a “right” to in the UNCRC includes instruction on the Charter of the UN, instruction on respect for the environment, and instruction in the doctrine of disarmament.
    Dr S:
    I am indeed pleased. Are you not?

    I have to wonder at this point if you have been mistakenly using the word “education,” when your true meaning is better served by the word, “indoctrination.”

  288. Zeke the Sneak (15:56:06) : You will be pleased to know then, that the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child creates all kinds of rights like these. Some examples include the right of a child to access any information he wants, regardless of the parents’ wishes. Also a right of children in this treaty is the right to arts and cultural activities.

    The concept of parental autonomy is particularly frightening to those people that believe in zero population growth, AGW, extreme feminism or any number of radical (or mainstream) ideals that self-limit reproduction (and run rampant at the UN). They know the only way they can get their beliefs passed on to the next generation is to force them on other people’s children. It is fascinating how those beliefs have made it to the top, and the only logical explanation is the correlation to exuding power over other people, which is practically a requirement for being the head of a modern state.

    The blood from the American Revolution wasn’t even dry when they tried to make George Washington king. The moment of his refusal was a high point of liberty, it’s all been down hill from there.

  289. Back2Bat (18:42:55) :
    “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” Jesuit motto
    The ultimate in impression of belief. Parental or otherwise.

    In all of this, the right of the child is being neglected.
    I believe [and clearly y'all disagree] that a child has the right to education. This is the most fundamental right. Such education must provide the child with knowledge [apart from reading/writing/'rithmetic] of
    1) history of her community, country, and the world
    2) structure, age, origin, and evolution of our universe at large and our place in it
    3) structure, age, origin, and evolution of our Earth we inhabit
    4) structure, age, origin, and evolution of life on this planet
    5) other cultures, including at least one foreign language
    6) how ordinary appliances and ‘things’ work
    7) basic hygiene, medicine, and sound eating habits
    8) her rights and duties in society, including social interactions.

    For any of these, our knowledge is changing with time. But at each point there is a generally agreed base. Children should be taught that the base is not invariant, and learn how to think for themselves and be moderately skeptical.

    Some children [and as it seems, some adults] will not have the mental capacity for this. They should be given special attention, but not be burdened with what they cannot fathom.

  290. Zeke the Sneak (19:03:31) :
    I have to wonder at this point if have been mistakenly using the word “education,” when your true meaning is better served by the word, “indoctrination.”
    To return to the topic: ‘impressing one’s belief on others’ [which some of you consider good] is better served by ‘indoctrination’.

    Lucy (19:09:28) :
    They know the only way they can get their beliefs passed on to the next generation is to force them on other people’s children.
    Starting, of course, with their own children.

  291. Leif Svalgaard (19:29:21) : In all of this, the right of the child is being neglected.
    I believe [and clearly y’all . . .[snip].

    Okay, again.

    “If the State enforces certain “standards” on the private schools, a far worse crime against the children is committed. For if the parents’ selection of instruction is completely free and unhampered by State coercion, they, knowing and loving the child best, will be able to select the best type of instruction that they can afford. If they hire tutors, they will choose the most competent for their child. If they can select any type of private school, they will select that type which is best suited for their child. The advantage of unlimited development of private schools is that there will tend to be developed on the free market a different type of school for each type of demand. Schools will tend to be developed especially for bright children, for average children, and for dull ones, for those with broad aptitudes, and for those for whom it would be best to specialize, etc. But if the State decrees that there may be no schools which do not, for example, teach arithmetic, it would mean that those children who may be bright in other subjects but have little or no aptitude for arithmetic will have to be subjected to needless suffering. The State’s imposition of uniform standards does grave violation to the diversity of human tastes and abilities.” – Ludwig Von Mises

    Your suggestions will cause children to suffer. Leif, you don’t like the individual or the concept there of. You do not trust people. You trust the state.

    LOL, Leif, when you put all your ideas in your book, you should keep in mind that titles such as Mein Kampf and The Little Red Book of Quotations, are already taken.

    But you will want to use some humor, I like this joke: Did East Germans originate from apes? Impossible. Apes could never have survived on just two bananas a year.

    This is a good one too: Q. “Why do the KGB operate in groups of three?” A. “One can read, one can write and one to keep an eye on the two intellectuals.”

    Leif, I think you’re number 3.

    Some might be interested in this article on how religion is decimating our potential for science literacy.

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/print_friendly.php?ID=or_20091024_6967

    Oh wait, you’ll need to replace “religion” with “state promulgated beliefs”.

  292. Ah, the quote in my post above is rightly credited to Murray Rothbard, not Ludwig Von Mises. My apologies to the gentlemen.

  293. Lucy (20:40:10) :
    Leif, you don’t like the individual or the concept there of. You do not trust people. You trust the state.
    I don’t care who gives the education to the children, as long as they get it along the lines I have described. Experience shows that parents often do not have the best interest of the child in mind, because the impress their beliefs on it, e.g. in question of ID or age of the Earth, etc. It is a crime to cripple a child’s mind from the beginning by such aberrations. By public education, I do not mean the state, but the education you get in public schools, which can very well be funded by local communities [as most of the time are]. The local school boards [e.g. Kansas] sometimes fail to do their job in a satisfactory manner, and this should not be excusable on grounds of individualism, because a child is being deprived.

  294. Hey Lucy,

    I am a big Rothbard fan. Mises is great too. He predicted the Great Depression. I think I’ll be great too and predict this one. Oops! Too late.

  295. Leif Svalgaard (21:13:16) :
    “I don’t care who gives the education to the children, as long as they get it along the lines I have described. Experience shows that parents often do not have the best interest of the child in mind, because the impress their beliefs on it, e.g. in question of ID or age of the Earth, etc. It is a crime to cripple a child’s mind from the beginning by such aberrations.”

    What experience is there that shows that “impressing” parental beliefs of “ID or age of the Earth” have a detrimental effect on their children? It is certainly not a crime. Did you skip the critical thinking part of your scientific education? But since you are a professed global warming sceptic who places most of the blame on natural variability rather than human influence, replace your “ID or age of the Earth” with AGW:
    ************
    “The Board of Education voted to change existing state science standards to include the phrase “analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming.” [...]
    “Dr. Ramon Alvarez, a senior scientist with the EDF says:
    “In a last-minute assault on science and sensibility, the board appears to be supporting its own ideological views rather than those of proven science. Experts around the country, including the tenured faculty of Texas A&M’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, agree that our climate is warming and that humans are responsible.”

    http://www.examiner.com/x-3420-Cleveland-Weather-Examiner~y2009m4d11-All-Texas-school-books-will-question-global-warming-other-states-to-follow

    “Indicating doubt about the existence of global warming, today’s final vote on textbook language by the Texas State Board of Education flouts leading scientific consensus as well as the board’s own scientific advisors.”

    http://www.edf.org/pressrelease.cfm?contentID=9463

    Aren’t you flouting scientific consensus by posting here, Lief? Perhaps you really wouldn’t have as much of a problem with “teach the controversy” of ID alongside evolution, adding the anthropic principle, or mentioning various religious views in class, were it not for your radical atheistic view of religion.

    We can’t have children “analyzing and evaluating different views on the existence of global warming”, now can we.

    ***********
    Lief:
    “By public education, I do not mean the state, but the education you get in public schools, which can very well be funded by local communities [as most of the time are]. The local school boards [e.g. Kansas] sometimes fail to do their job in a satisfactory manner, and this should not be excusable on grounds of individualism, because a child is being deprived.”

    No judgement of child deprivation was given in the Kansas case, Leif.

  296. Glenn (23:15:24) :
    What experience is there that shows that “impressing” parental beliefs of “ID or age of the Earth” have a detrimental effect on their children?
    it makes them science illiterate, to wit many posts on this very blog. And in an age where correct science is paramount, that is detrimental.

  297. Leif Svalgaard (19:33:17) :

    Zeke the Sneak (19:03:31) :
    I have to wonder at this point if have been mistakenly using the word “education,” when your true meaning is better served by the word, “indoctrination.”

    “To return to the topic: ‘impressing one’s belief on others’ [which some of you consider good] is better served by ‘indoctrination’.”

    I haven’t seen anyone here consider indoctrination good besides yourself.

    Leif, perhaps you could explain what you mean by indoctrination. You’ve said “Children should be taught that the base is not invariant”. Does teaching some scientific theory as being fact approach indoctrination? Would the failure or refusal to allow students to analyze and evaluate different views be considered a method of indoctrination?

    How about this one:

    “John Houghton’s market-leading textbook is now in full colour and includes the latest IPCC findings, making it the definitive guide to climate change. Written for students across a wide range of disciplines, its simple, logical flow of ideas gives an invaluable grounding in the science and impacts of climate change and highlights the need for action on global warming.”

    http://cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521709163

    Should science be telling students what *should* be done in the future?

  298. From a 1996 study by Michael Sanera, Ph.D on Wisconsin textbooks:

    “However, the vast majority of textbooks emphasize global warming theory, citing the catastrophes predicted by global warming theorists. To avert these catastrophes, according to the majority of texts I reviewed, immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gases are necessary.
    The vast majority of texts, however, provide little information about the work of scientists who do not subscribe to global warming theory. Most texts do not explain the weaknesses of the computer models on which global warming theory is based nor do they mention their weaknesses as predictive instruments. No text mentions that the pattern of warming causing so much concern does not parallel the rise of CO 2 in the atmosphere as would be the case if global warming theory were certain. Nor are students told that climate change predictions are highly speculative and that 20 years ago a group of scientists looked at the temperature record and predicted that a new ice age was coming. Few texts include possible beneficial aspects of global warming, should it take place. A more balanced exposition would inform students of both sides of the global warming debate and motivate them to consider a wide range of possible answers and solutions.”

    Looks like indoctrination to me.

  299. Leif Svalgaard (00:03:08) :

    Glenn (23:15:24) :
    What experience is there that shows that “impressing” parental beliefs of “ID or age of the Earth” have a detrimental effect on their children?

    “it makes them science illiterate, to wit many posts on this very blog. And in an age where correct science is paramount, that is detrimental.”

    There are many reasons for why anyone here that is scientifically illiterate. Several times now you have made and refused to support this ridiculous claim. Being scientifically illiterate isn’t defined by belief in, support of, or advocating ID or young earth.
    Troll on.

  300. Glenn (02:16:35) :
    Being scientifically illiterate isn’t defined by belief in, support of, or advocating ID or young earth.
    It is part of a definition. One might make it different from mere ignorance. Ignorance is not problematic, it can be cured by simply telling you the things you don’t know. I view Illiteracy differently, namely as what one might call ‘willful ignorance’, that is, rejection of a body of knowledge because it conflicts with religious or ideological beliefs. It is failing to appreciate, or outright reject, the scientific method, that interlocking web of hard won, self-correcting ways of investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, and correcting and integrating it into previous knowledge. Today it is even ‘hip’ to be illiterate [Tom Cruse - Scientology]. It is anti intellectualism. Refusing to use that wonderful brain, evolution has produced, etc, etc.

  301. @ Back2Bat:
    Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito.

    There is no greater evil than suppressing the individual. It matters not if the sun spins backwards in the sky if mankind is enslaved. Of what value is science if man is not free to explore it? Of what value is life if man is not free to live it? General Stark said it best back in the brief and shining moment of Freedom “Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils”.

    The “Rights of the Child” movement is one of those irrational beliefs adopted by the liberty illiterate, power hungry, with a susceptibility to (or intent to abuse) emotional manipulation. (What better appeal than to combine the sympathy for children with the natural desire for rights?).

    I have yet to see anyone argue that children do not need someone to make decisions for them. So we will start with the premise that children need oversight, guidance and direction.

    Now, we have the question of who is best suited to provide that – so scroll up and read every post I’ve made thus far, again.

    Thus the concept of “Rights of the child” is completely disengious. The “rights” are merely a listing of what the State says can and cannot be done with children. By making this list of child-rearing do’s and don’t’s, the state is assuming the role of decision maker for the child. This list limits the actions of the parent, and as we know, “limits” are enFORCED. One might be tempted to think this indicates a desire on the part of the state to share oversight of the child with the parent, and so it does, to the degree the state would still like for you to clothe and shelter the child out of the money left over after the state has extracted enough to pay for it’s part in the child-rearing.

    If you think this sounds like a parental divorce proceeding where the state gets custody and you get one weekend a month, you are exactly right. With the “rights of the child” the state is divorcing the individual. It is saying we don’t want you in this relationship anymore, you are expendable. Those that are liberty literate will easily grasp the significance of this reversal of the way government should function (and still pretends too). Those that are history literate will identify the Marxist underpinning, and those that can think critically will shudder in their boots.

    Children have the natural right to be reared by just their parents. A government should only step in to limit bodily harm, the same role it should play with adults.

    The anti-federalists were right.

  302. Let’s cut the young earth crap, many Christians and Jews believe the earth to be 4 billion years old or so just like modern science. The 6500 year old earth theory only goes back to the 1920’s or so and was a foolish attempt to refute evolution by not allowing it enough time. Before then, it was acknowledged that the earth was far older.

    Set up them straw men and burn em down.

    6500 years or 14 billion makes no difference, life is statistically impossible. Hence Leif’s side must appeal to an infinite number of Universes and the anthropomorphic principle to account for it.

    Science and probability theory. Maybe we should exclude both from education?

    http://www.reasons.org

  303. Lucy (08:06:38) :
    So we will start with the premise that children need oversight, guidance and direction.

    In addition to that, they need a modern education. Need to learn about the world, need to learn where we all came from, need to learn how things work, need to learn how to be critical thinkers.

    All your shining rants about freedom etc are fine, but not relevant to the main point, how to provide children with the education they have the right to and how to avoid crippling their mind from the beginning.

    Back2Bat (08:35:10) :
    Let’s cut the young earth crap, many Christians and Jews believe the earth to be 4 billion years old or so just like modern science. The 6500 year old earth theory only goes back to the 1920’s
    Goes back millennia. Usher [1650] calculated the creation of the world to have occurred 23rd October, 4004 BC.
    And no matter how old this number is, it is still a fact that a large number of American’s believe it to be correct. One can quibble about what the percentage is. 44%, 40%, or in that neighborhood. the fact is that it is large. This is what you get by parents impressing their beliefs on their children combined with a dysfunctional educational system.

    life is statistically impossible.
    This is another example of what one gets from a failed educational system.
    Perhaps this is helpful: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2bDetailsoforigin.shtml

    And as we have discussed, the Universe is infinite anyway. But this is really irrelevant to the origin of life.

  304. Leif, great website. I also like the experiment that allows you to cook up a batch of what is basically stringy DNA. I have seen public middle school students do this in class. They love playing with the stuff, pretending to blow it out their nose when they pretend sneeze.

  305. “And as we have discussed, the Universe is infinite anyway. But this is really irrelevant to the origin of life.” Leif

    The mass is not irrelevant as I will demonstrate (roughly). Take the mass of the entire observable universe, multiply it by 10^26 to account for inflation, convert it all to just the amino acids that life uses, let it simmer at an ideal temperature for 14 billion years and you will still not get the simplest conceivable life form capable of evolving by chance alone. The odds are on the order of 1 in 10^400. Statistical impossibility is defined as 1 in 10^50.

    I keep up with general science Lief; your side is still desperately scrambling to rule out a Creator. Meanwhile, you wish to teach children that He doesn’t exist? To what end?

    Dr Hugh Ross is far more qualified than me both technically ( and temperamentally) to argue with you and as a fully qualified scientist he genuinely cares for fellow scientists. The mathematically incompetent biologists have led the hard scientists astray.

    If you have the guts, try corresponding with him at http://www.reasons.org. He is a true gentleman, I am not.

  306. @Lucy,

    Whatever made you think I disagree with you? That quote of the Jesuit motto? In fact, I was raised Roman Catholic till the 7th grade. I escaped that indoctrination and became an evolutionist. Then I escaped that indoctrination and became a Bible believing Christian. Hence my joke about giving me a Jesuit for seven hours.

    @Leif,

    Cut the cracks about my education. I notice that despite yours you have come to an illogical conclusion (How does one prove a Creator does not exist?) and a philosophically silly one since it renders your life meaningless. But you wish to compel that viewpoint on other people’s children?

    Feel free to indoctrinate your children as you wish and then we’ll see whose natural selection favors, why don’t we?

  307. Back2Bat (10:42:25) :

    @Lucy,

    Whatever made you think I disagree with you? That quote of the Jesuit motto? In fact, I was raised Roman Catholic till the 7th grade. I escaped that indoctrination and became an evolutionist. Then I escaped that indoctrination and became a Bible believing Christian. Hence my joke about giving me a Jesuit for seven hours.

    I’m sorry you took it as disagreement, I only meant to add to what you said. I wondered if you appreciated the LVMI motto, the rest of the post was for the general viewing public (and I don’t think contradicted anything you wrote).

  308. Back2Bat (10:25:07) :
    Statistical impossibility is defined as 1 in 10^50.
    Ross’s calculation is wildly invalid. Many, if not most, of his factors are not independent and are not related to making life possible. We have already observed 400 extrasolar planets and more are discovered weekly. There are probably more planets in the Universe than stars and roughly one in every system will be in the ‘habitable zone’ where life [as we know it] can evolve. Most biologists are of the opinion that life is easy to make [some are even trying to], and that life may have originated several times on Earth, only to be snuffed out by sterilizing collisions, but each time starting over. Most of Ross’s factors are related to formation of stars and planets and since we know that these exists can be excluded from the calculation. We have been talking about science illiteracy, which is not mere ignorance, but the inability to reason when up against ideology or religious belief. You and Ross are good examples thereof.

    He is a true gentleman, I am not.
    We know that.

    a philosophically silly one since it renders your life meaningless
    I give meaning to my life.

  309. @Lucy

    Dear,
    We are simpatico.

    The [Mises] Institute’s official motto is Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito, which comes from Virgil’s Aeneid, Book VI; the motto means “do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.” Early in his life, Mises chose this sentence to be his guiding principle in life. It is prominently displayed throughout the Institute’s campus, on their website and on memorabilia. from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_von_Mises_Institute

    Yes, both Ludvig von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard were heroes in this unworthy world. They both paid a price for fidelity to truth.

  310. “Ross’s calculation is wildly invalid. Many, if not most, of his factors are not independent and are not related to making life possible. “ Leif

    You apparently did not read the footnote:

    “Probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters ≈ 10^388

    dependency factors estimate ≈ 10^96

    longevity requirements estimate ≈ 10^14

    Probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters ≈ 10^-304

    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in universe ≈ 1022

    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10282(million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion) exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.” from http://www.reasons.org/probability-life-earth-apr-2004

    And then that is just to enable the possibility of life. The actual genesis of life is much, much less probable.

    “I give meaning to my life.” Leif

    A single small blood vessel could rupture in your brain and poof! goes your meaning. In any event you shall die. Will your reputation live forever? Not likely even if the earth is not destroyed by a wondering black hole, a nearby supernova, a gamma ray burster or maybe just an asteroid we might have deflected except for the money wasted on the CO2 scare. Most people will only remember Newton, a devout Christian, and Einstein, a Jew who often spoke of “The Lord”.

  311. oops! I failed to correct a couple of mistranslated exponent(^) symbols in that footnote. Insert ‘^’ where appropriate.

  312. Leif Svalgaard (09:57:46) :
    relevant to the main point, how to provide children with the education they have the right to and how to avoid crippling their mind from the beginning

    There is no such thing as a right to education. That is a fairy tale you have invented for yourself, to give you some sense of meaning in the cosmos that taunt you every night.

    So I have no idea how you will possibly begin to formulate a logical argument to support this fairy tale you believe in.

  313. Back2Bat (11:50:32) :
    You apparently did not read the footnote
    Yes, I did. The point is that for most of the factors, the value must be one, because stars and planets already exist. Only about six numbers determine the physical characteristics of the universe that we live in.
    You, apparently, did not study the link I provided for you carefully. Please do so, and report back with your assessment or rebuttal of each section.

    A single small blood vessel could rupture in your brain and poof! goes your meaning
    since I’m gone too, what does it matter?

    Most people will only remember Newton, a devout Christian, and Einstein, a Jew who often spoke of “The Lord”
    and Osama, the devout Muslim. Newton and Einstein are not remembered for their devoutness.

  314. Lucy (12:32:02) :
    There is no such thing as a right to education.

    The right to education is recognised as a human right by the United Nations and is understood to establish an entitlement to free, compulsory primary education for all children, an obligation to develop secondary education accessible to all children, as well as equitable access to higher education, and a responsibility to provide basic education for individuals who have not completed primary education. In addition to these access to education provisions the right to education encompasses also the obligation to eliminate discrimination at all levels of the educational system, to set minimum standards and to improve quality.

    The US has adopted this Declaration.
    “In Europe, before the Enlightenment of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, education was the responsibility of parents and the church. With the French and American Revolution education was established also as a public function. It was thought that the state, by assuming a more active role in the sphere of education, could help to make education available and accessible to all.”

  315. “Yes, I did. The point is that for most of the factors, the value must be one, because stars and planets already exist.” Leif

    Yeah, I am sure Dr Ross got a Phd in Astrophysics and overlooked that.

    Translation: “It is because it is?” The question is not what exists, it is how probable is its existence. Your logic just ducks the question.

    “Newton and Einstein are not remembered for their devoutness.” Leif

    Conveniently, for your side. Newton was also a noted Biblical scholar.

    Concerning water and the “ëase” with which life forms. By all means, let’s go to Europa and where ever else liquid water may exist in the Solar System and see if life is there. If it is unrelated to earth life, I ‘ll reconsider. That life has started on earth several times and in very short times is evidence for my side, not yours.

    It boils down to probability and the mass and age of this Universe. The evolution of life could and would occur given sufficient time, hence God. But this Universe is too young for life to have originated here.

    I’ll not argue anymore (though I could). I should have planted sufficient doubt for you to look further. Defeat Dr Ross’s logic and knowledge and I’ll be impressed. However, you have not impressed me much so that seems unlikely and all I have is a BS.

  316. As I understand it, the Scientific Method is a process that selects among hypotheses for longevity. But, there seems to be no Scientific Method for generating hypotheses! And so ‘Scientific Thinking’ can only be a subset of human mentality: It is partial, and cannot encompass the whole. So there are a whole range of human issues, for example Creativity, and Deism/Atheism, that are beyond the scope of ‘Science’.

    The Scientific Method also requires hypotheses that are amenable to the currently available means of testing, and also the resources to do the testing. And so, Science is a social process that is dependent upon the test technology and also the economic resources that the host society is able and willing to devote to it. Therefore, ‘Science’ at heart is reliant on the political process.

    In other words, the Scientist is reliant on the patronage of society at large, both for supplying hypotheses that are worth testing, as well as the means of testing them.

    The comparison of the lot of the scientist with the musician is fairly complete; society has to provide not only the the instrument, but the music, and the playing-fee. But as we know: “He who pays the piper, calls the tune”

    And so, as a layman, I like to be assured that scientists at large do not try to arrogate the process of generating hypotheses, to themselves. But with AGW climate scientists, I suspect that this is what is happening, and that is enough to explain the resentment towards them.

  317. Back2Bat (13:08:54) :
    Translation: “It is because it is?” The question is not what exists, it is how probable is its existence.
    Given the values of the six numbers that control the infinite universe, the rest follows: Galaxies, stars, planets, life. You could maintain that a deity turned the knob on the nascent universe to set the numbers, but for what? According to Scripture, so that we could worship it. What a vain purpose. That alone disqualifies the deity in my book, and if the purpose and meaning of my life is to worship such vanity, then I opt out.

    supercritical (13:13:50) :
    In other words, the Scientist is reliant on the patronage of society at large, both for supplying hypotheses that are worth testing, as well as the means of testing them.

    No, society does not supply hypotheses. Those springs from the scientists mind, and in reality, this is not really the way it works. Observations and data are the real sources of inquiry. In order to explain these a hypothesis is formed, etc.

    And it is a rather new idea that society supports science, stemming basically from after WWII. Before that, most science was privately funded, often by the scientists themselves [the Gentleman Scientist of the 18th and 19th centuries], or was activity subordinate to the day-job of the scientist [e.g. teaching or providing horoscopes for the benefactors].

  318. “According to Scripture, so that we could worship it. What a vain purpose. That alone disqualifies the deity in my book, and if the purpose and meaning of my life is to worship such vanity, then I opt out.” Leif

    Your (flawed) assessment and your choice. Please respect the right of others to assess and choose differently without government compulsion.

    Lucy,

    You like Italian?

  319. Back2Bat (14:27:19) :
    Your (flawed) assessment and your choice. Please respect the right of others to assess and choose differently
    Is the use of “(flawed)” showing respect for the assessment of others?

  320. Leif Svalgaard (12:55:29) : The right to education is recognised as a human right by the United Nations … The US has adopted this Declaration. … It was thought that the state, by assuming a more active role in the sphere of education

    Tell me Leif, is the holy writ of the UN bound in leather? Are the pages made of vellum and are Ban Ki Moon’s words highlighted in red?

    Well, Back2Bat will be relieved to hear that the fact the US has as it’s official motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” is after all sufficient evidence to satisfy you that God does indeed exist. I’m sure he will accept your apology with gentlemanly grace.

    The right to education is recognised as a human right by the United Nations and is understood to establish an entitlement to free, compulsory primary education for all children

    Oh my goodness. Right=Entitlement=Free=Compulsary… Leif, are you really this ignorant or do you just play so on the internet?

  321. Leif,

    I see we have a chicken and egg situation; Or maybe a horse and cart one.

    ” Observations and data are the real sources of inquiry. In order to explain these a hypothesis is formed, etc.”..

    So, what would be the motivation to carry out the work of observation and data-collection? And what kind of proposal would be presented to justify the use of the resource? Wouldn’t that be called the “hypothesis”?

    And those ‘Gentlemen Scientists’ not operating in a vacuum but in a society, which by-and-large posed the question and granted the means. To take but one example, Torricelli’s investigations into atmospheric pressure was prompted by the enormous economic consequences of mine suction pumps ceasing to work at 32 feet of head … and whether or not there was scope for a fix …

    And so to restate my point, the Scientific Method is algorithmic in nature, and cannot of itself generate hypotheses. One of the consequences of this fact is that the creation of hypotheses occurs outside the Scientific Method, and so is not the exclusive purlieu of the Scientist.

    QED?

  322. Lucy (15:30:00) :
    Tell me Leif, is the holy writ of the UN bound in leather?
    If that is the attribute that establishes credibility in your mind, then I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

    supercritical (15:38:37) :
    So, what would be the motivation to carry out the work of observation and data-collection? And what kind of proposal would be presented to justify the use of the resource? Wouldn’t that be called the “hypothesis”?
    No, not at all. We collect data because it is ultimately useful, e.g. we collect weather data for forecasting or just for knowing if we should bring an overcoat. Some people collect data just for the fun of it: many amateurs count sunspots. In fact, the sunspot cycle was discovered by an amateur. We routinely ‘photograph’ the entire sky every three days just to see what may be happening.

    In my 40 years as a practicing scientist, nobody has ever said to me: “here is a hypothesis, go prove it”. If a person does not have the gift of posing the questions herself rather than investigating hypotheses doled out by others, she won’t make it as a scientist. This excludes graduate students, of course:-)

  323. Lucy (15:30:00) :
    Oh my goodness. Right=Entitlement=Free=Compulsary… Leif, are you really this ignorant or do you just play so on the internet?
    Your children MUST receive primary education, even in the US now. It is different elsewhere and at other times: Taliban forbidding education of girls, colonial US making education of Negroes [children and adults) illegal,
    [it was even illegal for Negroes to preach the word of the Lord in this shining bastion of freedom].

  324. Leif Svalgaard (23:07:01) :
    The problem is when those beliefs blind people to reality and to the grandeur of this universe in which we live.

    Totally agree! Thank you.

  325. We have already, as a self-governing people, established laws concerning the requirements for children’s education.

    These vary from state to state, as they ought. The use of the UN or the Federal gov’t to declare a “right” to education, and to dictate the curriculum, is worse than a redundancy; it is a usurpation. These decisions have already been quite capably handled by the people who are affected by them. Likewise, citizens at this local level are watching carefully for encroachment and abrogations by the courts and the teacher’s unions.

    Here is a clickable map of the US which show requirements for each state, including hours and subjects required.

    http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp

  326. Zeke the Sneak (16:53:56) :
    These decisions have already been quite capably handled by the people who are affected by them.
    If it only were so, but as it isn’t, it ain’t.

  327. “Si’. Perche’?” Lucy

    Just some cyber flirting. You remind me of the fatal redhead as far as your intelligence and passion for liberty. An now a poem:

    “He who finds a wife
    receives a gift from the Lord.”
    I’ve waited and waited and waited
    but she won’t knock down my door.
    I’ve pondered this long and hard
    and I think I understand;
    the Lord rewards the work
    (not the sitting on)
    of our hands.

  328. Leif Svalgaard (16:32:48) :

    … colonial US making education of Negroes [children and adults) illegal,
    [it was even illegal for Negroes to preach the word of the Lord in this shining bastion of freedom].

    Oversized government at work. Under liberty, at least SOME people can behave decently without breaking the law. Christians took the lead in abolishing slavery and establishing women’s rights too, I would bet. Government is always seeking to justify its existence and power.

    But there is this fundamental problem: any government you build for good can be used for evil once you pass on and most likely will be according to history. That is why government must be kept limited.

  329. No, these laws were local laws or state laws enacted by good Christian folks Leif

    Except for the word “good” that sounds reasonable. The Bible itself is 100% non racist. One of the first Christians was an Ethiopian, if I recall. God has a long memory, it seems since an Ethiopian pulled Jeremiah out of the pit. As to slavery per se, it is a complicated issue. Obviously, it is not good but it is not a high priority in the Bible other than that slaves should be treated fairly.

    At least with local laws, one can move to another area. What will we do if the entire world is under one government? Look at what just one man, Alan Greenspan, did to us and the worst is yet to come, IMO.

  330. Back2Bat (17:56:29) :
    Christians took the lead in abolishing slavery
    The US was one of the last ‘Christian’ nations to abolish slavery. The first was Poland in 1588.

  331. Leif Svalgaard (05:47:38) :
    I view Illiteracy differently, namely as what one might call ‘willful ignorance’, that is, rejection of a body of knowledge because it conflicts with religious or ideological beliefs. It is failing to appreciate, or outright reject, the scientific method, that interlocking web of hard won, self-correcting ways of investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, and correcting and integrating it into previous knowledge.

    Leif, you are the living example of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. The mere act of observing your words causes you to change their meaning.

  332. Back2Bat (17:31:37) :
    “Si’. Perche’?” Lucy

    Just some cyber flirting. You remind me of the fatal redhead as far as your intelligence and passion for liberty. An now a poem:

    “He who finds a wife
    receives a gift from the Lord.”
    I’ve waited and waited and waited
    but she won’t knock down my door.
    I’ve pondered this long and hard
    and I think I understand;
    the Lord rewards the work
    (not the sitting on)
    of our hands.

    Hi thee to the University, my good fellow. I’m sure there are at least a couple more where I came from. (Hint, it wasn’t the education department ;-) )

  333. Lucy (18:57:34) :
    The mere act of observing your words causes you to change their meaning.
    Perhaps it is that I’m getting through to you and you are beginning to understand what I’m saying.

  334. Back2Bat (18:42:49) :
    What will we do if the entire world is under one government?
    If that government were the US government it might be different. But I do agree that government should be as small as possible. The ancient Greeks advocated not larger than a city.
    But the issue is not about government, but about education. What would we do if the entire world has adequate education along the lines I have suggested? We would prosper. Any impediment to that, from government, parents, religious bigots, etc is detrimental. Alas, we are not there yet [and may never get there, because an uneducated an science illiterate populace is easier to control]

  335. Leif Svalgaard (19:09:32) :
    The mere act of observing your words causes you to change their meaning.
    Perhaps it is that I’m getting through to you and you are beginning to understand what I’m saying.

    Indeed I do understand you much better than I did at the beginning of the thread. Unfortunately that understanding is inversely proportional to respect.

    George Orwell understood you too.

  336. Leif Svalgaard (16:32:48) :
    [it was even illegal for Negroes to preach the word of the Lord in this shining bastion of freedom].

    That’s what governments do Leif, but then, you know that, don’t you?

  337. Lucy (19:27:42) :
    [it was even illegal for Negroes to preach the word of the Lord in this shining bastion of freedom].
    That’s what governments do

    That is what local governments do, governments elected by the local folks and acting on their behalf and likely with their concurrence.
    This springs from the attitude those folks were impressing on their children and on their elected representatives at that shining moment in the history of this great Nation.

  338. The first was Poland in 1588. Leif

    I did not know that. Thanks. I am 1/2 Polish

    Hi[e] thee to the University Lucy

    The campus police would probably arrest me and thow me in a cell with a Jesuit who would probably hang himself.

  339. “But I do agree that government should be as small as possible. “ Leif

    Yes, as small as possible and with decisions devolved to the lowest possible level, IMO. The ideal government would be a monarchy headed by a perfect king but even in this case I expect He would not wish to micromanage His subjects otherwise why did He make us in His image?

    [ending religious debate ~ ctm]

  340. Back2Bat (07:52:05) :
    (Interestingly, the slaves in Greek society allowed the intellectuals the leisure to develop science and mathematics.)
    and the slaves in colonial America allowed their owners the leisure to effect a revolution in the name of freedom.

  341. “(Hint, it wasn’t the education department ;-) )” Lucy

    Lucy, I would probably love a nice EE teacher or perhaps a High School English teacher to correct the meter of my rhymes. In fact, if I could locate MY High School teacher (and she was available), well, that would be interesting.

  342. Leif Svalgaard (20:03:17) : That is what local governments do, governments elected by the local folks and acting on their behalf and likely with their concurrence

    A government that has in its contract the ability to dominate it’s citizens, and purposes to operate outside of the natural order of government, and which governs people who are liberty illiterate (literally and Leif-ly) will always engage in suppressing the rights of individuals.

    Local governments however, offer the potential of freedom. Don’t like your governments’ policies about preaching religion? Move to another community. That didn’t work for the slaves because they were neither free to leave nor free to stay away after they escaped. The federal government (all the way up to the Supreme Court) provided an interstate network to all lower governments in capturing and returning runaways.

    at that shining moment in the history of this great Nation.

    Like I said above, it’s all been downhill since Washington refused the kingship. The refusal of the newly established government to abide by the Constitution it had just created for itself in the matter of slavery is a prime example of that. Such is the nature of the beast.

  343. Poor Charles! I was finished anyway. I thought this nice, nearly dead thread was appropriate.

    This all started when Leif took a swipe at ID (Intelligent Design). If you will snip my religious statements, fine. However, if you do not snip his snipes at ID then you err since his anti-religious statements are of a religious nature since they are not logical.

    Hey Leif, it was fun. Best wishes. Let’s call a truce less we wreck the moderator’s nerves. If you continue to rail at ID then know that mere politeness (and fear of being banned) keeps me from responding.

  344. Mr. Moderator,

    You may snip all my comments on this thread, if it makes your job easier. I am sorry to cause you pain.

    Leif,

    My email again is:
    moonbat1775@cox.net if you feel the need to respond to anything I’ve said.

    adieu

  345. Back2Bat (10:03:33) :
    If you continue to rail at ID then know that mere politeness (and fear of being banned) keeps me from responding.
    I don’t rail against ID specifically, but against any form of bigotry and anti-educational and anti-scientific issues. I took a swipe at ID. You took a swipe at me personally. Big difference.

  346. “You took a swipe at me personally. Big difference.” Leif

    Indeed I did. I apologize. I really do. It won’t happen again intentionally.

    I love science and I love education but there is a lot of pseudo-science going around and calling itself science. So what’s to be done about it? Someone said that science should be agnostic and I agree. What is dividing us is the origin of life and macro-evolution. Neither of these has been proven in the lab though micro evolution has been. It (micro-evolution) is statistically possible given the huge numbers and rapid reproduction rate. The need for a Creator with regard to macro evolution and the origin of life itself has not been ruled out and I object to teaching students otherwise. Is that unreasonable?

    Again I apologize. I do get hot sometimes being somewhat of a fool.

  347. Leif Svalgaard (11:10:55) : I took a swipe at ID. You took a swipe at me personally. Big difference.

    Odd how this little interplay represents one of the greater problems with “modern science” – the politically motivated half truth.

    Leif did indeed swipe at ID, and Back2Bat did indeed take a swipe at Leif. But Leif is omitting the swipes he took at the individuals (including Back2Bat) who indicated an interest in a philosophy outside his paradigm. Worms, brainless, fried-brains, fraudsters, pushers, all before Back2Bat opened up with “conceited”.

  348. Lucy (16:26:04) :
    Worms, brainless, fried-brains, fraudsters, pushers, all before Back2Bat opened up with “conceited”.
    These were in general terms and not directed at any particular named individual, and may, in fact, not apply in aggregate to all. One might add “misguided” [often by parents] to the list.

  349. Lucy,

    I lost my temper, pure and simple. I was not aware of any provocation other than the attack on ID.

    Let’s pack up this thread since it is getting too hard to find.

    I’m outta of here.

    Blessing to all.

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