Summary: The International Conference on Climate Change 7

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

After years of getting up at 4 AM to go commercial fishing, these days I generally have as little to do with dawn as possible. But last Sunday, I found myself in the Palm Springs airport at 5 AM, boarding a plane to Chicago to go speak at the ICCC7. The Conference is put on by the Heartland Institute, which has had real trouble getting any publicity this year. So I figured I’d go give them a hand …

My connecting flight out of Denver was delayed so I didn’t get to Chicago until the afternoon, and I figured I’d just roll into town. As the world always turns out, things were not quite that simple … because the Conference was being held at the Chicago Hilton Hotel, which was also hosting the NATO Conference and the inevitable associated protests.

Since the main staging ground for the protestors was in the park across the street from the Hilton, the police had barricades up all around there, many of the roads were closed entirely, and my bus couldn’t even drive up to the front door. It dropped us two blocks away, and I had to schlepp my luggage to the hotel. Nor did the fun stop there. Because there were a variety of heads of state staying in the Hilton, there were Secret Service people from a dozen nations all over the hotel. It was like being in some alternate reality where every second person is a policeman … quite strange.

But that was just the surrounding storm. The Conference was another matter, I enjoyed it greatly. Judith Curry has a very catty post up at her blog attacking both Heartland and the Conference, I don’t know why.

Let me start by saying that I have many disagreements with the Heartland folks, and that I went and spoke anyway. Let me see if I can explain why.

For the majority of my life, I’ve been a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. This puts me at odds with both political parties. It also puts me in a very different group than most of the Heartland folks. But that’s all just the personalities. Judith Curry said “I’ve looked at the program, nothing in particular caught my interest, I’ve seen previous presentations from most of the scientific participants.” However, for me, the value in conferences is rarely in the presentations or in the personalities or the political positions—it is in meeting, discussing, and interacting with the participants in the times between the presentations.

So for example I got to spend a delightful hour wandering over to the shore of Lake Michigan with Lucia Liljegren of The Blackboard, who turns out to be as charming, witty and lovely as she is intelligent. I got to meet one of the Moderators of WUWT that I had never met. I got to spend some time with Dr. Willie Soon, whose exuberance and passion seems never-ending, and who gave me some new information of volcanoes and mercury. I got to reconnect with Dr. Craig Loehle, my co-author on our recent paper, who I rarely get to see in the flesh. I got to talk with Anthony Watts, who I usually see only once or twice in a year. Those are the kinds of interactions that are of great value to me.

I also found a number of the presentations to be quite interesting. US Representative Jim Sensenbrenner discussed some of the political intricacies surrounding the attempt to bring reason to the US Government’s role in the climate issues. Václav Klaus, the President of the Czech Republic, gave a fascinating talk about how he sees the underlying issues in the climate debates. And a number of the scientific presentations were interesting. Yes, as Judith said, I’ve read and heard much of the science before … but it was a chance to directly ask questions of the scientists, which is always a treat.

Finally, it was a chance to talk to some of the Heartland folks. As I said, I have many differences with them. I felt, for example, that their billboard showing the Unabomber was simultaneously true, meaningless, repulsive, and a very self-destructive, unpleasant, and foolish venture into guilt by association. I have said many times that it doesn’t matter whether a statement is made by the head of Greenpeace or written on a bathroom wall. What is important, the only thing that is important, is whether or not it is true. And it matters just as little who believes it as it matters who said it. I can understand their frustration at being the unending target of attacks that are just as vicious and ugly, but “tu quoque” (which is basically Latin for “but Mommy, he did it first”) works no better for adults then it does for children.

But Heartland is no different from any of the other organizations involved in climate change, from Greenpeace to WWF … except that its budget is much smaller, and as far as I know, it doesn’t harass the Greenpeace funders the way that Greenpeace harasses those who fund Heartland. Greenpeace is famous for their unpleasant and intimidating “we know where you live” attitude.

But all of these organizations try to push their own beliefs and ideas, so I don’t understand the opposition to Heartland for doing just that. If you want to get upset about the ethics, people should be as upset about harassment of funders as they are about billboards.

I was also surprised by Judith’s claim that Heartland is “losing the battle”, citing in support articles by the well-known fraud Susanne Goldenberg of the “neutral” media outlet, The Guardian … Judith, for many of us, citing Suzanne Goldenberg marks you as someone who isn’t paying attention. She’s the one who recently flat-out lied about Gleick’s actions, you believe her at your own peril and you cite her at no small cost to your reputation for due diligence regarding the honesty of your sources.

My strong sense from talking to Joe and Diane Bast and some of the Heartland staff is that although there have been some losses from the attacks on the funders whose names were revealed by the mail fraud perpetrated by Peter Gleick, as well as from the billboard fiasco, the Heartland folks are most definitely alive, doing well, and still kicking. Sure, they lost some funders, but they have gained others. And as usual, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog, and I don’t detect any slackening in their fighting spirit. My conclusion is, Suzanne Goldenberg’s rumors of Heartland’s death are greatly exaggerated, which is just more of Suzanne’s usual misdirection, falsehoods, and fallacies.

But that doesn’t mean that I agree with a number  of the Heartland political positions or those of their followers. For example I sat next to a lovely woman one dinner who was a firm believer in Intelligent Design. She made an argument for intelligent design which was that when we see a watch, we don’t assume that it was a random creation. Instead, we assume that there is a watchmaker.

I’d heard that argument before, but never given it much thought. So I considered it for a few moments, and I replied that if we were to accept that argument, that the job wasn’t done. She asked, what did I mean that the job wasn’t done?

I said that if a complex watch implies a more complex human maker of the watch, and by implication if a complex human watchmaker implies an even more complex maker of the human watchmaker … then by exactly the same logic, the complex watchmaker-maker she called “God” implies an even more complex maker of the watchmaker-maker … and on ad infinitum. In other words, if we are to assume that a complex watch necessarily implies a more complex and intelligent watchmaker, then a complex God must imply an even more complex and intelligent God-maker, and so on …

Clearly she had never considered that her argument contained the seeds of its own destruction … but to my surprise she was honest enough to say so, and to say that she had no counter-argument. I admired her for that. But it was a clear example of the generally large distance between myself and a number of folks at the Conference. For example, I think that human beings require regulations, or else people will piss in the drinking water. To me it’s a no-brainer, we’ve proved that many, many times in a host of realms. But a lot if not most of the participants seemed to see any and all regulations as tools of the devil incarnate … not me.

As I said above, however, that wasn’t the point, that’s not the science, that’s just the personalities and the political and religious beliefs. For me, the science, and the opportunities to discuss the science with the scientists, transcends all of that. Politics makes strange bedfellows, and I can live with that.

My conclusions from the Conference were that overturning the current climate science paradigms and the AGW supporters’ activism and malfeasance is going to be a long, slow slog. People like Suzanne Goldenberg want to prematurely claim either victory for their side, or the defeat of their opponents’ side … me, I think this will take years to settle. And more importantly, as far as I can see, neither Heartland nor I have any intention of giving up that fight.

And that for me was the main lesson from the Conference.

w.

PS—On the last day, I walked around the block for some exercise. Upon returning to the Hilton, I noticed a man holding a sign that from a distance read “THE WORLD IS FLAT”. As I came closer, I noted that there was small print, and his whole sign said “The Heartland Institute says THE WORLD IS FLAT”. I stopped and said to him I’d never seen such a statement from Heartland … he said well, no, but “a number” of the Board of Directors think the world is flat. How do you know that, I asked? They’re that kind of people, he said. Ahh, I thought, another follower of Suzanne Goldenberg.

He asked, wasn’t I was ashamed be associated with an organization that gets its money from “giant corporations”? I said that Greenpeace and WWF historically have gotten big donations from the giant oil companies, wasn’t he ashamed to be associated with them?

He said that it was OK for them to take oil money from giant oil corporations, because Greenpeace and WWF do good work … I sighed, and went back into the hotel to listen to something logical and understandable …

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159 thoughts on “Summary: The International Conference on Climate Change 7

  1. Summa Theologica, crica 1270 T Aquinas is a handy reference, although it is better in Latin

  2. Thanks for a personal take on ICCC7, Willis. IMO, you’re spot on with your opinions here, although the logic of your watchmaker counter-argument has a false premise – that deepening complexity must continue up each level ad infinitum. One might suggest that although this seems to hold in the natural universe, there is no evidence for it in the super-natural (which by definition contains/causes/over-arches the natural) and thus might not be the case. Just sayin’.

  3. Mr. Eschenbach,
    You are, as usual, that rarest of rarities— a font of common sense.

  4. “My conclusions from the Conference were that overturning the current climate science paradigms and the AGW supporters’ activism and malfeasance is going to be a long, slow slog. People like Suzanne Goldenberg want to prematurely claim either victory for their side, or the defeat of their opponents’ side … me, I think this will take years to settle. And more importantly, as far as I can see, neither Heartland nor I have any intention of giving up that fight.”

    Willis, another excellent article but one thing I do disagree with you on is that climate science is some sort of fight. You cannot fight good science and I personally think that as far as AGW evidence goes; there is a lot of bad science. I am probably naive, but I always assumed that a scientist had a hypothesis, which became a theory when evidence and data supported that hypothesis. A theory is always a theory because in the future, better data may disprove it.
    I think that those of us who instinctively think that AGW is a load of c**p need to disprove said AGW by questioning the data and the motives of the scientists producing that data.

  5. I’ve been a social liberal and a fiscal conservative

    Willis,
    That probably describes more of us here than you might think.

  6. A very encouraging article. The bit about the bill board carrier says it all really. The evidence of delusion is everywhere, and the deluded can see no contradiction in their positions – the ID woman excepted, of course.

  7. Excellently written, as always Willis! The whole point of proper conferences, is real life human interaction and the cross referencing and cross pollination of ideas………..

  8. You are right, Willis, that it is going to be a long slow slog; in fact until the MSM finally start to publish both sides of the AGW argument.
    I’m not holding my breath.
    But, as usual, a nice report of your time in Chicago.

  9. “What is important, the only thing that is important, is whether or not it is true.”
    –Willis Eschenbach

    Amen.

  10. “He asked, wasn’t I was ashamed be associated with an organization that gets its money from “giant corporations”? ”

    Willis – you should checked to see if he had an iPhone and/or and iPad – both made (in China) by Apple Inc. – one of the biggest corporations in the world – heh!.

  11. “For the majority of my life, I’ve been a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. This puts me at odds with both political parties. It also puts me in a very different group than most of the Heartland folks.”

    Huh? Heartland is a libertarian think tank. Is not social liberal & fiscal conservative 90% of what it means to be a libertarian?

  12. I agree with Curry – heartland is an ideological organization and it supports AGW skepticism because it is in line with their ideological beliefs not because they are defenders of science. Also calling her post “catty” is not cool.

  13. Willis, Thanks for all you do. I am more informed.
    You, nor I, nor any creature of Earth, we did not randomly materialize from the ether. We are too ordered for that. I can’t say how the order arose from the chaos. But random happenstance, c’mon.
    A million monkeys at a million typewriters will never, I say never write a novel, good or otherwise.

  14. I think that those of us who instinctively think that AGW is a load of c**p need to disprove said AGW by questioning the data and the motives of the scientists producing that data.

    There is no theory to disprove. There is an Hypothosis which has been damaged many, many times by Steve Mc and many others. The agw crowd need to find another hypothosis with which to beat the people of planet earth.

  15. The Conference is put on by the Heartland Institute, which has had real trouble getting any publicity this year.
    ———
    Beats me, I thought Heartlands problem was too much publicity of the wrong kind.

    ———
    I felt, for example, that their billboard showing the Unabomber was simultaneously true, meaningless, repulsive, and a very self-destructive, unpleasant, and foolish venture into guilt by association.
    ———-
    Depends whether by true you mean the literal words or the message. The message was false, but if Heartland actually believes it, and many people here do, then the rest of the world should know the truth about what Heartland believes. In that sense Heartland was being honest.

  16. Thank you for your honest assessment. I have long pointed to political science is always defective – I debated a Doctor scientist from NASA for almost a year, he had no real peer reviewed papers to present but argued about CONSENSUS OF SCIENTISTS and it is now SETTLED SCIENCE.

    Well, when I ask what parts of the Scientific Method permitted these new conclusion of OPINION supersede factual scientific evidence that is not consistent with the hypothesis they present as having been peer reviewed and approved. After the email leaks have destroyed the data set they ALL used to create the computer models that make the predictions that we now know are false science.

    This is all about the money and the GRANTS. One of my friends involved with the research at UCSD and Scripts fell into the need for raising money and therefor he suddenly changed to a C02 believer for the first time and suddenly was travelling around the globe making speeches to secure more financing for the research ie: keep their labs open and the paychecks coming. It is a corrupt subject that has now collapsed for the most part but a recent California EPA has put up a new death balloon – it is now CARBON DUST – more deadly than C02. The also presented several other new substitutes for ECO FEAR PRESENTATIONS.

    To bad it can not be about real science and real research not researching an observed possible problem and then doing research to prove why it is as bad as you think. It appears to reverse science like reverse engineering look at the result and then work backwards until you can recreate what is already existing.

  17. I saw the same lonely guy a couple of times holding his billboard. He was the only protester I saw there. One guy. Sad.

    I also picked up some “Peter Gleick/Fakegate” and Heartland’s “Don’t Tread On Me” T-shirts. If anyone would like one, send your name & mailing address to my throwaway email acount: themistocles2010-2020 at yahoo.com. State your size. Offer good until my supply runs out. Don’t be shy, I have about twenty of them. I’ll pay the postage. [Please consider hitting Anthony's "Donate" button. No obligation, of course, I'll send the shirt(s) anyway.☺]

  18. Lol, Willis, as usual, you continue to astound me. You can find so many topics in one short writing that I can completely agree with some and completely disagree with others. It’s fascinating.

    I’ll continue to shout my support for HI’s billboard campaign and I highly encourage them to continue. We are well past the time that we quit talking about the potential harm of the policies enacted to fight CC/CAGW and start pointing out the proper comparisons to these lunatics. It isn’t a question of “they did it first”, it is a question of the projection, duplicity and hypocrisy of the alarmists.

    To me, it doesn’t make any sense not to point out fundamental truths about who our opponents are in this climate discussion. The comparison to the Unibomber isn’t just truthful, it is apt. He is a Luddite who decried the industrialization of the world and killed people to further his ideology. How is this different than the killings and forced mass sterilizations which are occurring in efforts to further the alarmist agenda? http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/these-animals-are-committing-crimes-against-humanity/ There are, of course, many more crimes against humanity these people are engaged in, which I hope to unify into post soon.

    We should avoid talking about this and putting it in proper context because if offends the sensibilities of some climate skeptics? They make Ted Kaczynski look like a choirboy.

    Some other observations….. so regulations is what innovated plumbing and sewer systems? Who knew? Well done Roman bureaucrats!!

    Flat earthers….. are those the people who consider the earth’s energy budget as a two dimensional disc?

    Ahh… so much more to say about social liberal/fiscal conservatism, and ID but that’s for another comment.

  19. For the majority of my life, I’ve been a social liberal and a fiscal conservative…

    So, a libertarian then?

  20. I’m sorry to say so, and I know Willis is much respected here – but I’ve never seen so little said in so many words. I feel like I’ve aged 10 years.

  21. Heartland takes the extreme on things, but this conservative who tends toward libertarian believes there should be clearly defined regulation that should be very difficult to implement in the US. Since these regulations carry the force of law and can usurp the 4th amendment with little to no due process (ones passing the regulation also enforce the regulation and judge “guilt” and impose the penalties), regulations should have to pass both houses of congress as law, and should always be a matter of the congressional record. No more of this “War On Coal” nonsense. Congressmen would be loathe to kill off enough power plants to create rolling blackouts if they knew they would face the wrath of their constituents at the next election. I am for a constitutional amendment that states “Congress shall pass no law giving over legislative powers to the executive branch” or “Congress shall pass no law with words stating “The Secretary shall determine…” or “The Secretary shall institute such regulations as necessary to implement and enforce this law”! If congress can’t foresee the needs of the law at the time of passage they should be forced to pass another law implementing these new needs.

  22. I disagree here with Willis, it won’t take much longer. Its becoming blatantly obvious to everyone that its not warming. It seems that it will probably continue to cool a bit for some years more as well… Even the AGW are now talking more about species extinction rather than AGW C02 (see climate depot). I think the C02 battle has been won already.

  23. I got lost on my soap box on the preceding…all that was to say that we need regulations, but they should be limited and extremely sharply defined.
    EPA should be a really small office attached to the Justice department, and violations of the law should be prosecuted in the courts. Most of the Superfund law should have been thrown out as ex post facto anyway…the idea that the government could go back and hold people accountable for things that weren’t illegal (ill-advised-oh yeah) when the acts occurred is abhorrent and unconstitutional. Now taking action to shame people who should have known better into doing the right thing I’ll agree with. The Clean Air and Clean Water acts have far too much “the secretary shall determine…” language in there the effect of which is to give those with the political desire all the levers necessary to create a totalitarian state. It is that to which I am most opposed.

  24. RE: Watchmaker and intelligent design

    When I look at a snowflake under a magnifier, I see an amazingly intricate, ordered structure with hexagonal symmetry. Another snowflake will be equally intricate, ordered, and symmetrical, but completely different from the first. God must be very busy indeed if she is designing every individual snowflake.

  25. andrewmharding
    May 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm
    ###

    It is a battle and winning has little to do with science. You see, for the enemies of humanity, CAGW is just a pretext to terrify the ignorant into giving up their humanity. They KNOW their science is bunk. It does not matter because they control the narrative that guides the collective consciousness that most of the citizenry has been programmed to tune into by the very same people who are driving this agenda. If you don’t believe what I am saying, just read some of the troll posts e.g. stupid brats. It is a battle. Losing means the collapse of civilization and another real dark age that could well last 1000 years because this time there are no new continents to go to.

  26. I happen to believe that evolution and intelligent design are one and the same. They have to be. They both explain in some incomplete or assumption ridden or prejudiced manner the exact same result. We just need to stop taking the Bible literally and understand that scientific theory on the matter is still incomplete, and possibly incorrect, in many ways. One cannot look at the marvels around us and not understand that there is a greater power at work. The laws of physics is the fundamental blueprint of our world. They are the underlying cause of the order that created everything from the chaos. Different paradigm, different terminology and different beliefs, same result.

  27. David, UK says:
    May 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm
    ” I’m sorry to say so, and I know Willis is much respected here – but I’ve never seen so little said in so many words. I feel like I’ve aged 10 years.”
    that’s a bit sad – I suppose you always prefer a joke to go straight to the punchline? I grant you, Willis’ didn’t say very much – but the storyline is what provides the human interaction element you perhaps lack?

    ”The imparting of knowledge/wisdom is not in the answer alone, but in the learning/teaching of how to arrive at the answer, alone” – (quite possibly an old chinese proverb, but really I just made it up!)

  28. Willis:
    Nicely said. As to the intelligent design thing, I think the issue is more down to the existence of a Supreme Being and your response to the lady was on target and reflects your quick wittedness. As to your aphorism “…the only thing that is important, is whether or not it is true.” – I agree, otherwise we will all be on the way to hell by way of the road of good intentions.

  29. Willis,
    I had to smile at your chat with the greenie. I spent some time on the Greenpeace forum, before I was banned, not for breaking the forum rules, but for being too disruptive by not agreeing with the many people similar to the fellow with whom you spoke.

  30. Physics Major says:
    May 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I’ve been a social liberal and a fiscal conservative

    Willis,
    That probably describes more of us here than you might think.
    ________________________________
    I think anyone with brains realizes civilization needs rules (laws) and that we as civilized humans should take care of our weak and elderly, and provide for common services.

    I find it very amusing that some liberals attack “Christians” now a days when that has been the stance of “the Church” for centuries. (I am Agnostic BTW)

    However my stance is the larger the government, the larger the waste and the more room for greed and corruption. The bigger the bureaucracy, the less control the people governed have. Therefore I want as much of my government local and small so I can keep an eye on it and kick butt as needed.

    Huge bureaucracies answerable to no one scare me because there is no way to get rid of the “Little Hitlers” that seem to clog up the place. A few rounds with the brainless idiots in the planning office or other bureaucracy will convince you of that…

    Arguing with an inspector is like wrestling with a pig in mud, pretty soon you realize, the pig’s enjoying it.

    When a USDA agent tells me my nine wire high tensile electric fence designed by a top notch fence company is unacceptable for keeping in livestock one really wonders if it is time to clean house in all the bureaucracies. (The guy across the street uses three wires.)

  31. Owen in GA says:
    May 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    ….Congressmen would be loathe to kill off enough power plants to create rolling blackouts if they knew they would face the wrath of their constituents at the next election. I am for a constitutional amendment that states “Congress shall pass no law giving over legislative powers to the executive branch” or “Congress shall pass no law with words stating “The Secretary shall determine…” or “The Secretary shall institute such regulations as necessary to implement and enforce this law”! If congress can’t foresee the needs of the law at the time of passage they should be forced to pass another law implementing these new needs.
    ___________________________
    I agree with you, bureaucrats should not be making law, but what most people do not understand is a Constitutional Amendment opens up the WHOLE Constitution for a rewrite and that is something we very much do not want.

    The Roots and Development of the Federal Bureaucracy is a quick history of how we ended up saddled with the mammoth federal bureaucracy. The (self snip) Supreme Court caved in and did not uphold the Constitution.

  32. “Intelligent design”

    The simplest and best exposure of the fallacy of this reasoning is to point to the projection involved – we humans do create objects, like watches, and thinking that other objects by analogy have to be created as well is simply a projection of this idea.

    If you are convinced everything has to be created, by analogy, it just tells me your mind is stuck in a circular reasoning.

    No harm done of course. Unless you want to go into science ;-)

  33. Quinn says:
    May 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    RE: Watchmaker and intelligent design

    When I look at a snowflake under a magnifier, I see an amazingly intricate, ordered structure with hexagonal symmetry. Another snowflake will be equally intricate, ordered, and symmetrical, but completely different from the first. God must be very busy indeed if she is designing every individual snowflake.
    —————————————————————————————————-
    We know how and why crystals form.
    Where does your conscience come from?
    Why are your fingerprints unique.
    Why and how do we dream?

  34. Quinn~ God must be very busy indeed if she is designing every individual snowflake.

    Not at all, quinn. All God had to do was create and set in motion the physics behind the snowflake. Just like he designed the negative feedbacks that regulate the Earth’s temperature and confound the likes of connolly, mann and algor.

  35. Saren says:
    May 25, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I agree with Curry – heartland is an ideological organization and it supports AGW skepticism because it is in line with their ideological beliefs not because they are defenders of science. Also calling her post “catty” is not cool.

    Thanks, Saren. I am generally chary of ascribing motive to people, especially if they are defending honest science. As to whether the Heartland folks are one-sided and ideologically driven, they invited some 57 AGW supporting climate scientists to present their views at the Conference at Heartland’s expense. This, to me, is in the finest traditions of science and more to the point, it totally falsifies your argument.

    If they were driven by ideology rather than science as you claim, they would not offer to pay for fifty members of the opposition to speak at their conference, full stop.

    As to calling Judith’s remarks “catty”, what can I say, that’s how they sounded to me, as though they were impelled by something far different from a concern about the science. Her citing of Susan Goldenberg confirmed my analysis that her objections were not reality-based.

    I don’t like that she sounded catty to me any more than you do. I respect Judith and it’s the only time I’ve heard her take that tone, which is why I commented on it.

    w.

    PS—Saren, one of the joys of the web is that it forces me to look things up and examine my own actions and words. In this case the first definition I find is:

    catty: 1. Deliberately hurtful in one’s remarks; spiteful.

    Yes, that’s exactly what I meant, that she was looking to deliberately hurt Heartland and the people who spoke at the conference. Her tone sounded spiteful. I stand by my word choice.

  36. “For example, I think that human beings require regulations, or else people will piss in the drinking water. To me it’s a no-brainer, we’ve proved that many, many times in a host of realms. But a lot if not most of the participants seemed to see any and all regulations as tools of the devil incarnate … not me.”
    Gee, 2008 comes to mind, even though Sarbanes-Oxley (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarbanes%E2%80%93Oxley_Act) was put in place after ENRON, Tyco, WorldCom and others circa 2002; but was ineffective as it apparently had no teeth and was widely ignored. Then the Commodities Futures Trading Commission was prevented by congress (permanently) from doing it’s job with Derivatives at the request of Greenspan and compatriots. So that unpleasant bit of 2008 history may also repeat itself, except probably worse.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/view/

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/interviews/born.html

    Always wondered why people don’t consider the “Then Who made God” question. The common answer that I always got is that one is NOT supposed to ask THAT question. One could say much like Stephen Hawkings “It’s turtles all the way down” that “It’s Gods all the way up”. Unfortunately, we are used to having a start and finish to things and can’t imagine anything else, so for us those questions of infinity are unanswerable.

    http://www.quora.com/What-do-people-mean-when-they-say-its-turtles-all-the-way-down

    Great educational article, as usual, Thanks.

  37. RobRoy says:
    May 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Willis, Thanks for all you do. I am more informed.
    You, nor I, nor any creature of Earth, we did not randomly materialize from the ether. We are too ordered for that. I can’t say how the order arose from the chaos. But random happenstance, c’mon.
    A million monkeys at a million typewriters will never, I say never write a novel, good or otherwise.

    Well, in that case it’s a good thing that evolution doesn’t work by random chance. Because while a million monkeys will take a long, long time to write anything, a million malaria parasites can develop into a new parasite capable of laughing off quinine in a very short time.

    The difference is that in one case there is evolutionary pressure to create a new type of malarial parasite … which is a task much, much harder than writing a novel.

    My best to you,

    w.

    PS—You simply restate the watchmaker argument when you say we had a “creator” and didn’t “randomly materialize from the ether”, while simultaneously believing in a god that did not have the creator that you insist is necessary.

  38. Excellent writeup for us non-attenders Willis!

    I wouldn’t call myself social liberal/fiscal conservative. That is too far a base generalization that I’m more inclined to sneer at. I was an original tree hugger back in the sixties-seventies; but I never believed every tree is to be sacred. The woodworker-luthier in me loves the tree’s product far too much. Part of my career was a penny pinching meanest man in the business, also known as a budget manager who controlled the purse strings; but I tried not to be penny foolish when dollars were needed.

    Every action requires thought and consideration before rushing in. I was and am ever an opponent of those who make decisions on ten seconds worth of information before deciding. After a long career, I only ever met a couple of people who were able to make good decisions based on minimal info; to their credit, both were quick to correct their decisions based on more comprehensive information. Nor can I support folks who refuse to budge from a fence when a decision is needed. To my mind fence sitters are worse than the rapid decision makers.

    WUWT readers: Please consider that while Judy Curry did make some remarks about Heartland and the conference that ruffle many people wrong; give Judy a chance to understand that fact herself. Judy is far too smart to continue believing ‘Suzanne Goldenberg’ shrill lies and incorrect/improper assumptions for very long. Especially if Judy is accurately kept apprised of the real state of affairs. Only send information/commentary directly to Judy at her blog and privately if you can. Judy has joined with Anthony and others (including Willis) in confronting bad climate science. Putting both her career and her neck, so to speak at risk just like all the other serious honest climate scientists, which is why we at WUWT should not make personal sttacks on her. Criticizing, professionally, those areas of science where we disagree with Judy is one thing; getting personal about Judy mis-identifying the quality of an information source is another.

    Not that I consider most of the comments made on Judy’s remarks as personal attacks; I just don’t think it is the type of situation that should be thrashed in the blogosphere. After all, would someone prefer that we stand up and announce to everyone in a restuarant that you have spinach/seaweed in your teeth, or your fly is open, or I can see through your dress… Or would it be better to just nudge you and suggest some private attention to personal matters…

  39. Willis:

    Kudos for attending the conference and being willing to go for your own reasons, not backing out due to some flap. Kudos also for not giving in to those who would make a fallacious “guilt by association” argument. Whom we associate with does perhaps tell something about us; but our willingness to associate with interesting and engaging people with whom we don’t share every opinion in common also tells something about us.

    You might, however, need to spend a bit more time considering questions relating to the origin of life, complex biological features, design, philosophical arguments relating to first cause, and so on. Your facile ad-infinitum complexity response may have been sufficient to stump your dinner conversation companion, but is an issue that has been thought through by careful philosophers of science and philosophers of learning for centuries, many of whom have come to a very different conclusion than you.

    Again, however, thanks for the personal and, as always, engaging report.

  40. Stephen Richards says:
    May 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I think that those of us who instinctively think that AGW is a load of c**p need to disprove said AGW by questioning the data and the motives of the scientists producing that data.

    There is no theory to disprove.

    I couldn’t disagree more, for two reasons. First, there is a theory on the AGW side. It’s very hard to falsify because they rarely make any kind of falsifiable statements, but there is a theory there which says that temperature is a linear function of forcing. Me, I don’t think that’s true, but that doesn’t mean there’s “no theory”.

    Second, I try to leave the “motives of the scientists” as much out of the picture as I can. If a man is claiming that the “thoughts are full of indices and surds”, there is only one question worth asking—is his claim true or not?

    w.

    PS—The quote is from Lewis Carroll:

    Yet what are all such gaieties to me.
    Whose thoughts are full of indices and surds?
    X squared plus seven X plus fifty-three
    Equals eleven thirds …

  41. Curry’s remarks about Heartland and its conference, given she apparently wasn’t there, weren’t her finest.

    I still don’t think that Heartland was a worthy target for Gleick’s bullet, although his bullet seems more effective to me now than it did a few months ago. Curry May 24 Comments

    And where were you Judith while the smoke was still in the air?

  42. “Gail Combs says:
    May 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm”

    Don’t you mean constitutional convention not amendment. We’ve had some 15 amendments added without it resulting in a rewrite of the basic constitution.

  43. Great post Willis. Reading this made me feel like I had attended the conference.

  44. LazyTeenager says:
    May 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    The Conference is put on by the Heartland Institute, which has had real trouble getting any publicity this year.

    ———
    Beats me, I thought Heartlands problem was too much publicity of the wrong kind.

    It’s called “humor”, Lazy, sorry you didn’t get the joke.
    ———

    I felt, for example, that their billboard showing the Unabomber was simultaneously true, meaningless, repulsive, and a very self-destructive, unpleasant, and foolish venture into guilt by association.

    ———-
    Depends whether by true you mean the literal words or the message. The message was false, but if Heartland actually believes it, and many people here do, then the rest of the world should know the truth about what Heartland believes. In that sense Heartland was being honest.

    The Unabomber was a big fan of Al Gore, mentioning him in his Manifesto. So the words were indeed true.

    As to the message, that depends on what you think the message was … I described it as “a very self-destructive, unpleasant, and foolish venture into guilt by association”. However, given the level of the attacks on Heartland’s very existence, I can understand (although not approve of) their desire to fight back in that manner.

    FInally, there is no “truth about what Heartland believes”. They are a bunch of people, each of whom believes different things, trying their best to fight a difficult fight in which their opponents are resorting to very underhanded, dirty, vicious, and threatening tactics … perhaps you might comment on the tactics used by your side before getting all moral and judgmental on Heartland’s errors. Unlike say Hansen, who continues to call for fire to rain down on folks like myself, Heartland removed the billboard the next day …

    w.

  45. David, UK says:
    May 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I’m sorry to say so, and I know Willis is much respected here – but I’ve never seen so little said in so many words. I feel like I’ve aged 10 years.

    Hey, keep right on reading in that case, there is hope—read ten more and you’ll be well over a hundred, and too old and weak to bother us with your empty whining …

    w.

    PS—I always have to laugh at folks who write in to say that they didn’t like what I wrote. Not that they have any specific objection, just that they didn’t like it.

    Why on earth do you think the unsupported vague opinion of some random anonymous internet popup is of the slightest interest to others? If you think my writing says little, try reading your own …

  46. Love the blog, and thank you for all you’ve done for whats left of civilization :).
    In regards to your comment on regulation, I was thinking, why not apply your intelligent design argument to your regulating belief. In order to regulate their must be a regulator and in turn the first order regulator must be regulated by a second order regulator (he can’t just regulate willy nilly) and so on and so on.
    Don’t know exactly what it proves, but I think our present state here in the US with regulations like Dodd-Frank is an exemplary example (does that wording work?) of the need for higher order regulators.

  47. Donna Laframboise , who pulled out of the conference after the billboard ad was the ultimate in cattiness with her “reasons” why. I wonder if she’s had any regrets since then. I believe she has sullied her own image in doing so.

  48. atheok says:
    May 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    WUWT readers: Please consider that while Judy Curry did make some remarks about Heartland and the conference that ruffle many people wrong; give Judy a chance to understand that fact herself. Judy is far too smart to continue believing ‘Suzanne Goldenberg’ shrill lies and incorrect/improper assumptions for very long. Especially if Judy is accurately kept apprised of the real state of affairs. Only send information/commentary directly to Judy at her blog and privately if you can. Judy has joined with Anthony and others (including Willis) in confronting bad climate science. Putting both her career and her neck, so to speak at risk just like all the other serious honest climate scientists, which is why we at WUWT should not make personal sttacks on her. Criticizing, professionally, those areas of science where we disagree with Judy is one thing; getting personal about Judy mis-identifying the quality of an information source is another.

    atheok, I both agree and disagree with that. Judith is indeed a very smart person, and a writer of power. She has one of the few climate blogs that I am subscribed to.

    I disagree with the idea that after Judith makes a very pointed and very public attack on Heartland and the attendees, that we should not make a public reply to that attack. That seems crazy to me, that you think she should be free to publicly attack people and that they should only reply in private.

    As I said above, I respect Judith, and it is rare for her to make that kind of attack … but the fact that she is seen as a confronter of bad climate science makes it all the more important to confront her when she is using bad citations. I’d be much less concerned if James Hansen had said what she did, it would barely be worthy of comment. I’d expect him to not only believe Susanne Goldenberg, but to feed her false information.

    But since it is Judith, and since her words have weight (and deservedly so), it is all the more important that people comment in public when she goes off the rails.

    Indeed, this pernicious habit of only saying things privately (if at all) is one of the things which has led to the current crisis of trust in climate science and climate scientists. When I say or do something wrong, I expect people to call me on it in public—how else will the world know what’s going on? How will they know I’ve been found wrong? How will they know how I handled my error?

    It is the lack of public discussion of climategate among climate scientists that is one of the reasons that they are so distrusted.

    w.

  49. “Gary says:

    May 25, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks for a personal take on ICCC7, Willis. IMO, you’re spot on with your opinions here, although the logic of your watchmaker counter-argument has a false premise – that deepening complexity must continue up each level ad infinitum. One might suggest that although this seems to hold in the natural universe, there is no evidence for it in the super-natural (which by definition contains/causes/over-arches the natural) and thus might not be the case. Just sayin’.”

    Where do we draw the line? Why can’t the watch be supernatural? All you are saying is that at some point, I’m going to say that THIS level of complexity is beyond my capability to understand, and therefore must be the primal cause.

  50. chemman says:
    May 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    “Gail Combs says:
    May 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm”

    Don’t you mean constitutional convention not amendment. We’ve had some 15 amendments added without it resulting in a rewrite of the basic constitution.
    ________________________________
    GOOD, glad to hear it. I will check it out. Getting rid of unelected bureaucracies that make laws is something that we really need to do.

    Yes you are correct and Hubby is WRONG. (Shows wives should never trust hubby /sarc)

    …The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures….. http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution/

    Thanks for the correction.

  51. Willis,

    Thank you for your honesty and tenacity. There are too few people like you who are willing to try to understand ideas that they disagree with. Even fewer are those who will engage and criticize those who general direction they agree with, but disagree on certain aspects – without trying to smack them down.

    I, however, do not share your belief that it will necessarily take a long time for the catastrophic global warming paradigm to wither away. Once people are given the opportunity to express their doubts openly, and debate on equal terms with the “consensus” without fear of reprisals to their careers and reputations. Once “scientists” can be properly asked to substantiate their hypotheses, and expose them to criticism then people will begin to see that the more extreme predictions are without scientific underpinnings. When these things happen, suddenly the dam will break.

  52. We recognize the watch in the forest as a human product only because we already know watches and humans; if we didn’t, we wouldn’t. So the analogy requires the prior knowledge of God. Moreover, what distinguishes the watch from its environment is simultaneously what makes them analogous — a contradiction.

    As to regulations, we need laws to punish murder, that’s true. But the water supply should be private property. We don’t need the government to provide water, but to enforce property rights.

  53. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm
    atheok says:
    May 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Well then, you have written something that I disagree with. Standing up in public to argue a point or assessment of science is sonething I wholeheartedly agree with. Shouting to the rooftops that one believes fraud is committed is another area where I agree. Arguing in public about a person’s personal opinion, especially if you believe they were bamboozled is incorrect to me.

    Disagree publicly if you will, just be civil about it (which personally, I think you are). But don’t you think Judy would appreciate it better if she doesn’t have to be publicly embarrassed about. This isn’t about science, this is about a person’s feelings, but should we believe publicly bashing a person’s feelings works better than getting them accurate information would?

    Seriously, Judy read something in black and white that reeked of possibile outcomes and jives with her dislike of the billboard (and possibly Heartland) and believed what she read. Time is short and not everyone thinks of looking for verified cross references. Judy saw names and viewpoints referenced in that trash column and accepted the worst, yeah she should have known better, but for whatever reason missed the obvious.

    You pointed Judy’s mistake out and described very well a few major points of error. Given that your few words of disappointment in Judy’s writing/attitude alone should have been a clarion bell to Judy, that maybe she needed to look at the situation again. Judy’s post at her blog looks like it has been jumped on by hosts of CAGW believers as a vehicle to trash Heartland. Everyone should go post their concerns about Judy’s mistaken impressions on her blog. State the facts and where to find them, and don’t feed her trolls or try to argue with them. Unless you want to play with their minds some. Thrashing Judy’s opinions here, are well, useless unless we’re just being gossipy.

    I thought your impression of the billboard fairly descriptive of my own feelings, though I’m less sure about the truth in the billboard since I’m unsure whose words are whose at first glance; truly repulsive and definitely a mistake. Can you imagine commuting to your commercial fishing job at 4AM and seeing that face and statement? Ugh, bad on all senses involved including common sense! Great reply to the Intelligent Design lady!

  54. biff33 says: @ May 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    As to regulations, we need laws to punish murder, that’s true. But the water supply should be private property. We don’t need the government to provide water, but to enforce property rights.
    ________________
    And part of property rights is Criminal Trespass. If you dump your sewage in the stream my cows drink from and they get sick/die from e-coli you can see me in court!

    Unfortunately that concept was over turned with the idea of “Pollution being the price of progress” before WWII.

  55. Willis thanks for the write-up of the Heartland Conference, much appreciated.

    I note David Woljick @9.32 on link provided to J Curry replied to a blogger selling ignorance as knowledge is a hoax, is it not?”

    Again, your article and responses are much appreciated. PS I hope you have not planned to extend your thumb on the highway home. :)

  56. andrewmharding says

    I think that those of us who instinctively think that AGW is a load of c**p need to disprove said AGW by questioning the data and the motives of the scientists producing that data.
    ————
    Well you are being slippery claiming you are “questioning” motives.

    The blatant fact is that many of you deliberately lie about scientists motives. You certainly don’t now climate scientists personally, you have not asked what their motivations are and yet there’s constant story telling about what climate scientists are.

    None of you can read minds do these claims about scientists motivations are all made up.

    All of these claims are intended to discredit climate scientists so their views will be ignored.

  57. I said that if a complex watch implies a more complex human maker of the watch, and by implication if a complex human watchmaker implies an even more complex maker of the human watchmaker … then by exactly the same logic, the complex watchmaker-maker she called “God” implies an even more complex maker of the watchmaker-maker … and on ad infinitum. In other words, if we are to assume that a complex watch necessarily implies a more complex and intelligent watchmaker, then a complex God must imply an even more complex and intelligent God-maker, and so on …

    Of course. After all: It’s turtles all the way down!

  58. Wilis,
    Concerning the watchmaker story, you do not understand the reality represented by the concept ‘God’,

    If one considers that ‘God’ is omnipresent, then God is simultaneously everything that you postulated in your watchmaker story. Iow, God is non-dual, a ONE that is all that exists, and the perception that there is a multiplicity that constitutes the whole of existence is an illusion brought about by your mind;s dualistic predisposition to conceptualize yourself as existing separate from that which you perceive.
    .

  59. “For example, I think that human beings require regulations, or else people will piss in the drinking water.”

    We need some rules, but how many and how do we implement them? Government? A government with the power to “safeguard” our water supply can (and will) also make us buy “green” electricity we don’t want at prices we don’t want to pay. We might be better off checking the water supply ourselves (figuratively speaking) and buying electricity as we please.

  60. Willis, two parts of your article remind me of an old but true story, intelligent design and the bill board. In the early 1960′s at a meeting of the Flat Earth Society in London an elderly woman objected the speaker “conjecture” that opposed the society’s position. She said ” young man everyone knows that the Earth is flat and sits on the back of a giant turtle” To which the speaker responded and madam “what holds the turtle up?” To which she responded ” turtles all the way down of course”

  61. w.e. has given many of us a cogent and provocative account of his personal benefits from attending ICCC7. (An exception is made for “David, UK” who lists nothing specific – provoking my recognition as a British Educated American that he’s simply too secularized to grasp the US Right – and therefore need to catch up with his compatriot’s appreciation in “The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America,” by Adrian Wooldridge, John Micklethwait.)

    Let me respond to a few controversies I consider the most compelling: conservatives and the Argument From Design (pointing to a Creator), politics and climate science, and whither AGW?

    Regarding intelligent design arguments, the reductio ad absurdum was well delivered by Willis and well-received by his co-conferee. The Objectivist amateur philosopher (later turned libertarian) George H. Smith nicely developed the pro- and con- arguments for all of the traditional arguments for the existence of God – note to Aquina’s “Summa” fans – in his 1970s book, “Atheism: The Case Against God.” It is now considered an atheist classic, having been republished by Prometheus Press.

    The crotchety – or offensive (as you prefer) – New Atheist, Richard Dawkins, was in fine (and less offensive) form in demolishing Arguments From Design in his old book “The Blind Watchmaker.” Mathematical probability turns out to be a friend of Enlightenment. For instance, while the inductive argument “there are no two snowflakes alike” certainly was proved some fifty years ago by examination and comparison of snowflakes, later scientists took apart the total number of crystals what make up a snowflake, and calculating all that fall in a year, it turns out that there simply have to be reproductions of identical snowflakes.

    Therefore we know by deduction that the uniqueness of snowflakes argument (ergo, it implies a designer) is false, but actually producing an example is more of a needle in a haystack problem than anything else. As many like Willis who have unpacked time series and data sets, large numbers do trip up laymen and inadequate climate scientists, time and time again. Simple order or magnitude exercises can often remedy the disbelief. (Some of us here included!)

    In any event, Darwin’s theory of natural selection was more influenced by Adam Smith’s and the Scottish Enlightenment’s ideas of spontaneous order than many conservatives appreciate.

    I am glad that Willis appreciates the ‘broad (and tolerant) tent’ embraced on the Right, in contrast to the herded and intolerant to-the-point of fascism of the Left, also too often reflected at climate blogs like RC, tamino, and SKS. This together with the HI unabomber episode, Willis rightly rejects, or else simply unmoved by it. I am more of the apologetic opinion that “if one is going to deal with pigs, don’t be surprised when the mud flies” tolerance for this spasm, only a side-show.

    In other words, while the real climate science argument is being won by nature (ie, it isn’t warming when the Holy Church of AGW predicted High Sensitivity to added CO2), more than hubris (cf, the IPCC, the Hockey Team’s “consensus science”), tending to what happened next is certainly high among the interests of those at a conference entitled “Real Science, Real Choices.” (Are you even listening, Judith?)

    The presentation by the German paleoclimatologist Sebastian Luning that I viewed this afternoon, along with the expert Q&A follow-up, reminded me how much uncertainty there is in the many streams of data out there. Climate science is yet to fill in and adjust the many variables from the IPCCs LOSU (Level Of Scientific Understanding–just google it) chart (from AR4).

    First there is Svensmark’s Galactic Cosmic Ray-cloud driven theory; then there are UV stratospheric warming/cooling theories, affecting ozone and other climate forcing factors; there are also ocean-atmosphere energy balance models where precise measurements have implications science is yet to resolve; and finally, there is Colorado State University’s William Gray, who argues for the role of deep oceanic currents in driving climate. All of these and more may work on different yet complimentary timescales to control our climate — yet none are taken seriously in the Orthodox Church of climate science.

    I was delighted to see Luning skeptical of the invocation of volcanic aerosols to save CO2-driven AGW theory, since they don’t last in the atmosphere more than a few years, given our solid measurements from Mt. Pinatubo in the early 1990s.

    This sliding of science orthodoxy into a messy but exciting confusion thus makes Judith Curry’s invocation of tribal values by casting aspersions upon ICCC7 all the more disappointing. Clearly, her “uncertainty monster” thesis is understood and embraced there. If others do, and there are more of them, they are still too quiet in the university.

    Which raises the awkward and troubling question: when does politics trump science? How can one detect when it does? What ought to done about it?

    The Left has an easy collectivist answer: follow the consensus! The Right follows no foolish singular, anti-scientific standard, but instead several. Some follow induction, others rely more on Popperian deductivsm, but fewer grasp the radical skeptical power of his anti-justificationist science.

    Yet many appreciate the anti-disciplinary, anti-Guild mentality that thrives at the libertarian HI, like Willis does (and I do). To us scientists are not Priests, but simply men and women like us, wit common motives and foibles, responding to common incentives and sanctions – social and otherwise.

    Thus, there is a fundamental – maybe American skeptical “show me” – Protestantism at work among AGW-skeptics. This rankles those with lingering Orthodox values (Professor Curry, your “Office” is calling). Perhaps the political psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s new study – “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion” – about politics, but applied to science here, bears some appreciation for grasping with the future.

    Haidt shows that Liberals evince three modes of political-moral identity, while Conservatives reveal six. This narrow versus wider spectrum parallels the science-values I identified above. On the Left, only one standard – the One, True, “science-based” standard applies (to all things Good — cf, Chris Mooney). But on the Right, matters are more heterogenous. Haigt shows that while Conservatives and moderates can guess the Liberals stance on most issues, the reverse is not true: the Left cannot see into the Right’s policy judgements. Accordingly,

    Does this incommensurability explain the frequent tribalism seen on the Left? The persistent or recurrent bouts of projection, paranoia, and denial? (Dr. Pat Santy, a retired med school clinical psychiatrist, blogging as “drsanity” – just google – owns these insights.) For these same anti-social disabilities turned into manias and sometimes delusions of persecution are frequently seen in the climate science at AGW-alarmist blogs like RC, tamino, and SKS. Since Climategate, these spasms are increasing documented here at WUWT.

    What’s the solution? Adopt a Puritan standard for Salvation? Sooner will a camel pass through the eye of needle before the Redemption of Humanity happens in the Church of Ecology? No – quite the opposite.

    Like many others posting above, I think the current decade will bring the fall or erosion of Climate Church orthodoxy. But how will skeptics shape the surrender terms? Even the example of the nonagenarian James Lovelock turn-about implies – contrary to Thomas Kuhn – that death need not come before the Institutionalized bastions of science fold (bend or spindle, let me add). “Can” does not imply “will,” however.

    The way forward for progress in climate science seems brighter if we AGW-skeptics embrace Popperian insights like those from his student Alan Chalmers. Instead of a monolithic scientific method like the Left and AGW-alarmists embrace, let there be many methods. (See, e.g., Alan Chalmers, “Science and Its Fabrication,” 1990.) Instead of a politicized, “top-down,” IPCC-herd approach to climate science, let us seek its disbandment. Defund the Church of Climate Orthodoxy — let a thousand flowers bloom.

    Sooner than later, the failure of a centralized, monolithic ecological Church standard of climate science will be apparent to all with reasonable minds. If skeptics do not advocate a pluralistic standard for the solving of climate problems, then all the recent and coming years progress can be lost. There are already far too many public-privately funded institutions backing AGW-alarmism – The Climate Institute in Washington, DC, to name only one – outfits that would not exist without the Sate Sanctioned IPCC-leadership in the Church.

    A competing decentralized model for scientific progress must be articulated and promoted if recent and future gains are not to be wasted. Conferences like those with themes like “Real Science, Real Choices” are places where the future of self-interested agenda-driven science institutions like the AGU and AAAS, with its home on “K Street” – alongside the many, many lobbyists in Washington, DC – can be shaped, bent, or even reformed. This last seems most unlikely, most improbable.

  62. Did anyone not notice the flaw in the watchmaker rebut?….. Not even the person who presented to Willis?

    Systems such as watches imply design. As does the complex human systems which are necessary for our life. Our galaxies have systems which imply design. Did anyone suggest God was designed? That God is a product of a system? No, that was a strawman invented by Willis. It was the consequence of his own beliefs toward ID.

    God, as typically, thought is without form. God is described as always being, omnipotent, and omnipresent. God doesn’t have a beginning or end, he is the beginning and end, in both time and space. Therefore, God falls outside the being made by a “watchmaker” analogy, and not part of the “creation to infinity” response. Unless someone can assert they see a design in something without form and without constraints.

    Agnostics and atheists wouldn’t see that, but it does enable themselves to mindlessly chatter about things they can’t comprehend.

  63. LazyTeenager says:
    May 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    “The blatant fact is that many of you deliberately lie about scientists motives.”
    ——————–
    Your comments are kind of cute, but be careful when using “lie”.

  64. Catty?

    How interesting that you love Dr. Curry when she makes points with which you agree,
    But she is “catty” when you disagree with her.

    Talk about sexist pigs.

  65. PS –

    It’s “Dr. Curry” – - not “Judith” or “Judy”.
    Have you missed the past 50 years?

  66. Willis, I respect you a great deal, but your watch-maker argument has a fallacy in it a mile wide. You argue that something’s creator must necessarily be more complex than itself. That is clearly not true. I have three creations which are arguably more complex and/or superior to myself. They would be my children. You subscribe to the theory of evolution, and therefore you believe that every organism is capable of producing offspring that is superior to itself. Your own beliefs contradict your watch-maker argument.

  67. Johnnygunn says:
    May 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm
    “Catty?

    How interesting that you love Dr. Curry when she makes points with which you agree,
    But she is “catty” when you disagree with her.

    Talk about sexist pigs.”

    You’re trying to use one person’s comment to paint a broad brush over everyone who posts here.

    How f’ing ridiculous\bigoted\steroetyped is that?

    Talk about misinformed pigs.

  68. Johnnygunn says:
    May 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Catty?

    How interesting that you love Dr. Curry when she makes points with which you agree,
    But she is “catty” when you disagree with her.

    Talk about sexist pigs.
    Johnnygunn says:
    May 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    PS –

    It’s “Dr. Curry” – – not “Judith” or “Judy”.
    Have you missed the past 50 years?
    ==============================================
    LMAO!!! Yes Willis!!!! Never ascribe an inferred feminine characteristics to a female! They might come under the impression that you understand the differences in the two sexes of the human species!!!

    Uhmm Johnny, let me explain something about proper terms of respect and familiarity. Yes, it is always proper to address someone with a doctorate as Dr. However, as some point in time, once familiarity is established, then it is usually okay to refer them by their given names. Many here have come to know Dr. Curry. It is entirely acceptable for them to refer to Dr. Curry as Judy, or Judith, unless she’s expressly stated she wishes to be addressed as Dr. Curry.

    Given as many ludicrous pronouncements and statements we’ve seen from people who possess a “doctorate”, I’m not sure it is a viable expression of respect any longer.

  69. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    ” I am generally chary of ascribing motive to people…………..
    …………. Yes, that’s exactly what I meant, that she was looking to deliberately hurt Heartland and the people who spoke at the conference. Her tone sounded spiteful. I stand by my word choice.”

    *cough*

  70. Johnnygunn: I work with a large number of PhDs and except in formal or ceremonial occasions (or around undergrads) I rarely call them Dr SoandSo. When there is an informal relationship given name forms of address are more appropriate and the insistence of using the Dr. on everything is pretty much limited to those professors that are generally considered prats.

    Catty is a reference to a remark made to denigrate without actual reason to do so.The remarks were catty because she did not attend and put down those who did without merit. Catty remarks are made by both sexes, so both your responses here are specious. I have on occasion accused my wife (who I love dearly) of making catty remarks and it does not mean that I have less respect for her interpretation of fact.

    Your tone is that of a petulant child who because they haven’t the experience to argue on knowledge choose instead to elevate the discourse to noble utterances such as “I know you are but what am I?” or “you’re a poopy head”. Please step it up to the issue at hand or be forever classified as TROLL.

  71. Johnnygunn says:
    May 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Catty?

    How interesting that you love Dr. Curry when she makes points with which you agree,
    But she is “catty” when you disagree with her.

    Talk about sexist pigs.

    A “sexist pig”, am I? Please don’t tell the women in my life, they kinda like me.

    Johnnygunn, the issue was not that I disagreed with Judith. It was that she was going out of her way, on her usually scientific blog, to attack the ICCC7 conference, Heartland, and the attendees. Now that would have been strange enough, for the simple reason that she has steadfastly refused to say one single bad word about a variety of known scientific miscreants, malfeasants, and cheats.

    That’s her privilege, but it does make it more than passing strange that now she’s blasting people she doesn’t even know.

    But what made it totally over the top was that she cited the work of Suzanne Goldenberg, who is a craven apologist for Peter Gleick. To this day Suzanne is spreading the lies in the forged Heartland document and claiming that they are the truth. That’s despicable.

    So for Judith to do all that, in my book that is way, way over the top.

    Sorry, Johnny, but that’s how I see it, and it has nothing to do with either sexism or pork.

    w.

    PS—I note that despite the fact you think it’s terrible that I said “catty” to describe someone going out of their way to deliberately injure someone, and that despite the fact you think I was abusing Judith, you are doing your best to abuse me, in far uglier terms, and with far less reason …

  72. James Sexton.

    I thought Willis’ watchmaker rebut in the manner of ‘turtles all the way down’ was pretty good. I’m less impressed with you simply erecting a sign saying “No turtles beyond this point”.

  73. Johnnygunn says:
    May 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    PS –

    It’s “Dr. Curry” – – not “Judith” or “Judy”.
    Have you missed the past 50 years?

    I have called her Judith many, many times, and she has never given me the slightest indication that she has the slightest problem with that. She and I have lots of history, and she knows I respect her. If she would like me to call her Dr. Curry, I’d be more than glad to, the slightest hint from her would be sufficient. Judith, if you chance to read this and you’d like to be addressed by your title, just say so …

    Frankly, Johnnygunn, I think you should get a life, rather than obsessing about what I call her. As I said, we have a history, we’ve been in communication through the blogs for a number of years now. I try to applaud her successes and point out where I think she is wrong, and she is more than happy to do the same for me. We disagree on a number of issues, but from my perspective at least, I respect the stand she has taken, and I think that her blog is a marvel.

    In other words … you’re way over your head. After some years of interaction on the Climate Audit blog, the first post I wrote to Judith was entited “Judith, I love ya, and you’re way wrong” … both are still as true as ever. She is a remarkable and inspirational woman who often drives me crazy …

    w.

  74. HR says:
    May 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    ” I am generally chary of ascribing motive to people…………..
    …………. Yes, that’s exactly what I meant, that she was looking to deliberately hurt Heartland and the people who spoke at the conference. Her tone sounded spiteful. I stand by my word choice.”

    *cough*

    I am describing her deliberate actions. I haven’t the slightest clue what might have motivated her to take those actions, nor have I speculated about it.

    *cough*

    w.

  75. HR says:
    May 25, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    James Sexton.

    I thought Willis’ watchmaker rebut in the manner of ‘turtles all the way down’ was pretty good. I’m less impressed with you simply erecting a sign saying “No turtles beyond this point”.

    I had the same reaction, HR, but dang, that is about ten times better than I could have expressed it.

    +10

    w.

  76. I said that if a complex watch implies a more complex human maker of the watch, and by implication if a complex human watchmaker implies an even more complex maker of the human watchmaker … then by exactly the same logic, the complex watchmaker-maker she called “God” implies an even more complex maker of the watchmaker-maker … and on ad infinitum. In other words, if we are to assume that a complex watch necessarily implies a more complex and intelligent watchmaker, then a complex God must imply an even more complex and intelligent God-maker, and so on …

    I’m afraid not, if we are talking about God, as defined, this sounds logical, but it is not, because of the definition given of this God, and the necessity of that God being that way if that God is The creator and is thus God.

    First, the definition of God is an infinitely complex being. There can be no more complex than infinitely complex, thus, your idea of needing an even more complex creator of God is a logical non starter, since by definition, there can be no such being. Since the starting premise is impossible, the entire argument stops before it begins.

    Second, by definition God is self created and self existent. As such, the being who created this God is God hisself, and since God is infinitely complex, you could sorta say that God was created by a being of the correct complexity to create God. Thus, your argument does not prove that God cannot exist, but that God can, by definition.

    Third, you are assuming that there is a time before God was created, then God is created and exists after that time. However, by definition, God is an extra dimensional being, existing outside of this time/space continuum. This is also shown by prophecy, where this being shows that it is outside time by stating that such and such will happen after the prophecy, and then it happens, thus showing that the prophesier, God, is outside of time since that God can see what will happen (in our time/space continuum) “before” it happens. It is “before” and “after” here, but not there. Thus, it is impossible for there to be a time “before” God was created, since God lives outside of time, in a “place” where there is no time. Also, by definition, for God to be a creator, God must be the creator of this time/space continuum, otherwise, it ain’t God, The creator. Thus, there was a “time” before time, before this time/space continuum, and thus there must be something outside of time. Scientifically, speaking, there was a beginning, “The Big Bang”, so we know scientifically both of time, and of a timeless state before that (time being bound up with matter and energy after all, ask Einstein, oh, and satellite clocks).

    Thus, if you are talking to that gal about God, and using this argument to show that that God cannot exist, and that argument is about God, the definition of God invalidated your argument in not one, not two, but three different ways (probably more, but we will stop at three). The only way you can make this argument is if you are NOT talking about God, in which case, the argument is relevant, since you are talking about someone or something that is different than what you claim the argument is all about.

    You need a new argument.

    Hey, you brought it up…

    Oh, and I’m not going to get itno a back and forth argument about whether there is ir is not a God, that is outside of the scope of this forum, and would go on endlessly anyway, and would just get this thread shut down. So just don’t.
    Besides, what I am talking about here is only about whether this argument Willis made is valid, it isn’t. That merely shows that, using this argment, there is the possibility that there is a God.

  77. James Sexton says (May 25, 2012 at 6:32 pm): “God, as typically, thought is without form. God is described as always being, omnipotent, and omnipresent. God doesn’t have a beginning or end, he is the beginning and end, in both time and space.”

    Hmm. So “God” is nearly as powerful as carbon dioxide…

  78. orson2 says:
    “…Mathematical probability turns out to be a friend of Enlightenment. For instance, while the inductive argument “there are no two snowflakes alike” certainly was proved some fifty years ago by examination and comparison of snowflakes, later scientists took apart the total number of crystals what make up a snowflake, and calculating all that fall in a year, it turns out that there simply have to be reproductions of identical snowflakes.”…
    Sorry, but identical means a one-to-one correspondence in spatial position/arrangement for every H2O molecule between two snowflakes. At a large enough size, (say visible to the naked eye) the combination of H2O molecules assuming position in hexagonal crystal lattice sites quickly outstrips the no. of snowflakes that have fallen everywhere in the current extent of the known universe since the big bang. Of course at small enough sizes (order of tens of molecules) they are simple and identical (excluding any nucleus to which they may adhere).

  79. Willis, I highly appreciate your posts.

    I am a mathematical physicist working on symmetry and quantum field theory at Penn State. Two and a half years ago I looked at the raw climate data, and saw nothing unusual whatsoever. Since then I post about the scam, mostly at Dot Earth in the NYT.

    *

    I have a question about your view of how AGW will fail. At the beginning I also thought that it would fail as science. These days, I think more and more that the cuts in funding will bring the whole thing down.

    With 100 investigations on the non energetic green energy loans reported today by WaPo via Politico, it looks likely that even next year the quite obscene sums of money lavished upon climate scientists will stop.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/forget-bain-obamas-public-equity-record-is-the-real-scandal/2012/05/24/

    The flood of papers taking down each and every aspect of the pseudoscience has started. It looks to me almost like the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of the Stasi archives twenty-three years ago.

    *

    I used to think that once the satellite temps graphs was shown on the front page of say the NYT or WaPo (which of course didn’t happen) AGW would evaporate. I was surprised that politicians attacked AGW primarily as a jobs killer.

    These days I tend to think that they were right and I was wrong. People at large have a hard time reading climate type graphs. The jobs campaign, with a superbly made “If I wanted America to Fail” video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ-4gnNz0vc seems to work.

    Don’t you envision the possibility of a kind of snowball effect when funding is cut and when solid young researchers (of which we have quite a few) feel that they can research and publish freely and they do it? All punctured by a continuous string of messy bankruptcies of the “renewable” energy sector.

    After all I think that we all tended more than once to view “climate science” as if some second hand scientists decided spontaneously to worry about warming and put up a wrong theory. While in fact it was all lavishly financed and aimed at propping a takeover of the energy sector.

    For instance the latest fiery NYT OpEd of Jim Hansen was “crafted,” as Andy Revkin mentioned, by a venture capital investor, Dan Miller.

    Don’t you think that Deep Throat had a point with “Follow the money?”

    That money put it up and money will bring it down?

    Regards

    Adrian

  80. Intelligent design, it may be a question of who’s intelligence. The new field of epigenetics is worth a quick perusal. Lamarkism may not be such a dirty word.
    Certainly a controlled study has shown that muscle development comparable to that obtained by sustained exercise over a period can be reproduced by directed intention alone over the same period.

  81. HR says:
    May 25, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    James Sexton.

    I thought Willis’ watchmaker rebut in the manner of ‘turtles all the way down’ was pretty good. I’m less impressed with you simply erecting a sign saying “No turtles beyond this point”.
    =================================================================
    Like I said, its talking to people that have no comprehension of what they’re talking about….. so I’ll try it this way. Sure, turtles all the way down….. except in a description of God, he’s not a turtle.

    It is the illogical argument that watchmakers must have a maker. Why? No one proposed that except the agnostics and atheists. Watches….. or things of systems and designs have makers. This isn’t a statement towards the makers of such things. It only happens that watch makers have systems and design, but it isn’t necessary to the the argument, nor was it proposed, by Willis’ account. Again, it was an invention of Willis’. You accept this irrational argument because you can’t conceive nor comprehend other people’s view of God.

    This is a classic strawman argument. Willis refutes the watchmaker analogy because he assigns traits to the “intelligent designer” which no one other than Willis assigned. So, high five and turtle down with the self-congratulatory victory over the arguments no one made other than atheists.

    So, I’ll ask again, is there a design or a system you can see in a timeless, dimensionless entity? If yes, please explain. If no….. then the watch maker analogy is proper.

  82. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    “Thanks, Saren. I am generally chary of ascribing motive to people, especially if they are defending honest science.”

    Wow I just threw out a comment and got a great reply from someone I’ve enjoyed reading for years. Gotta love this blog.

    I think the issue here is that there is a difference between what Heartland does and what it is. So while the ICCC7 might be a great example of “defending honest science” the billboards were a reflection of an ideological agenda.

    We all have our ideological slants. I have more than I’d sometimes like to admit – anarchist, libertarian, mutualist, nihilist, capitalist, egoist, socialist… I see not just the corruption of climate science but the… misplaced feelings of injustice, egomania, depression, displacement – whatever it is that make people so fearful/advocative of impending doom caused by our own actions. My perception, guided by my belief system is that of power hungry people using global warming as an issue to acquire power and money. I desperately want the science to show a low CO2 sensitivity.

    In order to separate what we see and what we want to see, we have to be honest about our selves and our desires. It’s only by facing them and admitting to them we can even pretend to have clarity. Let’s appreciate good contributions to science whether from Heatland or Hansen but not be afraid to criticize them for their own ideological silliness.

    On a different topic, I don’t think Curry is so much attacking Heartland as much as appraising the situation it’s in. She says, or quotes (I’m never entirely sure on her site) “They are not built to be at the hump of the climate denial movement”. This is the key point. Whatever Heartland is or isn’t, whatever it does or doesn’t do – it shouldn’t affect real, truth-seeking climate science. The “winners” and “losers” will only be determined by science not billboards or conferences.

  83. Willis’ watchmaker rebuttal contains: (i) a logical error, (ii) an epistemological error, and (iii) if consistently applied, an absurd self-refuting outcome.

    (i) Willis argues that if A was designed by B, then B must have been designed. This is not a valid logical argument. It is possible that B was designed, but that can only be ascertained by examining the characteristics of B (or by knowing the causal history of B). It does not follow as a matter of logic. Therefore, the very premise of Willis’ ad infinitum regress fails.

    (ii) Willis’ argument implies that if Question A (Was A designed?) is answered in the affirmative, and if that answer then invites subsequent inquiries, such as Question B (Was B designed?), then the mere existence of the subsequent question eviscerates the answer to Question A. This is a logical fallacy as well, but can be seen as more of an epistemological error. The fact that an answer to one question invites inquiry into further details or additional causal events in a chain in no way invalidates the answer to the initial question. Further, it is easily understood by anyone who takes time to think through the ‘infinite regress’ idea that all systems of knowledge ultimately end up at a question of First Cause. This is true whether one thinks “In the beginning was the Word,” or “In the beginning were the particles,” or something in between. The infinite regress idea is well understood by philosophers of science as being equally applicable to all knowledge systems and is not a valid reason to reject an inference to design.

    (iii) Willis’ argument, if consistently applied, leads to the absurd conclusion that nothing was designed. Not cars, not computers, not the space shuttle, nothing. After all, if a computer was designed by person B, then under Willis’ argument, perforce person B must also have been designed by something else, call it C, which in turn must have been designed, and we end up with our infinite regress, which, Willis tells us, means the very first inquiry (Was the computer designed?) is invalid. This is of course an absurd outcome and helps shine the light brightly on one of the problems with the argument. Willis’ argument collapses of its own weight and “contains the seeds of its own destruction,” in contrast to his dinner companion’s argument, which, although perhaps not fully fleshed out nor adequately defended by her at the time, is a perfectly legitimate line of inductive reasoning.
    ——
    Bottom line, the facile “who designed the designer” retort that has been popular for some time on various Internet blogs, is not a valid objection to design and is not taken seriously by careful philosophers of science. It unfortunately got new legs when Dawkins used it as part of his argument in his recent book, which earned him disrespect from philosophers of all stripes, opponents and proponents of design alike. Hopefully Willis’ dinner companion will take time to look at the issues herself and not be discouraged that she wasn’t able to come up with a quick response on the spot.

  84. My personal belief (not a scientific study) is that the rate of change of acceptance of the science is limited by the placement of the main funds of those who have invested in future outcomes.
    If you are a large pension fund and you have invested heavily in the catastrophic side of the outcome, then you are likey to try to influence those around you, to think similarly.
    If you are an insurer who can raise premiums on the outlook for sea level rise, you will try to give air to that outcome.
    If you are a person who has personally invested much money in windmills, then you want to be surrounded by others telling you that you were right.
    If you are a media outlet and you percieve that most of your readers follow a certain line in their scientific ?belief? then you will write articles that pander to them.
    The reason why Heartland is underfunded wrt other institutes is because those with fun money to play this game are still surrounded by examples like those above.
    Make no mistake, this assault on science was carefully planned some decades ago. People were groomed to the right thinking, they were placed in the right places, they set up structures to convert teachers then youngsters. They infiltrated politics in many countries, especially Germany.
    There were, in my opinion, some Mr bigs behind this, but it’s boring to speculate who they were – they are very wealthy now and quite old and uninteresting, as one would expect for the people at the top of a large, successful Ponzi scheme as it reached the end of its life. They can try to be at peace with their consciences in their retirement, as it daily becomes apparent that they acted the same as common conmen, but on a grander scale.
    What the heck, I could have been one of them but I was too principled to end up other than poor.

  85. “AndrewmHarding says

    I think that those of us who instinctively think that AGW is a load of c**p need to disprove said AGW by questioning the data and the motives of the scientists producing that data.
    ————
    Well you are being slippery claiming you are “questioning” motives.

    The blatant fact is that many of you deliberately lie about scientists motives. You certainly don’t now climate scientists personally, you have not asked what their motivations are and yet there’s constant story telling about what climate scientists are.

    None of you can read minds do these claims about scientists motivations are all made up.

    All of these claims are intended to discredit climate scientists so their views will be ignored.”

    Lazy teenager, I stand by what I said. Science is not about making the facts fit your hypothesis, it is about your hypothesis fitting in with the facts.
    Common sense tells me that if someone proves that mankind has increased CO2 in the atmosphere by 30% and that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and draws comparison with the planet Venus, then I will believe in AGW. Subsequently I find out that in the past, CO2 concentrations were three times higher than they are today, that the total increment over the last century as a volume of the atmosphere is only 0.0001% and that the atmosphere of Venus has the same density as the sea five miles deep, I then begin to wonder what rubbish I am being fed and why.
    Once you add in claims that sea levels will rise by a metre, that southern Europe will be a dust bowl, with millions of climate refugees heading north by 2010, then any rational person is going to think there is something not right here! The only possible answer is money, the scientists get grants to continue their research, the governments get to tax us on flights, fuel and energy based upon what they are told by scientists. I do not need to know someone personally to know they are lying, which is why I am not a victim of Conmen!
    As for being slippery, it is not I that is making millions from AGW, carbon credits, renewables and the rest of the b******s we are being told.
    I always thought that it was a teenagers God given duty to question authority. If you were to exercise this duty you might reach the same conclusions as the majority of people on this blog!

  86. Adrian O says: May 25, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    I am a mathematical physicist working on symmetry and quantum field theory at Penn State… These days, I think more and more that the cuts in funding will bring the whole thing down… The flood of papers taking down each and every aspect of the pseudoscience has started. It looks to me almost like the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of the Stasi archives twenty-three years ago.

    I agree. I too think CAGW will suddenly be washed out by a spring tide… prepared for by a “winter of discontent” :)

    I had been following the work of the Churches behind the Iron Curtain, and to me it was clear which way the wind was blowing. One can also look at the history of the three failed attempts to regain freedom, first Hungary 1956, then Czechoslovakia 1968, then Poland’s Solidarity from 1980… to me it was clear that the “sickness” of Russian Communism was steadily burning itself out from within.

  87. Willis, thank you for this piece, it was indeed like being at the conference and you provided just the article I wanted and hoped to see. And the quality of “between presentations” comments here has been great too. People I agree with, people I disagree with, and the pleasure of the resultant good conversation.

    I would have attended Heartland myself if I could…

    … but in the end, was (willingly) seduced instead to attend the 2012 seminar of Dr Roderich Graeff on his 14 “retirement” years of experimental and theoretical work challenging the currently-accepted formulation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Will write it up asap and I hope Willis you can have a look when it appears as I’d appreciate your reactions. It will however have to appear, initially at least, on Tallbloke’s blog, unless Anthony can accept it directly… but I really hope Anthony will pick it up and republish. The work is stunning and replicable “at home” and important for Climate Science so I plan to replicate it here – unless some university beats me to it – which would be very nice, because after all this is where it should belong, and they would find replication much easier.

    I’m writing this while putting-0ff getting dressed for my daughter’s wedding, so you can see I’m really interested, even excited. Ha, must go now!

  88. As much as I enjoy making corrections to error (cf, “climatereflections” et al), I will refrain because we are going off-topic. Perhaps anyone else would like to intelligently reflect further about the course of error in climate science (as some have)? – what path for science’ redemption?

  89. My turtle is an is an extra dimensional being, existing outside of this time/space continuum. By definition he is untestable by any mortal means and he created God. But there can’t be any more turtles beyond my turtle because by definition, my turtle is the one and only Ultragod turtle and nothing exists to create my turtle because He created himself and God (but then lost interest and took up Go). I believe in my turtle and there is nothing anybody can say that will convince me otherwise. I also believe in Hobbiton but can’t prove it exists because the hobbits have put up a psychic shield that prevents us from finding them. Middle Earth is somewhere in the Pacific near New Zealand but our brains are being tricked to fill in the spot where Middle Earth exists with water, the same way our brains fill in the blank spots between frames in a movie. I think the Turtle taught the Hobbits that trick. Isn’t making up non-falsifiable realities fun? Sort of like climate science. Every time somebody comes up with a logical objection, we just make up a reason why it can’t be tested. I remember playing this game as a kid. It can go on for a really long time.

    I enjoyed your story Willis. The motivation of the Heartland Institute is only vaguely interesting to me. What is really important is that they are fostering discussion while the warmistas do not engage. Science learned quite some time ago that debating a cognitavely dissonant and better theory simple hastens its acceptance. The best way to deal with unpleasantness is to ignore it, refuse to talk about it or if cornered into discussing it, then resort to ridicule. Hence we still have people blindly accepting the savanna theory of human evolution decades after it was shown to be seriously flawed. Humans have an infinite capacity to believe the incredible.

  90. Unfortunately, our opponents don’t care if a statement is true or not. What they care about is if a statement is believed, and by how many. Instead of analyzing their obvious lies until our faces are blue, we should fight them as hard as they oppress us. Being nice to robbers isn’t an effective strategy.

    Talking about the effectiveness of turning the other cheek, there was that little question that a man I don’t always agree with used to ask about 2 thousand years ago: “What is Truth?”

    To those of our friends who are still pushing the Intelligent Design nonsense:
    No, in a galaxy far, far away there grows a Gigantic Porcelain Mushroom, navy blue with glittering golden polka dots. This mushroom, not any other god or being or force, postulated our infinite and timeless Universe. If you don’t want to argue with this point of view, you must see, how ridiculous is your own point of view, which is, incidentally, exactly the same. Smoke and mirrors…

  91. “Finally, it was a chance to talk to some of the Heartland folks. As I said, I have many differences with them. I felt, for example, that their billboard showing the Unabomber was simultaneously true, meaningless, repulsive, and a very self-destructive, unpleasant, and foolish venture into guilt by association. I have said many times that it doesn’t matter whether a statement is made by the head of Greenpeace or written on a bathroom wall. What is important, the only thing that is important, is whether or not it is true. And it matters just as little who believes it as it matters who said it. I can understand their frustration at being the unending target of attacks that are just as vicious and ugly, but “tu quoque” (which is basically Latin for “but Mommy, he did it first”) works no better for adults then it does for children.”

    As Heartland explained it, it was to give them a taste of their own medicine – it worked. The outrage from them was, I have to admit, a delight to watch.. The warmistas propaganda associating skeptics of the global warming science with all manner of despotic evil doers and their acts has lost its bite.

    The truth is that it is those who created the AGWScienceFiction fisics who are the evil despots and their propaganda campaign was simply to deflect the truth of this from themselves, and they’ve now lost that momentum.

    But you’re right, the only thing that matters is what is true – so instead of ambiguous association with despots/insane, let the next campaign be of those here and now who are the actual despots/insane evilly using the fake fisics to subject the general public to their psycho/sociopathic fantasies in order to destroy our liberty and damage our quality of life. Name the enemy and their stated beliefs and their methods to gain control and quash opposition, truthfully, let the Battle of the Billboards continue..

    biff33 says:
    May 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    “But the water supply should be private property. We don’t need the government to provide water, but to enforce property rights.”

    So your neighbour can dam the river flowing through your property and starve your fields of irrigation? And so on up stream.

  92. Lucy Skywalker says:
    May 26, 2012 at 1:01 am

    … but in the end, was (willingly) seduced instead to attend the 2012 seminar of Dr Roderich Graeff on his 14 “retirement” years of experimental and theoretical work challenging the currently-accepted formulation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    In my view the law is correctly formulated, but incorrectly interpreted by some when specifying experiments which can test it. For a column of gas or liquid to be free from from the influence of external forces, it would have to be removed from any gravitational field present around and through it.

    Will write it up asap and I hope Willis you can have a look when it appears as I’d appreciate your reactions. It will however have to appear, initially at least, on Tallbloke’s blog, unless Anthony can accept it directly… but I really hope Anthony will pick it up and republish. The work is stunning and replicable “at home” and important for Climate Science

    Seconded, the issue deserves wider exposure and discussion than can be obtained through the Talkshop alone.

  93. Actually with God it’s turtles all the way UP!
    I have always wondered why it takes over 30,000 genes to make a grain of rice. Intelligent design, perhaps. Economy of design, not so much.

  94. alone over the same period.

    James Sexton says:
    May 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm
    HR says:
    May 25, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    James Sexton.

    I thought Willis’ watchmaker rebut in the manner of ‘turtles all the way down’ was pretty good. I’m less impressed with you simply erecting a sign saying “No turtles beyond this point”.
    =================================================================
    Like I said, its talking to people that have no comprehension of what they’re talking about….. so I’ll try it this way. Sure, turtles all the way down….. except in a description of God, he’s not a turtle.

    It is the illogical argument that watchmakers must have a maker. Why? No one proposed that except the agnostics and atheists. Watches….. or things of systems and designs have makers. This isn’t a statement towards the makers of such things. It only happens that watch makers have systems and design, but it isn’t necessary to the the argument, nor was it proposed, by Willis’ account. Again, it was an invention of Willis’. You accept this irrational argument because you can’t conceive nor comprehend other people’s view of God.

    This is a classic strawman argument. Willis refutes the watchmaker analogy because he assigns traits to the “intelligent designer” which no one other than Willis assigned. So, high five and turtle down with the self-congratulatory victory over the arguments no one made other than atheists.

    So, I’ll ask again, is there a design or a system you can see in a timeless, dimensionless entity? If yes, please explain. If no….. then the watch maker analogy is proper.

    ============

    This is an argument mainly only those from or coming out of the Western Christianity could have, which sees a separation between the creator and the created…, which sees man the inferior without will and worse, damned, from some interpretations of Genesis II, and so the only sensible reaction is stop believing in such a God and become Athesist.. However.

    Somehow y’all seem to skip Genesis I and never think about what “created in image and likeness” means. How omniscient, omnipotent etc. is God if God is Us?

    Non-Augustinian Christianity has a different take, that the difference between God and Man (Male and Female both) is not of kind, but of the difference between uncreated and created. I would have thought that would resonate with the scientists here, as in ‘matter is neither created nor destroyed’, instead of these ID v Atheist belief systems non-arguments which come from a particular interpretation, paradigm, and so cannot be taken as having universal applicability.

  95. Willis very insightful as usual. You have always been a favorite poster of mine and while I might not agree with all you say I always know you have put a great deal of thought into it. There are several things I would wish to discuss with you per your discussion with the woman on intelligent design please email me as I feel that this is not the place to discuss those things. I might at least provide you with some entertaining thoughts.

  96. The only observation I can make about the job not done infinite comoplexity argument is that like the Big Bang theory theory is ano explained starting point. In the intelligent creator paradigm that is God.

  97. Willis,
    Thank you for the write up.

    On the subject of “turtles”: Reality is independent of what we think about it – it exists independently. The Universe contains all of that which exists, everything, every hadron, every electron, etc. This means that if a Deity exists, it is contained within the Universe. It might be part of or the whole of the Universe, but it is contained within. If it is the whole of the universe, then the Deity and the universe are inseparable and the Universe is the Deity. If it is not, then there is a separable part of the Universe which does not contain the Deity. There may be a way of determining if some part of the Universe does not contain the Deity, but that would require the ability to identify the Deity as distinct from the other part. This would require full knowledge of the state of the Universe.

    Corollary: If the Deity has existed forever, then so has the Universe.

    Forget turtles all the way down, or Deities, all the way up.

    Elegant response to the woman, in my opinion.

  98. Good report, Willis! Nice to see enough site-specific, observational detail woven in to get the “feel” of actually being there. Your talent with the pen always impresses. As to Judith’s Curry’s peculiar lapse, I think maybe her strategy for staying “in the middle of the road” has always been to veer away from anything that seems radical or acutely controversial. In a knee-jerk response to the Heartland missteps, poor Judith drove right off into the tall grass.

  99. Friends:

    This thread is about the Heartland Conference as reported by Willis. It is not about so-called Intelligent Design (ID), the existence of God, or related topics.

    Willis reported his discussion with a lady who believes in ID as part of his report of the range of people and ideas met by him during the Conference. His report also says;

    So for example I got to spend a delightful hour wandering over to the shore of Lake Michigan with Lucia Liljegren of The Blackboard, who turns out to be as charming, witty and lovely as she is intelligent. I got to meet one of the Moderators of WUWT that I had never met. I got to spend some time with Dr. Willie Soon, whose exuberance and passion seems never-ending, and who gave me some new information of volcanoes and mercury. I got to reconnect with Dr. Craig Loehle, my co-author on our recent paper, who I rarely get to see in the flesh. I got to talk with Anthony Watts, who I usually see only once or twice in a year. Those are the kinds of interactions that are of great value to me.

    There has been no comment on his meeting any of those people.

    And in his report, Willis says of his discussion about ID;

    As I said above, however, that wasn’t the point, that’s not the science, that’s just the personalities and the political and religious beliefs. For me, the science, and the opportunities to discuss the science with the scientists, transcends all of that. Politics makes strange bedfellows, and I can live with that.

    Exactly so!

    But discussion of ID has been a significant proportion of this thread.

    It seems to me that there are always proponents of atheism and proponents of ID who will take any opportunity to promote their beliefs. There are several blogs which exist to meet their needs and I wish they would desist from trying to morph WUWT into another. WUWT is much too valuable for that.

    Richard

    PS I have no objection to discussing religious matters. For example, I anticipate that I will – as usual – be delayed in getting to lunch tomorrow by people who want to question my sermon. But WUWT is not the place for such discussion.

  100. I have found an unabashed plug for the Heartland Conference and in particular Anthony Watts contribution at the Fraudulent Climate of Hokum Science website. There are loads more videos about climate and other related matters at that website as well.
    Fraudulent
    Climate of Hokum Science

    Some people are uncomforatable with the idea that the arguments are not just about science, but are mainly Political as Lord Monckton has remarked on his UKIP Blog, on which I found a telling report about the Heartland Conference and European bureaucratic fanaticism and tyranny.
    Rise
    of The EU Commissars

  101. The battle for science and fridom will in the long term never end and in the short term end with the radical 68′s out of office?

  102. Fully agree with Richard. I would just ask that participants here avoid making insulting comments about those of us who are people of faith. There is nothing about my belief in God that prevents me from engaging in rational thought and fully appreciating and discussing all matters of science in forums like this.
    Many of you here appreciate the work of DR. Roy Spencer and he is also a man of faith.

  103. James Sexton says (May 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm): “It is the illogical argument that watchmakers must have a maker.”

    You do realize, of course, that by calling that argument “illogical”, you’ve just agreed with the atheists?

  104. D Caldwell says (May 26, 2012 at 9:22 am): “I would just ask that participants here avoid making insulting comments about those of us who are people of faith.”

    Technically, the discussion here is about logic, not faith. The woman Willis mentioned made a logical argument to support her beliefs, and Willis pointed out a flaw in her logic. Others have taken issue with Willis’s logic, and so on.

    Personally, I’m puzzled by the apparent compulsion to bring “logic” into a subject that I was told in Sunday school is purely a matter of faith, and since this blog is about “puzzling things in life, nature, science,” and so on… :-)

  105. richardscourtney @ 7:43 a.m.

    Good point and well spoken. Yet, we needn’t be too concerned about WUWT turning into another evolution/design debate blog, as it clearly isn’t going that direction. This is one thread out of thousands on WUWT and most everyone who comments on WUWT is very hesitant to bring up this topic at all. Nevertheless, the subtitle of this blog includes: “Commentary on puzzling things in life, nature . . .” So when Willis brings it up we can expect to see a few comments in response, particularly when he brings it up more than in passing. Notice that in pointing out the range of people he met at the conference he didn’t simply say “I sat next to an ID advocate and we had a cordial disagreement over her watchmaker analogy.” Rather he went on to share what he thought was a very clever knock-down response to which his dinner companion had no immediate comeback. Don’t be surprised then if a few of us take him up on it and point out the logical problems with his response. I’ve done so and won’t comment any further on that.

    At a broader level, though, I’m grateful for the occasional glimpse into the wide range of views held by WUWT commenters. This thread is good evidence for precisely one of the points Willis made in attending the conference (and which you highlight). Namely, there are significant personal, religious, political, and scientific disagreements between those who frequent this site. So-labeled “skeptics” of CAGW alarmism are very individualistic and cannot be lumped into facile categories of “flat-earthers” and “deniers.” We are a diverse and eclectic group and, with respect to climate as well as a great many other topics, have much to learn from each other and much to contribute to each other.

  106. Gary Hladik says:
    May 26, 2012 at 10:03 am

    James Sexton says (May 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm): “It is the illogical argument that watchmakers must have a maker.”

    You do realize, of course, that by calling that argument “illogical”, you’ve just agreed with the atheists?
    ================================================
    Uhmm, no, please go back read what I stated in its entirety and try to understand what was stated.
    Watchmakers, in the terms we understand, have a maker. But it isn’t necessary for the argument that watchmakers do have a maker.

    The analogy used speaks towards systems and design. When anyone sees a watch, we understand that there was a watch maker. This is true. Always. This doesn’t say anything towards the watchmaker, other than the watchmaker possesses intelligence. So, when we see a beautiful watch, such as our solar system we can assume design. Our watches, after all, are a product of such design.

    Where Willis and the rest fall off the tracks, (as was pointed out, this thought isn’t unique to Willis) is that they’ve confined themselves into only considering a watchmaker as we know one on earth. That was never the argument. It is a strawman argument invented by the atheists. The solar system has a design. So too, does the human body…… we see systems and design. So, while Willis et al consider the watchmaker as human, it isn’t necessarily so, and if one does consider humanity, we see that we’re part of the group of watches, but, uniquely possess the ability to make watches, as well. (and to respond to another comment) This is how we are in the likeness of God, but, not Gods.

  107. James Sexton says:
    May 25, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    God, as typically, thought is without form. God is described as always being, omnipotent, and omnipresent. God doesn’t have a beginning or end, he is the beginning and end, in both time and space. Therefore, God falls outside the being made by a “watchmaker” analogy

    James Sexton then says:
    May 26, 2012 at 10:52 am

    This is how we are in the likeness of God, but, not Gods.

    Ah so. We are in the likeness of a formless deity, then?

  108. James Sexton says (May 26, 2012 at 10:52 am): “Watchmakers, in the terms we understand, have a maker.”

    Which directly contradicts James’s earlier statement that it’s “illogical” to assume this. My confusion should be understandable.

    In any case, WIllis made no logical error. “The Woman”, observing that some “things” (e.g. watches) have makers, extended that observation to the claim that ALL things must have makers. Willis pointed out one flaw in her logic, i.e. that if ALL things have makers, then the makers must have makers, and so on. The assumption that watchmakers have makers, which as James pointed out above is “illogical”, was The Woman’s.

    Of course in his latest comment James seems to find the exact same assumption logical, which I find…illogical. :-)

  109. Willis,

    In my direct interaction with ~100 of the attendants of ICCC-7 during the 3 days I was there, there was not one discussion or mention of traditional religions. So, my conclusion is that it was not a main theme for the conference. The traditional religions were really quite irrelevant to the discussions I saw presented and which I personally participated in.

    As a philosophically based ‘atheist’ from my early teens at the most fundamental level, I must say that probably +95% of the technical and scientific people I have seen on a rather well traveled international level of experience are significantly religious in some traditional fundamental way. I do not care because any religious bias in philosophy or science and technology is quickly spotted in their openly stated philosophy and science or technology. If I had a wager, I would bet that HI’s general constituency probably has significantly less religiousness than my personal observation that there is a +95% occurrence of religiousness in the international scientific and technical population.

    NOTE: I put ‘atheist’ in quotes because it is a religious term, not a rational philosophic term. So using it at all in discussions of religions biases the argument in favor of religious proponents. For shortness of discussion I conceded to its use in my comment.

    John

  110. @ Steve P and Gary Hladik

    Is it an intentional activity to take my comments out of context? The absurdity which you ascribe to me is a bit insulting. But, I’m used to that coming from a bunch of atheists…… what with your relative morality and what not……

    No one other than atheists stated that all things must have a maker. This never was mine, nor anyone else’ argument other than you atheists.

    If you want to have an honest discussion on this subject, by all means, let’s have one. If you insist on contextual buggery, then, you should just say nothing at all. I understand this is an emotive issue for you guys, but, the transparency of your vacancy is apparent to all who are reading.

  111. @ richardscourtney:

    Richard, you’ve been here long enough to know this was intentionally done by Willis. Willis isn’t that stupid to believe people wouldn’t respond to his otherwise meaningless aside. You can choose to respond or not. But, you know what is required. Don’t disparage others for adhering to the requirements. Or, should we wipe the dust from the soles of our feet? Do your job. Or, are there boundaries which you believe your instruction doesn’t apply?

  112. Willis,
    Wasn’t anyone speaking to solutions that simply dismiss the I’m right and your wrong nonsense and point to resolution?

    Most of us are sick of this absurd debate. It simply doesn’t move us forward.

    Example:
    One of the most noteworthy Schools of Industrial Design in the world is in Chicago; IIT’s Institute of Design….

  113. Gail Combs says:
    May 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm
    (I am Agnostic BTW)

    I know someone who is a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac.

    He lies awake all night, wondering if there really is a dog.

  114. James Sexton says:
    May 26, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    @ Steve P and Gary Hladik
    Is it an intentional activity to take my comments out of context?
    The absurdity which you ascribe to me is a bit insulting. But, I’m used to that coming from a bunch of atheists…… what with your relative morality and what not……

    James, you are lacking in any precision with your comments. I suggest you deal with one comment at a time, and make clear what it is you are discussing. You are free to clarify your comments, which I quoted, and you claim are being taken out of context.

    You also wrote:

    Agnostics and atheists wouldn’t see that, but it does enable themselves to mindlessly chatter about things they can’t comprehend.

    Not only “holier than thou,” but smarter too. ‘Must be a gift from God. But what was that about insults again?

    [Moderator’s Intervention: This discussion is getting a little too personal and heated. It’s time to drop it. -REP]

  115. James Sexton:

    At May 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm you say to me:

    Richard, you’ve been here long enough to know this was intentionally done by Willis. Willis isn’t that stupid to believe people wouldn’t respond to his otherwise meaningless aside. You can choose to respond or not. But, you know what is required. Don’t disparage others for adhering to the requirements. Or, should we wipe the dust from the soles of our feet? Do your job. Or, are there boundaries which you believe your instruction doesn’t apply?

    I do not know Willis “intention”, and you don’t know it, because Willis has not stated it.

    His aside was not “meaningless”, and I quoted his paragraph which explains what he hoped to convey by his “aside”.

    Anybody can decide whether or not to choose to respond, and I do know “what is required”; i.e. to ‘turn the other cheek’. This was clearly an occasion where the admonition to “wipe the dust from your feet” applies.

    My post was an example of me doing “my job”. Witness is not best achieved by shouting on street corners.

    And there are no “boundaries” to my “instruction”.

    I stand by every word in my post that you have answered.

    Richard

    [Moderator’s Intervention: This discussion is getting a little too personal and heated. It’s time to drop it. -REP]

  116. Moderator REP:

    I apologise that you thought my answering the points put to me was “a little too personal”. But I fail to understand how it could have been less “personal”.

    And I will “drop it” whatever else is said.

    Richard

    [REPLY: Richard, yours was not the only comment so flagged. Your comment was not inappropriate, but this is the place to draw the line. The discussion in general is getting too personal and is a bit removed from the main thrust of Willis’s post. Thank you for understanding. -REP]

  117. REP the Moderator,

    It was nice to be introduced to you at ICCC-7 during Tuesday’s cocktail hour in lucia’s conversation group. I enjoyed talking with you.

    John

    [REPLY: And I you, John. Gotta work on that Chinese, though. My Tai-Tai and I (and to a lesser extent, my hsiao neu-ehrr) can converse quite privately in public. The lao-mao-kuai hate it. -REP]

  118. [REPLY: And I you, John. Gotta work on that Chinese, though. My Tai-Tai and I (and to a lesser extent, my hsiao neu-ehrr) can converse quite privately in public. The lao-mao-kuai hate it. -REP]

    - – - – - -

    REP the Moderator,

    In my 40 years as a nuclear power professional I worked long periods in 10 countries with 10 different languages. I could not viably concentrate on Chinese only. My cocktail hour useful clever Chinese isn’t bad though. Likewise my cocktail hour useful clever Japanese and Korean and French and German and Spanish and Italian and Swedish and . . . . aren’t bad.

    My wife actually seems to prefer that she can chat with my daughter and her relatives without me being able to interrupt. : )

    John

    [REPLY: Yeah... my Tagalog is functional but not extensive. God knows what my wife and her siblings are saying about me. Daughter spoke unaccented Mandarin and Taiwanese until age ten and then refused to speak until about 20. Glad your daughter kept it up. I can still swear in German, Japanese and Arabic. -REP]

  119. Moderator’s Intervention: This discussion is getting a little too personal and heated. It’s time to drop it. -REP

    Fair enough. If we don’t want to have this conversation, here, then I’d suggest that Willis not bring it up. That, of course, is only my opinion. Anyone is more than welcome to come to my blog and discuss in a rational manner.

    REP, I thank you for your intervention and stopping me short. ……..

  120. How about a sign saying “Earth is the Center of the Universe!”. Same as saying Earth is flat.

    The Judeo-Christian, Taoist or Buddhist idea of God-Tao or dharmakaya cannot be a watchmaker.
    God is not complex or non-complex, God’s creation though is potentially endlessly complex. They don’t have to be conceived as a non-unity, but granted, there is discord appearing.

    The biblical mentioning of man’s likeness to God is to say we are of the spirit and not merely of phenomena. That’s all. Real religion is reminder of immeasurable being.

    Fun article as usual, thank you author Willis.

    [Moderator’s Intervention: As mentioned before, this discussion is getting a little too personal and heated. Not everyone has taken your perspective. It’s time to drop it. -REP]

  121. FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2012

    Gleick Review Not Finalized, Pacific Institute Says
    Last week Suzanne Goldenberg of The Guardian reported:
    “A review has cleared the scientist Peter Gleick of forging any documents in his expose of the rightwing Heartland Institute’s strategy and finances, the Guardian has learned.”
    But the Pacific Institute is telling me that no such clearing has occurred:
    “The Pacific Institute Board of Directors has not finalized its review of the investigation or announced any decisions at this point.”

    [Moderator’s Note: This is off-topic for this thread and has already been discussed here on WUWT. -REP]

  122. Lucy Skywalker says:
    May 26, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Willis, thank you for this piece, it was indeed like being at the conference and you provided just the article I wanted and hoped to see. And the quality of “between presentations” comments here has been great too. People I agree with, people I disagree with, and the pleasure of the resultant good conversation.

    I would have attended Heartland myself if I could…

    … but in the end, was (willingly) seduced instead to attend the 2012 seminar of Dr Roderich Graeff on his 14 “retirement” years of experimental and theoretical work challenging the currently-accepted formulation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Will write it up asap and I hope Willis you can have a look when it appears as I’d appreciate your reactions. It will however have to appear, initially at least, on Tallbloke’s blog, unless Anthony can accept it directly… but I really hope Anthony will pick it up and republish. The work is stunning and replicable “at home” and important for Climate Science so I plan to replicate it here – unless some university beats me to it – which would be very nice, because after all this is where it should belong, and they would find replication much easier.

    I’m writing this while putting-0ff getting dressed for my daughter’s wedding, so you can see I’m really interested, even excited. Ha, must go now!

    Lucy, thanks for your comments. I look forwards to your article on Tallbloke’s site. Best of luck and love to your daughter,

    w.

  123. I actually prefer an Atheist who is honestly seeking Truth to a believer-in-God who is forever backing away from confrontations, and even brown-nosing, because he fears losing popularity or his job, or may even have to go sleep on the couch.

    God may feel the same way. After all, one definition of God is, “The Truth.” In which case an Atheist may be seeking God more than a Believer.

    Not that honesty is easy. I’ve been fired for it, and have slept on the couch a time or two. Most people who comment here have experienced the rage of certain Alarmists, when they speak the most simple meteorological truths to those Alarmists.

    However honesty seems much better than the cynical distortion of truth employed by some, who attempt to justify their dishonesty by stating “the ends justify the means.” They think they are smarter, and like to ruffle the money they have made by being deceiteful, (whether it be by selling sugar to children or political pablum to adults,) but over the years I’ve noticed such people tend to wind up unhappy.

    Stand by the Truth and the Truth will stand by you.

    [Moderator’s Intervention: Caleb, good point, but as I pointed out earlier, this discussion is getting a little too personal and heated. It’s time to drop it. Please. Comments on Intelligent Design or the existance of God (or not) will be trashed. -REP]

  124. D Caldwell says:
    May 26, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Fully agree with Richard. I would just ask that participants here avoid making insulting comments about those of us who are people of faith. There is nothing about my belief in God that prevents me from engaging in rational thought and fully appreciating and discussing all matters of science in forums like this.
    Many of you here appreciate the work of DR. Roy Spencer and he is also a man of faith.

    Thanks, D. I will say to all what I said to the lovely woman with whom I discussed ID.

    If you believe in a world of the spirit, what the shamans call the “Nagual” or the “separate reality”, then you may have noticed that the rules that govern that world are not the same as the rules that govern the everyday world.

    For example, the world of the spirit (which I’ll call “the Nagual” because the term has little emotional baggage for most folks) includes but isn’t limited to the world of dreams, particularly the state called “lucid dreaming”. In the world of dreams, time and distance simply don’t exist. You can be in one place in the dream’s “present time”, and an instant later you can be in another place in your distant past. And it would be ridiculous to insist that dreams should follow the same rules as the everyday reality. It would be crazy to say you couldn’t travel a thousand miles in a second in your dreams. That’s a rule from another reality, the everyday world, it doesn’t apply in the Nagual.

    I hold that it is ridiculous to insist that the world of the spirit, the world of the Nagual, should follow the rules of everyday life. Of course, these include the rules of logic and of language.

    There is a second problem, which is that language is a feature of the world of everyday life. It depends on time, for example—the words of a sentence have to occur in a certain temporal order for it to make sense. The same applies to logic. For example, it requires the existence of time to state that A causes B.

    This means that whenever we speak of the world of the Nagual, at best our words are only a crude approximation, because they are trying to describe a reality where words don’t work …

    So my advice to the charming lady was, keep the worlds separate. In particular, it is an oxymoron to try to prove the existence of something in the Nagual by using logic. The Nagual is a realm of experience, and it has its own rules … but they have nothing to do with logic because it doesn’t work in the Nagual.

    As I told the charming ID lady, I personally think that the Nagual exists because of my experiences with my grandmother. She always knew when my mom or her sister were in trouble, even from miles away. How? I haven’t a clue. I found out for myself once after we had moved off the cattle ranch into town. In town we had a phone, but my grandmother never called us. My mom would call her sometimes, she lived about 300 miles away, but she never called us. My folks were divorced, it was just mom and us kids.

    One day when I was in high school things went to hell for my mom, and she left, she was gone when I woke up. She’d left a thousand dollars and a note saying she couldn’t take it. She’d run off with a cowboy barkeeper, as it turned out.

    And early that same day, as I was sitting there trying to figure out what to do, before I’d even told anyone that she was gone and was still trying to wrap my head around how I was going to take care of my brothers, my grandmother called.

    She didn’t say hello, she didn’t ask for my mom, she didn’t waste time on pleasantries. She said “Marian is in trouble. What has happened to her?”

    And strangely, I didn’t even question how she knew mom was in trouble, I’d heard the stories my mom and my aunt had both told, this was far from the first time she’d known what was happening to her daughters from hundreds of miles away.

    Now, in this normal everyday world, where there is both distance and time, there is no way to know what is happening hundreds of miles away. But in the Nagual, where there is neither time nor space, there’s no problem knowing what’s happening there. And that was kind of how my grandmother explained what she’d done. She said that sometimes she’d just see things, just as if she were physically present, and she saw that I was in trouble and that mom wasn’t there.

    Does this make sense in a normal scientific viewpoint? Absolutely not. Science is totally about the everyday world. But that’s not a problem to me, because I make no attempt to apply the tools of the everyday world to questions about the Nagual.

    And that was my advice to the lady. If she wants to think that there is a world of the spirit, and that there is an omnipotent being there, that’s fine. The problem is when she uses the analogy of the watch and the watchmaker to try to establish the reality of her beliefs. I advised her to avoid using the tools of logic and language to explain the vagaries of the Nagual.

    Please note that I think the Nagual exists because of my experiences, and not because of logical arguments or because of faith or belief. In fact, because of those experiences, as a scientist I have to think the Nagual exists, because that is the most coherent and economical explanation of how my grandmother could do what she did.

    I hope this clarifies my position, D. I have no general problem with what you call “people of faith”, although some of their beliefs are quite strange to me. For example I am generally unconvinced by arguments that someone has an invisible omnipotent friend named “God” who listens to them constantly, and who is willing to affect the outcome of physical events for them if they ask him nicely and repeatedly, and who occasionally is willing and able to suspend the rules of physics to help a favored human … but that’s just me. I certainly don’t see such beliefs as affecting anyone’s ability to understand the world or to do outstanding scientific work.

    The ID lady asked me “Don’t you think there is a God who loves you and wants you to love him?”

    I said that any God who is interested in my opinion must be awfully insecure, but that I really couldn’t answer her question at all, because the rules of the Nagual are not those of the everyday world. And that was my advice to her, to keep those world’s separate, and to avoid using the rules and logic and the language of the everyday world to try to explain the world of the Nagual.

    We now return you to your everyday world, where the rules of logic and language do indeed exist, and work quite well … but only to explain the everyday world.

    w.

  125. Caleb… nice post… I’ll attempt to change the subject, in the fervor, which you can read “all the way down” people lost site of many things. For instance, way up on the thread, I stated,

    “Flat earthers….. are those the people who consider the earth’s energy budget as a two dimensional disc?”

    But, that didn’t suffice. …..it’s telling. Here, on the busiest skeptic science blog in the world, we’d rather discuss something else. Well done, crusaders! We see what was important!

  126. Egads, I see I’ve posted in contravention to the request from the moderator REP to avoid the subject … mea culpa. I’ll let it go. I see nothing to debate there in any case, since debate is a feature of the everyday world …

    My apologies to the moderator, and let’s return to the science as he requested.

    Best to all,

    w.

    [REPLY: Thank you, Willis. You made a very good point but it would be good if commenters focused more on the rest of your excellent essay. The ICCC 7 conference brought together a number of people with different views that other participants had no hesitation about challenging. Sebastian Luning, the co-author of Die Kolt Son, for example, faced a strong challenge during his presentation from William Gray, the dean of meteorologists, and responded well. Whether he was correct remains to be seen, but conferences like this allow people with different perspectives to air them. It was well worth the price of admission. -REP]

  127. [SNIP: Sorry, Legatus. That was nicely done, but I’ve already said that this was the end of this discussion and anything further would be snipped. I’ve saved a copy of your comment in case you didn’t and you want to use it again elsewhere. -REP]

  128. James Sexton,

    I like your thinking in essence on the IPCC centric CAGWist agenda, our dichotomous religions views do not actual separate us wrt to that.

    Our arguments are significant on a plane that is somewhat separate from the trivial IPCC AGWist topic.

    Take care and in another context we are adversaries in the eternal philosophical discourse. : )

    Take care, my friend/adversary.

    John

  129. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm
    =============
    Precious banalities.. thanks Willis. Egads! We’ll pretend this wasn’t intentional! There comes a point in time when you’re predictable. We all are.

  130. SNIP: Sorry, Legatus. That was nicely done, but I’ve already said that this was the end of this discussion and anything further would be snipped. I’ve saved a copy of your comment in case you didn’t and you want to use it again elsewhere. -REP]

    So I haven’t been shot down in flames, I can limp back to base this time? That’s good, I think…
    Uh, I saved in myself, thanks anyway.

    this discussion is getting a little too personal and heated
    This subject is indeed a puzzling thing about life, science and nature, no doubt, why are we not able to be rational about it? Many of you come to this site to participate in a fact based, rational discussion of CAGW and other things. Yet, when a discussion that is even peripherally about religion comes up, it degenerates into “personal and heated” discussion rife with illogic and even dishonesty. Why is that, exactly? When you understand the answer to that question, you will know something new. Most of you will not even dare to ask that question.

    This site was built on the idea of bringing rational and fact based discussion to a subject that was not being discussed in this manner. This thread has shown that many of you are a LOT less rational than you think you are. Example, Willis’s long post about a subject he himself has admitted he is not entirely rational about (I will refrain from commenting on any irrationality in that post).

    This site was not built to discuss abiogenesis (although it fits the banner of the site, sorta), but it WAS built on the BASIC idea of fact based rationality. And that idea, and the fact that many here have shown in this thread that you are less rational than you think you are IS a good subject for discussion on this site. Perhaps we should start a new thread based around the simple idea, why are we not able to bring fact based rationality to this subject (even when it is only mentioned very peripherally). A resolution to that subject could save moderators a lot of trouble. We would not want this to happen, would we I can still swear in German, Japanese and Arabic”.

    [REPLY: Uhhh…that did actually happen once, before I became a moderator. Charles was still the main moderator then and graciously deleted it after I begged him to after seeing it in the cold light of morning. I resolved then to be a better person and started using my real name for commenting. Sometimes I am. -REP]

  131. John Whitman says:
    May 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    James Sexton,

    Our arguments are significant on a plane that is somewhat separate from the trivial IPCC AGWist topic.

    Take care and in another context we are adversaries in the eternal philosophical discourse. : )

    Take care, my friend/adversary.
    ==================================
    John, you must know that I don’t consider you an adversary. True, we disagree on things. But, the commonalities, and the time, causes me to only call you friend. John, my thanks! : )

    My very best wishes,

    James

  132. James Sexton says:
    May 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm
    =============
    Precious banalities.. thanks Willis. Egads! We’ll pretend this wasn’t intentional! There comes a point in time when you’re predictable. We all are.

    I haven’t a clue what you mean by “predictable”, James … and in any case, after the fact claims of “predictability” mean little. The claim would be impressive if it had been predicted before whatever it is happened … and if we knew what it was that you claim to have predicted.

    All the best, in any case,

    w.

  133. Ummm,
    Just what am I supposed to say, that will not incur the wrath of Willis, the moderator, or the trolls ?
    What was the point of the post ? It seems to have been misplaced.
    I remember now, idiots marching in Chicago.
    They tend to do that.

    [REPLY: Sometimes it’s just better to hide behind a rock until they get tired and go away. -REP]

  134. [REPLY: Sometimes it's just better to hide behind a rock until they get tired and go away. -REP]

    - – - – - – -

    u.k.(us) / REP,

    We are tireless : ) . . . as I suspect you both were also tireless in another life Messrs u.k.(us) / REP . . . : )

    John

    [REPLY: Sometimes, being tireless is really tiring… -REP]

  135. [REPLY: Sometimes it's just better to hide behind a rock until they get tired and go away. -REP]
    =====================
    Moderators get tired and go away? ……. ;-) Okay, off I go. Thanks for putting up with me!

    James

    [REPLY: Uhhh… moderators… no. Willis and trolls… There really is only one Willis and he has to sleep. Trolls… well, they are not all that coordinated: when one shift takes over from another, they don’t pass notes. Set up behind a rock with a claymore facing each direction (note the warning:”This side toward enemy”)….

  136. “A million monkeys at a million typewriters will never, I say never write a novel, good or otherwise.”

    Cannot resist adding my grain of salt on this subject.

    A typical novel start at 100K words. Take 65 car/line * 25 line/pg * 400 pg = 650K caracters for a novel. Assume these car. has no case & limited punctuation = 30 car.
    The creation of this novel by brute force would represent a total of 30^650K different case if we again assume our monkeys can always do their work at a constant text length… Yep quite improbable but in an infinite universe nothing is imposible.

    However most peoples fail to understand that nature work by incremential design, its like the first monkey, after a reasonably small amount of time would have generated every viable words possible, then only used them to form viable sentence, then only use these viable sentence to form, still at random, higher constructs where again only the viable constructs will survives & be used at random to form still higher level of construct that will again be “tested” for viability by a simple process of survivability. This reduce considerably the number of possible required case to something very possible & practical considering how the world is big & geological time “give” plenty of time.

    The trick is to associate random generation w/t viability filtering & amplification. So simple that it seem no one can see the elephant in the room.

  137. note the warning:”This side toward enemy”

    yep…. It leaves me wondering………. do they know which way they’re aiming?

    …. I didn’t even get snipped? Surely, in the name of fair play I’d have the opportunity to respond to Willis?

    [REPLY: James, I can’t snip Willis and your unposted comment is waving a flag at Herb Alpert’s Lonely Bull. If, after sleeping on it, you really want to do it, post it while the guy in South Africa is moderating. -REP]

  138. [REPLY: James, I can't snip Willis and your unposted comment is waving a flag at Herb Alpert's Lonely Bull. If, after sleeping on it, you really want to do it, post it while the guy in South Africa is moderating. -REP]
    ====================================
    Naw….. we’ll let it go… But, towards my predictive prowess please keep it.

  139. We would not want this to happen, would we I can still swear in German, Japanese and Arabic”.
    [REPLY: Uhhh...that did actually happen once, before I became a moderator. Charles was still the main moderator then and graciously deleted it after I begged him to after seeing it in the cold light of morning. I resolved then to be a better person and started using my real name for commenting. Sometimes I am. -REP]

    Sooo, if we annoy and just generally irratate the moderator, we are actually helping to make him a better person?

    Better make it a BIG rock…

  140. “A million monkeys at a million typewriters will never, I say never write a novel, good or otherwise.”
    The trick is to associate random generation w/t viability filtering & amplification. So simple that it seem no one can see the elephant in the room.

    This works IF you already have something that is alive, something that can survive on it’s own. It does NOT work with going from non life to life, because the component parts of life cannot survive on their own. An example, there used to be this idea that life evolved before DNA or equivilent, and that DNA and the programming on it came later. Think about it, life that cannot reproduce come sinto being, and then what, does it live, alone, forever? If it is so immutable and unchangeable that it can do that, how does it evolve?

    The problem with life from non life is that the component parts of life cannot exist on their own. It either all comes into being at once, all the parts, and all connected to each other in the correct way, or the component parts arrive and are destroyed by something fairly quickly. Random generation, filtering and amplification works if you already have something living, you randomly generate mutations in it’s DNA, and with help from survival of the fittest, it eventually changes. Before you have some kind of life that can preserve and support that DNA, and express it (enable it to realise it’s programming), it canot evolve. If the life does not have DNA, it dies eventually, and cannot evolve. So, which came first, the life or the DNA? BOTH must be present, at the same time (not just the DNA, but also the correct programming on it). And for life, many differnt little molecular machines must all be present and all connected together in a cooperative way to surive, the individual parts cannot survive on their own.

    So take your million monekys, and remember, any monkey that does not write a whole novel, all of it, missiong no parts, correct punctuation, you shoot it, every time. Now, how many novels will those monkeys create?

    It would help if we knew what this original life was like. It would help if we knew what the novel was about. I think we need to keep working on it.

  141. DaleC says:
    May 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm
    This watchmaker stuff has been done to death for hundreds of years preceding. The Wiki article is useful –

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

    I doubt that anyone here or anywhere else can come up with anything new to say about the matter.
    ===============
    If you Google “philosophy”, your doubt may be reconciled.

  142. For example, I think that human beings require regulations, or else people will piss in the drinking water. To me it’s a no-brainer, we’ve proved that many, many times in a host of realms. But a lot if not most of the participants seemed to see any and all regulations as tools of the devil incarnate … not me.

    It looks to me as simply a reaction to the hyper regulatory attitude of the current ruling class. An example, the EPA wants to regulate dust at farms, regulate dirt, and also fine people for storing hay, dried grass, the wrong way. It is the idea that they wish to regulate everything everyone does everywhere at all times. It is the idea that we need to go back to the old way of thinking, where some people are the nobles who make all the rules, and some are the serfs who must only obey.

    “People don’t like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think. Don’t run, don’t walk. We’re in their homes and in their heads and we haven’t the right”.

    However much their reaction to over regulation may be an over reaction however, your basic idea, that some regulation is necessary, and that if there is no regulation people will piss in the drinking water, is correct, because, well, they did piss in the drinking water. In old Europe, you either drank long boiled soup, or beer, or you died, the water was not safe to drink. In the more regulated days of ancient Rome, it was safer, they had regulations and proper sewers (and running water, and toilets).

    Of course, after a while they also had a dictatorship, assassinations, executions, slavery, high taxes (to the point of demanding that some first leave all their money to the state in their will, and then commit suicide), massive corruption (Caligula, need I say more?), civil wars, etc, which shows that you can indeed overdo it. Our current society is beginning to resemble this later Roman era in many ways.

    Vote for me and I will set you free. I will bring you our first honest government. When you ask why I am raising your taxes, I will be honest and say “because I want your money”.
    On second thought…

  143. BTW— I proposed that Heartland; in order to screen out Human looking AGW Warmista Droid bots trying to get in ask the following question: Should Gleick be cannonized??

  144. Gail Combs,
    You’ll probably never see this being posted so late and all, but why not just read the Constitution?
    It doesn’t take long and I only suggest this because your understanding still seems incomplete. 2/3′s will get a proposal, 3/4′s is required for ratification.
    What bothers me is the on-going informal Constitutional Convention, as in the Commerce Clause.
    We’re doomed! ;>
    With respect,
    Dan Brinkman

  145. The warmers think we are in control of weather and climate. Driving makes it warm, staying home makes it cool. Which is crazy talk. The La Nina aftermath is doing its typical stuff. Just dig up a few worms and you can tell that the soil is not at the warmer El Nino temperature that allows for free movement and growth of earth worms. They are lighter in color, not as wriggly, and are in dryer surrounding. Night crawlers don’t rise to the surface in abundance after a warm rain like they did during the previous El Nino. It’s too cold up top. Why? We are in the aftermath of a La Nina. The jet stream is leaving us cold and dry. So when we are in a cold Spring up here in the top portion of the western US, it will be hot, hot, hot south of us in the western parts of the US. The warming and cooling of the Earth is proceding as it always does and always will. Under these conditions, I predict grasshoppers up here will again be smaller and fewer in number.

    I wonder if protesters have ever dug up spring worms to go fishin.

  146. Well, I wanted to praise BCBill (May 26, 2012 at 1:25 am) for his brilliant Ultragod Turtle, but REP has forbade us from discussing such matters further. Why is it brilliant? Because it is non-falsifiable, like all such matters, including the forbidden topic of the Des*gner. If you can’t falsify it, you can argue about it until all the. . . turtles come home, and be none the wiser.

    ON TOPIC: Did anyone from the Alarmist side venture to speak at the conference? If so, could we have a report (apologies if we did, and I missed it)?

    /Mr Lynn

    [REPLY: No, no alarmist scientists at all. Joe Bast said some fifty were invited, none accepted. Suzanne Goldenberg was there, howver. And thank you for staying on topic. -REP]

  147. Pamela Gray says:
    May 27, 2012 at 7:57 am
    =============
    In the Chicago suburbs, our worms tend to reveal themselves, at 10 or 11 at night.
    It is best not to shine your flashlight directly upon them, or they go back underground.
    Anyone that has not “coaxed” a giant worm out of its burrow, has not lived a full life :)

  148. Your refutation of the Watchmaker argument fails.

    You assume that God is more complex than the creation, therefore it is not an explanation. First, simplicity is not what is being argued in the watchmaker argument. What is being argued is the presence of INTELLIGENCE; the purposeful arrangement of parts, a combination of high improbability combined with an independently given pattern. You have done nothing more than knocked over a strawman. The only reason you succeeded was because the person you were discussing this with was not well versed in the arguments objections and did not recognize your argumentation as such. (I would severely criticize the person you were discussing this with for not having read up on the objections and how to respond to them.) Your argument is the one famously used by Richard Dawkins, “Who designed the Designer”, which is refuted in the video below..

    As for the complexity of God, you confuse the being itself with the thoughts and ideas of that being. I would agree that the thoughts of God can be quite complex. After all, this being designed the workings of the entire universe by itself. However God himself is an amazingly SIMPLE being, an unbloodied mind having no parts and taking up no space. All one to do is reject your premise that God is more complex than the creation in order to reject your conclusion.

    Who Designed The Designer? a response to Dawkins’ The God Delusion by Dr. William Lane Craig (5 Minutes 9 Seconds)

  149. Benjamin W says:
    May 27, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Your refutation of the Watchmaker argument fails.

    Thanks, Benjamin. Actually, far from failing, it was quite successful, because the lovely lady had no answer to it. So it was perfectly adequate to the needs of the moment, which is all I asked of it.

    As I’ve found out since then, the watchmaker analogy is quite old, and much has been said on both sides. I had no knowledge of that at the time, so I was quite happy to be able to come up with an idea on the spot that won the debate.

    As to your opinion of my argument, you weren’t there, and your opinion is not of the slightest interest to me now because the discussion is over. Please take your bulletproof logic and go disagree with the person of your choice, I couldn’t care less about the watch, the watchmaker, or the watchmaker’s maker. There’s a reason I knew nothing about the watchmaker or his kin, which is that to me such discussions are of so little interest that I’ve never found out about them. I’ve heard nothing to change my views on that. So like the song says … “Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares.”

    My best wishes go with you,

    w.

  150. -”Thanks, Benjamin. Actually, far from failing, it was quite successful, because the lovely lady had no answer to it. So it was perfectly adequate to the needs of the moment, which is all I asked of it.”

    Bad logic doesn’t become good logic just because the other party doesn’t have a response. The lady you were debating was poorly equipped to respond to the objection, that does not mean your objection was valid.

    -”As I’ve found out since then, the watchmaker analogy is quite old, and much has been said on both sides. I had no knowledge of that at the time, so I was quite happy to be able to come up with an idea on the spot that won the debate.”

    So, now that you know your objection is not any good, what are you going to do when you meet someone who knows the objection you used and how to riddle it with holes?

    -”As to your opinion of my argument, you weren’t there, and your opinion is not of the slightest interest to me now because the discussion is over.”

    Very well, part of the point of my comment was to illustrate to others how your objection to the watchmaker argument is no good. Nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes..Not often I have the opportunity to respond to the objection, for whatever reason.

    Good day to you as well.

  151. Willis,

    Thank you for your many contributions here. Always a pleasure to read your posts.

    A note on your conversation with the lady about intelligent design, if you will bear with me. Your rebuttal takes her argument as a logical argument that could be applied in all instances equally, as logic is indeed consistent. However, if you will look at her argument more as the argument of an attorney trying to prove guilt, weighing the preponderance of the evidence, then you see it’s not a matter of logic. There can be two cases with identical evidence: defendants fingerprints on the weapon, obvious guilt. However, in one case the defendant is guilty and in the other the evidence was planted. If you are on both juries and vote guilty both times, using the same logic, then in one case you did justice and in the other you did not. But unless someone tells you what really happened, you won’t really know.

    This lady at the conference presented you with evidence that, she believes, reveals a certain truth. In fact, if you showed me a watch, you would never convince me that nobody made it. However, this is not logic; this is just me believing evidence, all be it very compelling. Whether or not a watch makes a perfect analogue for the universe… not too sure about that. Your rebuttal was that there cannot be an infinite regress of creators, which her “logic” implies. However, she is giving evidence of a God that is infinite and eternal and beyond the universe. To say that infinity cannot reside within the universe does not address the argument that infinity resides outside of the universe. In fact, claiming an infinite regress cannot exist is the same kind of a priori claim that she is making. Whether you say “God must exist” or “An infinite regress cannot exist” you are still just looking at what you know or believe and making claims about the universe that cannot come from logic.

    It is true that the veracity of her argument hinges on whether or not infinity does exist, but that is exactly what she is giving evidence for. You countered with evidence that infinity cannot exist, but you did not best her with logic. You both made opposite claims about your beliefs. You may be a lot smarter than she is, and better at arguing, but that doesn’t affect the truth of whether or not God exists. There are plenty of people on both sides willing to tell you what they believe really happened, but the witnesses are scarce. We are all stuck with a version of the same case, choosing whether to believe the evidence or to suspect that it was planted.

  152. But Heartland is no different from any of the other organizations involved in climate change, from Greenpeace to WWF … except that its budget is much smaller, and as far as I know, it doesn’t harass the Greenpeace funders the way that Greenpeace harasses those who fund Heartland. Greenpeace is famous for their unpleasant and intimidating “we know where you live” attitude.

    The 20th century green movement was started by Adolph Hitler.

    No organisation makes that fact more obvious than Greenpeace.

  153. Friends:

    I again call for an end to the pointless discussions in this thread about God, watchmakers and religious belief.

    Yes, it is pointless because it cannot change the views (actually, beliefs) of anybody about the subjects. Nobody was ever argued into a change of belief because argument solidifies people in their existing belief. Many have been loved into such a change, and some have been wickedly indoctrinated into such a change, but nobody has ever been argued into such a change.

    And the discussion here is about beliefs. It is not about logic (as some have pretended). The existence of a deity, deities and/or Creator cannot be logically determined because it is not amenable to replicable observation.

    • People who experience what they understand to be an interaction (or a personal relationship) with something supernatural cannot be argued out of their understanding of their experience.
    • And people cannot be argued into that understanding if they have not had such an experience, or do not interpret such an experience to be interaction with the supernatural.

    All one can say is that many – probably most – people at all times believe they have experienced interaction with the supernatural. And people of good intent respect the experience – or lack of experience – of others. Willis explained this with clarity and beauty in his post at May 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm.

    Belief in a deity and atheism are both illogical: they each are beliefs.
    Agnosticism is logical: it deduces (logically) that there is insufficient evidence to prove the existence or non-existence of a deity.

    And the ‘watchmaker’ argument is an irrelevance.
    • If there is an omniscient Creator then (by definition) He knew all that would evolve from His initiating the Big Bang.
    • If there is no Creator then the form of the universe is what has resulted from evolution (of energy, atoms, molecules and life) since the Big Bang.

    Logic and argument cannot disprove either of these possibilities. (I suggest that any who think otherwise should research the Weak Anthropic Principle).

    The practice of proper science is important because people are not logical. They are emotional beings (thank God). And that is why the practice of proper science is important. Proper science attempts to maximise our ability to utilise logic in our understanding of life, the universe and everything.

    The practice of true religion is important because people are not logical. They are emotional beings (thank God). And that is why the practice of true religion is important. True religion attempts to ‘make sense’ of life, the universe and everything for people in their daily lives and helps them to cope with “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”.

    Religion and science are both valuable and important. Neither can refute the other because they use different precepts and axioms in attempt to achieve different objectives.

    So, I am again calling for an end to the pointless discussions in this thread about God, watchmakers and religious belief. The discussion is pointless.

    Richard

  154. Brian and Paul, what part of where I said “Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares” seems unclear to you?

    I have absolutely no interest in more debate or discussion of the subject. I brought it up to show how far I was from many folks who attended the conference. Your views on the subject are of absolutely no interest to me in the slightest. I don’t care about the subject at all.

    Please take it somewhere that people might actually read your ideas, because I certainly have not and will not read them.

    w.

  155. [SNIP]

    Legatus, let me remind you of what the moderator said above, as it seems to have slipped your mind:

    Legatus says:
    May 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm
    [SNIP: Sorry, Legatus. That was nicely done, but I've already said that this was the end of this discussion and anything further would be snipped. I've saved a copy of your comment in case you didn't and you want to use it again elsewhere. -REP]

    w.

Comments are closed.