The logical case against climate panic

How the profiteers who market Thermageddon offend against the principles of formal logic

Guest post by Monckton of Brenchley

LOGIC is the heartbeat of all true learning – the soul of the Classics, the Sciences and Religion. Once everyone studied the Classics, to know that in logic there is a difference between true and false; the Sciences, to discern where it lies; and Religion, to appreciate why it matters. Today, few study all three empires of the mind. Fewer study the ordered beauty of the logic at their heart.

Is Private Fraser’s proposition that “We’re a’ doomed!” logical? I say No. G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “When men have ceased to believe in Christianity, it is not that they will believe in nothing. They will believe in anything.” The belief that Thermageddon will arise from our altering 1/3000th of the atmosphere in a century is in-your-face illogical, rooted in a dozen fallacies marked out by Aristotle as the commonest in human discourse.

“Consensus” is the New Religion’s central fallacy. Arguing blindly from consensus is the head-count fallacy, the argumentum ad populum. Al-Haytham, founder of the scientific method, wrote: “The seeker after truth does not put his faith in any mere consensus. Instead, he checks.”

Two surveys have purported to show 97% of climate scientists supporting the supposed “consensus”. In both, 97% agreed little more than that the world has warmed since 1950. So what? One involved just 79 scientists, hardly a scientific sample size. Neither was selected to eliminate bias. Neither asked whether manmade global warming was at all likely to prove catastrophic – a question expecting the answer “No.”

Claiming that the “consensus” is one of revered experts is the argumentum ad verecundiam, the fallacy of appeal to authority. T.H. Huxley said in 1860, “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties: blind faith the one unpardonable sin.”

Believers talk of a “consensus of evidence”. Yet evidence cannot hold opinions. Besides, there has been no global warming for 18 years; sea level has risen for eight years at just 1.3 in/century; notwithstanding Sandy, hurricane activity is at its least in the 33-year satellite record; ocean heat content is rising four and a half times more slowly than predicted; global sea-ice extent has changed little; Himalayan glaciers have not lost ice; and the U.N.’s 2005 prediction of 50 million “climate refugees” by 2010 was absurd. The evidence does not support catastrophism.

Believers say: “Only if we include a strong warming effect from CO2 can we explain the past 60 years’ warming. We know of no other reason.” This is the argumentum ad ignorantiam, the fundamental fallacy of argument from ignorance. Besides, natural variability is reason enough.

They say: “Global warming is accelerating, so we are to blame.” Even if warming were accelerating, this non sequitur is an instance of the argumentum ad causam falsam, the fallacy of arguing from a false cause. They go on to say: “CO2 concentration has risen; warming has occurred; the former caused the latter.” This is the post hoc ergo propter hoc sub-species of the same fallacy.

They say: “What about the cuddly polar bears?” This is the argumentum ad misericordiam, the fallacy of needless pity. There are five times as many polar bears as there were in the 1940s – hardly, as you may think, the profile of a species at imminent threat of extinction. No need to pity the bears, and they are not cuddly.

They say: “We tell the models there will be strong CO2- driven warming. And, yes, the models predict it.” This is the fallacy of arguing in circles, the argumentum ad petitionem principii, where the premise is the conclusion.

They say: “Global warming caused extra-tropical storm Sandy.” This inappropriate argument from the general to the particular is the argumentum a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid, the fallacy of accident. Individual extreme events cannot be ascribed to global warming.

They say: “Melting Arctic sea ice is a symptom of global warming.” This unsound argument from the particular to the general is the argumentum a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter, the fallacy of converse accident. Arctic sea ice is melting, but the Antarctic has cooled for 30 years and the sea ice there is growing, so the decline in Arctic sea ice does not indicate a global problem.

They say: “Monckton says he’s a member of the House of Lords, but the Clerk says he isn’t, so he’s not credible.” This is the argumentum ad hominem, a shoddy sub- species of ignoratio elenchi, the fundamental red-herring fallacy of ignorance of how a true argument is conducted.

They say: “We don’t care what the truth is. We want more power, tax and regulation. Global warming is our pretext. If you disagree, we will haul you before the International Climate Court.” This is the nastiest of all logical fallacies: the argumentum ad baculum, the argument of force.

These numerous in-your-face illogicalities provoke four questions: Has the Earth warmed as predicted? If not, why not? What if I am wrong? And what if I am right?

Q1. Has the Earth warmed as predicted? In 1990 the IPCC predicted that the world would now be warming at 0.3 Cº/decade, and that by now more than 0.6 Cº warming would have occurred. The outturn was less than half that: just 0.14 Cº/decade and 0.3 Cº in all.

In 2008 leading modellers wrote:

“The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 years or more, suggesting that an absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the observed warming rate.”

Yet the linear trend on the Hadley/CRU monthly global temperature anomalies for the 18 years 1995-2012 shows no statistically-significant warming, even though the partial pressure of CO2 rose by about a tenth in that time.

The modellers’ own explicit criterion proves their scary predictions exaggerated. Their vaunted “consensus” was wrong. Global warming that was predicted for tomorrow but has not occurred for 18 years until today cannot have caused Sandy or Bopha yesterday, now, can it?

Q2: Why was the “consensus” wrong? Why do the models exaggerate? The climate-sensitivity equation says warming is the product of a forcing and a sensitivity parameter. Three problems: the modellers’ definition of forcing is illogical; their assumptions about the sensitivity parameter are not falsifiable; and their claims that their long-term predictions of doom are reliable are not only empirically disproven but theoretically insupportable.

Modellers define forcing as the net down-minus-up flux of radiation at the tropopause, with surface temperature fixed. Yet forcings change surface temperature. So the definition offends against the fundamental postulate of logic that a proposition and its converse cannot coexist. No surprise, then, that since 1995 the IPCC has had to cut its estimate of the CO2 forcing by 15%. The “consensus” disagrees with itself. Note in passing that the CO2 forcing function is logarithmic: each further molecule causes less warming than those before it. Diminishing returns apply.

Direct warming is little more than 1 Cº per CO2 doubling, well within natural variability. It is not a crisis. So the modellers introduce amplifying or “positive” temperature feedbacks, which, they hope, triple the direct warming from CO2. Yet this dubious hypothesis is not Popper- falsifiable, so it is not logic and not science. Not one of the imagined feedbacks is either empirically measurable or theoretically determinable by any reliable method. As an expert reviewer for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, I have justifiably excoriated its net-positive feedbacks as guesswork – uneducated guesswork at that.

For there is a very powerful theoretical reason why the modellers’ guess that feedbacks triple direct warming is erroneous. The closed-loop feedback gain implicit in the IPCC’s climate-sensitivity interval 3.3[2.0, 4.5] Cº per CO2 doubling falls on the interval 0.62[0.42, 0.74]. However, process engineers building electronic circuits, who invented feedback mathematics, tell us any loop gain much above zero is far too near the singularity – at a loop gain of 1 – in the feedback-amplification function.

At high gain, the geological record would show violent oscillations between extremes of warming and cooling. Yet for 64 million years the Earth’s surface temperature has fluctuated by only 3%, or 8 Cº, either side of the long- run mean. These fluctuations can give us an ice-planet at one moment and a hothouse Earth the next, but they are altogether inconsistent with a loop gain anywhere near as close to the singularity as modellers’ estimates imply.

Surface temperature changes little, for homoeostatic conditions prevail. The atmosphere’s lower bound, the ocean, is a vast heat-sink 1100 times denser than the air: one reason why 3000 bathythermographs deployed in 2006 have detected no significant ocean warming. The atmosphere’s upper bound is outer space, to which any excess heat radiates harmlessly away. Homoeostasis, then, is what we should expect, and it is what we get. Thus the climatic loop gain cannot much exceed zero, so the warming at CO2 doubling will be a harmless 1 Cº.

Yet the overriding difficulty in trying to model the climate is that it behaves as a chaotic object. We can never measure the values of its millions of defining parameters at any chosen moment to a sufficient precision to permit reliable projection of the bifurcations, or Sandy-like departures from an apparently steady state, that are inherent in the evolution of all objects that behave chaotically. Therefore, reliable, very-long-term modelling of future climate states is unattainable a priori.

The IPCC tries to overcome this actually insuperable Lorenz constraint on modelling by estimating climate sensitivity via a probability-density function. Yet PDFs require more, not less, information than simple estimates flanked by error-whiskers, and are still less likely to be reliable. The modellers are guessing. Their guesses have been proven wrong. Yet they continue to demand our acquiescence in an imagined (and imaginary) consensus.

Q3: What if I am wrong? If so, we must travel from physics to economics. Pretend, ad argumentum, that the IPCC’s central estimate of 2.8 Cº warming by 2100 is true, and that Stern was right to say that the cost of failing to prevent warming of that order this century will be about 1.5% of GDP. Then, at the minimum 5% market inter-temporal discount rate, the cost of trying to abate this decade’s predicted warming of 0.15 Cº by typical CO2-mitigation schemes as cost-ineffective as Australia’s carbon tax would be 48 times greater than the cost of later adaptation. At a zero discount rate, the cost of acting now exceeds that of adapting in the future 36 times over.

How so? Australia emits just 1.2% of Man’s CO2, of which Ms. Gillard aims to cut 5% this decade, abating 0.06% of global emissions by 2020. Then CO2 concentration will fall from a predicted 410 μatm to 409.988 μatm. In turn predicted temperature will fall by 0.00006 Cº. But the cost will be $130 billion ($2 quadrillion/Cº). Abating the

0.15 Cº warming predicted for this decade would thus cost $317 trillion, or $45,000/head worldwide, or 59% of global GDP. Mitigation measures inexpensive enough to be affordable will thus be ineffective: measures expensive enough to be effective will be unaffordable. Since the premium vastly exceeds the cost of the risk, don’t insure. That is a precautionary principle worthy of the name.

Q4: What if I am right? When I am proven right, the Climate Change Department will be swept away; Britain’s annual deficit will fall by a fifth; the bat-blatting, bird- blending windmills that scar our green and pleasant land will go; the world will refocus on real environmental problems like deforestation on land, overfishing at sea and pollution of the air; the U.N.’s ambition to turn itself into a grim, global dictatorship with overriding powers of taxation and economic and environmental intervention will be thwarted; and the aim of science to supplant true religion as the world’s new, dismal, cheerless credo will be deservedly, decisively, definitively defeated.

Any who say “I believe” are not scientists, for true scientists say “I wonder”. We require – nay, we demand – more awe and greater curiosity from our scientists, and less political “correctness” and co-ordinated credulity.

To the global classe politique, the placemen, bureaucrats, academics, scientists, journalists and enviros who have profiteered at our expense by peddling Thermageddon, I say this. The science is in; the truth is out; Al Gore is through; the game is up; and the scare is over.

To those scientists who aim to end the Age of Reason and Enlightenment, I say this. Logic stands implacable in your path. We will never let you have your new Dark Age.

To men of goodwill, lovers of logic, I say this. It is our faculty of reason, the greatest of the soul’s three powers, that marks us out from the beasts and brings us closest in likeness to our Creator, the Lord of Life and Light. We will never let the light of Reason be snuffed out.

Do not go gentle to that last goodnight – Rage, rage against the dying of the light!

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400 thoughts on “The logical case against climate panic

  1. If the warmists were logical beings, we would never have gotten into this mess in the first place.

  2. I still think Willis nailed it, ie, the belt of thunderstorms around the equator act to cool the earth. The heat gets lofted above most of the CO2 so it radiiates straight out. Thus the 1 C warming due to AGW doubling the CO2 is only hypothetical. The dynamics of the earths thermostat might reduce that from 1 C to 0.3 C for example. We probably will never know, as it is too small to measure.

  3. Brilliant essay, Lord Monckton. I have long bristled at the endless parade of fallacies trotted out by believers in cAGW. This essay wonderfully summarizes the lot of them, even a few I wasn’t aware of. Thank you, and best wishes for a 2013 where we, hopefully, see the death spiral of cAGW continue.

  4. Good paper.
    I am familiar with the survey of 79 people, 77 of whom gave the 97% answer, but would be interested in knowing the origin of the other survey you talk about.
    Thanks, and keep up the good work.

  5. “For there is a very powerful theoretical reason why the modellers’ guess that feedbacks triple direct warming is erroneous. The closed-loop feedback gain implicit in the IPCC’s climate-sensitivity interval 3.3[2.0, 4.5] Cº per CO2 doubling falls on the interval 0.62[0.42, 0.74]. However, process engineers building electronic circuits, who invented feedback mathematics, tell us any loop gain much above zero is far too near the singularity – at a loop gain of 1 – in the feedback-amplification function.”

    In fact, the whole of AGW is theoretical with nothing behind it but the absorbency spectrum of CO2 -thin soup, indeed. The so called “climate sensitivity” factor is a theoretical pretension in view of the incontrovertible fact that the true metric of global warmth is ocean heat content. Once again, global climate modeling is nothing but a feed trough for AGU types.

  6. Always good to read Lord Monckton’s writings.

    It’s not that the argumentum ad populum is deployed by agenda pushers, but that it ain’t true in any case. The 97% is a well known figure from a manipulated poll based on a sub-sample of 79 chosen from a larger sample. And in the argumentum ad verucundiam one often hears statements like “all the great scientific bodies agree that . . . is true,” as if that alone is sufficient to make it true.

    But pull away the curtains, and you see how these pronouncements, instead of being the distilled wisdom of thousands of experts, are just statements made by committees of a few individuals, mostly echoing similar statements made by other committees. Nowhere does one find anything more than opinion – and normally that which follows a particular fashion that happens to be the force de jeur.

    Sometimes, these statements are so outrageously anti-science, that member of those bodies – the actual scientists who should be counted as the true experts – protest against this tarnishing of their august bodies. This has happened within the American Physical Society and the Royal Society. But, by and large, nothing much changes, and the fascade of consensus of experts continues to echo down through the media and the various government apparatchiks whose jobs it is to push their bureaucratic agendas.

    There is nothing so bad as the argumentums ad populum and ad verucundiam.

  7. After all your rambling, you still do not answer the most basic of questions: Why is it not a good thing to develop alternative energies? What is the harm in cleaning up the environment? Surely you do not deny that there are serious ill health effects of fossil fuel mining and use? That we are still burning up the house to keep the family warm? That fossil fuel supplies are finite? That there are readily available alternatives which are economically scalable if only they were adequately supported? Development of clean, renewable energy will stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life for all living things on the planet. So please explain why you oppose an orderly, economical transition to readily available alternative energies? You say the “alarmists” are motivated by profits. Yet it is you who are affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a noted man cave for fire-breathing fossil fuel behemoths. Anthony and friends, you can parse the particulars until kingdom come, but fossil fuels are still the Earth’s Goliath. Humanity is still David. The only question is what are we going to put in our slingshot, and why are we so slow in getting about the business so clearly at hand? Need leadership is needed now. Join the good guys.

    REPLY: Instead of making assumptions from your personal biases, you might want to read my about page Pat, and note what alternative energy and conservation measures I actually do.

    I look forward to you demonstrating how you’ve done similar things of substance in your own life rather than just bloviating about what everyone else should do, while proclaiming yourself to be “one of the good guys”. Please do demonstrate your own personal actions in these areas, or kindly shut up. – Anthony

    • @Pat Ravasio ..and another thing. I’ve never taken a dime from any fossil fuel interests, and your smear by association is just that: a smear. Prove it or shut the hell up as I’m really getting tired of this sort of crap. Maybe it is time I make an example out of somebody. I’m also not a “denier” as you claim in your blog. The greenhouse effect from CO2 exists, I and many others simply think it is oversold and far less of a problem than it is claimed to be. Over a decade of no warming seems to back that up.

      So per my comment addendum to your comment above, man up, show you’ve done something of substance (like install alternate energy you preach about) other than lecture to other people about how they should conduct their lives and their affairs.

      Otherwise, if you can’t/won’t, it will be the permanent bit bucket for you, as I don’t want to waste time on your baseless taunts any further. – Anthony

  8. Christopher:

    The above article is – even by your high standards – a tour de force of logical argument. It is worth copying and filing for reference. Thankyou.

    I write with reference to your answer to your ‘Question 1’ that begins

    Q1. Has the Earth warmed as predicted?
    In 1990 the IPCC predicted that the world would now be warming at 0.3 Cº/decade, and that by now more than 0.6 Cº warming would have occurred. The outturn was less than half that: just 0.14 Cº/decade and 0.3 Cº in all.
    etc.

    I know why the climate models do not – and cannot – predict climate of the real Earth.
    At most only one of climate models emulates the climate system of the real Earth and it is probable that none of them does.
    It seems appropriate for me to explain this again for the benefit of people who may not have seen it.

    None of the models – not one of them – could match the change in mean global temperature over the past century if it did not utilise a unique value of assumed cooling from aerosols. So, inputting actual values of the cooling effect (such as the determination by Penner et al.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/07/25/1018526108.full.pdf?with-ds=yes )
    would make every climate model provide a mismatch between the global warming it hindcasts and the observed global warming for the twentieth century.

    This mismatch would occur because all the global climate models and energy balance models are known to provide indications which are based on
    1.
    the assumed degree of forcings resulting from human activity that produce warming
    and
    2.
    the assumed degree of anthropogenic aerosol cooling input to each model as a ‘fiddle factor’ to obtain agreement between past average global temperature and the model’s indications of average global temperature.

    More than a decade ago I published a peer-reviewed paper that showed the UK’s Hadley Centre general circulation model (GCM) could not model climate and only obtained agreement between past average global temperature and the model’s indications of average global temperature by forcing the agreement with an input of assumed anthropogenic aerosol cooling.

    The input of assumed anthropogenic aerosol cooling is needed because the model ‘ran hot’; i.e. it showed an amount and a rate of global warming which was greater than was observed over the twentieth century. This failure of the model was compensated by the input of assumed anthropogenic aerosol cooling.

    And my paper demonstrated that the assumption of aerosol effects being responsible for the model’s failure was incorrect.
    (ref. Courtney RS An assessment of validation experiments conducted on computer models of global climate using the general circulation model of the UK’s Hadley Centre Energy & Environment, Volume 10, Number 5, pp. 491-502, September 1999).

    More recently, in 2007, Kiehle published a paper that assessed 9 GCMs and two energy balance models.
    (ref. Kiehl JT,Twentieth century climate model response and climate sensitivity. GRL vol.. 34, L22710, doi:10.1029/2007GL031383, 2007).

    Kiehl found the same as my paper except that each model he assessed used a different aerosol ‘fix’ from every other model. This is because they all ‘run hot’ but they each ‘run hot’ to a different degree.

    He says in his paper:

    One curious aspect of this result is that it is also well known [Houghton et al., 2001] that the same models that agree in simulating the anomaly in surface air temperature differ significantly in their predicted climate sensitivity. The cited range in climate sensitivity from a wide collection of models is usually 1.5 to 4.5 deg C for a doubling of CO2, where most global climate models used for climate change studies vary by at least a factor of two in equilibrium sensitivity.

    The question is: if climate models differ by a factor of 2 to 3 in their climate sensitivity, how can they all simulate the global temperature record with a reasonable degree of accuracy.
    Kerr [2007] and S. E. Schwartz et al. (Quantifying climate change–too rosy a picture?, available at http://www.nature.com/reports/climatechange, 2007 ) recently pointed out the importance of understanding the answer to this question. Indeed, Kerr [2007] referred to the present work and the current paper provides the ‘‘widely circulated analysis’’ referred to by Kerr [2007]. This report investigates the most probable explanation for such an agreement. It uses published results from a wide variety of model simulations to understand this apparent paradox between model climate responses for the 20th century, but diverse climate model sensitivity.

    And, importantly, Kiehl’s paper says:

    These results explain to a large degree why models with such diverse climate sensitivities can all simulate the global anomaly in surface temperature. The magnitude of applied anthropogenic total forcing compensates for the model sensitivity.

    And the “magnitude of applied anthropogenic total forcing” is fixed in each model by the input value of aerosol forcing.

    Thanks to Bill Illis, Kiehl’s Figure 2 can be seen at

    Please note that the Figure is for 9 GCMs and 2 energy balance models, and its title is:

    Figure 2. Total anthropogenic forcing (Wm2) versus aerosol forcing (Wm2) from nine fully coupled climate models and two energy balance models used to simulate the 20th century.

    It shows that
    (a) each model uses a different value for “Total anthropogenic forcing” that is in the range 0.80 W/m^-2 to 2.02 W/m^-2
    but
    (b) each model is forced to agree with the rate of past warming by using a different value for “Aerosol forcing” that is in the range -1.42 W/m^-2 to -0.60 W/m^-2.

    In other words the models use values of “Total anthropogenic forcing” that differ by a factor of more than 2.5 and they are ‘adjusted’ by using values of assumed “Aerosol forcing” that differ by a factor of 2.4.

    So, each climate model emulates a different climate system. Hence, at most only one of them emulates the climate system of the real Earth because there is only one Earth. And the fact that they each ‘run hot’ to a different degree unless fiddled by use of a completely arbitrary ‘aerosol cooling’ strongly suggests that none of them emulates the climate system of the real Earth.

    Richard

  9. Excellent summary of the state of logic in our new post-sentient times.

    Note: needs a break-point somewhere near the initiation so it does not dominate main page, even though it is good that it does.

  10. There is one aspect often left out in this sort of lists – if we really knew what human contribution to climate would look like, AGW adherents would have no problem to discuss geoengineering against it.

  11. “They say: “We tell the models there will be strong CO2- driven warming. And, yes, the models predict it.” This is the fallacy of arguing in circles, the argumentum ad petitionem principii, where the premise is the conclusion.’
    I think it’s also called ‘GARBAGE IN — GARBAGE OUT’

  12. Unfortunately, Chris, I fear you are going to have to say it a few more times yet. When these people start cursing the darkness they probably won’t remember your words.

  13. The Good Lord has spoken in a wonderful manner. As to who will rise to the challenge and how they will do it? May I offer some advice:

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/archives/2012/1221/business/engineer-to-challenge-governmentaposs-renewable-energy-programme-217634.html

    One passage in the introduction section of the site entitled “The Citizen’s Handbook; [14] A bridge to strong democracy” reads as follows;

    “When citizens get together at the neighbourhood level, they generate a number of remarkable side effects. One of these is strengthened democracy. In simple terms, democracy means that the people decide. Political scientists describe our system of voting every few years but otherwise leaving everything up to government as weak democracy. In weak democracy, citizens have no role, no real part in decision-making between elections. Experts assume responsibility for deciding how to deal with important public issues. The great movement of the last decades of the twentieth century has been a drive towards stronger democracy in corporations, institutions and governments. In many cities this has resulted in the formal recognition of neighbourhood groups as a link between people and municipal government, and a venue for citizen participation in decision-making between elections.”

    Lord Monckton has hit the nail on the head – we have a weak democracy. Those of us qualified in logic and reason need to get active. A Scottish Grandmother can rise to the challenge; 2013 will be interesting for the above. It will be even more interesting if more rise to the challenge:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/argyll-grandmother-takes-uk-and-eu-to-the-united-nations-over-plans-to-turn-scotland-into-windfarm-hedgehog-8399574.html

  14. Thank you Lord Monckton. Most of the Latin I know I have learned from you.

    “They say: “We don’t care what the truth is. We want more power, tax and regulation. Global warming is our pretext. If you disagree, we will haul you before the International Climate Court.” This is the nastiest of all logical fallacies: the argumentum ad baculum, the argument of force.”

    Fallacy possibly, but it is at least the truth.

    As the CAGW excuse collapses, another must take its place. The desire for global power and socialist redistribution will never vanish. If I were a warmist I would be working vigorously behind the scenes to develop an alternate excuse for global socialism. A non-anthropogenic global cooling might be effective. Although true they couldn’t blame Man, they could argue it will take the same global effort to prevent the catastrophe.

    So even after the demise of CAGW, WUWT will still be here, fighting the good fight.

  15. I liked it until you started talking about religion… Just like the last article. It simply isn’t necessary and detracts from the scientific and logical merit of your case. “Closest in likeness to our Creator?” Ugh.

  16. That there are readily available alternatives which are economically scalable if only they were adequately supported?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Ah yes, the magic of adequate support. The notion that if alternatives were economical they wouldn’t need support in the first place seems to have eluded the troll. She thinks that “support” is free, and has no impact on the economy. In brief, she believes in magic.

    That is the problem we face today. People believe in magic. With apologies to Arthur C Clarke, any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from science.

    An excellent essay Christopher Monckton. But the sad fact is that the answer to the troll’s question is contained in the article itself, yet still she demands the adoption of magic as being logical.

  17. Lord Monckton,
    I’m wondering if Australia is really cutting CO2 emissions at all in view of their huge coal exports to many countries. I’d love to hear your take on this question.
    Mike Bryant

  18. If, as you say, logic is a cornerstone of religion, and CAGW is a religion, then logic must be a cornerstone of CAGW. No?

    Personally I don’t think religions use much logic. Making proclamations without evidence is not logical. That’s religion in a nutshell, IMHO.

  19. Just to fill in a citation for Lord Monckton (the “believers” in his following statement):

    Believers say: “Only if we include a strong warming effect from CO2 can we explain the past 60 years’ warming. We know of no other reason.”

    This is almost an exact quotation from the official APS statement on climate change, as clarified in 2010:

    While there are factors driving the natural variability of climate (e.g., volcanoes, solar variability, oceanic oscillations), no known natural mechanisms have been proposed that explain all of the observed warming in the past century.

    In particular, they are talking about post-1980 warming, as their next sentence makes clear:

    Warming is observed in land-surface temperatures, sea-surface temperatures, and for the last 30 years, lower-atmosphere temperatures measured by satellite.

    This warming cannot have been caused by the sun, you see, because as numerous “consensus” scientists have noted, solar activity was not going up over this period, but only persisted at a high level (whether extraordinarily high, as Usoskin estimates, or merely high, as Muscheler estimates). A persistent high level of forcing can’t cause continued warming. That is their so-called “physics.” I call it “Newton’s fourth law”: that temperature is driven not by the level of the forcing but by the rate of change in the forcing. Affirmed by the APS itself!

    Note also how the APS statement inverts the scientific method. “No known natural mechanism.” They don’t know what the mechanism is, so they are going to ignore the strong evidence, now admitted by the IPCC itself, that SOME substantial mechanism of solar amplification seems to be at work. Argument by exclusion, Newton’s 4th law, and inversion of the scientific method. This is our new APS, as transformed by government funding of climate alarm.

  20. Global warming, the tool of the West

    By Stanislav Mishin

    For years, the Elites of the West have cranked up the myth of Man Made Global Warming as a means first and foremost to control the lives and behaviors of their populations. Knowing full well that their “produce in China and sell in the West” model and its [consequent] spiral downward in wages and thus standards of living, was unsustainable, the elites moved to use this new “science” to guilt trip and scare monger their populations into smaller and more conservatives forms of living. In other words, they coasted them into the poverty that the greed and treason of those said same elites was already creating in their native lands.

    What better way to staunch protests at worsening economic and life conditions than to make it feel like an honourable job/duty of the people to save “Gaea”. At the same time, they used this “science” as a new pagan religion to further push out the Christianity they hate and despise and most of all, fear? Gaea worship, the earth “mother”, has been pushed in popular culture oozing out of the West for a better part of the past 1.5 decades. This is a religion replete with an army of priests, called Government Grant Scientists.

    Various groups have fought back. This is including Russian hackers, who published a huge database of UK government, scientific and university emails depicting the fixing of data to sell Global Warming, er Climate Change (as if it never changed on its own). And while taking hit after hit, the beast, like Al Quida, will not die. As a matter of fact, the beast is on a steady come back, as it is quite useful during the down times recession. The US alone spends $7 billion each year on warming “studies”, which is, in truth, nothing but a huge money laundering operation, as no real science is conducted and vapid alarmist reports the only product generated.

    http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/04-01-2013/123380-global_warming-0/

  21. All in all a nice essay, but it seems confused about the subject of “formal logic”. Modern formal logic, as developed by Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, and others, does not contain a classification of fallacies or concern itself with questions of consensus, authority, and ignorance.

    Modern logic is just a part of mathematics. Einstein summed it up best: “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” This applies to logic also – on its own, logic alone does not allow us to mount a case against some contention of empirical science (such as “thermaggedon”). Only if such a contention could be shown to logically contradict itself would there be “a logical case” against it.

  22. Pat Ravasio says: January 6, 2013 at 10:45 am
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You got what you asked for Pat. You reveal yourself as one who has uncritically swallowed the whole bucket of swill. There is no room here for you until you get an education, and you can’t get an education until you learn how to tell an education from an indoctrination. Good luck.

  23. Christopher Monckton says: “Believers say: “Only if we include a strong warming effect from CO2 can we explain the past 60 years’ warming. We know of no other reason.” This is the argumentum ad ignorantiam, the fundamental fallacy of argument from ignorance.”

    We see very few scientific unions, academic institutions, publications, journals, or societies were able to recognize this problem with the AGW hypothesis. May I suggest that one reason for the collective blindness to this methodology in climate science is because it has been an argument used by all of the sciences for so long, that it is not recognized for what it is?

    What made all of science plunge past the tipping point into the doctrine of global warming? Perhaps it wasn’t just the sudden funding and the glamour, the glories and perks of advocacy, the hazy halcyon idea of doing “public good” and “saving the planet,” and the allure of being an elite able to set the planet’s temperature and population, that made all of science stumble and lose its way. “Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.” The error was very likely deeply systemic before climate science came along. That error was the argument from ignorance. “We excluded all other possibilities, so this must be the cause. Trust us.”

    The next object is “sustainability” measures through terrifying and sweeping prophecies of the future. In the Anthropocene Age, frightening “tipping points” exist in all natural systems of the “fragile earth,” ready to collapse catastrophically because of the fires, electricity, crops, cattle, and water we use to live our lives at liberty.

  24. Sounds a lot like the Begging The Question Fallacy, Mike. You can’t dismiss an argument simply because you dislike the postulates.

  25. Dear Christopher Monckton, notably absent from your list of fallacies was the “straw man.” Pat Ravasio most kindly drew our attention to this omission and supplied an excellent example.

  26. Unfortunately the MSM gives pseudo-science as much print as the science it supposedly counters. There in lies the problem. When science literacy comes from the MSM for the general public and the MSM has sold the farm on true journalism in favour of “Fear Marketing”, the public becomes believers in sensational pseudo-science over the real (sometimes boring )science.

    I wish I had an answer to this big problem in society.

  27. Doubtless, it reveals shortcomings in my education, but I had never read:
    ” Once everyone studied the Classics, to know that in logic there is a difference between true and false; the Sciences, to discern where it lies; and Religion, to appreciate why it matters.”

    What a marvelous statement. Thank you Lord Monckton

  28. Ravasio,

    “That there are readily available alternatives which are economically scalable if only they were adequately supported? Development of clean, renewable energy will stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life for all living things on the planet. So please explain why you oppose an orderly, economical transition to readily available alternative energies?”

    The cost of energy determines prosperity. Energy sources have been sought since time immemorial, and continue to be sought. The last significant new source was nuclear energy, which never could have been developed without the Manhattan Project, in search of a weapon to end WWII. The project was funded because the initial experiments of Curie and Becquerel, followed by many up to and including Fermi, showed that the principle was unquestionably true.

    There is nothing else in front of us resembling this. All renewable sources are uneconomic by huge factors compared to fossil fuels, and would bankrupt nations and create mass poverty. This is basically because of energy density. 1370 watts per square meter from Father Sol is just not enough, as Mother Nature has been concentrating sunshine in the form of fossil fuels for eons. People never choose poverty!

    Governments are incompetent to develop any new technologies other than weapons. Space Ship One has technology far superior to NASA, who crashed a satellite on Mars because someone did not understand the difference between inches and millimeters. Solyndra and many other “Green” federally-funded start-ups have wasted billions and produced nothing. The US government cannot even run the Senate Lunchroom at a profit!

    Let the market forces do what they inevitably will. Contradict Monckton, if you are able. Otherwise, consider the probability that you have chosen the wrong road.

  29. To men of goodwill, lovers of logic, I say this. It is our faculty of reason, the greatest of the soul’s three powers, that marks us out from the beasts and brings us closest in likeness to our Creator, the Lord of Life and Light. We will never let the light of Reason be snuffed out.

    Once again, the essay is marred by a number of flaws.

    First, wrapping an essay accusing anyone who thinks there is evidence of an ongoing global climate catastrophe as being religious within a religious wrapper invoking G. K. Chesterton (speaking, IIRC, in the persona of Father Brown) at one end and ending with an invocation of a Creators, Lord of Life and Light at the other end is oxymoronic in the extreme. You bewail the cost of a new “religion”. Look back at the cost, historically, of actual religion in general, or its ongoing cost today. Not that I don’t love the Father Brown stories myself, but Chesterton’s Christian apologia was nonsense then and remains so today.

    Your essay would be immeasurably strengthened by leaving out the prologue and epilogue, because there is not a single argument you make concerning the ill-use of logic in climate science arguments (posing it as a false analogy as a religion) that cannot be brought to bear with far greater reason on the ill-use of religion itself in climate arguments, or on the ill-use of logic in religious argumentation. The minute you assert believe in the invisible logic and reason fly out the door, and if you think climate feedbacks are empirically “invisible”, try a sentient First Cause.

    You would in this way also avoid irritating readers that are not, in fact, Christian. Not simply atheists such as myself, but it is at least conceivable that they might be read by Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews.

    Second, while I found much of your essay compelling and incisive, a second place and reason that at least muting the “Global Warming is a New Religion” assertion is a good idea is that your essay come dangerously close to accusing everybody that disagrees with you or supports the conclusion of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming of being unscientific and/or religious. If this was your serious intent, well, I disagree and think that is actually rather silly. It is important to recognize that scientists acting in the best of faith and good will might well disagree (and often do). What useful purpose is served when group of scientists involved in the debate accuse the other of religious thinking as an insult, as a negative comment (since religious belief is the opposite of reason in all contexts where it occurs, but especially in the realm of science)? None that I can see.

    As a sociological observation, I think it has some merit. It is truly difficult for most people to become sufficiently expert in all things to be able to fairly judge things like whether or not smoking causes cancer, or neutrinos have mass, or carrying a cell phone in your pocket is safe. When we lack the time or the wit to laboriously run down and read the peer-reviewed literature and judge for ourselves, we generally rely on the “authority” of the “scientific consensus” on such issues. We have little choice. I am rather better and more broadly educated in logic, science, and religion (your trifecta of the classical scholar) than most humans (a simple fact that I offer without any particular pride in it) and yet I find that I must turn to my wife the physician constantly lest I speak my beliefs about almost any aspect of medicine and have those casually founded beliefs turn out not to be the best beliefs, the things you want to perpetuate by passing them on. I must turn to the great oracle and brain of the modern world, Google and Wikipedia, even to refresh my memory of things I have actually studied and know fairly well, and to go beyond them to textbooks, also written by “authorities”, or the literature when the first two fail or appear likely to be unsound or I really need to see the results themselves to judge.

    And then there is the vast array of things I have not studied in any depth and have little knowledge even of the methods involved in the discipline, where I am as ignorant as your average person picked at random off of the street. My beliefs in such matters are necessarily entirely “religious” because I haven’t had the time and/or inclination to pursue anything beyond the organized and mostly reliable “hearsay” of academic authority.

    Note well, mostly reliable. Or if you prefer, reliable up to a point, more often than not, but sometimes entirely unreliable.

    It is not, actually, a failure of reason to rely on this unreliable authority, as long as it is done with a grain of salt and with a certain amount of Kentucky Windage, or Bayesian weighting of your beliefs considering their source. Some sources of knowledge are more reliable than others, some “authorities” more likely to actually prove authoritative if one takes the trouble to pursue matters all the way down to the published literature. And even there, as our friend Lief Svalgaard keeps pointing out (not that I don’t know it equally well from my own direct experience) there is nothing magical about something being found in peer-reviewed literature. Peer review is necessarily and correctly tolerant where the claims are speculative but supported, and it is up to the reader to judge the degree to which the evidence actually supports the claims.

    As a student of logic, surely you owe it to yourself to sooner or later read Jaynes’ Probability Theory, the Logic of Science. At least one version of it is still free online, although the paper posthumous book is well worth owning.

    Regarding your actual conclusions (after mentally erasing the parts of your arguments that were themselves logically unsound), overall I agree with the assertion that CAGW is proven. I agree with the proposition that CAGW is unlikely. I do not agree with the proposition that it is so unlikely as to be considered “disproven” (highly implausible).

    If I were for a moment to play the Advocatus Diaboli in the discussion, however, I would note in the defense of the climate scientists who might be in good will misled by Global Circulation Models whether or not you consider them “falsifiable” — and your asserting that they are not does not make that so — they are, generally, based on actual physics. They may get the physics wrong, they may use the wrong parameter estimates, they may or may not work, their use of ensemble averages to predict most probable trajectories may not be correct, but that doesn’t mean that they are not science or that they qualify as religion.

    Getting the physics wrong is a reasonable thing to assert, if you are prepared to defend the assertion and make it specific (as how can one respond to “you got the physics wrong”). Getting model parameters wrong is equally reasonable to claim — if you have explored the parametric variation yourself and have something constructive to say about the result of that exploration. Asserting that they don’t work (by which I mean they actually do the computations incorrectly, something that is quite likely given their complexity) is best done with direct evidence of places where they give the wrong answers, ideally published alongside the fit.

    Finally, asserting that the ensemble average of GCMs (for any unknown combination of the previous reasons) is a poor predictor of the future is at least something that can be verified as time passes. But it isn’t easy to verify this claim, or falsify the GCMs, because we have reliable data on only a 33 year segment, with somewhat less reliable data available for perhaps twice that long, and rather unreliable data available before that. Over 33 years, given the noise in initial conditions and starting conditions and the size of the natural variations, the same things that make it difficult for one to confirm CAGW as a hypothesis make it difficult to disprove it, at least disprove it yet.

    rgb

  30. Friends:

    In the past it was common for trolls to claim the Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is not a “real” Lord. They did this as an attempt to distract attention from anything Lord Monckton said.

    That tactic of distraction is no longer possible, so another method of distraction seems to have been adopted and it worked on another WUWT thread.

    Now it is common for trolls to distract from the subject of an article by Lord Monckton by promoting the religion of atheism. Several have already tried it on this thread.

    Everybody: please, please don’t bite at that ‘red herring’ or this thread will be destroyed as the other was.

    Richard

  31. Monckton gets his message posted on WUWT, while Prince Charlie exploits his FUTURE grandchildren on mainstream TV in the name of CAGW. the Daily Mail headline pre-empts prospective grandfatherhood:

    6 Jan: Daily Mail: Richard Hartley-parkinson: Prince Charles says becoming a grandfather has boosted his environmental beliefs saying he doesn’t want to ‘hand on an increasingly dysfunctional world’
    The Prince of Wales has spoken about how the prospect of becoming a grandfather is spurring his environmental beliefs, saying he does not want to ‘hand on an increasingly dysfunctional world’
    Prince Charles, an outspoken campaigner on environmental issues, told ITV’s This Morning that he did not want the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s child, due to be born next summer, to ask him why he had not done more to tackle issues like climate change…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2257993/Prince-Charles-says-grandfather-boosted-environmental-beliefs-saying-doesnt-want-hand-increasingly-dysfunctional-world.html

  32. Michael Palmer says:
    January 6, 2013 at 11:51 am

    – on its own, logic alone does not allow us to mount a case against some contention of empirical science (such as “thermaggedon”). Only if such a contention could be shown to logically contradict itself would there be “a logical case” against it.
    —————————————————————————————————————–
    Trouble with your statement Mike is that “thermageddon” is not empirical science but model gymnastics and propaganda. Einstein’s criteria that if only one piece of empirical evidence does not agree with a theory then the theory is wrong has validated the logical case that has proved the falsehood of AGW.

  33. ” Restalrig says:
    January 6, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Oh dear, Lord Monckton, an interesting essay sullied with nonsenical references to mythology.”

    And of course you swallow the AGW myth?? lol

  34. Perhaps someone can explain this effect of increased CO2.

    1878 CET January Maximum for every day of the month varies from 3.3 to 12.5 deg C.
    The difference between max and min varies between 2 and 6.2 deg C,

    2012 CET January Maximum for every day of the month varies from 1.9 to 11.1 deg C.
    The difference between max and min varies between 1.3 to 13.4 deg C.

    Apart from the one day when the max-min was 1.3 deg every other day for 2012 was at least 3 deg.

    The average difference for January 1878 was 4 deg C and for 2012 it was 6 deg C.

    Dosen’t look like the minimums are warming faster than the maximums to me, quite the reverse.

  35. Pat Ravasio says:
    January 6, 2013 at 10:45 am
    After all your rambling, you still do not answer the most basic of questions: Why is it not a good thing to (take mitigation measures now instead of adapting when and if it happens)?

    ——————————

    You argue from the precautionary principle – which was addressed by Monkton’s conclusion:

    “Mitigation measures inexpensive enough to be affordable will thus be ineffective: measures expensive enough to be effective will be unaffordable. Since the premium vastly exceeds the cost of the risk, don’t insure. That is a precautionary principle worthy of the name.”

    Clearly Pat Ravisio, your reading comprehension skills are on par with your critical thinking skills, i.e. non-existent. Have a nice day clown.

  36. The Good Lord should stick to latin.

    A particularly ignorant comment from Monckton:

    “The belief that Thermageddon will arise from our altering 1/3000th of the atmosphere in a century is in-your-face illogical, rooted in a dozen fallacies marked out by Aristotle as the commonest in human discourse.”

    The notion that it is “illogical” that trace constituents of physical systems can be important simply because they are at trace levels is so pathetic its difficult to know where to start, but here’s a few examples of why trace constituents are essential:

    CFCs and HCFCs are even more trace constituents of our atmosphere, but their impact has been very significant in depleting ozone, particularly at high latitudes – leading to international agreements to reduce their use. Ozone is vital in protecting the Earth’s surface from solar UV and is itself a tiny trace gas in the atmosphere.

    Trace metals in the human body are also essential – without them we die.

    CO2 is a natural greenhouse gas at trace levels, but without any CO2 in the atmosphere not only would the biosphere be in trouble but in terms of climate the Earth would be in a permanent ice-age, all other things being equal.

    The issue is how much will the climate warm as a result of increasing CO2. Monckton at first dismisses its importance completely, then later admits that increasing CO2 will cause warming but goes for 1C with zero feedback (1C he says is “harmless”):

    “Thus the climatic loop gain cannot much exceed zero, so the warming at CO2 doubling will be a harmless 1 Cº. ”

    So Monckton’s “ignore everything” mock thesis assumes CO2 concentration will peak at double pre-industrial levels (it may go higher), it assumes zero net feedback (wrong) and assumes no impacts in a 1C warmer world (wrong again).

    Anyway, Moncktons qualifications to make these sweeping assumptions are … ?

  37. The world would not be better off without Christophe Monckton. Perhaps he should start an online Thank You Russia Campaign for the release of the climategate emails, and properly thank the Russians who came to our rescue.

    As far as proof of natural spirit energy that resides within your DNA, and connects you to the collective consciousness of the universe, call it the Creator or call it whatever you want, you can’t deny its existence when you see the connection explained by this video at about the 3:20:00 time of this.
    Vortex Based Mathematics – Marko Rodin

  38. I feel that much of the rubbish that is put out to support AGW is contradictory for example more snow proves AGW as well as less snow and every bad thing that happens on Earth is caused by AGW,does this not give Lord Monckton reason to challenge the logic of AGW.

  39. Pat Ravasio says: January 6, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Q: “After all your rambling, you still do not answer the most basic of questions: Why is it not a good thing to develop alternative energies?”
    A: No one is against developing alternative energies. Only problem is that government should not interfere. Let the free market do its work.

    Q: “What is the harm in cleaning up the environment? Surely you do not deny that there are serious ill health effects of fossil fuel mining and use? That we are still burning up the house to keep the family warm? That fossil fuel supplies are finite?”
    A: A wealthy country will clean up the environment and will keep in it clean. CO2 however is not a pollutant and should not be treated as such. And have you any idea how for example rare earth metals to be used in the production of your beloved windmills are mined? Find the pictures on Google.
    The fact that fossil fuels are finite is not a reason to treat them as an enemy of people. People are inventive. We will find another way to produce energy. As prices for fossil fuels go up as you would expect at some time given the fact that they are not infinite, other sources will get economically viable, without government intervention.

    Q: “That there are readily available alternatives which are economically scalable if only they were adequately supported?”
    A; If that would be the case, the free market would already be delivering, but it’s not. Have you seen the prices of shale gas in the US? Nothing can compete in price at this moment. So your argument is a result of wishfull thinking.

    Q: “Development of clean, renewable energy will stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life for all living things on the planet. So please explain why you oppose an orderly, economical transition to readily available alternative energies?”
    A: Clean renewable energy is not affordable in large quantities at this moment. As soon as the free market sees opportunities, it will indeed stimulate the economy. without government funding, paid by taxes. An orderly transition? Oh my goodness, your fear of the free market is so obvious. Why don’t you try living in Cuba of North Korea for a couple of years. See how you like an economy run in an orderly way. The free market is a proces of trial and error. Good things stay, bad ideas will lose. We don’t need no government to pick the winners and losers.

    Q: “You say the “alarmists” are motivated by profits. Yet it is you who are affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a noted man cave for fire-breathing fossil fuel behemoths. Anthony and friends, you can parse the particulars until kingdom come, but fossil fuels are still the Earth’s Goliath. Humanity is still David. The only question is what are we going to put in our slingshot, and why are we so slow in getting about the business so clearly at hand? Need leadership is needed now. Join the good guys.”
    A: Fossil fuels are the source of our wealth and prosperity. The energy we get from it per person is like having 600 people working for you every day. The simple fact that you have the time to worry about global warming and time to even try to convince people that fossil fuels are bad and should be abandoned is only possible because of fossil fuels. You say you need a leader.Go find one and leave to a socialist/communist country of your choice. Let us know how you like the unfreedom and regulation of every breath you take and every move you make.

  40. Christopher Monckton,

    Again I agree with your detailed logical analysis (here and in your several previous very similar articles) of the fallacies committed by catastrophic proponents of AGW by CO2 from fossil fuels (CAGWists).

    Have you considered synthesizing (integrating) those into a more fundamental critique? For example, consider the possibility of CAGWists having a more central philosophic root which is unscientific in the Aristotelian sense and which gives rise to and contains the reason they consistently commit all the fallacies you mentioned.

    LETS HAVE A LITTLE FUN:
    I consider their essential unscientific root is that they behave as having a Platonic-like acceptance of a dual-reality and dual-knowledge approach to their climate ‘science’ which therefore is diametrical to an Aristotelian single-reality and single-knowledge approach to science. The CAGWists thus could claim ‘a priori’ to have a higher ‘ideal’ level of scientific knowledge which is correct in a higher ‘ideal’ logic. They can thus merely disregard contrary climate observations in the skeptic’s lower ‘shadowy’ Earthly world and skeptic’s criticism based on lower ‘shadowy’ Earthly logic; they can be discount across the board as less real and less logical than in their higher level ‘a priori’ ‘ideal’ reality and ‘a priori’ ‘ideal’ logic.

    Of course Aristotelian logic and science opposes all that Platonic-like dual reality/dual logic stuff; the Aristotelian approach being just secular logic and secular observations . . . Aristotelian approach says: no higer ‘a priori’ validity, no higher ‘ideal’ realm, or higher ‘ideal’ logic.

    By that analysis the CAGWists are not practicing science in the Aristotelian sense; that would be what causes all their repeated and widespread Aristotelian logical errors and refusal to accept opposing skeptical dialog on Earthly reality / Earthly observations and Earthly arguments.

    DIFFERENT COMMENT NOTE: Happily, your reference to T.H. Huxley did not go un-noticed as a possible sub-context of your religious statements. But I will comment on that possible sub-context to religious views in a different post. Interesting you would pick him.

    John

  41. Green democrats deny science, attempt to suppress the facts. Fracking is safe says leaked report:

    “Thanks to a leak from an anonymous insider, we learned Thursday that a report commissioned by the State of New York has given fracking a clean bill of health. The insider ‘did not think it should be kept secret’ and released the document, which is now nearly one year old, to the New York Times.”

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/01/05/fracking-safe-in-ny-state-says-leaked-report/

    “The analysis and other health assessments have been closely guarded by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his administration as the governor weighs whether to approve fracking. Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, has long delayed making a decision, unnerved in part by strident opposition on his party’s left.”

    The Green War On Science continues!

  42. J Abbott. you said and assumes no impacts in a 1C warmer world

    To date the impacts have all been beneficial, the Sahara has became greener with increased rainfall, tornado’s have reduced and food supply has grown. Indeed history tells us that it was warmer still in the Roman era with vines being grown in the North of England and so further warming, should we be so lucky, will be more beneficial still.

    You also moan about “zero net feedback”. How much feedback would you suggest ? The same amount as the failed models Hansen and the IPCC continue to use ? Indeed they are so completely failed, that temperatures are below even the lowest limits of all the models error bars.
    Given that temperatures haven’t increased in 16 years yet co2 has increased by some 30% zero net feedback seems more than reasonable.

    I take it you completely rule out the possibility that temperatures might fall ?
    And fall steadily for 10 or more years ?

  43. An important essay. Technology does not give knowledge. You can measure till the cows come home but with a decayed epistemology it will get you nowhere.

    The history of the word “trivial” tells us a lot about why epistemology has become dysfunctional and modern science needs re-educating in logic. Trivial has come to mean what is unimportant or irrelevant. Historically in English education the “trivia” (singular trivium) were the three lower Artes Liberales, which were grammar, logic and rhetoric. It was a fundamental part of education. However school curricula of course changed with time and some individuals – remembering their school days – used the word “trivia” to refer to what they learned at school but considered irrelevant or useless to them now. Thus “trivial” came to have its present meaning.

    It is a serious problem that logic has become trivial. This is why we have CAGW and the linear no-threshold hypothesis of radiation carcinogenesis and other “scientific” instances of epistemological collapse.

    And it you dont know what “epistemology” means – this illustrates the problem. (It is the science of logic and how we learn things – think Karl Popper and inductive / deductive inferences).

  44. Steven Mosher says:
    January 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/crutem4vgl/from:1995/to:2013/plot/crutem4vgl/from:1995/to:2013/trend

    —————————————————————————————————————-
    Set the starting point at 2002 to 2013 the trend is statistically flat.

    Of course the question is firstly- is this data dependable and really “raw” or “ homogenised”.

    But more importantly yes there is a rise on a longer record , but does this prove AGW?.
    Central England temperature from 1659 to recently also shows a overall steady linear rising trend. But this rise started and the end of the Little Ice Age before industrialisation.

    So where is the empirical evidence that the rise is due to AGW Steve??

  45. Mike Bryant –

    logically, australia is NOT decreasing (but is actually hugely increasing) its CO2 emissions precisely because it is sending far more CO2 emissions to china with our coal exports than what we claim we will reduce (but probably won’t) at home.

    meanwhile, china builds coal-fired power stations by the week, while australia demonises coal & wants to shut down its own & give away more taxpayer money for expensive solar, wind & other unworkable, unnecessary CAGW “solutions”! this is but one of the many CAGW paradoxes.

    it’s sort of like the australian Govt’s “moral” stance on tobacco (HIGHER TAXES?, PLAIN PACKAGING?) – praised by the MSM in developed countries. whilst australia’s poor & marginalised – not a large number in a country with a total population of less than 23 million – pay disproportionately for all the Government increases in tobacco taxes at home, the fact is our highly-populated asian neighbours are taking up smoking at a rapid rate and no doubt adding some $$$ to tobacoo company revenues in the developed world!

    Wikipedia: Prevalence of tobacco consumption
    In Western countries, smoking is more prevalent among populations with mental health problems, with alcohol and drug problems, among criminals, and among the homeless…
    Of the 1.22 billion smokers, 1 billion of them live in developing or transitional economies. Rates of smoking have leveled off or declined in the developed world. In the developing world, tobacco consumption is rising by 3.4% per year as of 2002…
    It is predicted that 1.5 to 1.9 billion people will be smokers in 2025…

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

    Wikipedia: Smoking in the People’s Republic of China
    Smoking in the People’s Republic of China is prevalent, as China is the world’s largest consumer and producer of tobacco: there are 350 million Chinese smokers, and China produces 42% of the world’s cigarettes…
    Smoking is a social custom in the PRC, and giving cigarettes at any social interaction is a sign of respect and friendliness…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_in_the_People's_Republic_of_China

    never mind the logic, the aussie CAGW (& tobacco-fighting) pretenders at least get to have smug looks on their faces.

  46. Pat Ravasio says:
    January 6, 2013 at 10:45 am
    After all your rambling, you still do not answer the most basic of questions: Why is it not a good thing to develop alternative energies? What is the harm in cleaning up the environment? Surely you do not deny that there are serious ill health effects of fossil fuel mining and use? That we are still burning up the house to keep the family warm? That fossil fuel supplies are finite? That there are readily available alternatives which are economically scalable if only they were adequately supported? Development of clean, renewable energy will stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life for all living things on the planet. So please explain why you oppose an orderly, economical transition to readily available alternative energies? You say the “alarmists” are motivated by profits. Yet it is you who are affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a noted man cave for fire-breathing fossil fuel behemoths. Anthony and friends, you can parse the particulars until kingdom come, but fossil fuels are still the Earth’s Goliath. Humanity is still David. The only question is what are we going to put in our slingshot, and why are we so slow in getting about the business so clearly at hand? Need leadership is needed now. Join the good guys. http://www.buckyworld.me

    “Why is it not a good thing to develop alternative energies? That there are readily available alternatives which are economically scalable if only they were adequately supported?”

    Of course it’s a good thing! I power all but the major appliances in my rented home with a scalable and totally portable mix of wind and solar. It is totally uneconomical, but highly practical on extended desert explorations powering everything electrical with ease.

    The problem is, with the states of these technologies to date, they simply are not scaleable. Low-density intermittent power cannot even power an automotive glass factory sufficiently to keep the glass molten. It freezes on a cold windless night, and there goes your production line(s).

    Taken to its logical conclusion every penny not spent on fusion research may turn out to be a penny wasted. Especially should we be on the tipping point of the next glacial instead of hothouse earth.

    “What is the harm in cleaning up the environment?”

    Uh, excuse me. That is what I have doing the vast majority of my professional geologist’ life. Not your garden variety 1/3,000th of the atmosphere wonky data scams, I’m talking about the big 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzo-p-dioxin/tetra-ethyl-death jobs. What do you do for a living?

    “That we are still burning up the house to keep the family warm?”

    You either need to go polish some ammo or turn your heat down.

    “That fossil fuel supplies are finite?”

    Undoubtedly. What is your point? Should we forego them even if, as you may believe, it is the ultimate thermostat of gaia climate? Or just put it off a little while, like say the end of the present interglacial? Would it be more fiscally sustainable, in your mind, to turn us all into energy paupers while we run our little climate experiment, right at the possible/likely end of the Holocene? And it would be but a little climate experiment in the grand scheme of things. What climate can Homo sapiens sapiens withstand/adapt to? Well that would be at least two ~90,000 year glacials, to at least the +2.5m MSL warmer world of most of the last interglacial? Yes, we were indeed there.

    “Development of clean, renewable energy will stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life for all living things on the planet.”

    Well maybe not exactly for “all living things on the planet.” There is the little matter that plants, by far, make up the vast majority of life on earth. The number 150ppm for atmospheric CO2 concentration is often bandied-about as the point where photosynthesis suffers great difficulties, and we got awfully close not all that long ago. So for a human, the total biomass for which is a very small percentage of all biomass, to presume to know what is best for “all living things on the planet” would be a bit anthrocentric, wouldn’t you agree?

    I think you are going to need to back up the rest of your belief structure with data regarding how development of such low-density, intermittent, environment-“taking” farms of mirrors, panels and bird-blenders can actually be achieved without the baseline backup of traditional power-stations. At present, the concept is untenable. And the cost in every way extreme as compared with eventual fusion success. And with respect to bird-blending in particular, are you aware of any credible studies which compare the number of avians, you know, bats, eagles and the like, per megawatt it takes? We might then have some support, at least in terms of obituary/actuarial data, sort of a “poll” you might say, as to what the winged wing of “all living things on the planet” has to say about all this. If you take my meaning.

    “So please explain why you oppose an orderly, economical transition to readily available alternative energies?”

    Well, there is no economical way to do a transition to readily available alternative energies. Not unless you have a much different definition of the term “economical.” By transition I must infer that you mean retirement of most, if not eventually all, fossil-fuel powered generating technologies. What is not “readily available” in any but one way, at present, is anything remotely resembling the “third-rail” of alternative energy: storage. And I mean a lot of it. Sure, at low-efficiency, you can pump water with excess power back up into reservoirs. Not so much in the western US, or other desert regions of the world, we don’t have a whole lot of water to play with, especially these days while we must protect aquatic species under the Endangered Species Act. Or should that be withdrawn to facilitate this one and only means of large, geographically challenging “battery” system? Readily available alternative energy generation systems are wildly uneconomic, not to mention wholly impractical if you intend anything like your present-day lifestyle. What you are really talking about here is future alternative energy technologies. I have already invested over $20k in alternative energy technology, with no hope of ever recovering that investment over its service lifetime, and you would have me invest more. I ask no more than Anthony does, show me what you have done and are doing.

    In closing I can only hope you can appreciate that many of us here hold some differences of opinion with you. But there is another difference atop that. Many of us have made a point of studying everything we can get our hands on covering what is presently known about climate and energy. So we can easily provide a great depth of background to support our positions.

    For instance, as an occasional author here, you will find that instead of “staking out the high ground” with unsupported declarations I sketch out a principle of science, the development of an argument, and follow it with citations from the literature. These are all simple things, which in each case I leave the conclusion up to the reader.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/30/the-antithesis/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/05/on-%E2%80%9Ctrap-speed-acc-and-the-snr/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/16/the-end-holocene-or-how-to-make-out-like-a-madoff-climate-change-insurer/

    If you wish to gain traction amongst your peers, you must learn to present your arguments not as some obvious correctness, but lead others to your inevitable conclusions. That is what logic is all about. What I have posted above is a thoughtful response. I would appreciate your considered response, if you deign to formulate one.

  47. Zeke says:
    January 6, 2013 at 11:53 am

    What made all of science plunge past the tipping point into the doctrine of global warming? Perhaps it wasn’t just the sudden funding and the glamour, the glories and perks of advocacy, the hazy halcyon idea of doing “public good” and “saving the planet,” and the allure of being an elite able to set the planet’s temperature and population, that made all of science stumble and lose its way. “Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.” The error was very likely deeply systemic before climate science came along. That error was the argument from ignorance. “We excluded all other possibilities, so this must be the cause. Trust us.”

    It’s not an error if you aren’t dealing with a system that is chaotic and/or that strives to maintain homeostasis (like Gaia). Science’s error was in its hubris in trying to think its analytic tools (basic physics) were up to such a task.

  48. Atheism takes equal amounts of faith as Theism. They are both based on a “belief” that a diety exists or not. “I do [or not] believe in [this or that deity]. [optionally: because...]”

    A true scientist would say “I don’t know,” and thus declare their self agnostic. I suppose it’s possible to declare “I don’t have empirical evidence [and thus is not science], but the evidence I’ve accumulated over my lifetime makes me ‘feel’ that there is [or not] a deity.” That ain’t science.

    It was a pity reading Monckton’s play with religion, and equally appalling reading rgb’s declaration of atheism. I’ve left this thread with the following conclusion: The warmists, Monckton and rgb are all LOGICALLY EQUIVALENT, in that none are using real science (skepticism, agnosticism), and instead creating their own “versions” of reality to “sell” (er, gather consensus).

  49. rgbatduke wrote:

    quote
    there is the vast array of things I have not studied in any depth and have little knowledge even of the methods involved in the discipline, where I am as ignorant as your average person picked at random off of the street.
    unquote

    So are we all. However, some of us are looking at the stars…. err…. are actually keeping our eyes open and looking for new things. Without a continual challenge, fringe science like AGW theory will be allowed to get away with less than rigorous practice, such as the proof of the tropospheric hotspot by wind measurements. (They claim that the agreement between the wind calculation and climate model results disproves sond measurements!) Or the use of speleotherms as proxies which vary in their response to climate signals over a few centimetres and invite cherry picking. The challenge will only happen if we don’t deny, out of hand, things we haven’t noticed, if we keep the fresh eye of youth. For example… on another thread you wrote:

    quote
    ” I also have to say that this same drop of gasoline doesn’t seem to cover a hectare of rain-slick pavement, nor does the occasional drop of oil or gasoline that drips from my boat’s motor into the ocean seem to cover, or smooth, anything like a hectare of ocean. If it did, the entire Beaufort inlet (or any inlet to a harbor) would be one big slick, and they’re not. Even a clean and well maintained motor blows some unburned gasoline out in its exhaust, and in any given harbor with thousands of boats, there are at least tens of boats with egregious leaks of gasoline and/or oil. ”
    unquote

    If you look at

    http://marinas.com/view/inlet/1668_Beaufort_Harbor_Inlet_NC_United_States

    and click on the second picture you will see a beautiful image of Beaufort Inlet with smooths as far as the camera can see. Can you see as far as the camera? Or is your eye too old to make it out? Keep looking. Think smooth. Not slick, not rainbow spill, smooth.

    Now look at http://i39.tinypic.com/2igd1mr.jpg

    Enough oil and surfactant comes down the world’s rivers and by other means to coat the entire ocean surface with a smoothing layer every two weeks.

    Goodwill and good intent are not enough to make a scientist. He must also have an inquiring mind — even in the face of consensus — and the courage to say ‘this is not good enough’.

    JF

  50. Pat Ravasio

    There is nothing wrong with alternative energy as long as it is developed privately and without subsidies As to the hazard of petroleum products the good far outweigh the bad, if you do not believe that why don’t you try living without the products of the modern energy. I think you wold not survive a year, and if you did I am certain you would have a greater appreciation of at petroleum has given us. I have spend most of my adult life working and crossing the great American prairie and have a great appreciation what it must have been like for the Native Americans trying to live there. Everything you owned had to be carried on your back. Food could only be gathered by hand and the sea of grass was endless, since the only way to cross it was on foot. Try driving from Minot North Dakota to Williston North Dakota, first it is a river valley after twenty miles that end and you are on a flat plain, after another twenty miles a series of long rolling hills start with each high point is about twenty miles apart and as you drive it remember before petroleum it took a day to travel each twenty miles and the distance from Minot to Williston is about one hundred and twenty miles. So to make that distance today take less than two hours and back then it would have taken ten days.

    When alternate energy can generate the amount of power required to support seven billion people and a cost equivalent to or less than petroleum can we will have so called green energy until then not. Lastly the environment cost are far less than you have been taught or told. Again I only have to go back to the Native American and see how he lives.

    The Native American would make their camps on a hill with the water down below. They knew from experience they could not stay in one place too long since if they did they would start to get sick. Without power to move their waste from their camps the pollution of course would run down the hill and eventually into the water. One of the major reason people live long today is our sewer and garbage can be collected and removed deposed of safely and environmentally soundly by the use of petroleum and the power it gives us.

    Now if you are one of those sick people whom believe there are too many people in the world and the world would be better off without so many people please prove that you are not a hypocrite and self remove yourself from the world so the rest of us can get on with our lives without some hypocrite telling us how to live and that we are making the wrong choices even though they are the correct one at this point and time, after all life is not a story book and we all some how can ignore reality and wish and think it would be a better work only if. Happily ever after is only for story books and life is a series of choices some may look wrong but if you pull off the blinders you will see overall people are not stupid, life has trade offs and where is no such thing as a perfect world and in the present world the sky is not falling down on us because we are using petroleum. The fact is it a far better world because we are using petroleum.

  51. PS: Other cautionary considerations science ignored were the numerous unanticipated side-effects within the climate system, the scantiness of known facts about climate, the unreliability of many of the supposedly known facts, the bias of many of the curators of those facts, and the vested professional interest in alarmism (i.e., CAWG elevates climatology out of the academic backwater).

  52. Bruckner8 says:
    January 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Atheism takes equal amounts of faith as Theism.

    No, it doesn’t.

  53. Oh my! I was half asleep as I read the comments, when I saw mention of a favorite bible (note the lower case and its meaning). I tried to find its significance in the screed but unsuccessfully. So I will cite the passage that I believe apropos beyond mere exegetics.

    Edwin Thompson Jaynes. Probability Theory: The Logic of Science. (Cambridge University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-521-59271-2), 5.3 Converging and diverging views pp126-132. In a word the vehemence positive or negative of the narrator polarizes the skeptical audience proportional to its naive prejudices.

    If no other passage in PT, this is the jewel. Its mention of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky led me to Nassim Nicholas Taleb, whose non-technical (arbitrage, quantitative analysis) writings distill Jaynes’ seminal masterwork!

  54. Bruckner8 says:

    January 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Atheism takes equal amounts of faith as Theism. They are both based on a “belief” that a diety exists or not. “I do [or not] believe in [this or that deity]. [optionally: because...]”

    Don’t want to encourage off topic arguments but your wrong.

  55. Thanks J Martin

    So are rising sea levels part of your “all been beneficial” world ? In Roman times there were no megacities at or near to sea level home to many millions of people and highly reliant on complex energy, communication and transport systems. We can probably cope with some of the warmer world consequences, and yes some may be positive, but sea level rise is clearly a harmful impact in many parts of the world and will be hugely costly to deal with.

    You claim, as do so many others in the sceptic community that

    “temperatures haven’t increased in 16 years”

    Yes they have. Both on the 5 year running mean and the annual plot it has been warmer (slightly, but warmer) that 1998 and before.

    You add

    “I take it you completely rule out the possibility that temperatures might fall ?
    And fall steadily for 10 or more years ?”

    No, never had. Its unlikely, but possible.

  56. Now it is common for trolls to distract from the subject of an article by Lord Monckton by promoting the religion of atheism. Several have already tried it on this thread.

    A) Atheism is not a religion. It is the lack of a religion. You might as well accuse me (or other atheists) of promoting the disease of being well.

    B) The “subject” of the article was begun with an invocation of not only religion, but specifically the Christian religion. I remind you: “When men have ceased to believe in Christianity, it is not that they will believe in nothing. They will believe in anything.” Surely no more absurd statement was ever made as an introduction to an essay on logic. Surely there is no more certain way to offend any individual who reads the essay who has, as I have, ceased to believe in Christianity. Finally, surely this statement is false, both literally and metaphorically. I assure you that I am not in a state where I uncritically accept any proposition, which is the literal meaning of believe in anything.

    If you visit here:

    http://www.chesterton.org/discover-chesterton/frequently-asked-questions/cease-to-worship/

    you will see that the quotation itself is completely bogus. Chesterton in fact never said this in any of his writings. In The Oracle of the Dog Father Brown says “It’s the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense.” As I discovered when I tried to verify my recollection of something like that in the Father Brown stories. If I am mistaken, please provide me with a direct reference, as the site above is devoted to the man and seems unlikely to be incorrect.

    The article itself ended with a second religious homily, specifically implying that we have a soul and that using reason well brings us “closer” to an invisible sky-god that at one time acted as an uncaused first cause. By writing this, the author surely placed himself about as far from that hypothetical being as it is possible to be placed (if we assume that promoting unreason moves one farther from said being).

    Anytime people don’t want religion to be a distraction in a discussion, they are free to omit using religion as a tool of argumentation. Since doing so is singularly inappropriate in an article discussing logic and reason and science and how foolish people are who “believe” in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming on the basis of weak but positive evidence, I think that it is absolutely appropriate to criticize this as a serious weakness in the overall presentation. There is no reliable evidence supporting belief in any particular religion, nor is it clear that the concept of God is logically or mathematically consistent at all. Catastrophic warmists are models of rational thought in comparison. At least they could conceivably be right, within the bounds of some evidence.

    C) In the past, you and I have had fairly extended discussions that I felt were very reasonable. In them, you failed to invoke your God as your witness, or to make any sort of claim that by using reason to arrive at your favorite conclusion we would both be drawn closer to God. I, for my part, failed to distract from the primary discussion by insisting that it is inappropriate for you to invoke God in said discussion, largely because you had the good sense, whatever your religious beliefs are, not to inject them into a discussion where they are irrelevant. In so doing, we both adhered to a common guideline on semi-public discussion sites: “Don’t Proselytize, lest you be Proselytized Against”. Once the can of worms is opened, however, it is not “trollish” to object.

    Mr. Monckton would be very well served by learning this rule. He would also be well served by moving his appreciation of logic and mathematics forward by at least a century if not several thousand years — there have been a few advances due to people such as Lobachevsky, Riemann, Gauss, Hilbert, Russell and Whitehead, Godel, Frege, Cantor — just as there have been a few advances in philosophy such as the one that was aptly summarized in the Einstein quote above. But that is another matter.

    As for him being a Peer of the Realm — it is indeed entirely irrelevant. If true, that and fifty cents will get him 2/3 of a K-cup serving of coffee, as the saying goes. If it were indeed false, it would entirely reasonably reduce his credibility on all matters, as it is a simple matter of common sense that if a man will lie to deceive his own vanity, how much easier it is to lie to others. This is a small part of the difference between the classical fallacies and Bayesian reasoning, a.k.a. common sense. A liar can sometimes tell the truth, and a generally truthful man rarely lies. We judge where somebody lies on a scale in between on the evidence, on the basis of times we catch them out or verify them, and eventually consider someone to be generally pretty credible — or not. I have no reason to doubt that he is a viscount or whatever. He has no reason to doubt that I have a Ph.D. in physics. If either of us were proven a liar, it would certainly impact our credibility in general, as well as in specific domains of discourse.

    rgb

  57. ….18 years of no warming….

    If there have been 15 year flat stretches of no warming due to natural variability over the past century, and if most of the warming of the past century has taken place since the 1950s, then the flat stretches due to natural variability should be getting shorter. Some 0.4C of temp rise should have robbed natural variability of half or more of its flat stretches if CAGW is just masked by it. We should be approaching point where natural variation just reduces the slope of the rise somewhat.

    No! this 18 year flat period is an unqualified falsification of the central role of CO2 in earth temperature behavior. It is already game over for the CAGW/CO2 hypothesis. If it goes on longer than this, it even begins to rob CO2 of any significant forcing capability. It gives preference to the hypothesis that the earth does have a thermostat (a la Willis), that negative feed backs come into play when sea temps approach 30C, etc.

    Another sign of the death of CAGW/CO2 hypothesis is the apparent rapid drop in output of papers by the formerly confident hockey team. I never hear tell of Gavin Smith, Bradley, etc. Mann of course is much in the picture but more for his legal activity and Trenberth makes an appearance to bemoan the decline in support for the listing ship… Also, the beginning of throwing colleagues and formerly bosom buddies under the bus (Briffa, asserting himself and getting out from under Mann’s thumb)… Gore is a good measure of the end of things, cashing in and closing shop before he has lost everything he gained from warming gravy train. Also, the plethora of papers counteracting CAGW (now that the gatekeepers have been neutralized) and the retreat of the IPCC…. I knew the game was over when they started taking warming out and plugging in climate change (hot or cold, wet or dry), and finally the grasping-at-straws-extreme weather where everything that happened was because of CAGW (the warming not being mentioned).

    Man oh man, there is going to have to be a major overhaul of universities and other institutions with restoration of scientific curricula and requalification of PhD’s, some mea culpas from old scientific journals and birth of some new ones. There is going to have to be some asterisked Nobel Prize recipients of the last 30 years, a major upgrade or replacement of this committee…. It aint going to be pretty.

  58. Thanks to Lord Monckton for yet another systematic and logical demolition of the CAGW fantasy. It really removes the C & A from the GW in detail. How many more demolitions are required before the dawn alights in the minds of Warmistas. If only the Warmistas were inclined to think and observe, they could be enlightened straight away.

  59. It seems like Lord Monkton reads all these entries, and understands them too. It is a great benefit to be served some classical logic in this manner, and to be able to understand that which would normally be beyond most of us. Much appreciated! Thanks,

    I just watched Attenborough (2011 Frozen Planet). Beautiful scenery and explanations.
    The disconnect between pro and anti CAGW is itself alarming. The evidence presented is quite compelling, as expected from the true believers (BBC). Tthis “evidence” demands an answer but from whom?

    Unfortunately, most people have no access to answers and are subject to this constant propaganda without relief. It is no surprise that the majority of people were persuaded by this to support the CAGW idea. Although the faith has waned for some years, there is still no real alternative to the BBC propaganda, and this has probably happened through doom fatigue and financial crisis rather than much hard evidence.

    One really big thing that is missing from the sceptic work is the accessibility of “the man in the street” to some answers. Now, Lord Monkton is very active, and effective too in the league where he plays, and others (too many to mention), but no one seems to be providing access to answers posed by the propagandists. Instead, we absorb and are satisfied by the “propaganda” we ourselves generate. When the world sees glaciers melting in real photos and videos, and sees the evidence of penguin migration to colder waters,etc, etc, it is effective, and it puts the words “the world hasn’t warmed for 16 years” into the box labelled “inconsistent” – someone must have made a mistake, or someone is playing with statistics. It just doesn’t compare to real video.

    My point is that people need real answers, and sometimes it seems as though more blog energy goes into parading scientific prowess and skills of argumentation than informing the people who are constantly subjected to this doom and gloom ever present menace.

    I don’t expect much of a response, but at least the moderator will read it.

  60. As much a tour of arguments as an argument. I’m afraid I found it heavy rather than heavyweight. I always prefer the rifle to the shotgun.
    Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading both the article and the comments.

  61. Temps are going down now because the ENSO peaked at +1.0C in September, is now -0.1C and is heading down to about -0.5C. The 3 month lag means that temperatures will decline (a small amount) over the next 3 months and then even longer if the ENSO does go down to the -0.5C range by March.

    The AMO is also moderating now – might decline to close to 0.0C after being as high as 0.486C in October.

    So, the natural ocean cycle variables have already started pushing temperatures down and this will likely continue for 3 to 6 months.

    If and when that occurs, this is what the temp trace versus the climate model forecasts look like. They are too far off at this point and there will need to be some circumspection finally.

  62. BargHumer:

    In your post at January 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm you say

    When the world sees glaciers melting in real photos and videos, and sees the evidence of penguin migration to colder waters,etc, etc, it is effective, and it puts the words “the world hasn’t warmed for 16 years” into the box labelled “inconsistent” – someone must have made a mistake, or someone is playing with statistics. It just doesn’t compare to real video.

    My point is that people need real answers, and sometimes it seems as though more blog energy goes into parading scientific prowess and skills of argumentation than informing the people who are constantly subjected to this doom and gloom ever present menace.

    Yes, you are right.
    As you say, a picture is worth a thousand words and, as you also say, the mainstream media provides a constant flow of the untrue propaganda (because normality is not news).

    Many of us have been aware of the problem for a very long time.
    But we don’t have a solution to it. Do you?

    Richard

  63. If you look at

    http://marinas.com/view/inlet/1668_Beaufort_Harbor_Inlet_NC_United_States

    and click on the second picture you will see a beautiful image of Beaufort Inlet with smooths as far as the camera can see. Can you see as far as the camera? Or is your eye too old to make it out? Keep looking. Think smooth. Not slick, not rainbow spill, smooth.

    JF, first of all, we worked out the arithmetic, I had thought, together. Second, my browser barfs when I try to change pictures, sorry. Third, I have at this point lived almost a full year of my life on the water facing the Beaufort inlet (actually at the other end of the top view on this site on the other side of Pivers Island. When there is no wind, the water can be very smooth. There is almost never no wind. I’ve spent years of my life living on over very near lakes, both great and small. I have not noticed anything untoward about the “smoothness” of the ocean around Beaufort compared to the “smoothness” of the great lakes. When the wind blows, it is choppy and whitecaps form. When it is calm, it gradually smooths down.

    If you want to imagine that there is an ever-replenished layer of oil coating the surface of the ocean and that it is affecting global climate, work it out and publish a paper on it. Don’t pick on me. I don’t think think you are right, and showed you the arithmetic behind my reasoning, but I’m not a peer that would peer review your paper. Convince them.

    rgb

  64. Great article and a lovely breakdown of all the logical failures.

    The only trouble is, the current AGW ‘crowd’ seem to act like the 3 wise monkeys in 1 – they cannot see, hear or speak (for them) the evil truth. The ‘evil’ truth being that there is nothing to worry about let alone spend many zeroes worth of money on.

    The only way I can see out of this is if articles like this are spread far and wide: forward it to a friend, print out it and send it to a relative, etc, etc. The more people who understand what is going on for what it actually is, the quicker the AGW crowd will loose their backing. We are winning, but not half quickly enough by my reckoning; they need to be shown the exit in fast order with a hard boot up the backside for good measure.

  65. In re “real science'; Jaynes addresses Karl Popper (his “problem of demarcation”) in a number of passages. Appropriate is Id. 9.16.1 ‘The irrationalists’. Popper demands falsifiability be the hallmark of science however impossible/impractical in a fractally complex universe (Mandelbrot, Taleb).

    Agnosticism and skepticism as polarized naive subjective priors (p= 0 or 1) is addressed by Jaynes early, and dismissed as too extreme, throwing the baby out with the bathwater. From naivety, an objective naive prior p=0.5.

  66. rgbatduke says:
    January 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm
    It is important to recognize that scientists acting in the best of faith and good will might well disagree (and often do).
    Normally, yes. But these are not normal times, are they? This is no simple “disagreement”. Climate “scientists” have stood science itself on its’ head. As for “good faith” and “good will” amongst the Warmist clique, including those such as Mann and Hansen, you will find none. Instead, you will find other qualities of a far more sinister and lowly nature. Pushing Warmism has become an end unto itself. Entire careers have been built on it and depend upon it.

  67. @FrankK
    “… ‘thermageddon’ is not empirical science but model gymnastics …”

    Models are not useless per se. Only if they are formulated in an overly general manner, so that they are compatible with all possible experimental outcomes, do they become useless. This is the criterion of falsifiability.

  68. Buuckner8, that’s more reasonable than the average statement about religion but I’d have to say: still incomplete. There are theists of many sorts, some are superstitious, others may know things you don’t. You have no proof whatsoever that others don’t have knowledge in a way that you would consider implausible.

    Plato and Aristotle knew the importance of philosophy-religion, yet developed a most advanced degree of accurate thinking and logic. This fact is difficult to understand from the biases our modern thinking. You might consider Eric Voegelin’s writings on Plato and Aristotle, start here: http://www.evs.ugent.be/node/391

  69. BargHumer says:
    January 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm
    “My point is that people need real answers, and sometimes it seems as though more blog energy goes into parading scientific prowess and skills of argumentation than informing the people who are constantly subjected to this doom and gloom ever present menace.”

    The answers are already being presented to the masses through the Internet and word of mouth.
    The mainstream media is stuck on stupid and people are not tuning into them anymore.
    CNN at the peak of their audience had 20 million viewers. Today they can barely get 500k viewers at primtime. Since the end of elections FOX lost half, that’s 50% of their audience. People are figuring out they don’t like to be lied to.

  70. The faith of the atheist and the faith of the Faithful are equally unfalsifiable, with agnosticism a craven quibble. Unfalsifiable, they are not science, but are supernatural, subject only to belief.

    Note that Karl Popper’s work more currently cited is The Open Society and Its Enemies.

  71. Lord Monckton writes “Direct warming is little more than 1 Cº per CO2 doubling, well within natural variability.”

    Every time I see this sort of thing written, I cringe; particularly when the likes of Lord Monckton and Richard Lindzen are the authors. This number is an abomination in physics. Not only has it never been measured, it is impossible to measure it. It’s value is based on another number, change of radiative forcing, which is also impossible to measure.

    The estimation of this number is based on an invalid assumption. This assumption can be stated many ways, but basically a change of radiative forcing causes a change of radiative balance in the atmopshere. The no-feedback climate senstiivity of about 1 C for a doubling of CO2 is based on the assumption that this imbalance can only be countered by a change in the radiation component of how energy is transmitted through the atmopshere. This is nonsense. The atmopshere will respond to a change of radiative balance by changes in conduction, convection and the latent heat of water, as well as radiation effects. In other words the lapse rate will change. Another way of stating the original assumption is that the structure of the atmosphere does not change; i.e the lapse rate does not change.

    Since the lapse rate will change, this hypothetical, meaningless number will have a value considerably lower than 1 C. No-one knows how much lower, but it’s hypothetical value could be indistinguishable from zero.

    Sorry about the rant.

  72. Atheism takes equal amounts of faith as Theism. They are both based on a “belief” that a diety exists or not. “I do [or not] believe in [this or that deity]. [optionally: because...]”

    No, but your argument here is perfect for illustrating why you are wrong.

    If I believe in fairies, I indeed have to give a reason for that belief or be thought a fool. I believe in fairies because I’ve got pictures of them dancing. I believe in fairies because I read fairy stories as a child and felt that they must be true. I believe in fairies because I keep one as a pet. In other words, one has to have some specific evidence for fairies in order to reasonably believe in them. We would consider the first and third reasons as being a lot better than the middle one, for example.

    Note also that it is more difficult to believe in blue fairies than it is to believe in fairies in general. In order to believe in blue fairies and be reasonable, you have to first have sufficient reason to believe in fairies at all, then enough additional evidence in order to conclude that there is at least one blue fairy.

    When one says “I don’t believe in fairies”, one isn’t necessarily saying that fairies don’t exist. One is just saying that one considers the evidence that they do exist inadequate to make that conclusion reasonable. Our default state is (or should be, if we are not complete fools) one of disbelief, not belief, as Mr. Monckton pointed out rather oxymoronically in a fabulous misquote. I don’t know for certain that fairies don’t exist, but I see little good reason to believe in them. My mind could easily be changed if you have one in a cage. My lack of belief in blue fairies is slightly more intense — even showing me a red fairy isn’t sufficient to prove that blue ones exist.

    So an atheist does not have to offer a “because” for not believing in God(s), any more than I have to offer a “because” when I assert that I don’t believe in fairies. The reason is that there isn’t any credible evidence for them, outside of stories that are obviously mythopoeic works, not actual histories or reliable eyewitness accounts.

    Reading Peter Pan does not convince me of the one. Neither does the Bible, all the more so when it is trying to metaphorically convince me not only of a fairy, but a cobalt blue fairy with peculiarly tinted wings, forcing me to also consider the sky blue fairy of Judaism, the navy blue fairy of Islam, the red fairies of Hinduism, the purple fairies of the Norse religion, the green fairies of paganism, the rainbow-colored fairies of ancestor worship, all of which are equally implausible and mutually exclusive alternative kinds of fairies where we don’t even have a single fairy of any color trapped in a cage.

    Hopefully this clears things up for you. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but it is negative evidence of presence. Looking at ten thousand white swans without a black one amongst them doesn’t prove that black ones don’t exist, only that they are rare, at least where you are looking for them. One the other hand looking all over the world at Swan populations and finding lots of white swans, a whole population of black swans, and not one single rainbow patterned swan doesn’t prove that the latter doesn’t exist either. They might have evolved on the third world circling Tau Ceti where we can’t find them, or even farther away. It does leave me with little reason to believe they do exist, and even establishes reasonable probable upper bounds on the multihued swan population vary close to zero.

    rgb

  73. I agree with Stephen Richards, religion is OT and worse it’s a counterproductive discussion. The history of Christianity, however, does offer an interesting parallel with our current situation.
    I have racked my brain for years trying to figure out an historical parallel to the situation we skeptics find ourselves in today. While phlogiston and Lysenkoism were early contenders they lack sharing many attributes with the current situation we skeptics face: scattered, unorganized, scarcely funded, diverse of thought, and oppressed by a dogmatic regime with near unlimited funds and the full weight and force of the state often projecting its own wrongs upon us. I finally realized what the historical parallel is, and it comes with both hope and a warning. The early Christians were scattered, unorganized, scarcely funded, diverse of thought, and oppressed by the Roman Empire which accused the Christians of crimes which were more likely to be perpetrated by non-Christian Romans than Christians. Eventually, the Roman Empire outlawed merely being a Christian and many were executed for their beliefs just as some would have us outlawed and executed today. Ultimately the Christians persevered, coalesced, and gained power becoming the Catholic Church with its own reign of dogmatic oppression of thought. So there’s the hope that like the Christians we will overcome and the warning that we don’t become that very same dogmatic oppressor of diversity of thought that we endure. The Christian’s failed to preserve reverence for Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) admonishment of dogma in religion. I hope we Skeptics will continue to see the value of keeping dogma out of science far into the future.

  74. richardscourtney says:
    January 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Friends:

    In the past it was common for trolls to claim the Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is not a “real” Lord. They did this as an attempt to distract attention from anything Lord Monckton said.

    That tactic of distraction is no longer possible, so another method of distraction seems to have been adopted and it worked on another WUWT thread.

    Now it is common for trolls to distract from the subject of an article by Lord Monckton by promoting the religion of atheism. Several have already tried it on this thread.

    Everybody: please, please don’t bite at that ‘red herring’ or this thread will be destroyed as the other was.

    Richard

    *

    Thank you, Richard. I was trying to form the words to point this very thing out, but you have done it perfectly.

  75. To:
    Monckton
    Brown
    Courtney

    Gentlemen, you are ALL in the wrong here, for different reasons.

    Monckton – justifying science in any way shape or form on the basis of your religion makes those of us who do not share your religion uncomfortable. We’ve seen that stick wielded improperly and have been on the receiving end of it too many times. We can overlook you pushing your faith as part of your science provided that you don’t try and force your faith down our throats, but make no mistake about the fact that we aren’t comfortable with it and it adds nothing to your argument about the science. As to your title, I don’t give a damn if you have a legal right to it or not. I am a free man and I don’t bow to anyone because of some accident of birth, and calling you by your title is nothing more than a verbal bow.

    Brown – Deeply faithful people frequently are psychologically incapable of having a reasoned discussion without invoking their faith. My experience is that, unless they try and cram that faith down my throat, it is easier to overlook their transgression. Challenging on them on it merely makes them defensive and all the real value that could come from focusing the discussion on science gets lost as a result. Monckton has much to learn from you, and I hope the two of you can put aside your differences on the faith issue because if the reasonable people are busy fighting each other over something that doesn’t matter to the science itself, the bad people will win.

    Richard – I’m not sure exactly if you were taking sides in your comment or not, but I hope not. As a scientist and a Methodist minister you have conducted yourself with aplomb on a wide range of overlapping issues in this forum without ever mixing the two. Rather than taking sides, I would hope that someone like you would urge the other two to follow your example.

    Gentlemen,
    While I think that the total bull of CAGW will ultimately die a natural death in the face of growing facts and data to the contrary, the fact remains that should the worst happen and the CAGW cult truly gains power, we’ll have to invent a whole new word to describe the outcome because genocide will be insufficient. There’s lives at stake, and a life raft that could bring many to safety. As three of the most prominent and knowledgeable speakers there are on the topic, I ‘d really appreciate it if the three of you would get in the life raft and row. Standing around arguing about what the life raft is made of and how it came into existence, and how it happened to be right where it is right at this moment in time is rather pointless.

    Get into the damn raft and row in the same direction.

  76. BargHumer says:
    January 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    “People are figuring out they don’t like to be lied to”. An alternative hypothesis might be that they just tuned out. We the sheeple…..et al etc.

  77. Pat Ravasio says:
    January 6, 2013 at 10:45 am

    After all your rambling, you still do not answer the most basic of questions: Why is it not a good thing to develop alternative energies?

    It is good to develop alternative energies – but we should use proven, market based techniques (i.e. private entrepreneurs risking their own capital), rather than have politicians use alternative energy as an excuse to pick my pocket.

    As and when alternative energy makes economic sense (and there is a real chance solar energy will make that breakthrough in the next few decades), then you’ll find we’ll wholeheartedly embrace it. Until then, it is a horrifying waste of money and opportunity.

    What is the harm in cleaning up the environment?

    Nothing – one of our criticisms of the global obsession with anthropomorphic warming is that it is distracting people from real environmental issue. The real rape and pillage of the environment is occurring right under our noses, with criminals distracting people into looking the other way.

    Surely you do not deny that there are serious ill health effects of fossil fuel mining and use?

    As an asthmatic I wholeheartedly agree – one of my triggers is car exhaust fumes. But my asthma medication is expensive, if I have to pay more for energy, I might not be able to afford the medication which keeps me alive.

    That we are still burning up the house to keep the family warm? That fossil fuel supplies are finite? That there are readily available alternatives which are economically scalable if only they were adequately supported?

    I agree – it doesn’t make sense that a mess of red tape is preventing the installation of Thorium cycle nuclear reactors. Thorium is relatively abundant (a cubic metre of garden soil typically contains around 60g of Thorium), and it is much safer than Uranium or Plutonium (a Thorium reactor cannot sustain itself, so if it starts overheating, you just turn off the power supply).

    Development of clean, renewable energy will stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life for all living things on the planet. So please explain why you oppose an orderly, economical transition to readily available alternative energies?

    The European experience is that government sponsored development of renewable energy has turned into a gigantic boondoggle, with a corrupt alternative industry bribing politicians into handing out ever increasing subsidy payments.

    Much safer to leave the development of new technology to private enterprise, where they only risk their own capital, rather than stealing mine.

    Like I said, I’ve got real hope for solar energy – but I don’t think handing tax money to criminals is the way to achieve progress.

    You say the “alarmists” are motivated by profits.

    Look at the alternative energy gravy train in Europe, and you’ll get the idea.

    Yet it is you who are affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a noted man cave for fire-breathing fossil fuel behemoths. Anthony and friends, you can parse the particulars until kingdom come, but fossil fuels are still the Earth’s Goliath. Humanity is still David.

    Try demanding a reduction in your energy bills, and you’ll pretty quickly see who the Goliath is in this battle. As Obama once said, under his plan, energy bills will skyrocket. As those who have been at the receiving end of this evil can testify, he wasn’t kidding.

    Here’s the speech from Obama, in which he explains his plan to raise electricity bills.

    The only question is what are we going to put in our slingshot, and why are we so slow in getting about the business so clearly at hand? Need leadership is needed now. Join the good guys. http://www.buckyworld.me

    So far what we’ve seen from the “Good” guys has been a collection of vicious threats and criminal attacks – Gleick’s identity theft of documents from Heartland (which the AGU apparently endorses), and various threats to imprison or execute people who disagree with alarmism.

    e.g. a call for skeptics to be murdered

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/23/beyond-bizarre-university-of-graz-music-professor-calls-for-skeptic-death-sentences/

    e.g. a call for skeptics to be imprisoned

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=290513

    You have a strange definition of “good”.

  78. @rgbatduke 1:45 Sir I have followed your comments with great pleasure, on this site.
    The distinction for me, is between comfort with the knowledge of the ignorance we must live in and a desire for certainty.
    I am also an atheist, but find fault with these secular anti-humanists, as they will not admit lack of knowledge to intrude into their certainty.
    Most of the God religions , the secular humanists and atheists have a humility,( whatever we chose to call everything, creation, maya,) in that we acknowledge we know so little compared to what we perceive to be.
    I liken the CAGW promoters to a cult, because they have chosen to act like one.
    Science will speak in the end, but the corruption of science ,to serve this cause enrages me.
    “I do not know”, seem to unspeakable words inside this pseudoscience.

    Of late I have started to wonder if the actions of these eco-saviours is the result of growing up in homes and cultures saturated with white-liberal guilt.
    For I’m perceiving a hatred for poor brown people and a confusion of purpose .
    Actions speak more clearly than words.

  79. If no other passage in PT, this is the jewel. Its mention of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky led me to Nassim Nicholas Taleb, whose non-technical (arbitrage, quantitative analysis) writings distill Jaynes’ seminal masterwork!

    Absolutely. The Black Swan is a masterpiece. However, I would argue that the naive subjective prior of 0.5 (presumably for binary questions) is a silly one, at least once one is all grown up and has a decade or two of experience to draw on. It’s fine for two sided coins where it is easy to generate trials to improve the posterior estimate. Not so good for urns. If I give you an urn, what is the naive subjective prior of reaching in and pulling out a green momrath (especially one that is outgrabing)? If you answer 0.5, I’m afraid I’ll have to object.

    To even make a naive estimate of a prior, one has to have some idea of the dimension and span of the space(s) involved. The true naive prior is then to consider everything possible, and hence anything almost infinitely unlikely. Babies are born in something close to this state, although they have substantial hard coded priors (if you like) as well as evidence gathering programs to improve them. By the time one has reached adulthood, one has pruned the terrible infinity of the tree of possibility to the much smaller but still fast tree of that which is consistent with your experience — so far, plus the best rules of reason and probable facts we collectively have come up with — so far. At that point I no longer consider God/No God a coin flip. Lack of rainbow colored swans doesn’t disprove them, but it makes them less likely as systematic search fails to find them, and rarer (compared to white and black ones) once one does, at least until one extends one’s search space to Tau Ceti, effectively looking in a different urn.

    I just finished watching the entire run of Saving Grace on Netflix (which was actually a lovely mythopoeic tale). It portrays a police lieutenant (Grace) who gets a Last Chance Angel in episode 1. It is a perfect picture of the way the world might look if God and Angels were real, and as a consequence in the end it has the exact opposite effect to the one you might expect. Because the real world ends up being nothing at all like the fantasy.

    At least not yet.

    rgb

  80. Bruce Cobb says: January 6, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    rgbatduke says:
    January 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm
    It is important to recognize that scientists acting in the best of faith and good will might well disagree (and often do).
    Normally, yes. But these are not normal times, are they? This is no simple “disagreement”. Climate “scientists” have stood science itself on its’ head. As for “good faith” and “good will” amongst the Warmist clique, including those such as Mann and Hansen, you will find none. Instead, you will find other qualities of a far more sinister and lowly nature. Pushing Warmism has become an end unto itself. Entire careers have been built on it and depend upon it.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well spoken. You have touched with your finger the very nub of the matter.

  81. rgbatduke says: January 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm
    A) Atheism is not a religion. It is the lack of a religion. You might as well accuse me (or other atheists) of promoting the disease of being well.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Some believers promote it anyway, thinking to convert others to their beliefs.

  82. I had already come to the conclusion that no scientific statement should start with the words “I believe”. Science is not religion it is about the testing of a hypothesis. Science is best left to agnostics. As regards logic….we have had up to 15 times the amount of current CO2…did we burn up or green up? We greened up..simple logic and thats why we are here.

  83. Yea , all these logical flaws by the inverse Gaia cult who believe the Molecule of Life will be the death of us all are , well , ill logic .

    But what is the Latin for the ethnocentric belief in an anthropomorphic 3in1 god with 1 , not 0 or 2 or , more messiahs ?

    Such profound illogic vitiates the impact of the rest of the essay .

  84. What an interesting thread.

    Pat Ravasio, you set up straw man arguments to try and drive people to your blog. Your comment fails to address one of the fundamental paradoxes of CAGW, pointed out by Monckton of Brenchley, that an increase in CO2 has not resulted in a statistically-significant increase in temperature for more than 15 years.

    A paradox is anomalies in reasoning and inconsistencies in beliefs. If scientists who believe in CAGW were thinking logically they would revise their assumptions to account for inconsistencies and anomalies. But many don’t because they appear to believe that their assumptions are unquestionable.

    Your paragraph is a classic example of the false dichotomy inherent in “black and white thinking”. You believe that in climate science there are only two simple positions and you are trying to place everyone in either of these two preconceived categories. But it is obvious that there are a range of positions which people take within your two simplistic extremes.

    Our modern industrial civilisation, the enormous benefits of which you enjoy, is due to a relatively warm climate and the use of fossil fuels to provide cheap energy. Resorting to emotive, personal and insulting language is a mark of your failure to debate rationally and think critically about energy use and climate science.

    Why not try thinking for yourself instead of blindly allowing your ideas to be formed by others. And most important, “……….manners should be of the greatest concern.” R. Buckminster Fuller

  85. “Modellers define forcing as the net down-minus-up flux of radiation at the tropopause, with surface temperature fixed. Yet forcings change surface temperature.”

    In some alternative universe, they define forcing as net down-minus-up flux of radiation after surface temperatures have equilibrated. Since once temperatures have equilibrated, the radiation budget will be in balance, down flux = up flux, the forcing under this definition is always zero. Yes, zero solar forcing, zero cosmic ray forcing, and a big fat zero CO2 forcing. Surely a place where Monckton could feel at home. Of course, changing the definition of forcing to make it useless, does not affect the physics of reality…

  86. Poems of Our Climate says:
    January 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Buuckner8, that’s more reasonable than the average statement about religion but I’d have to say: still incomplete. There are theists of many sorts, some are superstitious, others may know things you don’t. You have no proof whatsoever that others don’t have knowledge in a way that you would consider implausible.

    There are many people that know things I don’t; that doesn’t make their thoughts on theism any more or less valid about ANYTHING, so what’s your point? My point is very simple: What is their proof re: their Theism? Why do they believe in said Theism? If their proof meets the Scientific Method, then I’d be a fool to deny, right?

    From here, we can “philosophize” about the merits of keeping secrets (even if said secrets are 100% science, only known to that single person!) Does the scientific method require independent verification? Not specifically. We humans have added that requirement after the fact, because we are inherently skeptical. The secret holder might have many scientific truths in their head, but what good are those thoughts if not shared with humanity?

  87. Bruckner8 says:
    January 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Atheism takes equal amounts of faith as Theism. They are both based on a “belief” that a diety exists or not. “I do [or not] believe in [this or that deity]. [optionally: because...]”

    A true scientist would say “I don’t know,” and thus declare their self agnostic. I suppose it’s possible to declare “I don’t have empirical evidence [and thus is not science], but the evidence I’ve accumulated over my lifetime makes me ‘feel’ that there is [or not] a deity.” That ain’t science.

    It was a pity reading Monckton’s play with religion, and equally appalling reading rgb’s declaration of atheism. I’ve left this thread with the following conclusion: The warmists, Monckton and rgb are all LOGICALLY EQUIVALENT, in that none are using real science (skepticism, agnosticism), and instead creating their own “versions” of reality to “sell” (er, gather consensus).

    – – – – – – – –

    Bruckner8,

    Atheism is trite theological terminology and the secular man should reject. I do. Forget Atheism. I think religion is not natural based on a rational assessment thus I have logically identified it as mere supernaturalism and superstition. It is irrelevant to the merely secular man. I am that merely secular man.

    I think your statement that someone like me is religious means you endorse a false and irrational philosophical position like the following which you share with richardscourtney:

    Bruckner8 and richardscourtney,

    I think I identify your fundamental position wrt to religion. It looks to me that you are saying that it is a metaphysical precondition of human beings as such to be religious. To me you are saying ‘a priori’ that we are all religious by our nature; whether we recognize it or not. You imply that if one says one has no religious views then he is falsely rejecting his true metaphysical nature; you say not endorsing a religious view is a religion. N’est ce pas? What evidence do you have that we are all religious and maybe even by metaphysic necessity?

    John

    Has a supernatural being informed you that all of his children, secular or religious, believe in supernaturalism? Please explain the source of your omniscience claim that everyman profoundly believes in or has faith in the supernatural.

    I am sincerely interested in the source of your views.

    John

  88. Christopher Monckton,

    In an earlier comment to you on this thread I addressed almost total agreement on the secular part of your post. Your secular focused discourse was eloquent.

    The religious (supernatural) focused part of your post lacks internally consistent logic and it misidentifies the metaphysical/epistemological status of supernaturalism. However, your most self-refuting aspect of your religious statement is that it is merely irrelevant to professional and objective scientific pursuit and achievement, per se.

    Why is irrelevancy the most grievous part of your and any religious statements wrt science? It has to do with the purity of integration needed in the reasoning process required by the scientific process. To introduce the prima fascia irrelevancy of supernaturalism into the scientific process weakens its epistemological integrity (its pure integrated-ness).

    I think you sense this introduction of the supernaturally irrelevant provokes the secular members of this forum, and I think you do so intentionally. I significantly disrespect you for that.

    John

  89. Anthony, please don’t ban Rat Pavisio, She is so out there its almost painfully funny to read. But I will not grace her site with the traffic she so desperately trolls for here.
    And you might admit that occasional exposure of her kind of extremism is as useful to the case for reason, as the public lunacy of Mann.

  90. rgb, every statement requires proof, even “an absence of belief.” In fact, that is a lingual copout and nothing more. The mere act of DECIDING that you have an absence of belief, means that you DO NOT BELIEVE, and thus must prove why you don’t believe. The word “belief” itself should be enough to make that clear.

    Say these two phrases out loud, if you must:

    1) “I do not know.”
    2) “I have an absence of belief.”

    Which sounds logically skeptical to you?

  91. Pat Ravasio says:
    January 6, 2013 at 10:45 am

    “After all your rambling, you still do not answer the most basic of questions: Why is it not a good thing to develop alternative energies? What is the harm in cleaning up the environment?”

    You, Pat Ravasio are clearly the one to lead us in the path of righteousness.

  92. Excellent article. I really love the miriad connections to the classic logical fallacies.

    By the way, tapped maple trees today. Excellent flow and decent sugar content at 2.5%. So far the global warming predictions of declining maple syrup production aren’t holding true either.

  93. The basis for modellers is to get a job and get paid.
    The only ones on the marked with the funds are the UNFCCC conform nations?

  94. Michael Palmer says:
    January 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    @FrankK
    “… ‘thermageddon’ is not empirical science but model gymnastics …”

    Models are not useless per se. Only if they are formulated in an overly general manner, so that they are compatible with all possible experimental outcomes, do they become useless. This is the criterion of falsifiability.
    ———————————————————————————————————————
    Did I say (all) models are useless? No I am simply stating climate model manipulation is invalid and flawed/fudged. Please note that my bread and butter was for the last 40 years based on developing and running models in another discipline of earth sciences.

  95. How rare it is today to see a renaissance man in action.

    And on a point of pedantry …
    davidmhoffer says:
    January 6, 2013 at 11:33 am
    That is the problem we face today. People believe in magic. With apologies to Arthur C Clarke, any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from science.
    ===========================================================
    Almost! It’s the wrong way round.
    “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

  96. James Abbott sez: January 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Something de la Willis:

    “A particularly ignorant comment from Monckton: ”
    *********************************************
    James Abbot then vomits a flood of ignorance:

    “CFCs and HCFCs are even more trace constituents of our atmosphere, but their impact has been very significant in depleting ozone, particularly at high latitudes”

    No, not “particularly at high latitudes”, but over the poles and nowhere else. The depletion is due to the intense cold of the polar winter, not to CFCs or HCFCs. The intense cold creates the complex, imperfectly understood conditions for depletion of ozone at the dawn of polar spring. The role of CFCs and HCFCs is subordinate to the intense cold. This depletion is entirely replenished in a few weeks as stratospheric circulation is restored by warming of the polar atmosphere. Nowhere else is ozone depletion detected, even though CFCs and HCFCs are found everywhere.
    ==============<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>=============
    “Trace metals in the human body are also essential – without them we die.”

    Wrong again, typical irrelevance by an alarmist who confuses the atmosphere with the human body and confuses irrelevance with science.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    “CO2 is a natural greenhouse gas at trace levels, but without any CO2 in the atmosphere not only would the biosphere be in trouble but in terms of climate the Earth would be in a permanent ice-age, all other things being equal.”

    Congratulations, you are only half ignorant this time, but that half is the worst yet. Have you never seen the CO2 lag from the ice cores?

    ============oooooooooooooo================
    “Anyway, Moncktons qualifications to make these sweeping assumptions are … ?”

    He does not have warming on the brain, a dangerous and debilitating condition that obliterates the intellect.

    Regards, mpainter

    • Actually the main reason for a depletion of O3 over the poles late in their winters is that there has been no sun to split up O2 to make any . With or without CFCs O3 has a very finite half life .

  97. So, PT has not been read in detail and with understanding, or Jaynes is being disputed. Yep, a “binary”! Taleb makes much of the professorate “teaching birds to fly.”

  98. davidmhoffer:

    In response to my plea that everybody should ignore the several attempts to distract this thread by use of the ‘red herring’ of atheists promoting their religion, your post at January 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm says I am “wrong” and addresses me with

    Richard – I’m not sure exactly if you were taking sides in your comment or not, but I hope not. As a scientist and a Methodist minister you have conducted yourself with aplomb on a wide range of overlapping issues in this forum without ever mixing the two. Rather than taking sides, I would hope that someone like you would urge the other two to follow your example.

    I was NOT ‘taking sides’.
    The evangelical atheists destroyed the recent thread at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/25/bethlehem-and-the-rat-hole-problem/

    where I tried to set an example by refusing to engage with them and near the end of the thread (at at January 3, 2013 at 6:29 pm) Lewis P Buckingham said he was unaware if I “had a religion”.

    It is important that evangelism of atheism or any other religion NOT be permitted to destroy this thread in like manner.

    Richard

  99. @Soylent; hence the apologies to Arthur C. Clarke. The poster said what he meant.

    I refer all to Humpty Dumpty’s dialogue with Alice on semantics and rhetoric:

    “Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
    “But [it] doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master that’s all.”

  100. John Whitman says:
    January 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Bruckner8,

    Atheism is trite theological terminology and the secular man should reject. I do. Forget Atheism. I think religion is not natural based on a rational assessment thus I have logically identified it as mere supernaturalism and superstition. It is irrelevant to the merely secular man. I am that merely secular man.

    I think your statement that someone like me is religious means you endorse a false and irrational philosophical position

    I’m way more simple than that. I don’t go off in metaphysical directions, nor do I care to study the theological mysticism or history. Atheism is nothing more than a logical NOT operator, ie, NOT THEISM. The definition of theism is clear, right? lol. Again, I don’t wish to get into supernatural causes/effects/affects. Heck, even the word “supernatural” removes science from the debate…it’s above nature.

    This is purely logic for me…nothing more, nothing less. The source of one’s theism is not in question, unless the source is used as assumption in one’s argument.

    On the other hand, if people are compelled to use their faith (Theism or Anti-Theism) to make OTHER arguments, then I’ll call them out, as I’ve done here.

  101. Doug Huffman says:
    January 6, 2013 at 2:06 pm
    In re “real science’; Jaynes addresses Karl Popper (his “problem of demarcation”) in a number of passages. Appropriate is Id. 9.16.1 ‘The irrationalists’. Popper demands falsifiability be the hallmark of science however impossible/impractical in a fractally complex universe (Mandelbrot, Taleb).

    – – – – – – – –

    Doug Huffman,

    The ‘demarcation problem’ publically stated by Popper in a lecture in 1953 can be considered the criterion for a demarking line between science and pseudo-science.

    It has had some surprising critics. Some say it does not in practice achieve its goal of screening. Others say that it is incorrect about what the scientific process is and therefore it is moot. Others say it cannot logically be defended due to internal inconsistency about its claims. Others say it is tied with the falsity of Analytic philosophy and their progeny Logical Positivist philosophy. I am putting together a small summary of the critics that I have encountered. It is a slow work in progress. I will post it when it is done, hope sooner than later.

    John

  102. Michael Palmer says:
    January 6, 2013 at 11:51 am

    “This applies to logic also – on its own, logic alone does not allow us to mount a case against some contention of empirical science (such as “thermaggedon”). Only if such a contention could be shown to logically contradict itself would there be “a logical case” against it.”

    Your two sentences contradict one another. Many a new theory contains an inconsistency in its several hypotheses. Logic alone can find those inconsistencies and rid us of them. At least one hypothesis is identified as a false hypothesis of empirical science.

    The logician’s standard twist on Hamlet’s caution to Horatio reads: “What I fear, Horatio, is that there are more things in my philosophy than there are between heaven and earth.”

    One simple inconsistency in a theory implies not only all things between heaven and earth but all things whatsoever.

  103. Bruckner8 says:
    January 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I’m way more simple than that. I don’t go off in metaphysical directions, nor do I care to study the theological mysticism or history. Atheism is nothing more than a logical NOT operator, ie, NOT THEISM. The definition of theism is clear, right? lol. Again, I don’t wish to get into supernatural causes/effects/affects. Heck, even the word “supernatural” removes science from the debate…it’s above nature.
    This is purely logic for me…nothing more, nothing less. The source of one’s theism is not in question, unless the source is used as assumption in one’s argument.
    On the other hand, if people are compelled to use their faith (Theism or Anti-Theism) to make OTHER arguments, then I’ll call them out, as I’ve done here.

    Bruckner8,

    Simple can work too.

    A = one who has natural understanding of the nature that is one’s natural experience as exclusive basis of knowledge

    B = one who has supernatural understanding of a supernatural realm/being as basis of knowledge

    A=A yes. B=B yes. A=B no.

    Now tell me the answer to my previous question to you. Where do you get your omniscience that all ‘A’ must be ‘B’. What possible ‘a priori’ do you say justifies in your conclusion?

    John

  104. @Doug Huffman says:
    January 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm
    *************
    The answer is in the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s ‘Symbolic Logic’.

    Apparently Queen Victoria, after reading Alice in Wonderland, asked for Lewis Carroll’s next book. The book he sent her was ‘The Condensation of Determinants, Being a New and Brief Method for Computing their Arithmetical Values’.

  105. As to the question of GOD , many on this thread seem to hate the very mention of such . Who are they trying to convince ? Monckton of Benchley is eloquent as usual .

  106. it is not that the true believer, when he abandons a belief, will believe in nothing.
    he merely transfers his credulity to some other mythology.
    in each case, he is not seeking a higher truth but fleeing his own ignorance.
    it is hardly surprising to find that one of the founding members of the co2 cargo cult will preach with equal vehemence against it at a later date.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7823477/Was-Margaret-Thatcher-the-first-climate-sceptic.html

  107. The UN is not a scientific organization; it is a political organization. Understanding why it would use its “authority” to advance its political power, a very unique authority that they never earned for themselves, one they have learned to abuse in a now insatiable pursuit of controlling the very people of the countries who initially granted them such authority a long time ago – is as easy as understanding why a dog licks … you know.

    And like a untrained dog on a leash being allowed to pull his master along the road deciding which path to take, it’s long past time to bring this dog to heel. The best way to expose their descent into irrelevance is for the USA to take the lead and …leave them. With the fraud perpetrated on us by their IPCC now ripe for public outrage at the real economic damage it has done to us and the suffering it is bringing to millions or even billions of poor people who are, for a hoax, being denied their right to use their own resources to improve their own lives – I cannot think of a better time to do it than now.

  108. I think of global warming as a theory. A theory which has certain meteorological principles behind it such as the Classius-Clayperon water vapor relation and certain basic physics principles behind it such as the strong absorption band of CO2 in the IR. There are many others.

    Then I think of the other basic meteorological principles such as the tendency for water vapor to rain out and release energy high into the troposphere through thunderstorms. I think of the trillions of photons and the trillions of molecules involved in this millisecond transfer of energy. I think of the Stefan-Boltzmann equations which are the fundamental principles of energy and temperature equations which successfully tell us about how energy and temperature are related across the whole universe. I think of how this theory starts to ignore this principle half-way through its development. I think of the molecular collision rate of atmospheric molecules approaching 8 biillion collisions per second, unbelievable really. I think of the 100s of climate papers I have dissected and found an appalling ability to conclude global warming is real despite the basic data in the paper almost proving the opposite. It’s like a paper is automatically published no matter what it says as long as it says global warming in the abstract.

    Then I know that no theory can explain this properly. There is too much going on at too fast a pace for us to understand it. We could model it and sometimes complex systems such as this can be successfully modeled. But maybe not in this case.

    Then I think the only way to really know is to just see what is really happening. When I do this, I see the theory does not work. More is going on than Hansen’s 1980 theory predicts. It is one-third of the predictions every time.

    It is just a logical way of trying to assess whether I should believe a theory or not.

  109. A very nice pro-AGW article. I propose the introduction of a new, more precise term than merely “skeptic”: “pro-AGW skeptic”. Just to avoid a possible confusion.

    By the way, Christopher: why would you bring the issue of membership in the House of Lords into the topic “The logical case against climate panic”? You do not want people here to start discussing it, do you?

    [Pro-NGW Skeptic? Mod]

  110. @Richard Courtney 4:00pm Just went back and looked,(the rathole) see your point.
    Mayhap a truce is necessary and a reboot of what we know and what we can agree on.
    Unfortunately, the CAGW promoters have all the ear-marks of a religious cult to me.
    Jonestown writ large?
    So keeping religion out of the conversation takes conscious effort.But what a troll tool.
    What are the error bars on the satellite land surface and sea surface assumed means?
    I read the presentation to parliament you referred me to, ouch.
    Is it an intentional act of omission, to fail to state the assumed mean in degrees C with error bars, on each of the temperature anomaly graphs presented ?

  111. @Mike Palmer
    — “Modern [formal] logic is just a part of mathematics.”
    But the question is not about “modern” logic, which does indeed often rely on mathematical models. The question is about logic. It is hardly the case that, before Boole, people could not think logically. The discovery of the reality of non-Euclidean geometries was a triumph of logic, not of mathematics. It was made on this principle: if Euclidean geometry consisted of logically necessary truths, it should be possible to prove it logically inconsistent, if one of its axioms or postumates were negated. But try as we may, no contradictions follow from negating the fifth postulate. Therefore, curved space is logically as real as straight space.

    — “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” (Einstein)
    But Einstein used ‘reality’ as shorthand for “what observably exists”, i.e. for what interested him as a physicist. Mathematicians are interested in mathematical reality. Applied to mathematical reality (which does not observably exist), Einstein’s remark is nonsense. So is his remark, “Human beings, in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but just as causally bound as the stars in their motion”, which reduces logic and mathematics to causal effects of physical forces, and his first quote to “As far as the laws of physics refer to physical reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to physical reality.” If the laws of physics are hypotheses (as Popper claimed), they are therefore “uncertain”. What does this mean? That with every advance in physics, we come closer to the point where we should realize that there is no such thing as physical reality–that physics is a science without an object?

    @Jeff Albers
    — “Personally I don’t think religions use much logic. Making proclamations without evidence is not logical. That’s religion in a nutshell, IMHO”
    Theologians used logic long before there was any science in the modern sense of the word. Arguably, there would still not be any science in the modern sense of the word, if theologians had not provided a synthetic worldview in which questions of fact and questions of meaning could be separated logically and systematically.
    If you think that making proclamations without evidence is “religion in a nutshell”, I advise you think again — after having informed yourself on a subject that vastly trascends your understanding of it. If you agree that there is such a thing as “true science” as opposed to junk science, popular science, post-normal science etc., you might perhaps consider that “true religion” has also been opposed to junk religion, popular religion, etc., mainly by the scrupulous use of logic. Today, CAGW is a prime example of “popular science”, but that does not make it “true science”, does it?

    @rgbatduke
    — “You bewail the cost of a new “religion”. Look back at the cost, historically, of actual religion in general, or its ongoing cost today.”
    To put this in perspective: How many of the more than 200 million people who died at the hands of governments in the 20th century, were victims of the Christian religion? How many of them were victims of modern science? If you want to distinguish between “science” and “political abuse of science”, why not distinguish between “religion” and “poltical abuse of religion”?

    — “Atheism is not a religion. It is the lack of a religion.”
    Not so, “Atheism” is “denial of God”, but there are many godless religions. A religion is a scheme for interpreting the whole of human experience in such a way that its parts and aspects make consistent sense. The meaning of the Latin word ‘religiosus’ is thoughtful, scrupulous, exact, anxious to avoid mistakes. Let’s hope that all scientists are religious.

    I am an agnostic. I take no offence at Monckton of Bencley for writing as a professed Christian on any subject he wants, but I do find it annoying that so many people take offence, even at the mere mention of religion as the time-honoured way of trying to establish “why it matters.” Science itself does not answer the question, “Why does science matter?”. And it does not answer the question “Does it matter that science does not answer that question?” Does this mean that those questions are nonsensical, and that trying to make sense of possible answers is beneath contempt?
    Kurt Gödel, certainly one of the greatest logicians and mathematicians of all time, tried his hand at proving the existence of God. He did not publish his proof, probably because he did not want to incur the scorn of the censorious atheistic bien-pensants in Academia. It seems to me that the atheistic knee-jerk reactions to “religion” and “Creator” in the comments to Monckton’s post are if not sufficient then at least highly persuasive evidence for the truth of the thesis that atheism is indeed a censorious religion (albeit, as it proudly proclaims, not a true one).

  112. John Whitman says:
    January 6, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Bruckner8,

    Simple can work too.

    A = one who has natural understanding of the nature that is one’s natural experience as exclusive basis of knowledge

    B = one who has supernatural understanding of a supernatural realm/being as basis of knowledge

    A=A yes. B=B yes. A=B no.

    Now tell me the answer to my previous question to you. Where do you get your omniscience that all ‘A’ must be ‘B’. What possible ‘a priori’ do you say justifies in your conclusion?

    John

    OK, John, I’ll keep playing, but I’m sure everyone’s getting bored. I never made such a claim. In fact, if anything, I said take B off the table entirely. I only care about A, and how one gathers one faith whilst being A.

  113. rgbatduke says: January 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Well said, rgb.

    Bruckner8 says: January 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Atheism takes equal amounts of faith as Theism. They are both based on a “belief” that a diety exists or not. “I do [or not] believe in [this or that deity]. [optionally: because...]”

    Hard to agree with that. Theism is virtually “automatic programming”, especially if you get them early. 100% faith comes standard.

    Atheism requires a bit of thought and logic, and a “non-acceptance” (a lack of faith?) in an entirely implausible tale. (or series thereof).

    A true scientist would say “I don’t know,” and thus declare their self agnostic. I suppose it’s possible to declare “I don’t have empirical evidence [and thus is not science], but the evidence I’ve accumulated over my lifetime makes me ‘feel’ that there is [or not] a deity.” That ain’t science.

    Surely a scientific approach is to observe the complete lack of a physical or logical explanation to the proposed mechanism, and entirely discount it on the basis of our currently known science?

    One may well propose the world came into existence via a collision between discarded nose pickings from star fairies. There is also no known evidence against that. Is there?

  114. Bruckner8 says:
    January 6, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    OK, John, I’ll keep playing, but I’m sure everyone’s getting bored. I never made such a claim. In fact, if anything, I said take B off the table entirely. I only care about A, and how one gathers one faith whilst being A.

    – – – – – – – –

    Bruckner8,

    Agree with you that ‘B’ should be taken off the table. As I think should Christopher Monckton.

    But then you proceed to imply instead a morphing ‘A’ to be a hybrid of ‘B’ as your conclusion to the argument. So I would still request you to explain the ‘a priori’ you use to justify doing so. So my original request to you stands.

    Also, I would like to point out that you did say “All ‘A’ must be ‘B’. “ :

    Bruckner8 says:
    January 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Atheism takes equal amounts of faith as Theism. They are both based on a “belief” that a diety exists or not. “I do [or not] believe in [this or that deity]. [optionally: because...]”

    John

  115. {Once everyone studied the Classics, to know that in logic there is a difference between true and false; the Sciences, to discern where it lies; and Religion, to appreciate why it matters. Today, few study all three empires of the mind. Fewer study the ordered beauty of the logic at their heart.
    Is Private Fraser’s proposition that “We’re a’ doomed!” logical? I say No. G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “When men have ceased to believe in Christianity, it is not that they will believe in nothing. They will believe in anything.” }

    Just a point of contention, I think that (maybe) Monckton was attempting to show that the warmists are NOT being true to their “Religion” (the consensus) by failing to “appreciate why it matters” with Chesterton’s statement. If this is the case then it is not tied together well and appears to be a poorly framed religious argument.

    Otherwise, superb article and enjoyable overview of logic.

  116. @FrankK, your objections to the climate models may be valid and based on much experience, but they are unrelated to pure logic.

    @Theo Goodwin: “Your two sentences contradict one another.”
    Yes. The second sentence was meant as an exception to the first one. An exception always contradicts a general principle – that is its purpose in life.

    Lord Monckton did not point out any intrinsic logical inconsistencies in the warmist theory. Therefore, the exception, which I stated merely for completeness, does not apply in this case; there is no relevant “logical” argument against the warmist case.

    @ S.H.A. Prodi: “But the question is not about “modern” logic … The question is about logic.”
    The Lord explicitly used the term “formal logic”. That term usually refers to modern mathematical logic.

  117. Guest post by Monckton of Brenchley: “The belief that Thermageddon will arise from our altering 1/3000th of the atmosphere in a century is in-your-face illogical, rooted in a dozen fallacies marked out by Aristotle as the commonest in human discourse.
    “Consensus” is the New Religion’s central fallacy.”

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

    Christopher, I am not sure what exactly type of fallacy you committed saying that, but Aristotle would certainly not be amused.

    First of all, the AGW concept has absolutely nothing to do with any reference to God. Nor is there any sort of Holy Scripture. There are no rituals and there are no priests. The AGW concept is rational by nature and refers to science only (let us put aside the issue of those claims being scientifically wrong). There is no resemblance to a religion. Given the massive propaganda it is no wonder many people being unable to check everything themselves think that those AGW scientists are right. It is understandable and can not be compared to a blind faith.

    Another thing, Christopher, is that you have presented yourself as a religious person recently (on the “Bethlehem and the rat-hole problem” thread). And now you call a concept you are critical of a “religion”. Given the fact that that concept is absolutely not a religion, your calling it a “religion” can only have a derogative meaning.

    Now, Christopher, I can not imagine that a religious person can call anything he or she does not like a “religion”. How can a religious person use the term “religion” in a derogative sense? This is beyond my understanding. Aristotle might have called it a “contradiction”. But I am not going to jump to conclusions right now, I hope you can clarify that.

  118. Once everyone studied the Classics, to know that in logic there is a difference between true and false; the Sciences, to discern where it lies; and Religion, to appreciate why it matters.

    I did that, as diligently as someone brought up in the common public schools might. Got me absolutely no where. Dead end, and incredibly disappointing.

    The Classics teach how to reason and that there is a difference between true and false, but cannot tell what is true or false, right or wrong, good or evil: Truth.
    The Sciences only observe or discern facts. They are useful to help train the eye to look, but they do not help people see. A productive person can make an honest living in the Sciences, however.
    Religion is the worst of the three – pure fantasy from the mind of man, designed from the ground up to deceive and enslave mankind. True “Christianity” is not a religion.

    The more direct and satisfying route has been to simply study The Truth itself. Truth is honest and pure, and completely covers all the bases the three things above pretentiously claim to do.

  119. Steven Mosher says:
    January 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/crutem4vgl/from:1995/to:2013/plot/crutem4vgl/from:1995/to:2013/trend

    Thanx for cherry-picking 1995. To avoid charges of cherry-picking, look at the longest temperature record available:

    Notice that there is no acceleration of temperatures. Also notice that the long term trend, right up to the present time, is unchanged despite the large increase in CO2. What does that tell you?

    That tells you that the effect of CO2 is vastly overstated, and that the observed warming is natural, not anthropogenic. You cannot find an anthropogenic signal.

    Sorry about your models. They don’t work, because the planet contradicts them. Listen to the planet, it won’t steer you wrong. Models will.

  120. “Consensus” is the New Religion’s central fallacy. Arguing blindly from consensus is the head-count fallacy, the argumentum ad populum.

    Calling it the “New” religion is argumentum au nouveau, the there is something new under the sun fallacy.

    Consensus is how the Pope keeps his job, and how Mohammed was elevated to his elevated status, even though he is dead. ;)

  121. D Böehm Stealey says:
    January 6, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    – – – – – – – –

    D Böehm is D.B. Stealey!

    I did not know. But, it is great.

    Thanks all.

    Cheers to you.

    John


  122. markx says:
    January 6, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Atheism requires a bit of thought and logic, and a “non-acceptance” (a lack of faith?) in an entirely implausible tale. (or series thereof).

    Before Marx and Engels, Atheism was called Narcissism. Worship of self. Cain suffered from it, as did Lucifer. It is the oldest and most basic religion.

    If you say there is no God, by the rules of logic, you have just declared yourself to be God, able to make such a statement. Sorry, that’s a more implausible tale than the one that declares a Just and Loving God would make His will clearly known to the people He created by way of the written and spoken word.

  123. rgbatduke wrote

    quote
    JF, first of all, we worked out the arithmetic
    unquote.

    Yes, thank you for that. I made a mistake in my calcs (100/5 is rarely 2), trusted your result and didn’t look further, a classic error on my part. Hence my new statement. That’s ‘enough’ BTW, not ‘does’ coat the entire surface. Other effects will limit the spread.

    quote
    I’m not a peer that would peer review your paper.
    unquote

    Heaven forfend. I just wanted to know if you had looked at the picture of a smoothed Beaufort inlet and seen the smooth which I see. The answer seems to be ‘no’. You should borrow someone else’s computer. It’s interesting, as is Wigley’s blip, but then perhaps you haven’t looked at ‘why the blip?’ either. Climate science does this: it ignores data to the point of willful blindness, avoids data that contradicts its worldview in order that its comfortable theory is not challenged. Good for grants, bad for science.

    Try dribbling a 50/50 mix of light oil and surfactant behind your boat next time you’re out fishing and watch the smooth spread — I’d love to duplicate Franklin’s experiment myself but one would probably be arrested nowadays if one did that on a Clapham pond.

    Thank you for your time. That was interesting and instructive in a different sort of way.

    JF

  124. For the benefit of Pat Ravasiowho asked “the most basic of questions:” on January 6, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Pat, the most basic research would answer all of your questions, but in case that is beyond you…

    Q1 Why is it not a good thing to develop alternative energies?

    No one is saying it is not, certainly not the author of this piece. Such developments must however be capable of providing for our energy needs. Those that are currently referred to as “alternative” can not do so at present.

    For example the Thanet Offshore Wind-Farm off the authors own Kent coast, the second largest in the world, covers 13.5 sq miles and can (according to the developer’s own claims) barely provide 1/20th of the needs of the 1 sq mile City of London. To provide for “The Square Mile” at the current time would take a wind farm of 270 sq miles!

    No reasonable person would suggest that current energy provision can be wound down until that changes – but by all means continue to work on changing it.

    Q2 What is the harm in cleaning up the environment?

    None, of course, unless the act of cleaning it up does more harm than good. For example, according to Greenpeace, the destruction of rainforest to provide biofuels in Indonesia is responsible for 4% of the world’s total “Greenhouse Gas” emissions.

    Re-read the article and you will see that the author specifically says he would have us focus on such issues.

    Q3 Surely you do not deny that there are serious ill health effects of fossil fuel mining and use?

    Clearly so; and all steps should be taken to reduce or eliminate such deaths. Sadly the “alternative” has proven to be no better.

    Research by Dr David Kreutzer, Ph.D. – Senior Analyst in Energy Economics and Climate Change – finds that fatalities for the U.S. , removing deaths that are only tangentially related to wind power, shows that there were 10 deaths in the US wind-power industry over the years 2003-2008. This would seem to make wind power much safer than coal mining, which had 176 fatalities over the same period.

    However, much less energy was generated by wind than by coal. On a million-megawatt-hour basis, the wind-energy industry has averaged 0.0220 deaths compared with 0.0147 for coal over the years 2003-2008. Even adding coal’s share of fatalities in the power-generation industry, which brings the rate up to 0.0164, still leaves wind power with a 34 percent higher mortality rate.

    For the record, the workplace fatality rate for wind also exceeds that when oil and gas are added on an equivalent-energy basis.

    Once built the problems are not over. In December 2011, in a peer-reviewed report in the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Dr Carl Phillips – one of the U.S.’s most distinguished epidemiologists – concluded that there is ‘overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate’.

    Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Robert McMurtry, once Canada’s most senior public health official: ‘Whatever you think about climate change, you can be sure that wind energy is not the solution. There is an abundance of evidence to the show that infrasound from wind farms represents a serious public health hazard. Until further research is done, there should be an immediate moratorium on building any more of them.’

    By the way I focus on wind because it accounts for nearly 70% of renewables. I am aware of the alternative alternatives but this response is long enough already.

    Q4&5 That we are still burning up the house to keep the family warm? That fossil fuel supplies are finite?

    Yes indeed – fossil fuels are finite. However they are not close to exhaustion, particularly as shale gas is likely to provide for several hundred years of consumption. This should be seen as good news by the “alternative” lobby as it gives them plenty of time to develop their “alternatives” to the point that they are actually viable.

    However, within this time scale, I would expect the answer is more likely to come from technologies such as aneutronic nuclear than from wind. And maybe sooner than you think.

    Q6 That there are readily available alternatives which are economically scalable if only they were adequately supported?

    See my answer to question one. At present what is readily available is not up to the job.

    With regard to “scalability”; how much bigger can a wind turbine get? They are already the size of the Statue of Liberty. Of course they can and will get more efficient in converting wind energy into (storable?) electricity. But that is not “readily available”.

    With regard to “support”; UK on shore wind farms are 100% subsidised and off-shore is 200% subsidised. Thanet alone will receive “support” of £1.8billion over its expected lifetime.

    Q7 Development of clean, renewable energy will stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life for all living things on the planet.

    Research institute Verso Economics reveals that for every ‘green job’ created by taxpayer subsidy, 3.7 jobs are killed in the real economy and that, thanks to the artificial rise in energy prices caused by renewable subsidies, at least 50,000 people a year in Britain alone are driven into fuel poverty. And Britain is not a poor country.

    With regards to the quality of life for all living things I will let the Environmentalists at the Centre for Biological Diversity in San Fransico speak to that. [The poorly sited wind farm at Altamont Pass] is “responsible for an astronomical level of bird kills. So far 0ver 2,400 protected Golden Eagles. If you killed just one by poaching you would be locked up”

    Similarly the US Government Accountability Office on wind farms’ impact on wildlife, said that 2,000 bats were killed during a seven-month study at a 44-turbine site in West Virginia.

    Whales and Dolphins can be affected by off shore wind farms by:
    • seismic exploration;
    • intense noise due to ramming/piling, drilling and dredging operations;
    • increased vessel activities during exploration and construction and later maintenance operations,
    • increased turbidity due to construction and cable laying; and, later,
    • decommissioning of wind farms. (This may involve the use of explosives.)
    • artificial reef effects
    • continual operational noise and vibrations emanating from the wind turbines;
    • electromagnetic impacts due to cabling that may impact navigation

    Henriksen et al. (2001a) predict that seals may hear the noise emitted from marine wind farms at a distance of up to 1km.

    There is some evidence for electromagnetic fields emanating from undersea cables affecting the movements of some fish species and associated food chain. (Engell-Sorensen, 2002; Gill & Taylor, 2001)

    “Alternatives”, Pat, are not universally good for all living things. Nor is very expensive energy.

    So please explain why you oppose an orderly, economical transition to readily available alternative energies?

    If such a thing were possible I doubt there would be any lasting objection. However I think the answer is clear from the above. The “readily available alternatives” are simply not up to the job – yet.

    You say the “alarmists” are motivated by profits. Yet it is you who are affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a noted man cave for fire-breathing fossil fuel behemoths.

    I know next to nothing about Heartland – I shall let others address that particular ad hominem. I do know that our Prime Minister’s Father-In-Law makes a £1,000 a week from his wind turbine. Good luck to him I say. At least he doesn’t pretend it’s not for the money.

    Anthony and friends, you can parse the particulars until kingdom come, but fossil fuels are still the Earth’s Goliath. Humanity is still David. The only question is what are we going to put in our slingshot, and why are we so slow in getting about the business so clearly at hand?

    Humanity’s David, it seems, has put CO2 in its slingshot and is chucking it with all its feeble might at Earth’s Goliath.

    Goliath is smiling.


  125. John Whitman says:
    January 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Please explain the source of your omniscience claim that everyman profoundly believes in or has faith in the supernatural.

    Omniscience is not required, just simple logic.

    Does life exist? I only see the effects of it. If I could see you, I might find you breathing. Do love, peace, joy exist? One thousand other, invisible, “super-natural” things enjoyed by people all over the world and throughout the ages.

    Dismissal of the supernatural has not got to be a very satisfying way to live your life. Appreciation is a better place to start. Give it a try. The only thing you’ll give up is arrogance, a worthwhile sacrifice.

  126. John Whitman says:
    Bruckner8,

    Agree with you that ‘B’ should be taken off the table. As I think should Christopher Monckton.

    But then you proceed to imply instead a morphing ‘A’ to be a hybrid of ‘B’ as your conclusion to the argument. So I would still request you to explain the ‘a priori’ you use to justify doing so. So my original request to you stands.

    Also, I would like to point out that you did say “All ‘A’ must be ‘B’. “ :

    Bruckner8 says:
    January 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Atheism takes equal amounts of faith as Theism. They are both based on a “belief” that a diety exists or not. “I do [or not] believe in [this or that deity]. [optionally: because...]”

    John
    John, my entire point is that your insistence on grouping the Theists (B) and the A-Theists (A) is misguided. THEY ARE BOTH B in this case, and I’m trying to take both of them off the table. Both require belief. You can insist on assigning the “supernatural” to B, and the “natural” to A, but you’re just creating a new argument “for fun.” It’s not honest to do so. I don’t care where the “naturalness” fits in to your restatement! BOTH REQUIRE BELIEF (supernatural or not). This does not make the sets equal. It merely assigns another attribute to them. If you have an issue with the term “belief,” bring it on. Otherwise, I see it this way: Mutually exclusive sets that share an attribute. (Cats and Dogs have four legs [observation]; Theists and Atheists require belief [neither has proof]) Nowhere does the supernatural come into play (it could! doesn’t matter!), unless you insist on inserting your own definitions.


  127. james griffin says:
    January 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Science is best left to agnostics.

    That is what is becoming pervasive now, and it is no longer Science. It’s called government propaganda.

    But there is no such thing as an agnostic. The question becomes: under what tenants do the scientists hold themselves accountable? Is one of the tenants that they hold themselves accountable to the other tenants? Not in the current breed.

  128. Bruckner8 says:
    January 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    John, my entire point is that your insistence on grouping the Theists (B) and the A-Theists (A) is misguided. THEY ARE BOTH B in this case, and I’m trying to take both of them off the table. Both require belief. You can insist on assigning the “supernatural” to B, and the “natural” to A, but you’re just creating a new argument “for fun.” It’s not honest to do so. I don’t care where the “naturalness” fits in to your restatement! BOTH REQUIRE BELIEF (supernatural or not). This does not make the sets equal. It merely assigns another attribute to them. If you have an issue with the term “belief,” bring it on. Otherwise, I see it this way: Mutually exclusive sets that share an attribute. (Cats and Dogs have four legs [observation]; Theists and Atheists require belief [neither has proof]) Nowhere does the supernatural come into play (it could! doesn’t matter!), unless you insist on inserting your own definitions.

    – – – – – – – –

    Bruckner8,

    Again, show me your ‘a priori’ justification that I and people like me require belief (aka faith). You are implying that it is a metaphysical requirement of human beings to ‘believe’ or ‘have faith’, qua human beings. Where did you acquire that ‘a priori’ knowledge? Show me the source. Is your source faith or belief? It appears so.

    Your self-proclaimed omniscience in that regard is strong evidence that you are profoundly belief or faith based, but that implies nothing about people who are not like you.

    Goodnight, cocktail hour is starting soon. Catch tomorrow morning.

    John


  129. michaelwiseguy says:
    January 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    The mainstream media is stuck on stupid and people are not tuning into them anymore.

    People are figuring out they don’t like to be lied to.

    I’m holding out hope. Do you also think they will become concerned about the other 7/8’s of the problem – being responsible for their own education?

  130. Since religion has entered the discussion, I personally prefer to deal with Christians and Jews rather than one who makes up his own morals. Such people often have none. They are present in academe and government in droves and, evidenced by the lies and distortions they so effortlessly effuse, their lack of ethics is clear and I believe it is a large part of the problem. For myself, I maintain my Christian credentials and practice Judeo/Christian ethics. What reservations I may or may not have about resurrection or virgin birth are nobody’s business but my own.

  131. why not distinguish between “religion” and “poltical abuse of religion”?

    Because they are (historically and practically) indistinguishable?

    Also, your analogy is a false one anyway. Political abuse of science is the discovery that you can hit harder with a big piece of wood than you can with your bare hands and conquering territory with your newly invented club, in the very brief interval you have before your opponents discover that there is a lot of wood around and they can use clubs too. Science is simply a systematic and moderately reliable process for extending human knowledge, and personally I think we are better off for knowledge, that the more we know and understand the better informed our decision making will be compared to the horrible errors we make in its absence. If you, on the other hand, feel that we would be better off back in the dark ages or worse, living as simple animals in the forest, well…

    Let’s just assume for a moment that religion in general is actually untrue, that there is, in fact, no God. In that case every single decision that every single human has ever made throughout their entire life for all recorded history, on the basis of the assumption that there is a God, or Gods, or Gods and Saints and Devils or an entire supernatural pantheon with its own history at war and involving humans in their intrigues, has had a pretty glaring false premise at its very root.

    I don’t just mean “political” decisions, although every decision involving more than one person is in some sense political — I mean supernatural beliefs have dictated when people go to bed and when they rise, how they spend time throughout every day, how they have disposed of their limited wealth. It has dominated their fears, their hopes, their dreams. It has unified people (for good and for ill), it has torn them apart. For most of recorded history in most countries of the world, there has been little differentiation between the religious and secular powers, and only rarely has one appeared to move, for a time, counter to the other (becoming as a consequence historically noteworthy in the process). The mere fact that I can refer to “religious powers” illustrates the fallacy of believing that religion and politics are separable — whence powers if not from the polis, the people?

    Perhaps it is just me, but I personally think that humans are at our best when we do not base the arguments that guide all of our decisions everyday on false premises, or assign an improbably great degree of belief to a proposition more or less without evidence. It’s not that sometimes those decisions won’t work out all right — people are pretty good at making even wrong things work, sort of kind of, and sometimes you just plain get lucky. But they certainly aren’t the decisions that might have been made if one was better informed.

    If you knew — knew for certain — that there was no God, would you continue to donate money to a Church, to spend a significant fraction of your life in Church hearing tiresome lectures on silly antique myths and singing songs and chanting things? Remember, the assumption is that you know that it is all malarky, really. If that is too much of a stretch, would you choose to spend the rest of your life participating in the daily and weekly religious rituals in — pick any religion that is not your own. Praying to Mecca five times a day? Sacrificing small animals at a stone altar and then burning them? The reason you don’t do that now is because you think that is silly, that rules in the Bible requiring this sort of thing are silly antique myths and rituals that people got all wrong (besides being pointlessly cruel and wasteful).

    If you knew for certain that there was no life after death, that this one life was all you will ever get as “you”, that death is a permanent and irreversible condition (all of which are scientifically quite true, of course, based on an incredible volume of science and evidence) would you choose to spend it quite the same way you might spend it if you thought that however sucky your life was now, it would all be made better (or worse!) after you die?

    The problem with looking to religion as an answer to “why it matters” is — what if it is a false — but easy — answer? Accepting it uncritically all but eliminates any possibility of constructive work on answering the question the hard way.

    Everybody who is religious who isn’t a latter day ecumenical pantheist who thinks all religions are true is an atheist — in all religions but one. Given N religions, I’m simply 1/N more atheistic than a religious person typically is, where N is a large if not unbounded number.

    On the other hand, we do not speak of “scientific powers”, and scientific organizations that wield any actual political power are at the very least a historically recent invention if not even now more fantasy than reality. The American Physical Society is not known for its political clout.

    That is not to argue that advanced science does not confer technological advantage in the resolution of political problems both violent and non-violent, only that science itself has with the recent and regrettable exception of climate science — lacked any sort of political organization that made ex cathedra pronouncements supporting a particular political policy, and even there it can only do so in a debatable way (which is what this site is all about).

    I am an agnostic. I take no offence at Monckton of Bencley for writing as a professed Christian on any subject he wants, but I do find it annoying that so many people take offence, even at the mere mention of religion as the time-honoured way of trying to establish “why it matters.” Science itself does not answer the question, “Why does science matter?”. And it does not answer the question “Does it matter that science does not answer that question?” Does this mean that those questions are nonsensical, and that trying to make sense of possible answers is beneath contempt?
    Kurt Gödel, certainly one of the greatest logicians and mathematicians of all time, tried his hand at proving the existence of God. He did not publish his proof, probably because he did not want to incur the scorn of the censorious atheistic bien-pensants in Academia. It seems to me that the atheistic knee-jerk reactions to “religion” and “Creator” in the comments to Monckton’s post are if not sufficient then at least highly persuasive evidence for the truth of the thesis that atheism is indeed a censorious religion (albeit, as it proudly proclaims, not a true one).

    I find it difficult to believe that, as you type a reply on a keyboard that instantly publishes your words to a vast audience in the (dare I presume) heated or air-conditioned comfort of an enclosed and electrically lighted room, enjoying (we might reasonably hope) good health resulting from treatments more sophisticated than the casting out of demons and sacrifice of small animals, that you really believe it necessary to search hard for an answer to the question “Why does science matter?” It is fun. It is profitable. It improves our lives. If you think science (and the products of scientific endeavor) doesn’t matter, try living now without it.

    Kurt Godel didn’t publish his proof (if he ever found one) because it was wrong. The point of Einstein’s quote up above is that one cannot prove mathematically one single thing about the observable universe! Inference is not proof. This includes proving why mathematical proofs and reasoning and formulas often appear to work to describe it (so that we infer that inference often works). David Hume did an admirable job of proving that the question of God cannot be answered or proven by pure reason or by any series of observations, although of course it can be answered any way you like by simply begging the question in your unprovable axioms.

    Indeed, mathematics as a process for reasoning from unprovable axioms/propositions to conclusions/theorems has consistency problems enough of its own, many of them due to Godel. I strongly recommend Mathematics, the Loss of Certainty by Morris Kline if this sort of thing interests you. Or Polya’s work on inductive reasoning in mathematics. Or (as already commended above) E. T. Jaynes book Probability Theory, the Logic of Science.

    rgb


  132. rgbatduke says:
    January 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    “When men have ceased to believe in Christianity, it is not that they will believe in nothing. They will believe in anything.”

    Surely no more absurd statement was ever made as an introduction to an essay on logic.

    Shirley, there may not have been a more succinct description of the last two thousand years’ history. Cheers to Christopher Monckton, who also boldly professes that Jesus Christ is his lord. The man’s got guts.


    Surely there is no more certain way to offend any individual who reads the essay who has, as I have, ceased to believe in Christianity.

    You probably are offended by the buttons on his coat, too.

  133. > Now it is common for trolls to distract from the subject of an article by Lord Monckton by
    > promoting the religion of atheism. Several have already tried it on this thread.

    The question to be asked is whether Chris Monckton was being deliberately
    provocative in introducing religion into his piece when there was absolutely
    no need or reason to do so. Please, desist !

  134. Phil’s Dad says:
    January 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    For the benefit of Pat Ravasiowho asked “the most basic of questions:” on January 6, 2013 at 10:45 am

    A lot of really good stuff. Well done!

    rgb

  135. Try dribbling a 50/50 mix of light oil and surfactant behind your boat next time you’re out fishing and watch the smooth spread — I’d love to duplicate Franklin’s experiment myself but one would probably be arrested nowadays if one did that on a Clapham pond.

    It’s actually rather illegal to do that here, too. Oil and gasoline do make it into the water from motors but actively dumping it into the water is against the law. But I’m certain I’ll be around sometime when my motor leaks or there is some other large source of oil around. And I’ll keep my eyes open for what you describe, never fear.

    rgb

  136. Guest post by Monckton of Brenchley: “Besides, there has been no global warming for 18 years; … Global warming that was predicted for tomorrow but has not occurred for 18 years until today …”
    ==========================================================

    It is funny, but 2 weeks ago Christopher repeatedly said “16 years” (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/25/bethlehem-and-the-rat-hole-problem/). I really like the rate the “global warming” is retreating at! In 2 weeks we will have “no global warming for 20 years”, this is a positive development. What we really need are just 2 more years and we will have no warming ever happened.


  137. John Whitman says:
    January 6, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Christopher Monckton,

    Have you considered … the possibility of CAGWists having a more central philosophic root which is unscientific in the Aristotelian sense and which gives rise to and contains the reason they consistently commit all the fallacies you mentioned.

    Have you considered that good men, out of the goodness of their hearts, bring forth good things, and that evil men, out of the evilness of their hearts, bring forth evil things?

  138. rgbatduke says:
    January 6, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    “Atheism takes equal amounts of faith as Theism. They are both based on a “belief” that a diety exists or not. “I do [or not] believe in [this or that deity]. [optionally: because...]”

    No, but your argument here is perfect for illustrating why you are wrong.

    If I believe in fairies, I indeed have to give a reason for that belief or be thought a fool. I believe in fairies because I’ve got pictures of them dancing. I believe in fairies because I read fairy stories as a child and felt that they must be true. I believe in fairies because I keep one as a pet. In other words, one has to have some specific evidence for fairies in order to reasonably believe in them. We would consider the first and third reasons as being a lot better than the middle one, for example.”

    rgbatduke – no, you are religious. If you accept an expanding universe, you accept singularity. Ergo, you accept all the matter in the universe came from nothingness. And don’t go to string theory or multiverses – even you would agree they are more unlikely than likely

  139. Greg House says:
    January 6, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    It is funny, but 2 weeks ago Christopher repeatedly said “16 years” (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/25/bethlehem-and-the-rat-hole-problem/). I really like the rate the “global warming” is retreating at! In 2 weeks we will have “no global warming for 20 years”, this is a positive development. What we really need are just 2 more years and we will have no warming ever happened.

    Child’s play. We’ve had no “global warming” in 1000 years.

  140. richardscourtney;
    I was NOT ‘taking sides’.
    The evangelical atheists destroyed the recent thread at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/25/bethlehem-and-the-rat-hole-problem/

    where I tried to set an example by refusing to engage with them
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Well thanks for taking the position you have, and for setting the example. Unfortunately I think the thread is well off the tracks at this point. Some of the responses to Pat Ravasio were stellar, I learned a lot from a couple of them, sadly she will learn nothing, she’s repeating the precise same questions and assertions that she has already asked in other threads.

    I much enjoy theological discussions, but have long since learned showing people what their own biblical text actually says (or doesn’t say) (or that older versions say something different than current versions) is just a good way to get people seriously riled really really fast. So I choose carefully who I have those discussions with, and have long since learned that a public forum is not a good place to seek them out.

  141. Before Marx and Engels, Atheism was called Narcissism. Worship of self. Cain suffered from it, as did Lucifer. It is the oldest and most basic religion.

    If you say there is no God, by the rules of logic, you have just declared yourself to be God, able to make such a statement. Sorry, that’s a more implausible tale than the one that declares a Just and Loving God would make His will clearly known to the people He created by way of the written and spoken word.

    Sigh. No, atheism was never called Narcissism. You’re just making that up.

    There is absolutely no logical equivalence of the assertion that there is (probably) no God to the assertion that you yourself are God. In fact, that is what we in the actual business of logic call an inconsistent statement, a basic contradiction. Let’s write it out in good old symbolic logic shall we?

    Not A, therefore A

    which is logically equivalent to A and Not A, the fundamental contradiction.

    One cannot assert that God does not exist and thereby also be asserting that God exists (and is you). That’s simple muddled nonsense. The correct statement is that there is no God including me, and even a positive atheist would generally only say there is probably no God, not state it as a certainty. I myself say it even more compactly — there is no reliable evidence that there is a God.

    Now I’m perfectly happy to believe in a tale that a Just and Loving God (all capitalized, of course) would make His will clearly known to me by way of the written or spoken word. If such an entity exists, He’s got my address, and I’m happy to meet with him in person to talk things over at any time. Time and space are no barrier, of course, and with omnipresence, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence right now is as good a time as any.

    Oh, you meant by way of one particular set of the many dissimilar sets of the words written by people several thousand years ago and constantly rewritten and mistranslated across the thousands of years in between, all claiming to convey the truth about God, often pretending that there words are “Gods own words”?

    Back to logic again. People aren’t God, right? You just said so. So I am surely justified in doubting the words of any man claiming to speak for God, the one being in all the Universe that is surely capable of speaking for Itself — if it exists at all, or cares to speak. And given that It can Create Whole Universes, it seems silly to think that it has to be particularly subtle in Its communication or rely on ancient texts for it. I’m fairly certain I’m not God, and even I can manage to communicate better than that.

    rgb


  142. Michael Moon says:
    January 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    The cost of energy determines prosperity. Energy sources have been sought since time immemorial, and continue to be sought.
    …People never choose poverty!

    They chose Obama, didn’t they? Or were those not people?

  143. I learn more reading a single article by Monckton than any book I’ve ever read. What a brilliant guy, how does one get that smart really? And luckily for us, there are still brilliant guys like Monckton around who have the courage to fight tyranny and oppression in this world. Our world needs more Moncktons, and a lot less “nobel prize winners” like Al Gore and Michael E. Mann.

  144. rgbatduke – no, you are religious. If you accept an expanding universe, you accept singularity. Ergo, you accept all the matter in the universe came from nothingness. And don’t go to string theory or multiverses – even you would agree they are more unlikely than likely

    Ah, well, I’m glad we got that sorted out then. I was clearly confused about my own beliefs and I’m so glad you could help me.

    Now, would you care to comment on this “nothingness” the Universe supposedly came from? Even in my newly enlightened religious state, I’m having difficulty with it. Would that be nothingness without any God, or nothingness with a God? Because I have to say, nothingness with a God sounds more like somethingness, wouldn’t you say?

    Since we have agreed that I accept (at least provisionally, as far as the powerfully augmented eye can see) an expanding Universe and am therefore clearly religious about physics and mathematics and reason if nothing else, can you explain to me how God isn’t something and yet is capable of things like sentience, action, choice, design, starting off Big Bangs out of nothingness — all things that seem to involve a remarkably high degree of material complexity and organization (not to mention time, and space and energy) — not to mention various Amazing Powers to make an entire Universe poof into existence out of nowhere with just the right rules to work out to become (in very small part) me some 14 billion years later. And all planned!

    If we ever get nothingness and nowhere and notime sorted out, then we can tackle the proposition that it is somehow “more unlikely than likely” that string theory or multiverses are correct. I wasn’t aware until you helped me that this was my position.

    But you must be right. I’ve written an entire novel on the multiverse concept, and it is certainly a fictional novel. So I must not believe it.

    Curiously, a few minutes ago I would have said that it isn’t likely or unlikely for some multiverse hypothesis to be correct — if there are multiple disjoint spacetime continua that are adiabatically disconnected (share no information) then we will never know, so the question is fundamentally unanswerable. That doesn’t mean (note well) that the question itself is meaningless — I understand it perfectly well, in fact — just that one cannot in principle ever answer it. I’m rather a religious believer in the objective reality of somethingness, so if it is in fact an existential truth that there are indeed multiple Universes then whether or not I know it or can observe them it would be rather silly to assert that they definitely do not exist — or vice versa.

    If there are multiverses that are in fact coupled — quantum bundles of universes, that sort of thing (which is the basis of my story, it being a bit boring to write about a world where the Lord of the Rings Universe really exists as a parallel Universe, only you can’t get there from here or ever prove it — then perhaps we might one day be able to demonstrate this, but in the meantime the question is more science fiction or fantasy than something to believe or disbelieve in very strongly, with the usual rational default: Lack of belief pending positive evidence!

    Regarding string theory — it is really quite a surprise to learn that I reject string theory either a priori or on the basis of evidence. I would have sworn that actually considered to be a plausible hypothesis in general, albeit with a fair ways to go before it is positively proven, with moderate explanatory power. Of course, some of my very smart acquaintances are string theorists and perhaps you have correctly read my heart — rather than offend them I pretend to accept their absurd religion.

    Now if you really want to know what I religiously believe about the Big Bang, string theory, cosmic eggs, time before time, all you have to do is ask. If you’d prefer to read my mind, on the other hand, well, try not to wrinkle the pages or bend the spine, and put it back on the shelf when you’re finished.

    rgb

  145. Child’s play. We’ve had no “global warming” in 1000 years.

    And over 8000 years, it’s gotten rather chilly. Over 5 million years, it’s gotten downright frigid.

    I wonder if it is time to go homesteading in Antarctica yet? No? A bit premature?

    ;-)

    rgb

  146. Perhaps we can sum it up: Watch out for argumentum ad coprum tauri.

    LOL. You should send that one into the folks that maintain the logical fallacy bingo game, along with argumentum ad Latinum gloriosum, arguments based on fancy Latin phrases.

    I may have to steal it for my book.

    rgb

  147. Since religion has entered the discussion, I personally prefer to deal with Christians and Jews rather than one who makes up his own morals. Such people often have none.

    Christians and Jews often have none. Equally often, according to actual measurements — crime rates are not strongly differentiated by religious belief. And non-religious people do not “make up their own morals” any more than you do. The learn them exactly the same way that you do, by living in a society that rewards moral behavior, mostly, and by rationally looking at moral rules without the supernatural trimmings. But fearmongering is a standard practice of at least some of the religious — without religion, everybody will just do whatever they want! Horrors! Because it is clearly only religion and the fear of God that causes people to do things they do not want to do or behave in an altruistic manner.

    The subtext is also that they’ll also do whatever anybody wants them to do, as long as they can justify it somehow in scripture, and that’s pretty easy. Want to bring back slavery? The Bible is your friend. Want to wipe out an enemy to the last man, woman and child? Hey, Moses did it. Why shouldn’t we? Tired of drug company profits? Plenty of opportunities in faith healing. Who needs Crestor?

    rgb


  148. rgbatduke says:
    January 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Your seemingly humble reply prompts me to respond.

    Sigh. No, atheism was never called Narcissism. You’re just making that up.
    I just called it that, therefore it has been ;) If Atheism hasn’t been known that way, it should be, as there is no essential difference. Here’s why:

    There is absolutely no logical equivalence of the assertion that there is (probably) no God to the assertion that you yourself are God.

    One cannot accurately say whether something does or doesn’t exist without defining it. If one says a supreme being doesn’t exist, he’s defined the supreme being. That makes him bigger than, superior to the supreme being. Hence, he is the supreme being.

    In other words, the thing accurately and completely defined is smaller than the thing that defines it. God is inferior to you, you must be God instead. In other centuries, this thinking was called Narcissism. Teenagers exhibit the same behavior, but many adults grow out of it. Arrogance is another word commonly employed to describe the situation.

    In fact, that is what we in the actual business of logic call an inconsistent statement, a basic contradiction.

    You said it yourself.

    I myself say it even more compactly — there is no reliable evidence that there is a God.

    I’ll let the entire creation speak for itself, it seems a pretty reliable witness so far. If haply you should genuinely desire to know the supreme being, and He exists and loves, I’m sure He’ll make Himself known to you, in a manner you can understand.

    Not my job to provide the evidence. Don’t want the job. Anyone who claims to have it is the blind leading the blind. If you have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is not at all difficult. A child can understand it.

    The evidence is overwhelming.

    If such an entity exists, He’s got my address, and I’m happy to meet with him in person to talk things over at any time.

    If that was not sarcastic, keep your eyes open for a visit. You may have to wait, but not because He’s too busy. Never known Him to fail humble people.

    Oh, you meant by way of one particular set of the many dissimilar sets of the words written by people several thousand years ago and constantly rewritten and mistranslated across the thousands of years in between, all claiming to convey the truth about God, often pretending that there words are “Gods own words”?

    Now you are just making stuff up.

    So I am surely justified in doubting the words of any man claiming to speak for God,

    Absolutely. The more skeptical, the better, I think. Impossible to be too skeptical. But if God exists, and He is Love, He is going to have to make Himself known since He is apparently invisible.

    the one being in all the Universe that is surely capable of speaking for Itself — if it exists at all, or cares to speak.

    Indeed. That is why He instructed faithful men to write it down for Him, verbatim. He would have to think very highly of man to give it to him, and to entrust some of them with the dictation.

    Given that is true, He now has two great witnesses of Himself: His creation which you can see, and His word which you can read and consider. Now you just have to find someone to help you learn to read it. I guarantee you you do not have the education to understand what you are reading, because hardly anyone has any knowledge of how to read it any more. That may be the crime of the ages. God’s people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.

    Eventually, you’ll need the third witness, a gift He freely provides just for the purpose. In the first century, they had another, who is due to return hopefully soon, God raised him from the dead.

    it seems silly to think that it has to be particularly subtle in Its communication or rely on ancient texts for it. I’m fairly certain I’m not God, and even I can manage to communicate better than that.

    There is nothing subtle about it. It is written down. Black on white. No guesswork required. Incredibly thoughtful. You can buy your own copy, and read it yourself, thanks in part to Gutenberg.

    Texts that are a few thousand years old are not ancient, if the planet is 4.5 billion years old. Why would a good thing need to be rewritten? You probably revise your stuff – He hasn’t had to: it was perfect to start with.

    and even I can manage to communicate better than that

    That’s just silly. The written word has stood the test of time.

  149. That is what is becoming pervasive now, and it is no longer Science. It’s called government propaganda.

    But there is no such thing as an agnostic. The question becomes: under what tenants do the scientists hold themselves accountable? Is one of the tenants that they hold themselves accountable to the other tenants? Not in the current breed.

    OK, wow. I actually don’t understand any of this.

    No, no, let me try. Science is no longer science, it is government propaganda. [So I should rename my physics textbooks "government propaganda I and II". ] Check. Hmm, looks like I’ll be back to teaching government propaganda in a few days.

    Second, there is no such thing as an agnostic. Presumably, if somebody claims to be agnostic, they are lying. If anybody claims to have seen or talked to an agnostic, they are mistaken. No agnostics. Check.

    Then, something about scientists holding themselves accountable as renters (tenants) of some dwelling? Where one of the renters is, I dunno, accountable to the rest or vice versa? Is this some sort of bizarre metaphor? No, wait, you meant tenets! Now it is all clear. I’ll have to go look up the answer in a book on “The Tenets of the Scientific Method” — I’m trying to remember a tenet of accountability to other tenets in there, but damned if I can, so I’m guessing that the answer is no.

    Then something about a breed? Breed of what, tenet? Scientist? Scientific method? I do agree, though, that there is no tenet of accountability of any N-1 of the N tenets in the Scientific Method, which is actually not composed of tenets in the usual sense of the term, to the remaining tenet, in the current breed of scientific method. You have to go back to religious assertions of “the following tenets are true because this tenet says so and also says you should be burned at the stake if you disagree” to get that kind of accountability.

    If you’re referring to scientists in general as “they” in the sentence with all the tenants being held accountable for the scientific method (presumably by some authority capable of holding somebody accountable, the “science police” I guess) then sadly, no, this is not how science works. Nothing stops you, for example, from calling yourself a scientist. Or from creationists making non-verifiable scientific claims. Great science has been done by people with no formal degrees, and people with stacks of degrees have been dumb as a post, scientifically speaking. Nothing stops a scientist, credentialed or otherwise from being wrong, or being stupid, or being venal, or being lucky. Scientists are, in fact, human! Not machines, not space aliens, just people. Ideally, relatively smart and well-educated people, but there’s a large spread and in any given case is open for debate.

    The amazing thing about “scientists” is that they informally form their own “police”, the most non-violent police force in the world. There is little reward for being right, little punishment for being wrong (although even less reward!). The punishment for being stupid (a.k.a. being wrong too often) is the same that it is for anybody — the police (other scientists) will stop listening to you much, if you never make sense when they do.

    The punishment for being venal is probably wealth (nobody said life was fair) but not in science per se — you usually have to go over to the Dark Side — applications and engineering and patents and business or politics — for that.

    What keeps scientists afloat is often the hope of being lucky, of discovering something that really matters, which even in the reward-poor world of science confers some limited honor and wealth. And everybody knows that fortune favors those who work their asses off, so most scientists (that I know) actually work pretty hard.

    What is becoming pervasive now is illiteracy, both verbal and scientific. It’s so sad.

    And now I bid you good night.

    rgb

  150. RGB, I think you mistake, or missview the argument of the assertion that atheism is a unscientific philosophy. The mystery of mysteries’ is both a how and a why question. I submit, that the how of “everything inclusive” is not knowable via the scientific method because of the first cause dilemma, but logically “it“ whatever “it” is, defined as a causeless cause of infinite energy existing beyond space and time, must be.

    Logically some sort of infinite energy beyond space and time, something must exist. Now is that infinite energy, beyond space and time, logically demanded causeless cause, intelligent, kind, benevolent, loving etc, etc? Well that is a different question entirely, and due to the stated qualities of infinite energy beyond space and time, the means of knowing requires a different epistemology then anything within the scientific method, so yes to declare, I know God, is hubris, and by the way, not allowed within the Vedic, Judaic, or Christian tradition, although “knowing” the absolute is considered possible within a different context not dealt with here.

    There are no absolutes in relationship to science. I maintain that science is, in its essence, “cause and effect” .Every effect is proceeded by a prior cause. There can be no effect without a prior cause. All causes are themselves an effect. Cause and effect is a chain and it, with the arrow of time, moves in one direction. All causes and effects are quantifiable. In this sense, science to me is the study of how all things in the cosmos interact, and the laws that govern those interactions. Science is constrained to time, space and relativity. Science cannot contain absolutes. A primary tool of science is to use mathematics, one through any number, but never absolute infinity, which is not a number. I am referring to absolutes, and not the use of these terms within RELATIVE fields, often representing exponentially growing signals and negative exponents representing exponentially decreasing signals. I am not referring to time constants (decaying or growing) As such science can only see a part of the whole and must keep an open mind to new information.

    This primary chain of cause and effect observations, (This is the road that connects all roads) upon which all deductive reason is based, has a self limiting paradox. Simply put, cause and effect cannot be an absolute eternal chain, otherwise one is stating that “everything inclusive” has no cause, it always was, which in and of itself defeats the laws of science and deductive reason applied to observation, and induces the well known paradox that if “everything inclusive “ always was, then everything that could have occurred, already would have, and in effect states the unscientific proposition that while every thing (relative things which can be quantified) in creation have a cause, everything inclusive has no cause, it just unscientifically is. The other side of this paradox is that (accepting the above problem as valid) if there was then a first cause, what ever that cause was had to have no cause and must be beyond the laws of cause and effect. Science, by it very nature, only deals with relativity, quantifying numbers and partial observations which can only see a part of the whole.

    I heard a talk from a world renowned astrophysicist. Forgive my poor memory as I do not remember his name as I was working stand-by on a trade show, at the time I was working 80 plus hour weeks, dealing with many other issues, (attorneys, yuck) but the talk was riveting. He talked of this problem and said the math pointed to an impossibility of absolute infinite energy, not the defined time constant kind. He also referenced that all the laws of classic physics and quantum mechanics break down and lose there application. He said it , the singularity, comes from nothing, which he then defined as “no thing“, in essence still something that cannot be measured or quantified, but something which is. Wik The classical version of the Big Bang cosmological model of the universe contains a causal singularity at the start of time (t=0), where all time-like geodesics have no extensions into the past. Extrapolating backward to this hypothetical time 0 results in a universe of size 0 in all spatial dimensions, infinite density, infinite temperature, and infinite space-time curvature.

    From him I first learned of the exact requirements needed in the fundamental forces to have a cosmos where things evolve and organize, instead of falling into rapid entropy. Going to the thought of multi verses does not, in my view, diminish this. Yes, one can say our goldilocks universal forces are like throwing paint on a wall, predicting before hand that some spots will be exactly one inch from their nearest neighboring spot, and then finding out that some few actually are, and then determining it false to pretend it is anything but random. But in the incredibly refined requirements of these fundamental forces, it is more like throwing a gallon of paint on a wall, and all the spots end up of the exact same size, shape and exactly the same distance from each other. That requires planning and intelligence, such as in the creation of an ink jet printing machine.

    Additionally multiverses are just a theory, not an observation as is our universe. Furthermore, even if we are one of billions of multiverses, it is pure assumption that those universes have created random forces and they just fail, for all we know they all function just as ours does. The known observations do not fit random happenstance. The argument against the observation is based on theory, and purely speculative assumptions about that theory, IE, Theoretically multi verses could be real, theoretically this reality could be random (premise) and they could all fail, therefore our OBSERVATIONS of what appears to be incredibly unlikely intelligent manifestation in this universe, is random chance.(premise matches conclusion) It is a logic fail, .petitio principia. And finally multiverses, brane theory, cyclic big bang, all do nothing to address the already presented cause dilemma, they just regresses it further, what caused that universe, what caused the one before ours, etc.

    Finally a brief statement on the implied Intelligent design of our universe. Many atheist scientist, upset with past travesties of mankind done in the name of religion, rebel at the word “God”, because of past abuse to control people. I however have made a very vague definition of God as a “eternal and infinite beyond time and space causeless cause. Science deals with phenomena, it takes a different tool for noumena. As such the scientist, realizing that “the 12 inch ruler of his (field two) mind can never measure infinity” can still use his cause effect tools to investigate field three indirectly. How? He can look in field two for a proxy report on the attributes of the infinite energy beyond time and space causeless cause. He can look for evidence of intelligence, and many other qualities. To search for the infinite directly, logically requires the conciseness to transcend field two. This is the field of religion. Science and religion are not in conflict. They operate on two different fields, phenomena, the area of science and noumena, the area of religion.

  151. Centers for Disease Control;
    That’s just silly. The written word has stood the test of time.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Oh pish. I promised myself not to get involved in these kinds of discussions, but it is late and I am judgment impaired. Stood the test of time? Have you bothered to compare old copies of the biblical texts to new ones?

    The Hebrews escaped from Egypt across the Sea of Rushes
    Joseph was hated by his brothers because he had a coat with short sleeves
    (New Testament) Joseph was a “builder of houses” meaning that he was a stone mason
    There’s at least 3 different versions of what Moses did to get water out of that rock, and that’s just the ones I know of anecdotaly, I’ve never researched it.
    Goliath was less than 6 feet tall.

    The rest of your diatribe is a lesson in logical fallacy, and you finish with a claim that isn’t supported by the facts.

  152. James Abbott says:
    January 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Lord Monckton said
    “The belief that Thermageddon will arise from our altering 1/3000th of the atmosphere in a century is in-your-face illogical, rooted in a dozen fallacies marked out by Aristotle as the commonest in human discourse.”

    James Abbot said
    The notion that it is “illogical” that trace constituents of physical systems can be important simply because they are at trace levels is so pathetic its difficult to know where to start, but here’s a few examples of why trace constituents are essential:

    CFCs and HCFCs are even more trace constituents of our atmosphere, but their impact has been very significant in depleting ozone, particularly at high latitudes – leading to international agreements to reduce their use. Ozone is vital in protecting the Earth’s surface from solar UV and is itself a tiny trace gas in the atmosphere.”

    I say that is rubbish. The science behind the Ozone Holes and CFC’s is pretty much been debunked.

    James Abbott said
    “Trace metals in the human body are also essential – without them we die.”\

    I say – you cannot compare the human body with the earth’s atmosphere and it is nonsense to even try. The human body is an active biochemical system made up of thousands of chemical compounds. Very small amounts counts. The earth’s atmosphere is an inert chemical system made up of half a dozen chemical compounds. The amount of CO2 is neither here nor there.

    James Abbott said
    CO2 is a natural greenhouse gas at trace levels, but without any CO2 in the atmosphere not only would the biosphere be in trouble but in terms of climate the Earth would be in a permanent ice-age, all other things being equal. ” I don’t think so. H2O will keep the earth warm.

    I really don’t think you know what you are talking about James Abbott.

  153. The bottom line –
    CO2 kept going up, temperatures kept falling. No model came close to explaining it, (or cloud formations, or El Nino and La Nina formation, or ocean movement/temperatures.)

    But none of that matters as big financiers have got their returns for futile projects like wind farms, Volt and Fisker vehicles, solar farms, etc. Big government wants to keep it rolling ’cause they get more power AND more money. UN and their client NGOs loves it ’cause they get more power and money.
    So who loses? The rest of us – last one standing turn the lights off, sorry doesn’t matter any more.

  154. reason’s murder scene is a forensic nightmare.
    all i can be sure of is that it was strangled while it slept.

  155. davidmhoffer says:
    January 6, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    That’s just silly. The written word has stood the test of time.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Oh pish.

    you finish with a claim that isn’t supported by the facts.

    The context was the written word has stood the test of time for communication. Seems pretty effective to me, but I have no proof, just my experience.

    For example, you’ve communicated your pishyness very well in just that manner.

    Have you bothered to compare old copies of the biblical texts to new ones?

    Regarding discrepancies across Bible versions, translations, and copies, it is hardly the Author’s fault. It is His responsibility, though, to feed those who hunger and thirst for truth. He’ll get it to those who genuinely want it, so you don’t have to be concerned.

    Goliath was less than 6 feet tall.
    You knew him, then? Did you attend his funeral?

    There’s at least 3 different versions … that’s just the ones I know of anecdotaly, I’ve never researched it.
    Obviously, you are a scholar, and know what you are talking about.

  156. OMG, could this thread go any further OT?

    I’ll give it shot:

    Wouldn’t it be funny if someone discovered the ancient word for God is what we call Gravity.

    Only Gravity can bring order to chaos. Not to mention, the evolution of the universe and life on earth entirely depends upon Gravity.

    LOL!

    Look for we know there are an infinite number of big bangs a second in a universe (or multi-verse if you prefer) so vast that it would be highly improbable for us not to have come into existence from pure chance.

    On the other hand, for all we know a God that we’ll never know in an analytical way created this universe and us for who knows what purpose.

    Flip a coin, phone a friend, poll the audience; I don’t care, but, rabid Evangelism for either atheism or theism is rather OT and unproductive. (And yes, I’ve slipped on this myself.)

    On topic:

    I think the biggest fallacies of the CAGW crowd are the “jumping to conclusion” fallacies. I don’t recall the Latin names but it all boils down to concluding CAGW from flimsy evidence and then sifting, fishing, phishing, and inventing data if necessary to prop up said conclusion.

  157. Michael Palmer says:
    January 6, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    @FrankK, your objections to the climate models may be valid and based on much experience, but they are unrelated to pure logic.

    —————————————————————————————————————
    You seem to enjoy having the last word, but I disagree.

    It involves more than just objection to climate models. If climate models are flawed and fudged and don’t fit the data, as is plainly evident, then it logically follows that the theory of AGW is false since the theory is based on those results. Are you claiming there is no logic in that conclusion??! if so then your so called “pure” logic does not seem very practical.

  158. One cannot accurately say whether something does or doesn’t exist without defining it. If one says a supreme being doesn’t exist, he’s defined the supreme being. That makes him bigger than, superior to the supreme being. Hence, he is the supreme being.

    In other words, the thing accurately and completely defined is smaller than the thing that defines it. God is inferior to you, you must be God instead. In other centuries, this thinking was called Narcissism. Teenagers exhibit the same behavior, but many adults grow out of it. Arrogance is another word commonly employed to describe the situation.

    This is a variant of ontological argument, and like all such arguments, is thereby immediately suspect because they all are based on verbal trickery instead of sound reasoning. Let’s see if this one is too.

    When one uses the phrase “supreme being” at all one has defined something — the concatenation of the term “being”, something (in context a sentient being) and “supreme”, or highest. Even if you do believe in a supreme being, by referring to it you have defined it, and in order to define it (by your argument) you must be bigger than the supreme being. If it is not defined, neither you nor I could carry on a conversation about it. We would be writing “If one says a Xychlocus doesn’t exist, he’s defined the Xychlocus” and so on, neither one of us having any idea what a Xychlocus actually is.

    Note well the advantage of algebra here — putting an actual undefined symbol in place of the words you claim I might be using to “define” something takes all of the meaning away and reveals rather expectedly that they were actually already defined and we both understood them perfectly well.

    A second error is your unusual idea that somehow defining something requires one to be “bigger” or “superior” or “supreme” to the thing being defined. How exactly does this work? If I define, say, The President of the United States (which I think I could do pretty well) does that make me bigger than the president? Superior to the president? Supreme to the president? I can define my wife even better, but if I argued that by doing so I’m in any way better or superior to her she’d put me in my place straight off.

    I’m afraid that I don’t really see any evidence in nature that anything that is accurately and completely defined must be smaller than the thing defining it, unless you are confusing the idea of “definition” with that of “possessing complete and perfect information about”. In that case, of course, we can leave out the supreme bit and just shoot for everything, the Universe itself, which is everything that actually exists. I’m not certain that it is correct to say that the Universe “defines” itself or that subsets of the Universe are “inferior” to it (which smacks of control and value judgement, not ordinal ranking of measurable size or information content).

    Either way, I’d actually agree with this part of your argument and have made it myself as part of a conditional proof that if God exists, God must be the Universe, the sum total of everything that exists. That doesn’t prove that God does exist, of course, because we usually append additional properties onto God, such as being sentient. One can argue pretty strongly that a non-empty Universe exists, but in order for the Universe to be God it would have to be sentient, compassionate, capable of reasoned action.

    So just as I can use the term Universe, or for that matter Supreme Being or God, and have you understand what I’m referring to, in the one case the fairly concrete everything that really exists (minimally yourself) and in the other two a hypothetical version of all that plus transcendent sentience, without actually thinking myself bigger than the Universe, or the supreme being or without any danger of being grievously misunderstood, we can surely work out some sort of reasonable criterion for assigning to the ideas a degree of belief without being accused of making ourselves “superior” to that which we discuss, or without the smoke screen of insisting that I have to know the state of every single subatomic particle in the dog lying at my feet in order to be able to state with some degree of confidence “there is (or is not) a dog lying at my feet”. I don’t have to completely define a blue fairy in order to be reasonably sure that there isn’t one flying around my head while I type. I don’t have to completely define Jupiter to be able to see it and decide that it probably is or isn’t there, even though it is much larger than I am and I’m not even in principle capable of holding all of the state information required to completely defined Jupiter or to measure it even if I were.

    I’ll let the entire creation speak for itself, it seems a pretty reliable witness so far. If haply you should genuinely desire to know the supreme being, and He exists and loves, I’m sure He’ll make Himself known to you, in a manner you can understand.

    Not my job to provide the evidence. Don’t want the job. Anyone who claims to have it is the blind leading the blind. If you have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is not at all difficult. A child can understand it.

    The evidence is overwhelming.

    Sir, you beg the question by calling it a “creation” — a statement for which you haven’t a shred of evidence and which doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense. All the Universe is a “witness” of is that “the Universe exists”. Its existence need not be logically predicated on the prior existence of something else, nor is it necessarily the case that the something else was intelligent, compassionate, loving, etc.

    Whenever I look at the Universe, it rather behaves like a perfectly mechanical system without any guiding intelligence. In fact, the Universe behaves pretty much the way I’d expect it to behave if there was no God. This doesn’t prove that there isn’t a God, but neither is it compelling evidence in favor of the proposition.

    Absolutely. The more skeptical, the better, I think. Impossible to be too skeptical. But if God exists, and He is Love, He is going to have to make Himself known since He is apparently invisible.

    Then we are in agreement, because believe me, I’m really, really skeptical. I do agree with your statement, though: If God exists — where we really would need to spend a fair bit of time defining as exactly as possible what “God” and “exists” are going to mean in this proposition, lest we get into pointless misunderstandings — and God is Love (which needs more than a bit of definition right away, because God is not Love, Love is an emotion, a mental state, and the God I thought we were discussing is a concrete being with objective, not subjective, existence), then God is going to make Himself known because God is apparently invisible!

    Where I’ve added a bit of emphasis.

    Let’s start with the last bit. God, being apparently invisible by virtue of the fact that neither you nor I nor pretty much anybody can see Him (or really, It as there is no reason to think of It as being male) has to in some sense become un-invisible in order to be observed. I, like most sensible people, tend to be very skeptical of the existence of things that cannot be observed, or that are only conditionally observed by other people, long ago and not regularly and reproducibly observable.

    This does leave us with a few puzzles. God is usually considered to be all-powerful (here’s where it would have been great to have worked out our definitions ahead of time) so if God is invisible it is entirely God’s choice to be invisible. As long as God remains invisible, it is pretty reasonable, frankly, not to believe in It. There is an infinity of things that could invisibly, undetectably “exist”, and trying to believe in all of them without evidence would make my believing muscles sore. God doesn’t get an epistemological “bye” by virtue of being the Supreme Being — rather I would say that with a big claim like that the evidence has to be equally big.

    Second, you assert that God is Love and elsewhere suggest that God Loves me. I have doubted this since my first puppy died some fifty two years ago. Remember, for this to be true, God has to exist (in spite of invisibility) AND love me, and of course is the sole cause of my puppy’s death. Dying puppies is not convincing evidence of love. Invisibility — nay, indetectability — isn’t convincing evidence of existence. And dead dogs (and loved ones) are only a tiny part of the pain I’ve experienced, and for that matter I’ve been enormously lucky, pain-wise, so far — many people and small children worldwide have it far worse.

    In other words the problem of theodicy is as thorny now as it ever was. None of the explanations for evil and pain and suffering I’ve ever read in religious apologia have been at all convincing (rather, self-serving for the religion in question in its blind need to gain converts). What is a convincing explanation for pain and evil in the world is the simplest one — there is no God, only a strictly, objectively real Universe with impersonal rules. If we want to reduce the evil and suffering in the world, nobody else is going to do it for us, and there will be no miracles helping it along the way or higher power telling us how to do it.

    Now if I am wrong and God does exist and supernatural miracles do happen and God is Love, it is enormously simple for that loving God to stop being invisible and mute. Or, perhaps, God is being maximally loving by being invisible and mute, by leaving the Universe alone to just happen on its own, uncontrolled, as much a surprise to God as it is to me. Either way, as a good skeptic I will not believe in something without evidence, in the case of God pretty strong evidence.

    Given that is true, He now has two great witnesses of Himself: His creation which you can see, and His word which you can read and consider. Now you just have to find someone to help you learn to read it. I guarantee you you do not have the education to understand what you are reading, because hardly anyone has any knowledge of how to read it any more. That may be the crime of the ages. God’s people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.

    Right. God wrote it in a secret code where it doesn’t say what it says, it says what somebody wants it to mean. This is the most pathetic of excuses. You’ve just stated that God loves everybody and entrusted certain men with writing down His Words. How do we know? Those men told us. Do we believe people who say “I’m speaking for God” in general? No, we consider them crazy or guileful. But even those trusty men wrote it down in code. It says one thing but means another. If that isn’t enough, they wrote it down at different times, and different manuscript copies were made over thousands of years, causing whatever was originally written to disappear among a welter of redacting, insertion, deletion, addition, forgery. Some things were arbitrarily rejected (on our behalf) centuries after they were written, other things made it through. Finally, the surviving manuscripts were mistranslated into relatively modern languages and the book was variously typeset.

    Why, exactly, is any of this evidence of anything at all except the usual literary evolution of a system of religious myths and legends? Why (if it was so perfectly written) do I need a secret decoder ring to understand it now? And even if it were explained to me by the most devout and wisest of humans why would I believe that what they tell me is true? Why, in fact, should I believe you?

    Seriously.

    So far, very little of what you’ve said makes a lot of sense. A Bible that I can’t just read, or read critically, I have to read it sympathetically in the company of somebody that will “explain away” everything that doesn’t make sense. A God that only visits the planet to update “his word” every few thousand years (and that delivered only to a select few who are “in the club”) — but who loves us. An apparently uncreated Universe that is supposedly evidence of a creation.

    Why, exactly, is it unreasonable to think that the Universe is what it is, uncreated and unsentient? That there is no God, and that there was no “dictation” of any special wisdom or imparted knowledge to a remote tribe of ignorant savages living in barbaric times. That the reason the Bible makes no sense is that it makes no sense, not that you have to twist and interpret its words until they make sense. And that if we want to move to higher moral ground and improve the world, we’ll have to do it ourselves, as best as we can, without supernatural help.

    All of this is entirely consistent with the reliable evidence at hand and it is a lot simpler explanation. That doesn’t make it right, but it does make it better to believe.

    rgb

  159. Tenet, sorry, beyond my bedtime. Sometimes that’s what you get when you grow up on phonics. Your apparent vitriol was unnecessary.

    I apologize. Beyond my bedtime too, and really, that pair of paragraphs was pretty confusing…;-)

    rgb

  160. RGB, I think you mistake, or missview the argument of the assertion that atheism is a unscientific philosophy. The mystery of mysteries’ is both a how and a why question. I submit, that the how of “everything inclusive” is not knowable via the scientific method because of the first cause dilemma, but logically “it“ whatever “it” is, defined as a causeless cause of infinite energy existing beyond space and time, must be.

    Why?

    rgb

  161. “Consensus” is the New Religion’s central fallacy. Arguing blindly from consensus is the head-count fallacy, the argumentum ad populum. Al-Haytham, founder of the scientific method, wrote: “The seeker after truth does not put his faith in any mere consensus. Instead, he checks.”
    ————
    Confusing consensus of people with consensus of evidence.

    [Reply: Pondering how a non-sentient data item reaches it's consensus... -ModE ]

  162. “The belief that Thermageddon will arise from our altering 1/3000th of the atmosphere in a century is in-your-face illogical, rooted in a dozen fallacies marked out by Aristotle as the commonest in human discourse.”

    Heck, even the IPCC says it illogical – as Dr. Spock would say.

    “Some thresholds that all would consider dangerous have no support in the literature as having a non-negligible chance of occurring. For instance, a “runaway greenhouse effect” —analogous to Venus–appears to have virtually no chance of being induced by anthropogenic activities…..”

    http://www.ipcc.ch/meetings/session31/inf3.pdf

    Maybe the models have a problem.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/11/28/1210514109

    http://landshape.org/enm/santer-climate-models-are-exaggerating-warming-we-dont-know-why/

  163. I however have made a very vague definition of God as a “eternal and infinite beyond time and space causeless cause.

    Which is all well and good, that you’ve made this very vague definition. Suppose that I renamed that causeless cause “the Universe”, of which space and time are (perhaps) only a part, and left the eternal and infinite bit out as essentially unknowable assertions and hence irrelevant to us. Everything you’ve described, without the intelligence. It doesn’t need it; in its (near) eternal infinity things might well happen nearly randomly so that eventually the monkeys type Shakespeare. And (nearly) infinitely later, even type it again. This is even more believable, because otherwise you have to explain how the uncaused cause that supposedly creates space and time manages to think without them “before” time begins. Whatever that means.

    Don’t hesitate not to be vague, because once you’ve come up with a fairly specific hypothesis for not only something existing without cause (that part I get, it is reasonably called “the Universe”), but that something being a priori intelligent, then we can assess its plausibility. I tend to see intelligence as a high order phenomenon, one involving information theory, entropy, and lots of moving parts (things that change in time in patterned information encoding ways).

    However unlikely you think the paint spatters representing the Universe suitable for life might be, take that degree of probability and make it geometrically smaller and you have an idea of the probability of the paint spatters required to self-organize into a designer of the Universe.

    Not fair to cheat and just make intelligence an a priori infinitely improbable characteristic of your infinite eternity and explain the visible Universe however improbable you want to judge it in ignorance, with the an even less probable uncaused cause judged in even greater ignorance as it is out there where it cannot even in principle be observed, slipping the pea neatly under the shell. But if you’re gonna invoke probability and the anthropic principle or use the term “cause” in some sense other than its formal definition in physics (where it doesn’t mean cause at all as the laws of physics are conservation laws, saying that certain things are never observed to be created, only moved around into different forms), prepare to be challenged.

  164. Bruce Cobb says:
    January 6, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    rgbatduke says:
    January 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm
    It is important to recognize that scientists acting in the best of faith and good will might well disagree (and often do).

    Normally, yes. But these are not normal times, are they? This is no simple “disagreement”. Climate “scientists” have stood science itself on its’ head. As for “good faith” and “good will” amongst the Warmist clique, including those such as Mann and Hansen, you will find none. Instead, you will find other qualities of a far more sinister and lowly nature. Pushing Warmism has become an end unto itself. Entire careers have been built on it and depend upon it.

    Amen brother. Talking of religion the movement itself has been described by the BBC as using the language of religion to advance their cause. Even the law recognizes it to a certain degree as a religion. Now, scientists who refuse to re-consider the theory, no matter what the evidence to the contrary, might be going down the same track.

    BBC – 25 January 2010
    Using religious language to fight global warming
    If the case for tackling climate change is backed by science, why do so many green campaigners rely on the language of religion?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8468233.stm

    Then the law.

    Guardian – 3 November 2009
    Judge rules activist’s beliefs on climate change akin to religion

    Tim Nicholson entitled to protection for his beliefs, and his claim over dismissal will now be heard by a tribunal
    …………………
    In his written judgment, Mr Justice Burton outlined five tests to determine whether a philosophical belief could come under employment regulations on religious discrimination

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/03/tim-nicholson-climate-change-belief

  165. M’Lord, well done sir. Very well done.

    I’m just left to wonder if the ancient formal Latin logic includes space for things such as:

    argumentum ex malus notitia

    argumentum ex falsum notitia

    argumentum ex defectiva methodo (algorithm)

    argumentum ex commodo

    argumentum ex regimen præsta pecunia

    Just sayin’…

    One minor technical point, and I have no idea how this would be covered in latin, is that the word “tropopause” makes it sound like things STOP there. Like it is a nice, quiet, STATIONARY point. Somewhere that convection stops, so the winds end and it’s just this nice flat occlusive window through which only IR can move.

    Yet that is a fallacy.

    It is a rapidly moving space that changes velocity from upward to sideways and thus must have some turbulence at the “bounds”. Further, we know there is mass transport across those bounds as the stratospheric air descends at the ‘cold pole’. (So must be replaced at the middle somewhere…)

    Look at the graph here:

    From here:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/tropopause-rules/

    wind speed is about 86 knots at the tropo’pause’ and 1/2 that just a bit each side.

    That is not “paused”, that is “squirting out sideways like a shot watermelon seed”

    So what is the class of error that leads from the ‘pause’ to the mistaken belief ‘frame’ that only infra-red radiation matters in a Cat 2 hurricane force wind speed? Hmmmm?

    I would love to have a label for it.

  166. “It is our faculty of reason, the greatest of the soul’s three powers, that marks us out from the beasts and brings us closest in likeness to our Creator, the Lord of Life and Light.”

    How very 17th Century British of you. Animals DO reason, as anyone who has observed them knows. But, of course, this clashes with traditional Jewish and Christian theology, which treats them as expendable commodities put here for man to exploit to his miserable heart’s content.

    Is this really the forum for religious sanctimony? Do you Mr. Monckton honestly think you’re closer in likeness that any other life-form to your Creator you claim to be the Lord of Life and Light? According to what or whom? If you say the bible, Aristotle, Plato (who decided animals did not have immortal souls, and also advocated lying for a supposedly good cause), or Church doctrine then you yourself are arguing from alleged authority. Since you are not an expert on beasts, as you call them, you’re also arguing from ignorance. Since you have never met this Creator, you are arguing from assumption. And since your soul cannot be proven, your are arguing from belief.

    It is very illogical to write about logic when your closing paragraph belies your own.

  167. James Abbott says:
    January 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks J Martin

    So are rising sea levels part of your “all been beneficial” world ?

    There you go again! I told you yesterday that there is no acceleration in the rate of sea level rise AND that sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age AND the Little Ice Age. So why do you harp on about this non problem???

  168. Robert Brown: maybe one day we might get to some sort of answer to the ‘is there. isn’t there’ argument if a flaw in the simulation can be discovered. As you probably know: it is suggested by Silas Beane and others, that over the next 2-3 centuries we may be able to produce a simulation of an entire universe populated with sentient beings like us (or indeed, even better, perhaps more peaceful models). Furthermore if the proposition that we exist in simulation is tested, in the way that Beane has suggested, then the existence of God is established (but he or she is only a computer programmer). But the obvious problem remains – who created the computer programmer? Just as the old lady responded who believed the world was supported on the back of a turtle, the answer is: ‘it’s computer programmers all the way down!’. Anyway – it’s a great pleasure to read your contributions to this blog, even when it goes off thread.

  169. Centers for Disease Control says: January 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    If you say there is no God, by the rules of logic, you have just declared yourself to be God, able to make such a statement.

    AHA! I KNEW it all along!
    NOW we are getting somewhere!

    It is always nice to see a discussion develop in a sensible and logical way.

    Please send tribute asap, (prefer gold and beautiful virgins, thanks) oh gathered peasants!

    (Well, really, just gold will suffice, the rest follows.)

  170. rgbatduke wrote

    quote
    But I’m certain I’ll be around sometime when my motor leaks or there is some other large source of oil around. And I’ll keep my eyes open for what you describe, never fear.
    unquote

    If you’re prepared to do half the experiment then you could always use just olive oil like your illustrious scientific compatriot — spilling an edible substance should keep the jail time down to… oooh, three years max. Send a couple of students, just in case.

    Choose a day when the sun’s low and the windspeed is below 7 m/s. (Early morning is a good time, so the student idea might not work.)

    JF
    Oh, yes, tell the students to have a look on Google Map Image, drop their viewpoint onto Atlantic Beach Bridge and look south east. Reassure them that they’ll be doing no more than the boat leaving a smooth in that image. Do this without witnesses…

  171. If we take it as read now that the “science” behind AGW has fallen on it’s face, we have to turn to the question of why has it lasted so long.

    I had a horrifying experience recently. While laughing with my 7 year old niece at a BBC comedy programme aimed at children, she proudly showed me a book based on the series: “The Horrible History of the World”, by Terry Deary, the chap who produces the BBC programme.

    I was horrified to realise the theme of the book is the denigration of every foundation stone of our Western Civilisation.

    Targets include God & religion, of all denominations, the law & history itself. Among others, Hammurabi’s Code, The Ten Commandments & The Twelve Tablets of Roman Law are belittled.
    The family is attacked, & the following is a direct quote:
    “this is NOT a book about ‘history’, it’s a book about ‘people’ – the most disgusting, evil, cruel and horrible creatures on Earth”

    This is not a comedy book aimed at 7-13 year olds, it’s straight brainwashing. It’s freely available from public libraries, whose kiddies shelves are crammed with a huge array of these books, popularised by the BBC “comedy” series, as well as an abundance of Global Warming propaganda. Published in 2003, it has been polluting our childrens’ minds for nearly 10 years.

    Why, in 90+ pages of unrelieved gore, murder, slaughter & torture, are the only words of praise for China, which has never managed a democratic govt in it’s 5000+ year history?

    I have emailed Lord Tebbit, a tough-minded right wing ex member of Margaret Thatchers Govt.
    I have shown this sinister work to a couple of local priests & vicars, & I urge you all to visit your libraries, verify what I’ve said, & raise as loud an outcry as you can.

    Why would the BBC sponsor such a corrosive work?

    This is the same BBC which sheltered the vile Jimmy Savile for 40 years, to gain as large an audience as possible for it’s propaganda.

    This is the BBC which launched a completely unfounded attack on Lord McAlpine, accusing him of being a paedophile, than which there is no greater smear. This betrays a level of journalistic incompetence & spite which is almost unbelievable.

    This is the same BBC which decided in January 2006 that the science of AGW was ‘settled’, & that thus they no longer needed to abide by their charter terms which demand impartial reporting of both sides of a debate. Their panel of 28 “experts & scientists” turned out to be activists, including, interestingly, one female C of E vicar.

    The above are all facts, to the best of my knowledge, & my opinions obviously.

    Now I’m going to indulge in some speculations.

    What if the BBC is signed up to the Club of Rome doomists?

    What if Their political thinking hasn’t matured beyond Communism, or some sort of belief in a depopulated & rural world as envisaged by “A Blueprint for Survival”, first published as Vol 2, No 1 of the ecologist magazine 1972? I have the Penguin paperback edition.

    We are at present seeing the impoverishment of the first world, through deindustrialisation, over regulation & expensive energy. We are seeing the world’s elite 1% enriching itself through massive Cap & Trade taxes

    What if we have Pol Pot in the Whitehouse? Set on bankrupting the US with ridiculously huge debts? The UK & EU are following the same trail.

    What if UN Agenda 21 is the real deal? With it’s plans to depopulate the planet by 80% – 90%?
    It’s plan to nationalise all property, establish one world govt, for which the EU is the forerunner?
    It’s plan to abolish the family, & bring your kids up in barracks?
    What if the film: “The Hunger Games” is a blueprint?
    Was Alabama right to ban UN Agenda 21 in June 2012?
    http://www.thenewamerican.com & go to 10 July 2012 Sustainable Freedom: Surging Opposition to Agenda 21, “Sustainable Development”
    There is also an article on the new american site about the bullying EPA losing a case, in the supreme court, against the sackett family, but I cant put my hand on the reference.
    Truly we live in Orwellian or Kafkaesque times.

    I wonder why UN Agenda 21 Architect Maurice Strong has moved to China?
    I wonder why George Soros praised China’s political system?
    I wonder when/if China will pull the plug on the US economy by ceasing to buy US govt bonds?

    I hope I’m wrong with my speculations, I would like the strong minds on this site to check me out.

    I believe I’m right about the BBC, I’m with James Delingpole there:
    http://www.bogpaper.com & go to “Thank God for Jimmy Savile”

    Here’s to 2013, the year we saved the world :)

    We live in interesting times.

    JD.

  172. John West:

    At January 6, 2013 at 11:49 pm you ask

    OMG, could this thread go any further OT?

    Probably not, but I am not surprised at what has happened as is shown by my warning about it at January 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm where I said

    Now it is common for trolls to distract from the subject of an article by Lord Monckton by promoting the religion of atheism. Several have already tried it on this thread.

    Everybody: please, please don’t bite at that ‘red herring’ or this thread will be destroyed as the other was.

    But my warning “fell on stony ground” so this thread has been destroyed in the same way as the thread of the previous WUWT article by Lord Monckton at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/25/bethlehem-and-the-rat-hole-problem/

    Indeed, both threads were most fervently attacked by evangelism of atheism from rgbatduke and John Whitman.

    In this thread rgbatduke says he is a convert to atheism from Christianity. I wonder if John Whitman is also a convert to atheism from some other religion. Converts to any religion are usually fervent and often extreme in the their views.

    In the other destroyed thread I wrote at January 4, 2013 at 1:57 am

    But “There is a time and a place for all things” and WUWT is not the place for promotion of any religion. Important work is conducted here and should not be disrupted.

    There are many other times and places where promotion of religion would also be inappropriate because it is damaging to the proper conduct of important activity; e.g. in an aircraft cockpit during landing procedures.

    WUWT has a policy of restricting discussion of Creationism. In my opinion, the recent destruction of the two threads indicates that WUWT also needs a policy of restricting discussion of atheism.

    Richard

  173. Robert Brown: if you go along with the idea that we might be part of a simulation then another question arises: why? Why did the programmer set the simulation running? What was the purpose? ‘To love him and serve him’ as the penny catechism says might not be far from the truth – at least as far as the ‘serve him’ bit goes (and ignoring the gender specific language for a bit as well). Maybe, the simulation is running to solve a problem. Perhaps the programmer wants to find the underlying nature of reality but cannot solve the hardest problem of all: the conundrum at the heart of quantum mechanics, how can a subatomic particle be both a particle and a wave? It needs the properties of both but he or she cannot reconcile the problem revealed by the double slit experiment. So, he sets the simulation running with sufficient boundary conditions to allow one outcome (us) have a chance of solving the problem. The boundary conditions set by the programmer have given us a ‘Goldilocks’ universe which ensures that no matter how daft we are (i.e., regularly kill one another , pump Gigatons of CO2 into our atmosphere) our propensity to reproduce and our planet’s response to GHG’s serve to counteract any adverse effect. It all seems reasonable to me. There is a God and global warming isn’t a problem. But, what happens if we discover the answer? Will our creator’s problem be solved? Will the stars start going out?

    But there is one further possibility – maybe the programmer’s stars will start to go out too and so on back up an infinite chain of frustrated computer programmers demonstrating (a) that we have the power to wipe out not just one but all possible universes and (b) to all who care to run such a simulation that reality is impossible – even when simulated.

    Just thinking – as they say.

  174. jdseanjd says: January 7, 2013 at 3:50 am

    There is also an article on the new american site about the bullying EPA losing a case, in the supreme court, against the sackett family, but I cant put my hand on the reference.

    EPA Wetlands Sacketts PLF

    http://www.pacificlegal.org/Sackett

  175. rgbatduke says:
    January 6, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    “Then, something about scientists holding themselves accountable as renters (tenants) of some dwelling?”

    The term “rent seekers” is used by economists for one who tries to obtain a cash flow from some economic activity where he produces nothing. It does not apply only to landlords. Brokering “Carbon Credits” is a good example of rent-seeking behavior. Seeking to profit from “Global Warming” is another.

  176. There are some people on here with too much time on their hands. Trying to unscrew the inscrutable, page after page, accomplishes what exactly? “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the eruditist of them all?”

  177. RGB says….”Not fair to cheat and just make intelligence an a priori infinitely improbable characteristic of your infinite eternity and explain the visible Universe however improbable you want to judge it in ignorance, with the an even less probable uncaused cause judged in even greater ignorance as it is out there where it cannot even in principle be observed, slipping the pea neatly under the shell.”

    RGB, you consider that the assertion of an infinite energy (omnipotence) beyond time and space casuesless cause to have intelligence to be “infinitely improbable” and you further state that my assertion that the observable universe is improbable by chance, is a judgement of ignorance. Curious that you ignored the logic of my argument entirely. You consider that although science has found that a random manifestation of the first forces could have had billions of possibilities, and that everyone of them, except the one which happened, would have resulted in rapid dissolution and entropy, short circuiting all forms of life and most elements, to be “infinitely improbable”

    I explained the illogic of your postion here…”multiverses are just a theory, not an observation as is OUR universe, the only one we have to observe. Furthermore, even if we are one of billions of multiverses, it is pure ASSUMPTION that those universes have created random forces and they just fail, for all we know they all function just as ours does. The KNOWN observations do not fit random happenstance. The argument against the OBSERVATION is based on theory, and purely speculative assumptions about that theory, IE, Theoretically multi verses could be real, theoretically this reality could be random (premise) and they could all fail, therefore our OBSERVATIONS of what appears to be incredibly unlikely intelligent manifestation in this universe, is random chance.(premise matches conclusion) It is a logic fail, .petitio principia. And finally multiverses, brane theory, cyclic big bang, all do nothing to address the already presented cause dilemma, they just regresses it further, what caused that universe, what caused the one before ours, etc.

    Actually the pea is a priori slipped under the shell in all arguments, including yours, as you have admitted to certain answers being unknowable. My effort was to articulate the logic of why, via “science” the answer is unknowable, although logically inferred that a cuseless cause is necessary, and logically that causeless cause must have attributes beyond science, which and by definition only see a “quantifiable” part of the whole. I will take a mathmatical appoach in my second appoach in articulating the dilemma of duality, or why science can not explain it self , Science is fit indeed to discover the laws of an already existing and functioning cosmos, but powerless to explain, via it own methods how it, “everything inclusive’ came to be, and logically it must still admit that the mystery exists, and is forever beyond science, or “under the shell” as you say.

    Mathmatically there are three fields. Field one is “nothing” a big zero, it has no energy, no attributes, nothing, nada zip. It cannot be the cause of everything inclusive”, everything cannot have come from nothing.

    Field two is one through any number. Field two is the domain of science, and can be both an effect and a cause. Two plus two equals four. Four is the effect, two and two are the cause.

    Everything in this field (1 through any number) demands both cause and effect. Everything in this field is relative. It must be able to be measured and quantified. It is subject to time, which runs in one direction, and space.

    Classical mechanical theory and quantum physics still require relativity, and to be quantified. A photon is something, and quantifiable. The Higgs field, if found will be quantifiable. The Singularity must be described in other then absolute terms, or suffers being placed under the same shell you place I.D. Every effect is proceeded by a prior cause. There can be no effect without a prior cause. All causes are themselves an effect. Cause and effect is a chain and it, with the arrow of time, moves in one direction. In this sense science is the study of how all things in the cosmos interact, and the laws that govern those interactions. Science is constrained to time and space and relativity. Science cannot contain absolutes. I maintain that science is, in its essence, “cause and effect” as quantified by relative numbers.

    Field two is incapable of giving one hypothetical “first cause” no matter how right or wrong, which is not relative and in turn demands another prior cause. And this is the dilemma of field two. It cannot explain itself. It is perfectly suited to examine and explain how it operates. However it cannot logically explain how it came to be, yet it cannot always have been. To state that everything came from nothing (Field one) is not science. To state that “everything” always was, is an assertion of ignorance, not a scientific explanation. Steady state theory, brane theory, cyclic big bang theory, all in essence, state that everything in field two is a complete mystery, and always will be, because everything inclusive, (quantifiable by one through any number) themselves have no cause, having always been.

    Any attempt, via field two tools to explain “one“, the “first caused” will invariable lead scientist to infinite energy beyond time and space explanations. When a scientist says something is beyond time and space he is not saying what it is, he is saying what it is not. He is making a confession of the limitation of his tools. A confession of inability, is not an answer. Logically and mathematically Field two cannot explain or deny field three, or itself, it can only explain things within itself, and due to the arrow of time, every number but one. Any adjective used which can be quantified by a number, can in turn be an effect, or resulting sum from a proceeding cause. Marconi stated, “The inability of science to solve life’s mystery is absolute.” Field two cannot explain absolutes.

    Science can eventually explain everything in field two, “One through any number” except for “one”, the first caused. “One” is unique in this field, in that it can never be explained without relating to field three. One is the “first caused” anything that is measurable and quantifiable. Field two is the perfect agnostic and logically states, I cannot know. All scientist who hold science as the sole means of knowing anything should logically be agnostic.

    Field three is infinity. It is not a number. It cannot be measured. Nothing on its own or combined inclusive ever done in field two can equal field three. One trillion times one trillion, is no closer to measuring field three then one plus one. It is not subject to time or relativity. It is a concept that cannot be denied, yet cannot defined by field two. The human brain, being a field two construct, cannot explain yet cannot deny the existence of field three. Any attempt to imagine the end of space or the beginning of time for instance, is forever met by the inevitable question, “What is beyond that? What came before that? When talking of the expansion of space the human brain says expansion into what?

    Field three is undeniable, yet forever immeasurable, and forever beyond the scope of field two, “one through any number“. Science can only deal with things which can be measured. Field three is transcendent, and beyond field two.

    Any attempt, via field two tools to explain “one“, the “first caused” will invariable lead scientist to infinite energy beyond time and space explanations.

    Given that field two cannot explain itself, the only logical answer to what caused the “first caused” is in field three. Field three is the “first cause:, beyond the laws of “cause and effect” saying to field two, I exist, you cannot deny me, and you cannot measure me, I can cause you, you can never cause me. I can live without you, you cannot live without me, I am transcendent. You can only know me by transcending field two.

    The paradox of “cause and effect” demands an eternal and infinite beyond time and space causeless cause. The existence of anything relative, and therefore subject to the law of cause and effect, one photon for example, requires, at the end of the chain of cause and effect, something absolute, something beyond things relative to have always been, something transcendent, or capable of existence beyond the tools of science. The observable universe indicates that intelligence is a part of that infinite energy first cause.

    .

  178. God is energy. Einstein seems to have ascribed to the “ether” hypothesis. In any case, there is an order to life, and to the universe, and it follows the laws of physics. The problem is, our understanding of physics is incomplete. The God of Christianity is mostly silliness, based on superstitious fantasies and myths. But, it works for a lot of people.

  179. Hmmmn.

    So what exactly defines a “miracle” … That is, at what level of improbability must even the most skeptical of a “scientist” accept that a “miracle” has indeed happened, and therefore, there must be a God/”god”/gods/intelligent designer/unintelligent designer/Gaea/Nature/Evolution/Big Banger arranging all of this stuff we know exists and are surrounded by? As one example:

    1. Assume the Milky Way is not rotating.
    2. The earth weighs 5.98 x 10^24 kg – essentially all of it heavy metals and atoms greater than the “Big Bang’s H2,He, and Li – but is inside a solar system weighing 1.99 x 10 ^30 kg, so any single atom blowing in from the galaxy only has a 3 in 10^ -6 chance of “landing” somewhere in the original solar system dust cloud and become “earthbound” … Doesn’t matter where the rest of the dust in the universe/galaxy/solar system goes, it didn’t land on earth.
    3. The earth has some 1.33 x 10^50 atoms in it, almost none of it hydrogen or helium, so all of its atoms must have come from another star’s supernova dust cloud. (Most isotopes lighter than iron could have come from only one supernova sequence, but most isotopes above Fe-Ni (56 AW) need two or three supernova cycles. Let’s ignore those grandchildren and great-grandchildren isotopes for now.)

    4. The Crab Nebula became visible in 1054 AD (1000 years ago, near enough) but is 6500 light years away. None of its atoms have gotten here yet.
    It is now 11 light years across, so the dust cloud is 5.5 light-years/1000 years or 1500 km/sec. (Assume 5 light-years/1000 year for the dust velocity.)
    Astronomers think some 20% of the original star is left, so assume 80% of each supernova got randomly blown into space from each explosion.

    Question: If all of the 10^50 heavy atoms on earth were built up in first-generation supernova’s like the Crab Nebula, and then were randomly blown by that exploding supernova across the galaxy into our solar system, how many Crab Nebula’s were required to simultaneously blow up if all of them were in a sphere only only 5 light years away from the solar system? [Obviously, if they were any further away, or if the random supernovas blew up too early to become part of the solar system’s dust cloud, or were traveling too fast to be captured by what would become part of the solar system’s dust cloud, or were thrown out too slow to get here in time, or were formed but were inside another star gravity field and never thrown back into space, even more dust would be lost in space, but let’s keep the problem easy. 8<)

    Add in the real world of rotating galaxies and moving "targets" of future dust clouds … If some of the supernova's blew up too early, their gas would "float across" the prototype solar system dust cloud too early to be collected into the "earth". Those coming in too late would "miss" the earth's orbit as well, since the continents have been solid since 4.3 billion years ago. Again, let's keep it easy and assume all of the dust arrived just in time to be "stopped" and collected into a dust cloud that conveniently began rotating at just the right speed to condense into planets at just the right distance from the just right star size at just the right gravity at just the right solar intensity …..

    We are told that the universe is expanding, so all that dust formed elsewhere needed to arrive at the solar system before the source supernova’s got too far away. Again, let’s keep it simple, and just assume that all of the supernova’s blew up at a single convenient distance with the same exit velocity from each supernova so all of the scattering dust got here at the same time to be collected into the future solar system so it could begin condensing into our planet.

    Question: If the solar system and earth are 4.5 billion years old – and I've got a fossil dated 3.5 billion years ago on my shelf so I know life began at least that early! – how many supernova's had to be created, go through their lifetime, and then blow up per second ( between say 12 billions ago and 6 billion years ago) to make those 10^50 atoms so they could come into the solar system and be grouped by gravity into our planet's orbit in time for the continents to form 4.5 billion years ago?

    PS. I'm a nuclear engineer, so the whole building-up-atoms-by-fusion makes sense to me. The carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, etc burning of each shell in each star makes sense to me. I've designed and handled nuclear weapons, and have counted individual atoms as they decay. The theory is correct – one atom at a time that is. But creating 10^150 atoms (?) by fusion in a random number of supernova's, then randomly blowing them into space until 10^50 of them "just happen" to all collect into the right part of the earth's orbit at exactly the right time and the right velocity so they accumulate together?

    At some point in time, no "scientist" can claim "random chance" any more. 8<)

    Oh, by the way, the "Book" that we now have – the one written by those ignorant wandering shepherds that couldn't even get through the desert in less than 40 years? It DOES record all that we now know about the Big Bang, formation of the elements as light cooled into matter and was gathered into the solar system and planets, formation of one single continent surrounded by a single sea and its subsequent breakup, evolution of the plants, the greening of the atmosphere and revelation of the stars and moon, evolution beginning in the sea, then moving to land with the dinosaurs, then mammals, then snakes, then man/Man … All in exactly the right sequence of events. Before "scientists" had ever discovered what those shepherds already knew about fusion, quarks, nucleons, or plate tectonics.

    Now, I do grant you that the dates are a little off. But heck, what's a shepherd going to use when the zero had not yet been invented, much less decimal places or powers of ten?

  180. richardscourtney says:
    January 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    “It is important that evangelism of atheism or any other religion NOT be permitted to destroy this thread in like manner.”

    I can’t let this calumny against non -believers on this site just pass.

    Non -belief in something does not equate to having faith in a belief system, no matter how many people of ‘faith’ come on and say it, in an attempt to portray it is just the other side of the coin they are looking at and is therefore a ‘religion in itself.

    Given all the possible things that could be stated as a fact in the world I disbelieve far more than I believe in.

    I don’t believe in gods, fairies, santa claus, vampires, ghosts and werewolves. I also don’t believe aliens are currently visiting Earth etc etc etc. There are plenty of people out there who do believe in some of these things.

    Leaving aside gods what theism are non -believers in these things suffering from? Please name the theism for each of these things.

    There are some things I do believe in. Gravity is one. I am certain that when I take my next step I wont suddenly fly off into space. I cannot prove this by establishing the exact nature of gravity at all quantum levels, it is not known to me (or anyone) yet. However, there is enough empirical evidence out there for me to accept its existence and effects.

    If, however, you truly believe and have faith in an omnipotent and active god, that is the ONLY thing you can believe in. You must believe that when you take that next step you can indeed go flying into space at gods will.

    Unless of course you believe the gods have created a universe with immutable laws and processes that they themselves cannot interfere with and events must proceed in accordance with these laws and that random chance and events will decide the future. Of course if you believe that then you believe what I believe in, that we do indeed live in a godless universe notwithstanding its creation. We are godless because the gods created it as so and we can proceed on evidence and science to try and work out the universal laws and completely discount the supernatural because it does not exist in this universe.

    Alternatively you can just believe in an omnipotent god and forget the rest.

    Alan

  181. Pat Ravasio says:
    January 6, 2013 at 10:45 am

    After all your rambling, you still do not answer……………………….

    REPLY: Instead of making assumptions from your personal biases, you might want to read my about page Pat, and note what alternative energy and conservation measures I actually do.

    Don’t waste your time Anthony. I mentioned this very same page to her last time but she obviously couldn’t be bothered. I suspect she’s another eco-hypocrite.

    I think she’s fishing for visitors to [her] awful website as she keeps linking to it and repeats her same old rubbish. I suggest you BAN her for trying to constantly throw threads off topic.

  182. Indeed, global atmospheric-oceanic circulation patterns constitute a “complex dynamic system,” that is, one with three or more mutually interacting variables. By mathematical and physical necessity (Newton’s “three-body problem”) such systems are chaotic/fractal, non-random but indeterminate, self-similar on every scale– subject to Edward Lorenz’s celebrated “butterfly effect,” a “sensitive dependence on initial conditions” that renders all non-linear projections futile.

    That said, geophysics unequivocally demonstrate that in long-term global contexts of (say) minimum 10-million years, solar-driven atmospheric-oceanic conditions reflect the underlying reality not of “climate” but of plate tectonics. In brief, Earth’s current 2.6-million year Pleistocene Era is defined by cyclically recurring Ice Ages averaging c. 102,000 years, interspersed with 12,250-year remissions such as our fading Holocene Interglacial Epoch.

    Since post-Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) Boundary eras typically last 12 to 16-million years, it seems that periodic Pleistocene glaciations will persist another 10 to 14-million years, until North and South American continental landmasses drift apart sufficiently to re-open Eastern vs. Western Hemispheric circulation patterns. Astronomical cycles, solar irradiation, accumulating atmospheric trace-gases such as CO2, have precisely zero bearing on Earth’s continental dispositions.

    Citing logical fallacies in regard to manifestly non-rational CAGW scenarios, which are in fact propaganda exercises designed explicitly as rent-seeking elitists’ global power-grabs, is a mug’s game. As Planet Earth enters upon a 70-year “dead sun” Maunder Minimum similar to that of 1645 – 1715, likely the precursor to a cyclical resurgence of Ice Time, warmists’ murderous sabotage of global energy economies accords with totalitarian fantasists such as Keith Farnish, Kentti Linkola, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. Anyone unacquainted with these death-eating Luddite sociopaths has much to learn.

  183. Centers for Disease Control says:
    January 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Before Marx and Engels, Atheism was called Narcissism. Worship of self. Cain suffered from it, as did Lucifer.

    You and I are definitely on a different page regarding definitions CDC. Your statement has no logical basis to it at all; Not ‘believing ” in an imaginary deity as a logical explanation of the existence of all things, makes one a narcissist?

    I’m not sure it is a fair debate if you just get to make things up.

    The question also arises: Did Cain really exist, or was this some sort of cautionary tale (a fairy story if you will?) passed down over many generations? Or perhaps confused retelling of a more recent event of a dysfunctional family?

    We perhaps need not debate who, what, where or the possibility of the existence of the other chap you mention, he is sort of in the same bracket as most of the gods we get told about.

    It is the oldest and most basic religion.

    No doubt early primates at some stage developed a sense of “self”. Which is by no means, or by any interpretation, narcissism. And given that religion is a structured and ordered system of beliefs, an awareness of self is not in any way, or by any interpretation, a religion.

    If you say there is no God, by the rules of logic, you have just declared yourself to be God, able to make such a statement. Sorry, that’s a more implausible tale than the one that declares a Just and Loving God would make His will clearly known to the people He created by way of the written and spoken word.

    And I am sorry to say, to me that is just meaningless waffle, which would be much more impressive delivered in sonorous tones, amidst pomp and ceremony in an awe inspiring setting (say, a cathedral, replete with jewel like stained glass filtering the light, and soaring columns reaching to the ceilings far above ….. ).

    It reminds me of something:

    Sometimes out of morbid fascination, I watch TV evangelists in full flow, as, barely pausing for breath, they expound deep and meaningful “truths”, such as the above. I sometimes, for my amusement, roll the sentences around in my mind and try to elicit what was really said, or if there is any meaning in there. There is not, of course. Their secret, I think, is to be able to keep the flow going, throwing in enough rote learned phrases and elaborating on interpretations of meaning and really just making up the derived “truths” or “lessons” as they go. And it is an impressive and effective talent indeed.

  184. RACookPE1978 says: January 7, 2013 at 7:09 am

    “…At some point in time, no “scientist” can claim “random chance” any more. 8<)…."

    I’m guessing here, that you are implying “somebody” did it.

    If so, he was dang busy at the time – there are estimated to be about 30 billion planetary systems in our galaxy alone.

    If things don’t add up to your satisfaction on your time scale, you should perhaps bear in mind the possibility your shepherds may not the only ones to get timings (or even the basic theories) wrong. They didn’t have zero, and who knows what we don’t know?

    What A Beatiful Thought – Scientists estimate 30 billion Earths
    http://forum.grasscity.com/general/6698-what-beatiful-thought-scientists-estimate-30-billion-earths.html by Dr David Whitehouse BBC News Online science editor

    Astronomers say there could be billions of Earths in our galaxy, the Milky Way.
    Their assessment comes after the discovery of the 100th exoplanet – a planet that circles a star other than our own.

    The latest find is a gas giant, just like all the other exoplanets so far detected, and orbits a Sun-like star 293 light-years away.

    Scientists say they are now in a position to try to estimate how many planets may exist in the galaxy and speculate on just how many could be like the Earth. The answer in both cases is billions.

    Virtually all the stars out to about 100 light-years distant have been surveyed. Of these 1,000 or so stars, about 10% have been found to possess planetary systems.

    So, with about 300 billion stars in our galaxy, there could be about 30 billion planetary systems in the Milky Way alone; and a great many of these systems are very likely to include Earth-like worlds, say researchers.

  185. Ignorance is infinite.
    @Richard Courtney, consider your argument made.
    Invokation of any God, is pure trolling.
    @Alan Millar, we are all un-believers in one faith or another.
    We argue the logical fallacies of the Carbon Dioxide Cult, what I perceive as, abuse of the scientific method.We are interested in negating their attempts to cloak a cause in science as a cover for power over people.
    Just because the Carbon Cultists have earned, disrespectful labelling such as I do here, does not mean we will profit from arguing religion.
    Back to what we know and can know.
    What I am seeking is a picture of the IPCC, cause and case.
    The mistakes in their case, which appear to be legion.(Far to much certainty from little facts)
    The best picture of what we can know about weather, climate and imagined changes, (not much?)
    The shape of what we do know ( which appears to be pretty fuzzy about the edges)

    From there I will draw my own conclusions, about what politics are necessary .

    What we have demonstrated on this post is, free thinking abounds at WUWT and we are troll bait when religion is argued here.

  186. John Whitman says:
    January 6, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Bruckner8,

    Again, show me your ‘a priori’ justification that I and people like me require belief (aka faith). You are implying that it is a metaphysical requirement of human beings to ‘believe’ or ‘have faith’, qua human beings. Where did you acquire that ‘a priori’ knowledge? Show me the source. Is your source faith or belief? It appears so.

    Your self-proclaimed omniscience in that regard is strong evidence that you are profoundly belief or faith based, but that implies nothing about people who are not like you.

    Goodnight, cocktail hour is starting soon. Catch tomorrow morning.

    John

    Sorry John, I never said *humans* require belief; I said atheism and theism require belief. Us humans on the agnostic side have neither belief, because, darnit, we just don’t know, lol. You’re convinced there’s no theism, yet you have no proof. If you have no proof, you’re left with belief.

    You KNOW there’s no theism…and yet you accuse me of using a priori knowledge. Good one!

  187. Poor Monckton of Brenchley.

    Surely he just wished to make the point that the fervid belief in the CAGW story mimics religious beliefs throughout the ages, with cynical, self-serving high priests bent on riches, power and fame asking for “faith” and “belief”, …. and the unthinking, baying crowds supporting them furiously because they have been “told” and “know the truth”……

    And just look where we have taken it ….

  188. “In the beginning, the Earth was without form, and void, and darkness filled the face of the land.” Sounds a little like the heat death of the Universe, no?

  189. Phil’s Dad says:
    January 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    For the benefit of Pat Ravasio who asked “the most basic of questions:” on January 6, 2013 at 10:45 am ……………

    My hat off to you, I salute you and bow humbly.

  190. Alan Millar:

    At January 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm I wrote

    It is important that evangelism of atheism or any other religion NOT be permitted to destroy this thread in like manner.

    Your post at January 7, 2013 at 7:20 am uses that statement as an excuse to promote atheism. Clearly, some atheists will you any possible excuse to evangelise their religion.

    I was arguing that action should be taken to avoid the misuse of WUWT to promote any religion.

    Your post has proved my point.

    Richard

  191. Wow, I would get back to “Preach not lest…”

    But I think there is a religious component to carbon hysteria that harks from a deep human need for shared belief and tradition–a need that is not fulfilled in modern secular society. Carbon theology can be compared to Prohibition, where “Christian” Temperance swept the industrial world and was codified in a U.S. constitutional amandment, later repealed.

    We may not have the capacity to completely divorce belief and causes for action. Is science a religion? Perhaps, but it is clear from history that we are better served by reason and careful observation than blind faith.

  192. It seems to me modeling climate change is like kicking a football into the Grand Canyon and trying to model the flight, bounce and the ultimate end of that football’s trip.
    There are so many variables starting with the pressure changes of the ball as it falls and at what angle did the ball leave the kicker’s foot. Which rock will it hit next and at what angle?
    Climate change has many causes and variables. Some are seen real time and others are delayed.
    Can long term climate change be modeled?
    Maybe not.
    cn

  193. richardscourtney says:
    January 7, 2013 at 8:51 am

    “Your post at January 7, 2013 at 7:20 am uses that statement as an excuse to promote atheism. Clearly, some atheists will you any possible excuse to evangelise their religion”.

    You have just repeated your previous tripe.

    I cannot be promoting atheism as I don’t recognise any non belief in a stated fact as a ‘ism’ of any kind.

    You have failed to tell me what ‘isms’ are my non -beliefs in fairies and ghosts etc are. Having difficulties?

    You have not answered my point, that your only true belief is in an omnipotent god and therefore you cannot truly believe in anything else.

    You must believe that your next step could send you flying into space if your god wills it, notwithstanding gravity.

    Or that the universe has been created to be immune from the whims and influences of gods and that therefore we both agree we live in a godless universe not withstanding its creation.

    Which is it?

    Alan

  194. My oft repeated suggestion to my religious friends is this:

    If you are arguing about politics, the Federal Reserve Act, the economy, global warming or any other subject, leave religion completely out of it. Once you bring religion onto the table you just lost the argument especially when arguing with progressives.

  195. As you probably know: it is suggested by Silas Beane and others, that over the next 2-3 centuries we may be able to produce a simulation of an entire universe populated with sentient beings like us (or indeed, even better, perhaps more peaceful models).

    It is great fun, isn’t it?

    But, next 2-3 centuries? On the one hand, there is World of Warcraft now, which is essentially a peaceful model although hard on the NPCs. There is a scary/spooky argument against the theodicy problem — whenever you see bad things happen to people, either they are NPCs (no real souls nobody actually harmed) or they are real players who are being painlessly removed from the game to go play another, starting over on another server as it were (or forced to wait out the end of the game).

    In game context, the Universe can appear to be any age you want. Indeed, in game context there could be no other real players, all the other players could be NPCs.

    I do take issue with “simulate an entire universe” — information theoretically and computationally so very, very impossible (at least for anything but a very, very small universe), but the beauty of the WoW model is that one doesn’t have to simulate a whole universe in detail, only a coarse grained view that can be zoomed and corrected according to the limited I/O bandwidth of the player. In other words, if one could completely replace my sensory input stream with a computer generated one, within the next decade or two we’ll probably be able to produce a real time simulation of the projection of an alternate reality into a single person’s consciousness. Shades of The Matrix (or Plato’s Cave).

    There is actually an interesting argument that suggests that this “must” be the case. It is a bullshit argument, of course, but I offer it up in the spirit of amusing bullshit. Assume that any intelligent species that evolves and that fails to kill itself off will eventually obtain energy/resource stasis and very long lifetimes. Assume further that intelligence, curiosity, and evolutionary competitiveness redirected means that they, too, like to game. To avert boredom then, they would inevitably develop better and better games, until the games were indistinguishable from reality (complete sensory replacement) and quite possibly would learn to suppress, replace and release memories of reality for a “saved game” memory for a complete immersion experience.

    Game context might well share many features of our apparent reality. An apparently vast and complex Universe but you can’t get out into it because it would take too much CPU and memory and you can only afford the cheap single-planet simulation. Lots of pathos and tragedy and adventure, with NPCs to play Wal Mart greeters. A certain amount of pain and suffering for the main players, but only because if there isn’t any the game gets boring and it is too easy to tell that it is a game, at least for players who have spent a billion years or more gaming.

    If this is in our future, of course, the present could just be a nostalgia game! With certain assumptions, one can even make it likely that this is the case — what are the chances of coming in on the original experience instead of the billions and billions more resimulations of the original experience.

    A sufficiently accurate simulation, of course, could never, even in principle, be detected! After all, the game console controls your game experience and can even replace your in-game memory on the fly and you’d never notice it because the only way to notice it would be to compare now to your previous memory. In between this keystroke – and this one – I could have popped out of game context, gone to work, taken a vacation with the many tentacled kids, and then restarted the game to seamlessly reenter game context.

    This is actually a sufficient disproof of the quantum hidden variable theories, or at least it requires them to be prefaced by “assuming that the Universe and quantum theory in general are what they appear to be” (which sort of begs the question even if you then accept the proof). Any outcome that can be measured in a lab and used to prove is computable, and any computable outcome can be produced by hidden variables. One literally cannot test the proposition if the proposition is true, as any tests that succeed prove it false. To put it another way, a Stern-Gerlach quantum spin separation experiment produces a computable result — the splitting of the downstream beam. Electron interference experiments produce a computable result — a phase-based stochastic interference pattern. Our sensory experience of the computable results could be obtained if there were no actual electrons involved at all, and how could we tell?

    All just for fun, of course. One of the infinity of possibilities explored by The Matrix or much earlier by James Gunn’s The Joy Makers (one of the all time great SF story triplets, btw). But clearly not the best thing to believe because whether or not we are in game context, there is no point in believing that we are without evidence.

    Note well that this is almost exactly what religions propose. This world isn’t real, it is a “creation” of an intelligent external entity with a different time stream that has perfect control over the game experience. To this entity, we might be nothing but NPCs ourselves — AIs loose in the game context while a much bigger game is being played out on a much bigger arena all for the amusement (sorry, but there it is) of that external entity. We have the World of Warcraft model of infinite serial reincarnation in a single game context as NPCs “die” and are respawned — Buddhism if you like — where all the NPCs are of course ultimately identical to the toplevel controlling program that multitasks them. We have the “forgiving” Christian model where a secondary game server stands by and NPCs are placed there in non-conflicted roles as they are eliminated in the primary context, saved for a new game later or whatever. We have the “punitive” Christian model or Muslim model where there are two secondary servers, a nice one and a “hell” level where one has to battle demonic cows for eternity.

    The details of the top level reality, of course, are fuzzy to say the least. How could they not be? They are completely hidden behind the sensorily perfect simulation! Or, the game context could indeed contain “cheat codes” that can be discovered by the players or NPCs — the games we write certainly do — that confer amazing in-game powers to violate game context provided that one does the equivalent of typing in a special string — but usually at some cost. The existence of such codes would be evidence at least of inconsistency in the sensory models and a probable uphill level in reality, but — note well — not even the master server of a set of game contexts could ever be certain that it itself wasn’t just one layer in a higher level simulation.

    Godel’s theorem is a powerful, powerful result that prevents that — it could prove its internal consistency only if it were inconsistent, and if it couldn’t prove it, that only allows for the possibility that it is consistent, not the certainty.

    My big problem with religions is precisely this. We have the bulk of the human species running around all over the planet behaving as if they are players or non-player characters in a vast, complicated MMORPG. I’m sorry, not one MMORPG, any one of a few dozen, or hundred, or thousand distinct MMORPGs with different presumed rules and game objects. Some devoutly believe in the secondary games where they will be NPCs no more, with or without the hellfire level for the people that they played against or that cheated against their supposed rules. Some equally devoutly believe that the whole point of the game is for your NPC role to end, to wake up and realize that you are in fact the primary real player or the game context itself, or to just simply go away and cease looping into the ongoing game.

    I just think it is time for humanity to put away these childish suppositions. If it is a game, it is a damn good one, and fighting over the competing MMORPG hypotheses is pointless and causes all sort of apparent suffering amongst the players. There isn’t the slightest valid reason to believe any of the proposed MMORPG scenarios available in the game context, at least for those of us who test the rules and the proposed cheat codes and find the game rules amazingly consistent (or at least, consistently simulated). NPC or not, the default hypothesis has to be that this reality is real, not a simulation running in some other even more complex reality through which you can be promoted. Indeed, it could be that the point of the game is to eventually figure that out and start living as if the world we see is the only world we get, for a single pass through our player identity real or NPC as it may be.

    rgb

  196. Gail Combs:

    At January 7, 2013 at 9:13 am

    My oft repeated suggestion to my religious friends is this:

    If you are arguing about politics, the Federal Reserve Act, the economy, global warming or any other subject, leave religion completely out of it. Once you bring religion onto the table you just lost the argument especially when arguing with progressives.

    I hope I may be counted among your “religious friends”. and I have repeatedly tried to gain acceptance of your point in this and in the previous thread on an article by Lord Monckton.

    However, on this and the previous thread there have been atheists who have used promotion of their religion as an excuse to destroy both threads.

    Their success on the previous thread has encouraged them in their activity on this thread. And their success on this thread will give them confidence to do it again in future.

    I repeat, there is an inhibition on promotion of creationism on WUWT and – for the same reason – there is clear need for similar inhibition on promotion of atheism on WUWT. Otherwise there is severe risk that WUWT could be damaged beyond repair.

    Richard

  197. “In the beginning, the Earth was without form, and void, and darkness filled the face of the land.” Sounds a little like the heat death of the Universe, no?

    You’re at the wrong end of things and no, it doesn’t really sound like the big bang. Genesis is wrong in every detail, unless, of course, you are willing to twist the words around until they mean whatever they have to mean to correspond to what we have learned by actually looking.

    To put it another way, if you were raised in a box and used Genesis as your basis for understanding, you would ab-so-lute-ly never ever ever come to understand what really happened. The wrong events, the wrong order, not a single thing like what really happened. Instead of reading a book that is a hodge-podge of oft-rewritten Sumerian myths crudely stitched together by multiple authors in a resource constrained violent culture, from a time some 2600 years ago when humanity was savage and ignorant and had only relatively recently learned to use bronze and iron, in an effort to find a secret decoder that reveals that they really understood things like the big band, nucleosynthesis, the great dark, formation of the original stars and galaxies, the evolution of type I, II, and III stars, the supernovae of type I and II stars that produced the metals, the stardust, that eventually evolved, on a small lump coalesced around an unremarkable second or third generation star, us, in a truly enormous visible Universe where (as it looks like it is going to turn out) nearly all such stars have planets and in all probability a staggering number of them have similarly evolved lifeforms, why not take an actual course in Astronomy and learn what really happened in unambiguous terms, no secret decoder ring needed.

    You can at the same time learn a little bit about how and why we believe it happened, starting with the discoveries and inventions of physics and general science, the use of parallax to determine the distances to the nearest stars, the use of the principles of thermodynamics and quantum electromagnetic radiation to determine the size and temperature and spectral composition of those stars, the discovery of regularities relating the spectrum and intensity of the stars to their size and distance, so that we could extend the ruler of parallax and begin to learn how truly vast the Universe really is.

    None of this is in the Bible. Not even in metaphor. It is silly to pretend that it is. It is one of the many ways we know the Bible could not have been written by God. It has, in actual fact, not stood the test of time, it has been soundly refuted and revealed to be a simple mythology, not a true account, not the sort of thing one would expect to read if the authors (ignorant or not) were truly divinely inspired. It is rife with inconsistencies, filled with horrific acts of amoral violence (perfectly consistent with the savage culture of the day, of course) conducted by supposedly “good” men, laced with rules that ritually require acts of violence to be committed against anyone who dared to think or act freely. It portrays a humanity created perfect but flawed and cast down instead of a humanity that evolved and has never been perfect, inverting the blame for “sin” in order to exculpate God and explain theodicy.

    The Bible is not evil. It is not good. It is a part of our history, our past, our moral evolution. But it is high time to stop pretending that it is true, or that it does a particularly good job of laying out valid moral precepts for living. The New Testament does a much better job than the Old in that regard, but is still obviously flawed, and other religions do it at least as well if not better (and that doesn’t make them correct as in true either!)

    But believe me, I am perfectly happy to deconstruct Genesis, a line at a time if you like. There is not one, single word in Genesis that is likely to be true without twisting its words far, far away from their actual meaning, and I refuse to accept that a loving God would right an important document like this deliberately wrong so that one has to twist its words to get it to work out right. That makes no sense at all.

    rgb

  198. Congratulations to everyone for an exceptional discussion. As usual, some replies to commenters.

    J. Ferguson wonders why he had not previously seen the statement “Once everyone studied the Classics, to know that in logic there is a difference between true and false; the Sciences, to discern where it lies; and Religion, to appreciate why it matters. Today, few study all three empires of the mind. Fewer study the ordered beauty of the logic at their heart.” Well, I had not written it before. I’m glad he likes it.

    “Old fossil” regrets that I had not included the “straw man” fallacy in the list of logical solecisms perpetrated by the usual suspects. In fact I had: the argumentum ad ignorationem elenchi, the fundamental fallacy of introducing irrelevancies and hence demonstrating one’s ignorance of the method of conducting a rational argument, encompasses a number of sub-fallacies, each related to a distinct category of irrelevance. The straw man fallacy is one of these: others are the argumentum ad hominem and the red-herring fallacy.

    Mr. Cripwell worries about my having said there might be 1 K warming in response to a CO2 doubling. Well, I went to see the Professor who had done the original, meticulous, spectral-line-by-spectral-line calculations (some 10,000 of them) to determine the expected response. His conclusion was that the CO2 forcing is unquestionably logarithmic, so that each additional molecule we emit has less forcing and warming effect than its predecessors; that the precise value of the coefficient in the CO2 forcing function, which the IPCC has already reduced by 15%, cannot be determined; and that, all things considered, 1 K per doubling was probably in the right ball-park. Of course, non-radiative transports greatly complicate the picture, and Mr. Cripwell may be right in suggesting that the final response will be less than 1 K. But we are on stronger ground if we argue against the models’ near-tripling of this direct warming by imagined (and probably imaginary) net-positive temperature feedbacks. Remove that multiplication by 3 and the climate crisis vanishes.

    Richard Courtney rightly reminds us that the models’ assumption that the aerosol forcing is strongly negative introduces a fudge-factor that has the effect of artificially increasing climate sensitivity.

    Mr. Hoffer growls at my “justifying science on the basis of religion”. Merely to mention religion in passing, in what was originally a speech for an audience that would be able to appreciate the context, is not the same thing as “justifying science on the basis of religion”.

    Mr. Armstrong and many others make similar points. He says Trinitarianism is illogical. This is to misunderstand the sphere of logic, which is concerned first of all with the internal consistency and hence validity of an argument. In any valid argument where the premises are true, the conclusion will also be true. Trinitarianism is a belief – and one that cannot be Popper-falsified. On the other hand, the New Religion of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Alarm (CACA) is in truth a superstition – a system of belief that is falsifiable and has been demonstrated to be false. The phrase “New Religion” comes from the Catholic writings about the English Reformation.

    Mr. Anton says animals can reason too, and seems to imagine that Christianity allows us to treat animals with contempt and cruelty. He may like to read up on St. Francis of Assisi. I am no expert on the extent to which animals can reason, but it is probable – on present knowledge – that their capacity to reason is not as great as ours. That was the point I was making.

    Lazy Teenager, who as usual fails to read the head posting with due care and attention, says the consensus in support of the New Religion is not a “consensus of scientists” but a “consensus of evidence”. The moderator wondered, rightly, how insentient items of data are capable of forming a “consensus” – a point that I had made in the head posting, together with a summary of some of the growing body evidence that points away from CACA.

    Mr. Abbot says it was illogical of me to say that CACA was illogical on the basis that we shall only succeed in altering 1/3000 of the atmosphere this century. But that was not the basis on which I said that CACA was illogical. I said it was illogical in that a surprisingly large proportion of the arguments most often advanced in its favour are instances of the dozen commonest fallacies in human discourse, as codified by Aristotle in his Refutations of the Sophists 2350 years ago.

    Professor Brown grumbles that the fallacious arguments I described are “based on fancy Latin phrases”. No, they are based on the writings of Aristotle, following Plato, following Socrates, and they have been much polished by scholars since then, including the medieval schoolmen who gave them their Latin names. Latin is useful in that in a few words it can convey a precise meaning. That is why the terms I used for the fallacies are still in daily use today in universities throughout the world (though not, perhaps, at Duke).

    The Professor also says atheism is not a religion. Well, in the sense that it is a system of belief that is not capable of Popper-falsification, that is exactly what it is.

    Mr. House, as usual, has nothing but a scatter-gun full of whining spite to offer. He wails that in a previous posting I had said there had been no global warming for 16 years, and now, less than a month later, it has gone up to 18 years. Well, Werner Brozek did the math and concluded that the HadCRUt3 dataset, relied upon by the IPCC in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, shows no global warming for 19 years. The newer HadCRUt4 database makes it 18 years, so I chose the more cautious figure. However, on the RSS satellite dataset, the global warming of the past 23 years is statistically indistinguishable from zero.

    Mr. House says I should surely not want to talk about my membership of the House of Lords. I had mentioned the subject in passing as an indication of precisely the sense in which Mr. House now mentions it – as an instance of the logical fallacy that is the argumentum ad hominem. Those who, like Mr. House, have no understanding of logic tend to assume that relentless attacks on the person of people like me will undermine our credibility. However, in logic it is the quality of the argument that wins the day, not the question whether the protagonist is or is not a member of the House of Lords. In any event, in a previous posting, Anthony provided a link to the written Opinion of learned Counsel to the effect that I am a member of the Lords, and that I am fully entitled to say so. So perhaps Mr. House can try to learn a little science rather than expatiating with malevolent ignorance on everything from the least-squares linear-regression trend on monthly temperature anomaly datasets to the arcana of United Kingdom peerage law.

    • For me the reconciliation of our legacy religions and the ongoing pursuit of quantitative understanding of , as an erstwhile hindu friend used to ask , “What is Happening?” ( often late at places like The Tunnel in NYC , I must admit ) comes from modernizing the definition of god . I think this mathematical pursuit is the modern form of humanity’s religious impulse . But rather than going to war over whether there are 0 , 1 , or 2 messiahs attached to THE single Abrahamic jealous ( Rule #1 : “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” ) god , science , like some of the more pantheist “religions” of the orient revere an ever increasing pantheon of Promethei accreting our collective knowledge . I consider the quests of Maxwell or Gauss or Einstein as religious as those of Kepler or Newton .

      To me the greatest ancient theologian was Pythagoras . ( My favorite 20th century one , Vonnegut . ) He actually abstracted one of the most profound relationships of existence : squares sum . His cult also was unique in disproving one of their founding beliefs : that all numbers can be expressed as ratios .

      It happens I just finished my End of 2012 Newsletter , http://cosy.com/y12/NewsLetter201212.html , which , of greatest relevance here , presents a simple computation showing that for Venus’s surface temperature to be 2.25 times the graybody temperature in its orbit without an internal heat source , it must be 10 times more reflective in its longwave spectrum than aluminum foil . That is , its surface temperature cannot be explained as a “runaway Greenhouse Effect” .

      It also happens that I offer , as a piece of my art , my Proposed Banner of the NeoPythagoreans on the product of one’s choice .

  199. rgbatduke says:

    “The Bible is not evil. It is not good.”

    Wrong. The Ten Commandments and other Western moral imperatives are entirely good for society. The decline of the West can be attributed in very large part to the decline in morality, and to situational ethics — the moral equivalent of Post Normal Science.

    Children are infinitely better off if they are immersed in Western morals, which stem directly from Judeo-Christian ethics. It doesn’t matter if you are atheist, agnostic, Christian, Jewish or Creationist. Your children will become better adults if they have a good moral upbringing. It doesn’t matter what they decide to believe as adults, or not believe. Being taught morality at a young age is entirely beneficial to society and to the individual.

  200. The logical case against climate panic

    Guest post by Monckton of Brenchley

    “To those scientists who aim to end the Age of Reason and Enlightenment, I say this. Logic stands implacable in your path. We will never let you have your new Dark Age.”

    It is a pleasure not only to my soul but also obviously to many conscious connected souls listen to the words of logic, greek named logos, of Lord Monckton of Brenchley.

    Detecting fallacies is fun for the conscious soul, a war conditioned mind not ever recognizes.

    “Take the fraction 16/64. Now, canceling a six on top and a six on the bottom, we get that 16/64 = 1/4.” – “Wait a second! You can’t just cancel the six!” – “Oh, so you’re telling us 16/64 is not equal to 1/4, are you?”

    “I did not murder my mother and father with an axe! Please don’t find me guilty; I’m suffering enough through being an orphan.”

    “All I’m saying is that thousands of people believe in pyramid power, so there must be something to it.”

    “The Soviet Union collapsed after instituting state atheism. Therefore we must avoid atheism for the same reasons.”

    “Humans are just animals, so we should not concern ourselves with justice; we should just obey the law of the jungle.”

    “Johannes Kepler was an astrologer. Astrology is a pseudoscience that has not demonstrated its effectiveness in controlled studies and has no scientific validity. So his three ideas about ‘The laws of the stars’ cannot have any scientific validity.”

    “The work of this physician from Russia cannot have any value, he is a communist.” (McCarthy era)

    “ In 1893 the Royal Academy of Sciences were convinced by Ball that communication with Mars was a physical impossibility. The Observatory in 1893 noted “Another utterance of Sir Robert Ball has been going the rounds of the newspapers, to the effect that a flag the size of Ireland, if waved, could be seen from Mars with a good telescope.”

    “The ‘‘temperature tracking’’ was implemented through a simple proportional control equation, of the form E(t) = pk(deltaT^DATA(t) – delta T(t)) where E(t) are CO₂ emissions, and deltaT^DATA (t) – delta T(t) is the error between prescribed and simulated temperature change at a specific time, t. The proportionality constant pk includes factors converting temperature to CO₂ concentrations (CO₂ concentration divided by climate sensitivity) and CO₂ concentrations to emissions.” (edited by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber)

    The other side of the fun is that power people are only interested in victory and preservation of power if not even fixed in the nonlinearity of argumentum, which were well known by the people of Sumer. ‘Let what’s mine stay unused; but let me use what is yours – this will hardly endear a man to his friend’s household’. – ‘You don’t tell me what you have found; you only tell what you have lost.’ – ‘Tell a lie; then if you tell the truth it will be deemed a lie.’ –‘The traveller from distant places is a perenial liar’ (Edmund Gordan).

    The last proverb can be expanded to ‘the traveller from distant ideas’.

    To this mind traps the saying of Parmenides can be helpful ‘It is necessary to speak and to think what is; for being is, but nothing is not.’ Authorities often make use of this fallacy if they deny alternatives instead of keeping silent if there is no own knowledge about the unknown. The problem occurs that nothing is not falsifiable; you only have the authority’s saying and an authority in an xyz discipline.

    There is not really an authority in philosophy because logic is not to be owned like a car or a clock. But this gives the living basis to speak on logic and climate panic untouched by well running fallacies.

    Thank you.

    V.

  201. I repeat, there is an inhibition on promotion of creationism on WUWT and – for the same reason – there is clear need for similar inhibition on promotion of atheism on WUWT. Otherwise there is severe risk that WUWT could be damaged beyond repair.

    Why? I think you worry far too much. Threads peter out anyway, and if they extend out as an OT discussion, what is harmed?

    Besides, the problem here is simple. Leave out the promotion of Christianity in a science article in the first place. I could care less if Monckton believes devoutly in Jesus, but if he wraps an entire article in a religious frame and pops it out filled with sanctimonious crap an ironically accusing scientists of being “religious” as his main theme, I’m certainly going to comment on it, just as I would if I were refereeing a physics paper and the same thing occurred.

    I’m perfectly happy to leave religious discussion out of WUWT threads entirely, but one of my areas of expertise is epistemology, and discussions there are entirely relevant to science and knowledge. Religion by your own admission lies outside of legitimate epistemology, and hence has no place in a rational discussion. As for “promoting atheism”, science is atheistic. If you think about it, it has to be. Otherwise we’d end up having to preface every scientific prediction with “Inshallah”, God willing. God willing, class, the ball will fall when I release it. Every law, every rule we infer, all of our logic and reason become hostage to the whim of an unknown entity that can decide at any moment to override them. Every conclusion can be twisted into “proof” for one religion or another, as my previous reply addressed. This isn’t imaginary, it happens all the time. It is part of the cognitive dissonance required in order to believe in a scriptural theology and science at the same time.

    The only sane thing to do is follow the suggestion of the Buddha and leave God out of it! Period. Does good or evil depend on whether or not God exists? Are the laws of physical science optional? The point Buddha made is that it does not matter how you answer the God question, the problem you face is the same. God or no God, living a compassionate life is better than the alternatives, in ways one can readily observe, which is why this is is a common moral principle of all religions and no religion at all. If God exists, can God make this untrue? If the laws of physical science and the rules we use to infer them are whimsical and arbitrary, we are then incapable of any sort of real knowledge and might as well give up on epistemology altogether, as any understanding we ever gain can be trumped at will by willful supernatural magic. Fortunately, we never see them broken. So again, presuming that they remain unbroken, God or no God, what exactly is the difference?

    So, if you (or Mr. Monckton) want to twist the OT around so that Genesis doesn’t disagree with scientific observation, or believe in a version of an Abrahamic religion that treats it as poetry and metaphor and not fact, I could care less, as long as you don’t try to replace our valid epistemological, religion-neutral truths with the twisted exegetic stuff or metaphoric extrapolations and use it as the basis of political or scientific decisioning or dedicate your work to Jesus or preface your conclusions with Inshallah! What you choose to do and why is up to you, but don’t impose that choice on me or anyone else that believes differently.

    And please, leave it out of discussions that already are all about science and politics and “religious” thinking (as a bad thing). The irony is overwhelming. As I will not hesitate to point out when it occurs, unless or until Anthony requests otherwise. I’m the grandson of a preacher and was born to be a preacher myself, and as you may have noticed am just naturally argumentative. I will not let proselytizing in science articles pass without protest.

    rgb

  202. Monckton of Brenchley says:
    January 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

    “The Professor also says atheism is not a religion. Well, in the sense that it is a system of belief that is not capable of Popper-falsification, that is exactly what it is.”

    Well your usual logical approach has broken down on this occasion I am afraid.

    Not believing in a stated fact is a religion is it? When did that happen? Or does it only apply to certain categories of unbelievable facts?

    Are not believing in fairies and ghosts religions also? How about cold fusion?

    What about a member of the Christian religion who doesn’t believe in the gods of other religions? Are they now following numerous religions, one for each of the other gods he doesn’t believe in, as well as the religion of the god he does believe in?

    I am afraid this is a total logical fail.

    Alan

  203. Monckton of Brenchley:

    Thankyou for your post at January 7, 2013 at 10:02 am and its mention of my post at January 6, 2013 at 10:49 am. Your mention says

    Richard Courtney rightly reminds us that the models’ assumption that the aerosol forcing is strongly negative introduces a fudge-factor that has the effect of artificially increasing climate sensitivity.

    Indeed, my post does do that, but its major point is more important.

    My post explained that each model emulates a unique climate system which differs from the unique climate system of each other model.
    This uniqueness derives from each model using a different value of climate sensitivity from every other model. The assumed aerosol forcing is also unique for each model and ‘fudges’ each model to hindcast global temperature during the past century. As I said

    Kiehl’s Figure 2 can be seen at

    Please note that the Figure is for 9 GCMs and 2 energy balance models, and its title is:
    Figure 2. Total anthropogenic forcing (Wm2) versus aerosol forcing (Wm2) from nine fully coupled climate models and two energy balance models used to simulate the 20th century.

    So, every climate model emulates a different climate system from that of every other model. Hence, at most only one of the climate models emulates the climate system of the real Earth because the Earth has only one climate system.

    As you say, implicit in this is that “the aerosol forcing is strongly negative introduces a fudge-factor that has the effect of artificially increasing climate sensitivity”. And I now add that those values of climate sensitivity are all much higher than the empirical values obtained by
    Idso from surface measurements

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/papers/Idso_CR_1998.pdf

    and Lindzen & Choi from ERBE satelite data

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/Lindzen-and-Choi-GRL-2009.pdf

    and Gregory from balloon radiosonde data

    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/OLR&NGF_June2011.pdf

    These completely independent empirical estimates each indicates a climate sensitivity equivalent to ~0.4 deg.C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    Richard

  204. I tend to agree (because I’ve read most of the backing articles) but the lack of references for each point suggests BS to the undecided.

  205. John Whitman says:
    January 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm
    Christopher Monckton, In an earlier comment to you on this thread I addressed almost total agreement on the secular part of your post. Your secular focused discourse was eloquent. The religious (supernatural) focused part of your post lacks internally consistent logic and it misidentifies the metaphysical/epistemological status of supernaturalism. However, your most self-refuting aspect of your religious statement is that it is merely irrelevant to professional and objective scientific pursuit and achievement, per se.

    Sorry, but that is not a valid argument, because you have not given any (scientific) reason for your statement. If one speaks on logic he knows that logic cannot be more than the prepositions say. If one speaks about absolute truth, what is the reference for it? From where do know that something is absolutely true (or false)? Can you give a proof what is supernatural? Can you show truth?

    Basic logic tells that there is one nature; two natures cannot exist because they must contradict each other. Things cannot be true and false at the same time und not natural and supernatural at the same time. It is a fallacy.

    Science is science because of the acknowledgement to that what is to be recognised as true.

    V.

  206. richardscourtney says:
    January 6, 2013 at 10:49 am

    “The input of assumed anthropogenic aerosol cooling is needed because the model ‘ran hot’; i.e. it showed an amount and a rate of global warming which was greater than was observed over the twentieth century. ”

    Richard, my reading of the history of the Models was that until Hansen(?) added a Climate Sensitivity “multiplier” they all ran cold, then a Venusian planetary scientist came up with the idea of a CS fudge factor.

    I would love to know if this myth can be confirmed from another source.

  207. @richardscourtney
    Re: How to do something to provide answers instead of endless incomprehensible ping pong.

    I appreciate you asking if I have any ideas, but in the age of the NET it is almost certain that there are many ideas, some of which would be workable if only there was a way to capture them. That then is the first idea – if there is a desire to deal with this problem then some acknowledged climate sceptic blog host would need to host the question and process the results. It is probably an innovative step that has not been done before, and probably a co-operation between several blog hosts. Most climate sceptic blogs link to each other and reference each other’s stories. The hosts also appear in person on WUWT TV. There is a huge synergy here but it is a bit incestuous.

    As others have commented, the answers are “in the blogs”, but how does anyone find the answers without trolling through so much material? How does the ‘man in the street’ even know there are blogs dealing with these issues in a non-alarmist way let alone access them?
    Initially I personally stumbled on one of these blogs, and after a period of weighing the content with the MSM, I started looking at their linked blogs, and it helped me such a lot.

    In the great council of climate sceptics, I am sure there is a will to help the public to get visibility of the flip side of AGW but it needs a skilled media team rather than a science team. Instead of winning a war by drips, it would be good to see a decisive action to break through the BBC propaganda machine.

    Let me create an example. Let’s say I am troubled by the Antarctic ice melt. Attenborough flies around with an expert showing that the ice that holds back the glaciers is cracking up and that there is a potential world wide disaster looming if one of these big ice chucks then breaks off. How can I know how much of this is true? Where can I find an answer to satisfy my curiosity and anxiety? I have my own job to do and no time to do deep studies in climate theory, any in any case even the experts can’t agree on much.

    In the footsteps of Luther and Tyndale, don’t you think it is time to break the same religious tyranny that prevented people reading the Bible in their own language, and let the people today understand this science in their own language too.

  208. Wrong. The Ten Commandments and other Western moral imperatives are entirely good for society. The decline of the West can be attributed in very large part to the decline in morality, and to situational ethics — the moral equivalent of Post Normal Science.

    Fine. Lemme go find some really big stones, then, because my neighbors violate the Sabbath all the time — well, at least one of the days that might or might not be “the Sabbath” as there is some disagreement as to what the right day is. So I might have to kill ‘em on more than one day.

    My kids are such toast, too. Time to bludgeon them to death with rocks.

    Maybe I’ll just enslave my neighbors, come to think about it. Then I can beat them almost to death and stay within the Bible’s very generous rules there. And believe me, I could go on. Marriage by rape, anyone? Suppression of any pretence of religious freedom? This is “entirely good”?

    As for the myth of the “decline of the West” — do we live on the same planet? Let’s see, the world has never in recorded history been:

    a) More peaceful, especially in the West. Most of the conflicts that remain have religious roots, well fed and watered by those that want to exploit them for political power.

    b) Richer worldwide. There is a remarkable report here:

    http://www.globalissues.org/article/4/poverty-around-the-world

    that is still fairly recent that documents the steady decline in global poverty (as well as the many problems with social justice, equality, and freedom.

    c) Freer. Human rights are far from universal, and individuals who believe that religious mandates trump individual rights are plentiful and all too often in power, attempting to actually institute the horror that is Old Testament law, literally applied, but fortunately “the West” remains steadfastly in favor of heresy and an individual’s right to choose what to believe (including the choice to believe nothing at all) and the individual’s right to not have their moral behavior dictated in law and enforced by threat of violence by a set of religious rules with which they do not agree.

    d) More equal. The treatment of women as chattel and second-class citizens persists around the world, primarily in countries that still hew to the Old Testament standards or the standards of other religions with similar intrinsic inequality embedded in the scriptural ideals. In the “decadent” West, however, women have never been more equal and their rights have never been better protected. Similarly, racial inequality and discrimination, while far from gone from the world including the West, is rapidly disappearing from the West at least where social and religious factors aren’t a perpetual irritant.

    e) More knowledgeable. We know more today about the way the Universe works and is put together than ever before. This knowledge enables us to solve problems that previous generations thought were unsolvable. Every day discoveries are made that extend human life, improve human health, increase human wealth, promote human happiness, enrich human lives. Without supernatural intervention or miracles, in an epistemological framework that does not rely on authority or faith.

    We have never lived in such comfort, with so much security, so many protections legal and civil, with so many rights, with so much free access to knowledge and opportunity. It is better to be born into the world right now, today, than at any time in the history or prehistory of the human race. Calling this some sort of moral decay insults the meaning of the term, and besides, it is demonstrably, quantitatively, false.

    We have a long way to go, both in the West and elsewhere. Until the world accepts the principle of freedom from religion, recognizes that it is unethical to impose one’s own religious beliefs or rules on others or to restrict apostasy in any way to prevent one from freely changing one’s mind, we will be plagued by all of the religions seeking to impose their own version of Sharia, religious law, for better or worse. In the West, the remaining restrictions of this sort are usually fairly benign, moderated by our constitution and its emulation elsewhere (although there are glaring exceptions). In Islamic countries, this is an enormous obstacle to peace and equality and freedom. It is a nontrivial problem in other cultures with other religions, each claiming that an antique document is a better guide for moral behavior than mere common sense and the application of simple principle of personal freedom as long as it doesn’t materially hurt others.

    I must this in all sincerity protest your assertion that the West is “in decline”. Compared to what? The West, like the entire world, is continuing the greatest period of ascendence that begin with the Enlightenment. We still struggle with the demons of our moral and physical evolution, and the job is far from finished, but there is more hope of continued progress than ever before as well.

    rgb

  209. Monckton of Brenchley says:
    January 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

    The Professor also says atheism is not a religion. Well, in the sense that it is a system of belief that is not capable of Popper-falsification, that is exactly what it is.

    – – – – – – – – – –

    Christopher Monckton,

    Of course in the theological (theology being the field studying the profound belief in supernaturalism and superstition) terminology both theist and atheist endorsed belief/faith as an essential epistemology/metaphysically process. That is the way with the profound belief in the supernatural / superstition that religion is. Both terms are rigged to a dependence on belief/faith But, step outside that biased, or ”supernatural / superstitious’ paradigm.

    When you take that step, then I think rgbatduke is correct. When a one has naturally achieved, by one’s natural capacity of reason, a metaphysical/epistemological system that has determined that to live a life of reason then one by necessity must exclusively exercise one’s natural free volition to exclusively use man’s natural capacity for reason exclusively on the natural world then one does not even reject religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism . . . one then has achieved the capability to say religion’s supernaturalism and superstitionism is irrelevant to their metaphysical / epistemological system. Aristotle came reasonably close, but not completely. We stand on his mighty shoulders. : )

    I am very happy that in your last two posts you have stimulated an important dialog on a large stage that can philosophically compare science to religion’s supernaturalism/superstitioinism. I look forward to your next post that will again tee up this excellent philosophical contrast between science and religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism. Thank you.

    NOTE: Next step one can show that one’s ethics and morality as a reasoning being are a natural logical extension of one’s natural knowledge of oneself. One does not depend on the acceptance of religion’s supernaturalist / superstitionist based morals and ethics. Likewise for politics and aesthetics.

    John

  210. I am afraid this is a total logical fail.

    Well said. I said it too (somewhat less concisely:-) but Mr. Monckton obviously has prior beliefs that he is willing to bend the usual rules to defend.

    As I pointed out, a person who fails to believe in N-1 out of N religions is only 1/N less of an atheist than I am. Mr. Monckton is, I have little doubt just as much of an atheist regarding Hinduism or Islam as I am, recognizing that they are far from proven, in direct contradiction with all sorts of matters of fact and moral principles that we now take for granted, and hence that it is not reasonable to accord them any particular degree of plausible belief. There only remains for him to take one small (1/N) step and he can reckon the world as it appears to be, not as he was taught when he was too young to know better. Or at least, to take the 1/(2N) step of recognizing that refusal to accept any of the N boxes (or even any reasonable upper bound on N) is hardly a box itself, and recognizing that his choice of of the N boxes is based on (at best!) anecdotal evidence. Literally. From anecdotes thousands of years old.

    In the meantime, I plan to continue worshipping the Holy Monopole, even though it has eluded us so far. As a so-far invisible particle that might explain some things we observe if it exists, there is at least as much evidence for its existence as there is for that of God — pretty stories and a few non-reproducible sightings.

    rgb

  211. Professor Brown grumbles that the fallacious arguments I described are “based on fancy Latin phrases”.

    Not at all, just poking fun. I love a good latin phrase as much as the next guy. That’s why I was participating in the process of making up some new ones, tongue in cheek.

    The problem is that a few new fallacies have been discovered over the last few thousand years that have, as far as I know, not been named in latin. I commend to Mr. Monckton what might be the most important fallacy he will ever learn:

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

    To quote from Jaynes (from the article):

    Once one has grasped the idea, one sees the Mind Projection Fallacy everywhere; what we have been taught as deep wisdom, is stripped of its pretensions and seen to be instead a foolish non sequitur. The error occurs in two complementary forms, which we might indicate thus: (A) (My own imagination) → (Real property of Nature), [or] (B) (My own ignorance) → (Nature is indeterminate).

    Religious thinking fits neatly into both. An imagined God becomes a real property of nature, and in order to make room, becomes inevitably a God of the Gaps.

    Enjoy.

    rgb

  212. MiCro:

    At January 7, 2013 at 11:21 am you ask me

    Richard, my reading of the history of the Models was that until Hansen(?) added a Climate Sensitivity “multiplier” they all ran cold, then a Venusian planetary scientist came up with the idea of a CS fudge factor.

    I would love to know if this myth can be confirmed from another source.

    Sorry, but I cannot confirm or deny it. But the ‘myth’ seems unlikely, and I explain this as follows.

    As you can see from my post at January 6, 2013 at 10:49 am my studies of model performance began in 1999 with my investigation of the Hadley Center GCM. And as I say, it ‘ran hot’ (i.e. it showed an amount and a rate of global warming which was greater than was observed over the twentieth century) so they added the assumed aerosol forcing to compensate for this.

    If the CS fudge factor had been added then reducing that fudge would have tuned the model to stop it ‘running hot’.

    But that putative fudge was not adopted. Instead, the aerosol cooling was input. This was a reasonable test of the hypothesis that the aerosol was responsible for the ‘running hot’. The test was follows.

    The magnitude of the aerosol cooling was not known but the magnitude of ‘running hot’ was observed. Also, the aerosol washes out of the atmosphere within days. Hence, cooling was added to the model in a spatial pattern which matched the emission of anthropogenic aerosol emission, and with a total magnitude which forced the model to emulate global temperature change over the twentieth century.

    If the aerosol hypothesis were correct then the global distribution of warming and cooling over the twentieth century would be matched by the model which was adjusted with the aerosol cooling.

    But the model gave a very different pattern of temperature changes over the Earth’s surface; for example, the model showed most warming where most cooling had been observed in reality, and the model showed most cooling where most warming had been observed in reality.

    This failure of the model was overcome by PR.
    A fanfare of publicity was given to the agreement between change to global temperature over twentieth century and the the model’s emulation of that change. But the agreement was fixed as an input to the model by the input of assumed aerosol cooling.
    And the following IPCC Report said the model’s good reliability was indicated by its ability to indicate regions of warming and cooling but made no mention of the lack of relationship of those regions to observed reality.

    So, this result was a problem because it disproved the aerosol hypothesis and no other reason for the model ‘running hot’ was known and they used PR to misrepresent the failure of the test.

    If your “myth” of putative CS input were correct then its adjustment would have been another way to compensate for the model ‘running hot’. That was not done and the risky PR was used to hide the failure of the ‘aerosol hypothesis’ test. Hence, it seems to me that the ‘myth’ is improbable.

    I hope that helps.

    Richard

  213. One of my professors held a PhD in geophysics and was also a devout Catholic who believed the earth was created just over 5000 years ago. I asked him how he reconciled the two.

    He responded by picking up some fossil creature off his desk and said words to the effect of “this fossil was created 5000 years ago as a 20 million year old fossil. If I wanted to know WHY the creator did that, I would have studied theology. But I wanted to know WHAT he created and how all he created fits together, so I instead studied geology. I see no need to reconcile the two”

    Then he showed me a single panel comic of two very pissed off hamsters. One says to the other “oh yeah? If there’s no god, who cleans the cage?”

    After I stopped laughing he made his point clearer. We cannot reconcile the two, so there is no point even trying. Science is science and religion is religion, there is no need to reconcile them and no value in trying….as this thread ably demonstrates.

  214. rgb@duke says:

    “Fine. Lemme go find some really big stones, then, because my neighbors violate the Sabbath all the time… &blah, blah, etc.”

    When I wrote my comment, I just knew you would respond with reams of strawman arguments, and that is exactly what you did. You are so predictable. I specifically cited the Ten Commandments. Comment on them if you want any credibility.

    I stated that being taught morality [right from wrong] is basically a good thing, both for the child and for society. I stand by that statement, and nothing you wrote deconstructs anything in it. Clearly you don’t agree; that is your problem.

    The alternative is to be raised without having morals instilled. That generally leads to a bad end, or at least to adult unhappiness and discontent.

    My recommendation: stick to physics.

  215. Bruckner8 says:
    January 7, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Sorry John, I never said *humans* require belief; I said atheism and theism require belief. Us humans on the agnostic side have neither belief, because, darnit, we just don’t know, lol. You’re convinced there’s no theism, yet you have no proof. If you have no proof, you’re left with belief.
    You KNOW there’s no theism…and yet you accuse me of using a priori knowledge. Good one!

    – – – – – – – –

    Bruckner8,

    Hey, thank you for maintaining engagement on the dialog contrasting science and religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism.

    If a person does not know something, then a person by reason can simply say so and do their best in that situation, then pursue getting more scientific knowledge. Belief / faith is a choice some make in that situation, but it is not a metaphysically / epistemological requirement that a person must make a belief or have faith.

    I think my below comment that I just sent to Christopher Monckton covers your comment.

    Monckton of Brenchley says:
    January 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

    The Professor also says atheism is not a religion. Well, in the sense that it is a system of belief that is not capable of Popper-falsification, that is exactly what it is.

    – – – – – – – – – –

    Christopher Monckton,

    Of course in the theological (theology being the field studying the profound belief in supernaturalism and superstition) terminology both theist and atheist endorsed belief/faith as an essential epistemology/metaphysically process. That is the way with the profound belief in the supernatural / superstition that religion is. Both terms are rigged to a dependence on belief/faith But, step outside that biased, or ”supernatural / superstitious’ paradigm.

    When you take that step, then I think rgbatduke is correct. When a one has naturally achieved, by one’s natural capacity of reason, a metaphysical/epistemological system that has determined that to live a life of reason then one by necessity must exclusively exercise one’s natural free volition to exclusively use man’s natural capacity for reason exclusively on the natural world then one does not even reject religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism . . . one then has achieved the capability to say religion’s supernaturalism and superstitionism is irrelevant to their metaphysical / epistemological system. Aristotle came reasonably close, but not completely. We stand on his mighty shoulders. : )

    I am very happy that in your last two posts you have stimulated an important dialog on a large stage that can philosophically compare science to religion’s supernaturalism/superstitioinism. I look forward to your next post that will again tee up this excellent philosophical contrast between science and religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism. Thank you.

    NOTE: Next step one can show that one’s ethics and morality as a reasoning being are a natural logical extension of one’s natural knowledge of oneself. One does not depend on the acceptance of religion’s supernaturalist / superstitionist based morals and ethics. Likewise for politics and aesthetics.

    John

    John

  216. Alan Millar says:
    January 7, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Not believing in a stated fact is a religion is it? When did that happen? Or does it only apply to certain categories of unbelievable facts?

    Are not believing in fairies and ghosts religions also? How about cold fusion?

    What about a member of the Christian religion who doesn’t believe in the gods of other religions? Are they now following numerous religions, one for each of the other gods he doesn’t believe in, as well as the religion of the god he does believe in?

    I am afraid this is a total logical fail.

    Alan
    How come you don’t believe? More correct would be: Why do you believe NOT fairies? An agnostic would say “I don’t know. I’ve never observed fairies. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist, and I have no current means to verify their existence.” (That’s for the peeps who say “Oh yea? Well you’ve never seen Moscow either, so how do you know it exists?”)

    This is my entire point on Atheism. The decision of “non-belief” is itself a belief (“I don’t believe.” takes reason, proof). I bet most Atheists are actually Agnostics, but they’ve hitched their wagon so thoroughly to Atheism that they can’t back out now.

    Does [any entity] [meet this condition]? Possible answers: Yes, No, I don’t know. Yes and No require proof. (We can talk about the fallacy of proving non-existence too…which will make my point even stronger, since a proof can’t be supplied, yet the “No” people still believe “No.”)

  217. Professor Brown,

    In truth I was merely stirring the pot. Asimov made the point decades ago, that what thermodynamics dictates as the end condition of the universe, Genesis accurately describes, although wrong end around as you say, as the beginning. I don’t take anything in the Bible literally except the excellent advice of Jesus.

    Keep Big Banging away, someone will get it right eventually. And just for further input, in what way quantitatively is the BB dfferent than, “And God said, let there be light. And there was light?”

  218. BargHumer:

    At January 7, 2013 at 11:31 am you ask me

    In the footsteps of Luther and Tyndale, don’t you think it is time to break the same religious tyranny that prevented people reading the Bible in their own language, and let the people today understand this science in their own language too.

    Yes, and within the severe constraints of my limited ability, I try to do that. For example, see my very recent answer above at January 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm in response to a question from MiCro.

    Language is not the problem. The problem is how to get information out to as many people as e.g. the BBC misinforms. I don’t know how to solve that.

    You say to me

    in the age of the NET it is almost certain that there are many ideas, some of which would be workable if only there was a way to capture them. That then is the first idea – if there is a desire to deal with this problem then some acknowledged climate sceptic blog host would need to host the question and process the results. It is probably an innovative step that has not been done before, and probably a co-operation between several blog hosts. Most climate sceptic blogs link to each other and reference each other’s stories.

    You may be right that the solution is on some sceptic blog(s). If so, then I don’t understand why it has not flowed between the sceptic blogs.

    I repeat, I don’t know of a solution. I would act on it if I did.

    Richard

  219. Centers for Disease Control says:
    January 6, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    John Whitman says:
    January 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Please explain the source of your omniscience claim that everyman profoundly believes in or has faith in the supernatural.

    Omniscience is not required, just simple logic.
    Does life exist? I only see the effects of it. If I could see you, I might find you breathing. Do love, peace, joy exist? One thousand other, invisible, “super-natural” things enjoyed by people all over the world and throughout the ages.
    Dismissal of the supernatural has not got to be a very satisfying way to live your life. Appreciation is a better place to start. Give it a try. The only thing you’ll give up is arrogance, a worthwhile sacrifice.

    – – – – – – – – –

    Centers for Disease Control,

    Thank you for your comment.

    I am not dismissing people who endorse religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism. It is what it is by their free volitional choices. I am discussing its fundamental aspects and comparing them to the fundamental aspects science.

    Also, I think I have fully addressed your comment in the following two comments I just posted. Let me know if I have not fully addressed your thoughts.

    John Whitman says on January 7, 2013 at 11:44 am to Christopher Monckton

    John Whitman says onJanuary 7, 2013 at 11:44 am to Bruckner8

    John

  220. Who do you think put all the chaos in the universe – vast impersonal forces or something?
    It’s got to be Goddess!
    Hail Eris!

    [A blonde? Mod]

  221. Dear Christopher,

    Late to the party (as always), I commend you for your stylish prose in this article, which towards the end becomes almost Churchillian.

    Some would prefer to see a version with the religious references removed. In my view, that would be a futile exercise, for the result would not be Monckton. To the doubters. I say; if you think you can do it better, do it yourself.

    I do, however, have two issues. One specific to the article, and one more general to this thread and the previous one on Christmas Day.

    My specific issue is with this phrase: “the aim of science to supplant true religion as the world’s new, dismal, cheerless credo”. With all due respect, Christopher, the problem we all face is more like “the aim of pseudo-science to supplant true science and so to force us all into a dismal, cheerless world.”

    Personally, I do not see any conflict between science and religion. I prefer not to follow a religion; but that’s because I’m an individual, and I’ll do it my own way, dammit! Science does not prove the existence or non-existence of a god. (At least, if it has, I’m unaware of it.) And religion does not stop anyone appreciating science, or using its methods to advance human knowledge.

    The more general issue I have is in regard to tolerance (or lack of it) on this thread. With 231 comments and counting, the letters “toler” appear only once. So, may I offer, to all here, Neil’s First Law of Religion: “If you let me have my religion (or lack of it), I’ll let you have yours.” There is a distinct lack of religious tolerance in some of the comments here. It would be better if WUWTers asked themselves who their friends really are.

    Indeed, why should we deny even the green warnistas their religion? Let them give up computers, heating, mechanized transport and all the other good things energy brings us. Let them grow their own organic veggies, and starve when they fail. I have no problem with letting them behave according to their religion. Where I have a problem with greenies is them wanting to force me into following their religion. To paraphrase:

    If you want to hug a tree,
    Hug that tree. Just don’t bug me.

    Indeed, I would have exactly the same problem if the adherents of any other religion tried to force me into it. Christianity included.

    Last, a small apology. I myself was intolerant towards you, Christopher, on the earlier thread, all but ordering you to apologize to rgbatduke. My annoyance was not at your religious position, but at your shortening his moniker to “ratduke,” which I might call an argumentum ad verminem. In any case, as became subsequently clear, RGB is perfectly capable of defending himself.

    Once again, thank you for the article. Thank you also for inspiring me to make, in contrast to my usual fare of limericks and other jocular brevities, a serious comment in the WUWT forum. And thanks to Anthony and mods for making the forum possible.

    Cheers,
    Neil

  222. Bruckner8 says:
    January 7, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    “How come you don’t believe? More correct would be: Why do you believe NOT fairies? An agnostic would say “I don’t know. I’ve never observed fairies. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist, and I have no current means to verify their existence.” (That’s for the peeps who say “Oh yea? Well you’ve never seen Moscow either, so how do you know it exists?”)

    This is my entire point on Atheism. The decision of “non-belief” is itself a belief (“I don’t believe.” takes reason, proof). I bet most Atheists are actually Agnostics, but they’ve hitched their wagon so thoroughly to Atheism that they can’t back out now.

    Does [any entity] [meet this condition]? Possible answers: Yes, No, I don’t know. Yes and No require proof. (We can talk about the fallacy of proving non-existence too…which will make my point even stronger, since a proof can’t be supplied, yet the “No” people still believe “No.”)”

    Ahh the usual attempt to tie up simple issues and questions in metaphysical bs.

    You might be an alien who has come to Earth and hijacked the body, memories and personality of the person you were for all I know. I know of no test or procedure that could disprove this

    But if you told me this as a fact I wouldn’t believe you because this wouldn’t be a 50/50 issue to me. I wouldn’t believe you based on all the knowledge and experiences I have acquired to date and all my reactions and behaviours to you would be based on this belief.

    Presumably if I told you the same thing about myself, you would declare yourself agnostic about the matter and adjust your behaviour to me based on the possibility of my being an alien.

    I think the term ‘more fool you then’ might be appropriate.

    Alan

  223. Volker Doormann says:
    January 7, 2013 at 11:17 am

    John Whitman says:
    January 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Christopher Monckton, In an earlier comment to you on this thread I addressed almost total agreement on the secular part of your post. Your secular focused discourse was eloquent. The religious (supernatural) focused part of your post lacks internally consistent logic and it misidentifies the metaphysical/epistemological status of supernaturalism. However, your most self-refuting aspect of your religious statement is that it is merely irrelevant to professional and objective scientific pursuit and achievement, per se.

    Sorry, but that is not a valid argument, because you have not given any (scientific) reason for your statement. If one speaks on logic he knows that logic cannot be more than the prepositions say. If one speaks about absolute truth, what is the reference for it? From where do know that something is absolutely true (or false)? Can you give a proof what is supernatural? Can you show truth?
    Basic logic tells that there is one nature; two natures cannot exist because they must contradict each other. Things cannot be true and false at the same time und not natural and supernatural at the same time. It is a fallacy.
    Science is science because of the acknowledgement to that what is to be recognised as true.
    V.

    – – – – – – – –

    Volker Doormann,

    Thank you for your comment.

    I agree substantially with the fundamentals of your comment.

    Yes, I now think that term ‘secular’ was a poor word choice. Also, by religion’s focus on supernatural / superstitious beings or realms, I am not endorsing their view that they exist. If my statement implies that I maintain there are two worlds, let me say now that I did not mean to endorse two worlds; I am not a Platonist nor Kantian nor Hegelian who did maintain a dual reality metaphysics and epistemology. By my statements I was contrasting the natural world focused on by science to what is the focus/target of religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism.

    I have expanded my thoughts farther in two recent posts. Maybe they will address any other points in your comment.

    John Whitman says on January 7, 2013 at 11:44 am to Christopher Monckton

    John Whitman says on January 7, 2013 at 11:44 am to Bruckner8

    John

  224. @RACookPE1978:

    There’s another small problem… The isotopes et. al. from junk in space indicate that the supernova from which the Earth was formed is the same age as the known age of the earth / planets… That means that there was exactly zero “travel time” between SuperNova and condensation…

    O.Manuel has postulated that Sol was the S.N. and that the current sun theories are wrong. That it has a core (of either iron or neutrons, I’ve forgotten which) and it is decay of the neutrons that provides the power.

    Near as I can tell, his theory has a better fit to the facts than the S.N.s “out there” and stuff traveled to get here.

    Only other alternative I can see would be the S.N. event was “very near here” and we haven’t found what was the left over core. As there are no neutron stars “here”, that’s a bit of a problem. (We have a lot of brown dwarfs).

    Essentially, all the “stuff” that is us had to either have zero travel time from a S.N. remnant hidden ‘near’ here, or the “thing” that blew up has to be far away because it moved. Yet by definition, an exploding S.N. has relatively symmetrical inward pressure on the remnant core. (We don’t see neutron stars shooting out of S.N. dregs…) So how does “our stuff” get blown outward at ever expanding radius, yet all collect in one spot to condense? And how does it do that in zero time? While leaving no S.N. core behind?

    So something doesn’t add up. (Could be I’ve got some part wrong. Could be the standard models are wrong. Could be isotopic dating of space rubble is wrong. Could be…)

  225. OK, I’ve waded through all the rest of the comments.

    I have to second the notion that a lot of folks have confounded “atheist” with “agnostic”. An “A”-Theist is making the ‘positive assertion that there is not and can not be a God’. That takes a belief and some evidence. An “A”-Gnostic is simply saying “I do not know” (which is functionally indistinguishable from “I see no evidence”). The folks asserting that “atheism” naturally arises from the lack of a belief in a God are simply mixing up their definitions. “Lack of belief” is “I do not know”. While “There is no God” is not the lack of belief, but the assertion of a strong negation of the belief.

    Just change the terms to “hot” and “cold”. It is hot. There is no hot. I don’t know how hot it is. The first says there is hot. The second says there is a lack of heat, which is cold. The last one says “I have no statement of belief about the hotness and it could be cold, or warm, or whatever.”

    So all your arguments about your lack of belief in, and lack of evidence for, a God are just fine. Except they make you an Agnostic, not an Atheist. Once you state “There is not a god”, your argument from “I do not believe” must change to “I assert, so here is my evidence” and you are trying to prove a negative…. Good luck with that… I’d also point out this all gets even messier when you add “probability strengths” to assertions and evidence. ( I tend to keep all things ‘weighted’ and not absolutes, so tend to say “It is unlikely there is a God” or “It is more likely that there is a god than a God”. (The “space aliens misunderstood” variation. ;-)

    At any rate, other than observing the poor use of proper definitions, I’m not interested in ‘engaging’ on the “does so” vs “does not”… shall we call it ‘debate’…

    As at various points in my life I’ve been a ‘born again Baptist’, a strong Atheist, and a simpering Agnostic; I’m comfortable with all sides of the argument… So I’m more “like the French”… I don’t care what you believe as long as you say it properly ;-)

    Sidebar on “Lord”:

    FWIW, I think the attacks on his Lordships Lord status falls into the same bucket. The “Is Not” group looks at active participation in the House of Lords and says “is not”, while the “Is” side looks at hereditary title and says “Has it, so ‘is’ it.” They shall never agree for they argue from different premises. My Grandfather had a smithy and worked iron for other farmers with an anvil and forge. He was a Smith. My Dad taught me how to work iron. Does that mean I am, or am not, a Smith? (Well, I’m a bit of a pyromaniac who likes banging on metal with a hammer, and I’ve made several metal pieces that way including a screwdriver and nails and specialized wrenches and tempered a knife blade… but not for hire. Yet my name is, by heredity, Smith, as is my history and … )

    So until you get your basic words in alignment, you will have orthogonal conclusions. Both may well be ‘correct’, but about different things…

    On climate, this same problem shows up when we have “The GLOBE is warming” vs “This subset of stations warms and these others do not.”. AGW depends on defining warming via a particular manipulation of the temperature records (TOBS, SHAP, “correction” for the MMTS conversion, homogenizing; in total about the same as the “Global Warming” and if removed, the ‘warming’ exits…) while inspection of long lived individual stations says “not warming”. Depending on what definition is accepted, a different answer.

    (Since temperature is an intensive property and can not be ‘averaged’ and have any meaning, I’m in the ‘long lived stations’ camp as they take no averaging… one can just look at min and max trends over time. http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/intrinsic-extrinsic-intensive-extensive/ )

    I also note that the point about ‘tropopause’ I made above falls into this same point. Defining it as a ‘pause’ when it has Cat 2 Hurricane Winds leads to the error of thinking only radiative transfer matters. But nobody wants to look at that when they can piss on each other over God vs Atheism… http://chiefio.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/wind-speed-alt-1090.gif

    Oh Well…

  226. E.M.Smith says:
    January 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm
    @RACookPE1978:

    There’s another small problem… The isotopes et. al. from junk in space indicate that the supernova from which the Earth was formed is the same age as the known age of the earth / planets… That means that there was exactly zero “travel time” between SuperNova and condensation…

    The radiation field in the vicinity of a supernova is so intense and energetic that nearby matter – whether from the SN or elsewhere, might be subject to any number of nuclear reactions and alterations to isotope ratio. Thus a SN could artificially imprint on all matter in the vicinity an apparent similar age in regard to certain nuclides. (Please – o please!! dont attract here our “friend from Barcelona” – Fawlty Towers analogy).

  227. I think Lord Monckton must have been bored. When I saw religion injected into his other wise excellent post I just cringed. I just knew this thread would then be headed for the dustbin and I was not proven wrong. The good Lord Monckton must be laughing.

  228. Michael Palmer says:
    January 6, 2013 at 11:51 am
    All in all a nice essay, but it seems confused about the subject of “formal logic”. Modern formal logic, as developed by Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, and others, does not contain a classification of fallacies or concern itself with questions of consensus, authority, and ignorance.
    ========================================================================
    It would seem to me that Lord M is using classical formal logic; hence the terminology. Is that not so? Where does he state that he is using “Modern formal logic”?

    Inquiring minds, and all that…

  229. Keep Big Banging away, someone will get it right eventually. And just for further input, in what way quantitatively is the BB dfferent than, “And God said, let there be light. And there was light?”

    Keep reading. What are the next couple of lines again?

    Or, we could be picky and note that it took a wee bit of time for the electroweak intereaction to split into electric and weak, and then it took a long time (known as The Great Dark) for the universe to ignite the first star. For much of that time the Universe was literally opaque — photons had a short optical path and atoms had not yet formed.

    One can always find some correspondence between poetry and reality, and I actually appreciate the poetry. But that doesn’t mean that we should take a poetic correspondence as evidence that th.e authors had secret knowledge, especially when the next line gives that the lie, separating night from day before there is even a single star, and making the planet before the sun, and making lights in the firmament — that would be the solid bowl of the sky arching over a flat solid Earth floating on an ocean — on day four.

    So poetry yes. Not the best poetry, as creation myths go its not too bad. As a description of what really happened, not so much.

    rgb

  230. So all your arguments about your lack of belief in, and lack of evidence for, a God are just fine. Except they make you an Agnostic, not an Atheist.

    Or: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=6487

    There are many shades of atheism all of which leave you without a belief in god, which is what the term really means. Agnostic atheism is one. Negative atheism is another, closely related. You are essentially claiming that all atheists are necessarily positive atheists (if you care) which is simply not true. Pushed to the wall, I rather think that most atheists are negative atheists (effectively agnostic atheists); as you might say, most of us recognize that lack of evidence is not the same as evidence of lack. However, I’m sure there are exceptions, and I can hardly speak for others or authoritatively as far as statistics are concerned. The list of (overlapping) types is fun, though.

    rgb

  231. rgbatduke says:
    January 7, 2013 at 11:33 am
    Wrong. The Ten Commandments and other Western moral imperatives are entirely good for society. The decline of the West can be attributed in very large part to the decline in morality, and to situational ethics — the moral equivalent of Post Normal Science.

    Fine. Lemme go find some really big stones, then, because my neighbors violate the Sabbath all the time — well, at least one of the days that might or might not be “the Sabbath” as there is some disagreement as to what the right day is. So I might have to kill ‘em on more than one day.

    My kids are such toast, too. Time to bludgeon them to death with rocks.

    Maybe I’ll just enslave my neighbors, come to think about it. Then I can beat them almost to death and stay within the Bible’s very generous rules there. And believe me, I could go on. Marriage by rape, anyone? Suppression of any pretence of religious freedom? This is “entirely good”?

    As for the myth of the “decline of the West” — do we live on the same planet? Let’s see, the world has never in recorded history been: …

    The world is an unpredictable place where strange things often happen. This insight lies behind Karl Poppers rule to build up knowledge deductively – from direct observation, not inductively, on serial asssumptions, which are dangerously prone to turning out wrong.

    Lets take religion – its all very well to jowl-flap indignantly at all the naughty sex and violence in the bible (not to mention the koran), in a fit of atheistic puritanism if you like. You can build inductively from that the idea – as many do – that nasty Jew-deo-Christian religions are the source of all the worlds violence and injustice. But where does such inductiveness lead us? One would then assume that if truly atheistic states did emerge, they would become a utopia of gentleness, peace and justice and the defence of rights of women and men. But what happened when two large and powerful atheistic states did emerge at around the same time in the early part of the last century – Nazi Germany and Stalin’s USSR? Not exactly an outbreak of peace and love.

    You cannot by inference trouser the cultural strengths of western Europe and North America as belonging to secularism since they were established – going back to the enlightemnent and renaissance – in a firmly Christian context. Sometimes it is better to evaluate something not by logically deconstructing it but by looking at its direct results. It was from the Christian world (building from some Jewish and Islamic foundations), not the Pantheistic Hindus or Buddists or animists or Mayans etc, from which the unique western civilisation arose. It was really made atheistic primarily by the psycological shock of the two world wars – we have in a sense inherited this from Hitler and Stalin. Das ist dran, tovarisch!

    I agree with D Böehm that bringing up children with sound moral principles from religion is not a bad thing if not done violently. Those that reject religion find themselves having to reinvent it in some form to establish a sense of bad and good.

  232. For there is a very powerful theoretical reason why the modellers’ guess that feedbacks triple direct warming is erroneous. The closed-loop feedback gain implicit in the IPCC’s climate-sensitivity interval 3.3[2.0, 4.5] Cº per CO2 doubling falls on the interval 0.62[0.42, 0.74]. However, process engineers building electronic circuits, who invented feedback mathematics, tell us any loop gain much above zero is far too near the singularity – at a loop gain of 1 – in the feedback-amplification function.

    At high gain, the geological record would show violent oscillations between extremes of warming and cooling. Yet for 64 million years the Earth’s surface temperature has fluctuated by only 3%, or 8 Cº, either side of the long- run mean. These fluctuations can give us an ice-planet at one moment and a hothouse Earth the next, but they are altogether inconsistent with a loop gain anywhere near as close to the singularity as modellers’ estimates imply.

    Despite this thread having been hijacked by a religious argument by several – including myself – LC Monckton’s article does contain some very important scientific points. Foremost among these is the above quote concerning feedbacks. I have in a number of previous posts tried to say essentially the same thing in a different way. If (as is very probable) the earth climate system is characterised by nonlinear / nonequilibrium dissipative pattern dynamics, then strong positive feedbacks have a very predictable and testable outcome – they impose monotonic and high amplitude oscillation, wiping out complex emergent pattern. LC Monckton applies the very pertinent example of electronic feedback. Other classic examples of the same phenomenon include the platinum-catalysed oxidation of CO under the influence of different gas pressures.

    The admission of nonlinear climate dynamics transforms the whole issue of feedbacks.

  233. rgbatduke:

    Please desist.

    In addition to disrupting the thread, you are embarrassing your self with your ill-informed and illogical rants about religion. They each contain errors (so many errors it would require a book to refute them all). For example, this in your recent post at January 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm.

    So poetry yes. Not the best poetry, as creation myths go its not too bad. As a description of what really happened, not so much.

    Clearly, you are not aware that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 each provides a different creation myth: one is from the Northern tribes and the other is from the Southern tribes. One of the two stories provides the creation myth of a hunter-gatherer people and the other of an agricultural people. Later, during exile in Babylon, the sect called the Scribes created the Torah by collating and writing the cultures of the peoples. The Scribes decided to include both of these creation myths because the two stories express different cultural truths. But neither myth is or was intended to be read as a physics text book because the myths differ on basic facts; e.g. one says there was rain from the beginning of the World and the other says there was no rain until generations later.

    Stick to your physics text books because you understand them. And stop embarrassing yourself by displaying your ignorance of other matters as a method to destroy this thread.

    Richard

  234. No Mr. Monckton, I don’t need to read up on St. Francis, an overhyped example of a Christian supposedly kind to animals. He was a close friend of St. Dominic, the insane sadist who created the Papal Inquisition, and who tortured countless innocent humans in the name of God and countless innocent animals just for fun. Domingo was infamous among his peers for plucking birds alive at the dinner table. The Inquisition routinely burned animals alive as alleged witch familiars. Again, you have used illogic to defend logic.

    You might want to investigate older conceptions of God put forth by other religions, starting with Hinduism, which Christianity plagiarized and garbeled (turning Chrishna into Christ), then, perhaps, Bon and Taoism, and then, perhaps, Zoroastrianism–which Judaism and Christianity both plagiarized. All of these religions had far loftier notions of God than the spiteful savage portrayed in the Old and New Testaments. But, none of this has anything to with the logical falsehoods of AGW.

  235. lol! Moebius vs Ouroboros!
    gazing at one’s navel from the inside is just weird. gazing at each other’s the same way – you could get money for that in tijuana!
    take a break and get some air?

  236. E.M.Smith says:
    January 7, 2013 at 2:33 pm
    OK, I’ve waded through all the rest of the comments.
    snip – – – – – –

    I am sooo glad I read to the end, else I’d likely said the same thing in twice as many words, and not half so well!

    I would add that rgb’s nattering about N-1 vs N is pointless. “A-theism” is about active disbelief in any god, not all but one. It would be as ridiculous to say the converse, that being a “Theist”, I must therefore believe in all gods! rgb’s Science Fu is orders of magnitude greater than his Theology Fu, his antecedants not withstanding. And in the end, I suspect he’s perfectly content with that.

  237. John West says:
    January 6, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Wouldn’t it be funny if someone discovered the ancient word for God is what we call Gravity.

    “Ya Weigh”

    As in, “Ya Weigh” two hundred pounds, i.e., there is a force acting on you proportional to your mass…

    Now can somebody equate the ancient Hebrew term for “breath of life” with “Higgs Boson?”

    On topic: One interesting thing about teaching logical fallicies is to get the students to know when to stop. A simple definition of a fallacy can sometimes be used to identify an argument as fallacious even if it is not. From the origiinal post,

    Believers say: “Only if we include a strong warming effect from CO2 can we explain the past 60 years’ warming. We know of no other reason.” This is the argumentum ad ignorantiam, the fundamental fallacy of argument from ignorance.

    Now one explanation of the appeal to ignorance, from the encyclopedic http://www.fallacyfiles.org is:
    “An appeal to ignorance is an argument for or against a proposition on the basis of a lack of evidence against or for it. If there is positive evidence for the conclusion, then of course we have other reasons for accepting it, but a lack of evidence by itself is no evidence.”

    In the quoted statement, the Believers say that there is no alternate explanation for recent warming, and so CO2 must be the culprit. Any valid alternate explanation would constitute evidence against the CO2 theory, so this takes the form of appeal to (or argument from) ignorance.

    But statements like that have to be taken in context. What other knowledge might be available?
    Applied too rigorously, the Appeal to Ignorance would entirely refute the Process of Elimination. If I own three shirts, a blue one, a white one, and a red one, and I know that I have one clean one left in my closet, then, if I observe the blue and white shirts lying dirty in my laundry basket, then I know that the red shirt is clean. It would be foolish for anyone to accuse me of an appeal to ignorance simply because I failed to find evidence of the red shirt being dirty. This is a simple example of further knowledge coming into play, there is more discussion of three ways that this fallacy may be avoided at http://www.fallacyfiles.org/ignorant.html in the section labeled “Exposure.” (It may be valid to presume that a claim is false until proven true, as with criminal charges. We may have knowledge beyond the claim itself, or we might legitimately know that if something happened, we would have heard about it, and so not hearing about it actually can lead to a conclusion.)

    What do the Believers in the above quote actually know? Well, it depends. Such statements often come from concerned lay people who don’t have much scientific training. But they’re not really giving their own logic anyway, so it doesn’t matter whether or not they know enough to reason this way. When scientists make such statements, the statements may or may not be fallacious depending on what else the scientist knows, and on how strongly worded the conclusions are. In general, climate scientitsts have a good idea of what factors could possibly lead to warming; it is a matter of ongoing debate whether they have convincingly excluded factors such as solar variation, orbitial precession, volcanos, etc. There is also the question of whether there is, or plausibly could be, some influence completly unknown to the scientists, that they discounted. Both of these play into the distinction between Appeal to Ignorance and legitimate reasoning. Finally, how strongly worded was the conclusion? Is the conclusion “definite,” “irrefutable,” or the like? Or is it “strongly supported,” “very unlikely to be wrong,” etc. The latter leave open at least the possibility of surprise, and since this is always present, no matter how remote, these are the statements we are more likely to hear from scientists.

    Testing a number of hypotheses and choosing the only one that fits the data is a perfectly valid scientific procedure. So is methodically ruling out other potential hypotheses. Jumping unjustifiably to a conclusion that no other hypotheses are possible, is fallacious.

  238. Bruckner8 says: January 7, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    “….An agnostic would say “I don’t know. I’ve never observed fairies. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist, and I have no current means to verify their existence.” (That’s for the peeps who say “Oh yea? Well you’ve never seen Moscow either, so how do you know it exists?”)

    This is my entire point on Atheism. The decision of “non-belief” is itself a belief (“I don’t believe.” takes reason, proof). I bet most Atheists are actually Agnostics…..”

    E.M.Smith says: January 7, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I have to second the notion that a lot of folks have confounded “atheist” with “agnostic”. An “A”-Theist is making the ‘positive assertion that there is not and can not be a God’.

    That takes a belief and some evidence.

    An “A”-Gnostic is simply saying “I do not know” (which is functionally indistinguishable from “I see no evidence”). The folks asserting that “atheism” naturally arises from the lack of a belief in a God are simply mixing up their definitions. “Lack of belief” is “I do not know”. While “There is no God” is not the lack of belief, but the assertion of a strong negation of the belief.

    Surely, given all that we do know to this point in time, the fact that we have no physical mechanism or even theory for the makeup, structure, form, purpose, or origin of a god, is in itself a sufficient ‘negative proof’.

    Surely, given that we know that over millennia people have created in their own minds many similar “god like” constructs to explain the inexplicable, there IS some explanation for how these illusions eventuate.

    Stating that ‘most atheists are really agnostics’ because they have not found “proof” of the absence of a god smacks of logical and scientific pedantry.

  239. It’s a bad idea for intelligent people to discuss religion and politics, but it’s funny. religion and politics exist for a reason, the theological concepts of how and why every person should care for each other is always overshadowed by philosophical conceptual arguments for why we should be ruthless to each other in a so-called “dog eat dog world”. It’s what ruined Starwars.

    Christopher Monckton is unique, I like him, but I have to constantly ask my self if I’m a bad judge of character, If I judge someone on their political or religious views? If I do, then am I a bad judge of character? If a person has lived an honest and productive life for themselves and has had a positive influence on people around them, is that positive lesson a concept that should be acknowledged and then argued about for all time as a struggle between good and evil?. that ruined Starwars too.

    There is a third option, hear me out!!! If I’m a good judge of character and there is no diversity from one character to the next, they all have the same political opinions and religious views, wouldn’t that make me a bad judge of character, scientifically speaking?

  240. Our friend Lord Monckton of Brenchley
    Has battled for science intensely.
    His logic and yarns
    cause foes to drop arms,
    and run from the field rather Frenchly.

  241. richardscourtney says:
    January 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm
    also:
    RGBatDuke
    Jazzy T

    Michael Moon says:
    January 7, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Professor Brown,

    In truth I was merely stirring the pot. Asimov made the point decades ago, that what thermodynamics dictates as the end condition of the universe, Genesis accurately describes, although wrong end around as you say, as the beginning. I don’t take anything in the Bible literally except the excellent advice of Jesus.

    Keep Big Banging away, someone will get it right eventually. And just for further input, in what way quantitatively is the BB dfferent than, “And God said, let there be light. And there was light?”

    I would challenge you there. Actually both of you. Though with tongue not-to-firmly in cheek. 8<)

    See, we're told that First, everything was created. No form, no substance, no light, no shapes, no dimensions. Before creation/big bang there was nothing.

    RGB: No word written here on where God was/is/will be before creation, and I don’t know. (Cue Star Trek: “By God Jim, I’m an engineer, not a philosopher!”) Anyway, first everything was created, then there was a mighty wind over a dark emptiness. (Good. Big Bang Theory/Modern Science finally got around to saying the same thing.)

    THEN – after the “create everything from nothing but with no form in the dark abyss with a mighty wind” part got done – only THEN was there light.
    (Good. Big Bang Theory/Today’s Science finally got around to saying the same thing. See, particle physics has shown light (photons) will condense out from energy as the universe cools before anything else does.)

    Then (after the “let there be light” part that somehow people think comes first) only THEN did we get the light separated from the darkness …
    (Good. Big Bang Theory/Today’s Science finally got around to saying the same thing. See, to separate the light from the darkness, you have to have matter to create the shadows. And, particle physics again shows us that matter condenses out of the energy from the Big Bang after the light is formed.)

    Then (after the “let there be matter” part that somehow people keep forgetting) only THEN did we get a dome (big circular domed-shaped overhead vault in terms of the then-modern architecture used in some translations) to separate the waters above (the dome) from the waters below (the dome) …
    (Good. Big Bang Theory/Today’s Science finally got around to saying the same thing. See if you allow that “waters” are fluid and act like a plasma, like a dust cloud, and like interstellar gases, then obviously the writer is describing the solar system (rest of the universe) “above” or outside the atmosphere – the visible dome over the writer’s head every day.)

    The “waters below the dome”? Hey, that’s a pretty good description of the dust and gas and air and “water” water that gathered below the atmosphere into the world we now know. Now, it apparently gathered by gravity (the Y’all Weigh” of a previous writer) and not by a Intelligent Designer, but ….

    OK, so now we have a world and atmosphere. All the water (now here, obviously we don’t need the “technical excuse” of a gas-plasma-dust cloud – this “water” is wet water that everybody recognizes today) got gathered into one basin, and all the land got gathered into one continent.
    (Good. Big Bang Theory/Today’s Science finally got around to saying the same thing. Odd that the original storytellers would contradict themselves so firmly and blatantly here, since EVERYBODY at that time KNEW that there were many seas and oceans running around many different lands. But, these writers knew better, and wrote about what actually turns out to be a good description of plate tectonics and continental drift from a single continent even though they “could see” it wasn’t “true”.)

    Plants were designed (er, created by random mutations of 10^28 individual chemicals that would not work if they were put together in any other sequence every time) next.
    (Yeppers. Got one of those fossils on my desk right now. And the world’s first ecological crisis as these early plants transformed the cloudy atmosphere into today’s visibly clear oxygen and nitrogen mix. (With a little Argon.) Good thing science finally caught up with the reference book.)

    Well, just after the atmosphere cleared up, the sun, stars and moon were revealed in the sky. (Remember now, you can’t be picky about this event by claiming that this sequence shows that the moon or sun was “created too late” – everything that was suddenly now visible was already created long before they became visible in the sky for navigation and calenders and generally “keeping order” The plants had to come first ….. And, it is well to remember that astronomy – any science at all for that matter – can hardly occur in a cloudy opaque fatal atmosphere like Venus, Jupiter or Saturn.)

    Life began in the water, then the birds (dinosaurs actually) came on land.
    (Good. Big Bang Theory/Today’s Science finally got around to saying the same thing. It’s about time science caught up with realty.)

    Little bit after the dinosaurs, mammals came on the scene, then the snakes. (Yes, snakes as we know them today are a fairly recent group of species. No mention of insects though – They are sort of “mushed” into the amphibians and other critters that started in the sea.)

    People came last.

    Now, if the original writers were more northern or central European in background, I imagine they’d throw in the occasional troll (Neanderthal) or dragon (dinosaur skull and fossil bones) into the story. But, they didn’t.

  242. When I look up Wattswiththat I expect to see some reasoned science logic and philosophy in regards to the climate debate. Whilst I accept that the latter can (and should) stray into questions of religion on occassions, I cannot believe that this thread has been allowed to degrade into such a sorry state.
    If I wanted to get into questions of religion, I would go elsewhere.
    Folks this makes us a laughing stock – please stop!
    There is hardly any chance of converting someone to your personal belief system through such a blog and it just makes us look foolish.

  243. Goldie says: (January 7, 2013 at 9:19 pm)…………

    I second that. It’s been too heavy for someone who is non-Christian, non-Muslim, ….

  244. Goldie says: January 7, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    “…. I expect to see some reasoned science logic and philosophy in regards to the climate debate. … ……Whilst I accept that the latter can (and should) stray into questions of religion on occasion, I cannot believe that this thread has been allowed to degrade into such a sorry state.
    If I wanted to get into questions of religion, I would go elsewhere. Folks this makes us a laughing stock – please stop!…..”

    Ah, c’mon… I disagree … this range of ideas and exposure to the characters within makes the place interesting.

    Far more so than, say, Skeptical Science, which prefers to stick strictly to the science (albeit only if it matches their view of it) and strictly edits any off topic discussion (unless it is by one of their acolytes) and will allow no personal criticisms or adhoms whatsoever (unless delivered against an “unbeliever”, and more acceptably delivered by one of the moderators).

    There is plenty of science in here, and this would be a far less interesting site if it followed those types of guidelines.

  245. While I enjoyed this essay I must correct one statement by Lord Monckton: Chesterton does not seem to have uttered what can generally be regarded as the most famous statement attributed to him. I and other Chestertonians have searched in vain for the statement, and it seems it has been constructed by some biographer and morphed into various statements later. The main point is a play with the words ‘something’, ‘anything’, and ‘nothing': “When men cease to believe in something they will not then believe in nothing – they will believe in anything.”
    The meaning is thus not connected with Christianity per se, but with the necessity of belief.

  246. Goldie:

    Matters are worse than you assert in your post at January 7, 2013 at 9:19 pm which says

    When I look up Wattswiththat I expect to see some reasoned science logic and philosophy in regards to the climate debate. Whilst I accept that the latter can (and should) stray into questions of religion on occassions, I cannot believe that this thread has been allowed to degrade into such a sorry state.
    If I wanted to get into questions of religion, I would go elsewhere.
    Folks this makes us a laughing stock – please stop!
    There is hardly any chance of converting someone to your personal belief system through such a blog and it just makes us look foolish.

    People are often loved into a belief but there is no evidence that anybody has ever been argued into a belief. Indeed, arguments about faith tend to solidify people in their existing views because an argument inclines them to justify their own words instead of considering the value of an ‘opponent’s’ words.

    Hence, arguments about faith are narcissistic nonsense when conducted in a forum such as this. The arguments do not cause anybody to gain constructive doubt in their existing beliefs but, instead, solidify those beliefs.

    As you say, this is obvious to onlookers who perceive the zealots who insist on such arguments as being fools.

    However, such stupid behaviour is an effective method to destroy a thread, and this is the second thread where atheists (or people purporting to be atheists) have used it to obtain such destruction.

    This is why I warned against it in my post at January 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm and when that warning was ignored at January 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm I objected to it. Subsequently, because the idiocy continued, at January 7, 2013 at 4:03 am and January 7, 2013 at 9:38 am I commended

    WUWT has a policy of restricting discussion of Creationism. In my opinion, the recent destruction of the two threads indicates that WUWT also needs a policy of restricting discussion of atheism.

    I again repeat that commendation.

    Richard

  247. John Whitman says:
    January 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm
    ‘I think religion is not natural based on a rational assessment thus I have logically identified it as mere supernaturalism and superstition.’
    ‘Please explain the source of your omniscience claim that everyman profoundly believes in or has faith in the supernatural.
    I am sincerely interested in the source of your views.’

    John Whitman.

    You can have personal thoughts and personal conclusions, but this is not relevant for the discussion on logic and truth, simple because your thoughts are your own possession and nobody else.

    A philosophical discussion is free from personal claims, because logic and/or truth are not to be owned by a person or a group of persons or a king.

    I have asked you what supernaturalism is, but you haven’t shown, that supernaturalism has an existence, and as you agreed with that there is only one nature or only one naturalism (order), you have agreed that a supernaturalism cannot exist beside nature.

    ‘Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any physical process linking the two events that contradicts natural science.’

    In the above logic superstition cannot exist, because nothing can contradict nature, because there is only one nature and nothing else.

    Logic can be taken as a tool to make conclusions from premises, but logic is not able give proof for an identity like a physical force. Rational thinking depends on an input like a premise, and cannot give any absolute truth about nature.

    The consequence of this flaw on perfection is that any personal claim which is not to be shown as observable in nature has no existence.

    Regarding your question this means that any idea that has no existence in this way is a juxtaposition of personal thoughts out of the memory of a conditioned mind, and because you have spoken your personal claim, for that you cannot give any proof, the source of the point of lacks in logic which people used to call faith is your personal mind.

    Coming to a conclusion in this thread, there are these points. Beginning with the point to acknowledge that nothing can be true and false at the same time it means that that what is to be recognised as true (or false) is not to determined by nobody and not by ‘science’. The next point is, because it is possible to recognise structures, physical laws, logic structures, the order of particles in physics, there must be a reference on that it is possible to recognise the order of nature and the truth of arguments. The last point is an essential point. Nobody is able to differentiate between what is true and what is false, without the reference as a fundamental part of nature or the order of nature. And if this is true, then it means that nobody can argue that he is able to make use of the method of science without the reference that told him what is to recognise as true resp. false. Philosophy is the basic science and means the love to the Sophia, the truth. There may be thoughts in the social community with lacks on the basic science, but I think this is a general problem of people of lacks of perfection, to be found in arguments from climate panics as well as from end of the world panics.To ‘love the Sophia’ philosophia is not the same as to reject philosophy as presumed faults in logic out of a conditioned mind, but the latter is the social spirit of this time.

    V.

  248. richardscourtney says:January 8, 2013 at 2:16 am

    “…. WUWT also needs a policy of restricting discussion of atheism. I again repeat that commendation…Richard..”

    Forgive me if I am wrong (yet again)…
    But does it not take two points of view to have a discussion? So, why target only one of those?

    ….. or do we simply assume here that it is the “wrong” point of view?

  249. Do scientists also believe in supernaturalism? In fact, they do, at least once. The point they are forced to believe it is at and just before the big bang, first there was not only no nature, but no possibility of nature (not even empty space), and then there was, the before point being by definition supernatural. There is the further problem that the universe as we know it, with it’s natural laws, appears to be (statistically) impossible from a big bang. When they found the background radiation which was exactly as predicted, thus proving said big bang, they said “we are stuck with this preposterous universe”. Scientists then try to get around the problem that it appears so impossible that it would have to be planned by inventing an infinite number of universes outside this one, by definition supernatural, and do so without any evidence and no chance of getting any, by definition blind faith. I thus present as evidence of scientists believing in the supernatural our current crop of scientists and the set of evidence that is the entire universe and everything in it.

    As for supernatural happening since then, there is only one way to tell if they are possible or not, and that is if they happened or not, based on the evidence they happened, witnesses, physical evidence, that sort of thing. The current way use to tell if supernatural things have happened since the big bang (by definition supernatural) goes as below:
    The first two prepositions are the always unstated ones’
    (We know there is no God.)
    (Therefore we know that miracles cannot happen.)
    Since miracles cannot happen, we know they did not happen.
    Since they did not happen, we know there is no God.
    This argument assumes, without proof, a priori, that there is no God. It is a nonsense argument without that prior assumption, and an argument from blind faith with it. The only way to tell if miracles or any supernatural event happened is if they did, from the evidence. Kinda like science, and say, just saying it was the hottest November ever, and looking at the actual temperature record and seeing that the same agency that said so has actual evidence that it is not. The ‘there is no God because the supernatural is impossible” argument above is the argument being made on these posts. Since we know that at least one supernatural event, the big bang, has definitely happened (look around you, see anything, proof), then this does not look like a very good argument. You might then say “well, there have been none since then”, but have you actually checked out the evidence for same, rather than assuming that it is impossible on blind faith?

    Conclusion, from the evidence of at least one definite supernatural event, the big bang, and the possibility of others since then, we can say “There May Be A God”.

    As such, it is perfectly OK for Monckton of Brenchley to bring it up in his article, he may, after all, be right.

  250. markx:

    Your entire post at January 8, 2013 at 3:56 am says

    richardscourtney says:January 8, 2013 at 2:16 am

    “…. WUWT also needs a policy of restricting discussion of atheism. I again repeat that commendation…Richard..”

    Forgive me if I am wrong (yet again)…
    But does it not take two points of view to have a discussion? So, why target only one of those?

    ….. or do we simply assume here that it is the “wrong” point of view?

    Don’t be ridiculous!
    My entire statement said

    WUWT has a policy of restricting discussion of Creationism. In my opinion, the recent destruction of the two threads indicates that WUWT also needs a policy of restricting discussion of atheism.

    Discussion of creationism is restricted because creationists take any opportunity to promote their belief to the destruction of any thread where they are given an opportunity to evangelise.

    As this and the other destroyed thread demonstrate, discussion of atheism needs to be restricted for the same reason.

    I could not have been more clear about the matter and your pretense that my recommendation was for any other reason is as egregious as the rest of your behaviour on this thread.

    Richard

  251. richardscourtney says: January 8, 2013 at 7:01 am

    ” …..Creationism. …[and] …..restricting discussion of atheism…
    …….I could not have been more clear about the matter and your pretense that my recommendation was for any other reason is as egregious as the rest of your behaviour on this thread….Richard…”

    Well, you could perhaps have been clearer Richard.

    If you meant “restrict discussion on aspects of religious belief or disbelief”, perhaps you could have said so.

    I foolishly assumed that when you said “… on creationism and atheism” that you meant “…on creationism and atheism…”.

    Though I concede that perhaps I missed the unstated point that if one has a belief in a god, it must follow that the said god is necessarily ‘the creator’… ie a discussion on creationism …(ie, that sure slipped past the mods then…!) .

    Apologies for being egregious, and thanks for the useful word (yeah, had to look it up!) (and it is rather more flexible than I imagined).

    e·gre·gious /iˈgrējəs/ Adjective

    1. Outstandingly bad; shocking.
    2. Remarkably good.

    or
    1. archaic : distinguished
    2. conspicuous; especially : conspicuously bad

    and“…behaviour…” My stating a viewpoint, and a state of belief, differs from your similar behavior how, exactly?

  252. richardscourtney:

    markx:

    I concluded my post addressed to you at January 8, 2013 at 7:01 am saying

    I could not have been more clear about the matter and your pretense that my recommendation was for any other reason is as egregious as the rest of your behaviour on this thread.

    You have replied with your post at January 8, 2013 at 8:11 am.

    Quad Erat Demonstrandum.

    Richard

  253. richardscourtney says:
    January 8, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Dear Richard,

    You call this a “destroyed thread.” It is not; it is (even after so many days!) an important discussion.

    These discussions are very necessary, if those of us who oppose the perversion of science into political correctness, but have differing views in other areas, are to learn to work together.

    And that the discussions are public, is a huge boon. We won’t need to repeat them next time!

    But I have a big problem when you say, “Discussion of atheism needs to be restricted.” I read that as, “I want to restrict discussion of atheism”. Or, put another way, “I want to muzzle den**rs.”

    Richard, in this forum, it is Anthony who says what discussions may or may not be restricted, not you. Here, Anthony is god! And the moderators are his angels.

    I would remind you that this is a US website. And Americans have, at least for a little while longer, something called the First Amendment. And it begins thusly:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,…”

    Richard, I give you this quote from your comment on the Christmas thread at December 29, 2012 at 10:50 am, talking about rgbatduke: “And, as do most atheists, he fails to recognise that his religion is as faith-based as any other: agnosticism rejects faith but belief that no deity exists (i.e.atheism) is a religious faith of identical kind to belief in the existence of one or more deities (i.e. theism).”

    So, atheism is an establishment of religion, no? You deny the First Amendment, no?

    Neil

  254. Clearly, you are not aware that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 each provides a different creation myth: one is from the Northern tribes and the other is from the Southern tribes. One of the two stories

    Richard, I’ve written and published an entire novel (The Book of Lilith) based on the midrash developed to explain the discrepancy. You have no idea how carefully I’ve studied the Bible, the Epic of Gilgamash, The Hulupu Tree, and early Sumerian and Mesopotamian myths, so please do not make assumptions. You are relatively enlightened and recognize these as myths. I agree. On the other hand, just about half the surveyed population of the United States does not think that the Book of Genesis is a myth. Neither did Jesus (if the NT reports correctly).

    If you do not think that this is a problem in the realm of social and political discourse (in addition to being a national disgrace) — well, we disagree.

    Dearest phlogiston (great handle, BTW:-),

    FWIW, my own sons went to a Catholic school for at least half of their K-12 education. One of my son’s favorite teachers in the Catholic school was a Quaker. I have little beef for the most part with idealized Christian morals, in part because in many (but not quite all, and there are many more) branches of Christianity they have been purged and sanitized of most of the crap. So no, Christians no longer carry out pogroms against the Jews, conduct apocalyptic crusades against the Muslims — well, I’m not so sure about that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Zionism — the Pope apologized about the whole Galileo thing (but not for Bruno), and some branches of Christianity have even embraced evolution. Since Thomas Jefferson invented the “right” to religious freedom (including freedom from religion) and managed to get it firmly entrenched in the Bill of Rights and by extension and adoption much of the world’s political basis we no longer hold trials for blasphemy, stone people for breaking the Sabbath (although North Carolina still has “Blue Laws” on its books in a clear violation of the Constitution). Homosexuality is still heavily persecuted (by vote if not by the occasional fist and club) by some branches of Christianity (and by Islam — this isn’t all about just Christianity). Women are still often suppressed by the Christian churches — notably Mormonism and the Catholic Church.

    There isn’t one Christian church, of course, so it is difficult to point this out without appearing to make a no true scotsman sort of argument, which is not my intention. Rather it is to point out that if one picks, often quite literally church by church, paster/priest by paster/priest even within a denomination one can often find very reasonable Christians and ministers/pastors/priests/bishops etc., who, like Richard and I would guess you as well, recognize at least some of the Bible as being a myth, or even a collection of myths. The same is true for Jewish people, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, various flavors of spiritualist, syncretics such as Voudou, and if any yet survive Paganists or whoever. In every case — quite possibly every individual case — there is a line, however, where the scriptural texts are e no longer treated as myth. It can be a very open line — Quakers take only God literally and treat everything else as open to individual interpretation (and have my greatest respect — they are even happy to include Quaker Atheists or Quaker Buddhists — even Jesus and God are in some sense optional to them). It can be narrowly prescribed by a convocation of old men who set the boundaries of heresy. It can be completely inclusive, embracing a literal interpretation of nearly all of the mythology. Precisely the same range holds for the moral teachings and beliefs, which range from literal belief in the ten commandments (which I would argue is absurd).

    To go through them in order:

    1) No other gods before me.

    I suppose atheism qualifies, as I certain worship no other gods. But this law quite literally prohibits critical thinking as far as the Bible is concerned. If one waited until children were adults before exposing them to arguments for adopting one or another faith, that would be fine because compliance would be voluntary, but teaching children this as part of their moral package is wrong in so many ways.

    2) No graven images (and by the way, if you break the commandments I’m punishing your great-grand children, not just you).

    You have got to be kidding me. Not that I don’t agree, worshipping statues is dumb. Of course nearly every Christian church in the world contains graven images of Jesus galore, not to mention Mary and a pantheon of saints, and the Bible itself is often the thing that is really being worshipped as a “graven” image of the Logos if you will. But again, is this a moral issue? Simply teaching a child that a statue is an inanimate object without any sentience seems like it would suffice.

    3) Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.

    For God’s sake, I can’t, as there is no Lord, and if there were I have no idea what Its name would be. But this is again hardly a moral issue, and besides is nearly universally abused in our culture as part of the language itself. My mother used to slap me if I said damn it or God as a cuss word. Muslims beat you and kill you if you wear a tee shirt with a picture of Mohammed on it. This is the same thing! There is nothing immoral about using the name of a deity real or imagined any way you like. It may violate the rule of the religion, in which case the God if that religion is welcome to take any action It wishes in response, but that hardly is a moral issue and cannot possibly apply to unbelievers, including ones who are so moral that they qualify is saints.

    4) Keep the Sabbath.

    Not a moral rule, a religious rule. Should Hindu children be taught to keep the Sabbath? Which one?

    5) Honor your parents.

    Sure. One doesn’t need the Bible for this, and there are exceptions where one should not honor them (such as when one of them is sexually abusing you) but overall a fine idea. A nearly universal one as well, not just the OT.

    6-10) Don’t murder, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness (or more generally, lie), or covet that which belongs to your neighbor.

    I’m down with all of this. Again, hardly unique to this culture or text. They are not religious statements. The OT specifies horrendous punishments, of course, for those who violate them, and the rule about “coveting” things is presented as a religious rule instead of a broader mental discipline (in Buddhism, one is warned against attachment to even one’s own possessions) but still, generally pretty good stuff and children should absolutely be taught about it. Adultery and coveting are rules that I think could use a fair bit of moderation from OT rigor, given that the one is violated so very often anyway and the other describes a mental state, but in general I think adultery is a bad idea and wish more people (including Christians!) would live up to it.

    This enormously complicates any discussion of the religion, because there isn’t one. Christianity’s name is Legion, at this point.

    A last anecdote. My five year old son had started his mandatory religion class at his Catholic school. We had a long drive over to Raleigh together to visit my sister, and we started talking about life and love and all that. He turned to me — at age five, mind you — and asked “Daddy, if God is Love, why do bad things happen?”

    I had no answer for him. I don’t think there is one. Do you?

    (But a damn good question from a five year old, eh?:-)

    rgb

  255. Legatus says:
    January 8, 2013 at 6:25 am
    Do scientists also believe in supernaturalism? In fact, they do, at least once.

    Wait. There are two points topic here. The first point is the dignity of the thread opener, which is untouchable as the dignity of all men. The other point is the logic of science.

    The point they are forced to believe it is at and just before the big bang, first there was not only no nature, but no possibility of nature (not even empty space), and then there was, the before point being by definition supernatural.

    Each scientist is an individual person, and nobody is able to judge on all scientists of the world. You can speak on statements of individual scientists and you can give counter arguments to their individual statements.

    The nature of the universe is in a discussion by physicians and philosophers. Physicians are working with time and causality but also with the recognition of the law of conservation of energy, which is a law of physics. It states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time. This statement is also valid, if one states that energy exist timeless, because time is not an observable in physics. A discrete time is, as well a discrete space, philosophical nonsense; because logic tells space cannot have and end and cannot have no end. Energy can neither destroyed nor created out of nothing. Energy is.

    Mathematicians cannot describe the physics of the universe for a time of zero, but that does not mean that there is no timeless energy; it is a problem which comes to the physicians back, because they have taken the social terms ‘time’ or ‘space’ into physics.

    One may say that the terms of time or space used in physics is not physics, but that does not mean that physicians or scientists believe in supernaturalism. Structures or elements of no matter like a circle or a square plane or a defined sequence of numbers and their ratios are parts of nature as music listeners know. The nature of a chord includes not a known physical force. There are scientists who do argue with logic on that one nature.

    The lack of the description of a timeless nature but therefore to show nature by logic does not mean that scientists believe in supernaturalism. It is a straw man. ‘The straw man fallacy is when you misrepresent someone else’s position so that it can be attacked more easily, knock down that misrepresented position, and then conclude that the original position has been demolished. It’s a fallacy because it fails to deal with the actual arguments that have been made.’

    The wrong directed claim that there was ‘not only no nature, but no possibility of nature (not even empty space)’ is senseless, because it is senseless to argue on nothing (s. Parmenides).

    V.

  256. Volker Doormann,
    I don’t know where you are from or if you are a native English speaker or not.

    In the US a physician is a medical doctor. The term you are looking for is physicists.

  257. Moncton of Brenchley’s essay offends against logic in several respects in its introduction:

    ”LOGIC is the heartbeat of all true learning – the soul of the Classics, the Sciences and Religion.”

    1. it starts with two vague metaphors “the heartbeat of all true learning”, and “the soul of the Classics…”, which provide no footholds for logic at all,

    2. it lumps together three equally vague concepts “Classics, Sciences, and Religion”, and associates them with “LOGIC”, further muddying the waters

    3. and it makes the inherently unclear concept of learning even more mysterious by suggesting there is a type of “learning” other than “true” (which presumably is powered by some other “heartbeat” than LOGIC).

    Excuse me for not reading further. But to my presumably ilLOGICal and soulless mind, this is typically jesuitical verbiage, which is guaranteed to be entirely devoid of any scientific content.

    I don’t know about “true learning”, but in my view, the essential elements of scientific perspective owe absolutely nothing to either religion or “the Classics”, and consist of:

    1. meticulous observation

    2. comprehensive documentation, and only finally

    3. scrupulously logical analysis

    The chief role of religion and “the Classics” in this process has always been to throw a spanner into the works by restricting observation, suppressing documentation and logic analysis, and when the foregoing methods fail to suffice to maintain the established order of “knowledge”, to persecute the scientist economically and/or physically.

    Aristotle and Isaac Newton ridiculed the possibility of comets, and the great majority of Amercian academics boycotted the Macmillan’s textbooks in order to suppress Immanuel Velikovsky’s exquisitely reasoned and meticulously documented theory that Earth had been subjected to catastrophic near collisions with Venus and Mars between 1500 and 700 BC.

    All perfect examples of illogical thinking, in which “loyalty” to the accepted view of the world caused towering intellects, such a Aristotle, Newton, and Einstein, to betray science by suppressing (or in Einstein’s case, failing to champion) dissonant observations (ie. matching astronomical records from unrelated societies all over the world documenting repeated changes in the length of the year, the day,and the lunar month).

  258. MattS says:
    January 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm
    Volker Doormann, I don’t know where you are from or if you are a native English speaker or not.
    In the US a physician is a medical doctor. The term you are looking for is physicists.

    Thank you MattS. In Germany a physicist is ‘der Physiker’. Sorry for confusion.

    V.

  259. To me the greatest ancient theologian was Pythagoras . ( My favorite 20th century one , Vonnegut . ) He actually abstracted one of the most profound relationships of existence : squares sum . His cult also was unique in disproving one of their founding beliefs : that all numbers can be expressed as ratios .

    Although they did throw the discoverer overboard at sea as his reward for the discovery.

    Heresy is never welcome.

    rgb

  260. Volker Doormann says:
    Legatus says:
    Do scientists also believe in supernaturalism? In fact, they do, at least once.
    Wait. There are two points topic here. The first point is the dignity of the thread opener, which is untouchable as the dignity of all men. The other point is the logic of science.

    I was not talking about any “dignity” of any kind, either pro or con, merely the logic of science and it’s conclusions, and whether those conclusions can allow something we call “supernatural”. Some men do indeed have no dignity, we discuss their indignity often on this site. Lord Mockton of Brenchley has too much dignity, he should learn to share. People like Peter Gleick have lost all dignity (I am not sure if Michael Mann ever had any), Peter is proof positive that dignity can indeed be “touched”, he did, and destroyed any he might once have had.
    The point they are forced to believe it is at and just before the big bang, first there was not only no nature, but no possibility of nature (not even empty space), and then there was, the before point being by definition supernatural.
    Each scientist is an individual person, and nobody is able to judge on all scientists of the world. You can speak on statements of individual scientists and you can give counter arguments to their individual statements.

    There is no need to discuss the individual beliefs of individual scientists on this matter, since all the scientists who study the big bang and the time just around it are in agreement about this one thing. There was a time when the physical laws of this universe as we know them simply did not exist. There was no empty space, since empty space as we know it includes the laws of this universe which govern anything which is or is not in that space or moves through that space. The time of the big bang is a time when there simply were no physical laws to govern empty space or anything else, those came later. Thus, we have a time outside of the natural laws we know of, this time is by definition supernatural.

    Also, you are wrong about time, time is a physical property of this universe, as physical, in it’s way as gravity (which effects it) and matter and energy. This is not just believed, but proven fact. They sent up a satellite with a very accurate clock, to test the theory that an object moving faster than another relative object (the earth in this case) would experience a slowdown of time. The clock on the satellite whizzing around the earth had a measured slowdown compared to an identical clock on earth, thus showing that time is NOT merely a social convention, but a physical property of this universe.

    You are also wrong about “empty space”, in fact, scientists now know that there are degrees of emptiness. What you know of as “empty space” has the natural laws we know of operating in it, thus, if you could get there, everything would operate as it does here. However, at the time just of, and before, the big bang, there was no empty space with natural laws operating in it, because there were no natural laws. These laws came into existence in the period of time after the big bang, some of them well after. And empty space, as you know it, is not really empty, here is a quote about it:
    The physical interpretation of the cosmological constant as vacuum energy density is supported by the existence of the “zero point” energy predicted by quantum mechanics. In quantum mechanics, particle and antiparticle pairs are consistently being created out of the vacuum. Even though these particles exist for only a short amount of time before annihilating each other they do give the vacuum a non-zero potential energy. This concept of the vacuum energy has been experimentally confirmed through the Casimir effect, where two uncharged conducting plates attract each other due to quantum fluctuations. In general relativity, all forms of energy should gravitate, including the energy of the vacuum, hence the cosmological constant.

  261. rgbatduke says:
    January 8, 2013 at 11:27 am

    …A last anecdote. My five year old son had started his mandatory religion class at his Catholic school. We had a long drive over to Raleigh together to visit my sister, and we started talking about life and love and all that. He turned to me — at age five, mind you — and asked “Daddy, if God is Love, why do bad things happen?”

    I had no answer for him. I don’t think there is one. Do you?

    (But a damn good question from a five year old, eh?:-)

    rgb

    Had he been aware of the resource, he might have answered his own question, via the following (the Catechism of the Catholic Church) although it might be above a 5-year old’s level; well, at least me at 5, I wouldn’t presume to speak for your son:

    Providence and the scandal of evil

    309 If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin, and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments, and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil. (164, 385, 2850)

    310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better.174 But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” toward its ultimate perfection. In God’s plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.175 (412, 1042-1050, 342)

    311 Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil.176 He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it: (396, 1849)

    For almighty God… , because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.177

    312 In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: “It was not you,” said Joseph to his brothers, “who sent me here, but God…. You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive.”178 From the greatest moral evil ever committed—the rejection and murder of God’s only Son, caused by the sins of all men—God, by his grace that “abounded all the more,”179 brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good. (598-600, 1994)

    313 “We know that in everything God works for good for those who love him.”180 The constant witness of the saints confirms this truth: (227)

    St. Catherine of Siena said to “those who are scandalized and rebel against what happens to them”: “Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind.”181

    St. Thomas More, shortly before his martyrdom, consoled his daughter: “Nothing can come but that that God wills. And I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad in sight, it shall indeed be the best.”182

    Dame Julian of Norwich: “Here I was taught by the grace of God that I should steadfastly keep me in the faith… and that at the same time I should take my stand on and earnestly believe in what our Lord shewed in this time—that ‘all manner [of] thing shall be well.’”183

    314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God “face to face,”184 will we fully know the ways by which—even through the dramas of evil and sin—God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest185 for which he created heaven and earth. (1040, 2550)
    ——————————————————————————–

    Nothing exists in a vacuum of course. If the catechism is to make any sense, you have to accept the dogmas or axioms of the faith, which I gather is your fundamental objection. But hey, you can’t prove two parallel lines in Euclidian space never meet, either (unless something has changed drasticly from sophmore Geometry).

  262. In his opening salvo, rgbatduke advised Monckton of Brenchley with these words:
    — If you did as I tell you ought to have done, you would “avoid irritating readers that are not, in fact, Christian. Not simply atheists such as myself, but it is at least conceivable that they might be read by Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews.”

    Surely, when it comes to irritating readers (not simply agnostics* such as myself), rgbatduke should be awarded a prize, if only for endurance — certainly not for his glaring inability to read ancient texts. For example, if in his childish exegesis of the Ten Commandments he had noted that their author identified himself as one who had led his people out of slavery, he might have understood that the first table (1-5 in his list) is as morally relevant as the second is. Or are questions of condoning slavery versus accepting the responsibility of being free no longer morally relevant?

    [* Simply in the hope of avoiding another self-righteous but irrelevant reply: agnosticism (not-knowing) does not rule out belief and it does not rule out disbelief. There are believing agnostics and non-believing agnostics. One can be agnostic about the foundations of mathematics and still believe that it is an empirical generalisation of playing with pebbles; one can be agnostic about Jesus Christ and still believe in Jesus Christ. However, it is vastly more difficult to be agnostic about God. Do not take my word for it. Bertrand Russell, of Principia Mathematica fame, who was mentioned in the comments above, tells us: "I had gone out to buy a tin of tobacco; on my way back, I suddenly threw it up in the air, and exclaimed as I caught it: 'Great Scott, the ontological argument is sound." (Russell, "My mental development" in Schlipp, The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell, 1944, p.10). Isn't it interesting that so many of the philosophers who accepted the ontological argument of Saint Anselm (1033-1109) about God's necessary being were first class logicians and mathematicians: Descartes, Leibniz, Russell, Gödel, while its detractors (from Thomas Aquinas to Hume to Kant) were without any mathematical distinction whatsoever? Since "empirical scientists" cannot do much of interest without mathematics, they might perhaps start wondering if mathematical truths (which are not empirically observable) are more real than their own "Its just an hypothesis" beliefs.]

  263. richardscourtney says:
    January 8, 2013 at 2:16 am

    [ . . . ]

    People are often loved into a belief but there is no evidence that anybody has ever been argued into a belief. Indeed, arguments about faith tend to solidify people in their existing views because an argument inclines them to justify their own words instead of considering the value of an ‘opponent’s’ words.
    Hence, arguments about faith are narcissistic nonsense when conducted in a forum such as this. The arguments do not cause anybody to gain constructive doubt in their existing beliefs but, instead, solidify those beliefs.
    As you say, this is obvious to onlookers who perceive the zealots who insist on such arguments as being fools.
    However, such stupid behaviour is an effective method to destroy a thread, and this is the second thread where atheists (or people purporting to be atheists) have used it to obtain such destruction.
    This is why I warned against it in my post at January 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm and when that warning was ignored at January 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm I objected to it.

    [ . . . ]

    Richard

    – – – – – – – – – –

    richardscourtney,

    Your argument should be with Christopher Monckton. If you do not like the discussion contrasting religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism to science then you need to stop him from posting with juxtapositions of science and religion. Alternatively, if you do not convince Monckton, your course of action can be with Anthony. If you do not like the discussion contrasting science and religion, then you need to ask Anthony to stop posting Christopher Moncktion’s juxtaposition of science and religion.

    Personally, with his current post, I think Christopher Monckton wants the discussion to take place contrasting science and religion. Thanks to him a lively valuable dialog contrasting science and religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism happened . . . Viva!

    When science is discussed then all aspects of science is and should be discussed, including contrasting it to what isn’t science.

    Likewise, when religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism is discussed then all aspects of religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism is and should be discussed, including contrast it to what isn’t religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism. Atheism is often discussed by theologists within theology. Your position opposing discussion of atheism related to all religious matters appears to contain a degree of religious intolerance.

    John

  264. Volker Doormann says:
    January 8, 2013 at 3:47 am

    John Whitman says:
    January 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    ‘I think religion is not natural based on a rational assessment thus I have logically identified it as mere supernaturalism and superstition.’

    ‘Please explain the source of your omniscience claim that everyman profoundly believes in or has faith in the supernatural.

    I am sincerely interested in the source of your views.’

    John Whitman.

    You can have personal thoughts and personal conclusions, but this is not relevant for the discussion on logic and truth, simple because your thoughts are your own possession and nobody else.

    A philosophical discussion is free from personal claims, because logic and/or truth are not to be owned by a person or a group of persons or a king.

    I have asked you what supernaturalism is, but you haven’t shown, that supernaturalism has an existence, and as you agreed with that there is only one nature or only one naturalism (order), you have agreed that a supernaturalism cannot exist beside nature.

    ‘Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any physical process linking the two events that contradicts natural science.’

    In the above logic superstition cannot exist, because nothing can contradict nature, because there is only one nature and nothing else.

    Logic can be taken as a tool to make conclusions from premises, but logic is not able give proof for an identity like a physical force. Rational thinking depends on an input like a premise, and cannot give any absolute truth about nature.

    The consequence of this flaw on perfection is that any personal claim which is not to be shown as observable in nature has no existence.

    Regarding your question this means that any idea that has no existence in this way is a juxtaposition of personal thoughts out of the memory of a conditioned mind, and because you have spoken your personal claim, for that you cannot give any proof, the source of the point of lacks in logic which people used to call faith is your personal mind.

    Coming to a conclusion in this thread, there are these points. Beginning with the point to acknowledge that nothing can be true and false at the same time it means that that what is to be recognised as true (or false) is not to determined by nobody and not by ‘science’. The next point is, because it is possible to recognise structures, physical laws, logic structures, the order of particles in physics, there must be a reference on that it is possible to recognise the order of nature and the truth of arguments. The last point is an essential point. Nobody is able to differentiate between what is true and what is false, without the reference as a fundamental part of nature or the order of nature. And if this is true, then it means that nobody can argue that he is able to make use of the method of science without the reference that told him what is to recognise as true resp. false. Philosophy is the basic science and means the love to the Sophia, the truth. There may be thoughts in the social community with lacks on the basic science, but I think this is a general problem of people of lacks of perfection, to be found in arguments from climate panics as well as from end of the world panics.To ‘love the Sophia’ philosophia is not the same as to reject philosophy as presumed faults in logic out of a conditioned mind, but the latter is the social spirit of this time.

    V.

    – – – – – – – –

    Volker Doormann,

    It is pleasant that you have extended our dialog.

    A good case for what supernatural is can be when someone claims there is existence and authority above man’s natural existence and above his natural experiences with the natural world. Also, supernatural is when someone claims that there is a supreme being that causes and controls nature. See generic religious concepts across the world and millennia.

    WRT to your statement about personal => Was Aristotle’s metaphysics and epistemology his personal finding? Was Kant’s? Was any primary philosopher’s ? My personal finding in an epistemological and metaphysical system is equivalent to their finding. Of course all are personal in a very fundamental sense. What is the alternative? Collective, social, committee, consensus? No. It was personally their achievement of a metaphysical and epistemological system. It was personal even when they confirm some aspects of other philosophers.

    If you, in your final two paragraphs, are trying to make a distinction that what knowledge is achieved by reason and scientific process in a personal mind is not valid, then I profoundly disagree with you. There is no world of knowledge outside of or beyond the sum total of individual personal knowledge. There is no supernatural knowledge that exists independent of what individual personal thinking has produced.

    John

  265. D.J. Hawkins says: January 8, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    “….With infinite power God could always create something better.174 But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” toward its ultimate perfection. In God’s plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others…”

    Surely, what we have here is not an explanation, but a vaguely logical hypothesis, plausible perhaps, only to those who have faith in the existence of their god …..?

  266. Monckton of Brenchley says (January 7, 2013 at 10:02 am): “Mr. House, as usual, has nothing but a scatter-gun full of whining spite to offer. He wails that in a previous posting I had said there had been no global warming for 16 years, and now, less than a month later, it has gone up to 18 years. Well, Werner Brozek did the math and concluded that the HadCRUt3 dataset, relied upon by the IPCC in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, shows no global warming for 19 years. The newer HadCRUt4 database makes it 18 years, so I chose the more cautious figure. However, on the RSS satellite dataset, the global warming of the past 23 years is statistically indistinguishable from zero.”
    ==============================================================

    “Whining spite… he wails…”… Christopher, I am afraid you have completely missed the point. OK, maybe my comment was not clear enough, let me try it again.

    If you (on December 25, 2012) write “16 years” and in less than 2 weeks (on January 6, 2013) you change it to “18 years” just like that, without any explanation why exactly you changed your story, you undermine your credibility.

    Now it is 23 years. Has it been known only since yesterday? I do not think so. If it has been known for a long time, why did you not say 23 instead of 16 then in your previous article? Or, if this 23 is unreliable, why would you refer to this number now? It does not make sense, Chistopher, I am sorry.

  267. Greg House;
    If you (on December 25, 2012) write “16 years” and in less than 2 weeks (on January 6, 2013) you change it to “18 years” just like that, without any explanation why exactly you changed your story, you undermine your credibility
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I’d explain it, but expect no more success with stats than with physics in your case. Go find out what statistically significant actually means. Then contemplate the effect of adding new data to one end of a series (you know, like one more year or one more month like just happened last month/year?). Or contemplate your navel. Come back when you understand.

  268. Mind you, properly constrained, I believe religion can serve some useful purpose in society:

    An interesting approach: “Religion for Athiests” by Alan de Botton,

    “Even if religion isn’t true, can’t we enjoy the best bits?”

    http://www.alaindebotton.com/

  269. A good case for what supernatural is can be when someone claims there is existence and authority above man’s natural existence and above his natural experiences with the natural world. Also, supernatural is when someone claims that there is a supreme being that causes and controls nature.

    Supernatural is, by definition, that which ain’t natural, that which breaks natural laws, super natural. Example, walking on water ain’t natural, the laws of nature do not allow it to be done. Saying that because the laws of nature do not allow it, and thus saying that it never happened (even if multiple witnesses said it did) is deciding, without proof, that there is nothing outside of nature that could cause it to happen. If there is something, say, God, outside this universe, and able to interact with it at will, then there is, and nothing you believe or disbelieve will change that. It is like thinking that, if you disbelieve in me, I will suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke. Conversely, if there is nothing outside this universe, no God, then there is not, and nothing anyone believes will change that either. “What is, is, and what ain’t, ain’t, that’s logic”. Thus if you say “the supernatural is impossible”, you are making a statement based on blind faith, not a rational one, and especially not a scientific one, since science does not depend on belief, but on evidence. Unless you can figure out a way to peek outside this universe and report back on whether there is or is not anything or anyone out there, you cannot scientifically say that God does not exist. In fact, there is only one known way to do this, but it isn’t recommended http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtYz_Q3PWrs .

    As for “causes and controls nature”, the usual belief (based on blind faith) expressed by atheists is that this can only mean that a God causes everything to happen without any detectable physical process. The idea of this is that they can then say that since we can indeed detect a physical process, then God does not exist. This is known as the logical fallacy “Excluded Middle (False Dichotomy, Faulty Dilemma, Bifurcation): assuming there are only two alternatives when in fact there are more. For example, assuming Atheism is the only alternative to Fundamentalism, or being a traitor is the only alternative to being a loud patriot.” There is, after all, another option, that a God created a universe with natural laws, say by the physical process of the big bang, and makes sure that those laws are followed, yet reserves the option to step in personally and break those laws when it is considered desirable to do so, which is rare.

    And as I have pointed out, what we see so far is that two things are true, the big bang and the universe we know happened, and the big bang cannot have produced this universe unless something really weird, say, the intervention of an intelligent outside force, causes it to happen in such an unlikely (to put it mildly) way. See this article entitled Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/hep-th/pdf/0208/0208013v3.pdf . A quote “As emphasized by Penrose many years ago, cosmology can only make sense if the world started in a state of exceptionally low entropy. The low entropy starting point is the ultimate reason that the universe has an arrow of time, without which the second law would not make sense. However, there is no universally accepted explanation of how the universe got into such a special state…Present cosmological evidence points to an inflationary beginning and an accelerated de Sitter end…This implies an initial holographic entropy of about 1010, which is extremely small by comparison with today’s visible entropy. Some unknown agent initially started the inflation high up on its potential, and the rest is history.” Note “some unknown agency”, the problem being that a low state of entropy mean a high state of order and information, which can really only be created by an intelligence (you can’t make that huge amount of order from random chaos). There have been attempts to say that this universe was created by being sort of birthed from another universe in another dimension (we have no evidence that there are any, thus this is blind faith), the problem being that that universe would have to have an even lower entropy, thus we have gone from one impossible universe to two, and we have doubled the problem. Making even more universes, say an infinite number (as Stephan Hawkings has done, without any evidence to back him up) makes the problem infinitely worse, you now have impossible multiplied by infinity. We can thus see that scientists, once again, are forced to admit the possibility, even the necessity, of the supernatural, “some unknown agent” that caused what is impossible by the natural laws we know to happen anyway.

    Conclusion, there is no way to say the supernatural, or God, does not exist, there is at least some evidence that suggests that it does exist, thus it is perfectly allowable for Mockton of Brenchley to mention God if he wishes. And if you make the two statements “I believe in science” followed by “I do not believe in the supernatural”, you need to eliminate that first sentence, since science demands evidence, and that second statement is a statement backed only by blind faith, and is not scientific.

    And it is perfectly allowable for Mockton of Brenchley to mention the supernatural in relation to climate change, since if it’s believers can continue to believe in it when, for 18 years, the CO2 has increased, yet the temperature has stayed the same, then they do indeed believe in the supernatural, something that is not possible based on natural laws, something super (outside of) natural (laws).

  270. davidmhoffer says (January 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm): “I’d explain it, but expect no more success with stats than with physics in your case.”
    =====================================================

    Well, I am very sceptical about your “explanations”, sorry. As for the warmists’ “stats”, I read the Hansen&Lebedeff1987, it was so unbelievable, what they had done with the “stats”. Not better than the warmists’ “physics”.

    I am afraid you did not get my point about years either. First “16 years”, then “18 years” and finally “23 years” within 2 weeks? Sorry, but there is something wrong there.

  271. Monckton of Brenchley says (January 7, 2013 at 10:02 am): “Mr. House, as usual, has nothing but a scatter-gun full of whining spite to offer. He wails that in a previous posting I had said there had been no global warming for 16 years, and now, less than a month later, it has gone up to 18 years. Well, Werner Brozek did the math and concluded that the HadCRUt3 dataset, relied upon by the IPCC in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, shows no global warming for 19 years. The newer HadCRUt4 database makes it 18 years, so I chose the more cautious figure. However, on the RSS satellite dataset, the global warming of the past 23 years is statistically indistinguishable from zero.”
    ==============================================================
    If you (on December 25, 2012) write “16 years” and in less than 2 weeks (on January 6, 2013) you change it to “18 years” just like that, without any explanation why exactly you changed your story, you undermine your credibility.

    Mockton of Brenchley discoverd new, updated facts, as reported by the HadCRUt4 database, he therefor updated the posts he made after he discovered that. If he discovers newer, more accurate, updated facts, do you now say that he should always continue to only use the older, less accurate data instead? For how long, forever? Or perhaps, you insist that he jump in his time machine, go back in time, and change his older posts? Or perhaps you insist that he be all wise and all knowing (unlike everyone else) and always get everything exactly right the first time, without ever needing to consult with anyone else ever, or look at any data or databases? Is that how you do it?

    “When the facts change, I change my mind, what do you do sir?”

  272. Legatus says: January 8, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Makes some interesting points.

    “…If there is something, say, God, outside this universe, and able to interact with it at will, then there is, and nothing you believe or disbelieve will change that. It is like thinking that, if you disbelieve in me, I will suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke….”

    But, if I had never seen any evidence that you existed, except for the urgings of a third party in priestly robes, I would not know whether or not you had disappeared, would I?

    “…There is, after all, another option, that a God created a universe with natural laws, say by the physical process of the big bang, and makes sure that those laws are followed, yet reserves the option to step in personally and break those laws when it is considered desirable to do so, which is rare….”

    If that is indeed an option, there may well be many other possible options and explanations that we have not even envisaged.

    “…what we see so far is that two things are true, the big bang and the universe we know happened, [....] The low entropy starting point is the ultimate reason that the universe has an arrow of time, without which the second law would not make sense. However, there is no universally accepted explanation of how the universe got into such a special state…Present cosmological evidence points to an inflationary beginning and an accelerated de Sitter end…[....]..There have been attempts to say that this universe was created by being sort of birthed from another universe in another dimension (we have no evidence that there are any, thus this is blind faith), ….”

    Here you raise an important point. To me, the “Big Bang” is also no explanation at all, as I cannot (with my simple mind) envisage a “time before time”, or even (distance wise) “something, or nothing, beyond the point of infinity”. I envy those who can.

    So although, with our current state of understanding and knowledge, we can find “evidence” of an event that matches our current theory, I don’t see that we have really “explained” anything.

    So, although there is some physical evidence attached to this particular belief/theory, it does (to me) verge on the realms of “god having done it”.

    However, that also does not to me provide any evidence at all that some ‘sentient being’ sat down and did it for fun one week.

    (As was once said, if the earth and mankind was made by someone, it looks more like a 3rd year undergrad project than the creation of an all powerful, all knowing god!)

  273. Legatus says:
    January 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm
    Volker Doormann says:
    Legatus says:
    Do scientists also believe in supernaturalism? In fact, they do, at least once.

    Wait. There are two points topic here. The first point is the dignity of the thread opener, which is untouchable as the dignity of all men. The other point is the logic of science.

    I was not talking about any “dignity” of any kind, either pro or con, merely the logic of science and it’s conclusions, and whether those conclusions can allow something we call “supernatural”. Some men do indeed have no dignity, we discuss their indignity often on this site. …

    I think it is senseless to discuss the basics of philosophy with you, if you deny dignity to any soul.

    Thank you for your lines.

    V.

  274. Nothing exists in a vacuum of course. If the catechism is to make any sense, you have to accept the dogmas or axioms of the faith, which I gather is your fundamental objection. But hey, you can’t prove two parallel lines in Euclidian space never meet, either (unless something has changed drasticly from sophmore Geometry).

    Or, to summarize, the answer the Catholic Church gives is an ex post facto “Because.”

    I like my own answer (given God) in Lulea better, but it still, as you say, depends on accepting an unprovable, unobservable statement as true. At least in plane geometry one can draw a pair of parallel lines and imagine. There is a small difference between axioms in mathematics (that lead to consistent systems of derived theorems) and axioms regarding the real world, and a greater difference still between those axioms (which lead to inferences and probable truth) and the axioms of religion.

    I had an insight while driving yesterday that reduces the argument to a single line.

    Given the observational inductive basis of all sound knowledge of the real world, the term “revealed truth” is an oxymoron.

    rgb

  275. John Whitman says:
    January 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm
    Volker Doormann says:
    January 8, 2013 at 3:47 am
    – – – – – – – –

    Volker Doormann,

    It is pleasant that you have extended our dialog.
    A good case for what supernatural is can be when someone claims there is existence and authority above man’s natural existence and above his natural experiences with the natural world.

    John,

    Sorry, but that case gives no proof of supernatural, the claim is simple a fallacy of the someone; a fallacy because it suggests two or more order of nature which must contradict each other.
    It’s difference whether there IS supernatural or one make fallacious conclusions out of his limited mind.

    Also, supernatural is when someone claims that there is a supreme being that causes and controls nature. See generic religious concepts across the world and millennia.
    It’ s the same. It is a claim and it is a fallacy again. This is not the place to discuss this in detail, but these fallacies come from the ideas ‘cause’ and ‘control’ which are nonsense, because nothing can be caused which IS. The order of nature IS; if this would not so, there would be a lack on the order of nature. But because a space cannot at the same time be endless and not at the same time have an end, one can learn that there is only one order. As one can learn from physics energy IS timeless. Time is a hoax. Nature IS. All IS. You cannot generate an electron out of NOTHING. It is impossible.

    WRT to your statement about personal => Was Aristotle’s metaphysics and epistemology his personal finding? Was Kant’s? Was any primary philosopher’s ? My personal finding in an epistemological and metaphysical system is equivalent to their finding. Of course all are personal in a very fundamental sense. What is the alternative? Collective, social, committee, consensus? No. It was personally their achievement of a metaphysical and epistemological system. It was personal even when they confirm some aspects of other philosophers.

    Was the finding of Pythagoras about the geometric relations of the squares of the sides of a triangle with a right angel corner his personal finding? No, because 1700 years prior one person in sumer has written same geometric relations of the triangle on a clay table.

    What one can learn from this recognition is that wisdom IS and who is able to recognise wisdom can be part of it. No one can possess wisdom like a Volkswagen, because it has no locality and no time.

    If you, in your final two paragraphs, are trying to make a distinction that what knowledge is achieved by reason and scientific process in a personal mind is not valid, then I profoundly disagree with you. There is no world of knowledge outside of or beyond the sum total of individual personal knowledge. There is no supernatural knowledge that exists independent of what individual personal thinking has produced.

    I’m not sure what the point is. But if you do state your words without given any reason we are at the beginning of our discussion. I do not believe in repetition.

    Maybe you have knowledge on your existence and why you exist, if you exist.

    Thank you.

    V.

  276. Unless you can figure out a way to peek outside this universe and report back on whether there is or is not anything or anyone out there, you cannot scientifically say that God does not exist.

    No one (sensible) says that, so it is a bit of a straw man, don’t you think? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, sure, but neither is it evidence of presence! In the absence of supporting data, the default belief level for complex consistent (non-self-contradictory) propositions about the real world is infinitesimally above zero — they cannot be said to be false, but nobody sensible would state that they are probably true without evidence.

    So postulating a larger Universe than our own space-time continuum is fine and physicists do it all the time, but lacking evidence all you end up with are pretty theories, not something anyone accepts as probable truth. Note that I don’t really like using the term “Universe” in a multiple sense because it leads to all sorts of logical silliness that contradicts the formal meaning of Universe as “everything that exists” (necessarily including God, if God exists). You can’t speak of a Universal set — a concept that is already troublesome in mathematics — and then start talking about a superset of that set without getting into some sort of difficulty. A larger Universe than ours is a necessary prior for the existence of God, as you seem to accept, and of course you are then left with a need for an even more complex explanation. Where did that larger Universe come from, and how did it self-organize into intelligence, how does its physics operate (intelligence being a highly complex phenomena involving sensory feedback loops and entropy), and how can entropy and time be consistent with omniscience.

    In order to have a well-defined theory of God, all of these questions have to have at least tentative answers. All you’ve done by postulating God as a cause of the visible space-time is push all of the problems with that uphill at least one level where they are even more unlikely and difficult to solve. It isn’t bad enough trying to understand this space-time continuum, we have to pretend that we have revealed knowledge about a supercontinuum with its own physics inhabited by a being with psychology that intervenes directly in this one, but never in a way we can actually objectively observe!

    I cannot scientifically say that this is untrue, because you’ve made the entire hypothesis invisible to science. But scientific reasoning is perfectly capable of saying “Gosh, without evidence or a coherent theory, all that’s really pretty improbable, don’t you think?”

    rgb

  277. rgbatduke says:
    January 9, 2013 at 5:34 am

    “I cannot scientifically say that this is untrue, because you’ve made the entire hypothesis invisible to science. But scientific reasoning is perfectly capable of saying “Gosh, without evidence or a coherent theory, all that’s really pretty improbable, don’t you think?””

    Great post. I always call your “supercontinuum”, the Metaverse, but it’s the same thing.
    In relation to the fine scale parameters being tuned for us, we have no idea how many Universes the Metaverse has created, all we can say is that the only way we’d know of any Universe is that the parameters have to be such that energy can become matter, and matter can combine to make complex molecules, which lead to life. No magic is required.

    And I think the idea that our Universe is so complex it had to be “created”, so we envision an even more complex entity to make sense of it is silly.
    But in an all natural Universe that evolved life based on physics and chemistry, there is no evidence of said entity, all you have is Faith, and isn’t that what religion is supposed to be based on?

  278. richardscourtney says: @ January 7, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I hope I may be counted among your “religious friends”….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Of course, I judge people on their hearts not on what arbitrary peg hole they fit in.

    Religion and science do not belong on the same table period. If a person believes in God that is fine, however it has nothing what ever to do with whether or not he is logical and can do science according to the Scientific Method.

    When religion is brought into a secular discussion it immediately converts the discussion into a discussion on religion and is therefore similar to the disruption caused by a troll.

    If you want to discuss religion discuss religion but otherwise keep it of the table. A second “Godwin’s Law” if you will.

  279. Gail Combs:

    Thankyou for your post at January 9, 2013 at 6:06 am.

    As my posts in this – and also in the previous thread that was similarly destroyed – I completely agree.

    Richard

  280. Greg House;
    I am afraid you did not get my point about years either.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Thanks for proving me correct in regard to mine.

  281. if a thing exists, then there is a way to prove it.
    if it is not possible to prove, it is a lie.
    the assertion that something is true and unprovable is a lie
    the assertion that something is true because it is unprovable is religion.
    faith is the contradiction of reason.
    how anybody can get past childhood without a basic understanding of how thinking is done?

  282. try Nouminex – the aerosol spray that eliminates platonic essences, spiritual manifestations, supernatural voices, monsters under beds and any other noumenal entities.
    it should be part of any conscientious program of good mental hygeine.

  283. gnomish says:
    January 9, 2013 at 10:51 am

    try Nouminex – the aerosol spray that eliminates platonic essences, spiritual manifestations, supernatural voices, monsters under beds and any other noumenal entities.
    it should be part of any conscientious program of good mental hygeine.

    Oh! So in the interests of “mental hygeine” we need an “aerosol spray that eliminates” the twaddle from gnomish.

    Richard

  284. I haven’t said anything here yet. A blog of any kind is not the ideal place to talk about God. I can’t tell if what I’ve said has been accepted or not.
    Personally, like Anthony et al has done with temperature records, when it comes to the Bible and what has been said about it, I go back to the source. The Bible is the axiom of Christianity. What does the Book itself actually say. Does Genesis 1:6 state the Earth is flat? No. Does it state the Earth is a globe? No. If you look up from anywhere on the globe will you see the firmament? Yes.
    On “the other thread” rgbatduke pointed out that the genealogies in Matthew and Luke are different. I pointed put that the Greek word translated “husband” in Matthew 1:16 “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” (KJV) is aner. It’s usage is similar to “my man” in America. If a woman says, “He’s my man.”, what does she mean? My husband? My boyfriend? My son? My favorite politician? Context is needed to know what she meant. So it is with aner. Here in Matthew it should be translated “father”. (That gives you the 14 generations mentioned in the immediate context. It continues the flow of offsprings and, in the remoter context, gives you the Christ as made of the seed of David according to the flesh as in Romans 1:3-4 “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:” {declared: Gr. determined} (KJV)
    (The genealogy in Luke is Mary’s husband’s who was also named Joseph.)
    I can’t tell if rgbatduke has crossed that “contradiction” off his list or not, here on a blog. Face to face maybe I could tell if he had an honest question and was looking for an answer, like I was 40+ years ago, or just wanted to argue. But I can’t tell here.
    Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (KJV)
    I’m not ashamed of it either but a blog is not the best place to communicate it where it is actually reaching someone.
    Richard is right, the point of the previous post got lost. (Give the “rats” that have been promoting CAGW the chance to abandon ship if they’ve woken up.) The point of this post is being lost also.
    PS Richard said he’s Methodist. I’m not. I’m sure there are verses we might disagree on but I’m not going to do that here. When I was a kid I used to pick on my little brother. But nobody else in the neighborhood did while I was around. We kept our “spats” in the family.

  285. gnomish says:
    January 9, 2013 at 10:30 am
    if a thing exists, then there is a way to prove it.

    How do you would prove your existence?

    if it is not possible to prove, it is a lie.
    You are not a lie, but your existence is not possible to prove, because your existence has no occurrence in this world. One can see only flesh, water and hairs, all atoms.

    the assertion that something is true and unprovable is a lie
    Are you true and provable? Since when are you true? Was you true 10 years before your birth?

    the assertion that something is true because it is unprovable is religion.
    Are you religion?

    faith is the contradiction of reason.</i)
    Can your existence have a beginning and if, can you give a reason for that?

    Its easy to claim sayings; harder is it to show existence.

    V.

  286. Oh! I forgot to add the point of this post that was lost, as I understand what Monckton has said:
    The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.– Thomas Sowell

  287. rgbatduke says:
    January 9, 2013 at 5:34 am

    and rgbatduke’s other ~30 comments on this thread . . . .

    [ AND with a reference to Gail Combs; January 9, 2013 at 6:06 am ]

    – – – – – – – – –

    rgbatduke,

    My observation wrt your history of Christianity observations is that they seem reasonably consistent with Paul Johnson’s book ‘The History of Christianity’ which is a rather comprehensively condensed excellent work that is reasonably critical and objective given Paul Johnson is a very devout Christian; I applaud him . . . . and congratulate you.

    Still, I find the Christian religion to be an insignificant subset of religions across the globe and for the entire recorded history and anthropologic studies of human beings. Whereas you delve into the specific religion of Christianity, I prefer to discuss science contrasted to the broad commonalities of religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism. I find religion irrelevant on that level of review.

    Remember back to the middle of the Monckton’s ‘Bethlehem and the rat-hole problem’ post; there was some discussion about the final necessary evolution of all dialogs on science contrasted to religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism. It was observed that finally such discussions end in religion being recognized as pure faith as Paul of Tarsus insisted; he maintained strongly that it is a mistake to try to base it on any other argument; he said it actually weakens the essence of religion to attempt to base it on anything other than absolute faith.

    So, strictly in that context, I can very much appreciate a significant part of the thrust of Gail Combs’ recent comment:

    Gail Combs says:
    January 9, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Of course, I judge people on their hearts not on what arbitrary peg hole they fit in.

    Religion and science do not belong on the same table period. If a person believes in God that is fine, however it has nothing whatever to do with whether or not he is logical and can do science according to the Scientific Method.

    When religion is brought into a secular discussion it immediately converts the discussion into a discussion on religion and is therefore similar to the disruption caused by a troll.

    If you want to discuss religion discuss religion but otherwise keep it of the table. A second “Godwin’s Law” if you will.

    I also think that another lesson has been relearned for the trillionth time with this thread’s dialog. I think that lesson is that the critical reasoning capacity of humanity is not its default automatic setting for its mental activities. It must be purposefully engaged and actively sustained by an explicitly self-conscious free-volitional concentration.

    John

  288. Volker Doormann says:
    January 9, 2013 at 12:10 pm
    gnomish says:
    January 9, 2013 at 10:30 am
    if a thing exists, then there is a way to prove it.

    How do you would prove your existence?
    ==================================================
    “I think. Therefore I am. I think.” – The Moody Blues
    (Sorry. Just wanted to inject a bit of levity. I think. 8-)

  289. I’m going to pick on two items here. First, there is a logical flaw, for which I do not know the Latin, where Lord Monckton makes a true statement (albeit simplified), that the Earth gets rid of excess heat through radiation out to space, which implies a particular final outcome, but omits another relevant fact that changes that final outcome. In essence, and in the context of the simplified statement used above, the definition of “excess heat” is altered by changing the concentration of greenhouse gases. Stated more precisely, for an equilibrium state to occur, radiative energy out to space (reflected solar plus emitted longwave) must equal radiative energy in (incident solar). Since GHGs make it more difficult for the longwave to get to outer space, higher temperatures at the surface and troposphere are required to maintain that balance given higher GHG concentrations. I’m hoping that there might be a small number of people here who can benefit from this basic information.
    I’d also like to propose a scenario that shows a possible end result of radically avoiding argumentum ad ignorantiam (“I can’t think of another reason”). Let’s say you picked up a habit of crossing on foot at a busy intersection against the light. Maybe after doing this a hundred times, you were hit by a car ten times, but not seriously injured, at least not dead, or else you couldn’t do an a posteriori analysis of your habit (whew!–I got my own Latin phrase in). You might say to yourself, “Well, I haven’t been hit by a car every single time, but maybe crossing against the light isn’t a very good idea, because I think it might be a contributing factor to my getting hit by cars. I can’t think of another reason why I’ve been hit by cars ten times.” Then you’d have to decide whether you want to go with a plan that seems to have a good reason behind it, but constitutes argumentum ad ignoratiam, or tell yourself that argumentum ad ignoratiam is always a logical fallacy, and therefore stubbornly continue crossing against the light. In the real world, similar arguments have also surfaced in the case of pinning cancer causation on tobacco smoking.

    • for an equilibrium state to occur, radiative energy out to space (reflected solar plus emitted longwave) must equal radiative energy in (incident solar). Since GHGs make it more difficult for the longwave to get to outer space,

      In fact , since absorptivity ~ emissivity at any wavelength , what matters in the radiative balance is the ratio of the absorptivities ( 1 – the reflectances ) between short and long wavelengths that determines a planet’s mean temperature due to the sun . That’s how a basic computation can show Venus would have to be 10 times as reflective as aluminum fol to explain its surface temperature in terms of solar input alone .

      It’s some sort of synchronicity that while constructing my newsletter , I happened to browse a lecture by Tyndall which concludes with the question Why should good conductors be, in general, bad radiators, and bad conductors good radiators ? . CO2 is a pretty good radiator just as it is a good absorber in the 300k range .

  290. Brent Lofgren commented on The logical case against climate panic.
    in response to Guest Blogger:
    “Since GHGs make it more difficult for the longwave to get to outer space, higher temperatures at the surface and troposphere are required to maintain that balance given higher GHG concentrations.”

    Except if you look at the difference between daily temperature increase to the following night falling temps, there is no loss of nightly cooling in the temperature record.

  291. Brent Lofgren,

    Aside from the fact that every prediction of runaway global warming and climate catastrophe has been decisively falsified by Planet Earth [see: climate Null Hypothesis], if we started accepting logical fallacies because they didn’t fit our narrative, we would be back to witch doctors in no time. [...oh, wait...]

    The Argumentum ad Ignoranitum fallacy is critical to all science. Climate science, such as it is, needs to pay attention. That particular fallacy says: “Since I can’t think of any other reason for global warming, then it must be due to CO2.”

    Nonsense. If that were the case, then following the ≈40% rise in CO2, global temperatures would be smartly rising right now — and at an accelerating rate.

    But temperatures are not only not rising, they have stalled for the past decade and a half. Honest scientists would normally stop at this point and reassess their AGW conjecture, per Feynman ["If it doesn't match obsevation, it is wrong."].

    But as we know, big government bucks, job security, endless grants, and academic/government status all combine to make for lots of dishonest scientists. Even the honest ones don’t speak out until they have safely retired. It takes real courage and honesty to speak out before then. Where do you stand?

  292. Brent Lofgren:

    At January 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm you paraphrase the Precautionary Principle (PP) claiming it overcomes ‘argument from ignorance’. It does not, but I will address your point.

    AGW advocates use the Precutionary Principle saying we should stop greenhouse gas emissions in case the AGW hypothesis is right. But that turns the Principle on its head.

    Stopping the emissions would reduce fossil fuel usage with resulting economic damage. This would be worse than the ‘oil crisis’ of the 1970s because the reduction would be greater, would be permanent, and energy use has increased since then. The economic disruption would be world-wide. Major effects would be in the developed world because it has the largest economies. Worst effects would be on the world’s poorest peoples: people near starvation are starved by it.

    The precautionary principle says we should not accept the risks of certain economic disruption in attempt to control the world’s climate on the basis of assumptions that have no supporting empirical evidence and merely because they’ve been described using computer games.

    Richard

    • Richard,
      I’m not going to say that your argument is false, but it’s a different one from what Lord Monckton made. In the crossing the street example, the question you would ask based on your argument is, “Which is more of a problem, waiting for the light to turn green or the danger of not waiting?”
      Because I gave an extreme example, it is difficult to justify crossing against the light, but in some other example, there might be a better argument to balance a conclusion based on argument from ignorance. However, what seems to be argued in the original posting is giving credence, or even serious consideration, to an argument from ignorance, is always wrong. The question in this case, instead is, “Should I cease crossing against the light because I suspect there is a resultant danger and have no other explanation for it, or should I continue to cross against the light because the justification for caution is illogical”–no introduction of a downside to waiting for the light to turn. MiCro and Stealey have also argued against points that I didn’t make.

  293. Volker Doormann says:
    January 9, 2013 at 5:28 am

    John Whitman says:
    January 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Volker Doormann says:
    January 8, 2013 at 3:47 am

    – – – – – – – – –

    Volker Doormann,

    And the beat goes on . . . . the dialog goes on.

    It is not totally clear to me, but it appears we are not disagreeing wrt the fundamentals of supernaturalism / supersitionism. N’est ce pas?

    WRT personal knowledge. If I derive, independently a system of epistemology and metaphysics that is relatively consistent with the major aspects of some philosopher ~2400 years ago and also with some other current philosopher then it is still personally derived personal knowledge. In fact science would insist on total personal activities on any aspect of science. : ) NOTE: by personal knowledge it can be the kind that is objectively verified and integrated or it can be subjective and disintegrated. That is the discussion we have been having mostly on this thread; objective versus subjective discussion is the equivalent to the discussion of science contrasted with, for instance, religion’s supernaturalism / superstitionism.

    Regarding your ‘knowledge of existence’ discussion, lest we slip into an anal solipsism, then I think we can all accept reality as an ‘is’ from which Aristotle derived logic. To try to reason using his ‘is’ based logic to disprove the ‘is’ is not merely non-logical; without that logic, a solipsist just is going blah, blah, blah in an incoherent noise to no-one, not even to himself who he thinks doesn’t exist either. : )

    John

  294. Volker said:
    “You are not a lie, but your existence is not possible to prove, because your existence has no occurrence in this world. One can see only flesh, water and hairs, all atoms.”
    who do you think you’re talking to? axiom murderer!

    Gail, now quoted 3 times, said:
    “When religion is brought into a secular discussion it immediately converts the discussion into a discussion on religion and is therefore similar to the disruption caused by a troll.”
    talk about hitting the nail on the head.. that’s gonna leave some stigmata on monckton.

    [Reply: I'm surprised that Anthony has not closed this thread. Maybe because it's better to confine these comments to one thread than to have a religious discussion across WUWT. But don't get used to these discussions following any other articles. In the mean time, knock yourselves out, and please don't take it to any other threads. — mod.]

  295. Gunga Din says:
    January 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm
    Volker Doormann says:
    January 9, 2013 at 12:10 pm
    gnomish says:
    January 9, 2013 at 10:30 am
    if a thing exists, then there is a way to prove it.
    How do you would prove your existence?
    ==================================================
    “I think. Therefore I am. I think.” – The Moody Blues
    (Sorry. Just wanted to inject a bit of levity. I think. 8-)

    No problem Gunga Din.

    It is first spoken by René Descartes as ‘ego cogito, ergo sum’ –‘I think, therefore I am’, but it is a fallacy because he mixed up being with physical processes. Physical processes of connecting neurons in the brain are temporary processes of the neuronal structures of the memory of old experience like fire is hot. It stops if the neurons are not supported by fresh oxygen from the blood.
    Being is (timeless). That what IS – like energy – cannot die and/or cannot destroyed to nothing.

    The correct saying would be: I think, therefore I must die, and I am, therefore am immortal, like logic, like algebra, like the harmony of music.

    One can end thinking in a brain using adequate methods, but one cannot end logic.

    Thanks to Lord Monckton of Brenchley for bring it to this place.

    V.

  296. Brent Lofgren:

    Thankyou for your post addressed to me at January 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm which responds to my post to you at January 9, 2013 at 2:09 pm.

    I am sorry but I am at a loss to understand your recent post.

    My post to you said I understand your point about escape from ‘argument from ignorance’ to be an appeal to the Precautionary Principle (PP), and I pointed out that PP can be used as a form of cost/benefit analysis; i.e balance of risks.

    Your response is an iteration of your ‘cross the road’ analogy. But that analogy seems to me to be a ‘balance of risks’ of exactly the same type as I stated.

    And in my example – which is directly pertinent to the argument of Lord Monckton – the PP says we should not take action to constrain CO2 emissions.

    What am I missing?

    Richard

    • Richard,
      After some more thought, I think what is happening is a difference in our assumptions about what Monckton didn’t say. I’ll grudgingly admit that he didn’t actually say that because argument from ignorance has been used to justify the reality of AGW, absent any other reason, our course of action should be status quo. I will maintain, though, that it was apparent that he hoped the readers would lead themselves to this conclusion. You, on the other hand, seem to claim that he should have said or meant to say that you need to consider the problem of argument from ignorance in balancing with a more complete set of considerations. He didn’t say that, either.
      So, although I don’t agree with your premise, at least not as starkly as you stated it, I agree that from that premise, you faithfully followed the precautionary principle to reach a conclusion. In the case of Monckton’s statements, his more limited premise (justification of AGW is based on argument from ignorance), while true, does not by itself justify the conclusion that I attributed, but which was not actually stated in that paragraph.

  297. ok, mr. mod. no harm was intended. i thought you might appreciate the cleverness of referring to solipsism as ‘axiom murder’. it was an honest mistake and i’ll adjust my behavior appropriately.

  298. rgbatduke says:
    January 9, 2013 at 5:18 am
    Nothing exists in a vacuum of course. If the catechism is to make any sense, you have to accept the dogmas or axioms of the faith, which I gather is your fundamental objection. But hey, you can’t prove two parallel lines in Euclidian space never meet, either (unless something has changed drasticly from sophmore Geometry).

    Or, to summarize, the answer the Catholic Church gives is an ex post facto [1]“Because.”

    I like my own answer (given God) in Lulea better, but it still, as you say, depends on accepting an unprovable, unobservable statement as true. At least in plane geometry one can draw a pair of parallel lines and imagine. [2]There is a small difference between axioms in mathematics (that lead to consistent systems of derived theorems) and axioms regarding the real world, and a greater difference still between those axioms (which lead to inferences and probable truth) and the axioms of religion.

    I had an insight while driving yesterday that reduces the argument to a single line.

    Given the observational inductive basis of [3]all sound knowledge of the real world, the term “revealed truth” is an oxymoron.

    rgb

    [1] That’s an oversimplification. So is the catechism; after all, it’s intended as more or less as a summary of belief, not a complete exposition.

    [2] I’m intrigued by your comparisions. Perhaps I do not fully understand how you are using the word axiom. I think I understand the sense in math and theology, but “real world” escapes me. I do not see how the real world has axioms, or if it does how those would be “less axiomatic” than mathematical axioms, and “religious axioms” even less so. An axiom is an unprovable assertion that is nevertheless treated as absolutely true, usually, as I recall, to advance a particular system of thinking on some subject. Wasn’t it Gödel who pointed out that self-consistent systems could not be wholly consistent within themselves, but had to have “extra-system” elements (axioms)? It would be surprising if religious systems were somehow exempt.

    [3] No offense, but there’s not much insight there. “Revealed truth” has little to do with the real (as in observable directly by the human senses, or indirectly via human artifice) and everything to do with the insensible. It is meant to pass knowledge of the supernatural (in the strictest meaning of the word) into our natural world.

  299. richardscourtney says: People are often loved into a belief but there is no evidence that anybody has ever been argued into a belief.

    You should note that the above idea is posted without any data to back it up, it is therefore a “religious”, entirely faith based statement.

    So lets “be scientific” and look at at least one point of data directly pertinent to the above idea. C. S. Lewis, noted Christian author (including many books arguing and reasoning about Christianity) stated that he was argued into Christianity by a book by *drumroll* G. K. Chesterton, specifically “The Everlasting Man”.

    Conclusion, based on the DATA, at least one man has indeed been argued into a belief. As further proof, he then wrote many books that people still buy and read today, which suggests that people are still being argued, that is, reasoned, deciding to believe something based on reason, today. And C. S. Lewis is not the only one, I know of others as well.

    Note that this website is based entirely on the premise that people CAN be argued into a belief, by looking for and presenting actual data and arguments based on that data. Many people claim that there is hard data about the question, “Is there a God, and if so, which one?” If you are going to talk about the scientific method and religion, then you should use the scientific method on that question. The above quote “there is no evidence that anybody has ever been argued into a belief” is in direct opposition to that method. Many people on this site, perhaps yourself included, have been argued into the belief that Climate Change is either not happening or is greatly exaggerated. Therefor, proof that your statement above is wrong can be found in your mirror.

    The only way the above statement can be true is if all people everywhere base all their decisions and beliefs entirely on emotion. If even one, or a fair proportion of them, base their beliefs on data based arguments, then the above statement is proven false. This website is based entirely on the idea that people can be argued into a belief. If you actually believe the above statement, you should not be here, you should be on a site with emotion laden pictures of stranded polar bears and the like.

    It is a fact that either there is a God, or there is not. If there is, that God is as real and factual as you are. Your beliefs will not change that. Furthermore, if God exists, that God is what that God is, regardless of what you or I or anyone else believes. If God is X, and you believe God is Y, God is X. This is using the scientific method on the idea, God. The idea that you cannot and should not use the scientific method on the idea “God” is a non scientific, faith based, entirely “religious” idea, even if the person saying it claims to “be scientific”.

    I would say, and would agree with what Mockton said in this article on this one, that the above statement is true of many who believe in CAGW, hence this discussion and his quote of Chesterton. Much of the thrust of his article is exactly that, that people, often people who claim to “be scientific”, believe in CAGW in a “religious” manner, that is, it defies logic and is not based on data and does not try to be.

    Lastly, the idea that all “religious” people, by which I assume you mean people who believe there is a God, go to church, that sort of thing, think only with a certain mindset, that is, a non scientific mindset, believing or disbelieving based entirely on blind faith, and never facts, is shown wrong by people like G K Chesterton and especially C S Lewis. You cannot just label different groups of people and then insist that they all conform to your label, doing so is, once again, thinking in a “religious”, IE non fact based, manner, regardless of how much you may think you are “being scientific” in your own mindset. You can’t just dismiss someone or some idea by just slapping a label on it. Also, because some religions, or some people in some religions, teach that you should believe based not on facts (sometimes disagreeing with their own religions original teachings to do so) does not mean that all people who follow any religion do so. Once again, to just slap a label on them, “religious”, and expect that they will all conform to your idea of them, is itself a “religious”, IE non fact based, entirely faith based, idea, even if you think that by your doing so you are “thinking scientifically”.

  300. Reply: I’m surprised that Anthony has not closed this thread. Maybe because it’s better to confine these comments to one thread than to have a religious discussion across WUWT. But don’t get used to these discussions following any other articles. In the mean time, knock yourselves out, and please don’t take it to any other threads. — mod.]

    Perhaps it is because the original article is, in fact, about how the pro CAGW activists are arguing in a “religious” manner (or what many people think of as the “religious” manner anyway). It is therefor appropriate, here anyway, to talk about what a “religious” manner is or isn’t.
    I wouldn’t dream of taking it to another thread, because the above is true about the article we are discussing here, but is not true about other articles that people post a thread on.

    If CAGW is a religion, what vestments should its priests wear? maybe Josh can dream something up. Oh, and architecture for a “church” (temple?) to.

  301. Actually, I liked ‘axiom murder’.
    Example of an axiom murderer is *drunroll* G K Chesterton, “Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out.” Example:

    In Orthodoxy he writes: “The worship of will is the negation of will… If Mr. Bernard Shaw comes up to me and says, ‘Will something’, that is tantamount to saying, ‘I do not mind what you will’, and that is tantamount to saying, ‘I have no will in the matter.’ You cannot admire will in general, because the essence of will is that it is particular.”

    This style of argumentation is what Chesterton refers to as using ‘Uncommon Sense’ — that is, that the thinkers and popular philosophers of the day, though very clever, were saying things that were nonsensical. This is illustrated again in Orthodoxy: “Thus when Mr. H. G. Wells says (as he did somewhere), ‘All chairs are quite different’, he utters not merely a misstatement, but a contradiction in terms. If all chairs were quite different, you could not call them ‘all chairs’.” Or, again from Orthodoxy:

    The wild worship of lawlessness and the materialist worship of law end in the same void. Nietzsche scales staggering mountains, but he turns up ultimately in Tibet. He sits down beside Tolstoy in the land of nothing and Nirvana. They are both helpless — one because he must not grasp anything, and the other because he must not let go of anything. The Tolstoyan’s will is frozen by a Buddhist instinct that all special actions are evil. But the Nietzscheite’s will is quite equally frozen by his view that all special actions are good; for if all special actions are good, none of them are special. They stand at the crossroads, and one hates all the roads and the other likes all the roads. The result is — well, some things are not hard to calculate. They stand at the cross-roads.

    BTW, Chesterton was extremely prolfic, Chesterton wrote around 80 books, several hundred poems, some 200 short stories, 4000 essays, and several plays. He was a literary and social critic, historian, playwright, novelist, Catholic theologian and apologist, debater, and mystery writer. He was a columnist for the Daily News, the Illustrated London News, and his own paper, G. K.’s Weekly; he also wrote articles for the Encyclopædia Britannica, including the entry on Charles Dickens and part of the entry on Humour in the 14th edition (1929).
    Considering all that, the above quote of him by Mockton is quite possible to be his, even if it cannot be found in his more common books (such as Father Brown), either directly, or this may be a condensed form out of a longer essay. It could, for instance, be in a newspaper article written by him.

  302. ” …This implies an initial holographic entropy of about 1010, …”
    1010 what ?
    It’s all just a matrix exponential .

    Ten to the tenth power, I think, a big number (for entropy) anyway. It simply cannot be cut and pasted, the only way would be to rewrite the original as words instead of numbers, as I did above.

    What it means is that the universe started out as a big bang, an explosion (of sorts), and explosions generally do not create low entropy (as in never), but high entropy (chaos, disorder, heat death). It means that that aspect of the early universe was extremely unlikely, and there are many other aspects of it that are said to be even more unlikely, so unlikely that it is described as “this preposterous universe” http://super.colorado.edu/~michaele/Lambda/phys.html .

    Your comment is awaiting moderation
    Yours is too wild and emotional, and will have to be rewritten to tone it down.
    Yours, however, is too boring, and will have to be spiced up.
    Moderating is hard work!

  303. yay, Legatus. you and J.W., eh?
    i’m still wondering, though, does nobody (except, I think, mr. courtney perhaps?) get the fact that monckton was midwife to the concept of ‘co2 pollution/global warming’, as self proclaimed science advisor to maggie thatcher, and now craves praise for denouncing the malaise to which he helped give birth? (cue eric hoffer quote)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7823477/Was-Margaret-Thatcher-the-first-climate-sceptic.html

    this thread might have been the most dramatic ever at wuwt.

  304. gnomish says: yay, Legatus. you and J.W., eh?
    i’m still wondering, though, does nobody (except, I think, mr. courtney perhaps?) get the fact that monckton was midwife to the concept of ‘co2 pollution/global warming’, as self proclaimed science advisor to maggie thatcher, and now craves praise for denouncing the malaise to which he helped give birth? (cue eric hoffer quote)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7823477/Was-Margaret-Thatcher-the-first-climate-sceptic.html

    According to the link, it sounds like Margaret Thatcher was the midwife, if anyone (Mockton was not even mentioned). They then did the scientific thing, look at observation and see if it conforms to theory. It did not, and by that, they knew that the theory of CAGW was wrong. Others have continued to espouse it for the simple reason that they are not honest.
    When the facts change, I change my mind, what do you do sir?

    It is a simple fact that it has been stated that if CO2 rises yet the temperature does not for more than 15 years, the theory is proven wrong (it is hard to prove a scientific theory right, but you can always prove it wrong). It thus doesn’t matter if the temperature has not risen in 16, 18, 19 or 23 years, all those numbers are greater than 15, and the theory is proven wrong. You can then say “but physics says it must happen!”, to which I say “the physics of gravity says that birds cannot fly, but that has never stopped them”. If the temperature has not risen when physics says it should, then other forces and processes are at work and we should look for them. Not that it matters, since the physics says that should only rise around 1C, hardly catastrophic.

    I see no evidence that Mockton “craves praise”. Besides, markx, having been declared God, is getting all the praise, as we all well know.

    this thread might have been the most dramatic ever at wuwt.
    Some articles inspire drama, often ones by Mockton, Willis, etc. Perhaps it is study of “the classics” that does it, those old writers were nothing if not dramatic.
    Next, the movie, who do you want to play you?

    Oh, and what famous detective should we bring in to hunt the axiom murderer? I suggest Lord Peter Whimsey, simply for the name.

  305. you’re fun!
    a lot more fun than being drowned in agw propaganda and then being revived by smoke, for sure.

  306. Legatus says: January 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    “…markx, having been declared God, is getting all the praise, as we all well know….”

    Alas, it has thus far proved to be a rather disappointing gig. No praise at all, no tribute, and the much touted super-power package does not seem to work.

    I have resorted to running around with my tablet (iPad) invoking the 11th commandment, but also with no success whatsoever:

    Addendum to Commandments:
    11.Thou shalt give tribute to thy god who stands before you!
    (Conditions apply: Gold, cash, credit cards accepted. No cheques. PayPal, as the work of the devil, is forbidden. No refunds under any circumstances).

    By the way, I just realized who had the manufacture and supply contract for those original tablets that Moses was handed: Steve Jobs.

    Wiki: According to traditional teachings of Judaism in the Talmud, they were made of blue sapphire stone as a symbolic reminder of the sky, the heavens, and ultimately of God’s throne….
    …… According to rabbinic tradition, they were rectangles, with sharp corners, and indeed they are so depicted in the 3rd century paintings at the Dura-Europos Synagogue and in Christian art throughout the 1st millennium..

  307. haivng given it a bit of thought, i think Lord Wimsey should recuse himself.
    as it was a baroness who prescribed the near fatal dose of ipecac, those public school boys are wont to whitewash any conflict of interest.
    nor should Holmes be called in, as a Mr. Watson preceded mr pachauri as head of that grand scientific organization devoted to forensic meteorology.
    let us have Dirk Gently whose intimacy with quantum infodynamics will doubtless help him to distinguish the subinformative particles from the principals.

  308. Legatus says: January 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    “…markx, having been declared God, is getting all the praise, as we all well know….”

    Alas, it has thus far proved to be a rather disappointing gig. No praise at all, no tribute, and the much touted super-power package does not seem to work.

    I have resorted to running around with my tablet (iPad) invoking the 11th commandment, but also with no success whatsoever:

    Addendum to Commandments:
    11.Thou shalt give tribute to thy god who stands before you!
    (Conditions apply: Gold, cash, credit cards accepted. No cheques. PayPal, as the work of the devil, is forbidden. No refunds under any circumstances).

    By the way, I just realized who had the manufacture and supply contract for those original tablets that Moses was handed: Steve Jobs.

    Wiki: According to traditional teachings of Judaism in the Talmud, they were made of blue sapphire stone as a symbolic reminder of the sky, the heavens, and ultimately of God’s throne….
    …… According to rabbinic tradition, they were rectangles, with sharp corners, and indeed they are so depicted in the 3rd century paintings at the Dura-Europos Synagogue and in Christian art throughout the 1st millennium..

  309. Volker Doormann says:
    January 9, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    gnomish says:
    January 9, 2013 at 10:30 am
    if a thing exists, then there is a way to prove it.
    How do you would prove your existence?

    otropogo comments:

    This is as illogical a question as I can imagine. And that it should pass unchallenged in a forum professing to be scientific astonishes me.

    If insanity can ever be defined, surely one definition would be a state in which the subject no longer trusts his faculties. To question the subjectivity itself goes a step beyond insanity.

    Things that can be directly observed do not need to proven. That, sadly, is the lesson modern science has yet to learn, and where it agrees with religion. If something that is observed, even if by many reputable witnesses, even at different times and locations, contradicts orthodoxy, then it is considered “unproven”, when what is required is an explanation.

    As to the existence of the “prover”- if his existence is a lie, then how can he prove anything, or have anything proven to him?

    OTOH gnomish says:

    “if it is not possible to prove, it is a lie.”

    otropogo comments:

    This statement is poorly formulated. Things that are not directly observable must be provable (ie. not inherently unprovable). But the fact that a theory has not been proven yet (or more commonly, that the proof has not been generally accepted yet), does not make it a lie. Things that are directly observable need only be replicated.

    and:

    “the assertion that something is true and unprovable is a lie”

    No, because a lie can be proven to be such. Also, the word “lie” carries the connotation of deliberate deception. Whereas most of the millions, perhaps billions, of people who mouth unprovable nonsense every day are not conscious of deceiving either themselves or others.

    ….

    “the assertion that something is true because it is unprovable is religion.”

    The essence of religion is not conceptual, but organizational. Religion is based on hierarchy, in which superior beings, and (possibly their human proxies – priests, shamans, Phds) decide the structure of the universe and of human society. Critical thought is discouraged, except in the service of orthodoxy, and dissenters are punished or ostracized.

    The fundamental theme of religious societies is to grovel in fear of divine punishment reliably administered by family, neighbours, or priesthood. This is why there is little difference in modern practice between the behaviour of Christians, Jews, Moslems, Bhuddists, Hindus, Confucianists and Taoists, despite the huge differences in world view expressed by their various founders.

  310. any news on the premise detection site? cheerful juggling needs a place as much as desperate clenching does…

  311. hi otropogo.
    when i say ‘impossible to prove’, that does not mean ‘unproven’
    when i say ‘a lie’, that means ‘a statement which is false’
    self contradiction is proof of falsehood (this is how falsification is done).
    the statement ‘that which is unprovable is a lie’ is logically derived from the statement ‘that which is true is provable’ ( by the law of implication). i don’t think you have falsified the axiom or that you were trying to do so. it must have been a misunderstanding.
    however you wish to define religion, i’ll agree to speak your language if we discuss it.
    please use my definition of ‘definition’, though: the set of distinguishing characteristics rather than a list of all possible morphologies.

    • hi gnomish,

      “however you wish to define religion, i’ll agree to speak your language if we discuss it.
      please use my definition of ‘definition’, though: the set of distinguishing characteristics rather than a list of all possible morphologies.”

      “Definition” (in the broadest, general sense) is arguably the core communications issue, and by extension, the Achilles heel, of humanity. It underlies the inability to differentiate sense and nonsense, data and noise, and translation of technical knowledge into meaningful common language. And it is a problem that is steadily growing.

      It’s readily apparent that the majority of people in the English speaking world are largely unconscious of the incoherency of their speech. Sometimes it even appears that they revel in speaking nonsense. A perfect example of this was the widespread misuse of the word “literally”, a word that has about as precise a meaning as any word can have. Suddenly, it came in to vogue as substitute for “real” or “really”, in which role it often completely contradicted its normal meaning. Yet this epidemic of unalloyed nonsense came and went (mercifully) without serious comment.

      Most people, even highly educated “intellectuals” just don’t care about the corruption of English any more. And with the growing number of second language users adding their erroneous usages to the mix, this can only get worse. Most people would contemptuously dismiss this whole subject as “semantics” (if they’re educated enough to know the word).

      There is no sign in the English speaking world of any significant improvement in methods of learning in the last 30 years, despite the advent of personal computers and internet access for almost all. If a student drops out for any significant time before completing high school, he is almost always limited to pursuing studies in the humanities on resuming his schooling. The reason for this is that our society has not been able to devise a means of teaching mature students higher mathematics, or even statistics. But no one even frets about this.

      The point of this little rant is to suggest that our society has urgent problems that may actually be amenable to solution, and that we shouldn’t waste our time and energies in futile debates over inherently shape-shifting pseudo-words such as “God” and “religion”, as they are commonly used.

      To my mind, the only justifiable discussion of “religion” is as a pathological process, with a view to eliminating it.Ditto for patriotism, tribalism, and nepotism.

      However, the obstacles facing individuals practicing this approach aggressively are overwhelming. Since all governments rely on these processes to maintain power, there can be no safe haven anywhere for any researcher or writer impartially working to eliminate them.

      This is where a computer program that would analyze speech or writing for tautologies, verbiage, words of purely emotional import, and logical inconsistencies, might save our bacon. Without such a tool, the survival of our society will likely become increasingly threatened by demagoguery and pseudo-science, until it collapses under the burden of nonsense, either by succumbing to its own toxins, or by failing to respond adequately to natural threats.

  312. I have wondered how this thread will end. Would it end in a torrent of heat or end by slowly cooling down an a frozen state?

    This poem applies, I think, pretty well.

    Fire and Ice

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I’ve tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice,
    I think I know enough of hate
    To say that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.

    Robert Frost

    John

  313. some are in above their heads
    some just ankle deep
    downy myths in tattered shreds
    littering dramatic threads
    may end up as a compost heap
    or serve as comfort in the night
    to the fearful in their beds
    after they turn out the light
    and darkness spreads
    while reason sleeps.

    the yardstick each may use to measure
    those with wit who dwell upon it
    might express this well in sonnet
    but more appealing to the vain

  314. ‘that which is true is provable’
    Actually, in science, this is not itself true. In science, nothing is ever absolutely ‘proven’, it only goes from unknown validity to probably true, with the knowledge that at some future date it may yet be shown false. An example is Newtonian laws of gravity, pretty well ‘proven’ until at a later date they were shown to not always work (based on new data). You can’t just go around making up axioms like ‘that which is true is provable’, declare them to be true, and then say that because they are this other thing follows. The axiom itself is not provable even if you can show that it is a ‘natural law’ (which you can’t), since even those are only considered probably true until possibly at a later date shown partially or completely false. It is, however, a lot easier to disprove something and show it to be false, like say that the planets are not riding on crystal spheres.

    the set of distinguishing characteristics rather than a list of all possible morphologies
    I would have to go with this idea for the definition of ‘religious’. I would also not agree that all religions or people belonging to them are ‘religious’, some religions to be designed from the beginning to be ‘religious’, others are not. An example of the latter is Christianity (as originally given), which claims to be founded on fact, “that which we have seen and heard”, despite the fact that many of its followers (or those who say they are) act in a ‘religious’ manner, and eschew fact. In many cases, this is because people see the religion (any religion) as a great way to gain power and wealth, and people gain control of that religion and drive it in the direction of ‘religious’ because, after all, you do not want people questioning your right to the gold and virgins, do you? This is basically as the “Iron Law” below:
    Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

    A perfect example of a near instantaneous iron law transformation is markx. He is declared God, and what does he do? Does he try and use his new found authority to make people better or something? No, he immediately tries to only support the organization itself, IE himself (being sole member of said organization), with gold and virgins, to be delivered without question, of course, because you don’t really want people to wonder why they are ponying up all that, do you?.

    The only way to fix that problem is penance, put markx in a hair-shirt and banish him to the wilderness where he will subsist on a diet of locusts and wild honey. He will, of course, then attract a following of college age types who Want To Believe In Something, as his type tend to do. Half of them will be female, and some will have rich daddies, and…

    Oh I give up!

    This reminds me of the story of Phil. Phil declared himself God, and attracted a following who believed that he was. One day Phil and his followers were walking donw the road, and a bolt of lightnig struck Phil. His followers looked up and said “there’s something bigger than Phil”.

  315. i’m using a stricter definition of truth that makes it possible to be distinguished in all cases.
    one of the distinguishing characteristics of truth is that it exists only in some specified context.
    if there is no specified context, how can one begin to test the validity of a proposition?
    truth, is any proposition, which, in the given context, can not be contradicted.

    then, i’m using a definition of logic that distinguishes it from all else.
    logic is the art of non-contradictory identification, for which the only axiom is that a thing is itself.
    this is an axiom and a definition known as the law of identity.
    truth, is any proposition, which, in the given context, can not be contradicted.

    so you may have difficulty applying logic or testing the validity of a notion for which the context has been dropped. for example, to resolve the issue of whether or not ‘gravity is true’ it will be necesary to specify a context in which it is to be tested. once you have presented it as a forma proposition, then it will be amenable to validation or falsification. by the law of implication, if it is not presented as a formal proposition, it can not be validated.

    see how easy it is when you have valid definitions?
    if you have a problem with godel, i’ll help you over that hurdle. it doesn’t require a leap.

  316. Legatus says: January 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    “….markx….. is declared God, and what does he do? Does he try and use his new found authority to make people better …No, he immediately tries to only support the organization itself, IE himself (being sole member of said organization), with gold and virgins, to be delivered without question…”

    Sir. You grossly underestimate me!

    I had every intention of lavishing some of said gold on said virgins ……I’m sure it would make them better people…

    However, given the lack of said tribute, plan B above looks OK …. except for the hair shirt…..

  317. Anthony, I took your suggestions, did some thinking, and came up with something even you might agree to, ending corporate socialism. I’m not going to re post the whole thing here, but ask instead that you read it. If you really are interested in engaging all readers, might this is the kind of thing you would use as a guest post?

    • Pat no I will not use that as a guest post because once again you use the word denier. You really need to get that word out of your system and give up your hatred, before anyone will take you seriously because at this point I certainly do not.

  318. Pat Ravasio says:

    January 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Anthony, I took your suggestions, did some thinking, and came up with something even you might agree to, ending corporate socialism. I’m not going to re post the whole thing here, but ask instead that you read it at http://www.buckyworld.me If you really are interested in engaging all readers, might this is the kind of thing you would use as a guest post
    ==================================
    Pat, you show such poor judgement to put this link on a skeptic blog. And really, I have seen your comments here, and none made any contribution and some were offensive. So, are we interested in engaging all readers? emphatically NO. Go offend elsewhere, please.

  319. otropogo!
    that is frikn awesome! it needs a gallery for exhibition.
    now if we can get j.w. on the stick…

  320. no doubt Anthony can find even better reasons not to invite an essay that proposes communism as a remedy for socialism…lol
    i bet otropogo could dissect that essay in a way that would make Dexter applaud.
    sorry to say, it only afflicts me with an urge to rhyme and i can’t find one for ‘peristalsis’

  321. An excellent summary for those with a scientific ot mathematical background. It’s the kind of summary I would like to copy to my MP. Unfortunately, most politicians, the kind of people whose thinking needs to change, won’t understand some of the key technical points in, for example, Question 3. Their eyes and brains will glaze over. Such argumentation should be augmented, not replaced, by a translation into lay language. “In ordinary language the foregoing means…”

  322. About the idea that something is not true if it cannot be proven:
    There is this thing, it is called a fact.
    A fact does not care if you can prove it.
    A fact does not care if you believe in it or agree with it.
    A fact does not even care if you know about it.
    It just is.

    Examples:
    (then) There was a time when people thought that the sun went around the earth, all the ‘great scientists” thought so, and everyone could see that it was so. Yet it was a fact that it was the spinning of the earth that caused that phenomena, and the earth went around the sun. Neither idea was provable at that time , does that mean that the sun went around the earth? Did that mean that there was no sun, no earth? Did its unprovability mean anything at all, or change how things really were?

    (now) It is a fact that there are laws, universal laws, that govern how the universe operates. Currently, the models of the universe, quantum theory, string theory etc, are not shown to be proven fact, and currently there is not even a way to tell with certainty which of these, if any, is true. The whole universe’s laws, and therefor the whole universe (which would not exist without them), is unprovable. Does the universe care? Does it give a *insert personally proffered profanity here* ?

    Conclusion, the statement that a thing is not true if we cannot prove it is shown false by the fact that there have been things in the past and still are in the present that are unprovable yet are still true. The statement has been falsified.

    Now, it is a fact that either there is a God, or there is not.
    If there is, it is a fact that that God has the characteristics it does have.
    This fact, like all facts, will not care if you think you can prove it or disprove it, agree with it, or even know about it.
    It just is.

    The idea is to say that God is immaterial, and therefore will not jump into our test tubes and consent to be measured and ‘proven’, and therefore does not exist. This is an attempt to define away the problem, by insisting that God must remain immaterial (what if it chooses not to?), and insist that that God might not also leave evidence all around of its necessary existence (such as, say, the big bang resulting in an impossible, even “preposterous” universe). There are upwards of a billion people on this planet (several hundred million at least) who say that God did indeed show up in material form. Therefore, you cannot just define away the problem by insisting that God did not show the proper evidence when so very many people say that that is exactly what happened. (Note, the other 5 or 6 billion people on the planet may believe in religions that make no such claims of material evidence, you may consider those unprovable, however, they do not represent all religions, you cannot just lump all religions together and insist they are the same when they are not.)

    The first key to scientific enlightenment is to understand the idea a fact.
    The key to the scientific method, to understand that a fact does not care what you think about it.
    You discover facts that already existed, you did not create it’s existence by your belief or proof.
    Facts don’t care what you think.
    They just are.

    Or, to put it in it’s most basic form:
    To understand the concept a fact is to realize that you are not God.
    It’s a start.

    • Legatus,

      Renee Descartes put “facts” in their place when he said “cogito ergo sum” (usually translated, “I think, therefore I am”). For this simple statement to make sense actually requires some cogitation, as it is only your rant about what is “fact” that made me grasp the intended meaning of Descartes’ words, namely, that existence is a byproduct of consciousness.

      So – “facts”, like ourselves, do not exist except through our consciousness, and what we term “facts” are merely concepts that two or more conscious beings have agreed to consider “real”, “meaningful”, “accurate”, etc… Thus, while our consciousness, and hence, “existence”, may (with a bit of luck) last a lifetime, the existence of “facts” is much more tenuous.

      Your logic is incomprehensible when you accuse me of advocating the extermination of religious people. Would you accuse someone advocating the elimination of HIV or malaria of plotting the extermination of all of their victims?

  323. otropogo says:
    To my mind, the only justifiable discussion of “religion” is as a pathological process, with a view to eliminating it. Ditto for patriotism, tribalism, and nepotism.

    Sooo, define the problem away by insisting that all people believing in or even discussing “religion’ (as defined by you, or should I say, not defined by you, just labeled as such) are to be labeled insane and eliminated? Kinda like we eliminate all beliefs we do not agree with by labeling them ‘deniers’, right? “With a view to eliminating it” how, exactly? You have just labeled them insane, what, mental asylums, drugs, or something more extreme, say, a ‘final solution’? You did say “eliminating”, after all.

    Or perhaps you ‘merely’ want a milder solution, that computer program that will censor anyone’s speech. Who will program it, you? What if I insist on talking about that which you do not approve anyway, what, exactly, will you do?

    Will you allow that program to analyze your own “tautologies, verbiage, words of purely emotional import, and logical inconsistencies” and censor you as well? What would be left of this post if you do? Just that one sentence above would be eliminated, Lets try it:
    “My mind”, who cares, I have no religious morality, and care not if you are my countryman, or of my tribe or even my family, what do I care about that is on your mind? Logical inconsistency, you cannot say you want me to believe that and still say “my mind” and expect me to care.
    “To my mind”, “only justifiable discussion”, “is as a pathological process”, “with a view to eliminating it”, stated that these are purely personal beliefs (“my mind”), shown further by no evidence to back up these statements (“tautologies”, “a series of self-reinforcing statements that cannot be disproved because they depend on the assumption that they are already correct).
    They are also “words of purely emotional import”, being merely and purely personal bias (“my mind”), and rather bloodthirsty bias as well, calling anything you don’t like “pathological”, IE insane, and “eliminating it”.
    Sounds like your computer program will be carefully programmed to work only on people other than yourself.
    Odd that.

    So, eliminate “religion”, “patriotism, tribalism, and nepotism”, that means the person does not believe in any religious morality or any group larger then themselves, not even their own family. They are purely selfish, that is the result of what you say you want.

    Lets play a game, lets say that is exactly what you want. I enter your house. I am exactly what you say you want, I care about no one but myself. I have a gun, to make sure I get what I want, because that is all I care about. I wish to take all your stuff, because I care nothing for you. I also wish to amuse myself by doing painful and eventually fatal things to you and your family.
    Talk me out of it.

  324. Legatus says: January 14, 2013 at 9:10 pm
    “….wish to amuse myself by doing ….things to you and your family.
    Talk me out of it….”

    I fear you may have here cleverly and finally debated yourself up your own fundament, Legatus.

    No matter how I examine your latest thoughts, I can only reach the conclusion you have serious psychological problems.

  325. Legatus
    your first example does nothing to falsify my statement that ‘if something is true, it is provable’ and if what i stated was fact, then that fact cares not whether you know it and is true regardless of whether you agree with it or not. (for a distraction, see info at the asterisks)

    you said:
    “Conclusion, the statement that a thing is not true if we cannot prove it is shown false”
    of course, i never said anything like that. if you are implying that i did, please reread what i typed to correct your misapprehension.

    you are proclaiming an assertion is true and that it is unnecessary to know it that it may not be possible to know it much less prove its truth.
    it’s an interesting self parody to attempt a logical proof that logic is unnecessary to a proof that logic is necessary to believe something is true. that is, indeed, a nice distillation of the essence of religion, which is self contradiction.
    :)

    ***
    to measure the speed of rotation of the earth was probably accomplished at least 3000 years ago by means of widely spaced structures with a hole in the roof.
    at high noon of a certain day, the sun will send a perpendicular shaft through the hole, known by marking the floor underneath by a plumb bob lowered through the same hole.
    at the moment this occurs, a timer of any kind is started.
    one then watches for a flash of light from a mirror at a similar structure a known distance away which indicates that the sun has just cast a vertical shaft there.
    knowing the distance between the 2 structures and the time it took between the occurrence of solar perpendicularity at each site allows you to measure speed of earth’s rotation and also the circumference of the earth at that latitude.

  326. Legatus,
    You pretend that human feelings of love, compassion, companionship, etc. – in short, all of the positive emotions displayed by people, are the result of religious indoctrination. This shows an amazing ignorance of both anthropology and zoology.

    Why do you assume that murder, rape, pillage, sadism, etc., are the natural proclivities of humanity, rather than aberrations? Do gorillas, chimps, and bonobos, our closest biological relatives, have religion?

  327. otropogo – descartes was refuting the old hack ‘if an existentialist falls in the forest…’
    he was acknowledging that one’s existence is self evident by observing that if ‘there is an entity which does something, it presumes the existence of the entity that does it’

    otropogo asks legatus:
    “Why do you assume that murder, rape, pillage, sadism, etc., are the natural proclivities of humanity, rather than aberrations? ”
    legatus – the list is incomplete. include the pathological ism and the question answers itself.

  328. markx says:
    Legatus says: January 14, 2013 at 9:10 pm
    “….wish to amuse myself by doing ….things to you and your family.
    Talk me out of it….”
    I fear you may have here cleverly and finally debated yourself up your own fundament, Legatus.
    No matter how I examine your latest thoughts, I can only reach the conclusion you have serious psychological problems.

    The description of the ‘me’ included in that tale should have been a clue. It was a description of someone with no belief in religion, country, tribe, or family ties and obligations. It is a purely hypothetical construct designed to show a point. It is very obviously thus. Can you actually not see this, or are you simply using what you said here as an ad hominim argument (“he is evil, I don’t have to listen to him”) to get out of having to consider the problem? I will show another tale told by someone, a quite similar one, to show how this sort of hypothetical tale is done.

    To show the problems with relativism, the idea that morality is merely relative, this tale was told: Situation, you are a Jew, it is WWII Germany, you are hauled in front of me, I am an SS officer. Under the idea of relative morality, as described in the book every SS and Luftwaffe officer carries, it is the morality of my country to kill you, because you are a Jew. Talk me out of it.
    The idea of this tale is to present the believer in relative morality a problem that shows the fault of that concept. Under that concept, there is absolutely no argument to talk the SS officer out of killing you, since he already believes in relative morality, as you do, and the ethics of his culture says to kill you.

    In the tale I told, the same idea is used. It does not matter that most people who do not believe in religion or country etc do not invade peoples houses with mayhem in mind. What is the only important thing is that the person invading your house does not believe in these things, just as you do not believe in these things, and because of that, you have no argument about why the invader should not do any evil he desires. It is that fact that your and his beliefs leave you with no argument that will work that is the entire point of the tale.

    Now, do you suppose that the person in history who actually told this tale, who clearly was not an SS officer (he merely asked the other guy to imagine him as one, as I did here), and who told it well after WWII to a non Jew, while in a discussion about relative morality, “had serious psychological problems”? The person he told it to understood the hypothetical nature of the tale. In the tale I told you, that also is clear. It is first clear because you have already seen that I do believe in at least some of the things I describe the hypothetical ‘me’ as not believing in. It is further clear because I am obviously not actually invading your home, am I? The “lets play a game” should also have been a clue, don’t you think?

    Now that we have dealt with your effort to duck the issue by pretending that this obviously hypothetical tale is grounds to just call me crazy in a personal attack, can we get on with the question?
    Can you talk me out of it?
    “It’s wrong!” I have no concept of that, I have no morality from religion, or ethics of my culture since I have no culture, no country, no tribe, not even family ties to get it from. I do not even have the above “relativism” type of morality.
    I have no morality at all, where would I get it from if I believe in no group of people higher than myself? Under the idea no “religion”, “patriotism, tribalism, and nepotism”, that leaves the only place I can get any idea of morality from is what I want right now, and only that.

    Actual examples:
    Ancient China, every couple of hundred years, the old empire would crumble under the weight of bureaucracy and associated corruption, what would always follow is a time of banditry, as people who no longer believed in any group other than themselves did whatever they wanted to enrich themselves.
    The UN, they believe in no country or patriotism (or say they don’t), result is that many of them have turned to using the power of the UN to personally enrich themselves (CAGW having been found to be the most promising avenue for that).

    I have now carefully explained all this such that you have no excuse to not understand it. Do you understand it now. Can you answer it?

  329. otropogo says:
    Legatus,
    You pretend that human feelings of love, compassion, companionship, etc. – in short, all of the positive emotions displayed by people, are the result of religious indoctrination. This shows an amazing ignorance of both anthropology and zoology.
    Why do you assume that murder, rape, pillage, sadism, etc., are the natural proclivities of humanity, rather than aberrations? Do gorillas, chimps, and bonobos, our closest biological relatives, have religion.

    *Ehem* you also said ” patriotism, tribalism, and nepotism” did you not? Do you learn any morality from your family (“nepotism”), your tribe (people you associated with at least), your whole culture (“patriotism”)? When society break down, many people throughout history have turned to banditry. Not all, of course, but far far more than before, and more would if they did not have the remnants of morality taught by their former culture (and usually religion). My (obviously) hypothetical tale was merely to demonstrate that there is no reason to even have any morality at all if you do not believe in “religion”, ” patriotism, tribalism, and nepotism” (culture and family). See my post to markx for more explanation of exactly what I meant and hoped to accomplish by that tale. I am not saying that people who do not believe in these things will lack *all* morality, merely that they will have no reason to have any (and thus history shows that many will lose all morality). I am showing you the consequences of your belief.

    Another consequence of your belief is government corruption. This is best seen in the UN, where some say they are now above patriotism, and that tends to manifest as massive corruption (and nepotism). Why work for the benefit of your people when they are not your people? The world is simply too big to care about, so they care about themselves. If this were not true, we would not have this whole UN led global warming scare, would we? Acquire and spend 59% of the worlds GDP to stop something they know is not happening? They know (if they have two working braincells) that the amount of money they say they ‘need’ would break the world economy and doom millions or even billions to death. Do they care? Why should they? An example if ever there was one.

    “gorillas, chimps, and bonobos are non sentient, and cannot be compared to us. They do have tribalism and probably nepotism. Tribe may sometimes compete and even go to war (skirmish at least) with other tribes http://wildlifenews.co.uk/2010/tribal-wars-of-chimpanzees/ . It appears you may have to downgrade your ideas about how wonderfully moral chimps are.
    Humans, however, are far better at war, and far more ruthless http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/05/never_give_up_your_weapons.html (a tale of ancient warfare and ruthlessness). Humans, after all, are sentient, and thus not like chimps. No chimp ever did this, despite their tribalism. Chimps do not even know what morality is, and thus cannot decide to be totally immoral, as here.

  330. Legatus:
    your main premise is stated “Under the idea no “religion”, “patriotism, tribalism, and nepotism”, that leaves the only place I can get any idea of morality from is what I want right now, and only that.”
    that’s a frightening confession.
    your ‘tale’ is typically flawed as well:
    “Under that concept, there is absolutely no argument to talk the SS officer out of killing you”
    the premise is that there is no alternative outcome. where there is no alternative, morality can not be an issue because morality is the science of choosing among alternatives.
    why do i totally believe that you surround yourself with people who are paralyzed by paradoxical anecdotes?

  331. Legatus
    your first example does nothing to falsify my statement that ‘if something is true, it is provable’ and if what i stated was fact, then that fact cares not whether you know it and is true regardless of whether you agree with it or not. (for a distraction, see info at the asterisks)

    First, according to the scientific method, a thing may be true even if unprovable as such. According to that method, true things are not actually ever completely provable, although untrue things are completely disprovable. See here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYPapE-3FRw Thus, according to Richard Fenman and the scientific method (as believed by all other scientists as well), your above statement is false. Oh, you can get close, but total proof will elude you, someone will always come along later and show some problem with your proof. Just as Isaac Newton and his proof of gravity, now shown to be less-than-true (see the video).

    What I am saying is that a thing may be a fact even if you currently cannot prove it. Let me put it this way:
    then, I’m using a definition of logic that distinguishes it from all else.
    logic is the art of non-contradictory identification, for which the only axiom is that a thing is itself.
    this is an axiom and a definition known as the law of identity.
    truth, is any proposition, which, in the given context, can not be contradicted.

    Note, I am defining fact as a truth as above with the given context being all that is, this entire universe plus whatever may be outside this universe. Whatever things are true about all that is are true, regardless of whether we can prove them or not. A fact just is. I call this set of factual things “reality”. It is that which is true whether I like it or not.
    I am using the word ‘fact’ rather than the word truth, so as to save the word truth for things we know about, know are true, as distinct from things that are true even though we may not know about them (the set ‘facts’ is thus larger than the set ‘truth’).
    Otropogo seems to think that things are only facts if he agrees they are. He states “that existence is a byproduct of consciousness”. However, things outside of himself exist regardless of his consciousness, example, they exist while he sleeps and is not conscious, and existed before he was born, thus before his consciousness, In fact, many things existed before anyone was born, before there was any conciseness (of this universes sentient beings). The only way anything that exists can be a byproduct of consciousness is if that consciousness has the power to create reality, solid, physical reality, simply by being conscious of it, by willing it. In short, for Otropogo to be correct, Otropogo must be God (obviously false, markx is God).

    I look at Descartes a bit differently, because I take what he started to it’s logical conclusion:
    I think, therefor I am.
    (He stopped here because he had locked himself in a hotel room and thus did not see anyone or much of anything except himself.)
    You think something different, therefore, you are to (You need to get out more Descartes).
    You think something I never thought of, or don’t like, etc, clearly, you are not me, not a figment of my imagination.
    There are also things out there I don’t like, if it were all just my imagination, they would be different.
    (I would have the gold and virgins, not markx.)
    My conclusion, the universe exists, reality, what a concept (really, get out more, live a little).
    I conclude this because exactly 100% of the evidence supports it (so get out there and gather some evidence, dude).
    Therefore what I know, or believe, does not change the universe, does not change what are, or are not, facts.

    As for this:
    you are proclaiming an assertion is true and that it is unnecessary to know it that it may not be possible to know it much less prove its truth.
    it’s an interesting self parody to attempt a logical proof that logic is unnecessary to a proof that logic is necessary to believe something is true. that is, indeed, a nice distillation of the essence of religion, which is self contradiction. :)

    I think you were having a little too much fun.
    I’m sure it was sinful.
    I’m not sure in exactly what religion it is considered sinful, but I’m sure there must be one, somewhere…

    About the only thing I disagree with (pretty much the only thing that makes sense) is this a nice distillation of the essence of religion, which is self contradiction
    This, distilling, IE lumping together, the essence of religion, assumes all religions are the same, that they are not based on proof. Well, most of them are not, but not all of them. Christianity, alone I believe, states that it is based entirely on fact (even stating that if it was not, it would be untrue), and states what those facts are, facts that they saw then, plus facts that can be seen now (including the entire universe, IE the set of all facts we can see). Other religions go on what this thread is calling the ‘religious mindset’, IE belief that is not fact based. For that matter, many people who call themselves Christians probably don’t know the extent that it claims to be fact based (in the original writings), and have come to reject physical facts of the universe in favor of ‘faith’, not knowing that their own writing states that they should not do so. Their ignorance does not change what that writing says, however. Thus it is not the fault of the religion itself that many of them have a ‘religious mindset’ when it comes to truth, since their own religion does not ask them to, quite the opposite. Thus you cannot just lump Christianity (as originally given) with ‘religion’.
    This difference from all other religions may be why Christianity turned out to be such fertile ground for the scientific method. This was especially true when protestantism came along, with it’s insistence on only believing what was written (“show me”), which natural translated into doing the same for the material universe. They could also be called ‘skeptics’, since they no longer just took the priests word for it, but insisted on checking it out for themselves.

    ****************
    Great idea, few teeny problems:
    Lack of an accurate enough timer, for that matter, no clocks of any kind.
    Inability to signal a great enough distance to make up for the lack of accuracy of their timers.

    They were, hover, able to do something sorta like this to determine that the earth was spherical and how large it was, later partially remembered by Columbus, but having lost the measurement part, he though he had landed in India, much to the dismay of the ‘Indians’ (Native Americans).
    Throughout most of history, however, most people in most places did not know, and could not prove, whether the sun went around the earth (most thought so) or what. The earth still went around the sun, however, regardless of what they thought. That is called “reality’, that is called ‘a fact’.

  332. Legatus:
    your main premise is stated “Under the idea no “religion”, “patriotism, tribalism, and nepotism”, that leaves the only place I can get any idea of morality from is what I want right now, and only that.”
    that’s a frightening confession.

    Yes, it is.
    So?

    Note again, the above is true IF I believe in none of those things, I do, so the above is not true for me, I am not claiming that that is true about me personally. I point out again that I am merely stating what would be true if I did believe that way, to show what would logically follow. I point that out because you use the word “confession”, despite my obvious hypothetical intent, as if I were confessing it of myself. If I were, would I not be agreeing with otropogo instead?

    What obviously follows is, if I do not believe in anyone’s morality outside my own, no God, no country, no tribe, no family, then who does that leave? Only me.

    your ‘tale’ is typically flawed as well:
    “Under that concept, there is absolutely no argument to talk the SS officer out of killing you”
    the premise is that there is no alternative outcome. where there is no alternative, morality can not be an issue because morality is the science of choosing among alternatives.
    why do i totally believe that you surround yourself with people who are paralyzed by paradoxical anecdotes?

    There is, indeed a clear and plain alternative:
    The SS officer can choose not to do what his culture demands, basically, he would have to abandon his own morality that he had been taught in his culture. This is clearly and obviously the alternative. Or are you saying that it was not in the culture of SS officers to catch and kill Jews? One wonders why they did it then, and so many of them, and to so many Jews.
    So there is a plain, obvious alternative, how then, is this paradoxical?

    BTW, in the original story, the guy playing the SS officer then stated “I am a Christian, so I will let you go”, thus taking the above alternative.
    If he was not, under the morality all of them were taught to believe, he would drag the Jew away and kill him, and no argument from the point of view of relative morality would be valid and could change his mind. History shows this to be true, about 6 million times.

  333. otropogo says:
    Your logic is incomprehensible when you accuse me of advocating the extermination of religious people. Would you accuse someone advocating the elimination of HIV or malaria of plotting the extermination of all of their victims?

    Diseases are not thoughts.

    I am pointing out the logical consequence of exactly what you said. First, “pathological”, that is, all believers in any religion (or nation, tribe, family) are judged by you to be insane, sick, probably dangerous. So, how are they to be ‘treated’, exactly, hmm? Is this to be done involuntarily, by force, and if not, it won’t be very effective, will it? Do you want it to be effective? How far are you willing to go to assure that it is? You want, after all, to “eliminate”, wipe out completely, you obviously will have to go pretty far to do that, right?

    And this computer program, exactly what is it supposed to do about speech? You said “analyze it”, what if it find any of these things, what, exactly,. will it do? Who will program it, and decide what, exactly, count as “tautologies, verbiage, words of purely emotional import, and logical inconsistencies”? Might the programmers bias count things that do not actually follow those, but that the programmer does not like, as being those? Will the programmer count all religion of any kind, even if it does none of those, as those? Who decides?

    Ideas have consequences.

    • Legatus says:
      January 16, 2013 at 12:08 am

      otropogo says:
      Your logic is incomprehensible when you accuse me of advocating the extermination of religious people. Would you accuse someone advocating the elimination of HIV or malaria of plotting the extermination of all of their victims?

      Legatus says:
      “Diseases are not thoughts.

      I am pointing out the logical consequence of exactly what you said. First, “pathological”, that is, all believers in any religion (or nation, tribe, family) are judged by you to be insane, sick, probably dangerous. So, how are they to be ‘treated’, exactly, hmm? Is this to be done involuntarily, by force, and if not, it won’t be very effective, will it? Do you want it to be effective? How far are you willing to go to assure that it is? You want, after all, to “eliminate”, wipe out completely, you obviously will have to go pretty far to do that, right?”

      Legatus,

      Your need to put words into your opponent’s mouth in order to “debate” him underscores the feebleness of your argument. Simply saying something is “a logical consequence” doesn’t make it so. You seem to have a need to work yourself into a self-righteous lather. The simple answer to your rant above is “No, wrong!”

      >>>>>

      Legatus says:

      “And this computer program, exactly what is it supposed to do about speech? You said “analyze it”, what if it find any of these things, what, exactly,. will it do? Who will program it, and decide what, exactly, count as “tautologies, verbiage, words of purely emotional import, and logical inconsistencies”? Might the programmers bias count things that do not actually follow those, but that the programmer does not like, as being those? Will the programmer count all religion of any kind, even if it does none of those, as those? Who decides?”
      >>>>>>>
      As for the computer program I proposed – the only role I suggested for it is an analytical one, that would note, and perhaps rank, content that is contradictory, illogical, and meaningless, and/or lacking any function except to arouse emotion.

      For example, when a news broadcast says, “a brutal murder was committed”…, the program might flag the word “brutal”, as simply inflammatory. Is there such a thing as a non-brutal murder? Has anyone ever used the expression ” a gentle murder”?

      It could even go farther, pointing out that “murder” is a legal concept, and a category of crime decided by a court of law, not a cop or a journalist. The proper description would be a “suspected homicide”.

      We often hear that a fugitive “may be armed and dangerous”, seldom if ever “armed but not dangerous”, often armed with a “high calibre firearm”, never with a “low calibre” or “rimfire” firearm.

      Such a program would be particularly helpful to people accused of “Star Chamber” crimes (ie. those in which the public never gets to review the evidence), most notably, those relating to “child pornography”.

      It could well start with the term “child pornography” itself, pointing out that in most jurisdictions, the law sanctions activities that involve neither what is commonly called “pornography”, nor what are commonly considered “children”.

      It would underscore the inconsistency of criminalizing this one inherently harmless activity on the grounds that it could lead to harm by inspiring imitation (ie. causing the consumers or producers of child pornography to sexually abuse children), while failing to apply the same logic to the ubiquitous production, distribution, and consumption of materials depicting torture, rape, and murder .

      It would save people a lot of wasted time and effort by pointing out the contradictions in lengthy cover-ups such as The 9/11 Commission Report.

      The program would have to be open source, of course, so that anyone could review and critique the code. It could make its findings known by ratings on various scales, by means of colour-coded highlighting of text, by producing footnotes to selected passages, etc.

      A common reaction to the expression of concerns such as the above is “I don’t care, it doesn’t concerns me, because I’m not a murderer, pedophile, terrorist, etc.”

      Even if that were true (please note that the Star Chamber movement is busy finding new ways to make anyone they choose a pedophile or a terrorist by simple electronic sleight of hand), the stupifying effect of passively absorbing and repeating illogic must have consequences for both our intellectual and emotional health and ultimately, for our ability to survive as a species with the powerful technology at our disposal.

      I don’t propose that such a program should be government sponsored, quite the contrary. Religious organizations and other associations of zealots could produce their own version of such a non-destructive, open-source, censorship program – but I would be very surprised, since its code would inevitably reveal the illogical foundation of their creeds. On a more positive note, I can imagine legitimate (ie. BS-targeting) competing versions – the more the merrier!

      >>>>>

  334. i’m not sure why it should emit a deluge of text to contradict yourself unless you imagine excessive verbiage is a smoke screen that obscures self evident falsehood.
    i agree that your statement: {“there is absolutely no argument to talk the SS officer out of killing you” and ” there is a plain, obvious alternative”} is not paradoxical.
    i was simply being polite. it is the epitome of speciousness.
    such elaborate pretense is to be expected of one who has yet to discover moral principles for himself.
    ———————————————————————-
    your brain may get some stretch marks from this- fair warning. you said:
    “Great idea, few teeny problems:
    Lack of an accurate enough timer, for that matter, no clocks of any kind.
    Inability to signal a great enough distance to make up for the lack of accuracy of their timers.”

    (i will expect you to hide behind subjectivity, but here are some objective facts)
    there are clocks of all kinds. a timer that can divide a solar day into many thousands of divisions can be made with nothing more than a leaky container.
    speed of light communication is easily done with any polished surface over a distance exceeding 20 miles (between elevated locations such as ziggurats on a plain) by solar reflection.

    on the equator:
    between points 20 miles apart, solar perpendicularity is separated by @69.364 seconds.
    24 hours divided by 69.364 seconds gives @1,245.6 twenty mile arcs around the globe = @24,912 miles global circumference and rotational speed of @1,038 miles per hour.
    you can compute potential error. the point is that these observations and deductions were never impossible to any thinking man.
    think about it. you’ll do ever so much less pointless typing and save so much embarassment.

  335. otropogo-
    i think creation of the database for the program you describe was once the purpose of dictionaries prior to the post normal era.
    definitions are explicit propositions and any propositions are susceptible to examination by the laws of logic.
    i think what you were proposing begins with a dictionary in which the words have been defined in truly non-contradictory fashion such that any self contradictory proposition be obviously evident.
    it’s one of the things i hope J.W. will consider working on whenever he may activate his site.

  336. gnomish says:
    legatus-
    your callous and sophomoric anecdotes are entirely contrived and insulting.

    http://www.concordatwatch.eu/showkb.php?org_id=858&kb_header_id=752&order=kb_rank%20ASC&kb_id=1211

    “callous and sophomoric…entirely contrived and insulting” A purely personal attack, purely emotional and thus illogical, and thus represents a ‘religious’ mindset in that it does not represent a logical and thus scientific or fact based one (atheism is also a religion, it, after all, has a very definite religious belief, in fact, it is recognized as a religion by the United States Supreme Court).
    your… anecdotes , I was quite clear that ‘my’ anecdote about the SS officer and the Jew was something from a debate about relative morality, a debate which happened between two people that are other than myself. It are not mine, you know that.
    “contrived”, well, it was a fictional, hypothetical situation brought up in a debate, to illustrate a moral point, thus “contrived” is a given and irrelevant.
    However, while the actual story was fictional, it was based on very solid facts, as you well know. SS officers hauled in Jews every day (and lots of other people), they were indeed required to carry a book advocating moral relativism, and they all had the moral choice, do I kill this Jew or let them go? Thus, the word “entirely” is obviously untrue. Do you deny history? It should be noted that my own hypothetical, fictional tale is also based solidly on actual home invasions reported in the news, which ended exactly as I described.
    Who, exactly, is it “insulting” of, SS officers, who? Are you, somehow, personally insulted by a hypothetical tale told by someone else which does not mention you are anyone associated with you and if so, why?

    The link you provided appears to be entirely off topic, and appears to be an attempt to provide ‘guilt by association’, an illogic. It does not even succeed at that. The actual text of this concord is an attempt to NOT be associated with the activities of that German government (it exempts the church leaders from being drafted into it as government officers, for example), while also preserving the lives of said church leaders and allowing them to continue their activities. Activities such as providing moral leadership to, say, SS officers, so as to give them a new moral choice other than the one demanded by their own leaders.

  337. gnomish says:
    January 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    otropogo-
    i think creation of the database for the program you describe was once the purpose of dictionaries prior to the post normal era.
    definitions are explicit propositions and any propositions are susceptible to examination by the laws of logic.
    i think what you were proposing begins with a dictionary in which the words have been defined in truly non-contradictory fashion such that any self contradictory proposition be obviously evident.

    gnomish,

    My understanding is that English dictionaries began by being prescriptive, and have more and more become simply descriptive, but never, to my knowledge, analytical. That is understandable, given the difficulty of indexing complex content alphabetically on paper.

    While your concept of a dictionary that groups words by contradictoriness is a good one, it is only a small, albeit essential, element of the program I imagine. Even so, it would be a lot more radical and difficult to effect than is evident at first glance. And, of course, it would be too cumbersome to replace ordinary dictionaries, unless it were used as a plug in for e-mail clients or word processors, like a spell checker.

    The only thing simple about it would be selecting an appropriate name :
    CONTRADICTIONARY

  338. noncontradictionary i like!
    prescriptive vs descriptive was precisely the point of failure. nicely stated.
    as words are the tools of cognition, how in the world can analysis be absent? it is the origin and function of words. what are we doing, here if not.analyzing?
    I was not suggesting to group words by contradictoriness but to groom the definitions to eliminate ambiguity (make them proper definitions) and make self contradictory propositions impossible to introduce by accident.
    if you agree it would be essential, then looking for reasons not to do it will be the means by which something essential is never done. but i think it is less onerous than you may imagine, having done some of the most contentious ones already. It really isn’t hard to make precise cognitive tools when you have precise cognitive tools.

  339. legatus, since you asked-
    while the term ‘denier’ is acknowledged as offensive for its connotations, there is something much worse.
    you caricature the tragedy and use it for rhetorical games – poorly, i might add.
    your comments are stupid and in bad taste.

  340. gnomish says:
    January 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    “noncontradictionary i like!”

    NONCONTRADICTIONARY is actually better from a logical perspective than CONTRADICTIONARY, but probably a bit long for marketability. But maybe I misunderstand you again, if you’re thinking of a master dictionary that also points out contradictions.

    My idea of a “contradictionary” was much more modest – that of a sort of thesaurus of word combinations and usages that make no sense.

    As for the larger program I described initially – that would require some major artificial intelligence, not just a database. But perhaps the best way to start on that would be by means of an AI project that sought merely to point out illogical usages in English. A simple example more and more frequently heard – “one of the only”. Have we become so mathematically challenged that we can’t distinguish between one and several? I don’t think so. It’s just that speaking without thinking has become a socially acceptable habit.


    “if you agree it would be essential, then looking for reasons not to do it will be the means by which something essential is never done. ”

    My point is more pragmatic. I believe that people have first to be made aware of the issue, and preferably in the most convenient, agreeable fashion possible. Given that we’re are talking about making people aware of the way they talk nonsense routinely, that is not an easy task.

    I believe that if a person can be persuaded to think logically about what they read, hear, and say, it will become a compelling habit.

    The big problem with language is that it performs a variety of functions, of which the communication of coherent, consistent concepts is by far the most infrequent usage. And that the most common uses of language are actually incompatible with logical thought, yet employ much the same vocabulary. At least, this is the situation in English and other major European languages with which I’m familiar.

  341. otropogo-
    i’ll argue this proposition: given a proper dictionary, mere grammatical parsing will suffice to identify the propositions and extract and specify all logical implications from any statement. that’s the major part of ‘critical thinking’- extracting the meaning. it would be up to the writer to determine if he’s satisfied that what he said says what he meant.

    “. I believe that people have first to be made aware of the issue, and preferably in the most convenient, agreeable fashion possible. ”
    how many? imo, innovations and discoveries are characterized by individual efforts rather than collective or consensus efforts. anyway, waiting for everyone to catch up to an innovation presupposes the innovation be present. this is probably the explanation for why i’ve worked on this project alone and suggests that it won’t get done unless i do it. in theory, it might go faster with collaborators. ‘might’ is subjunctive. i guess it seems daunting to transsubstantiate a creation of the imagination into realtime meatspace – but nobody seems to find it daunting to make use of it once it’s been done. it’s only difficult while it’s not done.

    of course, why would anybody want to struggle to deliver it to a market that doesn’t want or doesn’t deserve it? if an idea is good only for idle chat, then that’s how it will be used.

    • gnomish says:
      January 18, 2013 at 10:55 am

      “otropogo-
      ..

      “. I believe that people have first to be made aware of the issue, and preferably in the most convenient, agreeable fashion possible. ”

      how many? imo, innovations and discoveries are characterized by individual efforts rather than collective or consensus efforts.”

      Enough to keep our society running, preferably enough to make progress, at least enough to keep us from going over a non-survivable cliff.

      As for individual efforts – they are certainly essential, and we need to facilitate individual initiative and critical input. However, look around – are the handful of operating systems that run almost all of the computers in the world today really the product of any single mind? What we need is an intelligent collective that welcomes orginal thought instead of excluding it. A century or so ago, a brilliant mind could secure one a professorship at a prestigeous university, without so much as a bachelor’s degree under one’s belt. That’s unheard of now, and even with degrees, brilliant people frequently have trouble getting any sort of challenging job.

      Acclaim in all fields is mostly determined by marketing genius, not substance.

  342. Christopher, for shame! It’s “good night”, not goodnight. I hope you aren’t one of those who says ‘everyday’ instead of ‘every day’! There are logical distinctions to be upheld, here.

  343. gnomish;
    you remind me of a statement by a Finnish speaker on a blog once: “I didn’t quite mean what I meant to say.” I wonder yet if there is any way to understand that.

  344. yes, Brian:
    ‘i did not mean what i did mean’ is a self contradiction.

    it’s sort of a past tense recapitulation of ‘what i say is a lie’ – which is the classic false proposition that requires a simple enlargement of context, per godel, to render it fully comprehensible.

    a self contradiction is a false proposition.
    that’s the meaning of that. it can not be true.

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