Extremists More Willing To Share Their Opinions, Study Finds

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

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


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

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

Kimberly Rios Morrison

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

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

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

One example is views about alcohol use among college students.

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Henry chance
October 21, 2009 10:42 am

There are so many topicswithin this topic.
First off, Algore. He is “expressive” and in religious terms could be called a zealot.
His arguments are 3% facts and 97% emotional. He is afraid of discussion but favors unquestioned claims. He uses visual aids (power point and hocky sticks with smoldering fires)
In true science there is an emotional ambivalence. “It is what it is”
Within all of this is man’s hunger or need for affirmation.
A secondary need is the need for vindication and excercise of vendettas on sources that disrupt affirmation.
I watch Algore with the sound turned off and see his making stuff up by studying his movements and expressions.
The i can listen without watching and hear him lay a bit one on us by raising his voice.

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 10:45 am

Wait. I know where this is going. Bloggers are extremists!
I suggest that “moderates” are merely comfortable. Another Great Depression will change that.

coaldust
October 21, 2009 10:46 am

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

Michael
October 21, 2009 10:48 am

Why do so many articles about climate change, global warming, global cooling fail to even use the words “Man-Made” as a pre-qualifier when speaking on these subjects?
Do they all assume that every one is to understand all climate is man-made? Or is it a subliminal suggestion to the audience to get them to believe that climate is their fault? Sounds like a sinister operation to me.

jack mosevich
October 21, 2009 10:48 am

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

October 21, 2009 10:53 am

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

Erick Barnes
October 21, 2009 10:54 am

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

October 21, 2009 10:59 am

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

Pragmatic
October 21, 2009 11:00 am

Some of these extremist views are supported by the apparent complicity of knowledge. But knowledge is highly managed these days. Witness the absurd growth of wikipeodia-related results from google searches: 96% of wiki articles rank in the Google top ten.
While not all wiki-stuff is extreme or biased – it is discomforting to see any one information resource commandeer the market.
So, the absolutely brilliant guys at Distilled Co. have built a plugin for Firefox users that corrects the issue:
http://www.distilled.co.uk/blog/seo/search-google-without-wikipedia-a-firefox-search-plugin/
It tempers the pool from which extremists drink.
http://www.distilled.co.uk/blog/seo/search-google-without-wikipedia-a-firefox-search-plugin/

Ron de Haan
October 21, 2009 11:02 am
michel
October 21, 2009 11:02 am

Yes. I have noticed an increasing bitterness in the American political debate over recent years, and have worried about it and about where it is going and where it is taking the country. In microcosm it occurs in the climate wars, where you see at one ludicrous extreme the posters on tamino or RC – but one is sorry to say, you also find on this blog crazed rants about world government conspiracies and similar nuttery of a similar tone.
Yes, of course, you do not think they are crazed rants, they are just sober statements of the danger facing us from out of control left wing liberal conspirators…
Aristotle was very wise, about this as about many other things. Moderation is the key, restraint in debate, moderation in drawing conclusions from premises, focus on the facts and the argument, not the people. In the end, the science will tell the tale. But it can take a long time and be very expensive in human and financial terms before it finally becomes impossible to deny.
We should all consider, before posting, whether we are contributing to a moderate and factually oriented debate or not, and if we are not sure, refrain. Select All, followed by Delete, is sometimes one’s most valuable contribution. I know I use it, perhaps less often than I should, but I do use it, and commend it to others.

Dave
October 21, 2009 11:07 am

Isn’t it more accurate to say that people who THINK they’re in the majority are more willing to voice their opinions? “Extremist” is such a relative subjective term it is practically useless in behavioral studies. You could be an “extremist” yourself and may not even know it.
I don’t think vocalism is the problem in politics. If anything, the real problem is why people in general are not more vocal with respect to politics, to better reflect the public opinion to their representatives.
But that’s just my two cents.

October 21, 2009 11:08 am

Anthony,
It is the same in Grass Valley and Nevada City, it is always the same usual suspects that show up at City Council meetings. After attending several meetings, one can almost predict what is going come out of their mouths. The silent majority is too busy working, taking care of senior family members and helping the kids with home work. Most of the complainers are over 55 and retired, with empty nests, and too much time on their hands. Thus, we get skewed votes toward the liberal point of view, as the council thinks these 10-15 radicals represent the majority view.
Now that the City and County are streaming video of public meetings, the whining is easier to take with a glass of wine in hand. Unfortunately this new technology removes even more of the silent majority from the speaker podium.

Eric (skeptic)
October 21, 2009 11:16 am

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

October 21, 2009 11:25 am

The voices in my head tell me I’m not extreme…
Michel, Good post (11:02:14). Moderation is indeed the key.

October 21, 2009 11:42 am

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

October 21, 2009 11:42 am

“Leif Svalgaard (10:59:26) :
You see the same phenomenon even on this blog where very vocal pushers of pseudo-science are trying again and again to peddle their strange [at at times, extreme] views under the guise that Mainstream Science is faltering and that therefore any hare-brained scheme must be valid. Science literacy in times like today is more important than ever and from reading these weird posts we often see here, one might get the impression that it is lower than it [hopefully] is.”
WOW !!!!!
You nailed that one !!!

Paul
October 21, 2009 11:45 am

Seems like they have a keen sense of the obvious. Was it necessary for there to be a study about this?
I would say yes! Just like when it appeared obvious to me that AGW was real since everyone said the science was agreed, the debate was over – research was needed to prove that.

October 21, 2009 11:45 am

I appreciate Wattsupwiththat bringing attention to politics that happen at a local level. It is good to keep involved in your city, county, and state affairs. If more people did that, there might be more leadership coming from the citizenry and less coming from Ivy Halls.
It is very true that those who are gainfully employed and running a household are not usually the people who will constantly show up at protests and townhalls. So the media and local politicians have a skewed view.

October 21, 2009 11:47 am

It could also be that people that understand that AGW is a hoax, like scientists, engineers and mathematics types, may actually know it’s a hoax. But most of those people I know, I sure would say are extreme or outspoken.
It may just be that suppressing the opposing view has the effect of amplifying when curious people want to know what it’s all about.
The best science is open science.

October 21, 2009 11:52 am

Leif Svalgaard (10:59:26) : The problem is…that our brains are electrical too
Sometimes unipolar, other bi-polar. 🙂

hotrod
October 21, 2009 12:03 pm

The obvious corollary that comes out of this, is that it is important for the moderate “skeptical community” to make an effort to be heard. That is how you break the “group think mentality” that drives the more extreme members of a group to slowly creep to more and more extreme positions.
This was the conclusion of research into aircraft accidents that turned out to be caused by flight engineers or second officers that were reluctant to voice their opinion that things were not going well. Many times the perceived stature and “command presence” of the captain/pilot kept them from speaking up even though they were seeing things in their instruments that indicated a problem was developing.
As a result to some aircraft companies teaching classes to their flight crews about the sinister effects of group think and encouraging them to speak up.
In the military, there are stories of senior officers recognizing this effect, making explicit statements to subordinates that there was “no rank in this airplane” if you see something wrong speak up.
That is why blogs like RC are so dangerous. If a person only draws their view of the world from highly moderated sources that actively suppress opposing views, it reinforces that feeling that “everyone feels like I do”, and the obvious conclusion from that world view, that anyone that does not agree with my/our world view is a crack pot and has no value.
That is why I value this blog so highly, as not only do I get to hear from all sorts of people, but it is useful to understand the mind set of the person with an opposing view even if you do not agree with him. The more you understand his/her world view the easier it is to frame an argument that is constructive. There are some folks here that obviously support AGW, but still debate the subject in a logic and reasonable manner. That helps me to understand that (as is always the case) the opposing view many times includes valid points.
When I was in high school debate the proposition we were debating was whether or not the U.S. should engage in military assistance programs. Over time we found that if you looked hard enough you could find supporting comments from both affirmative and negative positions, often from the same “authorities”.
Over time the debaters learned that there are no black and white issues they all have complex aspects and no single “correct” answer, only a series of bits of factual data, seasoned with value judgments. Often placing you in the position of figuring out in your world view which is the more important moral issue to defend.
Both sides ended up making choices of evil. A good example in this case is our recent discussion of DDT and the consequences of its ban for mosquito control.
Many of the people who proposed that ban, honestly and earnestly believed they were doing the right thing, and were protecting the world from a serious chemical threat. They simply tuned out or avoided facing the obvious collateral damage of millions of preventable deaths because they did not substitute an alternate, equally effective method of suppression to malaria as they banned DDT.
Like global warming it was the highly simplified, solution for a poorly understood complex problem that led to bad decision making. As medical doctors know full well, sometimes the best action is to take no action at all.
The medical dictum “first do no harm” would serve our world well if it was actively taught in engineering classes and science classes as well as medical schools.
You can’t “fix” a problem you don’t understand, and you are highly likely to make it worse by acting on faulty data, especially if you are unwilling to accept that your proposed solution might be wrong and are willing admit it is not having the results you expect and retreat in the face of further info.
Sometimes I see similarities between compulsive gamblers and the radical AGW proponents, they are so sure that their “system” will work they just keep doubling down even though it is obvious that they are losing their stake and should just walk away.
Larry

CodeTech
October 21, 2009 12:03 pm

Yeah, I also was wondering who thought this was “new”. Apparently those researchers have rarely paid any attention to what is going on around them before.
Most people WANT to belong, have a group identification, be seen as “cool”, and the way to do that is to adopt the mindset of those around you. It is unfortunate that the ones who are most visible (and thus, most emulated) are the vocal extremes.
I suspect this has been accelerating at a comical rate since the 60s.
Meanwhile, others deliberately lead the herd in the direction that most benefits them. This explains fashions, pop music, etc. and another topic near and dear to our hearts here.

SteveSadlov
October 21, 2009 12:05 pm

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

Al Gore's Holy Hologram
October 21, 2009 12:05 pm

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

October 21, 2009 12:13 pm

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

Duncan
October 21, 2009 12:21 pm

This is a study about… college binge drinking?
Sorry, my BS detector just blew a hole through my monitor.
I wonder whether we’d all jump to acceptance of the study, if it didn’t make us feel superior to those deluded extremists.
Because, of course, I’m not an extremist. And neither are you. It’s those other guys. Who hang out at that other place. They’re the extremists. Poor deluded fools.

Gary
October 21, 2009 12:21 pm

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

October 21, 2009 12:21 pm

“the empty can rattles the most” (Metallica)
Mrs assistant professor has nice smile. What about a guest post here?

MrAce
October 21, 2009 12:23 pm

Adolfo Giurfa (11:42:37) :
Thanks to blogs every extrimist has an extrimist blog to go where he/she feels free to express his/her opinion.
But Global Warming is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of science.

Admin
October 21, 2009 12:37 pm

Or does this study show that extroverts in college may drink more and shy people drink less?
Gotta go with Duncan on this one. How this gets extrapolated to politics is beyond a stretch.

Oliver Ramsay
October 21, 2009 12:38 pm

Moderation in all things.
Including Moderation.

anna v
October 21, 2009 12:38 pm

How about this extremist?
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iO4WWB8dmaqwd0olzhdiXnpGOBxQD9BCATV80
By BEN JUDAH (AP) – 5 days ago
MOSCOW — Moscow’s mercurial mayor, famous for seeding clouds to prevent rain during parades, is escalating his war on weather with plans to slash this year’s snowfall by one-fifth in the Russian capital.
Mayor Yuri Luzhkov’s office will marshal the Russian air force and air defense systems to intercept advancing storm fronts and hit them with dry ice and silver iodine particles, city officials reportedly said this week.
The idea is to reduce the amount of snow that clogs Moscow’s frigid streets and costs the city millions to manage.

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

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 12:39 pm

“You see the same phenomenon even on this blog where very vocal pushers of pseudo-science are trying again and again to peddle their strange [at at times, extreme] views under the guise that Mainstream Science is faltering and that therefore any hare-brained scheme must be valid.” Leif
Well, if science minded its own business and stuck to the scientific method it would not have discredited itself. Perhaps more self policing is called for. “Science” is do for a pruning since it has overstepped its bounds.
I know no one who denies quantum physics despite how weird it is. But when science pushes macro-evolution despite probability theory then it has overstepped its bounds. Scientists are just as fallible as other humans are outside their field.
Bring on the cold! Reality has a way of asserting itself.

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 12:45 pm

“Because, of course, I’m not an extremist. And neither are you. It’s those other guys. Who hang out at that other place. They’re the extremists. Poor deluded fools.” Duncan
Congratulations on completing Critical Thinking 101. Yes, I do judge they are deluded and I am not. That’s life.
How do I arrive at that conclusion?
It would take all day.

John F. Hultquist
October 21, 2009 12:45 pm

Both good comments. I also think there are extreme ends to the “science literacy” issue Leif brings up and the many “stupendously stupid” quotes now circulating indicate these folks want to have their say.
I like the alternative approach put forth (I think) by Best of the Web’s James Taranto on WSJ.com – When some group asks that you, say turn your headlights on from Noon to 1 P.M. for a cause, he promotes the opposite cause by asking that you turn headlights on from 11 P.M. to Midnight. This strategy works well to give visibility or voice to the silent majority.

D. King
October 21, 2009 12:52 pm

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

Vincent
October 21, 2009 12:54 pm

Dave:
“Isn’t it more accurate to say that people who THINK they’re in the majority are more willing to voice their opinions?”
Yes. That’s exactly what the study finds.
““It is only when they have this sense that they are in the majority that extremely pro-alcohol students are more willing to express their views on the issue,” Morrison said.”

jmbnf
October 21, 2009 12:54 pm

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

Tony Hansen
October 21, 2009 12:57 pm

So the most vocal local yokels get listened to by the pollies.
‘I believe in moderation in all things, including moderation – Oscar Wilde’

October 21, 2009 1:02 pm

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

And sometimes [apparently] just fried or missing.

October 21, 2009 1:06 pm

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

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 1:12 pm

“Somebody who really changes climate 🙂 for a change. Anthropogenic, that is.” Anna V
Thank God for the Russians (and the Chinese). This world would be even more insane without their potent competition.
We (the West) would not dare attempt climate modification because we believe that even though mankind is only natural any attempt to modify nature would be “unnatural.”
At least the ex-Commies are intellectually consistent.

October 21, 2009 1:14 pm

Leif Svalgaard (10:59:26) : No Dr S, it’s not a vocal minority. You are actually pretty well outnumbered.
Don’t sell yourself short, you work hard!

October 21, 2009 1:15 pm

Tony Hansen (12:57:44) :
What about extremist moderators?, Are they moderate?
[REPLY – Extremely. ~ Evan]

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 1:15 pm

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

David Walton
October 21, 2009 1:17 pm

Sounds like junk science to me. How the heck does one measure extremism? How does one know the difference between people who are not much interested in a subject from those who have a “moderate” view.
It sounds to me like the researchers are confusing extreme and moderate with interest and apathy.
Moreover, how can one be “pro-alcohol”? What the heck does that even mean? Are they similar to people who are “pro-marijuana” or “pro-abortion”?
Soft sciences and soft science research usually make me gag. If you think climate is packed full of variables think of the variables involved in sociological research.
That said, people with narrow, strongly held views do pack Chico city council meetings. That alone makes me more sympathetic to elected officials. Sometimes.

AEGeneral
October 21, 2009 1:22 pm

People with more extreme liberal views in the community may be more likely than others to … display bumper stickers espousing their liberal views, because they think the community supports them.
They think the community supports them? Or they desire the community to support them because they have an inferiority complex?
Bumper stickers for extremist liberals are a form of personal therapy.
I don’t know how some of them can see where they’re driving. Some complexes are worse than others.

MartinGAtkins
October 21, 2009 1:30 pm

Leif Svalgaard (10:59:26) :
You see the same phenomenon even on this blog where very vocal pushers of pseudo-science are trying again and again to peddle their strange [at at times, extreme] views under the guise that Mainstream Science is faltering
Have those pesky commoners been annoying you again? I know it must be so irritating when they dare try thinking for themselves.
The thing is Leif, you can do a lot by sharing your learning and helping those who struggle to understand but you are not an infallible god.
Absurd as some of the ideas here may seem with regard to your field of study, they can do no harm.
As for “views under the guise Mainstream Science is faltering” then I’m afraid it is. You restore confidence with your approach of public engagement but science as a whole has become a tax sucking whore.
Many are doing untold damage to society while the rest look away and covet their own little sanctuary.
If you want to know why the public see scientific opinion as a joke, just look at the dismal record of peer review and the junk submitted and passed by a cabal of fraudsters.

OceanTwo
October 21, 2009 1:35 pm

As already stated, this isn’t new.
People will group and associate with people who think, look and act like themselves. With the internet, even if your views are a minority in your local network, you’ll find a much larger group who think/act/look like you. This reinforces your view as being ‘right’.
Unfortunately, this leads to a ‘majority’ rule: being convinced that your views are right, and by definition, the opposite view is ‘wrong’, and needs correcting. It’s nigh impossible to correct a majority view (unless you have an ‘equalizer’ – e.g. an army). To that end, you need a ‘majority’ even if it isn’t technically real – a consensus of a subset of the whole group who are recognized to represent the whole group.
This is done every day – a bench of justices, for example. However, it’s ripe for corruption. Each decision making group which represents the majority cannot have an unlimited reach. Each group can be powerful, but must out of necessity be limited.
If the majority believe that AGW is real, then we must do something about it. This is an absurdity, for several reasons. But lest not forget that the word ‘consensus’ is being surreptitiously used as an equivalent to the word majority (“there is no debate”, “everyone agrees”). Further it is built on the premise that a majority has the power to act – or rather, the ‘right’ to act.
But why is it absurd? Firstly, if the ‘majority’ believed in AGW, then they, by default as consumers, have the power to act. All the tools that generate CO2, do so on the demands of this majority. (If the power stations do not have customers they will not exist, and thus no CO2).
Secondly, and this is the terrifying aspect of ‘majority’ rule, what would happen when the majority makes a decision which affects a minority? I leave it up to the reader to fill in some examples, which exist today, and have existed in the past.
When one succumbs to majority rule, facts are irrelevant, and the outcome is invariably unpleasant.

Editor
October 21, 2009 1:36 pm

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

October 21, 2009 1:39 pm

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

Alan Haile
October 21, 2009 1:39 pm

The British Government’s line on AGW is pretty extremist. They have recently been running an advertisment during very popular tv programmes which shows a child being read a bedtime story about AGW and how harmful it is (they say). If you are British, reading this, and think that the UK Government should not spend public money on this sort of stuff then you can sign a petition here
http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/climate-ad/

October 21, 2009 1:41 pm

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

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

klausb
October 21, 2009 1:42 pm

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

Shurley Knot
October 21, 2009 1:47 pm

Least self-aware post evar.
REPLY: Worst fake name, evar.

HankHenry
October 21, 2009 1:49 pm

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

October 21, 2009 1:57 pm

MartinGAtkins (13:30:16) :
Absurd as some of the ideas here may seem with regard to your field of study, they can do no harm.
Yes, they can. Because a literate voting populace is important [think faith-based schoolbooks].
Many are doing untold damage to society
agree, by peddling junk-science.
look at the dismal record of peer review and the junk submitted and passed by a cabal of fraudsters.
peer review [which is rather new thing] works reasonably well. It is like Democracy [lots of problems, but we don’t have anything better].
The best defense against the fraudsters is precisely that people can separate correct science from the junk [ID, EU, Astrology, rabid AGW, etc]. This requires constant vigilance. What is lacking is that not enough scientists take the trouble to do this, while there is no shortage of tenacious peddlers of pseudo- and junk- and cult-science. To wit, the already several comments in this very thread [and in some of the other ones]. As Eddy pointed out: this subject draws all kinds of worms out of the woodwork.

October 21, 2009 2:06 pm

Leif Svalgaard (13:39:30) :
Then I may have to take back my hopeful assessment of science literacy.

But if I confess, and do not deny, but confess, that:
“Everything astronomers can see, stretching out to distances of 10 billion light-years, emerged from an infinitesimal speck,”*
may I have partial credit for being scientifically literate?
*Sir Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 2:14 pm

Hey Leif,
You play around a nice convenient playground that is extremely conducive to learning and then you get conceited.
Why is it that the Universe is even observable from earth? The Solar System could easily be in a thick dust cloud. Oops there goes astronomy!
Why does nature correspond (at least roughly) to mathematics? A gentle learning curve?
I don’t need to be a scientist to know your conceit is headed for a fall. A historian could tell you that.
Keep ridiculing ID. But your side is driven to postulating an infinite number of UNDETECTABLE universes to avoid insurmountable probability problems.
Who is exercising faith now?
“Place you bets!”

Don S.
October 21, 2009 2:16 pm

Never read anything in a sociological study that my grandma hadn’t told me. Cryptically. Why is it that every generation of sociologists has to reinvent the wheel?
Moderation is overrated. Texans used to say that the only things in the middle of road were dead skunks and yellow lines.

Kevin Kilty
October 21, 2009 2:27 pm

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

Jim
October 21, 2009 2:28 pm

My guess is that people who are very pro-alcohol tend to drink a lot. If so, they don’t know that the other drinkers around them are actually drinking moderately because [snip] So when they sober up, they just assume others drank as much as they did since they can’t remember it and therefore believe all drinkers drink as they do. I’m not sure picking alcohol as the test criteirion is a good choice.
Reply: No profanity or misspelled profanity. ~ ctm

October 21, 2009 2:33 pm

Zeke the Sneak (14:06:30) :
But if I confess, and do not deny, but confess
Science is not about confessing or denying, so there is still a long way for you to go.
Back2Bat (14:14:47) :
Why is it that the Universe is even observable from earth? The Solar System could easily be in a thick dust cloud. Oops there goes astronomy!
It could be, and once [or more] was.
Why does nature correspond (at least roughly) to mathematics? A gentle learning curve?
Perhaps because we have evolved and adapted our mathematics to describe Nature, e.g. Newton’s invention of calculus to describe motion.
Keep ridiculing ID. But your side is driven to postulating an infinite number of UNDETECTABLE universes to avoid insurmountable probability problems.
There may in fact be such. Or each of these universes may have life in many places. The IDer could have had his hands full. Would He have followed the same model [I’m poorly put together, so is evidence against ID] everywhere, or is there a learning curve there too?

October 21, 2009 2:36 pm

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

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 2:37 pm

Don S. (14:16:16) :
Moderation is overrated. Texans used to say that the only things in the middle of road were dead skunks and yellow lines.
Goldwater(Arizona) had it right. “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. ”
We just have to be careful about what leads us to liberty and what doesn’t.

October 21, 2009 2:38 pm

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

Sandy
October 21, 2009 2:39 pm

“Keep ridiculing ID. But your side is driven to postulating an infinite number of UNDETECTABLE universes to avoid insurmountable probability problems.
Who is exercising faith now?
“Place you bets!”

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

George E. Smith
October 21, 2009 2:40 pm

Like anyone with a ho-hum attitude about anything, is even going to bother making a comment.
So is a Big Mac really better than a Jumbo Jack, or is a Whopper much better ?
Yeah, you could start WW-III over that contentious question.
Now who footed the bill for the grant money for this momentous study ? Other than me, that is.

David Jones
October 21, 2009 2:41 pm

Oliver Ramsay (12:38:18) :
Moderation in all things.
Including Moderation.
Moderation in all things.
I’ll have another glass of Moderation!

October 21, 2009 2:45 pm

Everything in moderation … including moderation.

GA
October 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Utter Madness…..
Save the planet: time to eat dog?
22/10/2009
The eco-pawprint of a pet dog is twice that of a 4.6-litre Land Cruiser driven 10,000 kilometres a year, researchers have found. Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale, architects who specialise in sustainable living, say pet owners should swap cats and dogs for creatures they can eat, such as chickens or rabbits, in their provocative new book Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living.
The couple have assessed the carbon emissions created by popular pets, taking into account the ingredients of pet food and the land needed to create them. “If you have a German shepherd or similar-sized dog, for example, its impact every year is exactly the same as driving a large car around,” Brenda Vale said.
“A lot of people worry about having SUVs but they don’t worry about having Alsatians and what we are saying is, well, maybe you should be because the environmental impact … is comparable.”
In a study published in New Scientist, they calculated a medium dog eats 164 kilograms of meat and 95kg of cereals every year. It takes 43.3 square metres of land to produce 1kg of chicken a year. This means it takes 0.84 hectares to feed Fido.
They compared this with the footprint of a Toyota Land Cruiser, driven 10,000km a year, which uses 55.1 gigajoules (the energy used to build and fuel it). One hectare of land can produce 135 gigajoules a year, which means the vehicle’s eco-footprint is 0.41ha – less than half of the dog’s.
They found cats have an eco-footprint of 0.15ha – slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf. Hamsters have a footprint of 0.014ha – keeping two of them is equivalent to owning a plasma TV. Professor Vale says the title of the book is meant to shock, but the couple, who do not have a cat or dog, believe the reintroduction of non-carnivorous pets into urban areas would help slow down global warming.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/2987848/Save-the-planet-time-to-eat-dog

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 2:54 pm

“I’m poorly put together, so is evidence against ID] everywhere, or is there a learning curve there too?” Leif
That makes two of us, it really helps to reign in my completly unwarranted
pride. I can’t imagine the problems you must have. You do very well considering. With your talent I would probably be insufferable which is why I wasn’t given it.
Peace. (Until the next time you set me off. : ) )

Jack Hughes
October 21, 2009 2:55 pm

Like everyone else I’m an above-average driver…

Dan Murphy
October 21, 2009 2:55 pm

The giant walks among pigmies, generously helping out where he can, and some of the pigmies call him conceited in their rage. Human nature, I guess, but still pitiful.
Back2Bat, you do a good job of personally illustrating the point of the original post, but it does not reflect well on you. You are a pigmy biting the ankle of a giant!
Dr. Svalgaard, thanks for sharing some of your knowledge with us, and thanks for your patience in covering the same old ground repeatedly, with grace and humor.
Dan Murphy

George E. Smith
October 21, 2009 2:57 pm

“”” Leif Svalgaard (14:33:12) :
Zeke the Sneak (14:06:30) :
But if I confess, and do not deny, but confess
Science is not about confessing or denying, so there is still a long way for you to go.
Back2Bat (14:14:47) :
Why is it that the Universe is even observable from earth? The Solar System could easily be in a thick dust cloud. Oops there goes astronomy!
It could be, and once [or more] was.
Why does nature correspond (at least roughly) to mathematics? A gentle learning curve?
Perhaps because we have evolved and adapted our mathematics to describe Nature, e.g. Newton’s invention of calculus to describe motion.
Keep ridiculing ID. But your side is driven to postulating an infinite number of UNDETECTABLE universes to avoid insurmountable probability problems.
There may in fact be such. Or each of these universes may have life in many places. The IDer could have had his hands full. Would He have followed the same model [I’m poorly put together, so is evidence against ID] everywhere, or is there a learning curve there too? “””
Don’t know how this got into a discusssion of inconsequential discussions.
My humble opinion; mathematics is pure fiction; we made it all up in our heads, and as Leif said, for the purpose of describing the behavior of our equally fictitious models of what we think the universe is.
And we know it is all a fiction since absolutely nothing we describe in mathematics, actually exists anywhere in the universe; there are no points or lines or circles or ellipses etc, they are fictional.
As for multiple universes; IMHO anything we can “observe” as in detect the presence thereof, by any means or mechanism; no matter how bizarre is a part of THE Universe. Anything we cannot detect by any means or mechanism, no matter what; simply has no place in science; philosophy maybe; but science is about that which we can observe; observe meaning detect the presence of by any means, no matter how strange.
In my view, anything that “exists” must have at least two properties. The first property, would be that property whose observation led to the postulation of the existence of said “thing” say a neutrino; but no fair using that single property to detect the thing; since that is a circular reasoning. So if it doesn’t have at least one other property it is not detectable; and therefore does not exist (within the field of science).
And that is entirely my humble opinion. Parallel universes, and strings are BS as far as I am concerned; and so far nobody has detected either of those.

Peter Melia
October 21, 2009 3:05 pm

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

October 21, 2009 3:10 pm

One first-century Rabbi is credited with saying, “If you are on your way to plant a tree, and someone tells you the messiah has arrived, finish planting your tree, and only then go out to greet the messiah.”
The apparent urgency of a cause, having a strong belief system, or being part of a majority opinion, does not excuse us from using our brains for more than ballast in our heads. I would hope that, by the time the college kids are ready for retirement, they realize that their own original thoughts, opinions, likes and dislikes, should be worth more than any poll.
Having been a teenager during the ’60’s, though, I can now laugh at the fallacy of thinking we were all being so individual . . . by all dressing and talking alike. Ah, the days of youth and ignorance . . . and occasional stupidity.

Antonio San
October 21, 2009 3:13 pm

Very perverse study indeed: linking “extremism” with “vocal expression” is simply suggesting to 1) encourage knowledgeable people to shut up for only extremists are vocal 2) those who speak up should not be trusted since they are after all extremists. In any case, speaking up is disqualified. the first point applies to the speaker while the second applies to the audience of the speaker. There is no better way to muzzle dissent.
As much as there are on every sides of an issue disturbed zealots that can either be silent or vocal, one can see the perverse effect such study can have if instrumented by the dominant side of an issue:
Truth is it is much easier to appear calm and unfeathered when one is on the dominant, powerfully backed up by media campaign side of the AGW issue while the blattant discrimination suffered by many scientists or informed individuals who are skeptics or realists may wear off the nerves of the best reasonable ones and induce a tendency to more vocal, radical expression just in order to only be heard in an ocean of dominant propaganda.
Then, it is easier for the dominant side to quote this study and simply dismiss any objection.

jorgekafkazar
October 21, 2009 3:13 pm

Mark Bowlin (11:25:32) : “The voices in my head tell me I’m not extreme…”
Well, the voices in MY head say you are. Neener-neener.

George E. Smith
October 21, 2009 3:20 pm

“”” People with more extreme liberal views in the community may be more likely than others to attend publicly visible protests and display bumper stickers espousing their liberal views, because they think the community supports them. “””
I like that little gem. Here we are almost a year since the last election; and every day I see many cars that still have Obama/Biden Bumper stickers and the like.
Even during the pre-election process, I don’t recall ever seeing a McCain/Palin bumper sticker; cars with those bumper stickers were likely to be in the shop having a keying scratch removed.
While Liberal Political statements seem to go unchallenged (freedom of speech), just try voicing some “conservative” message in the form of a bumper sticker, or a flyer or news bulletin; even removed from news stands by oponents. It is highly likely to get vandalized; because “conservatives” are the big evil.
The double standard is too obvious to be in doubt.

SamG
October 21, 2009 3:44 pm

Let me point out the all extreme views are leftist.
All extreme governments present and past are of socialist underpinnings.
We are meant to believe that the right hold extreme views but this is a misconception. Even Hitler was a leftist.
Basically all subversion is a leftist trait.

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 3:54 pm

“Back2Bat, you do a good job of personally illustrating the point of the original post, but it does not reflect well on you. You are a pigmy biting the ankle of a giant!” Dan Murphy
Ask Leif if his ankle is bleeding.
My points are all the more pointed since a mere pygmy is wielding them. I like Leif and he is talented but wrong is wrong whoever says it.

Jeff L
October 21, 2009 4:01 pm

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

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 4:04 pm

“What has poor Leif done to deserve this?” Sandy
Does this mean our date is off?
Leif took a swipe at ID and I took a swipe at him.

October 21, 2009 4:26 pm

Back2Bat (14:54:03) :
(Until the next time you set me off. : ) )
As I said: comes out of the woodwork…
George E. Smith (14:57:32) :
And that is entirely my humble opinion. Parallel universes, and strings are BS as far as I am concerned; and so far nobody has detected either of those.
The science bit comes in in predicting and searching for things that would be observed if there were a parallel universe. The neutrino is a good example of this. Or even the ‘atom’. It was only 100 years ago that we found observable evidence of the existence of atoms.
Back2Bat (15:54:51) :
Ask Leif if his ankle is bleeding.
Your bite isn’t powerful enough…
Back2Bat (16:04:17) :
“Leif took a swipe at ID and I took a swipe at him.
Denouncing junk is not a ‘swipe’
I just put your in the place among the other cults, and if you like that cult, being recognized for belonging to it can hardly be called a swipe.
About ‘faith’: A countryman of mine [Soeren Kirkegaard] defined faith thus: I believe, because I have faith, not because it makes sense, but precisely because it is absurd. If if made perfect sense it can hardly be called ‘faith’. Faith is believing in something that does not make sense, ‘taking it on faith’.
Science is not about faith, but about being forced to a conclusion by experimental evidence. Often, said conclusion is at variance with ‘common sense’, but so be it.

adamskirving
October 21, 2009 4:34 pm

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

Bulldust
October 21, 2009 4:35 pm

Anonymity also makes people more inclined to make extreme statements than they would in person. Combine the two forcings:
1) Anonymity makes one bolder; and
2) Extreme people are more inclined to express their views;
and it inevitably leads to ultra-extremist blogs. But I doubt anyone is surprised about this … it’s common sense really.

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 4:42 pm

“Your bite isn’t powerful enough…” Leif
I spoke the truth so either I am deluded or you are. Since outside your field you seem rather shallow, I’ll go with me.
Too bad you can’t graciously concede a point. Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 4:46 pm

“Faith is believing in something that does not make sense, ‘taking it on faith’.” Lief countryman
LOL! Actually faith goes beyond the facts but not against them. Stick to solar science is my suggestion.

October 21, 2009 4:47 pm

Back2Bat (16:42:27) :
either I am deluded or you are.
Your words speak for themselves…

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 4:52 pm

“I just put your in the place among the other cults, and if you like that cult, being recognized for belonging to it can hardly be called a swipe.” Leif
Actually, I value truth and logic. I do mind swipes at them. Since your position requires faith in undetectable universes my position is more logical since there is plenty of historical testimony to a Creator who “stretches out the heavens” (cosmic expansion anyone?) but no historical testimony for alternative universes.
Live and learn but humility is the secret to greatness.
Reply: No more debate of Faith, Science, and personal belief. And as always. I don’t care who started it. ~ ctm

October 21, 2009 4:54 pm

Back2Bat (16:46:45) :
Stick to solar science is my suggestion.
as you will stick to faith instead of science. Fair enough.
Reply: No more debate of Faith, Science, and personal belief. And as always. I don’t care who started it. ~ ctm

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 4:56 pm

Peace, Leif.
I will only be seen as cruel if I continue. Let’s agree to disagree.

October 21, 2009 5:01 pm

Back2Bat (16:56:16) :
I will only be seen as cruel if I continue
Not cruel, silly.
Reply: Leif? It’s Miller time ~ ctm

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 5:13 pm

That was fun! I like Fat Cow myself.

Back2Bat
October 21, 2009 5:14 pm

Make that “Fat Tire” as I reach for another one.

DennisA
October 21, 2009 5:24 pm

The study didn’t say how much alcohol the students had drunk when they were surveyed.

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 5:36 pm

I’ve enjoyed the banter by Leif Svalgaard and Back2Bat. While I believe in the ID concept, I won’t engage a person that requires evidence to be convinced. If he can’t see it, he won’t. It requires faith for this moment. I would only like to add an aside.
Dan Murphy (14:55:38) :
The giant walks among pigmies, generously helping out where he can, and some of the pigmies call him conceited in their rage. Human nature, I guess, but still pitiful.
Back2Bat, you do a good job of personally illustrating the point of the original post, but it does not reflect well on you. You are a pigmy biting the ankle of a giant!
Dan, I grant that Leif is, not doubt, of very good intellect, however, blindly idolizing science(ists) is what got us in the whole AGW mess to begin with. I submit that everything has a purpose. Nature shows us this every day. From the smallest of microbes to the largest of mammals, each has a function and purpose. Be it by design or by happenstance, we see that it occurs. What, then, is the purpose of man? Surely, the rest of nature can take care of itself (many think it would be better off without the interference man creates). Or are we here only to ensure that sharks don’t eat all the fish? Or, perhaps, we are just a food source for mosquitoes. I think it’s worth a thought or two.

October 21, 2009 5:50 pm

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

Bulldust
October 21, 2009 6:02 pm

Let us not forget Sir George Bernhard Shaw:
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Perhaps it is a virtue to be less reasonable 😉
Unfortunately this does not address all the harm caused by unreasonable “men.”

Curiousgeorge
October 21, 2009 6:14 pm

I think I’ll offer up a sound bite on this discussion of probability between several of the posters.
In the absence of Reality, Probability reigns supreme.
Just a thought.

James M
October 21, 2009 6:48 pm

I think that are at least two different paradigms that explain the polarization occurring at the national level. The study sited explains a lot of the emotional reaction that we see.
A second paradigm is one that is discussed on this forum frequently but is not explained. This paradigm states that the proper place for political decision is found on a continuum from a technocracy to republic citizenship.
For a scientist, the closer his political beliefs are to a technocracy, the more he wants to be identified as an expert within his peer group. Recognition within the peer group creates a tacit responsibility for support from society and the government. If a scientist’s beliefs are closer to republic citizenship, his emphasis is in explaining his workto all who are interested.
For a politician, the closer his political beliefs are to a technocracy, the more politics is exercise in representing “recognized” experts, and carrying out the advice of the experts. Discussion by citizens on expert’s theory is irrelevent. The only relevent discussion is who best recongnizes the experts and who is best in converting expert theory into political action. Because discussion outside the expert peer group is irrelevent, the only reponse to such discussion is to point out that the speakers are either not experts, or that they are not experts recognized by their peer group.
For a politician whose beliefs are closer to republic citizenship, citizens and the representatives have a civil duty to evaluate expert theories and advice where it impact polical decision. There is the recognition that the public will not always choose the correct political course from a technical point of view, but there is also a recognition that unless political decisions are made by citizens that the citizen becomes a subject and loses all responsibility for the support of the government.
This paradigm explains the move to dominate the scientific bodies described by Richard Lindzen. It explains why James Hansen can complain about being muzzled. It wasn’t that he couldn’t say what he wanted, it was that government didn’t move to implement his suggestions. It explains why AGW says that the science is settled, because only the general agreement of the recognized peer groups are relevent. It explains the lack of debate on AGW in the public forum. It explains the ad homonym attack on any diverging opinions.
By definition, the readers of this forum are closer to the republic citizenship side of the continuum, with the exception of the posters whose message is that the discussion (web site) is irrelevent, and harmfull to the functioning society.

conradg
October 21, 2009 6:52 pm

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

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 7:01 pm

Leif Svalgaard (17:50:50) :
James Sexton (17:36:56) :
What, then, is the purpose of man?
Well, none that I can see. [even after a Miller or two]. ‘Purpose’ implies ‘intention’.
Strange, perhaps it is the brand. I’m on my 4th Busch and am now full of self-import!!!
So, then, are we an aberration? Nature gone wrong? Are there other events and objects in nature that have no purpose? Or, perhaps there is a purpose that we cannot see yet?

October 21, 2009 7:04 pm

“The speck from which space emerges is not located in anything. It is not an object surrounded by emptiness. It is the origin of space itself, infinitely compressed. Note that the speck does not sit there for an infinite duration. It appears instantaneously from nothing and immediately expands.”
–Paul Davies on the Big Bang
Dr. S, to be sure I do have a very, very long way to go before I attain this level of scientific literacy. Good evening.

Bulldust
October 21, 2009 7:14 pm

Zeke the Sneak (19:04:14) :
Wouldn’t you have to be drinking something like Grolsch to be full of import?
I am pre-supposing you are based in the US… apologies in advance if you are Canadian >.>

Bulldust
October 21, 2009 7:15 pm

Oops that was directed at James Sexton of course. Copy-paste-fail.

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 7:16 pm

conradg (18:52:40) :
I’m a left-wing liberal climate skeptic,………. One of the strangest parts of it was hearing Richard Lindzen repeatedly described as an “extremist”. …….. My basic sense is that this whole climate “debate” has become so polarized that the only way it’s ever going to be resolved is after a couple of decades of actual climate change in one direction or another, or the lack thereof.
Sorry you had to go through that, I know both sides can be…….unreasonable. Sadly, though, I don’t remember studying any time in history which climate has ever been static, so, I believe we’ll see climate change for a while longer. I, too, never considered myself an extremist, (it is, of course, a very subjective word) but since I’ve been labeled that by many, I’ve come to grips with it. You should embrace it. Use it to become an extremist in the purpose of truth and justice. But be a cautious extremist and always consider the chance you could be wrong. (Yes, it sounds corny, but it works with the sleep thing.) Good luck and cheers.

Dave vs Hal
October 21, 2009 7:18 pm

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

Keith Minto
October 21, 2009 7:20 pm

A bit of gender balance would go astray here……….

Keith Minto
October 21, 2009 7:22 pm

Mods.. would not go astray here…….

October 21, 2009 7:23 pm

I like desert wines, so I just settle for being full of port.

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 7:37 pm

Bulldust (19:14:51) :
Zeke the Sneak (19:04:14) :
Wouldn’t you have to be drinking something like Grolsch to be full of import?
I am pre-supposing you are based in the US… apologies in advance if you are Canadian >.>
No, right here in the great state of Kansas!!! While I hesitate to use the abbreviation lol here, I find it appropriate in this instance. Clever!!

gtrip
October 21, 2009 7:39 pm

Bulldust (19:14:51) :
Wouldn’t you have to be drinking something like Grolsch to be full of import?
I am pre-supposing you are based in the US… apologies in advance if you are Canadian >.>
You all see? This is how internet rumors get started! Grolsch is a Dutch beer. Moosehead is Canadian!!!!

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 8:12 pm

Leif Svalgaard (17:50:50) :
James Sexton (17:36:56) :
What, then, is the purpose of man?
Well, none that I can see. [even after a Miller or two]. ‘Purpose’ implies ‘intention’.
Sorry, perhaps I missed the intent of your last post. I take it that your post implies there is no ‘intention’ in our world/universe. Interesting, considering you seem a very learned man intent and dedicated on discovering things unknown and revealing truths. If, indeed, there is no “intent”, then why the effort? I’m just asking because from a behavioral point of view, it doesn’t make sense. All the years in academia, all the study only to know the answers to your questions end in no purpose. Very curious. Of course, this is after a few more, so, I may be a little more thick than usual.

October 21, 2009 8:25 pm

James Sexton (19:01:21) :
Are there other events and objects in nature that have no purpose?
There are no objects in Nature that have any purpose at all. There are man-made objects with a purpose, because we made them with a certain intention in mind. Now, some people have the hubris to think that they have or serve a purpose, but that is self-delusion, of course.
Zeke the Sneak (19:04:14) :
Dr. S, to be sure I do have a very, very long way to go before I attain this level of scientific literacy.
Indeed you do have a long way to go, but it is worth it. Although, I have a feeling that you’ll never make it.

October 21, 2009 8:32 pm

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

andy.s
October 21, 2009 8:38 pm

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

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 9:26 pm

Leif Svalgaard (20:25:19) :
James Sexton (19:01:21) :
Are there other events and objects in nature that have no purpose?
There are no objects in Nature that have any purpose at all. There are man-made objects with a purpose, because we made them with a certain intention in mind. Now, some people have the hubris to think that they have or serve a purpose, but that is self-delusion, of course.
Sigh, it must be the beer that urges me to respond. Usually, I don’t engage in such discussions, perhaps it’s your lack of vitriol that forces(of the external kind) this dialogue.
So, when the bee is compelled to pollinate and then provide sustenance, there is no purpose, just that wonderful happenstance of Nature, as is that keen process called photosynthesis and the myriad of other occurrences that ensures the many cycles of life. All hubris and self-delusion. How sad for the fellows such as Newton that provided the world with such profound hubris and self-delusion in his attempt to understand how Nature worked. But, if this is true, why, then study anything? Things such as the wonderful orb in the sky known as the sun? If it is all hubris and self-delusion, wouldn’t it be enough to enjoy the warmth it provides? Or the light that it emits? Who would care whether it orbits the earth or visa versa? And how would it matter? Why study the gases it consumes or the activity on that orb? Why wonder about the light that it radiates? Wouldn’t it be enough to enjoy the part of the spectrum that allows us to use our optical orbits? Apparently the questions ‘what’ and ‘how’ are the pertinent questions. Why seems impertinent. That’s strange to me because as I study history, the question ‘why’ is usually the most important question that leads to answers unrevealed by the questions what and how.
Cheers, James

F. Ross
October 21, 2009 9:43 pm

Now just stop all this nonsense!
There’s barely enough room here for one solipsist.
None of you really exist anyway.
You’re just figments of my imagination, so knock it off. …you’re just figments, …you’re just, …you’re
not.

Tony Hansen
October 21, 2009 10:03 pm

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

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 10:16 pm

Leif Svalgaard (20:32:45) :
(1) because it is useful to society and helps us survive which we like to do
But apparently to no end.
(2)…….Because there is fun in making the puzzle, not in having the finished result.
My experience is that it is only fun when I have the finished result.(Missing puzzle pieces are indelibly maddening) I suspect it is the same with the great majority of us puzzlers. Regardless of how well one puts the puzzle together, it doesn’t mean whit unless it’s fully articulated. (That’s probably a consensus!!!)
I agree, that often it is the path(least taken) that gives us satisfaction, but always with a path, there is an end point. (Unless it’s one of those circular walking path that goes around a park which is another maddening occurrence. Why can’t they just walk down the sidewalk??) Sorry, I get tangential sometimes.

anna v
October 21, 2009 10:16 pm

James Sexton (20:12:35) : to Leif
If, indeed, there is no “intent”, then why the effort?
For fun? enjoyment?
Well, I want to stick up for Mathematics, even though it is way out of topic.
I believe ( yes it is a belief, whether positing or negating) that everything is mathematics. The music of the spheres. In a universe where time is another variable, everything is an equation, within time waiting to happen/materialize.
Analogue: The quantum mechanical state function of an atom, which is fulfilled when conditions became appropriate in the Big Bang ( btw that point of the big bang is everywhere, the universe expanded out of it, so each point in the universe is the center :), a mind numbing thought). Everything is a mathematical state function waiting to be fulfilled within a time frame, from a rabbit to a star. O.K. throw in chaos, it is also mathematics :).

October 21, 2009 10:21 pm

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

October 21, 2009 10:37 pm

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

That’s right. To what end do you think? As with (2) it is the journey in life that matters. Enjoy [or suffer] the ride, while you are on it.
“(2)…….Because there is fun in making the puzzle, not in having the finished result.”
My experience is that it is only fun when I have the finished result.

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

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 10:45 pm

Leif Svalgaard (22:21:10) :
The apple does not (have) any ‘intent’ to fall to the ground.
True the apple doesn’t, but that doesn’t negate the possibility that something else did have intent for it to fall. I could, for instance, cause an apple to fall. In fact, given the cycles(cycles seem to be designed) of flora and fauna, many have postulated the apple falling was by design.

anna v
October 21, 2009 10:53 pm

James Sexton (21:26:31) :
Apparently the questions ‘what’ and ‘how’ are the pertinent questions. Why seems impertinent. That’s strange to me because as I study history, the question ‘why’ is usually the most important question that leads to answers unrevealed by the questions what and how.
In my mathematical universe the why becomes the answer of “why climb everest” answer: “because it is there”. Maybe the same is true of bees and trees etc?

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 10:57 pm

Leif Svalgaard (22:21:10) :
Then imagine that you just stepped out for a moment and when you came back in, somebody had finished the puzzle, or the sudoku, or the cross-word puzzle, or the painting, … That would spoil the enjoyment of making it. no?
Yes, of course, that would spoil my enjoyment. So, does that mean, because you consider the ‘what’ and ‘how’ meaningful, and something displays a why, you’d ignore it because it ruined your ‘what’ and ‘how’? It shouldn’t. There is so much we’ll never know about our universe/solar system/earth, or even the lump of ground my house is set upon that why is only part of the question. There’s plenty of room for all questions.
While I’m fairly certain this pleasant discussion won’t change a mind between us, I’d submit that systems and cycles lend to the thought of design. I’ve enjoyed and look forward to other discussions.
Cheers

October 21, 2009 11:00 pm

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

October 21, 2009 11:03 pm

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

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 11:04 pm

anna v (22:16:49)
In my mathematical universe the why becomes the answer of “why climb everest” answer: “because it is there”. Maybe the same is true of bees and trees etc?
Hmm, almost had me agreeing with you. I, too, am a lover of math. However, I can’t find the equation for “because it’s there”. Perhaps you can show that one to me. Truthfully, while it may be anathema to most parties, I don’t see where ID and the “big bang” are inconsistent with one another. I just see systems and cycles as proof of design, while others see them as happenstance. What does your mathematics say about probabilities as to random chance of all these occurrences happening at the appropriate time and place, given the expanse of time and place in this universe?

anna v
October 21, 2009 11:05 pm

James Sexton (21:26:31)
There exist physicists/mathematicians who are trying to formulate the dynamics of consciousness, way out on left/right field. Bohm, of quantum mechanical fame, was one of them, with his implicate and explicate fields. There is active research going on, too involved for my aging brain :). Your why is really “why consciousness”.

October 21, 2009 11:06 pm

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

October 21, 2009 11:10 pm

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

anna v
October 21, 2009 11:12 pm

James Sexton (23:04:41) :
anna v (22:16:49)
In my mathematical universe the why becomes the answer of “why climb everest” answer: “because it is there”. Maybe the same is true of bees and trees etc?
Hmm, almost had me agreeing with you. I, too, am a lover of math. However, I can’t find the equation for “because it’s there”.

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

October 21, 2009 11:15 pm

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

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 11:26 pm

Leif Svalgaard (23:00:21) :
James Sexton (22:45:09) :
True the apple doesn’t, but that doesn’t negate the possibility that something else did have intent for it to fall.
‘The’ apple was generic and you do not cause ‘all’ apples to fall. And you misunderstand ‘intent’ and ‘fall’ here. You may disconnect the apple from the tree. That does not cause it to fall [the tree could be growing in the space station]. It is not your intent that moves the apple along on its trajectory. The apple does not have a ‘purpose’ in falling. You might ascribe a ‘purpose’ to it, but the apple doesn’t know that and falls regardless.
Sigh, this is becoming a rather circular conversation, as I suspected it would. No, all apples fall because of gravity, or not, because of lack of gravity. That, still, doesn’t preclude a design, neither does the awareness or lack thereof of the apples(whether the apples are aware or not doesn’t seem relevant to me). I would suggest that gravity forces the apple to the ground. The causes one of 2 things. Either the apple is consumed thereby allowing another carbon form to further its existence or it seeds and grows a tree that produces more apples to be consumed by herbivores or omnivores or seed. Of course, there’s much more to apples, trees, and gravity. More cycles, more systems all pointing to design.

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 11:28 pm

Leif Svalgaard (23:15:17) :
James Sexton (23:04:41) :
I just see systems and cycles as proof of design
The flaw there is that design is not needed. Things evolve perfectly well without a designer, so ID is an extraneous and unnecessary assumption.
I would submit that things evolve because they were designed that way.

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 11:31 pm

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

October 21, 2009 11:41 pm

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

James Sexton
October 21, 2009 11:55 pm

Leif Svalgaard (23:41:15) :evolving is a process, and a thing is not. The essential point is that design is not needed.
Slight semantic correction. Evolution is a process. Evolving is what things are engaged in…….Further, design is essential to facilitate the evolution of things.
Anna, more semantics, I engage in things(quests), not because they’re there, but because I can. The difference is slight when reading but significant to me. I don’t play the guitar because it’s there(though it has to be there for me to do it) I play because I want to prove I can. Same for mountains and valleys.
It’s been a great pleasure and honor for me. Sadly, I’m out of beer and it’s late. The mrs. hides the liquor else I become liberally extreme in my conservative views!!!! So, I wish you all a good night.

conradg
October 22, 2009 2:34 am

Amusing back and forth. Speaking of mathematics, you’re aware of course that all numbers, all math, only exists in the mind, not in Nature? Math cannot be the nature of Nature, it is only a way the mind describes Nature. What Nature actually is, and how it operates, somehow coincides at its deeper levels of observation with mind. But if we suggest that math itself is at the root of it, then we are saying that Nature, at it’s root, is simply Mind.
I would happen to agree with that general idea, but that undermines most of the arguments against Nature occuring without intelligent design.

Back2Bat
October 22, 2009 3:56 am

“Churchill once said that a fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” Andy.s
Then I am not a religious fanatic but an anti-fractional reserve banking fanatic.
Notice I quit some time ago but not for lack of ammunition.

SamG
October 22, 2009 3:59 am

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

Butch
October 22, 2009 4:10 am

Eureka! They’ve discovered peer pressure and the herd mentality. Someone alert the Nobel Committee.

Back2Bat
October 22, 2009 4:12 am

My last word on the subject:
This universe is too young and too small (mass wise) for life to have originated here by chance alone. Folks have run the numbers for the simplest conceivable lifeform capable of evolving (the ability to to store information and replicate) and it is statistically impossible (less than 1 in 10^50, much less).
So life did not originate in this universe. Now imagine a super universe which, unlike this universe is infinitely old, then life would certainly originate from chaos. That life would be God. Once formed, He could have then created this universe and the life in it.
There you have it, evolution and Creation reconciled through probability theory, the mass of the universe, the age of the universe, and the Torah.
“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe Me
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
And there will be none after Me.”
Isaiah 43:10
Courtesy of a Christian astrophysicist by the name of Dr. Hugh Ross of reasons.org
Take it or leave it. I can’t put it any clearer.

SamG
October 22, 2009 5:04 am

Mr. Bat, while agree that all things are conceivable, it doesn’t make sense that it should all boil down to one denomination.
Plus, you know you will receive a smack on the bottom for discussing religion.

Midwest Mark
October 22, 2009 5:57 am

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

MartinGAtkins
October 22, 2009 6:00 am

MartinGAtkins (13:30:16) :

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

Leif Svalgaard (13:57:38) :
Yes, they can. Because a literate voting populace is important [think faith-based schoolbooks].
You’ve thrown a curved ball at me here. I didn’t say that the ideas expressed on this site should be taught in schools. My point was that though some of the absurd postulations may irritate you, they do no harm.
Should faith based subjects be taught in school? My view is yes but they should be approached as philosophy and not science.

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

Peer review [which is rather new thing] works reasonably well. It is like Democracy [lots of problems, but we don’t have anything better].
New or not it’s a pigs ear and does not work reasonably well. It’s nothing like and nor should it be a democracy. IMHO peer review should be open to scrutiny by all stake holders. That includes the great unwashed tax payer. If you have nothing better than the corrupt system you have now then you can’t complain when the people consult witch doctors and shamans who’s methods and transparency are equal to the spivs who run your institutions.
I have taken onboard the rest of you post and hope you don’t think my views are in anyway a personal attack on you or the late Dr. J, Eddy.

Pamela Gray
October 22, 2009 6:52 am

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

Steve in SC
October 22, 2009 6:59 am

Wow Lief you got em coming out of the woodwork.
Regarding your comment about scientific literacy, I do believe you have overestimated the state of things.
Things are the way they are because nature always takes the path of least resistance regardless of appearances.

October 22, 2009 7:12 am

Back2Bat (04:12:13) :
My last word on the subject
One can only hope so.
This universe is too young and too small (mass wise) for life to have originated here by chance alone.
This universe is infinitely large [Omega = 1, i.e. flat]. And life does not get started by throwing stuff together at random. Life has very likely started several times over on this very Earth, only to be snuffed out by planetary collisions, e.g. the one that created the Moon.
Take it or leave it. I can’t put it any clearer.
One must leave it, as you have clearly demonstrated lack of knowledge about this.
SamG (05:04:36) :
Mr. Bat, while agree that all things are conceivable, it doesn’t make sense that it should all boil down to one denomination.
For the believers there is only one true denomination.
MartinGAtkins (06:00:53) :
My point was that though some of the absurd postulations may irritate you, they do no harm.
The ideas do not harm. The people who hold them, are the harm-doers.
Should faith based subjects be taught in school? My view is yes but they should be approached as philosophy and not science.
‘Faith’ should be thought in schools [Hinduism, Islam, and a smattering of others; curriculum time permitting]. Faith-based subjects are neither philosophy nor science, and should not be taught (in public schools) [think madrases], expect in the context of examples of folly.
New or not it’s a pigs ear and does not work reasonably well.
I have reviewed hundreds of papers over time. Just last week I reviewed two [one accepted with minor revision and one rejected]. The reviewers do mostly a superb job [unpaid and often unrecognized].
peer review should be open to scrutiny by all stake holders. That includes the great unwashed tax payer.
I agree with that and am doing my part to make that happen. c.f. this on my website: http://www.leif.org/research/Dikpati%20Referee%20Report.pdf
and this:
http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20Dst%20paper%20by%20K%20and%20M.pdf
and this:
http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20Clilverd%20et%20al%20Reconstructing%20aa.pdf
and this mother of them all:
http://www.leif.org/research/No%20Doubling%20of%20Open%20Flux.pdf
The last one is a review of one of my papers [which was rejected at the time – although later analysis (even by the reviewer) has proven me correct, e.g. as outlined here http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20McCracken.pdf and on this very blog].
Several of us are working from within the system to achieve full transparency, e.g. with the reviews published as electronic attachment to the papers. This is a long hard slug, but will eventually get there. An important function [present in the current system and should be retained] is that the review should not be a free-for-all peddling of the reviewer’s own viewpoints. Equally important is the removal of pay-walls so that the unwashed masses can actually
read the papers.
If you have nothing better than the corrupt system you have now then you can’t complain when the people consult witch doctors and shamans who’s methods and transparency are equal to the spivs who run your institutions.
I can assure you that the system is not corrupt [although with human being there are always bad apples] and that north of 95% of the cases, the process works well, and the unpaid reviewers are doing the public a great service.
I have taken onboard the rest of you post and hope you don’t think my views are in anyway a personal attack on you or the late Dr. J, Eddy.
compared to some of the stinky stuff that is flung my way, yours is a measured, dignified, and glowing contrbution.

October 22, 2009 7:15 am

peer review should be open to scrutiny by all stake holders. That includes the great unwashed tax payer.
I agree with that and am doing my part to make that happen. c.f. this on my website: http://www.leif.org/research/Dikpati%20Referee%20Report.pdf
and this:
http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20Dst%20paper%20by%20K%20and%20M.pdf
and this:
http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20Clilverd%20et%20al%20Reconstructing%20aa.pdf
and this mother of them all:
http://www.leif.org/research/No%20Doubling%20of%20Open%20Flux.pdf
The last one is a review of one of my papers [which was rejected at the time – although later analysis (even by the reviewer) has proven me correct, e.g. as outlined here http://www.leif.org/research/Comment%20on%20McCracken.pdf and on this very blog].
Several of us are working from within the system to achieve full transparency, e.g. with the reviews published as electronic attachment to the papers. This is a long hard slug, but will eventually get there. An important function [present in the current system and should be retained] is that the review should not be a free-for-all peddling of the reviewer’s own viewpoints. Equally important is the removal of pay-walls so that the unwashed masses can actually read the papers.

October 22, 2009 7:26 am

Here is a good article about scientists and blogs: http://www.leif.org/EOS/PHTOAD000062.pdf

Lucy
October 22, 2009 8:18 am

Leif Svalgaard (10:59:26) :
You see the same phenomenon even on this blog where very vocal pushers of pseudo-science are trying again and again to peddle their strange [at at times, extreme] views under the guise that Mainstream Science is faltering and that therefore any hare-brained scheme must be valid. Science literacy in times like today is more important than ever and from reading these weird posts we often see here, one might get the impression that it is lower than it [hopefully] is.

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

philincalifornia
October 22, 2009 8:21 am

Back2Bat (04:12:13) :
So life did not originate in this universe. Now imagine a super universe which, unlike this universe is infinitely old, then life would certainly originate from chaos. That life would be God. Once formed, He could have then created this universe and the life in it.
——————-
“God(s)” could quite easily evolve (or have evolved) in this universe simply by an intelligent life form reaching the “Singularity” described by Ray Kurzweil.
If humans reached the singularity this century, as implied by Kurzweil in “The Singularity is Near”, the IPCC predictions for 2100 are going to look beyond silly, as if they don’t look silly now, and as if anyone will care at that point.
Why are we wasting money on AGW garbage when we could be performing more real science towards reaching the Singularity in our lifetimes ??

October 22, 2009 8:24 am

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

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

tadchem
October 22, 2009 8:42 am

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

Tim Clark
October 22, 2009 8:42 am

Leif Svalgaard (07:26:22) :
Here is a good article about scientists and blogs:
.
So in your case Leif, is it altruism, acclaim, reputation, or renumeration?

October 22, 2009 8:55 am

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

CodeTech
October 22, 2009 9:53 am

Skipping back:
Life (on Earth) exists solely as the method for DNA to replicate.
Any other purpose is secondary. What we are is what we made ourselves.

Don S.
October 22, 2009 10:16 am

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

Tim Clark
October 22, 2009 10:20 am

Leif Svalgaard (08:55:48) :
Tim Clark (08:42:20) :
So in your case Leif, is it altruism, acclaim, reputation, or renumeration?
Altruism is a little bit too loaded for my book, but the text under the heading says it better:
“Some […] believe outreach and dissemination are as important as curiosity and discovery. Some ]…] dislike inaccuracies and mistruths {love that word} that they instinctively correct erroneous information they encounter”.

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

October 22, 2009 10:20 am

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

Back2Bat
October 22, 2009 11:06 am

Leif,
My primary concerns are fractional reserve central banking, the CO2 scare and pointing out that belief in a Creator is throughly logical, in that order.
I said that was my last word on the subject here so I won’t bother refuting you further.

October 22, 2009 11:45 am

Tim Clark (10:20:02) :
Ahhh, but I think it’s more than that, you enjoy it too much.
Perhaps the folks enjoy the show, moi, I’m just being dumped upon. Here is from another thread:
“And we have seen this repeatedly in the AGW debate. Dr. Svalgaard, sadly, is caught in this spider’s web of self-delusion.”.
This is thin gruel in the enjoyment department.
What ranks high in that department is a recent debate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGrmYR50jJ8&feature=related
on Iraqi TV that contrasts the view of the world from Holy Scripture and from Modern Science [BTW the science guy also makes an error: the mass of the Moon is not 1/6 of the Earth’s, its surface gravity is]. Sadly, this kind of conviction can be found here too, and all too often.

D Johnson
October 22, 2009 12:25 pm

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

October 22, 2009 12:36 pm

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

james
October 22, 2009 1:04 pm

Thats awesome that more people then expected are sharing opinions. If you don’t share your opinions your voice will never be heard. But remember actions do speak louder then words or opinions.

Ben
October 22, 2009 2:08 pm

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

October 22, 2009 4:25 pm

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

conradg
October 22, 2009 4:42 pm

“SamG (03:59:47) :
conradg, surely after that experience, you’d denounce leftism?

No, I denounce stupidity. There’s plenty to go around on both left and right.
And honestly, I don’t really blame the general left-liberal gung-ho attitude towards global warming on the political types who embrace it. Must of them are just taking scientists at their word, trusting that they’ve gotten this one right. There might be some advocacy groups who are knowingly exaggerating the scientific basis for AGW, but even they are genuinely convinced that it’s in the right cause. But honestly, if I believed the general scientific “community” who are promoting AGW, I’d be a gung ho reductionist as well. So it”s not the politics that’s at fault in my view, it’s the scientists who have exaggerated their case. I’m not really sure what someone like Obama should do, when all his top science advisors are telling him AGW is a real threat. The left is at least trying to honor the science – unfortunately, it’s the science community that seems to have blown this one big time. The left may embrace the science in part because it goes with their political narrative, but they aren’t, for the most part, willfully trying to distort the science. It’s scientists who are doing that. And it’s science that’s going to pay the price, all the way around, when this fiasco comes crashing down as I suspect it will over the next decade or two.
I’ve tried arguing to progressives in embracing the entire AGW movement that they are facing the same kind of retribution as Bush, Cheney, and the Neocons are now reaping over the entire Iraq invasion – all the exaggerations about a “slam dunk” case for WMDs have destroyed the credibility of the neocons to a man. And progressives will face the same kind of denunciation when the AGW theory collapses due to lack of actual future warming. Looking back, it will become rather obvious that the signs were there all along, but were ignored because the politics was just too attractive. But most progressives simply aren’t science-oriented, and they don’t know how to skeptically evaluate the science. They just trust that Hansen and the climate community has this one nailed down. And they simply won’t listen to anyone expressing sckepticism. Certainly they should be more open-minded about this, but honestly, scientists are supposed to be trustworthy. Laymen and politicians aren’t supposed to have to figure all this stuff out on their own. Science has really dropped the ball here, or failed to speak up due to cowardice and indecision. They too will reap some serious consequences down the line.

Richard
October 22, 2009 4:50 pm

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

anna v
October 22, 2009 8:30 pm

Leif Svalgaard (16:25:03) :
Back2Bat (11:06:49) :
I said that was my last word on the subject here so I won’t bother refuting you further.
I’ll accept one more word. How many planets did the creator put life on, in this infinite universe?

Seems to me that once beliefs become esoteric/metaphysical there is not much to be gained in trying to refute them by logical arguments. It is easy to disprove that an old man with a beard created the world logically, but the metaphysical theories of consciousness, which in a sense create a collective God, are as irrefutable as a belief as is the belief that I am sitting here typing this communication.
The difference between experiential and experimental. Sitting inside the head and looking out and believing there exists an objective reality.
It is better to agree to disagree on the beliefs about experience an interlocutor holds, than try to find “proof” that he/she is wrong.

October 22, 2009 8:49 pm

anna v (20:30:39) :
It is better to agree to disagree on the beliefs
Of course, except that the beliefs should not be peddled as science.

October 22, 2009 9:05 pm

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

October 22, 2009 9:28 pm

The first moments of the universe are no more accessible to scientists than they are to prophets.
I think the Queen had it right. “I do not like to build windows into men’s souls.”

October 22, 2009 9:41 pm

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

Back2Bat
October 22, 2009 10:05 pm

“I’ll accept one more word. How many planets did the creator put life on, in this infinite universe?” Leif
Infinite? I thought the mass of the universe was known. If so, that combined with the age of the universe puts limits on the probability of life forming in this universe.
Intelligent life? Just one, this one. The Lord might be doing some terra forming via bacteria and such on other worlds.
SETI keeps listening but no joy. The Earth is unique. There is a book called Rare Earth if you are interested. I have not read it myself but supposedly it is by two NON-CULTISTS.
Reply: What can I do to get you two to stop this without clamping down? ~ ctm

Sandy
October 22, 2009 10:20 pm

“SETI keeps listening but no joy. The Earth is unique”
Let’s assume we find a stone age tribe that’s had no contact with ‘civilization’. We decide to use hi-tech surveillance techniques to see them in their natural state.
If a hunter went to the shaman saying he thought he was being watched could the shaman logically reply:
“If anyone was out there, they’d have to communicate by drums, since that’s the only way to long-talk. We’ve heard no drums so there’s no-one there.”
Seriously, no star-going civilization with our metabolic rate would be using radio.

October 22, 2009 10:37 pm

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

October 22, 2009 10:39 pm

The Big Bang, or any other creation moment, is not a scientific certainty.
And coincidentally, whenever men and women are free to hold their own beliefs about that, a flourishing in science and the arts, political and religious freedom, and economic vitality are not far behind.

October 22, 2009 11:04 pm

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

October 22, 2009 11:26 pm

Back2Bat (22:05:56) :
Just one, this one.
and how does that follow from logic? please outline the steps in the logical chain of propositions and theorems that lead the that conclusion.
Zeke the Sneak (22:39:36) :
And coincidentally, whenever men and women are free to hold their own beliefs about that, a flourishing in science and the arts, political and religious freedom, and economic vitality are not far behind.
Apart from the circularity [free to hold – religious freedom] the statement is false. The correct statement would be that when men and women do not impress their own beliefs on others – including their children – then a flourishing etc…

david alan
October 23, 2009 12:05 am

Leif Svalgaard (23:04:34) :
“In any case, the observable universe is but an infinitesimal small part of the whole universe.”
Ok,ok. I wasn’t goin to say anything, but hey, I like you Leif and after the ‘presision of words comment’, I just had too. 🙂
The word infinitesimal already means small or immeasurably minute or even a variable that has zero as its limit. So either you mean our known Universe is majorly minute in comparison to the unknown Universe or you were just emotionally bound to banter the concept of a small small part of the infinite.
Either way. I’m just teasin.
And thanks again for setting me straight on the whole magnetic vs electric theory.
p.s. Now when are you gonna write a article on Jupiters effect on the Sun? 🙂

conradg
October 23, 2009 2:09 am

“Observations have long since shown us that the universe is flat and infinite. ”
This is far from settled. And even if it does become settled, it does not mean that the mass of the unvierse is infinite, only that it’s spatial dimensions will expand forever. However, the Big Bang theory states that the universe has a defined and thus finite energy, meaning that it’s mass is finite also. So if the universe is confined to the one that began with the big bang, the universe is finite. However, if there are an infinite number of universes, then there is no end to them.
Further, if there turn out to be other dimensions, or metaphysical universes not defined by physical law, the size of “reality” can expand in other directions as well. Personally, I’m inclined towards that maximized infinite universe, which includes infinite physical, infinite metaphysical, and infinite dimensionally metaphysical universes without end. Just as there is no reason to think that our observable universe is the limit of physicality, there’s no reason to think that physicality is the limit of existence itself. Furthermore, quantum mechanics has demonstrated that what we observe does not become definable until we observe it. The secrets of the infinite universe are best found in the observing consciousness, not in what is observed.

SamG
October 23, 2009 3:34 am

conradg(16:42:54) :
“SamG (03:59:47) :
conradg, surely after that experience, you’d denounce leftism?
No, I denounce stupidity. There’s plenty to go around on both left and right.
And honestly, I don’t really blame the general left-liberal gung-ho attitude towards global warming on the political types who embrace it. Must of them are just taking scientists at their word, trusting that they’ve gotten this one right. There might be some advocacy groups who are knowingly exaggerating the scientific basis for AGW, but even they are genuinely convinced that it’s in the right cause.
To be perfectly blunt, this is nonsense. You simply can not plead ignorance in this day and age. Isn’t it convenient that the believers pick up the ball and run with it, no questions asked and then cast aspersions on the ‘denialists’. Kidding right? Sounds like you’re making concessions for them.
The need precedes the facts, which is why they have been forcing a specious ideology onto the world and hijacking the science. Like the notion of God, it is easy to believe in something that isn’t there or is not occurring in the present, away from material factuality. This simply confirms our illusions and emotional desires and removes the burden of proof.
You are neglecting the greenie/leftist agenda.
But honestly, if I believed the general scientific “community” who are promoting AGW, I’d be a gung ho reductionist as well. So it’’s not the politics that’s at fault in my view, it’s the scientists who have exaggerated their case. I’m not really sure what someone like Obama should do, when all his top science advisors are telling him AGW is a real threat.
Obama is a politician. Politicians do what’s popular. But Obama is a democrat so he has socialist leanings as well.
The left is at least trying to honor the science – unfortunately, it’s the science community that seems to have blown this one big time. The left may embrace the science in part because it goes with their political narrative, but they aren’t, for the most part, willfully trying to distort the science. It’s scientists who are doing that. And it’s science that’s going to pay the price, all the way around, when this fiasco comes crashing down as I suspect it will over the next decade or two.
And who will stand up and confess they were wrong; that they are culpable? Why, when they wanted it all along?? I think you will find that they didn’t believe in the science, the science backed up their agendas, which is why they won’t be hanging around when this fiasco finally comes to an end. Again, I think you misunderstand the greenie/leftist agenda.
I’ve tried arguing to progressives in embracing the entire AGW movement that they are facing the same kind of retribution as Bush, Cheney, and the Neocons are now reaping over the entire Iraq invasion – all the exaggerations about a “slam dunk” case for WMDs have destroyed the credibility of the neocons to a man. And progressives will face the same kind of denunciation when the AGW theory collapses due to lack of actual future warming. Looking back, it will become rather obvious that the signs were there all along, but were ignored because the politics was just too attractive. But most progressives simply aren’t science-oriented, and they don’t know how to skeptically evaluate the science. They just trust that Hansen and the climate community has this one nailed down. And they simply won’t listen to anyone expressing sckepticism. Certainly they should be more open-minded about this, but honestly, scientists are supposed to be trustworthy. Laymen and politicians aren’t supposed to have to figure all this stuff out on their own. Science has really dropped the ball here, or failed to speak up due to cowardice and indecision. They too will reap some serious consequences down the line.
Bush-bashing was such a trendy thing to do. Sure, he wasn’t the greatest president but you’ll be hard pressed finding a leftie criticizing the Obama administration, even when he contemplates more troops in Afghanistan than Bush deployed in Iraq. Where are the protesters?
But sure, he’s about to send your economy down the toilet and you want to play sides?
I utterly dislike the contemptuous and sinister nature of the left, and the actions of a few imperialists don’t justify the complete dismissal of capitalism.

SamG
October 23, 2009 3:35 am

Some of the italics didn’t work above.

October 23, 2009 5:32 am

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

October 23, 2009 5:34 am

david alan (00:05:55) :
The word infinitesimal already means small
The double quantifier was just in case he didn’t know what ‘infinitesimal’ meant. 🙂

Richard Sharpe
October 23, 2009 7:38 am

Leif Svalgaard said:

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

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

October 23, 2009 8:21 am

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

Lucy
October 23, 2009 8:30 am

How exactly has science ruled out God? Scientists can’t rule out the possibility that the LHC could produce fire breathing dragons,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/30/cern.particlephysics1
and even more startling to the average sensible person, scientists are even suggesting someone (or thing) from the future is tampering with the LHC
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/13/science/space/13lhc.html?_r=2
is the faltering of Mainstream Science, simple scientific illiteracy, or simply the fact the the impossible could be possible, and only hubris rules it out.

October 23, 2009 9:02 am

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

October 23, 2009 9:21 am

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

October 23, 2009 11:32 am

Leif Svalgaard (23:26:01) :
“The correct statement would be that when men and women do not impress their own beliefs on others – including their children – then a flourishing etc…”

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

George E. Smith
October 23, 2009 11:42 am

“”” Leif Svalgaard (16:26:26) :
>>>deletions<<<
George E. Smith (14:57:32) :
And that is entirely my humble opinion. Parallel universes, and strings are BS as far as I am concerned; and so far nobody has detected either of those.
The science bit comes in in predicting and searching for things that would be observed if there were a parallel universe. The neutrino is a good example of this. Or even the ‘atom’. It was only 100 years ago that we found observable evidence of the existence of atoms. """
Not trying to be argumentative Leif; and of course you're entitled to your opinions too.
Neutrinons and atoms are concepts that were invented to explain the results of experiments that clearly showed the previous view of reality was inconsistent with experimental observations. Predictions made from new models that included the concepts of atoms, and subsequently neutrinos, were then observed experimentally; confirming the "existence" of those items.
As I understand the parallel or multiple universe concept; that is a prediction from some theoretical model, which itself has never been verified experimentally; and even the disciples of parallel universes say the nearest "other universe" is so distant from this universe; as to never ever be detectable.
And as I believe I stated specifically; should we somehow come to "observe" what we would now call a parallel universe; that merely, in my view would expand the scope of THE universe.
Let's not expand the discussion of whether Pluto isa planet or not (of course it is) to include whether some parts of THE UNIVERSE are actually other universes, rather than simply parts of the universe.
And I won't accept that something that "vibrates" in any manner that can be imagined to be analagous to the way a violin string "vibrates" is somehow a more "fundamental" primitive entity, beyond the level of quarks; that simply begs the question; "what are the structural elements of a STRING, that interract with each other to produce a vibration, and what are those gizmos that must be even more fundamental than the strings that are built from them.
And as I said, that is MY opinion; others can disagree; they will have a hard time convincing me otherwise; but they are free to try; I do have an open mind on the question.

Back2Bat
October 23, 2009 12:06 pm

“and how does that follow from logic? ” Leif
I am banned for 24 hours so you’ll just have to wait.

Back2Bat
October 23, 2009 12:12 pm

Wait. Since you were not banned for your outrageous insults, Leif, it will be longer than 24 hours.
REPLY: You post anonymously under a fake moniker, Dr, Svalgaard puts his name to his words, thus he gets more respect in such matters. Further, Dr. Svalgaard made no suggestions of violence as you did. That’s what got you banned.
My advice, if you want to be on equal footing, put your name to your words. – Anthony

October 23, 2009 12:14 pm

Leif Svalgaard (23:26:01) :
“The correct statement would be that when men and women do not impress their own beliefs on others – including their children – then a flourishing etc…”

To clarify:
I am not aware of any time when people voluntarily refrained from expressing deeply held convictions to others, and they voluntarily did not “impress thier own beliefs on their children.”
(Whereas we are all aware of examples in history in which they were restrained by the State from doing so.)

conradg
October 23, 2009 1:00 pm

SamG
I don’t want to get too deeply into our political differences here. Clearly you’re from the political right, I’m from the left, and we can assume some major disagreements on a host of issues. That we agree on a basic skepticism towards AGW science has nothing to do with our politics, it’s simply a scientific matter. I’m sure we also agree that the sky is blue and that evolution is real and that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old. You can call me “socialist-leaning” if you like, and I can call you various names too, but I see little relevance in that to the discussion. But I think you have to recognize that you are off-base here:
To be perfectly blunt, this is nonsense. You simply can not plead ignorance in this day and age. Isn’t it convenient that the believers pick up the ball and run with it, no questions asked and then cast aspersions on the ‘denialists’. Kidding right? Sounds like you’re making concessions for them.
In fact, most people can and need to plead ignorance on most scientific matters, when they lack the actual training in the field to evaluate the evidence. I’m frankly not qualified to evaluate various theories of physics, quantum mechanics, relativity, etc., much less climate science. The best I can do is defer to the acknowledged experts in the field and try to develop a layman’s understanding of their theories. The same goes for every area of science. Like almost everyone in this country, I am at the mercy of the experts, the actual scientists. I understand of course that science isn’t perfect, that it is all about conjecture, debate, experiment, and painstaking reviews. But bottom line, in most cases I simply have to defer to those who know better. That’s just they way it is for almost everyone in this country.
That of course gives scientists a tremendous power and responsibility. Most intelligent people respect and defer to the scientific community of experts when it comes to scientific issues, and climate is definitely a scientific issue. The political problems with the AGW hypothesis is rooted in the scientific community itself. One can argue that the science has become politicized, but the bottom line is that there is indeed a “consensus” out there among actual climatologists and other related scientific fields that AGW theory is legit and must be taken very seriously. That is just undeniable. After years of following the debate, I’ve come to the conclusion that this consensus is probably wrong, and that the scientific dissenters are right, but I have to admit that my personal opinion doesn’t carry much weight. I can also understand why most people who respect science would be inclined to accept the scientific consensus, and assume that it’s legitimate. This includes most politicians, most of whom are not even scientifically-minded, or literate in science, much less actual scientific experts in climate.
The sad truth is that most of those who oppose the science of AGW on the political stage are right-wing anti-science no-nothing douche-bags who have no scientific legitimacy to begin with. Limbaugh, Palin, Inhofe, and their like could care less about the science. They regularly reject the science in far more settled scientific areas such as evolution and the age of the earth. However, even a broken clock can be right twice a day, and this is one issue in which their anti-science stance happens to be right. It happens that their political inclinations force them into a position on this issue which is very convenient for them – just as convenient in its way as it is for environmentalists and progressives to support AGW alarmism. That it will very likely turn out to be the scientifically valid position is mere chance.
And it’s simply not true that those supporting the politics of AGW don’t ask questions. Unfortunately, the answers they get from the AGW science crowd are fairly comprehensive and convincing enough that most people just bow to authority on the issue. And yes, for some that’s very politically convenient for them, and so they are not as thorough in their questioning as they could be. But honestly what is Obama going to do when his science advisor, Chu, a Nobel-Prize winning physicist, and one of the best guys ever put in that position, with great plans for science all across the board, seems to completely buy into the scientific “consensus”. Chu is not a climatologists, so even he tends to bow to the experts in the field, who tell him the science is solid. Of course he should be more skeptical, and take the science apart, and maybe he does, and for some reason still sides with the alarmists. One can fault him to some degree for that, but how can one really fault Obama, who has no science background at all, for bowing to the wisdom of the “consensus” community when even his Nobel-Prize winning science advisor does so? And likewise with most of the Democrats in the house and the senate. Does Pelosi know jack shit about climatology? Of course not. She just hears all the climatologists, the UN IPCC, endlessly repeating this “consensus” stuff, and she feels obliged to go along with it. Political leanings aside, can you really blame her?
The bottom line is, it’s the scientists themselves who need to see through this AGW alarmism and put their foots down, and report to the politicians and the public the seriousness of the arguments against climate alarmism. And to date, very few top scientists and climatologists have done so. The weight of scientific authority has been given to the alarmist science, and so that’s where the responsible people feel they need to be. You have to understand just how scientifically illiterate most people are, most politicians are, and how dependent they are on scientists to get these things right. It appears that in this case science has let them down. And unfortunately, a lot of the pressure to correct the science isn’t even coming from the scientific community, but from outsiders and amateur scientists and politically motivated skeptics that too often gives the skeptical community the feel of some crazed conspiracy cult. Or at least it’s been fairly easy for the AGW alarmists to characterize them that way – and unfortunately in many cases its actually been an accurate description. Are Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, Inhofe and their like actually credible spokesmen for this viewpoint? Only if you’re of a similarly crazed political bent, which most people are not.
You are neglecting the greenie/leftist agenda.
I actually support a lot of the greenie/leftist agenda. I’m big on alternative energy, on switching away from oil and coal as quickly as feasible and possible. I’m big on preserving the environment. And that shouldn’t be a leftist position, it should be a genuine conservative’s position as well. Conserving is what conservatism is supposed to be about, not rampant untramelled exploitation of the earth. I’m just not willing to support something I think is false in order to promote that agenda. I’m sad to see much of that movement attaching itself to the AGW bandwagon, but I can’t much blame them when the scientific community so clearly supports it. It would be different if the scientific community was telling everyone AGW is bullshit, but the left clung to it anyway. There’s certainly examples of dubious things some on the left clings to which science considers questionable, but this isn’t one of them. That is more often the problem with the right than with the left.
Obama is a politician. Politicians do what’s popular. But Obama is a democrat so he has socialist leanings as well.
Actually, cap and trade and various expensive economic remedies for AGW are not popular. Obama is pursuing them because the scientific community keeps telling him how important it is for the sake of humanity. His intentions are good, in other words. He’s willing to buck public opinion because the scientific community is, with few serious exceptions, virtually compelling him to do something serious about it. Obama is a man of reason, who feels compelled to do what is reasonable. In some areas, this means leaning towards government regulation and intervention. And frankly, if the scientific community were right about AGW, he’d be right to do so. But as a politician one can hardly fault him for not overriding the consensus opinion of most scientists on this issue. For some its easy, because they oppose Obama for political reasons, but at this stage, such people seem devoted to opposing anything Obama says or does, regardless of the merits. The right has become crazed and senseless on most issues, and has lost credibility in most people’s eyes. Very few are turning to them for wisdom on how to govern and deal with real problems in the country and the world.
And who will stand up and confess they were wrong; that they are culpable?
It is scientists who have that responsibility, not politicians. Politicians have tremendous cover to put in place harmful policies as long as the scientific community gives it not only their expert support and but literal urging. If the scientific community turned against AGW, political support for it would collapse overnight. As long s politicians say they were just following the advice of the preponderant voices of the scientific community, few will blame them for having been wrong. They will not be expected to have known better than scientific Nobel-Prize winners.
The culpability within the science community should be huge, but I wonder if it will actually ruin many careers. So much of the scientific community has supported AGW that you’d hardly have anyone left if you purged all its supporters. So, I’d expect a few scapegoats to be made, such as Hansen, Mann, Briffa, and many of the modellers. But for most it will be a general amnesty and they will just move on.
It’s in the layman’s world that the more serious consequences will arrive, in that people will simply not trust scientists as much anymore. It will be a boy-who-cried-wolf problem, such that even when there really is serious science behind various policy notions, people will always be able to compare it to that global warming fiasco, and thus cast doubt on its validity. That will be a serious problem for science and its relationship with the wider world.
Bush-bashing was such a trendy thing to do. Sure, he wasn’t the greatest president but you’ll be hard pressed finding a leftie criticizing the Obama administration, even when he contemplates more troops in Afghanistan than Bush deployed in Iraq.
Actually, there are a lot of people on the left criticizing Obama about Afghanistan, and calling for him to get out. The left is critical of Obama on a whole host of things, because they feel he isn’t moving fast enough are far enough on their issues. So this just isn’t true.
But sure, he’s about to send your economy down the toilet and you want to play sides?
Are you wacko? Obama came into office amidst the worst economic crisis since the great Depression, with all of us already in the toilet swimming against a strong downward current. If anything, he’s rescued the country from that potential Depression, and he’s not getting nearly enough credit for it. If anything, the opinion of the financial world is that we are now coming out of that recession and on the verge of a recovery. We’ll see how it goes.
I utterly dislike the contemptuous and sinister nature of the left, and the actions of a few imperialists don’t justify the complete dismissal of capitalism.
No one in the Democratic Party is dismissing capitalism. Obama is a capitalist through and through, as am I, as are all Democrats. He’s just in favor of better economic regulations to keep capitalism on track. After the great Depression we instituted regulatory controls which kept things going pretty well until we recently repealed a lot of them, and let the banks go wild. The fact is, capitalist pigs need to be kept on a short leash to keep them from becoming feral hogs. They just need to be domesticated is all. No one wants to slaughter them.

conradg
October 23, 2009 1:32 pm

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

Leif Svalgaard (05:32:21): This you need to substantiate. If anything, the total energy may be zero, but that does not mean that the mass is zero.
I didn’t say the energy of the Big Bang, and hence the universe, was zero, I said it was a finite sum. It’s a very large number by our standards, of course, but finite nonetheless. If it were infinite, the Big Bang would still be going on, pouring out endless new mass-energy.
You are perhaps referring to the total energy balance equations of the Big Bang. Even these, however, leave a finite energy imbalance that results in the observable universe. In no cases are these energies or masses infinite, however. Some of the characteristics of that balance results in theories such as dark energy and dark matter, which are to be tested at the LHC, but even in such theories, while the observable universe is seen as a very small fraction of the total universe, both are still finite in nature.
My son is actually a student of Joel Premack, the originator of the dark energy/dark matter theory. He once asked Premack what he would do if the LHC destroyed his theory, and he said that he hoped it would, because it would make the universe much more interesting. I wish there were climate scientists who had that kind of attitude towards their own pet theories.

Back2Bat
October 23, 2009 1:35 pm

“My advice, if you want to be on equal footing, put your name to your words. – Anthony”
I don’t need equal footing and I like my moniker. But I will never even hint at violence again since I abhor it.
Here is my current address if you think me a coward:
4225 N. 1st Ave., #505
Tucson, AZ 85719

October 23, 2009 2:28 pm

Zeke the Sneak (11:32:39) :
How can free people be restrained from “impressing their own beliefs on others,” or from directing the education of their own children? This makes no sense at all.
People that will not give their children a badly needed bloodtransfusion or give their children a minimum of education can be prosecuted for neglect among other things.
conradg (13:32:45) :
If it were infinite, the Big Bang would still be going on, pouring out endless new mass-energy.
Does not make sense. Substantiate with a link, please. The total energy is probably zero.

October 23, 2009 2:58 pm

Leif Svalgaard (14:28:57) :
People that will not give their children a badly needed bloodtransfusion or give their children a minimum of education can be prosecuted for neglect among other things.

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

October 23, 2009 3:52 pm

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

October 23, 2009 4:31 pm

Leif Svalgaard (15:52:58) :
Zeke the Sneak (14:58:33) :
You made a broad statement about how science, the arts, political freedom and economic opportunity only flourish when people do not impress their beliefs on others, not even their own children.
And you disagree with that?

Yes, I do because it is contrary to our Constitution and our laws. “Impressing one’s belief on others” can mean no other than freedom of expression, freedom of association, and free excercise.
“Impressing one’s belief on one’s own children” is no other than directing the upbringing and education of one’s own children.
Pierce vs. the Society of Sisters (1925) rendered the state of Oregon powerless in its attempts to force all children to attend public schools:
‘The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all gov’ts in this Union repose excludes any power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not a mere creature of the state; those who nurture and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations. Pierce, 268 US 510, 535’ “

conradg
October 23, 2009 5:03 pm

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

Yes, according to the most accepted theories, the total energy of the Big Bang and the total universe is zero. But that includes, depending on the theory, dark energy/dark matter, gravity waves, plus all the matter-energy that exists beyond the event horizon of the big bang and which cannot be observed or known directly. The total energy of the observable universe is not zero, however. It is merely balanced out by other energy vectors such as those mentioned above which are not directly observable.
As for the universe being “infinite”, I think you need only look up a definition of the word in a dictionary. It means endless. An infinite universe cannot come into being from a discrete location such as the Big Bang theory states without taking infinite time, by definition.
As for supporting links, I don’t use those. I just call my friend who’s a particle physics professor and knows these things backwards and forewards. Saves me a lot of time. I just spent about an hour on the phone with him shooting the shit, and he clarified a lot of this stuff. You could do your own research, or phone a friend.

October 23, 2009 5:17 pm

Dr S, I do not know if you have become a US citizen or not. The idea that children should be under the gaze and care of state educators, and not the parents, does not surprise me. I have been scrutinizing the Obama Administration’s educational policies:
1. The health care bill approved by the Finance Comm. includes funding to create a government home visitation program
2. The president wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends, as well as eliminate summer vacations
3. The Obama-Biden comprehensive “Zero to Five” plan is a new “universal voluntary” preschool program, which they claim “is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten.”
4. sign treaty with the UN which would mandate that the state has the final say in what is “in the best interest of the child.”
5. institute Federal mandatory volunteer youth programs, in which young people serve in the advancement of environmental projects
(Sponsored by James McDermott, HR1444 Sub section 4B6)
6. “Aside from improving academic performance, Education Secretary Duncan has a vision of schools as the heart of the community.”
7. free breakfast, lunch, and probably dinner soon to come.

Glenn
October 23, 2009 6:25 pm

Leif Svalgaard (23:26:01) :
Zeke the Sneak (22:39:36) :
And coincidentally, whenever men and women are free to hold their own beliefs about that, a flourishing in science and the arts, political and religious freedom, and economic vitality are not far behind.
“Apart from the circularity [free to hold – religious freedom] the statement is false. The correct statement would be that when men and women do not impress their own beliefs on others – including their children – then a flourishing etc…”
Be precise, Leif. Is “When people do not impress their religious beliefs on others, including their own children. that science, the arts, political and religious freedoms and economic vitality will flourish?” what you believe?

SamG
October 23, 2009 11:43 pm

conradg
Your post is long but I’ll point out that I don’t affiliate myself with right wing ideology and I still entirely disagree with this nanny state you’re endorsing, that is; humans should vindicate their errors because they relied on scientists. You still don’t understand that they want to believe and they will fight hard to keep up the charade that this is really happening.
I’m not a scientist, nor am I right wing but I detected the B.S right from the beginning. There are many tell-tale signs demonstrating AGW to be an evil twisted lie and you don’t have to be an expert to know this. Wishful thinking on your behalf.
Finally, those who believe that the existence of AGW is irrelevant, because it will force us to change our energy consumption habits anyway; are wrong.
If the entire globe is capable of changing through inadvertence, then they are quite capable of flip flopping when circumstances dictate. Good decisions are made consciously and hysteria creates trends.

October 23, 2009 11:55 pm

Zeke the Sneak (16:31:06) :
You made a broad statement about how science, the arts, political freedom and economic opportunity only flourish when people do not impress their beliefs on others[…]
“And you disagree with that?”
Yes, I do because it is contrary to our Constitution and our laws. “Impressing one’s belief on others” can mean no other than freedom of expression, freedom of association, and free excercise.
Impressing one’s belief is the worst kind of oppression. The Constitution does not give you the right to impress or oppress anybody. It gives you the right [subject to Government and Judicial approval] to express your belief, not to ‘impress’ your belief on other people [impress= forcibly produce by pressure or influence].
conradg (17:03:47) :
An infinite universe cannot come into being from a discrete location such as the Big Bang theory states without taking infinite time, by definition.
The BB did not involve a ‘distinct’ location. All of infinite space expands everywhere. The observable universe is a function of our location and is thus not ‘the’ universe.
Glenn (18:25:28) :
Be precise, Leif. Is “When people do not impress their religious beliefs on others, including their own children. that science, the arts, political and religious freedoms and economic vitality will flourish?” what you believe?
I was very precise. This is what Zeke should have said [cf my remark above]. Personally, I don’t think there is a correlation, perhaps some wishful thinking, but that’s all.Nothing [especially science] flourishes by forcing religion down everybody’s throat.

SamG
October 24, 2009 4:08 am

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

Roger Knights
October 24, 2009 5:01 am

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

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

Back2Bat
October 24, 2009 7:00 am

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

October 24, 2009 7:37 am

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

October 24, 2009 8:43 am

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

I almost feels guilty having had two eggs [sunny side up] for breakfast…
REPLY: OK the obligatory joke…
This is your limited but superhuman intelligence….
ssssss…..
This is your limited but superhuman intelligence on Leif’s plate….
Any questions?

October 24, 2009 10:56 am

Fine. Then I will just say when you post Dr. S, you are expressing your radical opinion on education, but you are not “impressing” anyone with it! A new area of law!
“No Man’s Life Liberty or Property is Safe…While the Legislature is in Session”– Now we have to add our kids to the d*8% list!

Back2Bat
October 24, 2009 11:05 am

Leif Svalgaard (07:37:56) :
Back2Bat (07:00:34) :
Having Purpose, She would quickly reign over purposeless chaos.

Leif,
Be a gentleman and quote me accurately please. I said “He”.
This is not science, but religion, and should not be taught in public schools, except in the context of comparing various religions.” Leif
I agree. But I also think government should have no role in eduction except where absolutely necessary.

Back2Bat
October 24, 2009 11:09 am

Zeke the Sneak (10:56:28) :
“.
.
.
Now we have to add our kids to the d*8% list!”

Bingo!

October 24, 2009 11:23 am

“But for my children, I would have them keep their distance
from the thickening center; corruption
Never has been copulsory, when the cities lie at the monster’s feet
there are left the mountains.
And boys, be in nothing so moderate as the love of man,
a clever servant, insufferable master.
There is the trap that catches the noblest spirits, that caught
– they say – God, when he walked on earth.”

Robinson Jeffers

Back2Bat
October 24, 2009 11:55 am

Zeke the Sneak (11:23:56) :

… there are left the mountains….

I love the mountains!
…. And boys, be in nothing so moderate as the love of man, …
Should have warned about the love of women ; )
There is the trap that catches the noblest spirits, that caught
– they say – God, when he walked on earth.”

Lost me there.
Robinson Jeffers
I should remember that name.

October 24, 2009 12:20 pm

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

Perhaps, but I often correct quotes [lief – leif, etc] as long as the meaning is not altered. How do you know it is ‘He’? Most primitive religions consider the primary deity a ‘She’ and I did not not want to be parochial or partial to a specific one. You know – level playing field and all that]
Back2Bat (11:05:37) :
I agree. But I also think government should have no role in eduction except where absolutely necessary.
The public should have a role [to negate the excesses of the parents], not necessarily the ‘government’. In a civilized society, we delegate to the public a variety of services: education, protection, defense, old age pensions, basic health care. Correct education is essential, both as far contents [e.g. no ID, astrology, and the like] and availability [e.g. for girls, negroes] are concerned. If a society does not provide that [and a society can choose not to, e.g. in Kansas and by the Taliban] it will be overtaken and left behind, to the detriment of its citizens.

Back2Bat
October 24, 2009 12:39 pm

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

October 24, 2009 12:47 pm

Back2Bat (12:39:32) :
its opponents eventually die
What, from bites on the ankle?
[snip…c’mon Leif ~ ctm]

conradg
October 24, 2009 1:54 pm

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

I did not say a ‘distinct’ location, I said a ‘discrete’ location. That discreet location is the singularity from which all space, time, mass and energy emerged. How that happened is still the subject of debate, but it is generally agreed that if it did happen, that it involved a discreet quantity of mass and energy. Measuring or inferring that discreet quantity from the perspective of time and space introduces further limitations on the finitude of the observable universe and the energy scale of the original singularity.
As a further note, there are theories of the universe which could justify the notion that the universe is infinite, but these theories essentially postulate an infinite number of Big Bang-like events occurring within a larger metaspace – in essense that our visibile universe is actually just a discreet black hole of finite energy within a much larger infinite universe of an infinite number of such black holes separated from one another by great distances and inviolable event horizons. In this view, the “Big Bang” is more akin to the explosions of supernovas which create black holes in our own universe. It may just be black holes all the way up and down.

October 24, 2009 2:15 pm

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

Glenn
October 24, 2009 5:38 pm

Leif Svalgaard (23:55:28) :
Glenn (18:25:28) :
Be precise, Leif. Is “When people do not impress their religious beliefs on others, including their own children. that science, the arts, political and religious freedoms and economic vitality will flourish?” what you believe?
“I was very precise. This is what Zeke should have said [cf my remark above]. Personally, I don’t think there is a correlation, perhaps some wishful thinking, but that’s all. Nothing [especially science] flourishes by forcing religion down everybody’s throat.”
Perhaps political freedom, religious freedom, economic vitality, the arts, flourish when science is forced down everybody’s throat?
I’m just curious why you put religion and science on opposite sides of the scales.
Don’t you realize that science, the arts, politics, economies of countries *have* flourished under religious “impression” is an easily supportable claim, unlike your vague and unsupportable theorizing above?
Or perhaps you are an anarchist who thinks that everything would flourish if nothing was “forced down everybody’s throat”.
But I have noted a tendency a desire of yours to censor if your views are challenged.

Glenn
October 24, 2009 5:48 pm

Leif Svalgaard (07:37:56) :
Back2Bat (07:00:34) :
Having Purpose, She would quickly reign over purposeless chaos.
“This is not science, but religion, and should not be taught in public schools, except in the context of comparing various religions.” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion””
How does the first amendment support your claim that religion should be taught in religion class and not science class?
And how does “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech” fit in with that?

October 24, 2009 5:54 pm

conradg (13:54:17) :
further limitations on the finitude of the observable universe and the energy scale of the original singularity.
the observable universe is a function of our location [a different observer sees a different ‘observable universe’ that most of the time does not overlap with ours]. So, any discussion of the observable universe has no bearing on the ‘finitude’ and energy and mass of the ‘whole universe’. Could you perhaps stop bringing this up again and again.
To my knowledge there is no such thing as a ‘discrete’ or ‘discreet’ location [apart from lovers’ hideaways], so I interpreted your word as ‘distinct’, perhaps meaning ‘well-defined’.
By now I have forgotten why you are harping on this. Ah, wait, something with the probability of life. But that has nothing to do with infinite or finite, the universe just has to be big enough. Infinitude is not required.

Glenn
October 24, 2009 6:05 pm

Leif Svalgaard (12:20:16) :
Back2Bat (11:05:37) :
Having Purpose, She would quickly reign over purposeless chaos.
Be a gentleman and quote me accurately please. I said “He”.
“Perhaps, but I often correct quotes”
No perhaps about it, Lief, he said “He”. Correcting quotes is a “no-no”, not a “correction” but an “alteration”. You need to get your head on straight.

October 24, 2009 6:24 pm

Glenn (17:38:52) :
Don’t you realize that science, the arts, politics, economies of countries *have* flourished under religious “impression” is an easily supportable claim, unlike your vague and unsupportable theorizing above?
If you read carefully [even what you quoted in your post], you’ll see that I make no such claims. In fact, I said: “Personally, I don’t think there is a correlation, perhaps some wishful thinking, but that’s all.”
How does the first amendment support your claim that religion should be taught in religion class and not science class?
Because religion is not science unless it is claimed to be by ‘established religion’ that manipulates the curriculum. And that is what should not be ‘respected’.
And how does “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech” fit in with that?
It has nothing to do with that. It is quite common in the Constitution to find such disconnected clauses. Like the amendment continues: “or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”. How does the ‘right to assemble fit? Stick to the subject. Or rather, stick to the topic of this thread.

October 24, 2009 6:50 pm

Glenn (18:05:26) :
You need to get your head on straight.
and you are the straight-head police?
Now, I did not consider this as much a quote as a statement that showed the arbitrariness of the whole thing. If it will make you happy, I’ll profusely apologize to everybody who feel they need such that I have tried to exercise my 1st amendment right to express myself. Happy now?

Glenn
October 24, 2009 8:12 pm

Leif Svalgaard (18:24:59) :
Glenn (17:38:52) :
Don’t you realize that science, the arts, politics, economies of countries *have* flourished under religious “impression” is an easily supportable claim, unlike your vague and unsupportable theorizing above?
“If you read carefully [even what you quoted in your post], you’ll see that I make no such claims. In fact, I said: “Personally, I don’t think there is a correlation, perhaps some wishful thinking, but that’s all.””
Yes, you were obfuscating, and failed to answer a simple question with a simple answer, or in lieu of that, to make your own beliefs clearer when asked.
But I did notice what you said, and it was crystal clear:
“Nothing [especially science] flourishes by forcing religion down everybody’s throat.”
How about supporting that claim, or is that just “wishful thinking”?

Glenn
October 24, 2009 8:18 pm

Leif Svalgaard (18:24:59) :
Glenn (17:38:52)
How does the first amendment support your claim that religion should be taught in religion class and not science class?
“Because religion is not science unless it is claimed to be by ‘established religion’ that manipulates the curriculum. And that is what should not be ‘respected’.”
Is this same logic used in your science? Gawk. The first amendment makes no mention of “science” and can not possibly be used to support your claim.
You must surely be perplexed when you read “In God We Trust” on our currency.

October 24, 2009 8:23 pm

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

I take it back: the cranks, quacks, fraudsters, bigots, fundamentalists, blood-sucking societal parasites, etc, do flourish.
If you disagree with me on this, you could, perhaps, show us how imposing sharia law [for example] helps promote science and make flourish the arts and personal liberties.
Reply: Better yet, can we get off the topic of science vs religion? ~ ctm

October 24, 2009 8:38 pm

Glenn (20:18:39) :
The first amendment makes no mention of “science” and can not possibly be used to support your claim.
It makes mention of religion and that proves the point.
You must surely be perplexed when you read “In God We Trust” on our currency.
You trust in Allah or Zoroaster or Khawar [whom I feel some affinity with]?
And, yes, I’m somewhat perplexed, but willing to accept a few insequential quirks.

Glenn
October 24, 2009 8:39 pm

Leif Svalgaard (18:24:59) :
Glenn:
“How does the first amendment support your claim that religion should be taught in religion class and not science class?
And how does “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech” fit in with that?”
Lief:
“It has nothing to do with that. It is quite common in the Constitution to find such disconnected clauses. Like the amendment continues: “or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”. How does the ‘right to assemble fit? Stick to the subject. Or rather, stick to the topic of this thread.”
It isn’t a disconnected clause, Lief, but that isn’t a valid argument for why it “has nothing to do with it”. This use of “right to assemble” is more obfuscation from you.
But what I quoted from the 1st *is* relevant to the first part (you previously quoted) to support your claim. You didn’t like the second part because it didn’t work for you. The first part you apparently thought would work for you, but now you would like us to think that it “has nothing to do with that”.
Do you think it is a good idea to claim in public that “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” has “nothing to do” with “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”?
Or that freedom of speech has nothing to do with “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” for that matter??

Reply to  Glenn
October 24, 2009 8:41 pm

Can we stop the religious debate please? Everyone here.

Glenn
October 24, 2009 8:44 pm

Leif Svalgaard (18:50:17) :
Glenn (18:05:26) :
You need to get your head on straight.
“and you are the straight-head police?
Now, I did not consider this as much a quote as a statement that showed the arbitrariness of the whole thing. If it will make you happy, I’ll profusely apologize to everybody who feel they need such that I have tried to exercise my 1st amendment right to express myself. Happy now?”
No, you don’t seem to recognize that it is wrong to deliberately misquote another.
That infringes on the other’s right of free speech.
It is a simple matter.
You need to get your head on straight.

Reply to  Glenn
October 24, 2009 8:49 pm

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

Glenn
October 24, 2009 8:54 pm

Leif Svalgaard (20:38:26) :
Glenn (20:18:39) :
The first amendment makes no mention of “science” and can not possibly be used to support your claim.
“It makes mention of religion and that proves the point.”
Not at all, and as a professed man of science you should be ashamed to make such illogical statements. The first amendment can not be used to “prove” anything concerning science, since it makes no mention of science. This is also a simple point.
You need to get your head on straight.
***********
Glenn (20:18:39) :
You must surely be perplexed when you read “In God We Trust” on our currency.
“You trust in Allah or Zoroaster or Khawar [whom I feel some affinity with]?
And, yes, I’m somewhat perplexed, but willing to accept a few insequential quirks.”
You really do need to drop this habit of using such vague concepts and arguments to support claims. The United States may not be an official “Christian” country, but belief in God in this country has not been and is not an “insequential quirk”, no matter how you might think to twist the meaning.

October 24, 2009 9:18 pm

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

Glenn
October 24, 2009 10:25 pm

Leif Svalgaard (21:18:41) :
Glenn (20:54:42) :
but belief in God in this country has not been and is not an “inconsequential quirk”, no matter how you might think to twist the meaning.
“and that is precisely the problem because it gets in the way of proper scientific literacy [as it did in the 17th century], to wit the nonsense of the past scores of postings, including yours.
P.S. I’m not ‘claiming’ anything. Just expressing my opinion.”
P.S. When you make a claim, you can’t claim it isn’t a claim by claiming it is an opinion, Leif. Just before your “P.S.” above you made a claim. It is a simple matter, but I am not surprised to see that you do not realize that. My advice to you is to stick to the more complex subjects so that your illogical claims are more easily concealed.
As to this silly idea of religion in the US being a “problem”, since the US has been and still is rather “flourishing in science and the arts, political and religious freedom, and economic vitality” despite parents “impressing” religion on their offspring, I’d say again you really need to get your head on straight. Indicting religion as a whole is not a smart thing to do, especially in a country where a majority of people, including scientists, artists, politicians and capitalists hold religious beliefs.

October 24, 2009 11:07 pm

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

Glenn
October 25, 2009 1:41 am

Leif Svalgaard (23:07:01) :
Glenn (22:25:09) :
Indicting religion as a whole is not a smart thing to do, especially in a country where a majority of people, including scientists, artists, politicians and capitalists hold religious beliefs.
“When their religious beliefs take over their senses, religion becomes a problem. In fact, ‘the’ problem. The 21st century will be the century of biology and the US will not be able to flourish in that [stem cells, evolution, etc]. Religion is mostly to blame for the scientific illiteracy [young Earth, non-BB, etc] that clouds people’s judgment. There is nothing wrong with holding religious beliefs and that is not the problem. The problem is when those beliefs blind people to reality and to the grandeur of this universe in which we live. I do not expect you to see this.”
The self-righteous arrogance and malice required to place me in this imaginary group of yours that will bring down the US must affect your life profoundly. I’m truly sorry for you, that you think to have a monopoly on reality and the grandeur of the universe. Perhaps you have become what you claim is the problem.

conradg
October 25, 2009 3:27 am

Leif,
To remind you of what we are discussing, you made the claim that the physical universe is infinite, and claimed that Big Bang theory supports this idea. It simply does not. With all due respect, you simply don’t seem to understand Big Bang theory very well. I have patiently tried to explain why your claim of an infinite (potentially) observable universe simply doesn’t mesh with Big Bang theory, but you don’t seem to be listening.
It has nothing to do with where we observe the universe from, what location we are at. The expanding observable universe is, according\to Big Bang theory, only a small fraction of the actual Big Bang. Most of the mass/energy of the Big Bang is actually outside the “event horizon” of the Big Bang, utterly beyond our ability to observe it. Even so, the total mass of the universe is finite in nature, and the total energy vectors add up to zero. Even the greater mass of the universe, beyond the observable event horizon, is finite as well.
An infinite physical universe created by a Big Bang event would require that the Big Bang itself be infinite, which would tear apart all of space-time with infinite forces. There could be no universe as we know and observe it in such a case, which is why even on the theoretical level we know that the physical universe is finite, not infinite. As I tried to mention earlier, theories do exist of an infinite physical universe that is NOT created by the Big Bang, but within which expanding singularities do pop up now and then and create finite mini-universes such as ours might be, but even in those cases, our own universe would not itself be infinite. I know of no scientific cosmological theory which describes our observable physical universe as infinite in either mass, energy, space, or time.
I have no particular agenda involved in the theological discussion you are having.

October 25, 2009 8:03 am

Glenn (01:41:14) :
The self-righteous arrogance and malice required to place me in this imaginary group of yours that will bring down the US must affect your life profoundly.
I think you avowedly place yourself in that group, and I’m afraid that group will at some point be detrimental and will affect people’s lives negatively and profoundly.
conradg (03:27:00) :
Even so, the total mass of the universe is finite in nature, and the total energy vectors add up to zero.
Remember you started out by saying that the energy was some finite large number and that therefore the mass was finite too.
An infinite physical universe created by a Big Bang event would require that the Big Bang itself be infinite, which would tear apart all of space-time with infinite forces.
If one assumes that the BB was from a singularity [of zero extent] then to get from the singularity to even a finite size involves an infinitely large expansion factor. Your “would tear apart all of space-time with infinite forces” does not make sense, and even so perhaps the force was infinite. The energy density was. BB theory says nothing about the mass involved. And your obsession with the ‘observable’ universe is misplaced. The ‘observable’ universe is an infinitely small part of the total.

Glenn
October 25, 2009 11:14 am

Leif Svalgaard (08:03:40) :
Glenn (01:41:14) :
The self-righteous arrogance and malice required to place me in this imaginary group of yours that will bring down the US must affect your life profoundly.
“I think you avowedly place yourself in that group, and I’m afraid that group will at some point be detrimental and will affect people’s lives negatively and profoundly.”
I avowedly place myself in an imaginary group you made up? I’ve only challenged you to support your claims, and have not advocated, nor do I advocate or hold extremist religious beliefs. Not that extremism is your main concern, since you have stated that “Religion is mostly to blame for the scientific illiteracy [young Earth, non-BB, etc] that clouds people’s judgment”. Of course, you have made no attempt to support *any* of the claims you have made in this discussion, despite my encouragement of you to do so.
Why are you willing to go to such extremes to share your religious bias?
How about just supporting *one* little claim of yours, that I “avowedly” placed myself in the group you define.

October 25, 2009 11:44 am

Glenn (11:14:53) :
I’ve only challenged you to support your claims,
What claim(s)?
And why are you interested in this? What is in it for you?

Glenn
October 25, 2009 12:24 pm

Leif Svalgaard (11:44:36) :
Glenn (11:14:53) :
I’ve only challenged you to support your claims,
“What claim(s)?”
For one, that I have “avowed” some belief you deem dangerous. Others have been identified as well, as anyone can easily go back to and find.
“And why are you interested in this? What is in it for you?”
How about what’s in it for you to change reference of “He” to “She”? I’ve only tried to get you to support what you claim, or if you wish, what opinions you have expressed on the topic. In reality, it could be useful to find out whether your claims of what has and what will happen has any merit. You remember reality, right?
You aren’t about to, are you.

October 25, 2009 1:09 pm

Glenn (12:24:31) :
I’ve only challenged you to support your claims
I don’t think anybody cares about your ‘challenge’
But for the record, the original exchange went like this:
Zeke the Sneak (14:58:33) :
was complaining:
You made a broad statement about how science, the arts, political freedom and economic opportunity only flourish when people do not impress their beliefs on others.
Me: And you disagree with that?
Zeke the Sneak (16:31:06) :
Yes, I do because it is contrary to our Constitution and our laws
So, I was saying that if people did not impress [by force – implied by impress on] their belief on other people, that that was good in the flourish department. And Zeke disagreed with that, saying it is contrary to the Constitution. And if you agree with him that it is good and supported by the Constitution, that people by force impress their beliefs on other people, then I consider that a dangerous and undesirable view. And since I have grandchildren that as US citizens, that that worries me.

October 25, 2009 1:15 pm

Glenn (12:24:31) :
I’ve only challenged you to support your claims
I don’t think anybody cares about your ‘challenge’
But for the record, the original exchange went like this:
Zeke the Sneak (14:58:33) :
was complaining:
You made a broad statement about how science, the arts, political freedom and economic opportunity only flourish when people do not impress their beliefs on others.
Me: And you disagree with that?
Zeke the Sneak (16:31:06) :
Yes, I do because it is contrary to our Constitution and our laws
So, I was saying that if people did not impress [by force – implied by impress on] their belief on other people, that that was good in the flourish department. And Zeke disagreed with that, saying it is contrary to the Constitution. And if you agree with him that it is good and supported by the Constitution, that people by force impress their beliefs on other people, then I consider that a dangerous and undesirable view and puts you in an objectionable group. And since I have grandchildren that are US citizens, that worries me.

conradg
October 25, 2009 2:47 pm

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

According to Big Bang theory, the energy of the observable universe is not zero, but is a finite (but very large) number. The energy of the total universe, including that portion which is not observable, which is beyond the event horizon, is also finite, and it’s energy vector cancels out the energy vector of the known universe, which is what leaves the total energy of the Big Bang, and of the universe, as zero. This is because Big Bang theory states that most of the mass/energy of the universe is in the form of either dark mass/dark energy, or mass and energy that exists outside the event horizon of the observable universe. The proportion is uneven, such that the observable universe is perhaps only 1-5% of the total universe, perhaps even much less. However, there is no basis for your statement that the observable universe is an infinitely small portion of the Big Bang. That simply has no basis in current theory.
If one assumes that the BB was from a singularity [of zero extent] then to get from the singularity to even a finite size involves an infinitely large expansion factor.
You clearly don’t grasp Bang Theory. One cannot speak of the “size” of the singularity, in that it did not exist in space or time. Space and time emerged from the singularity, so it is meaningless to speak of the singularity in those terms prior to the Big Bang. Your argument is a version of the Zeno Paradox, which suggests that it’s impossible for anything to move, since movement from a zero state of rest would require an infinite series of accelerations and forces. Quantum mechanics gets around this by quantizing all of space and time, such that it is possible for a singularity to expand in size without requiring infinite forces. In fact, it works out to be just the opposite, that our universe could not be the result of infinite forces or produce infinite mass, because if it were, it would require infinite time and infinite initial temperature, meaning it would never cool down to the point where matter, galaxies and stars could form. An infinite Big Bang would, yes, literally tear space and time apart, and create a universe in which all such dimensions were infinite, which is clearly not the case here.
Your “would tear apart all of space-time with infinite forces” does not make sense, and even so perhaps the force was infinite. The energy density was. BB theory says nothing about the mass involved.
Yes, it does, actually. That’s what the Higgs Boson is all about. The Higgs Boson is that force which leads to the inflationary model of the Big Bang that accounts for the observable universe coming into being – you know, the one with actual mass? And the energy “density” was not infinite, according to theory. Of course, theory does not describe the singularity itself prior to the Big Bang, only to the first 10^-43 seconds after the Big Bang, because of the limits of quantum mechanics theory. But there is no sense in which one can describe these energies or masses to be “infinite”.
And your obsession with the ‘observable’ universe is misplaced. The ‘observable’ universe is an infinitely small part of the total.
You keep making these wild assertions that have no basis in actual scientific theory regarding the Big Bang. We don’t have a Big Bang theory which posits that the observable universe is an infinitely small part of the total Big Bang. Might I point out that you are contradicting yourself here? If the observable universe is infinite, it can’t be an infinitely small part of the total universe. If it’s finite, it can’t have infinite mass. You can’t have it both ways.
As I’ve said, there are indeed theories that posit an infinite universe, within which Big Bang events occur, but even these theories only posit finite Big Bang events that create finite mini-universes, not infinite ones.
I’m not sure why you are clinging to this notion that the product of the Big Bang was a universe infinite in space and mass. That simply plays no part in Big Bang theory. So you are just either stubbornly defending a scientifically baseless statement, or you are leaving science behind and making up your own ideas about the universe. Which is fine, but it’s simply posturing to suggest it’s a form of legitimate science.
As an aside, my physics professor friends describes your entire assertion and argument as “not serious”.

October 25, 2009 3:21 pm

I took what you said at face value, and never assumed you meant some kind of physical force by saying that people shoud not “impress their beliefs on” other people, or even on their own children. That certainly was a hidden meaning.
I documented the text of Pierce v Society of Sisters, which defines educational freedom in this country here:
Zeke the Sneak (16:31:06) :
I have done my level best at documenting Pres. Obama’s educational policies here:
Zeke the Sneak (17:17:16) :
I hope that the effort was of value to some parents and grandparents out there. I cannot believe that anyone here really wants government visitation of American homes, or even the elimination of summer vacation, or anything else on the list.

October 25, 2009 8:23 pm

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

October 25, 2009 8:31 pm

Zeke the Sneak (15:21:05) :
I took what you said at face value, and never assumed you meant some kind of physical force by saying that people shoud not “impress their beliefs on”
‘Impress their beliefs on’ is by force. It doesn’t have to be by physical force. It can be force by authority, for example. Or by sanctions, like ostracism. I was actually flabbergasted that you thought impressing one’s belief on somebody else, by whatever means, was good and was in accordance with the Constitution.
And there is and should not be educational freedom. If I do not want to teach my children to read or write, but only to learn the Bible, or the Quraan, or whatever, by heart, society should not allow that. If you think educational freedom means the freedom to do this [madrases in the US], then we’ll just have to disagree.

October 25, 2009 8:34 pm

Leif Svalgaard (20:31:53) :
And there is NOT and should not be educational freedom…

October 25, 2009 10:30 pm

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

October 25, 2009 10:45 pm

“And if you agree with [Zeke the Sneak] that it is good and supported by the Constitution, that people by force impress their beliefs on other people, then I consider that a dangerous and undesirable view and puts you in an objectionable group.” Leif Svalgaard
I do not believe any objective observer would agree that I could be taken in this way. This is a serious mischaracterization. I did invoke rights to free expression, freedom of association and free exercise; I did discuss the “right and high duty” of parents to educate their children. Reading force into my responses is sloppy and inaccurate, perhaps even a deliberate misrepresentation.

conradg
October 26, 2009 1:09 am

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

I guess you don’t quite understand that what cannot be observed (or inferred by observation) is not a proper field of scientific study. Science can only address what is observable, and possible within the range of verifiable theory. You would like to think the universe is infinite, and no one is ever going to be able to stop you from thinking that, because for some reason you are attached to the idea – which is not much different from some people’s attachment to the idea that God created the universe. Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t, but merely believing it to be true has nothing to do with science.
When Big Bang theorists talka bout the “observable universe”, they don’t just mean “what we can see with instruments from earth”, the mean “what can be seen from any position in our universe”. The Big Bang sets a limit to the size of the expanding visible universe. That limit is an event horizon, in that we are effectively inside a black hole, which we cannot see out of. What is beyond that event horizon can only be inferred by the theoretical character of the BIg Bang itself, which presumes that most of the mass and energy which emerged from the Big Bang is on the other side of the event horizon. It’s only form of interaction with us is, theoretically, through gravity waves, which may subtly effect this side of the event horizon, creating the accelerating expansion of our universe. And yet, as mentioned before, even that portion of the Big Bang is finite, if considerably larger than our side of it. Just because a universe is observable does not mean it must be finite. But it happens that any universe that emerges from a Big Bang event will, indeed, be finite, both in its observable and unobservable portions.
Whatever else besides the remnants of the Big Bang that may be on the other side of the event horizon would depend on something else existing “there” (as if such spacial references have any meaning before space came into being) prior to the Big Bang, but that is something which we cannot speak rationally of, because it has no scientific meaning, since it is utterly immune to our observational or theoretical abilities. You can think of it as infinite, you can think of it as a hardware store, a very large fish, a series of turtles standing on one another’s backs, an old man in a grey beard wearing a toga, anything you like really, it makes no difference. It has no scientific meaning in terms of anything we have observed or can infer through theoretical means.

October 26, 2009 1:17 am

Zeke the Sneak (16:31:06) :
“Impressing one’s belief on others” can mean no other than freedom of expression, freedom of association, and free excercise.
Checking around on various rules for conduct, one finds several of the nature: ” More immoral still to try to impress your beliefs on others” or http://www.news-record.com/content/2009/10/07/article/it_isn_t_right_to_impose_your_beliefs_on_others and others. So ‘Impressing one’s belief on others’ is a very negative thing to do. I was taking your statement at face value or at least with a commonly accepted meaning, and thus not misrepresenting you. And as I said, I double-checked with you that I had understood you correctly. If you didn’t mean what you said, then that is another matter.

October 26, 2009 1:30 am

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