The trouble with Google defining 'truth'

google-logoGoogle thinks we’re only entitled to seeing Google’s “facts,” especially on climate change

Guest essay by Ron Arnold

With its $385 billion share value, Google, Inc. has bumped ExxonMobil to become America’s No. 2 ranked company in market capitalization.

That may not be a good thing. A February article in New Scientist announced, Google wants to rank websites based on facts, not links, and writer Hal Hodson said, “The internet is stuffed with garbage. Google has devised a fix – rank websites according to their truthfulness.”

Not surprisingly, the idea of changing page rank from popularity to “truthfulness,” based on a Google-made “knowledge vault,” did not go down well.

Fox News reported, “Google’s plan to rank websites is raising censorship concerns.” Douglass Kennedy opened with, “They say you’re entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. It’s a concept not everyone is comfortable with.”

They’re saying we’re only entitled to Google’s “facts,” which completely short-circuits how slippery “facts” can be and naively equates facts with truth. Ask any lawyer about truth.

Today’s climate wars consist of arguments between highly qualified scientists about facts that some sincerely believe are true, and some sincerely believe are false, each for solid reasons. It should be an honest debate among equals, but it’s degenerated into a power play by alarmists to kill debate to drive favored public policies that are pushed by certain politicians and their social and political base.

Google’s truth plan is not so simple. Facts are statements about existence. Statements about existence can be true or false. Existence itself – your kitchen sink or the climate or whatever – can’t be true or false; it just exists. Say anything you want about existence, and it won’t change a thing. It still just exists. Existence doesn’t give a damn what you think about it. Facts are statements about existence, and statements are always arguable.

But get everyone to believe Google Facts, and you can enforce political policies worth trillions of dollars to climate profiteers – and impose punitive, economy-strangling, job-killing regulations on millions of families.

You can see where this is going.

Imagine: Big Google the Universal Truthsayer. That’s as scary as “Mr. Dark” in Ray Bradbury’s 1962 novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, only worse. It’s the perfect machine to kill all dissent and wither the Internet into a wasteland of groupthink, susceptible to disinformation campaigns from any power center from the CIA, to the rich bosses of Google, Inc. to Google’s political friends and allies.

What about those rich bosses? Google’s two co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, created a corporate foundation in 2005. The Google Foundation has 2013 assets of $72,412,693, gave grants of $7.9 million, and added $29.4 million from corporate profits.

Three of Google’s top-ten recipients are key climate alarmists: the World Wildlife Fund ($5 million); Energy Foundation ($2.6 million); and rabidly anti-fracking Natural Resources Defense Council ($2.5 million).

NRDC is particularly influential because it also received $3.01 million in taxpayer-financed Environmental Protection Agency grants since 2009 and has 50 employees on 40 federal advisory committees: NRDC has 33 employees on 21 EPA committees, and more in six other agencies.

The big gun in Google philanthropy is Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, whose Schmidt Family Foundation ($312 million, 2013 assets) is a major armory for groups that attack skeptics of dangerous manmade climate change. The Schmidt Foundation has given $67,147,849 in 295 grants to 180 recipients since it was endowed in 2007.

Top Schmidt money went to Climate Central ($8.15 million), a group of activist climate scientists bolstered by $1,387,372 in EPA grants since 2009.

Schmidt also gave $3.25 million to the Energy Foundation, which was almost superfluous, since EF is practically the Mother Ship of green grants, with $1,157,046,016 given via 28,705 grants to 11,866 recipients since 1999.

Among the shadier grants in the Schmidt portfolio are anti-fracking, anti-fossil-fuel grants totaling $1.19 million to the Sustainable Markets Foundation, a shell corporation that gives no recorded grants, but funnels money to climate and anti-fracking organizations such as Bill McKibben’s 350.org, so that the donors are not traceable.

Schmidt supported the far-left Tides Foundation empire with $975,000 for an anti-consumer film, “The Story of Stuff.” It gave the Sierra Club $500,000 for anti-natural gas activism, the Center for Investigative Reporting $985,000 for an anti-coal film, and so forth. Schmidt’s list goes on for pages.

With all the massive resources of wealth and power alarmists have, we must ask: Why do they give so much to destroy the climate debate and the debaters? What are they afraid of?

Perhaps they have staked so much money and reputation on manmade climate catastrophe claims that they are terrified by the prospect that inconvenient evidence, data, debate and scientists could destroy their carefully constructed climate house of cards.

Or perhaps it’s what Eric Schmidt said at January’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, when he was asked for his prediction on the future of the web. “I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear.”

How? The mature technology will be wearable, give us interactive homes and cars, and simply fade into the background – to become something that we all have, that most of us don’t really know (or care) very much about, as long as it can do whatever we want.

That’s the view from the pinnacle of wealth and power. On the ground, the joke is on Google.

Michael Humphrey, Forbes contributor and instructor at Colorado State University, sees younger people abandoning the public forum in favor of one-to-one connectivity. He says they don’t trust the Internet.

Why? Millennials say the Internet is cheapening language, it is stunting curiosity (because answers come so easily), we are never bored so we lose creativity, it steals innocence too quickly, it makes us impulsive with our buying and talking, it is creating narcissists, it creates filter bubbles that limit discovery, it hurts local businesses, it is filled with false evidence, it desensitizes us to tragedy, it makes us lonely.

They want the real world.

Google that.

________

Ron Arnold is Ron Arnold is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

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David Harrington

Worrying.

Sceptical Sam

Yep. But only if you stick with Google.
I don’t.
I recommend DuckDuckGo
https://duckduckgo.com
It doesn’t track you either.
Vote with your mouse. Give Google the chop.

wacojoe

Plus 10.

rogerknights

Google shouldn’t change its page rankings based on sites’ toeing the line on consensus reality. That could make maverick sites invisible. If it wants to give sites “gold stars” reflecting Google’s high opinion of them, that would be tolerable, I suppose. (The cool kids would be sure to shun them!)

oeman50

They should base their rankings on site “truthiness.”

Tom O

But WHO defines truth? In many cases, “consensus” defines truth, but that does NOT make it the truth. Consensus said the world was flat, but that’s not the case. Consensus said the Sun revolved around Earth, but that’s not the case. The truth, somewhat like history, seems to be a moving target. If 10 million people want to go see a skin site and one 50 go view the Vatican’s site, based on a set of search terms, that doesn’t make the Vatican site more popular because someone believes it to be more “truthful.” It makes a mockery of the concept of being useful In your search for information. The odds are that if 10 million people are going to the skin site off your search terms, the information you are seeking, judging by those terms, will be found there.

Bubba Cow

McKibben’s 350.org is for fracking. Frack, baby Frack.
Now Google that.

TJA

Fracking enables wind power. Fracking shut down Vermont Yankee. Fracking cuts CO2 emissions. What’s not to like? IDK, ask a greenie.

Jaime Jessop

The World Wide Web has for long been a double-edged sword, capable of both expanding and enlightening awareness on a huge diversity of issues but also of misinforming and creating bias where none should exist. You have to be in possession of quite rigorous personal psychological filters to sift through this deluge of information and sort ‘fact’ from fantasy, what ‘is’ as opposed to what others would have you believe. It looks like Google are now intent on permanently blunting one edge of that sword.

TJA

RIght, sure, but which edge?

Bubba Cow
David A

Bubba, over time while using Google my computer slowed terribly. Posting comments got so bad that I often lost the site I was on when I posted. I thought I had a virus, or in my paranoia I thought that Google was annoyed by my skeptical CAGW comments. (sarc, ??) Anyway I switched to Duck Duck Go. Wow, what a difference! My sites load FAR faster, and my comments now post. I highly recommend this site.

Oldseadog

Same here.

commieBob

Amen Bubba Cow!

DuckDuckGo (DDG) is a Internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results.[1] DuckDuckGo distinguishes itself from other search engines by not profiling its users and by deliberately showing all users the same search results for a given search term.[4] DuckDuckGo emphasizes getting information from the best sources rather than the most sources, generating its search results from key crowdsourced sites such as Wikipedia and from partnerships with other search engines like Yandex, Yahoo!, Bing, and Yummly.[5][6]

That all sounds good and it probably is, for the time being.
I remember being impressed by Google’s motto “Don’t be evil”. Given how Google tracks everything we do and steals our data, I think we can argue that it is now just as evil as any other corporate juggernaught.
I like the fact that DuckDuckGo doesn’t track me. I hope it stays that way and I hope that they don’t find an even more insidious way to be evil. Ah well, Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley

The problem we have in Britain, is that Google is very US-centric. Even if you request a UK search, you almost always get US results on the first or second page. I hope the UK version of this duckduckgo is genuinely that. I’m going to give it a try.
We have to put up with US spelling and grammer as well – in anything computer-based. It’s very annoying for a pedant like me.

DDP

Meh…I’m a bit more irritated by Google censoring information from UK searches upon an individual’s request thanks to the perpetual meddling of the EU, than a simple ‘color’ over ‘colour’.

Crikey Mikey

I’ve been using Startpage, “The World’s Most Private Search Engine”, for a couple of years now. Works for me. Don’t like being tracked.

It’s already happening, actually.
I did an experiment about six months ago.
I googled some fairly common climate science phrases (e.g. ‘global warming’) plus “Watts Up With That” and then the same phrases plus the names of several climate believing sites.
In every case the first page of the climate believing sites came up with all links to those sites.
The Watts Up With That links were all less than 50% Watts Up WIth That, and the rest were either climate believing sites masquerading as wattsupwiththat.com, or climate believing sites offering the other point of view.
Google is extremely biased and it is quite worrying.

I can confirm that Panda….has been like that for years. We are playing against a stacked deck…only the reality on the ground is going to kill this nwo agw beast!

Owen in GA

We need to watch how we express our thoughts here. I believe (shouldn’t speak for everyone) that everyone here believes in the climate. So I don’t know what a “climate believing” site might be if not this one. I know you meant CAGW or CACC believing site, as if you had simply said “Climate Change Believing Site” that also would have encompassed most if not all of the people on this site. It is only the cause, changing how much and how fast, and whether or not it is dangerous that is in contention. Climate always changes, that is the only thing about climate that does not change.

George Tetley

Who was it that said,
” TRUTH IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER” ?

Ian Macdonald

Last time I read a New Scientist issue almost every single article contained climate change propaganda, regardless of actual subject. Considering they must have lost a fair chunk of their loyal readership over this policy, I imagine that someone must be giving them a handout worth more than the lost sales.

Hivemind

I don’t read New Scientist any more. It just isn’t worth it. Very expensive and little actual science, more like publicity releases.

Jaime Jessop

Duckduckgo searches should in theory produce less biased results because the search engine does not record a history of searches from your IP address and therefore does not filter search results according to your ‘personal preferences’ – or what Google thinks are your personal preferences.
So ‘truth’ with Google has always been tailored to fit the demands of the ‘truth’ seeker in some respects. It seems from what Ron is saying that Google is now wanting to tailor ‘truth’ to fit the demands of an overarching political agenda and that this filtering will definitely be prioritised over any subsequent personalisation of search results.

Gavin

Google is the default search engine on my work pc, I use DuckDuckGo at home. I have found no disadvantage to DuckDuckGo.

With Google heavily invested in green energy this shouldn’t be a big surprise. Where are the anti-trust people when you need them? They destroyed AT&T unnecessarily. Google appears to be in a conflict of interest so a good candidate for anti-trust. But being from Canads, I don’t know the rules.

Gamecock

“They destroyed AT&T unnecessarily.”
What on earth do you mean?

troshelmat

I’m sure it must get on Google’s wick every time i get email from WUWT & other sites that dare to question & I love that I do that, (so far these emails haven’t been blocked, if that were to occur I’d change email providers) …..

If Google tries to censor information it will be setting up its own version of the Great Firewall. In that case it will lose business.

I gave up on Google some time ago and use Bing now. Rarely do I use Google unless I want to double check a search result.

CodeTech

This.
Also, google is better at searching for phone numbers. For some reason Bing always thinks I’m trying to use it as a calculator.
But google showed their blatant and disgusting bias and manipulation years ago. I don’t use anything that gives google money, and advise all of my clients to switch away from them too.
Except my phone. Curse Android for being the best phone option right now.

The only thing Google is currently better at is when I want to download a free version of a software package (AVG, Cute PDF, FilleZilla). Bing seems to throw up a lot of secondary sites, not the software developer’s site as the first hit. So I usually use Google for that at the moment. But 99.9% of the rest of my searches go through Bing now.

CodeTech

Actually, Will, as a web developer I can say that many of my sites have been removed from Google over the last few months as they force web sites to be “mobile friendly”, and from what I can see the majority of business sites, with a large investment in legacy infrastructure, are not ready for the large expense of “mobile friendly” conversions.
In fact, I have 3 contracts on the go right now from sites annoyed that their former search results have dropped because of this initiative, as Google flexes their giant muscles to “make the world better” by screwing up what literally millions of people have spent billions of hours building.
To quote the show “Silicon Valley”, “f’ing billionaires”.

Jeff

Google Voice is really good. No charge in the US/Canada for phone calls and one cent/minute calls to the UK. Call quality excellent. They do video calls, PC to PC, too.

John Salmond

a great big lie at core of story about truth ‘some sincerely believe are true, and some sincerely believe are false’ yes, 97pc and 3pc respectively

I have long since stopped using Google and Bing because of their slant on things.
I now use duckduck, Yahoo, and dogpile
I found it amazing when I first started researching climate change, searches on Google only found alarmist websites. Even searching for specifics still returned alarmist sites. This was ten years ago. It has got worse, not better since.
I dare anyone to use the same search string on the top five search engines and see how much they differ. Then use some of the independent or even dark net search engines and see just how different the same search string yields…

hunter

Thanks. I will start looking to change. Google is behaving like the bad guy in Snowcrash.

Glenn999

I use Ixquick and just started trying out duckduckgo

That is why I used to use dogpile a lot. You could compare results of different search engines. Quite astounding at times.

dennisambler

Where’s the surprise? Gore is a “senior adviser” to Google.

Gunga Din

Didn’t Gore push for releasing satellite spy pictures way back when? Now we have Google Earth and Gore is a senior advisory.

knr

Google’s “facts,” so their looking to take on Wiki , no real surprise and just like them you can expect ‘facts’ to be rather a lose term hows meaning depends on a great deal of issues not ‘fact based ‘ at all.

Alan the Brit

Dear Panda, et al,
Can we all please try to stop using ambiguous & misleading language such as “climate believing” & the like! I think the overwhelming majority who comment on this site believe in “climate”, AND “climate change”. It is the attribution of cause that is of issue here. It is the true warmist “deniers” who use langauge such as “climate deniers” through their ignorance & arrogance, & of course their intent on aligning those of us who have sincere doubts about man’s depth of involvement in climate change, with those sad people who deny the Holocaust. Please think about your terminology. Thank you.

Owen in GA

I didn’t see yours when I posted mine above. I said almost the same thing with completely different words. I would say that WUWT is one of the leading climate believing sites on the web. The CC part of CACC is not the part in contention it is the “how much change?”, “how fast will it change?”, “what caused the change?”, and “is it dangerous?” questions that we contend that the nonconsensus consensus has the wrong answers for or at least have not proven.

Pauvre Papillon

It’s not just the climate change issue. Google has biased their search results against freedom and free enterprise for years. If someone would come with a search engine which was not biased toward the protection of The Ruling Class, they would quickly gain market share much like Fox News has gained viewers against the other so-called news networks which are in reality the propaganda apparatus of the Fascist Democrat Party.

Jeff

The simple fact that Schmidt ran Obama’s turnout operation in 2012 shows how this is going to turn out. The tech oligarchs are almost unanimously liberal, and working to the same end because of common beliefs, they have the power to control information as firmly as Stalin ever did. We can’t avoid Google and Apple and Microsoft. If you want a smartphone, it will almost surely be running their software. They read your e-mail, they know what sites you visit. Anybody who trusts them to be unbiased is a fool. And you can count on them to champion liberal causes, and to smear and disappear information that conflicts with those causes.

hunter

What you describe could easily be confused with fascism and for good reason.

emsnews

Actually the real reason is…they all live on the warmer than usual West Coast!!!
This is why they are convinced we have global warming because this small sliver of the planet is the entire world for them all. They think the rest of us living in Ice Age Land are insane and lying about the weather.

Joe Crawford

Not to worry. The left coast is slowly self destructing. With their ultra-liberal-socialist and environmental-mafia policies they are slowly spoiling their own nest. Thousands are bailing out annually for other parts of the country. For example, more than 363,000 Californians have moved to Texas over the past five years. It just a shame they haven’t wait around long enough to learn from their mistakes and wind up trying to install the same failing policies in (Californicating) the new location.

Rob Dawg

Try googling how much Al Gore is paid as a Senior Adviser to Google.

Michael D

Holy crap. I thought you were joking…

auto

Rob D
Added this to the Wikipedia [so good even I can edit it – except for Al Gore’s page] Al Gore ‘Talk’ page: –
The Gore Effect
“The Gore Effect, an informal and satirical term alleging a causal relationship between unseasonable cold weather phenomena and global warming activism is named after Gore. CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano describes use of the effect as a mere running gag among weather forecasters.[225]”
Many folk who use this phrase use it only for occasions when he former Vice President is actually at a major CAGW conference – and there’s four feet of snow – in August, in Death Valley [yeah – the last two phrases are /sarc]. Sorry. But some see the coincidence – or, perhaps, the Climate Gods’ intent . . . . . 2113Z 09 April 2015 – 81.159.208.92 (talk) 21:10, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
– in the last five minutes.
I wonder whether this will still be there is – say – a month . . . .
Auto

son of mulder

When is a fact not a fact? The attached reference contains analysis about fact decay and the half-life of facts. Google are onto a loser.
http://www.comedy.co.uk/guide/tv/qi/episodes/11/7/
If they claim they are reporting facts than we should be able to sue when it turns out the “fact” is wrong.

wendy

My understanding they are going to rate searches according to accuracy. I don’t think they are reporting anything.

hunter

“To do a great evil, one must be convinced they are doing a great good.”
Censorship is always based, so the censors say, on the idea of making sure the people are only exposed to the truth.
Google is not only huge, their leadership is extremely active and influential politically.
And they are overtly picking one side in their political efforts.
Climate science is going to suffer if this censorship takes place, but that will only be the tip of the iceberg.
This will not end well for anyone in the long run, but in the short run this could be really bad for minority points of view on any issue. We are on the edge of a brave new world in the worst sense of the concept.

Joe Crawford

There are no ‘Facts’! There are only statements with a high or low probability of being correct. The probability of ‘zero’ nor ‘one’ exists, except the probability of ‘one’ is ‘zero’. Any good scientists knows this.

Gary Pearse

Facts are defined. Now you can argue that it isn’t 100% probable that you exist, but the definition is inside this manifest universe.

Bloke down the pub

And if, in a few years time, global temperatures start to tumble, you can guarantee that all the alarmist stuff that Google has been promoting will disappear down an hole.

Reblogged this on Utopia – you are standing in it! and commented:
If Google is going to define truth, it should first of all test its algorithm with various historical controversies to see how they go in balancing the different threads of evidence and incomplete and conflicting information about what happened, what motivated whom and what were the intended and unintended consequences of various actions.

hunter

This was posted as a reply but was supposed to be a stand alone comment. I apologize for posting it twice.
“To do a great evil, one must be convinced they are doing a great good.”
Censorship is always based, so the censors say, on the idea of making sure the people are only exposed to the truth.
Google is not only huge, their leadership is extremely active and influential politically.
And they are overtly picking one side in their political efforts.
Climate science is going to suffer if this censorship takes place, but that will only be the tip of the iceberg.
This will not end well for anyone in the long run, but in the short run this could be really bad for minority points of view on any issue. We are on the edge of a brave new world in the worst sense of the concept.

sailboarder

I tested this on duck and google: “most used internet site for global warming discussion”
Google gave me a hit on WUWT that was 4 items down, duck 13 items down.
Sorry, but with that simple search, I doubt the hypothesis of Google downplaying WUWT.
Please report your own tests.

hunter

We are on a long journey. Don’t confuse the current scenery with the final destination.

sailboarder

Sorry Hunter, but in imo you are using this BB for your own agenda, not facts. Please provide evidence, as this ‘should’ be a science based BB.

hunter

For me the point of the article is to discuss the trajectory of Google. In other words what is Google planning for the future, not what they are currently doing. And Google, with its priveleged access to this White House, and decidely unbalanced view of how American political dialog should take place, is worth watching.

Lars P.

Nice try ECB.
Is WUWT not having in the title: .”the world’s most viewed climate website”. So searching by “most used internet site for global warming discussion” is biased search.
Why don’t you try a simple “global warming discussion” then you find WUWT on what page? was on page 15 for me. And what was on page 1? first position wikipedia, second SkS
But yes, when you make a specific selection you might get lucky isn’t it?

Jaime Jessop

If you change ‘used’ to ‘viewed’, WUWT comes second on ddg search – after Wiki. On Google it comes first, so what does this prove really? Only that the way a search is worded is crucial to the results. Interestingly, your comment above on this particular post appears second in my google search, but this may be a fluke.

trafamadore

If you guys are worried, think about the home school crowd. or the anti vaxers.

hunter

The ones who shoud relly be worried, if *truth* was to be doled and metered out, should be the climate crisis hypesters

Paul Martin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_18:38
‘The Greek word rendered as “truth” in English translations is “aletheia”, which literally means “unconcealed” and connotes sincerity in addition to factuality and reality.’

hunter

One last idea on this. Those intolerant of dissident ideas should consider what one of the great minds of the 20th century observed:
““It’s an universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Joe Crawford

We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand.

Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

Eliza

Like the bell telephone monopoly, Google will have to be broken up.

M Courtney

Microsoft and Google should both be broken up. They are too large to be constrained by competition.
But in the short-term, Google could provide better customer service by offering both options to the user:
Set the search to “Official truth” or “Most linked and interesting”.
Let everyone get what they want.
If Google abuse their near monopoly to prevent that option – break them in two.

emsnews

Google already degraded their search ability when they suddenly eliminated the highlighting of words you are seeking in a document. Now, instead of scanning for the relevant paragraphs, one has to tediously go over the entire documents to find information.
It has made my work absolutely hellishly harder and I am a speed reader.

Or just nationalize it. The Affordable Search Act.

M Courtney

Nationalise Microsoft first.
Their Windows 8 debacle caused inefficiency for every business that fell for it. yet an operating system is vital infrastructure. It shouldn’t be left to a private company that needs to make large changes to force upgrades without any competitive pressure.
A single, stet controlled and standardised operating system would help people who want a computer to help them in their work. Microsoft works for nerds who see the computer as the product – for most of the economy the real products are the work done on a computer.

Alan Robertson

You might notice that the Baby Bells have all been reabsorbed into one large structure- AT&T, which was all along, their planned response to the mandated breakup. A large part of the communications revolution since then has been, not so much because Bell stood in the way of progress, but that innovators began to creatively think about alternatives.
Quite some time before the breakup, the American people were subjected to a massive propaganda campaign which made the old phone company out to be “the” evil corporate entity. Hardly a movie or TV show was produced which didn’t include at least one joke or proselytizing statement against the phone co.
We’ve all been here before (and often.)

emsnews

AT&T was hellish back then, I had several battles with them. And they owned EVERYTHING. You were not allowed to own a telephone, we rented the stupid things. It was awful.

Owen in GA

It was indeed awful. Of course the reabsorbed AT&T has started to go back down that path. The difference this time: When their billing process started getting opaque, I was able to dump them in favor of a cable company provided line. I grew weary of the fixed rate bill varying by up to 10% month to month.

Alan Robertson

You’re both right, the phone company was beyond awful.
In hindsight, it’s sort of a chicken and egg thing. The collective outrage of millions of customers who’d dealt with the empire was manifested in the popular media, which fanned the flames ever higher. The entire AT&T breakup issue provides the opportunity for great insight into the psyche of mankind, both individually and when we form ourselves into organizations.

WANTED TO GOOGLE! VOW! TRY IT!

A test on a simple truth question search on Google:
I Googled “is CO2 pollution?”
The first thing (first 2) that came up was SKS definition:
“Greenhouse gases including CO2 unquestionably fit the Clean Air Act’s broad definition of “air pollutants,” and must be listed and regulated by the EPA if it can be determined that they endanger public heath and/or welfare.
Alternatively, the definition of “pollution” from Encyclopedia Brittanica is:
“the addition of any substance (solid, liquid, or gas) or any form of energy (such as heat, sound, or radioactivity) to the environment at a rate faster than it can be dispersed, diluted, decomposed, recycled, or stored in some harmless form.”
Thus legally in the USA, CO2 is an air pollutant which must be regulated if it may endanger publich health or welfare. And according to the encyclopedic definition, CO2 is a pollutant unless our emissions can be stored “harmlessly.”
***********************************************************8
I Googled “ is carbon dioxide a pollutant?” The Weather Underground came up number 1. Here is their definition:
Is Carbon Dioxide a pollutant?
“The fossil fuel industry points out in their ads that carbon dioxide it essential for both plant life and human life. Is it wrong, then, to label carbon dioxide as a pollutant? The definition of pollution in Webster’s dictionary is “to make physically impure or unclean: Befoul, dirty.” By that definition, carbon dioxide is not pollution. However, Webster’s also has the definition: “to contaminate (an environment) esp. with man-made waste.” Carbon dioxide is a waste gas produced by fossil fuel combustion, so can be classified as man-made waste. One can also make the case that carbon dioxide is contaminating the environment, since increased CO2 from burning fossil fuels has already harmed sea life. Carbon dioxide, when dissolved in sea water, is deadly to shell-building microorganisms that form an important part of the food chain in some cold ocean regions. The extra CO2 lowers the pH and make the water too acidic for these organisms to build their shells. As I reported in my blog on Acidifying the Oceans, the observed increase in acidity of 0.1 pH units during the past century due to fossil fuel burning, and expected continued acidification in the coming decades, could cause a massive die off of marine life and collapse of the food chain in these ocean areas. Based on these arguments, the fossil fuel industry’s slogan, “Carbon dioxide: they call it pollution, we call it life!” could just as truthfully be phrased, “Carbon dioxide. We call it pollution, and we call it death.” One need only look at our sister planet, Venus, to see that too much “life” can be a bad thing. There, an atmosphere of 96% carbon dioxide has created a hellish greenhouse effect. The temperatures of 860 F at the surface are hot enough to melt lead. There’s not too much life there!
Crediting fossil fuels for our economic prosperity
The fossil fuel industry ads point out that the burning of fossil fuels has brought dramatic increases in wealth and prosperity to the world. This is a good point, and we should not seriously damage the basis of the world economy through reckless efforts to cut CO2 emissions. We can credit a good portion of the marvels of modern civilization to the availability of cheap fossil fuels to power our technological revolution. However, we shouldn’t get all misty-eyed about the wondrous things we’ve accomplished by using this ready source of energy left for us by the fossilized plants of Earth’s past. Any technology can bring about terrible suffering if used unwisely. Consider that fossil fuels have also made possible the horrors of modern warfare. The tanks of Hitler’s blitzkrieg–and the aircraft that have dropped the bombs that have killed millions of innocent people this past century–were all powered by fossil fuels. Air pollution from fossil fuel burning has killed millions as well. We need to be honest about both the importance of fossil fuels, and the dangers they pose if used unwisely. The threat of climate change due to burning fossil fuels needs to be addressed truthfully, so that we can make wise decisions about the future of our energy technology. The untruthful new ad campaign by the fossil fuel industry is harmful to this end.”
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“Is Carbon Dioxide a Pollutant?” In order of appearance on my Google search:
1. Weather Underground
2. Skeptical Science
3. Skeptical Science
4. Scientific American: “The Worst Climate Pollution Is Carbon Dioxide”
5. plantsneedco2.org: “Of all the myths quoted, calling carbon dioxide a pollutant is the worst – it simply is not true!”
6. wattsupwiththat.com: “Skeptics are winning the battle to reject CO2 as the only cause of warming, but losing the war to the misrepresentation of CO2 as a pollutant.”
The Scientific American article is an eye opener.
Just sayin…

joel

Google is a private firm. Let them do what they want. Their only obligation is to their shareholders.
If you rely on the internet for your facts about the world, you are ignorant. The internet is mainly an echo chamber. Just a bunch of people and special interests shouting the same stuff over and over and over. Weak minds think that the loudest voices are speaking the truth.
For example, when you read about Neville Chamberlain in books, not on the internet, you will find that he was the ONLY head of a major state to actually oppose Hitler effectively. (Unless you count Mussolini and his defense of Austria against the German takeover, which he initially prevented by military force.) It was only the collapse of the French army which allowed Germany to run rampant over East and West Europe and to invade Russia. Otherwise, Chamberlain’s approach to Germany, war, economic isolation and destruction of the Nazi’s by overwhelming military force (England was re-arming, and Germany could never keep up.) would have worked very nicely without the need for millions of deaths.
You don’t know these things because you don’t read books.
I remember a world before Google. It was a fine place to live.

William Astley

The CAGW madness will end in the end. The reality of what it would take to reduce total human CO2 emissions by let say 50% has not been discussed. The discussion to this point has been do you ‘believe’ in anthropogenic climate change. No one has asked would you accept a massive reduction in your living standard and the living standards of all future generation to ‘fight’ climate change. The public will not accept real sacrifices to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. It is fact that the green scams do not work. The only ‘solution’ if we truly want to reduce CO2 emissions is a complete conversion to nuclear power and draconian restrictions on everyday life such as banning air travel, forced population reduction, banning meat consumption, and so on. Has anyone watched and thought about the film ‘The Story of Stuff’?
Mixed in with the CAWG madness is a real scientific mystery, something that could change the foundations of science. We live in astonishing times. It appears we are going to experience the cooling phase of a Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle and then we are going to see what terminates interglacial periods. What terminates interglacial periods is the same forcing function that causes Heinrich events, such as the Younger Dryas abrupt cooling period. If the planet cools we are going to see if Salby’s assertion that the majority of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 was due to warming of the planet not anthropogenic CO2 emissions is correct.
The general public is almost completely ignorant of the paleo climate record for the last 1.8 million years. The general public and the media confuse the term ‘glacial’ phase (a phase happens again and again) with the term Ice Epoch which is term for periods the Earth is anomalously cold. It is an urban myth that changes in summer insolation at 65N cause a 3 km thick ice sheet to cover Canada, the US Northern States, the UK, and Northern Europe for a 100,000 years. It is unimaginable that a 3 km thick ice sheet could have covered the vast regions of the Northern hemisphere for 100,000 years, again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again (you get the idea).
The general public is not aware there has been 22 glacial/interglacial cycles in the last 1.8 million years. The interglacial periods for some unknown reason last no longer than around 10,000 years. The current interglacial period the Holocene is 11,900 years old. It is a fact that interglacial periods end abruptly, not gradually for some unknown reason. What causes cyclic abrupt cooling is not known.

indefatigablefrog

I just conducted a simple Google search and this result was returned:
“Ludwig Boltzmann – Biography, Facts and Pictures
http://www.famousscientists.org/ludwig-boltzmann/
Ludwig Boltzmann was greatly demoralized due to the harsh criticism of his work. He committed suicide on September 5, 1906 at Duino, Italy by hanging himself”.
So they cannot hide from me, that great thinkers were often dismissed or persecuted during their own lifetime, by the representatives of the establishment.
If this all goes to plan then, in the future scientists will be driven to suicide as a result of sanctions imposed by Google itself.
Of course, these days Boltzmann would have had much more to contend with.
Doubtlessly he would have also had his “delusions of persecution” explained away as “conspiracy ideation” by the latest pompous simpleton with a chair in cognitive psychology.

Amr Marzouk

This will work well with porn.

Just what we need – a content-sensitive public utility.

Tom in Florida

Pravda

Alan McIntire

I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill. I’m reminded of a story about someone with the
name “Kenisha” or some similar name doing a vanity name search on Google. The first items that came up were “bookings” and “bail bond” ads. “Kenisha” couldn’t logically accuse the Google folks for
racism, because those items high on the search list were created by other “Kenisha”s or her friends or relatives making specific searches on Google. How would Google, and their millions of users, be able to create or control a “facts” algorithm?

Google has not been my primar search engine for years.

Gary

This debate arose about twenty years ago when the internet was young and the idea of an encyclopedia (this was in the pre-wikipedia days) was being kicked around. People realized that competing interests would argue about what was true and false, so there was an idea that seals-of-approval (SOAPs) could inform readers of who endorsed what. You could judge the level of trustworthiness based on who endorsed the piece. At best it was a lowest common denominator measure of potential bias, but it did add a bit of useful information, similar to the like/dislike counters some blogs use on comments. Nobody knew how huge the web would be so it seemed like a good idea at the time. People still thought about information in a limited, print-book paradigm back then. The idea never got past the pure concept stage because of difficult questions. Could anybody apply a SOAP? What happens when SOAPs got so dense they weren’t interpretable? SOAPs were an attempt at organizing an informed competitive marketplace of ideas. Google’s proposal is an attempt to structure the marketplace for it’s own benefit.

“on Election Night 2012, guess where Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt was? Working for the president. In the president’s campaign office. On a voter-turnout system designed to help the president get re-elected.”
http://nypost.com/2015/03/28/google-controls-what-we-buy-the-news-we-read-and-obamas-policies/
Now you know why Google wants to determine what’s truthful. They are just another left-wing run company.
The left has hated the fact that they lost the control of news information because of the internet. This “truth defining” is a step to get back control of it.
Google also broke the news archive search so that it’s now very hard to find old articles on things like glaciers melting, droughts, etc that we skeptics used to point out that severe weather has happened in the past when CO2 was well below the ‘safe’ level of 350 ppm as determined by the Rockefeller funded 350.org. I bet this stems from people like Cass Sunstein and Bill Clinton (who you can find on the Party of European Socialists website) who are on record of complaining about the internet fracturing peoples political views (so much for diversity…).

Pamela Gray

One to one access brings us to a dead stop and begins the slide back to the dark ages, when books and discussions of science, religion, philosophy, and even maths, were outside common access, unless you were a monk or some such thing.
I am old enough to remember the BBS (bulletin board service) origins of interconnectivity essay and debate across impossible miles, bringing together a more visible and larger voice to dissent, and new paradigms. Let us hope that we do not revert back to one to one communication. Why? Much easier to control than the larger louder voice of concerned groups spread across great spans of voting territory.

Pamela, one can create a free internet2 inside a censored internet. The dark net is one example. Any group of machines can make their own shared space, from uucp to mail to web services. Maybe I need to post a How To…

Believe nothing read or heard without verifying it oneself unless it, Weltanschauung congruent, agrees with ones worldview. G00gle is blocked from my browser so that I must disable the filters to use a G00gle service.

ossqss

Sooo, lets take inventory……
FCC makes the internet a government run utility,,,,, check
EPA makes power producing fossil fuels evil……. check
Google makes only their preferred information available …… check
NOAA, NASA make adjustments to data to fill a need….check
The IRS, uses its power to halt non-profit opposition to the administration from forming….. check
The DOJ targets the opposition to the administration and incites riots via their activities…….check
The POTUS publically targets skeptics, discriminates, oppresses and degrades them…..check
NSA watches in the background and obtains private information accordingly …………. check
The UN waits in anticipation of global power over energy through control of CO2………. check
Activists use a false consensus of science meme to try to squelch dissenters……. check
How many more can you add to this storyline?
Conspiracy? No, reality!

NSA watches in the background and obtains private information accordingly …………. check
They can’t do this in areas without electricity, right? Makes me wonder if this is one of the reasons ‘policy makers’ the UN, and control-freak democrats are trying to use AGW as a means to redistribute our wealth to developing countries who have little or no access to electricy.

tadchem

Google wishing to be the mundane Authority of Canonical Truth resouonds of the medieval Catholic Church and the case of the Copernican description of the solar system.
“Existence itself … can’t be true or false; it just exists. … Facts are statements about existence, and statements are always arguable.” sums it up nicely, as did Galileo’s remark (upon being pressured to ‘accept’ the proposition that the Earth is stationary in the heavens with the sun circling around it) “But still it moves.”

Paul Westhaver

Galileo never said “But still it moves.” You do not know what actually happened during his second trial. You are just repeating a medieval lie. Galileo proposed a FIXED sun and then a Copernican system. (the Vatican astronomers had long since accepted the heliocentric model, in fact, Pope Paul III wrote the preface to Copernicus’ Book.) When asked to provide PROOF that 1) the sun was fixed AND that 2) the planets orbited the the FIXED sun, he admitted he could offer no objective proof and had to acknowledge that his theory was … a theory. and half wrong at that. He NEVER EVER said “But still it moves”. In fact, Galileo quoted Cardinal Bellarmine in his letter to Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina “That the intention of the Holy Ghost is to teach us how one goes to heaven. not how heaven goes.” Neil DeGasse-Tyson often, and incorrectly, attributes this to Galileo, but Galileo, in his letter, attributes it to Bellarmine. So, Better get your facts straight.

Gary Pearse

Yeah, yeah and Marlowe actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays and all the greats in history were gay. A lot of this kind of stuff came out of modern egghead research in the dawn of post normal inquiry.

Paul Westhaver

Neah… The cartoon image of the religious emptiheaded authorities, if you chose to draw one, ought to at least be truthful. I have transcripts of both Galilean trials translated from latin to english. I also have an electronic copy of Copernicus’s book(s).
Here is a history lesson. At the time of Galileo’s trials, The protestant reformation was in full bloom. ~50 years earlier, Copernicus wrote his book describing a heliocentric “cosmos” but refused to publish it because he was afraid of being labeled a sorcerer by the PROTESTANTS. He obtained a permission of & imprimatur from Pope Paul III and inserted his letter to the Pope in the volume. Here is the letter:
http://www.historyguide.org/earlymod/dedication.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaus_Copernicus
The Church embraced the Copernican theory mildly but it was a new idea and not widely understood. Recall also that Pope Gregory XIII updated the calender from the julian to the one we use now, on Oct 15, 1582. It was based on scientific observation and calculations. We use it to this day.
The man who actually published Copernicus’ work (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) was Georg Joachim Rheticus who went on leave from University of Wittenberg to engage Copernicus. He published it then lost his job at UofW as punishment.
What you fail to realize is that the protestant reformation was purging catholics from all seats of authority in Europe, instituting a pure biblical approach to religion, compared with Catholicism which is biblical, and traditional, and authoritarian. The Protestants viewed heliocentricity as non-bliblical, therefore heretical and sorcery.
The cartoon Neil DeGasse-Tyson view of history is beneath people of reason.

MarkW

That makes sense since Neil DeGasse-Tyson has proven himself to not be a person of reason.

Alan Robertson

When that marvelous new search engine first came out, its prowess dazzled many of us. Then, their motto “do no evil”, came to our attention and alarms started going off. Everything since has reinforced that initial sense of dread, for any who have been paying attention: that the motto might be camouflage.
Google’s masters are fully aware of this nation’s Constitution and Bill of Rights and the reasoning which enshrined those warnings of human frailty and injunctions against our proclivity for the abuse of power. Google’s founders have chosen to undermine that liberty for the rest of us, solely to enhance their own wealth and power. They have clearly rationalized their actions by aligning their thinking with Caesar: “What is truth?” Google’s rationale and “facts” given as search result, have no bearing on truth.
Facts are not truth. Facts are merely facets on the shining diamond of truth.

Gary Pearse

Wealth and power they already have. Such often go into the ideological sphere when W and P are achieved

Paul Westhaver

Alternative to Google.
Get on that… it will have wide appeal.
Stop using Facebook, it is just a web page that acts against my interests at all levels.
Stop using Twitter it is just a gossip site.
Google will be a tough nut to crack. Suggestions?

TonyG

Widespread adoption of an alternative is unlikely. We have seen it with Facebook and Twitter, where despite constant complaints, nobody wants to move to the alternatives. They exist, but they’re not widely used.
It’s not the internet that needs to be chaged, it’s society. Good luck with that.

I use DuckDuckGo

Skeptic

The world according to William Connolley brought to you by Google

“Existence itself – your kitchen sink or the climate or whatever – can’t be true or false; it just exists. Say anything you want about existence, and it won’t change a thing. It still just exists. Existence doesn’t give a damn what you think about it. Facts are statements about existence, and statements are always arguable.”
The last sentence is arguable. The rest of the paragraph is what the Ku Klimate Klan can’t get through their heads. The unarguable facts are the ones that don’t jive with the last sentence in the paragraph quoted above. That is why you don’t walk on railway tracks.
The climate just is. For mankind to declare a “standard climate” is one of the loudest acts of bone-headed hubris we have dared to exert. Compared to what? The alarmist crowd never, ever, stands up and answers that question. They NEVER say what the ideal climate is, and in the process, fail to acknowledge its very existence as a variable chaotic entity. And in the next sentence, they imply they can control it, through a convoluted system of equivocations and dodges, as if the very “standard climate” they cannot define is somehow attainable.
How quaint. And how does one argue against such a mess? They keep moving the goalposts. and their only desperate recourse is to assemble an army of name-calling adolescents as a defence. An Army that can spray “facts” as being “scientific”, all the while unable to answer a few pointed questions. Those questions that “aren’t allowed”

fred

90% of the time when I have a question google and other search sites point to wikipedia, now I just go directly to wikipedia. When I want to buy something I just go to Amazon or Ebay. Other times I want to find a news story I find it difficult to find even when my search words should lead right to it. Google is memory hole. Google is now even more annoying than Microsoft was at its peak. Google is evil. I have been avoiding all google services. How creepy is it for one company to be tracking your movements all over the internet. Youtube is a fantastic resource but I won’t log in to it.

I have a few virtual machines and a RaspberryPi and variety liveCd Linux boots that keep me more private… Watching youtube is more pleasant when you know they don’t know who you are… Check out Puppy live CD Linux and Virtual box for starters. Then moveup to Privatix and Tor.