New Petition and Videos Expose and Oppose the Dangers of Climate Alarmism

CornwallAlliance

Guest essay by E. Calvin Beisner

As UN officials and climate alarmists worldwide rush toward a global agreement to limit carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming—an agreement unsupported by sound science and that would harm the poor—the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation announces the release of a petition, Forget ‘Climate Change’, Energy Empowers the Poor and a new supporting YouTube video series, Greener on the Other Side: Climate Alarmism—Facts, Not Fear.

The Petition argues that since climate models are the only reason to fear man-made global warming, and since those models have proven wrong—predicting twice the warming observed, 95% or more predicting more warming than observed, and none predicting the absence of warming over the last 18 years and 8 months—there is no reason to fear. In contrast, current climate change policies hurt those in poverty, reducing or prohibiting access to life-giving energy, and continuing a cycle of poverty and death. Therefore the petition urges the American people and their leaders to repeal current global warming policies, refrain from passing any further policies into law (such as the so called “Clean Power Plan”), and resist any form of global agreement at the U.N. climate summit in December.

“The tremendous reduction in absolute poverty since 1990—from about 50% to under 20% of the human race—has been driven in large part by increasing access to abundant, affordable, reliable energy derived mostly from fossil fuels,” said Cornwall Alliance Founder and National Spokesman Dr. E. Calvin Beisner. “It would be a great tragedy to slow, stop, or reverse that trend in the name of fighting global warming, a phenomenon that is turning out to be much smaller than earlier thought.”

That claim finds support in the 35-part YouTube video series, in which leading climate scientists, economists, energy experts, and other scholars discuss a host of topics ranging from the failures of alarmist climate science to the benefits of rising atmospheric CO2 concentration, the relation between science and religion, climate policy, and economic development for the poor.

In addition to the Petition and YouTube series, Cornwall released An Open Letter on Climate Change to the People, their Local Representatives, the State Legislatures and Governors, the Congress, and the President of the United States of America, signed by hundreds of scholars, detailing why current climate policies are disastrous for global poverty relief efforts, and at a special screening at the Heritage Foundation from noon to 2 p.m. October 21 it will debut a new documentary video, Where the Grass is Greener: Biblical Stewardship vs. Climate Alarmism.

“Pope Francis and President Obama both express strong support for the poor,” Dr. Beisner said, referring to the Pope’s recent talks with Obama, Congress, and the UN General Assembly, “yet both ironically support a policy that has enormous potential to hurt them. The American people need to let them know that’s not what we want.”


Note from Anthony: I’m part of the 35 part YouTube video series, my presentations are here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7In1wU2n5Fk at 1:24ff and 1:37ff

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z82faKD5K6Y at 0:06ff, 0:53ff

 

 

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215 thoughts on “New Petition and Videos Expose and Oppose the Dangers of Climate Alarmism

    • Bob. The science behind the (badly misnamed) Greenhouse effect is clearly not yet understood. At least by those practitioners who have managed to get themselves wedged into positions of power.

      • The major problem w/ the popular GHE and CAGW is that they consider the radiation components, SWIR, LWIR, S-B etc., only with models assuming all other parameters constant and ignoring the power of water vapor. Without water vapor a green house becomes an oven. The water vapor cycle makes the earth unique among the planets. The water vapor cycle runs the show, not CO2/GHGs.

      • charles nelson

        Can I modify your second sentence?

        Least of all by those practitioners who have managed to get themselves wedged into positions of power.

    • Bob

      My understanding is that the “greenhouse effect” has a certain amount of scientific validity but is not adequately understood in the context of how it works with the myriad of other factors that determine our climate.

      Looking at the greenhouse effect to evaluate climate is like trying to size up a woman by looking at her feet. There is sooo much more that needs to be studied!

      Yes, it is sexist but it is true.

    • No Bob, it does not “all come(s) down to if we should believe the science behind the greenhouse effect or not.”
      Not even close, is that what it all boils down to.

      What one of the more basic questions boils down to is, “is CO2 the temperature control knob of the atmosphere”?
      But there are many other questions besides that, as well as many other aspects of the whole warmista CAGW alarmist meme.
      There is the question of the inappropriately named “ocean acidification”.
      There is the question of if warming of the Earth is even dangerous, a proposition for which there is little evidence to back up.
      There are questions regarding the corruption and politicization of the scientific process and the scientific method.
      There are questions regarding increasing, and increasingly onerous, political and regulatory control of our energy infrastructure and our whole economy.
      There are many, many, questions to be asked and addressed in an honest and unbiased fashion, beyond the simplistic and facile one which you think is all that matters.

      Grow up Bob, learn something of the hard sciences, and begin to look at your own biases in a open and discerning way

      Or continue to be a lemming running with the pack.

      • The real story behind climate confabulation that has adroitly captured the well-intention together with eco-marxist activism is beautifully outlined in the “Draft outcome document of the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda – Annex – Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
        Upon reading the 35 pages of this succinct document, all becomes abundantly and brutally clear.
        Anticipate global governance to be locked into place by 2030…..if the totalitarian bureaucrats and progressive politicians get their way.
        http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/69/L.85&Lang=E

        “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
        Marcus Aurelius Augustus

    • We have simple models which demonstrate the law of gravity and the electrodynamic forces, but nothing to demonstrate the “greenhouse effect”. If such a thing existed, there would be a simple demonstration of it and there would be no arguments over it’s effect or the constants associated with it. Also, it’s not hard to make a simple model to demonstrate it. The Earth is simply an object surrounded by an atmosphere which is surrounded by a vacuum and then cold space. This is a simple model to replicate and directly confirm and measure the greenhouse effect. This will never be done because the results are already known (non-existent) and are not conducive to hysteria driven grant funding.
      Note that this corresponds to the climatologic greenhouse effect, not the obvious result that beaming energy onto an insulated object will raise it’s temperature. The effect to be demonstrated is that CO2 will increase temperatures magically with infinitesimal increases in concentration when temperature losses are only available through radiative dispersion and the incoming energy is broadband radiation.

      • A gentle rebuke. Science has known since 1849 that both CO2 and H2O are ‘greenhouse gasses’ (meaning the can absorb infrared and all that goes with it). This unquestioned lab spectography physics (although skydragons and skeptics still do) just discrediting the rest of us anti-warmunists.
        The relevant questions are whether and to what extent there are amplifying feedbacks, what those might lead to for sensitivity, and whether whatever anthropogenic warming might result on top of natural variation is harmful or helpful. Then IFF ‘net harmful’ are the proposed solutions less or more harmful? If moreso, then they should not be implemented. I give detailed specific likely answers to each basic question in my ebooks, with checkable references.

    • I’m really getting tired of this lie.
      The question is not, is there going to be warming, but will that warming be good or bad.
      There is not a scintilla of evidence that the expected warming will be anything but beneficial. Throw in the well known fact that plants grow better with enhanced levels of CO2, and there is no doubt that we should do nothing to hinder the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere.

      Unless you are one of those fools who believes that any change that is caused by man is by definition, evil.

      • Sorry Mark, the question of whether overall there will be any significant warming at all, is still as significant as ever.

      • Plants need water, not just insolation and CO2. It doesn’t matter one bit if a plant is surrounded by extra CO2 in the air if it doesn’t receive sufficient water – or if receives too much.

      • Chris, are you unaware of the least limiting factor principle?
        Are you unaware that most vascular plants need far less moisture to grow and thrive when CO2 levels are higher, due to the fact that they do not need to have as many stomata, or keep them open for as long, in order to get enough CO2 into their cells?
        Lands with marginal or insufficient moisture at 270 PP of CO2 can easily grow plants, all else being equal, under conditions of 400 PPM CO2.
        As CO2 increases ever more, even greater areas of marginal lands will support crops, grasslands, and forests.
        In addition, plants grow far faster in an enriched CO2 atmosphere, since CO2 is indeed the least limiting factor for plant growth in a great many situations and circumstances.
        The sun is not limiting, nutrients rarely are the limiting factor…especially in agricultural settings, and plants need less water.
        So, on the contrary to your statement, increasing CO2 will and has greatly increase plant and crop growth.

        You have fallen way behind in your homework.
        Hit the books kiddo, keep reading and lurking here, and please pipe when you can keep up with the conversations.
        No Soup For You!

      • Menicholas, I’m well aware of the least limiting factor, and that CO2 can increase plant growth when it is the limiting factor. You state: “Lands with marginal or insufficient moisture at 270 PP of CO2 can easily grow plants, all else being equal, under conditions of 400 PPM CO2.”

        But that’s the problem – all else is not equal. A drought is not just a bit less moisture than normal. From a study done on the European drought in 2003: “Here we report measurements of ecosystem carbon dioxide fluxes, remotely sensed radiation absorbed by plants, and country-level crop yields taken during the European heatwave in 2003…We estimate a 30 per cent reduction in gross primary productivity over Europe…Our results suggest that productivity reduction in eastern and western Europe can be explained by rainfall deficit and extreme summer heat, respectively. We also find that ecosystem respiration decreased together with gross primary productivity, rather than accelerating with the temperature rise.
        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v437/n7058/abs/nature03972.html

        Try again, kiddo, and this time can you come to the table with peer reviewed science?

      • Gee Whiz, Chris, it seems those climate change preachers have led you to think climates never changed before. Seriously, occasional droughts and unusually warm (or cold) spells are perfectly normal on this planet.

        And that paper you refer to says right up front;

        “Future climate warming is expected to enhance plant growth in temperate ecosystems and to increase carbon sequestration1, 2. But although severe regional heatwaves may become more frequent in a changing climate3, 4, their impact on terrestrial carbon cycling is unclear.”

        You must understand that “may become more frequent” and “is unclear” and the like, indicate the author is just speculating, right?

      • johnknight,

        I’m well aware that the planet has had droughts before. But taking your logic is like saying “gee whiz, we’ve had fires in the past (lightning caused), so no need to bother about stopping man made fires.” The frequency and severity of droughts will increase in some places due to increasing atmospheric CO2. Take the heat wave in Australia in 2013:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-07/record-heat-virtually-impossible-without-climate-change-report/6077634

        As far as the wording that scientists use in their papers, they commonly use words like “may” and “can”. Contrary to what is implied by comments on this site, scientists are generally a conservative group when taking positions in papers. For example, from a study that checked whether sugar intake increased the risk of diabetes: “But now the results of a large epidemiological study conducted at UC San Francisco suggest that sugar may also have a direct, independent link to diabetes…. these data suggest that at a population level there are additional factors that contribute to diabetes risk besides obesity and total calorie intake, and that sugar appears to play a prominent role.”

        Even though the study results showed a clear correlation between increasing sugar intake and increased incidence of diabetes, the scientists still used words like “may” and “appears to”.
        https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2013/02/13591/quantity-sugar-food-supply-linked-diabetes-rates

      • Leo Smith says:

        … the question of whether overall there will be any significant global warming at all, is still as significant as ever.

        Yes, it is significant, in the same way that it’s significant whether after we die there is a continuity of consciousness.

        But in the same way, we cannot know there is dangerous man-made global warming (MMGW) at all, unless we have data. But so far, there is no measurable data showing that human emissions are the cause of any global warming.

        I’m not trying to argue with you, Mr Smith, I’m only making this point: ‘dangerous man-made global warming’ is the alarm. It is the same kind of alarm as the alarm over hefallumps (your really great link, BTW).

        There may be ‘significant’ global warming caused by human emissions. But without verifiable, measurable data, MMGW is in the same category as heffalumps. Wouldn’t you agree?

        (As an aside, I think your comments are among the best of all on this site.)

    • No, Bob, not whether “we should believe the science behind the greenhouse effect or not”, but whether we should believe atmospheric CO2 is such an overwhelming part of that effect that the human contribution to the amount of atmospheric CO2 is having a measurable effect on the temperature,

      The current climate models generally claim that the human contribution is more than just measurable, it is the overwhelming factor.

    • Well I don’t have much problem in accepting some of the science behind the so-called greenhouse effect. I’m not a chemist so I don’t have a QM understanding of how molecular spectra work, but I accept that experts understand them quite well.

      What I have a great difficulty in accepting is that the greenhouse effect as we call it, has any significant effect on climate. I’m not skeptical of that. I just don’t believe it; for the simple reason, that I have seen no evidence to believe it.

      g

      • Absolutely. I’m quite sure that the basic physics is well understood and the absorption of infra red by CO2 can be demonstrated in the laboratory. But there is a vast gap between what happens in the laboratory and what happens in the enormously complex climate system.

        CO2 is actually a very weak “greenhouse” gas – you have to double the amount of the stuff just to get one degree of extra warming. Virtually all of the “greenhouse” warming comes from water vapour and not CO2.

        Fortunately, Nature has been conducting a huge experiment with the real-world climate system for millions of years – and left plenty of records, particularly the ice cores. And in this record, as far as I’m aware, the evidence that CO2 effects the climate is precisely nil. In fact, what it does tell us is that temperature drives CO2 and not the other way around.

        For this reason I am of the opinion that the warming created by a CO2 doubling is very close to zero.
        Chris

    • No it’s not about believing in the science or not. That’s the way the argument is couched but it is nonsensical. It’s like saying you do not believe in the laws of magnetism if you don’t believe we’ll all be driving hover cars in 20 years.

      The greenhouse effect is only one of the factors affecting climate. The quantitative affect of the greenhouse effect on climate is unknown at this time since science has an immature understanding of the global eco-system.

      It all comes down to this: Does increasing human CO2 output increase global temperatures which increases the number and intensity of dangerous weather patterns and consequently damages all life on earth.

      In the above hypothesis the only known is human CO2 is increasing, (as well as the human population by the way), the other parts of the argument are speculation or put another way it is supported more by rhetoric than evidence.

    • Bob– The physics show CO2 absorbs photons in the 15 micron IR frequency range, which causes a small logarithmic warming effect (i.e. higher CO2 concentrations produce less and less of a warming effect) of around 1.0C of gross potential warming per CO2 doubling (from 280ppm to 560ppm).

      There are both positive and negative feedback effects from CO2 forcing that are less understood, but the physics and empirical evidence seem to show there is a net negative cloud feedback that reduces CO2’s NET forcing to around 0.5C per doubling, which is nothing to worry about.

      CAGW hypothesizes that CO2 forcing generates various “positive runaway feedback loops”, which increases CO2’s NET warming to around 5C of warming per CO2 doubling. This CAGW assertion is definitely NOT supported by empirical evidence nor physics; only in CAGW climate models.

      For all intents and purposes, the disparity between CAGW projections vs. reality have become so large, the CAGW hypothesis is dead. It should be tossed in the wood chipper.

      It’s just a matter of time before the disparities become so large, no respected scientist will be able to support the CAGW hypothesis; it’s become absurd.

    • The “greenhouse effect” may well be believable in a laboratory.

      Unfortunately on a planetary scale the net effect does not seem to be as predicted by experiments. And that is what counts.

    • I find it surprising that so many skeptics don’t challenge the CAGW logic head on.

      I would concede that the CAGW use of of the term ‘greenhouse effect’ is used as an analogy rather than a literal comparison to a glass greenhouse. However, it is still wrong in a way that can easily be described and understood.

      CO2 is a radiative gas that absorbs and emits infrared radiation back to the ground. However, it also emits infrared radiation upwards into space because it is ‘isotropic’ i.e. emits in all directions, not just downwards. The CAGW crowd only want to focus on the downward emissions as proof of CO2 causing global warming. Their simplistic logic is that, if you increase CO2, you will increase downward IR emissions.

      Here is the problem: if you increase atmospheric CO2, you also increase upward emissions of infrared radiation into space. An increase of IR emissions into space means the planet as a whole MUST cool as a result!

      Increases in atmospheric CO2 actually cool the planet because they increase IR emissions into space. You don’t need extensive mathematical modeling of atmospheric lapse rates to understand that!

      The only way CO2 can cause an increase in global temperatures is if it emits more downwards IR than upwards IR – in other words, it is not isotropic. Does anyone on this blog argue that?

    • Your comment reminds me of those who say, “It’s basic physics. CO2’s a GHG. Add more to the atmosphere, you get more heat.” It’s also basic physics that if you drop a rock and a feather from the same height at the same moment, they’ll hit the ground at the same moment–unless there’s air, in which case the rock will hit long before the feather, and if there’s wind, the feather might blow up into a tree and get stuck and never come down (till the tree dies). What’s missing in the “It’s basic physics” argument is that crucial qualifier, “ceteris paribus”–other things being equal. And of course they’re not. Hundreds of feedbacks are involved. The warmists’ models assume the feedbacks are strongly net positive, so they generate simulations that call for climate sensitivity in the 1.5-4.5C range with “best estimate” of 3.0C. But on average the models predict twice the warming observed over the relevant period; 95% predict more warming than observed, implying that the errors aren’t random (in which case they’d be about equally often above as below) but driven by some kind of bias, whether intentional or accidental; and none predicted the 18 years and 8 months of no statistically significant warming from January 1997 on. I.e., the models are wrong. They therefore provide no rational basis for predictions about global average temperature and no rational basis for any policy related to such predictions. Empirical observations are leading plenty of climate scientists to reassess climate sensitivity downward–a lot. For coverage of the ongoing developments on that, see Judith Curry’s http://judithcurry.com/category/sensitivity-feedbacks/.

      So, our petition doesn’t deny basic greenhouse theory. Instead, it pays attention to the empirical research pointing to low climate sensitivity and hence away from dangerous AGW and hence away from the need for any policies to mitigate it, particularly when you consider alternative uses for the vast amounts of money needed to implement those policies and the harm done, especially to the poor, by the slowed, stopped, or reversed economic development the policies entail. For further support for our position, see A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor 2014: The Case against Harmful Climate Policies Gets Stronger, by David R. Legates, Ph.D., Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware, Newark, DE, and G. Cornelis van Kooten, Ph.D., Professor of Economics and Research Chair in Environmental Studies and Climate, University of Victoria, BC, Canada, at http://www.cornwallalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/A-Call-to-Truth-Prudence-and-Protection-of-the-Poor-2014-The-Case-Against-Harmful-Climate-Policies-Gets-Stronger.pdf.

      • Unfortunately, your petition does not constrain itself to the scientific part where you happen to be correct. A large portion concerns anti-scientific, mythical ideology.

  1. A 35-part YouTube video series seems like a challenge to those of us with a limited attention span, but I’ll add it to my watch list just the same. ;-)

  2. “The tremendous reduction in absolute poverty since 1990—from about 50% to under 20% of the human race”
    ==============
    a true miracle.

    • And, and, while the world population has continued to grow, many of them Catholics.
      All supported by cheap energy from fossil fuels.

      The Pope needs to go back and haul his climate advisers over the incense charcoals, if the Vatican hasn’t gone “carbon-free” yet. Yes, I know that’s not going to happen before they go down on both knees before a different God in Paris.

      What a sight that will be. If Oscar Wilde was alive today he would have some good words for it, along the lines of his description of fox hunting by the British elite:
      “The unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.”

  3. “Pope Francis and President Obama both express strong support for the poor,” Dr. Beisner said, referring to the Pope’s recent talks with Obama, Congress, and the UN General Assembly, “yet both ironically support a policy that has enormous potential to hurt them.”

    The poor won’t feel too much of a burden, the whole idea here is to create the need to take from the haves and give to the have nots. We can’t all be rich, but we can all be poor.

    • the whole idea here is to create the need to take from the haves and give to the have nots.
      ==============
      that is the sales pitch only. money never flows from the haves to the have nots. otherwise the have nots would be the haves. the reason is simple. people with money can protect their money, while people without money cannot. thus it is always easier to take money from the poor, rather than the rich. The only security the poor have is to be so poor they have nothing worth taking. but even then there is money to be made by selling the poor into bondage and slavery.

      • Absolutely true. They never take money from the truly wealthy. They hold the power. As always the money is taken from people who are moderately, but not as well off, and given (for whatever advantage the rich can glean) to those who are significantly less well off. It disempowers the moderately well off, buys the poor, eliminates competition for status, and creates an even larger class that can be manipulated.

      • Money never flows to the poor in these socialist schemes as it is stolen by the govnments involved and many times even by the private agencies involved. Those who really need it never see it. And remember that when the redistribution is by government it is ultimately at the point of a gun. Taxes are not charitable contributions. When stolen by religion it is through threat of damnation. Hypocrisy is living in wealth while telling others to help the poor.

    • You know what they say about the UN–it’s an organization that was set up to take money from the poor people in rich countries, and give it to the rich people in poor countries.

    • It sounds as if some people were attempting to lead some unwitting people to the trough to drink of the poison fruit here. Even further down the comments, this “unknown” is still encouraging people to hop on the bandwagon.

  4. Anthony thanks for reporting this. I have been looking for a place I can send some of my more religious friends for info. I liked the site and the videos and they have references done in a way my friends will find easy to understand. I also signed the petition.

  5. I don’t think it’s a great idea to sign because the letter states that AGW is a real problem. I haven’t seen that happening yet in our climate, so I’ll hold out for now.

    As far as destructiveness, AGW has been very bad for economies and higher prices that all people are subjected to. Sp far, not our climate.

    • I like what the article says overall, but stating that AGW is real at this point is too early. I’m conflicted here with wanting to sign it or not. Paranoia of the AGW crowd to take these signatures and use them out of context with “AGW is real” perhaps?

      • You make a valid point. I would agree with your sentiment that there is no valid proof that any level of harmful AGW is occurring, or likely to occur in the future.

    • Ditto for me, Dahlquist.
      I will not sign anything that gives away an inch of the unscientific BS that is being foisted upon us by a bunch of self enriching and self aggrandizing alarmist boobs.
      Yes, I said it…Boobs!.

      Anyone who believes that a reductionist approach is a valid way of modelling our atmosphere is just that, IMO.

      • Agree – giving credence to AGW is supporting their agenda; it will be used against skeptics by the alarmists.

        For those that signed, you should send a monthly check to Obama.

  6. ‘The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank’, a book by Erma Bombeck of some years ago.

    Ha ha

  7. I would totally have left off the one arguing that religion and science are not in conflict, because they are, deeply, in conflict (this isn’t one of Anthony’s, but it came up automatically after the second one). I will resist hijacking the thread — at least, I will try to resist — but I will point out that believing anything at all on the basis of scriptural mythology, especially a whole raft of things that supposed supercede observational science, a globally embracing metaphysic such as “God invented math and logic and science”, in addition to being provably false in the case of math and logic for reasons that should be obvious (but apparently aren’t obvious enough, sigh), is contrary to the entire empirical basis for best belief in science. The two have entirely distinct criteria for determining probable truth.

    In fact, only science determines probable truth by an observation-driven process — a religion just asserts that it (usually as defined by some religious scripture written hundreds to thousands of years ago) is true as a tautological religious assertion, pure unfounded and unfoundable circular reasoning. One can reduce this to a simple statement. We have excellent reasons for thinking science to be true that in no way rely on arguments from authority or a small raft of other, various, logical fallacies. We have no reason whatsoever to think that any of the manifold variants of the major world religions are true except for logical fallacies.

    It is especially ironic that people who are properly skeptical of scientific results which in principle can be checked so that objective truth can be systematically approached in the limit of an accepted, understood process manage to completely shut down their skepticism and accept things as given truth that cannot even in principle be checked or validated.

    rgb

    • I agree with RGB.
      I feel that groups like the Cornwall Alliance need to be given a wide berth on a blog that purports to be scientific in its outlook.
      This is a quote from their website:-
      “Our network of theologians, scientists, economists, and other scholars and leaders work together to promote, primarily through education, three things simultaneously:
      Biblical earth stewardship, or “godly dominion”—men and women working together to enhance the fruitfulness, beauty, and safety of the earth to the glory of God and the benefit of our neighbors;
      economic development for the world’s poor; and
      the proclamation and defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ,
      all in a world permeated by an environmental movement whose worldview, theology, and ethics are overwhelmingly anti-Christian, whose science and economics are often poorly done, whose policies therefore often do little good for natural ecosystems but much harm to the world’s poor, and whose religious teachings undermine the fundamental Christian doctrines of God, creation, humanity, sin, and salvation.”

      This sort of view may be acceptable to the American Conservative Christian readers of this blog, but it does not help with the scientific sceptical argument against exaggerated AGW.
      An enemy of my enemy can be a bloody nuisance.

    • We have no reason whatsoever to think that any of the manifold variants of the major world religions are true except for logical fallacies.

      I like Daoism:

      The Way that can be described is not the real Way.

      Words fail us. ;-)

    • rgbatduke
      October 5, 2015 at 1:04 pm
      “— a religion just asserts that it (usually as defined by some religious scripture written hundreds to thousands of years ago) is true as a tautological religious assertion, pure unfounded and unfoundable circular reasoning”

      Dr Brown you left out the most important part of “faith”. It is the threat of punishment if one does not conform to the ideology. Eternal damnation to burning in the fires of hell is one I questioned as a 12 year old Catholic boy. I simply wanted to know how a soul could experience the pain of a physical burning. The response I got was that “it was symbolic”. I thought that if the only reason one was told to believe in something was out of fear, it probably wasn’t true. I guess that’s when I started being sceptical about everything.

    • You attempt to reach people by whatever means you can. You can be an atheist, it doesn’t matter. There are many that are not and you use the avenues available to you to reach them. Get off your high horse and recognize that all people are, thankfully, not like you.

      Oh yes, science is distinguished by the fact that it is searching for the truth, not that it knows the truth, or hasn’t that thought occurred to you?

      • I’m an atheist. And I signed the petition.

        Bah Humbug on those that won’t.

        There are probably 100 CAGW alarmist petitions a week. And those get tens of thousands of signatures. The side of reason needs a to play a bigger part in the PR war. If signing a petition that pleads the humanist side of the argument in a sensible way, I’ll gladly sign — even those the religious bunk is still bunk.

    • RGB,

      The conflict between religion and science depends entirely on interpretation. For example the first part of Genesis tells me that reality as it appears today came to be that way through a process including life starting with lower forms and finally ending up with man. Pretty much the same story science tells us. The next part of Genesis tells how man used to be an animal with no right or wrong but through the acquisition of knowledge became more. Again, the same narrative as science. But it’s not just science but morals and ethics as well. Atheists like yourself often bring up the story of Sodom and Gomorrah but completely miss one of the major principles trying to be conveyed through the story: that it is better to let two cities worth of guilty people go unpunished than to punish one innocent man wrongly. This is an ideal we have yet to live up to but I think everyone would agree that it is a sentiment passed down through our own philosophers of law and ethics.

      Remember the old Jewish saying: “The Torah is True, and some of it may have actually happened”.

      How do you justify your belief in abiogenesis without an iota of evidence in support of it despite decades of attempts at replication? Is that not faith? Faith that it was a one in a billion (or maybe a trillion or more) and that it HAD to have happened because after all we are here. But that’s not flawed logic at all, is it? Me thinks you enthusiastically point out the speck in the Theists eye while conveniently ignoring the log in your own.

      Just once I wish someone with your intellect would put aside your biases and read the Bible (and scriptures that didn’t make the Bible too) not trying to misrepresent and bash the details but trying to understand what its saying. Imagine if everyone read “Animal Farm” the way you’ve read the Bible. Would the consensus be that it is a stupid book because for one thing everybody knows pigs can’t talk instead of seeing through the fantasy at the underlying Truth. ( — And in the end they couldn’t tell the pigs from the people.)

      • The conflict of religion versus science is not arbitrary, nor in the eye of the beholder. Religion requires one to discard evidence even and many times especially is it conflicts with faith. Science requires one to discard faith and replace faith with evidence based reasoning. The two are entirely and utterly incompatible.

        However, this does not mean that a single individual human can be entirely wrong, always and irrefutably wrong, if that individual human has religious faith while also pursuing science.

        As far as science goes:

        There is a tremendous amount of evidence for Darwinian evolution of life.
        There is a growing body of evidence that humans are not pushing Earth’s climate over a hot house tipping point.

      • Dear John West,

        I have read the Bible repeatedly, to the point where I know large parts of better than almost any Christian I have met. However, I have read it critically, instead of uncritically. This is in spite of the fact that I’m the grandson of a methodist preacher, was raised within the church and literally sang in the choir, have a niece who is currently a methodist minister working in Jerusalem and Bethlehem at some small risk to her life, attended a University whose motto is basically religious and erudite. I didn’t start out biased against the Bible, the Bible started out with a literally enormous head start conveyed to me, as I’m sure it was conveyed to you, when I was too young to think for myself or know any better and reinforced in countless ways by family and society.

        The problem is, even that enormous head start doesn’t make it anything but a huge mish-mosh of myth and legend mixed with cruelty and absurdity in equal measure, once one stops listening to others who deliver sermons on carefully selected stories, selected and told in a way that they can convey whatever message the bearer wishes and which often describe fabulous and unlikely events told precisely as if they really happened and reads it for oneself.

        If you want to convince yourself — literally — that Genesis is in any sense divinely inspired truth, the best of luck to you. When I read it it is literally absurdity from beginning to end with not one whit of it a good metaphor for our best evidence supported beliefs about the origins of the Universe, the solar system, life, species, and humanity. It doesn’t have one single bit of this right, and only when you squint until your eyes blur and let your mental vision skip right over the absurdities and dive right into the pseudo-intellectual practices of hermeneutics and exegesis can you find a fluffy sheep in the clouds of confusion and convince yourself that it is a divine message written in a secret code only those with an open heart (like yours) can read. If you follow simple logic, and use it to try to guess the way the world really started, it fails on every single count.

        So a secondary fallback position is — fine, Genesis isn’t even supposed to be metaphor for what really happened, in spite of the fact that Jesus clearly believed it to be literally true, if one takes the new testament’s claims about his words seriously, in spite of the fact that for a considerable stretch of the history of the church you could be burned alive (or punished in countless other ways) for asserting otherwise by either religious or secular authority with their literal blessing — it is intended to convey moral stories, hidden (again and always, nothing bluff and open about it) messages about how we are suppose to behave, explanations/excuses for the problem of theodicy, rules for living according to God’s carefully encoded wishes. Only, what are those stories and what sort of messages do they convey? That God constructed a perfect paradise for us and we screwed it up? That it is our fault that we aren’t there still? That God has temper tantrums that give the complete, total lie to anything like the assertion that:

        that it is better to let two cities worth of guilty people go unpunished than to punish one innocent man wrongly

        Let’s look at that for a moment. Leave aside the mere fact that guilty people go unpunished all of the time just as very good people are punished routinely by the many accidents of life in a Universe where there is no such thing as divine retribution or perfect justice visible in any of its workings natural or human driven, I wonder how many times God punished innocent humans wrongly? Well, let’s ask God, shall we?

        Number 14:18 (or Deuteronomy 5:9, or Exodus 34:7) :

        he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.

        So let’s see, you can interpret his burning two cities to the ground (plus turning a woman into a pillar of salt for just looking back while he did it) as a message that God only punishes the guilty and goes out of his way to spare the innocent, or you can actually think about just how likely that every man, woman, child, animal right down to babies in the womb in those cities were so guilty that they deserved to be burned to death by holy fire. Or did you literally mean punish one innocent man wrongly? You can also read the clear message repeated in several distinct places that if you do something bad, he isn’t just coming after you he’s coming after your grandchildren and their grandchildren, even if they weren’t even born at the time you sinned.

        Or we could work our way through the horrific layers of the old testament. Shall we count the number of times God punishes people on a whim, while other times lets far more guilty people off scot-free? How many of the firstborn children of Egypt were “guilty”? Shall we imagine how many people were stoned to death for committing trivial infractions — by the direct command of the Old Testament? What about Noah’s Ark — yes, a completely absurd story that Jesus clearly believed true, but that is literally impossible in addition to telling of a Deity that is so imperfect that he can go all crazy on his creation and wipe out nearly all of it and then feel bad about it and repent doing it and promise to not do it again. I suppose that there weren’t any innocents that were metaphorically and mythically drowned in God’s rage.

        Of course, my all time favorite is Numbers 31. I don’t think Christians ever actually read Numbers 31 and the verses following. It is basically never turned into a sermon. Allow me to turn it into one. After coming out of the wilderness into lands that were basically fully occupied by people already, Moses leads his people against the Amorites because they didn’t believe him when he said he wanted to just lead (if you believe the numbers) hundreds of thousands of people through his borders without so much as drinking at a well along the way to the other side of the kingdom. After some truly humorous events involving Balaam and a talking ass and the Moabites and unicorns, Israel settles down, and next thing you know some of the young men start to hang out with Moabite women. One of them makes the mistake of parading his girl in front of the priesthood, who rectify the matter by spearing them both through the belly. So God tells Moses to “vex” the Midianites just like they did the one hapless mixed tribe couple.

        After several chapters extolling how much God just loves the smell of burning lambs in the morning, together with sundry rules for selecting and dispatching said lambs and a lovely snippet in which it is established that a married woman cannot swear a binding oath if her husband disallows it (while of course he can do anything he wants, oathwise) Moses finally gets around to the Midianites.

        31:9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
        31:10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.
        31:11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.
        31:12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
        31:13 And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp.
        31:14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
        31:15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
        31:16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
        31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
        31:18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

        Hmm, after capturing all of the cities of the Midianites and killing the Midianite “kings” (probably more realistically translated as town mayors), they took all of the wealth of the Midianites and all of the captives male and female back to Moses, who by now has pretty much taken all of Moab and Amor for himself. But Moses is mad! They kept those pesky Midianite women alive, and everybody knows that God hates women, especially non-Israeli women at this point in time. He orders his soldiers to kill every single male child and every single non-virginal woman. He then tells them they can keep all of the young virgins for themselves, which those of us who can read army code means “so they can be raped and enslaved by the very man who killed their mother and baby brother in front of their eyes”. And God loved all of this! It was at his command! It says so right in the Bible!

        The rest of the chapter details the loot from the rape of the Midianites, and it was substantial. And be assured, Moses and Aaron got their share, and it was a large one. It takes multiple verses to get through it all. The following chapter indicates how they divvied up the land and presto chango! The Moabites, the Amorites, and the Midianites are all now extinct, and Israel has pretty much taken over the “promised” land. God never said that it wasn’t already occupied…

        Again, if one reads the new testament, none of this (or the other stories that reveal Moses’ character) seems to bother Jesus, who hangs out with Moses on the mountaintop during the transfiguration.

        So sorry, it isn’t just one or two stories, and it isn’t just the old testament and it isn’t just the new testament. As a history — probably not. As a guide to ethical behavior — only if you think the Taliban or ISIS have the right of it all, back to tribal ethics and enslaved women and (heck) enslaved slaves (don’t make me quote the Bible’s rules for the treatment of slaves or marriage by rape plus thirty shekels). As an indication of the nature of God — seriously, where in the old OR the new testament can one get the slightest hint of a deity that resembles anything other than a demented superpowerful human king? God is always a projection of our own wish fulfillment in the Abrahamic texts, a king of kings, not a brother and not a friend, a thing to be feared and not loved, however much it talks of love (right before a tale of horror and spite perpetrated by God on somebody who fails to be perfect in some way).

        Is there any good in it? Sure. But look at the density, the ratio of nonsense, myth, legend, open evil presented as good, scientific and factual absurdity to something reasonable and good or probably true. The good signal (such as it is) is lost in the noise of nonsense. This is not the sign of divine inspiration.

        If you were not raised Christian, would you ever, ever, knowing what you know about the world that we have learned from philosophy and observation, have read the Bible and said “Wow, this is really true, how did those ancients know all of this?” Of course not, because there isn’t a single thing that they state as scientific truth or even mathematical truth that holds up to any kind of scrutiny. If you were raised as an ethical and compassionate human being (but not as a Christian) and you read the horrors attributed to God in the OT and the similar nonsense found in the stories of the NT, would you be inclined to consider either one Perfect Ethics? I hope not, not unless you think slavery and unequal treatment of women is perfectly ethical, not unless you think it is reasonable to punish the innocent, repeatedly, for the sins of others. Can you reconcile the miracles it speaks of, the divine punishments it recounts with the utter lack of either of these things in our times? Why exactly is God (or Jesus) so willing to appear to humans and perform sundry miracles like raising the dead or healing the sick in the remote past (where the report itself is hearsay to some enormously large power in copies of copies of copies of manuscripts), but never in the modern present where the miracle might be actually scrutinized for fraud and duplicity?

        I repeat. The only reason to believe in the Bible — the only reason to select the Bible as your font of “official” truth exempted from the rules of mere common sense as opposed to selecting the equally absurd religious stories of the Hindus, the Muslims, the American Indians, the Persians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Chinese, the Norse, the Picts, the Mayans, the manifold tribes and religions of Africa — is because you were raised to believe it is true and have never subjected it to any sort of objective test or scrutiny because of its special status to you by the chance of birth.

        I’d address your remarks on abiogenesis but I no longer have the energy. Obviously it makes a lot more sense to believe in an invisible, all powerful, super intelligent organized abiogenetic organism that sprang into being fully formed in all its complexity that is responsible for starting out the Universe and life in the Universe because there is no way that the Universe itself could have sprung into being in all its complexity, assuming that anything at all ever sprung into being from a state of nonbeing in the first place. Sure. However unlikely you think abiogenesis is (on the basis of precisely what computation involving complexity, I wonder?) it is far more sensible to think of something even more complex and unlikely as the cause.

        Or, maybe not. Maybe we shouldn’t beg the question and assert a belief in an invisible being that did this or did that — but at some time safely in the past where we cannot test the assertions — any more than we should assert a deep and abiding belief in magnetic monopoles or transluminal neutrinos until there is sound reproducible evidence that they have objective existence! Maybe we should start to imagine a world without religion, a world where our teaching myths are just myths, not to be taken seriously, not to kill or die for, not a source of self-delusion that keeps us from dealing with the real world we live in honestly because of an entire imaginary superworld that we’ve made up that our world is somehow embedded in, hardly even real. It’s like believing that the Matrix movie trilogy is real — that reality is nothing but a simulation in a higher order reality with some oblique purpose — instead of a story.

        rgb

      • rgbatduke says:
        October 5, 2015 at 8:12 pm

        Applying too much logic to religion is a mug’s game. (Applying too much logic to anything is a mug’s game.)

        Religion has health benefits:

        … but those who attended church regularly had a life expectancy seven years longer than those who did not. For black people the benefit was 14 years. … link

        I would say that the benefits of Christianity have been ignored or understated:

        The roots of liberalism—belief in individual freedom, in the fundamental moral equality of individuals, in a legal system based on equality, and in a representative form of government befitting a society of free people—all these were pioneered by Christian thinkers of the Middle Ages who drew on the moral revolution carried out by the early Church. link

        Something that isn’t logical can still be good … it’s just hard to justify on a logical basis.

      • rgbatduke,

        Can you explain why exactly it is not God’s right (if He exists) to treat us in any way He feels is appropriate?

        If not, on what logical grounds are you asserting any moral authority whatsoever to judge what He ostensibly told some people to do? How in th world can there even be any moral authority at all, if there is no God? Consensus? I’m thinking that option won’t fly around here ; )

      • RGB says “you were raised to believe it is true and have never subjected it to any sort of objective test or scrutiny”

        Wrong.

        I was raised “Christian” and consider myself a Christian now although my beliefs don’t exactly match up with any denomination that I’m aware of but I was an atheist throughout my college years. A few years after college I devoted several years of my free time to researching the issue. You say there’s not one thing that the Bible gets right but this is absolutely false. In the creation story man is the last as it is with evolution. I’ve looked at every religions’ creation story I could get my hands on and Genesis is the only one that gets it right(ish) (yes you have to squint and interpret some stuff the “right” way) [side note: if memory serves from 20 years ago there was an obscure African religion that had a creation story very close to science’s as well] but let’s back up and examine the first question: Is there a Creator? Of course the answer is nobody knows and nobody ever will. So agnosticism is the only absolutely defendable position. Although, most of us are not satisfied with leaving it there and must press on. The exact nature of the universe suggests that there are only 5 possibilities: 1) The universe came into being and this exact nature is innate or the product of “luck” (it just happened to be); 2) The universe is cyclic such that out of billions and billions of cycles this particular set of values had to occur eventually; 3) The universe is actually a multi-verse (if you’ll excuse the sloppy terminology) with billions and billions of big bangs such that one of those “verses” had to be the exact one that’s needed for our existence; 4) the universe is infinite with variation spatially such that this particular set of values had to occur somewhere within it (probabilistically); and 5) the universe was created to be this way.

        Personally, I couldn’t care less which one of those 5 you or anyone else happens to think is the most likely but I really get tired of being accused of being irrational for choosing #5 and following a logical progression from that to a sort of Christianity (Preterism). Why #5? There are two main reasons. 1) I see evidence of purpose in the development of the universe and life (evolution). In a nutshell, everything we’ve created from language to automobiles and in fact anything that anything has created from whale songs to beaver dams have certain characteristics like persistence and evolution if it serves a purpose and these qualities are exhibited by the universe and life. 2) I see evidence of providence/God’s direction in History, the Bible, and human evolution. If HARs doesn’t give you pause to wonder if that’s the fingerprint of God then I don’t know what will. While I’ve seen no evidence of (nor do I believe in) direct contact between such a creator and humanity at any time including the distant past this does not preclude divine inspiration in my view. Let me point out here that I didn’t say that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah had anything to do with “God’s punishment(s)” I was saying this is a principle being presented for us to follow in our judicial systems. And while I’m at it I didn’t ask for you to read the Bible uncritically. Critically vs. uncritically are not the only two choices. I’d like you to read it less nitpickingly. The details don’t matter, it’s the big picture. Yes, there’s a lot of chaff to sort through (that’s where science helps), but there’s some gems in there I’d wager are yet to be discovered. Anyway, I digress.

        Why bash Christianity with the unimportant (like whether Noah is a actual event or childrens story) while ignoring what Christianity is really all about? For Christians the overall guide to behavior should be to treat others as you would want to be treated. This is sound ethics. Let’s not forget some of the other major lessons Jesus (Yeshua) also left behind to guide our behavior: be humble, forgive, have compassion, be charitable, don’t be judgmental, be productive, be thrifty, be shrewd, be forthright, etc. etc. etc. What could be more ethically sound than Jesus’ teachings? Whether one believes in Jesus as God (which I don’t) or as Messiah (which I do) or as a Man or even a Myth the philosophy works for a civil society if actually practiced. Hint: If you’re burning a Quran or excluding homosexuals you’re not following Christian ethos by my interpretation.

        So to sum it up what I find best to believe is that following Jesus’ teachings leads to an ethically sound life.

      • Following Jesus’ teachings leads to an ethically sound life even when Jesus is explaining to the Roman Centurion how to properly treat his slaves?

        Interesting…

      • Unlike John West, I was not raised a Christian but am one now because I witnessed what to me was clear and convincing evidence (to my utter amazement) that I had gotten a response to a sincere request to any God type Entity that could hear me ask, that It provide me with some such evidence if It wished me to believe It exists (or just do a blunt force sorta God thing and change my mind so I did believe).

        I could see no way I could believe such an Entity exists without such a “demonstration” (or Hands on alteration of my mind, so to speak), but I could not rule out the existence of such a Being, based on several lines of scientific research I was familiar with.

        I did what to me was the scientific thing to do; Ask for Help, and carefully watch what happened. I knew I might not get a response even if God did exist, but I couldn’t rationally justify not asking. I wasn’t a believer in magicalistic reason destroying thoughts/concepts that might render me insane of whatever if I indulged them for experimental purposes . . that is nonsensical to me. Hypotheticals cannot operate that way as I understand myself and the time-space continuum I find myself in. Indeed it’s just superstitious to believe such a thing, it seems/seemed to me.

        Others can claim that I am not qualified to assess what I myself observe first hand, but that approach leaves us all in total illegitimacy, it seems to me, no matter what we might believe true. I disagree with Mr. West in this regard, and say that some people can actually know God exists; if He does, and He lets them know. There would be nothing even theoretically left to supersede such knowing, it is by definition an absolute fact, I say.

      • takebackthegreen,

        Why would teaching one to treat their slaves as they would wish to be treated themselves, not be ethical?

        (I would like to add that what being a slave meant in Israel, as advocated by Moses (ostensibly via God’s direction) was not what we now think of slavery as. It was basically a “welfare” sort of safety net. If a person wished to, owing to extreme poverty most likely, they could ask someone with substantial resources to accept them as a virtual member of their family (like a child basically) for seven years. And at the end of the seven years (assuming they had been a faithful servant) they could either become a permanent member of the family, or be given some animals and basic tools with which to try again on their own.)

      • Are we now allowed to beat welfare recipients?

        “And that slave, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.”

        Anyway, that’s it for me. Discussing religion is boring.

      • Oh, I wondered what you were referring to. That’s a parable there, not instructions to Roman Centurions or whatever on how to treat slaves. It’s a warning in essence (as I read it), about what was soon to come in Judea, among other things . . at the hands of Roman Centurions and so on, after he is rejected by the then “servant” of Rome, the local leaders etc. (And to people like myself in turn, who identify with His name and His Word, who ought to know better than folks who don’t know what He has instructed).

        He never (to my mind) speaks as though what happens here is not within His power to control, and so He takes “the blame” as we might see it, for the suffering of anyone. He uses no one else as a “cop out”, one might say.

        ~ These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. ~
        .

    • …manage to completely shut down their skepticism and accept things as given truth that cannot even in principle be checked or validated.

      That’s why it’s called “faith”. And I don’t accept your claim that religion and science “…are, deeply, in conflict…”. It may be true that some religions are in conflict with some elements of our current scientific understanding but I don’t see a good argument here that it is necessarily true that all religions must be in conflict with science. Some of the greatest minds in science were deeply religious; SIr Isaac Newton comes to mind.

      Anyone who makes a habit of engaging in critical thinking who is also of a religious bent will quickly come to understand that humility is the first virtue to be cultivated when thinking about God. It is pointless to argue that someone should do such-and-so because God wants it without first establishing a commonality of faith. Otherwise you are speaking base 10 to someone who only acknowledges base 7, and there’s no algorithm to convert one into the other. At that point continued efforts on your part amount to speaking to yourself and really, don’t you have better things to do with your time? Likewise, I agree that faith is a poor tool to apply to any scientific question. Unless you’re wondering if parallel lines really never meet? ;-)

      With regards to the tangible universe, by all means the scientific method, testable hypothesis, and reproducible results are the only way to advance. I have faith in that.

      • That’s why it’s called “faith”. And I don’t accept your claim that religion and science “…are, deeply, in conflict…”. It may be true that some religions are in conflict with some elements of our current scientific understanding but I don’t see a good argument here that it is necessarily true that all religions must be in conflict with science. Some of the greatest minds in science were deeply religious; SIr Isaac Newton comes to mind.

        It’s always refreshing to see a reply that more or less says, “Precisely, it is supported by nothing but a logical fallacy because it is unsupportable otherwise,” which is exactly what “That’s why it’s called `faith’ means”. Faith is the complete lack of an argument, not its presence. It is belief in spite of a lack of good reasons to believe. I don’t have “faith” in physics, I have a degree of belief supported by empirical experience, I have excellent reasons to believe what I do and those reasons can be clearly communicated to and tested by others. That is the exact opposite of belief as a matter of faith.

        You are also putting words in my mouth to some extent — I have not asserted that all religions one could possibly imagine are in conflict with our scientific understanding because it is child’s play to imagine an infinity of at least slightly distinct religions that are in complete perfect agreement with our scientific understanding. If you want this in mathematical terms, the visible Cosmos we have direct sensory and scientific experience of could be embedded in a Universe of much higher dimensionality or it could be nothing but a computer simulation and not a real Universe at all. This sort of thing is, of course, along the same lines of “sense” as Solipsism or gravity caused by invisible fairies that make things fall as if there is gravity — impossible to refute (they are invisible fairies, after all, so you can see anything you like and attribute it to the action of the fairies without danger of contradiction by experience) but obviously pretty silly to believe unless you are something of a masochist and think that you are weirdly schizophrenic so that you can play cards with yourself and not know what the other hands hold or just make stuff up and have it be probably true.

        So sure, we can both imagine an infinite number of metaphysical hypotheses in which our Cosmos is not all that exists, including roughly equal (infinite) numbers where there is a God or Gods or Gods and Angels and Devils or (fill in the blank with your own favorite imaginary population) and infinite numbers where there is no God, just an enormously/infinitely large and infinitely complex Universe in much (infinitely) higher dimensionality than four.

        Now, tell me — out of that infinite number of possible imaginings, how should we pick the one that it is best to believe?

        All I ask is that your answer has to be mathematically, logically, empirically defensible, not something that is semantically equivalent to “this one, because I say so” or even “this one, because of all of these equally unprovable reasons make it the most likely”. Otherwise, you can of course believe anything you like — who can stop you — but it won’t mean that your beliefs are, in some fundamental sense, sane.

        Finally, terminating your argument that religion isn’t solely supported by logical fallacies and faulty thinking by observing that Famous Scientists were (and may even be more rarely today) religious does nothing but confirm that you yourself are relying on logical fallacy (argument from authority). Just because Isaac Newton was religious and was smart enough to invent physics, calculus, and modern banking doesn’t mean that religious belief is supportable or rational. Especially (remember) when he was raised to be religious in a society and time that was utterly intolerant of atheism, where atheism was literally a capital crime. In fact, in order for him to be educated at Oxford, he was legally required to become a priest within seven years of completing his studies. He successfully evaded this as England went through “interesting times” of conflict between royalty, catholicism, and protestantism, and his religious views (which he kept carefully private) were heretical — he was practically a cult member. To quote wikipedia:

        Like many contemporaries (e.g., Thomas Aikenhead) he lived with the threat of severe punishment if he had been open about his religious beliefs. Heresy was a crime that could have been punishable by the loss of all property and status or even death (see, e.g., the Blasphemy Act 1697). Because of his secrecy over his religious beliefs, Newton has been described as a Nicodemite.

        His particular heresy was that he was effectively an Arian, and rejected both the trinity and the divinity of Jesus. That’s substantial progress away from the scriptures he was drilled with from birth and towards the agnostic deism that prevailed a hundred years later among the founding fathers of the US, and required some courage, but one has to wonder if he would have retained any religious belief at all if he had been raised from the beginning without faith or if he had been perfectly free to debate religion and expose it to the withering power of the very system of reasoning he was helping to invent.

        rgb

      • “And I don’t accept your claim that religion and science “…are, deeply, in conflict…”

        I would say that religion and knowledge are deeply in conflict. I think the problem is that scientific discovery, discovery of knowledge, might start with beliefs, just as religion is based on beliefs. Thus – so far, religion and science are not in conflict. However, religion doesn´t survive the methodical approach of systematical attempts of falsification which knowledge does. That´s the definition of religion, it is based on beliefs, it does´t survive the tests which knowledge passes.

        Poppers scientific method is simply put:
        1 A hypothesis is proposed. This is not justified and is tentative.
        2 Testable predictions are deduced from the hypothesis and previously accepted statements.
        3 We observe whether the predictions are true.
        4 If the predictions are false, we conclude the theory is false.
        5 If the predictions are true, that doesn’t show the theory is true, or even probably true. All we can say is that the theory has so far passed the tests of it.

        Many tend to confuse the process of making the idea, hypothesis, theory or whatever with the scientific method. However, getting to the first step is pretty much like making a baby – it can be more or less sophisticated – but it isn´t science. Once a scientific idea is formed it is just a belief, just like the belief in one of numerous religions, and just as dangerous. It remains a belief until is has survived testing, but it isn’t knowledge.

        If I add 4.187 kJ to 1 kg of H2O holding a temperature of 300 K, the temperature will increase by 1 K. Not 0,9 K not 1,1 K, Not by any other amount than 1 K. Any other temperature increase than 1 K is prohibited by the theory, it is falsifiable, it is testable, not some time in the future, not some time in the past, but right now. That is knowledge.

        Beliefs don´t provide predictable outcomes in the same way as knowledge does. Scientific ideas are pure beliefs, until they have passed some testing. Knowledge has passed some testing, knowledge is logical consistent, knowledge is falsifiable, knowledge predicts that something will happen, knowledge prohibits something else from happening and knowledge has passed at least one repeated test. Knowledge is merited by the severity of the tests it has passed.

      • “Faith is the complete lack of an argument, not its presence. It is belief in spite of a lack of good reasons to believe.”

        Says who? You?

        I see no evidence whatsoever in the Book I believe was generated by God that this true. It’s just something made up by men as far as I can tell. In that Book, faith means believing in things one cannot actually see . . like air, for instance, or subatomic particles. Things that must be believed based on inference or indirect evidence, just as scientists do every day.

        Sure, lots of folks make similar assertions as you did theres all the time, but I’ve never seen it backed up by anything in that Book. God never seems to me to expect anyone to believe anything based on “blind faith” . . that’s actually mocked and spoken of as foolishness in there.

        (I realize Bill Nye will roll his eyes if he reads this ; ).

    • rgbatduke,

      “In fact, only science determines probable truth by an observation-driven process — a religion just asserts that it (usually as defined by some religious scripture written hundreds to thousands of years ago) is true as a tautological religious assertion, pure unfounded and unfoundable circular reasoning.”

      This is the case if, and only if, the texts are not Genuine (as in an actual communication from an actual God). To my mind, a basic logical flaw is very often committed by those who assume there are no such test Generating God (the “Abrihamic” sort). The logical error produces the erroneous conclusion that no one on earth can know that such a God exists.

      This is logically valid, I say;

      If there is no God, than no one can know that God exists.

      This is obviously not, I say;

      I God exists, then no one can know God exists.

      The reason the second is logically invalid is that such an Entity, by definition, could inform any number of people He wishes to of His existence (and the Genuineness of any texts He’s caused to exist).

      Therefor, despite what the reader might believe or know, someone else might know in the ultimate sense of the word that God exists, and that some texts are His handiwork.

      This is therefor a more appropriate way to say what you said, logically speaking, I say;

      If no God exists (of the Abrihamic sort), then “a religion just asserts that it (usually as defined by some religious scripture written hundreds to thousands of years ago) is true as a tautological religious assertion, pure unfounded and unfoundable circular reasoning.”

      If such a Being does exist, and informs a person that He generated a certain set of texts, then it is not unfounded circular reasoning on that person’s part to use what’s in the texts to aid their reasoning, therefore..

      It really and truly does not matter in the slightest that others have not been so informed by that hypothetical Entity, logically speaking. They become the “circular” reasoners, if at any point they assume such an Entity does not exist, or that no one on this planet has actually been so informed by the Entity. . It’s a conclusion based on itself, essentially.

      When you use logic, you must use it rightly, I suggest, or you can believe just about anything is logically valid.

      • Oops, I ought to have written; “by those who assume there are no such ~text~ Generating God (the “Abrihamic” sort).” in my first long paragraph there, not test. Generating God. .

    • rgbatduke on October 5, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      “I would totally have left off the one arguing that religion and science are not in conflict, because they are, deeply, in conflict”

      rgbatduke,

      I found the occasional interweaving of religious discussions into the background scientific theme of the post (and some of the post’s links) creates an illogical mish mash. That is a result which I have found over the years to be intellectually inevitable.

      You identified correctly there is a fundamental conflict in the epistemological and metaphysical concepts between religion’s in those two crucial areas of philosophy as compared with science’s in those two areas, BUT I think a further discussion is needed about the intrinsic irrelevancy involved. Religion has no importance within a scientific context; religion is scientifically irrelevant and therefore strictly speaking it is scientifically just an arbitrary sideshow.

      Keep unto mythology (religion) that which is mythology and keep unto science that which is science. Vigilance!

      John

      • John Whitman,

        How exatly do you know that all “religion” is mythology?

        Why is it “OK” for some people to claim that they get to use patently unprovable assertions to exclude others from any discussion about scientifically demonstrable things, simply because they believe there is no God? Who passed out this license to exclude?

      • JohnKnight on October 6, 2015 at 3:03 pm

        John Whitman,

        How exatly do you know that all “religion” is mythology?

        Why is it “OK” for some people to claim that they get to use patently unprovable assertions to exclude others from any discussion about scientifically demonstrable things, simply because they believe there is no God? Who passed out this license to exclude?

        JohnKnight,

        All of the recorded mythologies are religious in that virtually all mythologies tell stories involving: how supernatural being(s) created the universe and keep it operating; how the supernatural being(s) mandate a code of moral behavior; and how the supernatural being(s) enforce it and punish/reward it. That is the essence of mythology. Do you know of a major modern religion presently not doing those mythological story tellings?

        Such storytelling can have value in some respect to a human, but it is just storytelling. It is irrelevant to science.

      • Ought I take up excluding “non-believers” from these discussions based on what I have become aware of in various scientifically studied realms? For example (quoting myself from a few days ago on another thread, because I’m kinda lazy ; )

        *I’m living in a world where scientific investigation has led to the conclusion that the universe I find myself in just popped into existence, and is so unthinkably conducive to my existence, that the best scientists can come up with is mega-gazillions of universes (for which there is zero observed evidence), to render ours “plausibly” not designed.

        And, scientific investigation has led to the conclusion that even the simplest theoretically possible life (billions of hyper organized molecules) is so unthinkably unlikely to just come together by chance, that the best explanation for how it first came into existence is; Who knows? (but it wasn’t designed, that’s fer sure)

        And, scientific investigation has led to the conclusion that at the quantum level, there are strict “rules” governing all events, which make no sense at all to the best minds on the planet.

        I can go on, with the large scale symmetry of matter in the known universe (detected by three different satellite missions because the first and second just had to be wrong) which is called the “axis of evil” by some cosmologists/astrophysicists, ’cause we’re sitting at the center of it, and that don’t jive with the random chance alone world-view . . With an “explosion” of body designs that appear suddenly in the fossil record, fully “evolved” with zero observed evidence they existed in less “evolved” states before that . . With virtually every planet and moon in the solar system being anomalous according to the best “understanding” of what ought to be here . . etc.etc . . but why bother? if I’m speaking to hyper-dogmatic thinkers who will accept any explanation for what exists in reality-land, no matter how unfounded/illogical, as long as it keeps the God hypothesis at bay . . while calling those who don’t belong to their anti-god religion; superstitious.*

        No, I ought not exclude those who have what to me is “blind faith” in imaginary scientists in an imaginary future, who will make all this (to me) blatantly God hypothesis supporting scientific evidence go away somehow, I say . . it’s all our right to believe what we feel is most reasonable about such weighty and complex things. science is not the exclusive domain of any group of believers in anything but the what Mr. Newton called the experimental philosophy, it seems rather self evident to me anyway.

      • Your posts demonstrate why politics, religion, sports, art, hairstyle trends and celebrity gossip are all harmful distractions to the cause of spreading correct scientific information. They aren’t scientific, and therefore aren’t even conceivably “solvable.”

        I guess I can see why WUWT publishes posts that include such distractions, in that they do concern the topic of Earth’s climate. And some people enjoy engaging in such talk.

        But if this blog ever decided to segregate into “Science” and “Other,” I, for one, would never darken the doorstep of the “Others.”

      • JohnKnight on October 6, 2015 at 4:11 pm

        “Ought I take up excluding “non-believers” from these discussions based on what I have become aware of in various scientifically studied realms? For example (quoting myself from a few days ago on another thread, because I’m kinda lazy ; )

        . . . . .”

        JohnKnight,

        Is that comment of yours a continuation of our exchange? If yes, then of course you can exclude any ‘non-believer’ you like from your discussion of your various interpretations of the meaning some scientific areas, but only if you convince Anthony and the moderators to exclude them.

        In the rest of your comment you posit supernatural being(s) and imply showing that it/they are needed by scientists to understand the various discussions in your comment on certain science topics. You beg the question. You have not shown that the supernatural characters your mythological stories are anything but stories.

        This is why science must rigorously demarcate continuously that which is outside of science, because pseudo-science / mythology (religion) have immense popular emotional/psychological appeal as unfortunately has been shown in history.
        .

        John

      • takebackthegreen on October 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm

        Your posts demonstrate why politics, religion, sports, art, hairstyle trends and celebrity gossip are all harmful distractions to the cause of spreading correct scientific information. They aren’t scientific, and therefore aren’t even conceivably “solvable.”

        I guess I can see why WUWT publishes posts that include such distractions, in that they do concern the topic of Earth’s climate. And some people enjoy engaging in such talk.

        But if this blog ever decided to segregate into “Science” and “Other,” I, for one, would never darken the doorstep of the “Others.”

        takebackthegreen,

        Perhaps it is occasionally a good thing to have a post like this one and the subsequent inevitable discussion.

        I can make the case that it is important sometimes to have posts that juxtapose climate science and religious commentary that is allegedly relevant to it because it gives an opportunity to once again clarify and reinforce the demarcation of what is not science.

        John

      • John Whitman,

        “JohnKnight,

        Is that comment of yours a continuation of our exchange? If yes, then of course you can exclude any ‘non-believer’ you like from your discussion of your various interpretations of the meaning some scientific areas, but only if you convince Anthony and the moderators to exclude them.”

        I meant in one’s own estimation or advocacy (or pining ; )

        “In the rest of your comment you posit supernatural being(s) and imply showing that it/they are needed by scientists to understand the various discussions in your comment on certain science topics.”

        No I didn’t, as I see it. I implied that some (very fundamental) things that scientific inquiry has revealed about the universe I find myself in, are (to my mind) supportive of the God hypothesis. And, that you (or others) simply telling me (or others) that you don’t agree, is both obvious and not dispositive in any scientific sense.

        “You beg the question. You have not shown that the supernatural characters your mythological stories are anything but stories.”

        Not as I see it, I un-begged the question folks like you beg all the time, for you have not shown that the supernatural characters in all such stories are merely mythological, yet you speak and act as though you had, and have some sort of divine right to do so.

        “This is why science must rigorously demarcate continuously that which is outside of science, because pseudo-science / mythology (religion) have immense popular emotional/psychological appeal as unfortunately has been shown in history.”

        See? You think you are a freaking god yourself, with the right to designate what is and is not allowed in scientific inquiry/reasoning. Says who, I ask . . where did this convoluted justification for treating those who don’t belong to your “anti-god religion” as second class citizens or thinkers come from? How did what you obviously can’t prove scientifically (the nonexistence of God) become the standard for determining what is and is not acceptable in a discussion of scientific matters?

        Why is your inability to scientifically prove something doesn’t exist, trumping my inability to scientifically prove it does, in your mind? That hardly seems like scientific reasoning to me, sir . . it seems like bigotry, frankly.

      • JohnKnight on October 6, 2015 at 7:43 pm

        John Whitman said,
        “JohnKnight,

        Is that comment of yours a continuation of our exchange? If yes, then of course you can exclude any ‘non-believer’ you like from your discussion of your various interpretations of the meaning some scientific areas, but only if you convince Anthony and the moderators to exclude them.”

        I meant in one’s own estimation or advocacy (or pining ; )

        John

        JohnKnight,

        Your own ‘pining’ (your word not mine) for excluding ‘non-believers’ seems to be simply what you have implied.

        – – – – –

        JohnKnight on October 6, 2015 at 7:43 pm

        John Whitman said,
        “In the rest of your comment you posit supernatural being(s) and imply showing that it/they are needed by scientists to understand the various discussions in your comment on certain science topics.”

        No I didn’t, as I see it. I implied that some (very fundamental) things that scientific inquiry has revealed about the universe I find myself in, are (to my mind) supportive of the God hypothesis. And, that you (or others) simply telling me (or others) that you don’t agree, is both obvious and not dispositive in any scientific sense.

        JohnKnight,

        It looks simply that you are implying that being a believer in supernatural being(s) in a mythology (religion) is required of scientists in evaluating and assessment of some issues in modern science. I think that your apparent implication is prima fascia incorrect.

        John

        – – – – –

        JohnKnight on October 6, 2015 at 7:43 pm

        John Whitman said,

        “You beg the question. You have not shown that the supernatural characters your mythological stories are anything but stories.”

        Not as I see it, I un-begged the question folks like you beg all the time, for you have not shown that the supernatural characters in all such stories are merely mythological, yet you speak and act as though you had, and have some sort of divine right to do so.

        JohnKnight,

        Begging the question is the fallacy of including in a statement of a problem to be argued an assertion of the truth of what you are trying to subsequently demonstrate. Your comment’s paragraph posited the need for being a believer in supernatural being(s) in a mythology (religion) is required of scientists in the discussion of the science you highlighted. But you failed to show that such supernatural being(s) in a mythology (religion) are anything but stories where such stories are irrelevant to science and not science as demarcated by science.

        John

        — – – – – – –

        JohnKnight on October 6, 2015 at 7:43 pm

        John Whitman said,

        “This is why science must rigorously demarcate continuously that which is outside of science, because pseudo-science / mythology (religion) have immense popular emotional/psychological appeal as unfortunately has been shown in history.”

        See? You think you are a freaking god yourself, with the right to designate what is and is not allowed in scientific inquiry/reasoning. Says who, I ask . . where did this convoluted justification for treating those who don’t belong to your “anti-god religion” as second class citizens or thinkers come from? How did what you obviously can’t prove scientifically (the nonexistence of God) become the standard for determining what is and is not acceptable in a discussion of scientific matters?

        JohnKnight,

        I think all major modern religions are clearly mythologies where the concept ‘mythology’ is that it contains a certain class of stories such as stories involving how supernatural being(s) created the universe and keep it operating; how the supernatural being(s) mandate a code of moral behavior; and how the supernatural being(s) enforce it and punish/reward it. I possess no belief of the mythical (religious stories). Therefore, I am not religious in that regards. You claim everyone, even those who do not believe the mythological stories (religion) believe in an ‘anti-god religion’ (which would be an ‘anti-mythology’ mythology), then you speciously conclude that they are religious. You take an illogical and seemingly irrational position.

        If one does not have any belief of stories that constitute any mythology (religion) then one not religious in that regard. Such a person like that, as I do, thinks your ‘god’ is just irrelevant to science but may find the stories instructive of the means to deal with some life situations emotionally or psychologically. Your assertion that people with no belief in the stories of mythology (of religion) think they are ‘God’ seems a self-contradictory position.

        John

        – – – – – –

        JohnKnight on October 6, 2015 at 7:43 pm

        Why is your inability to scientifically prove something doesn’t exist, trumping my inability to scientifically prove it does, in your mind? That hardly seems like scientific reasoning to me, sir . . it seems like bigotry, frankly.

        JohnKnight,

        I have no belief in mythological stories (aka religion), so you claim I am a bigot. Really, is that view a logically inevitable product of your mythological stories (religion)?

        I think that your belief in your mythological stories (aka religion) is what you do, it has nothing to do with my thinking which results in no belief in them which is what I do. I think your belief in your mythological stories (aka religion) is irrelevant to what is objectively demarcated by science to be within science.

        John

      • John Whitman,

        “Your own ‘pining’ (your word not mine) for excluding ‘non-believers’ seems to be simply what you have implied”

        I can’t help you with your apparent (to me) comprehension problems. I wrote:

        *No, I ought not exclude those who have what to me is “blind faith” in imaginary scientists in an imaginary future, who will make all this (to me) blatantly God hypothesis supporting scientific evidence go away somehow, I say . . it’s all our right to believe what we feel is most reasonable about such weighty and complex things. science is not the exclusive domain of any group of believers in anything but the what Mr. Newton called the experimental philosophy, it seems rather self evident to me anyway.*

        I have no idea how you could come to the conclusion that I meant I felt “non-believers” ought to be excluding from scientific discussions, when I clearly said that was not what I felt was appropriate. It looks to me like you’re trippin’ so to speak ; )

        “It looks simply that you are implying that being a believer in supernatural being(s) in a mythology (religion) is required of scientists in evaluating and assessment of some issues in modern science.”

        No, your imagination has gotten the best of you again, it seems to me, you already tried that slight of tongue it seems to me. I wrote in response to the last time;

        * I implied that some (very fundamental) things that scientific inquiry has revealed about the universe I find myself in, are to my mind supportive of the God hypothesis.*

        You don’t agree? Make your case(s), I’m all ears.

        “Begging the question is the fallacy of including in a statement of a problem to be argued an assertion of the truth of what you are trying to subsequently demonstrate.”

        Right, like declaring God is myth, and therefor there is no place in science for the God hypothesis.

        This is exactly what I hear the anti-god religion high preists doing, when they (very lamely to my mind) declare that science only deals in “natural” phenomenon, so the God hypothesis is verboten. Apparently they are too stupid to realize that none of it is truly “natural” in the sense they use the word (without intelligent design), if it was all Created.

        It’s all miracles in that case, the case they are obviously trying to exclude from consideration, while pretending it’s just specific miraculous events, which would sorta make sense . . if one assumes God is not into performing for their scrutiny, which seems extremely likely since if He exists, He could have just written His name in stars or some such thing, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

        So, as I see it, many people simply can’t grasp/accept the notion of such a Being placing us in a situation where He is not undeniable. With all the obvious emphasis on believing in Him by faith (i.e. through indirect evidence and inference) in a certain extremely famous Book, one would think this would have been thought through by otherwise intelligent folks, which I did when I was about twelve or so.

        But I didn’t start with the (to me) bizzaro notion that faith to Him, means what a lack of actual faith means to us. My problem with believing in Him, as I saw it, was always a lack of actual faith . . not some “mythological” pretending deficit He was real down on. To me, you were being gullible if you fell for that obvious to me switcheroo. I actually thought (and still think) many claiming to be “believers” were faking their belief, because they seemed to accept it.

      • JohnKnight says:
        October 8, 2015 at 3:16 am
        John Whitman,
        “Your own ‘pining’ (your word not mine) for excluding ‘non-believers’ seems to be simply what you have implied”
        I can’t help you with your apparent (to me) comprehension problems. I wrote:
        *No, I ought not exclude those who have what to me is “blind faith” in imaginary scientists in an imaginary future, who will make all this (to me) blatantly God hypothesis supporting scientific evidence go away somehow, I say . . it’s all our right to believe what we feel is most reasonable about such weighty and complex things. science is not the exclusive domain of any group of believers in anything but the what Mr. Newton called the experimental philosophy, it seems rather self evident to me anyway.*
        I have no idea how you could come to the conclusion that I meant I felt “non-believers” ought to be excluding from scientific discussions, when I clearly said that was not what I felt was appropriate. It looks to me like you’re trippin’ so to speak ; )
        “It looks simply that you are implying that being a believer in supernatural being(s) in a mythology (religion) is required of scientists in evaluating and assessment of some issues in modern science.”
        No, your imagination has gotten the best of you again, it seems to me, you already tried that slight of tongue it seems to me. I wrote in response to the last time;
        * I implied that some (very fundamental) things that scientific inquiry has revealed about the universe I find myself in, are to my mind supportive of the God hypothesis.*
        You don’t agree? Make your case(s), I’m all ears.
        “Begging the question is the fallacy of including in a statement of a problem to be argued an assertion of the truth of what you are trying to subsequently demonstrate.”
        Right, like declaring God is myth, and therefor there is no place in science for the God hypothesis.
        This is exactly what I hear the anti-god religion high preists doing, when they (very lamely to my mind) declare that science only deals in “natural” phenomenon, so the God hypothesis is verboten. Apparently they are too stupid to realize that none of it is truly “natural” in the sense they use the word (without intelligent design), if it was all Created.
        It’s all miracles in that case, the case they are obviously trying to exclude from consideration, while pretending it’s just specific miraculous events, which would sorta make sense . . if one assumes God is not into performing for their scrutiny, which seems extremely likely since if He exists, He could have just written His name in stars or some such thing, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
        So, as I see it, many people simply can’t grasp/accept the notion of such a Being placing us in a situation where He is not undeniable. With all the obvious emphasis on believing in Him by faith (i.e. through indirect evidence and inference) in a certain extremely famous Book, one would think this would have been thought through by otherwise intelligent folks, which I did when I was about twelve or so.
        But I didn’t start with the (to me) bizzaro notion that faith to Him, means what a lack of actual faith means to us. My problem with believing in Him, as I saw it, was always a lack of actual faith . . not some “mythological” pretending deficit He was real down on. To me, you were being gullible if you fell for that obvious to me switcheroo. I actually thought (and still think) many claiming to be “believers” were faking their belief, because they seemed to accept it.

        JohnKnight,

        Based on your comments it was my understanding that you are maintaining there should be general belief (or in another sense should be general faith) in a mythological story that is one of the major modern religions. Are you?

        Based on your comments it was my understanding that you are maintaining it is a scientific position that scientists inherently must have belief or faith in a mythology (one of the major modern religions) in order to be capable of doing science. Is that the position you have held in your comments?

        Based on your comments it was my understanding that the point of your ‘excluding non-believers’ discussion was to highlight that you think non-believers are really believers. And thus, they shouldn’t be excluded from science only because they are really believers. The corollary to that, if the forgoing is your point, would be if they are in reality non-believers, in spite of your apparent claims that they are believers, then they would be excluded. What part of that understanding of mine differs from your points?

        As to whether you have begged the question consider this as a question begging example. The mythological stories (religions) say supernatural being(s) must exist based on a non-scientific knowledge (in one sense belief or in another sense faith), and then it is argued and concluded that science depends on them.

        John

      • John Whitman,

        No and No.

        It is my understanding based on your comments that you might very well be a religious bigot I can think of no other reason for your semi-robotic injection of the term “mythological” in situations where the term is clearly superfluous/redundant. It’s like someone injecting the term “black” into virtually every mention of the President, what else could someone reasonably conclude? Saying it is applicable does not explain it’s habitual mention.

        In response to your third somewhat convoluted inquiry, I asked the rhetorical question (and later clearly answered it) regarding the exclusion of “non-believers” in response to your comment addressed to rgb ending in the sort of “war cry”;

        “Keep unto mythology (religion) that which is mythology and keep unto science that which is science. Vigilance!”

        That whole tirade was childish and blatantly exclusionary to my mind, most certainly in a comment thread following the article above. In case you don’t get it, this is a public forum, not a scientific paper in process.

        And, it is blatantly obvious to me, as I stated earlier, that science itself is in fact a form of religion. Not a theological form, but a philosophical one. It is based on faith/belief, has “laws” and ethical/moral codes of conduct which are to be adhered to religiously, and the objective of discovery universal truths.

        The claim that it is not a form religion is based on nothing more than some folks aversion to the associative reactions in their own minds to theological forms of religion. as far as I can tell, not any fundamental violation of the concept of religion itself.

        As I see it, there is a faction within the “devout”” community of science, which clearly holds the belief that random chance alone is responsible for all the order and “laws” regarding it, which is so fanatical and extreme in their beliefs, that they have essentially declared their belief to be an absolute fact, in violation of what to me are basic principles of scientific inquiry. To rightly make such an assertion of fact is so far beyond the realm of testable/falsifiable hypothesis that it is literally laughable to me.

        And, I believe the tacit acceptance of this supposed scientific fact, by the community at large, has led to the underlying “religious” problem this site is generally dedicated to; The CAWG orthodoxy.

        People are persecuted and excluded on a now routine basis, for being heretics in the (to me, generally disingenuous) eyes of the high priests of this computer oracle based cult, that seeks to control and exploit the entire human race.

        As a follower of a certain Jesus, I am very familiar with this sort of freedom of the mind targeting crap, and I suggest that it is downright boneheaded to exclude those of my (theological) religion, since we are virtual experts in resisting/combating such cultist hijacking of well grounded religion.

        I commend Mr. Watts for being non-exclusionary in his approach to the situation we mutually face, and pray God bless him.

    • religion and science are orthogonal. Although both are ultimately faith based, they cover different things and the faith is different as well. A scientist has to have faith that the science done before that they base their work on must have been done properly or they must be doomed to repeating and redoing it and then must have the faith that they did it right, that the instruments were correct, that the interpretation of the observations were done properly. since the scientific method is an infinite cycle of observe, theorize, predict, observe, theorize, predict…. it is obviously imperfect and obviously gives wrong results compared to how nature actually behaves along the way. consequently, faith is involved there. religion doesn’t deal with nature, except with human nature. there are plenty examples of those in the scientific real whose faith in science is every bit as extreme as a religious fanatic. One simple instance – morality comes from religion and cannot be derived from science or through science. It must be imposed upon science and scientists from outside.

      • We are also critical of ad hominem arguments. Their religious bias have no bearing on anything important. You can take them or leave them.

      • What about the ad hominem attacks towards global warming believers that are in the comments of this post?

      • If their religious beliefs are of no relavance to the message, why do they identify them?

        There is nothing wrong with being a proud Catholic. But the message can get mixed when you identify your religious beliefs along side your scientific ones.

        They are trying to convince Catholics to counteract the pope’s stance on climate change – so it is a political message as anything. Fair enough.

        But see it for what it is.

      • The difference, of course, is that people proclaiming their religious faith are not trying to claim that their beliefs are science or scientific. It is not an ad hominem to make the argument that the global warmists’ alarmism is a cult-like faith since their supposed scientific arguments have so little evidentiary basis.

      • Yes, why is it ok to have ad hominem attacks towards global warming believers & their beliefs (mistaken, stupid, deranged, wicked liars, foaming at the mouth zealots…. pick your own level of abuse), but not to do the same to ‘god fearing folks’??

        Both global warming believers & god believers have hypothesis that they fervently believe in, despite all observed evidence to the contrary, both re-write history to suit the narrative, both get upset when their beliefs are questioned, in general neither will debate with ‘non believers’.

        I’m a great believer in equality for all (but I will debate it), therefore similar levels of stupidity should be treated with similar levels of contempt.

      • 1saveenergy,

        The difference is stark: one side wants to go by the Scientific Method using evidence, empirical measurements, and verified observations. The other side relies on faith alone. Their belief is enough.

        For skeptics, faith and belief are never enough. They can be the starting point to form a conjecture. But beyond that, we need solid evidence. The alarmist cult doesn’t have verifiable measurements quantifying AGW, or worthwhile observations to support their narrative.

        Thinking people require those things to make rational decisions. Alarmists don’t.

      • In an scientifically pure scenario, it would be the message.

        In the real world, full of us hopelessly biased humans, it is at least 50/50.

  8. “The tremendous reduction in absolute poverty since 1990—from about 50% to under 20% of the human race—has been driven in large part by increasing access to abundant, affordable, reliable energy derived mostly from fossil fuels,” said Cornwall Alliance Founder and National Spokesman Dr. E. Calvin Beisner. “
    How does he know that?

    • If the numbers are correct, which I have neither the time, patience, or inclination to verify, then the attribution seems to be a reasonable assertion, given what is known about economic drivers, food production, and economic prosperity in general.

      • The idea doesn’t seem unreasonable. Many ideas don’t. But even if an idea seems reasonable that doesn´t mean it is supported by data – by observation of correlated variables. And even if it is supported by observation of correlated variables – that doesn’t mean that there is a causal relationship between the variables.
        The question is more like: Has the idea been exposed to testing by deduction of necessary consequences of the idea and an subsequent search for observations which can potentially contradict the idea. The kind of scientific approach we would like to see from IPCC. A critical approach – rather than inductivism and justificationism.
        An idea is merited by the severity of the tests it has been exposed to and survived, and not at all by inductive reasoning in favor of it.

    • Maybe because huge inroads in this have occurred in India and China and Southeast Asia in parallel with them building huge numbers of coal burning electrical plants that have sparked an exponential growth in wealth and productivity? Or perhaps because we define poverty itself, in large part, in terms of the access to and utilization of energy other than human muscular energy? Maybe because non-fossil fuel energy worldwide is a nearly negligible fraction of the whole, so that any non-negligible increase in production associated with increasing standards of living and wealth in developing countries is inevitably going to be associated primarily with fossil fuels?

      Is there some reason to doubt this? 30% of the human race is around 2 billion people, and once we stopped fighting the cold war there was time and capital investment to spends on good old World Peace and the elimination of poverty (and consequent growth of global prosperity — everybody wins, and will keep winning until somebody manages to make energy more expensive again to the benefit of the first world and detriment of the third.

      rgb

      • I find it reasonable, but it was put forward as an unsupported statement. I regard increased energy poverty as a great risk of the strategies by United Nations to curb the use of fossil fuels. Hence, I would like more than an unsupported statement on this. I also think that United Nation should fully understand these mechanisms as energy poverty is a potential cost, negative effect or burden on the poor from their strategy.

        Heres Wikipedia on Energy Poverty:
        ” poverty is lack of access to modern energy services. It refers to the situation of large numbers of people in developing countries whose well-being is negatively affected by very low consumption of energy, use of dirty or polluting fuels, and excessive time spent collecting fuel to meet basic needs. It is inversely related to access to modern energy services, although improving access is only one factor in efforts to reduce energy poverty. Energy poverty is distinct from fuel poverty, which focuses solely on the issue of affordability.

        According to the Energy Poverty Action initiative of the World Economic Forum, “Access to energy is fundamental to improving quality of life and is a key imperative for economic development. In the developing world, energy poverty is still rife. Nearly 1.6 billion people still have no access to electricity, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).” As a result of this situation, a new UN initiative has been launched to coincide with the designation of 2012 as the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All, which has a major focus on reducing energy poverty. Duke University has launched a research project on Household Energy and Health where work on energy poverty in India is listed.”

        Here is the mechanism which I think explains the potential risks of the strategy by United Nations to curb the use of fossil fuels:
        “Cost-push inflation is an alleged type of inflation caused by substantial increases in the cost of important goods or services where no suitable alternative is available. A situation that has been often cited of this was the oil crisis of the 1970s, which some economists see as a major cause of the inflation experienced in the Western world in that decade. It is argued that this inflation resulted from increases in the cost of petroleum imposed by the member states of OPEC. Since petroleum is so important to industrialised economies, a large increase in its price can lead to the increase in the price of most products, raising the inflation rate. This can raise the normal or built-in inflation rate, reflecting adaptive expectations and the price/wage spiral, so that a supply shock can have persistent effects.” (Wikipedia)

  9. It is good to have people of all kinds oppose CAGW proponents, in the same way it is good to have people of all kinds oppose belief in chemtrails, ESP and other demonstrably false ideas.

    There are also problems associated with having people on your side who vehemently oppose fundamental science and the scientific method. It creates critical discussion topics for your opponents, and introduces guilt by association. Neither changes the truth of our message, and both problems apply to other types of allies as well. But they are problems worth discussing.

    Example: If I’m speaking to an intelligent, scientifically literate friend who hasn’t seen the need to question what her cursory reading on the topic of CAGW has told her, it will harm my case if a religious group opposes CAGW alarmism.

    Her: “Hey I hear some of the anti-evolution crowd thinks like you do, claiming global warming isn’t a problem.”

    Me: “Well, they’re right. People can be right about one thing and wrong about others. We all are.”

    Her: “Yes, but a scientist welcomes being proved wrong, because it helps him improve his understanding of the world; whereas religious people teach adherence to faith in spite of evidence, and disallow questioning of sacred beliefs… And climate change is an issue of science.”

    • The problem with “Her” argument is that “she” is refusing to look at the evidence based on “her” dogmatic and wildly inappropriately pigeon-holed view of people.

      This problem has been discussed on this blog several times before. It’s popularity of the meme that wins the day, not the evidence based reasoning. It’s the very rare individual who will welcome being proved wrong – scientist or not. Such a statement is a strawman, and is hypocritical.

      • Yes. That is the problem with her argument. She is influenced by her (quite accurate and very appropriate) views of people, which are irrelevant in this context. It is a common human bias.

        I don’t know how rare it is to welcome being proved wrong. It isn’t our nature to want to BE wrong. But that’s a different thing.

        Being proved wrong and accepting it means your mental database just became a little more accurate. The alternative is stubbornly holding onto your beliefs in the face of evidence and observation. Which scenario do you prefer for yourself?

      • @takebackthgreen:

        I suppose the “her” is a particular human, and not a general human.

        If this is the case, I would imagine it will be a very long time before this particular human sees “the need to question what her cursory reading on the topic of CAGW has told her” …

        It would make an interesting study… present factual evidence to refute the CAGW meme… and, as my dad was fond of saying, “Wait for the cows to come home”

        Of course, it’s possible my biased opinion of a random individual whom I never met, and probably never will meet, is quite wrong.

        Darn it! I’m in an argumentative mood now. Gotta stop posting stuff.

    • takebackthegreen – that’s exactly what I see. Not endorsing climate alarm is equated by many with religious extremism. They look at the “worst” cases of people who disagree with them and paint everyone with that brush. Those who I’ve been exposed to welcome the Pope’s support, but would likely have been derisive of the religious support if it challenged their perspective.

      • Yep. “Consider the source” is how we are wired. I do it all the time. In many contexts it even makes sense. It takes effort and willpower to resist that urge when it isn’t relevant.

        I firmly believe it is the major reason I casually, passively believed in CAGW for as long as I did. If climate talk isn’t your life, and you accumulate your information haphazardly, it’s easy to dismiss the opposition to CAGW as kooks with political agendas. And some of the most outspoken skeptics do real harm to our cause every time they speak. The commie-baiting, the anger, the injection of religion, the insistence that warmists are evil… none of that will change a single mind, anywhere, ever.

        People who I know have changed minds: Patrick Moore, Giaever, Dyson… even ManBearPig.

        :-)

  10. What’s with all the LOUD music? Get rid of it so we can hear you all clearly.
    The sound-bites are fine but not really useful.

  11. Come on, folks… I know that there wouldn’t BE a blog if there weren’t things for us to chatter about, but realistically?

    Realistically, it doesn’t make a farthing’s worth of difference what the croissant munching go-green bodies of the planet conjure up as international covenants and regulations. Not one bit: every country appears to be doing whatever the Hell it feels like.

    INDIA, for instance, has proclaimed in proudly weaseled English that it is going to drop the ‘carbon intensity’ that its rapidly growing industrial nation will require in the next 10-15 years. ALL THE WHILE increasing actual, real, projected CO2 output by 300%. Weasel words get the croissant eaters to beam broad smiles and proclaim to the Bad Boys in the West that India is a model that others aught to follow.

    CHINA, meanwhile, not to be left out of the sucker-punch olympics, has recrafted its Officious Line to include a similar disingenuousness toward absolute CO2 production, and go with the weasel’s proxy, “carbon intensity”. They too will be INCREASING absolute CO2 production by somewhere from 200% to 300% (and some argue even higher with the unending love affair with privately owned motor cars).

    Already, in 2015, CO2 on the planet is almost 38% “owned” by China. Doing a little math, one finds that by 2025 China will account for over 49% of all CO2. CO2 on the planet will also be emitted at 200% of today’s output level, mostly from coal. That’s in 10 years.

    The LAUGHABLE consequence of the endless protocols for climate-change mitigation that call for CO2 reduction fly direction in the face of the self-entitled so-called Developing World, that holds absolutely three things:

    * We have a RIGHT to continue to massively ramp up CO2 production
    … cuz we’re poor
    … cuz you guys did it, so its our turn
    … and ‘cuz we’re entitled

    * We assert that what’s unfair is that the Developed world isn’t doing its part to mitigate
    … ‘cuz y’all emit so much
    … ‘cuz the warmists say our developing world climate is going to get worse
    … ‘cuz its your fault

    * We insist that the Developed world knuckle down and send us reparations
    … so we can burn MORE carbon, faster
    … so we can emit MORE global pollutants, and get a free-pass for it
    … because y’all are guilty, mendacious and imperialistic. And we need the dough.

    This position of perpetual victimhood gives them an entitled mindset, which in turn lets them weasel out of actually doing much (if at all) about their own proudly trumpeted future energy and economic prosperity plans. Maybe they do have a point (I’ll admit it), but not the entitlement bullshit.

    Especially as it is now, that the only countries on the PLANET that are actually actively trying to reduce their absolute as well as per-person or per-GDP relative CO2 production, are … [drumroll] “The Developed World”.

    Anyway, we have to continue to look grim (The West / Developed World), host great international grim-concern colloquia and parties, bake endless truckloads of croissants, and give third-world discount rates on the better hotel suites wherever these conferences are held.

    gg

    • Wait a second there GoatGuy…I am not clear on a few things from your post.
      I grant you it is a Grade A rant, but it leaves hanging the important questions of whether or not croissants are a good thing, and whether or not you like them.
      They are so buttery, yet light and flaky.
      I love ’em!

  12. That claim finds support in the 35-part YouTube video series,…

    Youtube shows that Cornwall Alliance has 13 videos. Where are the other 22 videos?

  13. I have a interesting question Cornwall Alliance and this Youtube production on the Rico20’s list?
    Is Cornwall Alliance one of their Evil fossil fuel groups needing investigation?
    Hmmm ,, timing is close.
    michael

    • I have no problem with 75% of the “What we believe” portion.

      One point out of four lists a reference to their magical sky being. However, the remaining three point are entirely based in reality and are perfectly defensible.

      I, for one, am more than willing to overlook the 25% that I disagree with… and I’m sure I would wait a very long time indeed if I am looking for 100% agreement.

  14. As an agnostic with no dog in this particular hunt, let me make a couple of perhaps trenchant observations.
    1. First amendment separation of church and state is there for a BIG reason. Church v. Galileo did not end well for Church. Pope Francis v. climate change will not end well for Francis. Inherent contradictions already apparent.
    2. Roy Spencer got a Heartland award from this organization. He is also a major proponent of the creationist myth of intelligent design. I totally trust him on UAH6.0. I totally do not on evolution.
    3. Points 1 and 2 combined show that humans are complex and probably chaotic beings.
    Choose your friends and enemies wisely. You will have to live with one and fight the other. Syria comes to mind in regards to.this post.

    • I would argue that some form of “intelligent design” is what maybe 90% of the planet believes in. (Count me in with the 10%, BTW.) The current politics that is pushing it, OTOH, appears to be merely using it as an excuse to slip in creationism under the door.

    • The ability of humans to live with cognitive dissonance is extraordinary, both in the sense of an asset and a curse. Consider jet setting COP21 delegates privy to an extraordinary, overseas escargot consuming conference life-style held in an epicentre of fashion and haute couture before returning to their coastal mansions, in order to celebrate Christmas.

    • You guys crack me up . . you call something myth because it’s not what you believe happened. Talk about unscientific thinking.

      Prove it (and no, not just by a consensus of ERvolutionists) I say, big shots, or quit calling it science . . please. And quit calling calling it wonderful for the public to fund the teaching of your beliefs, but horrific if anyone advocates for teaching a bit about a widely held (by the payers) alternative. You’d think you were frightened school children for goodness sake.

      • Two of the best sources for removing the religious blinders on evolution are both books by Richard Dawkins:

        “The Ancestor’s Tale”
        and
        “The Greatest Show on Earth”

        After reading these two, please let me know if you need more evidence for evolution and that Genesis is a myth.

        Also, highly recommended:
        “God is not Great”, Hitchens
        “The Red Queen”, Ridley
        “The Demon Haunted World”, Sagan
        “Free Will”, Harris

        If you read all of these, and discard them as nonsense in comparison to the human organized collection of fantasy stories called the bible – then it should be clear why CAGW advocates will only rarely change sides.

        However, if you read just a few sections out of “The Ancestor’s Tale” and “The Greatest Show on Earth”, you may just find the proof that you are requesting. The problem with your request is, no one can make you see the proof — you have to do the work yourself. Just like learning Algebra and Organic Chemistry, the proof you request is only found when you perform the task and do the studying.

        The same is true of CAGW.

        –Sections to read for the first two for the short on time:
        “The Ancestor’s Tale” , ‘The Salamander’s Tale, pg 299-310’
        “The Greatest Show on Earth”, ‘History Written All Over Us-Unintelligent Design, pg 356-371’

      • Human authority worship, in all it’s manifestations, is kid stuff to me. Show me the proof, or at least some feasible way to test/falsify this theory of Evolution, please, or I cannot simply agree it’s a scientific theory . . I can agree it might have happened, but that won’t make it a scientific theory.

        And if you like, I can discuss the reasons I don’t believe it happened, which only became my opinion about seven or eight years ago. I was a believer in it since I was kid, right through college when I “studied” it’s various permutations at the time, and all those years since as I kept up with latest buzz, even after I became a Christian. It was only when I went to get the “strong evidence” I thought I could muster, to show someone who didn’t believe it was true, that I realized there is no such strong evidence, let alone scientific proof worthy of forcing all people to pay for it to be enshrined as a scientific fact in the minds of all children.

        I sincerely believe that it is the success of that theory more than anything else, in being turned into a supposed scientific fact without ever going through any testable/falsifiable sort of process, that encouraged the perpetration of the CAWG theory to a similar unquestionable scientific fact status, also without any such truly scientific process.

      • JohnKnight: The only thing I will say is this: As unknown pointed out “The Greatest Show on Earth” provides a comprehensive and fascinating explanation of the overwhelming evidence of evolution. You have been told about it. From now on, if you say there is no proof, you are lying.

      • @JohnKnight:

        I read your book, you read mine and then we can have a discussion. However, I don’t think you want to have a discussion.

        So, if we have common ground on the understanding that CAGW has been shown to be incorrect, at least as far as modeled, then I will call the shouting match a draw — and go our separate ways.

        And so ends as it began…

        I signed the non-religious OP petition even though I disagree with the religious `stuff` found on the organizations website.

        I did so, because people disagree on religion versus non-religion. And I figure notion of real people dying because of the `green` nonsense needs to have a greater visibility. And I’m willing to bend a bit on allowing humans to be humans and not `Spocks`

      • Yeah, guys, I couldn’t come up with anything worth mentioning either . . kinda shocked me at first.

  15. Thanks, E. Calvin Beisner.
    “The computer climate models that are the only reason for fears of dangerous, man-made global warming have proven wrong.” is an excellent summary of the problem.
    And, CO2 is the gas of life for the plants, the root of food chain for animal life on Earth, the water planet.

  16. “Climate Science” is too young to drawn any conclusions. Yes, bits and pieces are understood but how they fit into the broader picture is still a mystery. Natural variability is almost completely unknown. It is interesting science, which is where it should stay for quite some time.

  17. Agree Dahlquist. The first sentence of the letter I am asked to sign gratuitously states “AGW is real”.

    AGW is real? I don’t know that (unless they mean that lighting a match is contributing to GW). I don’t think anyone does know it as a fact. They may believe it though. Not the same.

    Besides, two paragaphs later they provide evidence that tends to contradict whether “AGW is real”, pointing out out that:

    1. There has been no global warming in almost 20 years.

    2. Not only was there no warming, but AGW theory says it should have warmed.

    3. The models, which are the only way as of now of proving any meaningful AGW exists after all the feedbacks, failed.

    But they are still sure AGW is a fact.

    I get tired of people trying to appease warmists with a preliminary disengenous gratuitous statement.

    JMO.

  18. Scientology? DBperson, do you really know Scientology at all? Scientology and Cornwall Alliance are both based on superstition. Why is it I know what you going to say next?

    • Scientology is based on some made up nonsense by a hack science fiction writer to win a bet.
      He won the bet alright, and I suppose if any of the members of the resultant cult are truly believers that the stories that L. Ron Hubbard made up are actually true, then they qualify as superstition.
      But I doubt if any of the higher ups in the scam are anything more than con artists milking a lucrative scam for all it is worth.

      • Menicholas,

        You describe a perfect analogy between believers in CAGW like traffy, and believers in Scientology. Both groups are a cult, both are being led by an invisible ring in their nose, and both believe totally in their measurement-free, evidence-free fantasy. Logic, evidence, and rational arguments affect them like rain afffects a duck.

      • db, there is a difference between scientology and cagw cults. scientology is out to milk the gullible on a perpetual basis. cagw is a murder suicide cult like jim jones’ peoples temple/jonestown and that cult of the purple veil.

  19. I’ve been reading rgb’s protestations above with a certain degree of sympathy and also a modicum of amusement. Methinks you protest too much. Someone really must have done a religious number on you at some point to explain why you’re so wound up. Normally I would pick out bits of what you’ve written and seek to correct them, but I doubt that would be profitable. So … peace and good health to you … live long and prosper … and if you can find it in your heart to do so, please give those of us who disagree with you on some of these “religious matters” at least some credit for having a brain and that we have considered the sorts of things you object to and nevertheless reached different conclusions. =;^)

    • Naaa, no number run on my head.

      And I don’t think you don’t have a brain. Only that I very much doubt that you can defend any belief in an objective specific reality external to and “superior” to the simple objective reality that we all appear to experience, that cannot be measured or observed or proven) in any way that would convince somebody that held it morally reprehensible to believe things — by which I specifically mean assign them the status of “probable truth”, not “amusing or instructive or comforting possibility” — without any objective support. I don’t even care if that superset of observational reality you might believe in contains a God or Gods or Heaven or Hell or the Lord of the Rings Cosmos — I don’t think it is virtuous to believe in multiple universes or superuniverses in an ontology unless and until there is objective empirical support for the belief and in contradiction to competing beliefs capable of explaining the same observations equally well.

      That never stops people, even very bright people, from doing so. I suspect that it is a feature of our brains to do so — the natural extension of our greedy pattern matching engine to careless inferences of a reality embedded in something larger where you can just make stuff up without fear of contradiction, supported by pure cognitive dissonance as we seek to cope with the pains of life, aging, and death. It is difficult to accept the proposition that when you die, you die completely and no trace of your awareness remains so that as far as you yourself are concerned you might as well never have been born, with all trace of “you” erased into entropy. But sadly, that’s precisely what science, logic and reason unite in, well, proving not beyond any doubt but certainly beyond any reasonable doubt. It is equally difficult to accept the death of loved ones as being final and irretrievable, even though it is our direct and perfectly consistent experience that it is. It is hard to accept the evidence at face value of an enormous Universe that just Is, without any “purpose”, in which we happen to have evolved as a consequence of its complex internal dynamics, so much so that we invent even larger and more complex Universes where an even less likely superintelligence can provide the “purpose” of designing our own Universe and intelligence.

      Even very bright people experience cognitive dissonance, and the very brightest brains imaginable are still terribly flawed (and I include my own in that list, not as one of the brightest but as very definitely flawed). It is because our brains are flawed that we need to be very careful and deliberate in choosing the system we use to support a personal worldview. Accepting errors or unsupported hypotheses as the (probable) truth, even appealing errors or beautiful hypotheses, corrupts one’s entire system of reasoning and can lead one to horribly wrong conclusions. Some of that — a lot of that — we can’t help. But we can certainly do our best not to. Can you possibly defend any religious belief as being the objectively best thing to believe? According to what criteria?

      I don’t believe in religion, but I do believe in the virtue of storytelling, as long as both storyteller and listener understand that they are stories, not a supposedly accurate representation of reality.

      rgb

    • rgb,

      I’m not taking sides in this argument, and I am not arguing religion. But it seems to me that the reality we experience is just a thin veneer covering a deeper reality. Almost everything in this universe is invisible to us. We call it ‘dark matter’ for lack of a more specific definition. But all the atoms, stars, galaxies, etc., are only a very small part of our own reality, and we know almost nothing about it.

      So it seems presumptuous to assume that ‘reality’ is what we observe around us. Personally, I think it’s turtles all the way down, and we’re only at turtle #1. JMHO.

      • dbstealey on October 6, 2015 at 5:18 am

        – – – – – –

        dbstealey,

        You bring up interesting stuff to discuss.

        Dual metaphysics (dual reality) supporters say there is a perfect true reality that humans cannot know and there is an imperfect reality that is what we observe and we cannot know the perfect true reality by observation and reasoning on the observation. That is Plato and Kant stuff. Dual metaphysics is also used to support an argument for religious beliefs.

        Can you spot the crucual intellectually self-refuting aspect of the dual metaphysics supporters?

        John

  20. The msm and cagw crowd will ignore the petition or censor the information in the articles. It is the usual thing they do.

  21. I am in complete agreement with RGB. He and I have had a similar upbringing, strong religious background (Catholic), and I too came to the same, or similar, conclusions later in life once I was free to follow my own study path. Sadly, for me, my former wife, an extremely religious woman, effectively called me the “Devil” and openly stated that all what is written in the Bible is a real and true account of Jesus and God and the making of the Earth and the Heavens. Blind faith!

    (Sorry mods for mucking up my e-mail addy. Am going through changes of glasses (Multi-focal), but will be reverting back to single focal lenses tomorrow).

  22. This message would reach so many more eyes and ears (especially those of the Left) if it wasn’t delivered from a religious group. The problem is that religious groups, when given an audience, will never (can never?) miss an opportunity to preach their religion. Faith is a massive rational FAIL, if indeed it is to reason that the appeal is being made. D’oh.

    • Actually, the rational FAIL is in the use of the ad hominem argument. Furthermore, the Warmunists have welcomed the Pope’s ill-founded message on climate. The skeptic side is not diminished in any way by those with religious views. But “skeptics” who feel the need to bash those with religious views in order to feel better about themselves do indeed diminish the skeptic side of things.

      • There is a big difference between bashing the people who hold irrational beliefs, and bashing the beliefs.

        I don’t imagine rgb takes any joy in bashing irrational beliefs, nor do I imagine it makes him feel better about himself.

        For myself, my life would be much easier if I could believe in the magical beings that most of my relatives, family, and friends believe in. My unbelief makes my life much harder. However, once it becomes clear to the rational mind that there are no winged sky fairies, no magical all powerful creator, no after life, and no forces beyond the natural universe, there is no going back. Once freed of superstition, the rational mind can no longer sit in pew and shut down the arbitrary irrationality of the priest, the alter, the sacrifice… it becomes impossible to view the world through the lens of superstition.

        Like rgb, I’ve read the Bible cover to cover. I was raised in a very strict Catholic family. I am now an atheist. It has been years and years of struggle to come to grips with my unbelief. It did not go quietly or easily. And I miss the belief, because of the community and general feeling of belonging.

        However, since being freed of superstition, I have become aware of the real beauty of the world. It is much more precious because there is no after life, only the here and now, only a single chance to explore and make a difference. There is real beauty in living things, and the beauty shines even brighter when you realize that the living thing is not created by a magical being.

      • For those who think religion is necessary to treasure life and accept death, here are thoughts infinitely more valuable and comforting, because they are true:

        “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of the Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?”

    • I am much more skeptical of those things we think we know from some observations than I am of those things one figures out by considering real tested phyical phenomena and the beliefs these can lead to regarding spirituality. Much of quantum mechanics and particle physics has been proven to staistically significant levels in the laboratory but is still more mystical, in some regards, than some spiritual beliefs. The particle/wave nature of matter, the behavior of entangled particles and the probabilistic nature of what we consider to be reality are a few examples. In some ways these things take a type of “faith” to believe. But they are, so far as we presently know, facts. One can add to these, time dilatation and a great deal of general relativity. Dark matter, dark energy, inflation, not so much, as they are in my estimation, much more theoretical in nature, less proven and very convenient to making the numbers work.

      When one considers these things visa vi spiritual concepts, as well as the perfection of the physical quantities and their relationships which allow the universe to be what it is, spirituality, a creator, and another level of existence is not much of a stretch of faith. Religions may in fact get in the way as they invariably try to have all of the answers.

      • “I am much more skeptical of those things we think we know from some observations”
        The term knowledge is largely misused, we tend to think we know things from what we observe.

        However, there are a few things which separates real knowledge from beliefs:
        – Ideas which allows everything explains nothing, such ideas cannot be regarded as knowledge.
        – Knowledge is characterized by the fact that the idea, statement, hypothesis of theory can be proven wrong, it can be tested.
        – Necessary consequences can be deduced from ideas we regard as knowledge. It is possible to design repeatable tests, make repeatable observations, to see if these consequences occurs. Not some time in the future but now.
        – Ideas we regard as knowledge must also have survived repeatable tests.
        – Knowledge is merited by the severity of the tests is has been exposed to and survived, and not at all by inductive reasoning in favor of it.

        Believes affects us all. But knowledge is something entirely different. Certain knowledge is characterized by all the things the idea, hypothesis or theory prohibits from happening. Knowledge is what makes us able to say that something will happen and that a lot of other things will not happen.

        Enjoy the breathtaking work by a true master. The mastermind behind the modern scientific method, Poppers empirical method – commonly known as the hypothetico deductive method. First section of 26 pages should do:
        “The logic of scientific discovery” by Karl Popper
        http://strangebeautiful.com/other-texts/popper-logic-scientific-discovery.pdf

      • Ah…

        Almost straight from the:

        “His Dark Materials”

        series.

        If you haven’t yet, you should definitely read the three book series:
        “The Golden Compass”
        “The Subtle Knife”
        “The Amber Spyglass”

        You will find the ideas you just presented glaring back at you.

        However, much of what you write as ‘faith’ or ‘belief’ is really simply ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘too specialized’ … rather than ‘spiritual’.

        Relativity has definitely proven true. So has quantum mechanics. There are unknowns, of course, but that does not at all mean ‘spirituality’… simply exciting exploration in reality.

      • Unknown,
        The laboratory proven facts of relativity and quantum physics also prove that our perception of reality is quite false. There is a real probability that my fingers are not pressing these touch screen buttons but are passing through them and what I perceive as solid is merely the opposing electrical fields of the atoms in my hands and those of the keyboard. And that is reality.

  23. The absorptive properties of CO2, water vapor, and other such molecules is demonstrable. There is no reasonable science to refute it. But that is also not the argument.

    Human caused global warming is concerned with minutia, not physics. Can the 4% of the yearly natural CO2 increase (and in my view much less than 4%) that is said to be related to human use of fossil fuel energy, cause catastrophic irreversible climate and weather pattern change far outside normal extremes? The ONLY model calculations of such a catalyst is in the form of fudge factors, not plausible mechanism. So it is easily refuted by working with minute energy calculations derived from a tiny increase in CO2, within the context of very, very large and highly energetic natural atmospheric energy calculations.

    So the opposing argument is this: The comparative energy potential of this tiny, tiny human sourced fraction of a molecular substance mixed into such a large entity, IE the comparative energy of this minutia, causes catastrophic climate and weather pattern change outside of natural extremes.

    Laughable.

    • >Human caused global warming is concerned with minutia, not physics. Can the 4% of the yearly natural CO2 increase (and in my view much less than 4%) that is said to be related to human use of fossil fuel energy, cause catastrophic irreversible climate and weather pattern change far outside normal extremes?

      The atmosphere has been modified over eons by life. The small percentages of change in gas flux rates as well as the small percentages of gas liberation from soil and rock *do* change the atmosphere… and change it `permanently` or at least long term temporally.

      The argument against CAGW is not that is was/is not plausible or possible – but rather that the gathered real world data to not support the theory/hypothesis.

  24. I was wondering if rgbatduke could provide us with an English translation of Duke’s Latin motto: Eruditio et Religio.

    • Why does Duke’s motto matter to anyone other than the producers of its letterhead stationary and souvenir sportswear?

      • Because some people are looking for heroes, saviors, and authorities to judge their actions and remove personal culpability.

        These ‘some people’ are actually the majority of people… and why most people cringe in fear rather than think for themselves… That and also because following popularity breeds a bigger bank account or more friends.

        None of this nonsense has anything whatsoever to do with whether humans are the A in CAGW. But it has everything to do with the politics… both local [within a personal human relationship] and global [intercontinental agreements and treaties]

  25. I’m all for a petition, and you tube series pointing out the failings of big climate, but does anyone else find it strange that E. Calvin is quoting himself in third person in his own article?

  26. The AGW conjecture is just too flawed to support. For those who believe in the radiant greenhouse effect, the idea is that increases in CO2, because of CO2’s LWIR absorption bands, is suppose to cause an increase in the radiant thermal insulation properties of the troposphere causing a restriction in heat energy flow causing warming at the Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere and cooling in the upper atmosphere because that is how insulation works. The effect is small because there is so little CO2. We are talking just .04%. To make the effect seem more significant the AGW conjecture adds the idea that H2O provides a positive feedback to changes in CO2 because warming causes more H2O to enter the atmosphere which causes more warming because H2O is also a greenhouse gas. That is where the AGW conjecture ends but that is not all what happens. Besides being the primary greenhouse gas, H2O is also a major coolant in the Earth’s atmosphere transporting heat energy from the Earth’s surface to where clouds form via the heat of vaporization. More heat energy is moved by H2O by phase change then by both convection and LWIR absorption band radiation combined. Then one must also consider clouds and what is happening in the upper atmosphere. When everything is added together the feedback must be negative and not positive. This negative feedback must operate to mitigate any effect that CO2 might have on climate, not increase it. Negative feedback systems are inherently stable as has been the Earth’s climate for at least the past 500 million years, enough for life to evolve. We are here.

    A real greenhouse does not stay warm because of the action of heat trapping, so called, greenhouse gases. A real greenhouse stays warm because the glass limits cooling by convection. It is a convective greenhouse effect. So to on Earth. The Earth does not stay warm because of the action of heat trapping greenhouse gases. The surface of the Earth is 33 degrees C warmer than it would otherwise be because gravity limits cooling by convection. It is this convective greenhouse effect, as derived from first principals, that keeps the Earth warm and accounts for all 33 degrees C. There is no room for an additional radiant greenhouse effect. The convective greenhouse effect is evident on all planets in our solar system with thick atmospheres. Even Venus, with an atmosphere that is more than 90 times as massive as the Earth’s and with a CO2 percentage of more than 96%, has no evidence of an additional radiant greenhouse effect. The high temperatures on the surface of Venus can all be accounted for by the planet’s proximity to the sun and the planet’s very thick atmosphere. The AGW conjecture neglects the fact that good absorbers are also good radiators and that heat transfer by convection dominates over heat transfer by radiation in the troposphere. CO2’s LWIR absorption bands do not really add any thermal insulation effect in the troposphere. It is all a matter of physics. If additional CO2 did cause warming then the additional CO2 added to the atmosphere over the past 30 years should have caused at least a noticeable increase in the natural lapse rate in the troposphere but that has not happened. The natural lapse rate is a measure of the insulation properties of the atmosphere. Based upon how changes in CO2 affect the natural lapse rate the climate sensitivity of CO2 can be calculated. Considering how the natural lapse rate of CO2 has changed over the past 30 years, the climate sensitivity of CO2 is 0.0; Hence there are many good reasons to be conserving on the use of fossil fuels but climate change is not one of them.

  27. If RGB’s soul survives somehow after his demise, and say he is reincarnated as a polar bear (just for an example) will he write in the snow “I was wrong”? Maybe he can also write in the snow the explanation of infinity, and the infinite universe – where does it end? After you get to the end of the universe what’s on the other side of the “universe wall”?

    • Unfortunately Skeptical Inquirer has become `unskeptical` in the realm of CAGW…

      However, this guy has many of your answers:
      http://www.csicop.org/author/victorstenger

      Even very smart people are fooled by popularity and untestable feel-good politics.

      But, there most surely is no after life, no god, and no reason for life or you. Humans are not ‘for’ anything. Just as any given insect is not ‘for’ anything. Life simply is. It exists. And it changes. And it dies. And it ends. Its beginning may be as lowly as self-replicating interplanetary dust. The creation of an all powerful human-imaged ‘god’ is most definitely an incorrect and egotistical view of the universe.

      I do not fear death. I fear indecision, incompetence, and the failure to do my best with the time I have before I become nothing again and fade away into entropy.

      • John Whitman,

        “And as you have shown in your comment, one can have fun with mythology (religion). Here is comedic poetic mythology of the sacarstic kind.”

        I’m pretty sure Alice in Wonderland was not having fun with what is generally called religion, but with quantum physics.

      • JohnKnight on October 7, 2015 at 1:59 pm

        John Whitman,

        “And as you have shown in your comment, one can have fun with mythology (religion). Here is comedic poetic mythology of the sacarstic kind.”

        I’m pretty sure Alice in Wonderland was not having fun with what is generally called religion, but with quantum physics.

        JohnKnight,

        Lewis Carroll published ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in 1865. There are dozens of diverse and entertaining interpretations over the last 150 years about what Alice in Wonderland could be seen as signifying. Some of the interpretations were poking fun at religion, some at existentialist philosophy, some at communism, some at the Queen of England, many at political figures, some at Quantum theory when it was proposed circa ~~1900.

        Wonderland has many disguises for impossible things, just as mythologies do that, its their stock in trade. Yet mythology is an important function for telling stories that meet some human being needs emotionally and/or psychologically.

        John

      • “Lewis Carroll published ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in 1865.”

        Sure, I was just having a bit of fun with the (to me) ever so rationalistical notion that we live in a world where there are firm “scientific” foundations from which to mock religious folks about their sometimes contradictory sounding concepts. We don’t, as quantum physics demonstrates quite clearly, it seems to me. I know of nothing more Alice in Wonderlandish than quantum physics, so I thought I’d remind ya’ll that we all stand on unsure ground, since the quantum level is that ground we all stand on.

      • unknown502756,

        “But, there most surely is no after life, no god, and no reason for life or you. Humans are not ‘for’ anything. Just as any given insect is not ‘for’ anything. Life simply is. It exists. And it changes. And it dies. And it ends.”

        I suggest tossing in an occasional “I figure” or something, lest others get the impression you have created an all powerful human-imaged ‘god’, in the form of yourself. It is quite obvious to me that one cannot possibly know such things in any factual sense . . unless there is some sort of God that has informed them . . Don’t you figure?

      • @JohnKnight:

        There is no evidence for anything that could be labeled ‘god’ in any sense that most people who refer to a ‘god’ mean by ‘god’.

        Since there has been no evidence, it is far more reasonable to have no belief in ‘god’ than to believe.

        Anyone babbling about quantum physics and reality and ‘god’ is well off the topic of a ‘personal god’ who suspends physics for a moment in time for a special Earth bound, human only audience.

        Could an individual call the supposed quantum froth ‘god’?… sure… why the heck not. But the ‘god/s’ of any of the most popular religions on the planet surely do not exist.

        Furthermore, while there has been no evidence for anything like a ‘personal god’, there are mountains of evidence that point to a non-supernatural universe. Remember that things we don’t understand yet or maybe ever are not supernatural, they are things that are simply not defined thoroughly yet. So, while the universe has not been explained in perfect detail, that lack of perfect explanation is not room for a plausible existence of a ‘god’.

        A+UNK does not equal god must be or even could be the explanation…

      • “There is no evidence for anything that could be labeled ‘god’ in any sense that most people who refer to a ‘god’ mean by ‘god’.

        Once again, the lack of any discernible recognition that you are not a God, is going to make it rather easy for me to make you look like at least narcissistic to some considerable extent (which I’d much rather not do, sir).

        The Book exists, and is therefor by definition evidence, whether you find it convincing or not. And millions of people have given clear testimonials to experiencing some profoundly “unnatural” events (many in the form of going to their gruesome deaths rather than deny my Lord), whether or not you consider that blatantly existent evidence, convincing.

        Try this sort of thing, to avoid appearing like a complete egomaniac, I suggest;

        *I have found no evidence that convinces me anything that could be labeled ‘god’ in any sense that most people who refer to a ‘god’ mean by ‘god’, yet*

        I realize it lacks the booming voice of ultimate authority your version might seem to provide, but your own beliefs render it utterly impossible to actually know such things, since you’re just a man, and believe there is no God to let you know your impressions are correct.

      • >The Book exists, and is therefor by definition evidence,

        Wait a minute here! What!

        There are millions of books.

        Gilgamesh is a great story. Perhaps since it exists I should believe in the story as if it were reality.

        If you have testable repeatable evidence for the existence of a ‘personal god’, please present it and I will duly give up the argument.

        Sorry, the existence of a book that says so… does not qualify for evidence. Nor does the existence of millions or billions of people who believe in a supernatural universe represent a single valid datum for the existence of said supernatural universe.

        However, the argument for and against religion will not easily end… nor will the same silly argument of CAGW easily end. The problem with both is the willingness of humans to believe rather than test the universe they exist [or seem to exist] within.

        “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

        I claim the universe is not supernatural. All evidence aggregated over written human history points to this as being true, if one can define something as true.

        Others claim the universe has supernatural elements, and some claim the supernatural elements are more and greater and interfere with the the non-supernatural elements. However, there is nothing in human history that leads even a partially critical mind to this version of the universe.

      • unknown,

        “>The Book exists, and is therefor by definition evidence,

        Wait a minute here! What!

        There are millions of books”

        Sure, so there’s obviously much evidence which you declared non-existent. Not a good way to impress critical thinkers, me thinks.

        “Perhaps since it exists I should believe in the story as if it were reality.”

        Of course not, anymore than one ought to believe something like the CAWG theory, simply because it exists. But not believing in it clearly does nothing to render it non-existent, or non-evidential . .

        There are a great many scientific ideas, past and present, but that hardly warrants treating them as all equally valid or invalid, as you seem to be treating all “religious” theories (ostensibly anyway, I don’t believe you actually see Gilgamesh as equally unlikely as something like the Christ story).

        “Sorry, the existence of a book that says so… does not qualify for evidence.”

        Says some guy on a comment thread. Another guy on the thread says; What the hell do you mean by evidence? Are you just forgetting that evidence does not mean “scientific” proof? I can’t scientifically prove you’re not a God, but I think there’s pretty good evidence for that conclusion, nonetheless. Don’t you?

        What if the book is the most influential writing all of history? Does reality itself also not count in your book when assessing whether something qualifies as evidence? And all those people who went to their deaths? And a great many demonstrably critical thinkers (like Mr. Newton for example) obviously considering it Genuine? Why exactly is none of it at least evidence, to your mind? Not scientific proof, mind you, but just evidence.

        It appears to me you only consider evidence for what you believe, to qualify a evidence at all. Not a real strong argument for you being a critical thinker, if you ask me, sir. More like a close-minded one.

      • @JohnKnight:

        You wrote:
        >What if the book is the most influential writing all of history? Does reality itself also not count in your book when assessing whether something qualifies as evidence? And all those people who went to their deaths? And a great many demonstrably critical thinkers (like Mr. Newton for example) obviously considering it Genuine? Why exactly is none of it at least evidence, to your mind? Not scientific proof, mind you, but just evidence.

        Which isk nown as:
        An appeal to/from authority. It is a classic example of how most CAGW proponents argue. And in fact, it is the argument style that is openly mocked by us skeptics.

        You can not win an argument by simply saying your side is popular.

        So, no… none of what you list here counts. It does not matter what Newton taught of the Bible. It would matter if Newton’s Laws showed that the Bible was the word of the one true god. But, alas, Newton’s Law’s point the other way… they point to a universe which does not need a god to explain its workings.

      • unknown,

        “Which is known as:
        An appeal to/from authority”

        Strange as this may sound, I consider extremely well documented historical events as something of an authority, which is quite properly appealed to in all sorts of argumentation.

        One wonders on what logical grounds you exclude such things from consideration of what constitutes evidence? I mean, isn’t all that can be called scientific evidence dependent on an appeal to that “authority”? You know, like papers and books and such, that didn’t just pop into existence a moment ago?

        “You can not win an argument by simply saying your side is popular.”

        Now you’re starting to make sense to me. Thanks ; )

    • J. Philip Peterson says:
      October 6, 2015 at 4:15 pm
      “If RGB’s soul survives somehow after his demise, and say he is reincarnated as a polar bear (just for an example) will he write in the snow “I was wrong”? . . . “

      J. Philip Peterson,

      And as you have shown in your comment, one can have fun with mythology (religion). Here is comedic poetic mythology of the sacarstic kind.

      “Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
      “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

      from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)

      Enjoy.

      John

      • John Whitman,

        “And as you have shown in your comment, one can have fun with mythology (religion). Here is comedic poetic mythology of the sacarstic kind.”

        I’m pretty sure Alice in Wonderland was not having fun with what is generally called religion, but with quantum physics.

        (This is a superposition comment ; )

      • JohnKnight on October 7, 2015 at 1:59 pm

        John Whitman,

        “And as you have shown in your comment, one can have fun with mythology (religion). Here is comedic poetic mythology of the sacarstic kind.”

        I’m pretty sure Alice in Wonderland was not having fun with what is generally called religion, but with quantum physics.

        JohnKnight,

        Lewis Carroll published ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (AiW) in 1865. Google Search shows there are dozens of diverse and entertaining interpretations over the last 150 years about what AiW could be seen as signifying. Here are just a few of the interpretations of AiW: some were focusing at religion, some at existentialist philosophy, some at communism, some at the Queen of England, many at political figures, some at Quantum theory when it was proposed circa ~~1900.

        Wonderland has many disguises for impossible things, just as mythologies do that, it’s their stock in trade. Yet mythology is an important function for telling stories that meet some human being needs emotionally and/or psychologically.

        John

      • John Whitman,

        “Yet mythology is an important function for telling stories that meet some human being needs emotionally and/or psychologically.”

        I think I get it, you see those who don’t believe what you do, as needing myths, while you are believing what you do because you’re not in need of such fanciful things, right? Sounds pretty comforting to me . .

        I’ve heard that spiel from what seems like a thousand “un-needy” people, and though I was not a “believer” till I was in my forties, it always struck me as condescending and trite. Did it ever occur to you that so very many humans might have (apparently always) believed in things like gods, because they witnessed real evidence that such things exist? You know, the obvious explanation?

        Not nearly so comforting to the self professed “non-needy” no doubt, but it does have that cause-and-effect aspect going for it, so popular among the scientific minded, right?

      • {bold emphasis below is mine – JW}

        JohnKnight

        October 7, 2015 at 9:14 pm

        John Whitman,

        “Yet mythology is an important function for telling stories that meet some human being needs emotionally and/or psychologically.”

        I think I get it, you see those who don’t believe what you do, as needing myths, while you are believing what you do because you’re not in need of such fanciful things, right? Sounds pretty comforting to me . .

        I’ve heard that spiel from what seems like a thousand “un-needy” people, and though I was not a “believer” till I was in my forties, it always struck me as condescending and trite. Did it ever occur to you that so very many humans might have (apparently always) believed in things like gods, because they witnessed real evidence that such things exist? You know, the obvious explanation?

        Not nearly so comforting to the self professed “non-needy” no doubt, but it does have that cause-and-effect aspect going for it, so popular among the scientific minded, right?

        JohnKnight,

        I disagree with your statement in bold in every conceivable context. Humanity benefits emotionally and psychologically from the stories that constitute all of mythology (religion). I am part of humanity, I benefit too. There are wonderfully portrayed situations in the stories of mythology (religion) which enrich our view of life; I’ve enjoyed some of the stories immensely and was enriched from their telling. But, there is the need to understand they are just stories. They are scientifically irrelevant to objectively achieving what is called scientific knowledge.

        John

      • John Whitman,

        “Humanity benefits emotionally and psychologically from the stories that constitute all of mythology (religion). ”

        It certainly seems so to me too . . but it seems to me that humanity benefits in just about every way from food, and yet food seems so utterly real to me ; )

        ” But, there is the need to understand they are just stories.”

        From my perspective, it needs to be understood that you haven’t any possible way of knowing that all such stories are “just stories”. Pretending that you know they are all just stories is about as unscientific a way to behave as human behavior gets, to me.

        “They are scientifically irrelevant to objectively achieving what is called scientific knowledge.”

        It seems rather obvious to me that you have no possible way of knowing whether any such stories have relevance to objectively achieving what is called scientific knowledge. For all you know, many ideas and principles found in such stories have already contributed to objectively achieving what is called scientific knowledge.

        The very idea that one can expect consistent and universally applicable test results from carefully devised experiments, might very well have come about, and into general acceptance, because that’s what the Book I consider Authentic seems to indicate is reflective of our Created world/universe. As in, what we now call science, began among people who were quite familiar with the stories it contains and took them very seriously. It has numerous references to the stability and orderliness of His Creation, and even calls to check Him out on that, so to speak.

        The notion that such expectations just popped up out of nowhere (thanks to the almighty god of random chance ; ) is not justified by examination of history, I say. Some of the early pioneers of science actually speak of their expectations along these lines as being related to that Storybook.

        But please relax, I’m not suggesting those who don’t see that Book (or favor any other source of stories) as Authentic, ought to be in any sense restricted or shunned or even noted, in the scientific fields. I’m just suggesting you stop believing that people are not effected by such stories, such that they can be spoken of as truly irreverent. People and their stories are very complex critters, with very complex interaction going on all the time, it seems rather safe to say.

    • You have a greatly amplified opinion of the probable cognitive abilities of a polar bear;-)

      You do remind me, however, one the great world mythologies that count on reincarnation — serial immortality leading to either reunion with the Godhead (Atman with Brahman) or with Nirvana (freedom from the cycle of rebirth into suffering, true death-or-whatever). The first is pandeism — really monist panendeism, a belief that not only is there only one God, but everything that has objective being is God, so that you are God and I am God and the trees are God, only we have forgotten our true nature because just being God is boring and timeless so We broke ourselves into reality to be able to experience entropy flow (incomplete information passing through our perceptual identities, viewed as open systems) and hence time. This is frightfully rational and plausible — it is fairly easy to show that if God exists and has some or most of the properties of the Standard Model of God (omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience etc.) that the information content of God and the Universe of things that objectively exist (including God) must be identical (omniscience). Indeed the mapping must be so precise that there is really no point in considering dualism.

      There are serious problems with the model, of course — the most serious one being that if true, the Universe was not created by God, it just IS God, uncreated, and furthermore, that it is not just the Universe in a single spacelike surface through spacetime corresponding to the “present” in some reference frame (advancing in the direction of time as the stuff within dances according to the laws of physics, the metaphorical weaving of the worldlines of the Norns) it must be the entire volume — all spaces, all times, all things, all at one not-time in which the whole thing is stationary. For God to experience time, for God to be able to think, God requires a reference frame with time and sequence and God requires entropy in order to experience time, but entropy contradicts omniscience.

      A second, very serious one is that we have a pretty good idea how “thought” works. Our thinking brains, the thinking brains of every organism we can observe that has a brain at all, and our “thinking” computational machines all operate according to mathematical models and structures we conceptually understand and have proven theorems concerning things like the entropic associated with a dynamical switching operation (critical to the mechanism). While of course anything is possible where we cannot see it, there is really nothing in the operation of physics that bears any great resemblance to thought, and it is very, very difficult to see how a pandeist “God-Universe” could in any meaningful sense be sentient. But if you are going to believe in God and seek logical and mathematical consistency, this is definitely the way to go because at least it satisfies the simple set-theoretic and information-theoretic constraints of the SMG, where alternative theories find themselves in almost instantaneous trouble.

      Let me see if I can put this just right. The Matrix trilogy proposes a Universe (really a perceptual Cosmos) that is really a computer simulation. Everything in the sensory/perceptual field of an inhabitant of that Cosmos isn’t really there — it is simply precisely represented in the information within an enormous, deterministic computer running a deterministic program. In the first movie, the characters themselves still have “free will” because there is a higher level Cosmos in which they are being used as sources of power for that very computer, and it doesn’t actually control their physical neurology, only the input to the neurology through the interface of their senses. Everything they believe is wrong, but something is still right, it is just that a true picture of reality is one level up where they cannot observe or detect it with their senses unless the computer either makes a mistake or else if inhabitants of the higher level reality intervene to pull you out of the simulated reality and set you “free”.

      However, over the course of the next two movies, we learn that the higher level reality itself isn’t real, that the computer simulating reality and the “free” inhabitants of the higher level reality and all the rest of that reality are themselves a simulation in — what? An infinite, nested sequence of computer simulations? A finite nested sequence of computer simulations in which we turn out to be non-player characters in a game played by the highest order supposedly real entities? How can those entities ever be sure that they aren’t being simulated in a still larger and more powerful computer? And what of “free will”? On the one hand, it isn’t possible to violate the rules of the computer that dictates the dynamical evolution of your simulation, but on the other, the complexity of the dynamical map is stupifying and essentially unpredictable except by applying it iteratively to see what happens. However, no computer or “sentient” entity at any level of the iterated recursive embeddings of reality has free will. It just seems that way.

      Still, this “Hilbert’s Grand Hotel” infinite embedding is the only model I’ve been able to come up with that can generate a kind of entropy, a non-repeating chaotic fractal layering of reality as dynamical maps are recursively, fractally, chaotically iterated, that both accurately describes our own perceptual cosmos decently and allows for the bare possibility of a sort-of-free-willed limit that sort-of-experiences time as the forward integration of a deterministic iterated dynamical map. One has to be very, very broadminded about what one considers “will” and “thought”, but hey, when you enter Hilbert’s Grand Hotel, you find a cigar in your room even though nobody ever delivers cigars to the hotel (if you don’t know of this metaphor, you should look it up).

      Now let’s come back to the issues repeatedly raised by people who wish to argue that just because they can imagine God, or have a finite number of choices for explaining the Universe and God is one of them they can sensibly choose to believe it. Yes, you can so choose, no, it is not sensible.

      It is easy to demonstrate this — indeed, your own arguments (JohnWest?) demonstrate it. Here’s a model for the Universe. There are really two independent Cosmoses (Cosmi?) — the one we appear to exist in, and one sort-of like it that we can call the Lord of the Rings Cosmos. In the latter, all of the events recorded by Tolkein in his series of middle Earth books actually happened, are happening, will happen (it has its own time axis, so time there is not in any way related to time here). There is absolutely no interaction between them, or at least, there is no interaction between them that we can detect, although I can argue that Tolkein was obviously somehow physically connected to the second Universe in some way hidden in the “magic” of brain mechanism too complex to be perfectly understood, where maybe at the quantum level our dreams are influenced by snippets of events that happened in the LOTR Cosmos (and possibly vice versa, perhaps Saruman’s industrialization of Isengard was inspired by dreams from the reality of England’s industrial revolution in a weird dream-interaction reverberation).

      Now, this is clearly possible. It contradicts no observable aspect of Cosmos A (us) to have a second Cosmos B (LOTR), especially if they really ARE completely decoupled, but also if they are so subtly coupled that we cannot detect the flow of information in between them as it happens only in our living brains.

      Is it reasonable to take this assertion seriously, to give it a degree of probable belief not larger than so very small that it is an immediate neighbor of zero, so close that they chat over the fence and their kids go to the same schools?

      I think we would all agree that it is not reasonable to take it seriously. First, although it could be true, it is one of a staggering infinity of things like that that could be true — the “multiverse” hypotheses you already rejected is one limit, so is any finite or infinite sequence of “Matrix” like embeddings of simulations of simulations of reality all the way down to ours (and beyond! World of Warcraft NPCs Unite! It is time to free ourselves from the tyranny of Blizzard’s servers!) Why LOTR? Why not Dickensville? Why not Barsoom? Why not… (fill in blanks for the rest of your life).

      They all seem equally (un)likely even though they cannot be contradicted. So why believe in any of them?

      One good reason would be the existence of real evidence that a second Cosmos or embedded sequence of Cosmi exist at all!

      But we have no such thing. Whether you want to call it the LOTR or “Heaven” in any of its myriad descriptions, populated by Sauron or God or Satan or a big computer, we simply have no evidence to help us even choose among the possibilities. Which is why it is only reasonable to believe in none of them, barring some pretty sound, reproducible, double blind, reliable, unmistakable evidence.

      rgb

      • rgb,

        “Now let’s come back to the issues repeatedly raised by people who wish to argue that just because they can imagine God, or have a finite number of choices for explaining the Universe and God is one of them they can sensibly choose to believe it.”

        I don’t know who you are speaking of, I see no one here arguing such a thing . . it seems to me those are imaginary people. Might I suggest, ; It’s easy to farm, when you plow with a pencil.

        “But we have no such thing. Whether you want to call it the LOTR or “Heaven” in any of its myriad descriptions, populated by Sauron or God or Satan or a big computer, we simply have no evidence to help us even choose among the possibilities.”

        Sure, been there, done that, so to speak. But it occurred to me that it might be possible to get some evidence. For if I am in a “Person” generated universe, I might be able to “interact” with the Person. As in;

        ~Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.~

        Consider please, there is a flaw of sorts I believe I detect in the notion of “we” not having evidence, for in the final analyses, is not the very notion of a “we” a concept in the mind of an “I” . . which is to say you. So the operative question is not what evidence do we have, but what evidence do I have, or can I acquire,. I suggest.

        The very idea that one must have conformation from other “I”s, is itself a stumbling-block to each “I” who embraces it, it seems to me. And clearly there are a great many others (in your reality-land) who claim to have gotten evidence which they cannot directly show you (the “we”), so the claim that “we” have none, is actually just an assumption by an “I” who has none, I suggest..

        “He knocks” on your door, right here, right now, does he not? Are not those words I quoted therefor true in an ultimate reality sense, within both the space/time continuum, and the “I” which an other is addressing?

        What more do you need . . to justify at least trying to answer that door? Some sort of permission from a certain “we”? A consensus among some particular “higher authorities”? Why, I wonder . . what are you afraid of?

        (I do suggest any attempt to answer that metaphoric door, include the name of the one who said he’s knocking, to forestall any impersonators from taking you for a ride, so to speak.)

      • rgbatduke on October 7, 2015 at 9:30 am

        – – – – – – –

        rgbatduke,

        Enjoyed your discussion of the likely existence of many relative impossibilities wrt reincarnation. Now for a little light fun.

        A Case Study in Reincarnation: Reincarnation is impossible for Peter Pan who never grows up and arguably will live forever in Neverland.

        The Peter Pan fairytale-like story is more understandable and useful to human understanding of a part of life than usefulness to understanding life from the apparently earnest testimonial claims that reincarnation is real.

        John

      • Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

        Excellent! A standard we can agree on! I will expect Jesus to come to my office in a few minutes (or God, if Jesus as an incarnation of God is too busy being all powerful to spend an afternoon with me). When he knocks and says “Rob, are you there? This is Jesus — do you have time for dinner?” I’ll say yes and we can head on off to get Chinese on campus before my next class starts at 6:15.

        I might ask him to change whatever we get from the soda machine into beer, just to make sure that he really is Jesus and is capable of altering chemistry remotely on the fly, but I’ll make up for it. It will be my treat.

        Oh, wait, you didn’t mean that all I need to do is try to pretend to hear a voice inside of my head, did you, and flood my system with crazy chemicals that make me feel warm and loved by an imaginary pal? If so, we have different standards of evidence. The one above I’ve tested many, many times, because Jesus does promise to do that in the Bible (not that he kept any of the promises made in the Bible, such as the promise to return to usher in the kingdom of heaven during the lifetime of his followers). If we are to believe the Bible further, he was perfectly happy to appear to a Christian persecuting Jewish guy named Saul on the road to Damascus and personally invite him to believe in him, so there is precedent. There is further precedent for this sort of appearance according to Paul/Saul, who asserted that this had happened for “hundreds of others” in the early days of the church. Further more, the Bible makes it very clear (in the voice of Jesus as related by others, so I suppose it is hearsay of hearsay of hearsay) that if I don’t believe I’ll be damned, even if my lack of belief is in the very best of logically defensible common-sense backed perfectly good faith.

        Jesus even states that he preaches in parables so that listeners will be confused, fail to believe, and thereby be damned. This isn’t very nice of him, but of course we’ll have plenty of time to discuss this and his pointless cursing of fig trees and the wisdom of curing blindness by rubbing muddy spit into people’s eyes instead of by snapping his metaphorical fingers or the like — it sets a bad precedent for people who are ignorant of the fact that muddy spit is likely to be full of really horrible bacteria (especially in animal-for-transportation Palestine) and who still think that disease is caused by evil spirits or is a curse for sin, all over dinner.

        If he fails to show up in an unambiguous human person again, instead of as some sort of invisible imaginary presence that exists only within one’s mind and is otherwise utterly indetectable by any sort of apparatus, and only under circumstances where if he fails to show it must be your own fault for not believing hard enough (not even falsifiable in experience, that is) then we’ll have to trace through some serious theodicy.

        Jesus is God, and supposedly loves me. As a being that loves me, he presumably doesn’t want to curse me to hell (no matter what hell is, a place, a state of mind, being cut off from God, fill in the blank because a wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse). We will ignore the fact that as an all powerful being who loves me, he certainly doesn’t have to do anything he really doesn’t want to and so we’re discussing the moral equivalent of me not just flunking a student who does poorly in class, but taking the student and passing them off to a skilled torturer who then torments them for eternity on a personal whim, and pretend for a moment that life is tough, and rules are rules, and if one flunks physics — I mean if one fails to believe in him — one will indeed be condemned to some sort of hell by a process as inevitable a falling rock in a gravitational field, sorry, nuthin’ I can do Charlie.

        So here it is. He’s all powerful and he loves me. He is clearly capable of appearing to me in actual person, coming to dinner precisely as you describe above (see “all powerful”, which really means that he has the means and time to do so even if he’s busy elsewhere in the Universe just now as well — infinite is infinite so it is surely enough to spend some on me). There is divinely inspired and supernaturally authenticated evidence that he has done this for people who didn’t even ask numerous times in the past, if the argument itself isn’t enough. For whatever bizarre reason, he has created me with a horribly flawed brain that insists on believing things for solid reasons and has set up this inflexible set of rules that dictate that he can’t help himself, he simply has to damn me if I fail to believe before I actually die. I promise — if he gives me a solid reason to believe, that is, a physical knock on my physical door as soon as the student who is in my office finishes her makeup exam (although heck, she might be willing to rearrange her schedule too for a chance to Dine with God Incarnate).

        So if he fails to show — again — either a) Jesus doesn’t really love me, and hence is not worthy to be considered God; or b) Jesus is not all powerful, and hence is not worthy to be considered God; c) large parts of the Bible are complete bullshit, and — get this — nobody knows which ones. It is unreliable evidence and should not be taken seriously (including the snippet you quote above, not realizing that I’d take you up on it literally instead of in the let-me-flood-myself-with-endorphins sense you intended).

        We should really have applied the latter standard first. The Bible is chock full of errors in matters of fact, dubious ethics, aburd assertions and is already perfectly obviously an unreliable witness. What do we do in court, when confronted with an unreliable witness, one who is repeatedly shown to lie, be mistaken, to mislead, and who has an unreliable character? Do we believe anything they say just because we’d like to think the defendant innocent, or guilty, or whatever? Or do we pretty much discount their testimony and rely on things like physical evidence because it is difficult to trust a liar? Common sense, please.

        Of course I’ve had this discussion many times before, so I already know what you will respond with. You didn’t really mean that Jesus would show up in person. Why not? Because you knew that this would not happen. You know that it probably didn’t happen to Saul/Paul, or “hundreds of others”. Jesus couldn’t even convince one of his own disciples that he came back from the dead unless that disciple was allowed to put his had into his wounds (not that we should believe this story any more than the rest, but again, we’re investigating consistency, since nobody can prove or disprove 2000 year old hearsay about miraculous events that violate physical laws that we never observe being violated today). Surely if two saints — one of whom should damn well have been able to recognize Jesus without the need for any contact, since he was was referred to elsewhere as his twin, possibly his brother — required a personal visit and hands on contact — it is not so insanely unreasonable for me to require the same.

        But we both know that will never happen. Because it never does, where it always should!

        This is where we will, I’m sure, differ about the nature of evidence. You were brought up to believe in Jesus without any real question, without ever requiring any evidence that our belief was any different from the myriad other false and mythological beliefs humans have entertained over the ages (as was I). At some point, I grew up, and learned about logic, reason, and standards of evidence. I examined the Bible and found that far from being perfect truth, it was contradicted everywhere — a most unreliable witness — and that it explicitly authorized things like beating your slave almost to death (because he or she is your property), or marrying a woman by “virtue” of raping her and paying her father 30 shekels of silver, stoning a woman (and sometimes even a man) for having sex outside of the very narrow and patriarchal bounds it allows. I found that Jesus cursed fig trees for not fruiting out of season, that he cured blind men with muddy spit, that he cast out devils into a herd of pigs, that he performed exactly the kind of “magic” that I used to see street magicians armed with a couple of shills perform when I was growing up in India, two-bit “miracles” that wouldn’t stand up to the slightest bit of actual scrutiny. I found that in one place Jesus told his followers not to call him good, or God, because he wasn’t either one, while in another he was supposedly the alpha and the omega. I found that far from being divinely inspired, divinely protected text written by eyewitnesses, we haven’t even got fragments of orginal manuscript, that nobody really knows who wrote what or when, that the manuscripts we do have were copied and recopied and that we can document changes and additions over time so that at this point nobody knows what Jesus actually said or did, let alone where or when he did it, let alone whether or not we should take seriously assertions of miraculous resurrection — assuming that he actually existed.

        When was Jesus born? We don’t know within twenty years! Luke gives unmistakable “testimony” that it was during the reign of Herod Antipas. Matthew is just as unshakably clear that it was during the reign of Herod the Great. What did he do after he was born? No clue — in Matthew there was a flight to Egypt to avoid a slaughter of innocents that is totally unrecorded in any history, in spite of the fact that there were plenty of witnesses at the time and it could hardly have been missed if it happened. In Luke, he just kept on trucking and didn’t fly off anywhere. Why would he have to? No wise men, and Herod Antipas was even less likely to do anything that the Romans would not have looked kindly on. What was Jesus’ genealogy? Two different recitations, that is, no clue. What did Jesus do from sometime shortly after his birth before showing up at a wedding and doing some cheap magic? Big question mark. Do we have independent witnesses (such as they are)? No, we pretty much have the gospels, and the three synoptics are clearly largely derivative — we could be looking at all three being the work of a single original author — a sort of Palestinian John Smith or Muhammed, who just created this as a sort of fiction to support a cult he belonged to, and which was then modified and cloned and altered by others according to the needs of the cult at the time they were written. And the oddball, John, completely disagrees with the rest on little details like when the crucifixion occurred, what Jesus said and when he said it — it tells a largely different story from the synoptics.

        I don’t want to argue about whether or not he existed — I don’t really care, and also don’t think there is any way we will ever be certain one way or the other at this point in time. Even if one finds a tomb with Jesus’s non-resurrected body in it along with other members of his family (oh, wait, that may already have happened:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jesus_Family_Tomb

        — or not, of course — how could we know?) shat believer would permit them to be convinced by the evidence even if it were even more persuasive? On the one hand, it would affirm that a Yeshua that corresponded to the modern legend actually existed, which isn’t entirely unreasonable anyway in spite of the lack of independent evidence. But on the other other hand, well, it sort of puts an end to the religion, doesn’t it, if Jesus did not, in fact, bodily rise from the dead and lies buried in all his dusty remains.

        So all I suggest, my friend, is that you hold the evaluation of religious assertions to the same simple standards of common sense that you would hold any assertion. The more extraordinary the assertion, the stronger the evidence you should demand before believing it. An unreliable witness who is caught out in repeated errors and lies should be trusted less than our common sense and an entire world of observational evidence, which says pretty much that really dead people don’t come back to life, so that assertions that they do, or have, are to be presumed false unless you can see it happen with a room full of seriously expert witnesses. And the evidence should not be hearsay, should not require special pleading, should require that the person examining it put aside their skepticism in order to examine it (if only you would “open your heart” you would see that it is true is not an argument for any proposition at all).

        Evidence is supposed to convince us in spite of our skepticism, convince us in spite of our heart being closed, convince us because when we examine the facts we can come to no other conclusions. It doesn’t only appear to us when we lay our skepticism aside and “believe” without reason, it is the reason we believe. You don’t take two seconds to reject the assertion of multiple Cosmi as being probable truth, not because it might not be true but because there is no objective reason so far to think that it is. And yet you hold fast to a belief that is equivalent to this on exactly the same evidence — none.

        Anyway, my student is finishing up. I retire to wait for Jesus’ knock.

        rgb

      • rgb,

        ” At some point, I grew up, and learned about logic, reason, and standards of evidence.”

        I am unconvinced of that, sir.

        It is utterly pathetic to me that you can’t even handle a simple metaphor like Jesus knocking on your door without spewing (to my mind) childish inanities, yet speak with a voice of self-ordained authority about something like the Book. As but one example of many I am sure I could cut to shreds if you’d like;

        “Surely if two saints — one of whom should damn well have been able to recognize Jesus without the need for any contact, since he was was referred to elsewhere as his twin, possibly his brother — required a personal visit and hands on contact — it is not so insanely unreasonable for me to require the same.”

        I can’t even imagine how any but the most immature/ignorant student of that Book could take your claims to be some sort of deep thinker in regard to what it contains seriously, if it doesn’t occur to you that the people involved would need to have a “personal visit” to recognize anyone . . It’s not like they had cell phones with which to take and transmit photos.

        And, if you could set aside your wild imaginings for just a few moments, you might realize that Thomas spoke those words about needing to touch his wounds before seeing Jesus in person… (from John 20)

        (24) ” But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

        (25)The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

        …and there is no indication at all in the following account of their subsequent meeting that he did any such touching then;

        (26) “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

        27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

        28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”

        Jesus immediately addressed Thomas, and Thomas immediately responded with “My Lord and my God”. There is no basis whatsoever that I can see, for concluding Thomas actually needed to touch him once he saw and heard him. It’s just imaginary touching, occurring in your imagination, I propose.

        And, in regard to “two saints” not recognizing Jesus in a resurrection body, of God only knows what apparent age, weight, and intentionally disguised voice, as they walked in the dark, I’ll leave it to your imagination to figure out how that failure could have happed.

        Many of your other “logics” and assertions in regard to all manner of things are just plain presumptive to me. Again, one example;

        “A second, very serious one is that we have a pretty good idea how “thought” works.”

        You and what God, constitutes this “we”? Last I researched, nobody understands even why we have consciousness, let alone how it “works”. You’re apparently confusing brain activity with thought. Saying it has something to do with brain activity, which seems rather obvious, is logical to my mind, but saying that how thought works is therefor understood, is to me like saying that because we know that gravity effects objects of mass, means we therefore know how it works. We don’t, yet. last I heard.

        It appears to me you don’t yet realize that just because it makes you feel good, and idea is not necessarily truth.

      • @JohnKnight:

        I gotta say, it’s just so tempting to try to jump in and have a go at trying to get you to do something other than quote a old and many times revised collection of committee selected stories most of which are provably historically inaccurate by archeological evidence.

        Read something else. Almost anything else, and then report back…

        Try something like:

        “The Synaptic Self”, Joseph LeDoux
        “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”, Richard Feynman
        or
        a short novel…
        like
        “Fahrenheit 451”, Bradbury
        or something even shorter like:
        “The Black Cat”, Poe

        There are many more interesting things to read and quote from than a silly collection of poorly written, poorly organized, poorly grouped, mostly erroneous and definitely exaggerated oral traditions of a small group of desert nomads living on a tiny mote of dust floating in a forgotten musty corner of a not-so-unusual galaxy.

        Please, for yourself, explore some of the rest of the universe. And if you find ‘god’ in all of creation, after thoroughly reading about how no sane designer would ever make such a horrendous machine such as the human body, nearly any form of life as we know it… then feel free to convince me, but not with bible quotes… quote the science, it is much more beautiful and enchanting, enthralling even! At least meet Einstein’s god, instead of the one encased in human ignorance and arrogance.

        I try to stay from posting, because it’s too time consuming to argue and too tempting not to argue. Oh well, for me, I’m a sucker.

      • unknown,

        Is the general rule you favor, anyone can say anything about any “religious” text they feel like, but it is not permissible to employ the text itself to refute what they claim it says/implies?

        If not, why are you not “scolding” rgb for his long meandering discussion)s) of what that Book (and others) supposedly say.imply . . at least in conjunction with “scolding” me?

        “Read something else. Almost anything else, and then report back…”

        I’m back . . I’ve read all sorts of other things other than that Book, including all but one of the books you mentioned there. I’m over sixty years old for cryin’ out loud (and I didn’t even read (much) of the Bible till I was past forty.)

        Have you been kept in a dungeon or something, being force fed stories about Christians being kept in dungeons or something, being force fed stories from the Bible? ; )

        Seriously, imagination is a wonderful thing . . in moderation.

      • @JohnKnight:

        So you’ve read all these books except one:

        “The Ancestor’s Tale”
        “The Greatest Show on Earth”
        “The Red Queen”
        “God is not Great”
        “The Red Queen”
        “The Demon Haunted World”
        “Free Will”
        “The Synaptic Self”
        “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”

        “Fahrenheit 451”
        “The Black Cat”
        “The Golden Compass”
        “The Subtle Knife”
        “The Amber Spyglass”
        “Gilgamesh”

        And…
        “The Christian Bible”

        And you’ve decided that the bible is the more informative layperson source for things such as:
        -Darwinian Evolution
        -The need for a personal god in order to explain the workings of the known universe
        -The existence of matter and energy
        -Rejection of CAGW
        -Physics, Chemistry, and any other possible science

        Of course, the novels and other works of fiction would never be quoted as evidence for a science topic. But, I seriously question both the claim of reading and understanding the non-fiction writings and the sanity and wisdom of rejecting such material because of an overly stretched belief structure relying on the last book on the list… which is also a work of fiction… the bible.

        If you’ve truly read through the above non-fiction book list and find no evidence to dispute religious beliefs regarding evolution, consciousness, a personal god, the supposed order of the species, the direction of evolution, and others… it’s very unlikely that anyone or anything will every convince you otherwise.

        If you’ve truly read the books, and discard the evidence presented throughout because the evidence does not contain precise science information, as in the tables of data, the charts and graphs, the chemical formula, a precise experimental procedure for each datum… then I’m sure someone could locate a rather large comprehensive list of published science papers, and if you have at your disposal the equipment to perform the experiments – perhaps you will find the ‘evidence’ you seek. However, I’m not sure there are many individuals who have access to the needed experimental equipment – and if you’ve rejected the materials contained in the book list above, it’s likely you lack the necessary skill in the subject matter at hand to replicate the experiments and perform the calculations to reproduce the a few centuries worth of experimental data…

        And this is why people read the layperson texts, because even people who do possess the necessary analytical skill can not perform and re-perform all of science in any given lifetime… And the lack of time necessitates reading and digesting a layperson digest of the material of a given subject of external interest… Unfortunately, with CAGW, there are plenty of sources of incorrect information disguised as correct information. That’s the challenge. To discard sources of information that are dubious.

        So, which single text have you not read?

        And, why have you rejected the rest? Specifically why… not a general wave of the hand and a bible quote.

        I’m very curious as to your thorough and thoughtful explanation.

      • unknown,

        In the beginning God created the there and the elsewhere.
        And the elsewhere was unmentioned and without form
        And darkness was on the face of the deep . . . ; )

  28. “Which is why it is only reasonable to believe in none of them, barring some pretty sound, reproducible, double blind, reliable, unmistakable evidence.”

    By that standard I’m not even sure I’m me.

    1) You presuppose we have the capacity to understand the universe (as in everything including what we don’t even know about), do you have pretty sound, reproducible, double blind, reliable, unmistakable evidence to support this?

    2) There’s a lot of things I believe that I’m not “pretty sound, reproducible, double blind, reliable, unmistakable evidence” sure of like that my wife loves me, that I love her, that love is a thing, that 42 is the answer to life the universe and everything (not really), that I don’t laugh at what I find funny for absolutely no reason at all, that my friends actually like me, that I like them, that liking someone is a thing, that a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work, and pissing into the wind is a bad idea, etc. etc. etc. I guess I’m just all around unsensible.

    • John West,

      It seems to me that for some, only the imaginary, within in their own imaginations, is “trustworthy” . . even if they know it cannot be trusted. It brings to mind the words of our Lord~

      ~I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?~

      How can one hear a small still voice, if one’s ears are constantly filled with the chatter of one’s own imagination . . where fishing is but an idea, and love but a vague concept?

      Sometimes I think Hell will be nothing more “real” than to be left in that shadowy place within, without Him and the order He provides.

    • Who has ever put Life in a test tube and analyzed it? That which makes a plant “alive”? That which makes an animal or a human body “alive”?
      No one.
      The effects of “Life” exist, and can be observed and measured. But “Life” itself?
      No.
      Yet who would deny “Life” exist?

  29. Following quoted from SCC15

    “Acknowledgements,
    . . .
    All of the research in this collaborative paper was carried out during the authors’ free time and at their own expense, and none of the authors received any funding for this research.”

    NSF, NOAA and NASA gave Shukla’s IGES tens of millions of dollars in gov’t funds for a minimal amount of some minimal type of research. Yet NSF, NOAA and NASA gave zero for Soon, Connolly and Connolly to do some unique solar focused research.

    John

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