AmeriCAN-DO Attitude

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What Scientists, Baseball Players and Muslims Have in Common

Upon reading this from ace at Ace of Spades HQ, I became angry:

I think that most scientists have stayed on the sidelines on this. If you’re in a different field than “climate modeling” (whatever the hell that “field” is — it seems to be nothing but sloppy coding and using off-the-shelf statistical software) you have little incentive to get involved or speak out.

Let’s face it — your spouses and friends want to believe this, and they consider it something of a holy duty to promote the “green” agenda. Even if you know that there is something rotten and filthy going on here, what’s it to you? Who can fight city hall? Or worse than city hall — the strong sentiments of your peers and friends and wives and children. Vox populi, vox dei, the voice of the people is the voice of God.

Sure, science is being corrupted, but not your corner of it, and climate “science” isn’t really even science in the first place, and their end goals are (supposedly) laudable, so….

People have very big incentives to keep out of this — and very big disincentives to involve themselves. People always find it easier to ignore a problem and pretend it away than to confront it. And given the choice, they’ll do that 99% of the time. It takes a fearless and determined individual to go against groupthink — and even a bit of a prick, too, because, let’s face it, careers can (and should!) be ruined here.

But that sort of individual is rare, unfortunately, even in science, where supposedly only the truth counts and individual relationships and colleagues’ careers don’t matter.

I’m so sick of this cowardly mentality. It brings to mind the quote from Boondock Saints I have up on my sidebar:

“Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.”

In the case of the whole hoax of Anthropogenic Global Warming, the scientists who are too cowardly to speak up and call the AGW promoters on their bullshit… they are evil. They are the “another kind of evil”: “the indifference of good men”.

In that way, they are the same as the baseball players who knew a lot of players were doing steroids, but did not speak up.

In that way, they are the same as the so-called moderate Muslims, who do not speak up and denounce the Muslims committing jihad across the world.

As ace mentions, these people sit back and think “ah, this doesn’t affect me at all, so I’ll just not do anything”.

Oh really? Won’t affect you? Well, guess what? It does affect you. All of you.

Baseball players kept quiet about steroids and refused to turn in their fellow players who were known to be on steroids, and now ALL baseball players are suspected of being on steroids.

Muslims keep quiet and refuse to denounce jihad or turn in their fellow Muslims who are known to be jihadists, and now ALL Muslims are under suspicion of being a threat to be jihadists.

And here, scientists kept quiet and failed to call out their fellow scientists on the biggest, most obvious scam in human history, and now ALL scientists are to be questioned. Not just in the area of climate change, but every.single.area. of science. All of you. All scientists.

The AGW promoters are evil. Those of you who stood by and did nothing, you are all now considered “another kind of evil”. Your indifference has now put all of you in question.

From the comments at the link above.  Sad but true…

What’s stands out to me is what many of these scientists give as a reason for entering their field. It’s always “To save the planet!” or some variant thereof. In other words, they began by assuming the problem and then spent their careers trying to prove it. I find it striking how little actual inquiry is on display here, how little intellectual curiosity — even as contrarian thought-experiment.

It’s no accident that most of these doom-mongers are academics and public servants. The mindset on display in the filched emails is on daily display at nearly every university and publicly-funded institution in the land. “Consensus” and “peer review” are simply different words for “conformism”, and it’s led to the usual problems associated with inbreeding.

Posted by: Monty at November 30, 2009 06:43 PM

Another great comment by Monty, focusing on the idea that AGW is moreso a religion than science and hitting on the White Swan Hypothesis idea discussed here.

I was having a discussion with a non-religious friend of mine not long ago, and he asked me how I could be both a believing Christian and an empiricist at the same time. Our conversation tended towards what we consider to be a “scientific fact”.

My friend told me that lots of scientific “facts” aren’t amenable to physical experimentation — some because technology is not advanced enough, and some (like string-theory) possibly not provable even in principle. I told him that “science” without experiment is not science at all, but metaphysics. The Rutherford-Bohr model of the atom existed as theory for quite a while before it was confirmed experimentally; you cannot therefore call it a “fact” until it was confirmed by experiment (and even then it is more an approximation than an actual description). The ancient Greeks postulated the existence of ‘atoms’ long before there was any empirical support for their existence.

My point is that science does not depend on positive proof, but rather on negative proof. A truly scientific theory is one that is falsifiable — if it makes empirical claims, those claims can be invalidated through certain experiments and thus disprove the theory. Global-warming doomcriers offer no falsifiable claims (or simply wave off experiments that conflict with their theory.)

Is there really such a thing as AGW? Possibly, but the warmists have not yet remotely made the case for it, even before evidence of their shoddy methodology was leaked. This whole bromide of AGW being “settled science” is hogwash, and will remain so until it makes testable assertions, and those tests can be reliably repeated. Until then, AGW lies in the same realm as other religious beliefs: something you take on faith alone.

Posted by: Monty at November 30, 2009 07:03 PM

Great point here about keeping the government out of the energy business and just letting the creative spirit of Americans drive the future of technology.

As far as it goes, I’ve never believed the notion that we as humans are warming the globe. If anything, I would be more likely to believe in cooling, due to smoke, and other particulate matter reflecting more of the suns energy.

Now, for what it’s worth, I am all for some form of so-called “green” energy, or many forms of it. As long as it works. I would love nothing more than to have a good solar panel and effective battery system to power my home or business 24/7 reliably, and never have a light bill. I would absolutely love to install some kind of magic crystal on my dashboard and drive ten thousand miles without paying for fuel.

However, none of those things exist. When they do, and the tech has advanced enough to be mass produced and sold (relatively) cheaply, I’ll be happy to buy it. And that’s the key; some schmoe has to invent it, patent it, test it, and bring it to market. No amount of guvmint bribery is going to speed that process up, in fact, it will probably slow it down.

In 1978, a dude invented a hydraulic transmission and installed it on a large Ford car. The principle was the engine turned a hydraulic pump, sending fluid to a hydraulic motor on the rear axle, moving the car. When one applied the brakes, the engine cut off, the forward motion of the car turned the axle motor into a pump, filling a high pressure hydraulic accumulator. When you let off the brake when the light turned green, the accumulator dumped fluid pressure back to axle, starting the car moving, and refiring the engine. (Does this whole process sound familiar?) It effectively doubled the gas milage of that old Ford from 20 to 40.

The gentleman applied for a patent (not sure how that worked out) and was trying to get it tested for large-scale application. The Carter Energy Department declined to proceed with testing, instead funding and promoting some form of wieghted flywheel or some such stuff, effectively killing one of the first successful “hybrid” cars, at a time when fuel costs were high and people were worried about the environment.

Anyway, the point is, the government has no business getting involved in these things. The potential for personal profit is a wonderful motivator, both to the inventer themselves, as well as investors if the inventor can show a promising product will come from it. When the government simply subsidizes the research, all they get is more and more research with little in the way of reliable results.

Posted by: JamesLee at November 30, 2009 07:08 PM

Heh, here Monty bitch-slaps a troll with facts and reality, which is akin to exposing a vampire to sunlight (yes, except in the wussified, emo-version of ‘vampires’ in Twilight):

environmental damage from dioxibns or DDT

Well, Rachel Carson got her wish and DDT was banned. The millions of people who later died of malaria bred by mosquitoes would no doubt thank her. Except they were dead. Of malaria. Which could have been prevented by…spraying DDT. (Which in any case was nowhere near as toxic as Carson and other alarmists asserted, but by the time the evidence was in the damage was done.)

You and your ilk belong to a Gaia cult, nothing more and nothing less. If what you do is science, then so is the shaking of chicken-bones at the sun to bring the rain. Sure, it may rain the next day and vindicate the witch-doctor…or the drought might continue and the witch-doctor gets stoned to death for lying. If you’re so sure of your science, then offer up some testable hypotheses.

1. What is an “unacceptable” amount of CO2? If you don’t know, then how do you know that we have too much?

2. If “global warming” is unacceptable, you must have some “proper” global climate in mind. What is it? If you don’t know, how will we know when we get there?

3. Assuming the first two questions, are there any reliable, cost-effective ways of removing CO2 from the atmosphere in the amounts necessary to reverse AGW? Are any such developments realistically expected in the next decade? If not, then what’s the point of the entire exercise?

4. How do you plan to reduce global emissions without getting China and India on board? How will enlisting America into whatever carbon-reducing scheme you choose influence China or India to do the same? Doesn’t this lead to a “prisoner’s dilemma” that ends up crippling the US’s economy while doing almost nothing to solve the (purported) problem?

As The Goracle might put it: inconvenient truths.

Posted by: Monty at November 30, 2009 07:32 PM

This echoes my point perfectly. And is stated better.

I think most scientists looked at global warming like they do… uh, certain other areas of science, in which they presume the people involved know what they’re talking about and are doing their job properly. They see any disagreement or doubt signs of doubt for the entire profession and a negative statement about themselves, not just “climate science.” They are part of the team, and you’re attacking the team when you doubt the word of an accredited scientist, especially one with peer review.

So they stick up for their guys without even knowing the data or information. Yet, as Ace says later above: they’re starting to read that information. The legacy media doesn’t care about this but scientists do and when they see this stuff, it pisses them off more than it does you or I.

This makes them look like asses. This makes the entire profession look bad. It smears them, not just the ones involved. Their professional credibility and even funding is on the line.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at November 30, 2009 07:39 PM

Another good comment from a chemist:

I don’t know if scientists have the choice anymore of ignoring the problem.

Speaking as one, with a PhD that I got not because I could not get a job after my BS (I got one and worked at it a while before going back to school) but so that I could be an industrial scientist, I think the time is as good as any to weigh in.

I’m a chemist by training. In my real job, I do a little wet chemistry, but mainly I program computers (in LabVIEW and C++, not FORTRAN, thank God) to control instrumentation to do all sorts of weird experiments, and spend about as much time trying to make sense of the data. All my stuff is secret, but of course, it is privately funded. I went through the peer-review process, though, and have a dozen or so academic papers with my name somewhere on the author list. I hated the process, because it was like having someone inspect your privates and make critical remarks, but I feel like it kept our science sharp. I got crazy, incoherent responses from some reviewers, and a lot of nit-picky stuff that made me be go back and make sure I was right. We bitched to editors when the refs were incoherent, but generally, we just tried to satisfy them. It did make things better, overall.

I am a little biased, I suppose, in that I tend to not think of much outside the physical sciences, and some of the more molecule-based biology, as ‘real’ science. I don’t think that something like climate science is unimportant, but rather, that it is always likely to be kind of uncertain, hand-wavy, and kind of, ah, full of shit. It is just too damned complicated to understand in the same way you do a gyroscope or a Diels-Alder reaction. And those are pretty hard, really, when you dig into the details.

So, if it were not being used to bludgeon everyone, I would probably ignore all of the AGW stuff. If they were just yelling “The sky is falling”, I’d keep on doing what I was doing, and might think “Whatever. How’d that “population bomb” work out. Now hush, I’m concentrating.”

Since it looks like the various governments are going to use this to make me make a lot of changes, I’d inquire thusly:

1. We are coming out of an ice age, and more recently, a ‘little ice age”. So I need to be convinced that the warming observed is unusual. With good, checkable data.
2. Projections are not data. So they do not count as evidence. They are an attempt to prove you understand something, at first, then a tool to predict stuff, knowing that your output is no better, and very much worse, than input.
3. Are there temperature records independent of the Hadley and Nasa sets? Are there copies of the real, ugly data, not the massaged, ‘corrected’ data? In the absence of these, I think we are hard-pressed to double check the work, and while I have no reason to distrust climatologists in general, I don’t have any reason to trust them, either. Nullius in Verba, or something like that.
4. Where is the overwhelming evidence that the earth is warming, if the temp record is hosed? I just looked at satellite data of the ice caps. There’s a lot more now than at the same time 10 years ago. My eyes are naive, and I’m not an expert, but if you want my money, you’ll have to convince me that I can’t trust what looks obvious.
5. Some smart computer science type make us a graph that links the strands of evidence, and show me that the data doesn’t all link back to the same few groups, and to the same funky data sets.

Finally, I’d say this: I am not qualified to check their work. Generally, I rely on trusting experts outside my field. But after looking at the Hadley code a bit, I am not going to be more than agnostic until some stuff gets sorted out.

Posted by: Dave Eaton at November 30, 2009 07:43 PM

Alright, someone else who noticed the parallel to Muslims:

Interesting take on the idea of scientists not wanting to rock the boat (so that they fall out of it). It seems like a good parallel to Islamists–the “moderate Muslims” have no good reason to criticise the radicals, because A) they become targets themselves and B) hey, if the radicals win and impose Islam on the world, everyone wins.

Posted by: BeckoningChasm at November 30, 2009 08:50 PM

November 30, 2009 , 10:45PM - Posted by | Communism, Fascism, Global Warming, Liberalism, Socialism

1 Comment

  1. […] Kind of Evil Which We Must Fear Most I talked about this here. Now reading this makes me angry all over again: Mike Huckabee On Cop Killer Clemmons: I Am […]

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