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Friday night reading: the eloquent take-downs

Today, while I work on something else, I thought I’d just share a few of the more entertaining pieces of writing I’ve come across lately.

How many mistakes can you pack in one phrase?

Remember how all defenders of the Man-Made-Catastrophe were trained to say that skeptics are funded by big oil, and Big Oil had that insidious agreement… that internal memo that said they were aiming to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” (which has all the meaning of “repositioning McDonalds as a fast food chain”, it being tritely obvious and all). Well, Russell Cook points out that this popular bumper-sticker line that’s quoted ad lib across the ether, is full of mistakes, misattributions and misinformation. It seems it’s not only not a smoking gun, but it’s not a weapon, and wasn’t fired by the prize winner shooter they attributed it too, and the guy that didn’t fire the dud shot, didn’t win a prize either.

With fanfare according to Gore it was “discovered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ross Gelbspan”, but the Pulitzer site doesn’t know about Gelbspans “prize”, and you can read all the sordid details at the Climate Gate Country Club, or a different version  at American Thinker.

Science in an Echo Chamber

Front Page magazine has a very fluent take-down of the recent NAS blacklist of skeptical scientists (And I mocked The National Academy of Sorcery here).

Every time you think that the global warming crowd couldn’t be any more ridiculous or brazen, somebody manages to turn the shameless meter up another notch. This month’s offering from the alarmists is a “scientific” study that basically demonstrates that alarmists are right about climate change because alarmists who believe they are right about climate change publish a lot of papers that demonstrate how right they are about climate change. That isn’t circular logic. Circular logic would be embarrassed to be seen in the same room as this study. This sort of tortured reasoning is so twisted that M.C. Escher and Salvador Dali would have trouble coming to grips with it.

The story appeared in Science Daily on Monday, June 27, entitled: “Scientific Expertise Lacking Among ‘Doubters’ of Climate Change, Says New Analysis.” That story covered a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which the authors basically concluded that global warming alarmists are experienced, brilliant experts in their field while skeptics are hacks who probably have trouble tying their shoes. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, but only a little. The “study” was another, predictable attempt to marginalize independent, accomplished scientists like Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen, Jay Lehr and Roger Pielke who dare to question climate change orthodoxy.

A cynical fellow might wonder if a study that trumpets the brilliance of alarmist scientists and heaps scorn on skeptics is a self-serving attempt by global-warming zealots to buttress their cause. It takes very little research to confirm that hypothesis…

In a way, the publication of a blacklist and of such a ludicrous, transparently biased study should warm a skeptic’s heart. Ever since climategate broke, the zealots have suffered humiliation and embarrassment time and again. The mood of the nation has changed and the alarmists know it. Publishing a research paper that purports to validate the hypothesis “we’re right because we say we are” seems to be an act of desperation. Whatever this study was, it sure wasn’t science.

h/t to Darren N.

“Not Journalists, State Propagandists” – Rupert Wyndham on the BBC

Which reminds me of a letter from Rupert Wyndham that I saw a couple of weeks ago. It was sent to Richard Tait, Chairman to the Editorial standards committee (ESC) of the BBC. He’s blistering with scorn as he discusses the adjudication of the committee, the whitewashes, and the general form of the BBC. It’s an animated articulate read:

“And then, as I say, events move on, apropos which where does one start?  Well, of course, notwithstanding the trio of whitewashes that have succeeded it, the findings of which are believed sincerely by no-one, any list has to begin with Climategate and, let me call it, “IPCCgate”. These two drawn out scandals, despite increasingly shrill and desperate attempts to rebottle the imp, have totally blown asunder the intellectual case for anthropogenic global warming – accepting, which I don’t, that there ever was one in the first place. Let’s not mince words. These people are charlatans, liars and crooks. The BBC has been their sycophantic handmaiden and dishonourable proselytizer. For the Corporation, moreover, Climategate has particular and specific resonance, does it not? Why? To be sure, because it had possession of these materials pertaining, in its own words, to a matter of major public importance at least a month before they were exposed to the internet. And yet, as a balanced and impartial news organization, it decided deliberately to suppress word of their existence. You people are not journalists. You are no more than state propagandists.”

h/t to David.

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128 comments to Friday night reading: the eloquent take-downs

  • #

    Unfortunately for the AGW crowd the financial winds have turned against them. Taxpayers are beginning to feel the squeeze and are asking tough questions. Joe six pack can smell a rat and he is none too pleased.

    The instinct for survival has always been under appreciated by the CAGW crowd. Global warming is not a theory, it is a failed hypothesis. People will not devolve to the paleolithic age to appease Gaia. Who wants to see their children born into a world where the life expectancy has been reduced to 35 to serve the “greater good”?

    The Orwellian charge of the scientifically challenged light brigade can only end in their utter ruination.

    Dishonored was the charge they made,
    the warmista light brigade!

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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Poor Al Gore!

    [snip... Roy, can we skip the speculation and personal details about individuals, unless it makes some particular point about the way science is used or portrayed and if it does it probably needs to come with links to sources --JN].

    6. Now his marriage is on the rocks. The peculiar thing about this is that many talking heads said they couldn’t understand why. [Yes, this is an interesting point - here's a man who spins so much, so easily and so often in public, it's not surprising that he does the same "spin" (white lies/ lies by omission) in his personal life, but only insomuch as it's a comment on the principles that underlie the way he lives, and a comment about the journalists who didn't see problems coming for Gore. --JN].

    7. His global warming house of cards is collapsing on top of him as I write this.

    Now I don’t wish any but the 7th problem on him or anyone. But I’ve no sympathy for any of it either. He’s done his own dance and now it’s coming time to pay the piper.

    Forgive me for speculating at number 4. Many have complained that George Bush hesitated and was taken aback by what he was told. Frankly so was I on that September morning. So by what I said I mean that I think Al gore would have been paralyzed with the realization that he had to come to grips with a real and very serious problem with no time to waste doing it. And I don’t think he would have a clue about where to begin. Thank God he was not president!

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  • #
    co2isnotevil

    Roy,

    Google ‘al gore affair’. This gets more google hits than climategate. The funnier one is his attempted forcing of a masseuse to give him a happy ending. If Tipper is smart, she will insist that her half of the settlement does not contain any carbon ‘investments’.

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  • #
    El Sledgo

    Roy, as for why his marriage has broken down, I might suggest the simple fact that the man has not a shred of honesty within him. If we have trouble believing his “sky is falling” tirade, I can only imagine what his wife would have said when he answered “nothing happened, dear, honest!”

    As for the 7th problem of his house of cards tumbling. Don’t forget, this guy rorted the system and used his position to gain his wealth. This thing makes the Ponzi scheme sound like amateur hour.

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    Roy Hogue

    Guys, I’m well aware of the masseuse affair. Unfortunately the testimony of the woman doesn’t stand up well, at least not when I heard it. I would not put it past the man at all, but I didn’t mention it specifically because the woman sounds shaky to me. Perhaps I should have listed it. In any case time will tell.

    Meantime we all get to sit back and enjoy the discomfiture of the Goracle!

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  • #
    Bulldust

    After talk of Googling people in the last thread I thought I would Google “Bulldust” and “Perth” and see if I could find myself. It is with great pleasure that I noticed that I have been singled out for special attention at Quadrant, no doubt in the Skeptic Hall of Villainy:

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/07/bulldust-australian-hero

    Still no call from the Guinness folks though…

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  • #
    Siliggy

    “skeptics are funded by big oil”

    Who paid the sun to go into a recent cooling decline and report this to the whole solar system via a lack of sun spots?
    Who paid the Antarctic ice to keep growing in reflective surface area?
    Is there a covert polar bear “baby bonus” scheme?
    Who paid for the Australian drought to end?
    Who paid for all the recent northern hemisphere snow?
    Who paid for the UAH temps to fall from 0.57 in June 1998 to 0.44 this June?
    Who paid the Pacific equator to go blue?… :here
    Who paid for The “(season corr)” CO2 to only go up 0.02 PPM last month? …:here
    Who paid for this to be the highest measured cycle of the cooling cosmic rays?
    Who paid the sea surface temperatures to fall so fast over the last few months?
    Who paid the sea to NOT rise much if at all over the last few decades?

    Oh and if trees like CO2, who are the tree haters that want to starve them?
    If plankton likes CO2 and that is good for whales, who are the whale haters that are against this?
    If CO2 can help world hunger, why would the UN be against that?

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    wes george

    How many mistakes can you pack into one phrase?

    You mean like “Climate Change”? The Orwellian pseudonym for global warming, “climate change” is pure tautology. After all, by definition, the climate is naturally “changing” all the time. Climate evolution is the proper concept, but that doesn’t have the same negative implications.

    At Byron Bay I once saw a Greenpeace bumper sticker that said: “STOP CLIMATE CHANGE NOW!” Wow, An oxymoronic tautology concocted in only four words! Brilliant.

    Not only is climate evolution naturally occurring all the time, the idea that it’s humanly possible to prevent the climate from changing is an inane oxymoron.

    What Greenpeace really means is “STOP CLIMATE EVOLUTION NOW!” Revealed as such, we can clearly see the Greenpeace slogan is the same kind of casuistic dialectic used by Creationists. In order to believe that the climate must be prevented from evolving one must first posit that the climate once existed in a paradisiacal stasis and that change (evolution) represents a “fall from grace.” The concept of the world as a static system and humanity as an inherently corrupting influence is shared by both Climate Alarmists and Creationists. Both groups also share a belief in a coming apocalypse as well. Just a coincidence?

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  • #
    Jimmy Haigh

    M.C. Escher is one of my favourite artists – genius.

    http://www.mcescher.com/

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  • #
    G/Machine

    Al Gore wasn’t having an affair just searching
    for that elusive ‘hot spot’

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  • #
    kuhnkat

    Roy Hogue,

    like you I doubted the story of the masseuse, especially since it took so long for her to push the case. Then we find that like Clintoon and Lewdinsky there is hard evidence!!!! OOOPS!!!!

    Still don’t know if he tried to force her but he DID lie about the incident. Typical Dimmicrat/Politician/Leftist…

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    Colin Henderson

    Climate realists aren’t being funded by Big Oil, they are (like the warmists) FUNDING BIG OIL!

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  • #
    wes george

    This sort of tortured reasoning is so twisted that M.C. Escher and Salvador Dali would have trouble coming to grips with it.

    Jimmy @ 9, I like Escher too and Dali is a real character!

    Rich Trzupek’s comparison of the latest alarmist retreat into an appeal to authority to the logic exhibited by MC Escher and Dali is an unfortunate and wholly inappropriate metaphor. Escher work is directly extrapolated from some rather interesting mathematical orders of symmetry. And Dali’s art is a logically self-consistent parallel universe where all that occurs conforms internally to Dali’s own epistemology. Dali and Escher only appear “twisted” when their worlds are juxaposed and judged compared to the mundane world, which is what gives their work its power to provoke insight. Both these artists represent extreme examples of intellectual incorruptibility, precisely the opposite of the hypocrisy that William R. L. Anderegg, James W. Prall, Jacob Harold and Dr. Stephen H. Schneider represent.

    Other than that, Rich Trzupek’s article nicely sums up the sort of treachery the National Academy of Science stooped to by publishing transparently vile smears made by partisan hacks.

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  • #
    Rick Bradford

    Warmists (like all Leftists) have a fatal personality flaw — they lack self-awareness to a large degree, and so cannot see how their actions appear to other people, or put themselves in other peoples’ shoes.

    So they routinely engage in activities (such as the PNAS blacklist) which seem like a good piece of agit-prop to them, but which the mass of ordinary people are rightly disgusted by.

    Thus do the Warmists damage their cause.

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  • #
    cbp

    Jeez you guys are obsessed with trivia.

    Unfortunately ‘all the sordid details’ about Gelbspan’s prize fails to mention the sordidness surrounding F.Singer’s sordid campaign of disinformation.

    Let me just clarify the series of event surrounding the Gelbspan affair, as best I understand it:

    1984: Gelbspan was in charge of a series that won a Pulitzer Prize. At the time, it is conceivable that the award was physically presented to him and he received congratulatory letters from the Pulitzer Prize establishment, even though technically he may not have been listed as a recipient.

    1997: Gelbspan makes the error of saying that he won the Pulitzer Prize, which according to the specifics of the Pulitzer rule book may be technically incorrect.

    2006: Almost ten years later, F.Singer attempts to launch a character assassination of Gelbspan, in the process misrepresenting the words of Pultizer Prize administrator Seymour Topping (who called Singer’s comment a “distortion of my letter”).

    Since Singer’s attack, Gelbspan has updated his biography so it now says that “he conceived, directed and edited a series of articles that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984″.

    Big freaking whoop. Happy?

    Cue irrelevant replies.

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  • #
  • #

    Well, i see Cbp has arrived. Are trolls part of a union? Do you get benefits? Are you paid double time when you work on Sundays? My advice to every person who posts here is to not feed the trolls! Ignore them and use the thumbs down button. When their posts are hidden and they cannot get a reaction they will go and infect some other site!

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  • #

    I posted these articles because of a/ their entertaining writing, or b/ as examples of how spin and marketing have so much influence. Let’s not get into details about Al’s private life except where they may influence or conflict with his public PR.

    CBP, if everyone who edited, conceived and was-involved-in, but did not author, a prize winning article gets to claim they won the prize, then there are five times as many pulitzers out there, and the prize is worth just that much less. This is just another example of “spin”. It’s not “technically incorrect”. It is incorrect.

    And does it matter? Only in that it’s another nail in the coffin of the pretense that Al Gore and others care about accuracy and giving people all the information.

    More interesting is why the Pulitzer people didn’t care enough to correct the record themselves. If a skeptic editor-director-friend-of-a-prize-winner said they’d won a Pulitzer, would the administrators have said “liar!”?

    So after Gelbspan was caught he updated his biography. “Big freaking Whoop”. The guy was busted.

    I’d rather we discuss the PR techniques, the marketing, the way spin is used against us, and how we can fight back, than list details about Gore’s private life.

    CBP – Gores staffer ran a vilifying campaign against Fred Singer, using his VP office to denigrate an eminent scientist. The attackers proved so little of what they said that a judge agreed with Singer. You are a decade behind the real news and an apologist for bullies.

    “Jeez you guys are obsessed with trivia.”

    Oh you mean like taking statements of the inanely obvious like “AGW is a theory” and making it into a smear campaign with misinformation at every step?

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  • #
    wes george

    How many mistakes can you pack into one phrase? Oh, the irony!

    “…it is conceivable that the award was physically presented to him (Gelbspan) and he received congratulatory letters from the Pulitzer Prize establishment…”

    LOL, It’s “conceivable”? Cpb reveals a particularly cavalier approach to obviously known facts… You’d think we were talking about a paleoclimate reconstruction based on questionable proxy data rather than an event that took place in recent times and was no doubt precisely documented in several mediums, including film/video. As such, either Gelbspan did or did not “physically receive the Pulitzer Prize.” It’s only “conceivable” in the sense that a parallel universe might exist where Gelbspan’s CV still proudly touts the Pulitzer.

    I don’t know cpb from Adam, but I’ll punt, based on his brand of flexible reality where known checkable physical facts are reduced to merely one of many “conceivable” narratives, that he’s an acolyte of the CAGW doctrine. No?

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  • #
    Cement a friend

    Thanks Bulldust (6), I did not know that comments are tracked on Google. I am listed as “Cement a friend” and “cementafriend”. I suppose that internet searches could discover much and even narrow down to an identity. However, I do not mind admitting that I have BE(Chem) and MBA degrees and I have some experience in engineering subjects such as heat transfer (particularly combustion), thermodynamics and fluid dynamics. I have a view that “the Team” (of so-called climate scientists) do not understand the technology of heat transfer and thermodynamics (because of their narrow training and experience)and have set out a path of misinformation to hide their incompetence. One could use stronger words than incompetent about the supporters of “the Team” such as the authors of the paper “Scientific Expertise Lacking Among ‘Doubters’” and the Uni of WA paper on the Skeptics Handbook – sycophants comes to mind.
    Beside the bad technology (which includes basic science) the alarmists and the surrounding sycophants lack knowledge of economics particularly about mitigation (if changes to climate have a significant effect on world wide human well being), alternative energy sources, and technology advances.

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  • #
    J.Hansford

    Yep. You can get to the truth by, “following the money.”…. You can also do exactly the same thing by, “following the Propaganda.” :-)

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    papertiger

    If Gelbspan is allowed to lie about winning a Pulitzer (how pathetic is that anyways – all you have to do is bad mouth the constitution, condescend to the public, and praise defunct socialist countries and wahlah – you win the prize)
    then I figure I can claim to have defeated Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s global warming solutions act AB 32 all by my lonesome.
    That was me in there on the planning stage.

    Whatever.

    Right now we are in the campaign phase and if it weren’t for Gelbspan’s lie the ecohippys wouldn’t have anything to say.
    Bing returns for ‘dirty energy proposition’ 813,000 results.

    That’s a lot of lying.

    Jo thank you so much! This post is like garlic holy water for chasing away California global warmiing vampires.

    they’re meltinggggggggg, meltingggggg!

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  • #
    Llew Jones

    Interesting post #8, wes george. I find myself in basic agreement with your implicit idea that there is a religious dimension to AGW which may or may not be subconscious.

    However I would suggest that there is likely to be a quasi religious, at least, rationale not only for the typical Greenpeace and other varieties of warmists but also for the AGW Skeptic.

    I suggest then that it is not a similarity, as you suggest, between a once “perfect creation” (theism) and a perfect uncreated universe (a form of pantheism) but rather it is the great dissimilarity that exists between pantheism and that which in the West has been the basis for our understanding of our world viz the Judeo/Christian religion, that gives an insight into the issue of global warming.

    The latter religion posits an earth that is so “degraded” that the only ultimate solution is the destruction of the present physical universe and its replacement with the “New Heaven and New Earth”.

    In such an Earth, in so many ways antagonistic to human habitation, the directive to mankind is ” Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

    Now that perspective hardly provides an incentive to live in harmony with nature (pantheism) but rather sets mankind at the pinnacle of the animal order and in fact makes we humans the reason for the existence of the physical world. Importantly it is probably that subconscious cultural matrix which has given rise to the application of science almost exclusively for the improvement of human life on the Earth. e.g. medicine, etc. (Dare I suggest it, even the exploitation of fossil fuels to improve, in so many ways, all our lives).

    Now there are “Christians” warmists who know little of the underpinnings of their religion and how its focus on human life probably has led, particularly post the Enlightenment, to the exploitation of the Earth’s resources for the betterment of mankind. Perhaps they are “Christian pantheists” Who knows? It’s a funny old world.

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  • #
    cbp

    I think I’ve made my point clearly, and its been met with the usual hostilities, insults, misquotings and irrelevant remarks, whilst the actual argument remains untouched.

    Have a nice day.

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  • #
    papertiger

    cbp reminds me.

    Another one of the CAGW’s favorite tactics, pretend you won the argument then run away.
    Fast.

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  • #
    wes george

    Surely, everyone has heard of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. If not, read up. It’s the CAGW propagandist’s bible.

    http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/communism/alinsky.htm

    That said, the alarmists have at times proven rather incompetent at promoting their own cause, even with the full force of mainstream media backing them. Perhaps this is due to the “Taranto Effect” (named after Wall Street Journal polemicist James Taranto) which postulates that a fawning mainstream media creates an intolerant climate of orthodoxy in which “correct” political personalities and their causes decay into a false sense of confidence since their mushy arguments and values are never properly challenged in the court of public debate.

    This, in part, explains why the CAGW “useful idiot” crowd can’t seem to fight their way out of a wet rhetorical bag when confronted with inconvenient truths and why they become so, well, butt ugly when faced with dissent. They simply are living lives unexamined, and you know what Socrates had to say about that. ;-)

    This is also why it’s not particularly useful to call people who reflexively dissent here “trolls.” A debate without dissent is no debate at all. And we are made weaker when our ideas pass unchallenged as uncontested truths.

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    wes george

    In spite of the largely innocent CAGW “useful idiot” majority, there is a creative intellectual minority that knows exactly what they are doing. Here’s what we should always remember about the wizards behind the curtain:

    1. It’s not about science. Science is the tool, the genre used to project the program of social change they have in mind. Just like literature, art or music, science can be manipulated as a vehicle for ideological indoctrination. The fact that this corrupts and destroys the integrity of science matters not to the CAGW propagandists, in fact, it’s an added benefit. Rational inquiry is not a useful social trait in a collectivist utopia.

    2. The ends justify the means. Obviously, if you can convince useful idiots that the global economy is going to destroy the Earth, then it follows they’ll believe that anything is justified to “save the planet.” This is a good thing, because the fawning media, and fools like cpb, will then forgive any lie, any fraud, and ultimately, any violent crime of the green elites, many of whom know the Earth is not threatened. (The woman Gore abused was counseled by her Green friends not to dob Gore in or the planet would die!) This explains why it is so difficult to generate outrage from our polity or taxpayer-funded national media over the Climategate scandal or Mann’s obviously biased hockey stick paleoclimate reconstruction. The end justifies the means.
    3. CAGW taps into the collective unconscious of Western Civilization. This occurred organically as a result of a kind of natural selection process working on several converging dialectic trends over the course of the last century or more. Environmentalists and neo-Marxists have created a consilience which appropriates the most primeval memes of the Abrahamic tradition and graft them upon a secular pseudo-scientific vocabulary. The results is a truthiness, a gorgeously trendy just-so narrative that has deep emotional resonance across all levels of our society.

    Thus CAGW has all the credibility of a scientific “consensus” backed by respected scientific institutions, (which is the only kind of “truth” respected by our post-modern culture) yet it amalgamates Old Testament messianic mythology seamlessly and unconsciously into a new kind of secular religio-science. The CAGW zeitgeist comes complete with a pre-industrial climate garden of Eden, followed by an expulsion due to the original sin of applying rational science to create the industrial revolution, which offends Gaia, the new secular Godhead. There is computer-based prophecy, prophets and priestly authority, secret esoteric texts and a fabulously grand apocalypse. Once again the great celestial battle between good and evil descends to Earth this time adorned in 21st century bling. CAGW is a theory of everything, a comprehensive worldview, which is to say that CAGW has all the fixings of a classic mythological tradition. It answers the big questions that human beings everywhere and at every time long to know. Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going? What should we do?

    The horror is that CAGW religio-science is messianic and revolutionary. The great unspeakable element of this Frankenstein amalgamation of science with a secularised version Abrahamic mythology is the concept of a messiah. What does an earthly secular green messiah look like? …Not Al Gore, he’s just a flawed prophet…What paradise on Earth would the green messiah impose? If the CAGW zeitgeist were to ultimately climax in its goal to establish a green utopia the human suffering would make Mao’s or Stalin’s statist social engineering experiments pale in comparison.

    Long live the resistance! Free the data!

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  • #
    cohenite

    Wes; illuminating as always; Richard Courtney also looked at the Eden myth as a basis for AGW intensity; you rightly worry about what the green utopia might look like; this article which looks at other green antecedents posits an answer to question:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/8750846/Eco-Fascism-Fascist-Ideology-the-Green-Wing-of-the-Nazi-Party-and-Its-Historical-Antecedents-by-Peter-Staudenmaier

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  • #
    Llew Jones

    Re: post 28: Cohenite that Nazi stuff is all good fun but a bit light on intellectually and pretty irrelevant in terms of the roots of modern environmentalism.

    I’ve intuitively thought for some time that environmentalism is essentially, amongst other things a philosophy that is essentially antagonistic to the premises of historical Christianity. i.e. intuitively….going on news sound bites only. That was the motivation for my post. Perhaps also to see if I was on my lonesome. So for the first time I googled “environmentalism and pantheism” to check if mine was but an idiosyncratic rave.

    Bingo! NO1 came up as, “Environmentalism: A Modern Idolatry.” As you and most of your mates seem to be a bit off the pace in your understanding of and way around the Christian religion, this is a piece from the Calvinists. They are thought of as the intellectual heavyweights of Christianity.

    I think you will find this a little more relevant than the Nazi stuff and insult the warmists just as well and much more comprehensively as merely calling them ecofascists (Nazis?) (Fascism was not a German but an Italian phenomenon. Mussolini “invented” the word).

    http://tinyurl.com/2tsxot

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  • #
    Bulldust

    Incidentally I read the last chapter of SuperFreakonomics yesterday, well the second last … the last is an epilogue about monkeys and money which is absolutely hilarious. The chapter in question was the ever-so-contentious one in which they tackle geoengineering solutions which could cool the planet.

    I notice the furor it created in the CAGW camps because it suggests potential solutions to cool the planet which cost a miniscule fraction of the proposed carbon taxes, which we all know will achieve very little.

    I highly recommend the chapter as a read, because it gets your head into a completely different space. The inventers that the authors spoke with are the brilliant individuals that work for Intellectual Ventures:

    http://www.intellectualventures.com/Home.aspx

    Their focus is on cheap and simple solutions, something which scares the baby bejeebus out of the AGW crowd. Find an engineering solution to the “global warming problem” and they are all out of pocket. They also have a very simple solution for decreasing the intensity of hurricanes… as they discuss, they may not want to eliminate them for rainfall purposes, just downgrade the severity. BTW these inexpensive solutions are of the order of hundreds of millions of dollars, or maybe a few billion over time. A pitance compared to the impact of cap-and-trade.

    There is only one way to describe these gentlemen… brilliant.

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  • #
    Binny

    Eddy Aruda
    ‘Joe six pack can smell a rat and he is none too pleased.’
    Fear is a short-term motivator, and quickly turns to anger.
    There is a direct relation between the amount of fear generated and the amount of anger provoked.
    Joe sixpack is about to become very very angry.

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  • #
    Rereke Whaakaro

    Guys, I am in awe.

    This blog is always erudite and informative, but the comments on this thread have excelled.

    My thanks to:

    Eddy – for pointing out the survival instinct in the great “them”.

    Bulldust – for Googling himself – I hope he does not Tweet – Tweeting for self gratification is known as Twanking. – And without his comment, I would not have be able to point that out. :-)

    Siliggy – for listing the questions we all should be asking of any Warmist we might meet – especially the last three! – The next Greenpeace clipboard carrier I meet had better watch out.

    Wes George – for two very thoughtful and erudite comments – “Stop climate evolution now”. [Greenpeace clipboard carriers are going to hate me. :-) ] – and his reminder about “the wizards behind the curtain”.

    Rick Bradford – for pointing out that Warmists lack self-awareness.

    Cement a friend – for having a delightfully evocative nom-de-plume. And some useful contributions around the lack of basic physics knowledge in “the team”

    Papertiger – for reminding us that this is all about politics – and very little about science.

    And cohenite – for his reference to Staudenmaier.

    I also guess I should thank Jo – for attracting and retaining such first-class minds as commentators on this blog.

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    Bulldust

    Rereke:

    You’ll be happy to know I don’t tweet, Myspace or Facebook… online gaming, on the other hand is a different kettle o’ fish. I use that to feed my inner geek.

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    Baa Humbug

    Many things can turn a man quickly into anger, often it involves plain blatant stupidity. Like this here.

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    cohenite

    Llew Jones @ 29; I ‘m always interested in any analysis of the green psychology and its antecedents; your article adds to the mix; I was struck by this:

    “Sowell simply drives home the point that contrary to the popular environmentalism, private ownership creates an incentive for owners to conserve, preserve, and practically use resources. And such private ownership is even open to environmental groups — a point to be considered since environmentalists and their organizations tend to be a wealthy elite.”

    It dovetails with a point I made here about which type of social structure is best for the environment, excluding the favourite of the Elitists of course, which is a naturally dominated hunting and gathering form where not even the aboriginal fire-farming is ‘permitted’;

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/05/defining-the-greens-part-9/

    A good example of how nature can be enhanced by private ownership and consequent self-interested farming practices is in this series of videos by Leon Ashby, the President of The Climate Sceptics:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgqn56_TKKA&feature=channel_page

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpitYF8ISHE&feature=channel_page

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    cohenite

    Llew; your article also does not deal with the effect such philosophers and poets as Rousseau, Hopkins and Hardy have had on the development of the environmental movement and green ideology; all of these developed their views on nature in ages where mankind was even more at the mercy of natural events then we are today; a combination of worship, exhaltation and stoicism could only be expected when confronted with the unrelenting “Aeschylean Phrase” of nature; which begs the question; is nature a symbol of humanity’s boundless potential or an indication that potential is limited and constrained by forces greater than us?

    Thomas Hardy’s characters only found a measure of fleeting contentment if they did not struggle against the Aeschylian phase; I wonder whether he would have changed his mind today if he saw mankind’s technological development?

    Nietzsche would have felt vindicated, to an extent; the culture and overman he saw in humanity still is evanescent, and he would see the conflict depicted in his 2 observations:

    “Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest”

    The best of humanity inevitably involves a relegation, to some an arrogation, of nature.

    “If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you”

    The mesmerising quality of nature is that it can absorb the self and its worries; but it is a 2-edged sword; does that submersion involve a loss of what fundamentally defines humanity in that humanity has the capacity to overcome natural limitations? This to me is the heart of the environmental movement; a reaction to this capacity and even a self-loathing [for self and humanity] for having his capacity; a fundamental self-denial.

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    wes george

    Gee, thank you, Rereke! I do try. ;-)

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    Joe Lalonde

    Here is the mindset I have to fight which then is an attack of this persons knowledge base and position.
    In order for science to move forward, this physicist says I have prove Newton and Enstein were totally incorrect. He is the head of the Newton Museum and Department Head of School of Physics, University of New South Wales.
    Any theory which attempts to replace the current theories of Electromagnetism, Quantum Mechanics or Relativity would have to agree very precisely with the current theories in all of the cases where these theories are in good agreement with experimental observation. Because these theories are in very good agreement in every experiment so far made to test them, a new theory can really only differ substantially from these results in cases where we haven’t yet measured.

    I have. These theories fall apart when you send them back in time, when the planet was moving faster. Also did not include a moving solar system and rotation in a lab experiments for quantum mechanics.

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    Speedy

    Jo

    I didn’t know anyone took the “Big Oil” funding of sceptics seriously? It would have to be some sort of joke – no? No, apparently.

    Why would the oil companies be against AGW? They can make at least as much money in trading carbon credits as they do in selling oil.

    Cheers,

    Speedy

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    wes george

    I agree with Cohenite @ 36, but omitted the Sturm und Drang and later Romantic influence on modern environmentalism as too complex a digression to adequately address in a comment focusing on CAGW connexion to archaic mythology…although it’s a fascinating and revealing line of inquiry as well, but would lead to a discussion of the Apollonian versus Dionysian dichotomy… later perhaps…

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

    Llew @ 29, I never said that environmentalists are sympathetic to Christianity or Creationism or that they consciously understand that their doctrines have an arcane taproot deep in the Abrahamic tradition. Frazer observed in the Golden Bough that mythologies from around the world, even if isolated from each other, independently evolve similar structures. Only in our case modern environmentalism was not isolated from the Judaeo-Christian tradition. I am positing that messianic environmentalism organically and unconsciously appropriated its cardinal themes from basal Judaeo-Christian tradition as part of the collective unconscious kit that we all are socialized to carry deep within us, and that it has proven to be a very effective vector for the transmission of the CAGW meme right down to young children. Human beings are hard-wired to intuitively understand the “grammar of (mythological) symbols” as Sigmund Freud put it.

    Furthermore, it’s wrong to note that a traditional Christian sect bothers to condemn environmentalism as idolatry as evidence Christianity and environmentalism are unrelated phenomena, quite the contrary, it is evidence that they are in competition for the same mythopoeic niche in the human psyche. Calvinists also have strong doctrinaire disputes with “Catholic idolatry” as well, yet few would use this as evidence that Catholics have nothing to do with Christianity. Environmentalism is “antagonistic to the premises of historical Christianity” Sure, whatever. But that’s irrelevant to my point…

    And finally, the idea (Llew @ 23) that climate scepticism also has its roots in Christian mythology is deeply befuddling. No doubt many sceptics (and environmentalists) are Christian, and that’s fine, but fundamentally the basis of scientific scepticism lie in the principles of the Enlightenment and of the modern application of scientific method to the proper conduct of rational inquiry. Reproducibility of results, transparency in data collection, usage and storage and strict adherence to the methods of hypothesis formulation and testing, etc, form the root of all scepticism. Faith truly is antithetical to scepticism, by definition.

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

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    Llew Jones

    Cohenite thank you for those references. I’m an engineer (Melb Uni) so of course my training is essentially in applied mathematics, with a bit of physics thrown in so I’m not a practitioner or expert in climatology. However like most of the “skeptics” I am inclined to reject the AGW hypothesis on its lack of plausibility. One needs to jettison too much established science, including some of the building blocks of climatology itself, let alone the lack of indisputable supporting evidence, to take anthropogenic CO2 emissions too seriously. That, the lack of scientific credibility, is where I feel most at home in criticizing it, rather than through my foray into religion.

    However I thought as we often accuse the warmers of a religious like attitude toward AGW it may be useful to go a little further and see that in fact many of those who practice this strange art are, whether they know it or not, just your old fashioned garden variety of pantheists. Which of course does not falsify the AGW hypothesis but lets us know that we may be dealing with religious cranks.

    That is a pretty good reason for informed electorates to keep these types away from the levers of power. I’ve got a pretty high regard for the intelligence of voters in our Western democracies. Hopefully not misplaced.

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    wes george

    I’m glad to hear that Llew is a card-carrying climate sceptic from Melbourne University, he is a rare bird in those parts, indeed. ;-) As an engineer, admittedly no expert in comparative mythology, Llew must nevertheless know a thing or two about the proper conduct of rational inquiry. In this regard, I should like ask Llew to present evidence for his comment @ 23.

    “I would suggest that there is likely to be a quasi religious, at least, rationale not only for the typical Greenpeace and other varieties of warmists but also for the AGW Skeptic.”

    Please, Llew, elaborate – just how is AGW skepticism influenced by a quasi-religious rationale?

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    Llew Jones

    Interesting Wes and I’ll do a bit to get up to speed with some of your ideas. My first reactive response is to wonder if you are not placing too much faith in certain thinkers who may come with all their own prejudices to the topic and to religion and/or Christianity. I’m a great believer in reading the source documents or at least knowing what they contain before taking too seriously those who want to say something that may merely support their own prejudices. Isn’t that our complaint against the “warmers”?

    Incidentally my rather inadequate reading of the German Romantic period of history some time ago gave me the impression that Nazism’s mythology of the “super German” and elements of nature worship or pantheism (environmentalism)it adopted, had its source in that movement.

    Until I read you a bit more closely I’m inclined to say “So what?”
    As the issue really is, it seems to me, what is the basic difference between pantheism and the historical Judeo/Christian position on the relationship of “man” to his total environment including his other species co-inhabitants?

    It seems to me that the only constant source we have is the Jewish/ Christian holy book on the one hand and the common ideas that undergird the very long history of pantheism up to the present day.

    Thank you for your thought provoking posts.

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    Richard S Courtney

    Lew Jones:

    At #29 you say:

    Bingo! NO1 came up as, “Environmentalism: A Modern Idolatry.” As you and most of your mates seem to be a bit off the pace in your understanding of and way around the Christian religion, this is a piece from the Calvinists. They are thought of as the intellectual heavyweights of Christianity.

    I think I qualify as one of Cohenite’s “mates”.

    Although I obtain all my income from the practice of science, I am an Acredited Methodist Preacher operating in the Falmouth and Gwenapp Circuit in Cornwall, UK. Also, I am a founding member of the ‘Christ and the Cosmos Initiative’ which was established to investigate the relationships of scientific and religious ideas.

    I hope my congregation tomorrow do not think I am “a bit off the pace in [my] understanding of and way around the Christian religion”.

    Recently, I had a very brief discussion of an aspect of these matters with Cohenite on another thread. That thread is at
    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/07/the-unskeptical-guide-to-the-skeptics-handbook/
    and my pertinent comments are at #271 and #279.

    In that thread, my comment at #271 pointed out that there is a fundamental difference between ‘religion’ and ‘superstition’. And I argued that the reduction to religious adherence in the developed West was almost certain to result in its replacement by growth of superstition such as adherence to the cult of AGW. Furthermore, the different natures of superstition and religion make it much more difficult to displace superstitious beliefs than to displace religious beliefs.

    I did not find Cohenite to be unreceptive to my arguments in any way. And I appreciated the link he provided (in this thread) to the article relating secular history of the interaction between Green and Nazi ideologies.

    Richard

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    [...] Friday night reading: the eloquent take-downs « JoNova [...]

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    wes george

    I think I should state for the record that Christianity (or any other religion for that matter) and science are not incompatible, but parallel methods of inquiry. The twain shall (or should) never meet.

    When properly contextualized religion and science address completely separate realms of knowledge. Science can not answer questions regarding issues outside the empirical domain. Therefore whether there is a God or what one “should” or “should not” do are well beyond the class of physically objective problems that science is so well suited to tackle. Likewise, ethics, morality and mythology are ill equipped to deal with empirical physical issues such as the nature of evolution or how to construct a better semiconductor. Both have their place in the pantheon of wisdom. The vexation arises when one form of knowledge trespasses in the other’s domain. Jesus cast out the money lenders from the temple, as should the money lenders cast the priests and prophets from the marketplace.

    As for Llew’s emphasis on a pan/mono theistic dichotomy between environmentalism and traditional Christianity, James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis (circa 1979) definitively returned modern environmentalism to a monotheistic model after the romantic interlude into Greco-Roman allegory.

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

    But, I think Jo would by now be displeased with how far off-topic we have wandered.

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    Mark D.

    Rereke @ 32:

    Thanks for saving me from typing all that!

    I am in full agreement.

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    Richard S Courtney

    Wes George:

    I write to agree with your assertion at #46 that says:

    I think I should state for the record that Christianity (or any other religion for that matter) and science are not incompatible, but parallel methods of inquiry. The twain shall (or should) never meet.

    But the problem is not religion vs. science.

    The problem is superstition replacing both science and religion,

    In #44 I cited (with a link) a comment I made on another thread. Clearly, I should have copied it: sorry. I correct that now. My comment was this.

    Cohenite:

    Please forgive my making a knit-picking point, but it annoys people (including me) of a religious persuasion. And it is pertinent to my understanding of why the AGW-scare has ‘taken hold’ in the developed West.

    At #265 you say;

    “I just find this view, which I’m sure informs, to a large extent, the AGW mantras, to be both infantile and religious;”

    I agree your point, but the “view” is superstitious and not religious.

    A religion is a coherent set of beliefs based on acceptance of a set of tenets that are accepted by its adherents.

    There are many religions each with different tenets.
    Some are deific
    (i.e. they have as a tenet the existence of a God or Gods); for example, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.
    Others are atheistic
    (i.e. they have as a tenet the denial that a God or Gods exist); e.g. Marxist-Leninism and humanism.
    And some are agnostic
    (i.e. they have no consideration of the existence of a God or Gods in their tenets); for example, Buddhism.

    A good religion benefits people. But a bad religion harms them, and there have been some bad religions; for example, the religion of the Incas, Marxist-Leninism, etc.

    But people with a religious persuasion can be converted to another religion with different tenets so, over time, the good displaces the bad because people prefer that which benefits them.

    And a variety of beliefs can be adopted within the constraints of any set of tenets so each religion exists in a variety of forms (i.e. sects or denominations).

    A superstition is an irrational belief that is usually based on natural human fears of death, destruction and the future. It has no agreed tenets.

    There are many superstitions; for example, “you will get bad luck when a black cat crosses your path”, and “your future is affected by the apparent position of the planets in the sky”.

    Importantly, a superstition has no underlying tenets so its adherents cannot be converted. Also, it is hard to remove a superstition because it is based on emotion – usually fear – and, therefore, it is not accessible to rational dispute.

    People have inate need for beliefs. So, when religion is lost then superstition fills the void.

    But religion (e.g. Christianity and Marxist-Leninism) has declined in the developed West and so the search for something to replace it is to be expected. And the cult of AGW is filling the void created for many people by the loss of religious adherence in the developed West.

    It is perhaps pertinent that the US has experienced less decline of religion than most of the developed West and it took much longer for the AGW-cult to get acceptance in the US.

    A lack of logic and refusal to face facts are classic behaviours of people who choose to replace religion with superstition. In the Middle Ages the European Christian Church was governed by superstition (e.g. the populace were not allowed to read the Bible so were forbidden to know the tenets). The result was aweful.

    Similar behaviour is demonstrated by adherents to the cult of AGW. They ignore reality, they espouse irrational beliefs, they contradict themselves as and when it suits them, and they attack any who question their belief.

    But over centuries the Christian Church returned to the constraints of the tenets of Christianity, and the evils of the Mediaval Church are now rightly condemned. When people return to the principles of science then they find that those principles demand that they reject AGW. One can only hope that it will not take centuries for the cult of AGW to be overcome.

    Richard

    Richard

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    Roy Hogue

    Jo,

    Fair snip at post 2. Point taken.

    Roy

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    Roy Hogue

    like you I doubted the story of the masseuse, especially since it took so long for her to push the case. Then we find that like Clintoon and Lewdinsky there is hard evidence!!!! OOOPS!!!!

    kuhnkat,

    If there is hard evidence about the incident, what is it? Otherwise it would seem to remain doubtful. I know the police have reopened the investigation. But that alone can mean almost anything.

    I think we should drop this and go on.

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    Richard @ 48,

    How can one replace religion with superstition since religion IS superstition? There is no evidence for the object of religion except tradition, myth, tired frightened old men/wives tales, fantasy, wish, ancient multiply transliterated texts, faith et.al. This is the essence of superstition.

    There is far more evidence for global warming than for any object of any religion. There is a globe and the globe has measurable temperatures. The existence of which can be immediately and objectively demonstrated.

    Can the same be said of religion’s object and backed up with objective demonstration? If so, produce the demonstration. That’s rather like asking the AGW cult to produce the evidence that man’s addition to atmospheric CO2 will cause catastrophic warming. Can’t be done. No way and no how.

    If you wish to believe in a religion, do so but don’t suggest that it is one whit different in both principal and practice from any other superstition except for irrelevant detail. Such as the difference between crossing the path of a black cat and breaking a mirror or the Christian God and the Islamic God.

    However, I do agree that attempting to attack AGW as a religion is a pointless exercise. People do need to believe in something. Most people do not do nor know how to do the intellectual and philosophical work necessary to distinguish between what it means to have a belief absorbed since childhood and a belief based upon rationally acquired knowledge.

    The difference is a matter of life or death. We are seeing the death side being displayed in brightly lighted bold ten inch letters. Some of us see it. Too many hope by not looking at it and by not naming it, it won’t happen.

    Sorry. Hope is not a successful strategy and wish is not the way to make things happen or not happen. We must DO something and that something MUST be based upon rationally acquired knowledge. Use anything less than that and modern civilization will be a history examined by archeologists thousands of years in the future. Not unlike all past civilizations for archeologists today. That is assuming anyone survives its collapse.

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    Richard S Courtney

    Lionell Griffith:

    At #51 you ask:

    How can one replace religion with superstition since religion IS superstition? There is no evidence for the object of religion except tradition, myth, tired frightened old men/wives tales, fantasy, wish, ancient multiply transliterated texts, faith et.al. This is the essence of superstition.

    No! There is a fundamental difference between a supertition and a religion. This is clearly explained in my post at #48.

    If you wish to dispute what I wrote then please do, but do not spout uninformed prejudice that demonstrates you did not read what I wrote.

    Richard

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    Richard,

    I quote:

    Similar behaviour is demonstrated by adherents to the cult of AGW. They ignore reality, they espouse irrational beliefs, they contradict themselves as and when it suits them, and they attack any who question their belief.

    By this statement, you have clearly explained that there is no difference in substance and practice. Only the words used to describe the different superstitions are different. There is no reality behind them beyond the belief that there is something behind the words. The excuses for the belief are as I indicated: tradition, myth, tired frightened old men/wives tales, fantasy, wish, ancient multiply transliterated texts, faith et.al.

    If the object of any religion is real, stand and deliver the proof. The same level of proof you demand of the AGW cultists that they cannot. Proof that is objective, demonstratible, and reproducible.

    I do not deny that religions exist. I do not deny that many people do believe and have believed. I do deny that their objects exist except as objects of fantasy and wish. Exactly as the AGW object exists only as a fantasy and wish for its cultists.

    There is no difference in substance and practice except the sounds of the words used to discuss the different religions/superstitions.

    I suggest, therefor, to attack AGW as a religion/superstition from the frame of a religion/superstition is seriously flawed. The reason being that you implicitly accept their method of acquiring knowledge and are thereby reduced to arguing “he said, she said” with no way to resolve the argument beyond application of brute force. As in my gang is bigger and stronger than yours, submit or be destroyed.

    .

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    Siliggy

    As in my gang is bigger and stronger than yours, submit or be destroyed.
    Lionell Griffith:
    July 11th, 2010 at 4:37 am

    Now more like, my vote count was bigger than yours so i have a mandate.

    Richard S Courtney:
    July 11th, 2010 at 12:31 am
    I hope my congregation tomorrow do not think I am “a bit off the pace in [my] understanding of and way around the Christian religion”.

    Some of them may have hearts the sise of elephants and brains the sise of peas. Some may be the other way round but most vote.

    wes george:
    July 10th, 2010 at 6:00 pm
    Science is the tool, the genre used to project the program of social change they have in mind. Just like literature, art or music, science can be manipulated as a vehicle for ideological indoctrination.

    Then they vote. Which i think justifies the following counteractive response from very old observations:

    A ‘good book’ on the subject of cloud effect and radiative balance.
    Job! Emphasis mine

    “36:27 He draws up the drops of water which distil from the mist as rain.” (NIV note c)

    28. “The clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind”

    29 “Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds, the thunder from his canopy? NKJV

    30 “Look he scatters his light upon it and covers the depths of the sea”

    37:11 “Also with moisture he saturates the thick clouds; He scatters his bright clouds” NKJV

    37:16 “Do you know the balance of clouds, those wonderous works of him who is perfect in knowledge?” 17 Why are your garments hot, when he quiets the earth by the south wind? “NKJV

    37:18 “With him have you spread out the skies strong as a cast metal mirror?”NKJV

    37:21 Now no-one can look at the sun bright as it is in the skies after the wind has swept them clean

    38:24 By what way is light diffused or the east wind scattered over the earth?

    From the above you can see that this climate control trick is all done with fog and mirrors.
    The sky’s ‘bright clouds’ are a ‘strong’ ‘mirror’. The same mechanisim controls the diffusion and the east wind. The sun rises in the east. When the sky is clear the heating is strong. The modern decsription is bond albedo. We are clearly told here that the reflection of light from clouds controls the climate and that inturn is done by the sun.

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    Richard S Courtney

    Lionell:

    At #53 you say to me:

    By this statement, you have clearly explained that there is no difference in substance and practice. Only the words used to describe the different superstitions are different. There is no reality behind them beyond the belief that there is something behind the words. The excuses for the belief are as I indicated: tradition, myth, tired frightened old men/wives tales, fantasy, wish, ancient multiply transliterated texts, faith et.al.

    Not so. I can only repeat that you did not read what I wrote or you have decided that you cannot dispute it.

    The difference between religion and superstition is profound. They are completely different belief systems. And your refusal to consider this demonstable fact displays your belief system. If that belief system makes you happy then keep to it.

    Personally, I prefer to reject such superstitious beliefs and take comfort in religious ones.

    Richard

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    Ross

    Abit off the topic that you guys are discussing but I thought you’d like to see the latest epistle from the railroad engineeer “cracking the whip” on his herd.

    Dear Colleague,

    I am delighted to welcome you as CLA/LA/Review Editor for the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the IPCC. I would like to congratulate you on this development, because as you are aware we received an overwhelming number of nominations, which was in fact over 50 percent larger than what we received for the AR4. Hence your selection represents an important achievement and a clear acknowledgement of your expertise and remarkable record of scholarship and academic excellence in the field.

    As part of the group of scientists who would be responsible for authoring the AR5, you would be dedicating your valuable time for a period of four years or so while this extremely important report is being prepared. In your new role you would not only be contributing to the assessment of new knowledge, but also providing decision makers and the public at large extremely valuable information on the basis of which the challenge of climate change can be met effectively. The success of the IPCC has resulted in much more focused attention on the work of the Panel and much closer scrutiny of every word that we publish, which imposes on us a heavy responsibility to see that errors of any kind are completely eliminated from the AR5. We would, therefore, have to work diligently and with a level of rigour perhaps not seen in previous reports. For this purpose you would need to familiarize yourself thoroughly with established IPCC procedures, fully conscious of demands that society has placed on us.

    I would also like to emphasize that enhanced media interest in the work of the IPCC would probably subject you to queries about your work and the IPCC. My sincere advice would be that you keep a distance from the media and should any questions be asked about the Working Group with which you are associated, please direct such media questions to the Co-chairs of your Working Group and for any questions regarding the IPCC to the secretariat of the IPCC.

    Finally, may I state that the IPCC is a unique family with a composite culture which accommodates cultures from all over the world. We are all driven by our efforts to achieve excellence and function in a collaborative and highly cooperative manner. I am sure with your association the IPCC would further enrich this rich culture and outstanding capabilities.

    Wishing you all the best and welcoming you warmly to the IPCC family.

    Yours sincerely,
    (Rajendra K. Pachauri)
    Chairman of the IPCC

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    Baa Humbug

    Ross: #56
    July 11th, 2010 at 8:30 am

    That’s interesting Ross. RKP says…
    “The success of the IPCC has resulted in much more focused attention on the work of the Panel and much closer scrutiny of every word that we publish, which imposes on us a heavy responsibility to see that errors of any kind are completely eliminated from the AR5. We would, therefore, have to work diligently and with a level of rigour perhaps not seen in previous reports“. My emphasis.

    Mmmmmm I seem to recall our resident Troll dissing the IPCC Citizens Audit back in April. Words to the effect of…”It’s been a complete waste of time”.

    If the Citizens Audit played any part in the IPCC tightening up it’s procedures and taking more care in what they pronounce and how they pronounce it, then it was well worth the time.

    I reckon an apology is in order from the resident troll.

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    Llew Jones

    Re Post # 42: Evidence Wes? Well I guess we would need a statistically significant sample asked the appropriate questions to get an answer that would keep, say, a practitioner of the non-natural sciences happy. As I did not have access to such evidence I began by asking myself how I, as one who hasn’t darkened a church door for longer than I can remember, got hold of this idea that Christianity was all about man being at the centre of things in the plans of the Christian god.

    I then made the assumption that the “man in the street” is probably just as well informed on these matters as I am. Why for them and me? The best answer, assuming it is not a genetic thing, I could come up with is the influence of our common religious cultural heritage. That formative influence in the West has been the Judeo/Christian tradition. If one was not aware of the subdue and have dominion bit, that puts man at the centre of things temporal, then how about the idea of this god dying for mankind. Bit hard to top that one I suggest. I mean one doesn’t have to be a theologian to see that Christianity is the antithesis of doctrinaire environmentalism.

    From there I looked at the large proportion of man in the streeters who against a well publicized “proven”, “consensus” science weren’t buying it. Why? How does cultural religious influences sound to you as a contributing factor?

    From there it is a bit of a cake walk. We can reasonably assume that amongst the AGW skeptics, who are real scientists or can follow the arguments, there are those who have been subjected to the same cultural influences as me and the man in the street.

    Now I know you have been beguiled by “Golden Bough” but it little matters for the very obvious reason that those traditions with their super heroes, from which it is claimed Christianity is derived, are pretty man centred anyway.

    The quasi religious nature of radical environmentalism comes from the mouths of the true believers and is not disputable.

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    Richard S Courtney: Personally, I prefer to reject such superstitious beliefs and take comfort in religious ones.

    I accept that is your preference and its yours to make. Yet the two belief systems have equal connection to reality: nothing beyond the belief itself. Why not meet the same requirements you would have for AGW for your belief in religion? To wit: objective evidence, the meta-data context for the evidence, an objective and replicable demonstration of the existence of the object of your preferred religion. You can no more do that than the AGW’ers can do it for their religion that a trace addition to a trace gas in the atmosphere will cause catastrophic warming by the end of this century.

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    Tel

    Richard, I think your distinction between religion and superstition based on “agreed tenants” is quite artificial. Consider the Asian tradition of small cat statues with one arm waving, supposedly they bring good luck. This is (to the best of my knowledge) not official Buddhist (nor Taoist, not Confucian) dogma, but there is a folksy story about the Waving Neko and it is a very widely accepted token of good luck.

    This could be either superstition or religion by your definition, because the tenant “the cat brings good luck” is as universally accepted within that culture as any religious tenant you care to name, but at the same time not strictly official.

    My observation is that the type of tenants that make for a real religion are specifically those tenants that force adherents to swear fealty to a higher authority. For example, to be a Catholic you must believe in God, but that in itself is not sufficient. You must also believe that the Pope is God’s chosen representative on Earth, and that the Church is the best way to achieve communion with God. Thus, what is really happening is that a large number of people are showing obedience to a few people (in the name of God), and that is what fundamentally makes a religion.

    On the other hand, a superstition has no central authority, and cannot issue commands. The Waving Neko can never turn around and start ordering a group of people to make war on the neighbours — but the Pope can do that.

    I would argue that AGW does have accepted tenants, and furthermore, these tenants are deliberately designed to bolster the power of central authority. The most fundamental tenant of AGW is that emission of CO2 must be controlled. This implies that all access to Carbon fuels must be controlled, which in turn provides extensive control over most human activities. This is a completely agreed tenant across all of AGW and could be regarded as official dogma.

    Furthermore, the AGW crowd fully accept that only “Climate Scientists” are entitled to have an opinion on the matter of climate. These people function as a central priesthood and all followers must swear loyalty and obedience to this central priesthood. They might issue all sorts of proclamations next year and the followers would accept this, because it is peer reviewed by their priesthood.

    The only logical conclusion is that AGW is a religion, not a superstition.

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    Ross@ 56
    My dislike vote was not directed at you but at the letter from Pachauri, particularly this paragraph…
    “I would argue that AGW does have accepted tenants, and furthermore, these tenants are deliberately designed to bolster the power of central authority. The most fundamental tenant of AGW is that emission of CO2 must be controlled. This implies that all access to Carbon fuels must be controlled, which in turn provides extensive control over most human activities. This is a completely agreed tenant across all of AGW and could be regarded as official dogma.”

    Thanks for the info

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    Siliggy

    AGW’s accepted tenants will be kicked out when the landlord realises they did not pay the rent.

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    Richard S Courtney

    Lionell and Tell:

    I am giving brief answer to you both in your posts at #59 and #60. I am now limited for time (for reasons that are probably obvious), but I do not want you to think I am avoiding your points.

    Lionell:

    Your selective quotation of me at #59 is misleading. I wrote to you:

    The difference between religion and superstition is profound. They are completely different belief systems. And your refusal to consider this demonstrable fact displays your belief system. If that belief system makes you happy then keep to it.

    Personally, I prefer to reject such superstitious beliefs and take comfort in religious ones.

    I stand by that. And nothing you have said refutes it. Indeed, your continued refusal (inability?) to address my argument supports it.

    Tell:

    Thank you for addressing what I wrote.

    And I think that your conclusion is very worthy of debate. It is:

    The only logical conclusion is that AGW is a religion, not a superstition.

    If you are right then it has practical implications.
    Which are the key tenets we need to address if we are to convert adherents to that religion?

    However, I dispute the crux of your argument that is your statements saying:

    My observation is that the type of tenants that make for a real religion are specifically those tenants that force adherents to swear fealty to a higher authority.

    And

    On the other hand, a superstition has no central authority, and cannot issue commands. The Waving Neko can never turn around and start ordering a group of people to make war on the neighbours — but the Pope can do that.

    Sorry, but that is the logical fallacy of ‘argument from the particular’. It may be true for Roman Catholics but is not true for many other religions. For example, I am a Methodist and I am bound by “Our Doctrines”. Nobody in the Church can issue “commands” to me. We do have an organizational structure, so my Superintendant Minister provides the Plan which decrees my Preaching Appointments, but most people are not Preachers. And if I am challenged as having acted contrary to Our Doctrines then
    1. I am examined by the Disciplinary Committee of the Circuit,
    if not absolved
    2. I am examined by the Disciplinary Committee of District Synod then
    if not absolved.
    3. I am examined by the Disciplinary Committee of District Synod
    if not absolved.
    4. I am examined by the Disciplinary Committee of Methodist Conference.
    If not absolved I am disciplined by the Methodist Conference.

    This process is analogous to being subjected to trial in a series of progressively higher courts. And at no stage is there an “Authority” that “issues commands”. There is only “Our Doctrines” (analogous to Laws) which are approved by the Methodist Conference (analogous to government) and decided by Discplinary Committees (analogous to courts).

    I must now leave to fulfil duties. But I think this debate on whether the cult of AGW is a superstition or a religion deserves more attention because it has practical implications in terms of efficiency in opposition to the cult.

    Richard.

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    Llew Jones

    It’s interesting to see those who claim that AGW is a religion bend over backwards to avoid the reality that it is not AGW per se that is a religion but doctrinaire conservatism that adopts AGW as a means of authenticating its quasi religious or philosophical presuppositions.

    Perhaps we need a poll but it seems to me that most of the skeptics posting here are also AGWers. There appears be a few posting who are more at home with the less popular climate science going back to Wood and Bohr and recently revived by Gerlich and Tscheuschner. That science has doubts about the radiative properties of atmospheric CO2 in particular.

    I wonder Tell, if you have thought of a category such as “The Church of Insipient Warmists” for those Skeptics who are not really at odds with basic AGW theory. Led by scientists like Christy, Spencer and others who are bona fide AG warmers but reject the alarmism of the quasi religious warmers. On the surface it seems to me, unless my assumption about most of the skeptics here is wrong, that those who claim AGW is a religion or like one, are being less than honest with themselves and patronising their fellow skeptics.

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    Tel

    AGW’s accepted tenants will be kicked out when the landlord realises they did not pay the rent.

    Yeah, you got me, tenants / tenets whatever… spelling is a fad, it will die away in a few more generations when we are all speaking Engrish.

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    Siliggy

    Yeah, you got me

    Nah ewe ghot mhe ooiff tihs:

    The most fundamental tenet of AGW is that emission of CO2 must be controlled. This implies that all access to Carbon fuels must be controlled, which in turn provides extensive control over most human activities. This is a completely agreed tenet across all of AGW and could be regarded as official dogma.

    If the CO2 begins to decline in growth rate because of falling sea surface temperature, then soon after declines in actual value, that control will self destruct.

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    There seems to be an obvious evasion of the point I made about BOTH religion and superstition. They both use the same method of knowing: belief qua belief. Reason, reality, and logic have nothing to do with either of them. They are both piles of words without existent referent for their central object and are therefor equally vacuous and without meaning. Oh, the true believers FEEL they have meaning but there is nothing there except the feeling.

    Religion has god(s): good and bad. Superstition has luck: good and bad. Neither can present objective evidence or demonstration beyond “stuff happens”. Even then, the stuff that happens is not taken to be relevant to the original belief because the belief is held to be beyond question. It is presumed to be true because it is *BELIEVED*.

    There is also an obvious evasion about the question I asked:

    Why not meet the same requirements you would have for AGW for your belief in religion?

    By accepting faith (belief qua belief) as a valid method of knowing you abolish the use of reason. For when reason reaches one conclusion and faith reaches another conclusion, faith wins and becomes the only valid method for knowing. If reason is held as an absolute, faith loses every time.

    Ultimately one of the most fundamental questions man must answer is “what does he know and how does he know it?” If the answer to that question is by faith, success is accidental and ultimate failure is assured. That which is known by faith is only accidentally connected to what is. Yet successful action requires that one has actual knowledge that pertains to the consequences of the actions. As for any other war against reality, the practice can appear to be successful as long as there is wealth to steal and willing victims to be sacrifice. When they run out, it is a dead end – literally.

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    Richard S Courtney

    Tel:

    I now have a break in my schedule for the day so I am making a proper response to you.

    Firstly, it is imperative that this discussion stays focussed on practical implications and potential for practical applications in addressing the cult of AGW. So, we need to watch each other to avoid an ‘angels on a pin’ discussion.

    Secondly, this discussion cannot determine ways to alter the views or behaviours of people who do not have the beliefs of the AGW cult although they espouse those beliefs.

    The following is an incomplete list of such people.
    - Politicians who find AGW a useful excuse for implementing unpopular policies (e.g. additional taxes) that they want to implement for other reasons.
    - Researchers who find AGW a useful additional argument to bolster applications for research funds.
    - Reinsurance companies who find AGW a useful argument to increase premiums (and, hence, their profits).

    However, the behaviours of those people will be affected if there is a general rejection of the AGW-cult among the general populace.

    Thirdly, it is necessary to recognise that adherence to a religion does not prevent simultaneous superstitious beliefs. Your ‘waving cat’ illustration is one example, and I provide another.

    A common superstition in my country is that, “It is bad luck to walk under a ladder’. This has nothing to do with safety risks of dislodging the ladder: it is a fear that chance will subsequently operate against a person who has walked under a ladder. Many people accept this superstition, and the proportion of religious adherents who accept it is probably similar to the proportion of the bulk population who accept it.

    So, a person’s superstitions exist independent of his/her religious beliefs. Hence, converting a person from one religion to another will not remove his superstitions and, similarly, removing one or more of his superstitions is not likely to affect his religious adherence.

    It is possible that – as you assert – there is a religion of AGW. I am not convinced of this. But, if you are right, then you should be able to identify the tenets of that religion.
    The identification would be a breakthrough.
    We could then decide which tenets to target with a view to converting cult members to an alternative belief system; for example, belief in adherence to the principals of empirical Popperian science.

    However, I have seen no evidence that there is such a set of tenets that are agreed between the cult’s members and which constrain their beliefs and their behaviours. All I have seen is behaviours typical of a superstitious cult. They seem to be united by a fear of emissions of carbon dioxide. And, therefore, any behaviour and any assertions (however mutually contradictory) seem to be acceptable as methods for them to attempt constraint of emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2).

    Hence, I deduce that the cult is united by a superstitious fear. The adherents to the cult will stay adherent to it while their fear acts as the glue which sticks them to the cult.
    If I am right then we need to identify the fears that cause their adherence to the cult.
    Only after having done that can we consider ways to assuage their fear and, thus, their belief that adherence to the cult is a ‘good thing’.

    The above is really a summation of all I want to say. However, some here may never have been exposed to considerations of beliefs and belief systems, so I add the following very brief introduction to the subject in hope that it will be an aid for all to make constructive contribution to this discussion.

    Everybody has beliefs.
    They are essential to survival. For example, a person who had not learned to believe the evidence of his eyes would need to use a cane to test his path for fear his walk along a pavement could lead him to walk over a precipice.

    Hence, evolution has resulted in the acquisition of beliefs being hardwired into humans by their genes.

    We learn our beliefs from our experiences.
    And we learn most powerfully from our emotional experiences: Advertising Agents know people are more influenced by their gonads than their brains so they design advertisements accordingly.

    Beliefs are self-sustaining
    because experiences are interpreted by a person in the light of his/her beliefs and, thus, experience reinforces belief. Experience that contradicts belief causes confusion so tends to be rejected.

    Our beliefs govern our decisions more than our thoughts.
    Indeed, our thoughts are constrained by our beliefs.

    It is only by recognising our beliefs that we can consider them and try to develop or amend them.

    Most beliefs people have are not defined by logic
    because beliefs are mostly learned from emotional experiences. Superstitious beliefs demonstrate this most clearly.

    Unrecognised belief is prejudice that inhibits or prevents most logical decisions.
    There is nothing wrong with being prejudiced because everybody is prejudiced. But failure to recognise one’s own prejudice so one can act to avoid its effects is harmful to the self and to others.

    In conclusion to the above very brief introductory summary to this vast subject, I apologise to any theologians reading it. I freely acknowledge that the summary is cursory and is simplified to such a degree that it could be argued it is simplistic. I have provided it as an attempt to aid people who are unfamiliar with the subject to participate in the discussion.

    Richard

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    Richard S Courtney

    Lionell:

    You keep asserting your beliefs but refuse to consider anything I have written. For example, at #67 you assert:

    Religion has god(s): good and bad.

    But some do and some don’t.

    I explained this in my post at #48.

    Your mistaken belief about the nature of religion was denied by my post at #48 before you made your first comment. I yet again ask you to read it if you want to dispute it.

    Richard

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    Richard S Courtney: Your mistaken belief about the nature of religion was denied by my post at #48 before you made your first comment. I yet again ask you to read it if you want to dispute it.

    OK. You believe and you have convinced me that you do truly believe. That still does not speak to there being any reality behind that belief beyond the belief itself. Especially when discussed in context of religion.

    The most essential element of any religion is not the superficial words and symbols used to describe it’s core beliefs. It’s the method its practitioners use to base their beliefs upon. That method is faith (belief qua belief). The belief is felt to be true BECAUSE it is believed rather than being it is believed because it is known to be true. It is not believed because there is objective evidence and demonstration to substantiate that truth without contradiction. THIS is what distinguishes a religion as a religion. As such, a superstition differs only in superficial detail, words, and presumed object but not in the method of knowing: belief qua belief.

    Let’s see, a true believer believes because of:

    Tradition
    Ancient sacred texts
    Many people believe
    Reports of miracles – things being what they aren’t
    Willing to die for belief
    Myth
    Old wives tales
    Statements by tired frighted old men
    Physical evidence – none required nor demanded
    Demonstrated existence – none required nor demanded

    You wouldn’t let an AGWer get away with such nonsense yet EVERY self professed religious person (aka true believer) I have known uses ALL of these in several variations each. Do you?

    If not, what is YOUR method of knowing that your belief matches reality?

    Does your god exist? How do you know?

    Can you show direct physical evidence of existence and offer a objective demonstration of your god’s attributes?

    If you don’t believe in a god, what DO you believe in and why?

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    Richard S Courtney

    Lionell:

    This blog exists to discuss matters pertinent to AGW and not religion per se.

    The nature of belief in AGW is a reasonable and proper discussion here. But attempts at religious conversion are not.

    Please contact me personally if you want to discuss
    (a) your mistaken ideas of what religion is
    and/or
    (b) my Christian faith
    and/or
    (c) your atheistic faith.

    Richard

    PS
    In addition to your comments being misplaced here, they are pointless because I sincerely doubt you could break my religious faith and you certainly cannot convert me to your superstitious beliefs.

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    wes george

    Planet Earth to Richard and Lionell…

    you guys are wrecking a perfectly good thread by roaming way off topic. Perhaps you two should get a nice room at your local Comfort Inn and work this thing out. BTW, Gideon’s bible is in the night stand. Enjoy! ;-)

    Now back to our regularly scheduled program:

    Watts has posted the full Michael Crichton speech “Aliens Caused Global Warming” delivered at Caltech in 2003.

    IMO, this is one of the seminal statements of the skeptical position. I’m sure it will only gain in authority as later historians work out the sordid decay of rational discourse which has occurred during our lifetimes. Make a cuppa sit down and read the whole thing. It’s required reading for all sentient beings.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/09/aliens-cause-global-warming-a-caltech-lecture-by-michael-crichton/

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    Richard S Courtney and wes george:

    How we know what we know and the consistency of that method with discovery of what actually is real or not is central to the discussion about AGW. If faith (belief qua belief) is sufficient then why all the blather about science, evidence, testing of hypothesis, data, analysis, and the like. All we have to do is *BELIEVE* and it will be so. Need we hold ourselves to a higher standard than the AGW cultists do for themselves? On the other hand, if faith is ineffective at discovering what is real or not, is it not important that we examine carefully its alternative, reason, and one of its major implementations in the scientific method?

    Yet we have on full display here that one set of beliefs is held so sacred that they cannot be publicly challenged. Rather like the AGWers “the science is settled” don’t you think.

    If we accept Richard’s religious method, how are we to stand against the self same method when used by the AGwers? We can’t. THAT is my point! The choice is critical: something is true because you believe (faith) or you believe because you have discovered it’s true (reason). Faith and reason are polar opposites and cannot long stand together in the same mind without one undermining the other.

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    Ross

    Wes @ 72. Thank you for the link. Fantastic read — recommend everyone read it.

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    Richard S Courtney

    Lionell:

    Your comments are becoming progressively more offensive.

    At #73 you lie:

    Yet we have on full display here that one set of beliefs is held so sacred that they cannot be publicly challenged. Rather like the AGWers “the science is settled” don’t you think.

    It is not possible to equate that with my post at #48 which described a variety of sets of religious views and promoted none of them.

    I understand that you want to sell your prejudice to others. You have a right to try to do that.

    But you do not have a right to misrepresent me or what I have written.

    Richard

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    Richard S Courtney

    Wes George:

    Your comment at #72 is a serious error. Please read my comments at #71 and especially at #68.

    My attempt at discussion of the belief systems of AGW-cultists is very ‘on topic’ and is purely practical.

    The problem is that anti-religious zealots always use any excuse to promote their case. This thread has been trolled but not by me.

    And your comment at #72 demonstrates at – at least in your case – it has been successfully trolled.

    Richard

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    Quoted a paragraph @61 that was from Tel at 60, my bad. Still sounded like a pep talk from Pachauri.
    The letter from Pachauri to IPCC ‘Review Editor’ includes this from Ross @56:
    “Finally, may I state that the IPCC is a unique family with a composite culture which accommodates cultures from all over the world. We are all driven by our efforts to achieve excellence and function in a collaborative and highly cooperative manner. I am sure with your association the IPCC would further enrich this rich culture and outstanding capabilities.”

    Does not sound like science to me!

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    Richard S Courtney

    Ooops! Somehow my #numbers are displaced by one. Please subtract one. For “#73″ read #72 and for “#72″ read #71.

    Sorry.

    Richard

    fixed. mod

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    wes george

    After reading Michael Crichton Alien’s speech. Dig this…

    “Metacognitive Experiences And The Intricacies Of Setting People Straight: Implications For Debiasing And Public Information Campaigns”

    http://www.unc.edu/~sanna/ljs07aesp.pdf

    This paper is being passed around in some academic circles and even among primary school teachers as a guide to “an approach to denial” as one teacher wrote on his blog.

    Most of these techniques are intuitively understood by the wizards behind the curtain at the ABC. But now at least some teachers are actually going to implement these indoctrination techniques on school children and university undergraduates. Note that this research is directed at increasing the effectiveness of “public information campaigns” not as appropriate pedagogic or heuristic ethical conduct in the classroom, or for that matter in the news room.

    Some of the techniques promoted by the paper:

    1..”Attempts to inform people that a given claim is false may increase acceptance of the misleading claim. In addition, such attempts may also have the unintended effect that the false claim is eventually associated with a highly credible source. Because messages from high credibility sources are more influential, as known since Hovland and Weiss (1951), this will further enhance the acceptance of the false claim—including its acceptance by others, who are told that one learned it from a credible source.”

    2..”….frequent exposure does not only increase the acceptance of a statement as true, as reviewed above, but also facilitates the attribution of the ‘‘true’’ statement to a highly credible source. This source attribution, in turn, may increase the likelihood that recipients convey the information to others, who themselves are more likely to accept (and spread) it, given its alleged credible source (Rosnow & Fine, 1976). These examples suggest that countering false information in ways that repeat it may further contribute to its dissemination by associating the information with a credible source, either through source confusion or through erroneous inferences of source credibility.”

    3.. Repeated exposure to a statement influences perceptions of social consensus, presumably because the statement seems more familiar. In a classic study of rumor
    transmission, Allport and Lepkin (1945) observed that the strongest predictor of belief in wartime rumors was simple repetition. Numerous subsequent studies confirmed this conclusion and demonstrated that a given statement is more likely to be judged ‘‘true’’ the more often it is repeated. This illusion of truth effect has been obtained with trivia statements and words from a foreign language as well as advertising materials.

    Fluency makes ideas appear familiar and familiar ideas appear true. Thus rhyming slogans and presentation formats that facilitate fluent processing will enhance the “truthiness” effect

    On the counterintuitive side, this logic implies that false information is better left alone. Any attempt to explicitly discredit false information necessarily involves a repetition of the false information, which may contribute to its later familiarity and acceptance. Although this problem has been known since Allport and Lepkin’s research (1945) into wartime rumors, the idea that false information needs to be confronted is so appealing that it is still at the heart of many information campaigns. Like the debiasing strategy of consider-the-opposite, it derives its appeal from the assumption that judgments are based on declarative information—and it fails because it underestimates the power of metacognitive experiences.

    4.. Myths are spread by directly debunking them.

    Once memory for substantive details fades, familiar statements are more likely to be accepted as true than to be rejected as false. This familiarity bias results in a higher rate of erroneous judgments when the statement is false rather than true. In sum, providing participants only with the facts had the intended effects
    on participants’ attitudes and intentions, both immediately and after a short delay. The classic ‘‘Facts & Myths’’ format, on the other hand, was only effective immediately and backfired after a short delay, actually facilitating the acceptance of the myths.

    5.. Lending Credibility to Myths. If a credible source debunks a myth some people will later not only recall the myth wrongly as a fact, but associate the now believed myth with the credible source that attempted to debunk it. For example, the case where an Internet rumor about flesh-eating bananas became attributed to increasingly more credible sources over time, including the CDC and the Los Angeles Times, which had both made explicit efforts to debunk it. Morevoer, frequent exposure does not only increase the acceptance of a statement as true, as reviewed above, but also facilitates the attribution of the ‘‘true’’ statement to a highly credible source. This source attribution, in turn, may increase the likelihood that recipients convey the information to others, who themselves are more likely to accept (and spread) it, given its alleged credible source. These examples suggest that countering false information in ways that repeat it may further contribute to its dissemination by associating the information with a credible

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    Russell C

    Many thanks to Joanne for mentioning my story variations on the Ross Gelbspan ‘problem’. I had to give one more low rating point to CPB, as he makes an error that can be easily proven with a little research, “…2006: Almost ten years later, F.Singer attempts to launch a character assassination of Gelbspan… Since Singer’s attack, Gelbspan has updated his biography so it now says that “he conceived, directed… …” etc.

    Ah, no….. Dr Singer’s SEPP site pointed out Gelbspan’s incorrect claim in August 1997, as seen here: http://www.sepp.org/Archive/Publications/pressrel/pulitzer.html

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    Llew Jones

    Here’s a typical John Christy interview. Followed by 7th July emails with some interesting information. Though a highly credentialed climatologist he talks in laymen’s term. I read him a few years ago and that stimulated my initial interest in the topic and led me to be very skeptical of the IPCC reports.

    The first is a 2nd July 2010 Q & A report.

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=5939

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/07/authoritative-skeptic-christy.html

    If you read this Wes I’ve thought a little more about the impact of religion (the Christian variety particularly) in the production of Skeptics. Both Christy and Spencer are evangelical Protestants. They do take the bible a little more seriously than other varieties of Christians. I’d like to present them as small sample “evidence” of my claim. When I listened to these fellows on YouTube and got their personal histories again over the weekend it confirmed (to me at least) that one’s religious/philosophical presuppositions are as important as one’s grasp of science.

    I might do a bit of research (Google) on this but my forming opinion is that Christians are more likely to be skeptical of the claims of the alarmist warmers (because of the Judeo/Christian “mandate”) than atheists who obviously are much more susceptible to an atheistic “religion” like pantheism or radical environmentalism.

    I’ve “retired” now but for several years I joined the “wingnuts” (conservatives – some of whom were quite certifiable) in mocking the Lefties on The Nation. It is a Left Wing American paper edited by Katrina vanden Heuvel (she believes in free speech and doesn’t edit opposing opinions and you can get away with a bit of profanity if you are so inclined). I noted this whilst there:

    (1)The Lefties, mostly professed atheists/agnostics, were to a person supporters of alarmist AGW.

    (2) Evangelicals of whom there were many were invariably AGW skeptics mainly on the ground that CO2 was an insignificant trace gas.

    (3) There were a handful of Leftists who said they were were atheists but also loudly proclaimed that they were Buddhists. As you are no doubt aware Buddhism is an atheistic religion or perhaps more a feel good philosophy.

    So can you blame me for forming an opinion on the susceptibility of atheists to being conned by the IPCC and strange associated non-theistic religions? As my Yankee “ tag team” would say: “Believe nothing and you fall for everything”. (Not sure if that is a logical statement but they were Americans).

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    wes george

    Llew, the idea of a Judeo-Christian “mandate” in science is oxymoronic.

    Religion has nothing useful to say about the climate and science has nothing to say about God. Ne’er the twain shall (or should) meet. Religion, ethics and politics are a separate realm of knowledge and investigation from Science. Science can inform how politics and religion might be best practically applied, (for instance how to best build a nuclear power station or supply insights into when life begins) but religion can never be allowed to inform science. Of course, a scientist might decide not to perform research he deems ethically distasteful, but that’s not really informing the intrinsic mechanism of science which is and must remain entirely independent and isolated from faith-based gestalts.

    There are great scientists who are Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i, Christian, Atheist and maybe a few Wiccans. ;-) But there is no such thing as Hindu science or Christian Science versus Atheist science. There is just science. It either objectively conforms to the observed data and issues useful predictions about nature that can be tested or it doesn’t — new ideas supplant the failed ideas and the great cycle is repeated. Endlessly reiterated. Science is an ever-renewing system of observations about nature. Religion is stasis – it has no orderly mechanism for evolutionary self-renewal. Science is always in a state of becoming – it’s never finish. Religion is about absolutes – it’s always complete. There is no absolute truth in science, just what best describes nature. The “truth” in science is always subject to revision or replacement by a more precise description. For this reason there is no place for faith in science. Researchers don’t “believe” in their theories in the way a Christian believes in God.

    The fact that there is tendency for “conservatives” to hold skeptical climate positions versus “progressives” on the CAGW side of the argument is strong evidence that we long ago left the realm of science and are debating a socio-economic and cultural-political issue masquerading as science. The shocking truth is that the actual facts about the state of the climate aren’t really the ultimate source of the dispute. That’s why even though the skeptics long ago won the rational debate the effect was minimal on the CAGW zeitgeist. In fact, Climategate, largely a political scandal, has done more to set back the CAGW crusade than all the rational, empirical scientific scepticism of the last decade combined. (Although, it’s true that the CRU emails would not have been liberated had not a robustly dissenting community of rational skeptics already existed.)

    The real climate debate is about the interpretation of the facts in relation as to how our global civilization should respond (if at all.). And that’s simply not the realm of science but of ethics and politics. As Michael Crichton points out once science become involved with politics it will inevitably be corrupted. This is what gives rise to the split along lines of libertarian individualists who are fighting to restore science’s independence versus collectivist statists who are cynically manipulating science to justify a radical reordering of the global socio-economic system… It has nothing to do with the actual facts of climatology per se at all, but everything to do with the survival of the scientific method as an independent system of rational inquiry. Ultimately, I believe nothing less the fate of western civilization hinges on the preservation of scientific integrity and therefore the defeat of collectivist statism.

    Btw, I have little faith in anything at all, other than the Milky Way on a cold clear winter night.

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    Mark D.

    Llew Jones @ 81, You have some interesting observations. I worry though, because many of Christy’s detractors are quick to proclaim “he is a creationist” thereby attempting to smear his science credibility. Many of the Warmists that have posted here completely discount anything that references Christy.

    What you have observed (if true across the board) would be a tool for Warmists. Indeed if you doubt this, go to any pro AGW blog and start posting as a Christian creationist and see what happens!

    I’d rather we set aside religion, even though it may offer interesting parallels to AGW and certainly Deep Green, because of the potential to offend any observer or reader here.

    Richard and Lionell, I respect both of you for different reasons. I appreciate both of you for your position and understanding of things skeptical. I observe that you both can help the fight against AGW but your debate about religion here will likely result offending one another and perhaps cause a rift between other regulars here. I see nothing to gain if that happens.

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    Mark D,

    I see. You believe the topic of how we know what we know should not be discussed. Especially, if someone’s tender sensibilities will be offended.

    It is the proper nature of a rational person to question ALL THINGS and to require that the best possible methods be used to find the answers. The potential for offense resulting from that search cannot possibly be a proper subject for concern. The offense lies in the observer and not the searcher for truth. Truth is what it is no matter what anyone feels about it.

    The fact remains that acceptance of Faith over Reason for any portion of one’s seeking for truth ultimately destroys the prospect for finding the truth except by accident. Even then, you cannot know you have found it. You can only *believe*. This is not nearly good enough to survive the war against reality on the part of others. In fact, it gives aid and comfort to the enemy and puts and increasingly greater fraction of your efforts at their service.

    This is a war we are engaged in. To win the engagement must be total and the effort to vanquish the enemy must be absolute.

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    Michael Larkin

    This is a very erudite thread, and hugely enjoyable. I’m wondering whether to raise the issue of Spiral Dynamics and its relevance to the AGW brouhaha. But no, probably too far off topic…

    wes george #27:

    Glorious piece of prose, Wes.

    However, you say later at #40:

    “Faith truly is antithetical to scepticism, by definition.”

    Well, sort of. But I think the sceptic does in fact have faith. Namely, that a certain kind of approach to understanding phenomena will yield the truth, even if that, for the moment, happens to be a mere declaration of ignorance or uncertainty. I have this faith myself, but I cannot say with certainty that it is in all cases true. However, it is a strong faith because I have not so far encountered its disproof – not even the one white crow.

    You go on to say at #46:

    “I think I should state for the record that Christianity (or any other religion for that matter) and science are not incompatible, but parallel methods of inquiry. The twain shall (or should) never meet.”

    Religion and Science (note the capital “S”), yes. But not Spirituality and Science. IMO, in essence, they share a common aim – the dispassionate discovery of Truth. In both cases, certain phenomena have to be repeatable by an independent researcher. There’s a world of difference, for example, between merely accepting on authority that All Things Are One and actually experiencing that for oneself (I’m not going to go there except to say that I have in fact had one or two experiences that support this assertion).

    Religion departs to varying degrees from the aim, replacing the need for hard-won personal experience with prattlings about Truth. And increasingly, I believe science is also departing from its aim, growing nearer to religion, as exempified by AGW.

    I’d say the essence of religion is the manipulation of people by a supposedly well-informed elite through a combination of fear of punishment and hope for reward. All else is an elaboration of that, but since the core concepts are universal, all religions have an uncannily similar structure. It’s a structure one will find contaminating all sorts of things – business, politics, science, and so on. It’s like topological equivalents: a doughnut is the equivalent of a teacup, for example, though they look superficially different.

    I think part of the confusion arises because the audience (which probably includes some climate scientists) varies in its ability to perceive that AGW is run by a sacerdotal elite. Some still think a romantic notion of Science (true, pure, full of integrity) applies. And if that were the case, then they’d be right to believe in AGW (after all, few are expert enough to evaluate the truth for themselves, so their faith is understandable).

    I myself didn’t used to question AGW until Climategate piqued my curiosity, when I quickly began to comprehend the previously unsuspected corruption of the Scientific Ideal. Maybe AGW is real (albeit quite possibly trivial in its effects), I still can’t say for sure; but one thing I can say is that there’s a whole lot of manipulation going on, much more than would be expected were Science the only thing at issue.

    And that’s one point that warmists often fail to grasp; one doesn’t have to know much about the technical issues to recognise the signs of an overarching agenda of politico-religious control. It’s an agenda that even some of the prime AGW movers may themselves not be fully conscious of.

    After all, we have always in the past understood “religion” as precisely such, but in the West, where religion per se is losing its grip, we still have this human hankering for a source of Absolute Authority, and may unwittingly tend to make science the new idol to be adored and unquestioningly obeyed. If we come through the whole AGW debacle unscathed, I think we’ll be better (though probably not completely) immunised against something like it happening again. Thankfully, there are still peoples who understand religion in a “proper” way, and they aren’t going to confuse the two things so easily. Thank God for China and India, I say.

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    Mark D.

    Lionell, @84

    I see. You believe the topic of how we know what we know should not be discussed. Especially, if someone’s tender sensibilities will be offended.

    I don’t think that is exactly what I said.

    Do you acknowledge that there is a place for tact and diplomacy in the world?

    DO I NEED TO SAY THAT MORE TACTFULLY?

    This is a war we are engaged in. To win the engagement must be total and the effort to vanquish the enemy must be absolute.

    Which war; the one against AGW or the one against religion? If you mean AGW, then I am in full agreement. We need all the people we can muster for the fight. Those with Faith and those with out.

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    Richard S Courtney

    Friends:

    OK. I give up. And I write to explain why I have given up.

    This blog exists for discussion aimed at supporting Ms Nova’s ‘Handbook’. The best support has two parts; i.e.
    1.
    Review to ensure the Handbook is both accurate and up-to-date.
    2.
    Effective dissemination of the Handbook’s contents.

    In this thread I have tried to address the second of those two purposes, but my attempt has been stymied by others who have used it as an excuse to promote certain prejudices. Although – as I say below – that provides a useful illustration, it has prevented the discussion of most effective communication methods that I had hoped would occur.

    Those familiar with communication theory know that aa transmitter of information needs to be tuned to the receiver. Otherwise the receiver is incapable of obtaining the information.

    Putting that another way, we need to meet people where they are and not where we wish they were.

    Adherents to the cult of AGW will not hear what we say – or read what we write – unless it is acceptable to them.
    We may not like that but it is a real problem that we DO need to address.

    This is true of all people who have strong views on anything. A good illustration of the effect is provided by Lionell in his several posts above. It is clear that – despite repeated requests – he refused to read what I had written and – instead – he repeatedly presented completely irrelevant posts that had no relationship of any kind to what I had written. And his reason was that I had mentioned religion and – in common with some others – he will always react by opposing what he thinks to be religion whenever the subject arises.

    We get the same reaction when we try to prsent scientific arguments to true-believers in AGW. And we get it for the same basic reason: i.e. it touches on their beliefs.

    There is a subject that assesses the natures of knowledge, ideas, and beliefs. There was a time when it was taught to every student in every university. Now, few people have any knowledge of the subject, and that is sad because a study of theology would certainly correct mistaken ideas such as the idea that anything can be known with certainty (acceptance of any fact requires a degree of belief).

    So, in this thread (that is about enjoyable communications pertinent to AGW) I tried to get a discussion of how we can understand the nature of, and reasons for, the beliefs of AGW-believers with a view to communicating information to them in a manner that would enable them to receive it.

    Having reviewed all I have written above, I do not think I could have been more clear in my intention or what I was trying to do.

    To that end, in this thread I tried to present some of the information on how and why people believe what they do that has resulted from studies by some of humanity’s greatest minds conducted over thousands of years. At no time did I promote or advocate any religion, and I challenge anybody to cite an example of where I did.

    But I have now given up my attempt to engender debate on how to devise an effective strategy for communicating the Handbook’s contents to AGW-believers. And I have been forced to give up because there is active oppostion and no support for any consideration of belief systems.
    No wonder we have given the AGW-believers such a free run that they have taken control of the media and political agendas despite there being no empirical evidence for AGW!

    Richard

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    Michael Larkin

    Richard,

    I for one would like to support you in the aim of communicating with believers in AGW: actually, in communicating with anyone interested, whatever shade of opinion they hold on the matter.

    In my view, it takes at least two to tango. All sides necessarily have to be open to argument, and all will be affected by the particular beliefs and predilections they hold. And hence, the successful strategy should probably include some means to introduce mutual respect.

    Unfortunately, that implies the openness of all parties to the possibility of error in at least some of the opinions they hold. In both the polar extremes, I see little such openness. People at the extremes have too much invested in the outcome. It seems doubtful to me that that any strategy would be very effective.

    The ones most inclined to open and intelligent debate, therefore, are already operative and sometimes do actually achieve it with people of a similar disposition. It may be that one can only hope that eventually, through some miracle, that hard-core believers one way or the other, through observing interchanges between such people, come to see the light. That doesn’t mean caving in and admitting complete error. It means adopting a different approach that eschews defensiveness and seeks only to get at the truth.

    Yes, some “sceptics” aren’t really such, and prattle about “the science” when the real motivator is something else, some other dearly-held belief or principle that must at all costs be preserved. And some of the pro-AGW people are the mirror-image of this. Yes, this has a lot in common with religion on both sides. Yes, one isn’t going to get very far without even so much as tact and diplomacy.

    It may be in the end that only Mother Nature will resolve the issue. Maybe we will just have to wait for how the climate turns out. If we enter another mini ice age, for example, she will have pronounced her verdict.

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    Richard:

    I quote:

    There is a subject that assesses the natures of knowledge, ideas, and beliefs. There was a time when it was taught to every student in every university. Now, few people have any knowledge of the subject, and that is sad because a study of theology would certainly correct mistaken ideas such as the idea that anything can be known with certainty (acceptance of any fact requires a degree of belief).

    Thank you for proving my point.

    You use Theology, I use Epistemology. We arrive at different end points. You are certain that certainty is not possible because you accept faith as a valid basis for knowledge. I know that it is possible but very challenging to achieve. It requires a consistent and rigorous use of reason rather than reliance on belief qua belief. The critical difference is in the answer to the question of how does one know what one knows. Your clear answer is that we really can’t know and the best we can do is simply *believe*.

    Another quote:

    But I have now given up my attempt to engender debate on how to devise an effective strategy for communicating the Handbook’s contents to AGW-believers. And I have been forced to give up because there is active oppostion and no support for any consideration of belief systems.

    You are not “forced” to give up. You have simply met the futility of using a faith based belief system. Because of that, you have lost the fight before you even started. You are reduced to a flood of words without referents in reality. Exactly the same place the AGW arguments have been driven.

    QED!

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    Richard S Courtney

    Michael Larkin:

    I write to say that I agree with your comments at #88. In particular, I support each of the points you make in your paragraphs that say:

    In my view, it takes at least two to tango. All sides necessarily have to be open to argument, and all will be affected by the particular beliefs and predilections they hold. And hence, the successful strategy should probably include some means to introduce mutual respect.

    Unfortunately, that implies the openness of all parties to the possibility of error in at least some of the opinions they hold. In both the polar extremes, I see little such openness. People at the extremes have too much invested in the outcome. It seems doubtful to me that that any strategy would be very effective.

    But I point out that there is a complete absence of respect in a refusal to consider why people hold the views that they do.

    Richard

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    Richard S Courtney

    Lionell:

    You really do need to learn that abuse is not an adequate substitute for reasoned argument. For example, this from your post addressed to me at #89:

    You are not “forced” to give up. You have simply met the futility of using a faith based belief system. Because of that, you have lost the fight before you even started. You are reduced to a flood of words without referents in reality. Exactly the same place the AGW arguments have been driven.

    I lost no “fight” and certainly not to you because you failed to address any of my points; not a single one.

    Please take your prejudices elsewhere. They have destroyed the possibility of a constructive debate here. If that was the “fight” you wanted then you have won it, but I never joined it. I merely wanted to engage in the constructive debate on practical issues which your irrelevant (and ignorant) blather shouted out.

    Richard

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    Richard S Courtney: But I point out that there is a complete absence of respect in a refusal to consider why people hold the views that they do.

    But WHY people hold the views that they do is the ENTIRE content and point of my posts in this thread. You are asking me to hold equal respect for faith, reason, and an unstable mixture of faith and reason as the why. They DO NOT deserve and I will not grant them equal respect. There is only one why that has any significant chance of staying in contact with reality: reason. THAT and only THAT earns my respect.

    Believe as you wish but don’t expect me to respect that, which by reason, I cannot.

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    Richard S Courtney

    Lionell:

    I make this final response to you so it is clear that my failure to answer any further posts you make on this are not my avoiding anything.

    In #92 you assert:

    There is only one why that has any significant chance of staying in contact with reality: reason. THAT and only THAT earns my respect.

    Perhaps. But, in that case, I ponder why you refused to address anything in my reasoned posts and – instead – you bombarded this thread with statements of your unreasoning prejudice.

    Richard

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    Russell C

    My apologies for typo’ing CBP’s user name as “CPB” in my comment #80.

    Fascinating how his #16 comment mentions “…Pultizer Prize administrator Seymour Topping (who called Singer’s comment a “distortion of my letter”)…”, seemingly copied from Ross Gelbspan’s 7/2006 thread at DeSmogBlog (see this comment under Hank Robert Fri, 2006-07-28). So far, I’m unable to find the Phoenix interview of Topping in its complete context….

    Also fascinating how CBP thinks he has completely settled the issue of Gebspan’s Pulitzer issue, adding “…whilst the actual argument remains untouched.” Ummmm, yes, CBP indeed did not touch the larger problem I point out in my two story variations, the appearance of manipulating a sentence out of context to imply skeptic scientists are corrupted by big coal & oil.

    Fascinating how promoters of AGW enjoy declaring snippets of ‘evidence’ prove a point, but can’t be bothered to show their evidence in full context, nor do they trouble themselves to debate with critics for any length of time. Fred Singer pointed out in this 1997 SEPP page, “We have yet to catch a glimpse of Gelbspan here at SEPP. In gathering material for his book, he never visited our offices, spoke to no one on staff, and never contacted Fred Singer for an interview to cover point-by-point the claims he later made in his book. He has had no contact with the Project whatsoever….”

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    Russell C

    Oops, CBP’s #15 comment. Time to get my eyes checked…….

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    Pete Hayes

    Been away for a few days so I am catching up!

    “You people are not journalists. You are no more than state propagandists.”

    What should be remembered about the BBC is their pension fund is up to its neck in the Carbon Credits scheme.

    Follow the Money time anyone?

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    Pete Hayes

    By the way Jo, I now understand why A.W. snips all religious comments on WUWT!

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    MattB

    Lionell stop being harsh. Richard is entirely within his right to believe in whatever he wants despite all evidence in the real world being contrary to those beliefs.

    As an atheist I find it hard to comprehend the “AGW is a Religion” tagline, but maybe Richard is in a better place to judge given he is intimately familiar with the necessary steps between mumbo-jumbo superstition and “religion”. They’re all greek to me.

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    wes george

    Ah, Matt returns the thread back to the original topic “How many mistakes can you pack into one phrase.” Good on ya, mate.

    “As an atheist I find it hard to comprehend the “AGW is a Religion” tagline, but maybe Richard is in a better place to judge given he is intimately familiar with the necessary steps between mumbo-jumbo superstition and “religion”. They’re all greek to me.”

    Thanks for that bit of unwitting levity, Matt! ;-)

    Atheism is every bit as an irrational a position as Theism. There is no direct substantiation supporting either position only mere circumstantial evidence subject to any interpretation one fancies. (I fancy that the evidence seems to favour the Theists, since the very fact that we, and the universe, exist at all seems to indicate that something other than nothing is on. We exist, therefore… )

    I do enjoy a good guffaw in the general direction of those who believe there is no God while they smugly and guilelessly imagine such a belief represents the epitome of objective reasonableness. Mumbo jumbo superstition, indeed!

    Atheism, while not religion, is ultimately just another faith-based belief. Perhaps Matt should brush up on his Greek.

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    MattB

    “I do enjoy a good guffaw in the general direction of those who believe there is no God while they smugly and guilelessly imagine such a belief represents the epitome of objective reasonableness.”

    Do you similarly guffaw in the general direction of those who believe there is a God while they smugly and guilelessly imagine such a belief represents the epitome of objective reasonableness?

    Lol atheism a faith based belief. funny stuff. There is no evidence for a god. There is plenty of evidence that there is no evidence for a god. The lack of evidence that there is no god is an entirely different discussion. Lack of evidence that something does not exist is not a reason to believe that something exists.

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    wes george

    Those who believe in God honestly proclaim that theirs is a faith, often one in which requires a great struggle to keep. I respect this.

    Those who believe there is no God fool themselves that theirs is an erudite, rational, empirical scientific analysis, rather than the faith that it is surely must be, because obviously there is no way to prove the question either way. This I disrespect as hypocrisy (assuming one is self-aware of the logical dissonance) or otherwise as a merely ignorantly foppish fashion statement, the later of which appears to be the case with MattB.

    Since I have presented, admittedly circumstantial, evidence for a Godhead, ie, the fact that the universe exists instead of nothing…. Perhaps, MattB would be so kind as to reveal to us the evidence o’plenty that there is no God. Don”t be shy.;-)

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    Tel

    Atheism is every bit as an irrational a position as Theism. There is no direct substantiation supporting either position only mere circumstantial evidence subject to any interpretation one fancies. (I fancy that the evidence seems to favour the Theists, since the very fact that we, and the universe, exist at all seems to indicate that something other than nothing is on. We exist, therefore… )

    The “default” state of belief given no evidence either for or against must surely be to not believe. For example:

    Why do elephants paint their toenails pink?

    So they can hide in the strawberry patch.

    But there are no elephants in the strawberry patch.

    That’s just because they are so good at hiding.

    There is of course no way do definitively prove the absence of elephants in the strawberry patch. However, no one can find one either. Thus, we fall to the “default” belief condition which is to say that we don’t believe that they exist. In edge of perception type situations, where we can’t get a clear reading, we tend to go on what seems reasonable, given the other things that we can measure (i.e. Occam’s Razor at work, look for the simple and efficient explanation to cover what we can see, and presume everything that we cannot see is consistent with that).

    If you make it a “default” state to believe things, then you end up constantly bumping into elephants in the strawberry patch, and forever need to play Pascal’s Wager games with the entire pantheon of deities that might maybe exist.

    I’ll point out that Occam’s Razor may constitute an article of faith (i.e. a belief that the universe does have a tendency to follow simple and consistent rules, rather than arbitrarily complex rules), however you can still follow Occam’s Razor without requiring this article of faith, purely on an argument of efficiency (I don’t really believe that the universe is simple, but I sure want my day-to-day working model of the universe to be as simple as possible, otherwise it rapidly becomes useless). The efficiency viewpoint is even better when you consider that the definition of what exactly makes one model more “simple” (or “elegant” if you prefer) than another is itself a difficult question that changes depending on the sort of tools you might have available.

    As for our existence, and what this might prove, we can argue about the implications of Darwin’s work and conditional probability some other time (it’s a long argument, and most people who strongly profess a belief in Darwin, are equally strongly disinclined to accept the implications).

    There is only one why that has any significant chance of staying in contact with reality: reason. THAT and only THAT earns my respect.

    Lionell, I think you must accept that large numbers of people, motivated by religious/political ideas and energized with the intention to change the world are indeed sufficiently real that we must consider at very least the actions that they are likely to perpetrate. If nothing else, the damage that such people can do is likely to effect all of us, and probably technical-savvy people are the most likely victims (just like during the Cultural Revolution in China, educated people were the primary victims).

    It is not such a far cry to accept that religion is to some extent hard-wired into human brains (some more than others for sure) and thus an understanding of religious motivation is key to being able to predict the actions of religious people. Possibly it may also give an insight into being able to steer such people towards a more productive use of their energy.

    If I am right then we need to identify the fears that cause their adherence to the cult. Only after having done that can we consider ways to assuage their fear and, thus, their belief that adherence to the cult is a ‘good thing’.

    Getting round to the point of the discussion. I’ve mentioned before that I regard the current AGW movement as essentially Luddite in nature. I’ll elaborate:

    Many people are dissatisfied with the supposed “boon” that technology has delivered. Sure you can point to longer lifetimes, and better diets but on the other side we life in ever more crowded conditions (peak hour trains, cube farm offices, smaller blocks of land) and we live under constant surveillance and supervision (cameras everywhere, phonecall monitoring, internet filtering, guards at every train station, bus stop, airport, random police checks for arbitrary things, bosses logging every aspect of the work day).

    Ordinary people have more supposed wealth, but almost no control over their own lives. Even in their own home they are bullied: being told how to eat, how to raise their kids, what to believe. That’s all the mass media are: bullies, social control and political propaganda. They don’t want great medical care, they mostly want to be left alone long enough to lose the stress that is causing them to need medical care.

    Every gizmo is a new and pointlessly unique user interface to learn all over again after you just learned the last one. So your humble office worker has just got used to Microsoft Word version blaghety-blah but now the entire company upgrades overnight to a new version where all the bits are moved around and work slightly different. People are supposed to embrace this change that is dropped on their heads but what they actually feel is hopeless and disaffected. No one asks for their opinion, whether they wanted the upgrade. Regular people are not to be given a sense of ownership in the new world being created, they are the serfs, the property of their betters.

    Sadly, the hindbrain instinct is to smash a lot of technology and by implication, kill a lot of people. I think the green movement is a bit of a safety valve letting some steam off a very big nasty genie boiling up out of a very deep bottle.

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    wes george

    Excellent argument, Tel! ;-)

    Hmmm…Difficult to argue with that! Except to say that the default “rational state” logically should be not to “believe” in either position.

    Personally, I have little faith in anything but the Milky Way on a cold winter night…Nevertheless, there is evidence both pro and con in the case of God. A lot depends upon the definition of God. I’m for a definition that goes well beyond the capacity of the human mind to imagine. Therefore, to be honest, we must admit we haven’t a bloody clue what we are on about. As such, to be sure there is no God is clearly equally as ludicrous as to be sure that there is one! Actually, much worse really, because Atheists imagine they are above primitive faith-base logical absurdities.

    In fact, one could write a book about the evidence that something very, very odd is going on in the universe, things that makes no sense at all from a nihilist position. The strawberry patch is so full of pink elephants we can’t see the elephants for the pink! So to say there is no evidence for a Godhead is protesting a bit too vigorously me thinks.

    For instance, all atheists would argue that there must be extra-terrestrial civilizations out there among the stars otherwise we humans would be alone and therefore at the center of the universe! Surely, an absurdly pre-Copernican idea. But, thus far, given no evidence either for or against, the default state must surely be to not believe in alien civilizations, right? Or are the pink toenail aliens just that good at hiding in the strawberry patch?

    Granted the burden of proof lies with the proposers of said hypothesis. But the humble believers in God have long ago forfeited theirs as a mere faith and so are not incumbent to prove anything to anyone. In fact, you have misrepresented the default existential position of perhaps 150,000 years of Homo sapien history. The default position, however illogical it might be, is that there IS a Godhead.

    Therefore, the worldly Atheists must be held to their own more exacting modern standard of rational inquiry, as such, it is they upon whom the burden of proof falls, according to their own rules, if they wish to “believe” there is no God. Well, then please prove it.

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    wes george: The default position, however illogical it might be, is that there IS a Godhead.

    So because of the fact that for the overwhelming majority of human history the overwhelming majority of humans were ignorant hunting and gathering savages believed in gods, demons, spirits, ghosts, magic et.al. capable of supernatural powers, it is we who must prove that they do not exist.

    This is the ultimate expression of belief qua belief creates truth. It is the idea is that such a long standing and widely venerated tradition must, of necessity, be assumed to be true. More specifically it means that one’s fantasy, wishes, whims, and feelings are to CREATE reality. The true believers are convinced that the objects of their belief is real because they are convinced.

    Using that argument, since belief qua belief is so powerful, then non-belief qua non-belief can destroy the objects of that belief. As in: I don’t believe they exist. POOF! They are gone, never to bother us again. Absurd isn’t it?

    On the matter of proof. To prove MEANS something more than “convince me, I dare you!”. To prove means to present conclusive evidence by logic, demonstration, and evidence of the attributes and consequences of the existence of the object to be proved. However, that which does not exist has no attributes nor consequences and therefor it is logically not possible to produce said proof. That is unless a proof empty of content stands as a proof.

    You are insisting that we are obliged to do what cannot be done so, therefore god (by whatever definition) exists by default. On the contrary, we non-believers are simply asking that the believers present proof. If the objects of their belief do in fact exist and they do have the requisite attributes and consequences, then proof may be difficult but it is non the less possible. If the believers can and do present such a proof then we too will believe. Until then, the non-belief remains in full force which, by your argument, protects mankind from the ravages of the evil spirits and angry gods by causing them not to be.

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    wes george

    Lionell, this thread reminds me of Lucky’s Speech, qua, qua, qua…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AQ3Xj49XPE&feature=related

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    Bernd Felsche

    Let’s put it simply: If you believe; it’s religion. If you doubt; it’s science.

    In Feynman’s speech entitled The Value of Science (to the National Academy of Sciences in 1955)

    Now, we scientists are used to this, and we take it for granted that it is perfectly consistent to be unsure — that it is possible to live and not know. But I don’t know whether everyone realizes that this is true. Our freedom to doubt was born of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle. Permit us to question — to doubt, that’s all — not to be sure. And I think it is important that we do not forget the importance of this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained. Here lies a responsibility to society.

    (emphasis mine)

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    wes george

    I’ve pointed out three times already that those who believe in God don’t pretend to do so through logical reason, but by faith alone, so to demand rational proof from them is a bit rich. They simply aren’t playing by the rules of modern rational inquiry.

    However, those who are sure that there is no God are beholden to the strict rules of modern rational inquiry. How can one be sure that no Godhead exists? You can’t. All you can say is that God might/probably/maybe doesn’t exist. But then that’s not Atheism, is it? Game over. It’s that simple.

    Tel came closer to offering a logical debate. For instance, someone says they think AGW is real. You say you don’t believe AGW exists. In this case you could ask questions that test the AGW hypothesis, then logically the burden of proof falls upon the proposers of the AGW hypothesis to show its implications are useful in describing all relevant observations and experimental situations. It’s all good. Everyone is playing by the same rules in the same realm of knowledge, that of rational empirical investigation.

    But in the case of a supernatural Godhead there is no testing the belief that the Godhead exists with an empirical investigation because it is based upon a pre-rational form of knowledge and therefore isn’t a hypothesis at all, but a faith. Faith or a “divine mystery” is not subject to the modern rules of logic. It just is. As such, it’s logical to view the existence of faith in God as the default circumstance of humanity and the later day modern hypothesis that God does not exist to be only place to lay the burden of proof. Paradoxically, the Atheists have no one with which to argue with! In fact, they are asking and answering the wrong question altogether.

    One can’t even begin to empirically define what God is. At least we know what AGW is. What if God is that rock over there? What if God exist outside of time/space? What if God is become Man or vice versa. What if God is the total sum of all information in the universe? Who knows? So how do you know God, as yet undefined, doesn’t exist? Obviously, you can’t.

    What are the testable implications of the hypothesis that God does not exist. What? There aren’t any? Well, then, sounds that Atheism is a faith based upon the fact that Theism exists. After all, there would be no Atheists without the foundational concept of Theism to build upon.

    It seems that during the dawning evolution of human conscious awareness, perhaps sometime before the last ice age, the Godhead as a concept spontaneously manifest itself. It’s not known why natural selection would steer human mental capacities, and thus energy budget, in this direction, but one might assume demiurgic visions were selected for as a kind of perception that bestowed survival benefits upon our ancestors. Today we each carry inside of us a collection of hard-wired semiotics we intuitive use to make sense of the universe. As such, even if the (absurdly literalist) idea of a physical Godhead does not exist, mostly certain God as a part of the spiritual and psychological furnishing of the human psyche cannot be denied. We disrespect and deny this taproot of our humanity at our peril. Nietzsche profoundly understood this when he paid his respect to ancient mind by proclaiming Gott ist tot rather than (s)he never existed at all.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k82Pz_kHuPk&feature=related

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    Tel

    But in the case of a supernatural Godhead there is no testing the belief that the Godhead exists with an empirical investigation because it is based upon a pre-rational form of knowledge and therefore isn’t a hypothesis at all, but a faith. Faith or a “divine mystery” is not subject to the modern rules of logic. It just is.

    It’s kind of nice to presume that two isolated domains can exist on completely different planes to each other, but they do overlap because the fundamental purpose of belief is to guide our actions. You can have any belief you like, as weird and outlandish as ever, I don’t care in the least… but if you want to take action on your belief then I’m going to be uneasy should your actions not be in some way justified. Naturally, you may take actions that only effect yourself, and if you want to do flipped-out stuff all by yourself (or even with consenting adults) then I’m happy to offer you the freedom to do that (because I believe in freedom, not because I believe you should do those things).

    Sadly, most of the organised religions (and some superstitions) are not content to restrict their actions to themselves. They have a constantly resurfacing desire to take me with them. Now we are talking about actions that effect us all, and I want such actions to be supported by reasonable justification, others want to use belief as their justification, we cannot both be satisfied here.

    As such, even if the (absurdly literalist) idea of a physical Godhead does not exist, mostly certain God as a part of the spiritual and psychological furnishing of the human psyche cannot be denied. We disrespect and deny this taproot of our humanity at our peril.

    Very likely true, but not all humans are identical, some feel more need to believe than others. Humans are bound by many earthly limitations. Some people abstain from alcohol their whole lives long, others abstain from sexual relations, I happen to abstain from religious belief. God is more than welcome to prove his/her/its existence — he/she/it knows the things that would impress me, I’m just waiting for a tangible demonstration (but then it would be on rational terms, now wouldn’t it, and God does not seem interested in those terms).

    For instance, all atheists would argue that there must be extra-terrestrial civilizations out there among the stars otherwise we humans would be alone and therefore at the center of the universe! Surely, an absurdly pre-Copernican idea. But, thus far, given no evidence either for or against, the default state must surely be to not believe in alien civilizations, right?

    Good example. I would agree that the default state is indeed to not believe in alien civilizations. However, given that we have studied Darwin, and we know that the universe is very large, and we know roughly the history of the Earth, it seems there is nothing unique or special that would explain why life would only be on Earth. To put this another way, it is more complicated to explain why alien’s do not exist, because it forces us to consider an explanation of what makes Earth unique in the universe — and no plausible explanation seems forthcoming (I’m open to suggestions).

    Thus, there is enough evidence (in my mind) to swing it to a belief that aliens do exist, somewhere (probably a long way off).

    What’s important though is that a belief such as this merely exists for completeness of a logical consistency. I’m not about to take action in the expectation of ever meeting an alien in my lifetime. I would not expect anyone to commit any resources towards contact with alien civilizations because the actual knowledge we have to support such action is incredibly limited. I have no practical application for events that happen in distant galaxies other than as a vague curiosity, or just to make conversation.

    Just to pay lip service to a discussion of AGW; if believers want to believe in CO2 warming and the end of the world, that’s no issue to me. They can publish reams of learned papers in journals and no one needs to care, just don’t bother reading those journals. However, now these people want to instruct me how to live my life, and I have to care about that. That place where belief drives action is where all of our worlds intersect (like it or not).

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    MattB

    Given that there is no evidence of a god, then whether there is or is not a god has no relevance at all to my life to be honest. I have skeptic friends and I have religious friends. I don’t feel threatened by their choice, but Wes you seem threatened by mine? You are welcome to your faith, but please I hope that you don;t support a society that imposes personal faith beliefs on the average Jo… such as anti-gay-marriage and abortion laws. I would not expect a religious person to be embarrassed to say they were religious, but when folks are happy to explain their atheism there are accusations of smugness as though it is disrespectful to proudly proclaim and defend atheism in the presence of believers.

    I see Tel closes with similar but with an AGW translation… the converse is that skeptics have an irrational belief that they are right and the “experts” are wrong, and are happy to impose what they want on my life in the form of a degraded environment via climate change. the religion tag can be as easily applied to skepticism I’m afraid. And skeptical arguments are often very similar to pro-religion/evolution arguments… especially the olf 2nd law humdinger.

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    MattB

    Wes, for mine you are taking a very narrow view of what atheism is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

    I do not believe in a god, any god, I see no reason to encourage me to do so whatsoever. I may well believe that there might be a god, but it is totally irrelevant to me. So am I an agnostic… I don’t believe that I am.

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    Tel

    I see Tel closes with similar but with an AGW translation… the converse is that skeptics have an irrational belief that they are right and the “experts” are wrong, and are happy to impose what they want on my life in the form of a degraded environment via climate change.

    OK, but let us suppose that I had a belief that unless 90% of the population say “OM” five times a day, the world will be entombed by eternal darkness. And, I tell you that me and my friends are the premier experts on saying “OM” all the time.

    So now I can justify whatever measures are necessary to force everyone else to say it?

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    wes george

    Some people abstain from alcohol their whole lives long, others abstain from sexual relations, I happen to abstain from religious belief.

    Say it ain’t so, Tel, sex, rock-n-roll (possibly a kind of faith) and alcohol that’s what life is about, my abstemious friend. Abstaining from religious beliefs doesn’t, of course, necessary make one an Atheist. I also abstain from religious beliefs, including faith that there is no God. That said, faith/belief are not synonyms for religion either. The topic is not about ‘abstaining from religion’, but the five-word statement — I do not believe in God. Atheism. Is it logic- or faith-based?

    It’s kind of nice to presume that two isolated domains can exist on completely different planes to each other

    It’s hard to imagine the Holy Ghost and Karl Popper existing on intersecting planes, with or without presumption. Yet, both are types of knowledge. My father was a research geologist and a Christian, but he never utilized the Psalms in plate tectonics theory.

    …but if you want to take action on your belief then I’m going to be uneasy should your actions not be in some way justified. Naturally, you may take actions that only effect yourself, and if you want to do flipped-out stuff all by yourself (or even with consenting adults) then I’m happy to offer you the freedom to do that…

    Chill, Tel. Obviously, you suffered much persecution during the Spanish Inquisition’s 2008 Australian “Bonfire of the Heretics Tour.” ;-) Hey, you’re lucky you weren’t burnt at the stake, dude.

    If your going to get “uneasy” every time someone says or does something you imagine isn’t in “some way justified” me thinks we will have to sedate you. btw, what does this have to do with the fact that Atheism is just as ridiculous a faith-based belief as Theism?

    Modern faith-based oppression tends to come from True Believers who are unaware that their beliefs are part of an irrational faith, such as evangelical CAGW. I have tried to show that Atheism must also be a faith, since there is not enough evidence (and never can be) to definitively state that there is NO godhead…it must be a statement of faith. People who aren’t able to separate their ideas clearly into categories of reason and faith are far more of a threat to a democratic society than the traditional religions, which are now well understood to be what they are – faith-based belief systems – therefore religions usually present little threat to rational discourse within modern societies. It’s only groups who create the illusion of rational certainty when in fact they are faith-based that pollute the discourse with deceit. I have no problem with Atheists or Theists of any stripe partake in the public discourse of our nation. The problem arises when a group poses a faith-based belief as a rational scientifically based position.

    I do not believe in a god, any god, I see no reason to encourage me to do so whatsoever. I may well believe that there might be a god, but it is totally irrelevant to me. So am I an agnostic… I don’t believe that I am.

    Mattb seems to also imagine that I’m proselytizing for Theism, even though I have stated many times that my position is that BOTH Theism and Atheism are irrational faith-based positions. Matt’s false argument is analogous to the CAGW true believers claim that skeptics are shills for Big Oil, when in fact, the sceptical position is simply that the CAGW hypothesis fails as science.

    …when folks are happy to explain their atheism there are accusations of smugness as though it is disrespectful to proudly proclaim and defend atheism in the presence of believers.

    To Mattb I’m just a shill of Big God. Matt simply doesn’t understand the argument. It’s fine for him to be an atheist or agnostic (he seems to not know which he is.) I am only here to point out that Atheism, the absolutist position that there can not be a God can not be arrived at simply by cool logic alone. Yet, most Atheists imagine themselves rationally superior to their poor Theist cousins, when in fact Atheism is every bit as motivated by unreasonable emotional responses as the Theists…Tel and Mattb’s post just above are evidence thereof.

    Good example. I would agree (with you) that the default state is indeed to not believe in alien civilizations…

    Ouch. That was my attempt at droll sarcasm. Obviously, there has to be alien civilizations out there somewhere, otherwise humankind would be the obvious reason for the whole bloody existence of the universe and that would be almost proof positive for a divine creator!!!!!! Ugh.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk41Gbjljfo&feature=player_embedded

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    MattB

    Wes who are you arguing with here? But I do hope that the following is a joke as nothing follows logically “Obviously, there has to be alien civilizations out there somewhere, otherwise humankind would be the obvious reason for the whole bloody existence of the universe and that would be almost proof positive for a divine creator!!!!!!”

    You are telling me what an atheist is, and then saying that is an irrational faith-based position – I believe that is a strawman. That is quite frankly bullshit and I’m afraid you have no idea what you are talking about. Have you been studying arts at some liberal-commie institution by chance?

    My position, arrived at by logic, is that no god(s) exist that have any bearing on any portion of my life, as my life and surroundings are constrained by the physical laws of the universe. Let us say that one day someone scrapes past to the dawn of time and finds a message “God woz ‘ere dawn of time” then still it would be of no consequence to my life. I would not suddenly start worshipping in said God as there would still be no rational basis to believe that worship of said god would be of any value to me or have any consequence for my life. There is nothing that I am aware of that requires the existence of a God to have happened. As they say this God may well be a flying spaghetti monster.

    Now in terms of your perception that my position is faith based… well I hope you at least respect that it is a prefereable faith based position than thinking my life has to be structured in a particular manner to appease a god of whom there is no evidence?

    I don;t think you are a shill of big-God at all… you are obviously a shill of defending the indefensible wishy washy agnostic position.

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    wes george

    And, you know guys…you still haven’t posted even a single circumstantial bit of evidence that there is NO God. Although, Tel has unwittingly proved to be a believer in a central pillar of the Intelligent Design argument, ie that there are no alien civilizations…ie we’re all alone at the center of a really creepy creation created just for us…

    I think we can all agree that it’s not possible to definitely prove that there is no God, which is why agnosticism is the only purely rational position, but it would at least make you look a less driven by impassioned sentiments if you could present a rational list of observations in support of Atheism…. perhaps you might even make a few, ahem, converts…

    ;-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p99a6K81zqM

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    wes george

    My position, arrived at by logic, is that no god(s) exist…

    Please, by all means, Matt show us your logical proof.

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    MattB

    Wes… at least have the courtesy to make an accurate quotation of my comments.

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    MattB

    One wonders what evidence that there is no god would look like.

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    Otter

    …the Absence of Existence.

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    papertiger

    You mention holy water once … and see what happens.

    /mumbles

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    Tel

    Although, Tel has unwittingly proved to be a believer in a central pillar of the Intelligent Design argument, ie that there are no alien civilizations…ie we’re all alone at the center of a really creepy creation created just for us…

    I rather suspect you did not bother to read what I wrote — which was that although the positive evidence we have for alien civilizations is weak, it is nevertheless stronger than evidence for any god. However, even if we are alone in the universe, this is absolutely no proof that the universe was created just for us. In a system with one observer, the probability that any observation is made by that observer is certainty.

    But regardless of that, let’s consider that we have all decided that belief is a good thing and we should indeed partake in religion. What is the next step? Is it better to believe in God, or better to believe in the Devil? What about faeries, sprites, leprechauns, angels, ghosts, ghouls, ghasts, vampires, spirits, the howling banshee, mermaids, swamp things, astral familiars, the giant Golem — where does it end?

    Maybe I should believe in all of these, or just some, or a special selection, or perhaps draw up a roster and rotate the schedule?

    Here we have another problem, that once you have belief in the absence of evidence, you have lost your anchor — all things are possible and nothing can be singled out as better or worse than anything else.

    Atheism is not a statement of belief, it is a statement of efficiency. Don’t waste your time and energy on ideas that lead to no practical outcome.

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    Tel

    Chill, Tel. Obviously, you suffered much persecution during the Spanish Inquisition’s 2008 Australian “Bonfire of the Heretics Tour.” ;-) Hey, you’re lucky you weren’t burnt at the stake, dude.

    The reason to study history is to learn from other’s mistakes.

    If your going to get “uneasy” every time someone says or does something you imagine isn’t in “some way justified” me thinks we will have to sedate you.

    As you demonstrate, it’s not a far step from disagreement to threats. I think that makes my point perfectly.

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    MattB

    Otter – even then there could be a god who just chose not to create anything.

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    wes george

    We’re still waiting for some evidence, any evidence that no God exists from you guys. So far all you have given us is raw guts – irrational fears, disdain for abstraction, strawmen, misrepresentations of the debate, belittling of other’s faith as inferior to your own all the while refusing to offer a rational, logic-based defense of Atheism that doesn’t fundamentally rest upon an appeal to faith.

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    MattB

    pardon? I am quite comfortable that indeed there may well be a god out there – just one who due to the constraints of space and time cannot possibly have any influence over any aspect of anything that I may ever experience, and of whom there will never be any evidence. If you can show me any evidence to change my mind then I’m all ears.

    The nicest way I’ve seen it put is that I do not believe that gods exist, as opposed to I believe that gods do not exist.

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    wes george

    “I am quite comfortable that indeed there may well be a god out there…”

    Great, Matt. Game over. Thanks for playing. ;-)

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    wes george

    http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/25430/

    If the science isn’t settled on the most basic natural facts about the universe, one wonders how Tel can rationally hold that “Atheism is not a statement of belief”?

    …our own Universe may be the interior of a black hole existing in another universe.” So concludes Nikodem Poplawski at Indiana University in a remarkable paper about the nature of space and the origin of time.

    The idea that new universes can be created inside black holes and that our own may have originated in this way has been the raw fodder of science fiction for many years. But a proper scientific derivation of the notion has never emerged.

    Today Poplawski provides such a derivation. He says the idea that black holes are the cosmic mothers of new universes is a natural consequence of a simple new assumption about the nature of spacetime.”

    MattB, since you claim to have a special understanding of “the constraints of space and time” perhaps you should give Dr. Poplawski a ring, he seems to have encountered some minor quandaries working out the origins of the universe. ;-)

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    Tel

    If the science isn’t settled on the most basic natural facts about the universe, one wonders how Tel can rationally hold that “Atheism is not a statement of belief”?

    Just to repeat myself: the sensible way to approach an unknown is not to invent arbitrary and fanciful entities to fill that unknown. It really is not so complicated. By not filling your head with junk, you have more space for actual thinking.

    You still have not answered the basic question, if we do decide that God might be necessary, what methodology will determine the nature of this God? Is there anything that makes an old man on a chair a better God than a pile of spaghetti?

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    Richard S Courtney

    Friends:

    As I said at #87:

    This blog exists for discussion aimed at supporting Ms Nova’s ‘Handbook’. The best support has two parts; i.e.
    1.
    Review to ensure the Handbook is both accurate and up-to-date.
    2.
    Effective dissemination of the Handbook’s contents.

    But this thread has been usurped by attempts to prove or disprove the existence of a deity or deities. There are many places on the web for those who want to discuss that subject, but this blog is NOT one of them.

    So, in attempt to halt the disruption of this blog, I pose the following two questions that are each in two parts.

    Question 1.
    How can we know if there is only one God, Allah, and Mohamed is His prophet?
    What does your answer to part 1 of Question 1 indicate concerning our understanding of the Koran and all that stems from it?

    Question 2.
    How can we know that the laws of physics are the same throughout time and space?
    What does your answer to part 1 of Question 2 indicate concerning our understanding of the universe and all that stems from it?

    Anybody who makes an honest attempt to answer both questions will recognise
    (a)
    religion and science each have uses in gaining understanding of the world and our human experiences in it,
    and
    (b)
    all knowledge is built on accepted but unproveable tenets so all knowlege of all kinds displays a belief system.

    Hence, the discussion in this thread is not only a distraction from the purposes of this blog, but it is also pointless.

    Richard

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