September 24, 2013

"Comments can be bad for science. That's why, here at PopularScience.com, we're shutting them off."

"As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide."
Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader's perception of a story. A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to "debate" on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.

109 comments:

Big Mike said...

There's "scientific certainty," as in Eddington's experiment confirming Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, then there's science that resorts to consensus. The latter must always be subject to debate and discussion.

rhhardin said...

Suzanne LaBarre is the online content director of Popular Science. Email suzanne.labarre at popsci dot com.

Shut down by a woman.

chuck said...

Popular Science was a serious publication 141 year ago. Today, not so much.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again.

Hyperbole. Is the periodic table up for grabs too?

Funny how only the consensus which seeks to silence one side is contentious.

Rich B said...

"Erosion", eh? Can't have that, can we?

Mike and Sue said...

Big Mike,
While I agree with you, all "science" must be subjected to debate. Even Eddington's results.Popular Science magazine is acting cowardly.
m

Sigivald said...

PopSci is complaining about shoddy science, or the "big effects on science" of a lack of respect for capital-A Authority?

I've seen the horrid link-bait Reynolds links to over there.

They have no room to talk.

eddie willers said...

I find it interesting that in the very issue where they bemoan comments, the have an article headline:

Republicans Block Proposal For National Science Laureate, Fearing Science

They did take comments on that article and the they are getting their clocks cleaned by conservatives.

I can certainly see why they want free reign.

Kirk Parker said...

"Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again."

Wait... what???

David Davenport said...

Shorter version: Too many commenters took issue with PopSci Magazine's Global Warming gloom and doom.

Popular Science writers and editors were only emulating higher brow mags such as Scientific American, Smithsonian, and National Geographic, all of which are politically corrected nowadays.

I might also crack wise about the politically corrected party line on evolution, but then I might be less liked here at Althouse.

( Evolution implies that different, contemporary human groups might not be all the same? Respectable people don't think that thought. )

southcentralpa said...

Good thing they'll never ever cut off comments here ... oh, wait. Nevermind.

The problem with current theories of evolution is that debate was prematurely shut off by the Piltdown Man that was not restarted when the Piltdown Man was found to be a hoax.

Unfortunately, the LaBarres of the world feel yelling "HICK! HICK!! HICK!!!" at the top of their lungs somehow makes up for a distinct lack of intermediate forms in the fossil record, the Cambrian explosion, and a complete lack of curiousity as to how "natural selection" was supposed to work before there was DNA.

(And just for the record, I believe the best evidence suggests the Earth is at least four billion years old.)

Sam L. said...

David D., you in a heap o' trouble, boy.

Bob K said...

The IPCC is coming out with their latest promotion for global warming at the end of this week. PopSci probably wants to defend it in glowing but scary terms, but they know allowing comments will demonstrate how lame their articles defending it actually are.

gadfly said...

Its a science magazine so to speak - but when they fail to report all sides of science, they get slapped around.

So where indeed does fault lie?

Archie said...

They are following in your footsteps, Anne. But at least your reason for suppression of commentary-"because I can" is more eloquent than PopSci's "shut up"-barely.

rcocean said...

No more skepticism or debate - 'cause Science is what we say it is.

St. George said...

Popular Science has long been a goof...

Love the covers...

"Where's My Flying Car?"

"Year's Most Exciting Power Tool"

"Your TV Antenna May Be Out of Date"

"The Truth About Spark Plugs"

"How Dangerous Are Guard Rails?"

Roy Doty's Wordless Workshop!

Bryan C said...

Shut up, Science explained.

Cedarford said...

I see the point. While science at it's core needs debate, peer review, challenge to theory....too much, in these modern times, people with political agendas seek to disrupt science and consensus. Not to question the science, but cast it into disrepute simply to advance their politics.

Add that unfortunately, and not mentioned by Popluar Science, is that whole areas of science, notoriously in, but not confined to soft sciences, have been taken over by idealogues. Or by scientists and "heroes" that have agendas of power and profit from pushing and popularizing their "vision".

And keep in mind that a good chunk of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics is not real science or engineering...but extrapolative schlock intended to excite and lure in magazine buyers anxious to read how "hero astronauts" believe NASA needs billions to build "rockets bigger than Apollo" and "establish a 5,000 man moon colony by 2000 AD."
Indeed, some of the articles accompanying illustrations in Popular Science are absolute classics of how bad their science and crystal ball was.

We see how ridiculous it can get from 1950s Pop Science articles on prominent nuclear scientists boosting nuclear bombs for widening and deepening city harbors. Or inadvertently hilarious stuff claiming that by 1965 almost every home would have a robot (with a black-faced robot in a maids uniform to illustrate), many articles on space hotels with family of 4 and the family dog all in space suits and enjoying the Zero G floating about....

And my favorite so far...a well-done article in the early 60s on the 1st jet packs, careful stats and science on jet history that show jet propulsion is for far more than the "jet set" in the near future. With an illustration of a squadron of "Mad Men" dressed in fedoras and 3-piece suits with briefcase in hand, flying on jet packs to Manhattan from the 'burbs.
Will Jet Packs soon make the commuter train a thing of the past?

MadisonMan said...

all "science" must be subjected to debate

To what end, and why? Because people like to debate?

It's not like new facts are presented in most arguments. Any facts that are presented are so massaged and filtered by the article from which the information is gleaned that they are rendered meaningless.

The place to debate science is not in the Comments section of Popular Science, but at a Conference so you can actually hear what the scientists say, and see their results, unfiltered. Or you can debate in the pages of a Journal* -- much more fully packed with information.

*(reputable)

The nuance of many scientific debates are lost or ignored in the popular press. It's maddening.

Edward Lunny said...

Yes, this magazine seems to have forgotten about that word "science" on their masthead. So to deal with their embrace of so much that is at odds with that word and the actual definition thereof they choose to quash opinion. Their whole hearted embrace of the global warming fraud was just the latest iteration of the lack of science in this publication.

wildswan said...

Why didn't Popular Science assign someone to answer the assertions of "climate deniers?" Why not debate? Why this constant attempt to shut down discussion? At present the IPCC is saying they can't explain why the last fifteen years of non-warming happened. But still Popular Science thinks it doesn't have to answer critics. Why?

Darrell said...

Popular Science was always in my home growing up and it taught me about nuclear power, rockets and the space program, and automotive technology with their staff of WWII writers who had actually done something in the real world. Smokey's Garage and Say Smokey--written by WWII B-17 pilot and racing legend Smokey Yunick was a must-see and actually helped me when I began fixing cars. They had the covers for the coming Ice Age and other theories being pushed in the 1960s, but the stories always presented balance and views towards coping with that possibility. It was the first magazine I actually subscribed to. In the late 1980s, new writers appeared as the WWII crowd retired. You could tell they lacked real world experience and the quality of the magazine began to suffer. Soon ideology-driven science started to appear. Within a couple of years, the Young Turks were taking over as Editor and management and the magazine became worthless. I let my subscription run out. They were able to control what letters to the editor they published back then. They can't do that on the Web--or rather they get caught deleting them.

Hagar said...

I have read that Eddington's observations did not exactly confirm Einstein's General Theory as his results were within the range of uncertainty available with the instrumentation at that time. But everybody just knew it had to be so, and of course the theory has been confirmed - as far as it goes - by better means since.

Gabriel Hanna said...

It's always nice to see the Althouse creationist commenters show such touching concern for the purity of scientific discourse.

Yes, science thrives on informed debate from people who collect data and who know a great deal about the state of the knowledge in that field. Not people who, for example, think that nothing new has come up in the science of human origins since Piltdown man.

The flat-earthers, perpetual motion enthusiasts, the astrologers, the homeopaths and the creationists do not make valuable contributions to science. They do fill up comment threads with nonsense that has been repeatedly debunked in thousands of fora over decades, but it's an eternal game of whack-a-mole and a full time job--no scientist could get anything done if he engaged in debate with crackpots.


Lem said...

Comments can be bad for science...

Its true.


El Camino Real said...

What!? No mention of Flat Earthers?

Gabriel Hanna said...

Didn't mention global warming "skeptics" in the same list as creationists, for this reason:

The intellectual heavy-hitters in that movement, the ones who write columns in venues like the Wall Street Journal, actually do not disagree in any significant way with the reality or mechanism of climate change--though you have to press them hard to get them to say so, they're not the equivalent of young-earth creationists. For example, here is Steven Hayward conceding virtually every point.

What they do is a sort of magnificent bastardry. They emphasize disagreements, doubts and uncertainties to an audience that IS the equivalent of young-earth creationists. They never take their audience to task for what they get wrong--rather they take the scientific community to task for what is right but uncertain. They cheerfully conflate scientists with environmental activists and journalists who uncritically report on climate science. And they are careful to keep their own views separate, and hidden, from those of their audience. This serves two purposes: the audience assumes that the "skeptics" agree with them, and the "skeptic" can complain that his views are being caricatured or conflated with others when you accuse him of say, denying that the Earth has warmed or that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The "skeptic", you see, accepts virtually all of what is known about climate science, he just gives the impression to his audience that he does not.

The touchstone of the true climate "skeptic" is that he follows mainstream climate science avidly, in the hopes of publicizing uncertainties and mistakes, but does no climate science himself--he can never propose an alternate way of doing things because he is a) not qualified and b) not interested. It is a fine line that they walk.

southcentralpa said...

Obviously, new evidence has arisen since Piltdown. Like, for instance, just how unbelievably complex the most basic single-celled organism is.

I was referring to the state of debate. At least in my studies, Piltdown Man seemed to be the clincher for many people who ceased to look into clear weaknesses in the theory.

Eric said...

This is just part of a wider effort to hide the fact the earth hasn't actually been warming in awhile. They're afraid the rest of us will start to question the veracity of 50 year predictions when the models had a catastrophic failure in ten years.

n.n said...

It's appropriate that they should mention evolution and climate change together. They both represent chaotic processes, which inherently limits their characterization and analysis.

Evolution is composed of two parts. First, the speculation about creation, which has been deified by a consensus, and presented as a religion, based on pattern matching with limited, circumstantial evidence (similar to the global warming scheme). Second, the principles of evolution, which are observable and reproducible in recorded history, and shorter periods for organisms with exceedingly short lifespans.

The reason that people are dismissive of the consensus is because "scientists" have with premeditation, for reason of material, physical, and egoistic ambitions, conspired for political purposes to confuse the distinction between science and philosophy or religion. This is the same corruption that afflicted traditional religions and cults, which exploited a consensus to advance their political, economic, and social standing in a society.

Popular Science has indeed grown popular with the consensus. The combine elements of science and philosophy to provide leverage for their ideological and partisan interests. Unfortunately, at the expense of advancing scientific discipline and enterprise.

traditionalguy said...

Repetition by peers of double blind tests that could disprove a "scientists" guess are proof of something. Applying the word science (which only means knowledge) as proof of an untested hypothesis ( a guess) is grade B- ignorance shoveled to mush brained fools who believe in authority contained News Paper writers blarney as facts.

Bob Ellison said...

My eyes are getting so bad that I can hardly read this, but I'll let my fingers do the typing and say that this seems pretty stupid. Turning off comments is like shutting down speech.

Elliott A said...

"Rather they take the climate community to task for what is right but uncertain." This is "belief" not science. Something is only "right" when it becomes certain through reproduced results of an experiment. Fortunately, an ever growing number of scientists are realizing that science has been hijacked and are working to return it to a "secular" basis. Unfortunately, there are too many true believers publishing and editing magazines and journals which makes real scientific discourse impossible, and too many ad hominem attacks to make the discourse civil.

The Godfather said...

It's called "Popular" "Science". I think a scientific discussion can fairly be limited to those who have appropriate scientific qualifications (that would exclude a lot of people in the IPCC, for example). But if you want to appeal to the "people" to read your magazine, it probably isn't a good idea to tell them they're too ignorant to discuss the subject.

Jason Lee said...

"scientific doctrine"?

Is that not a horrific oxymoron?

rcocean said...

I'm sure Popular Sci's comment section was all full of people disputing Newton's Laws and Einstein's Theory of Relativity - but I doubt it.

Evolution Theory and GW aren't science - as normally understood. No one has 'proven them' nor has anyone run an experiment supporting Darwin's theory - since it would take a billion years.

Y'know who really thinks Evolution and GW are hard and fast science? Chris Matthews and Kieth Olbermann.

And Popular Science.

TMLutas said...

If there is anything valid about any scientific theory, it is that it is falsifiable. Go try and get warmists to set up legitimate conditions that their theory is falsifiable. It's like pulling teeth.

Somehow, mirabile dictu, the NOAA did actual science and laid down falsifiability criteria in their state of the climate report in 2008, admitting that the pause exists, that models sometimes have these pauses, and the decade long pause to that point was not significant, that it would take another 5 years for it to invalidate the models because none of their test runs on any of the models had pauses as long as 15 years.

Well here we are at pause year 15+ and the warmists are doubling down, shutting down comments sections, and generally behaving politically instead of scientifically regarding the NOAA's 2008 statement.

Warmists have to explain why the NOAA was wrong in 2008, why they didn't fight it at the time, and what are substitute standards that make more sense. They should have been preparing this for the past 5 years, first as a minor 'plan B' exercise and with growing urgency as the falsification date approached. That would have been science.

What is happening instead is politics funded by public money and masquerading as science. Such things are disgraceful and should stop immediately.

Big Mike said...

@Hagar, what you say is perfectly true. However, if one were to look at Eddington's elegant experiment, and argue for some theory that is different from relativity then that competing theory has to better explain the data than Einstein's General Theory of Relative does.

So let's take Anthropogenic Global Warming as a counterexample. The decades since the theory was proposed constitute an experiment of sorts, i.e., what happens if we essentially do nothing. Most notoriously, AGW made predictions about climbing global temperatures leading into a feedback loop and runaway temperatures that would melt all the glaciers and ice sheets. But that is not what happened. Global temperatures have plateaued since 1998. This is manifestly not what the models predicted. Therefore the models are broken and new ones must be developed, ones that take into account variations in solar energy input, the albedo effect of clouds, among other parameters that are ignored or treated as a constant value.

What AGW and Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics all have in common is that they are all mathematical models that seek to explain how the universe works and allow us to predict what will happen next. You don't have to believe me, you can go read Murray Gell-Mann's The Quark and the Jaguar or Richard Feynman's autobiography Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman. And when reality doesn't fit the model, the problem is not with reality.

And if you want to buy either book (I recommend both, particularly the section titled "Cargo Cult Science" in Feynman's book) then please use the Althouse portal.

Jason Lee said...

To what end, and why? Because people like to debate?

It's not like new facts are presented in most arguments.


Is this a serious comment?

Interpreting *The Facts* shouldn't be left to a self-appointed elite. That won't benefit anyone except those who are trying to protect erroneous ideas.

Have you ever noticed that physicists aren't intimidated by what the public thinks about quantum entanglement? Why is that?

Henry said...

Maybe they just have a boring comments section. The comments section of almost every big media production -- from the New York Times to The Weather Channel -- is swamped by oblivious headnodders stating the obvious.

From the link:

There are plenty of other ways to talk back to us, and to each other: through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, livechats, email, and more.

This isn't the editorial staff standing up for SCIENCE! This is the marketing staff reading the analytics and getting their shit together.

RebeccaH said...

Blah-de-blah-blah, all to obfuscate and camouflage the fact that certain people in Popsci's editorial office bought in to a bunch of hysterical lefty hyperbole, and now are facing the inevitable crow-eating reward of their naivete.

I expected better of them.

Henry said...

@Gabriel Hanna -- You sound strangely hostile to doubts and uncertainties.

chuck said...

actually do not disagree in any significant way with the reality or mechanism of climate change

I suspect Judith Curry, Freeman Dyson, Richard Lindzen, William Happer, Roy Spencer, Syun-Ich Akasofu, and other qualified scientists might disagree with this rather crude characterization. I myself might be more convinced convinced that the mechanisms were understood if the models could explain the Minoan, Roman, and Medieval optimums and account for the little ice age.

The 73rd Virgin said...

If you don't want comments, don't publish in the equivalent of a trade magazine. Peer reviewed journals have letters to the editor, but I've yet to see one with a comments section.

Better yet, don't publish at all.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

The touchstone of the true climate "skeptic" is that he follows mainstream climate science avidly, in the hopes of publicizing uncertainties and mistakes, but does no climate science himself--he can never propose an alternate way of doing things because he is a) not qualified and b) not interested. It is a fine line that they walk.

I reject that caricature.

Plenty of practicing scientists, engineers and others who respect the scientific method are on record challenging the conclusions on which politicians base their desperate warnings of doom.

It's cheering to see the whimpers with which the new IPCC report - which acknowledges the recent lack of warning which the politically favored models failed to predict - are being greeted by our all-knowing 'activists'. And it's hilarious to see the serious demands, from politicians and media mouthpieces, to black out or distract public attention from that recent lack of warming.

Lem said...

Marriage is for big talkers.

Andrew Russell said...

Of course "Popular Science" and it's defenders here don't want any actual debate. The last thing they want their readers to learn about involve names like Yamal, Upside Down Tijlander, Short-centered Principle Components, "Censored" FTP directories, Hide The Decline, 28Gate, GlacierGate, or even the most core requirements of the Scientific Method.

"Popular Science" (and it's fans here)isn't about science, it is about merchandizing leftist environmental panic and political philosophies.

I is amazing just how dishonest and "pig ignorant" of the issue is by even the most prominent promoters of CAGW: http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/david_suzuki_proves_hes_pig_ignorant_about_global_warming/

R_Shackleford said...

Gabriel,

When you build a house of straw and claim it is fireproof, I needent be an archatect and propose a brick house to prove your house is crap and your claim is false, all I need is a match, it isn't my fault if your fireproof straw hut burns.

That too is Science.

Brian Wohlgemuth said...

There are very few things that are open to debate in science. We call those things "laws". And even laws can be open to interpretation.

Until the scientific evidence becomes overwhelming to the point where it can soundly be called the "Law of Global Warming", it's still up for debate.

T said...

Popular Science rebrands itself as Popular Fascism.

wholelottasplainin' said...

"The flat-earthers, perpetual motion enthusiasts, the astrologers, the homeopaths and the creationists do not make valuable contributions to science. They do fill up comment threads with nonsense that has been repeatedly debunked in thousands of fora over decades, but it's an eternal game of whack-a-mole and a full time job--no scientist could get anything done if he engaged in debate with crackpots."

Martin Luther made a similar mistake, when he argued for lay people rather than just Church Fathers to come up with their own readings of the Bible.

Later in life he lamented, "These days it seems every milkmaid thinks she can interpret the Scriptures".

RecChief said...

if they claim, "the science is settled," they don't really have anything to do with science

wholelottasplainin' said...

"The touchstone of the true climate "skeptic" is that he follows mainstream climate science avidly, in the hopes of publicizing uncertainties and mistakes, but does no climate science himself--he can never propose an alternate way of doing things because he is a) not qualified and b) not interested. It is a fine line that they walk."

Hanna, why not hie your gullible heinie over to wattsupwiththat.com, where you will find virtually every science-trained "skeptic" on the planet posting their own articles based on thier own research, many peer-reviewed, or commenting on those of others.

Report back when you begin to have a faint glimmer of a clue.

Mike Sigman said...

Are the board members of Pop Sci aware that Suzanne LaBarre just threw their reputation onto the rubbish heap? She had to be stoned or something to write that drivel.

Harold House said...

@Gabriele

Nicely said. Now just sit back and watch/read the other side present a flurry of "I think" science taken verbatim from the little golden book of poo-poo myths.

The best debate strategy you can have with this ilk is one that ignores them until they start talking sense.

Mike Sigman said...

Are the board members of Pop Sci aware that Suzanne LaBarre just threw their reputation onto the rubbish heap? She had to be stoned or something to write that drivel.

T said...

Gabriel Hanna doesn't know what he;s talking about when he says that man-made global warming skeptics walk a fine, devious and deceptive line and propose no alternate theories.

The disagree about the extent of global warming caused by added carbon dioxide, for example. MITs Richard Lindzen's adaptive iris theory of thermostatic tropical heating, as well as Danish physicist Henrik Svernsmark's cosmic ray theory of cloud vapor nucleation are examples of alternative theories skeptics have championed against fascist "consensus science." And since 17 years of no global warming proves that orthodoxy claim of high climate sensitivity to added CO2 is false, and natural climate cycles are being invoked to save the religion, then real science naturally favor these herecies.

tom swift said...

"Science" is a simple idea which too many people have trouble grasping.

Science has nothing to do with debate, nothing to do with consensus, nothing to do with "reputable journals", nothing to do with the opinions of Eminent Men, nothing to do with the opinions of newspaper hacks or government drones or activists with liberal arts educations. Science has to do with the properties and behavior of the physical world. Period. Nothing else.

And how does one learn the properties and behavior of the physical world? Not by reading Popular Science, consulting oracle bones, or by asking the Pope. One learns about the physical world from the physical world itself. Observation, measurement, experiment. All of which involves work, and loads of it.

In my case, I believe the global warming hysteria to be just that based on my own measurements of some of the phenomena involved. I mentioned work, and loads of it. I have been observing and recording data since the 1960s, long before it became a cause célèbre, and my observations make it clear almost to the point of certainty that our atmosphere is not warming to any non-negligible degree. Are my observations flawless? Probably not. There is always room for error. But my belief has some real scientific basis derived from the real world itself. That's light-years beyond the opinion of somebody who knows all about it from reading a couple of issues of Popular Science.

And just what were these measurements? I won't do you any good to know, as you can't believe me or anybody else. The
"appeal to authority" isn't science, unless the authority is Nature. In other words, make your own goddamn measurements. That's science. Otherwise, you have no opinion worth sharing. That's also science.

RecChief said...

Gabriel Hanna - you say climate skeptics do no science themselves? you should check out WattsUpWithThat.com. Or you could read Roger Pielke Sr.'s work, or Jr.'s for that matter. from your comments "Flat earthers, [etc.]", I don't think you are interested in the scientific method, you seem to have already made up your mind.

tom swift said...

"Science" is a simple idea which too many people have trouble grasping.

Science has nothing to do with debate, nothing to do with consensus, nothing to do with "reputable journals", nothing to do with the opinions of Eminent Men, nothing to do with the opinions of newspaper hacks or government drones or activists with liberal arts educations. Science has to do with the properties and behavior of the physical world. Period. Nothing else.

And how does one learn the properties and behavior of the physical world? Not by reading Popular Science, consulting oracle bones, or by asking the Pope. One learns about the physical world from the physical world itself. Observation, measurement, experiment. All of which involves work, and loads of it.

In my case, I believe the global warming hysteria to be just that based on my own measurements of some of the phenomena involved. I mentioned work, and loads of it. I have been observing and recording data since the 1960s, long before it became a cause célèbre, and my observations make it clear almost to the point of certainty that our atmosphere is not warming to any non-negligible degree. Are my observations flawless? Probably not. There is always room for error. But my belief has some real scientific basis derived from the real world itself. That's light-years beyond the opinion of somebody who knows all about it from reading a couple of issues of Popular Science.

And just what were these measurements? I won't do you any good to know, as you can't believe me or anybody else. The
"appeal to authority" isn't science, unless the authority is Nature. In other words, make your own goddamn measurements. That's science. Otherwise, you have no opinion worth sharing. That's also science.

cchris said...

Gabriel Hanna said...

Mostly nonsense. Skeptics like myself acknowledge that climate change is occurring and that the planet is warmer than any time since the end of the Little Ice Age. But then you'd expect warming after a temporary cooling.

We also know that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has doubled from what it was at the beginning of the industrial. As a result, it's an undisputed fact that, by itself, CO2 can only raise temps by 1 degree C.

Where skeptics disagree with the AGW types is in the amount of feedback that will occur from such a small increase. Real world results show that the climate is far less sensitive to CO2 than the IPCC scenarios have predicted.

So you've completely misunderstood what Global Warming Skepticism is about.

As for Popular Science's cowardly closing of comments, given their adversarial attitude toward GW skeptics, as shown in this recent article:

"Idea: Let's Name Storms After Climate Change Deniers"

They have been humiliate by the Earth's refusal to warm according to the models they venerate, and are too gutless to face the "I told you so's" from those they ridiculed.

cchris said...

Gabriel Hanna said...

Mostly nonsense. Skeptics like myself acknowledge that climate change is occurring and that the planet is warmer than any time since the end of the Little Ice Age. But then you'd expect warming after a temporary cooling.

We also know that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has doubled from what it was at the beginning of the industrial. As a result, it's an undisputed fact that, by itself, CO2 can only raise temps by 1 degree C.

Where skeptics disagree with the AGW types is in the amount of feedback that will occur from such a small increase. Real world results show that the climate is far less sensitive to CO2 than the IPCC scenarios have predicted.

So you've completely misunderstood what Global Warming Skepticism is about.

As for Popular Science's cowardly closing of comments, given their adversarial attitude toward GW skeptics, as shown in this recent article:

"Idea: Let's Name Storms After Climate Change Deniers"

They have been humiliate by the Earth's refusal to warm according to the models they venerate, and are too gutless to face the "I told you so's" from those they ridiculed.

David Davenport said...

The flat-earthers, perpetual motion enthusiasts, the astrologers, the homeopaths and the creationists do not make valuable contributions to science. ...

Since you're not a flat-earther, asstrologer, or homeopath, tell us what evolution implies about the possibility of present-day human biological diversity?

David Davenport said...

The place to debate science is not in the Comments section of Popular Science, but at a Conference so you can actually hear what the scientists say, and see their results, unfiltered. Or you can debate in the pages of a Journal* -- much more fully packed with information.

In other words, you're saying that mass market publications such as PopSci should say nothing about contentious scientific issues. Only the ee-lite should debate such matters or even know that controversies about scientific matters exist.

The masses of people should only be told what they need to know, don't you agree?

David Davenport said...

The intellectual heavy-hitters in that movement, the ones who write columns in venues like the Wall Street Journal... They cheerfully conflate scientists with environmental activists and journalists who uncritically report on climate science. ...

Aren't you contradicting yourself their by conflating "intellectual heavy-hitters" with journalists who write for Murdoch's WSJ?

And how can you trust such right-wing bootlickers to say what they really believe?

Skookum John said...

The intellectual heavy-hitters in that movement, the ones who write columns in venues like the Wall Street Journal, actually do not disagree in any significant way with the reality or mechanism of climate change

I will cheerfully acknowledge that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and that by itself it may lead to a slight (~1-2 K) increase in the global average temperature over many decades of increasing concentrations.

What I have a problem with is the people who go on to assert, with vehement, sneering certainty, most or all of the following assertions:

1) this is unquestionably much greater than natural variation
2) water vapor, methane release, or some other mechanism will result in positive feedback loops, raising the temperature several times more drastically
3) this effect would be qualitatively different from much higher CO2 levels previously in world history
4) the effects of such warming would be uniformly bad for humankind and/or biodiversity.
5) paying astronomical taxes and turning over all questions of public policy and decision-making to a self-selected cabal of hard-Left "experts" can realistically do anything to prevent catastrophe.

These are all separate questions, with orders of magnitude difference in the trustworthiness of both data and theory. But as best I can tell, they are treated as one take-it-or-leave it proposition by an open conspiracy of left wing politicians seeking political power and revenue, socialist ideologues wishing to remake the world according to their fancy, rent-seeking corporations seeking to get rich from their political connections, and a news media interested in all of the above plus selling doom and gloom to its audience.

Object to even the most niggling detail, and to these people, you might as well be a Southern baptist preacher waving a Bible and bellowing "I didn't descend from no monkey!"

I've said many times, even if every dire prediction of James Hansen's were gospel truth, it is still the case that there are countless forces in the pro-warming camp who are using the issue as a hobby horse-- not to ameliorate a global problem, but to amass political power and financial resources for their own purposes.

RS said...

Popular Science became neither years ago.

Very sad.

YoungHegelian said...

@GH,

It's always nice to see the Althouse creationist commenters show such touching concern for the purity of scientific discourse.

"Creationist" seems to be one of your favorite insults here chez Althouse, GH. Strangely enough, I've been here a damn long time & I don't remember anybody ever defending "young earth" creationism. If you do, would you care to provide a link?

Unless, of course, what you really mean by "creationism" is "theism", and your febrile mind has two concepts that the rest of the world sees as completely different things all mushed up.

Care to enlighten us, or will you just continue to insult folks with gleeful abandon?

Carl said...

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics

As an actual bona-fide scientist myself -- in the hardest of physical sciences, physics itself, with a PhD and post-docs with the best American universities -- I can't begin to express my complete contempt for this kind of science-as-religion bullshit.

A war on expertise, ferfuxsake? You people sound like medieval priests horrified at the slanders hurled at Aristotle. The cardinals who confined Galileo because he said disrespectful and sarcastic things about "expertise" in his day were no stupider nor more arrogant.

And then there's this evil "consensus" thingy. Could there be any thing more hostile to the spirit of empirical inquiry? You stupid clowns, this is what we left behind in the 1300s, the idea that the truth is what the majority votes it to be -- even worse, a majority of some soi-disant intellectual priesthood. The whole point of empirical science is that (1) experiment rules and (2) there are no sacred cows, nor sacred opinions, and "consensus" means exactly squat. Anybody is free to challenge any conclusions, "settled" or no, be he king, professor, or street clown, in terms civil or contumelious, and the only ticket to the debate is a bit of experimental data. (And "It's been bloody cold this winter!" is a perfectly respectable piece of experimental data.)

See, this is why I have always thought the climatologists should be excommunicated from the fold of "science" just like the social "scientists," and go off to join the historians in the liberal arts. Call it "climate studies" or something. It may be perfectly respectable -- like good history is -- but pretty much by definition, it can't be science, because you can't do any experiments. We have just this one planet, you see, and unlike the astronomers studying planets in general or the Sun, we can't even observe other planets like ours (but with and without humans, or with and without internal combustion engines). Just like the historians, we have one trajectory and we can only argue about the logical soundness of the stories we construct about it. That's not science, however many spectrometers and computers are used in the process.

You know why Car & Driver can allow comments when they review the new Fusion? Because there's an experimental basis there. There's facts, and people eventually ignore loonies who ignore plain facts anyone can see for himself, and then they go away. Now invert that. If you are afraid of comments -- if "loony" theories attract attention and adherents, despite all your stately pontifications -- what does that say about the factual basis of what you say? Feeling like you need to close your ears should be a warning sign that maybe you should be opening your mouth less, or more carefully.

j said...

As I write the wheels are falling off the more extreme versions of climate science. Real questions are being put to the IPCC on the pause, uncertainty, sensitivity and a host of other scientific issues.

Had people like Steve MacIntyre, Anthony Watts and Bishop Hill not pointed out the Emperor's assortes sartorial malfunctions we would be stuck with junk science like Mann's hockey stick graph.

PopSci shutting down comments simply means that it will be left out of the popular discussion of science. Not a very smart thing to do as more and more of that discussion moves online. But, in climate science at least, it is tough to cling to a discredited orthodoxy when you are now being laughed at by amateurs who have managed to get nature right.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Meade, I know you are monitoring posts.

But Hanna's reference to Hyward is nothing less than a shocking, full-frontal LIE, about Haywards' position, which in any event was posted more than 2 yEARS AGO.

Hanna, tow years on, knows he's got NUTHIN', NUTHING.

OldManRick said...

This is probably pointless but...

The "skeptics" do not deny that the globe has been warming. We've been coming out of the little ice age for three hundred years. If you think about it, that alone would be reason for new record highs every year.

What they deny is the adjectives Catastrophic, Runaway, and Man Made.

Why?

Catastrophic - despite all predictions of increased hurricanes, tornadoes, loss of sea ice, oceans rising and earthquakes, when you look at the data none of this is happening.

Runaway - In order to make the IPCC models work, the heating from added CO2 needs to have a multiplying factor somewhere that increases the heat retention over what would the CO2 alone would provide. Data shows that there is actually a damping function in nature. If it was going to run away, it would have run away in geological periods when the CO2 was higher. It didn't happen then, it won't happen now.

Man Made - Man made CO2 is 7% of the CO2 being put in the atmosphere. Natures ability to absorb that is a mainly function of plant growth and ocean temperature. Man made arguments assume that these are static. Even if we totally eliminated that, CO2 would still rise from out gassing of CO2 from the oceans as they respond to the heating coming out of the little ice age.

What they deny is that the IPCC models which credit all recent warming to increases in C02 are correct. A simpler model that recognizes that the planet has been recovering from the little ice age for three hundred years, has a slight trend from increases and CO2 and adds to that a natural variation found here beats all the IPCC predictions.

Add to this the obfuscation, data manipulation, out right fraudulent claims, and ad hominem augments of the "warmists", then there is ample reason to be a skeptic.

David said...

Gabriel Hanna said...
It's always nice to see the Althouse creationist commenters show such touching concern for the purity of scientific discourse.


Creationists? Is there a hidden Althouse comment page that creationists frequent? Now we do have our share of skeptics about the causes (and extent) of climate change.

Maybe you have the two issues confused?

Pianoman said...

@Gabriel: Do you put people like Anthony Watts and Judith Curry in with your "magnificent bastardry" comments?

Rseven Rocket said...

To Gabriel Hanna, what makes an idea scientific?

(full disclosure, yes, I find the creationists - both the Christian version and the Lysenko Version - to be delusional about science)

Fiftyville said...

"Popular Science" my ying-yang. They need to rename it to "Popular Lysenkoism".

tim in vermont said...

Skeptics like myself argue much more with the press reports of what scientists say, than the original papers themselves. We are as qualified to read the scientific papers in the original as the vast majority of newspaper reports and we are perfectly qualified to question the mainstream media interpretation of climate science. There are lots of papers out there that show that the climate sensitivity is likely lower than the media claims, and even, finally, the IPCC has had to recognize this fact. Their hand no doubt forced by "The Pause."

The climategate emails clearly showed manipulation of the media and political activism among scientists. You can search the climategate emails for references to "the cause."

Moneyrunner said...

Perhaps an explanation can be provided of how climate science is "done." I have a Chemistry degree and so I'm familiar with the creation of experiments designed to prove a hypothesis.

The fundamental problem with climate science is that it’s not possible to build an experiment that proves the theory. The earth is both the subject of the theory and the subject of the experiment that is supposed to prove the theory. But climate scientists don’t have a second earth in which they can test their hypotheses so they use bits and pieces, very much like the blind men feeling up an elephant and using their piece of the elephant to define the entire animal.

So, for example, tree rings are used as a way of measuring temperature on the assumption that warmer temperatures during a particular year means bigger rings. So the blind men touching that particular part of the elephant do “science” by saying that “assume tree rings measure temperature, take a few other factors into account and ignore other factors which we don’t have a clue about and we can tell you what the temperature was in the year “X.” Now assuming that we also can determine the amount of CO2 using similar sampling methods, we can then compare the CO2 levels with the temperature and conclude the CO2 is the single most critical factor in determining the temperature of the earth. Oh, and forget the sun.”

That’s “science” by analogy which is not nearly as persuasive as science by, say, creating an experiment that really does duplicate the earth. Instead, we are left with tree rings, ice cores, thermometers around which cities have grown and whose numbers are “adjusted,” plus computer models which can’t possibly take into consideration the complexity of the earth. I can see why people who have both their professional reputations and their livelihoods on the line would like the people with pesky questions to just shut up.

I, for one, welcome our scientist overlords.

tim maguire said...

MadisonMan, all science must be subject to debate because otherwise a small group of insiders get to control what views are legitimate and what views are not. That's been the approach for most of history and science didn't thrive until it was forced to change.

Of course tne insiders want to maintain their privilege, but that's not healthy for science or the public.

"Climate Science" has always been a cargo cult, maintaining the forms of scientific inquiry but never the substance. Models with secret coding that are more important than data and real world observation (literally--they have publicly taken the position that where observation departs from model prediction, the models should prevail). And it's particularly galling to tne Brahmins that the general public has nearly always seen through them, has always been ahead of them on rational interpretation of the data. So better to shut down the public, better to return science to the exclusive club it was before the enlightenment.

It works out better for the Brahmins that way.

Paco Wové said...

Thanks for posting the link to that Hayward piece, G. H. (I think you profoundly misrepresented what he said, by the way.)

Roux said...

If you're scared, say you're scared.

Matthew Sablan said...

You know what's bad for science? Peer review!

sykes.1 said...

The reality is that we are in a Lysenkoist era. That environmental science, and especially climatology, has been corrupted by politics and money and can nolonger be trusted.

Mkelley said...

"the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine"-I think the gal meant to say "religious" doctrine.

tim in vermont said...

"The touchstone of the true climate "skeptic" is that he follows mainstream climate science avidly, in the hopes of publicizing uncertainties and mistakes, but does no climate science himself--he can never propose an alternate way of doing things because he is a) not qualified and b) not interested. It is a fine line that they walk."

Yeah, like Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT.

Those skeptics who do have credentials are immediately tarred with claims that they are puppets of "big oil."

I think that regular human beings without a PhD in Climate science can use their native wits to suss out the validity of claims for a "secret" slush fund of money that flows to all who sell their souls to question the unquestionably noble cause of fighting global warming.

I think between Climategate, the Hokey Stick, and claims of Big Oil, as well as climate conferences held in exotic tropical islands that can only be reached by discharging megatons of CO2 to get their by jet aircraft, there is plenty of evidence for the common man to chew on.

Henry said...

@Gabriel Hanna -- Without catastrophic climate change, you've got nothing.

The proponents of climate-focused political change use "science" the way social darwinists use "evolution". It's a totem. The legitimacy of the baseline idea (climate change, evolution) doesn't disguise the facts of its abuse.

Thus it is hardly surprising that the political opposition to a political program would disdain the "science" used to propagate a power grab.

In fact the political program of the IPCC and its advocates is pernicious. It would replace the local, human, democratic debate with the centralized, bureaucratic, authoritarian dictate.

The move from the local to the national means a loss of autonomy for the local communities and local ecological concerns. Even some environmentalists are starting to wake up to this fact.

The move from the national to the global means the abandonment of representative government. Nations are not representative. Extranational bodies are even less so.

The means to the ends are also profoundly illiberal, even in the context of a western democracy. The idea of granting open-ended regulatory power to non-legislative bureaucracies makes a mockery of the legislative process. Power, once ceded, is not easily reclaimed.

Henry said...

I just found a link I wanted to add to my last comment. This illustrates two of my criticisms of climate change politics -- the disparagement of the local, and the embrace of illegitimate means to achieve dubious ends.

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist
BY PAUL KINGSNORTH


Here's a lengthy set of extracts that get to these points specifically, but as the man says, read the whole thing:

Today’s environmentalism is as much a victim of the contemporary cult of utility as every other aspect of our lives, from science to education. We are not environmentalists now because we have an emotional reaction to the wild world. Most of us wouldn’t even know where to find it. We are environmentalists now in order to promote something called “sustainability.”

....

It is, in other words, an entirely human-centered piece of politicking, disguised as concern for “the planet.” In a very short time—just over a decade—this worldview has become all-pervasive. It is voiced by the president of the USA and the president of Anglo-Dutch Shell and many people in between. The success of environmentalism has been total—at the price of its soul.

Let me offer up just one example of how this pact has worked. If “sustainability” is about anything, it is about carbon. Carbon and climate change. To listen to most environmentalists today, you would think that these were the only things in the world worth talking about.

....

This reductive approach to the human-environmental challenge leads to an obvious conclusion: if carbon is the problem, then “zero-carbon” is the solution. Society needs to go about its business without spewing the stuff out. It needs to do this quickly, and by any means necessary. Build enough of the right kind of energy technologies, quickly enough, to generate the power we “need” without producing greenhouse gases, and there will be no need to ever turn the lights off; no need to ever slow down.

To do this will require the large-scale harvesting of the planet’s ambient energy: sunlight, wind, water power. This means that vast new conglomerations of human industry are going to appear in places where this energy is most abundant. Unfortunately, these places coincide with some of the world’s wildest, most beautiful, and most untouched landscapes. The sort of places that environmentalism came into being to protect.

SJ said...

I presume the editors of Popular Science will no longer read or respond to reader mail.

mikee said...

I recall that in the 1980s a very large scientific organization changed the order of activities at their conventions' last night.

The final evening's handful of scientific presentations, always of unpublished, hot new research by hot scientists, always had very lively questioning by the remaining convention attendees.

At one annual convention the Nobel-level research results were presented and essentially hooted down by drunken grad students, and tipsy presenters offered to settle scientific differences with drunken questioners in the parking lot.

Next year the free beer and wine traditionally available to the attending scientists was served to the crowd (and the presenters) only AFTER the presentations, rather than BEFORE the presenters spoke.

Those conventions haven't been the same since the change was made, and I still wonder if the change was for the better.

McGehee said...

Shorter PopSci: "Our side keeps losing arguments, so your side is going to shut up."

Marshal said...

Gabriel Hanna said...
What they do is a sort of magnificent bastardry. They emphasize disagreements, doubts and uncertainties to an audience that IS the equivalent of young-earth creationists.


In fact they legitimately focus on the differences between science and our engineering capabilities and the alarmist political efforts. Rather than admit the their solutions aren't supported by science [because they are political rather than scientific]the alarmists use their domination of the media to mislead the public. For example alarmists might assert skeptics think carbon dioxide isn't a greenhouse gas rather than that skeptics believe (a) damage estimates are inflated through political influence and filtering, and (b) the proposed solutions have too great a negative effect on the economy considering the relatively small effect [a scientific consensus] the proposed solutions will have.

So in fact political activists have suborned scientists into helping them delegitimize debate by pretending differences in preferred political solutions are in fact arguments over science.

Crimso said...

"They never take their audience to task for what they get wrong--rather they take the scientific community to task for what is right but uncertain. They cheerfully conflate scientists with environmental activists and journalists who uncritically report on climate science."

So if the problem is in part conflation of the views of actual scientists with those of activists and journalists, are you suggesting that prominent climate scientists have not made apocalyptic predictions regarding the near-term effects of human-generated CO2? Has it only been the Prince Charles' of the world who have made ludicrous statements to the effect that if we don't do something (ANYTHING!) drastic in the next ten years, we're doomed?

Haven't prominent (arguably THE most prominent) climate scientists called for the heads of oil and coal companies to be tried for crimes against humanity? Those are the ravings of lunatics, some of whom are well-known climate scientists. I think the climate scientists have gotten more things right than wrong when it comes to understanding climate, but it is they who sat back (and sometimes participated) when journalists and activists went full-blown cuckoo.

And I know we've had this disagreement before, but I'm not going to let it go, ever: you in no way need to do experiments yourself in order to point out flaws in the research of others. If you did, peer review would grind to a halt. And in case you try to assert that no prominent AGW skeptics are truly peers of the climate scientists because they don't work in exactly the same area, I'll point out that "peer review" of grant applications is almost always done by people who don't work in the specific area the proposal deals with. It is assumed that properly trained scientists are competent enough to spot obvious flaws, no matter their specialty. Do you, as a scientist, dispute that obvious flaws exist in our understanding of climate as a whole, much less the modeling thereof? Do you really believe "the science is settled?"

FWIW, I'm honestly interested in your answers. I am capable of altering or even reversing my opinion when confronted with new information.

Brian C. said...

"undermining bedrock scientific doctrine" Oh gees, yeah, until they prove those bedrock doctrines wrong, which seems to happen with some regularity. As Neil DeGrasse once said, of all we know, its only about 10% of what can be known.

Peter said...

Evidence for biological evolution is overwhelming; for anthropogenic climate change, not so much. Since their test seems to be scientific authority, one can test this assertion by looking for (1) reputable scientists who reject evolution, and (2) reputable scientists who reject anthropogenic climate change. And by "anthropogenic climate change" I do not mean an assertion that humans have some effect on climate, but rather the assertion that the effect of humans on climate is massive and greater than all other contributors.

As near as I can tell, (1) consists of the null set, yet there are plenty of reputable scientists who are not on the climate-change bandwagon. Ergo, it's not (by their standard) "scientific certainty."

In any case, perhaps the editor forgot that the magazine's title is "Popular Science," not "Science." It's not a place where peer-reviewed papers are published, it's science-flavored entertainment for the masses. In any case, isn't there far less respect for authorities of all sorts than there was fifty years ago? What do the editors expect, anyway?

Although I don't doubt that it's dumbed-down. I'm not familiar with it, but Scientific American has surely been dumbed-down beyond recognition.

Orion said...

"Mistakenly up for grabs again"

Um...So, in science now, once we feel we've got a good handle on something we no longer look at it. No sense keeping it up for grabs!

Will there be courts for the heretics, too?

Orion

Unknown said...

A few years ago so-called scientists voted to decide if Pluto were a planet.

If you're voting on it, it isn't science.

If you're dismissing proofs, evidence and facts that do not support the majority vote, it isn't science.

Scott M said...

Cedeford, you seem to have a hangup about "heroes", going back years now. Do you secretly sleep in tights and a cape?

tim in vermont said...

"what is right but uncertain."

What does that even mean? It looks like an example of double-think, to me anyway.

MadisonMan said...

Models with secret coding

No such reputable model exists. The coding might be couched in terms that are hard to understand, but trace it back and you will find it described quite nicely in a Journal article somewhere. That requires work, of course, and it's so much easier just to toss out the phrase 'secret coding!1!!!' and sound foolish.

At one annual convention the Nobel-level research results were presented and essentially hooted down by drunken grad students, and tipsy presenters offered to settle scientific differences with drunken questioners in the parking lot.

Heh. At the Annual Meeting I go to (sadly, it's back in Atlanta this February -- an easy town to fly to, but really boring when you're there), there used to be a booze-soaked blow-out sponsored by some of the Satellite-building Companies on the 2nd night of the Conference. You could get into very interesting technical discussions with satellite/instrument builders, or data users. But then the number of undergraduate students attending the meeting went through the roof, and suddenly you weren't talking with peers, but fighting drunken clumps of undergrads for some of the free food, and that was only after you waited in the long line to get in (Unless you were a Funder then you got in through a different door). It always seemed like the party was (1) a grand waste of taxpayer money and (2) a HUGE liability risk for the Companies throwing it and (3) a waste of my time, eventually. So I stopped going a couple years ago, and I hear you they now have drink tickets.

Darn those undergrads!

West said...

Pop Sci is just admitting that they think their readers are idiots.

I'll be happy to stay away & lower their average reader IQ just a bit more (not that I was a regular in the first place). Pop Sci is now in the same category as Sci AM, which I stopped subscribing to, what, 10 years ago?

horsemanzero said...

"A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics."

"Popular consensus" is anathema to scientific method. Suzanne should seek employment at a more suitable magazine, perhaps Cosmo.

Paul Zrimsek said...

So if the problem is in part conflation of the views of actual scientists with those of activists and journalists

...then the actual scientists aren't exactly helping with behavior like this:

Aside from the big Stardust comet story, the large pressroom at the American Geophysical Union is producing plenty other stories. One big event Thursday was a speech by Al Gore in an immense ballroom, with extra rooms and video feeds for the overflow. He said scientists need to be even more vocal over global warming to, some accounts say, raise an "appropriate alarm" and also to resist more stoutly efforts by some powerful US politicians to control what federal scientists can say in public. The scientists cheered robustly. Gore left without taking any questions from the audience or the press. (Entire article quoted.)

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that the problem with evolution is that some try to make it mean more than has actually been shown. Adaptive change at the lowest level has long been shown, and we can now sometimes see the actual genetic mutation causing it. But, there are billions, if not trillions, of mutations involved in moving from the first organisms to ourselves, and can that all be attributed to mere chance and adaptive change?

One of the problems is that there are big gaps in the genetic record, even fairly recently in our case. Dozens of genetic mutations may be present between one sample and the next. The approximate rate of mutation and genetic change is known, at least within some limits, and it is statistically possible that those genetic leaps could be a result of spontaneous genetic mutation driven by evolutionary forces. But, last I knew, the probabilities were such that there was no high level of certainty that this was the cause.

Let me maybe make an analogy - we can watch someone walk a single step, and we can watch them do it at a number of different locations. We find that they have moved around the world over time, and suspect that they walked it. But, we really don't know if they hitched a ride here or there along the way. The time that they took is consistent with how long it would have taken to walk it, but they could have hitched a ride, then taken a nap instead. Something like that.

In other words, in evolution, we see the baby steps, and we see the larger scale movement, but we really don't see the intermediate level enough. There is probably still room in the model for intelligent design, where a hidden hand is pushing evolution in a desired direction. Or, maybe to put this is a more scientific basis - the theory of intelligent design, where a hidden hand is pushing evolution a bit at a time, has not yet been falsified.

Now - what is confusing is that this debate is submerged into or merged with the debate with fundamentalists who argue essentially that Genesis said 7 days and 7 nights, and that what happened.

And, finally, I am an agnostic in this area. I won't chose between myself being who I am physically because of random genetic mutations based on evolutionary pressure, and there having been a little divine help along the way. It really doesn't matter that much as to how I conduct my day to day life, and I don't think that the science is completely in yet.

Sam L. said...

And obviously , comments HERE are bad for popular Science. El Bummer!

Bruce Hayden said...

Martin Luther made a similar mistake, when he argued for lay people rather than just Church Fathers to come up with their own readings of the Bible.

Later in life he lamented, "These days it seems every milkmaid thinks she can interpret the Scriptures".


And, from a Protestant's point of view, the common people discovered that a lot of what they had been taught as dogma did not have its source in the Bible (even the slightly different Roman Catholic version), but rather, in their Church's sacred traditions. And, without being directly based on scripture, they were essentially trusting the word of fallible men, many of whom, up until the Reformation at least, seemingly took personal advantage of those differences in dogma and theology that arose from tradition, and not scripture.

In other words, another one of those emperor wearing no clothes sort of thing.

Trashhauler said...

"The best debate strategy you can have with this ilk is one that ignores them until they start talking sense."

How, pray tell, is one supposed to notice when opponents are "talking sense" if you are ignoring them?

Anthony said...

it is hardly surprising that the political opposition to a political program would disdain the "science" used to propagate a power grab.

In fact the political program of the IPCC and its advocates is pernicious. It would replace the local, human, democratic debate with the centralized, bureaucratic, authoritarian dictate.


That is it, in a nutshell. Good encapsulation there, Henry. It's what I've though but could never really articulate.

CTimbo said...

It appears that "Popular Science" has evolved into "Unpopular Science", and they can't take the heat.