March 16, 2015

"[I]f our educational system does not honestly and explicitly promote the central tenet of science—that nothing is sacred—then we encourage myth and prejudice to endure."

"We need to equip our children with tools to avoid the mistakes of the past while constructing a better, and more sustainable, world for themselves and future generations. We won’t do that by dodging inevitable and important questions about facts and faith. Instead of punting on those questions, we owe it to the next generation to plant the seeds of doubt."

Writes the scientist Lawrence M. Krauss in The New Yorker (in a piece that begins with a bit about Scott Walker's "I’m going to punt" answer on the question of evolution).

493 comments:

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PBandJ_LeDouanier said...

http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/30268?in=28:04&out=38:12

BarrySanders20 said...

Questioning authority is a good thing.

Challenge the dogma and see if the dogmatists can defend it. Just be ready when the most dogmatic start shooting when they know they've lost.

Roger Sweeny said...

Krauss is right, but he sounds like he hasn't been out much on his campus recently. The sacredness there, the lack of questioning, doesn't come from people who are consciously religious. It comes from social justice warriors and eco-warriors and all the people who go along to get along.

traditionalguy said...

Meanwhile the Great Global Warming Fraud is being 1000% supported by the Democrats and paid for Fake Science Cult Priests.

Myth is back. Personal prejudice against true scientists is all the media broadcasts anymore.

tim maguire said...

Nothing is sacred! Except for global warming.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Nothing's sacred, Lawrence? Biological differences between genders? Group/population differences between races commonly captured under the heading Human Biodiversity? Statistically significant sexual practice/frequency differences between hetero- and homosexual men, and the effect thereof on disease transmission? Advances in extraordinary prenatal medical care pushing back the concept of "viability" to a point prior to when abortion is generally considered legal, and the future ethical implications of same? Massive problems with the generally-accepted climate models, undercutting any long term predictive ability those might have?
I have a funny feeling Lawrence considers an awful lot of subjects into which science might delve "sacred"--just not the particular ones he thinks supports of Walker hold dear. Funny how doubt is such a good thing when considering the other fellow's beliefs but so dangerous and irresponsible when applied to one's own.
(full disclosure: I haven't yet read the article and am going on faith based on the brief excerpt and the "New Yorker" attribution.

tim maguire said...

Dammit, traditionalguy! I'm not deleting mine, you delete yours!

Anonymous said...

Paragraph 3: People need to doubt more.

Paragraph 6: People doubt too much!

tim in vermont said...

"Sustainable" I would love a scientifically rigorous definition of that word.

Sebastian said...

“teaching science is inseparable from teaching doubt”

To quote a famous Rhodes scholar, “It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is.” If is is ought, yes; if is is what is the case, no.

“religious faith appears to be an obstacle to understanding the world”

Isaac Newton would beg to differ.

“if our educational system does not honestly and explicitly promote the central tenet of science—that nothing is sacred—then we encourage myth and prejudice to endure”

The central myth of our time.

I doubt the author has ever studied any faith seriously. Let’s start with St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Martin Luther: which of their works, if any, has Krauss read?

jr565 said...

I'll say I'm skeptical on a lot of evolution, certsinly Darwinism. but I'm also skeptical of a literal interpretation of the bible too. I'm not convinced any side has it totally right. We're talking about solving questions thst almost have no answer.what came first the chicken or the egg?

Now certsinly I don't think teaching the biblical version of creation should replace science in a science class. but walker wasn't talking about what should be taught in schools. he's saying "I'm not answering because I don't know"
When Obama said answering questions about abortion and when life begins was above his pay grade it was a cop out, since fetuses are being killed in the millions every year.
But if SCOTT Walker does or doesn't beleive in evolution it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. Since knowing doesn't mean anything. It's the stuff of Internet arguments. Not real life or death.

rhhardin said...

It's leftist boilerplate.

The central tenet of science is curiosity.

The left leases tenets out to tenents.

Alexander said...

Funny where scientists draw the line. Very well, nothing is sacred, eh?

1. Why does evolution with regards to humans stop at the neck?

2. Why should anyone expect sub-saharan africans who are 'pure' homo sapiens, europeans - who crossbred with neanderthals, and south-east asians - who crossbred with homo denisova, to have similar... oh i dunno, intelligence, tendency towards violent behavior, and adaptability towards new standard norms, family structures... Is it even possible in the long run to have multiple sub-species of humanity (for the left/slow/rhetorically inclined readers, that means different subsets within a larger group, not that one group is sub-human or intrinsically inferior) living in proximity without inevitable conflict? Generally speaking, nature doesn't tolerate groups competing for the same resources living in peaceful stability.

Let's ask these questions, remember, nothing is sacred.

Or let's move on to another favorite topic, vaccines. If "the science" supports a national policy of vaccination against infectious disease, where is this policy being applied towards:
1. legal travelers
2. illegal immigrants
3. homosexuals

Politically uncomfortable, I know, but we need to honestly and explicitly promote the central tenet of science.

Final verdict: "Science" is a bullshit term used to signal one's ideological bonafides. If the science supports one's preferred policies, it will be used as a weapon... but if the science does not support it, then that doesn't really matter. And odds are pretty good that when a 'scientist' starts weighing in on bureaucratic matters, they're a bureaucrat first, a scientist by happenstance.

Big Mike said...

Buried in the article is this gem: "Meanwhile, earlier this year, an AP-GfK poll revealed that less than a third of Americans are willing to express confidence in the reality of human-induced climate change, evolution, the age of the Earth, and the existence of the Big Bang."

Let's take these in reverse order. Big Bang? The latest research I've read suggests that the Big Bang never happened. Skepticism in this case is a good thing.

Age of the earth? Assuming that radioactive decay is the same today as it was back then, then 4.54 billions of years is our current best estimate and probably not far off the true value.

Evolution? Hmm. Classical Darwinian theory, which postulated Natura non facit saltum, does not seem to match the fossil record as well as the modern "punctuated equilibria" theory does. But punctuated equilibria is still a form of evolutionary theory, so ...

And as for anthropogenic global warming, well, given its inability to make valid predictions cause me to wonder whether Dr. Krauss really understands what the late Richard Feynman meant in his famous 1974 commencement about cargo cult science.

Larry J said...

It sound like Krauss is pontificating on science in the ideal state, not science as actually practiced especially in academia. As others have already pointed out, we routinely hear how "the science is settled" in regards to human-caused climate change. That sounds like a religious declaration to me.

As HoodlumDoodlum said, this tendency extends far beyond "climate science", especially into the soft social sciences. We're supposed to question everything, just not them.

Besides, Walker was right to punt an obvious gotcha question from the Press. How many Democrats are asked questions like that? I'd love to hear some of their opinions on basic economics, climate change, etc.

Tom Gallagher said...

I'm not sure when science took an interest in beating down anyone who opposed the dogmas of evolution, global warming or even water flouridation, but this article from National Geographic warns anyone who wants to try.

National Geographic

YoungHegelian said...

One thing is certain: if our educational system does not honestly and explicitly promote the central tenet of science—that nothing is sacred—then we encourage myth and prejudice to endure.

I've read an awful lot of philosophy of science in my day. I don't seem to remember anybody saying "And, ya know, the central epistemological assumption that undergirds modern empirical science is that nothing is sacred...."

Matter of fact, the guy (Kant) who made famous the Enlightenment motto "Sapere aude" (dare to know), still thought quite a few things sacred.

tim in vermont said...


Meanwhile, earlier this year, an AP-GfK poll revealed that less than a third of Americans are willing to express confidence in the reality of human-induced climate change, evolution, the age of the Earth, and the existence of the Big Bang.


As if all three had the same level of evidence. Of course the phrase "human induced climate change" is so broad as to be inarguable. Building an airport where the blacktop heats in the sun creating thermals where once there was a forest is "human induced climate change." But I don't think that is what he was talking about.

Perhaps he is talking about the latest result that shows that the albedo of the two hemispheres remains remarkably stable, in defiance of the very climate models that failed to predict the pause.

Not to worry though, rather than demonstrating that the science is wrong somehow, the left has simply decided to attack the scientist as a tool of big oil. So the scientific method still works, right?

cubanbob said...

One thing is certain: if our educational system does not honestly and explicitly promote the central tenet of science—that nothing is sacred—then we encourage myth and prejudice to endure. "

We would be better off if we ignored the creationist and concentrated first on the communists.

Nonapod said...

I'm all for teaching and promoting logic, empiricism, and the tenets of the Scientific Method. Unfortunately there is a group of celebrity "scientists" and personalities who promote irrational thinking on certain issues. They behave more like high priests with devout followers. They brook no dissent and will viciously mock anyone who dares questions their beliefs.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

It's closer to the truth to say that just about anybody can be an idiot and get along just fine.

Michael said...

But you have to plant the seeds of doubt in the approved pot.

Skipper said...

If these high priests of science decried the influence of politics in their work, I'd be more sympathetic. But it's obvious politics is the coded message.

Gahrie said...

what came first the chicken or the egg?

This is easy if you believe in evolution, the egg came first, and it was laid by the animal that chickens evolved from.

tim maguire said...

tim in vermont said..."Sustainable" I would love a scientifically rigorous definition of that word.

No can do, it's one of those terms that you can't define without realizing that it's bullshit.

tim maguire said...

As a scientist who also spends a fair amount of time in the public arena, if I am asked if our understanding of the Big Bang conflicts with the idea of a six-thousand-year-old universe, I face a choice: I can betray my scientific values, or encourage that person to doubt his or her own beliefs.

Or you could point out that a 6,000 year old universe appears nowhere in the bible and has never been formally accepted by any mainstream religion. But that would require changing the tone of your article.

YoungHegelian said...

Notice how Krauss dumps creationism firmly on the doorstep of the Republicans, thus tip-toeing around a very uncomfortable fact for liberal "speakers of truth to power" like himself, i.e. that there are a lot of Democrats who are creationists, and most of them are minority. One doesn't have to know a lot about the history of Progressivism to know what ethnicities & races ended up on the bottom of the "evolutionary hierarchy". It's easy to understand why those folks might cling to their "faith" rather than the "science" so recently deployed against them.

tim in vermont said...

if our educational system does not honestly and explicitly promote the central tenet of science—that nothing is sacred—then we encourage myth and prejudice to endure. "

Are these the same guys who were wringing their hands not too long ago about common core teaching critical thinking and possibly leading to the questioning of the existence of "MORAL TRUTH"?

BDNYC said...

So the "consensus" on evolution and global warming are not "sacred."

I believe that evolution is correct, but that it should be constantly challenged and debated. The fossil record is too compelling to seriously doubt the theory, IMO, but scientists can always improve their understanding of evolution through further study.

Same goes for global warming. But global warming is even more poorly understood than evolution. The science is so maddeningly complex with countless variables and possible alternate explanations for the data. The data itself has reliability issues. Scientists should study the issue.

On the policy side, evolution does not really affect much except the school curriculum. Teach students evolution; if you do not, those students will be hampered when they enter college and have a weaker understanding of the science. Global warming, on the other hand, has immense policy implications. While global warming and its implications are so poorly understood, the central planners are eager to enact policies that increase government control of the entire economy.

Meade said...

In his New Yorker article, Lawrence M. Krauss writes,

"Consider Roy Moore, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, famous for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom wall: in a recent speech, he declared that the First Amendment only applies to Christians."

But if you follow his link to the MSNBC article and then to the video of Moore's speech, you'll see that the MSNBC writer falsely reframes Moore's speech to say something he never said.

I know — big surprise. My point: Krause impeaches his own admonition that "[I]f our educational system does not honestly and explicitly promote the central tenet of science—that nothing is sacred—then we encourage myth and prejudice to endure."

William said...

If I were hiring a bookkeeper for a company with lots of cash transactions and plenty of temptation, I would give the nod to the middle aged lady who attends church regularly and whose life is centered on church going activities. I'd probably pass on the young man with a flair for the dramatic who spends a lot of his free time with a group that advocates change in our drug and gambling laws. If I were hiring a high school biology teacher, my hiring preferences would be reversed.

MadisonMan said...

Nothing being sacred is a problem for, say, Churches that rely on unquestioning belief among their flock or for, say, Politicians who want their point of view to rule.

It's all about control. Because I said so might work for a toddler -- for a day or two -- but it shouldn't work on a thinking adult ever.

Because the facts support it is a better argument, but that statement will frequently run up against someone's strongly-held belief system, and they are faced with a difficult choice.

gerry said...

traditionalguy 9:47: Myth is back.

We're postmodern, dude. Everything is relative. Nothing is truth. Nothing is true. "Is" may not mean "is". What difference does it make.

BDNYC said...

Cui bono does not tell the whole story, of course, but no dispute issue of science is complete without it.

A scientist who publishes a study doubting AGW orthodoxy will have his integrity challenged if any of his funding comes from a petroleum company. No one really scrutinizes the studies on the other side, most of which are funded by the government -- presumably on the assumption that government funding is pure as the driven snow. Why assume that?

The government has its own interests that have nothing to do with pure science. The government wants control. The government wants to justify its existence. The government wants revenues. The government wants what the government wants.

AJ Lynch said...

Does life begin at conception? "that is above my pay grade" is how Obama answered that question and it was no big deal even though the answer involves a big public policy issue.

When Walker refuses to weigh in on a question that is not a big public policy question, he is a denier? Sadlay the evolution question is just the newest litmus test for crazed librul Dems.

YoungHegelian said...

@Meade,

"Consider Roy Moore, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, famous for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom wall: in a recent speech, he declared that the First Amendment only applies to Christians.

That's a lefty meme that clearly made the rounds. I got "unfriended" by an asshole fellow alumnus for pointing out to him that very same point --- Moore never says the 1st amendment applies only to Christians, he only says that the "religious assumptions" that underlie the American experiment in government are not "religious", they are Christian, and the only faith that plays a part is Christianity.

And wouldn't you know it, my intolerant ex-FB friend is a professor of philosophy!

Anonymous said...

The only problem with our science is: the findings always agree with predominant political beliefs:
1. Fat is bad for you, eat margarine (1970's), the study was funded by Crisco who needed to peddle their Crisco Oil, a lubricant, as food. Our "scientists" promptly churned out studies, those scientists who disagreed were silenced. 50 years of food pyramid, millions of obese heart attack victims.

2. Coming little ice age if we do not stop producing carbon dioxide blocking the sun (1970's). Of course, we must punish global warming deniers for producing carbon dioxide trapping heat (Al Gore 2015). That "science" netted Al Gore a billion dollars.

Religious people follow their religious teachings as a matter of faith. Scientists follow their research funding to turn out "scientific" studies, sometimes, in bad faith.

traditionalguy said...

I don't know. Maybe life could have evolved better on a flat earth 7,000 years ago because it would not fall off.

Brando said...

How can he write an article like this without acknowledging the true sacred cows of academia? When schools are subject to "trigger warnings" and certain speech is just too offensive for campus, when questioning whether global warming is man-made (which is an unproveable assertion as we cannot eliminate all other possible causes) is met not with a lively debate about the evidence but derision as if merely questioning it makes you a conspiracy theorist, when suggesting a biological basis for gender difference in scientific aptitude is met not with discussion and comparing evidence but drumming people out of the institution--is it not willful ignorance to focus entirely on the religious?

Last I checked, you can mock and criticize religion on almost any college campus, even nominally religious schools, with no real consequence. But there are sacred cows you dare not mock, not if you want to maintain your academic standing or job. Look to who you cannot criticize and then you'll know who's really in power.

A shame this writer skirted around the issue and went after the easier targets.

jr565 said...

Gahrie wrote:
what came first the chicken or the egg?

This is easy if you believe in evolution, the egg came first, and it was laid by the animal that chickens evolved from.


So,the argument is that one day an animal other than a chicken, suddenly laid an egg, and out popped a chicken. Prior to this was this animal laying eggs? Was it hatched from an egg too? Then what came first the animal that preceded the chicken or the egg.

Anonymous said...

Too often Republicans retreat on science when they ought to be reloading.

There's an incredibly stupid Facebook meme wherein a sign is put up on the wall that says something like, "The great thing about science is that it's true whether you believe it or not."

This is usually posted to support global warming, or some other leftist nonsense.

I always comment something along the lines of, "The great thing about truth is that it's true whether you believe it or not. Science has nothing to do with it."

Quayle said...

And the biggest seed of doubt we need to plant and nurture is the seed of doubt that science knows that it knows.

All science must remain tentative forever, is the truth that must be instilled in our children.

Else our children will fall prey to the same kinds of blatant falsities as many people in the past – people that believed, for example, such nonsense and long-ago repudiated myths like pure Newtonian mechanics unmodified by relativity, and phlogiston.

And, as we all know, the people that fell for such myths were deists and churchmen.

Wait, I mean scientists.

Yes, they were scientists.

(Gullible idiots!)

jr565 said...

similarly, we have billions of chickens laying eggs every year. Why is it that not one chicken lays an egg and out pops a lizard? Or an evolved chicken? Is it encoded in a chickens DNA that it can create anything other than a chicken?

jr565 said...

What came first the Proto chicken or the egg?

gerry said...

Classical Darwinian theory, which postulated Natura non facit saltum, does not seem to match the fossil record as well as the modern "punctuated equilibria" theory does.

I love this place. Thanks to Big Mike again.

chuck said...

the reality of human-induced climate change

Krauss seems a bit delusional, but given his political beliefs it is not unexpected. I wish there was more room for science and doubt in the belief system of the scientific priesthood.

William said...

Render unto Darwin, the things that are Darwin's. There are a whole lot of important life decisions that have nothing to do with one's belief or disbelief in evolution.....I have this feeling about Scientology that it's a huge crock and that the people who believe in it are trying to fill a void in their life. But I also feel that the people who obsessively try to expose Scientology as a scam also have a void in their lives that they are trying to fill. .....You fill your void, and I'll fill mine. Evolution teaches us that everything happens for the best in this best of all possible worlds.

YoungHegelian said...

@jr565,

Is it encoded in a chickens DNA that it can create anything other than a chicken?

Why are species stable? is a huuuge problem for Darwin. It was clear to him from his analysis of pigeon breeders that varieties were not stable, as pigeon breeders would routinely have "throwbacks", e.g. a variety would not preserve features & the resultant offspring would fall back to the species type, the ordinary rock pigeon.

I can't speak to later work in evolutionary biology, but Darwin never found an answer to the problem that satisfied him.

Fernandinande said...

A large fraction of the population—including more than fifty per cent of Republican voters—doesn’t believe in it.

63% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans don't. Not a very big difference.

Which isn't surprising since "The ordinary modes of human thinking are magical, religious, and social. We want our wishes to come true; we want the universe to care about us; we want the esteem of our peers. For most people, wanting to know the truth about the world is way, way down the list."


HoodlumDoodlum said...
Nothing's sacred, Lawrence? Biological differences between genders? Group/population differences between races commonly captured under the heading Human Biodiversity? ...


People who are honest about those things are quickly ostracized, so the best course for someone who wants the "esteem of his peers" is to not mention them at all.

The article was narrowly focused on an issue that's quite trivial compared to the things liberals ignore (or yell "debunked!" about, based on some trashy NYT editorial).

Larvell said...

"less than a third of Americans are willing to express confidence in the reality of human-induced climate change, evolution, the age of the Earth, and the existence of the Big Bang"

And of those third who express "confidence" about the age of the earth and the existence of the Big Bang, almost none of them have any reason to express such confidence -- they simply know what they have been told by others who have studied the issue. I consider myself fairly well-read and up-do-date, in an "intelligent layman" sense, but I have no independent basis for expressing an opinion as to the age of the earth or the Big Bang. I have no particular reason to doubt that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, or that there was a Big Bang, but if a study came out tomorrow saying "Scientists Question Whether Big Bang Actually Happened," or "Scientists Now Say Earth is 3 Billion Years Old," my reaction would not be to say, "That can't possibly be true! These guys are perverting science!" So I suppose you can count me among the 2/3 of Americans who this guy obviously thinks are yokels.

As to confidence in "the reality of human-induced climate change," his choice of language gives the game away. Is he saying people aren't confident that it is warmer now than it was at some undefined point in the past? Or that they are not confident that estimates of past temperatures, based on proxies such as tree rings, are accurate enough to make bold statements about prior temperatures? Or that they are not confident as to what proportion of any increase in temperature is due solely to humans, as opposed to other factors? Or that they are not confident in the ability of humans to create computer models that accurately predict future warming, given the failures of past predictions? Or that they are not confident that future warming, if it occurs, will be a net negative? Or that they are not confident that anything that can reasonably expected to be done will prevent future warming? Or that they are not confident that the "cure" wouldn't be worse than the disease? Honestly, if you do not display some lack of confidence on these issues, I don't see how you can claim to be acting in a scientific manner. And anyone who would boil this down to a meaningless phrase such as "the reality of human-induced climate change" is someone looking to make a political point.

Mark Caplan said...

"the central tenet of science—that nothing is sacred"

Science has its own sacred tenets:

1) Eschew supernatural explanations

2) Seek facts

3) Never dissemble

4) Independently verify empirical results

5) Referee articles before publication

6) Don't shave, but, if you must, use Occam's razor

traditionalguy said...

A religious myth is a false assumption upon which the scholastics have built an imposing edifice of Dogma.

CO2 Fear Cult is built entirely upon the false assumption that trace co2 gas molecules trap heat in the atmosphere of the earth. That has been proven false. There are no heat trapping feedback loops of co2 that are not more than totally offset by other atmosphere interractions.

Other Breaking News: heat also does not cause cold.

Hagar said...

My beliefs are sacred; yours are not.

David said...

People should punt more often. Not every topic requires a full exposition (or any exposition at all) every time it is raised.

tim in vermont said...

This is pretty funny coming out the same time as the Global Warming alarmist screed Merchants of Doubt which decries the very same doubt. Doubt about global warming, even though Naomi Oreskes herself, who made the documentary wrote one of the best papers demonstrating why confidence in climate models is foolish. So she is one of the first "merchants of doubt." Unless she somehow has renounced the paper. Which she can't since, unlike her documentary, it is well reasoned.

Owen said...

Larvell @ 3/16/15, 11:06 AM:

"As to confidence in "the reality of human-induced climate change," his choice of language gives the game away. Is he saying people aren't confident that it is warmer now than it was at some undefined point in the past? Or that they are not confident that estimates of past temperatures, based on proxies such as tree rings, are accurate enough to make bold statements about prior temperatures? Or that they are not confident as to what proportion of any increase in temperature is due solely to humans, as opposed to other factors? Or that they are not confident in the ability of humans to create computer models that accurately predict future warming, given the failures of past predictions? Or that they are not confident that future warming, if it occurs, will be a net negative? Or that they are not confident that anything that can reasonably expected to be done will prevent future warming? Or that they are not confident that the "cure" wouldn't be worse than the disease? Honestly, if you do not display some lack of confidence on these issues, I don't see how you can claim to be acting in a scientific manner. And anyone who would boil this down to a meaningless phrase such as "the reality of human-induced climate change" is someone looking to make a political point."

^^^^^This. Well said.

Gusty Winds said...

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”- Matthew 19:14

Freeman Hunt said...

This is an absurd column for Krauss to write after how buffoonish he was in debates with William Lane Craig. (Using a buzzer he brought while the other man was talking, going ad hominem instead of sticking to ideas. It was terrible. Hardly a model of rationality.)

Henry said...

I thought that "nothing is sacred" was the central tenet of comedy.

Nevertheless, I'm okay with science being funny. Too bad our educational system is sad.

Big Mike said...

One thousand years ago it was possible for people to live on Greenland using nothing but Medieval farming technology. We know this from the historic record. I wonder whether Krauss would like to try that today?

Michael McClain said...

The theory of evolution is scared.

MaxedOutMama said...

Unless, of course, one should express skepticism about the apocalyptic anthropogenic global warming impact.

In THAT case, Al Gore will put on his thigh high black leather boots, get out the quirt, and make it hurt SOOOO GOOOOD.
https://ecowatch.com/2015/03/16/al-gore-sxsw-punish-climate-deniers/

And then Robert Kennedy will have you imprisoned for freedom's sake.
http://www.climatedepot.com/2014/09/21/robert-f-kennedy-jr-wants-to-jail-his-political-opponents-accuses-koch-brothers-of-treason-they-ought-to-be-serving-time-for-it/
Kennedy saved his most venomous comments for the Koch Brothers, accusing them of “treason” for “polluting our atmosphere.”

“I think it’s treason. Do I think the Koch Brothers are treasonous, yes I do,” Kennedy explained.

“They are enjoying making themselves billionaires by impoverishing the rest of us. Do I think they should be in jail, I think they should be enjoying three hots and a cot at the Hague with all the other war criminals,” Kennedy declared.

“Do I think the Koch brothers should be tried for reckless endangerment? Absolutely, that is a criminal offence and they ought to be serving time for it,” he added.


There is more than a trifle of hypocrisy wafting around.

Robert Kennedy DOES believe in skepticism of science when it comes to vaccinations:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/06/13/robert_f_kennedy_jr_followup_on_his_antivaccination_claims.html

SteveR said...

Where you stand, depends on where you sit. One person's science is another person's religion.

sparrow said...

This is nonsense - Science itself it depends on Truth and Intelligibility. While not sacred in the religious sense these principles require obedience for Science to proceed. "Nothing is sacred" is simply the motto of the rebel: it has nothing to do with Science. He's conflating atheism with Science, which are entirely separable.

pduggie said...

"For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins"

Paul to the Corinthians

Unknown said...

"AP-GfK poll revealed that less than a third of Americans are willing to express confidence in the reality of human-induced climate change, evolution, the age of the Earth, and the existence of the Big Bang" should be: "AP-GfK poll revealed that less than a third of Americans HAVE THE SEEDS OF DOUBT ABOUT human-induced climate change, evolution, the age of the Earth, and the existence of the Big Bang"

Revenant said...

"Nothing is sacred" is simply the motto of the rebel: it has nothing to do with Science. He's conflating atheism with Science, which are entirely separable.

Atheism has nothing to do with it. "Nothing is sacred" is not an atheistic creed any more than it is a scientific one.

Rusty said...

We should poll the global warming people and see how many also believe in ghosts or UFOs.
I think it would be quite a lot.

jr565 said...

At any rate the proto chicken is just a side pstep to answering the questin of what came first. Since the question isn't really just about chicken but about the origin of life itself. You could ask
The same question about any animal the evolutionist brings up to replace the chicken and it would apply to
Them too.
Numbers are infinite because you can always add or subtract numbers and never get to an end. The origin of life is not that though.
Since the bible said God created the world and modern science says there was a Big Bang. There is a contest over dates of when it occured but it's the starting point of earth as a planet that holds life. So if we count backwards going back through all
The species that a chicken mah have been derived from we don't get to infinity. Instead we get to
The first. So
Let's call it protochickenx10000000. What came first protochickenx10000000 or the egg of proto chicken.
how is the first example of that species the common ancestor if you were on the world.
Was it born? Then it would require parents to birth it. Or did it somehow just appear full cloth?

richard mcenroe said...

Science can't even say for sure whether or not the Big Bang happened.* When I see them challenge some of their other shibboleths I'll be more impressed with their spirit of inquiry.

*OK, now they're actually saying it was more of a Big Mush, but they still have no theory that explains where the Big Mush came from.

richard mcenroe said...

"Moore never says the 1st amendment applies only to Christians, he only says that the "religious assumptions" that underlie the American experiment in government are not "religious", they are Christian, and the only faith that plays a part is Christianity."

But...but... what about all the Moslems who signed the Declaration of Independence and went on to build our railroads and skyscrapers and raise the flag on Iwo Jima? (flips pages) They GOTTA be in here somewhere...!

sparrow said...

Fair enough Revenant but the rejection of all thing sacred is necessarily a subset of atheists by simple logic. Also to speak of a "creed" for atheists is pretty odd, given that there's no governing order or agreed upon tenets, beyond the rejection of God, to the "community" of atheists.

THOMASt WREN said...

When I read the quote, I thought he was referring to Global Warming advocates.

Big Mike said...

One of the themes of Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman! is the importance of scientific theories leading to predictions which can in turn be tested. This is what's wrong about anthropogenic global warming -- so far all of the predictions derived from the theory have failed to occur (more hurricanes, oops, there've been fewer, less snow, oops again). The predictions have failed to materialize, the theory is broken.

Predictions are what's right about evolution -- but if we ever find fossilized crunched up human bones and the remains of rubber-soled shoes inside a fossilized T. Rex then we know either that evolution is wrong or time travel is possible.

robother said...

The tenet "nothing is sacred" is the mirror image of "no other god than Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet" in its intolerance of any other view. It is ironically the antithesis of the openness to spiritual as well as materialistic meaning that one finds in, say, Issac Newton. "Science" equally with "religion" is subject to a kind of thuggish reductionism in the hands of its banal bureaucrats. Krauss wields "science" as an authoritarian club against political enemies.

jr565 said...


Sacred definition: connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.

Atheists may not have it as a creed, but by definition they would have to believe that nothing is in fact sacred.

Roger Sweeny said...

One area where belief in evolution does have policy implications is disease and antibiotic resistance. Flu viruses mutate and change. Human Immunodeficiency Viruses mutate and change. They all evolve. Also, when a population of bacteria is sharply reduced but not eliminated by an antibiotic (say, because the patient didn't finish the prescription), the most resistant bacteria survive and eventually can give rise to antibiotic resistant bacteria.

However, most creationists agree with all this. They will tell you that they believe in "microevolution," just not "macroevolution." As long as a living thing stays within its "kind" (Genesis 1:25), they're cool.

Quayle said...

"less than a third of Americans are willing to express confidence in the reality of human-induced climate change, evolution,"

The burden of pursuasion is on the claimants.

Scientists denigrating the public because the public doesn't believe the science is like the attorney who blames the jury for being idiots, but never, ever questions whether she failed to effectively make her case.

Fen said...

""Meanwhile, earlier this year, an AP-GfK poll revealed that less than a third of Americans are willing to express confidence in the reality of human-induced climate change"

Well those 1/3rd are the smart ones. AGW theory is unravelling month by month. All the climate alarmists are scrambling to find out what caused the pause - 51 different research papers now, all giving 51 different excuses for why the vaunted climate models failed to predict reality. Does that sound like "settled science" to you? No wonder people are skeptical.

The author is ironic:
1) ignorantly using that 1/3rd factoid as a sign of ignorance.
2) dodging important questions about fact while lecturing us to avoid dodging important questions of fact.

I would ask "is he even a scientist?" but that doesn't mean what it used to.

eddie willers said...

Its chickens all the way down.






Then a turtle.

Roger Sweeny said...

jr565,

As I understand it, the story is: Fish lay eggs in water and always have. The eggs don't have hard shells. As fish changed over time, some developed leg-like fins and could breathe air for short periods (perhaps Tiktaalik). A descendent became good enough at land living to become the first amphibian, However, amphibians still had to go to water to lay eggs.

Millions of years later, a much later descendent developed the ability to cover its eggs with a hard shell, freeing its progeny from a dependence on water and becoming the first reptile. From its descendents came the dinosaurs and from one of the dinosaurs came the birds, including chickens.

Revenant said...

Science can't even say for sure whether or not the Big Bang happened.* When I see them challenge some of their other shibboleths I'll be more impressed with their spirit of inquiry.

Do you realize how ignorant you sound? The big bang theory is constantly being challenged by scientists, and always has been.

There is, however, a difference between informed objection and simply saying "durr, I don't believe that because people 3000 years ago didn't".

Terry said...

If no thing is sacred, human life is not sacred. Human life may or may not have value, but that value is arbitrarily assigned by human beings to suit their own needs.

jr565 said...

"Major evolutionary changes were beginning in some of the Eocene prosimians that foreshadow species yet to come. Their brains and eyes were becoming larger, while their snouts were getting smaller. At the base of a skull, there is a hole through which the spinal cord passes. This opening is the foramen magnum click this icon to hear the preceding term pronounced (literally the "large hole or opening" in Latin). The position of the foramen magnum is a strong indicator of the angle of the spinal column to the head and subsequently whether the body is habitually horizontal (like a horse) or vertical (like a monkey). During the Eocene, the foramen magnum in some primate species was beginning to move from the back of the skull towards the center. This suggests that they were beginning to hold their bodies erect while hopping and sitting, like modern lemurs, galagos, and tarsiers."
So many of these assumptions are based on our extremely limited number of intact fossilized records. But look at the incredible leaps in logic that are made which are not in fact proven.
It starts with the premise: Primates are remarkably recent animals. Most animal species flourished and became extinct long before the first monkeys and their prosimian ancestors evolved."
So, lets acknowledge up front that most animals ceased to exist and we have no record of them at all what they looked like etc. The fossils we find are the first instances of finding said fossils. But its very possible that said animal lived long before the fossil found died. Merely finding the fossil doesn't mean that we found the beginning of its life on the planet. It simply is an animal we found and carbon date and say "hmmm, this animal existed so and so in time". If we later found fossil from a million years earlier of the same animal we'd then say "Hmm, looks like this animal was around a million years before we thought"
But then it make this jump:
"The most dramatic changes were brought about by the emergence of grazing and browsing mammals with tough hoofs, grinding teeth, and digestive tracts specialized for the processing of grass, leaves, and other fibrous plant materials. "
How do we know that said animals evolved or emerged and weren't there before we merely don't have a fossilized record of one, because such data is very hard to come by. There could have been grazing animals with tough hooves in existence prior to the fossil we found having those traits, we just don't have the fossil to show it. But as stated 'most animals because extinct before the formation of the primates" So we don't actually know that they didn't have hooves. correct?
All of these evolutionary changes are presumed because we find a bone that's dated from 50 million years ago and compare it to a bone that's found 40 million yyears ago of different animals. And they have different traits.

If you dug up a horse from 50 years ago, a chimpanzee from a hundred years ago and a chicken from a thousand years ago, and that's all the records you have on said animals it really says nothing about evolution. It's simply finding three animals that existed at a certain period of time and then drawing connections that fit the theory.

Fernandinande said...

Freeman Hunt said...
This is an absurd column for Krauss to write after how buffoonish he was in debates with William Lane Craig.


google [Krauss debates with William Lane Craig], first two results:

"Lawrence Krauss embarrasses William Lane Craig in this ..."

"Atheist Lawrence Krauss loses debate to Christian Dr ..."

Chicken evolution by artificial selection.

Brando said...

What I don't get is how someone can say "we have proof that global warming is caused by man." I do understand that measurements of Earth temperatures over time can indicate that the Earth has been getting warmer--that's measureable if done accurately and unaffected by other variables (such as measuring near an urbanizing area, where city heat effects could explain a local temperature rise but not indicate a global temperature rise).

But to prove that humans are causing the global warming is another matter--how can we eliminate all other variables, like volcanic activity, or activity out in the universe, or the effect of oceanic life? Earth's temperatures have fluctuated constantly over the eons, caused by all sorts of factors--to say it was "definitely" due to one cause may present a convincing theory, but that's not the same as proving something like gravity.

Of course, if I'm missing something and there is actual evidence and reasoning to explain that yes, global warming is definitely caused by humans, then fine--I'd welcome that sort of discussion. But where all I hear is scoffing from people who clearly haven't put much thought into this (except to pat themselves on the back for accepting automatically the conventional wisdom) then this presents the same ignorant environment the author seems to decry.

Revenant said...

Fair enough Revenant but the rejection of all thing sacred is necessarily a subset of atheists by simple logic.

Your logic does not resemble our Earth logic. In reality, you can be an atheist and consider things sacred (the word has been applied to non-religious topics for centuries), or be a theist and consider nothing sacred.

Also to speak of a "creed" for atheists is pretty odd, given that there's no governing order or agreed upon tenets, beyond the rejection of God, to the "community" of atheists.

Which is why it is dumb to say that the belief that nothing is sacred is atheistic, no?

Dan Hossley said...

His lack of self awareness is stunning. If doubt is central to science, then surely doubt about man-made global warming, evolution, the big bang, etc. are all positive virtues.

Unknown said...

Re: "There is, however, a difference between informed objection and simply saying 'durr, I don't believe that because people 3000 years ago didn't'.

Objection, presumes facts not in evidence. Could you put "the big bang theory" into the concepts of the language available 3000 years ago?

damikesc said...

Perhaps if scientists weren't so willing to whore themselves out, science wouldn't be viewed askew.

For example, why are raw temperate measurements from stations adjusted and almost always adjusted upwards? If a scientist has to "fix" the temperature record, I don't feel it qualifies as a record.

As far as evolution and the age of the Earth, the prevailing wisdom seems accurate, but it's not an issue for me and I don't, honestly, give a rat's ass one way or the other. If the Earth is 5B years old or 500, not sure how it impacts ME.

And if it turns out evolution is a lie --- so what? The impact on ME is non-existent. I'd prefer a pol just answer "I don't care" about irrelevant questions.

jr565 said...

Roger wrote:
The primate-like mammals do not seem to have played an important role in the general transformation of terrestrial animal life immediately following the massive global extinctions of plants and animals that occurred about 65,500,000 years ago. The most dramatic changes were brought about by the emergence of grazing and browsing mammals with tough hoofs, grinding teeth, and digestive tracts specialized for the processing of grass, leaves, and other fibrous plant materials.

SO now we're back to us coming from out of the ocean. Ok, so fish lay eggs. So fish come from eggs. Where did the first fish come from if not an egg? Wouldn't there have to be a first fish to produce an egg, for fish to to exist. And actually there would need to be two fully formed fish that could produce eggs in existence somehow for fish to be able to exist as we know them. Where did THEY come from?
The very first fish, had to simply exist and been produced in a matter different than all other subsequent fish. Since unlike all other fish his egg would have had to have been created from nothing.

Roger Sweeny said...

Lavell, if you want a nice explanation of where those numbers come from, check out Roger Brigg's Journey to Civilization: The Science of How We Got Here(2013).

Revenant said...

What I don't get is how someone can say "we have proof that global warming is caused by man." [...] to prove that humans are causing the global warming is another matter--how can we eliminate all other variables, like volcanic activity, or activity out in the universe, or the effect of oceanic life?

First of all, "proof" (outside of mathematics) doesn't mean "absolute certainty". That's why phrases like "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" exist. Secondly, scientists *have* tried to tie global warming to those other factors, and haven't had much success.

Metaphorically speaking, a crime has been committed, there is a mountain of circumstantial evidence pointing to one of the suspects, and the other known suspects appear to have alibis. One need not investigate the other 7 billion people on Earth before bringing charges.

The *real* problem with AGW isn't the science behind it (which, right-wing whining notwithstanding, really is pretty solid), but the response to it -- which tends to call for multi-trillion-dollar investments in things that demonstrably will NOT solve the problem in a cost-effective manner.

jr565 said...

So amphibians are going out of the water to land and over time giving birth to mammals? Have you ever seen this? It's like saying you could change lead to gold.

Considering the amount of time to create gradual changes, how much time would it take to change cold blooded animals to warm blooded?

traditionalguy said...

The motto of real science is, "take no man's word for it."

Test data are all science uses... which is why the Global Warming Hoax Criminals have had to alter the historical temperature data every which way but lose.

Real data has now proven that propagandists who say the CO2 causes warming crap are all false witnesses.

damikesc said...

The *real* problem with AGW isn't the science behind it

It was zero predictive value. I don't see how it can be viewed as being solid at all. Manipulation of data is rampant. FOIA requests being required to get the raw data is not something an actual science does. "Adjusting" the temperature data up (and pretty much always raising it up) isn't sound science.

There is no science there.

William said...

It's well to remember that not so long ago advanced people thought that Marxism was the science of both economics and of history. Similar claims were made for Freud's understanding of the workings of the mind. The adherents of Marxist beliefs were every bit as self righteous and persecutory in their propagation of these scientific beliefs as medieval monks were of theirs......God, nutrition, economics, evolution. There are lots of things we don't know about these subjects. It does seem, however, that those who are the most self righteous in their views are the ones who cause the most harm.

Paco Wové said...

"Where did the first fish come from"

You could do worse than start your journey here.

Revenant said...

Objection, presumes facts not in evidence. Could you put "the big bang theory" into the concepts of the language available 3000 years ago?

"The universe is many billions of years old. Our world is formed several billion of years ago from earlier stars that exploded".

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
The *real* problem with AGW isn't the science behind it (which, right-wing whining notwithstanding, really is pretty solid), but the response to it -- which tends to call for multi-trillion-dollar investments in things that demonstrably will NOT solve the problem in a cost-effective manner.

But lefties demand that if you accept the cause you also must accept their remedy. It's not really about global warming at all but implementing a social agenda. And if you don't go along with it you are anti science.

Bryan C said...

"Could you put "the big bang theory" into the concepts of the language available 3000 years ago?"

And the cosmos was without form, and void. And God said "Let there be light." And there was light.

jr565 said...

Paco Wove wrote:
Fish may have evolved from an animal similar to a coral-like sea squirt, whose larvae resemble early fish in important ways.

May have. SO my next question is where did the sea squire evolve from. And considering how gradual evolution supposedly is, how long did it take to evolve from the sea squirt to the fish?
Do you see any animals going through such evolution today?

Revenant said...

It was zero predictive value.

No, it doesn't. It makes predictions about the long-term impact of increasing the atmosphere's ability to retain heat.

I don't see how it can be viewed as being solid at all. Manipulation of data is rampant. FOIA requests being required to get the raw data is not something an actual science does.


For decades, the Catholic church covered up molestation of children by priests. Does that prove that religion as a concept is inherently corrupt and evil?

*Some* AGW researchers -- typically the ones making the most extreme predictions, and thus showered with the most political money and attention -- are guilty of the sins you name. They are not the whole of the field. That's what happens when science is leveraged to suit pre-existing political agendas. There were hundreds of millions of leftists desperately searching for "proof" that society needs to be regulated, and AGW is the lastest thing they seized on.

jr565 said...

The Big Bang Theory and God creating the earth are totally compatible. The God creating the earth could have been done through a big bang. My question is if there were no design, how did the planet get the exact atmosphere to support life. If one thing had been amiss life as we know it wouldn't have occurred. And that's an awful lot of processes to have magically or randomally coalesced to form a workable atmosphere.

Revenant said...

And the cosmos was without form, and void. And God said "Let there be light." And there was light.

Ah, the "Genesis describes the big bang" canard rears its ugly head again.

Roger Sweeny said...

jr565,

You're absolutely right. The fish have to come from somewhere. Biologists' story says they came from previous multi-cellular sea-dwelling animals which came from previous sea-dwelling single cell animals.

Where the first living things came from, no one knows. There are a lot of theories. None of them provide a complete explanation, let alone are generally accepted. Maybe some day but not today.

hombre said...

The seeds of doubt about scientism and philosophical materialism corrupting real science are sprouting as we speak.

Original Mike said...

Evolution's "body of work" stretches back 150 years. Global warming's does not.

jr565 said...

Roger Sweeny wrote:
You're absolutely right. The fish have to come from somewhere. Biologists' story says they came from previous multi-cellular sea-dwelling animals which came from previous sea-dwelling single cell animals.

Where the first living things came from, no one knows. There are a lot of theories. None of them provide a complete explanation, let alone are generally accepted. Maybe some day but not today.

Also, I don't think animals have the ability to morph into other creatures, even over time. A cat will always give birth to a cat. Yes, there is a lot of variation in a cat species, so you could have different strains of cats, but a cat isn't going to give birth to an animal that looks like a cat but has wings. Even over time. And so I don't buy that fish did in fact evolve from some non fish lifeform. Fish are fish. Cats are cats. If it were possible we'd still see it happening today.

Real American said...

those "others" need to be open minded to my preferred "science", but I need not be open minded to the fact that my preferred "science" may be, and probably is, bunk.

damikesc said...

No, it doesn't. It makes predictions about the long-term impact of increasing the atmosphere's ability to retain heat.

Except nothing has happened as they say it has. The predictions that HAVE offered don't pan out.

The pause in warming violates basically every model they have ever produced.

When your models show something and it does not happen, you have bad models. And ALL they really have, at this point, are bad models.

For decades, the Catholic church covered up molestation of children by priests. Does that prove that religion as a concept is inherently corrupt and evil?

No moreso than public education having a far greater issue with that does.

Science is supposed to be open but environmental science in particular is loathe to release raw data to anybody they feel will question their results.

That, again, is not science.

*Some* AGW researchers -- typically the ones making the most extreme predictions, and thus showered with the most political money and attention -- are guilty of the sins you name. They are not the whole of the field. That's what happens when science is leveraged to suit pre-existing political agendas. There were hundreds of millions of leftists desperately searching for "proof" that society needs to be regulated, and AGW is the lastest thing they seized on.

Given that most of the researchers have few expressed issues with that, that is their problem.

Their complaint is as legit as Southerners upset that the KKK "ruined the image" of the Confederate flag or "moderate" Muslims complaining that extremists are ruining Islam's image.

If the group won't correct its own issues, then they support those issues.

Steve Uhr said...

Too bad so many commentators who are sensible for the most part talking politics, sound like they are five when engaging in scintific discussions.

Terry said...

Rutherford once said "All science is either physics or stamp collecting."
Climate science is on the stamp-collecting side of the ledger.

Revenant wrote:
"Ah, the "Genesis describes the big bang" canard rears its ugly head again."
Do you know what a canard is, Revenant?

Mick said...

Why shouldn't any student learn about all competing theories. The Big Bang was taught as a fact for decades, and is now placed in doubt only recently.

http://phys.org/news/2015-02-big-quantum-equation-universe.html

Roger Sweeny said...

jr565,

My question is if there were no design, how did the planet get the exact atmosphere to support life. If one thing had been amiss life as we know it wouldn't have occurred. And that's an awful lot of processes to have magically or randomally coalesced to form a workable atmosphere.

There are some scientists who say that though there are billions of planets in the universe, we live on the only one that had the right conditions to develop intelligent life. Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee lean toward that in Rare Earth (2000). James Kasting disagreed in How to Find a Habitable Planet (2010). David Waltham brings things up to date with a conclusion summarized in his title, Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional--and What it means for Life in the Universe (2014). Waltham has a boatload of "Further Reading" at the end if you want to delve deeply into the debates.

Paco Wové said...

"If it were possible we'd still see it happening today."

How do you know we aren't? What would you consider convincing evidence?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Revenant, it may be a "canard," but it's also accurate. It would be difficult to render the Big Bang in language of 3000 years prior (a little more, actually) w/o some such language.

jr565, the bit about the universe just happening to have the exact conditions to support life really is a canard. Steven Jay Gould had a terrific essay on this once, tracing the forms of the argument over centuries. Successive scientists had wildly different versions of the sidereal universe, but all of them proclaimed that only in their precise universe could life have evolved. Me, I'm inclined to think that life in a wide variety of environments is more likely than not.

Roger Sweeny, yes. I can accept the evolution of life pretty easily; it's the origin of life that leaves me flummoxed. Because the evolution of life relies on natural selection, but before there is life, there isn't any such thing as "descent with modification," and without it you're just throwing random molecules at each other and hoping they'll eventually produce -- not only a double helix, but the surrounding support structure. This seems to me just insanely unlikely, even if you posit primitive sludge washed up on the shore of a volcano and heated to the precise degree so as to create a few simple organic molecules. That was the going theory when I was in middle school. I don't think it has advanced much since.

Robert Cook said...

"...he only says that the 'religious assumptions' that underlie the American experiment in government are not 'religious,' they are Christian, and the only faith that plays a part is Christianity."

And even here one can take issue with Justice Moore: who says there are "religious assumptions" underlying the American experiment, or, to the extent there may be, that they are particularly "Christian?"

Among the founders of this nation there were certainly those with religious beliefs, but there were probably those without, and among those with religious beliefs were certainly Christians, while others have been described merely as "deists."

They were also educated men, and they no doubt referred back to philosophy and history as much as to (or more so than) religion of any kind when crafting the particulars of the Constitution.

Also, use of the term "creator, (as in, "endowed by our creator") can be and may have been simply a poetic phrasing to assert the intrinsicality of the "rights" which the founders declared were natural to all men, (even as they denied them to a great many).

MadisonMan said...

CO2 Fear Cult is built entirely upon the false assumption that trace co2 gas molecules trap heat in the atmosphere of the earth. That has been proven false

If you are actually asserting that CO2 molecules do not trap heat on Earth, you are wrong. I admit that your curious phrasing "trace co2 gas molecules" gives you some denial wiggle room.

Terry said...

Revenant wrote:
"No, it doesn't. It makes predictions about the long-term impact of increasing the atmosphere's ability to retain heat."

I can make predictions like this, too!

You have exaggerated even the claims of the IPCC in order to make it look like science.
The current IPCC attempt to correlate absolute value of atmospheric CO2 to a global temperature (which is the goal) is expressed as a range of values with different 'confidence values'. Unlike AGW extremists, the IPCC climate report states that there is a significant chance that man-made CO2 is having no impact on average global temperature at all.

jr565 said...

As far as Global Warming goes I think Bjorn Lomborg has it right. Even if its true, you wont be able to fix it by lowering the temperature. So instead d things to offset the problems. It will be a lot cheaper.

Matthew Sablan said...

Science has no say in what is or is not Sacred. It is, in fact, completely mute on the subject of Sacred or Profane.

Science, like religion, needs to learn its place.

MadisonMan said...

damikesc, your 1:42 post makes me think you want all scientists to become more political.

To me, calling into question some other scientist's findings without doing your own research is political (the exception being discussions about lousy ideas over beers with friends)

Fernandinande said...

Libruls hate human evolution.

Western Europe, State Formation, and Genetic Pacification

Revenant said...

Given that most of the researchers have few expressed issues with that, that is their problem.

My goodness, it is almost like they're interested in science instead of fighting political battles. Fancy that.

Look, the political left is dominated by people with a person interest in peddling an apocalyptic global warming scenario. The political right is dominated by people who think physics, chemistry, and biology are commie conspiracies against the church. Real scientists have NO allies on either side, which is why they try not to get involved.

Anglelyne said...

Hoodlum Doodlum: (full disclosure: I haven't yet read the article and am going on faith based on the brief excerpt and the "New Yorker" attribution.

Oh, you've read the article, trust me. Maybe not this instantiation of the article, but you've read it, probably a hundred times. Though this one manages to work in gay marriage, so that may be a slight new twist.

Isn't a scandal these days, how fearless seekers after truth are being relentlessly persecuted by malicious, close-minded young-earth creationists, who are constantly abusing their enormous political and social power in getting honest scientists sacked, denied tenure, shut out of government and private foundation grants, and socially ostracized?

Krauss's rendition of a particular standard trope is precious, though:

The same week, I received an e-mail from a young man who lives in Indiana; he feels isolated and damaged because of the reaction of his friends and family to his rejection of religion and his love of science. I get e-mails like this regularly. We owe it to these young people to help them feel, as another young letter-writer put it, that “I’m not the only one who has these thoughts.”

Lol. I've hung out at many sites over the years where thinking, scientifically-minded young people regularly show up and confess to the same sense of isolation and ostracism from their peers and authority figures, who also express gratitude for having finally found evidence that they're "not the only one who has these thoughts". They ain't talking about their experience among bible-thumpers, though.

Religious fundamentalism exists closer to home than you might imagine.

Yea, verily.

Matthew Sablan said...

“religious faith appears to be an obstacle to understanding the world”

As do Gregor Mendel and Lemaître, Catholic priests both.

Roger Sweeny said...

jr565,

You are absolutely right that cats don't give birth to things that look like cats but have wings. Animals can't "morph" like cartoon creatures. However, I am sure that you believe that mutations happen all the time. There is constantly new genetic material. Most of it is harmful but occasionally, the offspring that get it are better able to survive and have offspring themselves.

The biologists' story is that this constant creation of new genetic material along with increased survival for some of the living things that possess it eventually leads to very significant change.

Biologists do not think that this is an omnipotent process. Lots of things can't be done. Cats can't turn into dogs and dogs can't turn into cats. But they do think a carnivorous mammal many million years ago could be the common ancestor of both dogs and cats.

garage mahal said...

*Some* AGW researchers -- typically the ones making the most extreme predictions, and thus showered with the most political money and attention -- are guilty of the sins you name.

If these people were looking to make a quick buck they would be working for a think tank that pumps out pro-fossil fuel propaganda. Any idiot can do that.

SteveR said...

One thing generally missing to some degree in these debates about subjects like evolution, is there is a lot of time involved. Seems obvious but people clearly don't grasp that.

Robert Cook said...

"My question is if there were no design, how did the planet get the exact atmosphere to support life. If one thing had been amiss life as we know it wouldn't have occurred. And that's an awful lot of processes to have magically or randomally coalesced to form a workable atmosphere."

There are plenty of planets that don't have life, because the conditions that would support life--however varied those conditions might be--did not occur on these planets. (If there were design, why are so many planets apparently barren of life, bearing conditions inhospitable to any life we can imagine? Why wouldn't the designer have put life everywhere?)

However, given the vastness of the universe, the billions of galaxies and trillions of stars, the possibility that conditions supporting life will occur by chance on not just one planet buy many is not so unlikely at all, (just as when millions of people pick lottery numbers over a period of time, eventually someone will pick the winning number, no matter that the odds against any person picking matching numbers seem impossibly unachievable).

That many forms of life may develop in many different conditions just makes the possibility of life existing throughout the universe--without design--that much more probable.

Henry said...

Evolution's "body of work" stretches back 150 years. Global warming's does not.

I'm not sure what distinction this is pointed at.

The tracking of temperature goes back many centuries, a preoccupation among the scientifically inclined since the invention of the thermometer.

I've recently been reading a collection of ecological essays written in the 1970s and 80s. It's interesting to read conjectures about the greenhouse effect in those pages. From other reading, I've noted that climatologist understood that deep ocean currents had a profound effect on global climate from the beginning of the public discussion. Climate scientists did not "invent" deep ocean currents to "hide the decline."

I'm not terribly impressed by the public policy pronouncements of climate scientists as activists, nor by their overwrought publicists, but the standing up and knocking down of canards is immaterial to the slow aggregation of research.

Larvell said...

"Lavell, if you want a nice explanation of where those numbers come from, check out Roger Brigg's Journey to Civilization: The Science of How We Got Here(2013)."

I understand where the numbers come from, and I fully accept that they represent the best estimates based on current understandings. And they may even be right. But I don't rule out the idea that something might come along to upset that understanding -- I mean, we are, after all, talking about things that happened billions and billions of years ago. I just read recently where some scientists are postulating an alternative explanation to the Big Bang. They presumably would be within the 2/3 of people that the author thinks are too stupid to live, even though they certainly are better informed than he is. My point is simply that it is absurd to mock people as being ignorant for not "expressing confidence" in things that they have no reason to be confident about -- and even more absurd to do so in an article about how nothing is supposed to be sacred.

Revenant said...

Revenant, it may be a "canard," but it's also accurate. It would be difficult to render the Big Bang in language of 3000 years prior (a little more, actually) w/o some such language.

Michelle, the story of Genesis has our world forming before the stars did. It has the oceans existing before *light* did. Even if you give them a pass for the limits of their concepts then, they are still wrong.

If you dumb the story down to "originally nothing was here, but then later on stuff was here" then, sure, that matches an equally dumbed-down version of the big bang theory. But it also matches a dumbed-down description of a teenager explaining to his dad why there's an empty beer bottle in his room.

The people of the time had the words and the concepts to say, for example, that the stars came before the Earth did, or that the sun itself was just a star, or that our world was formed from stars that exploded. They left those details out not because they lacked the words, but because that isn't what they believed had happened.

tim in vermont said...

@Reventant

What does "pretty solid" mean to you?

It is not even "solidly established" that it is warmer today than it was 1000 years ago.

You made the assertion, what do you know that the IPCC doesn't?

Revenant said...

If these people were looking to make a quick buck they would be working for a think tank that pumps out pro-fossil fuel propaganda. Any idiot can do that.

Well yes, an an idiot would probably think that's a good way to make a quick buck.

In reality, of course, the amount of funding for the doomsayers exceeds the "pro-fossil-fuel" funding by a few orders of magnitude.

Original Mike said...

"The tracking of temperature goes back many centuries"

Climate modeling does not. When the field has developed half as long as the evolutionary theory, I'll give it the respect it deserves. But not yet.

Revenant said...

“religious faith appears to be an obstacle to understanding the world”

As do Gregor Mendel and Lemaître, Catholic priests both.

Saying that something is an obstacle does not mean that it is an insurmountable obstacle. E.g., "Lou Gehrig's disease is an obstacle to enjoying a long and successful life", Stephen Hawking notwithstanding.

Really, though, the problem is fundamentalism, not "religious faith". For all its flaws, the Catholic Church has evolved and changed over time in response to new evidence. That is why it has survived this long while fundamentalist faiths flare up and burn out.

damikesc said...

My goodness, it is almost like they're interested in science instead of fighting political battles. Fancy that.

If they feel the predictions are overblown, then say so. If you don't, then don't whine when you're lumped in with the ones who do it.

Their models have failed spectacularly. None work. And without their models, they have nothing.

If they can ignore manipulation of data;trying to mesh temperatures taken hundreds of years ago with far less accuracy than today's measurements, in theory, should have; and to create a "science" that is unable to predict a damned thing --- then they aren't scientists.

When you can't rely on raw data to bolster your claim, then your claim is horribly flawed.

If these people were looking to make a quick buck they would be working for a think tank that pumps out pro-fossil fuel propaganda. Any idiot can do that.

...except government money easily trumps "Big Oil" and is clearly less stringent.

Funny, skeptics have been accurate in their criticisms than AGW cultists have been in their predictions.

The political right is dominated by people who think physics, chemistry, and biology are commie conspiracies against the church.

Can you name one who actually believes that? I don't know of one but I can always be informed.

Michelle, the story of Genesis has our world forming before the stars did. It has the oceans existing before *light* did. Even if you give them a pass for the limits of their concepts then, they are still wrong.

The Bible isn't a abook about "How".

It's about "Why".

Looking for what the Bible does not seek to answer is silly.

damikesc said...

Really, though, the problem is fundamentalism, not "religious faith". For all its flaws, the Catholic Church has evolved and changed over time in response to new evidence. That is why it has survived this long while fundamentalist faiths flare up and burn out.

Islam has a millenia or so and hasn't changed shit for new evidence...

tim in vermont said...

If somebody wants to claim that model results based on quantum mechanics is "evidence" I would listen, on account of the predictions of quantum mechanics have been tested to many decimal places and the scientific edifice has shown nary a crack

When climate models achieve even a tiny fraction of that level of reliability, I will start viewing their results as informative of anything other than the current state of the art for a fledgling science.

For one thing, even if the "pause" is not real, and temperatures are really rising in hidden ways, that means, according to the theory, that heat heading for the stratosphere should be intercepted, and the stratosphere should be cooling.

After all, if the heat is staying on the planet, the stratosphere must cool, right?

Well, it hasn't cooled in 20 years, longer than the pause in warming has continued.

Anglelyne said...

jr565: So amphibians are going out of the water to land and over time giving birth to mammals? Have you ever seen this? It's like saying you could change lead to gold.

Considering the amount of time to create gradual changes, how much time would it take to change cold blooded animals to warm blooded?


If you were honestly curious about this stuff, you would have long since availed yourself of a basic textbook on the subject, and would be asking better questions.

If you're an adult and you're at the level you appear to be here, you obviously have never been terribly curious about the subject. Which is fine, nobody says you have to be, but you look ridiculous asking other people to do your homework for you.

Fernandinande said...

Friendlier link: Western Europe, state formation, and genetic pacification

chickelit said...

That looks like a scowling Joe Biden holding the sign in the linked article.

JHapp said...

It's amazing how little we know about evolution, maybe 1 part in 10 to the power of a million million. GW ditto.

garage mahal said...

In reality, of course, the amount of funding for the doomsayers exceeds the "pro-fossil-fuel" funding by a few orders of magnitude.

I doubt it.

mtrobertsattorney said...

The best that can be said about the traditional theory of evolution as well as the belief that order can arise out of random disorder is that they are consistent with scientism, empiricism and materialism. If these three are true,so goes the argument, then the belief that order can arise out of disorder and the theory of evolution must also be true.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that doctrines of scientism, empiricism and materialism all rest on concepts drawn from philosophy. And since the great majority of scientists know little or nothing about the history of philosophy, they are unaware of the philosophical arguments that have been raised against these concepts. So when they are confronted with these kinds of arguments, scientists like Krauss become very defensive.

But this isn't surprising. After all they are not used to having the truth of the premises that lay behind their world view called into question.

tim maguire said...

garage mahal said...
In reality, of course, the amount of funding for the doomsayers exceeds the "pro-fossil-fuel" funding by a few orders of magnitude.

I doubt it.


You're quite wrong. You're also utterly ignorant of the nature of business if you think oil companies aren't perfectly happy to get on board with global warming hysteria.

gravityhurts said...

I think every democrat should be asked the question " If you put too many Marines on Guam will it tip over?"

tim maguire said...

mtrobertsattorney, you can't have modern biology, you can't have modern medicine, without evolution. Evolution is the reason animal testing works. The physical evidence of evolution is overwhelming.

Evidence still works the way it always has, the fact that global warming is being driven by political activists in league with dishonest politicians and journalists doesn't change that.

n.n said...

Scientists would do well to stop conflating science, philosophy, faith, and fantasy. They should stop indulging in liberal exploitation of inference or created knowledge. They should reject wild and broad assumptions of uniformity and independence in both time and space. The scientific domain is, in fact, closely constrained, and does not even encompass all of a human life, Earth, solar system, and certainly nothing beyond.

That said, it is both scientific fact and self-evident that a human life evolves from conception to a natural, accidental, or premeditated death. Scientists need to reject fables, pseudoscience, and morally ambiguous policies as they follow the secular profits of wealth, pleasure, and leisure that are often motivated by narcissistic indulgence.

Oh, and so-called "green" technology is neither green nor renewable from recovery to reclamation. The marketing trope obfuscates environmental disruption and that it is only the driver (e.g. wind, solar radiation) which is both green and renewable.

As for theories of universal and evolutionary creation, they are articles of faith that are derived from circumstantial evidence, assumptions of uniformity, one-to-one functions, and prodigious indulgence in inference and pattern matching. Not science. Not even philosophy. There is no probable path that they will ever intersect with the scientific domain.

tim in vermont said...

I doubt it

I saw what you did there garage.

Revenant said...

One thing generally missing to some degree in these debates about subjects like evolution, is there is a lot of time involved. Seems obvious but people clearly don't grasp that.

The other thing people tend to forget is that the number of *generations* is the key factor. For humans, a generation is 20-30 years. For single-celled organisms like bacteria, a generation is 20-30 *minutes*. It took something like 50 trillion generations for single-celled organisms to evolve sexual reproduction.

If we were to look at all of the generations of our ancestry, only that most recent last few percent were even *animals* -- and only the last 0.000000001% were human. If you were to count all the organisms that had ever lived, multicellular life wouldn't even register as a blip on the chart -- proportionally speaking, multicellular life is the equivalent of a single grain of sand, and single-celled life is the beaches of the world. That example actually exaggerates how common multicellular life is, believe it or not.

n.n said...

tim maguire:

Evolutionary principles, yes. Evolutionary creation, no. The Theory of Evolution is merely an anthropomorphized adaptation or conceptualization of the underlying chaotic physical processes and an unknown fitness function.

Revenant said...

in reality, of course, the amount of funding for the doomsayers exceeds the "pro-fossil-fuel" funding by a few orders of magnitude.

I doubt it.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

- Phillip K. Dick

jimbino said...

Lawrence Krauss does us a great disservice by treating doubts about "climate change" in the same sentence along with doubts about evolution.

That the earth has for a couple billion years undergone vast climate change is almost a given. But a real scientist will ask:

1. Is the current trend merely a part of the longer-term trend?
2. Is the change positive or negative?
3. Is the change significantly caused by human activity?
4. Are the solutions proffered exhaustive, or are there better ways (i.e., putting a stop to the rampant human breeding) to ameliorate a negative trend?
5. What are the justifications for taxing living non-breeders now for the future benefit of the progeny of the breeders, especially since they are a major factor in any anthropogenic climate change?

jimbino said...

Lawrence Krauss does us a great disservice by treating doubts about "climate change" in the same sentence along with doubts about evolution.

That the earth has for a couple billion years undergone vast climate change is almost a given. But a real scientist will ask:

1. Is the current trend merely a part of the longer-term trend?
2. Is the change positive or negative?
3. Is the change significantly caused by human activity?
4. Are the solutions proffered exhaustive, or are there better ways (i.e., putting a stop to the rampant human breeding) to ameliorate a negative trend?
5. What are the justifications for taxing living non-breeders now for the future benefit of the progeny of the breeders, especially since they are a major factor in any anthropogenic climate change?

n.n said...

jr565:

The agnostic perspective neither accepts nor rejects articles of faith, including affirmative statements about extra-universal entities and unknown fitness functions, biblical and "scientific" creation theories, etc.

The scientific domain is actually very constrained in both time and space, which is a discomforting thought to both theists and atheists. The former who base their faith on myth (e.g. iterative knowledge) and circumstantial evidence. The latter who base their faith on intuition (e.g. prejudice) and circumstantial evidence.

garage mahal said...

You're quite wrong.

Link?

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

Link?

Revenant said...

Islam has a millenia or so and hasn't changed shit for new evidence.

That's roughly as accurate as saying, for example, "nothing noteworthy has happened in Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire.

MadisonMan said...

@jimbino, as real scientist will ask only the first three of your questions. #4 and #5 are irrelevant.

tim in vermont said...

garage, instead of asking us to prove a negative, why don't you provide the link that shows the fossil fuel industry throwing around billions of dollars pushing specific lines of research?

n.n said...

The orthodoxy has spoken. A consensus has been formed. The mortal gods and priests of the established Church demand obeisance, redistributive change, and sacrificial rites. History repeats itself in secular cycles.

garage mahal said...

garage, instead of asking us to prove a negative, why don't you provide the link that shows the fossil fuel industry throwing around billions of dollars pushing specific lines of research?

I didn't make any claims. I doubted a claim made.

Chef Mojo said...

"The Physics of Star Trek."

Dude.

Celebrim said...

Since when has the nonexistence of the sacred been a central tenant of science? It would have certainly been news to Isaac Newton or Descartes.

Surely the central tenant of science is the world is observable and knowable. It makes no predication at all as a central tenant what we are going to find when we do the observations.

Celebrim said...

Since when has the nonexistence of the sacred been a central tenant of science? It would have certainly been news to Isaac Newton or Descartes.

Surely the central tenant of science is the world is observable and knowable. It makes no predication at all as a central tenant what we are going to find when we do the observations.

Revenant said...

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

Link?

Link!

tim in vermont said...

(i.e., putting a stop to the rampant human breeding)

jimbino is a monomaniac. He would throw that line in in a discuss of Shakespeare's use of simile in his sonnets. You shouldn't be surprised that he charges scientists with responsibility for his pet obsession.

Bill M said...

Advisor to Obama and Dawkins wrote the afterword to one of his books. I'm sure he's VERY open minded.

Paco Wové said...

"Scientists need to reject fables, pseudoscience, and morally ambiguous policies as they follow the secular profits of wealth, pleasure, and leisure"

Yes, the plague of tanned, sunglassed scientists and post-docs cruising their Porsches down the autoroutes of the French Riviera, trailing wads of cash as nubile science groupies clung to their arms, has truly been the curse of the late 20th century.

n.n said...

Celebrim:

Observable and reproducible. That's how we know that humans are not merely a historical mirage or inferred artifact.

jimbino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jimbino said...

Amerikans are scientific illiterates, including SCOTUS, which is also hobbled by having 6 Roman Catholics and 3 Jews on the current bench and nary an atheist or agnostic.

If you are in the military, in prison, or in a hospital, you will have to put up with being served by a superstitious chaplain; atheist and agnostic chaplains aren't yet available.

While Newton was famously confused when it came to religion, today some 94% of scientists and mathematicians say they have no use for a belief in a personal god or the supernatural.

We ought to run an experiment on the efficacy of prayer to resolve this question that fits into the overlapping magisteria of science and religion.

The fact that no religious person has won the James Randi/Scientific American $1M prize for proof of the paranormal is an indication that there is no paranormal.

Religion says prayer works; science says that it doesn't, no way. It's truly tragic that so many Amerikans are superstitious and supremely tragic that many doctors, politicians and judges join them in religious superstition.

jr565 said...

There is so much conjecture in evolution that is taken as a given absolutely, but is really based on the flimsiest of arguments.
Take this page that supposedly proves evolution. It says:
To understand the origin of whales, it's necessary to have a basic understanding of how natural selection works: It is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioral traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring.
I agree with this, but don't think inheritable traits extend past what is in fact inheritable based on the DNA of an animal. So, a whale cannot pass down legs. But it certainly could adapt to its environment. That would NOT include growing legs beucase it would be advantageous to exist on land. That would be as silly as assuming that we could grow wings because it would be advantageous for us to fly. We could have a million generations, I doubt anyone will give birth to Angel, (the mutant from Xmen)

"Natural selection can change a species in small ways, causing a population to change color or size over the course of several generations. This is called "microevolution."

Yes totally agree.

"But natural selection is also capable of much more. Given enough time and enough accumulated changes, natural selection can create entirely new species. It can turn dinosaurs into birds, apes into humans and amphibious mammals into whales.

ANd here's where I'm not buying it. MIcro evolution, absolutely, macro evolution - magical thinking.

"How whales took to water

Using evolution as their guide and knowing how natural selection works, biologists knew that the transition of early whales from land to water occurred in a series of predictable steps. The evolution of the blowhole, for example, might have happened in the following way:

Random mutations resulted in at least one whale having its nostrils placed farther back on its head. Those animals with this adaptation would have been better suited to a marine lifestyle, since they would not have had to completely surface to breathe. Such animals would have been more successful and had more offspring. In later generations, more mutations occurred, moving the nose farther back on the head."
Oh, so its naturally predictable that whales were originally land animals but then moved to water. What?! They state this as if its an absolute certainty. SO suppose a whale suddenly developed a blowhole in its natural habitat? How would this be an advantage? How would nature know to give it a blow hole and that it should seek out a new habitat? (cont)

William said...

Newton believed in both astrology and alchemy. These beliefs were not extraneous to his scientific discoveries but were, rather, the motive force behind those discoveries. Anything that the human mind can conceive of or believe in is 90% bunkum......I bet Krause believed Clinton when he first said "I did not have sex with that woman"......Liberals are not gullible about the same things liberals are, but they are extremely gullible......I've enjoyed reading this discussion. Many intelligent points made by all sides......Some physicist said that the universe is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine.

n.n said...

Paco Wové:

As partisan oracles, they advise and justify redistribution schemes for political maneuvering. Not all. Perhaps not most. But the fact that there is not a separation of science and politics is clearly evident. The corruption of science for opportunistic ends is neither novel nor unexpected.

YoungHegelian said...

@RC,

And even here one can take issue with Justice Moore: who says there are "religious assumptions" underlying the American experiment, or, to the extent there may be, that they are particularly "Christian?"

Among the founders of this nation there were certainly those with religious beliefs, but there were probably those without, and among those with religious beliefs were certainly Christians, while others have been described merely as "deists."


Judge Moore, in his lecture, refers mostly to the conditions in English Common Law that made the emergence of the Founding Fathers possible, not to the beliefs of the Founders themselves.

I'm not saying I agree with Moore. I'm just saying that 1) he isn't saying the imbecility he was "quoted" as saying & 2) he is making an historical claim that isn't outlandish on its face, but like many other claims of historical chain of causality, needs further work to prove its plausibility.

It is worth listening to his original lecture, if for no other reason, than to hear for yourself how appallingly badly he was misrepresented.

tim in vermont said...

But the fact that there is not a separation of science and politics is clearly evident.

In the novel Dune this is a fundamental law of society that had been learned at great cost at some unspecified time in the past. Kind of like the "clone wars" in Star Wars.

Chef Mojo said...

(just as when millions of people pick lottery numbers over a period of time, eventually someone will pick the winning number, no matter that the odds against any person picking matching numbers seem impossibly unachievable).

This bit of human chauvinism has always bugged the crap out of me since Sagan - then Tyson - dragged it out along with "beeelions and beeelions of stars," as if the mere possibility of life out there in the rest of the universe is based on what we believe to be simple odds making. The false and ludicrous underlying foundation of their method of odds making is that someone is actually offering odds on something that could well be infinite.

Think about that for a moment. Talk about "faith based." Vegas don't play that.

Revenant said...

Between 2003 and 2010, "climate change deniers" in the United States spent $558 million pushing their agenda. The US government spent $76,001 million opposing them.

I hope that clears up any confusion about where the money is, AGW-wise.

Sources here and here.

n.n said...

William:

The scientific domain intersects with other logical domains, notably philosophical. The methods and knowledge in one domain may serve as insight or inspiration to discovery and understanding in another.

The underlying dynamic of freewill is neither fully understood and likely incomprehensible when observed from inside the frame of its existence. For example, we are incapable of discerning whether the brain (i.e. closed system) is a source or expression of consciousness.

Mitch H. said...

Atheism has nothing to do with it. "Nothing is sacred" is not an atheistic creed any more than it is a scientific one.

Horseshit. Any "atheist" who holds things sacred is either poisoned by metaphor, or engaging in what Muslims call shirk - treating that which is not God, as divine. In the Judaic or Christian tradition, erecting golden calves. Either you literally hold nothing sacred, nothing divine, or else you've given something the status of Divinity.

This is the muddle-headed bullpuckey that pseudo-Chesterton described when he talked about those who won't believe in God coming to believe in anything.

It is this problem which troubles my otherwise-doctrinaire agnosticism. The same epistemological contortions required to establish material existence likewise seem to require either utter materialistic depravity or the existence of at least some sort of moral First Mover-type divinity.

Revenant said...

The false and ludicrous underlying foundation of their method of odds making is that someone is actually offering odds on something that could well be infinite. Think about that for a moment. Talk about "faith based." Vegas don't play that.

What does "offering odds on something that could well be infinite" mean? Are you trying to say there could be a 0% chance?

We know there isn't a 0% chance of life evolving on a planet, because it already evolved on one. Metaphorically speaking, we're holding a winning lottery ticket, looking at all those stars out there which also bought tickets, and saying "hm, we probably aren't the only planet that picked the winning number".

Certainly it is possible that there is something unique about Earth. But we have no evidence that we're unique. It would be both unscientific and immensely arrogant to assume, absent any evidence, that we're the unique and precious snowflakes of the whole of the observable universe.

tim in vermont said...

@Revenant,

That's a joke, right? I won't even bother making the obvious arguments against it.

Why don't you look at your own post for a little while and see if there is the tiniest hook for a person skeptical of your statement to latch onto? See if you can find even a small flaw...

jimbino said...

Mitch,

Was your First Mover created or did she evolve from something else?

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

"The *real* problem with AGW isn't the science behind it (which, right-wing whining notwithstanding, really is pretty solid)"

This statement tells me you haven't kept up with the actual science, just the pop culture crap from the "I fucking love science" crowd.

But I advise you *against* catching up with the science - you'll just feel like an ass afterwards. You've been conned by snake oil salesmen in lab coats.

tim in vermont said...

The UN’s green bank will start converting its $9.7 billion purse into real projects by June 2015, it announced today.

The Green Climate Fund, which will channel much of the $100 billion in climate finance that rich countries have promised to deliver every year from 2020, will start considering proposals for projects within the next sixth months.


- See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2014/12/04/green-climate-fund-to-start-funding-projects-in-2015/#sthash.TFjNAoWt.dpuf

Fen said...

Between 2003 and 2010, "climate change deniers" in the United States spent $558 million pushing their agenda. The US government spent $76,001 million opposing them.

I hope that clears up any confusion about where the money is, AGW-wise.

Sources here and here.


Anyone who refers to AGW theory sketpics as "science deniers" is biased and cannot be counted as a source.

What else ya got?

Revenant said...

Horseshit. Any "atheist" who holds things sacred is either poisoned by metaphor

Or fluent in English.

tim in vermont said...

Five environment-specific groups alone raise more than $1.6 billion per year in total (Greenpeace, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, National Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club). All five focus solely on environmental issues and are frequent and prominent advocates for global warming restrictions.

Mitch H. said...

jimbino: a more straightforward question that gets at what I'm talking about: is mathematical truth emergent or essential? Does the fact that reality is describable by mathematical constructs mean that there is an essential order to reality which precedes reality itself, or is it a simple emergent characteristic required by the unfolding of causality? If the latter, is that because math just happens, or that it all unfolds due to the attraction of some ineffable platonic ideal?

Either way, that Prime Mover is the essence, or seed of reality. Do I believe in biblical truth, of any faith tradition? No, no more than I believe in Tolkien's mythos, or any other fiction built on really rigorous world-building. But I don't *know*, and there's the creeping suspicion that never quite goes away of that which "rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm".

Revenant said...

That's a joke, right? I won't even bother making the obvious arguments against it.

Well if you did, it would help me figure out which of my many comments in this thread you're lobbing insults at.

YoungHegelian said...

@jimbino,

Was your First Mover created or did she evolve from something else?

And the problem of an uncaused first cause goes away exactly how in a purely materialist cosmology?

Or, are you happier with the idea of an infinite causal series? In which case, please explain how we get to Now.

jr565 said...

"Such animals would have been more successful and had more offspring. In later generations, more mutations occurred, moving the nose farther back on the head.

Other body parts of early whales also changed. Front legs became flippers. Back legs disappeared. Their bodies became more streamlined and they developed tail flukes to better propel themselves through water.":
SO imagine this poor creature. It suddenly develops a blow hole which considering its current climate on land would be a distinct disadvantage.
Nowadays whales existing in water naturally. but this poor creature would have to wait the millions of years to develop flippers. During those millions of years it would be at a distinct DISADVANTAGE since not having flippers would be harmful. How does an animal know that it would need feet? and what process would give feet to an animal that didnt' have them? Again, using the wings analogy. Shouldn't we develop wings at this point since it might be a biological advantage for us to fly naturally?

"Even though scientists could predict what early whales should look like, they lacked the fossil evidence to back up their claim. Creationists took this absence as proof that evolution didn't occur. They mocked the idea that there could have ever been such a thing as a walking whale. But since the early 1990s, that's exactly what scientists have been finding.

The smoking gun came in 1994, when paleontologists found the fossilized remains of Ambulocetus natans, an animal whose name literally means "swimming-walking whale." Its forelimbs had fingers and small hooves but its hind feet were enormous given its size. It was clearly adapted for swimming but it was also capable of moving clumsily on land, much like a seal."
So why is this animal the precursor to a whale and not just an animal that has legs that can also swim, much like an otter. Where is the evidence of the one becoming the other other than the evolutionists saying "See?"

tim in vermont said...

Face it Revenant, the skeptics are winning with better arguments.

It doesn't take a huge amount of funding to point out that 2+2 does not equal 5 and to win a lot of adherents for that point of view.

Revenant said...

Anyone who refers to AGW theory sketpics as "science deniers" is biased and cannot be counted as a source. What else ya got?

Fen, you truly are a dumb motherfucker.

1. "Climate change deniers" was in quotes for a reason: that isn't what I call them.

2. The links in question go to studies proving that the AGW crowd is far better-funded than the skeptics.

In other words, you were so busy looking for an opportunity to bleat your party line that you accidentally dismissed evidence that supports your side.

tim in vermont said...

If God can self create so can the universe.

If God can always be, so can the universe.

If one is possible, the other is possible.

It is not really that hard.

Revenant said...

Face it Revenant, the skeptics are winning with better arguments.

If you call seeing billions of dollars of your tax money go to fund your political opponents "winning", you define the word differently than I do.

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