Climate Cargo Cult

The discussion of Cargo Cult Science reminds me of something Dr. Dean Edell once said, about how medical research can sometimes misinform culture.  As an example, he referred to alcohol and its effects on unborn children, and how much of what we think we “know” about this results from studies never fully explained by science.

It is true, Edell said, women who drink during pregnancy tend to have greater risk for birth defects.  However, he added their may be many contributing factors, any of which might not result from moderate alcohol consumption – women who drink often smoke or choose poor diets, may be vitamin deficient, or suffer from emotional trauma or depression.  And, a person’s choice to drink often reflects behavior in other areas of life, things which could also contribute to the poor health of an unborn child (FAS not withstanding).

Information about second-hand smoke has been treated much the same way in the United States.  With help from the anti-smoking lobby, studies on the subject have been widely distorted, resulting in many misconceptions throughout the culture.

Examples like these should be cause for people to question the role science can sometimes play in their daily life, especially as it pertains to agenda.  In fact, these practices have been shown to have dangerous effects.

For instance, it is accepted in medical research that erroneous results are often provided in peer review literature; overlooking or withholding certain information, which leaves doctors disadvantaged making critical health decisions.

In some cases this is done by accident, where the science is poor or researchers jump to conclusions.  In other situations – the more cynical moments – science is skewed to achieve notoriety, maintain research grants, or increase profit margins.

Dr. Richard Feynmanhits the nail on the head

1974 Caltech ” Cargo Cult Science speech

Listening to Feynman speak, one imagines he would consider feeding code into computer models – designed to establish a “pre-assigned expectation” – just another form of “Cargo Cult Science” (like Milliken’s values for viscosity of air, bad info in = bad info out).  Or, when “peer accepted” climatologists attempt to discredit a fellow PhD for “peer dissent,” it equals nothing short of censorship.

Interesting to note here – is how a convention like TED (a forum rife with theory) makes room to argue the disastrous state of  “peer review,” as it relates to medicine, but has yet to invite or post discussions held with any leading scientist who disagrees with, and can speak objectively, and non-politically, about theories involving “anthropogenic global climate change” – such as Henrik SvensmarkRichard Lindzen, Lennart BengtssonRobert M. Carter, Ross McKitrickNir Shaviv, …… and the list goes on.

For those who don’t know already, Dr. Feynman was one of the more brilliant scholars the last century produced – a physicist, and mathematician.  As a contributor to The Manhattan project and NASA’s shuttle program, he did not live to see today’s hyperbole surrounding “anthropogenic global climate change.”  Though if he had, it would be interesting to hear what he would say.

He did leave us with much great insight about the scientific process however, and about scientists themselves.  He spoke often of the need for rigorous integrity in the sciences, teaching his students –

Mother nature is what she is, whether we understand it, approve of it, or want it. He told students to beware of experts, especially those who tout their expertise. He insisted that true scientists are always humble in the face of awesome ignorance, and that even the most knowledgeable people should bear this. He also said that every great truth is immersed in uncertainty.  

Looking at the state of science and culture today, it seems Feynman’s rigor is something  “die-hard-climate-changers” rather not notice.   As they rally for legislation which threatens the world economy; they would further disadvantage the poor, and use tactics not so dissimilar to that of BigPharm or BigTobacco – veritably converse to Feynman’s consultation; they patronize the layman, protect their income and political influence, and prefer to ostracize those results and peers which don’t suit them.

Thankfully, the public seems to be catching on. The 2009 Climategate emails suggest a serious lack of integrity exists among some of today’s most influential climatologists.  It is unknown whether global temperature fluctuations the last 100 years are a creation of man, or just mother nature changing her mind.  Carbon levels are up, but as to what effect it is having on climate, science is still unclear.

Those who insist otherwise have not been honest with the evidence –  “building runways to nowhere, and waiting for planes” – another member of the “Climate Cargo Cult.”

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Seriously, …. Who Farted!?

Well, it looks though there is mixed reaction among Independent voters to last night’s Vice Presidential debate. And for anyone who watched it’s no surprise.

But it is unfortunate….

Because without a doubt, if you had heard it on the radio you were sure Joe Biden won.  And yet, for those watching on TV it was something else, more a cruel reminder how ridiculous American politics have become.

There was style seen in last night’s debate, for sure.  At times there even appeared to be substance. Excuses came from both sides, depending on the topic.  But when the message mattered most, and viewers needed details, it seemed facts went missing; befogged in buffoonery, as though lost in a cloud only “good ole Joe Biden” could have made.

Yes, “good ole Joe” did all but lean left, frizz his face, and fart, to take away attentions from Paul Ryan last night (okay, make me proud Sedakis).  And surely, where hardcore Democrats are concerned he did some good. 

As expected, Joe came out fighting for the showdown in Danville.  He was well prepared and his experience showed, proving nimble and knowledgeable with the questions. Most importantly, Biden managed to stick several blows in the Kentucky debate, necessary for inspiring disheartened Democrats let down after Obama’s performance last week.  “Good ole Joe” even looked to the camera, and called on America several times asking, “who you gunna trust,” …. us, or them?

Nevertheless, for all his apparent success, it was Biden’s frequent condescending laughs, snorts, and grunts, which left many viewers dismayed.  In fact, he was counted having interrupted Paul Ryan some 82 times during the 90 minute debate; prompting many pundits to declare “it was the rudest debate performance ever seen.” And while Biden did manage to muzzle much of what Ryan had to say, one has to wonder if attempting to conjure a Ritalin-readied Lloyd Bentsen was really the best approach.

Afterward, more than a few liberals said they felt Biden’s antics probably worked against him.  Tom Brokaw added to this, saying he did not understand why someone would laugh while talking about    “a nuclear Iran.”

In spite of his apparent knowledge, it may be Joe’s performance worked against him with younger voters as well; appearing to be an aging patriarch, whose time has come; unable to accept wisdom from a younger generation, he swats at their ideas as though the facts are beyond them.

Yet it was “the facts” viewers at home so desperately needed.  And it was learned voters who understood too well just what they had seen.

Also not to be overlooked, is the way this debate appeared to female voters.  Women often find braggadocios or aggressive men to be a turn off.  And, while Biden’s behavior last night could be excused by some female Democrats as “necessary,” given the stakes,  it may  also  have  struck female Republican’s and Independent’s as being obnoxious, and obscene.

On the other hand, there was Paul Ryan.  He also did as expected last night.  Ryan showed up prepared, and was polite.  He was focused and knowledgeable. Many hacks had high hopes for his primetime debut; to be a “wonky-information-super-fest-full-of facts-and-figures.”   But the format of this debate  and circumstances  did not allow it.

At times last night Ryan even appeared to be getting shoved around, if not by his opponent then the moderator.  As a result, his inexperience showed.  It’s true he can explain facts & figures well to those who will listen, or can hear him.  But Democrats were counting on Joe last night, and he made sure there’ll be none of that.

In the end, most on the left will see last night’s debate as a win for Democrats.  Republicans will also declare themselves the winner; having achieved in Ryan, a polite, likeable, and knowledgeable alternative, for all America to see.  And, as snap polls show undecided voters remain, as always, “undecided” on this,  each camp can head back to their corners with heads held high, in anticipation of the next debate.

That’s right folks… it’s a tie!

Unless you count the American voter that is, who’s search for details in this debate were not made easy. They could look left for their answers, or right.  But when the facts emerged, they quickly were purged ……. by “good ole Joe” ….. and the “cloud” left there on the stage.