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Everything posted by waitforufo

  1. SkepticLance, Do you really want to live in a world without those like Peter Blake? There are times when passivity is prudent and even heroic. For example Gandhi and Martin Luther King are examples of heroic passivity. More often however, history shows that passivity leads to enslavement to the wicked. Should no one resist the wicked? In hindsight it may have been a more prudent for Mr. Blake to give in to the “evil bastards.” I for one am glad that there are those in this world who will not surrender there liberty and property evil bastards. Perhaps Mr. Blake would be alive today had he not made his defense. Would he have been the same person afterward? I do not condemn him for remaining true to himself. I celebrate him. Let’s say you hear a woman outside your home screaming for her life in the dead of night. Yes, it would be foolish not to first call the police. Would you not however go to her aid? If she were raped and murdered as you listened would you really be able to say you did all you could by just calling the police? Would you really condemn a person that went to help and then also became a victim? Mr. Blake tried to protect those on his craft. His death left there fate completely in the hands of “evil bastards.” The fact that these evil bastards only stole properly after murdering Mr. Blake was merely fortunate on there part. How do you know that they would not have murdered someone regardless, just to set the proper tone for there piracy? I think you, SkepticLance, should be ashamed.
  2. With a population of about 300 million there are an estimated 200 million guns in the US. Know one knows the real number. My guess is that there are more guns than people. Currently guns are “tracked” in the US from the manufacturer to a registered dealer to the individual. In most States, that is where the paper work stops. Manufacturers and dealers maintain there own records. Law prohibits the creation of a central data base. Such tracking started in 1968 with the assassination of Robert Kennedy. Prior to that date, guns could be purchased by mail in the US with no record. Those guns are still out there. In most States today, sales from individual to individual are completely untracked. California is an exception (may guess is there are a few others), were legally guns must be transferred through a dealer. One however can claim that there guns were unknowingly stolen. That means that nearly all guns are untraceable. Proof of this can be found in most news papers want adds under “guns and ammo” or another such similar title. If you want US citizen to buy more guns, just push for more gun control laws. If the firearms industry ever builds statues of there favorite US citizens I’m sure they would start with one for Bill Clinton and another Sara Brady. More guns were sold in the US due to the efforts of those two individuals than any two people in US history. My point? Trying to close the barn door at this point in the US would be quite difficult if not impossible. Criminals and nut jobs will always be able to get guns in the US. With regard to “gun free zones,” such places should be required by law to have all entrances and exits guarded and all those entering electronically or physically screened. The guards should be armed. Declaring an open campus a “gun free zone” anywhere in the US is wishful thinking at best and madness at worst.
  3. So yesterday (4/25) Senator Reid was told that General Petraeus was in town and would be addressing congress regarding the war in Iraq. Senator Reid was told the General Petraeus would explain during his visit how progress is currently being made in Iraq. He was then asked if he would believe General Petraeus. Answer, No. So, in effect Senator Reid believes General Petraeus to be a liar. Didn’t Senator Reid vote to approve General Petraeus in his current command position? If he considers General Petraeus to be a liar, why doesn’t the Honorable Senator request General Petraeus be removed from command? Shouldn’t the Honorable Senator request that General Petraeus resign his commission? First he tells the troops they are fighting a lost war, and then he tells them their commander is a liar. At what point are such statements providing aid and comfort to our enemies? There are those who believe we should withdraw from this war. Are there however people at war with us? Will they remain at war with us if we withdraw? Finally, there is a popular notion that the war in Iraq is going poorly. What evidence is there for this belief? Some mention the time involved. If WWII would have been twice as long with half the casualties and with the same victors would WWII been a worse war? Allied casualties, each of which is tragic, have been very low in Iraq compared to other wars. I just don’t see how or where we are losing. Perhaps not winning at the rate we would like but that hardly seems like a good reason to quit. Our enemies most effective weapon, suicide solders. To what army in history has that tactic brought victory?
  4. Descent as a form of encouragement. Where do I start? Think of it as constructive criticism. Accepting criticism is always difficult. Humility isn't a strong suite of our species. Many studies have proven that researchers find what they are looking for, regardless of the true outcome of an experiment. That is why medical science does double blind studies. Many studies have also shown that all individuals filter out information that support their beliefs and reject those that don't. If you don't believe that, the next time you finish reading a news paper go back through the paper and find the articles you chose not to read or finish. Most will find that they rejected those that did not support their own beliefs. Many of the threads on global warming show this tendency. Many won't read research supported by "Big Oil." Others reject research supported by proponents of "Big Government." A good scientist should read both and reject only those with bad data. In science, it is all in the data. A person publishes for two reasons; to inform and to confirm. The inform part is the scientist saying "Hey everyone, look at this neat thing I found." The confirm part is the scientist saying "Okay, but did I miss anything?" Answering that second question in a negative way is a good thing for the publishing scientist and all science. By the way, most scientists prefer to publish in good peer reviewed journals. One reason for doing this is to limit the embarrassment caused by promoting bad science. The small group of reviewers, by rejecting the paper, save the scientist's reputation. Think of those cold fusion researchers from Utah a few years back. Initially they got lots of positive publicity. Then no one could reproduce there research. I bet they wished their paper was rejected. Finally, sometimes descent has to be a bit brutal. Most hold their opinions quite dear. It's difficult sometimes to move people away from incorrect beliefs. As long as the descent does not fall into ad hominem attacks, you are on safe ground. So yes, I may be capitalist, or a socialist, or my nose may be big, but the important thing is my data.
  5. First, let me apologize for diverting the topic of this thread. The thread is about the usefulness of scientific consensus. Please however let me clarify my thoughts on laws of nature. Much of scientific research, particularly in the past, has been an attempt to discover exceptionless regularities in nature. Those thought to have discovered such exceptionless regularities had there names attached to them. For example: Newton's laws, Maxwell's laws (or equations), Gauss's laws, Faraday's law, and so on. Modern science has found exceptions to most of these laws. Few people today believe we will ever fully discover exceptionless regularities in nature. Modern thought is that laws of nature are statements that describe causal powers. Exceptions to such laws based on this definition are considered acceptable. It would have been better for me to say science is not longer in the exceptionless regularities business and is now in the causal powers business. Back to the topic of scientific consensus. In my last post I stated that scientific consensus is of almost no value. Its primary value is to encourage continued work on promising research. Maybe an example would be illuminating. Say some scientist proposes a hypothesis, collects data from an experiment, or compiles data from the historical record, and this data shows some significant correlation to the hypothesis. Based on the significant correlation found, the scientist attempts to publish a paper. Okay, where he attempts to publish makes a difference. All good scientific journals are peer reviewed. That means experts in the field will review the work and reach some level of consensus about its worthiness for publication. If it passes that threshold and is published then a lot of scientists will see it. If a scientist reads the paper and has reasons to disagree with it, he can write the author or the journal editor and tell them why the paper is wrong or perhaps not quite on the right track. If no one does this, in some respects, a higher level of consensus is reached. So when does a scientist know he's really on to something. Generally when others start calling his hypothesis a theory and extending the research by their own work. It does seem that there is a threshold for when a hypothesis becomes a theory and for when a theory becomes a "Theory." These thresholds are generally passed when significant amount of data has been collected that supports the hypothesis in the original or modified form. In other words that data can't be ignored. So who decides that enough is enough? A consensus of scientific community decides. How do they do this? Generally by running out of good arguments against the hypothesis. How is this best achieved? By encouraging decent. Decent is a form of encouragement.
  6. In "QED, The Strange Theory of Light and Matter" available from the Princeton University Press, Richard Feynman has this to say about whether or not the listener will understanding his lecture on physics. "The next reason you might think you don’t understand what I am telling you is, while I am describing to you how Nature works, you won't understand why Nature works that way. But you see, nobody understands that. I can't explain why Nature behaves in this peculiar way. Finally, there is this possibility: after I tell you something, you just can't believe it. You can't accept it. You don't like it. A little screen comes down and you don't listen anymore. I'm going to describe to you how Nature is - and if you don't like it, that's going to get in the way of your understanding it. It's a problem that physicists have learned to deal with: They've learned to realize that whether they like a theory or they don't like a theory is not the essential question. Rather it is whether or not the theory gives predictions that agree with experiment. It is not a question of whether a theory is philosophically delightful, or easy to understand, or perfectly reasonable from the point of view of common sense. The theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED) describes Nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And it agrees fully with experiment. So I hope you can accept Nature as She is - absurd. I'm going to have fun telling you about this absurdity, because I find it delightful. Please don't turn yourself off because you can't believe Nature is so strange. Just hear me all out, and I hope you'll be as delighted as I am when we're through." I see two essential elements in the above. Science isn't about "why", it's about "how." If you want to know about "why" study philosophy or religion. Next, when a theory gives predictions that agree with experiment, it must be believed. It you can't do that you should avoid science. So Newton had some theories about gravity. He made some experiments and the results agreed with his theory. We have to believe. The results were so good in fact they were upgraded from theories to laws of nature. Then Einstein came along and essentially said "well except in these extreme and special circumstances." Experiments showed that Einstein was right so Newton's laws of gravity went back to being theories. I don't know if humans will be so bold as to declare any theories "laws of nature" again. Einstein put science out of the "laws" business. So science is a show me game. It's all about the measurements. Scientific consensus is nearly meaningless. So why do we talk about it then? Two reasons: probability and time. Some things are really hard to measure or they are governed by complex systems. So the best you can say is that the probability of a particular outcome is X percent, or one could say the theory correlates with data X percent of the time. If X is 90%, the theory might be considered good depending on the branch of science. If X is 40% most scientists would say try again regardless of the branch. In physics a theory generally must describe some thing very well for to be considered a good theory. For example Bohr's theory of the hydrogen atom works great for hydrogen, but not for other more complex atoms. It still won him the Nobel Prize. Next, some experiments take too long for our patience. Evolution and Global Warming fall into that category. That is why we must extract data from the past. The guardians of evolution theory, in the past, use to reject any data that did not support the concept of Gradualism. Gradualism said that all things happen very slowly like the formation of the Grand Canyon. Nothing happens like the dinosaurs all being killed off by a meteor striking the Earth. Eventually there was enough data showing that species died off quickly and evolved quickly that they came up with the idea of punctuated equilibrium. So the theory of evolution was modified based on measurements. That’s science. So like evolution, global warming theory has two problems. First, the theories only fit the historical measured data some percent of the time. Also, much of this data is extrapolated from ice cores, tree rings and the like. We only have significant actual data for about the last 150 years. I'm not and expert so I don't know how good the extrapolations are, but it does matter. For example, I have yet to see a climate computer model that can be set to conditions of say 10,000 years ago that then tracks the actual known climate conditions that followed for the next 1000 or more years. Show me that and I might get excited about global warming predictions.
  7. I know this is a science forum, but this is a topic has been covered for centuries by most major religions. Catholics for example call it Concupiscence. -------------------- Concupiscence is defined as follows: The propensity of human nature to actual sin as a result of the original sin, which darkened our intellects and weakened our wills. Specifically, concupiscence is the spontaneous movement of our sensual appetite toward what we imagine as pleasant and away from what we imagine as painful. --------------------- Richard Dawkins is therefore only providing a scientific explaination for the origin of our selfishness. I bit like Darwin in that way.
  8. 1veedo, In the "If ALL the Ice melt" thread I asked how many years of weather does a climate make?" You responded "It depends but usually around thirty years. Thirty year trends tend to pop up alot." In post #84 of this thread you show a plot. You say "I'm assuming it's real" data. That plot shows about 30 years of warming. So are you saying we have one data point showing a trend toward global warming? I guess one in a row is a good start. By the way, I provided the link in my last post because that link provided an update to the plot with which you are disagree. In that link, the updated plot is very close to the one you say you are assuming is real. That is why I said it would be more to your liking.
  9. 1veedo, The reference for the data that you think is a bit "fuged" is: Friis-Christensen, E., and K. Lassen, Length of the solar cycle: An indicator of solar activity closely associated with climate, Science, 254, 698-700, 1991 A recent update to this data can be found at: <http://web.dmi.dk/fsweb/solarterrestrial/sunclimate/welcome.shtml> I am sure you will find this update more to your liking.
  10. Since my last two posts regarding "The Great Global Warming Swindle" I have noticed that most of the arguments against this program have been of the kill the messenger variety. There was very little discussion on the science presented in the program. Lots of "Big Oil" funds the global warming deniers so they can't be believed. So I ask the question, if a scientist wants to prove that global warming is not related to human activity, where are untainted funds found? How many "global warming deniers" (aka scientist) are funded by the IPCC? Is the IPCC really impartial or do they have a vested interest in the perpetuation of the human activity causes global warming theory? Would they exist if it were proven that global warming were out of human control? Would their parent, the UN, grow in power if global warming were out of human control? One of the human global warming promoters (swindlers?) identified in the program were anti-capitalists. I'm I the only one that finds the evil "Big Oil" comments and arguments a bit anti-capitalist? I bring this all up because many of you act as if "Big Oil" is the only research funding group with skin in this game. Now to the science presented in the program. The program argues that increasing levels of CO2 are a natural response to increasing temperature. As the oceans warm, they give up CO2. According to the program, a warming earth causes increasing CO2. That, they argue, is the true causation argument. So why is the earth warming? They argue that variability of the sun causes global warming. When the sun is more active (sun spots) two things happen. First, the sun is hotter. Second, solar wind caused by the solar activity shields the earth from cosmic rays. Fewer cosmic rays mean fewer clouds since cosmic rays cause water vapor to condense. With a hotter sun, and fewer clouds, the earth's surface gets warmer. Green house gas global warming theory predicts warming in the higher atmosphere. Measurements, they argue, have not shown adequate high altitude warming to confirm CO2 based warming. In support of these arguments, the program provides the following plots. Sorry about the quality, but a screen capture gives limited quality. [attach]1497[/attach] This plot shows CO2 versus solar activity. The point is that increasing levels of CO2 are caused by solar activity. I don't think anyone is arguing that the earth's CO2 level has an impact on solar activity. [attach]1499[/attach] This plot shows the earth's temperature versus solar activity for 100 years. [attach]1500[/attach] This plot shows the earth's temperature versus solar activity for 400 years. [attach]1501[/attach] This plot shows cosmic rays hitting the earth versus earth's temperature. The point of this plot is that cloud formation is based on cosmic rays striking the earth. More cosmic rays, the more clouds produced, the cooler the climate. The cosmic ray plot was flipped to better show correlation. Since solar activity reduces the level of cosmic rays hitting the earth, increased solar activity will also therefore reduce cloud formation further increasing climate temperature. The correlations in these plots are obvious. I don't know how one could argue that activity on the earth could cause solar activity or cosmic ray fluctuations. By the way, there is an old axiom about the obvious answer generally being the correct one.
  11. In my last post I wrote "The general thesis is that global warming is a hoax brought on by two unlikely bed fellows" with regard to The Great Global Warming Swindle. Perhaps I should have said that the hoax was promoted and promulgated by two unlikely bed fellows. It would be foolish to suggest a conspiracy. A conspiracy suggest that people actually meet or have contact to plot there next moves. No one is suggesting the Margaret Thatcher conservatives and anti-capitalists meet to plot there next global warming moves. I suggest you watch the program. It can be seen in it's entirety at <http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9005566792811497638&q=the+great+sw indle> On the science side, the program provides data on how the sun, particularly sun spot activity, is the primary source of global warming. The science is impressive. On the political side the program suggests the following. 1) Thatcher conservatives wanted to promote nuclear power. They wanted to do this for two political reasons. First, they wanted to reduce dependence on foreign sources of energy. Second, they wanted to break the coal mining unions that supported their political opponents. Global warming gave them a reason to promote these political goals. 2) Political environmental extremists latched onto the idea to promote there political agenda. Capitalism is killing the world, we need world socialism. Put the United Nations in control. This is my paraphrase and it is a bit extreme, watch the program. Politically speaking however, it does give the United Nations a vested interest in promoting global warming. 3) Scientists need funding for there research. Items 1) and 2) above have created huge amounts of funding money. Scientists are creatures of nature. They are drawn to funding money like bees to honey. Just add "Global Warming" to your research topic and the funding money flows. It is in their vested interest to dismiss or attack anyone who will cut off their funds. This vested interest should cause suspicion of scientists that promote global warming. This suspicion should be similar to that cast on scientists that accept funds from coal and oil companies against global warming. No conspiracy, just unconnected groups all pushing their own agenda from the same vantage point. Finally, in the program, some of the scientist participating state that the IPCC were fully aware of there research and chose to ignore it. Peak Oil Man mentions this fact as evidence that the program should be dismissed. The program participants are not trying to hide this fact so why dismiss them?
  12. Have you seen The Great Global Warming Swindle? You can watch it all at <http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9005566792811497638&q=the+great+swindle> I found it quite interesting. The general thesis is that global warming is a hoax brought on by two unlikely bed fellows. Nuclear power enthusiasts (like my self) and anti-capitalists (very much unlike myself). Something Skepticlance should enjoy.
  13. Bascule, Perhaps you should check out the ordinate on the graph of yours. I'm not losing any sleep over a few tenths of a degree. Don't you get tired of all the doom? There are plenty of good reasons to conserve energy. That's particularly true when you save cash at the same time. Replacing incandescent bulbs with florescent is brilliant. Throwing money at an unstoppable force of nature is never a good idea. OK, perhaps I was wrong on the temperature extreme the medieval warming period. People still loved it. Any guess why they call the temperature peak during the Holocene period and "Optimum." Try to find a historical warm period described as catastrophic for human beings. Good luck. Also, I did suggest a terrific alternative to generating CO2. Tried and true. Fewer lives lost than any other source of energy used by mankind (including Chernobyl). The is no reason that the US for example could not produce 80% of all electric power from Nuke plants in 10 to 20 years. Think of all the lives that will be saved and the suffering that will be avoided.
  14. Human beings really have a problem believing they live in a random or chaotic universe. For every effect, we must find a cause. We are most comfortable believing we are the cause. We are just control freaks. Perhaps however, we are just along for the ride. With regard to correlation and causation debate, some of the above discussion suggests we should just assume causation. That argument holds that the potential consequences of global warming will be so bad that it's prudent to head global warming off at the pass. First, who says it's going to be bad? My understanding is that the medieval warming period in the 1200's or so was a great time to live. It was about 2 C degrees warmer than then it is now. There were vineyards in England and Sweden. Vikings settled in Greenland. Receding snow is uncovering more of their settlements every day. The world could just turn in to a pleasantly warm and humid place. Oh yea, things always have to turn to crap. For example, the oceans are going to rise by feet. My guess is that won't happen over night. By the time it does happen, we can move those who are flooded out to Greenland or Alaska. I just read yesterday that the climate of Alaska will become like that in England. Sweet. Can't move lots of people? Perhaps you should read about the settling of North America. Second, we have plenty of problems today without global warming. People often say "If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we do…. Well, we can't to the …. because we spent our so much of our money putting a man on the moon. We have to be careful how we spend our money. With the money we have we can only solve so many problems. Finally, you want to emit less CO2. Well start building nuke power plants. Even the French have figured that one out.
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