Pharyngula

i-ccbc028bf567ec6e49f3b515a2c4c149-old_pharyngula.gif

Ah, the libertarian extremists have found my site and are making comments. It’s a peculiar pathology that thinks environmentalism is an evil plot, that planning is communism/socialism, and that Jesus was a good capitalist. It is particularly irksome to try and deal with people who are so far gone that they deny science warning them of environmental dangers and impending problems.

How irksome? Imagine that a scientist and one of these deranged libertarian right-wing anti-environmentalist science deniers go out for a drive one day…

LIB: Isn’t this wonderful? I have a desire to drive, and sufficient surplus income to purchase a vehicle, and the market and technology provide me with one. Praise Jesus! Praise Adam Smith!

SCI: Uh, yeah, OK…but you know, the way you’re driving is neither safe nor economical. Could you maybe slow down a little?

LIB: I decide what is economical; I can afford the gas. As for safety, I have insurance, and the little whatchamacallit meter in front of me goes all the way up to 140. I haven’t exceeded the limit yet.

SCI: What you can do and what is safe and reasonable to do are two different things. If you want to experience natural selection first hand, that would be OK with me, except for the fact that we’re both in the same car.
By the way, that’s a lake a couple of miles ahead, and you’re headed straight for it.

LIB: Lake? We haven’t encountered any lakes in our travels so far. We don’t have to worry about lakes. History is our guide, and it clearly says, “no lakes”.

SCI: Well, yes, there’s a lake right there in front of us. You can see it as well as I can, I hope. It’s even marked right here on our map. I suggest you turn left just a little bit and steer clear of it.

LIB: Oh, you pessimistic doomsayers. You’re always gloomily predicting our demise, and you’re always wrong. We hit a mud puddle a few miles back, and see? No problems.

SCI: I’m only predicting doom if you keep driving as foolishly as you have so far. I suggest that we start on this alternate route now, so that we don’t have to swerve too sharply at the last minute.

LIB: There is no lake. I like driving fast and straight. The last thing I want to do is turn left.

SCI: What do you mean, there is no lake? It’s right there! And we are getting closer by the minute! Why are you accelerating?

LIB: That there is a lake is only your opinion. We need to study this, and get more input.
(LIB reaches down beneath the seat. His hand reemerges with a sock over it.)

SOCK: <in a squeaky voice> No lake!

LIB: Hmmm. We seem to have two opinions here. Since Mr Socky has taken economic considerations into account and you have not, I can judge which is the better and more informed. Sound science says there is no lake. Or if there is, we can accept the compromise solution that it will disappear before we reach it.

SCI: We are headed for that lake at 80 miles per hour, in a car driven by a lunatic. Slow down and turn left!

LIB: I am confident that our innovative and technologically sophisticated economy will come up with a solution before we impact any hypothetical lake. Right, Mr Socky?

SOCK: <squeaks> ‘s alright!

SCI: I have been telling you what the solution is for the last 3 miles. Slow down. Turn. Now. How is science going to save you if you insist on ignoring it?

LIB: Aha! Look! There’s a pier extending out into the lake! I told you that technology would be our salvation. You scientists always underestimate the power of the free market.

SCI: Jebus. That’s a rickety 40-foot wooden dock. You can’t drive at 90 miles per hour onto a short pier! BRAKE! TURN!

LIB: You are getting emotional, and can be ignored. Market forces and the science and engineering sector will respond to our needs by assembling a floating bridge before we hit the end. Or perhaps they will redesign our car to fly. Or dispatch a ferry or submarine to our location. We cannot predict the specific solution, but we can trust that one will emerge.
I’ve always wanted a flying car.

SCI: Gobdamn, but you are such a moron.

(car tires begin rapid thumpety-thump as they go over planks)

LIB: I love you, Mr Socky.

SOCK: <squeaks>Ditto!

Comments

  1. #1 Dave
    May 7, 2008

    I’ve always thought Myers’ rants against libertarianism and Rand more than a little bit resembled exactly what he denounces the ID proponents for doing when they clump all atheists into a single type and attack them as the evil to end all evils. I was quite interested to find this particular post by Myers at the top of his list of a Taste of Pharyngula (I see this list changes each time one logs in), and then to find within such level headed posts in defense of libertarianism by the likes of Klause and myrddin … and then to see the likes of Truth machine come in to defend Myers position. It’s similiar to when the more level headed of the Pharyngula readership are found on a pro ID or creationist site… they are usually the ones presenting matter of fact arguements whilst the defenders of the faith wail away and wring their hands about how wretched we are. That’s how I see Myers while he was writing this post… sitting there wringing his hands and smirking at how he knows he is going to get under the skin of these people he so loves to hate. It bugs me because I respect him for his rational views and his ability to look at the bigger picture when the creationists and the like debate the way they do and pick their arguments apart. It bugs me because he has the power, and has shown he can wield it, to do good things; to bring people together for a common good. It bugs me because to me Ayn Rand was about respecting the individual and individual rights, and understanding that to be of value I must take responsibility for my actions. Through this I came to fully understand that though my life was MY ultimate value, another individual valued his life just as much. Hence the most important single rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Ayn Rand holds the human being up as something that is wonderful and full of possibility and Myers seems to detest this. Sure people have taken her ideas to the wrong extremes. I haven’t. The idea of Capitalism and Rational Objectivism that her philosophy promotes is based on people being free to deal with one another as they see mutually beneficial. Why does this bother so many here to such a deep degree that they automatically feel the need to respond with vitriol instead of thoughtful replies? Truth Machine: “The problem libertarians have is that they’re arrogant ignorant self-centered assholes”.
    Wow.

  2. #2 Brownian, OM
    May 7, 2008

    Evidence for Rand’s assertions that you regurgitated here, Dave?

    The problem with the Truth Machine is that it is too aptly named.

  3. #3 Dave
    May 7, 2008

    As for this anti-enviromentalist thing… it seems a good deal of what we see as enviromentalists are anti-human being! It’s hard to appreciate the point of view of a group of people who tend to have advocating for them the likes of PETA and other eco-terrorist who openly despise our species and lump us all in (again) as the evil to end all evils. And yet, though I do despise what I have come to think of as the mainstream enviromentalist: the one’s you see walking around in anti-fur demonstrations and the like, I probably care for the enviroment as much or more so than you do. I live in a pristine part of the world, Yellowknife NWT Canada where the effects of global warming are more evident than almost anywhere else on the planet. I live in some of the most beautiful and rugged country anywhere to be found and love it with a jealousy… yet we sit upon 270,000 metric tonnes of arcenic that has been stored underground… a legacy of the gold mines. I think we are very much alike Myers. I have a daughter who is 14 that I love very much. She is a tomboy who likes to go exploring with me looking for fossils in the riverbeds or likes to go fishing with her dad. I have a step daughter who is a marine biologist who I also love dearly. She is my favourite eco-terrorist. I love life. I hate seeing people in misery. I hate war. I hate pollution and our dependancy on oil that has helped to create the Alberta Tar Sands. I’ve always been an atheist. Born that way after all. But there is something that definitely has your tits in a twist and you seem to love to dig the fork in whenever the opportunity exists to equate people who agree with anything Rand had said or libertarians or these so called anti-enviromentalists with something that is “obviously” hideous in your view. Maybe I haven’t read enough of your blog, but I’ve been a daily reader of yours for over a year now and haven’t come across the roots of this hatred of yours. Thanks for keeping up the blog though. I don’t know how you manage to do it given what must already be a hectic schedule.

    Regards

  4. #4 Dave
    May 7, 2008

    Evidence for Rand’s assertions that you regurgitated here, Dave?

    The problem with the Truth Machine is that it is too aptly named.

    What kind of evidence do you seek Brownian? I gave you evidence: Those are the things I gleaned from Rands writings. I apologize if that’s not what you thought should be the results. As for Truth Machine, there is nothing apt about vitriol. Truth Machine is not an it. But perhaps an alter ego?

    Regards

  5. #5 SC
    May 7, 2008

    Patient: Dave

    Diagnosis: Randophilitis.

    Rx: a hefty dose of Emma Goldman.

    (Be sure to complete the entire cycle.)

  6. #6 Dave
    May 7, 2008

    Why…is that ever witty. I think. Randolph…Edmund perhaps? Just googles the name but didn’t persue it and don’t know who he is. Why would Goldman be a prescription for Randolph? Anarchism vs ?? please elucidate. I enjoy learning new things even if it’s thru a joke at my expense. I’m not so fragile.
    Regards

  7. #7 Ichthyic
    May 7, 2008

    Randolph…Edmund perhaps

    ummm… no.

    Randophilitis

    i believe the stress is on the Rand.

  8. #8 Dave
    May 7, 2008

    Oh duh! And of course Goldman would have prescribed Anarchism as a cure to her view of Capitalism, if I read wiki correctly. Actually it would appear that both women’s views were probably fundementally similiar. Both hold personal or individual freedom over state (or religous) control as central to their ideals. Semantics and perspective often need to be resolved before meaningful dialogue begins. Then and now.

    Regards

  9. #9 SC
    May 7, 2008

    Now Dave, did I not state explicitly that completing the entire cycle would be necessary to effect a cure? If you stop now, what you’ve done so far will only create (and already appears to be creating) a more virulent, truth-resistant strain of Randophilitis. The full course of the first stage of treatment will require reading. Books. Goldman’s.

  10. #10 Dave
    May 7, 2008

    Thx SC. I will take it under consideration. But you know how it is… especially with the older generation and apparently men (like me as my wife might add), we really don’t think there’s so much wrong with us. Hard to drag us off to see the doctor. Hard to prescribe a dose of pink milk when we’re happier with a glass of suds. You need not fear as you will probably be somewhat immune to my strain of Randophilitis. I don’t force it on anyone or call them down as failures for not agreeing with me. Nowadays it interests me more to understand why others think the way they do anyways.

    Regards

  11. #11 SC
    May 7, 2008

    Best of luck to you, Dave. I hope you do give it a shot.

    (I am, by the way, entirely immune to Randophilitis, having been vaccinated years ago. Fortunately, the preservatives led me to develop thoughtism, which I hear is not uncommon :).)

  12. #12 Dave
    May 8, 2008

    Good morning SC
    I’m in camp at the Taherea Diamond Mine (that’s in the process of closing down [not permanently I hope] due to some extremely bad business decisions), and am flying out today, so I have a bit of time on my hands. It’s a brand new mine in etremely good shape. It’s quite a strange feeling here. It’s like seeing a teenager with boundless potential who has lost any notion of purpose. There are pictures up and down the main corridors showing the mine at different stages of it’s construction; Prime Minister Harper up here for a ribbon cutting ceremony, the ERT team holding up a trophy for first place overall in a rescue competition, pictures of the trucks on the ice roads and caribou on the horizon…. The hope is gone now and many of the people who have been here from day one are also flying out today. There’s a kind of melancholy over the site.

    But I digress.

    Since I equate what you call Randophilitis with Rational Objectivism, which to me simply means attempting to look at the world about me rationally and objectively, I must inquire as to what YOU think said Randophilitis might be, as I find it interesting that anyone should consider being inoculated against such a thing as a good deal.

    Regards

  13. #13 Dave
    May 8, 2008

    (Tahera)

  14. #14 Dave
    May 8, 2008

    Sucks… doesn’t it Myers?
    I’m not the idiot or personification of evil you would have your minions believe.
    I am a libertarian. I am a rational objectivist. I am a product of Ayn Rands philosophy. I believe in freedom and equality for all. I love my family and my fellow man, though I don’t give my love away freely. Love and respect has to be earned. Nonetheless it is easily understood that there will be people who, for whatever reason, cannot care for themselves. I’ll help care for them if you don’t force me too. I’ll do it gladly. Why? Look out from our small planet and we see that ‘life’ is the most rare and precious of all things. But understand, my life is not yours to guide. My life is not yours to play cards with. The greatest of human rights is the right to our own existence. You seem to have a problem with that. You seem to think that the right to my own life is an imposition on yours. Sorry about that. It’s not. Get over it. To a large extent I think you’re border line brilliant. But, like your following, there’s a part of you that hates me for wanting to be free. Or what is it? I know how you might respond: you might make up another silly story like the one that started this particular post. But geeesh was that dumb. I am not that person, nor can I even remotely understand where you’re coming from there. What exactly is your idea of an ideal society? What is your notion of human rights?

    Damn… looks like Detroit won the hockey game.

    Regards

  15. #15 Dave
    May 18, 2008

    You call me anti-environmentalist, I call you eco-terrorist… you call me GW denialist, I call you reality denialist. Pigeon holing people solves nothing though, don’t you agree? It merely allows you to blame a whole group of people, who may only be indictable to differing degrees based on their individual circumstances, for the wrongs you perceive have been done by people who accept certain things to be true or possible. Makes you feel good huh?
    Petty.

    Regards

  16. #16 Dave
    May 18, 2008

    You call me anti-environmentalist, I call you eco-terrorist… you call me GW denialist, I call you reality denialist. Pigeon holing people solves nothing though, don’t you agree? It merely allows you to blame a whole group of people, who may only be indictable to differing degrees based on their individual circumstances, for the wrongs you perceive have been done by people who accept certain things to be true or possible. Makes you feel good huh?
    Petty.

    Regards

  17. #17 Dave
    May 18, 2008

    Had to say it twice apparently.
    I’m sure I could say it three more times and it won’t sink in though.

    Regards

  18. #18 Not-Dave
    May 18, 2008

    Shorter Dave: Please, somebody, won’t you please pay some attention to me!

  19. #19 Walton
    May 24, 2008

    I must say, I disagree with the implicit parallel drawn in the title of this section between “anti-environmentalists” and creationists.

    As most people on this blog agree, creationism (at least in most of its current forms) is not science. I am no scientist, but as I understand it, creationism (of the Young Earth variety, at least) is inherently unscientific, since it involves rejecting large amounts of scientific evidence about the age of the Earth, the history of species and the formation of geology (forcing its adherents to the conclusion that either the evidence is false or misleading, or that God somehow put it there to confuse people). I am also given to understand that there are numerous observed instances of the evolutionary process altering species over time, and that it doesn’t take much of a conjectural leap to presume that this process has happened throughout natural history and created the diversity of life which exists today. Creationism is also bad theology, since it postulates that the whole natural world – with its flaws and cruelties – was designed by God, which doesn’t square well with the idea of an omnipotent or loving God. I realise I’m not saying anything novel or interesting here, but I’m just establishing that I oppose creationism as much as any of you.

    On the other hand, those of us who are skeptical of anthropogenic global warming – i.e. those of us who tend to be labelled as “anti-environmentalist” by the left – do not reject science, and I resent being compared to a creationist in that regard. There are more than 17,200 reputable mainstream scientists who are, to varying degrees, critical of the prevailing orthodoxy as regards climate change. The theory that global warming is primarily caused by solar cycles, or by some other natural factor, is a perfectly scientifically sustainable one. It is not like creationism, because it does not involve rejecting scientific explanations and evidence in favour of a supernatural explanation.

    It’s difficult, of course, to separate the scientific global warming controversy from its political implications. But Al Gore’s endorsement, and popular hysteria encouraged by the sensationalist media, does not place the orthodoxy of anthropogenic global warming beyond the confines of public debate.

  20. #20 penguindreams
    May 27, 2008

    Like a creationist, you claim to support science.
    But like a creationist, you cite petitions or polls rather than science.
    Unlike creationists, the poll you cite is over a decade old. (at least theirs are usually fresh)
    Like creationists, you say that it is of ‘reputable mainstream scientists’, when, in fact, it is of people almost strictly outside the relevant fields.
    Like creationists, you know only that the conclusion that you dislike is wrong, but neither know how it was reached, nor have anything to rebut it with. (‘solar cycles or other some other natural factor'; like a creationist, you can’t bother to cite a scientific source, nor name those ‘other’ ‘natural’ factors) (that you wave unnamed ‘natural causes’ is no better than their named supernatural cause)
    Like creationists, you wave the name of a boogeyman rather than present any science.

    Sure there are distinctions. But as it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and looks like a duck, we’re now down to deciding whether it’s a loon or a bufflehead.

  21. #21 Dave
    May 27, 2008

    penguindreams… you are doing nothing different than Walton appears to be doing. You both are just going “IS TOO!!” “IS NOT!!”. Where is YOUR science that you rail on Walton for not showing and why is it any more believable? I’m just a regular tradesman who reads the paper in the morning and dabbles with Scientific American sometimes but really prefers Hi Fidelity Magazine. Is your explanation (or that of the Al Gores and Michael Moores of the world you hold up so high) supposed to convince me beyond a shadow of a doubt, when I (like literally billions of other people) don’t understand the complexity of the science involved (and I dare say neither do you)? In my mind you are more like the creationist calling the anti-evolutionists deniers of your religion.

    Regards
    Dave

  22. #22 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    don’t understand the complexity of the science involved

    if you don’t understand it, why bother involving yourself in the discussion of it?

    If you WANT to understand it, likely you will have to go beyond reading your local newsrag, or even Scientific American.

    your ignorance (note: NOT STUPIDITY, for the definitionaly impaired) is hardly relevant to whether or not the issue exists, or what the evidence actually shows now, is it?

    would ‘Penguin’s’ arguments seem more valuable to you if he referenced the thousands of journal articles regarding global climate change?

    articles utilizing ice core data, for example?

    How, if you don’t understand any of the data?

    bottom line:

    In my mind you are more like the creationist calling the anti-evolutionists deniers of your religion.

    why should anyone care what’s on your mind, Dave?

    Walton said:

    creationism (of the Young Earth variety, at least) is inherently unscientific, since it involves rejecting large amounts of scientific evidence…

    guess what? that’s EXACTLY what we see with global warming deniers as well: a gross rejection of large amounts of scientific evidence.

    those who support the deniers typically don’t even know about, or care about, this evidence.

    …or, like Dave, don’t understand it.

  23. #23 Dave
    May 28, 2008

    Ichthyic

    Isn’t that what everyone loves to do; “citations please” gets worn out here but with good cause. Actually, as I just posted to Penguins blog (though it will have to go thru moderation which I appreciate) I would very much like to see one of these thousands of articles. And indeed I have seen some, but as I have explained here and there they seem to get so muddled up with the mainstream media claiming absolutely everything unusual being attributable to GW and others who rightfully question the results of studies (that are used by some environmentalists to blame mankind for the impending end of the world) with fair questions that never get answered. I asked Penguin if he could explain what is really happening in layman’s terms. http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/
    If you would care to put in your two bits please do.

    Regards
    Dave

  24. #24 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    I would very much like to see one of these thousands of articles.

    they aren’t hard to find.
    have you looked before?

    but as I have explained here and there they seem to get so muddled up with the mainstream media

    which is why I suggested you go beyond your newspaper and scientific american.

    find the original articles by actual climatologists, geologists, oceanographers, meteorologists, paleontologists (yes, them too), and read those instead. You can find many of them linked to from various sites dealing with climate change issues, including the UN site.

    for example, you could start here:

    http://unfccc.int/2860.php

    and work your way down to find the links to the original data and articles published in the peer reviewed journals.

    if you have to rely on the media to interpret things for you, you can’t really complain about media bias now, can you.

    I asked Penguin if he could explain what is really happening in layman’s terms.

    but by your own claims, you don’t understand much of the science involved.

    what you ask is exactly the equivalent of a creationist asking for a one paragraph explanation of all of evolutionary theory.

    if i reference a thousand articles for you, other than being an ‘argument from weight of evidence’ of what value would it be to you?

    do you think I could synthesize all of that data into a short and sweet statement that would satisfy you?

    sseriously, put yourself in the shoes of a creationist asking about evolutionary theory, and asking an evolutionary biologist, on a blog forum, to explain all of the many parallel evidences supporting evolutionary theory for the last 150 years.

    Is that a reasonable request?

    would you, putting yourself in the position of a creationist, with an obvious creationist background, really be expected to understand and process even a tenth of the information presented to you?

    OTOH, say you were a geologist, and questioned some of the geological data used in formulating climate models.

    THEN there would be something to debate, since you would at least be familiar, being a geologist, with the relevant methods used to obtain the data, and we could argue whether or not the conclusions and usages of the data is justified in the particular models under discussion.

    No, if you are not knowledgeable of a particular subject, then just like the rest of us, you will end up relying on what experts in the relevant fields DO have to say about it.

    You don’t, however, have to rely on what the MEDIA has to say on any given issue.

    This is why real science is represented by publication in peer-reviewed journals. The point is to limit the amount of bias involved, by forcing review of each others work before publication. This way, we can more easily rely on the expertise and studies done by our colleagues, in fields that we ourselves have but limited knowledge in.

    As a biologist, i don’t assume that everything published wrt to quantum theory in the last 30 years needs my constant review in order for me to accept it. Instead, I rely on the peer-review process, and time, to weed out unsupported conclusions and poor methods. I know from publishing in my own field that peer-review for the most part keeps all of us honest, so i can trust the results of studies published in quantum physics, even though I only have a rudimentary (comparatively) knowledge of physics.

    In the case of climate change, there might have been legitimate questions as to the direction and causality of it 30 years ago, but time, much experimentation, a ton of data, and an awful lot of peer-reviewed publications really do tell a rather convincing story.

    It really isn’t the media that is driving the UN decisions being made on climate change.

    that said, compare it to any other issue you rely on expert advice on a daily basis?

    how do you come to your decisions on what expert advice to use?

    How much do you know of physics and engineering?

    do you need an electrical engineer to explain exactly how the chipsets in your computer are constructed in order to feel comfortable that your computer works the way that vendors say it will?

    do you need a meteorologist to fully explain the data used in constructing forecasting models in order to trust the weather report in your local paper?

    why not?

    why do you feel a need to challenge the conclusions being made regarding global warming, but not what your local weatherguy tells you the weather will be like this weekend?

  25. #25 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    others who rightfully question the results of studies

    again, how do you know they are “rightfully” questioning the results of the studies they are attacking?

    how do you come to such a conclusion?

    how do you know that creationists are NOT “rightfully” questioning evolutionary theory?

  26. #26 Dave
    May 28, 2008

    Tell you what ..
    Don’t bring Creationism into it. Bad example of people with blinders firmly in place and not willing to change an opinion. I am.

    ..why do you feel a need to challenge the conclusions being made regarding global warming, but not what your local weatherguy tells you the weather will be like this weekend?..

    Because if it is true, you are asking people to change their way of life, and likely drastically. It’s because environmentalists blame Humanity for all the ills of the planet, indeed seem to think that the planet would be better off without us here at all. If the purpose of life is to exist, then we have every right to exist. Mankind would seem to be life’s only hope of moving beyond our little corner of the universe to thrive beyond this little drop in time that will certainly die an uneventful death without us.

    And it’s people like me you have to convince (one of those billions) because you are telling me the world it is a changing and I had better change my ways. I am not a global warming denialist. It has happened before in the history of our planet. It will happen again. And it would seem apparent on the face of it that Humans have had a hand in this, but it is equally apparent that we are not the cause.

    You want to win me over because you need my help. You may be right, but it’s not about winning a debate where only scientific charts are presented to those who can read them.

    Regards
    Dave

  27. #27 penguindreams
    May 28, 2008

    I’ll stay here, for now, Dave, since I’m about to be off net for a month and discussion at my blog would be distinctly slow. But when I’m back, I expect to be writing about many relevant points. Suggestions for particulars welcome. In my absence-to-be it seems likely that there are some science-knowledgeable folks here to keep things going ok. I’ve approved your post over at my blog and will take it up more thoroughly there when I get back.

    Creationism is sadly relevant. Not something I’m liable to be going in to on my blog as over there I’m aiming differently. But, consider. Creationists have their commitment regardless of evidence because the consequence of science being correct is abhorrent to them. Regarding climate change there’s both that (‘you’re just trying to take away my SUV’ being a common response to climate change) and an enormous industry with enormous financial stakes and political power. It would be amazing if (some) people didn’t react at least as non-rationally to the science on climate, and even more amazing if there weren’t fairly large efforts to distort and lie about the science here as with creationism.

    You note that if the science is true (on climate change) then people are asking you to change your way of life. That’s what I shorthand to ‘trying to take away my SUV’. The thing is, I don’t know or care if you have one. My interest is that discussions about how and whether to respond to climate change be based on the science. Reasonable people can reach different conclusions even based on the same science. But nothing honest is served by lying about the science, or by hiding from it.

    For explaining the science to laymen, sure I can. I’ve done so quite a number of times, for layfolks down to 4th grade. The science — as science — is quite simple and old. Since you’re still asking the question, though, with the internet and Scientific American available, let me ask you which of the following you disagree with or consider questionable:

    • there is a greenhouse effect
    • carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas
    • adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere can be expected to cause a warming
    • atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen since 1880
    • the cause is human activity
    • global mean temperature has risen since 1880
    • a significant fraction of that rise (greater than 50%) over the past 50 years, is due to human activity

    And, for any that you reject or doubt, let me know what sort of evidence would cause you to change your mind.

  28. #28 Dave
    May 28, 2008

    Hello Penguin and thanks for the reply

    ” let me ask you which of the following you disagree with or consider questionable:

    * there is a greenhouse effect
    yes

    * carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas
    yes

    * adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere can be expected to cause a warming
    yes

    * atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen since 1880
    if humanity was not present, would there be an increase of any magnitude due to natural cycles? If the answer is yes has it been determined how much mans presence has added to the effect?

    * the cause is human activity

    * global mean temperature has risen since 1880

    * a significant fraction of that rise (greater than 50%) over the past 50 years, is due to human activity
    so perhaps this answers my query above, but what is this rise? Is the rise 1% or 1 degree above what the normal rise might be expected to be, or is it significantly higher?

    A question about momentum also… the runaway greenhouse effect as it were: Is there a general consensus as to what this point is and what the time lines are?

    Regards
    Dave

  29. #29 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    You want to win me over because you need my help

    oh?

    what makes you think so?

    frankly, Dave…

    you’re wrong.

    nobody needs your help.

    what bloody arrogance.

  30. #30 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    but it is equally apparent that we are not the cause.

    like i said, you like to ignore evidence.

    in fact, you really are no different than the average creationist, you just like to project your ignorance as if it were somehow different.

    no, nobody needs your ignorance, nobody wants it, and it is nothing but destructive.

    suggest you rethink your relative importance in this ‘debate’, because frankly, you have none.

    that you project yourself as representative of some various “block” is hardly relevant to whether the science is there.

    learn, or don’t. you’ll end up having to fucking bite the bullet anyway, and there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it.

    you simply don’t have the background to make a difference.

    wanna change that?

    then fucking stop reading you damn newpaper, and learn something about the relevant issues involved.

    frankly, I know you won’t bother, so I suggest you simply STFU.

  31. #31 tony (not a vegan)
    May 28, 2008

    Dave: I don’t understand why you are willing to ‘concede’ to scientific consensus on the majority of the points listed by penguin, above, but want to ‘debate’ the items that directly impact you, or cite you are partially responsible

    * atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen since 1880
    if humanity was not present, would there be an increase of any magnitude due to natural cycles? If the answer is yes has it been determined how much mans presence has added to the effect?
    * the cause is human activity

    What. A. Plonker.

    Either accept, or don’t.

    The consensus is in. People are responsible (largely) for GW.

    With that being said there are things you can do NOW. And that includes voting for, and putting pressure on, your governmental represntatives. It includes tailoring YOUR life to have a smaller carbon footprint (and don’t say ‘but noone else will do it’ – YOU need to do it, as do I, as does penguin, as does our dear demented president)

    So either get with the program. or (as Ichthyic so eloquently put it) STFU.

    Tony

  32. #32 penguindreams
    May 29, 2008

    >Hello Penguin and thanks for the reply

    In early july check back at my blog for responses to your note there. In the mean time:

    ” let me ask you which of the following you disagree with or consider questionable:

    >>* atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen since 1880
    >if humanity was not present, would there be an increase of any >magnitude due to natural cycles? If the answer is yes has it been >determined how much mans presence has added to the effect?
    >
    >* the cause is human activity

    One thing at a time. This is a problem for most people approaching climate issues because there’s a huge bias towards worrying about the human part without understanding the background science.

    So, first part is how we know that CO2 has indeed risen since 1880. Second question is what caused that rise. A lengthier note which answers both questions and with good citations is Jan Schloerer’s CO2 Rise faq.

    First, our knowledge of past CO2 levels comes from ice cores (now extending back 800,000 years) and direct measurement (since 1950s). The two complement each other as the ice cores don’t answer well the most recent events, while the direct measurement (Keeling curve is a term to search on) answers for recent events extremely well. As snow is compressed to ice, it traps air bubbles. When we core ice sheets and sample those bubbles, we get a sample of the ancient air. For the modern sampling, we take a flask of air exposed to the free atmosphere.

    The ice core sampling shows that there is a glacial to interglacial swing of about 80 ppm in CO2, associated with the 5 K global warming/cooling. The interglacial level is about 280 ppm while glacial is about 200. See, for instance, the Vostok core papers from the mid 1980s. The time scale for this swing is a few centuries. We had been around the 280 ppm (260-280) for the last several thousand years prior to industrialization. (At this point in this note just a time marker rather than causal.)

    Since direct measurement started in the 1950s, atmospheric CO2 has risen from 315 ppm (already 35 ppm up from pre-industrial by the time measurements started) to about 385 now (you’d have to check the NOAA monitor for this to get the current value; it’s rising about 2 ppm per year). So 70 ppm in 50 years (er, the rate’s been increasing, contemporary with the spread of industrialization and increase in population) presently, 105 ppm in the last 120 or so. This as compared to 80 in a few centuries recorded by ice cores. Both the magnitude and the rate are well above anything recorded for the previous 800,000 years.

    I’ll suggest that makes a fair circumstantial case on its own. But the science didn’t stop there. (Indeed, even from the start of direct measurement it took the next step.)

    The thing is, a) there are 3 isotopes of carbon b) different sources have different distribution patterns for those isotopes (ex: soil is depleted in 13C but not much in 14C, volcanoes are not depleted in 13C but completely so in 14C, fossil fuels and limestones (used in making cement) are depleted in both 13C and (completely) in 14C) and c) we can and have measured the isotope levels of atmospheric samples. Further, we know how much fossil fuel has been burned, and how much concrete has been made.

    When you sit down and try to make the total carbon level change as observed (feeling free to mix in any sources you like) and the isotopic levels change as observed, you’re stuck with a source of the magnitude of human activity, with the signature of human activity, and not matching at all any other sources. It’s human activity. You can also see interestingly coincident wiggles in the CO2 curve. The totals also knew about the 1973-4 oil embargo, for instance.

    So we get down to: the current CO2 rise is human-caused, it is large compared to recorded pre-industrial rises (105 and still rising vs. 80), and it is much faster than previous rises (now doing 20 ppm per decade, vs. about 20 ppm per century at the end of ice ages, 20 ppm per millennium variation in the past 10 ky).

    Irrespective of profound knowledge of radiative transfer, climate systems, etc., I think anyone can look at this and figure that the change in CO2 is large and fast, so we should expect it to have some significant effects.

    But we’d better lay down an idea of what a ‘significant’ climate change is. I’ll suggest that the change from full glacial to full interglacial is a huge change. It corresponds to extinctions, 100+ meter sea level changes, 5 K global mean temperature swings, large scale ecosystem changes (greatly increasing or decreasing the extent of deserts, forests, etc.).

    Now with those being examples of huge, I’ll suggest that 10% of huge is significant for the climate system. Humans might be particularly concerned about some aspects of climate, and less so about others. But to start a discussion of climate, let’s try to understand the system first.

    With me so far? (Both by way of understanding and by way of agreement. If not, where’d I lose you?)

    (Skipping ahead to one bit):
    >A question about momentum also… the runaway greenhouse effect
    >as it were: Is there a general consensus as to what this point
    >is and what the time lines are?

    Runaway greenhouse is not expected by anybody in the relevant sciences and as far as I’ve seen, never has been. What has been an increasing concern is ‘tipping points’ (a term I happen to dislike, but the science involved is meaningful) — that there can be thresholds for (for examples) CO2 levels, degree of melting of the permafrost, degree of melting of ice sheets, melting of sea ice, etc. .. such that if we pass them, we are then committed to far greater changes. Greenland might (or might not, I have to read a couple recent articles to know the current state of thought) be near such a ‘tipping point’ such that if it melts much more, it would be committed to melting away entirely (a 5-7 meter, 15-22 feet, sea level change).

    Tony, et al.: Please, if Dave (or others) don’t know the science, it’s far better to present it than to call names or tell him to STFU. If he shows himself to be intentionally ignorant and immune to learning, then I understand the response even if I still think it’s better to present the science for those who merely don’t know and are looking in.

  33. #33 Dave
    May 29, 2008

    Ichy my friend… it isn’t arrogance at all…. are we not supposed to be all on the same team? You are somewhat like that idiot Truth Machine … to you this isn’t about discussing something with a fellow human being. You just want to be seen as witty. You just want to be seen by the masses here as a hero that finally throws that STFU sword in some heroic pose.

    Thanks for trying to enlighten me and good day to you.

    No Regards
    Dave

  34. #34 Dave
    May 29, 2008

    Awesome thoughtful response Penguin. It has at least said something real and given me something to think about. I just returned from a trip out of town and in fairness cannot respond to you without thinking about it for a while. But again thanks; I am truly interested and just don’t understand… or like some, pretend to understand.

    Regards
    Dave

  35. #35 Ichthyic
    May 29, 2008

    it isn’t arrogance at all

    re-read your own damn post, where you assume we all want to convince you because you’re the one who is important to convince, and then tell me again how that’s not arrogant.

    I’d say you’re living in denial, but then that would be rather obvious, given the topic of the thread.

    No, Dave, we’re not “on the same side”, and until you choose to read beyond your local newspaper, we never will be.

    nor is your opinion on the matter of the slightest interest.

    If Dave (or others) don’t know the science, it’s far better to present it than to call names or tell him to STFU

    I DID; I asked him how giving him a thousand references would help, and he complained of media bias. I gave him a way to get to the original work, free of bias, and he ignored it.

    He clearly stated that not only was he ignorant of the science, he then concluded strongly that he didn’t need to be aware of it.

    so, you’re wrong in your approach, penguindreams, and here’s why:

    “Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.”

    -Thomas Jefferson

    I’ve been at this a LONG time, and I know when it’s a waste of time to do anything BUT ridicule the wilfully ignorant.

  36. #36 Dave
    May 30, 2008

    I am not interested in engaging your obvious lack of ability to contain yourself Ichy. I won’t learn anything in trying to beat you up or letting you beat me up. The day is too short. But hey, make the best of it anyways and good day to you

    Regards
    Dave

  37. #37 Dave
    May 30, 2008

    “nor is your opinion on the matter of the slightest interest.”

    Sorry, did have to comment on that. It’s obviously of interest to you. You’re akin to that bully that’s more worried about the perception of others and seeks the opportunity to demonstrate his superiority with a “look PZ I can do it too” slapdown.

    Whoops. But there I do engaging.
    No more. Off to work :)

    Regards
    Dave

  38. #38 penguindreams
    May 30, 2008

    Dave: Please do take some time to read Jan’s faq http://www.radix.net/~bobg/faqs/scq.CO2rise.html and follow up some of his citations, and look for more recent scientific work on the topic. It does take time to get up to speed on any of these areas.
    As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be off-net for June, so you have some time to read and study. Let’s take it back up in July on my blog.

    Ichthyic: I, too, have been at it a long time. And this is my professional area so hits close to home. I have very little patience or interest with the willfully ignorant, and if Dave proves himself so, go ahead. But I think the two of you have been reading each other poorly. Your ‘offer’ sounded more like a lawyerly ‘asked and answered’, for instance. Yes, there are indeed thousands of citations. IMHO, it’d have been better to list your 5 favorites after observing that. (I like Fourier 1827, Tyndall 1861, and Arrhenius 1896, myself.)

    I also think you missed the drift of Dave’s ‘you have to convince me’ comment. (He can verify this for us.) The thing is, in democratic societies, you do need to persuade a majority that you’ve got a point, and you have a good solution. The majority are not going to be profoundly knowledgeable about a given topic. You have to make a case to them. So make it. Calling them ignorant doesn’t help.

    My wife (we’re newlyweds) is an intelligent, well-read, interested in the world person, who went to good schools and has taken advantage of the benefits of living in a major metro area. Nevertheless, she’s been surprised to hear about things which I’d thought were widely known 25 and more years ago (well, I knew them, but then I do work in the field). If she can be surprised, I figure quite a lot of people of good intent and interest can be surprised. I’ve since been looking at how this comes about and … well, my blog will try to address some of it.

    Now if Dave turns out to be intentionally ignorant, I owe you a virtual beverage of your choice. If he doesn’t, you owe me a virtual beer (something with body). In the mean time, I’ll take the opportunity to talk about my interesting field of study.

  39. #39 Dave
    May 30, 2008

    Penguin
    I appreciate the benefit of the doubt as I tend to give it more often than not also. I am a skeptic and I enjoy a dose of Shermer now and then. I’ll play the devils advocate to enjoy a good debate, but generally won’t do so just to get someones goat or show how witty I am at someones expense. But ‘intentionally ignorant’ .. I have grown out of that some years ago. I’m 47. Life is to live and learn. All else is a waste of something that grows in value with every passing day.

    Regards
    Dave

  40. #40 Ichthyic
    May 30, 2008

    It’s obviously of interest to you.

    nope, only your posting behavior is of interest to me, because I see it so commonly among those who ARE denialists, but claim not to be.

    you act from a position of ignorance, and then continue to debate that that is a perfectly legitimate position to take, and then whine and play the victim when you are called out on it.

    yeah, you don’t resemble the other denialists at all.

    phht.

    >>>

    penguin, it’s you that has clearly misread Dave.

    go back and carefully read his posts again.

    you will find the argument from ignorance everywhere in them.

    You’re wasting your time.

  41. #41 dave
    May 30, 2008

    good heavens icthy you need a hobby. And if this is it… what a small life you lead
    Regards
    Dave

  42. #42 dave
    May 30, 2008

    Thanks for that link Penguin

  43. #43 Dave
    May 30, 2008

    Ichthy

    Why is it important to you to hate me? Do you need to have people in your life you hate? I merely want to understand. Even the possibility of this seems to get your gal up. sorry about that big guy… but you are not important enough to me that I should care… but similarly, I should not be so important to you.
    Regards
    Dave

  44. #44 Patricia Shannon
    October 22, 2008

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

    Has an explanation about the greenhouse effect that laypeople should be able to understand.

    If you want to personally experience a greenhouse effect, go sit in your car on a sunny day. You will notice that it is considerably warmer than the outside temperature.

  45. #45 Patricia Shannon
    October 22, 2008

    Of course, the greenhouse effect in your car is from the glass. This is how greenhouse gases got their name, because they have the same effect.

  46. #46 S.o.G.
    November 17, 2008

    I’ve always felt libertarians are the lowest of the low politically. I think anarchists have more connection to their community than libertarians. Libertarians tend to have higher intelligence than average, so they don’t have the same excuse as other groups.

    Has anyone studied whether there is a correlation between sociopathy & libertarianism? I suspect there is.

  47. #47 Admiral-Zombie
    November 17, 2008

    I’m fairly libertarian. I don’t care much for how many of the people here portray me and tend to lump me into a big group with others. I am skeptical of the government, and feel like we should reduce it.

    But many people here have been throwing us into a large pit and then saying we are all the same. I’m all for helping the environment, helping the poor, etc etc.

    But the fact that I don’t trust the government to do this would seem to make me a bad person. I personally support going through independent groups to achieve this. Because really, of all the money the government throws at lobbyists and the like, how much of it is actually going towards a good cause? I’m not saying its all bad, but I would say the majority of it is bad. With an independent group I feel like things are a lot more clear, and if they start doing bad things then I can easily choose to stop supporting them. But when I’m paying taxes to have the government do this, and they start doing bad things, i don’t have the option to stop supporting them.

    (S.o.G. I would say people like you are far worse than those you describe. You do realize though that anarchy is a more extreme form of libertarian, right?)

  48. #48 Morbo
    February 15, 2010

    It is nice to learn that those who express support for people being able to live their lives as they see fit — as long as you aren’t harming others — is somehow equated to the crazy.

    Thanks for the blanket shot across the bow, PZ.

    Ok… so anyone know of any science/atheist-centric blogs that don’t shit on the political leanings of its readers if they don’t perfectly align with the blog’s author?

  49. #49 stevieinthecity
    February 15, 2010

    hahah. Morbo pouts.

  50. #50 Jadehawk, OM
    February 15, 2010

    It is nice to learn that those who express support for people being able to live their lives as they see fit — as long as you aren’t harming others — is somehow equated to the crazy.

    did you even read what you yourself wrote? anti-environmentalism does harm others. d’uh.

  51. #51 David Marjanovi?
    February 15, 2010

    Ok… so anyone know of any science/atheist-centric blogs that don’t shit on the political leanings of its readers if they don’t perfectly align with the blog’s author?

    Ooh! Look at the burning strawman! Flames so bright, I can turn off the light.

  52. #52 speedweasel
    February 15, 2010

    My favorite cornucopian is argument is Julian Simon’s argument that, since there are an infinite number of points on a line, we can never run out of natural resources. We just have to map them onto the points of a line, and between any two units of a given resource there will always be another point, up to infinity.

    Along the same lines as being able to survive in the desert if you have a cup of water, if you just drink a thimble full per day. Or how you can cover the entire earth with a drop of water… if you spread it thin enough.

    Someone should explain atomic theory to these idiots. Those ‘points of a line’ are called atoms and there are a finite number of them.

    Like electrons and children, matter ‘comes in lumps.’

  53. #53 truth machine, OM
    February 17, 2010

    The comments you are railing against are several months old, you know.

    The relevance of which is nil. The nature of libertarianism and libertarians did not change in those months; not even the views of the specific libertarians who commented here changed. And now you you yourself have linked to this article nearly four years later (when I finally have seen your comment).

    I offered a friendly smile and handshake to you and you responded by calling me “very obnoxious”. We share many views, and I respect and admire most of the work you do, but damn you are a smug hypocrite.

  54. #54 truth machine, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Ok… so anyone know of any science/atheist-centric blogs that don’t shit on the political leanings of its readers if they don’t perfectly align with the blog’s author?

    So you’re upset that a blog author shits on views that he considers shit? What ever happened to all that personal freedom you assholes (aka libertarians) espouse?

  55. #55 truth machine, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Don’t bring up Catherine McKinnon as someone who should not represent feminism unless you have actually read the woman firsthand.

    What makes you think I haven’t? I have, but that’s beside my point. What I wrote was “It’s like if I were to merely read Catherine Mackinnon and from that conclude what feminists believe” — it’s a fact that not all feminists believe what Mackinnon believes.

  56. #56 truth machine, OM
    February 17, 2010

    On the other hand, those of us who are skeptical of anthropogenic global warming – i.e. those of us who tend to be labelled as “anti-environmentalist” by the left – do not reject science, and I resent being compared to a creationist in that regard. There are more than 17,200 reputable mainstream scientists who are, to varying degrees, critical of the prevailing orthodoxy as regards climate change.

    Not reputable in re climate science.

    The theory that global warming is primarily caused by solar cycles, or by some other natural factor, is a perfectly scientifically sustainable one.

    Only by rejecting science.

    (What does Walton 2010 think of Walton 2008?)

  57. #57 truth machine, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Truth Machine: “The problem libertarians have is that they’re arrogant ignorant self-centered assholes”.

    And indeed you demonstrated it throughout your posts, Dave.

  58. #58 Scott Carnegie
    February 20, 2010

    How about you don’t paint all Libertarians with the same brush PZ.

  59. #59 Ichthyic
    February 20, 2010

    have you ever considered you might not fit the classic definition of “libertarian”?

    funny, but you will find demos and reps that want to reduce govt size too.

    does that make them libertarians?

    I think a lot of self-called libertarians haven’t actually spent enough time researching what that term actually means, historically.

    of course, there are others that do indeed fit the description, and also have failed to study history.

    either way…

  60. #60 Sven DiMilo
    February 20, 2010

    wtf?

    it’s

    slow

    motion

    cit

    y

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.