Sunday, February 28, 2010 22 Comments

Uncorrected Evidence 39

This is an unusually short UR post. I apologize. I was actually going to complete and present my long-awaited World War II: Primary Source Anthology. But for once, current events beckon.

Briefly, reality as the faithful know it has torn itself asunder. All trust in authority is shattered. The Donation of Constantine is a medieval forgery; the Pope is a woman; the Archmonk, in the Tomb of Buddha's Thumb, has found a dried-up gibbon toe. Otherwise, nothing is wrong at all. Your garbage will still be picked up tomorrow morning.

But the Institute of Physics, which is only the national physics society of the country that invented physics, has submitted its public comment to Parliament's CRU inquiry - posted as Uncorrected Evidence 39. Which starts like this:
1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.
Wow! (And note that no one has claimed that the emails are forged.) If you are unfamiliar with bureaucratic prose, this is extremely strong language. Basically, the IOP is demanding heads. And not just a professor or two, but the entire field.

And the submission keeps going. As Steve McIntyre puts it: "no mincing of words." If you are not already convinced of the IOP's perspective, read McIntyre's own submission. Read it anyway - it's short. Both are masterpieces of administrative English. If you find anyone who still believes there is nothing to see here, point that person to these two documents.

This revolt of the British physicists cannot be a mere bureaucratic accident. For the IOP to have defended climatology, a position for which no institution or individual - yet - has suffered any negative consequence, would have been expected. "No one ever got fired for buying IBM." Even cautious silence on the matter would have been normal.

Almost all scientists today are bureaucrats. For scientists with administrative positions in professional societies, it goes without saying. But not all bureaucrats are evil, dishonest people. Far from it. For a successful bureaucrat to stick his neck out on a matter like this, however, he has to be very sure he's right, and he needs a large army behind him. Whether he is leading the army, or the army is arresting him, cannot be discerned. UE39 was produced either by the goodness in someone's heart, or the bayonets in someone's back.

Or, I should like to think, both. Either way, it was produced. It cannot be un-produced. Now, consider the ramifications.

Having written about the matter earlier, I remain convinced that what we're watching here is nothing more or less than the end of your regularly-scheduled 20th-century reality. Uncorrected Evidence 39 is the logical consequence of "a miracle just happened." What further miracles may proceed are bounded only by the bounds of human history. Which is not, contrary to popular belief, over.

Not that the problem in climate science was not already clear to the curious, intelligent and open-minded. The curious, intelligent, and open-minded were already well aware of the problem, well before the emails were leaked. For one thing, they might have been reading UR. If Google Analytics is at all reliable, however, the curious, intelligent and open-minded are a very small percentage of humanity.

The percentage of humanity so wise as to trust only duly-constituted authorities is much larger. Always has been; always will be. This is the fundamental problem of UE39: a conflict between two infallible authorities, Science and the Press. They cannot both win. They cannot both be right. But the demise of either is unthinkable.

Even after UE39, that crack is still quite shallow and latent. All we see in UE39 is a developing fracture between British physics, which apparently has a Feynman or two left, and climatology. But as UE39 makes clear, this conflict is existential and cannot be resolved by any compromise.

For the first time, a major scientific authority of unchallenged official legitimacy has called this spade a spade. Climatology, as now generally practiced, at least in the picture revealed by the emails, is not science, but a corruption thereof. Not science, but pseudoscience. Not a few scapegoats, but an entire profession.

Fracture dynamics 101: cracks spread. Real science, being the best possible information by definition, is stable. Pseudoscience, not so much. The IOP is a tank any physicist can march behind. Physics is a tank any scientist can march behind. Science is a tank anyone can march behind. Anyone can follow legitimate, official authorities. Those who have been silent will speak; those who have been speaking will fall silent. When the Defence Minister criticizes the Minister for State Security, comrades, it's always a big deal.

Pseudoscience and science cannot stably coexist. And since climatology is after all a branch of geophysics, it cannot retreat behind an interdepartmental firewall - like other junk sciences. (Indeed, all too many of the climatologists are failed physicists whose brains weren't quite sharp enough for string theory.) It cannot possibly say to the IOP: who are you to criticize us?

Climatology cannot evade scrutiny of this level. It cannot survive scrutiny of this level. It cannot survive any meaningful scrutiny at all. After wearing its ring of power for three decades or so, it is pretty much garbage from ass to elbow. Its fudged statistics would prove nothing, even if they weren't fudged; its models might as well be predicting the Super Bowl winner in 2051.

Yet climatology exists - because it is funded. If it continues to be funded, it will continue to exist. If it continues to be officially funded, it will continue to officially exist. (If it does not continue to be officially funded, it will not continue to be funded.) It is not the continued existence of climatology that is in question, but its continued legitimacy.

This is a very serious matter whose implications go far beyond a few degrees Fahrenheit. It is the Press (consider the NYT, with Governor Paterson's freshly-pickled head on its mantel) that must decide the institutional fate of climatology. As this fascinating transcript of a panel discussion among British science journalists reveals, it is far at present from demanding heads. Quite far!

And how could it be otherwise? The malfeasance has been so enormous - again, of capital proportions. "Last year we just printed press releases on AGW if they came from people with the right credentials; that won’t do any longer." Well, it will for some people! Then again, there are some pensioners in Moscow who'd still like Comrade Brezhnev back.

Again, what we see here is not a problem of power - the Press is as firmly-seated as ever, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Official status ensures eternal life. It does not ensure eternal legitimacy, however.

Thus the difficulty in which Official Journalism finds itself. It can acknowledge its error in assiduously, chronically and unrelentingly promoting these charlatans, and be doomed. It can conceal the error, and be doomed. History has little mercy for those whose power outlasts their legitimacy. The longer this inconsistency lasts, the more energy is released in its termination.

Meanwhile, for the poor, ignorant faithful, Science is their father and the Press is their mother. How can they be throwing plates at each other in the kitchen? The voting public, while not expert in physics, knows what stoneware is, has done a great deal of eating off of it, and doesn't like to see Mom and Pop playing frisbee with it. Frankly, it scares them. Frankly, it should.

Therefore, UE39 poses an immediate practical problem to the entire journalism industry. At least as presently constituted, it is not constitutionally equipped for any of the following tasks: (a) arguing with physicists about physics; (b) agreeing that Rush Limbaugh was right; (c) embarking on a savage, McCarthy-style purge of climate science; or (d) ignoring matters entirely.

(d) is probably the most obvious, and probably some devious form of it will be constructed. But it has already become quite difficult, because Fleet Street is already on the case. TCP packets do not take long between here and London. As one NYT commenter notes:
I am grateful to Al Gore for inventing the internet so that I am able to read the foreign press coverage as well as the blogosphere.
Moreover, (d) will become much harder in the wake of UE39 and the like. Still, because it is only improbable, while all other options are impossible, it will have to be the mainstay.

The response, which I am grateful not to be responsible for, will probably be some variant of that famous Washington tactic, the modified limited hangout. That is: the damage, now inevitable, must and will be at some point contained. My guess is that some heads will roll in paleoclimate. My guess is that the social networks described in the Wegman report, and again alluded to by the IOP, will not be rolled up. Guess? No - color that a certainty.

There is simply no institution of government today capable of purging itself in any way, shape or form of any sort of left-wing malfeasance. Purging rightist deviation is a snap of the fingers. If climate science was permeated by racism, for instance, it could purge itself. Indeed, it would be required by law to do so. By definition, however, purging leftists is McCarthyism; by definition, environmentalists are leftists. J. Edgar is no longer in the building, and no agency of USG is anywhere near equipped to resume his work. Which was not, in any case, successful!

But this does not mean that everything is just hunky-dory and will go on as usual. For a time, it will. History is longer than that, however.

When among the faithful, one fact you believe both of Science and of the Press is that both are self-purging. Similarly, as a Catholic, you recognize human fallibility - you know that the Church is a human institution. Priests are men, bishops are men, cardinals are men, the Pope is a man. These men can go wrong, as all men do. But the institution is far greater than its human parts. Just as medium-term weather cannot be predicted, but long-term climate (according to climatologists) can, the Church can slip but not fall. In the long run, it is always right.

As always in the modified limited hangout, the message will be: this is an exception. It's never happened before; we'll make sure it never happens again. We can make sure it never happens again by taking measures X, Y, and Z, and retiring individuals A, B, and C. Who were, quite frankly, a little long in the tooth anyway.

Anyone who believes that global warming can or will be discredited, that this entire movement (which now employs millions of people) will dry up and blow away, that even paleoclimatology will dry up and blow away, will be quite disappointed. At most, the personal research empires of Professors Mann and Jones will just go away. At most, having been one of their students will be
a black mark on the ol' CV, not a gold star. The players will change, but they change anyway. The machine will keep ticking and ticking and ticking.

The problem is that these institutions - the University and the Press - cannot tolerate such exceptions. They are human institutions, not divine ones. They are fundamentally political. Their continued enjoyment of sovereign authority is not a matter of natural law. They rule by consent, not force; that is, by psychological domination of their subjects, not (solely) physical domination.

This control is encapsulated in the word I have used, legitimacy. If the subject views his regime as legitimate, the regime has achieved psychological security with respect to that subject. The converse of a legitimate institution is a corrupt one - not specifically one which engages in graft or any other self-serving practice, but more generally one which is not what it pretends to be.

Any government dependent on psychological security must maintain the illusion of permanence. All regimes do. All regimes, however, can be changed. And in the new regime, the governing institutions of the old dissolve like fairy-dust castles - and nowhere is this more true but in the psychological-security organs.

The University and the Press are power junkies. They rule. They know it. Ceasing to rule, they must cease to exist: this is history's law. And their rule is a consequence of their legitimacy, which is a consequence of their perceived infallibility - or, to be more precise, their tendency to converge automatically on the truth.

If even a single exception to this rule appears, we see at once a string of questions which ascend in seriousness, and to which the answer as dictated by Occam's razor is increasingly frightening.
1. If Mann and Jones were, as individuals, corrupt, why did paleoclimatology not purge them? Because paleoclimatology was, as a field, corrupt.

2. If paleoclimatology was, as a field, corrupt, why did climate science not purge it? Because climate science was, as a department, corrupt.

3. If climate science was, as a department, corrupt, why did science, as a faculty, not purge it? Because science was, as a faculty, corrupt.

4. If science was, as a faculty, corrupt, why did the university, as an institution, not purge it? Because the university was, as an institution, corrupt.

5. If the university was, as an institution, corrupt, why did the government, as an institution, not purge it? Because the government was, as an institution, corrupt.

6. If the government was, as an institution, corrupt, why did the press, as an institution, not purge it? Because the press was, as an institution, corrupt.
By question 6, we have reached the position of the mainstream American conservative or libertarian. This person is not at all sure about how he wants to purge the Press; but, broadly, he would like it to disappear as a business, ignoring the facts that (a) privileged access to inside information will always be a good business (see under: Reg FD), and (b) if the "MSM" blows this advantage so completely that it fails as a business, it has a thousand and one ways to continue operating as a nonprofit.

The democratic conservative or libertarian believes that his government is bad because it pursues the wrong policies; it pursues the wrong policies because its elected officials are the wrong people; and its elected officials are the wrong people because they were elected by bamboozled voters, miseducated by information sources 1 through 6 as described above.

Here is a question you can ask any conservative or libertarian. Granting that the MSM, today, is not supplying the People with accurate information, causing them to support misguided and counterproductive policies: when did this become true? When did it start?

If the American people of 2010 are, by and large, misinformed by their own journalists, until what date were they well-informed and capable of properly fulfilling their democratic function? 1980? 1960? 1930? 1910? If considering dates between 1856 and 1900, I recommend first consulting this historical sketch by Charles Francis Adams, Jr.

Thus we may continue our questions:
7. If the press was, as an institution, corrupt, why did the electorate, as an institution, not purge it? Because the electorate, as an institution, was corrupt.

8. If the electorate was, as an institution, corrupt, why did the constitution, as an institution, not purge it? Because the constitution, as an institution, was corrupt.
And here we rest. UR's answer to the question is, of course: never. Never - neither in the age of American democracy, nor in the Athens of Cleon the Tanner - has there ever been anything like a prudent, intelligent and well-informed democratic electorate. None of these three criteria has ever been achieved, least of all the third. Not in the 20th century, not in the 19th, not in the 18th, and not in the 5th BC.

As for the self-enforcing constitution, the magic parchment that compels all to abide by natural law, without any force of sovereign compulsion that could become corrupt, it strikes me as even more fantastic and impossible than democracy itself. When government becomes corrupt, to cry for its absence is only natural. Nothing is more foul than a corrupt government. But as for natural law, nature's first is this: she abhors a vacuum. Paper cannot rule. Some person or persons are always in the throne, or fighting for it. I prefer the former condition.

Hence I cannot share either the conservative dream of restoring the Old Republic, or the libertarian dream of no republic at all. The lies of the past, it's true, may have been more noble and gracious than the lies of the present. In fact, let's just say they were. The political engineer still faces a vast task in exhuming and rehydrating them; and, the task complete, what does he have but lies? Can he beat new lies with old lies? Color me skeptical.

Thus, the task is not that of reforming these institutions; for they cannot be reformed. It is not that of destroying them; for, corrupt as they are, they remain vastly superior to those of Somalia. Rather, as Carlyle wrote in Past and Present (1843):
The Toiling Millions of Mankind, in most vital need and passionate instinctive desire of Guidance, shall cast away False-Guidance; and hope, for an hour, that No-Guidance will suffice them: but it can be for an hour only. The smallest item of human Slavery is the oppression of man by his Mock-Superiors; the palpablest, but I say at bottom the smallest. Let him shake off such oppression, trample it indignantly under his feet; I blame him not, I pity and commend him.

But oppression by your Mock-Superiors well shaken off, the grand problem yet remains to solve: That of finding government by your Real-Superiors! Alas, how shall we ever learn the solution of that, benighted, bewildered, sniffing, sneering, godforgetting unfortunates as we are? It is a work for centuries; to be taught us by tribulations, confusions, insurrections, obstructions; who knows if not by conflagration and despair! It is a lesson inclusive of all other lessons; the hardest of all lessons to learn.
For instance: if we grant that global warming is not a real problem, we must grant that global warming could be a real problem. It is certainly a member of a set of problems, one or more of which may be real. While it is valuable to know that the pseudoscientific techniques currently used to evaluate the problem are worthless, all it tells us is that we know nothing at all. The problem may still be a problem! And even if it is not, we may encounter other real problems, which are real but quite insusceptible to hindcasting or modeling.

If we grant that the scientific method can produce no mechanical decisions in this matter, that anyone claiming the contrary is a quack, and that present authorities are quite incompetent to decide the matter on our behalf, whether by ox-entrails or bristlecone pines, we have come far - but not so far. For we have only solved Carlyle's smallest problem. The large problem, the problem of who shall decide, remains. No one, of course, is working on it.


Blogger Nick said...

"Popular consent is an index of legitimacy, but not a cause.

In the debate over the legitimacy of power neither its origin in the vote nor its origin in force counts.

Power is legitimate if it fulfills the mandate which the vital and ethical necessities of a society confer on it."

-- Nicolas Gomez-Davila

February 28, 2010 at 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The system has a way of admitting mistakes, and making ostensible conrrections. UE39 might be an actual criticism or it might be a signal for a denunciation to be made, leading to a purge, after which everything will be *just fine!*

Notice that the "modified limited hangout" is never attributed to left-wing institutions, although it's a distinct feature of them- they are continually appraising their programs and admitting they are not quite up to snuff, organizing committees, bringing in consultants, and setting up new programs, which we are assured will be big steps forward toward solving whatever psuedo-problems the left-wing institution is supposed to be banishing from human existence forever. If a right-wing institution- the military or the clandestine service- tries this, it is immediately ocndemned by the press as a "modified limited hangout" and arrests and convictions are demanded, and usually delivered.

February 28, 2010 at 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Paul Milenkovic said...

Back in an innocent age, something came over me to contest a parking ticket. I put on the cheap sport coat and tie and polished shoes that I had, put my papers in my vinyl-coated cardboard brief case, and appeared before the judge. In retrospect the judge may have formed the opinion that I was a smart-alec law student (judge was only half-right--never was in law school) and that judge was going to "fix my wagon."

The facts of the case were that the ticket was to a "blue two-door Ford, CA license 363 WGC October registration." My car at the time was a blue two-door Ford Fiesta, CA license 363 WGC November registration.

After protesting my innocence, "that isn't my car, your honor", I followed the instructions of the lawyer I talked to and questioned the LAPD officer, Parking Enforcement Division (i.e. a "meter maid") who had taken the trouble to make this court appearance. "You carefully notate the license plate of the car?" "You are careful about writing down all of the details about the license, including the registration month?"

The judge gave me the "can we kind of hurry this thing along?" and I cut to my "Perry Mason moment" of "See, the officer here testifies that the illegally parked car had October registration as she had carefully notated. My car is registered in November therefore it wasn't my car and I am entirely innocent."

Then the judge had questions for me. "Is your car a Ford?" "Yes". "Is your car blue?" "Yes" "Does your car have two doors?" "Yes, your honor."

So the judge ruled that "the probability" (yes, the probability) was that the ticketed car was indeed my car and I owed the $50 dollars. Not even the LAPD officer who wrote the ticket was convinced by this legal reasoning. On the way out, she turned to me and said, "I guess that is a lot of money; it had gone into warrant." I said, “Yes it had gone into warrant, it wasn’t my car, I would not have been otherwise issued the ticket."

I looked at the photocopy of the ticket again, and it occurred to me that the LAPD officer wrote "363 WEC" -- her block printed E was interpreted by everyone else including DMV, me, the judge, as a G. The officer was even going to testify as to what she thought the license number was -- it was her handwriting, but the judge cut her off when he got impatient with my junior law partner routine. So much for the facts.

If I had thought about the G being a misprinted E, I could have requested DMV to tell me if there were two blue 2-door Fords in LA County, one with 363 WEC October (the parking scofflaw) and another with 363 WGC November (mine) (what a remarkable coincidence!), and that 363 WEC October was domiciled closer to the "scene of the crime" than my car. Maybe that would have persuaded the judge.

But for running roughshod over my legal rights, it appears to me that a certain cosmic karmic judgment has thundered down. Think Rodney King, Rodney King riots, LAPD Officer Stacy Koon going to prison to do hard time, the two OJ trials, the California financial crisis. Its not too late. If LA County were to write me a check for $50 (I will even waive the interest), that may set everything straight and put LA and California back to normalcy.

With the climate scandal, we are still at the blue 2-door Fords with similar enough licenses to read 363 WGC, and the difference between October and November registration is just a fluke, stage. The cosmic-karmic consequences (Rodney King, riots, OJ Trial) are still another dozen years in the future. (Sorry Mencius if I messed up California for you by contesting the ticket).

February 28, 2010 at 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Pals said...

“The problem may still be a problem! And even if it is not, we may encounter other real problems, which are real but quite insusceptible to hindcasting or modeling.

“The large problem, the problem of who shall decide, remains. No one, of course, is working on it.”

If you think something is a problem, decide so for yourself, and act upon it by yourself. If I am convinced, I will agree with you and act upon it with you.

The real problem with your worldview is that you continue to think in a statist totalitarian way of collective problems that require collective solutions—and you want to be the king who decides that.

In reality, all of humanity’s problems come from megalomaniac scumbags who create these fictitious problems because they want to be the king who solves them for everyone else.

In an anarcho-capitalist world, there is no such a things as “sovereignty”—only property. If you own something, you do whatever you want with it. No one has the right to act with your property under the pretext of “sovereignty” or solving collective problems. Think of the Coase theorem writ large and you can see how no collectivist problems can exist.

Is the river getting polluted? Someone owns the river and is either 1) happy to pollute it himself or 2) will demand that those who pollute it stop polluting or he’ll shoot them, or 3) or he’ll demand they pay him or he’ll shoot them. Problem solved.

As soon as you introduce the fiction of collective rule and the lie of sovereignty, then you’ve just given some scumbag the right to overrule your claim to property for the sake of their collectivist fictitious-problem-solving fetish. This is itself the cause of any possible collectivist problems that could ever emerge. The only collective problems we have, today, are caused by scumbags like Mann and Jones, Greenspan and Bernanke, Bush and Obama who caused these problems while claiming to be here to help.

In reality, none of their problems are true or exist.

Can someone provide an example of a real existent problem that requires a collectivist solution that was not caused by a collectivist solution—a problem that would not be solved immediately if property rights were clearly assigned and sovereignty did not exist?

February 28, 2010 at 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many people, who probably consider themselves "libertarians" in some sense, do not seem to understand what "collective" means. To posit a "king" who decides "collective solutions" is simply meaningless: if the king is the King, then the king's solutions are the King's Solutions. Period.

They also do not seem to understand the definition of "sovereignty". If you have a private right to property, then by definition you are "sovereign" over that property. Again, period.

In reality, most of humanity's self-imposed problems come from cowards who would like their problems to be solved, but who do not want to be responsible for finding and implementing a solution. Ceding authority to a king is just one means of proactively assuming the responsibility requisite to solve problems, which inherently requires that one exercise the rights to private property and self-determination (you cannot cede your own authority unless it is yours.)

In response to Pals' challenge, "collectivism" is a real existent problem that requires a collectivist solution which was not caused by a collectivist solution. Hairless apes, being social creatures, naturally form collective groups. These groups can not possibly be initially formed by the collective because in order for the collective to exist it must first be formed, therefore, it cannot form itself.

As and once the collective (which you seem to think means something innately evil, but really is just a word which describes a social grouping), rules for social interaction within the collective must be derived and enforced in some manner (enforcing rules badly is still enforcement). The problem is that we would like these rules to be "good" rules - which requires that we decide what "good" means and then effect it. Recognizing the existent right to self-determination - the existence of free will - which is inherent in all sapient creatures (it is a necessary requirement for sapience), these rules must therefore be derived and enforced by the collective. Again, ceding authority to determine and enforce the rules to a "king" is one example of how a collective might manage this feat.

Again, many obviously do not understand the meaning of the word "anarchy" which is the derivation of the "anarcho-" in your so-called "anarcho-capitalist world", which is not merely a utopia but an oxymoron. "Anarchy", from "anarkhos", means "without a ruler" - without an "arkhos", which we get from "arkhe", "rule". Anarchy means the state of not having rules. This state is imaginary: rational existence cannot be described without rules, even if they be limited to the Law of Entropy. To be a true "anarchist", then, means being a coward: one who is not willing to take responsibility for the rules, but would rather complain that they are "forced" to obey rules they do not want to, without having done (or doing) anything to find a solution.

Capitalism absolutely requires rules; if you'll please read the Wealth of Nations with some wisdom and reflection (and I encourage you to go a step further and read Theory of Moral Sentiments) you will see that it is all about rules. "Laissez Faire" does not mean lack of rules, it is the policy of governments not interfering with those rules but instead enforcing them. The very idea of "anarchic capitalism" is absurd: a lack of anarchy is the fundamental and key and necessary requirement for capitalism to exist, let alone flourish.

Pals, you and other so-called "anarcho-capitalists" have been brainwashed by State Progressivism, which has fed you such ridiculous epithets as "anarcho-capitalist" with which to describe yourselves. THROW OF YOUR CHAINS and decide what you really believe in - only then can you begin to determine how to act appropriately to your beliefs.

- Dirtyrottenvarmint

February 28, 2010 at 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


There may be a problem with your reasoning. Are you assuming that Science is scientific?

If climate science is not science but religion, then does your argument still hold water? The Donation was a political forgery - by definition there can be no forgery of faith. The three-part-yet-single nature of the Catholic God cannot be "forged" nor can it be "disproven" - if you have faith in it, then it is true.

Might not climate science display such an aspect of religious faith? If that is the case then no amount of the-Emperor-has-no-clothesing can change it, because the faith of the faithful is based not on rational proof but on inspired feeling. (I refuse to grant the possibility of the gift of divine knowledge to climate science.)

Your line of reasoning trends in, well, reasoned - rational - terms, which applies well to questions of politics or social outcomes. But it may not apply all that well to questions of religious faith. If AGW is a religion, based on faith, it may be that the only thing which can combat it is an alternate religion, based on an alternate faith.

(Atheism might be one alternative; we know from your writing that you personally understand that atheism itself requires profound faith. Such strength of conviction must be useful in overcoming "false" faiths such as AGW. The sorrow of atheism has often been in its lack of an established religion, without which it becomes easy for the unwary atheist to slide comfortably into iniquity (e.g., faith in AGW and the divine power of progressivism to right all wrongs.)

- Dirtyrottenvarmint

February 28, 2010 at 6:07 PM  
Blogger Gerard said...

Off topic but it goes to lucidity. Can you please ramp up the color of the type. This middle gray on white is just not making for easy reading. Thank you.

February 28, 2010 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger Murali said...

Mencius, all you've just shown is that climate science as it was called was not being scientific. It does not show that creating models etc etc of climate does not have predictive power. The weather on the new seems to be fairly accurate at predicting the next day's weather. Ultimately, you've not shown that a true climate science is not possible. (As I've said, only that efforts may have been corrupted by narrow interests till now)

a problem that would not be solved immediately if property rights were clearly assigned and sovereignty did not exist?

This is like trying to imagine a square circle. There is no way to clearly assign property rights in the absence of sovereignty.

Also, there is no way to adequately justify property rights without justifying sovereignty.

March 1, 2010 at 3:18 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

As always in the modified limited hangout, the message will be: this is an exception. It's never happened before; we'll make sure it never happens again. We can make sure it never happens again by taking measures X, Y, and Z, and retiring individuals A, B, and C. Who were, quite frankly, a little long in the tooth anyway.

I assume you've read Gore's goring in the Times, then?

March 1, 2010 at 4:50 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...


Athiesm leads to UUism which leads to Progressivism (in fact they are pretty much all the same thing).

MM has already avowed a belief in the Devil--ergo he is one step in the right direction.

But, 1) thanks for the take-down of AC. Like Alrenous & the poem, far more polite that I generally can be.

and 2) of course science is a replacement religion. But, like Luther broke the strength of the Catholic church, the cathedral can be broken--however, Luther did it with devilish deals (like Phillip & his wives): the question remains as to whether or not a revolution can be honest.

March 1, 2010 at 5:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things seem pretty clear to me. The reason every department in the university claims to be a science (political science, economics) despite not following the scientific method, is the tremendous prestige of science. People have claimed knowledge of things since there have been people, but what was different about science is it gave the practitioner predictive knowledge and control over nature. The pratical success of scientific knowledge is why everyone wants what they do labeled science. If these guys are not following the scientific method, who cares what they predict about the global climate? Science fiction is full of predictions but I don;t see people ordering their lives in accordance with it.

March 1, 2010 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

"It is not that of destroying them; for, corrupt as they are, they remain vastly superior to those of Somalia."

Mencius is oddly responsive to comments considering that he's not reputed to be reading them.


'"Anarchy", from "anarkhos", means "without a ruler"'


'Anarchy means the state of not having rules.'


'rational existence cannot be described without rules, even if they be limited to the Law of Entropy.'

Which is precisely why anarchos need not be further qualified. Of course we don't mean all rules, just the lack of a (conventional) ruler.

If you care to read anarchist philosophy - which you understandably may not - you'll find the objection is mainly to the ruler deciding what the rules are. (They tend to make the rules equivalent to "I'm awesome; give me all your stuff," which we find repugnant.)

This objection is usually further developed to refer to the fact that the rulers tend to decide who is ruled, whereas the only moral arrangement is for the ruled to decide who rules them.

If you wish, you may contest the viability of this plan, the viability of moral rule. Otherwise, enjoy your strawmen. I'm sure they're very effective scarecrows. They do not actually address anarchism, but what jaunty hats!

Because the subjects, in this regime, may change rulers basically at whim, the rulers tend not to be called such, just 'leaders.' They are - they must be - rulers nevertheless.

Although I agree that calling any anarchos "capitalist" is a mistake, this is primarily because "capitalism" lacks a real definition, and only secondarily because no one can guarantee "capitalism" in a particular anarchos.

Because of this, it basically just denotes right-anarchist, the faction that likes property, as opposed to left-anarchist, the faction that hates logic.

March 1, 2010 at 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing, another stake has been driven right through climatology's beating hea-- no, wait, through its very epidermis! Wow! That was THIS CLOSE to damaging MULTIPLE living cells! This is a direct hit, glancing solidly off the very periphery of the issue.

There may very well 10,000 dull-eyed apparatchiks and a multitude of conflicts of interest dumbing up the process of science. All of Mencius' points about this are valid and so are many of the similar points others make, but at the end of the day it doesn't make much difference, only engaging the actual science would be decisive. Suppose a person reads Mencius without knowing much beforehand about the process of science, his confidence that climatology would reach the correct consensus might decline from 95% to 65%. That's a big difference, but the impact it makes on the bottom line is modest. We are still staring at this problem and wondering if it is true. There is no way we are going to reach anything resembling 100% confidence that the whole thing is false (or even just 95%), by merely performing a little half-damning sociology and psychology on the dramatis personae.

March 1, 2010 at 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There should be some striking and reproducible data, somewhere, if the whole thing is bologna. You can fool the 99, but you can't fool the 100th. Scientists know that bunk stuff has been published and widely believed time and time again. This knowledge isn't enough to save them all, or even a majority, but it always saves some of them.

March 1, 2010 at 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And another thing: England didn't just invent physics, she invented experiments. So nullius in verba my friends, you know?

March 1, 2010 at 2:07 PM  
Anonymous オテモヤン said...


March 1, 2010 at 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Peter A. Taylor said...

G. M. Palmer wrote:
"Athiesm leads to UUism which leads to Progressivism (in fact they are pretty much all the same thing)."

I am a libertarian atheist who is also a member of a Unitarian Universalist (UU) church. It's not the same thing as Progressivism, but we do have a pretty bad infestation. My view of Progressivism from a UU perspective is called, "The Market for Sanctimony, or why we need Yet Another Space Alien Cult."

March 1, 2010 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...


I'm certainly speaking from my own biases, but surely you can see that the patterns of behavior recommended by Jesus satisfy most of your concerns.

March 2, 2010 at 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

UK politicians turn on climate scientists during hearings:

It may be a start.

March 2, 2010 at 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The walkback begins:

The Institute's statement, which has been published both on the Institute's website and the Committee's, has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that it does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming.

That is not the case. The Institute's position on climate change is clear: the basic science is well enough understood to be sure that our climate is changing – and that we need to take action now to mitigate that change.

Guess the Illuminati inquisitors got to them.

March 3, 2010 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

"Athiesm leads to UUism which leads to Progressivism (in fact they are pretty much all the same thing)."
What? Unitarianism precedes atheism, it is the atheism for an era in which atheism is not socially acceptable. John Adams was a unitarian, as was Calhoun. I am not familiar with any people who started out atheist and transitioned to unitarianism, more the reverse (and a lot more people become unitarians because they're already liberal). Additionally, atheists are a much smaller minority than progressives, whereas in a sort of staged filtering process (like a "gateway drug") we should expect the latter stages to be smaller (just as more people smoke marijuana than use heroin).

March 3, 2010 at 8:00 PM  
Anonymous R7 said...

A government is like a machine, it requires both preventative maintenance and corrective maintenance. Or else the oil will get too dirty or the rust accumulates on the machinery. Its maintenance is sometimes as "easy" as electing new leaders, or it is as "hard" as purging the permanent government institutions.

March 16, 2010 at 5:15 PM  

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