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Archive for the category “Flawed Perspectives”

That Is One Big Pile of Science

Science fight!

In one corner, we have the Wall Street Journal, its climate change skepticism timidly presented by Dr. Steven E. Koonin.

In the opposing corner, Salon, their full throated anthropogenic global warming alarm being roared by Professor Raymond T. Pierrehumbert (who unironically ended his column on global warming with the helpful suggestion, “You cook with what you have.”).

They enter the ring.  They stare each other down.  And now, the main event.

“Climate science is not settled!”

napoleon slap fight

“Climate science is settled enough!”

napoleon slap and run

As you can see, there’s no winner here.  Just another factual stalemate followed by bad analogies and a couple ‘yo mamma’ jokes. (Ok, not in print, but you know they wanted to.)

The first reason no one wins these debates is that we’ve lost all distinction between climate science and climate modeling.

Science is verifiable and repeatable.  Modeling is a forecast that deals in probabilities.

When someone says the ‘science is settled,’ these futurists mean that the modeling is infallible.  Perfectly accurate modeling is impossible because it bangs heads with the limits of human knowledge.  However, we can get a rough idea.

I have no strong opinion on the climate models.  (What? No strong opinion? You’re writing a blog, damnit!)  Frankly, they don’t matter.

We already know the most important thing there is to know:

The climate always changes.

That leads to the second reason no one wins these debates.  These debates aren’t about science or modeling.  They’re really about solutions.

And there are only two solutions

1) Worldwide social engineering – Often consists of creating heavy taxes and stalling economic growth (i.e. the equivalent of slamming the emergency brake while everyone runs to the back of the bus so it doesn’t fall over the rocky ledge and send us a thousand feet into a billowing fireball at the bottom of the gorge).


This requires hyper accurate prediction models and requires all seven billion people to agree on (or be coerced into) a single course of action and stick to it.  Neither is possible. (Also, you developing countries who don’t yet have a modern economy and can’t feed yourselves? Suck it.)

2) Technological adaptation – No models needed.  Just be awesome and innovate.  Because that’s what the human race does. #likeaboss

This sound familiar?

Writing in the Times of London in 1894, one writer estimated that in 50 years every street in London would be buried under nine feet of manure. Moreover, all these horses had to be stabled, which used up ever-larger areas of increasingly valuable land. And as the number of horses grew, ever-more land had to be devoted to producing hay to feed them (rather than producing food for people), and this had to be brought into cities and distributed—by horse-drawn vehicles. It seemed that urban civilization was doomed.

meshon-nyt-bus_190The terrible horsepoopy crisis of 1944 vanished into a parallel universe once Karl Benz invented the car and Henry Ford mass produced it.

The cliff is coming.  Don’t slam on the brakes.  Invent a flying bus.


Greed Friday

Well first of all tell me, is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? … What is greed? Of course none of us are greedy. It’s only the other fella that’s greedy. – Milton Friedman

If you believe that Wall Street greed crashed the American economy, you may be right. But today’s Black Friday Drudge Report headlines should disabuse you of the notion that greed is some special evil inherent to the financial sector. We are a materialist society from top to bottom. The reason Wall Street colluded with government to take advantage of Main Street (and not vice versa) had to do with ability, not greater desire. Or, as Friedman adherent Thomas Sowell would put it: “you can become the greediest person on earth and that will not increase your pay in the slightest.”

Current Drudge Report headlines:  

Read more…

Lacking ambition and lying like a Democrat

ron johnsonLast week, Republican Senator Ron Johnson proposed a bill stating that nothing in Obamacare shall be construed as mandating the cancellation of existing health care plans. When Ted Cruz stated his goal of defunding Obamacare via the budgeting process, Senator Johnson called him “intellectually dishonest”. But we’ll return to that later.

A recent National Review piece by Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru argues that Cruz’s strategy was misguided and damaging to future GOP prospects, and they urged greater prudence going forward. Certainly a reasonable point of view, but in a recent Corner post, Lowry inadvertently highlighted why so many conservatives are tired of being lectured on why Cruz’s plan was reckless and hopeless. And further, why they don’t trust the more cautious Republican factions to know when or how to strike when vote counts are more favorable. Lowry writes:

Democrats have entered a zone of real vulnerability here. The turmoil over Obamacare — the canceled policies, the failed website launch — coupled with the president’s low standing create the possibility of Democrats getting caught in a political stampede and having to accept something like the Johnson bill.

So let me get this straight… the Democrats will be facing a “political stampede”, and Lowry’s goal is to codify in law a sloppy and dishonest Obama campaign promise?  Read more…

How to tell who’s faking it

morning joeTed Cruz took to the Senate floor this week and spoke out passionately against Obamacare for twenty-one hours straight. Because the speech did not technically qualify as a filibuster due to arcane Senate rules, initial reports tabbed Cruz’s Herculean effort as “fake”.

Republican Congressmen Pete King went so far as to  label Cruz a “false leader”.

On his way to the 11pm-1am shift of Cruz’s epic floor speech, Connecticut’s Democratic Senator Chris Murphy angrily grumbled on Twitter that Cruz was conducting a “fairy tale non-filibuster.”

In other Twitter news, the next day it was revealed that the artist-formerly-known-as-the-leader-of-the-free-world, President Barack Obama, had 19 million Twitter followers… that are fake.

Likewise, when a Democratic Congress was ramming through Obamacare against the public’s will, the President claimed that you could keep your plan and doctor if you like them, and yearly costs for individuals would go down $2500. Those claims turned out to be… fairy tales.

When the morning shows kicked off a few hours later Read more…

Gee whiz, lighten up people!

gordon gee“Americans have to learn how to take a joke.” – Herman Cain, 2012 Republican primary debate

Showing the talent for deflection common among philanderers*, Herman Cain also hit on a truth. In addition to a sense of humor, he could have added a sense of perspective. Distinctions need to be made in life, otherwise confusion reigns, and a country that self-loathes about the enhanced interrogation of proven terrorists yawns when 5 year olds who say “bang” at school are grilled until they pee their pants. Likewise, when our culture of offense leads us to impose a zero tolerance policy on offensive speech, our social vitality takes a hit.

The most recent example comes in the form of Ohio State president Dr. Gordon Gee, whose experience of having his comments recorded at a private OSU Athletics Council reception shows Obama’s surveillance state knows no bounds. Speaking extemporaneously to colleagues,  Gee added Catholics and the SEC to a previous long list of “offensive” mild dig targets that includes the Polish army and the Little Sisters of the Poor. Certain groups, who face real persecution and suffer from fresh wounds, deserve extra sensitivity from polite society. But if we can’t tell the difference between those situations and insulting the Little Sisters of the Poor’s nonexistent football team, or the SEC’s nonexistent educational standards for athletes, then our social confusion might be terminal.

When we act scandalized by simple jests, we affirm the professionally aggrieved, and encourage the more thuggish in their ranks. Read more…

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