Nov 272009

Though this appears to have been written before people really started to go through the code files in depth, Greenfyre discusses how climate change proponents should be responding to sceptics’ claims about the hacked/leaked material from the Climatic Research Unit:

I suggest that we have change our response to “smoking gun? who cares? show us the “body!” Of course there is no “body”, or even “bullet holes” anywhere … ie no evidence that anything actually happened.

We need to switch from seeming to be defending the supposed culprit to demanding actual evidence of a crime, any crime. We need to be asking:

“Which studies were compromised, how? be specific. Cite papers and data sets. What is the evidence? where is it? what work is affected? how? show me the evidence that says so.

This supposed scandal involves perhaps a half dozen people, how does it affect the work of the 3,000+ others who’s work makes up climate science?

How does it affect the work that was done before the alleged culprits graduated from univeristy? the work from before they were born?

Of the 30,000(ish) studies that make up climate science, which ones are undone? where is the evidence? be specific … show us exactly how and why?” etc

because of course another hole in the Denier frame is thier certainty that the CRU hack topples climate science. Naturally they are taking advantage of the bobbhead credulity and the public naivete, which does work, but it also makes them vulnerable to it being challenged on it.

“You are certain it topples climate science? how? where? which studies? what evidence? You don’t know? then how are you certain?

Please run through a list of the studies you believe are affected? Hockey stick? what’s that? please refer to specific papers and studies.You don’t know? then how can you be certain?

Ahhh, Soandso 2004? so just how is it compromised? what part of the work? I thought you were certain?”

We need to hammer that and keep hammering it. Push hard, and not only the Deniers, but the media drones who brainlessly echo the Denier memes. Not hysterically or in anger, but with relentless defiant decency and certitude. Make it clear that they do not understand the science, and in fact have no idea what they think the emails actually mean.

We have to be the ones asking questions and demanding answers!

So. Is it possible to answer Greenfyre’s questions? The emails do not necessarily show that the science is unsound (although they do offer some startling insights into the nasty and arguably unethical ways some scientists behave), but the code… ah, the code. What, if any, studies, papers, reports, articles, etc. does it affect? Can anyone cite chapter and verse?

Nov 242009

Iowahawk strikes again:

But there’s a problem: as the worker researchers attempt to store each raw datum into the neat honeycomb hockey stick structure provided by the hive’s Alpha Grantwriter, they discover that few will fit. The infrared shows them growing cool with fear. This signals the climate researcher’s instinctive behavior to begin viciously beating, rolling and normalizing the data into submission. According to Dr. Nigel V.H. Oldham, professor emeritus at Oxford University’s Centre for Metascience, this violent data dance is what makes climate researchers unique among breeds of scientists.

Professor Nigel V.H. Oldham:

Like other species in the order homo scientifica, the climate researcher gathers and organizes data to lure grant money to the hive. In contrast to those other species, however, the climate researcher has evolved a set of complex violent behaviors to insure any data leaving the hive is perfectly adapted to nature’s most lucrative and sweetest grants. It really is a marvel of natural selection, and explains why the climate researcher continues to thrive in any kind of weather condition.

Truly, Iowahawk is a giant among satirists. Do go and read the whole thing.

Nov 192009

There seems to be an awful lot in the news at the moment about the war in Afghanistan, along with the usual will-we-or-won’t-we tussle over Iran’s wanting to arm itself.

But there’s very little about the war in Iraq. Is the war in Iraq over? Did we win, and Iraq is as I type approaching peace, if not well-oiled then at least functional? Or did we lose, and the long dark night of tribal civil war has descended on Mesopotamia?

Either way, why isn’t anybody talking about it?

And if the war isn’t, in fact, over – why isn’t anybody talking about it?

Nov 192009

I’ve discovered Mencius Moldbug, thanks to a comment left here by sconzey.*

I shall not even bother linking to particular posts I like, because I like them all (so far). Tearing myself away to do such necessary self-maintenance as eating has become difficult.

However. There is one bit of Moldbuggery I’d like to share with you. He’s articulated, quite tangentially and by accident, exactly why I enjoy British politics and find American politics so depressing. I used to think it was because the spectacle was better (it’s not), or because I could observe with equanimity since it doesn’t affect me (it does). But here’s really why:

If you’ve ever lived in a foreign country, you know exactly what life is like without the nanoslice [of power conferred by the franchise]: pretty much what life is like with it. Except for the Zen of abandoning the constant, unrequited longing for control that is the cruel karma of the democratic citizen, and the breath of honest fresh air in exchanging a first-person government for a third-person one, not “we” but “they.”

*Why don’t my comments have permalinks? Argh, must fix.

Nov 182009

I’m glad I never exerted myself to write that exegesis of libertarian theology I’ve been promising arch-doubter Don Paskini, because somebody called James Redford has already done it at, and done a fantastic job.

Socialists, no more will I demur when you claim that, as a Christian, I really ought to be a socialist. You’re wrong, and I’ve got proof.

I’m aware, of course, that many on the left do not subscribe to Christianity; demonstrating its libertarian character will simply bolster their existing belief that Christianity is nonsense: ‘Made-up sky fairy and icky libertarian? How right I have been to view it with contempt!’

Many libertarians also do not subscribe to Christianity; but they can have no real objection if more people, Christians though they be, join the libertarian cause.

So. Libertarian Jesus FTW on all counts.

H/T Wh00ps and the anonymous commenter at Samizdata.

Nov 172009

For David Davisthis is why I said you were nasty:

Imagine how, say, libertarians would react if Russia decided to turn itself into a libertarian utopia. Imagine how easily they might come to overlook the matter if achieving the libertarian utopia turned out to involve, oh, just a little bit of good old Russian-style killing. In self-defense, of course. Libertarians believe in self-defense. Don’t they? And besides, we’re just killing government officials… and so on.

Nov 162009

On Brad Friedman’s piece about how Fox News is faux news:

I am so sick and tired of hearing the Publicans moan about the “liberal media”. They keep using this as an excuse for the existence of FOX ‘news’. Here’s the deal: The reason that the media tends to have a somewhat progressive slant is that educated and intelligent people tend to be Dems.

We have never seen an actual breakdown, by IQ, of political ideologies in the US, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of supposing to figure this out. People who are incapable of comprehending situational outcomes, such as the Iraq Occupation, are the type of people who cheer the loudest for such reckless and immoral behavior. So far, this is all just common sense. Honestly, look into the crowd of a daytime talk show or monster truck rally, you’re not going to find a whole lot of professors out there.

So everyone should have an equal voice, right? Well, how about this? We should let everyone in the US, regardless of IQ or education, be anything they want to be. That means newscasters, doctors, chemical engineers, nuclear engineers, etc. That’s freedom, right? So lets make a law that there has to be an equal cut for both sides of the isle, oh wait a minute, that would be communism. You see, I get so confused when I try to grasp these Publican concepts with only a third of my actual IQ.

A possibly faulty syllogism: educated people may tend to be Democrats, but do Democrats tend to be educated people? In other words, most intellectuals may be Democrats, but are most Democrats intellectuals?

I wonder what we would find if we could actually discover the average IQ of Republicans vs. the average IQ of Democrats (of course, IQ is not the same thing as level of education). Which party, on average, is more intelligent?

And here we run into the problem with equating one’s own beliefs with intelligence and one’s opponents’ beliefs with stupidity. It’s an argument not worth having, because one way or another, if you espouse it, you will encounter significant cognitive dissonance when someone whom you know to be intelligent still disagrees with you.

I’ve unintentionally provoked this reaction from people on more than one occasion, when they ask me, puzzled, ‘How can you be so smart and still hold these stupid political beliefs?’ The question leads to much speculation: has she imbibed her father’s ideology wholesale? has she simply chosen not to think critically about this one aspect of life? is she just being contrarian for the sake of it?

Oddly enough, it never leads to speculation that thinking people who disagree with you politically are automatically idiots is a fallacy.

I do not think my political opponents, as a group, are stupid. Some of them may well be stupid as individuals, but I don’t assume that stupidity is at the root of their disagreement with me. It would be nice if they granted me the same courtesy.

P.S. This isn’t intelligence-related, but ‘both sides of the isle‘? Seriously?

P.P.S. I suspect that political ideologies with fewer adherents (e.g. libertarians, actual communists, etc.) would top the average-IQ chart of political ideologies – just to get that in there before someone accuses me of secretly thinking it – for a couple of statistical reasons. First, the samples are smaller, so the distribution of IQs is likely to be spread more narrowly. Second, these smaller groupings tend to be ‘extremists’ of one sort or another, and most self-labelled ‘extremists’ appear to be men. And men, as we are told, dominate the right-hand end of the IQ curve.

Nov 152009

Via Dick Puddlecote and the Devil’s Kitchen, these words of wisdom from Kevin Barron MP (Lab-Rother Valley):

We are the state’s representative in our constituencies and we should not be frightened of taking decisions on behalf of our constituents, because that is to the general good.

My obstreperal lobe has exploded.

‘The state’s representative.’

We’re doomed.