Weekend Open Thread

Please suggest some posts — from CP and especially from other climate/energy blogs — for reposting while I’m on vacation next week.

I will, of course, be picking some of my own — and you can count on a repost or two from Skeptical Science.  As always, feel free to opine on any subject this holiday weekend.

P.S.  I’ll be at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot with a nearly 4-year-old, if anyone wants to offer up some advice other than the fact it’s going to be quite crowded.

72 Responses to Weekend Open Thread

  1. Ziyu says:

    China having trouble feeding its people.

    New Solar Liquid Fuel

    Bingaman eyes clean energy standard in 112th congress

    California starts to clean up flood mess

    That last one is personal because it’s so close to where I live and I know some people living in the affected ares of California.

  2. George Ennis says:

    Canadian readers may find this link particularly interesting if they have not see it already.

    You need to scroll down when you get to the site and you will see a list of future climate maps.

  3. Bruce says:

    Hey Joe, just wondering — what did you think of the NYT article on Charles David Keeling, which ran last week —
    I thought it is was okay.

    And for next week — anything from The Oil Drum —

    Read ya on the flip side…

    [JR: Very good piece.]

  4. fj3 says:

    Just a few years ago the term net-zero homes and even commercial buildings seemed to be a new idea to most people and are still an idea that needs to be widely disseminated.

    Net-zero transportation is an even more important concept describing transportation that has minimal environmental footprints where walking should probably be considered the baseline.

    Since cycling is about 3 to 4 times more efficient than walking (also faster, 9 to 16 times greater local area, etc.) it could possibly be considered as a method for reducing the environmental footprint of walking except that it does require some materials throughput for manufacture as do cloths also a practical consideration for basic mobility; and some type of roads.

    Modest application of additional power and strategies further reducing friction provides part of the critical path to practical net-zero mobility.

    And the socio-economic aspects are likely the most important part of achieving global net-zero transport and transit that meet developed world expectations: practicality, safety, comfort, convenience, high-speed, etc.; likely requiring a substantial development effort somewhat on the scale of bringing a new car to market like the Volkswagen Beetle; and change the game entirely.

  5. John McCormick says:

    Joe, enjoy that ‘small world after all’ and post some pictures.

    John McCormick

  6. PAUL DONOHUE says:

    Have a great vacation. Thanks for all you do.
    Happy New Year.

  7. David McFatridge says:

    TX Gov. Perry to sneak through radioactive waste dump during holidays

    Since Texas won’t, EPA must. Thank the EPA today!

  8. LucAstro says:

    Difficult to imagine that COP16 could be considered a success. So disappointed by this website.

  9. caerbannog says:

    Drs. Michael Mann, Ben Santer and others will likely be facing multiple congressional inquisition hearings next year. But thanks to bloggers such as Dr. Romm, “Deep Climate” and other heroes like John Mashey, climate scientists hauled before Congress will have much more ammo to fire back with.

    But to make sure that all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed, maybe folks could post suggestions for the climate heroes who will be doing battle with anti-science GOP goons. I’m sure that Dr. Mann and others will be well briefed before going into the hearings, but you never know what helpful little surprises folks out here on the web may be able to dig up.

    So if folks have any suggestions, links to obscure you-tube videos showing GOP congresscritters saying especially stupid things, detailed time-lines of self-contradictory statements made by said congresscritters, etc., then maybe they should post them here. Any material that might help scientists get easy-to-understand pro-science “soundbites” into the Congressional Record would be helpful.

    Would it be productive to set up a thread specifically for this purpose? I really can’t say… but it’s something that might be worth considering…

  10. Colorado Bob says:

    The Arctic sea ice animation thru Dec 23, notice the retreat of the ice in Hudson’s Bay beginning on the 15th .

  11. Sequestration innovation via Google News:

    “Global Thermostat sounds too good to be true: It’s a startup company that aims to address the threat of climate change by capturing carbon dioxide from the air, and then making productive use of it.”

    I cannot seem to understand it.. it may be a “cold fusion perpetual motion” – but it may be worth review… certainly interesting

  12. William Quinn says:

    Saw this via Cost of Energy, thought it was very well done:

    Regards, and keep up the good work.

  13. Ziyu says:

    GOP Criticizes GM for buying carbon offsets and other things about Cancun. The climate related stuff is in the second half. The first half is mostly about health care and the tax cut deal.

  14. G says:

    Having followed the news of last year and probing the most pessimistic assessments of worst case scenarios, this Christmas was bittersweet, watching the joy of my young sons all the while the back of my mind was occupied with a growing sense of fear for their futures. I want to just tune out and pretend at this point, which, it strikes me is what much of the denial is about. Not necessarily from evil astro-turfers (which I’m sure do exist at some level), but people who don’t want to live in fear and will readily accept any alternative. I’d be very interested in how other parents and youth are managing the anxiety that I and many other posters here grapple with.

    What we face is more social than political, in my opinion, because we refuse to believe it. To many people blithely toss out that “we’re all doomed” and “kiss it all goodbye,” but what is a realistic ( not worst case or best case assessment ) scenario for this century? Is an anoxic event possible this century? Many avid readers of CP have their own notions, but I’d be interested to know what scientists and credible energy analysts think. I’d be especially interested to know how Joe handles his consideration of his daughters future, but that may be too personal, which I would understand.

  15. John Levering says:

    How about the question of “How can we support the EPA’s initiative to reduce GHG emissions?”

  16. Windsong says:

    To G, #15, Even though young children will be faced with unprecedented challenges, I believe our Creator has endowed them with special “gifts” which will help them to deal with these challenges. That is just my own personal belief based on things I’ve observed and experienced. I know there’s a God and I believe in evolution. Still, when I see little kids today, I wonder and feel for them too. And it makes me enormously angry at the people who ignore their fate!

    As for your second question… Here are some names of scientists who believe an anoxic event is quite possible by the end of this century: From the book, “Climate Wars”– the author quotes Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist of NASA, at Langley Research Center. Bushnell talks matter of factly about such an event by the end of the century unless we take drastic action to reduce emissions. Then, there’s the scientist, James Lovelock, of course. He’s probably the first one to predict it. Also, we have Susan Soloman, atmospheric scientist for the IPCC who predicts a 6 – 12 C degrees rise in temperature by the end of this century, which would be pretty much the end of everything. She said, “I see no plausible scenario where we reduce emissions in time to avoid catastrophe.” (If you type in: A Very Inconvenient Truth– Dan Miller– video– Cybersalon) you can about her predictions. And I think Jim Hansen, the world’s foremost climate scientist predicts it in his latest book, “Storms of My Grandchildren”.

  17. fj3 says:

    We’re freezing not in spite of climate change but because of it-

  18. Windsong says:

    To G, #15… still, I believe in Miracles.

  19. jcwinnie says:

    Well, speaking of Christmas Eve dinner, you could track the mercury in water issue

    Also, a critical issue is interplay as tipping points occur.

    And, of course, there always is the dodgy question: “If it isn’t too late already, when will it be?”

  20. fj3 says:

    #15 G,

    Profound integration with natural capital where human capital is the most important component.

    Elegant designs that carry us into the future will likely follow this simple concept. Sailboats might be a simple example; passive solar another; most assuredly John Todd’s living machines; cities like New York seem to be trending toward this philosophy 8.5 million people at a time; and, a Net-Zero NYC 2020 would be a wonderful and extremely important initiative: central to the 16-million person New York Metropolitan Region and the Northeast United States being the world’s third largest economy.

    With rapid implementation of net-zero transport and systems far surpassing the capabilities of transportation systems based on cars at small fractions in cost, emissions, and environmental footprints we will be well on our way.

    Concepts, strategies, and activists as social and civic “changers”, innovators, entrepreneurs, are likely on the critical paths to achieving the right stuff; the tremendous capabilities of social media, methods, and technologies seem to fit a certain current consensus; buzz-word-like rapid social change methodologies like “open source” and “crowdsource”; Clay Shirky’s “Cognitive Surplus” Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age” describes the broad reserve of potential itching to be channeled in the right directions; Juliet Schor’s “Plenitude” on a personal level how life might change, quite likely for the better.

    Lester R. Brown goes very far describing the current daunting crisis but terribly optimistic with solution sets presented in books “Plan B 4.0” and most recent “World on the Edge”.

    Who knows might even turn out to be an exciting time.

    Like Clay Shirky says in “Cognitive Surplus”: “How much chaos can you stand?” . . . i.e., if you are into that sort of thing.

  21. paulm says:

    #15 G, I hear ya mate. I am in shock personally.

  22. adelady says:

    @15. How to deal with the young ones? I have 2 daughters who will probably produce their own offspring in the next 2-5 years.

    I haven’t broached the subject of my own unappetising view of the future, but I have thought about how to deal with the topic. Land purchase – I’ll be suggesting that they don’t buy seaside or riverside land as an investment. If they have money to spare for a holiday house they should be prepared for its value to decline rather than increase over the time they hold it. Just treat the outlay as multiple holiday costs in a single hit.

    I’ll also be suggesting to the one who has plans for life on a smallholding that she seriously look at one of those nifty setups for combined hydroponics and fish culture.

    Both of these approaches open the way for discussions about sea level rise and ocean acidification – with the clear message that there are positive ways to anticipate and cope with the likely consequences. Maybe even make some money if the fish problem gets as serious as I expect in the next 20-30 years. Anyone in on the ground floor with successful freshwater fish production and a smoking facility should be able to get by reasonably well.

  23. paulm says:

    #15 G, #17 Windsong
    here is another outstanding noble chap (who recently passed away). He sees no

    Frank Fenner sees no hope for humans

    FRANK Fenner doesn’t engage in the skirmishes of the climate wars. To him, the evidence of global warming is in. Our fate is sealed.

    “We’re going to become extinct,” the eminent scientist says. “Whatever we do now is too late.”

    Fenner is an authority on extinction. The emeritus professor in microbiology at the Australian National University played a leading role in sending one species into oblivion: the variola virus that causes smallpox.

  24. paulm says:

    Welcome to Planet Eaarth series….

    Coastal community having subdued Christmas while still reeling from September floods

    Joseph said the people who are not at home just feel lost and those who are are pressing on for the children.

    McKoen hasn’t been to the village since the flood, but he said from talking to people who were displaced it seems like the community is looking to the future.

    “They’re making do,” he said. “For Christmas it will be a subdued Christmas. I think they’re going to make the best of it as best they can.”

  25. Publius. says:

    1) Consumption: why some forms of consumption are blatantly unconscionalbe, and where to draw the line. (e.g., Veganism-locavore!)

    2) Ecovillages & Ecomunicipalities

    3) Why cap-and-trade or any other scheme based on capitalism is worthless

    4) Environmental Liberation Front Tactics

    5) “Give War a Chance” (e.g., Ted Rall’s Anti-American Manifesto)
    . . . Sorry, I forgot you all are pacifists. Nevermind. *^sigh^*

  26. Roger says:

    G#(15)Having similar concerns, I’d like to remind people that Jim Hansen also has a good track record on predictions. He, and others, say we have a chance to pull the nose up on this yellow submarine, if we act NOW! Lord knows we have more than enough data to go ahead now.

    But, it seems we’d rather discuss it to death, or ignore it, rather than act. What’s really needed now is bold action by President Obama in the form of a wake up, state of the climate speech from the Oval Office. He gets it, we just need to “go out and make him do it,” FDR-style.

    Following that, we need Obama to declare war on climate change, then do whatever it takes to assure that global GHG emissions peak by 2020. I suggest Joe devote a blog day to creative ideas for precipitating prompt gov’t action in 2011.

  27. john atcheson says:

    The New Yorker has an article on Jevon’s paradox that needs serious rebutting … very confused. Mistakes innovation and gains in prosperity with rebound effects of efficiency.

  28. Edward says:

    17 Windsong: “I believe our Creator has endowed them with special “gifts” which will help them to deal with these challenges.”
    NO. Homo Sapiens is no exception. Mother Nature made 99% of all species that ever lived extinct. There is no special dispensation for Homo Sap. There are no special gifts. We are in this alone. We live or die by our own wits. There is no outside help. But we CAN win and survive. We know about GW and that is the required knowledge.

    There can be a great population crash with survivors. The population could drop by 4 Billion with some civilization still intact. I doubt there will be 9 Billion people alive all at once on Earth. Populations of most species oscillate. Again, Homo Sap is no exception. There is no detectable difference between one generation and the next because Nature is statistical, not a finely tuned instrument. There are no special gifts.

    Previous climate changes have driven human evolution. Again, statistics are involved. “Fitness” is never an either/or thing. it is always a roll of the dice, but the dice are very slightly loaded. Nature is brutal and clumsy. Evolution is always slower than the maximum possible rate.

  29. paulm says:

    UK could be in for more sever weather.–North-Atlantic-Oscillation–got-bit-stuck.html

    The Met Office is being cautious about what happens next. Its best forecast is a likely ‘return to near normal temperatures’ next month. But some analysts say the big chill could continue for weeks. When it ends, there could be a flurry of storms as the wet westerly winds reassert themselves.

  30. Prokaryotes says:

    Are these Blizzards similar to last year?

    Forecasters predict between 11 to 16 inches of snow in much of that region, bringing visibility to near zero at times. Sustained winds as strong as 30 mph could hit Sunday night, with gusts up to 55 mph in parts of central and eastern Long Island.
    And starting at noon Sunday and extending through 6 p.m. Monday, another blizzard warning will be in effect for all of Rhode Island and most of eastern Massachusetts. Parts of that region could see as much as 20 inches of snow, with strong winds contributing to “extremely dangerous” travel conditions, the National Weather Service said.
    “Widespread power outages are expected during the height of the storm Sunday night from both the strong winds knocking down power lines and the weight of the heavy snow,” the weather agency said. “Shoveling should not be done by anyone with heart conditions.”

  31. Prokaryotes says:

    #10 caerbannog said “… if folks have any suggestions, links to obscure you-tube videos showing GOP congresscritters saying especially stupid things”

    My personal favourit :)

  32. Prokaryotes says:

    GMO’s threaten the survival of the species in the long run

    “…the person who was in charge of FDA policy in 1992, Monsanto’s former attorney, Michael Taylor, he allowed GMOs on the market without any safety studies and without labeling, and the policy claimed that the agency was not aware of any information showing that GMOs were significantly different. Seven years later, because of a lawsuit, 44,000 secret internal FDA memos revealed that that policy was a lie. Not only were the scientists at the FDA aware that GMOs were different, they had warned repeatedly that they might create allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems. But they were ignored, and their warnings were even denied, and the policy went forth allowing the deployment GMOs into the food supply with virtually no safety studies.”

    Learn more:

  33. fj3 says:

    29. john atcheson, The New Yorker article describing Jevon’s paradox where improved efficiency is offset by improved use has been discounted elsewhere. Just can’t remember where.

  34. Bob Wright says:

    Did you take low carbon (and snail paced)AMTRAK to Orlando?

  35. Tom Mazanec says:

    I’m curious…it seems obvious that the Sub-Atlantic chronozone ended c 2000. What should we call the new one? The Anthropic?

  36. Matto says:

    Here’s a chart that readers here may find interesting:

    Something to keep in mind when looking at the cold weather in Europe.

  37. Edward says:

    15 G, 17 Windsong, 33 Prokaryotes: Congressman John Shimkus is mentally ill. There is no truth anywhere in the bible or any other “holy” book. You find truth in the laboratory, not in ancient books written by primitive people and mistranslated n times.

    “I know there’s a God” You have a problem, Windsong, but this isn’t the place to discuss it. Instead, See:

    “Preliminary Analysis of a Global Drought Time Series”  by Barton Paul Levenson, not yet published. Watch

    Under BAU [Business As Usual], agriculture and civilization will collapse some time between 2050 and 2055 due to drought caused by GW [Global Warming].

    Reference: “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond. When agriculture collapses, civilization collapses. Fagan and Diamond told the stories of something like 2 dozen previous very small civilizations. Most of the collapses were caused by fraction of a degree climate changes. In some cases, all of that group died. On the average, 1 out of 10,000 survived. We humans could go EXTINCT in 2051.

    Our grandchildren are going to find out what REALLY hard times are unless we take action NOW. One day in the 2050s, people will go to the grocery store and find no groceries. Between now and then, the price of groceries will keep going up, even if we do take action now.

  38. Badgersouth says:

    Just discovered that CNN’s International Edition website has an Environment section containing excellent articles about climate change and ocean acidification.

    In contrast, CNN’s US Edition does not have an Enviornment section and completely ignores climate cahnge and ocean acidification. (Perhaps becasue the topics are outside the comfort range of the “best political team on television.”)

    Climate hawks ought to mount a campaign to get CNN to include the same Environment section on its US Edition website as it has on its International Edition website.

  39. John McCormick says:

    RE # 39,

    Edward, your comment to Windsong:

    “I know there’s a God” You have a problem, Windsong,”

    No, Edward, you have the problem. One does not have to say everything that comes into their brain.

    Regardless of how you might feel about the looming and present catastrophic AGW, you cannot slam her for her beliefs. They are hers’ and hers’ alone. That she shares them with everyone reading her comment is her right…not her problem.

    Though I share your views, I did not appreciate your bold assertion that she has a problem with her views.

    An apology is in order.

    John McCormick

  40. Windsong says:

    To Edward, #30: What I meant when I said that I believe that our Creator has endowed the younger generation with special “gifts” was this: I believe in evolution. Spiritual, mental and physical evolution. We are no longer the barbarians which used to rule the earth, who take delight in public be-headings,etc. We HAVE evolved. I never meant that our civilization would survive because of this evolution– it may or may not. I simply meant that although the problems confronting youngsters is unprecedented, it won’t be so overwhelming to them as it would be to past generations– say, my mom’s generation, which was steeped in ignorance.

  41. Windsong says:

    Edward, #39: No, actually, YOU have a problem if you don’t know there’s a God. Just because you have never experienced something doesn’t mean it’s not possible for others to have experienced it. To make such a presumption is egotistical and not based on reality.

  42. Windsong says:

    Many people, including four-star generals in the military have stated matter of factly that there are extra-terrestrials, that they have seen the space ships, etc. I have no such experiences. However, for me to say that ET do not exist just because I’ve never seen one, would be the height of ignorance and egotism. The same can be said concerning the subject of God and the subject of global warming. The idea that the human race could come to an end, that we could have a venusian type Earth by the end of the century sounds ludicrous/ insane. Yet this is just what climate scientists, geologists, and others are predicting.

  43. Lionel A says:

    The tide of growing scientific ignorance that has swept over the population at large is a well known phenomenon one with a long history of development, whether by accident or design, I suspect the latter. Not because any particular President or Prime Minister has set out to diminish critical thinking consciously, although there are some who have, but because they have been propelled into office by those that do wish to ensure widespread ignorance.

    Never in history have so many taken to using such sophisticated and powerful devices without understanding one bit of how they work. Such people are in a similar state of comprehension to those members of primitive tribes that Arthur C Clarke had in mind when talking about, ‘…any sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic.’

    Never before have so many taken to narrowing their sources for information where the frivolous overcomes the serious in important and any seriousness comes through the distorting lens of the owners of the media organs used for transmission. Such media moguls of course encourage the trend for ‘customers’ to narrow their topic selection criteria, because serendipity can be subversive.

    Control of news was practiced by the Normans in Britain through the building of huge cathedrals and churches so that the otherwise resentful masses could be messaged into subservience. There were of course other mechanisms wielded by authority, many through the church. It has taken centuries to shake of these shackles but now populations at large are negligently letting control by the few return, and with a vengeance.

    Public Libraries and bookshops in particular are stuffed with volumes trading pseudo-science as fact, far outnumbering works on real science, a situation which grows ever more dire.

    This Christmas I have been given (by my Chemistry graduate daughter bless her) a copy of Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark a book which I have eagerly started re-reading (this being another book once loaned out and never coming home). The late Carl Sagan writing in 1996 recognised only too well where the population was going. This book should be required reading in every high school and college.

    Other books I have which help one understand the breadth of faulty thinking are, firstly a very old favourite, Martin Gardner’s Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science and Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud by Robert Park.

    A Richard Dawkin’s title that I did not mention in a previous post in another thread is the excellent collection of essays, by Dawkins and others under the title A Devil’s Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love, which undresses post-modernism and alternative medicines amongst other dangerous silliness.

  44. Badgersouth says:

    This article succinctly explains why so many discourses between proponents and opponents of AGW rapidly degenerate into ad hominem attacks.

    “Are We Too Dumb for Democracy? The Logic Behind Self-Delusion”

  45. Badgersouth says:

    For a good chuckle, check out “Holiday Party Global Warming FAQ” posted on the website of the National Resource Defense Council.

  46. Badgersouth says:

    “Many recent assaults on climate science and, more disturbingly, on climate scientists by climate change deniers, are typically driven by special interests or dogma, not by an honest effort to provide an alternative theory that credibly satisfies the evidence. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other scientific assessments of climate change, which involve thousands of scientists producing massive and comprehensive reports, have, quite expectedly and normally, made some mistakes. When errors are pointed out, they are corrected.

    “But there is nothing remotely identified in the recent events that changes the fundamental conclusions about climate change:”

    Open letter: “Climate change and the integrity of science” signed by 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences posted by The Guardian on May 6, 2010

    Does anyone have a URL (other than the Guardian)for this letter?

  47. Wyoming says:

    Windsong, Edward, McCormick

    Ahh, freedom of speech. Isn’t it great how we revere it in this country until it runs into our great deference to religion. If Windsong had stated that 2+2=5 no one would have defended her. But since her statement involved God she gets special dispensation in our culture. It matters not that there is absolutely no scientific (i.e. rational) basis for her belief and that there is a great amount of evidence to the contrary (see Steven Hawking ‘The Grand Design’ or Richard Dawkins ‘The God Delusion’.

    Belief will not save us. Rational thought will save us…maybe. Maybe not.

    On more interesting stuff. Anoxic events on an ocean wide scale. From what I have read these occur when CHG concentrations are about 850ppm or higher and global temps are about 20 degrees higher on average. Even under worst case scenarios we are not likely to get that bad by the end of the century. There are more limited areas that already experience this and they are expected to grow. But the cause of a global anoxic event differs from what is causing the current problems.

    Venus type conditions. Hansen and others state that this condition cannot occur on the earth. Our chemistry and physical location in the solar system make it impossible. If it could have happended it already would have.

  48. dorveK says:

    Windsong says:December 26, 2010 at 11:09 am “We are no longer the barbarians which used to rule the earth, who take delight in public be-headings,etc. We HAVE evolved.”

    We HAVE evolved indeed, but into something much worse, actually!

  49. just another doomer2 says:

    @Windsong #44, a close read of Hansen suggests that the runaway greenhouse, if it does occur, would not happen at least until all the ice is gone on the planet, and since the East Antarctic is 10 times bigger than the West, melting all of it would probably take at least another century or two after this one.

  50. Badgersouth says:

    Check out:

    “Bundle Up, It’s Global Warming” by Judah Cohen in today’s (Dec 26) edition of the NY Times.

  51. Lionel A says:

    For some reason my link to Martin Gardner’s Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science got changed to point at a May 27, 2007 CP post titled Alaskan: “I don’t want to live in permafrost no more.”

    I have not a clue as to how that happened as I have not opened that page today.

  52. Windsong says:

    To Wyoming (#49): Spirit is not physical. Therefore, the idea of trying to prove His existence in a labratory is preposteroous. However, just because you can’t put Him in a box, doesn’t mean He’s unreal. It simply means He’s beyond your reach. You can’t confine Him. He’s too vast. Love– as far as I know– has never been confined to a box either but it doesn’t mean it’s not real. Some things can be percieved by the 5 senses, some things are beyond the five senses. As far as Hawkins, and others are concerned, they are idiots! I have no respect for them. They may know some facts. That doesn’t make them Einstein (who, by the way DID believe in God!)

    In the dark ages, the idea of electricity was beyond man’s comprehension also, but that didn’t make it unreal. People just weren’t evolved enough at that point to realize the principles concerning electricity. Just because you have never had a spiritual experience does not mean that others haven’t had that experience because many people HAVE. You just aren’t there yet.

    Also, as far as Hansen goes, he does indeed talk about the earth becoming like Venus if we don’t do something about GW. It’s in the back of his recent book, “Storms of My Grandchildren”.

  53. Windsong says:

    dorvk, #50, It may seem we have not evolved because people are doing nothing about GW. However, the fact is, we do evolve, we don’t de-volve.

  54. Wyoming says:

    Windsong (#54)

    Einstien most certainly did NOT believe in God. In the books I listed there are at least 3 quotes from Einstien stating that he did not bewlieve in God. Hawking is considered to have at least as great a mind as Einstien’s.

    Spirit, love and all things that can be experienced, imagined or thought about can and should be examined from a rational basis. To choose not to do so is to deliberatly choose to consider them from an irrational view point. Does not sound so good from that perspective does it.

    Consider this. If god made the universe then what made god. It is not a trivil question. The universe is vast and complex. For an entity to create it that entity must also be vast and complex. What then created that entity? There is no end to the problem from that perspective. To just then on an irrational basis (i.e. faith) decide that that means there is a god defies logic and common sense. It is mysticism and superstition. A short or even in depth review of the conflict between rational views an faith based views will not find a single instance where a faith based view has stood the test of time. It is not likely that god will survive it either. See M-Theory in the Hawking book. If the math is correct (still untested experimentally) then the universe (and all the other universes) is explainable rationally without the need for a supreme being.

    Oh I have had my share of mystical/spiritual/hallucinagenic experiences just like everyone else. But I don’t misunderstand what they are.

  55. dorveK says:

    windsg, #55:

    We DO de-volve, actually! Please, click here for more information:

  56. Prokaryotes says:

    Discovery of the God Module Results in New Field of Science: Neurotheology

    Researchers suggest that these issues may have played a part in one of the mystical phenomena of ancient times, the oracle of Delphi. George Papatheodorou, an emeritus professor of geology at Patras University, and his colleagues examined the narrow cave where the Delphic priestesses were believed to have delivered their messages. They found high levels of methane, ethanol and carbon dioxide in the cave’s air. “The site lies on a fault where gases leak out. These gases cause an oxygen reduction that induces a mild hypnotic state that could well produce hallucinations,” he told the Greek Kathimerini newspaper.

    In his 2003 book, The God Part of the Brain, Alper says that with the advent of self-conscious awareness, humans became the first animal that could conceive of its own mortality and inevitable death. In order to survive the excruciating anxiety produced by this awareness, a cognitive mechanism was selected into us that compelled us to believe in an alternate, spiritual reality, one that allowed us to perceive ourselves as able to transcend physical death and therefore live forever in a type of afterlife.

    The fact that all cultures from the dawn of time have believed in some form of spiritual reality as well as engaged in specific religious practices implies that spirituality and religiosity represent an integral part of our genetic inheritance. The fact that certain plants or chemicals can trigger a spiritual experience in us demonstrates that there exists some part of the brain that is receptive to these stimuli.

    Alper finds support for his hypothesis in the research on temporal lobe epileptics as well as religiously-oriented “organic psycho-syndromes” in which people with head injuries, afterwards, become excessively religious.

    This leads Alpers to imply that there is no spiritual reality, no god, no soul, no afterlife, nothing that transcends or supersedes the physical realm, invalidating every brand of spiritual or religious belief that exists. The greater implication is that cognition, emotion, perception, and sensation are derived from our genetic makeup in conjunction with the environment in which these genetic potentials are nurtured. The fact that we have no control over either of these variables suggests that there is no such thing as free will.

    Learn more:

  57. Prokaryotes says:

    There is this hypothesis that saulus became paulus, because an arrow hit him and altered the state of his god module.

  58. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    More freak weather
    A POWERLINE failure shut down Moscow’s largest airport today as unseasonably warm weather produced hail storms that wreaked havoc with the city’s traffic and left shoppers slipping on ice.
    Hobart’s mountain snow in summer
    Not unprecedented, but unusual

  59. Edward says:

    41 John McCormick: NO, we do not have to shut up just so preachers can continue to rip off. Religion is a very profitable business which provides absolutely nothing to the deceived clients. Windsong should thank me for helping her get free from her cult.

    Religion is caused by any one or more of about half a dozen mental illnesses. The truth about religion can be found in these books:

    “The Neuropsychological bases of god beliefs” Dr. Michael A. Persinger MD, psychiatrist 1987 “Religious people are just like my temporal lobe patients”

    “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bi-Cameral Mind” Julian Jaynes Professor, Harvard University 1976 “Religious people are just like schizophrenic patients”

    “The Psychiatric Interview in Clinical Practice” Roger A. MacKinnon, M.D., Robert Michels, M.D. W. B. Saunders Co. 1971 “Religiosity is a common symptom [of] schizophrenic patients”

    “The God delusion” by Richard Dawkins. “Religion is caused by a kind of computer virus that infects the living computer, the human brain.”

    “The Science of Good and Evil” by Michael Shermer, 2004 “Morality and Ethics are now in the jurisdiction of Science and greatly improved thereby.”

    Many books in the new science called “Sociobiology”: Morals and ethics are instinctive and they evolved.

    “God: The Failed Hypothesis” by Victor Stenger. Scientific proof that god does not exist.

    “The God Part of the Brain” by Matthew Alper 1996. “The USA is anomolusly religious because many early founder groups were religiously insane and fleeing prosecution in Europe. Religion is a genetic disorder.”

    “The Accidental Mind” by David J. Linden, 2007 Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Religion is caused by the extreme klugeyness of the “designed” by evolution brain. In particular, the narrative creation system cannot be turned off. It generates false narratives that are believed by the generating person. This is seen in experiments done in the laboratory. This book has the best explanation of resistance to evolution: “There has also been an assumption that if one accepts the idea that life developed without divine intervention, it necessarily follows that all aspects of religious thought must be rejected. Those who take this line of argument to extremes argue that when religious thought is rejected moral and social codes will degenerate and “the law of the jungle” will be all that is left. It is imagined by religious fundamentalists that those who do not share their particular religious faith are incapable of leading moral lives.” These suppositions are not true many times over. Linden later mentions that the creationists [intelligent design advocates] are exactly 180 degrees wrong rather than just a little wrong. Being exactly wrong, they are unable to unlearn their error. See Sociobiology or Sciobio.

    “Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism” edited by Petto & Godfrey, 2007. The ID and creationist crowd are trying to do away with science. They see science as a “godless religion.” Science is a process, not a religion.

    “Manufacturing Belief” by Lewis Wolpert

    “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris

    “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon”, by Daniel Dennett Let’s do scientific research on religion and find out what causes it.

    “Origins of the Modern Mind” by Merlin Donald 1991 “So what did you expect from a brain that is based on the Chimpanzee brain?

    “Atheism, A Case Against God” by George Smith

    “God is not Great; how religion poisons everything” by Christopher Hitchens, 2007

    Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist” by Dan Barker

    The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution” by Richard Dawkins

    “Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time” by Michael Shermer. The list author says: “This book explains why on earth your friends and family read the horoscopes.”

    “Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects” by Bertrand Russell

  60. Edward says:

    Hoping that the religion theme will not return:

    As a sophomore undergraduate student in Physics, your homework in Probability and Statistics class may include figuring out when the second coming would be required, assuming that the bible was 100% true in the year zero. That is, when would the bible be down to 50% true? The popular and professors’ answer in 1965 was the year 500. The true answer: A friend of mine was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary. As an adult, he came here and stayed. After 25 years, he visited his home town of Budapest. He was unable to communicate with his high school classmates because the Hungarian language had changed so much. The correct answer is less than 25 years. The first gospel was not written down until 50 years after the alleged events and then in a different language. The people who told the story were at about the same level of civilization as “wild Indians”, I mean Native Americans before Columbus got here. We have all played or seen played the game called “Telephone” in which a story is passed down a line of re-tellers. By the Sixth re-telling, the story has no resemblance to the original. The gospel story had to have been re-told at least 6 times before it was mis-translated the first time. [Note that whoever wrote it down the first time was free to write whatever he wanted to. The storytellers were illiterate and unable to check his written text by reading it. Besides that, he wrote in Greek rather than Aramaic.] Conclusion: There is no truth anywhere in the bible, and there never was. There is no way to know what “jesus” or “mohammed” or any other such character actually said or did.

    ALL of the jurisdictions that were formerly in the jurisdiction of religion have been taken over by Science. There is no longer a need to debate the issue. Religion is an unfortunate side effect of having evolved from a chimpanzee-like animal in a very brief 6 or 7 million years. “God” will not save us from the consequences of global warming or an asteroid impact or a tornado because there is no such critter as “god.”. Ethics and morality are instinctive, not derived from religion. Female instinct has greater force in morality than male instinct because the female is in command of the sexual encounter. Look up “Sociobiology”. The origin of the Universe is the subject of Cosmology which is part of astronomy which is part of the science of physics.
    Religion is a SCAM. ANY religion, there are 10,000 to choose from at any one time. People keep inventing new religions [for the benefit of the “prophet,” of course] and forgetting other religions. ALL preachers, priests, imams, rabbis, iatolas, etc. belong in jail for “grand theft, bunko type”.

  61. dorveK says:

    Edward #61:

    You forgot “My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey”, by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor.

    “Religion is a story that the left brain tells the right brain.”:

  62. John McCormick says:

    RE # 62

    Edward: “Hoping that the religion theme will not return:”

    Well, it did. Thanks to your # 62 post. So, I am led to believe you are on a tear.

    I personally don’t care if Windsong or any strong believer in humankind’s destruction of our planet believes in unicorns, ETs or the Washington Nationals. As long as they don’t vote for repugs, I have no problem with their spiritual proclivities.

    Are you as vehement against the word ‘spiritual’. Have you ever used that word in a positive sense.

    My comment in # 41 was not a justification of Windsong’s beliefs. I wanted you to be a bit more reserved. Not everyone shares your view even while I have no relationship with religions and gods.

    John McCormick

  63. Prokaryotes says:

    #61 Edward said “So what did you expect from a brain that is based on the Chimpanzee brain?”

    Neanderthal genome reveals interbreeding with humans

    Any human whose ancestral group developed outside Africa has a little Neanderthal in them – between 1 and 4 per cent of their genome, Pääbo’s team estimates. In other words, humans and Neanderthals had sex and had hybrid offspring. A small amount of that genetic mingling survives in “non-Africans” today: Neanderthals didn’t live in Africa, which is why sub-Saharan African populations have no trace of Neanderthal DNA.

    It’s impossible to know how often humans invited Neanderthals back to their cave (and vice versa), but the genome data offers some intriguing details.

    “It must have been at least 45,000 years ago,” says David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School who was involved in the project. That’s because all non-Africans – be they from France, China or Papua New Guinea – share the same amount of Neanderthal DNA, suggesting that interbreeding occurred before those populations split. The timing makes the Middle East the likeliest place where humans leaving Africa and resident Neanderthals did the deed.

    Neanderthal Extinction from Climate change
    About 55,000 years ago, the weather began to fluctuate wildly from extreme cold conditions to mild cold and back in a matter of a few decades. Neanderthal bodies were well suited for survival in a cold climate—their barrel chests and stocky limbs stored body heat better than the Cro-Magnons. However, the rapid fluctuations of weather caused ecological changes to which the Neanderthals could not adapt. The weather changes were so rapid that within a lifetime, plants and animals someone grew up with would be replaced by completely different plants and animals. Neanderthal’s ambush techniques would have failed as grasslands replaced trees. A large number of Neanderthals would have died during these fluctuations, which peaked about 30,000 years ago.[54]
    Studies on Neanderthal body structures have shown that they needed more energy to survive than any other species. Their energy needs were up to 100-350 calories more per day comparing to projected anatomically modern human males weighing 68.5 kg and females 59.2 kg.[55] When food became scarce, this difference may have played a major role in the Neanderthals’ extinction

    Loss of Arctic Ice May Promote Hybrid Marine Mammals

    As Whiteley explains, the picture is complicated and it is hard for biologists to know exactly what to expect because hybridization can have beneficial consequences in the first generation. But in later generations, the process begins to have more negative effects as genomes mix and any genes associated with environment-adapted traits are recombined. Genes related to any trait that once allowed the animal to thrive in a specific habitat can be diluted, leaving the animal less well suited to surviving and reproducing there.
    In some cases hybridization, which is one of nature’s sources of evolutionary novelty, might not be so bad, the authors acknowledge. But in other cases such as interbreeding between the rare North Pacific right whale, with fewer than 200 individuals believed to be left, and more numerous bowhead whales, interbreeding could mean extinction of the rarer, smaller population.

  64. Chris Winter says:

    Badgersouth wrote: “Does anyone have a URL (other than the Guardian) for this letter?”

    This URL should do it:

    Google is your friend.

  65. Lionel A says:

    adelady #23

    Anyone in on the ground floor with successful freshwater fish production and a smoking facility should be able to get by reasonably well.

    Aye until less well prepared but better armed marauders move in.

    Things will get ugly, even here in UK where a gun culture is much less manifest. I understand that the US has had a culture of ‘rebel’ well armed and fortified ‘clubs’ for some time now. Clubs that are already showing signs of animosity against any government interference with their perceived liberties and constitutional rights.

    Edward good list at #61 one to add

    God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens

    but #62 – and they accuse Dawkins of being strident. And yes I have read The God Delusion (have about three copies as two loaned out surprisingly returned – atypical) and in particular the opening passage of Chapter 2 which is most memorable, I think Dawkins was being a bit wittily tongue-in-cheek with that.

  66. Prokaryotes says:

    Great movie …

    1:41:00 – 1 year ago
    Bill Maher’s take on the current state of world religion.

  67. American_Idle says:

    Religion could be and should be a more powerful ally. In order to support his pro fossil fuel agenda, Congressman Shimkus cheapens religion (and his intelligence) by cherry picking God’s flood free world promise to Noah. However, there are many Christians who make the effort to reach conclusions by applying logic to real world facts, and by choosing more intuitive obvious ethical axioms such as Jer. 2:7 – “I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and you made my inheritance detestable.”

    A larger number of motivated moderate Christians such as these would be a powerful positive force….

    On the other hand, “conservatives” have methodically convinced too many Christians that Jesus would be a Republican – and that climate scientists are evil….

  68. Chris Winter says:

    I’ve just read the late Michael Crichton’s novel State of Fear.

    Many others have long since delivered extensive critiques of the science presented in the novel. (I know; I’m six years late on this.) Here, I’ll just say that supposedly scientific presentation is as distorted and misleading as you may have heard. This applies to all the science shown, not just the climatology.

    As a mystery novel, State of Fear works fairly well despite some plot holes. As a guide to thinking about science… fuggedabowdit.

  69. Jay Alt says:

    Not a repost but a Suggestion for future coverage, (I’ll will miss this coming weekends thread).
    Nothing wrong with a good >clean< fight.
    I h\ope to see some coverage on this, with and eye toward: How can Climate Progress readers help?

    Texas, EPA fight over regulations grows fierce

  70. Jay Alt says:

    I should have included this related coverage:

    Farmers, pecan growers claim SO2 from coal electric generation kills vegetation