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Ad Astra

This is going to be a bit of a long rambling post. But it’s on a subject close to me personally and professionally.

As most of you know, I’m a professional star-gazer and a lifelong fan of space exploration. And right now, the state of space is in flux.

On Friday, the shuttle Atlantis blasted off for the 135th and final shuttle mission. The Space Shuttle has had a long and somewhat checkered history. On the one hand, it has cost billions of dollars and 14 lives. On the other, it has enabled the construction of a space station, the launch and repair of spacecraft that have vastly expanded our understanding of the universe and has fired the imaginations of millions. I remember watching the early launches and landings in elementary school and the thrill they gave us. STS-41-C, when Challenger captured and repair Solar Max, fascinated me. And I remember standing in a cold March morning, watching STS-109′s dawn launch from the VIP seats. It lit up the landscape right as the sun rose, arced through a cloud and thundered over the Atlantic. It was a spectacle that warranted near-biblical metaphors. As I’ve said many times, that is the way to waste taxpayer money.

It will be some time before we have any successor to the Shuttle. Three administrations in a row have bumbled around with their “plans”. And while private industry is gearing up to take over many launch duties, exploration remains on hold. I was born in 1972, the year of the last moon mission. I never dreamed that incompetent bumbling, political hackery and a singular lack of vision would keep us from fulfilling the promise that Apollo delivered. Yet here we are, in 2011, and the stars are further away than they were on the day I was born.

As disappointing as our manned space flight has been, however, NASA’s science programs have been as stunning a success. Voyagers 1 and 2 continue to send back data from the edge of our solar system with 33 years and 10 billion miles on their odometers. The Spirit rover, designed to explore Mars for 90 days, instead explored it for 2000. Hubble, now a grizzled veteran of 21 summers and 100,000 orbits, has changed almost every branch of astrophysics. NASA has launched or been partners in over 30 space telescopes, almost all of which have been spectacularly successful. (Take it from an insider: the builders know what’s on the line and engineer the hell out of their satellites. They are built to succeed).

Now how can I, a conservative-libertarian, support such things? Well, I have a personal stake, of course: I’ve had the privilege of working on and analyzing data from several space missions. But fundamentally, it comes down to my belief that basic science, pure science, is one of the few things government should be doing. de Tocqueville put in best in Democracy in America.

If those who are called on to direct the affairs of nations in our time can clearly and in good time understand these new tendencies which will soon be irresistible, they will see that, granted enlightenment and liberty, people living in a democratic age are quite certain to bring the industrial side of science to perfection anyhow and that henceforth the whole energy of organized society should be directed to the support of higher studies and the fostering of a passion for pure science.

Nowadays the need is to keep men interested in theory. They will look after the practical side of things for themselves. So, instead of perpetually concentrating attention on the minute examination of secondary effects, it is good to distract it therefrom sometimes and lift it to contemplation of first causes.

Applications are for the private sector; exploration needs the occasional boost from the public.

I can’t find the quote but de Tocqueville also worried that Americans, being so imminently practical, would not indulge themselves in great monuments and achievements for the ages. NASA, both in exploration and investigation, crushes that fear. Apollo was a greater achievement than all the wonders of the world put together. If humans ever do escape this planet and make themselves almost immune from extinction, it will be the greatest achievement in the history of history. Our satellites have found hundreds of new worlds and looked back to the dawn of the universe itself. Aristotle would be green with envy.

I bring this up, of course, because the House just unveiled their budget proposal for NASA, which cuts 10% of NASA science and ends JWST — NASA’s next big science mission. I have mixed feeling about this. JWST is massively over-budget and has had a myriad of technical problems, which has been hurting other missions. On the other hand, it would be an incredible mission if it took place and its backers insist the big problems are behind them. And the current proposal doesn’t move the money to other missions; it just makes it disappear.

As someone who supports steep budget cuts, I’m constantly looking for things to kill. And I’m glad the GOP is taking on ethanol, our bloated transportation budget and, just maybe, our outsized defense budget and entitlements. But basic science is one of the few things we should prioritize and one of the few things that was not run up in the recent budget explosion. I recently saw a talk from a NASA higher up. With the expected cuts, we will, by the end of the decade, have entire regions of the electromagnetic spectrum that are as invisible to us as they were to cave men. A flat level of funding for 2012, with JWST continuation contingent on a top-to-bottom review of the program, would hold the line on the budget without hurting the future and darkening our electronic eyes, perhaps forever.

(Space science has its practical side, as well. Any time you are talking space science — from detector technology to control systems — you’re talking about things that have practical, frequently military uses. One instrument I’ve seen uses a holographic glass technology used for the Heads Up Display of fighter aircraft. Science is one of the few government endeavors that actually has an economic multiplier, although how great it is — estimates range from 2 to 10 — is debatable.)

The GOP talks a lot about American exceptionalism. As an insider, I can tell you that there are few fields where America is more exceptional than astrophysics. In terms of degrees granted, papers published, missions launched and discoveries made, we eclipse the rest of the world combined. Around the globe, America is astronomy. Can we not find a way to keep our budget under control without sacrificing that?

Feel free to blast me in the comments if you think that I’m just pleading for my own slice of the federal pie. But I’m trying to be as objective as possible. Even before this became my life — and who knows if it will be for much longer — I loved this stuff. As I said — this is the way to waste taxpayer money.

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  1. richtaylor365 says:

    I think that if I was in your shoes, or in the field in general, I would take a “glass is half full” approach and be thankful that you are only cutting a 10% haircut. I can think of many government programs that could get whacked 50% or eliminated altogether without any disruption or hardship to the folks. Given our situation I think it would be criminal to not look at every federal expenditure, including the military, and expose them all to the light of austerity.

    NASA, space exploration and scientific endeavor in general are all noble pursuits and worthy of tax dollars, but it is the allocation of those dollars that is in dispute now.

    Also factor in that ALL government programs have a certain level of waste, duplication, and fraud baked into the pie, a closer look at the financials, which I hope they all get looked at, could probably find that 10% in costs that could be cut without the meat and potatoes portions of the research being effected.

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  2. hist_ed says:

    I think we should take a meat axe to the budget and I am with you Hal. Hell, you know I’m a teacher, but I’d be happy to take the whole fucking federal Department of Education budget and throw it at NASA.

    Great confident societies do great things. When the Romans built the Coliseum, they weren’t worried about penny pinching or what the damn Gauls might think. They threw long and went for it. Even the Commies knew this (they spent waay too much of their limited resources pretending they were a great society-that’s another story). What is the last honest to God mother fucking balls out great thing that France or Britain has done?

    We have plenty of places to cut money-let’s keep trying for things that no other country on Earth could even dream of doing.

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  3. West Virginia Rebel says:

    We should have already had a shuttle replacement by now. Given our somewhat frosty relations with the Russians these days, what do we do if they decide they don’t want us riding on their rockets anymore?

    I do think private ventures are going to be the way to go in the future and I hope NASA’s aging bureaucracy can learn a few new tricks from them.
    West Virginia Rebel recently posted..Boehner’s ReykjavikMy Profile

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  4. AlexInCT says:

    On Friday, the shuttle Atlantis blasted off for the 135th and final shuttle mission. The Space Shuttle has had a long and somewhat checkered history. On the one hand, it has cost billions of dollars and 14 lives.

    The Shuttles have flown 537,114,016 miles while making 20,952 Earth orbits. The Shuttle program has cost about $113.7 billion which translates to about $212 per mile. Not a bad number IMO all things considered. All in all, we did pretty good with early 70s technology for almost 4 decades, and while I too have my criticisms, the fact remains that was what we were stuck with. The human cost is always too much for any endeavor, but we have to keep in mind that like many others before them that took similar risks in other great endeavors, those that died where also willing to take the risk. Riding a giant bomb into space is risky.

    What comes next is a big question. Frankly I feel NASA has grown into a big waste of both resources and tim, especially during the last 2 decades, working without clear purpose or direction (unless it was to do PR for Muslims or other such nonsense), and trimming it back – by a lot more than has been done so far -doesn’t bother me a bit. Hopefully the decision makers and the politicians will learn the lesson and redress the issue at hand, or something else will step up to replace the big bureaucracy, when the time comes to do something of value yet again. We will have to keep in mind that space exploration is dangerous and risky. That there will be no 100% safe solutions. Demand perfection, but understand it is simply impossible to guarantee 100% success. It will be costly. Lives will be lost. We will sometimes fail. And for god sakes keep the politicians out of it.

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  5. davidstvz says:

    I agree with you completely Hal. I work in a state university computer science department. There are some deep cuts happening to our budgets, and I can only hope that the college of sciences is taking a lower percentage hit than other colleges, but I don’t know. We got a let of NSF grant money as you can imagine, and if congress is slashing the science budget in general, then no doubt that will tighten up. It’s weird being a government employee who believes in small government. I fear the GOP has a poor affinity for science though (what with the close ties to the deeply religious). So with the party that is better on science intent on spending us into oblivion, what do you do?

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  6. richtaylor365 says:

    what do you do?

    Well for one thing, you could quit perpetuating the ignorant, condescending, antiquated, stereotypical notion that the the left somehow embraces what the right eschews. A cogent argument could be made that with the (extreme) left wanting us all in caves, burning animal dung for fuel and subsisting on whatever we can gather and hunt (strike that, hunting is out, animal rights and all that) that the right is the party of technological advancement and science, but I would not presume that any particular ideology is either friend or foe of scientific advancement.

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  7. AlexInCT says:

    So with the party that is better on science intent on spending us into oblivion, what do you do?

    I am with Rich on this David. I understand that the left was successful at convincing everyone that because some conservatives didn’t like the idea of tax dollars funding certain endeavors they didn’t approve of and found morally questionably, that conservatives where against science, but that’s all it is: propaganda. Most conservatives have no problem with science at all, and even those that do, those crazy bible thumpers as the left loves to call them, target only the questionable funding practices of government, in very specific and narrow scientific disciplines, that as I pointed out they have issue with. I am far more fearful of the assault on science by, as Rich points out, those whom want government to restrict access to energy and want to euthanize most people – other than them – to save Gaia, and those people are never conservatives.

    There is science, and there is science. I hope you are in a discipline that doesn’t suffer cuts, but since these guys that use cost cutting as a political weapon are far less worried about the enemy at our doors and keeping as much of the socialist state that grants them power around as possible, you better be prepared. Useful things are the first they threaten to, or cut, precisely because they can then change public opinion about the necessity of the cut. Cutting prisons & prison guards, policemen, firemen, and the military in times of war, are scarier than say cutting the real fat. Look at Minnesota. The state has been shut down for a week and the bulk of the people worried are the parasites that live off government stealing from others to buy their votes. Most citizens are actually unaffected.

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  8. davidstvz says:

    I was just thinking of the LSEA and the essentially failed sb70 that was trying to repeal it. Blame Doonsbury: http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/archive/2011/07/10

    I don’t think the parallel between environmental nuts and Christian nuts is strong. Christian lunacy is based on imagined divine fiat which seems to give it more actual force, yet nearly zero practical application. Not to mention their numbers are far greater.

    On the other hand, the environmental nuts may have legitimate worries. When you’re talking about the possibility of causing permanent environmental damage (and thus permanent damage to our ability to exist on this planet) caution is warranted, so how do you judge if people are overreacting?

    Have either of you read Collapse? If so, I’m curious what you think of that. For the moment, I remain convinced that the left is better on science in general (if not across the board).

    Though they certainly aren’t perfect. You only need to look at the War on Drugs to realize that.

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  9. HARLEY says:

    Bureaucracy is killing NASA, it has become a bloated monstrosity like many other federal departments.
    take one good hard look at the so called Shuttle successor, Constellation, reusing old technology from the shuttle program at a massive cost overrun. Add to that a massive reduction in throw weight, crew loading and endurance, it was a massive flop. Not much more than corporate welfare for Boeing and ATK.
    Lack of Vision, lack of a budget that isnt cut or redirected every year,and the apathy if the American public……..

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  10. AlexInCT says:

    I don’t think the parallel between environmental nuts and Christian nuts is strong. Christian lunacy is based on imagined divine fiat which seems to give it more actual force, yet nearly zero practical application. Not to mention their numbers are far greater.

    That environmental stuff is a far crazier religious movement. And their numbers are large enough to be dangerous or we wouldn’t care so much. Besides, if they lacked the numbers they sure as hell make up for it with their fanaticism to Gaia and the cause, to the point reason and science don’t mater much.

    On the other hand, the environmental nuts may have legitimate worries. When you’re talking about the possibility of causing permanent environmental damage (and thus permanent damage to our ability to exist on this planet) caution is warranted, so how do you judge if people are overreacting?

    Don’t make me laugh Dave. They have nothing but bullshit collectivism writ large religious dogma as an answer to everything. I still fail to see how giving up our freedoms will ever save the world. And in my experience the planet is far, far more resilient than anyone makes it out to be. If anything our polluting it might kill us off, but the planet itself, she will survive quite fine, and likely even bounce back to give it another try. far greater catastrophes have come and gone and life prevailed. Earth is safe for the next billion years until the sun goes nova. If your fixation is with the human race, then what I recommend we first fix is this fixation with, and pretense that we should live like a colony of ants, where the collective overshadows the individual, or we will end up killing ourselves long before any pollution does.

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  11. HARLEY says:

    Transterrestrial Mussings, had a cute lil comparison on how far we come in 30 years of shuttle flights.

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  12. davidstvz says:

    “And in my experience the planet is far, far more resilient than anyone makes it out to be. If anything our polluting it might kill us off, but the planet itself, she will survive quite fine”

    Hahah, yes I am *somewhat* concerned with intelligent life surviving on the planet as opposed to bacteria, roaches and rats. In the book collapse, the author gives examples of cultures that collapsed due to environmental mismanagement (primarily, though sometimes exacerbated by other problems). He starts with the small and isolated (Easter island) and goes to larger ones from there. The reasons for the collapses he’s looking at are due to environmental overuse. On Easter, the inhabitants cut down all their trees after a few hundred years and over fished and so on. Eventually they could no longer build canoes suitable for taking them off the Island (among other useful). The population declined to a tiny fraction (a hundred people vs. a few thousand) of what the Island originally sustained

    All you have to do is think of the Earth as an Island floating in space and you can see the parallels. It is definitely possible that we could exhaust any number of vital irreplaceable resources either before we develop an alternative (hence the interest in alternative fuels *before* we run out). What’s even more scary, is that it may be that for some resources there IS no alternative that is physically possible (kind of how it’s impossible to turn lead to gold through chemistry though alchemists didn’t know it at the time). And *that* is an argument for population control and the space program. Not that it is a good argument. What I’m saying is, many liberal pet policies are well intentioned at their core, and it may even be worth suffering government inefficiency and small losses of freedom for some of them. For example, the longer we can stretch fossil fuels, the more likely we will develop a suitable alternative before we run out of the shit.

    I used to be a “tow the line” limbaugh conservative taking after my dad, but in the last 10 years I’ve broadened my horizons a bit and I can see why many reasonable people are liberal instead.

    All I’m saying is… I think more people should be like me (that’s one thing that hasn’t changed since my younger days). More people should be centrists and realists.

    You can’t argue that if the republican mainstream had their way, we would pay essentially ZERO attention to environmental concerns. They’re all so convinced that jesus fucking christ is coming back and the future of the planet doesn’t matter, well fuck that. It’s a bunch of bullshit and if you believe that, the republican line is *much* harder to swallow. It’s hard being an atheist conservative…

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  13. Kimpost says:

    It’s hard being an atheist conservative…

    Try voting for libertarian leaning conservatives. And politicians who have the balls to stand up against parts of their base. The latter part irks me. Too few politicians are afraid of alienating possible voters, so they tend to shut up when crazy speaks.

    Rational people should be able to agree on climate change, pollution and evolution, without having to agree on the possible politics surrounding these issues.

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  14. richtaylor365 says:

    That was quite a recital, you sure have bought the party theology, hook, line and sinker. Every stereotypical bit of nonsense that was ever thoughtlessly thrown at conservatives, you’ve covered, you get the Al Gore/Saul Alinsky/Noam Chomsky/Keith Olbermann award for dutiful regurgitation.

    the longer we can stretch fossil fuels, the more likely we will develop a suitable alternative before we run out of the shit.

    Is it possible that we have more energy at our disposal then we know what to do with and what we have will last us thousands of years?

    Do you see any political agenda at all by the left who strive to convince folks like you that Armageddon is fast approaching and it’s now or never if our planet is to be saved?

    He starts with the small and isolated (Easter island) and goes to larger ones from there.

    I did not read the book, can you give us some examples of large cultures that committed suicide by resource mismanagement?

    What’s even more scary, is that it may be that for some resources there IS no alternative that is physically possible

    So, if this is true, once we reach that point where that resource is depleted, mankind dies off?

    I think more people should be like me

    I agree

    You can’t argue that if the republican mainstream had their way, we would pay essentially ZERO attention to environmental concerns

    Wow, ZERO concern, OK, no exaggerations there.

    They’re all so convinced that jesus fucking christ is coming back and the future of the planet doesn’t matter, well fuck that

    Prove that bit of nonsense, I’ll take any links you got wrt prominent Christians (or any Christians) that say ,”The planet doesn’t matter”.

    It’s hard being an atheist conservative…

    Not really, I know many, but they do think for themselves, maybe that is what’s tripping you up.

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  15. AlexInCT says:

    Hahah, yes I am *somewhat* concerned with intelligent life surviving on the planet as opposed to bacteria, roaches and rats. In the book collapse, the author gives examples of cultures that collapsed due to environmental mismanagement (primarily, though sometimes exacerbated by other problems). He starts with the small and isolated (Easter island) and goes to larger ones from there. The reasons for the collapses he’s looking at are due to environmental overuse. On Easter, the inhabitants cut down all their trees after a few hundred years and over fished and so on. Eventually they could no longer build canoes suitable for taking them off the Island (among other useful). The population declined to a tiny fraction (a hundred people vs. a few thousand) of what the Island originally sustained

    If that’s not proof that mother nature will bring things into balance when it gets out of balance, I don’t know what is David.

    All you have to do is think of the Earth as an Island floating in space and you can see the parallels. It is definitely possible that we could exhaust any number of vital irreplaceable resources either before we develop an alternative (hence the interest in alternative fuels *before* we run out). What’s even more scary, is that it may be that for some resources there IS no alternative that is physically possible (kind of how it’s impossible to turn lead to gold through chemistry though alchemists didn’t know it at the time). And *that* is an argument for population control and the space program. Not that it is a good argument. What I’m saying is, many liberal pet policies are well intentioned at their core, and it may even be worth suffering government inefficiency and small losses of freedom for some of them. For example, the longer we can stretch fossil fuels, the more likely we will develop a suitable alternative before we run out of the shit.

    Do you remember all the predictions of the same kind of doom & gloom scenarios that floated around back in the 70s & 80s, as one after another crazy tried to tell us that unless we let governments completely control us – especially population growth and energy access (sound familiar?) – that we would end civilization? Well, they where wrong, weren’t they. Key quote:

    The reason doomsayers have always been wrong is that they fundamentally misunderstand the productive potential of markets and the historical failure of command and control economies. Markets are smart; governments are dumb.

    .

    Human ingenuity also has made all the doom & gloom predictions go wrong, as was predicted, and proved in this bet which clearly showed that man and markets would find ways to deal with shortages.

    I fear the world’s governments trying to “save the planet” far more than I fear a free and prosperous mankind running rampant and destroying the planet. We have plenty of proof of how well the former works.

    I used to be a “tow the line” limbaugh conservative taking after my dad, but in the last 10 years I’ve broadened my horizons a bit and I can see why many reasonable people are liberal instead.

    I am not a Limbaugh conservative: I make my own decisions of what to believe and do so based on facts and logic. I have seen both sides of the fence – I was once young and delusional – and think you are confusing the fact that some liberals can be reasonable, I know a lot of them myself, with the fact that the end goals of liberalism, the ideology, are disastrous for mankind. The expression road to hell “IS” paved with good intentions was definitely coined to explain liberalism, an ideology that goes against the laws of nature, economics, and reality, and then wonders why it comes up short or outright fails every damned time.

    All I’m saying is… I think more people should be like me (that’s one thing that hasn’t changed since my younger days). More people should be centrists and realists.

    What do you consider centrist? Am I simply a Neanderthal conservative because I am fiscally & constitutionally hard core to the right, for freedom and to let people choose and deal with the consequences of their choices, even when socially I am not as conservative? I tried that “centrism” thing a while back. It got me George Bush, which granted, considering the alternatives where Al “ManBearPig” Gore or John “Did I effin tell ya I won three Purple Hearts for just being in Vietnam” Kerry, was the lesser of many evils. That, and a lot of decisions made by democrat-light conservatives. Didn’t like it much. And I am all for realism, which BTW in my humble experience, seems a hard thing to deal with when you are a liberal, where emotionalism is the dominant characteristic

    You can’t argue that if the republican mainstream had their way, we would pay essentially ZERO attention to environmental concerns.

    Well that’s because republicans don’t have to live on this planet, breath the same air, drink the same water, or even deal with the aftermath of such crazy policies, I guess.

    Seriously, David, this is insane stuff to say. There is a difference between concerns for the environment and requiring cost-benefit analysis – real stuff, not the touchy feely kind – to drive decisions with serious economic impacts. Especially when it gets implemented by government which even when it is trying to do good produces mediocre results at best.

    Want to know what the best way to ensure a clean environment is? Prosperity! Make people well off, and they will want clean and good everything. But tell a guy trying to feed his starving kids he has to give that up to protect the environment, and I can not blame him for wanting your head on a platter.

    They’re all so convinced that jesus fucking christ is coming back and the future of the planet doesn’t matter, well fuck that.

    Well it seems that all they have to say is that man is destroying Gaia and you have more sympathy for their religion.

    It’s a bunch of bullshit and if you believe that, the republican line is *much* harder to swallow.

    What’s a bunch of bullshit? That Jesus Christ is coming? Or your belief that Christians, which the left basically has conflated to mean conservatives & republicans are, crazy for believing this? And why not the same level of intolerance for the Gaia worshipping communists?

    It’s hard being an atheist conservative…

    .

    Be agnostic. It’s easier.

    All kidding aside I simply do not see what the difficulty is there. I could make the same case about the left’s love with the collectivist/Gaia religion and the even more scary fact that they don’t even see they have replaced old religion with newer far more dangerous ones that replaced a divine being with government of man. That’s scary shit there.

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  16. AlexInCT says:

    Rational people should be able to agree on climate change, pollution and evolution, without having to agree on the possible politics surrounding these issues.

    Well, it looks like we agree there. Unfortunately though, the problem I have with the green movement is that their solution is a political one Kimpost. Even worse, they act just as protective and dismisive of anyone that asks for reall proof and to let the scientific process work itself out, as these other rleigionsthey now look down upon do about their dogmas.

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  17. Kimpost says:

    It’s good to see that you agree, Alex. But at the same time it puzzles me, because that’s not what I have read from you before. In fact, you’ve been quite vocal in your dismissal of the science supporting AGW.

    I’m not going to turn this into a AGW thread, but to be clear on your position for future discussions, I’ve got one question for you.

    If you forget about proposed solutions (which would be politics) for a second, and focus on the science, do you believe that science supports anthropogenic climate change?

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  18. hist_ed says:

    Rational people should be able to agree on climate change, pollution and evolution, without having to agree on the possible politics surrounding these issues.

    Rational people should understand that there are other, well meaning, rational people that don’t agree with them on these subjects.

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  19. Kimpost says:

    Well meaning? Sure. Rational overall? OK, fine.

    But rational in their particular beliefs (“AGW isn’t happening” , “pollution doesn’t hurt the environment”, “evolution is a myth”)? I wouldn’t agree. After all, we can’t reserve a space at the debate table for everyone with just an opinion. Substance is needed.

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  20. Miguelito says:

    Yeah, a way to really save something like NASA would be to put someone with the vision of a Steve Jobs or Gates or something in charge and let them drive with a real vision for awhile at least. You’d almost have to wipe the slate clean and start fresh to really fix such a broken bureaucracy though. The Challenger disaster and the (IMO) far too long time taken to fix the safety issues was a huge blow to the whole program.

    I hope private firms can get us out there more (People like Richard Branson are trying) but there’s a pretty big initial cost that it’s a rare few (like mega-rich Branson) that can fund this stuff. Unless someone finds an interesting way to make a profit at it. Likely not to happen until there’s an ability to mine at a profit from the moon, then possibly farther out or something… which none of us is likely to see.

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  21. davidstvz says:

    Is it possible that we have more energy at our disposal then we know what to do with and what we have will last us thousands of years?

    It’s definitely possible. It may even be true. Do you want to gamble on this before we know the score?

    Do you see any political agenda at all by the left who strive to convince folks like you that Armageddon is fast approaching and it’s now or never if our planet is to be saved?

    You mean they are trying to give us a package deal? One part environmentalism and some other part of the liberal agenda? Naturally. That’s typical politics.

    I did not read the book, can you give us some examples of large cultures that committed suicide by resource mismanagement?

    In generally, he’s ramping up to larger cultures. The book starts with Montana (of all places). He considers some less sequestered Polynesian islands, the Anasazi (desert dwelling American Indians), Mayan’s, Vikings on Greenland and eventually Australia… though I haven’t gotten to that part yet.

    ” What’s even more scary, is that it may be that for some resources there IS no alternative that is physically possible”

    So, if this is true, once we reach that point where that resource is depleted, mankind dies off?

    Well, that would be the absolute case of no alternative to a resources (say… energy or food). I was thinking more in terms of things for which there might be a work around. But it could also be that there is a nice fat supply of what we need on Mars, but if we use up the Earth based supply before we develop the technology to get to Mars, we’ll never get there to get what we need. This is somewhat analgous to Easter Islanders chopping all their trees down to build giant stone heads and eventually not being able to construct canoes that were seaworthy enough to leave the island.

    “You can’t argue that if the republican mainstream had their way, we would pay essentially ZERO attention to environmental concerns”

    Wow, ZERO concern, OK, no exaggerations there.

    Ok, you got me. That is an exaggeration, but the concern is very low. They want to see consequences that indicates a larger catastrophe before any action is taken, but by then it may indeed be too late.

    “They’re all so convinced that jesus fucking christ is coming back and the future of the planet doesn’t matter, well fuck that”

    Prove that bit of nonsense, I’ll take any links you got wrt prominent Christians (or any Christians) that say ,”The planet doesn’t matter”.

    They have to be prominent? This isn’t worth discussing further. It’s only natural that people who are deeply religious are far more concerned about the next world than this one. At the same time it’s natural for a selfish atheist to be unconcerned about future generations because they want be alive to care. So it’s sort of a low blow either way. It’s not really relevant to argument because anyone who completely dismisses the issue for these reasons can be disregarded. However, I do believe that it is a behind the scenes motive for some people.

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  22. davidstvz says:

    I apologize for not giving your reply my full attention but I really have to get some work done tonight. I think I have addressed and/or conceded some of your points to Rich though.

    Re: balance of mother nature… you’re quite right. If we exhaust vital resources that will cause a natural decline in human population via starvation and war. As much as I hate government meddling, I think I would prefer a mandated decrease in birthing to the first scenario.

    Re: doom and gloom predictions… the wack jobs have been wrong about the time scale, but the ultimate possibility will always be there. Again, all I’m saying is that caution is definitely warranted.

    Re: centrism vs. “tow the line Limbaugh conservativism” and religion… I was just trying to give an idea of where I’m coming from.

    Re: the Gaia hypothesis… if you take that to mean that the Earth sustains us in a functional manner, then I consider it a tautology. If you consider it to mean that we have some borderline religious obligation to avoid endangering species, to maintain forests and so on, then I certainly don’t give any credence to that. Forests are kind of nice, but I’m more of a pragmatic person. We may need trees, but we don’t need scenery (though it is desirable). We should also be careful not to introduce environmental change too quickly because evolution has no time to keep up, but I don’t know if that’s even possible. The time scale evolution operates on is so slow compared to human progress, that we may have little choice but to wipe out the vast majority of our bio diversity in the end. Survival of the fittest is a bitch. I guess we’ll always have our domesticated animals at least.

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  23. richtaylor365 says:

    Do you want to gamble on this before we know the score?

    It’s not gambling to avoid going in to hysterical mode like you apparently have, and to let things (and facts) play out. We don’t know “the score”. I was encouraged by that link I posted, will it all come to fruition? I don’t know, but it tells me that we are NOT on the precipice at this moment, which is contrary to what your environmental enablers have been peddling of late.

    They have to be prominent?

    No, I said “any”, did you read that part?

    This isn’t worth discussing further.

    OK, if you do not want to defend your ridiculous statement, that is your prerogative, but to blanket condemn Christians because logically they can’t care about this world if they are fixated on the next, well, that is just dumb.

    From a “Christian” perspective, God has commanded his people to be good stewards of this world, Christians respect and revere the planet because it is part of God’s creation and his handiwork is holy. You are wrong to think that both are mutually exclusive, they can look towards the next world without mucking up this one, to do so would be unchristian.

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  24. Hal_10000 says:

    One thing to note: this money is NOT being put into other missions. Overall, we are talking about a 25% cut on astronomy funding. This is for a program that never got a run-up in spending.

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  25. Manwhore says:

    Hal,

    this was a great post. It really let it “all hang out” about where people stand. An interesting musing about this site is that it now seems to be filled with government employees who claim to be “conservative.” They are until (as is demonstrable with this thread and many on the VO) until one of their sacred cows gets hit.

    There is no doubt in my mind, under the premise of “law and order”, under the premise of “science”, under the premise of “safety”, and under the premise of “progress” our tax dollars have wasted billions on special projects and untold head count.

    The problem is with you “public” types is you ain’t the brightest bulbs on the Christmas Tree and we have no way to get rid of you, because as with all stupid, you joined with a lot of stupid, and like Scientology forced us all to accept it.

    Now, what is probably worthy of merit and recourse is under the gun, and that is unfortunate. What is not unfortunate is that government needs a HUGE thinning of the ranks, an entitlement overhaul, and pretty much a reboot of what you are doing (with fresh people and fresh ideas).

    It strikes me as curious the biggest hinderance to business in america these days is government. Government that cannot fleece itself, refuses to change, and has the most antiquated practices known to man for the most mundane tasks (seriously, why do I need to go to the DMV or post office?)

    So, you and rich tell me why government couldn’t use the fleecing that the private sector did for the last few years. You tell me why your precious lives demand entitlements that no one else has. You all tell me why I deal with you, your phone systems, your idiots, you, when I could just interface with a computer to do half the shit I need to.

    Nasa? Like a UAV, it’s probably cheaper and more effective to send a machine into space. Other than saying “yay, we got a man on mars and an asteroid!” there’s no applicable reason to send a human being into that scenario. The same for the future of war aircraft.

    The government is the last haven for losers and antiquated systems, and it’s there for no other reason than Union bullying.

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  26. Miguelito says:

    As much as I hate government meddling, I think I would prefer a mandated decrease in birthing to the first scenario.

    Yeah, because those work so well. You don’t end up with things like people killing girls because they only get one child and prefer a boy or anything.

    Or who gets to choose who gets sterilized in the new world order?

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  27. AlexInCT says:

    It’s good to see that you agree, Alex. But at the same time it puzzles me, because that’s not what I have read from you before. In fact, you’ve been quite vocal in your dismissal of the science supporting AGW.

    Ah, I see the problem. I told you that I agree with you on the concept that people need to care for their environment and respect science, even be able to discuss things without letting politics interfere. I never agreed however that AGW was anything but a sham and apolitical movement. And that’s precisely because the whole thing is a disgrace to the scientific process and science, drives for a political solution, and I will remain vocal about that.

    I’m not going to turn this into a AGW thread, but to be clear on your position for future discussions, I’ve got one question for you.

    My position on this subject is simple and I though quite obvious, Kimpost. I hold science and the scientific process in very high regard. I have never said that there was no warming or cooling, in fact I stand by the facts and science that show that there is no such thing as an optimum temperature and that the earth has cycled through temperatures on both extremes for billions of years, with solar, volcanic/tectonic activity, and the energy retention by the oceans driving it all. Bu I consider the cult pushing AGW to be nothing short of that: a bunch of religious fanatics with a destructive agenda based on lies. And as long as this movement is led by profiteers that say one thing and do another, propose only the same tired world government takeover in order to control access to energy and restrict freedoms, and the science remains political and cloistered, only available to the believers, with those that don’t want to just accept this bullshit as truth labeled and treated as heretics, I will stand against it.

    And I am not alone here. Day after day, more and more people get the facts and see that the watermelons pushing this tripe and the political class that finances and supports them in the hope of getting even more power, is getting bigger and bigger, and this thing is fortunately doomed to die the same death as the previous movements that pushed whatever prophesies of Armageddon if their clergy wasn’t given absolute control over our lives, and they are turning against this nonsense. Seriously, if there was any kind of truth to this stuff, how hard would it have been to open up everything – like they do in every other scientific discipline – allowed real peer review, had everyone else replicate their findings, and then the prove that science is on their side and their concerns legitimate? Instead all we have gotten is politics, religious fanaticism, an inquisition against those of us pointing out this is all bullshit and a stain on science, but most importantly, the solution remains schemes that make the elite super rich, gives government absolute powers, and robs people of freedom.

    I have said my piece. Done.

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  28. AlexInCT says:

    Re: balance of mother nature… you’re quite right. If we exhaust vital resources that will cause a natural decline in human population via starvation and war. As much as I hate government meddling, I think I would prefer a mandated decrease in birthing to the first scenario.

    No need to apologize Dave. Same here. My time is being gobbled by other things so I have not been giving the blog its due. But let me start by pointing to the above quote you made and say that it is I guess where we disagree. See, I believe that the biggest and most broad abuses of nature (and man, if it matters) have all been caused or driven by governments – my proof is rampant all over the planet, in every former or current communist state, where they raped the environment and their people in unspeakable ways – to begin with. Just like I know that in practically every single situation you can bring up in modern history (or even older history) where the human population is left with starvation and war, it is caused by government or the fight over government power. Africa is the prime example. There food is a weapon, and war is the norm, as people with ambitions to power, often indoctrinated and driven by insane leftist ideology or some crazy religious global jihad, jockey for that power. In the process they destroy the environment.

    But have no doubt the problem IS government and power. Government is the most inefficient and problematic way to everything. Whatever it does gets done wrong or half assed, costs too much, and practically always seems to be done in order to increase the power of those in government. We are here economically today because of governments. So you will pardon me for not taking a solution where government is given the power to kill off people – there is no nice way to say it otherwise – as anything but another instance for things to go horribly wrong. I reflexively recoil at this stuff. If that’s what it takes to keep mankind around, well, then I frankly don’t think mankind deserves to be kept around. I have faith in the individual, the family, even the small community. I recoil at those that want to collectivize entire populations and centrally manage anything. We have a century of proof that’s a recipe for disaster, misery, and mass death. No thank you.

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  29. Rann says:

    You all tell me why I deal with you

    To have someone to bitch at, to judge by your behavior in general.

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  30. hist_ed says:

    Well meaning? Sure. Rational overall? OK, fine.
    But rational in their particular beliefs (“AGW isn’t happening” , “pollution doesn’t hurt the environment”, “evolution is a myth”)? I wouldn’t agree. After all, we can’t reserve a space at the debate table for everyone with just an opinion. Substance is needed.

    So, to you, they are only rational if they agree with you. How open minded of you.

    Again, there are rational, well meaning people that disagree with you. The fact that you are not open minded enough to recognize that shows us more about you than the people whom you disparage. But don’t worry, you are in good company: Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and the leader of Westborogh Baptist Church are all equally narrow minded.

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  31. davidstvz says:
    As much as I hate government meddling, I think I would prefer a mandated decrease in birthing to the first scenario.

    Yeah, because those work so well. You don’t end up with things like people killing girls because they only get one child and prefer a boy or anything.

    Or who gets to choose who gets sterilized in the new world order?

    Starvation and random violent murder vs. abortion and systematic murder of newborns… obviously neither is a good option but one apparently results in less physical pain than the other. I didn’t account for emotional pain. I guess it’s not as easy a thing to weigh as I thought.

    @Alex: it seems that what you describe is simply the corrupting influence of power. When in human history has that ever been avoided? How can you have a stratified society (as a capitalistic society must be) without unbalanced power (that would lead to the same problems).

    We can envision a world where the people in power do “the right thing”, but that never actually happens. Meanwhile, I can’t envision a world where there are no people in power.

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  32. davidstvz says:

    The problem is with you “public” types is you ain’t the brightest bulbs on the Christmas Tree

    The government is the last haven for losers…

    Compare the total compensation for government jobs with similar private ones and try to say all that again with a straight face.

    The government is the last haven for … antiquated systems

    This part is true.

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  33. Kimpost says:

    Not all disagreements are the same. All of us, individuals as well as institutions, use knowledge and reason to determine what passes on as acceptable disagreements.

    Society doesn’t invite 9/11 truthers to weigh in on counter terrorism measures in the US. We don’t ask flat earthers for their opinion on astronomy. Reconquista-believers aren’t forming immigration policy. Scientists learn nothing from creationists.

    The list goes on. Not believing in the A part of AGW, in light of the mountains of actual hard evidence that speaks for it, just isn’t rational. Qualified dissenters of the science are very few, and far apart.

    Not agreeing with fear-mongering or particular political solutions are different things entirely, and they can be totally rational. But the actual science says what it says.

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  34. Kimpost says:

    I never agreed however that AGW was anything but a sham and apolitical movement. And that’s precisely because the whole thing is a disgrace to the scientific process and science, drives for a political solution, and I will remain vocal about that.

    Can’t you see that this, at least in part, blinds you? I think that your disregard for the politics, spills over and influences your perception of the science – Influences it big time. The letters of East Anglia springs to mind. Seven investigations concluded that the science in question was sound. There were no hidden numbers, no alterations, no nothing. Yet your impression of those investigations were that they were all jokes. Hardly a rational position, in my opinion.

    And this is certainly not just about you. I think much of the opposition to the science comes from opposition to politics. I’ve seen that from Lomborg, and I’ve seen it from Christy, Lindzen and Monckton. Scratch the surface and you’ll see that they are mostly upset about the politics, even while seemingly attacking small snippets of actual science.

    [...]in fact I stand by the facts and science that show that there is no such thing as an optimum temperature and that the earth has cycled through temperatures on both extremes for billions of years, with solar, volcanic/tectonic activity.

    Noone’s suggesting that there are optimum temperatures, and noone’s disputing historical temperature variations. None of that means, or even implies – scientifically – that humans can’t be influencing the climate today. Tons of evidence say we are doing that. To which degree is debatable, but that it’s happening is not opinion, that’s fact.

    [...] and the energy retention by the oceans driving it all

    Cause and effect, Alex.

    Seriously, if there was any kind of truth to this stuff, how hard would it have been to open up everything – like they do in every other scientific discipline – allowed real peer review, had everyone else replicate their findings, and then the prove that science is on their side and their concerns legitimate?

    It is open, more open than many other fields. The peer review process is real. In fact. much of the data is so available that you can download it, import it into Excel, to view your own hockey sticks, or to check how historical CO2 levels correlate with temperature variations.

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  35. AlexInCT says:

    Starvation and random violent murder vs. abortion and systematic murder of newborns… obviously neither is a good option but one apparently results in less physical pain than the other.

    Wait until those nearly 100 million Chinese men can’t find a wife in a decade or so. That’s the shit that starts the big revolutions or wars throughout history. This thing has not played out yet.

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  36. richtaylor365 says:

    Wait until those nearly 100 million Chinese men can’t find a wife in a decade or so.

    They are going to need some of those Nazi dolls.

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  37. balthazar says:

    Yeah like the pay has anything to do with how good they are at their jobs. There’s absolutely no correlation between the 2. Just because their cousin/brother/aunt/uncle basically got them into the government job sector means nothing. Cronyism is rampant top to bottom in the hiring of gov employees.

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  38. hist_ed says:

    The list goes on. Not believing in the A part of AGW, in light of the mountains of actual hard evidence that speaks for it, just isn’t rational. Qualified dissenters of the science are very few, and far apart.

    Yeah that Freeman Dyson guy, obviously not rational.

    So do you think someone who says “Well, human released CO2 has a little tiny influence on climate but that is dwarfed by naturally produced CO2 and the influence of the sun” isn’t rational?

    Why does the rational side need to demonize and harrass anyone who disagrees with them even a little bit (even going so far as to suggest that one of the founding fahters of climate change research had gone senile in old age because he suggested that the science wasn’t yet settled).

    Have you read the book “The Deniers” by Lawrence Solomon?

    Here is the series of articles upon which it is based: http://tinyurl.com/22vodw

    Pick a few of the profiles and read them. I would be interested in your reaction to them. This one: http://tinyurl.com/yv98yg is probably a good place to start.

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  39. Kimpost says:

    Well, human released CO2 has a little tiny influence on climate but that is dwarfed by naturally produced CO2 and the influence of the sun” isn’t rational?

    Yes, I would say that coming to such a conclusion isn’t rational, but I suppose it also depends on definitions of “tiny” and “dwarfed”. However, that overall sentiment certainly isn’t supported by science, that is, the bulk of it.

    There’s no need for demonizing or harassing opposition, especially since science usually sorts itself out, by getting more precise over time, and with more data. The problem is that things have been so politicized that actual science is under attack. The main problem isn’t that Lindzen or Christy are bullied. The problem is that prominent political leaders are bullying scientist, by suggesting that their science is corrupt.

    Have you read the book “The Deniers” by Lawrence Solomon?

    I have not, but I have read the series, and as I remember it, it didn’t hold water. Just by glancing at the headlines now, and by opening a couple of them, I can see that it’s mostly about repeating myths, misuse of data. Needless to say, the series as a whole has been debunked. Not just by pundits like Al Gore, but by science.

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  40. CM says:

    Prove that bit of nonsense, I’ll take any links you got wrt prominent Christians (or any Christians) that say ,”The planet doesn’t matter”.

    As difficult as it has been with so many silly statements, I’ve stayed out of this one to see how it played out. But I can give you an example of a Christian who holds a view that we can do what we like to the planet:

    Mike Beard, a Republican state representative from Minnesota, recently argued that coal mining should resume in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, in part because he believes God has created an earth that will provide unlimited natural resources.

    “God is not capricious. He’s given us a creation that is dynamically stable,” Beard told MinnPost. “We are not going to run out of anything.”

    Beard is currently in the midst of drafting legislation that would overturn Minnesota’s moratorium on coal-fired power plants, an effort that he backs due to his religious belief that God will provide limitless resources while ensuring that humans don’t destroy the planet trying to get them.

    Drawing on his family’s childhood property in Pennsylvania, Beard explained to MinnPost his belief that while resource extraction might cause temporary agitation to the landscape, the effects wouldn’t be longterm.

    “Our farm was mined for coal three times,” Beard said. “And, now we stand on a point and look over barley and wheat and pines. Did we temporarily disrupt the face of the earth? Yes, but when we were done, we put it all back together again.”

    This observation appears to be indicative of Beard’s larger religious belief that God acts as the tireless custodian of the planet.

    “It is the height of hubris to think we could [destroy the earth],” Beard told MinnPost, before saying that even devastating nuclear events shouldn’t cast doubt on his theory that the earth can always be repaired.

    “How did Hiroshima and Nagasaki work out? We destroyed that, but here we are, 60 years later and they are tremendously effective and livable cities. Yes, it was pretty horrible. But, can we recover?” Beard asked. “Of course we can.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/16/mike-beard-natural-resources-god_n_824312.html

    Riiiiiiiiiiiight, God is the custodian of the planet, not man. So we can fuck it sideways and everything will be fine.

    Also, this is worth a read:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v471/n7338/full/471265b.html

    Summary:

    It is hard to escape the conclusion that the US Congress has entered the intellectual wilderness, a sad state of affairs in a country that has led the world in many scientific arenas for so long. Global warming is a thorny problem, and disagreement about how to deal with it is understandable. It is not always clear how to interpret data or address legitimate questions. Nor is the scientific process, or any given scientist, perfect. But to deny that there is reason to be concerned, given the decades of work by countless scientists, is irresponsible.

    So it seems that Republicans have officially embraced ignorance as a party position, abandoning any pretence to the contrary. How long before they call for the drowning of scientists to see if they are actually witches?

    From a “Christian” perspective, God has commanded his people to be good stewards of this world, Christians respect and revere the planet because it is part of God’s creation and his handiwork is holy.

    This makes much more sense to me.

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  41. CM says:

    However, that overall sentiment certainly isn’t supported by science, that is, the bulk of it.

    What we know and what we don’t know

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  42. hist_ed says:

    I have not, but I have read the series, and as I remember it, it didn’t hold water. Just by glancing at the headlines now, and by opening a couple of them, I can see that it’s mostly about repeating myths, misuse of data.

    I wasn’t asking you to agree with them, just admit that they are rational.

    So, I am going to pick four at random from the articles. You maintain that the people I list below are not rational, right?

    (and as an aside, you are more qualified at judging “myths” and the “misuse of data” than these gentlemen?)

    Eigil Friis-Christensen is director of the Danish National Space Centre and a member of the space research advisory committee of the Swedish National Space Board, where he serves on the panel on space weather. He is also a member of a NASA working group and a member of the Earth-science advisory committee of the European Space Agency. The author or co-author of some 100 peer-reviewed articles, he has been chair of the scientific advisory group of the Institute of Space Physics. He holds a Magisterkonferens (PhD equivalent) in geophysics from the University of Copenhagen.

    Prior to heading NASA, Michael Griffin served as space department head at Johns Hopkins University’s applied physics laboratory in Laurel, Md. He was previously president and chief operating officer of In-Q-Tel, Inc. and chief executive of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Magellan Systems division. Earlier, Dr. Griffin served as chief engineer and as associate administrator for exploration at NASA, and as deputy for technology at the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization. He is the lead author of more than two dozen technical papers, as well as the textbook Space Vehicle Design. He earned his doctorate at the Michael Griffin University of Maryland.

    Claude Allegre received a Ph D in physics in 1962 from the University of Paris. He became the director of the geochemistry and cosmochemistry program at the French National Scientific Research Centre in 1967 and in 1971, he was appointed director of the University of Paris’s Department of Earth Sciences. In 1976, he became director of the Paris Institut de Physique du Globe. He is an author of more than 100 scientific articles, many of them seminal studies on the evolution of the Earth using isotopic evidence, and 11 books. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the French Academy of Science.

    Roger Revelle was Professor of Oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and became its director from 1950-64. After his successful efforts to create the University of California San Diego, he went to Harvard University, where he was Professor of Population Policy and director of the Center for Population Studies until 1976. He was also founding chairman of the first Committee on Climate Change and the Ocean under the Scientific Committee on Ocean Research and the International Oceanic Commission. Dr. Revelle received a PhD in oceanography from UC-Berkeley in 1936.

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  43. richtaylor365 says:

    I don’t think your example was a good one. The notion put forth was that Christians, being pre occupied with the next world, give no consideration for this one, and Mike Beard does not bolster that position one bit. His view that the earth is resilient (do you disagree?) and that coal mining does not damage the earth beyond repair because he now grows bountiful crops in the exact spot where mining was done.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiight, God is the custodian of the planet, not man. So we can fuck it sideways and everything will be fine.

    And he said that where exactly? You are accepting the author’s narrative on what Beard believes, but saying that coal mining does not damage the earth beyond repair is not abdicating his position as custodian.

    I’d say that the gulf oil spill messed things up sideways too, yet, the area is showing remarkable resiliency and is heeling itself rather quickly.

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  44.   
  45. Kimpost says:

    I’m not attacking people’s credentials, I’m attacking their views. Credentials, intelligence and what not are nice things, but they don’t necessarily make people right.

    To be clear, I’m obviously not better at the science surrounding AGW than a sceptical scientist in the field. But I’m telling you that those are relatively few and far apart. And the closer you get to the actual expertise, the fewer they get.

    The names you are throwing at me are not new. Personally I think most of them are reacting to the politics of the science, as opposed to the science itself. As such I think they are misguided, regardless of their merits.

    My advice to you is to study their words, and what science has to say about it. Allegre, Griffin, Friis-Christensen have all been debunked repeatedly. And Revelle has been misrepresented.

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  46. CM says:

    I don’t think your example was a good one. The notion put forth was that Christians, being pre occupied with the next world, give no consideration for this one, and Mike Beard does not bolster that position one bit.

    How is planting barley and wheat and pines to cover up some of the effects of coal mining even remotely a good analogy for the effects of climate change on the planet? His take, based on a significant amount of ignorance it seems, is that “everything all works out ok” because God has created a stable planet. He claims we’ll never run out of anything.
    He’s advocating that we continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere based on faith. I’m sorry, but actively dismissing science in lieu of religious faith is the same as giving no consideration to this world. The effect is exactly the same.

    I wondered where Beard learned his climate science. He says he reads a lot. I asked him what he read, and he gave me the names of several conservative blogs sites.

    http://www.minnpost.com/donshelby/2011/02/15/25784/picking_science_that_fits_politics_rep_mike_beard_on_climate_change

    That’s awesome. Go Democracy!

    His view that the earth is resilient (do you disagree?)

    To some extent it is of course, but:
    (1) how far do we really want to test it?
    (2) the degree of resilience only matters in respect to whether it permits us to live here (to least a modest degree of comfort). We’re not gonna care if it recovers in 10,000 years if we’ve reduced it to a largely unliveable place in the meantime.

    and that coal mining does not damage the earth beyond repair because he now grows bountiful crops in the exact spot where mining was done

    Did God plant the trees or did he? What do we plant to solve all the issues which result from climate change?

    Something you said earlier:

    A cogent argument could be made that with the (extreme) left wanting us all in caves, burning animal dung for fuel and subsisting on whatever we can gather and hunt (strike that, hunting is out, animal rights and all that) that the right is the party of technological advancement and science, but I would not presume that any particular ideology is either friend or foe of scientific advancement.

    You’re comparing the absolute-extreme left with the moderate right? How come? How is the nuttiness of the absolute-extreme left of any consequence to mainstream discussion and public policy?
    Many on the right accept the science relating to climate, but many do not. The more powerful on the right seem to be disproportionately in the latter group. They also seem to have a disproportionate number that prefer “intelligent design” over evolution.
    I’d certainly be interested to see a cogent argument laid out that shows the Republican Party is the party of “science”.

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  47. CM says:

    This one: http://tinyurl.com/yv98yg is probably a good place to start.

    I wasn’t asking you to agree with them, just admit that they are rational.

    What if I disagree with them because they misrepresent and mislead?

    My (brief) issues with the one you’ve provided as “a place to start”:

    1. The quote from Gore was from one reporter, and even then it wasn’t in quotes. When asked to actually prove what he actually said, nobody seems to be able to come up with anything. Nothing definite or proven, but more than adequate for denial purposes.

    2. I can’t see anything online which supports the author’s claim that, in 2002, 53% of scientists actively involved in global climate research did not believe global warming had occurred. Or the Greenpeace poll. Why aren’t these things referenced?

    3. “the list of distinguished scientists who question the IPCC grows daily” – where is the evidence to support this?

    4. “Certainly there is no consensus at the very top echelons of scientists — the ranks from which I have been drawing my subjects — and certainly there is no consensus among astrophysicists and other solar scientists, several of whom I have profiled. If anything, the majority view among these subsets of the scientific community may run in the opposite direction.” Complete and utter nonsense.

    5. “A petition organized by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine between 1999 and 2001 claimed some 17,800 scientists in opposition to the Kyoto Protocol” Yeah, including such scientific heavyweights as Perry Mason, Michael J Fox and even Ginger Spice

    6. “In a November, 2006, survey of its members, it found that only 59% think human activities are largely responsible for the warming that has occurred, and only 39% make their priority the curbing of carbon emissions. And 71% believe the increase in hurricanes is likely natural, not easily attributed to human activities.” Um, no, actually 82 percent said global warming is a real, measurable, climactic trend currently in effect,
    67 percent agreed the U.S. was not doing enough to address the effects of global warming, and
    66 percent considered the rate at which global warming may be occurring is a serious problem facing the planet.

    7. “Such diversity of views is also present in the wider scientific community, as seen in the World Federation of Scientists”. And yet there is nothing suggest that in what follows.

    Solomon is a committed proponent of misinformation when it comes to climate change. People who try to be rational will hopefully not just accept what he writes as honest.

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  48. CM says:

    I guess at least Solomon admitted after the book was printed that he was playing a parlour game – the scientists listed aren’t actually ‘deniers’ at all, but mere ‘quibblers’. They quibble about the details.

    He even said that while reflecting on his own research:

    “I … noticed something striking about my growing cast of deniers. None of them were deniers.”

    It’s hard to imagine how someone could make that concession on page 45 and then string a book out to page 213 (not counting footnotes.) It’s harder still to think that he could then continue to pursue his desperate argument that a legitimate debate still exists about the central question of anthropogenic global warming.

    But try as he might, Solomon fails to find a single reputable character who will contest the major hypothesis: The human burning of fossil fuels is affecting the world’s climate in an unprecedented and dangerous way.

    Instead, Solomon has rounded up the usual suspects and revelled in the usual arguments.

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  49. richtaylor365 says:

    How is planting barley and wheat and pines to cover up some of the effects of coal mining even remotely a good analogy for the effects of climate change on the planet?

    You are the one that made the allegation, prove it. You said Beard is wreaking the planet, he gave you two examples (his personal experience with coal mining, and the nuclear explosion over the two Japanese cities) and I gave you the example of the gulf oil spill where so called experts cut their wrists right in front of us lamenting the permanent damage done in areas where we have seen no such permanent damage exists. You made a claim and can’t back it up, Beard is saying no such damage is being done, prove him wrong.

    He claims we’ll never run out of anything.

    Well, have we? you seem to infer that when he claims we will not run out of a natural resource, that he is saying all natural resources are infinite in quantity, that is quite a leap, don’t you think. Of course there is a finite quantity of resources here on the planet. I believe what he is saying is that with the proper stewardship and some effort, we should not have to run out of things we need.

    He’s advocating that we continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere based on faith.

    Please show me where he “advocated” such a thing.

    I’m sorry, but actively dismissing science in lieu of religious faith is the same as giving no consideration to this world.

    And where is he “dismissing science”? Given his experiences of coal mining on his land, he is more of an expert in this area then you are.

    To some extent it is of course, but:
    (1) how far do we really want to test it?
    (2) the degree of resilience only matters in respect to whether it permits us to live here (to least a modest degree of comfort). We’re not gonna care if it recovers in 10,000 years if we’ve reduced it to a largely unliveable place in the meantime.

    It sounds to me like he is not “testing it” since he has seen with his own eyes how coal mining does NOT ruin the earth like you claim but can be replenished for productive crop production. And what was the purpose of throwing out that silly figure of a ten thousand years? Since Beard is practicing coal mining/crop rotation now he doesn’t have to wait 10,000 years.

    Did God plant the trees or did he? What do we plant to solve all the issues which result from climate change?

    And your point is what? That we should treat the earth like one big National Park, where nothing gets added or removed? Is cutting down any trees raping the earth? Is any type of mining or crop growing where the earth needs to be tilled, is this raping the earth? How about fishing or hunting? are these permitted?

    You’re comparing the absolute-extreme left with the moderate right?

    I wasn’t comparing anything, only making an observation how extreme left would like me to live, but then extremes are like that, right?

    They also seem to have a disproportionate number that prefer “intelligent design” over evolution.

    What makes you think they are mutually exclusive?

    I’d certainly be interested to see a cogent argument laid out that shows the Republican Party is the party of “science”.

    You mean the party of YOUR science or what you deem worthy of that word, no, they are more open minded then that.

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  50. CM says:

    You are the one that made the allegation, prove it. You said Beard is wreaking the planet, he gave you two examples (his personal experience with coal mining, and the nuclear explosion over the two Japanese cities) and I gave you the example of the gulf oil spill where so called experts cut their wrists right in front of us lamenting the permanent damage done in areas where we have seen no such permanent damage exists. You made a claim and can’t back it up,.

    What claim or allegation did I make that I can’t back up?
    Beard is an example of a prominent Christian who believes that God has created a ‘dynamically stable’ planet that we (in effect) can’t fuck up. Apparently he gets his ‘science’ from conservative blogs.

    Beard is saying no such damage is being done, prove him wrong

    But he’s using specific examples which bear no relationship to the effects of climate change on the planet.

    You’re asking me to prove that God won’t protect the planet with his powers, that the planet hasn’t been designed to be ‘dynamically stable’?

    Well, have we? you seem to infer that when he claims we will not run out of a natural resource, that he is saying all natural resources are infinite in quantity, that is quite a leap, don’t you think. Of course there is a finite quantity of resources here on the planet. I believe what he is saying is that with the proper stewardship and some effort, we should not have to run out of things we need.

    Is his belief based on assessing this properly, or just on the fact that God will provide and protect? I can’t find any evidence of the former. There is plenty of the later.

    Please show me where he “advocated” such a thing.

    Did you read the MinnPost link?
    In February he introduced legislation to lift the moratorium on coal-fired power plants in Minnesota. Even though apparently utility companies haven’t been outspoken about their need for more coal-fired plants in Minnesota.

    And where is he “dismissing science”?

    Read the MinnPost link. He clearly picks and chooses what aligns with his religious faith.

    Given his experiences of coal mining on his land, he is more of an expert in this area then you are.

    He’s more of an expert on climate change than me because the farm on which he grew up was mined for coal three times? WTF?!

    It sounds to me like he is not “testing it” since he has seen with his own eyes how coal mining does NOT ruin the earth like you claim but can be replenished for productive crop production.

    Sorry but I don’t see how a few trees mitigates for the damaging environmental effects of coal mining (obviously we need to consider the burning of the coal when assessing the effects; not to do so would be dishonest). I also don’t accept that the analogy is accurate when looking at the wider effects of climate change and what we could, or should, be doing.

    And what was the purpose of throwing out that silly figure of a ten thousand years? Since Beard is practicing coal mining/crop rotation now he doesn’t have to wait 10,000 years.

    I think you’re misunderstood. I’m talking about the planet ‘recovering’. Again, he’s trying to use an analogy which doesn’t work.

    And your point is what? That we should treat the earth like one big National Park, where nothing gets added or removed? Is cutting down any trees raping the earth? Is any type of mining or crop growing where the earth needs to be tilled, is this raping the earth? How about fishing or hunting? are these permitted?

    What was that you said earlier about “OK, no exaggerations there?”

    So long as it can be shown to be sustainable, and isn’t contributing disproportionately to fucking up the carbon cycle, anything should be permitted.

    I wasn’t comparing anything, only making an observation how extreme left would like me to live, but then extremes are like that, right?

    You weren’t saying that a cogent argument could be made that the extreme left are nuts and the Republican Party is the party of science? Because I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what you said.
    Yes, of course are extremes are like that – they’re invariably nuts. So I’m not sure what point you were making by saying a ‘cogent argument’ could be made that nutty people are nuts.

    What makes you think they are mutually exclusive?

    So would belief in “intelligent design” be part of your argument to show that Republicans are the party of ‘science’?

    You mean the party of YOUR science or what you deem worthy of that word, no, they are more open minded then that.

    Sorry I don’t have any science. I’m not able to claim any of it at all. I’m sure there are some people who would accuse you of not being open-minded about how 9/11 was really an inside job too, or how the moon landing was a fake.
    But yeah, I’d love to see a decent honest argument laid out which shows how Republicans are the party of ‘science’. Obviously people like Mike Beard aren’t going to be very helpful to the argument.

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  51. CM says:

    We can add John Shimkus of Illinois too. Apparently, because God will decide when the earth will end, and he promised that he wouldn’t destroy the world with bad weather again after Noah’s flood. Ergo, climate change is fine.

    Of the thought that God will prevent humans from negatively impacting the Earth, as Beard and Shimkus have argued, Dayton is not convinced.

    “It’s just plain wrong-headed to think that divine intervention will fix everything,” he said pointing to the six great extinctions thus far in the planet’s history. “One could say, ‘Well, life persisted and got better, ’cause here we are, the pinnacle of creation, so that was all a part of God’s plan.’”

    Link

    Of course, there is another argument which goes that Christian fundamentalists are actually in favour of environmental degradation becauue it will hasten the rapture. Wasn’t it James Watt, President Reagan’s first secretary of the interior, who told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Who said in public testimony that, “after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.”?

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  52. richtaylor365 says:

    What claim or allegation did I make that I can’t back up?

    The allegation that Christians do not care about the planet because one Christian (Beard) is in favor of coal mining and you are making the monumental leap that coal mining destroys the earth in perpetuity, I claimed nonsense when you first made it, and the same now, you can not back up that claim, even though Bread has proved that he is not ruining the earth.

    Beard is an example of a prominent Christian who believes that God has created a ‘dynamically stable’ planet that we (in effect) can’t fuck up.

    Again, please provide a quote from Beard where he says ,”God has created a ‘dynamically stable’ planet that we (in effect) can’t fuck up.”

    But he’s using specific examples which bear no relationship to the effects of climate change on the planet.

    You keep bringing up climate change into the mix no matter how hard myself and Beard try to keep you on point, that coal mining does not destroy the earth for ever and ever, that is what you need to (but can’t) prove.

    You’re asking me to prove that God won’t protect the planet with his powers, that the planet hasn’t been designed to be ‘dynamically stable’?

    Not even close. It is my belief that God has entrusted the planet to us humans, if we screw it up, that is on us, so I do not fit in to your little box, and neither does Beard.

    Is his belief based on assessing this properly, or just on the fact that God will provide and protect? I can’t find any evidence of the former. There is plenty of the later.

    You are working from a false premise, Beard is not saying that we can be reckless with our stewardship because no matter what harm we do God will bail us out, that is nonsense. The world is a bounty, and if managed properly that bounty will continue to provide.

    He’s more of an expert on climate change than me

    NO, he is more of an expert on coal mining/crop management.

    Sorry but I don’t see how a few trees mitigates for the damaging environmental effects of coal mining

    And we are back to the same spot, you making an allegation and not proving it, please show me the damaged environment from Beard’s coal mining.

    I’m talking about the planet ‘recovering’.

    Beard has proved that the planet recovers immediately, hence all the wonderful crops he is able to grow on the same land. He has something tangible to show, what do you have?

    What was that you said earlier about “OK, no exaggerations there?”

    OK, so if it was an exaggeration, where do you draw the line, what can we as humans do to the earth that you consider environmentally sound? fair question

    Yes, of course are extremes are like that – they’re invariably nuts. So I’m not sure what point you were making by saying a ‘cogent argument’ could be made that nutty people are nuts.

    Exactly

    So would belief in “intelligent design” be part of your argument to show that Republicans are the party of ‘science’?

    No, where did I say that? How could you infer such a thing? I asked you why you thought the two beliefs should be mutually exclusive, they aren’t to me.

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  53. richtaylor365 says:

    Let me ask you another question, Beard made the statement that it was the height of hubris to think that man could destroy the earth, and this was one of your big gotcha moments, do you think man can destroy the earth? Answer only that question, please.

    From your last link:

    He said that many people of faith view the Genesis commandment of “dominion” as a call to exercise stewardship of the earth. “There are a number of devout evangelicals who believe that it is the command of God to protect the earth, and eminent theologians have identified compassion as the the main common element in all religions.”

    This is my belief as well, so I’ll save you some time from combing the internet trying to find some person of faith that has said something in contradiction.

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  54. Kimpost says:

    Let me ask you another question, Beard made the statement that it was the height of hubris to think that man could destroy the earth, and this was one of your big gotcha moments, do you think man can destroy the earth? Answer only that question, please.

    Yes, by a reasonable definition of the phrase “destroy the earth”. If we are talking literally, as in turning the planet into dust or vapour, then no, but here’s the rub. Noone has ever suggested that it could. That’s not what the environmental debate is about.

    Could we destroy the planet in the sense that it could be more difficult to live on it (as an overall effect)? Yes! We could do so quite easily if we actually tried. We are currently doing a pretty good job when we are supposedly not trying too….

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  55. CM says:

    The allegation that Christians do not care about the planet because one Christian (Beard) is in favor of coal mining and you are making the monumental leap that coal mining destroys the earth in perpetuity, I claimed nonsense when you first made it, and the same now, you can not back up that claim, even though Bread has proved that he is not ruining the earth.

    Where did I claim that? You asked for an example of a Christian and I gave you one. Nowhere did I claim or imply that he spoke for all Christians. In fact I said that it made more sense to me that “God has commanded his people to be good stewards of this world, Christians respect and revere the planet because it is part of God’s creation and his handiwork is holy.” That’s certainly the view of all the Christians I know (and I know a decent enough number).

    Again, please provide a quote from Beard where he says ,”God has created a ‘dynamically stable’ planet that we (in effect) can’t fuck up.”

    The ‘dynamically stable’ part is a direct quote. “God is not capricious. He’s given us a creation that is dynamically stable. We are not going to run out of anything.”
    The assertion that he doesn’t think we’re capable of fucking it up is obvious from his other statements. He seems to believe that man can put the planet back together again just like they put the land ‘back together again’ on the farm. Presumably he believes that we can put dead people back together again because he once cut his finger and it healed after he applied a sticking plaster.

    You keep bringing up climate change into the mix no matter how hard myself and Beard try to keep you on point, that coal mining does not destroy the earth for ever and ever, that is what you need to (but can’t) prove.

    Sorry I think that’s incredibly disingenuous. For a start, if it’s just about coal then why does he mention nuclear war? Beard believes that it’s the height of hubris to think man could do anything to destoy the planet. Because God wouldn’t allow it. (And please don’t try and claim that “destroying the planet” requires man to become extinct).

    It is my belief that God has entrusted the planet to us humans, if we screw it up, that is on us, so I do not fit in to your little box, and neither does Beard.

    Then I can only assume you’re not paying attention. He’s saying it’s not even possible for us to do so. Shimkus says much the same. They are far from alone.

    You are working from a false premise, Beard is not saying that we can be reckless with our stewardship because no matter what harm we do God will bail us out, that is nonsense. The world is a bounty, and if managed properly that bounty will continue to provide.

    Well where are you getting that from? The links I have provided DO strongly suggest that my premise isn’t false. There is no indication that he accepts that resources are finite, or that we need to be careful. There is plenty of evidence of the opposite.

    NO, he is more of an expert on coal mining/crop management.

    So? Does that mean we have to assume he’s accurately taking into account all the effects of that coal mining that took place on his family farm when he was growing up when he says it’s all ok now because some trees are now there?

    Wouldn’t you agree that (with respect to what we’re doing to the climate of the planet) actual climate scientists and science organisations would be experts ahead of conservative blogs (which is where he gets his science)?

    And we are back to the same spot, you making an allegation and not proving it, please show me the damaged environment from Beard’s coal mining.

    Well obviously to go into specific detail we’d need specific detail. You’re simply accepting his word for it that some planted trees have mitigated for the adverse environmental effects of land being mined three times. I’m not. for a start, how about:
    * Release of methane, a greenhouse gas causing climate change.
    * Waste products including heavy metal contaminants
    * Acid mine drainage (AMD)
    * Interference with groundwater and water table levels
    * Impact of water use on flows of rivers and consequential impact on other land-uses
    * Rendering land unfit for the other uses

    Beard has proved that the planet recovers immediately, hence all the wonderful crops he is able to grow on the same land.

    He’s proved nothing of the sort. He’s thrown out a bad analogy, with almost no detail. How is that in any way proof of anything?

    He has something tangible to show, what do you have?

    Show for what? That doesn’t even make any sense.

    OK, so if it was an exaggeration, where do you draw the line, what can we as humans do to the earth that you consider environmentally sound? fair question

    I just told you. The line can be drawn via an assessment of effects and alternatives on a case by case basis. As far as I can determine, there wasn’t even any pressure for new coal mining. His was a purely idelogical stance. Coal mining should occur for the sake of it. God won’t let anything bad happen.

    Exactly

    Exactly what? That you were making no point at all?

    No, where did I say that? How could you infer such a thing? I asked you why you thought the two beliefs should be mutually exclusive, they aren’t to me.

    I’m not saying did say or infer it. I’m just asking. But no, I don’t necessarily think that religious belief HAS to be anti-science. However there is plenty of evidence that many people make it so. That’s why I specifically refered to those who “prefer “intelligent design” over evolution.”

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  56. CM says:

    Let me ask you another question, Beard made the statement that it was the height of hubris to think that man could destroy the earth, and this was one of your big gotcha moments,

    What? How can it be a ‘big gotcha moment’ when it’s no different to anything else he seems to say/believe? Sorry, I don’t understand that accusation.

    do you think man can destroy the earth? Answer only that question, please.

    I think the answer is “absolutely”. But as Kimpost points out, that depends on how you define “destroy”. As nobody is talking about all life on the planet coming to an end, any suggestion otherwise would be dishonest. So I’ll answer on the basis that the meaning is reasonable.

    This is my belief as well, so I’ll save you some time from combing the internet trying to find some person of faith that has said something in contradiction.

    Huh? You were the one who actively requested examples? And now you’re mocking me for doing what you asked?
    Sorry Rich, I’m not really sure what’s going on here.

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  57. richtaylor365 says:

    Yes, by a reasonable definition of the phrase “destroy the earth”. If we are talking literally, as in turning the planet into dust or vapour, then no, but here’s the rub. Noone has ever suggested that it could. That’s not what the environmental debate is about.

    You can pretzel yourself with a dozen Sundays of permutations, that is why I tired to limit you (unsuccessfully) to just answer that question.

    But you are of the same mind as Beard, that is the height of hubris to think that man can “destroy” the earth.

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  58. hist_ed says:

    KIMPOST and CM, I find your faith quite touching.

    Again. I am not asking you to agree with these people, merely to assert that they are rational. Can you do that? Or is it impossible for well meaning, rational people to disagree with you?

    As far as the little points you make. Stop citing Wikipedia. Relying on Wikipedia is absurd.

    Regarding “quibbling”: Many of the quibbblers would all agree with my statement above: “Well, human released CO2 has a little tiny influence on climate but that is dwarfed by naturally produced CO2 and the influence of the sun”

    Do you think that they are irrational for doing so? Yes or no?

    Yeah, including such scientific heavyweights as Perry Mason, Michael J Fox and even Ginger Spice

    So, once the character Perry Mason appearred on TV no one got to name their kid that and everyone else with that name was required by law to change it, right? From the site:
    “Opponents of the petition project sometimes submit forged signatures in efforts to discredit the project. Usually, these efforts are eliminated by our verification procedures. On one occasion, a forged signature appeared briefly on the signatory list. It was removed as soon as discovered.

    In a group of more than 30,000 people, there are many individuals with names similar or identical to other signatories, or to non-signatories – real or fictional. Opponents of the petition project sometimes use this statistical fact in efforts to discredit the project. For examples, Perry Mason and Michael Fox are scientists who have signed the petition – who happen also to have names identical to fictional or real non-scientists.”

    Why would opponents submit fake names? Aren’t they confident in their own position?

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  59. richtaylor365 says:

    As nobody is talking about all life on the planet coming to an end, any suggestion otherwise would be dishonest.

    See, it’s not, what is dishonest to me is for you to limit the definitions of words to what you say they are. I think the word “destroy” is pretty straight forward, but you want condition it to suit your needs. Of course man’s actions can make the planet one big mess, uninhabitable and not fit to live in, but that is not what Beard said, is it?

    And now you’re mocking me for doing what you asked?

    Sorry, that was not my intention. I was presented with an allegation that Christians don’t care about this world because they are looking forward to the next, and I wanted that backed up. You seem to think you found a couple of examples, OK, I don’t think they are as strong as you think they are, but I will concede that not all Christians think like me wrt our duties in keeping the planet as pristine as possible.

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  60. Kimpost says:

    If Beard indeed was speaking of literal destruction, then he’s a fool. Regardless, I wouldn’t agree with him about hubris having anything to do with a belief in a possible planetary destruction.

    It’s more about science. I fail to see how we could make all that matter just disappear into vapour or dust (assuming now that those two would constitute destruction).

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  61. Kimpost says:

    @hist_ed

    KIMPOST and CM, I find your faith quite touching.

    Again. I am not asking you to agree with these people, merely to assert that they are rational. Can you do that? Or is it impossible for well meaning, rational people to disagree with you?

    I’m sorry I thought I did just that, by stating that I separate views from the people holding them. To be clear. They certainly can be rational. And they most probably (I don’t actually know them) are . But on AGW they are wrong, for a myriad of reasons. Not because I say so, but because science has proven them wrong.

    None of the rational people you have mentioned has successfully defended the criticism they have been subjected to. Certainly not in anything that was subject to peer review.

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  62. CM says:

    KIMPOST and CM, I find your faith quite touching.

    Thanks. Be as condescending as you like, but if you’re going to do it you also need to show where we show any elements of faith? This is the big thing missing from the ‘belief in climate change’ argument. Where is the actual belief part?

    Again. I am not asking you to agree with these people, merely to assert that they are rational. Can you do that? Or is it impossible for well meaning, rational people to disagree with you?

    No, it’s perfectly possible for people to argue against me rationally. But if the arguments are full of errors, then why wouldn’t I point them out? Often it’s more a case of the arguments being misleading or misrepresenting the truth, rather than a matter of rationality. People mislead and misrepresent in order to influence people. That’s rational in itself.

    As far as the little points you make. Stop citing Wikipedia. Relying on Wikipedia is absurd.

    Please point out any examples where there wasn’t a primary source.

    Regarding “quibbling”: Many of the quibbblers would all agree with my statement above: “Well, human released CO2 has a little tiny influence on climate but that is dwarfed by naturally produced CO2 and the influence of the sun”

    Many would all agree?
    The answer to what I think your question is:
    No, almost none would agree with your statement.

    Do you think that they are irrational for doing so? Yes or no?

    It would be irrational yes, because it would be contrary to an overwhelming body evidence which includes thousands of lines.

    So, once the character Perry Mason appearred on TV no one got to name their kid that and everyone else with that name was required by law to change it, right?

    That’s hilarious.

    Why would opponents submit fake names? Aren’t they confident in their own position?

    Nice theory from those desparate to defend the petition. Where is the evidence that this happened (they’ve worded their response in a way which doesn’t even claim that it happened in this case)? Who knows what the actual story is – the petition hasn’t been independently verified.

    But if the petition organisers were so confident, why did they pretend it was from thr National Academy of Sciences (to the point where the NAS had to issue a press release distancing themselves from it. And why did they accept signatories with degrees in medicine, including veterinary medicine? There are various other well known issues with the petition, or claims that can’t be checked.

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  63. CM says:

    You can pretzel yourself with a dozen Sundays of permutations, that is why I tired to limit you (unsuccessfully) to just answer that question.

    I answered your question. But now you’re suggesting it was wrong of me (and Kimpost) to discuss the actual meaning of it. That’s awesome.

    But you are of the same mind as Beard, that is the height of hubris to think that man can “destroy” the earth.

    You’re being extremely disingenuous.
    If Beard is actually talking about about physically destroying the earth, then who or what is it in response to? He must be saying it in response to something. Please provide some evidence of what he is responding to. Because to me and Kimpost it’s fairly obvious that he’s responded to those who are concerned about the effects of climate change on our ability to sustain our way of life on the planet. That is the only explanation that makes sense.

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  64. CM says:

    Sorry, that was not my intention. I was presented with an allegation that Christians don’t care about this world because they are looking forward to the next, and I wanted that backed up. You seem to think you found a couple of examples, OK, I don’t think they are as strong as you think they are, but I will concede that not all Christians think like me wrt our duties in keeping the planet as pristine as possible.

    First of all I didn’t make that allegation.
    Some Christians do, but you asked for examples, not proof that all Christians do. There all obviously sorts of different types of Christians. I’m surprised that you thought I was suggesting that all Christians think that same.

    Of course we could go into detail about the tens of millions of Christians that believe in the Rapture. Bill Moyers discussed this in his speech ‘The Delusional Is No Longer Marginal’. Glenn Scherer reported on it in Grist.

    Look at how highly the Republicans who voted against environmental legislation scored amongst the fundamentalist groups. Is that mere co-incidence?

    How far do you go to bring on the Rapture?

    In 2002, DeLay visited pastor John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church. Hagee preached a fiery message as simple as it was horrifying: “The war between America and Iraq is the gateway to the Apocalypse!” he said, urging his followers to support the war, perhaps in order to bring about the Second Coming. After Hagee finished, DeLay rose to second the motion. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “what has been spoken here tonight is the truth from God.”

    http://www.grist.org/article/scherer-christian

    If mass violence is an acceptable way to bring it on, why would these people have any issue with environment destruction?

    If you’re a climate change denier, it’s no accident or co-incidence that you’re probably either a Republican or a Christian. But that doesn’t mean that if you’re a Republican or a Christian, you’re definitely a climate change denier. They’re definitely not mutually-exclusive. Thankfully.

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  65. sahrab says:

    Jesus Fucking Christ yet another AGW vs GW debate, in a thread that has nothing to do with Global Warming, with the same two trolls (CM/KimPost) fueling the debate and derailing the conversation.

    (unless someone, somewhere posited that Space caused/created Global Warming).

    We get it:
    You two (or three, wasnt sure what Davids take is) feel Mankind caused Global Warming. They do do not, can not, will not, accept that others disagree with them and use the same amount of “evidence” supporting their position that they use to support theirs.

    The rest feel Global Warming is NOT caused by Mankind. They do do not, can not, will not, accept that others disagree with them and use the same amount of “evidence” supporting their position that they use to support theirs.

    Both sides of this argument are in a fucking DEADLOCK, both sides feel the Force is on their side for their argument.

    Do us all a favor get it, understand it and fucking move on.

    Sorry Jim it just gets annoying to see the same bullshit over and over again

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  66. JimK says:

    Yeah, enough. Drop it. Spinning wheel, spinning around. It’s like going to a party and that one fucking jerk won’ stop ruining it by running his mouth loudly about something no one else in the room gives a flying fuck about.

    Bottom line: Everyone knows where everyone stands. We’re DONE HERE. There is nothing whatsoever to be gained by filling the comments with the same shit over and over again.

    How many times do I have to say this before you people take it seriously? Do I actually have to disable some accounts?

    You want to argue AGW vs. GW? DO IT IN THE FUCKING FORUMS, IT’S WHAT THEY ARE FOR.
    JimK recently posted..Lessons learned in youthMy Profile

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  67. hist_ed says:

    Sorry jimk (and all) I wasn’t trying to re-argue the whole mess again, just my little point that rational well meaning people could be on either side (I know, what a crazy concept). I’m happy to be done.

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  68. davidstvz says:

    My take? I don’t have the faintest clue if people are causing global warming or not. But we might be.

    If we are, we better do something about it. The worst that can happen is that we’ll stall the economy a bit for no good reason. If we do nothing, the worst that can happen is global catastrophe. I’m sure you all must be familiar with this reasoning. I used to dismiss it because if we were heading toward disaster then we’d just do something about the problem at the last minute as it became more apparent. However, now I’m realizing that it may very well be too late to do anything by the time the problem becomes apparent, hence it’s better to do something now even if we’re not sure it’s necessary.

    Of course, we’re already taking some preventive steps due to the left badgering us about the problem incessantly. That may buy us enough time to figure out the issue more clearly before anything bad happens.

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  69. Manwhore says:

    Sand, meet pussy?

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  70. Manwhore says:

    I don’t say it with a straight face. These government goons forgot the first rule of the mafia they think they run: “don’t get greedy.” hopefully the repubs in the fed will continue to piss Obama off and not sign anything. The last haven for these criminals is the federal government.

    As soon as we can, we should start sending ious to these fucking losers.

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  71. JimK says:

    Yeah. Only not the pussy you mean…

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  72. Manwhore says:

    Well, my “karma” is batting over 50, it seems, and ranns comment has 2 lovers. Can’t imagine who those would be. Haha

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  73. JimK says:

    Doesn’t change the fact that you’ve become a complete cunt lately. Just saying. The idea that unions are pwning government and we’re getting the ass end of the deal is truth. You know I agree with that. But Rann isolated a specific idea, that you are – lately – nothing but a whining, passive-aggressive little bitch with one note to play over, and over, and over, and over….

    And so, this is the sub-thread that answers your rhetorical question of “You all tell me why I deal with you.” You do it so you can air out your dirty, sand-filled vagina. You got the thumbs ups because you also, in addition to being a cunt, said some things with which many of us agree. Congrats on that.
    JimK recently posted..Lessons learned in youthMy Profile

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  74. Manwhore says:

    Well, I’m sorry for disrupting the tone of the blog. I will be mindful in future comments.the beatings will stop when moral I proves.

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  75. JimK says:

    No one said anything about “disrupting the tone.” You invented that in your head. What I said was that you have become a whining, passive-aggressive cunt. You. At this moment I speak of no one and nothing but you and how you’ve decided to act lately.

    And that, in case is hasn’t been clear, is “cunt-like.”

    the beatings will stop when moral I proves.

    I don’t know what the fuck that means, and I suspect you don’t either. But I do know that it seems awfully cuntish.
    JimK recently posted..Lessons learned in youthMy Profile

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  76. Manwhore says:

    guess I’m a goner. Died for my country though. Won’t go down being a cunt.

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  77. Manwhore says:

    I am a respectable human being, something our government buddies wont offer upl.

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  78. richtaylor365 says:

    Geez, you are not very bright, are you? JimK has warned you to grow the eff up and quit being a douche. Nobody wants to see anyone banned but some folks just can’t help themselves. Walk away from this thread and you can come back to flame me another day. I realize we have a history, but come on, man up, and let’s act like adults, OK?

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  79. Manwhore says:

    No, I am not bright, I am just a patriotic American that knows you and your ilk will bankrupt us. You’re just a little bitch.

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  80. hist_ed says:

    Won’t go down being a cunt.

    Jesus, man you go down ON a cunt. (Mmmmmmmmmmmmm I love the taste of cunt in the morning. Tastes like victory)

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  81. Rann says:

    I am a respectable human being

    Really?

    You might start acting like it at some point, rather than some crusty old man who does all his shopping at the army surplus store and has just recently had dialup installed in the schoolbus he buried in the woods to turn into a bunker, even though he’s afraid of the gubmint flashing subliminal messages on his CRT monitor and turning him into a pinko commie faggot.

    I’m not calling you that because of your politics, or your ideas, or your beliefs, but because it is impossible to read your posts without imagining some greybeard wearing tattered army secondhand, muttering to himself about how those fucking traitors who have dared side with the government will pay, they’ll alllll pay.

    Around here we kinda go for the “slightly scruffy dude in t-shirt and jeans who makes a post about states rights and personal responsibility and then plays some XBox” style of conservative rather than the “bedraggled old man standing outside the post office yelling obscenities and shaking his fists” style of conservative. Maybe you should try on some clothes intended for civilian wear and put down the anti-Fed placard for awhile, relax, and take a nice big rage dump to get whatever bug crawled into your ass out, instead of taking every single comment you make as an excuse to bitch at people for who they’re employed by.

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  82. AlexInCT says:

    Second that. And in the evening.. At any time. Not the yeasty or bloddy kind, though.

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  83. Manwhore says:

    I see how it is, you need other people to do the fighting for you.

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  84. Manwhore says:

    I’m not grey and Im not epic beard man by any means. I’m actually green for most intents and purposes. I just hat me some gumming employees preaching to me that life is tuff on their block when I lose good people daily to decisions that only preserve gummint people. You lose a swath ofmyour own protect gummint people and we will talk.

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  85. JimK says:

    Are you EVER going to make a comment that isn’t dripping in pussy juice?
    JimK recently posted..Lessons learned in youthMy Profile

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  86. Rann says:

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