Grey Thoughts
Global Warming Data Dodgey
A former TV meteorologist, Anthony Watts, has started to investigate the numerous surface stations that are used to gather data for research into global warming. Watts had concerns about the reliability of the many surface stations which were said to be providing highly accurate information on surface temperatures. Watts has started a website documenting the stations, with temperature data and photographic evidence.

Compare the two examples on the home page
The first is a well maintained site

Note the temperature trend.

The second is a not so well maintained site

Note the temperature trend, and note the horribly controlled environment with many different temperature affecting entities which have been building up over time.

Strangely, even though I am skeptical of human caused global warming, I had alway accepted that the measured temperature increase was a fact. I mean, it is a simple observation. Yet this data, with a significant number of the sites surveyed showing corrupt data, calls into question even this basic data. If they can't get the basic data gathering right, how much confidence can we have in the hypotheses derived from it, which is many orders of magnitude more complex?

As the faq says
the USHCN has been established since 1994, and in that time, the NCDC scientists managing the network have not done this most basic of quality control checks; visiting each station, doing a photographic survey, and determining if the climate monitoring station temperature and rainfall measurement been compromised by any local influences.

I guess this is what happens when you shut down debate. No one bothers to check the data because 'everybody knows' global warming is real.
Homosexual Marriage
Considering the lack of real interest in homosexual marriage, it seems pointless to wage a war against it. Of course, I would still call it a civil union, and still don't think it is loving to encourage homosexual activity, which is inherently destructive. But thinking about it, perhaps the best way to 'protect' marriage, is to bring it back to where it was. To do that, we should get rid of the corrosive concept of a fault free divorce and common law marriage. These are concepts that have done more damage to family, and consequentially, country than any granting of homosexual rights has ever done.

Whilst the homosexual marriage rate is already plummeting in Cananda, removing fault free divorce would nail to coffin shut, whilst helping society to recover from this stupid marxist idea that has be eroding western civilization from within.
Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Hacked
A hacker has claimed to have gotten his hands on an electronic copy of the seventh and final Harry Potter book, 'Deathly Hallows'. Of course, the publishers are saying it is all fake. I would recommend not going to the hackers posting. Talk about a lose lose situation for readers...if you go to the site to get the possibly accurate spoilers, then you still are not sure what happens in the book. Your curiosity is not sated, as you don't have concrete answers. If the answers do end up being accurate, then the book will be a giant let down, as you already sort of thought it would go that way...there is no mystery or suspense.

So if you are a Harry Potter fan (and I wouldn't recommend it...there are far better stories out there), the smart thing to do would be to sit back and wait, and ignore this sort of thing.
Public Schools Get Wierder
Religion in an American school? Where is the ACLU?

The lesson began with the striking of a Tibetan singing bowl to induce mindful awareness.

With the sound of their new school bell, the fifth graders at Piedmont Avenue Elementary School here closed their eyes and focused on their breathing, as they tried to imagine “loving kindness” on the playground.

Eastern religious ideas are apparently's those darned Christian ones (where did Christianity originate again?) that are not good....

In other related school madness, a public school doesn't like GI Joe action figures as they come with inch plastic weapons....Scary stuff...

Yep...the government is definitely the right organisation to educate our kids...

(Hat Tip: Hot Air)

For bonus points, there are a couple of more stories...

The first is that, surprise, sex education classes are horribly biased towards condoms and against abstinence. Maybe we should start calling that child abuse?

Secondly, a school has a no physical contact rule. Not just fighting or kissing, but hugs, back slapping, hand holding, shaking hands....and you thought those southern baptists were control freaks...
Leading Climate Change Profit Satirizes Self
Tim Blair has a great roundup of Tim Flannery, leading climate change scareitian.

Moving from Flannery's climate change predictions of Sydney's dams being dry, nature has played a cruel joke on him and filled the dams to their highest level in 3 years. If leading climate change proponents can't get such a simple short term prediction right, then why do we think they know any better about long term climate predictions?

Of course, the most telling part is now Flannery says we should stop worrying about 'transient' climate effects like the drought and instead focus on 'the new climate'? As Tim Blair says
In May, the drought was “the most extreme and the most dangerous situation arising from climate change facing any country in the world right now”; a few weeks later, and we should stop worrying about a “transient” weather phenomenon. Flannery is in flat-out flip mode. Not that he’s given up making ridiculous predictions:

Environmental researcher Tim Flannery has warned that Brisbane and Adelaide - home to a combined total of three million people - could run out of water by year’s end.

I’ll take that bet. According to these figures, Adelaide has enough water to last until late January, 2008, even if not a further drop arrives before then. Brisbane has sufficient supplies to last until October next year.
It's all about fear and propaganda. Not about truth.
Episcopalians Go Beyond The Pale
From Powerline,
The Seattle Times runs a long profile of Episcopal priest Ann Holmes Redding. Redding has converted to Islam. "Until recently," she was director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle. She doesn't hold an ecclesiastical position at the moment, though she appears not to have been a believing Christian even when she did. Quoth the bishop:

Redding's bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, says he accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, and that he finds the interfaith possibilities exciting. Her announcement, first made through a story in her diocese's newspaper, hasn't caused much controversy yet, he said.

Quoth Doug Thorpe:

Doug Thorpe, who served on St. Mark's faith-formation committee with Redding, said he's trying to understand all the dimensions of her faith choices. But he saw how it deepened her spirituality. And it spurred him to read the Quran and think more deeply about his own faith.

He believes Redding is being called. She is, "by her very presence, a bridge person," Thorpe said. "And we desperately need those bridge persons."
Logic isn't the strong point of the US Episcopalians. Islam and Christianity make competing, contradictory truth claims. They cannot both be right.

A quote from Redding says it all
"It wasn't about intellect," she said. "All I know is the calling of my heart to Islam was very much something about my identity and who I am supposed to be.

FYI Feelings are a poor indicator of truth...

It's no shock the Episcopalian church membership is is free-fall.

Update: Life imitates Scrappleface.
UN Security General Blames Darfur Genocide on Climate Change
Yep. We never had genocides or racial conflict before climate change....Those warmingmongers are getting battier. I thought Kofi was a nutter, but the new guy is taking the cake.

Of course, when they start claiming that the US invading Iraq was all about climate change and not oil, I will know the climate change movement has completely assimilated the moonbat left.
What is Wrong With The World?
The world is a nasty place. Fighting in Israel, Iraq, Sudan, Zimbabwe. Terrorist attacks. Massive Poverty. Abuse. Rape. Corporate fraud. The list could go on and on.

I heard Ravi Zacharias state that the fallen nature of people is the most empirically supported concept in history, yet oddly many still seem to think that somehow we can 'save' ourselves, becoming perfect.

Whilst it would be easy to blame Islam. Or Secular Humanism or capitalism for all the ills of the world, we often use others faults to take the focus off the one thing we really should be looking at. We often focus on the evil outside, but seem to forget that we also need to deal with the evil within.

It is easy to think we are so much better than the Hitlers or the Paris Hiltons of the world, but really, we can never really be sure that we would do better with the same upbringing and opportunities. Power corrupts. Another lesson well supported by history.

Instead of always worrying about everyone else. Perhaps for a change we should worry about the evil within ourselves. The hate, jealously, pride and fear that seems beyond our ability to remove.

Thankfully though, we can get help. Not from others, but from God. Only help from a perfect being makes victory over the evil within us truly possible.

Look within once and a whilst, it is a lesson I often forget.
What is this animal?

Identify the Species/Breed of this animal.

(Ko and KitKat can't answer!)
Who Designed The Designer?
Who Designed the Designer? Who Made God? That's one of the common complaints made by atheistic and materialistic scientists when someone talks about the intelligent design movement.

What is interesting is that this question is incompatible with another charge those same people make. What is the charge? That creationism or intelligent design is a science stopper!

Think about it....if they thing the first question is valid, then there is always going to be more to investigate...'who designed the designer' means that another question still remains to be investigated...

This is just another clue that people who make these claims are not interested in truth...only in peddling their own beliefs.
Climate Change Must Read
Vaclav Klaus, Czech President, has a very insightful speech on climate change. You can read a great excerpt here, or read the whole thing here. Some of the goodness
It becomes evident that while discussing climate we are not witnessing a clash of views about the environment but a clash of views about human freedom....The environmentalist paradigm of thinking is absolutely static. They neglect the fact that both nature and human society are in a process of permanent change, that there is and has been no ideal state of the world as regards natural conditions, climate, distribution of species on earth, etc. They neglect the fact that the climate has been changing fundamentally throughout the existence of our planet and that there are proofs of substantial climate fluctuations even in known and documented history. Their reasoning is based on historically short and incomplete observations and data series which cannot justify the catastrophic conclusions they draw. They neglect the complexity of factors that determine the evolution of the climate and blame contemporary mankind and the whole industrial civilization for being the decisive factors responsible for climate change and other environmental risks.

Read the whole thing!

Seriously. Now. Read it.

It seems I am not the only one to notice that the new environmentalist movement is a veiled push towards totalitarian control.

(Hat Tip: Tim Blair)
Old Earth Christians - A Questionnaire
There are many different beliefs in the Christian community regarding science, and what the Bible says about the age of the earth. This questionnaire is an attempt for me to come to an understanding of these different beliefs. If Christian Old Earth proponents could take 15 minutes or so to provide, I would be grateful. Please be succinct as possible.

1) What is science?

2) What separates science from non-science?

3) Is 'Young Earth Creation science' such as that practiced by members of Answers in Genesis or Creation Ministries International 'science'? Why or why not?

4) Is 'Intelligent Design' such as that practiced by members of the Discovery Institute 'science'? Why or why not?

5) Is it possible for there to be evidence of young earth creationism?

6) What are the reasons you hold for interpreting Genesis 1 as allowing or supporting long ages?

6A) Exodus 20:11 (written by the finger of God Exodus 32:16) refers to God making the world in 6 days. What are the reasons you hold for interpreting Exodus 20:11 as allowing or supporting long ages?

7) Was there death before the fall?
Was it only physical?
Was it only non-human?

7A) The fossil record displays evidence of disease and violent death before the time of humans. Were disease and violence part of God's good design and consistent with his nature? If not...what caused it?

8) Was there a global flood? What are the reasons you hold for interpreting Genesis 6-8 to support this position?

9) Did you become a Christian before or after studying science?

9A) Were you taught young earth creation, old earth creation or old earth evolution at school/university?

10) Is young earth creation damaging or dangerous to the Christian faith and evangelism? Why or why not?

11) Are all miracles in the Bible descriptions of actual events where God acted outside of what we would normally consider natural law? If not, which ones are excluded and why?

12) Is the bible, in it's original form, the inerrant word of God, accurate and truthful on whatever topic it speaks on?
Stem Cell Breakthrough
A new technique has been found that is able to turn non-stem cells (from skin no less) into essentially what are embryonic stem cells.
Now, three research groups claim to have done just that - by reprogramming adult mouse cells into cells that are virtually indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells (ESCs). If they can repeat their success in humans, hopes are high that such cells could one day be used to regenerate healthy tissues in people with a range of illnesses.
Great news (Will this have any effect on the NSW Government vote on funding human cloning to get a supply of ESC for research?

Note however, that the New Scientist article ignores that Adult stem cells already are "used to regenerate healthy tissues in people with a range of illnesses.".

Heads in the sand until the end....

Update: David from Creation Safari's asks
Keep an eye on this story and on the pro-ES advocates. The article quoted one who said that research on embryonic stem cells remains “absolutely essential.” Why? It is still too early to tell, but if all barriers are removed for use of iPS instead of ES, the reaction of the embryonic stem cell advocates will be instructive. Will the Hollywood celebrities still seek air time for tear-jerking commercials, when no law will be required to overcome ethical barriers that no longer exist? Will the $3 billion California stem cell institute switch to the newer, safer, ethical iPS? Will Big Science lobbyists cease their rhetoric about how ethical objections to ES will leave America scientifically behind the rest of the world?
Some good questions. This new technique is easier and cheaper and has the advantage of the cells already being from the patients body (much like adult stem cells), so now we will see whether those pushing for 'compassionate science' (where compassion means killing human life for research that may some day help someone somewhere) are simply trying to push an agenda that isn't so much about science, but about making the destruction of human life acceptable for scientific ends (eugenics anyone?)
Bad Old Earth Creationist Arguments
I keep hearing these arguments, from both scientists and laypeople. They are not good arguments.

If he did build it all in a week in 4006BC, I don't understand why he would create so much evidence that makes it look a lot older.
People who have been taught the world looks 'old' need to remember that for most people throughout time, the world looked 'young'. The age of the earth is an inference, based upon assumptions in both cases. It doesn't look 'old' or 'young', we merely are trained to view it that way.

YEC material have a lot of errors and are deliberately misleading and dishonest.
I here this a lot, but have yet to be told one reasonable example. Some have made reference to "Telling Lies for God" by Ian Plimer, but Ian Plimer is not exactly a reputable source, and independent investigations of his accusations of dishonesty found them all to be without substance. Heck, even talk origins, a very popular anti-creationists website, disparages the book as poor reasoning. That Christians would make these claims without evidence is troubling.

If the 'young earth creationists' are right, all the world's biological and earth scientists are either fundamentally mistaken, or engaged in a dishonest conspiracy.
This is mostly true, but not an issue. 'All' the scientists would not wrong because there are some young earth creation scientists who would be right. The history of science is completely (and I mean completely) filled with cases where 'all' the scientists were fundamentally wrong (For instance Phlogiston, Geosynclinal geology). As Thomas Kuhn detailed, science progresses through a series of revolutions where the old scientific paradigm is replaced by a revolutionary new one.

This complaint is actually an unfounded self-important claim, as if somehow, in today's scientific age, we know we have finally found the truth. Scientists have ALL been wrong before and will be again. As a physics lecturer once said at the start of semester "80% of what we are about to teach you is wrong. we don't know which 80%".

I know lots of scientists who have integrity and a passion for truth.
As did all the other scientists in the past who were wrong as well. Integrity and passion for truth do not been they are right. It is possible to be sincerely wrong.

Scientists are all trying to disprove evolution as this would make them the most famous scientist in the world.
This is not how science works. Scientific Paradigms (cf Thomas Kuhn) such as particles to people evolution or old ages are not questioned or challenged, but are used as a framework within which scientists investigate problems. Thus, when scientists find soft tissue in a supposedly 68 Million year old fossil, they don't doubt the millions of years age, but instead refer to an 'unknown process' which has preserved the soft tissue even when everything they know about soft tissue goes against it.

Or when scientists get experimental support that essentially falsifies evolution (by showing beneficial mutations conspire against each other to reduce fitness and so taken together are not beneficial) or other lab work showing beneficial mutations trigger a process of mutational meltdown and extinction, these are ignored and other 'solutions' are searched for. Thomas Kuhn's explanation for scientific paradigms makes sense of this, however Old Earth Creationist complaints about scientists trying to disprove evolution do not.

The final example is how so many of the scientific things we do depends on particles to people evolution. One example would be 'why we experiment on mice'. Yet this is another bad (and circular) argument. The similarities between creatures is used as evidence for evolution. This same similarity is what makes experimenting on mice useful, not that we evolved.

These common examples are actual just examples of rhetoric, not meaningful discussion.

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