Grey Thoughts
No Global Warming Consensus
Despite the shrill complaints and name calling of the man-made global warming crowd when anyone calls into question their latest research cash cow, a study of the research journals over the past 4 years shows that quite clearly, there is still a large debate going on, with only 45% of articles supporting the notion of man-made global warming. 6% reject it outright, and the remainder are neutral, neither rejecting or accepting man-made global warming.

It just goes to show, the louder they yell, the less solid their case is.

P.s. Of course, logically, people must have an impact on the climate. The real question is whether it is significant or not.

(HT: Verum Serum)
Why I Am Skeptical of Man Made Global Warming Pt2
It is because I am told to believe it because of things like this
Since the late 1960s, much of the North Atlantic Ocean has become less salty, in part due to increases in fresh water runoff induced by global warming, scientists say.

—Michael Schirber, LiveScience, 29 June 2005

The surface waters of the North Atlantic are getting saltier, suggests a new study of records spanning over 50 years. They found that during this time, the layer of water that makes up the top 400 metres has gradually become saltier. The seawater is probably becoming saltier due to global warming, Boyer says.

—Catherine Brahic, New Scientist, 23 August 2007

Both science sources, complete opposite events, yet still it is global warming's fault? Please. This is not science, this is pseudoscientific crap used for political ends....
Pink and the President
'Dear Mr President' is a song that Pink wrote, according to wikipedia, because "I read The New York Times every day, and watch the news. And I was completely disgusted with it. I just felt like....I just needed to write a song. I really wanted to write a song to piss my dad off because he is a Bush supporter."

I'd be completely disgusted if I had to read the New York Times every day as well....

Of course, what is really pathetic is the closing verses of the song where Pink tells off the president because he doesn't know anything about hard work....this coming from a spoilt rock star with diamonds embedded in her teeth, who hasn't had a real job her entire life. Lame.

FYI, her dad is a Vietnam Vet
Expelled The Movie
There is a lot of buzz in both the Intelligent Design camp and some creationist writers about a new documentary coming out next year called Expelled. The synopsis of the film is exposing the crushing of dissent in the debate over Darwinism. I've only just heard about it, and was looking forward to it providing a very public presentation of the unscientific attitude and actions of many zealous evolutionists.
From PR News Wire
Ben Stein, the lovable, monotone teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Wonder Years is on a journey to answer one of the biggest questions ever asked: Were we designed or are we simply the end result of an ancient mud puddle struck by lightning? Stein, who is also a lawyer, an economist, a former presidential speechwriter, author and social commentator, is stunned by what he finds on his journey. He discovers an elitist scientific establishment that has traded in its skepticism for dogma. But even worse, along the way, Stein uncovers a long line of biologists, astronomers, chemists and philosophers who have had their reputations destroyed and their careers ruined by a scientific establishment that allows absolutely no dissent from Charles Darwin’s theory of random mutation and natural selection.

Sounds like it would be good. But I was very disappointed to find that it seems they have interviewed some evolutionists, like PZ Myers, under false pretenses. It appears that they told Myers they were filming for a different documentary. Underhanded tactics like this are a poor way to operate, especially if you are trying to take the moral high ground (of course that never stopped Michael Moore).

P.S. At one point in his post, PZ Myers refers to the infamous Dawkins pause in the documentary 'A Frog to a Prince'.
By filming under false pretenses, much like the example of the case of Richard Dawkins' infamous "pause", they've undercut their own credibility … not that that will matter. I suspect their audience will not question whatever mangling of the video that they carry out, and the subterfuges used to make it will not be brought up.

Just to be clear. There was no mangling of video in the Richard Dawkins interview. In fact, the editors shortened Dawkins pause to 11 seconds (from 19) and then switched off the cameras to allow him to think about the answer. Then taped his answer when he said he was ready.

If you read the link above, Dawkins tries to claim this pause was due to him realizing he was duped into doing an interview with creationists as "It is the kind of question only a creationist would ask in that way". Yet, the unedited tapes show clearly that when this question was asked, Dawkins had already known he was talking to creationists and had already agreed to continue. See this timeline for the details.

Whilst the interview was probably obtained under false pretenses (I've seen nothing that actually contests that point), Richard Dawkins is not being honest about it.

Update: As PZ Meyers himself would have probably known. Ed Brayton, another strident creationist and ID critic, has posted about how Richard Dawkins recollections were flawed and there was no alterations made that cast any additional negative light on Dawkins' response.

Kudos to Ed Brayton regarding his post.
Global Moose Warming
Apparently, Global Warming is Bullwinkles fault....
researchers in Norway claiming that a grown moose can produce 2,100 kilos of carbon dioxide a year -- equivalent to the CO2 output resulting from a 13,000 kilometer car journey

This reminds me of the guy who farts and then blames his dog.
Skeptic Presidents Open Letter to Militant Atheists
Michael Shermer, president of Skeptic has published an Open Letter to Militant Atheists
in the Scientific American (if you ever thought the scientific american was a science magazine, look no further than them publishing non-scientific writings about how best to deal religion to see it's true purpose)

Shermer of course, talks about "rational atheism" (can we expect rationality from people who believe the universe came from nothing and that our accidentally created minds can find truth, whilst defending non-material and therefore non-existent notions of morality and justice?). But sure...lets humour ol Michael and see how rational he is.
Since the turn of the millennium, a new militancy has arisen among religious skeptics in response to three threats to science and freedom: (1) attacks against evolution education and stem cell research; (2) breaks in the barrier separating church and state leading to political preferences for some faiths over others; and (3) fundamentalist terrorism here and abroad. Among many metrics available to track this skeptical movement is the ascension of four books to the august heights of the New York Times best-seller list....Whenever religious beliefs conflict with scientific facts or violate principles of political liberty, we must respond with appropriate aplomb. Nevertheless, we should be cautious about irrational exuberance. I suggest that we raise our consciousness one tier higher for the following reasons.

Sounds great so far.. Shermer seems to be castigating the new atheists and instead says that atheists should be nice, calm and polite...and proceeds to give reasons for why....let me summarize..

Michael thinks that it is the best way for atheism to achieve victory over other religions. Yep. Not because of any intrinsic value in tolerance and respect of others. Just because it is not the best strategy for Athiests to achieve their goals...

But what is really interesting is the last reason Michael gives...
5. Promote freedom of belief and disbelief. A higher moral principle that encompasses both science and religion is the freedom to think, believe and act as we choose, so long as our thoughts, beliefs and actions do not infringe on the equal freedom of others. As long as religion does not threaten science and freedom, we should be respectful and tolerant because our freedom to disbelieve is inextricably bound to the freedom of others to believe.

Michael concludes with
Rational atheism values the truths of science and the power of reason, but the principle of freedom stands above both science and religion.

Read the quotes again. Michael tells the new atheists to play nice except in the case where religion threatens science and freedom. Yet the very first thing he wrote was that religion is threatening science and freedom...So essentially Shermer has told the new atheists to keep going whilst putting forward a nice calm sounding article to placate those who are somewhat disturbed by the rabid zealousness of the high profile new atheists.

Of course, the last paragraph really sums it up....freedom should trump science and religion. But if that is the case then why does Michael tell us that "As long as religion does not threaten science and freedom, we should be respectful and tolerant" Shouldn't that comment have said 'As long as religion does not threaten freedom'? Michael has placed science on the same level as freedom, all the whilst saying freedom trumps science. Hardly a pinnacle of rationality.
25 Crazy Wierd animals
See how many of these you have seen before

(via Instapundit)
Random Evolutionary Thought
Why is it that evolutionists decry creationists for not doing any positive research are the same ones who keep saying that evolutionists are constantly trying to disprove evolution (not just uncritically accepting it as true?
All Religions Are Not The Same
For the dumb story of the day, comes a Roman Catholic Bishop who suggests everyone call God 'Allah' in order to foster religious understanding. The irony is palpable....calling God the same name Allah, a different being, fosters confusion, not understanding.

Bishop Muskens reasoning?
"Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ... What does God care what we call him? It is our problem."

God doesn't care if we call Him the same name as a false god? Yeah...right...
Global Warming Called Off
NASA has quietly corrected a few faulty warming figures and Hot Air has the story. Some of the good stuff
Update (Bryan): “Former NASA guy” hat on for a second, this is a pretty big deal. Money quote from Coyote Blog:

I cannot get over the irony that in the same week Newsweek makes the case that climate science is settled and there is no room for skepticism, skeptics discover a gaping hole and error in the global warming numbers.

The discontinuity in the data should have been a serious red flag for Hansen et al, but what we’re probably seeing here is the effect of personality and agenda on the scientific process. They assumed they were right, and either discounted or didn’t even notice the discontinuity that occurred at 2000.

Coyote Blog also has a lot more background for those who are interested.
Today, the GISS admitted that McIntyre was correct, and has started to republish its data with the bug fixed. And the numbers are changing a lot. Before today, GISS would have said 1998 was the hottest year on record (Mann, remember, said with up to 99% certainty it was the hottest year in 1000 years) and that 2006 was the second hottest. Well, no more. Here are the new rankings for the 10 hottest years in the US, starting with #1:

1934, 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938, 1939

Three of the top 10 are in the last decade. Four of the top ten are in the 1930's, before either the IPCC or the GISS really think man had any discernible impact on temperatures.

Seriously, read all of the Coyote Blog Post. It is long, but worth it.
Update #3: I labeled this "breaking news," but don't expect to see it in the NY Times anytime soon. We all know this is one of those asymmetric story lines, where if the opposite had occurred (ie things found to be even worse/warmer than thought) it would be on the front page immediately, but a lowered threat will never make the news.

Oh, and by he way. This is GOOD news. Though many won't treat it that way. I understand this point fairly well because, in a somewhat parallel situation, I seem to be the last anti-war guy who treats progress in Iraq as good news. warming isn't nearly as bad as we were told, the world isn't ending quite as soon as we thought, and many people won't think it is good news...perhaps they have an agenda they were simply using the threat of global warming to try and achieve....

Daily tech gives the kudos to Steve McIntyre, who runs the site Climate Audit, and also has a lot to do with which documents the large number of dodgey weather/temperature data collection stations that have been used by the crazed left to tell us that the sky is falling, so that we give all our power to the governments and up that much closer to a socialist world government.

(HT: Tim Blair)
Life Imitates Worms
Explosive sheep!
Anti-War Rhetorical Tricks
The reality debased moonbats over at DailyKos have a great example of a rather lame rhetorical trick that is commonly used by anti-war nutters.
Author’s note: Both Michelle Malkin and Matt Drudge are still young enough to enlist in the military. As such strident war supporters, it’s anyone’s guess as to why neither of them has yet felt the need to pick up a gun and help out, while other troops—some under the age of 25—are beginning their fifth and sixth deployments. With morale plummeting over the war, the military is in desperate need of the type of motivated troopers I’m sure both Malkin and Drudge would make.

Ignoring the fact that the military does not actually have a morale problem, it's actually an ironic attack on Matt and Michelle. Considering the American military is essentially unbeatable on the battle field, the real battle is always going to be the propaganda war. In the military, Matt and Michelle would probably be just your average soldier, hardly a noticeable boost. But in the propaganda war, Matt Drudge and Michelle Malkin are force mulitpliers. They are big guns which is why the loony anti-war nuts over at DailyKos want to get them out of the way.

The deranged dingbats at Kos want to be able to win the propaganda battle and getting Michelle and Matt out of the way would be a big boost to that goal. Fortunately, neither Matt or Michelle are so stupid as to listen to the Kos writers (I mean...who really would be that dumb?). Unfortunately, it seems like the Kos writers want the same outcome to the propaganda war as the enemies of America and the western world.
Complexity, Causation and God
I found this list of thoughts about God, complexity and causation. I felt it was worth responding to, as there are a couple of points worth noting and it seems to be a common response.

Here are my collective thoughts:

1. It takes something complex to create a complex being.
2. God is complex.
3. Something more complex than God must have created him.
4. Something even more complex must have created that.
5. This leads to irreducible complexity.
6. Alternately, you may say God has always existed.
7. This goes against the Second Law of Thermodynamics, that states that energy cannot be created or destroyed.
8. The counter-argument is either:
8a. God created the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Or:
8b. God is immune.
9. Rebuttals for these are:
9a. God could not have created the Second Law of Thermodynamics, because it negates his existence.
9b. There is no proof to show God is immune. And besides, he just twiddled his thumbs for all eternity?

Premise 1 is wrong and/or incomplete. It would have to read that 'It takes something more or equally complex to create a complex being.' in order for it to be useful.

Of course, most Intelligent Design (ID) people would argue that it requires Intelligence (not necessarily complexity) in order to create a certain level of specified complexity. So Premise 1 then requires an additional premise that intelligence requires greater complexity.

Premise 2 is an assumption, and arguable based on the definition of 'complex' being used.

Premise 3 assumes that God is created (we'll deal with this later)

Premise 5 is wrong. This leads to an infinite regress, not irreducible complexity.

Premise 7 says that the idea that God always existed contravenes the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (2LOT) which says that energy cannot be created or destroyed. This is wrong. The 1st law of thermodynamics says that energy cannot be created or destroyed. The 2LOT says that energy in a closed system always moves towards a less useful form. (I.e. Entropy always increases)

Premise 9a & 9b get really strange. The 2LOT clearly applies to the material universe, so there is clear case (not really an ad hoc addition) for saying that God, being non-material, is not bound by the laws of the material universe. Even ignoring this, it is not the case that the 2LOT negates God's existence, unless you argue that the universe and the 2LOT have existed for an infinite period of time.

The infinite regress problem (Premise 5) is where things really need to be thought about. Essentially, this problem requires that unless you have something that was uncaused at the start of the chain of causation, otherwise you get an infinite regress of causation, which is an impossibility. So something must have never been caused and thus eternal and self-existent. This uncaused, eternal thing must either be material or non-material, but the 2LOT would mean that it could not be a material thing as all useful energy would have disappeared (This is known as the low entropy past mystery by philosophers). So in order to avoid the infinite regress problem you MUST have a non-material entity as the cause of the material.

It is somewhat strange hearing these arguments from people arguing against God, as in reality, they are stronger arguments for God than against God.

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