A Philosopher's Blog

Right Versus Right

Posted in Business, Law, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on June 20, 2012
Spy vs. Spy

Spy vs. Spy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While unemployment is a problem in the United States, there are actually several fields in which workers are in short supply. These fields tend to be in technical, scientific and math heavy areas (such as engineering). As might be imagined, companies like Exxon Mobile need highly educated workers in order to operate. However, educators tend to support Democratic candidates and are often perceived as political liberals. These facts help explain why Exxon Mobile has been presenting advertisements praising teachers at the same time teacher bashing and education budget slashing is very much in vogue in certain political circles.  This creates something of a challenge for the right: how do they destroy the generally pro-Democratic teachers’ unions and slash budgets while at the same time ensuring that the corporations have the educated job fillers that they need?Being an educator, I noticed when Exxon Mobile began running what seemed to be pro-teacher advertisements. I had also noticed when many states cut their education budgets and the concerted attacks on teacher’s unions. This juxtaposition of pro-teacher and anti-teacher got me thinking about how the right was at odds with the right in many key areas.Interestingly, while education budgets in my own state of Florida have been cut, there has been a very strong push for STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) education. In fact, my university recently split the college of arts and sciences so that the sciences would have their own college, thus allowing the budget to be split. By supporting the STEM programs and starving the other programs, the dilemma can be solved: the job creators get their job fillers while the education budgets can be cut on the backs of non-STEM programs.

Of course, this is not a perfect solution. After all, the budget cuts to public and higher education do damage to education across the board. As such, even if STEM is pushed and funded, schools and students will still be lacking because of the cuts to other areas. Also, attempts to destroy educators’ unions and to demonize educators have a negative impact across the board. As such, the right still faces a serious challenge here: the budget slashers and anti-education folks are at odds with those who are well aware that the job creators need educated job fillers.

One solution to employee shortages that the United States has long relied on is getting people from outside the country. For quite some time the United States did this very well, even to the point that it was creating a brain drain on the rest of the world. The United States still welcomes many foreign students to the top schools and our graduate programs are producing top people. However, this solution to the problem of a shortage of STEM professionals runs afoul of the views of a significant portion of the United States’ right. Thanks to the fear generated by 9/11 and what appears to be a blend of xenophobia and racism, there is a significant political push against immigration and foreign workers-even in the STEM fields. This has resulted in severe limits on the number of foreign workers and immigrants allowed to remain in the United States. We are literally graduating the people we need and then booting them out. As might be imagined, corporations are doing what they can to work around this problem-generally by setting up offices in places where such talent is more welcome (such as Canada). In short, the xenophobia of some folks on the right is running afoul of the needs of the fiscal conservatives who support corporations. This does raise the question as to whether or not corporations will push for immigration reform to get the people they need or decide not to do so to avoid antagonizing the anti-immigration base they need to support their candidates.

Another related problem is the fact that while critical thinking, scientific thinking, creative thinking and problem solving skills are in demand, the United States is doing poorly in all these areas. One reason (among many) for this is the slashing of education budgets and the attacks on educators. Another reason is the increase in anti-intellectualism in the Republican party. Bashing experts, intellectuals, education and science  has become a standard tactic on the part of very influential elements of this party. These attacks are typically either religious based (to support creationism and other religious doctrines) or politically/economically based (bashing environmental science regarding climate change, pollutants and so on). While the left does have its share of anti-intellectuals, these folks are the fringe of the left and have rather limited influence. In start contrast, the Republican party seems to be steered by what were once the fringe elements.  One nice bit of irony is that while the fossil fuel companies and others have a vested interest in waging a war against climate science, environmental science, scientific thinking and critical thinking, they also need critical thinkers and scientists. Ideally, of course, they would get people who can do good science and critical thinking while at the same time going along with the political and economic agendas that require denying scientific evidence.

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41 Responses

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  1. magus71 said, on June 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Being critical of Al Gore’s warming theories is anti-intellectual? Isn’t the fight, not against science, but against methods and claims that are questionably scientific? Does being a scientist make one beyond question?

    There is no short of technical specialists because of education. There is a change because of a change in our culture. And it’s tough to learn engineering. Please explain to me how at this moment current Republican policies would stop me from beginning an education as an engineer and continuing on to work in that field?

    Mike, stop thinking about politics for a while. You’re obsessing and it’s leading to narrow thought.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Being critical is not anti-intellectual. Rejecting scientific methodology in favor of ideology is.

      Obviously scientists are not beyond question-in fact, the most significant critics of scientists are other scientists. If a scientist fudges data or uses improper methodology (like in the infamous autism-vaccine “link”) other scientists will be the ones to find the problems and push for the proper sanctions. While it is not a perfect system, the academic review system does aim at preventing deceit.

      Cutting education funding does lower opportunities across the board. It is not that a person is stopped, it is that the approach to education lowers the quality of education and reduces the chances of success. Also, the obsession with standardized tests and the No Child Left Behind policies ended up damaging the education system in ways that we are now clearly seeing.

  2. magus71 said, on June 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    By the way Mike, your choice for president invoked executive privilege in the “Fast and the Furious” case, and Eric Holder refused to turn over papers requested bu Congress.

    I have never seen an administration more uncooperative with Congress. Fortunately, there’s a decent chance it’ll be replaced in a few months.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      Yes he did. The most plausible explanation is that the documents contain information that would be harmful to the administration. Of course, it is possible that this is a legitimate case of the executive branch holding its ground against congress. However, I’m going with the thesis that this is an intentional attempt to conceal misdeeds or at least something embarrassing.

      I’ve been consistently against this sort of use of executive privilege. After all, the executive branch does not have a right to conceal its misdeeds.
      When Bush used it, I wrote a critical piece about this: http://aphilosopher.wordpress.com/2007/04/06/executive-privilege-and-spying/

      Interestingly, Fox News has had a very flexible view on the matter, changing their stance based on who is in office. http://aphilosopher.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/fox-news-consistency/

      You should also note that I was extremely critical of the Fast & Furious program when the debacle became known: http://aphilosopher.wordpress.com/?s=fast+furious

      I’m rather consistent in my principles and this searchable blog easily enables people to check to see whether this is true or not.

  3. magus71 said, on June 20, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    This whole paragraph is rather unscientific:

    “Another reason is the increase in anti-intellectualism in the Republican party. Bashing experts, intellectuals, education and science has become a standard tactic on the part of very influential elements of this party. These attacks are typically either religious based (to support creationism and other religious doctrines) or politically/economically based (bashing environmental science regarding climate change, pollutants and so on). While the left does have its share of anti-intellectuals, these folks are the fringe of the left and have rather limited influence. In start contrast, the Republican party seems to be steered by what were once the fringe elements. One nice bit of irony is that while the fossil fuel companies and others have a vested interest in waging a war against climate science, environmental science, scientific thinking and critical thinking, they also need critical thinkers and scientists. Ideally, of course, they would get people who can do good science and critical thinking while at the same time going along with the political and economic agendas that require denying scientific evidence.”

    So you know God didn’t create the universe and climate change is everything Al Gore says it is?

    Mike, have you ever admitted you were wrong in your blog?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      How is it unscientific? I mean other than the fact that the analysis is philosophical.

      I don’t claim to know what God did or didn’t do-but this is not relevant to the analysis I gave. As far as Al Gore goes, he is a politician and not a scientist. While he does go with the experts, I can appeal to experts as well without going through Gore.

      I will admit when I am wrong. However, you’ll note that I am usually very careful in my claims and I generally present alternatives to my own views. As such, I consider right from the first word that I could be wrong.

  4. T. J. Babson said, on June 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Part of the problem is that a lot of climate scientists have stopped behaving like scientists and are behaving more like advocates. Scientists are supposed to be truth tellers above all else, but when they start indulging in “noble lies” they lose their credibility, and many “noble lies” have been told about the climate.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      When scientists lie they tend to be destroyed by other scientists. This is not to say that they are not as fallible as anyone else nor that politics does not enter into science. However, science and academics have correction mechanisms that most areas (such as politics) lack.

      • WTP said, on June 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm

        No, it is the application of science and academics to the real world that are the correcting mechanisms. Without highly controlled experimental data, science and academics are no more self-correcting than politics. And in our current environments, I might sadly argue less so. While politics has an annoyingly low signal to noise ratio, there is very little filtering of political speach (at least in a significant part of Western civilization), compared to the numerous examples of repressed speach on many college campuses. When scientists lie, they tend to be destroyed by empirical data. Many a scientest has been isolated and mocked by the majority of his/her peers, sometimes beyond the grave, before being proven right when the appropriate technological tools become available to back him/her up.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 21, 2012 at 1:46 pm

          The possibility of a consensus of error is always worth considering. A good example of this is Alfred Wegener-he put forth the notion of continental drift only to be mocked and attacked. Naturally, his view is orthodox today.

          It might turn out that climate change is a case of a consensus of error and in 100 years there will be a Wikipedia page noting how the majority of scientists had gotten it all wrong. However, for every Wegener who is vindicated, there are many more folks who turn out to be wrong.

          • magus71 said, on June 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm

            In America, Dr. Ivar Giaever, a Nobel Prize-winner in physics, resigned in protest from the American Physical Society this fall because of the Society’s policy statement: “The evidence is incontrovertible: global warming is occurring.” Dr. Giaver:

            “Incontrovertible is not a scientific word. Nothing is incontrovertible in science.
            In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?
            The claim (how can you measure the average temperature of the whole earth for a whole year?) is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me is that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this “warming” period.”

            Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/11/scientists_in_revolt_against_global_warming.html#ixzz1yS3hhbWh

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm

              Giaever’s point seems to be that he disagrees with the use of “incontrovertible.” I would also not be inclined to use such a term, at least while discussing it in an academic context. After all, skepticism is always an option. However, in a practical context skepticism should not be allowed to run wildly (that is, it should be a practical rather than philosophical skepticism).

              In any case, his claim does not disprove the claim that climate change is occurring nor does it address the key issues of the post.

  5. T. J. Babson said, on June 20, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Here is the key point, which you dismiss as tangential: While the world has indeed warmed over the last century, and some of that warming has almost certainly been due to man-made CO2, climate scientists are grossly exaggerating future warming in large part because they are exaggerating positive feedback effects in the climate system. Most of the warming in climate models is not from CO2 directly but from feedback effects, and the evidence for strong positive climate feedback on temperature is very weak (to the point of non-existence) as compared to the evidence of greenhouse gas warming (yes, individual effects like ice cover melting are undeniably positive feedback effects, the question is as to the net impact of all such effects). When we look at past warming, and take into account other natural warming effects, the warming from man-made CO2 appears to be more consistent with negative than positive feedback.

    The importance, even centrality, of the feedback is not some skeptic invention but comes right from the IPCC. According to the last IPCC report, greenhouse gasses acting alone warm the Earth about 1.2C per double of CO2 (per Michael Mann, yes that Mann). It is hypothesized positive feedback effects that increase this to the 3.5-5.5C range for total warming/sensitivity. This means that 67% to 80% of IPCC forecasted warming is not from greenhouse gas theory but this second theory that the Earth’s climate is dominated by positive feedback. This means that the points you consider “tangential” actually account for the vast majority of the warming. In fact, according to the IPCC, it is feedback, not greenhouse gas theory, that causes the catastrophe.

    The is why harping on the “98% of scientists” meme is so irritating to many skeptics. The 98% of scientists in this survey said two things: that the world has warmed over the last century and that CO2 from man was a significant cause of this warming. But most science-based skeptics agree with this! We don’t deny warming or greenhouse gas theory, we deny the catastrophe, which we face only if the assumption of the climate being dominated by strong net positive feedback is correct.

    http://www.climate-skeptic.com/

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      I’m not really qualified to assess the scientific climate data-it is not my field. However, since my field is critical thinking, I do know that the most plausible view is the one put forth by the majority of the qualified experts (see the argument from authority for the standards of assessment). As such, I’m going with the climate change hypothesis. Naturally, I am open to the possibility of error-scientific theories are overturned on a regular basis by better data and methods.

      • T. J. Babson said, on June 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm

        The 98% of scientists in this survey said two things: that the world has warmed over the last century and that CO2 from man was a significant cause of this warming. But most science-based skeptics agree with this!

        Where do you differ with the 98%, Mike?

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 22, 2012 at 9:15 am

          Are you saying that the science-based skeptics of climate change agree that the world has warmed and that human generated CO2 is a significant cause?

          If the majority of the experts make a claim in their field, then unless there is adequate evidence of some sort of defect (such as bias) then it is reasonable to go along with the experts.

          • Anonymous said, on June 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm

            Are you saying that the science-based skeptics of climate change agree that the world has warmed and that human generated CO2 is a significant cause?

            Yes. The disagreement is whether the amount of warming from the CO2 will be amplified or not.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 23, 2012 at 11:34 am

              So, it is agreed that there is warming and we are a contributory cause, but the debate is whether or not it will increase even more?

            • T. J. Babson said, on June 23, 2012 at 11:48 am

              Yes, and people like Bjorn Lomborg are pilloried for expressing thoughts like the following:

              Much of Rio+20 has focused on making the third world part of the ‘green economy’, as defined by Europe and the US. But developing countries are right not to be lured into this beguiling notion’. Today’s green economy policies only make miniscule carbon reductions at an extremely high cost. They promise jobs, but only with huge subsidies – and this raises costs for the rest of the economy, causing an equal or greater number of job losses elsewhere.

              Most of the world’s poor people are focused on making a living, let alone a ‘green living’. Likewise, for most poor people, there are far more immediate problems to confront. Nine hundred million people are malnourished, one billion lack clean drinking water, 2.6 billion lack sanitation, and 1.6 billion lack electricity. Every year, about 15 million people die from diseases that would be cured easily and cheaply. Crucially, while rich countries are worrying about global warming and enamored with alluring solutions like the green economy, there are far more important environmental issues at stake for the third world. Each year, 13% of all deaths in the developing world come from old-fashioned air and water pollution. In comparison, even if we unrealistically attribute all deaths from flooding, droughts, heat waves and storms to global warming, it causes about 0.06% of all third world deaths. Air and water pollution kills 210 times as many.

              By focusing on a green economy, the first world might help prevent one person from dying. That sounds good until you realize it means that 210 people in poorer countries will die needlessly – because the resources that would have saved them were spent on biofuels, solar panels, windmills and other rich world obsessions.

              http://lomborg.com/sites/default/files/Art%20BL%202012-06-19%20Telegraph.pdf

          • FOOBAR said, on June 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm

            The majority and minority are made up of experts. Isn’t it far more reasonable to consider what both (or all) sides have to say, consider which argument sounds more likely and go with that?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 23, 2012 at 11:41 am

              One problem is that in cases in which one is not an expert, one lacks the expertise to assess the arguments properly. So, for example, in the case of climate change I would not be qualified to assess the data and the scientific methodology. I could, of course, assess the logic of the arguments (that is philosophy).

              The main reason to go with the majority is that it is a matter of odds. In general, what most experts accept is more likely to be correct. For example, if there are 100 engineers working on a problem and most of them get the same result, then the odds are that they are right. After all, the odds of most experts being wrong is lower than the odds that the few are right.

              Naturally, there is always the possibility that the majority is wrong (and that they are all wrong).

  6. magus71 said, on June 21, 2012 at 6:31 am

    I’ve done a fair amount of research on global warming and found it difficult to find consistent data not only of the nuts and bolts science of it, but even on the actual claimed temperature rises. Almost no two sources had the same numbers. As best I can tell, there has been no net warming for the last 10-15 years. Why? Doesn’t a good scientist keep asking why?

    And so I’m not even willing to say that humans are contributing to warming at this point with any certainty. Perhaps humans are keeping the Earth from warming as fast as it would in its normal cycles. The data is not clear.

    And what really is not clear is the outcome if the warming theorists are correct. There is little to show a doomsday scenario. We know the Earth has been much warmer in the past. I doubt we’ll see Miami under water. Most global changes are far beyond the ability of humans to change in any significant way.

  7. Dave said, on June 22, 2012 at 12:13 am

    So much information is out there it’s hard for me to tell truth from fiction sometimes. But it does seem that an overwhelming number of scientists worldwide support the climate change claim. What often helps me is to weigh credibility by examining motive. Although there may be those who stand to gain recognition or advance a political agenda by supporting climate change, I believe there is far far far more money to be made by those who oppose climate change. Accordingly I am inclined to view this side of the argument with less credibility.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 22, 2012 at 9:25 am

      True-bias is a factor worth considering. While scientists who claim there is climate change are accused of bias, it is generally not clear what they stand to gain from this view financially. In contrast, the companies involved in fossil fuels have a clear motivation to claim deny climate change.

      It might be countered that the scientists could be investing in green energy. But, even if true, this would just put them on par with the folks who invest in unclean energy. It might be countered that they are just motivated by ideology-that is, they are driven to make false claims because they are liberals or hate fossil fuels or such. However, a parallel charge can be laid against those who deny climate change, namely that they are conservatives or hate green technology. Scientists do seem to have a general advantage here, though. After all, they are 1) experts in the field (which means greater credibility) and 2) trained scientists (which means that they will tend to have more capability for objective assessment than a politician or pundit).

      Naturally, folks who are pushing green tech to make money (such as Al Gore) can be accused of bias. However, the fact that they can make money from this does not entail that the scientists have it wrong. Likewise, the fact that fossil fuel companies have a stake does not logically entail they are wrong-just that they lose credibility as do those who are their employ.

  8. magus71 said, on June 22, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Mike, this very much applies to much of what you say and have said for 20 years about the current state of conservatism:

    “My daughter learned a neat rhetorical trick to avoid eating things she doesn’t like. “Daddy, I actually really like spinach, it’s just that this spinach tastes different.”

    Democrats and the journalists who love them play a similar game with Republicans and conservatives. “Oh, I have lots of respect for conservatives,” goes the typical line, “but the conservatives we’re being served today are just so different. Why can’t we have Republicans and conservatives like we used to?”

    Q: What kind of Republicans are extremists, racists, ideologues, pyschopaths, radicals, weirdos, hicks, idiots, elitists, prudes, potato-chip double-dippers, and meanies?

    A: Today’s Republicans.

    “The Republican Party got into its time machine and took a giant leap back into the ’50s. The party left moderation and tolerance of dissent behind.” So reported the Washington Post’s Judy Mann — in July of 1980.

    Today, of course, the 1950s is the belle époque of reasonable conservatism. Just ask New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, or, for that matter, President Barack Obama, who insists that the GOP is in the throes of a “fever” and is displaying signs of “madness.” It’s his humble wish that the GOP will regain its senses and return to being the party of Eisenhower.

    Today’s intellectual conservatives, likewise, are held against the standard of yesterday’s and found wanting. New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus wrote a book on “the death of conservatism” a few years ago (inconveniently, right before conservatism was dramatically revivified by the Tea Party, which helped the GOP win historic victories in the 2010 elections), in which he pined for the conservative intellectuals of the 1950s and 1960s.

    Of course, the Tanenhauses of their day were horrified by the very same conservative intellectuals. Within a year of William F. Buckley’s founding of National Review in 1955, liberal intellectuals insisted that the magazine’s biggest failure was its inability to be authentically conservative. The editor of Harper’s proclaimed the founding editors of NR to be “the very opposite of conservatives.” Liberal titan Dwight Macdonald lamented that the “pseudo-conservative” National Review was nowhere near as wonderful the old Freeman magazine.Again and again, the line is the same: I like conservatives, just not these conservatives.

    As far as I can tell, there are competing, or at least overlapping, motives for this liberal nostalgia for the conservatives and Republicans of yesteryear. Some liberals like to romanticize and glorify conservatives from eras when they were least effective but most entertaining. Some like to cherry-pick positions from a completely different era so as to prove that holding that position today is centrist.

    But whatever the motivation, what unites them is the conviction that today’s liberals shouldn’t cede power, respect, or legitimacy to today’s conservatives. Hence when compassionate conservatism was ascendant, liberals lamented that the GOP wasn’t more libertarian.

    When, in response to the disastrous explosion in debt and spending over the Bush/Obama years, the GOP enters a libertarian phase, the same people who insisted they’d love Republicans if they became libertarian are horrified by their “social Darwinism.”

    The latest twist on this hackneyed hayride is the renewed caterwauling about how Ronald Reagan couldn’t even get elected today.

    Former Florida governor Jeb Bush reignited the topic by lamenting how Reagan couldn’t be nominated today because the GOP has become too rigid and ideological for even the Gipper. I think Jeb Bush is one of the best conservative politicians in the country, but this was not his best moment. Assuming Mitt Romney gets the nomination, here are the GOP nominees since Reagan left office: Bush I, Dole (Gerald Ford’s running-mate in 1976), Bush II, McCain, and, finally, Romney — the Massachusetts moderate the Tea Party spent much of the last months lambasting as, well, a Massachusetts moderate.

    Look at all those crazy right-wingers!

    Looking at that record, any rational person would conclude that Reagan couldn’t get elected today because the party has become too liberal.

    Of course, the reality is more complicated than that. But the idea that Reagan’s problem today would be his moderation is quite simply ridiculous.

    Look where G. W. Bush’s moderation got him: denounced as a crazed radical by much of the liberal establishment, despite having run as a “compassionate conservative” and, once in office, expanded entitlements and worked closely with Teddy Kennedy on education reform.

    Right on schedule, Dubya is now entering the rehabilitation phase.

    It’ll be some time before liberals bring themselves to say, “I miss George W. Bush.” But already the New York Times is proclaiming that Bush represented “mainstream conservatism,” unlike today’s Republicans, of course.

    As always, the problem with conservatism today is today’s conservatives.”

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/06/15/the_myth_of_the_good_conservative_114500.html

  9. magus71 said, on June 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Thank goodness we have Occupy Oakland to set us straight:

    • magus71 said, on June 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      I want you to watch that video and give your opinion, Mike.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm

        I didn’t have the patience to watch the full ten minutes, but some of the people in the video behaved poorly. It reminded me of bad junior high kids acting out in study hall. I was especially impressed with the one guy who pointed and laughed at the fellow who wanted to use his minute to speak. The guy who threw the papers into the air was also clearly a person who respected the democratic process.

  10. magus71 said, on June 23, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    In 2008, 31,000 scientists signed a petition saying they didn’t believe there was yet proof of man-made global warming. Since that time, the evidence for man-made global warming has not been strengthened, in fact, there’s been a number of high-profile scandals in which the climate change numbers were gamed.

    Are or were these scientists a massive cabal of right-wing nuts?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/2053842/Scientists-sign-petition-denying-man-made-global-warming.html

    • Anonymous said, on June 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      One of the signatories, Frank Nuttall, a professor of medicine, said he believed the Earth was becoming warmer, despite his signature.
      “This issue is whether the major reason for this is from human activities. I consider that inconclusive at the present time,” he said.

      Would you let your family physician diagnose problems and do repairs on your Corvette just because he has a PhD?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      The source you cite contains a reply to your claims:

      “A spokesman for the Royal Society, Britain’s national academy of science, said: “The world’s leading climate experts at the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believe that it is greater than 90 per cent likely that human activity is responsible for most of the observed warming in recent decades. That is a pretty strong consensus.”

      “The science has come a long way since 1998 and it continues to point in one direction – the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avert dangerous climate change.”

  11. magus71 said, on June 24, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Mike,

    Here’s an article I wrote about Darwinism, Allopatric Speciation in particular. I believe it presents a fundamental problem with the current Darwinist model. Yet the scientific world remains un-rocked. The original, as presented on my blog has PowerPoint slides that help illustrate my thoughts.

    http://soldiercitizen.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/darwinism-and-the-problem-of-allopatric-speciation/

    “I’ve been rolling this problem around in my head for a number of years. It’s a significant problem I think with the current Allopatric Speciation hypothesis of speciation. That is, how does a species change to another species. Darwin stated this was a major problem with his theory and was honest enough to admit it. The most widely accepted hypothesis is that species become segmented by physical barriers, such as islands, and over time the two separate bodies of the species change independent of one another until they can no longer breed with the other. I offer some problems that I see with this hypothesis in this slide show I created. You can click on the slides to enlarge them. This thought needs to be refined, but this is where it’s at right now.

    Some Darwinists argue that a segment of a species’ population can become separated from another segment, and that over time, the two segments develop characteristics which correspond with their current environments. This is called Allopatric Speciation.

    A problem with this hypothesis is that it assumes the passing on of mutations that prevent breeding with the former species occur en masse. Even Darwinists admit that such mutations are extremely rare. So, are we to think that the mutation, which condemns the newly formed species to only breeding with species of the same type, occurred in more than one species representative (creature) at roughly the same time, so as to enable mating? And even if the mutation did occur in a handful of creatures, what is the chance of them actually finding one of the other extremely rare mates on say, an island? But Darwinists, again, say these mutations are exceedingly rare.

    Suppose a new species spontaneously generates within a proverbial warm pool of water. Of course, the idea of spontaneously generated life is a massive assumption we must make to even begin to argue in favor of the Darwinist view. Life has never been observed to simply “occur” and if we consider that scientists have been able to manipulate chemicals in a laboratory in a way that makes them take on some attributes of life presents an argument for intelligent design not random biogenesis. How am I defining a species? Well, Darwin himself was not quite sure how to define species. Darwin stated: “I was much struck how entirely vague and arbitrary is the distinction between species and varieties.” [1] What is the difference between species of lizards and horses? I’m quite simply defining a species as a set of creatures that are able to successfully mate with one another and produce offspring. If some want to quibble about this, we’ll have to do it in another venue, but in order to demonstrate the problem of a newly generated creature finding a mate under the Darwinian model, I’m going to define species as thus.

    Suppose that, in the earliest times of primitive life, a specific habitat—the pool of water—is inhabited by a certain species, Species A. There are several examples of this Species A in the pool, and after a number of mating sequences, another species is produced through mutation. But wait, the Darwinist will say, it doesn’t work that way. The new “species” will merely have changed by something we call mutation. Well, at some point, original life had to make a jump from one species to another. There had to be a point where one species produced another species, and if we adhere to the above definition of a species, that new species (B) will not be able to produce offspring if it mates with the old species (A). We know this had to happen at some point, because there are many, many species that are unable to mate with any other species. Beneficial mutations may occur (hypothetically) within a species, but those mutations do not constitute a change of species, because the creation of offspring is still possible through mating with the old species.

    [1] Charles Darwin, On the Origins of Species, pg 48

    Again, we’ll make another huge leap in our assumption that a beneficial mutation can occur, and that a mutation of such a scale as to produce another species can occur at all. Scientist David Berlinski states that no computer model has thus been created that shows evolution occurs as Darwinists say it does. Only with severe intelligent tinkering does something even close happen. And when we consider Borel’s Law—that any event with a probability of occurring of less than 1 to〖 10〗^50 (1 to 10 to the 50th power) will never occur. That number looks like this:

    100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 .

    The probability, according to Carl Sagan, that a single protein found in the human body could spontaneously generate from the 20 amino acids found in the human body (and over 2 million different protein, comprised of those amino acids), is approximately 1 to 〖10〗^130. (1 to 10 to the 130th power) [2] But Darwinists want us to believe that this occurs over and over for millions of years—yet we never observe it.

    This is important because when a new species is generated, the chances of it finding a mate that has also crossed the reproductive barrier at the exact same genetic “gate” would seem to be even smaller than the mutation occurring in the first place.

    [2] Carl Sagan, Encyclopedia Britannica

    Some Darwinists argue that a segment of a species’ population can become separated from another segment, and that over time, the two segments develop characteristics which correspond with their current environments. This is called Allopatric Speciation.

    A problem with this hypothesis is that it assumes the passing on of mutations that prevent breeding with the former species occur en masse. Even Darwinists admit that such mutations are extremely rare. So, are we to think that the mutation, which condemns the newly formed species to only breeding with species of the same type, occurred in more than one species representative (creature) at roughly the same time, so as to enable mating? And even if the mutation did occur in a handful of creatures, what is the chance of them actually finding one of the other extremely rare mates on say, an island? But Darwinists, again, say these mutations are exceedingly rare.

    The Hypothesis of Allopatric Speciation is not sufficient to explain speciation. Even when physical barriers are introduced, the separated portion of the species must still, at some point, fall over the cliff which prevents it from breeding with its old species. It must occur, mathematically speaking, on an individual level, and cannot occur spontaneously among several creatures.Darwinists want to explain this through Genetic Drift. They say that a species genetic makeup changes over time. And this may be true, however, at some point it is no longer capable of mating with the old breed. At least according to Darwinism. Remember–and this is a very important point–mutations happen to individual plants or animals, not large portions of a population.

    Summary: Darwinists need to show the mechanism by which a newly generated species which has taken on new traits and crossed over the reproductive barrier find a mate that has crossed over the barrier at the exact same “genetic gate.” The infinitesimally small chances of positive mutations occurring are miniscule compared to probability of a mutation, speciation, and the finding of a mate of the exact same (and new) genetic makeup.”

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      My main concern with natural selection is that the mechanism seems to involve teleology, at least when people present models of the process. I’ve got an essay on this in my book.

      I do agree that the theory seems to have it right in that natural selection occurs and there is evolution. However, my main point of contention focuses on the related view that the universe is a non-teleological system. That is still a viable hypothesis.

      • magus71 said, on June 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm

        Screwed up my cut and paste from my article…

  12. magus71 said, on June 24, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Mike,

    Please explain why your appeal to authority is not a fallacious appeal to authority, as you describe below:

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-authority.html

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      In the case of climate change, the majority of the qualified experts (that is, climate scientists) claim that its occurring. They seem to be experts, not unduly biased and so on all through the standards I present there.


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