« Sexual Orientation: The Third Way | Main | Apprendi’s Domain: Challenging the Court’s Link Between the Right of Jury Trial and the Reasonable-Doubt Rule »

April 16, 2007


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Lackawanna Blues

"I am seldom so abusive of other correspondents on bulletin boards. I prefer to be scrupulously gentlemanly. But I have made an exception in your case because the claims you make are the foulest sort of charlatanry. If you had substantive arguments to offer, I'd much prefer to engage you in gentlemanly discussion. But the wild claims you make are in the same class with the ravings of flat-earthers and creationists. Come back down to earth and start writing like a rational person."

Are you calling Professor Lindzen a "flat-earther" or a "creationist"?



I heard PV=NRT. I also heard that nonexperimental prognosticating "climatology" has little in common with experimental science.

Here's some science for you: YOU CANNOT PREDICT THE FUTURE.

PS The All Caps is what makes that persuasive. This is Geoff Stone's Iron Law of Rhetoric.


Mr. Hamilton, your URL doesn't work. More important, you are giving more credence to the Canadian National Post than to the IPCC, the NAS, the National Meteoroligical Society, the American Physical Society, and a host of other scientific organizations. The fact that you would do so clearly demonstrates that you are not interested in the truth, but are merely grabbing for somebody, anybody, who will support your crazy ideas. You are welcome to accuse me of having a closed mind, but your accusation is just another wild, unsubstantiable claim. The facts of your behavior reveal the truth.

Mr. Lackawanna Blues fails to understand the significance of thought experiments, and ridicules the very notion. What surpassing ignorance! Scientists have been using such concepts for decades. Indeed, it underlies such notions as the Correspondence Principle in relativity and the theorem relating quantum mechanics to thermodynamics, finally proven in the late 1930s. It has been used many times in textbooks and popular science books to illustrate principles of physics. Mr. Lackawanna Blues' unfamiliarity with the concept (and his insolent dismissal of it as nonsense) demonstrates that he has never seen these books.

I challenged Mr. Lackawanna Blues with the statement:

"Mr. Lackawanna Blues, I challenge you to document your lie that there's a substantial amount of skepticism in the scientific community about anthropogenic global warming."

He responded with:

"How about Richard Lindzen, dude?"

Offering Mr. Lindzen as a one-man army providing "substantial skepticism in the scientific community" is absurd and reflective of a fundamental failure on Mr. Lackawanna Blue's part to understand the community of science. All scientific communities have outliers, and scientists are excruciatingly careful to treat their outliers with respect. There's a life sciences professor, Mr. Michael Behe, who champions creationism. Mr. Lackawanna Blues would have us abandon evolution in favor of creationism because Mr. Behe questions evolution. What intellectual trash!

Mr. Lackawanna Blues continues to refer to scientific papers and reports as a form of bible. Again, this belies towering ignorance. A scientific paper is the very antithesis of a bible: NOTHING is taken on faith. If any part of that paper is questionable, questions pour forth. People argue over it, challenge every detail, fight it out until a strong majority -- not an absolute unanimity -- exists. That's how science works. Mr. Lackawanna Blues claims to be familiar with science. He is a liar and a fraud.

Mr. Roach offers us this choice tidbit of ironclad logic:

"I also heard that nonexperimental prognosticating "climatology" has little in common with experimental science."

I suppose that he heard it from a little bird whispering in his ear. He puts the word climatology in scare quotes as if the very concept of climatology is controversial. What monumental tripe! And he asserts that theoretical climatology (which he ignorantly refers to as nonexperimental) has little in common with experimental science. Again, this reveals stupendous ignorance of the nature of science. Theoretical and experimental science operate in an inextricable symbiotic relationship. To claim that one is not the same as the other is silly.

Mr. Roach also provides us with this howler:


If science has no predictive value, then how come technology works? That computer you're working with right now -- do you think it was designed from the Bible? Did it ever occur to you that all technology is an application of science? That engineers take scientific principles and apply them in order to design technological devices? "If we build it this way, then the science tells us that it will function like so." Notice that future tense in the second clause? Mr. Roach, in all my years on the Internet, among all the idiotic things I have read, this statement of yours takes the cake. I'll cherish it and repeat it to my friends for their entertainment.

Again, I confess my uneasiness at using such abusive language, but the intellectual gall of Messrs Roach, Lackawanna Blues, and Hamilton is of such magnitude as to justify such abuse. You gentlemen are engaging in the most deceitful and fraudulent of arguments. You do not understand the fundamentals of science, yet you pontificate on the matter without a trace of intellectual humility. You are liars, charlatans, and frauds, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Perhaps I can express the magnitude of your intellectual crimes by phrasing it in terms of your own field. Imagine a chap who has never even read the Constitution, adamantly insisting on some point of law, citing case law that he has found with a few quick Google searches, finding a few wingnut law professionals to support his claims. Imagine him dismissing the Supreme Court and the great majority of scholars of Constitutional law as without merit. Imagine him arguing his case citing bits and pieces of text that he clearly doesn't understand. Imagine him dismissing those jurists and scholars who are in the great majority as 'closed minded'. Imagine him misusing standard legal terms whose meaning is clear to any first-year law student.

That's what you guys look like.



Don't be such and idiot Roach. We send probes to distant planets based on predictions of the future and models of gravitational fields. We predict the weather tomorrow with amazing acurracy, which is as complex a system as one can imagine.

The lack of sophistication you people have in thinking about complex systems is unreal.

Yes, it is difficult to model complexity, but we are very successful and do have much to say about how coplex systems behave. Can you model complex systems to determinism? Perhasp one day with amziang amounts of information and super computers that can handle outrageously detailed models, but until then isolating idependent variable and hrowing data at the wall works pretty damn well, and 99% of scientist know this and 99% of scientists watch the weather report at night and are confident about the casual relationship between the rise in greenhouse gaeese and the rise in golbal temps.

You fools have 1 scientist who only says you can't be sure. And you can't. So stipulated. But you can't be sure it won't snow 5 feet in July in Chicago either, but I'm not going to bring my boots to work when the weather man says sunny and warm tomorrow.

Honestly, people should be required to take a classical dynamics class so they stop talking in absolutes like "you can't predict the future." You can, it's just a matter of accuracy, and with simple systems with a small number of complex variable, you can predict the future with 100% accuracy, or have you not seen our ability to launch projectiles onto targets in Iraq? Amazing how they can predict the future based on knowledge of how the system works and a clear pricture of initial conditions.



Honestly, y'all are dumber than boxes of rocks on this one.

Lindzen only claims you can't be sure. Even he would tell you that greenhosue gasses might be contriution to the measured rise in temps over the last half century. He's just not will to say it for sure, which is understandable though overly skeptical given the overwhelming evidence derived from the numerous models that have been made to isolate the greenhosue gas effect.


"Except that apparently some people saw the Risen Christ and we have their testimonial evidence that he was alive when they saw him."

this assertion appears from time to time, so I'm curious: who are a few of the "some" whose "testimonial evidence" you think "we have"? and hearsay -ie oral tradition - doesn't count.

arguably OT, but it does relates to what one accepts as evidence in support of a hypothesis.


Lackawanna Blues

I'm in full agreement with Lindzen's point -- i.e. that it is possible that man-produced CO2 is warming the planet.

I just think we shouldn't engage in a multi-trillion dollar reorganization (and bankrupting) of our way of life based on a computer model.

And Lindzen is not alone, he's just the most prominent critic of the lemmings on climate change.

My comparison of your faith in man-induced global warming to a religious belief is fair, I think. I guess you disagree. Maybe we should pray together.

You seem to get really upset about this LAK. I hope you are ok.


Mr. Lackawanna Blues, if you wish to debate the merits of various approaches towards attacking the problem of climate change, we can do so. Bu the basic issue of whether anthropogenic climate change is significant and will cost us an enormous amount of money in the future -- that issue has been resolved beyond all reasonable doubt.

You refer to the scientists who have concluded this as lemmings. That REALLY exposes just how ignorant you are!!! If you knew how argumentative scientists are, how individualistic, how just plain contrary they are, how that contrariness is institutionalized in the scientific community -- well, obviously you don't know. Which is why your reference to lemmings says nothing about scientists and volumes about your own ignorance.

I don't have an ounce of faith in anthropogenic global warming. I would reject the thesis in a minute if compelling evidence were presented. Unlike you, I have no emotional or dogmatic attachment for or against this hypothesis. Unlike you, I rely solely on logic and reason to come to my conclusion. You, by contrast, can't even tell the difference between faith and reason. And no, I'll not pray with you. I've been trying to reason with you, but my complete failure to get anything through your skull is a demonstration of the futility of attempting to reason with you.

Joan A. Conway

Money talks and bull s__t walks!


I like the assumption that only stupid people disagree with the climate change fanatics. But is anyone saying someone like Lindzen is ignorant of basic science and physics?

Incidentally, you don't need to know all the science to be a skeptic. You just need to have critical thinking skills. This is a complex thing, where the models can't predict current weather or weather in the near future. Why assume they'll predict GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE 100 years hence to the tune of a degree or two celsius (which is not that much).


Mr. Roach writes, "I like the assumption that only stupid people disagree with the climate change fanatics."

It's not an assumption, it's a demonstrable fact that the vast majority of people who disagree with the basic concept that anthropogenic global warming poses a significant threat are ignorant of the basic science. I need only offer this discussion as demonstration of the truth of this.

"But is anyone saying someone like Lindzen is ignorant of basic science and physics?"

No, Mr. Lindzen is not ignorant of basic science and physics; he's brilliant and he's a member of the NAS. But one scientist does not a movement make. You seem to think that finding one reputable scientist to criticize a position is enough to cast doubt on it. That's poppycock. Mr. Behe doubts evolution -- are you recommending that we abandon that set of ideas because Mr. Behe doubts it?

Mr. Lindzen, a smoker, also doubts the reported dangers of secondhand smoke. This doesn't make him wrong -- but the fact that he would question the results in a field completely alien to him does suggest that Mr. Lindzen is one of our less uncracked pots. Science is full of crackpots, some of them brilliant. Isaac Newton dabbled in numerological analyses of the Bible. The author of the steady state theory maintained until his death that fossil fuels don't come from fossil sources.

But you already knew these things, didn't you? ;-)

"Incidentally, you don't need to know all the science to be a skeptic. You just need to have critical thinking skills."

Well, if you don't need training to be a skeptic, I suppose the same thing goes for law. Who needs law schools? Let's let anybody with critical thinking skills challenge the rulings of judges and force reconsideration. Right?

"Why assume they'll predict GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE 100 years hence to the tune of a degree or two celsius (which is not that much)."

This sentence is garbled, but I gather that you are objecting to the notion that anybody could predict something 100 years in the future. Did you know that we can accurately predict eclipses of the moon hundreds of years into the future? Right down to the second. We don't do this with magic, we do it with science. I realize that you are unfamiliar with the concept of scientific prediction, but I assure you that it is being used all around you thousands of times every day. Every tiny fragment of technology you use reflects scientific predictions about the behavior of matter. And golly gee, they work pretty well, don't they? Sure, the predictions aren't perfect -- there is always a margin of error in scientific predictions. And we can happily discuss that margin of error. But to deny the basic viability of scientific prediction -- boy, that's really medieval!


Interesting side note: Mr. Lindzen may be a loud skeptic of global warming theory, but he doesn't seem to be willing to put his money where his mouth is:


When offered a bet on whether global temperatures would be higher or lower 20 years hence, Mr. Lindzen demanded 50:1 odds in his favor. In other words, Mr. Lindzen actually believes that there is a 98% chance that global temperatures will be warmer 20 years hence. He's making a lot of noise about that 2% chance that it will be cooler. He later tried to arrange a more complicated bet, but even this bet demonstrates that, when it comes to real money, Mr. Lindzen believes that the globe will warm by about 0.2 degrees in twenty years, and about 1 degree over a century. So even the skeptic whom you quote is actually a believer. You simply don't understand what he's skeptical about.

Lackawanna Blues

Again you get it precisely wrong. You did a pretty crude flip on the argument. I don't think it is disputed that there is global warming -- even Lindzen says there is. The dispute is over whether man causes global warming and, even if so, how much.

If you want to play fast and loose with the arguments, that's fine with me, since you are free to modify your faith however you like.

Incidentally, I want you and LAK to know that I fully support extending the protections of the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause to people like you who believe in man-induced global warming.


Mr. Lackawanna Blues, if you'd care to explain your vague accusation, I'll be happy to address it. Right now I have no idea what you're referring to.


I have no problem with the ability of scsience to predict certain things with greater and lesser degrees of accuracy. The eclipse phenomenon is a great example of this. So too are Newtonian laws of physics which, though not entirely accurate, do predict the behavior of objects in motion reasonably well.

I do, however, have a problem with a science of prediction that cannot predict anything, that has not predicted anything, that cannot predict things in the short term, which purports to be able to predict things in the long term. A good computer model, for example, should be able to be plugged in with data from say, 1980, and say what the weather will be like in 1990, 2000, etc. And the actual data from 1990 and 2000 should be used to test the viability of the computer model. I don't believe any of the current climatological models follow this pretty basic standard of accuracy tested against real world, confirmable data. (Indeed, one famous model used by global warming fantatics could not predict that the Sahara was a desert.)

If they can't do that, there is little reason to have confidence in their ability to predict weather 100 years hence.

So, I don't reject predictions. I reject the ability of people that have not put their models to the test to predict anything. Frankly, if anyone could predict the weather, he could and should be a trillionaire based on the close relationships between crop yields, prices, and weather patterns. I have the same skepticism about other pseudoscientific enterprises, such as econometrics, that do not provide the kinds of useful data for users that one would expect if they truly worked.


Once again, Mr. Roach, your ignorance of basic science is revealed by your idiotic claims. You fail to understand the difference between macroscopic behavior and microscopic behavior. The concept here is that many systems whose microscopic behavior is unpredictable possess macroscopic behavior that is easily predictable. The ideal gas law, PV = NRT, is a macroscopic law that cannot be derived from the explicit microscopic behavior of the molecules in a gas. Indeed, that explicit microscopic behavior is theoretically unpredictable -- yet the macroscopic law is as good as gold.

Climatology seeks to determine the macroscopic laws of atmospheric behavior. Meteorologists cannot predict the microscopic behavior of the atmosphere. Will a cloud form at 10:25:34 AM at longitude 114 32 21.77 latitude 36 55 31.92? They can't say. But they can predict the degree of cloudiness in a general area. And in many cases, the macroscopic predictions can be much more accurate than the microscopic predictions.

You just don't understand any of this stuff. But that doesn't prevent you from using your political beliefs to determine your beliefs about natural science. In this, you are exactly the same as the creationists. You deny and reject reason, subordinating reason to dogma. You fraudulently cite random tidbits of scientific fact in a pathetic attempt to construct a line of reasoning, but your concoction is invariably ruined by your fundamental failure to understand the underlying principles. Perhaps you can get away with such shoddy behavior in the courtroom. I can assure you that such intellectual crap would be rapidly dismissed by any gathering of scientists.


Newtonian mechanics only predicts the behavior of objects in motion "reasonably" well?

Jesus Roach, you have no idea what you are talking about. We can land space probes on other planets. For any object in our day to day world, certainly every macroscopic object any human encounters, Newtonian mechanics works to describe its motion to perfection. Only when you get down to the motion of objects with the mass of electrons or objects approaching light speed do you see any quantum or relativistic effects.

Lackawanna, if you can't see the difference between gaining information from imperfect scientific models and blind faith in theistic ghost stories that violate understood laws of nature, you are not worthy of my time or being a part of this community. You are not worthy of the car you drive in or the computer you use. You are not a smart man. You really should leave this blog and leave the right wing ranting to wingnuts with at least half a brain, like Frederick and Roach. Adieu, fool.

Joseph Stong

"If any part of that paper is questionable, questions pour forth. People argue over it, challenge every detail, fight it out until a strong majority -- not an absolute unanimity -- exists. That's how science works." And yet, when people question fundamental assertions they're are shouted down. How "scientific".

Now even IF a majority of current, politically approved scientists believe that 1 degree of warming constitutes an irreversible, catastrophic warming trend that will kill us all (in a couple hundred years), that's still the realm of conjecture about the future.

Science of the future ought to be solidly grounded in science of the past, to wit, a good "consensus" on what caused PAST periods of global warming and cooling.

So what is the consensus telling us about the dynamics involved in ice-ages past? For one, they're not pointing to mankind as the culprit.

Since the planet has undergone not just one, but four ice ages in the last million years, it might be "scientific" to study what the data is telling us as to the factors involved - sans human SUVs, heavy injustry, and megalopolises made of concrete and connected by strips of steel and asphalt.

No one doubts that urban mean temperatures are higher than the rural temperatures. Right there we all accept "human warming". But to doubt that humanity taken as a whole has such a preponderance of control over the entire globe's climate isn't "fanaticism" it's common sense.

The planet heated and cooled repeatedly without our involvement so why is it "anti-science" to suspect we are merely along for the ride and not in the driver's seat?


Mr. Stong, if you have an example of a scientist being shouted down or his input ignored, by all means present it. The fact is, that no such shouting down has occurred. Mr. Lindzen was not shouted down; he was given a place on one of the committees formulating one of the reports. There he made his concerns very clear to all. His arguments were heard, considered, and rejected. What objection do you have to that?

There are no politically approved scientists, nor is there any mechanism for politically approving scientists. There are mechanisms for recognizing eminent scientists, and Mr. Lindzen has been so recognized. What objection do you have to that?

You write, "Science of the future ought to be solidly grounded in science of the past". In doing so, you reveal your ignorance of the fact that science IS solidly grounded in what we know of the past. You simply choose to remain ignorant of that grounding.

The warming periods after ice ages of the past are very different from the warming period we are now experiencing. The rate of temperature increase was much lower than what we're seeing now.

And as to your preference of common sense over science, I can only say that this is another indication of your ignorance of scientific matters. Common sense assured everyone back in the 1820s that the human body could not withstand traveling at speeds greater than 20 mph. Common sense assured everybody that the sun circles the earth. You're welcome to your common sense but don't try to pass it off as scientific truth.

The comments to this entry are closed.