MIT meteorology professor emeritus, Richard Lindzen, recently described the New-Word-Order dogma on climate science as a cult.

From such a distinguished source, the claim is damaging to the elite program to shame the public for their enjoyment of cars, air travel, oil-based plastics, and products of mechanized agriculture, aka food, thus preparing them for the sharply reduced standard of living that is planned for them in the very near future.

But in a  long letter to the Editor of Science magazine, the chief publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Todd I. Pittinsky, a professor in Technology and Society at Stonybrook University negates the impact of Lindzen’s argument by the simple expedient of asserting that, yes, the pronouncements of “science” are, like the dictates of the Pope, to be accepted by the public not on the basis of publicly debatable evidence, but purely as a matter of faith.

Under the title: America’s Crisis of Faith in Science, here’s how the Pittinsky,  addresses the issue:

Fifty-three percent of Americans are not convinced that human activity is causing global warming (1). Why? The issue is faith, not facts. … We cannot see climate change with our own eyes, yet we have faith in the scientific method. That is what gives science the right to an authoritative voice in public policy. … The real challenge for scientists and those who speak for them is to inspire the public’s faith in science.

So there it is, science as the universal American religion.

For a useful antidote to such bunk, here’s Fred Reed on Can Scientists Think?

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CBC News reports: Prime Minister Stephen Harper agrees to G7 ‘decarbonization’ by 2100, which is to say that the problem of anthropogenic carbon emissions, if it is a problem, can be set aside for a generation or two while we see how things turn out.

This, needless to say, has left the Greenies exhaling carbon dioxide furiously, resulting rather surprisingly in something of a vindication for iLucretius, who in 1997, invited University of Victoria Meteorology professor, Andrew Weaver, to write for the now sadly defunct web magazine, naturalSCIENCE, a rebuttal to an article in the (Toronto) Globe and Mail asserting that global warming was not happening.

The invitation was unanswered, so I made the same request to the somewhat better known Kevin Trenberth, Head of the Climate Analysis Section of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, who provided a nice article within 24 hours of my request.

At about that time, we argued in naturalSCIENCE that the most cost effective way to limit carbon emissions was by a revenue neutral carbon tax combined with (pour encouragez les autres) a countervailing import duty on goods from countries without a carbon tax. Today, eighteen years later, on the CBC’s BC Almanac AM radio program, who should catch up to us by offering exactly the same solution but our former non-contributor, Andrew Weaver, now a BC Green Party MLA. LOL.

Worldwide, road accidents cause a million death each year. In the US, where road deaths total 42,000 a year, about one third of of all fatalities have been attributed to excessive speed. If globally representative, that figure means enforcement of appropriate speed limits could prevent several hundred thousand road deaths every year.

Which raises the question: how to achieve enforcement of appropriate speed limits? Photo radar seems the obvious solution: If you speed, you’ll be spotted and fined as heavily as necessary to discourage you from ever speeding again.

But despite sometimes astronomically expensive speeding tickets, carnage on the road due to excessive speed continues even in where photo radar has been implemented. For that, there are two reasons:

First, photo radar has never been implemented on a nationwide scale, so there is always room to hope that this or that particular stretch of highway isn’t monitored.

Second, posted speed limits often seem stupid. In good light, on a dry day, on a dual carriageway, with minimal traffic, a limit of 80, 90, even 100 or 110 kph seems ridiculous. Almost any car produced today can easily hit 120-130 kpm and many go way faster, comfortably and safely under the right conditions.

So what is the solution? Easy! Just two things:

First, real time adjustment of speed limits according to prevailing conditions of light, temperature, precipitation, visibility, traffic density and local hazards, something that can be implemented with a combination of electronics and roadside video displays.

Second, universal speed monitoring, so no one thinks they can avoid penalty for ignoring speed limits.

Then, if it’s safe to hit 160 in the passing lane, do it. But if there are fog patches, or there is a risk of hydroplaning, if traffic density is high, or the light is poor, you may be limited to 80, 50 25 or 10 kph, all for perfectly sensible reasons.

In addition, on multi-lane roads, there should be minimum limits in the passing lane so that idiot slouches don’t cause accidents by forcing those travelling at the legal limit to weave around them.

I dunno. Maybe these proposals won’t save millions of lives in the first decade, but they’d sure save many.

Aangirfan, in a recent blog post, draws attention to relics discovered in Israel that are claimed to provide evidence of the existence of a “real” Jesus. Among these amazing finds is a bone labeled: “Jesus son of Joseph”.

The label, however, refutes what it seeks to prove, since Jesus was not a name known to the Aramaic speaking Jews of Palestine in the time that Jesus is supposed to have lived.

If there was a historical “Jesus,” his name would not have been “Jesus” although it might, it has been suggested, have been Yeshua, or Joshua.

Most of the story about Jesus is myth derived from earlier religions, the Greek mystery religions such as Mithraism and Egyptian theology and mythology.

But whether based on historical fact, myth or sheer fabrication, the story of Jesus is largely irrelevant to Christianity, which was an invention of the Romanized Jew, Paul of Tarsus, who claimed to have talked with Jesus in visions.

All of the great Christian churches adhere to some variant of the Nicene Creed, a bunch of mumbo jumbo invented by Paul, belief in which is supposed to insure life everlasting.

From what little we know of what Jesus/Yeshua may actually have said, the religion of the great Christian churches has virtually nothing to do with Christ, and is merely a part of the state indoctrination for the management of the people. How this came to be the case is explained by Leo Tolstoy in his book What I Believe.

Understandably, Tolstoy’s book was censored by the Tsarist Government of the time as by the Tsar’s Communist successors whose own account of the means to life everlasting was as bogus as Paul’s.

For thus exposing the state religion as a scam, Tolstoy was quite properly excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox church.

From what little we know of Jesus/Yeshua’s beliefs, they were clearly revolutionary and therefore necessarily suppressed. Jesus believed, for example, in listening to the still small voice of conscience, in forgiveness not vengeance, in good works, not empty ritual, and in praying to a God of love rather than that vain, ignorant, sadistic, shit, Yahweh. This is essentially the religion of the Quakers of whom, naturally, state authorities have always had a great distrust.

CanSpeccy

Liberals deride the fraudulence and flakery of the supposed science underlying  racist ideologies, yet many liberals advance an equally fraudulent and flaky science to promote their own ideology: an ideology that promotes the mass migration from the Third World to the West, where the fertility of the indigenous people has been driven well below the replacement rate by liberals promoting every form of non-reproductive sex. This is a policy, deliberate or otherwise, of genocide that is destroying the ethnic identity, both racial and cultural, of the European peoples.

In her book, The War that Ended Peace, an account of events leading up to World War 1, Margaret MacMillan, Oxford Professor of International History, offers a fine example of such fraudulent liberal racial science.

Writing of what she calls Oswald Spengler’s “great work”, The Decline of the West, she says:

[Spengler] argued that there were natural life cycles for civilizations…

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The diversity of terrestrial life is beyond complete inventory: with more than a hundred thousand plant species and still counting; more than a million animal species, including 400,000 beetles,  with perhaps millions more still to be named; and microbial forms estimated to range in number between ten million and a billion, with tens of thousands of species identifiable in a single gram of soil.

And species themselves are diverse. That is obvious in cultivated plants and animals with which we are familiar: a handful of bean species come in over 40,000 varieties; dogs, pigs, hens and pigeons all come in many shapes, colors and sizes. Great variability exists also in species in the wild as is clearly true of that species with which we are most familiar, which is to say, ourselves.

x_NationalGeographic2Human diversity is the result of dozens, hundreds or thousands of generations of separate development during which selection, random genetic drift, and mutation have created the fascinating variety of human form, physiognomy and physiology; the photographic representation of which, in the pages of the National Geographic, undoubtedly accounts for the enduring popularity of that publication.

Technically, any group of organisms that has long interbred with little gene exchange outside the group, will evolve to become a genetically unique race. The races of mankind, therefore, cannot be defined by some single marker such as skin color. In fact, skin color is a singularly useless indicator of race, there being greater diversity among the tribes of black Africa than throughout all remaining humanity, whereas groups of vastly different racial composition may be similar in skin pigmentation.

Girl in Bamako: Image source.

Girl in Bamako: Image source.

Rather than differences in just in one or two superficial visible traits, races differ in gene pool composition, the differences reflecting the presence or absence of particular genes and the frequency of occurrence of other genes. Races of an organism thus differ from one another in many ways, often subtle, the significance of which is generally impossible to assess, although many must be adaptive differences of benefit to the groups concerned.

Thus, rather than being divided into clear-cut and discretely separated racial blocks, human populations are related to one another as the branches of a family tree, but with many cross connections as groups have split, or in some instances merged or at least shared genes, as the result of migrations and conquests.

Within groups of any size, interbreeding though potentially free, is impeded by barriers of class, caste, or geography and local events of migration or settlement. Thus within any large racial group, there exist sub groups that may be further divided down to the level of tribe, clan and extended family.

Cree child, Attawapiskat, Canada. Image source.

Cree child, Attawapiskat, Canada. Image source.

Despite the fuzziness of racial distinctions, the populations of the nations of the Earth are mostly distinct from one another. In some cases, relatively homogeneous population may be spread among several nations. Conversely, political boundaries have often been established without consideration of race, with the result that many states incorporate members of more than one racial group. Moreover, the recently established setter nations, the US, Canada, and Australia among others, are highly racially heterogeneous, possessing citizens of almost every major racial category on Earth. In time, populations of mixed-race countries will tend to coalesce to form a new race. Although initially these mongrel races will have an unusually heterogeneous genetic composition, in time that heterogeneity will be whittled down through various selective processes.

Girls: Inner Niger Delta. Image source.

Girls of the Inner Niger Delta. Image source.

As a resident of a multiracial state, I understand the enthusiasm of some for racial diversity. Folks of all kinds can make good neighbors, workmates or relatives. But enthusiasts for diversity should remember that miscegenation destroys diversity. The result of miscegenation may be a hardy breed, but that breed will not display the original diversity.

So those who value human diversity should understand that American-style racial homogenization on a global scale would be a disaster. Which means that true lovers of diversity should demand the right of every race for a homeland where it may fulfill its unique racial, cultural and religious destiny. For the European peoples, already crowded on a small continent, mass immigration means genocide, which is already evident in cities such as London, Birmingham and Leicester where the English have been made a minority in their own home. Likewise, across Western Europe, where the Danes are projected to become, like the English, a minority in their own country before the end the present century. Only a radical program to end mass migration to the European continent and to stem the mass migrations from Eastern Europe to the West, can prevent this genocide from reaching completion.

Sam Johnson: Dead white European male. Image source.

Sam Johnson: Dead white European male. Image source.

In North America, the indigenous peoples have been targeted for extinction or assimilation for hundreds of years, yet still they exist as separate, poverty-stricken and welfare dependent communities. And still they persist in demanding independence and self-government. Canada is a big place. Establishing the 600 Indian first nations with a high degree of independence on a land base of sufficient size to generate a viable economy will be difficult, though not, as I have discussed elsewhere, impossible.

The fate of many other indigenous peoples hang in the balance, as the corrosive influence of cultural and economic globalization sweeps the world. It is time that the defenders of diversity quit loving it to death. Instead they should work in aid of those people who wish to remain distinct as they are. Once lost, human diversity will never be restored.

floc·ci·nau·ci·ni·hil·i·pil·i·fi·ca·tion/ˌfläksəˌnôsəˌnīhiləˌpiləfiˈkāSHən/
Noun: The action or habit of estimating something as worthless.

The Popperian view of science is simple-minded enough to be taught in kindergarten. It stems from David Hume’s observation that the future cannot be logically deduced from the past. From this fact, it follows that all scientific theories and laws are mere hypotheses, the truth of which there is no logical ground to accept. Which means that the only certainty we can have about a scientific theory is when it is disproved by experience, in which case, we have firm logical grounds for knowing that it is false.

That is all unquestionably true, but of no practical consequence unless taken seriously, in which case it could be seriously harmful to one’s health. If, after all, you believe that experience is no guide to the future, why not convince your friends by placing a loaded revolver to your head and pulling the trigger?

But there is a perfectly logical argument for accepting that experience is a guide to the future.

If experience were no guide to the future, humanity would face immediate extinction, for in a world where causal relationships as established through experience no longer hold, you car, which was in good working order yesterday, may today, accelerate when you apply the brake and proceed in reverse as you attempt to drive forward. The grocery store may no longer exist, or if it does, the shelves may be stocked with nothing but hardware and rubber boots, or if groceries are still available, a can of beans may be priced in the billions, or all the food may be laced with arsenic, and even if you are able to purchase food and it is wholesome, you digestive system might, nevertheless, turn the contents of your stomach to concrete.

So if you wish to go on living as long and as comfortably as possible, what should you do? There are only two options:

  1. Accept that experience is no guide to the future, and thus like a true deductivist, stay in bed so long as it remains warm and comfortable, rather than attempt to pursue your career or otherwise continue with the struggle for existence.
  2. Contrary to Popperian principles, but in accordance with the 13-billion-year history of the universe, continue with your life on the assumption that the past will continue to be a guide to the future.

Which is the strategy that logically assures you the greatest chance of continued comfort and existence?

There are various ways of tackling this question. But there is no doubt that if you opt for Strategy (1) you are doomed whichever way the world unfolds, whereas if you opt for Strategy (2) there is a chance, however infinitesimally small and logically unsupported it may be, that things will continue merrily on into the future along the lines observed in the past, in which case you may live to see your grandchildren.

So, to act in logical conformity with you desire for continued existence, you are compelled to act on the assumption that past experience will prove to be a guide to the future, which means that you should accept also that, contrary to the Popperian view of the world, Newtonian dynamics will work as well for NASA tomorrow as it did in the days of the Apollo moon landings, and that the equation E = MC2 is sufficiently reliable as a guide to the future that we should go on worrying about Iranian nuclear weapons, and about Israeli nuclear weapons, and about nuclear weapons proliferation in general.

See also: The Scientific Method: Karl Popper’s “small bubble of hot air”

Paul Feyerabend (1) unkindly described Karl Popper’s theory of the scientific method as a “small bubble of hot air.”

An examination of Popper’s theory justifies Feyerabend’s judgment.

Although he wrote on the scientific method at considerable length over a period of 60 years, Popper had rather little to say that could be considered fundamental.

His basic idea concerned the role of falsification in science. Thus, for example, he asserted:

In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable: and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality. (2)

There is an absurdity in this statement, since taken literally, it means that all scientific statements are false.

But even if one interprets the word falsifiable to mean falsifiable if in fact false, i.e., testable, then Popper’s principle was hardly a novel insight. It has been a while since scientists last invoked mystical entities such as phlogiston, entelechy, and vital force to explain reality. And at least since Einstein’s 1905 paper on special relativity, it has been generally recognized that whatever variables are invoked to account for a phenomenon must be defined operationally, which means defined in such a way as to indicate how they can be observed or measured. And whatever is said about something so defined can be tested, or is falsifiable, to use Popper’s idiosyncratic terminology.

But where Popper parted company with the community of scientists altogether was with his assertion that:

Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. (2)

Every one of the thousands if not millions of university graduates who in recent decades took an elective course in the philosophy of science knows, thanks to Poppper, that falsification of hypotheses is the key task of the scientist and the only means to scientific advance.

Except that it isn’t.

Fortunately, few scientists take university courses in philosophy or read books about the scientific method, or if they do, they keep what the learn thereby strictly compartmentalized from their thinking while at work: for a genuine scientist practices no method.

What guides the scientific investigator is not some dreary system invented by philosophers, but as H.L. Mencken explained:

a boundless, almost pathological thirst to penetrate the unknown, to uncover the secret, to find out what has not been found out before … [the scientific investigator is like] a dog sniffing tremendously at an infinite series of rat-holes.

Which means that science is not solely, or even mainly, about testing theories. Much of it is just about finding things out, i.e., making new observations. As this is written*, a recent issue of Science Magazine carries an article (3) entitled The Precise Solar Shape and Its Variability, which begins with the words “The precise shape of the Sun has not been convincingly determined,” and goes on to show that the Sun is, in fact, not spherical as you may have thought, but oblate!

See: no theory, just an observation, though with interesting theoretical implications. Meantime, the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences just reported a study (4) explaining how the arrangement of layers of rod-shaped cellulose fibers in the skin of the fruit of the African perennial herb Pollia condensata, give the fruit a vivid iridescent blue coloration despite the absence in the tissue of pigments, i.e., another piece of clever and instructive observation.

Much of science, in fact the great majority, is the same, and without it the theorists would be without work.

But if a scientists has a theory, the last thing they wish to see is their theory refuted. And although disproofs of theories constitute important landmarks in the advancement of science, science cannot progress solely by refutation of errors: it must construct. Thus the most exciting developments in science are reports not of theories that failed but of tests that interesting theories have survived.

If Eddington’s 1919 expedition to the tropics to measure the curvature of starlight by the gravitational attraction of the sun during a total solar eclipse had yielded conclusively negative results, both the expedition and the theory of special relativity would long since have been forgotten. The importance of the expedition was precisely that it did not falsify Einstein’s theory, or as most people with less philosophical exactitude would say, Eddington’s observation proved Einstein’s theory (although it may not have done, but that is another matter).

True special relativity may eventually be proved more or less incorrect in some details or even in its entire theoretical basis. But within the domains in which it has been tested, we know it is a theory of practical validity because it gives valid predictions, just as Newton’s theory of gravitation, within the domains in which it is normally used, gives valid results despite having been superseded by Einstein’s more general theory of gravitation.

In other words, contrary to Popper’s cock-eyed notion, what we think we know of science is, for the most part, correct as a description of the world. And even if many of the theoretical underpinnings of science are proved wrong, the laws of science so far uncovered, for example, Maxwell’s equations of classical electrodynamics, the gas laws or the periodic table, will nevertheless remain valid descriptions of reality.

AB

(1) Feyerabend, P. 1987. Farewell to reason. Verso, London, 1987.
(2) Popper, K.R. The logic of scientific discovery, Hutchinson, London, 1959.
(3) Kuhn, J.R. et al. 2012. The precise solar shape and its variability. Science, 337: 1638-1640.
(4)Vignolini, Silvia, et al. 2012. Pointillist structural color in Pollia fruit. PNAS, 109: 15712-15715.

* First published October, 2012.

See also: Floccinaucinihilipilification: Popperian poppycock as a theory of science

Image source.

Rubidium is an alkali metals which appears with lithium, sodium, potassium, cesium and francium down the left-hand side of the periodic table.

It is a soft silvery-white metal, that melts on a really hot day (40 C) and reacts violently with water.

Discovered by the World’s most famous chemist, Robert Bunsen of Bunsen burner fame, it was named for the ruby-red lines at the far-right of the emission spectrum produced when salts containing the element are placed in the flame of a Bunsen burner.

Flame emission spectrum of rubidium. Image source.

Sodium and potassium are essential dietary elements. Lithium, which precedes, and rubidium, which follows, sodium and potassium in the alkali metals series of the periodic table are likely also essential elements in the mammalian diet, since a deficiency of either causes stunted growth and abortion in goats. Also suggestive of a biological function in humans, rubidium concentration in blood plasma is under homeostatic regulation at a concentration of about 12 parts per million.

Designation of an element as essential requires, however, demonstration of a specific metabolic function, and the role, if any, of rubidium in human metabolism is unknown. What is known, is that rubidium, like lithium, has psychotropic properties. In particular, rubidium has anti-depressant properties, and has been reported effective in treating lithium-resistant bipolar II depression, a mood disorder unaccompanied by mania.

Rubidium is not useful in the treatment of more typical bipolar, or manic-depressive illness, because at the high pharmacological dose necessary to combat the depressive phase of the illness it intensifies the manic phase.

But like lithium, Rubidium has psychotropic properties in trace amounts far below those that have been used in the clinical treatment of bipolar disorder. In particular, depression in dialysis patients is associated with depletion by around 50% in tissue rubidium concentrations and can be treated by supplementation with trace amounts of rubidium that restore normal tissue concentrations.*

To revert to the question with which we began, “Are you deficient in rubidium?” the probability is that you are not. Rubidium is relatively abundant (100 ppm in the earth’s crust) and widely distributed. But daily dietary intake of rubidium has been observed to vary in America from just over one to almost 5 milligrams per day, which raises the possibility that some diets are deficient in this mineral.

* Caterina Canavese, Ester DeCostanzi, Lino Branciforte, Antonio Caropreso, Antonello Nonnato and Enrico Sabbioni. 2001. Depression in dialysis patients: Rubidium supplementation before other drugs and encouragement? Kidney International 60, 1201–1201.

Gallico gallus, coq français, French rooster.

Gallium is a silvery metal discovered in 1875 by the French chemist LeCoq, who named it Gallium in honor of France, known as Gallia, to the Romans.

LeCoq denied suggestions that he had, in fact, named the element after himself, although since the Latin for Coq (cock or rooster in English) is Gallus, the rooster and France have long been associated, which means that whatever LeCoq’s intentions, an association between his name and the element he named is unavoidable.

Gallium has no known nutritional role in humans. However, it has a number of striking therapeutic uses, including tumor-supression, as an antagonist of aluminum-induced osteoporosis, and as an antibiotic effective in cattle against Mycobacterium avium, the causative agent in Crohn’s disease.

Gallium salts, applied topically, have also been found highly effective in treating arthritic pain.The effect was discovered by people treating horses with gallium for a type of lameness known as navicular disease. Soaking their hands in 14% gallium nitrate solution while treating their horses, they found permanent relief from arthritic pain in their fingers.

This effect was tested by soaking the severely arthritic hands of a 60 year-old woman in gallium nitrate solution for 90 minutes (1). Pain lessened noticeably during the treatment and ceased entirely within 48 hours, and neither pain nor inflammation returned within a two-year follow-up period.

Arthritis appears to be associated with the deposition of calcified particles in the sinovial fluid of affected joints (2). Thus, if gallium salts relieve arthritis by eliminating such deposits, they might also prove effective in treating kidney stones, which are calcified deposits in the kidney, ureter or bladder. In at least one case, the expectation has been remarkably confirmed (3). Over three days, the patient imbibed two liters of water contain 120 milligrams of gallium. On the third day, the patient’s urine turned white, before returning to the normal color. Thereafter, the patient suffered no further pain or other evidence of kidney stones.

The suggestion arising from these studies that gallium is effective in treating arthritis and kidney stones through an antibiotic effect on nanobacteria (2,3) is highly questionable, since structures resembling nanobacteria can be generated in sterile blood serum by appropriate control of the concentration of carbon dioxide and bicarbonate ions (4).

(1) Eby, G. 2005. Elimination of arthritis pain and inflammation for over 2 years with a single 90 min, topical 14% gallium nitrate treatment: case reports and review of actions of gallium III. Medical Hypotheses 65: 1136.

(2) Tsuromoto, T. et al. 2006. Identification of Nanobacteria in Human Arthritic Synovial Fluid by Method Validated in Human Blood and Urine using 200 nm Model Nanoparticles. J. Proteome Res. 5: 1276.

(3) Eby, G. 2008. A hypothesis for anti-nanobacteria effects of gallium with observations from treating kidney disease. Medical Hypotheses 71: 584.

(4) Martel, J. and J. Ding-E. Young. Purported nanobacteria in human blood and calcium carbonate nanoparticles. PNAS. 105:5549.