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Though I grew up in a nominally Catholic family, and went to Mass most Saturdays, I grew up affirming evolution.  Like most boys, I like dinosaurs and cavemen.  We had the Time Life series of books on science, and I spent lots of time reading about the theory of evolution (sadly I’ve engaged in debates with people whether it was a theory, a hypothesis etc. but I don’t care what you call as long as you don’t call it a fact).  In school we watched those videos about the moths in England near the factories and other stories of evolution within a species.  I had no reason to doubt that this was an accurate interpretation of the data and explanation for our existence on this planet.  In fact, I did not doubt it was true.

Off to Boston University (no, not Boston College the more famous Catholic institution down the street that we usually beat in hockey).  I was required to take a lab science.  I hate lab sciences.  I inevitably mess up the experiments.  But just prior to my sophomore year, a class caught my eye.  It was …. Bioastronomy and the Search for Extraterrestial Life.  It was a lab science, but one without experiments!  I was all over that class!

The premise of the course was that the only way to determine if the possibility there was life on other planets was to study how life supposedly came to exist on this planet.  As a result we studied astronomy and evolution to arrive at an equation to determine that possibility.

A liberal blog that decided to make fun of my in this matter among others, figured that the professor didn’t do a very good job.  I think the professor did a fine job communicating the material to the converted.  But something happened to me.  I began to see all the factors that were vital to the existence of life.  At the end of the class there was a 1 in 10 to the 26th power chance of there being life (or something like that).  That is 1 followed by 26 zeroes.  That seemed quite unlikely to me.

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I haven’t done much global warming stuff recently.  There is only so much you can respond to Al Gore & Co.’s misinformation and political spinning (is he still using NASA’s old temperature numbers, or the revised/corrected ones?).  But here is some good stuff found in the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society– stuff you won’t find in the NY Times or ABC News.

The article was written by David H. Douglass (professor at the University of Rochester), John R. Christy (professor at the University of Alabama), Benjamin D. Pearson and S. Fred Singer (professors at the University of Virginia).  They insist that evidence indicates many assumptions about global warming and CO2 are flat out wrong.

1. The observed patterns of temperature change can best be explained by solar variability, and don’t fit the greenhouse model predictions.  Dr. Douglass indicates “The observed pattern of warming, comparing surface and atmospheric temperature trends, does not show the characteristic fingerprint associated with greenhouse warming. The inescapable conclusion is that the human contribution is not significant and that observed increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases make only a negligible contribution to climate warming.”

One of his co-authors, Dr. John Christy, added: “Satellite data and independent balloon data agree that atmospheric warming trends do not exceed those of the surface. Greenhouse models, on the other hand, demand that atmospheric trend values be 2-3 times greater.

“We have good reason, therefore, to believe that current climate models greatly overestimate the effects of greenhouse gases. Satellite observations suggest that GH models ignore negative feedbacks, produced by clouds and by water vapor, that diminish the warming effects of carbon dioxide.”

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100_0623.jpg

That is one big locust, folks.  We sure can grow them in Florida.

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We’ve probably all seen this picture.  I hear it showed up on Al Gore’s multi-media presentation.  Global Warming Alarmists have used to to show that glaciers are melting, and (sob) the bears are drowning.  Kids are weeping, afraid that they deadly but beautiful beasts will be wiped out.

The truth, this picture dates from 2004 and a Woods Hole Geographic Expedition.  The caption?  “Mother polar bear and cub on interesting ice sculpture carved by waves.”  No mention in the dispactch of needing to rescue them from this naturally occuring event.  In the midst of the Wikipedia article on polar bears (ridden with Global Warming Alarmism) you find this: “Polar bears are excellent swimmers and have been seen in open Arctic waters as far as 60 miles from land.”  That 4 drowned bears have been found would seem to be an anomalie.  Stop scaring the kids with lies and misrepresentation.  If Global Warming were true, people like Al Gore wouldn’t have to lie, twist the truth and hide facts from people.  To resort to such measure shows me this is a load of something that produces one of those greenhouse gasses called methane.

HT: Rush

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Here is a lengthy documentary exposing the great global warming swindle.  The various parts of it are also found on YouTube.  Sadly, you found this in our public schools- just Al Gore’s manipulations of data and alarmist hyperbole.

Update: Apparently an improved DVD version will be released, we think.  The producers are being opposed, and persecuted, for not towing the environmentalist line.  So much for freedom of thought.  I thought it was the conservatives that didn’t like free speech?  Oh, well.  The director was on the Glenn Beck show (CNN Headline News).  He had no agenda, but was asked to do the documentary for BBC.  They are trying to discredit him by calling him a Nazi.  He has met many scientists who have received death threats.

I think it may have been removed from You Tube.

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It is always interesting when I agree with the NY Times.  Today is one of those days.  Finally, after Gore and his enviro-lapooza tour film has penetrated many of our public schools and won 2 Oscars… they decide to let the public know that actual, real scientists think the movie is inaccurate and over-heated.  Some portions:

“Criticisms of Mr. Gore have come not only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists like Dr. Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind. A few see natural variation as more central to global warming than heat-trapping gases. Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.”

“While reviewers tended to praise the book and movie, vocal skeptics of global warming protested almost immediately. Richard S. Lindzen, a climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, who has long expressed skepticism about dire climate predictions, accused Mr. Gore in The Wall Street Journal of “shrill alarmism.””

This next one is particular interesting since people weren’t using fossil fuels 400 years ago-

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The Boston Globe (Boston.com) has never been accused of being even remotely conservative.  But occasionally, some common sense slips through.  Such is the case with Jeff Jacoby’s column Chicken Little and Global Warning.

He lets the cat out of the bag: “Oddly enough, most of the news coverage neglected to mention that the document released on Feb. 2 by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was not the latest multiyear assessment report, which will run to something like 1,500 pages when it is released in May. It was only the 21-page “Summary for Policymakers,” a document written chiefly by government bureaucrats — not scientists — and intended to shape public opinion. ”

The average person does not know this, and gets confused regarding what there is and is not “scientific consensus”.  The problem is the media, which obscures important little details in order to sell us fear.

“In years past, scientists contributing to IPCC assessment reports have protested that the policymakers’ summary distorted their findings — for example, by presenting as unambiguous what were actually only tentative conclusions about human involvement in global warming. This time around, the summary is even more confident: It declares it “unequivocal” that the Earth has warmed over the past century and “very likely” — meaning more than 90 percent certain — that human activity is the cause.

“That climate change is taking place no one doubts; the Earth’s climate is always in flux. But is it really so clear-cut that the current warming, which amounts to less than 1 degree Celsius over the past century, is anthropogenic? Or that continued warming will lead to the meteorological chaos and massive deaths that alarmists predict? It is to the media. By and large they relay only the apocalyptic view: Either we embark on a radical program to slash carbon-dioxide emissions — that is, to arrest economic growth — or we are doomed, as NBC’s Matt Lauer put it last week, to “what literally could be the end of the world as we know it.””

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Darwin’s Doubts


“The horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.  Would anyone trust the conviction of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”  Charles Darwin from a letter to W. Graham quoted in The Autobiography of Charles Darwin and Selected Letters.

Once again C.S. Lewis is helpful in undermining the naturalist position, Darwin defended by doubted (in his saner moments).

“If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motion of atoms in my brain, I have no reason for supposing that my beliefs are true… and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”  C.S. Lewis in Miracles.  In other words, such a belief would be a self-defeating argument.

Update:  Gene Edward Veith, in a post on  the irreducible complexity of memory, answers Steven Carr’s objection better than I could (no surprise there).

“What strikes me is not only the multiple kinds of levels of memory but that all of this, at some point, is MOVED from one part of the brain to another. A major weakness of the theory of random evolution is that it fails the imaginative test. It is hard to IMAGINE how random natural selection could produce something like the mind. It is like trying to imagine a pair of bolts shaken and stirred until they turn into a computer. And the human mind, in its electronic circuitry and memory-storage capacity, is so much more than any computer we can fathom.”

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It’s been awhile since I talked about this one.  Can across an interesting bit by conservative Canadian columnist Klaus Rohrich on the politics of global warming.

“What do you get when you combine leftist politics with science? Man-made global warming. … While there is no doubt that the earth is currently in a warming trend, the junk scientists would have you believe it’s all because of so-called ‘greenhouse’ gases produced by humanity. And they are not just referring to humanity in general, but Western nations that are enjoying a higher standard of living than the rest in particular. ”  He’s hit the nail on the head there.  Remember (!) the question is about the cause, effect and possible solutions to the climate change that may be happening.  This is where the disagreement lies, and where there is NO concensus (MSM be condemned).

“The best thing anyone could do to maintain his or her sanity in this age of global warming hysteria is to remember that the entire global warming scare is driven by an agenda. One has only to examine the Kyoto Treaty to know that it isn’t about decreasing greenhouse gases. It’s about the redistribution of the world’s wealth.”

The Kyoto Protocol certainly seems more concerned with redistribution of wealth and solving any supposed environmental crisis since it punishes the West and not the other-world nations that are among the biggest polluters (I can think of 2 huge economies now).

I love this tidbit: “Neither Time, nor ABC, nor any of the other former mainstream news outlets will deign to provide evidence that belies the current global warming hysteria. Swiss and German scientists found an alternative explanation for global warming in 2004, with a study that suggests an increase in the sun’s radiation isn’t only affecting earth’s climate, but also that of our neighboring planets. NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Extended Mission has documented significant shrinking in the Martian ice caps at a rate of approximately 10 feet per year.

“‘A study of the ice caps on Mars may show that the red planet is experiencing a warming trend. If both Mars and Earth are experiencing global warming, then perhaps there is a larger phenomenon going on in the Solar System that is causing their global climates to change.’–Current Science and Technology Centre Satellite measurements of the Greenland ice shield as well as the arctic and arctic icecaps show that they are actually thickening to the extent of approximately 5.4 cm (2 inches) per year between 1992 and 2003. ”

Oh, here is a review of Gore’s Inconvenient Truth by Dr. Bob Carter, a researcher at the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University (Australia).

Meteorologist James Spann exposes the global warming politics driving the Weather Channel.  Sounds like the UN: We will tolerate all things except intolerance.

Okay… I’ve had my global warming fix for the quarter.

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Review: The Island


What a difference 25 years makes.  This idea was first explored in the 1979 B-movie The Clonus Horror.  I remember watching it on The Movie Channel while I was in high school.  Human clones “created” to provide new organs for the original person (a bit different from The Seventh Day where the clones took the place of the now dead person).  This version has lots of special effects, a big budget and some well known actors (Dick Sargent and Peter Graves were the best the original had to offer).

Lincoln Echo-Six is too inquisitive.  The utopia that makes up his life does not make sense to him.  He discovers that he and his friends are being used for ‘spare parts’.  The lottery winners don’t go to the Island, but are killed to provide organs for rich people.  He is discovered, and must find a way out of their supposed utopia before the security forces eliminate them.  They must sort through the lies they’ve been told (the outside world is contaminated, & the only other safe place is the Island).  And so begins the stunt laden extravaganza.

There is much here to exceed the limits of belief.  CavWife was often saying things like, “you’ve got to be kidding me”.  Yes, the action is escapist and over the top.  Yes, I think I’d be a bit more traumatized to discover that my whole flippin’ life was a lie.  I’d be overwhelmed by the reality of ‘real life’ rather than life in Waldon II.  Sex would blow my naive litte mind.  But somehow, they cope and turn the tables on the big, bad scientists.  In this way it covers similar ground as The Seventh Day– are clones human or less than?  Unlike that movie, this one doesn’t bring religion into the picture.  But it does remind us that not every scientist is noble and free from the baser passions like greed.

However, don’t watch this for ethics.  Watch to relax and watch things blow up.  If you don’t expect you much… you’ll enjoy it.

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I came across some info in preparing to teach on Naturalism/Materialism for a worldviews course to equip the saints for mission. 

D.M.S. Watson was known to the British public of years gone by for his BBC talks popularizing Darwinism.  At a Cape Town conference to biologists he said:

“Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or … can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.”

C.S. Lewis was surprised that Watson would let the cat out of the bag.  “Has it come to that?  Does the whole vast structure of modern naturalism depend not on positive evidence but simply on an a priori metaphysical prejudice?  Was it devised not to get in facts but to keep out God?”

Naturalism, a worldview that discounts faith as irrational, continues to believe in evolution despite proof.  They believe the proof exists, but that we have yet to find it.  On the basis of their worldview, they irrationally believe in it because there is, so far, no conclusive proof.  They irrationally believe said proof exists and that they will find it although they have no substantial reason to think so.  Naturalism cannot bear the weight of its own philosophical assumptions, and must employ faith, the very thing it despises in others.  Funny how that happens….

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17 The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. Proverbs 18 (NIV)

By Faith Magazine has an excellent article by Mark Bergin on the division in the evangelical community on the issue of global warming.  Mark is a sports reporter in Seattle, and a member of Mars Hill Church.  But Global Warming & Christian Stewardship shows he’s no jock.

The issues between the 2 groups aren’t on the question of climate change itself, but rather what are the causes(s), what are the expected consequences, and therefore the best possible solutions.  The ECI document assumes that the primary cause is human activity, the results will be catastrophic and that the political solutions put forth in the Kyoto Protocol or Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth are appropriate.  They were the first to speak for evangelicals.  And many influential Christians signed the document.  As a result, many Christians think this is the way to go.

As I’ve written in other places on this blog, well-respected climatologists like Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, and John Christy disagree.  It would seem like some of the leaders who signed it aren’t completely on board.  Some signed because they view this as an issue Christians need to speak to (and no other Christian group was), some didn’t realize that it would advocate the policy changes it does.

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The USA Today has an article today (8/25/06) on the problem of Global Warming.  Back in the 1980’s, the environmental issues was the ozone layer.  Our use of chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) in a variety of products including air conditioning, refrigerators and hair spray was creating a hole in the ozone layer.  Admitedly, this would be a bad thing.  More of the sun’s most damaging rays would reach the earth, more would trap more heat.

So what did the environmentalists do?  They developed the Montreal Protocol 17 years ago to reduce the CFCs that would be used and slow down the erosion of the ozone layer.

What did this do?  Companies had to replace the CFCs with something, and began using hydroflourocarbons instead.  This was before any studies to determine their possible effect on the environment.  It turns out that HFCs are better for the ozone (whew!) but worse for global warming.  The article says they could be up to 10,000 times worse.

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CavDad wanted to watch March of the Penguins.  I’d been wanting to see it.  CavWife warns you not to see it if you are tired.  The new agey soundtrack may put you to sleep.  There are not explosions, crashes or gun shots to startle you back.

Narrator Morgan Freeman says it is a story about love.  I’m not sure Penguins are capable of love.  But it was an interesting documentary on Emperorer Penguins.  It focuses on how they gather to mate, and how the males protect the eggs in the dead of winter.  You may have to talk about the evolutionary stuff permiating the movie with kids.

CavMom said “Nature is amazing.”  Cavman says “God is amazing.”  He paints us pictures of His faithfulness in these penguins.  Nature declares His praises after all.   And then there is the coloring of the penguins.  They are beautiful, but for no purpose other than to bring pleasure to their Creator.  I get how the black and white may offer protection from predators.  But the orange?

It was worth seeing.  It had no sex and no bad language.  There was death, but they din’t show gore.  And there was a false ideology called evolutionism.  But not a bad way to spend 80 minutes.

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After scanning my new copy of CT, I sense a big bruhaha coming in evangelical circles.  And the first rounds may have just been fired.  Intelligent Design is a scientific position that essentially says that natural processes alone cannot account for all that we observe today.  That is as far as it goes, for General Revelation (creation) does not itself reveal how the universe came to be, or that Jesus is the Creator, Ruler, Sustainer and Savior of Creation (of which humanity is a part).  As William Dembski recently said after the discovery of a 375 million year-old fossil believed by some to be the 'missing link':  "Intelligent Design does not so much challenge whether evolution occurred but how it occurred.  In particular, it questions whether purposeless material processes- as opposed to intelligence- can create biological complexity and diversity."

In essence, Dembski is advocating, it appears, a form of Creative Evolution.  This is not a new position, but has been around for over 100 years.  It seeks to honor both Scripture and scientific discoveries.  It seeks to harmonize General and Special Revelation.  As such, it seems to compromise truth in the eyes of many.

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, criticized ID this way: "What good is it if people believe in intelligence?  That's no different than atheism in that if it's not the God of the Bible, it's not Jesus Christ, it's not salvation."

Oddly, among the Passages in CT one page prior to these quotes, I found "Selected- Kurt Wise, as director of the Center for Theology and Science at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.  Wise, a creationist, will replace William Dembski, a leading proponent of Intelligent Design.  Dembski resigned to teach closer to home at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas."

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I watched 30 Days for the first time on FX the other night.  It is a series produced by the guy who did Supersize Me.  In this episode he took 2 wasters and polluters from NY and tested them for their environmental footprint (impact).  Basically we'd need 12.5 earths if everyone consumed as much energy as they did.  So what did they do?  Flew them out on a private jet (typical liberal hypocrisy!) to Mo.  They spent 30 at the Dancing Rabbit Farm.

The Dancing Rabbit farm is a collection of environmentalist who are "off the grid".  They use no fossil fuels for energy, grow their own food, and are vegans since meat is terribly inefficient.  Their cars run on bio-diesel and vegetable oil (which they take from restaurants- which means they are not as self-sufficient as they claim).

For 30 days they have these 2 dumpster diving, connecting solar panels for electricity, spreading humanure, tilling the crops and so forth.  The poor guy was dying for meat, and shocked them all by killing and eating a rabbit.

At the end they did another environmental footprint- down to only 1.5 earths.

Let's see if I get this- they are self-sufficient, living like a 3rd worlder, off the grid and no fossil fuels and the earth still can't support them?????

Environmentalists just don't get it.  We are to maximaze our resources (not exploit) to maximize production.  This is what it means to subdue and rule the earth (Genesis 1).  Fossil fuels and other technology are used to produce surplus food which we can then ship to feed those who can't produce enough food.  What would have happened to the Russian people in the '80's if we didn't produce a surplus with our horrible machines that burn fossils fuels?  Dead!

Their 'self-sufficient' radical environmentalism is JUST as selfish as those who exploit our resources and waste them.  It reduces production, making you unable to assist those who had the misfortune of a drought, flood or blight.  They subscribe to the fallacy that primitive is better.  Thank God He didn't leave creation in a primitive state, but improved it.

It is the environmentalists that prevent the construction of oil refineries in the US.  This, not oil supply, artificially inflates the gas prices.  There is enough oil available on the market (the $/barrel is also inflated by speculators), but the refineries can only produce a limited amount.  These people place creation over people, making it an idol and screwing everything up in the process.  Go on your little communes, and leave the rest of us alone.  Please.

[this was originally written in 7/05 for my previous blog]

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Medical Practice


I had a mole removed this week.  I hadn't noticed the bumps on it before.  I actually don't mind, because I get to pick the brain of my doctor.  This will come to a sad end, since he will soon be moving to Wyoming to run clinics on the Reservation.  My family will miss him and his unique style of practicing medicine.

But we talked about why it is so difficult to practice medicine in Florida.  He said that for a family practice, malpractice was not too bad (unlike some of the specialties).  But he is weary of defensive medicine.  This is having to run lots of test to CYB so you won't get sued.  This drives up the cost of health insurance (as if the lawsuits didn't create enough problems and drive up the cost enough).

The point is, a good doctor, can accurately diagnose your problem without many tests much of the time.  Obviously, bad doctors still can't seem to diagnose you regardless.  But, to prevent a lawsuit in the event you weren't perfect, you now have to run lots of unnecessary tests.  This costs $ people, and it is passed on to all with health insurance.

I mentioned a possible ER-effect (much like how CSI has affected juries).  On ER they are ordering tests like they're going out of style- and free.  I suspect that people now think that's what doctors do- order tests.  Actually, younger doctors are becoming more dependent on the test rather than actually listening to their patients (novel concept).

The hypocondriachs don't help either.  They go from doctor to doctor racking up tests.  And health insurance fosters the test-taking mentality.  The doctor isn't paid for his diagnosis (based on lots of education and experience)- only for the tests he runs or procedures he performs.  This is a vicious cycle folks.

And don't get him started on universal health care.  "People don't need health insurance.  People need food.  Soon the government will start trying to provide filet mignon to everybody."  With health insurance, the many cover the few.  That's great if you choose to do that.  But, once again, the government wants to force you to (and that works so well with welfare).

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I know that this Michael Crichton book was not critically acclaimed, but I loved it. He documented his research (unlike another famous author) to cut through the hype in an attempt to tell something more akin to the truth concerning global warming.
He pretty much represents my opinion (his personal view are found in an appendix). It would be easy to write him off as an ‘evil conservative’, but his approach is more ‘nuanced’ than that. It seeks to account for all the evidence, not just some of the evidence. As a result, he does not jump to conclusions.
For fun, he also exposes the folly of celebrity banner-wavers. They are often uninformed, and don’t seem to live in keeping with their views. They are also often naive, and think there are simple answers to problems, or hold to many myths concerning the past.

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I am quite skeptical of all the predictions of global warming (see my earlier post on this).  And I am not along (whew!).  Evangelical Outpost includes some data, including quotes from an old Newsweek article.  Glenn Beck has a pdf of that article.  His site also has a Times of India article pointing out that is really a big guessing game, with little or no basis.

New research by German & Swiss scientists indicates that the trend toward warming has little or NOTHING to do with us.  It is actually that the sun is burning hotter than before All this to say, the so-called scientific concensus does not exist.  We have no way, really, of knowing if this is a cycle, or a trend or an anomalie.  So, perhaps we ought to avoid dogmatic and fear-mongering statements.  History (the global cooling panic from the 70’s) ought to make us wiser.  But it is a great ‘political’ issue.   This issue is not as clear cut as some make it out to be.  Lobbyist/activist beware- you may jump on an ill-fated bandwagon.

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Snails Have Hands?


According to a study released in the Royal Society Biology Letters, left-handed snails have an advantage over right-handed snails in defending themselves from predators.  I’m not sure how they ascertained this since I’ve never been high-fived by one, or been waved off before I poured salt in it.  Does this mean that as a left-handed person, do I have an advantage over right-handed humans in defending myself from predators?  The world may never know.

Does this open up a new genre for desperate movie producers?  Attack of the Kung-Fu Slugs?  Slime or Be Slimed?

Would they have to avoid slo-motion photography since then it would move agonizingly slow?  I’ll stop now.

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