Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Uncle Again

I checked the email after the funeral, and had another interesting note from my Uncle Dave. Wonderful guy. I am very like him, but we disagree on 75% of everything. The link is to an Australian editorial suggesting that democracy might be a problem if people won't do what they should about environmental issues.

A recent survey found that only 22% of Floridians felt that evolution was a proven principle of science. These quotes are from a liberal Florida newspapers editorial:

I came across this tidbit casually I have no idea whether it is true.
and don't really care But assuming for a moment that it is true, it brought meback to this site which you sent a few days ago
Should people like those described be voting or commenting on global warming
or other scientific matters?

My reply: It's a fascinating topic. I don't know the origin of the statistic, but let's pretend it's true. It doesn't tell us what, exactly, they do think. Those that think that evolution is likely true but unprovable because it is unfalsifiable and unrepeatable might be right. Those who believe in a 10,000 year-old earth are wrong, but I am not sure how much that actually affects things. I don't know enough in any of the sciences - neither data nor theory - to make a case on my own for much of anything. I believe in an ancient earth and in evolution because people who do know things from so many fields - geology, biology, archaeology, linguistics - come to approximately the same conclusions, each in their own fields, and when they explain things to me it seems to make sense. I doubt there is one person in a thousand who can make any of those scientific cases that is anything more than repeating what they read in National Geographic or similar items.

Also, people believe contradictory things because they don't really have much sense of time or numbers. A lot of that 78% are likely proud that their kids know so much about dinosaurs or astronomy, and believe in cavemen. It depends on who's asking and how.

More important, that enlightened bunch who roll their eyes at the creationists are just as ignorant, they just believe a different myth. The National Geographic myth would tell us that human beings first showed up in Africa 2.3 million years ago. True enough as far as it goes, but they don't mention that these creatures they are so anxious to call human didn't have language until about 50,000 years ago, and didn't domesticate animals, plant crops, or build shelters until about 10,000 years ago. That's a helluva lot of that "human beings" time that consists of people we wouldn't think were much like us - far less so than current New Guinea tribesmen or isolated tribes in the Amazon Basin. If you told educated people who don't believe in creationism that human beings started 2.3 million years ago and asked them to guess when they started to talk, very few would guess below 100,000 years. In this way, the National Geographic myth is also complete crap - they leave out the parts that interfere with the picture they want you to have. That's for another issue. Because even their readership doesn't keep the difference between fifty thousand, fifty million, and five billion very clear in their heads. It's all just a long time ago.

The philosopher Anthony Flew, an atheist for most of his 86 years, now believes in a theistic god of Aristotle, which has "considerable overlap with the Judeo-Christian deity" on the basis of recent advances in genetic and cosmology. For him, evolution is more an evidence for god than against him.

There also isn't evidence that this 78% don't understand scientific arguments compared to the 22%. That is automatically assumed, but I doubt it's true. The elites fear people who won't believe what they are told, and this is what is happening in the AGW argument. The belief of the major AGW advocates is that human beings need to live differently, buying less stuff. They want to tell the masses how to live. The problem with this is that their belief long predates discussions of AGW. Bill McKibben set the global warming scare going in the late 80's. We read Mother Earth News in the late 70's and early 80's, and those folks were already pissing and moaning about how unecological everyone was, not so that they would clean up rivers and the air, but with clear advocacy that You Should Live Differently - Maybe You Should Be Made To.

I think AGW unravels more each year. Warming stopped in 1998. That was a warm year, and we haven't dropped off (until 2007) more than a fraction, so people can still rightly claim that the last x years are among the warmest on record. But looking at the record, we now find that some years in the 1930's were warmer. And it got colder this year. And we're going into an Ice Age in 200 years. We are already five years past McKibben's catastrophe and 35 years past Paul Erlich's. AGW is going to turn out like the lefty belief 1960-90 that the US was nearly as bad as the Soviets, and that people listening to their betters was what would solve the Cold War. It's all religion, but only one side admits that.


TomG said...

Forgive me, I tried to follow this, until I got to AGW - so I Googled it and got:
as well as
Acronym Definition
AGW Access Gateway
AGW Accident Generated Water
AGW Actual Gross Weight
AGW All Going Well
AGW Allowable Gross Weight
AGW Alt.Games.Warbirds (forum)
AGW Anganwadi Worker (India)
AGW Anthropogenic Global Warming
AGW Application Gateway (telecom)
AGW Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario, Canada)
AGW Atmospheric Gravity Waves
AGW Automatic Girth Welder
AGW Autonomous Guided Weapon

Thx, Tom

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Sorry, sorry. #8, Anthropogenic Global Warming

TomG said...

Thanks. There's hope afterall - if 78% of Floridians are skeptical enough to yet question Evolution as any more than a theory (and truly not more than a bundle of mini-theories at that, with a lot of loose ends still). Just to share a propos humor, here's an amusing statement from the profile in this guy's blog:
“Do you believe that forks are evolved from spoons?
No. Nothing has ever evolved. Both forks and spoons were created by God in the Garden of Eden (Day 4). Knives and Spoons both survived on Noah's Ark in their present form. All later variations in tableware were caused by the confusion surrounding The Tower of Babel.”
Thanks for this excellent write-up. Just one more question - what's the very last sentence mean? Thanks again, Tom

cold pizza said...

I take the last sentence to mean, that those of us with religious inclinations are at least aware that we have religious inclinations. We know that what we believe is not based on on scientific data but is based on emotional bias and faith.

On the other hand, you have the folks who trumpet their sacred cause (i.e. AGW) without fully realizing the emotional investment they've put into the "cause." They'd like to think their actions and feelings are based on fact, but the truth is, AGW has NOT been proven.

While climate change does occur on geological time periods and due to a myriad of reasons, the AGW crowd seems to have just as strong an emotional need to believe that man is the root cause of all global warming and only drastic action (by these, our global saviors) will prevent the end of life as we know it.

AGW is a religion, based on emotional bias and faith. We must return to a gentler, simpler time when mankind lived in harmony with Mother Gaia and all the animals. Corporations=bad. Material possessions=bad.

Me? I'd rather have a slightly warmer planet with longer growing seasons, greater CO2 concentrations promoting plant growth, less snow shoveling (or people freezing to death). The alternative could be entry into a new ice age. We lose.

Color me skeptical. Call me a heretic. The only thing that prevents the AGW zealots from burning their detractors at the stake is the large carbon footprint left behind.

Carbon offsets? Scam.

Okay, you've pushed my nuke-it button for the day. I'm catharticized and refreshed. Tingly. too. GoodDAY. -cp