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Why does climate change “denial” matter in a “post-truth” society?


From Clare Foran at Atlantic:

The entrenchment of climate-science denial is one of the ways the United States appears to be exceptional relative to the rest of the world. A comparative 2015 study of nine conservative political parties in countries such as Canada, Germany, and Spain concluded that “the U.S. Republican Party is an anomaly in denying anthropogenic climate change.” Meanwhile, Americans were least likely to agree that climate change is largely the result of human activity in a 2014 survey of 20 countries, including China, India, Australia, and Great Britain.

Scientific reality does not seem to have escaped the distorting influence of political polarization in the United States. A paper published in Environment earlier this year suggests that as the Tea Party pushed the Republican Party further to the political right, it helped solidify skepticism of man-made climate change within the GOP. That happened as the Tea Party incorporated “anti-environmentalism and climate-change denial into its agenda,” the authors write, and subsequently became part of a broader “denial countermovement” made up of fossil-fuel companies as well as conservative think tanks and media outlets.More.

Clare Foran, meet Julie Shaw: A scientist on the benefits of a post-truth society

I’m a factual relativist. I abandoned the idea of facts and “the truth” some time last year. I wrote a whole science book, The Memory Illusion, almost never mentioning the terms fact and truth.

It’s probably old-fashioned of us to think that only one of you can be right…

Unless, of course, human-caused global warming happens to be the one bee allowed to buzz around in an empty bonnet…

If so, don’t get out of breath running around looking for others to blame when your concerns tend to get written off.

See also: Evolution bred a sense of reality out of us

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JAD, persuasion, opinions and conventional wisdom on knowledge are manipulable, even in the teeth of patent reality. Science, as with other institutions in our dying culture, is prone to such manipulation, and perhaps we are paying the price now for the dirty games that have been played for a long time on a lot of topics. Do not ever underestimate the corrosive effect of the manipulation of law, government, media, education, professions and more to sustain a pattern where over the past 40+ years 800+ million unborn children have been slaughtered in the womb under utterly cynical talking points and slogans like: choice and reproductive rights, etc. Moral bankruptcy and corruption like that spread across our entire civilisation like a cancer. I am saddened but in the end not astonished to see manipulations of science and the name of science, that are used to advance causes that can get to hide under a lab coat. But at the same time, we must realise that there is such a thing as a real world, and such a thing as accurate or credibly accurate well warranted description and empirically reliable modelling; namely, truth, credible truth and credibly reliable understanding. These, we should respect as ideals, and should seek to conform practice, speech and policy to those. On pain of marches of folly to ruin as Ac 27 so vividly informs us as a telling bit of history and linked "lessons to be learned" on the ship of state in miniature. This is a weather event too, so maybe we can start there. KF PS: Let me clip that chapter, courtesy BibleGateway as usual, using AMP. Here, we pick up from Paul's appeal to Caesar's judgement seat, after two years of unjustified detention and several plots/likely plots to kill him:
Ac 27:1 Now when it was determined that [a]we (including Luke) would sail for Italy, they turned Paul and some other prisoners over to a centurion of the Augustan Regiment named Julius. 2 And going aboard a ship from Adramyttian which was about to sail for the ports along the [west] coast [province] of Asia [Minor], we put out to sea; and Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, accompanied us. 3 The next day we landed at Sidon [--> a good day's sail on a general reach line of sail, given the tendency to westerlies in temperate bands driven by Hadley convection cells, that give rise to the red sky at night/morning observation]; and Julius, treating Paul with [thoughtful] consideration, allowed him to go to his friends there and be cared for and refreshed. 4 From there we put out to sea and sailed to the leeward (sheltered) side of Cyprus [for protection from weather] because the winds were against us. [--> confirms the westerlies, now that you wish to sail to the W; they were probably beating along the coast using coastal winds to make slow progress -- BTW, this begins to show the character of intermittent and seasonal renewable energy sources and why fossil fuels came in as they are more controllable and concentrated] 5 When we had sailed across the sea along the coasts of Cilicia and Pamphylia [--> more coasting to get winds to claw to the W], we landed at Myra in Lycia [on the south coast of Asia Minor]. 6 There the centurion [Julius] found an Alexandrian ship [a grain ship of the Roman fleet] sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it. [--> more trying to go W] 7 For a number of days we sailed slowly and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus [--> about as far as one could go]; then, because the wind [--> clearly westerly, and ships of 2,000 years ago could not sail as close to the wind as today] did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the leeward (sheltered) side of Crete [--> a reach then more coasting], off Salmone; 8 and hugging the shore with difficulty [--> confirmed], we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea [on the south side of Crete]. 9 Now much time had been lost, and [b]navigation was dangerous, because even [the time for] the fast (Day of Atonement) was already over, [--> this brings up the difference between weather and climate: weather is what you experience, climate is that you should expect i/l/o averages and trends that give rise to seasons as modified by local/regional conditions . . . the time for winter storms was now there] so Paul began to strongly warn them, 10 saying, “Men, I sense [after careful thought and observation] that this voyage will certainly be a disaster and with great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” [--> there was a sailing season, a dangerous time and a closed season because of the trends of weather and the danger of winter storms in the Mediterranean, which was commonplace knowledge] 11 However, the centurion [Julius, ranking officer on board] was persuaded by the pilot and the owner of the ship rather than by what Paul said. 12 Because the harbor was not well situated for wintering [--> notice the season, the bay is open to the S and so the owner was worried about his ship], the majority [of the sailors] [--> likely, the passengers too, who went along, nice and democratically, duly manipulated by Mr Moneybags and his bought and paid for technico] decided to put to sea from there, hoping somehow to reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there. 13 So when the south wind blew softly, thinking that they had obtained their goal [--> this would allow a reach sailing for 40 miles if it held; but the sailors likely knew it could well be a precursor to a noreaster early winter storm], they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, hugging the coast.
14 But soon afterward a violent wind, called Euraquilo [a northeaster, a tempestuous windstorm like a typhoon [--> Gk uses that exact word]], came rushing down from the island; [--> early winter storm . . . notice, caught up for 2 weeks, and when they wrecked on Malta, a fire was needed] 15 and when the ship was caught in it and could not head against the wind [to gain stability], we gave up and [letting her drift] were driven along. 16 We ran under the shelter of a small island [twenty-five miles south of Crete] called Clauda [--> brief windbreak], and with great difficulty we were able to get the ship’s [c]skiff on the deck and secure it. 17 After hoisting the skiff [on board], they used [d]support lines [for frapping] to undergird and brace the ship’s hull; [--> put into sinking condition already] and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis [off the north coast of Africa] [--> Libyan coast, off to the ~ WSW . . . confirms noreaster], they let down the [e]sea anchor and lowered the sails and were driven along [backwards with the bow into the wind]. 18 On the next day, as we were being violently tossed about by the storm [and taking on water], they began to jettison the cargo; 19 and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle (spare lines, blocks, miscellaneous equipment) overboard with their own hands [to further reduce the weight]. 20 Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm kept raging about us, from then on all hope of our being saved was [growing worse and worse and] gradually abandoned.
Read the story to see what happened onward. This tells us a lot about climate/weather politics, manipulation and marches of folly. kairosfocus
Here is an interesting article that begins with a graph from the 1990 IPCC report. This graph clearly shows “that temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period were higher than those of today (as suggested by the opening lines to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer), while it was much cooler during the Little Ice Age (as suggested by John King). Historical records from all over Europe, and Greenland attest to the reality of both events, and their profound impact on human society. For example, the colonisation of Greenland by the Vikings early in the millennium was only possible because of the medieval warmth. During the Little Ice Age, the Viking colonies in Greenland collapsed, while the River Thames in London often froze over, resulting in frequent `frost fairs' being held on the river ice.” http://www.john-daly.com/hockey/hockey.htm Daly goes on to explain:
This account of climatic history contains two serious difficulties for the present global warming theory. 1) If the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today, with no greenhouse gas contribution, what would be so unusual about modern times being warm also? 2) If the variable sun caused both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, would not the stronger solar activity of the 20th century account for most, if not all, of the claimed 20th century warmth? Both propositions posed a serious threat to continued public acceptance of the climate modeller's catastrophic view of future climate. This is because new findings in solar science suggested that the sun, not greenhouse gases, were the primary driver of 20th century climate trends. (emphasis added)
What was the reason in 1995 the IPCC concluded that human activity (miniscule amounts of CO2) and not the natural cycles of solar radiation which was the main driver of climate change? The only thing I see is politics. Indeed, the response by AGW proponents towards skeptics and critics has all the hallmarks of an ideological attack. Vilify, demonize and marginalize your opponent rather than engage him in open and honest debate. However, if the facts are really on your side and they are irrefutable, shouldn’t you be able to persuade him with reason and the evidence? john_a_designer
People have different reasons for doing what they do, but perhaps a good part of the public's resistance to the conclusions of climate science stems from the pitiful job that science has done with their conclusions in biology and the origin of life. Upright BiPed
bO'H, kindly cf 17 above. KF kairosfocus
kf - sorry, should have replied to you. I now see what you mean. I just wish you had said that originally! Bob O'H
john_a_designer - I'm not sure when exactly one would date the"settled science" claim, but my guess is that most historians would use one of the IPCC's assessment reports. They give the scientific details, so you should read them if you want to know what the consensus about the state of climate science was in the years the reports were published. Bob O'H
JAD, scientific theories and the like explanatory frameworks -- per epistemology and limitations of inductive reasoning (modern sense) -- are ALWAYS provisional; though many such results are empirically reliable. KF PS: Inductive arguments, modern sense, are those that support a conclusion (typically on empirical evidence and linked inferences) as opposed to necessitating it as so. Let me clip IEP:
http://www.iep.utm.edu/ded-ind/ A deductive argument is an argument that is intended by the arguer to be (deductively) valid, that is, to provide a guarantee of the truth of the conclusion provided that the argument's premises (assumptions) are true. This point can be expressed also by saying that, in a deductive argument, the premises are intended to provide such strong support for the conclusion that, if the premises are true, then it would be impossible for the conclusion to be false. An argument in which the premises do succeed in guaranteeing the conclusion is called a (deductively) valid argument. If a valid argument has true premises, then the argument is said to be sound. Here is a valid deductive argument: It's sunny in Singapore. If it's sunny in Singapore, he won't be carrying an umbrella. So, he won't be carrying an umbrella. Here is a mildly strong inductive argument: Every time I've walked by that dog, he hasn't tried to bite me. So, the next time I walk by that dog he won't try to bite me. An inductive argument is an argument that is intended by the arguer merely to establish or increase the probability of its conclusion. In an inductive argument, the premises are intended only to be so strong that, if they were true, then it would be unlikely that the conclusion is false. There is no standard term for a successful inductive argument. But its success or strength is a matter of degree, unlike with deductive arguments. A deductive argument is valid or else invalid.
PPS: Wiki gives us a summary of conventional wisdom, portrayed as consensus knowledge:
The difference between climate and weather is usefully summarized by the popular phrase "Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get."[12] Over historical time spans there are a number of nearly constant variables that determine climate, including latitude, altitude, proportion of land to water, and proximity to oceans and mountains. These change only over periods of millions of years due to processes such as plate tectonics. Other climate determinants are more dynamic: the thermohaline circulation of the ocean leads to a 5 °C (9 °F) warming of the northern Atlantic Ocean compared to other ocean basins.[13] Other ocean currents redistribute heat between land and water on a more regional scale. The density and type of vegetation coverage affects solar heat absorption,[14] water retention, and rainfall on a regional level. Alterations in the quantity of atmospheric greenhouse gases determines the amount of solar energy retained by the planet, leading to global warming or global cooling. The variables which determine climate are numerous and the interactions complex, but there is general agreement that the broad outlines are understood, at least insofar as the determinants of historical climate change are concerned.[15]
I am astonished to see what is left out and what is put in matter of factly. Things like, the 23.5 degree orbital inclination of earth's rotation and its impact on solar insolation and seasons thus major annual weather trends are skipped over. Issues such as solar variability and impacts of this. And more. kairosfocus
One of the most indefensible claims of AGW theory of climate science is that it is settled science. When did it become settled science? Who, how and why was it decided that it was settled? Yeah the trolls give us a lot of hand waving, “It was them. They said it was settled.” But where are the specifics? Who are they? What exactly go settled, or what break through discovery did “they” make to settle it? When? Give me at least a year, if not a month and a day. For example, on May 29, 1919, “[d]uring a total solar eclipse, Sir Arthur Eddington performs the first experimental test of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The findings made Einstein a celebrity overnight, and precipitated the eventual triumph of general relativity over classical Newtonian physics.” https://www.wired.com/2009/05/dayintech_0529/ That’s how a theory in physics begins to get “established,” though it always requires more than a single experiment. (Indeed, that was also true of Einstein’s theory despite the fact that Eddington’s experiment grabbed headlines around the world.) Is General Relativity now considered to be settled science? Again, who, how and when were the breakthrough discoveries made which established AGW as “settled science?” For some reason I am unable to track those facts down. john_a_designer
AS, averages damp out noise and disturbances, leading to a typical pattern. In effect, average the weather day by day, night by night to see the average day 1, day 2, day 365 across 33 years, then in effect connect the dots to see the typical pattern. this is a fiction just as the average man or woman is a fiction, but it is useful. I have already described why 30 or so years is usually long enough to be reasonable. And a moving average then allows picking up trends hidden under the day to day year to year variations. Not perfect but good enough for a lot of work. KF kairosfocus
BO'H: as I used the term descriptively, it means that there is something that looks like a cycle but it does not have the exact same succession of cells in phase space that an actual cyclical process has. That is why I pointed to a specific example, the Lorenz attractor and the equations that set it up. You will see that a path through the space will trace through the two connected lobes but will not actually go in a closed loop. That can continue in principle without end. KF kairosfocus
Thanks for the follow-up KF, I think no matter what time period you try to define climate with, you still have problems, because the weather system is driven by forces that that do not occur/persist within definitive time constraints. So, you may be trying to compare apples to oranges between one selected time period and another. So yes, you can use the number 33, but I don't see that as scientifically definitive, as you qualify with your last sentence. Andrew asauber
kf - thanks for your response at 17, but unfortunately you didn't answer my question. What is a pseudo-cycle? Bob O'H
F/N: Wiki on Climate: >>Climate is the statistics of weather, usually over a 30-year interval.[1][2] It is measured by assessing the patterns of variation in temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological variables in a given region over long periods of time. Climate differs from weather, in that weather only describes the short-term conditions of these variables in a given region. A region's climate is generated by the climate system, which has five components: atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere.[3] The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, terrain, and altitude, as well as nearby water bodies and their currents. Climates can be classified according to the average and the typical ranges of different variables, most commonly temperature and precipitation. The most commonly used classification scheme was Köppen climate classification originally developed by Wladimir Köppen. The Thornthwaite system,[4] in use since 1948, incorporates evapotranspiration along with temperature and precipitation information and is used in studying biological diversity and the potential effects on it of climate changes. The Bergeron and Spatial Synoptic Classification systems focus on the origin of air masses that define the climate of a region.>> A point of reference, KF kairosfocus
JAD, I suggest, caution and recognition of provisionality of empirical trends and hypothesising/modelling and simulation, are probably better phrasings. And, the issue is there is a general pattern, we see certain definite annual patterns and the behaviour as a rule does not deviate drastically from then, albeit there are evident trends so we can talk of global climate trends, e.g. warming or cooling, never mind the difficulties of getting numbers as good as we would want. KF PS: Let me say, it is likely that there are very strong forcings from the sun etc, as we can see from the annual path of seasons, which would then be sensitive to longer term solar behaviour, starting with the ~ 11 year sunspot "cycle". The concern is that in recent times with fossil fuel use we have fed into the atmosphere a rising trend in a key GH gas, which may feed into self-reinforcing behaviours and is feeding a system strongly believed to exhibit sensitive dependence on initial conditions, so neighbouring points can diverge -- perhaps not so happily. There are also negative feedbacks, and the balance between the two is not well understood. Prudence on our part would be advisable, reckoning also with for instance the consequences of crashing the global economy in an era of polarisation and nuke proliferation. I think prudence and caution should prevail, and am happy to see that solar power is now reasonably low in capital costs and that there are reasonable fission options such as pebble bed reactors and molten salt Thorium reactors that can be explored. if we can bring fusion in, that is a big game changer as water will become the global energy base. We need to move beyond polarisation and mutual suspicion, cf my discussion of moving forward here: http://pm101bootcamp.blogspot.com/2016/12/pm101-u3-getting-to-agreement-to.html esp the section: Getting support and releasing resources: deal-making, BATNA's and the multi-turn development game kairosfocus
AS, I suggest that most trends will damp out with that long of a run, where the law of large numbers points to 25 - 30 as a good sample size to see the patterns of a distribution. It is also close to two Saros Sun-Moon-Earth gravitational cycles [~19 y] and to three sunspot cycles [~ 11 y] without being phase locked. So it is not an implausible number on several grounds. Of course, there are other ways to do it. KF kairosfocus
Meteorologist Joe Bastardi recently (12/22/16) had this to say about computer generated forecasting models:
One has to wonder if standard modeling is capable of predicting any major cold. Here are the three most glaring reversals in temperatures that the U.S.-based CFSv2 model had no idea were coming, and by failing to do so caught people off guard. But the background question is: Can models even see reversals to cold?
https://patriotpost.us/opinion/46602 If meteorological computer models are so “iffy” when trying to forecast weather trends a month or two into the future, how can anyone claim that climate change models can be accurate looking decades ahead? I think a degree of skepticism is justified. What was said in the early days of computer science is just as true today: “Garbage in, garbage out.” john_a_designer
a 33-year average of the weather
Sounds a little arbitrary to me. What is this number based on, and what scientific significance does it have? Andrew asauber
BO'H: I have used descriptive language for trajectories tied to a strange attractor. The Lorenz case -- connected to weather -- is well known: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenz_system KF PS: Here is how the linked Wiki article puts it: "From a technical standpoint, the Lorenz system is nonlinear, non-periodic, three-dimensional and deterministic." [--> so, without intersection or it would go into a closed cycle] kairosfocus
kf @ 15 - just out of curiosity, what is a pseudo-cycle? If it's a cycle, then how can it be aperiodic? If it's not a cycle, then by definition isn't it aperiodic? Bob O'H
JAD, sensitive dependence, thus likely strange attractors and aperiodic infinitely variable pseudo-cycles, perhaps superposed at differing scales. With driving forces such as the annual solar orbit. Then ponder solar stellar variability and the long term precession of earth's rotational axis etc. KF kairosfocus
Meteorologist Joe Bastardi who is a long range forecaster for WeatherBell.com is also a AGW skeptic who accepts the fact of climate change. Back in April he tweeted:
Btw. I am not a climate change denier I question a messiah complex agenda that claim mans influence on nature is bigger than what it is
The one other thing that he is a skeptic about is the accuracy of computer forecasting models, which he works with all the time. In fact, Bastardi and his WestheBell colleagues prefer doing forecasting the old fashioned way using historical analogues. From what I have seen climate change “science” relies too heavily on computer models. While computer models may be good for some things in science and in engineering (I use to do computer modeling) the weather and climate are just too complex for a computer to model accurately beyond a few days or weeks. They are, no doubt, useful tools for short range weather forecasting. It is a fact that the earth’s climate is changing, has been changing and will always be changing. Again, what I doubt is that man has been anything more than a minor player when it comes to climate change. john_a_designer
the evidence for man-made climate change is now overwhelming
Agreed! And the evidence seems to be suggesting it is man's hubris that is fueling the crises. awstar
Folks, just a quick note. The best answer on what climate is I have seen was taught to me back in 3rd form: a 33-year average of the weather, i.e. a moving average. As moving indicates, on a subtle level, it is inherently not static. The pivotal issue is, do we understand the kinetics well enough to then assess driving dynamics? Where, computer simulations and proxies are not to be equated to direct observations and even nearly certain predictions -- especially over multi-generation spans. The bottom-line is, we need to be prudent in our behaviour and balance the potential hazards of different paths, e.g. crashing the global economy will almost certainly trigger major wars; which are increasingly likely to go nuclear. I suggest that things like molten salt Thorium reactors, pebble bed fission reactors and if we can get there fusion, may be what opens up energy again. And, I think Marcin Jakubowski has a point on his global village construction set, especially of we can find a way to get kinematic von Neumann self replicators tied to something approaching a universal constructor. KF kairosfocus
The climate is changing now
JAD, Maybe. The concept of climate has issues. I don't think there is a scientific definition for climate. For instance if climate describes aspects of the weather system over a certain period, who decides if the change is climate or weather? And what if it cycles back to what it was before? Andrew asauber
If the evidence for AGW is so overwhelming why have its proponents switched strategies? Why are they now talking about “climate change” rather than global warming? Is it just a different terminology to describe the same thing? Well… not necessarily. Some on the climate change side are now claiming that global warming could cause global cooling, and perhaps another ice-age-- well, at least a little one. The UK’s Guardian looked at that question back in 2003.
[C]ould the rapidly accelerating warming that we are experiencing actually hasten the onset of a new ice age? A growing body of evidence suggests that, at least for the UK and western Europe, there is a serious risk of this happening - and soon. The problem lies with the ocean current known as the Gulf Stream, which bathes the UK and north-west Europe in warm water carried northwards from the Caribbean. It is the Gulf Stream, and associated currents, that allow strawberries to thrive along the Norwegian coast, while at comparable latitudes in Greenland glaciers wind their way right down to sea level. The same currents permit palms to flourish in Cornwall and the Hebrides, whereas across the ocean in Labrador, even temperate vegetation struggles to survive. Without the Gulf Stream, temperatures in the UK and north-west Europe would be five degrees centigrade or so cooler, with bitter winters at least as fierce as those of the so-called Little Ice Age in the 17th to 19th centuries... What's worrying is that for some years now, global climate models have been predicting a future weakening of the Gulf Stream as a consequence of global warming. Such models visualise the disruption of the Namoc, including the Gulf Stream, as a result of large-scale melting of Arctic ice and the consequent pouring of huge volumes of fresh water into the North Atlantic, in a century or two. New data suggest, however, that we may not have to wait centuries, and in fact the whole process may be happening already... The possibility exists, therefore, that a disruption of the Atlantic currents might have implications far beyond a colder UK and north-west Europe, perhaps bringing dramatic climatic changes to the entire planet.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2003/nov/13/comment.research In other words, the argument now is: well we’re not really sure but anyway, heads I win; tails you lose. That’s the oldest con-game in the world. Only the most devious and dishonest people still use it. Only the most naïve, gullible and uninformed people fall for it. BTW I am not a “climate change denier.” The climate is changing now as it has throughout the earth’s 4.5 billion year history. What I am is a skeptic about is the baseless assertion that man has contributed to global warming, or climate change, in a significant way. Draconian policies based on what we presently know (which isn’t much) will do more harm than good. They almost always do. john_a_designer
News as to: "On Shaw’s showing (and on that of anyone who espouses a Darwinian view of the mind), even if we had such a certainty it would just be another illusion for survival and reproduction. But Foran writes as though we could have such a certainty and must act on it." Indeed, it is as if Darwinists somehow think that they themselves are immune from the self-refuting ramifications of their own theory. Nancy Pearcey nailed the hypocritical 'hyper-selective' fashion in which Darwinists operate in her book 'Finding Truth' when she went over Darwin's 'horrid doubt':
"But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" - Charles Darwin - Letter To William Graham - July 3, 1881
Charles Darwin’s infamous ‘horrid doubt’, contrary to popular opinion, was used in a hyper-selective fashion. Nancy Pearcey goes over the hypocritical fashion in which Charles Darwin employed his 'horrid doubt' here:
Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself – Nancy Pearcey – March 8, 2015 Excerpt: Darwin’s Selective Skepticism People are sometimes under the impression that Darwin himself recognized the problem. They typically cite Darwin’s famous “horrid doubt” passage where he questions whether the human mind can be trustworthy if it is a product of evolution: “With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.” But, of course, Darwin’s theory itself was a “conviction of man’s mind.” So why should it be “at all trustworthy”? Surprisingly, however, Darwin never confronted this internal contradiction in his theory. Why not? Because he expressed his “horrid doubt” selectively — only when considering the case for a Creator. From time to time, Darwin admitted that he still found the idea of God persuasive. He once confessed his “inward conviction … that the Universe is not the result of chance.” It was in the next sentence that he expressed his “horrid doubt.” So the “conviction” he mistrusted was his lingering conviction that the universe is not the result of chance. In another passage Darwin admitted, “I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man.” Again, however, he immediately veered off into skepticism: “But then arises the doubt — can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?” That is, can it be trusted when it draws “grand conclusions” about a First Cause? Perhaps the concept of God is merely an instinct programmed into us by natural selection, Darwin added, like a monkey’s “instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.” In short, it was on occasions when Darwin’s mind led him to a theistic conclusion that he dismissed the mind as untrustworthy. He failed to recognize that, to be logically consistent, he needed to apply the same skepticism to his own theory. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/03/why_evolutionar094171.html Nancy Pearcey - How Darwin's Theory Undercuts Itself – audio/video https://youtu.be/p1F5wA5D0hY podcast - Is Human Reason Reliable? Interview with Nancy Pearcey (Darwin's 'horrid doubt') http://www.discovery.org/multimedia/audio/2015/07/finding-truth-interview-with-nancy-pearcey/
Of supplemental note: David Wood on turning the selective skepticism, i.e. denialism, of atheists on its head (simply ask the atheist to prove that he himself really exists as a real person and then sit back and deny any evidence that he may present is convincing to you personally):
Scooby-Doo and the Case of the Silly Skeptic (David Wood) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrGVeB_SPJg
the evidence for man-made climate change is now overwhelming
Sigh. The above is what's called a claim. The fact that it contains poetry ('overwhelming') means it's likely more sales pitch than anything else. This is the same tired game that's been played since the Global Warming Hoax started- if I ask for the evidence and someone responds to my request, it's likely I'll be presented with studies (which are not evidence) that are just the long-winded versions of the sales pitch. Conclusive evidence for MMCC simply doesn't exist at all, therefore, it's not 'overwhelming'. The overwhelming aspect would be the odor from the utter BS surrounding climate science and associated political defecating. Andrew asauber
Barry @3 - I think few scientists or philosophers would go as far as Julie Shaw. For most of us the truth does matter, even if we are not able to find it. Science is, if you will, a quest to be less wrong, rather than a search for the truth. Evidence matters precisely because that helps us determine whether we are less wrong. Julie Shaw was trying to explain a sophisticated epistemology, but I think was only partially successful. News @4 - Are Shaw & Foran really that far apart? Shaw wrote:
Scientists slowly break down the illusions created by our biased human perception, revealing what the universe actually looks like. In an incremental progress, each study adds a tiny bit of insight to our understanding. ... Our understanding can always be improved upon. Even if it is wrong, it doesn’t make a preceding insight bad, it is often the necessary intermediary step to get our insight to where it is today. ... But let’s make it our job as a society to encourage each other to find replicable and falsifiable evidence to support our views, and to logically argue our positions.
which does not seem that different from Foran:
Scientific evidence that human activity is the leading cause of global warming has continued to accumulate in recent years, and the evidence for man-made climate change is now overwhelming.
They differ on the use of the word "fact", but again perhaps not so far. After all, guess who wrote this:
You need just to look back through history to see the different iterations of facts to make this insight seem obvious. Aristotle thought that the heart was the home of intelligence, and believed that the brain was a cooling mechanism for it. Of course now this seems ridiculous, but give it time and I’m sure some of our facts today will seem equally misinformed.
Bob O'H
the Tea Party
The worstest undead boogeyman rises from the grave again. Of course, in an infinite number of other universes, he's still actually alive. Andrew asauber
Seversky at 1, Barry Arrington at 3: What Seversky does not understand is that Julie Shaw is attacking the very legitimacy of Clare Foran's approach to science. And the damage is done whether either Shaw or Foran (or Sev?) is intellectually capable of understanding the problem. Can human beings be morally certain* that we have judged a set of available facts correctly? On Shaw's showing (and on that of anyone who espouses a Darwinian view of the mind), even if we had such a certainty it would just be another illusion for survival and reproduction. But Foran writes as though we could have such a certainty and must act on it. Why does Foran believe that? Is she not a Darwinian? Most science writers today seek to proclaim truths, with penalties for doubt, and at the same time to assert that the human mind is not structured so as to understand truth. In other words, truth is whatever the elite want, which - with suitable punishments for doubt or dissent - eliminates tiresome issues around correctness. * Moral certainty means that our handling of the facts available was just and reasonable, so we incur no moral guilt by our decisions. Genuinely unavailable facts don't count. News
Sev, "It depends on whether AGW denial is based on reasonable doubts about the weight of evidence . . ." Evidence for what Sev? Facts? Truth? If facts and truth do not matter, why does evidence matter? They matter only if Shaw is wrong. Barry Arrington
Although there are many excellent critiques of the pseudo-science of Catastrophic global warming on the web,,, for instance,,
WUWT https://wattsupwiththat.com/
,,, Here is a different critique of Catastrophic global warming from another angle. i.e. From the angle of 'fine-tuning':
Extremely Stable, Fine Tuned, and Rare, Atmosphere of Earth contradicts claims for Catastrophic Global Warming (December 2016) https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/nrm-on-the-climate-alarmists-unspoken-goldilocks-fixation/#comment-622196
As to Sev's comment "Dismissing it (Darwinian Evolution) as the self-serving fantasy of some “old Brit toff” is not. Actually, Darwin himself admitted that “What you hint at generally is very, very true: that my work is grievously hypothetical, and large parts are by no means worthy of being called induction.”
Anti-Science Irony Excerpt: In response to a letter from Asa Gray, professor of biology at Harvard University, Darwin declared: “I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science.” When questioned further by Gray, Darwin confirmed Gray’s suspicions: “What you hint at generally is very, very true: that my work is grievously hypothetical, and large parts are by no means worthy of being called induction.” Darwin had turned against the use of scientific principles in developing his theory of evolution. http://www.darwinthenandnow.com/2011/10/anti-science-irony/ An Early Critique of Darwin Warned of a Lower Grade of Degradation - Cornelius Hunter - Dec. 22, 2012 Excerpt: "Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved. Why then express them in the language & arrangements of philosophical induction?" (Sedgwick to Darwin - 1859),,, And anticipating the fixity-of-species strawman, Sedgwick explained to the Sage of Kent (Darwin) that he had conflated the observable fact of change of time (development) with the explanation of how it came about. Everyone agreed on development, but the key question of its causes and mechanisms remained. Darwin had used the former as a sort of proof of a particular explanation for the latter. “We all admit development as a fact of history;” explained Sedgwick, “but how came it about?”,,, For Darwin, warned Sedgwick, had made claims well beyond the limits of science. Darwin issued truths that were not likely ever to be found anywhere “but in the fertile womb of man’s imagination.” The fertile womb of man’s imagination. What a cogent summary of evolutionary theory. Sedgwick made more correct predictions in his short letter than all the volumes of evolutionary literature to come. http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2012/12/an-early-critique-of-darwin-warned-of.html
It depends on whether AGW denial is based on reasonable doubts about the weight of evidence in favor of the claim or on an instinctive distrust of "elites" - of people who are not seen as "one of us". Having doubts about Darwin's original theory because he was not able to provide an adequate mechanism of inheritance was reasonable. Dismissing it as the self-serving fantasy of some "old Brit toff" is not. Seversky

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