Monday, March 12, 2007

A convenient truth

I've finally found a readable article by a prominent scientist decrying this "global warming" hoopla.

He makes some valid points, including: It's a manufactured political crisis, not an environmental one.

Sure, we've polluted the world in some ghastly ways. And we certainly do need to take better care of the environment and the planet. But I'm not losing sleep worrying whether the average temperature will go up a half degree during my lifetime, or even in my children's children's children's lifetime.

All those "crises" of the past didn't slow us down much. Remember the fear we had of killer bees? SARS? West Nile? Bird flu? Even AIDS hasn't slowed us down that much. We're tough. But sometimes we're also very gullible and stupid.

Like the war on terrorism, the new War on Climate Change serves to make us more sheep-like. Tweak a law here, take away a freedom there.... That is what will affect our children, and our children's children, and our children's children's children.

A few weeks ago I was on the phone with a long-time friend, a very spiritual guy. It was warm that day here in the south, and cold in other parts of the country, and I commented about how a global warming meeting in Washington, D.C. had been canceled because of a blizzard. Just a throw-away line, making chitchat about the day's news and weather.

I was surprised by the intensity of his reply.

"Are you one of those people who deny global warming?" he asked in all sincerity, a bit heatedly. I let it drop immediately, not wanting to "get into it" with a friend I haven't had a cross word with in the ten years I've known him. But I shook my head in wonder at suddenly how important this issue has become to so many people. It's the trendy thing to be, against global warming.

Scientists who deny the now-popular thinking are being fired, and reports indicate in some cases their very lives have been threatened. That's how important an issue it's suddenly become. Death threats — how chic. Punished for not believing what the masses suddenly "know" is "true" because politicians and TV's talking heads are suddenly saying it is so... never mind that twenty-five years ago scientists were worrying about global cooling!

In the early 1970s a few anarchists and hippies held the first Earth Day, and were probably hosed with water cannons by the authorities for parading without a permit. Now, politicians and other authorities, like Supersize Al Gore, drive around in their supersized SUV's telling us convenient lies, and the rest of us inconveniently squeeze our fat asses into Ford Escorts, pay three or more dollars for a gallon of gas, and hold pep rallies "for the planet."

How convenient.

UPDATE, Tuesday, March 13: Today's New York Times published an article titled "From a rapt audience, a call to cool the hype." There is a growing number of scientists who agree, to one extent or another, with Al Gore's basic science as presented in his film An Inconvenient Truth, but are "alarmed... at... his alarmism." They say that the movie is filled with inaccuracies and exaggeration. They question whether Gore has gone beyond science to further a political agenda. Interesting reading....

UPDATE Monday, April 2: In a way only he could, William F. Buckley says "The whole business is eerily religious in feel. Back in the 15th century, the question was: Do you believe in Christ? It was required in Spain by the Inquisition that the answer should be affirmative, leaving to one side subsidiary specifications. It is required today to believe that carbon-dioxide emissions threaten the basic ecological balance."

UPDATE Tuesday, April 3: In a speech, Bob Murray, founder and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation, dared to say that he regards Al Gore as the shaman of global doom and gloom. He is not joking when he says, "He is more dangerous than his global warming."

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  1. I agree with the overall sentiment, that global warming is overblown as a "crisis". However, just a few years ago, it was popular to deny its very existence in this country's universities. Professors were being fired for supporting the concept of global warming. As the Bush administration has lost credibility and as Gore has regained undeserved popularity, the shoe has gone to the other foot.

    Quite simply, global warming is a scientific fact much like evolution. Complete denial condemns one to the realm of the retarded. Nevertheless, it is not a "crisis" and never was. As you point out, the effects are over hundreds of years. What we do today or two years from now has little overall relevance. The problem is that those scientists at the forefront of this research are desperate to keep their grant funding at a high level, so they become the puppets of popular opinion.

    I would beg to differ with you on AIDS. While we have controlled it to a large degree and made it more of a chronic illness with the help of innovative drugs (where are the critics of the capitalist drug companies on that one???), parts of the world are devastated by it.

    The Occident has not seen such devastation because of AIDS thanks to its vastly superior science supported by our most noble economic institution, capitalism. The Orient, particularly China and India, as well as Africa are reeling from AIDS. We just don't hear much about it because of our biased Western media. Interestingly, the parts of the world most devastated by it are those areas which have yet to adopt Western-type capitalist economies.

    As a Libertarian, I would say those countries deserve the devastation and it is not the duty of anyone else to help them. Capitalism is about helping oneself. Therein lies the beauty of the system: self-sufficiency. Nicely complimented by Freemasonry, I might add.

    Fraternally yours,
    The Libertarian

  2. Libertarian,

    Your last paragraph is upsetting. You sign off with "Fraternally yours" right after lauding self sufficiency and selfishness "helping oneself." If you are truly traveling east and have come through the west gate then I would say your understanding of our gentle craft is skewed. Also, if Capitalism complements Freemasonry then why is the United States having such a difficult time with membership?

    As for Global Warming, science is science and it is a fact. As for caring for our environment we must. As Masons what does it mean to walk uprightly in this world if we treat our resources with dishonor. Our past brother Teddy Roosevelt could be an illuminating example.

    "Some of Theodore Roosevelt's most effective achievements were in conservation. He added enormously to the national forests in the West, reserved lands for public use, and fostered great irrigation projects."



  3. Capitalism and the Free Market traces its very origins to the same time as Freemasonry. In the sense we now know both, each developed its current form in the 1500-1850 time frame.

    Without the bourgeoisie, speculative Freemasonry would have had no audience. Wealth and the accumulation of it allow philosophy to exist. It is only in times of luxury, in this case afforded by the rise of the free market, that one can have the time to fraternize and philosophize without having to worry where his next meal is coming from. You can't become "enlightened" if you must wallow in the drudgery of daily life.

    Yes, capitalism applauds self-sufficiency. Freemasons do not and should not take into the Craft anyone who is disabled in mind. In other words, you must be mentally self-sufficient. Along those lines, you would not take into the Craft someone who is joining simply to get monetary support because of physical disability or sheer indolence. Self-sufficiency-in an economic sense-is a tacit requirement to belong to the Craft. Our Borthers may not all be equal monetarily, but we are each self-sufficient monetarily.

    We help brothers and their families who BECOME needy, not those who seek to use us for that purpose alone. We bar their entry.

    Thus, the rise of the noble Free Market and the rise of our noble Craft go hand in hand.

  4. A much more elegant answer.

    Well said and I would agree but keep in mind the Speculative Masonry you refer to be hand in hand with a free market economy follows the revelation of the order to the public. The craft we base our ritual and teaching on is much older than Adam Smith and his Wealth of Nations. Of course his proposal was not the beginnings of a free market and our historic operative roots can be considered a source of the market by supporting a guild system.

    Many brothers do not hail from a robust capitalist society like the United States are they any less a brother because they practice socialism or a barter system. Freemasonry definitely encourages freedom but are we truly free if we are controlled by a profit. Isn't self sufficiency a larger idealism than how much change I have in my pocket. Can we expand your self sufficiency to be that I can think for my self and I am free born.

    Many men have knocked on the west gate for more reasons than they can afford to fill the free time they had because drudgery was absent from their daily life. Do we investigate if they will be able to pay their dues, of course but that is also why dues are not astronomic, so the brotherhood is open to the mechanic as well as the monarch.

    I definitely agree that the philosophy of capitalism and the ideals of the Craft are similar and support one another but Capitalism is more than just making more money to be come self sufficient it is also the system that encourages free thought to produce a better mouse trap to help more people.

    No brother in my lodge is truly self sufficient nor was he when he entered. We all depend on someone or something else. The only one truly self sufficient is our Creator.

  5. It seems to me that a significant amount of global warming would be caused by human activity.

    Basically, everything humans do involves "fire" in one way or another. When we generate electricity, we do it primarily by burning fossil fuels, or by the release of atomic energy. Turbines coupled to generators ultimately convert steam into electricity, but a huge amount of heat is still released into the atmosphere due to unavoidable loss.

    When electricity is converted into lighting, or motive power through electric motors, another huge amount of heat is released into the atmosphere. I can't recall the exact numbers, but most electric motors operate at a maximum efficiency of about 30%. In other words, for the energy they consume, they convert only about 30% of it to power -- the rest is lost as heat. Incandescent lighting is even worse. If memory serves, only about 10% of the power used by an ordinary light bulb is converted into light; the rest is lost as heat.

    Next, consider all the petroleum that's burned daily around the world in cars, trucks, trains, planes, ships, etc.. At least 90% of the fuel consumed by engines, is lost as heat, which goes directly into the atmosphere. What's worse, even by the most efficient methods available today, it actually takes more energy to produce a gallon of gasoline, than is contained in it, which means that the heat of more than two gallons of gasoline is released into the atmosphere, for every one gallon that's eventually consumed as fuel!

    Consider also heating and air conditioning. Heating is obvious, because ALL the heat that's used to warm our homes, eventually dissipates into the atmosphere. If it didn't, our houses would remain perpetually warm. Air conditioning, however, is merely a method of transferring heat from one place to another. It transports heat that was inside a building, and releases it outside, along with all the additional heat generated by the compressor and the blower motor(s). If an air conditioner was completely sealed inside a well insulated room, and turned on full blast, the room wouldn't get cooler, it would get hotter, because there wouldn't be any place for the heat to go.

    Finally, consider manufacturing. Whether it involves the refining of metals, or the production of plastics, glass, and rubber, it takes energy to convert raw materials into refined materials, and it takes still more energy to produce finished goods.

    I'm not smart enough to figure out how much impact all that activity has on the environment, but I am smart enough to know it has SOME impact. If the entire human population of the earth was only a thousand, and all of those people burned a campfire every day, it would have a tiny impact on the amount of heat released into the atmosphere. Instead of a thousand people, however, when three billion people do that same thing, it's obvious that the impact will be much more significant.

    In short, regardless of how hot or cold it is on earth today, every time a human lights a fire, it gets just a little bit warmer. It doesn't matter if the fire is a campfire, or the space shuttle, the result is additional (unnatural) heat energy released in the biosphere.

  6. “It seems to me that a significant amount of global warming would be caused by human activity”
    This is a simplistic view all fires, or all heat is caused by mankind. Mankind has been cooking with fire for tens of thousands of years. In the mean time earth has small ice ages and times of warming. Earth is a big place it is hard to cause damage in one place that will cause damage 100 miles away, let alone on the other side of earth.

    We do not have to look that far back to see real pollution. My grandparents lived in a town were grass and trees could not live. This was from the coal mines that were in the valley the mines are gone and the valley is green with growth. That took less that fifty year, and might be closer to 30.

    Sorry, back to your heat into the atmosphere idea. What about natural heat? Does this not affect the atmosphere? Lighting starts fires does it not. We have volcanos and that’s a lot of heat.

    Global warming might be true, in fact let’s say it is. What is not true is the how warm we will get the North and South poles are not going to melt. Winter will still be cold and summer will still be warm.


  7. Also take a look at this it is a bit long.


  8. "...back to your heat into the atmosphere idea. What about natural heat? Does this not affect the atmosphere? Lighting starts fires does it not. We have volcanos and that’s a lot of heat."

    All that's true, but it's all part of a natural process that's been going on for millions of years.

    We know that the climate has varied throughout the course of history, and that could have been caused by any number of factors, from meteorite damage, to unusual volcanic activity, etc. The amount of heat generated by the sun also varies, not only from year to year, but from minute to minute. On average, however, it's relatively constant. The same can be said for natural geophysical forces, such as volcanic emissions, etc.

    Natural forces have always existed, and always will. That isn't new. What IS new, is the human factor on the scale of the last 150 years. Just during that time alone, every nuclear reaction that's ever occurred on the face of the earth, has been created. Every electric motor and light that's ever operated, has been introduced, and essentially every drop and/or pound of fossil fuels that have ever been mined or refined, have been burned. Fuels that took hundreds of millions of years to accumulate, have been used at a rate that would easily deplete ALL of them in less than 500 years.

    I'll readily admit, and openly state that I'm not smart enough to figure out how much of an impact human activity makes, or if it's a significant impact at all. I am smart enough, however, to understand that if a whole bunch of humans release a whole bunch of heat that wouldn't otherwise have been released, the earth will get a little bit warmer than it would have on its own, without any human intervention.

  9. I just love it how all these fucking morons get so heated up about global warming, and they are sooooo suuuure that it's here and that mankind is responsible, but just ask the cocksuckers to explain it and see if you get a sensible answer. Most of these motherfuckers can't even tell you what nine times nine is without a fucking calculator.

  10. In his documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle, Martin Durkin presented the argument that the troposphere — Earth’s upper atmosphere — appeared to be cooler than climate models suggest. Durkin also argued that the global temperature fell in the post-war economic boom, despite rising levels of carbon dioxide.

    Dr. Richard Washington, Climatologist and Lecturer at Keble College, responds to Durkin with "Is the troposphere cooler than it should be?" over on EcologyOnline.

    And Dr. Richard Betts of the Met Office Hadley Centre refutes Durkin's claim that the sun is responsible for climate change.

  11. I am the "Anonymous" of the first two responses. Not only am I an MD, but I have my Ph.D. in biochemistry and two undergraduate degrees in biology and philosophy (along with an MBA and Master Mason degree). The issue of global warming has only been made popular in the last 10 years among the laity. The fact is that it has been the subject of research since the post-industrial period in Britain.

    It does exist. To say otherwise is to deny scientific fact. The long-term trend in global temperatures is up. Period. However, the impact of global warming is what most people refute, and rightfully so. Noone has yet to quantify in substantiated, peer-reviewed literature what the exact impact will be. Al Gore's documentary is not scientific and wildly overstates the evidence. As such, he has become a lightning rod for criticism, and well-deserved I might add for stirring up useless controversy.

    The fact is that the burning of fossil fuels is something that is "unnatural". We are extracting primordial sludge from deep in the earth and buring it in the atmosphere. The fumes create an unnatural canopy of CO2 and other gases which trap heat. Period. That, combined with well-established depletion of the ozone layer by now-banned CFCs causes more intense solar radiation to heat the earth and exacerbate the problem.

    Will we see changes in our lifetimes or those of our children? Probably not. Liberal estimates are that it will take another 500 years to see real changes. Even then, Gore's contention that the coasts will be flooded is folly. Yes, coastlines will retreat but not that much.

    As for our vulgar poster "Pagan Temple", I strongly recommend that you get a dictionary and learn some vocabulary that conveys shared meaning. I have no intention of sucking a rooster or having relations with my mother. He must have personal experience in these areas to spout such nonsense.

    Fraternally yours,
    The Libertarian, MD, Ph.D., MBA

  12. Oh, Boooooo Hoooo Hooooo, Waaaaaaaa. I've just been insulted by an anonymous poster. The shame, the shame. Waaaaaaahhhhhhhh.

  13. What an erudite response from Pagan Temple. I would expect nothing more.

    By the way PT, everyone is "Anonymous" on the web until IP addresses are investigated. I find it absurd that people are stupid enough to trust self-posted pictures on the internet, much less so-called "identifiers" like "Pagan Temple".

    The Libertarian, MD, PhD, MBA

  14. I won't accept global warming or the ether of dark matter until someone can really explain and define what gravity is.


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