Archive for July, 2010

Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Pajamas media has found an excellent quote from Richard Feynman, which skewers every global warmer:

“The Pleasure of Finding things out” by Richard Feynman, page 187

We have many studies in teaching, for example, in which people make observations and they make lists and they do statistics, but they do not thereby become established science, established knowledge. They are merely an imitative form of science-like the South Sea Islanders making airfields, radio towers out of wood, expecting a great airplane to arrive. They even build wooden airplanes of the same shape as they see in the foreigners’ airfields around them, but strangely, they don’t fly. The result of this pseudoscientific imitation is to produce experts, which many of you are-experts. You teachers who are really teaching children at the bottom of the heap, maybe you can doubt the experts once in a while. Learn from science that you must doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

When someone says science teaches such and such, he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach it; experience teaches it. If they say to you science has shown such and such, you might ask, “How does science show it-how did the scientists find out-how, what, where?” Not science has shown, but this experiment, this effect, has shown. And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments (but we must listen to all the evidence), to judge whether a reusable conclusion has been arrived at. . I think we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television words, books, and so on are unscientific. That doesn’t mean they are bad, but they are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science.

Genuine science is replicable. And “replicable” does not mean two priests recite the same doctrine, it means they explain what they did in such a fashion that anyone else could do it also.

If they refuse to explain, they are not scientists, but priests of Gaea.

Unsupported and unexplained politically correct pseudo science appears all the time in “Science” and “Nature”
For example:

Despite the fact that these papers appeared in top journals like Nature and Science, none of the journal reviewers or editors ever required Briffa to release his Yamal data. Steve McIntyre’s repeated requests for them to uphold their own data disclosure rules were ignored.

This sort of thing (that PC science is in practice exempted from data disclosure, and proudly proclaims results on the basis of secret evidence) has been an ongoing scientific scandal from the very beginning of the global warming movement, and everyone aware of this unscientific practice should have realized that global warming science is not science, but politics and religion, and that global warming scientists are not scientists, but priests of Gaea.

Environmentalism, and several other isms, are state sponsored religions, which because of state backing have the privilege of publishing their holy texts in scientific journals despite conspicuous and infamous failure to comply with the standards and rules of those journals.

Nine years later, Briffa’s Yamal data for twentieth century temperatures turned out to be that one tree of ten selected trees grew unusually rapidly during the twentieth century as compared to fossil trees of the same type from the same area. These ten trees were selected by Bricca after a great many other trees in the same area were measured, but the rest of the measurements were not included.

The larger population of trees, taken as a whole, shows much the same growth pattern as the fossil trees.

Take out one tree from those ten, Yamal06, and most of the evidence for climate change vanishes. Restore the much larger set of tree measurements from which the ten trees were selected, and all of the evidence for climate change vanishes – the population as a whole is has the same growth rates as the fossil trees.

Take out one tree from half a dozen graphs of global warming in near a dozen papers, and suddenly they do not show global warming any more.

Bricca has, at this time, not yet explained why those ten trees, and not other trees in the same area measured in the same survey. And whatever his explanation, ten trees is not enough.

The government likes data that supports more government power, rewards those that tell it what it wants to hear, and punishes those that tell it what it does not want to hear.

Environmentalism is a state sponsored religion, for it is perfectly visible to anyone that wants to look that it is not subject to the same standards as normal science, the story of Briffa and the Yamal data being one example of a great many.

People have lost their jobs for reporting that glaciers are advancing in a particular area, even though they fully agreed that most glaciers are retreating. This makes it hard to tell whether most glaciers are indeed retreating.

Environmentalism generally, and the Global Warming movement in particular, acts like a holy and sectarian religious movement, a religious movement backed by state power, not like science.

Recent events prove that on certain topics, they do not carry science, but are mere megaphones for the holy ranting of the priesthood.

Science is not that which the state decrees to be science. It is that which follows the rules of science, which unwritten rules correspond, more or less, to the written rules of the older and more prestigious journals.

If these journals are reluctant to apply these written rules on certain sensitive topics, then what appears on those sensitive topics will not be science, and hence what appears or fails to appear in such journals is not an indication of truth, but of religion.

In particular if the replacement hockey stick had been genuinely peer reviewed, then, in accordance with the unwritten rules of science, and the written rules of the older and more prestigious science journals, the data and calculations supporting the graph would have been made available. Had the data and graphs been made available, people would have objected nine years ago that ten trees are not enough.

Since not genuinely peer reviewed, since not in conformity with journal rules, therefore not genuine science, therefore mere theology.

No democratic solution

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Doctor Zero has a carefully thought out proposal on how to save America through mass democracy, through getting 50% of the voters plus one behind the measures necessary to save America, behind measures that are carefully pruned to be the minimum  possible measures that could save the country, measures that are as “moderate” as possible, which is not very moderate at all.

No way Jose.  Democracy is doomed, or the country is doomed, or, quite likely, both. (more…)


Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

What academia means by “diversity” is people of all colors and all sexual preferences chanting their master’s words in unison.

Steve Sailer found an interesting paper on admissions policy. (more…)

If you are not at the government’s table, you are on the government’s menu

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Vox Populi:

While the economic value of anything depends on sellers and buyers agreeing on that value as civil equals in the absence of force, modern government is about nothing if not tampering with civil equality. By endowing some in society with power to force others to sell cheaper than they would, and forcing others yet to buy at higher prices — even to buy in the first place — modern government makes valuable some things that are not, and devalues others that are. Thus if you are not among the favored guests at the table where officials make detailed lists of who is to receive what at whose expense, you are on the menu.

The revolving door:

This is an administration that almost employs more Goldman Sachs officials in financial and regulatory positions than Goldman Sachs itself does.  One of the first acts of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was to hire a BP executive to serve as a deputy administrator for land and minerals management.  And now they’ve just hired to implement the new healthcare law someone who was just recently in charge of the lobbying and government activities of the nation’s largest private insurer.

If someone genuinely opposed big business, he would opposed all government regulation and all taxes.

The ruling class

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Roissy links to an insightful article on the growing divide between rulers and ruled

Never has there been so little diversity within America’s upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and “bureaucrat” was a dirty word for all. So was “social engineering.” Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.

Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters – speaking the “in” language – serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats.

It is in the nature of government to grow, and so it swallows up everything. The parasite eventually destroys the host. Government has seized upon a multitude of justifications, the most recent justification being the welfare state, the coming justification being saving the earth. Insolvency approaches. Trees do not grow to the sky. That which cannot continue, will stop.

The left is astroturf, it is the voice of the state. But we have already reached the point where persuading people to vote for more government, or interpreting their vote as a vote for more government no matter how they vote has become ineffectual, depriving the left of any reason for existence, depriving democracy itself of the reason for its existence.

The death of science

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

“Scientists” complain that the government is interfering in “science” by denying them regulatory authority over other people’s economic activity.

Nasa’s primary goal is to make Muslims feel good about Muslim science. (more…)

The politics of Hit-Girl

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

The politics of Hit-Girl

For a long time the left has controlled the gates for movies, books, and comics, in part because of the government control of television. Lately, however, I have been seeing more and more politically incorrect stuff.

As you probably figured out if you watched the movie Kick Ass, Hit-Girl is a conservative, what with being home schooled and all

It is a great movie.

In the comic book, her politics is more overtly conservative than in the movie, not that she is pacifist hippie in the movie. Here are some political scenes from the comics: (more…)

Real GDP growth

Monday, July 12th, 2010

GDP is an ill defined quantity, for it counts cars produced, official credit ratings produced, and regulators producing regulation.  With the best will in the world, it is hard to say how it is changing, and lately we have been seeing some pretty bad will.  Attempting to calculate GDP is worse than adding apples to oranges, it is adding apples to moonbeams.

Supposedly GDP is growing, and growing fast – despite the fact that everyone is feeling poorer, and private sector jobs are declining.  An amazing productivity increase, largely reflecting amazing productivity improvements by government and quasi governmental employees.

So let us look for a different measure:  Taxable retail sales.  Which are stagnant or down.  Population keeps growing, but they are buying less stuff, in part because they are being taxed more.


Saturday, July 10th, 2010

The Washington post complains about unethical science in China.

Zhao is turning his attention to a topic Western researchers have shied away from because of ethical worries: Zhao plans to study the genes of 1,000 of his best-performing classmates at a top high school in Beijing and compare them, he said, “with 1,000 normal kids.”

Politically incorrect science is “unethical”

Today western science is stagnant for the same reasons as it was stagnant from 1293 to 1648 – because it has been subordinated to religion.

Financial Reform

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

TheMoneyIllusion nicely summarizes the financial reform legislation

I can’t see how it addressed ANY of the major causes of the 2008 fiasco. But easily the most inexcusable aspect of the bill was that it didn’t even address Fannie and Freddie. People excuse that on the basis that there is a lot of political support for F&F. But if you can’t reform them right after a $165 billion taxpayer bailout, when will they be unpopular enough that we can address their flaws? …

And no ban on sub-prime mortgages? I thought that was the cause of the crisis.

He misses, however, the biggest failure of the financial reform legislation – that the NRSROs are still in business, rather than in jail.

The government has decided to not reform the NRSROs – because any reform, we are quite truthfully told, would put them out of business.

In other words, their business is completely dependent on corruption and gross improprieties that have cost the taxpayer a trillion, possibly trillions.

Indeed, the regulations that Lawrence White complains about look very much as if they were passed to keep the NRSROs in

As Lawrence White tells us (from behind a paywall):

By means of the high ratings that they awarded to subprime mortgage-backed bonds, the three major rating agencies—Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch—played a central role in the current financial crisis. Without these ratings, it is doubtful that subprime mortgages would have been issued in such huge amounts, since a major reason for the subprime lending boom was investor demand for high-rated bonds—much of it generated by regulations that made such bonds mandatory for large institutional investors. And it is even less likely that such bonds would have become concentrated on the balance sheets of the banks, for which they were rewarded by capital regulations that tilted toward high-rated securities. Why, then, were the agencies excessively optimistic in their ratings of subprime mortgage-backed securities? A combination of their fee structure, the complexity of the bonds that they were rating, insufficient historical data, some carelessness, and market pressures proved to be a potent brew. This combination was enabled, however, by seven decades of financial regulation that, beginning in the 1930s, had conferred the force of law upon these agencies’ judgments about the creditworthiness of bonds and that, since 1975, had protected the three agencies from competition.