Circle or Line under Most Beautiful Absolute

Remove from me then, Lord, the sadness that the love of self might give, but create in me a sadness in conformity with thine

Month: March, 2012

Libertarian Rants

I have been known to dip into the libertarian mindset from time to time. It’s a nice philosophy – because its simple. It doesn’t require you to think too hard. You can just take a bath in it and relax into your assurance. Here is a nice little rant from stefbot (he-of-the-defooing) for your enjoyment.

Love you man. Well, I used to. Before I realized you were wrong. Sometimes. Maybe not. No really.

Advertisements

The Magic Flute – Kenneth Branagh’s Film

Climate Skepticism

I am not a climate change denialist. I recognize that this issue is extremely serious, and could conceivably have enormous impact upon the very way that human life on Earth is structured. However, I also must recognize that there are two sides of the debate which now appear to be quite strongly articulated by both sides.

Professor William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University:

During a fundraiser in Atlanta earlier this month, President Obama is reported to have said: “It gets you a little nervous about what is happening to global temperatures. When it is 75 degrees in Chicago in the beginning of March, you start thinking. On the other hand, I really have enjoyed nice weather.”

What is happening to global temperatures in reality? The answer is: almost nothing for more than 10 years. Monthly values of the global temperature anomaly of the lower atmosphere, compiled at the University of Alabama from NASA satellite data, can be found at the website http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/. The latest (February 2012) monthly global temperature anomaly for the lower atmosphere was minus 0.12 degrees Celsius, slightly less than the average since the satellite record of temperatures began in 1979.

The lack of any statistically significant warming for over a decade has made it more difficult for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its supporters to demonize the atmospheric gas CO2 which is released when fossil fuels are burned. The burning of fossil fuels has been one reason for an increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere to around 395 ppm (or parts per million), up from preindustrial levels of about 280 ppm.

CO2 is not a pollutant. Life on earth flourished for hundreds of millions of years at much higher CO2 levels than we see today. Increasing CO2 levels will be a net benefit because cultivated plants grow better and are more resistant to drought at higher CO2 levels, and because warming and other supposedly harmful effects of CO2 have been greatly exaggerated. Nations with affordable energy from fossil fuels are more prosperous and healthy than those without.

The direct warming due to doubling CO2 levels in the atmosphere can be calculated to cause a warming of about one degree Celsius. The IPCC computer models predict a much larger warming, three degrees Celsius or even more, because they assume changes in water vapor or clouds that supposedly amplify the direct warming from CO2. Many lines of observational evidence suggest that this “positive feedback” also has been greatly exaggerated.

There has indeed been some warming, perhaps about 0.8 degrees Celsius, since the end of the so-called Little Ice Age in the early 1800s. Some of that warming has probably come from increased amounts of CO2, but the timing of the warming—much of it before CO2 levels had increased appreciably—suggests that a substantial fraction of the warming is from natural causes that have nothing to do with mankind.

Frustrated by the lack of computer-predicted warming over the past decade, some IPCC supporters have been claiming that “extreme weather” has become more common because of more CO2. But there is no hard evidence this is true. After an unusually cold winter in 2011 (December 2010-February 2011) the winter of 2012 was unusually warm in the continental United States. But the winter of 2012 was bitter in Europe, Asia and Alaska.

Weather conditions similar to 2012 occurred in the winter of 1942, when the U.S. Midwest was unusually warm, and when the Wehrmacht encountered the formidable forces of “General Frost” in a Russian winter not unlike the one Russians just had.

Large fluctuations from warm to cold winters have been the rule for the U.S., as one can see from records kept by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA. For example, the winters of 1932 and 1934 were as warm as or warmer than the 2011-2012 one and the winter of 1936 was much colder.

Nightly television pictures of the tragic destruction from tornadoes over the past months might make one wonder if the frequency of tornadoes is increasing, perhaps due to the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. But as one can read at Andrew Revkin’s New York Times blog, dotearth, “There is no evidence of any trend in the number of potent tornadoes (category F2 and up) over the past 50 years in the United States, even as global temperatures have risen markedly.”

Like winter temperatures, the numbers, severity and geographical locations of tornadoes fluctuate from year-to-year in ways that are correlated with the complicated fluid flow patterns of the oceans and atmosphere, the location of the jet stream, El Niño or La Niña conditions of the tropical Pacific Oceans, etc.

As long as the laws of nature exist, we will have tornadoes. But we can save many more lives by addressing the threat of tornadoes directly—for example, with improved and more widely dispersed weather radars, and with better means for warning the people of endangered areas—than by credulous support of schemes to reduce “carbon footprints,” or by funding even more computer centers to predict global warming.

It is easy to be confused about climate, because we are constantly being warned about the horrible things that will happen or are already happening as a result of mankind’s use of fossil fuels. But these ominous predictions are based on computer models. It is important to distinguish between what the climate is actually doing and what computer models predict. The observed response of the climate to more CO2 is not in good agreement with model predictions.

We need high-quality climate science because of the importance of climate to mankind. But we should also remember the description of how science works by the late, great physicist, Richard Feynman:

“In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience; compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong.”

The most important component of climate science is careful, long-term observations of climate-related phenomena, from space, from land, and in the oceans. If observations do not support code predictions—like more extreme weather, or rapidly rising global temperatures—Feynman has told us what conclusions to draw about the theory.

Warren Meyer:

In my Forbes article a few weeks ago, I showed how the arguments alarmists most frequently use to “prove” that skeptics are wrong are actually straw men. Alarmists want to fight the war over whether the greenhouse gas effect of CO2 is true and whether the world has seen warming over the last century, both propositions that skeptics like myself accept.

The issue for us is whether man is causing a catastrophe (mainly due to large positive feedbacks in the climate system), and whether past warming has been consistent with catastrophic rates of man-made warming. Both of these propositions are far from proven, and are seldom even discussed in the media.

I found a blog I had not read before on energy policy issues that had a very sensible article on just this issue

The most frustrating thing about being a scientist skeptical of catastrophic global warming is that the other side is continually distorting what I am skeptical of.

In his immodestly titled New York Review of Books article “Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong,” economist William Nordhaus presents six questions that the legitimacy of global warming skepticism allegedly rests on.

Is the planet in fact warming?
Are human influences an important contributor to warming?
Is carbon dioxide a pollutant?
Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?
Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain?
Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial?

Since the answers to these questions are allegedly yes, yes, yes and no, no, no, it’s case closed, says Nordhaus.

Except that he is attacking a straw man. Scientists (or non-scientists) who are “skeptics” are skeptical of catastrophic global warming—not warming or human-caused warming as such. So much for 1 and 2. We refuse to label CO2 a “pollutant” because it is essential to life and because we do not believe it has the claimed catastrophic impact. So much for 3. And since 4-6 don’t pertain […]

Here is a video of Mr. Meyer’s presentation:

And this is the MIT debate regarding the hacking of emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit in November, 2009.

Dawkins the Intellectual Coward

Here is Mr. Dawkins at his rally. Honestly even notwithstanding the bad quality of the video here, the speech almost makes me want to swoon – with boredom. Dawkins almost seems like a doddering foolish old professor the way he drones on about electromagnetism and the age of the universe – as if these are news items.

What a tiny petri dish specimen microbe. Hey if Dawkins gets a solo platform without having to debate anybody so do I:

Gallantry

Gallantry is dead, and it is thanks to those alleged defenders of womenkind and all things weak and poor, the Politically Correct. Except that the PC-niks does not have a good track record of kindness to women, do they?

Here is an exhibit:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bristolpalin/2012/03/mr-president-when-should-i-expect-your-call/

Dear President Obama,

You don’t know my telephone number, but I hope your staff is busy trying to find it. Ever since you called Sandra Fluke after Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, I figured I might be next. You explained to reporters you called her because you were thinking of your two daughters, Malia and Sasha. After all, you didn’t want them to think it was okay for men to treat them that way:

“One of the things I want them to do as they get older is engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on,” you said. “I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”

And I totally agree your kids should be able to speak their minds and engage the culture. I look forward to seeing what good things Malia and Sasha end up doing with their lives.

But here’s why I’m a little surprised my phone hasn’t rung. Your $1,000,000 donor Bill Maher has said reprehensible things about my family. He’s made fun of my brother because of his Down’s Syndrome. He’s said I was “f—-d so hard a baby fell out.” (In a classy move, he did this while his producers put up the cover of my book, which tells about the forgiveness and redemption I’ve found in God after my past – very public — mistakes.)

If Maher talked about Malia and Sasha that way, you’d return his dirty money and the Secret Service would probably have to restrain you. After all, I’ve always felt you understood my plight more than most because your mom was a teenager. That’s why you stood up for me when you were campaigning against Sen. McCain and my mom — you said vicious attacks on me should be off limits.

Yet I wonder if the Presidency has changed you. Now that you’re in office, it seems you’re only willing to defend certain women. You’re only willing to take a moral stand when you know your liberal supporters will stand behind you.

This is a quote from Bristol, daughter of Sarah Palin, whom I do not recall being treated in a civil fashion by the Leftist media in recent years.

Do you understand what is happening? Because a mother did not kill her baby in the womb, that is, did not perform an act of abominable child-murder against her own baby, the PC-niks have scrupled at nothing to harass, revile and slander her and her family.

Why are these creatures running our nation? How have they come to dominate our culture?

John C. Wright

Josquin Des Prez: Miserere

Hm, Yes

Sarkozy’s Fault

Did Sarkozy’s far-right rhetoric fan flames of ethnic hatred?
– UK Independent

… as for the tragedy in France, it does not say anything about Islam, only of human nature and its potential for evil. All that matters ultimately is that three innocent children, a father and three young soldiers are now dead.
– UK Telegraph

The first to say what was on everyone’s mind was not the Socialist challenger François Hollande but the centrist François Bayrou. He said the killings were the product of a sick society, with politicians who pointed the finger and inflamed passions. No prize for guessing whom he was talking about. Nicolas Sarkozy’s lurch to the right has included such claims as there being too many immigrants in France, and that the French were secretly ingesting halal meat.
– UK Guardian

A senior French official says that authorities have no evidence that al-Qaeda commissioned a gunman to commit a killing spree that left seven dead. The official, who is close to the investigation into gunman Mohamed Merah, told The Associated Press that there is no sign he had “trained or been in contact with organized groups or jihadists.”
– USAToday

… despite the fact he was, for some completely bizarre and ineplicable reason, on the US no-fly list.

The Muslim faith has nothing to do with the insane acts of this man. Before targeting Jewish children, he targeted other Muslims.
– President Sarkozy

Pamela Geller:

He targeted Muslim soldiers in the French army. They were not fighting for jihad. They were fighting for the infidel — that’s why they were targeted. Because they were apostates in the eyes of devout Muslims. Mohamed Merah was killing French soldiers, and according to authentic Islamic teaching, the worst kind of traitor, the Muslim French soldier.

French jihad enters stage two. Jewish children slaughtered, rabbi killed in cold blood, and what’s the response from the Muslim community? Expunge the quran of its genocidal texts that command Jewish blood? No. Instead, infidels are warned, admonished, and the ummah is fraught with worry over — get this — “anti-Muslim backlash.” I am having 911 deja vu all over again.

Jihad Watch:

We see it again and again: every time there is a jihad attack or a foiled jihad plot, the mainstream media focuses attention on the poor victimized … Muslims, churning out story after story about a backlash that never actually materializes, and thereby attempting to shift focus away from jihad mass murder and onto the Muslims as victims, needing special protection and deserving to be exempt from especial scrutiny.

Does anyone fall for this nonsense anymore? Oh, yes, they certainly do.

“French Muslims fear post-Toulouse repercussions,” from EuroNews, March 21 (thanks to Answering Muslims):

France’s five-million strong Islamic community fears it may be subject to repercussions after it emerged the main suspect in the killing of seven people – including three young children – was Muslim.

In Toulouse itself, the message was one of tolerance.

“There are issues between Arabs and Jews,” said one man. “That’s not good. On earth we’re the same race.”

“Whatever you are, Jewish, Muslim, Arab or anything else, we are all the same blood,” added another.

Many Muslims already feel they are all viewed as potential extremists. In Paris one felt the media had focused on the wrong aspect of the killings.

“What shocked me most was that the victims were children,” he said. “But the media is putting the spotlight more on the fact it concerns Jews and Muslims or for example that a Muslim killed an Arab.”

Another added: “It’s true that tolerance regarding Islam is already greatly reduced. And what’s happening in Toulouse is inevitably going to raise fears.”

A joint appeal by the Jewish and Islamic communities for tolerance has been issued but plans for a joint rally on Sunday have been cancelled.

The West has basically tolerated itself into suicide.

Jerry Philipson:

Merah acted in the name of Islam and felt that the murders were justified by Islamic teachings and exhortations. He was of course correct, because they were and they are. France, and Europe, are full of Islamic Jihadists just like Merah, full of Islamic Jihadists with the same attitude, mentality and beliefs. They are already a serious threat to the safety, security and freedom of Europe’s citizens (especially Jews and Christians) and are becoming more of a threat every day. The fact that Merah felt brazen enough to commit the murders in the first place and in broad daylight in the second is very telling. Islam is fundamentally changing the nature and character of European countries and trying to turn them into Islamic states governed by Islamic law (Sharia) and it is foot soldiers like Merah who are intimidating ordinary citizens into acquiescing. The murders were a warning alright…a warning that Islam will continue to advance at the expense of the continent’s Judeo-Christian heritage and Western way of life, until it is stopped or until it reigns supreme, a warning that it will bring to twenty-first century Europe the same things it has brought everywhere else it has ever appeared…violence, hatred, destruction, misogyny and death.

Unless and until the West remembers itself, and realizes the true threat from the Taqiyya of radical Islam – it is, literally, doomed to death from the inside.

This is the video NYPD Chief Raymond Kelly routinely used as part of his department’s anti-terrorism training. Caving into local outraged Muslims and to a city government weakened by political correctness, Chief Kelly recently issued an apology for showing it:

We must understand that jihadist Islam is not merely a “religion” in the sense traditionally understood in the West. It is, to its very core, substance and essence, a fundamental and thorough system of war for world domination and subjugation of the dhimmis.

CAIR unmasked:

Robert Spencer versus Moustafa Zayed, ragarding jihadism:

Anjem Choudary versus David Wood, regarding sharia:

Now, in the interests of fairness, here is the other side:

Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think

A comprehensive argument attacking Islamophobia:

Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America

President Barak Obama’s Speech in Cairo:

A New Beginning

And here is President George W. Bush, whose stance on this issue likewise never- once – deviated:

More food for thought, if you want it, from the other side:

Islam and Islamic Studies Resources

And so, back to Sarkozy.

Sarkozy calls for national unity.

Make up your own mind.

The Uniqueness of Christianity is the Trinity and the Incarnation

Hans Urs von Balthasar:

All true solutions offered by the Christian Faith hold, therefore, to these two mysteries [the Trinity and the Incarnation], categorically refused by a human reason that makes itself that absolute. It is because of this that the true battle between religions begins only after the coming of Christ. Humanity will prefer to renounce all philosophical questions – in Marxism, or positivism of all stripes – rather than accept a philosophy that finds its final response only in the revelation of Christ. Foreseeing that, Christ sent his believers into the whole world as sheep among wolves. Before making a pact with the world, it is necessary to meditate on that comparison.

Lead By Example

I try not to be a rage junkie, I really do. I suspect that this type of persuasion on either side gets nowhere – all we end up doing is preaching to the choir. I wonder who is really left in the undecided middle anymore? Ah well. For what it’s worth, here is my daily dose of rage. Sip gently and enjoy.