The Stupid. It Burns.

December 12, 2013

The Canadians, eh? Remember those nice, civilized people who lived up north of us?
They’re gone.
They’re under new management, which is cleaning house.
Starting with burning the libraries.

The Tyee, British Columbia:

The Harper government has dismantled one of the world’s top aquatic and fishery libraries as part of its agenda to reduce government as well as limit the role of environmental science in policy decision-making.

Last week the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which is closing five of its seven libraries, allowed scientists, consultants and members of the public to scavenge through what remained of Eric Marshall Library belonging to the Freshwater Institute at the University of Manitoba.

One woman showed up to pick up Christmas gifts for a son interested in environmental science. Other material went into dumpsters. Consultants walked home with piles of “grey material” such as 30-year-old reports on Arctic gas drilling.

Nearly 40,000 books and papers were relocated to a federal library in Sidney, B.C.

“It was a world class library with some of the finest environmental science and freshwater book collections in the world. It was certainly the best in Canada, but it’s no more,” said Burt Ayles, a 68-year-old retired research scientist and former regional director general for freshwaters in central Canada and the Arctic.

Established in 1973, when foreign governments hailed Canada as a world leader in freshwater science and protection, the library housed tens of thousands of reports, maps, charts and books, including material dating back to the 1880s.

The library contained fishery reports on the decline of sturgeon fishing in Lake Winnipeg from the 1890s, said Ayles, and served as invaluable intellectual capital for public researchers at the Freshwater Institute and world famous Experimental Lakes Area.

“The loss of this library and its impact on fisheries and environmental science is equivalent to Rome destroying the Royal Library of Alexandria in Egypt. It’s equal to that,” said Ayles. At the time, Alexandria boasted the world’s largest collection in the ancient world.

Closure ‘makes us poorer as a nation’: scientist

Before Fisheries and Oceans hired a librarian to dispose of the library’s contents, the collection duly reflected the importance of freshwater in the nation’s geography, say scientists.

Canada holds more than 20 per cent of the surface freshwater in the world, and its rivers and streams annually transport almost 10 per cent of the world flow of freshwater. Canada is also one of the world’s largest seafood-exporting nations.

“I was sickened,” said one prominent research scientist who had worked for the federal government for 30 years, and who did not want to be identified. “All that intellectual capital is now gone. It’s like a book burning. It’s the destruction of our cultural heritage. It just makes us poorer as a nation.”

“There are so many willing accomplices to what’s going on,” the scientist added. “All of our federal libraries and archives are being diminished. It’s an ideological thing coming from a right-wing libertarian government.”

Since 2012, the government has closed or consolidated more than a dozen federal libraries at Parks Canada, Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Foreign Affairs, Citizenship and Immigration and Canadian Heritage (see sidebar).

“The government is either incompetent or malevolent or both,” added Ayles.

No scientist interviewed by The Tyee thought digital libraries could replace what has been destroyed.

Digital libraries, for example, often don’t include older material and journals and paradoxically reduce access to material due to payment schemes. They restrict rather than expand readership, say scientists.

“You don’t get rid of intellectual capital because one day you might need it, and if you have squandered it then you must redo it,” explained one researcher. “People are not being told the truth about what is happening in this country.”

Federal cuts by the Harper government have forced Fisheries and Oceans to lay off hundreds of researchers, as well as 700 Coast Guard workers; dismantle a marine contaminants program; and close the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, the first line of defence against oil spills. After dramatic cuts to the Canada Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research Centre at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, its director, Ken Lee, an oil spill expert, saw the writing on the wall and took a job in Australia.

Given that the Fisheries Act has been gutted in response to lobbying by energy companies (they found habitat protection “onerous” and it has been removed), government supporters say the infrastructure to protect fish and freshwater is no longer necessary.

The library’s closing did not surprise retired water ecologist David Schindler. “In retrospect, I am not surprised at all to find them trashing scientific libraries,” he said.

“Paranoid ideologues have burned books and records throughout human history to try to squelch dissenting visions that they view as heretical, and to anyone who worships the great God Economy monotheistically, environmental science is heresy.”

The library’s closure pours salt on another wound: the dismantling of the world-famous Experimental Lakes Area (ELA).

For nearly 50 years, scientists from around the world have used 58 lakes in northern Ontario for real, in-the-field experiments. These whole-lake studies led to groundbreaking insights on acid rain, mercury transport, gender-bending hormones and phosphate pollution. They also produced some of the longest running data on climate change’s impact on water and fish.

The Harper government stopped funding the $2-million facility in 2012, saying its services were no longer needed or redundant. At the time, project scientists were planning to do experiments on bitumen pollutants and their impact on fish and other species.

Former science minister Gerry Goodyear defended the closure by arguing that whole-lake experiments like those performed at ELA could be replaced by smaller scale experiments in labs where they would not jeopardize the entire lake.

Jules Blais, president of the Society of Canadian Limnologists, replied in a May 6, 2013 letter that Goodyear’s comments were not only misleading, but inaccurate. Scientists uniformly agree that whole-lake research offers the best evidence to guide policy, Blais wrote, while “small-scale experiments are inadequate to address issues related to ecosystem services, food web structure, land-water interactions, air-water interactions, shoreline communities, and migratory species.”

Furthermore, “experiments at the ELA are carefully designed to simulate environmentally-relevant conditions, and are only performed if ecosystems will recover naturally from the manipulation,” wrote Blais, a leading authority on mercury pollution.

The closure of the library, which served as a vital source for the ELA, will make it harder for Winnipeg’s International Institute for Sustainable Development to rescue what remains of the team of scientists that ran the ELA. A last minute deal, supported by funding by the Ontario government, has been compromised by the federal government. The ELA’s remaining researchers all received “surplus letters” last week, which makes it difficult to retain ELA staff.

Schindler, one of the first directors of the ELA, has long criticized the pace and scale of Canadian tar sands production. He co-authored two significant studies that showed the tar sands industry was responsible for significant pollution of waterways in the region. The studies forced Ottawa to develop a new monitoring program for the mega-project.

The ELA cost $2 million a year to maintain, but its research saved governments around the world billions of dollars by preventing water contamination, Schindler said.

 

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145 Responses to “The Stupid. It Burns.”

  1. kingdube Says:

    Dear Christopher Arcus,

    Sorry, I thought you had just moved on before you were able to respond.

    Anyway, I take it that you too do not know of a study supporting the 2.5-5X multiplier of the Models. I cannot find one.

    I’ll let you get back to this other important business.

  2. uknowispeaksense Says:

    You think Canada is bad? Have a look at my country. http://theconversation.com/climate-and-science-policy-the-coalitions-first-90-days-20616. These clowns have 3 years to inflict enormous damage on our environmental conventions and institutions, not to mention the environment itself. What isn’t mentioned in my link is the announcement by the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, that the Abbot Point coal and gas terminal will go ahead, allowing 3 million cubic metres of dredge to be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef and massively increase export capacity of fossil fuels. There is also the removal of the need for the government to seek expert advice where there is potential negative environmental consequences of any decisions it makes and the removal of the rights of redress for those bad decisions. Trust me, my government is making the Canadians look positively benign.


    • uknowispeaksense – Its good to get the perspective from Australia. The situation sounds similar to the US Bush administration or worse at a critical time. Its tough to live through that. My sympathies. I have heard many good bloggers from down under struggle with this. Its a global effort, but every nation has an effect. One that stands out is how extreme the administration is. It would be almost as if the EPA was disbanded in the US. There are sane voices in Australia, though. Some of them are heartening to us in the US. John Cook comes to mind. We need to find ways to unite people globally to transcend these transient national lapses.

      • uknowispeaksense Says:

        Just after my last comment, it was confirmed that our federal government will now be abandoning its environmental responsibilities by handing over power of approval to the States. I mentioned Abbot Point terminal being constructed. The thing that everyone in the world should be concerned about is the volume of fossil fuels involved. Per capita, Australia punches well above it’s weight. Last year, Abbot Point had 2 million tons of coal go through it. Waratah Coal expects that with the expansion, it will be able to export 240 million tons per year and that’s just one company mining the basin that will utilise this port and that’s just coal. The premier of Queensland, Campbell “I’m in the business of mining coal” Newman now has the final approval power and wants to see many ports built to export even more coal and natural gas. These conservatives are nuts,

      • stephengn1 Says:

        These anti-academic and certainly anti-science (unless the knowledge or technologies are pro centralized business or nationalistic) sentiments are gaining traction across much of the western world – notably and thankfully, Germany and Scandinavia are bucking this trend.

        This trend is not grass roots, however. It is insular, coming from the old guard, oil or nuclear powered right, who see new knowledge and disruptive technologies as the true threats they are.


        • Yup. We are in for a battle. Death throes of an aging, but still powerful dinosaur. Expect the nastiness to get more bitter as they slowly die. Its grass roots vs. old guard just as you say. Some real power wielders. The real tragedy and stupidity of it is that we are not their enemy. They will die off no matter what, but inflict damage on the way down. They are particularly fond of tyranny – theirs. We need to break their backs. Their weapons are monopoly and propaganda. Their weakness is their rigidity. In the end they will succumb to the forces of nature, which no one can deny. The choices and alternatives that will spank them are wind, solar, conservation, and community near and far. Organizing to stand up against evil. Tim DeChristopher is the model of resistance and fearless moral leadership in a struggle against this tyranny. Germany shows that its not just about technical solutions or possibilities. Its also a matter of choice. Wind was feasible long ago, but political will was against it. Now renewables are gaining momentum. They are unstoppable, but monied self interests and ideologues are trying to delay them. Thats like delaying your plague vaccination.


        • This trend is not grass roots, however. It is insular, coming from the old guard, oil or nuclear powered right

          You keep falsely and wrongly grouping nuclear power with fossil interests.  Fossil interests have been the ones keeping nuclear energy shackled since the late 1960’s, because nuclear energy can destroy the scarcity on which their business model depends.  Natural gas interests have been promoting the destruction of nuclear power so they can sell more of their product, greenwashed with a few wind farms.  Now that the need to also eliminate carbon emissions has become a life-and-death matter for civilization, they’re really worried and are pulling out all the stops.


  3. Ha, Peter, you consistently write the best titles on the web. Genuinely, not another site that I think has better — and i follow probably over 100. I’d pay you simply to write titles for us! 😀


  4. Responding to jpcowdrey, re-parented for readability and posted in 2 parts for length:

    you have consistently denigrated renewables

    I have to justify this starting with an aside.  According to the climate scientists, we need to reduce carbon emissions by no less than 80% to stabilize atmospheric CO2 levels.  I denigrate EVERY non-solution put forward as a solution (just as I’d denigrate a fake fire brigade pretending to put out house fires, but instead letting them burn).  This includes coal with carbon capture (nobody’s building it and nobody’s going to pay for it), biomass (the onset of the Anthropocene climate era coincides with the beginning of deforestation for building material, farmland and fuel), and, yes, most applications of renewables.

    There are places where renewables can achieve between 80% and 100% reductions in grid carbon emissions.  These are places where hydro, or other carbon-free non-thermal generation fed by substantial energy stockpiles, supplies the balance of the power as well as the rapid-response load balancing.  In every other area, renewables are limited to nameplate generation roughly equal to peak demand and cannot displace much more than their capacity factor.  I’m sorry, but a 35% carbon reduction is inadequate when you need no less than 80% and ought to shoot for 100%.  Denmark hasn’t even hit 50% yet; it just broke 40% last year, and it only managed this with massive interconnections to hydro-heavy neighbors.

    Any “alternative” energy source, “renewable” or not, that runs into diminishing returns and barriers to further growth before it hits 40% penetration is not a solution.  It is an anti-solution; it locks in demand for fossil fuels as far as the eye can see.

    in favor of nuclear.

    The nuclear-dominated French grid has carbon emissions around 70 gCO2/kWh.  This is a small fraction of the Danish figure, let alone the German (540 gCO2/kWh).  French per-capita CO2 emissions are lower than either of the others.  France pushed nuclear power to roughly 80% of its grid generation in 16 years (balance mostly hydro), with barely a hint of diminishing returns (French refinements use “gray” control rods for load-following).  If we intend to do something about atmospheric CO2, we should follow and improve on French successes instead of Danish posturing.

    We also have the example of Ontario, which got rid of most of its remaining electric-related carbon emissions when it returned the refurbished Bruce Point reactors to the grid and more or less stopped burning coal.  That pushed average CO2 emissions to less than 1/5 of what natural gas plants would emit.  That’s TWO existence proofs that the required reductions can be done with nuclear.

    Why shouldn’t I favor nuclear?  Give me ONE reason, and it better have to do with the climate.


  5. Responding to jpcowdrey, re-parented for readability and posted in 3 parts for length and links:

    you have consistently denigrated renewables

    I have to justify this starting with an aside.  According to the climate scientists, we need to reduce carbon emissions by no less than 80% to stabilize atmospheric CO2 levels.  I denigrate EVERY non-solution put forward as a solution (just as I’d denigrate a fake fire brigade pretending to put out house fires, but instead letting them burn).  This includes coal with carbon capture (nobody’s building it and nobody’s going to pay for it), biomass (the onset of the Anthropocene climate era coincides with the beginning of deforestation for building material, farmland and fuel), and, yes, most applications of renewables.

    There are places where renewables can achieve between 80% and 100% reductions in grid carbon emissions.  These are places where hydro, or other carbon-free non-thermal generation fed by substantial energy stockpiles, supplies the balance of the power as well as the rapid-response load balancing.  In every other area, renewables are limited to nameplate generation roughly equal to peak demand and cannot displace much more than their capacity factor.  I’m sorry, but a 35% carbon reduction is inadequate when you need no less than 80% and ought to shoot for 100%.  Denmark hasn’t even hit 50% yet; it just broke 40% last year, and it only managed this with massive interconnections to hydro-heavy neighbors.

    Any “alternative” energy source, “renewable” or not, that runs into diminishing returns and barriers to further growth (and ESPECIALLY barriers to other carbon-free energy supplies) before it hits 40% penetration is not a solution.  It is an anti-solution; it locks in demand for fossil fuels as far as the eye can see.


  6. Part 2/3:

    in favor of nuclear.

    The nuclear-dominated French grid has carbon emissions around 70 gCO2/kWh.  This is a small fraction of the Danish figure, let alone the German (540 gCO2/kWh).  French per-capita CO2 emissions are lower than either of the others.  France pushed nuclear power to roughly 80% of its grid generation in 16 years (balance mostly hydro), with barely a hint of diminishing returns (French refinements use “gray” control rods for load-following).  If we intend to do something about atmospheric CO2, we should follow and improve on French successes instead of Danish posturing.

    We also have the example of Ontario, which got rid of most of its remaining electric-related carbon emissions when it returned the refurbished Bruce Point reactors to the grid and more or less stopped burning coal.  That pushed average CO2 emissions to less than 1/5 of what natural gas plants would emit.  That’s TWO existence proofs that the required reductions can be done with nuclear.

    Why shouldn’t I favor nuclear?  Give me ONE reason, and it better have to do with the climate.

    • jimbills Says:

      “French per-capita CO2 emissions are lower than either of the others.”

      http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=en_atm_co2e_pc&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:FRA:ESP:GBR:DNK:DEU&ifdim=region&hl=en&dl=en&ind=false

      France indeed has lower per capita CO2 emissions, but it’s far from adequate.

      About Ontario:
      http://www.ec.gc.ca/indicateurs-indicators/default.asp?lang=en&n=18F3BB9C-1

      Growth has always been the key driver and cause of CO2 emissions. We’ll keep fooling ourselves into thinking there’s a technological fix, but until we ALSO culturally address infinite economic growth it’s a zero-sum game.


      • France indeed has lower per capita CO2 emissions, but it’s far from adequate.

        I’ve said the same, many times.  No industrialized nation on Earth has de-carbonized enough to stabilize the climate, and even non-industrial ones are wreaking climate havoc through deforestation and draining peat bogs.

        That is not the issue.  The issue is, how do we fix the climate?  This has two parts:
        1.  How do we get to zero, or less than zero if it turns out that we need to reverse e.g. oceanic heat uptake, and
        2.  What technologies are best-suited to do it, and especially, which ones are tried and proven?

        France has essentially de-carbonized its grid (which is far more than Germany or Denmark have done).  So has Ontario.  As far as I know, the only other nations/regions which have managed this rely primarily on hydropower.  We cannot create hydropower resources to order, but we can put nuclear generators almost anywhere, from under the oceans and on ice caps to outer space.

        Suppose you were looking to further de-carbonize the economies of Europe.  Consider France vs. Germany.  Converting to electric vehicles eliminates local carbon emissions.  Which one has the most fertile ground for net carbon reductions using EVs:  France, at around 50 gCO2/kWh, or Germany, at 540 gCO2/kWh?

        Growth has always been the key driver and cause of CO2 emissions.

        And immigration is the key driver of growth, in Canada as in the USA (the Sierra Club was anti-immigration, until it was essentially bribed by David Gelbaum to eliminate its advocacy of ZPG).  This is also an important issue, but it is orthogonal to the issue of the choice of sources of energy.

        The problem for the climate is carbon emissions, not the economy as such.  Carbon emissions grow as GDP/energy and energy/CO2.  If you can generate all your energy without CO2 (and other GHGs), GDP is eliminated as a first-order factor.  There are other factors, but those can be remedied by returning all ethnic groups to their populations as of about 1960.  Western cultures have managed NPG-level birthrates, it’s long past time for the rest to figure it out.

        • jimbills Says:

          I’ll address two problematic statements in your post, and then get back to the main point of my comment.

          “And immigration is the key driver of growth”

          This is really more a reflection of your particular political views than an accurate observation of reality. While immigration certainly does contribute to growth, (obviously population growth, but also economic growth), it is not the key driver of growth. Growth is a combination of economic policy (formed by cultural attitudes), governmental stability, and access to cheap and powerful resources. Those are the key drivers – take away any of the three and growth will falter. Immigration is a function of economic policy. It contributes to growth, but it’s far from being a key driver.

          “Converting to electric vehicles eliminates local carbon emissions. ”

          No, it doesn’t. You still have all the other industrial sources of C02 emissions (manufacturing – see Ontario, cement use, steel production, etc.), plus all the CO2 and GHGs from industrial agricultural practices. Basically, after converting 80-100% of electrical creation to nuclear and renewables, and after changing every vehicle on the road to run on electricity, we’d still have 30% or so CO2 emissions to handle. Besides the immense technical challenges of doing both of the above, it would take decades of 100% focused effort and continued emissions to even get to that place. And after all that, continued growth with multiply both the difficulty and the increased emissions from all the other sources.

          Now, the main point of my original comment is this. We’re basically playing an unwinnable game by thinking we can maintain continuous economic growth and by plugging in technologies to bring down total emissions. Besides what I wrote above, and besides the multiplying effect of growth, we have simple economics to contend with.

          Say one or two countries achieve both total electricity generation and transport from nuclear/renewables. Or say many do. All that does is create lower prices for the remaining fossil fuels, which spurs its use in the other nations, which spurs more worldwide growth. It doesn’t do anything, really, to prevent fossil fuel use. In fact, it facilitates it.

          This is why I say we’re fooling ourselves with technology. All technology really does is extend human capability. Until we as humans realize that we have to tame our own desires, technology only further increases the reach of those desires.

          The only true way to prevent fossil fuel use is to mandate that it stays in the ground. To really pull that off, all nations will have to culturally accept very low to no to negative growth – all highly unlikely, surely, but it’s the only true fix. I know this is highly unpopular (among all current political stripes), but it is what it is.


      • Looking at national co2 emissions is misleading. Example, Canada is among the highest, consistently challenging US for the lead in per capita. But tar sands are the reason. And US is a major consumer. Australia sends it’s coal to Asia. France has less industry and GNP than Germany. A comparison on the basis of a single statistic analysis is not useful here. Instead of comparing nations, we should be considering the range of solutions globally considering the overall effect, both human activity and impacts.


  7. Part 3/3:

    In this your interests effectively stand congruent with fossil fuel interests

    You make the assumption that nuclear interests and fossil-fuel interests are the same.  You are wrong.  Internationals such as GE are downplaying their nuclear business while pushing combustion systems.  They have not sold any nuclear reactors in a long time, and the fossil arms generate lots of profits… profits they are loath to give up to others, even under the same corporate umbrella.  Worldwide nuclear sales today are dominated by countries with up-and-coming energy sectors, with Russia, China and S. Korea signing contracts all over.

    This is true in the post-sales market too.  Low-enriched uranium costs less than a cent per kWh; coal and gas, many times this.  Not just suppliers but shippers make lots and lots of money.  Those sales would disappear if nuclear took over, and they and their lobbyists know it.

    In Ontario, the “wind” interests were running cover for big gas-fired turbines.  The same is true in Vermont.  It is the “renewable” advocates, not me, who effectively promote eternal dependence on fossil fuels.

    My advocacy stands foursquare against the interests of coal miners, gas drillers, railroads and pipeline companies.  Give me ONE way that’s congruent with fossil-fuel interests, and it better not be “they both sell steam turbines”.

  8. daveburton Says:

    This letter by Hansen, Wigley, etc., is pertinent to the nuclear vs. renewables debate:

    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/EE-Nuclear-essential-for-climate-stability-0411137.html

    They, and Engineer-Poet, are correct that, among current technologies, only nuclear power has the real potential to stop the rise in atmospheric CO2 levels. Renewables can, at most, cause a very slight delay in reaching 500 ppm CO2.

    The mistake that Hansen, Wigley & Engineer-Poet make is not in their understanding of what it would take to get CO2 down to 350 ppm. They are right about that. Their error is their premise that 350 ppm CO2 would be in any sense better than 500 ppm CO2. The best evidence is that both mankind and the natural environment have benefited and will continue to benefit tremendously from higher CO2 levels. As tens of thousands of scientists (including engineers in relevant fields) attest:

    “…there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Dave shows again that he is a believer in the efficacy of the ‘big lie”, BS endlessly repeated until it becomes truth in the minds of the ignorant. To wit:

      “The best evidence is that both mankind and the natural environment have benefited and will continue to benefit tremendously from higher CO2 levels. As tens of thousands of scientists (including engineers in relevant fields) attest:”

      “…there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

      That’s just the same old crap from the Oregon Petition Project. Say it often enough and hope it will suddenly become true is Dave’s modus operandi. Benefit “tremendously” from higher CO2 levels? And “will continue to benefit”? “Best evidence”?

      And we know this because 15,000 ENGINEERS (who are NOT scientists, and most of whom do NOT work in “relevant fields”) have “attested” by signing the Petition?

      It might be nice if Dave provided some evidence for all that BS rather than just endlessly repeating it. And NOT from the Oregon Institute or the Idso’s, but from reputable sources. Can you give us a link to Skeptical Science that supports your BS, Dave?

      • daveburton Says:

        Old guy wrote, “15,000 ENGINEERS (who are NOT scientists, and most of whom do NOT work in “relevant fields”) have “attested” by signing the Petition?”

        Since I’ve already given you the dictionary definition of an engineer, but you still insist that engineers are not scientists, you obviously don’t want to know.

        If anyone here cares, here’s the full breakdown of the specialties of the 31,487 American scientists who’ve signed the Global Warming Petition:

        http://www.petitionproject.org/qualifications_of_signers.php

        Among the engineers (who old guy thinks aren’t qualified) are:

        2169 electrical engineers (educated in systems science – extremely applicable)
        1693 chemical engineers (obviously applicable)
        487 environmental engineers (obviously applicable)
        223 nuclear engineers (note their reverse bias, since nuclear is the only practical way to substantially lower CO2 emissions)
        114 agricultural engineers (obviously applicable)

        Of course, the hard sciences are heavily represented, too:

        3129 chemists
        2365 physicists
        581 mathematicians
        59 astronomers
        26 astrophysicists

        Plus:

        2240 earth scientists (mostly geologists)
        1438 biologists
        343 meteorologists
        297 agricultural scientists
        253 environmental scientists
        242 computer scientists (incl. me)
        163 forestry scientists
        112 statisticians
        83 oceanographers

        Etc., etc., etc.

        Note that many signers have qualifications in more than one field. (For instance, I have degrees in both Systems Science and Computer Sciences.)

        All 31,478 of us signed up to attest to our agreement with this statement:

        “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

        • dumboldguy Says:

          I’m busy living “real life” today, so I won’t have time to reply to Dave for a while. The short answer to this is that Dave has done his usual doubling down on a bad bet and tried to pile it so high and deep that people will just gloss over it. The propagandist knows that things looked at quickly will stick in the mind and be remembered, even though they may be huge lies and distortions as we see here from Dave. Dave is not an honest man—-he has spoken many untruths here.


        • Presumably, Dave Burton believes that I, an electrical engineer with proven expertise in systems analysis, am qualified to practice climate science.  By extension, any engineer with expertise in systems analysis should be able to practice in any speciality which requires the same.

          I doubt Dave Burton would agree that electrical engineers should be hired to design petrochemical plants.  These also require a lot of management of interacting systems, but the domain-specific knowledge base required is both very large and very different.  That’s why chemical engineering is its own speciality.

          I do not agree that engineers of any stripe are ipso facto qualified to take issue with the peer-reviewed judgements of climate scientists.  While competent engineers are certainly able to take on and debunk some of the sillier climate “theories” pushed by deniers (like the crank-level nonsense of Nikolov et al., which Anthony Watts would never have endorsed if he was both competent and honest), most engineers are simply not used to dealing with stochastic and chaotic processes and substantial uncertainties in inputs.  The engineer tightens tolerances until his stuff works; you can’t do that when basic inputs to your system, like the number and quality of cloud-condensation nuclei, are poorly understood.

          • daveburton Says:

            Engineer-Poet, with your background you should know what happens to systems in which there are delayed feedbacks (either positive or negative!), and you should understand the drastically different effects small periodic inputs at resonant vs. anti-resonant frequencies.

            E.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-zczJXSxnw

            That background should put you way ahead of most “climate scientists” when it comes to creating and evaluating GCMs, and you should understand the fallacy of dismissing astronomical cycles as climate forcings simply because of their small magnitudes.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Yes, Engineer-Poet, with your background in electrical engineering please tell us about the things that happen in electrical systems. My training in “electricity” is limited to 4 SH in Electricity/Magnetism and another 4 SH in Electronics many years ago (and I am old enough that vacuum tubes were still around in great abundance then). Are not the things that happen in electrical systems generally very predictable and replicable, and don’t they behave according to certain long understood principles?

            Is Dave not overreaching when he attempts to make an analogy with the rather chaotic and relatively poorly understood mechanisms of climate change? Just as the bridge collapse he links is spectacular but simplistic in its relevance?

            I would suggest that you yourself would not claim any special ability to
            create and evaluate” GCM’s because of being an electrical engineer, and certainly not “way ahead” of climate scientists. Please set me straight if I’ve got any of that wrong.

            And I can’t quite understand why Dave now talks about “the fallacy of dismissing astronomical cycles as climate forcings simply because of their small magnitudes”. Unless he is attempting to set up another distracting straw man for us. Since no one I’m aware of has “dismissed” astronomical cycles as a factor in climate change for any reason, there is no “fallacy” except in Dave’s mind..

          • dumboldguy Says:

            E-Pot makes sense here. By extension, chemical engineers, mining engineers, transportation engineers, mechanical engineers, etc. are also not qualified to “practice climate science”. Nor are medical doctors, veterinarians, or computer geeks who design programs to manipulate statistics and apply them to basic data that is FAR outside their “specialty”.

            We come back to the 39 or 40 climatologists who signed the petition—can Dave tell us who they are so that we can check out their qualifications?

          • daveburton Says:

            You first, old guy. Or did you just make up that bit about the 3000 signers who withdrew their names from the Petition?

            You and Peter believe (or at least claim to believe) that the Petition is riddled with fake names. But Prof. Robinson says, and there is no reason to doubt, that:

            “Opponents of the petition project sometimes submit forged signatures in efforts to discredit the project. Usually, these efforts are eliminated by our verification procedures. On one occasion, a forged signature appeared briefly on the signatory list. It was removed as soon as discovered.”

            Y’all are in denial.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Dave is getting desperate—-he is now resorting to outright lies.

            Sorry, but I don’t believe either Peter or I spoke of “thousands” of fake names. The very fact that there were ANY raised questions for me about the validity of the verification process. To me, it is more significant that there was no requirement that signers name the institution from which they received their alleged “degrees”, and therefore no possible verification of the basic premise of the Petition—that the signatories were in fact trained scientists (the verification of all the engineer’s is not necessary, since the vast majority of them have no standing to be commenting on climate science issues and were just used as ‘filler” to pad out the numbers). Dave says “Prof. Robinson says, and there is no reason to doubt…” Really? NO REASON to doubt? Dr. Robinson is a charlatan and the petition is a hoax—there is EVERY reason to doubt ANYTHING he says.

            He did a lot of squirming with the “fake names” and even more with the other issues raised about the Petition Hoax. Why don’t you tell about what he had to say when the National Academy of Science climbed all over him for his misrepresentations with the “research paper” attached to the Petition.

            “Opponents of the petition project sometimes submit forged signatures in efforts to discredit the project. Usually, these efforts are eliminated by our verification procedures. On one occasion, a forged signature appeared briefly on the signatory list. It was removed as soon as discovered.”;

            “Opponents sometimes” submit? “Usually” eliminated? “Attempts to discredit the project”? On only ONE occasion? Etc. Etc. Easily recognized for what it is—sour grapes, straw man, finger pointing, “I am the victim” whining and refusal to face the main point. The good doctor has made no substantive answers to the many arguments made against the petition.

            (Y’all are a troll).

        • andrewfez Says:

          Years ago i started to read through their ‘Review of Peer Reviewed Lit.’ summary: The first figure was a small, cherry picked area of the ocean with a one-proxy reconstruction of surface temps that showed a large uptick in medieval times and which doesn’t provide any high resolution modern temp records (the graph stops in 1975 because they’re using 50 and 100 year averages).

          Then I looked down at their 3rd and 5th figures which use an outdated model to represent TSI [which by the way, fails to accurately track satellite measured TSI, which is why this model was scrapped in favor of a more competent one (Wang 2005) that does for the IPCC reports].

          How many MD’s or Veterinarians, who are used to reading simple, double blind, placebo controlled research or other simple studies where a control is involved, would even think to check through the references of this ‘review’ for quality? Their ignorance of astrophysics would have them at a disadvantage from page one.

          After that I stopped reading the thing.

          • daveburton Says:

            You’re really stretching, Andrew.

            In the first place, the petition and Robinson’s >6yo paper have little to do with one another. It’s not like the signatories of the petition studied that paper to decide what they believed about climatology.

            In the second place, your nit-picking about what TSI model or temperature proxy that paper mentioned is misplaced. It was a very broad survey paper, which touches on a wide range of of topics in climatology. Such a paper obviously cannot dive very deeply into each topic. Choosing a representative example is not “cherry-picking.”

            In the third place, your snide remark about “MD’s & Veterinarians” is a cheap shot, because you know that only 2,586 of the 31,487 signatories are MDs and DVMs, and you know that “most of the MD and DVM signers also have underlying degrees in basic science.” In fact, complaining about the 8% of the signers who have MDs and DVMs could be construed as cherry-picking, by the guy who just complained about cherry-picking.

            If you want to complain about cherry-picking, how about complaining about a real case of it, like when Doran & Zimmerman cherry-picked the 2.45% of most biased respondents for their “97% consensus” propaganda.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Dave is the one that’s “stretching”, not Andrew. The paper Andrew linked appears to be the same paper that was “doctored” to look as if it had been published in the National Academy of Sciences journal and was appended to the Petition. This is the paper the NAS went bonkers over. So it would appear that Dave is prevaricating YET AGAIN with “….the petition and Robinson’s >6yo paper have little to do with one another. It’s not like the signatories of the petition studied that paper to decide what they believed about climatology”. It’s true they have “littele” to do with each other because they have A WHOLE LOT to do with each other. Dave would like us to believe that “the paper” was not intended to influence all those engineers that knew next to nothing about climate science. Sure, Dave—I will sell some prime Miami real estate that will not be under water for 600 years to anyone who believes that.

            And Dave has the cojones to say “Choosing a representative example is not “cherry-picking.” We all know what Dave’s “representative samples” look like, don’t we?

            There is nothing snide or “cheap shot” about talking about the 2586 “MD’s & Veterinarians”(exactly 2586, if you want to believe that—they have NOT verified anywhere near enough of the signatories to be that precise)

            Let’s hope that “MOST of the MD and DVM signers also have underlying degrees in basic science”, because having a degree in “basic science” is something that ALL doctors should have to begin medical school. Perhaps Dave goes to doctors that somehow got into med school without that? And I wonder how much of that “basic science” that doctors study is in fields remotely related to climate change? I hope not too much, because I want my cardiologist to be an expert in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and other things related to my body rather than GCM’s and ENSO’s.

            Dave provides a laugh with his “complaining about the 8% (2586) of the signers who have MDs and DVMs could be construed as cherry-picking” and following that with yet another reference to Zimmerman, where he was trying to make a huge deal about 74 and 79. Hey Dave! I’m holding up 2586 fingers on one hand and 74 (or 79) fingers on the other—-which hand has more fingernails to cut and how many engineers will I need to get the job done? Would I also need to talk to a scientist before I turn the engineers loose? LOL

            To further illustrate the difference between engineers and real scientists, the engineers would simply focus on the task and the tools needed while the scientist would try to figure out why I had so many fingernails on one hand and so few on the other (and the scientist would call in an expert telepsychiatrist to help him understand why certain individuals can’t see the difference between 2586 and 74 (or 79)—that’s important because those folks distract us and impede progress)

            And let’s move off the 97% consensus business and talk about the studies that looked at ten years of peer-reviewed studies/papers on AGW and found that ~13,000 supported AGW and ~39 denied it. Is that better than 97%?

          • andrewfez Says:

            I’ll have one more go, Dave, then I’ve got to rest my hands, so final word will go to you, if you like:

            =In the first place, the petition and Robinson’s >6yo paper have little to do with one another. It’s not like the signatories of the petition studied that paper to decide what they believed about climatology.=

            Please take a look at the video I posted below my last comment. Around 4:40 to 6:50 in the video explains the link between the paper and the petition. Certainly the 1998 petition packet would not have included the latest review (from 2007) that I posted which has the 2005 TSI model, but would have included the earlier version of such review which likely contained the results of the original model from which the 2005 model was based. The 2007 petition packet, i speculate, contained the updated 2007 review which i posted above, because Robinson would likely have wanted to repeat the process that garnered his initial success of 17,000 signatures.

            But since i have no evidence that the 2007 review accompanied the 2007 petition, I will only say a few words about the original 1998 petition packet which did contain the earlier version of the review: The review was meant to influence the people receiving the packet, otherwise Robinson would not have printed off 17,000+ copies of it to accompany the petition. I would submit that many of these recipients that worked in medicine, metallurgy, lab settings (B.S. in Chem or Bio = lab tech in many facilities), agriculture, etc. probably were not studied in global climate science and the review was the first general climate paper they had ever experienced. And when there’s a former NAS president endorsing the thing, I’m sure lots of folks took a few minutes to look through the graphs at least – graphs that fail to show the recent divergence between satellite TSI and global surface temps, but instead show a model (with some proxies that don’t correlate well with TSI) to represent TSI against Arctic air temps.

            As to the nit picking of the model, it is warranted because the model’s average value from 1978 onward is 1371.5 W/m^2 whilst the satellite mean is about 1366 W/M^2. The 1371.5 is also outside the natural variability range in the satellite data (over 3 solar cycles) by a factor of 5. In other words it is grossly overestimating TSI from at least 1978 onward. The model itself is based on the assumption that our sun is more variable than it is now thought to be.

            Welp, I’ll try to wrap it up here, as it’s dinner time, but i will just mention that i was picking on the doctors because the review is published in something called the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

            As far the 97% goes, I don’t think anyone really can say from that one study that it is exactly 97%. It may be 65% or 75% or 85% or 95%. The main take away there is that a majority of folks working in the ‘climate scientist’ subset that the authors defined believe in whatever the authors were asking about climate. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at the details of that particular study so I can’t further comment on it past what i’ve said…

            But even with the study’s flaws it’s still more ‘accurate’ than the Oregon petition because nobody knows how many petitions were sent out and how many did not get signed. Nobody knows if the petitions were sent via a marketing filter such as only sending the petition to registered republicans or the like.

            See ya –

          • daveburton Says:

            Thank you, Andrew, for an interesting and thoughtful comment.

            You wrote, “As to the nit picking of the model, it is warranted because the model’s average value from 1978 onward is 1371.5 W/m^2 whilst the satellite mean is about 1366 W/M^2… it is grossly overestimating TSI…”

            Actually, the latest SORCE satellite measurements say it’s only about 1360.8 W/M^2.

            That paper is more than 6 years old. Things change.

            As for the connection between the paper and the survey, it may be that other signers were persuaded by the paper to sign the petition, but I wasn’t. I don’t think I’d even seen the paper when I submitted my signature card.

            I was not solicited for my signature. Rather, I heard about the petition from a friend (a now semi-retired physics professor who had signed it), found the web site and the signature card, filled it out with my qualifications, and mailed it in, about five years ago. Several months later, my name still wasn’t listed on the web site, so I followed up with emails to Prof. Robinson, pestering him until my name (and about 400 others) finally appeared on the site, in March, 2009.

            I hope your carpal tunnel improves. If a Microsoft Natural Keyboard doesn’t help, perhaps you could use Dragon Naturally Speaking or something similar, to reduce the amount of typing.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Dave tells us some interesting history with, “I was not solicited for my signature. Rather, I heard about the petition from a friend (a now semi-retired physics professor who had signed it), found the web site and the signature card, filled it out with my qualifications, and mailed it in, about five years ago”

            So Dave is one of the 5% of the signatories who sought out the Petition on the web and sent in his card. That leads me to ask why Dave wasn’t solicited by the OISM in the first place? So he’s not a “plankholder” but a “groupie”?. I would also like to know the specialty of Dave’s physics professor buddy and where he got his degrees. I would also like to know if Dave got involved with NC-20 before or after signing the Petition. So many questions, so little time.

            Dave also tells us, “Several months later, my name still wasn’t listed on the web site, so I followed up with emails to Prof. Robinson, pestering him until my name (and about 400 others) finally appeared on the site, in March, 2009”.

            I hate to be unkind, but didn’t they want Dave? Actually, all of that may be a good indicator of how sloppy the verification process of the Petition Project actually is. It would be the height of irony if they have “lost” the signature cards of several thousand REAL scientists whose inclusion would increase the ratio of REAL scientists to imagined scientists like engineers. That would perhaps make the Petition less of a hoax. And wouldn’t it be grand if they had lost FOUR actual climate scientists? Adding them would increase their climatologist count by over 10% to 43, a really significant proportion of the 32,000.

            Dave finishes with, “I hope your carpal tunnel improves. If a Microsoft Natural Keyboard doesn’t help, perhaps you could use Dragon Naturally Speaking or something similar, to reduce the amount of typing.”

            Dave, I don’t have tunnels in my carpals, but I AM wearing the letters off my keyboard responding to you. Could you recommend a keyboard that the letters will NOT wear off?

          • dumboldguy Says:

            LOL Thanks a lot, Dave, for a link to keyboards without any letters on the keys at all! BIG help! We dumboldfolk DO need to look at the keys occasionally because we forget whether the I is to the left or right of the O and so on. I type pretty fast but I have never relied solely on touch.

            And I really AM wearing the letters away. My latest keyboard is a Logitech “illuminated”. I thought it would be nice to have lighted keys, but the paint has chipped off half a dozen to the point that I will soon need sunglasses.

          • daveburton Says:

            Shucks, old guy, that ain’t nuthin’. On one of my keyboards I’ve worn holes in two of the keys.

            I know you never believe anything I tell you, but I can take a picture of it, if you want.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Come on, Dave. I DO believe a small portion of what you say on Crock. (A VERY small portion)

            Even if it does sound like a “tall tale” told among computer geeks, as in “I wuz flamin’ that fool so hot that I meltid thuh keys”, I will accept that you’ve worn holes in the keys and you don’t need to take a picture.

            I will suggest, however, that maybe you need to cut your fingernails more often and use a lotion that will make your fingertips less abrasive? Just sayin’ (And your beautiful real estate agent wife will appreciate it too when you hold hands as you take moonlight walks along the non-rising edge of the ocean in NC)

          • daveburton Says:

            Unfortunately, markle2k seems to have left the room. That was cruel. I’m still waiting to learn more about my “real estate agent wife.”

          • dumboldguy Says:

            I googled a bit and couldn’t find your wife selling real estate either.
            I’m disappointed too.

            But wait! Was that her in the background of the video of the young daveburton being thrown out of that meeting by security? The one covering her face with her hands in embarrassment?

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Dave is back, doggedly pursuing the same faulty logic, and INSISTING that we all accept his cherry picked and very limited “definitions”. At the same time, he totally ignores the more detailed “compare and contrast” definition that I provided, one that does a far better job of illustrating that the vast majority of engineers are not scientists. And he says I am the one who “doesn’t want to know”? Laughable and transparent, Dave. You DO know, Dave, but you are obviously being paid to speak untruths and you even seem to enjoy it, so I won’t fault you—everyone needs to make a living and have fun. Dave enjoys it just like the Colonel in Apocalypse Now loved “the smell of napalm in the morning”, except that with Dave it’s “the smell of freshly shoveled horsepucky”.

          Dave is shoveling horsepucky madly here, piling up a long list of numbers and adding things like “extremely applicable”, “obviously applicable” (3 times), and “heavily represented”. A good propaganda technique—the old “bald assertion”—mere opinion stated as fact in the hopes it will be believed. It’s interesting that Dave does NOT give the FULL breakdown of the ~32,000 as he said he was doing , and again calls them all “scientists” when more than half are engineers or in fields that have NO relevance to climate science (379 metalllurgists, anyone?) More transparent cherry picking and obfuscation from Dave.

          Let’s look at just one more closely, one that Dave mindlessly asserts is OBVIOUSLY applicable—-environmental engineers. One need only google “what do environmental engineers do?” to find:

          Specific areas of work of environmental engineers include:
          • Design and evaluation of erosion control systems
          • Systems and processes for management and utilization of wastes
          • Design and management of water control systems
          • Inspection, evaluation, and reporting for regulatory compliance
          • Air quality monitoring, air emission measurement and modeling, air pollution mitigation
          and control, and air dispersion modeling
          • Design of animal housing
          • Environmental management
          • Expert witness

          Professional organizations environmental engineers belong to: American Society of Biological and Agricultural ENGINEERS (ASABE), American Academy of Environmental ENGINEERING , Institute of Biological ENGINEERING, American Society of Civil ENGINEERING, American ENGINEERING Ecological Society

          What IS “obvious” is that environmental engineers have little to do with climate science, and much to do with “engineering”. One can find the same “obvious” disconnect from climate science with chemical engineers, electrical engineers, and nuclear engineers, to say nothing of the mechanical engineers and civil engineers that are so heavily represented on the list.

          Dave says “OF COURSE, the hard sciences are heavily represented, too”, which is again misleading. The same argument can be made about many of the actual scientists as about the engineers, if not quite as strongly, since they usually DO have some “basic science” knowledge beyond their specialties.

          I would suggest that very few of the 3129 chemists (or 3128? Or 3192?—-who knows what the real number is?) are involved in anything that could be called climate science. More googling will lead to an American Chemical Society listing of 30 areas in which chemists work, only one of which (environmental chemist) is even somewhat related to climate science (see the ACS description of “what they do”).

          Dave goes on and on—-Pile it H and D, of course. He lists “2240 earth scientists (mostly geologists)”, but neglects to say that most geologist don’t work in climate science fields (but many DO work for fossil fuel interests).. Yes, with Dave it’s an endless stream of misleading “Etc., etc., etc” horsepucky.

          Note that Dave is STILL upgrading his own qualifications by again claiming a degree in Systems SCIENCE when his degree is in Systems MANAGEMENT, and they are NOT the same thing just because they both contain the word “systems”. Shame on you, Dave!

          Dave closes by repeating the same old GHG lie from the Petition, again hoping it will stick in our subconscious. That tactic unfortunately met with some success with the general public—Dave’s error is refusing to accept that we Crockers are not as ill-informed and gullible as the general public.


  9. Four posts to reply to jpcowdrey? Can’t you just point to some source? You have missed his point entirely in your first sentences. He did not say nuclear and fossil fueled interests are the same. He implied you are carrying water for them by attacking renewables. We can recognize and acknowledge that your intent is different. We can also recognize that all the energy sources compete. All of which jpcowdrey summarized neatly in fewer words. Rule 1 of communication: know your audience. These people are intelligent. While they have the intellectual stamina to read long tomes, they also can recognize a grinding axe. Roseanne Rosannadanna would say “never mind”.


    • He implied you are carrying water for them by attacking renewables.

      The “renewables” advocates provide green cover for the fossil interests.  I spelled out exactly how that works, and you STILL don’t get it.  Every last “environmentalist” who agitated for the shutdown of San Onofre, and Vermont Yankee, and is pushing for the end of the rest, is carrying water for the gas and coal industries.  Germany is burning MORE lignite, not less.  Japan’s Kyoto CO2 targets were thrown out in the post-Fukushima panic.

      We are told that expanding RE means “baseload plants are obsolete”, which is code for “nuclear plants are obsolete”.  With major sources of energy which have negligible capacity value and no baseload plants, there must be other generators to take up load quickly on demand.  This always means combustion turbines, which must burn something.  In practice, that means gas or even oil.

      All of which jpcowdrey summarized neatly in fewer words.

      I am in the position of a biologist, explaining to a fundamentalist with little science education why “intelligent design” is a crock of hooey.  I cannot use sound bites, I have to be explicit and detailed.  If you don’t like all the explication, all you have to do is agree with me. 😉

      Roseanne Rosannadanna would say “never mind”.

      Emily Litella.

      • daveburton Says:

        Engineer-Poet, if you think Intelligent Design is a “crock of hooey,” your belief system must be governed by ideology, rather than logic. The more we learn about the irreducible complexity of the simplest life forms, the more completely impossible an abiotic origin of life seems to be.

        Simply put, in the same way that an automobile factory looks like it was designed, life looks like it was designed.

        Naive atheists sometimes think the famous Miller–Urey experiment (which synthesized amino acids in the laboratory) gave evidence for an abiotic origin of life. They are badly confused. The enormous complexity and huge information content of the simplest life forms plainly could not have been created by random processes mixing together amino acids.

        There just isn’t any other plausible explanation, other than I.D., that anyone has come up with, for how something as enormously complex as the simplest life forms could have come into existence. Everyone familiar with the topic is aware of the problem, regardless of whether or not they are religious.

        Even Richard Dawkins admitted that Intelligent Design is “is a possibility.” Watch him say it here, in this clip from Expelled:

        Dawkins was a passionate atheist, and ridiculed I.D. But upon closer examination you can see that it wasn’t really I.D. that Dawkins objected to, it was just a certain type of designer, the Designer we call God.

        BTW, you can watch the whole Expelled movie for free, here:

        It’s an excellent investment of 98 minutes of your time.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          A great logic lesson from Dave. He talks to us about “MORE completely impossible”? Is that anything akin to “MORE completely out of touch with reality”? Is not “completely” complete enough? And “Life LOOKS like it was designed”? Is that eyeball “looks”, Dave? You know what they say about how that can be “deceiving”.

          It is Dave rather than the “naive atheists” who are confused. He says “The enormous complexity and huge information content of the simplest life forms plainly could not have been created by random processes mixing together amino acids”. Dave is a computer engineer whose knowledge “in relevant fields” does NOT qualify him to say so definitively, “PLAINLY COULD NOT…”. It’s not plain to me, Dave, nor was it to the students I taught nearly 40 years ago when we examined and discussed all the evidence for the various theories on the origins of life on earth. We did not conclude that the theories of abiotic origins were true, nor did we dismiss intelligent design as a POSSIBILITY. ALL of it is theory, and as yet unproven.

          YOU, Dave, are the one who is operating from a belief system based on ideology when you say “There just isn’t any other plausible explanation, other than I.D., that anyone has come up with, for how something as enormously complex as the simplest life forms could have come into existence”. Scientists HAVE “come up with” plausible explanations, and it’s your “religion” that has led you to reject all of them out of hand.


        • Wavy Davey Burton is a creatonut!  Who coulda guessed?

          BTW, you can watch the whole Expelled movie for free, here:
          It’s an excellent investment of 98 minutes of your time.

          Here’s the 5-minute version, which has all the essential bits without the cruft:

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Creatonut—I like that!

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Just found time to watch the five minute version. Excellent.
            Darwin’s moves were the best.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            daveburton Says: “You would”

            Yep, I appreciate appropriately creative use of the language, and “Wavey Davey” was also a good one, but your nuttiness about waves, shore lines, and sea level is old news, so I didn’t say that.

            I don’t want to get you started on the Oregon Petition Project again, but all your foolishness there has earned you the title of “Engineeronut” as well. I wonder what “….nut” title you’ll strive for next?

        • andrewfez Says:

          The carpel tunnel is getting me so please accept this video reply in lieu:

        • andrewfez Says:

          Thanks for the info Dave – I’m actually using a laptop right now as my main internet computer, but the Microsoft Natural Keyboard does look pretty comfortable. In my music studio I’m using a 3M ergonomic mouse, which gets me through the day pretty good.

          I’ve tried one of the predecessors to the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software back in 2003 or 04 or such. It probably wasn’t as good as the new stuff out there, but i remember i would always have to do lots of editing after a missive, even after the thing was ‘trained’ to my voice nuances. Plus, i find i naturally do a lot of editing during the writing out of an idea on screen; so using my keyboard has an advantage regarding making my ideas comprehensible in a written format. Good idea though – much appreciated!

          I find what helps the most is stretching the muscles in the forearm that make the fingers ‘close’, and strengthening the muscles that make the fingers ‘open’. If those muscles are good and tight, they pull up on the bones nebulous to the carpel tunnel, relieving the pressure. The idea is that we use the muscles that ‘close’ the fingers so much when typing that they strengthen over time and throw off the balance between them and the ‘opening’ muscles.

          I’ve just done some woodworking lately (wainscoting, old-school style), over a 6 day period, so now I’m feeling it….

          • daveburton Says:

            Thanks for that info, Andrew!

            Thankfully, I don’t seem to have carpel tunnel issues, but I do run into a lot of people who aren’t so fortunate. I’ve cite-bited (cite-bitten?) your advice, and bookmarked it for future reference.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Wait until you get quite a bit older and have to deal with “trigger finger” or Dupuytren’s Syndrome, two more “fun with hands” conditions.


      • There is some misrepresentation about Germany’s coal burning. Here are some other views countering the German coal myth. Note that German co2 emissions fell as renewables rise. Total coal use is down. It’s the standard stuff. Finding small details that distort the true picture by ignoring trends and viewing short time frames or subsets of totals like lignite coal instead of total coal.

        http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2012/10/german-coal-fired-generation-of-electricity-falls-while-renewable-generation-rises

        http://energytransition.de/2013/02/the-german-coal-myth/

        Nobody said RE negates base load but EPot. That’s a straw man. Others are aware that RE includes biomass and geothermal that are base load. Not all RE is intermittent. In the space of a few sentences we take in the contradiction ” you are attacking renewables” to which the reply ” RE means base load is obsolete” False. RE is also base load. From there does not follow nuclear is obsolete. Fallacy. Which leads us to a favorite axe to grind, base load. And this means every environmentalist is carrying water for the FF industry. All environmentalists are bad is concluded. And of course, the all popular, if you don’t use nuclear, you must use coal, because RE is a failure. Why is this argued about Germany? Because it’s a lie. Germany has lowered both coal and nuclear and increased renewables. Last I looked it had not sunk into the ocean or become a third world country. One side benefit is that large power companies and nuclear proponents have become vitally interested in the plight of Germany’s poor that are paying 1c/kwhr more. Do I smell hypocrisy? can you say hypocrite? To which jpcowdrey might add, are you done bashing renewables? See. Not a single criticism if nuclear. Can Epot promote nuclear without bashing renewables? Not yet.


        • Here are some other views countering the German coal myth. Note that German co2 emissions fell as renewables rise. Total coal use is down.

          Your source is out of date.  German 2013 emissions are up some 20 million tons, roughly 2.5%:
          http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-11/09/c_132874082.htm
          Germany has even been importing coal from the USA.

          Nobody said RE negates base load but EPot.

          Really?  Chris Nelder wrote that close to 2 years ago, and it’s been all over the place lately; you’d have to be blind to miss it.  That’s some argumentation technique you’ve got there:  first, lie about history, second, point and call names.

          Others are aware that RE includes biomass and geothermal that are base load.

          Do I need to spell out the extreme scarcity of both of those?  The global geothermal heat flux is around 90 milliwatts per square meter, which is concentrated in rift zones and volcanic hot spots.  Humanity went to fossil fuels in part because they were deforesting everything for “renewables”.  The forests only renewed themselves after a couple lifetimes of NOT being the primary source of fuel.

          Not all RE is intermittent.

          I keep TELLING you about hydro, and how it is the major exception to the rule, the one source of RE that allows the others to be used for substantial amounts of electric generation—in the few places where it is available in quantity.  What do you do?  YOU. DO. NOT. LISTEN.  The concept never gets through your thick skull, as if you have insufficient mental capacity to grasp a simple and irrefutable, if not entirely palatable, fact.

          Did dogma make you stupid, or were you born that way?

          False. RE is also base load. From there does not follow nuclear is obsolete.

          Tell Nelder about that, not me.  Then you can go argue with all of his mindless followers.

          And of course, the all popular, if you don’t use nuclear, you must use coal, because RE is a failure.

          If RE isn’t a failure, why is Denmark straining to get 45% “green” on its grid, while France got to roughly 95% carbon-free 20 years ago?

          Germany has lowered both coal and nuclear and increased renewables.

          It has not decreased coal, and it will go broke from the massive spending required before it achieves even its interim goals.

          One side benefit is that large power companies and nuclear proponents have become vitally interested in the plight of Germany’s poor that are paying 1c/kwhr more.

          They’re paying it for nothing.  Their money is going into the pockets of well-connected snake-oil salesmen, Bernie Madoffs draped in ivy-print silk.  German carbon emissions have risen year-on-year, when they could have gone down.  Germany’s current course cannot bring it down to French per-capita levels, let alone the 80% minimum cut we need (and that is assuming 2°C isn’t too dangerous).

          We do not have time to waste on dreams that may not, and probably won’t, work.  We have proven solutions and we need to use them now.


          • Thanks for proving my two assertions / predictions that A. You would cherry pick. B. that you could not refrain from RE bashing. Another is ignoring any criticism and moving along. That is, overall coal reduced, so you picked a subset, lignite to distort the truth. Proof of cherry picking? Same as all deniers. Take one point in time of a series. Coal use trend goes down for years with a possible uptick in 2013. May be a cold winter, may be costly gas, with a non sequitur, coal from US for good measure. Way to pile on logic fallacy. How am I doing, dumboldguy? You missed the meaning (was that intentional?) of nobody said base load… That’s the part of social intelligence dumboldguy was talking about and I mentioned about satire. There is no point in satire, like there is no point in announcing and explaining a joke before it’s said. Here, the point is that the nobody referred to us here having a conversation, not the population of living and dead humans over the course of history. That is not an argumentation technique. In fact, in the sense you use argument, it the same as formal debate. For my part, there is a sense of conversation, teaching, and audience, not merely competition, but discovery. Of course, the last paragraph is devoted to once again lambasting RE, exactly as predicted. Epot is either incapable or uninterested in refraining from attacking RE, purely justifying jdcowdreys comments. In going off on another rant he is having a conversation with himself. Then, after declaring RE useless, he scolds for not listening to him. Hydro is wonderful he says. Oh, is that RE? How can RE be bad and hydro wonderful? Then he screams (apparently in case it’s a hearing problem, on the internet!?) you do not listen. Even though I am stillllllll wondering how hydro is good but renewables are bad, he argues RE is bad again. Now I am really confused. Wait, France is 95% carbon free! That’s it! We will all do just like in France. Awwwww. It’s just another distortion(lie). It’s only carbon free in electricity, it’s still using lots of fossil fuels for transportation, etc. how could I fall for it again. Nonsense is making me sleepy. Go debate with dumboldguy.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Leave me out of it. I’m busy with daveburton. (and where are The Dube and Stonehead?)

          • daveburton Says:

            Please don’t feel that you have to continue to so honor me, old guy.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Come on, Dave. It’s obvious that you like the attention. Remember that I’m a licensed “tele-psychiatrist” and know of which I speak. I will continue to “honor” you every time you throw horsepucky against the wall. Since almost none of it sticks, my “brooms and shovels” are kept quite busy cleaning up after you. The “honor” comes from the fact that your horsepucky is of slightly higher quality than that thrown by Stonehead and the Dube (still a great name for a band). I will mostly leave them to others.
            .
            BUT WAIT! I may be doing a bad thing there. I may be stealing a job from an ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER. I hope he is able to find work as a climate “scientist” soon, so that he can feed his children. It should be easy because environmental engineers are “obviously” qualified to work in climate science. I know this for a fact because some computer guy told me so.

  10. dumboldguy Says:

    I am posting this reply to daveburton Says: December 13, 2013 at 6:17 pm as a new comment to avoid lateral compression

    Dave begins with, “Old guy, the Global Warming Petition Project has never misrepresented the specialties of the scientists who signed it. They’ve always made it perfectly clear that the >31,000 scientists who signed includes engineers in relevant fields.”

    Once again, Dave begins an argument (and promptly loses it) with a faulty premise in his first two sentences. The Petition Project and all who would use it as evidence have in fact “misrepresented” the qualifications of the signers. (And that’s ignoring the fact that the Project has never fully verified that the “signers” actually have the training that they self-certified by merely sending in a post card). The Petition states:

    “ALL of the listed signers have formal educations in fields of specialization that SUITABLY QUALIFY THEM to evaluate the research data related to the petition statement. MANY of the signers currently work in climatological, meteorological, atmospheric, environmental, geophysical, astronomical, and biological fields DIRECTLY INVOLVED in the climate change controversy”.

    I have already spoken to the numbers that the Project considers to be “MANY currently working” in the fields most critical to understanding and mitigating AGW—-fewer than 40 climatologists (FORTY) and perhaps a few hundred others in closely related fields. The Project and Dave state that FOR ALL the signers their formal educations “Suitably qualify” them to put in their two cents? Dave would have us believe that’s true for mechanical engineers? Chemical engineers? Not so, and I don’t think Dave is “suitably qualified” to make that judgment.

    Dave again insults our intelligence by smugly stating, “They’ve always made it perfectly clear that the >31,000 scientists who signed includes engineers in RELEVANT fields”, and tries to gloss over the FACT that engineers are NOT “scientists” by trying to tell us that I am “confused”. He even gives us a definition that he thinks supports his faulty premise.

    “The application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes, and systems”.

    Unfortunately (and as usual), Dave is in such a hurry to throw horsepucky against the wall and obfuscate that he fails to notice that he has really defeated himself with that definition. Did he not see the words “APPLICATION of principles”, “to PRACTICAL ends“, “DESIGN, MANUFACTURE, AND OPERATION of”, and “structures, machines, processes, and systems”? Hard to miss them, actually, and even harder to deny their meaning (unless you are a denier troll who deliberately seeks to divert and confuse.

    Dave conveniently fails to define “science” and “scientists” for us so that we can compare and contrast them and what they do with engineers. Try this on for size, Dave.

    “Engineering is quite different from science. Scientists work to understand nature by studying it. Engineers make things that do not exist in nature and use their understanding of science and math to design things that people can use. Those things can be a device, a gadget, a material, a method, a computing program, an innovative experiment, a new solution to a problem, or an improvement on what is existing. Almost all engineers working on new designs find that they do not have all the needed information. Most often, they are limited by insufficient scientific knowledge”.

    That’s not to say that there isn’t overlap between science and engineering. Engineers often make discoveries and add to the science in their field, but the big distinction is that engineers are problem solvers—they use science to DO THINGS and MAKE THINGS (they are mechanics), while the scientists EXPLORE AND DISCOVER for its own sake. They seek and compile knowledge.

    Those of us who have spent time in the world of science and engineering understand the difference, and know that it is quite an overreach for Dave to so baldly assert “That’s EXACTLY what is needed to understand CLIMATE-related issues”. Horsepucky!

    Dave has apparently also rewritten his own resume and history with “One of my degrees is in Systems SCIENCE”. For those who are unaware of Dave’s previously published data, Dave has a BA in Systems MANAGEMENT from Michigan State, and an MA in Computer Science from the U of TX. Systems “science” and systems “management” are NOT the same, and it is disingenuous of Dave to try to “upgrade” his background to one with more implied “science” in it. It us an outright untruth to claim that either of those is “VERY HIGHLY RELEVANT” to climatology. Lord love a duck, Dave, but you are shameless! (Have you ever considered a career as a used car salesman?)

    Dave closes with one of his patented “zingers” to complete my imagined destruction at his hands. LOL It is irrelevant and a distraction to talk about how “big” the petition is since it’s a hoax and everything about it is meaningless. Dave wants to know who the “3000 scientists who initially signed and later withdrew their endorsements” are?

    Who cares, Dave? The fact that that a HUGE number of people (also likely many more than have ever signed a pro-AGW petition) voted with their feet IS significant. I would suspect that the majority of them were REAL “scientists” who came to the realization the the Petition was not “real science”, and very few were ignorant, politically motivated “engineers” and ideologues like yourself.

    • daveburton Says:

      I admit that the construction of GCMs might be stretching the bounds of the literal interpretation of the phrase “practical ends,” but it is nevertheless a fact that building and verifying models for simulations is an engineering activity.

      So, old guy, do you contend that the construction and use of GCMs to make climate predictions is not really science? Even is so, it is the very heart of most so-called “climate science,” which means that engineers and computer scientists are uniquely qualified to evaluate and judge such methods.

      (See also my comment above.)

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Dave tells us right up front that “the construction of GCMs might be stretching the bounds of the literal interpretation of the phrase “practical ends”. However, Dave being Dave, he then proceeds to try to construct an argument based on that admission. What chapter in the Logic for Dummies book did that come from? Apparently the same one that leads Dave to the next step of the logic fail continuum—-asking “So, old guy, do you contend that the construction and use of GCMs to make climate predictions is not really science?” (Baited hook—fish laughs and ignores).

        Energizer Bunny Dave continues to beat the logic fail drum with “but it is nevertheless a fact that building and verifying models for simulations is an engineering activity”. No, Dave, building and verifying models is an activity that SOME engineers in SOME fields may engage in at times. It is something that MANY or MOST climatologists will do as a matter of necessity as they seek to understand the basic science of climate change, and they don’t call on engineers (or doctors or veterinarians) to do it for them.

        And are GCM’s “the very heart” of most so-called “climate science”, as Dave states? That would be easier to answer if “most” and “so-called” were not in that question. Of course, Dave is not really asking—he is trying to earn his denier pay check by obfuscating, diverting, and confusing, and not very well—up your game, Dave, before you get fired.

        And of course the string of logic fails must be capped with a bald assertion like “…which means that engineers and computer scientists are uniquely qualified to evaluate and judge such methods”, when any fool can tell Dave that the vast majority of engineers and “computer scientists” are uniquely UN-qualified to make those judgments.

    • daveburton Says:

      Old guy says, “Dave wants to know who the “3000 scientists who initially signed and later withdrew their endorsements” are? Who cares, Dave?”

      I question whether it really happened. I can find no evidence of it on the internet, other than your own recollection. I’ve done several different kinds of google searches. I’ve checked sites like SkS and Wikipedia, which are solidly in the Climate Movement camp, and rabidly critical of the Global Warming Petition Project. None of them mentions the 3000 signatories whom you claim withdrew their endorsements.

      Perhaps your memory is failing you in your old age?

      Maybe it wasn’t the Petition Project you recall. Maybe you were thinking of the 3069 scientists whom Doran & Zimmerman excluded, when miscalculating their “97%” consensus of what they called “the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents” (meaning most biased).

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Old guy says, “Dave wants to know who the “3000 scientists who initially signed and later withdrew their endorsements” are? Who cares, Dave?”

        Dave says “I question whether it really happened”? I question whether Dave really looked that hard. I didn’t make it up. I saw it years ago and again just the other day as part of another Petition debunking piece (there are so MANY), and I won’t waste my time searching for it again, especially since Dave doesn’t really care..

        I will let our fellow Crockers decide if they want to believe me or not. Whether Dave does or does not is immaterial, since his only real goal is to diffuse, deflect, deny, and confuse. (I recall that the number of “dropouts” among the signatories was in the high 2000’s, and I rounded it up to 3000, just as I always round the number of petition signatories up to 32,000, a number just as meaningless as the “exact” number Dave uses, but more easily remembered).

        “Perhaps your memory is failing you in your old age?”, says Dave. Unfortunately for you, Dave, the part of my memory that is failing relates to things like where I left my reading glasses, and NOT to your rantings. I remember very well what your lies have been and how many times you have repeated them, just as you do here AGAIN with Zimmerman. Are you joking and toying with me or do you really think the repeated mention of Zimmerman is scoring you any points?


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