Archive for November, 2009

Eric S. Raymond Finds the Hockey Stick

November 28, 2009

ESR of Open Source fame (whose software I use everyday—the famed fetchmail) discovered that the scientists didn’t do the easy thing of fudging the data, they just programmed in the infamous Hockey Stick into the program itself. (link)

ESR is what a real scientist is supposed to look like. He doesn’t fit neatly into one side of the aisle or the other. He has strongly held views on a number of subjects, views he doesn’t mind when other people question. When confronted with a challenge, he responds (usually) with evidence and facts, not ad hominem attacks. He is also known for admitting defeat when his arguments are shown to be incorrect.

Plymouth Rock: Socialism’s Failure, Capitalism’s Success

November 27, 2009

A not-often touted fact of the story of the pilgrims has implications for our day. The short version of this story is that the pilgrims arrived, set up their ideal society based on socialist principles, and soon discovered it to be a complete failure and began to starve to death. Then they abandoned socialism and adopted capitalism, and had so much extra food that they shared freely what they had with themselves and the Indians.

More at Power Line Blog.

Of course, this has several lessons for our day.

  1. The only economic system that produces wealth is Capitalism. All other systems destroy wealth.
  2. Once rich, people are more than happy sharing the wealth, voluntarily.

In the United States, our economic goal should be to make as many people as possible as insanely wealthy as possible. If we had a hundred million billionaires, then the remaining two thirds of our society wouldn’t lack for work or food or nice houses or fancy sports cars, even though they may only earn a tiny fraction of a billion dollars. The disparity between the rich and poor would be enormous, but the poorest in our society would have a better life than the richest in our society do today.

There is no data

November 26, 2009

Reading more into this whole debacle between the top climate scientists in the world, I am struck with this one awe-inspiring fact.

In terms of historic temperatures, there is no data. Neither NASA nor CRU at East Anglia have any data, at least data they will publicly disclose.

Without data, there is nothing. Without data, we cannot test any theory of how the earth responds to various environmental controls. Without data, no computer models can be built because there are no theories. Without models, there can be no action taken, because the effects of the actions cannot be predicted.

With no data, the only thing we can do is behave ignorantly. That means we do what we know we should and shouldn’t do, and we ignore the rest.

Carbon Dioxide doesn’t have any harmful effect on us, at all. In fact, it is quite good for the environment since increased levels of CO2 help plants grow quicker and healthier. With an increased food supply, the earth is greener, there are more animals, and we have more food to eat and can support a larger population.

This is quite different from other chemicals such as sulfuric acid, which we know is extremely damaging to the environment in massive quantities.

While we can, as a people, see the effects of belching sulfuric acid into our lakes and atmosphere, we cannot see any negative effects of puffing the atmosphere full of carbon dioxide. There is no data to support any theory of global warming since there is no data at all.

Therefore, we should take no action limiting the production of carbon dioxide in any way.

Next time you hear some climate data…

November 26, 2009

Next time you hear someone say something like, “2009 was one of the hottest years on record”, this is how to respond.

“Prove it.”

Keep asking them to prove it until they can.

If they produce a paper published in a reputable science magazine, ask whether that article was peer-reviewed by a skeptic, or whether it was rubber-stamped by a global warming believer. Point out that thanks to emails from so-called climate scientists that are hard evidence of conspiracy to defraud the public, you cannot trust anything peer-reviewed.

Then go through the study. Ask simple questions for every assertion. “Where is the data? How can we trust the data? How can we trust the math? Where is the study proving this statement of fact?” etc, so on and so forth.

If the Global Warming believers want to hoist on to the American public shackles and chains, they had better be able to prove it convincingly and simply, in peer-reviewed articles by climate skeptics and preferably people outside the climate science field, people who have degrees in real sciences like physics, mathematics, computer science, and chemistry.

Prove it.

Lay Scientists

November 24, 2009

After revelations of conspiracy, intimidation and data manipulation to skew the consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming, you might have some doubts in science. Let me help you, as a lay person, figure out what real science looks like and what real science does not look like.

First, science is validated by solid experiments and results. You should be able to ask any scientist the dumbest question and get a solid answer. For instance, if I asked a physicist, “Why do you believe that the positive charges are at the center of atoms and not the negative charges?” he should be able to quickly point out several experiments that validate the conclusion. A great physicist, like Albert Einstein, would be able to take an idiot on a logical journey from observation to conclusion, explaining all the alleyways and crossroads on that logical journey.

Second, science is always open to questions, even dumb ones. A physicist shouldn’t be offended that you would believe in a flat earth. Instead, he would quickly challenge your observations. His first question is always something like, “What makes you conclude that the earth is flat?” After listening, he will then explain to you how your observations could be interpreted differently, and even propose experiments that would invalidate your conclusions.

The very fact that Global Warming and Evolution fail to adhere to the previous two standards is strong evidence that they are not scientific principles at all. You don’t have to be a scientist to see this. Anyone, given the proper explanation, can see that for themselves.

First, believers in these two theories cannot explain plainly what experiments and results lead them to draw the conclusions they have drawn.

Climate scientists have a hard time publishing their raw data. They also rarely explain the assumptions and modifications they have made to the data. This is a recurring pattern that suggests corruption or data manipulation, not scientific inquiry and rigor. See for yourself how far you get when you ask questions about their conclusions and imagine up contrary scenarios that would exhibit the observed data.

Evolutionists can only point to a few pieces of bone as solid evidence. What they cannot show are transient forms that Darwin postulated should cover the earth. What little evidence they do have suggests that separate species are separate, and that one species does not gradually change into another. The evidence they had that suggested this turned out to be fabricated or wrong. Today, evolutionists are debating “punctuated equilibria” and other code words for, “this whole evolution idea is falling apart, so we have to explain why the creation scenario is wrong even though the evidence supports it.”

Second, believers in these two theories are very offended when their beliefs are questioned. Point out to a climate scientist that the weather seems to be getting colder and they explode into a rage and threaten to extinguish your life. Identify the power of the sun in driving the climate and they change the subject. Demonstrate that whatever greenhouse effect carbon dioxide has plain water is many, many times more powerful, and they fall silent.

Evolutionists, likewise, are offended that anyone would believe that a creator God would place distinct kinds of animals and plants on the earth. They are offended when a school child looks at the bones and says, “God put them there.” They are offended when someone even professes a belief in God or claims a purpose to life.

There is an area of human thought and society that behaves more like the latter and less like science. We call it, “religion.” And those among us who are religionists wish that they would behave more like scientists and less like incompetent scam artists.

Climate Change House of Cards

November 23, 2009

Recently, hackers hacked into the email accounts of prominent Global Warming scientists. These scientists lead the debate that lead to the adoption of the IPCC rulings on the climate. This UN report is heavily touted as absolute proof that Global Warming is real, we are causing it, and unless we go back to living in the trees, we are all going to die.

What the hackers discovered may be surprising to some. See, the scientists were conspiring to change the data, or at least the perception of the data, to reinforce their arguments. Then they conspired to hide emails for Freedom of Information requests in the UK.

I am not surprised. It is easily apparent that climate scaremongers like Al Gore and friends are not doing real science. They are trying to shakedown the US economy to fund their retirement programs. Al Gore has already met his financials goals since he has earned well over a billion dollars preaching climate fear throughout the world, and selling sham carbon credits to boot.

However, it is important that the American people, as well as civilized peoples from other parts of the world, learn what science is and is not.

Science is the unbiased pursuit of knowledge. That is, science never favors one result over another. Any experiment, any theory, any postulate or idea, is met with the same kind of indifference. All are tested and all are eventually disproven.

When scientists start talking about “belief”, they are no longer doing science but religion. When scientists pursue science with a particular result in mind, they are trying to prove their religion.

If you cannot imagine a global warming scientist waking up one morning and say, “Oh well, it was a nice theory, but apparently it’s all wrong. Humans are not causing the earth to warm,” then that scientist is not a scientist at all.

That is all there is to say about this.

Global Warming is a scam and a religion. It was never science.

Sheriff Joe for Governor?

November 23, 2009

Liberals hate many things in our country, but one of the things they hate the most is the idea of local police work. That is, a county electing a sheriff who decides what laws he will and won’t enforce, and how he will do it.

Of course, having an elected sheriff accountable only to the people who live in the county is a hallmark of American government. This is what makes us free. No one but us can police us. If there’s a law we like, we’ll keep that law. If there’s one we don’t, we’ll ignore it.

Sheriff Joe is the only republican for governor in Arizona who already commands a lead over the likely democratic challenger. The other republicans are either tied or trailing.

Why is Sheriff Joe popular? Isn’t he a brutal thug who uses his jackboots to beat the face of the brown people into the Arizona desert sand?

To the people who live there, Sheriff Joe is wildly popular. The reason is simple: Sheriff Joe cares about the people who live in his county, and flicks the finger to anyone outside of that area. His primary duty is to the people, not the state and not the federal government.

Elected officials who fight for the people against the government or the status quo can expect to get re-elected every time. They can also expect to see higher and higher offices.

American government is shaped by the people. It’s only natural that we’d expect to have people representing us up there.

America Owes $107,000,000,000,000.00

November 23, 2009

Apparently, the estimates for the unfunded liability of Social Security and Medicare were grossly underestimated. We are $107,000,000,000,000.00, or roughly $360,000 per person in the US, or $1,430,000 per family of four to keep these institutions alive. (link)

If congress were to wake up tomorrow, and declare, “From here on out, we collect nothing on Social Security and Medicare, and we pay nothing out, and all funds left will be applied to the federal budget”, we would all be $360,000 richer.

Social Security for Me

November 23, 2009

So, I actually took the time to read my Social Security Statement. In that document, there are wonderful bits that I thought others might find interesting. (Emphasis mine.)

Social Security is a compact between generations. For deca, America has kept the promises of security for its workers and their families. Now, however, the Social Security system is facing serious financial problems, and action is needed soon to make sure the system will be sound when today’s younger workers are ready for retirement.

In 2016 we will begin paying more in benefits than we collect in taxes. Without changes, by 2037 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted and there will be enough money to pay only about 76 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits. We need to resolve these issues soon to make sure Social Security continues to provide a foundation of protection for future generations.

I’ve barely begun my career, but I already have earned well over half a million dollars. (College pays—if you study the hard sciences.) I don’t know exactly how much I’ve paid into Social Security, but 12.4% of my salary (half by me, half by my employer) accounts for roughly $80,000.

My retirement is well after the 2037 D-Day for Social Security. My money is not going to return to me in proportion of my donation.

Needless to say, I am pretty upset. I spent $80,000 on something that I will probably never see again. I should’ve kept the money for and put into a halfway decent investment. Or, I could’ve bought 2 mini vans with that money and had them paid off. Or, I wouldn’t be paying so much in house payments right now because my loan would be for $80,000 less than it is now.

For me, and pretty much everyone my age, Social Security isn’t. I don’t know how far up the spectrum the equation is negative for, but I know that my dad, who has just retired, freely admits he would’ve been better off not putting a dime into Social Security and keeping the money for himself. The pittance of a check he receives isn’t even enough to cover the house payment — a house he could have bought several times over had he simply kept the cash.

To me, Social Security is Bernie Madoff times a billion. Just because crooks wear suits and ties can go by the name of “Senator” doesn’t make them any less crooked. It doesn’t leave their victims feeling any better.

My vote is to abolish Social Security, the Bernie Madoff Generational Theft Act. We are, as a people, better off keeping our own money and choosing whether to spend, save, or invest it.

Instead, Social Security has been a major scam. The way it works is this. Each year, they draw in more cash than they pay out. Congress wastes that cash on their pet projects.  Then, when the chickens come home to roost, congress will have to defund some other budget item because they no longer can take cash from the Social Security system. And eventually, not even Social Security will pay for itself.

I wish I had something nicer to say about Medicare, but Medicare makes the Social Security scam seem like a white lie. The sums of money involved in Medicare are horrifying, and the policies that the executives of that system have inflicted upon patients and doctors alike are indescribable.

Unfortunately for the Greatest Generation, their folly in adopting pyramid schemes to bring about fascism in America is going to override their fighting prowess of World War II. Someday, some history book will be written describing these great heroes as idiots when it comes to self-governance.

Now, where is that check box where I opt-out of Social Security and forfeit all my benefits?

Compassion of Conservatism

November 21, 2009

Liberals often attack conservatives because they believe we don’t care about the little man. Here, I want to discuss the various social safety nets that conservatives not only believe in, but are working constantly to build.

First, let’s start with the premise of conservatism in practice. That means that there is no Social Security, no Medicare, no food stamps or welfare. It also means that hospitals are allowed, by law, to turn away the sick or injured based on whatever criteria they feel like, including their ability to pay. In this world, there is no law in the land that dictates compassion or charity. The only laws that exist are there to help grease the wheels of commerce and private interactions.

Now, what would this world look like?

The liberal mind is reeling in shock and horror. Why, won’t the streets be filled with the sick, poor, and elderly? Who will take care of these people?

Let me provide you a long list of people that will do everything they can to take care of these people.

First is the individual. Individuals are held responsible for their own life. They need to find a way to make money or at least grow or scavenge for food. Ultimately, their lot in life is dictating by the choices they make. Of course, we know from sad experience that not everyone is competent and a whole lot of people fall on hard times due to events beyond their control. But no one cares more for a person than that person himself. No one can meet the needs of that person but that person himself.

Next is the family. Mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents, cousins, grandchildren, all should help each other out when times are tough. No one cares more for the individual than their family. The bonds between child and parents are the strongest bonds on earth.

If the family is incapable of helping, then the needy person turns to their church. Almost all churches preach a responsibility to help the poor and needy. By turning to the church, we not only give the members of the churches an opportunity to act on their religious teachings, but to do so in the love and compassionate way that their religion teaches.

Behind the church is the community. These are people living in the same area as the people who are suffering. Note that the further we get away from the individual, the less people care about the person. Community hospitals and schools and poor houses and such are great, but ultimately, these people cannot give the same kind of care and attention that the family or church can.

When entire communities are in distress, then help can come from surrounding communities, all the way up to nations and continents. For instance, a massive flood or a natural disaster, even war, can leave entire regions and nations in ruin. In these cases, it is up to people far, far, away to give what they can. A good example is the airlift of supplies to war-torn Europe in the aftermath of WWII.

I want to compare the above support system with the support system imagined by liberals, statists, socialists, and communists. The first turn towards government, even before the individual can consider their own needs. The government is the first and final source of help. Any other competitor in the realm of charity isn’t seen as a source of help but as a nemesis. Looking at things this way, it becomes quite obvious that people who want to re-create society in this way are really mad with hunger for power. They want ultimate control over who gets what and how.

Conservative policies, such as eliminating social spending and controlling government through strict constitutional limits and limited revenue and borrowing controls, are designed to allow the support structure we envision to be put into maximum effect.

For the individual, we hold sacrosanct the concept of individual, God-given, unalienable liberty. These rights are given by God, and no individual can separate themselves from them. Using his liberty, any man should be able to grow in understanding of the world around him enough to provide for himself.

For the family, we create a legal entity called marriage and hold sacred protections, privileges, and responsibilities by law.

For the church, our government holds itself completely separated from all church activities. This is to prevent the government from interfering in the work of religious training and religious activities, such as volunteer work.

For the community, we allow communities to govern themselves. By keeping government close, communities can choose how much or how little government they want, and adopt the rules and laws that work for them. Communities are also prevented from stealing from other communities to build things that only benefit themselves.

When these things are put into place, then a wonderful thing occurs. Individuals begin to build marketplaces, where goods and services are freely traded. This maximizes their productivity and allows wealth to be created from nothing. In a remarkably short period of time, these free marketplaces turn garbage into gold. With this wealth, jobs are created, people are highered, the wages increase while the price of goods and services decrease. This has been the result of the American experiment in government.

Now, ask yourself: which is more compassionate? Trusting individuals to themselves, their families, their churches, and communities, or trusting individuals with government? Which is better at providing for the needs of the individual: free marketplaces where wealth is found in abundance, or other economic systems where wealth is not found except in the hands of a few?