[extropy-chat] Extinctions

KAZ kazvorpal at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 13 14:38:41 UTC 2006

----- Original Message ----
From: Damien Sullivan <phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu>
To: KAZ <kazvorpal at yahoo.com>; ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Monday, June 12, 2006 9:55:43 PM
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Extinctions

On Mon, Jun 12, 2006 at 02:10:02PM -0700, KAZ wrote:

> And the more CO2 is in the water the slower the process, as the ocean
> approaches saturation. Chemistry, KAZ, chemistry.  

No, because this ignores BIOchemistry; the more CO2 there is in the ocean, the better the environment for blue-green algae, which becomes more active and breaks it down faster.
> In fact much of the
> CO2 does go into the ocean, but not all of it, and it's the accumulation
> which is alarming us.

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere amounts to "pressure" against any available water, so that it transfers faster to the water if it builds up in the atmosphere.

> Thousands of scientists who study this disagree with you.  Why do you
> think you are smarter than they are?

This is fallaceous and irrational on so many levels it's astonishing.
First, there are the obvious fallacies of argumentum ad populum, et argumentum ad verecundiam. Appeal to authority and appeal to belief. 
Something is not right, not necessarily even more likely to be, just because a lot of people believe it, nor just because authorities believe it.
In fact, I think it takes a real authority-worshipper to fall for such nonsense.
At one time, thousands of scientists disagreed with the existence of continental drift, and yet it turns out to be correct.
Right now, at this very moment, thousands...most, in fact...of scientists (for whom it's relevent) still agree that 200nm is the minimum limit for cellular life, though it's quite probable that the majority of all biomass on the planet is comprised of nanobes and nanobacteria smaller than this size. 
In fact, most relevent scientists still think that the Americas were first populated by Asian humans 12,000 years ago, and to this day refuse to even consieder any evidence more than 12,000 years old in the first place, because they consider the very act of LOOKING more than 12,000 years back to be a "waste of time", creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of ignorance. Yet there is a snowballing accumulation of hard evidence of both African and European settlement of the Americas up to 20,000 years ago, peoples who were wiped out by the violent and ecologically disruptive invaders from Asia 12,000 years ago.
"Thousands of scientists" agreeing to something, especially if they're actually government bureaucrats whose funding depends on a specific viewpoint, is sometimes almost counter-evidence against that thing.
But, even more important than the parallel fact that many scientists AGREE with me and oppose those thousands of fund-seeking bureaucrats, that "disagreement" is, in part, a lie.
A few years ago, when I was a consultant in DC, I knew the head scientist in one of the key environmental projects cranking out data "confirming" the global warming and ozone myths. He tended to complain, a lot, about what a lot of bunk both global warming and the ozone thinning were. He would go into great length about the specifics of why this is, talking about the mechanics of why they were unscientific theories which were actively disproven.
And yet, as I said, he was head scientist for a key project "proving" global warming and ozone depletion.
He would complain about how his very project was consistently coming up with evidence AGAINST those two things.
I asked, of course, why he wasn't publishing it. He said that the data would never, regardless of methodology or anything else, pass peer review, because it contradicted the expectations of the establishment on those issues. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof", the creedo of the scientific bureaucrat, would cause the project's findings to be subjected to analysis so negative that nothing could ever pass it. The project would be jeopardized, as well as his job.
So while scientists manage to pass peer review to publish as functional "weather models" which consistently FAIL the test of prediction (in case you don't know, this means that if you plug in historic data, they can't predict what happened next, historically), and thus are essentially guaranteed to NOT be true, any counter-evidence is so guaranteed to be rejected that scientists don't even bother to try.
Scientists specifically agree that any actual global warming would effect upper atmosphere and oceanic temperatures, NOT surface temps...yet when "scientists" publish "proof" of global warming consisting entirely of surface temperatures increasing, while oceanic and upper atmosphere temps are either stable or falling, it passes peer review.
How many, I wonder, of the "thousands of scientists" who claim to believe in global warming and ozone depletion are simply being forced to?
And how many more are simply using fear to gain funding, a-la the Bush terror war applied to scientific cause? 
When I was working on a project for NOAA, I came across a website of theirs which was all about the horrible danger of El Nino. One of the organization's executives was wandering through the high-profile department where I was working, and as he said "hi" I asked him why the site only focused on the life and property threats of the phenomenon, and didn't say anything about how the net result of El Nino on the US was a /reduction/ in property damage and loss of life, because we invariably have milder winters when it's occuring. His reply was "Because you can't get more funding by telling people how good something is".
When doing work on the Hubble Space Telescope project, and commenting on the statistical insanity of worrying about asteroid impact, I got EXACTLY the same answer.
NOBODY is funding their projects by promising to prove that we're in no danger. Why would anyone bother funding a project about nothing?
When a publically funded scientist says something scary, he is EXACTLY as likely to be credible as a tobacco scientist, for the very same reason.
So, when you say "Thousands of scientists who study this disagree with you. Why do you think you are smarter than they are?", you have your answer:
A) One does not acquire ANY credibility by stating such ridiculous fallacies as if credible argument.
B) Thousands of scientists are regularly wrong, and the people who turned out correct are always faced with that fallaceous argument...though people never seem to learn, and keep making it.
C) The scientists may very well not believe what they feel financially compelled to support.
D) Some of the rest may not care either way, and just be picking the most sensational stance in order pursue the equasion; Fear = funding.
Words of the Sentient:
As I readily acknowledge that no kind of government is more happy than
this -- where liberty is regulated with becoming moderation, and properly
established on a durable basis -- so also I consider those as the most
happy people who are permitted to enjoy such a condition. And if they
exert their strenuous and constant efforts for its preservation and
retention, I admit that they act in perfect consistence with their duty.
To this object the magistrates likewise ought to apply their greatest
diligence, so as not to allow liberty, of which they are constituted
guardians, to be in any respect diminished, much less to be violated. If
they are inactive and unconcerned about this, they are perfidious to their
office, and traitors to their country.     -- John Calvin
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