The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, February 08, 2010

Congratulations Saints!

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.
~ Henry Ward Beecher


I'm not sure, and the sample is still quite small, but it seems that a disproportionate number of the people who either/both

1) believe that Earth's population can increase indefinitely or

2) disbelieve that human behaviors are causing a negative climate change/global warming

are specifically Christian. What exactly this means I do not know. But it may be worth considering.


Hmmm. We have Obama in the White House because we don't have civics or literacy tests in America. I hope everyone can see how easily one might take such a statement as a veiled reference to "too many black people voting."


I think that that Beecher quote appealed to me because I'm working hard on three different fronts right now, and as I near the finish line on one of them, I can really feel the pressure, the load, starting to affect me. More breathing, greater focus. Remember that your breathing is the very first thing to start getting wonky when stress becomes strain. And that if you can consciously re-center your breathing, you prevent this from happening. At that point, the only way your body and mind can respond is by growing stronger.


Tried Scott's new "TacFit" based program again on Saturday, after a brief double KB workout. It is quite comprehensive, really. Only time will tell how effective it is, but it certainly felt good.


Happy for New Orleans yesterday. I don't watch football, but was pulling for them. They needed some good news, really. I rushed home to watch it after taking a meeting on a documentary on Sijo Muhammad. Some very bright, very nice folks wanting to honor this great warrior, but in my mind the resources will probably be modest. For this reason, any DVD or video must be hyper-efficient, every minute structured (but not necessarily scripted) to allow us maximum efficiency with whatever crew and equipment we have to use. Antwoine Alferos is executive producer on the project, and I suppose I'm writing and producing. Going to be an adventure. I would love to create something so that if one day Jason wants to know who "Steve Sanders" was in the old days, I have something to show him.

We need to honor our teachers and mentors. I've always tried. Who are/were the most important teachers in your life, and were you able to thank them?


Scott said...

"I'm not sure, and the sample is still quite small, but it seems that a disproportionate number of the people who believe that Earth's population can increase indefinitely and/or disbelieve that human behaviors are causing a negative climate change/global warmingare specifically Christian. What exactly this means I do not know. But it may be worth considering."

Well, okay; I'm an atheist, let us consider. First point, ephemeralization, singularity, incorrectly conflating Earth's human population with the human population; population density in Calcutta and urban Southern California is very similar; problem isn't population, it's wealth. People are not only consumers, they're also creators; I predict wealth creation will outstrip population growth forever, and at an increasingly faster rate, at that.

Second point; we're overdue for an ice age; staving it off is a Good Thing.

More seriously, the anthropogenic global warming theory and data have been utterly discredited, read Eric Raymond's blog starting around 11/21/9 for an excellent overview of the pack of lies;

Marty S said...

One has to ask oneself why the change from global warming to climate change. Is it because the scientific evidence supporting global warming has declined. Climate change is a great cause. All sorts of events can be used to support it. Record snowfall in D.C. can't be used to support global warming, but gee another unusual event to support climate change. The problem is unusual events happen all the time. Its like the birthday problem. Ask most people how many people do you need in room before there is a more than 50% chance that two will share the same birthday. Most people will give a much higher answer than the correct one of 23 people.

Shady_Grady said...

Without question, my most important teacher was my father. I was able to thank him.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

My parents. My father moreso than my mother, but certainly both of them. You. My wife, who is wise in places I'm stupid.

My father is passed, but beyond that I've certainly tried to thank everyone.


anthropogenic global warming theory and data have been utterly discredited

You guys are funny. Some guy with a blog refuted over a hundred Nobel laureates? (102, if I recall.) That's how many put their names to a paper stating that human caused global warming is real.

I'll wait patiently for 102 Nobel prize winners to say differently, but I won't hold my breath, because, you know, I'd pass out.

Pagan Topologist said...

Record snowfall in eastern North America is indeed consistent with global warming. As the North Polar ice melts, it forces cold air into the North Atlantic Ocean, disrupting the Gulf Stream. So, short term (a few decades or centuries) it is likely that both Eastern North America andWestern Europe will become cooler even as the average global temperature trends upward.

I think one needs only to look at Christian mythology to understand why many Christians are indifferent to the harm we humans can do to the planet and its ability to support life. It says God gave us dominion over the earth. Nothing about taking care of it. This is one of many reasons I am a Pagan, not a Christian.

It is of course a self-evident truth that human population cannot expand indefinitely on this planet. Sooner or later, the total human biomass would exceed the total mass of the planet. This is of course a crude existence proof of there being limits to growth. Where the actual limit is is uncertain, but is far below the hypothetical limit I have invoked.

Pagan Topologist said...

The most important teacher in my life...I really do not know. Not counting people whom I know only through their writings and have never met personally, I would have to list my first flight instructor, my first ballet teacher, my Ph. D. advisor, and the person who taught me my first topology course. But, what I got from each of these people was so very different from the others that the idea of ranking one above the others seems inappropriate.

Mike Frank said...

I don't think I can agree with the thesis that it is mostly Christians messing up the planet. The Chinese and Japanese seem to be doing a pretty good job of despoiling the planet and/or driving species to extinction. The last time I looked, most Chinese and Japanese were not Christian.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

And my grandfather. I'm not sure I ever did thank him adequately, though I'm sure he knew I loved him.


Can't speak for Barnes, but I don't think his point was that Christians were the only ones screwing up the planet, merely that Christian ideology seemed to be connected to screwing up the planet. This doesn't assert that there are not other ideologies out there that do the same....

Scott said...

"anthropogenic global warming theory and data have been utterly discredited

You guys are funny. Some guy with a blog refuted over a hundred Nobel laureates? (102, if I recall.) That's how many put their names to a paper stating that human caused global warming is real."

Um, no; Eric S. Raymond provides a useful and interesting narrative commentary, but just news google 'climategate' if you like. Lotta Nobel Laureates got lied to; decades of falsified data got hacked and spread from Russian servers. Acquaint yourself with the story, it's interesting; one of the perpetrators publicly contemplated suicide.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Right. So those 102 Nobel laureates are lining up to announce that, nope, the science was wrong? Well, embarrassment might prevent that.

Perhaps a different crowd of Nobel laureates is lining up to say, hey, those guys got this one wrong?

Or maybe not. Maybe the entire scientific establishment is involved in this conspiracy. It would explain a lot, like how they've covered up the dyanamiting of the World Trade Center at just the moment two planes happened to run into 'em....

If I have to pick between believing scientists and modern conservatives, it's an easy choice.

Marty S said...

Dan: So 102 Nobel laureates signed some paper that they believe global warming exists and is human made. How many of these 102 Nobel laureates have degrees in relevant areas. How many have actually analyzed the raw data themselves. And please,pretty please don't tell me one of them was Al Gore who based upon personal experience I have less respect for than the guy on the corner selling Rolex's real cheap.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

The 102 Nobel laureates don't meet with your approval as an authority?

Fair enough. Who are your authorities and how many Nobels do they have betweeen them?

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Technically, I suppose that should be "among them." Though I'll be startled if you can come up with the three required to make the leap from between to among ...

Marty S said...

Dan: You would have gotten my point if you had asked me to name three scientists who specialize in the field and have studied the data for themselves. A person's position on a subject has no more validity than mine just because he is a Nobel Laureate. Especially since the Nobel committee is politically biased. Al Gore is a Nobel Laureate and not only don't I trust him on anything to do with the environment, if tourist asked him which way to the Washington monument I would recommend they go in the opposite direction he recommended.

Steven Barnes said...

1)It seems that "climate change" is being used because anywhere that the temperature goes down is used as a "proof" that there can't be "global warming"--although it seems obvious to me that the net raise in temperature, over time, would cause swirls of climactic "change" that includes higher temperatures in one place, lower in another.
2) Thanks for your perspective, Scott. I needed an atheist who disagreed. My point was not that Christians are screwing up the planet. My point was what I said: that a disproportionate percentage of people who disagree with the idea seem to be Christian. I don't know what it means, but it seems worthwhile to think about it.
3) It seems that a couple of researchers who falsified data are being elevated into the "core source" of global warming theories. No, there are always people who lie. As there will be on the other side of the issue as well. Knowing at least one of the scientists doing original research, and knowing that a famous anti-warming spokesman twisted his conclusions to fit an anti-ecology message makes it clear that there are fantastically wealthy sources who have huge investment in confusing this issue. And corporations have that kind of swag.

TMSG said...

It's just a thought, but one reason is that most American Christians haven't taken up the anti-modernist shift of the last few decades. I mean that more in the worldview than anything else.

So building stuff is good (everyone gets wealthier) except in the case of disproportionate harm in a specific instance.

The other side is building stuff is bad except in the case of disproportionate value in a specific instance.

So, for one side, it's an engineering issue, and for the other it's an ethical one.

Marty S said...

Steve: You hit upon a key point with respect to the global warming. There are a lot of people making money and hoping to make a lot more money off of "going green". There was an interesting article in today's NY Times on one of Dan's Nobel Laureates who has been accused of dishonesty on this issue and his having received financial payment from firms with an interest in global warming existing. It does a reasonable job of giving both sides. By the way I don't disbelieve in global warming, I am just not convinced.

Daniel Keys Moran said...


OK, so who are your experts? The entire scientific establishment is on one side on this issue; conservatives are on the other. Between the two groups, I really do have a strong opinion as to which one has an agenda outside of the search for knowledge, and it's not the scientists.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

There are a lot of people making money and hoping to make a lot more money off of "going green".

Yep. Of course, it's a tiny fraction of the amount the oil companies are making actually despoiling the planet.

Marty S said...

Dan: Actually there are many scientists who don't agree on global warming and a simple internet search on the topic will confirm that. My own unwillingness to accept global warming due to human causes as proven is due to my personal analysis of the data I found on the net. While this data is scanty and more its possible comprehensive data might change my mind. But I ask myself if there is data that proves the argument more conclusively why can't I find it since most of the data I have found has been on sites claiming that global warming is proven by the data displayed.
Furthermore all scientists are pure seekers of truth unswayed by their own biases is BS. I spent 14 years in my company's Environmental Technology group. I have seen procedures for determining pollution put out by the EPA that were so biased towards detecting pollution that they would have gotten an F in class on developing such procedures. The existence of such procedures can only be interpreted as incredible incompetence or a bias on the part of those who developed it.

Daniel Keys Moran said...


Actually there are many scientists who don't agree on global warming and a simple internet search on the topic will confirm that.

Sure. How many of them have Nobels in any field?

My own unwillingness to accept global warming due to human causes as proven is due to my personal analysis of the data I found on the net.

Sure, but I didn't do your analysis. I'm not qualified to do modeling of complex global ecological interactions on my desktop. Nor are you. And, with all due respect, when it comes down to 102 Nobel prize winners on one side, and you on the other, I'm not even going to bother investigating your research. Get it peer reviewed and published and then I'll sit up and pay attention.

Furthermore all scientists are pure seekers of truth unswayed by their own biases is BS.

Of course it is, and I didn't make that claim. But that they are, as a group, the most successful seekers of truth in the history of the human race, can hardly be denied by any objective observer.

I keep coming back to Scientists vs. Conservatives on this one ... and the Scientists get my vote. Evolution is real, despite the crowd of conservatives who wrongly believe otherwise. The effect of CFCs on the ozone layer and cigarette smoke on the lungs, despite the intense efforts of the affected business interests to pretend otherwise, are real. The anti-global warming crowd are just another in a long line of "skeptics" who have conspiracy theories about scientists ... because there's money or religion (or both) involved ... and are wrong.

Marty S said...

Dan: Actually very few scientists are capable of doing the kind of modeling you are talking about without some me. I spent most of my career working with scientist designing experiments and building models. I have published, I have coauthored a patent with a chemist, I have had my credentials as statistical expert accepted in federal court, My testimony on the previously described incorrect EPA procedure did result in the state of Michigan changing it environmental law. So I think I that if I do a simple correlation analysis on CO2 in the atmosphere and global temperatures and don't find a meaningful correlation I am justified in being skeptical. I am an expert on modeling and take my word for it all models are built on assumptions and the results you get are highly determined by the assumptions you start with.

Lobo said...

Marty, if you're looking for your data on the internet, you've been looking in the wrong place. The real data is in the journals that are not available to the public at large. You have to be either a uhiversity student, a member of a relevant professional organization, or willing to spend thousands of dollars per year on subscriptions to see that data. Data found on the internet at large is almost always unreliable because the data and methodology was not vetted by the peer review process (If it were, it would be behind the journals paywall). It's why wikipedia is not an accepted source.

So in the question of whether to believe you or the consensus of the relevant scientific community, even though I'm sure you are a top-notch statistician, I have to go with the relevant scientific community. They simply have access to better quality data and know more about how to interpret it than you do.

Marty S said...

Lobo: I'm not asking you to believe me about anything except that the information I have been able to find on the internet doesn't support the CO2 hypothesis. I didn't claim to have enough information to clearly disprove the hypothesis, only enough to justify skepticism without better data that proves the case. I am something of an egotist in the area of statistics. I tend not to trust any statistical analysis I have not done myself or for which I have not at least reviewed the data and methodology. I developed a course in statistics which I periodically taught to the engineers and scientists in my company. The first morning of the course is devoted to two subjects
1) asking the right question
2)making sure you collect the right data.
These are the first subjects because this is where most errors in studies occur. The actual statistical analysis is comparatively straight forward.

Daniel Keys Moran said...


I'm not competent to judge your competency, either, so if I was wrong in that area, I apologize.

This is why peer reviewed journals exist, fortunately. If you have something meaningful to impart, publish and let us all know.

Marty S said...

Dan: Just a comment on the peer review journal thing. Its to a great extent an old boys network. For instance one of the individuals I worked for was a past president of the American Society of Quality Control. I could have gotten any trash I wrote published in the Journal of Quality Control if he wanted it published.

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