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Oysters clear seas for local remedies

Richard Black | 11:43 UK time, Thursday, 3 February 2011

This week saw formal scientific publication of a report that produces one of the starkest conclusions I've seen about humanity's relationship with the oceans.

Oysters

Globally, 85% of oyster beds have basically disappeared.

The paper, in the journal BioScience (though not apparently on its website yet), formalises results from a study conducted a few years ago co-ordinated by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the US-based environment organisation.

The scientists behind the report (which we covered when TNC released the findings a couple of years ago) say this makes oyster beds "the most severely impacted marine habitat on the planet" - though researchers looking at the big ocean-going predators such as sharks, tuna and marlin might claim they're ahead in the race for this most undesirable of trophies.

In one sense it's not surprising. Oysters congregate in bays and estuaries - the easiest parts of the sea for humans to exploit.

From this, you might deduce that over-exploitation of oyster-beds (and indeed mussel-beds and other shellfish zones) isn't a new phenomenon; and you'd be right.

The Romans not only used oysters but farmed them [pdf link], constructing artificial beds along inhabited parts of the Italian coast.

Excavations in south-western France yielded piles of more than one trillion oyster shells; while in the late 1800s, the UK's oyster industry supported 120,000 workers - a far cry from today.

What happened next is a story all too familiar to anyone who's looked at the history of fisheries for more than a few seconds: we industrialised, mechanising the process of excavation.

In the New World, settlement in oyster-rich areas such as Chesapeake Bay increased demand for the shellfish many times over.

Oysters

Oysters need a hard surface - in nature it is usually made from shells of other oysters

So fishermen increased the supply, until many of these grounds became shadows of their former glory.

Oysters need something hard to cling onto; a sea-floor of shifting sediment is no good to them.

What this means is fishing out an oyster reef basically means it won't come back.

Young oysters attach onto the shells of old ones, which are nice and hard.

When there are no shells left, there's nothing to cling onto, and even if there are any young around, they cannot survive.

Charles Clover, in that remarkable book The End of the Line, makes the case that parts of the North Sea owe their modern-day turbidity to the removal of beds that a century ago, were producing 100 times more oysters than today.

Oysters filter the water, clearing nutrients suspended in it; and the hardness of the bed means there's far less sediment stirred up by wave action.

"Nineteenth-century maps show oyster beds 200km (100 miles) in length on the Dutch and German side, but the last of these were fished out before the Second World War.

"Since then, there have been no oysters left to form a hard substrate across the bottom."

The implication is that if previous generations had looked after the resource better, present-day Britons (and Dutch and Germans) would not only have a much larger supply of oysters, we'd also have clearer waters for swimmers and divers to enjoy.

Without the luxury of being able to turn the clock back, two questions arise.

One is what can be done now to restore exhausted oyster beds.

The other is where the history of oyster overfishing should point us in terms of establishing regimes that protect and nurture valuable marine resources, so that our generation uses them sustainably and leaves some for the next.

Oyster restoration

Restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico have successfully rebuilt some oyster reefs

The Nature Conservancy has pioneered the replenishment of defunct reefs and has a number of projects running, many in the Gulf of Mexico - although there, restoration has been compromised by defences deployed against the Deepwater Horizon oil leak.

Fresh water was allowed to flow in far greater quantities than usual into the sea in an attempt to push oil away from the shoreline.

But fresh water kills marine oysters; and TNC says millions have indeed been killed along the coast.

Nevertheless, it appears that where there's money and will, replenishment can be made to work.

On the longer-term question, we've recently had the UN biodiversity convention summit in Nagoya, Japan, and in just over a year we'll have the second Rio Earth Summit - both events concerned largely with the sustainability of biological resources.

In terms of ocean conservation, Nagoya wasn't a huge success, with nations pledging to slap protection orders on just 10% of the marine world - although other components of the agreement there should also help conservation, such as the move from "harmful" subsidies towards an economic regime that penalises destruction and encourages sustainable use.

With Rio+20, there's concern in some quarters that marine issues might be marginalised, given the attention now being focussed on the urban environment, forests, climate change, agriculture, food security, and such like.

There's no logical reason why that to happen - after all, climate change and food security are as relevant to the seas as they are to the land.

But the concern is there; and in an attempt to bring some attention to the issue, the Pew Environment Group recently launched a set of recommendations [pdf link] that went before delegates to the first preparatory conference in the process leading up to Rio+20.

Its top line:

 "With 70% of the Earth covered by the ocean, and given the importance of the ocean as the life support system of Planet Earth, now is the time for [the UN Commission on Sustainable Development] to pay due attention to the needs of the ocean, and to the hundreds of millions of people who depend on healthy ocean ecosystems for their very survival."

One of the approaches to marine management that is working well in some places, and that environment organisations support, is giving control to local communities, allowing them to manage their resource in association with scientific advice.

Logically, oysters should be a prime candidate for this kind of approach. They nestle in inshore waters where regulations can be easily enforced, and they're relatively high-value commodities, meaning that communities who manage the fishery properly are virtually guaranteed a long-term, stable source of revenue.

One of the problems with assessing the state of our environment is that it's easy to assume what we're used to is "natural".

That's why the kind of historical study TNC has just published is so valuable - to show us what we might never have suspected we were missing, and what we might rebuild given the resources, the knowledge and the will.

Comments

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  • 1. At 12:40pm on 03 Feb 2011, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    "what can be done now to restore exhausted oyster beds."

    Stop eating them, and ensure as far as is possible that their habitats are not further damaged! Marine coastal no-take zones may help.

    (Also please do not hitch this story of overexploitation to the non-scientific/anti-scientific anthropomorphic 'climate change' nostra!)

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  • 2. At 2:01pm on 03 Feb 2011, bored_cynic wrote:

    I beg to differ. We need to start eating oysters again, to make it commercially viable to replant the beds. Oysters do several remarkable things: they provide easily digestible protein, they clean the seas, and they also provide a source of calcium carbonate for industry. Before industrial limestone quarrying, oyster shells were the main source of lime for mortar and soil improvement. If left alone they act as a carbon sink.

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  • 3. At 2:59pm on 03 Feb 2011, Smiffie wrote:

    Years ago there was a sketch on TV where recordings of speeches by trade union leaders were played to see many seconds they could speak for without saying the word “aspirations” i.e. “this does not satisfy our member’s aspirations” – a bit like the BBC with climate change.

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  • 4. At 3:51pm on 03 Feb 2011, pandatank wrote:

    The marine equivalent to setting fire to the forests to capture the deer.

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  • 5. At 6:53pm on 03 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    That 'restoration project' in the photo looks just like the commercial oyster beds on the British Columbia coast.

    So commercial operators are already leading the way on this, which makes it a win-win-win scenario.

    Bigger problem, since oysters filter out what's in the water, is pollution. I could not imagine eating oysters from some places.

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  • 6. At 8:12pm on 03 Feb 2011, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    I have just found a site that no-one has mentioned here (as far as I am aware).

    Howtopedia

    Perhaps Howtopedia has a simple solution. What a brilliant site for a changing world.

    If Howtopedia does not have a solution, then I am sure a scientist or two could contribute their knowledge and inventiveness to find a solution and share and it.

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  • 7. At 8:45pm on 03 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    "Neandertals exploited shellfish on occasion, including estuarine mollusks at Vanguard Cave, Gibraltar (48–50); clams, oysters, and mussels at the Grotta di Moscerini, Italy (4); and fish and diverse mollusks at Devil's Tower, Gibraltar (51, 52)."

    http://www.pnas.org/content/98/11/6528.full?sid=ddc99ed0-226b-4863-83ba-e524d6b8da8d

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  • 8. At 00:15am on 04 Feb 2011, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Oysters are not merely a delicacy, or a luxury food -- they are exceedingly good for human health when they come from a pristine environment.

    Those in denial about the effects of ill-through-through human industriousness in degrading the planet's perfectly conceived habitats, that we all ultimately & inexorably depend on, really ought to finally wake up and smell the toxins.

    Please! Wake up! Snap out of the trance imposed by certain habits of thought or ideological affinities!

    Here in the US, CNN reminds us of the problems caused by perchlorates in our water supply -- disrupting thyroid function and therefore metabolism and quite possibly playing a significant role in the brain fog and puffy flesh that plague so many American youngsters... Authorities charged with optimizing tolerances and monitoring safety standards have been asleep on the job for decades...

    People who are not perfectly well will not think perfectly clearly and will not perform to the best of their potential. Bingo! There's your vicious cycle, right there, in embryonic form.

    Pollute the environment enough and you won't be able to find the mental skills to extricate yourself out of the mess your predecessors helped create with their lackadaisical attitudes...

    Just days ago on this page someone quibbled with me over the use of the adjective "unprecedented" to describe the floods in Australia that had actually caused an inland sea to form. And there you have it: a week later -- a monster cyclone on top of what already had befallen that region.

    In North America, snowstorms of astonishing volume, scale and density... "Nonsense," say the naysayers, "We've had those before a few generations back."

    But a few generations back, I will again insist, we did not have the current population levels, the current transport infrastructures, the current fibre optic networks, the current dependency (still! shockingly!) on coal deliveries to power much of the American Northeast, the current costs of public safety services and hospital care &c. &c. &c. ad nauseam... To all those who continue to invoke arguments of antedeluvian history, or refer to models from many millenia ago -- before there were airports and iPhones and lifts inside buildings -- I would like once again to issue a call to respond to reality as we see it and live it, instead of to some mythic make-believe state from idyllic days of yore or alternatively to some utopian future where wormholes and space travel and string theory will get the children of Cairo the food and clean water they are begging for today.

    In recent years, right here in this blog of Richard Black's, via BBC and other channels, many of us have spoken of this time that would come "presently": when population pressures combined with unemployment, and escalating food prices in conjunction with shortages of adequate potable water -- as a direct result of accelerating climate stress which is aggravated by unchecked emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as other contaminants -- would lead to riots, civil strife, outright political shocks.

    Saudi Arabia -- a neighbour of Egypt's and cherished ally of the USA -- has played a determined role in marshalling and bankrolling the forces of resistance to the pleas of many millions of advocates for eco-sanity.

    While the United Nations struggles to overcome its distaste for anything that does not come across as 100% harmonious unanimity, precious time has been lost and now we can see the abyss that looms ahead for all -- including, believe me, for Saudi Arabia itself -- if sound, practical measures are not immediately implemented to reduce emissions, dial back on petroleum addiction and abandon all kinds of cant in favour of simple, pragmatic policies that ensure some reasonable nutritional support and housing security for the poor families of this world.

    At the same time, those who would urge the public to refrain from descending into chaos and vice ought to call more soberly for all humans of fertile age to be extremely thoughtful about procreation, and not to assume that simply because our grandparents had large families, we should all expect to have that luxury available to us. In Muslim communities, in particular, polygamy encourages large families, contributing to the social stress resulting from rapidly rising food prices. And also, of course, placing pressures on the state to educate all those additional children, find them all jobs and eventually pay them pensions.

    It is not a draconian measure to discourage polygamy, to encourage young women to complete their university education and have fewer children (or even none at all), and to advise young men that one wife is really quite a lot already. It is not draconian, in the US, for example, to stop issuing driving licenses to teenagers and to abolish the custom of giving each child a personal automobile at 16, or 17, or 18, or 21 -- or ever.

    It is quite possible to live a happy life and be successful and never actually drive yourself anywhere in your own car. What a shocking idea! Not for everyone, perhaps, but acceptable to many.

    Out of such personal revelations can come the social revolutions of personal choice, that do not in fact require -- and may well pre-empt -- revolutionary mayhem in the streets. Sparing not only oysters, but also monuments, lost time, lost earnings, and perhaps even wasted lives, or lives destroyed.

    I, for one, when I heard some young buck from the ex-USSR crowing in a broadcast about this grand new age, that, basically, "You aren't in fact human if you aren't a Billionaire" (and I am afraid he meant US dollars, not roubles or grivnas), knew that trouble -- serious trouble -- could not be far behind.

    If you've made as much money as that off of the complaisance of the rest of us, have the decency to teach your offspring some very basic manners, please. Otherwise, sooner or later, the rest of us "subhuman non-billionaires" may be forced to do it for you, more harshly. Survival of the fittest means intelligence -- moderation -- not wild excess, not intransigence, not obdurate narcissistic wallowing-in-my-privileges and most emphatically not the ostrich act -- will ultimately carry the day.

    Kudos to the British researchers developing a cheap, safe alternative to conventional petrol!

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  • 9. At 00:18am on 04 Feb 2011, Shadorne wrote:

    Ocean conservation is a huge challenge with over-fishing being a real & present danger in many areas. This is an environmental issue with a valuable resource that has potential for catastrophic consequences if not managed properly.

    Great to see Richard writing about real issues again instead of the ponzi scam of "man-made global warming".

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  • 10. At 00:55am on 04 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #8. Maria Ashot wrote:

    "Just days ago on this page someone quibbled with me over the use of the adjective "unprecedented" to describe the floods in Australia that had actually caused an inland sea to form."

    That was because it was not unprecendented, at all:

    “Queensland Flood History” [1841 - 2010]
    http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/index.shtml

    You: "And there you have it: a week later -- a monster cyclone on top of what already had befallen that region."

    And your point is? This storm was not unprecendented either, at all, and fortunately it was not nearly as bad as was feared:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/02/yasi-is-a-monster-but-not-an-unusual-one/.

    Here's a great graphic look at Australia's cyclone history:

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/cyclones-are-a-rare-event-in-australia/

    You: "In North America, snowstorms of astonishing volume, scale and density... "Nonsense," say the naysayers, "We've had those before a few generations back."

    The "naysayers were correct, again. Here's just one example:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/03/chicago-snow-2011-and-1967-global-warming-then-too/

    So your point is?

    You: "But a few generations back, I will again insist, we did not have the current population levels... "

    True. But that is beside the point that you seem to be desperately trying to make. Neither the floods or the storm in Australia nor these snowstorms in the U.S. were "unprecedented" at all. Only the number of people were. You seem to be confusing these issues.




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  • 11. At 01:23am on 04 Feb 2011, quake wrote:

    What about all the events in combination? Have such large "1 in x years" events happened before in the same year?

    A pakistan flood, a russian heatwave, an australian flood, heavy snow storms, etc.

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  • 12. At 01:50am on 04 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #11. quake

    Why don't you do some research on that and report back to us on your findings?

    Thanks.

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  • 13. At 07:24am on 04 Feb 2011, Sizwe M wrote:

    With the seemingly unstoppable rhino poaching in South Africa, I'm sure our kids will be saying the same about that magnificent beast, as the future Brits will be saying about the sad state of the oyster population.

    In both cases, conservation needs to work hand in hand with education for it to be effective.

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  • 14. At 08:25am on 04 Feb 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @quake #11

    What about all the events in combination? Have such large "1 in x years" events happened before in the same year?

    remember, quake, we're talking about weather, not climate, and weather happens:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_extreme_weather_events

    1936

    February–March: Record cold followed by rapid warming causes flooding across several northeastern states, killing 171 and leaving 430,000 homeless

    April: The Tupelo-Gainesville tornado outbreak of tornadoes kills 436

    July–August: A heat wave across the Midwest and Northeast U.S. claims 5,000 lives. Record temperatures from this event still stand across fifteen states.


    And that is just the record for the USA

    /Mango

    PS look at that 1936, July/August "record temperatures from this event still stand across 15 states" - who would have believed it!

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  • 15. At 09:20am on 04 Feb 2011, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Rare, unusual and explainable phenomena.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    Wonderful images of our atmosphere performing artistic stunts. Really good explanations of how and why the atmosphere produces such a grand display. Pity no-one can effectively explain the weather.
    CanadianRockies
    l loved the hairy Australia image of past weather storms

    Oysters used to be food for the common man and they served to make meat stretch further(as meat was more scarce) A meat pudding was made, using a suet crust. The oysters were stuffed into the top part of the pudding and the salty juices of the oysters would flavour the meat I believe. Oyster shells and other shells would help to make lime plaster for mortar. Lime plaster absorbs carbon dioxide as a normal process of setting. Oysters and other shell fish are little gems.

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  • 16. At 09:24am on 04 Feb 2011, quake wrote:

    The scale and extreme level of the pakistan flooding and the russian heatwave alone was severe enough (although there is the question of whether both those events were caused by the same climate anomaly). But then heaped on top of that we had the severe winter in the UK, and finally the Australian floods.

    For some of these events we can point at a year in the 20th century with a similar event. But they all come in different years, not the same year like 2010 did. The Russian heatwave was something like worst in 1000 years.

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  • 17. At 09:27am on 04 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Maria Ashot #8 wrote:

    degrading the planet's perfectly conceived habitats

    This makes no secret of its own religiosity, which is at least honest. Most "environmentalists" think exactly the same way -- but make a secret of their shared assumption that a mind "conceived" the "perfection" we have fallen from.

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  • 18. At 09:35am on 04 Feb 2011, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    hmm! How can I lead you to the site I looked at.
    If you google 'atopics', all you will get is skin complaints
    the address is [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] and I stumbled upon it from the spaceweather site. Those of you suffering from extreme weather involving snow and ice, look at the sky when the sun shines to see if you have got some lovely visual effects from the ice crystals. Worth a photograph or two if you see them.
    Science and art together make a great pair.

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  • 19. At 10:45am on 04 Feb 2011, JunkkMale wrote:

    1. At 12:40pm on 03 Feb 2011, John_from_Hendon wrote:
    "what can be done now to restore exhausted oyster beds."
    Stop eating them'


    LoL. Not like they really are an essential staple, though above I have been kindly educated that they are not the luxury I had presumed. I have always viewed food sources that filter their environment and retain poisons to be a bit a of a gamble anyway.

    Meanwhile, by way of a test, I'd just like to see if there's an embedded code that may be employed to bring a thread to its conclusion on an acceptable, if off topic note...

    84. At 11:38pm on 03 Feb 2011, John Lilley wrote:
    Dear me Richard, your post has yet again been hijacked by the minority anti-AGW mob.

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  • 20. At 11:21am on 04 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #17

    Bowman, you appear to be telling off a self described poet and overtly religious person for using religious language that might only be poetic religious metaphor.

    Do you also have problems with Einstein's comment about playing dice and Haldane's comment about beetles? How about Bohr's crack about horseshoes?

    @sensiblegrannie #18

    "Atoptics" short for "Atmospheric Optics" as in "atoptics.co.uk"? Are you referring to "halo" (optical phenomenon)? And "corona" (meteorology)? And "glory" (optical phenomenon)?

    (from Wikipedia, 22 degree halo, sun dog, corona, glory/spectre)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/22%C2%B0_halo
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_dog
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File%3ACoronae.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File%3AGlory,_spectre.jpg

    Perhaps the reference to "simulator" is what is putting the mods off allowing your link. To clarify, you don't use the simulator (and don't have to download the simulator) when looking at the atopics.co.uk website.
    http://www.atoptics.co.uk/halosim.htm

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  • 21. At 12:01pm on 04 Feb 2011, Dr Brian Skinner wrote:

    In the previous string 84. John Lilley wrote:

    "Dear me Richard, your post has yet again been hijacked by the minority anti-AGW mob. All we need is DrBrian to appear and we’ll have the full set."

    And down came the shutters before I could complete the set!
    ....................................

    As I'm Jewish the fate of oysters is of less concern to me than say to Maria Ashot who appears to have had a religious experience all over your blog. It's not quite another "fish debt " story so I can't repeat the fish jokes just for the Hallibut.

    My advice to your readers is to eat lots of shellfish whilst they're going. Increased demand will lead to increased supplies.

    Also, with this Egypt business, keep your petrol tanks topped up!
    Lovely country. If the religious zealots take over some of them have threatened to tear down all the statues. Bugger the oysters but see the Sphinx soon.

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  • 22. At 12:28pm on 04 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #20 wrote:

    you appear to be telling off a self described poet and overtly religious person for using religious language that might only be poetic religious metaphor.

    My main aim was to tell off the others -- others who do not themselves use overtly religious language, yet whose thought is inexorably shaped by religious-type assumptions. (I've argued before that the inductivism of climate science is really inspired by the idea that we are non-physical "souls".)

    "A picture held us captive" (Wittgenstein).

    Over and over again, we are guided -- and misguided -- by metaphors, images and implicit assumptions that limit what we think is possible or desirable. For example, physics was confounded for centuries (and still is to a large extent) by ancient Greek assumptions about "atoms and the void". (We now know that space is nothing like a void, and matter is not composed of discrete things that cannot be subdivided.)

    Biology was confounded for centuries (and still is to a large extent) by unspoken assumptions about design. (In the case of "intelligent design", these assumptions are spoken.)

    Political thought has been confounded for centuries by assumptions about Man's having "fallen from grace", as if our "true nature" is that of Rousseau's noble savage. We see that over and over again on this blog when people start talking about overpopulation, and seem blissfully unaware of -- indeed wholly uninterested in -- why the population has been rising. They seem to suppose Man has been corrupted by technology instead of simply living longer. A picture holds them captive.

    I was actually praising Maria Ashot for being reasonably open and honest about her religious beliefs. If what I said seems like a backhanded compliment, maybe that's because on several occasions she has presumed to speak on behalf of a "scientific" world view. Religious mysticism and science don't mix.

    In the past she has warned us that rising carbon dioxide levels entail oxygen levels getting dangerously low; here she warns us about pollutants and mental health; recently about the supposedly "unprecedented" nature of the weather portents. I agree with her that one of the greatest dangers we face is rising food prices, but one of the main causes of that is the ridiculous growing of grain to make "biofuels", and the ridiculous subsidization of hopeless energy sources such as wind power. That's where religious mysticism takes us.

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  • 23. At 12:38pm on 04 Feb 2011, Robert Leather wrote:

    At least Richard hasn't tried to blame oyster numbers on the catastrophic, man-made global warming (as they used to call it). Oysters were over fished. Now we have the opportunity to fix the problem using technology.

    End of story. Lets do that.

    Quite why this then automatically leads into a story about a "climate change" (new name) conference... not really sure. But then what else would Mr Black do if AGW fell down.

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  • 24. At 12:40pm on 04 Feb 2011, Robert Leather wrote:

    Nice to see Richard actually covering an environmental story with some reality behind it. :-)

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  • 25. At 12:46pm on 04 Feb 2011, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    When Captain John Smith sailed up what is now called the James River in Virginia, to establish Jamestown, he had to navigate around the oyster mounds in the river. Now there are no oysters in that river. The Eastern Shore of Virginia was renowned for the Seaside Oysters, now "farmed" oysters are shipped from Louisiana and placed in salt water for a couple of weeks and allowed to be called Seaside Oysters. Commercial interests always trump science and sustainability...it is just the way things work in this world...ignorance rules.

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  • 26. At 1:07pm on 04 Feb 2011, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @19

    Richard is posting on environmental matters and unfortunately a very vocal minority of libertarian individuals who regard all environmental forums as a license to spam links to Contrarian Climate sites and accuse the majority of environmentalists of being 'watermelons' assisting a secret global conspiracy...

    Posts representing this point of view, will often also claim to represent 'real' environmentalists.. noting with dismay that such and such a species is being pushed to the verge of extinction.. or hand wringing that pollution is a major problem.. interestingly however such disingenuous posts never contain links to organisations and projects attempting to reverse such problems (which is odd, since the same contributor will be able to provide copious links to sites representing libertarian politics).. indeed generally they are a transparent preamble to sentiments in the same post, containing a pop at either AGW or one of the high profile environmental NGOs...

    Someone really should invent an environmental equivalent to Godwin's Law.. perhaps 'Truthers' Law.. for citing arguments that are essentially contrarianism based on the paranoid premise that 'its all a secret conspiracy!'...

    As Richard points out much of the unsustainable exploitation of marine resources are textbook examples of the 'Tragedy of the Commons'.. obviously I am resisting the urge to make sweeping comparisons between one type of anthropogenic forcing.. and others....

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  • 27. At 1:58pm on 04 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    ghostofsichuan #25 wrote:

    When Captain John Smith sailed up what is now called the James River in Virginia, to establish Jamestown, he had to navigate around the oyster mounds in the river. Now there are no oysters in that river.

    Presumably, that makes it a bit easier to sail up the river. Other waterways have salmon farms where there were no salmon farms back in John Smith's day. The world changes, and it's not all bad news.

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  • 28. At 2:25pm on 04 Feb 2011, rossglory wrote:

    #3 smiffie
    "a bit like the BBC with climate change."

    two great bbc programmes recently showing what the likes of delingpole and monckton are really like (delingpole explaining how science really works - to the president of the royal society and a nobel prize for science winner to boot...the dunning-kruger effect again). gawd bless the bbc, licence money well spent imho.

    #27 bowmanthebard

    "and it's not all bad news."

    today's news - bad news about oysters, bad news about the amazon forests, bad news about storms......better start getting used to the bad news, it will come thick and fast.

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  • 29. At 2:46pm on 04 Feb 2011, LabMunkey wrote:

    Couldn't we just create artificial reefs like they do in the carribean for oysters to live on? Or am i missing something here?

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  • 30. At 2:51pm on 04 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    rossglory #28 wrote:

    today's news - bad news about oysters, bad news about the amazon forests, bad news about storms......better start getting used to the bad news, it will come thick and fast.

    You didn't take your pills today, did you?

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  • 31. At 2:55pm on 04 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    rossglory #28 wrote:

    bad news about storms

    Would you have preferred it if the doom-mongering about Cyclone Yasi had come true?

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  • 32. At 4:14pm on 04 Feb 2011, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    #27 Bowmanthebard

    There were also native Indians and they got rid of them as well. I guess you would consider that progress.

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  • 33. At 5:18pm on 04 Feb 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @quake #16

    For some of these events we can point at a year in the 20th century with a similar event. But they all come in different years, not the same year like 2010 did. The Russian heatwave was something like worst in 1000 years.

    Quake,

    In your post #11 you pointed to extreme weather events as evidence of AGW.

    In response I posted a simple link to Wiki, showing that several extreme weather events in the same year is not that unusual. In particular I pointed to 1936 when several extreme weather events happened in the same year in the same country.

    And yet you persist with the nonsense that these extreme weather events are linked to AGW.

    Why?

    /Mango

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  • 34. At 5:27pm on 04 Feb 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @rossglory #28

    two great bbc programmes recently showing what the likes of delingpole and monckton are really like (delingpole explaining how science really works - to the president of the royal society and a nobel prize for science winner to boot...the dunning-kruger effect again). gawd bless the bbc, licence money well spent imho.

    Perhaps you should come up to speed on this story?

    Perhaps this will help:

    http://www.realclimategate.org/2011/02/has-the-bbc-has-broken-faith-with-the-general-public/

    or this:

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/2/3/emissions.html

    or maybe from Dellingpole himself:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100074116/meet-the-sceptics-another-bbc-stitch-up/

    Perhaps not, I'm guessing your mind is too closed to read a "denier" blog

    /Mango

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  • 35. At 6:12pm on 04 Feb 2011, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    thanks JaneBasingstoke you have found it.

    'Every cloud has a silver lining' and 'It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good.' (I think that is right)

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  • 36. At 6:31pm on 04 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    Re #34. It should be noted that that first link from Mango is to an article written by Barry Woods who regularly comments here. It is also posted at wattsupwiththat.com, with some interesting comments.

    And re #33, MangoChutneyUKOK asked @quake #16:

    "you persist with the nonsense that these extreme weather events are linked to AGW. Why?"

    Yes, why indeed? Even the usual AGW promoting scientific organizations have acknowledged the real causes of those events and only the truly unscientific zealots are still trying to pin the AGW tail on those donkeys.

    Quake, if you would actually look into this you would know that. But it seems you only want to know what you want to 'know.'

    Similarly, you are quick to jump to your convenient conclusion that this year has seen some unprecendented number of wierd weather events yet you do not seem willing to check out the facts on that. So...

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  • 37. At 6:38pm on 04 Feb 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @rossglory

    another thought, Nurse says scepticism is an attack on science.

    Is it really?

    /Mango

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  • 38. At 6:43pm on 04 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    ghostofsichuan #32 wrote:

    There were also native Indians and they got rid of them as well. I guess you would consider that progress.

    No, I'm definitely against getting rid of people, because people don't want to be got rid of. Oyster mounds are a different kettle of fish altogether!

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  • 39. At 6:52pm on 04 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    This business of human carbon dioxide emissions being "seven times" the natural amount -- or a mere "three per cent" of the natural amount -- I have no idea what to make of such grossly incompatible claims.

    Can two people of integrity on each side agree on a figure, please? (Not that agreement gives us a guarantee of any sort, it just provides a context in which we can "move on" to disagree about other things.)

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  • 40. At 7:12pm on 04 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    25. ghostofsichuan wrote:

    "When Captain John Smith sailed up what is now called the James River in Virginia, to establish Jamestown, he had to navigate around the oyster mounds in the river."

    32. ghostofsichuan wrote:

    "There were also native Indians and they got rid of them as well."

    ----------

    You need to read Charles Mann's book '1491.' Smallpox "got rid" of most "native Indians" before Smith arrived there, via epidemics that spread north from Florida via earlier Spanish contacts. Thus the 'natural' landscape Smith et al. saw was unnatural with the primary predator already gone.

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  • 41. At 7:23pm on 04 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    MangoChutneyUKOK #37 wrote:

    Nurse says scepticism is an attack on science.

    I didn't watch the programme because I knew in advance how it was going to "pan out", and I have to watch my blood pressure. But if he did said that, and meant that, it is a terribly disappointing thing for a Royal Society member (let alone president) to say.

    One of the greatest philosophers of recent times (W.V.O. Quine) spent much of his career in a state of disquiet about the rising tide of pseudoscience. Many of his contemporaries must have wondered why he was so troubled. But from my (somewhat younger) perspective, it was very prescient of him. A tidal wave of anti-sceptical, consensus-worshipping attitudes masquerading as "science" is upon us.

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  • 42. At 8:24pm on 04 Feb 2011, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Blame the Spanish...haven't read about them being in Virginia. The English must have been disease free!
    "Colonists who survived the attacks raided the tribes and particularly their corn crops in the summer and fall of 1622 so successfully that Chief Opechancanough decided to negotiate. Through friendly Indian intermediaries, a peace parley was arranged between the two groups. Some of the Jamestown leaders, led by Captain William Tucker and Dr. John Potts, poisoned the Indians' share of the liquor for the parley's ceremonial toast. The poison killed about 200 Indians and the settlers attacked and killed another 50 by hand. Chief Opechancanough escaped."
    Very British.

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  • 43. At 8:43pm on 04 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #42 ghostofsichuan wrote:

    "Blame the Spanish...haven't read about them being in Virginia."

    Smallpox reached far beyond actual Spanish contact via inter-tribal contacts. And "blame" is not the right word. They had no idea about communicable diseases around 1500 when the Spanish first arrived in the region.

    No doubt the British and EVERY Euro as well as Euro-American colonizer was brutal on many occasions. The British did not get their empire by being nice. But that varied. In western Canada the British were exceptionally 'nice' to the native people there because they were their partners in the fur trade and they needed them - unlike the U.S. where their fur trade employed 'Mountain Man' trappers. That said there are all sorts of variations and exceptions in these generalizations I have just made, as there is in all history.

    For example, much later than Smith and the first smallpox epidemics, there are record instances of the British in eastern Canada deliberately handing out smallpox infected blankets to some native people to kill them off. This also hints at why smallpox could spread so easily... because the virus can survive for long periods in blankets or furs.

    Anyhow, you really ought to read that book I mentioned. It would forever change your impression of the first peoples of North America. Most of the ones in the eastern US were farmers in 1491.

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  • 44. At 10:26pm on 04 Feb 2011, rossglory wrote:

    mangochutney, bowmanthebard

    can you guys not see how extreme your position is becoming? you would rather dismantle pretty much the entire scientific enterprise than accept agw.

    you have no significant scientific support. mcintyre, singer, spencer, delingpole, booker and monckton plus a few minor players are all you have leading the charge and most of them couldn;t spot a peer reviwed paper if it slapped them in the face (interpreters of interpretations indeed).

    and while you wait for that free-thinking genius (or little boy pointing at the emperor) to deliver you from evil, the bad news mounts......

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  • 45. At 11:40pm on 04 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #22

    So in the absence of being able to find a specific example of what you actually wanted to complain about you used Maria Ashot's post as an excuse to generalise.

    @rossglory
    @MangoChutneyUKOK

    I'm sure that Delingpole is making an extremely valuable contribution to the debate. But I am confused as to why he needs to run afoul of Godwin's Law so frequently to achieve this.

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  • 46. At 04:08am on 05 Feb 2011, TJ wrote:

    Reading through these comments I am trying to understand what is meant by 'natural' and unnatural'. It appears that anything man does is 'unnatural and everything else is 'natural'.

    Are we so arrogant that we do not see ourselves and our actions as being perfectly natural and in the grand scheme of things of which we are such an insignificant part and have absolutely no control?

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  • 47. At 08:18am on 05 Feb 2011, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Titus at post 46
    I see you have escaped the cave and can see things for what they are.

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  • 48. At 09:45am on 05 Feb 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @rossglory #44

    mangochutney, bowmanthebard

    can you guys not see how extreme your position is becoming? you would rather dismantle pretty much the entire scientific enterprise than accept agw.


    Extreme? Dismantle the entire scientific enterprise?

    Hardly, Ross. I have stated on many occasions my reasons for not accepting the AGW idea (I was going to say hypothesis, but doesn't an hypothesis require a null hypothesis?). Where is the scientific evidence, that doesn't rely on a computer simulation to "prove" AGW and shows climate sensitivity is high? Where is the missing signature of anthropogenic warming?

    Wanting evidence is not extreme or dismantling science, Ross - it's the opposite. Can't you see that?

    you have no significant scientific support. mcintyre, singer, spencer, delingpole, booker and monckton plus a few minor players are all you have leading the charge and most of them couldn;t spot a peer reviwed paper if it slapped them in the face

    Ross, you really should read a little more about this subject and not just accept what you are willing to hear. You really should read through the peer reviewed papers by sceptics before deciding they are wrong. You really should open your mind a little and accept scepticism is vital in science.

    A little healthy scepticism on your part wouldn't be amiss.

    /Mango

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  • 49. At 09:47am on 05 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #45 wrote:

    So in the absence of being able to find a specific example of what you actually wanted to complain about

    Huh? -- I'm complaining about implicit assumptions that guide thought. You're complaining that I haven't drawn attention to explicit expressions of these assumptions. That's a "Catch-22": if they're implicit then they aren't explicit, and if they aren't explicit then no one can complain about them!

    In any case, on numerous occasions I have suggested that religious assumptions lurk in the background of bloggers' remarks, apparently guiding their thought unbeknownst to themselves. If you want some recent examples that I didn't bother flagging up, consider the idea that the destruction of oyster beds is tantamount to the killing of people. Or that a tropical cyclone (whose single casualty seems to have been someone too-zealously taking shelter) marks the arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

    If we take "fanaticism" to be the absence of a scale of harm or wrongdoing (blasphemy is as bad as murder, impure thoughts are as bad as rape, and so on) those are fanatical ideas. To people who have such a scale, the exploitation of an oyster bed is a regrettable by-product of keeping people alive (remember that till recently oysters were a "poor man's food") rather than the equivalent of killing them.

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  • 50. At 09:50am on 05 Feb 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @rossglory #44

    I meant to add:

    Quakes belief that recent extreme weather is a direct result of AGW is a good example of extreme beliefs - when presented with evidence showing extreme weather is not that unusual, he refuses to accept his belief is simply wrong

    /Mango

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  • 51. At 10:04am on 05 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    rossglory #44 wrote:

    you would rather dismantle pretty much the entire scientific enterprise than accept agw.

    But the methods of AGW are completely different from the methods of most of the rest of "the scientific enterprise". They are only used in psychology, sociology, and some branches of medicine (in which statistical claims about lifestyles and diseases are based on samples, for example).

    I'm perfectly happy to say the last three are not part of "the scientific enterprise" at all but are just the "humanities" play-acting at science, whose methods they have misunderstood.

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  • 52. At 10:32am on 05 Feb 2011, Robert Lucien wrote:

    #22 bowmanthebard , JaneBasingstoke #20 , et al
    ...
    "A picture held us captive" (Wittgenstein).

    Over and over again, we are guided -- and misguided -- by metaphors, images and implicit assumptions that limit what we think is possible or desirable. For example, physics was confounded for centuries (and still is to a large extent) by ancient Greek assumptions about "atoms and the void". (We now know that space is nothing like a void, and matter is not composed of discrete things that cannot be subdivided.)

    ----
    Science doesn't work that way Bowman, the fact that atoms can be broken doesn't change the basic fact that they are the basic building blocks of the world. Relativity doesn't wipe out Newton it merely corrects it at ultra fast velocities. Even a stupid theory like four element theory disproven for centuries still exists in parts - in materials physics we still divide the world into solids liquids and gases, even 'fire' exists in parts if you call it energy.
    As for the 'void', I don't know about the Greeks but a lot of science couldn't function without vacuums - they might never be completely pure but they are real. If you are talking about quantum foam, I have to point out that it is an extremely small effect and actually depends on a vacuum to exist. Also its physics is still a largely blank piece of map - think of dark matter or dark energy -quantum foams might not even exist.
    ----

    Biology was confounded for centuries (and still is to a large extent) by unspoken assumptions about design. (In the case of "intelligent design", these assumptions are spoken.)
    ----
    Totally agree with you, they are very hard to get away from. BTW I love 'Intelligent Design' because I see it as a total admission of defeat by the creationists. Intelligent Design is a wonderfully stupid theory, because it says that God created humanity by evolution. That is, 'God' choose a method that only works by killing children in vast numbers, constantly destroying the weak and inferior and selecting the strongest or most aggressive. The only God that would do that would be Satan or Hitler - or Korn from Warhammer. Beautiful...
    ----

    Political thought has been confounded for centuries by assumptions about Man's having "fallen from grace", as if our "true nature" is that of Rousseau's noble savage. We see that over and over again on this blog when people start talking about overpopulation, and seem blissfully unaware of -- indeed wholly uninterested in -- why the population has been rising. They seem to suppose Man has been corrupted by technology instead of simply living longer. A picture holds them captive.
    ----
    That is the kind of environmentalist I despise - well I despise their opinions, I'm a utopian and believe in the future, the will to power and all that. This is a technological problem yes but the only solutions that don't ultimately involve mass slaughter and near total annihilation are technological solutions. In reality the whole problem to me is down to human stupidity, not in science but in human leaders - time to replace them with computers or something else..
    ---

    I was actually praising Maria Ashot for being reasonably open and honest about her religious beliefs. If what I said seems like a backhanded compliment, maybe that's because on several occasions she has presumed to speak on behalf of a "scientific" world view. Religious mysticism and science don't mix.

    In the past she has warned us that rising carbon dioxide levels entail oxygen levels getting dangerously low; here she warns us about pollutants and mental health; recently about the supposedly "unprecedented" nature of the weather portents. I agree with her that one of the greatest dangers we face is rising food prices, but one of the main causes of that is the ridiculous growing of grain to make "biofuels", and the ridiculous subsidization of hopeless energy sources such as wind power. That's where religious mysticism takes us.

    ----
    I kind of disagree with both of you here, I hate religion mixing with science but we are kind of stuck with it - far to many good scientists were-are religious people.
    BTW I dont think oxygen levels are directly related to CO2 except that plants extract one from the other using photosynthesis - oh and we convert it back again...
    Biofuels can be green though, say if they are produced in closed cycle algal bioreactor systems or synthetic chemical crackers, or from waste material from farming rather than food crops. And for power I would use green nuclear - that is fast breeder reactors plus plutonium reactors - with CHP to. As for wind turbines once they are in landfill they actually make very effective carbon capture.

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  • 53. At 11:02am on 05 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #49

    Something being implicit rather than explicit doesn't prevent you from finding an example of it being implied. Perhaps someone here needs to clarify potentially ambiguous text to either acknowledge or distance themself from such an implication.

    Or are you only picking up the implication via some sort of telepathy?

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  • 54. At 11:31am on 05 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #22

    "Religious mysticism and science don't mix."

    Religious literalism and science don't mix. Religious dogmatism and science don't mix. But the more mystical approach to religion frequently results in a more intellectually honest approach to science, such individuals are less likely to write off Darwin because Genesis Chapter 1 is the Truth and makes the world only 6 millennia old.

    And if you need an example, look at the attitudes of Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein to Baruch Spinoza.

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  • 55. At 11:34am on 05 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Robert Lucien #52 wrote:

    Science doesn't work that way Bowman, the fact that atoms can be broken doesn't change the basic fact that they are the basic building blocks of the world.

    Look at the etymology of the word 'atom'. Even if you substitute some more basic elementary particles for "atoms", they lack the immutability originally assumed of atoms.

    Relativity doesn't wipe out Newton it merely corrects it at ultra fast velocities.

    Newton's Laws remain part of a very useful formalism, of course, but we cannot think of Newton's theory of the universe as literally true. If Einstein was right, then Newton was wrong. He was wrong to think that mass is an intrinsic property of matter; he was wrong to think that time and length are absolute; he was wrong to think that there is ghostly "action at a distance" between gravitating bodies. And so on. Scientists who use Newton's Laws every day and appreciate their power should have the honesty to admit that what they are using is literally false. Humility is a virtue!

    As for the 'void', I don't know about the Greeks but a lot of science couldn't function without vacuums - they might never be completely pure but they are real.

    No one is denying the existence of vacuums. Even the purest vacuum -- in the dark, with no light passing through it -- is assumed to "fizz" with short-lived "virtual particles". Thanks to quantum entanglement, we cannot think of particles as discrete. A particle is better understood as the centre of a field than as something separate from the space that surrounds it. In these and other ways, much of our bafflement in the face of recent physics is simply the result of mistaken expectations -- expectations that only arise if the "atoms in the void" picture "holds us captive".

    As for wind turbines once they are in landfill they actually make very effective carbon capture.

    Good point!

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  • 56. At 11:40am on 05 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #53 wrote:

    Something being implicit rather than explicit doesn't prevent you from finding an example of it being implied.

    I must have complained of religious assumptions working in the background hundreds of times over the past year or so. Others complain about the frequency with which I do so. Just check the archives. (I couldn't be bothered myself, because my object is to be right rather than to have been right!)

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  • 57. At 11:49am on 05 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Titus #46

    The word "natural" is horribly context sensitive and frequently ambiguous even in context. In debates about the environment I tend to avoid using it except when something appears abnormal or unsafe or man made, but is in fact normal and/or safe and/or not man made. And even then I back that assertion up with evidence and/or explanation as appropriate. So for instance, the "Giant's Causeway" in Ireland looks man made, but actually can be described as "natural", the columns were formed by a known geological process.

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  • 58. At 11:52am on 05 Feb 2011, bandythebane wrote:

    Over on the golf channel (where one can spend one's time almost as pointlessly as on this thread) they are concerned that their next event in Scottsdale may have a problem because of the unseasonable cold. Anyway,never mind,lets get back to the pressing problems of the oysters and pay a bit more atention to what dear old Charles (Clover) is telling us.

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  • 59. At 11:55am on 05 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #56

    So what you're saying is that because you whinged about it in the past it must be a problem now.

    Hmm. Interesting standard of evidence there.

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  • 60. At 12:47pm on 05 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #54 wrote:

    the more mystical approach to religion frequently results in a more intellectually honest approach to science, such individuals are less likely to write off Darwin because Genesis Chapter 1 is the Truth and makes the world only 6 millennia old.

    I think it makes for an anti-realist, anti-literal approach to science that is intellectually much less honest than the old-fashioned bible-thumping Creationist approach.

    For example, I imagine the Prince of Wales, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the like would verbally assent to the suggestion that life on Earth evolved as described by modern biology. Thus it appears on the surface that they accept evolutionary theory. Yet scratch the surface -- at least look at the other things they verbally assent to -- and it becomes clear that they can only accept it in a non-literal, "hooky", find-the-lady sort of way. Perhaps they would say that God created life via the mechanisms of variation and selection. But that is just to sneak design in the back door. Or having your cake and eating it. By taking neither Genesis literally nor Darwin literally, they end up with a confused hodgepodge of both that is dangerous in men of power and rubbishy half-baked science. (In my opinion the resurgence of "group selectionism" in biology and flirtation with frankly occult ideas such as "downwards causation" is part of that poison of non-literal interpretation.)

    The main reason people find it hard, on a psychological level, to accept literal interpretations of scientific theories is that they yearn for certainty and don't want to admit to being wrong or even at risk of being wrong. Thus their interpretation of a theory doesn't "stick its neck out" in any significant way.

    Give me a good old-fashioned fire-breathing Creationist minister any day! He'll tell you straight out that Darwin is wrong because the Bible is right. A refreshingly honest position (although mistaken)!

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  • 61. At 12:52pm on 05 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #57 wrote:

    The word "natural" is horribly context sensitive

    David Hume was the first philosopher to explicitly point out its ambiguity. He said it can mean "the opposite of supernatural" (Hume used the word 'miraculous'), or the opposite of "usual or expected", or the opposite of "manmade".

    His overall point was that no matter how we interpret it, 'natural' simply cannot mean "morally right". Yet how often do we hear that this or that sexual practice (say) is "unnatural" as if that made it immoral?

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  • 62. At 12:54pm on 05 Feb 2011, quake wrote:

    48. At 09:45am on 05 Feb 2011, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    "Where is the scientific evidence, that doesn't rely on a computer simulation to "prove" AGW and shows climate sensitivity is high? Where is the missing signature of anthropogenic warming?""

    There's paleoclimate evidence for high climate sensitivity too.

    Also the model based evidence is just fine. The biggest skeptic con is their dismissal of climate models with simplified strawmen, an attempt to hide them under the carpet. Skeptics have to dismiss model evidence just as creationists have to dismiss the fossil record (just a load of bones, garbage in garbage out) because true appreciation of them necessitates acceptance of AGW.

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  • 63. At 1:10pm on 05 Feb 2011, quake wrote:

    50. At 09:50am on 05 Feb 2011, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    "@rossglory #44

    I meant to add:

    Quakes belief that recent extreme weather is a direct result of AGW is a good example of extreme beliefs - when presented with evidence showing extreme weather is not that unusual, he refuses to accept his belief is simply wrong"

    That doesn't accurately reflect my belief at all and your reasoning is illogical.

    Just because extreme weather is not that unusual doesn't mean AGW can't have an direct impact on it's frequency or extremes.

    My point still stands that while we can point at past years that had worst events for any particular extreme event event that occured recently (with the exception of the russian heatwave perhaps), these worse or compariable past events all occur in different years.

    For example for the pakistan flood, it'll be pointed out that something similar happened in '67 (example). And for the Australian flood it'll be pointed out that something similar happened in say '32. But these are seperate years. More interestingly what past years had a heatwave of the level that occured in Russia as well as flooding on the scale of pakistan and australia - in the same year.

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  • 64. At 1:22pm on 05 Feb 2011, Dr Brian Skinner wrote:

    43. CanadianRockies wrote:

    "The British did not get their empire by being nice."

    Strangely they often did get it by being nice when admitting refugees from nearby tyranical statelets and eventually expanding to civilise these areas. Sorry - not very PC these days because everybody has liberation myths that we're are expected to respect however unhistorical.

    In any event they lost their empire by being nice.

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  • 65. At 1:24pm on 05 Feb 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @quake #62

    Also the model based evidence is just fine. The biggest skeptic con is their dismissal of climate models with simplified strawmen, an attempt to hide them under the carpet. Skeptics have to dismiss model evidence just as creationists have to dismiss the fossil record (just a load of bones, garbage in garbage out) because true appreciation of them necessitates acceptance of AGW.

    As i have said before, even the IPCC believe the scenarios to be without foundation:

    Due to nonlinearities in the processes governing climate, the climate system response to perturbations depends to some extent on its basic state (Spelman and Manabe, 1984). Consequently, for models to predict future climatic conditions reliably, they must simulate the current climatic state with some as yet unknown degree of fidelity. Poor model skill in simulating present climate could indicate that certain physical or dynamical processes have been misrepresented. The better a model simulates the complex spatial patterns and seasonal and diurnal cycles of present climate, the more confidence there is that all the important processes have been adequately represented. Thus, when new models are constructed, considerable effort is devoted to evaluating their ability to simulate today’s climate (e.g., Collins et al., 2006; Delworth et al., 2006).

    Read it for yourself:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch8s8-3.html

    /Mango

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  • 66. At 1:52pm on 05 Feb 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @quake #63

    Quake you're pointing to extreme weather events (pakistan, russia, australia) in a single year and claiming they could be caused by AGW, whilst ignoring extreme weather events all in 1936 (Feb/Mar, Apr, Jul/Aug) in the USA alone.

    /Mango

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  • 67. At 2:02pm on 05 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    quake #62 wrote:

    Also the model based evidence is just fine.

    I wonder what epistemological doctrine leads you to say this?

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  • 68. At 3:29pm on 05 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #60

    Whoa.

    You do have a fascination with Prince Charles, don't you. And "mysticism" is not a synonym for "new age fruitloopery".

    As for your example bible thumper. I can cope with religious types saying something that is otherwise impossible happened because of a miracle. (Although quite why God would do one thing and then write something else in the geology of the planet is not explained.) But when it comes to the Doctrine of the Trinity (three Persons, one Substance, one God), my head begins to hurt, especially as you get told off if you try and borrow ideas like "avatar" to cope. Worse than b**** wave-particle duality, where at least there are some concrete phenomena to illustrate things.

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  • 69. At 7:14pm on 05 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #68 wrote:

    when it comes to the Doctrine of the Trinity (three Persons, one Substance, one God), my head begins to hurt, especially as you get told off if you try and borrow ideas like "avatar" to cope

    Wait a minute -- which eejit told you off for that? It's a great idea! Thanks to it, I feel like I'm finally beginning to get a grip on this wall-nailed Jell-O... ("Out, vile Jell-O!")

    I suspect at bottom the idea is un-understandable -- and indeed that's what gives it its apparent "depth", and thereby its appeal. Particle-wave duality, on the other hand, though superficially similar to the mystery of the "holy trinity", probably seems bizarre because we approach it with the wrong presuppositions. If a particle is just the centre of a field, as I suggested earlier, and at the subatomic scale fields have properties somewhat (but not entirely) like disturbances of water (frequencies, wavelengths, amplitudes, eddies, etc.), at least we can feel like we're getting somewhere as we free ourselves from "pictures that held us captive". Most important of all we can test our guesses about waves/particles, unlike our interpretations of the "holy trinity".

    It's hard to know how best to treat religious beliefs (which I'm flat-footedly assuming are false). They are so nearly universal that we humans seem to be biologically programmed to have them. But is that programming an adaptation, perhaps a biologically advantageous way of coping with our own mortality and/or morality? Or do we have that programming as almost all hedgehogs have skin parasites like ticks -- as an unfortunate weakness of our unique (and recently evolved, rather clunky) "equipment"? (Mental illness is a ubiquitous a human problem -- the more complicated a machine is, the more there is to go wrong.)

    Very few people manage to slough religious beliefs off completely, and those who do have to keep exercising sort of mental "muscle" to prevent themselves slipping back into religious habits of thought.

    There is no hope of getting humans "to leave religion behind", as Marxists hoped, nor is there any justification for the coercion that any such attempt would involve. So I think people ought to be allowed to take comfort and joy from their religious beliefs wherever they can. However, those beliefs usually come "packaged" with some other pretty vile stuff. I think the doctrine of original sin (i.e. the idea that people are responsible for what their ancestors did) is particularly disgusting, as is the doctrine that behaving morally is a matter of "keeping the soul as blemish-free as possible" (so all we have to do is consider our own motives instead of the consequences of our actions). These are terrible habits of thought. As an example of a "bad habit" of purely factual judgment, consider the way at least 99% of humans think we "inhabit" our physical bodies as a sort of "ghost in the machine". Next thing, we think the only real intercourse we have with the physical world is through conscious experience. Next thing, we think theories have to be "based on experience", or something very like it. Oh dear! -- This way lies AGW statistical extrapolation!

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  • 70. At 9:14pm on 05 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #64. DrBrian wrote:

    "43. CanadianRockies wrote:

    "The British did not get their empire by being nice.""

    I mostly agree with your comments, which is why immediately after what you quoted from me I wrote:

    "But that varied... there are all sorts of variations and exceptions in these generalizations I have just made, as there is in all history."

    But I would quibble with you on your statement that "In any event they lost their empire by being nice."

    Don't think so. That was how it was presented but, in reality, the UK could no longer afford to maintain it. But the way they did it was rather "nice" compared to many imperial collapses and that allowed the UK (and their now big brother the U.S.) to maintain profitable associations with their former colonies and have the Commonwealth and all that.

    All and all I think that the British Empire was actually rather benign for an imperial venture. They did a fine job with Canada, although I sure wish they had been less "nice" to the Americans so that Canada would now, as it should have, include Washington State. Some very country down there. But, alas, the Americans wanted Puget Sound (Seattle) and they flooded the 'Oregon country' with settlers, and that was that.





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  • 71. At 9:32pm on 05 Feb 2011, wakeupbritain wrote:

    Personally I cannot afford to eat them...

    Perhaps we ought to put a tax on their consumption, what do you think, Bankers and Politicians?

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  • 72. At 10:30pm on 05 Feb 2011, Dr Brian Skinner wrote:

    70. CanadianRockies wrote:
    "But I would quibble with you on your statement that "In any event they lost their empire by being nice.""

    I hoped it would provoke someone.

    Your comment about the economic need to end the empire is well made but the main point is that the British RECOGNISED their weakness and closed their empire down with the loss of about 3000 servicemen (including N.Ireland). Compare that to Rome or Babylon or Napoleon or Hitler. Any of these would have hanged Ghandi or his equivalent and would have slaughtered millions to maintain their position. That's what I mean by "being nice".

    As I understand it the negotiations that extended the US/Canadian border to the Pacific were an excellent example of diplomacy avoiding war and tended to advantage the British.

    Did the Yanks want your oysters?

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  • 73. At 00:03am on 06 Feb 2011, Robert Lucien wrote:

    #70 CanadianRockies the real reason we lost the empire was that America made it a condition of fighting on our side in world war II. Before the war the UK had a big technological lead over the US in a lot of areas, that was simply given away by Churchill as another of those one sided conditions.

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  • 74. At 00:23am on 06 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    72. DrBrian wrote:

    Agree. About as smooth as empires can be downsized.

    You wrote "the negotiations that extended the US/Canadian border to the Pacific were an excellent example of diplomacy avoiding war and tended to advantage the British.

    Did the Yanks want your oysters?"

    In the big picture it undoubtedly did advantage the British at that time but Canada lost out. If the Brits had been as aggressive as the Americans, and not preoccupied with other realms, Canada might have also included parts of the Alaska Panhandle and Maine. With the Americans recently bogged down in both Iraq and Afghanistan it was the perfect opportunity for Canada to invade and reclaim those lost oyster beds, but since our tank was in for repairs and most of our troops were over there with the Americans plans were put on hold.

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  • 75. At 03:25am on 06 Feb 2011, TJ wrote:

    Hi sensiblegrannie #47 You say:

    "I see you have escaped the cave and can see things for what they are"

    If I understand you right I would totally disagree. Thanks to our present culture we are even further removed from seeing things as they are. Television/advertising/media/global controls etc. We see things as we are told and we are told as it fits. IMO I would say we have been sanitized and lost our ability to see things as they are.


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  • 76. At 04:04am on 06 Feb 2011, TJ wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #57: Thanks for reply and bringing to mind the Trinity in your further posts and opening up discussion.

    Let me start with some definitions. My hierarchy goes like this:

    Data -> Knowledge -> Understanding -> Wisdom.

    Our recent methods in trying to progress along this path we call science. We collect loads of 'data' and we use it very effectively to gain 'knowledge' with which we are very good at capitalizing. However, it comes to a very abrupt halt when it comes to 'understanding' as it gives us no idea of even the very basics of existence and how it all hangs together. Only a lot more questions and increasing blind alleys. And as for 'wisdom' it does not come close.

    The Trinity and all that it encompasses provide more 'wisdom' than all of science put together. If you are fortunate enough to have a deep faith you will also have 'understanding' and who is to say that that is right or wrong. Science has nothing to offer in these higher echelons.

    I am not a creationist or an evolutionist. Evolution in particular has taken us down dark paths and blind alleys and IMO is destroying our humanity and is a stumbling block to 'understanding' and 'wisdom'.

    My rambling two pennyworth.........

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  • 77. At 05:43am on 06 Feb 2011, quake wrote:

    65. At 1:24pm on 05 Feb 2011, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    "As i have said before, even the IPCC believe the scenarios to be without foundation:"

    There's no possible reading of the IPCC report that is compatible with the idea that the IPCC dismiss climate models as a source evidence and knowledge.

    You highlight this text from the IPCC report:

    "Consequently, for models to predict future climatic conditions reliably, they must simulate the current climatic state with some as yet unknown degree of fidelity. Poor model skill in simulating present climate could indicate that certain physical or dynamical processes have been misrepresented."

    This is saying we can have more confidence in the forecasts of models which more accurately simulate the current climate. It's not saying that current models are so inaccurate that we can't have confidence in them.

    Models can tell us something even if they aren't perfect, in the case of climate models they do provide knowledge about the climate as well as evidence for AGW.


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  • 78. At 06:26am on 06 Feb 2011, quake wrote:

    66. At 1:52pm on 05 Feb 2011, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    "Quake you're pointing to extreme weather events (pakistan, russia, australia) in a single year and claiming they could be caused by AGW, whilst ignoring extreme weather events all in 1936 (Feb/Mar, Apr, Jul/Aug) in the USA alone."

    There were more extreme events in 2010 than just pakistan, russia and australia. There's also the UK/Europe record breaking cold start to winter, and similar cold extremes in the US, with the opposite effect with Greenland and Canada getting severe warm temperatures. There have been floods elsewhere in the world too, Australia and Pakistan overshadow them but:

    China
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_China_floods

    Brazil
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_northeastern_Brazil_floods

    Madeira
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Madeira_floods_and_mudslides

    Sri Lanka as well recently.

    AGW could be causing these events in total, or certain types of these events to be becoming more frequent, or more severe, or both. The point I was making was the possibility that while any individual extreme event in 2010 might not be unprecedented, the sum of them may be given the sheer number, so that a proper comparison would have to compare events in 2010 against events in other single years.

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  • 79. At 07:49am on 06 Feb 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @quake

    Models can tell us something even if they aren't perfect, in the case of climate models they do provide knowledge about the climate as well as evidence for AGW.

    ---------------------

    AGW could be causing these events in total, or certain types of these events to be becoming more frequent, or more severe, or both.


    life's too short to argue with you, quake

    /Mango

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  • 80. At 10:17am on 06 Feb 2011, rossglory wrote:

    #69 bowmanthebard

    " I think the doctrine of original sin (i.e. the idea that people are responsible for what their ancestors did) is particularly disgusting"

    you bang on about this incessantly but the concept of reparations does not imply the concept of original sin. at it's simplest it is analagous to 'fencing'. if someones steals a car, passes it on to a fence who sells it to an unsuspecting third party, that third party has a duty to return the car if the truth of the theft becomes clear. put simply, it is not their property.

    similarly if one currently benefits from actions in the past that sensible people would deem unethical (now or with hindsight) and one has an ethical disposition, it is not a religious doctrine to consider reparation for those previous acts appropriate. the details of how that could happen are complex but nothing to do with 'original sin'.

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  • 81. At 10:20am on 06 Feb 2011, Dr Brian Skinner wrote:

    74. CanadianRockies wrote:

    " With the Americans recently bogged down in both Iraq and Afghanistan it was the perfect opportunity for Canada to invade and reclaim those lost oyster beds, but since our tank was in for repairs and most of our troops were over there with the Americans plans were put on hold."

    I'm sure we would help you Canadians to invade the USA and reclaim your rightful oyster beds but unfortunately our soldier is having her maternity leave off and our jet fighter has a flat tyre.

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  • 82. At 10:47am on 06 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    rossglory #80 wrote:

    the concept of reparations does not imply the concept of original sin.

    It certainly does if the people who make the "reparations" and the people to whom the "reparations" are made were neither agents nor victims of the original action. If they are not, these "reparations" assume that culpability is inherited -- and that's just the old-fashioned doctrine of original sin.

    There is often a good case to be made for helping people, because some people need help, and other people are able to provide it; but there no "reparation" is involved. As soon as you invoke the concept of "reparation" you appeal to culpability.

    The idea that people are culpable for other people's actions is unjust, a hangover of old-time religion that unreflective people think they have given up when in fact they haven't.

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  • 83. At 10:48am on 06 Feb 2011, rossglory wrote:

    #mango

    "Wanting evidence is not extreme or dismantling science, Ross - it's the opposite. Can't you see that?"

    ignoring evidence is taking an extreme view, and hoping that a few off the wall papers will dismantle the existing hypothesis is so extreme as to be verging......

    i could say 'where is the evidence the hiv causes aids or smoking causes cancer in humans?'. nobody has run your/bowmans 'scientific' experiments to gather the kind of evidence you want but that does not mean there is no evidence. now you could take an extreme view, like fred singer's, and question the link (from a conversation with james hansen) but he is in a tiny minority there too.

    with regard your 'peer reviewed' (or is that 'peer-to-peer reviewed') papers. there is no one paper the refutes agw (and your constant nonsense about it not even being an hypothesis would exclude that possibility for you anyway) so you must believe there is a large body of research that is not consistent with agw. well i can tell you, there isn;t.

    #63 quake

    you will find that the likes of mango will use dodgy statisitics to attack agw at the same time using them to defend their positions.

    cognitive dissonance forces many people to take irrational, extreme positions and defend them vehemently

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  • 84. At 10:52am on 06 Feb 2011, rossglory wrote:

    #mango

    "Perhaps not, I'm guessing your mind is too closed to read a "denier" blog"

    of course not, but to give it credence without reputable support would be totally naive (if i were to read the gospels i would be just as sceptical).

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  • 85. At 11:10am on 06 Feb 2011, rossglory wrote:

    #mango

    read delingpole's piece. he was a fool to accept that gig but that was not the telling interview with sir paul nurse. i agree totally with simon singh 'Sorry, but @JamesDelingpole deserves mockery'. if i were you mango i would find someone a little less accident prone to cheerlead.

    all the blather at realclimate was the usual nonsense, concentrate on tiny, irrelevant details and blow them out of proportion and voila there is no such thing as agw and nothing to worry about.

    the other stuff seems to concentrate on paul dennis and climategate....old news that any rational observer will see has done nothing to refute the consensus on agw.....how many investigations do you guys want?

    so i've just wasted 1/2 an hour of my life.....ho hum

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  • 86. At 11:29am on 06 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    bowmanthebard #82 wrote:

    The idea that people are culpable for other people's actions is unjust

    To see this sort of injustice in action, consider the US educational system. Many American universities quite rightly make some allowances for applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds. Unfortunately, their procedures for selecting who should receive these allowances generally decide the matter by judging who "deserves" special help given past grievances and past culpability of others. In effect, racist criteria are used, because past grievances in the US are largely bound up with race.

    The sort of person The Simpsons unblushingly stereotypes as "Cletus the slack-jawed yokel" -- and right-on British lefties unflinchingly describe as "rednecks" -- are not beneficiaries of "affirmative action" simply because it is felt that they do not deserve reparations for the past grievances of others. In other words, they have not inherited a "debt", and those who can help them have not inherited an "obligation" as a result of inherited culpability for past wrongs.

    All of that just drips with "original sin", despite the near-total ignorance (and no doubt "denial") of those whose assumptions shape the system.

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  • 87. At 11:42am on 06 Feb 2011, Peter317 wrote:

    @quake #62:

    "...true appreciation of them necessitates acceptance of AGW."

    So, in other words, one has to believe in order to believe.

    Who would have thought?

    Tell you what, come up with a model that even non-believers can believe, then we can talk.

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  • 88. At 12:15pm on 06 Feb 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @rossglory

    so i've just wasted 1/2 an hour of my life

    your belief in AGW wastes a lot more of your life, ross

    /Mango

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  • 89. At 1:33pm on 06 Feb 2011, quake wrote:

    Re 87. At 11:42am on 06 Feb 2011, Peter317 wrote:

    True appreciation of the fossil record necessitates acceptance of evolution

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  • 90. At 2:40pm on 06 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #69

    Personally I would be wary using the actual term "avatar" in a discussion with Christians about Christian Trinity doctrine. Even with its newer computer related definitions, its link to Hinduism could still be an issue in a discussion with Christians.

    There are at least three takes on "avatar", and none of them work with the doctrine of the Trinity.

    Firstly the little doodles that you get in discussion fora are wrong, because God is three Persons not one.

    Secondly the personae that people don in role playing games are wrong, because God is three Persons not one.

    Thirdly the Hindu concept of projections of a deity is wrong, either because God is three Persons not one, or because there is only one God and one Substance, depending on how thoroughly manifest the deity under discussion is.

    The term "avatar" may be new to Western ears but all these "mistakes" are old "mistakes". They have been denounced as heretical since the First Council of Nicea. (Thank you Santa Claus.)

    Personally I suspect the "three Persons, one Substance, one God" is a fudge to cope with "Jesus is God" and "There is no God but the one God". Historically people that have questioned the conflict and adhered too strongly to one or the other element have been labelled heretics. You are just supposed to accept the "Mystery".

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  • 91. At 2:50pm on 06 Feb 2011, Peter317 wrote:

    @quake #89:

    Fossils are real and tangible.
    Quite unlike the outputs of unvalidatable computer models

    And, btw, I do accept evolution - so another of your strawmen goes up in flames.

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  • 92. At 3:04pm on 06 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #90 wrote:

    Personally I would be wary using the actual term "avatar" in a discussion with Christians about Christian Trinity doctrine.

    I'll make a mental note of that -- thanks!

    God is three Persons not one.

    All the same, if you consider the etymology of the word 'person' (from actor's "mask") it isn't all that different from one of our present day computer-game "avatars".

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  • 93. At 3:56pm on 06 Feb 2011, Barry Woods wrote:

    With reference to Delingpole, Singh and Professor Nurse

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/03/has-the-bbc-has-broken-faith-with-the-general-public/


    Look who appeared in Singh's commentsection..

    Paul Dennis (Jones colleague at UEA)
    with reference to the Horizon defence of 'Hide the decline'

    Sorry, but @JamesDelingpole deserves mockery ‘cos he has the arrogance to think he knows more of science than a Nobel Laureate

    Simon Singh wrote a rebuttal in his own blog, yet in the the comments there arose an excellent rebuttal to the programs description of ‘hide the decline’ from a respected scientist Paul Dennis who is also at the University of East Anglia

    Paul Dennis said…
    Before I add anything further to the debate I should say that I’m an Isotope Geochemist and Head of the Stable Isotope and Noble Gas Laboratories in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. I’ve also contributed to and published a large number of peer-reviewed scientific papers in the general field of palaoclimate studies.

    I don’t say this because I think my views should carry any more weight. They shouldn’t. But they show there is a range and diversity of opinion amongst professionals working in this area.

    What concerns me about the hide the decline debate is that the divergence between tree ring width and temperature in the latter half of the 20th century points to possibly both a strong non-linear response and threshold type behaviour.

    There is nothing particularly different about conditions in the latter half of the 20th century and earlier periods. The temperatures, certainly in the 1960′s, are similar, nutrient inputs may have changed a little and water stress may have been different in some regions but not of a level that has not ben recorded in the past.

    Given this and the observed divergence one can’t have any confidence that such a response has not occurred in the past and before the modern instrumental record starting in about 1880.

    Paul Dennis was thought by many newspapers to be the potential ‘whistleblower’ of the climategate emails

    http://slsingh.posterous.com/41313406

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  • 94. At 4:06pm on 06 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #90

    Heretic! Sabellian! Modalist! Heretic!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontrinitarian

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  • 95. At 4:53pm on 06 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Titus #76

    My #57 reference to the Trinity was about the intellectual doctrine of the Trinity. Not about personal relationships with God.

    Personally I am not struck by the importance of doctrine and dogma and the letter of the law in the Gospels. The Good Samaritan would have had beliefs held heretical by first century Jews and Christians. And there is no mention of adherence to doctrine in the parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Or the Beatitudes.

    Meanwhile excessive attention to the letter of the law has contributed to unpleasant unchristian behaviour by some self described Christians.

    And Darwin's science of evolution by natural selection has taught us that the consciousnesses of all human beings are equally deserving of the term "soul". Darwin didn't like human slaves being written off as unrelated animals to be exploited, when they were distant relatives and fully human.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7856157.stm

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  • 96. At 6:04pm on 06 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #94 wrote:

    Sabellian! Modalist! Heretic!

    Don't forget "Pelagian" -- which also happens to be on-topic.

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  • 97. At 6:32pm on 06 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #91. Peter317 wrote:

    "Fossils are real and tangible.
    Quite unlike the outputs of unvalidatable computer models."

    The computer models do use pieces of real evidence, analogous to "real and tangible" fossils, but then they put them together like earlier experts assembled the Piltdown Man.

    Didn't the Royal Society also accept the Piltdown Man as the real thing?


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  • 98. At 6:53pm on 06 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    81. DrBrian wrote:

    "I'm sure we would help you Canadians to invade the USA and reclaim your rightful oyster beds but unfortunately our soldier is having her maternity leave off and our jet fighter has a flat tyre."

    Well, this is great. Just like in Egypt, I see this noble cause rising via the net! Already we have legions of Canadian agents in place, posing as retired people wintering in warmer climates playing GOLF (which secretly stands for the Glorious Oyster Liberation Front).

    And all our intelligence tells us that the Americans don't have a clue about this!

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  • 99. At 7:06pm on 06 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    Some Sunday entertainment:

    "Madrid’s mayor proclaimed massive air pollution reductions except, ah,

    “The state prosecutor’s office found that in 2009 the Madrid municipality had quietly moved nearly half its pollution sensors from traffic-clogged streets in the city centre to parks and gardens”

    – reminds us of the cheapest way to cool the planet:

    Reopen the Canadian and Siberian temperature stations closed ca. 1990, prompting ‘the hottest decade on record’"

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/06/more-stupid-environmentalist-tricks/

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  • 100. At 7:11pm on 06 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    Oh no! Looks like oyster habitat is not expanding as predicted!

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/arctic-ice-extent-same-as-2005-and-greater-than-2006/

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  • 101. At 7:45pm on 06 Feb 2011, Peter317 wrote:

    @CR #97:

    "Didn't the Royal Society also accept the Piltdown Man as the real thing? "

    Yes, some people never learn, it seems.

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  • 102. At 10:41pm on 06 Feb 2011, PragueImp wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 103. At 11:54pm on 06 Feb 2011, quake wrote:

    Re 91. At 2:50pm on 06 Feb 2011, Peter317 wrote:

    "Fossils are real and tangible.
    Quite unlike the outputs of unvalidatable computer models"

    A single fossil itself is real and tangible, but alone it isn't evidence for evolution. In fact taken alone you won't even know how old the fossil is. True appreciation of the fossil record does constitute strong evidence for evolution, but that appreciation requires interpretation of the patterns in the record. It's that ability to interpret that is attacked as infeasible.

    In it's crassest form this might be a one liner. Like claiming "models can't tell us anything because they just show what they are programmed to show" or "garbage in garbage out" or "the fossil record is just a load of old bones that you can interpret however you want"

    It's a gross simplification, an avoidance of the nuances of the science, in order to dismiss inconvenient things that science points at. It's a false appreciation of the subject matter.

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  • 104. At 11:57pm on 06 Feb 2011, quake wrote:

    99. At 7:06pm on 06 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    "– reminds us of the cheapest way to cool the planet:

    Reopen the Canadian and Siberian temperature stations closed ca. 1990, prompting ‘the hottest decade on record’"

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/06/more-stupid-environmentalist-tricks/"

    This is just a stupid meme going around on wuwt and other places. Piers Corbyn was pushing this silly idea too. Look the station dropoff occurs around a single year in the early 90s.

    Where is the large jump in temperature in the global temperature records in the early 90s?

    It's not there.

    So logically these "skeptics" are barking up the wrong tree.

    The reason is they don't actually understand global temperature records. They can't do because in their interpretation of that station count graph and "average temperature" they fail to spot the flaw with how it's been produced.

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