Not Liberal, Just Literate

Not Liberal, Just Literate November 26, 2016

Paul Douglas quote 2

Hemant Mehta drew attention to an article in the Star Tribune about meteorologist Paul Douglas, who is an Evangelical Christian and wants to persuade his fellow Christians to accept the evidence for climate change. The quote in the meme comes via the article, but is originally from his recent book, Caring for Creation.

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  • Swgomes

    Data, facts and evidence are not the issue, do we use them to be right or to reconcile ?

    • JamieHaman

      We can use facts for both, if careful with the language we use, and the other side will listen.
      It doesn’t have to be an either / or situation.

      The first part of changing a view in oneself, is to admit one doesn’t know everything, and the second part is being willing to learn. I often find among some that “willing to learn” is the biggest part of the problem.

      There are two sides to every coin, that’s true. It’s also true that the edge of the coin has 360 degrees of options.

      • Craig Corson

        “and the other side will listen. It doesn’t have to be an either / or situation.”
        Nor does it have to be an our side/their side situation.

        • jh

          no. In some cases, what you describe is true. But what would you say about a debate between slave owners and slave abolitionists? What about between people who supported flat earth and people who supported a round earth?

          Sometimes, it is a false equivalency to pretend that both sides are equally valid. Sometimes, one of the sides is clearly ignorant, wrong, and should not be accorded any respect. Just look at climate change as an example.

          The overwhelming majority of climate scientists (the experts who study this particular phenomena and have spent years earning their credentials) support the climate change is happening and that man is causing it. On the other side are a bunch of quacks that include maybe one climate scientist, but also include preachers, biologists, laypeople of any stripe and have absolutely no evidence to support their claims. Which would would you trust more? But if we were to pretend that both sides are equally valid, we diminish the value of expert advice by elevating ignorance and venality. That’s why I reject the pernicious idea that we need to respect the other side.

          • Craig Corson

            Oddly, I have no recollection of making that comment only five days ago. I think I might have a talk with my doctor, if I can remember her name.
            I completely agree with you, though. As with slavery and a flat Earth, climate change is settled. There can be no doubt. The deniers take the opposite view only because they have a financial stake in fossil fuels. One would think that they would take a longer view on such a crucial issue.

          • scott stone


            Kind debunks your ‘one climate scientist and a bunch of quacks’ argument.

          • Wussypillow

            No it doesn’t.

          • scott stone

            Well now you are just being obtuse. Your wording, “maybe one…” implies one scientist, at the most. Since there are far more scientists with a different opinion, your statement is rendered false.

          • Wussypillow

            Opinions don’t matter.

          • scott stone

            Opinions don’t matter? I’m glad to hear that. Your opinion doesn’t matter. But back to the subject at hand. Your claim is that there is one scientist at most on the other sides the issue. I’ve proven that statement to be false, but you deny your error?

      • Wussypillow

        “and the other side will listen. ”

        No, they won’t. It has been proven: The right WILL NOT listen to us.

        “There are two sides to every coin”

        But we’re not talking about coins; we’re talking about facts. Fuck your worthless analogies.

        • JamieHaman

          I think you may have missed the comment I replied to. Swgomes says the facts are not in question, the question is do we use them to be right or to reconcile.
          “Data, facts and evidence are not the issue, do we use them to be right or to reconcile ?”
          Nope, facts and evidence are not the issue, solutions are. There is ALWAYS more than 2 solutions to a problem. That was my point.
          Work on your reading and comprehension skills.

          • Wussypillow

            No, you are wrong.

  • scott stone

    My greatest issue with the climate change debate is the substitution of religious zeal for actual science. And that is on the part of those who purport to be adherents to science in the name of climate change. The science in this particular field is quite new and still developing; it is not “established” or “settled” by any rational stretch. There is no consensus as to exactly what this change will entail, nor any accurate way to predict what will happen given any action or inaction on our part as a species. (And as a side note, science is not about consensus.) In other words, nobody can say exactly how warm the planet will be in 10, 50, or 100 years. The last 16 years of data prove that.

    Contrast this to basic physics, where a given problem can be given to scientist the world over, and the exact same answer will be reached. Predictability and repeatability are the hallmarks of established sciences. Those who blindly state that climate change will doom us all, and cutting our carbon emissions is the only path to salvation are no better than religious zealots thumping their chosen texts.

    I’m not being dismissive just for the sake of being contrary. What I’ve seen of the process does not give me confidence that a solid adherence to the “scientific method” has been allowed so far. The IPCC has admitted that they got 111 of their 114 climate models wrong in the September (2013) AR5 report. That’s a 97% failure rate. Back in their original 1990 report (FAR), they predicted we’d warm by +0.3 C per decade (up to +0.5 C per decade). Actually, we’ve warmed by +0.15 C per decade since 1990, including just +0.03 of warming since the late 1990s. So their 1990 predictions were off by 100%. Why should we have confidence that their current predictions are any more (or less) accurate?

    • jekylldoc

      scott –
      This is a confused response. No one is asking voters to consider current predictions “accurate”. The error bars are acknowledged to be rather wide. The problem is commercial interests using that imprecision to argue that we don’t know GHG are cooking the planet. We do.

      When that basic fact at the heart of the error bars is recognized, then it is clear that action needs to be taken. Externalities (side effects on the general well-being) don’t solve themselves, because there is no money in solving them unless the government does something about them. There are many possibilities for settling on a best guess and figuring out how much action to take. But one thing is certain: if we do nothing, we do harm to the environment that will take millenia to be undone.

    • gimpi1

      My understanding is that sea-ice is melting at the predicted rate, and flooding along coastal and island regions is rapidly becoming a crisis. In addition, increased energy (heat) in climatic systems is leading to more energetic storms.

      Now, I’m not a climate scientist. However, I’m married to a scientist, a geologist. My husband has done some work in studying past climate – much of the record is geologic – and has worked with some climate scientists.

      May I ask, where did you get your statistics?

      • scott stone The modeling is unfortunately a mess. Climate science is a difficult field and I applaud the work but when it becomes antithetical to science, (i.e. consensus. Science is not about consensus, it’s about repeatable proven fact.) I take issue with that. Here are two great articles from climate scientists. The big take away is how you better not think outside of the box or you’ll get crucified.

        What happened to Pielke, from the wsj article, is disgusting. To me that is evidence enough that it’s not about the science, it’s about an ideology.

        • gimpi1

          Thank you for the links. Unfortunately, I don’t subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, and that article is behind a pay-wall. The Herald-Sun article was interesting, however I admit to a bit of skepticism regarding outliers. My husband was in grad-school during the plate-tectonics revolution, and he saw the consensus shift as evidence accumulated. For decades, however, there were geologists who refused to accept this – including very good ones.

          Anita Harris developed the whole science of index fossils, revolutionizing oil resource location. However, she fought against the evidence for plate tectonics for most of her career – for what appeared muddy at best. She’s not the only geologist that did that. There are mountains of evidence for plate tectonics – in fact, some of the evidence are mountains. That didn’t matter to the few outliers. They firmly believed in their position. They were wrong.

          Another example is the industry-led war on the fact that tobacco causes cancers. Tobacco companies founded the Tobacco Institute and hired a few outlier scientists who were firmly convinced that the basis for cancer was genetic and that environmental pollutants had no effect. They manufactured controversy for decades, using these outliers, who firmly believed in their position. They were wrong.

          Another example of outliers is the Intelligent design group. They have no evidence, they don’t even have a theory that can be tested, and yet, there are a few outlier scientists that continue to argue against the basic principle of modern biology – evolution. They are totally sincere in their beliefs. They are wrong.

          Sometimes, there’s consensus for a reason. That doesn’t mean that the consensus is always correct, but it does mean when you’re supporting outlier positions, the evidence has to be damn good. Right now, from what I know, I think the consensus has better evidence.

          Thanks for the conversation. It’s nice to be able to discuss things like this in a civil manner. I enjoyed it.

          • scott stone

            Me as well. People don’t discuss anymore and that’s a shame. I’m not saying a position against anthropogenic climate change is the correct position. I’m just saying people with opposing views shouldn’t be demonized as they are right now. And what political ideology is currently invested in demonizing diversity of thougt? It’s the left. If you disagree with an Obama policy, you’re a racist. If you think women reporters shouldn’t be in men’s locker rooms or male reporters shouldn’t be in female locker rooms, you’re a sexist. If you disagree with climate science you’re a denier, equivalent to someone who denies the holocaust. If your positions are conservative you can’t speak at college campi for fear of offending someone. It’s getting crazy. And people wonder why the orange man won the Whitehouse!?

          • gimpi1

            Interesting. My perspective is exactly the opposite. I’ve been told I have no morals because i don’t follow a faith. I’ve been told I’m a baby killer because I don’t want to ban most forms of birth control. I’ve been accused of being a parasite because, presumably, I don’t work. (In fact i do. I’ve been employed or self-employed for almost 40 years.) I’ve had people swear that absolute nonsense is true, because “I saw it on Facebook.” Back in my young-and-beautiful days, I had (always conservative) men sit down beside me on the bus and launch into their manifesto. (Tip, gentlemen; that doesn’t work as a pick-up line.)

            Perhaps, whatever “side” we find ourselves, we perceive ourselves under attack. That might be in part because we’re so nasty to each other. It’s not enough to say, “I disagree;” “here’s my problem with that;” or “here’s my evidence for my position”. We have to attack each other. Perhaps, we can be the change we want, and have actual conversations, without name calling or nonsense. I think we’ve made a good start:-)

            One thing I feel strongly, facts have no politics. Climate change shouldn’t be regarded as ‘progressive.’ Evidence suggesting that it isn’t caused by human activity shouldn’t be called ‘conservative.’ Too often people choose up teams, and support positions because they seem to be the one their team likes. I hate that. It’s an easy way to make huge mistakes. Personally, I feel Mr. Trump’s winning the electoral college and thus the presidency was one of those mistakes. Time will tell if I’m right.

          • scott stone

            We’ve all become the other side of the same coin; a distinction without a difference.

    • Reed Hartman

      As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
      That is science. The models weren’t wrong, they just weren’t completely right. Physics, that you so acclaimed above, has had just as much history of “failure”. It is a good thing that Edison didn’t give in to naysayers, or this world would be a much darker place.

      • scott stone

        Then let’s use mathematics. By your explanation, stating that 2+3=5 isn’t wrong, it’s just not completely right.

        • Reed Hartman

          If it is 2x+3y=5z, where x=1, y=6, and z=4. then yes it isn’t wrong, and would be wrong with different variables . Please don’t be a simpleton, you know this isn’t about basic math, it is about complex equations that even geniuses have trouble keeping in their heads sometimes.

          • jekylldoc

            A lot of people are poking their head into the sand, saying to themselves, “the world is not complex, the world is easy to understand, and whatever I want to be true is the truth.”

            Quite a few others are saying, “Well, if the fossil fuel industry is giving out money to people who can brazenly pretend they have made an argument, I intend to be first in line.”

          • momsaid

            If what you say is correct, the fossil fuel industry would be in charge of all studies, and weed out any that disagree with their positions. They would also have control of journalists, making sure that any article abt AGW theories follows in line. Since this is not the case, one may ask who funds these unsupportable, unverifiable studies, then advertises them as absolute truth.

          • jekylldoc

            I don’t think your first statement follows at all, nor do I understand your last question. But I know that the administration deliberately hired one of the last climate skeptic academics with any self-respect to head their EPA, precisely because he insists on such a high standard of proof that virtually no medicine, to use an example, could be practiced under such a standard. See “Merchants of Doubt” if you want to understand what is going on.

            The funded pretenders I was referring to are on the internet, much more than they are in academia. Aside from a few bought souls who pretend to challenge AGW and can’t generate any science that passes muster, (roughly the equivalent of Young Earth Creationists who keep tossing up specious arguments and, when they are shot down, just move on to the next one) academia has professional standards too rigorous for brazen lying.

    • jh

      It’s because climate is complicated. For a very long time, scientists were baffled by where the excess heat was going. Then, they found out where it was going. It was going into our oceans. (And honey, even a one degree increase is worrying. Just look at how much energy you require to raise your pot of water one degree. Then look at the millions of pots of water that is the ocean and think of how much heat was required to increase the ocean temperature by even one degree.)

      What we can’t do is hide our heads in the sand because we don’t want to accept it. The few quacks that deny man made climate change have easily ascertained motives or lack of credentials. It is not even close to a 50/50 split on whether climate change is being accelerated by man made activities.

      And meanwhile, I’m laughing in disbelief that the US is so stupid and there are so many conservatives who lack basic critical thinking skills. China is the number one seller of solar panels. it should have been us that were the number one seller. But I blame conservatives for wanting to preserve dying industries that are equivalent to buggy whip companies rather than looking at the trends and being competitive with the global market. Conservatives merely want to create a fancy tomb so they can die in comfort.

    • ocschwar

      “The science in this particular field is quite new and still developing”

      The warming hypothesis was firrst proposed in 1824. It was first tested experirmentally in 1856.

    • Robert Conner

      Climate models frequently turn out wrong because climate change is non-linear with multiple positive feedback mechanisms in play as you would know if you could be bothered. So data from a few years ago generally underrates the intensity and speed at which changes occur as (again) you’d know if you could be bothered. But don’t let the overwhelming international consensus of climate scientists get your knickers wadded.

    • Whole volumes could be written on what’s wrong with the junk science of climate change but it wouldn’t matter because regressives know only insults. We only need to keep them from doing too much damage for another decade when cooling temps will prove what fools they have been.

  • Lelouche

    One of the more prominent issues revolving around this discussion–and I use the term loosely–is that people who do not agree with certain points of the general narrative are clumped in with a very small group of people labeled “climate change deniers”. It completely precludes any kind of reasonable dialogue for any of the follow up conversations that need to be had, like “what do we do about this” and “what is causing this”.

  • davidt

    Climate change due to human activity is a fact. It’s being used to justify political tendencies. What’s curious this environmental issue lays 100% at sciences feet as the fundemental causation. I have read the Bible many times and no matter what, it’s profoundly devoid of science. The new testament is even more so than the old testament. Almost as if it was intentional curiously. So isn’t the right evangelical response that science for all its contemporary hubris fails to account for itself in this fiasco? Not a single scientist has point to science as the problem. isn’t more science as the solution, just like doing the exact same thing expecting different results?, religious folks are right we have a serious spiritual crisis and it’s in the world around us. The unrecognized evangelical John Muir was onto this.

  • Clayton Gafne Jaymes

    Literate: (of a person) able to read and write.

    While you are saying that those of certain knowledge are ‘literate’ who do you know they didn’t hear this stuff from someone else? How do you know those ones you are basically insulting aren’t the ones who actually did the ‘reading’ to learn the things they know?

    ‘Facts’ and ‘data’ do not necessarily equate to truth d they? How many timeshave ppl had things figured out according to the ‘facts’ and ‘data’ only to end up finding out it was wrong?

    Listen to all the ‘facts’ and ‘data’ you wish just be care as to what you accept as ‘truth’. Otherwise those facts and information and data will lead to to follow lies.

  • Robert Conner

    When it comes to the Bible, or the theological claims, or the Rapture, or Donald Trump, the Second Cyrus, or a long list of other items, you can’t speak truth to Christian belief any more than you can speak truth to a stump.

  • Regressives can spout lame insults like this forever. The truth is that regressives are slaves to authority, not literate. The authorities tell them what to believe about climate and they fall in line like little storm troopers. Some of us are truly literate in that we read both sides of the scientific debate and can make up our own minds. The scientific evidence against anthropogenic climate change is overwhelmingly good to anyone who can think for himself.

  • Doc America

    How will redistributing wealth solve climate change, though?

    • momsaid

      Obviously, it won’t. The key strategy is to watch and wait for a natural disaster, blame it on climate change, then regale and shame the ‘rich’ and the ‘deniers’ for not sharing ENOUGH of their wealth. Move the goal posts, set up a straw man as place kicker, and go on their merry ways.

  • Doc America
  • Mina Donato

    Nothing wrong with a clean planet, we should because we can and because we care what we leave to our grand children, and our friends grand children. They need sustainability. If you think this wont help, lets do it and see. Prove it. At least we’ll be able to say we tried if not.