A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Making of Asses

Just one more reason for Americans to give up hope on Washington.

Sewing Wild Oaths

My observations on the Koranic admonition on oathkeeping and the Keith Ellison situation appear as a blog piece at the American Thinker.

Spiritual Darkness in the Catholic Church

My friend 7lb. Dave is a Traditionalist Catholic, which means he attends the Tridentine Latin Mass on Sunday, and wouldn`t be caught dead in what they refer to as the ``Novus Ordo``; the vernacular Mass. (I stress the Tridentine because the Vernacular Mass has some different rituals placed by the Church in the spirit of Ecumenism after Vatican II, and there is a Latin Mass which merely translates the Novus Ordo into Latin. Something many Catholics do not know is that Vatican II invited a number of Protestant Ministers from different denominations to consult on changes to the Mass to make it more palatable to Protestants in the hopes that they could be wooed back.) Dave became a Traditionalist because he grew disgusted with the antics that he witnessed week after week at his local parish church. The priests never spoke about anything of importance during their sermons in fear of offending parishioners; this includes a fear of upholding the most basic of Catholic tenants, such as opposition to abortion, to adultery, to covetousness, homosexuality, etc. The parishes have been replacing substantive Catholicism with tawdry ``fun`` things like doing the wave (just like a crowd at a football game), wearing Santa suits at Christmas, or bunny ears at Easter, talking about environmentalism or ``peace activism``, etc. He became fed up.

I can`t say I blame him, although I still attend the Novus Ordo (mostly through lethargy); people come to Church dressed for a beach party, with girls half naked chewing gum or dozing in the stained-glass sun. Children bring their entire toyboxes, because they remain unsupervised while the parents sleep through the sermons. I can`t blame them for that; the sermons are cotton-candy sweetness, or dry as white toast with NO substance or relevance. Often the priests tell stories about their personal lives which elicit a hearty ``who cares``! at least from me. On Christmas Day, the Monsignior`s sermon was about advertising floodlights, and how Christ represents light. He then had children come to the altar to open wrapped boxes, looking for the light. (Hew!) Talking about children, and using children, is a big one; I have no doubt the priests were told that people respond to children (how often did we hear that from Bill Clinton?) so they inject them in at every point possible.

In short, too many of the Novus Ordo churches are vacuous and empty, both spiritually and intellectually, and they have increasingly empty pews to match. Christ didn`t do things this way; he preached confidently, boldly about this world and the hereafter. He didn`t yammer on about shoulda`s and oughta`s in a mealymouthed fashion; he came right out with it in an authoritative manner! People were attracted to Jesus for this; he didn`t weigh conflicting authorities and scriptural passages as the Pharisees and Scribes were famous for doing. He spoke with authority. The modern Catholic Church no longer does that for fear of losing people-and they are losing them by droves as a result.

Then, too, liberalism and modernism have infected Catholicism badly, and the pedophile scandals illustrate this. These pedophiles were there because of encouragement at the seminary level, and because a culture which winked at this developed as a result.

At any rate, Dave is always sending me articles which illustrate fresh atrocities by the Novus Ordo Catholics. This piece illustrates the spiritual darkness which has enveloped the Church perfectly. Note, for example:

This week, the Paulist Center launched a three-year, $800,000 advertising and outreach campaign to attract Catholics who feel disenchanted with church teachings on gay marriage and other social issues, stressing that "everyone is truly welcome" at the center and that "questioning is encouraged."

The center's priests say the pain of the clergy sexual abuse crisis and the closing of parishes in the region has also alienated many Catholics, and they say they want to seize on Christmastime as a moment to bring them back.

Now, does anybody see the incongruity of trying to woo back people who believe homosexuality should be normalized, then saying that sexual abuse scandals have driven them away? ``Questioning`` is not why people become Catholic; they do so for answers, not questions. It`s no wonder this is a small group-it`s guaranteed to stay that way!

Jesus issued orders to his disciples to shake the dust off their feet of any town that did not receive them; he never commanded that they try to lure all people. His philosophy was to invite all, but not to accept those who did not want to accept what He was teaching. The modern attitude calls for accepting all, no matter whether they abide by Church teaching or not.

In addition to running a food pantry, weekly sit-down supper for the homeless, and religious education classes for children, the center runs special ministries for gays and lesbians and for divorced and separated Catholics.

In crafting the message for their campaign, which began Sunday, the Paulists relied on market research techniques more commonly associated with a political campaign or a retail outlet. This summer, the director of the center, the Rev. John B. Ardis, hired a veteran political strategist, Douglas J. Hattaway, to figure out why members like the center and how to market it to a wider audience.

Hattaway, who was Al Gore's spokesman in 2000 and an adviser to Governor-elect Deval Patrick this year, compiled the results into PowerPoint slides with bullet points.

The key findings show that members like the center because they see it as a home that "offers acceptance, answers questions, feeds, nurtures, and unites an otherwise scattered family." Members like singing hymns at the center, where lyrics are projected onto a wall behind the altar. And they like the focus on helping the poor.

I`m sorry, but people have better things to do with their time than sing hymns to a bouncing ball. If sacredness is removed from Christianity, you merely have a social club like the Optimists or Lion`s Club. Why bother with a liberal church? You can certainly have a better time drinking beer with your buddies at the Masonic Lodge than serving time with a bunch of nincompoops, pedophiles, and usundry perverts invited by Al Gore`s former spokesman.

What religions are growing in the modern era? Islam is growing by leaps and bounds. The strict evangelical sects are the Christian churches which are gaining members. Why? What do they have in common? They both offer a bedrock to support the believer, that`s what. There is no relativism in either Islam or the Christian Fundamentalist, and people are attracted to this. Someone is actually telling them that, yes, there are absolutes, there is a line in the sand that thou shalt not cross. We have been told for decades that we cannot judge sin, that there is no objective right and wrong and so we have to stumble about in the darkness. People don`t want to stumble around in the darkness, unless they are in a state of sin in which case they want to hide their sins by clouding everyone`s vision. The person who will go to church is going there for clarity, but the church, fearful of offending the sinners, refuses to offer any clarity, but allows the skies to remain cloudy and dark. Jesus didn`t do that-and people flocked to Him. Why this lesson is lost on the Catholic Church is beyond me.

If there is not a major turnaround by the Catholic Heirarchy, Catholicism will continue it`s long and painful slide. Priests and Bishops will have to answer to God for that!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Folly of Christian Environmentalism

Environmentalism kills, according to this piece in Human Events Online.

Hardly surprising; those who worship the pagan nature gods always offer human sacrifices to appease their deity. Creation is at enmity with Man because it is fallen, just as we were at enmity with the One True God because of Sin. Death and corruption are the necessary ends of the natural world, and those who turn their backs on the Creator to serve the creature will naturally serve death and corruption.

There are some Christians (notably liberal ones) who would argue that Man has a responsibility to be good stewards, that we are to nurture the Earth. They base this on Genesis 1:28-29:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Note that it says BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY, as well as REPLENISH THE EARTH AND SUBDUE IT. It in no way mentions Global Warming, or any of the other environmentalist claptrap. It does not call man to be God, and exercise Divine control for the sake of the natural world; on the contrary, it calls for Man to expand and improve things FOR MAN`s benefit.

Environmentalist Christians are in a state of error in that they have placed their trust in the powers of Man rather than the absolute control of God. They rightly believe that we should not despoil nature, but this comes out of an arrogant belief in the divine powers of Man, while ignoring the fact that God is in control of things. The betterment of our fellows is the purpose of life, not the preservation of the lesser parts of creation, and environmentalist Christians have confused the issue, believing they are doing the Will of God when they are ultimately feeding their own egos.

According to the Bible, a thing may be judged by the fruit it bears. What fruit does Environmentalism-and Climate Change-bear?

It violates several of the Ten Commandments, for instance:

1.I the Lord am your God, Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.

(Given the neo-paganism, the nature worship of many of those intimately involved in the movement, or the atheism of many involved, this command is clearly being violated.)

5.Thou shalt not kill.

(DDT, anyone? Many environmentalists have said quite plainly that their goal is to reduce the World`s population levels. How about the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement?)

7.Thou shalt no steal.

(What are carbon taxes, cow emission taxes, industrial reduction goals, etc. other than fancy redistribution of wealth schemes ie. stealing?)

8.Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

(How about the lies coming from the Gang Green? They claim that NO scientists disagree with them except S. Fred Singer. They have tried to erase the Medieval Warming Period to defend Michael Mann`s hockey stick, all the while knowing the evidence is clear that it was warmer then than now. They accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being in the pay of Exxon-Mobile. etc.)

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor`s goods.

(Why is the United States supposed to be subject to Kyoto while China and India are not? Why are taxes imposed to enforce GW goals? Why are we told that what we eat, what we do, how we live is immoral because some do not have it? This entire thing is an exercise in covetousness-as indeed is most liberal thinking.)

Jesus summed the Commandments up as follows:

``Love the Lord with all of your heart, all of your mind, and all of your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.``

Can this be said of the Environmentalist Movement? God has clearly been an afterthought; He is not present at all, although a Wiccan style goddess certainly pervades portions of the movement. How can condemning poor Africans to death by Malaria, or people to poverty because they don`t have access to energy and industry, or to have rolling blackouts because environmentalists don`t want new power plants built be called loving one`s neighbor?

God made it quite plain that the plagues of Egypt were from Him, and the plagues which will fall upon the World as a result of their following the Anti-
Christ will likewise be from Him. Hasn`t it struck you odd that the people will redouble their efforts when smitten, according to Revelation? What does this say? I submit that this suggests that the very plagues which come directly from God will be blamed on-you guessed it-Man! Everything which happens in Revelation could be tied by the Gang Green to human activity. What plagues are present? Clearly, the Ozone is depleted; sunlight is said to scorch people. We have hurricanes, floods, the water is poisoned, the sky turns black. One third of all life is destroyed by these occurences, yet those who dwell on the Earth are more obstinate than ever. Famines, pestillences, wars, etc. will not make them turn course. Oh, and don`t forget the two objects which strike the Earth. Why? Because they will believe that these are of their own making, not from the Almighty-just as most Environmentalists believe today.

The Bible says the Anti-Christ will come in his own name, claiming in the Temple to be God. How will he do this? I`ll wager that nobody will realize that this is exactly what he has done when it happens. I`ll bet that he will claim the godhead in a sneaky way, proclaiming himself the embodiement of the spirit of modernity, as the defender of the Environment and of Man`s rational nature. It says that even Christians will be deceived by this fellow at first. I`ll bet he will be a member of the Gang Green.

Does God want us to pollute the Earth? No. Does He want us to keep the Earth pristine? I doubt it; a pristine world is an unlived-in world, and the world is here for man, man is not here for the world.

He`s a Mean One

A real live Grinch steals Christmas.

A House Divided

Writing in the American Thinker, the brilliant Herb Meyer points out that we are no longer debating the War-the greater war against Islamic Jihad-in terms of strategy, but in terms of whether we should fight for Western Civilization at all.

Never in our past was this at issue (except maybe during Vietnam, and even then the majority of Americans merely disagreed with that particular fight)and the loss of confidence in our way of life bodes ill for our future survival. A house divided cannot stand, according to Lincoln, and we have become divided between those who believe in Western Civilization and those who do not. How long can we stand with the barbarians at the gates, and with us divided internally?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Big Climate Change

Global Warming is all about money, according to Russian Academy of Science member Andrei Kapitsa, in an article in Pravda:

The seasonal fluctuations are the reason why the amount of carbon dioxide increases or decreases a little in the atmosphere. The catastrophic forest fires make a huge contribution. The volcanoes are even more important...

“I’m afraid the money is a key word in this case,” Prof. Kapitsa said. “Chemical companies producing the so-called healthy Freon refrigerants make lots of money once the refrigerants are replaced at a nationwide scale. The replacement of refrigerators and air-conditioning systems in the U.S. alone cost the consumer a total of $220 billion last year. Former president of the U.S. Academy of Sciences Frederick Zeitz said a long time ago that all the theories relating to global warming were far-fetched and couldn’t be proven correct,” Prof. Kapitsa concluded.

Professor Kapitsa has noted, as have many Russian Geophysicists, that temperature increases preceed increases in CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the Earth`s atmosphere, not the other way around.

Who is Andrei Kapitsa? According to 70 South, a website about Antarctica:

Lake Vostok is a huge liquid lake under the Ice. Its existence was first suggested by the Russian, Andrei Kapitsa in the late 1950's, while measuring icethickness enroute to and from the station. The lake itself was however officially confirmed to exist in 1974, by a British team using airborne radar. The Lake was first close to the most inaccessible place on the continent, near the Russians station with the same name.

Dr. Kapitsa was the first person to realize that there was a giant lake under the Antarctic ice. But there are no serious scientists who do not agree with Anthropogenic Global Warming, according to Al Gore and Gang Greens. I suppose Dr. Kapitsa is a pseudonym for S. Fred Singer!

Monday, December 25, 2006


Unto Us a Child is Born

Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the Day of the Lord comes, the great and terrible Day.

To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers,

Lest I come and strike the land with doom.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cy-re`-ni-us was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, everyone to his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilea, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David;)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the Angel said unto them Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you: ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we behelt his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
(John1:1-2 and 14-15)

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Em-man`-u-el, which being interpreted is, God is with us.

Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.

And knew her not until she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.
(Matthew1: 18-25)


Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Candle In The Darkness

Thus Spoke the Lord God of Hosts:

Num 24.17b A Star shall come out of Jacob. A Scepter shall rise out of Israel...

Gen 49.10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

Isa 9.7 Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Isa 7.14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Mic 5.2 [God said...] But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.

(Isa. 60:1-6) Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee... And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings in the brightness of thy rising.... The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Madian and Epha. All they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense and showing forth praise to the Lord

(Ps. 71:10) The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts

Isa 40.3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness. "Prepare the way of the LORD. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God."

Isa 9.1-2 Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, as when at first He lightly esteemed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward more heavily oppressed her, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.

Zech 9.9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you. He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do [this], saith the LORD of hosts.

Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, [with] the statutes and judgments.

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

And there was silence from Heaven for a span of 400 years.

Saddam`s Links to Terror

Journalist Stephen Hayes from the Weekly Standardconnects the dots between Saddam`s Iraq and Terrorism.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Slicing Our Own Jugular

The Russians now have a spiffy new ICBM force thanks to a couple of tremendously stupid programs implemented by the United States.

The Nuclear Cities Initiative was a Clinton-era program designed to keep the Soviet nuclear enrichment centers operating. The fear was that the scientists and technicians who operated these centers would sell their services to the highest bidder, so Uncle Sam underwrote their continued operations. As a result, these complexes have continued to crank out enriched Uranium and Plutonium for Russia`s nuclear arsenal.

The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program was intended to decommission the old Soviet arsenal-thus freeing the Russian government`s money to build a brand new one. WE financed their new weapons systems!

With Comrad Putin and his poisonous cadre (quite literally!) in power, America still faces a nuclear threat from the Great Bear. We can add this to the ever growing list of threats we face throughout the world.

Unfortunately, this one we did to ourselves!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Death by Cow Gas

In another display of pitch-perfect priorities, the U.N. has released its findings on cow flatulence. There’s quite a lot of it. The 400-page study, $27 million of which probably went to Saddam Hussein for old times’ sake, discovered that the planet’s livestock, including 1.5 billion cattle, produce 18 percent of greenhouse gases. Apparently the beasts of the field do nothing but wander around all day asking their brethren to ‘pull my hoof.’ Every time a cow feels a small sense of relief, a polar bear goes through the ice.

James Lileks

(From the Federalist)

There is a big stink erupted over the possibility of cow emissions contributing to Global Warming, and I fear I must take a deep breath and wade into this issue. Frankly something smells rotten, and not just in Denmark!

Actually, I was wondering how long it would take before some learned study came to this conclusion; liberals have hated the beef industry for far longer than they have ``known`` about Global Warming. Vegetarianism and the Vegan movement goes back a long way, and they have their roots in the nascent concepts of ``sustainability`` and white guilt at being able to feast on Porterhouse Steaks and Hamburgers while people in Africa might get two blades of grass and an expired cough drop for desert. Sprinkle in a hearty helping of bleeding heart (and anoxic brain) animal rights theory, and you have a liberal no-brainer (an oxymoron, I know).

I remember the early `80`s (before GW became the ``cause celeb```) campus liberals were all spouting off about our collective guilt at enjoying beef while people starved. Their argument was that it took four pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef, and that we should eat just one pound of grain and give the rest to the poor. Of course, this completely disregards basic economics, and ignores the real problems of hunger in the world; left wing socialist policies. Most hunger worldwide results from artificial conditions such as civil wars, despotism, atrocious fiscal and economic policy, and strife-all of which ultimately derive from liberal theories implemented in the newly independent nations in the `60`s. The drive toward de-Colonialization, the implementation of socialist or Keynesian economic theories, etc. produced much of the poverty we see worldwide today. Old wounds were opened between tribes, with nobody to stop the bloodshed once the Europeans were gone (at the insistence of the Left) and evil ideologies flourished, since those ideologies (Marxism helped the local strongman justify and consolidate his power. State takeovers of businesses, of land, nationalizing the main industries destroyed economies throughout the Third World.

You cannot explain any of this to a liberal; he believes, in his purity of heart, that America and the West are eating up the future by breeding cattle, growing tobacco, manufacturing goods. THESE are the roots of poverty, hunger, and oppression (not the policies which they themselves advocated)and that these terrible things must be removed in the interest of ``fairness``. We must all live a simpler, more natural, poorer life where misery is equally spread.

That is at the root of liberal Puritanism; why the Left hates tobacco, for example; we should be growing food to give to the poor, not raising a noxious weed for our own frivolity! This is why they tend to support things which restrict alcohol consumption, and why they are so heavily on board with the ``health lobby``; they ultimately seek a transformation in our way of life to bring us to an agrarian Eden.

Back in the `80`s I spoke to a liberal from Brazil, and commented on her home country`s success at using sugar cane to produce fuel. She grew quite roth with me, demanding to know how we dare grow crops for fuel when people were starving. I pointed out that more food would be produced by mechanized farms, that the loss of productive farmland would be more than compensated by the extra acreage would could be cropped via tractor. I pointed out that much of the hunger in the world was a problem of distribution, that civil wars and tyrants would simply hijack any charitable donations for their armies (as they had done in Ethiopia during the great famine), and that spreading misery equally was hardly an optimal solution. She couldn`t answer any of these points, yet continued to assert her fundamental point that this was somehow immoral.

Which brings us back to boflatulencelance; I had a book from the 1960`s which discussed the matter! The Missouri Department of Fish and Wildlife has discussed this issue for years; cattle not only contribute to air pollution (if you will) but also cause great damage to stream beds and natural habitat. I`ve been waiting for the libs to link this to GW!

Of course, those cute little deer and other animals of which the liberals are so fond likewise contribute to GW; should we increase the hunting season? Somehow I suspect they wouldn`t like that answer to the problem.

No, we simply must regulate our beef production! Taxes! That is the answer! (Why is the answer to every problem involve more taxes with liberals?)

If we can regulate boflatulencelance, how long before hflatulencelance is regulated and taxed? How long before we are all fitted with a gas-o-meter to determine how much we are emitting for tax purposes? How long before our breathing is taxed?

What about India? They see the cow as a sacred creature; will they be forced to eliminate cattle for the sake of the environment?

This whole business has a bad smell.

No Reason for the Season

(Also from the Federalist)

Just a hurried line... to tell a story which puts the contrast between our feast of the Nativity and all this ghastly ‘Xmas’ racket at its lowest. My brother heard a woman on a bus say, as the bus passed a church with a Crib outside it, ‘Oh Lor’! They bring religion into everything. Look they’re dragging it even into Christmas now!

C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

So Help Me Allah!

Bookworm is a blogger and occasional American Thinker contributor (much like myself) who has written a piece critical of Dennis Prager`s argument against America`s first Moslem Congressman swearing in on the Koran. She makes a good case, and points out something which I had been thinking:

All of which gets us back to Keith Ellison and his originally stated intention to take the oath of office relying solely on his Koran. Although there is often a vast chasm between theory and practice, theory, as I understand it, says that a true Muslim cannot simultaneously believe in the Koran's dictates and swear an oath to protect a Western legal document such as the Constitution. The two documents (the Koran and the Constitution) envision entirely antithetical laws and the Koran mandates that its believers, as part of their faith, bend every effort to ensuring the Koran's ascendancy over all other forms of government and faith.

In other words, Prager was wrong about Ellison's using the Koran at his swearing-in, not because it represented an act of multiculturalist self-obsession, but because a really religious man cannot do both acts at the same time. That is, as a devout Muslim, one cannot swear to support any political system other than Shari'a, and one certainly can't do so using the very same Koran that proscribes all other systems.

I`ll go her one better:

Bukhari:V7B67N427 "The Prophet said, ‘If I take an oath and later find something else better than that, then I do what is better and expiate my oath.'"

In short, the Koran commands Ellison to break any vow to a secular government when that vow becomes inconvenient.

Oathbreaking is serious business, because all covenanting revolves around fulfillment of a promise. That the Moslem will casually violate any oath if it conflicts with his submission to what he perceives as the Will of Allah makes it impossible to trust him. Swearing on the Koran merely excuses any breech in loyalty to his Oath and Country, because Islam demands loyalty above all else.

This contrasts sharply with the commands of Jesus, who told his disciples to keep their oaths, obey the civil authorities, and ``render unto Caesar that which is Caesar`s``. When a Christian swears on the Bible he is not taking this oath before men but before God Himself, and his oath is binding. (That is why the Bible recommends against oath taking in most cases-lest you fall short before the Throne of God.)

In fact, I`d feel more confident if Ellison swore on the Constitution than on the Koran; he would not feel so justified to break his vow.

We need a better understanding of the nature of Islam if we are to survive the clash of civilizations we are now engaged in.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Live For Today, Die Tomorrow

More on the Ukrainian baby harvesting mills:

Hill said he eventually obtained videotaped evidence of the infanticides and abortions from Tatyana Zhakarova, from the Federation Of Families With Many Children.

"Tatyana discovered many more infants had died at the hospital in similarly odd circumstances. And after intensive lobbying, the authorities eventually agreed to have the tiny bodies of around 30 babies exhumed and examined," Hill wrote in the Daily Mail.

"Tatyana showed me the video she had been allowed to record of the post-mortem examinations that followed. The gruesome film shows the carcasses of babies, some of whom were full-term, with their organs and brains missing," Hill added.

Hill reports that the Council Of Europe has started its own investigation of the barbaric stem cell trade and it's first report talks of a "culture of trafficking of children snatched at birth and a wall of silence from hospital staff upwards over their fate."

Throughout history life was held cheaply, and the ancients of many different cultures frequently sacrificed to their gods, or killed because it was just convenient. Judaism changed that, with the Commandment ``thou shalt not kill`` and Christianity extended the concept of the sanctity of life into a universally recognized proposition. We are outraged at things like this because of our Judeo-Christian heritage, not (as many atheists would like us to believe) in spite of it. Unfortunately, times are changing, and a spirit of apostasy is upon us; we shouldn`t be surprised at this sort of thing. We have shrugged our shoulders at abortion, at euthanasia, and at fetal stem-cell research; why shouldn`t babies be killed for their stem-cells? A baby is as helpless as an unborn fetus, after all, and will quickly die without constant care. Darwin has taught us that the strong survive to breed, and the weak die. Certainly we have the right to select our breeding stock, and to use the weak for our greater good!

The rise of Humanistic Materialism has meant a return to the ancient, to the sacrifices to the blood gods. Instead of Kulkulkin or moles we sacrifice to Darwin, or Watson and Crick, or Margaret Sanger. We kill for money and health, for beauty and youth, for ease and convenience. We, like the ancient high priests, salve our consciences by consigning these deaths to the greater good, when they are ultimately for our own petty benefit.

Our civilization is waning-especially in Europe where the population is dropping precipitously-yet we continue to lower the bar on our valuation of human life. Now, more than ever, respect for life is vital, yet the decadents in Europe continue to trivialize it while their society and people die. They are in the terminal stages of a corruption, and soon will pay the terrible penalty for their sins.

Why is Latin America making so many inroads here in the States? Because they have children and we don`t. Ditto the Islamic World (which does not respect life, but which believes in bearing children). We, who really do know better, have spit upon the most fundamental birthright, and are surprised at the results.

A culture which sees people in terms of utility should not be surprised at the fruits that result; why should teenagers not treat each-other as objects for their personal pleasure? Why are we surprised at out of wedlock births and venereal diseases, when we have objectified our bodies? Why not steal, or assault, or kill? If we are merely animated meat, why not rape or sodomize? Survival of the fittest! Why not throw your newborn child in a trash can, or shake your baby to death? You could abort it legally until it actually comes out of the womb. Utility without objective standards guarantees the ills which plague our civilization.

So it should come as no surprise that children are being stolen to harvest for their stem-cells for very dubious beauty treatments; we have created a climate conducive to this. We have denied the spirit in favor of the material, and the material alone means we act on our own pleasures of the moment.

Those who seek pleasures of the moment only will find they have no future.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mayans and the Medieval Warming Period

I went to see Apocalypto over the weekend, and was reminded that the Mayan civilization flourished and died with the Medieval Warming Period. The degenerate Mayans portrayed in Gibson`s movie represented the last gasp of a culture that had been dying for quite some time, and their fate was linked to the environmental changes caused by the MWP and subsequent cooling period (contrary to what our friends at RealClimate may claim.)

Here is a chronology of historical/geological events by Professor of Earth Sciences James Aber which helps to illustrate the effects of the MWP and LIA. He mentions the collapse of Mayan culture several times, and links it to climate change resulting from the MWP.

This is a good timeline, but he fails to mention a number of other examples; the Mongols had been a collection of tent-dwelling nomads in the Gobi until the 13th Century when they exploded outword. Why? Because their food supply had greatly increased in the 12th Century thanks to a warming of their climate.

The Mississippian culture, called the Moundbuilders because they constructed artificial hills on which to build their temples rather than pyramids as the Aztec and Mayan civilizations preferred, flourished from between 800 and 1500 when they seemed to dwindle away to nothing. Suggestive, no? They seem to have followed a path similar to their Mayan neighbors.

In fact, the Spanish found all of the great kingdoms of the New World easy pickings because they were all in decline at the same time. The Incans were in the throes of a civil war, with two Sun-Gods claiming the throne, the Mayans were in the final stages of collapse, and the Aztec culture was buffeted by misfortune. Now, why should all of these kingdoms suffer this fate at this same time? Because agriculture soured as a result of changes in their climate, that`s why.

The Vikings are used by Dr. Aber, but not a lot of mentio is made of the Russians, who quietly began expanding into the Laplander territory to the north and into Asia. Game had become more plentiful and the Russian people sought to escape the ravages of the Golden Horde, so they began pioneering what had been sparsely inhabited lands.

Another example which Dr. Aber could have used was the Black Death. Bubonic plague was carried by a species of rat which immigrated from the steppes of Europe. It hit Europe in 1347 and wiped out fully a quarter of the population. There were two reasons for the arrival of the Plague; increased travel as a result of the warmer climate by Europeans and an increase in the rat population because of a greater food supply. Both of these illustrate that the world climate had warmed.

(An interesting side-note; the children`s rhyme ``Ring around the Rosie`` was about the Black Death. Rosie was a shortening of Rosary, meaning everyone was praying nonstop for the dead, posies and other flowers were often inserted in the pockets of the dead before burial. I think you`ll get the rest!)

This pandemic was ended with the arrival of a newer rat species from Asia, one which, while capable of carrying the Plague, avoided human contact. These newbies killed or chased off their rivals, thus ending the devastation. These, too, were driven by environmental forces.

The fact is, something drove tremendous changes in culture worldwide throughout the Middle-Ages, something which gave birth to new civilizations and destroyed older, less vital ones. It affected agriculture, health, and population patterns. If the Global Warming crowd has a credible alternative explanation, I`d like to hear it! A worldwide warming explains these events nicely.

Here is a piece which tells of a warm spell in 1540 so bad the Rhine dried up. No MWP?

So the next time some member of the Gang Green disputes the existence of the Medieval Warming Period, tell them to see Apocalypto!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Swift and Sure Proposal

Americans have always found ingeneous solutions to their problems. The legendary 19th century science fiction writer Jules Vern (a Frenchman at that) called Americans born engineers, and he set his novel ``From the Earth to the Moon`` in America (with some striking parallels to the actual Moon landing, such as the launch vehicle being named the Columbiad and the launch being carried out from south Florida, etc.). Americans have been responsible for multiple revolutions in science and technology, including instant communications (Alexander Graham Bell), intercontinental communications (Cyrus Field and the transcontinental telegraph), automobiles and the assembly line method of production (Henry Ford), electric lights, phonographs, and motion pictures (Thomas Edison), nuclear technology, manned space exploration, etc. But recently, technological fixes have seem to elude us; we have overpopulation despite our invention of such useful items as the day-glow condom, we have Gobal Warming despite the invention of air conditioning by Willis Haviland Carrier, we have nuclear proliferation and terrorism despite the advent of ``the last, best hope of Mankind``-the United Nations. Much of the world is hungry despite advances in farming techniques developed right here in the good old U.S. of A. Why, oh why, can`t we find a silver bullet, a technological fix that would solve all of these nefarious problems at once, with one final act? If Americans are equal to the confidence placed on us by that Fungi eater Vern, we should be capable of inventing a solution which wraps all these problems together and ties them up with a bright coaxial bow.

Outgoing U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan hinted at the answer in a speech he gave recently at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo.; he spoke of the need for ``farsighted leadership in the Truman tradition`` leading talk show host Rush Limbaugh to speculate that Annan was suggesting America use a nuclear device. In fact, Annan specifically mentions the importance of American action on anthropogenic Global Warming, which surely gives away what the SecGen is thinking; America must act Swiftly and decisively, using the type of bold, imaginative approach that ``Give `em Hell`` Harry Truman employed.

Back in the 1980`s, during the heighth of the Cold War, computer simulations (similar to those used to discover Mother Earth`s dreaded illness Global Warming) based on observations of the planet Mars discovered that a nuclear war would be followed by a nasty cold snap. This ``nuclear winter`` would, we were told, freeze the planet colder than Hillary Clinton, making life as we know it impossible. This gave birth to the nuclear freeze movement, of which such luminaries as John Kerry were proud members and which pushed for unilateral U.S. disarmament seasoned liberally with S.A.L.T. Once it became obvious that arms would not freeze, the science suddenly changed, claiming a nuclear cool breeze instead of an ice storm. Thus matters have remained-until now.

It`s baaack! Just when we thought it was safe to swim in Mother Gaia`s baptismal waters, the shadow of nuclear global cooling returns to shiver our collective timbers. Colorado U. professor Owen ``Brian`` Toon, one of the original 5 who brought Nuclear Winter to your screen has done it again; using newer climate models ``Looney`` Toon and his collaborators` have discovered that a limited nuclear exchange could kill many people (duh) and that soot from the exchange, lofted into the atmosphere, would drop worldwide temperatures:

Toon and his colleagues concluded that the nuclear blasts would trigger firestorms emitting more than 5 million metric tons of soot. Climate models showed that a large fraction of the soot would linger in the upper atmosphere for up to a decade - far longer than researchers had previously thought possible, according to co-author Alan Robock of Rutgers University.

The soot would block sunlight,cooling the global average temperature by 2.25 degrees Fahrenheit, an immediate drop that would persist for years. The cooling would shorten growing seasons by up to a month and threaten grain-growing regions in America and Eurasia.

My question is, is this a bad thing? The world has witnessed, we are told by the Green Gang, a 1.5 degree rise in temperatures in the last 150 years, with at least another 1 degree rise anticipated. Perhaps we could turn lemons into lemonade here?

Mother Gaia, we are told, is sick with a cancerous growth of Humanity. Man is using up all of Gaia`s natural resources, burning the old gal with fever via Global Warming, and clogging her planetary sinuses with oil-based pollution. Perhaps it is time for a little radiation treatment for her cancer?

The answer should be obvious-America should utilize atomic sterilization of the infection. Fifty nuclear warheads detonated throughout the Middle-East would, as Kofi has suggested, end this destructive conflict by liquidating (quite literally) the enemy. In the process we would reduce our dependence on foreign oil by eliminating the oil wells, thus opening the door to more sustainable energy sources such as wind or solar (er, well, solar may be a problem with all that soot). We will take a serious bite out of the overpopulation problem, and the 2.25 degree drop in temperatures will offset the damage we are doing to the Earth via Global Warming. Don`t forget, by drying up the sources of military conflict we will reduce the power of the military/industrial complex here and abroad, and so usher in an era of peace and plenty.

Considering some of the more esoteric ideas floated by the Gang Greens such as sunshades to reduce solar radiation or the injection of sulphur into the stratosphere this proposal is not really so far-fetched, and it certainly would be easier to implement. The benefits are far reaching, including the partial elimination of America`s stockpile of nuclear weapons (which would be a nice added bonus, since America is the top detriment to peace in the world as we all know). We already have the nuclear devices at hand-it is simply a matter of using our resources wisely. Mother Earth will thank us!

Are we prepared to do what is necessary to save the planet? Mankind is the problem, and Gaia will act in ways we cannot prepare for if we fail to take care of this matter ourselves. There are those who see the primacy of Nature over Man, and who have suggested the necessary steps:

Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.

Are we prepared to go the whole 9 yards? Do we really care about Mother Earth? If so, we should implement this modest proposal immediately. We have everything to gain, and our loses would be trivial.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hanukkah Blessing

To all my Jewish friends and readers; I`m wishing you a joyous and blessed Hanukkah today!

God bless you all!


Biological Orthodoxy and Heretics

I`ve been neglecting my Darwinian admirers, so I thought I`d toss out these juicy red steaks for everyone`s enjoyment.

First off, Congress has been investigating harassment by Darwinists of apostates at the Smithsonian;

“After two years of denials and stonewalling by Smithsonian bureaucrats, a congressional investigation now confirms a campaign of harassment and smears against evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg, whose only ‘crime’ was his honest skepticism of Darwinian dogma,” said John West, vice president of public policy and legal affairs at the Center for Science & Culture. “It’s outrageous that the federal government would sanction such blatant discrimination. This is clearly an infringement of Dr. Sternberg’s free speech rights.”

It doesn`t pay to be skeptical of Darwinian Orthodoxy:

Findings of the investigation include:
Officials at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History “explicitly acknowledged in emails their intent to pressure Sternberg to resign because of his role in the publication of the Meyer paper and his views on evolution.” They wanted “to make Dr. Sternberg’s life at the Museum as difficult as possible and encourage him to leave.”

“NMNH officials conspired with a special interest group to publicly smear Dr. Sternberg; the group was also enlisted to monitor Sternberg’s outside activities in order to find a way to dismiss him.”

“The hostility toward Dr. Sternberg at the NMNH was reinforced by anti-religious and political motivations.” NMNH scientists demanded to know whether Sternberg “was religious,” “was a Republican,” “was a fundamentalist,” and whether “he was a conservative.”

If the science is indisputable (just like Global Warming) why do Darwinists become so testy when challenged? Why do they resist an honest and open debate-even inside their own ranks?

Another interesting tidbit-the judge in the Dover decision (which the High Priests of Natural Selection crowed about so loudly) plagerized his decision virtually verbatim from an ACLU document:

"Judge John Jones copied verbatim or virtually verbatim 90.9% of his 6,004-word section on whether intelligent design is science from the ACLU's proposed 'Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law' submitted to him nearly a month before his ruling," said Dr. John West, Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.

...Jones' copying was so uncritical that he even reprinted a number of factual errors originally made by ACLU attorneys.

For example, Jones claimed that biochemist Michael Behe, when asked about articles purporting to explain the evolution of the immune system, responded that the articles were "not 'good enough.'" Behe actually said the exact opposite: "it's not that they aren't good enough. It's simply that they are addressed to a different subject." Jones' misrepresentation of Behe came directly from the ACLU's "Findings of Fact."

Again copying from the ACLU, Jones insisted that "ID is not supported by any peer-reviewed… publications." But, in fact, the court record contained evidence of several such publications.

Why are these people so afraid of an open debate? If their case is so strong, why not throw it out for discussion? Suppression of dissent is the hallmark of those who are losing an argument, and Darwinists are the kings of this, whether it be through manipulation of the Law, public ridicule, what have you.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Glitterati Economics

The Great Thomas Sowell takes on glitterati economics.

Here is a small taste:

Apparently Wal-Mart does not pay its employees as much as third-party observers would like to see them paid. But obviously it is not paying them less than their work is worth to other employers or they probably would not be working at Wal-Mart. Moreover, third parties who wax indignant are paying them nothing.

One of the morally indignant "films" (more high-toned than "movies") coming out of Hollywood makes the same complaint against Starbucks, depicting poverty-stricken Ethiopian coffee growers providing beans for the big-bucks coffee store chain.

Are the Ethiopian coffee growers worse off now that Starbucks is buying their beans? Supply and demand would suggest otherwise. But moral crusaders seldom have time for economics.

The net result will be people feeling good about themselves in Hollywood, in academia and in the media, while leaving havoc in their wake among the Third World people they claim to care about.

It is (as usual from Dr. Sowell) a great piece; don`t miss it!

Getting Jacked

It looks like our old friend Jack Kevorkian, the legendary Jack the Dripper, will be paroled from prison in June. It saddens me to waste such a valuable resource; Jack would have been invaluable had we used his services in a more constructive manner!

Rarely does one find a person so suited to his particular calling, and his talents could have been invaluable in a deathrow setting. Alas, such is the inefficiency of our type of system that greatness can be wasted.

You will be missed, Mr. K!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Crimes of Ras-Putin

``Behind every great fortune there is a crime``


Thomas Lifson discusses Putin`s plan to dominate energy in a nice piece this morning at the American Thinker. As you may remember, I touched briefly on this in my article about the demise of Russia at AT a few months back; Putin and the Russian government are very serious about cornering the market on energy and energy technology, and the Al Capone tactics being employed against Shell Oil should not surprise anyone. Put has slipped into the role of Godfather(or Fuehrer) remarkably easily from his former occupation (KGB thug and communist) and he intuitively understands that he will get away with this, since Russian oil is vital to world markets. Of course, he shows a complete ignorance of wealth-what it is and how it is acquired. Such actions will ultimately damage the Russian economy, but Comrade Putin and his Dancing Teeth doesn`t care about the long term; he is interested (much like Hitler) in stoking the fires of Nationalism to cement his power.

If Putin were a true leader he would encourage more foreign investments, since Russia is not capable of developing her own resources. This would bring wealth into the country and perhaps reverse the trend toward Russian self-extinction vis-a-vis infertility. THAT is the real danger facing the Great Bear; foreign development of Russian resources is hardly a long-term problem, and the Russians can corner the market on energy all they like to no avail if there aren`t any Russians left in 50 years. An economically successful Russia will breed hope in her people, which will hopefully lead her people to breed. Children represent hope for the future; Russia (and Europe) has lost her hope and the thuggish behavior of Putin steals what little that remains. Russia endured the Tsars (some of whom were quite tyrannical), then the Bolsheviks, and now they have Ras-Putin, Commissar of All-The-Russias and principle nogoodnick. Why should the Russian people bring children into such a world? Who would want to condemn their children to an eternal gulag, to poverty, to unfairness, despotism and crime?

Russia desperately needs an Orange Revolution.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Deathhead Slaughterhouses

I`ve been warning that this sort of thing was coming; live babies are being killed to harvest their stem cells.

Can everyone say cannibalism?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kofi and Company

By now everyone has heard the sewage dribbled from the ponderous lips of klutchin` Kofi Annan, about how America is the focus of evil in the world, etc. etc. Of course, Kofi and his son Kujo, er, Kojak, er, Koko (I`m doing my best Ted Kennedy imitation here) are ultimately responsible for Iraq, since they were busy making their fortunes by circumventing the U.N.`s own embargo on exports to Saddam. Had Kofi been more interested in upholding U.N. sanctions rather than profiting by them Iraq would not have been in a position to flip America and the world the bird. As it happened, France and Russia worked dilligently through Mr. Annan to funnel the things Saddam really wanted-arms, munitions, technical equipment, etc. via the Oil for Food program run by Kojo Annan, who profited mightily by aiding in this despicable end-run around the authority of the U.N. and around American interests and policy.

Which makes this piece all the more galling; Kofi Annan has the nerve to lecture the world on poverty when he aided and abetted Iraqi starvation to feather his own nest. If Kofi gave a damn about the poor he would have been laboring to assist them instead of screwing them in Iraq. The man is a wonder of hypocrisy!

This also illustrates the mindset of ``the last, best hope for mankind``; the U.N. is all about robbing the rich to give to the poor (after syphoning off a huge slice for themselves) and for Kofi to declare freedom from poverty a human right illustrates the thinking which illuminates the hallowed halls of this venerable institution-it is red to the core. If such a freedom exists, then the wealthy nations such as the United Nations has the right to redistribute wealth from the rich nations to those in poverty. This is nothing but a cheap justification for international socialism and redistributism. The U.N. is nothing more than a den of socialist thieves.

If Kofi really believes what he said, perhaps he should donate his ill-gotten gain from the Oil for Food program to the poor; put your money where your fat mouth is, Kofi! You have no right to this money while the poor do, so buck up!

Liberals always apply their rules to others, never themselves. Kofi is a classic example of liberalism in action.

Fly the Stinky Skies

Now here is a story which just doesn`t pass the smell test!

Half-Baked/Hammerhead Commission

Another piece from our friend Wil Wirtanen on the Half Baked-Hammerhead Commission:

But at least we tried?

Richard Haass, Council of Foreign Relations, on Meet the Press expressed an idea that I continually here from liberals and find reprehensible (yes, both the idea and the people). I am paraphrasing what he said, but he stated that the Iraq Surrender Group report is a long shot but it will show that we, the US, tried.

I have heard this type of refrain for all the failed liberal policies in the last several years. It has a brother and sister excuse which are It isn’t whether you win or lose, but how you play the game or at least we care.

This type of attitude and philosophy is the credo of losers. You don’t go into a serious endeavor without a serious commitment to win. If you do, you are doomed to defeat before you get to try.

How long would Vince Lombardi have lasted at Green Bay if after a loss he told the press at least we tried. He would not be the icon he is with that type of attitude. And this is just about a game (sorry football fanatics).

The at least we tried attitude shows a total lack of the fortitude necessary to weather the difficult things in life. Why do we admire the tenacity of individuals overcoming adversity? It is not because they showed up and put up a token amount of effort to overcome the adversity. It is because they were victorious.

The starting point of victimization comes from this attitude. These people feel if they show up that they should be given a job, college degree, etc. They feel they should not have to compete, put forth effort or be productive on their job.

It scares the hell out me when I here of games where no score is kept, or that because you happen you to be a certain victim you get a pass on standards. By doing these, we are sowing the seeds of defeatism and victimization in our children and third world status for this nation.

I have been chastised in the past by people when I excoriate them for the phrase, It is not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. I then ask them one question, Is that how the military should approach war? I usually hear some stammering and an inane response.

The battle in Iraq (and yes it is only a battle in the overall war against Islamo-fascists) may not going well. The attitude of the Dimocrats and RINO’s are reflecting this defeatist attitude. The best indication of this is their total lack of use of the word Victory.

What liberals don’t seem to understand is that the scoreboard has only two columns Win or Lose there are no columns for Trying or How You Played.

Historic Visionaries and Wonkish Astigmatics

Newt Gingrich sees the problems in the Mid-East clearly, and the myopia of the Iraq Study Group for what it is:

Core Misconception: Believing Syria and Iran Are Fit Partners for Peace

On Wednesday, the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group issued its report on Iraq.

In its underlying philosophy and its specific recommendations, the Baker-Hamilton Commission report is nothing less than a prescription for American surrender.

The failure of the report centers on its core misconception: believing that the Iranian and Syrian governments can be responsible partners in helping to shape a stable and prosperous Iraq.

Two weeks ago in "Winning the Future," I described a set of 11 key tests to evaluate the Baker-Hamilton report. This week, I outline here how the Baker-Hamilton Commission report measures up to each of these 11 tests. But at a broader level, it is important to understand how dangerous the thinking is that underlies this report.

The Instincts of Neville Chamberlain

In September 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned from Germany where he had signed the Munich Agreement with dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini that provided for the partial dismemberment of Czechoslovakia and the surrender of the Sudetenland territory of Czechoslovakia to Germany.

After hailing the agreement in front of 10 Downing Street for providing "peace in our time," Chamberlain later praised Hitler and Mussolini before the British House of Commons for their helpful part in the capitulation to Germany:

After everything that has been said about the German Chancellor [Hitler] today and in the past, I do feel that the House ought to recognise the difficulty for a man in that position to take back such emphatic declarations as he had already made amidst the enthusiastic cheers of his supporters, and to recognise that in consenting, even though it were only at the last moment, to discuss with the representatives of other Powers those things which he had declared he had already decided once for all, was a real and a substantial contribution on his part. With regard to Signor Mussolini, ... I think that Europe and the world have reason to be grateful to the head of the Italian government for his work in contributing to a peaceful solution.

Hitler and Mussolini Make Good on Their 'Emphatic Declarations'

Five weeks later, the Nazi regime unleashed the violence of Kristallnacht. On November 9 and 10, almost 100 Jews were murdered, thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses and homes were damaged or destroyed, and approximately 30,000 Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.

Six months later, on March 15, 1939, the German army entered Czechoslovakia and quickly crushed all resistance. The nation of Czechoslovakia, divided internally and overcome by foreign aggression, ceased to exist. World War II had begun.

From Munich to Tehran and Damascus

The Baker-Hamilton Commission's instincts and prescriptions are eerily similar to those of Neville Chamberlain. The commission evidently believes that the United States can achieve peace in our time by flying our secretary of State to Tehran and Damascus and signing this generation's version of the Munich Agreement with respect to Iraq.

The report and its principal recommendations require an exercise in willful ignorance of the nature of the Iranian and Syrian regimes, their clearly stated ideological aims, and their ongoing war against the United States. It outlines a policy of appeasement, predicated on American weakness. It fails to outline a clear policy of victory predicated on taking specific and urgent steps to add to American strength.

A Churchill -- Not a Chamberlain -- Policy

To win in Iraq and around the world against a growing alliance among terrorists, dictatorships, and a fanatical wing of Islam, the United States requires fundamental change in its military doctrine, training and structures, its intelligence capabilities and the integration of civilian and military activities. The instruments of American power simply do not work at the speed and detail needed to defeat the kind of enemies we are encountering in Iraq and elsewhere. The American bureaucracies would rather claim the problem is too hard and leave, because being forced to change this deeply will be very painful and very controversial. We have to learn to win -- again.

Yes, the dangers are greater, the enemy is more determined, and victory in Iraq has turned out to be substantially harder than we had expected in 2003. Yes, we need to change to win. But the Baker-Hamilton Commission report that prescribes a "new way forward" is the wrong prescription in the wrong direction.

Because it fails to define the scale of an emerging Third World War against an alliance of dictatorships and the terrorist forces of militant Islam -- with Iran at the epicenter of this threat -- the report does not outline how difficult the challenge is and how big the effort will have to be.

Because it fails to define victory in this larger war as our goal, the report does not help to mobilize the energy, resources and intensity needed to win.

And because it puts insufficient emphasis on setting clear metrics of achievement for the bureaucracies of the U.S. government, the Baker-Hamilton Commission report does nothing to bolster support for replacing leaders, bureaucrats, and bureaucracies as needed to achieve these goals.

The release of the report confirms a Washington establishment desire to avoid conflict and confrontation by "doing a deal." In the 1930s, that model was called appeasement, not realism, and it led to a disaster. Today, we need a Churchill not a Chamberlain policy for the Middle East.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Get-Well Card for Aussiegirl

Our good friend Aussiegirl from Ultima Thule is going under the knife tomorrow. Here`s wishing her an easy surgery and a swift recovery! For those who would like to send her a personal message you may leave it here.

Keep her in your prayers, folks.

The Pol-Potty Party

Tom Graffagnino writes some excellent humorous political poetry (he beats me hands-down) and he`s got the Iraq Surrender Group in his crosshairs:

"Jihad's Pol-Potty Party"
(...the 'study group' has spoken...)

Yes!....The "study group" has spoken!
Compromise, its stated goal...
The escape plan?...
Screw the Hebrews!
(Sacrificial lambs of old)

Vict'ry's simply not an option...
We must find a way to heal!
Give Peace a chance!
(Hey, Mahmoud, let's cut a deal.)

If you'll help us with this problem,
Hey, we promise to do right!
Tell the twelfth imam we'll give him
The West Bank AND Golan Heights!

We've decided it's not worth it
To defend our Western ways;
We accept....
No more delays!

Sheehan, Soros, Jimmy Carter
Michael Moore and Farrakhan
Have all helped us see the light now...
We'll enjoy Mahmoudistan!

This bi-partisan solution's
And it's new!
Relativity's consensus...
Peace on Earth!
(...and screw the Jew)

Baker's "study group"'s completed,
And they've cooked up quite a plan!
Throw the Jews into the oven...
And then skewer Kurdistan.

Next play footsie with Nasrallah...
Plead with Hezbollah for aid;
Mr. Assad?
Ask him over...
For some lox and leomonade!

Join Jihad's Pol-Potty-Party!
Can you dig it!?
It's a gas!
Stuff the Jews into that boxcar...
Then we'll all be free at last!


Disregard prophetic warning...
Zechariah?....What a bird!
Study Group: "Solution Final!"
(and according to the Word).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

U.N. Backpeddles on Climate Change

For twenty years we have been treated to apocalyptic predictions of doom by the United Nations and the Green Goblins. The problem with crying wolf is that people stop believing you when your warnings don`t bear out, and this is precisely what has happened to the Global Warming crowd.

So now the backpeddling begins; the U.N. and other socialists tried mightily to rush the U.S. into their economic syphon scheme, but not enough people fell for it. Now they have to gently extricate themselves from an untenable position, and that work is underway:

(Thanks, Jack!)

UN downgrades man's impact on the climate
Richard Gray, Science Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:32am GMT 10/12/2006

Mankind has had less effect on global warming than previously supposed, a United Nations report on climate change will claim next year.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there can be little doubt that humans are responsible for warming the planet, but the organisation has reduced its overall estimate of this effect by 25 per cent.

In a final draft of its fourth assessment report, to be published in February, the panel reports that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has accelerated in the past five years. It also predicts that temperatures will rise by up to 4.5 C during the next 100 years, bringing more frequent heat waves and storms.

advertisementThe panel, however, has lowered predictions of how much sea levels will rise in comparison with its last report in 2001.

Climate change sceptics are expected to seize on the revised figures as evidence that action to combat global warming is less urgent.

Scientists insist that the lower estimates for sea levels and the human impact on global warming are simply a refinement due to better data on how climate works rather than a reduction in the risk posed by global warming.

One leading UK climate scientist, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity surrounding the report before it is published, said: "The bottom line is that the climate is still warming while our greenhouse gas emissions have accelerated, so we are storing up problems for ourselves in the future."

The IPCC report, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, has been handed to the Government for review before publication.

It warns that carbon dioxide emissions have risen during the past five years by three per cent, well above the 0.4 per cent a year average of the previous two decades. The authors also state that the climate is almost certain to warm by at least 1.5 C during the next 100 years.

Such a rise would be enough to take average summer temperatures in Britain to those seen during the 2003 heatwave, when August temperatures reached a record-breaking 38 C. Unseasonable warmth this year has left many Alpine resorts without snow by the time the ski season started.

Britain can expect more storms of similar ferocity to those that wreaked havoc across the country last week, even bringing a tornado to north-west London.

The IPCC has been forced to halve its predictions for sea-level rise by 2100, one of the key threats from climate change. It says improved data have reduced the upper estimate from 34 in to 17 in.

It also says that the overall human effect on global warming since the industrial revolution is less than had been thought, due to the unexpected levels of cooling caused by aerosol sprays, which reflect heat from the sun.

Large amounts of heat have been absorbed by the oceans, masking the warming effect.

Prof Rick Battarbee, the director of the Environmental Change Research Centre at University College London, warned these masking effects had helped to delay global warming but would lead to larger changes in the future.

He said: "The oceans have been acting like giant storage heaters by trapping heat and carbon dioxide. They might be bit of a time-bomb as they have been masking the real effects of the carbon dioxide we have been releasing into the atmosphere.

"People are very worried about what will happen in 2030 to 2050, as we think that at that point the oceans will no longer be able to absorb the carbon dioxide being emitted. It will be a tipping point and that is why it is now critical to act to counter any acceleration that will occur when this happens."

The report paints a bleak picture for future generations unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. It predicts that the climate will warm by 0.2 C a decade for the next two decades if emissions continue at current levels.

The report states that snow cover in mountainous regions will contract and permafrost in polar regions will decline.

However, Julian Morris, executive director of the International Policy Network, urged governments to be cautious. "There needs to be better data before billions of pounds are spent on policy measures that may have little impact," he said.

Michael Crichton on Concensus Science

Our friend Wil Wirtanen sent me this speech by Michael Crichton:


This is a speech given by Michael Crighton and referenced on the Rush Limbaugh Show.

Since we have had discussions on Global Warming, I though I would throw this in the mix.


After reading the Crichton speech, I have come up with a new bumper sticker:

Factual or Not Factual

There is no consensus

This is a take off from a saying by Yoda of Star Wars:

Do or DO NOT

There is no try

Aliens Cause Global Warming"

A lecture by Michael Crichton
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA
January 17, 2003

My topic today sounds humorous but unfortunately I am serious. I am going to argue that extraterrestrials lie behind global warming. Or to speak more precisely, I will argue that a belief in extraterrestrials has paved the way, in a progression of steps, to a belief in global warming. Charting this progression of belief will be my task today.

Let me say at once that I have no desire to discourage anyone from believing in either extraterrestrials or global warming. That would be quite impossible to do. Rather, I want to discuss the history of several widely-publicized beliefs and to point to what I consider an emerging crisis in the whole enterprise of science-namely the increasingly uneasy relationship between hard science and public policy.

I have a special interest in this because of my own upbringing. I was born in the midst of World War II, and passed my formative years at the height of the Cold War. In school drills, I dutifully crawled under my desk in preparation for a nuclear attack.

It was a time of widespread fear and uncertainty, but even as a child I believed that science represented the best and greatest hope for mankind. Even to a child, the contrast was clear between the world of politics-a world of hate and danger, of irrational beliefs and fears, of mass manipulation and disgraceful blots on human history. In contrast, science held different values-international in scope, forging friendships and working relationships across national boundaries and political systems, encouraging a dispassionate habit of thought, and ultimately leading to fresh knowledge and technology that would benefit all mankind. The world might not be avery good place, but science would make it better. And it did. In my lifetime, science has largely fulfilled its promise. Science has been the great intellectual adventure of our age, and a great hope for our troubled and restless world.

But I did not expect science merely to extend lifespan, feed the hungry, cure disease, and shrink the world with jets and cell phones. I also expected science to banish the evils of human thought---prejudice and superstition, irrational beliefs and false fears. I expected science to be, in Carl Sagan's memorable phrase, "a candle in a demon haunted world." And here, I am not so pleased with the impact of science. Rather than serving as a cleansing force, science has in some instances been seduced by the more ancient lures of politics and publicity. Some of the demons that haunt our world in recent years are invented by scientists. The world has not benefited from permitting these demons to escape free.

But let's look at how it came to pass.

Cast your minds back to 1960. John F. Kennedy is president, commercial jet airplanes are just appearing, the biggest university mainframes have 12K of memory. And in Green Bank, West Virginia at the new National Radio Astronomy Observatory, a young astrophysicist named Frank Drake runs a two week project called Ozma, to search for extraterrestrial signals. A signal is received, to great excitement. It turns out to be false, but the excitement remains. In 1960, Drake organizes the first SETI conference, and came up with the now-famous Drake equation:

N=N*fp ne fl fi fc fL

Where N is the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy; fp is the fraction with planets; ne is the number of planets per star capable of supporting life; fl is the fraction of planets where life evolves; fi is the fraction where intelligent life evolves; and fc is the fraction that communicates; and fL is the fraction of the planet's life during which the communicating civilizations live.

This serious-looking equation gave SETI an serious footing as a legitimate intellectual inquiry. The problem, of course, is that none of the terms can be known, and most cannot even be estimated. The only way to work the equation is to fill in with guesses. And guesses-just so we're clear-are merely expressions of prejudice. Nor can there be "informed guesses." If you need to state how many planets with life choose to communicate, there is simply no way to make an informed guess. It's simply prejudice.

As a result, the Drake equation can have any value from "billions and billions" to zero. An expression that can mean anything means nothing. Speaking precisely, the Drake equation is literally meaningless, and has nothing to do with science. I take the hard view that science involves the creation of testable hypotheses. The Drake equation cannot be tested and therefore SETI is not science. SETI is unquestionably a religion. Faith is defined as the firm belief in something for which there is no proof. The belief that the Koran is the word of God is a matter of faith. The belief that God created the universe in seven days is a matter of faith. The belief that there are other life forms in the universe is a matter of faith. There is not a single shred of evidence for any other life forms, and in forty years of searching, none has been discovered. There is absolutely no evidentiary reason to maintain this belief. SETI is a religion.

One way to chart the cooling of enthusiasm is to review popular works on the subject. In 1964, at the height of SETI enthusiasm, Walter Sullivan of the NY Times wrote an exciting book about life in the universe entitled WE ARE NOT ALONE. By 1995, when Paul Davis wrote a book on the same subject, he titled it ARE WE ALONE? ( Since 1981, there have in fact been four books titled ARE WE ALONE.) More recently we have seen the rise of the so-called "Rare Earth" theory which suggests that we may, in fact, be all alone. Again, there is no evidence either way.

Back in the sixties, SETI had its critics, although not among astrophysicists and astronomers. The biologists and paleontologists were harshest. George Gaylord Simpson of Harvard sneered that SETI was a "study without a subject," and it remains so to the present day.

But scientists in general have been indulgent toward SETI, viewing it either with bemused tolerance, or with indifference. After all, what's the big deal? It's kind of fun. If people want to look, let them. Only a curmudgeon would speak harshly of SETI. It wasn't worth the bother.

And of course it is true that untestable theories may have heuristic value. Of course extraterrestrials are a good way to teach science to kids. But that does not relieve us of the obligation to see the Drake equation clearly for what it is-pure speculation in quasi-scientific trappings.

The fact that the Drake equation was not greeted with screams of outrage-similar to the screams of outrage that greet each Creationist new claim, for example-meant that now there was a crack in the door, a loosening of the definition of what constituted legitimate scientific procedure. And soon enough, pernicious garbage began to squeeze through the cracks.

Now let's jump ahead a decade to the 1970s, and Nuclear Winter.

In 1975, the National Academy of Sciences reported on "Long-Term Worldwide Effects of Multiple Nuclear Weapons Detonations" but the report estimated the effect of dust from nuclear blasts to be relatively minor. In 1979, the Office of Technology Assessment issued a report on "The Effects of Nuclear War" and stated that nuclear war could perhaps produce irreversible adverse consequences on the environment. However, because the scientific processes involved were poorly understood, the report stated it was not possible to estimate the probable magnitude of such damage.

Three years later, in 1982, the Swedish Academy of Sciences commissioned a report entitled "The Atmosphere after a Nuclear War: Twilight at Noon," which attempted to quantify the effect of smoke from burning forests and cities. The authors speculated that there would be so much smoke that a large cloud over the northern hemisphere would reduce incoming sunlight below the level required for photosynthesis, and that this would last for weeks or even longer.

The following year, five scientists including Richard Turco and Carl Sagan published a paper in Science called "Nuclear Winter: Global Consequences of Multiple Nuclear Explosions." This was the so-called TTAPS report, which attempted to quantify more rigorously the atmospheric effects, with the added credibility to be gained from an actual computer model of climate.

At the heart of the TTAPS undertaking was another equation, never specifically expressed, but one that could be paraphrased as follows:

Ds = Wn Ws Wh Tf Tb Pt Pr Pe… etc

(The amount of tropospheric dust=# warheads x size warheads x warhead detonation height x flammability of targets x Target burn duration x Particles entering the Troposphere x Particle reflectivity x Particle endurance…and so on.)

The similarity to the Drake equation is striking. As with the Drake equation, none of the variables can be determined. None at all. The TTAPS study addressed this problem in part by mapping out different wartime scenarios and assigning numbers to some of the variables, but even so, the remaining variables were-and are-simply unknowable. Nobody knows how much smoke will be generated when cities burn, creating particles of what kind, and for how long. No one knows the effect of local weather conditions on the amount of particles that will be injected into the troposphere. No one knows how long the particles will remain in the troposphere. And so on.

And remember, this is only four years after the OTA study concluded that the underlying scientific processes were so poorly known that no estimates could be reliably made. Nevertheless, the TTAPS study not only made those estimates, but concluded they were catastrophic.

According to Sagan and his coworkers, even a limited 5,000 megaton nuclear exchange would cause a global temperature drop of more than 35 degrees Centigrade, and this change would last for three months. The greatest volcanic eruptions that we know of changed world temperatures somewhere between .5 and 2 degrees Centigrade. Ice ages changed global temperatures by 10 degrees. Here we have an estimated change three times greater than any ice age. One might expect it to be the subject of some dispute.

But Sagan and his coworkers were prepared, for nuclear winter was from the outset the subject of a well-orchestrated media campaign. The first announcement of nuclear winter appeared in an article by Sagan in the Sunday supplement, Parade. The very next day, a highly-publicized, high-profile conference on the long-term consequences of nuclear war was held in Washington, chaired by Carl Sagan and Paul Ehrlich, the most famous and media-savvy scientists of their generation. Sagan appeared on the Johnny Carson show 40 times. Ehrlich was on 25 times. Following the conference, there were press conferences, meetings with congressmen, and so on. The formal papers in Science came months later.

This is not the way science is done, it is the way products are sold.

The real nature of the conference is indicated by these artists' renderings of the the effect of nuclear winter.

I cannot help but quote the caption for figure 5: "Shown here is a tranquil scene in the north woods. A beaver has just completed its dam, two black bears forage for food, a swallow-tailed butterfly flutters in the foreground, a loon swims quietly by, and a kingfisher searches for a tasty fish." Hard science if ever there was.

At the conference in Washington, during the question period, Ehrlich was reminded that after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, scientists were quoted as saying nothing would grow there for 75 years, but in fact melons were growing the next year. So, he was asked, how accurate were these findings now?

Ehrlich answered by saying "I think they are extremely robust. Scientists may have made statements like that, although I cannot imagine what their basis would have been, even with the state of science at that time, but scientists are always making absurd statements, individually, in various places. What we are doing here, however, is presenting a consensus of a very large group of scientists…"

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of. Let's review a few cases.

In past centuries, the greatest killer of women was fever following childbirth . One woman in six died of this fever. In 1795, Alexander Gordon of Aberdeen suggested that the fevers were infectious processes, and he was able to cure them. The consensus said no. In 1843, Oliver Wendell Holmes claimed puerperal fever was contagious, and presented compellng evidence. The consensus said no. In 1849, Semmelweiss demonstrated that sanitary techniques virtually eliminated puerperal fever in hospitals under his management. The consensus said he was a Jew, ignored him, and dismissed him from his post. There was in fact no agreement on puerperal fever until the start of the twentieth century. Thus the consensus took one hundred and twenty five years to arrive at the right conclusion despite the efforts of the prominent "skeptics" around the world, skeptics who were demeaned and ignored. And despite the constant ongoing deaths of women.

There is no shortage of other examples. In the 1920s in America, tens of thousands of people, mostly poor, were dying of a disease called pellagra. The consensus of scientists said it was infectious, and what was necessary was to find the "pellagra germ." The US government asked a brilliant young investigator, Dr. Joseph Goldberger, to find the cause. Goldberger concluded that diet was the crucial factor. The consensus remained wedded to the germ theory. Goldberger demonstrated that he could induce the disease through diet. He demonstrated that the disease was not infectious by injecting the blood of a pellagra patient into himself, and his assistant. They and other volunteers swabbed their noses with swabs from pellagra patients, and swallowed capsules containing scabs from pellagra rashes in what were called "Goldberger's filth parties." Nobody contracted pellagra. The consensus continued to disagree with him. There was, in addition, a social factor-southern States disliked the idea of poor diet as the cause, because it meant that social reform was required. They continued to deny it until the 1920s. Result-despite a twentieth century epidemic, the consensus took years to see the light.

Probably every schoolchild notices that South America and Africa seem to fit together rather snugly, and Alfred Wegener proposed, in 1912, that the continents had in fact drifted apart. The consensus sneered at continental drift for fifty years. The theory was most vigorously denied by the great names of geology-until 1961, when it began to seem as if the sea floors were spreading. The result: it took the consensus fifty years to acknowledge what any schoolchild sees.

And shall we go on? The examples can be multiplied endlessly. Jenner and smallpox, Pasteur and germ theory. Saccharine, margarine, repressed memory, fiber and colon cancer, hormone replacement therap6y…the list of consensus errors goes on and on.

Finally, I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.

But back to our main subject.

What I have been suggesting to you is that nuclear winter was a meaningless formula, tricked out with bad science, for policy ends. It was political from the beginning, promoted in a well-orchestrated media campaign that had to be planned weeks or months in advance.

Further evidence of the political nature of the whole project can be found in the response to criticism. Although Richard Feynman was characteristically blunt, saying, "I really don't think these guys know what they're talking about," other prominent scientists were noticeably reticent. Freeman Dyson was quoted as saying "It's an absolutely atrocious piece of science but…who wants to be accused of being in favor of nuclear war?" And Victor Weisskopf said, "The science is terrible but---perhaps the psychology is good." The nuclear winter team followed up the publication of such comments with letters to the editors denying that these statements were ever made, though the scientists since then have subsequently confirmed their views.

At the time, there was a concerted desire on the part of lots of people to avoid nuclear war. If nuclear winter looked awful, why investigate too closely? Who wanted to disagree? Only people like Edward Teller, the "father of the H bomb."

Teller said, "While it is generally recognized that details are still uncertain and deserve much more study, Dr. Sagan nevertheless has taken the position that the whole scenario is so robust that there can be little doubt about its main conclusions." Yet for most people, the fact that nuclear winter was a scenario riddled with uncertainties did not seem to be relevant.

I say it is hugely relevant. Once you abandon strict adherence to what science tells us, once you start arranging the truth in a press conference, then anything is possible. In one context, maybe you will get some mobilization against nuclear war. But in another context, you get Lysenkoism. In another, you get Nazi euthanasia. The danger is always there, if you subvert science to political ends.

That is why it is so important for the future of science that the line between what science can say with certainty, and what it cannot, be drawn clearly-and defended.

What happened to Nuclear Winter? As the media glare faded, its robust scenario appeared less persuasive; John Maddox, editor of Nature, repeatedly criticized its claims; within a year, Stephen Schneider, one of the leading figures in the climate model, began to speak of "nuclear autumn." It just didn't have the same ring.

A final media embarrassment came in 1991, when Carl Sagan predicted on Nightline that Kuwaiti oil fires would produce a nuclear winter effect, causing a "year without a summer," and endangering crops around the world. Sagan stressed this outcome was so likely that "it should affect the war plans." None of it happened.

What, then, can we say were the lessons of Nuclear Winter? I believe the lesson was that with a catchy name, a strong policy position and an aggressive media campaign, nobody will dare to criticize the science, and in short order, a terminally weak thesis will be established as fact. After that, any criticism becomes beside the point. The war is already over without a shot being fired. That was the lesson, and we had a textbook application soon afterward, with second hand smoke.

In 1993, the EPA announced that second-hand smoke was "responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year in nonsmoking adults," and that it " impairs the respiratory health of hundreds of thousands of people." In a 1994 pamphlet the EPA said that the eleven studies it based its decision on were not by themselves conclusive, and that they collectively assigned second-hand smoke a risk factor of 1.19. (For reference, a risk factor below 3.0 is too small for action by the EPA. or for publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, for example.) Furthermore, since there was no statistical association at the 95% confidence limits, the EPA lowered the limit to 90%. They then classified second hand smoke as a Group A Carcinogen.

This was openly fraudulent science, but it formed the basis for bans on smoking in restaurants, offices, and airports. California banned public smoking in 1995. Soon, no claim was too extreme. By 1998, the Christian Science Monitor was saying that "Second-hand smoke is the nation's third-leading preventable cause of death." The American Cancer Society announced that 53,000 people died each year of second-hand smoke. The evidence for this claim is nonexistent.

In 1998, a Federal judge held that the EPA had acted improperly, had "committed to a conclusion before research had begun", and had "disregarded information and made findings on selective information." The reaction of Carol Browner, head of the EPA was: "We stand by our science….there's wide agreement. The American people certainly recognize that exposure to second hand smoke brings…a whole host of health problems." Again, note how the claim of consensus trumps science. In this case, it isn't even a consensus of scientists that Browner evokes! It's the consensus of the American people.

Meanwhile, ever-larger studies failed to confirm any association. A large, seven-country WHO study in 1998 found no association. Nor have well-controlled subsequent studies, to my knowledge. Yet we now read, for example, that second hand smoke is a cause of breast cancer. At this point you can say pretty much anything you want about second-hand smoke.

As with nuclear winter, bad science is used to promote what most people would consider good policy. I certainly think it is. I don't want people smoking around me. So who will speak out against banning second-hand smoke? Nobody, and if you do, you'll be branded a shill of RJ Reynolds. A big tobacco flunky. But the truth is that we now have a social policy supported by the grossest of superstitions. And we've given the EPA a bad lesson in how to behave in the future. We've told them that cheating is the way to succeed.

As the twentieth century drew to a close, the connection between hard scientific fact and public policy became increasingly elastic. In part this was possible because of the complacency of the scientific profession; in part because of the lack of good science education among the public; in part, because of the rise of specialized advocacy groups which have been enormously effective in getting publicity and shaping policy; and in great part because of the decline of the media as an independent assessor of fact. The deterioration of the American media is dire loss for our country. When distinguished institutions like the New York Times can no longer differentiate between factual content and editorial opinion, but rather mix both freely on their front page, then who will hold anyone to a higher standard?

And so, in this elastic anything-goes world where science-or non-science-is the hand maiden of questionable public policy, we arrive at last at global warming. It is not my purpose here to rehash the details of this most magnificent of the demons haunting the world. I would just remind you of the now-familiar pattern by which these things are established. Evidentiary uncertainties are glossed over in the unseemly rush for an overarching policy, and for grants to support the policy by delivering findings that are desired by the patron. Next, the isolation of those scientists who won't get with the program, and the characterization of those scientists as outsiders and "skeptics" in quotation marks-suspect individuals with suspect motives, industry flunkies, reactionaries, or simply anti-environmental nutcases. In short order, debate ends, even though prominent scientists are uncomfortable about how things are being done.

When did "skeptic" become a dirty word in science? When did a skeptic require quotation marks around it?

To an outsider, the most significant innovation in the global warming controversy is the overt reliance that is being placed on models. Back in the days of nuclear winter, computer models were invoked to add weight to a conclusion: "These results are derived with the help of a computer model." But now large-scale computer models are seen as generating data in themselves. No longer are models judged by how well they reproduce data from the real world-increasingly, models provide the data. As if they were themselves a reality. And indeed they are, when we are projecting forward. There can be no observational data about the year 2100. There are only model runs.

This fascination with computer models is something I understand very well. Richard Feynmann called it a disease. I fear he is right. Because only if you spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen can you arrive at the complex point where the global warming debate now stands.

Nobody believes a weather prediction twelve hours ahead. Now we're asked to believe a prediction that goes out 100 years into the future? And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everybody lost their minds?

Stepping back, I have to say the arrogance of the modelmakers is breathtaking. There have been, in every century, scientists who say they know it all. Since climate may be a chaotic system-no one is sure-these predictions are inherently doubtful, to be polite. But more to the point, even if the models get the science spot-on, they can never get the sociology. To predict anything about the world a hundred years from now is simply absurd.

Look: If I was selling stock in a company that I told you would be profitable in 2100, would you buy it? Or would you think the idea was so crazy that it must be a scam?

Let's think back to people in 1900 in, say, New York. If they worried about people in 2000, what would they worry about? Probably: Where would people get enough horses? And what would they do about all the horseshit? Horse pollution was bad in 1900, think how much worse it would be a century later, with so many more people riding horses?

But of course, within a few years, nobody rode horses except for sport. And in 2000, France was getting 80% its power from an energy source that was unknown in 1900. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Japan were getting more than 30% from this source, unknown in 1900. Remember, people in 1900 didn't know what an atom was. They didn't know its structure. They also didn't know what a radio was, or an airport, or a movie, or a television, or a computer, or a cell phone, or a jet, an antibiotic, a rocket, a satellite, an MRI, ICU, IUD, IBM, IRA, ERA, EEG, EPA, IRS, DOD, PCP, HTML, internet. interferon, instant replay, remote sensing, remote control, speed dialing, gene therapy, gene splicing, genes, spot welding, heat-seeking, bipolar, prozac, leotards, lap dancing, email, tape recorder, CDs, airbags, plastic explosive, plastic, robots, cars, liposuction, transduction, superconduction, dish antennas, step aerobics, smoothies, twelve-step, ultrasound, nylon, rayon, teflon, fiber optics, carpal tunnel, laser surgery, laparoscopy, corneal transplant, kidney transplant, AIDS… None of this would have meant anything to a person in the year 1900. They wouldn't know what you are talking about.

Now. You tell me you can predict the world of 2100. Tell me it's even worth thinking about. Our models just carry the present into the future. They're bound to be wrong. Everybody who gives a moment's thought knows it.

I remind you that in the lifetime of most scientists now living, we have already had an example of dire predictions set aside by new technology. I refer to the green revolution. In 1960, Paul Ehrlich said, "The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines-hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." Ten years later, he predicted four billion people would die during the 1980s, including 65 million Americans. The mass starvation that was predicted never occurred, and it now seems it isn't ever going to happen. Nor is the population explosion going to reach the numbers predicted even ten years ago. In 1990, climate modelers anticipated a world population of 11 billion by 2100. Today, some people think the correct number will be 7 billion and falling. But nobody knows for sure.

But it is impossible to ignore how closely the history of global warming fits on the previous template for nuclear winter. Just as the earliest studies of nuclear winter stated that the uncertainties were so great that probabilites could never be known, so, too the first pronouncements on global warming argued strong limits on what could be determined with certainty about climate change. The 1995 IPCC draft report said, "Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced." It also said, "No study to date has positively attributed all or part of observed climate changes to anthropogenic causes." Those statements were removed, and in their place appeared: "The balance of evidence suggests a discernable human influence on climate."

What is clear, however, is that on this issue, science and policy have become inextricably mixed to the point where it will be difficult, if not impossible, to separate them out. It is possible for an outside observer to ask serious questions about the conduct of investigations into global warming, such as whether we are taking appropriate steps to improve the quality of our observational data records, whether we are systematically obtaining the information that will clarify existing uncertainties, whether we have any organized disinterested mechanism to direct research in this contentious area.

The answer to all these questions is no. We don't.

In trying to think about how these questions can be resolved, it occurs to me that in the progression from SETI to nuclear winter to second hand smoke to global warming, we have one clear message, and that is that we can expect more and more problems of public policy dealing with technical issues in the future-problems of ever greater seriousness, where people care passionately on all sides.

And at the moment we have no mechanism to get good answers. So I will propose one.

Just as we have established a tradition of double-blinded research to determine drug efficacy, we must institute double-blinded research in other policy areas as well. Certainly the increased use of computer models, such as GCMs, cries out for the separation of those who make the models from those who verify them. The fact is that the present structure of science is entrepeneurial, with individual investigative teams vying for funding from organizations which all too often have a clear stake in the outcome of the research-or appear to, which may be just as bad. This is not healthy for science.

Sooner or later, we must form an independent research institute in this country. It must be funded by industry, by government, and by private philanthropy, both individuals and trusts. The money must be pooled, so that investigators do not know who is paying them. The institute must fund more than one team to do research in a particular area, and the verification of results will be a foregone requirement: teams will know their results will be checked by other groups. In many cases, those who decide how to gather the data will not gather it, and those who gather the data will not analyze it. If we were to address the land temperature records with such rigor, we would be well on our way to an understanding of exactly how much faith we can place in global warming, and therefore what seriousness we must address this.

I believe that as we come to the end of this litany, some of you may be saying, well what is the big deal, really. So we made a few mistakes. So a few scientists have overstated their cases and have egg on their faces. So what.

Well, I'll tell you.

In recent years, much has been said about the post modernist claims about science to the effect that science is just another form of raw power, tricked out in special claims for truth-seeking and objectivity that really have no basis in fact. Science, we are told, is no better than any other undertaking. These ideas anger many scientists, and they anger me. But recent events have made me wonder if they are correct. We can take as an example the scientific reception accorded a Danish statistician, Bjorn Lomborg, who wrote a book called The Skeptical Environmentalist.

The scientific community responded in a way that can only be described as disgraceful. In professional literature, it was complained he had no standing because he was not an earth scientist. His publisher, Cambridge University Press, was attacked with cries that the editor should be fired, and that all right-thinking scientists should shun the press. The past president of the AAAS wondered aloud how Cambridge could have ever "published a book that so clearly could never have passed peer review." )But of course the manuscript did pass peer review by three earth scientists on both sides of the Atlantic, and all recommended publication.) But what are scientists doing attacking a press? Is this the new McCarthyism-coming from scientists?

Worst of all was the behavior of the Scientific American, which seemed intent on proving the post-modernist point that it was all about power, not facts. The Scientific American attacked Lomborg for eleven pages, yet only came up with nine factual errors despite their assertion that the book was "rife with careless mistakes." It was a poor display featuring vicious ad hominem attacks, including comparing him to a Holocust denier. The issue was captioned: "Science defends itself against the Skeptical Environmentalist." Really. Science has to defend itself? Is this what we have come to?

When Lomborg asked for space to rebut his critics, he was given only a page and a half. When he said it wasn't enough, he put the critics' essays on his web page and answered them in detail. Scientific American threatened copyright infringement and made him take the pages down.

Further attacks since have made it clear what is going on. Lomborg is charged with heresy. That's why none of his critics needs to substantiate their attacks in any detail. That's why the facts don't matter. That's why they can attack him in the most vicious personal terms. He's a heretic.

Of course, any scientist can be charged as Galileo was charged. I just never thought I'd see the Scientific American in the role of mother church.

Is this what science has become? I hope not. But it is what it will become, unless there is a concerted effort by leading scientists to aggressively separate science from policy. The late Philip Handler, former president of the National Academy of Sciences, said that "Scientists best serve public policy by living within the ethics of science, not those of politics. If the scientific community will not unfrock the charlatans, the public will not discern the difference-science and the nation will suffer." Personally, I don't worry about the nation. But I do worry about science.

Thank you very much.

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