Women and Gender Studies is a different topic altogether (and I didn't even mention children so I don't know why you brought that up). So I won't reply to that because we'll end up on another tangent. If I have time after this thread perhaps I'll start a new one where I can explain some of the issues with it. For the record though, I don't think that it's all bogus, and I am currently doing a four year project on females in Buddhism, for confidentiality I won't say any more, but I am aware that they are often invisible, particularly in the third world. That's really not the issue, which has more to do with the "gender" part than the "woman" part. I am not sure why you excluded the term "gender," perhaps you knew that this is what I would have an issue with. But more on that another time.
As for the idea about government expansion being inherent to the democratic system, this is not actually a libertarian idea, it actually directly contradicts the goals of libertarians. Libertarians in the US want to wind back the government to adherence to the constitution of 1789. I am saying that if that is done, you may see short term benefits, but in the long run it will grow again.
Libertarians see this as a conspiracy, yes. I don't, this is not organised in any way. Conspiracies require planning and organisation by a group of people. I am claiming that this is inherent to the democratic form of governance. It's a systematic structural issue, not a criminological one one.
As for the idea that it's a conspiracy, Malcolm and Kim both, I never made this claim. Please don't attribute it to me. RE: Kim
Using the term cult is merely rhetorical. The point is not that AGW = Jonestown. The point is that AGW uses techniques of persuasion that cults do too - that's what makes it so influential. In the end, AGW is fundamentally a call to action, that's why it has the same features as a cult. Maybe this is a coincidence, and I don't think there's anything inherent in the idea of cults or religions which distinguishes them as anything particular - but what is particular about cults is the psychological effect they have on the mind. What differentiates AGW from the way universities usually influences politics, is that usually political trends are influenced by the advice of public policy departments, who review problems and solutions seen in new research in the sciences and the humanities. Then there are parliamentary inquiries, inquests, and commissions at which scientists and other experts testify to politicians, who suggest action based upon the culminating report. At these events there's a good chance you'll get two sides, or more, of a story - sometimes you get dreadful ones where non-expert advice is taken with the same weight as those of scientists, but this is not super common though I can think of a dozen examples on the top of my head from the past few years. Then you have a different animal altogether, which more or less only exists in climatology, which is the activist scientist who works with activist organisations to promote their theory. Their tactics are those of activists, mocking, shaming, and ridiculing anyone who holds an opposing view point or a shadow of a doubt. You must admit that this is a very different animal from the way science works in other fields.
As for your claim about hoodwinking the US and Chinese government. This is actually quite incorrect. The US spends $1.042 Billion under the EPA for the promotion of climate change, and the government issued billions more in loans for renewable energy corporations with the justification of anthropogenic global warming, the most famous of which was the $535 million U.S. Energy Department loan guarantee to Solyndra. I don't disagree with the idea of the government funding research and technology in renewable energy and a cleaner environment, please don't turn this into a straw man, all I am doing is pointing out that the US government for the most part accepts AGW and acts under the assumption that AGW is correct. The same story is more or less the same in China. The truth is, China's use of coal is because of demand which otherwise would be met by blackouts. There is no renewable currently available that will sufficiently supply China's electricity needs, without the coming Chinese population collapse. At the same time, they do all they can, and all they can afford, probably far more than the US, to fund carbon neutral projects and transportation. If you go to China, you will see that they are in fact investing more that the west is in clean public transit. This isn't about making money, you need to have compassion because there's only so much developing countries can do without going broke, and renewable energy is less efficient and more expensive. I really don't think you can call opposition to AGW a cult, because there's no end goal like there is in AGW, and it comes almost entirely from individual scientists, rather than activist groups. Yes, there are outliers like Rupert Murdoch's news outlets, which really put a bad face on the opposition to AGW, please don't mistake all people who don't believe in AGW for the kind of pundits you see in Murdoch's media. As for politicians, it's more or less going to be the same story until the media consensus shifts to a reasonable, non-Murdoch, analysis of the issue. Right now, you can't deny AGW and get elected, you'll just get lampooned by the media and the activist community. Even Tony Abbott believes in AGW. You see, the trend over history is that progressive causes always win. Conservatives are progressives with one or two policies different - the majority of their policies would be radical by standards a few decades ago. It doesn't matter if the cause is right or good for the country, if the progressive establishment supports it, it will become public policy. This isn't a conspiracy, it's just the nature of the democratic system. And no one who supports AGW denial is getting any buckets of gold - you won't be getting Hansen level funding for not supporting a popular policy, because it isn't going to make anyone more money. On the whole, only AGW proponents become millionaires. Ask any professor who denies AGW, I know more than a few, and they will laugh and tell you they wish they got money from the oil companies for the amount of work they put into their research. Oil companies have funded anti AGW think tanks, but think tanks don't actually do the research that contradicts AGW and are quivalent to the billion dollar industry of AGW activism. Yes, it is true that Willie Soon was funded by oil companies, but one is not a rule, and scientists will accept money from any sources if they offer it to do their research. Soon said he'd accept money from Greenpeace if they'd offer it to him, and despite this, he actually argues in his papers "no position," that AGW can neither be confirmed nor denied. Why would he be influenced by oil companies, if he finds no position, yet the scientists who aren't funded by oil companies, are proponents of anti-AGW? The majority of data which draws AGW into doubt, comes from government funded research such as NASA satellite observations, weather balloon readings, and astronomical observations - you can't fund data out of its results, you can only falsify data out of its results, and so far only proponents of AGW have been found guilty of doing that. It's possible that NASA scientists fudged the data like the ones at East Anglia, but as far as I know this isn't the case.
Kim O'Hara wrote:That is simply not true. Contemporary climate science is based on, and connected to, basic physics and chemistry and it has been tested all the way by the best scientific practice we have, peer review. If you deny climate science, you deny all science.
While it is not true that denying climate science is denying all science - which is a debate about philosophy of science, and a different topic - it is true that climate science is based on physics and chemistry, and that it uses peer review. The topic of climate science is the study of meteorological events, explaining why
they occur the way they do. Using the facts we have derived from observation, we present as best possible an explanation of why the exhibits in the hypothesis do what they do. Then, we draw our conclusions, which are fundamentally our opinions of the veracity of the theory - which in the best circumstances are based in a good understanding about the theory's consistency with other accepted theories. The actual discovery of the data is the job of the researchers funded by the government at NASA and the universities. That is not "science" as a whole, science is the conclusion drawn, i.e. the consensus we have, which is usually based upon peer review. Science is thus the body of papers that follow the scientific method accumulated over the years.
Both pro-AGW and anti-AGW theories have been drawn, and there are conclusions supporting and opposing both theories. The question as to what the consensus is, is obscured by the presence of AGW activists, who repeatedly claim the consensus has been drawn. These activists, like John Cook whose data you previously referred to, use flawed methodologies, misunderstanding where and how the arguments have been made or presented. As regards the proponent arguments, the author misclassified the papers. For example, Nicola Scafetta from Duke University denied that his peer-reviewed paper accurately supported the consensus position, despite this, Cook's analysis classifies his paper in the 97% supporting AGW. These reports and arguments are based on a straw man argument because they don't correctly define the IPCC AGW theory, which isn't that anthropogenic emissions have contributed to over 50% of global warming since 1900, but rather 90-100% of the observed global warming was induced by human emissions, this is how their feedback mechanisms in their models are oriented, and why they're so inaccurate. Many of the articles support various percentages below %, Scafetta's for instance argued that 40-70% was due to anthropogenic causes. Another, Nir Shaviv from Hebrew University was cited as having also supporting the consensus opinion, which doesn't even claim that AGW is the cause of climate change, but provides data which shows that cosmic rays have affected the climate. He claims that the affect of cosmic rays has occurred but is minor, and the evidence points to increased solar activity. Yet, Cook still put his article in with the 97%. Nils-Axel Mörner from Stockholm University, had a paper classified as "consensus" by Cook, but which in fact has "no position," and provides data that disproves the IPCC predictions on sea level data. Willie Soon, who was funded by oil companies, was listed as agreeing with the consensus, when, as I previously mentioned, his paper posits no position. Not to mention the fact that John Cook's graph allows applicants to endorse their view with the following categories: "Methods, mitigation, not climate related, not my paper, not-peer-reviewed." Yet, his graphic claims that this is "the scientific agreement," when no reputable scientist would accept a non-peer-reviewed paper as being scientific. This only goes to emphasise that the most important part of using polls to evaluate whether consensus exists, is methodology and presentation - if these aren't clear, then the stats are useless. This is why activists shouldn't be relied upon to make polls.
Moreover, Cook's question is an order of magnitude larger than the IPCC AGW position, which was whether humans have caused "some" global warming. When you have such a largely minimalist question, and then claim that all these papers support the AGW case, you end up with a manufactured consensus. The techniques used to identify consensus always focus on issues which are irrelevant to the central issues of the theory of AGW. We have to remember, there are multiple theories of AGW, there are multiple theories against it, and there are dozens of models both for and against - the IPCC use multiple data projections, and they have added new models. This means that the IPCC doesn't have a theory, they have multiple ones, so when one is arguing for AGW one has to make clear which model they support. Moreover, that should not distract from the central issues of the theory of AGW. Fundamentally, models and projections are not an explanation, they're a prediction which makes or breaks the explanation. The fundamental and central issues are the explanation: that 90-100% of global warming in the past few centuries is due to human activity. Only 41 out of the 11,944 published climate papers examined by Cook explicitly stated that humans caused without a doubt most of the warming since 1950, which is 0.3% endorsement. Not to mention the fact that 8000 other papers were excluded because they expressed no opinion for or against AGW. The real numbers are these: 66.4% of respondents expressed no definitive position, the 97.1% are only of those that did express a position, meaning that's only 97.1% of 33.6%: i.e. only 32.6% of scientists
surveyed expressed an opinion that humans bear "SOME" responsibility for global warming. Those that actually supported the IPCC position, are only 0.1008% of scientists.
So, this is really an ongoing debate. 69.3% of scientists still need to be convinced one way or another. That is, if you want to argue statistics. I don't really like to play that game, since it's distracting to the real issue. The way to really determine consensus is whether or not a theory is controversial or not any more - that's when the theory has been accepted as fact, and starts being inserted into hypotheses (see Kuhn on this one). As for AGW, it is still controversial, otherwise we wouldn't be having a debate. Conclusions are always the most fun part of science, because it's where the debate happens.
As for the media, it's central to the issue. AGW isn't like regular science, because it's immensely politicised and activist oriented. You don't see this with plate tectonics debates. How you interpret and understand the way the media works, and how the public decide what presentation is convincing or not convincing is really crucial.
And as for you name, yes I suspected you might be a male. Kim isn't as popular as a male name around here, but I did know that it is more so in Australia. Of course the female is usually short for Kimberly , and I think the male is influenced by the Kipling poem. Sorry about that.