Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Article: Climate denial is immoral, says head of US Episcopal church
The highest ranking woman in the Anglican communion has said climate denial is a “blind” and immoral position which rejects God’s gift of knowledge.
"Immoral." I don't think that word means what you think it means.

From the Wikipedia article on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the US Episcopal church:

She caused schism in the church:
Jefferts Schori's tenure has been highly controversial and marked by nearly unprecedented schism, with four dioceses having broken off to become part of the Anglican Church in North America...
She is vindictive:
At her direction the national church has initiated lawsuits against departing dioceses and parishes, with some $22 million spent thus far. She also established a policy that church properties were not to be sold to departing congregations.
She is a supporter of sexual immorality and of government intrusion into church life:
Jefferts Schori is a supporter of same-sex relationships and of the blessing of same-sex unions and civil marriages.
She is a supporter of killing the pre-born:
Like her predecessor, she is a supporter of abortion rights, stating that "We say it is a moral tragedy but that it should not be the government's role to deny its availability." She also supported the HHS mandate on birth control.

Ebola: Lesson Learned.

Article: One Year Later, Ebola Outbreak Offers Lessons for Next Epidemic

Lots of good advice and lessons. The initial outbreak was not dealt with quickly.   Only halfway through the epidemic.

And we need a vaccine. [No comment that funds for the development of a vaccine were diverted to other uses early in the first Obama administration.]
Reforms have been proposed, but agencies have been slow to acknowledge their mistakes publicly and reckon with them, decreasing the chances that change will occur.
Do the agencies include the CDC? Confused responses, mis-information, and arrogance. Ordinary people had a better reaction to an epidemic that killed 10,000 people than the authorities in the US. The US dodged a bullet, because bringing back sick medical workers could have been catastrophic. At one point over 100 people were on the ebola watch list in PA alone. And PA was nowhere near any of the "epicenters" in the US.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Evolution rates and DNA mutation clocks

Article: DNA mutation clock proves tough to set

I don't want to get into the weeds about this. I have seen some triumphalism among the more Bible-believing sites I visit that this disproves the possibility that everything evolved without any "outside" interference [read: God]. Or at least calls into a completely atheistic view of evolution.

I am not so certain.
Mathematicians keep refining π even though they know it to more than 12 trillion digits; physicists beat themselves up because they cannot pin down the gravitational constant beyond three significant figures. Geneticists, by contrast, are having trouble deciding between one measure of how fast human DNA mutates and another that is half that rate.
Or another way of putting that, "and another that is twice that rate."

Mutations provide the raw material for evolution. Red, blond and brown hair colors are the result of mutations. The ability in adult humans to digest milk and milk products is the result of a mutation.
The rate is key to calibrating the ‘molecular clock’ that puts DNA-based dates on events in evolutionary history. 
How fast genes mutate determine how fast evolution can happen. If the rate is too slow, then life could not have originated and evolved into it current diversity in the time allowed.
A slower molecular clock worked well to harmonize genetic and archaeological estimates for dates of key events in human evolution, such as migrations out of Africa and around the rest of the world. But calculations using the slow clock gave nonsensical results when extended further back in time — positing, for example, that the most recent common ancestor of apes and monkeys could have encountered dinosaurs. 
"Slow clock." "Fast clock." "Dinosaurs."
Reluctant to abandon the older numbers completely, many researchers have started hedging their bets in papers, presenting multiple dates for evolutionary events depending on whether mutation is assumed to be fast, slow or somewhere in between.
Evolution works on the gene variations that are present in a population. Mutations provide those variations. One cannot speed up evolution in a population that does not have sufficient variations to change.

"Hedging their bets." Using different estimates to fit the data is the wrong way round of doing things. One takes the data and have it drive the estimates, guesses, and hypotheses.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Article: Claim: Climate communication needs to be less optimistic, more ‘climate disruption’

Yet another appeal for scientists to be louder and more frightening. The high level of emotional manipulation by the "communicators" is not enough, even more is needed.

Again, why is the truth not enough? Why shout? Why exaggerate? Why lie?

And a new name: global climate disruption. Warming, change, weirding, and now disruption.

Wasn't "catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming" enough?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Terry Pratchett, RIP [Updated]

Article: 'The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds': Tributes paid to best-selling author Sir Terry Pratchett as he dies aged 66 after long battle with Alzheimer's

Article: Sir Terry Pratchett, renowned fantasy author, dies aged 66

Article: Obituary: Sir Terry Pratchett

Update Article: xkcd: Terry Pratchett

Yes, of course

Article: Scientists: Orbital Variations Main Cause of Climate Change

Global warming theorists have taken yet another hit with a new study out of Denmark which demonstrates that variations in Earth's orbit are the primary causes of climate change, and have been for at least the last 1.4 billion years.
Milankovitch cycles have been know for decades, and have been known to be major drivers of climate change, including the cause of ice ages and their ends. 

The question has been, "Does CO2 overwhelm the cycles or not?" And the answer appears to be "not." 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Article: Why Science is Never Settled

Article: Why Science is Never Settled – Part One

Article: Why Science is Never Settled – Part Two

These are apparently in the running for a nomination for the Hugo Award's "Best Related Work" category (that is, for non-fiction, science writing).

Article: More Evidence Of Climate Data Tampering By NOAA?

Original article: Even Though Warming Has Stopped, it Keeps Getting Worse?

The major point of both the original article and the commentary article is that honest revisions should produce changes that balance out between warming and cooling. But the NOAA data adjustments [almost] always increase the trend to warming.