Who’s in the pay of Big Oil? 0

Global warmists accuse scientists who disagree with them of being in the pay of ‘Big Oil’. The implication is that those who say climate change is not caused by carbon emissions resulting chiefly from human activity are untrustworthy because they are bought.

In fact the warmists themselves have been funded by oil companies.

Here is a list of the ¬†funders of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), whose scientists’ emails, exposing the deceptions they have been practicing, were recently made public by a hacker or whistle-blower (most probably the latter):

British Council, British Petroleum, Broom’s Barn Sugar Beet Research Centre, Central Electricity Generating Board, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Commercial Union, Commission of European Communities [the EU], Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC), Department of Energy, Department of the Environment (DETR, now DEFRA), Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Eastern Electricity, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Greenpeace International, International Institute of Environmental Development (IIED), Irish Electricity Supply Board, KFA Germany, Leverhulme Trust, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), National Power, National Rivers Authority, Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), Norwich Union, Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, Overseas Development Administration (ODA), Reinsurance Underwriters and Syndicates, Royal Society, Scientific Consultants, Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), Scottish and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research, Shell, Stockholm Environment Agency, Sultanate of Oman, Tate and Lyle, UK Met. Office, UK Nirex Ltd., United Nations Environment Plan (UNEP), United States Department of Energy, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Wolfson Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF).

The list is worth examining. Much could be said about the donors. But for the present we only want to point out that British Petroleum and Shell contributed to the millions that have financed dishonest research.

The one thing that was great about the 20th century was Science (and its daughter technology). The human race could be justifiably proud of it. It was the highest triumph of reason. Everything else that the age produced might arguably be decadent and worthless – its art, music, literature, architecture, morality – but real Science (not the ‘social sciences’) was indisputably the genius of the age, and scientists were authentic heroes. Thanks to them, men walked on the moon, countless diseases became curable, the cosmos was explored, nuclear energy helped to sustain our civilization … and more, much more. (If the gifts of Science were put to bad uses, that was the fault of the users not the scientists.)

The CRU fraudsters and their co-conspirators have brought Science itself into disrepute, and that is what they should be most ashamed of. But they are fanatics. To judge by their reactions thus far to the ‘Climategate’ scandal, they will probably maintain that they have been misunderstood rather than that they have disgraced themselves and their discipline.

If I saw an angel or if man was made of brass 3

Jerry A Coyne, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, reviews two books – Saving Darwinism: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution, by Karl W Giberson; and Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul, by Kenneth R Miller – which try to reconcile science and religion, and fail of course. 

Read the whole review in The New Republic.

An extract:

The most common way to harmonize science and religion is to contend that they are different but complementary ways of understanding the world. That is, there are different "truths" offered by science and by religion that, taken together, answer every question about ourselves and the universe. Giberson explains:

 

I worry that scientific progress has bewitched us into thinking that there is nothing more to the world than what we can understand…. Science has perhaps gotten as much from the materialistic paradigm as it is going to get. Matter in motion, so elegantly described by Newton and those who followed him, may not be the best way to understand the world…. I think there are ways, though, that we can begin to look at the creation and understand that the scientific view is not all-encompassing. Science provides a partial set of insights that, though powerful, don’t answer all the questions.

 

Usually the questions said to fall outside science include those of meaning, purpose, and morality. In one of his last books, Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life, Stephen Jay Gould called this reconciliation NOMA, for "non-overlapping magisteria": "Science tries to document the factual character of the natural world, and to develop theories that coordinate and explain these facts. Religion, on the other hand, operates in the equally important, but utterly different, realm of human purposes, meanings and values–subjects that the factual domain of science might illuminate, but can never resolve." Gould offered this not as a utopian vision, but as an actual description of why the realms of science and religion do not overlap. As a solution to our perplexity, this is no good. In a spirit of pluralism it ignores the obvious conflicts between them. Gould salvaged his idea by redefining his terms–the old trick, again–writing off creationism as "improper religion" and defining secular sources of ethics, meanings and values as being "fundamentally religious."

The NOMA solution falls apart for other reasons. Despite Gould’s claims to the contrary, supernatural phenomena are not completely beyond the realm of science. All scientists can think of certain observations that would convince them of the existence of God or supernatural forces. In a letter to the American biologist Asa Gray, Darwin noted:

 

Your question what would convince me of Design is a poser. If I saw an angel come down to teach us good, and I was convinced from others seeing him that I was not mad, I should believe in design. If I could be convinced thoroughly that life and mind was in an unknown way a function of other imponderable force, I should be convinced. If man was made of brass or iron and no way connected with any other organism which had ever lived, I should perhaps be convinced. But this is childish writing.

Posted under Christianity, Commentary, Judaism by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 29, 2009

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Evolution observed 0

 This great event has just been reported by Little Green Footballs.

In an experiment that has been underway for 20 years at Michigan State University, biologist Richard Lenski has actually observed evolution at work in E. Coli bacteria.

A major evolutionary innovation has unfurled right in front of researchers’ eyes. It’s the first time evolution has been caught in the act of making such a rare and complex new trait.

And because the species in question is a bacterium, scientists have been able to replay history to show how this evolutionary novelty grew from the accumulation of unpredictable, chance events.

Twenty years ago, evolutionary biologist Richard Lenski of Michigan State University in East Lansing, US, took a single Escherichia coli bacterium and used its descendants to found 12 laboratory populations. The 12 have been growing ever since, gradually accumulating mutations and evolving for more than 44,000 generations, while Lenski watches what happens.

Mostly, the patterns Lenski saw were similar in each separate population. All 12 evolved larger cells, for example, as well as faster growth rates on the glucose they were fed, and lower peak population densities.

But sometime around the 31,500th generation, something dramatic happened in just one of the populations – the bacteria suddenly acquired the ability to metabolise citrate, a second nutrient in their culture medium that E. coli normally cannot use.

Indeed, the inability to use citrate is one of the traits by which bacteriologists distinguish E. coli from other species. The citrate-using mutants increased in population size and diversity.

“It’s the most profound change we have seen during the experiment. This was clearly something quite different for them, and it’s outside what was normally considered the bounds of E. coli as a species, which makes it especially interesting,” says Lenski.

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, June 18, 2008

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Evolution trumps intelligent design 6

Here is a long video (nearly 2 hours) which is thoroughly worth watching.  Scientist Ken Miller’s lecture on evolution versus intelligent design is absorbingly interesting and often very amusing.

Continue listening into question time. One of the questioners suggests that evolutionists – and so by implication atheists – must be on the political left.

The fact that many atheists think this way, and are probably driven leftward by their non-belief in the existence of God, shows how important it is for those who think as we do to demonstrate that conservative politics fit easily with atheism.

The lecture itself carries this message in the fascinating story of a Republican judge who came down firmly on the side of those who argued for evolution.

 

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Monday, May 26, 2008

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