Snowed Under

Sorry there hasn’t been a new post for a few days; I’m a little tied down by work at the moment. However, the last thread was getting a little long and slow to load, so feel free to continue your discussion here. I’ll pop in occasionally.

Mucho graçias,


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237 Responses to Snowed Under

  1. Amanda says:

    Hi Oz. Doesn’t matter if there ain’t music or games in the bar so long as there are still seats. :9) That’s a piglet face if you look at it sideways.

    I have twice this evening found myself snacking on the Newman’s Own Vanilla & Almond rice and wheat cereal, straight out of the box. Terrible. So much for calorie restriction. Very tasty and crunchy, though. Who needs milk? — I eat it right out of the box. Reminds me of when Woody Allen’s (character’s) friend comments on how this new divorcee cooks nothing but TV dinners, to which he replies: ‘Who bothers to cook TV dinners? I suck them frozen’.

  2. Kitler says:

    Ozboy work comes first, post as and when you can or feel like it’s a hobby not a career.

  3. Ozboy says:

    Thanks guys, appreciate it.

  4. izen says:

    I know its a thread or two back, but I wanted to comment on the use of the term ‘denial’ for those who claim AGW is a mistaken or fraudulent explanation of the present climate.

    I understand that some may feel that the term is an intentional attempt and dissparagement by conflating AGW denial with holocaust denial. It perhaps reflects some of the insecurity that those ‘sceptical’ of AGW that they would assume the term was chosen for its negative conitations rather than the main reason is that it is accurately descriptive. It is also to the credit of the anti-AGW crowd that they recognize that to be compared to people who reject the overwhelming weight of physical evidence and mainstream opinion on the subject of the holcaust is not a positive association.
    But it is difficult to charaterise the position of the AGW doubters as very different from the holocaust deniers in those terms. Although I do accept that the motive for denial in each case is different, holocaust denial is most often based in a wish to exculpate german fascism from its worst moral failings and a deep streak of anti-semitism.

    The prefered term I think for those who do not accept the scientifically well established aspects of AGW is rejectionist. I recognize that there are MANY forms of AGW rejectionism. Some are just about scientifically viable. Doubt over the magnitude and rate of climate change is legitimate, feedbacks and CO2 sinks are still sufficiently ill-defined that it is (just barely) possible that the climate change from the CO2 rise will be not much greater than the MWP or Roman warm period that both enhanced and wiped out some past societies.

    However, once we get to those that reject the possibility that ANY significant climate change will, or has already, occur(red) due to fossil fuel use, citing Gerlich or Miskowski(SP) and invoke the 2LoT or deny the existance of a warming effect from ANY atmospheric constituent we are definately into the same mental realm as the ‘Truthers’, Birthers’ and YEC-ers!

    The closest comparison that is apparent to me – perhaps because of past experience with the viewpoint – is the anti-evolutionists. They to reject a key aspect of biological science with the claim that it is an ideologically inspired fraud, with the mainstream concensus having little to do with scientific accuracy and actually part of a covert conspiracy to impose Darwinian evolution despite the lack of legitimate scientific support. This is of course nonsense, the history of the development of evolutionary theory and the changes and refinements that have accumulated as new information has been discovered requires a centuries-long conspiracy and a consistancy of purpose unseen in any other human endevour.

    Unless you are ALSO going to assume that AGW, a theory which is almost contempory with Darwinism, is a similar conspiracy!

  5. fenbeagle says:

    Those that try to compare people who are skeptical about AGW. With people who do not believe in the the theory of evolution, or any other totally irrelevant subject. Would to my mind, be best labelled as ‘desperate’. And should, perhaps then, be compared with ‘desperado’s (or outlaws with big hats)

  6. Amanda says:

    Izen, I think ‘rejectionist’ is fine, but then again I have also personally accepted ‘denier’ for the reasons you give.

    Ultimately, words get power from the prejudice or passion of those using them. ‘Yank’ was once a disparaging term; now it isn’t (not inherently, anyway!). I’m sure we can all think of other words that used to be derisive or disdainful but have since been embraced by the group in question, thereby losing their wounding character. Anyway, it’s the attitude behind ‘denier’ (witness B J Edwards, for instance) rather than the word itself that people object to.

    Also I see quite clearly that commenters such as ‘Sacculina’ on the DT blog cannot get beyond the idea of warming to look at the political context and observe the fact that, in the AGW Affair (as I call it), phenomenon is held to contain within it <policy prescription and especially economic and political liberty proscription.

    That in itself strikes me as a kind of denial. It’s a refusal to see that the main controversy lies precisely in the fact that a) what exists and b) what we should be prepared to do on that account, are two separate things. It assumes all good faith on the part of people that agitate for radical change on the basis of a scientific position — whether or not that scientific position is adequately justified. It is, in short, very naive and Alice-in-Wonderland, and is not a responsible response worthy of free people in free nations.

  7. izen says:

    I agree with you on the word use issue, its the intent of those using a word to describe others rather than the dictionary definition of the word that carries the discriminatory or excuplurary effect.

    I aslo agree that BOTH sides jump from the science to the policy without sufficient distinction. AGW will only be ‘catastrophic’ if it exceeds a magnitude that the flexibility and adaptability of modern society commands. I am not convinced that modern technological globally intergrated society IS any more robust than the Roman, Medieval or LIA societies that succumbed to those climate stressors.
    Since reading J A Tainter on the collapse of complex societies I am less certain that climate change is an inevitable cause of social disintigration and incline to his opinion that the diminishing returns from increasing complexity of governance is a key issue.

    Politics is the art of the possible, it is just possible for politicians to pursue a course that is in direct opposition to reality… for a brief time. But what ACTUALLY happens is always the constraining force on policy, any ideological desire to control CO2 emissions will fail dismally unless there is clear evidence of the damage it is causing, and any opposition to emissions policy will also vanish when climate changes beyond the ability of even the most ardent denier to attribute it soley to ‘Natural variation’.

    I really don’t know, and have no strong opinion about if or how much climate change will require big policy responses, the effect on agricultural systems is crucial. But denial/rejection of the basic science does no favours to those that are trying to argue against a specific policy response. And they look even more idiotic when they claim that the policy response is the reason for the ‘invention’ of a false science of AGW.

    A prime example of this can be seen in all its foolishness at present on the WUWT site. A thread by Ira Glickstein on the ‘Greenhouse’ effect has many of the usual suspect trotting out the usual zombie inanity of the 2LOT and CO2 concerntrations being too small to have any significant effect… I suspect the IG thread on the basic physics is an attempt by A WAtts to try and avoid the anti-science label by trying to stop the use of stupid arguments just as the Creationist site try and stop the most easily refute anti-evolution arguments.

    (WOOPS!!! I just accidently cross-posted this at WUWT – that should cause some confusion?!?! – grin –

  8. izen says:


    There are differences between Creationist/ID science deniers and the anti-AGW crowd. BUt there are also similarities.
    Not least the fact that some proportion of each seem to genuinely believe that a whole tranch of science is a long perpetuated fraud invented and sanctioned by the vast majority of scientists and scientific bodies for decades for ideological/political reasons.
    That this is projection – it is rejected for ideological reasons – is never acknowledged, but then it is always easier to see the mote in the eye of the other…

    There are endless and complex arguements to be had about the possible policy choices that climate change may engender, I just find that those stuck in the loop of rejecting established science as a way of avoiding those hard decisions as very silly.

  9. Kitler says:

    izen……. I deny the denying of the denial.

  10. Kitler says:

    izen also you may have noticed or probably not since you are in denial, this is a libertarian blog which only occasionally deals with AGW issues. Feel free to comment on those issues as well, currently your monomania on AGW is showing through.

  11. izen says:

    @-Kitler says:
    May 10, 2011 at 12:55 am
    “izen also you may have noticed or probably not since you are in denial, this is a libertarian blog which only occasionally deals with AGW issues. Feel free to comment on those issues as well, currently your monomania on AGW is showing through.”

    Oh there are so MANY things that I am monomanical about…..
    Yes I know Ozboy is concerned with matters other than AGW, but given my history on this blog I thought I ought to make some comment on the topic as it had been raised….

    Actually the place where AGW and libertarianism collide is in the policy choices. As with other environmental problems, acid rain, CFCs, DDT, Lead, Mercury, etc the problems often require collective action to provide a solution. Market forces and local responses are inadequate.

    There are very few examples of truely global collective action as a result of a unified world governance as I have commented to Ozboy before. The allocation of radio frequencies is one, some global standards for electronics and mechanical systems and the aforementioned CFCs (Montreal protocol). It is clear that IF AGW requires a policy response that engages with emissions it will also need to be a unified global agreement. Given the diverse range of conflicting self-interest for different nations and businesses on this issue I don’t see such collective agreement anytime soon.
    Libertarians may always oppose large government or centralised control as a matter of principle, but there are several basic aspects of civilisation that are not possible without the subserviance of the individual to the state. Transport infrastructure, Water and power provision have always required central governance to provide effectively, market forces and individual effort are incapable of efficient systems of provision.
    The environmental controls I have already mentioned; can anyone think of other examples where individual benefit comes from communal governance and provision ???

  12. Kitler says:

    izen to seize on one issue…mercury which is harmful only in certain forms such as the stuff in thermometers or the new light bulbs they make people buy to save the planet.
    Why have the AGW crowd foisted on the public a very toxic and dangerous product that is going to go into a landfill and pollute the water table?
    This is clearly a case of massive hypocrisy on the part of the hippy’s, it’s bad for the environment so we will use it to save the environment?
    As for acid rain all that was accomplished was the movement of the problem (industry) from the Northern temperate zone to the tropics and equatorial regions, hardly a solution.

  13. Tucci says:

    At 8:55 PM on 9 May, izen had written:

    The prefered term I think for those who do not accept the scientifically well established aspects of AGW is rejectionist.

    Oh? I’ve always preferred “honest,” as in “not lying” and “making all raw data available” and “not cherrypicking” and “not perverting peer review” and (jeez, I know that this must embarrass the hell out of you) “not trying to ‘hide the decline‘.”

    From the beginning – and I’m old enough to remember when it first began to surface back in the late ’70s and early ’80s – the great problem with peddling the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) bogosity has been the plainly preposterous overestimation of the tropospheric heat-trapping effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased by the purposeful combustion of petrochemicals and other hydrocarbon fuels (wood, animal dung, you name it).

    When first I came across it, I recall having thought: “This is at least a three-orders-of-magnitude overstatement.”

    Of course, I was too optimistic. Way more than just three orders of magnitude beyond what happens in reality.

  14. Dr. Dave says:


    I don’t even mind being called a denier, although I prefer “realist”. I even believe the greenhouse effect is real. If the GHG theory is correct and the effect is not totally eclipsed or obscured by natural variation or other heretofore un-characterized perturbations to the climate, our very elderly grandchildren MIGHT see about a 1 deg C increase in global average temperature in about 90 years. You have already mentioned that we know too little about feedback systems. In fact, we know too little about climate to make any sort of accurate predictions. We don’t understand the role or extent or even the mechanisms behind natural variability. Hell, we don’t even have reliable temperature records. More tellingly, even after two decades of taxpayer funded research and billions of dollars squandered, there exists today absolutely no empiric evidence to irrefutably attribute mankind’s emissions of CO2 to any kind of global climate change. Computer models are not evidence…in fact, they’re not even close to being accurate or predictive.

    Your examples of necessary collectivism are nearly laughable. In truth a relatively small amount of the RF spectrum is agreed to by international treaty. In reality huge portions of the RF spectrum are allocated and utilized very differently country by country. Countries agree to certain allocations for mutual benefit. They protect the “commons” for things like navigation, airlines and shipping. Countries don’t mess with frequencies that would render satellite reception impossible in their countries, but most of the RF spectrum is allocated in ways unique to specific countries. I am a licensed amateur radio operator. The ham bands are similar in most countries but far from identical.

    Your example of the CFC ban via the Montreal Protocol is a hoot. The CFC-ozone hole scam was one of the earlier of the modern eco-frauds. The science supporting this fraud is even more specious than the AGW crap. Of course, the DDT ban was the great grand daddy of eco-scams. The acid rain flap was another scam. In the NE US the scare was that coal fired power stations would result in complete deforestation. In that case it turned out to be a good thing that we put scrubbers on coal stacks to take out the SOx and NOx but in the aftermath it was discovered that the dead trees they used as examples died from other causes reductions in pH in certain wetlands they used were caused by completely natural processes. How about high voltage power lines and and cell phones causing cancer? All of these vacuous eco-crises that require collectivist solutions have a common feature – they are long on scare and very short on substance.

    I prefer the term “realist” because more and more people are realizing that even if the IPCC were right (and they’re not), there’s not a damn thing the western world could do (realistically) to make any difference. The reality is that more than 85% of the energy used by mankind is derived from the combustion of hydrocarbons and at the moment there are no viable alternatives. I also reject your claim (I read on WUWT) that ethanol or biofuels are somehow “better” because the CO2 they emit was more recently sequestered from the atmosphere whereas fossil fuels are releasing “ancient” CO2 and this is somehow “evil”. Yeah? Prove it!

    Finally, I’d like to address something I’ve seen with greater frequency lately. That is, the conflation of the belief in AGW with the theory of evolution. I’ve always believed in evolution. I’ve never accepted the notion of Creationism. I’ve been taught evolution since grade school (in much the way kids are taught in schools today that AGW is fact rather than tenuous theory). I never questioned evolution because I’ve always believed it. Only recently have I had cause to question it. For the longest time I viewed it as a dichotomous choice – either evolution or Creationism. Hell, I took comparative vertebrate morphology as an undergrad (tough class). This served to cement my belief in evolution. Then someone pointed me to some Intelligent Design sites. I knew nothing about ID. I always believed ID was code for Creationism. But what I found gave me pause to stop and consider what I have always believed was immutable truth. The fossil record isn’t exactly chronological. There are huge gaps in it where there is no evidence of precursor species. There are areas where diverse life seems to explode with no evidence of evolutionary precursors. I’m no geologist so what do I know? But what really stumped me was a simple question – by what mechanism does one species evolve into a different species? Really! Biology is one of oldest sciences. By what mechanism are chromosomes added to an existing species to change it into a new species? We assume it, but we have never observed it. At this point somebody quite reliably points to the development of multi-drug resistant Staph aureus. This is an adaptive change. At the end of the day MRSA is STILL Staph aureus. It hasn’t morphed into a new species. Rather it’s birds, bugs, lizards or bacteria; adaptive changes are not proof of evolution.

    In the end I still mostly believe in evolution only now I have more reasons to question what I have always accepted on faith. I no longer scoff at those who propose ID as a possibility. To date, I still know far too little about ID but it’s on my list of things to look into. This is disturbing because anyone who doesn’t completely buy into the unprovable theory of evolution and also doubts the unprovable theory of AGW is now labeled as an ignorant hayseed. It’s a convenient political ploy. Turns out Dr. Roy Spencer subscribes to ID (I only recently learned this). I would gladly put Spencer up against ANY alarmist “climatologist” in the US, UK or OZ. He could eat them alive…and blind them with science. But increasingly his detractors attack his belief in ID because they can’t win in terms of climate science.

    Liberty and the free market will always prevail over any collectivist solution…especially to non-problems.

  15. izen says:

    @-Kitler says:
    May 10, 2011 at 1:40 am
    “izen to seize on one issue…mercury which is harmful only in certain forms such as the stuff in thermometers or the new light bulbs they make people buy to save the planet.”

    I can never resist the opportunity for pedantry in the field of science…
    Mercury is harmful in certain forms, the mercury in a thermometer is not one of them. The metal is relatively unreactive and insoluble so the liquid metal has some small risk from the vapour, but its really minimal. This is why it is safe to use in dental fillings, alloyed so it is a solid the vapour pressure is insignificant. And even the vapour has very low solubility so absorbtion is minimal.

    The forms of Mercury that do pose a threat as a heavy metal toxin are compounds with high solubility in water or lipids. The compounds in low energy fluorescent lights are AFAIK of low solubility, there is some danger but it really requires further chemistry to convert them to compounds with a significant toxic effect.
    Most of the Mercury load that is detectable in humans comes from the sea via seafood. A significant proportion of the soluble compounds that are concerntrated in fish come from the chemical breakdown of mercury used in industry. Scandinavia is phasing out the use of mercury in dental fillings because cremation is heating and reacting the mercury and releasing it to the atmosphere. The rest of the mercury load from the oceans are from natural sources.

    I do not really see the low energy light bulb as a big problem, the mercury load it is likely to release is small. it is probably possible to contain and recycle if necessary and there could also be alternative bulb designs to carry out the same same function as the mercury in the present lamps.

    Anyway, they are likely to be replaced within a decade or so by LED source lights or LEP materials. If we are lucky most of the mercury containing low energy fluorescent bulbs will just start to fail when the more efficient sources become an economic alternative.

    I agree about the acid rain.
    While much has been done with the clean air acts in various nations, and the effects of that clean-up are seen in measured sulphur levels, the economic interets of society and markets have denied, delayed opposed and blocked global governance on this issue, and often local efforts have been targeted as well. Of course eventually Nature prevents it being politically possible to evade the need to regulate sources of acid rain. As China is discovering, and London discovered between 30s-50s, if you ignore it the death toll and damage to infrastructure and agriculture – not to mention the smog – eventually forces a response.

  16. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave maybe this should help you….
    As for changes it’s down to mRNA and protein expression, little changes in mRNA amount to large changes in an animal. This is what say separates us from Chimpanzees protein expression.

  17. Kitler says:

    izen so is that why the EPA considers them a health hazard and if you smash one you need a hazmat team to come round and clean up the mess, I believe it cost one lady about $10,000 to have cleaned up in her house.

  18. Dr. Dave says:


    Though it pains me…I have to agree with izen re: the CFLs. Elemental mercury doesn’t pose that much of an environmental threat. It drives me nuts how the mercury threat is used as a reason to hate CFLs. Shucks…there’s LOTS of better reasons to hate CFLs. Mercury isn’t one of them. Go into any grocery store, school or government building and look up. Odds are you will be met with the sight of banks and banks of fluorescent tubes. We’ve used these for decades and each contains more mercury than a CFL.

    Organic mercury compounds like methyl mercury and ethyl mercury or inorganic soluble salts like mercuric nitrate pose a much greater health hazard. Are greatest exposure to environmental mercury does indeed come from the seas but not from fish. Most of it is outgassed from the oceans. Consumption of top predator fish is probably #2. Also, most of the mercury in the oceans is their naturally and NOT a byproduct of industrial waste. This has been confirmed by autopsy studies on 100 and 200 year old corpses. I suggest you go to SPPI and search on mercury. They had a series of articles that did a wonderful job of detailing the truth about environmental mercury.

  19. Amanda says:

    Hi Dave. Personally I hate fluorescent lighting of any kind. Apart from the fact that it is prone to flickering, it is terrible to read by, distorts colours, makes everything look uglier, and gives me a headache. I’d rather use kerosene lamps and be done with it!

  20. izen says:

    @-Dr. Dave says:
    May 10, 2011 at 4:20 am
    “I don’t even mind being called a denier, although I prefer “realist”. I even believe the greenhouse effect is real. ….”

    I disagree about all the assertions you then make about various physical-chemical systems that have environmental impacts, but you do seem to have the main catechism of the ‘realist’ handbook down pat. Although I think the George Marshall and Heartland institutes have even abandoned the CFCs don’t affect ozone nonsense – leaves you in the company of the La Rouches of this world…

    But I would avoid getting into hard tech of climate/green stuff at Oz’s bar and grill, its not central or germane to what I think (?) he would want.

    “Finally, I’d like to address something I’ve seen with greater frequency lately. That is, the conflation of the belief in AGW with the theory of evolution. I’ve always believed in evolution. I’ve never accepted the notion of Creationism. …
    In the end I still mostly believe in evolution only now I have more reasons to question what I have always accepted on faith. I no longer scoff at those who propose ID as a possibility. ”

    The mistake you made was to have a belief in evolution by natural selection, and accept it as a matter of faith. The credibility of any theory is its utility as an explanation, and the legitimacy you grant it as an individual should be a measure of your understanding of that explanation, not the degree of faith you hold.

    I find it hard to grasp the idea of someone who did comparative vertebrate morphology remaining unaware that there are several examples of observed speciation among eucaryotes, even multicellular ones!

    Perhaps you should examine the sort of things that are coming from the ID crowd, with any background in biology, and even the smattering s of genetics it would be abundantly clear that it is palpable nonsense. It is the similarities in the manipulation and framing of the anti-science message that causes the comparisons to be made with AGW rejecters. But there is a qualitative conceptual difference. The key, and final stated aim of those arguing for the legitimacy of ID as a valid biological subject of research is the rejection of the basic a priori assumption of the scientific method – that all observable phenomina are the result of natural processes involving material objects.

    -“Liberty and the free market will always prevail over any collectivist solution…especially to non-problems.”

    The provision of clean water, power and the removal of waste are services essential to large civilisations. I do not know of any examples where liberty and the free market provided those services effectively compared to the many historical examples where a collectivist solution was imposed. Perhaps you would re-classify the failure to provide water and power as non-problems?
    There are obviously many other instances where the full possible liberty of the individual is constrained by the collective requirement for effective action. Vaccination, and the management of the ‘Commons’ however they might be defined are some. It is how that conflict between what are apparently opposing ‘goods’ – liberty and cooperative benefit – get resolved that generates much of the froth of politics.

  21. Dr. Dave says:


    The link you provided was useless. I’m quite familiar with mRNA. I am well aware of protein expression. What I am looking for is an identified and characterized mechanism by which one species can evolve into an entirely unique, different species. How are genes added? The fact that humans and chimps are very close genetically doesn’t answer any questions. By what mechanism can a chimp evolve into a higher order hominid? The big question is not how close various species are to one another in terms of genetics, but by which biological processes do one species evolve into a genetically distinct new species. I honestly never thought about it until recently.

    There is a sub-species of a common lizard that lives in west TX and SE NM. What makes it a sub-species? Genetically it is the same damn lizard as the common one that looks just like it. It’s officially a “sub-species” because it has adapted to live in a unique environment. Interestingly, this sub-species may result in the shut-down of oil production in the Permian basin. But it is not a genetically unique animal. If you scooped up enough of them and transferred them to a different environment the survivors would adapt to the new surroundings. Adaptive changes do not prove evolution. I don’t have any better theories than evolution to propose, but I think it is valid to question it. That’s how science works.

    I’m not suggesting any 100 year old conspiracies to hide the truth. But at the same time it is easy to understand how scientists who are personally and professionally invested in a theory may be reluctant to entertain any opposing ideas or explore inconvenient findings that contradict their world view. This is human nature and it is seen in all disciplines in science. Thirty years ago when I was in college we were taught that beta blocking drugs were absolutely contraindicated in patients with congestive heart failure. The pharmacologic reasoning for this proclamation was nearly bulletproof. But it was wrong. Today beta blockers are mainstays in the management of CHF. It is right to doubt any theory that cannot be proven.

  22. Tucci says:

    At 5:37 AM on 10 May, Dr. Dave writes about how:

    There is a sub-species of a common lizard that lives in west TX and SE NM. What makes it a sub-species? Genetically it is the same damn lizard as the common one that looks just like it. It’s officially a “sub-species” because it has adapted to live in a unique environment. Interestingly, this sub-species may result in the shut-down of oil production in the Permian basin. But it is not a genetically unique animal. If you scooped up enough of them and transferred them to a different environment the survivors would adapt to the new surroundings. Adaptive changes do not prove evolution. I don’t have any better theories than evolution to propose, but I think it is valid to question it. That’s how science works.

    Well, that pseudo-“sub-species” of lizard you’re talking about sounds much like the equivalent of the products of selective breeding responsible for all the domesticated animal strains with which human beings have been tinkering since before the beginning of recorded history. Might as well call the Siamese cat a “sub-species” of Felis catus, or the Percheron a “sub-species” of Equus ferus caballus.

    An even better way of considering that lizard “sub-species” is to think about what would happen to the members thereof were you to plunk them down among their genetic brethren from outside the Permian basin.

    Ceteris paribus, they’ll mate with those critters outside their specious “sub-species” to produce viable offspring, and we’ll see the phenotypic instantiation of their differentiating morphological characteristics manifesting in subsequent generations depending upon the degrees of dominance obtaining among the various traits.

    Selection pressures in whatever environment you’ve placed them would tend to result in the relative success or failure of lizards with particular traits, but this whole treatment of the Permian basin “sub-species” is nothing more than yet another Luddite ‘viro boondoggle, and therefore to hell with the moral and intellectual scumbuckets pushing this crap.

  23. Ozboy says:

    Wow! I picked the wrong time to be busy, it seems. G’day Izen. Will check back in 9 hours or so. Cheers.

  24. izen says:


    Was the pastafarian link a Freudian slip or intentional subversion ? -grin-

    From the comments after this is probably what you were referring to –

    @- Dr Dave
    Have you never encountered the terms allopatric, parapatric, peripatric and sympatric?

  25. Tucci says:

    At 6:05 AM on 10 May, izen asks:

    Have you never encountered the terms allopatric, parapatric, peripatric and sympatric?

    Familiar with the concepts, of course, though not until now with the specific terms.

    Have you, izen, lately encountered the proper descriptors for the AGW fraudsters masquerading as “climatologists”?

    Masters of “…cork-screwing, back-stabbing, and dirty-dealing” are, I recall, among the appropriate terms.

  26. Amanda says:

    Interesting. I call it the AGW Affair and Tucci calls it the AGW bogosity. Same thing, really. :^)

    And revisiting the issue of labelling/name designation: Izen, you can call me above all things freedom-loving. Responsible, yes, and/but needy of freedom, without which life is a dismal prospect.

  27. Dr. Dave says:


    Where do I begin? First off, I know next to nothing about ID. I intend to read more about it to educate myself. I did the same thing with AGW about 6 years ago. I started out believing in the CO2 nonsense. How anyone as obviously intelligent as yourself could still believe in the AGW horseshit dumbfounds me. But there you have it…

    I am not refuting the theory of evolution. I am questioning what I have always accepted as truth. Believe me, in years past I was relentless in ridiculing those who were dumb enough to preach Creationism around me. What I find astounding today is the way devout evolutionists vehemently defend the obviously incomplete and contradictory fossil record. But that stuff is way out of my field of expertise. I do, however, have a pretty good grip on biologic processes. Believe or not, I’m pretty damn handy when it comes to microbiology. I’ve never doubted evolution because I could never even conceive of a more plausible explanation. Only recently have I paused to question the gaping holes in the theory of evolution. The simple question that bugs me today is by what biological mechanism does one species evolve into another? How do you add genes under natural conditions? I honestly don’t know. I am, however, hesitant to accept a theory that offers the “best plausible answer” as absolute, immutable truth simply because we can think of no other explanation.

    I work in a field of empiric science. I take care of patients. It ain’t rocket science. But I know what causes the diseases I treat and I know with reasonable certainty how the drugs that are used work (often right down to the molecular level). There is a remarkable degree of predictability in what I do. Still, we continue to make startling new discoveries all the time. The stuff we believed as absolute truth 10 or 20 years ago is often shown to be false with new research. The field changes as new information is gained. Sadly, we don’t see that with AGW. The belief is that CO2 will cause catastrophic climate change and this has remained unchanged for 20 years despite ample evidence to the contrary. This is science…it is belief.

    I notice also that in your previous response you resorted to a little ad hom and argument from authority. I don’t care if Heartland is on my side or not. I studied the CFC issue extensively back when it was “new”. I remember writing out the theoretical chemical reactions on a blackboard in the late 70s while taking organic chemistry. The CFC ban was a victory for environmentalists but a bitter defeat for objective science. You can believe this hooey if it makes you feel smug and intelligent, but the science to support it is remarkably weak. The damage has been done, the money has been made and the socialists have won their victory. The thing is…we could go back to using safe, cheap and effective CFCs tomorrow and the ozone hole will continue to fluctuate with the seasons just as it has since it was first described in the late 40s.

    Societies do, indeed, need to do some things collectively. Having an effective military is a good example. We do things like build roads and bridges. You cut me to the bone with vaccination. I agree with widespread vaccination, particularly for kids in public schools. Have you ever seen the list of everything for which there are vaccinations are available? I’ve been vaccinated against HepB…have you?

  28. Dr. Dave says:


    I have to ask you about vaccination. I am old enough to have been vaccinated against small pox. I’ve been vaccinated against polio. My older brother actually had polio as a little kid. I had mumps, measles and chicken pox as a child. This is unheard of today. As an older adult I was re-vaccinated with MMR as well as HepB. Of course we’ve all had tetanus shots. But today kids are vaccinated against a host of diseases as a matter of routine: HepB, MMR, Hemophilus B, chicken pox, polio, etc. Older kids are often vaccinated against meningitis. Older adults against pneumonia, Herpes zozter, etc. We now have vaccinations against HPV. Ever look into what it costs a vet to get vaccinated against rabies? OUCH!!

    I agree with the whole herd immunity thing. We damn near wiped small pox off the face of the planet. In fact, we were so successful that damn few folks younger than we are have any immunity to small pox. My question is…when is enough enough or when is anything more too much? Do we all need HepA vaccination every few years? I think it’s just “smart money” to vaccinate all infants against HepB. But where do we draw the line?

  29. Tucci says:

    At 6L50 AM on 10 May, Dr. Dave had responded to izen, the warmista True Believer, writing:

    I started out believing in the CO2 nonsense. How anyone as obviously intelligent as yourself could still believe in the AGW horseshit dumbfounds me. But there you have it…

    My experience of the carbon dioxide greenhouse gas overreach goes back to the earliest modern (late 20th Century) gropings, when what we now know as the most flagrant fraud in the history of the human race was merely the wild-eyed stupidity of academically credentialed incompetents.

    I never gave that crap any credence whatsoever.

    I was at that time corresponding with Dr. Petr Beckmann, an emeritus professor of electrical engineering at the University of Colorado, subscribing to his Access to Energy newsletter and at his invitation dropping into his direct-dial computer bulletin board system (BBS), Fort Freedom.

    A mirror of the content of Fort Freedom as it stood in 1989 is available on the Web at this site. The BBS continued to function until Dr. Beckmann’s death in 1993, and I regret to say that I’ve not been able to find online anything reflecting the content of Dr. Beckmann’s digital archives as updated between 1989 and when he succumbed to the cancer that killed him.

    Dr. Beckmann aggregated information on his BBS in much the same way that today’s Web log (blog) proprietors do, and for a snapshot of what was current in terms of responsible honest – as opposed to hysterically, psychotically, and deceitfully alarmist – thought on the subject of man-made planetary warming in the late ’80s, I can recommend no more representative single source of insight into what was happening when charlatans like Michael Mann and professional thieves like Algore were just beginning to fasten upon the “climate change” fraud to gain public prominence, siphon off taxpayer funds, choke off productive enterprise, and generally impoverish and ruin their honest neighbors.

  30. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave as for the mercury threat you are correct it’s over rated the point is when you get millions of these in a landfill eventually it will leak into the local water table. I was pointing out the EPA’s overreaction to a single light bulb. This after being told by them to use the goddamn things.

  31. Dr. Dave says:

    @- Dr Dave
    “Have you never encountered the terms allopatric, parapatric, peripatric and sympatric?”

    Yeah…I’ve pretty familiar with the theories that swirl around evolution. But these are theories, not proven biological fact. I want a demonstrated biological mechanism that clearly shows how one species, in situ, can become a new species. I can PROVE to you exactly how morphine relieves pain without resorting to theory. I can demonstrate this right down to the molecular level. Can ANYBODY prove to me the exact biological mechanism by which a salamander become a house cat? I’m not saying such a thing can’t happen…I just want to know how with empiric evidence.

  32. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave the human genome gets about one hundred mis-copies of a gene or segment per person this occasionally can result in the doubling up or more of one segment, viruses can insert DNA into our genetic material, these random changes are the raw material for evolution. Most of it is generally useless and external selection pressures weeds out the bad changes and promotes the good ones. It is the small mRNA changes that can have the biggest changes these are the kind of things that tell a gene when or not to switch on and off and for how long, enough of these small changes and humans have an opposable thumb chimps don’t it’s the same thing just expressed differently. When it comes to really big changes extra chromosomes are quite common mostly fatal or useless or enhances sterility, however just once in a while it adds something to the mix and gets fixed in a population, this is best done in small isolated populations.
    It seems we have an imperfect copying mechanism for reproduction deliberately so to allow change and speciation, it does not take an Invisible designer because that begs the question who designed the designer ad infinitum all it takes is literally time.
    Or you could invoke space aliens tampering with our DNA although again it begs the question how did they come about and on and on.

  33. Tucci says:

    At 7:39 AM on 10 May, Dr. Dave had written:

    I have to ask you about vaccination. I am old enough to have been vaccinated against small pox. I’ve been vaccinated against polio. My older brother actually had polio as a little kid. I had mumps, measles and chicken pox as a child. This is unheard of today. As an older adult I was re-vaccinated with MMR as well as HepB. Of course we’ve all had tetanus shots. But today kids are vaccinated against a host of diseases as a matter of routine: HepB, MMR, Hemophilus B, chicken pox, polio, etc. Older kids are often vaccinated against meningitis. [Well, bacterial meningitis, anyway.] Older adults against pneumonia, Herpes zoster, etc. We now have vaccinations against HPV. Ever look into what it costs a vet to get vaccinated against rabies? OUCH!!

    I agree with the whole herd immunity thing. We damn near wiped small pox off the face of the planet. In fact, we were so successful that damn few folks younger than we are have any immunity to small pox. My question is…when is enough enough or when is anything more too much? Do we all need HepA vaccination every few years? I think it’s just “smart money” to vaccinate all infants against HepB. But where do we draw the line?

    I draw the line on the basis of the risk/benefit estimation for each individual patient. When the adverse consequences of possible infection are greater for that particular human being than are the potential adverse effects of vaccination, it’s a no-brainer. Vaccinate.

    I’ve hung around with speculative fiction writers – amateur and professional – just about all my life, and one of the subjects I’ve batted around has been the likely sociocultural effects of a highly effective suite of vaccines capable of foreclosing virtually all potential acquisition of sexually transmitted diseases.

    As with the one-shot MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) immunization, consider a GITSCH vaccination (gonococcus, immunodeficiency virus, trachoma, syphilis, chlamydia, Herpes simplex) in addition to the currently available preventive innoculations against HPV, HepB, and so forth.

    No more possibility of chronic HIV or HSV infection. No more worry about Cupid’s catarrh. Nothing life-threatening, nothing we can’t reliably knock out with metronidazole or one of the tetracyclines or a beta-lactam bug swatter.

    The “sexual revolution” that began with the availability of oral contraceptives in the late ’50s was already foundering upon the spread of the ugly, non-fatal, but definitely incurable genital herpes pandemic before “gay-related immune deficiency” (GRID) began to show up, and all over America closeted male homosexuals had to confront the difficulty of telling their families and friends that they’d suddenly become Haitians.

    What if those venereal scourges were made to simply…go away?

    Australian SF writer (and merchant mariner) A. Bertram Chandler used to make frequent use in his Commodore Grimes novels of the phrase “This is Liberty Hall; you can spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard!

    Think “Liberty Hall.Big time….

  34. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave the Shrew is the best example of evolution gone wild, while to our eye they all look the same they have many types of shrew with differing chromosome numbers, the amazing thing about these little buggers is that can interbreed and form a new hybrid species, different from either parent but still extremely shrewlike. The hybrid theory of evolution is interesting because we ourselves are a hybrid of two or more species of humans, are we the same as the people left behind in Africa or an entirely new species with abilities gleaned from that mating that they do not possess whatever they could be.

  35. Kitler says:

    tucci yes but women can still catch babies your dastardly plan would have to include 100% effective contraception with no side effects, until desired otherwise.

  36. Tucci says:

    At 8:12 AM on 10 May, we see Kitler proposing:

    Or you could invoke space aliens tampering with our DNA although again it begs the question how did they come about and on and on.

    Ah, yes. The super-intelligent purple space squid hypothesis.

    I note that Mr. Bailey concluded his article with an addendum ending:

    “Intelligent design is to evolutionary biology what socialism is to free-market economics.”

  37. Dr. Dave says:


    Good Lord! I’m not proposing aliens. All I’m saying is that what we have have (mostly) blindly accepted for over 100 years is inadequate. This assertion alone is enough to piss off the true believers to the point of mouth foaming rage. Kitler, you forget where I live. Where do you think the human genome project lives? Yeah…in my back yard. I’ve served on review boards with these folks.

    To this day there is still no identifiable mechanism by which one species may transmogrify into a new, genetically distinct organism. It sounds so trivial. It seems so immaterial relative to such an insightful theory. But it’s a damn good question. Exactly how does this work and how do you prove it? Oh yeah…trust us, we gotta be right.

  38. Dr. Dave says:


    When you breed one kind of shrew with another kind of shrew what do you get? A shrew. It might be genetically distinct, but it’s still a shrew…not a new species. Same with dogs. Look at the diversity among dogs. A toy poodle and a Great Dane may be genetically distinct animals, but they’re still domestic dogs. Do you think wild, feral pigs are a different species than domestic pigs? They are genetically distinct but they’re both still pigs. Other than adaptive changes in behavior and habitat they’re not very different animals. Look at horses, look at cattle. This is the bigger question that has not been answered. You can rearrange chromosomes, but how do you add genes to make a new species? Compare the most disparate humans. We look nothing alike, yet we are all the same species. My question is, with known biologic processes, how do we get new, unique species? Cavil all you want…this question has not been answered.

  39. Amanda says:

    Dr Dave: Have you read Gertrude Himmelfarb’s most excellent book, Darwin And The Darwinians? It held me rapt. She discusses Darwin’s life and colleagues — and mistakes — and she raises the uncomfortable question of just what IS the mechanism within natural selection for the evolution of new species? That book kept me happy and engrossed through an entire job-seeking tour of the American northeast, and I look forward to reading it again one day. Somehow I suspect that you would enjoy it and find it profitable.

  40. Dr. Dave says:


    About 20 years ago I read a book with (I think) the title “The Great Evolutionary Debate”. It’s in a box somewhere out in the garage and I need to dig it out. As I recall this book examined evolution from the position that it was absolutely correct and then set about poking holes in the theory. What I remember is their mathematical analyses that showed evolution to be utterly improbable…but not impossible. The evolution of just the eye is hard to fathom. When I read this book I was a hard core evolution believer and I discounted most of the points they made. Today I’m not quite so sure of myself.

    The authors never tried to disprove evolution, they just tried to emphasize areas of debate that most of the public was unaware of. They pointed out where the theory is weak. About 20+ years ago I read it and blew it off because I had already made up my mind. Today I want to read it again because I’m older, wiser and not no cocksure of myself. I want to explore this further but it will be difficult to shake a fundamental belief in evolution from me. What will fill the void? More unknowns? Even still…there are nagging questions that modern science has not satisfactorily addressed.

  41. Dr. Dave says:


    I love Penn & Teller and I ain’t all that biblical. That particular episode, however, I found offensive. Not so much to me personally, but to people I care a lot about. These boys make a lot of good points but they do push the limits of propriety.

  42. Amanda says:

    Dr Dave, well put, interesting. The trouble with raising questions about evolution — if not the fact itself, then the mechanism — you mention the eye, and rightly so, though the ear is scarcely less amazing, and not just because of the improvisational music I listen to! — people suppose you to be a creationist or religiously inclined. Just as, if one is not interested in sex, people suppose that one must actually be homosexual and simply unwilling to acknowledge it. Wrong, of course.

  43. Amanda says:

    Kitler: Who (or what) designed the designer? Yes, that gets us back (eventually) to the question of the origin of all things, i.e. the universe, and whether the universe is finite or infinite. I have thought about it, with my poor little pea brain, and neither a finite nor an infinite universe makes sense or is comprehensible. Where to now?

  44. Amanda says:

    I thought I would just mention (to whomever) that I ain’t biblical at all. I was raised as an atheist in a vaguely (very vaguely) Church of England family, and it was only in my mid-20s that I learned, through my intellectual investigations, to be less vehemently atheistic. Before that, I went to church once with my boyfriend at Christmas. His friend in the gallery said later that he could tell I felt hostile by the absolute rigidity of my back!

  45. Kitler says:

    Dr Save the shrews are distinct species as they have different amounts of chromosomes the same as an ass and a horse basically the same horsey shape but different species that can interbreed, same goes for tigers and lions basically cat shaped but they can interbreed. You could make the argument that all felids including the house cat are the same. Same goes for the canid’s all basically dog shaped but can interbreed.

    It has been shown that combining two dissimilar organisms can create an entirely new genus as an amoeba was observed having absorbed bacteria but failed to digest them.
    Over time the bacteria lost certain abilities to make certain proteins the amoeba likewise they became co-dependent. This was seen in a lab and is an early stage of what our cells are. Both had ceased to be what they were but became something new.

  46. Amanda says:

    Kitler: On the bottom of my Bing page right now, it says ‘Popular Now: Memphis Floods’ and a few other search words. Tell me, are Memphis floods popular now in Memphis? I bet they’re not.

  47. Amanda says:

    I didn’t know that Dr Dave was an animal charity worker! Dr ‘Save the Shrews’, eh? Well, well.

  48. Dr. Dave says:

    Dr. Save the Shrews may be appropriate. I never killed my ex-wife.

  49. Amanda says:

    Kitler: Combining two dissimilar organisms: sure — but would you or yours combine with an orang utan? Would you even know how to begin combining with an emu or a llama? To say nothing of the impossibility of combining with a salamander or a chimpanzee (that last is making a point!).

  50. Kitler says:

    Amanda our current understanding of physics allows us to merely guess at the origins of the universe, the modern view is time has no real meaning except in small corners of it in the multiverse like ours.

  51. Kitler says:

    amanda people in remote sheep farming areas are trying out experiments as we speak, so far no luck.
    The organisms that combine are viruses and bacteria with multicellular organisms they add new genetic material randomly inserted, this is what is driving radical change, if you think about there is little difference between you and a mouse the only difference is gene expression, you have a head a body and four pentydactyl limbs and an insatiable craving for cheese.

  52. Amanda says:

    ‘Our’ current understanding. But surely there is a way in which every man (‘man’) must understand the world for himself. Finite makes no sense. Infinite makes no sense. They merge, or they seem to make a mockery of each other. Time is only one aspect. What intrigues me even more is actuality — inhabitability — SPACE.

    This is the best introduction to any TV show ever, in my opinion (though I do like Saxondale’s).

  53. Amanda says:

    Kitler: On that other thing, you speak persuasively. Also, as usual you are psychic because I ADORE cheese. In fact a life without cheese and eggs would hardly be worth living, would it???

  54. Amanda says:

    Off this topic: One odd thing I’ve noticed, having listened to a reasonable amount of ‘fusion’ Arabic music (Algerian, Egyptian, Lebanese mainly, with other things thrown in), is that they don’t really do fades (which I don’t like anyway), and they don’t do ‘endings’. Proper endings, which I like best: the song begins, it proceeds, and then – ta doodle dumba doodle doppity dop — it ends. Their songs just cut off, most abruptly. No lead up, no warning: it’s like someone pulled the plug. A bit challenging if you’re trying to dance to this stuff and you need a cue….

  55. Kitler says:

    Well working through this 9 part lecture…

  56. Dr. Dave says:


    I’m pretty sure mice like wine, too.


    Surely you don’t mean to compare the artificial pairing that produces sterile ligers and tigons and mules and hinnys to natural selection. Without man’s immediate intervention these would be not only evolutionary non-starters but also evolutionary dead-ends (still…I’d love to have a mule). Possibility and probability are two different concepts. Actually I’m all for this hybrid and genetic manipulation stuff. Bit it ain’t evolution by any stretch of the imagination.

    If we can gets pigs to grow human-like blood or antigenically neutral tissues I say go for it it. Cows that produce human milk? Excellent! I might even want a squirt in my coffee. But what happens in nature is altogether different. You could NEVER get a tiger and a lion to breed in the wild (although it would be amusing to watch you try). In reality it takes quite a bit of human intervention to breed a mule.

    Evolution is rife with theories but rather short on substantive empiric proof. The easy answer to this is that the process is extremely slow and we’ve only been watching for about 100 years or so. Maybe this is the case, I don’t know. One would think, however, that by now we should have been able to replicate the evolutionary process in the laboratory. I’m not talking about forcing an adaptive response, slicing genes or artificial breeding. I’m talking about a natural process whereby chromosomes are actually ADDED to produce a new, distinct species. As far as I know this hasn’t happened yet. Nobody has changed a chicken into a peacock, no one has made a perch into a salmon, no one has made an elk from a deer.

    I readily accept that humans almost certainly descended from apes. What I want to know is the mechanism by which this happened.

  57. Amanda says:

    Dave: Ha! :^)

  58. Kitler says:

    DrDave first thanks I didn’t want to have to think too hard today see the lecture above is reminding me of everything I had forgotten see lecture 3 and 4 in the series, and I didn’t know we have a fused chromosome made of two others 12 and 13 from Chimps which is an ooh aah situation.

  59. Amanda says:

    Dave, one of the interesting things is that the old familiar chart showing the progression of knuckle-walker, stooped creature, hominid, and then man is not correct. Aridipithecus ramidus (4.4 mya) has proved that.

    We did not evolve from chimp-like creatures. Our hands especially are very ancient: the chimp hand is more recent, having evolved since humans and chimps split off from the last common ancestor, not before. Ardi still lived in trees (and as a consequence, hada peculiar splayed prehensile toe), but was still a competent upright walker, with a hand more like ours than like a chimp’s. The terminology says that chimps are more ‘derived’ whereas we are ‘less derived’, i.e. we are closer to our original models, less newfangled, at least anatomically. Mind, and especially what we do with our minds, are other matters entirely, of course.

  60. Amanda says:

    Sorry, that should be Ardipithecus, not Arid… As far as I know they lived in a wooded land….

  61. Kitler says:

    Amanda Aedi could walk on it’s palms, chimps can not. Also the Pelvis shows ape and human like features at the same time.
    Dr Dave I mentioned a fused chromosome this means humans have 46 apes have 48, so id a chromosome can be made up two others then logically one could split into two, it’s really not the number of chromsomes but what they do and how the genes are expressed.

  62. Kitler says:

    Amanda yep definitely psychic this Sunday breakfast I thought Turkey sausages and low and behold they were defrosting on the counter top waiting for me to cook them uncanny. I didn’t ask for them to be there. From that I can assume I have Godlike powers and the Universe was created specifically for me and I think I remembered your love of cheese. So to Dr Dave I am the intelligent designer but due to my lack of imagination a lot of people look like each other at most there are probably only 1000 real people on the planet.

  63. Kitler says:

    They are all called Bob or Bobette.

  64. Kitler says:

    Amanda well yes it was fun going down there Tom Lee Park is flooded right down on the river as is Mud Island as seen in the Tom Cruise movie The Firm. If yours was a flooded trailer home or house maybe not. They are working like crazy in New Orleans to open the spill ways to prevent a disaster that would make Katrina look like like a puddle.

  65. farmerbraun says:

    Sounds like it might not be so bright just now: .

  66. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave apologies if Penn and Teller offended you, the points they make are valid but they didn’t need to throw the bible’s. I lack the religious susceptibility gene and yes there is one oddly enough. If people want to practice religion and it gives them comfort fine with me as long as they don’t try to convert me, I went to church with my ex and every time all I wanted to do was stand up and swear loudly. I have religious Tourettes.
    also the eye developed from a very simple light sensing organ all it could do was sense light or dark over time it got more complicated. Your Pineal body can also sense light and dark and in it’s in the middle of your brain it was originally a primitive eye and has assumed a new function.

  67. farmerbraun says:

    It’s funny how we pussy foot around religion isn’t it. Few are deliberately offensive towards those who espouse the various theistic religions, but in private they may let it all hang out. Having been brought up a RC, I am very familiar with the degrees of inanity that religiosity can descend into. But for me to dismiss it all as superstition, is not something that the average theist readily accepts. Somehow , theistic religion is not superstition.

  68. farmerbraun says:

    Hey ozboy , I am not planting an incendiary device in the bar , alright mate?

  69. farmerbraun says:

    However , if you wish to break bread, ( with a little garlic butter ), and partake of some wine( say a fine Barossa Shiraz/Viognier), with perhaps a 3yr old cheddar, then I am always happy to be a con-celebrant at the communion.

  70. Kitler says:

    farmerbraun which reminds me of one time attending midnight mass at the local CofE Church with friends and family on Christmas eve and I was all for taking communion as it involved wine too add to the already copious quantities already consumed. I also enjoyed singing horribly out of key (a natural talent) the hymns. My cousin was not happy with my off key singing, but it’s the participating right?
    The more miserable religions around these parts use water instead of wine.

  71. Dr. Dave says:


    There is an old expression which basically distills to “don’t try to teach your grandfather to suck eggs”. One does not need to lecture me about the pineal gland. Please don’t try to explain chromosomes and genes to me. I did all that many years ago. Trust me…I get it. Believe it or not, once upon a time I had to demonstrate a thorough understanding of these concepts. It ain’t like I forgot.

    One of my best friends in the whole, wide world is an atheist. Oddly, he lives his life in a more Christian-like manner than most self-proclaimed Christians I know. We don’t discuss religion. Another one of my dearest friends was a devout Catholic (I’m not). Jim died at the age of 40 from an MI in front of his wife and 4 children on the steps of his church. Jim and I argued religion for hours over beers in our younger days. I can say this without reservation – if there is a heaven, I shall most certainly find Jim there. Whereupon I shall say, “see…I told you so!” Jim was one of the sweetest, kindest men I’ve ever known. He never could understand how I could not be Catholic when I attended a Jesuit University and Married a Catholic wife. Well…that was simple. My Catholic wife had cloven hooves (yet cheweth not the cud).

    Penn & Teller stepped over the line in berating the deeply held beliefs of millions. A few years ago I had a boss who was a Jew. We had a great time exchanging notes. He wasn’t all that “Jewish” neither. He ate pork and he and the old lady sat in their hot tub on Sunday mornings and listened to bluegrass gospel on satellite radio. He turned me on to a lot of Jewish folk music We had a musical cultural exchange going. He gave me CDs of jazz artists I’d never heard of and I’d give him CDs of classic honkey tonk that one would never hear on the radio. We came together on bluegrass which is one genre for which we both had a passion.

    I don’t give a shit if someone has no faith or belief in God. This is not uncommon among libertarians. What offends me is when those without faith or belief find it necessary to belittle those whose lives are not so bereft. To this very day my eyes fill with tears of joy and wonderment whenever I hear the cry of a newborn baby. That’s something I don’t wish to lose.

  72. Kitler says:

    Here is a war both sides thought god was on their side…

    One side had to be wrong.

  73. farmerbraun says:

    Believe me Dr Dave, there is little more joyous than delivering alive, without spinal anaesthesia to facilitate correction of a malpresentation, a live and kicking female bovine. Truly one of the joys of being a farmer.
    I have little experience of the sub species to which you refer.

  74. farmerbraun says:

    Dr Dave, how long since you heard the Dillards?

  75. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave on matters biological you could run circles around me every day I know that and no I don’t go out of my to denigrate a persons faith. If it makes em happy and deal with with the death of a loved one fine with me.
    However I’m extremely cynical about people who have just found God because boy they are about to sell you snake oil, especially here in the South as religious hypocrisy abounds. I have met very few Good religious people and lots of bad ones masquerading in religious trappings to hide their own misbehavior.
    Some of the best people I have met are not religious and my experiences with my wife’s church is they will abandon you when times get tough.
    As I’m not religious for me the glorious things are finding those places in the World when you can enjoy the view such as a good sunset or the rising of the Sun.
    As for what happens after death now that’s interesting as my current wife died on the operating table massive blood loss due to an ectopic pregnancy and if what she saw was true Heaven is a whole lot different than you can imagine, she could also describe the medical procedures to the surgeon she had while she was clinically dead. Which he was some what taken back about as she has no medical knowledge.

  76. Kitler says:

    Since we are on the topic of religion…

  77. Dr. Dave says:

    OK, Farmerbraun…I DEMAND to know how you have any knowledge of the Dillards. Just a week ago I sent an email to some of my friends telling them about the Dillards. It was a long email with a lengthy explanation of who there are (were) and some of their work. It’s just too weird that a guy from NZ should ask this a week later. Come on…dish.

  78. farmerbraun says:

    Well certainly agnosticism is no barrier to enjoyment of the whole variety of human experience, and certainly places no obstacles in the way of compassionate behaviour, which some may regard as enlightened self -interest.
    One’s sense of wonderment is in no way affected by a non-committal approach to the unknown.

  79. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave I think Farmerbrauns answer could be “the Lord moveth in mysterious ways”, Dillard’s is a department store chain surely? Also if not it’s synchronicity in action and I don’t want to know.

  80. farmerbraun says:

    C’mon man, don’t you remember the back cover of Buffalo Springfield’s “Expecting to Fly” album, wherein they (Young, Stills, Furay and Messina) duly gave credit to the Dillards for kicking off this whole crossover genre which became… well, I don’t want to restrict it by naming it.
    Yeh I wore out a vinyl of Copperfields but I have it now on a double CD. I was planning to hit you up with a you tube of the track ” Sundown” from that album.
    But I guess you’re familiar with it. I had a feeling you might know it, but perhaps hadn’t heard it for a while.

  81. Kitler says:

    Rowan Atkinson..Hell.

  82. Dr. Dave says:

    Dang it! Here’s the email I sent out April 30th. I don’t know what exactly got me to thinkin’ about the Dillards, but this is what I wrote:
    Probably most of y’all never heard of the Dillards (not the department store). The Dillards were a country/bluegrass band from Salem, Missouri that featured Rodney and Doug Dillard as well as Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne. They formed in the early 60s and worked hard to gain some recognition. Trouble was, country and bluegrass wasn’t real popular in the early 60s. Folks around Salem used to tell them things like, “you boys are sure workin’ hard just to fail.” Then they caught their break.

    They nabbed a recurring role on the Andy Griffith show as “the Darlings”. Denver Pyle played their father and jug player. Once the Dillards had appeared on the Andy Griffith show all the folks back home figured they had made it into the big time. In a way they had, but not for their fleeting TV celebrity. The Dillards were instrumental in shaping the southern California country rock movement (think Byrds, the Eagles, the Flying Burrito Brothers, etc.). Their core music helped define an entire (huge) genre today. We’ll come back to this…

    What I always loved best about the Dillards were their intros and setups for songs. One of my favorites was their version of Old Blue. Doug Dillard starts by explaining that he recently heard Joan Baez perform Old Blue at a folk festival in California. He said the whole crowd was weeping and sobbing. He then warned that their version of Old Blue was quite different and he explained why.

    Apparently back in rural Salem, Missouri they didn’t have indoor plumbing so everybody had a privy out back. Further, everybody had huntin’ dogs. These dogs would mostly run free and if it got too cold outside they would hole up anyplace warm…which in many cases might be your privy. So Doug explained how one snowy night at about 3AM he had need to use his privy. He explained that at 3AM with a skiff of snow on everything this was pretty much an emergency situation. When he got to the privy he was met with a growling, very territorial hound dog. So he explained that anybody who has ever been growled out of their own privy at 3AM in the snow ain’t gonna sing Old Blue like Joan Baez.

    I think Dean Webb and the Dillard boys are still alive but are in their 70s. Mitch Jayne died last year at the age of 82. For the most part they’re not big names but they were hugely influential on a very large genre of music. They made bluegrass, and by extension, country music “hip”. This is the hope I have for modern conservatism. I want it to become “hip” among our youth. Think this is a stretch? Consider just how “hip” bluegrass was in California in the acid rock days of the late 60s. These guys made it “hip” and in the process influenced many others who are today legends. Music and ideology aren’t really all that different. The Dillards started with a “cult” following much like today’s Tea Parties. In California the influence spread like a Texas wildfire. By 1970 the Grateful Dead released two albums which were decidedly country (and, oddly, reflected a lot of conservative values). All that is required is the right fuse to light. Lee Greenwood ain’t gonna cut it…but Kid Rock just might.

  83. farmerbraun says:

    Hey Crown: Synchronicity; the acausal connecting principle. Did you ever read ” Memories, Dreams, and Reflections’ by Carl Jung? It strikes a chord, but what key is it in?

  84. farmerbraun says:

    Maybe the Dillards track I’m thinking of is called ‘Sunset”. Do you have “Copperfields”?

  85. Kitler says:

    Soggy Bottom boys…blue grass.

  86. meltemian says:

    Morning All,
    Well THAT was an interesting catch-up session! A three-coffee one in fact.
    All I can say is Oz’ has one hell of a blog running.
    Any site with overnight (here) discussions on Evolution, Creationism v I.D., Vaccinations, STD’s, Shrews (saved or otherwise) Homer Simpson, The Bible, Star Treck, Mississippi Floods, Religion, and mice throwing Cheese & Wine Parties certainly takes some beating!!!!
    I’m sure I’ve missed a few topics as well, I’m going back to re-read……..

  87. Dr. Dave says:


    I don’t have Copperfields but I remember the vinyl version. God…a LONG time ago. I noticed that it is available on Amazon so I may order it. How utterly weird and coincidental that you should mention this band! Among my own “tribe” they’re considered hugely influential but outside of that few in the States have ever heard of them or remember them, yet they were “hugely influential”.

    Though in the email I mentioned “conservatism”, I was really talking about libertarian values. How could a young kid not favor these ideas over the bonds of socialism? Well…Bono says socialism is cool…and Charlie Sheen agrees. What more can I say?

    When I look back on it now I can see that as kids we were really fiercely libertarian. We just didn’t have a name for it. Damn, I’d like to see that spirit reignited in the youth of today. Sadly they seemed to be entrenched in miserable socialism.

  88. Dr. Dave says:


    Mornin’, my dear. This evening was one hell of a row! Haven’t had this much fun in I don’t know how long. Kudos to izen, kitler, amanda and farmerbraun for keeping it lively yet civil. See Ozboy…we can act like big kids when we have to. By all means, go back and read the thread. It’s most entertaining. Oh…what are the chances of Greece giving up the Euro?


  89. Ozboy says:

    Jeez, when Oz is away the posters will play!!!

    I’ve only had a few minutes to skim all your posts, but clearly I’ve been missing all the fun stuff…

    I’m really stretched, and will check in again in 24 hours – I’ll explain later. I have an article I wrote some months ago and have been saving up; if this thread gets too long I’ll post it.

    Later guys


  90. izen says:

    @- DR Dave
    I find your reservations about neo-Darwinian theory interesting. There is a well established mechanism, widely accepted, for speciation which involves the gradual change in the genetic makeup of a breeding population. It is NEVER an individual animal that becomes a ‘new’ species, it is a breeding population over many generations that defines the existance of a new species. This, like plate tectonics or the star type progression is a process with a very long timescale – at least for multi-cellular lifeforms – so like the breakup or formation of new continents, or the transition of stars from red giant to white dwarf, the changes are not directly observable, only the intermediate stages and the underlying processes.

    Now I can empathize with the desire for hard evidence, in the notoriously fuzzy world of medicine I have noticed that many of the best practioners have a preference for pragmatic empiricism over theoretical modeling. Perhaps inevitable given the history of big changes in the theoretical underpinnings in some fields of medicine, and the need for ‘stuff that works’ when treating the complaint of an individual.

    But there are many areas of science where such an evidence base is inherently unavailable. Geology, astronomy and paleontology are the obvious examples. Only small increments or aspects of a total process are directly observable and the full understanding of the totality is only available as a cumulative theory.
    There is a good understanding of how genetic copy, duplicate and transposition chemical processes cause mutation and change of the genetic code. For MOST of the biological community of scientists that provides a more than adequate mechanism to explain the slow accumulation of genetic change that results in speciation, and eventually the diversification into the various genera we see today and in the fossil record. I understand that for various reasons that type of understanding is not one you share, you want to see the whole process explicitly unfolding, not elements which have to be extrapolated or combined.
    I don’t know if this makes you reject the general understanding of plate tectonics and stellar evolution as well, but it clearly extends to AGW which is also a scientific theory of the form that requiresa grasp of the accumulated interaction of multiple factors over long timescales rather than the whole mechanism being easily observable in one place and time.

    Your talk of ‘proof’ or proving a theory would seem to indicate a Platonic belief in the ‘Truth value’ of scientific theories rather than a utilitarian acceptance of the validity. But absolute truth is a fictive imaginary concept which as Godel showed is as unatainable and imaginary as most other products of mathematical thought.

    You asked whether I had received a Hep B vaccination.
    Yes, in fact I was first vaccinated in the very early 80s when it was still a human derived vaccine and have received the ‘booster’ shots or the recombinant type since as a level of immune response has been a requirement/condition of employment in my job for the last ~20 years.

  91. meltemian says:

    Dr Dave,
    Yes I’ve really enjoyed catching up with all the posts, keep them coming – even though I did have to Google a couple of things.
    As to the Euro, I wish I knew. I really don’t see how Greece can keep up with repaying the debt as it is, never mind an extra loan from the EU. The government is denying they are going to accept one even if it’s offered, which probably means it will. I have to admit I never thought the Euro could last as long as it has, it’s obvious that half of Europe should never have joined and just can’t keep up. My personal opinion is that Greece should default, leave the Euro and go back to where it was before. The trouble is that the whole country is living at a false level of wealth, the EU has been subsidising it for so long that everyone thinks they are entitled to continue their existing standard of living. The Greek mindset is that nobody pays taxes, and even those that do get away with very little. There are people employed by the government who do nothing, are employed in non-jobs because of who they know, and are probably there for life. The bureaucracy here has to be seen to be believed, and computer useage seems to be non-existant in any department. Everything is paper based and frequently lost and has to be re-applied for!
    Even having your car MOT test done is an experience. You hand over €50 – it only costs €40 – and chances are the certificate will be issued without them ever seeing the car, and this is the government-run testing station!
    Every Greek has a wallet bulging with notes, it’s a cash society, but they need cash to bribe when necessary. Even hospital doctors have to be bribed in the national health service otherwise operations will be delayed, and the nurses don’t nurse. They will give out pills and treatments but anything else has to be done by relatives who need to be with the patient 24 hours a day.
    Greek people are wonderful, where else would your dentist send you email jokes, but I’m afraid there is no way out without a complete change in the way things are done, and that’s never going to happen as long as Greece stays in the EU.

  92. Tucci says:

    At 3:48 PM on 10 May, Kitler had remembered:

    …one time attending midnight mass at the local CofE Church with friends and family on Christmas eve and I was all for taking communion as it involved wine too add to the already copious quantities already consumed.

    …which gives me to recall those halcyon pre-Vatican II days in which I stumbled around in cassock and surplice because there were not enough other boys in our parish who could soak up the requisite Church Latin to meet the desperate need for altar boys, the men inhabiting our rectory having damn-all for choice about my reluctant participation.

    I think people used to come to the 9 o’clock mass on Sundays just to see what new way of screwing up I’d manage to embarrass myself with.

    When it came to the task of pouring the consecrated wine – almost always a tokay I considered bloody undrinkable, coming as I do from a family in which we grew our own grapes on a couple of well-tended acres, making our own dago red and selling the excess to local vintners, all of whom turned out better stuff than that swill – I was surprised how each priest would yank down on the neck of the cruet in my right hand and barely allow a dribble from the water container in my right.

    They were all Irish, of course.

    Why the hell the Church would send all these Irlandesi innocents to serve the spiritual needs of a parish made up almost entirely of Sicilians I never did figure out. Talk about your “stranger in a strange land” scenario….

  93. Amanda says:

    Meltemian, Interesting post, thank you. Also rather hair-raising. Gosh. Makes England look like a well-run society!

  94. fenbeagle says:

    Dr Dave…….’ how do we get new, unique species?’

    I don’t know either….. But the ‘Burgess Shale’ fossils are interesting.

  95. Kitler says:

    fenbeagle and the aptly named Halucigenia.

  96. Kitler says:

    fenbeagle the Burgess shales are all part of the Cambrian explosion and only know are we beginning to find their precursors in the fossil record showing it wasn’t quite the party we thought it was.

  97. meltemian says:

    I’m a bit behind the news at the moment but has everyone seen this. About time too – hope other countries follow suit.

  98. Kitler says:

    meltemian yes somebody else mentioned that on JD’s blog I’m ROFLMAO.

  99. Dr. Dave says:


    I have learned and been taught the same things about evolution that you have. The “well established mechanism” you mention is, indeed, commonly accepted. It is, however, theory…not a “well established mechanism”. A “well established mechanism” can be replicated in the laboratory. Like I indicated earlier, until very recently I had never even questioned evolution because I thought the only alternative was utterly preposterous. I will even go so far as to proclaim that medicine is hard science relative to the fuzzy ambiguity of biology.

    I pay close attention to microbiology and more specifically pathogenic bacteria. I swear grad students earn Ph.D.s by reclassifying well described bacteria as new, distinct organisms. Usually they find some way to justify reclassifying the genus name, but sometimes they change the species as well. So…what makes a distinct species? There are about 4 genus of sparrow and roughly 40 identified unique species. What sets them apart? Well, I would imagine morphology, appearance and habitat would be the big three discriminators. Still…they’re all still sparrows.

    We could then get into the finer points of counting chromosomes, gene sequencing, genotyping and serotyping to make distinctions between unique species. I don’t know, but I’m willing to venture a guess that all sparrows have the same number of chromosomes and their genetic differences would be subtle upon laboratory examination. What constitutes the breakpoint? Donkeys and horses have differing numbers of chromosomes, yet every species of Pseudomonas has the same. Now let’s look at humans. We’re said to be all the same species. Yet I would bet you that genetic samples of humans from the Congo, Inuit Indians, Australian aborigines and Irish potato farmers would reveal more genetic diversity than we see in sparrows. You could also go back to morphology, appearance and habitat. So what really defines a unique species? Are cutthroat and rainbow trout really different species because they differ in appearance (while occupying the same habitat)? Are a chihuahua and a great dane the same species because they’re both dogs? In biology the definition is always in a state of flux.

    So take a large population of any rapidly multiplying multicellular species and isolate them (flies, rats, whatever). Impose whatever environmental stressors you deem appropriate. Feed ’em and let them regenerate for several hundred generations. In the end you will have “adapted” flies or rats…but they’re still flies or rats. You won’t have honeybees and squirrels even if the experiment is extended by several human lifetimes. Believe me…I get it…evolution is a very SLOW process. So slow it cannot be perceived in a hundred years of human experience and must be inferred by indirect observation. It all makes sense right up to the point where there are gaping holes in the fossil record where transitional species should be found.

    To your credit you offered up good examples with geology, astronomy and plate tectonics. Except in each case the associated theories are supported with measurable empiric data and often observable phenomena. To date, evolution continues to rely on faith. It may be faith in science and backed up by some rather impressive circumstantial evidence, but it is faith none the less. We can neither measure nor observe evolution. I’m not saying I don’t believe the theory. I just contend that it is appropriate to question anything we cannot measure or observe. Your next logical objection should be the existence of subatomic particles and we could go on and on…

    Yes, I know that scientists have been thinking about atmospheric CO2 for over a hundred years. In reality this issue has only been a popular theory for a few decades. Right now AGW theory is very much like evolution only with a whole lot less supporting circumstantial evidence. What you have characterized as “talking points” are opinions I have formed as the result of independent reading on the subject. After decades of research and BILLIONS of dollars the AGW activists still cannot present any empirical evidence that the ancient, evil CO2 mankind is dumping into the atmosphere “like an open sewer” has made ANY measurable change in our climate.

    To me this is like the inexplicable need of some to believe in ghosts or UFOs. We actually have bigger problems which are much easier to address. I have a hard time understanding why we should worry about what might happen 90 years from now while we ignore real crises in the here and now. Then again…my job doesn’t depend on the continues life of this fraud.

  100. Ozboy says:

    Fantastic stuff folks. Clearly I should get this busy more often.

    I’l check in again in when I’m next near a computer, about 7 hours.


  101. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave it takes about 60-70 years for cichlid fish to speciate. Also the difference between yourself and a lobe fin fish is really quite small, to all intents and purposes you are the same just slightly modified since the Devonian.
    The really big change that last happened was the one that separated vertebrate’s from arthropods and the change for that was really quite minor yet hundreds of millions of years later has led to two very distinct lineages.

  102. fenbeagle says:

    Yes the Halucigenia sort of disproves ‘intelligent design’ all on its own. Unless the great designer was going through a ‘modern art’ phase.

  103. Kitler says:

    fenbeagle…. our intelligent designer was on LSD.

  104. Dr. Dave says:


    What does this mean? Does it mean that if I have a huge, 200,000 gallon aquarium and a population of cichlids, within 60-70 years I will have a population of an entirely new species of fish…or a new species of cichlid? If they became grouper I would be duly impressed. If they became cichlids with an extra stripe…not so much. I had an aquarium once upon a time. I bought some cichlids and they ate every other damn fish before turning on each other

    Lots of animals will undergo adaptive changes but I question if this is really “evolution”. I’ve heard it described as “micro-evolution”. I call it bullshit. The classic example is multi-drug resistant Staph aureus (or for you purists, “Methicillin Resistant Staph aureus”). Plain, ordinary, garden variety Staph aureus is susceptible to damn near every antimicrobial under the sun. With constant exposure to antimicrobial agents, natural selection will result in some very resistant, very nasty bugs. They’re not necessarily any more inherently pathogenic than plain, ordinary Staph bugs it’s just that they can’t be killed with the usual agents. Some bacteria take on increased virulence or pathogenicity. But they’re not new species. They’re the same bugs. They’ve made adaptive changes, not genetic transformation.

    Biologists pull this “sub-species” crap on us all the time in the USA. They use the Endangered Species Act as a weapon. In the last 50 years we have discovered far more “new” species than we have documented species becoming extinct. If “macro-evolution” is a reality, there would have to be a point where an individual, a litter or a clutch of eggs would have to express unique chromosomal and genetic changes that would define them as new animals and not just another “sub-species” of the parent line.

  105. Amanda says:

    Fenbeagle and Kitler (and everyone),
    I loved the programs narrated by Kenneth Branagh, the Walking With … ones (especially Before the Dinosaurs and then after them, the ‘prehistoric’ animals).

    Also I’d recommend David Attenborough’s latest, First Life, if you haven’t seen it. Lots of discussion and views of trilobites. There’s a lot more to the program (though unfortunately it’s only one disc), but trilobites including the one you named figure prominently. As do dropstones, glacier bacteria, volcanoes, etc. Incidentally, David’s explanation of what saber-tooth cats (cats, note, not tigers) do with their saber teeth (i.e. why they have them) is different from the one narrated by Kenneth.

  106. fenbeagle says:

    He He….The picture I have of Halucigenia in my book on the subject, has it the other way up! With the spikes as legs….I think, planet Earth was actually made from a kit. With all the living creature components, in a plastic bag, at the bottom of the packing. When the great designer finished it, he had some bits left over, as often happens, and just stuck them together rather than waste them.

  107. Amanda says:

    Hello Ozboy, hope you will have enjoyed your time away from computers — as I’m sure you will!

  108. Amanda says:

    Fen, spikes as legs: yes, we saw that in David’s show. Have you seen it?

  109. fenbeagle says:

    I will now you have recommended it.

  110. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave as I have pointed out working on your argument you are nothing more than a lobe finned lung fish you share essentially the same biology and body plan there is no difference worth a damn between you, it and a horse they are essentially the same thing. A variation on a simple theme essentially the same species under your argument.
    As I said the cichlids speciate rapidly and can form two none breeding population in a short time thanks to the rift valley lakes being quite deep offering many differing environmental niches to exploit. Too generate new genus takes a very long time say if the lake became divided in two for say a million years. However they would still resemble a cichlid, come back in 20 million years and you would have a fish that no longer resembles a cichlid.

  111. Amanda says:

    Kitler: There are no creatures with five limbs, three eyes, two noses, and very few with Donald Trump hairdos. For which we should all be grateful.

  112. Kitler says:

    amanda I did read a very good book full of pictures called Victorian Grotesque which was all about the Victorian obsession with freaks, so yes I have seen a picture of a man with three legs and two arms. There was a women with 12 mammary glands a man with two thingy’s and my favourite a women born with soft downy fur all over. There was the man who successfully breast fed his own child when the mother died.

  113. Amanda says:

    Kitler: No doubt you are familiar with the expression (from You Rang M’Lord, at least) ‘least said, soonest mended’. It’s not true, of course: the least said about the latest shrunken head collected by the Jivaro people will not make it any larger or more life-like, i.e. breathing. (I saw a collection of tiny shrunken heads in Balboa Park in San Diego ten years ago: wonder if they’re still there, or did modern exquisite sensitivities dictate their removal from public awareness?)

    Still, the fact that a man with three legs is a freak just proves my point. The normal body plan for most animals whatsoever is symmetrical, a matter of division by two, a matter of producing external features down each side of the axis of the body….

  114. Amanda says:

    Fen, I feel honoured, and what’s more I know you won’t regret it.

  115. Kitler says:

    Amanda we have a shrunken head on display at the Pink Palace museum in Memphis it’s pretty cool, as for the man with three legs he was most like a twin or rather the leg was what was all that was left of his twin, so still symmetrical technically. The woman with 12 chesticles was what they call a throw back to our more primitive ancestors with an old gene being reactivated.

  116. meltemian says:

    Following on from my post on Greece and the Euro, Raedwald has a definite view on the future for Greek currency.
    If Greece does default there will be more – collapse of ‘House of Cards’?

  117. Dr. Dave says:


    Your comments on Greece and the Euro were easily the most topical and interesting of any of the comments on this thread. I want to thank you for sharing them with us. Your reply to my query about the Euro almost exactly echos what I’m reading and hearing here in the States. Please don’t be offended but your comment read like you were channeling Rush Limbaugh. I’m not a Limbaugh acolyte but over the last year or so I have enjoyed streaming his show and having it on in the background. The first 45 minutes or so are either very entertaining or they’re just a regurgitation of what I have already read on Drudge. On his good days this guy is quite interesting. He described the situation in Greece almost verbatim compared to your comments. I went back through and read your comments a second time (slower…trying not to move my AGW denier lips). The significant thing is that this should serve as a wake up call for the US. To paraphrase Jackson Browne…”don’t think it won’t happen just because it hasn’t happened yet.”

    I enjoyed the link you provided. Again, thank you very sincerely for sharing this with us. It is far more significant than inconsequential AGW, the difference in chromosomes between round worms and humans or that now, a week later, Osama bin Laden is still dead. You really are living at the point of the spear so please keep us informed.

    All the best,

  118. izen says:

    @- Dr Dave

    There are some fascinating misconceptions and a couple of outright factual errors in your reply about evolution. I suspect most here would get very bored if we pursue this issue into the fine detail, so I will try and avoid to much of the ‘science stuff’ and address the nature of the mistakes you make which are perhaps revealing.
    But to start with the most egregious factual errors:-

    “Now let’s look at humans. We’re said to be all the same species. Yet I would bet you that genetic samples of humans from the Congo, Inuit Indians, Australian aborigines and Irish potato farmers would reveal more genetic diversity than we see in sparrows.”

    I bet you are wrong on this. You might be able to find a sparrow species with a very small population that shows less genetic diversity than humans, but most species will have a far larger genetic diversity that the human population.
    Human genetic diversity is exceptionaly narrow. It indicates a genetic bottlenecy around 80,000 years ago with most of the genetic inheritence that humans carry deriving from a small founder population of maybe a few thousand or less. These are the nomads that left Africa and populated the rest of the world. The genetic diversity within Afrca is significantly greater than the rest of the world put together – Europeans, Asean and New World populations are like the Cheetah VERY uniform genetically.

    “Are cutthroat and rainbow trout really different species because they differ in appearance (while occupying the same habitat)? Are a chihuahua and a great dane the same species because they’re both dogs? In biology the definition is always in a state of flux.”

    No, it isn’t. The biological species definition has been a stable consistant concept for many decades. At most it was refined when genetic information became available.
    The standard form is – “The biological species concept defines a species as members of populations that actually or potentially interbreed in nature.” Some formulation like this usually appears in first year undergrad course on biology. This is a context dependent definition, there are ambiguous cases, but for the vast majority of multicellular life it is a good and testable measure.

    “It all makes sense right up to the point where there are gaping holes in the fossil record where transitional species should be found…..
    “We can neither measure nor observe evolution. I’m not saying I don’t believe the theory. I just contend that it is appropriate to question anything we cannot measure or observe. ”

    These are both classic agenda framing phrases from the Creationist handbook, both are nonsense. Given the extreme rarity of fossilisation it would be very strange if there were NOT gaps in the fossil record. Although for some transitions there is very complete fossil evidence, the change from reptile to mammal is well documented in the fossils with all the transitions of pelvis anatomy and the famous jawbones to ear osicles transition being clearly deliniated.
    The ‘theory we cannot measure or observe’ idea is particlulary confused, as you mention it gets you into problems with subatomic particles, or even electrons…

    But more fundimentaly it conflates two aspects of this issue.
    Evoluion, the change via variations in heriditary that has generated EVERY diverse lifeform on the planet so that all life sharews common ancestry is not a theory, it is an inescapable fact, plainly evident in the reality of reproduction.
    The mechanism that causes the variations in hereditary and from which species and the rest of the hierachical diversity of genera etc emerges is what the Darwinian theory attempts to explain. Only the fringe nutters in the YEC crowd deny the FACT of common ancestry, the ID crowd accept common ancestry and speciation they just want a ‘supernatural’ process to guide the variation, not just a purely physical contingency.

    “Right now AGW theory is very much like evolution only with a whole lot less supporting circumstantial evidence. What you have characterized as “talking points” are opinions I have formed as the result of independent reading on the subject.”

    And yet in both evolutionary and AGW theory your independently formed opinions are close paraphrases of the YEC and climate change rejectionist propaganda.

    There is another possible similarity between evolution and AGW.

    Evolution is the established factual aspect of biology. The common ancestry of all life is an observed physical truth. The process by which that biological diversity arises is the subject of controversy with the Darwinian theory being the leading scientific contender with little dispute, except from those that find it theologicaly objectionable.

    Climate change is an established fact, the warming observed, the sea level rise, CO2 rise, ice-mass reduction, changes in DLR/OLR etc are all observable physical facts.
    The theory of AGW is the explanation advanced for the observed changes, and like Darwinian natural selection is accepted by the vast majority of scientifically informed opinion.

  119. Luton Ian says:

    I think that Yoyo defaults and secessions are almost inevitable now.

    I don’t think that the German electorate will peacefully tolerate the diluting away of their savings and price inflation that the sort of printing press runs required to dilute Ireland, Greece Portugal and Spain’s (PIGS) debts to recoverable levels would cause.

    The German’s grand parents and great grandparents experienced the effects of exuberant money printing, and though it inflated to 1/10th of its original face value over its life, the Deutsch Mark was comparatively the least inflated major European currency;

    In the absence of a much less inflatable gold standard, the Deutsch Mark provided a relatively fixed point to measure the higher rates of inflation of its neighbouring currencies. Very embarrassing for bureaucrats wanting to print money to spend on their pet schemes, so, it just had to go!

    It seems that the newly created extra Yoyos were directed to the previously second world economies on the edges of Europe, the PIGS (I’m leaving Italy, the other I in PIIGS out, it’s a special case, with the highly developed and highly productive north (which will give any area of Europe or the world a run for its money), and the basket case south).

    I’m more and more taking the “Austrian” view that the wealth has already been destroyed by the credit fed mal-investments of the boom:

    Hotels that will never, ever turn a proffit, business parks without businesses, motorways to middling sized towns like Waterford, Limerick and Galway (compare that to the main road between the capital cities of London and Edinburgh, which is still just 2 lanes with a line down the middle once you get north of Newcastle!), floodplain land in the arse end of beyond that was sold for €100,000 / acre and more! apartment blocks of “investment property” now either stood empty, or used by social services to house single mothers (a friend’s former boss paid €400,000 for a single bedroom apartment in Dublin, now the empty apartments in that block have been taken on to house single mothers and their visiting and varying boyfriends, – her €400k effectively bought her a council flat!).

    All of the quarries, block plants, roof truss makers, makers of window frames, doors, suppliers of plumbing and electrics, now have factories or warehouses and equipment but no customers.

    All of that investment is wasted, gone forever.

    I’m not going to go overboard on criticizing the house building, Ireland had some cold dark, and incredibly damp housing, it really needed to improve on it, and has. far better that the money was spent on that than on treating the respiratory infections and depressions from the old hovels.

    Ireland’s government has taken on the debts of its banks, in the name of its tax payers, and is borrowing (from the ECB now that the bond markets won’t touch their paper -except at sub prime credit card rates of interest!) and taxing to service the bond holders (people who supposedly knew what they were doing!).

    Ireland has a workforce of around 1M people, typically each with a mortgage of 3 to 5 times earnings already and whatever car and credit card repayments. The ECB bailout now adds another €85k of debt onto each of them!

    I only see one way out; stopping the bailout, dropping out of the Yoyo, and inflating like hell!

    Whatever happens, either the bond holders or Ireland or both will be toast.

    The Eurocrats knew what they were doing, printing excess Yoyos.

    The illusion here was that the boom was real growth, not just a mountain of debt, which was cheap at the time.

    I’m not sure that gold is as problem free as is being claimed, but it would have been a lot better than the Yoyo.

    Hell, it was the boom that attracted me to this Emerald PIG!

    PS, the Irish used to call their Irish Pound, the “Punt”; it rhymed with bank manager and tax man.

  120. Amanda says:

    Izen, excepting the part of your comment on AGW, on which I differ (surprise!), I think all the points in your last post are correct. As you point out, the fact that we have intermediate fossils for many creatures — not least, human beings — but archeopteryx is perhaps the most stunning single readily observable — a dinosaur with feathered wings and toothed beak — establishes the principle. The principle of evolution is not invalidated simply because we cannot account for every change in every creature, which in the nature of things would be impossible. The question is how, on a finer level, evolution through natural selection actually works, which the discovery of DNA — both as fact and, recently, as decipherable content — has gone a long way towards resolving.

    Remaining questions might involve pleiotropic genes or traits, such as the question of why humans perceive, understand, and enjoy music, which doesn’t seem to be a trait that could be naturally selected for. I suspect that much of what we consider higher-consciousness and specifically human traits are owed to these pleiotropic ‘happy accidents’. So does my distinguished paleoanthropologist friend, by the way. He knows more about Ardi and ‘Lucy’ than almost anyone else on the planet.

    By the way, those interested might want to pick up a copy of Before The Dawn (2007) by Nicholas Wade. His dates seem pretty reliable, except in one or two cases where I may have misunderstood him; in any case, readers should be aware that when it comes to human prehistory and human origins, most dates are somewhat ballpark and/or provisional. The reason is that fossils are so relatively rare that they are difficult to date, and new fossils keep shifting the kaleidoscope. In general, the trend is towards greater antiquity, both for anatomically modern humans and for our hominid ancestors. In other words, scientists now are saying that we’re older than we thought we were!

  121. Amanda says:

    Blurb on a new book — interesting in light of what’s been said here — especially the last couple of lines:

    ‘In Modern and American Dignity, Peter Augustine Lawler, who served on President George W. Bush’s Council on Bioethics, reveals the intellectual and cultural trends that threaten our confidence in human dignity. The “modern” view of dignity, as he calls it, denies what’s good about who we are by nature, understanding human dignity to mean moral autonomy (freedom from nature­­) or productivity (asserting our mastery over nature by devising ingenious transformations). This new understanding of dignity stands at odds with the “American” view, which depends on the self-evidence of the truth that we are all created equally unique and irreplaceable. The American view, which is indebted to classical, Christian, and modern sources, understands that free persons are more than merely autonomous or productive beings—or, for that matter, clever chimps. It sees what’s good in our personal freedom and our technical mastery over nature, but only in balance with the rest of what makes us whole persons—our dignified performance of our “relational” duties as familial, political, and religious beings.

    Modern and American Dignity explores these topics with wit and elegance. To make sense of contemporary political and moral debates, Lawler draws on a wide range of thinkers—from Socrates to Solzhenitsyn, from Tocqueville to Chesterton, from John Courtney Murray to our philosopher-pope Benedict XVI. In revealing the full dimensions of these debates, he exposes the emptiness of glib pronouncements—such as President Obama’s—that our bioethical conflicts can be resolved by a consensus of scientific experts. As the experience of the Bush Bioethics Council demonstrated, there is no scientific consensus about who a human being is.’

    Indeed. And how instructive that the word is ‘who’ not ‘what’. We, more than any other creature, are so much more than what any fossil can reveal.

    I also think that this book will help to show the limits of what science ‘knows’ or can know.

  122. Luton Ian says:

    An interesting piece by the late Murray Rothbard, who died back in 1995.

    In it, he is punctures the illusion which “conflates public and private, and treats government debt as if it were a productive contract between two legitimate property owners.”

    He also quotes a very good refutation of the sophism claiming that national debt is not a problem as “we owe it to ourselves”

  123. Luton Ian says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I must have been typing the same time as you.

    Mrs Ian is all into the “what makes us human”, Kant’s “limits of pure reason” and all of the ethics of animal rights versus animal welfare versus vivisection debates.

    My take on it is; if I start pissing in odd places around the house like her cats do, would she love me as much as she loves them?

    and therein lie the differences between humans and other animals.


  124. Amanda says:

    Ian, that and the fact that my dog can stick her back feet in her mouth, and I can’t. 😕

  125. izen says:

    @- Amanda

    I find it an intersting field of speculation of what changes enabled ‘modern’ humans to emerge around 100,000 years ago in Africa and then spread globally displacing the Neanderthals and other hominids.
    We clearly developed social abilities that allowed cooperative hunter-gathering and probably defenses against predators and territorial defense.

    It is probably impossible to verify or refute the many ‘Just So’ stories that are invented to explain the evolution of human social abilities and sentience. But the advantages of mutual cooperation would be one obvious source. It is unclear that these abilities ARE mediated at all by genetic factors, many aspects of sentience are probably contongent consequences of the increase in complexity. Music may be an interesting special case…

    But once you have a social animal, the social skills become a factor that is under selective pressure. Reproductive success becomes not just a matter of good cooperative hunting, but given that hominids, including humans, operate a ‘female choice’ mating system the ability to relate socially becomes a determinate of reproductive success.

    I have come across one speculation that sexual selection has significantly shaped human appearence and intelligence. Asian/Oriental women are hypothsised to have small jaws, noses and eyelid folds because they are infantile features so men prefer them. While males have developed a sense of humour because that is what females favour….
    Nonsense I suspect, but it does match the simple stereotype that all men are concerned with are ‘cute’ physical features, while women want us for our minds….!!!

  126. fenbeagle says:

    As Amanda says. Nice post about evolution.

  127. Kitler says:

    Izen the reason European men like Far East Asian women is simple they have not as yet been corrupted by the curse of militant feminism, which thank goodness is retreating in the West in favour of common sense and equal treatment under the law while recognizing that yes men and women are different and think differently. As opposed to the old militant feminism which was really a cover for dykes to hook up with as many women as possible.
    Also Izen while Far East Asian are yes hot they will cut your wedding tackle off if you cheat on them.

  128. Dr. Dave says:


    It is amazing how I always seem to be quoting some group’s “talking points” according to you. I’ve never even visited a Creationist website. I scanned over a ID once just because I had no idea what ID was all about. To tell you the truth, I still don’t know. I took zoology as a Freshman in college. I remember the professor describing the difficulties and ambiguities associated with species definition. The guy was really into birds so he used a lot of bird examples. The ability (or propensity) for animals to interbreed in their natural environment is a key factor and one that I neglected to mention earlier. There is no physiologic reason various species of sparrow could not interbreed and produce viable offspring. They don’t interbreed largely because of outward appearance (bird are funny that way). Morphologically the different species may be indistinguishable except for outward appearance. In many cases it is impossible to ascertain a difference by only examining skeletal remains. Yet some closely related but distinct species do interbreed in the wild and produce viable offspring (e.g. wolves and dogs, coyotes and dogs, polar bears and grizzly bears). I don’t know for certain but I imagine an Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake and a Western Diamondback rattlesnake could interbreed and produce viable offspring if there was an overlap in their natural habitat. The two snakes have distinct morphological differences but their natural habitat serves to great extent to define them as distinct species. The classic discriminators in biology have been morphology, appearance, habitat and breeding. If you want to take this to the absurd one might make the argument that the Inuit and Australian aborigines are distinct species because there are some morphological differences (e.g. eyelids and nostrils), they differ in appearance, they live in very different habitats and in their “natural environment” they would never interbreed due to geographic separation.

    Generally speaking I am loathe to quote Wikipedia as a reference but once in a while they actually get it right. Allow me to share a couple of quotes from them regarding species definition:

    “Some biologists may view species as statistical phenomena, as opposed to the traditional idea, with a species seen as a class of organisms. In that case, a species is defined as a separately evolving lineage that forms a single gene pool. Although properties such as DNA-sequences and morphology are used to help separate closely related lineages,[2] this definition has fuzzy boundaries.[3] However, the exact definition of the term “species” is still controversial, particularly in prokaryotes,[4] and this is called the species problem.[5] Biologists have proposed a range of more precise definitions, but the definition used is a pragmatic choice that depends on the particularities of the species of concern.”

    “It is surprisingly difficult to define the word “species” in a way that applies to all naturally occurring organisms, and the debate among biologists about how to define “species” and how to identify actual species is called the species problem. Over two dozen distinct definitions of “species” are in use amongst biologists.”

    Just because some animals don’t interbreed (and produce viable offspring) in nature doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t. So breeding, morphology, appearance and habitat alone are inadequate for reliably and consistently defining species. Even DNA analysis by itself is inadequate. Taxonomy is a running gun battle in biology.

    A little over 20 years ago I read a book which I believe was titled “The Great Evolutionary Debate”. The authors did not doubt evolution but they did focus on inconsistencies in the theory and the biological and fossil record. I remember that it was interesting but I never paid much attention to it. I think the book is in a box out in my garage. I need to dig it out and read it again. As I mentioned earlier, I believe in evolution largely because I’ve never seen a better explanation. But no amount of hand waving, foot stomping or condescension changes the fact that evolution remains theory. The same is true for the AGW theory.

    Oh yeah…what is a “YEC”?

  129. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave a hell of a brave dog to mate with a polar bear.

  130. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave it’s a theory of Plate Techtonics as no one has shown the mechanism by which it actually happens, as for gravity show me a graviton or even a tachyon. Show me the big bang it’s a theory yes but no actual proof. Show me a human mind where it resides and how it works.

  131. Dr. Dave says:


    I nearly neglected to comment on this statement of yours.

    “Climate change is an established fact, the warming observed, the sea level rise, CO2 rise, ice-mass reduction, changes in DLR/OLR etc are all observable physical facts.
    The theory of AGW is the explanation advanced for the observed changes, and like Darwinian natural selection is accepted by the vast majority of scientifically informed opinion.”

    Climate change is, of course, fact. Climate changes all the time. The warming has, indeed, been observed ever since we have emerged from the LIA. Atmospheric CO2 concentration is increasing and it is quite certain mankind’s emissions of CO2 are contributing to this. Ice has been melting and the seal levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age. AGW is a theory that has been advanced to explain climate change. In theory, a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration may result in about 1 deg C of warming and it is estimated that this will occur in about 90 years providing we continue to use hydrocarbons for energy at the same rate we do today. This stuff is not really controversial.

    The controversy involves “assumed” (but not observed) positive feedbacks. The controversy swirls around the political and financial aspects of this scam. The controversy involves computer models that are held up as “evidence” instead of “projections”.

    In your final sentence you resort to the argument from authority. “All scientists agree”. This is where Darwinian evolution and AGW theory are VERY different. There is no multibillion dollar “evolution industry”. Nobody is making a fortune on evolution. No biology professors are about to lose grant funding if evolution turns out to be wrong, but they might lose grant funding if AGW is shown to be hooey. There is no political or financial advantage to anyone regarding evolution. You can’t change or alter evolution and there is almost no way mankind can be blamed for evolution.

    There exists no empiric evidence of AGW. It’s all theoretical. There are correlations but as yet no clearly defined causation. If I earned my living studying the “problem” of man-made global warming you can almost bet the farm that I would believe in AGW.

  132. Dr. Dave says:


    With modern satellites we can actually measure continental drift. Jump off a cliff with a stop watch. Time how long you can question the existence of gravity before you hit the bottom. The Big Bang is a good example. It might be right but it remains a theory. The human mind exists in the cerebral cortex of the brain. We can even map it out in terms of function. It works like a biologic/chemical computer with a switching system consisting of synapses, receptors and a bunch of distinct neurotransmitters. A better question would have been about the human soul.

  133. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave I mention plate tectonics because it’s the mechanism behind what drives it that is in question not the evidence, same for the big bang and the mind resides all over the brain not just cerebral cortex not in anyone spot and nothing adequately explains how a few pounds of tissue can make a mind or a self, you can lose one hemisphere of the brain and still have a mind, is gravity caused by a warping of space time or actual particles which may exist in more than our normal time/space.
    All of the theory’s are the best explanation so far of what the evidence suggests but could still be entirely wrong.

  134. Dr. Dave says:


    I actually agree with you. Lots and lots of things are actually theory rather than indisputable truth. We wandered way off into the weeds with the discussion of evolution. I believe in evolution. I don’t even doubt evolution. Some folks other than Creationists question certain aspects of evolution and I think that’s perfectly acceptable. To be honest I hadn’t even thought about evolution in decades until a month or so ago while reading a comment thread on WUWT. A couple of guys were asking very interesting questions – valid questions, too. None of this “it says in the Bible” stuff. It was stuff I’d never considered because I had been taught evolution was indisputable fact pretty much since I was a kid. When I suffered through the tedious memorization required in comparative vertebrate morphology the concept of evolution was cemented in my brain. But even though there is an amazing body of evidence in support of evolution, it remains a theory because it cannot be proven experimentally. That fact doesn’t bother most folks. We accept the theory even though it can’t be proven.

    What I have noticed is that a lot of AGW believers use evolution as an argument in support of their favorite theory. As far as I can tell it is virtually impossible to experimentally prove or disprove AGW (due to mankind’s CO2 emissions). The warmists can produce no empiric evidence to support their theory. The argument is that virtually everyone with an education in science believes in the theory of evolution without empirical evidence that can be replicated in the laboratory, so why shouldn’t everyone with a science education believe in AGW. After all…97% of all climate scientists agree.

    My favorite analogy only applies in the US. The rest of the civilized world has common sense tort law in their systems of jurisprudence. Because we don’t have “loser pays” in the US an awful lot of lawsuits are settled out of court because it would cost more to defend them in court. Public opinion overwhelmingly supports tort reform. This “legal lottery” drives up the cost of everything. Yet trial lawyers, who make their living off of litigating tort law, are overwhelmingly and vehemently opposed to the notion of tort reform. If you randomly selected 100 American trial lawyers you would find that 97% strongly oppose tort reform and could go on and on about why it’s a terrible idea. It’s a multibillion dollar industry and they jealously protect it with copious campaign funding for sympathetic politicians.

    Climate science is no different. Virtually all of it is funded by governments who confiscate the money from taxpayers. No “problem”, no “crisis”, no “need for further study” and the funding dries up. A great deal of AGW is driven by enlightened self-interest. As I stated earlier, there is no multibillion dollar “evolution industry”.

  135. Luton Ian says:

    Izen wrote at 1:06am:

    “While males have developed a sense of humour because that is what females favour….”

    I can’t remember who came up with this one (It is not my original);

    Name me a woman who doesn’t laugh at Ken Dodd’s humor, now name me just one who fancies him.

    (Sorry Ken!)

    The interbreeding to give fertile offspring is a knotty subject.

    Human – sheep hybrids do not exist, despite thousands of years of hard work in certain (remote and generally hilly) parts of the world.

    Same goes for human – goat hybrids

    All of the South American Cammelids will cross to produce fertile hybrids.

    Allegedly, North Ameican Moose and Wapiti have produced hybrids in the wild, although it is not clear whether they are fertile.

    Crosses between bison and domestic cattle and yak, give fertile female offspring but require around 15/16ths of one species before males are reliably fertile.

    Bos indicus and bos taurus (zebu and western cattle) hybridise freely, as do one humped and two humped camels, I have heard of a cross between an Arabian camel and llama, but I don’t know if it was fertile.

    Zebra and domestic horses will produce sterile offspring, domestic mares will generally abort if carrying a hybrid foetus.

    Mules and hinnies we all know about.

    Regarding the fossil record, even the two sexes of the living bird of prey, the hen harrier were once thought to be different species, the male looks like a small seagull even with similar colouring, the female, looks like a buzzard.

    With some fossil ammonoids, the sexes were so dimorphic that they were for a long time classified as different species, it was only careful work looking at fossils of juvenile and adolescent specimens that the classification became apparent.

    Ammonites have very good preservation potential. Most critters, especially land dwelling ones have incredibly low probability of being preserved, and even lower probability of being found and studied. Missing links are the rule rather than the exception.

  136. Ozboy says:


    I’ve never seen a debate, or forum, like the current thread. Maybe I should do this more often – post a one-sentence article, then wander off for a week and just let you folks do what you do best. Truly, I have one of the most interesting and engaging communities in the entire blogosphere. Another round – on the house. Thank you, one and all!

    I’ve had a chance now to quickly read throughout the thread, and it’s clear there are some particular topics you’ve raised that I need to engage fairly quickly. As Izen told you above, he and I have discussed raising the areas where cooperation is necessary to achieve beneficial outcomes, both internationally or intra-nationally. He used the example of radio frequencies (which as Dave later corrected, is limited to a small band in the RF spectrum); on an earlier thread I’ve used the simple example of which side of the road we are to drive. The issue I will raise in future will be, at what point does international co-operation (good) become supra-national collectivism and global governance (bad)? Consider it in the pipeline.

    Mel’s links on the precarious position of Greece, and Ian’s echo of the situation in Ireland, are something we need to zero in on pretty fast; it has the feel of a huge story about to break. The thought that even as we speak there are drachmas (and possibly punts, escudos, lire and pesetas) being printed in anticipation of the crash of the euro is something we here should be cheering – but only up to a point. Also, my gold standard article is on the way, though I must say all the reading I’ve has to do there has made it rather heavy going.

    I’d never thought to discuss evolution here at LibertyGibbert, but it’s a subject that seems to have sparked quite a bit of interest, even passion. Let me have a think about that one, and how we might approach it. I will do a thread on religion sometime soon, but putting religion in the same thread as the evolution issue frames the subject all wrong IMHO. So two threads it is.

    I’m still drowning in work, but will be back to normal on Monday. As I mentioned above, if this thread gets too long and slow, start complaining to me and I’ll post another one. I was going to post an article I had been saving up, but frankly the current discussion is just too damn interesting and I don’t want to get in the way of it.

    I’ll check in again in six hours or so, earlier if I get the chance.

    Many thanks again

    Ozboy (the absent bartender)

  137. Dr. Dave says:


    This thread has certainly been lively. Make sure you get a chance to visit WUWT and view the rap video created by Australian climate scientists.

    I think a discussion about necessary collectivism would be a fine topic. Actually radio frequency allocation within a specific country is an excellent example. So is driving on the right side of the road. Left side – Oz 😉 There are some things that governments should do; build bridges, roads, dams and levies, maintain a military, build airports and maybe even provide public sanitation and potable water. We don’t need government to provide telephone service, internet service, television, radio, electric service, healthcare or even education. This would be a fun topic to discuss and debate.

    The gold standard is gonna be tough. I would avoid evolution. It’s not really a debate. The financial volatility in Europe right now is timely and you have some very well informed and insightful “regulars” to add to the discussion. If you ask me it’s a lot more important and interesting than some dead Saudi terrorist.

  138. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave anyone who can think logically has questions about evolution and there seems to be two types going on the slow methodical slight changes over time sort and the radical hopeful monsters type going on, we are an example of the latter with our massive increase in brain size over three million years a blink of an eye Geologically some minor very slight change or reshuffling of parts of our genome caused this, it also made us weaker at the same time. DNA is an imperfect copying machine, with deletions and insertions, duplications random shuffling, it’s like taking the ten commandments and suddenly in one generation “Thou shalt not commit adultery” becomes “Thou shalt commit adultery” with the “not wandering over to “Thou shalt honour thy father and mother” becoming “Thou shalt not honour thy father and mother”. You have changed the meaning entirely of what is being expressed and the world becomes a far more interesting place.
    As for me the mRNA stuff and the adding of DNA from Viruses and bacteria into our cells helps explain a lot. Also what bacteria we host in our intestines has a massive effect as well on behaviour.

  139. Luton Ian says:

    “If you ask me it’s a lot more important and interesting than some dead Saudi terrorist.”

    I’ll second that, he’s possibly still dead, although the constantly changing versions, and some of the jokes are virgin on the ridiculous…

  140. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave bridges and roads were privately built and maintained for profit in the 18th and 19th century’s and still are in some parts of the world, people in the Midlands in England can choose the public motorway or the shorter loop toll road. Heck Chicago is full of bloody toll roads every few miles and that is how they finance expansion of the road system. I’m not entirely certain when governments decided to get into the road building business except for the military roads into the highlands.

  141. Dr. Dave says:


    When I got out of school PCR hadn’t yet been invented and DNA research was in its infancy. Biologists have all manner of groovy new tools available to them now that didn’t exist just a couple decades ago. It’s truly amazing what they can do. I was reading about how different species vary in their DNA “fingerprint”. Humans are quite complex. Samples from say, five different individuals show great variability. Dogs show great individual variability but cats far less so and sheep show even less. I’m not sure what it all means, but it sure is cool.

    As recently as the early 1980s all insulin was derived from cows and pigs (mostly pigs because they are antigenically closer to humans). Then they started chemically separating the two protein chains in porcine insulin, chemically substituting two terminal amino acids and recombining the chains to produce synthetic human insulin. This never got popular because at the same time microbiologists had learned how to get two different species of bacteria to express the human insulin chains. From there it was just a matter of separating the proteins and chemically combining them to produce biosynthetic human insulin. By the 1990s virtually all insulin sold was biosynthetic. This revolution happened in the space of 10 years (in commercial terms). Today nobody thinks twice about it.

  142. Tucci says:

    At 9:55 PM on 10 May, meltemian had written:

    I really don’t see how Greece can keep up with repaying the debt as it is, never mind an extra loan from the EU. The government is denying they are going to accept one even if it’s offered, which probably means it will. I have to admit I never thought the Euro could last as long as it has, it’s obvious that half of Europe should never have joined and just can’t keep up. My personal opinion is that Greece should default, leave the Euro and go back to where it was before. The trouble is that the whole country is living at a false level of wealth, the EU has been subsidising it for so long that everyone thinks they are entitled to continue their existing standard of living. The Greek mindset is that nobody pays taxes, and even those that do get away with very little. There are people employed by the government who do nothing, are employed in non-jobs because of who they know, and are probably there for life. The bureaucracy here has to be seen to be believed, and computer useage seems to be non-existant in any department. Everything is paper based and frequently lost and has to be re-applied for!

    Even having your car MOT test done is an experience. You hand over €50 – it only costs €40 – and chances are the certificate will be issued without them ever seeing the car, and this is the government-run testing station!

    Every Greek has a wallet bulging with notes, it’s a cash society, but they need cash to bribe when necessary. Even hospital doctors have to be bribed in the national health service otherwise operations will be delayed, and the nurses don’t nurse. They will give out pills and treatments but anything else has to be done by relatives who need to be with the patient 24 hours a day.

    Jeez, sounds just like New Jersey, where there are 81 government employees per square mile (as opposed to an average of 6 per square mile in others among our United States).

    Bad as Greece presently is, however, I can’t see it getting to be as bad as New Jersey.

  143. Dr. Dave says:


    Some degree of collectivism on the local level is necessary for a civilized society. Towns and villages used to build roads and bridges, then counties and states. Eisenhower got the federal government into the road and bridge building business with the Interstate Highway system. It was originally sold as a national security measure to facilitate the rapid movement of military materiel. In reality it was sop to Detroit’s auto makers. They had to sell it terms of national defense because the Constitution has no provision for the federal government to build highways. One can debate the propriety of it, but all in all I’d say our interstate system is a good thing.

    The question is just how high up the governmental food chain hierarchy should collective decisions be made. This would be a great topic for discussion. In reality there are few things we actually need the federal government to do for (or to) us.

  144. Luton Ian says:

    Dr Dave,
    The US funded the tarmac on many Irish roads, before the Germans took over the job of bankrolling us.

    When Marshall Plan funds came, the Irish politicians would offer to tarmac the track up to a farm if the guy would promise to vote for the correct candidate.

    Even now, the roads don’t get maintained, unless you speak very nicely to a politician…

    I’m guessing that you’ve all heard the story of how the Roman military chariot track of 4′ 8 1/2″ became the “Standard” rail guage?

    There is a story, possibly apocryphal, that one of the first Irish rail ventures used a guage of about 5′ 4 1/2″. A director measured the distance accross an English track and sent the measurements to the Engineer in Ireland. The story has the director measuring to the outsides of the rails, and the engineer being unaware of the mistake!

    The first motorcar road races in the British Isles were held just down the road from here. US Promoter Gordon Bennett, chose Ireland, as England required motor vehicles to adhere to a 3 mph speed limit with a flag man walking in front – road safety, can’t have too much of it.

  145. Luton Ian says:

    I’ve remembered some more of the species and interbreeding examples.

    In Europe, we have two big, simillarish looking seagulls. The Herring Gull and the Greater Black Backed Gull.

    These gulls will not hybridise, however, if you take one of the species, and follow its cousins around the world, they will interbreed all the way, as they are just different races of the same species, however, once you get all the way around to Europe again, the last “race” in your continuous chain is the different species of gull, that won’t interbreed with the one you started with.

    Some of the other odd ones, I can’t remember whether European and North American mink can interbreed, but European mink will breed giving fertile offspring with European Polecats (the wild version of domestic ferrets). I think there is also potential for interbreeding with pine martens, which are a very different critter, complete with cat like ears and retractable claws – I think asian sables and North American Fishers are close relatives, if not capable of interbreeding.

    There is some sort of fancy domestic cat, which is a back cross to domestic cat from a hybrid between domestic cats and a species of Indian wild cat, which will not voluntarily mate with a domestic cat. The critter even has an opposable thumb!

  146. Luton Ian says:

    Hi Tucci,
    I visited Philadelphia a few years ago, bad as that State is, with its state owned liquor stores (Apparently Philly contains such a debased form of humanity that anarchy would ensue if liquor were sold by private outlets), but at least in Philadelphia no one could assume that I wasn’t legally carrying. I didn’t go far over the Ben Franklin bridge into NJ.

    Here in Ireland, they’ve just banned handguns a year or two ago, although we do have a castle doctrine of sorts, which is more than Britain has.

    Thinking about the example of Greece, when Europe got Ireland to adopt a routine car inspection, the croneyists made it a national monopoly for their pals to bid to run. Originally the test was every two years, now it is becoming annual, and being a monopoly with only one test centre in each county, it is a pig to get an appointment – it normally requires taking a day off work, oh, and the more stringent British MOT isn’t recognized.

  147. Luton Ian says:

    Oh, I should have added, ANGOLA, the one in Africa, is the most corrupt place I’ve been to so far (I haven’t been to the one in Louisiana yet to be able to compare the two).

  148. Amanda says:

    I don’t know who will give a d*mn, but fun conversation over at Rod Liddle’s blog (latest: on Winnie-the-Pooh and a feminist deconstructionist — say no more) on the Spectator UK. There’s rather a lot of someone with the same name as I have. Sounds like me, too. Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck….
    I look at those that can keep their own counsel, observing and thinking but saying nothing, with wonder, awe, and amazement. It is SO not me, for good or ill. As long as I’m free to say it, I’ll never bite my lip if I have something I want to say…. Expression, for me, is part of my lifeblood. Some way, some how. Like on the blog of an amazingly curious, restlessly inquiring and top-to-toe decent Tasmanian gent (who is also a wonderfully good-humoured host).

  149. Dr. Dave says:

    I have a question for you folks. I would imagine countries like OZ and the UK probably have environmental laws and regulations similar to the odious Endangered Species Act here in the US. Is this the case? I remembered that this is one of the points I wanted to make back during the species debate. The ESA can be effectively used to prevent private land owners the use of their own property and can be used to effectively shut down entire industries.

    Some common examples: the Delta Smelt. This is a little minnow-sized fish of no commercial value. In the name of protecting this little “endangered” fish, water has been cut off for a huge section of the once fertile and productive region of the San Joaquin valley in California. This has resulted in incredible loss of wealth and human suffering. And it’s all for a tiny fish no one but biologists care about.

    A small “endangered” rodent was identified as living in a farmer’s corn field. The farmer was prohibited from cultivating or planting his own farm land lest it further endanger some little inconsequential rodent. It cost the farmer tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. After a few years of leaving his once productive fields fallow, the biologists returned and discovered that the little rodent had pulled up stakes and moved on to better feeding grounds (i.e. those with crops). The federal government never compensated the farmer (although he was allowed to go back to using his own property). This actually represents an “illegal taking” according to our Constitution, but apparently the whims of our EPA trump the Constitution (thanks Richard Nixon).

    Another equally bizarre case is on Maryland’s Atlantic coast. Biologists have discovered a new “endangered” beetle that can only survive along the constantly eroding shoreline of Maryland’s coast. As a result, home owners are denied the right to reinforce their beach front shoreline to protect their homes because this would destroy the delicate and unique habitat of these beetles nobody else ever heard of or cares about. Million of dollars worth of human habitat must be allowed to be destroyed lest measures to prevent said destruction harm the new “endangered” beetle.

    I’m not making this stuff up!

    Recently a sub-species of the common Sagebrush Lizard was identified in SE New Mexico and 4 (oil producing) counties in west Texas. It is called the Dune Sagebrush Lizard and its habitat is unique to the dunes in those desolate areas. Apparently habitat is what makes it a unique sub-species (special micro-evolution, no doubt). If the EPA decides to even investigate a proposed “endangerment” filing it could result in a 2-5 year ban on all oil and gas production, agriculture, road building, commercial and residential development in the entire region. If you look at the critter it looks exactly like the Sagebrush Lizard that is common in more than half a dozen states and climbs over my screens every summer. What ecologic niche does this sub-species of lizard hold that supersedes the needs of mankind and this nation? If it went extinct would anyone other than biologists notice? Would it even matter? How has it survived over the last 90 years of oil and gas extraction and agricultural development?

    I’m certainly in favor of conservation efforts. We shouldn’t over fish or over hunt. But we are at the top of the food chain and we’re sentient beings. The EPA has used the ESA to hold up or completely stop all kinds of development on private property in the USA. I’m wondering what sorts of laws and regulations are affecting other countries.

  150. Amanda says:

    Dave: It’s a matter or proportion. I think property rights should be upheld, and human happiness earnestly considered, whenever possible. On the other hand, if turtles are breeding on a beach (as they do in Florida, and we have a couple of special species), and beach-dwellers are asked not to shine floodlights on the beach at nights while the babies struggle to get to sea… I think the homeowners ought, through ordinary kindness, to keep those lights off.

    The trouble is that anything human, and especially anything involving government, is complicated. If homeowners do turn their lights off and accept the edict as such, will that be a beach-head for further orders and bullying? Will that be the pretext for other ‘requests’ that carry big fines or other punishments and are not nearly as justified? And so on.

  151. Amanda says:

    One other observation, related to my post just above at ‘1:14’ (it’s 11:58 p.m. now in Florida): It seems to me in a certain way that posting is a bit like dancing. In my most prosaic (and stone-cold sober) moments, no. But otherwise: yes. You put yourself out — venture something — just a tiny bit beyond what might be entirely comfortable because someone could react unfavourably and/or judge you the same. The more natural and expressive you are, the less guarded — the more open you are to criticism, or adverse judgements.

  152. Amanda says:

    Why do ‘or’ and ‘of’ get mixed up when writing/typing? Like ‘that’ and ‘than’. Brain doesn’t seem to care about the difference.

  153. Amanda says:

    Dave: At least you can mention the EPA whenever a liberal starts frothing about President Nixon! You can just say ‘but the EPA would be nowhere without him!’ and then watch while their mouths work wordlessly like fish.

    I like Nixon. He was befuddled by hippies and had no use for kneejerk freedom-squanderers. In that way, entirely my kind of guy!

  154. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave get worried they’ve evolved…

  155. Kitler says:

    Amanda Nixon in the future…

  156. Kitler says:

    Amanda….Why do ‘or’ and ‘of’ get mixed up when writing/typing? Like ‘that’ and ‘than’. Brain doesn’t seem to care about the difference.

    Your laptop has special software on it that changes it when you are not looking. Just type a way a few paragraphs and you could swear you typed a different word here and there. Why this buried software exists nobody knows and may have to do with the underpants gnomes.

  157. Amanda says:

    K, I’ll look at Futuristic Nixon in just a moment.

    But I just want to add that I am somewhat concerned about the future of the Florida Scrub Jay. This is not the American Blue Jay — which is all over the place, and up in Canada, too — nor is it even the Western Scrub Jay (whose situation, for all I know, is just as dire). It is not the Green Jay of Mexico. It is a tiny group of jays, very distinct, which live nowhere else but the scrub land of the lower Florida peninsula. Their habitat is very specific. They are extremely intelligent birds, and rather beautiful, a dusky blue and grey, though they lack crests like the common jays. I have fed them every day — they like walnuts best — from my hand, when I lived in South Venice, south of where I’m living now. When they were hungry, in the morning, and knowing that I was willing to feed them, they would peck at my bungalow’s front door to let me know they were there. They and their relatives had been fed from that family house for years. The jays knew us, and we knew them, and they raised their chicks in nests not far from the house. I would hate to know that humans had destroyed the last of their precious rare habitat, and these beautiful, intelligent, resourceful birds (about whom I wrote a song!) have disappeared, simply because no one cared:

    ‘When the palms are sunlit
    beautiful jays hop to my door;
    and I am free with treats for them,
    and they come back for more

    But once, they clamoured round me:
    their hunger made me cross;
    So feeling under seige
    I gave their bread the toss

    But I was back with walnuts,
    hearing them pip soft as a dove —
    And they’re just interested in the food,
    but to me it looks like love….’

  158. Amanda says:

    K, ah the gnomes: explains why hubby’s pants shrunk and everything! Also explains why my size 8 top seems awfully small now after eating every sweet breakfast cereal in sight and clearly the gnomes shrunk my top. It’s the only possible explanation.

  159. Amanda says:

    K, I’ve seen your penguins and I prefer my scrub jays. More cuddly, somehow. heh heh

  160. Dr. Dave says:


    I have typing dyslexia all the time. I frequently forget to type words I’m thinking in my head. I think asking home owners not to illuminate their own property when baby turtles are hatching is reasonable. Of course I also think it’s reasonable for homeowners to demand proof that night time lighting actually screws the little buggers up. Last time I checked this was all speculation on the part of biologists with no studies to back up their recommendations.

    We shouldn’t hunt or kill raptors or whooping cranes but at the same time we shouldn’t allow an animal like the spotted owl to shut down the west coast logging industry. Protecting the Delta Smelt shouldn’t take precedence over the health and welfare of nearly a half million acres of rich, productive cropland and all the humans that depend on it for a living. The habitat of bugs shouldn’t trump the habitat of humans.

    Ecological awareness and conservatism are virtues, environmentalism is a Malthusian disease. And this is from a guy who readily admits that I like most dogs better than I like most people.

  161. Amanda says:

    shrank not shrunk. It’s a silly word, anyway! Goodnight.

  162. Amanda says:

    Dave: I agree with you on all points. I’ll only add that we can’t know — because animals can’t speak, poor buggers — about all the ill-effects we might have on them. I turn my TV down when characters are shouting or the music’s loud because I know it bothers my dog. Some people don’t notice and/or don’t care. I wonder — often — about how our obsession with lighting everything up at night (even in the Smoky Mountains, where people are living but where I want to see the darn stars) affects the sleeping/nesting/resting of little critters. We carry on without thought and then we wondering why species like bees in N. America are withering, wasting, or dying out.

  163. farmerbraun says:

    It looks like spartacusisfree over at DT is well on his/her way to developing a general theory of climate including ice ages and warm periods. I pulled this bit out for perusal:
    “What you have in an ice age is periods of sudden heating then gradual cooling, as if the earth is always attempting to go into the warmer interglacial state, but cannot. Eventually it makes it which is why I can sit typing this without having to wear a polar bear skin to survive.

    The direct thermohaline shut-down argument for the onset of the cool period is bunkum because you can’t get simultaneous cooling of the North and the South as the heat has to go somewhere else. The logic is that there are periodic changes of the earth’s albedo with the downwards’ transition being very fast, decades.

    CO2 can’t cut the mustard and it can’t be the ice caps. Therefore it has to be the clouds combined with a trigger like the temporary change in solar output we had in the 20th Century, except it’s imposed on the Milankovitch tendency to the ice age.

    The transient in cloud albedo is easily explained from the effect of aerosols [dimethyl sulphide from plankton blooms in newly ice-free seas] dramatically reducing cloud albedo.

    You get the physics from Mie: direct backscattering is a function of droplet diameter^6 convolved with a 10 fold reduction of droplet number per unit area in line of sight with the sun for each tripling of diameter, and the inverse fourth power law for wavelength.

    In short, an ice-age cloud with 45 micron droplets has an albedo of c. 0.9. Reduce the droplet size to the present 15 microns and that reduces to c. 0.6. The increase of overall energy transmission is a factor of c. 4 but in the key UV range, the bit that heats the ocean, it’s much more, well over a factor of 10**.

    So, the earth’s climate in an ice age acts like a pulse jet, always trying to burst into life with periodic melting of sea ice and plankton blooms giving fast biofeedback via DMS. However, only when the sun’s output combined with tilt of the earth’s axis is adequate will the interglacial be stabilised. Otherwise, the land can’t unfreeze and as the plankton faces nutrient starvation, oceanic cloud albedo rises and switches off the heat.

    **This is a very interesting bit of the physics. The direct backscattering process giving ‘cloud albedo effect’ heating, biases the backscattered light in favour of UV/blue. This is well known in climate science but they wrongly refer to it as the ‘Twomey effect’ for thick clouds.

    When you turn it off, backscattering changes to internal diffuse scattering and that is to a first approximation, wavelength neutral. So, for polluted clouds, the light that gets through contains much more blue/UV, and it’s the UV that warms the seas and powers phytoplankton.

    We saw this happen in the late 20th Century – the rise in ocean heat content was probably the effect of globalisation of manufacturing in Asia giving a step increase of low-level tropical cloud albedo due to the rise in aerosols. As it’s self-limiting, it switched off as a heating mechanism – Trenberth’s ‘missing heat’, nothing to do with GHGs.”
    Does anyone here have the knowledge to critique this ?

  164. farmerbraun says:

    Hard case; I found a Jackson Browne track version that never made it to N.Z.
    This is the vinyl 45 that someone has loaded: .

  165. izen says:

    @- farmerbraun

    First response to the cloud droplet size theory – I want some evidence of such big variations in droplet size are possible and that cloud albedo can alter to that degree. I think the physics puts a greater constraint on variability than is implied.

    Second, it seems unlikely the increased cloud cover from dimethyl sulphide from plankton blooms in newly ice-free seas which is a cooling effect is offset by a hypothesized change in droplet size.
    I would suspect the vastly decreased albedo from the newly ice-free seas and land dominates any speculative changes in cloud albedo.

  166. Dr. Dave says:


    Boy! That’s a really old one! I think that might be off of his first album a million years ago. Brewer & Shipley (of “One Toke Over the Line” fame) did a version of that song which I think actually received more popular acclaim than Jackson’s original version. That song has been recorded by dozens of artists. What’s amazing is how young Jackson Browne was when he wrote some of his most memorable stuff.

    I remember catching a ride from Omaha to Chicago with a friend from college back in ’76. We listened to a cassette of Running on Empty over and over and over again. To this day those are some of my favorite road tunes. I’ve got almost all of Jackson Browne’s stuff on CD (alas, even the stuff that kinda sucks) and I believe this album was “Saturate Before Using” or something like that…I’ve got it, too. One of these days we’ll have to exchange mailing addresses so we can swap some CDs.

  167. farmerbraun says:

    Thanks for that Izen. I’ll dig some more.

  168. farmerbraun says:

    Yes you got that one right Dr Dave. The version on Saturate Before Using is a bit different from the 45 version I posted. It was my favourite track on that album, mainly because of the piano of Craig Doerge( I think I have that right). As you say, it was some time ago. It still sounds very good to me.

  169. Dr. Dave says:


    You started it…

  170. Dr. Dave says:

    I misspoke…it had to be more like ’77 or ’78 (like anybody cares). I vividly remember some of the girls from around this time and how young I was at the time. Some of these gals are grandmothers today. My how the time flies when you’re growing old!

  171. Kitler says:

    farmerbraun having seen Jackson Browne in his one man acoustic tour all I can say is he sucked badly.

  172. Kitler says:

    Another person whom I saw who also sucked was Bob Seger, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page on tour together as Unleaded were awesome and Jethro Tull is definitely value for money.

  173. Luton Ian says:

    I’m still regretting not sticking around in the White Bear pub in Masham, that night that the full complement of Jethro Tull were in there.

    To fill every one else in on the background, Kitler & I had been out rock bashing and called into the pub for dinner, turns out there was going to be music later (Jethro Tull, playing under some alias), but I’d arranged to meet my then girlfriend when she finished her shift.

    This was in the days when mobile phones were the size of bricks and only yuppies could afford to fry their brains with them, so I couldn’t contact her.

    When I met her, she alternated between sulking and giving me grief all evening.

    With hind sight, I should have given her some genuine male inconsideration to sulk about while Kitler & I enjoyed the music.

    To think that I put up with her for about 4 years!

  174. Luton Ian says:

    Dr Dave,

    EPA and the like:

    Oh yes, Europe, and Britain in particular has loads of that sort of shite.

    Europe has the “habitats directive” where habitats which are either rare in Europe as a whole, or, common in Europe but rare in a particular region (note ther catch all nature of the thing) have to be identified and measures have to be drawn up to “manage” them.

    This means that heather moorland (about as natural as a field of GM oilseed rape) in Britain is all classed as “site of special scientific interest” and permission must be sought from a spotty bureaucrat (even the female ones have beards, or shave their facial hair- trust me on that!) before any of dozens of activities can be carried out on them.

    These supersede any of the long standing rights enjoyed by the commoners since medievel times, such as the right to dig peat for domestic fuel, to quarry stone to repair your house, to dig drainage ditches, to cut bedding and thatching…

    In other words, this is more of a power grab than the robber barons and feudal lords ever had.

    There is something of a corrupt side.

    Speaking to one of my pals who farms over there, he had studiously avoided joining any of the “stewardship” schemes. These pay a grant for carrying out certain “volkish” activities (a lot of this shit, both sides of the Atlantic, has its roots in the policies of Benny and ‘Dolf), like repairing dry stone walls, keeping traditional sheep and cattle breeds, cutting your hay late, so that the wild flowers can seed (and the protein and digestible fibre are all gone from it), not using nitrate fertiliser…

    Anyway, pal was advised that if he didn’t join one of the schemes, he would be plagued with inspections and bullshit prosecutions until he either surrendered and joined on shitty terms, or was driven to bankruptcy, prison or both.

    Pal has therefore joined, and as the scheme payments are calculated on the minimum wage, he employs youngsters on minimum wage to carry out their bidding, and he tolerates the paperwork and inspections as the price of staying in business and out of prison.

    Like all of these things, they are open to corruption, and the grouse shooters appear to be in control. They can afford to be, Madonna is said to be smitten with grouse shooting, but she would be one of the bottom rung of the ladder for newcomers. The top rung is occupied by the likes of Sheik Maktoum of Dubai and assorted hedge fund owners. The old money would be the likes of the Dukes of Westminster and Devonshire.

    I’m not sure whether it works via back handers, by the offer of days shooting with the rich and famous, or by the offer of jobs for the boys.

  175. Luton Ian says:

    Here in Ireland,

    The M7 motorway, where it crosses the Curragh in County Kildare (an area of hummocky glacial sand and gravel famous for horse racing) was delayed, after the discovery of a unique snail. these things are about 1mm diameter when full grown and live within about 3 cm of the water level beside small ponds in this one area.

    The motorway had to be designed so it wouldn’t affect the water level, and these snails are monitored.

    There was worry in the mid 2000s because dry summers dropped the water level, and more recently, wet winters have raised the water level with potential to dry them out or drown them.

    I knew one of the bearded women who was checking on them, and she freely admitted that if something is that rare, it is rare for a very good reason – like it’s chosen niche or its behaviour is suicidally stupid.

    Now the other side of the bureaucratic shite.

    During the late 80s, early nineties, farming pals were complaining of the stupidity that the grants for arable area were tied to land which was under cultivation on a certain date. If the farmers wanted the grant, then that land had to remain in continuous cultivation – no rotation was allowed!

    European “grants” (subsidies) are now area based. My next door neighbour is a very conservation minded farmer (one of his daughters has a beard). He had allowed small areas of scrub woodland and gorse bushes to develop for the birds and the beasties. He is now reluctantly clearing them, as he has been told that they will be deducted from his area payment. Most British fruit orchards went the same way.

    The same neighbour is now debating whether to reduce his cattle herd or to invest in a new shed (he’s in his 70s) as his practice of wintering some of his cattle outdoors conflicts with a bureaucrats interpretation of the European Nitrates Directive. Regardless that the science the directive was based on is discredited, there is currently no mechanism to repeal the bullshit (- well, there is one; one of the boxes) so it is enforced with vigour.

    The rivers around here used to have fantastic fishing, including salmon, sea trout and arctic char (another species of salmonid), they also have fresh water pearl mussels and a unique population of hard water loving fresh water pearl mussels There’s that speciation thing again.

    The fishing is now shite (down to the crappy municipal sewerage treatment and drift netting under the European Common Fisheries policy). There was also a panic last year due to the discovery of several colonies of asian river clams (shock horror -killer clams!).

    Apparently these clams need lots of urgent studies and lots of money spending on them. We were in a village on one of those rivers a few days back when the tide was out. I picked up a dozen or so of the clams to take home for dinner. The missus took pity on them and threw them back into the river (- she committed a “Wildlife Crime”!!!).

    There is an even madder one in England.

    Glis glis – the edible dormouse is protected under European laws, it is a crime to harm them. They never made it back to Britain after the last glaciation, but one of the Rothschilds introduced them to his estate in around the 1900s. Under British law, they are considered alien vermin, and it is illegal to release them.

    This means that if you live in their range and catch one in a kill trap, you have committed a crime under European law. If you accidentally trap one in a live catch trap, you are not allowed to harm it under European Law, but you are not allowed to transport it or release it under British law – you got yourself a pet!

    They are very cute – sort of like a mini chinchilla, and even more bad tempered and verminous than the little South American fascist beasties.

    Kerry slugs;
    These are a dark brown slug with yellow spots, found in bits of Spain, Portugal, and the far south west of Ireland. They probably spent the last ice age out on the exposed continental shelf, allong with some odd south European plants that are also found in the south west of Ireland.

    I don’t think mere mortals are even allowed to touch a Kerry slug.

    Looking at one project in that area, someone asked the ecology guy if he’d seen the Kerry slug that was crossing the path. The guy’s response was a very firm and definite “NO!”.

    I say “Good for him”.

  176. Kitler says:

    Luton Ian and I can recommend the White Bear in Masham North Yorkshire with it’s pint’s of Old Peculiar and rather tasty pub grub, which was very welcome after a day up in the dales looking for fossils and other dead beasties. As I mentioned I saw Jethro Tull many years later at one of the now flooded Tunica casino’s

  177. farmerbraun says:

    Spartacus came back with this:-

    ” The point is, that to melt the ice in the first place you have to have an extraordinarily high positive feedback mechanism which causes a dramatic drop in albedo. The reduction of albedo of the ice is a consequence of this, not the cause.

    I am using standard Mie physics to understand what happens when the input wave loses directionality at the tops of thicker clouds. The reason why it’s been missed is that the ‘two-stream approximation’ introduced by Carl Sagan specifically excluded such information.

The rain cloud test [when droplets coarsen for thicker clouds, albedo rises very quickly, exactly the opposite of what the Sagan model predicts] proves the hypothesis. That’s a given so the existing optical physics is diametrically wrong.

    Getting the maths right is pretty hideous which is why Sagan gave up. The amplification of direct backscattering as droplet size increases is phenomenal. It’s why rain clouds are so dark underneath and the effect explains palaeo-climate far better than CO2-GW, the point I was making.

    Indeed, I suspect the only reason why many if not most in our scientific establishment accepts the high feedback CO2-GW hypothesis and allows the scientifically challenged to play with the appallingly bad computer models is that palaeo-climate proves there is a major heating.


If I’m right, and that is open to discussion, it’s the switching off of direct backscattering by aerosol pollution: net CO2-GW may be close to zero as predicted by Miskolczi.

  178. Amanda says:

    Fly on the wall: NOTHING to do with evolution or economics or religion or anyone’s legitimacy. What I wrote just now (which presumably will appear, long hours from now, on Rod Liddle’s blog on The Spectator UK) — JFF (just for fun):
    This is one of those juicier threads that the Spectator turns out now and then (not that I’m an expert, being far more in the previous year a Telegraph UK blogs addict). My own opinion — which nobody asked for, but that never stops me — is that the Spectator could really take off in a new way if it didn’t have this traffic-cop ‘moderation’ (a word I have come to, cough, disdain). If the Spectator wants to become a truly international site (and perhaps it doesn’t, at least while people like me aren’t paying), then it should make the blogs more free-flowing.

    I’m not recommending Disqus as a system — heaven forfend! — which caused much consternation and confusion over at the DT when it was introduced (one cannot scroll through entries any more, or use ‘find on this page’, which is a nuisance). But that system *does* allow editing of one’s posts, which commenters appreciate for various reasons.

    But whatever system it prefers, I do think that the Spectator (and I am no technology fiend, trust me) is a bit behind the times in the blogging department. Which is almost like wearing empire knickers in the intimate apparel department, when all the fashionable ladies/hot chicks have moved on to thongs. So to speak.*

    So what’s it going to be, Speccie baby? Gonna loosen up a little? Go with the flow? Let Rod’s fans flood in how and when and where they may? (Well: readers and gawkers, anyway.)

    It’s a bit boring when I’m here at 11:15 Gulf Coast time and I have to wait for your sleepy-heads to have their breakfast Alpen and catch the train before my comment can appear, and the MacAulay Zeus Goose juicy-fruits can tell me to take a siesta already. DL (=dirty laugh)

    *Yes, I know. But it’s more interesting than using dishwashing liquid by comparison!

  179. Amanda says:

    Farmer Brown (Braun? What’s that about?): Why shouldn’t I be first on the list? Not only does my name begin with A (and middle with A, and end with A), but I am the longest old-timer with JD excepting Msher1 (who has not posted in a few months) and Crownarmourer aka Kitler.

  180. Kitler says:

    Amanda I did tell farmerbraun it was because you can dance better than he.

  181. Amanda says:

    Kitler: You are charming — what can I say? In all fairness, though, have you ever seen him dance to Kung Fu Fighting? Or do any private dancing?

    (I like her official video but the recording level on YouT is too low, so here’s this:)

  182. Kitler says:

    Amanda…. Nutbush where she was born is close to here and she is one of my favourite singers, her 80’s career is her high point. Here’s one of mine coz I’m a Mad Max fan as it’s a realistic portrayal of modern Australian life.

  183. Kitler says:

    What ever happened to MemoryVault he is sadly missed.

  184. farmerbraun says:

    Amanda, it’s O.K., I just needed to hear it from you. I didn’t believe Crown’s story for one minute.

  185. Kitler says:

    farmerbraun whitemen can’t dance.

  186. Dr. Dave says:

    I know the rhythm has been bred out of my people…more micro-evolution.

  187. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave I don’t know…

  188. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave well maybe what we have sacrificed in rhythm we gained in this….

  189. toad says:

    Amanda are you sure you pre-date ‘Damocles’ ? Even Adam had fleas and that particular irritant has been around for just as long !

  190. Amanda says:

    Toad: Ah, a name I had momentarily forgotten — or perhaps my mind had blanked it out — because I was after all thinking of friends (the ‘onside’ bunch that James mentioned). I’ve never thought of Damocles as ‘onside’. Thorn in backside, yes. 🙄

  191. Amanda says:

    Looking at the Morris dancers — for as long as I can — the first question is ‘Why?’ It certainly must be more entertaining for them than for viewers: it would have to be, wouldn’t it? The second question is, ‘How do they get girlfriends?’

    I suppose it’s cheaper that racing cars or riding horses, more socially permeable than polo or even cricket, and less intellectually demanding than reading a book.

    (I think that’s the snottiest thing I’ve ever written!)

  192. Amanda says:

    Kitler: A stirring song, that. She’s got a much better voice (timbre and delivery) than most singers inflicted on the airwaves these days. Not that I’m really up on that sort of thing, seeing as how I’ve been tuning them out for the last 20 years!

  193. Kitler says:

    amanda I’m sure there are Morris dancing groupies out there, yes Damocles has been around forever probably longer than I have, he’s probably a Morris dancer.

  194. Amanda says:

    Kitler: I don’t doubt it! Hahaha.

    On the subject of labels (hello, Izen!), I like what Oppugner says on JD’s blog:

    The sceptics are whistle-blowers, people who point out flaws, not ‘deniers’.

  195. Amanda says:

    By the way, K, I would add Steve Tierney to the list of James’s onside people, even though he hasn’t posted constantly (unlike some of us!). Also I see that Scientific Anomaly suggests we add Leadkindlylight, but that’s Mack, isn’t it?

  196. Amanda says:

    Oh, and RR still has Pagan Love on his list (which is me of course) and has still left off Peartree.

  197. Kitler says:

    amanda I have totally lost track of all the people on those blogs, some people pop in burn brightly then wink out never to reappear, others have assumed so many identity’s it’s impossible to keep track. A definitive list is going to be hard to come by especially after dixsux came along and forced lots of people to change id’s. Or put them off forever.

  198. Amanda says:

    K, True, but on the other hand, the people that really *are* regulars are eventually discovered, sooner rather than later, whatever name they use. Walt, Mack, you, and I are cases in point (notice that no one suggested ‘Kitler’). If they’re not regulars, they’re not going to make it to any list. If they’re trolls, they’re not going to be listed, either — and it’s trolls that change IDs more than anyone else.

    Most people *don’t* change their IDs (or even their avatars). It’s only because I’ve had to strive *not* to be such a regular that I’ve bothered to change mine! So, in sum, I don’t think there’s really any confusion about who the players are. Especially since I would wager that the long-term regulars have nearly all revealed our real identities/names to James in private e-mails anyway, at one time or another. A few people have even read his manuscript!

  199. Kitler says:

    Amanda it has occurred to me that if we get an acknowledgement in the Watermelons book are we not then obliged to buy it and a few copies for friends and family because we are in it. Pretty clever really on JD’s part a kick start to book sales plus we will all be blabbing how good it is to everyone coz we are in it. It’s a win win as they say.
    As for kitler he went by thenicemrschicklegruber on JD’s blog.

  200. Amanda says:

    Oh, yes, K, so he did — and no one mentioned that name either!

    Yes, it’s a good ploy, and beats giving us all a complimentary copy! Probably any names that appear will be on the back page in tiny font between the ‘printed on recycled paper’ and ‘bound in China’ notices.

    I think James should put his own special notices at the front:
    – This book does not contain rare earth metals.
    – Chris Huhne was neither an editor or reader, nor did he have an advisory role.
    – The content of this book is 100% sane.
    – 100% of the proceeds from this book, after taxes and author-purchased give-away copies (publishers being stingy on that sort of thing these days) will go to the Delingpole Family Surfing Fund. Aloha from Devon!
    – This book will be the occasion for multiple international and especially transatlantic Delingpole appearances. Now, and for the foreseeable future. So no, Damocles, having written this book, I am not going to crawl under a rock!

  201. Kitler says:

    Amanda I think he should have maybe 10 copies at most all signed and run a contest or maybe ten different ones to win his book. What the contests would be who knows. Person with least grammatical errors, most boring comment, most hated troll.

  202. Amanda says:

    If there’s a contest for least punctuation, you win. :-):

  203. Kitler says:

    amanda punctuation was invented by the devil to encourage sinning I will have nothing to do with it.

  204. Amanda says:

    LOL. Kitler, tell RealityReturns that he left Coltek off the list. I remember him in part because one time he said he loved me!

  205. Dr. Dave says:


    If punctuation is the path to sin, then verily, thou art a pious and righteous man.

    I’m anxious for Ozboy’s return. I want to hear some of his ideas about organic gardening. Me…I’m big on using industrial strength fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. This year I’m getting serious about it. I’m going to greatly expand my vegetable garden back to its former glory. Food prices are oppressive! We’re even thinking about buying a chest freezer for the garage and buying a half a cow at a time.

  206. toad says:

    Amanda, don’t shoot the messenger, but I have to tell you that you’ve been supplanted by ‘Agricola’ (I think I’ll revert to being ‘Abe’ !) LOL

  207. Amanda says:

    Toad, Yes I saw that. Are you one of those confusing ones, then? — ‘And I’d like to thank Abe ‘Toad’ Bufo75. Or Dad, which is simpler’.

  208. Amanda says:

    Dave, a chest freezer is wonderful — my grandma had one for years, it was like Alice’s Wonderland — and one day I’m going to get me one. As it is, someone sent us a turkey for twelve and it takes up most of our available space (since there are just two of us and the dog, and we haven’t cooked it yet). Then there’s ice-cream making, bread-making (best stored in freezer not fridge), microwave Indian meals, etc.

  209. farmerbraun says:

    The real James Hansen is now in N.Z. Obviously N.Z. is Very Important in the Grand Scheme of Things. His initial pronouncement will be very useful to the current government which desperately needs a way out of its hare-brained ETS to tax the belching of ruminants ( as well as their urinations).

    Concentrate on the carbon — the methane and nitrous oxide that make up nearly half New Zealand greenhouse gas emissions are side-issues by comparison, says an American climate scientist.

    “It needs to be across the board of carbon from fossil fuels, but not these other things,” said Nasa scientist and climate change expert Dr James Hansen.

    The United Nations’ intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) “made a mistake” by talking about carbon dioxide equivalents and bringing in other gases to the debate over mitigating global warming, Dr Hansen told NZPA.

    “There’s a fundamental difference: the carbon dioxide stays in the climate system for millennia.

    “It gets partially redistributed into the oceans and the biosphere, but it stays in those surface reservoirs for 10,000 years,” he said.

    Greenhouse gases contributing to global warming include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and water vapour, and the first three are the main emissions that nations are being urged to reduce the pace and impact of climate change.

    Dr Hansen said that it “will be desirable” to reduce the emissions of methane and nitrous oxide once the public really understood the need to regain a global “energy balance”.

    “Those other things can help a bit but they’re not equivalent,” he said. “Its actually disadvantageous to lump them together because it allows continued reliance on fossil fuels, which we really have to phase out.”

    New Zealand’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions have jumped by nearly a quarter from being equivalent to almost 62 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 1990 — partly because actual carbon dioxide emissions have lifted almost 30 percent.

    But half the nation’s greenhouse gases are methane and nitrous oxide from the agriculture sector.

    “I think the emphasis should be on the carbon dioxide,” said Dr Hansen.

    “Internationally, we will have to have to figure out some ways to provide some incentives for minimising the other contributions, but it’s less urgent.

    “We’re at a point where if we go several more years with fossil fuel use continuing on a business-as-usual path, then we’re at a point where we can’t solve the problem,” he said.

    At that point, science and society would have to find a way to use technology for the “very difficult” task of extracting carbon from the atmosphere.
    Dr Hansen will speak on human-made climate change as a moral, political and legal issue at Victoria University on Monday, and Tuesday will speak to a symposium on the Future of Coal.

  210. Amanda says:

    Oh! Who will tell RR? Or the God Emperor himself? Got to add Billyb to the list. He just posted, and I would swear under Britney Spears records that he’s posted before, on our side!

  211. Kitler says:

    amanda I’m sure there are least 20-30 people missing from the lists.

  212. Amanda says:

    Kitler: And I just thought of someone else: Rifleman! He posts now with a date, 18 something-or-other, but the important bit is Rifleman. Old friend: must be included!

  213. Amanda says:

    Cherokeekid. Is he on the list? (God, it sounds paranoid, doesn’t it? Still, I don’t like to leave good man off.)

  214. Amanda says:

    Is Scud1 on? Just asking.

  215. Kitler says:

    Amanda okay let me post.

  216. Amanda says:

    How about Stopcpdotcom? Itzen? (Not to be confused with Izen.) AcePilot101? Colliemum? Gilliebc? Renewabilly? Richard Drake?

    (Colliemum should most definitely be on; so should AcePilot. Someone want to convey this to the God Emperor?)

  217. Amanda says:

    Kitler: You tell ’em, luv. Goodnight. (Like the David Bowie. Weird dude, but sometimes hits you just right!)

  218. Ozboy says:

    G’day folks. And thank you one and all for being uber patient. I’ll post something in about 24 hours.


  219. Kitler says:

    Ozboy that beats my weeks at a time.

  220. Amanda says:

    Kitler: Got another one for you — for the list. Couldn’t think of the name and then it hit me. TerribleTurk (in Virginia).

  221. Amanda says:

    Ozboy, I have a feeling that your next article will be golden.

  222. toad says:

    Amanda. ‘Coward at the Bridge’ was dedicated to the last mentioned, so I think we’ll stick with Bufo75 (though it should now be 76- LOL !)

  223. Amanda says:

    I wondered about that, Toad. I thought: he can’t be 75 forever! Happy Birthday!

  224. toad says:

    When reading any book on ‘Climate Change’ that provides a ‘dramatis personae’ like ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ or Fred Pearce’s ‘Climate Files’, I find I have to keep going back to the list and putting a ‘W’ or a ‘D’ against their names, or on rare occasions an ‘M’ for Moderate or ‘I’ for Idiot (such as Muir Russell).
    This is important because the ‘good guys’ in one become the ‘baddies’ in the other.
    Now that we’re compiling a list of ‘pen names’ for the ‘good guys’ in James’s new book it occurred to me that a separate volume could be produced listing all those who are ever involved in the climate debate on both sides, with pen names and avatars.
    An impossibility of course, but in 100 years time when history has finally revealed ‘CAGW’ as the biggest scientific fraud ever perpetrated, even the names of the mere ‘foot soldiers’ may be of interest.
    (BTW I still say ‘freewales’ is Monbiot !)

  225. Amanda says:

    Toad: re Freewales: He never denied it.

  226. Amanda says:

    Toad, if I used letters like that, I’d have to keep it straight what the letters stood for. W and D could mean ‘wet’ and ‘damp’ (especially if reading about English people) and M could mean ‘mushy’. F could mean ‘felted’ (what happens to your woolly when you stick it in the wash on the warm-water high-agitation cycle). K could mean ‘kind I like’ or then again it might be ‘Kool-Aid drinker’. H could mean ‘Huhn-follower’ or ‘hopeless’ (pretty much the same thing, I admit). Same with P for ‘Pachauri-follower’ or ‘pitiful’. Bascially it takes the whole alphabet to categorize watermelon foolishness (F = also ‘fool’).

  227. fenbeagle says:

    Freewales has never denied ‘it’. But George Monbiot writes a lot better, as GM than ‘he does’ as Freewales. And, I think, would be much harder to debate with. I’m not even sure they hold exactly the same opinions.

  228. toad says:

    From the Guardian
    HISTORIC CLIMATE DEAL WITH LEGAL POWERS AGREED BY CABINET (after the intervention of David Cameron)
    ‘With Clegg and the LibDems desperate to boast a success over one of their key policies, support for the deal won the day’

    An ashen-faced Dave later told reporters – ‘Poor Nick, he looked so sad, wiping out the British economy at a stroke was the least I could do for him !’

  229. Ozboy says:

    G’day folks,

    And now to matters economic. A new brief thread here while I finish up the main post for the week.



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