Donald Trump’s War on Science

113

By Lawrence M. Krauss

Last week, the Space, Science, and Technology subcommittee of the House of Representatives tweeted a misleading story from Breitbart News: “Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists.” (There is always some drop in temperature when El Niño transitions into La Niña—but there has been no anomalous plunge.) Under normal circumstances, this tweet wouldn’t be so surprising: Lamar Smith, the chair of the committee since 2013, is a well-known climate-change denier. But these are not normal times. The tweet is best interpreted as something new: a warning shot. It’s a sign of things to come—a declaration of the Trump Administration’s intent to sideline science.

In a 1946 essay, George Orwell wrote that “to see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” It’s not just that we’re easily misled. It’s that, by “impudently twisting the facts,” we can convince ourselves of “things which we know to be untrue.” A whole society, he wrote, can deceive itself “for an indefinite time,” and the only check on that mass delusion is that “sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality.” Science is one source of that solid reality. The Trump Administration seems determined to keep it at bay, and the consequences for society and the environment will be profound.

The first sign of Trump’s intention to spread lies about empirical reality, “1984”-style, was, of course, the appointment of Steve Bannon, the former executive chairman of the Breitbart News Network, as Trump’s “senior counselor and strategist.” This year, Breitbart hosted stories with titles such as “1001 Reasons Why Global Warming Is So Totally Over in 2016,” despite the fact that 2016 is now overwhelmingly on track to be the hottest year on record, beating 2015, which beat 2014, which beat 2013. Such stories do more than spread disinformation. Their purpose is the creation of an alternative reality—one in which scientific evidence is a sham—so that hyperbole and fearmongering can divide and conquer the public.


Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

113 COMMENTS

  1. We are in the hands of monsters, and there needs to be mass action. We cannot rely on the Democrats in Congress. The people must intervene, protest, engage in civil disobedience, demand that these madmen are (legally) forced out of office, or never get in. We need an MLK now, a leader.

  2. Laurie, Trump just hired Monica Crowley, one of those awful talk radio right wing Fox News types. (Ann Coulter type.) Fox News administration. This is horrendous!!!

    And the new ambassador to Israel likes settlements, is a Zionist and a libertarian.

    Nightmare.

  3. Dan, You’re getting to be a real rabble rouser!
    There are various mechanisms in action now, the Russian influence, the elector options and lastly impeachment.
    I don’t worry too much now. The spotlight is shining on them. The truth is out there and won’t be covered up now. There is even a chance the election results can be overturned in court.
    That would be my option with Trump and some of his cronies headed to prison.

  4. Alf, what if none of those things amount to anything? What if he is sworn in? I am opposed to the “rabble”. They voted Trump in. But yes, I too want to sound the alarm.

    He has people like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter working for him – the lunatic fringe of the right. (Not those two; but people like them: people like Monica Crowley, who is just plain sick. They are all sick.) They can legally abolish medicare, SS, medicaid, weaken voting rights, ruin the public school system, start wars… They can do tremendous, tremendous damage.

    This is now the worst, the sickest, the most dangerous fringe group that are now, or soon to be, in power. These are those morons who we just accepted as part of life but never thought they’d get into power! (Steve Bannon?) It is their moment now. They have an opportunity now. They might not get another one.

    I think Trump, if he is inaugurated, will use propaganda like never before. Half his administration is from Fox News. These are enemies of the state, if you ask me, traitors, a radical and evil insurgency. THESE ARE CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS!! If I were religious i would say that the Devil has scored a major victory in electing Trump (a puppet, I am sure); and may God help us.

    Maybe it won’t be so bad. And maybe something will thwart this. They’re watching him closely and I think the CIA is worried and would like to crush him. I want what you said is happening to happen more than anything. I want Hillary.

    I think things can change (for the worse) very quickly – and what is more dangerous… gradually and imperceptibly: people will wake up and everything will be different. Civil rights gone, benefits gone, freedoms gone. And they will say “Uh…what happened?”

  5. @6

    I like this guy- seen a few of his vids.
    The guy in the vid is a joke – kids wont take this idiot seriously surely?

    What do they teach kids in geography and politics in the US about climate change?

    I think Trump needs to come to the UK for a visit early doors – re build some bridges

  6. OP – The first sign of Trump’s intention to spread lies about empirical reality, “1984”-style, was, of course, the appointment of Steve Bannon, the former executive chairman of the Breitbart News Network, as Trump’s “senior counselor and strategist.” This year, Breitbart hosted stories with titles such as “1001 Reasons Why Global Warming Is So Totally Over in 2016,” despite the fact that 2016 is now overwhelmingly on track to be the hottest year on record,

    The first sign of Trump’s intention to spread lies about empirical reality, “1984”-style, was, of course, the appointment of Steve Bannon, the former executive chairman of the Breitbart News Network, as Trump’s “senior counselor and strategist.” This year, Breitbart hosted stories with titles such as “1001 Reasons Why Global Warming Is So Totally Over in 2016,” despite the fact that 2016 is now overwhelmingly on track to be the hottest year on record,

    Perhaps we can keep it simple by referring to them from here-on, as “Breitbart Noodles”!
    The label like “Faux News”, is a realistic summary of their standard of brain-addled stooges’ deceptive lying ignorance!

    Any bets on the next NOODLE story being:
    “Arctic Vortex and US Snow, Proves Planet Cooling”?

    (Of course in England where the SE wind is coming off the Atlantic, the Autumn has been unseasonably warm!)

    Perhaps the the explanation can also be kept simple:

    “1001 Reasons Why Global Warming Is So Totally Over” the heads of posturing uneducated science duffers, who don’t know what to measure, or how to measure, but whose entrenched proudly ignorant views, are untouched by any actual knowledge of planetary science!

  7. @OP – Their purpose is the creation of an alternative reality—one in which scientific evidence is a sham—so that hyperbole and fearmongering can divide and conquer the public.

    It should be remembered, that much of climate science, is based on international GLOBAL weather station data, which is initially used for weather forecasting.
    If some idiot suppresses this in the US, those who use weather forecasts for decisions in their business, will seek expertise elsewhere, OR US businesses (agriculture, air/sea/road transport, construction, etc.) will suffer and become less competitive in world markets.

    Snow-storms, floods, droughts, heat-waves, forest fires, tidal surges, hurricanes, and tornados, have no respect for “alternative realities”!

  8. @Alan
    This is your bag
    What do they actually teach is happening with the climate in class? Is it like “teach the controversy” with evolution?

  9. Pinball1970 #11
    Dec 16, 2016 at 6:40 am

    @Alan
    This is your bag
    What do they actually teach is happening with the climate in class? Is it like “teach the controversy” with evolution?

    It is now a long time since I did teaching in school classes, and the schools where I worked in England never did “teach the controversy”. This is a feature of the US and more recently in a very small number of “faith schools”, in England.
    Catholic and CofE faith schools teach the simple basics of Darwinian evolution in biology, but pervert this into God-did-it Theistic Evolution, by Old-Earth-Creationism, in religion classes.

    On climate science and in geography, the revised National Curriculum is going backwards (Probably as a result of the now departed incompetent minister – Gove).

    Some is taught in chemistry, but is probably too complex to teach in any detail to primary school children.

    Here is a link on the consultations.

    http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/news/behind-the-headlines-climate-change-and-the-national-curriculum/

    Of course in England, climate science is competently dealt with by the BBC and the quality news papers and journals, so most teachers are probably reasonably informed on the subject at a basic level.

  10. @OP – Such stories do more than spread disinformation. Their purpose is the creation of an alternative reality—one in which scientific evidence is a sham

    That would be in keeping with Trump developments – where gullible punters go into casinos with delusions of winning great wealth, – and come away having been parted from their money!

  11. Hi peeps,
    I teach both the controversies. Here’s the thing (and Dan, I hope you are tuned in)….

    In twenty plus years of teaching 15-20 year olds, I will divulge one “truth”.
    If you’d like to see the future of social norms and politics, look at the current teenagers.

    Long before LGBT right took national or global stage, these kids were ok with LGBT and the trend in school was/is towards acceptance. Long before legalization of pot was national/global, kids were talking about it and debating it and, ultimately supporting it. Before acceptance of handicapped or autistic children were buzzwords (think “inclusion”) our kids were living it.

    So, Dan (and everyone else who’s in an uproar) the writing is on the wall. This is the death rattle of the white dominated— male dominated generation. And, YES they are making a whole lot of noise. But, unlike our inflexible, middle aged minds, these kids are elbow deep in bullshit and elbow deep in technology. They do not buy Trump’s rhetoric. They are NOT fooled by fake news. They are completely onboard with climate change being an issue that needs addressing. They have always lived in this world and are better at navigating it than we are.

    And, when they reach the age where their voices are finally part of the power structure of the world, you will see that we have reached the end of the “artful dodger”.

    Now, the troublesome part is how long it will take for them to affect their change, but make no mistake, these “children” will grow up and take over, and their impact will be massive. The second portion of the troubling stuff is piggybacked on another thread and that is the real problem in our majority religion being so undereducated (and — largely disinterested in becoming educated).

    Anyway, evolution and climate change are both taught and accepted by the vast majority of kids in my area (and my experience). The wheel is turning and we have had a setback, but it is temporary. Watch and see.

  12. @Alan and Crooked

    Sorry guys I was talking more the USA, withCarson Palin and Trumps other cronies influencing education policy and messages

    45% of the USA already think the OT is all real/based on facts!

    I cant see kids of these parents in the 45% having a different view in the next few years

  13. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38322594

    Former Nasa chief scientist says access to federal data is critical

    Limiting access to federal research would do an “enormous disservice” to the US and the world according to former Nasa chief scientist.

    Dr Waleed Abdalati told the BBC the that continued access to data is in “everyone’s best interest”.

    Many US scientists are rushing to copy information onto servers outside the control of the federal government.

    They are afraid the Trump administration will curb access to climate and other research.

    The President-elect has blown hot and cold on the issue of climate change, having previously tweeted about global warming being a hoax.

    On Wednesday, one of his advisers compared scientists who support the mainstream view on global warming to flat-Earthers.

    “There was an overwhelming science that the Earth was flat and there was an overwhelming science that we were the centre of the world,” said Anthony Scaramucci, a member of the Trump transition committee, on CNN.

    We get a lot of things wrong in the scientific community.”

    =================

    Does this use of “WE” imply that this disingenuous science illiterate, is claiming to be a member of the scientific community?????

    Of course when it comes to the physical properties of the real world,
    “WE” in the Trump community, get almost EVERYTHING wrong!!

    ===========

    Now at the Co-operative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences,
    Dr Abdalati served as Nasa’s chief scientist in 2011, for two years.

    He says it is too early to tell if this type of rhetoric from the Trump team will be backed up by action against scientists working on climate issues.

    “I do think that when it comes to access to federal databases, and information that the taxpayers have paid for, there would have to be a tremendous paradigm shift to actively take steps to make those data unavailable, and I think doing so would be an enormous disservice to the citizens of this country and to the world in general,” he said via email.

    “I do think that the scientific community, educators, members of the private sector who rely on these data in their businesses, and others will need to make clear that continued access to these data, which have been paid for by the taxpayers, allows their full value to be realized and is in everyone’s best interest.”

    Other researchers are taking a more pessimistic view on the question of data access and are encouraging colleagues and students to make copies. Prof Robert Paterson, from the University of Texas, Austin, says that he learned this the hard way under the administration of George W Bush, another president cool on climate.

    “Within a month of coming into office the EPA website went down for three weeks and when it went back up stuff wasn’t available anymore,” Prof Paterson told BBC News.

    “If history repeats itself with another administration that is basically a naysayer to climate change science, I would say it would be prudent for folks to do what they can to keep as much as they can on mirror sites.”

    Other scientists are concerned about nominations to key government areas such as former Texas governor Rick Perry at Department of Energy (DoE) and Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt at the EPA. Both have heavily criticised the agencies they now lead.

    Attempts by the Trump transition team at the DoE to obtain a list of all those employees who had worked on climate change have provoked anger as well as fear.

    “I was horrified by the report with regard to Department of Energy scientists being named. We must stand up to that and I have said so. We are all DoE scientists in that regard,” said Dr Kevin Trenberth who has been a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a senior scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

    “That is a pretty chilling action by an incoming administration – the rhetoric suggests that revenge is a valid response to people who disagree with you,” said Prof Robert Paterson,

    The Energy department has refused to comply with the request and the Trump team has now said the questionnaire was “not authorised”.

    Many researchers are worried that the anti-climate tone being struck by the incoming administration will have many serious consequences for scientists trying to do their jobs in real world situations.

    “Flooding is a fact of life in Texas and the frequency with which we’re seeing it is noticeably increasing,” said Dr Shannon Van Zandt, at Texas A&M University.

    ============

    With the set of idiots and mavericks Trump has appointed, almost any form of aggressive or obstructive stupidity is possible!

  14. Pinball,
    Remember “All in the Family”? Meathead and Archie? Here’s the thing, parental influence on kids can go two ways. Think about the drunk who has one son who never drinks and one son that himself is a drunk.

    I am confident that the pendulum will swing after the smoke clears from this debacle. Now, how long that takes is up for debate and how much damage these fools can inflict is terrifying.

    However, spend some time around today’s teenagers to visualize tomorrow’s world. I am pretty encouraged by what I see. i just hope that the momentum and inertia that this administration has is limited so that their damage can be quickly undone.

    LOOK, we have hit rock bottom. And, that sucks. But, it also marks the beginning of the upswing. When the world sees what dogshit these people are, I am optimistic that there will be a reaction in the right direction.

  15. @ link @#16 – On Wednesday, one of his advisers compared scientists who support the mainstream view on global warming to flat-Earthers.

    “There was an overwhelming science that the Earth was flat and there was an overwhelming science that we were the centre of the world,” said Anthony Scaramucci, a member of the Trump transition committee, on CNN.

    Of course, like the text plagiarised from Michelle Obama, Trumps air-heads just copy stuff from other people and turn it backwards to pretend they thought of it!

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/dec/04/flat-earth-climate-change-copenhagen

    Gordon Brown attacks ‘flat-earth’ climate change sceptics

    ‘Dangerous, deceitful’ attempts to derail Copenhagen summit condemned

    Gordon Brown [UK Prime Minister] tonight led a chorus of condemnation against “flat-earth” climate change sceptics who have tried to derail the Copenhagen summit by casting doubt on the evidence for global warming.

  16. Ah, I was just about to post this CNN link I came across which is making my head explode but I see Alan has beaten me to it.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/14/politics/energy-department-litmus-test/?iid=ob_lockedrail_bottomlist

    “There was an overwhelming science that the Earth was flat and there was an overwhelming science that we were the centre of the world,” said Anthony Scaramucci, a member of the Trump transition committee, on CNN.”

    There has never been any “science” that the earth was flat. Even primitive man realised that the existence of a horizon which never got any closer no matter how far you sailed meant that the earth was a sphere and in about 200 BC the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes calculated its circumference with considerable accuracy.

    As for earth being the centre of the universe, it was an assumption, by Ptolemy and others but with no science to say one way or the other. Religion mandated it for a thousand years but that was pure hubris.

    However, as I said elsewhere, we can expect this more and more from now on from this administration if I’m right about Trump and Putin.

  17. Arkrid Sandwich #19
    Dec 16, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Anthony Scaramucci,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Scaramucci

    Scaramucci was born on January 6, 1964 in Long Island, New York, and had a middle-class upbringing. His father was a construction worker.[2] He earned a B.A. in Economics from Tufts University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

    Mmmmm! Economics and Law – doesn’t sound very scientific to me!!

    After graduating from law school, Scaramucci began his career at Goldman Sachs, where he worked from 1989 to 1996 and held positions in its Investment Banking, Equities and Private Wealth Management divisions.[9][10] In 1996, he left Goldman to launch Oscar Capital Management with his colleague Andrew Boszhardt.[11] In 2001, Oscar Capital was sold to Neuberger Berman and, upon Neuberger Berman’s sale to Lehman Brothers in 2003, Scaramucci served as a managing director in its Investment Management division.[9][12] In 2005, he founded SkyBridge Capital, a global alternative investment firm,[13] where he currently serves as co-managing partner.

    Now why do those corporate names remind me of the sub-prime mortgage and financial crisis????

    A dodgy banker posturing on science!!!!

  18. Perhaps a look at Anthony Scaramucci’s career background will open a few eyes!

    @#20 – upon Neuberger Berman’s sale to Lehman Brothers in 2003, Scaramucci served as a managing director in its Investment Management division.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bankruptcy_of_Lehman_Brothers

    Lehman borrowed significant amounts to fund its investing in the years leading to its bankruptcy in 2008, a process known as leveraging or gearing. A significant portion of this investment was in housing-related assets, making it vulnerable to a downturn in that market. One measure of this risk-taking was its leverage ratio, a measure of the ratio of assets to owners equity, which increased from approximately 24:1 in 2003 to 31:1 by 2007.[2] While generating tremendous profits during the boom, this vulnerable position meant that just a 3–4% decline in the value of its assets would entirely eliminate its book value of equity.[3] Investment banks such as Lehman were not subject to the same regulations applied to depository banks to restrict their risk-taking.[4]

    In August 2007, Lehman closed its subprime lender, BNC Mortgage, eliminating 1,200 positions in 23 locations, and took a $25-million after-tax charge and a $27-million reduction in goodwill. The firm said that poor market conditions in the mortgage space “necessitated a substantial reduction in its resources and capacity in the subprime space”.

    On September 10, 2008, Lehman announced a loss of $3.9 billion and their intent to sell off a majority stake in their investment-management business, which included Neuberger Berman.[12][13] The stock slid 7% that day

  19. What do they teach kids in geography and politics in the US about climate change?

    Pinball, nothing apparently. I’m sixty so I don’t have any knowledge of kids anyway.

  20. Dan, I look at it this way.
    I’m a dog. My job is to chase cars. There are other dogs chasing this car. I can take a nap until I decide I need to chase that car again.

  21. I see an unprecedented and horrifying escalation of pollution in favor of profit. All of Trump’s people – from Bannon to Prewitt (and there are others) – are climate change deniers.

    As for education, with the degradation of the public school system, in favor of charter (religious and parochial, or private) schools, there will be far less oversight there as well. Private schools do not have to answer to anyone; indoctrination will be easier, not harder.

    Plus, I suspect, as I said before, that propaganda, in general, will get worse under Trump. Many of his staff members have backgrounds in radio, TV. Ms. Crowley (appointed to be involved with communications) is a Fox News contributor and a looney-right radio host. (I used to listen to her and laugh. I could only listen for five minutes, tops.) The list goes on.

    I see nothing to be pleased about. There is not always a return when you fall. The nation appears to be going to hell, as MLK once predicted it would – if we don’t get our act together.

    This may or may not be catastrophic on many levels. Or it may not be. Not much evidence to support that it won’t be (although Alf could be right; the spotlight is on him, and there are bi-partisan concerns, and concerns within the FBI and CIA, presumably), and tons to support that it will be.

  22. Well here’s some info on how we can all can participate in a nationwide demonstration on Monday.

    http://www.savedemocracy.org/?source=moveon

    (No money is required, but terms are stated.)

    By Jo Comerford. Thursday, December 15 2016

    By choosing to attend this event, you are acknowledging the risks involved, and you are committing to participate non-violently and in accordance with the law, and to work to de-escalate confrontations with Trump supporters or others….

    http://front.moveon.org/by-participating-in-a-december-19-action/?akid=174866.34903987.Z0gNlX&rd=1&t=2#.WFSaNdRy9Lc

    http://www.savedemocracy.org/?source=moveon

  23. Laurie

    Never saw it.

    John Hurt is the greatest actor in the English speaking world, in my opinion. Ever see him in I, Claudius?

    Glad you’re feeling better.

  24. No, didn’t see that one but he’s fantastic in V. Plays the part of a Fascist dictator in future London. The people overcome the regime led by V and Natalie Portman. Fascism creeps in due to public surrendering their rights in a state of fear. It’s always that. V for Vendetta is a rallying call to the common folk. Watch it. You won’t be disappointed. You have no idea how on-topic this film is. Seriously!

    I’ll watch I, Claudius. With Hurt in it I’ll bet it’s great.

  25. The 19th has come and gone, and the Republican electors remained loyal.

    “Why America May Be Going To Hell”

    That’s the name of the speech that MLK never gave as he was killed right before it was delivered. The killer would have voted for Trump.

    Look who Trump appoints as ambassador to Israel – a Jewish bigot who thinks that if you don’t support a Jewish only state you’re not a real Jew. (He was Trump’s lawyer.)

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-nominee-for-ambassador-to-israel-is-unfit-to-serve/2016/12/19/5b6ffa08-c543-11e6-bf4b-

    Between that and all the other picks from Fox News (all contributors) and crazy General Flynn and Carson and Price (who doesn’t like Medicare or SS) and the climate-change deniers who were appointed, we may really be going to hell.

    To hell with Trump (and his damned family and all his lying surrogates) and all the sick, LOYAL, greedy Republicans and conservatives and to hell with the duped, foolish, uninformed people who are out of work or not making enough and think that Trump was the answer; and to hell with the imbecilic haters. Let them all go to hell. That is where we as a nation all belong. That is what “we” wanted.

    WWIII might get them to think they may have erred – but I doubt it.

  26. Dan

    and to hell with the duped, foolish, uninformed people who are out of work or not making enough and think that Trump was the answer

    Dan!

  27. And here we have the exact demonstration of something we all argued about ridiculously hard just a few short weeks ago.

    “I HATE THOSE FUCKING REPUBLICANS LET”S ORGANIZE AND MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH….”

    I sat here and told you that you were blowing your load too early…. I caught nothing but a ration of shit from a liberal group of people that SHOULD pay attention to one in it’s ranks calling out. BUT?????????????????????
    Not even close. i was shit on repeatedly.

    Now, the call goes out for a gathering of the ranks… and????? welllllllll…..

    WHAT MOVIE ARE YOU WATCHING???? You people are so much like the folks you pretend to be in opposition to. You’ve just got different targets. But, make no mistake about it. You are them; they are you. Christ do some looking in the mirror. Then, and perhaps only then you will see why I am so disillusioned with “OUR” side.

  28. Well said, crookedshoes. I’m with you, all the way. I really appreciate your posts, by the way.

    Not that I’m excited about Donald Trump winning the presidential election, I am ECSTATIC that Hillary Clinton, her husband, her foundation, her party, and all the news networks in her pocket absolutely lost their asses…and, at that, to a reality show host who spent far, far less campaign money (lol).

    To this day, I still enjoy the shock, tears, endless excuses, and tantrums from the left, over their unexpected loss. They earned it all, and squarely so. The results of their recount efforts and their attempts to change the decision of the electoral college are massively entertaining.

    Having said all of this, I’m still buckling in for a bumpy ride with Trump as president.

    This has been a truly fascinating election. I’ve never been so interested in politics.

  29. His obscene rallies will continue into his presidency, while he continues to denigrates the press, the media. He will be able to lie without opposition and literally keep rallying his stupid, angry, frightened base. (That’s right, Phil.) No press conference since the election. The purpose of the media (which is many things), finally, is to mediate. It is vital for democracy. He does not want to face the media, to be held accountable. Other national politicians have evaded the press, but Trump’s relationship to the press is singularly adversarial and hostile. He gets his supporters to boo the press corps, the “dirty press”, as Hitler said. This is something new. This is just one unnerving sign, among many, of Trump’s tyrannical tendencies and instincts.

    I am deeply concerned about the cutting of vital social programs. They can be paid for. But giving a huge tax break to the top one tenth of one percent will not help.

    I still enjoy the shock, tears, endless excuses, and tantrums from the left, over their unexpected loss.

    “I have said that behind sorrow there is always sorrow. It were wiser still to say that behind sorrow there is always a soul. And to mock at a soul in pain is a dreadful thing.” —Oscar Wilde

  30. so that hyperbole and fearmongering can divide and conquer the public

    Krauss is the physicist who acts like he is an expert on all of science. He writes a book about nothing and claims that everything comes from nothing, except that he can’t actually define what nothing is. And evidence? Well, who needs evidence? Krauss previous books include such scientific gems as the physics of star trek.

    But if anyone is to be thought of as fear-mongering, it’s the climate alarmists that told us San Francisco was going to be completely underwater by now.

    Now if you think that climate change is affected by automobiles, just wait until you start a nuclear war and see what that does to the climate. As bad as Trump is likely to be, at least there’s a glimmer of hope he won’t start any really big wars, especially with Putin’s Russia. And that’s reason alone to have chosen Trump over Clinton.

    But the next time you cheer presidents (…Clinton, Bush, Obama,…) who uses unconstitutional executive powers to do things you like, don’t forget that the next president can lay claim to all those same powers, only it could be for things you really don’t like.

  31. Well, there will always be the people who enjoy some random violence against minorities, women and a random hanging once in awhile.
    And starting with the wrong conclusions, they continue to expand their ignorance and it continues down the line of decision making errors.
    This is the darkest time in the history of the USA and there will always be people who applaud it and take part in it.
    Enjoy the blood………

  32. Rocket, partisan nonsense. When were the democrats guilty of “unconstitutional executive power” in a court of law or had a order overturned in the Supreme court?
    And is the choice nuclear war OR automobile exhaust?
    If you are going to argue the validity of scientists on climate change, this is probably not the place.
    And to insult Prof Krauss on the pointless remarks that reflect your knowledge is comical.

  33. I don’t want to see Trump build a wall. Rather, he should build a big ass door to hit sore loser Hillary supporters on their way out of the country.

    (I only mean this as a joke. We’ll get through 4 years of Trump, regardless of how bad him and his administration perform in office.)

    Dan, don’t be so blue. You still have your voice and your freedom. A professor who predicted Trump’s victory, and apparently has a long track record of making accurate predictions in matters political, also predicted that Trump will be impeached.

  34. Rhodes, this isn’t a joke. Your attitude reflects the rights way of solving problems.
    This isn’t a reversible trend. Enjoy it. Your generation will see the resource wars that Trump is encouraging.
    Enjoy the future.

  35. Rocket888, I think Krauss is an excellent and valuable man. I do remember thinking, as I was listening to him talk about nothingness, that his remarks were superficial.

    But I haven’t yet read his book A Universe from Nothing so I could be wrong. Always good to research. Check out what NASA has to say about global warming. I believe they know whereof they speak. (Trump wants to stop them from conducting climate research! There’s an article and thread about that on this site, called “Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’.”)

    Thanks, Michael, for your comment # 41. (The last paragraph.—The rest I could have lived without.)

    I do agree with Alf. This is a nightmare. Look at his appointees, for God’s sake. It seems like he wants to hurt this country! (Maybe he does. Or maybe those that are controlling him want to. That is possible.) There is nothing that warrants defense. Defense of Trump is not reason-based. He is a liar, a fraud, and has not done anything worthy of defense. On the contrary. And Hillary Clinton would have been much, much better.

    A lot can happen in four years. Military law can be imposed. If the rich get richer – and they will – and the poor get poorer, obviously there will be more crime.—And if we keep talking about law and order pretty soon we’ll have fascism; and don’t kid yourselves that we won’t!

    Social programs can be gotten rid of – and my assumption is that they are hard to get back once they are gone. I have already spoken about Trump and the press (media), about the diminution of the right to dissent, about the rise of a belligerent nationalism; I and others have posted many cogent comments about these very grave dangers, and others, which we are now facing. But all I hear from you guys is how awful Hillary is and complacent, platitudinous remarks about “getting through this”.

  36. Dan #33, #34

    Those folk should be on our side, and they nearly were. They can be the folk that vote us out of this mess.

    Your alienating impetuosity and unwillingness to see the detail will be the death of us.

    Trump is an ever deepening tragedy and we must keep our wits about us and move firmly towards solving the underlying problems that ever made him possible if we are not to have the nightmare of a mindless attack and counterattack.

    (I side not one iota with Michael or rocket or crooked on this. I’m very happy with demonstrations, but we must have clarity who the enemy and who the victims. Smooshing people together on a few toxic werdz or actions is well, its a bit “regressive”.)

  37. rocket888 #38
    Dec 19, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    But if anyone is to be thought of as fear-mongering, it’s the climate alarmists

    Oh dear! Still in denial after so many clear links and explanations.
    Its a bit like those “alarmists” at 9/11 in the twin towers who called the fire brigade and said the buildings were on fire!!

    Now if you think that climate change is affected by automobiles, just wait until you start a nuclear war and see what that does to the climate.

    Actually the climate feed-back induced mass extinctions were thousands of times worse than any nuclear war!

    Now if you think that climate change is affected by automobiles,

    Anyone who doesn’t think climate change is affected by internal combustion automobiles , can’t do simple chemistry, read global oil production figures, or do arithmetic!

    it’s the climate alarmists that told us San Francisco was going to be completely underwater by now.

    Actually it’s the straw-manning denialist propagandists who pretended the climate scientists said that, when they actually said the cities would be deep under water in the next thousand years or so – but low lying islands and places like Florida are likely to be underwater in the next hundred or two!

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/rising-seas/if-ice-melted-map

  38. Alan, I will try to retrieve the article about the Alaska village that had to be moved at a cost of a half billion dollars.
    Anybody that can find both sides of their butt knows in Miami every year streets have to be shut down for flooding when it never happened before.
    The science tell us the flooding will not affect all areas the same.
    But some people just can’t accept the science. Or facts.

  39. Phil #44

    Well I’ll keep that in mind.

    Hard not to lose it once and in a while. My God!—This is a major, major crisis.

    Thanks for the reminder. Cool heads prevail.

    As you can see I wrote comment 43 in a calmer state. I was more myself, chose my words more carefully, and was more conciliatory. And it wasn’t insincere; I want to reach people who think differently, don’t want to just preach to the choir, or alienate those who may be on the fence. No.

    (I still think that many – not all – of Trump’s supporters are…. well, not very bright. Sorry.

    Have a good day. Talk to you soon.

    P.S. I have two comments on the “minds of other animals” thread. I’d be interested in finding out what you don’t agree with. (Seriously.)

  40. Dan

    I still think that many – not all – of Trump’s supporters are…. well, not very bright. Sorry.

    Disproportionately so even but this is not any kind of usable complaint nor any point of potential political leverage.

    American society of yore let these people down. Of all OECD countries only in the USA is low IQ positively and causally correlated with poverty probably because welfare is such a unique disaster.

    Even now USA exceptionalism blinds the flag loving (not people loving!) population to the many ways their country is out on a limb in a bad way also.

    A land increasingly fit for hero-parasites, but decreasingly for hero-families.

  41. alf1200 #46
    Dec 20, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Alan, I will try to retrieve the article about the Alaska village that had to be moved at a cost of a half billion dollars.

    Here is one of them.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/18/alaska-shishmaref-vote-move-coastal-erosion-rising-sea-levels

    Shishmaref residents decided to leave island rather than add more defenses against coastal erosion but community may not be able to afford $180m move

    The residents of a small coastal Alaskan village have voted to move to the mainland because of rising sea levels, but they may not have the funds to do it.

    The 600-person village of Shishmaref, located on an island just north of the Bering Strait, has for decades been ravaged by erosion tied to climate change, leading residents to seek a more sustainable place to live.

    But the community is racked by poverty, making it difficult to relocate, which is estimated to cost $180m.

    Officials held a special election on Tuesday so residents could vote on whether to relocate or to stay and add environmental defenses. The vote was relatively close, with 89 for relocating and 78 to remain.

    But both choices came with a steep price tag. The most recent estimate on relocating, from a 2004 Army Corps of Engineers study, was $180m. Officials said it would cost $110m for the environmental protections needed for the community to safely stay in one of Alaska’s most eroded coastal areas.

    The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Shishmaref is one of 31 villages that face “imminent threats” from flooding and coastal erosion.

    In February 2015, Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior, announced $8m in funding for “projects that promote tribal climate change adaption” in Alaska. But that is far short of the money needed in Shishmaref and, likely, the most vulnerable communities impacted by climate change.

    In February, a community of about 60 people in Louisiana was named as the first official climate refugees in the US. The federal government granted $48m for the relocation of people in Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, which is disappearing into the Gulf of Mexico.

    By 2050, 50 million to 200 million people are expected to be displaced by climate change, according to the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security and the International Organization for Migration.

    Apparently some of the “political brains of Alaska”, have suggested providing more funding for relocations by increasing OIL SALES!

  42. Dan

    I just wanted to tell you that the Sunday morning talk shows have left me feeling better. There was no shortage of progressive voices that hit back hard against the cabinet choices and the reactionary voices that sit self-satisfied smug. There are many people in high places that are just as appalled as we are and they’re not cowering in silence.

    Elizabeth Warren, secular saint and MA Senator is doing a hell of a good job lambasting Trump and co. Then, on one of the Sunday am shows, and I’m sorry I didn’t notice which one, there was a Mayor on (ridiculous of me to post this without film clips or details) who explained that there is an association of Mayors that meets regularly and takes positions and actions on important issues. I was busy with my various tasks here but this caught my attention and I stuck my head in front of the TV to hear about this. He said that the Mayors intend to follow through with their climate change prevention programs no matter what the new Presidential administration says.

    This really gave me some hope. Check this website to see the position of the Mayors. Very interesting.

    http://www.usmayors.org/climateprotection/revised/

    I’ve always been immediately suspicious when I hear someone lauding states’ rights. It’s almost always an anti-choice, anti-public education, etc. type person. Now though, I’m thinking that the progressive bunch needs to utilize the states’ rights strategy in our favor! In the long term this could result in the final division of progressive vs reactionary states to the point where we find ourselves living in that North American reorg that Phil called something like CanAmerica. The Middle East is reorganizing itself along lines of religious and tribal culture, why not North America too? 😉

  43. LaurieB #50
    Dec 20, 2016 at 9:43 am

    In the long term this could result in the final division of progressive vs reactionary states to the point where we find ourselves living in that North American reorg that Phil called something like CanAmerica. The Middle East is reorganizing itself along lines of religious and tribal culture, why not North America too?

    I wonder who would see this break-up of the United States (or Europe for that matter) into separate squabbling countries, as a desirable move in world power juggling? – . . . and who would see muppets like Trump and Farage, as a useful tools worth promoting as chaos generators in manipulated elections?

  44. A4d

    You wonder? heh. Somehow I doubt that you’re sitting there somewhere with a blank stare, just wondering. Go ahead, proceed with the narrative of our speculation.

    There’s nothing wrong with speculation as long as it’s labeled as such. In fact, I enjoy hearing speculation by those at the top of their fields.

    Personally I do find the prospect of breakup to be frightening. This is based on large scale political breakups that have taken place in other locations in the world. The process is bloody and the result of congregating large tribes in a confined space with zero diversity or with a few token minorities has been a bad idea. A lurch toward Theocracy, ethnic purity and Fascism frightens me.

    It’s a self-serving bias to imagine breaking away from the red states and accumulating all of the progressive blue state liberals in a magnificent utopia. There’s a soup-con of vindictive revenge in the fantasy, i’ll admit. -Let’s leave the indoctrinated thugs to live in their biblical hell hole and then they’ll finally learn their lesson HA!

    Nothing to be proud of here. Nothing at all…

  45. LaurieB #52
    Dec 20, 2016 at 11:44 am

    A4d

    You wonder? heh. Somehow I doubt that you’re sitting there somewhere with a blank stare, just wondering.
    Go ahead, proceed with the narrative of our speculation.

    I think there are some likely candidates.

    There are foreign powers who don’t like US global influence.

    There are the disruptive media, who like to stir up mischief, and start disputes which will generate sensational /pseudo-sensational stories and copy, they can sell for profit.

    There are the capitalist vultures who see bankruptcies, collapses of businesses, banking failures, etc. as opportunities to seize property or make big money – trading in other people’s losses and misery (as with sub-prime salesmen and short-sellers in the sub-prime crisis).

    . . . . and then there are the industrial exploiters, who would love to operate without any government regulation of their:- pollution, abuse of workers, short changing of customers with sub-standard services, and total “liberation” from any requirements or responsibilities to tidy up their own mess, operate ethically, or show any respect for the environment! (Basically the “grab the money and run” crowd, who leave the public, or the tax-payers to sort out the derelict mess left in their wake when they have moved on to the next scam!)

    … . . oh! and I nearly forgot – the weapons manufacturers who see strife as market force for generating sales and profits!

    I must admit my “wondering” was posted to encourage other people to think about their own speculative answers –
    but as you have asked me .. . . . . .. . .

  46. I must urge again on distressed Americans the value of reading Bernie Sanders new book. Therapy lies between the covers. I know the revolution thing in the title fritzes your toxic werdamajig detector, but honestly that’s as risky as it gets.

    His experience with the flaccid DP is very telling. The way politics works at its grass roots is revealing and with him, it becomes inspiring. This is a manual for how to get it right next time.

    I’ve rather deferred Pete Singer as I found it not invoking any new thoughts for me. (Perhaps I covered it all in discussions here and elsewhere about him). Harari, Sapiens got in the way of the revolution for a bit. The early chapters are good if you haven’t covered this stuff before, though most have. The later conjectures are seriously adrift in my view, preachy and un-rooted.

    Back to Sanders. I’m half way and will probably run it to the end to hoover up all the annecdata.

  47. Yes Phil, toss Singer to the side for now. I have as well. Finished Moral Tribes, very nice and I agree that Sanders’ book must be read immediately. The other books you recommended are on my amazon wish list ready to order when my finances recover from this expensive season. Another Day in the Death of America and On the Run.

    I read Sapiens a few months back and didn’t appreciate some of his statements. It was from the library so I can’t produce the strange notions but anyways…so many books – so little time.

  48. Laurie, Phil

    Well I don’t feel better. Glad you like Sanders’ book. Doesn’t mean I have to. Let me decide.

    You can read this. It’s an interview with Robert Reich about Trump the tyrant and the various techniques he is using:

    https://democracynow.org/2016/12/20/robert_reich_like_a_tyrant_trump

    My mother sees it as I do; a nightmare, unfolding. She wrote me this:

    Dan we still have to live our lives. I think their agenda is pre Roosevelt. We will watch the country die and if we aren’t blown up something will happen. Meanwhile keep yourself healthy and physically active and we will go for your German [dual] citizenship in Jan. There is no reason why you cannot […] live overseas xxxx

    Sent from my iPad

  49. I will, Laurie. No problem. I (we) can live anywhere in the EU.—How ’bout Wyoming?

    How did your comment (56) get posted before mine (57)? I hadn’t yet finished with it. (It was too angry. I was putting down Trump supporters again and even Sanders, etc. I toned it down.)

  50. Excerpts from interview posted above (57) about Trump’s relationship with the press.

    DONALD TRUMP: You know my opinion of the media. It’s very low. … The press are liars. They’re terrible people. … And the media—look at all those people back there: scavengers. They’re like scavengers. … Show ’em the crowd, press. Show ’em the crowd. Show ’em the crowd. Look, they’re not turning the cameras. They don’t even turn the cameras. They don’t even turn the cameras, because, you know what, they’re very dishonest people. … Disgusting reporters, horrible people. Sure, some are nice. … They’re scum, absolute scum. Remember that. Scum.

    AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to read to you something from Politico. It says, “Donald Trump’s campaign struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group during the campaign to try and secure better media coverage, his son-in-law Jared Kushner told business executives Friday in Manhattan. Kushner said the agreement with Sinclair, which owns television stations across the country in many swing states and often packages news for their affiliates to run, gave them more access to Trump and the campaign, according to six people who heard his remarks. In exchange, Sinclair would broadcast their Trump interviews across the country without commentary, Kushner said.” Your concerns about this, Robert Reich?

    ROBERT REICH: Well, every president in every press room in every White House does make tacit—has tacit understandings with the press. You know, you get this interview with the president if—and it will be an exclusive interview, but—and we’re not going to allow anybody else to have that interview, but you’ve got to—you’ve got to give him that time to say his piece. That’s not unusual. What’s very unusual, though, is when a White House strikes a deal with a news outlet not to comment on what the president might be saying at a rally or any other event. That basically is a gag order. I mean, that is an agreement by the press not to have an opinion, not to express itself, not to point out to the public anything, not to even provide any facts to the public that might be important in terms of understanding the context of a presidential event or what a president says. That, again, is terribly dangerous in a democracy. It actually creates—it undermines the independence and the freedom of the press.

  51. Errr…weird. I don’t know.

    Wyoming in the EU? huh?

    If you mean Wyoming, US then I hope you know how to ride a horse. haha. I’ll bet you don’t have a clue (Dan of Manhattan).

  52. Alan,

    Obama is trying to set up safeguards to prevent or make it harder for Trump and his oil and gas loving plutocratic friends in business from making federal lands open to drilling. The national parks would be used.

    And he referred to the Berlin attack as an attack against Christians. That kind of rhetoric is dangerous; it is like he’s trying to set up a clash of civilizations.

    And he wants this pig Friedman to be ambassador to Israel! The worst possible choice! (No experience either; he’s Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer).

    (#62: But a comment should only be read after it is completed and posted. Her reply was written before I had completed the post, I think. Confused. Not that important, I guess.)

  53. Hello Laurie, Dan, Phil and anyone else that hasn’t gone shopping for canned goods and firearms.
    I’m just wondering if anyone is stocking up on survival supplies? Or anyone else actually.
    How dangerous must this guy get before we impeach him? I don’t know the limits now. When they start seizing the data from computers? Or go after the scientists who are safeguarding it?
    This is starting to look like the China communist revolution rather than the USA.

  54. Alf, relax. Get a grip. I myself have been in a fetal position in the corner of the room for about an hour and managed to crawl to my computer; but that doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t get a grip.

    Canned goods and firearms. I am going to use that line if you don’t mind. Funny. (Scary, but funny.)

    On a serious note, yes, these people are bad people, cruel, free-market fundamentalists, plutocratic oligarchs, and almost like the National Socialists, with this weird, vague, twisted vision of the future of the Fatherland, combined with a fantasized, glorious past. And the press issue, and the scapegoating, the lies, and everything else. All elements of American neo fascism. We are not yet a fascist country, but we are at fascism’s door now.

    Maybe he’ll be impeached. But that’s no panacea.

    USA! USA! USA!…my ass!

  55. The dispossessed need to learn as quickly as possible that they have been tricked.

    The biggest risk is the tyrant resorting to bread and circuses.

  56. phil rimmer #67
    Dec 21, 2016 at 3:34 am

    The biggest risk is the tyrant resorting to bread and circuses.

    I thought Trump was well into TV circuses already!

    http://www.inquisitr.com/3748666/19-times-donald-trump-appeared-in-movies-and-tv-shows/

    Of course, Donald Trump is well known for his years of heading up The Apprentice TV shows, but did you know that he has made many more appearances in other TV series and movies?
    Here are just 18 of them:

    It’s real-world reality he does not care about and cannot understand!

    Still the use of B-movie actors to act the part of Republican president in the White House, is not a new concept!

  57. Trump knows well the power of reality TV and mindless entertainments and the sop it provides keeping the proles happy and distracted enough.

    Juvenal’s idea has well endured, re-appearing as Orwell’s “prolefeed” in 1984.

    I’m still not sure Trump hasn’t done a deal for the mother and father of all reality TV shows.

    On related matters the documentary Hypernormalisation (on BBC iPlayer) by Adam Curtis is hugely thought provoking. Sneak previews of the ideas about prole distraction through noise and spurious controversy used by Putin’s PR guy appeared on a Charlie Brooker end of year Screenwipe last year.

  58. Alan, Phil, Alf, Laurie—

    Bread and circuses. We’re talking about fascism now. It seems like we’ve always been there but not quite. What is mass entertainment anyway, but a vast distraction and form of tranquilization? Now, more than ever, I perceive the insidious aspect of advertisements and sports and all that. Even the news: one big blanket to insulate us, while the new regime makes its plans to appropriate more wealth, to concentrate more wealth and more power, to exploit and to control – and preferably with as many people not knowing that they had even lost something in the process, something as vital as it is intangible: human liberty.

    Normalization. Others have written of that. It’s a real problem. All around me I sense indifference and acceptance.

    Laurie, I think Alf was referring, facetiously, to the supplies that would be needed if we all had to go underground. If we really were to face a fascist or right-wing totalitarianism many of us will be compelled to rebel, to form into some kind of underground cadres and have an adventurous yet highly dangerous and unpleasant life.

    I am depressed. I need to get a grip on myself. I don’t think we’ll lose the first amendment. And I don’t think we will become a fascist society; but the difference between a democracy turned right and an actual fascistic society seems very blurry to me. I am not even sure we’re not already there. Confused. Maybe I need to talk to someone – a professional, that is. Dreams every night now of tanks, and fences, and war, danger and horror, being a soldier, escape, etc.

    I’d sure like to be talking about happier things.

  59. Read Bernie, Dan. It’ll help you plan. It’ll help you find the good guys. I promise you don’t have to like it, but it is a practical guide on how to do politics and achieve social change.

    Don’t stew in your own juice. Get out. Join groups. Help.

    As you said, others will be suffering economically and in matters of health and education more than you. Feel sorrier for them. Help them.

  60. Dan #71
    Dec 21, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Bread and circuses. We’re talking about fascism now. It seems like we’ve always been there but not quite. What is mass entertainment anyway, but a vast distraction and form of tranquilization?

    This was well known to the Romans, and to readers of Orwell in the novel “1984”!

    Fascism and its delusional ideology of course, loves strong integrated alliances with that other form of mind control – religion – (which has its own fancy dress and mass audience “circuses”)! –

    As I linked over here!
    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/12/betsy-devos-and-gods-plan-for-schools/#li-comment-216152

    It has been well tested by various regimes!

  61. phil rimmer #70
    Dec 21, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Trump knows well the power of reality TV and mindless entertainments and the sop it provides keeping the proles happy and distracted enough.

    Juvenal’s idea has well endured, re-appearing as Orwell’s “prolefeed” in 1984.

    While looking at Orwell’s novel “1894”, there are also parallels with Trump’s revolution against “THE political establishment”, (on behalf of the red-neck ignorant who seek “change”), in the novel “Animal Farm”!

    https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/a/animal-farm/book-summary

  62. Good advice, Phil. (72)

    Look at this insidious garbage: more propaganda, and it will get worse. Now climate-change deniers are being depicted as victims, being persecuted by unreasonable and oppressive “climate warriors.” (This is why I have an aversion to the label: SJWs – as bad as they may be.)

    From one of many right-wing organizations:

    “E&E Legal advocates responsible resource development, sound science, respect for property rights, and a commitment to markets as it holds accountable those who seek excessive and destructive government regulation that’s based on agenda-driven policy making, junk science, and hysteria…”

    An article published on their website. I didn’t read this crap carefully, but enough to get the gist of it. Alan (others), take a look at this. The author appears to have written for a number of Christian-conservative magazines. Religion and conservatism!—Always together. Just like you said, Alan: control.

    https://eelegal.org/the-week-the-liberal-war-on-climate-dissenters/

    “But none of this matters to global warming warriors who, in a zeal reminiscent of the great Spanish Inquisition, want to jail climate dissenters and have marked Exxon for “corporate death.” To achieve that end, they are colluding with the Democratic Party and going after Exxon and any group that has had anything to do with climate change.”

  63. Dan

    You shouldn’t be so manipulated by this stuff.

    Over the last decade my working life has turned from incidental involvement in eco-tech to full blown commitment. I still distanced myself from Greenpeace because they failed to adapt with the new insights of science but stuck with their reliable fund-raising stance. Warriors expecting dog-whistle responses don’t help. Emotionalism doesn’t help. Don’t do it. Don’t endorse it.

    These emotional threats are like the emotional threats of the religious to bring about moral behaviour. These are crass and create terrible behavioural bedrock. Threatened with sticks the obedient Japanese youth are now not so sure this was needed. Actually taking avoiding action actively undercuts the effectiveness of the threatening approach.

    Like with the regressive left the alt (aka fascist) right pick the loud SJWs to bring there loyal hounds to heal, rather than the more numerous and informed Social Justice Advocates.

    More difficult but far more enduring is to cultivate a moral response for its own sake. Morals are their own and a sufficient reward.

    Not trashing the place, emptying the fridge and the coal scuttle (how old am I?!) leaving it better and richer for our kids is simply why we should do any of this stuff.

    Don’t feel disinclined to talk of rising sea levels and about the hundreds of millions less fortunate folks it hurts and the domino disaster of the displaced, but mention all the myriad of other positive reasons to do this right thing. Hinging everything on a beating will work less well on the less bright. Bravery and stupidity share much of their DNA.

  64. Peter Emden #77
    Dec 21, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Whilst human activity is an undeniable agent in climate change there are many who maintain the change is negligible.

    Nope! Not many – although the few are given media prominence! Among climate scientists and those in related sciences, there is a consensus of over a thousand peer-reviewed authors that it is very significant, and a handful of mavericks, incompetents, dissidents, and bought carbon industry stooges, who contradict the overwhelming mountains of evidence.

    Matt Ridley, although a capable zoologist, – and since his career as a failed banker ended with the sub-prime crisis, – is now a stooge apologist journalist for the gas-fracking and coal mining industries.
    He knows enough science to sound plausible to the ill-informed and uneducated.
    (His family owns extensive lands containing a large coal mine!)

    Much of the conclusive evidence of a changing climate is in detailed satellite mapping and measuring of year-on-year billions of tonnes of receding ice-caps and long term detailed global temperature measurements of both of land and oceans – together with the climate belts moving towards the poles and the deserts expanding in the tropics.

    Global greening is the latest carbonaceous denialist cherry picked bit of CO2 diversionary excuse for continued pollution and prevarication.

    Plants grow a bit faster when there is more CO2 in their atmosphere.

    Like those running commercial glasshouses, I have known this for 40 years.
    They do not however grow faster in desertified tropical areas, or in felled deforested rain-forests.
    This issue also does nothing about ocean acidification, which is a severe threat to the cycle of CO2 absorption.
    Nor does it do anything about loss of ice-caps providing dry-season irrigation water for millions of subsistence farmers, or deal with rising sea levels or a energetic atmosphere intensifying storms and droughts.

  65. Peter Emden #77
    Dec 21, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Watch the 2016 Annual GWPF lecture for a cogent and balances assessment:

    I think “balanced” or “cogent” is a massive stretch of the imagination for a denialist propagandist lobbying organisation!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Warming_Policy_Foundation

    The foundation was established in November 2009, shortly after the start of the Climatic Research Unit email controversy,
    with its headquarters in a room at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining,
    subsequently moved to 55 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL.
    Its director is Benny Peiser,[6][7] an expert on the social and economic aspects of physical exercise,
    and it is chaired by former Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson.

    Nigel Lawson is a well known long-standing Tory climate change denier!

    The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is a think tank in the United Kingdom, whose stated aims are to challenge “extremely damaging and harmful policies” envisaged by governments to mitigate anthropogenic global warming.[3][4]

    The GWPF website carries an array of articles “skeptical” of scientific findings of anthropogenic global warming.

    It has been accused of promoting climate-change denial.[5] In 2014, when the Charity Commission ruled that the GWPF had breached rules on impartiality, a non-charitable organisation called the “Global Warming Policy Forum” or “GWPF” was created as a wholly owned subsidiary, to do lobbying that a charity could not.

    So apart from the odd stooge with some scientific credentials, – a bunch of propagandist lobbyists!

  66. ” I think Alf was referring, facetiously, to the supplies that would be needed if we all had to go underground. ”

    So Dan, what should I do with four hundred pounds of peanut butter now?

  67. @ 17 Crooked “All in the Family”? Meathead and Archie?

    I dont know those things Crooked

    You are thick skinned like me and it helps not being in the USA also

    I just have a gut feeling that the net will out- there is simply too much good info out there for the kids to be fooled like this

  68. I didn’t expect it to work here:) Matt Ridley is a respected Times science columnist, and received a good number of supporting posts, so obviously quite a few readers were persuaded by his presentation. I found it very interesting – to say the least.

  69. Alan nails Ridley for me too.

    There is just nothing like enough on his side for this physicist.

    His botany’s none too good either. As Alan said, a bit more CO2 is good for some crops, but growth uplifts are restricted to 10 to 15% at most and the uplifts in natural environments are often temporary when nutrient levels and water use are adversely affected. Whilst this could see a temporary uplift in the carbon content of vegetation its subsequent rotting release may increase GHG burden. CO2 transformed to CH4 with a 100yr CO2 equivalent 29 times greater. The balance of growth to premature rotting due to nutrient and water deficiencies bode very ill.

    We currently have a greenhouse-based project running with a UK university. (Its cucumbers and these typically have extra CO2 and nutrients pumped in.) Talking with the profs there about this results in very skeptical responses.

  70. Peter Emden #83
    Dec 21, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Matt Ridley is a respected Times science columnist, and received a good number of supporting posts, so obviously quite a few readers were persuaded by his presentation.

    I know !
    That’s why the denial websites use his credentials as a respected ZOOLOGIST to promote stooge claims on the physics, and climatology, about he either knows nothing, or disingenuously campaigns on behalf of carbon polluters!
    “Global Greening” from a bit of extra plant growth here and there, is largely irrelevant to all the major problems caused by global warming!
    (some of which I listed @#78.)

    I found it very interesting – to say the least.

    Increased glasshouse production from adding CO2 to crops is indeed interesting, but globally has minimal effect on reducing the problems of CO2 emissions.
    The planet is warming rapidly despite any small effects the plants may be having.

  71. phil rimmer #84
    Dec 21, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    As Alan said, a bit more CO2 is good for some crops, but growth uplifts are restricted to 10 to 15% at most and the uplifts in natural environments are often temporary when nutrient levels and water use are adversely affected.

    It is indeed this lack of nutrients and not a lack of CO2, which leads to highly damaging ocean acidification, when the algal blooms which take up CO2 and then carry it to the sediments in the ocean floor as they sink, run out of nutrients, and stop growing and absorbing it!

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/04/ocean-acidification/kolbert-text

  72. Alan, along with those minor growth increases, there will be species that can not take the temp change. Those will die off producing more methane.

  73. Phil #76

    You shouldn’t be so manipulated by this stuff.

    Could you clarify this (above)? Your comment wasn’t clear to me. Manipulated by what exactly? Do you agree with the author that climate-change advocates are persecuting climate-change deniers? I assure you that that author is a Christian-conservative propagandist and that “climate change warrior” is a straw-man designed to manipulate and confuse the all-too-malleable minds of Republican voters. I happened to come across that article/website by chance – and was appalled, and am concerned that others will be manipulated. These people turn everything upside down, on its head. Forget about the SLWs that give legitimate “advocates” a bad name; I am just concerned about the rise of this kind of propaganda. I never thought I’d read an article defending climate-change skeptics before, and thought I’d post it. It’s yet another example of sheer treachery, intellectual barbarism – and it is serving the interests of this incipient administration.

    Btw, he just hired billionaire investor Carl Icahn to be in charge of overhauling regulations. He will personally benefit from deregulation. This is blatant corruption.

    This situation is so appalling and infuriating!

    Getting back to fascism, I just got this. There is an organization called MoveOn. They are good. I gave them some dough recently, and so I get emails from them. I wonder when the Dawkins site will start getting attacked by these monsters. I hope never.

    (I’m not crazy about Greenpeace either. They never stop calling me.)

    Dear MoveOn member,

    Donald Trump and his henchmen are now attacking MoveOn.

    Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming chief of staff, reacted to Electoral College protests by telling “Fox News Sunday” that “harassment from groups like MoveOn.org and the Democratic Party should stop.” We knew the moment he said it because there was an immediate spike in online abuse aimed at us.

    I promise you that we won’t be intimidated or bullied—and we have no intention of backing down one bit.

    Donald Trump and his allies aren’t just pushing the standard Republican threats of repealing the Affordable Care Act, overturning Roe v. Wade, and giving a huge tax break for the 1%.

    They have declared a war on truth itself. Who cares that Monday’s Electoral College protests were peaceful and respectful? Or that while thousands of MoveOn members turned out, MoveOn didn’t organize these events—nor did the Democratic Party?

    Facts don’t matter to these folks. Intimidation and bullying are part of their standard tool set.

    During Trump’s “victory tour,” he told his followers that the murder rate is the highest it’s been in 45 years. In fact, it’s near a 50-year low.

    He said that he won the election in a landslide—but in fact, he lost the popular vote by 2.8 million votes.3,4 He rejected the findings of the FBI and CIA on Russian interference in our election, while claiming—with no evidence whatsoever—that millions of people voted illegally for Hillary Clinton.

    And this isn’t the first time Trump’s entourage has moved to silence dissent by attacking grassroots organizations—like MoveOn—and media outlets that challenge his lies.

    It’s not hyperbole to say that this is how fascism develops.

  74. Some good news, for a change. Phil, you still haven’t explained your comment 76 to me. I have no idea who you’re talking about. What warriors? What dog-whistles?

    Last week, hundreds of MoveOn members and allies, led by Muslims who would be affected by Donald Trump’s registry, marched to the White House as part of a big campaign to demand that President Obama do his part to prevent the registry from being built.

    People from all backgrounds showed up to stand with Muslim communities. We chanted, we sang, we marched, and we listened to stories of those who have been directly affected by the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which is the Bush-era registry program used to target and detain immigrants from Muslim-majority countries. We called on President Obama to shut down NSEERS, completely, once and for all, before Trump takes office.

    And we have some amazing news to share: We won!

    President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security are officially shutting down NSEERS once and for all.1 There’s much more to do, but today’s victory puts one more critical hurdle in Trump’s way to prevent him from targeting Muslim communities and starting a Muslim registry.

  75. A Secretary of State who opposes civil rights.

    An EPA Administrator that denies climate change.

    A Secretary of the Treasury who got rich off home foreclosures.

    A billionaire investor (Carl Icahn) to be in charge of overhauling regulations who will greatly benefit (financially) from deregulation.

    That’s Trump’s cabinet in a nutshell. Trump has assembled a gang of billionaires and generals who represent the top 1% and their interests, not the needs of the 99%. In fact, the combined net worth of his cabinet picks so far is over $13 billion! And Trump’s cabinet has more conflicts of interest than any other in history.

  76. When i introduce evolution to my students I am always careful to clearly state that Darwin did NOT come up with the THEORY of evolution. He came up with a viable hypothesis that, through decades of experiment, argument, and reasoning has borne out as true. Demonstrably true.

    Richard talks in one of his books of “the conceit of hindsight”. And how it is confounding when we look back along the timeline of the “correct hypothesis”. It creates an illusion that we have to be sure not to gloss over and lose to history. Science is not “declared” it is pushed and pulled and teased out. Having now stretched out my point…. well, here goes.

    How long do you think it will be before the verifiable, reproducible, reliable, logical, well reasoned, argued about, pushed, pulled, teased out story will be widely enough accepted that I do not have to endure simpletons declaring themselves right and muddying the water for their own profits?

    And, I read “The Red Queen” some years ago, I found it pretty good. But, from another strand, it steams me when someone who has expertise somewhere tries to Trump (pun intended…. sorry Dan) actual experts.

  77. crooked

    I am always careful to clearly state that Darwin did NOT come up with the THEORY of evolution.

    I’m currently reading (amongst others)

    Erasmus Darwin and Evolution. by Desmond King-Hele

    D K-H is an Erasmus Darwin scholar of some considerable depth and he pulls up a wealth of material that frames ideas a single common decent from the merest filament of life and much else. ED himself was prompted to all this by some ideas of his father Robert Darwin, Charles Darwin’s great grandfather.

    ED is possibly an even greater hero for me than CD. CD is the acme of the perfect scientist with the single greatest theory to his credit. As you suggest though he provided the perfect synthesis of a long nurtured idea.

    ED was possibly the most rounded of all polymaths (portly too!). Best selling poet, wonderful father, feminist centuries ahead of the curve, investor in new technology, founding member of the Lunar Society, those inventors of modernity itself.

    The Lunar Men. Jenny Uglow.

  78. Dan #89

    Oops. sorry that doesn’t look at all clear. Something got lost. And I can’t precisely recall what it was. I don’t think it was meant to be anything but soothing though.

    I’m off to Liquid Philosophy atm. I’ll try and put it right later.

  79. That’s true, crookedshoes; and Freud didn’t “come up with” the theory of the unconscious. (He detected it in the works of writers, like Shakespeare.) Nor did Kant “come up with” the thing-in-itself. It had been suggested and expressed by others, in the form of allegory, and more formally by Berkeley and Locke. (Unfortunately, the latter hypothesis cannot be easily tested or verified; you have to be present in order to test whether something is there when you’re not there.)

    Thanks, Phil! You’re a mensch. I read that comment numerous times. I finally got a headache. I thought you might be saying that people that were concerned about climate change were just a bunch of regressive leftists! LOL (Maybe some are.)

  80. Dan

    Although you are not a fan of Pinker as I am, I’ll link you to this article on VOX that is an interview with him and a writer there.
    http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/12/22/14042506/steven-pinker-optimistic-future-2016

    He takes a long view of things which is just what’s wanted right now. Here are some quotes that make me feel a little better:

    Look at history and data, not headlines. The world continues to improve in just about every way. Extreme poverty, child mortality, illiteracy, and global inequality are at historic lows; vaccinations, basic education, including girls, and democracy are at all-time highs.

    Several awful things happened in the world’s democracies in 2016, and the election of a mercurial and ignorant president injects a troubling degree of uncertainty into international relations.

    But it’s vital to keep cool and identify specific dangers rather than being overcome by a vague apocalyptic gloom. Brexit may be regrettable, but it’s not going to lead to a war between the UK and Germany or France. A closeness to Russia is troubling in many ways, but it may reduce, rather than increase, the chance of a major war (so suggested the eminent peace researcher Nils Petter Gleditsch).

    Indeed, Trump capitalized on the crime uptick to sow panic about the state of the nation, and progressives foolishly ceded the issue to him. Moment-by-moment analyses of Google searches by the data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz show that Islamophobia strongly tracks incidents of terrorism with Muslim perpetrators. So hate crimes will probably depend more on overall crime rates and — in the case of Islamophobic hate crimes — on terrorist attacks than on a general atmosphere created by Trump.

    More generally, the worldwide, decades-long current toward racial tolerance is too strong to be undone by one man. Public opinion polls in almost every country show steady declines in racial and religious prejudice­ — and more importantly for the future, that younger cohorts are less prejudiced than older ones. As my own cohort of baby boomers (who helped elect Trump) dies off and is replaced by millennials (who rejected him in droves), the world will become more tolerant.

    It’s not just that people are increasingly disagreeing with intolerant statements when asked by pollsters, which could be driven by a taboo against explicit racism. Stephens-Davidowitz has shown that Google searches for racist jokes and organizations are sensitive indicators of private racism. They have declined steadily over the past dozen years, and they are more popular in older than younger cohorts.

    Julia Belluz
    Are you optimistic about the future?

    Steven Pinker
    I’ve never been “optimistic” in the sense of just seeing the glass as half-full — only in the sense of looking at trend lines rather than headlines. It’s irrational both to ignore good developments and to put a happy face on bad ones.

    As it happens, most global, long-term trends have been positive. As for the future, I like the distinction drawn by the economist Paul Romer between complacent optimism, the feeling of a child waiting for presents, and conditional optimism, the feeling of a child who wants a treehouse and realizes that if he gets some wood and nails and persuades other kids to help him, he can build one. I am not complacently optimistic about the future; I am conditionally optimistic.

    I just searched my library network with the intention of placing a hold on B. Sanders new book and to my surprise, there isn’t a single copy of that book owned by any town around here. hmmm. Very odd state of affairs. Will trot on over there (library across the street from my house 🙂 ) and see about getting it ordered for the library. Meanwhile, I bought it for myself and family on kindle. Can’t wait for copy to reach library and wait on the list for it to become available.

  81. LaurieB #98
    Dec 22, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    @your link – Several awful things happened in the world’s democracies in 2016, and the election of a mercurial and ignorant president injects a troubling degree of uncertainty into international relations.

    But it’s vital to keep cool and identify specific dangers rather than being overcome by a vague apocalyptic gloom.

    I think some specific dangers are becoming very evident, as Trump expands further on his collection of wrong decisions!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38410027

    Donald Trump has called for the US to “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear capabilities.

    The president-elect, who takes office next month, said the US must take such action “until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes”.

    His spokesman later said that he was referring to the need to prevent nuclear proliferation.

    Mr Trump spoke hours after President Vladimir Putin said Russia needs to bolster its military nuclear potential.

    The US has 7,100 nuclear weapons and Russia has 7,300, according to the US nonpartisan Arms Control Association.

  82. Thanks, Laurie,

    I will definitely read that.

    Let me return the favor. Here’s something inspiring for you – and others. Sanders being interviewed by Sarah Silverman. (In addition to being inspiring it is also disturbing. We can go either way; no guarantee that things won’t get much worse. He’s a realist. We, as a nation, are definitely facing a crisis, an existential crisis. No one – including Sanders – can predict the outcome.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP5xavI0d_o&t=1728s

  83. @97 Freud, Shakespeare, Kant and Locke on a Trump post?
    I think the healing may have begun Dan
    Back on topic all the nervousness about DT is getting stronger this side of the pond with every tweet trust me.

  84. I have to try to keep my spirits up, Pinball. I am scared shitless basically.

    Donald Trump is already moving a disastrous agenda into place that could jeopardize every bit of progress we’ve made since FDR. He’s put forth frightening cabinet nominations, is surrounded by lunatics and thugs. Everyone in the Republican Party either likes him or is afraid of him. He has obvious and dangerous conflicts of interest. He has all but declared war on American democracy, is an autocrat and an oligarch, has made threats to take away millions of people’s healthcare, denigrates the press which he also shuns, is a liar, refuses to be held accountable, etc., etc., etc.

    I might as well say it: these people are not much better than nazis. They are the worst of the worst.

    No one really knows what will happen after January 20.

  85. Phil (and everyone who is tuned in),
    It is important to credit Erasmus and Robert darwin… Also, LaMarck’s “so close” interpretation (and Buffon…and..and…and) History favors the mind that knows history!!!! Anyway, I read a pretty fast treatment of Darwin’s voyage and an unlikely contributor to that history thing. His name was Syms Covington and the read is rip-roaring! I recommend it for anyone who wants a two or three sit down read that may wrinkle your brow a bit.

    Anyway, what the book reads (between the lines) to me is that this man, Syms, was darwin’s shooter (the name of the book is “Mr. Darwin’s Shooter”)… So this guy, shoots every damn thing that Darwin collected on the Beagle’s voyage. And, at no point is there a light bulb over Covington’s head (he does have an idea, of sorts….) he does get pretty rich… Good read.

    Anyway, Darwin was able to synthesize a compelling argument for what was really already “out there”. I have heard evolution called “the long argument” and to be honest, that’s why so many don;t get it—– they do not stick around for the whole story!

  86. Alan4discussion #99

    Dec 22, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Donald Trump has called for the US to “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear capabilities.

    Pathetic. Completely irresponsible.

  87. It’s getting beyond scary now. I’ve been hoping against hope that this childish narcissistic idiot would rise just a little bit to meet the challenge of the presidency but it seems not. Now he says “let it be an arms race” with nuclear weapons. Exactly how much better will things be with more than the 7000 nuclear warheads the USA already possesses? Does the capability to destroy the entire planet more than once over make you any stronger than if you can do it only the once?

    It’s like having an interrogation suspect in a chair and holding a .22 pistol at his head. If he still won’t talk does using a 38 special, a 44 Magnum or an anti tank missile scare him any more? Nope. Dead is dead.

    I think all we can do now is hope the checks and balances in the system do something to control this psychopath because the safety of the entire planet is looking to be more and more at risk.

  88. Between the nukes thing and the indication that Israel will be given a free pass to finally obliterate the Palestinians and every other ignorant, frightening faux pas that Trump has put out there, if anyone isn’t scared shitless yet then they must live under a rock.

  89. Laurie

    Very true, Laurie. Did you see Conway on Rachael Maddow? That was disturbing. What a beast. She’s basically a thug like all of the rest, is paid to lie to the public, and mislead them. When asked about the nuke comment she had nothing to say except “it’s a dangerous world.”

    Trump’s annoying and hideous wife is suing the Daily Mail (I think) for libel and in spite of a retraction and an apology, wants to completely annihilate The Daily Mail in the process. Is that the new model? These are tyrants.

    Mr. Harder, her lawyer, recently successfully sued Gawker Media for publishing a sex tape featuring wrestling star Hulk Hogan. Gawker Media no longer exists.

  90. Dan #107
    Dec 23, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Trump’s annoying and hideous wife is suing the Daily Mail (I think) for libel and in spite of a retraction and an apology, wants to completely annihilate in the process.

    Annihilate the Daily Mail
    Good grief!
    You mean they actually performing a public service?! 🙂

    Do you think they could annihilate the Express as well?

  91. Alan,

    Yes, I see. I didn’t know The Daily Mail was that bad. Maybe they can “annihilate” Fox News too. (Of course they won’t.)

    Still disturbing that the same ruthless lawyer sued the other newspaper and forced them to close down.

    Everyone’s already talking about nukes now. It’s only December.

  92. Media outlet, that is. I’m not sure what “Gawker” was. Not a newspaper.

    Obama was right, as was Hillary, and many others. Trump is unfit to be Commander in Chief. He’s a fiendish and sinister man.

    I just had a terrible thought. Maybe a group of people who believe in the rapture are controlling Trump and want to blow up the world. It’s possible, isn’t it?

  93. Dan #109
    Dec 23, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Yes, I see. I didn’t know The Daily Mail was that bad.
    Maybe they can “annihilate” Fox News too. (Of course they won’t.)

    Trump can’t annihilate Faux News – Where would he get his information? – It’s his entire reference library! 🙂

  94. @#99 BBC link – Donald Trump has called for the US to “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear capabilities.

    The president-elect, who takes office next month, said the US must take such action “until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes”.

    His spokesman later said that he was referring to the need to prevent nuclear proliferation.

    Obviously a “Trump solution” to this problem!! –
    “Reduce proliferation” by building more weapons in the hands of an idiot who is in the habit disparaging expert advice, and threatening other people while having temper tantrums.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-38434944
    India has successfully conducted a fourth test launch of its nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile.

    The Agni-V missile was launched from a site off the east coast on Monday.

    It has a range of more than 5,000km (3,100 miles), potentially bringing targets in China within striking distance.

    President Pranab Mukherjee tweeted that the launch “will enhance our strategic and deterrence capabilities”.

    India launches long-range missile

    India conducted the first test launch of the Agni V in 2012, the second in 2013 and the third one in 2015, PTI news agency reported.

    The Agni-V is 17.5m (57ft) tall and solid-fuelled. It has three stages and a launch weight of 50 tonnes.

    The missiles are among India’s most sophisticated weapons. Agni means “fire” in Hindi and Sanskrit.

    I don’t suppose Trump bothered to ask any of those “ignorant NASA scientists” about this!
    After all:- What would they know? 🙂

Leave a Reply