Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Global Warming is Gonna Be Bad for the Midwest

While bureaucrats from around the world are in Copenhagen haggling over an arcane agreement that may have profound effects on the state of the entire planet a century from now, you can enjoy this interactive map, which projects temperature rise across the the lower 48 states by the 2080s:

21st century global warming map of the us

It's based on a "medium" projection of greenhouse gas emissions. It shows at least a 4F temperature rise relative to a 1961-1990 baseline pretty much everywhere and 6-8F in much of the Interior West and Midwest (a.k.a. where our food comes from). In fact the seven states that are expected to heat up the most are all in the Midwest or thereabouts: Nebraska and Iowa (9.4F according to the moderate scenario), South Dakota (9.3), Missouri (9.2), Illinois (9.1), Kansas (9.1), and North Dakota (9.0).

The maps are based on a report (pdf) from The Nature Conservancy:
To help average Americans, policy makers and other local stakeholders better understand how climate change will directly impact their states, The Nature Conservancy has analyzed the latest and most comprehensive scientific data available to calculate specific temperature projections for each of the 50 US states over the next 100 years.

The Nature Conservancy also worked with the University of Washington and the University of Southern Mississippi to develop a new on-line tool that combines the latest scientific data and climate models with geographic information systems (GIS), statistical analysis and web-based mapping services. This tool, Climate Wizard (www.climatewizard.org), represents the first time ever that the full range of climate history and future projections for specific landscapes and time frames have been brought together in a user-friendly format that is available to a mass audience.
It also predicts rainfall:

us global warming precipitation prediction map

Bad news for California and Texas. Oh well, at least they're not the two most populous states in the country or anything.

Via Huffington Post.

61 comments:

Richard said...

I'm not sure why you think that Minnesota & the Dakotas getting Missouri's climate and Missouri getting Texas's climate (but wetter, in both cases) is actually a _bad_ thing. I'd think that if you actually asked people who live in the Upper Midwest, they would not complain at all. The Sun Belt stretching from Texas to California will turn in to the Desert Belt, and Florida will be under water, but global warming would not be bad for the Midwest at all (other than for seafood lovers, like myself, due to the acidification of the oceans killing all the shellfish).

Anonymous said...

So, our forecasters can barely tell us what the weather will be like next Tuesday, but these guys have nailed down the weather 70 years from now? Right.

Gus Snarp said...

Congratulations, Anonymous, you have conflated weather with climate. They are not the same.

The inability to precisely predict the weather next Tuesday has nothing to do with the ability to model long term climate trends.

Andrew B said...

None of this stuff is in any way believeable since the hacker leaks from the East Anglia CRU, and the corruption of data keeping and the scientific process that has been revealed there.

Andrew B said...

"model long term climate trends"

Something only slightly more believable than the hubris that man can then proceed to control and "stabilize"the planetary climate by his actions.

The various "scientific" actions being proposed to "counter" global warming are far more frightening in considering what might go wrong (i.e. the engineer's view via failure analysis of what might go wrong with the scientists pie-in-the-sky proposals) than any global warming scenario being discussed.

Richard said...

Not sure what proposals you're talking about, though cutting down carbon emissions won't put us in a world we haven't been in before.

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Chachy said...

Sigh. Are we going to have to do this then?

All right. First, as Gus Snarp says, weather and climate are two different things. But furthermore, I don't really understand the premise that meteorologists are often wrong. Because they're usually right! They're right a lot more often than you would be if you tried predicting the weather based on your gut. It's a great example of the success and practical applicability of science.

Richard - it's true some areas might benefit from global warming. But overall the change itself will be massively disruptive. On the face of it, Iowa getting a little warmer doesn't sound so bad, but who knows what effects that might have on agriculture in the area? It could be devastating. But you're actually probably right that the Southwest and Florida are the most vulnerable to global warming.

Andrew B - In re: the hacked e-mails. Listen. It was ten years' worth of e-mails, and they found one or two showing scientists using borderline methods in the presentation of their research. How in God's name does that show that global warming is not believable? Furthermore - and this is what I really don't understand - why would all of the world's climate scientists conspire to invent a "global warming hoax"? What could the motivation possibly be for that?

At the end of the day, there are going to be plenty of well-funded media voices continuing to deny that anthropogenic global warming exists. The fact that there is a scientific consensus around global warming existing is clearly not sufficient to convince many people in the face of this denialist media onslaught. This is one of the many reasons why I'm pessimistic that we'll end up doing anything serious to avert climate catastrophe; if we were going to, the public consensus that it is a real phenomenon at the very least should have formed some time ago. But clearly, those who benefit economically from the status quo are going to fight the formation of that consensus as long as they can. Probably right up until Phoenix runs out of water and Bangladesh slips under the waves.

Also, Andrew B, I assume what you're referring to as "pie-in-the-sky proposals" are the various geo-engineering schemes out there. I agree with you that many of the most ambitious of those are terrible ideas with enormous potential for unintended consequences, and really the only way to take on global warming is to massively reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we're sending into the atmosphere. But that's what most climate scientists say, too; the geo-engineering approach is fairly fringe.

Richard said...

Uh, we know what an Iowa that's a little warmer is like. It's called Missouri. Agriculture doesn't seem disrupted there.

Deez said...

I beleive Anonymous has a point. If the weather can't accurately be forecast more than a week, how can these geniuses tell us we are in for climate change?

The reason we can't predict weather patterns out too far, is because the system is chaotic and dependent on an infinite amount of variables all reacting with one another. Climate change is the same. Saying you can accurately model a chaotic system 70 years out is a flat out hoax. There are plenty of areas of explanation that get flat out ignored to push a politcal agenda.

Wait, it has already been exposed as a hoax. Bogus algorithms, bogus margins of error and most importanly a corrupt driving politcal force.

Global warming is not about the heating of our planet. It's is about taxes, control of the energy supply and loss of sovereignty.

Socialism under the guise of morality. People can't concieve that politicians can be scam artist? Pretty soon, the government will control banking, healthcare and energy making us all dependent on them.

Richard said...

Do you say it's a hoax because you want to believe it is, or because you'd dispassionately examined the evidence?

Too often, people believe what they want to believe, regardless of evidence (a shockingly large percentage of our country still believes we are descendents of Adam & Eve, Eve was created out of a bone, and all that Genesis claptrap, despite the overwhelming evidence for evolution, for example).

While the evidence for global warming isn't as massive as it is for evolution, there is more evidence that the future is going to be warmer (and the oceans are getting more acidic) than there is that it's going to stay the same or get cooler.

Deez said...

Richard, I am not advocating polution; however, I could pose the same question to you.

Is it possible a few want to fabricate evidence for political agendas? It seems so. You could argue the same point with wars over the course of history. It's not a new tactic.

Is it possible people want to follow a cult like sheep (speaking of religion)? History has a way of repeating itself and cults usually end poorly with misguided followers.

Currently, it is the over priveledged, pseudo-intellectual X'ers trying to look cool in front of their "emo" friends at the local coffee shop (starbucks is for posers, right?) that are the constituency. All because MTV brainwashed them in the mid/late 90's and formed identities for them as half gay men in flannel and skinny jeans that "rock the vote". Hey, we have to do something about this global warming shit!

The followers pretend to be wrapped up in a proposterous cause while being suckered by popularity contest politicians. Even if for a moment this issue didn't make sense, they have to go with the flow or risk alienation. If they were actually as intelligent as they thought they were, they would have made some fucking money by now. Trust me, it's not because they are above it.

It's a bad business deal...America is the loser. Get some numbers that make that make sense and that are transparent and maybe the rest of us will bite. Until then...it's a scam. And until then, I'll wait for the "enlightened" to tell me "told you so" when we are all under water.

Richard said...

Occam's Razor.

Anything is possible. What is most likely?

Andrew B said...

Richard:

"regardless of evidence (a shockingly large percentage of our country still believes we are descendents of Adam & Eve, Eve was created out of a bone, and all that Genesis claptrap, despite the overwhelming evidence for evolution, for example)"

What "evidence"? Written history of evolution has it happened? Photos and videos of the human race evolving from protoplasm over millions of years? Scientific reproduction of evolution in non-falsified laboratory experiments? Obviously not, because none of that exists.

Isn't the "evidence" really a bunch of stuff dug up out of the ground and "explained" to fit a pre-conceived conclusion?

Everytime I hear someone speaking of pre-history as conclusively known and understood beyond any doubt or argument, I think of David Macaulay's "Motel of Mysteries".

One day perhaps a few thousand years from now, people will be telling us that Penn Station New York was really located in the Meadowlands of New Jersey, because when the archaeologists come along to dig it up, that's where they will find it (the rock from the Station building was dumped in a landfill near Kearny).

The events of the past can not be know with certainty except through accurate recorded history. This definitely exlcudes pre-historic events.

Gus Snarp said...

Realized last night arguing with my three year old that arguing with climate change deniers is like arguing with a three year old. They will continually repeat the same assertions that you have already shown to be factually and logically false. Like: "they can't predict the weather, next tuesday, how can they predict climate". It doesn't matter how many times you tell them that weather and climate are not the same (or point out as Chachy wisely did that meteorologists are actually quite good at predicting the weather these days). Or "the emails, the emails!" It doesn't matter how many times you explain that the emails were cherry picked and that what was cherry picked does not show what the critics claim it shows.

Just like my three year old will repeatedly tell me: "I'm going to eat ice cream, I'm not going to bed" no matter how many times I tell them there is no ice cream and he is going to bed if I have to carry him.

Deez said...

Gus,
I could charge climate change believers the same. What concrete evidence is there? More importantly, what is the motivation? 9 times out 10 everything and anything is done for money.

Chachy said...

Richard - But climate change is non-linear. You can't just extrapolate from Iowa's present climate by adding 7 degrees or whatever, because weather patterns are cretain to change. At the least, it's likely that that precipitation will be heavier and rarer than it is now. How will Iowa's crops respond, if flooding and drought are both more common? How will the soil respond? Maybe they'll adapt, maybe not - but uncertainty is precisely the point; it's a big gamble to take for any given location on the planet. And for the midwest, one of the most important food-producing regions in the world, it is a very high stakes gamble.

Deez - What can I say, man. It is certainly interesting that your denialist argument is couched almost entirely in terms of cultural identity - you seem to see it as indicative of a culture of feminization of men. This is actually sort of enlightening. Is this the basis of global warming denialism - a sense of alienation from perceived cultural elites? Do you just associated 'global warming' with all that crowd who represent a threat to your cultural attitudes? If this is the case, I don't suppose any argument about the world's climate scientists not being motivated by "MTV propaganda" will sway you. I guess I can only say this: please, please, please think about who your real enemies are. Al Gore is not going to challenge your masculinity. The IPCC is not interested in taking away your autonomy. ExxonMobil, on the other hand, would gladly destroy your family, and your community, and the world, if it meant they could increase their quarterly profits by a marginal percentage point or two.

Deez said...

BTW, Copenhagen failed.

The smart guys couldn't decide on how big the amount of wealth transfer from the industrialized West to the Third World should be.

A scientist who falsifies data is no better than a lobbyist for a special interest. It's a money grab!

Let's see, apparently we need highly centralized power given to the best and the brightest, a new class of experts, and more buearucrats. Incidentally, Al Gore is a zealot with exaggerations and cap-and-trade schemes.

If you don't like big brother in terms of the CIA, why is it any different in terms of the EPA? I can assure you the sky is not falling, but they would prefer you to think that.

Gus Snarp said...

Deez - the difference between those who accept the evidence of climate change and those who deny it is that the overwhelming scientific evidence is on the side of acceptance. As someone who understands how science works and who actually knows some climate scientists, I am inclined toware the former.

And since you are so interested in the financial motivations, where exactly are the financial motivations to falsify data? Tenured professors have guaranteed jobs with relatively stable incomes. Most of them don't publish anything that will make them any money. They may get some grants to fund their research, but that money is not theirs to spend personally, and over a career many research lots of different things. On the other hand many of the critics have been funded by Exxon Mobil. So by all means, follow the money.

Now I will follow the same course I do when I get into an argumet with my three year old: stop talking no matter how many times he repeats himself.

Deez said...

Gussy,

I guess your elected officials are on your side. I am glad you are so trusting.

I suppose none of this has to do with taxes, control of energy or filtering money to the UN. When we are talking about carbon emissions, there are plenty of places to sneak in Taxes. Not to mention, we are giving up control to a global enitity.

It's not that I care if global warmist party all day and all night. It's the assholes at the top of the pyramid that are going about it the wrong way and acting in a way that is detrimental to our country. The evidence is not their to justify the risk.

Currently, the political risk is much more real than us ending up in Waterworld.

Gus Snarp said...

How's the fit on that tin foil hat, Deez?

Deez said...

My tin foil hat fits good. How's your balance sheet? Apparently, billions of dollars mean nothing.

Oh yeah, we will be living in underwater domes in heat suits if we don't commit all of that money, so I guess it is worth it. Who cares if we tax ourselves to death, we will be dead anyway right.

Hurry up and rush, false sense of urgency...just pass some legislation already! To hell with the "science numbers. Al Gore is comparable to L. Ron Hubbard. How does your tin foil hat fit?

Richard said...

Andrew B,

We see evidence of evolution during recorded history as well:
http://richarddawkins.net/articles/4619 (I can also recall the one about dark & light colored moths in Industrial Age England, but there are dozens and dozens of other examples of evolution occurring in real time). To be sure, we may not get the exact details of all that ocurred in the past right, but to deny tht evolution occurs (and occurred in the past) requires some blind faith and some extremely complicated (and fairly implausible explanations) for not only all the things dug up from the ground but all the stuff geneticists have discovered about our and other creatures' DNA as well.

Chachy:
Weather patterns may change . . .but they can also change for the better (less tornadoes, less flooding, etc.). Just saying "global warming _could_ be worse for the Midwest" is akin to Deez saying "It's possible all the scientists and politicians are conspiring to pull the wool over our eyes".

In any case, I don't have much faith in government entities either; either global warming will be solved because people who are pursuing their naked self interests see the value of keeping Florida above sea-level and shellfish around . . .or we'll live in a warmer, more flooded, shellfish-less world.

Deez said...

Since Richard seems to be signing off with a prediction. I will sign off with one as well:

We (US) will piss away a lot of money and nothing of positive environmental signifigance will result.

And in 10 years from now, they will have a new name and slightly altered theory.

Gus Snarp said...

Andrew - Wow, I just skimmed over your post and didn't even notice the anti-evolution statements. There's no way I can have a discussion about science with someone who believes there is no evidence for evolution. We simply have no common basis to start from.

If you are actually interested in the answer to you question "What evidence?" and not just in staying in the anti-evolution bubble, then I cannot highly enough recommend that you read a book called Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth Miller. Miller is a cell biologist and a practicing Catholic. He spends the first half of the book systematically dismantling the arguments for design / against evolution by summarizing some of the key evidence for evoution and the second half arguing that there is no reason that faith and evolution need to be contradictory. Seriously, it's not Dawkins, it's not anti-religious, and you might learn something.

Andrew B said...

Richard:

(I can also recall the one about dark & light colored moths in Industrial Age England, but there are dozens and dozens of other examples of evolution occurring in real time).

That isn't evolution. The moths always existed in light and dark colors (just as their are "black" black people in Africa and "albino" black people in Africa). Before pollution, the the coloration of trees favored the survival of more light colored moths. After industrial pollution, it favored dark colored ones. But light colored moths didn't evolve into dark colored ones. The change in the environment simply favored a different set of moths surviving. That is natural selection, and its an idea that is at least as old as the ancient Greeks, and it does not involve the transmutation of species.

As to the Dawkins assertions that Galapagos Finches are speciating, as an amateur ornithologist, I'll take that with a large grain of salt. In my time as a birder, I've seen several bird "species" on my life list either merged with each other or split apart as the vagaries of the scientific referees decide what is an is not a "species" (apparently, its harder to decide what this is than one would think). Certainly a number of the "species" of birds are inter-fertile and actually do breed with each other and produce fertile offspring. I.e. Mallard Ducks and American Black Ducks. Reading up about these finches, the new finches sound like simple fertile hybrids of two different "species". In my mind, this is like calling black and white people seperate "species" of human because they look different, and then claiming that when a white person and black person have a child, it is a seperate new "species" because it looks different from both mother and father.

Gus Snarp said...

Seriously Andrew, read the book. Please. If someone chooses to not believe that evolution is real, that's their problem. But don't spread misinformation about it. The evidence is overwhelming.

Would bacteria that had no ability to digest a particular sugar, no gene coding for that ability lying dormant, who were put in an environment where that sugar was the predominant food source and then developed the ability to digest it and passed it on to future generations of bacteria qualify as present tense evidence of evolution? Because it's been done.

Also, the record of the past is a lot more detailed than you probably realize. It has not been "'explained' to fit a pre-conceived conclusion". The theory has been fitted to the evidence, not the other way around.

Andrew B said...

Gus:

There's no way I can have a discussion about science with someone who believes there is no evidence for evolution.

Well, certainly not evidence as we might hink of would be accepted in a court of law.

there is no reason that faith and evolution need to be contradictory

I certainly never said that. In fact, even the Institute for Creation Research accepts some form of evolution among what they call "kinds" (i.e. cats, ducks, horses, etc.) in order to fit the animals of the world into Noah's Ark.

My own beliefs on the subject are that (1) God created all things, and may very well have created or nudged species into existence by evolution of some sort, (2) man was specially created by God from pre-existing material and infused with an immortal rational soul, (3) woman was created from man by God, (4) there was thus just and only one first man and first woman from whom all humans descend, so that we are all one family of mankind. I'm not wedded to any particular time frame for this activity, although I am very skeptical of the current populat evolutionary idea of intelligent men existing for 100,000+ years and not figuring out simple things like language, building/engineering of houses, the wheel, the sewing of clothes, cultivation of fruit trees and crops, etc., when these same men clearly could construct boats to cross to and settle New Guinea and Australia, something that was necessarily a massive organized undertaking of at least hundreds of people, could observe nature well enough to find clean water and abundant hunting and fishing and gethering places, etc.

If you want to quarrel with #'s 2, 3, and 4 above, that fine, but I think they are fundemental to the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic views of the origin and eternal destiny of mankind. Certainly science cannot prove the negative of the appearance of man not happening in this way, since again, there is no record of it (other than accounts like the Bible).

Andrew B said...

Gus:

Would bacteria that had no ability to digest a particular sugar, no gene coding for that ability lying dormant, who were put in an environment where that sugar was the predominant food source and then developed the ability to digest it and passed it on to future generations of bacteria qualify as present tense evidence of evolution?

If a woman, who can digest milk, has a child who is lactose intolerant, is it evidence of evolution? Are lactose intolerant humans a seperate species from lactose digesting humans? How is this very common and well known example different from your question?

Lets go back to square one. What defines different species of bacteria? We can't use interfertility as with animals and plants, since bacteria don't breed.

Gus Snarp said...

Andrew - I've already made clear why this conversation is pointless. But really, read the book if you actually have any interest in understanding biology. Otherwise, I really would prefer that you keep your notion about evolution to yourself, since you do not have the knowledge to make statements about the evidence for evolution.

But since I can't help myself:

"Well, certainly not evidence as we might hink of would be accepted in a court of law."

Actually, the evidence has been accepted in courts of law repeatedly. For the latest and best example see Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al.

"If a woman, who can digest milk, has a child who is lactose intolerant, is it evidence of evolution?"

No, because the gene to digest milk may simply be dormant. In the case of the bacteria an entirely new gene was produced through random mutation that conferred the ability to digest certain sugars, which then became predominant among the bacteria in the experiment because it better fitted that bacteria to survive. That is evolution.

But I think that's enough. Once again we are in a pointless argument. Read Kenneth Miller. He doesn't hate you, he just wants you to understand the basic theory that underpins all of biology and therefore medicine, biotechnology, and a whole lot more. Really, read the book. I don't care what you believe, but willful ignorance is no virtue.

Gus Snarp said...

Really, promise me you'll try reading the book, or stop claiming you know something about the evidence for evolution.

Deez said...

Gus,
I think evolution is pretty undisputable at this point.

Andrew, perhaps we can say the big bang was how it all happened (G-d farted) and everything came from a single point of origin. That still can jive with religion...evolution just resulted in human beings (G-d's plan).

Gus, do you think we can evolve to the point where we have gills once the earth is summerged from global warming?

Chachy said...

Richard - Warming climates = heavier precipitation AND more drought, according to most models, for the mid-latitudes. There will probably be more moderate precipitation near the poles, which are pretty dry right now, but that won't do much good for agriculture.

Gus Snarp said...

@Deez - just for fun I'll answer that question seriously. I think human evolution reached a real game changer point when we developed a high level of intelligence. There is little likelihood of human evolving gills because we can adapt more quickly and easily with technology than with biology. We can eliminate any need to evolve gills. We might, however, have to evolve resistance to malaria and other tropical diseases and the ability to breathe air that currently causes asthma and other respiratory disease.

Of course it may be that the poor evolve while the wealthy use technology. In which case it would be a little like the end of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, with a ruling class that is physically weak and a slave underclass that is physically superior, but intellectually stunted. Mind you this might take a million years.

Andrew B said...

Gus:

Of course it may be that the poor evolve while the wealthy use technology. ... a ruling class that is physically weak and a slave underclass that is physically superior, but intellectually stunted.

If anything, the poor are getting fatter, weaker, more out of shape, and uglier thanks to "compassion" and the welfare state. While the wealthy have been getting fit, taller, stronger, and more beautiful. The exact opposite of Wells, and probably an outcome much more in line with evolution.

I've always said (a bit tongue in cheek) that the very strongest evidence of continuing evolution by natural selection in the human population is the growth of the average female bust size over time. Americans have gone from a 34B to a 36C in just 50 years.

Andrew B said...

Deez:

I think evolution is pretty undisputable at this point.

People said the same thing about the Ptolemaic/Aristotelean worldview for nearly 1500 years.

everything came from a single point of origin. That still can jive with religion...evolution just resulted in human beings (G-d's plan).

Religion teaches creation ex nihilo, not from a singularity. It also is strongly supportive of a special care and concern by God for humanity which is not really compatible with the idea of humanity evolving in the manner commonly depicted by science (occurance by random chance).

do you think we can evolve to the point where we have gills once the earth is summerged from global warming?

We'd just build Noah's Ark again, silly.

Seriously though, despite massive changes in man's natural environment in the past 15,000 years (hunter-gatherer in an ice-age to modern technological/agricultural society), we see no differences having arisen and been favored in the human gene pool to change man's physique from that of the Cro-Magnon living in caves in France and Algeria or wandering accidentally across the world to settle Tierra del Feugo. In fact, probably the most signifcant genetic difference that can be seen in humanity today is the now numerous progeny of mixed-race relationships, especially in the Americas, which topic of course, modern man wants nothing to do with in discussing his own evolution.

Richard said...

Pigmentation, eye-color, and body shape have changed as people have migrated across latitudes. Stuff like evolving new organs takes millions of years. 15,000 is a blink of the eye in terms of the history of life on Earth.

The problem with the Ptolemaic worldview is that, unlike evolution, it wasn't supported by much evidence, and more was what people wanted to believe rather than what was true. I can see some other theory supplant evolution the way quantum physics supplanted classical physics, but unlike the Ptolemaic view of the world (or creationism), classical physics isn't completely off-base and actually provides a pretty good approximation of what exists.

Gus Snarp said...

@Andrew - Really, just stop. You are talking about something you clearly know nothing about and are unwilling to learn about. At one point I read and considered your comments on this blog as a somewhat worthy, if largely ideological intellectual adversary. You have now proven yourself to be nothing of the sort. You are a complete ideologue who has no interest in fact or reason. I will no longer read or respond to anything you write, I have wasted enough time on you already. But please, for the sake of reason, stop spouting off as if you actually have even the barest association with the facts of archaeology, paleontology, or biology. Your anti-evolution arguments are nothing but lies and red herrings.

Andrew B said...

Gus:

"the facts"

I.e. your opinions and interpretations of observations? Facts are things certainly known to be true. Water is wet, etc. Things unobserved or unrecorded by humans cannot be known as true and be facts.

For all your responses, you haven't answered a single question I raised even as I discussed yours.

If you'd answer one, please explain if the development of lactose intolerance (or lactose tolerance if you'd prefer to look at it from another light) in humans is analgous to the development of ability to metabolize sugar in bacteria. If you wish to call such bacteria a new species (and that seems perfectly reasonable to me), are humans who can and cannot digest cow's milk different species?

How are RH- humans a separate species from the RH+? Their continued interfertility is only possible thanks to Rhogam. Is the RH+,RH- divergence evidence of human evolution?

"Actually, the evidence has been accepted in courts of law repeatedly. For the latest and best example see Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al."

The ruling declared intelligent design = religion. "... we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position" (pg. 64 of the ruling). The court didn't actually say what you want it to. "ID is not science." Its religion! How shocking!

The ruling has nothing to do with the truth of evolution or creation (or any synthesis). It states on pg. 64 that "ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; ... Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena." (i.e. no miracles). So for science divorced from theology, miracles and divine intervention in the world are irrelevant because science says so (a presupposition). This is stated on pg. 65 and 66: "In deliberately omitting theological or “ultimate” explanations for the existence or characteristics of the natural world, science does not consider issues of “meaning” and “purpose” in the world. While supernatural explanations may be important and have merit, they are not part of science … This rigorous attachment to “natural” explanations is an essential attribute to science by definition and by convention."

The most important statement in the ruling is a quote from the National Academy of Sciences: " In science, explanations are restricted to those that can be inferred from the confirmable data – the results obtained through observations and experiments that can be substantiated by other scientists. Anything that can be observed or measured is amenable to scientific investigation. Explanations that cannot be based upon empirical evidence are not part of science."

Speculations on unobserved past events are not science, because it cannot be properly tested against its falsification. The statement "men and apes are similar, and therefore have a common ancestor" is like many in evolutionary theory. But is it a scientific statement? No one observed the separation of one species into man and chimpanzees and apes. We cannot rewind the past to show that it happened. We cannot take the past common ancestor and restart its breeding to test in a controlled environment the claim that it eventually produces several new species, because it no longer exists. The statement is non-falsifiable by the scientific method because it cannot be observed, replicated in a test, or measured. Therefore it’s not science.

I view much of Evolution and Cosmology as a non-theistic/naturalistic religion, not science. It’s all written down in a book about the long distant past, insisted by its votaries to be accepted on faith by the ignorant masses by appeal to authority (Darwin, Dawkins, Gould, etc.). It’s strikingly like the Evangelical approach to the Bible.

Richard said...

Andrew,

By your reasoning, we do not know for sure that gravity existed in the past. Even though we see it in action now, there was certainly no human around to see gravity in action 2 million years ago.

For that matter, by your reasoning, we can not know for sure that the Earth wasn't flat 2M years ago. After all, no one was around to see what existed. Maybe some deity made the flat Earth round before the first human came in to being.

Hey! Maybe "Andrew B" is actually a soulless robot who was put in to his mother's womb and grew up to walk and talk like a human being. No one can observe or prove otherwise.

Get a grip on basic science, Andrew. We've seen examples of the principles of evolution in action since the dawn of recorded history. What's telling is that I've yet to meet someone who doesn't come from a Islamo-Christian background who denies evolution and clings to a dear creation myth just because some old dead guy(s) wrote the creation myth down in a book some time ago.

Andrew B said...

Richard:

Do we "know" with "certainty" if the "great inflation" happened or not after the Big Bang?

Andrew B said...

Richard:

Get a grip on basic science, Andrew. We've seen examples of the principles of evolution in action since the dawn of recorded history. What's telling is that I've yet to meet someone who doesn't come from a Islamo-Christian background who denies evolution and clings to a dear creation myth just because some old dead guy(s) wrote the creation myth down in a book some time ago.

Science rests upon many presuppositions about the world around us and events in the unobserved past. Things like the Copernican Principal, uniformitarianism, the exclusion of the supernatural, materialism (matter in motion being life, started and continued without outside cause), etc. In this way, its very much like religion and its revelations, and the fanaticism of its votaries does nothing to dissaude one from making this association.

Please give your examples of evolution in action from recorded history.

Richard said...

Unlike those creation myths written down in books eons ago, however, the presuppositions of science have never been disproven. You may consider it a religion, if you want; it certainly is a philosophy, but I prefer a philosophy that produces metheodologies that do a damn good job of explaining the world I inhabit (and improve living standards) over ones that try to justify creation myths using whatever means their proponents can think of and who's only consistency is their blind faith in said creation myths (not to mention, don't improve living standards).

You're an engineer, Andrew. How much engineering would you be able to do if you could not build upon the basic scientific findings that people who subscribe to the presuppositions of science discovered?

BTW, http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html.

Andrew B said...

Unlike those creation myths written down in books eons ago, however, the presuppositions of science have never been disproven.

Its is impossible for science to have disproven the idea of creation or a Creator. Physical science does not deal with the supernatural or supernatural casaulity, since it cannot be empirically demonstrated or disproven.

Its just these sort of frustratingly basic false assertions about science that drive me nuts.

You're an engineer, Andrew. How much engineering would you be able to do if you could not build upon the basic scientific findings that people who subscribe to the presuppositions of science discovered?

Engineering existed prior to modern science and the scientific method, and does not depend upon them. See Stonehenge, Roman Aqueducts, Persian Water Tunnels, the Pyramids, Chartres Cathedral, etc.

"Scientists discover what is, Engineers create what never was." (Theodore von Karmann)

Modern engineering is accomplished by taking the theoretical findings of scientific investigation, and applying a very large factor of safety to account for the actual probablisitic distribution of real events predicted by the theory.

It would be a true miracle if the distribution of data gathered in the field actually matched perfectly to the curve a scientific equation attempting to describe it. If that happened, we would never need the "Big Point Theorem".

Richard said...

Stop setting up straw men, Andrew. I never talked about any creator or what science had to do with beliefs in such a thing. Somehow, you managed to quote what I wrote and still put words in my mouth. You know, you'd make a good poiltician.

And yes, there was engineering before science, but you do you want to have the living standards (or for that matter, the engineering) that were prevalent when Chartres Cathedral was built? There's a reason why the common Joe is able to live longer and more comfortably than even royalty from 500 years ago, and it's not because of religion.

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