Climate scientists admit they were wrong on climate change effects

Climate scientists admit they were wrong on climate change effects

Paraphrasing Feynman: “It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how beautiful your theories, or how elegant your computer models or how many people agree with you or how many scientists form a political consensus, if it doesn’t agree with experiment and reality, it’s wrong.” -Edward Podritske

Watts Up With That?


  • Ben Webster, The Times

Catastrophic impacts of climate change can still be avoided, according to scientists who have admitted they were too pessimistic about the chances of limiting global warming.

The world has warmed more slowly than had been predicted by computer models, which were “on the hot side” and overstated the impact of emissions on average temperature, research has found.

New forecasts suggest that the world has a better chance than claimed of meeting the goal set by the Paris Agreement on climate change of limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The study, published in the prestigious journal Nature Geoscience, makes clear that rapid reductions in emissions will still be required but suggests that the world has more time to make the necessary changes.

Michael Grubb, professor of international energy and climate change at University College London and one of the…

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If In (Arbitrary) Doubt, Destroy

Last evening in downtown Montreal, as reported by The Canadian Press, the Hudson’s Bay Co. had a commemorative plaque removed from one of its buildings. The plaque was installed in 1957 and was supplied by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a non-profit organization dedicated to “honoring the memory of its Confederate ancestors.” The ancestor being honored was Jefferson Davis. The 1950’s was a more innocent decade.

No reasons were reportedly given for the actions taken by Hudson’s Bay Co. but it appears to have been a preemptive step in the wake of violence in Virginia this past week arising over the issue of another installation honoring Confederate ancestors, a statue of Robert E. Lee.

As described by NBC news in 2015, following the destruction of artifacts by ISIS at the Mosul Museum in Iraq there is an ugly tradition of trying to obliterate history:

Over the centuries, militant groups and radical regimes have targeted not just innocent lives but also historic and cultural artifacts preserved and revered by their victims.

Now clearly, this is not exactly in the same category as the actions taken by Hudson’s Bay Co. or even of the impetus behind the violence in Virginia. Radical regimes are not in play certainly, although some of the protesters of late could be labeled as militant groups.

There is a common principle however, that applies to all of this destruction. It expresses an evasion of the responsibility to think, favoring instead not to understand but to blank out disagreeable issues. It is the principle behind the actions of history revisionists and violent criminals alike. It is the motivation of supposedly mature university students who need “safe spaces.”

In the aforementioned reporting by NBC news, there appeared a quotation from Thomas Campbell, the Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, commenting on the Mosul Museum destruction.

This mindless attack on great art, on history, and on human understanding constitutes a tragic assault not only on the Mosul Museum but on our universal commitment to use art to unite people and promote human understanding.

“. . . universal commitment . . ..? Not so much. But it is the mindless characteristic that succinctly captures what is going on with all of these actions, peaceful or violent. The actions are destructive. These are actions taken by people who do not or do not want to understand the past, or in some cases not even the present. Some of them just want to be safe, to not have to face any controversial ideas or even to defend their own values. The “go to” response is to wipe it out, or demand that others do it for you.

The underlying principle is nihilism. It is the view that nothing in your current culture or social system has anything to offer and it must be overthrown or destroyed.

Skepticism and doubt about what life has to offer is no solution. It leads to destruction, either deliberate or with nature taking its course for the failure to think and understand.

©Copyright 2017, Edward Podritske

Trade: It’s What People Do

Donald Trump wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the US, Canada and Mexico, apparently because he thinks he or his agents can negotiate a better deal.

An article in Canada’s National Post today gives a hint of what sort of nonsense these kinds of international negotiations entail. I encourage you to read the whole thing here, as it will give you a perspective on how far we have strayed from simple barter between individuals.

Now I don’t think barter lasted very long as it would become evident very quickly among traders that some medium of exchange would simplify matters. That gave impetus to the development of money from the class of goods valued most by traders. It eventually gave rise to a merchant class as well, the representatives of which travelled the known world seeking goods for trade.

The main takeaway from the preceding paragraph is that trade was developed by individuals and that essential remains even today. Ultimately, it is people exchanging goods and services from the source of their own production. Governments don’t trade anything because they don’t produce anything. (Mostly, they are a destructive force.)

Today we have politicians negotiating international trade agreements as a leftover from among other wrongheaded national boondoggles, the age of mercantilism.

So I’d offer this draft agreement for consideration by the NAFTA negotiators:

No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state [Canada, Mexico or United States]. No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State [Canada, Mexico or United States] over those of another: nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one State [Canada, Mexico or United States], be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another [Canada, Mexico or United States].

Now that’s not an original of mine. Some of you may recognize it as excerpted from the US Constitution with the addition of bracketed information for clarity. It is perhaps the simplest statement of free trade on record. (Article 1, Section 9 of US Constitution)

©Copyright 2017, Edward Podritske

Canadian, Watch Thyself

John Ibbotson of The Globe and Mail in Canada offers that “The fascists are mobilizing in Donald Trump’s name.” What follows his opening remarks is the observation that the US Justice Department is going to start investigating universities for discrimination against white applicants. His apparently condemnatory conclusion is that this “. . .is how this administration views affirmative-action programs”.

This conclusion is on a par with the reasoning of the anti-conceptual Donald Trump. There is unlikely any connection between the truth that affirmative-action programs are racist and the administration’s actions regarding this investigation. A principled approach would have been setting the goal of eliminating all such racist policies regardless of what class they are directed toward or against.

Instead of Ibbotson’s focus on fascists (of which both Left and Right variations exist) he could have noted the cultural deterioration of America, particularly since the rise of the New Left, starting with the Berkeley riots of the 1960s. He could have noted the subsequent intellectual deterioration of academia to a disintegrating anti-conceptual approach to history and the humanities. The result includes worthless studies built around narrow concretes put forward by every class and sub-class of special interest in conflict.

The truth is that a significant portion of the US population has been alienated by the dominant Leftist-inspired academic disintegration. There is a divide between those who champion the state and socialist programs (primarily the Left) and those who champion the individual and capitalism (sometimes the Right).

As with any such divergence there are those on the fringes of the basic position. These fringes have grown since the rise of the angrier New Left and in concert we’ve recently seen the resurgence of an angry Right faction.

Donald Trump is not the inspiration and has no political platform representing the Fascists as is suggested by Ibbotson. Trump is the result of this festering conflict which now leaves Americans with four years of unprincipled leadership. It is not Trump that represents a danger but what sort of populist, tyrannical figure may follow in the chaos of his footsteps.

Ibbotson concludes as a Canadian on the outside looking in that Canadians can do little but “. . .watch in horror and pray”. I suggest that Canadians do more. They could start with a look inward at the phony consensus of Canada’s official policy of “multiculturalism” with special status for some classes of individuals over others. Selfless Canadians are ripe for molding by a future tyranny.

©Copyright 2017 Edward Podritske

Google Goal

The primary goal of the Google company ought to be to earn a profit, and the more the better. That is the fundamental source of capital for the business whether based on reinvestment of current profits or the investment of outside capital based on future expectations of profit. It is also a fundamental that the return to shareholders be maximized.

The current kerfuffle over the firing of software engineer James Damore following his participation in an internal debate or discussion about “diversity” in the Google workplace has overshadowed concern about the primary reason for Google’s existence. At least that is the case until shinier baubles attract the attention of both mainstream and social media.

Nevertheless, this story had legs for awhile. It ran in virtually every major media outlet and attracted attention worldwide. It would, given the global stature of the business.

Some of the most worthy commentary came from Daniel Greenfield of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and to my great surprise, an opinion published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The latter contributor was Marni Soupcoff, who pointed out the essential that Google had every right to fire Damore and that business was business. Greenfield’s commentary had more to do with criticising the culture of political correctness at Google.

There are many other angles to this story, from the lawsuit by Damore to the hysterical storm of social media commentary from many sources of censorial indignation. The interesting thing is there is a solid swell of support for Damore on the basis of a free speech. Again, Google has the right to set its conditions of employment.

The fundamental is still violated however. Google doesn’t have its eye on the primary goal if its obsession is with the enforcement of the anti-conceptual notion of “diversity”. This obsession with the idea that the employees of large businesses, university campuses or government must statistically reflect the ethnic, racial, gender or “sexual identity” of the population at large defies the reality that people are individuals not varied patches on some quilt of the imagination.

Diversity of the makeup of said employees by virtue of different material or spiritual (conscious individual choices) factors will occur naturally not by the design of a central planning committee.

As for Google shareholders, I would suggest they watch the value of their investment for signs of weakness in the future.





Contrary to 150 Opinions

As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary of confederation many informal expressions of national pride have been heard. The official gala at Parliament Hill on July first, marred by the actions of demonstrators representing so-called First Nations was less spontaneous.

Spontaneous does not necessarily mean thoughtful. Responses to surveys of sources of Canadian pride included tropes about natural landscape, universal healthcare and diversity. These are accepted bromides mouthed by others in the culture and adopted without question.

The most common bromide I’ve heard through social media, the press, sports announcers and even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is that Canada is the best country in the world. To which I respond, by what standard?

If the scale is to what extent has the country regressed toward a Leftist, utopian welfare state, then yes, Canada is surely a contender. But a proper standard must be in the form of an appropriate fundamental.

Canada the nation is a modern social system with a government. The fundamental relationship which has been the criteria for judging political societies for most of history is that between the individual and the state. This has been the case since we evolved from living in primitive tribal societies.

The essence of the individual is survival by the volitional use of his mind, a function which cannot be forced. The essence of the state is force, which in advanced societies has been deemed delegated to the government by the members of that society. Without such delegation societies would be anarchistic, full of conflict by competing factions and often plagued by civil war. Instead we have defensive, rights-protecting institutions of police, military and systems of justice both civil and criminal. You may think of this force as the point of a gun ultimately, properly used against those who initiate force.

The proper criteria for judging the best country must be the relationship between these essentials: force vs. freedom. Now the judgment becomes more meaningful and perhaps more difficult.

Canada is a semi-free country. It is not the worst in the world nor the best. Unfortunately, since the high point of individual freedom during the historical period of the Enlightenment most advanced western countries have regressed.

We now endure governments that have greatly increased functional scope. The modern welfare state with its elitist political bureaucracy, mercantilist trade policies, preventive law, oppressive taxation and official policies that intrude on privacy and most dangerously, seriously restrict free expression has become the norm.

The nationalist road Canada is traveling develops classes and clashes within society and this can only result in more unrest, conflict and official repression. It will not end well unless a government less coercive begins to emerge or we will not last fifty years let alone another 150.

© Copyright 2017, Edward Podritske

Canada’s “Up in Smoke”

While forest fires rage in central British Columbia, the government of Canada under Justin Trudeau is blowing smoke from Ottawa with its proposed Cannabis Act.

I’ve received a short survey request from the Member of Parliament (MP) for my area who says he wants to know ” . . . (my) thoughts on some of the specifics regarding the legislation, . . ..” I’ve responded to the survey in the context of my fundamental views on such legislation.

The simplest and most moral action for the government to take is to de-criminalize the cultivation, production and consumption of cannabis, leaving this economic activity to the market where it properly belongs.

My position is that I am against all forms of prohibition, as I’ve explained in an article I wrote in 2010 entitled Feeling Alright.

Fundamentally, such legislation falls into the category of preventive law for which there can be no justification. These laws make all individuals subject to government coercion without specific evidence, only on the grounds that some have acted irresponsibly or criminally in some relationship to the prohibited activity, or the activity is not favored by some elite minority.

More importantly, preventive law is a complete rejection of the presumption of innocence of the individual in a justice system. In addition, it cynically regards all of us as elements of a class or as cells in an organic whole.

As to the specifics of the survey from the MP, they concern two things: ” . . . who can smoke marijuana and how much can they consume? . . .. (and) Whether it is legal or illegal, youth getting their hands on marijuana is a growing concern . . ..”

First, people should be left to kill themselves any way they choose, whether by the slow self-destruction of mind-altering drugs or the faster expedient of putting a bullet through the head.

Second, parental responsibility is the proper realm for addressing the concerns of the immature. Only when parents have objectively failed in this should the state intervene on behalf of the child.

The state fails when it enters areas outside its proper jurisdiction, which arises from its monopoly on the use of force. When it initiates force against its citizens, destruction is the result.