01 January 2016

Coffee Cup Browsing

NB. No classes until Jan 13th, so there's nothing stopping me from reviving Coffee Cup Browsing!

Media Corrections 2015: "Karol Wojtyla was referred to in Saturday’s Credo column as 'the first non-Catholic pope for 450 years'. This should, of course, have read 'non-Italian pope.'" —London Times.

Peer-reviewed survey of scientists: there is a "scientific consensus" on global warming -- it's fake.

NCR (Nasty Critical Rag) awards "Persons of the Year" to the gay couple who gave us same-sex "marriage." Do you need another reason to cancel your subscription?

It's All About MEEEEE!!! Fr. Hollywood suspended for his adolescent attention-seeking stunt during Mass.

Satanists perform adolescent attention-seeking stunt in OK. Oddly, this doesn't offend me. The BVM is bigger than their hatred.

My new favorite website. . .

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  1. I was wondering why the Forbes piece occasionally mentioned that engineers had been interviewed for their views on global warming. What would engineers know about science? (I ask as someone with a BS in physics who currently calls himself a systems engineer.)

    As the comments there point out, the survey was limited to members of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta. Most of those people work in the petroleum industry. The intent of the paper Forbes is reporting on was to "contribute to the understanding of ‘defensive institutional work’ by professionals within petroleum companies, related industries, government regulators, and their professional association." In other words, the surveyors purposely sought out a population that does not accept climate change (as either science or public policy implications) in order to find out how they justify themselves.

    1. And is this bias any different than surveying climate scientists who have a vested interest in promoting "climate change"?

    2. Hard to say. I'm less concerned with the biases of experts, one way or the other, than with uncritical links to poorly reasoned articles by writers who don't seem to understand what they're writing about.

      And your link wasn't merely uncritical. You wrote, "Peer-reviewed survey of scientists: there is a 'scientific consensus' on global warming -- it's fake." But it wasn't a "survey of scientists," nor did the survey show a "scientific consensus," nor did the majority of those surveyed assert that global warming is fake.

      I've got no problem with skepticism. But it needs to be an informed skepticism, based on sound argument. The same goes for advocacy. Otherwise, it kind of sounds like repeating someone else's propaganda.

    3. And when you read the article you knew that "scientists" included only a certain sort of scientist. What's the problem? The AGW alarmists regularly write things like "97% of scientists believe that climate change is real." Then you read the article and understand that they only surveyed climate scientists who benefit from gov't $$$ to push the climate change agenda.

    4. The specific problem is that engineers aren't scientists. The broader problem is that people shouldn't say things that aren't true, even if other people are.

    5. All true. . .however, I believe non-scientists who are well-read in the philosophy of science (such as myself) can offer valid critiques of scientific work. I resist (mightily) the notion that only scientists can "do science" in the public square. That's not Science. . .it's scientism.

    6. Also, what counts as "science" is hotly contested. Physicists don't think that biologists are scientists. Etc.

    7. That is certainly not true. Physicists know biologists are scientists. The definition of science that is up for grabs is the social sciences.

    8. BPG, all I can tell ya is that in the literature and in person. . .physicists (generally) regard biologists as natural historians not scientists. Of course, there will be some who do.

    9. All this really means is that the physicists you have been reading have what religious people would call poor formation. I don't put any stock in what they say any more than I do in my pastor when he tells us to do something that is contrary to our faith.

    10. I'm just reporting what I've heard/read. I have no problem with biologists being scientists. Now, chemists. . .that's a whole different problem! ;-)

  2. I entirely agree that non-scientists who are well-read in the philosophy of science can offer valid critiques of scientific work. That's why I'm chiding you for linking approvingly to that garbage article from Forbes. If you apply what you know about the nature of science to that article -- or if you simply compare it to the survey it claims to be discussing -- you will see that it is garbage, even if you are sympathetic to its conclusions.