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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Global Cooling Real?

In recent posts (http://dougreich.blogspot.com/2008/02/maybe-its-sun-ii.html), I linked to reports claiming that based on observed solar activity patterns we may be closer to a period of global cooling than a period of warming. Here is a quote from the following link: http://www.dailytech.com/Temperature+Monitors+Report+Worldwide+Global+Cooling/article10866.htm :

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on. No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure.

But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

Meteorologist Anthony Watts compiled the results of all the sources. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C -- a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year time. For all sources, it's the single fastest temperature change every recorded, either up or down.
Scientists quoted in a past DailyTech article link the cooling to reduced solar activity which they claim is a much larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases. The dramatic cooling seen in just 12 months time seems to bear that out. While the data doesn't itself disprove that carbon dioxide is acting to warm the planet, it does demonstrate clearly that more powerful factors are now cooling it.

Recall also my post where I observed the not so subtle shift in environmentalist rhetoric from "global warming" to "climate change." Here was a reader comment written in at the end:

Global warming or climate change?
By maven81 on 2/26/08, Rating: 2
By maven81 on 2/26/2008 1:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the debate over the past few years shifted from "we're facing global warming" to "we're facing climate change"?Because if we talk about climate change the evidence you present does not contradict it. If places that have never gotten snow before are suddenly getting snow that is indeed climate change. Now as to what's causing it, I think that's the real question.

No, that's really not the question. Climate does change. We know that since it has been changing since the Earth formed over 4 billion years ago. What is the best way to adapt? Quoting Dr. Reisman (http://georgereisman.com/blog/2008/02/word-to-environmentalists.html#links):

More fundamentally, what is the appropriate method for Man to use in dealing with Nature in general? Is it the motivated and coordinated human intelligence of all individual market participants that is provided by a free market and its price system? Or is it the unmotivated, discoordinated chaos in which one man, the Supreme Dictator, or a handful of men, the Supreme Dictator and his fellow members of the Central Planning Board, claim a monopoly on human intelligence and on the right to make fundamental decisions?

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Nuts Reject Nuts


I have repeatedly argued that environmentalists will still not be happy even if technology is implemented to reduce the Satanic carbon dioxide emissions. This is because their philosophy, in principle, is anti-human. Quoting Dr. Reisman:

“The idea of nature’s intrinsic value inexorably implies a desire to destroy man and his works because it implies a perception of man as the systematic destroyer of the good, and thus as the systematic doer of evil. Just as man perceives coyotes, wolves, and rattlesnakes as evil because they regularly destroy the cattle and sheep he values as sources of food and clothing, so on the premise of nature’s intrinsic value, the environmentalists view man as evil, because, in the pursuit of his well-being, man systematically destroys the wildlife, jungles, and rock formations that the environmentalists hold to be intrinsically valuable. Indeed, from the perspective of such alleged intrinsic values of nature, the degree of man’s alleged destructiveness an evil is directly in proportion to his loyalty to his essential nature. Man is the rational being. It is his application of his reason in the form of science, technology, and an industrial civilization that enables him to act on nature on the enormous scale on which he now does. Thus, it is his possession and use of reason—manifested in his technology and industry—for which he is hated.”....

The link above discusses the recent usage of "biofuels" by Virgin Airlines. In this case, they used a blend of nuts from the Amazon forest to create fuel.

A Virgin Atlantic jumbo jet flew from London to Amsterdam with one of its fuel tanks filled with a bio-jet blend including babassu oil and coconut oil. A Virgin Atlantic statement said the biofuel mix provided 25 percent of the fuel for the test flight.

At first glance, you might expect the environmentalists to be rejoicing. They have gotten a major corporation to make use of a "renewable" and therefore supposedly "sustainable" energy source that should lessen dreaded carbon emissions. But, if I'm right then what should we expect the environmentalist response to be? First of all, usage of biofuels would increase consumption of agricultural land or in this case the Amazon forest. Afterall, as I have brilliantly pointed out, energy must come from somewhere. Unfortunately, it does not magically appear. So, using anything made of earth certainly would not make them happy. Also, given the expected rapid expansion of the airline industry due to people's desire to travel and capitalism's ability to make travel cheaper this will increase the net consumption of whatever fuel is used. Indeed, man must use nature in some way if he is to survive and prosper. If we do not use so called fossil fuels then we must use nuts or coconut oil or algae or whatever. Man's nature is what the environmentalist truly opposes as we require the earth's resources to survive. If you think I'm exaggerating then read the below quote from the article:

Environmental lobby group Friends of the Earth said biofuels were a distraction in the fight to cut carbon dioxide emissions, and that related carbon savings would be negated by increased airline travel...

There has been concern, however, that an expansion in the area of crops grown for energy has helped drive up food prices, and some scientists have questioned the environmental benefits of so-called first generation biofuels.

Friends of the Earth said in a statement: "There is mounting evidence the carbon savings from these crop-based fuels will be small at best."

"Even if every plane leaving the UK was able to run on biofuels from tomorrow, any carbon savings would be wiped out in less than 10 years by the rapid growth of the aviation industry."

Oh my god! Growth in the airline industry...! That means more people will be travelling and enjoying their lives! Gasp....

Those who value their life must oppose environmentalism as the evil it is.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Recent Reisman on the Evil of Environmentalism

Here are links to three recent posts by George Reisman on Environmentalism. As always, Reisman logically reduces Environmentalism to its essence. In the first link, he very simply shows the relationship between Communism, Nazism, and Environmentalism. In the second, he explains why "if your motivation in calling yourself an environmentalist is merely such things as that you like to see flowers bloom on open meadows, and love trees, whales, and polar bears, and the like, then you owe it to yourself to put as much intellectual and moral distance as possible between you and those who advocate mass impoverishment and mass death." In the third link, he uses a question from a colleague to further explain "the profound and inherent evil of environmentalism and why a reasonable person should no more call himself an environmentalist than he would call himself a Communist or Nazi."

I excerpted a couple of my favorite passages from these posts below.

Environmentalism is recycled Communism and Nazism

A Word to Environmentalists

Here is a brief excerpt from above link:
Even if you are absolutely convinced that human activities are responsible for global warming and, if nothing is done, will ultimately result in an intolerable rise in temperature, there is a very simple test that you need to apply. Pretend, for just a moment, that that same global warming is coming about independently of human activities, that it is strictly the product of natural forces. Then ask yourself, what would be the best fundamental method of coping with it? Maintaining a free market or establishing a centrally planned socialist system?

More fundamentally, what is the appropriate method for Man to use in dealing with Nature in general? Is it the motivated and coordinated human intelligence of all individual market participants that is provided by a free market and its price system? Or is it the unmotivated, discoordinated chaos in which one man, the Supreme Dictator, or a handful of men, the Supreme Dictator and his fellow members of the Central Planning Board, claim a monopoly on human intelligence and on the right to make fundamental decisions?

Suppose even that the warming caused by Nature were such that what was required to deal with it was some sort of space program, perhaps emitting thousands of tiny mirrors that would prevent some sunlight from reaching the earth by reflecting it back into space. Suppose further that as a practical matter, given our present state of social organization, the only realistic means of carrying out such a program was through governmental action—a kind of public works project, as it were. In which circumstances, would such a program be more likely to be feasible: in those of the primitive economies characteristic of third world countries or in those of advanced industrial economies? And would they not be more likely to be feasible in an economy substantially more advanced than our own is at present?

The answer to the question of how best to cope with intolerable global warming caused by Nature is obviously the maintenance of the free market, not its replacement by Socialist central planning. Indeed, the answer is to make the free market freer than it now is—as much freer as is humanly possible. This is because while the primary reason for advocating a free market is the greater prosperity and enjoyment it brings to everyone in the course of his normal, everyday life, a major, secondary reason is to have the greatest possible industrial base available for coping with catastrophic events, whether those events be war, plague, meteors from outer space, intolerable global warming, or a new ice age.

In effect, what the environmentalists would have us do as the means of preparing for coping with a coming global warming is analogous to the imaginary absurdity of the United States in the 1930s having reduced its economy to the level, say, of Poland’s economy. Then, when World War II came, our country would have had to fight the war with horses instead of tanks and planes. In the same way, the environmentalists would have us cope with global warming by waving little fans instead of using air conditioners, refrigerators, and freezers.

Now what, if anything, changes if we assume that global warming is an unintended by-product of the human productive activities that make life possible and enjoyable? How does it possibly follow from this that the only means of stopping this much-less-than-certain outcome is by suffering the absolutely certain impoverishment and death that will come from the destruction of most of our present sources of energy?

Is there absolutely no other way to deal with global warming than the destruction of our economic system? Is that how we would deal with it if global warming were the product of Nature, and not the by-product of our activities? Would the environmentalists then ask us to engage in what in the circumstances would be a merely ritual sacrifice incapable of accomplishing anything beyond itself?

If they would not do that, then they would have to look for other alternatives as the means of coping with global warming. Why aren’t they looking for those other alternatives now? Why on earth should the first and only solution for global warming as a by-product of human activity be the scuttling of our energy base? Do we deserve to be exterminated for our unintended by-products? Must we really choose to live in poverty and misery, surrounded by death, in order to avoid excessive heat? Can absolutely no other way be found? (The likely answer is actually no more complicated than having the greater energy base required to build and power bigger and better air conditioners.)...

The Nature of Environmentalism

Brief excerpt from above:

And this is why I call environmentalism evil. It’s evil to the core. In the environmental movement, contemplating the mass death of people in general is no more shocking than it was in the Communist and Nazi movements to contemplate the mass death of capitalists or Jews in particular. All three are philosophies of death. The only difference is that environmentalism aims at death on a much larger scale....

It is not at all accidental that environmentalism is evil and that its leading spokesmen hold or sanction ideas that are indistinguishable from those of sociopaths. Its evil springs from a fundamental philosophical doctrine that lies at the very core and deepest foundations of the movement, a doctrine that directly implies the movement’s destructiveness and hatred of the human race. This is the doctrine of the alleged intrinsic value of nature, i.e., that nature is valuable in and of itself, apart from all connection to human life and well being. This doctrine is accepted by the movement without any internal challenge, and, indeed, is the very basis of environmentalism’s existence.

As I wrote in Capitalism, “The idea of nature’s intrinsic value inexorably implies a desire to destroy man and his works because it implies a perception of man as the systematic destroyer of the good, and thus as the systematic doer of evil. Just as man perceives coyotes, wolves, and rattlesnakes as evil because they regularly destroy the cattle and sheep he values as sources of food and clothing, so on the premise of nature’s intrinsic value, the environmentalists view man as evil, because, in the pursuit of his well-being, man systematically destroys the wildlife, jungles, and rock formations that the environmentalists hold to be intrinsically valuable. Indeed, from the perspective of such alleged intrinsic values of nature, the degree of man’s alleged destructiveness an evil is directly in proportion to his loyalty to his essential nature. Man is the rational being. It is his application of his reason in the form of science, technology, and an industrial civilization that enables him to act on nature on the enormous scale on which he now does. Thus, it is his possession and use of reason—manifested in his technology and industry—for which he is hated.”....

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Follow Up on Sharia Law in the UK


It is reassuring to see the overwhelming backlash that occured in the wake of the Archbishop of Cantebury's statements related to allowing Sharia law in the UK for Muslims in civil matters. However, keep in mind that historically new ideas are always at first rejected. If they are not defeated properly, that is, defeated in principle by a proper understanding and logical refutation of the underlying premises then the ideas will come back. Unfortunately, as evidenced in the linked article, the so-called critics continue to get it wrong:

The most damaging attack came from the Pakistan-born Bishop of Rochester, the Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali. "English law is rooted in the judaeo-chrisitian tradition. It would be impossible to introduce a tradition like Sharia without fundamentally affecting its integrity." Sharia "would be in tension with the English legal tradition on questions like monogamy, provisions for divorce, the rights of women, custody of children, laws of inheritance and of evidence. "This is not to mention the relation of freedom of belief and of expression to provisions for blasphemy and apostasy."

Bishop of Southwark Tom Butler, a liberal who would normally be expected to defend Dr Williams, said the archbishop had been entering a minefield and added: "It will take a great deal of thought and work before I think it is a good idea. I remained to be convinced of the feasibility of the incorporation of the Sharia into the English legal system as it would raise many difficulties."

So it appears that two arguments are being made here. One argument is that the West was founded upon Christian traditions but Sharia was founded on Muslim traditions so they are in some way incompatible. The second argument made by Bishop Butler is that implementing Sharia is just not practical, i.e., he doesn't reject the idea in principle but only needs to be "convinced of the feasibility". These two arguments will not stop the implementation of Sharia law in the West. Rather, they will hasten it.

The "practical" problem argument is ridiculous on its face. This is like telling Socialists that the only reason you are against them is that it would be "impractical" to implement an income tax and nationalize industries. Or, it would be like telling the Nazi's that their plan to take over the world and systematically murder millions of people is not feasible. I'm confident that Muslims so inclined would eagerly craft a "feasible" plan for implementing Sharia within the British legal system. Rejecting an evil idea on grounds of its "feasibility" and not rejecting an idea on principle is a deadly error.

The more complex argument is the claim, often repeated by conservatives on the religious right, that America and here the British common law was founded on "Judaeo-Christian values". Nothing could be further from the truth. The concept and realization of individual rights occurred despite Christianity not because of it as I imagine Giordano Bruno, Galileo, and millions of other "heretics" persectued by the Church will attest.

If individual rights can not be supported logically then we have no chance. The argument that liberty and capitalism are based on Judaeo-Christian values is worse than no argument at all. It is not only historically inaccurate it places the basis for rights on grounds of faith based claims which are arbitrary. In fact, it can be logically demonstrated that rights are necessitated by man's nature and necessary for our survival and happiness. The secular argument for rights has historically been associated with unreligious periods for a reason.

The best piece I have seen on this topic is "Religion vs. America" by Leonard Peikoff at: http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2page=NewsArticle&id=5360&news_iv_ctrl=1225

Dr. Peikoff traces the philosophical history of the West to show that the concepts of individual rights and the the pursuit of happiness are ideas associated with unreligious periods and statism, misery, and oppression are associated with religious periods. Dr. Peikoff writes:

What effect does this approach have on human life? We do not have to answer by theoretical deduction, because Western history has been a succession of religious and unreligious periods. The modern world, including America, is a product of two of these periods: of Greco-Roman civilization and of medieval Christianity. So, to enable us to understand America, let us first look at the historical evidence from these two periods; let us look at their stand on religion and at the practical consequences of this stand. Then we will have no trouble grasping the base and essence of the United States.

He goes on to trace the fundamental ideas of each major historical period:

Greece created philosophy, logic, science, mathematics, and a magnificent, man-glorifying art; it gave us the base of modern civilization in every field; it taught the West how to think. In addition, through its admirers in ancient Rome, which built on the Greek intellectual base, Greece indirectly gave us the rule of law and the first idea of man's rights (this idea was originated by the pagan Stoics). Politically, the ancients never conceived a society of full-fledged individual liberty; no nation achieved that before the United States. But the ancients did lay certain theoretical bases for the concept of liberty; and in practice, both in some of the Greek city-states and in republican Rome, large numbers of men at various times were at least relatively free. They were incomparably more free than their counterparts ever had been in the religious cultures of ancient Egypt and its equivalents.

What were the practical results of the medieval approach? The Dark Ages were dark on principle. Augustine fought against secular philosophy, science, art; he regarded all of it as an abomination to be swept aside; he cursed science in particular as "the lust of the eyes." Unlike many Americans today, who drive to church in their Cadillac or tape their favorite reverend on the VCR so as not to interrupt their tennis practice, the medievals took religion seriously. They proceeded to create a society that was anti-materialistic and anti-intellectual. I do not have to remind you of the lives of the saints, who were the heroes of the period, including the men who ate only sheep's gall and ashes, quenched their thirst with laundry water, and slept with a rock for their pillow. These were men resolutely defying nature, the body, sex, pleasure, all the snares of this life--and they were canonized for it, as, by the essence of religion, they should have been. The economic and social results of this kind of value code were inevitable; mass stagnation and abject poverty, ignorance and mass illiteracy, waves of insanity that swept whole towns, a life expectancy in the teens. "Woe unto ye who laugh now," the Sermon on the Mount had said. Well, they were pretty safe on this count. They had precious little to laugh about.

What about freedom in this era? Study the existence of the feudal serf tied for life to his plot of ground, his noble overlord, and the all-encompassing decrees of the Church. Or, if you want an example closer to home, jump several centuries forward to the American Puritans, who were a medieval remnant transplanted to a virgin continent, and who proceeded to establish a theocratic dictatorship in colonial Massachusetts. Such a dictatorship, they declared, was necessitated by the very nature of their religion. You are owned by God, they explained to any potential dissenter; therefore, you are a servant who must act as your Creator, through his spokesmen, decrees. Besides, they said, you are innately depraved, so a dictatorship of the elect is necessary to ride herd on your vicious impulses. And, they said, you don't really own your property either; wealth, like all values, is a gift from heaven temporarily held in trust, to be controlled like all else, by the elect. And if all this makes you unhappy, they ended up, so what? You're not supposed to pursue happiness in this life anyway.

There can be no philosophic breach between thought and action. The consequence of the epistemology of religion is the politics of tyranny. If you cannot reach the truth by your own mental powers, but must offer an obedient faith to a cognitive authority, then you are not your own intellectual master; in such a case, you cannot guide your behavior by your own judgment either, but must be submissive in action as well. This is the reason why--as Ayn Rand has pointed out--faith and force are always corollaries; each requires the other.

Dr. Peikoff attributes the beginning of the Renaissance to St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) who reintroduced Aristotelian logic into philosophy. The rebirth of interest in the ideas of the Ancient Greeks and Romans effectively ended the Middle Ages. The Magna Carta issued in 1215 and the British common law which originated in the 12th and 13th centuries were important milestones in establishing the rule of law and first steps toward undoing the absolute power of the monarch and Church. However, politically, as the Roman and Spanish Inquisition's made clear, much of Europe and Puritan America remained in the grip of Christian theocracy. Over the next 500 years, the power of scientific discovery as evidenced in the works of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton would lead to the period known as the Age of Reason or Enlightenment. It was the gradual rejection of religious dogma in favor of reason during this period that ultimately led to the founding of America. Dr. Peikoff continues:

The consequence of this approach was the age's rejection of all the other religious priorities. In metaphysics: this world once again was regarded as real, as important, and as a realm not of miracles, but of impersonal natural law. In ethics: success in this life became the dominant motive; the veneration of asceticism was swept aside in favor of each man's pursuit of happiness--his own happiness on earth, to be achieved by his own effort, by self-reliance and self-respect leading to self-made prosperity. But can man really achieve fulfillment on earth? Yes, the Enlightenment answered; man has the means, the potent faculty of intellect, necessary to achieve his goals and values. Man may not yet be perfect, people said, but he is perfectible; he must be so, because he is the rational animal.

Such were the watchwords of the period: not faith, God, service, but reason, nature, happiness, man.

Many of the Founding Fathers, of course, continued to believe in God and to do so sincerely, but it was a vestigial belief, a leftover from the past which no longer shaped the essence of their thinking. God, so to speak, had been kicked upstairs. He was regarded now as an aloof spectator who neither responds to prayer nor offers revelations nor demands immolation. This sort of viewpoint, known as deism, cannot, properly speaking, be classified as a religion. It is a stage in the atrophy of religion; it is the step between Christianity and outright atheism.

This is why the religious men of the Enlightenment were scandalized and even panicked by the deist atmosphere. Here is the Rev. Peter Clark of Salem, Mass., in 1739: "The former Strictness in Religion, that . . . Zeal for the Order and Ordinances of the Gospel, which was so much the Glory of our Fathers, is very much abated, yea disrelished by too many: and a Spirit of Licentiousness, and Neutrality in Religion . . . so opposite to the Ways of God's People, do exceedingly prevail in the midst of us." (10) And here, fifty years later, is the Rev. Charles Backus of Springfield, Mass. The threat to divine religion, he says, is the "indifference which prevails" and the "ridicule." Mankind, he warns, is in "great danger of being laughed out of religion." (11) This was true; these preachers were not alarmists; their description of the Enlightenment atmosphere is correct.

This was the intellectual context of the American Revolution. Point for point, the Founding Fathers' argument for liberty was the exact counterpart of the Puritans' argument for dictatorship--but in reverse, moving from the opposite starting point to the opposite conclusion. Man, the Founding Fathers said in essence (with a large assist from Locke and others), is the rational being; no authority, human or otherwise, can demand blind obedience from such a being -- not in the realm of thought or, therefore, in the realm of action either. By his very nature, they said, man must be left free to exercise his reason and then to act accordingly, i.e., by the guidance of his best rational judgment. Because this world is of vital importance, they added, the motive of man's action should be the pursuit of happiness. Because the individual, not a supernatural power, is the creator of wealth, a man should have the right to private property, the right to keep and use or trade his own product. And because man is basically good, they held, there is no need to leash him; there is nothing to fear in setting free a rational animal.

This, in substance, was the American argument for man's inalienable rights. It was the argument that reason demands freedom. And this is why the nation of individual liberty, which is what the United States was, could not have been founded in any philosophically different century. It required what the Enlightenment offered: a rational, secular context.

When you look for the source of an historic idea, you must consider philosophic essentials, not the superficial statements or errors that people may offer you. Even the most well-meaning men can misidentify the intellectual roots of their own attitudes. Regrettably, this is what the Founding Fathers did in one crucial respect. All men, said Jefferson, are endowed "by their Creator" with certain unalienable rights, a statement that formally ties individual rights to the belief in God. Despite Jefferson's eminence, however, his statement (along with its counterpart in Locke and others) is intellectually unwarranted. The principle of individual rights does not derive from or depend on the idea of God as man's creator. It derives from the very nature of man, whatever his source or origin; it derives from the requirements of man's mind and his survival. In fact, as I have argued, the concept of rights is ultimately incompatible with the idea of the supernatural. This is true not only logically, but also historically. Through all the centuries of the Dark and Middle Ages, there was plenty of belief in a Creator; but it was only when religion began to
fade that the idea of God as the author of individual rights emerged as an historical, nation-shaping force. What then deserves the credit for the new development--the age-old belief or the new philosophy? What is the real intellectual root and protector of human liberty--God or reason?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Liberate, Not Stimulate

To Stimulate the Economy, Liberate It
By Yaron Brook


The economic stimulus that would result from drastically cutting government regulation and spending (and thus taxation) is almost unimaginable.

Faced with recession, therefore, we should be asking not, "What can the government do to stimulate the economy?" but "What can it stop doing?" Washington should be debating which disastrous programs to phase out first: Sarbanes-Oxley, or the constellation of agencies that distort the housing market, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Politicians should be committing to drastically cutting government spending, so that Americans can have real and lasting tax relief.

What our economy needs is not a stimulation package, but a liberation package.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Maybe It's the Sun II

In a previous post, "Maybe It's The Sun, Impossible" ( http://dougreich.blogspot.com/2007/03/maybe-its-sun-impossible.html), I audaciously and boldly suggested that the Sun might have something to do with temperature on Earth

Ok, so let me get this straight. One would think that the SUN might have something to do with climate on Earth, right? And, scientists have found a high correlation between "solar variation and Earth climate", right? And, there is great debate between scientists who don't understand the cause of this correlation and admit that "such complex interactions are poorly understood but could be crucial to unlocking Earth's climatic puzzle", right? Yet, didn't they just release a study telling us that it almost beyond reasonable doubt that humans are causing global warming?

I submit that if climate scientists are still at the point of saying things like "I think the main question is, how does the sun [in general] act on climate? What are the processes that are going on in the Earth's atmosphere?" then perhaps we should have some skepticism as to the validity of their computer models which extrapolate their current understanding and attempt to predict the weather over the next 100 years!!!!!

I will put my prediction of what will happen to humans if we wreck the global economy against predictions based on these climate models anyday.

In that post, I linked to various studies that had shown a correlation between solar activity and temperature and that showed perhaps even Mars has been heating recently despite the fact that there are no SUV's, toilet paper, or Live Earth (I mean Live Mars) benefit concerts there. In my post "More Djembe Drum", I linked to an article about a Russian researcher's theory that we were close to a period of global cooling (http://dougreich.blogspot.com/2008/01/were-there-suvs-in-800-ad.html).

Here is another interesting editorial citing more evidence of the "hypothesis" that the Sun has more to do with warming than CO2 and that based on these theories we may be close to a period of global cooling:

Now, Canadian scientists are seeking additional funding for more and better "eyes" with which to observe our sun, which has a bigger impact on Earth's climate than all the tailpipes and smokestacks on our planet combined.

And they're worried about global cooling, not warming.

Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council, is among those looking at the sun for evidence of an increase in sunspot activity. Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century. Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle.

This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe. Tapping reports no change in the sun's magnetic field so far this cycle and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere.

Unfortunately, the environmentalist hysteria is already costing us. I showed in a previous post that uncertainty about government policy on bio-fuels is causing refiners to expand capacity more slowly leading to higher gas prices (http://dougreich.blogspot.com/2007/06/probe-of-probes.html). The push for agriculturally based fuels such as corn based ethanol is also increasing corn demand and pushing the price of grains through the roof. This will cause food prices to go higher. Here are charts for Wheat, Corn and Soybean futures in case you don't believe me:




Thursday, February 7, 2008

Maybe We're Wrong About Subjectivism Being Right

Adoption of Islamic Sharia law in Britain is 'unavoidable', says Archbishop of Canterbury


Dr Rowan Williams believes the introduction of Sharia law to Britain will help maintain social cohesion. The Archbishop of Canterbury has today said that the adoption of Islamic Sharia law in the UK is "unavoidable" and that it would help maintain social cohesion.

Rowan Williams told BBC Radio 4's World At One that the UK has to "face up to the fact" that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.

He says that Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court. He added Muslims should not have to choose between "the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty".

...Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Ramadhan Foundation, welcomed the comments.

"These comments further underline the attempts by both our great faiths to build respect and tolerance.

"Sharia law for civil matters is something which has been introduced in some Western countries with much success; I believe that Muslims would take huge comfort from the Government allowing civil matters being resolved according to their faith.

This article should be frightening to anyone who values their life and liberty. The view expressed by the Archbishop is a fusion of the two worst philosophies dominating contemporary culture: multiculturalism and religion.

Multiculturalism tells us there are no absolutes and that a "culture" can not be judged as good or evil. Accordingly, an individual is held to be determined by his culture and whatever a group chooses to do in a particular geographic locale is entirely appropriate. On this view, one could not say that science is necessarily better than witchcraft or that freedom is better than slavery. This philosophy more fundamentally represents a total rejection of the concept of objectivity and to that extent is the poster child for modern philosophy. Recall American post-modern philosopher Richard Rorty's quote:

"There is no truth, there is no such subject as philosophy, there are no objective standards by which to evaluate or criticize social and political practices. No matter what is done to the citizens of a country, therefore, they can have no objective grounds on which to protest."... "that we have not once seen the Truth, and so will not, intuitively, recognize it if we do see it. " ..."that when the secret police come, when the torturers violate the innocent, there is nothing to be said to them of the form 'There is something within you which you are betraying. Though you embody the practices of a totalitarian society which will endure forever, there is something beyond those practices which condemns you.'" (Richard Rorty's "Pragmatism and Philosophy" After Philosophy, ed. By Kenneth Baynes, James Bohman, and Thomas McCarthy (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1987), p.60.)

Multiculturalism follows logically from such a view. If Rorty can not even condemn the torture of the innocent how could he judge Western respect for individual rights, self-governance, technology and capitalism to be superior to a primitive theocracy which subjugates the individual to the dictates of "sacred" scriptures written by mystics in the Middle Ages?

Traditionally, the false alternative offered to the subjectivism of the left has been the absolutist dogma of the various religionists. But here we have the Archbishop of Cantebury upholding the multiculturalist view that there are no absolutes as a way to justify selective enforcement of Sharia law which itself is based on the idea that Islam represents absolute truth! We are at a point where rampant subjectivism tolerates even absolutism.

While this may seem like a contradiction it is not. Both of these philosophies fundamentally reject reason albeit in superficially different forms. One claims man can not know anything and the other claims man can only know what God has told us. Both reject the idea that man can comprehend nature rationally, i.e., through observation and reasoning. When reason is abandoned there can be only one outcome: violence. The subjectivists typified by Rorty are a zero. They stand for nothing and offer nothing. Therefore, in the absence of a rational philosophy taking root in the culture there is only religion to fill the void. When two sides abandon reality as the arbiter of truth and accept "faith" as their means of acquiring knowledge, the only way to settle disputes is through brute force. Logically, the alternatives of subjectivism and religion must result in violence as individual rights, which are based on an objective recognition of man's nature, are replaced with whichever religion has the most guns (or arrows, molten lead, and siege towers as was the case during the Crusades). All of history is a testament to this fact, and this is exactly what will happen in Great Britain.

Objectively, individual rights are necessitated by man's nature. If we are to be free to think, produce, trade, pursue happiness and generally live a life proper to man we must be free from physical coercion. Governments are instituted to provide this function and this function alone. This is not a subjective opinion such as whether you one likes peanuts or the color purple. This is a law of nature that applies to all men living everywhere whether you are in New York, Nebraska, London or Tehran. Laws based on mystic revelation are inherently irrational as they are based on arbitrary decrees which vary greatly from one religious sect to the other. What if one religion says you must bark like a dog three times a day and another says you must kill any female who has red hair? Must we show "respect and tolerance" to these ideas simply because someone asserted them? Should anyone alleging adherence to such principles be held to a different legal standard? What happens if one of their members kills a member of the other legal system? If a Muslim asserts as a murder defense that God told him to kill an infidel should he be immediately acquitted?

Of course, the Archbishop and Muslims will claim that they want Sharia only applied in limited circumstances:
"Nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that has sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states: the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women."

And just where would the Archbishop draw the line? Which parts of Sharia law are to be upheld and which parts are to be judged inhumane or "extreme" and by whom? The Muslims may not regard laws calling for the execution of women for showing skin as being "extreme". They may regard such laws as just and consistent with their religious precepts. Just as a mixture of a lot of food with a little poison results in poison, so too will just a bit of Sharia law lead to religious theocracy. The fact that this is being proposed and taken seriously by an intellectual leader in a major Western country is a profound statement of how close we are to losing civilization as we know it.

Euros Accepted


"In the latest example that the U.S. dollar just ain't what it used to be, some shops in New York City have begun accepting euros and other foreign currency as payment for merchandise."

Once again, on behalf of everyone, I would just like to say: Thanks Government!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Conservatives vs. Capitalism

An Open Letter to America´s Students—Will "Atlas Shrugged" Change Your Life Forever?
By C. Bradley Thompson
February 05, 2008

The reason that some conservatives fear Ayn Rand is that, ultimately, they can´t defend America philosophically. Conservatives don´t like the fact that Rand defends reason, objectivity, and certainty--and they won´t; they don´t like the fact that she defends rational self-interest, moral absolutism, and rationally grounded virtues--and they won´t; they don´t like the fact that she defends individual rights and capitalism--and they won´t. And because they won´t defend these philosophical principles, they can´t defend America. That is conservatism´s dirty little secret.