The Deterioration Of Deterrence

Thoughts from VDH on the danger of the Obama foreign lack-of policy:

I think we are going to see soon some regional flare-ups, minor in themselves, but terribly important as the world pauses to gauge the US reaction. Syria and Iran feel liberated and think they can act with impunity. Turkey is an emerging regional hegemon. I would not want to be a former Soviet republic—at least if I were consensually governed, pro-Western, and democratic.

If I were in Manila, I’d start learning Chinese; if in Tokyo, I’d think about massive rearmament. I would not wish to be in NATO if east of Berlin—“allies” in the West would (cf. 1939) stay theoretic and distant, enemies would be concrete and proximate.

The survival of Israel now depends on its pilots and missiles, not on any guarantees from the US. In today’s currency, what we guarantee is worth about as much as US treasury bills, or promises of missile defense for Eastern Europe. If I were an Israeli, I’d either pray for the skill and audacity of the nation’s Air Force pilots, or begin cultivating India, Russia, and China, or that and more.

The problem with all this pessimistic view of human nature is that our elite and anointed smirk at it. They seem to say, “Tsk, tsk, we are 21st century Ivy-Leaguers in the postmodern age. The world is no longer like it was in 1914. I explained all this in my latest piece in Foreign Affairs. Cell phones and the World Court are the order of the day, not Neanderthal notions of something called “appeasement””. But does anyone think human nature has changed since the Greeks due to improved diet, or that brain chemistry has altered with video games?

The problem is that the left doesn’t believe in human nature. And when you don’t know, or understand history, and think that Austrians speak Austrian, and that the Americans liberated Auschwitz, it’s hard to learn from it. Again, I’m thankful on this day that we’ll have elections in a little less than a year. I wish they were sooner, though.

The Warning Signs

We should have seen this debacle coming:

Given the recent events, though, it seems to me that we need to develop methods that can alert us to situations where the consensus position is faulty. In the case of climate research, there were numerous such clues that were available five or more years ago which should have made people look much more carefully at the consensus. Here are some red flags in the behavior of mainstream scientists that could be used as prompts for examining more carefully the consensus position.

(1) Consistent use of ad hominem attacks toward those challenging their positions.

(2) Refusal to make data public. This has been going on in this area for some time.

(3) Refusal to engage in discussions of the actual science, on the assumption that it is too complicated for others to understand.

(4) Challenging the credentials of those challenging the consensus position.

(5) Refusal to make computer code being used to analyze the data public. This has been particularly egregious here, and clear statements of the mathematics and statistics being employed would have allowed the conclusions to be challenged at a much earlier stage.

(1) and (4) are strongly related, of course. If anything, what this episode proves is that the global warming debate was never really about science, since they’re determined to move on as though this didn’t happen, and ignore the fact that the science has been perverted.

[Update a while later]

More thoughts from (real scientist) Frank Tipler:

I am automatically skeptical of any claim that by its very nature cannot be replicated by other scientists. What keeps scientists honest is not that scientists are more honest than other people — we aren’t — but that we know our colleagues are looking over our shoulders. Everyone is honest when he knows he is being watched.

We must seriously question whether climate “science” is, or even can be, a true science if skeptics cannot check its experimental claims. The only way climate “science” can approach being a real science is for all of its raw data to be made available. Only then is it possible for outsiders to check, at least partially, the claims of the insiders.

The second reason this conspiracy has been able to survive so long is simply that climatologists are now trained to believe in global warming theory. Remember the overwhelming urge of scientists to believe in their own pet theory, to believe that the data simply must confirm the theory, to believe that the only valid data points are those which confirm the theory? Data that are inconsistent with the theory are not recorded by believers, or not published. To true believers, such data are obviously due to an error in making the measurements, and so need not be recorded.

This human failing is why we need outside non-believers to check the theory against all the data — not just the data selected by the believers.

Of course, in order for us as a society to learn a lesson from this, it has to first be properly reported.

Saved By Private Property

As we awake this Thanksgiving, and give thanks for the opportunity to prepare to watch the Lions maintain their tradition of losing another Turkey-day game (unless, gasp, they actually manage to win two in a row?), it’s worth reminding ourselves or learning for the first time that the Pilgrims almost starved as a result of collectivism. That first thanksgiving was giving thanks for having saved themselves from such a ruinous philosophy. Perhaps next November, we’ll be able to do the same.

[Update a few minutes later]

Things that Frank J. is thankful for.

In Which I Develop A Strange New Respect

…for George Monbiot:

…his message looks awful. It gives the impression of confirming a potent meme circulated by those who campaign against taking action on climate change: that the IPCC process is biased. However good the detailed explanations may be, most people aren’t going to follow or understand them. Jones’s statement, on the other hand, is stark and easy to grasp.

In this case you could argue that technically he has done nothing wrong. But a fat lot of good that will do. Think of the MPs’ expenses scandal: complaints about stolen data, denials and huffy responses achieved nothing at all. Most of the MPs could demonstrate that technically they were innocent: their expenses had been approved by the Commons office. It didn’t change public perceptions one jot. The only responses that have helped to restore public trust in Parliament are humility, openness and promises of reform.

When it comes to his handling of Freedom of Information requests, Professor Jones might struggle even to use a technical defence. If you take the wording literally, in one case he appears to be suggesting that emails subject to a request be deleted, which means that he seems to be advocating potentially criminal activity. Even if no other message had been hacked, this would be sufficient to ensure his resignation as head of the unit.

I feel desperately sorry for him: he must be walking through hell. But there is no helping it; he has to go, and the longer he leaves it, the worse it will get. He has a few days left in which to make an honourable exit. Otherwise, like the former Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin, he will linger on until his remaining credibility vanishes, inflicting continuing damage to climate science.

Some people say that I am romanticising science, that it is never as open and honest as the Popperian ideal. Perhaps. But I know that opaqueness and secrecy are the enemies of science. There is a word for the apparent repeated attempts to prevent disclosure revealed in these emails: unscientific.

We will continue to vehemently disagree on political issues, but henceforth (not that I did it much, or paid him that much attention in general), I shall refrain from calling him George Moonbat. He seems to recognize the damage that these people are doing to his cause, even if they cannot.

Another Rock Has Been Turned Over

It looks like the Kiwis have been manipulating the climate data as well. I wonder how much of this is copycat crime — if you’re getting dramatically different results than the “official” ones being funded in East Anglia by IPCC, how much pressure is there to make them conform?

[Update a few minutes later]

I like this:

“There’s been a whole lot of work behind this in terms of things like having overlaps between particular stations when they’ve moved. There’s a whole methodology, internationally accepted, where you actually work out how to correct for these sorts of site changes and so on.”

Why is that I’m starting to think that the “internationally accepted” methodology is to “correct for these site changes” to massage the data to make it appear that the planet has been warming more than it has?

[Update a few minutes later]

It’s interesting that whenever the data is “adjusted,” it somehow always results in a plot that shows warming, rather than cooling. It’s interesting in exactly the same way that whenever the MSM gets a story wrong, it somehow reflects badly on Republicans and Conservatives. Just a coincidence in both cases, I’m sure.

[Update a few minutes later]

More over at Watt’s place.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!