Category Archives: General Science

Those “Impossible” Burgers

It may be a surprise to some, but not to me, that they are neither healthier for the eater or for the environment.

I’d like to eat actual lab-grown meat, but it has to be cost effective, and nutritionally equivalent to the stuff on the hoof (or claw).

[Update a couple minutes later]

In reading, as is often the case, part of the health claim derives from the false notion that eating “red meat,” and particularly saturated fat, is unhealthy. There is zero scientific evidence for either. So they’re basically proposing to replace something humans have been eating since the dawn of humanity with some lab-produced glop about which we are completely ignorant of its nutritional effects.

The “Republican” Brain

A refutation of a stupid thesis (including a dumb book by Chris Mooney). If I had time, I’d write a book called “The Democrats’ War On Science.” It would have a more solid basis than Mooney’s.

Oh, and this once again puts paid to the notion of “peer review” as having any value.

[Update a few minutes later]

“Consensus,” and politics disguised as science.

Climate “Scientists”

Thoughts from Judith Curry on motivated reasoning:

…how did I end up taking a different path and ending up in a different place than say Michael Mann, Katherine Hayhoe, or whoever?

First, as a female scientist of my generation, I wasn’t really entrained into the ‘power’ community surrounding climate science, although in the 2000’s I was named to some National Academy and other advisory committees. So my career path wasn’t invested in this kind of ‘power’ climb to influence climate science or public policy. I wasn’t editor of any journals, a lead author for the IPCC, etc. I was more interested in doing my own research. When I went to Georgia Tech in 2002, my main objective was in building a faculty and mentoring them and developing a good educational, professional and personal environment for students. So my career objectives were not really tied up in the ‘AGW enterprise.’

My generation of scientists (60+) have mostly identified as atmospheric scientists (meteorologists), oceanographers, geologists, geographers. By contrast, younger scientists (particularly those receiving Ph.D. since 2000) studying any topic related to climate pretty much have their careers defined by the AGW enterprise. As a percentage, I suspect that a far lower number of 60+ climate scientists are activists (and are more ‘skeptical’), relative to a large percentage of under 50’s (who don’t seem skeptical at all). Somebody outa do a survey.

Second, politically I’m an independent with libertarian leanings, and I have never been particularly aligned with environmental movement (while I highly value clean air and water and species diversity, the environmental movement seems motivated by other issues). I simply don’t have the soul of an ‘activist.’

Third, since my days as a graduate student I have had an abiding interest in philosophy and the social sciences, particularly as related to science.

Fourth, I care more about whether my publications will stand the test of time and contribute to deep understanding, than I care about the ‘wow’ factor, which I regard as transient and leading to nothing but trouble (e.g. Webster et al. 2005).

Fifth, at this stage of my life I can afford to buck the ‘system.’ 20 years ago, when I had a mortgage payment and college tuition to pay, there is no way I would have put myself out on such a controversial limb. There is only so much personal and professional integrity that you can afford, if your job might be at stake.

So that summarizes my personal journey, over the past 14 years, to fight against my own personal biases. Through Climate Etc. I provide resources that I hope others can use to think about, understand and challenge their own biases. Apparently trying to fight against bias in climate science gets you labeled as a ‘denier’, ‘anti-science,’ ‘serial climate disinformer.’ There seems to be no end to the perversions of ‘motivated’ climate science.

Tell me about it.

“Saving The Planet”

“Why it’s not in my job description as an environmentalist.”

[Afternoon update]

Born That Way

These kinds of “studies” drive me nuts:

“The idea there that sexual orientation is fluid, that people change as people grow,” Lawrence Mayer, a co-author of the report and a scholar-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University’s psychiatry department, as well as a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University, told The Christian Post. “There are probably some people that identify as hetrosexual [sic] that then later on identified as homosexual, so it goes both ways. The importance there is the fluidity and flexibility that these things change in time.”

Of course there are many people for whom sexual orientation is “fluid.” They’re called (wait for it) “bi-sexuals.” They’re born that way. I was born straight, gays are born gay, and there are many people who are born “fluid.” It doesn’t mean that no one is born straight, or gay. I have no idea why this is such a hard concept for some people, including “scholars.”

[Wednesday-morning update]

I discussed this issue previously here:

My theory would explain why some of the most vociferous opponents of homosexuality often (more often than one might have guessed) turn out to be attracted to the same sex — they have a choice, and they feel morally superior to those upon whom they project their own bisexual orientation, and thus assume that people who don’t uphold their own standards of morality are merely weak-willed. These would also be the people who really could be counseled to go straight for religious reasons — they really had been influenced by their postbirth environment, and were capable of going the other way. So this might explain the twin conundrum as well. The twins who are both homosexual either were born homosexual or were born bi and both chose homosexuality. The ones where only one twin had that trait (as with the Collins brothers) were born bi, and made different choices. I know that if I were heterosexual with an identical twin, I would find it mind blowing to be told he was gay, because then I would be wondering why I wasn’t. But in Jason’s brother’s case, maybe he’s thinking: “Well, I decided to do the marriage-to-a-woman-and-have-kids thing, but I can see his point of view.”

I can’t see his point of view, but I’m willing to accept that it’s his point of view.

The Great Lakes

Demonstrate the flaws in climate “science”:

…if the lakes’ huge fluctuations in the past weren’t caused by mankind’s burning fossil fuels, why are scientists so convinced that the far more minor changes happening today are? The reason is simple. Climate scientists can blame anything they want on global warming. The climate models are imprecise enough that no matter what is happening they can point to it as proof that man-made climate change is happening. Too much rain, too little rain, bitterly cold winters, mild winters, more snow, less snow, rising water levels, falling water levels — they can attribute “climate change” as a cause of it all.

A theory for which all evidence is evidence of it, and thus not falsifiable, is not science.

BTW, blogging has been light because I’ve been wiped out by the ISDC for the past five days, and this morning I was at a meeting at ISS Commercialization at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. More meetings tomorrow, then back to LA tomorrow night, where I hope things will get back to normal.