Science 2

Creationisms Trojan Horse                 Barbara Forrest & Paul R. Gross
Radical Evolution                               Joel Garreau
An Inconvenient Truth                        Al Gore                                 Oct 2006
The Structure of Evolutionary Theory Stephen Jay Gould
Kicking the Sacred Cow                     James P. Hogan
Prehistoric Journey                              Kirk R Johnson and Richard K Stucky
American Denial of Global Warming     Naomi Oreskes                  Feb 2008     UCTV
Pale Blue Dot                                      Carl Sagan
Sex, Time and Power                          Leonard Schlain
Seven Ideas that Shook the Universe  Nathan Spielberg & Byron D. Anderson



Creationism’s Trojan Horse   Barbara Forrest & Paul R. Gross

Intro  In 1973, the Journal of Medical Education reported a research study entitled “The Fox Lecture”.  A distinguished looking gentleman, an actor, presented a lecture to numerous groups.  “Dr. Fox” was given impressive credentials and was given the task to, “teach charismatically and nonsubstantively on a topic about which he knew notihng.”  In a questionnaire given afterwards, nost of the audiences were very favorably impressed.  In short, you can spout gibberish and as long as you look and sound impressive and have impressive credentials, intellegent audiences will not pick up on your fraud.  The best way to guard against this it to have good documentation of sources and critical peer review.

Neo-Creationism: a nusance for science education since 1925.  Even with recent court rulings they haven’t given up.
Intelligent Design: Creationism has evolved and the currently most successful daughter species goes by the name of Intellegent Design.  The mutation took root in Seattle under the name of the Discovery Institue’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture.  The most recent mutataion involve a name change to the Center for Science and Culture.  The players have changed, some now even sport degrees in science, but the basic ideas have remained consistent.  Their terminology and approach have been selected to match more with current science.
The Wedge’s Hammers:  Those with advanced degrees have targeted nitches in higher education.  They have been recruiting followers including some non-science faculty using “intellectual freedom” as a rallying cry.  This has been called, “The Wedge”.  They are very sophisticated in using public relations technologies and mass communication.  They are well funded, primarily from segments of the evangelical Christian community.
Focus on Education:  While many of the current major practioners have advanced degrees and may even belong to science faculties in universities, none have ever carried out research or published papers based on science from an intelligent design perspective.  They wish to replace the current basis of science, based on the natural world, with their brand of “thesitic science”.  The current top names of the Discovery Institute are Phillip Johnson, William Dembski, Michael Behe, and Johathan Wells.  Of particular interest in the Inland Northwest are David DeWolf of Gonzaga and Scott Minnich of the University of Idaho.
A Neo-creationist’s Progress:  In 2001 Phillip Johnson released a paper entitled, “The Wedge: A Progress Report”,  in a creationist website.   This outlined the goals of ID. Forrest and Gross have attempted to follow their activities.  They say that the “Wedge” is, “one of the most remarkable examples in our time of naked public relations management substuting successfully for knowledge and the facts of the case.”
The Issue:  ID creationist say that the biological sciences are in deep trouble due to a collapse of Darwinism.  According to Forrest and Gross the real issue is that they are substituting public relations work for science.  This book is an exhaustive survey of ID efforts to achieve this goal.

C1  How the Wedge Began  One of the first goals of the idealog is the control of education.  The new ID technique has been the used of freedom of speech.  “The Wedge” was created in 1987 (codified in 1992) by Philip Johnson, Professor of Law at UC Berkeley.  It consists of discrediting Darwinian evolution and substituting a supposedly sound replacement of “intellegent design theory”.  Some of the early names associated with ID are Stephen Meyer, Philosophy, Whitworth; Michael Behe, Biochem, Lehigh; William Dembski, Philosophy, Northwestern; and John Campbell, Speech, U of Wash.
    Term:  Methodological Naturalism vs. Theistic Realism
    Much early funding was provided by Howard Ahmonson of Feldsted & Co.

C2    The definitive wedge document was published on the WEB in 1999.  “... all the worlds' evil is caused by materialism.”

C3    Forrest & Gross could not find any scientific articles on ID Creationism through 2001.  They could not find any data supporting ID.  Papers supporting ID have low recent paper citation to old paper citation ratios, that is they have very few recent citations.

C4  ID discusses the “Precambrian Explosion”.  Paul Chien of U of SF is the usual reference, he has no paleology credentials and has no publications in the area.  Michael Behe, the other prominant biologist in the ID group, has never published a scientific article on ID.  Irreducible Complexity has never been shown to exist in any specific example and it has never been explicitly defined.

C5    Jonathan Wells, a Moonie (follower of Rev. Sun Myong Moon and the Unification Church), after finishing seminary, enrolled in a PhD program at the U of C Berkeley on the instruction of Rev. Moon.  Wells makes several points, all of which are half truths.  Then there is a lengthly discussion and refutation of Wells’ arguements.  There is a similar discussion of Dembski.

C6    Following the scientific failure, ID focused its efforts on public relations and propoganda, these were much more effective.  A number of books were published.  Other efforts were public conferences, teacher training, free book distribution, WEB publications, College course prototypes, student resources, coverage in national media, TV productions, publicity materials, and WEB advertisement.

C7    ID is very focused on public opinion.  They have used opinion polls but of questionable accuracy.  ID has sponsored or participated in many conferences at or near mainly Christian colleges and universities.  The content is primarily evangelical and not much science.

C8    Philip Johnson, 1996, “This (ID) isn’t really, and never has been, a debate about science ... It’s about religion and philosophy.”  A major effort has been the political and legal support for discussions involving ID.  Some specific examples from Washington, Kansas, Ohio, and Washington DC.  The Santorum Amendment: On June 13, 2001; Senator Rick Santorum introduced an amendment to an education bill which was taken almost verbatum from an ID document.  In December of 2001 a joint Senate-House conference committee removed the text.  The bill was passed without the Santorum Amendment.  This has been a political and propoganda victory even though the amendment was never anything more than a proposal.

C9    The ID movement arises out of far right evangelical Christian beliefs.  They are very comfortable with rewriting Christian thought and morality by their own beliefs.  The chapter lists and describes a number of financial contributors.  The auhors discuss the religious basis of the ID and Creationist movements.

The Wedge scheme for insinuating itself into academia:
    The Wedge wants unquestioned academic legitimacy
    The Wedge wants to influence high school and college students, most of whom are ignorant of genuine science, and to recruit them to the Wedge movement.
    The Wedge wants to cultivate the support of university administdrators and financial donors.
    The Wedge must acquire physical bases of operation.
    The Wedge seeks to exploit its presence in higher education to impress the public.

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a name="Radical_Evolution">Radical Evolution   Joel Garreau

C1  Prologue: The Future of Human Nature  We, the human race, are busy inventing all sorts of drugs, treatments, devices, etc. that purport to extend our lifespan, cure pain, and solve all sorts of physical and mental problems that we humans are subject to.  What are these?  What are their good and bad points?  What problems will they solve and what problems will they create?  What sort of second and third level effects will there be?  Garreau attacks this problem from two sides, he calls these the Heaven and the Hell scenarios.  Heaven if we look at the good things that the proponents see happening, Hell if we look at the bad things that the detractors see happening.  Then he looks at some possible inbetween scenarios.

He discusses four interrelated, intertwining technologies that are being used to modify human nature.  These he calls the GRIN technologies for Genetic, Robotic, Information, and Nano processes.  Performancing technologies did not begin or end with the East German athletic drug enhancement scandals.  Our past technology has aimed outward, how can we modify the environment to benefit humans, now much of our technology is aiming inward, now we are changing the internal human to better exist within the environment.

C2  Be All You Can Be
 The chapter opens with a description of Jina Marie Goldblatt, a college sophomore at the U of Arizona.  Gina has cerebral palsy and is in a wheel chair.  Her parents are doing everything they can to see that she can live a full life.  Since her father is running the Defense Sciences Office at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), they aim high.  The Defense Sciences Office is involved in creating most of the high tech devices that our armed forces are using and will be using.  Some of the DARPA projects involve eliminating long-term disableing pain, controlling bleeding, techniques for increasing healing speed, organ regeneration, reducing sleep needs, antibiotics that can control all bacteria, etc.  He goes on to describe many of the different types of projects that DARPA funds.

C3  The Curve  Almost all graphs of human activities over the last several thousand years have approximately the same shape.  It variously called a power curve, an exponential curve, a compound-interest curve or whatever.  Some of them increase for a while and then begin to slow down which is called an "S" curve.  They all share the features of a very slow increase, followed by a much more rapid increase.  If some sort of a limit is being reached the increase first slows, then stops, and may be followed by a decrease.  If this last happens it is often because the underlying variable has been transformed into something else.  An example would be the miles travelled by sailing ships which transformed into steam ships.  Then railroads increased rapidly, then highways continued the increase, and then airline miles were the (current) final transformation.  Garreau has examples of Moore's Law of computing devices and many other products of our civilization.  He discusses the study of Ryan and Gross in 1943 about the response to innovation.  They report 5 groups: the Innovators, the Early Adopters, the Early Majority, the Late Majority, and the Laggards.  He talks about the loss people feel when one of their tools, like a computer, fails.  It is very similar to the loss we feel when a loved one dies.

The concept of the Singularity.  It comes from mathematics and physics where the results of equations stop making sense, like when you divide by zero or event horizons around black holes.   What happens when new advances push humans past any of our past experience?

Scenarios and their rules:  Must conform to known facts, must identify "predetermined" events, must identify "critical uncertanties", should identify "wild cards", they reveal "embedded assumptions", they should identify in advance "early warnings" that the scenario will be true or false.  He then describes the "Curve Scenario" and the "Singularity Scenario".

C4  Heaven
 Garreau chose Ray Kurzweil as his poster boy for the heaven scenario.  Kurzweil is an inventor and author.  He has invented many devices activities like speech recognition, music analysis and production, and written several books.  Most of his devices utilize pattern recognition, which until recently had been the perogative of animals.  Most of these can be used to augment human abilities, especially humans with disabilities (hearing, seeing) who can no longer use their own senses or where human senses are not sufficient (like seeing in the dark or through walls).

Kurzweil feels that his and other similar inventions are coming faster and faster (the Curve) and current science education has not prepared us for such a future.  Scientific process is like evolution, it proceeds in very small steps that are very hard to notice but produce major changes after many generations.  It's just that our generation times are becoming very short and technologies are cross-fertilizing each other.  Kurzweil makes a number of predictions of life in 2009, 2019, 2029, and 2099.  He wouldn't make a very good science fiction author, his predictions are just too far out to make a good story for most current readers.

The second half of the chapter discusses activities taking place in the US National Science Foundation and the Department of Commerce.  A slightly toned down Kurzweil but in the same vein, just a little more subdued.  More description of the possibilities of genetic engineering and nano technology than Kurzweil.  Garreau discusses buckyballs and buckystrings and space elevators.  Then on to Kim Drexler and nano medical applications.  Minsky and artificial intellegence, pilotless airplaines, and robots.  Back to Kurzweil and how we might redesign humans.  He closes with the Heaven Scenario.

C5  Hell  The description of the Hell option starts off with Bill Joy, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems and the co-inventor of RISC processors.  Joy has retreated to a mountain ranch well outside of Aspen, Colorado.  In March of 2000 he published a long article in Wired magazine entitled, "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us."  Joy believes that technologies are getting away from us and that they will reach a point where they will be completely uncontrollable.  Garreau questions whether living through stressful times doesn't seem to trigger horrific works of art which seem to innoculate humans from actually performing the acts which are suggested in the works of art.  He suggests the books Foust, The Inferno, Frankenstein, Brave New World, 1984, On the Beach, Silent Spring, and the movie Dr. Strangelove.  He questions whether or not Viagra would qualify as a device of an Enhanced person.  He also questions whether our seeming improvement in moral attitudes from the cruelty and callusness towards human life that existed in Roman times and even into the 1600's.  Even though horrific things happen today they are hidden.  He closes with the Hell Scenario.

C6  Prevail  Garreau begins with a brief resume of Jaron Lanier who was reaised in La Mesilla, New Mexico.  He is a strange combination of philosopher, creaive artist and computer scientist.  He believes that both Kurzweil and Joy are equally wrong.  The truth is in the middle: confused, muddled, and uncertain.  Lanier thinks that computers (and perhaps the other BRIN stuff) are just tools to be used and expand our capabilities as humans.  One of the biggest problems with computer systems is that they force humans to "dumb down" their interactions to avoid confusing the computer.  Technology is a means of bridging the interpersonal gap between humans.  He sees movies such as Casablanca, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Matrix, and the Lord of the Rings as exemplars of the Prevail myth; the little guy going up against the system and winning.  Progress is technological, moral, and in the increased connection between people.  Technology based swarming behavior, as in the recent Russian revolution, is an example.  

C7  Transcend  Trancend is based on three premises:
Garreau states that human nature is flexible, it is always changing.  Of course there are many differing views.  As an example, religious conservatives seem to think that human nature is (and must remain) at the state that it is today.  He interviewed many people on all sides of this issue and asked the question, how do we live a society in which GRIN augmentation is possible and is being practiced.  He got many different answers.  The future is coming, how will we welcome it?  With our heads in the sand, with open arms, or with skeptical acceptance but the determination to shape it for our benefit?

C8  Epilogue  He closes with an interview with Michael Goldblatt, the retiring head of the Defense Sciences Office of DARPA, on the eve of his retirement.  He ends the book with Acknowledgments, Suggested Readings ( he promises more information at www.garreau.com and team@garreau.com ), Notes with considerable discussions of most and specific references, and an Index.

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An Inconvenient Truth                        Al Gore                                 Oct 2006

A somewhat confusing book, I couldn't figure out whether to call it science or politics.  His subject matter is the science but his message is the politics.  It is also rather of a strange book, no chapters, no index, no notes.  There is a short passage on credits for photo's etc. that contains a few notes and statistics but this is clearly not designed to be a major part of the book as it is in small print and almost no extra spaces.

Gore wrote Earth in the Balance which was publish in 1992, just before he was elected Vice President.  At the same time he was writing this he was developing a slide show.  After he lost the Presidency to Bush in 2000 he decided to again start giving the slide show.  This slide show gradually evolved until it became a movie and then a book.  And it shows.  Not that the book is bad or disorganized, it is just organized like a slide show.  A brief discussion of a point, a number of very good photographs illustrating his points, graphs and tables also illustrating his points, and then a discussion of his next point.  I would love to see the slide show and the movie so that I could compare the three different ways of presenting his story but I haven't had the opportunity yet.

To effectively cover all of his points one would have to say pretty much what he said without the illustrations.  Why bother, the book and the movie are readily available.  I'll just say that humans have been breeding with reckless abandon for many years.  We have overcome many of the previous limits to population growth and we are fouling our own nest.  He evidently felt uncomfortable proposing that we limit our population.  He spends most of the book documenting how we have fouled our nest/planet, devoting most of his time on global warming, the causes, the evidence, and what we can do about it.

This not a book on the science behind global warming but it will hopefully present sufficient arguments to convince those in government and the general public who will learn to explore the issue more fully and to begin working to solve at least some of our problems.

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The Structure of Evolutionary Theory   Stephen Jay Gould

If you think you knew everything there was to know about evolution, think again! I didn’t get lost until about the 10th page, but I certainly got scared on the third page.
Minimal requirements (I hope) for evolution:

The first major part lists and gives a lot of detail about many (all?) of the early evolutionary theorists, both before and after Darwin.

The second part lays a groundwork for expanding strict Darwinism.  There were theoretical discussions of these issues in the first half.  Gould makes the point that evolution can exist over several levels.  These are: 1) the gene.  2) the cell, not only the free living cell as in perhaps an amoebae, but within the body of an organism.  3) an organism. 4) a deme (2 or more groups of organisms, capable of interbreedint but don’t {much?} because of perhaps isolation). 5) species, 6) clade (a group of related species that can be compared with other clades on an evolutionary basis)  I personally had never considered te possibility that evolution could exist at anything other than at the organism level, the original Darwinian view.  

Gould then presents his concept of punctuated equilibrium and macroevolution.  The final chapters go into what Gould sees as profitable ground for evolutionary theories in the future:  quirky functional shifts, spandrels, exopation, franklins and miltons, and the linkage of evolution to time periods, what he calls “tiers of time, a) millions of years, b) tens of millions of years, and c) hundreds of millions of years.

Interesting Irony Time – p 402-403

In 1866, William Thompson, the future Lord Kelvin, published a short paper stating that the age of the earth was approximately 100 million years, maximum of 400 million years.  Later refinements and calculations reduced this to 10 – 30 million years old.  In 1904, Lord Rutherford presented a paper on determining the age of the earth by radioactive decay.  Rutherford spotted Kelvin, the “Grand Old Man” of Physics in the audience.  Rutherford realized that he was “in for trouble”.  “To my relief.” Ruterford writes, “Kelvin fell fast asleep, but as I came to the important point, I saw the old bird sit up, open and eye and cock a baleful glance at me.  Then a sudden inspiration came, I said that Lord Kelvin had limited the age of the earth, provided no new source of heat was discovered.  That prophetic utterance refers to what we are now considering tonight, radium!”

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Kicking the Sacred Cow   James P. Hogan

“Scientists are Only Human - and Not Immune to Dogma”, from the book cover.  If only the author had stopped there.  A testosterone laden diatribe against the scientists he doesn’t like from the point of view of their detractors.  If the question is, “Are all scientists saints?”, the answer is no.  Are all their dectractors saints?  The answer here too is no.  What he seems to be doing here is selecting a number of areas in which science is having a hard time.  The data is difficult to collect and costs lots of money.  In short he has picked from the emotion laden boundaries of science where the going is hard and the facts still a little iffy.  All in all a rather pitiful book.

C1 Humanistic Religion - The rush to embrace Darwinism.  Hogan uses the time honored technique of deciding what you want to say, and then finding a suitable number of references to people who agree (or can be made to seem to) with you.  Along the way you use a couple of (outrageous and out of context) quotes from those who disagree with you just to prove your unbiasedness.  He makes extensive use of what Dawkins calls Personal Incredulity.  Hogan is quite good at ignoring the data and theories of evolution and invents his own data without giving any evidence for his sources.  He is really good at selecting ‘facts’ that support his viewpoint and ignoring those that don’t support him, reference his discussion of cholesterol.  Another feature that I like about his scholarship was his quoting figures from one author who is reporting the data of another author.  His first cited author is listed in the secton notes and references but the original source is not referenced at all.   The more I read the more his arguements sounded like the Intellegent Design propogandists.  Then sure enough, at the end of the section we have quotations from the major players in the Creationist - Intellegent Design community.

C2  Of Bangs and Braids - Cosmology’s Mathematical Abstractions  Einstein and other theorist of the Cosmos.  Here, and for the rest of the book, Hogan shifts from criticizing science from a religious viewpoint to other scientists.  Perhaps a better description of the final 5/6 of the book would be, “Scientists Behaving Badly”.  Yes, they do.  They have bad days, they make stupid mistakes, they form groups, follow flawed leaders, they are living, breathing, farting humans.  They still have at least one characteristic that distinguishes them from other groups (at least so far), they don’t start wars, they don’t have ethnic cleansing, death camps, crusades, jihads, or inquisitions.  Yes, some have participated, but they didn’t initiate them.  Science is also self-correcting.  The heretics are castigated but I have not heard of any Darwinists burning Neo-Darwinists at the stake, we don’t have any death camps for Intellegent Design or anti-Big Bang theorists.  Yes, they tend to scream and shout and say nasty things when some obvious idiot says something detrimental about their pet theories, but where is the blood?  Hogan discusses several who have, and still do, disagree with some of the current cosmological theories, red shift, etc.  They have probably been treated badly.

I think what Hogan is missing here is the social environment.  Since the 1940’s  and 1950’s we have been living in an era of Science by Big Government.  Research grants and faculty appointments are all supported by grants.  If you don’t get the grant you don’t get any money.  The fighting gets rather tense and sometimes rather brutal in the trenches.  If you have a big federal grant you tend to get a little defensive when someone attacks your favorite idea.  Sometimes the fighting is not very nice.

C3 Drifting in the Ether - Did relativity take a Wrong Turn?  Chapter 2 continued.  Einstein again.  Questions, electrodynamics, Ether, Lorentz Transforms, Relativity, Field Theories, Faster than Light.  Big subjects, a lot of little questions around the edges, not everyone agrees, no big surprise here.

C4  Catastrophe of Ethics - The Case for Taking Velikovsky Seriously  A brief biography of Immanuel Velikovsky.  Velikovsky committed the sin of trying to emulate the gentleman scientist of the 1700’s and 1800’s.  He was trained as a physician and tried to write books with theories about ancient history, orbital mechanics, religion, etc.  Needless to say he offended the established experts in these fields.  He also did not document his work and present his findings in the “accepted manner”.  He pretty much made everybody angry with him.  Certainly some of his ideas have elements of truth.  Is it a case of “even a blind pig can find a few acorns”, or is there some deeper truth here?  He said a lot of stuff and certainly some of his critics went a little overboard.

C5  Environmentalist Fantasies - Poloitics and Ideology Masquerading As Science  Hogan really gets carried away on this one and it is very understandable.  The environment is a Big Topic.  From the Snail Darter or Spotted Owl to Global Warming there is a lot of controversy surrounding this area.  We have Greens, industry, government, recreationists, etc., just about every group you can think of in the middle of this one.  Everybody has a lot of money, to make, to spend, to loose, to protect, riding on this general topic.  Besides that it is newly arrived on the human consciousness and the science is not well known and is advancing rapidly.  Here the scientists acting badly are joined by just about everybody else.  When you really get down to it who many really care about evolution, relativity, ether, or Velikofsky’s worlds.  These don’t effect our day to day life.  Envirinmental poisins, wetlands restrictions, fishing laws, etc. directly effect our life.  To me, the question is not, “did somebody ever make a mistake?”, the real question is, what is the cost of making a mistake?  If lead paint is not dangerous and we ban it a bunch of stockholders loose a little bit of money and a few workers need a new job.  If lead paint is dangerous and we don’t ban it my grandchildren could die or be brain damaged.  Any guesses which choices I will make?  In the time after hurricanes Katrina and Rita the prior statements of the Corps of Engineers and FEMA look sort of feeble.  Then when I hear reports that the levies will be rebuilt bigger and better I ask, why do people have to live below sea level when we have hurricanes?

C6  Closing Ranks - AIDS Heresy in the Viricentric Universe  Certainly AIDS is a very confusing disease.  One of his major criticisms is that the definition of AIDS has changed over time and thus confused the statistics, this is certainly correct.  If any part of this book has merit this would by my choice.  It is also the shortest, less than 30 pages in over a 300 page book.

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Prehistoric Journey
- A History of Life on Earth   Kirk R Johnson and Richard K Stucky

A coffee table book published by the Denver Museum of Natural History.  A very visually pleasing book of many pictures of fossils and recreations of ancient animals.  Not a lot of text and some of the pictures describe a critters that aren’t in the illustration or are very well camouflaged.  The quality of the presentation is extremely high but the content is not up to the level of a Gould or a Dawkins.  As a comparison that is a little unfair.  As a coffee table book it is really great.

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American Denial of Global Warming
    Naomi Oreskes      Feb 2008     UCTV
 She is a Professor of History in the Science Studies Program
 at the University of California, San Diego

Adlai Stevenson: "The trouble with Americans is that they haven't read the minutes of the previous meeting."

Arnold Schwarzenegger, San Francisco, June 2, 2005:  "I say the debate is over.  We know the science.  We see the threat, and we know the time for action is now."

Discover Magazine, Number 1 scientific story of the year: 2004 "the year that global warming got  respect."

Gallup Poll, 2007  "72% of Americans completely or mostly convinced that global warming is happening."  "62% ... believe that life on earth will continue without major disruptions only if society takes immediate and drastic action to reduce global warming."

Frank Luntz: "It's now 2006.  I think most people would conclude that there is global warming taking place and that the behavior of humans are (sic) affecting the climate."  He wrote the 2003 memo to Republican candidates that said use "climate change" rather than "global warming." "Climate Change is a lot less frightening than global warming."  He recommended that candidates emphasized that there is scientific uncertainty.

IPCC Climate Change report, 2001:  "Most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas"

IPCC 1995 Second Assessment Report:  "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human impact on global climate."

The IPCC was established in 1988.  It was created as a response to scientific predictions of the 1970's:  "Global Warming due to greenhouse gas emissions likely to become a problem."  These predictions were a culmination of 50 years of study.  The case has been building for more than 50 years.  Greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and a few others.  They trap heat that comes from the sun from being re-radiated back into space.

John Tyndall (1820-1893), a leading experimental physicist of the 19th century estalished the "greenhouse" properties of carbon dioxide.  In the early 20th century, scientists realized that if CO2 content changed, temperature could change too.  This is mainly associated with the work of Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish chemist.  He calculated that a doubling of the CO2 would raise the earth's temperature between 1.5°C and 4.5°C.  (roughly 3° - 9°F) He thought this would be a good thing, he lived in Sweden.

In the 1930's the British Engineer G.S. Callendar presented calculations that showed that an increase in CO2 was already occurring.  This led to the question, "Is temperature already increasing?"  Callendar's graphs showed that there was a very slight temperature around the world from the 1880's to the mid 1930's.  In 1931, physicist E.O. Hulburt reported that his calculations showed that doubling the amount in the atmosphere would increase the average surface temperature by around 4°K.  The basic physics was understood by the 1930's.  Work pretty much ceased because of the Depression and WW II.

Many people thought that the effect of CO2 would be overwhelmed by the much more abundant water vapor.  In the 1950's, Gilbert Plass discovered that the wavelengths of radiation trapped by CO2 and water vapor were completely different, so they would not interfere with each other.  At this same time it was realized that we were conducting an experiment.  Over the past several hundred million years the earth has been storing carbon underground as fossil fuels.  The experiment is, what will happen if we take this out and put it back in the atmosphere?  In 1957 Time magazine interviewed Roger Revelle and reported his concern over global warming.  He stated that this question would be addressed during the International Geophysical Year (1957-58).  Revelle hired the young chemist, Charles David Keeling to research this problem.

Keeling began measuring CO2 in Hawaii and by 1965 he determined that about 1/2 of the CO2 from burning fossil fuel was going directly into the atmosphere.  In 1964 a National Academy of Sciences publication warned of "Inadvertent weather modification" caused by CO2 from burning fossil fuels.  This was written by a scientific panel convened to determine if the weather could be changed for military or agricultural reasons.  They realized that it was being modified by accident.  

1965: President's Science Advisory Committee, Board on Environmental Pollution.  "... by the year 2000 there will be about 25% more CO2 in the atmosphere than at present [and] this will modify the heat balance of the atmosphere to such an extent that marked changes in climate, not controllable through local or even national efforts, could occur."  The White House, December 1965, p. 9

Lyndon Johnson, Special Message to Congress, 1965:  "This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through ... a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels."  The chair of the PSAC, Gordon MacDonald, served on this committee under both Johnson and Nixon and was an original member of Nixon's Council on Environmental Quality.  This wasn't pursued seriously because the issue of greenhouse gases seemed relatively minor compared to other problems and it was far in the future (2000!)

In the 1970's it began to be realized that this issue was serious.  Three separate reports came out.  
There was a consensus in 1979 that global warming would happen and that it was not a small issue.

This is why the IPCC was created: To analyze temperature records. To predict likely effects. To predict when effects would occur.  To suggest solutions.

These facts led to the National Energy Policy act of 1988, "... to establish a national energy policy that will quickly reduce the generation of carbon dioxide and trace gases as quickly as is feasible in order to slow the pace and degree of atmospheric warming ... to protect the global environment."

Report in the New York Times, Aug 23, 1988 "The issue of an overheating world has suddenly moved to the forefront of public concern."

The U.N. Framework Convention of Climate Change, 1992.  President George HW Bush signed the document and called on world leaders to translate the written document into "concrete action to protect the planet."

What happened?  More than half of the American people think that global warming is real, but many think that scientists are still arguing about it.  Why, Because this is what we have been repeatedly told.

Vice President Dick Cheney, Feb. 2007, "I think there's an emerging consensus that we do have global warming. ... Where there does not appear to be a consensus ... is the extent to which that's a part of a normal cycle versus the extend to which it's caused by man, greenhouse gases, etc."  Reported on ABC News.

Since the late 1980's there has been a steady steam of claims challenging climate science...  These include:
For the past 20 years, the major source of such challenges:  The George C. Marshall Institute, a Washington-based think tank.  She asked the question, "Where did the Marshall Institute come from? and how did scientific uncertainty become a political tactic?  

The George C. Marshall Institute was founded in 1984 by Robert Jastrow, a well known astrophysicist.  He recruited two colleagues to join the Board of Directors, Fredrick Seitz and William Nierenberg.It was founded to defend Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars).  By May of 1986 6,500 academic scientists had signed a pledge not to take funds from SDI.  Marshall would defend SDI by showing that not all physicists were against it, to counter the efforts of Carl Sagan and Hans Bethe by writing letters to editors, Op-Ed pieces to venues like Commentary and The Wall Street Journal.  The strategy was to show that scientists were not unified in opposition but were arguing.  

The Marshall was not a scientific research institute.  It never did original scientific research, it never attempted to raise funds to do science.  The plan was never to debate fellow scientists in the halls of science, but rather in the mass media.  If the media did not give them equal time, they would threaten to sue, under the fairness doctrine.  They threatened to sue every PBS station that carried a program they did not like and they would demand equal time.  The pressured the media for "balance."  Question: if you have 6,500 opposed and 3 in favor, how do you consider giving each side equal time?  This has been a consistent tactic in many conservative attacks on science.  This has been highly effective because most journalists have been taught that they must provide balance in their stories.  Interesting aside, at the same time that the Marshall Institute is demanding fairness, the Reagan administration was eliminating the Fairness Doctrine.  

Other issues that the Marshall Institute became involved in during the mid-late 1980's, Nuclear winter, Seismic verification, and the Future of the space program.  All related to the Cold War, weapons, and rocketry - issues which the physicists had had considerable experience and expertise.  In 1989 the Cold War ended, now what?  It turned to the issue of global warming, and they developed positions contrary to mainstream scientific views.  In 1990 they developed position reports and pamphlets claiming that global warming was not occurring and even if it did there was no problem as the markets would solve them without government interference.  In 1992 a second report challenging the scientific evidence, denied that climate records revealed warming, and stated that even if there was warming, technology could solve the problem, and that there was no need for international treaties or regulation.  

In the early 1990's they were losing the debate and President George HW Bush signed the Climate Change Convention.  They deepened their attacks.  As the evidence grew against them their attacks became harsher and more personal.  She only offers one of many attacks.  Benjamin Santer was lead author on one of the IPCC reports.  In 1996 members of the Marshal Institute wrote letters to the IPCC and some members of Congress, this was followed by an Op-Ed piece in the Wall Street Journal attacking him personally.  Santer was defended by all parties involved in the IPCC report but members of the Marshall Institute never retracted their charges which were repeated by industry groups and think-tanks and the Wall Street Journal.  

In 1998 Santer read a newspaper article about scientist had participated in a tobacco industry program to discredit the science linking smoking to cancer.  The article explained that the strategy was to "keep the controversy alive."  This was very familiar.  He was right, the tactics were the same, and it was the same people.  Again the tactics were the same, they didn't try to disprove the science, they tried to create doubt arguing that scientists were not all in agreement.  

People associated with the Marshall Institute have been associated with many business vs. science issues.  In the 1980's they challenged scientific evidence linking sulfur and nitrogen emissions to acid rain.  In 1995 they testified in Congress that there was no scientific consensus linking CFC''s to the ozone hole.  (Just three weeks later, Rowland, Molina and Crutzen won the Nobel Prize for this work!)  

Again, Marshal Institute physicists lost all of these debates, acid rain is caused by acid emissions, CFC's were banned, and Environmental Tobacco smoke does cause lung cancer.  They used the same arguments again and again and again, the science was uncertain, concerns were exaggerated, technology will solve the problem, and there is no need for government interference.  She calls this, "The Tobacco Strategy".  Why would distinguished scientsits to this? (Attack science, defend tobacco?)  It is base on a political Ideology:  Regulation  In each case, the goal was to stave off government regulation - the ideology of "Laissez faire"  What is the link to SDI (Star Wars)  
George Soros has called these people "market fundamentalists:
Global warming is the mother of all environmental problems--energy is at the root of all economic activity.
Some of us are old enough to remember Barry Goldwater, "Extremism in the defense of libeerty is no vice"  These men in the Marshall Institute shows that it is a vice.  
In the process they . . .
Greatly misrepresented science
Confused the American people
Delayed political action on one of the pressing global issues of our time.  

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Pale Blue Dot   Carl Sagan

Intro   Wanderers  Humans were wanderers since the beginning.  He then tells the story of his grandfather and of his trip from Central Europe to New York City.  A brief description of the book.

C1  You are here
  Pictures of the planets taken from beyond Neptune.
C2  Aberrations of Light  Beginnings of astronomy and space travel.
C3  The Great Demotions  Our village, our country, our earth, sun, etc. were all once the center of the Universe.
C4  A Universe not made for us  We still act and speak as though we were the center.
C5  Is there Intelligent Life on Earth?  The problems of finding life on earth.
C6  The Triumph of Voyager  Pictures and description of the Voyager spacecrafts.
C7  Among the Moons of Saturn  The chemistry of Titan and some of the other moons of Saturn.
C8  The first new Planet  Brief history of planetary astronomy, the moons of Uranus.
C9  An American Ship at the Frontiers of the Solar System  Neptune, Pluto and beyond.
C10  Sacred Black  The colors of space and the atmospheres of planets.
C11  Evening and Morning Star  Observations and measurements of Venus
C12  The Ground Melts  Volcanos and other surface features of planets and moons.
C13  The Gift of Apollo  Apollo and the moon missions.
C14  Exploring other Worlds and Protecting this One  The view of earth from space is humbling.  What can observations of other planets tell us about the earth?
C15  The Gates of the Wonder World Open  Our first trip to Mars, who, when, how, what should we do there?
C16  Scaling Heaven  The problems of space travel to the Moon and Mars.
C17  Routine Interplanetary Violence  Moons, rings, and interplanetary impacts.
C18  The Marsh of Camarina  Asteroid impacts, what can (should) we do?
C19  Remaking the Planets  Terraforming, where, how, problems, lessons.
C20  Darkness  Is anybody out there?  SETI
C21  To the Sky!  A brief review of our history in space.  Why we need to go.
C22  Tiptoeing through the Milky Way  Why we need to settle on other planets, the Kuiper belt, the Oort Cloud, and eventually planets circling other stars.

This is really a coffee table book.  There are hundreds of great pictures and paintings.  
Sagan may have been an astronomer but his greatest contribution is probably in his poetry and his ability to comunicate his enthusiasm.  How many of us who are old enough can hear the words, “billions and billions” and not think of his Cosmos series on TV?

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Sex, Time and Power - How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution   Leonard Schlain

Intro   Women exist with much less iron in their blood for much of their lives, especially around childbirth.  Why are these, and other, differences in basic physiology between men and women?

C1  Approximately 150Kya a major problem arose for humans.  The slowly enlarging size of the skull of babies began to expand beyond the size of the female pelvic opening.  Greater brain size (more intelligence) reduces the likelihood of becoming cat food.  It also increased the likelihood of the mother (and child) dying in childbirth.

C2 Human females are almost alone among animals in not chemically signalling when they are fertile.  They are the only species capable of refusing sex.  They are among the few capable of sex at any time.

C3  Human females loose a loarge amount of iron, primarily in terms of blood and milk during their childbearing yrears.  The major cause is menstration and childbirth.

C4  Hemoglobin and chlorophyll are very similar molecules.  It is possible that hemeoglobin evolved from chlorophyll.  Women commonly need supplemental iron.

C5  Human females (whom Schlain calls Gyna Sapiens) are the only females who do not exhibit any observable signs of ovulation and therefore fertility.  There are several theories which attempt to explain this.

C6  Why do human females differ from all other species of mammals by menstrating with the loss of so much blood and tissue?

C7  Of all mamallian species, only chimps, short tailed monkeys, and humans seem to achieve female orgasm, and there are still questions about chimps and monkeys.  Again, why is this?

C8  Why do human females (again almost alone among mammals) loose their fertility - menoplause - much before they die.  Is this so that they can help raise their grandchildren (in proper Darwinian phraseology of course)?  Why are boy babies circumcised?  Perhaps grandmothers thought that they would make better lovers (read that slower, more patient).

C9  Why are humans almost alone among primates in having a diet that includes a large percent of meat?  How does this relate to male-female relationships?

C10  Quotation from Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior,  “There are three possible parts to a date, at least two must be offered, entertainment, food, and affection.  It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal or entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection.  As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately.  When the affection is the entertainment, we no longer call it dating.  Under no circumstances can the food be omitted.”

The human digestive tract is the animal worlds most finicky, we cannot digest many of the key essential nutrients.  If you soak in a hot tub at 98.6 deg F. the body doesn’t need to do any work to maintain its temperature and the little muscle twitches called fasciculations can stop and you can totally relax.  Of the 20 essential amino acids, humans can not manufacture 8, and 2 more a difficult for adults, impossible for children.  Lipoproteins, especially the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are difficult or impossible to manufacture for humans.  Meat is by far the best source of these.  We need meat, it also seems to help with sex and thinking.  Many of our primate cousins get their protein from eating insects.  I’ll settle for steak please.  Question?  How much of the religious life of the middle ages was based on the “visions” or halucinations caused by a very poor diet at the end of a long winter with many nutrient or vitamin deficiencies?

C11  Adolescent subfertility, adolescent girls show all the signs of fertility except that they seldom release eggs.  This occurs in other primate species although it is longer in humans.  In chimps it may last from 6 months to 3 years.  Boys spend much of their adolescence perfecting the skills needed as a man.  Girls spend the time perfecting their interpersonal skills.  (A little sexist?)

C12  The tensions of adolescence, how changing hormone levels effect our mods, emotions, and actions.

C13  Many have tried to specify the difference between men and the other species of animals.  Schlain states that the most important difference is the correspendence between the menstral cycle and the phased of the moon.  He points out the many corellations between these two.

C14  Schlain:  Language developed because of sex.  Men and women both select mates based on their verbal abilities and their promise to to raise children and support them during this time.

C15  Anima vs. Animus:  Feminine vs. Masculine.  We all have both aspects, what is the ratio?  A successful human who can get along with the opposite sex needs to be well versed in both.

C16  Some acts of homosexuality are common in the non-human animal world.  Humans  just seem to have more of it.  A small area in the amygdala (BSTc) seems to determine sexual orientation.  Extreme (violent) homophobia also seems to be related to this area.

C17  The Theory of Eights.  among men approximately 8% are homosexual, 8% are color-blind, 8% are left-handed, and 8% have pattern baldness.  He relates each of these to an increase in hunting, etc. success if this 8% or 12-1 ratio remains constant in the population.

C18  Psalm 103:15 - As for man, his days are as grass, as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.  For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place therof shall know it no more.

One of the defining moments in our species is when we, as individuals, realize that we are going to die.  Currently we seem to realize this at about the age of 7.  Presumably this first occurred to our species around 40kya.

C19  The realization that we will all die has spawned many elaborate death ceremonies in an effort to stave off the inevitable.

C20  Important events that happened approximately 40kya.  Women noticed that their cycles coincided with the lunar cycle, women made the correlation between sex and birth 9 months later, recognition of individual mortality, men recognizing that they had fathered their children.

C21  Incest, control, formalization of marriage.  The masculine side of the marriage contract.

C22  The feminine side of the marriage contract.

C23  The origins of misogyny (hate-distrust of women) and patriarchy (set of rules to control sexual and reproductive rights of women.

C24  Pornography offers sex without asking.  Cosmetics offer the illusion of youth, healthy, and beauty; which is what men desire in a woman.  Humans have more than 10 times as many subcutaneous fat cells as other land animals, surpassing even hippos and pigs.

Schlain seems obcessed with certain ideas.  The primary example is iron.  He seems to assume that one of the major factors in male/female interaction is lack of sufficient iron.  The normal condition of humans seems to be iron-deficient anemia.  This was of course exacerbated by females menstrating, giving birth, and nursing babies.  This problem led to the solution of meat eating and was a major factor in humans evolving away from our fruit eating cousins.  Others, for example the Drs. Eades, feel that there is an ideal range of bodily iron and that having either more or less than this amount can cause medical problems.  They hypothesize that a possible reason why women between 12 and 45 have much less heart disease than men is that menstration reduces bodily iron levels to a safe range.  Similarly they feel that small, regular doses of aspirin reduce heart attack damage because it causes small amounts of intestinal bleeding.

Schlain seems to jump at many such questionable facts.  He is certainly well read but his references seem to be cited more to reinforce his points than to shed light on the entire problem, whether it seems to be supportive or contradictory of his opinions.  An interesting book but it seems to lack the intillectual rigor and scholary analysis that I would have preferred.

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Seven Ideas that Shook the Universe  Nathan Spielberg & Byron D. Anderson

It should be titled “Seven Physics Ideas …”.  Actually it is not a bad book once you get over the normal hubris of a physicist.  It is a really nice history of Copernican Astronomy, Newtonian Mechanics, Laws of Heat, Motion, and Energy, Entropy and Probability, Relativity, Quantum Theory, and Nuclear Conservation Principles and Symmetries.  If I were going to pick some arbritrary number of most important ideas I would probably pick some like: Mathematics can be used for things like land boundaries, Gods and Religon, Evolution,  Tools and tool use, all People are one (group, species, family – you pick) even though some of us haven’t picked up on this yet, Law and not personal strength as a mode of governing ourselves, etc.  Like I said before, a nice book, well written, a small amount of math but not too scary.  The authors do a nice job of presenting the major ideas of physics and how the relate to one another.  Physicists are always good at telling you how Physics is the “Queen” of sciences and how advanced physics is.  The minor fact that physics is the simplest of all the sciences doesn’t bother them at all.  Too bad you can’t just solve a calculus equation and come up with the solution to abortion, civil wars, or even cleaning up hazardous wastes.

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