Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse - Calling Out Democrat's Timidity. Pleading for the need to inform and engage.

Back in the 1960s and '70s, society and its leaders where confronted with the reality that the more we consumed and polluted, the faster our children and grand children would face horrific consequences.  It's 2021, yet the disregard continues, even as the consequences dance before our eyes.


Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has a message for Democrats, leaders and voters, that we need to listen to and heed, or what's left of our democracy will disappear.  


https://www.whitehouse.senate.gov


I have a too tiny readership, though it does span the globe.  That's why I feel like I should apologize for my overly American-centrist tone.  



What can I say, this is my homeland, where I grew up, and where I've done most all of my traveling, where my friends and family and most of my memories exist and where I'll die, so it is what it is.  If anyone would care to share their perspective regarding these matters, please do leave a comment. 


We in America have been watching a ‘hostile takeover’ being waged upon our government.  Actually, too many have been oblivious to it.  This ‘hostile takeover’ attempt traces its roots to a reactionary rejection of both environmentalism, and human rights improvements by a few of the world's billionaires and tons of Dark Money.  


Why, because investing in the future threatened their gluttonous short term profit dreams.


It was a direct reaction to the increasingly successful human rights, and environmental movements of the '50s, '60s, ‘70s.  Back in the '50s scientists finally began to gain a realistic globally holistic, big-picture appreciation for Earth's interconnected complexity and harmony.  Plate tectonics, evolution, DNA and unraveling biological secrets, deconstructing atoms along with all their cascading implications and impacts.  


In the '60s this growing understanding received a slap in the face and kick in the butt, with the realization that the mathematical real-earth observational data regarding current trends was not looking good.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Koonin's "Unsettled"? Ill-advised, or liar for hire? (reviewing Boslough's review)

 I’ve been haphazardly collecting and reading some articles regarding the latest media darling of the climate science denial crowd, Steven (he’s a real, if dishonest, scientist) Koonin.  It’s to be a followup to Ben Santer’s article and intended to be a bibliographic Student Resource for those curious about the disingenuous game Koonin has been playing for years.

Then a couple days ago I read the following “critical review” - at SkepticalScience.com, it was reposted from Yale Climate Connections and written by the respected Mark Boslough - and it’s been haunting me since, so I’ve decided to purge it from my system by posting Boslough’s unedited article, with a few additional thoughts of my own.

Boslough, admits to being a good friend of Koonin.  Indeed his review, is more about understanding and forgiveness for Koonin’s unfortunate excesses, along with K’s failures in judgement and character.  Rather than an critical examination of the malicious lies Koonin repeats like a wind up doll.  

Where Boslough sees an unfortunate, to be pitied, I see a malicious liar for hire.  

Someone who should be exposed and shamed for his wanton disregard for honesty and our children’s futures.  Instead, we get yet another example of dancing by the contrarian’s drum beat.


I share the article as written thanks to their generous CreativeCommons repost permission.  I did add bold and red highlights to single out specifics.  I also share a few thoughts of my own in green print.

This is intended for students who are sick and tired of old white guys getting away with this sort wanton deception.  Students who are already busy trying to figure out how to confront the fire hose of disinformation … (continued after Boslough’s article) (edited June 5th, PM)

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A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

Posted on 1 June 2021 by Guest Author at SkepticalScience.com

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Mark Boslough

I would normally ignore a book by a non-climate scientist promising “the truth about climate science that you aren’t getting elsewhere.” Such language is a red flag. 

But I’ve known the author of “Unsettled” since I took his quantum mechanics course as a Ph.D. student at Caltech in the 1970s. He’s smart and I like him, so I’m inclined to give his book a chance.

But smart scientists aren’t always right, and nice guys are still prone to biases – especially if they listen to the wrong people. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Steven Koonin Lecturing Climate Scientists at Lawrence Livermore Nat'l Lab? Seriously? Who's in Charge?

It is simply untrue that Prof. Steven Koonin is confronting climate scientists with unpleasant facts they ignored or failed to understand.   Atmospheric ScientistBen Santer PhD

I haven't done much on the climate science denial front lately, since it's gotten too depressing, especially for those of us who pay attention to the increasing imbalance and the ongoing and unsustainable degradation of our Earth's biosphere.  

Besides, seems to me it's not a problem with climate sciences, or the scientists who do it, we have achieved a plenty good at understanding the mechanisms unfolding within our global heat and moisture distribution engine and biosphere.  (Just need to be willing to do your homework and honestly learn about it.)

The problem is with the delusional thinking people love to wrap themselves within.  

Which is why I've move on a bit and why I undertook: Donald Hoffman Playing Basketball In Zero-gravity, my book review and student resource building project.

Interestingly, lately I've been thinking about Ben Santer and how he's been doing these days - since his case, seemed to me, one of the first where climate science denialists showed their complete willingness to engage in no holds barred, malicious, ruthless misrepresentations, character assassinations, and dirty tricks.  Then I read the following and figured why not give it a little more web presence, it's worth reading and thinking about.   

This is why I'm sharing this important PSA that I read at SkepticalScience.com.  For more on Ben Santer: My Climate Story - Ben Santer, also:

IPCC: the dirty tricks climate scientists faced in three decades since first report

August 27, 2020 - TheConversation.com


The Relentless Attack on Climate Scientist Ben Santer

May 16, 2014 - BillMoyers.com


The consensus-building process of the IPCC

February 12, 2012 - SkepticalScience.com


Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind

February 24, 2010 - RealClimate.org

Dr. Ben Santer: 'Climate Denialism Has No Place at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory'

Posted on 25 May 2021 by Guest Author, Ben Santer

This is a repost of Dr. Santer's statement via the Union of Concerned Scientists blog and we thank UCS for this permission.   (As I thank Skeptical Science and Union of Concerned Scientists for making my reposting possible!  Cc)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has invited Professor Steven Koonin to give a seminar on May 27, 2021. Professor Koonin’s seminar will cover material contained in a book he published on May 4. His book is entitled “Unsettled”. Its basic thesis is that climate science is not trustworthy.

Professor Koonin is not a climate scientist. I am. I have worked at LLNL since 1992. My primary job is to evaluate computer models of the climate system. I also seek to improve understanding of human and natural influences on climate.

In collaboration with scientific colleagues around the world, our research group at LLNL has identified human “fingerprints” in temperature changes at Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, and in the oceans. We have also found human fingerprints in rainfall and moisture. LLNL’s fingerprint research is one small part of a large body of evidence that contributed to scientific findings of a “discernible human influence on global climate”.

I have interacted with Professor Koonin since late 2013. Back then, he argued that uncertainties in climate science were large and were not fully acknowledged by climatescientists. In his view, climate science was not sufficiently “mature” to be useful to policymakers. Similar claims are advanced in his new book.

It is simply untrue that Prof. Koonin is confronting climate scientists with unpleasant facts they ignored or failed to understand. 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

It’s Not A “Body-Mind Problem” - It’s An “Ego-God Problem.”


As I’ve followed the philosophical roots of “dualism” back to Descartes (1600s) and Anselm (1000s), one thing is clear.  The entire philosophical edifice of this Mind-Body “Problem” was formed from within a Christian God-fearing mindset and it continues to reflect their dubious metaphysical assumptions and unreal confabulations. 


The Christian worldview is one that perceives people as isolated objects, not only from each other, but also from ourselves and the landscapes we exist within. 



Regarding the “Mind-Body Problem.”  


It’s a confabulation


Dr. Solms makes a wonderful analogy that highlights the error being made:


Question:  Was it lightning or thunder that killed the man?

It’s a meaningless question.

Lightning and thunder are simply different aspects of the same phenomena.


The “Mind” is the interior reflection of the living “Body” (both its interior happenings and its external interaction with the environment).  You simply cannot have one without the other.


We are embedded within an interconnected web of life and are the direct products of Earth’s Pageant of Evolution.


Why isn’t that reflected in modern philosophical discourse? 


Learning to appreciate the deep-time pageant of Evolution puts an entirely different richer light upon our interior existence.  An awareness that encompasses the whole of time and this planet that created us.


It also gives us a deep appreciation for the continuity of life.  Life is good, life is precious, but death is no enemy, painful though it may be.  Death is part of the cycle that brings forth new life.  Revel in the pageant you are blessed enough to be witnessing.  While you can. 



As for God?  


Who is “God,” but a creation of our unique complex human minds?  


Where did God come from?  

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Diary, "INDIVISIBLE" webinar & networking. All hands on deck, they say. What do I have to offer?




A few days ago I attended a “Indivisible Colorado Action Network & Rural Colorado United” webinar about effectively organizing and messaging in rural communities!  It was a call to civic duty and a networking opportunity because networking is key to success.



In that spirit of reaching out, I want share what I have to offer to other activists.  

Friday, April 16, 2021

Being an Element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution


Although I’m a family man, with my share of friends, along with being community-minded, there’s a part of me that rarely fully connects with people, leaving me with an impression of being on the outside looking in and trying to make sense of the self-destructive direction people are driving our future towards.


Over the decades I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to understand what makes my fundamental outlook and instincts so foreign to the general mindset.  It’s only recently, with the hindsight of sixty-five years, and coming off of this “Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-gravity Project” that I’ve finally nailed it,


I possess a visceral awareness of, and appreciation for, being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution.  


Such a fundamental understanding bestows a host of cascading spiritual and intellectual benefits.


Here's another example of words having power.  By finally distilling those feelings into a sentence, I'm becoming aware of and comfortable with a new level of understanding and have created a fresh platform for taking it to the next level.  I mean, the adventure simply keeps on getting better.



This sense of self and spiritual solidity emerged out of a lifetime of curiosity and learning about (myself, but that's another story) Earth, deep-time, and her amazing evolutionary story.  


Especially realizing how the components of my own physical body had their origins eons ago.  Even before that, if you consider how Earth herself had to go through intense processing before promising molecular tricks and biological solutions to life’s challenges would have the material resources at hand to allow them to be put to the test and prosper.


It’s a long, amazingly complex story that keeps evolving as more evidence gets collected and processed into shared scientific knowledge.  Folds within folds of cumulative harmonic complexity flowing down the cascade of time.  Considering I’ve been paying attention to it since my grade school days, it’s inevitable that I’ve achieved some insights along the way.



In the end, the thought of being an intelligent self-aware element of creation, one who is capable of savoring the pageant of Earth’s amazing Evolution is more than comforting.  It provides me with a spiritual foundation and solidity in the face of challenges, inevitable failings, and my coming death, that possess a depth of peace and security that no Holy Book or fast-talking pick-pocket preachers can get close to offering.  It's good news worth passing around to the few who are honestly curious.   ✌️


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Regarding Deep-time

Friday, April 9, 2021

Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide


I believe, consciousness, “mind,” can’t be understood by studying modern people in these modern times.  

From an evolutionary perspective the mind is an inevitable (of course, with a lot of time and good luck) result of natural, biological forces at work in concert with geologic processes.  It seems rather self-evident our current masterpiece body/mind is the result of hundreds of millions of experiments, untold iterations unfolding over an unimaginable expanse of seasons and generations.

A couple years ago I realized that for all the talk about body-mind, consciousness, perception, reality, or no reality, there’s a most fundamental divide that I believe needs to be explicitly enunciated and thought about.  Like a necessary first step before anything else can really start to make sense. 


Physical Reality is the physical world of atoms, molecules, universal laws of physics and Earth’s laws of nature.  It is Earth’s dance between geology and biology and time and evolving creatures, (and one in particular that learned to contemplate the universe and its short life), along with everything else around us.

Human Mindscape is all that goes on inside of our minds.  The landscape of your thoughts and desires and impulses and those various different voices and personalities who inhabit our thoughts.  The ineffable ideas that our hands can turn into physical creations, that changed our planet.  

Me, myself and I, and all that unfolds just beyond the sparks and chemical cascades unfolding within our physical bodies and brains.


The following is from 2018 and offers a bit more background.