Sunday, March 17, 2019 FactCheck Fail

This morning I came across another example of dancing to the contrarian script -  this time it was Fact Checkers.

Rather than dog-chasing-tail words, we need to strive to clarify what’s unfolding upon our planet on a realistic gut level.

Moral of the story stop focusing on tiny uncertainties - redirect the dialogue back to the known certainties - because they certainly tell us enough.
This is what appeared (click image for better view):
Edited by Scott Johnson, Climate Feedback, Mar 8, 2019     {hat tip to} 
"The science is clear, climate change is making extreme weather events, including tornadoes, worse.”        SOURCE: Bernie Sanders, Facebook, 4 March 2019's fact checking verdict was misleading 
Overstates scientific confidence: Research clearly shows that certain types of weather extremes are increasing as a result of climate change, but it is not clear how tornadoes are responding to a warming climate.
ClimateFeedback misses the point. 

It’s not about tornadoes and score keeping, it’s about learning to appreciate how our climate engine operates.

Take back the narrative !

Research clearly shows us that our global heat and moisture distribution engine has accumulated a degree Centigrade worth of extra heat since the advent of the steam engine.

Weather's job is to circulate this heat (and moisture) from the broiling equator to the poles.

This warming also increases the moisture holding capacity of air.

Physics tells us this added energy gets circulated throughout the global weather system. 

This extra heat is now available to be released through various destructive forms, not limited to tornadoes, consider destructive macrobursts, microbursts, downbursts, derechos, bomb cyclones, hurricanes and others.  

It doesn’t much matter which particular meteorological conditions come together, the point is when they do, they now have increasingly more energy, heat and moisture available, meaning more intense events must to be expected.  

It’s elementary.  It's physics.  It's certain as people can be about anything.

It’s about establishing an appreciation for what’s happening within our global heat and moisture distribution engine.  Well that and learning to appreciate the fragility of the biosphere upon who's health we all depend on for everything.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

What's natural about Steele's scary stories? Why Pacifica Tribune? (3/6/2019)

My previous post gave a summary of March 6th’s What’s Natural? column in the ‘libertarian’ Pacifica Tribune.   So I’ll dive straight into this, the “too long, didn’t read” part 2 intended for the student of libertarian deception.  Here I dissect the words and offer links to serious sources for the other side of Steele assertions. 

Glib misrepresentations, insulting experts and weaving transparently deceptive tales is easy - learning the facts and understanding our biosphere and climate engine that’s what requires some serious self-starter effort.  Like the difference between a vandal and a builder. 

Jim Steele’s, What’s Natural? Pacifica Tribune | March 6, 2019

(click on the image for better reading)
{Since this is a Virtual Debate I drift back and forth between addressing Steele and addressing my readers}

First paragraph,  Steele gets into the Heaven’s Gate Suicide Cult.  Guess, to fluff up his audience.   When Steele tossed in:
Steele:  “the Heaven's Gate Cult. Highlv educated members …” 
I though I’d investigate, turns out People magazine printed a little bio of the unfortunates.  Not to disparage, but educationally they were actually a decidedly middling crowd: Reading it, lonely people looking for simple answers is what came to my mind.

Odious sensationalistic smoke and mirrors, reckon it’s all one's left with when one doesn’t have any facts on their side?

Second paragraph,  launches into some heavy handed self promotion.  

Steele:  “I’ve pointed out how over-hunting and invasive organisms endanger species.  I’ve noted island extinctions occurred when humans imported rats, cats and mosquitos that attacked ill-prepared native species.”

Come on Jim, who’s kidding whom, that’s been text book stuff since I was in school, why do you spin it into sounding like original work or something? 

Steele:  “My research in the Sierra Nevada restored a watershed …”
I think the Sierra Valley Resource Conservation District ( might not agree with Jim’s self-serving assessment.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Editor Frederick, Regarding Steele's Scary Campfire Stories. March 6, 2019

Letter to Editor Frederick, 
Regarding Jim Steele’s "What’s Natural?" Scary Campfire Stories.
March 6, 2019 - Pacifica Tribune - sent March 11, 2019

Dear Editor Fredrick,

What’s Natural? Indeed, that is the question.  It took a couple days to steel myself to tackle the Scary Campfire Stories column but I’ve been working on it much of the day and hopefully it’ll be posted soon.  I’m pretty sure my point by point review wouldn’t be of much interest around here, so I’m posting it at my - I’d much appreciate it if you could share that with your readers. Instead of details I’d like to share general impressions. 

Lets start with a summary of the column’s ten paragraphs: introduces topic with the Heaven’s Gate Suicide Cult (no crass politicization happening here); dismisses the seriousness of a 1°Centigrade rise within our global climate engine; misrepresents the facts in order to disparage a respected butterfly expert; quibbles about Polar Bear counts, while ignoring that the Arctic Ice Cap is melting away; ridicules penguin researchers for revolutionizing census gathering abilities and keeping up to date with their available data; heaps scorn on the entire climate science community because some scientist at some low point once said snow was going to disappear from England in the next decades; oh and we're to forget about “atmospheric insulation” because CO2 is plant food; he tells us there’s far more important problems to address than our planet’s atmospheric insulation regulator going from 280 ppm when the steam engine was invented to over 410 ppm and rising fast today.

Then Steele’s coup de grâce: ”For several decades, bogus catastrophic climate-change claims have come and gone.” -“If we truly care about nature … the real problem is overhunting, invasive species and loss of habitat.”

So this is libertarian entertainment?  Is that it?  It sure isn’t serious education!  What’s natural about this contemptuous disregard for our physical Earth and it’s biosphere?  How on Earth can one hold the notion that raising the temperature of our global biosphere won’t profoundly alter its components?  

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Considering Sagan's actual Baloney Detection Kit

A couple weeks back when I reviewed Steele's What’s Natural? column regarding Carl Sagan’s advice, I took Steele’s quotes at face value, though I had some doubts.  Since then I've done some checking and the differences are striking and worth sharing.

One thing worth pointing out is that Jim ignores that the Baloney Detection Kit was about how scientists view problems and that laypeople could learn from that.  One thing that bothers me about Steele's take, is that he's always implying spectators and dilettantes are as smart as actual trained experienced experts. 

Here I simply want to allow Carl Sagan's own words to speak for him, though with an introduction from Maria Popova:

Through their training, scientists are equipped with what Sagan calls a “baloney detection kit” — a set of cognitive tools and techniques that fortify the mind against penetration by falsehoods:
The kit is brought out as a matter of course whenever new ideas are offered for consideration. If the new idea survives examination by the tools in our kit, we grant it warm, although tentative, acceptance. …


But the kit, Sagan argues, isn’t merely a tool of science — rather, it contains invaluable tools of healthy skepticism that apply just as elegantly, and just as necessarily, to everyday life. By adopting the kit, we can all shield ourselves against clueless guile and deliberate manipulation. Sagan shares nine of these tools:
  1. Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.”

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Jim Steele Responds To Citizenschallenge

Jim Steele responds to my challenge to debate his confusion strewn “What’s Natural?” column. 

from: Jim Steele | to: Sherman Frederick, Editor of the Pacifica Tribune | cc: citizenschallenge
Feb 23, 2019, 7:20 PM
"Sherm I am sorry that you will be hounded by Peter Miesler as he attempts to denigrate me and every skeptic. 

Twice replied to his website and corrected his dishonest distortions. He deleted my posts. Thus I promised him I will not ever again bother engaging him. He has twisted that for 4 years always suggesting I am afraid to debate him.

Hmmm, ironic.  
Look at what I received a few weeks back.

(After posting this I was surprised to see the date was before I’d written the Pacifica Tribune for the first time.  But the bigger point, Jim’s easy with the fibs.)

Steele continues: "He is infamous on the internet for dishonest and relentless attacks.  He has hounded colleagues at SFSU and other experts who have supported my opinions. 

Since learning I have the What's Natural column he keeps emailing me all sorts of dishonest BS so I am no going to block all his emails. (I’ve been showing him the courtesy of copying him on my submissions to the Pacifica Tribune.  Why this hysterical reaction?) So I will no longer be privy to his attacks that he emails you. (i.e. diving deep and running silent) He is simply an obsessed internet sniper. Sniping at me somehow gives purpose to his wretched life."

Mind you, this is the same guy who wrote:

Later I share the index to my thoughtful look at Steele’s presentations 
which he’s too intellectually bankrupt to debate and 
apparently somewhat desperate for no one to read or think about it.

Response from Editor Sherman Frederick:

Sat, Feb 23, 8:36 PM
to Jim, Jim, citizenschallenge

No worries, Jim. 
Citizenschallenge's Response to Pacifica Tribune’s Frederick:

Sun Feb, 24 - 12:06 PM

Dear Editor Frederick,

In response to Mr. Steele’s email,

1¶   What is Jim saying?  That any critique of his words is an “attempt to denigrate (him) and every skeptic”?  

¶ 2   I have a clear comment policy - rational and direct challenges to what I’ve written are welcome.  But, I will not become a billboard for garbage that totally sidesteps my dialogue.  This was clearly explained to Steele at the time. 

Steele forgets to mention that he has a standing invitation to submit an on-point guest post at my blog, which I’ve promised to publish unedited, nor annotated.  Though I would certainly follow it with my own post examining his words.

¶3   You can read all about the SFSU incident, I was seeking accountability and a bit of protection insurance, (the guy can get scary).

Steele saga - Repost 1/5 - Open let to San Francisco State University March 8, 2016)

¶4   Steele writes: “He is simply an obsessed internet sniper. Sniping at me somehow gives purpose to his wretched life,”  the same guy who writes:

3. Don't: Don't attack the arguer, attack the argument. 
Steele comments: (mud-slinging dominates politics. Dismissing valid arguments by calling the arguer a (“internet sniper” or “wretched human”) muddies the science.) 
Doesn’t that sounds like there’s a mighty totalitarian double standard in play here?  What’s happened in our country?  I thought in America we still believed in fair and open constructive debates, or what?  Oh, and what about simple honesty?

Incidentally, this should be of interest:

Saturday, February 23, 2019

What’s natural about Steele’s take on Carl Sagan? - 97% - Pacifica Tribune 2/20

A study guide to Jim Steele’s  “What’s Natural?”, featured in the Pacifica Tribune.

What’s Natural? (#5)  Jim Steele, Pacifica Tribune, February 20, 2019
The Scientific Baloney Detection Kit. 

This is the second half of the previous post, please refer to it for an introduction.  
Basically Jim Steele is lecturing us on how to interpret Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit.  It promises to be an insightful journey into the workings of the libertarian deception.  

My intention is a point by point review of libertarian deception in action.
(please click on image for sharp view)

Before we begin, let me share Sagan's (or was it Feynman sage advice for us science spectators: “Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out!”
Jim Steele writes:  “To overcome our biases and strive for a greater scientific truth, our discussions will be well served if guided by Sagan's principles. Below I paraphrase the most pertinent points in Sagan's Scientific Baloney Detection Kit. (I add my comments in parentheses.)” 
Wait a minute.  Check out what’s going on here, reread that first line.

To overcome our biases” and “striving for a greater scientific truth.” Those are two very different things and must be recognized as such. 

Carl Sagan’s book was written to and for us regular people, non-scientists, we who look at the scientific community and their studies from the outside.   

Recognize that not everyone can be an Earth scientist.  It takes a particular perspective on life and a burning curiosity to understand nature, along with a disciplined character that’s always striving for greater scientific truth.  

The point I’m trying to get across is that before we can continue with this discussion - we must openly recognize who’s who.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

What’s natural about Steele’s baloney kit #1 - via Pacifica Tribune 2/20

Apparently, Jim Steele's What's Natural? column is a weekly affair.  This week he cancelled his promised Changing Sea Levels #2 and instead shares pointers from Carl Sagan in his What's Natural? "The Scientific Baloney Detection Kit" Feb. 20th, Pacific Tribune.  It promises to offers an interesting journey into the mindscape of double standards and blindspots.  I'm limiting this post to his introduction which offered it's own share of talking points.  Then I'll be looking into Sagan's specific points in a later posting.

My intention is a point by point review of libertarian deception in action.

(please click on image for sharp view)

Jim Steele writes: "Politicians from all sides manufacture "crises" and "demons" to promote their agendas superficially designed to fight those crises."
Okay, no arguing that.  So far so good.
"In his book The Demon Haunted World," Carl Sagan famously published his Scientific Baloney Detection Kit, a "do and don’t" list to guide honest scientific inquiry." 
Wait a minute.  How did we get from “Politicians” to “Scientific Inquiry” via a book written for laypeople?

In the book Sagan “aims to explain the scientific method to laypeople, and to encourage people to learn critical and skeptical thinking. (WIKI)

Serious scientific inquiry is something that only the learned can do.  Of course, one can be self-taught.  But expert status in any field demands, learning, acquiring real knowledge, skills and experience.  

That is quite different from being a spectator trying to understand what the scientists and experts are talking about.
"Sadly, climate science has been too politicized. But Sagan's advice can help separate the politics from honest science regards claims of a "climate crisis.”"
Here again Steele strives to coalesce science with politics and public spin - that is deceptive nonsense.

Sagan’s advice is for us laypeople to develop some critical thinking skills in order to better recognize our thoughts and what to look for as we assess the various claims being tossed at us.

What drives scientists? - Richard Alley's Golden Nugget
Published on Aug 24, 2015
"The very foundation of scientific inquiry demands a vigorous skeptical challenge to every hypothesis. Several different hypotheses can explain the same phenomena. Anyone, scientist or layperson, can make assertions and models." 
No Jim.  Not anyone can make assertions about climate models and other complex aspects of climate science.  It may work in that Hollywood world so many seem to be inhabiting, but not in the real physical world that we depend on for our life support systems.