Sunday, June 9, 2019

Mike Hulme's Tenacious Grip on Physical Reality. An examination.

After reading Hulme's "Am I a denier, a human extinction denier?" he invites us to read: "‘We Always Get the Weather We Deserve’: The Tenacious Grip of Moral Accountability."   So I did.  It was an even deeper exploration into his Mindscape rather than climate science.  Needless to say, this essay also deserves a serious examination.
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My intention is a review of ‘libertarian' deception in action. 
Different cosmologies, religious thought, political ideologies, social practices and scientific paradigms of knowledge all contribute to the rich cultural matrix in which theories of climatic change and causation have emerged, flourished and declined. 
Sure, but lets be clear, this is about our inner perceptions and not about understanding our climate system.
It is exceptional for humans to think that climates change for either natural or supernatural reasons alone. Far more common in early human history, and indeed perhaps still today, is to believe that the performance of climate is tied to the behaviours of morally-accountable human actors. We therefore tend to think that we get the weather we deserve.
What’s being sidestepped here is that the physical reality of our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine knows no “morally-accountability.”  Don’t be hubristic, it is what it is and it follows understandable geophysical laws.
Hulme’s is writing about how we cope with weather - that’s quite different from striving to understand how Earth’s climate engine operates.
Human anxieties about a disorderly climate are long-standing 
Right.  The reason for that is because the weather we experience totally dictates our quality of life - since every aspect of our lives are dependent on relatively mild and predictable weather patterns.  
“Human anxieties” have to do with human psychology and how individuals deal with the objective facts they are faced with. 
Perhaps it would do us some good to acknowledge the importance of weather in our lives.  I fear way too many take it all for granted.
and are manifest today for example in the popular descriptions of climatic change as ‘weather weirding’ or ‘climate chaos’. 
Terms like “weather weirding” and “climate chaos” have shown up because people need words to describe the changes that are actually being observed in regards to the increasing tempo of extremely destructive weather events.
Society evolved within a very advantageous climate regime, but humans have kicked our atmospheric insulation regulator from around 280ppm at the start of serious fossil fuels burning, to over 415ppm and rising fast.  
This is gearing up our global heat and moisture distribution engine.  It’s physics, don’t matter how well you understand it, or not, accept it, or not, it is what it is.
Since climate is an idea which performs important functions in stabilising relationships between the human experience of weather and cultural life, when physical climates appear to change the search for explanation becomes pressing. 
Mumbo-jumbo.  Our human understanding of climate is one thing.  “Climate” is something else altogether.
How people deal with their weather, or more importantly how they’ve dealt with radical changes in traditional weather patterns, is important to think about.
But, Hulme’s is trying to erase the boundary between discussing how we interpret climate and climate itself.  
I’m not even sure Hulme is aware of it.  I suspect like a fish in the ocean he’s too submerged in his own Mental Mindscape to recognize it.
    The Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria”

“… missing was a much more fundamental division crying out for recognition.  Specifically, the magisteria of Physical Reality vs the magisteria of our Human Mindscape. …”

Physical climates change through time; but so too do theories of climatic causation. Explanatory accounts of why climates change do not remain static. As cultures evolve, often in response to experiences of environmental change, cross-cultural encounters, new scientific knowledge and technological innovation, so too do explanations of climatic change and variability.
In this essay I briefly examine different accounts of causation which seek to make sense of changes in physical climates, with particular reference to the early-modern period. I first explore some supernatural accounts of climatic change and then briefly mention naturalistic accounts. Finally, I elaborate differing understandings of human agency and climatic change. The accounts of climatic causation that are found persuasive today inevitably reveals something of our own cosmology, ideology and belief system.
Please notice that Hulme’s doesn’t acknowledge any qualitative progression in understanding the underlying physics of weather.  
But there has certainly been huge advances he chooses to ignore.
Be clear Hulme’s is playing purely within his Mindscape.  
What he's writing might tell something about ourselves, but it won’t tell us anything about the weather reality unfolding outside our windows.
Supernatural Causation
The prevalence and power of the idea of climate in human thought is due to its role in stabilising relationships between changeable weather and cultural life (Hulme 2016). The idea of a stable climate is therefore readily associated with the idea of a stable cosmic order in which relationships between humans, non-humans and the spirits or gods are as they should be. For many cosmologies, disruption to any part of this triadic relationship may yield adverse consequences for the behaviour of the weather and challenge the human experience of a stable climate. For example the Abrahamic faiths – namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam – understand a transcendent and omnipotent God to be the provider of all good things, including orderly and faithful weather. More generally, if deities or the spirits are powerful, awesome and just, then a prerequisite for retaining a beneficent climate is for humans to maintain good and appropriate relations with them. And if the gods are merely capricious, then various petitions, offerings and sacrifices are needed to appease them, thereby maintaining the orderly weather around which human life can at least survive, if not flourish.
Within such worldviews it is both normal and sensible to search for the hand and motives of a good and just God when climates start to change for the worse or to acknowledge the anger of the spirits when weather appears to become abnormally extreme or destructive. 
'Within those (medieval god fearing) world views.'   Mike, this is 2019.
Fears and anxieties about extreme weather and dangerous climatic shifts can be made sense of, if not fully diffused, by placing responsibility for the performance of climate in the will of the divine. 
Sure to help us rationalize what’s happening to us - but he’s telling us nothing about what we know about the physical reality of the current climate shift.  
Worse Hulme’s weaves his words in a way to imply that current “extreme weather and dangerous shifts” are a figment of our imagination.  Rather than the reality increasing masses of people are having to deal with.
Such an ideology creates powerful and binding narratives about the performance of wayward climates. These narratives contribute to psychological and spiritual survival, even as all around might be physically threatened.
Okay true enough.  But be clear this is about human coping mechanisms, not climate.
Explanations for changes in climate such as these are frequently found in historical cultures and remain prevalent in the world today. 
Yes they do, among backward peoples.  
Today we have science and experts who can measure our planet like never before.  Today’s understanding is clear and explainable and internally consistent, which is far more than can be said for this sort of libertarian crazy-making.
European societies in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, for example, struggled to comprehend a climatic period which encompassed some very severe winters and cold, damp summers. Religious songs and prayers written at the time reveal the contemporary value of a theistic explanatory framework. The German hymn writer and poet Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676), for example, wrote ‘Song of confession and prayer occasioned by great and unseasonable rain’ in the 1640s (Rockoff & Meisch 2015). In this extended poem Gerhardt looks to God for an understanding of the climatic perturbations he and his contemporaries in central Europe were then experiencing, and also for a resolution to their experience.
Other supernatural explanations of climatic misdemeanours may be more sinister, drawing attention to a Manichean struggle between good and evil. On occasions and in some cultures the devil’s work in disrupting the orderly state of climate has been accomplished through the weather-making witch. In sixteenth century continental Europe, climatic deterioration was not uncommonly attributed to the unleashing of demonic forces through witchcraft and weather magic. Misogynist elements of European society held witches directly responsible for a variety of social ills and ‘unnatural’ phenomena, not least the high frequency of damaging weather episodes, especially in winter (Behringer 1999).
So what?  That was all the knowledge and reasoning abilities available back then.  Back then everything was treated that same way, from medicine to astronomy.
Natural Causation
Supernatural and natural theories of climatic change are not simply alternative discrete accounts which people have found useful to explain the (usually) unwelcome inconstancy of climate. They rarely present as two mutually exclusive options from which to select. 
What's with all this metaphysics?  We live in a material world and weather is the product of material geophysical agents.  
It’s almost like he’s suggesting our Mental Mindscape controls Physical Reality.
Neither is it possible to develop a chronological account of changing theories of agency, in which naturalistic explanations of climatic change have gradually squeezed and then finally supplanted supernatural ones. 
What?  This is a mesmerist at work trying to dissolve the boundary between real and imagined.  Believing that the imagined is good as real.  It’s nonsense.
If you want a chronological account of climate related sciences and how we learned what we know about climate today:
History of Climate Science
The history of climate science goes back to the early 1900's. This section contains a chronological listing of relevant climate science discoveries and events related to anthropogenic global warming. The information here was compiled by Spencer Weart.

Timeline: Climate Change
Both categories of explanation have co-existed for most of recorded history, even if their respective salience and cultural authority has varied over time. 
I would put it differently -  

Even Science is confined to the limits of our Mental Mindscapes - but at least Scientists believe in the premise that “it takes each other to keep ourselves honest.”  

Science is a community of informed, engaged, skeptical, ambitious individuals, following a set of rules to ensure as objective an understanding of the world around us as possible, given the information at hand.  
Thus in Classical Greece, Aristotle was an early champion of materialist explanations of physical phenomena, including the weather. And it was one of Aristotle’s students, Theophrastus in the third century BCE, who left an early naturalistic account of climatic change: local warming of the climate around Philippi being attributed to the physical effects on the atmosphere of forest clearances.
Yet not only are there eras in Earth history when physical climates change rapidly. There are moments in human history when ideas of climate and its causes also change rapidly. In other words, there are particular times and places when new ideas about the world emerge and become creative, pervasive and culturally authoritative. With respect to theories of climatic change one such place and moment was western Europe in the nineteenth century. It was here and then that the novel idea that climates could change over vast epochs without reference to God’s immediate agency became rapidly accepted across the western world.
The conditions for such intellectual novelty were lain down in earlier centuries of European inquiry through the rise of empiricism, scientific instrumentation and global exploration. 
Also necessary for the emergence of such new theories of climatic change was a re-imagination of the European idea of time, aided by the work of eighteenth century geologists such as James Hutton. Rather than 6,000 years of a divinely maintained climate, it became possible to imagine that the Earth may have manifest many large fluctuations in climate during a ‘deep past’ consisting of millions of years. With the realisation of the vast natural forces required for global climate to vacillate through repeated glacial cycles, the search was on to identify the precise causal agents, beyond God, of such disruptions.
Well okay, so far as it goes.  So?
Human Causation
Supernatural entities may be believed to cause climates to change, and they may do so through either natural or supernatural means; i.e., with or without accompanying naturalistic explanations. 
Why are we back to the supernatural?  
“With or without accompanying naturalistic explanations.”  Seriously!?
Here again is a mesmerist trying to dissolve boundaries.  
Hulme wants us to ignore that: All weather events have “naturalistic explanations!” 
Whether the people witnessing those events have the information at hand to arrive at those naturalistic explanations is an entirely different matter.  
Climates may also change for entirely natural reasons, as in the scientific understanding of glacial cycles. 
Here he goes again - “Climates may also change for entirely natural reasons.”

Seriously dude?  Hulme why imply that climate can change for other than "natural" reasons?  Can you provide any logical explanation?  Or examples?
At best, however, this is only a partial description of how people commonly think about the causes of climatic change. 
Again.  Come on Hulme, make the distinction between what people think and what climate/weather is.  
Human agency is implicated in most supernatural accounts of climatic causation in diverse and complex ways. And similar complexities frequently abound when thinking about human agency and natural causation. Most cultures have been keen to accommodate human agency in these supernatural and natural chains of explanation. 
What kind of human agency? 
Supernatural human agency?  
Or Human Agency in the form of physically altering landscapes and our insulating atmosphere?
God does not act independently of human behaviour and nor is nature unresponsive to human actions. 
Sure since God is a product of the human imagination.  
True, true, nature responds to human actions - that’s why we should be a bit more thoughtful about those actions.
The question then becomes, ‘How do different cultures, and different people within particular cultures, apportion responsibility for climatic change between nature, their gods and themselves?’
This is human psychology again.  
Why does Hulme try to make it sound as though our climate is a product of our imagination? 
The boundaries between these different modes of explanation are far from clear, are never static and are frequently contested. 
Aristotle and his disciples believed that human-cleared forests caused the climate of Philippi to warm. Monotheists believed that it was human wickedness which provoked God to intervene to cause the Flood. 
Modern people can smash atoms, send crafts into the heavens, satellites above Earth, submarines to the deepest depths, etc., etc..   It has certainly studied and understood our planet’s climate system in ways Philippians could never have conceived.  
Why use such ancient examples to write about today’s totally unprecedented situation in human history?
And in post-revolutionary France in the early nineteenth century, the socialist Charles Fourier was convinced there was a decline in the health of planetary climate caused by human greed (Locher & Fressoz 2012). 
Looking back from 2019, Fourier certainly nailed that one!  Though possibly for different reasons.
One should be wary of a presumptive exceptionalism which thinks that it is only late-modern westernised cultures which have identified a role for human agency in causing climates to change.
What maliciously dishonest claptrap!  Not a thought for today’s advanced Earth sciences - that have helped us learn about our planet and her ways and means like never ever before!
But what really blows my mind is how the Children of the Intellectual Enlightenment are allowing ourselves to be so battered and defeated by such dishonest transparent rhetorical fancy dancing.   
The perspective on climatic causation I have summarised above 
Hulme, what are you talking about you liar?  
You didn’t have one serious word about causation!  
This essay is all about what under-informed people do to grapple with situations they don't understand. 

We live in modern times and have the instruments that have helped inform and educate us to understand what is going on within our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine, but Mike Hulme finds it more convenient, for his motives, to hide that information from his gullible audience.  Shame on him!
is nicely illustrated through the case of a seventeenth century interpretation of Noah’s Flood. The Flood is a salient account of what might be called a global climatic catastrophe: the flooding of the world and the near extinction of humanity. It is present in the sacred texts of Jews, Christians and Muslims, but echoes of similar mythological accounts of the survival challenges which confronted nascent human societies are also found in many other early civilisational histories. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, a number of European scholars expounded on the causes and consequences of the Biblical Flood. One of these was Antonio Vallisneri (1661-1730), an Italian philosopher who was particularly interested in the effects of the Flood upon global climate. In a treatise published in 1721, Of Marine Bodies Found in the Mountains, he developed a new account of how the Flood had caused a sustained deterioration in climatic conditions around the world and of the consequences of this change in climate for humanity.
There are two elements of Vallisneri’s treatise of particular interest. For him, the mark of the deluge, and its subsequent reconfiguring of global climate, was left not just on the face of the land. Vallisneri also believed that it reconfigured the physiology of human bodies through degrading human reproductive capacity. A change in worldwide climate therefore had not just environmental consequences, but enduring bodily ones also.
This sort of transparent diversionary blah blah is the mainstay of libertarian “intellectualism.”  

From reading this I have to wonder if Hulme actually believes in a personal god and supernatural intervention as part of everyday physical reality?  If not, why the hell does he play this rhetorical game?
But second, and more relevant to this essay, it was clear to Vallisneri that this change in climate should not simply be attributed to God’s capricious or purposeless action in the world. As the Biblical account of Noah’s Flood makes clear, it was egregious human sin which provoked God into action . Vallisneri belaboured the point: the root cause of this climate disruption was human behaviour and according to his reformist theology God was entitled to pass judgement on humanity. Wilful human transgression against the divine order had consequences, in this case a disordering of the world’s climate leading to the diminution of human health and fertility. Lydia Barnett’s study of Vallisneri’s work emphasises the point. In this early modern Protestant theology, she writes, “the function of divine justice [was understood] as the material rendering of the spiritual state of individuals in and on their physical bodies” (Barnett 2015, p.228).
Of course, neither Vallisneri nor his contemporaries offered a naturalistic account of exactly how God’s agency altered the flows of heat, air and moisture around the planet to bring about such a dramatic climatic deterioration. They were neither interested, nor able, to offer a scientific explanation for what had happened. Nevertheless, 
Nevertheless nothing.  Today we can offer exacting naturalistic accounts.  
Stop pretending we are still in the middle ages, although unfortunately I guess Hulme’s audience is more comfortable in middle age thinking than grappling with the exciting real world that human ingenuity through science has been able to discover and teach us about.
Vallisneri’s treatise offers a coherent account of the causes and consequences of global climatic change which resonated with a particular prevailing worldview. 
That’s funny. 
“Vallisneri’s treatise offers a coherent account … which resonated within a particular prevailing worldview.”  
Yeah buddy, the prevailing 17th century worldview that was profoundly under-informed, and incoherent, regarding the natural world.

Plenty of metaphysical thinking going on then.  They don’t call it the middle ages for nothing.  Mike, this is 2019.
What is also striking is how recognisable in today’s dominant narrative of anthropogenic climate-change are some of the same key elements of Vallisneri’s account. The contemporary narrative runs something like this: through wilful and unconstrained consumptive behaviour humans are responsible for changing present and future climates around the world, the consequences of which are, in a general and collective sense, proportionate to the degree of human culpability. 
Oh the melodramatic dismissiveness, not to mention malicious deceptiveness.

Actually today’s contemporary narrative runs something like: 

It’s The Atmospheric Insulation Stupid! 

Fossil fuels burning releases greenhouse gases. 
Humanity is burning unimaginable quantities of the stuff. 
Greenhouse gases increases our planet’s insulation.  
This increasing insulation in turn increases the amount of heat Earth retains.  
This warms our climate engine, 
          who’s job it is to distribute heat and energy around the globe 
Meaning it’s in the early stages of transitioning to much more energetic and erratic weather patterns.
Earth’s climate system dictates the type of biosphere Earth can host.

We are destroying the biosphere that nurtured and sustained and enabled humanity to evolve our consumptive society.

Today’s dominant narrative is founded on fundamental physics, and physical evidence, if they had it wrong, most of our modern marvels wouldn’t be functioning either !  

They became experts for a reason.  No matter what the faith-blinded want to believe.

It’s Revealed Physical Truth! 
Revealed thanks to a couple centuries of honest constructive scientific investigation by thousands of diligent scientists and technicians and support staffs.

Richard Alley - 4.6 Billion Years of Earth’s Climate History: The Role of CO2

CO2 Science - Blue team: "Pruitt, it's certain as certain gets! It's the physics! Don't you know?

CO2 Science - Pruitt, proof is in the pudding! Impossible Modern Marvels

Schooling Pruitt's Red Team about our planet and its climate engine (FCFP)
God’s agency in Vallisneri’s account is replaced by nature’s agency in the contemporary account, but the central causal role played by humans in bringing about changes to global climate remains the same.
NO! NO! NO!  Stop being so obtuse Hulme.  Stop playing the God card.
Today's global warming is caused by fossil fuels burns, morality, greed, desire may impact how much of it we do, but the cause of warming is physical!  Burn fossil fuels increase atmospheric insulation.  Period.  No God needed.
In this essay I have argued that supernatural, natural and human explanations for climatic changes co-exist in complex ways within and across different cultures and that there is an ebb and flow to their respective cultural authority. 
True enough, this essay was a journey confined to how the under-informed rationalize changing worlds. 

I’m left wondering if Hulme and his audience are capable of conceiving that our Earth and weather system is something outside and independent of their limited Mental Mindscape?
It is exceptional for humans to think that climates change for either natural or supernatural reasons alone. Far more common, and indeed perhaps more necessary, is to believe that the performance of climate is tied to the behaviours of morally-accountable human actors. For much of the past and in most places, climate and humans have been understood to move together, their agency and fate conjoined through the mediating roles of natural processes and supernatural beings. We always get the weather we deserve.
“We always get weather we deserve."  

That sort of trivializing and mixing the boundaries between physical reality and metaphysical thinking, only helps stupefy and confuse.  

Why intellectually enlightened people have allowed it such free reign, I’ll never figure out.


CC's manifesto                                       ;-)

We The People of the United States have a moral, ethical right - along with a pragmatic need - to learn what scientists have learned about this planet's biosphere and climate engine without constant dishonest crossfire. 
We should not tolerate serious scientists always being drown out by amoral, ruthless and frankly ignorant arguments - that an astoundingly ruthless GOP PR factory repeats over and over again, without ever learning a damned thing from the evidence in front of all of us. 


Scientific Consensus isn’t 
a “Part” of the Scientific Method: 
it’s a Consequence of it
Published by Credible Hulk on August 9, 2017

“… a scientific consensus is, by definition, an evidence-based consensus.A convergence of the weight of existing evidence is a prerequisite which distinguishes a knowledge-based scientific consensus from mere agreement.  
This is critical, because the scientific enterprise is essentially a meritocracy. As a result, it doesn’t matter if a few contrarians on the fringe disagree with the conclusions unless they can marshal up evidential justification of comparable weight or explain the existing data better.  
The weight of the evidence is paramount.In a nutshell, a consensus in science refers to a convergence of many independent lines of high quality evidence all leading the majority of active scientists in a given field to arrive at the same conclusion and/or complimentary conclusions. …”
citizenschallenge - at - google com

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