[Vision2020] Rumelhart's Error Re: Health Education: A Conspiracy? A bit off the subject now though

Paul Rumelhart godshatter at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 29 20:31:29 PST 2010

Maybe I'm missing something (happens all the time), but didn't you just 
reiterate the following:

"My point in simple: many people who should have developed critical
thinking skills, who are intelligent, who are reasonably educated
about the world on many levels, still assert an anti-science and
anti-progressive agenda, refusing to accept as probable that
humans evolved from simpler organisms, or that the evidence for
anthropogenic climate change is substantial,..."

Maybe I'm having trouble parsing that sentence, but it sure seems like 
you are saying that if you refuse to accept that humans evolved from 
simpler organisms or that evidence for anthropogenic climate change is 
substantial, then you are displaying a lack of critical thinking skills, 
intelligence, education about the world, and/or are thus asserting an 
anti-science and anti-progressive agenda.

I have doubts about how probable it is that humans are causing the 
majority of the recent climate change, given that the climate has been 
warming for a while.  Does that mean that I am asserting an anti-science 
or anti-progressive agenda?  Am I displaying a lack of critical thinking 
skills or intelligence?  Is my education about the world lacking?

How did I distort this?  Help me out here, my lack of intelligence and 
my lack of critical thinking skills are getting in my way here.


Ted Moffett wrote:
> Please do not distort my statements with false interpretations as you
> wrote below in this quote from your post:
> There are valid scientific reasons to be skeptical of your position that ACC is
> "the most critical problem facing humanity".  In this case, you're
> saying that if they disagree with you that they must be anti-science.
> That itself is an unscientific position.
> ----------------------
> I did not state that if someone disagrees with me that anthropogenic
> climate change is "the most critical problem facing humanity" that
> they must be "anti-science."  I will further clarify my position on
> this issue, which I believe should have been clear in the first place
> in the post you responded to...
> This is what I wrote where I used the phrase "anti-science," including
> the error in the first few words of "in" instead of "is:"
> "My point in simple: many people who should have developed critical
> thinking skills, who are intelligent, who are reasonably educated
> about the world on many levels, still assert an anti-science and
> anti-progressive agenda, refusing to accept as probable that
> humans evolved from simpler organisms, or that the evidence for
> anthropogenic climate change is substantial,..."
> I stand by this statement, that to refuse to accept that the "evidence
> for anthropogenic climate change is substantial" is an "anti-science"
> position, especially when, as I wrote in the post you responded to, it
> is claimed the climate science involved is a "fraud or a hoax," as I
> stated regarding the claims of Tea Party darling Sarah Palin, and
> others in the so called "Tea Party," who I was comparing on this issue
> to the views of New Saint Andrew's librarian Ed Iverson, and the host
> of local blog right-mind.us.
> Some accept that the science indicating anthropogenic climate change
> is a problem is reliable, but that other problems are more serious,
> and that we can adapt to climate change.  Economist Bjorn Lomborg (
> http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/ ), for example, has argued that the
> economic costs of addressing human impacts on climate would be better
> spent addressing other human problems (poverty, hunger, education),
> and that adaptation to climate change is an realistic option.  I
> emphatically disagree with his position.  But he does not argue,
> unless I have read him incorrectly, that the climate science
> demonstrating human impacts on climate is fundamentally a "fraud or a
> hoax," or based on widespread incompetence, as I wrote regarding those
> whose views on climate change I stated are "anti-science."
> The anti-science views I am referencing would argue, for example, that
> the National Academy of Sciences, in this release from May 2010 quoted
> below, regarding a series of reports on climate change, is involved
> with a widespread fundamentally incompetent or fraudulent scientific
> effort.  I have not seen any credible evidence this is the case:
> http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=05192010
> May 19, 2010
> WASHINGTON — As part of its most comprehensive study of climate change
> to date, the National Research Council today issued three reports
> emphasizing why the U.S. should act now to reduce greenhouse gas
> emissions and develop a national strategy to adapt to the inevitable
> impacts of climate change.  The reports by the Research Council, the
> operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy
> of Engineering, are part of a congressionally requested suite of five
> studies known as America's Climate Choices.
> "These reports show that the state of climate change science is
> strong," said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of
> Sciences.  "But the nation also needs the scientific community to
> expand upon its understanding of why climate change is happening, and
> focus also on when and where the most severe impacts will occur and
> what we can do to respond."
> 'Poses Significant Risks'
> The compelling case that climate change is occurring and is caused in
> large part by human activities is based on a strong, credible body of
> evidence, says Advancing the Science of Climate Change, one of the new
> reports.  While noting that there is always more to learn and that the
> scientific process is never "closed," the report emphasizes that
> multiple lines of evidence support scientific understanding of climate
> change.  The core phenomenon, scientific questions, and hypotheses
> have been examined thoroughly and have stood firm in the face of
> serious debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations.
> "Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities,
> and poses significant risks for — and in many cases is already
> affecting — a broad range of human and natural systems," the report
> concludes.  It calls for a new era of climate change science where an
> emphasis is placed on "fundamental, use-inspired" research, which not
> only improves understanding of the causes and consequences of climate
> change but also is useful to decision makers at the local, regional,
> national, and international levels acting to limit and adapt to
> climate change.  Seven cross-cutting research themes are identified to
> support this more comprehensive and integrative scientific enterprise.
> The report recommends that a single federal entity or program be given
> the authority and resources to coordinate a national,
> multidisciplinary research effort aimed at improving both
> understanding and responses to climate change.  The U.S. Global Change
> Research Program, established in 1990, could fulfill this role, but it
> would need to form partnerships with action-oriented programs and
> address weaknesses that in the past have led to research gaps,
> particularly in the critical area of research that supports decisions
> about responding to climate change.  Leaders of federal climate
> research should also redouble efforts to deploy a comprehensive
> climate observing system.
> Beyond 'Business as Usual'
> Substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require prompt
> and sustained efforts to promote major technological and behavioral
> changes, says Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change, another
> of the new reports.  Although limiting emissions must be a global
> effort to be effective, strong U.S. actions to reduce emissions will
> help encourage other countries to do the same.  In addition, the U.S.
> could establish itself as a leader in developing and deploying the
> technologies necessary to limit and adapt to climate change.
> An inclusive national policy framework is needed to ensure that all
> levels of government, the private sector, and millions of households
> and individuals are contributing to shared national goals.  Toward
> that end, the U.S. should establish a greenhouse gas emissions
> "budget" that sets a limit on total domestic emissions over a set
> period of time and provides a clear, directly measurable goal.
> However, the report warns, the longer the nation waits to begin
> reducing emissions, the harder and more expensive it will likely be to
> reach any given emissions target.
> The report does not recommend a specific target for a domestic
> emissions budget, but suggests a range of emissions from 170 to 200
> gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent for the period 2012
> through 2050 as a reasonable goal, a goal that is roughly in line with
> the range of emission reduction targets proposed recently by the Obama
> administration and members of Congress.  Even at the higher end of
> this range, meeting the target will require a major departure from
> "business-as-usual" emission trends.  The report notes that with the
> exception of the recent economic downtown, domestic emissions have
> been rising for most of the past three decades.  The U.S. emitted
> approximately 7 gigatons of CO2 equivalent in 2008 (the most current
> year for which such data were available).  If emissions continue at
> that rate, the proposed budget range would be used up well before
> 2050, the report says.
> A carbon-pricing system is the most cost-effective way to reduce
> emissions.  Either cap-and-trade, a system of taxing emissions, or a
> combination of the two could provide the needed incentives.  While the
> report does not specifically recommend a cap-and-trade system, it
> notes that cap-and-trade is generally more compatible with the concept
> of an emissions budget.
> Carbon pricing alone, however, is not enough to sufficiently reduce
> domestic emissions, the report warns.  Strategically chosen,
> complementary policies are necessary to assure rapid progress in key
> areas such as: increasing energy efficiency; accelerating the
> development of renewable energy sources; advancing full-scale
> development of new-generation nuclear power and carbon capture and
> storage systems; and retrofitting, retiring, or replacing existing
> emissions-intensive energy infrastructure.  Research and development
> of new technologies that could help reduce emissions more cost
> effectively than current options also should be strongly supported.
> Managing the Risks
> Reducing vulnerabilities to impacts of climate change that the nation
> cannot, or does not, avoid is a highly desirable strategy to manage
> and minimize the risks, says the third report, Adapting to the Impacts
> of Climate Change.  Some impacts – such as rising sea levels,
> disappearing sea ice, and the frequency and intensity of some extreme
> weather events like heavy precipitation and heat waves – are already
> being observed across the country.   The report notes that
> policymakers need to anticipate a range of possible climate conditions
> and that uncertainty about the exact timing and magnitude of impacts
> is not a reason to wait to act.  In fact, it says boosting U.S.
> adaptive capacity now can be viewed as "an insurance policy against an
> uncertain future," while inaction could increase risks, especially if
> the rate of climate change is particularly large.
> Although much of the response to climate change will occur at local
> and regional levels, a national adaptation strategy is needed to
> facilitate cooperation and collaboration across all lines of
> government and between government and other key parties, including the
> private sector, community organizations, and nongovernmental
> organizations.  As part of this strategy, the federal government
> should provide technical and scientific resources that are lacking at
> the local or regional scale, incentives for local and state
> authorities to begin adaptation planning, guidance across
> jurisdictions, and support of scientific research to expand knowledge
> of impacts and adaptation.
> Adapting to climate change will be an ongoing, iterative process, the
> report says, and will involve decision makers at every scale of
> government and all parts of society.  A first step is to identify
> vulnerabilities to climate change impacts and begin to examine
> adaptation options that will improve resilience.  To build the
> scientific knowledge base and provide a basis for increasingly
> effective action in the future, adaptation efforts should be monitored
> and analyzed to judge successes, problems, and unintended
> consequences.  The report also calls for research to develop new
> adaptation options and a better understanding of vulnerabilities and
> impacts on smaller spatial scales.
> Adaptation to climate change should not be seen as an alternative to
> attempts to limit it, the report emphasizes.  Rather, the two
> approaches should be seen as partners, given that society's ability to
> cope with the impacts of climate change decreases as the severity of
> climate change increases.  At moderate rates and levels of climate
> change, adaptation can be effective, but at severe rates, adapting to
> disturbances caused by climate change may not be possible, the report
> says.
> Flexible and Adjustable
> The new reports stress that national climate change research, efforts
> to limit emissions, and adaptation strategies should be designed to be
> flexible and responsive to new information and conditions in the
> coming decades.  Because knowledge about future climate change and
> possible impacts will evolve, policies and programs should continually
> monitor and adjust to progress and consequences of actions.
> America's Climate Choices also includes two additional reports that
> will be released later this year: Informing an Effective Response to
> Climate Change will examine how to best provide decision makers
> information on climate change, and an overarching report will build on
> each of the previous reports and other work to offer a scientific
> framework for shaping the policy choices underlying the nation's
> efforts to confront climate change.
> The project was requested by Congress and is funded by the National
> Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  For more information, visit
> http://americasclimatechoices.org.  The National Academy of Sciences,
> National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National
> Research Council are independent, nonprofit institutions that provide
> science, technology, and health policy advice under an 1863
> congressional charter.  Committee and panel members, who serve pro
> bono, are chosen by for each study based on their expertise and
> experience and must satisfy the Research Council's
> conflict-of-interest standards.  The resulting consensus reports
> undergo external peer review before completion.  For more information,
> visit http://national-academies.org/studycommitteprocess.pdf.
> ------------------------------------------
> Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
> On 11/27/10, Paul Rumelhart <godshatter at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> With respect to evolution, I agree with you.  Creationism (and it's
>> dressed up version Intelligent Design) are at their core anti-science.
>> With respect to anthropogenic climate change, I disagree.  There are
>> valid scientific reasons to be skeptical of your position that ACC is
>> "the most critical problem facing humanity".  In this case, you're
>> saying that if they disagree with you that they must be anti-science.
>> That itself is an unscientific position.
>> I wish we could all meet in the middle, something along the lines of:
>> "We think that the huge amounts of carbon being put into the air by
>> burning fossil fuels is dangerous to the stability of the climate and
>> might wipe humanity off the face of the Earth.  You think that being
>> dependent upon unstable foreign countries for our oil is dangerous and
>> that burning fossil fuels causes pollution and is bad for the
>> environment in other ways.  So why don't we get together and attack this
>> one problem with the full backing of both major political parties?"
>> Instead, we get carbon trading, carbon taxes, and other schemes brought
>> to you by the same people that brought us Enron and the financial
>> meltdown.
>> Paul
>> Ted Moffett wrote:
>>> Consider the students at New Saint Andrews college in Moscow, many of
>>> whom I am sure would score high on the SAT, and have IQs well above
>>> 100, yet also consider that their views are in many respects
>>> consistent with the Tea Party on important issues, one of which is
>>> anthropogenic climate warming, which I think is the most critical
>>> problem facing humanity.
>>> Tea Party darling Sarah Palin is well known for making scientifically
>>> laughable statements on global warming; and her pro-fossil fuel
>>> industry, opposition to government regulation of CO2 emissions stance
>>> I think is common among so called "Tea Party" followers: global
>>> warming is a hoax or a fraud.
>>> Speaking of teaching Philosophy as a means to increase the educational
>>> and critical thinking skills of the public, consider that Pastor
>>> Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, involved with the religious ideology
>>> behind New Saint Andrews, has a degree in Philosophy from the
>>> University of Idaho.  U of I Professor Emeritus Nick Gier, if I recall
>>> correctly, supervised Wilson's thesis...
>>> I suspect that if tested on their academic logical capabilities,
>>> Wilson, as well as many New Saint Andrews students, would do
>>> reasonably well.
>>> My point in simple: many people who should have developed critical
>>> thinking skills, who are intelligent, who are reasonably educated
>>> about the world on many levels, still assert an anti-science and
>>> anti-progressive agenda, refusing to accept as probable that
>>> humans evolved from simpler organisms, or that the evidence for
>>> anthropogenic climate change is substantial, both very hotly
>>> debated.in <http://debated.in> the public sphere, regardless of the
>>> scientific evidence that the debate is warranted.  Many also oppose
>>> gay or women's rights on specific points, gay marriage or abortion.
>>> Ed Iverson from New Saint Andrews College (librarian with some science
>>> education credentials) has written several op-eds in the
>>> Moscow/Pullman Daily News attacking the integrity of climate
>>> science, as does the well known blog right-mind.us
>>> <http://right-mind.us>, hosted by a well known member of Christ
>>> Church, who appears to be an intelligent person, while he in my
>>> opinion applies a rather extreme confirmation bias filter to climate
>>> science findings, devoted to undermining the science supporting human
>>> impacts on climate.
>>> Belief in "free will" can distort an objective analysis of the
>>> evidence regarding why human beings believe what they believe on many
>>> important issues in life.  Why are most people born in Iran Islamic,
>>> and most in the US Christian?  "Free will?"  No, they are conditioned
>>> by their culture into the dominant ideology, with biologically based
>>> needs for conformism at work.  They may appear to be making free
>>> choices about their religious beliefs to their own minds, but this is
>>> often illusion.
>>> We are emotional socialized animals who for the most part make
>>> decisions based on peer pressure and emotions, with powerful
>>> intellectual filters unconsciously suppressing evidence contrary to
>>> beliefs in which their is substantial emotional investment.  Life
>>> after death (soul?), for example.  The intellect, regardless of how
>>> capable or well educated, is often utilized to argue confirmation bias
>>> filtered positions; and sometimes the more capable and educated the
>>> person, the more convincingly they can construct intelligent appearing
>>> logical arguments for positions that are in fact anti-science and in
>>> opposition to human rights.
>>> The person who objectively surveys all the evidence on a given issue
>>> and dispassionately applies logic to arrive at a conclusion is rare.
>>> -------------------------------------------
>>> Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
>>> On Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 12:28 PM, Kenneth Marcy <kmmos1 at frontier.com
>>> <mailto:kmmos1 at frontier.com>> wrote:
>>>     On Friday 26 November 2010 07:31:18 Joe Campbell wrote:
>>>     > <[snip]> ... but likely in the near future the MA program will
>>>     be cut and
>>>     > I'll have undergraduate "readers" instead. <[snip]>
>>>     Even if the MA in Philosophy is shelved until better economic
>>>     times return, I
>>>     wonder whether there may be opportunity for applied philosophy
>>>     efforts to keep
>>>     the Philosophy Department reasonably intact. For example,
>>>     undergraduate and
>>>     graduate courses in business ethics for the business curricula,
>>>     economic
>>>     philosophy for the economics programs, and political philosophy
>>>     for the
>>>     political science and public administration programs. These
>>>     traditional areas
>>>     could (continue to) be augmented with environmental philosophy,
>>>     and a newer
>>>     look at educational philosophy.
>>>     On the latter topic I wonder whether we ought not examine the plebeian
>>>     assumption that personal educational responsibility to society
>>>     ends when one
>>>     is able to drop out of high school, and that personal efforts
>>>     beyond that are
>>>     optional. Perhaps a better notion is that there exists some basic
>>>     minimum of
>>>     expected educational achievement and ongoing competence that should be
>>>     expected of all adult citizens throughout their lives. As the
>>>     decades roll by,
>>>     the contents of that minimum may change, and with those changes,
>>>     citizens are
>>>     then obligated to meet those new standards, preferably, perhaps,
>>>     with at least
>>>     some minimal assistance to do so. For discussion purposes, I take
>>>     the minimum
>>>     standard to be the current requirements for public high school
>>>     graduation.
>>>     > Also, I think it is a mistake to think that a lack of logic or
>>>     critical
>>>     > thinking skills is at fault. My own view is that the fault lies
>>>     with the
>>>     > increase in private education and isolationism
>>>     While it may be the case that pedagogical pandering to bygone ages
>>>     of frontier
>>>     foraging and farming may attempt to evoke rugged individualism and
>>>     libertarian
>>>     license, observation of contemporary circumstances suggests
>>>     explanations that
>>>     require less conscious and coordinated effort to attain the status
>>>     quo. Simple
>>>     inertia against continuing personal educational work, lethargy and
>>>     laziness,
>>>     combined with  mindsets disinclined toward ideas and theory, and
>>>     wanting to
>>>     get on with the practical realities of life, keep the majority
>>>     away from not
>>>     only post-secondary education but from revisiting or reviewing
>>>     what they
>>>     should have learned, and should still remember, from their high
>>>     school years.
>>>     > but my guess is that most
>>>     > private schools teach as much or more logic and critical
>>>     thinking as they
>>>     > do in public schools. Logic is analogous to computer hardware;
>>>     even the
>>>     > best is only as good as the input. As they say, "garbage in,
>>>     garbage out"
>>>     > but also quality in, quality out. What counts as garbage and
>>>     what counts
>>>     > as quality? That's where things get tricky.
>>>     Well, sure. Must we require a two-value, forced-choice, true-false
>>>     logic, or
>>>     may we consider other logics without their middles excluded? Some
>>>     sets of
>>>     circumstances suggest that maybe or neither or don't know to be more
>>>     appropriate answers than true or false.
>>>     And, heretical as it may be to the core of Western logic, I wonder
>>>     whether
>>>     logic and its interactions through various linguistic pathways
>>>     within the
>>>     brains resident in various cultures may not have variations that
>>>     are functions
>>>     of the cultures within which it resides. Different logics in
>>>     different cultures,
>>>     however slight may be the differences, may result in different
>>>     conclusions that,
>>>     unexamined, lurk near the cores of some of our more intractable
>>>     international
>>>     discussions.
>>>     > What counts as evidence? What
>>>     > counts as sound reasoning? Some answers are easy: empirical
>>>     findings,
>>>     > classical logic, and mathematics. But that alone won't get you far.
>>>     > Unfortunately, after that point we start doing philosophy, where
>>>     > reasonable disagreement is par for the course. If the answers
>>>     were easy,
>>>     > we'd all agree. But we don't, so they're not.
>>>     Not only are unresolved philosophical questions problematical, but
>>>     so are the
>>>     continually troubled communications, or lack thereof, between C.P.
>>>     Snow's two
>>>     cultures, the scientists and the aesthetes, the left and the right
>>>     brained.
>>>     Newton demonstrated that effort is necessary to overcome inertia,
>>>     and that
>>>     effort is what is required to get some of us out of the bag of
>>>     chips, off the
>>>     couch, and into more active, energetic, and educationally
>>>     accomplishing lives.
>>>     Ken
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