Magnificent Martian mountianscapes beckon (10 Sept 2015) with briny water in wet sand flowing downhill in warm near zero sunshine. However hype & fear overtook science as NASA exaggerates to get money for its future Phobos outpost and the Planetary Protection Office bans landings in life-likely spots from “filthy humans”: eco-doomers already on Mars? No mid-ocean alkaline hydrothermal vents there so, evidence-based science please!
Wo! Pluto – sunset on 3.5km ice mountains by a frozen nitrogen sea in an orange methane misty sky. Back on Earth, we’re still battling the twin demons of science: fear & greed, with evidence & reason. First up: The Sahel desert is greening again, from more CO2, leading to increased plant water use efficiency. Also, duelling population projections – but they don’t mention their failed predictions & future fertility rebound evidence. Organic foods take another scientific beating – more about money than facts. Herded humans, again? And, an old favourite: logic & evidence contradictions in the “hottest year ever” meme. Oh well.
Getting more personal : Hans Rosling – Don’t trust The Media to understand the world, check facts & arguments yourself. University trigger-warnings protect students offended by critical thinking. However academic resistance is beginning. Good & about time!
So lets try evolving away from being herded humans. If our new ancestor Homo naledi could care for their dead 2.5 million years ago then lets care even more for our living with skepticism, optimism and calcuated daring as we expand across the extensive reaches of space and speed up the evolution of innovations (new good ideas) in our minds.
EU and US race to Jupiter’s moons to be 1st to find extraterrestrial life out in the Universe. Who wants to finish 2nd? Doing what humans do best, gathering knowledge, so we all win. Mars may have fossils but live life is best. From mid-Atlantic alkaline hydrothermal vents to ice protected Jovian oceans? As The Martian says: Lets science the sh*t out of this!
However, back here on Earth, some mad pursuit of emotion over reason continues: “Environmental threats have a habit of turning out less bad than feared … the remedies sometimes prove worse than the disease … the environmental movement has repeatedly denied people access to safer technologies and forced them to rely on dirtier, riskier or more harmful ones. It is adept at exploiting people’s suspicion of anything new. Indoor air pollution (cooking over wood fires indoors) is the world’s biggest cause of environmental death. It kills an estimated four million people every year. To argue that the increasingly small risk of dangerous climate change many decades hence is something they should be more worried about is positively obscene.” And Psychology is 60% wrong. Oh well.
Bioethics is seduced by fear too: “Biomedical research, then, promises vast increases in life, health, and flourishing. Just imagine how much happier you would be if a prematurely deceased loved one were alive, or a debilitated one were vigorous — and multiply that good by several billion, in perpetuity. Given this potential bonanza, the primary moral goal for today’s bioethics can be summarized in a single sentence. Get out of the way.”
However, the walrus seem to be happy : “Pacific Walrus populations “increased from 50,000 to 100,000 animals in the late 1950s to more than 250,000 animals by 1985,” and they are believed to have now reached their maximum carrying capacity. Alarmists suggest the increasing use of land haul-outs is a sign of disaster, caused by the loss of sea ice. However all the evidence argues that as walrus populations increase, so does the use of land haul-outs. It is a sign of the walrus’ successful recovery. A beach packed with walruses is evidence of better conservation, not global warming doom.” Even the scare of irradiated food is now having the light of reason shone on it. Yum, goodbye bacteria poisoning.
So, lets madly pursue reason, not be madly overcome by emotion: “The state of our science is strong, but it’s plagued by a universal problem: Science is hard — really f**king hard. If we’re going to rely on science as a means for reaching the truth — and it’s still the best tool we have — it’s important that we understand and respect just how difficult it is to get a rigorous result. Science is not a magic wand that turns everything it touches to truth. Instead, “science operates as a procedure of uncertainty reduction. The goal is to get less wrong over time.” The scientific method is the most rigorous path to knowledge, but it’s also messy and tough. Science deserves respect exactly because it is difficult.” So lets pursue knowledge that is hard, so all humans can enjoy the wonders of life on Earth …. and also those off it.
Reason Pursuing Brady
Pluto “hearts” us & huge moon Charon dazzles as New Horizons speeds by. It took 400 years for Earth’s continents to be discovered: from the 1420s with Henry the Navigator sailing down Africa’s coast to the 1820s with sealers landing on Antarctica. It took 50 years for space probes to image all the Solar System’s major bodies: from 1965 with Mariner 4 at Mars to 2015 with New Horizons at Pluto. What next? Crossing interstellar space by 2100?
Down on Earth, stratovolcano Mt Fuji’s beauty beckons while I examine oceanic mudstone creeping down it’s 3776m ash flanks. Meanwhile, across the Pacific, NYTs Oregon tsunami scare story finally gets $175m for reinforcing its schools (as in Japan) against the 41 times happened before earthquakes. Just 1/1000 of the USs $100b/yr spending on the never happened before (fact-poor?) Global Warming alarm. Are we humans getting smarter?
Well, you judge: UK Weather Office‘s “Hottest July ever!” is really just heatsink Heathrow airport’s temperature box blasted by a passing 747 jet exhaust. Lancet journal plays politics with bees, eliminating 200 000 animal species, in a computer model scare paper. Polar Bears thrive with expanding Artic sea ice but “scientists” want $64m to save them. WWF supports evicting 22000 tribal people in India (some living with tigers for 20000 years) from new Tiger Tourist Reserves. That’s OK? Caring Green’s must be good. Right?
Trying to predict our future with claims of certainty disappoints too often – ultimately we must accept that uncertainty will always be part of what it is to be human. When we deny ourselves the challenge of thinking critically, evaluating situations and making our own decisions, we are heading towards a future where Homo sapiens will lack the cognitive ability to think for itself. Always being skeptical of Media Science scare stories is a worthy aspiration. As Sarah shows: environmental journalists … profess belief in objectivity even as they reject or redefine it … have radically redefined the component of objectivity known as “balance.” – by promoting political groups, not evaluating evidence.
So, lets try out interstellar journeys and genome journeys too. Lets voyage out past the Kuiper Belt to new stars; lets explore the possibilities of 6-base DNA & lets govern our gullibilities for silly science scare stories. Lets aspire and thrive. Lets ascend to our future by reaching out for all those stars. Who knows what wonders we’ll acquire.
Aspiring Ascender Brady
Time to dream of distant shores, time to let imagination soar.
Time to search out worlds afar, time to reach out for the stars.
Dawn space probe orbits asteroid Ceres, its white spots beckoning. Asteroid mining next, for building space colonies? New Horizon space probe aims for a speedy bulls eye through the Pluto system. Philiae lander wakes up on Comet 67P ready for duty. CubeSat’s solar sail is deployed in Earth orbit ready for 2016’s full scale sailing. Evidence for humans beginning their off-Earth migration?
Time to dance to the joys of life, time to sail into wide blue horizons. Time to leave our worrying save-the-world warriors behind. The new Eco-Modernist Manifesto (no relation to the Communist Manifesto?) belatedly welcomes humans back to Earth: “human prosperity and an ecologically vibrant planet are not only possible, but also inseparable” as skeptics have been showing since the 1970s. But most enviros are still not so hospitable.
Also, bee numbers increase with neonics, but that won’t stop the politics. Oh well.
Chocolate “sting” paper tricks science journalists worldwide. Roger Pielke Jr says it best: “meaningful relationships ought to be detectable with simple methods and robust to alternative methodological approaches. If the effect you are looking for requires a complex model, data transformed away from intuitive units or sophisticated statistics to detect, then the effect that you think you have found is probably not practically significant”, as in Climate, Environment, Nutrition, Social & Psychology “Science”.
And new (political ideological) “skeptic movement” blocks out skeptics. How one’s name changes one, as evidence and argument are exchanged for Groupthink “right thinking” – the desire for impressive answers leads to excess certainty and an over-reliance on experts to quell doubts. Unfortunately today not enough skeptics see the value of critical thinking when it leads to an honest “I don’t know”.
So … time to dream on shores afar and time to dream of humans off to the stars.
Time to relish life in the summer sun & time to live the life of cake mate.
Open Space Enjoying Brady
Moving from an emotion-based to an evidence-based society has its pleasures: Generating sensory hair cells to restore hearing gets even closer. Ceres, the large asteriod belt dwarf planet, shows its white spots to the orbiting Dawn spacecraft: ice lakes or geysers or …?
More:“Good news! The United Nations report on global food markets predicts that food prices will be driven down this year by high food inventories.” Peak cropland, peak farming, forest transition and nature rebound are spreading across the globe, despite the Enviro’s best efforts to stop it. “Environmentalism is a rather new political ideology, and possibly a religion or a substitute for traditional religion. Embracing new, abstract, and somewhat ambiguous values like “nature” and “the environment” is just assumed to be equivalent to rationality or something.” Now that’s an opposing viewpoint
And more: Brave souls are even trying to drag Social Psychology into the 21stC. “If you must criticize scholars whose work challenges yours, do so on the evidence, not by poisoning the land on which we all live.” & “I didn’t care whether students agreed with Lomborg’s conclusions or not but rather that they developed skills of critical thinking.” Oo-wee, way to go humans! And in highly politicized (gender & enviro)
science studies too. Bees are back and going Eco, with activist “scientists” churning out “papers” to support their master’s upcoming US and EU policies to ban neonic pesticides to placate Green voters. Another political maze? Like: China’s largest solar panel maker just crashed, Ponzi like – Oh dear. And the Ozone “Hole” naturally (magnetically?) cycles up again from its most recent 2006 low. And the world continues cooling … Hmm …
Chatham House Rules (don’t say who said what) do wonders for scientific free speach: Lancet (world leading medical journal): “A lot of what is published is incorrect.” & “The good news is that science is beginning to take some of its worst failings very seriously. The bad news is that nobody is ready to take the first step to clean up the system.” But across the Atlantic – 60 yrs of false dietary advice ends, with the US gov now saying: “Cholesterol is healthy, saturated fat is healthy, salt is healthy and sugar is unhealthy.” No “sorry” from these nutrition”people”. Best to just forget them and move on to a happier, healthier world. So many worries waged on our world by the wayward worry warriors, it’s almost … silly. However, watching these recent “spring cleaning” attempts gives one hope that all these warriors will be swept out soon … or surely by 2100? 2200?
Evidence-based watcher Brady
NASAs new NExSS institute aims high, looking for life near & far, trying to break its 50yr losing streak. Astrobiology: scientific method based? … or, if no life found after a 100yrs then, a “religious” $$$ making belief in thePromised Land?
Future Perfect:Bound to drive them wild Steven Johnson’s distributed peer networks show a more human (internet-trailblazed) way for a self-running productive society. Fun times ahead. Nick Lane’s explaining life as proton gradients producing order via excess energy comes scientifically nearer to “finding” life than NASA. Peer networks better again.
Spring cleaning 21stC science continues, as Science Direct complains: “The pollution of science and medicine by plagiarism, fraud, and predatory publishing is corroding the reliability of research,” and as Junk Food Science continues: “Nowadays, all of us are on our own to question everything, seek out original sources and do our own fact-checking, research and critical thinking. You’ll be surprised at how much of what “everyone knows” is not true.”
Extinction alarmists going extinct? Aeon Magazine now complains it is not species but decreasing populations we should fear. Moving-the-Goalposts logical fallacy in action?Political Myths abound, explains Roger Pielke Jnr, about science and technology in the economy and broader society. Data show the politically manufactured Green Revolution in 1966s “starving” India was really in famine-free conditions but used as “evidence” for the overpopulation “problem”. Oh well. Today population fears continue, now its the West’s aging populations, ignoring evidence of the growing 2.1+ children trend in richer societies.
So, humans, “If at first you don’t succeed …”, lets keep the vision high. Lets look for life everywhere, care for our populations and planet. But lets also keep our feet on the ground, mired in evidence based on the scientific method and logical arguments. So we may soon find that life down here is happy and that the advanced intelligent life out there is … us.
7 billion people on Earth, 3.6 billion with little or no electricity & Earth Hour-ers burn oil candles in the dark to “raise awareness” about our healthy and blooming planet … keeping “them” there. From Children’s Crusades to Witch Hunts to Eugenics to … Lets aim higher.
Our fossil fuel and food demonizing “eco-loons” are again in full retreat this month: “The next time that somebody at a rally against fossil fuels lectures you about her concern for the fate of her grandchildren, show her a picture of an African child dying today from inhaling the dense muck of a smoky fire.” Apoplectic they went, against counter evidence.
Food bonanzas rebreak 2015s predictions :”the world’s farmers have provided a growing population with more food per head, year after year, largely without cultivating extra land or using extra water or chemicals.” Time to crack down on enviro-ideologists so all can enjoy the cornucopia? Govt dietary “food plate” advice is facing heavy attacks: “For decades, they’ve been told what to eat because “science says so.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be true.” Jon Stewart has fun with Govt Academy Dieticians too
However some academy scientists are trying to distinguish the pursuit of knowledge from political ideology: “Academic freedom is the freedom of the faculty to teach and speak out as the fruits of their research and scholarship dictate, even though their conclusions may be unpopular or contrary to public opinion.” The new Galileo’s Middle Finger also sets the science achievement bar high, as it should: “the “stunningly lazy attitude toward precision and accuracy in many branches of academia”. In her view, chasing grants and churning out papers now take the place of quality and truth. It is a situation exacerbated by a media that can struggle when covering scientific controversies, and by strong pressures from activists with a stake in what the evidence might say.” Lets be better!
Aiming to Achieve Brady