Abusing Science

Number 22 of a series

The Acámbaro dinosaurs

This is being reposted from the North Texas Skeptics newsletter.

Dinosaurs went missing about 65 million year ago. Or did they?

What if they really didn’t. What if dinosaurs were still around as late as 6500 years ago. And if people and dinosaurs lived contemporaneously? That would shoot holes in a lot of modern science. Paleontology would be badly wounded. Evolution would be DOA. So the thinking goes.

If you could find a human fossil in the same stone with a dinosaur fossil you would have some nice ammunition to shoot down evolution. Even better if the fossil showed a dinosaur eating a human. If all you had were something that looked like human footprint alongside dinosaur footprints you might be inclined to shop further. Enter the Acámbaro dinosaurs.

A paper titled “Archeological cover-ups” by David Hatcher Childress describes the discovery of the Acámbaro dinosaur figurines.1

In 1944 an accidental discovery of an even more controversial nature was made by Waldemar Julsrud at Acámbaro, Mexico. Acámbaro is in the state of Guanajuato, 175 miles northwest of Mexico City. The strange archaeological site there yielded over 33,500 objects of ceramic, stone, including jade, and knives of obsidian (sharper than steel and still used today in heart surgery). Julsrud, a prominent local German merchant, also found statues ranging from less than an inch to six feet in length depicting great reptiles, some of them in ACTIVE ASSOCIATION with humans, generally eating them, but in some bizarre statuettes an erotic association was indicated. To observers, many of these creatures resembled dinosaurs.

Childress further mentions that radio-carbon dating in the laboratories of the University of Pennsylvania and additional tests using thermoluminescence indicated the objects were made 6500 years ago.

In “Atlantis Rising,” David Lewis has explained the implications for modern science.2

The Acámbaro figurines, discovered in the 1940s in Acámbaro, Mexico, depict fantastic creatures that resemble dinosaurs, as well as African and European men. If verified as authentic and dated to a time before modern science’s discovery of the dinosaurs, the existence of the figurines would dismantle the major presumptions of modern evolutionary theory, and, in fact, much of the scientific and academic establishment.

Young-Earth creationist Don Patton discussed the subject of the Acámbaro dinosaurs at September’s meeting of the Metroplex Institute of Origin Science (MIOS). He has journeyed to Acámbaro to view and photograph some of the artifacts, and he agrees with Lewis that this spells doom for evolution. Most of those attending the meeting concurred.

Don was gracious enough to provide me with copies of some of his photos, which we reproduce here. His printed brochure compares one of the figurines with a drawing from Robert Bakker’s book Dinosaur Heresies (1986). The figurine so resembles the dinosaurs in Bakker’s illustration that the ancient artist must have seen one in the flesh.

Figure 1.
Photo courtesy of Don Patton

Figure 2.
Dinosaur drawing from Robert Bakker’s book Dinosaur Heresies

Of course, modern science is not going to take this lying down, as both Patton and Childress have pointed out. Childress explains the situation in his report:3

A team of experts at another university, shown Julsrud’s half-dozen samples but unaware of their origin, ruled out the possibility that they could have been modern reproductions.

However, they fell silent when told of their controversial source. In 1952, in an effort to debunk this weird collection which was gaining a certain amount of fame, American archaeologist Charles C. DiPeso claimed to have minutely examined the then 32,000 pieces within not more than four hours spent at the home of Julsrud. In a forthcoming book, long delayed by continuing developments in his investigation, archaeological investigator John H. Tierney, who has lectured on the case for decades, points out that to have done that DiPeso would have had to have inspected 133 pieces per minute steadily for four hours, whereas in actuality, it would have required weeks merely to have separated the massive jumble of exhibits and arranged them properly for a valid evaluation.

Tierney, who collaborated with the later Professor Hapgood, the late William N. Russell, and others in the investigation, charges that the Smithsonian Institution and other archaeological authorities conducted a campaign of disinformation against the discoveries. The Smithsonian had, early in the controversy, dismissed the entire Acámbaro collection as an elaborate hoax. Also, utilising the freedom of Information Act, Tierney discovered that practically the entirety of the Smithsonian’s Julsrud case files are missing.

After two expeditions to the site in 1955 and 1968, Professor Charles Hapgood, a professor of history and anthropology at the University of New Hampshire, recorded the results of his 18-year investigation of Acámbaro in a privately printed book entitled MYSTERY IN ACÁMBARO. Hapgood was initially an open-minded skeptic concerning the collection but became a believer after his first visit in 1955, at which time he witnessed some of the figures being excavated and even dictated to the diggers where he wanted them to dig.

Adding to the mind-boggling aspects of this controversy is the fact that the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, through the late Director of PreHispanic Monuments, Dr. Eduardo Noguera, (who, as head of an official investigating team at the site, issued a report which Tierney will be publishing), admitted  “[T]he apparent scientific legality with which these objects were found.” Despite evidence of their own eyes, however, officials declared that because of the objects  “fantastic” nature, they had to have been a hoax played on Julsrud!

Whether Julsrud was hoaxed is something Patton intends to pursue, although he thinks not. He says he plans to excavate under the kitchen floor of the former Julsrud home in Acámbaro. This floor is original from before the time Julsrud move in, and finding similar figurines there will rule out their being recent forgeries.

Answering questions following his MIOS talk, Don explained that the figurines in question appeared to have been deliberately buried. They were found in collections of twenty to thirty and packed in sand, and they are made from local clay, which is decayed feldspar. Only ten percent of the figurines resemble dinosaurs.

So, what does all of this have to do with Albert Einstein, Perry Mason, and The Mysterious Origins of Man? Glad you asked.

Patton notes4

In the forward to the book, Earth’s Shifting Crust, Albert Einstein said Hapgood’s concept could be of a “great importance to everything that is related to the Earth’s surface.”

Earth’s Shifting Crust was the original title of Hapgood’s book, which is now The Path of the Pole. His idea was that all the ice at the poles represented a spinning mass that exerted a horizontal force on the Earth’s crust. In the mid 1950s, before the modern idea of plate tectonics was developed, but while Wegener’s ideas of continental drift were being floated around, Hapgood proposed that this off-center force occasionally shifted the crust, putting the poles at the equator and causing other nasty results. Hapgood corresponded with Einstein on this topic and received encouragement. Einstein recommended that Hapgood obtain “geological and paleontological facts.”

NBC first broadcast The Mysterious Origins of Man (MOM) in February 1996. Host Charlton Heston explained to the audience how a lot of standard science, such as evolution, paleontology, archaeology, and anthropology got it all wrong. Young-Earth creationist Carl Baugh helped out by explaining the Paluxy River “man tracks.”

Hapgood was there to explain the evidence of sudden Earth crustal displacement. The “fact” that thousands of animals were frozen in short order (in geologic time) and that ancient maps showed an ice-free Antarctica (which was then frozen over very quickly) was given as evidence for this crustal shift. Paul Heinrich has posted a review of these claims at

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mom/atlantis.html.

The creator of MOM, Bill Cote, has since produced a third program along similar lines. This latest is Jurassic Art, which deals with two topics, the Acámbaro figurines and the Ica stones.

So now we are back to where we started, as James Burke would say. A great fan of the Ica stones is Don Patton, who has presented talks on them at MIOS meetings. The deal about the Ica (not Inca) stones is that they are black stones with serpentine figures carved into them. Don Patton contends these are depictions of real dinosaurs done from life. David Lewis had this to say about them:5

The Ica stones are a collection of thousands of inscribed stones found near the mysterious Nasca Lines in Peru. Many of the stones depict Pterodactyls, T-Rexes, and humans cavorting with Stegosaurs. Who carved these mysterious stones? Some ancient artist who somehow knew about dinosaurs, or a modern prankster? The answer to those questions remains a mystery. Except to you, of course. Dating both the Acámbaro figurines and Ica stones has proved inconclusive. Unfortunately, both the stones and figurines have been removed from their original settings, making reliable dating difficult, if not impossible. In the Peruvian case, the curator and discoverer of the artifacts, Javier Cabrera, a medical doctor, refuses to reveal the location of a cave where he allegedly found the stones, leading archeologist Neil Steede, who investigates both cases on Cote’s Jurassic Art, to question the doctor’s story.

So, we come to the end of the tale, and we still don’t know what’s behind the Acámbaro dinosaurs.

Are the figurines really 6500 years old? Don Patton, who appears to finally accept radio-carbon dating, would only give the “dinosaurs” 1500 years in his talk. A human figure he allowed 4000 years.

Are they even authentic? If they are 1500 years old and more, then it’s likely they are. That was way before people found sport in fooling archaeologists.

If they are authentic, do they represent dinosaurs? Some of the ones exhibited are dead ringers for dinosaurs, but they were culled from a reported cache of over 30,000 items. Many of the figurines presented as dinosaurs required a bit of a stretch to make the resemblance. It’s possible we are just seeing some selective sampling. Given the amount of variation apparent in the collection there was bound to be a dinosaur in there somewhere.

Figure 3.
While there were many figurines that resembled four-legged dinosaurs, a number of them resembled dinosaurs no better than this.
Photo courtesy of Don Patton

Research into the mystery of the figurines since the MIOS lecture has not provided further explanation, so for the time being we will have to leave it at that. Some stories just don’t have neat endings.

Oh wait. I forgot to tell about Perry Mason, although it has absolutely no significance to the story. Accompanying Hapgood in his 1955 investigation of the figurines was prolific detective fiction writer Earl Stanley Gardner. The Acámbaro dinosaurs, it would seem, had something for everybody.

Refrences

  1. Childress, David Hatcher. “Archeological Coverups” Posted by the World Explorers Club at http://www.keelynet.com/unclass/canyon.txt. In the quoted excerpt I have fixed some of the inconsistencies in spelling and punctuation. The capitalization has been left intact.
  2. Lewis, David. “Jurassic Art” At http://atlantisrising.com/issue11/ar11jurassic.html
  3. Childress
  4. From Don Patton’s untitled brochure on the Acámbaro figurines.
  5. Lewis

Nobel Nobel

Eye on the Prize, Number 5

How about that Nobel Prize?

The Nobel Peace Prize (SwedishNorwegianNobels fredspris) is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in ChemistryPhysicsPhysiology or Medicine, and Literature. Since March 1901, it has been awarded annually (with some exceptions) to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses“.

Barack Obama won the Prize just for getting elected. Later this year we expect President Trump to make the trek to Oslo to get his.

Sources say that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un expressed his anger and frustration with the US following his failed summit with President Donald Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a North Korea-Russia summit in Vladivostok, Russia. CNN’s Brian Todd reports.

How about that Nobel Prize!

Maybe next year.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a series

This was told to me by somebody who had been in the military, so it may be one of those stories.

The two soldiers were assigned to a new outpost. They bunked in a building in some town. They were sleeping.

One of them woke up. “What’s that noise?” He wondered. He didn’t turn on the light. He stepped softly around the room, trying to locate the source of the noise. He got closer. The noise became more distinct.

“It’s in my shoe.” He gently picked up his shoe and listened. “There’s a mouse in my shoe.”

He walked slowly to the window, which was open. With a mighty heave he tossed the intruder out the window.

“My watch!” he said.

Graham

Number 5 of a Continuing Saga

Stuff like this takes some getting used to:

Franklin Graham to Buttigieg: Homosexuality ‘sin’ to be ‘repentant of’ not ‘flaunted’

The evangelical preacher Franklin Graham has taken aim at presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for being a self-described gay Christian.

Specifically:

Presidential candidate & South Bend Mayor is right—God doesn’t have a political party. But God does have commandments, laws & standards He gives us to live by. God doesn’t change. His Word is the same yesterday, today & forever. 1/3

Mayor Buttigieg says he’s a gay Christian. As a Christian I believe the Bible which defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized. The Bible says marriage is between a man & a woman—not two men, not two women. 2/3

The core of the Christian faith is believing and following Jesus Christ, who God sent to be the Savior of the world—to save us from sin, to save us from hell, to save us from eternal damnation. 3/3

The Reverend Franklin Graham has some history. For example:

I appreciate Reverend Graham’s observation concerning “numerous instances from the Bible where people turned the tide of history by prayer.” Here’s one from Ezekiel 9:

Which refers to:

Ezekiel 9:4-6 King James Version (KJV)

And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:

Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.

“God does have commandments, laws & standards He gives us to live by….” The god that commanded, “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women …” Yes, this is the god we should follow. I’m feeling more comfortable already.

It’s also the same god, according to Franklin Graham, that “says marriage is between a man & a woman—not two men, not two women.” Actually, that god does not say any such thing.

2 Samuel 5:13 King James Version (KJV)

13 And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David.

But that’s the Old Testament. Graham is a follower of Jesus, who was decidedly against homosexuality. Here is what Jesus had to say about homosexuality.

Anyhow, true Christians know marriage is between one man and one woman:

“When the Christian Church came into being, polygamy was still practiced by the Jews. It is true that we find no references to it in the New Testament; and from this some have inferred that it must have fallen into disuse, and that at the time of our Lord the Jewish people had become monogamous. But the conclusion appears to be unwarranted. Josephus in two places speaks of polygamy as a recognized institution: and Justin Martyr makes it a matter of reproach to Trypho that the Jewish teachers permitted a man to have several wives. Indeed when in 212 A.D. the lex Antoniana de civitate gave the rights of Roman Citizenship to great numbers of Jews, it was found necessary to tolerate polygamy among them, even though it was against Roman law for a citizen to have more than one wife. In 285 A.D. a constitution of Diocletian and Maximian interdicted polygamy to all subjects of the empire without exception. But with the Jews, at least, the enactment failed of its effect; and in 393 A.D. a special law was issued by Theodosius to compel the Jews to relinquish this national custom. Even so they were not induced to conform.

If you think Reverend Graham is making stuff up, you are in good company.

And the horse you rode in on.

Breitbart Mentality

Number 7

I do, yes I do. I subscribe to Breitbart News. Why? I will tell you why. I spent my whole life dealing with the real world, full of messy facts and hard consequences. Breitbart is a breath of fresh air. It’s like stepping out of Mary Poppins and onto the set of a Marx Brothers film. A slavish support for Donald Trump and everything right wing often steers the course in bizarre directions. Take this recent item for example:

Nolte: Top 51 Fake News ‘Bombshells’ the Media Spread About RussiaGate

That was the headline, and you need to bear with me and read the rest of my post. Granted the aspect of Breitbart calling out “fake news” sets a new level—you really need to hear them out. You never know when you might find a diamond in a coal bin. Breitbart writer John Nolte lays out the headlined 51 fake news bombshells that are giving him the most heartburn. He concedes the mainstream media outlets have gotten it right so many times, but they should have gotten it right those other 51 times. Continuing:

You’re supposed to take care of your kids!

And the media are supposed to get stories correct.

But here is the media forced to brag on when they didn’t crash the plane, when they did take care of the kids, which tells you something is horribly, terribly, ridiculously wrong.

Nolte writes metaphorically. Taking care of the kids is what you are supposed to do all the time. Crashing the plane is what you are never supposed to do. However, he infers, the real scandal is the flood of fake news put out to, I presume, drown the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Some more:

While a list of what the media might have gotten correct is fairly easy to put together, no one will ever be able to grasp the tsunami of fake news Americans were buried under for over two years.

The list below of 51 might sound like a lot, but it is a drop in the ocean when you recall the thousands and thousands of hours CNN, MSNBC, Meet the Press, This Week, PBS NewsHour, State of the Union, Good Morning AmericaReliable Sources, and the Today Show devoted to anchors and pundits pushing the hoax that Trump colluded with Russia.

I will not hit on all of Nolte’s top 51, thinking the first three will be representative. Here is number 1.

New York magazine, McClatchy: Michael Cohen went to  Prague.

For the record, it is almost certain Michael Cohen has never been to Prague. From the referenced news item:

In April, Peter Stone and Greg Gordon reported for McClatchy that Robert Mueller had obtained evidence that Cohen did indeed visit Prague. Today the pair have a new report with much more detail. Cohen’s phone pinged off cell-phone towers in Prague during that period, according to four sources. Also during that period, an Eastern European intelligence agency electronically surveilled a conversation in which one Russian said that Cohen was in Prague, according to two more sources. The reporting is the opposite of thin. If the conclusion is wrong, it is a massive journalistic error.

It is possible, of course, that all these sources are wrong. It is also possible that Cohen did visit Prague, and either did not meet with Russia, or met to discuss innocuous topics, and then lied about it. But the more probable explanation by far is that Cohen did visit Prague and did meet with Russian agents.

From Wikipedia:

However, on April 13, 2018, the DC Bureau of McClatchy Newspapers reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has evidence that Cohen did travel to Prague during the late summer of 2016, with two sources having confirmed this secret trip. The evidence is said to show that Cohen entered the Czech Republic from Germany, and since both countries are in the European Union’s Schengen passport area, Cohen would not have needed to receive a passport stamp to enter Czech territory. The following day, Cohen again denied he has “ever been to Prague”. Cohen also said that he didn’t travel to the European Union in August 2016. McClatchy reported in December 2018 that a mobile phone traced to Cohen had “pinged” cellphone towers around Prague in late summer 2016. McClatchy also reported that during that time an eastern European intelligence agency had intercepted communications between Russians, one of whom mentioned that Cohen was in Prague. The Mueller Report did not conclude Cohen had been in Prague, citing his testimony to investigators.

Beyond all this, we have to wonder what all the fuss is about. McClatchy obtained unreliable information from multiple sources and reported it. The substance is Cohen did not need to go to Prague to do all the stuff he has been convicted of and also the stuff he did that was not criminal. He continued to negotiate with Russian interests on behalf of Donald Trump while Trump was running for the office of President of the United States. Further, he initially lied about it before ultimately coming clean and taking his lumps. His boss, the President of the United States, perpetrated the lie.

Number 2:

BuzzFeed: Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie, and Mueller has emails proving it.

The referenced news item is Breitbart, itself:

BuzzFeed, citing two unidentified law enforcement officials, alleged in a Thursday evening report that President Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and that he regularly briefed the president and his family on the Trump Tower project in Moscow. BuzzFeed claimed Cohen told Mueller that President Trump personally instructed him to lie about the timing of the project in order to obscure Trump’s involvement. No other news organization was able to confirm the report nearly 24 hours after it’s publication.

Again from Wikipedia:

According to a BuzzFeed report on January 17, 2019, President Donald Trump personally directed Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project. However, a spokesman for the Special Counsel investigation later said the report was “not accurate”

Number 3:

The New York TimesPaul Manafort passed polling information to Kremlin.

Again the reference is to Breitbart:

Nolte: New York Times Forced to Correct Manafort Russia Collusion ‘Bombshell’

The far-left New York Times has been forced to issue a humiliating correction after falsely reporting Paul Manafort passed along polling information to a Kremlin-connected businessman.

Times “reporters” Maggie Haberman and Ken Vogel are dishonest enough on their own, but put these two leftists together, and you are almost certain to get a heapin’ helping of Very Fake News, which is exactly what happened Wednesday.

I find the foregoing difficult to reconcile with this from the Mueller Report

Separately, on August 2, 2016 , Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met in New York City with his long-time business associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI assesses to have ties to Russian intelligence. Kilimnik requested the meeting to deliver in person a peace plan for Ukraine that Manafort acknowledged to the Special Counsel’s Office was a “backdoor” way for Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine; both men believed the plan would require candidate Trump ‘s assent to succeed (were he to be elected President). They also discussed the status of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states. Months before that meeting, Manafort had caused internal polling data to be shared with Kilimnik, and the sharing continued for some period of time after their August meeting.

Yes! That is curious, but I will leave it for readers to sort out. The conclusion Nolte wants us to draw is mainstream media outlets are responsible for “the tsunami of fake news Americans were buried under for over two years” and for “pushing the hoax that Trump colluded with Russia.”

We are left to wonder at the tsunami that buried us.

Finally, concerning that hoax the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

Any attempt by the mainstream media to bury the American public beneath a tsunami of fake news would be completely unnecessary. We have people now working for the United States government already doing that. But thank you, Breitbart News.

 

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 161

This has been a weekly posting for over three years, and the volume of traffic has reached the point of making it expedient to set aside a separate mail folder for news items. A core theme is the too ready availability of deadly firearms in the United States, but I have committed to restricting coverage to stories involving handguns. Here is one of several from the past seven days:

Dog groomer pulled gun on couple late picking up their pet, police say

By Pat Reavy | Posted – Apr 22nd, 2019 @ 12:45pm

DRAPER — The owner of a dog grooming business was arrested after police say she pulled a gun on a couple who were late picking up their pet.

Lisa Vickie Hull, 56, was arrested Friday for investigation of aggravated assault, threatening to use a gun in a fight, drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a weapon by a restricted person.

A man and woman went to Absolute Best Grooming, 656 E. 11400 South, to pick up their dog. Hull, the owner of the business, “was upset due to him picking up his dog after the business’ closing time,” a Salt Lake County Jail report states.

“Lisa yelled at him to leave the business and pulled out a handgun from a holster, which Lisa retrieved from the back area of the business, and pointed it at him,” the dog owner told police, according to the report.

This is not what you would hope to encounter when dealing with a local merchant, but apparently it is what Wayne LaPierre, Oliver North, and Dana Loesch of the National Rifle Association consider to be an acceptable price to pay for “keeping out country safe.” Here are items from the past week that did not make the cut this Thursday, and will likely never show up in this column. Seven days from now there will be another collection to choose from:

  • April 22: SAPD: Man claims girlfriend accidentally fatally shot self
  • April 23: Two children shot in North Carolina road rage incident | TheHill
  • April 23: 12-year-old accidentally shot by cousin in motorhome | fox5sandiego.com
  • April 22: Bronx man, 21, accidentally kills himself playing with gun – New York Daily News
  • April 22: Oro Valley Police: Man accidentally shoots dog while cleaning gun | Local news | tucson.com
  • April 21: Tanger Outlets shooting: What we know about murder-suicide in Sevierville
  • April 21: Authorities: Oklahoma woman says she accidentally shot, killed husband | KFOR.com
  • April 20: Police: Man accidentally shot himself in Youngstown home

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Abusing Science

Number 20 of a series

This series is dedicated to stories related to abuse of science. Abuse can take a number of forms, including outright fraud. Sometimes the approach is to talk it to death. This appears to be the approach in a video from Fox News. It’s the Mark Levin Show from last year. I see no indication of when this aired, but it was posted to YouTube on 21 October 2018.

Here we see host Mark Levin interviewing Patrick Michaels, a real scientist involved in climate research. Put it all together, Fox News, Mark Levin, Patrick Michaels—it’s going to be some kind of global warming denial. From Wikipedia:

Patrick J. (“Pat“) Michaels (born February 15, 1950) is an American climatologist. Michaels is a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute. Until 2007 he was research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, where he had worked from 1980.[2][3]

A self-described skeptic on the issue of global warming, he is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists. He has written a number of books and papers on climate change, including Sound and Fury: The Science and Politics of Global Warming (1992), The Satanic Gases (2000), and Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media (2004). He’s also the co-author of Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know (2009).[2] Michaels’ viewpoint, as argued in a 2002 article in the journal Climate Research, is that the planet will see “a warming range of 1.3–3.0°C, with a central value of 1.9°C” for the 1990 to 2100 period (a value far smaller than the IPCC’s average predictions).

Yes, I forgot to mention the Cato Institute:

The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed CraneMurray Rothbard, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries. In July 1976, the name was changed to the Cato Institute. Cato was established to have a focus on public advocacy, media exposure and societal influence.[8]According to the 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies ProgramUniversity of Pennsylvania), Cato is number 15 in the “Top Think Tanks Worldwide” and number 10 in the “Top Think Tanks in the United States”.

The Cato Institute is libertarian in its political philosophy, and advocates a limited role for government in domestic and foreign affairs. This includes support for abolishing minimum wage laws; opposition to universal health care; the privatization of many government agencies including Social Security, NASA, and the United States Postal Service as well as public schooling; abolishing child labor laws; and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

I have encountered the Cato Institute before and have noted they often come down against scientific studies that go against their philosophical leaning. With all that said about Michaels and Cato, what really counts is what is true and what they have to say about it. You can see what Michaels has to say by watching the video, and there appears to be a transcript on line dated 21 October 2018. I will post a few excerpts. Start with this.

LEVIN: It’s a great honor to see you, Patrick Michaels, doctor. Expert on all things climate and environment, as far as I’m concerned. A little bit of your background. You’re the Director of the Center for Study of Science at the Cato Institute. You hold an AB and SM, you hold those degrees in Biology, Sciences and Plant Ecology from the University of Chicago – pretty good school. PhD in Ecological Climatology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, 1979. You’re past President of the American Association of State Climatologists. You were Program Chairman for the Committee on Applied Climatology at the American Meteorological Society. Say that fast five times.

That is some build-up, and I recall seeing this kind of thing before. When creationists introduced an authority to debunk evolution, they would go to great lengths to lay out  his credentials to make sure I knew this was not some blowhard come to dish the dirt. I must declare my suspicions get tickled when I see this kind of thing.

With that, it will be interesting to see what Patrick Michaels has to say. To start, he does not deny global warming, and he does not deny an element of human contribution. His assessment is that we are behind about half the observed rise, and the rest is natural.

MICHAELS: Well, surface temperature of the planet is warmer than it was a hundred years ago about 9/10th of a degree Celsius.

LEVIN: Nine-tenth degree of a degree Celsius.

MICHAELS: That’s all.

LEVIN: Is that a lot?

MICHAELS: No. It’s not a lot. There are two periods of warning, one in the early 20th Century that could not have been caused by human beings because we hadn’t put enough CO2 in the air, and one in the later part of the 20th Century that either slows down or ends depending upon whose data you use somewhere in the late 1990s, only to resume with the big El Nino that covered the news the last couple of years.

So that means that probably about half, maybe half of that nine-tenths of the degree might be caused by greenhouse gases because when the planet warmed beginning in 1976, the temperature of the stratosphere started to drop and that’s the prediction of greenhouse theory that’s not intuitive. The great philosopher of science Karl Popper said, if you can meet a difficult prediction with your theory, you can continue to entertain your theory.

Stop here for a moment. “[O]nly to resume with the big El Nino that covered the news the last couple of years.” Professor Michaels, an El Niño  event is a weather phenomenon, confined to a locality (large in this case) of the planet. Stuff like that gets ironed out in the averages. For perspective, the most recent temperature plots I have—representing global averages—show a continued rise to the present day. Here is one from Berkeley Earth, and I have preserved the largest available size to enable you to examine it up close. Click on the image to get the large view.

He also talks about atmospheric modeling, which figures greatly in predicting the effects of adding CO2 to the atmosphere. He wants us to know the bulk of models being used are worthless and he lays this at the feet of the practice of parameterizing the models.

But we just don’t really have a good explanation for that, but because we forced the computer models to say, “Aha, human influence, CO2 and other stuff.” We made the models too sensitive, and so that’s why when you get to the late 20th Century, all of a sudden they’re warming up like crazy and the reality is down here. It was guaranteed to happen.

This was revealed in “Science” magazine in late 2016, and there was a paper that was published by a French climate modeler called “The Art and Science of Climate Model Tuning,” and in it, he speaks of parameterizing — we could say fudging — the models to give, his words, an anticipated acceptable range of results. [emphasis added]

Being what I am, I felt the need to track down this particular reference. In truth, I could find no such article appearing in Science magazine in the weeks (October) preceding the 2016 election. I did find this: “Using climate models to estimate the quality of global observational data sets.” Science, 28 October 2016, Vol. 354 Issue 6311, p. 452. There is an item with a similar name: “The Art and Science of Climate Model Tuning,” which Michaels may have been thinking about, but this was not published in Science, and it came out in 2017, not 2016. You can pull it up to read for yourself, but here is the abstract:

We survey the rationale and diversity of approaches for tuning, a fundamental aspect of
climate modeling, which should be more systematically documented and taken into account in multimodel analysis.

An introductory paragraph:

As is often the case in sciences that address complex systems, numerical models have become central in climate science (Edwards 2001). General circulation models of the atmosphere were originally developed for numerical weather forecasting (e.g., Phillips 1956). The coupling of global atmospheric and oceanic models began with Manabe and Bryan (1969) and came of age in the 1980s and 1990s. Global climate models or Earth system models (ESMs) are nowadays used extensively to study climate changes caused by anthropogenic and natural perturbations (Lynch 2008; Edwards 2010). The evaluation and improvement of these global models is the driver of much theoretical and observational research. Publications that analyze the simulations coordinated at an international level in the frame of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) constitute a large part of the material synthesized in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports. Beyond their use for prediction and
projection at meteorological to climatic time scales, global models play a key role in climate science. They are used to understand and assess the mechanisms at work, while accounting for the complexity of the climate system and for the spatial and temporal scales involved (Dalmedico 2001; Held 2005).

Michaels decries the climate models being used by various governments, except, he says, the one used by the Russians is accurate. Additionally he displays a plot that purports to show the divergence between the parameterized models and actual measurements. Here it is. Click on the image to get the full size:

Sum of the story, Michaels is jawboning the issue. He agrees that humans are contributing to global warming, but he excuses this by noting there are other contributions. He points to outrageous predictions and shows how they failed. He notes the increase in property damage by weather correlates to the increase in property to be damaged (in terms of the GDP). But he never denies the existence of the human contribution, which he cannot. I urge readers to watch the video and get back to me. There is more I would be able to add, given more time and space.

Next up: a YouTube video pushing some weird science.

This is your president speaking.

Number 208 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Well, thank you very much. We’re in communication with France. They’re having a terrible, terrible fire. You probably saw. Some of you have heard. Some of you have not because you’ve been here. But I will tell you, the fire that they’re having at the Notre Dame Cathedral is something like few people have witnessed. When we left — we had a whole group of your great representatives. And when we left the plane, it was — it was burning at a level that you rarely see a fire burn.

It’s one of the great treasures of the world. The greatest artists in the world. Probably, if you think about it, I would say, Jovita, it might be greater than almost any museum in the world. And it’s burning very badly. It looks like it’s burning to the ground.

So — so that puts a damper on what we’re about to say, to be honest, because that is beyond countries, that’s beyond anything. That’s a part of our growing up. It’s a part of our culture. It’s a part of our lives. That’s a truly great cathedral. And I’ve been there and I’ve seen it, and there’s no cathedral, I think — I could say there’s probably no cathedral in the world like it.

It’s a terrible scene. They think it was caused by — at this moment, they don’t know — but they think it was caused by renovation. And I hope that’s the reason. Renovation — you know, what’s that all about? But it’s a terrible sight to behold.

With that being said, I want to tell you that a lot of progress has been made by our country in the last two and a half years.

Americans can be proud. Later.

The Awful Truth

Number 7 in a Series

From the Mueller Report, page 13:

The Russian contacts consisted of business connections, offers of assistance to the Campaign, invitations for candidate Trump and Putin to meet in person, invitations for Campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government to meet, and policy positions seeking improved U.S.-Russian relations. Section IV of this Report details the contacts between Russia and the Trump Campaign during the campaign and transition periods, the most salient of which are summarized below in chronological order.

Make America Great Again.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a series

So this guy was walking home from the movies late at night, and he decided to take a shortcut through the cemetery. It was pitch black along the path, and as luck would have it he stepped into a freshly dug grave. He was unhurt, but try as he could, he was unable to climb out. He decided the best thing for him to do was to wait for morning. Surely there would be a service at the grave, and people would come and discover him. So, he sat down in a dark corner of the hole and reflected on life’s misfortunes.

After some time another luckless soul came along and also fell in. The new guy didn’t notice the man sitting in the corner, and he also tried futilely to climb out. The first guy watched these goings on for nearly two minutes then decided to let his presence known.

“You’ll never make it,” he advised.

But he did.

People Unclear

This is number 79 of a series

I’m beginning to love these. I get one almost every day. Here’s the most recent:

Donald J. Trump <contact@victory.donaldtrump.com>
To: jf_blanton@yahoo.com
Apr 19 at 6:08 PM
John,Every year, the Corrupt Media holds a total snoozefest White House Correspondents dinner where they thrive off their negativity and hatred towards me and my Administration.

On April 27th, while the Liberal Elites mingle with the Corrupt Media, I’ll be holding an EPIC rally in Wisconsin with REAL AMERICAN PATRIOTS.

I would truly love to join the president’s EPIC rally in Wisconsin, and I would make the trip if I could be assured I would have a chance to meet REAL AMERICAN PATRIOT patriot Natalia Veselnitskaya.

The Apple and the Tree

The distance is measured in millimeters. This is number 3.

I have commented previously on former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee:

Thus spake Mike Huckabee’s interpretation of American history. I presume this sprang from one of his more lucid moments. In other parts of his life Mike Huckabee, former candidate for United States president, has expressed a belief in the supernatural:

He has claimed that angels guide his bullets when he hunts. Seriously.

“I decided that one way or another, this hunt is about to be over, because I can’t stand any more of this cold. And somehow by the grace of God, when I squeezed the trigger, my Weatherby .300 Mag., which has got to be the greatest gun, I think, ever made in the form of a rifle — for my sake in hunting, I’ve never squeezed the trigger and not gotten something — did its work and somehow the angels took that bullet and went right to the antelope, and my hunt was over in a wonderful way.”

Yeah, Governor Huckabee has a loose association with the truth. All of which brings me to the topic of today, namely that the fruit does not fall very far from the tree. White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, offspring of the governor, seems to have inherited the notion that truth is a sometime thing.

The screen shot from CBS News at the top shows Sanders being questioned by reporter Steve Portnoy. The president, Sanders’ boss, has recently fired FBI Director James Comey, apparently due to the director’s persistence in investigating nefarious activities of the president and his staff. The president at one point observed the cause for dismissal was this “Russia thing,” but when that notion crashed and burned he shifted to another narrative. James Comey was ruinous to morale at the Bureau, and his dismissal was necessary for the good of all.

Portnoy and most others observed otherwise. Comey was a popular director, recognized for his genuine support of the rank and file agents and staff. Portnoy quoted an FBI agent as saying, “The vast majority of the Bureau is in favor of Directory Comey, [his firing] is a total shock, this is not supposed to happen ….” Sanders’ response is surprising. From page 72 of “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election,” produced by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, we have Sanders responding:

Look, we’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.

The Mueller Report expanded on that—again on page 72:

Following the press conference, Sanders spoke to the President, who told her she did a good job and did not point out any inaccuracies in her comments. Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from “countless members of the FBI” was a “slip of the tongue .” She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Corney was a comment she made “in the heat of the moment” that was not founded on anything.

First off, I am glad there is no need for us to accept a new definition of “countless.” Personally, I have too many already. So, the fruit of Huckabee was flustered and misspoke. That’s understandable. We have all done something like that. I mean, I have on occasion. A mere slip of the tongue.

Actually more like a slip of the yoke of morality. From a news item in The Washington Post:

The claim from Sanders about a groundswell of FBI types applauding the firing of Comey sounded implausible enough that reporters kept badgering the deputy press secretary on the matter. The day after her assertion about “countless” employees, Sanders was asked to square her own assessment with that of McCabe before Congress. Her answer:

MS. SANDERS: Well, I can speak to my own personal experience. I’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the President’s decision. And I think that we may have to agree to disagree. I’m sure that there are some people that are disappointed, but I certainly heard from a large number of individuals — and that’s just myself — and I don’t even know that many people in the FBI.

Another round:

Q And one last question, just to follow up on the FBI thing. And I’m not trying to be overly combative here, but you said now today, and I think you said again yesterday, that you personally have talked to countless FBI officials, employees, since this happened.

MS. SANDERS: Correct.

Q I mean, really? So are we talking —

MS. SANDERS: Between like email, text messages — absolutely.

Q Like 50?

MS. SANDERS: Yes.

Q Sixty, seventy?

MS. SANDERS: Look, we’re not going to get into a numbers game. I mean, I have heard from a large number of individuals that work at the FBI that said that they’re very happy with the President’s decision. I mean, I don’t know what I else I can say.

Yes, Mrs. Sanders. What can you say about that? I know what I can say about that. You are a lying twit of the first order and possessing the morals of a street corner pimp. What kind of family environment produces such a person? What kind of president hires such a person to speak for him? What kind of electorate underwrites such a presidency? Have we come this low? Apparently we have.

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 160

Aren’t we glad we have the Second Amendment to ensure we have the safety of self-protection. If only:

McDowell County man facing charges after son accidentally shoots friend

Jon Randall Updated

Nebo, NC (FOX Carolina) – A man in McDowell County is facing charges deputies say after his son accidentally shot a friend.

According to deputies, the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office charged 48-year-old Merle Dwayne Foster with failure to store a firearm to protect a minor.

The sheriff’s office says in the early morning hours of March 27, Foster’s son had a friend spending the night.  According to deputies, Foster’s son was cleaning the handgun when it went off accidentally, firing a shot and hitting the friend in the lower left leg.

What can I add to that except, “Oops!”

This is your president speaking.

Number 207 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

The Mueller Report, which was written by 18 Angry Democrats who also happen to be Trump Haters (and Clinton Supporters), should have focused on the people who SPIED on my 2016 Campaign, and others who fabricated the whole Russia Hoax. That is, never forget, the crime…..

….Since there was no Collusion, why was there an Investigation in the first place! Answer – Dirty Cops, Dems and Crooked Hillary!

Why is it the President of the United States keeps talking like a mobster who’s about to be indicted? Maybe we should look at some history.

Eighteen angry Democrats? Get a grip.

Abusing Science

Number 20 of a series

This is a continuation of the dissection of Dan Kuttner’s 11 points regarding the science behind AGW, anthropogenic global warming. Dan posted these on Facebook a few months ago, and he reposted them again this year. He challenges readers to answer his 11 points, and he has agreed to allow me to use his name. He says in a separate communication that this is not a prank and he considers these to be serious matters. Here are Dan’s remaining seven points:

5. Since “Climate Change” is the new mantra, how and where is the climate changing?

The ocean and atmosphere temperatures are rising.

6. Since [fill in name of crisis] is bad, what is the “proper” temperature of the world without the influence of man-made CO2?

There is no proper temperature. What is desired is that the average global temperature not change radically. We built cities, populated land areas, created industries based on temperatures of the past few hundred years. A rise in average temperatures of more than a few degrees will result in enormous economic impact.

7. How has the correlation of an alleged increase in man-made CO2 and global temperatures been used to prove >> causation << by man?

The rise in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere corresponds with the amount of CO2 from fossil fuels introduced into the atmosphere by human activity.

8. How will paying a tax to a mandated monopoly headed by Al Gore’s British company fix the world’s emission of greenhouse gases?

It probably does not, so it does not make sense for me to respond to this non-existent event.

9. Since so far none of the climate-alarmists’ predictions have come true, why should we believe them today?

If by “alarmist” is meant grossly exaggerated claims, then you should not believe them. What is to be believed are the claims made by serious scientists. You should also believe the observed changes in the climate and the observed effects.

10. Since the claimed increase in temperatures and rise in sea levels are less than the statistical margin of error for even an excellent sample, how can any claim of an increase be made?

The premise of the question is incorrect. This is an instance of the logical fallacy called “begging the question.” First, the increase in temperature measured is within the statistical margin of error. Second, given a sufficient number of samples, accurate measurements can be obtained, even if individual measurements are imprecise.

11. If Global Warming is real, why have the main proponents of it been caught at least THREE times faking, fudging or redefining the figures to make it come out that way?(e.g. East Anglia’s “climate-gate” emails).

This is another example of begging the question. The person who presented this question must demonstrate the premise is true if a serious response is required.

This set of 11 points is representative of many of the attacks on legitimate climate science. When the opponents of an idea are unable to present cogent opposition, then the impression grows that there is no valid opposition. That is the case with the matter of anthropogenic global warming. The science is based on valid principles, it is being carried out by responsible and capable people, and results are in agreement with observed conditions. My own observation is that opposition to this science is mostly politically motivated, without any valid arguments being presented. In short, the opposition is a hoax of the worst kind.

Quiz Question

Number 200 of a series

Here is a nice problem, not too difficult, pertinent to a current hot topic.

Hypothetical scenario: Nothing is adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide has a 100-year half life in the atmosphere. We crank up a contraption that pumps 100 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. How much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere when  a steady state is obtained?

Post your answer as a comment below. Extra points for describing the calculation.