Sunday, August 21, 2011

Human Events takes anti-Renaissance views seriously

New Yorker covered Michelle Bachmann's anti-Italian Renaissance ideology with her favorite documentary by Francis Schaeffer:

The iconic image from the early episodes is Schaeffer standing on a raised platform next to Michelangelo’s “David” and explaining why, for all its beauty, Renaissance art represented a dangerous turn away from a God-centered world and toward a blasphemous, human-centered world
This conclusion by Nancy Pearcey that Bachmann supports also demonstrates her thought process:
There may “be occasions when Christians are mistaken on some point while nonbelievers get it right,” she writes in “Total Truth.” “Nevertheless, the overall systems of thought constructed by nonbelievers will be false—for if the system is not built on Biblical truth, then it will be built on some other ultimate principle. Even individual truths will be seen through the distorting lens of a false world view.”
Bachmann doesn't care if she's wrong on such things as science and history, and has no interest in corrections, because her overall thought system is infallible.

Human Events appears to fall in the same category. They're pumping a (somewhat doubtful) claim of malfeasance on drowning polar bears that Eli has checked, and found this expert conclusion:
“I think it’s very illustrative of the problems with government research on endangered species, and raises the question as to whether government should be in the business of science,” Ramey said.
I think Dr. Rob Roy Ramey and some government-supported madrasas in Pakistan should share notes. Incidentally, Dr. Ramey sez the survey was only intended to look for whales, when the protocol was actually to record all sightings:

ERIC MAY: Okay, you mentioned earlier other mammals, so are all mammal observations recorded in that database?

JEFFREY GLEASON: Yes.

ERIC MAY: Okay, so give me an example, what other mammals?

JEFFREY GLEASON: Bearded seals, walruses, ringed seals, polar bears, beluga whales, gray whales. That's sort of the big ones.
Also they took photos:

ERIC MAY: When you did take the photos, were you able to tell what they were?

JEFFREY GLEASON: Most of the time, yeah. We saw some dead polar bears at one time, and it was pretty obvious with the naked eye what it was. But the pictures, they just kind of turned out to be a white blob in the photos. And I can't remember, we probably took three or four pictures, and it's sort of white blob floating in the ocean, so it's pretty hard to tell.

A certain Coyote Blog couldn't handle the truth on that one, saying the resulting study was produced without "even getting a picture of them." I'm also impressed by Coyote's assertion that white bears swimming at the surface are harder to see than grey-colored whales that swim below the surface and only come up every few minutes to breathe.

Not to worry though, the denialist overall worldview is infallible. Or maybe is S Molnar is right, and Bachmann and pals will bring us back to pre-Industrial Revolution, pre-Renaissance economies.

18 comments:

David B. Benson said...

Anit-enlightenment.

b5230294-91bd-11e0-a606-000bcdcb5194 said...

The point is, this weak study resulted in placing polar bears as endangered species and the study was fanned by Al Gore to hype his carbon tax dollar scheme (which never got traction), thankfully. Have we anyone here that supports the Monnett study as rigorous? Should it been given so much weight by regulators? And did the weak study leverage a 50 million dollar slush fund -- that's what I would like to know. I hear a chorus of academics looking the other way because they are on the dole or hope to be someday themselves.

Mark said...

@Troll-o-Matic: Have you looked into the money paid to the professional deniers?

badger badger badger said...

Having dispensed with The Enlightenment, they're taking it a step further.

GregH said...

@b5230294 Why do you classify the contracts managed by Monnett as a slush fund, other than attempting to slime a government employee?

Doug said...

Not that it'll change Hash Value's mind, but the endangerment finding on polar bears was not based on Monnett's study.

Just for the record...

Learn more at:

http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/

b5230294-91bd-11e0-a606-000bcdcb5194 said...

Wikipedia

Monnett published his findings in 2006 in an article in the peer-reviewed journal Polar Biology.[8] Al Gore referenced Monnett's study in his 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which made the polar bears into an important symbol of climate change.[9] The paper was cited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in its 2008 decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.[10]

Anonymous said...

People who give revealed truth (Torah, Bible, Koran, etc) precedence over their own senses and reason are incoherent and really can't be reached by argument.

Jeffrey Davis

dhogaza said...

"The point is, this weak study resulted in placing polar bears as endangered species "

No, it didn't. A federal lawsuit resulted in USF&W - under W - listing polar bears. Being cited in support is not the same as "resulted in ...".

"Have we anyone here that supports the Monnett study as rigorous?"

It wasn't presented as being rigorous, so not even Monnett supports it as being rigorous. There's very little data available on polar bear mortality at high latitudes, and Monnett's paper presented a tiny amount of data alone with clearly-labelled speculation as to what that data might imply.

Hash-troll doesn't care about facts, of course, so I'm wasting my time ...

b5230294-91bd-11e0-a606-000bcdcb5194 said...

No troll. But signing on here using AIM gives me that weird moniker.

Anonymous said...

b5230294-91bd-11e0-a606-000bcdcb5194,

The listing of the polar bear as a threatened species was based on a review of nearly 500 references, of which Monnett and Gleason's monograph was just one. Here's the reference list.

http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/polarbear/pdf/polar_bear_analysis_references_cited.pdf

Primary amongst the reference material were 9 peer-reviewed reports by the US Geological Survey directly addressing the matter.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2008/polarbear012308/pdf/037257PolarBearQAFINAL.pdf

The M&G 2006 monograph was a bit player in the listing, not central to it. Feel free to comb through the 90 pages in the federal register discussing body-weight changes, range distribution, sea ice changes, denning habits, food sources, polar bear evolution and whatnot, to satisfy yourself on that.

barry

Anonymous said...

http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/polarbear/pdf/Polar_Bear_Final_Rule.pdf

barry

Anonymous said...

My post above the last appears to have disappeared, which makes the one I did after rather curt and pointless. Here goes another try, sorry mods.

------------------

b5230294-91bd-11e0-a606-000bcdcb5194,

The listing of the polar bear as a threatened species was based on a review of nearly 500 references, of which Monnett and Gleason's monograph was just one. Here's the reference list.

http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/polarbear/pdf/polar_bear_analysis_references_cited.pdf

Primary amongst the reference material were 9 peer-reviewed reports by the US Geological Survey directly addressing the matter.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2008/polarbear012308/pdf/037257PolarBearQAFINAL.pdf

The M&G 2006 monograph was a bit player in the listing, not central to it. Feel free to comb through the 90 pages in the federal register discussing body-weight changes, range distribution, sea ice changes, denning habits, food sources, polar bear evolution and whatnot, to satisfy yourself on that.

http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/polarbear/pdf/Polar_Bear_Final_Rule.pdf

barry

Anonymous said...

"Have we anyone here that supports the Monnett study as rigorous?"

Having actually read the paper, I support it as a sound hypothesis based on available data. It's a properly caveated 'inference to the best explanation'. I wouldn't describe it as rigorous, because it is not an exhaustive study on polar bear mortality, just some limited analysis. Monnett describes it just like that in his interview, and the language throughout the monograph is appropriately provisional. The paper is frequently miscast in the skeptiverse as being something other than it is, falsely elevating its tentative suggestions to authoritative claims. It's a classic straw man concoction. As is the notion that this paper somehow caused polar bears to be listed as threatened.

Having answered directly, could you do the same in return and with complete honesty?

1) Have you actually read the 2006 paper (prior to reading this post)?

2) If so, from your memory of the introductory paragraph, do you think the authors are discussing a natural cause of polar bear mortality, or polar bear mortality caused by global warming?

barry

EliRabett said...

Blogger has a spam pile, which spam falls into on occasion. Eli is a tolerant bunny but not on the job 24/7 to pull stuff out. Patience.

Anonymous said...

The Monnett and Gleason paper was based on aircraft surveys covering approximately the distance to the moon over 25 years. The notion of scientific rigor is not really applicable to a single novel observation. I would argue that the survey was conducted with sufficient rigor to demonstrate a novel event, however. The observation should not be described as rigorous but it can be said that it is very significant in the same sense that the first observation of oil leaking from the BP rig in the Gulf of Mexico would be significant.

Anonymous said...

Some information from Kassie Siegel of Center for Biological Diversity

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/mammals/polar_bear/fact_sheet.html

Polar Bears and Climate Change: A Summary of the Robust Body of Science
Showing Polar Bears are Imperiled by the Arctic Meltdown
Recently a scientist at the Department of the Interior, Dr. Charles Monnett, was placed on administrative leave pending the completion of an Interior Inspector General investigation relating to Dr. Monnett’s observations of drowned polar bears in 2004, the publication of those observations in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and an agency contract for polar bear research. U.S. Senator James Inhofe and others have asserted that this investigation could undermine the scientific basis for the 2008 decision to list polar bears under the Endangered Species Act.
The actions taken by the Interior Department against Dr. Monnett to date are highly irregular and disturbing. But regardless of the outcome of the investigation, this episode in no way undermines the scientific evidence demonstrating that global warming imperils the polar bear. To date no valid criticism of the paper (Monnett and Gleason 2006) has been raised, but even if one were raised it could not possibly refute the large, robust body of scientific literature linking observations of starvation, cannibalism, drowning, increasing mortality of both adults and cubs, and shrinking populations to the rapid decline of sea ice occurring in the Arctic.
Key studies and observations documenting climate change impacts to polar bears are summarized below.

Follow the link for those key studies and observations.

Mark said...

My apologies, b5, as you do not appear to be a troll generating automated comments.