Friday, February 15, 2013

Galileo and Gleick

Adam Gopnik in a recent New Yorker article discusses the interaction between the blog scientists favorite icon and the Catholic Church.  Reading Gopnik, Galileo spent much of his life being both a brilliant scientist and a skater on thin ice.  Today we lose sight of the fact that Galileo invented relativity, that is that told us how when two bodies move, the perceived velocity of each is relative to the other and we still refer to this as a Galilean frame.

The concept was disturbing in a world where the Earth was the unmoving center of all, but necessary once one adopted the Copernican view of the solar system.  If the bunnies want this in denial speak, well, here we are, you are telling Eli that the Earth is rotating like crazy and moving a huge speed around the sun?  That's crazy.  Next thing you will tell me is that people are animals and changing the climate for worse.  

Relativity was the root of Galileo's problems with the Church.  His modus vivendi was one adopted by many scientists today, the best example being evolution.  The Church was willing, using Gopnick's analogy to allow Galileo to put forward the Copernican system as a computational device, but he had to allow them, as it were, to "teach the controversy".

...Galileo tried to do what we sould now call basic research while simultaneously negotiating with the Church to let him do it.  Eventually, he and the church came to an implicit understanding:  if he would treat Copernicanism merely as a hypothesis, rather than as a truth about the world, it would be acceptable -- if he would claim his work only as "istoia" not as "demostrazione" the Inquisitors would leave him alone. . . .You could calculate, consider and even hypothesize with Copernicus.  You just couldn't believe in him.
But Galileo eventually went too far, and we know the rest of the story, he was forced to recant and live together with his ideas under house arrest.  Many have criticized him for this, but Gopnik finds another path
So the scientist can shrug at the torturer and say, Any way you want me to tell it, I will.  You've got the waterboard.  The stars are still there.  It may be no accident that so many of the great scientists really have followed Galileo, in ducking and avoiding the consequences of what they discovered.  In the roster of genius, evasion of worldly responsibility seems practically a fixed theme.  Newton escaped the world through nuttiness, Darvvin through elaborate evasive courtesies and by farming out the politics to Huxley.  Heisenberg's uncertainty was political -- he did nuclear fission research for Hitler -- as well as quantum mechanical.  Science demands heroic minds but not heroic morals.  It's one of the things than make it move
Which brings us to James Hansen, the forty eight who were arrested protesting the Keystone pipeline this week and Peter Gleick.  Something is moving scientists and scientific organizations from the passive to the active.  The dangers of man made climate change and environmental damage are now so clear that it is no longer a matter of munching a few words in return for being left alone, but those in the best position to know realize that these are matters of survival, if not for them, for their children.  Increasingly scientists are driven to take significant personal risks in an attempt, yes, to save the world.

Eli wants to thank those who are risking all, Peter Gleick, James Hansen, Michael Mann and others who have said, enough. In an ethical calculus, the risks confronting humans if we continue on the path we are on, means that transgressions which in normal times would be condemned, must be assumed.  Sin is relative, responsibility absolute. 
Excellent summary in the comments from Chris: I don't think the ethical calculus of Gleick's actions can be understood in binary terms. For me it's a complicated mess. While I'm happy to see Heartland tanking, I wish the methods had been a bit different.

That said, I'm awfully glad to see those who best understand our predicament screaming from the rooftops. 
That said, Eli is not sure that there was a less complicated, messy way of exposing Heartland without major changes in the tax code and laws governing such organizations.  Sometimes life is messy.


Anonymous said...

So you condone wire fraud and forgery Eli? Noted.

Hansen's "crime" was nothing more than civil disobedience, a forgivable sin to be sure and one with a long tradition in the US of A. There is legitimate pride in that action. Mann, AFAIK, has never committed a crime in the name of climate change.

Gleick, however, is an idiot. Thanking him for his stupidity--since it had no real tangible worth--is simply pathetic. His actions are nothing more than a black eye for the credibility of the "climate concerned". The fact that you didn't/don't condemn his actions, and in fact applaud them, is laughable. And sad.


Anonymous said...

Hansen's actions = 100% OK.

Gleick = A liar, fraud and criminal.

You have to draw the line somewhere.

Mann = Glory hound and no one thinks more of Mann than Michael himself. He is a punk.

What Eli is basically saying, if you think you are right, the ends justify the means. What an ugly concept that is for humankind.

EliRabett said...

One acts, others judge.

Anonymous said...

There is no right or wrong except in your feverish mind. There is only works and doesn't work. Science works, bitches. Deal with it.

MikeH said...

No coincidence that Heartland's travails started with Gleick's revelations.

In Oz and over the ditch in NZ, Bob Carter is constantly reminded of the cash he gets from Heartland.

Thank you Gleick.

Suck on that troll.

Steve Bloom said...

Very well put, Eli.

J Bowers said...

And the FBI agents yawned.

J Bowers said...

Possibly my favourite Rabett post.

Anonymous said...

Ah listen to all the Dorner fans on Rubbish Run.

He is another hero of the left.

Because some act and others judge.


Anonymous said...

Interesting point Eli and those that agree. If you believe you have facts on your side and you are being unjustly treated, you no longer have to follow and moral compass, nevermind the law.

The path to chaos is laden with bunny droppings.

This will further dimish any influence you may have had. Bordeline crazy.

climatehawk1 said...

I agree, excellent post, thanks!

EliRabett said...

Eli is but a bunny who writes for his own amusement. Michael Tobis, otoh is rather more serious but we come out at the same place.

If that annoys some, it is a feature.

Anonymous said...

the Dorner fans on Rubbish Run.

First it was the Unibomber, then it was Sandusky, and now it's Dorner.

Is there enough data to detect a trend here yet?

Anonymous said...

Hansen is guilty of lying.

Not a crime, but odious if one claims to be a scientist.

Hansen's lies?

Claiming 'worse than expected' when he knows temperature trends are all less than Scenario C for the MSU era.

Intimating 'half of all species' may go extinct.

Pretending that he's not benefiting from climate hysteria.

Pretending he's not a political hack while taking a quarter mil from John Kerry.

Only the gullible believe Jimmy.


Anonymous said...

This Sunday, there's going to be a Keystone Pipeline protest rally just up the road from my place here in San Diego.

Of course, the usual politico/activist-types that you'd expect to see at that sort of rally will be speaking.

But also on the roster is one of the leading climate-scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Prof. Jeff Severinghaus.

A couple of years ago, I attended a lecture given by Dr. Serveringhaus and briefly spoke with him afterward (although I'm sure that he doesn't remember me).

Severinghaus is a very sober, reserved, no-nonsense scientist-type (who went out of his way to avoid sounding "alarmist" during the lecture I attended).

To see him listed as a headliner at a protest rally is another indication that something is up in the scientific community.

And yes, I'll be there.

--caerbannog the anonybunny

Chris said...

I don't think the ethical calculus of Gleick's actions can be understood in binary terms. For me it's a complicated mess. While I'm happy to see Heartland tanking, I wish the methods had been a bit different.
That said, I'm awfully glad to see those who best understand our predicament screaming from the rooftops.

MikeH said...

I have gone to all of the YouTube posts of Bob Carter reciting his litany of climate denial lies and pointed out that good old Bob takes money from the tobacco lovin', climate science denyin' Heartland Institute.

Your a hero Peter Gleick.

Suck on that trolls.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't annoy me, it draws out some pity, that I have for you.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

One wonders if anonytroll is capable of forming a thought before the RNC tells him their talking points.

J Bowers said...

RNC? Too generous. Try Rush Limbaugh.

Anonymous said...

Intimating 'half of all species' may go extinct.

All species go extinct. You missed that in your extensive studies. You just choose to speed that process up, over the hassle of evolving.

climatehawk1 said...

Anyone who is ripping into Eli for questionable morals here, please also tell us about your position on the Climategate hoax involving theft and misrepresentation of e-mails.

Lionel A said...

One heroic (=irony) anonymous wrote:

'He is another hero of the left.'

That demonstrates the poverty of your ideology for thinking that left and right are significant and is so twentieth century.

As more from the Republican in outlook swing in behind the realities of the dangers we face this is set to become increasingly obvious.

Unfortunately those left in the corner will become more venomous in communication and perhaps even worse. Indeed I think we already are seeing a ramp up in vehement illogical ranting from there, as seen trailing recent Lewandowsky articles.

EliRabett said...

Lionel, the left is not monolithic nor are the people who are beating on the denialists so much left, as the denialists are right, either corporatist or Randian although you can find an occasional old communist who is also deep into environmental denial. The one consistent theme in social science studies of attitudes toward the reality of climate change is that free market fetishists deny the reality of how mankind is changing climate. On the other hand, actionable evidence has come recently to light showing how the corporatist wing has been providing the Benjamins.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Bowers I am not in the RNC or Limbaugh pre-fab box.

Let us take Eli's thoughts another step or two further.

2016 Repbublican denier President is elected. He is going to cut all funding on AGW and implement expansive oil and coal explorations.

Well this is certainly much more serious than Heartland and their disinformation campaign.

Now someone, not Eli to be sure, has really dug into this growing "anything goes" attitude that Eli and friends are currently supporting.

This one person goes off and assasinates that future President, are all the Rabbet runners OK with that?

Where do you draw the line?

One acts, others judge, right?

I am also curious, what is the elected offical's response to this post and comments, well Brian do you agree with Eli and his Gleick post that actions far out weigh morals and laws when you think you are right and justified?

Truly amazing to watch a group degenerate into a rightgeous mob.

Anonymous said...

Where do you draw the line?

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I draw the line at logical fallacies. In your case, a straw man comes to mind. Your psychiatrist can probably give you better advice on how not to let your fantasies and delusions run wild in logical and scientific discourse.

You get an A+ on using all the oblique emotional references to violence, though.

andrew adams said...

Much as I have no sympathy for Heartland and that absurd blowhard Joe Bast I don't think Gleick should have did what he did - someone in his position should be above that kind of thing and as well as the damage to his own standing it could have had a hurt his fellow scientists by association. Although given the disinclination of the authorities to prosecute him for actions he has fully admitted I think that accusing him of serious criminal behaviour is wrong.

And of course, "yes but Climategate" works the other way in this case.

Anonymous said...

Nice dodge KT. Having difficulty running down the path stepping in all the bunny droppings?

Where do you draw the line? We know it extends beyond fraud and theft, I would just like to know how far you will go.

One acts, others judge.

Anonymous said...

Well troll boy, since the subject is carbon with respect to planetary operations I believe if you examine my publications and learn anything from my biography you will find that I have 'gone the distance' in terms of action. As in actual analysis of the subject and a simple description of the necessary solutions, none of which are ruled out by any known laws of physics or from any empirical biological observations.

And none of which involves any violence, contrary to your feverish and fervent imagination.

climatehawk1 said...

Speaking of dodges, what is your position on the Climategate hoax, which involved theft and misrepresentation of e-mails?

Anonymous said...

Funny KT, I did not realize Eli wrote this post all about you. Common theme in your life, all about you.

I applaud your contributions to society and I laugh at your demeanor and failure to comment on whether you agree with Eli that Gleick is a modern day Galileo and ends justify the means.

One acts, others judge.

Eli said that, not me. In fact I never made any judgement as to what YOU do or not do as far as actions. You simply are not as smart as you know you are.

I did not realize there was a Climategate hoax. There were a lot of emails released into the public domain. Current theory and the authorities say they were obtained via a hack and or theft. Let us assume they were stolen (fair assumption, just not a fact yet) then the person(s) responsible should face the appropriate legal consequences.

Any other questions?

Anonymous said...

You simply are not as smart as you know you are.

I'm smart enough to understand there is a severe carbon related heat imbalance in the atmosphere that needs to be solved, and smart enough to understand the physics and biology behind its technical solution, so that puts me far ahead of you, and even Peter Gleick for that matter. His problem was solving the Heartland Institute problem, a problem of which I could not possibly care less about anymore and hardly relates to any technical solutions.

Let us assume they were stolen (fair assumption, just not a fact yet) then the person(s) responsible should face the appropriate legal consequences.

Wow, that problem ranks right up there with environmental toxins and retards running amok in the countryside with heavy weapons.

You really pick the tough ones!

Anonymous said...

I was responding to climatehawk and his/her question about climategate.

Wow we should all just kneel down before KT and listen to his smartness and wisdom. Perhaps we should make him king, although what he thinks he knows about other posters is quite far off the mark.

KT you are a legend in your own mind. It is hard for me to fathom that someome who proclaims to be so knowledgeable and taking action on the serious carbon based problem the planet is facing, is commenting on a blog such as this.

Please stop wasting your time here and save us all.

Anonymous said...

It is hard for me to fathom that someome who proclaims to be so knowledgeable and taking action on the serious carbon based problem the planet is facing, is commenting on a blog such as this.

And thank you so much for reading and responding to my comments. You COULD if you chose to, read my publications as well and comment on those as well, but that would require an minimal education.

Anonymous said...

I'll pass, anyone as hateful and bigoted against a group of people based upon their individual choices probably produces work severly biased as most writings of borderline psychotics.

If you link one paper perhaps I'll read it during my next bowel movement.

Anonymous said...

I did provide you with a link, but you're just too busy stringing the appropriately conservative fear terms into random sentences.

Does shilling pay well?

Anonymous said...

You might want to check again KT I think you failed on your link.

Funny how you know I am a wasted effort and I have nothing to contribute, yet you have answers, but choose to spend time here and not saving the planet.

Do you also dress up in polyester outfits and claim to be a climate super hero? Or does only Scott do that?

Anonymous said...

I spend a couple of minutes a week here marginalizing trolls like you using whatever tools I choose. I also publish the solutions I come up with to the problems that I consider important. Yes, how I spend my time is all about me, as it should be. Contrary to your approach to my time, I do not use an authoritarian approach to implementing my solutions, rather I consider publishing them as proposals to be sufficient, and that they should stand on their own merits. That should be sufficiently libertarian for even the most fanatical authoritarian such as yourself, no?

Anonymous said...

Yep I sure feel marginalized, not.

I think you mean contrary to Eli's authoritarian methods, not mine.

You do often seem to be confused as to who said what here.

Well I am sure you need some more of your time to rant on about the military industrial complex and think about the good ole days when you probably spit on returning soldiers.

Still no link, oh well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you? I pity you.

Anonymous said...

I pity you

You are just full of emotions!

Does your pity help you, or me?

Good luck with the endless war thing. 1984 Forever! Ronnie would be proud, but LBJ didn't get a second term. You see, Ronnie was smart enough to fight a cold war he knew he could win. His other stuff was just piddly little central american intervention, the casualty rates were much lower. Even then, they were remarkable.

So who should say that climate warriors can't fight their battles? Me? I'm just a consumer. But you can rest assured I don't pay full retail, or even wholesale.

Anonymous said...

At least my primary emotions are not hate, resentment, and bitterness.

Hmm forever war thing, your rantings are losing focus, try harder.

You are many things, so I suppose consumer could be one. Which raises a question, are you a better consumer or hater?

Interesting listening to your hatred for the military and pouring your derision upon a current generation of men and women who chose to serve for many different reasons, such as a chance at a better education, a steady job, a chance to learn a trade, provide for their family, and yes even patriotism, truly an indivdual choice. Funny how you went on about your personal choices, yet hold others to a high level of disdain for their, which have absolutely nothing to do with Vietnam and your politics of that era.

You are a bitter old man full of hate with an elevated opinion of yourself. In the grand scheme of things you mean very little, and I am being charitable.

Good luck with the hate, may it eat you alive.


"Eli is not sure that there was a less complicated, messy way of exposing Heartland..."

Well, I am.

Anonymous said...

men and women who chose to serve for many different reasons, such as a chance at a better education, a steady job, a chance to learn a trade, provide for their family, and yes even patriotism, truly an indivdual choice.

And you could have done all of those things without killing millions of innocent civilians abroad without routing their economies and emptying your own treasury, but you chose not to.

It was your choice, but now you have to live within a nation that will soon be insolvent and indeed, nonexistent. That's patriotism!

And of course, you call me bitter and hateful for simply bringing this inconvenient truth to your immediate attention. I get it.

Anonymous said...

See KT, I did none of those things you say I and fellow members did.

Only in your hateful mind.

I see you are alone in your quest, at least here at RR, that everyone in the military should resign and no one should join else you are a murderer and a mindless drone.

Usually the bunnies are quite adept at challenging crazy, but when it is a team member the silence is defeaning, talk about mindless drones!

Anonymous said...

I did none of those things you say I and fellow members did.

Sure you didn't. Your NATION did. And you drew a paycheck. Heckava job.

I am so proud of you for killing all those innocent people so you could draw a paycheck on your public debt and I could bring your stupidity to the light of public examination.

It's not my fault you've dumbed down the citizenry to the point where they are unable to examine anything critically anymore.

God and country are exempt from critical examination, apparently.

climatehawk1 said...

Thanks for taking the trouble. I also note the utter lack of concern about the Climategate hoax, which helped to derail any progress at the Copenhagen climate summit. The feigned outrage over Eli's post and Mr. Gleick's transgressions is, I'm afraid, transparent.

Anonymous said...

I was going to say I was surprised that Brian would let such displays of hate against the US Military go unchallenged, especially since his name is on this blog and he is an elected official, well I am sure if he has an opponent in 2014 this will find its way to him/her.

Oh, I am not surprised.

KR said...

Curiously enough, the Heartland Institute is now publishing documents outlining what they feel their case is against Gleick.

Apparently the US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois seems to feel that it's not worth pursuing? Which should perhaps be a clue to HI as to the value of their case.

While I do not agree with Gleicks methods, the Heartland Institute has been revealed to be quite the underhanded lobbying group as a result, and whether or not P. Gleick's methods were legal or ethical, the facts about HI will remain in public view. Which I can only consider a good result from poor choices.

EliRabett said...


Eli has a Rabett hole where word salad goes to wilt. There are discussions of the military here that either stop or get moved.

Anonymous said...

The bunnies are very afraid.

EliRabett said...

The bunnies have a very low bullhit threshold foo foo. Cut the crap

Anonymous said...

Hit a nerve, did I, Eli?

Don't bite the hand that feeds you?

Tracks said...

Here's a thought...

We know how say, Willard Anthony likes to say that he receives hardly any money for what he does. How about reporting him to the IRS for a bit of audit, to see if his expenses and holdings match his income? Ditto for other paid deniers, like R. Spencer etc.

Al Capone was also legit until the Revenue Service paid him a visit.

J Bowers said...

Capone fed thousands at his free soup kitchens during the Great Depression. I think the comparison is a bit harsh on Al.

Anonymous said...

Dem govmint bunnies betta be hopin da gangstas be runnin dem soup kichin, cuz fiscal default da US govmint be writtin in stone now.

Antiquated Tory said...

I hate to interrupt, but I'd like to point out to Eli that his use of Gopnik's article is somewhat problematic. Gopnik said some good things but also some things that would flunk an intro History of Science course.
See fairly gentle treatment of same at Darin Hayton's blog and some rather less gentle opinions by other historians in the comments.

Brian said...

I would say Gleick deserves Hansen-level praise for everything he's done EXCEPT the Heartland caper. In many ways Gleick has done better than Hansen in terms of developing sophisticated policy analysis, especially in water policy, and he's still doing it. Getting involved in politics and policy speaks well of Gleick. As for the Heartland thing, I think I agree with Gleick's own self-assessment.

The Michael Tobis link that Eli posts above notes all the work that John Mashey did on Heartland, using publicly available info. That may not have been enough to sink them, but should have been.