Wind and solar power are expensive, realistically four to six times the cost of conventional energy sources. If we are going to convert to electric cars we will need lots of energy to make the batteries for the cars as well as to charge them. In a separate category, the global warming scare tries to impress upon us the need to avoid fossil fuels immediately for fear we all fry by 2010, or whatever the current date of doom. Underneath these discussions is the question of how much oil is left. When the oil equivalents like oil shale are counted, we have about 300 years.
People are fond of the notion that “you can prove anything with statistics.” That’s not true, but it often takes deep understanding to find errors in statistical reasoning. Even simple problems can be difficult to solve correctly, and when it comes to complex problems the opportunities for error multiply. The simple problem I have in mind is called “The Monty Hall Problem” and the complex problem is unraveling the errors in the derivation of the global warming Hockey Stick. The first is discussed in The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives, a superb introduction to statistical theory by physicist Leonard Mlodinow. The second is the subject of The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science, a careful exposition by A.W. Montford of the errors made by climate scientists. Together they explain a great deal of what is bogus in modern science.
Climategate is the popular name given to the revelation of e-mail and software from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia in Britain. http://www.climate-gate.org… It’s not known whether the material posted on the web was obtained by a hacker or by a whistleblower inside the organization. The bottom line on the scandal is that scientists sponsored by governments should be required to make their work public so it can be checked by other scientists.
If the values of two observations tend to rise and fall together over time, the observations are correlated. For example, the rise of violent crime in American society in the 1960’s and 1970’s matched the rise in violence on television. That lead to speculation that violence on television caused the increase. It is fair for correlation to raise such suspicions, but the correlation falls short of proof. Measures of violence on television continued to rise in recent decades, but crime rates have fallen. Young people commit more crimes, and the baby boomer population surge reaching maturity was the more likely cause of the the rise and fall.
Peak oil theory is that oil production will not just peter out, it will fall catastrophically starting right now, and that no alternative energy source will arise to take its place. The result will be inevitable disaster, so they say. A book advocating peak oil theory starts by erroneously begins with a false application of the concept of a closed system. It’s worth setting straight.
There is nothing wrong with wanting clean air and clean water. The environmental movement has moved well beyond those reasonable goals to become a religion that demands irrational behavior to please unnamed, but clearly assumed, gods of nature. It’s time to sort out the unfounded religious beliefs and recognize them for what they are.
Naomi Oreskes, a professor of history, presents the case that Global Warming Denial meets the definition of “denialism” as propounded. Oreskes “History of Global Warming Denial” is presented in a an hour-long YouTube video.3 I recommend you watch it, but bear with me as I first point out some things to look for.
Portions of posts may be quoted provided attribution is given.