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by David Roffey on July 23, 2008 - 11:00pm

1998 was the second warmest year on record. Amazingly some sceptics have discovered the fact, apparently hidden by some scientists, that there is only one year warmer than the second-warmest, and all the other years are less warm than the second-warmest, even though they are the fourth and fifth-warmest, and so on. And, if you aren't too hot on truth, you can say that this shows a cooling trend, even though you're still talking about most of the hottest years on record, and the rolling average goes steadily up from 1998 on. Utter bollocks, but it's good enough to fool Michael Duffy, as almost anything from that side is. Here's the full graph for Australia (the global one is similar but slightly less variable from year to year). You can see how really cool the last bit is for yourself.

And the good Dr Gray. From where I stand it's no' a good look to be ageist, but it is a fascinating observation to make that almost all of the scientists who are pinups on the sceptic side haven't actually worked on the science since 1990 (Dr Gray is 86), which makes their last formal involvement in studying this stuff being well before almost all of the current scientific work was done. It wasn't like that in my day, I can tell you. And another multi-layered conspiracy that tens of thousands are keeping secret from you, by gum. Next, how scientists are covering up the evidence on leprechauns (have they looked under every leaf at the bottom of my garden? No, they haven't, and until they do, I'm not going to accept that they might not be hiding under the other one, it;s just a cover-up).

by Anthony Nolan on July 23, 2008 - 9:29pm

... in relation to global ecology. Neither term needs explanation as they are in and of themselves readily comprehensible:

  • Prudence
  • Intergenerational equity

A prudential attitude to global ecology is required. It implies a "what if" attitude towards potential negative consequences. If we err on the side of ecological caution that means some economic/material losses for current and future generations in the interests of sustaining the ecological conditions of existence for a multitude of life forms, not just humans.

Intergenerational equity means not consuming non-renewable resources or "natural" resources at such a rate that either the former are too rapidly exhausted or that the latter are so diminished as to be incapable of self re-generation. By the former I mean energy resources and the latter I mean forests, rivers, seas and soils and so on.

These are key principles. Acceptance of these key principles is a reasonable acid test for deciding whether one is dealing with an adult or deciding whether one is dealing with someone who is so pathologically focussed on their own immediate needs and gratifications that they are clearly little more advanced than an infant. A big, needy, resource consuming infant. There are a lot of 'em around.

That is what capitalism runs on, of course. People whose sense of self is so feeble, so entirely pathetic that they cannot even imagine substituting consumer gratification for something more substantial like the sense of having generously gone without so that other species, unseen people and future generations might have a viable planet.

by Jenny Hume on July 23, 2008 - 8:59pm

Mladic next? A little bit of state sponsored terrorism the world tends to forget about. Muslims the main victims of course - that time.

Fiona: Let's hope so, Jenny. Amazing what the incentive of EU membership can do.

by Jenny Hume on July 23, 2008 - 8:48pm

Kathy, when I get over the current bug I will read all this but see you plugging away pretty well in support of faith. But it looks like the usual stuff.

You've no hope of convincing the good barrister and our moderator general down there in Bleak of the wilfulness of their ways. They are true disciples of Dr Dawkins, I suspect - along with half the platoon here.

But I will agree with that cute little cat lover that the King James Version of the Bible is the best. But it does not pay to ask the small fry to read from it for any family funerals. Ecclesiastes Ch 3, v 1-11 dear - check it out before you go up to the microphone. Yeah yeah. But no, hence the congregation gets to wait till the preacher finally steps over to show the way. Now I think there has been some comment from Father Park about Latin numerals of late. I wish they would teach these young fellows. Don't know about anyone else but I find them very useful. When you exhaust 1-10 you then have a-z (or z-a for me), then you can start with i-ix - infinite possibilities for good public servants in my day.

Now David Roffey, I see, finds true Christians a bit thin on the ground. Must be the company these non-believers keep, coz the people I know who follow the true path are pretty common - not to say, of course, that there are not those who are good people and non believers - they just arrive at their goodness another way. But there is something really special about the believers in my life - really special - they kinda stand out in terms of the extent of their compassion and goodness, their gentleness and their lack of intemperate language and so on.

Now for me all I say is that if one's life is better for one's faith than without it, then why throw it away simply because one cannot prove anything. Anyway, full marks to you my dear for hanging in there - must read all the comments - won't get involved myself too much - been there done that here many times in defence of faith.

I think the WYD was a good thing if it means all those young people are more committed in their faith and really want to use it for good in the world.

Cheers. Back to bed for this faithful servant.

Fiona: Get better quickly, Jenny.

by Justin Obodie on July 23, 2008 - 8:28pm

"The planet has been getting hotter in the last 50 years"

But not in the last 10 years apparently.

"There is more greenhouse gas in the atmosphere than at any time over the last at least tens of thousands of years"

According to a Dr Vincent Grey:

"This statement is a lie. 90,000 measurements published in peer-reviewed journals since 1850, some by Nobel Prize-winners, have been suppressed by the IPCC because they do not agree with this statement. (Beck 2007). Stability of carbon dioxide in ice cores thousands of years old is questionable. (Jaworowski 2007). Recent measurements of carbon dioxide are confined only to exceptional circumstances over the ocean, and do not include measurements over land. (Manning et al 1994).

Dr Grey does not appear all that convinced regarding the global warming thing.

Methinks the only way we will truly understand the complexities of weather and climate is to get the O'Mighty Mama (OMM or God in human terms ) to tell us how it works.

We aint trying to understand the internal combustion engine here - we are trying to make sense of something that is way beyond the comprehension (at this point in time) of humans, especially the punters.

We collect data, write code, create models and those models make projections (people are paid to do so and like most of us want to continue to get paid).

And that's what we get - erections, er, projections , and very expensive ones at that.

At this point in time I doubt whether any of these models can cope with reality. I was reading something recently that stated water vapour was only just recently included in the sums. I wouldn't have a clue how it all works and wonder who really does.

It is still debatable if human activity has in fact affected the climate (and if so to what degree) and we are still trying to understand how the relationship between carbon, climate, sun spots, panda bears and the butterfly works; relationships that do not exist in solitude but in chaotic synergy with all that exists in the heavens and earth.

When OMM tells me humans have fucked the climate I'll believe it, unchallenged; until then it will take some very clever dude who can explain to me in words of one syllable, or show me how it all works.

And by the time I'll be sleeping with the fishies.

One thing for sure, we may be able to change our carbon toe print but we will never be able to stop climate change. OMM will make sure of that.

by John Pratt on July 23, 2008 - 7:03pm

"The Iranian people are steadfast," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.

They "will not retreat one iota in the face of oppressing powers," he said in the televised speech made to thousands of supporters in the southern town of Yasouj.

Iran says its nuclear programme is for entirely peaceful purposes, while the US and its allies believe it could be used to develop a nuclear weapon.

The Iranians don't seem to be too stressed by the threat of sanctions.

A top Israeli official has said that if Iran continues with its alleged nuclear arms programme, Israel will attack it.

Speaking to Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said sanctions on Iran were ineffective.

Looks like a stalemate to me.

It would be a joke except for the fact it could mean the start of a world war.

We don’t really know how far such violence may spread, because the only other experience the world has had with nuclear war was when the U.S. “obliterated” two cities in Japan in 1945. “Obliterate” is the word Hillary Clinton used to describe how she, as president of the U.S., would react if Iran attacked Israel.

But madness is the operative word here. Israel’s war hawks, along with the Israeli Lobby, are frothing at the mouth about Iran, which has no nuclear weapons, and, as experts say, are not likely to have them for a number of years. Ahmedinejad may very well be nothing more than a loudmouth and certainly he may be crazy, but the Mullahs who really run Iran are not. Even the thought that Iran would voluntarily commit national suicide by attacking a nuclear-armed Israel with nuclear weapons is a sign of madness in itself. With Israel armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, why would we be surprised that Iran would also try to develop them? That’s a question the mainstream media refuses to ask when it reports on the bluster by American politicians.

As the sabre rattling continues in the Middle East it is frightening to think that World War III - a nuclear war - could be just weeks away. All we see in the press is the Pope's visit and the Beijing Olympics.

If Israel is serious about its threats to Iran the war will be on before Bush leaves office.

by Kathy Farrelly on July 23, 2008 - 6:35pm

Fine, you do not accept that there was a Jesus, Malcolm, whilst I do. All rather simple really.

By the way, I have not read the bible in years.There are only so many times that you can read a book, you know.

And, I'll still be saying a few prayers for you old friend.

by peter hindrup on July 23, 2008 - 6:25pm

Richard, I in no way intended the comment as a put down. Actually it was mainly the fact that you broached the subject, and the manner in which you did it that prompted the remark.

Incidentally I'm not sure about the good/evil connotations, either. My problem, I seemed to attract wild talents, and that is a little like going on a joy ride with a learner driver who thinks that they can drive at over a hundred miles an hour — no idea what they are doing and no margin of error.

The other aspect the scared hell out of me was that my “major” talent was being able to control people. Nothing subtle about this — at school there was a kid who sat in front of me who used to turn around to copy my answers.

I could, and did, “hold” him. Even the teacher yelling at him had no effect; then the teacher would snap: “Peter!”

I’d “release” the kid, and he would turn and face forward, oblivious of the forgoing commotion.

The effect was much the same as of a person hypnotised — which I studied years later.

How? I don’t know.

I didn’t know when, or to what extent, I was exercising “it”. While some might not be dismayed by this, a basic belief of mine is that people have the ability to, and ought to, exercise free will.

I have spent my life opposing people who were prepared to oppress other people, so I wanted no part of this.

by Kathy Farrelly on July 23, 2008 - 6:23pm

David: "He explicitly said that just professing belief in him and not doing everything on that list wasn't good enough. So on that basis, I have to say that there are not billions of real Christians out there, but very few of them."

Yes, David I have heard it all before. The argument here was how many billions of people identify as Christians, not whether they are worthy to be  called such. (Only God can judge  what is in one's heart.)  That is another argument.

by Malcolm B Duncan on July 23, 2008 - 5:49pm

Well, Kathy Farrelly, Dr Reynolds and I were talking about this earlier today.  I do not accept that there ever was a "Jesus".  The New Testament (quite clearly not the revealed word of god otherwise we wouldn't have an Apocrypha) has always struck me as a Pauline hijack.  I think David Roffey makes a valid point about the similarities between the Gospels being fairly slight.  For a lawyer, that suggests (particularly since we know they were originally written a very long time after the alleged events) they are mere recitals of a story.  Now the sermon on the mount is a bit of a warm, cuddly-feely, story but when you graft onto it Saul of Tarsus' rather pathenogenic ideas, then couple that with Revelation, then find that it was decided some hundreds of years later what's in and what's out, I don't think you have the core of a religion or a belief at all:  I think you end up with a marketing bureaucracy.  Now, in cultural terms it is a very important one because it underpins much Western thought and almost all Western literature but that's about as far as it goes.

I feel sorry for Roman Catholics because they are unable to understand much of that literary heritage.  The Vulgate version of the Bible is nowhere near as rich as the King James Version.  Worse still the poor creatures who have been brought up on Good News for Modern Man and the revision of the Book of Common Prayer.  Forgive them Dad, they just keep sinning.

Oh, and I'm not a bad sort really – you've seen the photos – quite cute when I was little in a wistful sort of way.  Thank goodness I've changed my barber though.

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