On Scientific Consensus

On Scientific Consensus

Alfred 1 Wegener (1880-1930) was a German meteorologist who picked up an interest in geology.

Alfred Wegner

He wondered why some of the continents like Africa and South America fit together almost like a key.

He began to wonder: do continents move?

In Victorian times such an idea seemed ludicrous as every good Christian fundamentalist knew that the world was 10.000 years old.

Anyone who might suggest processes like Wegener s or his contemporary James Hutton that took place over hundreds of millions of years was obviously daft.

But Wegener’s suggestion that continents actually did move over time answered questions in biology.

Why are there related species on the different continents but- they are obviously distant relatives. Obviously well adapted for their environments, similar but obviously related.

This did not prove Continental drift but, it certainly made a case for further investigation.

Wegener suffered for his outlandish theory. No one in the scientific community gave his ideas any credence and, he didn’t get tenure at a prestigious university. In fact he was a laughing stock.

He died at the age of fifty doing field work in Greenland.

However- his theory did not die. It didn’t come back in a coherent theory until the technology was developed to gather the data needed to prove that continents did indeed move.

The theory of Plate tectonics was born and still remains controversial in some circles but it is now a theory with hard data to back it up.

This is a theme repeated time after time in science.

If someday someone will comes up with a theory better than plate tectonics, then science will adopt it. Otherwise, it works, it explains how demonstrable phenomena works and it can be measured.

Always be skeptical when someone tells you that the science is settled.

Skepticism is the way of science: someone has an idea (hypothesis), then we test, test, test it. If it works, it becomes a theory. If not, we go back to the drawing board.

Climate Follies

Science is never static. Our understanding of our selves, our planet and our universe is always changing.

Anyone that tells you the science is settled doesn’t have a clue how science works.

If the history of science is any guide, the “consensus” is wrong more than its right. We need mavericks like Wegener to show us a new way of looking at our world.

The big question now is our climate changing?

Yes. It has changed numerous times.

Climate in geological time has changed for a number of reasons from comet bombardment, volcanic out-gassing and variations in solar output.

The question of the age is that climate change man made or is it a natural cycle like a Grand Solar minimum.

This question is by no means settled. Both hypothesis have their merits.

Pretending that we know this answer is the worst sort of scientific hubris.

We don’t know. We need to know because both models will treat 7 billion humans harshly.

Only one is the right answer and getting it wrong would be a disaster.

The Emperor is Naked

Emperors-New-Clothes (1)

Every child in the Western world eventually hears the old Hans Christen Anderson fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes. In it shysters con a particularly stupid and vain monarch. They promise the emperor that they will weave him a fine suit of clothes that are invisible to those who are stupid, incompetent and unfit for office.

So the word went out— if you cannot see the emperor’s new duds, you get the sack since you are obviously stupid, incompetent or unfit for office. Miraculously, everyone saw the emperor’s new clothes because; to fail to see them meant admitting that you were… stupid.


So the emperor proceeds to parade around in the buff— because he has to be able to see the clothes or he is unfit for office. His court goes along because they don’t want to be judged incompetent. The townspeople go along because they don’t want to be judged stupid.

This goes on until a child too young to understand the pretentiousness of the pretense starts laughing. The laughter spreads and the spell is broken. The emperor realizes that he’s been fooled but continues because he can’t admit that he’s been fooled twice.

Isn’t that exactly how progressive politics work?

If you don’t see the value of forced diversity, then you must be a bigot.

If you don’t embrace an invasion of refugees, then you must be a racist.

If you have any issues with feminism or gender confusion, then you must be a misogynist.

If you don’t back the leftist party, then you must be stupid.

This has been a script playing out since the eighties. If it looks familiar, it should. This is the intellectual and moral cancer called political correctness.

Now- let us take a look at the various players in the drama: the emperor, the townspeople, the con men and the child. Each has something very important to teach us.

The emperor made a mistake— he trusted con men. He combined the mistake by not trusting his own eyes. He further compounded his errors by refusing to acknowledge them. The emperor is all too human. History is littered with examples of vainglorious fools just like him. Many of them lead whole civilizations to ruin.

The real villains of the story were the townspeople. They could see with their own eyes that the emperor was walking along sans clothes. They did not want to say anything because it might be awkward. Such a courageous stand supported their emperor’s error and helped him to compound it.

Of course con men are what they are. Like any breed of vermin, they will act as vermin. Their actions will always be selfish and narcissistic because that is who they are. It’s no surprise at all.

The hero of this tale is the child. He (or she) was disinterested in pretense and saw the truth, or in this case, the emperor’s bare derriere. He had the temerity to ignore the social pressure and see the truth with his own eyes.

This is the crux of the matter when it comes to political correctness: the left wants you to doubt the truth as you see it with your own eyes. They want to define a narrative and they require that you believe it.

They want you to think the only reason they lost the 2016 election was that evil republicans colluded with the country’s long term adversaries and gamed the elections. They want you to believe that the only people that would refuse to support the left are bitter clingers to their god, guns and flag. They want you to think that the right is composed of illiterate bumpkins and racists that hate everyone that doesn’t think just like them.

Now we discover that the opposite is true:

  • The left was playing all sorts of games with Russia and, some of those games look like treason.
  • The left’s identity politics and race baiting are what is stoking racial unrest.
  • The left wants to denigrate and degrade the traditions and values that have served the United States exceptionally well.
  • The left is the one talking about abolishing constitutional amendments and making the US an authoritarian police state.

The reason stories like the Emperor’s New Clothes works across generations is that times change, people don’t. There are always the vainglorious, the go-along-to-get-alongs and the malicious.

The moral of the story is as sound todays as it was when it was published way back when: God gave you eyes to see and a mind to reason with. If you fail to use them, it is your loss and, there are consequences.

The Unblinking Eye


Once upon a time the news of the world came to us at the sedate speed of the the newspapers linotype. On its way editors might decide that the typhoon in China or the earthquake in Persia wouldn’t be of interest to local subscribers. Sometimes the images of distant disasters and war took weeks or months to end up before the public.


Given the advances in telecommunications like microwave relays and satellites, the news cycle and, vast amounts of information can reach us as it happens. Now we can see the great events in real time.










Our generation has seen more, known more, been more connected than ever before. We have had a high definition box seat to every earthquake, every volcano, every hurricane, every typhoon, every forest fire, every terrorist bomb, every war, every plague and, every human misery across the globe.

It’s only human for people to say- I just don’t remember this much chaos in the old days.

That chaos has always been there. We just weren’t as connected.

Now we have to consider exactly what we are shown and what gets left on the cutting room floor. In the eighties, we wouldn’t have seen that typhoon roll over Taiwan. In the nineties we wouldn’t have seen the glaciers calving in the Antarctic. There’s a reason why we are seeing this and not something else. There’s a reason why we see human interest stories and silly cat pictures instead of something else.

I won’t suggest whose agenda is being served. I won’t suggest that it is all a huge political cat fight. No one is stupid. We know this.

It’s just important as you sit in front of your digitally multiplexed information pipeline to your brain that the people turning the spigots have a purpose and an agenda. It’s up to you to think for yourself and decide whether that purpose and agenda is in your best interests, your country’s best interests or the worlds best interests.

These images are not flat. They are three dimensional and interactive. We are not simply observers. We are also players in this huge game and must take responsibility for our tiny part of it. How that works is a personal choice but the great game is in progress and will continue with or without your input.




Bread & Circuses

Rome was once the biggest empire in the world. Except for some deserts and hippies in Scotland and Germany, they conquered all of the world worth having. Being a Roman citizen was a rather big deal. A Roman citizen could travel anywhere in the Empire and no one would dare lay hands on him without good cause. The legions were the most powerful formations in the world and could travel, relatively quickly, along the empire’s roads to enforce Rome’s will.

Rome in her power ushered in a long period of peace known as Pax Romana.

In 140 BC Roman politicians, to keep the vote of Rome’s poor, introduced a law that provided food and entertainment.


Romes citizens were distracted from matters of state by more and more elaborate feasts and spectacles. Bloodsports, full scale battles and even naval battles were fought in Rome’s coliseum.


Does any of this sound at all familiar? There is a weird quality of history: it’s about people. The technology changes but people stay the same. We can learn a great deal from history or, we may simply repeat it mistakes over and over.



The bread and circuses are even grander today. So are the things that they distract the people’s attention from.

Today many people are angry with NFL athletes for using their circus to promote their political agenda. I wonder what they might notice when they turn away from the spectacle and pay attention?

It might just be interesting to see what happens as the people turn their gaze away from popular culture and turn their attention to American culture.

When will it be your turn?

Megan’s Law was passed in the mid-1990s to create a publicly accessible database of all sex offenders. It was supposed to reduce sex offenses by kicking sex offenders out of the closet.

There are some immediate problems with the sex offender registry. When you create a list of all known sex offenders, that doesn’t just list all the molesters and rapists. That gets them all– even the offenders and offenses that aren’t particularly dangerous. Now we have huge, bloated sex offender registries with people that are both ostracized from society, can’t even work at Walmart or McDonalds and, aren’t really dangerous.

The ratio of people on the sex offender registries to people on the registries that are really dangerous is estimated to be about 7:1. The registries are basically useless to law enforcement. They do absolutely nothing to prevent first time sex offender. In fact sex offender registration may have actually made things worse for children. By making any sex offense basically a life sentence, it gives the offender absolutely no incentive for leaving any living witnesses.

Let’s be very honest about it: this is unconstitutional. Period. Some judges have ruled that its in the state’s interest but it attaches double jeopardy to any sex offense: the sentence for the offense and the added penalty of being listed for life.

Now it is being suggested that because most spree shootings are by white male loners that we should track them too. People with no criminal history. People with no other criteria that they are unattached. Listed and tracked like potential killers!?

Years ago there was a public outcry about crime. We had a WAR ON CRIME. We wrote a lot of laws that made it easier to jail criminals, eased rules of evidence and watered down the protections of the constitution for THOSE PEOPLE.

Years ago there was a public outcry about drugs. We had a WAR ON DRUGS. We wrote a lot of laws that made it easier to jail druggies, eased rules of evidence and watered down the protections of the constitution for THOSE PEOPLE.

Years ago there was a public outcry about perverts. We had a WAR ON PERVERTS. We wrote a lot of laws that made it easier to jail perverts, eased rules of evidence and watered down the protections of the constitution for THOSE PEOPLE.

Years ago there was a public outcry about terrorism. We had a WAR ON TERROR. We wrote a lot of laws that made it easier to jail terrorists, eased rules of evidence and watered down the protections of the constitution for THOSE PEOPLE.

When we take counsel of our fears, when we fail to protect our constitutional liberties, when we sell fear like a commodity, how long do you suppose it will take before you become one of THOSE PEOPLE!?



There seems to be a correlation between the use of psychiatric drugs and mass shooters.

Mass Murderers and Psychiatric Drugs

Mass shooters received only limited treatment

SSRIs, suicide and violent behavior: is there a need for a better definition of the depressive state?

If you read all of this stuff, it all boils down to what many call McTherapy: it’s like going to a McDonalds. You get a happy meal, a quarter-pounder or a big mac. You might get a fish sandwich or some mcnuggets.

You will NOT get anything that is not on the menu.

Do you see what I did there?

Little Johnny is depressed. He goes to his McGeneral Practitioner and complains. He’s given generic Zoloft and everything is hunky-dorie. Case closed, he’s cured.

A year later little Johnnie steals a gun and kills as many people he can until someone blows his head off.

The truth about psychiatric disorders is they are often very complicated. Depression is really more of a symptom than a specific diagnosis. Little Johnnie’s depression could have been several things, none of them good and depression is just a label for- we aren’t sure and we don’t have the time to do a through diagnosis.

This is a multiple choice question. The choices are more questions.

  • Is this a gun problem? Really!?
  • Is Little Johnnie just an evil little bastard or is he mentally ill?
  • Was Little Johnnie’s doctor incompetent?
  • Were the drug companies aware that some people will go bonkers on their meds?

There are a whole LOT of questions here.

The gun question is, in many ways, the least important of them.

Memeing in the 1st Republic

Some people might think that the 1st memes invented were Keyboard cat, Philosoraptor and the numa-numa guy.

That would be very, very wrong.

Imagine you lived in a Kingdom that was one of the most powerful and influential in the world but, it had fallen on hard times. The king was, by all accounts, a corrupt incompetent dolt. The people were hungry and the spoiled, foolish Queen, when told there was no bread for the peasants said let them eat cake.

While this might sound uncomfortably familiar to modern Americans, this was the climate that gave rise to the French Revolution. It was also the fertile ground for the French satirists who I submit were early generation memers. What people fail to understand about memes is they are much more about ideas than humor but the combination of the two makes them that much more powerful.

What we call memes is an evolution of a very old idea called satire more succinctly defined as the illustration of the absurd with absurdity.

Every middle schooler naturally knows about satire because that is when they inevitable meet an incompetent and bungling bureaucracy. One must take care with satire as to be a proper smart ass, you must first be smart. Otherwise you are just an ass.

There were many French satirists. I would like to focus on a gentleman named Voltaire.


Voltaire and the French satirists used their wit to point out the myriad hypocrisies and inequities of their political and social situations. Like Charlie Hebdo, many of the French Revolutionary era satirists faced rather deadly blow-back from those that failed to see the humor in their work.

This was an amazing era and one that the modern democracies owe much to because many of the things we see as foundations of democracy were first discussed by the thinkers during this era. They were seeing the end of the monarchy as a practical form of government and looked forward to imagine what the next step would look like.

See if you recognize any of Voltaire’s ideas:

  • I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
  • Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers.
  • To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.
  • It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
  • Common sense is not so common.
  • It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.
  • Prejudices are what fools use for reason.
  • As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.
  • When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.
  • Superstition sets the whole world in flames; reason quenches them.

Voltaire would have been hell on wheels if he had internet access.

Be suspicious when you hear people in power discount the ideas of others. Those silly memers that poke them right in the hypocrisies have quite the history. So when you see memers banned from facebook or twitter, what you are really seeing is da man swatting the Socratic gad-fly that stung him in a sore spot.

Only a fearful tyrant censors speech. He is afraid that you will tell the people just what a putz he really is.