Comments about ‘Is science being misused for social policy?’

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Published: Friday, May 30 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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USS Enterprise, UT

If only Mary's bias wasn't so strong, and if only she knew something of history.

Prior to the 1950's, the government thought that smoking was just fine. In fact, many politicians actually endorsed smoking cigaretts. They claimed that it helped calm coughs, and had other "healthy" benefits.

In the 1920's the government told us that eugenics was good. We found out that it really wasn't.

The point is that just because the government says it is good doesn't mean that it really is. Look up some articles about Lysenkoism and how German and Russian government scientists taught false scientific facts, and got a lot of other scientists believing them.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@gmlewis – “Climate change is good science. Carbon taxes are bad government.”

At least this can start a conversation… something that is impossible with science deniers.

So propose a solution. Cap & Trade worked well for the acid rain problem, but it would likely be unwieldy on carbon since it’s not just an industry problem but a consumer problem.

What about a revenue neutral carbon tax, which was endorsed in a WSJ op ed?

@Sensible Scientist – “the motive of the climate alarmists as a movement is to centralize power and money to their own class and in the process destroy capitalism and American-style liberty.”

I’ve heard this asserted many times by those on the Right, but what is evidence for this? And even if some far-lefties want this, how can it possibly happen given their minority?

The better question – which your moniker should answer without saying – is, why would a few far-lefties scare half the country into a Limbaugh-like burial of your collective heads in the sand?

Is becoming more and more identified as the anti-intellectual, anti-science party really the best way to go in the long run?

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

2 bits,

Why do you assume that everything government does is by force? This seems to be a typical talking point among conservatives. But this is nonsense. We elect representatives to government. They appoint others to work in various agencies. Those agencies, with oversight from our elected representatives, work to solve the various problems we face. Yes, this is how it ideally should work, and sometimes it doesn't work very efficiently, but to misconstrue all government action as force is simply unproductive alarmism that keeps the Rushes and Glenns of the conservative echo chamber employed.

Is it now a requirement for all conservatives to view government as the enemy? If so, why do so many of them want to take over the whole operation? Just so they can let Grover and his friends drown it in a bathtub? A lot of good this philosophy will do.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "Kent C. DeForrest" what good science is there supporting manmade global warming?

The hard core sciences (physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, etc...) typically require a 95% Confidence Interval before a study or model is considered accurate by the science journals. In the climate science journals that requirement has been relaxed to 90%. While a 5% difference doesn't seem bad, that huge since it is the difference between being very accurate to being somewhere within the neighborhood.

If their science is so great, find me the study that hasn't been disproven that has a model that meets the 95% Confidence Interval.

Tell us, what does the government do that isn't by force? What do they do that is as efficient as the private sector?

It isn't government that is the enemy. It is the power seeking people in government that are the enemy.

Everett, 00

Why is it everytime there is a "controvery" of this type --

Conservatives blame Government of developing some sort conspiracy with ALL Scientists,
while -
Liberals will blame BIG Business with some sort of conspiracy with a few, selcet handful of "Scientists",

and in the end --
Liberals have been historically CORRECT?!

Climate Change,
and as this article so clearly shows and includes -- LEAD.

Is it any wonder then, that Conservatives are so Anti-Science.
Scienece keeps proving them wrong, over and over again...

FYI -- old cliche; Follow the Money...
works every time...

Salt Lake City, UT

happy2bhere: "Blue - I will stand by you if you agree that we should be using nuclear power to generate all electricity."

ALL electricity? Of course not. _Some_ electricity? Maybe. Nuclear power has great potential, but struggles with serious issues of radioactive waste, security, endlessly problematic economics, and the fact that the grounds of a decommissioned nuclear plant can't be used for anything else for centuries.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "airnaut" if conservatives are so "anti-science" then explain how it was that a Yale Professor was shocked to learn that the group that understood science the best was the Tea Party supporters. Isn't the Tea Party a conservative group? How can the group that understands science the best be against it? That doesn't make sense. It is like saying the Bunny Ranch is the best source of information on abstinance.

As for the Ozone, that wasn't a politicized issue, and Tobacco wasn't a political issue either.

If you want to follow the money, lets do that. The leading climate scientists are government funded. Those governments are also looking for ways to control industry through regulation and taxes. They have run out of traditional ways to control and tax, so they had to find a new one that would be socially acceptable. Alarmists like Al Gore have provided a scape goat. Now the governments can tax and regulate businesses, and Al Gore will make Billions through his carbon trading company.

Virginia Beach, VA

“Tell us, what does the government do that isn't by force?”

Provides roads, services, water purification plants, national parks, airports, research and development, facilitates transportation, communication, rural electrification, etc. etc.,

Do you actually think you could fly to Hawaii without the FCC and the FAA and past government subsidies to launch the airlines?

“What do they do that is as efficient as the private sector?”

EVERYTHING mentioned above. Do you think the private sector would have invested billions to build an interstate highway system without the intercession of government?

Would the private sector provide retirement benefits to all of America’s workers?

Would the private sector have electrified Rural America? . . . Or built damns and other necessary infrastructure, or paid money to retired military for doing nothing?

Not unless, there was IMMEDIATE money to be made.

Get real.

The Constitution is the design for this nation’s government. It’s too bad that a growing number of American have such disrespect for the Constitution and the government it provides for us . . . not to mention the disrespect they have for basic common sense.

To be anti-government is to be anti-American.

Poplar Grove, UT

The top 5 countries in order of CO2 emmisions are
3.European Union
Consider the fact that the United States is 4th out of 5th in terms of overall population(russia has about half as many people, the EU has 200 million more, and China and India dwarf our population) I wouldn't call our carbon footprint "miniscule" we are one of biggest contributors to this problem.

Orem, UT

GaryO: "Would the private sector provide retirement benefits to all of America’s workers?"

You bet it would! If a company could force every working American to pay them 15% of their gross wages in exchange for a promise to pay it back many years in the future for a mere pitance in real earnings on those savings, it would do it in a heartbeat. Add on to that the ability to not have to pay it back at all if the contributor dies before retirement age and the ability to spend the money in the "trust fund" on other things in the meantime and just put an I.O.U. in their place, then what company wouldn't want to do that?

Or were you just posing a trick question?

Salt Lake City, UT

"Prior to the 1950's, the government thought that smoking was just fine. In fact, many politicians actually endorsed smoking cigaretts."

Which is why we should look at science experts rather than politicians who can be bought off by political donors.

"If their science is so great, find me the study that hasn't been disproven that has a model that meets the 95% Confidence Interval."

The study that hasn't been disproven that has a model... you're going to have to be way more specific than that.

Oh, and... if there were a giant hoax, the fastest way for a scientist to get rich would be to expose it. The Limbaugh/Hannity endorsed book sales and big oil research funding would be through the roof AND you get to be the one in the science textbooks who was correct. Even ignoring all that the conspiracy would fall apart quickly because most scientists have a certain sense of basic dignity where they'd refuse to parrot things they know are false.

LDS Tree-Hugger
Farmington, UT

Nothing SHOULD be more revealing as to "who-pays-off-who" than when BP Deep-water Horizon oil rig causes the worst oil spill ever in the Gulf of Mexico --

than watching Texas Congressman Joe Barton (R) grobbling and apologizing profusely for the "mean" and "terrible" things being said by the American people about BP, and the President asking BP to set aside $20 Billion for clean-up and restitution,
and having CEO of BP Tony Hayward pledge to take care of all the "little people"...

Virginia Beach, VA

Hey Joe Capitalist -

Employees only pay 6.2% of their earnings toward Social Security. Where did you come up with the 15 percent?

If you recall correctly, GW Bush suggested that Americans should go it alone, and just invest their retirement savings into the stock market. He said that in 2003. By the time he left office in 2009, the stock market had tanked. It’s a good thing the American people and Congress refused to do his bidding, isn’t it?

Private businesses don’t have to keep their promises. They can go bankrupt at any time. The US government, on the other hand issues securities, (our debt) regarded as the very SAFEST investment in the world. That’s why we can borrow so much and pay such little interest to our bondholders (the people who hold our debt).

If you think that a privately run enterprise could be anywhere as trustworthy as the US government is when it comes time to actually paying a retirement pension, you’re wrong.

Morgan, UT

Ms. Barker, you are living proof that the myth of anthropological global warming (AGW) is indeed a political issue, and not one based in science. I guess you fail to see the irony of a political science teacher trying to push the specious science of AGW.

Ms. Barker said:

“But deniers are mostly non-scientists.”

Please provide proof for this assertion? I can provide a long list of actual scientists who believe that there is no evidence of AGW. While you’re at it, why don’t you educate all of us on where Al Gore received his advanced science degree from? Maybe you can also tell us how much money he makes off of the carbon credit scheme?

Ms. Barker said:

“What do these scientists have to gain by fooling us?”

Why don’t you ask the “scientists” at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain, and Professor Michael Mann at the University of Pennsylvania, what they had to gain by cooking their data in attempting to show that AGW was occurring, when it wasn’t?

Ms. Barker...ever hear of these companies?:

Beacon Power
AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy
Nevada Geothermal
First Solar

Durham, NC

I love the argument that this is poor capitalist defending themselves against the monied scientific community. If you honestly look at how has the greatest financial stakes in a particular view point, it is hard to come to the conclusion that scientist stand to gain the most from this argument.

I get it. Businesses like stable working environments. Railroads tried to slow down airplanes by pressing for a regulated air transport. Once railroads were no longer competing, regulation of the airlines disappeared. Likewise as the report stated for decades we were told we needed lead in gas to have the engines be efficient. Flash forward and we now have car engines half the size that produce twice the horsepower per CI displacement, and are worlds more efficient. The automotive industry has complained at each and every round of change, and yet has been able to respond with technology more capable of that which it replaced.

Change cost business money. Smart companies see change as the catalyst to reshuffling the deck and gaining competitive advantage. Those that resist change are those that can't and deserve to be replaced.

Pleasant Grove, UT

@Mary Barker "But deniers are mostly non-scientists."

I'll bet that's true. I would also bet that alarmists are mostly non-scientists. The general populace are mostly non-scientists.

"What do these scientists have to gain by fooling us? How do they communicate their intentions to one another in order to present a united front and keep anyone from breaking ranks? How do they sustain the effort and why have there been no leaks? How do they manipulate their studies, which are all public? And why would they corrupt an enterprise they’ve given their lives to and risk de-legitimizing it in this way?"

If you were paying attention at all to the leaked ClimateGate and ClimateGate II emails, you would know the answers to these questions. Do some outside reading. You won't find very many excerpts on left-wing blogs. Pay special attention to their manipulation of the peer review process. Also look at the pressure the IPCC puts on scientific journals not to publish studies that disagree with their conclusions. These are not dispassionate observers. They are driven by a political agenda.

Durham, NC

Sven - What is your point in listing off companies like SunPower, FirstSolar... and the like. Other than the much over publicized, the others are all still very much in operation, and even a few of them doing well. Nevada Geothermal did post a loss last year, but was only 1.7 million and much of that of depreciated asset valuations. They were cash positive.

So I am not clear what your point is in listing these. If you are trying to prove that clean energy is failing... your swinging wide by a mile.

From Bloomberg News Services dated May 16, 2014 we read

"China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, plans to speed up solar power development, targeting a more than tripling of installed capacity to 70 gigawatts by 2017 to cut its reliance on coal.

The goal would be double a previous target set for 2015, according to a statement posted today on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website. China also plans to have 150 gigawatts of installed wind power capacity by 2017, 11 gigawatts of biomass power and 330 gigawatts of hydro power."

The US is being a laggard and falling further behind.

seattle, WA

Rather than casting aspersions on those who wisely see that our planet is rapidly exhausting its capacity to provide us with a satisfactory environment, why don't we look into the motivations of those who deny that the Earth is going through a profound climate change (because of wasteful use of the natural resources).

Who benefits from the status quo? What is their motivation? Answer those questions, please climate science deniers. You have an obligation to provide us with reasons not to react to environmental degradation.


Well-stated, Nate. All Mary Barker has done is repeat the orthodoxy we read every day in the popular press.

To the question, "What do these scientists gain?" the correct answer is "$1 Billion per day in research funding." Does Mary Barker think that Steve McIntyre has received even one cent of "Big Oil Money""? Does she even know who Steve McIntyre is?

How do they communicate? It starts with emails and private conversations. Once a critical mass is achieved, however, none of that is necessary. Any researcher smart enough to study the climate is also smart enough to read the tea leaves: if you want a job, you won't rock the boat.

How do they keep anyone from breaking ranks? See the above. Boat-rocking typically occur after retirement, as in the recent case of Lennart Bengtsson. Judith Curry is a notable exception.

How do they manipulate their studies? This can't be a serious question. I'll just mention "censored_data".

Why would they corrupt the enterprise? See first question.

There is still no correlation between temperature and atmospheric CO2 in the data. That is the science.

Morgan, UT

UtahBlueDevil said:

"Sven - What is your point in listing off companies like SunPower, FirstSolar... and the like...I am not clear what your point is in listing these. If you are trying to prove that clean energy is failing... your swinging wide by a mile."


From the article:

"...moneyed interests have hired their own spokesmen to refute it and cloud the issue."

We all know who she's talking about when she uses the term "moneyed interests"...right? She's of course talking about "Evil Big Oil." Since Ms. Barker failed to show the liberal hypocrisy concerning "moneyed interests" of the Left, I thought I'd help her out.

Here is a partial list of "Green Companies" that received tax-payer money from the Federal Government to the tune of 3 billion dollars, who are now bankrupt, shut down, or have been sold:

* Solyndra: $570.4 million
* Abound Solar: $494.3 million
* A123 Systems: $390.1 million
* Babcock & Brown: $178 million
* Azure Dynamics: $119.1 million
* Range Fuels: $162.3 million
* ECOtality Inc.: $135 million
* EnerDel, subsidiary of Ener1: $182.8 million

Got lots more!

Hypocrisy and Crony Capitalism brought to you by the Democrat Party and Obama.

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