John Sladek Had Ted Cruz’s Number

by Henry on March 26, 2015

Ted Cruz on … well himself.

The similarities between Texas Senator Ted Cruz and 16th-century astronomer Galileo Galilei are remarkable, according to Cruz. In an interview on Tuesday with the Texas Tribune, the newly-minted presidential candidate compared himself to … Galileo when discussing, of all things, whether climate change was actually occurring. “Today the global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers,” Cruz said. “You know it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier.” … “Anyone who actually points to the evidence that disproves their apocalyptical claims, they don’t engage in reasoned debate. What do they do? They scream, ‘You’re a denier.’ They brand you a heretic,” Cruz added.

The late John Sladek discusses the ubiquity of this trope among crankish defenders of pseudoscience (specifically palm-readers) in his glorious book, The New Apocrypha.

bq. Palmists are of course in no doubt as to who was right. As with all cranks, they feel they haven’t been given a fair hearing and that orthodoxy is ganging up on them. [quoting palmistry author Noel Jaquin] “The reward of the pioneer is so often the ridicule of his fellow-men. We are not very much more just today. Of recent years men of genius have been deprived of their living and literally hounded to death by the ridicule of their more ignorant brethren.” How true, how true. They laughed at Galileo, they laughed at Darwin, they laughed at Edison … and they laughed at Punch and Judy.

{ 60 comments }

1

Ben Alpers 03.26.15 at 1:04 am

Also: people in the Middle Ages did not believe the world was flat. And apparently, until the 1830s, nobody thought that anybody in the Middle Ages thought the world was flat. Galileo’s fight with the Catholic Church was over heliocentrism. So Cruz didn’t even get that right.

2

someguy88 03.26.15 at 1:15 am

I think Cruz is wrong about Global Warming. But he is right about about the attitude of your average left wing environmentalist.

I am an alarmist. I think we should use the Prudence Principle. Sure we might be ok. We have an idea but it is P(x) not 2+2. The Gulf stream salinity issue was at least 80% likely and than disappeared and now it looks like it is roaring back. But the danger of being really off at the bad end is very real.

On this issue not enough people care. By the time you move the Overton Window and burn the heretics it could be to late.

If you win the big election trade the natural gas in the Outer Continental Shelf for a mostly Revenue neutral Carbon tax of 35 a ton, with some the money for R&D, and convert the Green loans/bribes to R&D.

3

Carl Caldwell 03.26.15 at 1:18 am

Greetings from Texas. Mr. Cruz is by all accounts bright. The question is what drives him. Has he developed a complex, paranoid theory to explain why so many people with knowledge can’t see the truth that is so obvious to him, a theory that provides a shell against possible counter-arguments? Or is he not interested in these questions at all–is he in fact an opportunist with a brilliant mind and a sense of what the hardcore right wants? I suspect the latter.

4

Sandwichman 03.26.15 at 1:51 am

No, “by all accounts” is a figure of speech. Cruz is by some accounts bright. By other accounts he is just aggressive and sure of himself.

5

Sandwichman 03.26.15 at 1:55 am

On the other hand, I don’t think he is so stupid as to actually believe what he says.

6

Alan White 03.26.15 at 2:39 am

“There is a Grand Canyon of difference between certainty and certitude, and remarkably few of us have BS meters tuned well enough to detect the presence of that magnificent logical chasm.”

One of the few things I ever said in a lecture that I’m proud of, though I doubt that qualifies me to run for high office.

Probably disqualifies me.

7

Hogan 03.26.15 at 2:50 am

They laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian. Well, no one’s laughing now!

8

Glen Tomkins 03.26.15 at 3:06 am

I for one am not going to join the general laughter at Ted Cruz’s presidential ambitions.

The contest for the R nomination was a diving contest the last two cycles. This is in contrast to their former pattern of early anointment of a chosen heir by insiders, with the rank and file falling dutifully in line. Dubya was the last beneficiary of that pattern. It is true that these last two cycles, the Rs did finally, after multiple temporary front runners flamed out, turn to more establishment choices. But that final turn to the center hardly seems inevitable. I don’t think it at all unlikely that a really committed diver like Cruz, someone willing to go all in pandering to the bundle of resentments that is the R party these days, would get and hold the front-runner position long enough to build enough momentum to get the nomination.

And if Cruz gets the R nomination, he’s got pretty near even odds of winning the general. I would not count, even a little, on the idea that his extremism will automatically do him in with the general electorate. He isn’t any more whacko than candidate Reagan in 1980, when a lot of us were ecstatic that the other side had nominated the 23 Mule Team spokesperson as their nominee. The mere fact of getting the nomination of one of the two major US parties will do a lot to immunize him against the idea that he’s extreme.

9

Crytandra 03.26.15 at 3:09 am

I’m a lot more worried about the fear and panic that is being spread by left wing agrarian fantasists than I am by Republican freaks like Ted Cruz. The more extreme climate change denialists are only influential in the US and to a lesser extent other Anglosphere democracies, whereas left wing “blood and soil” agrarian delusionism is interfering with our ability to feed ourselves in all four corners of the globe.

Today in the New York Times we have the clownish food elitist Mark Bitten calling for glyphosate to be banned based on a highly controversial and as yet unexplained IARC reassessment of its carcinogenicity and yesterday in the Guardian we have George Monbiot proclaiming his love of the soil, dislike of farmers organisations and urging governments to pour money into bourgeois food cults like permaculture.

Eat local. Eat organic. Chemicals are bad. Big Ag is bad. GM offends Gaia. Monsanto is the devil’s plaything. All we need do is listen to Vandana Shiva. Permaculture/whatever other cult is currently flavour of the month will feed the world. These people really do scare me because they really do impact of government policies.

10

gianni 03.26.15 at 3:31 am

@9

Crytandra, your argument is rich in adjectives and mud-slinging, but weak in fact and scientific assessment. It is not just unconvincing, but your tone and mode of argument suggest that you are a crank, and I finished reading your comment more inclined to agree with the people you have such an issue with that when I began reading it.

And honestly now, serious people are not making the case “GM offends Gaia”, and this view is not ‘really impact(ing) government policies’, at the same level of influence as a sitting US senator .

I challenge you to prove otherwise.

11

Markos Valaris 03.26.15 at 3:39 am

I’m a lot more worried about the fear and panic that is being spread by left wing agrarian fantasists than I am by Republican freaks like Ted Cruz…These people really do scare me because they really do impact of government policies.

It is a well-known fact that newspaper columnists have much more impact on government policy than actual, real-life senators.

12

Tyrone Slothrop 03.26.15 at 3:41 am

not ‘really impact(ing) government policies’, at the same level of influence as a sitting US senator .

It is a well-known fact that newspaper columnists have much more impact on government policy than actual, real-life senators.

I’m sensing a burgeoning theme here…

13

Marshall 03.26.15 at 4:27 am

Ted here is pejoratively describing his own behavior projected onto the Other. I have no doubt that he’s doing it as a deliberate tactic. Cognitive dissonance empowers. It shouldn’t be effective, but I suppose people are desperate to be shown how to project away their uncertainty.

Learn to grow vegetables, I would wish people. Learn how vegetables grow.

14

adam.smith 03.26.15 at 4:55 am

Slightly OT, but is there any reason for the increase in rightwing trollery? There used to be just Andrew F., whose sincere middle-of-the-roadism never struck me as trollish, albeit a bit bland. Then it got worse with Brett “feminist men aren’t real men” Bellmore, but he at least pretends to try to make real arguments. Now we’ve got people who don’t even pretend they’re not trolling. What happened? Did CT get mentioned on the Daily Caller? Are we going to talk about dick fright next?

15

Crytandra 03.26.15 at 6:01 am

“It is a well-known fact that newspaper columnists have much more impact on government policy than actual, real-life senators.”

Those who influence public opinion help determine who gets elected to the senate in the first place, do they not? Those who influence GOP opinion are in large part responsible for the nutty attitudes of the base re climate change, are they not?

16

gianni 03.26.15 at 6:37 am

@15
Leading questions are not arguments. If you want to make a point, argue for it and defend it – don’t gesture at it with deniability later on like a coward.

17

bad Jim 03.26.15 at 7:52 am

Any mention of John Sladek gratifies me immensely. Thanks for that.

As to the junior senator from Texas, Josh Marshall has an almost intimate insight: “Same stories. Let’s call it AASS. A#$hole, Arrogant, Super Smart. ”

Statements like this are simply mind-boggling: “Debates on this should follow science and should follow data. And many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem cause the science doesn’t back them up.” A lawyer confidently asserts that he understands the science better than nearly all scientists! Not just climatologists, but anyone who reads, subscribes to, or publishes in Science or Nature.

18

Brett Bellmore 03.26.15 at 10:04 am

” And many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem cause the science doesn’t back them up.”

Hm, note the glacier-free Hymalayans. A mistaken prediction, out of a conversation, not even a scientific paper, makes it into an IPCC report. Isn’t that a case of the science not backing you up?

Or, how about the Gulf stream slowing down? Except the measurements say it isn’t. Seems the science isn’t backing Mr. Mann up.

I think it would be foolish of warmists to claim that they are always right, that the science always backs them up, that all their predictions always prove out. It makes it just too easy to call you out on things.

But, that’s what comes of dismissing anyone who disagrees with you, or challenges you, as a “denier”, instead of engaging them.

19

ZM 03.26.15 at 10:33 am

“But, that’s what comes of dismissing anyone who disagrees with you, or challenges you, as a “denier”, instead of engaging them.”

But the IPCC corrected the mistake and the 5th assessment predicts a 45% shrinking of glaciers in the Himalayas if temperature averages rose by 1.8 degrees C (but I guess more if they go higher because people don’t act properly).

And anyway the global trend remains glaciers shrinking.

And where did you get your information on climate change impacts on the Gulf Stream? Our newspaper published an article just a couple of days ago about the Gulf Stream being slow this year because of climate change:

“Gulf Stream water currents in the Atlantic Ocean have slowed to the weakest in as long as 1,000 years, threatening shifts in US and European weather, as well as coastal sea levels including in New York and Boston.

The currents are probably affected by changes in ocean density as fresh water melts from Arctic ice sheets, scientists led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said in a study Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.”

http://m.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/arctic-melt-leading-to-weakest-gulf-stream-in-a-1000-years-20150323-1m6102.html

If you want other people to engage with exchanges of evidence – then you need to yourself as well instead of just ignoring when commenters point you to evidence .

20

Brett Bellmore 03.26.15 at 10:44 am

Yes, but how long did they take to correct it? Quite a while, it was already known to be wrong when they originally included it in the report.

As for the Gulf stream, you demonstrate the problem. The actual *measurements* say it hasn’t slowed. That report you linked to was based on the outcome of a model, not the actual measurements.

21

lurker 03.26.15 at 10:55 am

@18
There’s a time and place for everything, and the time and place for giving deniers the benefit of doubt is not now and not on this planet.

22

Brett Bellmore 03.26.15 at 11:22 am

See? Haven’t quite worked yourself up to the point of executing people who don’t fall in line, but you have reached the point of refusing to engage criticism. Which I take to be in direct contradiction to the principles of science.

You’re not as scientific as you enjoy thinking yourselves. Taking on the characteristics of a cult, actually.

23

Lee A. Arnold 03.26.15 at 11:51 am

Brett Bellmore, Before you go on with this stuff, perhaps you would answer another question which was posed to you before this. In another thread, you admitted at your comment #212 that the private economic system leads to greater inequality. Here is the comment:

https://crookedtimber.org/2015/03/08/my-debut-column-at-salon-on-racism-privilege-talk-and-schools/#comment-619149

and following at your comment #222 in that thread, that it has led to less opportunity.

Thus, you conceded that the market system leads to more inequality and less opportunity. To defend this, you fell back upon opinion: “I just don’t think our market is all that free any more.”

I then pointed out in comment #239 that over the same decades, the market system has become freer along many of the main measures which are usually adduced in regard to that concern.

So I will ask again, What is your evidence (not opinion, not theory) for your statement, “I just don’t think our market is all that free any more”?

24

P O'Neill 03.26.15 at 11:56 am

@14 Slightly OT, but is there any reason for the increase in rightwing trollery?

I thought you were headed somewhere else with that, namely that the trolling — an integral part of his political strategy — is Ted Cruz (R-Alberta) himself. He really has perfected it.

25

bert 03.26.15 at 12:02 pm

Bellend, you are taking on the characteristics of a cunt.

What’s funny about the Cruz quote is the one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other nature of a comparison between Ted Cruz and Galileo. Reminiscent of the insertion of “then they came for the Catholics” into that Niemoeller poem, which happens regularly, never for a good reason.

26

Brett Bellmore 03.26.15 at 12:22 pm

“Thus, you conceded that the market system leads to more inequality and less opportunity. ”

More inequality, because more opportunity. A market system generates inequality by INCREASING opportunities, which some people take advantage of, and some do not, causing inequality.

There’s nothing more equal than a society where everyone is poor. Create a society where people *can* become wealthy, some will, some will not, and the result is inequality. But it’s upward inequality.

“So I will ask again, What is your evidence (not opinion, not theory) for your statement, “I just don’t think our market is all that free any more”?”

Increased barriers to entry, essentially. For instance, only a small minority of the population, legally, are permitted to invest in startups. You have to be an “accredited investor”. Crowdfunding is an effort to circumvent this, but only partially accomplishes that.

Then there are high levels of regulation. You understand that regulatory compliance is a bigger burden on small firms, because it doesn’t scale with the size of the firm. So the higher the level of regulation, the worse the barriers to entry are.

I might also cite “Operation Chokepoint”, as a particularly egregious example of economic liberty being infringed, given it’s illegal nature.

27

lurker 03.26.15 at 12:45 pm

@22
Yes, because the only alternatives are a) kill anyone who disagrees and b) waste your time arguing with known liars with zero interest in the truth. And concern trolls.

28

ZM 03.26.15 at 12:58 pm

Brett Bellmore,

1. “Yes, but how long did they take to correct it? Quite a while, it was already known to be wrong when they originally included it in the report.”

I’m not sure exactly how long it took to correct. The error was in the IPCC 4th Assessment Report and then the articles I read online about the IPCC admitting the error date from about 2010. Skeptical Science says it took more than a month to respond which they say is tardy but I think is quite quick:

“Did the IPCC respond to this error quickly and diligently? The answer here is unfortunately no. According to a review by the InterAcademy Council on the IPCC processes and procedures, the IPCC took more than a month to respond to the Himalayan Glacier error, and even then did not explicitly acknowledge the error or issue a retraction. To make matters worse, it has been documented that the IPCC had responded more quickly to other supposed errors in the report (Leake, 2010; Reuters, 2010). Though the IPCC has been recognized for its scientific contributions, there is certainly room for improvement in terms of communications.”

2. “As for the Gulf stream, you demonstrate the problem. The actual *measurements* say it hasn’t slowed. That report you linked to was based on the outcome of a model, not the actual measurements.”

My link was to a newspaper article based on a report in Nature Climate Change by the Potsdam Institute. The newspaper article was easier to read but I had to read the other since you claim it is refers to a model that didn’t use real measurements.

There is something called AMOC — Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation — the researchers think there is a connection with AMOC reducing/weakening/slowing in the 20th C especially from 1970-1990/1975-1995 (it recovered a bit from 1990/95-2004 but measurements indicate a slowing since 2004) and a strange phenomena of a particular region experiencing cooling in the North Atlantic despite an overall global trend of warming.

The slowing of AMOC may have a connection to the melting Greenland ice sheet.

The researchers did a temperature reconstruction and they found the weakening of AMOC from 1975 is unprecedented in the past millennium.

Direct ocean circulation measurements for the past century and the past millennium are not very plentiful since no-one was taking regular measurements (which is hardly the researchers’ faults) — but because AMOC is related to temperature they used a variety of things to reconstruct temperatures and work out what was happening with AMOC in the past that way. If you look at figure 5 they show the things that were used to gauge Atlantic Ocean circulation in the 20th C.

So it is a mix of measurements and modelling — which is the best they can do since no-one was measuring the circulation enough in the past. If you think that is a problem you should support higher taxes for extra data collection that may possibly be needed in the future sometime.

29

Crytandra 03.26.15 at 1:06 pm

Brett Belmore:

“You’re not as scientific as you enjoy thinking yourselves. Taking on the characteristics of a cult, actually.”

What’s unscientific is keyboard warriors deluding themselves into believing they are able to unpack complex fields of scientific investigation after a little amateur dabbling. The liberal warriors who think they know more about the science of GM and “chemicals” than the scientists are dangerous nutjobs whereas the conservative warriors who think they know more about climate change than the scientists are, equally, dangerous nutjobs. Obviously the scientific consensus at any particular point in time is unlikely to be 100% correct but it remains the best basis for public policy.

30

CJColucci 03.26.15 at 1:19 pm

Does anyone think that if Ted Cruz lived in 17th-century Italy he would have sided with Galileo as opposed to the Church?

31

David Coombs 03.26.15 at 1:58 pm

Ted Cruz for Pope 2016!

32

Niall McAuley 03.26.15 at 2:14 pm

I loved The New Apocrypha until my crappy paperback copy fell apart. Sladek’s 1974 book predates Carl Sagan in Broca’s Brain in 1979:

The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

33

Fuzzy Dunlop 03.26.15 at 2:16 pm

Brett even if your points about inaccurate predictions were right, they would not seriously cast into doubt the consensus on AGW, and the label of “denialist” would still be perfectly applicable for anyone who doubts AGW on this basis. If the point you’re trying to make is ‘both sides do it’, you’re actually showing the opposite, because if this is what unscientific reasoning from AGW proponents looks like, it doesn’t hold a candle to AGW doubters’ lunacy.

34

DCA 03.26.15 at 2:59 pm

For older examples of cranks deploying Galileo, see Martin Gardner’s “Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science”.

And, I wish commenters here would stop responding to Brett; they waste their and everyone else’s time. Though perhaps this is just sock puppets arguing amongst themselves?

35

MPAVictoria 03.26.15 at 3:04 pm

DCA I have raised the possibility in earlier threads that every commenter here (besides myself of course) is just Belle Waring arguing with herself. It is a controversial theory but it has the virtue of simplicity.

/Adjusts tinfoil hat.

36

Trader Joe 03.26.15 at 3:15 pm

The perverse allure of candidates like Mr. Cruz (and years ago that fella from Chicago – Barrack something)…is that regardless of their actual intelligence, they are absolute genius about saying exactly the sort of things their base wants to hear and the quite talented at obscuring the specifics of that message in seeking to appeal to the middle.

Long after they are elected (when they are) these transgressions come across as flip-flops to whomever is doing the measuring – but of couse by then its too late.

Such candidates get elected when their related base is sufficiently energized to come out en masse – whether the Rs have such fervent energy or a sufficient base is a fair debate and one that will no doubt be had. But don’t underestimate how determined some will be to get “their guy” into the race….its only when the responsible middle-shows up (since the left would never follow anyway) that the weaknesses of the platform and the person can be exposed. We’re the better part of a year away from that happening.

37

ragweed 03.26.15 at 3:50 pm

I usually don’t respond to Brett, but I think there is an important point to be made here. Brett highlights one instance of a two-sentence error in the 2007 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC – an error which was not even in the Working Group 1 report, which assessed the physical science (the error was in the Working Group 2 report, which is prepared by ecologists and social scientists to address impacts). So two sentences wrong in a 2800 page report. This really highlights the kind of cherry-picking that is typical of climate denial – ignore 2800 pages of solid science and 10,000 predominantly peer-reviewed citations and shoot the whole thing down over one error or uncertainty.

Brett, since you decided to pick one incorrect projection in WG2 to claim is in error, I take it you will acknowledge that Chapter 4 of WG1, which is devoted to glaciers and cryosphere behavior, is substantially correct? If not, what are the errors in WG1, with reference to peer-reviewed citations to back up your claims?

(in fact there are a couple of minor errors in the IPCC report – there is a good overview of those errors, and things that were incorrectly claimed as errors, here – http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/ipcc-errors-facts-and-spin/.)

38

Ogden Wernstrom 03.26.15 at 4:19 pm

Crytandra 03.26.15 at 3:09 am:

…all four corners of the globe.

Geometry denial, too?

39

Rakesh 03.26.15 at 7:28 pm

Galileo analogy breaks down with those defending climate change skepticism and natural inequalities. As Philip Kitcher points out in *Science, Truth and Democracy*, Galileo was bravely opposing the total consensus of society (official, academic and lay consensus) Today’s wannabes are merely saying things believed outside of the academy, in private, and/or by powerful private officials.

40

marcel 03.26.15 at 9:08 pm

MCA Victoria: The hypothesis is not controversial, but controverted by the available evidence: to wit, none of the commenters here (including and especially YOU) has ever shown evidence of the sharp wit that BW regularly displays!

/knocks off tinfoil hat!

41

MPAVictoria 03.26.15 at 9:25 pm

Marcel this is easily explained by the fact that BW does not want to make the conspiracy too obvious so she dumbs it down a bit. Plus I said all the commenter BESIDES myself. :-)

/puts tinfoil hat back on. Secures it with Lynden Larooche bumper sticker.

// Especially me? Ouch Marcel. Ouch….

42

dr ngo 03.26.15 at 10:25 pm

The critical fact is not just that Belle Waring is arguing with herself, but that she’s actually winning! Certainly not found anywhere else on the Internet.

43

floopmeister 03.27.15 at 12:05 am

Actually all the commentators on this blog are experimental AI programs and Crooked Timber is a world-spanning Turing test for the amusement and edification of persons unknown.

Of course I am the openly human commentator iion this blog – that’s why I always post under my own name.

I am still trying to decide if the rest of you programs are self-aware – or actually believe you are human.

Fascinating blog, Crooked Timber…

44

MPAVictoria 03.27.15 at 1:43 am

Belle @43

Well played but you won’t fool me.

45

bad Jim 03.27.15 at 5:40 am

Galileo, and for that matter Descartes, declined to accept Kepler’s description of planetary motion. Elliptical orbits were an affront to physics. Besides, Kepler was a mystic and his mother was a witch! The Rudolphine tables were a big hit, though, because they were pretty damned accurate, so those more practically than theoretically minded took Kepler seriously.

46

bad Jim 03.27.15 at 6:58 am

MPAVictoria, surely you’re aware of the MIT study on the effectiveness of aluminum foil helmets. Evidently they’re more likely to amplify than attenuate ambient mind-control beams.

47

bob 03.27.15 at 2:32 pm

Anyone impressed by “that isn’t from data, it’s just based on models” claims needs to read Paul N. Edwards’s book, A vast machine
http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/vast-machine

48

dr ngo 03.27.15 at 2:51 pm

Anyone thus impressed is unlikely to comprehend a book put out by MIT Press – and the odds are they’ll never even pick it up.

49

William Timberman 03.27.15 at 3:56 pm

MPAVictoria has a model, right enough, but no data. Belle can do the police in different voices, yes, and that simultaneously, which makes her contributions here hard to follow for those dedicated to single vision and Newton’s sleep, but she never argues. Hurricanes are capable of logic, but are never constrained by it. Lucky us….

50

ragweed 03.27.15 at 4:49 pm

The other thing about “its from models, not data” is that models are only one part of the climate change story. Paleoclimate research is a good half or more of the basis for the conclusions of the IPCC and forms much of the supporting evidence for the models. It also is the basis for some of the more alarming projections on climate change – looking at the data, asking “how high was the sea level last time we had 450 ppm CO2? Oh @#$%…”

51

PaulB 03.27.15 at 7:01 pm

The curious thing about people having laughed at Columbus and Galileo is that they were both spectacularly wrong. Columbus thought he could sail west to Asia, because he thought it was about three times nearer west of Europe than it actually is (he never realised he’d discovered a new continent). Galileo’s main argument for heliocentrism in his Dialogue was his completely wrong theory that tides were caused by an interaction between the earth’s rotation and its orbit. He rejected the observation, well known to Atlantic sailors, that tides follow the phases of the moon, and he ignored Kepler’s painstaking analysis of Brahe’s data which proved that Mars orbits the sun in an ellipse.

Columbus and Galileo were just lucky. Cruz is lucky too that he has a ready audience for his nonsense, but that’s a different sort of good fortune.

52

Brett Bellmore 03.27.15 at 7:45 pm

The “it’s from models, not from data” complaint was from the guy collecting the data.

Again, On the long-term stability of Gulf Stream transport based on 20 years of direct measurements

In contrast to recent claims of a Gulf Stream slowdown, two decades of directly measured velocity across the current show no evidence of a decrease. Using a well-constrained definition of Gulf Stream width, the linear least square fit yields a mean surface layer transport of 1.35 × 105 m2 s−1 with a 0.13% negative trend per year. Assuming geostrophy, this corresponds to a mean cross-stream sea level difference of 1.17 m, with sea level decreasing 0.03 m over the 20 year period. This is not significant at the 95% confidence level, and it is a factor of 2–4 less than that alleged from accelerated sea level rise along the U.S. Coast north of Cape Hatteras. Part of the disparity can be traced to the spatial complexity of altimetric sea level trends over the same period.

That’s the guy who’s actually measuring flow rates. He’s complaining about all these people infering from this or that, that the flow has dropped, when his direct measurements of the flow say it hasn’t.

53

Z 03.27.15 at 8:39 pm

Ah, now we are talking: real scientific publications showdown. So let’s have a look.

On the one hand, there is for instance a March 2015 paper in Nature arguing that in 1975 started a slow down of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation which is unprecedented in scale over the last millennia. This paper has Mann on its list of authors so I’m guessing that’s the kind of work you’d be skeptical about. The paper also documents a slight strengthening of said circulation starting in 1990 but bringing its intensity back to a level far below the pre-1975 level. Finally, the model (yep) of this paper predicts for the last 20 years an insignificant increase of the intensity of the Gulf Stream.

On the other hand, we have a paper studying the intensity of the Gulf Stream (not the full Atlantic circulation) over the last 20 years and measures an insignificant decrease. Within the margin of error of this model (yep, because one does not just measure the intensity of the Gulf Stream by “direct measurements”, there are models in that paper too; on the influence and intensity of sea levels change for instance) used by this second paper is the possibility that the intensity of the Gulf Stream has insignificantly increased.

So let’s review what we have learned “all these people inferring from this or that” have inferred that the Gulf Stream has picked up insignificantly in strength these last 20 years. People measuring the intensity of the Gulf Stream find that the Gulf Stream has decreased insignificantly these last 20 years. No contradiction at all. Science wins. People in the first group have also inferred that the global circulation has been experiencing an unprecedented weakening since 1975. For the moment, I see no reason in the paper you linked to doubt the robustness of their model; quite the contrary in fact.

54

Z 03.27.15 at 8:55 pm

The curious thing about people having laughed at Columbus and Galileo is that they were both spectacularly wrong.

Columbus was indeed spectacularly wrong.

But Galileo is another story altogether. Discovery and conceptualization of inertia, independence of the rate of acceleration from the mass, demonstration of the irregularity of celestial bodies by optical arguments, discovery of the phases of Venus and of the moons of Jupiter, elucidations of many confirmations of heliocentric theory and parallel demonstration of many problems of geocentric theories (for instance the computations of the differential speed of the stars if the Earth was motionless) etc… All these are spectacular, indeed breathtaking, achievements. Of course, he made many mistakes big and small, as we do all, but he deserves well his reputation as the father of modern physics.

55

Bernard Yomtov 03.28.15 at 1:17 am

Sandwichman @4,

No, “by all accounts” is a figure of speech. Cruz is by some accounts bright. By other accounts he is just aggressive and sure of himself.

Exactly right. Why should we accept all these claims of what a genius the guy is when he says one stupid thing after another?

56

ZM 03.28.15 at 2:55 am

Brett Bellmore,

“That’s the guy who’s actually measuring flow rates. He’s complaining about all these people infering from this or that, that the flow has dropped, when his direct measurements of the flow say it hasn’t.”

Well he has been doing the measuring only over a 20 year period – the claim is about the circulation slowing over one hundred years or a millennium. These are different longer time periods – so the climate scientists had to do temperature reconstructions to see what the circulation used to be like.

I’ll make an analogy .

If you posed the hypothesis that gender relations changed over the last century and it is also the greatest change for a millennium – and then I said I had conducted by myself a twenty year study and there is not really much change – you would have to reconstruct the longer durations through archival documents, archeological artifacts, antiquarian reliques, and so on.

So that’s what the climate scientists had to do to make a longer than 20 years comparison – except they reconstructed the temperature through natural artefacts like coral and so on.

57

Z 03.28.15 at 1:56 pm

And moreover, their reconstruction actually predicts a slight increase of the Gulf Stream in the last 20 years, in perfect agreement with the measures.

58

Lee A. Arnold 03.29.15 at 12:14 pm

Brett Bellmore #26: “More inequality, because more opportunity… Increased barriers to entry… high levels of regulation… Operation Chokepoint…”

No, see, this sort of answer was already discredited by you yourself in previous statements in the comments thread I linked to in #23 above.

First, your own demand was to stick to evidence, not opinion. I feel that if we are going to have a discussion based on the evidence, then we ought to stick to evaluating the evidence, without the intercession of our own wishes about it.

Second, you already conceded to the evidence that the market system, as it is, has led to BOTH more inequality and less opportunity.

Thus third and finally, in #26 above, you are simply restating your opinion about why you believe that it hasn’t been a “freer” economy over the same period.

In pursuance thereof, you now adduce the “barriers to entry”, without evidence.

Now there are two kinds. It’s pretty clear that governmental “barriers to entry” have been slowly reduced over the last 35 years or so. History of slow but steady progress both in trade deals and in the reduction of government regulations throughout most countries is voluminous on this point. Or are you now advocating for lesser time limits for intellectual property?

And on the other hand, what about reducing the other kind, the free-market-generated “barriers to entry”? Are you advocating for the breakups of big businesses, for example? This would be necessary to reduce “market power”. Yet it would be a rather curious stance for a libertarian, although market power is among the remaining large barriers to entry. Or are you denying that the free market could generate barriers to entry? What would be your evidence for such an opinion?

As to “high levels of regulation”, I already cited one new study that shows that government regulation has had little-to-no effect on the decline of entrepreneurship, co-authored by a prominent libertarian economist, and this same result has shown up in other recent studies as well.

And “Operation Chokepoint” was an initiative begun in 2013 and now reversed, thus it had nothing to do with the rising inequality and declining opportunity of the last 35 years.

So I will ask once again: Please state real evidence, not mere theory or opinion or just throwing more shit out there, for your observation that, “I just don’t think our market is all that free any more.”

59

mattski 03.29.15 at 12:24 pm

@ 58

Nicely done, Lee.

[For those who believe BB should be ignored, I disagree. Bad arguments should be rebutted. QED.]

60

Bruce Baugh 03.30.15 at 4:08 pm

By the way, in case anyone’s wondering why Brett is currently obsessing over the North Atlantic, look at the first picture in this article on the unique situation of the North Atlantic. It is, with the possible exception of one part of interior western Africa, the only part of the world not to show marked sustained warming over the period from 1900 to 2013. By trying to make the conversation/debate/showdown about that one particular spot, he and other climate change denialists get to avoid talking about what’s clearly going on across the whole world.

Which is to say, very typical for him.

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