Archive for the ‘Propaganda’ category

The 97% Consensus is Bollocks

July 1, 2014

I am sure that you have all heard the word consensus used many times with regard to what is often called Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), or more recently, Global Climate Change (GCC). However, over the past year or so there has been another phrase bandied about to support this so-called consensus, that “97% of climate scientists agree with the consensus view that humans are the primary cause of global warming” (or something to that effect).

The source of this second claim (that attempts to reinforce the first) is from a 2013 paper by lead author John Cook, a solar physicist who operates the website Skeptical Science. The paper in question, Quantifying the Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming in the Scientific Literature, or simply Cook et. al. (2013), concludes, “Among papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW”.

That statement looks fine and dandy at first glance and it seems to support the data as shown in the Cook et. al. paper. However, there is far more to this statement than meets the eye.

Methodology is Everything

In order to undertake their study, Cook and his co-authors searched the ISI Web of Science looking for papers published from 1991-2011 using the search terms “global warming” and “global climate change”, and they further restricted their search to articles only (which excluded books, discussions, proceeding papers, and other types). This yielded a total of 12,465 papers, which were then rated into types according to Table 1 below, the result of which was the elimination of papers that were not peer-reviewed, not climate related, or without an abstract; this resulted in a total of 11,944 papers from 29,083 authors in 1980 journals.

Table 1

 

The resulting 11,944 papers where then sorted into seven levels according to their level of endorsement of AGW as shown in Table 2 below. We can see that amongst the seven levels in Table 2, that they can further be reduced to 3 primary categories, two of which (endorse/reject) have their own three levels of relative endorsement/rejection. The primary categories are: Endorse AGW, No Position/Uncertain, and Reject AGW.

Table 2

 

Cook et. al. also performed a self-rating analysis, whereby they emailed 8547 authors with an invitation to rate their own papers. They received 1200 responses (a 14% response rate), and a total of 2142 papers received a self-rating from 1189 authors.

While the self-rating section of this study is quite interesting, I’ll be limiting my analysis of the claim that “97% of climate scientists agree with the consensus” (paraphrase) to only the first part of the study, that which deals with the papers themselves. The reason for this decision of mine is two-fold: first, due to the very small number of respondents who self-rated, there could be the inclusion of bias toward a particular position; and two, I do not have access to the data file for the self-rating portion of the study (I only have the data file for the abstract analysis portion of the study).

What Consensus?

It must be asked, “what exactly is the consensus in this study?”. Cook et. al. (2013) doesn’t define this term for us, so we have no choice but to infer its definition from our own opinions, right? Well, not exactly.

You see, there was another paper, Legates et. al. (2013), that served as a critical response to Cook et. al. (2013). While this paper is behind a pay wall and thus cannot be fully accessed by myself, it is fortuitous that Cook responded to it in another paper, Bedford and Cook (2013). In this particular paper co-authored by Cook we see the sentence, “Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97% endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause”.

So while in the first Cook paper we only get the statement, “Among papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW”, we get a followup paper from Cook stating that “Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97% endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause” (emphasis mine).

It appears that we now have Cook’s definition of what the consensus is that he referred to in his first paper, and it is entirely consistent with the IPCC’s claims as laid out in their 2007 statement, as well. The consensus is apparently that humans are the main cause of global warming.

The only problem is that Cook is full of it. He’s being entirely dishonest!

A Little Look at the Numbers

As mentioned above, the methodology employed by Cook et. al. (2013) was to take the 11,944 papers and separate them into seven distinct levels of endorsement, and that these seven levels could further be separated into three primary categories as outlined in Table 2 above. The results were then compiled and shown as percentages in Table 3 below, though one can clearly see that level 4 was further divided between “uncertain on AGW” and “no AGW position” in the table.

Table 3

 

As can be clearly seen, 32.6% of all abstracts endorse the AGW position, a majority of 66.4% having no position on AGW, and the other categories represent less than 3% of the total. However, we also see the 97.1% figure that is the topic of our inquiry, which represents the percentage of abstracts with a position on AGW who actually endorse (rather than reject) the AGW position.

This all seems consistent with Cook’s claims, right? No, not exactly.

If you’ll remember, the primary category of endorsement for AGW was divided between three distinct levels of relative endorsement (levels 1, 2, and 3 in Table 2). The first is level 1, “explicitly states that humans are the primary cause of recent global warming”. The next level 2 says, “explicitly states humans are causing global warming or refers to anthropogenic global warming/climate change as a known fact”. The last level 3 states, “implies humans are causing global warming”. So only level 1 states that humans are the primary or main cause of global warming, while level 2 merely states that humans “are causing” global warming (which doesn’t tell us how much they are causing it), and level 3 merely implies that humans are causing global warming (which again doesn’t tell us how much they are causing it).

So the 97.1% figure that is the topic of our enquiry is actually the sum of levels 1, 2, and 3. If this is the case, then it certainly cannot be said that the statement from Bedford and Cook (2013) that, “Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97% endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause”, is at all accurate. After all, some of those papers representing that 97.1% in Cook et. al. (2013) must have fallen into both levels 2 and 3, and not just level 1 (which is the only level that states that humans are the primary or main cause of global warming). Nor can it be said that the statement in Cook et. al (2013) that, “among papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW”, is accurate, because the subsequent paper by Cook defines the consensus in this statement as being the position that humans are the main cause of global warming.

And how do I know that not all of the papers that represent that 97.1% figure fall into only category 1? Because logic would dictate as much, but also because I have the data file for Cook et. al. (2013). Here’s what the breakdown of each level looks like:

Level 1 = 64
Level 2 = 922
Level 3 = 2910
Level 4 = 7970
Level 5 = 54
Level 6 = 15
Level 7 = 9

Clearly, we can see that there were more papers that rejected AGW than there were that supported the notion that humans are the primary or main cause of global warming (i.e. level 1). Further, when we break down the three levels that represent the category of endorsement of AGW, this is what they look like as a percentage:

Level 1 = 1.6%
Level 2 = 23%
Level 3 = 72%

Conclusion

I’m not a climate scientist, but the simple fact is that based upon the evidence in his own papers, John Cook is misrepresenting his own study and is fabricating the idea–based upon his own definition and that of others–that 97% of climate scientists endorse the consensus that humans are the primary or main cause of global warming. What is worse is that I’ve heard this statement “97% support the consensus” from all sorts of sources. From the ignorant masses on the internet, the talking heads on television, in news articles, and even from the President of the United States himself. While it could quite probably be the case that they’re simply repeating what they’ve heard others say, it is still entirely irresponsible to make such a claim as fact without checking it out for yourself.

I’ve done the homework for you. The next time that you hear somebody make claims about a consensus, you’d be entirely correct to point out to them that 1.6% does not represent a consensus.

Humanitarian Murder: It’s a Gas

August 29, 2013

Here we are yet again at the precipice of war.

Some may not fully remember that we’d been here not too long before, that the narrative is almost exactly the same, and that we’ve been lied to by our “angels” holding the reins of state power ad infinitum for time immemorial.

Will Americans fall for it once more?

The war drums beating, the speeches and punditries spoken, and every fashion of ridiculous justifications and moral reasonings having been proffered, all being flashed in front of your eyes in the blue-light sparkle of your big-screen television; and all of this by the tiding media whose only life-support is the very government establishment that wishes to propagandize and impose its powerful influence upon the minds of each and every one of us, all in order to gain the political support to destroy those “evil” inhabitants of the other side … the enemy. How truly collectivist of them.

However this –like so many other wars and aggressions that have occurred before it– is being sold as a “humanitarian” effort; one to save the children, the mothers and fathers, and indeed the people of Syria.

“We’re only here to help, we mean you no harm”. Right?

There could be nothing further from the truth, and I am here to tell you why.

Of Bombs and Men

There simply does not exist any such thing as a “humanitarian war”, it’s a contradiction in terms. It’s much like saying “humanitarian murder” or “slavery freedom”. War is exactly what it says it is: nothing more than one state’s inhabitants (or military powers) killing the inhabitants that live within another state’s monopolistic region of power, or vice versa. You can tidy it up with soft language such as “conflict” or “engagement” as well as many other fanciful terms, but it all means the same thing: War!

Of what value is the reasoning of humanitarianism when innocent people are amongst the dead and killed by such “humanitarian” actions? I say none.

A bomb is an indiscriminate weapon of terror, a true “weapon of mass destruction”. There simply is no way to control who exactly it is that will be killed by such a weapon.

Sure, you may kill a “bad guy”, but you also may (and probably will) kill a lot of innocent people along with him. In fact, this is often the case, as the statistics of the US government’s drone war, and indeed all of its wars and aggressions over the past century, have proven all too poignantly.

To put things into perspective, those few that are supporting this military action in Syria are essentially saying this:

Person A: “They’re killing innocent people over there, we must do something”

Person B: “What do you suppose to do?”

Person A: “Kill innocent people over there”

Clearly, this is not a cogent argument in favor of humanitarianism (the supposed justification for US military intervention in this conflict).

The Gaseous State

The world is being told that Assad is using chemical weapons against his own people (sound familiar?), but to be sure, there has yet to have been any proof of this.

Yes, we do know that such weapons have been used (by whom?), but as Justin Raimondo has shown in his recent reporting, there is much ambiguity with regard to who has been using them. Further, the inspections by the UN had initially been curtailed, all in an effort to rush to another war without ample evidence of wrongdoing (or any evidence at all). Recently the inspectors were in the region, but were only there to establish that chemical weapons were released, not to assign blame, and the US is hinting that it will ignore the UN Security Council regardless.

The appeal by the President for Congressional support, I think, is far more of a political than a legal move. He’s essentially doing nothing more than spreading out the blame and putting on a show to convince the people that he’s consistent with US jurisprudence. He’s already indicated that it is his belief that he does not need to consult the Congress on these matters, so it only makes sense that his motives are entirely political in nature.

If they want war, then war is what they will have.

Indeed, many have been speculating that it is the US-supported “Rebels”, not Assad, who had a “gas”. In fact, some have even been suggesting that this is a “false flag” event; though I certainly cannot verify this any more than I can verify that it was Assad or the Rebels that used chemical weapons. But it is well-known that the US government has been supporting the Rebels (who are affiliated with the US government’s bogeyman “Al Qaeda”) both financially and militarily, that it is the US government that imposed the “red line” ultimatum on the use of chemical weapons about a year ago, and that due to this it is the US that has the most to gain by such a chemical attack by Assad’s government. Cui Bono?

While I do not discount any of the possibilities presented, I still cannot help but question whether any of these things are even relevant at all when considering the supposed particulars of the US government’s “war plans”. They are much more worrying.

Reign of Terror

So what is the US government’s strategic military play? Why, it’s to bomb the snot out of the Assad government’s supposed chemical weapons regiments (if we are to take their word on it). And of course, it will last “hours not days“, just as we’ve been told before in the case of Iraq.

This seems pretty straight forward in many people’s minds, until they think about the consequences of such a thing. If you bomb a chemical weapons facility or the Syrian military forces used in chemical weapons warfare, would that not release the same chemicals that were supposedly used by Assad’s government “against his own people”? Indeed it would!.

So we are left with a situation where the proposed military plan of the US government is to release into the air the same chemical toxins in which they are accusing the Assad government of perpetrating, but the US government is declaring it as a matter of foreign policy (they deny it, but it is unavoidable if what they say is true). Yet the justification of such an action is based upon a synonymous case. This justification is not much different than saying, “well, they’re killing each other, so why can’t we kill people, too?”. It seems that US “humanitarianism” has come full circle (which is to say it is no humanitarianism at all).

However, what if the US government’s military bombs these supposed chemical weapons regiments, and then no fallout happens at all? I would say that this is the smoking gun that this whole story was a claptrap fabrication to begin with.

“Hey, maybe the WMD’s are over there? Nope. How about over here? Nope.”

What If?

What if it is true what we are being told, that Assad really did use chemical weapons against his people? Does this give any justification for US involvement?

I say no. The only justification for violence is in the case of self-defense. In this case, Syria represents no danger to the United States, and especially not to the subjects that live within its (the US government’s) borders.

To interfere in Syria would certainly result in civilian deaths, there simply is no way of avoiding that. Since that is the case, then the US government would then have innocent blood on its hands, and there is simply no justification for that, because that is supposedly the very thing that it purports to avoid (or protect from).

Ah, but what of US interests? This is a question always bandied about by no other than those within the halls of power. I never hear any of those who are subject to the rule of US politicians and bureaucrats worrying much about interests abroad of which they have no real interest.

Instead, they’re far more worried about how to feed their family, have a good life, raise their children, and do what all of us wish to do in this life. You know, just like your regular, everyday Syrian is.

Whenever you hear the term “US interests”, that means only one thing: the interests of the ruling class, the elites. Trust me, you aren’t part of that club, nor will you be (unless you can become a sociopath in good speed).

The World Gone Insane, US Style

I don’t know if you have noticed, but the US and Israel have been pretty keen on getting into a war with Iran. Whether it be sanctions, or in the case of Israel, actual bombings and network viruses. So it comes as no surprise to me that Iran just so happens to have a mutual defense treaty with Syria.

I cannot say for sure, but if I were to guess, I’d say that this whole Syria fiasco is premeditated. That the entire purpose of striking Syria is to get Iran to make a move, that way the US government can say, “see, the Iranians are crazy, they attacked us in Damascus when all we were doing was trying to help the Syrian people”.

Syria is today essentially the breeding ground of WWIII, and it couldn’t have been better-calculated considering the state of the world’s central powers (“after all, WWII got us out of the depression”, they so ignorantly repeat, ad nauseam). The Western nations are essentially trying to live out a new world war based upon a false belief that the victor will be the US and it’s allies (just like in the old days), and can thus sustain its hegemony both politically and economically, and move toward a more centralized world state.

What they never counted on was the fact that their lies are like paper flies to the flame. Nobody is buying what they’re selling anymore. Much of the world has finally slipped the reins of the gatekeepers, information flows like hot butter, and all statements are now documented and shared for all to see. There is nowhere to hide in the digital world of information.

Of True Humanity

The true humanitarian position on any question of war is to reject it entirely: war is nothing more than the creation of the collective state, not the individual constituents thereof. US military involvement in Syria will do nothing more than complicate matters not just in Syria, but also the entire region. Indeed, the same politicians who speak so proudly of “democracy” have no problem imposing it upon others (through death and destruction), but when it comes to their own countrymen, it is but a whisper.

Today, only 9% of Americans support any intervention in Syria, and this number is low for good reason: Americans simply do not trust their government anymore. They’ve been through Iraq, they’ve seen Afghanistan, they saw what their political “leaders” did in Libya when Hillary Clinton declared, “we came, we saw, he died”, and every other boondoggle since 9/11. Americans know deep down in their hearts that their rulers are all “full of it”, that they’re only out for their own interests at the detriment to all, and all of this through the power of the state (their ruling nest).

America’s rulers don’t care about what they preach, they only care about themselves and their own.

The simple fact is that most regular folks know true humanity and most Americans are just regular folks. Even in this world of propaganda and false truths, people can see the inhumanity espoused by their statist overlords. Further, due to the lies and distortions spoken by their rulers over time, they’ve all seen time and time again how they’ve been played: the “seeing through the fog” is becoming all the more common in this world of free-flowing information.

Americans are finally finding their humanity, if only at the final hour. I can only hope that it is not too late.

* * *

Addendum:

While it is said that the only justification for violence is self-defense, this might lead one to question whether of not it is justified to come to another’s defense. Indeed it is justified, but one must understand the difference between doing so within a specific case and doing so within the realm of warfare. So in order to avoid confusions of what I meant when talking about the justifiable use of force, I must be more specific.

State warfare always kills uninvolved third-parties, those who have nothing directly to do with the decisions and actions of their respective state.

For instance, in the case of interpersonal conflict we might come across a case such as this: Person C witnesses a situation in which person A is aggressing toward person B (he’s holding a gun to his head, or something similar). It is entirely justified for person C to come to person B’s defense (but he is not obligated to do so). We can easily identify the aggressor (person A), the victim (person B), and the defender (person C).

However, in state warfare, these lines are blurred to the point of illogic. There is simply no way of identifying the particulars of each case, because warfare is indiscriminate. The actions of states are both collectivist and nationalist in nature, thus the individual is erased from the equation. There simply is no way to determine the merits of an individual case, instead we are left with rationalizations of why it is okay to kill innocents. It’s really horrible and twisted when you really give it some thought.

Obviously, one cannot claim a humanitarian position if their actions must ultimately result in the deaths of uninvolved third-parties (innocents). That’s an absurd position.

To take an opposing position is akin to saying that just because I live in the same apartment building as my neighbor, and my neighbor kills somebody’s sister, then the brother of that woman is entirely justified in leveling the entire apartment building (along with all of its contents and inhabitants).

But many actually up the ante, because their position ultimately says that ANYBODY that takes issue with my neighbor killing that women, they (anybody) also now have justification to bomb my apartment building (along with all of its contents and inhabitants).

Subtle Propaganda

September 13, 2012

I came across an article from AP about an accident in China. A construction elevator car fell 328 feet, killing all of its 19 passengers on the construction site of a high-rise building in Wuhan city, located in Hubei province.

I happen to work in the construction/demolition industry, so I am quite aware of the fact that it is a very dangerous profession, and that many people lose their lives to it every year (I’ve known a few who have). It’s a tragedy no matter when it happens, as is true of any other loss of life.

However, that is not the part of the story that caught my eye.

What did catch my eye was this series of sentence portions:

Although the government says it is taking measures to reduce fatalities, more than 75,500 people died in work-related accidents last year, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.

This may seem like a perfectly constructed sentence, and it’s implications are convincing. The point of it is to show that it is pretty shitty to be a worker in China. Ok, I’m game. It most probably is pretty shitty to be a worker in China, but this particular sentence doesn’t show that.

The primary implication reveals itself in the first few words. By saying “although the government says … “, this really means that the government is full of shit; there is doubt placed upon the Chinese government. However, then they go for the proof of how bad China is by showing the number, 75,500 workers per year, that die from work-related accidents. This is supposed to be the proof in the pudding that the Chinese government is absolutely not living up to its obligation to “reduce fatalities”. Oh, but wait. Here’s the kicker.

The kicker is the last line, where the AP journalist says that they got the information from (insert Chinese government agency here). I don’t know, but it seems to me that this portion of the sentence almost entirely contradicts the entirety of the sentence, because it gives credence to something that was considered non-credible from the outset (i.e. the worthiness of the Chinese government). It’s kind of like saying, “Although Johnny says that he’ll increase his income, he makes $100,000 a year, according to Johnny”. Not only does it contradict itself, but as can be seen by my analogue, the sentence is completely nonsensical.

But wait, I’m not done.

Putting all of the other crap aside, let’s just take a look at that number: 75,500 work-related deaths per year.

Just by the mere fact that China has a population of over 1.3 billion, it’s pretty easy to see that 75,500 deaths is a really small number. It’s got to be in the fractions of percent when compared to the workforce. Without going on a research spree, I can look at data from Wikipedia citing CIA Factbook numbers showing that only 1.4 out of every 100,000 workers died in 2007 as a result of work-related activities, or about 0.000014% of all Chinese. If we compare this to the 2012 numbers from the BLS for the USA, we see that American workers died at a rate of 3.6 per 100,000, or about 0.000036. That’s over twice the Chinese numbers! And the Chinese numbers are over 5 years old (whereas USA numbers are current).

How about absolute numbers of Chinese deaths? The total work-related deaths in China for 2005 was 127,000. Well, shoot. If today 75,500 people die per year in China as a result of work-related deaths, then this means that over the course of 7 years China has reduced work-related deaths by 40%! Even if we know that the Chinese numbers are BS, we can at least assume that their general methodology hasn’t changed this dramatically in such a short period (unless you know something that I don’t), and that the Wikipedia/CIA Factbook numbers are probably erring on the high side (they probably aren’t low-balling their figures). Certainly, we are seeing an almost unbelievable improvement in worker safety in China, most of which is due to continued industrialization and the further division of labor.

Some of you may ask, “Joe, why in the hell are you harping-on so much about this?”. Well, there are a few reasons. First and foremost, I was bored. Next, I just cannot let slippery reporting like this go unchecked– somebody’s got to point out the wrongs in the world. The last reason is that I know, inevitably, some douche bag is going to throw these numbers at me and think that they’ve got a real zinger (you’d be surprised at what some people pull out of their ass in a pinch). Well, in that case, I can just point them here.

I must break people from the spell of this subtle propaganda. There’s simply no reason that this story should have been international news. It’s only purpose was to propagandize, in my belief.

Statists Gonna State

September 5, 2012

(Thanks to the LRC blog)

The Truth About Iran

September 4, 2012

Mike Rivero lays it all out for all to see. He’s actually been talking about this for about 4-5 years now, at least since Bush was in office. I don’t usually agree with Mike economically, but he is dead-on when it comes to foreign policy (especially Israel and the ME).

Tom Woods, You’re My Hero

July 10, 2012

Dr. Thomas E. Woods takes David Frum to task for his criticism of the Austrian School, and making the claim that conservatives are wrong to be listening to guys like Ludwig von Mises. The thing that I always love about Dr. Woods is that it isn’t good enough that he makes a video explaining to Frum (and other stooges) the error of his ways, he also provides a resource page to further make his case. Tom Woods: a gentleman and a scholar, indeed.

It’s funny, just a few days ago it was Josh Barro who was criticizing the Austrian School and making similar claims that conservatives are putting too much faith into guys like Mises and Hayek. Jonathan Finegold Catalán at ‘Economic Thought’ put the kibosh on such ignorant claims and showed clearly that Barro hasn’t read the relevant literature to even be able to speak as an authority on the matter. Of course, I weighed in on the comments when I said:

…Is (sic) Mises and Hayek having a big influence on Republicans and conservatives these days? I don’t think this is nearly as true as Barro is indicating. I wonder if he even knows the difference between a conservative and a (classical) liberal, or even a libertarian. I mean, I don’t find too many of your average righties reading this stuff, or *anything* dealing with theory really. I mean, maybe there are a few that will read ‘Road to Serfdom’ or ‘Atlas Strugged’, but that’s still a far stretch from the intellectual rigor needed to delve into economic and political theory.

In many of the conversations with my conservative friends it is almost as if I am entering a philosophical black hole (they aren’t even brushed up on their own philosophy, let alone others’). And the modern left… I don’t even want to open that can of worms. With both sides it is as if you have to write an entire treatise just to explain to them why you don’t like a certain policy, because they certainly aren’t up to speed on the theory side. Most of the time I just say, “screw it” and don’t even try to discuss the issue (which is REALLY hard for me to do).

I imagine that just about anybody who is marginally familiar with the Austrian School is saying to themselves, “what in the heck are these idiots talking about?!” And, rightly so.