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Richard Muller’s Non-Conversion to Anthropogenic Global Warming

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For most people who believe that scientists are best able to speak on scientific matters, the global warming debate was pretty much over 20 years ago. Except for a few skeptics, anthropogenic global warming (AGW) was and is accepted as fact in the scientific community. It’s interesting to note that in the political world as well, AGW was a bipartisan issue; even John McCain vowed to fight global warming in his 2008 campaign.

But something happened along the way. All of a sudden, it became uncool in the conservative community as a whole to admit that AGW was real. The conservatives gave wildly different reasons for the proposition that 98 percent of climatologists were wrong about AGW: some said that there was indeed a global conspiracy, others said that scientists were being forced by peer pressure to accept the majority scientific view, still others claimed that AGW couldn’t be real because the Bible didn’t say it would happen, and then there were a few who accepted that global warming was happening, but that it just wasn’t proven to their satisfaction that humans were the cause. Interestingly enough, this tectonic shift in thinking among conservatives happened at about the same time that they began to reject definitively conservative ideas like cap-and-trade and the individual mandate, but the conservatives’ current practice of vehement rejection of any position where liberals agree with them is probably a story for another time.

Now Richard Muller is a very bright fellow. His Wikipedia page states that he is “an American professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a faculty senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory” and that he won an award from the National Science Foundation “for highly original and innovative research which has led to important discoveries and inventions in diverse areas of physics, including astrophysics, radioisotope dating, and optics.” On July 28th, he penned an op-ed in The New York Times titled, “The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic”, and it hit the liberal side of the media by storm; not a single liberal site to my knowledge failed to trumpet his “conversion.”

Note the quotation marks on that last word. The very next day, junkscience.com posted a quick blurb about his op-ed with a link to this rather unflattering page about the esteemed scientist. In fact, the gist of that last reference is that Richard Muller was never a true AGW skeptic; and they are right. The main reason that Richard Muller was seen as such an AGW-denial bugaboo was this 2004 article where he showed what he felt were problems with the “hockey stick” graph that seemed to describe AGW. But in that same article wherein he attacked the controversial graph, he also said:

If you are concerned about global warming (as I am) and think that human-created carbon dioxide may contribute (as I do), then you still should agree that we are much better off having broken the hockey stick. Misinformation can do real harm, because it distorts predictions. Suppose, for example, that future measurements in the years 2005-2015 show a clear and distinct global cooling trend (It could happen). If we mistakenly took the hockey stick seriously–that is, if we believed that natural fluctuations in climate are small–then we might conclude (mistakenly) that the cooling could not be just a random fluctuation on top of a long-term warming trend, since according to the hockey stick, such fluctuations are negligible. And that might lead in turn to the mistaken conclusion that global warming predictions are a lot of hooey. If, on the other hand, we reject the hockey stick, and recognize that natural fluctuations can be large, then we will not be misled by a few years of random cooling. A phony hockey stick is more dangerous than a broken one–if we know it is broken. It is our responsibility as scientists to look at the data in an unbiased way, and draw whatever conclusions follow. When we discover a mistake, we admit it, learn from it, and perhaps discover once again the value of caution.

So junkscience.com is right: Richard Muller was never a true AGW skeptic. But they go beyond that point by claiming that he is a “Climate Profiteer” profiting on AGW alarmism. Of course, this is much like calling Home Depot and Lowe’s disaster profiteers because they warn people to be prepared for disasters while at the same time selling just what those same people need to prepare for (or repair) damage from disasters.

Perhaps most interesting of all is foxnews.com, for a search of the site of this story (which dominated liberal sites) revealed two links: one was to a video, and the other went to an interview with AGW-skeptic Anthony Watts. Of course, the fact that Watts’ qualifications (he is a relatively lowly meteorologist who once worked for a Fox News affiliate) don’t come close to approaching Richard Muller’s qualifications (or those of the climatologists) didn’t seem to matter. What did matter, apparently, was for Fox News to put up something, anything at all to keep its readers from thinking that AGW might be real, or if it is, that it just isn’t that bad (as Watts claims in the foxnews article).

It looks like Muller’s conversion, non-event that it surely was, will change few if any minds among America’s conservatives. That’s truly sad, particularly considering that the current historic drought has resulted in over half of all counties in America being declared disaster areas. AGW is not responsible for that drought, but climatologists point out that AGW not only played a definite role in making the drought significantly worse than it would have been otherwise, but also makes such events more likely. Every scientific organization of note, including NASA, NOAA, and every national science academy in the developed world, has stated unequivocally the reality of AGW. But arrayed against the scientists of the world are the deep pockets of Big Oil and America’s conservatives. Note that I didn’t say the world’s conservatives, because most of the conservatives in the world don’t have a problem with listening to a united front of scientists. It’s pretty much only in America that the conservatives have stood up for “freedom”‘ against the scientific community.

Muller’s op-ed in The New York Times won’t get the attention of the everyday AGW-denying conservative. Perhaps the worst drought in America’s history will, but I doubt it. Personally, I suspect that no matter how much scientific evidence is brought forth, and no matter how great the consensus among the world’s scientific community, and no matter how bad the weather gets thanks to AGW, America’s conservatives will not accept the reality of AGW. And we’re all going to pay the price.

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • bicfj

    Richard Muller is the same guy who promoted cigarettes as not being the cause of cancer. He did this while employed at the George C Marshall Institute. So now he has two strikes against him. It is time for him to retire.

  • Bill Holland

    Small observation: AGW stands for anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming not anthropomorphic (manlike)global warming.

  • Igor

    Any person with an ounce of sense, looking around at the universe and the solar system, must realise that we humans are a rare and lucky organism living in a near paradise.

    It’s also clear that our Garden Of Eden is fragile. Indeed, it is because of the long-term stability of this Eden that we have been allowed to exist and flourish. Looking at the tumult and storms of other worlds we see the tremendous contrast between our Eden and the unfriendly worlds.

    We must draw the lesson that a great part of our duty is to keep our Garden pleasant and comfortable so that other people and our own children may enjoy the fruits of this lovely place.

    We know that it can’t last forever, that eventually some wayward asteroid will crash into the garden, poison all the air and destroy us. But in the meantime we have it within our power, as never before in human history, to lead pleasant lives and, through our knowledge and science, to share with our fellow creatures.

    One of the problems we must deal with is bad weather. Small as atmospheric effects are, they still have profound influence over life, so it behooves us to not compound problems with unnecessary overloads and abuses.

    There IS a general natural warming of the climate and we will have to learn to deal with it’s consequences. There IS also a large component of warming caused by ourselves: we poop in our own nest. We CAN do something about that and we must.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Now, now, Igor, you know very well that the Earth is too big for us lowly humans to have any real effect on the climate, never mind that there’s significantly less plant biomass than there was 150 years ago (deforestation, farming, ‘progress’) and a billion cars pumping out 20 pounds of non-naturally-caused CO2 per gallon of gas used. Besides, since the Bible doesn’t say that humans would cause global warming, it’s impossible that we could do so, right?

    The biggest proof of all against global warming is the simple fact that liberals believe the scientists are right about AGW…and you know as well as I do that if the liberals believe something, It Must Not Be True, which is why the conservatives suddenly no longer support grand conservative ideals like cap-and-trade and the individual mandate. Besides, if it costs Big Oil even one dollar of profit, well, THAT’s socialism, proof positive that liberals are godless traitors who are out to destroy America!

  • gerald wilhite

    The New York Times’s Andrew Revkin politely called Muller’s antics “P.T. Barnum showmanship.” Perhaps pathological hucksterism would be more appropriate. Muller has NEVER been a skeptic.

    The outlook for global warming according to Muller in 2008 is that, “it’s going to get much, much worse”

  • Dan

    A study that was published in the journal Nature Climate Change found that people who have a higher level of scientific knowledge tend to be more skeptical of AWG.

    “”As respondents’ science literacy scores increased, their concern with climate change decreased,” the paper, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, notes.”

    This has been my experience as well. Typically alarmists tend to rely on appeals to authority and bogus characterizations of skeptics such as Glenns hilariously transparent ‘they don’t believe it because it’s not in the bible’ bit.

    Thankfully, some of the more radical alarmists have had their underlying political opportunism exposed, even if their scientifically illiterate hive minded ideologues haven’t caught on yet.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    A study that was published in the journal Nature Climate Change found that people who have a higher level of scientific knowledge tend to be more skeptical of AWG.

    Funny how you appeal to authority and then you accuse me of the same.

    But I’ll do you a favor, Dan – HERE is the study in question…and one wonders if you actually read it and, if you did read it, whether you really understood its overarching goals and the breadth of its conclusions. I say that because if you understood it as well as you think you do, you certainly wouldn’t be using it as ‘proof’ of the failure of liberal minds – it’s anything but. The website of your boy Glenn Beck thinks they understand it…but upon reading their article, it’s obvious they don’t. They cherry-picked a couple observations therein and drew their own conclusions, and by doing so completely missed the warning given in the conclusions of the study.

  • Zingzing

    Dan, that study didn’t touch on a person’s knowledge of climate sciences. The questions used to determine scientific knowledge were pretty much middle school level, and none of them focused on climate. Also, the skeptics scored just 1 percentage point higher than the believers (and this on a true/false and multiple choice test, where one could easily pick the correct answer without knowing what the correct answer was). The study also found that political beliefs far outweighed scientific knowledge on how much it impacts the layman’s beliefs on agw. But the right wing conveniently forgot to mention all that stuff when they wrote their headlines.

    And then, of course, it seems to me that climate scientists (who have a high degree of scientific knowledge in the field of climate sciences) seem rather concerned about agw.

    “Typically alarmists tend to rely on appeals to authority and bogus characterizations of skeptics…”

    Funny. You cite a scientific journal (appeal to authority), then totally bungle what they have to say (bogus characterization)… And speaking of a hive mind… Look around you! The evidence for agw is everywhere and yet the right closes its eyes and yells about nonsensical conspiracy theories. It’s embarrassing.

  • Off topic, of course, but none of the links in this article published at BC today work. That includes the link to go from page one to page two. Nor is it possible to post a comment.

    I trust this is no vast left-wing conspiracy and that it is merely a strange technical glitch.

    Perhaps one of the esteemed comment editors can fix the problem.

  • Hmm… something peculiar going on there, Dan(Panama), and it doesn’t appear to have anything to do with The Obnoxious American deciding to be especially obnoxious. I’ll see if I can fix it, though I may of course instead make it worse. Thanks for the heads-up!

  • Article in question and all clickables therein now seem to be working correctly, Dan. If your computer decides to spontaneously combust, the culprit is more likely therefore to be the climate in Panama than anything I did.

  • The evidence for agw is everywhere and yet the right closes its eyes and yells about nonsensical conspiracy theories.

    Because the alternative is too awful for them to contemplate.

    If a conservative accepts that human activity is responsible for the current potentially catastrophic warming, he must then contemplate the particular human activity that is causing it. That activity is, of course, the release by combustion of massive amounts of fossil carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Having accepted that, he must address the question of what drove mankind to combust in so extravagant a fashion. Answer: global industrialization. And why did mankind feel the need to globally industrialize? Profit-driven capitalism.

    So what it boils down to is the notion that capitalism, far from being, as conservatives claim, the natural and best possible economic system and a potential panacea for all that ails humanity if allowed to run unfettered, may instead end up destroying us all. Their worldview implodes if that’s true.

  • Thanks, Doc. It works fine now.

  • Clav

    The natural and best possible economic system and a potential panacea for all that ails humanity if allowed to run unfettered, may instead end up destroying us all.

    Best argument I’ve ever heard for imposing worldwide socialism with a central government, located anywhere but the United States (which should be dissolved, it’s too great a blight on the world) immediately, — by force, if necessary — allowing the peasants to vote on it will delay it beyond the disaster point.

  • pablo

    Wow Clav have you been reading Carol Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope finally? You almost sound like a coinspiricist! lol

    Glenn lives in the world of black and white, good and bad, conservative and liberal, which
    is a very very shallow belief system.

    I also find it ironic that Glenn and his ilk, never talk about the true man made environmental problems facing us. Monsanto Corporation with its insidious genetically modified food comes to mind. Dioxins, PCB’s, or the vast radiation pouring out of Fukishima come to mind as well. Not a peep out of Glenn on any of those real environmental threats. Its always the insidious, noxious carbon dioxide that flora so desperately loves.

    Even a story about the raping of the Amazon would be welcome relief, but nooooooooooo its always about the sky falling. I have no doubt that Glenn is a big fan of Agenda 21 as well.

    I rarely if ever comment on this site anymore. All you have to do is look at the comments, and the lack them. Is it that the masses are no longer interested in the political stories of the day? Hardly, the other political sites that I visit are flourishing, while this one is languishing.

    In Glenn’s simple world its all about the left being sensitive, caring, and oh of course intelligent (cough) and the right being greedy, selfish, un caring, ignorant, racist, sexist, and bad. He does not care or want to know that the left for all practical purposes is controlled by the Rockefeller Foundation that great bastion of democracy, equality, and goodness.

    And so it goes. I suspect Glenn probably thinks that Chief Justice Roberts is a hero, for ruling that Obamacare is a tax!

    Your brand of liberalism Glenn I find the most repugnant of all, and that is coming from someone that was raised a liberal in the most liberal city in America, San Francisco.

    I literally can count on one hand the liberals that are in office in Washington D.C. that have ANY Substance or character. I wont even bother with the right as I can’t stand any of them.

    The biggest two names promoting the hoax of man made global warming caused by carbon dioxide are both oil men. Al Gore, and Maurice Strong. They in turn take their marching orders from the Rotchchilds, thats not a theory but a fact. You probably are not even aware (of course your not) that one of Gore’s daughters was married to none other than Jacob Schiff’s grandson. Those boys always keep it in the family. Oh I am sorry Glenn you probably dont even know who Schiff was! LOL

    By the way I frequently do read your comments on here Glenn, if for no other reason than to remind myself of what I am not. Thanks for that.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Pablo –

    I also find it ironic that Glenn and his ilk, never talk about the true man made environmental problems facing us. Monsanto Corporation with its insidious genetically modified food comes to mind. Dioxins, PCB’s, or the vast radiation pouring out of Fukishima come to mind as well. Not a peep out of Glenn on any of those real environmental threats. Its always the insidious, noxious carbon dioxide that flora so desperately loves.

    FYI, none of those oh-so-insidious problems to which you refer even come close to what we’re facing with AGW – but of course in Pablo World AGW is just a hoax, and NASA, NOAA, and every national science academy and major university in the developed world are in on it! Gee, Pablo, you’ve really found us all out! It’s all a grand, far-left conspiracy between the Rothschilds, Al Gore, NASA, NOAA, and nearly all academia in the developed world!

    Did you know that 25% of all pesticides are used in the production of cotton…and I grew up in a house surrounded by cotton fields. Our property – including ourselves and our clothes that we hung out to dry on the clothesline – were sprayed with insecticides and herbicides many times. There were many in our small rural community who died from cancer, far out of the ‘normal’ proportion of cancer in a community. I suspect that my exposure may explain my son’s ADHD, but I have no proof of that.

    We took this up with the EPA, but we were one household going up against Monsanto et al, and you can guess how far our complaints got.

    So don’t tell me I don’t know or care about other man-made hazards – I’m simply concentrating on the greatest hazards. If you want to worry about the greatest hazards, then worry about man-made hazards, then worry about (1) a general thermonuclear exchange, (2) anthropogenic global warming, and (3) influenza (like the H1N1 flu which killed 50M humans mostly in four months in 1918). Concerning that last, if H5N1 (or the latest big worry, H3N8) ever takes off as virologists fear it will, believe me when I say that Monsanto, genetically-modified food, and radiation from the very occasional meltdown will be the least of your worries.

  • Igor

    Global warming IS aided by CO2 generation because increased CO2 tends to keep heat within the atmosphere (sunlight enters easily while generated heat escapes only with great difficulty so it’s an unstable system). Flora, indeed, likes CO2, but we already have an overabundance of CO2 available to plants. We need more flora, but we are actually reducing flora with tree harvesting, etc. Adding more CO2 does nothing for plants, it is wasted.

    We CAN introduce plants like algae and tule reeds, etc., that can use freshwater runoff or brackish water (mixed salt and fresh) to capture carbon and create useful cellulose for building. Right now I’m looking at a 10 acre tule marsh out my window, that provides habitat for thousands of animals, fish, birds, migratory ducks, etc., and which, if the carbon cap & trade goes thru, will net the County $100,000/acre as a carbon layoff for some polluter (who will eventually reform his processes under the economic influence of what it costs him to pollute).

    See, it’s really easy to understand CO2.

  • Where are these flourishing political sites, Pablo? I ask because the sites I see with a lot of comments are just boring echo chambers

  • The biggest two names promoting the hoax of man made global warming caused by carbon dioxide are both oil men. Al Gore, and Maurice Strong. They in turn take their marching orders from the Rotchchilds, thats not a theory but a fact. You probably are not even aware (of course your not) that one of Gore’s daughters was married to none other than Jacob Schiff’s grandson. Those boys always keep it in the family. Oh I am sorry Glenn you probably dont even know who Schiff was! LOL

    Same old Pablo.

    Innuendo and guilt by association might work in a courtroom, sunshine, but not in a rational debate.

  • pablo

    Same old Dread, some things never change. Blogcritics/politics boring, no traffic, and the same old uninteresting articles day after boring day.

  • pablo

    Rational debate on blogcritics, now that is funny Dread 🙂

  • Glenn Contrarian

    pablo –

    Reply to #16.

  • Heck, he didn’t even respond to something easy like #18

  • Igor

    @18-El Bicho: You are right, sir!

    Those rightist sites are REALLY bad. A rightist friend persuaded me to visit a couple of his faves the last couple days and they are TERRIBLE! Nothing but constant ravings about the Great Dictator Obama. No facts, no informative citations, just references to other diatribes.

    They just keep repeating their rants over and over.

  • Dan

    “Funny how you appeal to authority and then you accuse me of the same.”—Glenn (and zing)

    I accuse you of appealing to authority (not necesarrily a bad thing, but not as good as actually understanding the science underlying your belief system) in regard to the theory of AGW, on the other hand I simply referenced a study (not theoretical, no unknown variables) that demonstrates with a 1500+ sample size that shows correlation between scientific literacy and an attitude of AGW skepticism.

    Do you understand the difference?

    Now, if you would kindly provide a reference for your claim that AGW skepticism is driven in any notable way by the absence of any mention of global warming in the bible…

  • pablo

    Glenn 22

    First of all you didnt ask me a question, which I may or may not have chosen to reply to. You made a statement. I chose not to engage you on that stament. Pardon me!


    I chose to to respond to your query as your a royal pain in the ass. So why should I? Nuff said.

    Igor 24

    Did I say something about flourishing rightist sites? Nope, and for the record I cant stand the right. You like Glenn live in your left/right delusion, where all political debates boil down to that. It is a most immature and superficial approach to the politics of the day.

    Your reference to the great dictator I will respond to however. I thought g w bush was a monster, as well as his dad, and his grand dad Prescott who collaborated with the Nazis in WW2 with the Union Banking Corporation, with his step dad Herbert Walker. I just want to preface my statements to that you have no illusion how repugnant I find the right, and neo cons in particular.

    As to Obama being a dictator, anyone who can create federal law by fiat, is a dictator. Executive orders were meant to administer Federal Agencies, not to create binding law for American citizens.

    Furthermore when you have a president who now named american citizens as enemies of the state to be killed on site, I call that dictatorial, as well as inhuman, and unconstitutional.

    All you have to do is look at the stories on here for the last year or so and look at how few comments there are, and those that do comment almost invariable are the usual suspect, Dread, Glenn, Igor, etc etc. There is little to no new blood. And in my humble opinion it is a combination of the lame stories that are written by the usual suspects, as well as the usual commenters that amost invariably lack any depth whatsoever.

    I could give a rats ass if any of you like me or dont like me, either as a human being or a writer. I do know lame when I see it however, and this site is LAME.

  • pablo

    By the way, I do internet marketing for a living, and that is my bread and butter, and my day job. There is only one real criteria when it comes to making money online, which I have no doubt that that is what the owner of blogcritics is trying to accomplish due to the plethora of advertisements on this site. It is called TRAFFIC. I would bet my bottom dollar, that the political section of this site loses money, because there is very little traffic, and the proof of that is in the lack of new and many commenters, as well as the fact that several years ago they changed the formatting so that only 25 posts would show up on a page. They did this so that the user would have to open the next page of comments, thus creating more traffic. A feeble attempt at best.

  • Igor

    All scientists take a position of skepticism toward any theory.

    I, like my friend Jim, a professional physicist for 40 years, am skeptical of the Special Theory Of Relativity.

    Skepticism is normal. It is required in Science for the peer review system to work. But at the same time, a theory one is skeptical of may still be used for valid calculations, if it is the best working hypothesis around. Thus, Jim, whose entire career is in optics, occasionally uses GTR in his work simply because it produces the best result.

    I know that this is hard for non-scientists to understand, because so many such innocents imagine a sharp line between proof and un-proof.

  • pablo

    Skepticism may be the norm in a strictly neutral environment for scientists, however when vast grants become available to them if they align themselves with a particular scientific viewpoint, it ceases to be scientific and moves in the the economic realm.

  • when vast grants become available to them if they align themselves with a particular scientific viewpoint

    And your evidence that this has been a condition of any grant in the field of climate research is…?

  • pablo

    My evidence is of the most elementary basis Dread, human nature and greed. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or a climatologist to figure that out. I thought you had more brains that that.

  • That’s not evidence, Pablo, just your own prejudice.

  • pablo

    Now that is funny, common sense and intelligence is now deemed to be prejudice by the mighty Dr. Dread! That made my day, thank you. 🙂

  • pablo

    I refer you back to comment 19 Dread. Hahaha

  • pablo

    I forgot however that scientists due to their rigorous disciplines are immune from the temptations for us mortals. Scientists greedy, unethical, abandoning principle for dough? Preposterous and prejudicial. 🙂

    If nothing else Dread you are indeed amusing for me today.

  • I asked a simple factual question, Pablo.

    Can’t say I’m surprised that you couldn’t answer.

    Can you imagine what would happen if you were a prosecuting attorney in a courtroom, and when asked for your evidence that Mr X had robbed the convenience store the only thing you had to offer was “human nature and greed”?

  • pablo

    We are not in a courtroom Dread, and it doesnt take a rocket scientist to understand how economics, ie huge grants to support a given scientific debate, would sway many professionals from acting professional. Just look at the banking sector. 🙂

    The fact of the matter is billions of dollars have been given to scientists from advocates of man made global warming due to carbon dioxide. I also am not saying that the reverse is not true, ie that alot of money have been given to certain climatologists to espouse the opposite position. I do find it highly ironic as I have said before that the two biggest proponents of man made global warming are both oil men. That’s a fact.

    Yet I have never heard one peep out of Al Gore about nitrgen oxides, carbon monoxide, or other forms of toxic substances being spewed out into the atmosphere due to the product that he sold, OIL.

    I most certainly am not going to get into a debate about the science of climate, as I am a layman, but I most certainly will debate the political side of it.

    In any event they are losing the public debate, the warmer mongers I mean. You can go onto almost any website about it, particularly political ones, and the comments are usually about 90% against the warming mongers.

    Money and greed have always got in the way of neutrality, in all of the endeavors of man.

    I must say again however Dread, your naivete in this matter is amazing.

  • Zingzing

    With such a hefty majority in the books, one would think the good money would be on the other side, and should have been so for the last decade or more. It’s amazing how conspiracy theories based on human nature don’t follow human nature any further than they want to. Maybe it’s because human nature dictates that once you form an opinion, it’s hard to stop believing it, even as we break records for highest temperatures everywhere around the world for the third time in as many years and the poles are breaking up and the idea that pumping tons of shit into the air does not decrease in fucking stupidity or noticeable changes and we get ridiculously extreme weather… Meh, it must be all some joke scientists are playing on us for grant funds, yeah.

    Pablo, the only reason people deny global warming is because they want the global conspiracy to continue. You are their tool. You know the conspiracy I speak of. Don’t act like you don’t. You know you’re working for big industry and the powerful, but do you know you’re working for? It sorta rhymes with cock, which is what you’ve allowed squarely up your back end while you weren’t watching…

  • We are not in a courtroom Dread

    Add to the lengthy list of things that Pablo does not understand: What an analogy is.

  • pablo

    Thanks gents, I will leave you to your usual mindless drivel. Have fun boys.

  • Pablo, re your #27, just for the sake of accuracy, unless you have changed tack, you don’t actually do internet marketing for a living, you do affiliate marketing. In other words you sell other people’s products for a sales commission.

    Again for the sake of accuracy, it isn’t traffic that matters, it is relevant traffic.

    Despite numerous attempts to find out, I’ve no more idea what the current owners’ business plan for this site is than I did the previous owners. Perhaps they don’t have one, which would be odd.

    Nobody is talking to me about it, even though I have a lot of creative and commercial input I’d like to see implemented that would make the place more interesting and more profitable.

    As far as I know changing the number of comments displayed on the page happened years ago under the previous regime. That doesn’t actually change the traffic levels of course, it changes the number of page views.

    Sure there are adverts on each page but I doubt most commenters even notice them and if anyone found them particularly annoying they could easily use an ad blocker plugin to get rid of them completely.

    With regard to the site content, it is easy to be critical of course, but not that much more difficult to actually become engaged and write something yourself, so why don’t you put up for a change? Of course, that does require a coherent point and some basic writing skills but surely such a skilled and knowledgeable person as yourself can manage that?

    As to your political point, which boils down to the succinct point that there isn’t much difference between the left and right in contemporary politics, I think, bar the party political hacks and the victims of dogma, most people would agree with that, which is probably why democratic engagement levels are so low.

    Whilst agreeing with your general position with regard to politics, I don’t agree with your views towards science, which largely seem to consist of a sneering distrust.

    Whilst a strong bias against the status quo is often a good thing, it doesn’t really make sense to try to dismiss all scientists in the way you do.

    With regard to the topic of climate change, even if we disregard all the scientific evidence, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that weather patterns are changing.

    If this is almost entirely due to natural changes in the planet’s climate, it doesn’t make sense to reinforce that trend by the heat given out by human activity and regard that as inconsequential, so doing what we can to reduce that heating seems prudent at least.

    If the human contribution to climate change is greater, then all the more reason to do what we can to reduce it before conditions become too dangerous and pose a genuine threat to the species.

    As you are a salesman by trade, Pablo, perhaps you are assuming that all people have that same basic motivation, but it may well be the case that you have become excessively cynical about people. You certainly come across as someone with an excessive amount of the once bitten twice shy syndrome at the very least. However, there is more to life and human nature than greed…

    As a pimp for the big companies through your affiliate marketing work, is it possible that this excessive loathing you display has a source much closer to home than you seem willing to contemplate? Enquiring minds want to know!

  • IIRC Pablo has written at least one piece for BC, but swore he’d never do so again after one or two of his submissions ran up against the previous regime’s brief list of taboo topics, namely:

    1. No cat blogging;
    2. No 9/11 conspiracy articles.

    No prizes for guessing which one Pablo fell foul of.

  • I myself came a cropper to this policy, after I penned an article that demonstrated conclusively that the 9/11 attacks were planned and executed in their entirety by a shadowy band of radical jihadist cats.

  • Igor

    26-Pablo: you’re right: Obama has assumed dictatorial privileges, like assassination, etc. It was wrong when others did it and it’s wrong now. The result , I suppose, of Americans obsession with vigilante justice. We granted the president implicit assassination powers when we didn’t demonstrate in the streets against it’s use when it was done before; now it is a permanent fixture of American rule. Too bad.

    We used to believe that the Republicans stood for moderation and restraint and observance of some kinds of righteous behavior (and we thought the democrats to be scoundrels) but the reps have demonstrated that all propriety must be abandoned for political power. Now THEIR scoundrelry makes the dems look insipid.

    Everything is permitted. Ethics are only useful as campaign slogans. Even obeying the law is considered naive.

  • Pablo, most internet blowhards who get called out on their nonsense find me to be a royal pain. Glad to see you keep the streak alive. Guess that explains why you didn’t name those sites of great discourse in your original comment.

  • And also why he didn’t name any of the climate research grants that were conditional on the recipient espousing the desired belief.

  • pablo


    One aspect of my online income derives from affiliate marketing. I also council for money various individuals about online income, as well as promoting numerous offline (brick and mortar) businesses.

    Yes I do believe that money particularly large amounts of it, oftentimes sways professionals from being professional, and selling out.

    I was in Berkeley California the night Obama was elected. I will never forget it. The people went crazy, thinking that their savior had arrived. I knew then, just as I know now that he was a complete sellout. He does not have one ounce of integrity and serves his masters dutifully.

    Dread, If I wrote a piece for blogcritics about how 19 hijackers from Saudi Arabia conspired with Osama Bin Laden to take down the twin towers, it would be published in a heartbeat. I only say this to show you your incorrect use of the English language. 9-11 was a conspiracy, of that there can be no doubt. I just don’t happen to subscribe to the governments theory, that is published as fact.

    El Bitch, the day that you act civilly to me is the day that I will show you any respect. I know that day will never come. Your name however is perfect.

  • Hey Pablo, it’s good you are doing more than just affiliate marketing. As I’m sure you know, having multiple income streams gives people more protection against life’s volatility and more freedom and control over their lives.

    It is obviously true that anybody is potentially vulnerable to corruption, but it doesn’t follow that an entire cadre of people in a particular discipline dispersed in multiple countries and institutions are all collectively being corrupted to produce false data and that that conspiracy is being completely hidden from view.

    As all the data is open to public view and anyone anywhere in the world can see climate change for themselves, I personally struggle to believe in such conspiracy theories.

    On the subject of the climate, these are the main possibilities.

    1. Not happening at all. The available data seems to contradict this view and the risks of doing nothing are potentially mass extinctions.

    2. There is climate change happening and it is entirely caused by human activity. If this is the case then due to the latency in the system we are probably going to see (amongst other things) crop failures and massive rises in sea levels and consequentially everything from massive population movements and war on a scale we can only imagine and fear.

    3. Climate change is a natural part of the planetary atmosphere and we are currently in a warming phase. If this is true, and I tend to think it is, then any additional heat output is going to reinforce the trend and amplify its effects. If so, then it seems to make sense to do what we can to reduce our contribution to that trend. The new ideas and technologies that effort creates will also have other spin-off benefits, many unexpected, just as any major push in any area of human activity always does.

    I know you believe there are large scale hidden powers and secret conspiracies controlling the world. It is possible of course but as even you know about them and they aren’t attacking you, is it actually true? Maybe, but if so they are doing a really shit job of implementing their grand schemes.

    I think you are mischaracterising Obama and people’s reaction to his election. It was a significant if ultimately minor moment in US culture and politics and there is much that is wrong with the political process in the USA and many other countries. However to depict people’s excitement about that moment as you do just seems cynical.

    As to writing for the site, which I would encourage you or anyone else for that matter to do, consider this: it is a fact that “19 hijackers from Saudi Arabia conspired with Osama Bin Laden to take down the twin towers”; your point about the nature of the conspiracy is lacking in evidence and so comes down to a matter of opinion/speculation and the site doesn’t publish unsupported theories. Come up with some actual new evidence and write a coherent, articulate article and perhaps it would be published. Or write about something else – expat life, local events, help people to earn multiple streams of income, there are many possibilities for someone in your situation to tell us about…

    El Bicho is amusingly named, doubly so if you speak Spanish, and seems to delight in squabbling with everyone outside of his little clique. He specialises in drive by commenting and rarely engages in actual dialogue, but then he is far from alone in that…

  • Igor

    Researchers are not very sensitive to policy results, but rather to the “publish or perish” syndrome. A regular measure of the quality of a grant is how many good papers result from it. “Good” here often means citation counts in other papers.

    Researchers, their advisors and grant committees are often lured toward subjects that are popular, but they are not attracted by specific results.

    Thus, String Theory attracts a lot of grant applications because it’s in the news and on TV. Perhaps, if an army of physicists and mathematicians attack String Theory they will produce some really good results, but surely they will attract a lot of grants in the next wave of applications .

    I, of course, like so many others, am a String Theory skeptic.

  • Pablo, I’m well aware that 9/11 according to the commonly accepted narrative was a conspiracy. My use of the term “conspiracy theory” refers to the definition, also commonly accepted, of a vast, coordinated and highly organized plot to deceive the public as to the true nature of the attacks.

    For the record, I didn’t agree with the prohibition on publishing 9/11 “conspiracy” articles, nor with that on cat blogging, for that matter. Ethically I don’t think any subject should be off-limits, although like every publication, online or off, we have clearly defined parameters for what we’re about (we don’t publish fiction or poetry, for example). Editorially I can see where there might sometimes be a case for not publishing essentially the same article over and over again (hi Warren!), or for putting a lid on a topic if the ensuing debate in comments had a tendency to descend into pointless acrimony.

  • I, of course, like so many others, am a String Theory skeptic.

    It’s said that there are only perhaps two or three people in the entire world who truly understand string theory, so that shouldn’t be surprising. Like most of what happens in the quantum universe, it is rather mindblowing for we lumbering macro entities who don’t operate on that level on a day to day basis.

    It kinda sorta maybe possibly theoretically starts to make a teeny tiny bit more sense if you stop thinking of space in terms of, well, space.

  • 3. Climate change is a natural part of the planetary atmosphere and we are currently in a warming phase. If this is true, and I tend to think it is

    While it’s true that the climate does change without human intervention, it doesn’t change spontaneously, and this is a point that AGW “sceptics” usually overlook.

    Natural causes of climate change are numerous and may include such factors as volcanic activity, solar activity, tectonic movement, large-scale releases of greenhouse gases like water vapour and methane, changes in the Earth’s axial tilt, and the whereabouts of the Solar System in its orbit around the galactic centre.

    However, none of these appears to be a significant contributor to the current warming episode. Volcanism has not been at an atypically high level in recent centuries, solar activity is low, the continents are changing positions orders of magnitude more slowly than the climate is warming, etc. The only phenomenon that is consistent with and accounts for what we are seeing now is the large-scale release of fossil CO2 from industrial era mineral combustion.

  • Igor

    @51-DrD: I’m not impressed when you claim that only a few people could comprehend string theory. Back in the 50s J.Presper Ekhert claimed that binary arithmetic was so difficult that only a half-dozen people would be able to program computers. So IBM and UNIVAC set about to design and build computers that would do decimal arithmetic instead. The result was the IBM 560 bi-quinary machine and the UNIVAC XS-3 machine. At great expense. All unnecessary: millions of ordinary humans understand binary arithmetic and use it daily.

    I know it sounds romantic and mysterious to suppose such things, but that makes it pretty useless to science, which seeks to explain, not entertain.

  • Not my claim, Igor. I saw it made by an eminent quantum physicist (can’t remember who, but it might have been Hawking), who didn’t count himself among that number.

    Ekhert was an idiot to make that prediction, since a choice between two states is one of the simplest concepts humans know.

    String theory is not by any stretch of the imagination a simple concept, and ascends into esoteric areas of mathematics that are not at all intuitive, so citing an early computer pioneer’s spectacularly unimaginative assessment of binary arithmetic is a poor comparison.

  • Igor

    Mitch Jeserich had an excellent interview with Muller today on KPFA: Muller.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    Like you, I’m a string theory skeptic. It seems to me that every time the fabric of spacetime throws the string theorists a loop, they add something else to the theory. Personally, I like MOND – Modified Newtonian Dynamics – better, but that doesn’t feel quite right, either.

    But I’m certainly neither educated nor well-read enough to speak with any authority on the subject, so I’ll wait and watch.

  • MOND might work pretty well as far as predicting the movements of very large and distant bodies is concerned, but saying you “prefer” it to string theory is a bit nonsensical, since it doesn’t describe the same class of phenomena. It’s a bit like saying you’re skeptical of weathering but like plate tectonics.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Which just to goes I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, doesn’t it? Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to my Monty Python marathon.

    Every once in a while I take an extra dose of stupid pills – I was once very conservative, you know….