Monday, December 31, 2018

f) Considering the Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria”

... and this one was the climax of my journey.  Doesn't matter much that few seem to get it or care, this one is my gem.  The culmination of my heroic introspective journey.  See, I was a genuine darma bum, as a young man I threw myself to experiencing life and the road, the wind and my own wits.  Been able to walk in many shoes for a distance, known many beautiful people and have enjoyed many wonderful discussions, seen many ups and downs.  Back in those 70s, 80s our country wasn't so scared and angry.  Being of poor but healthy honest stock people hired me, so I had opportunities to work many diverse jobs and live many experiences over the succeeding decades.    Considering the odds I've had a great ride.  

I'm a bonafide student of the University of Life you could say.  Among my early professors were a parade of enthusiastic research librarians before the days of personal computers.   Next to living, there was keeping up on science news and proactively researching things that interested me and since understanding myself and the entire Earth and her story interested me, it's been a busy life.  I dare say I've been attentive to every day, good and bad.  These days I'd label myself an Earth Centrist and I've accumulated some deep understanding.  Here I was finally able to summarize it in a way that feels complete and that opens whole new vistas for me.  I fancy this my U of L Master's Thesis.    ;- )
(Evening Jan 1, 2019:  Spent many hours today reviewing this 6 post collection and making final changes, then more final adjustments, plus adding some closing observations at the end of this piece.  I do believe this annotated collection is now finished.   
Happy New Year to you and best wishes, cc.)
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The Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s
“Nonoverlapping Magisteria”

“… missing was a much more fundamental division crying out for recognition.  Specifically,                                        
the magisteria of Physical Reality vs the magisteria of our Human Mindscape. …”
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The increasingly shrill and disconnected from physical reality attacks on science by faith-based organizations and individuals has me thinking about an essay evolutionary biologist and historian of science Stephen J. Gould wrote some twenty years ago in an attempt to address the tension between scientific truths and religious truths.
His solution was the notion of “Non-overlapping Magisteria” which delineated two teaching “authorities” (magisterium), the “magisteria of science” and the “magisteria of religion.” It wasn’t his original idea, rather a continuation of a centuries old dialogue between scientists and the Catholic Church that I don’t have the space to get into.
In any event, Gould concluded there should be no conflict because each realm has its’ own domain of “teaching authority.” Since these “magisteria” do not overlap, they cannot contradict each other and should be able to exist in mutual respect.
When it first came out

e) Map v Territory Problem, Statistical Certainty vs Geophysical Realities

. . . since New Year's Eve is upon us, I feel like collecting some of my favorite essays in an effort to summarize my perspective.  
Here are explanatory highlights from two articles that seemed to totally piss off the big boys.  'How dare a street urchin insinuate himself into their discussion,'  is the message I received loud and clear.  Well I dared because I thought the academic system was about increasing understanding, discussing ideas, finding and nurturing talent, but I've come to realize all those romantic notions belong to earlier more innocent days, back when principles and morality meant something and before the drive for profits and prominence dominated as it does today.  We live and learn.
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I share the key excerpts from two previous articles that look at a couple climate science communication pitfalls that are important and need much more open discussion.  At least if we're concerned with translating science speak into regular people speak.  The "Map v Territory Problem' and 'Statistical Certainty vs Geophysical Realities.'

Exploring the Map v Territory Problem - 
via the Brown Ocean Effect and Dr. Trenberth

Colorado Floods - statistical certainty vs geophysical realities - 2013

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Exploring the Map v Territory Problem - via the Brown Ocean Effect and Dr. Trenberth

On November 9th, 2017 Dr. Trenberth visited our local Fort Lewis College and was the featured speaker at an afternoon climate change symposium.  

A Distinguished Senior Scientist (in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research), he is a cartographer if you will.  His entire being is about getting the science, the models, the map, as close to representing reality as resources and ability allow.  This dedication has made him among the best in his field of climate studies.  

As a self-taught Earth and climate science enthusiast I’ve been familiar with his work for decades and have learned a great deal from his articles and in past years talks on YouTube and I was glad to finally have the chance to see and hear him in person. …

Sunday, December 30, 2018

d) Considering our dysfunctional public dialogue in 14 verses.

2018 was the climax of a decade long crescendo in my decades long effort to network with rationalists, scientists and science communicators, in what I fancied was our communal struggle to confront the nonsense that corporate funded science contrarians and select politicians were so successfully peddling to an under-informed and mostly disinterested public - and since New Year's Eve is upon us, I feel like collecting some of my favorite posts in another effort to summarize my perspective.  
This is the flip-side of my flier for the Democratic State Convention, it's a list of various important aspects of climate science communication along with key pit-falls and observations, in 14 verses.
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1)  Uncertainties vs. known Physical Certainties

It is a disservice to constantly allow trivial uncertainties to become the focal point of the public discussion.

In real life when we get mired or overwhelmed by increasingly complex situations, we stop, back off a little, get reoriented with the big picture, reacquaint ourselves with what we do know for certain, then move forward again.  

I’m not saying ignore uncertainties!  I’m saying keep reminding us of the overriding fundamental certainties!  Thus putting contrarian trivial pursuits into real world perspective.
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2)  Map vs. Territory Problem

Scientists are Cartographers mapping out the geophysical realities of our planet, the Territory if you will.  They do the best they can with the data they have available.

Too often we get trapped into assuming that until our scientists can define all aspects with statistical certainty, we should assume it's okay to ignore.  
That's getting lost on the Map and forgetting we exist within the Territory.  
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3)  Sloppy usage of “Natural Variability”

c) Intellectually Confronting Faith-Based thinking and Dogma Driven Deceptions

Why not challenge people to realize no human has ever been born capable of understanding the true “God Almighty of Light and Time, Creation and Love” ?

( 2018 was the climax of a decade long crescendo in my decades long effort to network with rationalists, scientists and science communicators, in what I fancied was our communal struggle to confront the dishonest nonsense that corporate funded science contrarians and select politicians were so successfully peddling to an under-informed and mostly disinterested public - and since New Year's Eve is upon us, I feel like collecting some of my favorite essays in an effort to summarize my perspective.  
This is half of a flier that I circulated at the Colorado Democratic Assembly and Convention and where I did my best to summarize a challenge to confront faith-based thinking and dogma driven deceptions - along with some retrospective at the end. )
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The Memes Courier
    Colorado Democratic Assembly -  April 13, 2018  
      
Intellectually Confronting Faith-Based thinking and Dogma Driven Deceptions.


The opposing sides: Children of the Intellectual Enlightenment vs Faith-based dogmatism spearheaded by the evangelical movement (driven by wannabe oligarchs).  Winning at the polls is only half our challenge when well over a third of our country fully supports this amoral president and his white supremest bullying and his attacks upon our government and democratic institutions.  
Beyond winning in the 2018 elections, we need to nurture a massive grassroots movement of informed and engaged voters who are willing to confront faith-based delusional thinking on an individual level, while also standing behind those we elect to make sure they get their jobs done.
Faith-based thinking demands a rejection of serious science along with hostility towards learning from down to Earth evidence.  This attitude is enabled and reinforced by a constant flow of contrived high pitched fear-mongering and paranoid machinations towards “the other” be it different people or ideas.
Why have we allowed their religion and God a free pass?

b) Saying No To Reality. Questioning the Geologic Column.

Since, 2018 was the climax of a decade long crescendo in my decades long effort to network with rationalists, scientists and science communicators, in what I fancied was our communal struggle to confront the nonsense that corporate funded science contrarians and select politicians were so successfully peddling to an under-informed and mostly disinterested public - and since New Year's Eve is upon us, I'm collecting some of my favorite essays in an effort to summarize my perspective.  
Here's another look at the importance of understanding evolutionary reality.
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The following appears in the July issue of the Four Corners Free Press
Working title was: Explaining the Geologic Column to the Faith Blinded Psalm1Tree. 

Colorado's Grand Staircase's Geologic Column - Wayne Ranney
(click on image for a better view)

https://earthly-musings.blogspot.com/2013/08/ancient-landscapes-of-colorado-plateau.html
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Recently, I was minding my own business listening to a fascinating talk on YouTube titled, “Rooted in Earth History: the Devonian transition to a forested planet.”  It was about strategies that Earth’s first ground-hugging plants adapted to escape the confines of Earth’s surface.  They did this in order to reach closer to our sun and further away from plant-eaters. 

This led to Earth’s first forests, which in turn led to an explosion of new environmental niches for life to radiate into. 

I learned some fascinating details regarding questions I’d been wondering about for a long time.  The lecture increased my understanding of evolution on this fantastic planet of ours, which has been a lifelong passion for me.

But my pleasant reverie was shattered by a YouTube comment that blind-sided me.  One ‘Psalm1Tree’ wrote in all seriousness: 

“There never was a Devonian period, just as there never was a Cambrian, Jurassic, Triassic etc. period. That's because there never was a Geologic Column. That is a 19th century construct that has no data whatsoever to support it.”

Besides avoiding the topic of the video, the comment is such an ignorant statement on so many levels that most who know anything about geology and evolution would simply clamp on the head-vise and back away. 

Unfortunately, decades of ignoring such belligerent ignorance about important aspects of our life and planet have led to its becoming so insidious and commonplace that our government is controlled by Republicans who disregard obvious physical realities on personal whim.   Justified only by a hubristic conceit that they are doing “God’s duty,” they are in fact all about pursuing their own EGO’s bidding.

I decided to engage Psalm with a short video that rationally explains what the geologic column is all about.  Then came my second shock.

a) Who says understanding Earth’s Evolution is irrelevant? 2018

2018 was the climax of a decade long crescendo in my decades long effort to network with rationalists, scientists and science communicators, in what I fancied was our communal struggle to confront the mischief that corporate funded science contrarians and select politicians were so successfully peddling to an under-informed and mostly disinterested public - and since New Year's Eve is upon us, I feel like collecting some of my favorite essays in an effort to summarize my perspective.  
I'll start with a Dec 2, 2017 introductory post at ConfrontingScienceContrarians  followed by some retrospective. 
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... Sadly all too many.  

I often hear people, not just the religious with their paper thin understanding, but educated rational people who superficially accept the notion of evolution, - (but who've spent little time absorbing what Earth's pageant of evolution has been all about) - dismissing the need to learn anything about it.  As if learning how to make money and survive in our modern society is all that matters to understanding our place in the world.

This disregard has led to a general apathy that I can't for the life of me comprehend.  Especially considering what an amazingly beautiful, complex, mysterious and absolutely relevant story it is.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

STOP CALLING SURFACE "COOLING" GLOBAL COOLING ! ! !

Yesterday a casual google search triggered a flurry of recent stories from a spectrum of news outlets, most with breathless headlines about two years of global temperature drop - that leaves me stupefied.  Too many of these stories with all their handwringing and confused writing either ignore or bury the fact that they are discussing Earth's surface temperatures.  Why can't we get the simplest principles straight?  It's the atmospheric insulation silly!  Right, Left, malicious and well-meaning, what up?  We live upon a Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine!

Our Surface Temperature represents about 10% of our Global Climate Engine's total heat content.  The oceans contain the other 90% of global climate temperatures, for christ sake stop ignoring that!  Enunciate how our planet operates.  Surface temperatures fluctuate, distribution patterns of surface heat are immensely complex, so what?  The fundamental physical reality that no one cares to hammer home is that our global heat and moisture distribution engine is accumulating a known amount of extra warming 24/7/365 and the reasons are well understood, and the amounts are well known.

But don’t take my word for it, listen to a real expert Josh Willis PhD explain the deniable, but unavoidable, physical reality.   First a quickie, then another talk with a bit more details, followed by some visualizations of Earth’s temperature rise to put these fluctuations into realistic perspective.

NASA | Ask a Climate Scientist: Global Warming Pause?
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Charting Irreversible Climate Change with Jason-3

Friday, October 5, 2018

Considering Kavanaugh and the failure to communicate

I had an interesting exchange today.  Related to my constant agitating climate science communicators about the need to directly engage contrarians, and just as repeatedly, being rebuffed by the big boys.  See, I've been repeatedly reassured: Climate science contrarians, or for that matter these days die-hard Trump supporters, are a “lost cause” and a distinct minority of the US population.  There’s not much point in interacting with them on social media or elsewhere.    

Seems to me simply looking at the degeneration of our public discourse, and the current attack our governmental agencies makes the folly of that smugness self evident, but evidently not.  Be clear this is about the dialogue on the street, and in media outlets, outside of the scientific community.  

We NEED to DIRECTLY ENGAGE contrarian characters and their arguments and misinformation for many reasons.

How else can we understand our own positions and arguments, if we can’t enunciate them in challenging circumstances?

How can we understand what’s going on within their heads and hearts, if we never actually listen to them?

How can we convince onlookers if we’re afraid to confront and expose the deliberate dishonestly of science's critics?

and so on.

In any event, in an ongoing dialogue at ATTP I responded to a pal's sidestepping non sequitur with the following:

I wrote: "Guess I’ll never get you to discuss my actual content –  blithe dismissal is as far as your interest goes. But, than it seems we’ve turned into a society that rather talk past each other. {Have you checked political polls lately, looks to me like the fruits of our general apathy and that god-awful laziness when it come to actually confronting what the other is trying to express.}"

This prompted his angry complaint: “… your propensity to falsely define me, for example. cc wrote:
"Have you checked political polls lately, looks to me like the fruits of our general apathy and that god-awful laziness when it come to actually confronting what the other is trying to express."
Implicit in your statement is the belief that I am not paying attention to what is going on in US politics. …
===================================================================
I'm sharing my response mainly because it drifts into the current Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination which serves as a perfect example of the fruits of intellectual's benign neglect of the lower classes, and which has been weighing heavy on my heart these past days.  

Oh please STOP already!  It’s not all about you! Excuse the sloppy rhetorical device. 

I’m trying to discuss the need for more direction citizen dialogue, engagement, motivation, networking - you know a healthy Democracy demands an informed and engaged citizenry and all that.

Please, I was asking about the fact and not poking at you.   

Consider what we have witnessed in America this past week.  You know the Kavanaugh hearing and the voter opinion polls that look like they’ve gone though a wild 15/20 point swing.  Republicans have suddenly been justified and energized and Democratic momentum seems to have evaporated.  What happened?  How can that be understood, what does that portent for the coming election?

Then my point:
Kavanaugh was a very passionate partisan, even belligerent and threatening.  A man who felt free dropping conspiracy theories without offering a shred of evidence, in order to distract from the actual issue at hand. 

Kavanaugh delivered an emotionalized, personalized, angry, even threatening diatribe.  He showed himself to be the great white American male playing the victim card like a consummate performer.  He used anger and indignation to evade all questions and America ate it up because of, …  Why?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

8/7 Truth of Physical Reality vs Truth of our Human Mindscape

Completing the following essay is what inspired me to put together the 7/7 collection in the previous posts (having no jobs for that week helped).  It's been an exercise in distilling my lessons from a decade of active participation in the online climate science 'debate' and a half century of learning about Earth, evolution, geophysics, and her people through science and paying attention to unfolding of events.

I have been disheartened by the general apathy, but given that first and foremost this has been a self-study effort for me and that I have acquired a deeper understanding of our living creation than most, well that brings its own satisfaction.  Substance over facade and all that.  I wanted to peer inside the mind of the faith-shackled and get down into the mud pit of their malicious right wing attacks on rationality, climate science, physical facts in order to better understand their game.  It's up to others to decide if I succeeded.  With that, here's my favorite essay to finish out this particular effort.
   _______________________________________________________________________________________________________
    
The Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s
“Nonoverlapping Magisteria”











“… missing was a much more fundamental division crying out for recognition.  Specifically,                                        
the magisteria of Physical Reality vs the magisteria of our Human Mindscape. …”

© Peter Miesler, August 21, 2018
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

    
The increasingly shrill and disconnected from physical reality attacks on science by faith-based organizations and individuals has me thinking about an essay evolutionary biologist and historian of science Stephen J. Gould wrote some twenty years ago in an attempt to address the tension between scientific truths and religious truths.
His solution was the notion of “Non-overlapping Magisteria” which delineated two teaching “authorities” (magisterium), the “magisteria of science” and the “magisteria of religion.” It wasn’t his original idea, rather a continuation of a centuries old dialogue between scientists and the Catholic Church that I don’t have the space to get into.
In any event, Gould concluded there should be no conflict because each realm has its’ own domain of “teaching authority.” Since these “magisteria” do not overlap, they cannot contradict each other and should be able to exist in mutual respect.
When it first came out

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

7/7 Earth Centrist ponders, polite or honest?

The Situation:
The disconnected-from-physical-reality GOP attacks on climate science (a.i.) have reached horrifying levels with the Trump Administration.  Yet science loving rationalists, pluralists, progressives, liberals, Democrats still haven’t developed effective messaging for directly confronting the most childish of Republican arguments.  Why?  Seems to me, mainly because rationalists rather sidestep that Me First driven willful ignorance.  This acquiescence to nonsense has been a fatal error for the national dialogue.

Engaging and arguing with contrarians should not be seen as an exercise in futility, they are teaching moments.  Air the false claim, explain why its wrong.  Dissect deceptions, expose them, how else can we break the power these childishly contrived memes have held over political action?

Always remember the onlookers, and appreciate by making the effort to explain some of the science, you’re doing homework that invigorates your own understanding.  

When you’re challenged with things you haven’t learned about, making the effort to do the research, enriches you with a better understanding.  Seems to me it’s a win win.  …
(for rest of introduction visit previous posts)

Here's my final installment and it's time for the polite or honest challenge to be considered, followed by a list of climate science contrarians and denialists who's rather run than have an honest eye to eye constructive debate.  

Their arguments are contrived and with enough holes for a high school science class to drive through.  They can't stand up to serious scrutiny, that is why I keep wondering why don't we force that vocal scrutiny on them?

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Earth Centrist ponders, polite or honest?

...  You see I've hurt JohnSmith's feelings again, guess I'm too busy pointing out the fallacies he's perpetrating, rather than dancing with him.  Since I seem to have a reputation as a rough kinda guy, although I prefer "up front'n honest", it's worth discussing in more detail.  

For instance in my defense, instead of responding to my thoughts and queries, the guy reaches for the Whack-A-Mole gambit, which I'm not happy about, though I (and others) am willing to use the opportunities for sharing valid information on any angle of AGW that contrarians care to toss at us.

After sleeping on it, I've decided to share my improved and expanded response.  For the original and more of our exchange, check out: 



Ch4 Equinox 16-2 The Day the Oceans Boiled (17 Jun 2001)


JohnSmith, I just got through learning about the recent happenings in Japan, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3fbCOZlR1ctruly horrendous, yet our leaders are too busy jerking around each other to notice.  Let alone to appreciate what it means.  

It got me reflecting on your lament: "I just don't understand (citizenschallenge). I start out with a polite greeting ..."    Okay my sweet nice John, let me try to spell out why I'm edgy, hell, truthfully, I'm god awful pissed off at Faith Based Delusionals and the herd of ME FIRST political personalities (along with their sheople) and how they've ensured a hideous future for us all.  

I admit, in light of your words that is how I've categorized you.  Your velvety insinuations, your down right false assertions regarding the state of climate science disgust me because of their base dishonesty and the destruction they are guaranteeing. 

Your words make clear that your climate science understanding is as superficial as the film on a bubble. I believe that for you, this is about politics and your perceived financial interests.  Reading your words, it's obvious you've never truly considered the down to Earth physical reality, nor the consequences to our collective economic choices.  

You can't fool me, your talking points have been cut'n pastes,