Saturday, September 1, 2018

Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria”

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

Friday, August 31, 2018

Diary 8/31/2018 - reset

It’s been an interesting, satisfying month for me.  Feels like I’ve cracked a riddle I’ve been circling around for decades.  When I think of some of the posts that lead to this breakthrough I’m reminded of a complain I once received about sometimes repeating myself and being boring.  

I giggle because yes, I’ve been working with variations on a theme that to disinterested eyes probably are boring as hell.  Oh well, I have no time for them, I’m interested in the eyes with genuine substance and curiosity behind them.

Besides, these blog posts are my self-study homework, they force me to think, do some research, to double-check myself, and then to share finished projects, some better, some not, still each adds a little more to my appreciation for this magnificent Earth I’m part of.  

I’ll add that though outreach is secondary, I do hope this resonates with some and that they find value in these efforts and I’d love to have a discussion about it, make a comment.

Now my warning, I will be doing a bit of repeat of some posts in order to start September from the top so to speak.  As for the labels I attached to this post: defending reason, engaging in constructive debate, reasserting need for honesty, celebrate learning, Earth Appreciationthat's sort of a declaration of what my blogs are all about.

Thanks for dropping in and best wishes, cc

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Exploring the Map vs Territory Problem - via the Brown Ocean Effect and Dr. Trenberth (revisited)

Time for something a little more thoughtful than jousting with Steele's LandscapesAndCycles snow job.  Since Trenberth's talk at Fort Lewis College inspired my previously posted FCFP column; which in turn inspired Mr GOP to share Jim Steele's complain about the lack of debate; which in turn lead to the forgoing series examining Mr. Steele's base disingenuousness and which isn't quite finished yet.    

Still, for now I figure it's only fitting that I share the other article I wrote regarding Dr Trenberth's talk.  The Four Corners Free Press column was intended for the uninitiated, this essay is intend for climate science communicators and wannabe communicators regarding the under appreciated Map v Territory Problem.  Food for thought.  Originally written December 10, 2017, revised August 22, 2018.

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.

He gave an interesting talk reviewing many aspects of our warming climate system including hurricanes, where he touched on the recent Hurricane Harvey with its extraordinary longevity and rainfall.  Dr. Trenberth went through its vitals, a million people displaced, homes damaged, massive power outage, biblical rainfall.  

He pointed out that normally hurricanes ‘peter out’ within on average 27 hours, whereas Harvey went for 70 hours on land making a loop and returning to the Gulf with it’s record warm waters, which fed the cyclone before it made another incursion onto land.  Then he discussed the many human factors around Houston that ensure floods will reek maximum havoc, pointing out that, “with climate change you either adapt to it or you suffer the consequences.”

What struck me was that Trenberth didn’t mention the “Brown Ocean Effect” which is a fairly new, but fascinating and important observation based realization.  Also, it’s another sure indicator of a warming world.  

Saturday, August 11, 2018

(Sd8) Heartland Podcast, LandscapesAndCycles Steele (1/27/15) the overview

A short overview of my 14 part series: "A virtual debate with Jim Steele" based on his Heartland Daily Podcast interview.

When I informed Jim Steele that I was writing a column about him and would also be posting about it at my blogs he responded with the following comment (his spelling, not mine):

"Meisler tells so many lies and creates so many distortions, I have indeed refused to discuss anything with him again. I once corrected he lies on his website and he deleted my posts. Meisler is also part of Slandering Sou's troll factory. I made one post regards Meisler's disinformation and one regards Slandering Sou's, that demonstrates their dishonest tactics. Nether is worth wasting any more time on despite their numerous sniping attacks. 

Responding to my (Sd5) Correcting Jim Steele’s poop on Peter Miesler, aka citizenschallenge.  Steele offered a succinct, "tl;dr" (too long; didn't read).  When I offered a 230 word summary, Steele's response was: 

To citizenschallenge, only see more lies and more Miesler fabrications regards what I write as well as total ignorance of your scientific understanding. Further discourse with a liar and fool is a total wast of time.  I will now block your email as dishonest spam. {So says the big man behind the huffy climate debate challenge - but take Mr. Steele up on it and he runs and hides like a rat.  And folks wonder why I'm not more polite with him, look no further than his words - not towards me, no, - I'm talking about his malicious slander towards the solid honorable scientists who have helped him gather information. 

It's rather interesting how directly quoting Jim Steele is seen as a lie by Jim Steele.  

It's the lesson right out of Trump's alt-right playbook and the reason I'm taking the time to put all this together in order to highlight the base dishonesty and disingenuousness of our Republican opponents.

They have dedicated themselves to a strategy of absolutely refusing to even consider what their "opponents" are trying to explain.  Talk about blinded by the faith.  It's a terrifying level of absolutism that I never imagined seeing Americans stoop to.  What's even more terrifying is how many liberal, progressive, pluralist, science loving folks seem to have turned off and simply don't want to know about it or get involved.

Jim Steele and Sterling Burnett | Jan. 27, 2015 | Heartland Institute 

April 2, 2015
#1 Mtn warming? - CC/Steele Landscapesandcycles Debate

Jim Steele: "And we trust the scientific theory because it been fairly tested by others - the theory must out perform all alternate explanations, eliminate confounding factors plus lively debate. But, what I was finding was the scientific process was being defiled when scientists refused to debate in public. ... and any attempt to prevent that debate, in our schools, in the media, in peer reviewed science, it's only denigrating the scientific process. …"

Well than OK Mr. Steele, let's have our Great Global Warming Science Debate.  I will accept these responses as your opening round.  I'll offer my rebuttals along with evidence and questions.  

Let's see if you live up to your own challenge, I agree to share your response without editing any of your words in a stand alone post.  This first installment looks at your introduction and your pet theory about rising CO2 not impacting Sierra Nevada temperatures.

Steele:  "theoretical arguments that CO2 was accumulating heat”

Friday, August 10, 2018

(Sd7) Abuse of Our Free Speech Rights (LandscapesandCycles-Steele)

August 2018, Four Corners Free Press, Cortez, Colorado 
Back in January, my Four Corner Free Press column was built around a talk by climate scientist Dr. Trenberth, an authority on our planet’s global heat and moisture distribution engine. In March there was a Letter to the FCFP Editor offering an alternative. 

The writer offhandedly dismissed the scientific “consensus” as though it were just another opinion, while lamenting the politicization of science (Apparently oblivious to the reality that his letter was nothing but a gross politicization). 

Ironically to underscore his legitimacy the writer encouraged us to read Jim Steele’s “LandscapesAndCycles” collection for a second opinion. As it happens, I’ll bet there are few who have studied Steels’s collection more than I have and I welcome this challenge to write about it.

You see, from my first introduction it seemed to me that what Steele was doing was a perfect example of “malicious abuse of our free speech rights,” though I didn’t have the words for it then. 

That started me on his trail.  I did a detailed review of Steele’s 2014 talk to the International Electrical and Electronic Engineers, I also transcribed his January 27, 2015 interview with Heartland’s Sterling Burnett in order to dissect his method. That one required fourteen topic-specific posts to do his torrent of misinformation justice. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

(Sd6) Steele: "tl;dr." Okay, cut to the chase, 230 words. (Landscapesandcycles net)

Jim Steele responds:  “tl;dr"

Okay, lets cut to the chase:

In a nutshell, Jim Steele proposes that landscapes and natural cycles are more powerful drivers of global warming than our insulating atmosphere. 

His intellectual underpinning is a self-certain, but never explained, rejection of CO2 science. He maintains it's a hoax with political underpinnings. Something his Republican audiences want to hear so he’s never asked to justify his super-natural assertion.

Once I got into researching Steele's claims and contacting most of the scientists he singled out for derision I was shocked at how shabbily Steele treated their hospitality and the collegial support he was given for whatever research project he claimed to be doing. 

I have put much effort into documenting Jim Steele's words and claims. I specify his errors, I point out his misrepresentations and then I provide the information he hides from his audience to support my claims and I invited Steele to debate many times. 

In closing, the letter’s complaint that “they don’t want debate” begs the question what kind of debate shall we have? Steele prefers the melodramatic political debate, where winning is everything while truth and learning becomes irrelevant.

I myself prefer the curiosity driven constructive debate. A scientific style debate where each side honestly represents their opponents position and the facts. Where both sides agree that a better understanding is the goal. I’d love to have that debate, but where’s Jim Steele?

Can you hear me now Jim?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

(Sd5) Correcting Jim Steele’s poop on Peter Miesler, aka citizenschallenge.

Since I have Jim Steele’s attention (among others) it’s time to respond to his 2015 LandscapesAndCycles’s blog article: “Clarifying Peter Miesler’s (aka CitizenChallenged) Dishonest Internet Sniping: Emperor Penguins” before moving on to my recent FCFP column.

My investigation into Jim Steele and his LandscapesAndCycles nonsense was/is also intended for students of the climate science disinformation campaign, as a dissection of arguments and strategies.  Along with a close up look at their amoral bare-knuckles approach to winning arguments, while dispensing with truth and honesty as their free speech right. 

Thus the concept of malicious abuse of our free speech rights - along with an example of what I call direct constructive intellectual confrontation.  Sure “engagement” is better, but sometimes one must confront before serious engagement is possible.  

Jim Steele’s blog post:

Clarifying Peter Miesler’s (aka CitizenChallenged) 
Dishonest Internet Sniping: Emperor Penguins
has the highlighted background - Complete as he wrote it, I added only some red highlights, I have not done any courtesy spell corrections, thus allowing Jim to shine through.

Jim Steele's introduction: Miesler is not a scientist nor does he understand biology. He is simply obsessed withe discrediting any skeptical interpretation. 
I never claimed to be a scientist.

Jim Steele is not a scientist either. 

Monday, August 6, 2018


I had a serious formatting malfunction that I couldn't fix and had to rebuild this page, I posted it at a new location.  Please visit:

(Sd5) Correcting Jim Steele’s poop on Peter Miesler, aka citizenschallenge.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

(Sd4) Jim Steele Responds to Citizenschallenge - LandscapesandCycles fraud

Preferring to ignore the email I sent him, which read:

Dear Jim Steele,

Some know-nothing from Kettering, Ohio wrote a Letter to the Four Corners Free Press complaining about my "one-sided" description of climate science, and the guy waved you around as some alternative expert to counter Dr. Kevin Trenberth's words.  You can imagine that got my goat, so you're back in play buddy .  

I once again invite you to a written debate - a honest constructive debate where lying about objective facts is prohibited.  You know where to find me.

Oh and if you instead choose to take your complaints to the shelter of Anthony Watts, or poptech, or such, please at least show me the courtesy of sending me a link.  I'd love to hear what you have to say this time around.

Thank you,

Peter Miesler
aka citizenschallenge
(PS. Gail is editor of the Four Corners Free Press
Included your pal Paul for the hell of it.)
{plus a few bcc’s to select scientists.}

JULY 22, 2018
Revisiting Jim Steele's LandscapesAndCycles Fraud - first an index of past research - Steele debate #1

JULY 28, 2018
Need a Real Dialogue About Climate - FCFP, January 2018 - Steele debate #2

JULY 29, 2018
Mr.GOP don't buy Jim Steele's Fraud - Steele debate #3

With two more in the pipeline, though the last one will deal with real science and not your nonsense.
Jim Steele responded to my email by posting a comment at CSC. It talked right past me, so it won't get out of moderation, not that I mind sharing its steaming content, kooky spellings and all.  I've already told him my blog wasn't going to be billboard for him.  Comments at my blogs need to be serious comments or challenges to me, not self-promotional garbage.

Jim Steele's offered comment:  "Meisler tells so many lies and creates so many distortions, I have indeed refused to discuss anything with him again. I once corrected he lies on his website and he deleted my posts. Meisler is also part of Slandering Sou's troll factory. I made one post regards Meisler's disinformation and one regards Slandering Sou's, that demonstrates their dishonest tactics. Nether is worth wasting any more time on despite their numerous sniping attacks.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

(Sd3) Mr.GOP don't buy Jim Steele's Fraud - Steele debate #3

My upcoming column at the Four Corners Free Press is a response to a Letter to the Editor that complained about my "one-sided" approach to telling the climate science story.  The writer, whom I’ll refer to as Mr. GOP, then steps into a steaming pile when his suggested alternative expert turned out to be my old pal Jim Steele.  
As it happens I’ll bet I’m as familiar with Jim Steele’s LandscapesandCycles fantasy as anyone.  Having spent easily a couple hundred hours studying his words and working on nearly fifty posts unraveling and exposing Jim’s many malicious deceptions regarding honest competent wildlife biologists the world over.   

My FourCornersFreePress column wasn’t the place for a line by line response, but I did want to write one up to help me gather my thoughts before composing my column.  I’m sharing it here, because this version gives me another opportunity to share all sorts of valuable supporting evidence.  I’ll be posting the FCFP column itself in a week or so.

Climate Science isn’t Settled, by Mr. GOP 
Four Corners Free Press - Letters to the Editor, March, 2018 

Mr.GOP takes issue with “We need real dialogue about climate” by Peter Miesler. 
  1. It seems that the "science" is settled.  
Damned straight, the fundamentals are as settled as the promise of tomorrow morning's sunrise!   I wonder what the scare-quotes are for?

The fundamentals of our global heat and moisture distribution engine and society’s influence are well understood!  The explainable known physical certainties far outweigh the remaining uncertainties!  

Tragically the well understood certainties are constantly being deliberately ignored or lied about by contrarian types, thus our Mr. GOP winds up profoundly ignorant of down to Earth physical processes. Here’s a sampling of that climate science.

‘Climate models are unproven’ ?    
Actually, GCM’s (Global Circulation Models) have many confirmed successes under their belts.  
By Coby Beck on Nov 20, 2006

Saturday, July 28, 2018

(Sd2) Need a Real Dialogue About Climate - FCFP, January 2018 - Steele debate #2

I've been finishing up my line by line dissection of Mr. GOP's March Letter to the Four Corners Free Press Editor.  Since he was complaining about how I presented climate science I figured I should include the column he was taking issue with.  It appeared in the January 2018 Four Corners Free Press.

We need a real dialogue about climate.  
by Peter Miesler, January 2018, Four Corners Free Press.

Early in December U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt told lawmakers he intended to organize a “Red team v Blue team” exercise to debate climate change.

Pruitt is being willfully blind to the fact that the scientific aspects of global warming have already been thoroughly debated by experts. It’s expected that Pruitt will orchestrate a lawyerly winner-take-all debate. One that’s based on rhetorical trickery and a ruthless disregard for facts.

It’s a shame, since we Americans needs a constructive educational dialogue. A debate where honestly representing your opponent’s arguments and data is as important as honestly representing your own data. One where objective learning is the goal, and where truth matters.

Speaking of honestly representing the science, on November 9th Dr. Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder and a lead author for IPCC’s Scientific Assessment in 1995, 2001, 2007, a giant in the field of climate assessment, gave a talk at the Fort Lewis College Climate Symposium explaining what scientists have learned about our planet. It sounded to me like a potential Blue team opening statement.

Friday, July 27, 2018

I am an Earth Centrist.

I've finally found a label I can wholeheartedly embrace and explain and defend.  I am an Earth Centrist !

The reason I'm posting this is because it's some thoughts I've been working on for decades and I'm finally getting close and I want to share even if it's far from finished.  Curious to see if anyone wants to bounce it around.

I am a fiercely independent guy and feeling more like H. Haller all the time so I don't make great internet intros, but feedback and networking is a requirement of life.  It's fine and poetic to be the sound of one hand clapping, but I'm concerned with finding out if any of this resonates with any one of the few who'll read it. Some of you folks know many people within the climate science communication and politics interface, one of them is looking for me.  Please help us connect.  

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated in comments or email.

Thank you.   citizenschallenge at gmail com
( revisited and revised 7/31/2018 )

I've finally found a label I can wholeheartedly embrace and explain and defend.

I am an Earth Centrist !

Meaning that Earth and her physical processes and the pageant of her evolution are my touchstones.  Understanding evolution and the biosphere I'm part of and how we got here is the foundation of all my reality. 

Religions, God, political beliefs, they are all products of the human mindscape, generations of imaginings built upon previous generations of imaginings, all the way down.  

Something real and to be reckoned with, yet in the end, it's only our mindscapes at work.  While the real creation keeps on unfolding outside of our heads regardless and we're left to hang on for dear life.

In a way that mindscape is a product of Earth's evolution, yet it's certainly distinct and slightly separate from Earth's physical biological processes, something unique, ineffable, yet with the power to manifest personal gods and Earth shattering physical events.  

I suggest most people are unaware of the Map v Territory Problem, thus society commits the same ME FIRST self-destructive errors that it has repeated for thousands of years, never learning a god-damned thing.  

Just as mega-corporations that have grown big enough to destroy governments, so too our mega-species has become big enough to destroy our life sustaining biosphere.  

That evolving creature that has existed since Earth bounced back from the last big comet strike about 65 million years ago.  

The one that had achieved a splendid plateau 8-10 thousand years ago, but that now humanity has reset to something the likes of which Earth has not experienced in hundreds of millions of years.  It’ll take a few decades and centuries to fully blossom, but it is as down to Earth physically certain as tomorrow's sunrise.  Such a tragedy, yet that is where we find ourselves in 2018.  


Then there's the God v Science question.

Knowledge of God is the ultimate in personal intimate relationship, your experience can not be transferred to, or replicated for, others.  

Religions are human constructs for enabling people to reconcile themselves with the seasons and hardships of their lives and to enable human societies to function in a civil organized manner

A God if there be one is All Things to All People, well beyond all human* understanding as the Holy Books warn us (* read petty, fearful, greedy, self-serving humans) individuals.  

If you are fortunate enough to be touched by God, that is your gift alone, something for you in your unique life.  It is not a recipe for your neighbors or the world.

Science on the other hand is humanity’s recipe for learning about the physical world and its processes as honestly as possible.

Science is:

Learning is the goal.

Fidelity to physical facts is the gold standard.  

Free Speech doesn’t mean it’s okay to lie and slander with malicious intent.  

Informed constructive skepticism is the rule.

Mistakes are for learning.   

Dishonest bluster and bullying is a crime.