Saturday, October 25, 2014

Abortion, Right and Wrong By Rachel Richardson Smith

Regarding Colorado's Proposition 67:
"If approved by voters, the measure would include unborn human beings under the definition of "person" and "child" in the Colorado criminal code.[1]"  

For all the propositions see:

They are once again trying to mandate that a freshly fertilized egg has the same legal rights as a full fledged human.  The abortion issue is not a cartoon that can be summed up in superficial soundbites.  Why do right wingers constantly try to ignore the complexities in life?

In any event, Rachel Richardson Smith, wrote an essay that stands to this day as one of the most intelligent, thoughtful articles written on the issue of Abortion. 

Originally published in Newsweek, March 25, 1985.

Here is the full text:

Abortion, Right and Wrong
By Rachel Richardson Smith

I cannot bring myself to say I am in favor of abortion. I don’t want anyone to have one. I want people to use contraceptives and for those contraceptives to be foolproof. I want people to be responsible for their actions, mature in their decisions. I want children to be loved, wanted, well cared for.

I cannot bring myself to say I am against choice. I want women who are young, poor, single or all three to be able to direct the course of their lives. I want women who have had all the children they want or can afford or their in bad marriages or destructive relationships to avoid being trapped by pregnancy.

So these days when thousands rally in opposition to legalized abortion, when facilities providing abortions are bombed, when the president speaks glowingly of the growing momentum behind the anti-abortion movement, I find myself increasingly alienated from those pro-life groups.

At the same time, I am overwhelmed with mail from pro-choice groups. They, too, are mobilizing their forces, growing articulate in support of their cause, and they want my support. I am not sure I can give it.

I find myself in the awkward position of being both anti-abortion and pro-choice. Neither group seems to be completely right—or wrong. It is not that I think abortion is wrong for me but acceptable for someone else. The question is far more complex than that.

Part of my problem is that what I think and how I feel about this issue are two entirely different matters. I know that unwanted children are often neglected, even abandoned. I know that making abortion illegal will not stop all women from having them.
I also know from experience the crisis an unplanned pregnancy can cause. Yet I have felt the joy of giving birth, the delight that comes from feeling a baby’s skin against my own. I know how hard it is to parent a child and how deeply dissatisfying it can be. My children sometimes provoke me and cause me endless frustration, but I can still look at them with tenderness and wonder at the miracle of it all. The lessons of my own experience produce conflicting emotions. Theory collides with reality.

It concerns me that both groups present themselves in absolutes. They are committed and they want me to commit. They do not recognize that gray area where I seem to be languishing. Each group has the right answer—the only answer.

Yet I am uncomfortable in either camp. I have nothing in common with the pro-lifers. I am horrified by their scare tactics, their pictures of well-formed fetuses tossed in a metal pan, their cruel slogans. I cannot condone their flagrant misuse of Scripture and unforgiving spirit. There is meanness about their position that causes them to pass judgment on the lives of women in a way I could never do.

The pro-life groups, with their fundamentalist religious attitudes, have a fear and an abhorrence of sex, especially premarital sex. In their view abortion only compounds the sexual sin. What I find incomprehensible is that even as they are opposed to abortion they are also opposed to alternative solutions. They are squeamish about sex education in the schools. They don’t want teens to have contraceptives without parental consent. They offer little aid or sympathy to unwed mothers. They are the vigilant guardians of a narrow morality.

I wonder how abortion got to be the greatest of all sins? What about poverty, ignorance, hunger, weaponry?

The only thing the anti-abortion groups seem to have right is that abortion is indeed the taking of human life. I simply cannot escape this one glaring fact. Call it what you will—fertilized egg, embryo, fetus. What we have here is human life. If it were just a mass of tissue there would be no debate. So I agree that abortion ends a life. But the anti-abortionists are wrong to call it murder.

The sad truth is that homicide is not always against the law. Our society does not categorically recognize the sanctity of human life. There are a number of legal and apparently socially acceptable ways to take human life. There are a number of legal and apparently socially acceptable ways to take human life. “Justifiable” homicide includes the death penalty, war, killing in self-defense. It seems to me that as a society we need to come to grips with our own ambiguity concerning the value of human life. If we are to value and protect unborn life so stringently, why do we not also value and protect life already born?

Why can’t we see abortion for the human tragedy it is? No woman plans for her life to turn out that way. Even the most effective contraceptives are no guarantee against pregnancy. Loneliness, ignorance, immaturity can lead to decisions (or lack of decisions) that may result in untimely pregnancy. People make mistakes.

What many people seem to misunderstand is that no woman wants to have an abortion. Circumstances demand it; women do it. No woman reacts to abortion with joy. Relief, yes. But also ambivalence, grief, despair, guilt.

The pro-choice groups do not seem to acknowledge that abortion is not a perfect answer. What goes unsaid is that when a woman has an abortion she loses more than an unwanted pregnancy. Often she loses her self-respect. No woman can forget a pregnancy no matter how it ends.

Why can we not view abortion as one of those anguished decisions in which human beings struggle to do the best they can in trying circumstances? Why is abortion viewed so coldly and factually on the one hand and so judgmentally on the other? Why is it not akin to the same painful experience families must sometimes make to allow a loved one to die?

I wonder how we can begin to change the context in which we think about abortion. How can we begin to think about it preemptively? What is it in the trauma of loss of life—be it loved, born or unborn—from which we can learn? There is much I have yet to resolve. Even as I refuse to pass judgments on other women’s lives, I weep for the children who might have been. I suspect I am not alone.
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Why do Republican's want to deny a woman her right to self defense?

Here's another reason why rational voters, should get out and vote.

Once again religious extremists have managed to force their hateful obsession with interfering in and eliminating a woman's right to self-determination, including a woman's right to the self defense of her own body onto our Colorado ballot with their Proposition 67 their so-called "Personhood Amendment"

I'd love to ask these self-certain folks who presume they know "God's mind":  If God hated abortion so much why does he spontaneously abort over half the conceptions that occur?

Medline Plus - a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine 
From the National Institutes of HealthNational Institutes of Health
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Debate discussion - Religion > Why does god murder/abort so many babies?

If your one of the religions that thinks abortion is murder why is god murdering so many babies? 
Current estimates say that 60-80% of fertilized eggs probably fail to implant and then another 15-20% of the fertilized eggs that do implant spontaneously abort. 
So... that gives us a 34%-16% survival rate for fertilized eggs or to flip it around God murders between 66% and 84% of all babies. 
Why if God is opposed to abortions does he kill so many babies?
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"Few conceptions lead to a baby"

"However, there's some serious problems with the logic of ensoulation at the point of conception -- unless your God is a real asshole. The CDC as well as the March of Dimes and several fertility experts have conducted studies to see exactly how hard it is to carry a pregnancy to term. In general, less than 70% of all fertilized eggs will even implant into the mother's womb causing pregnancy to continue. From there, there is a 25-50% chance of aborting before you even know you are pregnant. If, however, you make it to your first month, your odds go up to 75% chance of carrying to term. So if you look at it from the point of all those little souls being given a home, only to be miscarried before they even know they are alive, that's a very mean God. …"
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Seems that every election these obsessive people come back to try forcing this question onto the voters - but they have no respect for the fact that we the voters of Colorado have soundly rejected such primitive tribal thinking.  

Abortion is not a government concern!  It is a deeply personal tragic situation that belongs within the circle of family, caregivers and spiritual guides - the state has no right pretending it know what God is thinking and that God thinks it's OK to force harmful situation onto woman for the sake of right wing tribal principles of faith.
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  Regarding Colorado's Proposition 48 (2008):
Text of the Proposal"Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Colorado:SECTION 1. Article II of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read:
Colorado Amendment 62 (2010)

"Colorado Amendment 62 was an initiated constitutional amendment that appeared on the November 2, 2010 ballot defining personhood as “every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.” It sought to ban abortionin the state of Colorado and challenge Roe v. Wade."


Reflections on a previous version of prop. 67, Colorado's prop. 48 (2010): 

Who's a person?

Proposition 48 (now prop 67) wants to define the term “person” to include any human being from the moment of fertilization as “person” relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of Law.

What are we coming to? Can we please consider a fertilized egg for a moment? It is a seed, home to unknowable potentialities. Do proponents understand that depending upon which data you believe, fifty to sixty-five percent of all pregnancies spontaneously (god initiated?) abort?

Yes, those fertilized eggs are bundles of sacred life and a world of potentialities. They deserve to be treated as sacred entities. But, death, passing on is a part of life, especially during those months of gestation. The fertilized egg must achieve genuine viability before it deserves the mantle of “personhood.”  It seems most unreasonable to demand that a “Potentiality” deserves the same legal standing as an existing human.

From a political agenda perspective - I’m constantly amazed by the bizarre right-wing ability to proclaim their conviction in: “The Right to Life” and “The Sanctity of Life”... for an unborn being, then in the same breath support inflicting a thousand “9/11’s” upon another distant, yet innocent, citizenry. Right-wingers will exclaim: but that’s self-defense!  

Why not ask: What about the troubled mother who must make an agonized decision based upon self-defense for herself and her existing family? How can the right-wing be so cruel to disregard the all around tragic ordeal abortion is for those involved? When will our right-wing brothers and sisters grant women their own right to self-defense, dignity, empathy?

For a most thoughtful consideration of the dilemma look up Rachel Richardson Smith’s essay: “Abortion, Right and Wrong”

Also see: 

When is a human human?

By Phil Plait | November 3, 2008


Saturday, October 4, 2014

LaPlata County Commissioners wanting to close rural libraries?

La Plata County Commissioners are actively considering axing La Plata County's two rural Public Library satellite branches.  I'd heard the rumors, then after reading an October 3rd Durango Herald article outlining the situation I was so unsettled by the prospect that I decided to write a Letter to the Editor and County Commissioners.

The following post is based on that letter along with quotes from the informative Durango Herald article and since I'm hoping this may inspire some others to contact our County Commissioners I've included their contact information at the end.
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How much is a library worth?
Sunnyside, Fort Lewis Mesa satellites under review
By Ann Butler Herald staff writer
Published: - Last modified: October 03. 2014 8:43PM

Durango Herald's Ann Butler writes: 
"That’s a question La Plata County commissioners are asking as they enter the budget process for 2015 and analyze the viability of keeping satellite public libraries open at Fort Lewis Mesa and Sunnyside elementary schools.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Why bother to vote in USA's Nov 4th Election?

{Check out the informative links at the end of this article}  
Recently I received a call from a local Democratic Party worker that went something like this: Hey Pete, how's it going?  Haven't seen you around this campaign, we could really use some help at the office, any chance we can count on you coming down to lend a hand?

You see I'd been a slightly active Democrat, particularly the past decade, even attending the State Assembly and Convention thrice, twice as a delegate representing Hermosa, La Plata County, but this year nothing.

My friend was curious why the depression and lack of interest, what happened to me?

Well, Obama happened, yet another crushing disappointment for those who believed in his campaign talk.  The man made assurances to We The People, but seldom fought for them once in office.  

Admittedly, I believe that had we the people - I'm talking about regular educated citizens who possess humanist and rationalist instincts - been busy putting pressure on the President, he'd have acted more valiantly. 

After all, it's the votes and vocal grassroots voters who put The Backbone into our representatives but it seems we the people abandon our newly elected leaders as fast as our government abandons it's peaceful foreign commitments.  Reminds me of the saying, "we get the government we deserve."

Of course there's also the Republican Party, our one time loyal opposition which has morphed into some malicious hulk possessed by the single-minded desire to wreck Democratic Presidencies and to heck with our nation's problems.

Think I'm exaggerating?  For an introduction to the GOP's disregard for our nation's best interests you'll find Robert Draper's "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives" an interesting read. 

Well then... having written all this, why am I not marching down to the Democratic Office to lend a hand and some cash? 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

;- )

This is just a test.
{And a depository of images I want to use in other places, plus prep for future projects.
Someday I'd like to write some essays about a day on the job with a humanist.}

Oh and that's Chili contemplating the iron curtain installation.

If you're curious what this is all about visit

Saturday, September 6, 2014

global warming hiatus? . . . where's the heat?

I'm truly amazed and saddened by how often I hear people claim they believe there has been a slow down in global warming.  That is simply not true, but you have to understand a little about our global climate system to understand why that is.  Admittedly, it's complex and scientists don't have all the answers, but what they have learned explains a lot.  
Here Rob Painting does an admirable job of explaining the latest findings along with new details about the various ocean circulation currents involved in moving heat from the air into the deeper layers of the ocean.
I'm reposting it here to add to my collection of valuable global warming information for the sharing and with thanks to John Cook and the team of volunteers who allow their work to be reposted.
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Posted on 5 September 2014 by Rob Painting

Key Points:
  • Even though the ocean has warmed strongly, global 'surface' warming in the 21st century has been slower than previous decades. One of the prime suspects for this has been an increase in trade winds which help to mix heat into the subsurface ocean - part of a natural oscillation known as the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO).
  • A recently published research paper, Chen & Tung (2014), claim that changes in the saltiness (salinity) of seawater in the North Atlantic is responsible for the decadal-scale variation in ocean heat uptake, rather than the IPO, as increased saltiness makes surface water denser and therefore facilitates the sinking of water transported poleward.
  • Chen & Tung's  own analysis, however, shows that North Atlantic Ocean warming peaked in 2006 and has declined since that time whereas deep ocean warming, as a whole, has not. 
  • This new research affirms earlier work (Meehl et [2011] & Meehl et al [2013]) implicating the increased, albeit likely temporary, mixing of heat down into deeper ocean layers as a key contributor to the slower rate of surface warming in the 21st century.

Figure 1 - Ocean heating rates for the global ocean and individual ocean basins down to 1500 metres. The coloured lines represent the various ocean layers. Notably the observations show greater warming in the deeper layers, with the strongest deep ocean warming occurring in the Atlantic & Southern Ocean. Image from Chen & Tung (2014). 

Ocean Warming: Background Context
The oceans are currently warming because of the extra greenhouse gases that human industrial activity has added to the atmosphere. Not only do greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, but they alter the gradient in the cool-skin layer of the ocean, which results in less heat escaping the ocean and thus warming over time.
Despite this increasing greenhouse gas-induced warming of the oceans, the ocean doesn't warm in a linear manner due to a number of factors, one of these being a natural decadal-scale variation in the way heat is mixed into the oceans by winds - the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). The IPO is, essentially, an oscillation in the strength of winds (primarily the tropical Trade Winds) which promote the mixing of heat down into the ocean interior and thus affect sea surface temperatures.
The main mechanism for wind-driven mixing into the deep ocean (down to around 2000 metres) is via convergence of warm tropical surface water in the subtropical ocean gyres. These subtropical ocean gyres are large rotating masses of surface water which occupy the mid-latitudes of each ocean basin. Surface water is transported to the subtropical gyres because of the winds drag on the sea surface. Rather than travelling in the same direction as the trade winds, the net flow of water in the surface layers affected by the wind are 90 degrees to the direction of travel - to the right in the Northern Hemisphere, and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. This occurs because the Earth is rapidly rotating beneath the surface currents and results in an 'apparent deflection'. The impact this has is very real however.

Figure 2 - annual wind stress (i.e. the average wind) for the global oceans between 1982-2004. The lime green splotches near the equator in each hemisphere depict the trade winds, and the areas from about 35° poleward show dominant mid-latitudes westerlies. From the location and direction of these dominant winds we get convergence of ocean currents at around 30-40° in each hemisphere. Image from NOAA GODAS

As the warm tropical surface waters travel poleward they encounter an equatorward flowing current created by the mid-latitude westerlies and this surface convergence causes the centre of the gyre to pile up water mass. With nowhere else to go, the surface convergence forms a vertical current known as Ekman pumping (Ekman [1905]) which transports heat down to the depths. In order to maintain a balance, there is a return flow of water, at depth, back toward the equator and poles. Note that there is also poleward transport in the shallow currents at the western edge of each subtropical ocean gyre - known as western boundary currents.     

Figure 3 - A strengthening of the gyre circulation between 2004-2008 is indicated by the gain in steric height for the 500 decibar pressure level (near 500m) relative to 2000 decibar (near 2000m). Image adapted from Roemmich & Gilson (2009).       

The Atlantic Ocean: A Driver, or a Passenger?
Chen and Tung (2014) analyse the ocean heat content data maintained by a Japanese research group, Ishii et al (2005), and make a number of statements about the cause of multi-decadal fluctuations in ocean heat mixing rates. Chief among these claims is that the change in salinity in the North Atlantic ocean is responsible for the decadal fluctuations, not changes in the trade winds and mid-latitude westerlies (the IPO) - as suggested by Meehl et al (2011), Meehl et al (2013) and England et al (2014) for instance. One of the rationales given by Chen & Tung for dismissing the role of the IPO in deep ocean warming is the expectation that the Pacific Ocean basin should have warmed more during the current (2000-to present) IPO negative phase. In a press release Tung states:
The finding is a surprise, since the current theories had pointed to the Pacific Ocean as the culprit for hiding heat
And in the paper itself the authors write:
"Nevertheless, neither data set supports the model result of Meehl et al. that the heat uptake in this layer (300-700m) in the Pacific dominates over other ocean basins during hiatus periods."
This is not quite correct. As shown in figure 4, Meehl et al's climate model simulations had the bulk of the ocean heat storage occurring in the Southern Ocean and the Pacific, but most deep ocean storage during IPO-equivalent decades was in the Atlantic and Southern Oceans. Two reasons why this should be so in the real world are that, first, the Southern Hemisphere subtropical gyres are situated mostly in the Southern Ocean and South Atlantic, and second, that some of the heat coming into the Pacific Ocean basin doesn't actually stay there. Not only is heat transported poleward to, and via, the gyres, and there's only one subtropical gyre in the Pacific (the North Pacific), but there is 'leakage' out of the Pacific with currents travelling through the Indonesian Archipelago into the Indian Ocean. And 'leakage' out of the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean (via the Drake Passage) into the Atlantic (Dong et al [2011]Backeberg et al [2012]). Additionally, the Atlantic Ocean is the only basin in which there is an equatorward warm surface current (part of the Meridional Overturning Circulation) and this ultimately carries heat to the North Atlantic - where it sinks.

Figure 4 - ocean heating rates for each ocean basin for hiatus decades (little or no warming) and all other decades in the climate model experiments carried out in Meehl (2011).     

So, despite most of the heat entering into the ocean via the Pacific, there's no realistic expectation that all the heat storage during the current negative phase of the IPO would be stored there. The NCAR climate model used by Meehl et al may not simulate the duration of the IPO (each phase being only around 10 years long instead of 25-30 years) and the exact manner of ocean heat storage correctly, but it has simulated the majority of deep ocean storage taking place in the Southern and Atlantic Oceans. The extraordinary intensity of the trade winds in recent times (Merrifield [2011], England et al [2014]) may go some way toward explaining these discrepancies, or maybe the climate model is just deficient in this regard.  
The Salinity Mechanism
Chen & Tung claim that changes in salinity in the North Atlantic is the driver of decadal variation in ocean mixing, rather than the IPO. Unfortunately the authors provide no analysis or specifics to back up this claim. Nor do they provide an explanation as to why, when North Atlantic warming and salinity has decreased since 2006, total deep ocean warming has continued. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) - the transport of warm tropical surface water northward - is indeed propelled by dense water sinking in the North Atlantic and travelling equatorward in the deeper layers, but it also has a wind-driven component to it.
A more likely explanation for strong warming in the North Atlantic, and one that would explain many of the worldwide observations, is that the strengthening trade winds from the mid-1990's onwards are mainly responsible. As the North Atlantic subtropical gyre spun-up in response to the trade wind-forcing, the gulfstream, the powerful ribbon-like western boundary current travelling north along the North American coast at the edge of the gyre, intensified. A greater-than-normal volume of warm salty tropical water was transported north with the current and this was drawn down into the ocean in the region around 60°N - where dense water sinking occurs.
In a negative IPO phase we should expect to see two regions of heat downwelling in the North Atlantic; in the area where dense water sinking takes place (near 60°N), and beneath the North Atlantic subtropical gyre (between 30-40°N) where surface convergence occurs. This is shown to be the case in Chen & Tung's analysis.

Figure 5 - Atlantic ocean warming down to 1500 metres for the 1999-2012, a period covering the majority of the current negative IPO phase. Image adapted from Chen & Tung (2014).  

Accelerated Surface Warming May Come Sooner Than Expected
In the concluding paragraph of their paper, Chen and Tung write:
"The next El Nino, when it occurs in a year or so, may temporarily interrupt the hiatus, but, because the planetary heat sinks in the Atlantic and Southern Oceans remain intact, the hiatus should continue on a decadal scale"  
The authors are referring to the slowed rate of surface warming since 2000. They maybe right about it continuing for a while yet, but their analysis may also suggest a rather different outcome. As mentioned previously, the North Atlantic warming and salinity anomaly peaked in 2006 and declined up to 2012 - the end of the analysis period. As Chen & Tung quite rightly point out, the extensive warming in the North Atlantic ocean (and the ongoing disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet) should have caused an influx of freshwater and made surface waters there more buoyant - perhaps slowing the sinking of dense water. This could help explain the slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) from 2006 onwards, but regardless, the slow down of the AMOC might help shift the climate system back toward the positive IPO phase.
Perhaps the quickest way of illustrating this, without going into a long-winded explanation, is to look at the 'accelerated warming decades' from Meehl (2013) - an analogue for the positive phase of the IPO. Characteristic features of 'accelerated warming decades' are anomalous cooling on the surface of the North Atlantic subpolar gyre (a clockwise circulating gyre south of Greenland), and cooling of all the subtropical ocean gyres as they begin to spin-down in response to the weak wind-forcing. The reason for the decline in sea surface temperatures at these locations is because of the reduced heat transport along the ocean surface from the tropics - where solar heating is most intense.

Figure 6 - surface temperatures for accelerated warming decades (positive IPO phase) in the CCSM4 climate model. Image adapted from Meehl (2013).            

Not only has the AMOC slowed down (Cunningham et al [2013]), but sea surface temperatures in North Atlantic subpolar gyre have begun falling, as have sea surface temperatures in the North Pacific subtropical gyre - best illustrated by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) being strongly positive this year. These observations hint at a slow down in the transport of heat from the tropics - at least in the North Atlantic and North Pacific. Whether they are just aberrations or an indication of a forthcoming change in phase of the IPO will become clearer in time.
Global Warming Stuck on 'Play'
The global oceans comprise some 93.4% of Earth's global heat reservoirs, and despite a slower rate of surface warming over the last 16 years, the atmosphere has still warmed and the oceans have warmed even more strongly than before. As revealed by earlier research (Levitus [2012], Nuccitelli [2012] & Balmaseda [2013]), not only are the oceans warming, but the deep ocean is warming in an unprecedented manner.
Building on earlier work, the climate model examined by Meehl et al (2011) & (2013) demonstrated that hiatus decades (decades in the model with little or no surface warming) occurred when anomalous heat was being taken up by the deep ocean. The pattern of surface temperatures in the hiatus decades is very similar to the negative phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). So, despite some discrepancies, the model implicates the IPO as one of the causes for the slower surface warming.

Since Meehl et al's initial study, a handful of papers have been published tending to support their key findings (e.g. Kosaka & Xie [2013]) Although these authors intimate otherwise, Chen & Tung (2014) is another paper in that vein. They confirmed that the oceans have warmed substantially, most notably in the deeper layers, and that the strongest warming during this current negative IPO phase has been in the deep of the Southern and Atlantic Oceans. In so far as their proposed salinity mechanism as a driver for the decadal variation in ocean heat mixing is concerned, they provide little in this paper to support it. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pascal Bruckner Against Environmental Panic ???

I've read a few writings by a popular media philosopher named Pascal Bruckner who spends a lot of time insinuating motivations onto other's - but, never establishing any sort of firm case.  I am offended that he has chosen to attack science in a most childish manner, dressed up behind fancy words and fanciful notions that are never supported with any sort of case study grounded in real world events.  

Heck, Pascal clearly demonstrates he doesn't even understand the difference between substantial and insubstantial, see ¶3.  Though it doesn't slow down his distain for the professionals who study our planet and the information they share.

Last year over at I wrote up a detailed critique on "Essay: Carbon footprint as 'original sin'."  I've now come across another article based on his book "Fanaticism of the Apocalypse."  Here again Bruckner weaves a cynical tale supported by nothing but his own muse.

Bruckner displays not the slightest understanding of what Earth scientists do, or the information they gather, nor the real life implications of that research.  Instead he feeds right into the Libertarian/Republican handbook of smug disregard for down to earth facts with an astounding amount of unjustified self-certitude.

Since Pascal Bruckner has decided to become a pawn in their strategic attack on science and rational learning - his words deserve to be examined and exposed for the farce they are.
Admittedly I'm no scholar, and it would be great if someone of more credibility take on the task - but until then, here is this layperson's critical review of Pascal Bruckner's fantasy as displayed in his The Chronicle of Higher Education article "Against Environmental Panic

{originally published at my}  
{I have informed The Chronicle of Higher Education... 
no response so far.}
{If anyone wants, feel free to copy and use as you see fit.}


June 17, 2013
Against Environmental Panic

By Pascal Bruckner (4200words)

¶1  In Jesuit schools we were urged to strengthen our faith by spending time in monasteries. We were assigned spiritual exercises to be dutifully written in little notebooks that were supposed to renew the promises made at baptism and to celebrate the virtues of Christian love and succor for the weak. It wasn't enough just to believe;