Today we announce the death of science. While many believed science would be destroyed by the climate change myth and it’s associated politicalization of science, death actually occurred due to the allure of television. Graduates in the medical field, in an attempt to make themselves popular and loved, crossed over and stabbed science to death today with the appearance of James Van Praagh on “The Doctors”. In an ironic turn, the medium may actually be able to speak to the deceased field and let us know how it felt about it’s own death.
I have been trying to find time to update this site. It’s summer and that’s my busy season. I do great deal of nature photography, so I am on the road or at the cabin nearly every weekend.
The hera buckmoth caterpillars are out in force at the cabin. I have brought home over two dozen. Half are in an outdoor “cage” with sagebrush planted (I added two more potted sage brush today) and half are inside in a container with dirt and sagebrush. They may not survive or pupate in the house but I am testing both ways. So far,, at least four have escaped the outdoor cage when I didn’t get the lid on tight. I found them in the sagebrush near where the cage is. I continue to monitor the area. I did look up information on the moths and found that at least one was seen in the county I live in several years ago, so if they did escape, it would not constitute an invasive species. Still, I don’t want them escaping. It will be interesting to see if any of the caterpillars do pupate and emerge. The literature seems to indicate the caterpillars winter over in the pupae stage, so I probably won’t know until next spring. Guess this is a long-term project. This is my second try at getting the caterpillars to moth stage. The first was not successful. Because they winter over, you need an outdoor cage with dirt. So this year, we built one that should serve well. With the sagebrush growing in the cage, it’s as close to natural as I could get.
These caterpillars are much harder to bring to moth stage than ones I have dealt with in the past. I once found a tomato hornworm on a potted tomato I had bought and put it in a jar and fed it. It pupated and the sphinx moth emerged. There was not enough room in the jar and the wings ended up crumpled, so there wasn’t any “humming” on the moth’s part. I really couldn’t let it go anyway since the caterpillar is considered a garden pest. I find that sad since I really like the sphinx moths but the hornworms do a lot of damage. Guess that’s nature for you!
There has been more wildlife out on the road to the cabin than last year. Years of living around wildlife results in you get to where you can spot fawns in sagebrush and notice things most people just drive by. I photographed a very young antelope (a fawn that lies perfectly still when you approach is probably quite new—older ones will get up and move away) in the sagebrush. He was so adorably cute! I use a long lens and try not to frighten the fawn since if he were to get up and move, it could be very stressful, especially on very warm or windy days. I want to be as nonintrusive as possible.
I also took more pictures of a badger—I love badgers! This was a young one so it was very curious as to why this large, noisy thing was stopping so near it (me in car on road). My record for seeing badgers is six in one day. Any day I see a badger is a good day!
There are so many things in nature that are simply fascinating. Unfortunately, with the constant presence of TV and the internet, people often miss out on the coolest things in nature. When was the last time you spent an hour watching birds in your yard? I started taking picture of birds, then learning to identify them. I have watched hawks and eagle feeding in my yard. It’s truly fascinating. I’ve seen bull snakes climb a tree and eat baby birds out of a nest as well as climb posts up to bird houses and eat the eggs/birds. It’s so much more interesting when you witness it in real life than on TV or YouTube. Teaching children, and adults, to observe nature will help preserve science for future generations—observing, photographing, recording and questioning things in life. Never stop exploring and learning.
John Kerry says climate change is the most serious threat to national security today. He is right, but not for the reasons he states.
Climate change belief has the potential to drag the world back to the stone age. That constitutes a serious threat to all of humanity.
We enjoy a standard of living people in the Dark Ages could not even imagine. Humans feed, clothe and house 7 billion of their own. Hunger and lack of services are often due to politics—oppressive governments, wars, etc. Third world nations are rising up out of poverty and joining the US, Europe , Canada and others with warm houses, plenty of food, and a high standard of living. India and China are catching up to the US with their industries.
Lifespans are long, diseases can be vaccinated against, medical care handles complex surgeries and organ transplants. We have very fortunate lives in comparison to past generations.
All of this comfort and gains are the enemy of the climate change promoters. Modern life, based on fossil fuel usage, is killing the planet. Some say it is too late—but wait, it’s too late to avoid all climate change but we can limit it. We just need 90 mpg cars (remember when Ralph Nader lamented selling of dangerous cars like very lightweight, high mileage cars? Not anymore—now it’s save the planet, not the person), wind turbines, solar panels, water rationing, less consumption of goods—you get the idea. Radical activists go so far as to say humans are a blight upon the earth.
The major component for fixing climate change is money—billion, trillions of dollars redistributed by the UN most likely. Kerry says the US needs a carbon tax (one supposes he does understand what damage this will do to an already weak economy but does not care). Money—that’s how we fix climate change.
Considering the astronomical cost of wind and solar, and the physical limits of such power, a loss of industries and home electrical use is the inevitable outcome if these methods are continued. Wind and solar are variable at best. Storage is being explored, but has not been successful large scale. There are no replacements, short of nuclear power, that are practical to replace fossil fuels. Ending fossil fuel usage means ending modern society, unless a reasonable replacement is found very, very soon. Currently, there is mostly a push to use the marginal wind and solar and live with limited power.
Many will argue such drastic measures are not necessary—moderate changes are enough. This does not go with the climate change apocalypse predicted by Hansen if we don’t take drastic action now. It seems drastic change is our only choice now. Hansen is again saying Earth could end up like Venus if we don’t take drastic action.
Whether or not ACC is “real”, current calls to drastic action represent a far greater threat to humans than climate change itself—or at best, the prospects for good resolution are equal for both ideas. Driving the world down to pre-industrial levels will be devastating. Massive wealth redistribution will be devastating,. Will waiting be devastating? Maybe, but it seems less dangerous than applying the “cure” of stopping fossil fuel usage completely. Humans have been remarkably adaptable for thousands of years and will continue to be.
We have an obligation to use our resources wisely and to keep our rivers, forests and land in the best condition possible. This does not mean declaring resources off limits or preserving huge chunks of land free from human habitation for posterity. We are part of the earth, not a parasite that needs to be destroyed. We are adaptable and resourceful. Trying to destroy the gains made by technology won’t save the planet nor the human race. The nobel savage was never truly noble. Celebrate Earth Day by being thankful for the world we live and thrive in today.
I read on another science blog a short post about not testing on animals anymore. The first thing I thought was “Finally. I’ve been telling people this for years.” Immediately thereafter, I realized I probably should be posting these ideas in one place for easy reference. Thus:
No more animal testing
If the cosmetic and medical companies are not testing on animals, that means they are testing on you, your children, your spouse and your pets. The safety of the baby lotion you put on your child is determined by a computer model. Which is fine if the programmer included sufficient parameters and there were no previously unknown problems (computers only know what we know–they just know it faster). However, if the new combination of ingredients sets off a heretofore unseen reaction, your baby is the way the industry finds this out.
While one can try and avoid this using organic and “natural” products, nature is not the loving mother portrayed in fairy tales. Organic produce has sickened thousands. It is still possible for a combination of ingredients to cause a severe reaction using an “organic, natural product”.
One in fifty children has some form of autism:
This headlines proves definitively that any “illness” that is a combination of symptoms with no discernible cause can be increased by any percentage desired by expanding the criteria for the illness. Or a new diagnostic criteria may be in order. If indeed there are one in fifty children has autism, we should be able to find a common factor in all of these children. This is not going to happen, however, because the disease includes everything from “anti-social” to severe social impairment (not speaking, head banging, etc). It is not reasonable to think these behaviours all come from the same source or even represent an illness in the milder forms. This is a symptom of a society that values complete conformity, not an illness.
There is one bright light in all of this: Parents are finally believing their children do not have to be crippled for life after a diagnosis of autism. With intense therapy as a toddler, the child can completely overcome the behaviours. In other words, autism is no longer deemed a life-long, incurable illness. That is wonderful news.
TV commercials for medications
This is one topic that really bothers me. A woman says she developed diabetic nerve pain but had no idea what it was. Then her “wonderful” doctor prescribed drug “X”. If the woman’s doctor failed to educate the woman as to the complications of diabetes, “wonderful” is not the word I would use. Incompetent comes to mind. I was 15 when diagnosed as diabetic. I knew diabetes could cause blindness, amputations, nerve pain, kidney damage and impotence. That was 40 years ago. Now “patients” proudly proclaim they did not know any of these things and their incompetent doctor was wonderful to prescribe a drug for whatever problem a drug could address. Medicine drops back 50 years in competence. That is not good.
Getting dumber all the time
I am reading a book about “The Dumbest Generation”, how people today are basically clueless in a world rift with information.
My husband and I used to discuss how eventually this would lead to a disastrous society. That was 20 years ago and we are seeing the beginnings today.
Every difficulty in life–weather, food, socialization, work–are crises waiting to happen and none of us can possibly cope. It’s snowing in the middle of March–whoa! Now what do we do? This has never happened before. Actually, it probably has. When people pay no attention to their surroundings they don’t realize that what they are being told is unusual is not unusual at all. (Naming the winter storms must please Gaia–we are naming her children I guess. Otherwise, I see no reason for the change. Hurricanes are named, winter storms–looking forward to Tornado Fred this summer. Not.)
Obama’s limo driver reportedly put diesel fuel in a gas limo over seas and a new limo had to be brought in. Schools are eliminating “honors” because it makes people feel bad if they can’t be really bright. In a few years, the surgery your child needs for that compound fracture on his leg will be done by a surgeon who feels really good about himself and if he has any questions about what to do in surgery, the nurse can “google” the information and display it on a screen. You may laugh, but it is coming to that point (see my first topic). Our society values everyone being the same. Competency and ability are irrelevant. If a kid wants to be a rocket scientist but can’t do math, no problem. We can get someone who likes math to help him. If he makes a mistake, oh well.
When I judged science fairs, a girl had made it to state comparing orange juices. One of those “juices” was SunnyD. No one was allowed to tell this girl that she was totally, completely, WRONG in her experiment and her beliefs. We had to smile and let her go on believing or we would hurt her feelings.
It is good to be a delta……….
It’s time to address the comment that got me vilified on WUWT: Animals are not people, do not think or feel like humans and that believing this does not make one uneducated, emotionally vacant nor does it require pity. Seeing the world as it is should never be a reason for pity—quite the contrary, it should be celebrated.
My disapproval of using human names for animals and assuming relationships that are not verifiable goes to my dislike of the “Walt Disney” phenomena, now also found on Animal Planet and other nature shows. As you convince children that deer have “families”, the hunter becomes the bad guy when your child reads Bambi. When you name meercats and give them a TV series, you raise the animal to star status.
I hear many times people calling themselves “pet parents”. The first thing that comes to mind is “these people cannot tell the difference between a puppy and a toddler”. That’s very frightening, mostly for the toddler. Imagine growing up with mommy and daddy equating you to the family’s golden retriever. Complain all you like about the statement. The fact is “pet parents” are equating the child and the dog.
What about people who claim the cat is just a member of the family? That would be the cat that runs the neighborhood and tears up flower beds, etc. Should the cat turn up dead, the family wails and moans about the loss of the family member. Do these people let their two-year-old run the neighborhood, play in traffic, etc? After all, that’s how they treated the small, furry family member. Either these individuals care very little for their offspring and do let the toddlers play in the street, or the cat was NOT a family member. It was a pet that they allowed to run wild.
One note on cats running: People constantly say cats are part of the environment, of nature. Killing birds is what they do and it is natural. Cats are DOMESTIC animals. By definition, they are NOT part of the greater ecosystem. They are part of the owner’s ecosystem (ie, house and yard). Bobcats, mountain lions and cougars are part of the ecosystem. Domestic cats are not.
My horrifying, evil claim on WUWT was that animals should not be called mommies and daddies and kids. These are human terms. They do not apply to animals, unless you are making the claim that “a rat is a pig is dog is a boy”. Science does not back up that claim. The claim was started by animal rights activists trying to wipe out “speciesism”. It was designed to force humans to stop eating meat, stop wearing fur, and, interestingly, stop keeping pets. It seems those who make this argument do not realize they are actually arguing against keeping the pets they are parents of.
People tell me they “feel sorry for me” because I don’t view myself as equal to dolphins. One commenter said “You feel superior to dolphins”. YES, I do and I am. Humans are the top of the evolutionary chain. Humans are the ones that build, adapt and progress. Dolphins live in the ocean where evolution left them. They have no ability to overcome changes in the ocean. They cannot move to a land environment and build themselves water tanks, thus expanding their living options. Dolphins do as instinct tells them. To me, saying you are the equal of the dolphin is backward evolution. Worse, you are proud to be evolving backward and consider that morally superior. It does explain many of the problems of the world today. Marilyn Vos Savant once answered the question “Can single mothers do an effective job of raising children?” by saying lions do this. The females hunt and raise the young. Yes, and the males fight over territory and breed the females. Sound familiar? Males forming gangs and fathering as many offspring as possible, leaving the women to raise them? Of course, in humans, there are hypocritical complaints about men not supporting their offspring. The gestalt of a situation is very important to consider.
There was also the statement that I live in my mother’s basement and need to get out more. I am a wildlife photographer and conservationist. I have thousands of photos of animals and insects. My adventures include:
Walking within 30 feet of a badger and watching it interact with me
Photographing an hours old antelope fawn
Watching a golden eagle and a red-legged hawk spar over a dead rabbit I had thrown out into the open in my yard
Watching a hawk and other raptors feed off a dead deer fawn in my yard
Gathering Hera buckmoth caterpillars to see if I could get them to hatch
Identifying hundreds of plants, insects and birds for my DVDs on nature in Wyoming
Does this sound like someone who lives in a basement? Yet, because I did not approve of calling animals mommy and daddy, I am a clueless moron detached from nature. This says a lot about the people doing the name-calling.
Which brings us to “why”. Why do people say dogs love unconditionally when this is clearly false. Stop feeding your dog and have the neighbor put out a steak. Check where the dog ends up staying. Dogs “love” you because you meet their conditions, not the other way around. The same is true of your cat. Stop feeding the cat and see if it sticks around. However the reason people love animals is they cannot talk. Humans can ascribe any description they like to animal behaviour and the animal cannot disagree. Your cat will never say, “This food is crap. If you loved me, you’d buy better food”, unlike your 10 year old who doesn’t want to eat his broccoli. Your dog can’t say “Your dress makes you look fat and old” unlike your spouse. Your hamster can’t say “You look like an idiot dancing around the living room” unlike your teenager. Your guinea pig can’t say “You’re a failure. Get a better job and move up in the world” like your wife. Humans are free to ascribe whatever fantasy they want to the animal and no one can prove them wrong. They are the perfect ego booster and a great way to feel like you’re king of the world. Your dog loves you. Your cat loves you.
People tried to tell me when my Yorkie died that my Pommie was grieving when she would go around the house looking for him. She didn’t want treats much anymore. She was sad her “friend” was gone. No, she was looking for where the little monster was hiding and waiting to jump out and steal her treat or just knock into her for fun. She wasn’t mourning, she was cautiously exploring whether the house was finally safe. After a year or so, she returned to eating treats. She stopped checking for whether or not he was still here. Sure, it sounds so sweet to imagine she missed him, but she didn’t.
Attributing human attributes to animals also makes us feel like we have more “kinship” with the world. It expands our importance and belonging. Again, we can “save the dolphins” or rescue a beached whale (even if there is a reason in nature this happens, we will override nature to save the whale. It matters not if by saving it we actually increase the whale’s suffering. We feel good and that’s what counts.) The best thing is the creatures being saved can never write a headline that says “Whale suffering increased when humans interfere with natural dying process. How can we stop this cruelty?” Humans never have to take responsibility for any actions except those they choose to. It’s the perfect charity. It’s the perfect ego booster. Rachel Carson saved the birds and caused the death of millions in Africa by pushing to make DDT illegal. Trust me, she never would have gone to Africa where the relatives of the dead could vent their anger on her. She sat in the forest listening to the birds that “loved” her for saving them. The saddest thing in Ms. Carson’s case is the Africans died for nothing. The birds were fine. It was Rachel Carson that was the mess. She elevated birds above people. Birds sing, people can complain and condemn. That’s the pattern.
As for the idea that because I do not name animals and attribute human behaviour to them somehow makes my life less fulfilled, I would say that it makes my life fuller. I am free to observe the animals for what they are—a beautiful part of the world that are different from me but infinitely fascinating. Their behaviours are complex and fascinating. Badgers are not “mean” like I hear often. Badgers have territories, they defend them. When walking toward them, I watch very carefully for signs I am invading that territory. I don’t watch them roll over on their backs and think “Look, he’s just like my dog. He wants his tummy rubbed.” No, the badger is testing my reactions. If I am quiet and respectful, he will allow me to stay fairly close for a long period of time. It is an amazing experience. Without my feeling he should be named or considered my equal.
Watching hawks and eagles requires distance and respect. Allowing the raptors to work out who ends up with the rabbit or the largest share of the deer fawn is quite interesting. In the “red-tailed hawk vs golden eagle”, the hawk won. In the end, the hawk snagged the remaining carcass and flew off with it.
As for elephants “grieving” we have no evidence this is true. Elephants behave in a way we as humans label “grieving”. Humans all grieve differently, yet we feel we can say elephant behaviour is so simple and straightforward that the elephants not only “grieve” all in the same fashion, but also we are so smart we know how elephants would “grieve”. One may not recognize grieving in a spouse or child, but we are so smart we know how animals do this. No, it’s highly improbable.
Animals obviously take care of their young. They mate and the male and female may both raise the offspring, or one or the other will. If we start calling the participants “mommy” and “daddy” and “kid” we immediately taint our observation. We impose our own ideas of mommies, daddies and kids on the behaviours. We may interpret female/babies relationships incorrectly. I cannot count how many times I have read of people “saving” a baby that was abandoned by it’s mother. They drag the poor thing home, try to rescue it (which is illegal in many states). The baby may live, though maybe not since in spite of our beliefs, we are not good deer mother. If so, the fawn will lose all fear of humans, making it a target for hunters and less afraid of traffic (probably). The animal may become aggressive in mating season and have to be destroyed or relocated if it is attacking people. None of this is caring, except about one’s own need to be a hero and save the animal. Worse, in most cases, the female did not abandoned the baby. She went away to draw predators to her rather than the baby. She know where the baby is and will return. In our insistence on describing animals in human terms, we cared nothing about the reality that their world is not like ours. Generally speaking, humans do not have to lure predators away from their babies on a regular basis. Deer do.
One of the most disturbing assignments of human behaviour to animals is that of prairie dogs. Prairie dogs will run out on a road and drag another prairie dog that has been hit off the road. Oh, that sweet, heroic animal. He cares about his relative so much he risks his life for the relative. Actually, the prairie dog retrieves the body because prairie dogs are cannibals. He’s dragging lunch off the road. If you truly love the cannibal side, that’s fine. As long as you are realistic.
Seeing the world as it is does not mean one misses any wonder in the world. It just means you see animals for what they are—animals that are very different from humans and very fascinating in their own right.
I was just told by Willis Eschenbach to get lost from What’s Up With That. It seems if one is not a butt kisser for Willis, you will be told to leave or driven out with name-calling and bullying tactics. My sin: To complain that Willis was referring to dolphins as “mommies and babies” and that was not appropriate for a science person to do. I was asked to explain my viewpoint, and then when I did so, was told by Willis to “get lost”, plus a few comments about my lack of humanity and how I should have left while I was still behind, rather than explaining things as asked to do. Explanations only get you called names and berated. Better to shut up and leave because differing opinions are NOT tolerated.
I have written before how damaging it is to science when skeptics are just as narrow as climate change scientists. In this case, I was told I would have been a bad mother (I’d give any amount of money to not be your kid) because I did not call dolphins “mommy” and “baby” and do not ascribe human characteristics to animals. I also believe Walt Disney’s view of the world is damaging. I was told “And when you say, “there is no evidence a baby polar bear “mourns” the death of the mother”, I call total bullshit on that one. All that one proves is that you haven’t spent enough time outside your mom’s basement interacting with the magical beasts we share the planet with. Dolphins will sometimes bear the dying members of the pod up at the surface so they can breathe. Elephants mourn their dead.” Willis cares not that I have a blog, website and sell DVD’s of nature. He cares not I have thousands of photos of nature and years of observation of animal behaviour. He cares not I have done reptile presentations at schools. No,if I disagree with him, I am a basement troll who knows nothing about life. Never mind that I am personally careful NOT to describe animals as humans and have heartily agreed with anyone who corrects me if I make that mistake. One does not disagree with Willis or they are stupid and uneducated and bad.
Again, with skeptics like this, who needs climate scientists as enemies?
Note: The elephants mourn their dead had a link to Animal Planet. One of the biggest promoters of climate change mythology is the reference for this write up on a “skeptic” blog. Talk about complete “double think”. It just does not get any better for those who attack skeptics, does it?
Update: Another individual dared say something other than “Oh, Willis, I love you. Can I have your baby? You are just the god of this website” and is being shredded also. This makes WUWT pretty much equivalent to SkepticalScience. Skeptics always argued they had science on their side. Not anymore. Some have adopted Michael Mann tactics and will not tolerate any lack of praise for their brilliance, much like Mann. Disagreement is not met with counter arguments, but with name-calling and demeaning. If you are looking for a place to actually discuss science and climate change, be cautious. Skeptics are not scientists and not civil in an increasing number of cases. This is very sad for science, but ego trumps science and civility every time. On both sides.
Quote: “science is a blood sport.” A frightening new look at what was once a civilized seeking of knowledge.