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Posted by on Jun 21, 2011 in Science & Technology | 13 comments

Cognitive Dissidents

Hassan I Sabbah, the first Grandmaster of the cult later called “assassins” is reputed to have said: Nothing is true, all things are permitted.

Which is a very convenient and logical formulation: destroy facts and truth, and anything can be justified. Traditionally we in the West have viewed this with extreme suspicion — for reasons which ought to be obvious to the Reader.

And yet, today, the obviously “liberal” and, therefore utterly unreliable BBC reported this:

World’s oceans in ‘shocking’ decline
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News

Coral reefs are subject to “multiple stressors” that
could destroy many within a human generation

The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists.

In a new report, they warn that ocean life is “at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history”.

They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognised.

The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity.

The panel was convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), and brought together experts from different disciplines, including coral reef ecologists, toxicologists, and fisheries scientists.

Its report will be formally released later this week.

“The findings are shocking,” said Alex Rogers, IPSO’s scientific director and professor of conservation biology at Oxford University.

“As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the oceans, the implications became far worse than we had individually realised….

Now, even though the panel of experts represents literally hundreds of years of advanced scientific education, the snarling moonbats were able to debunk their unreleased findings without even bothering to read them. From the [in]credibly-named ‘BigFurHat’ at,

Okay, Can We Officially Say These People Are Insane?

Bla, bla, bloopety bloop. The usual tripe, ice sheets, global warming, sea levels rising… right? […] the CO2 scam is just a giant global money transfer scheme.

Antarctica – Wilkins ice shelf collapse 2009

And Right Wing News writer William Teach weighs in:

Uh Oh: Tiny Traces Of Gas Necessary For Life Will Kill The Oceans
June 21, 2011 – 9:29 am

So says Climate Alarmist Louise Gray: World’s oceans move into ‘extinction phase’

[quotes selectively from BBC above]

The scientists, gathered for a workshop at Oxford University, warned that entire ecosystems, such as coral reefs, could be lost in a generation.

So, the corals, which have been around for billions of years, and have survived ice ages, and, most notably, much, much warmer periods which saw much higher levels of CO2, could be killed off within 20 years? Yes, they are all nuts. But, they have to put out more and more dire predictions (notice that this is a “preliminary report”, which is unavailable for viewing. Said information comes from a press release) in order to attempt to keep people bought into their insane cult, and keep getting money and power….

And it’s ABSURD to think that the Passenger Pigeon would ever go extinct, or that the buffalo would skirt the edge of same. Nuts.

Yeah. Because you know, if you’re a retail store manager and a science fiction fan, you know a LOT more about multidisciplinary climate, ecosystem, biology, etcetera sciences that all those gosh-darned SMARTYPANTS.

Take THAT! you @#$# eddycated smartypants!

Expecially when you haven’t read the as-yet unreleased report but are merely reacting to a BBC report — from a reporter who, stupidly, specializes in environmental reporting when all he had to do was ask William Teach and Big Fur Hat and everybody could have saved the price of all those conferences and all the data gathering and research that preceded them.

Nothing is true, all things are permitted.

And THIS writer weighs in with the logical and fact-based conclusion that …  well, let him put it to you in his own inimitable manner :

Saving the world and the ocean, one activist opinion at a time – another NGO flap, this one duped global media
Posted on June 21, 2011 by Anthony Watts

It seems the alarming story of “Ocean extinction has started in our time” making the rounds of the alarmist blogs and gullible media is nothing more than an unpublished, unchecked opinion, and some pal review amongst activists at a three day conference…

At first, I thought that, below the screenshot, that was the entire posting, taken up  with typical snarky comments. But no. He quotes OTHER bloggers to “prove” that all the scientists present were actually evil ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS who were using fake science to bamboozle that stupid worldwide liberal press.

And, using the finest ad hominem reductionist reasoning (there is someone connected with GreenPeace, therefore ALL participants are GreenPeace), the entire science, conference, conclusions and science are neatly made to disappear down the snark hole. Poof!

[Again, without having so much as READ any of the science; if one is going to dispute scientific conclusions and data, one is required to have seen it first. Otherwise, we may, justifiably, aim our literal and metaphoric flatulence in the direction of the ignoramus, no matter how seemingly erudite their “reasoning.”]

Because, evidently, sitting in your granny’s basement in Pig’s Knuckle, Arkansas gives you magic eyes and if you find others who agree with you, it MUST be true.

The world IS flat, it turns out.

Throughout 2010, Hoft was CONSISTENTLY able to
“correct” crowd estimates at Tea (and counter-Tea)
Party events on Atlantic AND Pacific coasts
without ever leaving St. Louis, Missouri.

And the posters are far more erudite than their commenters — which you are free to read, although I don’t recommend it, any more than I recommend that when the Jehovah’s Witness shows up at the front door, you invite them in for a lively discussion of belief systems and theology.

Nothing is true, all things are permitted.

Now, before the false equivalence is reflexively played, yes, there are too many on all sides of the POLITICAL argument (scientific consensus, oddly, doesn’t seem to hold the same self-validating principle that amateur consensus does) who jump to conclusions not supported by the data or take the ofttimes garbled news stories and headlines as gospel truth.

for centuries anatomical dissection was prohibited for religious reasons,
costing countless lives that might have been saved, but for ignorance

But, in the exercise of reason, we CARE about facts. We care about analysis, and we CARE that we might be wrong, and have the intellectual honesty to be capable of changing our minds when BETTER information appears.

But we do not engage in solilpsistic reductionism — secretly realizing that in deductive logic, ALL conclusions are based, eventually, on assumptions that cannot be proven.

Let me give you an example of cutting to the chase: I will accept what you argue WHEN you prove to me that YOU exist.

Which you can’t, if I am firmly believing otherwise. I can rationalize any “proof” you wish to provide out of existence.

But, for the sake of survival, we use INductive logic and reasoning, and we need to pay attention to “truth” and “facts” however ultimately imperfect those turn out to be.

Too many, right now, have adopted the reductionist approach to logic, coupled with superstitious beliefs that are equally (if not more so) prone to being analyzed, snarked and quiffled out of existence with a knowing chuckle and, in groups, loud guffaws.

It is something, but it is not science, nor is it reason, which is very TOUGH on a nation whose political roots are deeply intwined with the Age of Reason and/or The Enlightenment.

MacBeth’s Witches

Happily, this is not confined the the USA. Meet the Boko Haram of Nigeria:

Boko Haram opposes not only Western education, but Western culture and modern science as well. In a 2009 BBC interview, Yusuf stated that the belief that the world is a sphere is contrary to Islam and should be rejected, along with Darwinism and the theory that rain comes from water evaporated by the sun.

It would seem easy to dismiss to Boko Haram, except that they’re increasingly violent and successful in their attempt to impose their “reality” on Nigeria:

From the Christian Science Monitor, today [emphasis added]:

Boko Haram attacks show new range, sophistication

Recent attacks by Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram drive home to politicians the need to bring isolated northern Nigeria into alignment with the government.

By Alex Thurston, Guest blogger / June 21, 2011

Last week, Nigeria’s Boko Haram movement claimed responsibility for a bombing at the police headquarters in the capital Abuja. Boko Haram has struck outside of its base in the Northeast before, but the Abuja bombing and other recent attacks have shown that the group is expanding its geographical range and increasing the sophistication of its attacks, sometimes coordinating multiple strikes at once.

Another example of these trends came yesterday in Katsina State, which is slightly west of the center of Nigeria’s upper North (map), and a fair distance from Boko Haram’s stronghold of Borno State (map). Accounts of the attack vary slightly, but here is AFP’s report:

Suspected members of the radical Boko Haram Islamist sect on Monday staged simultaneous bomb and gun attacks on a police station and a bank killing seven people, witnesses and local journalists said.

The dead included five policemen, witnesses said, in an attack coming just four days after the sect bombed the country’s police headquarters in the capital Abuja killing at least two….

Now, an accelerating death of ocean life and ecosystems is IMPORTANT, and, potentially far more damaging than the Boko Haram’s bombs. But the same mechanism is in play, and in neither case — domestic or foreign — are its effects benign or, perhaps, survivable.

Skulls from Cambodia’s killing fields

The simplest definition of sanity that I know is the ability to know what is real, what is NOT real, and what is not known whether it is reality or unreality.

It seems a fundamental distinction that we seem increasingly incapable of making.

The problem is, “Reality” doesn’t give a tinker’s damn as to whether we use our faculty of reason to anticipate and deal with crises. It is happy to roll over our pipe-dreams with all the consideration that the steamroller gives an unlucky frog.

Or, in the words of the great Spanish painter Goya: The sleep of reason breeds monsters.

Goya — the sleep of reason breeds monsters


UPDATE 5:25 PM PDT – Al Gore is quoted in The Hill, and the Same Bloggers attack in the same manner.


A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.