Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


From the AGU: All softballs for James Hansen

Speaking of press release journalism, they just ended a press conference at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting led by James Hansen, head of the NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York. Hansen is a devoted global warming scientist, most well known to the public from his testimony to Congress in 1988 outlining the serious threat the world faces from global warming and carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere.

I had very much wanted to ask Hansen (as well as the rest of the panel) this somewhat challenging question:

Can you comment on the paleoclimate data that shows that changes in global climate temperature consistently take place before any changes in atmospheric CO2. If the temperature changes first, how can CO2 be the cause? The data appears to suggest that there are other causes for paleo climate change, and that the change in global temperature then forces a change in atmospheric CO2.

Interestingly, my question, posted digitally by using their chat line, somehow got pushed to the back of the line so that time ran out before it could be asked, even though another softball question, posted at exactly the same time, was given an earlier placement in the queue so it could be asked.

In fact, all the questions that did get asked were softball questions, indicating that these reporters were on Hansen’s side and totally agreed with him. A sampling:

  • When will we pass the point of no return before CO2 will produce an ice free world?
  • Your results suggest that the climate is extremely sensitive to CO2 changes. This appears to refute recent other studies, doesn’t it?
  • At what point will there be so much CO2 in the atmosphere it will be too late to prevent disaster?

I doubt that the press people at AGU purposely pushed my question back, but I also can’t discount that possibility. Worse however is the level of skepticism shown by the reporters that did get to ask questions. Hansen’s results might very well be true, but a reporter shouldn’t just accept this fact. Instead, it is the reporter’s job to make sure what a scientist like Hansen is describing is reasonably acceptable, and can stand up to questioning. If his work can’t, it shouldn’t get very much news coverage.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen today at the AGU.

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11 comments

  • Jim

    Yes! I feel your pain (to quote Bill Clinton) on not getting questions answered.

  • Many of your questions to me about my position are answered in this post:

    “Al Gore and the silencing of debate.”
    http://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/essays-and-commentaries/al-gore-and-the-silencing-of-debate

    However, you indicated in response that you weren’t interested in reading it. Makes me far less inclined to debate you. You should read what I say and watch the videotape at this link to get an idea of where I am coming from. The post has only a little to do with Gore himself.

    In fact, my concerns actually have much less to do with whether global warming is happening or not and more to do with the corruption of science as well as journalism. I emphasize the uncertainties because there is too much effort by activists in the global warming field — including scientists, political activists, and politicians (sometimes combined all in the same person) — to sweep these issues under the rug. This fact has been sadly documented in great detail by the climategate emails.

    How can good science be accomplished under these conditions, where a large number of important scientists are willing to consider some facts too inconvenient to be discussed or considered? Such dishonesty promotes distrust and disbelief, which is why the public’s belief in global warming has plummeted in the past two years. Assuming global warming is happening, these corrupt scientists have done us all more harm than can be measured.

    I don’t think you recognize this about my perspective.

  • jwing

    Jim,
    Please find another website ti haunt. It is obvious by your consistently snarky and rude comments that you enjoy being an agitator. You’ve made Saul Alinsky proud, now go away.

  • maybe James Hansen will answer Bob’s question in the comments on this page! I would like to hear his answer as well.

  • Phil Berardelli

    Well said, Bob. The CO2 effect is one of several ignored elephants in the climate room. Another is the fact that during the last interglacial, which occurred some 120,000 years ago, features temperatures that were warmer than present-day levels; this without the benefit of anthropomorphic CO2 output. And another is the possibility of another ice age looming. All of human civilization emerged during the current interglacial period (the 20th, if I recall correctly) during this current cycle. One reason, I suspect, is that ice ages tend to make it quite difficult to human civilizations to flourish. Which leads to an interesting and obvious question: If we’re due for another ice age, and AGW is indeed happening, should we encourage temperatures to go higher to avoid that onset? Just wondering.

  • Phil Berardelli

    Sorry — haven’t had my morning coffee yet. That phrase should be “during the last interglacial, which occurred some 120,000 years ago, temperatures were warmer…”

  • Jim

    OK. I read your post entitled “Al Gore and the Silencing of Debate.” I find any attempt to limit debate over science issues reprehensible. I would add the two following quotes to your list:

    “Al Gore’s not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalisation … And you must silence all dissenting voices. That’s what Hitler did. That’s what Al Gore, the U.N., and everybody on the global warming bandwagon [are doing].” Glenn Beck, The Glenn Beck Program, May 1, 2007.

    And:
    “It kind of reminds . . . I could use the Third Reich, the big lie.”
    Senator Inhofe, speaking about GW believers.
    Comparisons to racists and Nazis- all ridiculous.
    Unlike you, I do not believe Gore, Beck or Inhofe stifle debate. Each are equally capable of saying incredibly stupid things. I pay little attention to all three.

    As to your bigger point about corruption in science and also journalism, those points go directly back to my questions posed to you.
    1. Can you name ONE scientific organization that says global warming is a hoax, or global warming is happening, but man plays no role in it? My other post shows all of the science organizations that say global warming is happening, man plays a significant role in that warming, and that we all should begin to do something about it (National Academy of Sciences, AGU, Crop Science Society of America, American Physical Society, et. al.).
    2. You repeatedly say that money is behind man-made global warming studies and their conclusions. Please provide your proof of that statement, and specifically how that money influenced conclusions. Its a serious accusation, in my opinion, and deserves detail.
    3. If money influences the conclusions of these scientists, would you agree that since the House of Representatives is controlled primarily by Republicans who deny AGW (see the comments of all but one of the GOP candidates for President), and the House is in charge of appropriations, we should be seeing a change in the stance of all these science organizations in regard to their GW conclusions? And, I take it, that you believe all of these science organizations will change their stance dramatically if the Republicans sweep into power in 2012, a real possibility.
    4. And as for corruption in journalism, I would think that you would include in that category the theft of emails and their publication on websites. I for one do not think there is any silencing of GW skepticism: see all the Republican debates, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, all of FOX News, and the many websites such as this.

    I hope to hear your answers. Sigmund Freud said something interesting once about skeptics:
    ‘If one regards oneself as a skeptic, it is a good plan to have occasional doubts about one’s skepticism.”
    Might be worthwhile to consider.

  • Craig Beasley

    1. Can you name ONE scientific organization that says global warming is a hoax, or global warming is happening, but man plays no role in it? My other post shows all of the science organizations that say global warming is happening, man plays a significant role in that warming, and that we all should begin to do something about it (National Academy of Sciences, AGU, Crop Science Society of America, American Physical Society, et. al.).

    Red Herring. The very reputable scientists, of which there are many and are finding it much easier to be heard, are typically not part of said groups. It severely biases the chances against hearing skepticism on an organizational level.

    2. You repeatedly say that money is behind man-made global warming studies and their conclusions. Please provide your proof of that statement, and specifically how that money influenced conclusions. Its a serious accusation, in my opinion, and deserves detail.

    See Al Gore’s personal lifestyle and mechanations towards the now-failed carbon trading market, Hansen’s getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar with unreported speaking fees, etc., Solyndra’s failure despite massive govenrment funding, etc., etc… Not wanting to be left out of the ideological debate and wishing to make money are all the major corporations who have “green” initiatives and research arms (with large marketing budgets) trying to show their customers how “green” they are… Government subsidy of a “green” car that is ridiculously expensive and nearly nobody wants… Lots of money for both implementation and research in aggregate for “green” technology and climate studies pre-determined to show that the “green” is a crucial need.

    3. If money influences the conclusions of these scientists, would you agree that since the House of Representatives is controlled primarily by Republicans who deny AGW (see the comments of all but one of the GOP candidates for President), and the House is in charge of appropriations, we should be seeing a change in the stance of all these science organizations in regard to their GW conclusions? And, I take it, that you believe all of these science organizations will change their stance dramatically if the Republicans sweep into power in 2012, a real possibility.

    I’m sorry, what? Did the opinions of these organizations change during GWB’s time in office, or while the Dems held legislative sway? That’s the most non-sequitur you’ve written in your post.

    4. And as for corruption in journalism, I would think that you would include in that category the theft of emails and their publication on websites. I for one do not think there is any silencing of GW skepticism: see all the Republican debates, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, all of FOX News, and the many websites such as this.

    Really? Theft of emails that are legally required for disclosure under FOIA requirments? You’re willing to hide behind that thin gruel? You’re right about the outlets you mentioned getting airtime and a voice in these matters, but they had to fight like mad to be heard for the past two decades. And the official line is to marginalize them still.

  • Jim

    Craig-
    I certainly hope Robert will come up with better answers.
    1. Not a red herring at all. Fact. Every single science organization that I have found to issue a comment on AGW says its real, and man plays a significant role. None say the opposite. It goes directly to the point skeptics always make about consensus, or lack thereof. Still waiting.
    2. Not a bit of your response goes to my question. I would like to know how the National Academy of Science, or AGU, or any of the other science organizations, had money influence their conclusions on AGW. I have no idea how any of the things you speak of relate to that.
    Still waiting.
    3. Hey, I agree with you here! You are right, science organizations did not change their opinions when Bush and Republicans controlled all 3 facets of government. Thank you for proving my point that money has nothing to do with it.
    4. If the emails could have been disclosed by FOIA, then that is is how it should have been done. They still were stolen. Still waiting.

  • Jim,

    I will be brief.

    1. Science is not democracy. That all these organizations endorse manmade global warming only tells us that a majority of scientists agree with this point, and have decided to use the political pressure of their organizations to put pressure on the minority who disagree. However, this political lobbying is irrelevant. All that matters are the facts, which is why I don’t consider these endorsements very important.

    Moreover, can you name any other issue in science where these organizations have taken such a stand on a scientific issue? In other less political areas, these organizations know how inappropriate it is for them to insert themselves. I wish they would do the same in the field of climate science.

    Finally, just because a majority have an opinion and organize to say so doesn’t make the minority opinion vanish. There are still a significant number of climate scientists who remain skeptical, and they base this skepticism on the uncertainty they know exists in the data.

    2. Money and politics combine. There is billions of dollars of government money being spent to prove global warming exists. Every one of the global warming scientists gets their funding from the government. Your very example in your last comment, the National Academy of Sciences, is a government-funded entity in its entirety.

    It has been this marriage of government, politics, and the “We are all gonna die!” cries of the global warming crowd that has helped generate this funding. If global warming turns out not to be the threat they claim, then they fear the money will dry up. Hence the desire to squelch any opposition.

    3. While many Republicans might oppose AGW, during the Bush administration the majority were much more interested in keeping the gravy train of government cash flowing into the pockets of themselves and their supporters. This is why the deficit returned and the budget ballooned in these years, despite having a so-called conservative President and Congress. These guys thus had no interest in fighting the global warming special interests that wanted to keep that same cash flowing into their pockets.

    4. The theft of the emails is a straw man argument made by you and others to avoid reading the emails. Since the writers of the emails have admitted they are genuine, I would think you’d be more disturbed by the corruption revealed in their content than whether they were obtained and released improperly.

    Also, wasn’t Daniel Ellsberg a hero for releasing the Pentagon Papers illegally? Then, as now, the important issue was what the released data revealed.

    I am done. I don’t expect these answers to satisfy you, but let no one say that I, along with others, didn’t try.

  • Jim

    Well, thanks Robert for an answer, although the answers are lacking anything definitive (just what you say is lacking from AGW believers).
    1. Thanks for being one of the few to admit there is a consensus, and that consensus is on the side of AGW. You are right that there is a minority opinion, and no one believes that minority opinion should be silenced. Your website and radio appearances prove it is not. And many of those organizations issue policy statements in other areas of science (see NAS for example), but the fact that they are so vocal about this only shows how serious they take it.
    2. Most alarming to me is an inability to prove that money is behind conclusions from the majority of scientists. It is, in my opinion, a serious accusation, because if true it discounts all that they say in all scientific findings. I just wanted to know if you could prove it, because it certainly would have changed my mind. As of now, it is just your opinion, and not fact.
    3. The conspiracy theory only grows over time, and now includes Republicans as well. Its tough to keep up.
    4. It is you that brought up corruption in journalism, and I just provided you with one clear example-theft of private property. As far as me being concerned about what is in the emails, I have read some of them, they have been taken out of context, and every independent investigation says that it proves no corruption of science.

    I only came hear after hearing you on the radio, wondering if I could be convinced of your assertions. Alas, thats not to be.
    Peace.
    PS- I still like your inclusion of the Fleetwood Mac song “Albatross.” Well done!

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