Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Evidence-Driven Policies Remain Political

And look at this winter, already--will you?
Which way will you let the "evidence" lead you?

The American Thinker today published this, about the Obama Administration's push for energy independence:

"According to Reuters, President-Elect Barack Obama has asked Congress "to act without delay" to pass legislation that includes doubling alternative energy production in the next three years and building a new electricity "smart grid." He said he also planned to modernize 75 percent of federal buildings and improve energy efficiency in 2 million homes to save consumers billions of dollars on energy bills.

"It is important to understand that these pronouncements promoting energy efficiency and alternative energy are not propositions that have anything directly to do with the controversy over regulations of carbon dioxide or about the "global warming" that CO2 allegedly causes. The promoted activities address two separate and, I think, very worthwhile policy imperatives: 1) the nation's energy security, and 2) the need for efficient alternative and conventional energy sources and delivery systems. The global warming question is separate, and, if mishandled, it can lead to costly and ill-conceived interference with the two mentioned imperatives, and waste trillions of dollars.

"On global warming, and man's role in it, my friends who were devoted to the election of Senator Obama as President, some very close to him, have assured me in terms like: "Obama's administration will be evidence-driven" and, "Anti-intellectualism in presidential politics is on its way out." Supporters like these are "confident that the new administration will be very thoughtful about using scientific evidence in making policy decisions, including [carbon control]". "Senate Republicans Need to Demand Re-Examination on Global Warming" By Harvey M. Sheldon

I agree the nation's energy grid, and our dependence on foreign oil, must be protected. Everything Sheldon said, I agree with.

But "evidence driven" scientific policies are not made in a vacuum. The policies are specifically metaphysical in nature. And policies of the government are still political.

Scientific naturalism as supported by such varied authors as Susan Blackmore, Paul Bloom, Paul Broks, Daniel Dennett, Sheldon Drobny, Owen Flanagan, Ursula Goodenough, Joseph Hilbe, Nicholas Humphrey, Brian Leiter, Thomas Metzinger, Tamler Sommers, John Symons, Tom Clark, and many others apply the metaphysics of determinism to scientific discoveries.

(Determinism is the doctrine that every fact in the universe is guided entirely by law; that all the facts in the physical universe, and hence also in human history, are absolutely dependent upon and conditioned by their causes. In psychology this is the doctrine that the will is not free but determined by mental states and at the same time by physical conditions, since the former cannot exist without the latter. Syn. with fatalism, necessitarianism, destiny. (adapted from the Dictionary of Philosophy: Runes 1942))

In this way, the metaphysics of each of us determines which way the evidence we validate is "driven." Some Christians, for example, will validate the "evidence" of God's existence from the fact of existence itself, and from the existence of the Bible will conclude that He made the world in six days. That is the power of metaphysics, and is a proper power. It is simply the way the mind works in the area of philosophy.

So telling us that a President Obama will set policy based on scientific evidence means nothing. Just last Friday, I published scientific conclusions that say "those carbons and other pollutants in the atmosphere are keeping out the sun rather than trapping it inside."

"Contrary to the conventional wisdom of the day, the real danger facing humanity is not global warming, but more likely the coming of a new Ice Age," says the website Winningreen.

"Annual North American temperature since 1998 (11 years of data) is falling over the period at a rate of 0.78(F)/decade or 7.8(F)per century. At this rate we will be in an ice age within 5 decades." [emphasis added] Alex Jones' Prison Planet

El Nino has an 11 year cycle. The solar flares have an 11 year cycle, and the two don't seem to correspond, unless as with all bodies of water it simply takes that long between the ebbing of a solar cycle for the El Nino cycle to ebb.

Sub-zero temps and wind-chill factors up to -35F from a Canadian Clipper will push cool air all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico today.

"Meanwhile, a developing storm offshore of the Carolinas will race northeastward overnight, but remain offshore," says The Weather Channel. It concludes by saying, "If nothing else, the storm will leave a legacy of howling northwest winds and biting wind chills over New England tomorrow morning."

And I follow that up, with my metaphysics leading the way with "evidence driven" information, to tell you that this is a map of the "Ocean thermohaline conveyor system that transports warm, salty waters into the North Atlantic," a conveyor that runs right along the American eastern seaboard turning northward near Florida and rising all the way north to the Arctic Circle, "tempering the climate of Northern Europe. If the conveyor should collapse on its return loop near Greenland and Iceland, Britain's climate could resemble Labrador."

I believe I have demonstrated what "evidence driven" facts mean. Specifically they mean whatever the user can make them mean. What the user makes them mean must be reasonable. If one company can use scientific facts one way to their advantage, and another company can use the same factual evidence to drive their business in a different direction, they will do so. It is only when the ends do not demonstrate the rationality of the metaphysics used that the "evidence driven actions" will appear foolish--or worse.

When those actions that fail are in the arena of government policy, and those policies affect every American and his wallet, the policies will make the policy maker look awfully stupid.

That is why we have not seen much of Al Gore these days. His inconvenient theory of global warming is proving to be just the opposite. From China to Colorado the winter of '07-'08 was the hardest on record. Lower temperatures had never been recorded in China; snow was still on the mountain peaks of Colorado in June. Fires in California, at an all-time high, are fanned by hurricane-strength Santa Anna winds.

And look at this winter, already--will you?

Which way will you let the "evidence" lead you?

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