The Power of Conditioning

It was a silly, negligible article on what has lately become a silly, negligible website. A wiser person would have let it slide. But it poked me in a tender place, and I am not the kind of person who can just let such a thing go. So instead of shrugging it off with a sigh I took the bait. […]

Continue reading

A Grandiose Conceit

A few weeks ago, on March 24, we were treated to the spectacle of the First Annual Earth Hour, in which everyone on the planet turned off the lights for exactly sixty minutes, beginning 8:30 p.m. local time, as a gesture of solidarity with this beleaguered planet we call home. OK, so not exactly everyone. Well, truthfully hardly anyone. You […]

Continue reading

The Path of Greater Resistance

Or: A Skeptic’s Journey We all have our favorite topics, and the half-dozen or so of you who regularly read this blog undoubtedly know that one of mine is Climate Change, AKA Global Warming, AKA Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, AKA Climate Alarmism. In this subject I have a minority viewpoint, but one that is, I think it fair to say, […]

Continue reading

Critique Me, Critique You

A few weeks ago, I published an essay in this space critiquing the recent March for Science, which coincided with Earth Day 2017. The March had been represented as a non-political demonstration of grass-roots support for continued funding of basic scientific research. Fair enough. But in reality it was, of course, a highly political, highly public rejoinder to the Trump […]

Continue reading

One! Two! Three! What are we Marching For?

Hint: It ain’t Science Just a few days ago we celebrated Earth Day, 2017, during which all of us paused for a moment to share our appreciation for our home planet, this verdant and fecund oasis in the endless vacuum of space. Gaia says “Thank you,” by the way. In addition to the usual festivities, this year we were treated […]

Continue reading

An Open Letter to the Readers of Salon

Or: Global Warming, Meet Lysenkoism; You Two Have a Lot in Common!   While wallowing in the bloom of online post-election bloviation the other day, I chanced across this entrancing article on Salon. Being a reliable voice of the American Left, Salon can be counted on to deliver the party line on whatever issue has momentarily captured the zeitgeist. And […]

Continue reading

Good News is No News

Two separate, unrelated items in the scientific press have recently come to my attention. Both are, it would not be a stretch to say, pleasantly surprising, at least to those of pessimistic bent. And with their emergence is raised the faint but tantalizing possibility that perhaps the end is not at hand after all. The first item, which relates recent […]

Continue reading

A Catastrophe that Isn’t

The pitch is about as direct as you can imagine, the causal chain unambiguous and damning. There is, we are told, a place called the Marshall Islands, a collection of coral islets straddling the equator a few hundred miles northeast of Australia. A little slice of paradise, it is an idyllic place of waving palm trees, warm ocean breezes, and […]

Continue reading

A Nagging Uncertainty

Recently, a small item surfaced in Google News that caught my attention. This article was about a group of scientists from Yale who had just completed what amounts to a census of the world’s trees. After several years of work involving researchers from around the world, the team came up with an estimate of just over three trillion, or about […]

Continue reading

The Perfect Clarity of True Belief

Recently, I posted an essay in this space on the very topical issue of climate change, a subject I happen to care about, and on which I have strong opinions. I did this with some minor reluctance because the subject is a hot-button issue, and my opinion, though well-reasoned, is not exactly mainstream. It was at least theoretically possible that […]

Continue reading

A Really Inconvenient Truth

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it. H.L. Mencken   The cartoon, by Chan Lowe of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, titled “A GOP Thought Experiment,” shows an Earth floating in space, completely covered with water. The caption reads: “If global warming floods the planet but nobody is around to […]

Continue reading