Re: [asa] Letters to Sam Harris a "Maladjusted Misotheist"

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Tue Dec 05 2006 - 14:22:19 EST

I see, you do accept a human component. That's a good start and if my comment misrepresented your position then I apologize. The quote from which I gathered your position suggested as much. So we now have the existence of natural cycles, as well as a human caused component. The human caused component has been shown to be a significant contribution to the global warming we are experiencing right now. As to the hockey stick graph, I ran across my good friend Tim Lambert when researching this online Criticism of a McKitrick paper Tim Lambert has McKitrick's own data analysis in a 2004 paper with Patrick Michaels. Among other things, Lambert found a bug in which the input to a cosine function was in degrees instead of radians. The authors have acknowledged the error and published a corrected version. They claim that the effects were "very small", that the correction "improved the overall fit", and that their overall conclusion was unaffected. Yet, after Lambert ran the regressions using the correct angle measurments, he found that they "no longer “explain” half of the surface warming trend McKitrick has pointed out."criticised McKitrick also states that Lambert was only able to spot the bug because the data and code used in the paper were put on a website upon publication, as is usual in econometrics but rare in climate reconstructions. Lambert's musings include an analysis of the impact of the number of weather stations on the temperature graphs ( as well as McKitrick et al's hockey stick arguments The claim that the software produces a hockey stick anytime is a red herring as the question is: is the hockey stick statistically significant Statistician Francis Zwiers of Environment Canada (a government agency) notes that Mr. Mann’s method “preferentially produces hockey sticks when there are none in the data.” This strikes me as a big red herring. If you do a linear regression on random data, you’ll produce a straight line. Does that mean that linear regression is invalid because it preferentially produces straight lines when there are none in the data? Of course not. What is important is whether the result of the regression is statistically significant—for random data it won’t be. William Connolley did some experiments and reports: What that appears to demonstrate is that M&M are right about one thing: it often does lead to a “hockey stick” shape in random data. But the problem is that the variance-explained of the PC1 done this way is tiny: the first eigenvalue is about 0.03. Whereas when you run it on real data the first eigenvalue is about 0.55 (back to 1000) or 0.38 (back to 1400). Which means the two problems are very different. More can be found here: In other words, Janice's objections to the Hockey Stick are the real red herring as it ignores that the data are statistically significant, and even though the program may produce hockey sticks using random data, the resulting match is not one of statistical significance. Statistics 101. And perhaps an apology is in order for calling the hockey stick fraudulent? Hope this clarifies... Augustine would have been proud :-) ----- Original Message ---- From: Janice Matchett <> To: Pim van Meurs <> Cc: Sent: Tuesday, December 5, 2006 9:37:36 AM Subject: Re: [asa] Letters to Sam Harris a "Maladjusted Misotheist" At 03:38 PM 12/4/2006, Pim van Meurs wrote: ... Poor logic and no substitute. ...I find it fascinating that in this day and age we still see people argue that volcanoes emit CFC's, or that since there are natural variations in temperature and ozone holes, this shows that there cannot be a human component. ~ Pim @ I see you're dragging another red herring across the trail either out of poor logic, ignorance, or a deliberate attempt to mislead careless, uncritical readers. The record will show that neither I, nor any scientist I have quoted, have said that "there cannot be a human component." The ASA archives of my posts on this subject are available for all who are interested in the truth of the matter. As to Sam Harris's book, ... Harris's book uncovers some of the flawed logic we find amongst parts of our population. ~ Pim @ What arrogant atheists / secular humanists like Harris and their books uncover / expose, are their own flawed logic and ignorance about what constitutes the orthodox Christian religion. ~ Janice ----- Original Message ---- From: Janice Matchett <> To: Pim van Meurs <> Cc: Sent: Monday, December 4, 2006 10:54:05 AM Subject: Re: [asa] Letters to Sam Harris a "Maladjusted Misotheist" At 12:10 AM 12/2/2006, Pim van Meurs wrote: ..So far her postings on scientific issues like global warming .." ~ Pim @ "Global Warming" is the red herring you drag across the trail -- either in actual ignorance -- or in the hope that most people are careless readers and will go sniffing off in the particular direction you want them to go. So once more I will bring you back to the subject of all of my posts on the subject, ie: "Human -induced global warming / global cooling", etc. As you well know, this is the sort of thing I ALWAYS post, because I agree with these sorts of sentiments: 28 From 1640-1715 or so, the Royal observatories in England recorded not a single sun spot. That timeframe was referred to as a mini ice age. Afterward, the sun spots resumed their 11-or-so year cycle, and temperatures on Earth returned to normal. The hubris of these people that think we can cause global warming. We can not affect the sun, the size of which could hold a million earths, with individual sun spots (magnetic anomalies) each the size of our entire planet. The core of the sun is so dense that it takes 200,000 years for the photons generated at the core to reach its surface. Once it exits the sun, the photon only takes 8 minutes to hit the earth, 96 million miles away. We are so insignificant in the whole scheme of things. Global warming freaks are one of two things: Megalomaniacs showing their Hubris el Grande, or Dictator wannabe's forcing global govermnent down our throat. I suspect the latter. * Transcript from the Oral Arguments Presented before the Supreme Court [Re: CO2] 05-1120. Massachusetts v. EPA 11/29/06 ...Sam Harris's book, based on letters he actually received from Christians should be a powerful reminder of Augustine's wise words. ...." ~ Pim @ I doubt if Harris would agree with you: 4. "...Augustine, laboured to show, that we are not corrupted by acquired wickedness, but bring an innate corruption from the very womb. It was the greatest impudence to deny this. But no man will wonder at the presumption of the Pelagians and Celestians, who has learned from the writings of that holy man how extreme the effrontery of these heretics was...." 11. "...Augustine hesitates not to call those sins natural which necessarily reign in the flesh wherever the grace of God is wanting. ..." 10. "...Augustine justly derides some who arrogate to themselves a certain power of willing, as well as censures others who imagine that that which is a special evidence of gratuitous election is given to all (August. de Verbis Apost. Serm. 21). He says, “Nature is common to all, but not grace;” and he calls it a showy acuteness “which shines by mere vanity, when that which God bestows, on whom he will is attributed generally to all.” Elsewhere he says, “How came you? By believing. Fear, lest by arrogating to yourself the merit of finding the right way, you perish from the right way. I came, you say, by free choice, came by my own will. Why do you boast? Would you know that even this was given you? Hear Christ exclaiming, ‘No man comets unto me, except the Father which has sent me draw him.’ ” 13. "..Augustine uses these words, “Every good work in us is performed only by grace,” (August. Ep. 105). 14. ".... [Augustine] presses Pelagius to confess that gratuitous grace is necessary to us for every action, and that merely from the fact of its being truly grace, it cannot be the recompense of works. But the matter cannot be more briefly summed up than in the eighth chapter of his Treatise De Correptione et Gratia, where he shows, First, that human will does not by liberty obtain grace, but by grace obtains liberty. Secondly, that by means of the same grace, the heart being impressed with a feeling of delight, is trained to persevere, and strengthened with invincible fortitude. Thirdly, that while grace governs the will, it never falls; but when grace abandons it, it falls forthwith. Fourthly, that by the free mercy of God, the will is turned to good, and when turned, perseveres. Fifthly, that the direction of the will to good, and its constancy after being so directed, depend entirely on the will of God, and not on any human merit. Thus the will (free will, if you choose to call it so), which is left to man, is, as he in another place (Ep. 46) describes it, a will which can neither be turned to God, nor continue in God, unless by grace; a will which, whatever its ability may be, derives all that ability from grace. .." How embarrassing: B&N Customers Who Bought This Book [Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris] Also Bought The God Delusion Richard Dawkins The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason Sam Harris Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon Daniel C. Dennett The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina Frank Rich American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century Kevin Phillips What People Are Saying "Sam Harris’s elegant little book is most refreshing and a wonderful source of ammunition for those who, like me, hold to no religious doctrine. Yet I have some sympathy also with those who might be worried by his uncompromising stance. Read it and from your own view, but do not ignore its message." Sir Roger Penrose, emeritus professor of mathematics, Oxford University, author of The Road to Reality "Reading Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation was like sitting ring side, cheering the champion, yelling ‘Yes!’ at every jab. For those of us who feel depressed by this country’s ever increasing unification of church and state, and the ever decreasing support for the sciences that deliver knowledge and reduce ignorance, this little book is a welcome hit of adrenalin." Marc Hauser, Harvard College Professor, author of Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Sense of Right and Wrong "I can’t sign my name to this blurb. As a New York Times best selling author of books about business, my career will evaporate if I endorse a book that challenges the deeply held superstitions and bigotry of the masses. That’s exactly why you should (no, you must) read this angry and honest book right away. As long as science and rational thought are under attack by the misguided yet pious majority, our nation is in jeopardy. I’m scared. You should be too. Please buy two, one for you and one for a friend you care about." Unsigned, New York Times best selling author "It’s a shame that not everyone in this country will read Sam Harris’ marvelous little book Letter to a Christian Nation. They won’t but they should." Leonard Susskind, Felix Bloch Professor in theoretical physics, Stanford University, author of The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design "We all know about good things that have been derived from bad ideas. Modern religions serve many social goods such as health care for the poor. The problem is that is also services many reprehensible ideas. Harris blows the whistle, pointing out the religions of the world are based on human generated vengeful stories. Read this book and you decide your stance for the future." Michael S. Gazzaniga, Director of the Sage Center for the Study of Mind, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of The Ethical Brain "Sam Harris fearlessly describes a moral and intellectual emergency precipitated by religious fantasies--misguided beliefs that create suffering, that rationalize violence, that have endangered our nation and our future. His argument for the morality, the honesty, and the humility of atheism is galvanizing. It is a relief that someone has spoken so frankly, with such passion yet such rationality. Now when the subject arises, as it inevitably does, I can simply say: Read Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation." Janna Levin, Columbia University, author of How the Universe Got Its Spots and A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines This book review excerpted below sounds to me like something that could just as easily have been written by certain people on this list: November 15, 2006 Review of Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris "..Unlike his first book, The End of Faith, which addressed religion and faith in general, this book is very specifically aimed at those Christians who believe the God and Jesus are real beings whose nature and history are at least in part accurately described in the Bible and thus these are Christians that believe the bible to be a font of truth and a guide to moral behavior. Harris acknowledges that not all people who call themselves Christians hold these beliefs, but he produces good evidence that there are scores of millions of them in the US who do believe just that. It is to them that Harris is taking the fight. Much of the book takes on the idea that the Bible in fact is any kind of moral guide at all. Harris agrees that there are some fine and decent moral precepts in the book, but that there are also many moral laws and dictums that are just as strongly worded and which we all find abhorrent in modern society. .... ...Basing your life on the myths and stories that provide faith leads to viewing the world through an unrealistic lens. .." ~ Janice On Dec 1, 2006, at 8:42 AM, Janice Matchett wrote: Letters to a Maladjusted Misotheist Responding to Sam Harris and his book, Letter to a Christian Nation. (Sam Harris is a graduate in philosophy from Stanford University and has studied both Eastern and Western religious traditions, along with a variety of contemplative disciplines, for twenty years. Mr. Harris is now completing a doctorate in neuroscience. ) Nine different reply “letters” were done this month and there will be a couple more at least this coming month. ~ J. P. Holding ~ Janice ... Sigh... Why do scientists and secular humanist philosophers make exactly the mistake St Augustine warned Christians against regarding science: Augustine: Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]

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Received on Tue Dec 5 14:23:27 2006

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