Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Climate scientist leaves academia and government, citing honesty issues

original article: JC in transition
January 3, 2017 by Judith Curry

Effective January 1, I have resigned my tenured faculty position at Georgia Tech.

Before reflecting on a range of things, let me start by answering a question that may have popped into your head: I have no plans to join the Trump administration (ha ha).

Technically, my resignation is a retirement event, since I am on the Georgia State Teachers Retirement System, and I need to retire from Georgia Tech to get my pension (although I am a few years shy of 65). I have requested Emeritus status.

So, I have retired from Georgia Tech, and I have no intention of seeking another academic or administrative position in a university or government agency. However, I  most certainly am not retiring from professional life.

Why did I resign my tenured faculty position?

I’m ‘cashing out’ with 186 published journal articles and two books. The superficial reason is that I want to do other things, and no longer need my university salary. This opens up an opportunity for Georgia Tech to make a new hire (see advert).

The deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists.

Wrong trousers

I’ve been in school since I was 5 years old. Until a few years ago, I regarded a tenured faculty position at a major university to be a dream job, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Apart from my own personal career trajectory and the ‘shocks’ that started in 2005 with our hurricanes and global warming paper, and the massive spike in 2009/2010 from  Climategate, I’ve found that universities have changed substantially over the past 5-10 years.

At first, I thought the changes I saw at Georgia Tech were due to a change in the higher administration (President, Provost, etc). The academic nirvana under the prior Georgia Tech administration of Wayne Clough,  Jean-Lou Chameau  and Gary Schuster was a hard act to follow. But then I started to realize that academia and universities nationwide were undergoing substantial changes. I came across a recent article that expresses part of what is wrong: Universities are becoming like mechanical nightingales.

The reward system that is in place for university faculty members is becoming increasingly counterproductive to actually educating students to be able to think and cope in the real world, and in expanding the frontiers of knowledge in a meaningful way (at least in certain fields that are publicly relevant such as climate change). I’ve written on these topics before, I won’t belabor this here.

So why not try to change the system from the inside? Well, this is not the battle I want to fight, apart from any realistic assessment of being able to shift the ponderous beast from within.

Or maybe it’s just a case of ‘wrong trousers’ as far as I’m concerned. Simply, universities no longer feel like the ‘real deal’ to me (note: this criticism is not targeted at Georgia Tech, which is better than most). It’s time for me to leave the ivory tower.

A deciding factor was that I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science. Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc.

How young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and it often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide (I have worked through these issues with a number of skeptical young scientists).

Let me relate an interaction that I had with a postdoc about a month ago. She wanted to meet me, as an avid reader of my blog. She works in a field that is certainly relevant to climate science, but she doesn’t identify as a climate scientist. She says she gets questioned all the time about global warming issues, and doesn’t know what to say, since topics like attribution, etc. are not topics that she explores as a scientist. WOW, a scientist that knows the difference! I advised her to keep her head down and keep doing the research that she thinks interesting and important, and to stay out of the climate debate UNLESS she decides to dig in and pursue it intellectually. Personal opinions about the science and political opinions about policies that are sort of related to your research expertise are just that – personal and political opinions.  Selling such opinions as contributing to a scientific consensus is very much worse than a joke.

Stepping back from all this, I reminded myself that I was a tenured faculty member – in principle I could do whatever I wanted. The intellectual pursuits that now interest me are:

  • Assessment of climate science in a manner that is relevant for policy, with full account of uncertainty
  • Explore philosophy of science issues as related to epistemology of climate models, reasoning about uncertain complex issues
  • Decision making under deep uncertainty
  • Sociology of science and experimenting with social media

When I first started down this new path in 2010, I published papers that could be categorized as applied philosophy of science (e.g. uncertainty monster, etc). This seemed to be a path towards maintaining academic ‘legitimacy’ in light of my new interests, but frankly I got bored with playing the game. Why go to the extra effort to publish papers, wrestling with reviewers who (usually) know less than you do about your topic (not to mention their biases), having to pay to get an article published some months in the future, so that maybe 100 people will read it?  Not to mention the broader issues related to coping with the university bureaucracy, government funding, etc.

Once you detach from the academic mindset, publishing on the internet makes much more sense, and the peer review you can get on a technical blog is much more extensive. But peer review is not really the point; provoking people to think in new ways about something is really the point. In other words, science as process, rather than a collection of decreed ‘truths.’

At this point, I figure that I can reach more people (including students and young researchers) via social media. Do I pretend to have any answers to all this? No, but I hope I am provoking students and scientists to think outside of their little bubble.

The real world

So my fall from the ivory tower that started in 2005 is now complete [link to my 2006 AGU presentation agu_integrityofscience_curry] .

slide1

What next?

I am interested in figuring out new and better ways to apply weather and climate data, weather forecast information and future regional climate scenarios to supporting real world decision making to manage risks and associated with weather and climate variability.

I became interested in such applications over a decade ago, and Peter Webster and I founded a company Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN) to do just that. If you haven’t checked out our website (ever or even recently), check it out – cfanclimate.net – I spent my entire winter break revising the website using some good suggestions from Larry Kummer of Fabius Maximus fame.

CFAN started as a university start-up company in 2006, and didn’t have any full time employees until a few years go. We now employ 7 Ph.D. scientists (in addition to myself and Peter), plus software engineers, etc. With my retirement from Georgia Tech, we are spinning up the company into a new phase to explore new forecast product developments and decision support tools, new markets, new partnerships, new regions.

So far, most of CFAN’s revenue comes from the ‘weather’ side (days to seasons), with a few projects on developing future climate scenarios (I wrote about a current project here Generating regional scenarios of climate change).

I find all this tremendously interesting, challenging and rewarding. Not to mention enormously time consuming (CFAN needs to make more money so that we can hire more people to take some of the load off myself and the other managers, all of whom are wearing too many hats). I am learning a huge amount about decision support, management, marketing and sales, finance, etc.

At this point, the private sector seems like a more ‘honest’ place for a scientist working in a politicized field than universities or government labs — at least when you are your own boss.

Social media

So, where does all this leave my endeavors with social media (including Climate Etc.?) Resigning my faculty position and taking on a full time plus position in running CFAN actually means less time for blogging, rather than more (at least in the near term).

I remain very interested in the interactions afforded by social media. However, over the past year I have devoted considerably less time to writing original material for Climate Etc. Apart from being really busy, I have been spending more time on twitter (which is a much smaller time investment).

I will be starting a new blog for CFAN, more focused on weather and shorter-term climate issues (I will cross post any relevant posts at Climate Etc.)

I will also try to write more frequent but shorter posts at Climate Etc., with short excerpts and brief comments on some of the articles that I am tweeting about. I will be relying on guest bloggers to provide more technical analyses. So I definitely intend to keep the blog going, but in context of managing a very busy schedule.

We’ll see how all this plays out, but I figured I’ve earned the right to explore and do what I want.  This is my definition of academic freedom (and I’m not asking anyone else to pay for it).

climate change, corruption, education, environment, science, scientists

Filed under: climate change, corruption, education, environment, science, scientists

Whistleblower says NOAA scientists manipulated global warming data

original article: Whistleblower: NOAA Scientists Manipulated Temperature Data To Make Global Warming Seem Worse
February 5, 2017 by Michael Bastasch

A whistleblower says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rushed a landmark study claiming the planet was warming much faster than expected in order to influence international climate negotiations.

Dr. John Bates, the former principal scientist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., told the Daily Mail NOAA’s 2015 study was meant “to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus and rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy.”

Bates said NOAA scientists made a “blatant attempt to intensify the impact” of global warming to eliminate the “pause” in temperature rise since 1998. The Daily Mail claims Bates showed it “irrefutable” evidence NOAA’s study relied on “unverified” data.

Bates’ objections to the paper were ignored by his superiors, who let scientists make “decisions and scientific choices that maximised warming and minimised documentation” in advance of a major United Nations climate summit in Paris, France.

His statement to The Daily Mail comes amid an investigation into the NOAA study by House Republicans on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the committee’s chairman, subpoenaed NOAA in late 2015 for records related to the so-called “Karl study” that adjusted global sea surface temperature upwards, eliminating the “pause” in global warming since 1998.

Smith was heavily ridiculed for subpoenaing NOAA scientists, and the agency refused to hand over any internal deliberations of the “Karl study.” The study’s lead author, Tom Karl, has since left NOAA.

“Dr. Bates’ revelations and NOAA’s obstruction certainly lend credence to what I’ve expected all along – that the Karl study used flawed data, was rushed to publication in an effort to support the president’s climate change agenda, and ignored NOAA’s own standards for scientific study,” Smith said in a statement on The Daily Mail’s story.

“The Committee thanks Dr. Bates, a Department of Commerce Gold Medal winner for creating and implementing a standard to produce and preserve climate data, for exposing the previous administration’s efforts to push their costly climate agenda at the expense of scientific integrity,” Smith said.

Scientists have been debating over the so-called “pause” in global warming since at least 2013, referring to the period from 1998 to 2014 without any significant rise in global average temperature.

The Karl study made changes to historical sea surface temperature records, effectively doubling the warming trend of that period to 0.086 degrees Celsius per decade from 0.039 degrees per decade.

Karl’s study was welcomed by some scientists and environmentalists who see man-made global warming as the biggest threat to humanity; it was criticized by others in the scientific community.

Climate scientist Judith Curry, formerly of Georgia Tech, wrote at the time that NOAA excluded extremely accurate sea buoy data in order to erase the hiatus in warming.

Curry wrote that it “seems rather ironic, since this is the period where there is the greatest coverage of data with the highest quality of measurements — ARGO buoys and satellites don’t show a warming trend.”

But the Karl study may have had deeper problems.

It was based on two “flawed” temperature datasets, Bates told The Daily Mail.

NOAA has now “decided that the sea dataset will have to be replaced and substantially revised just 18 months after it was issued, because it used unreliable methods which overstated the speed of warming,” The Daily Mail learned.

NOAA’s revised data will show “lower temperatures and a slower rate in the recent warming trend.”

The “land temperature dataset used by the study was afflicted by devastating bugs in its software that rendered its findings ‘unstable,’” and based on an “alpha” version that was never verified. It still hasn’t been approved.

“None of the data on which the paper was based was properly ‘archived’ – a mandatory requirement meant to ensure that raw data and the software used to process it is accessible to other scientists, so they can verify NOAA results,” The Daily Mail reported.

bias, climate change, corruption, environment, ethics, fraud, global warming, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, scandal, science

Filed under: bias, climate change, corruption, environment, ethics, fraud, global warming, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, scandal, science

Science accidentally shows the preborn child is a distinct individual person

original article: Scientists discover cells of aborted babies living in their mothers’ brains
January 3, 2013 by Jill Stanek

Scientific American termed the research findings another way: “Scientists discover children’s cells living in mothers’ brains.”

But I wanted to drive home a touching point: Mothers who terminate their pregnancies apparently don’t completely rid themselves of their babies. The cells of murdered children live on inside their mothers to help – or perhaps – hurt them:

Cells may migrate through the placenta between the mother and the fetus, taking up residence in many organs of the body including the lung, thyroid muscle, liver, heart, kidney and skin. These may have a broad range of impacts, from tissue repair and cancer prevention to sparking immune disorders.

It is remarkable that it is so common for cells from one individual to integrate into the tissues of another distinct person. We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as singular autonomous individuals, and these foreign cells seem to belie that notion, and suggest that most people carry remnants of other individuals.

I need to stop and note that this politically incorrect article correctly defines preborn babies as “distinct person(s),” “people,” and “individuals.”

Moving on….

As remarkable as this may be, stunning results from a new study show that cells from other individuals are also found in the brain. In this study, male cells were found in the brains of women and had been living there, in some cases, for several decades. What impact they may have had is now only a guess, but this study revealed that these cells were less common in the brains of women who had Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting they may be related to the health of the brain.

We all consider our bodies to be our own unique being, so the notion that we may harbor cells from other people in our bodies seems strange. Even stranger is the thought that, although we certainly consider our actions and decisions as originating in the activity of our own individual brains, cells from other individuals are living and functioning in that complex structure….

They examined the brains of deceased women for the presence of cells containing the male “Y” chromosome. They found such cells in more than 60 percent of the brains and in multiple brain regions. Since Alzheimer’s disease is more common in women who have had multiple pregnancies, they suspected that the number of fetal cells would be greater in women with AD compared to those who had no evidence for neurological disease. The results were precisely the opposite: there were fewer fetal-derived cells in women with Alzheimer’s. The reasons are unclear.

A post-abortive mother who gives any of this much thought will reach either distressing or comforting conclusions, depending on whether she has made peace.

 abortion, babies, biology, children, medicine, pro-life, prolife, science, scientists

Filed under: abortion, babies, biology, children, medicine, pro-life, prolife, science, scientists

How to be anti-science while pretending to be pro-science – a look at abortion rights

For years you’ve believed telescopes helped us learn those white fuzzy lights in the night sky are stars and galaxies. You’ve believed math showed us the universe is intelligible. And you thought ultrasounds showed a heartbeat of the child growing in the womb.

Well, surprise, all that might just be anti-science! The Atlantic has a new article written by Moira Weigel telling us ultrasounds in fact don’t show us a heartbeat, that such an idea is just an illusion. Keep in mind she is not a scientist, but she’s a woman so she can comment as if she were a scientific expert. According to Weigel, you shouldn’t believe your eyes when you see an ultrasound of a pregnancy (which is real time imagery of what’s going on inside the womb).

Contrast Weigel’s article with a recent scientific study in Nature showing the autonomous nature of the embryo from its inception. The study reveals new knowledge on the nature of the human condition, with implications on questions of human life and reproductive rights. Another woman, Ana Maria Dumitru, writing for Public Discourse, wrote a piece on this study. If Weigel, a woman getting a doctoral degree in comparative literature is qualified to write on the scientific nature of the subject of abortion, surely Dumitru (a fifth-year MD/PhD candidate at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College) is qualified to do the same.

Weigel’s article appears to be an anti-science diatribe attempting to get you to dismiss what you see with your own eyes, urging you to dismiss the evidence and focus on the politically correct opinion to hold (that a woman’s right to kill her unborn child is sacred). Dumitru has some interesting and far more reasonable insights on abortion, bioethics, and science (such as the interchangeability of concepts like autonomy and personhood) and attempts to show how a Planned Parenthood type ideology actually corrupts one’s view of the evidence and indoctrinates even scientists. Give her article a read.

Science, Embryonic Autonomy, and the Question of When Life Begins, by Ana Maria Dumitru.

abortion, corruption, culture, ethics, ideology, indoctrination, medicine, political correctness, pro-life, relativism, science, scientists

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Hiding data is not how to prove something

original article: Why NYT Hid The Numbers For The ‘Hottest Year On Record’
January 18, 2017 Robert Tracinski

When you read a science report claiming that 2016 was the hottest year on record, you might expect that you will get numbers. And you would be wrong.

They say that mathematics is the language of science, which is a way of saying that science is quantitative. It is moved forward by numbers and measurements, not just by qualitative observations. “It seems hot out” is not science. Giving a specific temperature, measured by a specific process at a specific time, compared to other systematically gathered measurements—that is science.

So when you read an article proclaiming that, for the third year in a row, last year was the hottest year on record, you might expect that right up front you will get numbers, measurements, and a statistical margin of error. You know, science stuff. Numbers. Quantities. Mathematics.

And you would be wrong.

I just got done combing through a New York Times report titled, “Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year.” The number of relevant numbers in this article is: zero.

We are not told what the average global temperature was, how much higher this is than last year’s record or any previous records, or what the margin of error is supposed to be on those measurements. Instead, we get stuff like this.

Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016—trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row.

Note to the New York Times: “trouncing” and “blown past” are phrases appropriate to sports reporting, not science reporting. Except that no sports reporter would dare write an article in which he never bothers to give you the score of the big game.

Yet that’s what passes for “science reporting” on the issue of global warming, where asking for numbers and margins of errors apparently makes you an enemy of science. Instead, it’s all qualitative and comparative descriptions. It’s science without numbers.

It wasn’t just the New York Times. Try finding the relevant numbers ready at hand in the NASA/NOAA press release. You get numbers comparing 2016’s temperature with “the mid-20th century mean” or “the late 19th century.” But there’s nothing comparing it to last year or the year before except qualitative descriptions. So the government’s science bureaucracy is setting the trend, making reporters dig for the relevant numbers rather than presenting them up front.

It’s almost like they’re hiding something. And that is indeed what we find. I finally tracked down an exception to this reporting trend: the UK newspaper The Independentgives us the relevant numbers.

They should have been in the first paragraph, but at least they’re in the third paragraph: “This puts 2016 only nominally ahead of 2015 by just 0.01C—within the 0.1C margin of error—but….” There’s stuff after the “but,” but it’s just somebody’s evaluation. Even this report can’t give us a straight fact and leave it alone.

For the benefit of science reporters and other people who are unfamiliar with the scientific method, let me point out that the margin of error for these measurements is plus or minus one tenth of a degree Celsius. The temperature difference that is supposedly being measured is one one-hundredth of a degree—one tenth the size of the margin of error. To go back to sports reporting, that’s like saying that the football is on the 10-yard line—give or take a hundred yards.

I think you can see why they didn’t lead with these numbers in the first paragraph or the headline, because if they did everyone would stop reading and move on to the next article. “This Year’s Temperatures Statistically Identical to Last Year’s” is not a headline that grabs anybody’s attention.

That’s not the worst part. The worst part is that this isn’t the first year they’ve done this. Two years ago, government agencies and gullible reporters repeated the exact same claims about the hottest year on record, along with some other howlers. What was the margin for that year’s record? Two one-hundredths of a degree, also much smaller than the margin of error.

Lest I be accused of not giving you numbers, global temperatures for 2015 were reported to be higher than 2014 by as much as 2.9 degrees Celsius, though you have to read to the 18th paragraph before the New York Times deigns to tell you this. That’s not as impressive as it may seem, because both 2015 and 2016 were El Nino years, when there is a normal, natural increase in temperatures.

This highlights a bigger problem with the global warming theory. For all the excitement over records set over the past 137 years—precise global thermometer measurements date only to 1880—current temperatures still are not clearly out of the range of normal variation in the 10,000 years or so since the planet bounced back from the last ice age, despite all of the furious attempts to hype them up.

Yet here is Arizona State University “theoretical physicist”—and, of course, media personality—Lawrence M. Krauss taking to Twitter to ask: “When will the evidence of the need to act be enough?” This is above a link to, you guessed it, the number-free New York Times report.

Yes, I really do wonder how anyone could possibly be skeptical of claims about the climate made by science “advocates” and by the media. It’s a total mystery.

bias, climate change, corruption, cover up, environment, global warming, ideology, indoctrination, news media, pandering, science

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Almost Everything the Media Tell You About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Is Wrong

original article: Almost Everything the Media Tell You About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Is Wrong
August 22, 2016 by Ryan T. Anderson

A major new report, published today in the journal The New Atlantis, challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

Co-authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality, the 143-page report discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences, painstakingly documenting what scientific research shows and does not show about sexuality and gender.

The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”

Here are four of the report’s most important conclusions:

The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property—that people are ‘born that way’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex—so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.

Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.

The report, “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,” is co-authored by Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh. Mayer is a scholar-in-residence in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University.

McHugh, whom the editor of The New Atlantis describes as “arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century,” is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and was for 25 years the psychiatrist-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. It was during his tenure as psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins that he put an end to sex reassignment surgery there, after a study launched at Hopkins revealed that it didn’t have the benefits for which doctors and patients had long hoped.

Implications for Policy

The report focuses exclusively on what scientific research shows and does not show. But this science can have implications for public policy.

The report reviews rigorous research showing that ‘only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.’

Take, for example, our nation’s recent debates over transgender policies in schools. One of the consistent themes of the report is that science does not support the claim that “gender identity” is a fixed property independent of biological sex, but rather that a combination of biological, environmental, and experiential factors likely shape how individuals experience and express themselves when it comes to sex and gender.

The report also discusses the reality of neuroplasticity: that all of our brains can and do change throughout our lives (especially, but not only, in childhood) in response to our behavior and experiences. These changes in the brain can, in turn, influence future behavior.

This provides more reason for concern over the Obama administration’s recent transgender school policies. Beyond the privacy and safety concerns, there is thus also the potential that such policies will result in prolonged identification as transgender for students who otherwise would have naturally grown out of it.

The report reviews rigorous research showing that “only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.” Policymakers should be concerned with how misguided school policies might encourage students to identify as girls when they are boys, and vice versa, and might result in prolonged difficulties. As the report notes, “There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.”

Beyond school policies, the report raises concerns about proposed medical intervention in children. Mayer and McHugh write: “We are disturbed and alarmed by the severity and irreversibility of some interventions being publicly discussed and employed for children.”

They continue: “We are concerned by the increasing tendency toward encouraging children with gender identity issues to transition to their preferred gender through medical and then surgical procedures.” But as they note, “There is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents.”

Findings on Transgender Issues

The same goes for social or surgical gender transitions in general. Mayer and McHugh note that the “scientific evidence summarized suggests we take a skeptical view toward the claim that sex reassignment procedures provide the hoped for benefits or resolve the underlying issues that contribute to elevated mental health risks among the transgender population.” Even after sex reassignment surgery, patients with gender dysphoria still experience poor outcomes:

Compared to the general population, adults who have undergone sex reassignment surgery continue to have a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes. One study found that, compared to controls, sex-reassigned individuals were about five times more likely to attempt suicide and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide.

Mayer and McHugh urge researchers and physicians to work to better “understand whatever factors may contribute to the high rates of suicide and other psychological and behavioral health problems among the transgender population, and to think more clearly about the treatment options that are available.” They continue:

In reviewing the scientific literature, we find that almost nothing is well understood when we seek biological explanations for what causes some individuals to state that their gender does not match their biological sex. … Better research is needed, both to identify ways by which we can help to lower the rates of poor mental health outcomes and to make possible more informed discussion about some of the nuances present in this field.

Policymakers should take these findings very seriously. For example, the Obama administration recently finalized a new Department of Health and Human Services mandate that requires all health insurance plans under Obamacare to cover sex reassignment treatments and all relevant physicians to perform them. The regulations will force many physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers to participate in sex reassignment surgeries and treatments, even if doing so violates their moral and religious beliefs or their best medical judgment.

Rather than respect the diversity of opinions on sensitive and controversial health care issues, the regulations endorse and enforce one highly contested and scientifically unsupported view. As Mayer and McHugh urge, more research is needed, and physicians need to be free to practice the best medicine.

Stigma, Prejudice Don’t Explain Tragic Outcomes

The report also highlights that people who identify as LGBT face higher risks of adverse physical and mental health outcomes, such as “depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and most alarmingly, suicide.” The report summarizes some of those findings:

Members of the non-heterosexual population are estimated to have about 1.5 times higher risk of experiencing anxiety disorders than members of the heterosexual population, as well as roughly double the risk of depression, 1.5 times the risk of substance abuse, and nearly 2.5 times the risk of suicide.

Members of the transgender population are also at higher risk of a variety of mental health problems compared to members of the non-transgender population. Especially alarmingly, the rate of lifetime suicide attempts across all ages of transgender individuals is estimated at 41 percent, compared to under 5 percent in the overall U.S. population.

What accounts for these tragic outcomes? Mayer and McHugh investigate the leading theory—the “social stress model”—which proposes that “stressors like stigma and prejudice account for much of the additional suffering observed in these subpopulations.”

But they argue that the evidence suggests that this theory “does not seem to offer a complete explanation for the disparities in the outcomes.” It appears that social stigma and stress alone cannot account for the poor physical and mental health outcomes that LGBT-identified people face.

As a result, they conclude that “More research is needed to uncover the causes of the increased rates of mental health problems in the LGBT subpopulations.” And they call on all of us work to “alleviate suffering and promote human health and flourishing.”

Findings Contradict Claims in Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling

Finally, the report notes that scientific evidence does not support the claim that people are “born that way” with respect to sexual orientation. The narrative pushed by Lady Gaga and others is not supported by the science. A combination of biological, environmental, and experiential factors likely account for an individual’s sexual attractions, desires, and identity, and “there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation.”

Furthermore, the scientific research shows that sexual orientation is more fluid than the media suggests. The report notes that “Longitudinal studies of adolescents suggest that sexual orientation may be quite fluid over the life course for some people, with one study estimating that as many as 80 percent of male adolescents who report same-sex attractions no longer do so as adults.”

These findings—that scientific research does not support the claim that sexual orientation is innate and immutable—directly contradict claims made by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in last year’s Obergefell ruling. Kennedy wrote, “their immutable nature dictates that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment” and “in more recent years have psychiatrists and others recognized that sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable.”

But the science does not show this.

While the marriage debate was about the nature of what marriage is, incorrect scientific claims about sexual orientation were consistently used in the campaign to redefine marriage.

In the end, Mayer and McHugh observe that much about sexuality and gender remains unknown. They call for honest, rigorous, and dispassionate research to help better inform public discourse and, more importantly, sound medical practice.

As this research continues, it’s important that public policy not declare scientific debates over, or rush to legally enforce and impose contested scientific theories. As Mayer and McHugh note, “Everyone—scientists and physicians, parents and teachers, lawmakers and activists—deserves access to accurate information about sexual orientation and gender identity.”

We all must work to foster a culture where such information can be rigorously pursued and everyone—whatever their convictions, and whatever their personal situation—is treated with the civility, respect, and generosity that each of us deserves.

biology, civil rights, culture, government, homosexuality, ideology, judiciary, justice, politics, science, sex, study

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Remember those experts who said condoms would reduce pregnancy and STDs?

original article: The Condom Conundrum
MORE PROPHYLACTICS, MORE TEEN PREGNANCIES
July 21, 2016 by John Stonestreet

Remember those so-called “experts” who assured us that condoms would cut rates of fertility and STDs? Well, they now face a conundrum.

Those who’ve pushed condoms like candy in public schools have given us any number of rationales. They told us that young people “are going to do it anyway,” so more condoms would equal fewer pregnancies. They also said that more condoms would lead to fewer STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases. And as they proceeded to pass out condoms by the handful to our school-age children, they told us that religion and morality should be left out of it, in the name of public health and, of course, science.

New research, however, suggests these prophets of prophylactics were wrong—desperately wrong—and that it’s time for a fresh look at the issue.

A recently released study by University of Notre Dame researchers Kasey S. Buckles and Daniel M. Hungerman has found that access to condoms in schools actually increases teen pregnancies by about 10 percent—that’s right, increases it! Buckles and Hungerman selected 22 school districts in 12 states that started such programs back in the 1990s, including New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The study analyzed teen-fertility data from nearly 400 high-population counties over a span of 19 years.

Among the contributing factors Buckles and Hungerman cite is the possibility that condom-distribution programs can crowd out efforts to encourage young people to delay sexual activity. Condom-distribution programs may actually encourage more teenagers to have sex.

Is this really that surprising? If adults tell teens that the decision to engage in sex is theirs and give them condoms, what message do they receive?

It makes sense, especially given another finding of the study. Buckles and Hungerman found that sexual activity, along with STDs, increased in counties with condom-distribution programs. This puts a lie to all those lofty assurances from the Sexual Left that condoms would prevent all that. No, more likely, they encouraged it!

Michael J. New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan at Dearborn, notes that this ugly outcome likely is a result of increased sexual risk-taking as a result of condoms in the schools. All at taxpayers’ expense.

Now Buckles and Hungerman are quick to point out that they believe the effects of teen fertility would be less alarming if the condom-distribution programs were also accompanied by mandatory sex-ed counseling. But New says such education efforts would not totally offset the jump in teen fertility caused by condom distribution. There would still be more births to teenaged mothers, and presumably more teen STDs, than if there were no condoms in the schools in the first place.

“Overall,” says New, “the study adds to an impressive body of research which shows that efforts to encourage contraceptive use either through mandates, subsidies, or distribution are ineffective at best or counterproductive at worst. In many countries, increases in contraception use are correlated with increase in the abortion rate.”

Now it would be optimistic at best to assume that the folks who brought these condom-distribution programs to us, and their cheerleaders in the media, would own up to the conundrum they have created and work to make things right. But no, we’ll have to do that ourselves.

So the first step to changing what our schools do is to read the study and make sure that members of your local school boards have a copy. Just come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary for a link to it, along with more information to get you up to speed.

And second, we shouldn’t be surprised that non-Christians teach our sons and daughters a non-Christian worldview concerning the human body, the unitive act, or marriage. Teaching our own kids about sex and design and relationships and marriage, while pointing out and countering the lies about sex proclaimed in the culture, is first and foremost our job as parents and as Christian communities.

children, culture, education, ideology, science, sex, study, unintended consequences

Filed under: children, culture, education, ideology, science, sex, study, unintended consequences

2 fatal mistakes made by Roe v. Wade

original article: 2 fatal mistakes made by Roe v. Wade
January 18, 2016 by KRISTI BURTON BROWN

Roe v. Wade has been the most fatal judicial decision in U.S. history. In the aftermath of Roe, 58 million babies have been aborted, whilecountless women have been irreparably damaged and families have been harmed and torn apart.

Roe was based on multiple mistakes, direct lies, and a rejection of accurate science, research, and the real Constitution. (Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg agrees that Roe was “heavy-handed judicial intervention [which] was difficult to justify.”) However, there are two particularly damaging mistakes – one made by the justices and one by the attorney who argued the case.

FATAL MISTAKE #1: The justices completely missed the intent of the 14th Amendment.

The justices behind Roe wrote that there was no constitutional basis for protecting preborn life. They rejected the 14th Amendment as a basis for protecting the preborn, even though it recognizes the right to life and equal protection for all persons.

They entirely failed to recognize the specific intent of the Congressional sponsors of the 14th Amendment. The intent – a key part of interpreting law – shows that the sponsors wanted to include future vulnerable and oppressed human beings in constitutional equal protection.

Representative John Bingham, a House sponsor, intended the Amendment to be applied universally – to any and every human being.[1] In a speech to Congress, prior to the passage of the 14th Amendment, he declared that the Constitution is “based upon the equality of the human race. Its primal object must be to protect each human being…”[2]

Senate sponsor Jacob Howard agreed that “the measure would apply to even the ‘humblest, the poorest, the most despised of the human race.’”[3] Representative H.D. Scott stated: “The strength of this Government…is in its willingness as well as ability to do equal and exact justice to every human being…”[4] He condemned justice being “made subservient to interest” and when the strong “can prey upon the weak and unfortunate with impunity.”[5]

Just as these statements applied to Black Americans at the time, they apply to the preborn now, just as they did on January 22, 1973, and at the time the 14 Amendment was passed. The Roe Court would have done well to recognize this clear and constitutional truth.

FATAL MISTAKE #2: The lawyer who argued Roe believed women needed abortion to be successful.

There are certainly things to admire about Sarah Weddington, the 26-year-old lawyer who successfully argued Roe v. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court. At a very young age, she took on the entire nation to advocate for something she believed in. She didn’t let her age, gender, or inexperience stop her.

However, besides the fact that Weddington was on the completely wrong side of a human justice issue, she also has a sad story in her personal history. Before she married Ron Weddington, she became pregnant with their child in her final year of law school. Neither of them wanted children, and so the couple traveled over the border to Mexico, for an illegal abortion.

Weddington cites her ability to have an abortion as the reason she went on to have a career as a lawyer, and yet countless successful female attorneys have proven Weddington’s assertion wrong. Women are, in fact, able to be successful and to be mothers.

Erika Bachiochi, a feminist and former pro-choice attorney,  authored “Embodied Equality: Debunking Equality Arguments for Abortion Rights” for the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. She also wrote about the real truth on abortion and women for CNN:

As a one-time abortion rights supporter, I well know the temptation to see the right to abortion as a representation of women’s equality. …

Abortion betrays women by having us believe that we must become like men — that is, not pregnant — to achieve parity with them, professionally, socially, educationally. . …

When we belittle the developing child in the womb, a scientific reality that most pro-choice advocates have come to admit, we belittle and distort that child’s mother. We make her out to be one with property rights over her developing unborn child (much as husbands once had property rights over their wives).

We give her the inhumane (but for 42 years, constitutionally protected) right to decide the fate of another human being, of a vulnerable child — her child — to whom she properly owes an affirmative duty of care. We do all this rather than offering her the myriad familial and social supports she needs, whatever her situation, and cherishing her role in the miracle of human life.

Conclusion

While these two fatal mistakes continue to cost millions of lives, we can each personally work to stop the damage. In our conversations with friends, on social media, on campus, and at our offices, clubs, churches, and groups, we can spread the truths that every human being – at every stage of development – deserves equal protection and that no woman needs to take her child’s life to succeed at life. We can actively and practically help women who make the choice for life.

As Carol Tobias, President of the National Right to Life Committee,says:  “As long as abortion is legal, pro-lifers will fight and never give up.”

Sources:
[1] CONG. GLOBE, 34th Cong., 3rd Sess. (1857)
[2] Id.
[3] SENATOR JACOB HOWARD, SPEECH INTRODUCING THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT, Speech delivered in the U.S. Senate, May 23, 1866
[4] CONG. GLOBE, 34th Cong., 3rd Sess. (1857)
[5] Id.

abortion, culture, feminism, history, ideology, indoctrination, judiciary, law, lies, progressive, propaganda, science

Filed under: abortion, culture, feminism, history, ideology, indoctrination, judiciary, law, lies, progressive, propaganda, science

Two climate studies published in Nature, one ignored

Media Censor New Study Debunking Climate Models
April 7, 2016 by Alatheia Larsen

Climate alarmists love flaunting “extreme” weather predictions to instill fear in the hearts of skeptics, but a new study deals yet another devastating blow to those predictions’ reliability.

Researchers at Stockholm University in Sweden published a study in the journal Nature on April 6, 2016, which found that climate model predictions for rainfall and drought extremes in the 20th Century “differed vastly” from what actually happened in the 20th Century. The climate models “overestimated the increase in wet and dry extremes,” meteorologist Anthony Watts reported on his blog Watts Up With That.

global weatherThe climate models that predicted inaccurately extreme weather are the same models being used to predict the alleged disastrous impacts of climate change in the future.

The Stockholm study examined rainfall data for the last 1,200 years, and found that “prominent seesaw patterns” of wetness and dryness occurred “under both warm and cold climate regimes.” In other words, historical weather patterns don’t support climate alarmists’ belief that global warming (now called climate change) directly causes extreme weather.

“Much of the change is not only driven by temperature, but some internal, more random variability,” the study’s lead researcher, Fredrik Ljungqvist, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“It’s therefore very, very hard also to predict (precipitation extremes) with models,” Ljungqvist continued, “It might be more difficult than often assumed to project into the future.”

Despite the study’s far-reaching implications, the media have so far censored its findings. None of the evening or morning news shows on ABC, NBC, or CBS mentioned the study. No other mainstream media outlets have written on the study either, as of noon on April 7.

The Los Angeles Times did however highlight a different study on April 7 from Nature which predicted sea level rise by the end of the 21st Century, proving journalists do pay attention to studies published by Nature. Just not ones they find inconvenient.

Past climate predictions, like the infamous “hockey stick” graph, have repeatedly been criticized, yet climate rhetoric continues to resurrect in the media.

A 2014 study found that since Al Gore’s climate apocalypse film An Inconvenient Truth, network coverage of “extreme weather” increased by nearly 1,000 percent. This same weather hysteria continued into 2016, despite climatologist reports that the weather patterns were simply “business as usual.”

bias, censorship, climate change, corruption, cover up, environment, greenhouse, hypocrisy, indoctrination, left wing, news media, science, study, weather

Filed under: bias, censorship, climate change, corruption, cover up, environment, greenhouse, hypocrisy, indoctrination, left wing, news media, science, study, weather

Environmental activist ‘scientist’ admits fraud in court

original article: Activist ‘Scientist’ Runs From Reporters After Admitting In Court He Has No Proof Fracking Poisons Water
March 3, 2016 by Michael Bastasch

It’s another bad day in court for environmentalists trying to prove how bad hydraulic fracturing has been for the town of Dimock, Pa.

A Cornell University engineering professor often used by activists to attack fracking ran from reporters after he admitted in court there was no proof drilling had contaminated Dimock’s drinking water.

Prof. Tony Ingraffea was forced to admit he was an anti-fossil fuel “advocate” in court Tuesday, and that he had no proof fracking done by Cabot Oil and Gas had contaminated the drinking water of two Dimock families suing the oil company, according to journalist Phelim McAleer.

McAleer, who also created the documentary “Fracknation” to expose anti-fracking myths, has been covering the trial against Cabot. He previously reported the plaintiff’s lawyer admitted they had no proof chemicals from fracking ever ended up in drinking water. McAleer confronted Ingraffea about his activism and lack of proof fracking contaminated Dimock’s water.

“It has been a rough few days for Professor Ingraffea, the anti-fracking movement’s favorite scientist,” McAleer wrote on Facebook Wednesday. “Professor Ingraffea was forced to admit that he’s an anti-fracking and anti-fossil fuel ‘advocate.’”

“He admitted that his theory contradicted the plaintiffs’ own timeline,” McAleer continued. “Under Ingraffea’s theory, the ‘contamination’ could only have started in late 2008/early 2009 because that was when the gas drilling started; however, the plaintiffs have stated repeatedly that their water allegedly deteriorated in the summer of 2008 before the drilling Ingraffea has been blaming for the past 8 years.”

“Then Ingraffea shockingly admitted that after eight years of claims and multi-million dollar lawsuits, he had no proof that Cabot had contaminated any water in Dimock,” McAleer wrote.

It was after this stunning admission that McAleer approached Ingraffea outside the courthouse, where the anti-fracking professor tried to avoid questions about his admission and even hid behind a woman’s coat.
“I wanted to know if, after admitting under oath that he had no evidence to back up his claims that Dimock’s water was contaminated, he would now take the opportunity to apologize to the people of Dimock. He didn’t. He ran away,” McAleer wrote.

Ingraffea became an eco-celebrity after he and a colleague published a report in 2011 claiming methane emissions from fracking would cause more global warming than coal. He was then taped by anti-fracking celebrities, like actor Mark Ruffalo and Yoko Ono (no one really knows why she’s still famous), for his criticisms of fracking — he and Ruffalo appeared in TIME magazine in 2011 for their activism.

Ingraffea also made an appearance in the anti-fracking film “Gasland: Part II” in 2013. In the film, he claims “industry documents” show 60 percent of all fracked wells failed, but this claim was later proven false — the document cited in the film had nothing to do with fracking on land, but instead with drilling in deeps waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ingraffea has since appeared at numerous events alongside celebrities, speaking out against fracking and fossil fuels.

“It’s sad that people such as Professor Ingraffea can make so many damaging claims, scaring people, telling them their water is poisoned, and all these years later admit in a court that he never had any evidence to back up his scaremongering,” McAleer wrote.

bias, corruption, culture, environment, fraud, ideology, indoctrination, judiciary, left wing, lies, litigation, progressive, propaganda, scandal, science

Filed under: bias, corruption, culture, environment, fraud, ideology, indoctrination, judiciary, left wing, lies, litigation, progressive, propaganda, scandal, science

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