Real Sceptic

Ventures into scepticism

I Do So Like Monsanto And GMOs!

23rd April 2014 1 response

Don’t lynch me yet, there’s a point to the title I picked. It has to do with an image I saw on my Facebook feed that uses a drawing from a Dr Seuss story:

Green ham and eggs anti-GMO image

I don’t know who originally made this image, but I noticed it via a share from the Facebook page for the organization SumOfUs. Their campaigns and messaging make it very clear that they do not like Monsanto and are anti-GMO. Read more

Guest Post: Legitimate Skepticism

21st April 2014 53 responses

This is a guest post by Dave123.

climategate cartoonWhat distinguishes proper skepticism from fatuous doubt? In some part comes down to who is expressing the sentiment. That is, who the person is determines if they are a legitimate skeptic or someone borrowing the title to disguise dismissive rhetoric. I don’t have sufficient training in the necessary physics and math to be a legitimate skeptic about the Higgs boson, the theory behind it or the experimental proof of its existence. I’m never going to have that level of understanding either. So I don’t opine about it. I’m entertained by it, but that’s as far as my engagement with the matter can go.

Too much of what we see called skepticism about climate science is expressed by people who are as unqualified to discuss the matter as I am to discuss the Higgs Boson. Read more

Roy Spencer, In Denial About What Science Denial Means

21st February 2014 34 responses

Dr. Roy SpencerClimate science deniers tend to be quite touchy when you call them a climate science denier, or denier for short. In my case this has even led to someone threatening to sue me for libel because I used the term climate science denier in a private email. Which wasn’t even aimed at them, I just used the term to describe the type of arguments that were being used.

The term also is quite simple in its origin, it means that you deny something. I use the term to state that climate science deniers dismiss or even flat-out deny the evidence climate scientists have found. You have similar versions of the term denier for those that reject the science behind vaccinations, AIDS, Evolution, etc.

I expect climate science deniers to not respond well when you use the term, that’s why I only use it when it’s truly earned. What I didn’t expect was that the usage of this term would lead to Dr. Roy Spencer writing the blog post ‘Time to push back against the global warming Nazis‘ (archived here): Read more

Dredging Doesn’t Prevent Floods

19th February 2014 9 responses
Maas high water mark by larsjuh

Maas high water mark by larsjuh

The floods in the UK has triggered a storm of utter nonsense about what does and doesn’t help to prevent or reduce flooding. One of these claims is that dredging rivers will help with preventing flooding or at least will make them less severe. This is wrong.

I live in The Netherlands and we’re a country with a very long history fighting against the ocean and our rivers. It’s because of our constant battle with water that we have a vast network of defences, a lot of resources to help during a crisis, and contingency plans when things do go wrong. But despite all that nature still sometimes surprises us, it has learned us to never underestimate her. We got two such lessons in 1993 and 1995 courtesy of the river the Meuse. Read more

Suffering, Euthanasia, And The Passion Of Jesus Christ

12th February 2014 6 responses

I don’t often write about religion as I don’t mind it as long as you’re not either pushing it on others or attacking science in the name of it. As an atheist I might consider it an unsupported position, but it’s called faith for a reason. The most you’ll get from me is a shrug or me rolling my eyes if it’s a particular strange belief. But sometimes the religious say or do something that just doesn’t go down well with me; this time it actually got me quite angry.

Before I go into what this was there’s something you need to know about me. I have a disease called X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy, as it’s a bit of a mouthful this is often abbreviated to X-ALD. It’s a metabolic disease caused by a mutation on the X chromosome, people who have it can’t produce a certain protein. Without it very-long chain fatty acids — a type of saturated fats — cannot be transported to the mitochondria in cells and metabolised. This is problematic as fats do not dissolve in water so your body cannot get rid of them, these fats then will start to accumulate in cells and organs. Read more