The Battle of Midway, received wisdom, terminated debates, and computer models

Battle of MidwayYes, in this single post, I will indeed touch upon the Battle of Midway, and the way in which it relates to received wisdom, official pronouncements that heated debates “are over,” and the fallibility of computer models.  I’ll start with Midway, and move on from there.

Seventy-years ago, between June 4 and June 7, the American Navy engaged with the Japanese Navy at the Battle of Midway.  It was a turning point in World War II.  The Japanese didn’t just lose the battle, they lost the war, although it took more than three more years of fighting, tens of thousands of American dead, and the atomic bomb to make them realize that they were, and had for some time been, defeated.

Every year in San Francisco, there’s a commemorative dinner celebrating that great victory.  I’ve written about the evening before, so I won’t repeat myself, other than to say it’s a wonderful experience.  The only sad part of this past Saturday’s commemorative evening was that the number of Midway veterans able to attend has dwindled down to two, a reminder that these living treasures won’t be around forever.

At this most recent commemoration, the speaker was Admiral Ronald J. Zlatoper (Ret.), who served as Commander of the Pacific Fleet from 1994-1996. Adm. Zlatoper is a dynamic combination charm and enthusiasm, so he was a most delightful speaker. I’ll tell you two things that he told his attentive audience, one of which has nothing to do with anything, but is a good story, and another of which relates directly to this post.  First, the digression.

While he was still Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Adm. Zlatoper’s daughter graduated from college, so he took a little time off from his duties to attend her graduation. While he was there, about nine graduates were also getting commissioned as Naval officers, so Adm. Zlatoper went to watch the commissioning ceremony. Later in the day, he found himself in the sitting room at his daughter’s sorority while she was changing for an event. When he walked into the sitting room, he discovered three newly commissioned Naval officers, all waiting for their girlfriends.

When the young men saw him, they instantly stood rigidly at attention, with sweat starting to bead on their brows and around their necks, right above their collars. It’s not usual for newly commissioned officers to meet with the Commander of the Pacific Fleet within hours of their commissioning. Adm. Zlatoper tried to make small talk with them.

To the first, he said, “Congratulations on your new commission.” The young man choked out “Thank you, Sir!” He then fell silent and appeared incapable of further speech.

Moving to the second, Adm. Zlatoper said, “Congratulations on your graduation.” This young man too managed a “Thank you, Sir,” and then he too appeared to retire from the conversational fray.

Adm. Zlatoper was determined to elicit some conversation from the third new officer. “So,” he said, “what was your major?” The young man answered “History, Sir!”

Aha! A conversational opening.

The admiral asked “Did you study any military history?”

“Yes, Sir, I did,” said the young officer.

The admiral asked the obvious question: “Who do you think were the best admirals in American history?”

The young man answered without a second’s hesitation, “Well, I didn’t quite catch your name, Sir.”  He later named Admirals Nimitz and Spruance, proving that he was a young man of both charm and erudition. I wonder what happened to him in the ensuing 20 years.

I threw that story in just for fun, since it was fun to hear and fun to retell. Now I’d like to talk about something else Admiral Zlatoper said, and this is the fact that the U.S. shouldn’t have won. And if it should have won, it should merely have eked out a tiny, rather than a great, victory.

Going into battle, the Americans had 3 carriers,  approximately 7 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser, 15 destroyers, 233 carrier-based aircraft, 127 land-based aircraft, and 16 submarines. Of these ships, the USS Yorktown, which had suffered heavy damage at the Battle of the Coral Sea, was held together by string, spit, and spirit. By contrast, the Japanese had 4 carriers, 2 battleships, 2 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser, 12 destroyers, 248 carrier-based aircraft, and 16 floatplanes, all of which were in fighting trim.

By battle’s end, the unthinkable had happened. Not only had the Americans won, but they’d achieved a stunning victory. They lost one carrier, one destroyer, 150 aircraft, and only 307 men. I don’t mean to diminish those deaths, but that loss was nothing compared to what the Japanese suffered at Midway. They lost four carriers, one heavy cruiser, 248 aircraft, and 3,057 men. The men were as irreplaceable as the ships and plans, because they were top pilots and sailors who carried hard-earned knowledge and experience to their watery graves.

I already knew those outlines about Midway. Adm. Zlatoper, however, said something I’d never heard before: Every single computer model run of the Battle of Midway has the Americans losing. Fortunately, those young fighters and their commanders in 1942 weren’t computer models. They were real, dynamic people acting in real-time and doing individual acts of greatness. Just as the Americans shouldn’t have been able to take on and beat the mighty British Empire near the end of the 18th century, those young sailors and Marines, in their rag-tag ships and fragile planes, shouldn’t have been able to take on and decimate the mighty Japanese Navy.

The obvious moral of the story is never underestimate Americans. But as described by Adm. Zlatoper, I took away another moral: computer models aren’t infallible. This matters because just last week, our President and Commander-in-Chief, Barack H. Obama, announced that America is facing a foe more deadly than the Hun, the Nazis, the Japanese Imperial Army, and the Communists put together! That foe, of course, is climate change.

And how does Obama know that climate change is the most deadly foe of all, more deadly than it’s ever been before in the 3 billion years of the earth’s existence, during which time the earth has warmed and cooled repeatedly? He knows because COMPUTER MODELS.

Think about this: Decades after the fact, after victory was already secured, computer models for the Battle of Midway came back, relentlessly and repeatedly, with the wrong answer. Even knowing the historic reality, and with finite and specific data (number of men, number of ships, number of planes, knowledge of fog and other weather) there was no way the computers were going to get it right.

Nothing proves more clearly that a computer’s predictive value is limited. Had America’s military hierarchy in 1942 relied on computers instead of human knowledge, common sense, experience, and instinct, the Navy would have avoided Midway like the plague. God alone knows how much longer the war would have lasted had that happened. But armed with the above uniquely human traits, plus optimism, bravery, and a touch of desperation, the Navy went ahead and did what the later computer models assured us they couldn’t ever do: They won.

Transfer what you know about Midway models, which were modeling a past event, to computer models, which are so confidently predicting future events.  Unlike the Midway models, the climate models do not have fixed and finite data. Instead, the variables and the amount of data for modeling the climate are infinite.

Indeed, the climate model problem isn’t limited just to the known infinites (this temperature or that one?).  They’re also plagued by the unknown infinites, such as volcanoes hiding underwater, events on the sun, and climate phenomenon that we haven’t even discovered yet.  All of these infinites, unknowns and, given the scope of the atmosphere and the universe itself, unknowables, logical people would have to admit that climate models are virtually useless at future predictions.  They’re good for repetitious weather events, but that’s about it. And if you want proof that my previous statements are correct, consider that, to the extent climate-models from the 1990s predicted events in the first decade of the 21st century, they were all wrong.

Despite the reality that computer models have poor predictive ability even with finite data, and that past climate models were all wrong, our President still announces that the greatest (and, if he can help it, most expensive) war American will ever wage is against the climate because COMPUTER MODELS. If Obama had sat in Admiral Nimitz’s chair, we’d all be peons in a Bushido colony today. Except for me. I wouldn’t “be” at all because my mother, who barely survived the war as it was, would most certainly have died in that Japanese concentration camp that she called home from December 1941 through August 1945.

And while we’re talking about the limits of science and technology as it relates to climate change, let me say a word about the Left’s favorite phrase: “The debate is over.” I’d like to run through a few other issues as to which the “debate was over.”  For example, the debate was over about the Black Death. It was a bacteria spread by infected rats . . . except that new data that was previously unavailable tells a different story:

Evidence taken from the human remains found in Charterhouse Square, to the north of the City of London, during excavations carried out as part of the construction of the Crossrail train line, may support a theory held by some scientists that only an airborne infection could have spread so fast and killed so quickly.

[snip]

By extracting the DNA of the disease bacterium, Yersinia pestis, from the largest teeth in some of the skulls retrieved from the square, the scientists were able to compare the strain of bubonic plague preserved there with that which was recently responsible for killing 60 people in Madagascar. To their surprise, the 14th-century strain, the cause of the most lethal catastrophe in recorded history, was no more virulent than today’s disease. The DNA codes were an almost perfect match.

According to scientists working at Public Health England in Porton Down, for any plague to spread at such a pace it must have got into the lungs of victims who were malnourished and then been spread by coughs and sneezes. It was therefore a pneumonic plague rather than a bubonic plague. Infection was spread human to human, rather than by rat fleas that bit a sick person and then bit another victim.

So much for that debate being over.

But what about the fact that we’ve all known since, well, forever, that eating fruits and vegetables is the key to fighting cancer? Every American school child learns that. The debate must be over about fruits’ and vegetables’ role in cancer . . . except that newly discovered data says they don’t seem to have a role at all:

A trip to almost any bookstore or a cruise around the Internet might leave the impression that avoiding cancer is mostly a matter of watching what you eat. One source after another promotes the protective powers of “superfoods,” rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals, or advises readers to emulate the diets of Chinese peasants or Paleolithic cave dwellers.

But there is a yawning divide between this nutritional folklore and science. During the last two decades the connection between the foods we eat and the cellular anarchy called cancer has been unraveling string by string.

[snip]

In the opening plenary session [of the American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting], Dr. Walter C. Willett, a Harvard epidemiologist who has spent many years studying cancer and nutrition, sounded almost rueful as he gave a status report. Whatever is true for other diseases, when it comes to cancer there was little evidence that fruits and vegetables are protective or that fatty foods are bad.

So maybe the debate isn’t quite over about cancer and the benefits of a vegan diet.  (And if you want to know about the connection between vegans and socialism, which predates the connection between vegans and climate change, don’t miss this wonderful Ed Driscoll post).

Okay.  So we’ll concede the Black Death and the vegetable/cancer connection, but there must still be some reliable scientific received wisdom.  Surely the science can’t be wrong about the connection between fatty foods, such as butter and red meat, and heart disease.  I mean, that debate must really be settled, right? Right?

Uh, sorry, Charlie, but no. Those foods we love to eat don’t hate us in return. As in most things, they’re fine in moderation and that old “settled” science was, in fact, total bunkum:

After decades of advice on the harm done by saturated fat such as butter, scientists have found no evidence of a link with heart problems.

A ‘mega’ study which analysed a huge amount of existing data also said so-called healthy polyunsaturated fats, such as sunflower oil, had no general effect on the risk of heart disease.

In contrast, a dairy fat called margaric acid ‘significantly reduced’ risk, while two kinds of saturated fat found in palm oil and animal products had only a ‘weak link’ with heart disease.

Two types of omega-3 fatty acid found in oily fish – EPA and DHA – and the omega-6 fat arachidonic acid were linked to a lower risk of heart disease. But omega-3 and omega-6 supplements appeared to have no benefit.

The above aren’t the only hits on “settled science.”  In the past few days and years, we’ve also learned that men have broad fleshy faces, not to cope with a Stone Age vegan diet (because then women would have those strong, fleshy faces too), but instead because men like to punch each other (and always have).  MMR vaccinations don’t cause autism. Stomach acid, stress, and spicy foods do not cause ulcers.

Here’s the deal with science: The debate is never settled. Science is not math, where one plus one always equals two. Science is always the best theory based upon the available data (provided that the data is selected and analyzed intelligently, without ideological bias). When the data changes, people have to let go of cherished theories. Most people understand this scientific truism about everything except climate change. As to that, when you turn Left, nothing will falsify climate change theories, which means climate change is a faith, not a scientific theory at all.

I’ve decided, by the way, that climate change is my new go-to answer for my life. In media and DemProg land (but I repeat myself), climate change is the answer to all things: Hot weather? Climate change. Cold weather? Climate change. Drought? Climate change. Deluge? Climate Change. Wife beating? Climate change. Rape? Climate change. Health problems? Climate change. Golf course failures? Climate change.

Well, from now on, since I’m married to a card-carrying, climate-change-believing DemProg, things are going to be different in my house. Why isn’t dinner ready? Climate change. How come you didn’t fold the laundry? Climate change. Why aren’t the bills paid? Climate change. If it’s a faith that works for you, my dear, it should work for me too, right?

I’ll wrap this up with a bit of poetry, courtesy of Edgar Albert Guest:

It Couldn’t Be Done

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

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Comments

  1. Gringo says

    Another failed computer model from four decades ago: the Club of Rome prediction of resource exhaustion. The Club of Rome study was touted as being SOO GOOD because it was one of the first massive computer simulations in future predictions.
    My take is that those who say “the science is settled” tend to have taken little or no STEM courses. Perhaps Physics for Poets, as Al Gore did at Harvard.

  2. Eidolon says

    We have a saying in the computer sciences: garbage in, garbage out. Your output will be as bad or worse than your input.
     
    I took a class in computer modeling when I was in college. Here’s a fun exercise: try to accurately model your local McDonald’s. It’s a pretty complicated thing to do with any accuracy. And guess what? Your long-term calculations will be wrong even if they’re reasonably accurate in the short and even medium term, because population trends, demographics, holidays, gentrification, and dozens of other factors will change the inputs over time in ways you couldn’t possibly model.
     
    Physical phenomena can be somewhat easier, as there tend to be somewhat fewer input criteria. Unless you’re talking about an enormous and extraordinarily complex system, where our knowledge of the inputs isn’t very good, and our knowledge of the outputs isn’t great either (though satellite measurements are apparently a lot better than weather stations and other older methods of collection). And on top of that, change the collection methods repeatedly over time so measurements may not be apples-to-apples, mess with the data in unknown ways and lose the original (nearly all climate models are based on temperature numbers from a modified dataset where the raw numbers were “lost”), have changing conditions affect the collection method (Urban Heat Island Effect), and so on. The models have yet to accurately predict anything.
     
    Honestly, from what I’ve seen, here’s what I think their “complex” model boils down to:
     
    f(x) = (arbitrary number) * (carbon ppm) ^ 2 + (arbitrary number) * (carbon ppm) + intercept
     
    It’s just a parabola that they fit to the existing data.

  3. Ron19 says

    On the other hand,
     

     If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
    Joseph Goebbels did say it. Don’t sell him short. he was an extremely intelligent man, a brilliant manipulator, and was Hitler’s Master of Propaganda. Goebbels’s deeply rooted contempt for humanity, his urge to sow confusion, hatred and intoxication, his lust for power and his mastery of the techniques of mass persuasion were given full vent in the election campaigns of 1932, when he played a crucial role in bringing Hitler to the centre of the political stage. He was rewarded on 13 March 1933 with the position of Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, which gave him total control of the communications media – i.e. radio, press, publishing, cinema and the other arts. He retained this position for his lifetime. He was Hitler’s right hand man until their deaths.

     

  4. Ron19 says

    Strangely enough, after the humans kept doubting the prediction, in 1952,
     
    UNIVAC [computer] ultimately predicted President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s landslide win against Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson after Americans had cast about 3.4 million votes. In an Oct. 31 segment, National Public Radio told the stories of UNIVAC and other early computers used to forecast U.S. presidential elections 60 years ago. That same year saw the first nationwide TV broadcast of election night, NPR reported. 

  5. says

    Good post.  Mathematical modeling (whether a computer is used or only a pencil and paper) is essential: it would be hard to create a large building, a ship, or an airplane without it.  But even when the item being modeled is a relatively simple physical system, it is very easy to go wrong.  Recently there has been discussion of the near-disaster at the Citigroup Center, a 59-story building erected in NYC circa 1977.  The analysis of wind forces was done assuming the winds were directly on the sides, which is usually the worst case. But because of the unusual structure of this building, it was actually especially vulnerable to cornering winds.  This was discovered only after the building had been built and occupied, and the discovery was due to a young civil engineering student, Diane Hartley, who was looking at the building design for a class project.
     
    What is more, a decision had been made during construction to substitute bolted connections for the wind braces for the originally-specified welder connections.  The combination of previously-un-analyzed cornering winds and the weaker bracing could have been disastrous.  Fortunately, emergency repairs were made in time and disaster was averted.
     

  6. Ron19 says

    Personally, in the Climate Change Wars, I think humans are seriously out-gunned by mother nature. And unlike the Battle of Midway, courage and valor by humans will not change the ultimate outcome

  7. says

    Washington also shouldn’t have been able to escape from Long Island. And if his army had been trapped, the Revolution would have been over. Benedict Arnold’s treachery was also discovered through a fluke, even though suspicions were given to generals like Washington, it was never believed without the hard coincidental proof.
     
    America has long been protected by providence or grace of a divine nature. Wars like Vietnam, however, fought for an ideal but left to the Left to destroy and corrupt, has stripped that grace to nothing. America is no longer protected by such divinely inspired luck. Some sins and guilt, aren’t forgiven by Christ’s sacrifice, after all.

  8. says

    Computer modeling is overrated. It can lead to surprising results but only because the human mind can’t readily grasp the iterations that a computer does so easily. With that said the underlying resource of all computing is the human mind. That means that the theory underneath must be solid. Global warming has not been proven. There is no mechanism which can allocate how much, when and whether by nature or man. Throw out the computer results and debate the science. The computer modeling will only matter if the theory is proven both in the realm of theoretical criticism and empirical observation. Once the theory is proven the computer merely provides iteration although a very sophisticated form of iteration.
    The more something is understood the more mundane computers seem to be such as with voice recognition. What was yesterday’s research is today’s rather frustrating phone tree. If global warming becomes legitimate the computer modeling will be too boring for what politicians want them for.
     
     
     
     

  9. lee says

    “Here’s the deal with science: The debate is never settled. Science is not math, where one plus one always equals two.”
     
    The DemProgs loooooooove the whole Post Modern world view, but in that view, one plus one may or may not equal one, and like Humpty Dumpty, can pretty much equal what you want it to equal. Of course, this may be why “science is settled”–because of the topsy-turvy world (heh, heh) of Humpty Dumpty. I guess in this PoMo world, there is nothing ironic for them in blaming everything on “climate change.”
     

    • says

      “Science is not math, where one plus one always equals two”
       
      Doesn’t always equal two. Change the counting system to binary and 1+1=10
       
      A decimal system changes the counting to 0 when it hits 10. A binary system changes the counting to 10 when it hist 2. So 2=10.

      • lee says

        The difference is that in the wacky PoMo world * + * can equal *** or **** or ℅. 
         
        That’s what’s maddening about them! You can only chase the rules. You’ll never catch up, because the rules are constantly changing.

  10. cerumendoc says

    What Obama doesn’t realize, or perhaps what he exploits, is the fact that a phenomena created in isolation on the lab bench cannot be scaled up in an industrial setting in any predictable way.  This is why we have pilot plants and prototypes in order to see how well our assumptions are working. Because, we cannot accurately model large scale event because there are too many variables to account for.  Too many variables to accurately model.  
     
    This is a real problem in the realm of ‘evidence-based medical research’ so plaguing so much of medical decision making.  You can make a simple comparison of the effect of, say, a particular medicine in a clinical trial that isolates and tests for a given variable.  But, in the real world, patients with half a dozen ailments and ten to fifteen medications create some many variables that rapidly exponentiate of infinity.  (By the way, the parachute was never tested under the standards of evidence-base medical protocols.  Any volunteers for the control group?) 
     
    This is why engineers, for all of their rigorous scientific training are all very familiar with the virtues of bailing wire and duct tape.
     
    The problem with these computer models are the voodoo of what goes into the algorithms that create these models.  As a chemical engineering student, our projects always confronted these problems of predicting these variables.  So, as a fundamental engineering problem solving skill, you had to make certain assumptions.  But, most importantly, you had to state those assumptions so everyone knew where you were coming from.  And, so everyone would know where to backtrack if that solution wasn’t working out.
     
    This underlying ‘honesty’ of completely placing all your data and engineering assumptions out in the open is completely missing in the climate debate.  A very simple proposal–put all the climate data out on the internet.  Put the actual code for these computer program models out there too.
     
    Which, finally, brings us to tiptoeing about the pink elephant in the middle of the living room.  Or, perhaps the 800-pound gorilla.  Government.  Bad ideas have plague the public repeatedly for the last century.  Eugenics, fats and climate are three that come to mind.  All of these bad ideas would have died, or likely been laughed out of existence, were it not for government funding and, more importantly, the coercive power of the state behind that money.  And, the fact, to many ‘scientists,’ being venial humans,  are more than willing to bend the facts in pursuit of those dollars and that power.
     

  11. says

    People tend to look at a model a good deal less-carefully if the results of the model tell them to do something they already want to do.  For example, consider the models that were used to predict the safety of mortgage bundles sold as securities, prior to the housing collapse.  A lot of people could make a lot of money by selling the loans, bundling them, rating the bundles, etc etc….the models that purported the say that these bundles were pretty safe could help give one the virtuous sense that he was “doing well by doing good,” rather than doing well by creating the financial equivalent of a faulty bridge.

  12. qr4j says

    What an extraordinarily well written post, Ms. Book!  For the sake of argument, let’s say human-caused climate change is occurring.  Why is it that throwing money at the alleged problem is the primary solution?  By “throwing money,” I mean raising taxes for government programs.  
     
    Has government solved poverty?  No.  Yet we’ve thrown buckets of money at that problem — we know actually exists — and the poor are still with us.  And, under Obama, their numbers have increased.  What problems does government actually solve?
     
    Take a look at public education.  In Illinois, we hear cries for increased funding of our public schools.  We pump more and more money into them.  Yet their results are no better.  Schools still under-perform.
     
    The religion of climate change exists for one main reason:  To put more money in the hands of the few elites so that they can rule over us.  They can fund their friends at the expense of their enemies.  And that’s how people like Obama — and other pols, even on the so-called right — keep their power.
     
    The rest of us have to modify our behaviors to save the planet.  Obama can jet around at his latest whim.  (Remember date night with Michelle right after his first inauguration?  Flew Air Force One to NYC for the evening.)  I loathe the likes of Obama — those that wish to rule over us.  LOATHE!

  13. says

    Science was never about having “debates”. Only zombies produced by the public ed are told to believe that.
     
    Scientists are pioneers, crazy mad geniuses, that nobody in societal positions of power likes or feels comfortable with. Because they exist outside social rules and expectations, they can get results. Those results are then called “science”.

    • Caped Crusader says

      This truer than you can even believe in the field of medicine. The giant leaps to new discoveries, surgical procedures, therapies etc. are, with few exceptions, made by solitary individuals working alone with no huge government grants or fancy labs, who observe an occurrence that “ain’t suppose to happen that way” and struggle to find out why it happened and how it can be adapted to new therapies.
       
      Examples:
      If a careless janitor had not left a window open over a holiday in Sir Alexander Fleming’s office, and if he had not observed the absence of bacteria growing on culture plates next to mold colonies, and sought the answer, but instead chewed out the janitor, we may still not have antibiotics.
       
      That nearly all ulcers are the result of an infection rather than alcohol or a type A personality, was discovered by an Australian pathologist’s observation on a Saturday night emergency, who then went back to old path specimens and was able to find the H. pylori on nearly all old slides. For years he gave a paper to many meetings and was treated as an idiot. Finally he apppealed to an internationally known group of Australian gastroenterologists and challenged them to send him their 100 worst cases they were unable heal. And if he were successful they must accompany him and co-author his research if he was correct; and if he was wrong he would go with them to all their meetings and apologize for being the stupid “sonofabitch” they had previously accused him of being. He cured 98 of the 100. I myself was the beneficiary, having suffered agony for several years with an ulcer. I read a little snippet about this doctor and went to the library between cases and read his papers. Gave myself the two week treatment and was cured immediately, since few had heard of it at this time.
       
      Intraocular lenses to replace the old thick, heavy, vision distorting glasses were birthed and developed almost entirely outside of academia, which for the most part early on fought them. In 1974 at an AMA Ophthalmology section meeting in the Sheraton Chicago I actually witnessed a fist fight between an early IOL pioneer and an academic naysayer who accused him of blinding people and urged him to stop. He was accused of placing a time bomb in the eye. The pioneer countered that it must have a very long fuse!   I had cataracts removed 20 years ago and see as well as in my thirties, instead of the visual distortion I would have endured otherwise.

      • says

        I can believe a lot of things.
         
        Japan, after all, is still doing real science. The Japanese focus on “mad scientific genius” that society hates or envy, is a fictional theme, but me being me, I also spent quite a bit of time allocating my talents to finding out how this connects to human history. And it had a lot of connections.
         
        English propaganda has little effect on me “debate is over” be damned. I’m not even thinking in English, necessarily, when studying science any more.

        • Caped Crusader says

          Conventional therapy in Colonial times for malaria and similar diseases was the firing of cannon toward the swamps. A young renegade doctor had a terrible time trying to convince others it was a vector born disease. The final nail was placed in the coffin by Walter Reed.

  14. says

    Hawkings, considered a god by the Left for the Palestinian and political support Hawkings gave in public, made a bet with Higgs that the Higgs Boson particle didn’t exist as the Standard Model said it would have to.
     
    In 2012, they found the Higgs Boson particle using SERN’s LHA Large Hadron Accelerator, via indirect ways.
     
    Science was settled, Hawkings said. Science is settled by experiments, not god beings writing the rules in some thesis debate.

  15. says

    My favorite classes in college were in the history of science, where I discovered that a lot of “settled science” has been upended over the millenium.   The perfect spheres of the Greeks were replaced by elliptical orbits; Newton’s physics by Einstein’s (which is apparently also being replaced or “refined”), “humours” by the circulatory systems of blood and lymph.   According to my textbooks, published in the mid-1970’s, Earth was heading into an ice age (carbon dioxide again being the culprit!), and would be out of petroleum, food, overpopulated, and devoid of birds.  All by the turn of the 21st Century.  
     
    Of course, that was when the coolest thing to have was an HP-35 pocket calculator with Reverse Polish notation, complete with carrying case with a velcro closure.  My smartphone does more and cost less.  

  16. nuqlv9ol7u says

    The AGW mathematical models began failing about 2005. By the summer of 2010, the wheels had fallen off the AGW bus. AGW is dead. Stick a fork in it. There are still holdouts hoping the El Nino will save them, but what El Nino giveth, La Nina taketh.
     
    This will be the last push to try to save AGW, but when your scientific theory is being defended by politicians and comedians, ii is over.
     
    As to the science, the amount of additional infrared radiation reflected back due to increased CO2 is miniscule when compared to the overall system. It does not generate enough heat in the time frame to cause the effects predicted by the models.
     
    Time has not and will not be kind to the models, and the AGW backers know it. You should expect the cries to become more shrill and desperate as the polar bears evade extinction.

  17. Murray Lawrence says

    Gordon W. Prange’s Miracle at Midway gives a detailed account of the battle which demonstrates on every page why no computer model could ever account for our victory. How exactly could one factor in Japan’s blinding euphoria over its success at Pearl Harbor, Nimitz’s and Spruance’s uncanny sense of detail and intuition, split-second decisions by pilots in making the right choices in their search for the Japanese task force, the brilliant work of code breakers in gaining just enough information to give us the edge, these and innumerable other other circumstances grounded in strictly human terms? And how much precise weight could a theoretical model give for the character of Admiral Spruance, the man whom Nimitz credited for the victory? As Nimitz said to Prange, “It was because of his judgment and wisdom that we won the battle. My judgment of Spruance was vindicated again and again in future operations in the Pacific. Spruance always understood his mission. The one supreme thing Spruance had was judgment – judgment based on intelligence and knowledge of his profession.” When Prange visited Spruance many years after the battle at his home in Pebble Beach, California, he looked about his living room “amid the soft glow of Persian rugs and antique furniture” and concluded that “it was obvious that here was a man at home only with perfection.” 

  18. qr4j says

    So many here are making great, reasonable arguments about how unsettling science is.  Evidence that for many years suggests x we may later learn actually indicates y.  When used with appropriate humility, science is wonderful and helpful.  However, when arrogance creeps in, science — perhaps simply defined as the study of Mother Nature at various levels — often ceases to be science.
     
    In the old days, those that wanted to control others used religion.  Religion had influence.  The powerful could doom you to hell — or so they made others believe — if others did not obey them.  That was a horrible misuse of religion.  Sadly it is the reason so many won’t give faith a first, let alone a second, chance in their lives.
     
    Today, those that wish to control others use science, claiming the facts are on their side.  However, it is the same freedom-stealing evil at work.
     
    I am a die-hard American.  Shortly after I bought my small, modest home in a challenged neighborhood, I used some Christmas money to buy a very nice 20-foot flag pole.  I flew the Stars and Stripes proudly with the Illinois flag underneath it.  Then the Illinois General Assembly raised income taxes by 67 percent.  I took the Illinois flag down.  I was disgusted by the leaders of the state I love.  Later, after ObamaCare passed literally under the cover of darkness by some of the shadiest legislative means there are, I took the American flag down.  In its place, I put the flag of The Episcopal Church.
     
    Why?  All this shady, freedom-stealing behavior by our government reminded me:  I have only one King to serve.  The Episcopal Church flag has 11 crosses on it:  The big red Cross of St. George, the medium white Cross of St. Andrew, and nine small white Crosses of St. Andrew that make up the medium-sized one.  Each morning as I walk out my front door to go to work, I am reminded 11 times:  “You serve God the only true King.  God’s kingdom is made up of love and light — NOT inhuman bureaucracy and depressing darkness.  If the Son has made you free, you shall be free indeed.  Now ACT like it!”
     
    Obama and all the others are just caricatures of  the True King.  And they will use any and every means to steal the freedoms God has graciously given us.  I would call them gypsies, tramps and thieves, but that is insulting to gypsies, tramps, and thieves!  :-)

  19. Murray Lawrence says

    My bad in doing a cut and paste, which accounts for the computer gibberish at the top of my post.

    (Ed. — No worries; I fixed it.)

  20. says

    I understand that in K-12 schools these days, a lot of science “experiments” are conducted (if they’re even conducted at all) not in the actual physical universe, but rather with computer simulations of that universe….ie, instead of rolling a ball down an inclined plane and timing it with a stopwatch, roll it down a virtual inclined plane on a screen and watch it do what the software programmed it to do.  This is merely a modernized version of the Argument from Accepted Authority…instead of reading Aristotle, as the Middle Ages did for their view of scientific truth, ask the computer.
     
    There is indeed a role for computer simulation in schools, but it’s not like this.  The proper role is to run the simulation (NOT a black box, but an actual readable program or even a spreadsheet), conduct the physical experiment, and compare the results.

  21. says

    BTW, I would LOVE  a clever e-poster of Admiral Zlotoper’s statement:  According to computer simulation, the U.S. lost the battle of Midway.  It would be great to post on my FB page!

  22. says

    Gaia is angry that the Left is raping the Earth and destroying human potential to spread Gaia genes to the moon and Mars. That is why Gaia is increasing in warmth. Unless we sacrifice environmentalists and Leftists, Gaia will take further action.

  23. Al says

    There is no question that the results of models are only as good as the information inserted in the particular model. As mentioned above, the operative phrase is GIGO. But the specific parameters chosen by the modeler can illustrate the malfesence of the modeler. There is a model which “proves” that increasing CO2 causes global warming. That’s it. The debate is settled. We must institute the carbon tax to save the earth. The only problem is that the parameters imposed on the model include the idea that the earth’s atmosphere is infinite. If the earth’s atmosphere was infinite, increasing CO2 would increase the temperature. But the last time I looked, the atmosphere ends about 75 miles up. The “excess” CO2 is drifting away from earth, possibly to help create another star some billions of years from now. The point is that intentionally using obviously false data exposes the intentionally manipulative behavior of the modeler. Such people act to increase their power over others.
     
     
     
     
    th

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