Monthly Archives: January 2010

Dr. William Gray and Dr. Kevin Trenberth Debate Global Warming -- Part 2

Editor's Note: this is Part 2 of a two-part debate. Read Part 1 here. Part 2 -- The Debate Rages On: We Are Not In Climate Crisis Dr. Gray’s rebuttal to Dr. Trenberth: Kevin Trenberth has given the standard response that human-induced global warming advocates always give to their critics. He cites the large number…

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Dr. William Gray and Dr. Kevin Trenberth Debate Global Warming -- Part 1

The following, which took place before ClimateGate, is a written debate between Dr. Kevin Trenberth -- head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder -- and Dr. William Gray, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. This debate originally appeared in the Fort Collins Forum and…

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Howard Zinn: Freedom Versus Equality

Howard Zinn was born on August 24, 1922. He died January 27, 2010. Zinn taught Political Science at Boston University from 1964 until 1988; he was an American historian, of sorts, a self-proclaimed Marxist who, by his own admission, did not believe in objective history: I wanted my writing of history and my teaching of…

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Peak Oil?

From the moment oil first made it into the mainstream, peak oil and the imminent depletion of fossil fuels have been vehemently predicted. A by-no-means exhaustive list of those predictions might run something like this: "I take this opportunity to express my opinion in the strongest terms, that the amazing exhibition of oil which has…

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George W. Bush

Under President George W. Bush, who was the Herbert Hoover of his day, appropriated government programs grew from $298 billion to $613 billion. Under President George W. Bush, Social Security spending went from $406 billion to $662 billion. Under President George W. Bush, Medicare spending went from $216 billion to $425 billion. Under under President…

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Proof Of God?

A reader writes: Dear Harvey Ray: Is there proof of God? Can science prove that God doesn't exist? Signed, Hopelessly Devoted Dear Hopelessly Devoted: No, science cannot. In fact, nothing can. Yet we can be certain that God doesn't exist -- by virtue of the very nature of proof. The meaning of proof precludes proving…

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Capitalism

Capitalism is a social system based upon private ownership of the means of production and the preeminence of the individual over the group. The word capitalism was popularized by Karl Marx, in the 1850's. Marx used it to denounce private ownership of the means of production and the autonomous workings of the free market. Capitalism…

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Glass Recycling

Read Part 1 of this article here. Take an empty beer bottle. We can either throw that glass bottle away or recycle it. Assume for a moment that we all want what’s best for the planet. Assume, therefore, that we want to use as few resources as possible. Should we recycle our beer bottle, then?…

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Recycled Trash

Few arguments are more dangerous than the ones that "feel" right but can't be justified (Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man, 1981). Paradoxically, recycled trash is exactly what you get 99 times out of 100 when the sacred subject of recycling comes up. Recycling is the process whereby rubbish is converted into reusable materials.…

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Water, Water Everywhere, Nor Any Drop To Drink

The most obvious place to begin any real discussion of water is in pointing out that right now on planet earth, water in its potable form is about the most abundant resource there is. No one even passingly acquainted with the subject seriously disputes this. In the words of water specialist Fredrik Segerfeldt: "Water is…

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Do Animals Possess Rights?

A reader writes: Dear Ray: I recently read a synopsis of a book about the question of animal rights, and I'm curious to know your take. Do animals possess rights? If so, where do these rights reside? Thanks, Pig Bodine Dear Pig Bodine: Rights are a formal codification of human freedom. Rights, as Herbert Spencer…

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Global Warming

Politically, global warming and climate change have little if anything to do with climate science, and the fact that this subject has become such an overwhelming political issue is a fine testament to how poorly the world understands the legitimate functions of government, and why those functions are legitimate. Indeed, it turns out that the…

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Quentin Tarantino or David Lynch?

A reader writes: Dear Ray Harvey: Who’s the better filmmaker, Quentin Tarantino or David Lynch? P. Durango Dear P. Durango: Are you kidding me? But there’s no comparison. That's like asking me: who of those two has better hair? As a filmmaker, David Lynch possesses innumerable shortcomings, foremost of which is the fact that he’s…

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The Elegant Universe

A reader writes: Dear Sir: You are reported to have said that there is no order or disorder in the universe apart from what man himself puts there -- this in spite of your well-known preoccupation with a fluid and congruent universe. Can you tell us how you reconcile this, with regard in particular to…

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The Difference Between a Cynic and a Skeptic

The difference between the cynic and the skeptic is the difference between epistemology and ethics. It is the difference between brain and body. Skepticism is an epistemological word. Cynicism is ethical. Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that deals with knowledge. Ethics is the branch of philosophy that deals with morality. The Greek word skopein…

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