Friday, April 13, 2007

Bloggers, Unite (or stay Untied?)

"The Scout Report," a weekly e-mail I receive from the good folks at includes the following about blogs. I haven't posted for over a month, while life has speeded up a bit, but I hope to resume soon. These resources and suggestions are worth considering as we watch and participate in the amazing blog explosion.

"Code of conduct proposed for blogs

Web pioneers say code of conduct needed to clean up manners online

Bloggers disinclined toward suggestion of Net civility

Bloggers code of conduct

Blog 100


Electronic Frontier Foundation: Legal Guide for Bloggers

Internet Scout Project Weblog

The modern blog evolved from the online diary, and reasonable estimates of the number of blogs approximate that there are over 60 million blogs. While most of the discourse and commentary on blogs remains civil, there have been a number of recent events that have caused some to wonder whether there should be an official blogging code of conduct. This past Sunday, Tim O’Reilly who is both a conference promoter and a primary figure in the Web 2.0 world posted some initial suggestions for just such a code. Of course, shortly after Reilly posted these suggestions, there was a veritable snowstorm of responses posted within the blogosphere, some of which were quite vitriolic, and others which were a bit more detached, but still upset. Jeff Jarvis, a professor at City University (and an active blogger), responded after hearing about this proposal by stating “I’m rather resentful of someone who has the temerity to tell me how they think I should behave.” Some of Reilly’s initial suggestions included banning anonymous comments, and he also called on bloggers to not post material that harasses others or is knowingly false. Not surprisingly, Reilly’s own blog was quickly filled with a variety of comments, including one user who quoted Benjamin Franklin and another who referenced the Council of Nicea and its attempt to reform the Christian church in the 4th century. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to an insightful piece about this proposed code of conduct offered in this Tuesday’s online edition of the Scotsman. On a related note, the second link leads to a fine piece by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Verne Kopytoff on the reaction of bloggers to this proposed code. The third link whisks users away to the proposed code of conduct, which is referenced as a “starting point for discussion” on the whole matter. Given the sheer number of blogs, the fourth link will be most welcome. It is a listing of the top 100 blogs as determined by CNET, complete with a smattering of recent posts. The fifth link leads to the very compelling blog of Jeff Jarvis, who is the director of the interactive journalism program at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. The sixth link is definitely worth a visit, as it contains a number of helpful sections on the legal liability of bloggers, and a FAQ on both intellectual property and defamation. Finally, the last link leads to our very own blog here at the Internet Scout Project. [KMG] "

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dean of Islamic Scholarship: Europe Doomed, Israeli Leaders Must Wake Up

Professor Bernard Lewis, a Brit teaching for years at Columbia University, is probably the foremost western scholar of Islam. Among his many writings is The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror . Unquestionably informed, he is also even-handed, irenic, and calm -- no enemy of Islam, while opposed to Islamism -- which makes his opinions about the dire condition of Europe (especially its Jews) and of Israel's tepid response to Islamism important and urgent. Read excerpts of a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post.

Monday, January 29, 2007

More Politics Than Science, Again: Global Warming

On PBS' "Now" last Friday, Laurie David, producer of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," proclaimed, with the certainty of a Puritan preacher, that the science is settled, global warming is happening at crisis levels, human activity is to blame -- and anyone who disagrees is sub-humanly ignorant (asserted in perhaps milder words pointing to a similar judgment). Passionate she was and attractive, because I think she's sincere in her passion.

But two people and a few facts leave me thinking she's two-thirds (or more) wrong: yes, global warming is happening (about 1 degree Fahrenheit over the last century, pretty much everyone agrees) but no, not at crisis levels and not caused primarily by human fossil-fuels emissions.

The two people?

(1) Emeritus Professor William Gray, hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, who knows that surface global temperature rises and falls for reasons that, as yet, we don't understand. He produces a graph showing such temperatures falling from the mid-1940s through the mid-1970s. Newsweek in 1975 (28 April) warned that lowered temperatures could result in lower harvests, leading to resulting famines that "could be catastrophic."

Let's see: I graduated from high school in 1974, and the only shortage that stands out from that time in my mind today is the humanly contrived gasoline shortages of 1973 and later. I don't remember missing a meal or any empty grocery shelves. Temps fell, yes; but no, no crisis, and no, human activity did not cause the fall.

Gray acknowledges that temps have been rising since the 1970s, but he attributes the current media-and-political "climate" about the rise to, well, forces driving media and politics. Media profits from crisis, which raises not temperatures but media and advertising $ale$. And, whatever viewpoint controls government agencies ends up controlling the intellectual output of researchers who profit from government-grant revenues.

Gray should know. After winning government NOAA grants for 30 years, after the Clinton administration arrived in 1993 (and gave the global-warming-crisis theory a home in government), his grant applications have been rejected. Every time. 13 times, to be exact. "A mild form of McCarthyism" he says, against anyone skeptical of the "crisis."

(2) Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT (now there's a title to kill for). He is an often-cited early voice debunking climate-change hysteria. And he's not cooling his debunking. The earth's "always warming and cooling," and the increase we've seen over the past century "is much smaller than (computer climate) models predict we should have seen" given the amount of CO2 we've added. And adding more CO2 may amplify the greenhouse effect less than the earliest additions of CO2 because it's "like painting a window with black paint. The first coat blocks out most of the light; adding three times as many coats doesn't do a heck of a lot."

Now the facts, quoted straight from Stuart Shepard (from whom the above, except for my opening paragraphs, is summarized):

"You've heard there's a consensus among scientists concerning catastrophic human-induced global warming.

"Let's knock that down in three steps.

"One, while there is consensus that the average global temperature has increased, there is not a consensus on:

* How much it has gone up.
* Whether it will continue to go up.
* How much humans are responsible.
* Whether warmer temperature presents a crisis of a benefit.
* Whether increased CO2 levels cause the warming or follow the warming.
* What public-policy action we should take, if any.
* Whether anything we do would have a significant impact.
* Whether anything we do might have the opposite of the desired effect.

. . .

"Two, when someone trumpets a consensus, they're taking the general agreement concerning warmer average temperatures and stretching it to fit everything they are about to tell us we should do -- which is deceitful at best, sinister at worst.

"Three, as Lindzen expressed it, 'Science, first of all, is not conducted by consensus and science is not a matter of authority; it's a process. And so whenever [people] hear politicians declare "the science is settled, the debate is over" and so on, they should be aware, they're not hearing about science.

"He said 'the debate is over' line may be a good political technique, but it's dishonest."

(S. Shepard, "Hot Air: Global warming is more about politics than science," Focus on the Family Action, Focus on the Family Citizen, November 2006, pp. 22--23.)

Concerning the politics of it all, E. Calvin Beisner, associate professor of social ethics at Knox Theological Seminary, believes that recent attempts to get evangelical Christians on the warming-crisis bandwagon express "an intentional effort . . . to split the evangelical vote that has tended to be fairly strong pro-Republican in order to return control of the Congress to the Democratic Party" (Shepard, p. 23).

The Dems now control Congress, but I hope that the cautions Beisner and others of the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance urge will help cool the hysteria (the real warming crisis!)

before it brakes economies, which will certainly hurt the poor (at home and abroad) far more than the middle class and the rich. Why don't we hear Al Gore et al estimate what their global-warming mitigations will cost the most vulnerable among us? (Watch Beisner et al present "Call to Truth, Prudence and the Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming" at the Heritage Foundation, July 25, 2006.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Political Correctness Gags Campus Health Services

UNPROTECTED: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student, by Anonymous, M.D. (aka Dr. Miriam Grossman, UCLA)

I haven't been planning to make political correctness (PC) the theme of this blog, but after posting about psychiatric malpractice, I've just heard a talk by a practicing campus psychiatrist that gave the same message: those promoting radical social change have perverted college health systems nationwide. The resulting PC climate intimidates doctors who know more than they're routinely telling student patients, doctors who therefore treat patients inadequately, doctors who therefore promote illness.

Watch Dr. Grossman's talk at the Family Research Council (25 January 07) . (Other coverage of the book exists at National Review Online, twice(!).)

Her book tells readers . . .

*"About an Ivy League university’s health website that okays risky behaviors including S&M, 'swinging,' and bestiality
* How campus health centers hound students to stop smoking, eat right, get enough sleep, and wear sunscreen, but tacitly approve of promiscuity, and whitewash the consequences of sexually transmitted infections
* How HIV education is distorted, causing hysteria among students who are at no risk for infection
* How campus counselors focus on sexual orientation, abuse, molestation, cigarettes and caffeine, but neglect to ask students about abortion
* How ideology-driven health services lead young women to believe they are just like men – and to pay a high price for it.
* How, despite strong evidence of significant health benefits of church attendance and faith in God, psychology remains anti-religion -- an irrational, out-dated prejudice Dr Anonymous calls 'theophobia.'

(the above copied from sales copy at www.

These are among her final words at today's talk: "Where I work [student health services at UCLA], it's very difficult to say the things I've just said, and that’s why I wrote the book anonymously. I went out on a limb." At her work, only one colleague has expressed support for Dr. Grossman’s views. "Miriam," she said, "This book completely validates me and everything I believe in."

Dr. Grossman continues, “But guess what? She told me that behind a closed door. Otherwise, mum’s the word. Many people in my profession are intimidated. The atmosphere on campus is intolerant. I do not know what’s going to face me when I go back to work on Monday. And this of course on a campus that celebrates diversity. I am looking for another job."

So much for the university born of Enlightenment.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Psychiatric Malpractice

Politics, not Science, Redefined Homosexuality as Normal in the 1970’s
I learned my first tidbit about this tectonic medical-social shift from a public radio show in 2002. What stuck in my mind was how a Honolulu bar party of closeted homosexual psychiatrists and one activist convinced a heterosexual psychiatrist to champion deleting homosexuality as a disease from the 1973 edition of the authoritative DSM (Diagnostics and Statistics Manual). The story is bigger than that nonetheless climactic event (see links below). But simply, in the words of Robert Bayer, historian of public health, the American Psychiatric Association “had fallen victim to the disorder of a tumultuous era, when disruptive conflicts threatened to politicize every aspect of American social life. A furious egalitarianism …had compelled psychiatrists to negotiate the pathological status of homosexuality with homosexuals themselves. The result was not a conclusion based upon an approximation of the scientific truth as dictated by reason, but was instead an action demanded by the ideological temper of the times” (Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics Of Diagnosis. Princeton: Princeton University Press [1987], p. 104).

In other words, a decision society had entrusted to the scientific expertise of an elite group society presumed to be specially, if not uniquely, qualified to decide, a decision that did nothing less than overhaul society, was made because a special-interest group demanded it, not because science and reason justified or compelled it. I doubt that very many people know this story, one more chapter of the unfortunately never-ending iterations of the tale of the emperor’s new clothes that is best not told in order to maintain the status quo of homosexual triumph over social well being. But once you hear the story, I think you will agree with me that the scientific community today should not continue to expect laypersons to trust its judgments just because those handing down such dicta wear lab coats monogrammed M.D. or Ph.D. We know, not only from this story but also from religious-like defenses of macro-evolution (supposedly caused by only one mechanism: impersonal, blind, natural selection), that social forces can and do trump rationality, even in the world of hard-shelled scientism. Without deep honesty (a virtue that, by its nature, exists only when one makes it a habit), desires, personal or social, will "cook the books" of evidence to conclude as near as possible to what one desires.

The paper I recommend: “The Trojan Couch: How the Mental Health Guilds Allow Medical Diagnostics, Scientific Research and Jurisprudence to be Subverted in Lockstep with the Political Aims of their Gay Sub-Components,” by Jeffrey B. Satinover, M.S., M.D.

The radio broadcast you can hear: “81 words.”

A classic book by a courageous psychiatrist who opposed the 1973 DSM changes and who has since suffered professionally because of his principled opposition: Homosexuality: A Freedom too Far. A Psychoanalyst Answers 1000 Questions about Causes and Cure and the Impact of the Gay Rights Movement on American Society, by Charles W. Socarides. Phoenix, AZ : Adam Margrave Books, 1995; ISBN: 0964664259. (Haven't read it yet but hope to. As one might expect, it is assailed by pro-homosex persons.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The wages of sin (economic & political)

Urge your representative and Senator to hike the minimum wage to $7.15 if . . .
* you think (some) politicians can make the economy work better than the market can
* you really think it's the government's job to decide what a living wage is ; that is, if you kind of like a Centralized Economy (Stalin's dream and the USSR's nightmare)
* you don't believe people who work hard and seek to become more skillful in their work can earn promotions and wage increases
* you want to increase unemployment (10% forced min. wage increase will raise unemployment 1% to 3%)
* you want the cost of everything touched by minimum-wage workers to increase (rising labor costs raise consumer prices)
* you want to see more jobs go overseas, where competent workers are already available for well below the current US federal minimum wage.
See what the folks at Acton have to say.