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Virginia AG Probing Michael Mann For Fraud 617

eldavojohn writes "Republican Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has requested receipts and research documents relating to nearly half a million dollars in state taxpayer money used to conduct climate change research at the University of Virginia while under direction of Michael Mann, originator of the famous 2001 IPCC Hockey Stick graph depicting rapid climate change. Mann appears to be a prime target for Cuccinelli — who has also requested hearings with the EPA to contest the grounds of their carbon dioxide studies. Mann's expenditures of taxpayer money may become problematic if Cuccinelli finds violations of Virginia's Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. Cuccinelli has been active in pushing conservative views in the past, including an effort to remove the titillating mammary from the beloved Great Seal of Virginia. No end in sight for the politicizing of the science and research surrounding climate change."
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Virginia AG Probing Michael Mann For Fraud

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  • Woo, witchhunts! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:39PM (#32066986)

    After the whole Climategate thing fizzled, I was wondering when some enterprising Republican in the US would take it upon himself to try to drum up some more bullshit. I guess after the guy was done making sure you can discriminate against the gays the way the good lord intended, Cuccinelli thought he'd move on to something that's a better use of the taxpayer's dollars.

    Yay Virginia!

  • Non-peer Review (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Machupo (59568) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:39PM (#32066990)

    Great...

    Definitely the beginning of the end when science is evaluated by non-scientists (or bought/paid for court "expert witnesses").

  • Ken Cuccinelli (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TimmyDee (713324) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:41PM (#32067002) Homepage Journal

    What an asshole...going after academics for political reasons. What's next?

  • Pure trolling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:43PM (#32067004)

    That's pure trolling from Cuccinelli, he has not asked for the data (which is open) related to the papers in question, but ALL of Mann's e-mail with about 20 people.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/05/cuccinelli_is_using_the_law_to.php [scienceblogs.com]

  • by TimmyDee (713324) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:44PM (#32067026) Homepage Journal

    Maybe someone should sue Cuccinelli for fraud. After all, this sounds like a waste of taxpayer money if I've ever heard of one.

  • It is very serious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Presto Vivace (882157) <marshall@prestovivace.biz> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:45PM (#32067038) Homepage Journal
    Even if the investigation comes up empty, as I expect it will, it could have a very damaging effect upon Mann's career. It also could have a chilling effect not only on other climate scientists, but even discouraging science students in even choosing a career in climate science.
  • by Barrinmw (1791848) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:49PM (#32067070)
    Religion is a behavior, it's not something should be regulated like race and other innate attributes. I mean we don't want special legislation protecting people who are homo- or xenophobic.
  • Re:Non-peer Review (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Barrinmw (1791848) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:50PM (#32067076)
    When Scientists act like politicians, I don't find it hard to believe that politicians will soon act like scientists.
  • On the other hand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Presto Vivace (882157) <marshall@prestovivace.biz> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:53PM (#32067106) Homepage Journal
    it is a great day for economic development in DC and Maryland, who is going to locate a scientific research institution or bio-technology business in Virginia with this going on?
  • by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:54PM (#32067114) Homepage Journal

    You mean they might not be discouraged yet by the whole climategate scandal? If they haven't yet, I doubt this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Though it could stoke the fire of open research, solid peer review, and cause the desire for solid, factual research to go up.

    Of course I could also get a Pink Unicorn for a pet, too.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:55PM (#32067118)

    Being gay is a behavior,

    No it's not. One could "be gay" buy never have sex with another person of the same sex. Just as slashdotters can "be straight" and remain virgins.

  • Re:Ken Cuccinelli (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:58PM (#32067156)

    The scientists and academics allowed themselves to become political;

    What does that even mean? All science has political implications. That doesn't mean the researchers are doing it for politics, and it certainly doesn't warrant government harassment of scientists. There had better be a damn good reason and some solid evidence of malfeasance before such "probing" is initiated.

  • by Cyberax (705495) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:00PM (#32067172)

    "Because if he's not, and Mann DID commit some sort of fraud, any and all AGW claims will be blown to smithereens."

    Even if we assume that Mann bribed all scientists reviewing his work, killed Kennedy and in fact is a reincarnation of Hitler (pre-emptive Godwining) - it won't change ANYTHING.

    Mann's papers are just several of many thousands, written by different teams from various parts of the world with different methodologies and data sources used.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:00PM (#32067178)

    Why are you discriminating against his discriminatory views and opinions?

  • by Barrinmw (1791848) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:15PM (#32067296)
    I thought Copenhagen stalled because a third of the poorest countries were angry that they would not be allowed to develop and that us Big Countries were getting to much of an advantage?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:17PM (#32067312)
    The Americans with Disabilities Act protects genetic defect [wikipedia.org] diseases too...
  • by Cyberax (705495) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:20PM (#32067336)

    Considering that much of AGW research was done long before Mann's papers - it's still won't change anything.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:22PM (#32067370)

    Don't let facts get in the way of your partisan hatred. All he did was point out that only the state legislature has the authority to mandate such policies.

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:24PM (#32067384) Homepage Journal
    In one stroke turn many sciences outside maths or military industrial engineering disciplines into 'arts' in the eyes of the US public.
    No more messy European style reports about cadmium, lead, beryllium, dioxin, strontium, the water table, air quality ect. by 'experts' in US courts.
  • Re:Ken Cuccinelli (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:24PM (#32067388)

    You do realize that there is a large population of people who don't support the idea of climate change? And if its not able to stand up against political pressure, those people Will Never be coerced.

    Which is why science should be based on the scientific method, and not on public opinion.

  • Re: Ken Cuccinelli (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:26PM (#32067400)

    a more precise listing of what political reasons you think may be present would be nice.

    Contrary to what the talking heads would have you believe, Republicans -- the politicians and party leaders, not the voters -- aren't conservative. Their 'base' is billionaires, and their political philosophy is that the proper role of government is to ensure that the rich get richer faster.

    Fighting climate change is going to cost some billionaires a small fraction of their income, so devout Republicans are desperate to prove that nothing needs to be done.

    So we get the absurd notion that climate change is a liberal conspiracy.

  • by Barrinmw (1791848) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:27PM (#32067414)
    There was an article in Time magazine about it 40 years ago. So how can you say it was a myth?
  • by MrHanky (141717) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:33PM (#32067460) Homepage Journal

    That's pretty much my point. There was one article in Time Magazine 40 years ago. And one in Newsweek. And then you have this [ametsoc.org]:

    An enduring popular myth suggests that in the 1970s the climate science community was predicting “global cooling” and an “imminent” ice age, an observation frequently used by those who would undermine what climate scientists say today about the prospect of global warming. A review of the literature suggests that, on the contrary, greenhouse warming even then dominated scientists' thinking as being one of the most important forces shaping Earth's climate on human time scales.

    (Wikipedia's summary: "A survey of the scientific literature from 1965 to 1979 found 7 articles predicting cooling and 44 predicting warming, with the warming articles also being cited much more often in subsequent scientific literature.")

  • by Maestro4k (707634) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:35PM (#32067488) Journal

    It also could have a chilling effect not only on other climate scientists, but even discouraging science students in even choosing a career in climate science.

    I suspect that's the plan, according to the article he's wanting documents from the period of 1999 - 2005, and it goes on to describe what's he's demanded be produced as:

    Among the documents Cuccinelli demands are any and all emailed or written correspondence between or relating to Mann and more than 40 climate scientists, documents supporting any of five applications for the $484,875 in grants, and evidence of any documents that no longer exist along with proof of why, when, and how they were destroyed or disappeared.

    I seriously, seriously doubt all the E-mail correspondence will still exist, we're talking about stuff that goes back 11 years. And when it does, and they can't prove "why, when and how" those E-mails were lost exactly, this asshole will claim it's all some giant cover-up. No matter what Mann and the UVA does they're going to lose here, because this isn't a legit investigation, it's a political witch-hunt pure and simple. McCarthy would be proud.

    This disgusts me greatly, I'm torn between being glad I'm not living in Virginia and wishing I was so I could raise holy hell at the waste of my tax dollars on political witch-hunts by this jerk. Maybe Virginia voters will wake up and demand an investigation into Cuccinelli's waste of their tax dollars under the same law he's abusing here.

  • by Trepidity (597) <[gro.hsikcah] [ta] [todhsals-muiriled]> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:36PM (#32067496)

    Probably because it is politicizing science regardless of the merits. The way science operates is not generally by having attorneys general investigating the merits of scientific papers. If something was wrong or fraudulent, that's a job for journal editorial staff and university misconduct boards to sort out.

    Similarly, it'd be correctly considered "politicizing science" if democrats launched a fraud investigation of a libertarian economist, regardless of whether that economist did or didn't fabricate evidence. The attorney general is just not the right person to do it.

  • by Kreigaffe (765218) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:36PM (#32067498)

    I thought it failed because the poorest third were angry that they weren't going to be guilt-tripping the developed third into propping them up through international welfare.

    Actually, I'm pretty sure that's what actually happened.

    Not a matter of "YOU BROWN FOLK STAY POOR". We drove our car through standing water and it flooded, killed our car, we've got a mess on our hands. We're waving our arms shouting "Look if you go this way, global warming. Bad shit. Go around the long way. It's harder, but if we had known about this shit we'd be going that way too".. meanwhile the third world refuses to understand what we're saying, and instead are just preoccupied with the fact that we went right through the high water and now they have to go around. ... but more than that, what they REALLY want is just reparations from the industrialized world. Nothing like a big fat annual check for never managing to get a working competitive economy in order.

  • Um (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:37PM (#32067510)

    Guys, the hockey stick graph has been proven to be, at best, a very narrow view of the data, and at worse, a hoax. If you take federal grant money, and you perpetrate a hoax, it is a crime.

    Enter the attorney general.

    If you think *he* is wasting Virginia's tax-payer dollars, what do you think of the billions in federal funds used to whip the public into a frenzy ala global warming?

  • Re:Ken Cuccinelli (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:37PM (#32067514) Homepage Journal

    Well, for what it's worth, Michael Mann and a few others contribute regularly to the arguably political website known as Real Climate, a website which isn't exactly known to allow dissenting views.

    Excuse me, but why would it? There's information that has scientific credibility and there's stuff that isn't. I would expect a site like Real Climate to post what is generally thought by real scientists to be accurate, not publish "dissenting positions" for the sake of "balance".

    Balance can mean a lot of things, but when balance is advocated for balances sake, to the point that for every truthful statement, a lie must be told as well, then it serves nobody, and is utterly unethical to engage in.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:42PM (#32067536)

    Yes, a leading climate scientist made that statement recently. Do you understand what the term statistically significant means, and what the implications of that observation are? Two important points to remember are that such an observation is not inconsistent with AGW, and that you cannot do statistics on a sample of one.

    If each year we look back and determine whether there was statistically significant warming in the past X years, we would expect to see no statistically significant warming in some years. Similarly, if you throw loaded dice time and time again, you would expect some runs that appear to show no statistically significant deviation from what would be expected from fair dice.

  • by Saint Stephen (19450) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:44PM (#32067546) Homepage Journal

    You know, the only place where the kind of thinking - open hatred towards a class of society, is considered normal and encouraged by society is - the sorts of views expressed by you and parrotted endlessly here :-) It's quite ironic, when one thinks about it....

    You're what you hate :-)

  • by Barrinmw (1791848) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:45PM (#32067558)
    The point is, I would highly doubt that a news periodical like Time would just pull a story out of their arses without any actual basis to them.
  • Re:Ken Cuccinelli (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Goldsmith (561202) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:46PM (#32067572)

    Accused and exonerated. Don't forget that little bit.

    IF the NSF review (it was their money) had shown that he had even simply violated ethical principles, then I could see a justification for a criminal investigation. This research has been through several reviews (and the reviews are now under review), and he's not been found guilty of anything.

    If AGs are out there bringing charges against scientists when scientific review boards claim nothing has been done wrong, then the system is broken. There's no purpose to having scientific review boards if politicians bring criminal charges against scientists doing research they don't like. In retrospect, it was nice that Bush just forbid funding for stem cell research. That was the correct way to use political tools to prevent research the politicians didn't want done. This current action is setting a precedent which is absolutely terrifying for a scientist. How do we know whether the research the government is paying us to do will piss someone off, or make the wrong person look bad and get us in court?

    Oh, and if you want a specific political reason for why he's doing this:
    He wants press.

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:46PM (#32067574)
    Normally, investigations start because there is suspected wrongdoing. Here's the quote from TFA about the suspected wrongdoing here:

    "Since it's public money, there's enough controversy to look in to the possible manipulation of data," says Dr. Charles Battig, president of the nonprofit Piedmont Chapter Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment, a group that doubts the underpinnings of climate change theory.

    I'll be the first to recognize that Mann's hockey stick has some issues [wikipedia.org] with the older data. Unfortunately, there is a difference between manipulation of data for a political reason and just being wrong. Most science, when first published, is wrong and scientists try to be clear that the data they present has significant uncertainty attached to it (this is often forgotten by the media looking for a sensational story).

    Given that, let me turn your question around: given that as a political entity, Republicans generally have disavowed that any climate change is possible how could anyone as a member of that political entity actually evaluate the difference between Mann being wrong and Mann committing fraud in an unbiased way? I don't think they can, they don't have any credibility on this topic.

  • It's 2010! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by M. Baranczak (726671) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:47PM (#32067578)

    You would think that by this time, the discussion would have moved from "is global warming real?" to "what do we do about it?" No such luck.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:50PM (#32067602)

    You have to disprove Cuccinelli's belief that "homosexuality is wrong" and his apparent reinforcement that it moves him up the voting chain so the populace agrees.

    There are large portions of the population which (for whatever reason) don't want to support "gay rights".

    The goal then, should be to re-frame the argument in a way as to remove the government from areas which it doesn't belong (like defining marriage).
    Think of it this way, if the government had no concern for marriage and only "cared" about civil unions, what issue would it be what the sexes of the two parties are?

    You want to "marry" a man or woman or child or goat or rock (or a mix), that's between you and the church.
    Everything else is a contract, let the lawyers fight over it.

  • Re:Non-peer Review (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shellster_dude (1261444) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:54PM (#32067626)
    Mod parent up. Climategate was the result of scientist taking their findings out of the field of science and into politics. Whether malicious or not, these scientists let politics skew their research. They modified data that "didn't look right". They deleted "anomalous" data. All of these things are clearly in the realm of politics instead of science. Scientists have the responsibility of presenting the science warts and all, as it is. Especially when some of the science is being funded by tax dollars and can potentially affect millions of lives because of the legislation which will be based on the results.

    Climategate is no longer about whether climate change or global warming is or isn't happening. It is about the egregious abuse of the scientific method and peer review.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:55PM (#32067630)

    I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but I'll play your game.

    Let's set aside all rational thought for a moment and accept, just for the sake of argument, your ridiculous premise that homosexuality is a "behavioral decision".

    Now, explain to me why a person should be fired from their job at a university for something they may (or may not) do in the privacy of their own home, with a consensual partner. Explain the rational basis for firing someone for something that is completely unrelated to their job performance in any way, shape, or form.

    Let's put it in terms of other "behavioral decisions. Explain to me why it's okay to fire someone for being a smoker. Let's say that the person in question never smokes during work hours, or anywhere near the place of work. Let's say no one has ever smelled smoke on the person's breath or clothing. Basically, there is no way for anyone to know that this person is a smoker, except that one day you happen to stumble upon this fact. Maybe you saw him smoking outside of the workplace on the weekend. Maybe he just mentioned it to you in passing one day. Explain to me how it's okay to fire the person for that reason, and that reason alone.

    I eagerly anticipate your response.

  • Re:It's 2010! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Barrinmw (1791848) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:57PM (#32067642)
    Science should never have a problem with questions being asked.
    And in my opinion, if Global Warming is man-made, then I am not worried at all. In the next 30 years, technology will be developed on its own that will solve all our problems. Most notably, Fusion power. Once it comes along, Fossil Fuels will probably stopped being used within 20 years?
    In fact, Global Warming is probably much more dangerous if it is not man made.
  • by Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:58PM (#32067644)
    Hmm, look at that. 4 of my mom's 15 siblings have schizophrenia, but 11/15 don't! But their parents didnt have it, and their children don't either! Wow, but how can that be? schizophrenia is genetic...but they're not all crazy.

    I guess science is a lie, and they all chose to be schizophrenic.

    Or, you could have no idea what regressive traits are, and are pulling this is out your ass.

    Being gay is no more a choice than being schizophrenic or even being straight. Gay people are attracted to the pheromones of the same sex in the same way straight people are attracted to the opposite sex's pheromones.
  • by capnkr (1153623) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @08:05PM (#32067702)
    Hate to go Off Topic on this homosexuality discussion (???), but in reference to your statement in the article summary at top, the last sentence you wrote says:

    "No end in sight for the politicizing of the science and research surrounding climate change."

    As I recall it was Al Gore who first politicized this area of science. How much of the blame does he get for letting the political genie out of the bottle on a topic so important as this one could be? Seems to me that if we are going to bust anyones chops for that particular offense, it oughta be his...

    Of course, YMWV.

  • by compro01 (777531) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @08:09PM (#32067728)

    Another tidbit is also likely explains why I get moderated to hell is that many mental illnesses also show up on MRIs. Which suggests diseases such as sociopaths and psychopaths, among many others, are not actually diseases. You can't have it both ways. If you follow the logical conclusion, either these are not diseases or they are

    How do you figure that? The root cause of something does not determine whether it is or is not a disease. For example, a bacterial infection and gut flora both have the same root cause, but one is a disease and the other is normal, as the former is harmful and the latter is typically beneficial or at least neutral.

  • Re:Ken Cuccinelli (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @08:19PM (#32067772)
    First, no climate scientist I'm aware of has ever said that we're "doomed". Second, I don't know of any unanswered questions about the basic findings of AGW.
  • Re:Ken Cuccinelli (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @08:25PM (#32067814) Journal

    I wasn't aware that Penn State's board had exonerated Mann (this was recent - as earlier this month). Looking further into it, the NSF Office of the Inspector General is doing (not 'has done', is doing) a meta-investigation of this (which is in and of itself unusual. Before you say it - mind you that the NSF currently doesn't answer to an administration which could be accused of being pre-disposed against Mann).

    This means overall, I doubt that he's free and clear just yet. Until that point, my assertion stands.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @08:29PM (#32067836)

    What's not commonly known and likely the reason I've always been moderated negatively is that many "gays" do not have different brain chemistry from other males which likely means for many "gays" it absolutely is a choice.

    Or it means that MRIs aren't the be-all and end-all of measuring a person's biochemical make-up.

  • Re:Ken Cuccinelli (Score:3, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @08:46PM (#32067956) Homepage Journal

    Except elephants have trunks.

    Your point is, what, exactly? That RealClimate removes what it believes to be false statements from the comments?

    And why is that bad when the site itself aims to report the actual science and correct the numerous myths and falsehoods being spread by the anti-science people? If RealClimate was putting itself forward as a debating chamber with no views on the legitimacy of the scientific method, that'd be one thing. But it's not, it undermines the aims of the site if the site, albeit through comments made by third parties in the comments section, becomes an amplifier for the very myths and lies its trying to debunk.

    If a website that promotes mathematics kept removing comments arguing that integration involves changing x^2 into x/2, using obscufication to promote the lie, would you have a problem with that? Does the fact that a more vocal group have chosen to lie about climate science change that principle?

  • by MadUndergrad (950779) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @08:52PM (#32068006)

    Bullshit. That's the same tired tripe they've been pushing since well before the civil rights movement. You can't discriminate against blacks and you can't discriminate against gays. Get used to it.

  • Re:It's 2010! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:10PM (#32068120)
    this is one of the key issues i've had with global warming to date, people HATE you questioning and got totally hostile. that isn't science at all, it's religion.
  • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:24PM (#32068204)
    I suspect that's the plan, according to the article he's wanting documents from the period of 1999 - 2005, and it goes on to describe what's he's demanded be produced as:

    The White House couldn't even answer demands about emails from more recent time. And for retro-justifying $500,000 in grants (it's not that much, under $100k per year for 6 years), it'll take about that much more to account for it. Produce every document suspected to exist, or justify its non existence is the order. And he doesn't care if that's impractical. In fact he wants it to be. I'm sure he thinks that they'll not provide anything incriminating, but that they'll be unable to provide everything, and what isn't provided won't have accurate destruction history (I know I don't record emails as I destroy them). And so, any single missing document of the thousands or tens of thousands he's expecting and he'll have his "proof" that they must have done something because they couldn't comply with his simple request.

    It's not a witch hunt. He has the witch he wants. This is the burning. Investigations as a punishment is nothing new. Even if exonerated, it will be a blow against the reputation of Michael Mann and the treasury of Virgina.
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:24PM (#32068210) Journal

    I'd rather correct you:

    The AG's job regarding legal advice is to provide it in response to requests from state institutions. In this case, I believe, nobody asked him - he just decided that it was in his political interest to create the opinion from his reading of the laws.

    He's - if I can borrow the term - legislating from the AG's office. I'd rather he go back to prosecuting people who harm society by breaking the law. (We'll, I'd rather he leave office. Steve Shannon is no great shakes, but I voted for him as a way to vote against this kind of activism).

  • by matunos (1587263) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:27PM (#32068226)
    ...what with ecological oblivion facing the Gulf Coast.
  • by Mspangler (770054) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:44PM (#32068326)

    "I guess the glaciers in Glacier National Park are disappearing because we don't allow enough logging to keep the trees in check,"

    Or a multi year drought reduces snow fall, so that glaciers recede even at constant temperature. Warming isn't the only thing that makes glaciers shrink, or that changes the width of tree rings.

  • Re:Non-peer Review (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:52PM (#32068384)

    What cherry picking of data are you referring to? The only people I've seen cherry picking data is people who argue AGW isn't happening. You've done it yourself multiple times in this Slashdot story alone! Do you understand what cherry picking is? I suppose not -- I'll explain.

    It is considering only data that confirms what you would like to believe and ignoring all data that does not. You have done it by pointing out a statement that the warming in the past ten years has not been statistically significant, but ignoring all the data that shows the warming is statistically significant over other periods of time. You have done it be referring to the Arctic ice "increasing", although that refers to the surface area of the ice and not the volume, and you ignore what is happening to the ice in other places on the globe.

  • by quantaman (517394) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:56PM (#32068406)

    Actually it's more of... well I can't think of a good metaphor.

    But to say "Go around the long way. It's harder, but if we had known about this shit we'd be going that way too" is pretty disingenuous since we got rich going the easy way and still don't show any signs of being serious about going the hard way.

    It's hypocritical of the developed nations who got rich filling the atmosphere with carbon to tell the developing nations they can't do the same while we're still filling the atmosphere with carbon.

  • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:56PM (#32068410) Homepage

    Except that his "lie" has been independently reproduced and been confirmed. Let me cite guardian.co.uk [guardian.co.uk]:

    What counts in science, however, is not a single study. It is whether its finding can be replicated by others. Here Mann has been on a winning streak. Upwards of a dozen studies, using different statistical techniques or different combinations of proxy records, have produced reconstructions broadly similar to the original hockey stick. These reconstructions all have a hockey stick shaft and blade. While the shaft is not always as flat as Mann's version, it is present. Almost all support the main claim in the IPCC summary: that the 1990s was then probably the warmest decade for 1000 years.

  • by Lokinator (181216) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:01PM (#32068442)
    As a gay man, I find the very concept of barring such anti-discrimination policies offensive. However, before we really get the bandwagon rolling, what say we ask a couple of questions:

    1) What have past Virginia AG's advised cities, towns, and political subdivisions regarding non-discrimination policy generally and LGBT affecting law specifically? What was their reasoning? What is Cucinelli's?

    2) Do, in fact, any provisions exist in Virginia statute or state constitutional provision that a competent attorney would be compelled to advise his client (the Universities and colleges) that such a policy (and thus they) are in violation of, or potentially might reasonably to be argued to be in violation of?

    3) Given the increasing evidence that at least some portions of the "Global Warming" theory are based on spurious or manufactured evidence (without addressing in any way whether or not anthropogenic global warming valid as a theory or in any way a verifiable phenomenon), is it not the duty of a sitting AG when the question is raised about whether the science and research paid for on the public dime might be fraudulent, to then investigate such questions - and if a preponderance of evidence shows that fraud was committed on the public dime, is it then not the duty of said Attorney General to prosecute the perpetrator of the fraud and misuse of state funds to the full extent of the law?

    (For the newbs, in most instances this would mean an affirmative answer to : Did Mann knowingly publish false or misleading results? If so, were state funds used in producing/creating/obtaining such false data?)

    4) Aside from Cucinelli as a common factor does the University policy issue have anything to do with the rightness or wrongness of the investigation of Mann and his global warming work?

    To address our first question, we have but to look at Cucinelli's advisory letter itself [washingtonpost.com]. He cites a number of relevant prior Virginia Attorney Generals opinions, yet notably fails to cite either constitutional or statutory provision - instead basing his reasoning on the theory that unless it is specifically permitted, that a University or other subordinate political division (from governor to rural village) may not extend or expand civil rights beyond those enumerated by the Virginia General Assembly, a body that as recently as a few weeks ago (and on 26 other occasions) has declined with varying degrees of vehemence to add sexual orientation or expression to the list of protected classes (i.e., list of things forbidden to discriminate based upon).

    The actions or lack thereof of the Virginia General Assembly, notwithstanding the opinions of the current and several prior Attorney Generals of the State of Virginia, are simply irrelevant. Our fundamental legal tradition is not "whatever is not specifically permitted, is forbidden" - rather, it is "whatever is not specifically forbidden, is permitted" which undermines a basic argument of Cucinelli and his predecessors.

    Further, as demonstrated in a long line of prior cases, subordinate political divisions may extend MORE civil rights protections, but never less than those extended by their respective superior bodies, subject to the provisions of the prior paragraph.

    Since the Virginia General Assembly has, to the best of my knowledge, never barred subordinate bodies from extending such protections to allege such a bar is mistaken at best, and in my opinion, malicious bigotry at worst.

    To address our second question, I return to the reasoning addressed in the first. Any competent attorney would, given the opportunity, to cite clear statutory law would do so - as it would substantially strengthen their legal argument. I find the absence of such citation telling, to put it mildly and the "public policy" argument weak on the face of it. If public policy barred any action not specifically authorized by
  • by SashaMan (263632) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:02PM (#32068444)

    I'm sure UVA will resist the subpoena, but as a UVA grad, shit like this is going to KILL the university. Please tell me what self-respecting scientist would want to work there now?

    Politics in Virginia is always a battle between liberal northern VA, which has had huge growth in recent years and is very socially tolerant due to large numbers of highly educated immigrants, and the more rural rest of the state. The one thing I'm hopeful about is that this will royally piss off tons of northern VA voters because they will see it as lowering the quality of UVA, which is seen as a great value as one of the best public universities in the US.

  • Re:Ken Cuccinelli (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ill_Omen (215625) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:04PM (#32068454)

    If a reputable scientist came out with a strongly researched paper saying that "hey, maybe this global warming thing won't be quite so bad", you know what I'd say?

    "Stonking great!"

    Contrary to what a lot of the anti-AGW crowd thinks, people in the AGW crowd aren't actually pleased by climate change. We don't want climate-inspired regulations because we have some weird regulation fetish. We want changes because we're actually worried that bad things are going to happen in our lifetimes if we don't change our behavior. We're not going to be sad if the bad things don't happen.

  • Bob Marshall, the nuttiest right wing nut in all of Virginia, represents Prince William County.
    The state has many regions, Southwest is different from Central Virginia, which is different from Hampton Roads and so forth.
    It is not as simple as NoVA versus the rest of the state.
  • by Cassius Corodes (1084513) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:15PM (#32068504)
    If you think about it normal society is quite ok with open hatred towards a number of classes of people in all settings. (e.g. by action: rapists, murders; by beliefs: racists, Nazis; by profession: (and perhaps to a lesser extent) lawyers and politicians; etc.) Its considered normal and is encouraged by society. Its only noticed when for a subset of people it drifts out too far from the rest of society.
  • by oiron (697563) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:31PM (#32068578) Homepage

    If the investigation had any "merits", could he please find a few decent scientists who know about this stuff (either worked in the field or in allied fields) who might conduct it, instead of doing it as a political witch-hunt?

    If not, the criticism is entirely valid.

  • by IICV (652597) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:31PM (#32068580)

    Being gay is probably genetic.There's physical differences in the brains of gays.

    I've pointed this out before but was moderated into oblivion. What you're saying is true. These differences clearly show up in MRIs. They have different brain chemistry - just as normal males and females also differ; whereby gays match neither.

    You know, just because different brain structures show up in an MRI doesn't mean that they're genetic; for instance, if you're a taxi driver, your brain has probably changed [bbc.co.uk] in order to better store a map of your area. It's difficult to tell, post hoc, whether or not consistent differences in gross brain structures* cause or are caused by different behaviors. However, by your "logical conclusion", being a taxi cab driver is a disease.

    Furthermore, it doesn't matter how much being gay is due to nature or due to nurture. We don't discriminate against people because they choose to ferry passengers in a car all day long; we don't discriminate against people because they're immoral dickwads; we don't discriminate against people because they're completely asocial and spend all their free time trolling Slashdot; we shouldn't discriminate against people because they choose to have hot hot gay sex all night long. As long as it doesn't impair your ability to be happy and function in society, there's no need to classify it as a disease.

    *Yes I know they're all gross

  • by dryeo (100693) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:47PM (#32068696)

    Survival of the fittest family or tribe. It can be beneficial to have some members of the group who do not have children but instead help raise others children.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:51PM (#32068724)

    Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

  • by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:53PM (#32068738)

    Another tidbit is also likely explains why I get moderated to hell is that many mental illnesses also show up on MRIs. Which suggests diseases such as sociopaths and psychopaths, among many others, are not actually diseases. You can't have it both ways.

    Hmmm...no. IANANS but I would say that sociopathy and psycopathy are referred to as "illnesses" or "diseases" because there are direct links between these conditions and extremely negative behaviour, i.e. violence. Homosexuality, on the other hand, results in a sexual attraction to someone of the same sex, with extremely few, if any negative effects to society. You cannot compare them. I don't think you get modded down because your views are morally objectionable, or because of a politically correct under-current. I think you are modded down because you don't make sense.

    You seem to be saying that the only two possible conclusions are that either everything that is detectable by MRI is a disease or that nothing detectable by MRI is a disease. This. Makes. No. Sense. You say "If you follow the logical conclusion..." and then abandon logic. The preference for banana milkshake over chocolate milkshake will likely one day be discernible on an MRI scan, if not already. Should we then say that because expression of a preference for a kind of milkshake over another is detectable by MRI and is clearly not a disease, that sociopathy is also not a disease?

    tl;dr My point of view: Without too deep an inquiry into the definition of "disease", a variation in "brain chemistry" is not necessarily a "disease" however the effects of brain chemistry *may* be called a disease.

    No matter, by framing your arguments as science, criticising sociopathic CEOs and alluding to down-moderation in the past, you've stolen some "Insightful" mod-points. Well played.

  • Re:Non-peer Review (Score:5, Insightful)

    by niiler (716140) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @11:15PM (#32068882) Journal
    It is everybody's job to get involved in politics in a democracy, whether they be scientists or no. And whereas we are all qualified to evaluate the merits of our politicians, there are very few of us who can evaluate the merits of science. In fact, it is often quite difficult to evaluate the merits of science outside of one's discipline.
  • Re:Ken Cuccinelli (Score:4, Insightful)

    by niiler (716140) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @11:21PM (#32068912) Journal
    Here are the links to the various exonerations of Mann (including the editorial in Nature).
  • Re:It's 2010! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @11:31PM (#32068962)

    this is one of the key issues i've had with global warming to date, people HATE you questioning and got totally hostile. that isn't science at all, it's religion.

    I've heard the same thing said but the word 'evolution' in place of "global warming". You know why people get hostile? Because the people questioning don't want the answer you give them. So they keep asking more questions to fill up your time until finally you just want to go do something else. Imagine what it's like to have spent years of your life in college only to take a crappy job with crappy pay only to have people follow you around constantly asking if you can be sure that two plus two really does equal four. You're beyond their level of knowledge in your area of expertise and they are demeaning you with their real-life trolling under the guise of "debate". To turn the tables on your religion thing, it would be like following the Pope around constantly asking if he really believes in God and where is his proof. Eventually even the Pope would want to kick you in the balls.

      Leave them to what they're good at. They're scientists, they do science. You, the computer nerd, we'll ask you what you think of their next mobile phone purchase or perhaps if their firewall is configured correctly. And you, drive-thru worker we'll definitely need your advice on whether we should get a value meal or if we should get fries with that. But when i have a question about some specialist knowledge in the science realm like say climate change (or evolution)...I will believe these guys over you.

    If you want to question, or perhaps put forward a better theory...wonderful. Back it up with some data and you might be listened to. If all you want to do is annoy people with child-like questions, then yeah.,.you will probably be treated rudely. Sorry about that. But that's not anything to do with scientists having religious-like beliefs, it is their typical response to everyday jackasses.

  • by PachmanP (881352) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @11:35PM (#32068980)

    Bullshit. That's the same tired tripe they've been pushing since well before the civil rights movement. You can't discriminate against blacks and you can't discriminate against gays. Get used to it.

    Actually, in a democracy you can discriminate against whoever the hell you want as long as the majority agrees with you. Get used to it.

  • by Arker (91948) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @11:48PM (#32069034) Homepage

    Your fancy logic is no use here, this is politics. You have to disprove Cuccinelli's belief that "homosexuality is wrong" and his apparent reinforcement that it moves him up the voting chain so the populace agrees.

    A very large percentage of the population around the world happens to agree with him. (I dont, personally, but they are clearly the majority around the world.)

    However you do NOT have to convince them otherwise in order to convince them that gays should not be legally persecuted. You just have to convince them that the entire subject is outside of the proper purvue of the government to begin with, generally a much easier argument.

    Of course, if what you want is not to simply put gay people on an even playing field legally, but you really want to give them special privileges instead, no argument is going to work with these people. Or with me either, for that matter. "Hate crime" legislation is dangerous nonsense. If violent crimes are not being dealt with properly, that is an issue to be dealt with across the board, but we should never have a law that imposes a heavier penalty for assaulting a member of a 'protected class' differently than an assault on any other citizen, and we also should insofar as at all possible avoid defining crimes by ultimately unknowable mental states of the aggressors, rather than simply by their actions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2010 @12:00AM (#32069086)

    Let's set aside all rational thought for a moment and accept, just for the sake of argument, your ridiculous premise that homosexuality is a "behavioral decision".

    Prove that it isn't. There is no science to prove that it's anything but a behavior decision.

    "No science"? "No science" ? Are you fucking kidding me?!?

    You can't even be bothered to do the simplest of research before making such an embarrassingly ridiculous statement? Here, let me help you. Start with the 89 references at the bottom of this article [wikipedia.org].

    By your argument, everyone should hire people who don't conform to standards they set (moral or otherwise) despite espousing those standards for themselves.

    No. You neither understood, nor responded to, a word I said.

    I will ask again, and continue asking until you can actually answer the question:

    Explain the rational basis for firing someone for something that is completely unrelated to their job performance in any way, shape, or form.

    Don't go off on some tangent about firing someone who was, as you stated, "hired under false pretenses". We're talking about someone who was hired to do a job, is doing that job, but gets fired for something completely unrelated to the job, not to mention utterly private.

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Monday May 03, 2010 @12:21AM (#32069158) Homepage

    As I recall it was Al Gore who first politicized this area of science. How much of the blame does he get for letting the political genie out of the bottle on a topic so important as this one could be? Seems to me that if we are going to bust anyones chops for that particular offense, it oughta be his...

    Does this mean that if someone is already involved in one political issue and they decide they really care strongly about something else they shouldn't discuss that issue in the public sphere? That seems unreasonable.

  • by capnkr (1153623) on Monday May 03, 2010 @12:30AM (#32069194)
    I'll have a look at that. WRT politicization of the issue, I would argue that pre-Gore, the concept/theory of GW was contested and debated, even hotly at times, but that it was he who made the idea of _A_GW a definitively and solely Democrat/liberal plank. As some of the data has refused to fit those theories, it has been interesting to watch the spin doctors morph AGW into what I think is a more likely and accurate way to put it - "climate change". Something Earth has experienced for its entire existence.

    The skewing of data - which you may or may not believe happened, but I think did, and does, by *both* sides - has made me a skeptic of both sides respective points. I find it laughable that AGW proponents absolutely _refuse_ to publicly tackle the core issue if AGW is indeed happening: and that is that there are TOO MANY PEOPLE on Earth already, at least for the infrastructure we have in place to feed and house and move them around. Seems to me that if they want to stop AGW, they gotta start with the A part of the equation. But no, instead it's all electric cars and inefficient solar and wind power instead of proven nuclear, etc etc... OTOH are those who don't give a shit about all the things I truly love and enjoy, like pristine woodlands, healthy ecosystems, mountains and clean seas, because they are so short-sighted and materialistic that they cannot see the havoc they are sowing with their unabashed consumption of the very limited resources available on this little blue ball.

    Daniel Quinn was onto something when he wrote:

    "The premise of the Taker story is the world belongs to man...The premise of the Leaver story is man belongs to the world."

    I enjoy life more as a Leaver.

  • by Sosetta (702368) on Monday May 03, 2010 @01:03AM (#32069378)

    If you look at popular magazine articles about global warming, they're 50-50 for supporting it or dissenting from it.

    If you look at peer reviewed scientific articles, it's a slightly different balance. There's almost one article saying that global warming isn't happening. We'll call it zero. There are hundreds supporting global warming, with the major differences being in cause and extent and severity of future trends.

    But most people don't read the peer reviewed articles. They read Time and Cosmopolitan and watch Fox News [sic]. Most people aren't qualified to have an educated opinion about global warming, because they aren't reading research, they're reading the words of people that don't know anything. I don't care how many times you tell me that, in your opinion, d(x^2)/dx = 3x. You're still wrong. I don't care how many people agree with you either. You're all wrong.

    Climate Science isn't a popularity contest. It's science.

  • Re:It's 2010! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2010 @01:06AM (#32069388)

    Thank God.At least some people still want science to back up policy changes that affect us in such drastic ways.

  • by MadUndergrad (950779) on Monday May 03, 2010 @01:13AM (#32069406)

    Maybe you need to retake civics class. The majority can sit on it if the courts deem their laws unconstitutional. It's time you got used to the 14th amendment, advice Kenny could use too. We've had it what, like 150 years now?

  • by Sique (173459) on Monday May 03, 2010 @02:32AM (#32069770) Homepage

    No. If it is scientific fraud, then normaly the colleagues would complain (as it happened with those high profile frauds like Jan Hendrik Schön [wikipedia.org] or Hwang Woo-Suk [wikipedia.org]). If it is financial fraud, normally the finance departement of the university would complain. If someone from outside calls it fraud and starts an investigation, it always sounds like politics.

  • Re:Ken Cuccinelli (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hkmwbz (531650) on Monday May 03, 2010 @02:44AM (#32069816) Journal
    So scientists set up a site where they can give their side of the story, and are being completely open and honest about it. On the other hand, oil-funded front groups actively try to hide their connections, and have entire networks of sites dedicated to spreading right-wing lies about science.

    Gee...

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Monday May 03, 2010 @04:28AM (#32070142) Journal

    Explain the rational basis for firing someone for something that is completely unrelated to their job performance in any way, shape, or form.

    Here is the problem. And this problem is a key to why people think gay rights are "special" rights and do not think entitlements should be created for them.

    If it's wrong to fire someone for something completely not related to their job performance, then why should only gays be protected? Why shouldn't everyone be protected? So if someone does something on their own time, outside of company property, that doesn't effect their ability to do the job at all, nor does it put the company in a bad light with their customers, then why is it only gays who should be protected from termination and not you who goes hunting on the weekends or drinks a few beers with friends, or hooked up with 3 college girls- one of them happening to be a stripper, or you who campaigned for and supported some political entity that the boss doesn't agree with?

    The problem here seems to be that gays want something special for themselves. They want to be able to visit sick loved ones in the hospital yet other unmarried people cannot do it just the same, they want protections from being fired for activities outside the workplace, yet others will still be able to be fired. It simply comes off to many, many people as special rights, not human rights.

  • Re:It's 2010! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FooGoo (98336) on Monday May 03, 2010 @04:36AM (#32070160)

    What's convenient though is that the people who are promoting AGW are the same people who are questioning the credentials/intelligence of anyone who questions their conclusions. If it was such a serious issue you'd think they would have been much more transparent in their data and methodologies. Gaming the journals and the incestuous nature of the AGW cliques doesn't help their cause either. I may be naive but to me one of the responsibilities of being a scientist is to educate humanity on the nature of things...instead these scientists seem more interested in doing the journal/funding circle jerk then answering any questions that may impact their standing in their clique or their funding streams.

    If they are wrong, partially wrong thats fine...it's the nature of science. But if you adamantly say you are correct you better be able to prove it...attacking anyone who raises concerns just demeans the profession.

  • Re:Ken Cuccinelli (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Monday May 03, 2010 @05:21AM (#32070316) Journal

    The problem is the politicization of science.

    Consulting the electorate can be an effective way of arriving at some consensus on issues that cannot be easily answered scientifically. For example, should we spend more money on roads and infrastructure, or defense, or health care, or something else? Should we allow abortions, or file sharing? Analyses based on good information can provide some insight into how effective a particular idea might be, what problems are most urgent. Scientific studies are not perfect (what is?), but much better to base decisions on that than blind guessing or gut instinct. Technological advances provide more options. But none of this can make our decisions for us. We have to do that. And we should decide such matters ourselves, not demand that science provide all the answers.

    Some politicians just don't understand that. These dim witted ones are wont to treat scientific studies as if they are political opponents or allies. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. They cast aspersions on the data, which is so pointless. Check the data, don't try to beat it up with innuendo! That's like doubting that there were ever baseball players with .400 batting averages, just because. Compare to other data, don't just indulge in baseless speculation. If necessary, have new data collected. That's all that need be done. Such a waste of time and effort and money to invoke politics on issues that can be settled with information. Politics should be reserved for larger issues, for the hard questions.

    But instead, they run away from facts. They persist in thinking we don't really know much. when we actually do know a great deal more than they imagine. They indulge in the sin of denial. They want things that are demonstrably not true to be true, act as if they are true, and act as if everyone, including good scientists, does the same thing. Even as they use the fruits of scientific and technological advancements that are all around us, things such as cars, planes, plastics, medicines, phones, computers, TVs, and much, much more, they manage, incredibly, to convince themselves science is just bull. And that scientists are nothing more than high grade fakers. These idiot politicians turned armchair scientists are worse, much worse, than the people second guessing the decisions of coaches of professional sport teams.

  • by Vintermann (400722) on Monday May 03, 2010 @05:24AM (#32070324) Homepage

    The arguments for hate crime laws are not hard to understand.

    If a white man beats up another white man after he has been to the polling booth, that's bad for a lot of reasons. If a white man beats up a black man after he has been to the polling booth, that's bad for all the aforementioned reasons, but it could also be an attempt to scare other black people from voting. It's not just an attack on that man, it's an attack on his class/category. A person motivated by hate may take the normal punishment for such a crime, and still consider it a success if it worked as intended.

    Similar things would be attacks on gays in order to keep them in the closet, and from publicly defending their interests, attacks on muslim women who refuse to wear a veil, etc. Such attacks are already illegal for obvious reasons, but society believes (correctly, in my opinion) that commiting crimes in order to suppress minorities is especially bad, and deserving of extra sanction.

    The only issue I have with hate crime laws is if they are directed against particular groups only. It's not what kind of group it is that matters, but the intent of the suppressing act.

  • Its only noticed when for a subset of people it drifts out too far from the rest of society.

    More like: Its only "noticed" by a subset of people when they think that others must hate them just as much as they hate them. They then use that as an excuse to increase their hate.

  • by cavehobbit (652751) on Monday May 03, 2010 @07:05AM (#32070638)
    "No end in sight for the politicizing of the science and research surrounding climate change." Duh. Since the funding for it comes from government it is politicized from the start. What the OP is saying is that only disagreement or challenge to one viewpoint is politcs, the other side is pristine pure selfless logic. Crap. It's ALL politics. Why else do progressives attack anything that questions AGW? True science accepts challenges either as corrections to a theory or as test of validity.
  • by jschottm (317343) on Monday May 03, 2010 @07:40AM (#32070782)

    Of course, if what you want is not to simply put gay people on an even playing field legally, but you really want to give them special privileges instead, no argument is going to work with these people.

    Here is an example of one of the policies [vt.edu] in question.

    Is not being fired simply for being black a "special privilege?"
    Is not being denied entrance as a student simply for being black a "special privilege?"
    Is not being denied financial aid simply for being black a "special privilege?"
    Is not being denied the ability to participate in graduation simply for being black a "special privilege?"
    Is not being called a [racial slur of choice] in the workplace or the classroom a "special privilege?"

    Now s/black/gay and s/racial/sexual/. Do any of the above statements make _more_ sense after that? People should be hired/accepted/funded/allowed participation from the best possible candidate regardless of race, military background, age, disability, religion, gender, nationality, and so forth. Because there have been problems with issues in the past, they have been enumerated as things you should not discriminate against. It's not providing [positive] special treatment, it's ensuring against [negative] special treatment.

    If violent crimes are not being dealt with properly, that is an issue to be dealt with across the board, but we should never have a law that imposes a heavier penalty for assaulting a member of a 'protected class' differently than an assault on any other citizen

    If basic laws provide sufficient deterrence to common crime but a specific class of people are still being targeted, then some kind of additional measure is needed. Let's say that there's an acceptable level of muggings - there's a few, but in general, the threat of imprisonment is enough to deter most would-be muggers, and the punishment/rehabilitation level is maximizes deterrence, minimizes state costs, and minimizes repeat offenders by effectively rehabilitating them. At the same time, anti-Catholic sentiment has caused a rampant level of muggings of nuns that is not deterred by the basic statues.

    To alter the already correct formula that deters casual muggings to attempt to protect the nuns would be a societal harm.

    Further, hate crime prosecutions are often done to change the venue when local forces are sympathetic to the cause and chose not to use the existing laws. For example, U.S. v. Cecil Price et al.

    we also should insofar as at all possible avoid defining crimes by ultimately unknowable mental states of the aggressors, rather than simply by their actions.

    By that logic there should be no distinction between involuntary manslaughter and first degree murder.

  • by Troed (102527) on Monday May 03, 2010 @07:40AM (#32070786) Homepage Journal

    there are TOO MANY PEOPLE on Earth already

    Only if you assume there will be NO FURTHER TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT.

    Which, of course, would be quite stupid to assume.

    In reality, we can easily support hundreds of billions of people all living at what we would call "western standards", whatever that means in 20-80 years time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:42AM (#32071108)

    Is not being fired simply for being black a "special privilege?"
    Is not being denied entrance as a student simply for being black a "special privilege?"
    Is not being denied financial aid simply for being black a "special privilege?"
    Is not being denied the ability to participate in graduation simply for being black a "special privilege?"
    Is not being called a [racial slur of choice] in the workplace or the classroom a "special privilege?"

    In some sectors it is a special privilege not to be fired simply because you are black or a woman. Especially when everyone else is being fired. This is racism just like being fired just because of the color of your skin. The examples you mentioned have nothing to do with hate crimes only discrimination with the possible example of your last example. People should not be discriminated against for any reason that isn't job related. And before you get your panties in a bunch let me explain that: You don't hire someone who can't lift 40kg if the job requires you to lift 40kg. You don't hire someone who has expressed rabid and violent anti-semism to help Jews. You don't hire a black man to infiltrate the KKK.

    Further, hate crime prosecutions are often done to change the venue when local forces are sympathetic to the cause and chose not to use the existing laws. For example, U.S. v. Cecil Price et al.

    This is actually one of the few positive uses of hate crime legislation, to change the venue of a case. Which I'm sure is covered under some other law as well but not being a lawyer and never studied law I don't know for sure.

    we also should insofar as at all possible avoid defining crimes by ultimately unknowable mental states of the aggressors, rather than simply by their actions.

    By that logic there should be no distinction between involuntary manslaughter and first degree murder.

    But that is a straw-man argument because the mental states of many murders can be determined while an assault on a black/latino/gay man usually isn't. If you beat your wife to death with a blender it is involuntary murder but if you poisoned her that is first degree murder because the poison required planing (most of time). If I beat up a black man is it because I wanted his wallet or because he was black and just happen to steal his wallet? And what about the other way around? Where a black/latino/gay man beats me up (whiter then freshly fallen snow) because I express an opinion they strongly disagree with? If hate crimes are needed then they shouldn't be discriminatory either.

  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:37AM (#32071568) Homepage Journal

    He's also the asshole that told all the public universities in Virginia they could no longer have policies of non-discrimination towards gays.

    Stay classy.

    Not exactly. Several of the colleges asked him for an opinion about their policy. And he told them that since the General Assembly had declined to add "sexual orientation" to the list of Virginia's "protected classes", that they could not provide special protections for that class by themselves.

    The governor later clarified the issue by stating "Discrimination based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation or parental status violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. Therefore, discrimination against enumerated classes of persons set forth in the Virginia Human Rights Act or discrimination against any class of persons without a rational basis is prohibited,"

    You ask a lawyer for an opinion on the law, he's going to give you a legal opinion, not some tripe based on emotional biases.

  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:45AM (#32071652) Homepage Journal

    Religion is a behavior, it's not something should be regulated like race and other innate attributes. I mean we don't want special legislation protecting people who are homo- or xenophobic.

    But religious practice is explicitly protected by the Constitution, right there in the first amendment.

    But then so is just about any behavior, as there is nothing in the Constitution that allows the federal government to regulate interpersonal behavior at all. The SCOTUS has affirmed this principle by ruling that states' archaic "sodomy" laws were unconstitutional.

    So, in point of fact, gay behavior is protected as a right of the people. Saying that gay people need special treatment is something else altogether. After all, they are the only ones on any list of enumerated "protected classes" that have never been denied the right to vote.

  • by Glothar (53068) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:31AM (#32072228)

    Okay, here's a novel thought:

    I agree with you (mostly).

    Gays shouldn't be fired because they're gay. Men shouldn't be fired because they have sex with strippers. Women shouldn't be fired because go to fetish bars on the weekend. People shouldn't be fired for getting speeding tickets. I shouldn't be fired for going to a Colbert Report taping and you shouldn't be fired for going to a Glenn Beck taping.

    None of that has any impact on your work. In fact, many states already have protections on many of those things.

    Giving gays that same protection isn't a "special privilege" it's "equality" and "providing basic human rights".

    The only reason why giving homosexual couples the right to visit each other in hospitals where unmarried heterosexual couples cannot is due entirely to the fact that in most states it's illegal for homosexuals to marry.. Homophobic legislatures (such as my wonderful home state of Virginia) passed laws explicitly prohibiting it. This was, in many cases, expressly done to prohibit homosexual couples from enjoying the rights and protections offered to married heterosexuals.

    So, much like my solution to your previous argument, the answer seems clear to me: Let homosexuals marry. Then all you have to do is say: married couples have hospital visitation rights. Voila! Everyone is equal again!

  • by NapalmScatterBrain (1288748) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:39AM (#32072328)
    The amount of human life that can be sustained on the planet is directly attributed to the resources required to sustain them, and this amount of resources goes down as technological advances allow them to be created more efficiently. We are now growing 10 times more corn/acre than we did 50 years ago. Genetically engineered crops won't require fertilizer or pesticides, and will use far less water. While hundreds of billions is far fetched, the basic point is this: If we used 1700's agricultural and energy technology(wood burning stoves for heating/cooking) this planet wouldn't be able to support a tenth of the current population. It would be worse if we were all hunter gatherers. The viewpoint that the solution is less people is, frankly, myopic.
  • by Xabraxas (654195) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:52AM (#32072554)

    After all, they are the only ones on any list of enumerated "protected classes" that have never been denied the right to vote.

    Voting isn't the only right we should be worried about protecting for minority groups.

  • by epiphani (254981) <epiphani&dal,net> on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:55AM (#32072588)

    As some of the data has refused to fit those theories, it has been interesting to watch the spin doctors morph AGW into what I think is a more likely and accurate way to put it - "climate change".

    Oddly enough, that exact terminology change is covered in the documentary I mentioned. As well as the reasons behind it.

    I find it laughable that AGW proponents absolutely _refuse_ to publicly tackle the core issue if AGW is indeed happening: and that is that there are TOO MANY PEOPLE on Earth already

    Lucky for us, we don't have to guess about this. Sustainability has been modeled extensively, and we're generally expected to sort out the "sweet spot" in population around 8.4 Billion. We're just over 7 billion now. This is not the problem. Source [wikipedia.org].

    instead it's all electric cars and inefficient solar and wind power instead of proven nuclear

    You're taking the extreme end of the argument and presenting it as the central argument. I'm all for electric cars, solar and wind power, but I'm also all for huge deployments of nuclear. And nuclear is easier to deploy fast.

    they are so short-sighted and materialistic that they cannot see the havoc they are sowing with their unabashed consumption of the very limited resources available on this little blue ball

    No, I care deeply about healthy ecosystems. I also like consuming. I want energy available in massive amounts, cheap and plentiful, but with little environmental impact.

    Fixing our current issues does not require some Luddite reversion, it requires intelligent, measured, and prompt application of technology. Unfortunately, it is my belief that this directly conflicts with vested corporate interests, and that is why we're even having this debate.

  • by tokul (682258) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:31AM (#32073020)

    The motto on the Great Seal of Virginia is "Sic Semper Tyrannis". It means "thus always to yyrants" and was attributed to Brutus after stabbing Caesar and was also what John Wilkes Booth said after murdering Lincoln. Timothy McVeigh was wearing the motto (with a picture of Lincoln, not the VA seal) when we was arrested.


    That (now) hateful phrase remains on the seal, but at least the cartoon titty is gone.

    It can also be translated as "death to tyrants". I am pretty sure that democrats or liberals will agree with that phrase. Phase is not hateful, but universal. It can be used by any side and hatefulness depends only on which side you are. You might call it hateful only due to link to Lincoln. Caesar was tyrant and Brutus was right calling him tyrant. Julius Caesar gained his post by using military powers. Lincoln was good fellow in North, but he was aggressor or tyrant for South.

    Titty chick was from 18th century. It is related to some titty chick from Helenic age. There are lots of titty chicks from these times. Would you like to destroy all of them? If you don't like them and want to destroy them, you are no different from Taliban commanders, who destroyed 1500 year old Budhas.

  • Re:Non-peer Review (Score:3, Insightful)

    by snowwrestler (896305) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:56AM (#32073318)

    So how do you explain the other studies that have since come to similar conclusions using independent lines of study?

To iterate is human, to recurse, divine. -- Robert Heller

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