Hot news!! The new book by Charles W. Holmes, PhD

A light-hearted entertaining look at the origins of the current financial crisis. 
Print version 222 pp.Includes a basic review of politically correct terminology, an allegorical review of how the American banking system works, a collection of politically correct bumper sticker slogans, a review of American financial history, and numerous quotations from our esteemed leaders. If you think Socialism is great stuff read this book anyway. It might help the rest of us who don't want to pay for your "generosity". 
click to see kindle version at amazon!

politically correct economics
 
 
 

An Afterthought by Chuck Holmes

This book was not intended to be about Barack Obama.  I began jotting down the principles that became the Manifesto of Politically Correct Economics some ten years ago, some time before I knew there was a budding politician named Barack Hussein Obama.  I was writing a parody of what the economy would look like when the politically correct took over. Mr. Obama is a perfect fit.  There is not one of the articles of the manifesto that he does not support.  After observing Mr. Obama’s first few weeks in office, it  would seem that I have unintentionally written the first book on Obamanomics 


Obama Bucks Trillion Dollar bookmark (print & clip)

 
 

obama trillion dollar bill politically correct economics

Other People’s Money

The difference between Charity and Theft. The difference between noble and nefarious
Have you noticed that people who are most generous with your money are most stingy with their own

Socialists hate private charity, because they want to spend your money on what they want, not on what you want. Voluntary programs are less subject to abuse because the donor can refuse to give. “Entitlements” are a license to demand and to steal. Socialism produces a nation of leeches “entitled” to use the force of government  to help themselves to “free” food, housing, and medical care at your expense. Why work?

The solution is to get the government out of the "charity" business. Don't vote to "give" your money to the politicians, regardless of how noble the cause sounds. Don't approve the use of force to"redistribute income" following the whims of politicians. They have no "Divine Right" to do this to us.
Pay a lot less tax and give more to your favorite church or other voluntary organization.  It will be a lot less expensive, and will allow us all to keep control of our resources (otherwise known as "Freedom").  Tithe, don't tax.

Get your copy of Politically Correct Economics at pceconomics.com, politicallycorrecteconomics.compoliticallycorrectbook.comheuristicbooks.comsciencehumanitiespress.com , politicallycorrectbooks.com or, soon, at amazon.com.
 

Other News:

The next big scheme to raise taxes and reverse prosperity is the "global warming" boondoggle:

"90% Certainty", Hot Air, Publication Bias and Perverse Optimism:

"Most problems are caused by solutions."

It was a little disturbing to read in last Sunday's St Louis Post-Dispatch that "environmentalists" are proposing to shoot pollutants up into the stratosphere to reduce the amount of sunlight in the hopes of correcting the "average temperature of the planet" to some arbitrary "optimal value" of almost 100 years ago--to reverse the effects of the industrial revolution.

Al Gore has become a standard bearer for hyperbole on "global warming" that appears based on a belief that there is a "scientific concensus" with "90% certainty" that the earth is warming, that it is due to human meddling with the environment, primarily through evil industrialist generation of the "pollutant" carbon dioxide, and that this is a bad thing. Some of the "solutions" are horrifying, but mostly consist of blaming human prosperity, making it more difficult for humans to survive and providing more research funds for the people who came up with this idea in the first place.

Publication Bias and the Peer Review Process:

The fact that many people who are promoting the Global Warming Story are making their fortunes in the global warming industry makes one wonder if there might be some publication bias effecting (deliberate use of this word) the "consensus." i.e. any study that doesn't support the notion of a serious problem related to anthropogenic "greenhouse gases" is "uninteresting" and unlikely to be published. This effect is enhanced rather than corrected by the peer review process. Thus, dissension has been relegated to various weblogs and disagreements have been occasions for personal vilification rather than discussion of the data.

The recent iteration of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been trumpeted to "remove all doubt" that accelerated global warming is due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas (AGHG) emissions, primarily carbon dioxide, and that if severe measures are not taken to reverse the "pollution" of AGHG, then the Earth will warm, flood, and storm and it will soon be too late to fix the problem. Newspaper reports (e.g. New York Times) said all this is now established to be "90% certain."

The terminology, "90% certainty," is not something I'd encountered before in my 45-year scientific and statistical careers, and gives me some disquiet. Most scientists recognize that "90% confidence" means there is a 10% probability that the particular results reported occurred by chance, and inferences about the nature of the universe may easily be in error. "90% confidence" is not very convincing to the statistician. An inclination to overinterpretation is exacerbated because negative results are less likely to be published-- this is called the "publication bias." More publications supporting the importance of the work means more grant money and more prestige. Enthusiasm is good and leads to breakthroughs. The overinterpretation is not caused by some scientists being deliberately deceptive, but scientists, too, must beware of enthusiasm overwhelming objectivity.

Overinterpretation of Disasters and Perverse Optimism:

The IPCC report on Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis is a large document purporting to represent the views of 2,500 scientists, however the actual data is undergoing revision to assure consistency with the Summary for Policymakers, and many of the 2,500 participants have contributed only to small parts of the whole.  Some of the participants have requested their names be removed from the list of authors. I read the Summary to try to find where this "90% certainty" came from, and actually found that even this summary document, massaged by a small group, doesn't support anything near "certainty," or even what statisticians would describe as "reasonable confidence".  It seems the publication bias in the scientific literature is compounded by the publication bias in the news media and entertainment arena (where Al Gore appears to fit in well).
Competition for audience leads to another layer of exaggeration to support the most spectacular interpretations. Thus, there is a perverse optimism that causes people to exult in tragic events, such as severe hurricanes and floods, because their credibility is enhanced by a perception of ever increasing crises. We have been treated to dramatic animations on the (normal) turnover of glacial ice, yet the IPCC Report notes "Antarctic sea ice [90% of the total ice in the polar ice caps] extent continues to show inter-annual variability and localized changes but no statistically significant trends, consistent with the lack of warming reflected in atmospheric temperatures averaged across the region." (p. 9) and that "Current global model studies project that the Antarctic ice sheet will remain too cold for widespread surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to increased snowfall." (p.17)
This last winter, we were told that winter storms were caused by global warming. Looks like all the bases are covered.

I have put an annotated copy of the UN Summary report at the website, politicallycorrecteconomics.com
Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but it seems even the highest level of those who may be prejudiced by their personal stake in the global warming industry are unable to come up with a high level of confidence in the anthropogenic GHG, global warming, extremes of weather or massive innundation of land areas story. It is remarkable that one could conclude with any level of confidence that sea level has risen by almost 7 inches in the last 100 years. Not being an expert in the field, I can only marvel at what technological capability makes such a minute measurement possible in the midst of all the variability and changes in measurement techniques. Likewise, the estimate that the "global average temperature" has risen by almost 1 degree C in that same time.  It is believed that these parameters  were relatively constant over many millennia in the past, resulting in the "Hockey Stick" appraisal that everything has suddenly been subjected to a major disruption that is in some way highly correlated with atmospheric carbon dioxide. The "Hockey Stick" dramatization depends on the assertion that all has been quiet for several millennia until the industrial revolution came along to disrupt the placidity of Nature. Yet, even the authors of the UN Report must admit "proxy data (e.g., tree ring width) may be influenced by both local temperature and other factors such as precipitation, and are often representative of particular seasons rather than full years....Uncertainties generally increase into the past due to increasingly limited spatial coverage."
Some of the data behind these charts are on the web, for example at http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2004/ . Some of this is a little less disturbing if it's plotted on a larger scale than hundredths of degrees, or for different time periods. I guess that's why it's always shown as anomalies in hundredths of a degree. Some might—and did—warn of "an approaching ice age" from the apparent declining trend from 1940 through 1980. As a matter of fact, it was pretty much the same folks.
 

The idea that correlation necessarily implies causality is a dangerous notion.

I can show beyond a shadow of a doubt (confidence level is nearly one, as the probability of getting this result by chance is less than 10-11) that highschool students who don't visit a dentist are likely to have more sexual activity. This has led some of my statistics students to conclude that parents had best encourage their children to go to the dentist frequently in the hopes of slowing down premature adventurism. The relationship is undeniable, but the causality is questionable. In this case, a possible interpretation is that the two phenomena are related because risky behavior in one area is likely to be associated with risky behavior in another area, not because bad breath improves social life.
One of the problems with the conclusion that the trace amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the major forcing component of global temperature is the fact that statistical analysis shows the correlation between carbon dioxide concentration (from trapped ice bubbles) and temperature (from tree rings) has about a 900 year lag, wherein temperature rise precedes atmospheric carbon dioxide (and other gas) concentration increases. Some have taken this to suggest that the causality runs in the other direction. One mediating factor  is that higher temperature reduces dissolved carbon dioxide in the oceans. Another issue is that carbon dioxide is essential for plant growth and more carbon dioxide promotes better plant growth--but supposedly someone has considered that.

Some important aspects of the Report are in the small print. We learn for example, that "high confidence" means 80% confidence, and that " more likely than not" means about 50-50, hardly "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that should be the criterion when we are considering drastic corrective measures that are likely to increase famines and other hardships in much of the world. The document is replete with appropriate admissions that there are a lot of uncertainties to be resolved, not the least of which is that carbon dioxide is a relatively minor component compared to water vapor, and "cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty."

So where did the "90% certainty" come from?

The only place with high confidence on the conclusions (>99%, "virtually certain") in summary table spm-2 is regarding projections about the future following from the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). The SRES stated " Any scenario necessarily includes subjective elements and is open to various interpretations." It seems curious that the authors should be so much more confident in their projections of the future than in their historical observations.
The truth of the matter is no doubt someplace between the ardent skeptics--who disbelieve simply because of the person who said it--and the Global Warmmongers--who will continue to get good grants as long as the public stays scared. For myself, I would welcome a possibility of milder Winters and an increase in vegetation that should follow from plants having a richer source of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the essential raw material for photosythesis of the nutrients on which all life on Earth is dependent. Trees will grow better with more carbon dioxide--even if it doesn't get any warmer. Next, we'll be told Oxygen is a pollutant if somebody can gain a political advantage from it. I frankly don't trust the politicians to do the right thing with our resources.

 
obama politically correct santa claus
 

We will have Christmas every day!

Guess what YOU are getting for Christmas!

In summary, one could question whether we should be stampeded into drastic measures to "correct" atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to some arbitrary level based on possible publication bias and perverse optimism of a few people who may be overly enthusiastic in interpreting data of questionable significance, statistical or otherwise.

Very large problems may be caused by solutions, particularly, by political solutions to problems of uncertain etiology or significance.

Failure to provide adequate evidence doesn't mean that "Global Warming" theory is disproven--and catastrophic weather events will still happen even if there is no evident connection to "Global Warming." It would be nice if we could have more control over the weather.

I certainly don't feel comfortable about shooting pollution into the atmosphere to reduce the warmth of the sun, and one could also question the efficacy of buying trees for "carbon offsets" from Al Gore's company, General Investment Management.

Possibly the popular press assertion of "90% certainty" might be related to a footnote on page 2 that mentions the previous report (TAR) had used confidence intervals of 95% (2-sigma limits) around reported values, but confidence intervals were reduced to 90% for the current report--with the effect that estimates appear more precise.

R.J. Banis, PhD
St Louis Missouri
March 30, 2007
 
 
 
Statistics in the news: 
 

Slight adjustment in Al Gore's "Statistics about "Warmest US years on record"

This probably won't get as much publicity as the original reports, but seems the 1930's- 1940's, when carbon dioxide was much less significant, were warmer than recent years in the US. 
Global warming advocate James Hansen, the director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was slow to acknowledge and correct these misstatements, and said "the differences weren't statistically significant." 
One must wonder about why the results are "significant" only if they support the global warming industry (including NASA). If results go against the global warming industry pet theory then they are not significant. 
Research grants to those who are touting the man-made global warming story are in the Billions of dollars per year. The reticence to admit the errors is a statement about how some "researchers" are invested in the billions of our tax money spent on "global warming research."  Good thing their results are not biased by this financial incentive. 
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,293498,00.html
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/866013/posts
http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/07/science/earth/07co2.html?ex=1320555600&en=803028cb05066921&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/    no consensus among climate scientists. Errors abound in the alarmist literature. 
http://www.google.com/search?q=carbon+dioxide+follows+warming&hl=en&start=10&sa=N
http://pceconomics.com

Interesting links on controversial statistics issues in the news:

Global warming 

This is a fascinating and hotly argued issue that provides some stimulating examples of poor statistical reasoning. 
The base issue appears to be relationship between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate change. Correlation is not causality, and a look at the data allows strong questioning of the supposed "causal relationship" of CO2 to climate change. 
CO2 science
The petition project and Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

Response to skeptics by advocates of AGHG models--this site purports to refute the skeptics, but much of the refutation appears to be name-calling and the discussions reinforce skepticism if you look at the data--see, for example, the discussion about correlation and causality for CO2 and temperature change:  "There is no proof that CO2 is causing global warming"
Climatescience.org is a website by people who are making their living in the global warming industry. This is pretty much the official gospel by those who are paid to preach it. 
Annotated UN IPCC paper on the "scientific basis" of the AGHG model mostly pointing out that the press reports on confidence levels were highly exaggerated and that the calamitous predictions are based almost solely not on data, but on computer models that have failed to predict even the past. See, for example, the data on storm frequency and severity in the 2007 paper on Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
The UN has a strong incentive to promote the AGHG fears as it's been proposed that the solution is to grant the UN power to tax industries and to regulate "carbon offset" schemes. This tax would help to redistribute wealth by "supporting UN development projects in poor countries." 
[UN Committee] "Members agreed that reversing the widening and 'shameful' gap between rich and poor countries 'is the pre-eminent moral and humanitarian challenge of our age.'" 

If you want to read more about this, just google united nations carbon tax. 
Fascinating- and frightening. 
So now we know what the "Global Warming" hubbub is all about. 
 



related sites
pceconomics.com
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