Monday, January 15, 2018

Double Check Science Reports


Ozonesonde launched to measure ozone levels up to 20 miles above the Pole.



Alice C. Linsley

Science news circulates and recirculates. Sometimes the report focuses on something that suggests the need for further investigation. That is certainly true with most climate science reports.

This 2017 report says that the hole in the ozone layer is the smallest since 1988.

In September 2011, NASA measured the maximum extent of the hole at 7.6 million square miles (19.6 million square kilometers). That is about 2.5 times the size of the United States.

This 2012 NOAA and NASA report reported on "the second smallest seasonal ozone hole in 20 years averaged size of the ozone hole was 6.9 million square miles (17.9 million square kilometers)."

In 2016, the maximum extent of the hole in the ozone layer was reported to be 8.9 million square miles (22.2 million square km). That is larger by 2 million square miles. This despite global efforts to reduce the man-made chlorine and bromine found in chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), compounds used as refrigerants. These reduction efforts have been in place since the 1987 Montreal Protocol initiated the phase-out of these chemicals.

This science report from January 2018 speaks of the "healing" of the Earth's ozone layer, as if humans had been instrumental in achieving that feat. Note that the 2018 articles does not cite the present size, so there is no basis of comparison to the 2012 report. We are expected to believe this assertion of "healing" without being presented with the pertinent data.

Looking at the data as a whole, it appears that the ozone levels at the South Pole continue to plummet every Antarctic spring as a coincidence of natural environmental factors. When it comes to factors that influence Earth's climate, always double check the data. Claims of human induced catastrophes are often inflated.

Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D, former NASA scientist has written:
"Hundreds of millions of dollars that have gone into the expensive climate modelling enterprise has all but destroyed governmental funding of research into natural sources of climate change. For years the modelers have maintained that there is no such thing as natural climate change…yet they now, ironically, have to invoke natural climate forces to explain why surface warming has essentially stopped in the last 15 years!"

Climate activists tend to ignore real scientists. They receive their funds from foundations with vested interests in promoting a catastrophic global warming narrative. Even Al Gore admits that this narrative was hyped from the beginning. In a May 2006 Grist Magazine interview, Gore stated:
"Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are.... --- Al Gore, chairman and co-founder of Generation Investment Management, a London-based business that sells carbon credits."

Related reading: Is the Sun driving ozone and changing the climate?; On the Cloud Thermostat Hypothesis by Dr. Roy Spencer.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Algorithm Exposes Readers to Opposite Viewpoints




Social media has become an important news source for a majority of adults. A common complaint is that social media help create echo chambers in which people reading information do not expose themselves to different viewpoints but are often confined to their own. This happens especially with controversial and polarising topics where two viewpoints become so isolated and conflicting viewpoints can emerge that people do not receive or read information that will not reinforce their own opinion.

Researchers from Aalto University and University of Rome Tor Vergata have designed an algorithm that is able to balance the information exposure so that social media users can be exposed to information from both sides of the discussion.

The algorithm uses a greedy algorithm paradigm that aims to find optimal choices at each stage. In this study the algorithm works by efficiently selecting a set of influential users, who can be convinced to spread information about their side to the other side. The goal is to maximize the amount of users exposed to both viewpoints.

Escaping the echo chambers with the help of influential users

"We use word clouds as a qualitative case study to complement our quantitative results, whereby words in the cloud represent the words found in the users' profiles. For instance, if we look at the topics related to the hashtag #russiagate, we can see not only that the two word clouds that represent the conflicting viewpoints are rather different, but also that they indicate either support or hate for Trump," describes Aalto University researcher Kiran Garimella.

Read it all here.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

10 Dead and 50 Injured in Quetta Terrorist Attack


Reuters


My Pakistani friends say that the government report of 9 dead is underestimated. The actual number is likely higher and at least 50 people have been injured in the attack.

Read the full report of the terrorist attack on the Pakistani Methodist Church in Quetta.

Related reading: The Pakistan Most Americans Don't Know; Is Islam Ethical?; A First Hand Account of the Plight of Pakistani Christians


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Is Islam Ethical?


Alice C. Linsley


The rise of Islamic terrorism due to the radicalization of younger people across the globe has raised questions about the ethics of Islam. Are violence, intolerance, and imposition of Sharia inherent to this religion? If so, is peace and co-existence possible?

One might argue that Islamic ethics is essentially about domination. The religion provides justifications to kill non-Muslims, rape, seize lands, behead those who commit adultery (mostly pinned on women); dismember law breakers, enslave women and boys for sex, and tell lies to advance Islam. This ethical system is contrary to the values espoused by most Western young people who oppose discrimination, segregation, and the destruction of priceless artifacts. However, many do not realize that Islam and the values of the secular West are at odds. The naive have fallen prey to sophisticated Islamic propaganda. They also have not learned to think critically about their own culture.

Were one to read only the writings of Dr. Khaula Rehman, the view of Islamic ethics would be very different. This revisionist perspective would have us believe that Islam promotes freedom of speech and human rights. Yet the sacred texts of Muslims expose this false narrative. Consider the following:

Hadith Bukhari, 52:260; Bukhari 59:643 3
Muslims may kill Jews and Christians if they do not convert or pay.

Qur'an 8:12; 8:60 5
Muslims are justified in terrorizing non-Muslims.

Qur'an 4:3; 4:24; 5:89; 33:50; 58:3; 70:30 6
You can enslave others for sex and work:

Qur'an 65:4 7
Muslim men may rape, marry (consummate marriage), and divorce pre-pubescent girls.

Qur'an 33:27, 8:69, 48:20; 8.
Muslims may seize land, houses, and the wealth of non-Muslims.

Qur'an 5:38
Islamic justice requires that the hands of thieves be cut off.

Hadith Bukhari 81:792 9
Muslims may lie to advance the cause of Jihad.

Qur'an 98:6; 11
Muslims may treat non-Muslims as vile creatures deserving no mercy.

Qur'an 4:10
Treat non-Muslims as sworn enemies.


Choose your darkness

It is easy to criticize the ethics of Islam, but western secularism is equally dark and evil. It would have us believe that the earth and all life results from random material processes; that life is meaningless; that the individual controls his destiny; that there is nothing special about humans; and that the unborn child is a lump of flesh to be removed, like an unwanted tumor.

Our politics and social policies are dictated by activism and lobbyists, rather than Sharia. Our public system of education excludes all metaphysical conversation (thanks to John Dewey). Consumerism and coddling characterize the universities so that it is easier to enroll in a course on transgender studies that it is to study logic or quantum physics.

When it comes to religion, our social conventions are across the board, at least at first glance. We want the freedom to believe and practice our own religion, be it "churchy" or secular. In reality, we all are herded down the same path, away from intimacy with our Creator. The accepted places of prayer are noisy entertainment venues. No bowing on prayer rugs facing the east. Rather a casual worship in jeans, sipping a Starbucks, and keeping God at a distance.


Related reading: Islamic Iconoclasm; Muslim Style Segregation; The Heresy of Worshiptainment

Monday, July 3, 2017

Quote of the Week - Dorothy L. Sayers



“The thing I am here to say to you is this: that it is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of Christian morality, unless they are prepared to take their stand upon the fundamentals of Christian theology. It is a lie to say that dogma does not matter; it matters enormously. It is fatal to let people suppose that Christianity is only a mode of feeling; it is vitally necessary to insist that it is first and foremost a rational explanation of the universe. It is hopeless to offer Christianity as a vaguely idealistic aspiration of a simple and consoling kind; it is, on the contrary, a hard, tough, exacting, and complex doctrine, steeped in a drastic and uncompromising realism. And it is fatal to imagine that everyone knows quite well what Christianity is and needs only a little encouragement to practice it. The brutal fact is that in this Christian country not one person in a hundred has the faintest notion what the Church teaches about God or man or society or the person of Jesus Christ.”
Dorothy L. Sayers Creed or Chaos? Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 1995 [1949], pp. 31-32

Monday, June 19, 2017

Remembering Ralph D. Winter


Ralph D. Winter (1924-2008)  Missiology and Founder of the US Center for World Missions




Ralph Winter stepped onto the world stage at the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland. There he issued a call for other Protestant evangelists to proselytize to the world's "unreached people," those who had not been exposed to Christianity. In identifying mission fields, Winter looked for "ethnic pockets," isolated areas where language, ethnicity, culture and social status as well as religion had hindered the spread of the Christian Gospel.

Winter was born in South Pasadena in December 1924, the middle son of Hugo H. Winter and his wife Hazel. Hugo was a prominent freeway designer with the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, and his wife, Hazel.

Ralph Winter earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering at Caltech before serving in the Navy during World War II. After his discharge, he studied for a doctorate in linguistics, anthropology and mathematical statistics at Cornell. He then attended Columbia, where he received a master's degree in teaching English as a second language, and Princeton Theological Seminary, where he was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1956.

In 1956, he and his wife Roberta went as missionaries to Guatemala. Roberta was a registered nurse. Ten years later he returned to the United States to become professor of missions at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. At Fuller he trained missionaries, sharing with students his experiences working with the indigenous Maya people of Latin America. Roberta died in 2001.

In 1976 he decided to leave the classroom to become a strategist for Christian outreach, founding the interdenominational U.S. Center for World Mission on the former campus of Pasadena Nazarene College. A year after establishing a research institute there, he founded the related William Carey International University.



In 2005 Ralph Winter was included along with Rick Warren and James Dobson in Time's compilation of the most influential American evangelicals. 

Dr. Winter died at age 84 at his home in Pasadena after battling multiple myeloma and lymphoma. Winter is survived by his second wife, Barbara and his 4 daughters: Elizabeth Gill, Rebecca Lewis, Linda Dorr and Patricia Johnson, all of whom became involved in missions.

Having worked with Dr. Ralph Winter on a few projects, I can say that he was a dynamo and a visionary. May his memory be eternal!

Alice C. Linsley