Update Don’t miss TinyCO2 with further revelations, below. It’s classic Hearsay: salacious, convenient and instantly credible.

Science and Reality are calling it quits after 300 years of what, to many observers, seemed like a marriage made in heaven. In a joint statement yesterday they said they’ve been “drifting apart for years.”

The couple’s only child, who has a history of self-harm, is reported to be taking the divorce hard. But in their press release, Science and Reality tried to reassure 299-year-old Technology that she wasn’t to blame.

“Mommy and daddy like you quite a bit, but even if we loved you as much as life itself it wouldn’t have kept us together. Please don’t beat yourself up.”

The decision may have been mutual, but it wasn’t necessarily amicable.

“Science is inherently conservative, whereas Reality has a well-known liberal bias,” according to Conventional Wisdom, who attended the media event with same-sex spouse Received.

“It was a ticking time-bomb from the start.”

Friends of the couple suggest it was a home-wrecker who finally detonated it.

“This is strictly between us, OK, and your readers, but it seems that Reality came home and caught Science—how can I put this—in [bed with] Politics,” says Rumor.

“It was hardly the first time, either. Science never seems to learn; just begs forgiveness, swears to stay out of Politics forever, and relapses a couple of years later.

“At this point, nothing Science says can be trusted.”

If Rumor is to be believed this will likely be a decisive factor in any divorce settlement.

“Science will be lucky to get a toothbrush, half the family dog and a climate-modeling clusterf[arm],” said Sources In The Legal Fraternity.

Paparazzi have already snapped Reality in Platonic settings with former partner Religion, who makes no secret of wanting a decidedly pre-Aristotelian, but not post-Socratic, reunion.

“You know we belong together. Only I understand you,” pleads Religion in an open letter to Reality in today’s New York Times.

“I didn’t pay as much attention to you as I should have; I know that. And then there was The, well, Ugliness. But give me a chance to explain.

“I can explain everything. I can always explain everything,” concludes Religion, in what is being seen as a jab at Science’s frequent impotence in that department.

Phoned for comment today, Science sounded upbeat but politely refused to discuss Reality. “I’d rather not have anything to do with [Reality] ever again.”

Science regretted not sampling more of the world before committing to Reality.

“We were young. Reality was pregnant. It’s a cliché, I know—dumb, dumb, dumb.”

But if the noises in the background were anything to go by, Science was making up for lost time as we spoke.

“Don’t worry about your old pal Science. This is already turning into the Summer of Science! Politics gives me things I never got from that frigid crone, and now that we don’t have to hide [our relationship] anymore, let’s just say it’s opened up some hot new avenues here dans le boudoir. New… meati.”

I’m sorry, did I call at a bad time, I asked?

Au contraire—it was the best of times, not the worst of times! You caught us in flagrante delicto.

Politics, apparently, was sodomizing Science with a dildo called Naomi. ◼︎


  1. Re: Modulation of Ice Ages via Precession and Dust-Albedo Feedbacks

    A new paper proving that CO2 is a minor player in the drama that is the Earth’s climate.


    We present here a simple and novel proposal for the modulation and rhythm of ice ages and interglacials during the late Pleistocene. While the standard Milankovitch-precession theory fails to explain the long intervals between interglacials, these can be accounted for by a novel forcing and feedback system involving CO2, dust and albedo. During the glacial period, the high albedo of the northern ice sheets drives down global temperatures and CO2 concentrations, despite subsequent precessional forcing maxima. Over the following millennia CO2 is sequestered in the oceans and atmospheric concentrations eventually reach a critical minima of about 200 ppm, which causes a die-back of temperate and boreal forests and grasslands, especially at high altitude. The ensuing soil erosion generates dust storms, resulting in increased dust deposition and lower albedo on the northern ice sheets. As northern hemisphere insolation increases during the next Milankovitch cycle, the dust-laden ice-sheets absorb considerably more insolation and undergo rapid melting, which forces the climate into an interglacial period. The proposed mechanism is simple, robust, and comprehensive in its scope, and its key elements are well supported by empirical evidence.


    Ralph Ellis


  2. I’ve heard that Reality liked being the focus of Religion’s attentions. He used to worship her but at some point their roles changed and Religion wanted them to get into purity and flagellation. Reality doesn’t go for bondage as she refuses to be tied down. Anyway Reality wasn’t into the whole candles and incense thing. She expects more from an evening out than a bit of bread and wine. And talk! He never stops droning on, the same old stories he’s been circulating for what seems like millennia. He kept going on about the One True Lord or was it a Trinity? She couldn’t work who the third party in the three-way would be and she wasn’t calling anyone my lord. She thought it might be someone from the Climate Change Committee but wasn’t prepared to bend backwards to satisfy Lord Deben’s probing for anything. Her tropical zones are not for his eyes, no matter how steamy she gets.

    Finally she dumped Religion when he claimed her hotness was… shall we say artificially enhanced? She stormed about and then was in floods. She caught him mouthing ‘she’s on her Milankovich Cycle’ to the neighbours. You could say she ended up with Science on the rebound.

    He was no better. Kept making stuff up about her. Told all their friends she was on steroids! Said you couldn’t blow hot then cold without some underlying cause. She swears she’s just naturally volatile.

    Any way, she’s well shot. She’s going to ignore them both and do her own thing. She’s tempted to give them the cold shoulder but she’s just naturally sunny and can’t just switch that off. She has met someone new called Engineering. He says he can handle anything she throws at him. He gets on great with Technology too. She’s attracted but wary because she doesn’t want to be forced into being something she’s not. For now they’re just seeing how things go.

    In a weird twist Science, Religion AND Politics ended up in Paris in that three-way. Politics did the When Harry Met Sally thing. Lots of yes, yes, yes, yesssssss, but it was all fake. When it came to the critical moment I think science got performance anxiety. Couldn’t keep his data pointing in the right direction if you know what I mean. Politics said it was just a plateau and they could try again later. He kept saying that things were still rising and tried to prove it by measuring from the base. Tacky! Politics wasn’t very sympathetic and spent most of her time on Facebook checking out more exciting prospects. They tried a few more things but Religion is still hung up about condoms and won’t use one to prevent babies so there wasn’t much he could do to join in. The whole thing was a flop in more ways than one.

    When Science, Religion AND Politics are involved, everyone gets screwed, nobody is satisfied and WE end up paying the hotel bill.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Campaigning journalists with an ideological bent and fevered imaginations have helped poison the once-precious relationships under discussion here.

    I recently came across an example in the form of a vicious attack on an anthropologist who had dared to suggest that a primitive tribe was not entirely made up of nice happy people in harmony with nature. A subversive thought if ever there was one. So, here comes a knight to raise his lance and defend the ‘honour’ of his sacred beliefs, a defence that required a dramatic separation of Science and Reality. Step forward one Patrick Tierney whose lance was in the form of a book earning these comments from a critical reviewer: ‘… some of the numerous footnotes in Tierney’s book plainly didn’t support his own claims. All the explosive accusations about Nazi-like activities and exploitation, and the intentional fomenting of violence, were simply made up or willfully misinterpreted. Worse, some of them could have been easily debunked with just a tiny bit of research …’

    It seems that it is not just Climate Science that has provided opportunities for some to be nasty and take unpardonable liberties with Reality. All the while prancing about like some heroic knight with a noble cause.

    More background here: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/12/when-liberals-attack-social-science.html

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think the lure of ‘we’re doing clever, important stuff’ has led to a lot of liberties with good practice.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. TinyCO2—yeah but is Clever, Important Cause Corruption more or less corrupting than “what we were doing had no political implications and nobody knew who we were, let alone was scrutinizing us, so we knew we could get away with not crossing out Ts, archiving our data or critically reviewing our colleagues’ work” corruption (the excuse proffered by Phil Jones et al for the slapdash condition of all the work they’d done in climate science prior to The Great Politicization)?


  6. John,

    love it. That’s delicious stuff; have you mentioned it to Jose Duarte?

    I have to admit though, it’s hard to read the NY Mag article when the title refers to ‘the Worst Attacks on the Social Sciences.’

    I wonder if the author had the scientific literacy to grasp how incongruous—to the point of meaninglessness—such a construction is?

    If (and I suppose it’s a big ‘if’) social sciences are, indeed, *sciences,* then they can’t be *attacked* in anything like the normal sense of the word. Science is sensitive ONLY to new evidence, and new evidence can ONLY make it better. Which is why proper scientists speak of ‘the best attacks on science’, not ‘the worst.’

    There’s even an annual awards night to recognize the people who’ve launched the most successful, effectual attacks on science. Last time I checked it’s called the Nobels.


  7. More on the exposing of the Patrick Tierney rant mentioned earlier in these comments (10 Jan). I just came across this piece by Toby Young at The Spectator site:

    ‘The left’s own war on science
    The witch hunt against Napoleon Chagnon shows us what happens if scientists challenge the core beliefs of ‘progressives’

    It begins:

    ‘How much longer can the liberal left survive in the face of growing scientific evidence that many of its core beliefs are false? I’m thinking in particular of the conviction that all human beings are born with the same capacities, particularly the capacity for good, and that all mankind’s sins can be laid at the door of the capitalist societies of the West. For the sake of brevity, let’s call this the myth of the noble savage. This romanticism underpins all progressive movements, from the socialism of Jeremy Corbyn to the environmentalism of Caroline Lucas, and nearly every scientist who challenges it provokes an irrational hostility, often accompanied by a trashing of their professional reputations.’

    Claiming that one of the axioms of the ‘liberal left’ is a belief ‘that all mankind’s sins can be laid at the door of the capitalist societies of the West.’ seems a bit strong. The author of the book which inspired the article, Alice Dreger, is said not to have ‘… abandoned her own liberal convictions. She believes the search for scientific truth and social justice go hand in hand and ends her book with an plea to academic colleagues to defend freedom of thought. But her title, Galileo’s Middle Finger, suggests the progressive left may not survive these clashes with heretical scientists. In comparing Chagnon to the Italian astronomer, she implies that the church of progressive opinion will face the same fate as the theologians who insisted the Earth was the centre of the universe.’

    Encouraging Science to keep well apart from Reality could be one way of sidestepping these difficulties when, say, deploying ‘climate change’ in pursuit of ‘social justice’, or more modestly, for destroying ‘capitalist societies’.

    Liked by 1 person

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