Thursday, July 27, 2006

Why are Climate Scientists Soooo Clueless?

While conducting a reconnaissance mission in The Republican War on Science, I came across this diary at Redstate.com, a Conservative Republican group blog. It’s basically a DailyKos.com for Conservative Republicans.

Clueless Scientists Remain Clueless

Now, naturally that piqued my interest so I took a look at the diary. It begins with a quotation from this article on LiveScience.com:

Scientist: Inject Sulfur into Air to Battle Global Warming

which reports on Nobel Laureat Paul Crutzens suggestion that blasting sulfur into the stratosphere to block solar radiation from reaching the earth is worthy of serious consideration as a means of reducing global warming.

The diarist then points out a link to an earlier article at Live Science contained within the Sulfur article. This article is titled:

Scientists Clueless over Sun's Effect on Earth

to which the diarist snarkily adds: “ Scientists? Clueless? How can that be?”

If you consider yourself a scientist, as I do, then that probably makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. But I want you to remember that question because I’m going to answer it in a bit.

Here's the text he quotes from the article, all bold and notes are the Redstate diarist’s.

A confusing array of new and recent studies reveals that scientists know very little about how much sunlight is absorbed by Earth versus how much the planet reflects, how all this alters temperatures, and why any of it changes from one decade to the next.

Determining Earth's reflectance is crucial to understanding climate change, scientists agree. [Would that be a vast majority of scientists? - Ed.]

Reports in the late 1980s found the amount of sunlight reaching the planet's surface had declined by 4 to 6 percent since 1960. Suddenly, around 1990, that appears to have reversed.

[snip]

Thing is, nobody knows what caused the apparent shift. Could be changes in cloud cover, they say, or maybe reduced effects of volcanic activity, or a reduction in pollutants.

[snip]

A third study in the journal this week, tackling a related aspect of all this, finds that Earth has reflected more sunlight back into space from 2000 to 2004 than in years prior. However, a similar investigation last year found just the opposite. A lack of data suggests it's impossible to know which study is right.

The bottom line, according to a group of experts not involved in any of these studies: Scientists don't know much about how sunlight interacts with our planet, and until they understand it, they can't accurately predict any possible effects of human activity on climate change.

It's so clear isn't it? Someone should have thought of a way to study the planet's albedo and collected this crucial data. Silly scientists, they are Soooo clueless!


The diarist finishes with:

Does that last comment apply to injecting sulfur into the upper atmosphere?”

I’m inclined to agree with him on that point, we should really focus on stopping doing the things we know are screwing up the climate before we start messing around with other types of climate control.


But what about that irksome question and his title which ask how can scientists be so clueless about something as basic and important as the amount of sunlight that is absorbed or reflected by the earth? Why hasn't someone collected these data?

The answer to this question is contained in something Dr. Roy Hinkley (blogging as Moment of Science) wrote way back in January.

Houston, we have a problem...

This article describes Al Gore’s “baby”, the Deep Space Climate Observatory, which was designed to precisely measure the planet's albedo so that we could determine the effects of changes in atmospheric pollution, cloud cover, shrinking of ice caps, increased solar flares, etc. on the earth’s climate.

This $100million satellite was placed in mothballs by the Bush administration because it was Al Gore’s project and because it would provide crucial data for studies of the earth’s climate. So now, not only did Bush waste the $100 million spent building the satellite, but scientists must be taunted as “clueless” about the earth's albedo and what it's contribution to climate change is because they were stopped just short of collecting the necessary data.

There really is a Republican War on Science. And the Republican rank and file are being conditioned to view with skepticism if not outright disregard anything scientific. They don’t trust things that come out of labs, or "ivory tower" universities and they are given to scorn rather than rockstar treatment for this country's scientists.

By clogging the news with misinformation about science, like Inhofe's panels on climate science, by blocking research such as this satellite or the ban on embryonic stem cell research, and by silencing prominent government scientists like James Hansen Conservative Republicans have reversed the process of evolution and made monkeys out of all of us.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Intelligent Design?...

Or drugs?
(long video clip)

It's rumored that one of my professors from undergrad figures prominently in this, er... educational film that shows that learning molecular biology can be fun! Without being incredibly geeky.

Well,... maybe it just shows that learning molecular biology can be funny.















Update Thanks to Turtles all the Way Down at Metafilter for the link.
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Watch out for falling debris!

And incredibly shrinking text.

We're trying to switch over to a new template which should have some cool features. Unfortunately, when we let it go live the text in each successive post got smaller, and smaller, and smaller,...

I have no idea why. We'll try again soon.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Now this, is a great moment of science!









Ramesh Padman, clad in white lab coat with biology degree in hand, staged a one man protest in front of the office of Congressman Randy Kuhl. Padman was protesting Kuhl's support for the President's veto of the stem cell funding bill.

Eric Massa is running against Kuhl in the 29th district of New York. Massa is a cancer survivor and is a very strong supporter of stem cell research.

I am a little concerned about Massa's position on Genetically modified foods though. There's nothing wrong in that description of the bill, basically it seems to be about protecting small family farmers from large agribusiness. Nothing wrong with that. It's the brief mention of protecting consumers from GMOs that's a little disconcerting. It's food people. It isn't going to hurt you. It would be a shame to get rid of one kind of anti-science only to replace it with another.

Clearly, Randy Kuhl needs to go, just based on his opposition to scientific research. If Massa turns out to be anti-science from the other direction (which I think is very unlikely) we'll just have to deal with that when the time comes.

So anybody in New York get out there and give Ramesh Padman a hand next time and support Eric Massa.

Bravo Ramesh Padman!
Other pro-science challengers in 2006.
h/t DailyKos.com

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

An open letter to Wesley J. Smith:

Wesley J. Smith
Senior Fellow Discovery Institute Center for Science and Culture



Dear Mr. Smith,

I sympathize with the distress you expressed at learning you will have to financially contribute to your chief executive’s decision to provide $150 million to support embryonic stem cell research in the state of California.

“The people of my state--unfortunately--voted to financially support this research. I am now stuck having to help foot that bill. But at least people in other areas of the country who disagree won't have to open their wallets.”

As a supporter of Governor Schwarzenegger's decision I feel guilty that you will have to fund this research and I will not.

It is indeed troubling when a citizen is compelled to fund activities in a
“highly speculative and morally controversial area” with which they do not agree. I am similarly troubled about my continued funding of the Iraq war.

Perhaps you and I might be able to come to an agreement that would extricate us from this thorny ethical and costly financial dilemma in which we have become embroiled through no fault of our own?

I suggest that I will mail you a cashier’s check for your portion of the state of California’s funding of ESCR, which I support, and you can return to me my tax dollars that have been spent on the Iraq war.

Lets see what do I owe you?
The population of California is about 34 million:
$150 million divided by
34 million Californians
-----------------------------------

= $4.41.
Wooowhhh!! That is a chunk of change Wes! Tack on postage and it’s almost a fiver!

Now lets see what you owe me?

Iraq war costs about $297,909,000,000.00 and counting.

US population is about 300 million,
$297,909,000,000.00 divided by
300 million Americans

-----------------------------------
=$993.03

Please email me for details on transferring these funds to my PayPal account.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Momma needs a new pair of shoes!



Kind Regards,
PhB.


Update:
ps: I'm not opposed to invading countries per se. I just find the activities of blowing people up with bombs or shooting them with big guns to be a morally and ethically questionable practice. As such it would be far better if such activities were funded with private money rather than government funds. Afterall, if Iraq were going to produce lots of oil wouldn't Exxon Mobil or Halliburton be paying us to take over the country? Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists have avoided this speculative and highly controversial empire building freedomizing in the middle east. Do they know something we don't?

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Elizabeth Dole to Carry “Snowflake Baby”!




WASHINGTON DC- Senator Elizabeth Dole today announced her plans to become the world's oldest birth mother by adopting a discarded embryo from a North Carolina fertility clinic.

Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole recently voted against a bill that would provide federal funds for embryonic stem cell research using discarded embryos from fertility clinics. Embryonic stem cell research which could be used to cure diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Diabetes, and to treat spinal cord injuries has been opposed by right wing extremist's like President Bush and Senator Dole.

Outraged parents, patient's rights advocates, diabetics, and people with disabilities joined members of North Carolina's burgeoning Biotechnology Industry to demand an explanation of the vote from Senator Dole.

Dole responded: "My vote today was a vote for life."

When asked how maintaining an unwanted, possibly defective, highly unlikely to be implanted into a woman's womb ball of cells frozen in liquid nitrogen at -200 degrees Celsius until someone gets around to flushing it down the toilet instead of using those cells to heal the sick and injured, could possibly be considered a vote for life? Senator Dole responded as the seasoned politician that she is:

"You have a good point there. Let me just check my talking points...."

After conferring with staff, Senator Dole announced that she would make it her mission to find a home for every frozen embryo that she and President Bush had protected.

"Every life is sacred. It is important that we do our best to find a home for every one of these itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, 50-celled citizens of our great nation. As President of the American Red Cross I led an organization of 24,000 volunteers to protect lives and clean up natural disasters. If each and every one of us do our part and pitch in, a volunteer effort can save these frozen babies!"

When it was pointed out to Senator Dole that there are over 460,000 such discarded embryos languishing in cold storage. She responded, "Oh, my! "

It was then further pointed out that only about 100 Snowflake babies had ever been adopted and that it was well nigh impossible that the remaining 460,000 embryos, even if adopted, would survive to become babies.

At this point in the rally a small boy said "Senator, my mommy has Parkinson's disease, her Doctor says stem cells are the only thing that can fix her. Why do you and President Bush want to flush her stem cells down the toilet?" Members of the crowd murmured in agreement.

Frantic mother: "I have two kids with diabetes and one with chronic asthma and we ain't got health insurance. You're the only female Senator to vote against funding embryonic stem cell research, ya'll ain't got no kids, you want all these embryos implanted? Lead the way Senator."

Then a 12 year old girl in a wheelchair called out to the Senator, "Hey lady! Are you gonna adopt the stem cells I need for my spinal cord injury or what?"

At a press conference later that day Senator Dole released this statement:

"As a woman and a Senator who opposes stem cell research I feel I have a special duty to ensure that these discarded embryos are placed in good homes. That is why I will be going through the adoption process and having an embryo implanted in my womb."

Citing the example set by 66 year old Adriana Iliescu Dole said,

“Women of our generation put off having children to work on our careers. Now that I’m turning 70 at the end of July Bob and I feel the time is right to start our family. Taking massive doses of hormones and defrosting a couple of embryos seemed like the natural next step in our lives.”



"I will spend the remainder of my time in the US Senate growing frozen embryos into real live babies. And I will be encouraging other women to do the same."

Senator Elizabeth Dole recruits volunteers: "I'll find a mommy for every single one of those 460,ooo frozen embryos." vows Senator Dole.

Asked how he felt about his wife’s decision, former Republican Presidential Nominee Bob Dole, stated: "People always ask that ethics question about a baby and a freezer filled with 200 embryos well, if something happened to an IVF clinic and you had to implant all the embryos in Elizabeth or use them for stem cell research, I think you’d implant them in Elizabeth.”

UPDATE:
Eleanor Clift notes that the “snowflake baby” program has been as unsuccessful at recruiting adoptive parents of frozen embryos as Senator Dole has been at recruiting Republican Senatorial candidates for 2006 with only 128 embryo adoptions so far.

Maybe Senator Dole could use a little help.

Here’s a list of “prequalified” candidates who should be more than willing to help out:

Nay
TN-07
Rep. Blackburn, Marsha [R]
Nay
WY-00
Rep. Cubin, Barbara [R]
Nay
VA-01
Rep. Davis, Jo Ann [R]
Nay
VA-02
Rep. Drake, Thelma [R]
Nay
NC-05
Rep. Foxx, Virginia [R]
Nay
FL-13
Rep. Harris, Katherine [R]
Nay
PA-04
Rep. Hart, Melissa [R]
Nay
OH-09
Rep. Kaptur, Marcy [D]
Nay
WA-05
Rep. Mcmorris, Cathy [R]
Nay
MI-10
Rep. Miller, Candice [R]
Nay
CO-04
Rep. Musgrave, Marilyn [R]
Nay
NC-09
Rep. Myrick, Sue [R]
Nay
FL-18
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R]
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2006-388

If one of these ladies is your representative in Congress please drop her a line suggesting she “bring one of these babies in from the cold.”

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Let us Give Thanks.

The Senate Bill to fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research has passed by a vote of 63 to 37. This is not a large enough majority to overcome Bush's promised veto. 67 votes would be required to override Bush's first veto if he uses it here. The other two peices of legislation passed as well which will give him cover for vetoeing this bill. The other bills ban "fetus farming" and provide funds for adult stem cell research that does not involve embryo creation.

But let us thank the Senate for choosing the side of human beings over human cells.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/07/18/congress.stemcells.ap/index.html

Update: Hee hee! Yeah it is isn't it?
"What I don't understand is why they're allowing this to come to the floor
when it goes against the president of their own party," one House Republican
aide said. "It's going to put [Mr. Bush] in a tough spot. Is this going to be
the first thing he vetoes?"

Stem cell vote met with anger.


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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Correction.

In this post on Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpes Virus and AIDS denialists, I attributed the discovery of KSHV-8 to the wrong group. It was actually discovered by Chang Y, Cesarman E, Pessin MS, Lee F, Culpepper J, Knowles DM, Moore PS. in this paper.

This discovery is even mentioned in the Mesri paper I cited. I was just being a little sloppy in order to get the post finished.

After having the error pointed out, I am impressed by who might end up reading a little blog like this one so I will try to be more accurate in giving credit where it's due in the future.

Thanks for the correction.

If anyone notices an error in the future, please comment or email.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A conversation with a virologist.

I had a nice email conversation with a virologist recently. We started discussing HIV/AIDS denial so I pointed him to Dean's World. Needless to say he was less than impressed with that bastion of "skepticism", and he took it upon himself to answer the six questions posed there by Harvey Bialy.

I had intended to write my own post drawing heavily from his email, but he knows a lot more about virology than I do and is quite possibly a lot funnier than me. So, since I don't have as much time for blogging as I'd like,... why not cut out the middle man person?

Here is his email in full. (Some of the links are non-functional because they are search results I'll try to fix them if I can.)

Hi Pharma Bawd,

Dean is a pretty funny guy for being so self-effacing and modest. I like the way he advertises himself:

Dean's World
Defending the liberal tradition in history, science, and philosophy.


You go, Dean! My history, science and philosophy are safer now that I know you are on the ramparts defending them! Rock on, dude!

Arguing with HIV/AIDS deniers, holocaust deniers and global-warming deniers hurts my brain. I'm sure glad you are wiling to take them on, they drive me berserk. I find it interesting that all of these wingnuts have a rightist if not flat-out fascist bent. Still, Dean might be considered a liberal in Taliban Afghanistan or North Korea. I urge him to go there and find out.

There is so much ammunition to knock down these antiHIV arguments that it is just plain hard to know where to get started. So, here is a little that you are free to use if you'd like. **************REDACTED (possibly identifying information) *********

For example, let's start here

The scary six questions:


1. Why has not a single chimpanzee, out of more than 250 successfully infected since 1984, developed AIDS? There is not one other human viral pathogen that cannot reproduce a similar disease in chimps (Duesberg, P.H., Pharmacology & Therapeutics 55: 201-277, 1992).

Uh, except EBV for starters. Sorry, you flunk Virology 101. The fact that different even closely related species (and we are not that close to chimps) have different responses to a viral infection is well-known. For example, when zoos house African elephants with Indian elephants, the African elephants transmit a herpesvirus to the Indian elephants that boils their brains, makes them bleed through their skin, etc. The virus is perfectly asymptomatic in the African elephants.
Go figure. I'd say it is a fair bet that African elephants are more closely related to Indian elephants than humans are to chimps. This is called species-specificity and it is not a new idea.

So, down goes strawman argument 1.

2. Why do the in vivo and in vitro virus neutralizing antibodies that are present in easily assayable amounts in the blood of HIV infected people (Daar, E.S., Moudgil, T., Meyer, R.D. and Ho, D.D. (1991) New Engl. J. Med. 324: 961-964) not protect against AIDS if HIV is the culprit?

Ouch, man, you are starting to get rocky in Biology 101 as well, Dr. Bialy. By the late 1950s and early 1960s it was clear that neutralizing antibodies don't protect against all viral infections. This is because antibodies cannot penetrate into cells and they only target, "neutralize" ,free virus. So, lets look at something that everyone is familiar with: herpes. Do you have neutralizing antiherpesvirus antibodies? Yes, you do. Does this eliminate herpesvirus infection from your body? No, it does not. Even brilliant minds like Duesberg, Gilbert and Mullis (when he isn't short-circuiting his neurochemistry) readily admit that retroviruses like HIV have an intracellular latent proviral state which shouid be (and is) protected from neutralizing antibodies. ?">Cell-to-cell transmission in which the virus is never exposed to neutralizing antibodies has only been known for, what, 15 years? No, wonder you missed this since the data is so recent.

Strawman #2 goes up in flames.

3. Why is the incidence of HIV in the US population constant over 20+ years (US Centers for Disease Control HIV/AIDS Surveillance, Year -end editions since 1984) if the virus and disease are new and epidemic? This clear violation of Farr's Law of epidemiology must be addressed unambiguously, as it is absolutely relevant to the question of the presumed African heterosexual epidemic.

Good one, almost got me there. I had to look up Farr's Law (which is incorrectly cited in the link, ">see the following for a professional explanation) even though I've been an infectious disease epidemiologist for 20 years. First of all, CDC has not performed HIV surveillance "since 1984". CDC has performed AIDS syndromic surveillance, which is what Dr. Bialy refers to. Despite this, evidence from multiple cohort studies do show a rise in HIV incidence temporally concurrent with the onset of the AIDS epidemic which levels off in most populations in the mid1980s and now dropped in most US populations, ">see for example. This pretty much matches a description of Farr's Law, for what it is worth. Farr derived his law through sheer empiricism in the 1840s (and he actually did do a heck of a good job, Brownie) back when swamp marsh gases were thought to be the likely culprits of contagion. He had no knowledge of latent retroviral infectious diseases, pathogen carriage, asymptomatic infection, etc, and asking him to predict symptomatic HIV disease patterns from first principles is really pushing it. Finally, what the hell is Dr. Bially arguing here? That AIDS (regardless of its cause) is not an epidemic disease? is he implying that the rates of AIDS incidence are now constant and always have been (e.g. in the 1950s-80s)? Regardless of the cause, HIV or not, AIDS is clearly a new epidemic syndrome and so it doesn't really matter whether it follows Farr's Law (i.e. a bell-shaped curve with more rapid drop-off than take-off) or not. This doesn't address HIV as a cause (or not) of AIDS at all. Some loose thinking masquerading as intellectual puffery going on here.

This stawman is toast.

4. Why has every attempt to detect an actual viremia that is consistent with a pathogenic role for HIV failed? In this regard, I would expect that someone will defend the biochemical marker measurement known as "viral load" as something resembling an accurate measure of infectious virus.

Excuse me? This is just too stupid to answer, and he does it himself. Here let me try, although this is like running fingernail over the chalkboard of my brain: ">Viral load = measure of circulating virus in blood stream = superb predictor of AIDS symptoms. Man, that fucking hurt.

5. What is there in the genetic structure or organization of HIV that distinguishes it functionally from other retroviruses such as HTLV-I and II that are not said to cause AIDS?

Whoa and down it goes, it gets worse. Go to textbook. Look up proteins like Tax, tat, rev, rex. Here, I will help you.(dead link fixed--ed.) These are proteins, not ORFs (see the rest of Bialy's garbled comment). Now, Dr. Bialy, you've got a few ideas confused here. The old dictum (which we realize now isn't really true anyway) is: One gene, one protein NOT one gene, one disease. There is no single "AIDS" gene any more than there is a single meningococcal meningitis gene or yellow fever gene. Viruses and bacteria are composed of multiple genes, most of which are essential for the agent, some of them not. The summed combination of these genes determine what cells and hosts the agent can infect by changing receptor affinities, etc. Not a terribly difficult concept to master. HIV is different from HTLV I and it causes different diseases.

6. Why are exactly the same cells that HIV is said to kill in vivo not killed in vitro where productively infected cultures continue to produce 1000s of infectious particles per day for use in the various "AIDS tests' and are not protected by antibodies or 'antiretroviral' drugs (although they are by patents)?

So, lets start by seeing if there is anything in this statement that is correct. Uh, no. Actually, HIV does kill T cells in vitro and this is called the cytopathic effect (CPE), another one of those funny scientific things that were discovered in the 20th Century. The in vitro cytopathicity of HIV has been well-described since its initial discovery in 1984. The T cell depletion that occurs in vivo is likely to be more severe than simply those cells that are infected, although this is a substantial fraction of the T cell population in an HIV infected person Could this be due to a bystander effect from nearby infected T cells, possibly, but it doesn't matter since this still doesn't negate a role for HIV in T cell killing either through direct or indirect effects.

So the virus kills the same cells in the laboratory that it is proposed to kill in infected persons. But what if Dr. Bialy were right, even though he isn't and apparently he does not have a dial-up connection to PubMed? If a virus doesn't kill cells in vitro, doesn't that mean that it could not possibly cause disease? Well, actually no, since you are forgetting about something called the "immune system" which doesn't exist in a test tube but does exist in a person. So, a virus might infect a cell and have absolutely no detrimental effect on the cell. But if an immune cell such as a cytotoxic lymphocyte or a natural-killer cell recognizes that the cell is infected, the infected cell is a goner. This doesn't mean the immune system always wins, viruses can out compete immune cell killing but it should be pretty easy to see that this soon results in a cellular Mogadishu with lots of cell death competing with lots of virus replication. Sounds kind of like what happens in AIDS, doesn't it?

Now, what was your question?



Mmmmmm.... That was yummy! Thanks for that!

I know there are other scientists out there who would like to respond to some of the misuses of science they see on the internet but don't want to go to the trouble of creating their own blog.

If any other practicing scientists would like to post such a detailed rebuttal to HIV/AIDS denialists, evolution deniers, or any other abusers of science and reason, shoot me an email. If I can determine that you are who you tell me you are I'll be happy to post it for you anonymously if your arguments make sense to me.

PhB.

ps. Don't be afraid to send something that's not quite as thurough as this either.

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Well, someone has to do it.

I guess it might as well be me.
Tara points to this list comparing scientists to religion. Cute but nonsense.

On the other hand, as I read more and more evolution denial and HIV/AIDS denial threads I have greater and greater difficulty telling the two apart. Here’s a partial list of equivalancies I’ve noticed:

HIV/AIDS- Evolution
Denial - Denial
Internet - Church
Padian Study – Cambrian Explosion
Peter Duesberg – Johnathan Wells
Harvey Bialy - William Dembski
Dean Esmay – Dave Scott
Celia Farber – Michael Behe
Hank Barnes – Salvador Cordova
Robert Gallo – Earnst Haeckel
Complete disregard for Molecular evidence –Complete disregard for Molecular evidence
AIDS diagnosis includes HIV infection – “Survival of the fittest” is a tautology
Poppers/recreational drugs – Intelligent Designer
Africa – High Schools
Patients – Penitents
HIV tests innaccurate - There's no such thing as a beneficial mutation
Show me the HIV/AIDS vaccine - Show me a cat turning into dog in the lab
"Absolutely NO evidence HIV causes AIDS!"- "Absolutely NO evidence of macroevolution!"
Can anyone point out some criterion to distinguish one type of denialist from the other?


ps: If you can think of any other similarities feel free to add them in comments!

Update:
Dean Esmay provides two suggestions for the list.

Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis should pair nicely with Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley
Walter Gilbert (co-inventor of the DNA sequencing reaction. “father of molecular biology” according to Dean) should pair nicely with John Sanford (father of modern plant biotechnology)
***Walter Gilbert has accepted the evidence, provided by anti-retrovirals controlling AIDS symptoms, that HIV is indeed the cause of AIDS. See comments below.***
http://scienceblogs.com/evolgen/2006/06/the_creationists_discover_the.php
These are welcome additions to the list.

Thanks, Dean!

UpdateII:
Anyone coming over from Deansworld be sure to check out these answers to the six questions Bialy posted there some time ago.

I don't want you going away thinking we haven't noticed the most glaring similarity between HIV "skeptics" and evolution deniers, that they're both wrong.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

They Make of Themselves, a Caricature.

Most recently with the HPV vaccine and now this:

"The last thing the Third World needs is more population control, because their populations are already facing dramatic aging, but they don't have anything like the financial resources we do to take care of all these older people."”

"...Gates' and Buffett's philanthropy is a "bomb" in its own right."

Yes, the evil billionaires Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are jeopardizing the economies of the developing world by donating their billions to improve healthcare. It seems that Warren designated a portion of the $35 billion he gave away to fund improvements in women's healthcare in the developing world. And since some women, if given access to adequate healthcare, will choose to do horrible things like: take birth control pills, have abortions when they can't afford to have more children, use condoms,.... Focus on the Family's Carrie Gordon Earll wants us to fight back against the billionaires:

"We don't have to be Bill and Melinda Gates or Warren Buffett to make a difference.

"If there are enough of us together, we can counter their efforts."

You're right Carrie! I think I'll go to Africa and take a crap in some village's well. Damn that Bill Gates, giving them clean drinking water!

"Population control is quite literally destroying much of the Third World," he(Joseph D'Agostino of the Population Research Institute-ed.) said. "Even in Mexico, the birthrate is below replacement level. And over time, since there are not enough children being born to replace the population, they are not going to have enough workers. They are going to have these old people who are going to retire, and there are not going to be enough workers there to support them — and these countries are facing, in the long-term, financial collapse."”


The replacement rate to maintain a constant population size is 2.1%. Fertility in Mexico is 20.69 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

20.69/1000= 2.069

2.1 vs 2.069. He means a very, very lonnnnnggggg term financial collapse.

OK, so Mexico is safe, what about the countries where Bill and Warren are sending all that money?

Lets take a look at some numbers shall we?

South Africa 42.73
Malawi 41.7
Sierra Leone 40.22
Zambia 40.03
Mozambique 39.82
Liberia 39.65
Zimbabwe 39.29
Angola 38.62
Lesotho 34.4
Botswana 33.74
Swaziland 32.62
TOTAL 422.82
AVERAGE 38.43818

Wow!! That’s a lot of money!

Except...

it's not.

Those aren’t dollar figures, they’re life expectancies.

Not enough workers to support retirees? Yeah right. Maybe someday, if they have enough: food, clean water, medicine, vaccines, .... one or two people might make it to retirement age.

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