Monday, November 23, 2009

Climate science fraud and Creationism

Climate science now stands accused of being systematically and fraudulently subverted since the 1990's. The bank of secret smoking machine guns that they have used to globally eviscerate their opponents have begun to see the light of day, as a result of a hacker grabbing some 62 megabytes of their files from East Anglia University's Climate Research Unit in Norwich, England.

The climatologists that claim global warming is caused by rising carbon dioxide levels have infiltrated Western Governments, global political organizations like the United Nations, and educational institutions. Climate history has been fraudulently rewritten to fit the theories of the the Carbon Dioxide crowd. Al Gore has been persuaded to make a movie on this rubbish, and got a Nobel Prize for his efforts. Respectable publishers like Nature have been persuaded to publish articles on this rubbish.

So how did they get a major scientific magazine like Nature to publish this nonsense? Influential scientific publications like Nature have a peer review process, where each article is reviewed by other experts in the field to ensure the article has the support of other scientists before it is published.

Well, the author of the article that was submitted to Nature for publication recommended the reviewers, who were all part of the conspiracy. They gave the article the green light. Nature magazine published.

The infiltration of Governments was achieved the same way, by ensuring that the Government people only spoke to 'scientists' who were part of the conspiracy, who all spoke with one voice, dismissing the scientific dissenters as crackpots. Step-and-repeat, and there goes the United Nations.

Here are some of the more contentious quotes that talk openly of scientific fraud and perversion of the scientific peer review process by the climate conspiracy.

The paper published in Nature magazine dismissed all the known information on global warming and cooling, replacing it with some bunkum theory based on tree rings that simply is not supported by the actual observed history.

Recorded climate history is not just people running around with thermometers. It is people looking through telescopes at sun activity. Clues appear in poetry and prose written at the time, observations about the changes in the weather, and temperatures, that all support the historical flow.

Here is an excellent summary of the science, and the problems with the Nature publication. John Daly nicely summarizes the historical information gathered over hundreds of years and explodes the theories advanced by Dr. Michael Mann. It seems that Dr Mann doesn't know anything about biology either, because he doesn't understand how tree rings form.

John Daly published that article in January, 2005.

Respected historical climatologists like Dr. Tim Ball were baffled by the success of this conspiracy. With his vast knoweledge of the tiny factoids that build the history of climatology, the Carbon Dioxide theory just doesn't hold water.

The released emails show how they perpetrated this fraud. They ensured that the peer review process in every instance, in educational institutions, scientific publications, and Government planning, only included their co-conspirators, people who would give the green light to publish and promote this fraudulent science.

Here is Dr. Ball on YouTube. (Thanks for this link, Wayne. :) )

Dr. Tim Ball has a big reputation as a scientist. He has beliefs, not Beliefs. He accepts new data, but it has to square with the known science. And the Carbon crowd have theories that do not square with anything. He points out the awful truth. These emails are not just a smoking gun, they are a smoking battery of machine guns. To perpetrate this fraud required cooperation from major educational institutions and Government.

So why would Governments cooperate? Why would major universities cooperate?

Follow the money. Governments around the world will collect trillions of dollars in new carbon taxes. They will give billions to large universities around the world, if they are on the inside of this fraud. Organised crime has nothing fraudulent on this kind of scale.

But how can the scientific crowd be so easily subverted, and take Government with them for the ride?

The Carbon Dioxide Climatologists simply followed the scientifically fraudulent Creationist model of scientific and Government subversion, another great American invention.

Creationist conspiracies have successfully infiltrated every level of American scientific and political organizations. Profound Fundamentalist beliefs in Creationism have been used to create pseudo-science in ever more creative ways, morphing into the more easily sold concept of Intelligent Design.

So the climatologists have followed the Creationist model. Their infiltrators have subverted the peer review process in the most important scientific magazines in the world, rewriting scientific climate history in the same way Fundamentalists have rewritten American history, and their tentacles have reached into respected educational institutions in every Western country.

The 62 megabytes of emails and files that were retrieved from an English university chronicle the global conspiracy. Dr. Michael Mann is right in the middle of some of the most contentious emails that suggest scientific fraud.

Look at the Creationist model, that morphed into the equally scientifically fraudulent Theory of Intelligent Design. The same old players, the same old song.

So what will really happen now?

Expect more of the same repackaging from these fraudulent Carbon Climatologists and their co-conspirators.

What can we do?

First, put Kyoto on hold. Stop the trillion dollar tax grab.

Second, stop Believing. Start investigating.

Finally give the George W. Bush White House the credit for doing something right, rejecting the Kyoto protocol, which is based on this bullshit science.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Climate fraud, email, and the real danger.

An old friend of mine, Tom, has been telling me for some time that the carbon dioxide theories of global warming don't hold water. Looks like he may be right.

Meanwhile, see all those links to the right of this article by organizations cashing in on the carbon dioxide theories? Click on them all, and waste their money. As you read on, you will understand .....

It seems that climate science is no longer about Science ... it is about Belief and cronyism.

A 'belief' is an axiom a scientist currently holds to be most likely true, until new information refines or invalidates the axiom. A 'Belief' is something a person holds to be true even in the face of overwhelming proof that it is outright wrong, and that the person is prepared to ignore or fraudulently alter data to support their Belief.

On with the story.

An email server at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England was hacked, and some 61 megabytes of emails were copied, then posted on a Russian server. These emails were communications between 'scientists' who Believe in Global warming, affirmative believers in the concept that the broader picture that humanity generally is causing global warming, and specifically, the mechanism is rising carbon dioxide levels.

Problem is, the studies don't support the theories they are coming out with very well at all. The past ten years, the earth has actually been cooling, which cannot be explained the Global Warming theories.

In their zealous pursuit of their Beliefs, these 'scientists' have been communicating about their inconclusive results with other scientists who have also been getting nothing, to see if there is a way they can put two 'nothings' together and come up with 'something'. They actually suggest 'papering over' the inconclusive data to come up with something that might support their Beliefs.

It is a story of unethical collusion to launder information, and angry, often violent rantings against the opposition thinkers. Read the news story here.

Immediately, the Greenhouse Gas Believers were in an uproar, claiming the emails were stolen, then claiming that they were probably fakes.

Problem is, Steve Macintyre, one of the emailers whose emails have been posted, has verified that every email they posted of his was authentic and unchanged.

For you poor benighted Americans living in the US Police State ( Behave, rhg) where only the Federal Government Carnivore program is allowed to 'collect' everybody's emails, here is an Australian take on the story, and links to the actual files themselves.

Now why is everybody so surprised? Scientific fraud in America has an illustrious history. (I think they inherited it from the British. I can go back to dear old Isaac Newton for the roots on this one! But I digress ....)

American scientific research is about funding. 'Scientists' get on a bandwagon that has some momentum pick up a lot of funding. There is a long history of scientific fraud that repeats this story again and again.

How does it happen? Easy answer: follow the money.

The climatologists who demonize carbon dioxide have given Governments around the world a new, trillion dollar tax potential, taxation on companies' carbon production. Power plants, steel manufacturing, and any industrial process that produces carbon would have to charge more for their products and give the money to Government , effectively raising the tax burden on the entire world by several hundred dollars a year per person.

Time to look at some history.

In just about every area of science, there are axioms that turn out to be dead wrong. The plough that turns this soil over is continuing research, new repeatable experiments or data, that can be replicated by scientists anywhere to show that the accepted axioms are incorrect.

Science is far more driven by Belief than most scientists will accept, They are an emotional, vain bunch, very needy of recognition, and when somebody challenges their Beliefs, particularly if it is in an area where they are a World Authority, they get very snotty indeed.

To look at this kind of fractious evolution of ideas from conceptual birth to acceptance by the scientific community, let's look at continental drift and Plate Tectonics, its trendy new name, now that it is a science.

"Abraham Ortelius (1597), Francis Bacon (1625), Benjamin Franklin, Antonio Snider-Pellegrini (1858), and others had noted earlier that the shapes of continents on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean (most notably, Africa and South America) seem to fit together. W. J. Kious described Ortelius' thoughts in this way:

Abraham Ortelius in his work Thesaurus Geographicus ... suggested that the Americas were "torn away from Europe and Africa ... by earthquakes and floods" and went on to say: "The vestiges of the rupture reveal themselves, if someone brings forward a map of the world and considers carefully the coasts of the three [continents]."

The modern scientific movement began with Alfred Wegener , who wrote paper in 1915 proposing that the continents were slowly drifting around the world. Despite Wegener's eminence in meteorology (his lectures, "The thermodynamics of the atmosphere" had become a standard textbook), the scientific world reacted spitefully and emotionally to his publication.

Now this is actually a standard response for the scientific world when confronted with a new theory that will dim the spotlights on the pre-eminent stars of the time. How could they have missed something so glaringly important in their field of global scientific eminence?

In Wegener's case, his 1915 paper included a large amount of circumstantial evidence. The response of the mainstream American scientific world was not a studious investigation of the facts, but a long-term condemnation of the ideas by professional scientific organizations on a Belief basis. In 1925, the America Association of Petroleum Geologists roundly condemned the theory without any investigation whatsoever! In 1943, the American paleontologist, George Gaylord Simpson, used his enormous influence against Wegener's proposales in a vitriolic attack that stopped further investigation in America dead in its tracks.

It was not until the 1950's that research began to throw up convincing data for Wegener's theories, and it should come as no surprise that this research came from outside the US.

This is an illustration of the history of US science that is repeated again and again.

In the US, most traditional science is based on very emotional Beliefs, which are never questioned until there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This overwhelming evidence often comes from outside the US, or from research that has nothing to do with the field where it is overturning the old thinking. And the slow-down to new thinking very often comes from within the United States.

Far from being the intrepid and independent explorers they profess to be, 20th century American science has a history of being riddled with cronyism and intellectual dishonesty. Almost any area of science you may choose, you will find intellectual dishonesty and reprehensible behavior, driven by Belief, self-interest, and vanity.

Now, this same behavior has been exposed amongst climate-change scientists, as a result of an email server being hacked.

Why is this so important?

America throws money based on Belief. Look at televangelists, who receive hundreds of millions of dollars a year in gifts, simply because they put on a good dog-and-pony show on television, asking for money!

These snake-oil salesman have paved the way for science posing as a movement for the social good. If they can appeal to Believers who will throw money, then that money will be spent trying to prove what their Believers who are throwing money want to hear, even if it means bending the truth.

This fits right in with the scientific principles of almost 50% of Americans, who actually believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Hey, these people can also find 'scientists' in America who will tell them this, and, by the way, these 'scientists' will also take their money.

And this idea of an ancient earth, where the continents drifted apart over hundreds of millions of years, is unfortunately more proof that the earth is more than ten thousand years old. So the money to support a denialist movement comes from the Creationists, who want to stymie any theories that might provide compelling evidence otherwise.

It comes down to 'follow the money'.

So where is the future path?

The United States was blessed in the 20th century. The Second World War thoroughly destroyed Europe's manufacturing capacity, leaving American manufacturing capacity undamaged, and vastly strengthened by the huge increase in wartime industrial production. This set the stage for unprecedented growth, bot internally, and in exports. Along the way, the US dollar became the world's reserve currency, with the added bonus of allowing the US, as the world's banker, to print $600 billion a year in 2007 dollars to provide to other countries for their growing international trade.

Inefficiencies that were introduced into the US scientific process did not matter, in this environment. The US had almost unlimited resources to spend on its endeavors, and Government spending on basic research created entire new industries. For example, the computer chip was a byproduct of the space race. And many of the people who created these technical miracles were imported from other countries, the best of the best from around the world.

Now, we have reached the pinnacle of this trajectory. China, India, and other countries that many Americans still regard as Third World, are chafing at US heels. They have modernized, created a new industrial and educational base, and streamlined their systems to get knowledge into the marketplace in a very efficient manner. Their best and brightest are now rewarded for staying home, and building their own national industrial base.

Their further advantage is they are not hobbled by Fundamentalist Belief. I am sure that scientific fraud is global, based on human vanity, greed, and need for recognition. But I think Belief slows the movement forward of science perceptibly. Dragging this albatross around becomes the American liability in a more competitive world.

However, acceptance of scientific fraud is an inbuilt part of the American scientific scene. It has even reared its head in areas as important as AIDS research, where people who have raised valid questions, which, if answered, might have really moved the field forward, have been hysterically shouted down by Establishment figures, whose reputations hinge on continuing acceptance of the current theories, even if they are wrong.

So let me finish by revisiting the global warming scenario.

Global warming theories are based on a pyramid of theory that does not square with the facts. The theory is that rising carbon dioxide levels will cause the earth to warm up, and as a result the North and South Pole will melt. The problems are, the habitat of many species will be destroyed, which will lead to their extinction, and there will be enormous flooding of coastal areas which are densely populated.

Problem is, this does not square with reality. There is no doubt that the earth is actually cooling, and has been cooling for at least a decade while carbon dioxide level have been rising. But the peculiarity here is that ice has been melting around the world, in Greenland and the Arctic, and even the Antarctic. If the world is cooling, the ice sheets should not be melting, they should be growing larger!

The real problem is going to be rising sea levels as a result of melting ice.

Now what if the melting ice has nothing to do with carbon dioxide?

OK, how about an alternative theory.

Just suppose that maybe this ice melting is caused by microscopic particulate, industrial dust, the result of huge industrialization in China and India? Tiny particles of dust that get into the jet stream, and get carried around the world, and eventually deposit as a microscopically thin layer on everything around the world.

If this dust lands in New York City, it wouldn't even be noticed. But if it lands on ice, instead of that ice reflecting the light, it will absorb it, and the energy from the absorbed light would melt the ice. The increase in blue ocean, which absorbs a lot more light than ice, would accelerate the process.

Now I am not saying that this is the mechanism. I am just proposing it as a more credible alternative to the fictions that have grown up around carbon dioxide.

(Just in case you think I have created a fictitious scenario, have a look here.

These guys are doing really excellent work, but there are far too few of them for the problem in hand, and they have been shouted down by the carbon dioxide lobby already, who consider their research irrelevant.

But what if the CO2 lobby is wrong? What if we are focusing on carbon dioxide when it has absolutely nothing to do with melting ice? We are not fixing the problem. Worse, we are not looking for the real cause, so the disaster of rising sea levels becomes a certainty.

Let me tell you a story.

There is this guy standing on a street corner in San Francisco, waving a stick. A man, observing this behavior, steps up and asks what he is doing. "I'm scaring away the elephants", the stick-waver replied. The man sputters, "There aren't any elephants in San Francisco". The stick waver stops, and looks the man in the eye. "Effective, isn't it?", he says.

Now if this man had a cup and was collecting donations for scaring away the elephants, we have the Belief-driven climate control school who shout down any other scientific research.

There is one piece of information about the connection between carbon dioxide and global warming you may find useful. The global warming theorists who claim there is a past geological connection between high carbon dioxide levels and warm planetary temperatures have omitted one very important fact.

The geological data shows that high carbon dioxide levels have never caused an increase in global temperature, in the geological record.

The carbon dioxide levels rose some 800 years after the global warming took place.

So what if we fix carbon dioxide levels and the poles still melt?

As always, I welcome your comments.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

God, Science, and Intelligent Design

This blog is about rational belief, and irrational belief ("Belief"), and how it explains everything from economic success to theories of Intelligent Design.

Rational belief is based on mathematical theories that can be tested in the laboratory. In contrast, "Beliefs" are not tested against any real-world observations in a scientific setting.

I am going to start with a leading-edge scientific theory, String Theory.

String Theory research illustrates the nature of slow changes that have been happening in science for hundreds of years.

The entire basis of string theory is safe, because it is entirely theoretical. There is no way of currently testing any part of the theory experimentally. The mathematicians who are in this research area, and believe it offers insights to the fundamental nature of matter, are attracted by the elegance of the mathematical solutions, knowing that the ability to test the theory are years in the future.

Accordingly, despite the most elegant mathematics, string theory is not science, because science demands hypotheses, axioms, assertions, that can be tested in the real world by observation of experimentation.

If a theory cannot be tested by experimentation, then it attracts Believers.

Physics addresses the real world, in which experimentation and observations can be used to test the correctness of theory.

In the past, mathematics evolved to explain existing mysteries in the physical world. The order has slowly changed, to the point where mathematical theories today are substantially ahead of our ability to test the ideas.

I think this crossover process began with Sir Isaac Newton. When Newton published his Principia, he was creating new math to explain observations already made by astronomers, and drawing the logical conclusions from them regarding laws of motion. His theories also allowed scientists to make accurate predictions of previously unpredictable events in the physical world. As part of the larger picture, the mathematical tools he invented to assert his theories (calculus) would be used by future generations of scientists, including Albert Einstein, to be able to make mathematical assertions.

The evolution of the history of mathematics in explaining the physical world has been shifting from explanation of the existing physical world, to advancing predictive theories that will be affirmed by future experimentation.

In the world of science today, mathematical theory precedes the affirmation of the theory in the real world, in some cases by decades.

As we look back in history, we see the Greek mathematical theories in geometry could be instantly used to explain past observations. By the time we get to Newton, we still see an explanation of past events (Kepler’s detailed observations of planetary motion to support the Newtonian theory of gravity), but his new mathematical techniques and Laws of Motion would be essential for the development of the new technologies of a machine age. In the Einsteinian equations, we see far more assertions for the first time entirely preceding experimentation or observation. The observations and experiments that supported an Einsteinian Universe continued for at least the next 60 years.

Now we move forward to String Theory. The mathematics makes sense to very advanced mathematicians, but the assertions are not testable. There are no computers powerful enough to analyze the equations, and there will not be computers powerful enough to perform these calculations until sometime in the 2020's! When you consider that String Theory began its mathematical evolution back in the early 1970's, and none of it can be modeled or tested for at least 50 years after the first math was evolved, is a very profound change in scientific method and direction.

So this change shows how physics has changed from an experimental science, where math was developed to explain events that had already been observed, to this new world where math is developed that has to wait years for affirmation by experimentation by physicists.

In other words, the direction of physics is now being directed by the mathematical models that require testing, and in some cases, the initial testing cannot happen for 20 years. This is directing the major course of technological development. For example, String Theory is a powerful motivation for the development of wildly powerful computers, because the field cannot even begin to be properly explored without this capability.

The current mathematicians who are researching String Theory are driven by belief. They have absolutely no reason to believe based on observations in the physical world. Their beliefs are compelled by the completeness of the math, and the way it all holds together in a purely rational intellectual analysis.

Now compare this to tribal beliefs, which are passed down through generations as part of the social glue that binds tribal structures. In every society that we have historical records on, these have used beliefs in higher beings as the foundation for social interactions. The ethics dictated by these beliefs were taught to babies from the cradle onwards, indoctrinating them in the ways of the society in which they were raised.

These beliefs have no rational foundation. They are conditioned beliefs, which are not subject to the scientific method. For example, in the Middle Ages, when the Pope claimed to be infallible, and also stated that the earth was flat, and that the earth was the center of the universe, then in Christian societies these were unquestionable axioms.

Today, we look back and laugh at these assertions. The Roman Catholic Church, rather red-faced at their history, quietly acknowledges some of it errors.

Meanwhile, in the US, we have seen the rise of Fundamentalism, which does not acknowledge the role of scientific investigation. Common Beliefs, such as the earth is only 6,000 years old, cannot be shaken by the huge body of evidence that rejects that assertion, because those people who believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old have no training in geology, geography, or any of the related sciences required to analyze the available scientific data rationally.

Rational belief is based on asserted theories, and real world observational affirmation. Irrational belief ("Belief") is based on untested tribal assertions, and is not open to questioning or change.

At last, I introduce Darwin. On his voyage on the Beagle, Darwin came up with a wild-assed theory to explain the things he observed along the way. His early evidence was detailed, but it was supported by a small data set, the results of his five years on the Beagle. Remember, it is a Theory, not a Law. What's the difference? A Law, like Newton's Laws of Motion, can be tested, and ALWAYS give the same result. A theory, like The Theory of Evolution, is a framework in which to understand the progress of life on earth, and like any theory, as more and more data is gathered, it describes the world we live in, and it's past, more and more accurately.

Since Darwin's first publication, his theory has been affirmed by huge amounts of data. There are anomalies, because it is a new science, and our knowledge of the ancient geological world is very incomplete. For example, at first glance, it may seem that we know a lot about the age of dinosaurs, over 50 million years ago. But the reality is, we are discovering new fossils, new species, new connections, every year! And these are HUGE critters that weighed tons. How about a birdlike fossil, discovered in Utah, in the US since 2000, which weighed over a ton? How could they have not found that earlier? (I chuckle at this discovery. God leaving clues in Mormon country? How ironic.)

OK, so why is there this huge US Fundamentalist denial of the Theory of Evolution?

The answer is pretty simple. If we accept the Theory of Evolution, it raises questions about Divine Intervention.

Fundamentalists go to Church and pray, because they believe that God answers their prayers. Their Universe is run by an interventionist God. Every act that happens in the Universe happens by the will of God. Not a single leaf falls that God does not dictate.

The problem with the Theory of Evolution is that it does not require an interventionist God. For Believers, this is also a problem with modern astrophysics. As the Hubble looks out into the stars, it is looking at light that began its journey as long as 14 billion years ago. As yet, astronomy has not found a single shred of proof of an interventionist God. Nothing peculiar has been observed that requires a Supreme Being who could move stars and galaxies around at will. Fundamentalist churches are very quiet on this point, and live in the nether world of possibility. Science has neither confirmed or denied the presence of an interventionist Supreme Being. So the Fundamentalists can continue to claim an interventionist God, because this tenet of their Belief is not directly contradicted by science. So while the presence of an interventionist God becomes increasingly unlikely, as more astronomical observations are made, it leaves a little wiggle room. Religious Beliefs tend to flourish in these areas of uncertainty.

This is why there is such a flurry of activity when scientific findings contradict Fundamentalist Beliefs, such as in the case of the Theory of Evolution. For those who choose to Believe in the biblical Creation story, which includes the Adam and Eve scenario, is denied by Darwinian ideas. Further, it also denies the need for an interventionist God.

What happens to the Fundamentalist Church if Believers question the power of prayer? It is likely the Church will collapse. It doesn't just threaten Christianity. Islamic ritual prayer (Salaat) has a very fixed format and is practiced 5 times a day. How do you think the concept that there is nobody listening would fly amongst Fundamentalist Muslims?

So as science corrals the Believers more and more tightly, they become frenzied fish as their pond shrinks. Beliefs flourish in areas of uncertainty, and the smaller the pond becomes, the more hysterical the attempts at denial.

Intelligent Design is the most recent assault on Darwinism. The reason Fundamentalists cling to Intelligent Design is because it implies that God has played, and continues to play, a day-to-day role in the continuing evolution of the Universe and all the creatures within it. This implies that, if God is actually around on a day to day basis, there is the wiggle room that he is actually listening to their prayers!

Again, we are looking at wiggle room. If the laws of physics were all pre-determined from the moment of the Big Bang, and they are simply taking place as time passes, then the result could be the same as having an interventionist God running the show!

But an interventionist God who determines the destiny of every leaf that falls is even more attractive, because if he is that all powerful, he could have created the geological history of the earth, and the cosmological history of the Universe, as a huge joke on mankind and its scientists! This conveniently explains away every scientific observation that conflicts with the Believer's Beliefs.

Here we have the kind of thinking that marks the Believer. The principle of Occam's Razor, "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily", implies that the simplest solution that explains the observations is most likely to be the truth. In Sherlock Holmes’ eyes, " ... when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth". Further affirmation of the observation that, as their pond shrinks, Fundamentalists become more frenzied in their denial.

This kind of hysterical denial is in line with medieval Christianity, where scientific investigation was heretical, and contradicting the Pope carried a death sentence. Hey, death penalties are a very effective way to channel Beliefs.

However, Belief-driven societies tend to lag behind societies that embrace science.

The European societies which dumped the Pope as their spiritual leader earliest (England, then Germany) became centers of scientific investigation, and the rest is history. While Papist societies floundered in poverty and Feudalism, societies that embraced the scientific method moved forward, creating wealth, and the Industrial Revolution, which raised the living standard of all citizens.

We may see a parallel in the modern world. If the Fundamentalists Muslim world countries did not have oil, they would remain amongst the poorest in the world. In America, where around 50% of the people express Fundamentalist beliefs, and a diminishing interest in science, we may be seeing a shift of technological expertise to more atheistic countries. Unhobbled by their need to fit everything into a denialist world view to fit their Fundamentalist needs for an interventionist God, these other countries are becoming the fast learners, the economic growth centers.

Here is an article that has very interesting information about belief and atheism around the world.

For myself, I don't deny that there may be a Supreme Being. However, the huge amount of irrational baggage that comes along with religious organizations prevents me from ascribing to any particular sect.

So, for the time being, I define myself as an agnostic, simply someone who does not know.