The Great Puzzle Behind The Anthropogenic Global Warming Disgrace
A great many hard facts have exposed the AGW deceit as both a huge error and an indelible stain on science itself. As the hoax is increasingly available to scrutiny — the press cannot maintain its blatant censorship forever — the public may lose some faith in the academy, governmental research agencies, the authority of scientists in general and the desirability of supporting research with tax dollars.
The scandal far surpasses the Piltdown hoax. Its full implications cannot be predicted, but they may be catastrophic.
The rational observer could make a list of the victims and the villains, and consider how each should be treated. Events will, however, unfold as they will, not as one might wish. Yes, it would be nice to see Al Gore stripped of his fortune, and the sight of a few scientists behind bars (if only for a few months) for violations of the various freedom of information acts would be a delight. Of course it is to be hoped that Waxman and Boxer will not be in Congress next year — and so on.
Enough daydreams. The topic on which one should ruminate is how this could have happened.
Consider first the stunning cascade of causes and effects: first, science was corrupted; second, an irrational fable replaced knowledge; and finally, that fable inspired political policy. The reasons for this tragedy, if discovered, may point to improvements in the greater information system — by which is meant the ways in which information is validated and distributed.
Science is supposed to come up with information and test it for veracity. That’s the core purpose of the scientific method. Then the news media are supposed to inform the public. Finally, politicians are supposed to act on the basis of facts, needs and a clear understanding of legal procedures to improve the common weal.
With systematic precision, each of the “supposed to” ideals above was sequentially destroyed, ignored or forcefully set aside — in order to promote a fraud and impose harmful legislation on a public kept deliberately ignorant.
AGW is a perfect example of how a principled system can break down and produce toxic results.
Questions, And The Wrong Answer
What happened to permit a quasi-religious myth to replace true science? How could scholars dealing in hard facts be so debauched by fantasy that they conspired to suppress the truth and disseminate what they knew to be deceits? Why was it impossible to put an instant stop to the madness?
The answers are complex and elusive. TLB’s effort to solve the puzzle is made in the hope that others will use it to come closer to the full explanation.
Begin, then, with a non-reason. It must be emphasized at once that there was no widespread conspiracy directed by a secret cabal of malevolent figures who somehow had control of all science and the news media. Any parallels to the comic-book nonsense of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion are invalid. What happened to science was that a prevailing mindset was promoted by zealots. It was a metaphorical sea change in overall outlook, one of those times when a fad gripped science.
The Breakdown Of Reason Leads To Fads And Even Magic
A word is in order, therefore, about trends and fads in science. Pasteur’s story is famous, and the struggles of Lister, Jenner, Semmelweis, and Fleming are the deplorable part of the history of scientific medicine. More recently, Marshal and Warren are proof that simple, demonstrable facts are often rejected out of hand by well-educated professionals who claim to be scientific thinkers. For years, Marshal and Warren were brushed aside by physicians who knew — against both the layman’s reason and the scientist’s proof — that excess stomach acid causes gastric ulcers.
It is sad but true: science is a creature of habit and fad. Some areas of scholarship are “in,” and others are “out.” The physics genius who today does not embrace and contribute to superstring theory will have a hard time being promoted, if he somehow manages to be granted tenure; his brilliance will be ignored if he is not part of the current trend (which may be laughed at in five years).
The implications of the faddish nature of science are more profound than many people suspect. While resistance to new ideas is somewhat understandable, the gullible acceptance of the new is far less so. And it is potentially very harmful. The best example in the recent history of science is the way the medical community surrendered en masse to the ridiculous self-promotion of Sigmund Freud.
And again: the fraudulent, silly and even libelous works of Margaret Mead are an example of a social science first accepting nonsense, and then defending it against absolute proof of its nullity. Few have had the courage to point to the obvious (and proven) truth. Mead has become a goddess in the anthropological pantheon, and more’s the pity, for she was deceitful, wedded to her wildly inaccurate ethnographic accounts, and irrational.
There is more. Current mythologies regarding dark matter and dark energy are inspired by the kind of thinking that gave the world phlogiston and the elan vital. Time will tell, but the fact is that gravity remains a mysterious phenomenon, and puzzling it out will almost certainly result in the disappearance of “dark” things and forces. The universe, however puzzling it may be, is not to be explained by charismatic magicians, but by boring researchers who restrict themselves to facts and reason.
Regarding magical thinking, it’s useful to remember that modern scientists are just as eager to resort to voudon and its related hokum as are people they regard as ignorant and superstitious. For more on this, see Wikipedia. (Note: Randi later said, in a public lecture attended by a member of TLB’s staff, that after Project Alpha’s “psychics” were admitted to be fakes, a scientist asked Randi for help; would the “psychics” please use their paranormal powers to cure the scientist’s sick daughter? Knowing the truth does not necessarily change one’s view of reality.) It’s a fact that if you want to expose a charlatan like Rudi Geller, you need the help of a stage magician, not of physicists and chemists. The scholars will be taken in every time.
So what appears to be a conspiracy is a kind of fad (with magical/mystical overtones) promoted to the exception of other views by its enthusiasts. The power of that fad can be surprising, but the fad does not satisfy the textbook, traditional sense of the word “conspiracy.” It is properly described as the cooperation of a number of small groups that share an ideological position. That’s why the right wing of the Republican Party is not a conspiracy. Hillary does not agree, but then…who cares? For more on true conspiracies, see the excellent book by Daniel Pipes (ISBN 0-684-83131-7).
Yes, there were AGW mini-conspiracies of a sort, as the e-mail messages from the CRU at East Anglia University demonstrate — the “destroy your records, lest they be requested by someone using the freedom of information act” sort of thing. These guys were colluding, there is no doubt about that, so they could be said to be conspiring as well. But overall, as TLB has already suggested, these True Believers were strategically located on the information pathway, so they were able to pack some peer review groups and deny advancement to some dissenting academics. There is nothing new about that in the academy, which is first of all a political institution, and only secondarily an educational and research-oriented one. (Reminder: see TLB 119 for information on how one man dictated the course of the archaeology of the Maya, ending careers, preventing publication of new views, and stalling science for decades.)
Moreover, it bears repeating: once contaminated by fantasies, science does not always cleanse itself. Recall the calm reluctance of biologists to deal with a colleague who told his students that man and gorilla had been successfully crossed and a viable offspring produced (see TLB 116). And realize that the graduate student in anthropology who today mentions openly Margaret Mead’s extraordinarily consequential hoax about the Samoans would be well advised to become a CPA rather than try for an advanced degree in his major. All the sciences can be amazingly protective of their charlatans.
The Tragic Etiology Of A Myth/Hoax
The emergence of a hysterical, untruthful AGW movement was preceded, and largely made possible, by the early ecology warriors. Rachel Carson was the first to make a huge impact: her terrible book, Silent Spring, caused a tsunami of concern about man’s impact on the earth and its creatures. As a direct consequence of her alarmist nonsense, DDT was banned, malaria roared back, and millions perished. This unfortunately coincided with the flowering of New Age spirituality, some of which celebrated the earth as Gaia (if all the information you find at this link looks scientific to you, you need to do some reading).
At once, fear-mongering and a passion for quasi-religious reform united with a stunningly callous attitude toward human life, and the eco-freaks were born. Their Quixotic efforts were immensely successful in crafting a mindset that bent its knee to false prophets like Paul Ehrlich even as it ignored proof that like all millenarianist madness, the predictions were demonstrably false.
It was a perfect storm of cheap, mindless religiosity, ignorant conceptions of man’s role on earth, and political activism inspired by the USA’s civil rights movement. When, in the 1960s, it was predicted flatly that the plankton in the sea were facing inevitable extinction (with catastrophic consequences for all life on earth) and nothing happened, faith sustained the lunatics. Faith sustained them again when in the 1970s they sounded the alarm about the rapidly-approaching ice age, and again, nothing happened.
Later, however, something did happen. Millions died needlessly of malaria. That was ignored. The eco-nuts were too busy wringing their hands over the thin eggshells of pelicans. It was indeed a time of madness — a time in which humanitarian principles were discarded.
That insanity informed and inspired the men who would become scientists who promote AGW. As made clear above, scientists are not always rational, not always free of the demands of baseless faith, and not always original or independent thinkers. (Yet one more reminder: Isaac Newton spent more time and spilled more ink on astrology than he did on the calculus or his famous laws.)
AGW must be seen as a product of its time. The confluence of New Age faith, a rekindled interest in Nostradamus, the mass appeal of non-scientific predictions tricked out to look scientific (Ehrlich), the eternal psychological appeal of millenarianist alarmism, a concern for the negative aspects of technology that began with political attempts to halt the testing of nuclear bombs in the atmosphere, the egotistical but naive belief that man can make a huge impact on his planet, and the discovery of the possibly harmful results of the perfectly natural and uncontrollable changes in climate resulted in a new hysteria. Scientists were not immune.
The Scientist As Seer And Sage
By this time, the public had grown accustomed to the role of the scientist in society. This presumably highly intelligent, well-educated individual must necessarily be qualified to advise us on all matters. Certainly the advertisements of seventy-five years ago show the trend: physicians confidently explain why everyone should smoke this but not that brand of cigarettes. The image persists today, in spite of being tarnished by blunders. When technology produced bad effects, whether pollution from chemical plants or Three Mile Island’s failure, the blame could be placed on capitalists, not on men of science. The scientist of today is therefore still perceived by many as something of an unimpeachable authority.
The fad of AGW inherited much of the momentum of other, earlier and simpler movements. It exploited existing stereotypes, brushed aside doubts with its authoritative “scientists say” pronouncements and emphasis on the utterly invalid concept of “consensus,” (“In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.” –Galileo Galilei) and moved to take political power. Because the Manhattan Project had demonstrated to both politician and scientist the possibilities inherent in government funding of research, there was a rush for grants that promoted the fad.
That continues to this day. This newsletter has exposed the lie that “skeptics” and “deniers” in the scientific community can make more money than can AGW promoters (TLB 119). Meanwhile the growth of government has continued along with the vilification of capitalism; Obama’s concept of “fairness” bodes ill for investors, and hence for the economy as a whole. The result is political correctness with ominous religious overtones. It’s a faith-based enthusiasm for harsh criticism of technology that uses the pronouncements of bogus authorities (Gore, and poseurs like Pachauri) to promote a new version of the “less is more” babble.
An Opportunity For The Greedy And Powerful
The AGW movement might be a huge self-parody if it were not for the political aspects. Who benefits, if AGW is a fact and can be reversed? The answers would suggest just how fraudulent AGW is, even if one does not deal with the hard facts of the physical properties of carbon dioxide, the history of global climate change, and the causes of warming and cooling.
First on the list of rascals to benefit from a war on climate change/AGW is the UN. What a terrible truth that is! This is the wrong place to recount the many sins of the UN, but no reader of TLB need be prompted to recall the horrors. Greed, monumental corruption and an insatiable lust for absolutely unnecessary power (censorship and the imposition of legalistic bigotry for starters) are comfortably at home in Turtle Bay. The UN is a real and present danger to individual Liberty because it extends the depravity of some of the worst governments on earth beyond their borders.
Next are the national governments. They can exert and strengthen their control of the corporation and the individual, as well as enhance their revenues, by using the fake emergency as an excuse to become even more authoritarian.
These parasites would not be needed if mankind actually had to battle AGW. The free market would suffice. Of course neither the UN nor any national government would agree with that contention, and this is not the place to discuss it, but it could be demonstrated.
The confederacy of scoundrels is completed by the news media. The collectivist sentiments of this institution are well known, but it is not often remarked that an undercurrent of vague anti-US resentment is part of the USA’s journalistic mindset.
A Bizarre Mindset
Yanks are relatively concerned about what the rest of the world thinks of them and their nation. That willingness to listen to negative criticism is often extended to apologetic extremes, especially by those who have graduated from college since roughly 1950. Yes, it is hard to explain the metamorphosis of this open-minded and self-analytical tendency into a bitter attitude calling for reform with strong anti-capitalist overtones. One should note, however, that this penchant for self-flagellation does seem to go hand in hand with the frustration of people who expected more of life than the delights of suburbia. They also seem dissatisfied by bland urban environments.
The result of these vague discontents can be the evolution of a smug authoritarianism that shows little respect for the (culturally inferior) choices of (culturally inferior) individuals. In short, US journalists tend to be advice-mongers and planners who embrace the Utopian dreams of big government. Tax and spend seems to these folks to be a way to turn virtually everyone — except those inbred rednecks in Flyover Country — into cosmopolitan sophisticates. Surprise! Yes, the culture war has a role to play in the cult of AGW.
Making sense of this cultural kaleidescope is an error-prone undertaking, of course. Why are humans intrigued by prophesy, fantasies of catastrophe, and alarmist rumors? Why are we so vulnerable to con men, and why do we consider it improper to be skeptical of things that are upsetting? Is there an evolutionary advantage to unreason?
Seeing The Fraud For What It Is
In the end, we are left with an explanation for AGW that is little more than a statement that the human animal is a myth-making and fear-mongering brute. However much he knows about superstring theory and the thermodynamics of oceans, he remains vulnerable to nonsense. He is a social animal, which implies a degree of conformist stupidity. He puts his faith in symbols that range from hereditary titles to doctorates in obscure specializations bestowed by institutions that are more ideological and religious than rational. However sophisticated he becomes, he can still be victimized by fads and fashions.
AGW is today’s faith, today’s myth and today’s raison d’etre for action. It inspires its advocates even as it restricts their knowledge and inhibits clear thought. Ultimately, whatever it is and whatever caused it, the AGW credo/cant/lie/faith/myth must be debunked with hard facts, denounced as madness, and stripped of its political power — or this demented quest for Utopia will seriously erode both the Liberty and prosperity of all mankind.
Personal Commentary By A TLB Staffer: The Obama Propaganda Machine And Child Abuse
Herewith the recollections and opinions of an individual who keeps the rest rooms in TLB’s offices clean and empties the ashtrays:
Years ago, I was a member of the county central committee of the Libertarian Party in California. I was one of the representatives of my small (party-designated) region simply because I showed up at the convention in Los Angeles. Three other folks from my region were there, too, so we were volunteers who helped to guide our party in building its platform.
At the time, California allowed only those twenty-one years of age and older to vote. The state overlooked making a law governing who could be part of a political party’s leadership, however. Well, we four included a twelve year-old girl.
I have always been tremendously proud of the way the delegates at the convention treated her. There was not a single word about her age; there were no rolled eyes, elevated eyebrows, smartass remarks behind her back, or the slightest hesitation on anyone’s part. She was automatically and politely accepted as exactly what she was — a delegate.
In our region’s mini-caucuses, the lass voiced her opinion (to which we three adults listened without the slightest condescension), voted, and definitely made a positive contribution to our deliberations. She was a Libertarian, and that party has no age limit on its membership; therefore, she had a say. Everyone respected that fully. There was no whiff of patronizing or tokenism.
Now let’s change gears. When I see things like this, my immediate reaction is negative. (I’ll wait while you watch.)
I have had more than enough of the nauseating videos of North Korean muppets and Chinese tots with their frozen smiles celebrating the genius of Dear Leader or the People’s Junk. Those poor little kids are being exploited, and often cruelly so, by unprincipled adults who think they can justify anything by spouting ideological claptrap. Meanwhile the Obamaniacs have contributed more modestly (thank goodness) to child abuse in the name of political correctness. That’s been exposed, and properly damned, in TLB.
Well, I looked at this new video of US kids celebrating The One, and my take on it is that these youngsters remind me of my fellow Libertarian delegate. Children who can’t vote do have opinions, tastes, and preferences. Sure, I assume participation in this Obamafest was not at all voluntary, so a lot of these junior musicians in the video were prodded or even coerced, but that’s part of being a kid who sings or plays a musical instrument for the public.
Too young is too young, right? Yes. But at some point you have to respect the child as a full human, and my guess is these kids in the orchestra have political opinions of their own because they all have minds of their own. I know I did when I was eight, or even younger. I expect a fair number of these junior musicians are thinking, “This is political crap, but I’m getting some experience, I guess.” If there is any harm done here, it is inconsequential, in my view.
So my reaction to this admittedly obsequious ritual (yeah, it is a bit Riefenstahl-esque) is to ignore it. I vote in favor of honoring individual Liberty here because I think the kids are not too young. I don’t like the message, which reminds me of Romans burning incense at the altar of The Divine Augustus (it’s simply too, too, if you get my meaning), but that’s not important — nor is the quality (wrong word?) of the composition.
Your view may be different, which is fine with me, because the questions raised by age limits will never be resolved.
Obamacare is an explosive vest strapped to the body of the Democratic party. The idiots just might push the button.
Related: “I’m not advocating violence. But I am advocating confrontation. Otherwise, most especially now, this one in the White House and his Congressional colleagues seem content to ignore you – to shine you on and you will get only what they choose to give you in the end. That is not the lot of the free man, or woman. It is the lot of the slave, the serf, if you prefer.” (From this weblog post.) Yes, it does appear that Obama is transfixed by, mesmerized by and obsessed with the goal of putting one-sixth of the nation’s economy in government hands,no matter what. That’s monumental contempt for the electorate and disregard for the future of the Democratic Party. This, Pilgrims, is the political elite doing what all elites do best: being recklessly elitist. — Oh, and how long has it been since you have seen or heard the expression, “shine on,” as in, “Tell that salesman to shine it on” or, “He’s shining me on, the jerk”? LOL! It’s 1968 again!
Is the Pelosi-Reid plot constitutional? A lawyer struggles with the question. (We know Pelosi is not qualified to answer it; she insisted that the constitution forbids a warranted search of a congressman’s office, and she was wrong, wrong, wrong. Jefferson was the guy’s name, and he’s in prison now. — Hey, Nan-Nan! That warrant was constitutional, as any high school pupil could see by looking at Article One, Section Six. You are ignorant. So why should any rational person assume your plans will square with the supreme law of the land?)
Here’s an interesting account of the work done to put a Muslim US citizen under arrest for plotting mayhem. Some of the major media are actually picking up on the story, so in a few days their take on it will be obvious. One can hope it will be honest and objective. — Later:more here.
Here’s a video that will go over well in many parts of Flyover Country. Those of you who don’t respond comfortably to the style of the music should concentrate on the quotes and the facts…as this newsletter has said several times, Obama is a liar. Here is more evidence to support that claim.
AGW links: (1) The German experience with “green” programs shows the truth of the slogan, “Solar is the power source of the future, and always will be.” (2) Viscount Monckton of Brenchley minces no words: some climate scientists are criminals. Yes. Do read it.
Self-censorship is still censorship, and it reeks. TLB has said it…how many times now? The major media don’t believe in the freedom of the press, they believe in the licensing of the press. That includes weblogs. They are a medium, too. (“Major media” is a polite way of saying “collectivist” or “self-styled ‘progressive’ media.”)
So this is what the administration’s expediters think of human life: “‘If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,’ Stupak says.” Free abortions for all who want them is a tradeoff, in other words — we flush the next generation of welfare drones before they are born, so we have more money to curry favor with SEIU and all the other privileged government employees. That’s a debatable ethical stance, to say the least.
Say, how’s that war on drugs workin’ out for ya? — Pretty much as expected: “(Mexican) drug cartels are trying to infiltrate U.S. agencies along the border, with corruption cases among Homeland Security personnel on the rise.” — Yeah, criminalizing recreational self-medication (for everybody except drunks) was just brilliant….
What comment do you suppose this post on a very popular weblog would provoke if it were read in the White House? TLB’s guess: a murmured, “Oh, shit.”
Here’s a video from Reason. It describes the political landscape with refreshing clarity. Highly recommended.
Really now, shouldn’t all schools be private? Yes, of course, and here’s why.