The New Terrapin Gazette
19 May, 2012
The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.
Anthropogenic Global Warming: Is This IT For The Bogus Science?
This newsletter first attacked AGW almost exactly four years ago — it was the 16th of May, 2008, when the then Penguin Post denounced the concept as false and assured readers that the predicted warming was nothing to worry about. The science was so bad from the first that there was no doubt that a cadre of nuts had founded a new religious cult.
Over the next four years, dozens of items on AGW appeared here, and time and again, it was emphasized that the claims made by the climate hysterics were not hard facts, but guesses, miscues committed by computer models, and outright fabrications. Before long, the word “hoax” appeared in items published in this newsletter; the people behind the push for carbon offsets were accused here of deliberate fakery in pursuit of, in the case of Al Gore, riches, and in the case of others, a vandalism of reason that rewarded its perpetrators with prestige and control.
Today, one can finally purchase a book that covers the hoax in detail. The volume, The Hockey Stick Illusion, Climategate and the Corruption of Science, by A. W. Montford, ISBN 978-1-906768-35-5, spells out how the infamous Hockey Stick Graph was fabricated. It shows you what went wrong, and that you cannot trust the AGW cult not to fake the data and manipulate them fraudulently.
The hoax continues to unravel. Here is an overview, with additional links, of the shifts from gullibility toward reason, from propaganda toward information, from zealous faith toward a reliance on hard evidence, and from dishonest journalism toward objective reporting. Highest recommendation.
There is no doubt that eventually the AGW madness will be recognized as the greatest, most harmful hoax in the history of science. It is so horrible in its sheer size and demonstration of the herd instincts and reprehensible ethics of a number of scientists that many scholars must be utterly appalled at the damage it will do to research and teaching. Virtually all the disciplines of science will suffer losses of credibility and respect.
Clearly, the hoax is the work of a few scientists, not all, so how could the ignominy be widespread? Recall that, from the first, the science of AGW was bad enough that even this newsletter realized climatology had been co-opted by a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. The outcry from the entire scientific community should have been deafening; instead, only a few critics of the unfolding hoax spoke up, and many more were repressed and intimidated. Science was under attack from within, and its defense was grossly inadequate; people who should have spoken up remained silent, and honest debate was choked off.
This monster hoax has ethical implications that make it a disaster of immense proportions, and it will take years for the damage to be controlled and repaired. In truth, the guilty parties here are not just the creators and promoters of the hoax, but those who recognized it for what it was, and failed to expose it. Their sin of omission will be very hard to explain to a public that believed science was self-correcting because its dedication to truth was absolute.
The disgrace that is anthropogenic global warming is evidence of the crippling power of a silly idea.
It is also a cautionary tale for people who believe the West can cope effectively with its native crackpots.
Back up for just a moment, and reconsider the birth of the AGW cult, when its strengths and prospects were greatest. Then move ahead in time to discern how and why the hoax this newsletter derisively calls “the perfect religion” began to collapse.
In the beginning was discontent. An underlying theme of self-hatred — the ultimate basis for defeatism, multiculturalism, and a rejection of US exceptionalism — made some critical, very influential strata of US society vulnerable to charlatans who generate and then exploit guilt over imagined crimes against the environment. The result was a large, influential social bloc that was anxious to suffer in order to achieve redemption. These were the people who staff the media, teach in the universities, run the government, create entertainment for much of the nation, and basically control or strongly influence a great deal of what matters.
When the cult preached that humanity was destroying everything simply by being alive and carrying out its desire for a more comfortable life, a coalition of the guilt-ridden, the misfits, the modern Luddites and the remains of the “counterculture” responded immediately. The very idea that “we” are collectively and individually sinners against the Earth was heady wine for the discontented. For the rest of the population, there was the authority and majesty of science. The sages and prophets consulted their oracles, and spoke: yes, “we” were damned by our excess, and cataclysm awaited all, sinners and saints alike — unless we repented, reformed, and acted.
It only remained for a symbol of wisdom and prophesy to be given to the doomed. Thus it was that the Hockey Stick Graph came to be. In a single iconic graphic, the facts of present and past pointed dramatically to a hellish future.
The opinion-makers in Western Civilization had, by some measures, created a perfect religion. Its power was both psychological and epistemological. The cult’s dogma was seductive because its organization and assertions are highly analogues to many religions, ancient and modern; that made it psychologically potent.
A new hell was imagined; a new savior was revealed; new penance was imposed; a new orthodoxy was preached; and a new hierarchy assumed control of the holy battle to cleanse the goddess Gaia and save mankind.
Of course that meant that heretics were not to be suffered. They were damned as “deniers,” akin to the Nazi murderers of yesteryear; they were subject to imprisonment, fire was to be visited upon their dwellings, and their vile words were to be expunged.
The cult’s corresponding epistemological certitude completed the architecture of the faith. The teachings of the new cult were seen to be understandable, demonstrable, and utterly provable — through the unquestioned facility of science. There would be no dark night of the soul, no crisis of faith, no doubt, no deity who refused to speak; each and every person could know, with absolute certainty and infinitely repeatable objective proof of accuracy, that the pronouncements of the elders were inerrant.
The faithful followers of the perfect religion fully expected to see their cult sweep all opposition aside. Gore and company blundered badly, however, and there were people who called them on it.
“Well,” you say in response, “he made a really good case in An Inconvenient Truth“. That’s exactly the point: his case was terrible. And that threatened to seal the fate of the global warming cult — for if the science is bad, and can be shown to be bad, everything except the emotional/psychological aspects of the cult collapses.
You saw proof that large parts of Gore’s propaganda were sheer fabrication — such as the claim that, due to rising sea levels, an entire population of Micronesians had to be removed from their atoll to New Zealand. It was totally false, and so were more than a half-dozen other lies in his film, and you knew of it because it was reported here…and in how many other sources of news? Along with Gore’s dodging of the truth when he presented a graph that showed carbon dioxide levels rising and falling in lockstep with temperature, the facts were available — yet millions of people fell for the hoax, and assumed that CO2 rose first, driving temperature up, when the truth was exactly the opposite.
As you know from reading this newsletter, the evidence for error, hoax and fraud continued to mount. There was, however, a nagging question. Why was the opposition to AGW so paltry within the scientific community? True, there were some who pointed out flaws in the dogma — Richard Lindzen (he’s at MIT) has been quoted here, for example. He had few allies in the academy, however. And there is no reason why only climatologists should have spoken out against the bad science, for the cult had produced a great deal of spurious, shaky, debatable, demonstrably rigged and false data.
Where were the botanists, physicians, chemists, agronomists and other scientifically well-educated people who should have raised their voices against this prostitution of knowledge, research, and reason? Why would any scientists not feel professionally offended by the hoax, and why would they tolerate the unopposed spread of this mercenary abuse? When one corner of the scientific community is besieged by lunatics and charlatans, science as a whole suffers. Yet virtually no one recognized that simple truth, and only a very few responded to it. What should have been a flood was a trickle.
Yes: taking advantage of information provided by disinterested scientists, the public should have perceived Gore as a liar and rascal making millions from his sale of carbon offsets. Yet he got away with it.
How was it that normal, supposedly intelligent people around the world assumed that the many signs of deception and deceit could be safely ignored? What blinded them to reason? Why was there no effort on the part of the nation’s educators to inform the public of the uncertainties, errors, fabrications and outright lies produced by proponents of the AGW fable?
Perhaps some of the flight from logic was due to the claims of anticapitalist activists who had primed the public to be hostile to the production of energy from combustion of hydrocarbons: “Big Oil can’t make obscene profits by destroying the environment if you work to prevent AGW.” Or perhaps it was the species self-hatred of ecology-protecting dreamers, the folks who, by banning DDT, calmly mandate the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children every year in order to insure that no birds lay thin-shelled eggs. (No, that’s not an exaggeration. These eco-freaks are very dangerous.)
That danger is due to the mix of nutty environmental causes and politics. For those in power, AGW was an opportunity to extend the regulation of industry, increase tax revenues, and provide yet more benefits to voters — who would reciprocate by keeping the Peronists in power.
To rational people, the AGW cult was promoting lunatic medieval recidivism. A bizarre, punitive madness had taken root in a susceptible fraction of the population, and the zealots literally would not listen to reason. Evidence contrary to GorePreach was dismissed out of hand (NTG Number 245, Item “Deliberate Isolation….”, and Number 244 both tried to shed light on this problem). The public resonated to the alarmism of fanatics, generally accepted the dogma, and let the cult set the agenda.
Most of the time, the bearers of Western culture deny the existence of this inane streak in their fundamental world-view. Regarding Hitler and his SS cult, for example, people insist that “It can’t happen here.” Well, it did happen here! And the chances are that some of you reading this still believe in the slogans flogged by AGW hucksters who are at base nothing other than con men.
This newsletter tried to tell you that science does have fads, and that they militate against facts and truth and reason. That means some very highly educated people are wrong about a lot, and their stubborn faith can only slow or even reverse the advance of knowledge. Do you remember the examples cited here?
If there are practical lessons to be learned from this madcap debauch, perhaps one could paraphrase them this way: hold the scientists to account. Remember that all of them could, with a single exception, be wrong, while the one holdout has it right. Demand proof, which means everyone must open to inspection all their data, all their software code, all their research results, all the sources they cite, all the ways in which the data were collected and organized and processed.
The AGW madness has produced a troubling development in the conduct of research, and if the lessons mentioned just above are learned, one must be prepared to impose rigid discipline on those who violate the fundamental rules for research and communication. Specifically:
Michael Mann, the principal designer of the Hockey Stick graph and the alpha male in the AGW research gang, has reacted vigorously to questions regarding his claims. Asked to provide data, he refuses. When it is pointed out that his unusual statistical machinations always produce hockey stick graphs, no matter what the datasets may be (as long as a single dataset among them has the hockey stick shape), he launches a nonresponsive philippic denouncing his critics as unqualified and branding their questions unreasonable. Anyone with knowledge of principal components analysis, centering, and RE and r squared statistics is qualified to raise points and questions, but that is irrelevant to Mann. He neither explains nor clarifies — he babbles and rants. Asked about Claim A, he provides an answer — regarding Claim B. He expects to pass that off as sufficient, though he never mentions Claim A, and he will tolerate no further enquiries regarding it.
It’s obvious: Mann is covering up what he has done. Truth is his enemy.
Clearly, science must be able to deal with its delinquents. It must have the determination to impose rational guidelines for communication, and it cannot tolerate vandalism of the sort practiced by the Hockey Stick bunch. Yet it seems to have been overwhelmed by a dismaying lack of objectivity.
This has been seen before, especially in medical and pharmacological matters (the case of Marshall and Warren comes to mind for the Nth time), but in the AGW case, the fundamentals of research and the formulation of theory were simply swamped by malpractice. That tragedy must not be swept aside, no matter how embarrassing it is to many in the scientific community. Misbehavior has transformed what should have been a quickly-settled question and answer exchange into shameful violations of ethics.
True scientists will be grateful for close scrutiny, and will deal with questions in a straightforward, responsive and candid fashion. That fact must lead the scientific community, and in particular the publishing arm thereof, to look to its principles and practices. The journal Nature deserves to be held to account, and perhaps should be subjected to a house-cleaning. Its approach to the AGW scandal has not been adequate.
The inevitable result, institutional denials of wrongdoing, must be seen as what it is: a pathetic attempt to shield the credibility of science from damage. Jones at the University of East Anglia and Mann, wherever he is now, have been exonerated by their employers. Could it have been otherwise? Of course not. As Nixon learned, however, the coverup is the really bad choice. Taxpayers are expected to remain complacent and silent, rather than ask why their coercively-collected money is being wasted on the salaries of pseudo-scientists. Though it will probably never happen, a revolt of the electorate would be the best thing for all concerned, even for Mann and Jones: it might transform their ethics.
Now that the tide really is turning — increasing numbers of scientists are admitting obvious facts, and dogma is being questioned — can one expect the believers in faith-based AGW (now rebranded as “Climate Change”) to back down?
What, then, is next?
Threats of lawsuits. A new focus on “pollution” that emphasizes the millions of tons of (whatever gas follows on carbon dioxide as the villain) being dumped into the atmosphere. Endless recitations of the alarmist scenario of a “tipping point” and global catastrophe. Attempts to terrify people with predictions that sea levels will rise, wiping out places like Florida. Denunciations of fastidious exposes of the goofy statistics used to create the Hockey Stick Graph. Attacks on the character, credentials, motives and employment of those pointing to the obviously flawed/faked statistics and science. Claims that those exposing the hoax are in the pay of the power companies. Endless whining about “consensus”. Appeals to “trust me because I’m an expert” when questions are raised and not answered. Attributing all dangerous weather to runaway AGW that is savaging humanity because no one takes the cult’s dogma seriously, and because the commandments of Al Gore and Jim Hansen are laughed off. Refusals to provide computer code and raw data used to produce “proofs” of AGW. Curt denials that the Medieval Warming and/or Little Ice Age ever took place. Howling that the “illegal” exposure of damning e-mail messages is unfair because “context” is lost, even though the meaning and intent of the messages are crystal clear — and context is fully present. Refusals to honor Freedom of Information Act requests for complete datasets. Yet more calls for the stigmatizing of genuine scientists and researchers as “deniers” who exist on an ethical level with those who claim the Nazis did not murder millions in those many death- and labor-camps. Career-ending vendettas against junior faculty members who dare to comment positively on the work being done to expose just how the Hockey Stick Graph was created. Flat rejections of voluminous information proving that the statistical methods used in demonstrating AGW in the industrial age are fallacious. Refusals to admit that when meaningless computer-generated data — “red noise” — were subjected to the statistical methods employed to develop the Hockey Stick Graph, they too produced a hockey stick-shaped output.
What prospects, then? First, understand the essential truth of the AGW disgrace:
It was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be a religious movement.
As horrid as that fact is, it is not the full story. Fortunately, the cult is finally coming under wider scrutiny and criticism. For the first time, there is evidence that the AGW juggernaut will run up against some large speed bumps.
No, current developments do not signal an end to cultic madness — that will always be abroad, lying in wait for the wretched and the greedy. One can, however, rejoice that rational thinkers are finding it easier now to speak their minds.
If you want to inform yourself, obtain Montford’s excellent book, read it, and then sit back and watch the struggle against the cult unfold.
Hope And Change — Or Else
These paragraphs provide perhaps the best description of the entire post to which the hyperlink will take you. (Note: the hyperlinks in the second paragraph work.)
Readers may remember Aaron from his blogging turn at Patterico’s Pontifications. It turns out his real name is Aaron Walker. He’s an attorney. Some time back he blogged some basic factual information on Brett Kimberlin. Kimberlin was convicted of a series of bomb attacks in 1981. One of his victims, Carl DeLong, later committed suicide as a direct result of his injuries in the attack. After blogging about him, Worthing was targeted by Kimberlin for a vicious and literally deranged campaign of political and legal stalking and harassment. Again, folks have to read the full post to understand how in-depth this campaign was. Both Worthing and his wife were fired from their jobs (their boss feared a terrorist attack on their place of business).
But what’s especially interesting is how much support Kimberlin had on the hard-left progressive community. Robert Stacy McCain’s been reporting on that angle: “Convicted Terrorist Brett Kimberlin Received $70,000 From Tides Foundation, $10,000 From Streisand, $20,000 from John Kerry’s Wife,” and “Who Warned Us About Brett Kimberlin?”
For people like Aaron and myself, and so many others who’ve had their livelihoods disrupted simply for exercising their First Amendment rights, there is no other more important story than the progressive left’s campaign of political (and criminal) intimidation. People need to be as brave as possible to speak out and defend against the left’s program of destruction. The nation is moving towards a form of politically correct fascist totalitarianism. It’s not a stretch to be reminded of the coming to power of the world’s 20th century dictatorships. It can happen here if we let it. All the more reason to get in at the ground floor and fight the left’s institutional intimidation network, which reaches up literally to the Oval Office at the Obama White House.
If This Guy Is Correct — Katie, Bar The Door
Right now we have access to every classified database in the US government. It’s a matter of when we leak the contents of those databases, not if. You know how we got access? We didn’t hack them. The access was given to us by the people who run the systems. The five-star general (and) the Secretary of Defense who sit in the cushy plush offices at the top of the Pentagon don’t run anything anymore. It’s the pimply-faced kid in the basement who controls the whole game, and Bradley Manning proved that. The fact he had the 250,000 cables that were released effectively cut the power of the U.S. State Department in half. The Afghan war diaries and the Iran war diaries effectively cut the political clout of the U.S. Department of Defense in half. All because of one guy who had enough balls to slip a CD in an envelope and mail it to somebody.
Now people are leaking to Anonymous and they’re not coming to us with this document or that document or a CD, they’re coming to us with keys to the kingdom, they’re giving us the passwords and usernames to whole secure databases that we now have free reign over. — The world needs to be concerned.
And what, pray tell, do the Powers That Be propose to do about this — that will not erode the Liberty of decent, law-abiding citizens?
Censorship in support of political correctness.
Fully 96 percent of black voters supported Obama and constituted 13 percent of the electorate (really, that’s true). Romney is going to have a terrible time making any inroads into that bloc; his religion essentially locks him out because of its inexplicable recent history of racial discrimination. In fact the only segment of the electorate that Romney can count on is those who are so disgusted by Obama (“the first homosexual president”) and his cronies that they are willing to overlook all of the following: Romney’s religion, party affiliation, history of costing unfortunate workers their jobs, lackluster public “image”, rather low ranking as conservative, and membership in the Eastern Seaboard Elite. Further, this newsletter remains unconvinced that the homosexual marriage issue will suffice to dump Obama, even though generally speaking, black voters do not agree with The One’s recent decision to endorse it. When black voters are asked to make their decisions on the basis of either sexual or racial factors, expect race to matter more (and political issues to matter almost not at all). That’s the pernicious legacy of slavery and Jim Crow: achieving a true democracy is prolonged hard work. Most of the world is not up to it.
This newsletter’s nominee for the title of The Best Opening Lines in a Weblog Post This Week is: “Never once have I doubted that President Obama was born in Hawaii. There’s no way in the world that little constitutional issue would ever have got past the Clintons during the 2008 Democratic primary.” Want more? Have fun.
“Like Fischer, Palin and the Tea Party are just getting started,” the Breitbart organization says. That’s true, but can they throw Obama out? Perhaps all they can hope for is taking the Senate back. In fact many Tea Partiers admit privately that Obama is there to stay, and that the Senate is the realistic target of opportunity. Meanwhile, note that while Fischer is not supported by the Tea Party, her success so far speaks volumes for the discontent of voters in Flyover Country and the sheer power of Sarah Palin. The future, while uncertain (as always), could look worse.
Comic passes on chance to make fun of the faux squaw. Yeah, that’s to be expected, as she is a media darling, but to some people, this is not funny, and it should make palefaces of “progressives”. Genuine Native Americans are right to be offended by Warren’s arrogant, insensitive impersonation, and the electorate should be incensed — and relieved that it found out about this rascal in time to end her political career before it begins. That’s not to say it will be possible to prevent the voters in Massachusetts from continuing their traditional practice of putting the occasional moral leper in the Senate. To those folks, Warren probably looks squeaky-clean.
There are times when the best political move is to shut up. Obama can’t manage it.
CNN — TV for sleepy people in airports — is breaking records with its “progressive” programming. This puts the propaga– oops, sorry, news channel — in the same class as the cast iron hula hoop.
They call it “Ex-Patriot” rather than use the correct term, “expatriate”. That’s either sheer ignorance or more partisan goofiness from the fellow who’s behind it, Senator Chuck Shumer. You may recall him from his effort to impose censorship on radio with the fascistic “Fairness doctrine”. It’s a pity there are doctrinaire authoritarians like Shumer; that he’s been elected to high office is a disgrace. His latest Quixotic promotion is not quite as malodorous as his designs on radio, but that’s not an indication that he’s become more principled. He’s still a desiccated Gauleiter.
There are times that you can beckon
There are times when you must call
You can take a lot of reckoning
But you can’t take it all
There are times when I can help you out
And times that you must fall
There are times when you must live in doubt
And I can’t help at all
The masthead includes a quote from the works of Thomas Sowell.
The staff of The New Terrapin Gazette expresses its sincere gratitude to the many people who have gifted the world with Arch Linux, Emacs, and Firefox.