The fallacy in likening climate change deniers to Holocaust deniers

Burning earth

Climate change theory predicts this future possibility.

I’m someone who knows the Holocaust happened and who believes strongly that anthropogenic global warming (“AGW”) or “climate change” is a scam driven by greed, hostility to western accomplishments, and Gaia-worship run amok.  I’ve therefore found deeply offensive the repeated charge over the past several years from the AGW crowd insisting that denying climate change is he same as Holocaust denial.

This is a charge with punch and one that is meant to shame and silence opposing views.  The Los Angeles Times, for example, refuses to print anything that challenges the AGW doctrine.  The scientific debate is over, says the LA Times, an unintentionally ironic statement that is the essence of anti-science.  In true science, of course, the debate is never over.

It was the UK’s Guardian, however, that made the light bulb go off in my head, and that helped me hone in on the central fallacy underlying the “Holocaust denial = AGW denial” school of speech suppression.  My epiphany arose when I read Nick Cohen’s recent article commenting on the fact that British politicians refuse to continue to fund “green” initiatives.  His Kübler-Ross-ian anger and heartbreak are palpable.  It was in this context that Cohen, using a punchy combination of ignorance and insult, said the following:

All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.

Contrary to Cohen’s certainty that Holocaust denial is the same as AGW denial, there’s actually an easy way to see that the two are quite different, rather like comparing rotten apples to refreshingly stringent oranges.  It’s the difference between past fact and future possibility.  The one has happened, and to deny it is the work of a knave or a fool; the other might happen, but can be refuted by actual, not hypothetical, events as they unfold.

Nazi crematorium

The Nazi’s own evidence confirms this past fact.

The Holocaust is a done deal.  Between 1933 and 1945, 6 million Jews vanished from the face of the earth.  The Germans who effectuated this vanishing act kept meticulous lists, wrote boastful letters, took gloating photographs, and built gigantic necropoleis, all testifying to the bullets, gas, starvation, slavery, torture, and flames they used to make their dream a reality.

Faced with this mountain of data, which is occasionally augmented by new discoveries but is never refuted, the only way to maintain denial is to deny the immutable effect of time past.  As Shakespeare said, “What’s done cannot be undone.”  The book of the Holocaust has been written, and only those who refuse to read its pages can deny its existence.

Unlike the Holocaust, AGW is a theoretical work in progress.  It arose from predictive computer models that, so far, have been wrong in every prediction made.  It’s buttressed by weather phenomena that, rather than being unique, have happened before in cyclical historic patterns.

Take for example, Greenland, an icy island that has, for centuries, been woefully misnamed.  Now, though, Mother Nature is helping Greenland putting the truth back in its advertising, since it’s turning green.  The horror!  Or wait . . . .  It’s only “the horror” if you ignore the fact that this isn’t Greenland’s first verdant period.  It got its lush name during another global warming era, which was a time of great plenty around the world.  In other words, Greenland’s re-greening is a “horror” only if you ignore the fact that a warmer earth supports more, not less, life as has been the case with Greenland over its known history.

Unlike the Holocaust, which happened in a specific place, during a specific window of time, AGW isn’t a fixed target backed by unassailable (at least, if you’re sane) facts.  Instead, it’s a constantly moving future possibility.  No matter what happens, it can never be denied, but can only be affirmed.  In the faux-scientific AGW universe, all new data is subject to a single question:  Can this data, either served straight up or molded, twisted, and obscured, be used to support AGW?  If yes, AGW is undeniable.  If no, the data doesn’t exist.  That’s not science, that’s blind faith.

Holocaust denial is an evil act, by which one ignores the past in order to justify modern antisemitism and hostility to Israel.  AGW denial is a logical response to past predictions about future possibilities that, when compared to unfolding facts in real-time, have consistently been proven wrong.

If you want more actual data, rather than faith-based nonsense, supporting the fact that AGW’s future possibilities are becoming increasingly unlikely, please read this article and this one, both from American Thinker.

 

NPR offers a perfect example of how an unfalsifiable, infallible theory works

Burning earthNPR didn’t mean to offer a perfect example of how an unfalsifiable, infallible theory works.  It’s stated goal was to have people better understand what a polar vortex is.  However, when it chose to interview “Andrew Freedman, senior science writer for Climate Central, an independent non-profit organization that researches and reports on the science and impact of climate change,” Mr. Freedman, true to his climate change beliefs, came up with a good one.

Before I get to Mr. Freedman’s words, let me make sure we’re all on the same page about an unfalsifiable, infallible theory.  Mike McDaniel has an easy-to-understand, elegantly stated explanation.  An unfalsifiable theory “requires no proof, for like religious dogma, it is rooted in faith.  One either believes or not; proof is not necessary and opposing proof may therefore be disregarded.  Such beliefs are, in the language of science, non-falsifiable.”  Non-falsifiable theories do not stand alone.  Because they cannot be proved wrong they are, by definition, infallible.  Like God, they are what they are, with no actual explanations required.

With that in mind, please enjoy Mr. Freedman’s response to the NPR interviewer’s question about the current polar vortex and climate change:

GREENE: I mean, is climate change playing some sort of role here in the cold we’re seeing this week?

FREEDMAN: We actually have these possible connections between the Arctic – which is warming rapidly, and which is losing sea ice – and these perturbations, these shifts in the jet stream over North America and over Europe. And many scientists are convinced that there’s enough circumstantial evidence to potentially convince a jury that there is this link, and that the weather patterns are becoming more and more suspicious as being influenced by human activities. But the physical connections, the actual smoking gun that would link Arctic warming to weather patterns that we see right now – like this one – isn’t quite there yet. It hasn’t quite been proven. So whether or not it would convince a jury of scientific peers in this case is unclear. And I think in the next few years, we’ll know a lot more. But certainly, climate change is influencing every weather pattern that occurs today, in some ways large and small.

Without all the unnecessary prevarication, what Mr. Freedman said is “We have no actual evidence that anthropogenic global warming has anything to do with this. That doesn’t worry us, though, because our operating, unchallengeable baseline is that anthropogenic global warming (which we now call “climate change” so as to be more encompassing) is behind every weather phenomenon that has ever happened since we decided that there’s something called anthropogenic global war. . . . er, climate change.”  This is unsurprising.  Mr. Freedman’s paycheck comes from an “independent non-profit organization that researches and reports on the science and impact of climate change.”  No climate change means no non-profit organization, which means Mr. Freedman and his cohorts are out of a job.

Just to demonstrate further that Mr. Freedman is operating within a closed, unfalsifiable system, let’s scoot over to Time Magazine for a minute.  As Ed Driscoll reports (in a post beautifully titled Time Magazine Swings Both Ways), the United States experienced a whopper of a polar vortex in 1974. Back then, Time breathlessly informed its readers that the problem was global cooling and that we trembled on the verge of another ice age.  This time around, of course, the pathetic shadow that was the once might Time, now reports equally breathlessly that global warming caused the big chill.

Faith is a wonderful — and dangerous — thing.

“I told you so” edition: Increasing proof that anthopogenic global warming was a scam

Earth__Space_HD_wallpaper

For a decade, those liberals who know that I think that anthropogenic global warming is a scam that was invented to make some people very rich (AlBore, is that you?), even while it transfers vast sums of wealth from the First World to the Third World, have called me some pretty nasty things:  ignorant, flat-earther, climate denier, stupid, etc.

That’s why I really love articles such as this one, by Michael Fumento, which neatly sum up why I was right and my critics were wrong.

Incidentally, I’ll add my usual caveat:  I believe that humans are stewards of the earth, both for those plants and animals sharing the planet with us and for future generations of humans.  We have a responsibility to encourage, not destroy, its bounty and its beauty.  But I do not like being brow-beaten by Leftists into believing that we are facing imminent apocalypse unless I give up all trappings of 21st century life and ship my money to Leftist organizations or redistribute it to fulfill Leftist utopian goals.  Nor do I like seeing my children on the receiving end of an un-ending stream of Leftist propaganda, all of it wrapped up in a global warming package.

Global warming is a global hoax

Global warming

Global fraud

I’ve never believed in global warming or anthropogenic climate change.  As would any sane, knowledgeable person, I believe in climate change, but that’s because I know that the complex interaction of earth and sun has meant that our climate has changed since the day the earth came into being.  But I don’t believe man does anything worse than create pollution and and cause waste.  Both of those are pretty darn bad, of course.  They can destroy vast swaths of land and water, and wipe out whole species — but they are still not the same as humans cooking the earth into an alternately arid or flooded globe, incapable of being inhabited by man or animal.

Others are catching up with me.  One of the best things I’ve read on the topic is a letter that David Deming, Professor of Arts & Sciences at the University of Oklahoma wrote to the Bellingham Herald, in Washington State.  The trigger for Deming’s letter was the fact that the Bellingham Herald had published a screed a group of professors at Washington Western University wrote attacking Don Easterbrook, a noted climate change skeptic.  The Bellingham Herald refused to publish Deming’s letter, say it only published letters from locals.  It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the paper that the letter stands on its own as an op-ed piece.  (Or maybe it did occur to the AGW drones at the paper, which is why they were so absolute in their refusal to give it space.)

Thankfully, Watts Up With That did publish Deming’s letter, so that it has garnered a much greater readership than anything the Bellingham Herald could have given it.  This letter deserves this maximum distribution because its logic and clarity are such that everyone over the age of ten can understand it.  It is a comprehensive, sustained, polite, logical, elegantly written, and perfectly clear attack against twenty-years of intellectual and emotional tyranny from the Left:

Letter to the Editor by Dr. David Deming

I write in rebuttal to the March 31 letter by WWU geology faculty criticizing Dr. Don Easterbrook. I have a Ph.D in geophysics and have published research papers on climate change in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. In 2006 I testified before the US Senate on global warming. Additionally, I am the author of a three-volume history of science.

I have never met Don Easterbrook. I write not so much to defend him as to expose the ignorance exhibited in the letter authored by WWU geology faculty. Their attack on Dr. Easterbrook is the most egregious example of pedantic buffoonery since the Pigeon League conspired against Galileo in the seventeenth century. Skepticism is essential to science. But the goal of the geology faculty at WWU seems to be to suppress critical inquiry and insist on dogmatic adherence to ideology.

The WWU faculty never defined the term “global warming” but described it as “very real,” as if it were possible for something to be more real than real. They claimed that the evidence in support of this “very real” global warming was “overwhelming.” Yet they could not find space in their letter to cite a single specific fact that supports their thesis.

There is significant evidence that would tend to falsify global warming. The mean global air temperature has not risen for the last fifteen years. At the end of March the global extent of sea ice was above the long-term average and higher than it was in March of 1980. Last December, snow cover in the northern hemisphere was at the highest level since record keeping began in 1966. The UK just experienced the coldest March of the last fifty years. There has been no increase in droughts or wildfires. Worldwide hurricane and cyclone activity is near a forty-year low.

One might think that the foregoing facts would raise doubts in scientists interested in pursuing objective truth. But global warming is not so much a scientific theory subject to empirical falsification as it is a political ideology that must be fiercely defended in defiance of every fact to the contrary. In the past few years we have been told that not only hot weather but cold weather is caused by global warming. The blizzards that struck the east coast of the US in 2010 were attributed to global warming. Every weather event–hot, cold, wet or dry–is said to be caused by global warming. The theory that explains everything explains nothing.

Among the gems in the endless litany of nonsense we are subjected to are claims that global warming causes earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. Last year we were warned that global warming would turn us all into hobbits, the mythical creatures from J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels. I am not aware of any member of the WWU geology faculty criticizing these ridiculous claims. Their vehemence seems to be reserved for honest skeptics like Dr. Easterbrook who advance science by asking hard questions.

At the heart of the WWU geology faculty criticisms was the claim that peer review creates objective and reliable knowledge. Nonsense. Peer review produces opinions. Scientists, like other people, have political beliefs, ideological orientations, and personal views that strain their scientific objectivity. One of the most disgusting things to emerge from the 2009 Climategate emails was the revelation of an attempt to subvert the peer-review process by suppressing the publication of work that was scientifically sound but contrary to the reviewer’s personal views.

The infamous phrase “hide the decline” refers to an instance where a global warming alarmist omitted data that contradicted his personal belief that the world was warming. This sort of bias is not limited but pervasive. Neither is science a foolproof method for producing absolute truth. Scientific knowledge is always tentative and subject to revision. The entire history of science is littered with discarded theories once thought to be incontrovertible truths.

The WWU geology faculty letter asserted that technological advances arise from application of the scientific method. They claimed that airplanes were invented by scientists. But the Wright brothers were bicycle mechanics–not scientists. The modern age of personal computing began in a suburban California garage in 1976. The most significant technological advance in human history was the Industrial Revolution in Britain that occurred from 1760 through 1830. When Adam Smith toured factories and inquired as to who had invented the new machinery, the answer was always the same: the common workman. Antibiotics were not discovered through the rigorous application of scientific methodology but serendipitously when Fleming noticed in 1928 that mold suppressed bacterial growth.

Dr. Easterbrook’s contributions have furthered the advance of scientific knowledge and the progress of the human race. It matters not if a multitude of professors oppose him. As Galileo explained, it is “certain that the number of those who reason well in difficult matters is much smaller than the number of those who reason badly….reasoning is like running and not like carrying, and one Arab steed will outrun a hundred jackasses.”

David Deming
Professor of Arts & Sciences
University of Oklahoma

Hat tip: Powerline

Al Gore brings new levels of chutzpah to the expression that one should find a need and fill it

“Find a need and fill it.”  That’s great advice in a capitalist society and it’s how many people have gotten rich while improving other’s lives.

Al Gore has a different twist on that adage:  Use false data to create an artificial need, and then fill that need using pork:

The man who was within sight of the presidency 12 years ago has transformed himself, becoming perhaps the world’s most renowned crusader on climate change and a highly successful green-tech investor.

Just before leaving public office in 2001, Gore reported assets of less than $2 million; today, his wealth is estimated at $100 million.

[snip]

Fourteen green-tech firms in which Gore invested received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks, part of President Obama’s historic push to seed a U.S. renewable-energy industry with public money.

Please understand that I value a clean environment.  But proposing solutions for dealing with pollution is not how Gore got rich.  Gore got rich by creating an artificial panic structured around his hysterical insistence that human activity was turning the earth into a giant oven.  That’s fraud.  And using taxpayer created slush funds to fund his boondoggle is indecent — and it’s also Progressive politics as usual.

Progressives, to placate Gaia, engage in a “civilized” version of the ancient practice of human sacrifice

Food prices in America are going up and up.  We’re not starving, thank goodness, but we are seeing more and more of our money go to groceries.  Many see a direct connection with ethanol (i.e., using food to power cars) and rising food prices.  Thus, despite the challenging drought, the administration is pursuing ethanol-based policies that keep prices inflated:

A drought is currently driving down corn production. The shortage of feed is forcing livestock producers to slaughter animals early, putting downward pressure on meat prices in the short run and guaranteeing shortages and higher prices next year. But nature is not the biggest factor in this crisis — the government is. Specifically, the federal government’s ethanol mandate, which requires that 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be produced in 2012.

Thanks to the ethanol mandate, more than 40 percent of the nation’s corn crop now goes into the production of a useless fuel that hardly anyone would buy if the government didn’t require it. That’s up from just 17 percent in 2005, before the mandate went into effect. Only 36 percent of the corn crop now goes for feed, and 24 percent goes for food.

Obama could solve this problem instantly by suspending the federal ethanol mandate — something his EPA actually can do unilaterally and legally. Instead, Obama will buy up meat — a move that meat producers say won’t help them much anyway. “It doesn’t solve the problem of having enough affordable corn next summer,” industry analyst Steve Meyer told Reuters. “Without changing the ethanol program, nothing can be done,” he said.

It’s bad enough that ethanol is hurting our pocketbooks at home.  What’s scary and tragic is that the diversion of food crops may be causing revolutions elsewhere.  Smart thinkers have posited that the government obsession with ethanol, which results in crop diversions and high food prices in marginal economies, may have led to the Arab Spring:

While the mainstream media focuses on the political aspects of this turmoil, they are overlooking the impact of rising inflation, driven mainly by record food prices. For example, former Bush advisor Dan Senor notes that Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer. Yet because of skyrocketing prices, Egyptian inflation is now over 10 percent, while some experts estimate that Egyptian food inflation has risen as much as 20 percent.

[snip]

To be fair, not all of the food inflation can be blamed on the Fed. A good part of this problem can also be placed at the doorstep of bipartisan U.S. policies to subsidize ethanol.

According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2001, only 7 percent of U.S. corn went to ethanol. By 2010, the ethanol share was 39 percent. So instead of growing wheat, our farmers are growing corn in order to cash in on ethanol subsidies. Egyptians who can’t afford to buy bread and have taken to the streets in protest might be very interested to know this.

Not even Al Gore still believes that ethanol provides any environmental benefits.

More simply stated, the obsession with useless ethanol, all in the name of saving us from Gaia’s wrath, is starving people.

It occurred to me that this isn’t the first time that governments have taken to killing people in order to placate Gaia.  A little digging yielded this summary about the Aztec practice of human sacrifice.  Keep in mind as you read it that, in the 21st Century, every single itch and twitch in the weather — every heavy rain, heat wave, cold spell, etc. — is blamed on Gaia’s anger that we’re flooding her with CO2 (emphasis mine):

For hundreds of years, human sacrifice is believed to have played an important role of many of the indigenous tribes inhabiting the Valley of Mexico. However, the Mexica brought human sacrifice to levels that had never been practiced before. The Mexica Indians and their neighbors had developed a belief that it was necessary to constantly appease the gods through human sacrifice. By spilling the blood of human beings onto the ground, the high priests were, in a sense, paying their debt to the gods. If the blood would flow, then the sun would rise each morning, the crops would grow, the gods would provide favorable weather for good crops, and life would continue.

Over time, the Mexica, in particular, developed a feeling that the needs of their gods were insatiable. The period from 1446 to 1453 was a period of devastating natural disasters: locusts, drought, floods, early frosts, starvation, etc. The Mexica, during this period, resorted to massive human sacrifice in an attempt to remedy these problems. When abundant rain and a healthy crop followed in 1455, the Mexica believed that their efforts had been successful. In 1487, according to legend, Aztec priests sacrificed more than 80,000 prisoners of war at the dedication of the reconstructed temple of the sun god in Tenochtitl’n.

Just to be clear, I’m not accusing Progressives of deliberately engaging in human sacrifice.  Indeed, it’s ridiculous to compare converting corn to fuel, which has a byproduct of revolution and starvation, on the one hand, with deliberately and directly cutting the hearts out of 80,000 prisoners, on the other hand.  Nevertheless, I do think there’s a straight, albeit very thin, line between the primitive thinking of the Aztecs — “earth angry, kill people” — and the so-called “sophisticated thinking of the Progressives — “earth angry, who cares how many people we kill.”

A very beautiful history book arrived in my mail — and it (naturally) sparked some political thoughts in my brain

A couple of weeks ago, I asked you all to link to a General Knowledge Quiz that DK publishing hosts.   I disclosed at the time that this was not a purely altruistic act, even though I thought the quizzes were fun and I think the world of DK books.  In exchange for promoting the Quiz site, DK’s publicist was kind enough to send me an incredibly gorgeous, wonderful book: History: The Definitive Visual Guide (From The Dawn of Civilization To The Present Day).

I’ve always had a passion for historic surveys (and own several of them). I love seeing the tapestry of history spread out before me.  This type of book is great as a general reference book, and is also just fun to dive into, to acquaint (or reacquaint) oneself with a historic period or two.

The DK book, as one would expect, is lavishly illustrated, and the text is surprisingly accessible.  The book is comprehensive too, ranging from 4.5 million years ago through to pretty much yesterday.  Since it’s a huge book, I’ve only just gotten out of the Ice Age and the beginning of small agricultural communities, so I cannot (and, given its size, will not) offer a comprehensive review.  The early part of the book, though, strikes me as intellectually honest.

I got a real kick of the part of the book covering the climate changes that affected early Homo Sapiens’ development.  Keep in mind that, when these changes occurred, the earth was already billions of years old, so the changes were not related to a still evolving planet.  On the cosmic time line, these climate changes were a millisecond away from us:

Contrary to popular belief, an Ice Age is not a continual deep freeze, but a period of constantly fluctuating climate conditions punctuated by periods of intense cold.

[snip]

Sea cores give only a general impression of Ice Age climate change, but, as a rule, cooling proceeds relatively slowly and warming unfolds rapidly, as was the case at the end of the last cold period (glacial).  Glacial periods in the past have been longer than interglacials — brief, volatile intervals of warming conditions during the Ice Age when the climate was as warm, or warmer than, today.  These increases in temperature are caused by changes in the Earth’s path around the sun and its rotation on its axis.  Natural increases in greenhouse gases add to the warming.  We are currently experiencing an interglacial period caused by these natural phenomena that began about 10,000 years ago.  (pp. 22-23)

The Ice Age chapter goes on to describe the vast sheets of Ice that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere, and the way in which they drastically changed the earth’s landscape by storing water in ice, thereby creating the land shelves that allowed humans to spread out over the globe.

Of course, the earth warmed after the Ice Age, or we’d still be in one.  It warmed so much that Greenland was once actually green.  Then, there was a mini Ice Age, which accounts in part for the voluminous clothing people wore from the 14th century on.  In Queen Elizabeth I’s time, the Thames froze.  Then, the earth warmed again.

Warm and cold, scalded and frozen.  The earth changes endlessly.  There’s an incredible arrogance on the part of humans to say that all those previous changes were Gaia’s decision, while the last warming cycle (a cycle that stopped about 10 years ago) is America’s fault.

I will say again, as I always say, that we, as the most intelligent beings on earth, are its stewards.  As someone who remembers the pollution of the 1960s and early 1970s, I am delighted that we have developed an awareness that helps us keep our earthly garden clean and green.  I want us to continue to use our technological wizardry and knowledge, and our environmental conscience, to keep this world lovely for our children and their children.  BUT, I will not be bullied by flat earth global warmers who use every change in the weather, up or down, to justify a giant, anti-capitalist transfer of wealth from the First World, which is working hard to maintain the environment, to the Third World, which, because it lives very close to a Malthusian starvation level, has no interest whatsoever in improving the environment.

I want to lift up the Third World, but not at my world’s expense.  I believe that the best, and cleanest, future for both the First and Third world is to maximize our existing technology, and to figure out ways to optimize the one fuel on which we all can rely:  Fossil fuel.

When it comes to the climate crowd, Zombie proves that it’s the same words, with a slightly different melody

I’m not the most observant person in the world.  It was probably in around 1976 when I suddenly realized that the CBS nightly news, which my parents watched religiously, was no longer giving daily updates about the number of dead and wounded in Vietnam.  That information had provided a backdrop to my childhood dinners, so much so that I completely tuned it out.  When the numbers vanished, I was still tuned out.

Thinking about it, I also missed the transition from Global Freezing, which was the nightmare scenario of my 1970s youth (along with nuclear Holocaust, of course), to Global Warming, which is the nightmare scenario of my own children’s youth.  Perhaps, though, it wasn’t that I was so absent minded, it was also that the message with both calamitous scenarios has been precisely the same.  Zombie has written a very detailed post (not to worry, though, ’cause it’s also fascinating) comparing the two climate movements.  I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I saw that Zombie’s thesis is as follows:

In both cases, proponents of the theory-du-jour say that in order to stave off disaster, we must reverse the march of civilization, stop our profligate use of carbon-based fuels, cede power and money from the First World to the Third World, and wherever possible revert to a Luddite pre-industrial lifestyle.

I realized: The solution (commit civilizational suicide) always remains the same; all that differs are the wildly divergent purported “crises” proffered up to justify the imposition of the solution.

Seen from this angle, the entire Climate Change field should be more properly reframed thus:

In order to weaken and eventually destroy the existing industrialized nations, we must devise an ecological “crisis” so severe that only voluntary economic suicide can solve it; and if this first crisis doesn’t materialize as planned, then devise another, and another, even if they flatly contradict our previous claims.

“Keynes” and other back-pats

Here’s a Robert Samuelson article, “bye bye Keynes” that should give us all pause: the arguments he uses to write Keynes’ obituary are arguments that we all posited in our own excoriation of Keynes in years past, in response to a string of commentators, ranging from A to Z.

I’ve been reviewing our last few years at Bookworm Room and I think that we all deserve a round of huzzas and raised beer mugs or wine glasses, whatever is at hand. We’ve been so right about so many issues, be it “Keynesian”economics; anthropogenic global warming; the Islamist threat; U.S. fossil fuel reserves; “green” energy; Iraq; Obama; the EU’s collapse…and on and on und so weiter.  Sometimes, our prescience has preceded events on the ground by years.

To all of you Bookworm guests and, especially, to Bookworm, our hostess: I’m so d*** proud to know you! I am so much smarter for having enjoyed the many experiences of your insights and commentary.

Bookmark the Hoax

The last thing I want to do is to revisit the tedious back and forth discussions on global climate change, as each side, pressed for time, simply throws their favorite source links on the table. Unfortunately, because most of us have real lives, we lack the time to undertake the research we would wish to pursue in support of positions that we have learned over time.

 

However, for future reference, I can very highly recommend this link (below), published by credentialed scientists, as a very readable (to laypersons) take-down of the AGW dilemma faced by many scientists who were too quick to jump on the AGW bandwagon and must now confront the consequences to their credibilities. It’s a long article, but can be cherry-picked to address specific issues that (I’m proud to say) many of the commentators on this blog very accurately addressed over the preceding years.  It is also full of new information (and links) of which I was not aware.

Here’s an example:

A recent U.S. Senate report quotes 400+ scientists who originally bought the global warming hoax, and are now confessing that they don’t believe in it any more.” [link is provided]

The article is particularly good at explaining very clearly how data was either misinterpreted or manipulated to support the AGW position. The famous Mann “hockey stick”, for example.

 

So, here’s my advice: bookmark this article and use it as a reference the next time you find yourself in a rhetorical exchange on AGW.

 

Here’s the link:

http://www.middlebury.net/op-ed/global-warming-01.html

 

If you really feel compelled to argue this issue into oblivion, then I recommend using this as a starting point: argue cogently why it is wrong, using facts …not links.

Thank Goodness! The parodies of the 10:10 “no pressure” mini video have begun *UPDATED*

Unless you’ve been on a camping trip in a remote wilderness for the past few days, you’ve heard about the video that a British climate change advocacy group prepared.  The short video takes you through a variety of settings (classrooms, workplaces, sports fields), in which people are encouraged to diminish their carbon footprint and, importantly, assured that there is “no pressure” on them to cooperate.  Then after a show of hands of those who willingly respect mother Gaia, those who don’t get with the program are blown up, with an accompanying shower of blood and guts.  Here’s the video, but I do warn you not to watch it around small children or people who don’t like gross and disturbing images:

Isn’t that first scene, in the classroom, with the remaining kids covered in gore, a comedy classic?

Oh!  Didn’t I tell you?  This is meant to be humorous.  In the words of the group that created the video:

With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. We were therefore delighted when Britain’s leading comedy writer, Richard Curtis – writer of Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill and many others – agreed to write a short film for the 10:10 campaign. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.

Clearly, if you’re offended, it’s because you’re a puritanical stick in the mud.  Because so many people had fun with this video, and because it makes such an excellent point about the “little things” we can do to save Gaia, the group is going to keep the video up on the internet (although off their website).  This way, the ones who “get the joke” can still have a jolly good laugh.  I’m sure the group is also grateful for the free advertising they’re getting from sites such as mine which, through criticism, are helping it go viral.  After all, no publicity is bad publicity, right?

In answer to my own question, I think this group has, rather uniquely, run counter to that little advertising truism.  Here’s my question for you:  Having seen the video, do you now want to rush out and bow to your carbon neutral overlords?  Do you think any normal, decent person would?

I don’t know about you, but a video like this, with it’s jokey threats of extreme violence, makes me want to make an extra drive around the block every time I come home, just to be spiteful.  I won’t, of course.  I’m not a wasteful person, and I enjoy having a clean environment as much as the next person.  I do that, though, not because of the green police, but because I believe the Biblical injunction that I am the earth’s steward.  I really don’t like the threat implicit in that “funny” video and do have the urge to push back.

Speaking of push-back, it’s already begun.  The video below is the first one I’ve found.  Rather than pushing back directly against the AGW fascists, its creators recognize some remarkable similarities between one type of religious fanatic and another:

(By the way, I recommend Ed Morissey’s post at Hot Air for a good round up of intelligent and moral takes on the video, including Ed’s own.  Not surprisingly, he includes The Anchoress, who sees much larger spiritual implications here.)

UPDATE:  Here’s Zombie’s take, which as always, makes for enjoyable reading.  Ed Driscoll also has a great post on the video.  Be sure to watch the Mastercard commercial you’ll find there.  Then you can debate with me whether that smug, supercilious, condescending child made that commercial even more gross and horrifying than the 10:10 spot.

The importance of remembering that scientists are not mathematicians

I’ve been reading Fermat’s Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World’s Greatest Mathematical Problem, by Simon Singh.  Normally, I’d shy away from a book like this — after all, it’s about math! — but it was required reading for my book club, and it’s proven to be delightful.  To the extent there is math in it, Singh masterfully simplifies complex ideas so that even math illiterates like myself can understand them.  Indeed, I suspect that, if I’d had a teach like Singh when I was in school, one who teaches why something matters, or how it came to be, rather than just demanding that one memorize meaningless formulas, I might not be the math illiterate (and math phobe) that I am today.

But my ruminations about books and math aren’t actually why I’m writing right now.  Instead, I wanted to comment on the different types of thinking in the sciences.  I’m ashamed to admit that I never really sat down and analyzed the different intellectual approaches people on the “science side” use.  To me, the world was binary:  science mind (including math) and not science mind (including me).  Sure I knew that engineers could be a bit obsessive compulsive, but it was a trait I admired, so I never thought more about it.

What never occurred to me, however, is that specific branches of science demand different approaches to finality — or, as it’s called in math, “absolute proof.”  Let me have Singh describe this concept.  I’ll quote at some length from his text at pages 20-22 (in the hard copy version 0f his book):

The story of Fermat’s Last Theorem revolves around the search for a missing proof. Mathematical proof is far more powerful and rigorous than the concept of proof we casually use in our everyday language, or even the concept of proof as understood by physicists or chemists. The difference between scientific and mathematical proof is both subtle and profound, and is crucial to understanding the work of every mathematician since Pythagoras. The idea of a classic mathematical proof is to begin with a series of axioms, statements that can be assumed to be true or that are self-evidently true. Then by arguing logically, step by step, it is possible to arrive at a conclusion. If the axioms are correct and the logic is flawless, then the conclusion will be undeniable. This conclusion is the theorem.

Mathematical theorems rely on this logical process and once proven are true until the end of time. Mathematical proofs are absolute. To appreciate the value of such proofs they should be compared with their poor relation, the scientific proof. In science a hypothesis is put forward to explain a physical phenomenon. If observations of the phenomenon compare well with the hypothesis, this becomes evidence in favor of it. Furthermore, the hypothesis should not merely describe a known phenomenon, but predict the results of other phenomena. Experiments may be performed to test the predictive power of the hypothesis, and if it continues to be successful then this is even more evidence to back the hypothesis. Eventually the amount of evidence may be overwhelming and the hypothesis becomes accepted as a scientific theory.

However, the scientific theory can never be proved to the same absolute level of a mathematical theorem: It is merely considered highly likely based on the evidence available. So-called scientific proof relies on observation and perception, both of which are fallible and provide only approximations to the truth. As Bertrand Russell pointed out: “Although this may seem a paradox, all exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation.” Even the most widely accepted scientific “proofs” always have a small element of doubt in them. Sometimes this doubt diminishes, although it never disappears completely, while on other occasions the proof is ultimately shown to be wrong. This weakness in scientific proof leads to scientific revolutions in which one theory that was assumed to be correct is replaced with another theory, which may be merely a refinement of the original theory, or which may be a complete contradiction.

I know that, having read that, you’re thinking exactly what I’m thinking:  Global Warming.  You’re thinking of falsified data, of non-vanishing glaciers, of robust polar bear populations, and of the other cascade of data showing wrong-headed theories supported by bad, careless, or out-and-out fraudulent “science.”  Credulous people, ideologically driven people, and people who confuse scientific theory with the absolute proof of a mathematical theorem were willing to accept that “the science is settled.”  But unlike math, which can see a theorem being finally and definitively proved, real science is never settled, and anyone who claims that must be a liar.

Certainly, we know that some scientific theories are more stable than others, and we’ve built large parts of our world on that.  But when people purport to take the dynamics of the sun, the moon, the earth and predict the climate outcome years or even decades in advance, and then it turns out that they’ve done so entirely without regard to the sun, the moon, and the earth, you know you’ve got mysticism and faith, and nothing remotely approaching science, let alone the sureties of math.

I’ll leave you with a joke, also from Singh’s book, although it originally comes from Ian Stewart, in his book Concepts of Modern Mathematics:

An astronomer, a physicist, and a mathematician (it is said) were holidaying in Scotland.  Glancing from a train window, they observed a black sheep in the middle of a field.  “How interesting,” observed the astronomer, “all Scottish sheep are black!”  To which the physicist responded, “No, no!  Some Scottish sheep are black!”  The mathematician gazed heavenward in supplication, and then intoned, “In Scotland there exists at least one field, containing at least one sheep, at least one side of which is black.”

Since you’re all much cleverer than I at jokes and bon mots, I’ll leave you to imagine what the AGW “scientist” would have said upon seeing that sheep in that field.