Age of Hoaxes

A reader wrote and asked on what grounds I am skeptical about the claims of the Greens promoting the idea that socializing the world economy and curtailing the industrial revolution is the best way of combating the looming scourge of manmade Global Warming.

 

It is a fair question.

I am a lawyer, not a climate expert. So if someone tells me aerosol spraycans used in North America put so many tons of gas into the Arctic atmosphere that the presence or absence of an active volcano in Antartica is negligible,  I cannot check his facts against my personal knowledge.
But I can do what jurists have always done, which is inspect the witness whose word I am being asked to trust.
If the witness (1) lacks normal indicia of trustworthiness, (2) has a personal, emotional, or financial interest in the outcome and (3) has a dishonest demeanor and (4) has a long history of untrustworthiness, (5) does not tell a credible story , then it is safe to assume the word of the witness cannot be taken on faith.
Taking these in  order:
(1) INDICIA OF TRUSTWORTHINESS
Real scientists use the scientific method, and preferably in a rigorous way, testing each hypothesis against the known facts, and welcoming adverse questions to challenge hence strengthen his case.
So, to overcome any doubts on point one, the scientific and ecological community would have to show a scrupulous concern for the scientific method.
Instead, we have the opposite.
Meanwhile, there is, to date, no credible empirical evidence that the global temperatures on average are increasing. There has been no measured increase in twenty years.

Second, there is no credible empirical evidence the detected increases in times past were manmade, and clear evidence of prior heating and cooling periods at dates long before any industrialization could have had the alleged effects.

 

The Global Warming scare was based on computer models whose accuracy, when checked against past data, is poor to none. This is not an empirical test.

Moreover, contrary empirical evidence from experts in their fields, including fields as remote as tree ring dendrology or oceanography, routinely claim that their research shows no such changes as have been reported or predicted, and they complain that their public pronouncement to that effect have been ignored. This is the opposite of peer review.
More damning is the fact the specific data on which the computer models were run was destroyed when it was asked to be revealed by a Freedom of Information Act request.
The East Anglia University Emails contained specific reference to ‘hiding the decline’ (that is, the declining rate of global warming) so as to get a falsified result. Nonetheless, these false results were the primary ones used by the UN panel on Climate Change.
Many of the scientists who names are on the report, and whose reputations are being used to lend credence to it, later said they had not seen the report, nor did they endorse it.
The oft repeated claim that 90 percent of scientists agree the global warming is manmade is a falsehood, and has been debunked.
The main advocates of this theory have not shown that there is a global warming trend; have not shown it is manmade; have not shown that the political measures promoted to stop it will work; have not done ANY cost-benefit analysis on the beneficial versus detrimental side effects of the warming trend; and moreover the specific predictions they made (ice caps melting, polar bear population dropping, sea level rising) have all been proven false when compared with empirical evidence.
So, in sum, there is no reason to trust the scientists when there is no indication of the scientific method being used.
(2) PERSONAL INTEREST
Opponents of the Global Warming Hysteria are routinely accused of having false or base motives, but the motives of the Greens surely must come under question.
This issue is the only one left where the pro-global-government, anti-capitalist anti-progress sentiment has left to hide, now that the fall of the Berlin Wall put paid to all economic arguments.
Consider that no engineering solution to global warming, such as, for example, deforestation of land area sufficient to change Earth’s albedo, or forming CO2 traps to change the balance of atmospheric gasses, is ever discussed.
They are not discussed and dismissed. They are simply never discussed at all.
Instead, the selfsame arguments, and in one case the selfsame spokesman, who urged global government and an immediate socialization of all world industries in order to stop Global Cooling and the coming Ice Age are now promoting the selfsame, exactly same, very same, just the same and identically the same prescription for the opposite malady of Global Warming.
The argument about motive, then, becomes very clear indeed. It is in the selfish best interest of governments to promote Global Warming hysteria, because then free peoples will give control of their pocketbooks and industry, their growth and health and livelihoods, over to Caesar.
This is cloaked in the Christian notion of being a good steward of the Earth and presented as if love of nature and not hatred for mankind were the motive. But this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Even if the danger were exactly as described, a coalition of government officers could not be trusted with this unchecked power.
On the other hand, scientists who speak against the hysteria are routinely accused of being in the pay of Big Business. But why has none of these scientists, once he retires or goes into another field, comes forth to announce that he falsified the evidence?
Men from time to time lie for pay, but often, far more often, they lie to promote their ideals and worldview, particularly if they adhere to a worldview that cannot be spread truthfully, such as socialism.

(3) THE DEMEANOR OF THE WITNESS

People who lie, even in print, frequently act a certain way, say certain things, level certain accusations, and react to accusations, in a fashion different from an honest man.

Hence my skepticism tells me that if the Greens were sincere in their concern about Global Warming, the current conversation taking place in the public agora would have a far different character.

For one thing, the basic case would be made. As yet, there is no evidence whatsoever, not even an allegation, that an increase in global temperature, with its corresponding longer growing seasons in more northward portions of the globe, would not be a net gain for mankind.

Second, the matter would be discussed in a mature and adult fashion, as among rational beings, with the costs and benefits being discussed and other solutions, other than the one which ushers in world socialism, being discussed.

There is not the slightest hint of any iota of a discussion of the costs and benefits of the proposed political solutions, all of which disadvantage industry, progress, human happiness and human liberty, and all of which deliver immense powers into the hands of unelected and nameless experts and bureaucrats. If this problem is real, these are the last people we would trust to solve it.

Third, if the discussion were honest, the terms of the problem would be being honestly discussed. There is no honest discussion of the time window involved. The alarmist claims are always placed ten and twenty years in the future, including claims made fifty years ago. The alarmists merely move their predicted date for the end of the world each time the end does not come. In reality, even granting the scientific assumptions of the alarmists, the change is less than a single degree Fahrenheit, taking place a century or two from now.

Fourth, real and honest scientists welcome dissent, and welcome challenges to their theory, because only the crucible of skeptical peer review burns away the dross of coincidence and flimsy evidence. In law, the reason why jury trials in free countries are held in an adversarial way is for the same reason. University in the Middle Ages were held in the same way, with questions being solicited and answered.

Only fanatics regard questioning as a moral evil. Hence, he cries that we skeptics are akin to Holocaust Deniers, and should be jailed for it, is precisely what no scientist would ever say or ever tolerate being said.

Finally, if any of these wealthy politicians and movie stars actually believed the world was about to end in fire, he would live like Saint Anthony of the Desert. Or at least would sell his private jet.

(4) DISHONEST REPUTATION
In a court of law, one is allowed to call a character witness to testify to the credibility of the character of the defendant, either to impeach or to regenerate that credibility. In such cases the history of the character, his previous lies or his reputation for honesty, is a legitimate avenue of inquiry.
Let us look at the Green record.
The Greens were wrong about the DDT scare, the ALAR scare, the radon scare, the mercury in the fish scare, the acid rain scare, the hole in the ozone layer scare, the power cables or mobile phone towers causing cancer scare, the chlorofluorocarbons scare, the overpopulation scare, the salmonella scare, the Mad Cow disease scare, the continent-sized flotilla of floating plastics scare, the fish choking on plastic sixpack beer can holders scare, and so on.
Moreover, no Green ever admits wrong or admits mistake. If one of them, even one, said “DDT was a fraud and a hoax, but Global Warming is real” I would be prepared to listen with a much less wary ear.
(5) CREDIBLE STORY
To be sure, the technical aspect of the climate science, in many cases, are over my head. I am not making a judgment based on that.

I am, however, familiar with at least a layman’s knowledge of science, and if the story I was being told sounded credible on its own merit, I might be inclined to believe it despite the hysteria.

Let me use but  a single example:
Even to this day, right now on my blog, I have two people telling me that the Ozone Hole scare was legitimate, and that the political act of banning hairspray was what saved us from getting cancer.
Now, again, I am no scientist, but my questions about the theory never receive a satisfactory answer, even from the one polite, calm and patient advocate who has attempted to explain his position to me.
(And I should hasten to add, I am very glad for him being so polite, calm and patient. He has done more, just by his demeanor, to sooth my suspicions, than years of ranking and insults from yammerheads. If this goes on, my faith in the Leftward half of the human race might be restored.)
The basic mechanism by which CFC are alleged to interfere with ozone production has never been proved: it has been performed in a lab, but not seen in a complex real environment where other factors are in play.
And there is no showing of any increased risk of cancer due to the lack of ozone over Antarctica.  None. That part is all made up.
The amount of gasses released from hairspray and coolants into the atmosphere surely must be greater in the populated and industrialized Northern Hemisphere, rather than the South, which is mostly ocean or nonindustrial nations.
But the ozone hole is in the South, above Mount Erebus, not in the North, where the hairspray is.
Meanwhile, the North Pole shows no ozone hole, even though the hairspray is here, not in Patagonia or South Africa.
The figures used for the tonnage of chemical released seem suspect. The story is that these chemicals are released in a tonnage into the upper airs in such volumes that the plume of an active volcano cone rearing is dismissed as inconsequential.
The figures I saw were the industrial production figures, not an estimate for how much of that migrated like an Arctic tern to the South Pole. All of this chemical wheresoever produced leaps into the stratosphere and heads south?
Why the opening and closing of the hole took place on a cyclical basis for centuries without human intervention, but only now is caused by hairspray and coolants and by other cause, requires a clear and convincing explanation.
And the time alleged for the CFC chemical to reach the South Pole and lodge in the upper atmosphere and interfere with the ozone production cycle should be years and years, and yet the claim is that the political curtailment of PCP production in hairspray and coolants solved the problem instantly.
The scientific evidence, at least so I heard, is that the ozone hole closed considerably once the eruption from Mount Erebus ended, and that the remaining hole is still there, unchanged, and hence the ban has done nothing.
And, just by the way, one of the patents for some major chemical firm (Dow Chemical, maybe?) had just run out just at about the time when the CFC scare was grabbing headlines, and so the sudden ban of a chemical now anyone could make was a windfall for them, since coolants and other byproducts which formerly used this safe and nonflammable formula now had to use the more dangerous and more expensive replacement.
I not one given to conspiracy theories, but the history of Big Business backing Big Bureaucracy in ways that favor them is well known. Health or conservation of the ecology is invariably the excuse used in such cases.
So, even without being a scientist, the highschool knowledge of science I have, makes the story sound odd and incredible to me.
Not one, but all the scare stories of the Greens sound fishy. DDT makes bird egg shells too thin so that birds die out? Is there even one small bit of evidence to support that unicorn’s horn of a story?
None of these five factors taken in isolation proves the case.
A story with no other evidence of trustworthiness could be true; and merely because a man stands to gain from the tale does not necessarily mean it is false. And the fact that he shouts down any rational questioning and reacts with hysteria does not mean what he says is necessarily not so: it might just be a sign of his passion, or of a mental disorder. Also, a Chicken Little who regularly says the sky is falling every hail storm might one day be correct, and the sky actually fall. Somehow. Maybe. And, in science, we are used to stories that defy common experience turning out to be true.
But taken all together?
Myself, I do not trust the scare stories told by non-scientific people who use no real science, produce no credible evidence when asked, but who have a personal and partisan stake in the outcome, who answer in shifty weasel words when questioned, demanding the debate to end, and who have a long and unbroken history of telling lies on just this same point, or, at least, I do not trust them when the lie they tell is incredible and unbelievable on its face. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
Meanwhile the cost of gullibility in lives lost is incalculable.
The countless numbers of Blacks in Africa killed by insects DDT can easily and safely destroy; the old ladies killed each winter in European town where coal and petrol are being artificially restricted and made expensive; the misery, even in my own life, of having bedbugs in my house which the government mandates prevent safe and effective chemical from slaying; the deaths from making lightweight cars rather than heavy and safe cars, merely to promote gas millage to cure an entirely imaginary petrol shortage …. the list goes on and on.
Scaremongering kills.

 

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