Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On global warming

Listen, I don't want to insult the intelligence of my loyal readers, but I could use a good rant to blow off some steam, and that is, after all, one of the reasons I have a blog. So, if you think global warming is a Serious Threat to Humanity, then you probably don't want to read what follows. Just givin' ya fair warning, that's all.

For those of you who don't know, the whole global warming thing...well, I absolutely defy you to find any issue on which all the signs shriek more loudly "FRAUD! FRAUD! 100% TOTAL BS!"

That doesn't mean that global warming isn't happening (though the more evidence rolls in the more it looks like that dog's huntin' days are rapidly coming to an end). But the only way you can believe that "science" has established that global warming (a) is happening, (b) is happening because of us, and (c) bespeaks looming cataclysm, is if you (a) don't know much about history, (b) don't know much about science, and (c) have never been taught how to tell when somebody's lying to you.

I mean, nothing personal if you've bought the hype, but the tactics are and have long been unmistakable.

I really do mean this, by the way: the thing that grabs my attention about the whole global warming controversy, is the fact that all the signs that you would expect educated people to have been trained to look for, are there in great big flashing neon...but it's like the public is functionally illiterate. Dorothy Sayers complained a long time ago that in teaching everybody to read, but not teaching people the rules of logic and rhetoric, universal education made it far easier for people to be deceived and manipulated, rather than making it harder.

But so much time and embarrassment can be saved once you know the tactics liars use to bamboozle you.

To take just one example on the global warming thing: if you have just been taught even the basic principles of scientific method and the scientific mindset, you know that real scientists hate declaring debate over...because the one thing consistent about scientific "consensus," is how consistently it is proved wrong. But on the other hand, if you know anything about con artists, you know that they hate honest and open debate and prefer silencing their critics to refuting them. You know that the stronger an honest man's case is, the more eager he is to get his opponent's arguments out into the open so that he can address them; but that the weaker a liar's case is, the more zealously he tries to ensure that his opponents remain unheard.

But one of the most striking characteristics of the whole global warming campaign is the desperation with which global warming alarmists insist that the debate is over and only vile and evil persons express doubts on the subject. At the very suggestion that a news agency might allow a "climate change skeptic" to present his case on television, the lobbying groups swing into action:

"The consensus about global warming in the science community is now overwhelming, so accusing the BBC of campaigning on such an undisputed threat is like suggesting it should be even-handed between criminals and their victims."

How's that for rhetoric? Or check out this e-mail exchange between the BBC and a global-warming activist who is incensed that the BBC has dared to report that there are scientists who say the whole thing is bunk and that evidence for their viewpoint is beginning to accumulate. (To be fair, the BBC is after all a notorious shill for right-wing extremists; so we have to cut her a little bit of slack, I suppose.) My favorite part comes about four or five e-mails into the exchange, when the frustrated activist starts to resort to threats, and also with a classic resort to obfuscatory language that no serious scientist would be caught dead using (the whole "emerging truth" thing):

Your word "debate". This is not an issue of "debate". This is an issue of emerging truth. I don't think you should worry about whether people feel they are countering some kind of conspiracy, or suspicious that the full extent of the truth is being withheld from them...

...It would be better if you did not quote the sceptics. Their voice is heard everywhere, on every channel. They are deliberately obstructing the emergence of the truth.

I would ask : please reserve the main BBC Online channel for emerging truth...

...I am about to send your comments to others for their contribution, unless you request I do not. They are likely to want to post your comments on forums/fora, so please indicate if you do not want this to happen. You may appear in an unfavourable light because it could be said that you have had your head turned by the sceptics.

Now when you see this sort of thing going on, or the posturing and profiteering of Al Gore, that doesn't mean that global warming is not happening. But it does most certainly mean that what is fueling the engine of the global-warming movement is something that is not science but pretends to be -- and that will use the global-warming scare for its own ends with a complete disregard for whether or not there is actually any reason to think global warming is happening. If it is, great, we were right. If it isn't, no problem, as long as we can keep you from figuring it out long enough to get what we want.

In other words, you're being played.

But you would only know that if you've been taught how liars operate, and you've been taught how by contrast scientists operate. Which is to say, you would have had to have been taught logic and rhetoric -- or, to put it another way, somebody would have had to equip you with common sense and a realistically skeptical knowledge of human nature.

If you had to get that from your public school education...well, then you're probably terrified that global warming will kill us all.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Beautiflly said!