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The Science of Ridicule: Flat Earth Progressives Denounce Non-Climate Change Fanatics

In a perfect world, the words “science” and “skeptic” would go together like biscuits and gravy. Alas, we live in that enlightened era when so-called scientists grab oodles of cash from the gubmint and lambaste anyone who doesn’t agree with their theories as ideologues or even Nazis (actually, I think Nazis would be quite warm to the theory which provided them with the rationale for controlling all property, natural resources, and human life). But wait — wouldn’t so-called scientists calling out any opposition to their theories whatsoever as ideological  be, I don’t know, inherently ideological?

Here is an idea, chaps. Instead of running your insipid mouths about how we little-brains can’t understand the nuances of climate science, why don’t you cut your hyper-arcane arguments down to size with an Occam’s razor, and just for kaka and giggles, quantify how much impact man has on the greenhouse effect? Wouldn’t that be a more potent form of argument than running around like chicken littles with your heads cut off yelling “the earth is warming!” or “the climate is changing!” for decades on end?

Oh, wait. That would pretty much end the hysteria right there, wouldn’t it? Because extrapolating from government figures, man’s impact on the greenhouse effect is less than 1/300. Yes, that’s right. All the claims for global control of natural resources in order to supposedly prevent mankind from destroying itself and our sum contribution to the greenhouse effect (we’re not even talking major warming variables that humans have no control over, such as solar activity) is roughly 1/33rd (man’s contribution to the yearly rise of CO2) of 3.618% (CO2′s impact on the greenhouse effect). And I would love to see a climate scientist prove me wrong, here’s a novel thought, by showing his work.

And just to prove how politicized science has become, let’s observe the petty, pathetic behavior of the man who calls himself the President of the United States. Barack Obama, that brilliant scientific scholar, recently had the temerity to condemn climate skeptics (a term that should be synonymous with climate scientists) as members of the “flat earth society.” Here is what the lecturer who doesn’t even have the fundamentals right had to say:

“Now, here’s the sad thing. Lately, we have heard a lot of professional politicians, a lot of the folks who were running for a certain office, who shall go unnamed, they’ve been talking down new sources of energy. They dismiss wind power. They dismiss solar power. They make jokes about biofuels. They were against raising fuel standards. I guess they like gas guzzlers. They think that’s good for our future. We’re trying to move towards the future. They want to be stuck in the past!” Obama exclaimed to cheers from the crowd. “If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they probably must have been founding members of the flat earth society. They would not believe that the world was round!”

No, Mr. President, the sad thing is that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and you are usurping the power to dictate economic policy based on a big lie. On the bright side, here’s my chance to give the smartest president in the history of presidents a public lesson in science, economics, and history. Oh, lucky day!

First off, we just showed (again, novel idea) that the claim man is irredeemably harming the planet through burning fossil fuels rests on feet of clay. This is probably why the theory is sinking in the public muckity muck faster than Obama’s approval rating.

Secondly, supply and demand dictates that when a good or resource becomes scarcer, it also becomes more expensive. This means that the more fossil fuels we use, the more price-competitive alternative energy resources become. Such price pressures are historically a major driver of innovation and efficiency improvements. But to hear Obama and friends tell it, the United States became an industrial-technological powerhouse through state planning. Wrong! Eli Whitney, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford all innovated due to competition and/or the profit motive.

The U.S. did not become the world’s foremost power by accident. Take your hands off the wheel, Mr. President, and enjoy the ride to the future.

Lastly, comparing free market advocates who believe that competition is the engine of progress and scientists who hold to the method of reasoned hypothesis falsification to flat earthers is absurd. In fact, the notion of there being a flat earth was debunked in Western Civilization by Eratosthenes in 230 B.C. (but we should cut Obama some slack because he’s obviously not a big fan of the West; well, maybe on his NCAA brackets). But for the Double Jeopardy daily double, the idea that people believed in a flat earth and therefore Columbus set out to prove them wrong was a myth manufactured by Washington Irving.

Science has rarely if ever advanced under the auspices of state planning, and when it has, it has usually been in those “noble” areas of endeavor as nuking other human beings into oblivion or otherwise contriving nefarious ways to control them. This isn’t a surprising state of affairs when government is at the helm of science. Government exists to control people. That’s what it does. A market, on the other hand, embeds the values of average citizens into the manufacturing of goods: products are devised and distributed according to the tastes for leisure, pleasure, comfort, desire, and needs of consumers. Put that way, free market capitalism and a healthy skepticism of state-run science doesn’t seem like such a backwards idea, does it?

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Comments (6)

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  1. PaulC says:

    You write literately and with passion, but your rhetoric lacks credibility and your scholarship is lacking.

    1. You use the phrase “so-called scientists”. If you truly don’t believe they *are* scientists, then don’t hold them up as being representative of scientists; otherwise you are making it obvious how much of a straw-man fallacy you’re erecting.

    2. As for “real” scientists — since you don’t define the term, I suppose I’m free to define it as “people in industry and academia whose livelihood and reputation rests upon doing science that’s good enough to appear in peer-reviewed journals” (if you disagree, say how you’d define it instead) — there are powerfully few of them who “grab oodles of cash” from the government and “lambaste anyone who doesn’t agree with their theories”. As for calling out the opposition, the way real scientists generally do it is like this: (a) filter out the incoherent rants and [mostly] refrain from replying to them; (b) listen with half an ear to the plausible-but-misguided arguments and [sometimes] take the time to point out the first three or four mistakes in them; and (c) listening fully to the well-qualified opposing theories, taking them seriously, and attacking all flaws found in the premises or reasoning, occasionally using sarcasm, humor, and blistering rhetoric, and every so often making mistakes. In almost no case does a serious “hard” scientist even pay any attention to ideology, since ideological leanings are a very poor guide to trustworthiness or truth, the items of interest to a scientist. (However, I’ll grant that “soft” scientists in the realms of sociology and psychology sometimes do pay attention to ideology as an indicator of soundness.)

    3. You refer to the “insipid mouths” of some straw men (perhaps the “so-called scientists”), and into them you put the allegation that “little-brains can’t understand the nuances of climate science”. Well, actually, one doesn’t find many real scientists being so impolite as to say so — perhaps they’re too insipid –, but the math behind most climate models is indeed way beyond almost everyone who doesn’t have an easy grasp of nonlinear differential equations, the physics of heat flow, and so forth. These are not “nuances of climate science”; they are the bread-and-butter tools of serious hard science in all disciplines.

    4. You ask why the insipid-mouthed ones don’t cut their “hyper-arcane arguments down to size with an Occam’s razor” and quantify how much impact man has on the greenhouse effect. Actually, lots of serious scientists have indeed tried to answer that question, but because it involves distinguishing between human and nonhuman activities, it’s a much harder issue than the comparatively easy questions involving the simultaneous solution of a million nonlinear partial differential equations. And no, it wouldn’t be a “more potent form of argument”, because it is not the business of scientists to be putting forth arguments to favor or oppose policy; it is the business of scientists to discover and validate truthful and accurate statements about nature.

    I could go on and on. If you invite me to do so, I will. But what mainly attracted my attention to your little diatribe was this claim you made:
    > “Because extrapolating from government figures, man’s impact on the greenhouse effect is less than 1/300.”
    <—
    Please identify your source and clarify your premises and your reasoning. From what I can tell, you are focusing only on human contribution to CO2 and not on human contribution to other factors that add to the greenhouse effect, and confusing the difference between "human contribution to ALL CO2" with "human contribution to CO2's YEARLY RISE". (I may be wrong in ascribing this to you — I don't find your exposition very clear in this area, and I would welcome being put right if I have misunderstood what you were claiming.)

    But if I have understood your argument correctly, you are …
    (a) Implying that four-figure precision is plausible, and that you trust the [gubmint scientists'?] premises and reasoning when they lead to that number, but not others;
    (b) Picking out a small contribution to the entirety while noting that other far more contributors exist; and
    (c) Somehow deciding that because you chose to pay attention to one factor, that is the totality of all factors to consider.

    Analogy:
    (a) Pointy-noggined cuckoo-brains have determined that radioactivity in rivers causes 3.618% of all jackalopes to become sterile;
    (b) Jackalopes make only a small contribution to the total xenozoological animal mass;
    (c) Therefore, radioactivity is responsible for only 1 in 300 of xenozoological sterilities.

    Obviously, this analysis is flawed in three ways:
    (1) Why believe the pointy-noggined cuckoo-brains on the 3.618% figure and nothing else?
    (2) Radioactivity can exist in places other than rivers. For example, if radioactivity in the air or soil caused 95% of all jackalope sterility, it would have no effect on the poor chain of reasoning that arrives at the invalid conclusion.
    (3) If your analysis pays attention only to jackalopes, then it is simply bad logic to widen the conclusion and claim that the entirety of the limited analysis is somehow valid for the entirety of all xenozoology. For example, if radioactivity in rivers caused even higher sterility among yetis and hoop snakes than it does among jackalopes, it would have no effect on the poor chain of reasoning that arrives at the invalid conclusion.

    But as I say, maybe I misunderstood your premises or your reasoning. If so, I'd be happy to learn where the miscommunication lies, and I'd be even happier for you to cite your sources (and to state your reasons for trusting them, when you mistrust so many others that are seemingly identical to them).

    • Mitch says:

      You sir are exactly the ideological person that this article is talking about.

      The author clearly sights his sources about the CO2 contribution with links. Click Them.

      Also he focuses on CO2 because the claims of the climate changers center account CO2 and reducing emissions via legislation and government funding of “alternative fuels”.

      Examples are subsides for corn ethanol & cap and trade.

      This article is less about the science and more about the politics.

  2. victor mascolo says:

    Kyle, The tone of this article is very good and very appropriate. Liberals take themselves very seriously, and poking a little fun can be very effective. This piece reminds me of James Taranto’s “The Best of the Web” appearing daily in the WSJ online…Until now, I never saw the global warming thing as another excuse for a government power grab, it just seemed like more argument by “Ridicule” (good choice of words.)…Applying market economics to oil is tricky because the supply is manipulated and it fluctuates. Alternatives will require huge amounts of capital which won’t be risked until high oil prices persist…I haven’t taken sides on the global warming debate because I don’t know the science, and it is hard to get at the crux of the debate. One thing I am certain about though is that the Left has a ridiculously cavalier attitude about how easy alternative energies can be deployed…Sometimes there are words I dislike and will not use. A “muckity muck” is actually a big shot, but the word conjures up images of a swamp. VM

    • Kyle Becker says:

      Thanks for reading, Victor. I like the way muckity muck read, but should bear in mind the (recoined) term’s more general use. Appreciate the feedback.

  3. Susan says:

    Actually, though, to the extent that the internet was science (well technology) and developed under auspices of government (DOD) you might say we owe a certain amount to govt science.

    • Kyle Becker says:

      The reason the Internet is the engine of scientific progress that it is is because it reflects a free, competitive marketplace of ideas. The technology is dead and pointless without freedom.