Perhaps we could say that old mistaken theories never die — they just keep pace with government funding. A case in point is the vaunted scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They cannot explain why the Earth, defying their climate models, hasn’t warmed now in 15 years, but they’re still “‘95% sure’ humans are to blame for climate change,” writes the Daily Mail.
Theorizing about why they (the IPCC scientists) were all wrong, the Mail quotes environment reporter Alister Doyle, who said, “‘Scientists believe causes [of the lower temperatures] could include: greater-than-expected quantities of ash from volcanoes, which dims sunlight; a decline in heat from the sun during a current 11-year solar cycle; more heat being absorbed by the deep oceans; or the possibility that the climate may be less sensitive than expected to a build-up of carbon dioxide.’”
The scientists didn’t say how sure they were of these explanations. But word has it that when the confidence level drops below 82 percent, the government checks stop coming.
Now, there’s much we could say here about Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory. There’s the fact that atmospheric CO2 in the age of the dinosaurs was five to 10 times current levels and that the gas is basically steroids for plants, which is why T. rex’s world was so lush and why botanists today pump carbon dioxide into greenhouses. It has been said that CO2-level changes don’t precede temperature changes, but follow them. It’s also true that global temperatures dropped between 1940 and 1975 even as man continued industrializing and creating “greenhouse gases”; thus were my elementary school classmates and I warned of an impending ice age (which scared the heck out of us). And then there was the U.K.’s Climategate Scandal, in which it was revealed that the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit had advanced AGW theory via scientific fraud. But all that has been done to death. Besides, there’s still scientific “consensus” that AGW theory is valid, right?
Of course, we could ask if it really is consensus or just agreement among cherry-picked, government-grant-drunk researchers. But there’s a larger question here: What does “consensus” really mean, anyway? Author Michael Crichton tackled this very topic in a 2003 Caltech speech curiously entitled “Aliens Cause Global Warming” — and it’s a must-read.
Crichton likens AGW’s climate models to the Drake equation, which purports to be able to predict all sorts of probabilities with respect to extraterrestrial life; and a “TTAPS report” equation which supposedly could predict the severity of a nuclear winter. Crichton points out a similarity between climate models and these two equations: None of the variables they depend on can be determined. None.
Yet they all were lent credibility via the imprimatur of scientific “consensus.”
And here’s what Crichton had to say about that:
I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.
Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world.
In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is [sic] reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus.
“Science … requires only one investigator who happens to be right.” And how often throughout history did consensus damn such an individual as a fool? Crichton provides many such examples, such as how even though a few “skeptics” proved that puerperal fever (the post-partum fever once the greatest killer of women) was an infectious process, it took the scientific community 125 years to cede the point. And what — aside from allowing the unnecessary death of women — did the vaunted consensus builders do in the meantime? They took Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, who had “virtually eliminated puerperal fever in hospitals under his management […,] said he was a Jew, ignored him, and dismissed him from his post,” writes Crichton.
And I’d like to expand on one point. Pick whatever field you like — physics, biology, philosophy, music, etc. — and you’ll find most within it quite mediocre. Just along for the ride, these people never become the great innovators and inventors. It’s that rare exceptional person who shakes the world. Yet the also-rans can do one thing the genius cannot: give you consensus.
And how many exceptional people are within the IPCC? One? Two?
The IPCC’s consensus is quite simply this: the averaged out opinions of average minds — in at best an average organization. And the kicker is that they’re greased with an above average amount of taxpayer money.
Getting back to Crichton, the four most important lines in his speech just may be the following:
Finally, I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked.… Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.
… Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough.
Digest that for a moment. It is undeniable: If the warmists really had evidence for their AGW theory, they wouldn’t be talking about consensus. They’d present the evidence.
Consensus is simply the power of the mob. But environmentalists do have good reason to activate their Greenshirts.
The mob is all they’ve got.