Climate Change Hysteria and the Madness of Crowds

lemmings[1]Guest essay by Charles Battig

Shakespeare’s Hamlet pondered the eternal conundrum of competing choices. His “Aye, there’s the rub” nicely summarizes the conflicts inherent in the present socio/political/scientific arena of climate discussions.

Years of relentless doomsday prognostications by a variety of public voices spanning the political-scientific spectrum have found their mark in a gullible and guilt-prone public. There is a Medusa-like quality in the serpentine web of doomsday prophets, including members of the Club of Rome, Paul Ehrlich’s “Population Bomb,” and the current White House science advisor, John Holdren. Al Gore came to discover “Inconvenient Truths,” later found to be not so truthful.

Al Gore’s contribution to making climate change a co-equal amongst the four horsemen of the apocalypse is matched by M. Mann’s reinterpretation of global temperature history. Repeated refutations of “faulty” science and failed predictions of climate calamities have not deterred these marketers of doom. Cut the head off, yet it lives on.

Sustainability, population control, and redistributive-based social justice were offered as moral justifications for the one-world governance needed to solve one-world problems, as posited by the UK’s Barbara Ward. Answering this “cri de coeur,” the U.N. global bureaucrats crafted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the instrument by which life-sustaining carbon dioxide would be reinvented as the most dangerous threat to the world. Our current Federal government is more certain than ever that “the science is settled,” and that the global climate bears the human stain of excessive consumption of fossil fuels. An unelected Federal agency, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has assumed the role of guardian of public health via arbitrary edicts regulating all things atmospheric, in addition to all surface waters. Those wishing to pursue independent traditional scientific inquiry and reproducibility of EPA claimed findings have noted an adamant shyness by the EPA in producing the requested original data.

Fear and loathing” is no longer confined to Las Vegas, but has been turned into a self-hate/guilt propaganda tool by doomsday prophets and fear profiteers.  Humans are carbon — based life forms intertwined in the biological interdependence upon green plant production of oxygen and consumption of carbon dioxide. Thus the guilt stage is set for humans to be declared a living source of this newly-defined carbon pollution, and therefore enemies of mother Earth. According to the Club of Rome: “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.” Population control is the implied remedy.

More recently, a trio of financial market heavyweights has entered the climate change propaganda fray with their “Risky Business” media blitz. Perhaps somewhat jealous of the huge financial profits that Al Gore‘s Generation Investment Management (GIM) made from his doomsday climate predictions and inconvenient truth campaign, these risk experts have their own updated scare story. Business will lead the way, they say: “We believe that American businesses should play an active role in helping the public sector determine how best to react to the risks and costs posed by climate change, and how to set the rules that move the country forward in a new, more sustainable direction.” Trust us, we are from the government has been usurped by a “trust us, we are from business.” These risk experts and their companies have reaped huge financial rewards by profitably defining and pricing risk, and then getting the public to pay insurance premiums to protect itself from the hypothetical risk. The greater the hyped risk, the greater the corporate insurance profit.

Countering this climate doomsday propaganda has been a number of scientists and independent organizations. Manipulation of the historical temperature record by our own government agencies has been documented. Such revisions serve to make the historical record conform to the political aims and views of our Federal government, that global warming is occurring and is linked to fossil fuel use.  Proliferation of internet access has provided the new open public soap box, independent of traditional media, itself fully in the climate panic mode. Web sites maintained by Anthony Watts, Marc Morano, and Steve Milloy are just a few of many striving to get the unpoliticized science before the public.

In this admittedly truncated history of climate change propaganda and counterargument, there is contained the conundrum originally mentioned. Incomplete climate science, unsubstantiated claims in place of traditional scientific proof, political policy dogma, social equity objectives, and businesses feeding off the largess of government and public fear continue to receive scant criticism in the general media. The public has downgraded its concern with “climate change” when polled, yet it continues to elect politicians dedicated to enacting a governmental cure for climate change. Businesses profit from proclaiming that they are “green.” Renewable is the key word for obtaining government largesse.

For the public at large, scientific truth alone does not trump feelings of environmental guilt and demands that politicians take care of the presumptive problem. Scientific validity in these matters is an essential, but not adequate response to change the public’s emotional concerns for “clean air,” “clean energy,” and a “healthy environment for themselves and their children.”

Economist Julian Simon reflected upon the failure of the news media to report his debunking of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “vanishing farmland scam” in his 1999 book, Hoodwinking the Nation. Most of the rest of the book deals with the conundrum of the public’s propensity to accept “false bad news.” In the intervening 15 years there is little evidence that this peculiar human trait has changed; bad news still sells; bad news still drives charitable public donations.

Even earlier, Charles Mackay provided historical evidence for the peculiar behavior and beliefs of large crowds in his 1841 book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. It contains an insightful account of the “Tulipomania” craze of the mid-1600s. When considering the current climate change craze, reflect upon Mackay’s observation that: “We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”

So perhaps climate change hysteria may yet have to burn itself out much like a disease pandemic. Meanwhile traditional science-backed climate studies will continue to have an uphill fight against the propensities of human nature and the madness of crowds.


 

Charles Battig, M.D., Piedmont Chapter president, VA-Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE). His website is www.climateis.com

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Justthinkin

Well written and simple,informative article. Thank you.

Brute

For sure, climate change (whatever it means to the choir) will go and a new delusion will take its place. In fact, I reckon it’s been ready to go for a while but there is nothing as “exciting” yet available to take its place.

cnxtim

Not forgetting Paul Sagan’s protege and the otherwise excellent Cosmos series infecting a new generation of students with the CAGW myth..

john robertson

Strange ain’t it?
We created the scientific method as a tool, because of this known defect in our reasoning.
Based on our past, we will believe anything.
As long as we acknowledge the design defect in our thinking, the method works.
Usually takes a few trial runs before we see the obvious, but the scientific method is the best we have developed so far.
But the desire to believe, to be certain, absolute and free of doubt, sings a siren song to our inner creature.
Some ways it is so much more enjoyable to discard all reason and break a few heads.
Until its our heads.
Who was it who said ;”Humans go mad in crowds, return to sanity one at a time”?
The herd beast is part of our nature, logic can interfere with mutual grooming and the picking of nits.
Now what I consider unforgivable about the CAGW scheme, is the deliberate connivence of our governments in creating and promoting fear, hysteria and lies,….. for the good of the people?
Or is government service so disgusting now, that only fools and bandits need/will apply.

Al Gore came to discover “Inconvenient Truths,” later found to be not so truthful.
And the most blatant and significant and central lie of Al Gore’s movie is covered in this video, a 3 and half minute excerpt from the Great Global Warming Swindle. If somehow everyone could see this short video it would change millions into climate skeptics, so do everything you can to help spread the word about it, and tell Drudge about it (lol): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK_WyvfcJyg&info=GGWarmingSwindle_CO2Lag

Thank God for Climategate and Solar Cycle 24.

johanna

Nice article – concise, clear and uncluttered.
Kudos also for mentioning Steve Milloy, who got me interested in junk science (including junk climate science) before WUWT began. He is still doing excellent work on EPA excesses, like their getting people to inhale allegedly deadly particulates to “prove” that they are deadly.
As any politician worth his/her salt knows, ultimately the hip-pocket nerve is the one that is most potent when people are in the polling booth, whatever they may say to surveyors or focus groups.
The problem is that while the edge has certainly gone off CAGW, all its metastistic manifestations, like “sustainability”, “diversity” and so on are still going strong. The absurd and expensive compulsory recycling requirements in developed countries are a prime example. People relate to this because of stories of Depression-era scarcity. But, the scarcity was not because there was any intrinsic shortage of anything – it was because “stuff” wasn’t being produced. Now, for the most, it is. Just like food and petrol rationing in post-war England, actual shortages were in fact exacerbated by forced rationing.
Keep up the good work.

brent

If instead of CAGW dogma, the politicians had for the past 25 some odd years insisted it was urgent that we have a political position on a Biblical apocalypse ; and lavished bazillions of dollars on the “experts” to study the issue ; then people would have readily identified what was going on.
However because the politicians were promoting the religion of “Scientism” (under the guise of science), and a purported Eco-Apocalypse ,the agenda was not readily discerned
E.O Wilson Quotes
Science and religion are the two most powerful forces in the world. Having them at odds… is not productive.
People need a sacred narrative. They must have a sense of larger purpose, in one form or another, however intellectualized. They will find a way to keep ancestral spirits alive
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/17/climate-change-is-sucking-funding-away-from-biodiversity/#comment-1664385

Is the graphic that of lemmings throwing themselves in to the sea? If so, rather fitting that an article about the unreasonable herd behaviour of people is accompanied by a depiction of what is itself a myth. We believe Disney’s carefully crafted fabrication because, ludicrous premise though it might be, we see something of ourselves in it, and it seems reasonable when a little objective thought about it would suggest it is not.

cnxtim says:
July 10, 2014 at 8:32 pm
Not forgetting Paul Sagan’s protege and the otherwise excellent Cosmos series infecting a new generation of students with the CAGW myth.

Yes, my daughter and son-in-law used to be able to think–then he came along and they now are alarmists! What is his agenda? Hard to believe a “scientist” would propagate that stuff.

michaelwiseguy says:
Thank God for Climategate and Solar Cycle 24.

Unfortunately, I point this out to daughter and son-in-law and it now is simply discarded in favor of what the Sagan protege says. It astounds me. But of course they won’t do their own research.

joelobryan

the visual problem with cartoon is that it is a beachlike descent, not a cliff overhanging the ocean.
the CAGW lemmings are willing to throw the world’s economies over the cliff. but the ones uber rich from hydrocarbon profits (Gore, Steyer) have their yachts to swim to while the peasants drown.

thingadonta

You might need permission for the Gary Larson Far Side Cartoon.
Doomsday scenarios are a kind of spam; because of the paradox of not being able to predict the future, a doomsday prediction is sometimes able to remain in vogue irrespective of present evidence, which is of course dangerous; any social belief which is irrespective of present evidence has the potential to morph into a belief about anything and everything. Which is also largely what spam is about.
I would go further, it actually enters the subconscious psyche as an opportunistic means to get ahead, a kind of ‘subconscious spam’. So the homeless person who warns ‘the end of the world is coming’ has taken into the subconscious memories of a past deceptions’ success, and is merely utilising an opportunistic deception technique, very similar to a spam, because he/she has no options left. Its just another way of getting ahead, in the ‘spam’ world of ideas. But like all spam, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with reality.
The madness of crowds can also be described as an example of ‘successful spam’, where for some reason, one of those spam emails in society’s junk folder has somehow managed to not only get into the inbox, but successfully outcompeted all the other ideas in the inbox as well. A spectacular Nigerian spam success (sometimes people lose all their money to them). A longshot, but that is what spam does, once in a blue moon it gets rather successful.

gallopingcamel

In spite of our huge and growing store of scientific knowledge we are still vulnerable to Charles Mackay’s “Madness of Crowds”.

King of Cool

Aye the rub alright is that there is much ado about nothing.
And measure for measure, the tempest and winter’s tales are nothing but a comedy of errors and midsummer night dreams.
But as sure as night follows day the taming of the shrew will soon come to pass and the world once again will be as you like it and all’s well that ends well.

thingadonta

Eric Simpson: about Al Gore
Yeah I really like the part in Al Gore’s film about linking C02 and temperature in the last 1000 years, there are two graphs presented, (rather quickly), of c02 and temperature, which exactly match, because they were DESIGNED that way. One of them is actually Mann’s hockeystick, without the annotation, but which is more or less implied to be taken from Lonnie Thompson’s ice core data. It’s the worst part of the whole film for me, it even takes Mann’s hockeystick further then even Mann ever did, trying to link ice core data but substituting with Mann’s proxies as a proxy for C02!. In court this would be like using a guilty verdict to try the suspect. Truly awful. You can read about it in The Hockey Stick Delusion.

@thingadonta
I thought I’d reproduce the text of that key 3 minute video, an excerpt from the Great Global Warming Swindle that exposed Al Gore’s deceptions:
Al Gore: I am Al Gore. I used to be the next president of the United States. [wild shrieks from the crowd]
Show Narrator: Former Vice President Al Gore’s emotional film “An Inconvenient Truth” is regarded by many as the definitive popular presentation of the theory of man made global warming. His argument rests on one all important piece of evidence taken from ice core surveys in which scientists drill deep into the ice to look back into the earth’s climate history hundreds of thousands of years. The first ice core survey took place in Vostok in the Antarctic. What it found as Al Gore correctly points out was a clear correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature.
Al Gore: We’re going back in time now 650,000 years. Here’s what the temperature has been on our earth… The relationship is actually very complicated, but there is one relationship that is far more powerful than all the others, and it is this, when there is more carbon dioxide the temperatures get warmer.
Show Narrator: Al Gore says the relationship between temperature and CO2 is complicated, but he doesn’t say what those complications are. In fact there is something very important in the ice core data that he failed to mention. Professor Ian Clark is a leading Arctic paleo-climatologist who looks back in the earth’s temperature record tens of millions of years.
Professor Ian Clark: When we look at climate on long scales we are looking for geological material that actually records climate. If we were to take an ice sample, for example, we use isotopes to reconstruct temperature, but the atmosphere that’s imprisoned in that ice we liberate and then we look at the CO2 content.
Narrator: Professor Clark and others have discovered as Al Gore says a link between carbon dioxide and temperature. But what Al Gore doesn’t say is that the link … is the wrong way round.
Professor Ian Clark: [showing an animated graphic] So here we are looking at the ice core record for Vostok, and in the red we see temperature going up from early times to later times at a very key interval, when we came out of a glaciation. And we see temperatures going up, and then we see the CO2 coming up. CO2 lags behind that increase. Its got a 800 year lag. So temperature is leading CO2 by 800 years.
Narrator: There have now been several major ice core surveys, every one of them showing the same thing: the temperature rises, or falls, and then after a few hundred years, carbon dioxide follows.
Professor Ian Clark: CO2 clearly cannot be causing temperature changes. It’s a product of temperature. It’s following temperature changes.
Professor Tim Ball: The ice core record goes to the very heart of the problem we have here. They said if the CO2 increases in the atmosphere then the temp will go up, but the ice core record shows exactly the opposite. So the fundamental assumption, the most fundamental assumption of the whole theory of climate change due to humans is shown to be wrong.
[See the video from which the above excerpt was taken: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK_WyvfcJyg&info=GGWarmingSwindle_CO2Lag%5D

David Schofield

Carl, not Paul, Sagan.

Klaus Olischläger

Another quotation from Charles Mackey (Ext. Ord. Pop. Delusions) from the introduction 1852 “Man, it has been well said, think in herds, it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

Didn’t Dante write something about ‘chasing after blank banners’?

pat

Risky Business’s Tom Steyer is as conflicted as Al Gore:
4 July: NYT: Aims of Donor Are Shadowed by Past in Coal
By MICHAEL BARBARO and CORAL DAVENPORT
To environmentalists across Australia, it is a baffling anachronism in an era of climate change: the construction of a 4,000-acre mine in New South Wales that will churn out carbon-laden coal for the next 30 years…
But the project had an unlikely financial backer in the United States, whose infusion of cash helped set it in motion: Tom Steyer, the most influential environmentalist in American politics, who has vowed to spend $100 million this year to defeat candidates who oppose policies to combat climate change…
But an examination of those (STEYER’S) investments shows that even after his highly public divestment, the coal-related projects his firm bankrolled will generate tens of millions of tons of carbon pollution for years, if not decades, to come…
Over the past 15 years, Mr. Steyer’s fund, Farallon Capital Management, has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into companies that operate coal mines and coal-fired power plants from Indonesia to China, records and interviews show.
A few weeks ago, Mr. Steyer, 56, joined President Obama for an intimate group dinner at the White House that ran into the early morning hours, according to people told of the event…
Together, those mines have increased their annual production by about 70 million tons since they received money from the hedge fund, according to corporate records, government data and interviews with industry experts.
That is more than the amount of coal consumed annually by Britain…
***The Australian mine, known as Maules Creek, illustrates the complexities of Mr. Steyer’s efforts to distance himself. Farallon was a major investor in a 2009 deal aimed at developing the mine, lending an Australian entrepreneur hundreds of millions of dollars to buy out the previous owner, according to people involved in the transaction. Eventually, the entrepreneur took the mine public, turning Farallon’s investment into a large profit. An executive involved in the original deal estimated that Farallon earned tens of millions of dollars…
Farallon remains an investor in Maules Creek to this day. Mining at the site, expected to start in 2015, will last up to 30 years, yield as much as 13 million tons of coal a year and generate about 30 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, according to Ian Lowe, the former head of the School of Science at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia…
“It’s gobsmacking,” Philip Spark, president of the Northern Inland Council for the Environment, a nonprofit trying to stop construction of the mine, said in a telephone interview. “It’s amazing that such a person could have been involved in this project.”
Mark Carnegie, an investment banker in Australia who was involved in the Maules Creek deal, said he could sense even then that Mr. Steyer was struggling to reconcile his motivations as a profit-seeking investor with his growing anxieties about the environment.
But the investment was financially irresistible. “It was a hard thing to turn down,” Mr. Carnegie said. “It was a huge winning bet for Farallon.”…
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/05/us/politics/prominent-environmentalist-helped-fund-coal-projects.html?_r=0

rogerknights

So . . . Steyer is “buying indulgences,” eh?

There’s been a lot of progress since 1841. The overlapping disciplines of cultural evolution, anthropology, neuroscience, psychology and more, can well-describe the social phenomena of self-sustaining cultural entities, which CAGW appears to be, and of which there are many examples throughout history. ‘Religions’ are a subset of these entities, for instance, which explains why a large and increasing number of commenters (some from within the ‘consensus’ itself) are noting the similarities between religion and CAGW. They share the same underlying mechanisms. Tulipomania and other ‘bubbles’ of this nature are at the small / faddish end of the scale, unfortuately CAGW is much more serious and entrenched. For my own take on this see the WUWT post here:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/02/the-catastrophic-agw-memeplex-a-cultural-creature/

Tom Steyer, the most influential environmentalist in American politics, who has vowed to spend $100 million this year to defeat candidates who oppose policies to combat climate change…
@pat. We really really need to counter that. Someone has to step up to that plate that has the talent and fund-raising ability to put together counter-campaigns of equivalent or greater strength. Despite all our efforts here, if someone like Steyer and others put huge $$$ into the bucket, we could lose the public opinion battle. And once targeted politicians lose elections, the remaining politicians could start dropping their skeptical positions and going with the herd. Step up.

johanna

pat, your long and irrelevant interpolations when people are having a discussion are a pain in the ar**.

Sensorman

“The public has downgraded its concern with “climate change” when polled, yet it continues to elect politicians dedicated to enacting a governmental cure for climate change.”
And here’s part of the problem.
Here in the UK, we have a rather limited range of options. David Cameron, with “face made of ham”, centre-right. Ed Milliband, so little to the left that no-one even calls him “Red Ed”. Grinning Farage, new kid on the block, with pint and fag in hand. And oh yes, there’s still a coalition thing going on with somebody that looks ready to burst into tears.
Within this limited range, no granularity. I have more choices in flavor of potato when shipping in Tesco than I do when selecting a politician.
UKIP, famously, are somewhat rational about “climate change”, but frankly I would not trust the man to run the country.
I would like to vote against the Climate Change Act. I would like to meet a politician I could respect. I would like to see some rational unbiased debate on climate, broadcast by the BBC. I’m not totally daft, and know I can’t have everything I want. But I struggle when trying NOT to elect a politician dedicated to enacting a governmental cure for climate change.

johanna

The overlapping disciplines of cultural evolution, anthropology, neuroscience, psychology and more, can well-describe the social phenomena of self-sustaining cultural entities, which CAGW appears to be, and of which there are many examples throughout history. ‘Religions’ are a subset of these entities,
——————————————————————————————
and then we have this sort of drivel.
Between pat (oh, look, I just found something on the internet and will therefore post it in the middle of a completely unrelated thread! Because I’m special! And my views are even more special!) and woolly, meaningless guff like this, oh dear.
It rather brings out the Ian Dury in me.

Ivor Ward

In 1900 it was thought that the economy would be brought to a standstill by excessive horsesh1t. In 2000 it would appear that it will be halted by excessive bullsh1t.

Bill Toland

I see that one of the lemmings is wearing a lifebelt. Does this mean that even lemmings have sceptics?

sophocles

The last Climate Change hysteria was the Witch Hunts of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (approx). It took about
two hundred years and many deaths to work through that
and come out the other side.
The US’s system government was designed to prevent
that from happening again …

The Old Crusader

“…to make the historical record conform to the political aims and views of our Federal government.”
Fellow U.S. citizens, let’s make that ‘the Federal government.’
It is more than 100 years since it has been ‘ours’.

Clovis Marcus

@Sensor man July 11, 2014 at 1:41 am
I think you assessment of Ed Miliband is not quite on the mark. He is hiding his redness under a barrel in order to garner votes. Make no mistake he is a millionaire Marxist as was his father. Given the opportunity he will implement (p)redistribution of other peoples wealth and state control of the means of production of wealth.
Other than that your analysis is spot on. Not one of the political parties is willing to come out and say we are going to end this nonsense and make sure there is enough affordable energy to go round. They love a scares that they can save us from whether it’s health, terrorism or .71C of warming. A scared and grateful populace will put up with just about anything.
In the European elections UKIP ignored global warming as an election issue. I can’t think they are any better than the rest.
The politicians are the wise lemming with the floatation device.

brent

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is the new Cosmos-naut, the new Carl Sagan
Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how Republicans got it wrong on climate change
http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/running_out_of_time_and_space/13204/
DailyKos Essay: Weinberg, Dawkins, Tyson, Porco, Sloan, and Harris – Idiots of
Science on Parade
This is about the idiocy and the idiots at the La Jolla meeting, “Beyond Belief: Science,
Religion, Reason and Survival.” The idiots of science were in attendance: Steven Weinberg, Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson , Carolyn Porco, Richard P. Sloan, and Sam Harris. I thought some of them were intelligent, until now.
Science is the best hammer in humanity’s toolkit. It is the most useful tool we have.
Because a few religious extremists have irritated the grand idiots of science, they propose to set up science as a religion. This is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.
snip
There is the assumption in the comments by Dawkins and his buddies that they are morally better than the religious right because they are scientists. Oh, really?
snip
Please note the names of the idiots of science. If you run into them on the street, be sure to explain how their attempt to “save” science could destroy science
http://thesciencenetwork.org/docs/TheConversationContinues.pdf
http://judithcurry.com/2014/02/02/what-scientific-ideas-are-ready-for-retirement/#comment-447384
Science uber alles ??

thingadonta

Sophocles.
I always wondered about the Witch hunts, as to their ultimate purpose, as they make no rational sense. I suppose the easiest answer is denigration of women, same as in fundamental religion, for power.
But there might be other things involved. To believe a woman has magical and threatening powers against others is more than a little odd, and since it is specific to women then why don’t men also have the same powers? I think that an inability for men to relate to women in general may be part of it. In India today witches are still believed in in places, and they get blamed for disease and such like. But the tendency to denigrate women as witches, and not ascribe the same to men, has a very long and strange history.

AllanJ

Thank you Mr. Battig. Nice article.
I think the fundamental argument is religious. The traditional side says that humans are special. For religious or economic reasons we were told to be fruitful and multiply. Much of our morality was focussed on increasing human population. Taboos on homosexuality, sex as entertainment instead of reproduction, and abortion all tended to increase human population. In the mid 20th Century (as noted by Mr. Battig) some authors popularized the worry about world overpopulation and the consequent destruction of the environment. In a rather short time a new morality was formed. The new morality said that humans are not special. It proclaimed that the environment (less humans) are special. The new morality proclaimed that birth control, homosexuality, and abortion were good because they reduced the growth of the destructive human species.
The great climate battle is just one aspect of this great morality war. Science will be used or misused as the combatants see fit.
Of course it is more complicated then that, A humanist can also be a devout environmentalist and vice versa. But I believe much of the heat in the climate debate stems, not from science, but from this fundamental difference in moral viewpoint. The science debate is fun, but that is not where the decisive battle lies.

Phil's Dad

The Hydra rather than Medusa but otherwise spot on

Bruce Cobb

In many respects, the “War on Carbon” is similar to the “War on Fat”, although the former is certainly much larger in scope and in the damage done. Bad science becomes mass hysteria, and as always, there are those who stand to gain from that mass hysteria, ready and willing to fan the flames. Nowadays, not only can you not trust doctors, but scientists themselves are suspect. The future of science itself is now in jeopardy, I fear.

Steve from Rockwood

Nice essay Charles.

Mike M

I notice that doctors seem to suffer one particular deficiency when it comes to discussing politics, they’re too kind to the enemy. Healers do not make good fighters.
“…..The real enemy then, is humanity itself.” Population control is the implied remedy.
What I think you are passing by is the blaring detail that their imposition of “sustainability” policy is in of itself the very means of that population control – via starvation. For example, mandates and price supports for bio-fuel are so blatant a means to drive up food prices and starve the third world that even Al Gore distanced himself from it. Other examples, tell third world farmers they cannot plow/harvest their crops with fossil fuel energy like we do and then tell them that “global warming” is causing poor yields.
Evey single aspect of the progressive/commie agenda hurts poor people the most – by design. The only reason they enact polices to “domesticate” the poor is to ultimately make it easier to slaughter them.

hunter

Holdren as Wormtoungue. It fits. What has he ever done except to give poisoned, bad counsel disguised as science?
And of course Ehrlich is …..

me

32 years of 95% certainty for the worst crisis imaginable is anything you want it to be.

It has been my discovery over a long life that if “everyone knows a thing to be true” (1) then there is a high likelihood that the thing is, in fact, false. Or, at the least, only partially true.
I would give several examples other than the magic molecule CO2, but most likely several would dispute some of the examples and derail the thread. (after all, the examples would be of “what everyone knows to be true”)
One of my first clues to this fact of life came when the idea that the continents are totally static and unmoving was overturned and then everyone accepted the opposite of the previously held settled science. Imagine being the poor sucker who was ridiculed and maligned for saying the the continents did move back when that was not “mainstream”. What courage the man had!
______________
(1) Please note: when I say “everyone knows” I don’t really mean 100% everyone. That should be obvious.

Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
Great essay. Stand-out points:
• the U.N. global bureaucrats crafted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the instrument by which life-sustaining carbon dioxide would be reinvented as the most dangerous threat to the world.”
• According to the Club of Rome: “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.” Population control is the implied remedy.
• Businesses profit from proclaiming that they are “green.” Renewable is the key word for obtaining government largesse.
More on “Global Warming” ideology and population control :
“In Searching For A New Enemy To Unite Us, We Came Up With The Threat Of Global Warming”
http://climatism.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/in-searching-for-a-new-enemy-to-unite-us-we-came-up-with-the-threat-of-global-warming/

M Courtney

“The public has downgraded its concern with “climate change” when polled, yet it continues to elect politicians dedicated to enacting a governmental cure for climate change.”

For good reason – no serious politician can afford to be less than alarmist.
Why?
Because the public has downgraded its concern with “climate change” but a few vocal loonies haven’t.
The only ones who care enough about the issue to vote on it or campaign on it believe the world is ending. Rational people who look at the empirical evidence vote and act more on real issues.
So politicians have nothing to gain from questioning catastrophic AGW and lots to lose. So they don’t question catastrophic AGW .
And we all have to vote for the new faith or not vote at all.

Johanna says: July 11, 2014 at 1:44 am
Your praise for the head post (I agree it’s a great post), seems to indicate that you find Mackay’s ideas about ‘human herds’ (see Klaus Olischlagers comment at 12.23 regarding this term) plausible, ditto their applicability to CAGW as speculated by Battig. I do too. So do you think that in the 150 years or so since Mackay, the combined efforts of the disciplines I noted have made little or no progress in understanding the scope of such phenomena and how they work? Or am I wrong here and you disagree with the Mackay section anyhow?
Love Ian Dury’s music, btw.

commieBob

Phil’s Dad says:
July 11, 2014 at 4:04 am
The Hydra rather than Medusa but otherwise spot on

Greek myths are tricky because there are a lot of versions. Here is the Wikipedia description of Medusa:

“In Greek mythology Medusa (“guardian, protectress”)[1] was a monster, a Gorgon, generally described as having the face of a hideous human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medusa

Here’s the description of the Hydra:

In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra (Greek: Λερναία Ὓδρα) was an ancient serpent-like water monster with reptilian traits. It possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint — and for each head cut off it grew two more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lernaean_Hydra

Charles Battig said: “… There is a Medusa-like quality in the serpentine web of doomsday prophets, …”. You could probably get a PhD thesis on whether Medusa or Hydra is a more appropriate analogy. 🙂

“Who was it who said ;”Humans go mad in crowds, return to sanity one at a time”?”
The afore-mentioned Charles Mackay, in “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” Don’t be put off by the 1841 publishing date – this truly is the greatest book on crowd psychology ever written. If there’s anyone who hasn’t read it, get a copy on Amazon and read it as soon as you can! You’ll be astounded at how accurately an Englishman writing in 1841 described the trajectory of every bubble and fad in the ensuing 170 years – it leads one to want to say Mackay was a prophet, but he would be the first to say that this was absolute bunk, he was just a careful and dispassionate observer of human behavior.
Perhaps the most important key are his insights that a) we have a herd instinct and can’t resist the temptation to act as the group acts, and b) we always tell ourselves that we won’t make the same old mistakes that people have made before, because we’re smarter now, and then we go ahead and make the same old mistakes over and over and over again.
I would say, based on Mackay, that we’re over the top of the parabola on the Climate Change bubble, and that it’s all downhill for the scaremongers from here – but it’s still got quite a lot of play in it, and the warmist supporters can do an incredible amount of damage to all of us still.
Often these bubbles don’t come to an end until everyone involved in them has been ruined financially. And there have been many times when that has happened to entire countries, and entire economies. We’re no exception.

brent says: July 11, 2014 at 3:15 am
Spot on about Dawkins and buddies. It has always struck me as deeply ironic that a man who comes down so heavily on religions, essentially because religions are memeplexes, has his head so deeply stuck into CAGW (a rampant secular memeplex). Nor does he seem to have grasped that since religious or spiritual believers form the vast majority of the population, plus when you add in secular memeplexes too, essentially *everyone* is subject to some influence or other, and so this is wholly normal. Scientists are no less subject to such influence than anyone else; to claim that they are morally (or in any other way) superior, is highly dangerous.

Al Gore’s contribution to making climate change a co-equal amongst the four horsemen of the apocalypse…
I’m somewhat partial to using the word “Clipocalypse”.
After all, the Apocalypse may be real, while a made up word for a made up problem seems a bit more appropriate, don’t ya’ think?

Jason Calley

john robertson says:
July 10, 2014 at 8:48 pm
“Or is government service so disgusting now, that only fools and bandits need/will apply.”
Hey John!
No, a lot of good people still apply for government service jobs. Unfortunately, they are all weeded out during the interview process.

CaligulaJones

Will the ghost Julian L. Simon call the office…
I went through high school in the early to mid-80s, and our curriculum included books such as “The Fate of the Earth”, and “Entropy”. “The Day After” was required viewing.
In other words, not only was the millennium something we weren’t likely to see, but if we did, life would be “nasty, brutish and short”.
When I catch up with my (unfortunately still) lefty acquaintances from those days, I do tend to remind them of the failed predictions of Apocalypse Soon. They generally mumble stuff about “oh, we’re still going to hell, we’ve just postponed it”, I ask when, how will we measure how close we are (see Simon above).
Crickets…