Guest essay by Wim Röst
The French Baron de Montesquieu (1689 – 1755) is well known for his theory of ‘separation of powers’:
“He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. He did more than any other author to secure the place of the word despotism in the political lexicon.”*
“The administrative powers were the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. These should be separate from and dependent upon each other so that the influence of any one power would not be able to exceed that of the other two, either singly or in combination.”**
(WR: italic is mine)
During his life but even more so after his death another (shaping) power developed in a prominent way, changing the world definitively: Science. In Dutch the word for ‘science’ is ‘wetenschap’, in German: ‘Wissenschaft’. The verbs ‘weten’ and ‘wissen’ both mean ‘knowing’. Science is about ‘knowing’.
Science developed its own way of improving knowledge. Transparency of research methods and of results were part of it. Measuring without bias as well. Being open to criticism was ‘standard’. And improving knowledge was the goal. A better understanding of the world and the principles at work on this earth would (in the end) be beneficial for everyone. This all was part of a common belief in progress. And it paid off.
Historically speaking the main goal of power was ‘obtaining the largest slice of the cake’.
After ‘science’ came into play, [some] people understood that ‘producing more cakes’ was the better deal. Producing ‘progress’ worked better than ‘taking what wasn’t yours’. And Science delivered the tools for ‘producing more cakes’. The use of inorganic energy and ‘machines’ made production soar, eventually benefitting all. The role of science was understood by society and science got the possibility to develop following her own lines. To a large extent science became independent.
This independency is more or less comparable to the system of separation of administrative powers which was originally meant to prevent abuse of power. The independency of science was another separation. And society was benefitting from the free role of science in an enormous way. A nearly stagnating world being present for thousands of years turned into a world with ‘continuous growth’. At the start this growth was clearly visible in the western world, the place where ‘modern science’ developed. In fact all of modern wealth depends on developments in science and their embedding in a good working societal system. So far so good.
In the nineties of the last century ‘commercial thinking’ entered science at universities. And science lost her independence more and more. The formerly independent science became more and more subject to wishes of both government and businesses. The ‘general role’ of bringing knowledge and wealth from ‘a free science’ to society as a whole disappeared. Science became dependent. That was bad, but it became even worse.
Science became intertwined. And not only that, formerly separated administrative powers became intertwined with each other as well. Money started to play a bigger role than the old principles of organisation: the principles of ‘separation of power’ and of ‘independence’. Principles which played a dominant role in creating our prosperous societies.
So the IPCC is born. A(n inter)governmental organisation that decides about informing the world about the ‘knowledge’ of science in regard to the climate. With governments as stakeholders who are heavily influenced by (lobby’s of) businesses. With media that have to be commercial. And with a population whose psychology shows that people pay more attention to ‘danger’ than to ‘good news’. Knowing this, an organisation can deliver every wanted result. Start with telling about ‘the danger’. Filter the things people are going to hear. Avoid other points of view and dangerous things like ‘open discussions’. Don’t talk about advantages or positive aspects of the thing you want to fight. And give your statements sauces like “extremely likely” (means: ‘nearly all scientists agree’) and so on. As if there were no other scientific ideas which might even be better.
It is a system and even when the system is originally designed for ‘the wellbeing of everyone’ (I myself don’t doubt the original aspirations of at least some founders to do good for the world), as soon as ‘interests’ creep in, the system can become a dangerous and powerful tool in a world of ‘susceptible not-knowing people’.
How could all this develop? Because the separation of powers ended. The dependency of one power on the other power and vice versa “so that the influence of any one power would not be able to exceed that of the other”(s) is gone. Science is dependent on government and science is dependent on the IPCC which ‘organises a result’. And the IPCC is government too. And for ‘government’ one simple truth (for example ‘CO2’) is easier to handle than the really complicated earth. Government is not equal to science.
Essentially, science is about facts and logic. You can make a ‘hypothesis’ and test it. The result will prove whether you were right or wrong. You are not permitted to change the data to ‘organise a result that pleases’. That is no science, that is ‘fraud’.
So when you predict a strong warming and for a longer period there is no strong warming according to objectively obtained data, your hypothesis will be rejected. End of theory. Time for a new theory and a new hypothesis.
Of course we can wait until everyone recognises that a certain original hypothesis failed. But, because of the wish ‘not to be manipulated’ and because of our experience that an independent science in the past has been one of the main causes for our prosperous world – if not the decisive one – we could immediately start with separating government-power and science like before. And (re)establish both formally and practically truly independent science institutes in order to find ‘the truth’. To start with finding the actual facts. In this case: with regard to the climate.
Whatever the result will be, society will profit.
Wim Röst ***
*** The article above has to be read as my personal opinion
**** The first part of IPCC ≠ SCIENCE you can find here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/11/29/ipcc-science-ipcc-government/
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