Monday Mirthiness: The alchemy of climate change

There are parallels between the fixation with Climate Change and the Philosopher’s Stone

Guest humor by Philip Lloyd

Philosopher's stone as pictured in Atalanta Fugiens Emblem 21 Image: Wikipedia

Philosopher’s stone as pictured in Atalanta Fugiens Emblem 21 Image: Wikipedia

For thousands of years, some of the most intelligent men alive sought such things as the Philosopher’s Stone, which could turn dross into precious metal; the elixir of immortality; and the alkahest or universal solvent. The searches were in vain. The world needed more than a magic wand.

There is nothing inherently wrong in belief. Belief is only a hypothesis in search of a demonstration. The history of science is replete with the beliefs of great, wise men who struggled to understand Nature. Aristotle’s four elements, fire, earth, water and air, ruled chemistry and medicine for thousands of years. Eventually, careful measurements showed that fire had no mass, that earth was composed of elements, that life did not spring from water, and that air was a mixture, not a substance in its own right.

Alchemy was universal. Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jew all pursued it.

A mere 350 years ago, there were still hopes that the philosopher’s stone, the origin of all matter, might be found. Today, there remain several societies of alchemists. Belief in belief dies hard.
In November 2015, a cabal of latter-day necromancists, sorcerers, soothsayers, wizards, witches, mavins and shamans gathered in Paris. They claimed to have discovered a wondrous formula, which would allow adjustment of the average temperature of the earth. It mattered not that every test of the formula to date had proved a failure. All that was required was a twitch here, a stirring there, and the bubbling cauldron that Earth had become would revert to the quiet simmering that characterised the perfection of life.

What was most important was that every nation on earth should commit to the belief. This they would do by making Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. If the total of these Contributions was large enough, then global warming would become global cooling, and we would all live happily ever after.

This latter-day cabal has even set up a system of selling indulgencies. If you sinned by failing to meet your Intended Contribution, you could wish away your excess with Carbon Credits. The present generation of omniscients seems to have missed the fact that indulgence-selling led directly to the Reformation. For the rest of us, reformation is long overdue.

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66 thoughts on “Monday Mirthiness: The alchemy of climate change

  1. Wonderful and artistic muse – yet it was two wild and “crazy” characters who created the opportunity industrial revolution.

    So, which new icons define our future?

  2. Sadly this isn’t humor. It’s an all-too-real statement on the current day Climate Hustle.

    Or seen from another angle, the best humor shows the ridiculousness of a cultural “truth.” Such an example was the “The Emperor’s New Clothes” tale told as a humorous insight into a child’s world. That tale is really a sad statement that exposes humanities’ willingness to accept an obvious deceit by its “leaders” and persons with “authority”.

      • Propaganda like beauty seems to be in the eye of the beholder. It has been my experience that people tend believe that everyone thinks, or should think as they do. A sizable majority of people I have become familiar with are more concerned with food, shelter, and clothing than propaganda or what someone believes as such. The first lie a person tells is to themselves.

    • Yes, “The Emperor’s new Clothes” is exactly what the Paris Cabal resembles most. But, never fear, there is a little boy just round the corner who will soon shout, “but he has nothing on!” – and we will all laugh at scientists , and at ourselves.

  3. Sadly this isn’t humor. It’s an all-too-real statement on the current day Climate Hustle.

    Or seen from another angle, the best humor shows the ridiculousness of a cultural “truth.” Such an example was the “The Emperor’s New Clothes” tale told as a humorous insight into a child’s world. That tale is really a sad statement that exposes humanities’ willingness to accept an obvious deceit by its “leaders” and persons with “authority”.

  4. Climate change does get a trifle medieval at times, with the inquistion and all. Faith is a powerful concept, and modern manipulators abuse it to their benefit.

  5. will there become a moment when this theory of man’s destruction of the world bites the azzes of these old
    world voodoo followers? a massive “Gore Effect” as it may be called.

  6. Yeah, agreed about the medieval part – one thing to have faith, as far as I’m concerned, they can believe anything they want, it’s just when they start coming for the non-believers that I have an issue – that’s why the “inquisition” comment is apropos – Senator Whitehouse and his gang want us on the rack for denying their faith, we don’t want to punish them for believing. Something in the Constitution is supposed to protect us, but it’s looking vaguer every day…

    • Hazel,
      Great link.
      I dropped in over there, read the article and what most of the commenters are posting, and quietly left so as not to disturb the local denizens with anything like a critical thought. They would handle counter arguments about as well as true believers in UFO’s. And with as little rational comprehension…..

    • ” Sir Robert Watson and his colleagues at the Universal Ecological Fund…”

      Watson, come here, we need you. Our funds are getting low.

  7. Sir Issac Newton’s obsession was alchemy, for the pursuit of the philosopher’s stone. ( he was head of the mint so gold conjuring and counterfeiting was also an obsession).

    The unknown forces of the natural world need names. Philosopher’s stone, the God Particle, Ether, aura, quantum weirdness, etc.

    As we understand our natural world better our terminology becomes more precise, and ubiquitous in common parlance. I am comforted by the curious brilliance of Sir Newton et al, who had to walk on the edge of knowledge to extend the understanding of the natural world.

    What words do we use to communicate new ideas and concepts. When there are no words, we are stuck with what we have, amusing that may be in retrospect.

    Devolution of the discipline of reason and the embracing of praetor-natural concepts combined with the use of common scientific words and arcane alchemical terms is a product of planetary institutionalized ignorance. I find that more disturbing than (ha – ha) funny.

      • Having read a recent biography of Newton, I can summarize as follows: He started out in alchemy, but gave it up after reaching some juncture that left him in a harrowed condition. Then he turned his efforts to physics, resulting in his “Principia Mathematica” and “Optics.” Finally, in concession to the need to make a living, he accepted the post of Warden of the Royal Mint and undertook to restore the foundation of the currency (in the doing of which, he probably invented the concept of industrial process analysis to make the actual minting operations more efficient). To the point here, he was a relentless and merciless foe of counterfeiters…which is perhaps what you mean by him being “pretty good” with them. And getting “the hang of it” is a wry truth applied to the fact that they felt the tug of the gibbet once he laid hands on them.

    • Sir Issac Newton’s obsession was alchemy, for the pursuit of the philosopher’s stone. ( he was head of the mint so gold conjuring and counterfeiting was also an obsession).

      Then he was wasting his time, alchemy like most Hermetic teachings were highly allegorical and taking anything at face value is almost certainly wrong, such that gold is thought to be a metaphor for the soul and the Philosopher’s stone as spiritual salvation or enlightenment.

      • Allegorical

        having hidden spiritual meaning that transcends the literal sense of a sacred text

        Or in the case of climate change Al-Gore-ical

      • Then he was wasting his time, alchemy like most Hermetic teachings were highly allegorical and taking anything at face value is almost certainly wrong, such that gold is thought to be a metaphor for the soul and the Philosopher’s stone as spiritual salvation or enlightenment. – bugenator October 10, 2016 at 11:48 am

        I completely agree with that summation, having laboured through Jung’s Mysterium Conjunctions – his last work – that directly connects the alchemical stages as symbolic of individuation – his term for personal growth. In Psychology and Alchemy he also demonstrated the archetypal origin of alchemical symbols appearing in his patients dreams as metaphors for the individuation process.

        I’ve had a life long interest in Mythology (“Other peoples religions.” ;-) and as a fan of Joseph Campbell, I know he also shared Jung’s opinion about the allegorical nature of alchemy.

    • Well, I don’t see how Mr. Newton was really all that far off, except perhaps in terms of time, since fission and fusion are now well established realities.

  8. Rumor was that they discovered the alkahest, but they could not find a bottle that they could put it into that didn’t dissolve.

    More seriously, the Escathological Cargo Cult of the CAGW is a religion that believes that man is important enough and has enough knowledge to change the universe. Further, they believe that their anus defines the center of said universe. Human activity can change a local area pretty severely for a finite amount of time. The Aral Sea is my favorite example, but there are others. A “nuclear winter” would probably change things for a hundred maybe a thousand years if it was severe enough. A thousand years is all of 0.002% of the history of the earth and is quite transient in the greater scope of the universe. For our own personal comfort, it is best not to shit in our own beds. Severe pollution has nasty short term effects on real people. Beyond that sort of pollution, man’s ability to permanently change things is minimal. The jungles have reclaimed the temples in Central America and Asia. Of course, the folly of modifying the global heat exchange system to a significant extent fits within their eschatology. Since they consider themselves the anointed, they have the visions of their religion as to how to save “man from Satan”. If we all repent and follow them, they will lead us to the eventual rapture or something. Interestingly, these people regard themselves as atheists or agnostics by in large. In that, is the greatest irony of all. It is all the same a religion, just a different “god”.

  9. Belief is only a hypothesis in search of a demonstration.
    Not quite. Belief is trust in an explanation based on the evidence one is willing to accept. Of course, the evidence can be wrong or right, complete or partial, realistic or fantastical. That’s not the point. We “believe” in gravity, a force of attraction between objects that was demonstrated sufficiently long ago. Let’s stop thinking of belief (acceptance of explanations) as trusting in childish fairy tales. It’s a rational and mature behavior.

    • “Belief is trust in an explanation based on the evidence one is willing to accept.”
      I like it, succinct and to the point. In makes it clear that people are often willing to accept very little evidence in support of things, especially if it benefits them somehow.

      • “Belief is trust in an explanation based on the evidence one is willing to accept.”

        It rather depends on what one is willing to accept as evidence.
        Homeopathic treatments work because a friend of mine had a friend, and her friend told her that homeopathic remedies worked to cure her son’s dermatitis.

        Belief can also be the cause of the effect.
        If you “know” that this causes that and that this has happened then that will automatically follow.
        Possibly even your death. I put a spell on you.
        A former Australian prime minister found himself in trouble a little while ago….
        http://www.ultrakulture.com/2014/12/30/scared-to-death-aborigines-put-curse-on-aussie-pm/

    • Belief is acceptance of some thought or teaching with no proof. In the case of the maker of the universe many people believe in a singular God. Others have other beliefs, such as in our ability to control the climate or the belief that there is no God. That one is a bit of a stretch since proving a negative is impossible just as we cannot prove that mankind is not causing some kind of climate catastrophe. But we can show there are much better explanations for observations of the climate that show nothing catastrophic is likely to happen.

    • Yes. Thank you.
      You might be interested in the podcasts at Issues, Etc featuring John Warwick Montgomery
      http://issuesetc.org/guest/john-warwick-montgomery/
      a Christian Apologist and lawyer who has more qualifications than any one person should have. One point that he continually makes is that there are two spheres for determining truth, and they don’t overlap much.

      One sphere is science – which is a technique developed for investigating nature. While powerful, since it depends greatly upon statistical analysis, science is pretty much limited to events which can either be replicated at will or which happen regularly. It cannot easily handle singular events.

      The latter are better handled by the related fields of history and the law, which have both developed many techniques for analyzing documents and testimony about singular events. “Faith” falls primarily into this sphere, and simply means that you trust the sources and analyses.

      It is ironic, is it not, that supposedly scientific fields like climatology ask us to grant them the most faith? After all, we generally cannot access the raw data, nor do we have access to their models and the supercomputers required to run them, nor do most of us understand the mathematics or nuances of the statistical analyses required.

    • Belief is only a hypothesis in search of a demonstration – the underlying reference is to the flourish with which we celebrate the Euclidean proof – QED, quod erat demonstrandum.

  10. “They claimed to have discovered a wondrous formula, which would allow adjustment of the average temperature of the earth”

    Hansen had the secret, and passed it onto Gavin Schmidt.

    They are able to make the past cooler and the present warmer.

    The guys at Hadley and Best also have part of the formula.

  11. They claimed to have discovered a wondrous formula, which would allow adjustment of the average temperature of the earth.

    The very definition of hubris. And, therefore, as all intelligent men/women know that it is, it is also the very sure evidence of a scam in progress.

    I am sure that, if asked, 97% of the public would agree that man cannot control the weather – and thereby, over thirty years, the climate.

  12. “…careful measurements showed that fire had no mass, that earth was composed of elements, that life did not spring from water, and that air was a mixture, not a substance in its own right.”

    In our hubris, we fail to look at this another way: earth is solids, water is liquids, air is gases and fire is plasma. To give a bit more credit to Aristotle, although fire is just hot gases, the fire in the sky is plasma. With no instrumentation other than his brain, he conjured up the classification of matter.

    “..A mere 350 years ago, there were still hopes that the philosopher’s stone, the origin of all matter, might be found..”

    I would say we haven’t been doing badly on this. We have transmuted elements and we could likely calculate how much energy it would take to convert other elements to gold – just not a practical, profitable enterprise.

    To me, these venerable sages understood the real world much better than our post modern alchemists.

  13. excellent, humor is the most effective weapon of all it allows folks to see an argument outside the constraint of “serious” debate. Like Swift’s “Modest Proposal” as the most eloquent refutation of Malthus-ism ever.

  14. In the 1560s the biggest bank in Europe wrote and distributed a financial letter.
    In one, alchemy was condemned and it noted that the alchemist seemed to need funding to make it work. Also that it was mainly governments that fell for the story.
    It is not a big step from alchemy to the promises of central banking.
    After the wonders of socialism and communism were seen to fail in the late 1980s, FEE published a piece on the “names” that moved into the environment promotions.
    This moved into CAGW which has been very enabling for control freaks.
    The next financial calamity will destroy the public’s acceptance of central banking.
    The next phase of cooling will really setback the Climate Change promotion.

  15. I see the comment that was posted just before mine. Mentions Malthus.
    Wrote a piece in 2008 that mentions Malthus.
    Can be Googled: “Intellectual Hysteria”
    Bob Hoye

  16. This article is not so “funny” as one might suppose. We in the industrialized world live in societies composed of a mixture of two groups. The majority group at present are people who over-express evolved adaptations from the stone age that focus on fairness, equality, care, etc… These folks are capable of resurrecting every hoary superstition of the stone age world, albeit in new form.

  17. Indeed so. But if you want to draw parallels with the Reformation, we are in for a long fight.

    The Reformation was started in 1517 by Martin Luther hammering his 95-theses to the doors of Wittenburg Church, which criticised the Church and Papacy. For which he was forced to have a Diet of Worms – as schoolboys like to say…. ;-).

    This Papal criticism influenced many nations and peoples, among which was Henry VIII’s wives, and his eventual separation and excommunication from Rome and the establishment of the Church of England. And then England lurched from the horrors of Catholic Bloody Mary’s reign, to the tranquility and prosperity of the Protestant Elizabethan age, which began in the 1560s.

    But this was only the beginning, because the Reformation turned into a hard fought nearly two centuries of intermittant warfare. In France 100,000 Protestant Hugenots were killed in the St Bartholemews masssacre in the 1570s. England had its devastating Civil War in the 1640s – which is strangely portrayed nowadays as Royalists vs Parliamentarians, but was actually Catholic Royalists vs Protestant and Puritan Parliamentarians. Likewise, the 1604 Gunpowder Plot of Guido Fawkes was not against a secular parliament, it was a Catholic plot against the Protestant Parliament of James I (VI, if you are Scottish). (I find it funny that modern left-secular revolutionaries wear the mask of a Catholic fundamentalist.). Similar conflicts also happened in Germany, which resulted in a significant proportion of the population perishing.

    Trouble erupted yet again in the 1670s, because Louis XIV tried to take over Europe. And while this is again often spun as being a secular political dispute, we know otherwise because Catholic Louis XIV destroyed and exiled the remaining Protestant Huguenots and the Protestants of Orange.

    Which was a foolish thing to do because the Prince of Orange was the king of England at the time – William III or William of Orange. (Confusingly, William was a Dutch prince who was the Prince of Orange in France.) So William III of England (and Britain) assembled the Grand Alliance (the League of Augsburg) a loose alliance of northern European Protestant states ranging from England in a great arc down to Hungry. And William’s League met James II (the former British king) and the forces of Louis XIV on the Boyne in Ireland.

    So this famous battle, which is portrayed locally as an English invasion of Ireland, was the most international of all conflicts, involving contingents from all over Europe. The ‘English’ were from Holland, Scandinavia, Saxony, Savoy, Portugal, Hungry and many other Protestant regions. While the ‘Irish’ opposing irregulars were led by 6,000 professional French troops. The result was the defeat of Louis’ army. Which is why the Protestants in the recent Irish ‘troubles’ wave the Orange flag as much as the Union Jack – the flag of a Dutch Prince of Orange, William III of England (and of Holland and of Orange in Languedoc). Confused! You should be.

    This was in 1690. Only now was the Protestant Reformation finally won, bar a few mopping up operations.

    Ralph

    • It’s not at all correct to place Henry VIII and the Act of Supremacy in the direct storyline of the Reformation. Henry split from the Church to facilitate his divorce from Catherine of Aragon so he could remarry to try to sire a male heir. The Wars of the Roses were still in the nations memory along with the knowledge of what a national disaster a contested crown could be. Religion was barely in the picture other than Church politics.

      • Not entirely true. Modern historians like to blame the split with Rome on the marriage to Anne Boleyn, to reduce the import of the Reformation on European politics – that this was a major two-century war with Catholicism. It is not PC nowadays, to admit that northern Europe put the Catholic Church back into its Dark Age box.

        In reality the Protestant reformers in Europe could not influence the king, and thence England, because the king was still a devout Catholic. But they could gain an entrace via a side-door, using the old honey-trap of a pretty young thing called Anne Boleyn. It was Thomas Cranmer the new Archbishop of Canterbury who wheeled and dealed this love-match, and Cranmer was not only a Protestant, he was Boleyn’s priest. It was Cranmer who introduced Boleyn to the heretical Protestant pamphlets of William Tyndale, and it was Boleyn introduced them to the king. And these pamphlets conveniently gave Henry a way out of his Arragon problem.

        This is a well-worn technique of influencing a leader. Look up the deliberate friendship of Josephus Flavius with Poppaea, the wife of Emperor Nero. Again this was deliberately arranged, possibly by Ephaphroditus, to get a favourable judgement about Jewish priests who had (potentially) been fomenting revolt in Judaea. If you want to influence the king, influence his spouse first.

        Ralph

  18. Perhaps the author should not mock alchemy quite so much, because it was the foundation upon which Francis Bacon constructed the scientific method. And note that none of these advances would have been possible, had it not been for the victories of the Protestant revolution over Catholic superstition. Which is why the Royal Society, Britain’s premier scientific institution, was established in 1660, when the Reformation was all-but won.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baconian_method

    Yet despite this, Sir Isaac Newton was still an alchemist, and the ‘Last of the Magicians’.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton%27s_occult_studies

    And if you are unfamilliar with this term, it comes directly from the biblical Magi (the three ‘kings’ or wise men), who were actually Persian Magi or Magicians. But the most famous of all the Magi in this era was actually of Nazarene Jewish extract – Simon Magus. And yet you will find that the Magi of this era had more in common with modern science than this author portrays. Look up the wonderful mechanics of Heron of Alexandria, and see what he built in the 1st century – everything from fire engines, to mechanical singing birds, to odometers, to automatic doors, to slot machines.

    Which is why the Reformation needs to be maintained, in the face of the increasing religious superstitions which currently threaten Europe and the West. Several million people died establishing the Reformation, and the resulting Age of Reason, and it is beholden upon us to maintain it. At all costs. Our technological culture and society depends upon its maintenance and continuation.

    Ralph

    • I saw it only as a mockery of those who may still practice such things, like Astrologers. Might have had a practical purpose at some point, as we learned what was so and what wasn’t. So anyone now practicing Astrology is either a con-artist or simply doesn’t understand confirmation bias (note: there may be other possibilities).

  19. Very interesting potted history of the past religious conflicts in ancient Europe.
    Now contrast and compare the modern day incursions of the “religion of peace” to subjugate so called Christian Europe to the Moslem faith, with the genocide of Cromwell in Ireland. See the destruction of places of worship, the expropriation of property and the denial of human rights and convert or emigrate.
    I am not sure what point you are trying to make, but giving you the benefit of the doubt, I presume you are suggesting that global warmists have similar plans in store for us realists, as had King Billy for Irish Catholics i.e. submit or die., if you do not subscribe to our new beliefs.

  20. “… a cabal of latter-day necromancists, sorcerers, soothsayers, wizards, witches, mavins and shamans…”

    Do you know if any of these folks are credible? I need to get my crystal ball repaired and I’ll be darned if I can find a reputable practitioner of the arts.

  21. “Alchemy was universal. Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jew all pursued it.”

    That’s not enough to make it universal.

  22. Just like the Lapis Philosophorum (Philosopher’s Stone), the Panacaea (Universal Cure), and the Elixir of Life, this post is a metaphor for unachievable perfection – in this case the subject is long-term weather control.

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