On Cambridge University, post-modernism, climate change, Oppenheimer’s Razor, and the Re-Enlightenment

By Neil Lock

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In the early 1970s, I studied mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge. I enjoyed it at the time, but was left with a feeling that something wasn’t quite right. Although I scraped a First, and was offered a place on Part III of the Tripos, I decided to go out into the real world instead. Never did I make a better life decision.

Over the intervening decades, I have come more and more to question the value of universities. I would have expected the remit of a university to be (1) to seek, (2) to develop, and (3) to pass on, ideas and practices to improve the human condition, both today and in the future. There should be no dishonesties in their processes, no imposed orthodoxies, and no restrictions on the freedom to seek, or to tell, the truth. Yet, universities – not just at Cambridge, but world-wide – seem to have become bastions of political correctness. Anyone in the faculty, who doesn’t toe the party line and parrot the narrative of the moment, will find difficulties in funding or in getting papers published, or may even be in danger of dismissal. Peter Ridd in Australia and Susan Crockford in Canada are topical examples.

CAM

Today, Cambridge University seeks assiduously to cultivate its alumni; for the purpose of donations, no doubt. And they do this through a glossy called CAM (Cambridge Alumni Magazine), which they send out three times yearly. To a mailing list which includes me.

I confess that, for me, CAM has previous. In 2016 [[1]] it published what I can only describe as a full-page ad for nanny-statism. This article talked of: “increasing support for interventions – often by governments – to forcibly change environments to make easier the healthier behaviours that many of us prefer.” And of “how to increase public demand for such interventions.” Yet the author, Professor Theresa Marteau, stands high in the favour of the UK’s current ruling class. Even having, in 2017, been made a Dame Commander of the British Empire.

So, to the latest CAM: [[2]]. There are some good articles in this issue. But it also shows a more sinister side of Cambridge thought today; one which, indeed, makes Professor Marteau’s nanny-statism look a bit tame.

Technology and human rights

The article “Human Rights in a Digital Age” looks at how large companies like Facebook and Google threaten human rights by distilling, and selling on, the personal data they collect.

What I found remarkable here was the tone of the quotes from some of those interviewed. The recurring mention of surveillance capitalism suggests a desire to besmirch capitalism in general. Two of them talk, in a disapproving way, of a neoliberal idea of individual human rights. Another, a former colleague of Professor Marteau, is negative about the use of common sense in evaluating politics, describing it as “entrenched beliefs and familiar tropes.” Another seeks “collective protections… now,” wants to “affirm the collective good in our systems,” and talks appreciatively of a “Just Transition” (whatever that means) to zero carbon (which, I assume, is code for “zero nett carbon dioxide emissions.”)

Taking these together with Professor Marteau’s article, I detect, among some Cambridge academics at least, a top-down, collectivist mentality. This mentality favours big government, is hostile to business, industry and the free market, and disdains individual human beings and our rights and freedoms. But it isn’t, as some on the political right seem to think, a resurrection of Marxism. To me, it looks more like a cross-breed of Lysenkoism and fascism.

The post-modern connection?

At this point, I must tip my hat to writer Lucy Jolin for an aha moment. Early in her essay “How to be Modern,” she makes an approving reference to post-modernism. Cambridge University, indeed, sees enough value in post-modernism to have lent the kudos of its name to two Cambridge Introductions and a Cambridge Companion on the subject. So, what is this way of thinking, that seems to have taken over so much of academic Western philosophy and literature in the last few decades? To show that the hymn sheet I’m singing from isn’t all of my own composition, I refer you to Britannica’s very brief introduction to post-modernism: [[3]].

For those who didn’t take the link, I’ll paraphrase. Post-modernism denies the existence of objective reality and objective truth. Instead, it claims that these things can only be relative to a culture. It denies any basis on which to build up knowledge, and rejects as totalitarian any attempts to systematize knowledge. It denies that there are any objective moral values. It denies that reason and logic, science and technology, business and industry are tools to better the human condition. Instead, it paints them as instruments of oppression and destruction. And it denies that there is such a thing as human nature, independent of culture. Instead, it sees individuals as formed and moulded by the society they happen to live in.

Amazing, isn’t it? This is a mind-set that opposes, in almost every respect, the Enlightenment values which underpin our Western civilization. Such as: Reason. Science. Freedom of thought and rational enquiry. Religious and doctrinal tolerance. The idea that there is a moral core common to all humanity. Natural rights, and recognition of the worth and dignity of the individual. The rule of law and justice. Government for the benefit of the governed; that is, for the benefit of all the governed, real criminals excepted. A positive view of human progress, and a rational optimism for the future. And yet, Cambridge University, no less, sees much value in this anti-Enlightenment credo!

In its more extreme manifestations, and notably among those of the deep green persuasion, this dogma goes further yet, towards anti-humanism. It denies that humans are special, and capable of far more than mere animals. And it denies that the Earth is our planet, and that its resources are there for us to use wisely in order to build the best civilizations we can. So, this mind-set denies us the right to make our planet into what it should be: a comfortable home and a peaceful, beautiful garden, worthy of civilized humanity.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that all, or even a majority of, Cambridge academics have let themselves be taken over by this post-modernist and anti-human creed. Particularly since, in academic circles, post-modernism seems now to be a was more than an is. But the damage has been done. I’m in no doubt that the collectivist mind-set, which I identified from the earlier CAM articles, has at its core ideas close to post-modernism.

And what a crazy bunch of ideas they are! No basis for knowledge? That means no reason at all to have universities, or indeed any institutions of learning. Reality is only relative to a culture? So, people from different cultures have no basis on which to agree on anything; a recipe for a Hobbesian war of all against all. Science, technology, business and industry are bad? That means prosperity is bad, and poverty desirable. Except for the élites, of course. Earth isn’t our planet? If you believe that, it surely isn’t your planet.

No objective truth? That means it’s OK to lie, deceive, mislead or make false accusations. Or to ignore or pooh-pooh facts that don’t support your narratives. No objective moral values? That means anything goes, as long as you can get away with it. Arrogance, selfishness, callousness, recklessness, dishonesty and hypocrisy become normal, and personal responsibility goes out of the window. In short, psychopathic behaviour becomes OK. Individuals are formed by the societies they live in? That leads to demands for more and more central power, to force everyone into the politically correct mould du jour.

Indeed, identity politics, a spin-off from post-modernism, goes further yet. It promotes the idea that any group of people – for example, feminists or Extinction Rebellion protesters – if they can get enough political clout, have a right to force others to kow-tow to their demands.

But this anti-Enlightenment and anti-human syndrome has spread far beyond academe. The political class, including all the mainstream UK political parties, seem to have swallowed the extremist, humanity-hating agenda whole. Virtually all the media, many celebrities, those that think they’re trendy, and a sizeable slice of the rich and the corporate élites have bought it too. And today, its foot-soldiers are desperately trying to spread it among the general population, with lies, hype and ever-repeated screams of “It’s worse than we thought!” Causing serious psychological damage to many young people, whose bullshit meters are not yet well enough developed to resist the assault.

Absolute Zero

To the final CAM article; on the university’s program to “de-carbonize” itself, and to soften people up for the de-carbonization of Western economies, which the current political élites want to force on us all. The title, “Absolute Zero,” echoes a joint report published last November by five UK universities, using the collective moniker “UK FIRES.” Its director is a professor in the Engineering department at Cambridge. For a summary, see [[4]].

I confess that, if I hadn’t been given the link by a reputable source, I would have thought this was merely a sick joke. But sadly, it’s real. And, after just a single pass through the diagram summarizing the proposals, I could see that the whole idea is a nightmare; dystopian for us, and Utopian for the élites, at the same time. The proposals read like the edicts of a crazed, ultra-conservative dictator; and they make Soviet five-year plans look like a cake-walk.

No new petrol- or diesel-engine cars from right now? That would kill the automotive industry, quickly. Moreover, how would people in rural and suburban areas be expected to get around? (If you answer “buses,” how many new buses would be needed?) And how would people, who need to carry loads from place to place, do so?

All UK airports closed, and all freight shipping stopped by 2049? What would happen to the people, like seamen, airline workers and airport workers, who would be forced out of their jobs? And to those in affected industries, like travel and tourism? What would happen to UK trade with the USA? India? China? South America? What would happen to time-critical trade, like fresh fruit from Spain or Morocco? And – just to pick one more from many things that obviously haven’t been thought through – if there is no new home construction but the population is still increasing, where will the new people live?

Oh, and more. Why no mention of nuclear energy? Where’s the cost/benefit analysis, with all the uncertainties? How do we know it’s feasible within the timescale? Where would the money for all this come from? And beyond that, my common sense asks: Where’s the proof that any of this is necessary?

Back to the CAM article. I gagged when I read: “It is clear that we are in a state of climate emergency.” Just because politicians like Michael Gove or Theresa May say there’s an emergency, doesn’t make it true. Indeed, my own take is that anything any politician says should be considered dishonest, or even a lie, until proven otherwise. And then there’s the question… why now? What, objectively, happened in the year 2019, that caused a sudden shift to emergency? Apart from a storm of scares and propaganda, of course.

My state of health did not improve when I read: “We need to transform our whole society over the next couple of decades. Because the science is very clear. Time is running out.” “How do we spark individual behaviour change?” And achieve the “transition to a zero-carbon future… in a way that works for all sectors of society?” Further: “How do we put in place policies that will accelerate transition to a green future?”

That checks a lot of the post-modernist boxes, doesn’t it? The deceit of claiming there’s an emergency, without showing any hard evidence of one. The lie that the science is clear, when it’s about as clear as a hippo in a mud-bath. The arrogance of seeking to “transform” whole societies, without reference to those affected. And of seeking to use government force to facilitate the process. The recklessness of doing such a “transformation” all at once, and in a ridiculously short timescale. The collectivism of lumping us together into “sectors of society.” The clear sense of hostility to the ordinary human being, and the palpable desire to control us and to hurt us.

Moreover, nothing in this article provides or links to any hard, objective evidence that human emissions of carbon dioxide are responsible for any of the claimed effects of climate change. Nor, indeed, that those effects are in any way terrifying. Why not? Why have today’s Cambridge academics seemingly rejected the sage advice of Bertrand Russell, himself a Cambridge man? “When you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed, but look only, and solely, at what are the facts.”

Where is the proof of guilt?

Now, these proposals would without doubt cause a lot of harm to a lot of people. So, where’s the justification for them? What have we done, to deserve such treatment? Why should any of us accept any restrictions or inconveniences, without first seeing hard, conclusive evidence of what it is that we are supposed to have done wrong, and why it was wrong?

In a country like the UK, supposedly based on the rule of law, a charge such as causing catastrophic global climate change ought to be tried under due process of law. Ought it not? With all sides telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And in due process of law, human rights come into play. If accused of a murder, for example, each of us would have rights to assure us fair treatment. We must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. That is, it is up to the accusers to substantiate their case beyond reasonable doubt. We must also have the right to fair judgement by an independent and impartial tribunal. Each of us must have the right to speak up in our own defence, and to call whatever witnesses, including experts, we find necessary for our defence. And objective records of the trial should be accessible to all who wish to scrutinize them.

Moreover, if those accused of murder should have all these rights (and they should), how much stronger should the safeguards be, when the future of our entire civilization is at stake? Should not the charge be debated and assessed, objectively and rationally, in open and honest court, free from all political, emotional or media bias? Should not those involved in the assessment, on all sides, be required to give their evidence under oath, on penalty of perjury or worse if they lie or mislead? Should not the charge itself, and the conduct of those promoting it, first undergo a thorough audit by independent, honest, unbiased parties? And if the case is not proven beyond reasonable doubt, or if there has been any misconduct at all by the accusers in the case, should the charge not be dismissed with prejudice?

The first right of anyone accused, though, must be to a clear statement of the allegations. As far as I can make out, the charge sheet in this case reads: CO2 emissions by humans are causing catastrophic change in the climate on a global scale. And therefore, governments must take action – immediate action – to limit, or even to eliminate, these emissions.

And yet, I for one see no hard, objective, incontrovertible evidence being put forward that we humans are in any way guilty on this charge. Where is the evidence? Not theories, not computer models, not what-ifs, not guesstimates with huge error bounds and uncertainties. Just evidence: facts, and rational deductions from them, which can be independently verified.

Where, for example, are the millions of climate refugees? The thousands of dead polar bears, and the hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of dead coral reefs, that would have been still living without human-caused global warming? Where is the proof, beyond reasonable doubt, that weather is getting worse on a global scale, and that the cause is human emissions of CO2? And where is the proof, beyond reasonable doubt, that global sea level rise is accelerating abnormally, and for that same reason?

Is there a case to answer at all?

When I look at the supposed case against us, I wonder whether there’s actually any substantive allegation to counter at all. To put their case, the accusers would need to elucidate, using only hard evidence and logical deductions, answers to four questions. (1) Is it warming on a global scale, and if so, by how much? (2) If there is significant global warming, how much of it is caused by human emissions of CO2? (3) If human CO2 is causing significant warming, what would be the likely consequences for human civilization? (4) If there are significant likely negative consequences to civilization of human caused warming, what are the costs and benefits (to all the parties involved) of (a) reacting to problems only as they arise, or (b) putting in place preventive schemes to abate some of the problems?

I’m not going to argue the science in detail here, as that might turn off many of my potential audience. So, what I’ll try to do is be Socratic; that is, ask questions. Here are some of the questions, which any prosecutor seeking to prove the case, and any independent auditor seeking to assess it, would need to address.

To the first question: is it warming? Yes – it’s been warming since the 17th century. But how much is it warming? Which raises questions like: how accurate and reliable are the various sets of temperature data? How global are they? How far back do they reliably go? How affected are they by local influences, like urban heat islands? Is there hard evidence of anything unusual, above and beyond past variability, in recent decades? Where adjustments or in-filling have been necessary to raw data, how well are they justified and documented? Are their effects neutral with regard to trends, as you would expect if they were being done honestly? And, what are the uncertainties? Hint: they’re bigger than you probably think.

As to the second question, how much of this warming is caused by human CO2? This raises questions like: What caused earlier warming periods, like the Minoan, Roman and mediaeval warm periods? What caused the warming out of the Little Ice Age? What factors, like solar activity, might affect warming today, and how have they been accounted for? How much human-emitted CO2 stays in the atmosphere, and for how long? How much warming would be expected in theory from these levels of human CO2? How sure are we that the theory is quantitatively accurate? What happens to the warming afterwards, for example what are the knock-on effects of changes in cloud cover? Have the climate models got the underlying physics correct? And – as always – what are the uncertainties? Hint: they’re a lot bigger than alarmists let on.

The third question – what would be the consequences of warming for our civilization – is, I think, the crucial weak link in the accusation. For historically, human civilization has tended to flourish during warmer periods. So, the assertion that the effects of two, or even 5 or 10, degrees Celsius of global warming will be negative needs serious justification. Indeed, the only credible threat I can see to our civilization from any such warming is sea level rise. And sea level data is… Accurate? Reliable? Global? Properly adjusted for local effects like rising and falling coastlines? Consistent between tide gauges and satellite measurements? Showing anything unusual in recent decades, when considered objectively and as a whole? Moreover, how much, of the sea level rise there has been, has been caused by human emissions of CO2?

Then, there are the economic models, that alarmists have used to loudly proclaim that It’s Worse than We Thought. I don’t claim skills in that area, but I’d expect that some probing by independent experts into the economic calculations, and the assumptions on which they are built, might bear fruit. But in any case, we’re now into such a tower of economic models on assumptions on carbon cycle models on emissions models on climate models on dubious data, that the uncertainties will have grown to monstrous proportions.

As to the fourth question: As any mathematician or businessman knows, if you subtract one uncertain number from another uncertain number, particularly if the two are close together, the uncertainty is likely to become so large that no sane cost-benefit decision can be made. If I remember right, the UK’s 2008 climate change bill had a factor of 7 uncertainty in the estimated costs, and a factor of 12 in the “benefits.” Anyone offering such figures ought to have been told to go away, and not to come back until they had some numbers fit for purpose.

The conduct of the accusers

Next, I’ll ask: How well have those on the accusers’ side behaved? How well has the conduct of the whole process, scientific and political, measured up to the reasonable expectations of those who are being subjected to its consequences? My one-word answer is: atrociously.

What about the scientists? We’ve seen doctoring of data, to make it look more alarming. Hockey stick, anyone? We’ve seen data, that doesn’t support the alarmist narrative, airbrushed out. We’ve seen refusal to release data. We’ve seen suggestions that data should be deleted to forestall Freedom of Information requests. We’ve seen suppression of dissenting scientific views, and even attempts to get journal editors sacked.

Now science, if it is truly to be science, must be conducted in an entirely honest way. If it isn’t honest, it isn’t science. So, if someone took taxpayer money to do science, and what they did using that money was dishonest, is that not fraud against taxpayers?

What about the politicians? We’ve seen politicians making costly green commitments on behalf of the people they are supposed to represent, without any attempt at rigorous justification. We’ve seen political interference in the science, as with the 1995/6 IPCC report. We’ve seen goalposts moved arbitrarily, like lowering some supposed temperature limit from 2 to 1.5 degrees C above historical levels. We’ve seen government whitewashing misconduct by scientists and others, as in the Climategate inquiries.

As to the media, the BBC [[5]] has likened allowing climate change realists to speak to “letting someone deny last week’s football scores.” Even though their own guidelines [[6]] say: “We are committed to reflecting a wide range of subject matter and perspectives… so that no significant strand of thought is under-represented or omitted.” In the murder trial analogy, this amounts to denying us the right to speak up in our own defence, and to have our witnesses – including experts – heard at all.

The precautionary principle

But for me, the most egregious act of bad faith by the accusers is their perversion, indeed inversion, of the precautionary principle. Which, at its root, is “Look before you leap,” or even “First, do no harm.” The 2002 UK government report “The Precautionary Principle: Policy and Application” is here: [[7]]. Here are a few quotes:

· The purpose of the precautionary principle is to create an impetus to take a decision notwithstanding scientific uncertainty about the nature and extent of the risk.

· Although there is no universally accepted definition, the Government is committed to using the precautionary principle, which is included in the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.

· Applying the precautionary principle is essentially a matter of making assumptions about consequences and likelihoods to establish credible scenarios…

· ‘Absence of evidence of risk’ should never be confused with, or taken as, ‘evidence of absence of risk.’

· …invocation and application of the precautionary principle carries a general presumption that the burden of proof shifts away from the regulator having to demonstrate potential for harm towards the hazard creator having to demonstrate an acceptable level of safety.

Do you see what they did there? Not only have they abandoned all pretence of presumption of innocence; but they have also inverted the burden of proof. They demand that we, the accused, must show that everything we’re doing is safe. They require us to prove a negative, that we’re not causing a problem. Which, in general, is impossible. And even if we’re not actually causing any risk at all, they can use the ‘absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence’ trick to find us guilty anyway! In a murder trial, such bad faith ought to lead to immediate dismissal of the case, and prosecution for perverting the course of justice. How much worse, then, is conduct of this kind when our whole human civilization is on the line?

Would a zero-carbon economy be sustainable?

Oh, and there’s more. In this case, it isn’t anything the accusers have done. Rather, it’s something they ought to have done, but haven’t.

From the start, one of the major green buzz-words has been “sustainability.” Now, my dictionary defines sustainable as “capable of being sustained,” or, otherwise said, able to endure into the future. And sustainable development, according to the UN: “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Supposedly, the rationale for all the fuss about global warming is that the alarmists think the current world economic system isn’t sustainable.

So, I ask: Would the zero-carbon future, which the politicians, academics and activists think is so important and urgent, actually be sustainable? Would it meet the needs of the present? Would it be able to endure into the future? Or would it, if put into practice, fail; for example, leading to widespread starvation, or people freezing to death? More generally, should not any contemplated political action, on the kind of scale the zero-carbonistas (as I dub them) seek, first be tried out on a smaller scale, to check that it wouldn’t have any negative effects? And would not failure to prototype the effects of such a proposed action be an egregious violation of the true precautionary principle, “Look before you leap?”

The solution is obvious. Isn’t it? Set up a zone, in which those committed to the zero-carbon project can indulge their fantasy without harming anyone else. Let all those, that have promoted or supported the project, go live in that area. Starry-eyed fanatics, that actually think it might work. Academics, that have lived off taxpayers while seeking to drum up support for an agenda that harms us. Corrupt bureaucrats and “scientists,” that have done the agenda’s dirty work. Empty-headed celebrities, that like to virtue-signal their green credentials. Cynical company bosses, that profit and have profited from the agenda. Activists, that hate human civilization and prosperity, and have a yen to destroy them. Media figures, that have trumpeted and hyped the agenda. Politicians that should have done their duty to the people they are supposed to serve, by strongly opposing the agenda; but failed to do so.

We might think, perhaps, of siting this zone in Cambridge. But Cambridge is too valuable as a tourist draw. Better, I think, to find a suitably sized parcel of fen not far away. I’m sure Trinity College will have acreage to let! Then, let the zero-carbonistas all go there to build their very own Shangri-La. As to those that have promoted or supported the agenda, but refuse to go, we’ll call them out as the hypocrites they are, and no human being will ever take any of them seriously again.

The purpose of the exercise, of course, is to find if a zero-carbon economy is sustainable, or not. To that end, we’ll require that the zone doesn’t emit any more CO2 than comes in. And though we’ll allow them to trade with people outside the bounds of their zone, we’ll require the zone as a whole to be economically self-sufficient. They have to show that a zero-carbon economy can survive and prosper without subsidies, grants, or gifts of money or goods from outside – including from government. (Especially from government!)

All this having been set up, we’ll leave them there for – say – fifty years. By then, the planet itself will probably have shown us that their accusations about human CO2 emissions causing catastrophe were pure crapola. Either that, or their sustainability experiment will have ended in failure; a failure which would both prove them wrong and serve them right, and which all human beings worth the name would greet with cries of “good riddance.”

The war we’re in

Now, let’s face it; we’re in a war. A war of a kind that, in England, hasn’t happened since the 17th century. Just as Charles I and James II sought to impose on the people the autocratic “divine right of kings,” so today an establishment cadre of anti-human politicians, bureaucrats, activists, academics, corporate bosses and other vested interests want to use the “climate change” scare to take dictatorial control over all of us. If you doubt that, look at this document from 2009: [[8]]. That one ticks all the post-modernist and anti-human boxes, too. And the organization that produced it, the “UK Energy Research Centre,” is still a major academic player in the “war on carbon.”

How do we defend ourselves against these enemies of humanity? We’ve tried arguing the science. That doesn’t work, because our enemies don’t care about either science or truth. Those, who think it worthwhile, might try forming an overtly climate realist political party, like the Forum voor Democratie in Holland. Though there are practical difficulties, like making sure such a party doesn’t degenerate into far-right nationalism or social conservatism. Civil disobedience is a third possibility. But that can only be a last resort.

No: for me, there is only one way forward. That is, to change hearts and minds. We need to create some climate change, for the better! To do this, I think we must seek to address three main audiences. First, the sizeable portion of the general population who, as polls show, aren’t convinced by the alarmist rhetoric, and aren’t willing to make sacrifices for a cause they don’t believe in. Second, academics at Cambridge and elsewhere, who are concerned that what their activist colleagues are doing is likely to alienate the public, and who want to avoid themselves being brought into disrepute as a result. Third, and probably most important in the short run, those few who have some degree of political influence, but are either new to politics, or have managed to remain uncorrupted by the system. And who are, therefore, willing to look at, and act on, the facts instead of toeing the establishment line.

Oppenheimer’s Razor

So, how do we create climate change, for the better, in hearts and minds? The first step, at any rate, is simple. It is to know who, and what, our enemies are.

Here’s a tool I use to separate the “sheep” – friends and neutrals – from the “goats” – enemies and likely enemies. I call it Oppenheimer’s Razor, after Franz Oppenheimer, the German Jewish sociologist who lived from 1864 to 1943. Here are some quotes from his master-work, The State, first published (in German) in 1908; English edition, 1922 [[9]].

· The State may be defined as an organisation of one class dominating over the other classes.

· There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one’s own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others.

· I propose in the following discussion to call one’s own labor and the equivalent exchange of one’s own labor for the labor of others, the “economic means” for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the “political means.”

· The industrial city is directly opposed to the state. As the state is the developed political means, so the industrial city is the developed economic means.

The blade of the razor is easily visible. To mis-quote George Orwell: Economic means good, political means bad. Even a beginning student of moral philosophy should be able to see, that those who strive always to use the economic means are civilized human beings; whereas those, that use the political means for their own profit, are crooks and villains. And that description applies to all those that take taxpayer money, and use it otherwise than for the benefit of those taxpayers. Such a student should also be able to see, that societies based on the political means rather than the economic means cannot be sustainable in the long term.

But, with the hindsight of more than a century, we can see that Oppenheimer’s optimism, in foreseeing swift victory of the economic means over the political, was premature. For, even in republics and democracies, the state is very much still there. In fact, its size, its power and its overreach have expanded hugely, to the detriment of all of us. And the users of the political means today do far more, and far worse, things to us than merely feathering their own nests. They have agendas and ideologies, that they want to force on all of us, whether we like them or not. And to those ends, they promote, make, support and enforce bad laws.

Bad laws, as Edmund Burke told us 250 years ago this year, are the worst sort of tyranny. You can see the truth of this, by looking at the atrocities committed by fascist and communist governments in the 20th century. But those that promote the zero-carbon agenda today seek to go further than Hitler or Stalin did. They aim at no less than the liquidation of Western industrial civilization, and of everything we human beings have, so laboriously, done to build it up over the last two centuries and more. Contrary to greens’ stated objectives of conserving species habitats, they aim to destroy our habitat, and our rights and freedoms as civilized human beings.

What is to be done?

Just as they were for him, these words of Lenin – no less! – are for us a key question. As I said earlier, arguing the science won’t work. Though I do think it’s valuable to have a repository of the best scientific arguments against the green agenda in general, and the zero-carbon agenda in particular. But arguing the wider case, including the economic and moral aspects, I think may well be more productive. For most people don’t like being ripped off. Nor do they enjoy being on the wrong end of injustice.

There has already been for many years a rising tide of discontent, in the UK at least, against the political class and their cronies. Shown, for example, by the Brexit vote, and people’s reactions to the subsequent fiasco. I’ve no reason to believe this tide doesn’t exist also in the USA and other places too. So, what will happen, as more and more people become aware of the lies and misconduct by the promoters of the green agenda? Of their arrogance, callousness, recklessness and hypocrisy? Of their failure to observe due process, and their trashing of our rights such as presumption of innocence? I expect that people will come more and more to feel contempt, not just for specific politicians and their hangers-on, but for politics as a whole, as it’s practiced today; and for all those that practice it.

Polls tell us that most people really don’t bother much, if at all, about the climate change issue. But as the restrictions on our lives, made in the name of combating climate change, become tighter and more and more onerous, I think there will come a tipping point. At which, many people will come to see the green activists, and those that have promoted and supported them, as the criminals they are.

Ask yourselves: Is it not our right to defend our economy, and the business and industry which has given us so much, against those that want to trash it? And is it not the duty of every human being worth the name, to do what we can to Save Our Civilization?

Should we not respond to our enemies’ “Absolute Zero” with our own Absolute Zero? A studied and contemptuous rejection of political arrogance, selfishness, callousness, recklessness, dishonesty and hypocrisy? And of all those, that use and have used them? Moreover, do not those that have sought to swing a wrecking ball through our human civilization deserve in return to be expelled from our civilization, and denied all its benefits?

The Re-Enlightenment

But to win a war like this, we’ll need something more. We need positives that people can hang on to, and say “yes, I’m with that.” And we have one right there, in our past: The Enlightenment! Is it not time to get the ideas and values that fuelled that revolutionary period in our history, on both sides of the pond, out of the cupboard, dust them off, and polish them up? Is it not time to spark a Re-Enlightenment? Is it not time to re-introduce these ideas into the common parlance of ordinary people? As I listed them earlier: Reason. Science. Freedom of thought and rational enquiry. Religious and doctrinal tolerance. The idea that there is a moral core common to all humanity. Natural rights, and recognition of the worth and dignity of the individual. The rule of law and justice. Government for the benefit of the governed; that is, for the benefit of all the governed, real criminals excepted. A positive view of human progress, and a rational optimism for the future.

We need to re-activate some deeper ideas, too. That we human beings are special. That the Earth is our planet. And that it is our nature to build the best civilizations – plural – we possibly can. For in order to flourish, human beings need an environment of diversity; in which every individual has free choice among many options. That is why good people must utterly oppose any idea of a world government, and reject all attempts towards creating such a thing, like the United Nations and the European Union.

We also need a more concrete and down-to-earth vision for the future, which ordinary people can easily buy into. That future, I think, must be one in which Franz Oppenheimer’s economic means will have superseded, and entirely replaced, the political means as the defining way in which we human beings do things. The future, I foresee, will be one of trade-trade, not raid-raid. Peace, justice and personal responsibility; not wars, bad laws and “sovereign immunity.”

Is it not through our economic activities, that we human beings take control of our environment, and so fulfil our nature? And – monkeys grooming each other notwithstanding – are not business and trade the characteristics which separate us from mere animals? No other species, to my knowledge, has developed a system which allows diverse individuals each to develop their own skills, do what they can for others, and reap in return the rewards they have earned. So, let’s go at it!

Let’s Change the Climate!

Our enemies are right in one thing. Substantial transformations are necessary, to take us human beings and our civilization beyond the failed political system under which we all suffer today. But in a totally opposite direction from what our enemies seek, of course.

The essence of the change I am looking for is something like the humanism of the Renaissance. Which, at the same time, looked back to ancient Greece and Rome, and forward to new developments, spurred on by the technologies of the time, like new aids to navigation. Those humanists were the progressives of their times. So am I; and so, I hope, are you!

Let’s look back to the Enlightenment, and at the same time forward to a better future. Let the climate change begin!


[[1]] https://www.alumni.cam.ac.uk/magazine/cam-77 (“The force is not with you,” page 13)

[[2]] https://www.alumni.cam.ac.uk/magazine/cam-88

[[3]] https://www.britannica.com/topic/postmodernism-philosophy/Postmodernism-and-relativism

[[4]] https://ukfires.org/absolute-zero/

[[5]] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bbc-freezes-out-climate-sceptics-fqhqmrfs6

[[6]] https://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/guidelines/impartiality

[[7]] https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20190701152341/https://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/meetings/committees/ilgra/pppa.htm

[[8]] https://ukerc.rl.ac.uk/UCAT/PUBLICATIONS/Personal_Carbon_Budgeting_-_What_people_need_to_know.pdf

[[9]] http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/51544

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144 thoughts on “On Cambridge University, post-modernism, climate change, Oppenheimer’s Razor, and the Re-Enlightenment

    • I wholeheartedly agree with you. With a sufficient number of people like Neil Lock, there is hope for humanity against he forces of evil.

      • HEAR HEAR! A particularly enlightened viewpoint! Well done and good luck to us all in the ongoing “future wars”…

    • Fully agree! A distillation of ‘Economic means vs Government means’ and ‘Antihumanism vs Enlightenment’ can be both life lessons to pass on the next generation as well as powerful tools of persuasion! Neil Lock has provided a masterpiece of social discourse suasion!

      • All UK airports closed, and all freight shipping stopped by 2049?

        That make their objective very clear. Total shut down of the current system of production and distribution and massive extrmination of the vast majority of the human race.

        At least we’ve got that clear now.

      • Maybe it’s time we started dismissing out of hand the hysteria coming from academia, eh? Especially when there’s no evidence the “problem” even exists.

        They cannot dictate our future society unless we willingly hand the power over to them, wholesale.

        That goes double for the UN.

        • Agreed – we need to start disassembling our society. And we should start by closing the doors of Cambridge. They have had a good run and have done a few good things but their time has come — Goodbye!

    • Agreed! One of the best I’ve read. Nail hit squarely upside the head. Thank you Neil Lock. But as the wonderful Gil Scott Heron observed, this revolution will NOT be televised (at least, not on the BBC).

  1. Very good post. So much food for thought.

    Re: “ Set up a zone, in which those committed to the zero-carbon project can indulge their fantasy without harming anyone else.“. This experiment has already been done, and is on-going. The Amish. So you don’t need to take a fen off Trinity College, all you need to do is to pick up a phone and call the Amish to ask them all about their experiment. That one phone call will tell you everything you need to know.

      • The Amish do indeed have cell phones. They were approved on the basis that they do not bring wires into the home.

        The Old Order Mennonites on the other hand, view the intrusion as more important than the wires. They have telephones but in a box at the end of the drive by the road. They eschew cell phones.

        It is not good, of course, to lump all Amish or Mennonites into two boxes. There are many interpretations. But that description of the conversations is from a Amish man interviewed by an anthropologist friend of mine.

        • Crispin in Waterloo

          I wouldn’t mind if they just said, “I don’t like that modern sh!t”. But they don’t, they couch it in religious terms.

          I’m a Glaswegian, perhaps only second to the Irish in terms of enduring irrational religious bigotry in our modern western culture.

          Religion, in my limited experience, is believable, not fanatical.

          Not that I believe it, but nor do I condemn others for doing so.

          I have the God given ability to be cynical about God. 🙂

          • Likewise, God has a mortal-given right to be cynical about his children.😉
            IMHO religion cannot spiritually connect one to the architect/creator as effectively as sheer gratitude for life itself, coupled with intrinsic joy gained through the support of others.

          • Crispin in Waterloo, not in Glasgow: Awright big man?
            English is not my mother language, and when inquiring about being a Glaswegian, I just watched an amusing short youtube video teaching some phrases like I used above.

            But to the point of my comment, I would like to add that I am fine with the believable part of religion; it’s precisely the fanatical, dark side that makes it harmful.
            Love the “God-given ability to be cynical about God”!

      • https://amishamerica.com/do-amish-use-telephones/

        The answer is sort of yes. They try not to use phones, but found they had to. The word “sustainability” seems to me to be relevant. An Amish-like existence is not sustainable, because the phones they need can’t be made. And it’s not just phones of course. The new mantra is “sustainability”, so how will that work out??

    • Mike Jonas, many thanks. I had wanted to compare my thought experiment, not with the Amish, but with the 1820s failed socialist commune at New Harmony, Indiana. But space, alas, prevented that.

    • You are right that the Amish are a good example of this type of thinking,

      BUT

      No Amish has ever told me that I have to change, tried to tell me what to think, tried to tell me what I can or can not say or believe.

      Go in peace Amish. But watch out for the greens

    • Another point: that which works on a small scale is not guaranteed to work on a large scale. The Amish may be able to survive, but try replicating that environment for billions of people. It won’t work. A small, enclosed “sustainable” area for the elites to live in might work, but that is no guarantee it will work for the larger population. The dynamics of small communities is much different than large communities.

      • The Amish and Mennonites are scattered, rural families who live the 19th-century economic model of “subsistence farming.” The wider society evolved out of this very quickly when the population moved to growing cities in search of higher-paying industrial jobs. Today only 2% of the US people make a living farming. That’s not gonna change. The very skill set is lost and there is NO ONE who wants to live like it’s still 1800 except a few freaks. Think Ted Kazynski’s cabin. This paradigm of “sustainability” is a non-starter.

        BTW, can someone please show examples of the “non-sustainability” of the current order? Forgive me, but so far I really can’t see evidence of an actual PROBLEM!

      • Once we get these elitists and Green goofs into their reservations (Antarctica should be nice and cool for them), please take away their cellphones. I don’t want to be hearing that, “It’s gone up close to -50C and it’s only 12 more years til all the ice is gone and the crops are withering from the drought and the fire risk is unprecedented and there’s no coral to be seen anywhere or polar bears either”!

    • I was going to offer Van Diemen’s Land (now known as Tasmania), since it has a small population that is so ignorant that it would probably welcome being experimented on.

    • Don’t be surprised if no Amish answer the phone. Don’t think that’s in their kit.

  2. An excellent article. It is good to see so much sensible opposition to the climate scam and all those evil people promoting and profiting from it.

  3. Neil, As a parallel to your CV but at Oxford in the early 70’s, my reading of the real world in the 21st century is that anyone who doesn’t actually have a scientific understanding of the real, physical world that we live in will fail to do too much harm. Maslov’s hierarchy of needs means that as soon as folk feel that going is getting tough they will react to move in the opposite direction. (assuming we continue to live in a free, first past the post democracy).

    False futures will fail. When the radiators are cold in mid winter folk will react so governments would never allow it to happen (in a democracy). It’ll be hard reality, not pseudo green intellectual posturing, that will win the day.

    The young have always been idealistic. I was until I was told we were heading for an ice age and that oil would run out in the mid 70’s and there will be mass starvation, by Erlich and his ilk. Once you’ve started on the fantasy journey and it doesn’t happen, and you have critical faculties, the facile message of the doomsters becomes obvious.

    Because of the likes of Greta Thunderbird and her green crapology, in 15 years time, many of her current acolites will realise what trash has been spoken as they’ll all still be here and the end on the world won’t have happened.

    In the meantime we need to keep the scientific sceptic voice loud and clear. And question the economic viability of spending tax payers money on fantasy projects.

    • FFS….what appreciation of science does the current Prime Minister of the UK have?

      He’s a journalist. What’s more, one inclined to flip his opinions depending on which direction the wind blows.

      Nor do I have as much respect for scientists as they demand.

      • That’s my point (as long as we remain a democracy). He flips with the wind. When the wind blows cold he’ll move the other way. proper democracy is our saviour.

    • I see it somewhat differently. Hypocrisy is supreme in the political class. Their position of power gives them the right to rob from producers. In Australia, we have Canberra. It is a bubble; very little economic activity, dominantly political. Those in the bubble only compare themselves with the others in the bubble and greed is overwhelming. EU has the same sort of bubble with Brussels. US has Washington, DC. Those in the bubble overwhelmingly favour socialist politicians as they fuel the bubble. Look how Trump is despised by the DC bubble. Canberra detests conservative governments; although the distinction in Australia is blurred.

      So those in power happily keep taking until the whole economy collapses. Those in economic activity look increasingly like slaves – working their entire lives for the wellbeing of those in power.

      JoNova’s blog has an interesting comment on the coronavirus in Iran:
      http://joannenova.com.au/2020/02/iran-coronavirus-crisis-the-new-epicentre-of-the-world-australia-still-importing-deadly-disease/#comments

      2- The regime views everything from a security lens. Consequently, regime mouthpieces have already stated that the ‘enemy’ will seize upon any chance to bring the country to a standstill in turn leading to the toppling of a an extremely hated and weakened theocracy. The fascisti are extremely paranoid at this stage. This means that the mullahcracy is committed to the exact opposite of what the rest of the world is doing. As i stated in my original post, they have no intention of controlling it. As the architect in Matrix put it ‘there are levels of survival we are prepared to accept’. The population is expendable.

      This is where a nation ends up when politics is driven by a religious faith and CAGW has become a powerful religion with most in the political class benefitting from it.

    • Spot on -Realpolitik will trump ideology in virtually all cases and its timescale is generally a function of the prevailing political system. So far we have had a vast amount of noise from a small minority who are either incapable (because they don’t possess the necessary scientific enquiry) or deliberately evasive (because they know the answer is unacceptable)about the true implications.
      Once the real cost starts to be felt you will see civil disruption on a scale never seen before-witnesss the HGC protests against the fuel duty escalator [some years] ago-the UK was nearly at a standstill within days.
      Unfortunately there will be damage getting there but thats unavoidable.
      As regards one’s alma mater ,mine is LSE which also regularly begs me for money-myself and other oe ex pupils have all concluded it is unrecognisable from the hot bed of debate & ideas of the 1970’s and in many ways as betrayed its founding ideals-I feel an extended missive to he Director coming on.

    • “The young have always been idealistic. I was until I was told we were heading for an ice age and that oil would run out in the mid 70’s and there will be mass starvation, by Erlich and his ilk. Once you’ve started on the fantasy journey and it doesn’t happen, and you have critical faculties, the facile message of the doomsters becomes obvious.”

      That’s exactly right. Those of us old enough to have lived through the “Ice Age Cometh” predictions of the 1970’s, that didn’t pan out, have seen this erroneious human-caused climate change doomsterism before.

      It didn’t happen then, and there is no physical indication of it happening now. It’s only happening in the minds of the alarmists.

  4. Perhaps this is why we should brand climate alarmism as “climate fraud”? Perhaps this is why we need to lay fraud charges against those who benefit most and cannot prove that they moneys they receive have any benefit whatsoever? Perhaps we need to bombard politicians with demands to show us that they have done due diligence about the public moneys the allocated to “climate engineering”?

    • Agreed. Marxism, Deconstructionism, Post Modernism…..all say that “truth” only exists in service to a political system. But they except themselves.

      The Post Modern Philosopher said, “There is no object truth. No true reality. Watch, I’ll show you…..” as he stepped off the edge of the cliff and fell to his death.

      The skeptical observer then said, “Oops! I quess reality can be harsh to those who deny it. Harsh reality not only barks, it bites.”

      Think of how reality bit the millions who were subjected to Marxist-Leninism in the Stalinist Soviet Union…… Now, the truth of Marxism is so well demonstrated by history that only people insulated from the consequences of reality can still believe in it (ie., academics and idealistic adolescents……oh, and the many in the Post-Modern Democrat Party who march behind Bernie.)

  5. Just skimmed through, have to read it more methodically.
    About the same time at the University of London in the early 1970’s I got MSc in a brunch of applied physics, and did a year of part time (had to work for living) PhD research but left without ever finishing. Now the annex of then the college is integrated in a world-class university with a ‘mission to benefit society’ through excellence in science, engineering and medicine and at the same time it is home of the Grantham Institute, a notable contradiction in terms.

    • By far and away the most lucid and exposing Essay on the Precautionary Principle was penned by Dr Michael Crichton and placed as an Appendix to his book State of Fear. Sixteen years on since its publication, Dr Crichton’s explanation of why the PP dictates we ignore the PP is still the standard we should point to… IMO.

      Dr Crichton wrote of the PP:
      “The “precautionary principle,” properly applied, forbids the precautionary principle. It is self-contradictory. The precautionary principle therefore cannot be spoken of in terms that are too harsh.”
      http://www.michaelcrichton.com/state-of-fear-authors-message/

      Even the writer here, Neil Lock, had a shorter essay more focused on the PP which was posted here at WUWT 2 years ago, much of which he repeats in this longer essay.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/01/22/on-the-precautionary-principle/

      • People have always misused the precautionary principle for their own ends to stop others doing something of which they disapprove.
        An extreme example of the principle would be to make everyone walk round in Faraday cages to avoid the risk of lightning strike. Although come to think of it, a car does act as a Faraday cage.

      • Agreed. Marxism, Deconstructionism, Post Modernism…..all say that “truth” only exists in service to a political system. But they except themselves.

        The Post Modern Philosopher said, “There is no object truth. No true reality. Watch, I’ll show you…..” as he stepped off the edge of the cliff and fell to his death.

        The skeptical observer then said, “Oops! I quess reality can be harsh to those who deny it. Harsh reality not only barks, it bites.”

        Think of how reality bit the millions who were subjected to Marxist-Leninism in the Stalinist Soviet Union…… Now, the truth of Marxism is so well demonstrated by history that only people insulated from the consequences of reality can still believe in it (ie., academics and idealistic adolescents……oh, and the many in the Post-Modern Democrat Party who march behind Bernie.)

  6. A great read and worthy saving.
    One thing I absolutely agree with and that is ‘We are in a War’ yet many of us here think we can win arguments and thereby change attitudes. Against postmodernism that is impossible.
    We are too soft on the opposition….

    • It does seem difficult to conceive of one “winning” an argument when in the postmodern epistemology the notion of objective truth has been abandoned doesn’t it?

      • Absobloodylutely, and to take a serious turn – postmodernism is destroying the world that millions over the last 300 years have fought for and by their intellectual efforts built our law, science, freedoms, philosophy and moral order…All of which are being destroyed.

        • As a student of history I have many times read of the collapse of empires. They generally seem to last about 300 – 500 years. They collapse due to a combination of moral/political degradation and barbarians at the gate. Western civilization seems to fit the bill perfectly except that our barbarians are internal. At 73 I thank God I will not be around to see the end but I fear for my grand kids. (whose parents vote green)

  7. The ‘first question’ should always be ‘ What is the mechanism by which the addition of CO2 in the atmosphere can cause significant warming of the planet?’ There is no scientifically valid answer.
    The Precautionary Principle can only be honestly used when there is a valid threat.
    When pro-AGW (or ACC) activists stop comparing historic data with modern electronic data, we could maybe have an objective debate.

  8. Some thoughts:

    If mankind had developed under a Postmodern paradigm, we would all still be swing from the trees of the African savanna (if our species yet survived).
    The whole PM idea of ‘diversity’ is bankrupt because it not only does not recognize the primacy of freedom of speech, it vilifies it.
    The foolish children out rioting in the streets against capitalism need to explain how socialism can finance the social welfare programs they yearn for. What I have seen is that socialist societies go down the tubes as soon as they have cannibalized the capital they inherited.

  9. I’ve seen people fly into a sputtering rage at the mere mention of the name of Jordan Peterson. The left hates him a lot. link

    It’s astounding how many people are willing to listen to Peterson’s hours long psychology lectures. He provides answers to the SJW post-modern BS.

    I don’t know who first made the observation, but the root of hatred is fear. The left fears Jordan Peterson more than they fear anything else. That’s a good clue about the direction we should be taking.

  10. Thank you for a wonderful precis of the current crisis we face. It covers all the bases well, and is a well thought out summary and almost solution. It encompasses many of my own thoughts, but much more eloquently than I could manage. Bookmarked for future reference and use in discussions.

    I’m a bit disappointed that the mechanism of the proposed re-enlightenment is not described, because this is something that eludes me. I will accept that this is a very good start to that discussion however.

    Bravo!

    • Thank you, Zig Zag Wanderer. To go into more detail about how the Re-Enlightenment could be made to happen is, indeed, on my to-do list. But it is some way from the top. One of the great advantages of a forum like WUWT is that there are people with a huge range of diverse skills. There are almost certainly people here who are far better at that level of practical organization than I am. So, I’ve put this idea out there: and he who wishes to run with it, let him run.

  11. The Coronavirus seems to have caused a pause in the CO2 will destroy the planet in 12 years fraud. This imagined crisis being an outcome of the world communities unwillingness to quadruple the $trillions being spend on wind and solar, an unworkable solution to a non-existent problem. when the new crisis passes it will be interesting to see how the old one plays out.

    • And Tom Steyer just retired from the primaries with zero, that is, ZIP! delegates to show for his $200 million. Running on changing the weather is a turkey. Most people just aren’t that gullible. Remember, Dems, for most of us Priority #17 out of 20! And toenail fungus is #16. Hence, coronavirus panic hype.
      Right on time . . .

  12. This “post modern” stuff sounds like Nietzsche: “There is no truth, only interpretations” and “God is dead”, a sinister variation of the serpent’s speech to Eve.

  13. Excellent post but you are preaching to the converted here. This (somehow!) needs to find its way into the MSM.

    • I agree it needs to find its way to the MSM, but I’m glad he is publishing here, too.

      An excellent article, btw.

  14. Excellent. Thank you.

    There is only one question to be asked, which you address far better than I can, but here goes.

    No one in the course of human history has demonstrated by empirical, repeatable, scientific means that atmospheric CO2 causes the planet to warm.

    Berkeley Earth were the last to try, and they failed.

    How do I know they failed? Other than criticisms levelled at the study by credible scientists, not all of them sceptics – not one single politician across the (democratic) planet has presented the study to persuade their voters that climate change is a problem.

    The irrefutable fact remains, no one has observed this phenomenon in action. It therefore does not, so far, exist.

    No matter how deep into an argument with an alarmist ‘scientist’ one gets, this is the start, and end point for every sceptic.

    All scientific theories expressed on CC’s detrimental effect I have ever read rely on the single principle that this unproven hypothesis, is proven. Any study including that assumption, evident early in the narrative in my experience (alarmists simply can’t resist the temptation to express it as fact) should be immediately tossed in the bin.

    My expertise is criminal law. I was a Policeman. Surprisingly, we were rather well trained in Law. Part of our day to day activities was to present our evidence in court, examined by a Judge, a Defence Lawyer, and frequently a Jury. We were almost solely responsible for the determination of an individual’s liberty.

    Unlike most professions I can think of, every time we stepped into the witness box we were on trial as much as the accused was. The difference is, they did it a few times in their life, we did it weekly.

    How many people in the civilised world stand up in a court once a week (frequently more often in my case) and test their right to continued employment under rigorous examination? I am therefore probably better acquainted with the rules of evidence than most scientists. How many of them could stand in an open public court and, under threat of losing their job, home and probably family, once a week, defend their scientific position?

    This isn’t, however, a criticism of science or the scientific method. It’s a criticism of those who hide behind the scientific method, and of those scientists who don’t challenge those who do.

    Climate science orthodoxy relies on, so far, one thing alone; circumstantial evidence, nothing more.

    No matter how it’s dressed up, no one has seen the fatal shot being fired by the accused. To convict a criminal based on circumstantial evidence is extraordinarily difficult. The evidence must be utterly overwhelming, with no credible defence.

    In the case of climate change, there may well be overwhelming circumstantial evidence to convict CO2 of the crime accused, however, there is a credible and reasonable defence, as I have outlined, which overpowers that which any prosecutor can bring to bear.

    And I can say with complete confidence that, democratic countries which adopted British style criminal law have a far more sophisticated and robust analytical process than 21st Century Science. The editor of the Lancet, amongst others, has told us that up to 50% of scientific papers are non repeatable.

    Were the Police in any respectable, democratic country as incompetent as the scientific community, your community would be totally anarchic.

    And I say that whilst recognising there are innumerable, honest scientists in our midst.

    At which point, I’ll finish by saying that the loss of Freeman Dyson is humanity’s loss. Nothing to do with the climate debate. The man is a loss to all free thinkers who want to push the boundaries of intellectual adventure. (Was his Christian name accidentally prophetic and encouraging?)

    And I include therein, many climate alarmists who consider honest debate more important than the subject.

    Goodnight Freeman Dyson, wherever you are, we shall all meet one day.

    • Oh dear. Freeman Dyson obit

      His Heretical Thoughts About Science and Society should be compulsory reading for anyone who pretends to have an intellect. link It’s right up there with Bertrand Russell’s Unpopular Essays.

      • It’s probably a good idea to cover all your bases. The practice of the “Golden Rule” will get you there.

    • HotScot,
      As most sales people know, you don’t sell the steak, you sell the sizzle. Truthful facts are the steak, feeling good about about yourself by recanting the mantra to others is the sizzle. You will never convince the majority of people with facts, most don’t know enough to understand the facts. It is much easier for them to just believe than to take the time to learn.
      So, until the population sees the benefit of a warmer Earth, they will not go there. We should be emphasizing the benefits of warming and how our lives are so much better this way. That is something to sizzle about.

    • “All scientific theories expressed on CC’s detrimental effect I have ever read rely on the single principle that this unproven hypothesis, is proven.”

      That’s right. There is no evidence of human-caused climate change but every alarmist study done on the Earth’s climate assumes it is real and happening now. With absolutely no evidence to support such a position. All their predictions are unsubstantiated speculation.

      Perhaps we will dig into this a little deeper after the November presidential elections. According to Dr. Happer, Trump wants a public discussion of the temperature record, and Trump wants to be the moderator!

      Apparently Trump wants to avoid discussing the issue as much as possible before November for political reasons.

      https://www.eenews.net/stories/1062466435

      Trump wants prime-time climate science challenge — Happer
      Scott Waldman, E&E News reporter Climatewire: Friday, February 28, 2020

      So maybe we will get our Red Team/Blue Team after all.

  15. When the academic disease of mistaking mere idea for reality has been firmly entrenched for an entire generation, the prospect of any genuine “re-elightenment” of minds appears to be dim. Especially in double-digit IQs that have been duped into thinking that their watered-down university degrees make them members of the intellectual elite. I fear that the only thing that will dissuade them now from their lock-step march toward post-modern totalitarianism is events in nature itself, such as consecutive decades of dramatic cooling. Alas, we can’t predict how far away we may be from such an inevitable episode.

    • Why wait for cooling? To post-modern/lit-crit folks, 1sky1, the corona virus outbreak is equally a fantasy.

      Given the truth of post-modern skepticism, viruses are a cultural manifestation. All those folks subscribe to a culture that has them merely believing themselves into sickness and death.

      Thus-wise, they’d have to agree.

  16. The media and political hype in the western world is now so intense that, I believe the war is lost unless the world experiences a decades long cooling trend. Even then it may be too late. Sorry to be so gloomy.

  17. This has to be one of the most articulate, yet concise and easy to read summaries of the whole global warming scam I have ever come across. Excellent. Thank you Neil. Read every word.

  18. I like Neil Lock , your guest blogger. Great to give him a platform, Anthony. How right he is – and how positive and hopeful and optimistic and intelligent in his attitude to life. Exactly like those great philosophers and thinkers in late 18th century Europe who made the foundation to the world as we know it to day. Science, reason, humanism, progress were the basis for the European Enlightenment – which was the real reason why all peoples and societies in the world wanted to emulate them.

    Counter-enlightenment has happened, and is happening, since then. But, how right you are, Neil Lock : let us consciously and courageously work for re-enlightenment. That is surely the most important, pressing problem in the world today. The climate change nonsense is just one aspect of it. Post-modern attacks on Enlightenment are happening on many fronts

  19. Thank you, Neil, for providing a thought provoking article and a forum for a discussion of solutions to this anti-human, anti-science and pro-nihilistic farce. Post-modernism, or neo-Marxism if you prefer, is nothing more than a religious cult that has become widespread among our ruling elites due primarily to the numerous ways it concentrates power in the hands of the few and leaves the vast majority so poorly educated they have trouble arguing their way out of a wet paper bag. The professors and proponents of this cult need to be held accountable for the destruction they are wreaking in our educational systems; maybe they should be reimbursing the students who graduate yet are unemployable due lack of thinking skills!
    Perhaps post-modernism should be relegated to religious study programs along with communism and other unworkable thought systems. It relies on the greed and envy of the lazy and ill-informed and divides our societies for the benefit of the rulers alone.

  20. Because universities, like everything else that humans do, are run by people, they are subject to the same flaws that are within people, just like everywhere else people’s flaws pop up.

    Some people think science is somehow ‘immune’ from people’s flaws; it is perhaps slightly more immune, mostly because of a heavy reliance on empirical replication, but it’s certainly not completely immune from all the flaws that are within human beings, because it is human beings that practice it.

    The point is, both universities and science need democratic processes to be in operation in order to function more effectively. Relying on the good of human nature, or trusting authority, or allowing people to operate without any regulation or oversight etc etc, won’t work. It never has.

  21. An excellent, if a bit long, essay.

    One key point the writer should have focused some attention on IMO is his discussion of the “élites” (Since our rhetoric here is based in english language, the french form with the accented e is unnecessary. Simply “elites” is correct in english, but I digress.) is the psychological-rationalization phenomenon of Noble Cause Corruption (NCC).

    NCC, which itself is a more virulent type of virtue signaling, is the basis for much of what we see happening in US politicians who are supposed to work for their constituents and remain within the confines of their oath of office. NCC-afflicted politicians corrupt their efforts to other purposes that they know are dishonest, against their sworn oath, and/or even illegal, but then hide behind the Noble Cause of climate alarmism justification. NCC is also justified by the intellectually dishonest application of relative moralism arising out of post-modernism.

    In the US during the previous administration, President Obama undertook his action on the internal agreement called the Paris Climate Agreement as non-treaty and refused to submit it to the US Senate for ratification, even though it was clearly a treaty. Only the intellectually dishonest claimed it was not a treaty. In doing so he was violating the US Constitutional requirement to follow the Constitution he had sworn to uphold.
    Obama acted in a similar fashion on the related Clean Power Plan, a complex set of EPA regulations which went far beyond any authority granted to the Executive Branch by the US Congress. The CPP was Obama’s go-it-alone attempt to force the States to do the Federal government’s bidding that he’d couldn’t get Congress to go along with; this was a bright and clear violation of the Separation of Powers doctrine in the US Constitution. It was a violation which a 5-4 majority of the US Supreme Court placed an injunction against EPA’s CPP implementation in 2016 whilst the various lawsuits arising from it worked their way through the many years long process. Of course President Trump made moot for the US the Paris Agreement and Obama’s CPP.
    My point being here is to highlight that President Obama undertook these “climate” actions in 2015 and 2016 contrary to his Oath of Office under the guise of NCC.
    I’m sure other countries have similar examples of their leaders engaging in NCC behaviors of which I am not as familiar with.

    I should also note that this kind of NCC behavior is not new in the history of Western democracies. But what is new, that is now allowing this NCC to run rampant is the adoption of NCC by much of the media — the newspapers and television broadcast journalists. Journalism has been abandoned and corrupted wholesale for the self-believed Climate Noble Cause. The confluence now of both the politicians undertaking NCC and the majority of the media in failing to do their journalistic due diligence is what has brought us to the shameful time in history.

    • To clarify why the Party Agreement was most clearly a treaty and not simply a non-binding agreement was not the non-binding INDC’s.
      It was a treaty because of the fact Obama illegally and unconstitutionally diverted $3 Billion of Congressionally appropriated funds from the Department of State international aid/reliefs funds and sent it directly to the UN’s Climate Aid fund as a prescribed national government payment under the Paris agreement. That action by Obama of sending appropriated funds made the Paris Agreement in fact a treaty. Thus he violated his oath of office to adhere to the US Constitution, an impeachable high crime offense if there ever were.

      • Yeah but he is “articulate and bright and clean and a nice looking guy” ( per Joe Biden in 2007) so it must be OK.

          • Yeah, and Joe is getting worse over time. Trump thinks Joe belongs in a Rest Home.

            I don’t think Biden is that far gone, but he certainly is not up to the job of being president. He can barely hold a rational conversation.

            Super Tuesday will probably make or break Biden. I think a lot of people in South Carolina voted for him because all the alternatives were such poor candidates and Biden is the most main-stream of them all, which just means he is a *little* less radical that the others..

  22. Great post! It seems that major institutions of the UK are still producing people with an independent and critical mindset. Looking at the current climate scam we feel so frustrated. People obviously had thoughts where are the intellectuals of Oxford and Cambridge who previously showed scientific directions to the world? Why they are not taking active roles to expose the scam? People desperately need those bright minds to step forward. Intelligent people also have some social responsibility.

    • Mark, the easy answer to why the current generation of intellectuals aren’t doing anything to expose the scam is “he who pays the piper calls the tune.” What the political class funds, the political class controls.

      The reason why I addressed non-compromised academics as one of my target audiences for this essay is that, if I read things right, they will soon be in a cleft stick. If they don’t start to oppose the scam, they will lose reputation with the general public, which ultimately could mean end of career. If they do, they will be in the same kind of danger as the Peter Ridds, Susan Crockfords and their kind, who speak up for the truth in their own fields of expertise. Morally, an easy decision; but practically, a very hard one.

      • Better to fight defiantly on your feet than die a soul crushing death, cringing and begging on your knees……

  23. You’ve answered your own question. Psychopaths are in charge, and organised. Time to proscribe Common Purpose.

  24. Notice that post-modern academics, and their ilk, never apply their skepticism to their own beliefs.

    If everything is just cultural text, none of it at all can possibly be objective, then post-modernist exegetical elaboration is also just cultural text.

    The assertions of post-modernism, applied to post-modernism itself, make post-modernism have no significance outside of the culture that produced it — or beyond the people that believe it.

    So, if post-modernism is true, then post-modernism itself has no truth-content.

    If post-modernism has no truth content, then it’s false. If post-modernism is true, then it’s false. The deep logic of the modern intellectual.

    If post-modernism is false (which both the indifference of physical reality and the explanatory power of science demonstrate every day), then post-modernism is false.

    So, if postmodernism is true then it’s false and if it’s false then it’s false.

    That’s the quality of logic embraced by much of the Humanities these days.

    • It’s like the Free Will debate. Whether we have FreeWill to make our own decisions
      or
      some Divine Being has already ordained all that will happen to us and every decision we make is already set by that Divine masterplan, so you’re not free to decide anything and thnking you do is just an illusion (The Matrix played this theme quite well).

      Logic then says we must conclude that we have Free Will.
      And by logic, post-modernism is also false.

      Those are the only logically consistent conclusions.

      • That would be the “divine” beings, lower-case “d”, or mortal gods. The capital “D” declares that we have freewill, but limited causal capacity in a matter construct. The rest is religion or behavioral protocol, a set of absolute rules (universal “ethics”) that form a basis for testing and selecting individuals with a principled-alignment.

    • Despite the apparent “indifference of physical reality” and “explanatory power of science” you can’t rule out the possibility that the absolute reverse of physical reality, i.e., perfect law, is in fact “reality”. In other words, physical reality could be a relative mental standpoint which cancels itself out when fully understood. But of course there would be no physical way to “prove” that is the case. It would remain as an entirely metaphysical concept.
      Thus, post modernism is apparently some kind of religion. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul”. Psalms

    • Great point, Pat! Unfortunately sociopaths and psychopaths have little concern for truth, logic, reality or their fellow humans. We see this daily in the rolls of Gang Green and Pantifa and it peers out frequently from the hallowed halls of our government! The photo of Peter Strzok testifying before Congress seems to show a socio/psychopathic personality squirming in the spot lights. To such all others are NPCs or cardboard cutouts; they care as little for the common man as they do a worm. Useful if they’re going fishing; otherwise just step on it!

  25. A truly great article!
    “ Absolute Zero” reads like a press release from Greta Thunberg.
    It has been pointed out that the post is preaching to the converted.
    The message has to be got into the MSM as hard as that is.
    I write letters to the Editor of my local Australian newspaper regularly.
    Some get published and some don’t.
    However I do see some movement in public opinion now that the rubber is hitting the road and the politicians and some business leaders are calling for net zero emissions by 2050 with no indication of cost over 30 years.
    The Business Council of Australia has just released a Scoping Paper claiming the cost to Australia will be A$22 billion a year till 2050 with the world cost being $440 billion a year.
    Neither figure is within the ballpark of the true cost.
    The public is getting a touch nervous.
    Perhaps they will be called on individually to pay for all of this.

  26. Neil Lock, thank you for this excellent compendium of the issues and contradictions in the climate debate. And especially for defining many of the seldom asked questions.
    I shall used this article as an opener for those folks I think should know better, but who just go along with the propaganda without doing any critical thinking.

  27. Well …. not to be the contrarian, but unless you believe in some sort of higher power, higher intelligence that transcends human comprehension, then what post modernism really seems to be defining is the law of the jungle. There is no absolute moral other than what’s good for me is all that matters. Industry, technology, etc is only useful if it benefit me. Rape, murder lies are irrelevant provided the end result is good for me.

    That all said, if not for man made laws that restrict the beast within, the above is exactly what would exists. Humans thousands of years ago came to realize that such an existence would not be beneficial. If I kill one person, his brother comes after me. If I steal your stuff, then someone else will steal from me. A life of always having to look over your shoulder is no way to live.

  28. Post-modernism seems closely related to the discredited (by most sensible people) philosophy of Solipsism. I don’t know how they think it’s an improvement to say that no objective reality exists. Without that, there are no meanings to words, no dictionary, no science. The problems NEVER end. And yet, they think that an objective can exist, controlling the climate by regulating CO2 emissions, that under the rules of normal science and skepticism, would fit with all of the crazed religious prophets such as Mesmer, Jim Jones, David Koresh, L. Ron Hubbard, Mary Baker Eddie, Heavens Gate, and other predictors of imminent doom for modern mankind.

    Climate science has become climate Scientology. And Solipsism remains modern bullshit, that defies common solutions, because it demands that we cannot define words or objective or see things with any commonality.

    • Yes, post-modern climate science is indeed Scientology, where there is no tolerance of dissent or skepticism of the “settled science” dogma.

    • ‘ere! I lay claim to coining the moniker Climate Scientology!

      It’s pretty obvious, really, because:

      * It is impossible to prove

      * It is impossible to refute

      * Anyone claiming that it is false is rigorously attacked

      * It is solely designed to part people from their money

  29. Neil Lock,
    Thank You! Following a heartfelt standing ovation of one, I say again b><Thank You! Your article is the best social political analysis I have read (and been mightily stirred by!) since reading Atlas Shrugged in my teens! Your ‘compare and contrast’ narrative of ‘Economic means vs Government means’ and ‘Antihumanism vs Enlightenment’ is masterful!

    I sincerely hope your vision, as outlined in your superlative narration, resonates with many, many more souls seeking a constructive path to the Second Enlightenment of mankind! I intend to forward this to others I know with similarly inquiring minds, to help further that potential.

    Well Done, Sir!

    • Thankyou Neil Lock,
      Here in New Zealand our Universities are very much going the same way.
      Our climate doomster James Renwick is a professor at Victoria University in Wellington and the news media trot him out constantly to air his fatalistic views .
      He was in charge of NIWA but was pushed out and is now infecting a whole era of science students with his beliefs.
      At the Waikato University we have Williem de Lange who has very sound views on climate change and sea level rise but the elites are trying to remove him or at least silence him as they don’t like his message .
      I am sure that a lot of universities have lost their way and instead of being centers for learning and discovery they are now propaganda outlets trying and change the world teaching rubbish to young impressionable people .
      I have met and talked to many Members of Parliament and most agreed that no one should be allowed to stand for Parliament untill they had successfully run a business
      I know that some of you will disagree but think for a moment ,running the country is one of the biggest businesses in the land and experience beats theory every time .
      For these people to even entertain the idea that the UK could feed itself with out importing food shows how little that these boffins in their ivory towers understand how food gets onto the supermarket shelves and into their chilled cabinets .
      Vegetables are imported from all over Europe and much further afield from warmer climes for fruit and nuts .
      Flour and bread wheat has to be imported now and this will only increase in the future
      To be blunt these people are clueless and it shows as they do not realize that no country attempting to go carbon neutral can maintain their standard of living without plentiful affordable energy and the only solution is Nuclear power.
      I don’t think they care as their salaries keep flowing into their bank accounts and they probably fly off for holidays most breaks .but then they are the elite .
      It might be a good idea for one country to try going carbon neutral and any one who believes that is the way to go could apply to emigrate there .
      They could swap their homes for any one leaving .
      What a great experiment say some where in Africa .
      Graham
      Supplying butter, cheese, cream , beef to the UK for 60 years .

      • Thank you Neil, this is one of the best expositions I have read on the current situation.
        I have received my copy of CAM but not yet got round to reading it, but have been alarmed by previous copies which seem to have been tending towards a certain mind set.

        I did the agricultural tripos in the 1960s, when it still existed, and received a first class education in agriculture which has served me well for 55 years. It was rather looked down on by other faculties as not being academic enough and was closed around 1970.
        We had lecturers who had been through WW2 and had devised diets that could be grown in the UK consisting mainly of potatoes, cabbage, bread and small amounts of meat and dairy products.
        I remember at one talk the speaker said that the optimum sustainable population for the UK was 35 million. We are now at least double that as a result of improved breeding of crops and livestock, use of fertilisers, especially nitrogen, and fungicides.
        Yields of arable crops and livestock have almost doubled since the 1960s, but the pressure from certain sectors would reduce yields back to the 1960s level.
        Farm machinery manufacturers have quite a job on their hands if they are going to develop machines that use electricity as their power source.

        So to have enough food and variety of food n the UK we are committed to importing about 50% of our requirements, and will be grateful for the contributions from countries such as NZ and Australia, (although reading JoNova it looks as if Australia is going down the same route as we are).
        I don’t think the activists have the slightest inkling as to what they are aiming for.

        As for trying out an example of their future world, IIRC there was an experiment some 30 years ago where an enclosed ecosystem was built in ?Arizona where it was cut off completely from the outside world with a few people growing crops that would produce enough oxygen and food for their needs.
        I don’t think it turned out too well.

      • Perhaps Waikato at least tolerates Willem de Lange because they also tolerate Simon Travaglia. The BoFH is lurking in the background.

  30. whereas those, that use the political means for their own profit, are crooks and villains.
    ≠===
    In every election, there is a choice between a crook or an incompetent. Parliament being the natural home if the competent crook, and prison the natural home of the incompetent.

    Thua, what separates politicians from criminals is competency. A politician is a criminal the evaded detection.

  31. Where’s this guy been for the last fifty years?

    Welcome to the party, pal. Hope that red pill didn’t hurt too much going down.

    • Peter, I have spent those almost fifty years in software development and consultancy. That’s why this piper can still call his own tune, unlike most of today’s academics.

  32. Enough with the intellectual conspiracy theories. If you thought something was wrong with the study of Mathematics at university – that is, with the abstract numerical and logical basis of *modernity* – then YOU are a postmodernist. If you think scholars should get out and look at the world as it is and not as generations of modernists imagined it to be, then YOU are postmodernist: someone who thinks modernity has failed to some extent or totally.

    Modernists were people who, following Newton’s brilliant discoveries, imagined the universe could all be explained one day like Newton’s Laws, including everything about *human beings*. So modernists were the origin of Progressivism and the idea of inevitable progress. Your summary of postmodernism from wherever is bunk. The whole of western tradition from Plato onwards is founded on skepticism about ‘objective truth’, which is a religious, not a scientific concept.

    Modernists imagined a clockwork universe with God as the watchmaker, this was called Deism and was very influential until, well WW2 when rise of the N*zis showed progress was not inevitable and scientific progress did not equal moral progress. After that it’s anyone’s guess where we’re going, but the Age of Enlightenment’s assumptions are certainly needing great revision if they are even relevant any more. There is so much more to this and few bother to study it, so we get conspiracy theories going after a few scapegoats who happen to come from foreign Continental traditions of thought which almost no Anglos understand. Try studying Kant to see how wrong you are, or just stick to what you know.

  33. “Indeed, my own take is that anything any politician says should be considered dishonest, or even a lie, until proven otherwise.”

    To paraphrase the old joke about salesmen, you can tell then a politician is lying — their lips are moving.

  34. Politicians and the political system can no longer be trusted to lead us to a better world for humanity it is for humanity to tell politicians how to act not for them to set rules for humanity to obey in order to save the planet. We are coming close to a world in which morality has no value at all because saving the “earth” or saving our species from extinction has become the goal yet we could follow all the rules that they demand and still become extinct at some time in the future for reasons unknown to us today. We should strive to provide a better life for humanity today and not worry about what is going to happen to the Earth in the future. Saving the Earth from humanity is not morality but it is being taught as the only morality today. We need a referendum on climate change action and these actions should not be determined by those in authority. What you say I agree with.

    • It was never possible for politicians or any political system to lead us to a better world.

      The only type of world the political system is capable of leading us towards, is a world that is best for politicians.

      For the rest of us, it’s up to us to do what we can to improve the situation for ourselves and our family. If each of us does that, improving society will take care of itself.

  35. A lot of good sense, but also a lot of bad punctuation.
    Here are just three examples.

    “… whereas those, that use the political means for their own profit, are crooks and villains.”

    “They have agendas and ideologies, that they want to force on all of us, whether we like them or not.”

    “Anyone in the faculty, who doesn’t toe the party line and parrot the narrative of the moment, will find difficulties in funding …”

    In each of those cases the relative clause looks as though it is supposed to be a defining clause, and yet it is punctuated as a non-defining clause. This is confusing, since it distorts the meaning of the sentence.

    And there are more such cases in the essay

    Accepting carelessness in punctuation is yet another symptom of the spread of the Post-Modernist outlook.

    • I think Neil must be a native speaker of a Germanic language. I agree with you, it marred the flow of the argument, which is a pity.

  36. Anyone find it interesting how there is no truth, only interpretations and yet you need to believe in (anthropogenic) climate change or you’re not allowed to believe in gravity?

  37. Given that Cambridge was an epicentre of medievalism, the very stones emit postmodernism. Not a nice place.

  38. Neil, a heartfelt thanks for a piece that is insightful and readable. I hope many will save it for future reference, I certainly will.
    We have a battle on our hands. I don’t understand what is driving the madness of the Constantly Offended Green Socialists (COGS) but they seem to have found a mechanism of influence that works.
    If anyone knows, why these movements that are aligning, in order to destroy our civilisation, maybe they can explain it to us? Why are these anarchists determined to destroy society? Do they imagine, they will be spared the devastation they crave? I have no idea. Do they honestly think, being part of the creation of hell on earth, they will somehow occupy another place?

  39. This is one of the most brilliant posts I’ve ever read. It is nothing but common sense from beginning to end. Thank you so much.

  40. Post modernism relies on a fundamental philosophical flaw.

    It states correctly that perceived reality is a function of the perceiver and his culture.

    What it fails understand is that it is not only a function of the perceiver, and his culture.

    Magic does not work.

    PR=f(P,WITC)

    where PR is reality as we think we know it. P is us, and WITC is Wittgenstein’s ‘whatever is the case) – the true state of affairs that is forever unknowable by us, directly.

    The implications of that restore sanity to science. There is , therefore , a range – possibly an infinite range – of possible interpretations of the world.

    However not all of them are consistent with ‘whatever is the case’

    For example one might postulate that some diseases are the result of bacterial activity, or attack by invisible (to the naked eye) demons. Mutatis mutandis these actually can give precisely identical results in experimental terms just by renaming antibiotics as DemonBane.

    This is the case that Occam’s Razor applies to. We consider it simpler to believe in ‘microbes’ than demons.

    What we also find that curing yourself by hopping around a pentagram, on one leg, chanting, does not work.

    That was the beauty of science – or as it was known them, Natural Philosophy – it allows us to test hypotheses and reject those that are found wanting.

    Marxism is the new religion. And like the old religion it is not amenable to testing for (lack of ) truth content.
    Marxism begins and ends by assuming that the physical world is all there is, people’s minds and ideas are governed by the physical world, and human society is simply the history of political oppressions by one class over another. And that this is morally wrong.

    None of these assumptions are any more than just that – assumptions. The late great Roger Scruton made the telling point that Marxism appeals not to truth, but to the power of the substandard intellectual, who in its thesis becomes the new saviour of the world, because he alone can think up how society ought to be, as opposed to how it actually is.

    Conservatism applies a different set of assumptions, very much less elaborate than Marxism.
    What worked to get one generation born is not a bad starting point for the next. And inequality is a (necessary) fact of social life.

    Leftism consists in imagining the world as intellectuals conceive ought to be, and using politics to mould the people into whatever shape will bring that about.
    Conservatism consist in accepting the world and people as we find them, and only changing cultural social and political ways of behaving if we definitely, beyond reasonable doubt, find that they are in fact deleterious to ourselves.
    Leftism is therefore arrogant daring and proselytizing whereas conservatism is humble and cautious.
    Leftists think they know. Conservatives know that they don’t know.

  41. Post Modernism is overwhelmingly the preserve of the Middle Class. Which is odd because in seeking to destroy modern life, that is to say that which was born of the Industrial Revolution, they seek to destroy that which enabled their formation, and continuance.

    None of them seem to have any clear idea of what their position would be if their Utopia came to pass. In a world where life would once again become ‘Nasty Brutish, and Short’, its hard to see the need for the relatively comfortable niches they now occupy. 🙂

  42. Very good article; I have sent the link to a few acquaintances. I hope the followers of St Greta have the chance and the patience to read it.

    Marxism, socialism, postmodernism, etc., like all absolutist adolescent religions are deficient in the understanding of mutability. For them, everything is fixed. But in the course of a life, from the beginning we all experience being poor and helpless, and end in the same condition. We all inherit from the dead, and most come naturally to wealth and responsibility to the born, before we in turn leave what we can to the unborn. So, you liberals, spare us from objectifying ‘the poor’ because at some stage, we all are in that condition. Rather than castigate and rail, create things of lasting value for those who come after.

    Postmodernism is a crual hoax on adolescents, who generally believe themselves immortal (as a protective mechanism) and cannot grasp the reality of their own eventual death … and hence reject the very fact of change, at a visceral level. Teens are actually as reactionary and conservative as the worst retired Colonel!

    Here in the UK we might just be seeing the decline of educationism as this generation and their parents see that it has been corrupted and for most, a degree is merely “a receipt for deceit” (to quote Eliot) and not even a passport to the middle class.

  43. 1.) Enlightenment didn’t happen with Descartes, Leibniz et al.

    Eastern and Arab Enlightenment happened hundreds and thousands of years BEFORE European Enlightenment.

    Descartes did his “mind-body-emotions separation”. Now THAT is anti-human.

    After that, Leibniz misappropriated CHINESE Enlightenment materials and omitted the reasoning functions => biased+braindead AI.

    http://www.leibniz-translations.com/binary.htm

    http://lyceumphilosophy.com/13-1/Lyceum-13-1.pdf — please read ‘Monads as modified Li’ which shows that Leibniz completely misinterpreted Chinese scientific materials.

    2.) Culture and Evolution existed BEFORE man-made tools of scientific measurement and classifications thought up by Aristotle et al.

    3.) We reason with subjective+objective and physical reality may be a combination of both.

    * https://www.livescience.com/quantum-like-model-of-decision-making-proposed.html

    * https://www.sciencealert.com/new-quantum-physics-experiment-questions-the-existence-of-objective-reality

    4.) Yes, there should be universal scientific standards and values to ensure human progress. BUT let’s not assume it’s Aristotle-Descartes-Leibniz-Bayes etc — particularly since their mathematical logic is culturally biased, lends itself to sociopathy and unilateralism and the idea that humans are mere sums of binaries and random probabilities whereby reasoning involves some combination of Cartesian graphs and us throwing dice (or other artificial mechanism of randomness) in our heads.

    Oh and those European Enlightenment ideals aren’t even about universal liberal freedoms but about AUTOCRACY and top-down logic.

    https://aeon.co/essays/on-the-dark-history-of-intelligence-as-domination

    • As the Arab world demonstrated, the death of an Enlightened society can and does occur at the blade of religious cult. From 610 AD when Prophet Mohammed claimed to begin receiving divine messages to spread His word, it was only 50 years for the Arab enlightenment to completely succumb to the darkness of religious fervor by the beginning of the Umayyad dynasty in 661 AD.

      Using such a historical observation of human cultural revolutions, and if we mark the beginning of the Climate Cult Religion as 1988, we have less than 18 years remaining to save the Western Democracies and our own Enlightenment and Age of Science from the fanatic Climate Cult.

    • If you think the European Enlightenment had anything to do with autocracy or “top-down logic” (whatever you think that is!), then you should demand a refund from whatever college mistaught you.

      I recommend this book: The Enlightenment: And Why It Still Matters, by Anthony Pagden

      The European Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution both happened at the same time for good reasons. Both used the same basic reasoning: skepticism. Skepticism hadn’t been seen much in the West after the rise of Christianity in the 4th century. It was new skepticism, unlike the Greeks; a practical skepticism for the commoner, the practical craftsmen, scientists, and critical thinkers. The fundamental argument used by thinkers and scientists became: “Show me the evidence“. Meaning I don’t believe a worldview based on reason – even ‘perfect‘ christian reason – I believe what the evidence shows.

    • The term Enlightenment in The West, within the context of Western history, refers to the European Enlightenment which began at more or less the same time as the European Scientific Revolution. It was no coincidence both began at the same time. Both movements made similar arguments. Both elevated evidence and fact above received wisdom (or ignorance if you like). Prior to the European Enlightenment, Western intellectual thought was dominated by Aristotle. The Enlightenment made Aristotle almost a swear word.

      Twain: rather than study whatever nonsense you’ve been reading, you should read Anthony Pagden’s book: The Enlightenment: And Why It Still Matters

      those European Enlightenment ideals aren’t even about universal liberal freedoms

      That is true – liberal freedoms are an accident, a by-product of the European Enlightenment. Unintended in a way, but something they gave us for free!

      Perhaps, because, as Kant understood – intellectual autonomy is the precondition for an enlightened mind. Take no one’s word, think it all out for yourself. Kant demonstrated that himself by mastering the ideas of so many previous thinkers. When one understands that Enlightenment itself depends on free-thinking people. Well I guess you’d value liberal freedoms? Kant – despite going so far astray with his categorical imperative – understood the Enlightenment project well. His definition of it is still the best

      What does Twain mean by those European Enlightenment ideals anyhow? I think this is a strawman pomo invented just so pomo can knock it down. Pomo scholars aren’t known for their breadth of reading. Derrida was proud that he knew a few thinkers inside-out. But that meant there were many thinkers he didn’t know at all. Foucalt – an anti-Marxist anarchist – famously regretted knowing nothing of Critical Theory (AKA Frankfurt School) thinkers. Despite many of their concerns being so close to his own!

      Each Enlightenment thinker had different ideals. How exactly one munges so many thinkers together to distil the common ideals isn’t really something I want to know. In fact, all these Enlightenment writers spent a good deal of time disagreeing and knocking the previous thinker down.

      but about AUTOCRACY and top-down logic

      You clearly haven’t a clue what you’re on about. The common thread throughout The European Enlightenment was skepticism to received wisdom. How is that autocratic, or top-down?

      The Enlightenment began about 1610s. Almost 200 years later it began to get seriously derailed with the rise of system builders and their systems: Kant, Hegel, Marx. Nietzsche marked a return to skepticism but, at the same time: Freud and Marx became systems as oppressive as Natural Law – which had been the Enlightenment’s first target! Just goes to show good ideas must be grounded in reality. Can’t exactly accuse Marxism or Freud’s Psychoanalysis of being grounded in reality!

      Twain’s contribution is almost perfect pomo pastiche. Perhaps it’s a sendup – the caricature is so accurate, and limited. Twain misunderstands the actual European Enlightenment in his/her desire to dis it. Typical of pomo writers. They love burning strawmen. But once you realize pomo’s understanding of history is a fabrication, or fantasy, you see that every pomo argument is just burning another strawman. That’s why pomo is so boring. The actual history of the European Enlightenment is far more complex and nuanced than pomo’s caricature.

  44. Thank you Neil Lock, for such a lucid essay; it is a highly effective brain-salve in a world filled with word-salads these days.

    And thanks to those contributors who have supported or added to its richness – it’s reassuring to feel one is not the last critical-thinker left standing.

    It might be worth prefacing (or appending) it with summary bullet points for the modern TL;DR brigade, if it is ever to go mainstream. Which I hope it does…

  45. Post-modernism (AKA pomo) is a conjecture that modernism is a myth. To that extent, pomo allies with many anti-modernist ideas; for example: they are often big on environmentalism. Pomo sees no ‘progress in history’ at all, and relativises all Western achievements such as Greek civilization, democracy, human rights, the European Enlightenment and Scientific revolutions. Pomo even relativises excellence in the Arts!

    Pomo doesn’t claim the status of truth itself. It says ‘truth’ is just another meta-myth. In that, it’s very like cynicism. Cynicism is a kind of skepticism where you don’t ever present a solution to anything. By merely knocking down every good idea, pomo allows lots of bad ideas to flourish. When we abolish standards, how can we say one thing is better than another? When you abolish the standard of the scientific method, how can you say that a numerical computer model is not ‘settled science’; when the authors say it is?

    As such, the trivial version pomo – everyone’s opinion is equally valid – is very seductive; which perhaps explains it’s appeal.

    PS: By ‘modernism’, I don’t just mean Hegel’s “end of history”, which was only ever a Marxist and Hegelian myth. I refer to specific ideas which made the modern world: capitalism, the scientific method, excellence, …

  46. The human psychological development process that evolved over the past million of so years involves separation from one’s mother and individuation as a unique being. To the degree that traumas occur during this early phase of life, the individual remains fixated on his or her attachment to the mother and sublimates this failure to separate through clinging to institutional surrogates, like universities and the government.

  47. New Scientists 26 Sept 2015
    ‘When right is wrong’
    “In June, a new voice backed up what many scientists have been saying for a while – that climate change is caused by human activity and we have a moral responsibility to tackle it. In a historic edict, Pope Francis warned that failing to act would have “grave consequences”, the thrust of which would fall on the world’s poorest people. His words came as a stark reminder that global climate change is among the most pressing moral dilemmas of the 21st century.”…
    …”Take BankTrack, a global network of NGOs that exposes banks involved with projects that threaten the environment and human rights. BankTrack has looked at banks lending to the coal industry, a major source of global carbon dioxide emissions and compiled a list of the top “climate killers”.
    It’s manifesto is simple: “By naming and shaming these banks, we hope to set the stage for a race to the top, where banks compete with each other to clean up their portfolios and stop financing investments which are pushing our climate over the brink.
    However, harnessing the power of rational reflection, collective identity and shame may not be the only options for the would be moral revolutionaries. In their book Unfit for the future, philosophers Ingmar Persson of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and Julian Savulescu of the University of Oxford argue that our moral brains are so compromised that the only way we can avoid catastrophe is to enhance them through biomedical means..
    In the past few years, researchers have shown it might actually be possible to alter moral thinking with drugs and brain stimulation.”

  48. Extract from New Scientists 26 Sept 2015
    ‘When right is wrong’
    “In June, a new voice backed up what many scientists have been saying for a while – that climate change is caused by human activity and we have a moral responsibility to tackle it. In a historic edict, Pope Francis warned that failing to act would have “grave consequences”, the thrust of which would fall on the world’s poorest people. His words came as a stark reminder that global climate change is among the most pressing moral dilemmas of the 21st century.”…
    …harnessing the power of rational reflection, collective identity and shame may not be the only options for the would be moral revolutionaries. In their book Unfit for the future, philosophers Ingmar Persson of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and Julian Savulescu of the University of Oxford argue that our moral brains are so compromised that the only way we can avoid catastrophe is to enhance them through biomedical means..
    In the past few years, researchers have shown it might actually be possible to alter moral thinking with drugs and brain stimulation.”

  49. Yes yes yes! Excellent synopsis and correct on all points, every one of which could be (should be, has been) elucidated in detail by reams of rational analysis.

    My own approach:

    1. I am a forester/farmer/orchardist/gardener and Steward of the Land. I care for the real world in real time with real effort and a lifetime of study, practice, and expertise. If you live in a house, eat food, and wear clothes, I accept your gratitude.

    2. I fully promote the realistic view that Warmer Is Better. Whether increasing warmth is anthropogenic or not, it is a Good Thing. Additionally, CO2 is the fundamental building block of all life.

    3. I cut no slack to the Looter Class and their program of induced paranoia. Irrational fearmongering is the means of totalitarianism. They want to scare us in to submission. It’s been a successful exercise throughout history. The antidote is courage. Be brave, stand tall in confrontation. Never give an inch.

    4. Join with others in solidarity for freedom and goodness (such as right here at WUWT). We are not alone. Our enemy is the common enemy of humankind. We vastly outnumber them. They cower in their own poltroonery. Together we will defeat them.

  50. Hi Moderator
    My comment re New Scientist was posted twice because the first post did not appear. I wasn’t sure why and so posted again but a bit shorter. I see the first is awaiting moderation and the 2nd has been approved. Don’t worry about first or this communication please.

  51. Dr Shuckburgh is pictured in CAM88 by the original steam sewage pumps that made modern life in Cambridge possible and whose use she would now ban. The jokes write themselves. The article prompted me to ask the editor to accept my own sacrifice to the climate gods by no longer sending me the print edition. I’m surprised that it even exists since (as the link shows) there is a perfectly good online version.

  52. “But it isn’t, as some on the political right seem to think, a resurrection of Marxism. To me, it looks more like a cross-breed of Lysenkoism and fascism.”

    No, it’s intellectual supremacism. Like white supremacism, but for (mostly unfit, low critical thinking) academics.

    Many leftists on the “liberal” twitterosphere now ask for IQ tests as a condition for the right to vote, ostensibly to exclude Trump voters. (They would not like these to become reality.)

  53. niceguy writes: Many leftists on the “liberal” twitterosphere now ask for IQ tests as a condition for the right to vote, ostensibly to exclude Trump voters.

    I’ve been thinking about this lately and come to the conclusion that the only people who should have a vote are parents. Non-parents have no stake in the future — unless and until they become parents.

    Those who choose not to breed (or not to adopt if they are unable to breed) are out of the gene pool, self-Darwinized if you prefer, and at the end of their lineage. The future is not theirs. They really shouldn’t interfere with the people who maintain the species, i.e. parents.

    Or serve in elected office. AOC, for instance, would be disqualified — for the time being anyway.

  54. ‘Post-modernism’ has to distinguish between the truth of actual measurement and the ability to disprove certain conjectures.

    It is certainly easier to prove an objective falsehood than an objective truth, that is after all the fundamental tenet of the scientific method: ‘Nothing I can do can prove something true, but one experiment can prove something to be false’ is a good paraphrasing of Einstein’s famous quote.

    However, within that generality, you need to distinguish between what is true at this moment in time, but may or may not be true at some time in the future; and that which is eternally true (which may be nothing). To say that plants ‘respond in such and such a way to carbon dioxide’ may be true now, but genetic mutation may mean that plants in 10,000 years time may not be the same. It is something none of us will be around to prove or disprove and, for practical purposes, what is true NOW and up to 50 years ahead is rather more important than worrying about how folks might survive 10,000 years hence. So it is probably ‘true for all practical purposes’ that plants will likely respond in the same way to carbon dioxide up to 2050. I use the word ‘probably’ because I have done no statistical analysis to justify a transposition of past behaviour into the future, I have merely put forward the reasonable null hypothesis that plants will grow much the same as before for the next 30 years. Should contradictory evidence emerge, then the hypothesis is busted. But 99%+ of all global farmers follow my ‘probably true for all practical purposes’ hypothesis……

    When it comes to political opinions and philosophies, however, the ‘objective truth’ lies in what mindsets predispose particular humans toward holding certain viewpoints. Even then, this is amenable to analysis. The best analysis in my book concerns assigning particular viewpoints along a timeline of optimal childhood development, with certain views correlating with blockages at certain ages (OCD correlates well with being stuck as an emotional 8 year old for example). Totalitarian viewpoints are like being stuck in a very tribal ‘middle childhood’, whereas naïve utopian idealism is rather like being stuck at that awakening point in adolescence prior to hard reality shaping ones views into a more pragmatic position.

    Britain is a very, very tribal place and my life has not been enhanced by the total reduction of all UK life into a dog fight between two sides. I see good in some aspects of collectivism and some aspects of entrepreneurial libertarianism. I am mature enough to see how a synthesis of such views can create a coherent whole, but no politician in my lifetime will go anywhere near such a platform: far easier to get elected bashing immigrants, bashing big business, bashing bankers, bashing public sector workers and bashing Muslims.

    The reality of revolutionary change, however, is that you have to rip up long held tenets and to gain traction for your new synthesis, you have to be pretty totalitarian to establish a bridgehead of support. It is just the way life works.

    Totalitarianism exists right now because the old order is fragmenting and competing new grand visions are undergoing a genesis.

    Universities are part of the old order and they want their gravy train to continue.

    They may need a new value proposition to survive outside niche private institutions solely serving the rich.

  55. There is no case to answer

    As far as “Is there a case to answer at all?” goes, the most important questions are
    (a) does CO2 cause climate warming? and
    (b) where is the evidence for it?
    I’ve never seen a good, honest, attempt to answer those questions. The only ‘evidence’ is half baked: correlations between CO2 levels, measured at a single point on the globe with doctored temperature readings rail-roaded to match the correlation! In statistics and science, correlation is not causation. Today, statisticians and scientists are trying to find causality without reference to correlation. For example, a recent paper found the main cause of climate change over the past 40 years was changes to shortwave radiation affecting earth. Something that CO2 has no influence over.

  56. Mark-below is a table of all the averages (taken fromESRL monthly averages) of all the SURFRAD data from 1996-end of 2019. All the parameters yearly averages were plotted vs temperature yearly averages. The CO2 data used was from Muana Loa and were plotted as yearly averages ratio / pre industrial ratio (280ppm).
    Clearly, CO2 is the least significant factor bar one of all these parameters. The high linear trend fits of DWIR/ Net IR/TNR (Total Net Radiation) ETC ETC clearly not driven by CO2 but by clouds. As per ESRL conclusion as per their website. Its a shame no one has published anything from this data since Augustines et als 2013 paper based on data up to 2011-although Augustine etal did publish in 2016 a paper relating aerosols to cloud cover.

    All Stations 1996-2019
    Parameter vs dT Linear Trend Fit R2 R2/R2CO2
    DWIR 0.405 2025
    Net IR 0.364 1821
    TNR 0.275 1376
    RS 0.119 594
    Net Solar 0.091 456
    DWGS 0.074 372
    UWIR 0.070 350
    Station Press 0.061 304
    Albedo 0.012 58
    PAR 0.010 52
    Sp Humidity 0.0031 16
    UVB 0.001 5
    Winds 0.0003 1.5
    CO2 0.0002 1.00
    Transmission 0.0001 0.25

    • Lauchian, can you expand on your explanation of the table? For instance, I assume the DWIR 0.405 is the trend fit, but what is the 2025? Similarly throughout the table for the subsequent entries. And can you expand on all of the acronyms on what they stand for?

      • Tom, the column labels do tell you if parsed correctly, assuming I am doing so. The 0.405 is the R^2 value for the linear fit, and the 2025 is 0.405/0.0002, being the ratio of R^2 to the paltry R^2 for CO2.

        HTH, Rich.

  57. Nice article. Recently I have taken to saying to acquaintances GWIG: “Global Warming Is Good”. And then if challenged give them some decent reasons for that viewpoint.

    Can we form a GWIG Society?? And where did the Minnesotans 4 Global Warming go?

    Rich.

  58. Lysenkoism is very much a factor without the cross-breeding.

    Science is supposed to be about induction, reasoning from observation, experimentation, etc. to conclusions. Supporting data is expected to be available to all for verification. Debate is supposed to be about whether the methodology is applied correctly. If it is, then the conclusions are accepted. If not, conclusions are rejected.

    Liberals have tried to make science deductive, as in, conclusion oriented. Championed by Stalin’s pet scientist Trofim Denisovich Lysenko, while going through some motions of data collection, the actual decision turns on whether proposed conclusions are acceptable to the liberal ideological outlook.

    If politically correct, conclusions are accepted and the data is adjusted accordingly. If not, then conclusions are rejected and their proponents silenced — permanently.

    The former Soviet Union would send dissenting scientists to the Gulag. In the U.S., liberals have to settle for media blackout, denial of speaker platforms, character assassination, ruined careers and/or legal harassment.

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