prev next

Jerry Shenk


The Politics of Climate 'Science'

by Jerry Shenk
 

The political left remembers President Dwight Eisenhower's January, 1961 farewell address to the nation for its warning about the growing influence of the military/industrial complex. But Ike also addressed the dangers of public policy influencing the interests of America's scientific/technological community: "The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded."

Eisenhower's insight is evident in the massive hypocrisy with which ambitious politicians and self-interested academics treat research and teaching that doesn't conform to "official" academic/political global warming orthodoxy. Federal funds for climate research are awarded exclusively to supporters of the premise that man-made climate change is scientific fact. Natural causes are minimized, because only human behavior can be exploited to impose government control.

Climate funding rests on conformity, so, invested-academics and power-hungry politicians discourage open debate and reject scientific norms which objectively compare theory and real world results.

Philosopher Eric Hoffer observed: "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. And those who benefit in the racket will defend it with passion."

Nineteenth and Twentieth Century doomsayers were wrong about global overpopulation, starvation and "peak oil," but, a newer breed of crepe hangers pushing "global warming" has upped the risk ante from scarcity to global catastrophe, while adding a wrinkle -- a deliberately-elusive heads-they-win-tails-they-win scheme.

Here's how the scheme works: Seeking government expansion and/or self-enrichment, credentialed "wise men" embrace an apocalyptic premise predicated on short-term trends; adopt vague, narrative-friendly "scientific" hypotheses; extrapolate "data" guessed from flawed models; "peer review" and publicize each other; energize media; mock and threaten skeptics; and enlist gullible celebrities as flacks, while big-government politicians lavish public money on preordained "research" conclusions.

Point of reference: During the 1970s, "wise men" panicked over a new "Ice Age" and hatched a plan to raise global temperatures by blanketing polar ice caps in coal dust. Today, coal is anathema, and, once panacea, shrinking icecaps are judged "cataclysmic."

Just like the apocryphal new "Ice Age" and, later, expanding icecaps, as emerging facts discredit their premises, alarmists tweak their "mission" by quietly boarding the next difficult-to-categorically-refute, but amply-compensated gravy train.

Alarmists' linguistic gymnastics transformed "global cooling" into "global warming," then merely "climate change" and, later, ordinary "extreme weather." Indeed, claims of catastrophic climate change have eased even among some former alarmists. A November, 2016 report detailed mounting skepticism among climate scientists.

Highly-respected climate scientist Dr. Judith Curry resigned her "dream job," a secure, tenured professorship at Georgia Tech University, writing, "…the private sector seems like a more 'honest' place for a scientist working in a politicized field than universities or government labs…"

19th-Century biologist Thomas Huxley wrote: "…[S]kepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin."

Money and power are at stake, so climate racketeers' next appeal to blind faith may rehash another "New Ice Age."

When motives are in doubt, first look for the financial and/or political interests.

http://www.pottsmerc.com/opinion/20170111/jerry-shenk-the-politics-of-climate-science


Share   Share

Featured Columnists
Featured Audio Links