Why hasn’t there been a real debate on climate science?

Liar! Liar!

Given that the alarming scenarios predicted by climate science are being used as the reason for advocating massive changes in society, prosperity, industrial infrastructure, lifestyles and even democracy, there’s never been a real debate over its veracity. You have alarmists on one side, who have near total control of most mediums of communication and who refuse to engage with skeptics in any meaningful way, and on the other, a volunteer militia of skeptics.

The only real airing of the issues is happening on the internet, simply because the skeptics had no other outlet medium, so they moved out early to it.  This very definitely gave them first mover advantage, but though in response the climate alarmists created a number of very well-funded sites to push their message, their hit rates have been dropping like stones since the heady days of Copenhagen euphoria. However, though the science is being discussed by each party amongst themselves, it’s still not a debate between the two viewpoints.

The character of each side’s sites also militates against any science debate. The popular skeptic sites mainly concentrate on the science, while the alarmist ones are mainly used as launching pads for propaganda initiatives.

Given the hysteria that built up worldwide over global warming, the politicians had to be seen as doing something. Political leaders, like all management confronted by what looks to be a technical issue they don’t know the bits and bolts of, will take advice from experts in that domain and will go with what they think is the orthodox view. The point here is that they were only ever told that the science was settled and there were no dissenting voices. Patently, it wasn’t and there were. For a number of reasons, they’re now taking advantage of that “newly discovered” uncertainty, to roll back previous environmental commitments.

The question becomes why the climate science establishment are still sticking to the science is settled meme and refusing to have the science debate with the skeptics. While I can’t speak for all skeptics, their majority view it seems to me, is because they think the alarmists fear losing any high-profile debate. There’s a lot of truth in that opinion, but leaving aside the political activist motivation, which definitely drives some prominent climate scientists, I think the reasons go deeper.

It’s about being trapped in a lie, which has grown massively out of all proportion, and conforming to a consensus.

Taking those two in reverse order, conformity starts early in one’s life and primarily in education. By and large, a formal education is a good thing. On a simplistic level, it fills hungry young minds with facts and imparts to them some skills. So much of it depends on the talent of those entrusted with the job of educating the young. Most are average at that job, some are terrible and there’s a few we’ll always look back on and remember with that special bit of affection we have for a good teacher. It’s those good teachers who turn facts into knowledge; they teach you how to think about and use facts, which are essentially trusted waypoints in a chain of thought.

There are some downsides to education though, and they’re quite subtle.

Given the numbers a teacher has to deal with, it has to be a one size fits all approach. When you’ve got successive waves of classrooms coming at you throughout the day, a teacher simply hasn’t got much time to handle individual needs. Children of course respond well to one on one tuition, which is why home tutored ones do so well academically, but I do think they perhaps miss out on the social skills picked up outside the classroom. This necessarily industrial approach to educating the young, equips the majority of pupils with the basic tools they’re going to need in adulthood, but the ones who usually miss out, are what’s nowadays termed the special needs kids. To my mind, that phrase not only encompasses those who’re always going to be a bit behind all the rest, but occasionally the truly gifted original thinker.

It takes a pretty eccentric head to go against thousands of years of given knowledge that an apple falls to ground not because it has weight, but because it’s being pulled by a hitherto unheard of force you’ve decided to call gravity. It takes an even weirder head to postulate that gravity is just an effect of a distortion in space-time, which in itself is a new concept you’ve just come up with. A reservation I have about education, is the sneaking fear that so many of our truly revolutionary thinkers in science, would have been popped into that conventional special needs category nowadays. Instead of entertaining such outlandish ideas, we’d soon have shooed them back into mainstream thinking.

If you want to get through the system, and especially at modern university level, you have to conform academically. You have to bend the knee and kiss the cursed King’s pinky ring. Your future depends on the assessment and therefore the grades, of a bunch of securely tenured crustaceans, who’ve invested their whole life and reputation on a certain interpretation of the world, so any revolutionary theories you might be harbouring that they’re all wrong, you’d be well advised to keep to yourself. It actually stifles innovative thinking and they have to learn how to overcome it, to even think about something innovative. It’s a kind of premature Arterial Sclerosis of the intellect.

The sad thing is that by the time most students reach that tertiary level, they’ve already learnt to conform to the orthodoxy. They’re very bright and clever people, but thinking outside the conventional box has long been knocked out of most of them. That’s how that modern idea of consensus science came about in certain branches of science and why it was therefore doomed to eventually give birth to that bastard child, called post-modern science. As long as you’re morally sure of the imperative, you can fudge actually proving the conjecture. It’s that old vicious philosophy of the end justifying the means, replacing the scientific method. It’s science lite.

The illegitimate daughter, is of course uncertainty. If you can at least assign your idea of credible odds to the accuracy of a theory, then it’s as if it’s as good as proven. It’s a whole new approach to science. Instead of following through on the theory to do the actual production of something concrete to test the theory, you actually don’t even have to prove the theory and the real world data becomes beguilingly malleable.

Instead of data, you have computer models, which as far as the lay person is concerned, come with their very own specious authority. Even if you don’t understand the physics of clouds or have not yet even begun to invent the math to handle turbulence, by simply programming a computer using nothing better than that basis of ignorance, the result is somehow supposed to be legitimate and beyond question. If you consider climate to be an interaction between an unknown set of non-linear complex systems, which I do because it patently is, the whole idea of predicting what it’ll be doing next year, never mind next century, is scientifically ignorant beyond all belief. It’s also totally dishonest.

I have fine combed through the world of climate science and found what I would consider to be two big intellects and an army of pygmies, masquerading as saviours of the world, but at the end of the day, all they know how to do is pursue grant money, a bit of notoriety or both. They interact with each other over the science, and though it can get a bit bitchy at times, the grand consensus is never questioned. Mediocrity breeds and promotes nothing better than mediocrity, if only to protect itself. Anyone who questions the consensus is soon marginalised, so not many people on the inside do, though they might entertain some grave doubts. It’s equivalent to an organisation that’s lost the ability to question itself.

The whole point about science is to deliver some measure of certainty about the real world, not a probabilistic and unverifiable guesstimate of how it might work. When scientists fall back on talking about a consensus, then as the late Michael Crichton observed, it means they simply don’t know.

The big bright shining lie at the very heart of climate science was always their proclaimed certainty and all they can do now is defend that lie to the death, by whatever means possible.

The climategate emails revealed they were lying all along. Like a liar trapped in their own self-spun web of dishonesty, the only way forward is to keep elaborating on the lie and insisting the science is settled, even when it’s contradicted by blindingly obvious real world facts. The data and methods are withheld, freedom of information requests are resisted every step of the way, the peer review process has been subverted, opponents are vilified, files and data destroyed, journals intimidated and every investigation of those activities carefully neutered.

After two decades of scary predictions, the ordinary person is fed up of the global warming story. They no longer care about it and are becoming deafer by the day to the increasingly hysterical predictions of Armageddon. Though there are other reasons, that loss of concern is what is giving politicians a mandate to start the financial demolition of the house of cards that global warming built. The dustbin of history awaits it.

Engaging in and losing any meaningful public debate, would only hasten that process. It is only by rigidly enforcing conformity to the consensus and refusing to engage in any debate, that the big lie can stay safely hidden from the public.

©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman:

The decline of the environmental lobby’s political influence.

I’m not a scientist but

The Climate Wars revisited or No truce with kings.

Global warming and pathological science.

The decline of popular science journals.

Click for a list of other articles.

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Comments
24 Responses to “Why hasn’t there been a real debate on climate science?”
  1. mike williams says:

    “They” dont have to debate anything.
    The Team..dont debate..they get killed each time and so have learnt.
    The followers dont debate..they dont know much about the subject and just come back with knee jerk one liners…combined with that glazed look and contemptuous sneer…
    In Australia..the prime minister just reduces the argument/debate down to..who would you rather believe..the CSIRO/all the govt scientists..or a couple of radio shock jocks.
    The CSIRO economist who stuck his head above the trenches a few years ago and said the CO2 tax and trading will not do anything was forced out..
    I noticed a Sydney Morning Herald reporter description was “carbon reporter”.
    I hope the US is more chance of surviving..at least you dont have a “minister for climate change”.
    Beyond parody.
    How can we have a debate in that “culture”..

  2. Keith AB says:

    Dear Pointman I applaud you. The debate is needed and the sooner the better.

    I often think that the closest equivalent to AGW is the church of Scientology. There is no need for conspiracy theories just the understanding that people , misguided and motivated by a need to atone for the environmental sins of mankind to be sure, are attracted to mystical mumbo-jumbo and proceed from there. High office bearers are created and the dogma hardens and over time there is a huge edifice built on something that cannot be proved, just believed. The adherents want the underlying premise to be true and so find anything they can to uphold it but are never able to prove AGW is a fact. They just issue grave warnings of what might happen if it is and then use that as justification for the things they want to do. This applies at all levels of their flock but their high priests know it is nonsense yet cynically exploit their flock’s gullibility.

    Where I take issue is with the abuse of public servants and public money. It has achieved what no other religion has been able to do. It has locked onto the national teat and takes resources from all of us, believers and heretics alike, and applies them to solving non problems at the expense of real needs.

    I am often challenged to explain why there must be a conspiracy involving so many people. Well there isn’t one, just the collective faith of so many people in something so silly because they think it will help save the planet. They don’t realise that anything built on a lie will ultimately fail, and quite spectacularly, and so cause far more difficulties for us all than they think they are solving.

    Ah, CO2, you clever little molecule is there anything you can’t do.

  3. Petrossa says:

    In Europe with the fanatic Commisioner for the environment Hedegaard the discussion is closed. CAGW is a fact and the whole EU is forced by law to adapt to stringent, idiotic CO2 reduction measures.

    Also countries are obligated to not contradict the CAGW theme, so in all countries the official media outlets are full of CAGW claims, on television the phrase: ‘global warming’ is omnipresent and explains everything.

    In France they project to build huge sea windfarms, although they have nukes in abundance. In the netherlands the responsible agency for the seaprotection measures just a few days ago proclaimed they needed to quickly heighten the dykes because of the enormous sealevel rise that was going on.

    Germany….Well that’s a lost cause.
    Denmark…. same.

    The insanity just goes on, no debate, no discussion.
    In Europe with the fanatic Commisioner for the environment Hedegaard the discussion is closed. CAGW is a fact and the whole EU is forced by law to adapt to stringent, idiotic CO2 reduction measures.

    Also countries are obligated to not contradict the CAGW theme, so in all countries the official media outlets are full of CAGW claims, on television the phrase: ‘global warming’ is omnipresent and explains everything.

    In France they project to build huge sea windfarms, although they have nukes in abundance. In the netherlands the responsible agency for the seaprotection measures just a few days ago proclaimed they needed to quickly heighten the dykes because of the enormous sealevel rise that was going on.

    Germany….Well that’s a lost cause.
    Denmark…. same.

    The insanity just goes on, no debate, no discussion.

  4. meltemian says:

    There hasn’t been a debate because nobody has the guts to enter a real discussion with anyone of a ‘skeptical’ outlook!

    http://scef.org.uk/news/1-latest-news/354-the-debate-is-over-we-won

  5. Gary Mirada says:

    Pointman will you let us know who the 2 big intellects are? I know who the pygmies are!

    If Robert Brown of Duke is not on the very short list, you might like to extend it to 3?

  6. Pointman says:

    Another Purple Heart, and I was just getting going. If I’d known there was a moderator called Kinky, I’d have steered well clear of butts being presented and dominant butches. PH goes Guardian …

    Which if you’re looking at an advert comes down to –

    “You have been banned from the forums for the following reason: Offensive beyond belief and not acceptable on PH”

    Pointman

  7. Pointman says:

    Butt I could continue the profile here.

    Pointman

  8. David, UK says:

    After two decades of scary predictions, the ordinary person is fed up of the global warming story.

    Alas, I fear that’s not the case. I see the ordinary person as not so much “fed up” but more “blasé” and unquestioning. I don’t think most people bother to question this stuff or research it for themselves. In a word: Sheeple.

    In that context it may seem less controversial to say that I actually agree with one thing Alarmists say about Sceptics: we are indeed on the so-called “fringe;” sheeple we ain’t. However, what the Alarmists are blinded to is that they too are on the fringe – just the opposite one. They’re not sheeple either; they’re more like the sheepdog, barking at anyone who they see as falling out of line (to mix my metaphors). But it’s the Man – the great authority – who blows the whistle to the sheepdog. Sceptics by their libertarian nature cannot be herded and are not remotely impressed by the Man.

    And both sides are battling for the hearts and minds of the ordinary people in the middle.

  9. Rosco says:

    The last thing any “religion” needs is a dispassionate examination of the doctrine and evidence !

    This would inevitably lead to a widespread belief that the fearmongering has not been substantiated to date and the consequence would inevitably be that society would not move towards de-carbonization but would favour developing strategies for dealing with consequences – if any.

    That is – they’d lose if people saw how thin their whole “settled science” is and began questioning reality.

    I would have thought the truth that the Sun can heat the Moon’s surface to over 120 degrees C whilst being incapable of heating the Earth without help from “greenhouse gases” ought to create even a little doubt amongst the believers – or should that be the gullible ?

  10. Phil Ford says:

    I’d say CAGW zealots are – and always have been – terrified of open public debate with informed climate skeptics. It really is a disgrace that pro-CAGW advocates have been permitted – via taxpayer-funded socialist institutions such as the UN and the EU in particular – to influence policy, create new laws and bogus ‘green’ legislation, indoctrinate and ‘educate’ millions of children to blindly accept CAGW as ‘truth’, and so on. And these alarmist frauds will never, ever, get into a public debate with their skeptical critics because they are cowards with no intellectual leg to stand on – and they all know it. As long as a complicit, leftwing mainstream media play along (and, boy, do they) they need never fear exposure by their peers,

    Still, in the end all great empires eventually fall to shadows and dust. The great CAGW deception, just another irrational public panic in a very long list dating all the way back to witches and heretics, will eventually become a sad little footnote in history. Another useless cul-de-sac.

  11. Petrossa says:

    Maybe not 100% on topic but it seemed like a good place as any to share:

    Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Conventional and Electric Vehicles

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1530-9290.2012.00532.x/pdf

    They are equal in environmental load it seems.

  12. TinyCO2 says:

    It occurs to me that now would be a good time to call for a debate. Warmists are feeling good about their arguments with the hurricane Sandy ‘victory’ and might be lured into forgetting that you can’t prove CAGW from single weather points.

  13. Otter says:

    Good Evening, Pointman!
    Your permission to repost? I’ve gained some allies on the site I work at.

  14. Josualdo says:

    Superb essay. I would add that the progressive dumbing down of education allows for all sorts of nonsense to be taken as science.

  15. Reblogged this on contrary2belief and commented:
    “Engaging in and losing any meaningful public debate, would only hasten that process. It is only by rigidly enforcing conformity to the consensus and refusing to engage in any debate, that the big lie can stay safely hidden.”

  16. Manfred says:

    ‘Einstein told Epstein that a hundred Nazi professors had publicly condemned his theory of relativity, adding: ‘Were I wrong, one professor would have been quite enough’. ‘
    (‘Hitler’s Gift’ – Scientists Who Fled Nazi Germany’. Medawar & Pyke, 2000 Piatkus, London. pp44)

    Einstein, as would be expected, understood science. In modern parlance, he ‘got it’. Today’s post modern climate imitators instead rely heavily on consensus and politics, drama and catastrophism, not to mention the political incorrectness of disagreeing with a mindless, stupefying mantra of ‘save the planet’.

    In my experience, when reviewing a particular subject or discipline, more often than not a pivotal moment of insight and understanding will hinge on a seminal research paper or two. For example, Einstein produced his special theory of relativity in 1905, and his general theory in 1917, but these two papers turned physics on its head forever. Similar observations may easily be made in other scientific disciplines.

    I have over the years recurrently asked CAGW sophisticates to list a handful (fingers=5) of deal clinchers’, stellar research publications that are globally accepted as such, that are not flawed on the basis of chance, bias or confounding, or indeed downright fabrication. At this point I am usually pilloried and I have yet to be informed of these KEY insightful, incontestable, irrefutable works of scientific endeavour that do indeed confirm the malignancy of humankind upon Gaia.

    The usual smell of politics, bureaucracy, taxation, power and control surrounding this doomsday climate cult has turned into a stench. It is glaringly obvious to a few. Larger majorities either ignore it, or are bored by it, or acquiesces to it, more or less silently. That is the tragedy.

    “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” Marcus Aurelius.

    Pointman, I proud to read and cite your site. Thank you.

    • Pointman says:

      Hello and welcome Manfred. One man band here, I’m afraid, and I do sleep occasionally. Anyone who’s read The Meditations is always welcome. Enjoy yourself here and feel free to contribute your thoughts.

      Pointman

  17. Manfred says:

    Pointman – excellent work -thanks. I posted here but ‘no show’. Reason?

  18. When was the last time there was a “debate” about anything of public importance? The idea of one has been useful to skeptics as a kind of abstract goal, but there will be no such debate. And in fact it is not needed. Mother Nature and economics are “settling the science.”

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