The shape of things to come; Snailbats, HALsays, Scarems, LewPapers and DickPols.

Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

Environmental alarmism is by now a well established phenomenon with nearly a four decade long history. In that time, we’ve been on the receiving end of doomsday predictions as diverse as holes in the ozone layer, overpopulation, resource wars, acid rain, a new ice age and the most successful one of all, global warming.

Since there has been no upward change of global temperatures in over the last decade and a half, that scare had become embarrassingly untenable. In response, the alarmists switched from screaming about global warming to hyperventilating about climate change. That was an explicit admission that their specific prediction of a looming thermogeddon was wrong, which is why skeptics should never use the term climate change but keep on sticking it to them with reminders about the global warming us humans were supposed to be causing, which never actually materialised.

The advantage about the rebranding away from a specific threat to a vague umbrella term, was that there are potentially a myriad of things which could be blamed on climate change, because climate does actually change. If it got colder, fine, that’s climate change in action. If it actually got hotter, that’s climate change as well. Whether it got wetter or drier, either could be attributed to climate change. It’s a wonderfully flexible scare.

For example, the by now famous computer models of the UK Meteorological Office (UKMO) predicted a drought for 2012 that might stretch into 2013. Suddenly hose pipe bans were declared and a lockdown of precious water in reservoirs was initiated at the start of the year. After the wettest summer, autumn and winter for years, with attendant flooding and loss of life, what few gullible people left who had any confidence in the UKMO’s predictive powers, finally decided they were totally incompetent. Seemingly believing everyone is suffering from Alzheimers, the escape clause now being used by the UKMO is to blame climate change for one of the wettest years on record. It’s a win win piece of nomenclature.

The really big advantage of the name change is that not having to prove a specific thing – that the world is heating up – you can cherry pick your proofs of climate change occurring. Any change, real or otherwise, will do.

There appear to be five generic types of bogus proof that man-made climate change is occurring.

The first type is studying some really obscure organism, like for instance the South Pacific Snailbat, that nobody has researched in any detail before and concluding their population is in decline because of man-made climate change. It’ll nearly always be a decline, because nobody is interested in population increases, as it wouldn’t gel with their worldview of us humans always damaging the environment. There’s no real longterm data on the species, though usually some sort of historical proxy is found, which indicates a decline. While the layman might think proxy measurements are reliable, they rarely are. It’s all a matter of interpretation, and in some cases, just cherry picking the right hockey stick shaped example which appears to back up the conjecture being made. For lack of a better name, we’ll call that type of proof a Snailbat.

We must save the snailbat.

It’s a very versatile sort of proof. You can do a snailbat on pretty much anything organic, from insects right up to sequoia trees.

The second type of proof is the computer model predicting something untoward is going to happen. It’s nearly impossible to get across to someone who’s never tried their hand at computer modelling, how limited a domain of problems are actually amenable to modelling. I had a go at that a few years back and a link to the piece is below. The critical factors in any model are the physical nature of the problem, how complete your understanding of the problem is and the parameters, otherwise knows as guesses, built into the model.

If you don’t really comprehensively understand the problem, no computer, no matter how powerful, is going to help you solve it. Climate is the result of the interactions between an undefined set of systems, many of which would be technically classified as non-linear complex systems. The mathematical reality is that any type of non-linear complex system cannot be modelled for predictive purposes anyway.

Just to illustrate to you how a lot of very clever, motivated, hard-nosed and financially competent people can walk themselves over a cliff by having blind faith in computer models, consider the case of the hedge fund firm Long-Term Capital Management. They had a couple of Nobel Prize winning economists on board, a battalion of financial analysts and another battalion of software developers. They built a shiny computer model of their own business area and started using it to place their bets on the derivatives market. They bet heavy too, confident in how good their models’ predictions were. There was no way they could lose money.

The models were wrong. In less than five years, they went from an enterprise with assets of 130 billion USD and a trading position of 1.25 trillion USD, to going broke. It was so big a disaster, that there were genuine fears it might bring down the whole of the derivatives market, which forced a 4 billion USD bailout by the industry itself. A lot of supposedly very smart people lost a lot of money, because of that insidious idea that if a computer predicts something is going to happen, then it must surely be going to happen.

While no reasonable person would believe anyone can foretell the future for decades ahead, it always amazes me how readily they accept that a silicone chip contraption somehow can. If we don’t know how to predict the future, we can’t program a computer to predict the future. Forget computers, forget science, forget math, it’s actually as simple as that.

Computers can’t predict the future.

If you’re a fan of the director Stanley Kubrick’s work, you’ve probably seen his movie 2001 a space odyssey. Although there are other themes in it, one of them is a supercomputer called HAL predicting things which actually didn’t happen. The crewmen believed HAL and suffered the consequences. Put too much uncritical faith in computer predictions and you’ll inevitably end up pleading with HAL to open the pod bay doors. Just tell the suckers that HAL says we’re heading for an eco-disaster, and they’ll believe it. That variety of proof, we’ll call a HALsays.

The third type of proof is what can only be called a Scarem. Whatever extreme weather event comes along, attribute it straight away to climate change and scare the pants off them. It doesn’t matter if there’s not a single shred of scientific evidence to back up that assertion. The legacy MSM can always be relied on to run with an extreme weather event story and all you have to do is volunteer that opinion to them as a climate expert, irrespective of your qualifications, if any. That’s how tropical storm Sandy magically mutated into a Frankenstorm, as far as the ordinary person was concerned. Scare them, scare them again and keep right on scaring them.

Next up would be the dark side of proofs. Global warming must be real because skeptics of it can’t be right. They have to be wrong because you’ve got some sort of proof they’re all either insane, conspiracy nuts or child molesters. They’re even the sort of people who should be executed. In all good taste and as a tender mercy to you good reader, I won’t dwell too long on this bottom feeding type of so-called science paper, except to lump them all into the general category of LewPapers, as a hat tip to one of their pioneers. Climate science has truly fallen before the onslaught of its own internal post-normal Visigoths. They own its ass.

Finally we have weird sorts of Tammany Hall polls masquerading as a proof. There are simply too many ways of rigging polls or post-processing the numbers to yield the desired result, and every one of those techniques is actively used. The whole thrust of them is to give the impression that the threat is real and people are really weally worried about it. By and large, they’re ignored. In a previous article, I compared them to those elections dictators periodically have, which always come out with a 99% vote in their favour. I suppose the apposite name for this stripe of beastie is a DicPol or perhaps more appropriately a DickPol, when you look at the sort of people behind them. I’m looking at you, Obersturmbannführer Cook.

All of these proofs can be used in various combinations. Just mix and match as required and cook to taste but always take with a pinch of salt. For instance, based on a previous study of them, a new computer model predicts the endangered Snailbat will become extinct in less than a decade unless something is done to mitigate the impact of climate change on them. Of course, when you write it up for your paper, add in a lot of ass-covering caveats but you know the media will skip them all when your sensational research hits the front page. Sure, you’re going to have a squabble with the skeptics but that’ll all happen in the aftermath of the desired headlines and never be reported on anyway.

You follow it up with a DickPol showing how outraged people are at the desperate plight of the poor suffering snailbat and demanding action. The finishing touch would be to get Greenpeace to launch a Save the Snailbat campaign.

If that little lot doesn’t get you more research funding, nothing will.

The Snailbat, HALsays and Scarem proofs rely on the very understandable but very erroneous human perception that the environment not only shouldn’t change, but also something strange is happening if it is. Too much of environmental thinking on all sides is unconsciously based on something I called the steady-state environment delusion in a previous piece. There’s a link to it below, but the following paragraph from it summarises the essence of the idea.

We look at our world and the universe with human eyes and more importantly, with a human lifespan. In terms of the latter, we see an apparently ageless and unchanging view but it’s a false impression. When looked at through the eyes of “deep” time, it is dynamic, violent and forever changing. There is no ideal static harmonious state which must be maintained. There never was and there never will be either.

The reality is that the Earth’s climate, like the entire universe, has always, is, and will always change. The fundamentally dishonest thing about all these proofs, is the insistence that we’re the cause behind any change.

Any real scientific basis for the theory of man-made catastrophic global warming has by this stage been thoroughly shredded. What we’ve got coming at us in the future are; Snailbats, HALsays, Scarems, LewPapers and DickPols, because that’s all they’ve got left to use. Enjoy yourself sorting them into the appropriate categories as they come along.

©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman:

The Seductiveness of Models.

Lies, damn lies and polls.

The real bastards.

The steady-state environment delusion.

So, which is it; Global Warming, Climate Disruption or Climate Change?

Click for a list of other articles.

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Comments
20 Responses to “The shape of things to come; Snailbats, HALsays, Scarems, LewPapers and DickPols.”
  1. Petrossa says:

    It’s very simple really. If you actually could predict the future it means the future is static and we live in a predetermined universe. If you accept that then it makes sense to believe in accurate predictions, if not then that pretty much excludes them.

    And you forgot underpopulation in your scare list, which it seems now is the biggest danger.

  2. Craig King says:

    Great article Pointman. Good, clear thinking laid out clearly so that we can all “get it”.

    Thanks.

  3. Graeme No.3 says:

    Great Article.
    I once thought of something like that snailbat survey, involving the boring mudworm. Suggested that the survey only determined the press release e.g.
    Find decrease – PRESS RELEASE – global warming threatens extinction (more research needed).
    Find increase – PRESS RELEASE – global warming threatens plague (more research needed).
    Find no change – PRESS RELEASE – global warming a threat to the future (more research needed).

    You could write the press release before the survey, indeed in many cases a survey is the least necessary part.

  4. Retired Dave says:

    Another great post Pointman.

    Your categories combined with this summary at “Armed & Dangerous”

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=3974

    give you a complete kit of tools to arm yourself for all BS to come.

    One of the early commenters on this thread at A&D links to Richard Feynman’s wonderful talk to students about Cargo Cult Science. It is rambling and funny but contains advice on how science should be conducted – climate science fails utterly on all counts.

    You can see Feynman’s wise words directly here

    http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cargocul.htm

    • greg2213 says:

      “Armed & Dangerous” was a great read. I read way down into the comments (not all of them) and was refreshed to find that there was real discussion and an amazing lack of spitting.

      Very nice.

  5. A.D. Everard says:

    No wonder people are getting fed up with the whole thing. I’ve yet to see people angry. When that happens, when people get angry about being lied to and restricted and robbed through taxation, then we will see a real retreat in climate scare claims (the alarmists will then know what a real threat feels like and head for the hills, no doubt screaming “It wasn’t us, we weren’t there, we never said it WOULD”). Until then, however, people “fed up” is quite good. At least the vast majority is no longer falling for the scam. Great article, Pointman.

  6. Martin A says:

    Lewpapers. Haha

  7. Blackswan says:

    Pointman,

    This video clip is a classic and perfectly illustrates what we have all have been saying for years …. people ARE useful idiots …. and mercilessly exploited by the Climate Fraudsters.

  8. Blackswan says:

    Pointman,

    Sydney Telegraph columnist Miranda Devine is a national treasure, one of the few with the backbone to tell the truth of destructive Green policies ….

    “WHENEVER a major bushfire catastrophe occurs in Australia, the victims are essentially told to shut up.

    It happened after Victoria’s Black Saturday fires in 2009. It happened after the Canberra bushfires, 10 years ago on Friday. And it’s happening now in Tasmania.”

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/lets-tell-the-burning-truth/story-e6frezz0-1226552629947

    Miranda goes on to reveal how that Old Tart, Bob Brown, lodged a complaint against her with the Press Council when she said ……

    “So many people need not have died so horribly. The warnings have been there for a decade. If politicians are intent on whipping up a lynch mob to divert attention from their own culpability, it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies.”

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/bob-brown-has-it-wrong-i-do-not-advocate-violence-against-greenies/story-e6frezz0-1226552628290

    Green Politics in Oz covers every single one of your categories perfectly.

    The most disturbing thing is that these Green Bureaucratic Saboteurs can act with impunity because …. “government agencies are protected by statute and don’t have to pay compensation.”

    Monetary compensation will never replace all that so many have lost, but it’s Criminal Liability that the Eco-terrorists have so smugly avoided that is most galling. They will never have to answer for their crimes.

    • Both in Australia and the US fire hazard protocols to minimize risk have been overridden by fines for clearing brush and trees to provide a firebreak for homes and cottages. But when the inevitable destruction occurs, it’s a matter of global warming increasing the danger of fire.

  9. Manfred says:

    “Environmental alarmism is by now a well established phenomenon with nearly a four decade long history.”
    Just how long can you keep pounding people about the head with cataclysmic messages before all you’re left with is a unresponsive, overly pulped mash that could care less…..about anything?
    The resilience of the human mind lies among other things in it’s ability to filter out irrelevant noise. The louder the shout, the greater the guarantee of not being heard!

  10. theduke says:

    Excellent reference, Pointman. I’m going to bookmark it in a folder with Lord Monckton’s piece on logical fallacies in the arguments of CAGW flim-flammers. You’ve exposed here just how corrupt their tactics are. The tactics are necessarily corrupt because the arguments and the science behind them are so weak.

  11. PaleoSapiens says:

    Climate doesn’t change…weather changes – climate SHIFTS.

    QED

  12. Blackswan says:

    Pointman,

    Australia is currently hosting the latest gathering of the IPCC coven – in the city of Hobart on the island state of Tasmania. Wildfire continues to burn across the state after record temperatures and the Climate Hysterics are having a field day with the MSM feverishly publishing Press Releases and challenging nothing.

    The threats of sea level rises continue ….. “More than 250 experts from 39 countries are in Hobart this week to review the latest draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report including a new chapter on sea level.

    The co-ordinating lead author on the new chapter, CSIRO’s Dr John Church, said sea level is clearly linked to climate change.”

    http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2013/01/16/370451_tasmania-news.html

    The CSIRO cited “recordings showing that temperatures around Maria Island have increased by 1.5C over the past 60 years.” Note: the temperature, not the sea level.

    Tiny Maria Island is on the east coast of Tasmania and if those intrepid “scientists” had ventured a little further down the coast they would have found a tidal marker at the water’s edge, etched into sandstone by a British Antarctic surveyor in 1841.

    http://www.john-daly.com/

    John Daly was the Tasmanian Scientist whose untimely death was described by Prof Phil Jones in the Climategate emails as “cheering news”. Daly was tireless in his work to reveal the graft and corruption in the manipulation of climate data and his loss is felt even more keenly today as the IPCC coven of Mother Gaia’s witches and warlocks convenes in our beautiful island state.

    Meanwhile, our fearless Realist journalist Miranda Divine continues to come up with some facts on Australia’s climate history; one of extraordinary extremes ….

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/aussies-have-weathered-natures-extremes-before/story-e6frezz0-1226554616244

    February 10 and 11, 1791: “On which days the temperature at Sydney stood in the shade at 41C, the heat was so excessive at Parramatta, made worse by the bushfires, that immense numbers of the large fox-bats were seen to drop from the trees into the water, and many dropped dead on the wing.”

    I suspect that carbon dioxide and industrial pollution wasn’t a major factor when a few hundred colonists struggled for survival in the midst of a wilderness in 1791.

  13. mark fraser says:

    Great article. However, the typo that sticks out evokes a simple rule: Silicon replaces tubes, silocone replaces boobs.

  14. Gail Combs says:

    Pointman, Given Looney Lew got a reward for his Lewpaper on ‘Deniers are Conspiracy Theorists’ from the Royal Society, I am sure you will find this Article in the leftest rag, Rolling Stone hilarious.

    Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever –
    The Illuminati were amateurs. The second huge financial scandal of the year reveals the real international conspiracy: There’s no price the big banks can’t fix

    By
    Matt Taibbi
    April 25, 2013 1:00 PM ET

    Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world’s largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything…

    Actually Matt Taibbi is a decent journalist and writer and seems to have his head screwed on correctly.

    I think this article needs to be forwarded to Looney lew and Cook… From every single skeptic in the world. Hard copy would be best.

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  1. […] an analysis piece last year which was an attempt to categorise and second guess the different types of propaganda the climate alarmists would resort to. In the light of Nils Bohr’s witty remark that prediction is […]



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