I’m not a scientist but …

For a number of reasons, having “made my bones” in permanent employment, the rest of my career would be termed freelance. I deliver measured amounts of expertise for clients of my choosing in the areas in which I know I operate well. The point is, you have to step out of your comfort zone and think about things like profits, presentation and marketability. For any professional, this is a natural extension of your maturity in your chosen area of work.

The big benefit is you do get the opportunity to see how a diverse number of businesses and organisations operate and over time, certain patterns emerge. With the passage of the years, you recognise these patterns quicker and start to make decisions based on your familiarity with them. That’s when you know you have what’s called professional judgement. Some patterns are good, some are bad.

You’ll see the title phrase of this article frequently in the global warming debate. It is what any person will prefix to expressing what they think is a reasonable reservation they have in the face of an opinion being voiced by an expert. If you have an expertise in an area in which you make a living, it can be one of those danger signals too. Sometimes, what that person is saying and what is actually happening are two different things. What they’ll go on to say could be anything but perhaps what’s occurring is they are beginning to lose trust in you and therefore the advice you’re giving them. Once trust in you is gone, out goes trust in anything else you’ve ever told them as well.

I’ve seen this situation handled in two ways. The first is the expert taking offence that their expert opinion is being questioned by someone with no particular expertise in the area, so they pretty quickly go on the offensive. This takes the form of dismissing the objection, however reasonable it might seem to an onlooker, as being based on ignorance and then proceeding to ignore anything further they say. This never works and indeed, if you’re working together on some cooperative enterprise, it tends to polarise the group into two camps. Welcome to the house divided which cannot stand.

I repeat, it never works and not only that, in the long-term it is counter productive.

The constructive response is to stop everything and address their concern honestly and patiently. You have to engage with them and explain why their objection, while it may appear to be valid, is either groundless or is addressed in some other way. This will involve an effort on your part to explain sometimes quite technical things in a form you are confident they understand. The explanation may not be exactly technically correct, and you should always say that, but that’s what you’ve got to do. If you really are on top of your subject, this is not difficult to do.

Sometimes, you don’t know or are not sure of the answer and you should simply say that. It’s my experience that if you’re dealing with people in business or on a personal level, honesty lasts forever; dishonesty only lasts until the first time you’re found out, which will happen eventually. After that occurs, you’re playing catch up with any remaining trust they have in you and that’s a race you rarely win.

The really hard thing to explain is the pure judgement call because it really can’t be done. They only way it can be justified, is if you have a history of making the right choice and you’ve never made a particularly wrong one. People come to trust your judgement or they don’t. Make one badly wrong call that hurts people who trusted your judgement and you’re gone though. It’s that possibility that keeps you on your toes.

If, after a decent and honest effort on your part, you’re still going around in the “yebbut” loop with them, then it becomes obvious to everyone else present that either the person shouldn’t be there or they’re just pissing testosterone. Mostly, if their objection was honest, you can move on, having addressed their concern and that’s a good inclusive thing. You may have locked horns with a specialist in another discipline but it’s an opportunity to show to them and everyone else, you actually know what you’re talking about and have the manners to take the time to articulate that. It’s a normal part of putting together a good team with diverse skills and strong personalities.

That was all sorted out very nicely and comfortably, don’t you think? Well, let’s go at it from the other side and explore it a bit further. A thing I like doing is getting inside the head of the opposite argument; it’s how I learn things.

In this situation, where I’m the one asking the awkward question, there are certain things I watch for. If I see any one of them, I start to get uneasy. When I see more than one of them cropping up, I eventually go and have that very direct conversation with my client to the effect that they’re moving into the danger zone. That’s happened a few times and the one occasion when my judgement was ignored, I exercised my get out clause and while we parted amicably enough, the client subsequently went on to have a nasty and very expensive experience. From a certain viewpoint, it was good for my reputation professionally but it wasn’t a good result to my way of thinking.

So, what are those signs? Invariably the first one is the experts don’t feel they have to address any flaws pointed out to them by others. Indeed, they’re nearly insulted at anyone having the temerity to raise such awkward points. Word gets around pretty fast too. Soon, people stop voicing any concerns publically although that certainly doesn’t prevent them from doing so in private. Rumour control is lost but the seriously harmful thing happening here is the enterprise has lost that ability to identify and therefore address problems; it is no longer self-correcting. This is lethal.

Things start getting secretive. Policy is set and decisions are made or reversed behind closed doors with only a select cabal of supporters present. The communication of these changes to other people becomes spotty and at times nearly verges on a need-to-know basis. Not only are the goal posts moving around but the ground beneath your feet is starting to boogie woogie too.

You begin to lose the good people because what makes them good at their job is they really care about the work. They feel they’re being prevented from giving of their best for political reasons totally outside their control, so they move on. You get left with a lot of time servers; the nine to fivers who really don’t give a damn about what happens between those times as long as there’s a steady paycheck coming in.

If there’s anyone talented left in the joint by now, they’ve usually been marginalised by the dreaded not being a team player label. Talented people can always find employment elsewhere but the best of them hang on in there and try to tough it out to protect their people from the worst excesses of an increasingly irrational management. It is an example of that sort of lonely leadership courage under pressure I respect greatly.

Things are delivered late, over budget and the quality is highly suspect but all of that no longer seems to matter anyway. Corporate politics have become the overriding priority. As the product gets shoddier, more and more of the management’s time is spent defending it against an increasingly jaundiced customer.

You end up with a workforce who dutifully turn up every day but have long since lost any interest or enthusiasm in the whole enterprise. Above all, they dislike and deeply distrust the management. They are the real victims.

In the commercial world, such projects eventually get cancelled because they’re costing money, not earning any and appear to be going nowhere. By that stage, the smart ones in the management, who saw it coming, have already left the ship to go on to bigger and better things and what’s left are the true believers who are usually shifted sideways into obscurity or discreetly paid off.

Not a nice process, is it? I think of it as thug management and it always costs any organisation its greatest asset; its talented and motivated people. If you get parachuted in to turn around a mess like that, it’s obvious in the first week what strategic changes need to be made but that’s the easy part. The really difficult thing, which will occupy most of your time from then on, is rebuilding the morale and motivation of the staff. Get that right and everything else will follow. You have one big thing on your side when faced with that task; people like to do a good job and when finally given a leadership which knows what it’s doing and which genuinely listens to them, are just raring to go after months or even years of frustration. It’s like watching flowers suddenly bloom in the desert.

In the last few years, public belief and concern about global warming has plunged to decade lows and the numbers are still going south. Given it is such a seismic shift in the political landscape, nobody seems to be wondering why this is happening or why it happened so quickly. Beyond bickering about the numbers, what simplistic analysis I’ve seen of it invariably suggest the Climategate leak of emails was the root cause but while this was a significant event, it demonstratively can’t have been the prime cause. This is obvious since the vast majority of people are not aware of the event and indeed, have never heard the word Climategate. A real world experiment I do on an occasional basis, is asking a new acquaintance what they “think about Climategate”. You’d be surprised at how little is known about it outside science and the blogosphere. I’d encourage you to try that simple experiment for yourself. You won’t even need a computer model to do it.

So, if it wasn’t Climategate, what caused such a sudden collapse? Did the general public suddenly look into global warming for themselves and decide it was rubbish? Of course not. They are neither more nor less informed about climate science than they were years ago.

It was a combination of three things in my opinion.

The first is that genuine concern about global warming was never as deeply embedded in the public consciousness as it appeared to be. This fact was obscured by a decade’s worth of overwhelming environmental propaganda in the mainstream media and a succession of highly dubious opinion polls which appeared to point to some massive majority that in my opinion, never really existed outside certain social classes. If you looked critically at the demographics of the movement and stripped out the media, the people who were making money out of environmentalism and those for which it represented a radical political opportunity, you were left in the main with the young. Any decent politician worth his salt knows exactly how to whip up enthusiasm in the youthful first time voter and this they did ruthlessly and rode it to positions of power. The hordes of young people who flocked to Copenhagen demonstrated this for all to see.

The thing is though, sudden enthusiasms fade just as quickly as they appeared, especially in the young. The hordes of young people who didn’t flock to Cancun demonstrated this too. Environmentalism as a fashion meme of youth, is already well on the way to becoming just soo yesterday. It’s had its fifteen minutes or as the Romans would say, they’ve lost the mob.

The second major factor was the recession. In an effort to forestall a complete meltdown in the world’s financial system, governments worldwide have indebted themselves to the point where some of them are technically bankrupt. While a few still think they can spend money they’ve no longer got on a possible danger to generations in some distant future scenario, most of them have quietly been cutting subsidies and funding to green initiatives. If politics is the art of the possible, then politics on a budget is the art of the necessary. What little money they’ve got is being funnelled into getting their stalled economies back on their feet and although I think they will eventually succeed, I also think that won’t happen for a few years yet.

Look around you, by which I mean get your head out of the blogosphere for a moment and into the real world. People are scared. Their concerns have contracted down to those two old eternals of life; jobs and money. Jobs are scarce and a lot more insecure these days. There are too many young people who want to work and have never had a job. We have older workers on the unemployment line who are breadwinners and beginning to wonder if they’ll ever have another decent job. Even for people in work, anything with eco or green on the label is now at the bottom of their priority list. It’s all about keeping a roof over your head and food on the table. As I remarked in a previous article, if that food has to be roast Polar bear, then there won’t be much pulling out of hair or rending of garments over it but I suppose that’d finally be a good reason for such a remarkably successful species being on the endangered list.

Before moving on to the third and final reason the bottom dropped out of belief in any looming eco Armageddon, I first have to say something which may surprise a lot of people. The blogosphere in my judgement, has little or no influence on broad public opinion because, simply put, the overwhelming majority of people don’t use it at all. They barely know it exists. How can it therefore be a mass opinion former? What compounds the problem is that it’s an essentially self-absorbed and inward-looking community as well.

It is this self-evident fact that made me think long and hard before deciding to start a blog myself. A good blog, even the best of them, is the equivalent of putting a message in a bottle, throwing it far out into the tide and hoping it might wash up on some distant shore and be opened by someone who actually frames policy or makes a few big decisions. Beyond informing the occasional open mind, that extremely improbable outcome is about as good as you can hope for. This blog you’re reading now represents the triumph of a personal optimism over a cold assessment of its effectiveness in the real world.

What you have to take on board is the simple fact that the blogosphere was not a major contributor to the change in public opinion. Both sides, having invested such a lot of time and effort in what can only be termed blog wars, will find this an unpalatable truth but I’m afraid it’s a truth nonetheless. If there’s an upside to blogging, it’s being able to tell it like you see it, right or wrong. As internet access becomes universal, which it will, that situation may very well change but I feel we’re still a long way from that point at this time. Sorry folks but at this moment, we’re not opinion makers and Earth shakers, we’re just people airing their views. We’re actually not that significant.

The third thing and it is the main thing that actually caused the implosion of the credibility in global warming, was the process I’ve went to some trouble to outline above. I’m not aware of any neat term in management studies that identifies it beyond my rough name of it as “thug management”, so I’ll stick with that.

Science was to be used as the battering ram to effect what was in essence political change, which would also make a lot of people a lot of money. If you weren’t a scientist, how on Earth could you possibly raise any objections to it? A hitherto obscure and nascent area of science obligingly allowed itself to become a compliant and willing whore to politics and it was lavishly rewarded for its services. It was to be thug management with its usual characteristics of arrogance, hypocrisy, lies, intolerance, deceit, intimidation and ruthless self-interest.

People who did know something about science and cared about it, did start asking those awkward questions but given the overwhelming bias of the mainstream media, there was simply no platform in it for them. The peer-reviewed journals were strictly on message and most disgracefully of all, academia had toed the line too. It took a brave university to give a notable dissenter tenure. The single remaining way to get the message out was to start flinging bottles into the surf via this new blogosphere thing. A few people started doing that and it was another one of those lonely leadership things.

The early blogs concentrated on examining the basic science behind global warming and other ones soon followed to look at the economics and politics of the thing but the science blog is still the mainstay. With regard to the validity or not of the science, that’s a judgement call you’ll have to make yourself. Standing back from the details of the debate, two things led me to having deep misgivings about it.

The first one is that the essential science seems to rest on nothing but the predictions made by computer models of the climate and climate is a non-linear complex system, which means it’s inherently unpredictable. Nothing, not even the most powerful computer in the world, will help you to predict the unpredictable, especially when you don’t fully understand it anyway.

The second one is the behaviour of the scientists pushing the theory.

It exhibits all the worst characteristics of thug management; secretiveness, deceit and intimidation of any dissenters. It’s taken years to get some of the raw data from them on which they based their predictions and that was only after the intervention of the Information Commissioner’s office. They basically don’t want to show their working out, as schoolkids say, and every schoolkid knows what that means.

The skeptic blogosphere fought against the thug management of climate science and in my opinion, put a dent in its credibility it’ll never recover from. It’s now that Pythonesque black knight hopping up and down on its one remaining leg. Yes, the debate will go on for a few years more but the damage has been done. However, for the reasons I’ve already stated, the blogosphere can only have played a slight part in its downfall.

You see, the silent killer who was there all along, was indeed thug management but operating at a higher level, the level of the ordinary person. There was an agenda being presented to them which was being rammed down their throat and any questioning of it was strictly forbidden. There was absolutely no alternatives on offer and they knew sticking their head up to ask any awkward questions about it wouldn’t be a good idea. People resent being treated like that.

They looked at Al Gore in his thousand dollar suits and with his five or six mansions, telling them how they needed to save the planet and you know what? They didn’t need anyone’s help to see him for what he was. They listened to the media’s take on the latest “scientific” research and instead of being impressed, began to wonder who in their right mind paid for such unbelievable drivel. They listened to the latest alarm story from that oh so earnest spokesperson from Greenpeace about the emergency on the imminent demise of the lesser-spotted three-toed thingy that lived in the upper canopy of a jungle in some place they’d never heard of until a minute ago and instead of getting really really angry, as they were supposed to, wondered in the end if they were actually that bothered about the bloody thing anyway.

They were well on that road travelled by all victims of thug management and it led in the end to that same deep and abiding distrust of the thugs.

Above all, it was that preachy and holier than thou tone that really began to grate. They’d all met people like that and they all know what hypocrites or maniacs they’ve always turned out to be. They watched ABC, the other ABC, NBC and BBC incessantly screaming a none too subtle message at them for years and after a while, they reached for the TV remote with its mute button. No amount of repackaging of the message will get around that mute button once it’s been pressed and lads and lassies, it’s been pressed.

When you step outside the bunker and look around, things are a lot different.

©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman :

The seductiveness of models.

The MSM and climate alarmism.

  

Click for a list of other articles.

Comments
37 Responses to “I’m not a scientist but …”
  1. mlpinaus says:

    Yes, the preachy, holier than thou message gets to me too. The answer is the same as to the intrusive advertisements on SBS…. the mute button. It allows one to contemplate Gillard’s nose… a wonderous construct…without listening to the “Melbun” whine.
    “This blog you’re reading now represents the triumph of a personal optimism over a cold assessment of its effectiveness in the real world.”
    I salute you sir for for being an island of commonsense in a sea of turds….. please don’t get disheartened, your efforts are appreciated.
    Marcus

  2. mlpinaus says:

    A further thought….. The TV sets in “1984” could not be turned down from memory…..
    Marcus

  3. Blackswan says:

    Pointman,

    You have successfully distilled the essence of Carbon Fraud and its rejection by free-thinkers everywhere. “Thug Management” – what a great description to exactly describe the process of obfuscation and intimidation that renders the protagonists unaccountable and seemingly teflon-coated.

    As you have captured so graphically, Corporate culture, Political and Bureaucratic dynamics are a matter of survival of the most unprincipled, unethical and unaccountable individuals.

    Trouble is, the entity over which they ultimately preside is hollow, worthless and destined to fail. When it’s our own Governments who behave in such a way, the damage is generational – our economies destroyed, our debt levels in the stratosphere, our industries gutted and our best-and-brightest left disillusioned and betrayed by a system that is utterly corrupt.

    This is a really important ‘message-in-a-bottle’ Pointman, and thanks for couching it in rational terms easily understood by anyone who has ever been touched by such intellectual thuggery. Great work.

  4. Blackswan says:

    G’day Marcus,

    The “Melbun” whine is extruded through those “wondrous” sinuses, about as grating as a fingernail raked down a chalkboard. I don’t bother with a ‘mute’ button as even the sight of the Orange Roughie is enough to spoil my day. The ‘Off’ button is good – even better, I skip the ‘On’ button in the first place.

  5. JonasN says:

    Very well put, Pointman …

    But I’d like to make a minor objection. I agree that the blogosphere will not and cannot make any sizable impression on the public in general. However, broad shifts in opinion always start small and at the periphery, among smaller interested subgroups. Always! And such groups when they form and find each other are quite efficient in staking out the field, getting to the core issues, pointing out the main waknesses, refering to and supporting each other etc (this is true also for other periphal small groups, eg left wing extremism etc)

    But in this case, skeptiks and bloggers had a good case, and a significant one too. Due to the sheer size and strength of the climate orthodoxy, and the magnitude of uanswerd questions, contradictions and outrageous claims made in the gaping wake behind it.

    When people with integrety start asking questions, the first stop is Google, and once there its like opeing Pandoras box, there is no going back. This is how I (who never was particularly alarmed, but believed there must be something to it at least) had my first eye opener. And it works the same way for every other person who’d rather make up their own mind insted of forming his opinions by subscription to one or a few media outlets.

    Yes, these are not very many people. But important ones, opinion- and descion makers and other early adopters. By now, and for some years now, you can be certain that MSM journalists follow the blogosphere quite closely. Their pet choices of course, but they will also be aware of the ‘oppostion’ and the better ones will even listen to both sides.

    And once the first few fired missiles hit the target and where shown to stick, this escalated.

    Think of it: How many of the general polulation know the namn of one retired mining engineer in Canada? Not very many, and even less last year.

    Still Steve McIntire was #32 on the NewsStatesman’s list of people who matter 2010:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/global-issues/2010/09/climate-mcintyre-keeper

    What I want to say is, that those people that actually matter when forming opinions and possibly shifting them of course av much fewer, but they also are more aware of what’s going on.

    • Pointman says:

      Hello and welcome Jonas.

      I certainly agree the blogosphere has an influence on people who use the internet rather than the MSM to find out what’s going on. I also know it’s monitored by political advisers because it tends to give warning of coming trends. I should be more optimistic!

      “When people with integrety start asking questions, the first stop is Google, and once there its like opening Pandoras box, there is no going back.”

      I read into this that you’re perhaps person who now gets their news directly from the internet and have left the MSM behind you. So many commenters here have made that same journey. See the comments on this piece

      https://thepointman.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/the-death-of-journalism-and-the-irresistible-rise-of-the-blogosphere/

      Another pattern is starting to emerge of more and more people deserting the MSM.

      Pointman

      • greg2213 says:

        A thought occurs to me… while those us us in the blogosphere are a relatively small bunch, we do talk. We talk to a number of people who either frequent different areas of the net or over no net at all. The word spreads.

        And I think you’re “Oh, so right” about thug management.

  6. Great post, right on the point, man…😉 (as usual..)

    How come, that common sense is no more common? Just take a look at the, at present, ongoing ‘south’ on the ‘world’s’ bourses and add to it the ‘comments’ + analysises(?) from the numerous ‘experts’ in MSM/radio/TV etc… On top of that – providing strong heart! – listen to the numbness of the EU-man in charge, Mr. Barroso… Go grief!…
    Well, trying to ‘balance’ the idiocracy to the SH, you have a ‘strong/heavy’ candidate in Ms. Gillard, we – in Sweden – have a number of numbnesses, starting from the top level and down.

    A true statesman, or for that matter a manager, is not ‘measured’ primarily on what he/she does but more, and much more, on the ability and competence to gather a team of highly/highest competent people in his/her team, compare to any sport coach’s work and doings.
    How can, in Sweden (sorry), a desperately needed new thinking person, ie. Fredrik Reinfeld at present ceo of this country, in only a few months of power just turn off the common sense thinking + governings of his doings. One might as well ask how that smae came about in a number of other countries, ie. yours… And you told it! Plenty thanks! 🙂

    Brgsd from Sweden!
    //ThomasJ

    • Pointman says:

      Cheer up Thomas! Sounds like the “thug management” effect is alive and well in Sweden. Remember, it always fails in the end.

      Pointman

      • Hi Pointman,
        Yes, I’ll try to cheer up…🙂
        And yes, I’m also aware that ‘thug management’ always fail in the end, and that fact makes me feel sorry for this country, as the ‘road’ to that failure will cost so tremendously much by/in all means one looks at it.
        BTW; found, methink, a rather good translation of ‘thug’ (that is in Swedish:
        Rövarband (~ band of robbers)… 😉
        Have a nice weekend!
        Brgds from Sweden
        //ThomasJ

  7. Slabadang says:

    Pointman!

    You underestimate the effect and importance of the bloggospfere. Your article is authentic and spot on!! I love reading articles when you fast realize that the wrighter is totally open and honest and really belives what his writing about. No manipulation no hiding no tactics just smack on with the observation and analyse. You have a gift!! Use it!!
    Trust and confidence is something you have to earn and its evaporates faster than it takes to build it. And CAGW alarmists deserve no trust whats so ever and never even tried. They have acted like a bad tranied dog tryng to lick your face whith its bad breath and when push it away it bites you in the hand showes its teeeth growles and barks at you for beiing rejected. Thats ni family dog thats for sure!!!

    • Pointman says:

      Hello and welcome Slabadang. You’re right about the Alarmists, they don’t handle rejection very well. Have you noticed they don’t appear to have any sense of humour either?

      Pointman

      • greg2213 says:

        No sense of humor? Of course they do, just not when they’re the butt of it. Of course, many of us don’t much care for humor that we’re the butts of.

        Also, remember that many of them thought the 10-10 video was funny.

      • rw says:

        No, Pointman is right. I’ve noticed this myself, reading both left- and rightwing publications. The humorlessness in the former as opposed to the latter is quite striking. Nat Hentoff, wrote an article many years ago in Reason magazine about campus conservative publications, and he also noted the difference between them and official student newspapers (all leftwing, of course) in this respect — and his comment caught my eye because of what I had already observed.

  8. Ric Werme says:

    Holger Danske posted a link to that at WUWT’s Tips & Notes page.

    I’d like to offer a few comments on your third point. In essence, I agree with you conclusions, but I have a somewhat different take on how the third “blow” fell. I agree Climategate was not involved, its main offering was proof that the corruption of science people thought might be going on was going on. Readership did surge at WUWT and never really went away, though I have the sense the new readers are not as knowledgeable as the old. This is a good thing – they’ve learned a lot more in the past year or two than the old readers have! Still, WUWT reaches a very small fragment of the population. The impact of it and the rest of the blogosphere is indirect, and I have no idea just how big it is.

    I think two events shaped the third blow. First, I think people had tired of hearing about CAGW disasters just around the corner, as you mention. I see a parallel with something from New Hampshire. In the early 1990s the Libertarian party was on a roll. We had enough votes in a statewide election (in particular, for governor) that we garnered major party status. We had four State Reps (there are 400 in total, so only 1%). The old parties passed a law that made it harder to gain major party status, and we lost it in the the next election and we may not have recovered to even the lower rate.

    I think the state’s population gave the Libertarians a chance to show their stuff, but when we weren’t able to maintain even the state rep seats, they said we had our chance and it looks like we be a minor paorty for the indefinite future. In the meantime, the Free State Project selected New Hampshire, in part because of our “Live Free or Die” state motto and political leanings; the tea party has done pretty well here too. The state really hasn’t changed much, it’s just that the Libertarians’ time has come and gone.

    For CAGW, the same thing applies. Messages of tipping points that haven’t tipped (and how would we know?), scary hot summers that didn’t leave a desert, frigid winters (due to warming) that melted into spring anyway, and Florida’s coastline that isn’t retreating all built up to the realization that, like the NH Libertarians, the world hasn’t changed.

    How many people got that message in the first place? When you ask that new acquaintance about Climategate, ask what he knows about James Hansen. I suspect that a lot of people never have benn up in arms about the looming catastrophes.

    The second event that shaped the third blow in the US was the winter after Climategate. It was cold from north central US to New England to the deep south. Key West broke a low temperature record by 5°F, hundreds of manatees died in the cold water. (Hundreds more were saved by the warm outflow of power plants.)

    The snowstorms that normally hit New England didn’t happen – the storm track was shifted south, over the mid-Atlantic. President Obama left Copenhagen a day early to get back before a blizzard that was poised to hit Washington. Even with the head start, it was a heartwarming sight to see Air Force I land in blowing snow. That and other storms brought a message that no one in the mid Atlantic could miss – we could use a little global warming right about now.

    And that, I think, cost the CAGW movement its credibility. Years of listening to Al Gore, Jim Hansen, and others timed out. They failed to prove their point, their time had come and is now gone. How to stay warm despite climbing fuel costs has become a bigger concern than that old catastrophe that wasn’t just around the corner.

    • Pointman says:

      Hello and welcome Ric.

      I share your impression that global warming is a movement whose time has come and gone. There was a window of opportunity which might concievably have saved it if the correct action had been taken. That was to ruthlessly prune off the high profile thugs but they never even considered that action and it’s much too late for that now. It is in terminal decline.

      Agreed about the extreme weather being a significant factor too. “Gott mit uns” springs to mind …

      One thing that always made me optimistic about global warming was a comment I’ve heard on several occasions from ordinary people; “I’m not a scientist but I can spot a scam when I see one”. They can too.

      Pointman

  9. DirkH says:

    In the German case, maybe an even better analogy is a neo-pagan political religion; with wind turbines and solar panels as fetishes.

    I’ve seen the collapses of the kind of thug management systems you describe, but i’ve not yet witnessed the collapse of a religion, or a cult. I don’t know if the believers can still function once their cult vanishes.

  10. Reg Dawe says:

    Pointman
    You don´t post very often but when you do the work is usually excellent. A few thoughts crossed my mind regarding scientists; we seem to have transferred the cloak of respectability and infallibility that used to reserved for priests to this group. But being a scientist, or a priest for that matter, does not ensure a person is particularly intelligent, well educated or even well trained just that they have received some training in a particular field. So let´s give scientists a break, they are ordinary people with ordinary concerns and also ordinary beliefs which are not always based on science. Like the rest of us some are attractive some objectionable, so let´s look at them in perspective and use our own judgement to decide if what they say is reasonable or not. One farther thought: people who prophesy the future are invariably wrong. Regis in Brazil

    • laterite says:

      A comment recently — that the GFC will be the death of Keynesian defenders of privilege — got me thinking. Maybe the people are waking up that to their financial house in shambles. And maybe people are waking up that AGW alarmists are defenders of the privileged. You think scientists are ordinary people, really, after 4 years degree and 6 years of servitude doing a PhD? If they didn’t have a sense of privilege before they feel they deserve respect and a secure job after. And how has privilege always been maintained — the iron fist in the velvet glove. Great post Pointman.

    • Pointman says:

      Hello and welcome Reg. I have been a strong supporter of science and technology and will always be. Without a doubt, it has improved the lot of mankind and will continue to do that in the future.

      What made science so effective was the perception that scientific advice was impartial. That was the reason science and scientists were accorded such unique authority in society. In my opinion, a small number of scientists allowed their science to be used for a political and financial agenda; the “battering ram” I referred to in the article.

      Looking at a recent opinion poll, that trust in what climate scientists say has been replaced with a belief that they were exaggerating or even making it up. Perception, as they say in politics, is all. Those people have damaged the credibility of science in general.

      Pointman

  11. Reg Dawe says:

    Hi Laterite,
    nice to exchange a few words with you. You say “ You think scientists are ordinary people, really, after 4 years degree and 6 years of servitude doing a PhD? “ well to my mind that´s not servitude but a privilege provided by the rest of the community and like the rest of the community they scramble for secure, well paid jobs. But a PhD does not make them any more honest or less self serving than anyone else.

    Hello Pointman ,
    thanks for the welcome You say “What made science so effective was the perception that scientific advice was impartial.” The important word here is perception; I doubt if scientists have ever been completely impartial, self comes first, be it in many disguises. How many scientists would throw away their job if they thought the science they were working on was less than impartial? But I agree that some climate scientists have become blatantly dishonest, alongside many Western Hemisphere politicians.

  12. Michael Larkin says:

    Interesting post as always, Pointman. I suppose I’m not that sure about a couple of things. First, that the beast is dead rather than sulking in its cave formulating some other strategy. Second, that the blogosphere doesn’t really have much of an effect. I’d agree it might not have a decisive effect, but as has been pointed out, though its readership might be comparatively small, it might include some influential voices. A few people with enough influence can do a lot of damage.

    Picture a drop of dye that’s fallen into a beaker of water. At first, it’s a well-defined blob, but after a time it disperses and the overall change in hue of the water is barely detectable. But keep on adding drops, and at some critical point, the change is obvious to everyone.

    Here in the UK, it’s been noticeable recently that some newspapers have declared hostility to alarmism. There have even been small hints on auntie Beeb, perhaps particularly radio, of a certain soft-pedalling, maybe presaging back-pedalling.

    Sure, the current economic situation is a major factor, and sure, people, perhaps particularly the young, get caught up in fads. And sure as hell, there has been thug management in relation to AGW. But maybe, just maybe, the colouring of the water by battalions of bloggers and their respondents has proven to be catalytic.

    One thing’s for sure: if and when the beast rolls over and dies, there’ll be an enormous body of material online for historical research. The question is, whether we will learn from it. Whether we will change the structure of the scientific establishment, for example, so that ruling cadres can no longer arbitrarily control what is included or excluded from legitimate study.

    I doubt politicians will ever change, though. They’re dumber than a box of hammers, always ready to jump onto whatever bandwangon they feel will give them popular support. That will only ever change if we move to some better kind of system of governance – one that hasn’t even been thought of yet.

    • Pointman says:

      Hello and welcome Michael. I like the dye analogy. Thinking about the comments you’ve made, the beast certainly isn’t dead yet and yes, they’ll try to shift the vector of alarmism to something new like ocean acidification. I think they’ve lost the mob though.

      You’re quite right too about the historical research aspects of the hysteria; five years down the line, pulling out a choice alarmist quote on global warming by someone pushing a new scare is going to be very effective.

      Pointman

  13. Pointman says:

    “69% Say It’s Likely Scientists Have Falsified Global Warming Research”

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/environment_energy/69_say_it_s_likely_scientists_have_falsified_global_warming_research

    Bad, bad numbers for the alarmists …

    Pointman

  14. Blackswan says:

    A glimmer of light in the gloomy fetid tunnel of Australia’s impending Carbon Dioxide tax …….

    “THE Auditor-General will investigate Julia Gillard’s $12 million carbon tax advertising campaign and its claims the tax will apply to only 500 companies and that nine out of 10 households will be compensated for price rises……

    Industry calculations based on ATO (Australian Tax Office) data show that up to 60,000 businesses will be affected by this form of the carbon price from July 1, 2012, and nearly 100,000 businesses will be affected from July 1, 2014,” Mr Abbott said in his letter to the Auditor-General. Climate Change Department secretary Blair Comley, appearing before a Senate inquiry this week, agreed with Liberal senator Mathias Cormann that the carbon package “effectively imposes a carbon price on fuel through a reduction in the fuel tax credit”.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/carbon-tax-advertising-campaign-faces-audit/story-fn59niix-1226114082473

    If the AG finds that the ads are indeed fraudulent and unverifiable, then the Labor Party itself will have to foot the multi-million dollar advertising bill. With such monumental Fraud then cemented in the public’s mind, it’s hard to imagine that it will ever proceed. Still, I never thought it could get this far.

    • mlpinaus says:

      Wonder if the postage cost incured sending it back to the printer with a short, polite note asking about his morals in printing it is tax deductable? May Gaia strike me down……
      Marcus

  15. Pointman says:

    Here’s a politician intent on putting a saddle on anti global warming sentiment and riding it to power. To be fair to him though, he’s been giving GW a kicking for a few years anyway.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/08/in-new-hampshire-perry-calls-global-warming-a-scientific-theory-that-has-not-been-proven.html

    Pointman

  16. Jim says:

    About 5 or 6 years ago, when ‘Global Warming’ was a media and politics driven juggernaut flattening everything in its path, I was having a series of animated discussions every summer Saturday afternoon with a fellow member of my cricket team. He was a fully paid up member of the MSM following fraternity. He was convinced that England was going to be turning into a searing desert, and the sea would rise by X feet if we didn’t all do what Al Gore said. I tried to convince him that it wasn’t so, but failed to dent his beliefs much, as the ammunition wasn’t there at the time, the way it is now.

    I remember saying at the time that the next 10 years would decide ‘Global Warming’ one way or another. Either temperatures would continue to rise inexorably, or they wouldn’t, and might even fall. The evidence of our own eyes would contradict the increasingly shrill predictions from the environmental movement and the emperor would be suddenly seen to be naked.

    I would say that’s what has happened. The disconnect between what ordinary people can see in front of them (snow and lots of it, record minus temperatures) and what they were told only a few years ago, is now so obvious that you don’t need to be plugged into the Blogosphere and read WUWT, or know what Climategates I and II were about, to have a reaction to the latest Global Warming/Climate Change article in the MSM along the lines of ‘These people are talking b*ll*cks’.

    That’s it. You can’t shout ‘Global Warming’ when its snowing for very long and retain credibility.

    • JB Goode says:

      Jim,so what happened in the end? what happened to the fellow cricket team member?
      you got me hooked in the first paragraph then never mentioned him again,not even so much as a ‘take that sir’ when you wrapped the cricket bat round his head and kicked him in his climate change b*ll*cks as he went down!

  17. David Ball says:

    There has been no noticeable change from natural variation ( an honest person looking at all the data will admit this). This is the polar (pardon the pun) opposite of what is being foisted on the public. Why the dishonesty?
    I first heard the term global warming thirty yrs. ago, and I have watched VERY closely all the data from ALL sources (yes including solar activity). I also know the historical and geological context. One HAS to question the lack of predictive value of the Co2 causes warming theory. The lack of predictive value of the computer models. You do NOT need to be a climate scientist, you just need to understand the scientific method.
    My thanks to pointman for a great forum. Didn’t ZZ Top have a shack out side Lagrange? 8^D

  18. David Ball says:

    One more point. I have noticed that a sense of humour is incredibly lacking in the opposition. Is this telling, or not?

  19. J Morton says:

    Fantastic essay. You (and others) have won the battle, but the war is still lost.

    The Alarmists have bought the time necessary to institutionalize the “Green Movement.”

    The clarity of your writing leaves you (alas) with a new leadership role: that of revealing the nature and scope of Federal spending justified by AGW concerns, and how/why it is being used to achieve goals of U.N. Agenda 21.

  20. Mike Singleton says:

    Your best essay ever.

    Total resonance for me, retired from an energy company, worked there for over 30 years from the time it was a laughing stock of the industry until 6 years ago at which point in time it was and still is the biggest and best in the country.

    Now consulting to keep the grey cells active, don’t need the money so prepared to walk away.

    I recognize every situation and response you cover in the essay. I came to the conclusion that it’s all about trust at an early stage in my career, without mutual and earned trust there is nothing but a hiding to nowhere, sometimes a slow death other times a car crash, but either way it’s inevitable and unavoidable.

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