Denial of the Truth by Michael Cochrane

December 30, 2009 Posted by Michael Cochrane michael.cochrane@jfcom.mil

The term “denier” is frequently used as a criticism of those who refuse to believe an apparent self-evident truth or fact. I think it first came into vogue when it was applied to Islamists and ultra-right wing neo-Nazis who claimed that the Jewish holocaust of WWII was a fabrication. The evidence of history is clearly on the side of the truth claim that the genocidal extermination of 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime did, in fact, take place. But in recent years, the derisive term “denier” has been applied to anyone who is the least bit skeptical of the degree to which human activity is primarily responsible for global warming, or even if global warming is taking place. It’s disturbing to me that this would be the case, given that the body of evidence purporting to undergird the “truth” of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is still very much open to debate.
In fact, those who accuse AGW skeptics of being “global warming deniers” argue that the “debate is over”; that it is now time for radical action. What’s disturbing about this is that this is not how science is supposed to work. As an illustration, imagine there are 1000 reputable climate scientists in the world. If 600 of them are convinced of AGW and the remaining 400 are not, does that mean AGW is a fact? What if the ratio was 800 to 200? Does a so-called consensus have to be reached in order to arrive at scientific truth? Fortunately, science has never worked this way! If it had, we would still believe the earth was the center of the solar system and that all the matter in the universe had always existed (no big bang)! Very often, the most profound scientific revolutions come about because of the work of lone scientists working in fields sometimes outside of those in which the discovery is made (see the book by Thomas Kuhn, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”).
Most of the time, the advancement of knowledge through the operation of the scientific method does not engender controversy. But the current state of global warming alarmism leads me to believe that science is being co-opted by political and social agendas. I will be blunt: I strongly believe that leftist, eco-socialists have been promoting AGW as a “hook” to advance a radical environmentalist agenda that is fundamentally anti-capitalist and anti-free market (it has to be man-made global warming or else their agenda doesn’t work). This agenda seeks to weaken industrialized nations, particularly the United States, and uses the manufactured world cataclysm of the hypothesized effects of global warming (rising sea levels, droughts, etc.) to shake down the “rich” nations and force the transfer of wealth directly to underdeveloped countries. That this is clearly a political and not a scientific issue is borne out by the fact that opinion on the existence and/or the severity of global warming (particularly AGW) is divided along political lines. Liberals in congress tend to support AGW and conservatives do not. It is also evident in the money trail: grants by governments to scientists to produce evidence of AGW.
The academic community is also clearly, and bitterly, divided over this issue. Here is an excerpt from an open letter by Dr. Petr Chylek, a leading climate scientist, to the top 100 climate scientists in the world (including Phil Jones, head of the East Anglian University Climate Research Unit whose emails were leaked to the world recently) in which he argues for a return to academic integrity in climate research:
“For me, science is the search for truth, the never-ending path towards finding out how things are arranged in this world so that they can work as they do. That search is never finished.
It seems that the climate research community has betrayed that mighty goal in science. They have substituted the search for truth with an attempt at proving one point of view. It seems that some of the most prominent leaders of the climate research community, like prophets of Old Israel, believed that they could see the future of humankind and that the only remaining task was to convince or force all others to accept and follow. They have almost succeeded in that effort.
Yes, there have been cases of misbehavior and direct fraud committed by scientists in other fields: physics, medicine, and biology to name a few. However, it was misbehavior of individuals, not of a considerable part of the scientific community.
… To blame the current warming on humans, there was a perceived need to “prove” that the current global average temperature is higher than it was at any other time in recent history (the last few thousand years). This task is one of the main topics of the released CRU emails. Some people were so eager to prove this point that it became more important than scientific integrity.
The next step was to show that this “unprecedented high current temperature” has to be a result of the increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. The
fact that the Atmosphere Ocean General Circulation Models are not able to explain the post-1970 temperature increase by natural forcing was interpreted as proof that it was caused by humans. It is more logical to admit that the models are not yet good enough to capture natural climate variability (how much or how little do we understand aerosol and clouds, and ocean circulation?); even though we can all agree that part of the observed post-1970 warming is due to the increase of atmospheric CO2
concentration. Thus, two of the three pillars of the global warming and carbon dioxide paradigm are open to reinvestigation.
The damage has been done. The public trust in climate science has been eroded. At least a part of the IPCC 2007 report has been put in question. We cannot blame it on a few irresponsible individuals. The
entire esteemed climate research community has to take responsibility. Yes, there always will be a few deniers and obstructionists.
So what comes next? Let us stop making unjustified claims and exaggerated projections about the future even if the editors of some eminent journals are just waiting to publish them. Let us admit that our understanding of the climate is less perfect than we have tried to make the public believe. Let us drastically modify or temporarily discontinue the IPCC. Let us get back to work.
Let us encourage students to think their own thoughts instead of forcing them to parrot the IPCC conclusions. Let us open the doors of universities, of NCAR, NASA and other research institutions (and funding agencies) to faculty members and researchers who might disagree with the current paradigm of carbon dioxide. Only open discussion and intense searching of all possibilities will let us regain the public’s trust and move forward.”
It is very distressing to me that world leaders are so convinced of this so-called “truth” of AGW that they are willing to destabilize their own economies trying to “reverse” the effects of something that, to all intents and purposes, is a complete and total scam. Radical policy decisions will be made on the basis of a corrupted scientific process in which researchers of good faith are derided and ostracized for reaching conclusions at variance with the prevailing “correct” ones.
Hopefully, decades from now, we will look back and see that the real truth was that the world climate was never in danger of an apocalyptic rise in temperatures. What will more likely occur, however, will be a revisionist historical view that vindicates the draconian measures currently being taken by the industrialized world to reduce “pollutants” like CO2 as having “done the trick” in saving the world from global warming. If that is the case, science is doomed to be the slave of politics.
© 2009 by Michael Cochrane. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to Denial of the Truth by Michael Cochrane

  1. Anonymous on January 1, 2010 at 8:23 am

    2009 Blog In review! Excellent! William F Buckley Jr, has defined it. “A conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling “Stop.”

    Just saying “Stop” is only a necessary beginning, not sufficient, adequate or helpful with the solution. What conservatives are ‘for” is far more valuable than what they are ‘against” And in fact the “Pros” are mutually exclusive of the “cons.” For example to be pro life is automatically an argument against abortion.

    “No Toilets, No blankets No Luggage” could have been more laconic. Lee H Hamilton, Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission has stated emphatically that the 12/25/09 attempted terrorists attack was mainly the result of a lack of leadership (the buck stops here), a politicized Homeland Security and State Department and the inability of this administration to connect the dots. This systemic fault is not somebody else’s fault; it is the core of the political philosophy that is chaos, the essence of the Sal Alinsky Rules for Radicals. Never let a crisis go to waste, even if you have to create it. Review the Stimulus, TARP, Budgets, Cap and Trade, Welfare Reform and now National Security (all blamed on somebody else). Do not be distracted, the liberal train to disaster is on time. When will we learn?

    The “Denial of the Truth” blog could have been pithier. In the climate change discussion the only absolute is the need for the science of a Kalman filter. By definition, when a consensus is reached, it is no longer scientific. In science the infinitum is “eternally inspect to get what you expect.”

    The “Interpol” blog might have been reduced to a single thought. The suspicion of the integrity of Interpol is covered quite nicely by “Power corrupts, absolutely power corrupts absolutely.”

    “Who really has the Courage” might have been summarized. With ObamaCare we are slowly being herded into the false comfort of a welfare state. This was an important step in the Final Solution.

    The “Happy New Year” blog was succinct. The intellect disengages when the message is more about blame than embracing responsibility. When the debate can no longer suffer the facts, the truth of the matter, the rational construct of reason, the political corruption of egocentric agendas, then maybe one might look to “leadership”, a reoccurring theme.

    “They dye Has Been Cast” might have been a lead-in to a PhD thesis on the evils of “command and control.” Look less to the false prophecy of a singular (Milton Freidman) “profit” motive, although it is there (not at all singularly exclusive in the embrace of a social agenda), the self aggrandizement of Greek columns and the exposing proliferation of “I”, “Me” and “My.”

    Peter F Drucker said it well; “Real leadership has little to do with leadership qualities (human traits) and even less to do with charisma.” It is mundane and boring. Its essence is performance.

    This as terrorists has a trifecta in 2009 in the USA and our political system drowns in waste, fraud, corruption and abuse.

    “The Federal Reserve” blog unmasks the indispensable “End the Fed” mandate for survival. The Milton Freidman model of profits being the be-all and end of corporate behavior is just plan wrong. Profits alone fail to explain a capitalist’s behavior or his guide to right action. Going down the wrong road here is “among the most dangerous diseases of an industrial society”, says Peter F. Drucker.

    “Drucker showed that there is no "inherent contradiction between profit and a company's need to make a social contribution," but that the former is indispensable to achieve the latter. He also warned that an enterprise that fails to "think through its impacts and its responsibilities" exposes itself to justified attack from social forces. Consumerism and environmentalism, he taught, are not enemies to be vanquished, but symptoms of business' failure to understand its broad social role.” This is where conservatives went wrong!

    Avatar has usurped the world stage. Who is listening to us?

  2. seo on December 4, 2010 at 4:54 am

    Great Post!! Thank you very much!

  3. Shelby on March 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I really liked your article and I shared with my friends in my facebook account :)

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