“I repeat: I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists. “The debate is settled,” asserted propagandist in chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. “Climate change is a fact.” Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge.”
—Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, in a column titled “The myth of ‘settled science’”
With one unfortunate exception, Charles Krauthammer’s recent op-ed about the absurd and discrediting certainty about future global warming and its cause is so logical, fair and reasonable that one has to wonder why no non-conservative has had the integrity to write a similar piece. He was moved, I assume, by the recent flurry of obnoxious assertions from the Obama administration and its allies in the media, most notably Secretary of State John Kerry, who said,
“We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts. Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits. The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand. We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”
John Kerry’s powers of critical analysis have been demonstrably weak in his supposed areas of expertise, such as foreign relations (See: Syria), and I will accept bets as to whether he could make any sense out of a climate change projection model graph, or even be sure whether he was holding it upside down or not. John Kerry doesn’t understand climate change science, and hasn’t a clue whether it is “unequivocal,” proven by the fact that he would say such a nonsensical thing. The same can be said about President Obama. Krauthammer again:
“Obama ostentatiously visited drought-stricken California last Friday. Surprise! He blamed climate change. Here even the New York Times gagged, pointing out that far from being supported by the evidence, ‘the most recent computer projections suggest that as the world warms, California should get wetter, not drier, in the winter.”
But this is the pattern: science ignoramuses accuse anyone who doesn’t agree with their politically motivated “scientific” opinions of being a science ignoramus.
I was going to let Krauthammer’s column pass until I found myself gagging at CNN’s Reliable Sources, allegedly a show about the ethics of journalism. Host Brian Stetter (why can’t this program find hosts who are comfortable and competent on camera?) had a segment criticizing a “Meet the Press” debate between Bill Nye “the Science Guy” and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican climate change skeptic, on climate change. Why? Because “the topic does not have two sides”! Yes, CNN’s ethics show actually began with this as the premise. In fact, climate change has at least a dozen sides. What was ethically wrong with the NBC “debate” is that Nye, who has some scientific credentials and presumably understands the subject and represented climate change cant, was on one “side,” facing off against Blackburn, who has no scientific background and whose skepticism on climate change has exactly as much credibility as Kerry’s climate change endorsement—that is to say, none whatsoever. Is Stetter really this dense? That kind of debate is rigged to make one side look ridiculous and the other side look like “the only side.” The issue isn’t “false balance,’ as Stetter claimed, but forum bias.
Thus we got CNN”s version of an ethical discussion of climate change. The guests were incredibly smug climate scientist Michio Kaku from the City University of New York and Jack Mirkinson, Senior Media Editor at the Huffington Post, who knew no more about climate change science than Kerry or Blackburn, but who was damn sure it was “settled science.”
So was Dr. Kaku, and this, incredibly, was his definition of “settled” : 95% of climate scientists agree that that the earth is warming, and 90% of those agree that the cause is man-made.
A book just published called “The Improbability Principle” explores why we shouldn’t be surprised when extremely small probabilities occur. As David Hand, mathematician and statistician, writes, “The Improbability Principle tells us that events which we regard as highly improbable occur because we got things wrong. If we can find out where we went wrong, then the improbable will become probable.” Again, he is talking about tiny probabilities: the chances, based solely on scientific opinions (as summarized and over-simplified by Dr. Kaku), that the earth is warming due to man-made causes is 95% times 90%, or about 85%. That means that there is, even by Kaku’s biased numbers, which I doubt, about a 15% chance that the majority is wrong. “Settled” suggests certainty—that’s clearly how Kerry and CNN interpret it. But 85% isn’t certainty. If you tell me that there is a 15% chance I’ll be killed if I go out to get the newspaper off the sidewalk—I’m going without a newspaper that day.
If Kaku was interested in being honest with CNN viewers, and he wasn’t, he would have also pointed out that the climate change models of that “95%” consensus are not certain to be 100% accurate. In fact, they are certain not to be. Writes Krauthammer (100% accurately!)…
“these models have been “consistently and spectacularly wrong” in their predictions, write atmospheric scientists Richard McNider and John Christy — and always, amazingly, in the same direction.”
If there are not “two sides,” what side does that 15% of dissenting scientists represent? Why is it ethical, rather than incompetent, misleading and manipulative, for “Reliable Sources” to put on Kaku as its sole authority and not force him to defend his definition of “settled science” against, say, noted physicist Freeman Dyson, or even Krauthammer? Stetter revealed his own bias on the topic when he spoke of “skeptics or deniers.” Krauthammer:
“…the notion of settled science…is nothing but a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate. As does the term “denier” — an echo of Holocaust denial, contemptibly suggesting the malevolent rejection of an established historical truth.”
As for me, I’m with Krauthammer. I think it is likely that the Earth is warming, and that this isn’t good. I would be surprised if man-made activity wasn’t at least part of the reason. But the claims of scientists, and especially politicians, journalists, environmental activists and climate hustlers like Al Gore, that it is “settled science” what the extent of the warming will be, its results, its duration, and what need to be done about it are, as Krauthammer says, lies, propaganda and nonsense.
Kaku disgraced his profession, “Reliable Sources” betrayed its audience and its mission, and again I ask, why is there no liberal journalist with the integrity to be honest on this topic?