Allow me to stipulate that it’s unethical for a President of Harvard University to make his students stupid. Can we agree on that? In truth, it would be unethical for the President of what is supposed to be America’s most distinguished, selective and eminent institution of higher learning to make anyone stupid, but surely the leader of such an institution has a special obligation to his own students, correct?
Apparently Mr Bacow doesn’t comprehend this. Harvard President Larry Bacow issued a message to all “Members of the Harvard Community” this month. Usually such broadcasts from Olympus involve a particularly earth-shaking event on campus, but this one was standard issue climate change propaganda and fear-mongering:
“Climate change is the most consequential threat facing humanity. . . . We are going to need a little optimism to preserve life on Earth as we know and cherish it today. The last several months have laid at our feet undeniable evidence of the world to come—massive fires that consume entire towns, unprecedented flooding that inundates major urban areas, record heat waves and drought that devastate food supplies and increase water scarcity. Few, if any, parts of the globe are being spared as livelihoods are dashed, lives are lost, and regions are rendered unlivable.“
Undeniable evidence? There may be evidence, and inquiring minds might differ as to how “undeniable” its is, but what is undeniable is that Bacow cited no undeniable evidence whatsoever. None. A relatively competent junior high school science teacher—rest in peace, Mr. Porter—would tell you, and certainly his students, that individual weather events are infamously variable and prove exactly nothing about the climate. 2021 has not seen unprecedented weather-related disasters, as that newspaper clipping from 90 years ago amply shows. This website, which catalogues climate change activism dishonesty, makes the point that what is being called by Bacow and others “extreme” weather and climate-related events are not. For example,
- Heat waves have been decreasing since the 1930s, not only in the U.S. but globally.
- The decade just completed was the second quietest for landfalling hurricanes and major hurricanes in the U.S since the 1850s.
- The number of strong tornadoes has declined over the last 50 years.
- There has been no statistically significant increase in droughts and floods.
- Wildfires have been decreasing since the 1800s, and the increase in damage from them in recent years are primarily due to population growth in vulnerable areas and botched forest management.
So Bacow is not encouraging the young, supposedly promising minds placed in his charge in exchange for exorbitant tuition fees (now those HAVE been increasing at a frightening rate) to exercise careful research, objective reasoning, critical thinking and skepticism regarding conventional wisdom while avoiding confirmation bias and logical fallacies. He is using his position and authority to indoctrinate students for his own political agenda, while weakening those very skills that a university should be seeking to strengthen.
I guess I should have been clearer when I noted here and on Facebook that I would be writing a long entry in my Harvard class reunion book detailing why I would not attend the festivities next year as a result of Harvard repeatedly debasing my degree and disgracing itself over the past decade. I’m sorry Larry, I didn’t mean to suggest that I was looking for more outrages to cite! Since my declaration of intent, Harvard has issued a ridiculous edict designed to make social discourse, not to mention eating and drinking itself, unpleasant and difficult on campus, it pressured students to remove a flag featuring the American flag and rapper Nicki Minaj because “some students” might be offended by one or the other, and now this.
Harvard hasn’t just been corrupted by the Great Stupid, though that is depressing enough. Harvard is making it worse.
Pointer and Facts: Manhattan Contrarian