Friday Ethics Potpourri, 9/24/2021: On PBS, Boeing, A Political Hack Law Dean, And Caring

Lawn sign

Many thanks to reader and commenter Jeff for bringing that lawn sign to my attention. It’s available here. I wish I had thought of it; one of these days I’ll get around to making a “Bias Makes You Stupid” T-shirt as an Ethics Alarms accessory. I would never post such a sign on my lawn for the same reason I object to the virtue-signaling signs in my neighborhood: I didn’t ask to my neighbors’ political views thrust in my face, and I don’t inflict mine of them. However, if a someone living in a house on my cul-de-sac inflicted a “No human being is illegal” missive on their lawn where I had to look at it every day, the sign above would be going up as a response faster than you can say “Jack Robinson,” though I don’t know why anyone would say “Jack Robinson.”

1. Roger Angell on caring…It’s September, and the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees start a three game series tonight with nine games left to the season. It could well determined which of the two teams will go on to the post-season, with a shot at the World Series. The encounter brings back a flood of memories, wonderful and horrible, about previous Sox-Yankee battles of note, including one from 1949, before I was born. I worked with a veteran lawyer at a D.C. association who was perpetually bitter about all things, and all because the Red Sox blew a pennant to New York that year by choking away the final two games of the season. For me, moments like this are reassuring and keep me feeling forever young: as I watch such games, I realize that I am doing and and feeling exactly what I was doing and feeling from the age of 12 on. Nothing has changed. Roger Angell, one of my favorite writers, eloquently described why this is important in his essay “Agincourt and After,” from his collection,”Five Seasons”:

“It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitive as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look — I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring — caring deeply and passionately, really caring — which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivete — the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball — seems a small price to pay for such a gift.”

A small price indeed.

2. PBS may be a progressive propaganda organ, but the facts will out. A streaming service offers the channel’s documentaries for a pittance, and they are a reliable source of perspective and enlightenment. One that my wife and I watched this past week was about the development of the FDA and other federal agencies that protected the public and workers. When workers at manufacturing plants making leaded gasoline started dying of lead poisoning, the government scientists’ solution was to just ban the product. General Motors and Standard Oil fought back and overturned the ban, assuring Congress that they could make leaded gas safe to produce, and they did. This was a classic example of why we must not let scientists dictate public policy: leaded gasoline transformed transportation and benefited the public. The scientists’ approach was just to eliminate risk; they didn’t care about progress, the economy, jobs or anything else. Science needs to be one of many considerations, and when scientists have been co-opted by partisan bias, as they are now, this is more true than ever.

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I Trusted The Science, And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt!

Idiot T-Shirt

For more than a decade, I told incoming members of the D.C. Bar as part of their mandatory ethics training that such sessions as mine were essential to making their ethics alarms ring. To support that thesis, I related the finding of research performed by behavioral economist Dan Ariely when he was at M.I.T. Ariely created an experiment that was the most publicized part of his best-selling book “Predictably Irrational,” giving Harvard Business School students a test that had an obvious way to cheat built into it and offering a cash reward for the students who got the highest scores. He tracked how many students, with that incentive to be unethical, cheated. He also varied the experiment by asking some students to do simple tasks before they took the test: name five baseball teams, or state capitals, or U.S. Presidents.

None of these pre-test questions had any effect on the students’ likelihood of cheating, except for one question, which had a dramatic effect.  He discovered that students who were asked to recite a few of the Ten Commandments, unlike any of the other groups, never cheated at all. Never. None of them. Ariely told an NPR interviewer that he had periodically repeated the experiment elsewhere, with the same results. No individual who was asked to search his memory for a few of the Ten Commandments has ever cheated on Ariely’s test, though the percentage of cheaters among the rest of the testees is consistently in double figures. This result has held true, he said, regardless of the individual’s faith, ethnic background, or even whether they could name one Commandment correctly.

The classic moral rules, he concluded, reminded the students to consider right and wrong. It wasn’t the content of the Commandments that affected them, but what they represent: being good, or one culture’s formula for doing good. The phenomenon is called priming, and Ariely’s research eventually made me decide to start “The Ethics Scoreboard” and later this ethics blog.

Priming is a superb way to make sure your ethics alarms are turned on and in working order. All of us go through life focused on what ethicist call “non-ethical considerations,” the human motivations, emotions, needs and desires that drive us in everything they do—love, lust, greed, ambition, fear, ego, anger, passion…wanting that promotion, the new car, the compliment, fame, power. Good people do bad things because at the moment they are unethical, they aren’t thinking about ethics. If they were, they wouldn’t engage in the misconduct, because they would be “primed” and their ethics alarms would sound in time to stop them.

I still believe that the priming theory is sound, but it looks like Ariely’s alleged proof of the phenomenon can’t be trusted, because he can’t be trusted. Last week, an in-depth statistical analysis showed that a data set from one of the professor’s 2012 papers was fraudulent. That study had apparently demonstrated that people were more honest about how much mileage on their car if they had to sign a statement pledging that the number was accurate before they reported the mileage, rather than signing at the bottom of the page. Oops! No such study had ever been done,, and the “data” was produced using a random number generator.

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Once Again, America’s Best-Known Scientist Demonstrates Why We Can’t Trust Scientists, Especially If They Are Progressive, Pandering, Political Correctness-Obsessed Jerks Who Apparently Get Their Information From Cartoons [Corrected]

Not for the first time, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the anointed successor to the far more serious and reliable Carl Sagan, abused his reputation as the nation’s most-recognized scientist by grandstanding for the progressive mob, his allies and pals.

On Christmas Eve, he tweeted,

“Santa doesn’t know Zoology: Both male & female Reindeer grow antlers. But all male Reindeer lose their antlers in the late fall, well-before Christmas. So Santa’s reindeer, which all sport antlers, are therefore all female, which means Rudolf has been misgendered.

One of the annoying things about Tyson is that he is a know-it-all, and like most know-it-alls, he doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does. When someone sporting the mantle of scientist is delving into the accuracy of the alleged features of Santa’s reindeer, he should be aware of the origin of the assertions he is debunking. Tyson obviously isn’t. Indeed, he is apparently illiterate.

The first mention of Santa’s reindeer is in the 1822 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” better known today as “The Night Before Christmas.” He refers to “eight tiny reindeer.” Reindeer aren’t tiny, at least the reindeer we know about. If Santa’s reindeer are indeed tiny (in the poem they are pulling a “miniature sleigh”) , then they must be a species unknown to us and science, and thus the male members of the breed might retain their antlers. We have little information on this question. Scientists are supposed to investigate such things, not leap to conclusions. Tyson just assumed tiny reindeer are the same as the usual kind, or, more likely, he didn’t consider the issue at all. That’s sloppy, agenda-driven science, and malpractice by Tyson.

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Nice Try, Charley…But You Still Struck Out

I usually skip the New York Times Sunday Review section now. By mid-2017, it had become so partisan and such a nest of rabid Trump Derangement that it was not unusual for 75% of the content to consist of anti-Trump screeds. I finally got bored with it; the stuff was predictable and too often completely bats. If I read it at all, I did so to check how fanatically the Times was supporting the various coup efforts.

Charlie Warzel is one of the less hateful of the Times op-ed writers, though based on his Ethics Alarms file he is also one of most juvenile. He was the author of a New York Times editorial  titled “Open States, Lots of Guns. America Is Paying a Heavy Price for Freedom,” or in my print edition, “Will We Get Used To The Dying?” that I had fun shredding—it wasn’t hardhere. I was curious to see if he’s gotten any better since May in his Wuhan virus hysteria. His title seemed promising:  “How to Actually Talk to Anti-Maskers: You cannot force public trust; you have to earn it.”

I think “anti-maskers” are jerks. It is still unclear to me how much good masks do, and the information from the “experts” has been inconsistent. I still see no reason to wear the things outside when nobody is going to come within ten feet of you, and I don’t. However, the ethical reasons to wear them are still valid:

  • They might make a difference.
  • Wearing them demonstrates good will and that one is trying to be responsible.
  • It places those at enhanced risk at ease.
  • It can’t hurt. The recent claim of Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) that his mask probably infected him was spectacularly dishonest and irresponsible, but you know, that’s Louie.

I also regard fanatic pro-mask hysterics as ridiculous and will say so when pressed.

However, I was interested to see if Charlie, having gotten himself on the Ethics Alarms Naughty List with his previous screed about the pandemic, would redeem himself. For writing op-eds is all about trust too: if I know you shade the facts, omit relevant information, engage in bias and cheat in your logic, I really don’t care what your opinion is. It’s not worth reading.

Charlie begins with an anecdote about how health officials gained the trust of the public in Senegal during an Ebola outbreak. OK—as long as the idea is to make a point about trust. Ebola isn’t the Wuhan virus, and the United States’ culture isn’t remotely like Senegal’s. Then he writes,

Taiwan is welcoming baseball fans back into stadiums. As of June, more than 20 other countries have begun the process of bringing children back to school. Thailand, a country of 70 million, hasn’t had an instance of local coronavirus transmission in seven weeks, as of last Thursday. And yet Americans are staring down nearly 150,000 virus deaths while governors and health officials pleading with citizens to wear masks are starting to sound like substitute teachers who’ve lost control of the classroom.

One indicator of how bad things are: Last week, Anthony Fauci, the United States’ leading infectious-disease doctor, felt compelled to reassure his audience during an online talk, “You can trust respected medical authorities.” He added, “I believe I’m one of them, so I think you can trust me.”

Ah! So Charlie trusts Dr. Fauci on the topic of masks., and thinks we should to. And my immediate reaction to this is.. Continue reading

“Oh No! It’s Monday!” Ethics Review, 6/8/2020: A Yoo’s Rationalization Orgy!

Cheer up!

Things could be worse!

For example, I bet you thought a week ago that being in the middle of a pandemic was bad. What I have noticed, and if you’ve been reading regularly, so have you, is that we are increasingly being told by journalists, pundits and politicians that up is down, day is night and black is white, and we are expected to believe them. (They think we are really, really gullible.) This is Rationalization #64, Yoo’s Rationalization, “It isn’t what it is,” the rationalization version of “The Jumbo.” (“Elephant? What elephant?”) The society that allows such brazen misinformation to permeate its culture is on a fast track to totalitarianism.

Here are two recent examples….

1. Multiply the hypocrisy of Prof. Charles Bergstrom’s tweet by 1200, and you get…this, an open letter from health and medical officials making the head-exploding argument  that protests/riots around the United States should not be discouraged the way they discouraged every other public gathering. Everything I could say about this final proof that too many medical and health experts lack basic professional integrity, making the degree of trust placed in their advice by policy-makers, the media and the public not merely unwarranted but irresponsible, I have written here already. However, the text of the letter also suggests that too many medical and health experts just aren’t very bright. How else could one explain statements in the letter like,

“We created the letter in response to emerging narratives that seemed to malign demonstrations as risky for the public health because of Covid-19,” according to the letter writers, many of whom are part of the University of Washington’s Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  Instead, we wanted to present a narrative that prioritizes opposition to racism as vital to the public health, including the epidemic response. We believe that the way forward is not to suppress protests in the name of public health but to respond to protesters demands in the name of public health, thereby addressing multiple public health crises.”

In other words, ‘We oppose maligning demonstrators as risky to the public health although we have maligned demonstrators in other contexts as risky  to the public health but because of the purpose of these demonstrations, they aren’t really risky to the public health compared to the risks of not addressing what they are protesting about, although nothing about the actual demonstrations will address those risks.’  Not only is this Rationalization #64, Yoo’s Rationalization, “It isn’t what it is,” it’s Authentic Frontier Gibberish! To state the obvious, or what should be, one may oppose racism without spreading the Wuhan virus: oppose it by staying home, Zooming, writing blog posts, anything but getting in the middle of mobs. Also “Respond to protesters’ demands” is an imaginary action: “Fix everything!” is not a demand capable of responding to.

Then there is this head-spinner:

“Staying at home, social distancing, and public masking are effective at minimizing the spread of COVID-19. To the extent possible, we support the application of these public health best practices during demonstrations that call attention to the pervasive lethal force of white supremacy. However, as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States. We can show that support by facilitating safest protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders.”

Never mind losing all respect for supposed medical professionals who could put their names on such illogical, dishonest, self-contradictory crap without using pseudonyms; I will ask my family to ship me to the  Home for the Bewildered  if I ever say anything this stupid.

2. Okay, I’ve turned both my college and grad school diplomas to the wall and turn my face away from them in abject shame when ever I pass by…now what? Christy E. Lopez, who is a a Distinguished Visitor from Practice at Georgetown Law School, authored a truly incompetent op-ed in the Washington Post titled “Defund the police? Here’s what that really means.” It makes the Tom Cotton’s op-ed that broke the New York Times look like “The Origin of the Species.”

“We turn to the police in situations where years of experience and common sense tell us that their involvement is unnecessary, and can make things worse. We ask police to take accident reports, respond to people who have overdosed and arrest, rather than cite, people who might have intentionally or not passed a counterfeit $20 bill. We call police to roust homeless people from corners and doorsteps, resolve verbal squabbles between family members and strangers alike, and arrest children for behavior that once would have been handled as a school disciplinary issue.”

Outside of the current fad of calling the cops on grade-schoolers who make gun shapes with their fingers, a legitimate example of misusing the police, what planet is this woman from? We ask police to take accident reports because it’s the only way to ensure that witnesses are questioned and scofflaws don’t flee the scenes of accidents they caused.  Police respond to people who have overdosed because a) they might die and b) they may be victims or perpetrators of crimes. Passing counterfeit $20 bills is a crime, and a form of robbery. Is someone who would do that expected to pay a $20 fine?  Does the professor think we should decriminalize counterfeiting?

Damn right we call police to roust homeless people from corners and doorsteps: I once had a demented homeless woman  banging on my door and screaming at 5 am. She also weighed about 300 pounds’ it took four officers to restrain her. Or would it  be better if I had just brained her with a baseball bat? “Squabbles between family members” are often what we call “domestic abuse” and end in violence. She’s lying about what the police are asked to address.

The op-ed is all like that: one more example of Rationalization #64, Yoo’s Rationalization, “It isn’t what it is.”  #64 is now in the DNA of progressive culture, and we shall see just how susceptible to Orwellian distortion–“War is Peace”— that the American public is. “Police abolition means reducing.with the vision of eventually eliminating, our reliance on policing to secure our public safety, ” she writes. Oh! That’s funny; I would think police abolition would mean abolishing the police. Aren’t lawyers supposed to be sticklers about language? Guess not. “It means recognizing that criminalizing addiction and poverty, making 10 million arrests per year and mass incarceration have not provided the public safety we want and never will.,” she explains.

Maybe not, but we’re a lot safer than we would be without those arrests…

But who in their right mind trusts someone who writes that by “police abolition” activists don’t mean police abolition? Hasn’t everyone heard enough double-talk like this? The Democrats don’t want open borders, they just don’t want anyone prosecuted for sneaking into the country. They don’t approve of infanticide, they just don’t think it should be a crime to kill a baby that survives an abortion. They don’t want to repeal the Second Amendment, they just want “comprehensive gun policy reform” that will make it impossible for a citizen to own a gun. They don’t oppose freedom of speech, they just want to make “hate speech” illegal, with them defining “hate.” They don’t want socialism, they just support a “Green New Deal” which advocates a guaranteed income for those “who choose not to” work.

Why would we ever think that the objective is to abolish police departments just because they call what they want to do “police abolition”? Boy, its conspiracies, conspiracies, conspiracies with you conservatives! You’re paranoid, that’s all.

Ann Althouse, a lawyer obsessed with words, similarly found Lopez’s “we don’t mean what we say” ruse annoying. She wrote,

Why not use words that people can understand and that convey the meaning you want to put in our head? If your idea is so reasonable, why not use words that are effective in making people who care about peace and harmony agree with you?

“Police abolition means reducing, with the vision of eventually eliminating, our reliance on policing to secure our public safety….”

Now, that’s just confusing! You said “reducing” but then you said “eliminating.”

No, it’s not confusing, Ann. It’s honest; she slipped up and said what she meant.

Unethical Tweet Of The Week: Prof. Carl Bergstrom

One could also call this an ethical tweet, as it neatly unmasks the hypocrisy of the scientific community as well as the self-serving myth that scientists are squeaky-clean objective and do not bend their pronouncements to partisan and political motives.

Bergstrom is a science star. Atheoretical and evolutionary biologist and a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, he has been a vocal critic of low-quality or misleading scientific research. Now he is proving how we get it.

In another tweet, he writes, “We are having difficult but vital conversations about whether public health professionals can support the #BlackLivesMatter.protests during a pandemic. I’m unhappy to see these defaulting to utilitarian calculus rather than considering deontological or virtue ethics perspectives.”

That one’s pretty funny. The reason policy-makers are told that they must follow in lockstep the pronouncements of “experts” is that scientists et al. are not calibrating facts, recommendation and conclusions based on biases, personal preferences and non-factual considerations. In fact, that is the very reason policy makers must make the trade-offs scientists cannot, or should not. Now, struggling to find a way out of the obvious verdict of hypocrisy, Bergstrom is extolling “virtue ethics.” The problem is that virtue ethics also requires balancing and prioritizing among the virtues. Now we know that Bergstrom, among others, calibrates his recommendations according to his own political and ideological preferences. Go to work to continue earning income and care for one’s family? Not important enough to justify the risk. Gather in church to serve one’s spiritual needs? Nope. Attend a funeral of a loved one to express grief and respect? Not worth the risk. Protest being forced to accept an economic Armageddon and the suspension of civil rights to prevent virus-triggered fatalities that have been tolerated in the past without installing such draconian measures? Selfish and irresponsible.

Mass demonstrations in the streets out of anger and opportunistic political motivations, leading to millions of dollars of property destruction, human misery, deaths of bystanders and police, looting and riots in furtherance of vague objectives and generalities?

Sure! Now that’s worth it! Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Frances Arnold

I’m sure there are a lot of people doing ethical things and not  trying to deliberately make me embarrassed to be a member of the human race—just not on social media, and not in the news. And there is Frances Arnold.

She is an American chemical engineer and the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at  Caltech. Professor Arnold was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2018 for pioneering the use of directed evolution to engineer enzymes. “Directed evolution” is a method used in protein engineering that mimics the process of natural selection to steer proteins or nucleic acids toward a user-defined goal. You know..this:

She had published a  paper on enzymatic synthesis of beta-lactams in May 2019 in the Science journal. When she discovered recently that her research could not be replicated, however, Arnold repudiated her own paper, and pronounced it the product of shoddy research.

“For my first work-related tweet of 2020, I am totally bummed to announce that we have retracted last year’s paper on enzymatic synthesis of beta-lactams. The work has not been reproducible,” she posted on Twitter. “It is painful to admit, but important to do so. I apologize to all. I was a bit busy when this was submitted, and did not do my job well.”

A short, clear, Level I apology, and it is refreshing to know that there are scientific geniuses who use the word “bummed,” and who do not write like Timnit Gebru.

On one hand, I wonder if it is easier for a Nobel winner to admit something like this. On the other, I am certain that the more eminent a scientist is, the harder it is to reveal a serious error. No matter how one looks at it, Professor Arnold exhibited integrity, honesty, humility and courage, may have done as much for science by showing how an ethical scientist handles an error as she did with her work on directed evolution.

I would be more certain about that if I understood what the hell directed evolution was.

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The Misleading Nature Of Media-Hyped Research

Aaron Carroll is an American pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, as well as the Vice Chair for Health Policy and Outcomes Research and the Director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research. He favored the New York Times with an unusually clear and unbiased explanation of why so much “consensus” research used to panic the public is dubious, and mirabile dictu, they published it. For some reason, however, it ended up inside the Times Business section, despite Times having a perfect forum for it, its weekly Science insert.

I’m going to apply Hanlon’s Razor and attribute this to lunk-headedness rather than sinister instincts, even though Carroll’s observations clarify much of what’s wrong with “climate science.” Professor Carroll’s specific complaint involves the myths, as he calls them, declaring that diet soda is deadly, but his points apply to other scientific research and public opinion manipulation as well. Among them:

The public’s fear of “chemicals”

“Everything is a chemical,” Carroll writes, “including dihydrogen monoxide (that’s another way of saying water). These are just words we use to describe ingredients. Some ingredients occur naturally, and some are coaxed into existence. That doesn’t inherently make one better than another.”

[As an aside, the same kind of intentional confusion occurs regarding the term “drugs.” I saw a TV ad last might for melatonin tablets that repeated over and over that the pills were “100% drug free.” Melatonin is a hormone, and hormones are drugs, defined as any substance “that causes a change in an organism’s physiology or psychology when consumed.” Ah, but chemicals and drugs are scary.] Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 9/8/2019, As Tumbleweeds Roll Through The Deserted Streets Of Ethics Alarms…

Is anybody out there?

1. What’s going on here? The AP deleted a tweet on September 5 tweet attributing the murders of Israeli athletes  to undefined “guerrillas.” Someone complained: it then tweeted, “The AP has deleted a tweet about the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics because it was unclear about who was responsible for the killings and referred to the attackers as guerrillas. A new tweet will be sent shortly.” Finally, this was the tweet decided upon:

“On Sept. 5, 1972, the Palestinian group Black September attacked the Israeli Olympic delegation at the Munich Games, killing 11 Israelis and a police officer. German forces killed five of the gunmen.”

2. Wait: ARE there really “AI ethicists,” or just unethical ethicists grabbing a new niche by claiming that they are any more qualified for this topic than anyone else?

From the Defense Systems website:

After a rash of tech employee protests, the Defense Department wants to hire an artificial intelligence ethicist. “We are going to bring on someone who has a deep background in ethics,” tag-teaming with DOD lawyers to make sure AI can be “baked in,” Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, who leads the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, told reporters during an Aug. 30 media briefing.

The AI ethical advisor would sit under the JAIC, the Pentagon’s strategic nexus for AI projects and plans, to help shape the organization’s approach to incorporating AI capabilities in the future. The announcement follows protests by Google and Microsoft employees concerned about how the technology would be used — particularly in lethal systems — and questioning whether major tech companies should do business with DOD.

I’m hoping that the Defense Department isn’t doing this, as the article implies, because some pacifist, anti-national defense techies at Microsoft complained. [Pointer: Tom Fuller]

3. Campus totalitarians gonna totalitary!  University of Michigan students and alumni aare demanding that the University to sever ties with real estate developer Stephen M. Ross , who is the largest donor in the University’s history. This would presumably include removing his name from  Ross School of Business, which he substantially funded. (His name is on other buildings as well) Did Ross rape women willy-nilly? Has he been shown to be racist? No, he held  a re-election fundraiser for the President of the United States. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Open Forum Ethics, Climate Change Thread”

This is the second Comment of the Day that surfaced during this week’s open forum. It was sparked by this comment, changing the subject at hand from the wisdom of training women in the military to that old stand-by, climate change. Slickwilly wrote,

… Global Warming (excuse me: “Man Made Climate Change”) is a hoax, designed to transfer wealth to the Global Elites.

I have proof: the UN has admitted this openly. Given that our press is Elitist themselves, of course this gets little coverage.

https://www.investors.com/climate-change-scare-tool-to-destroy-capitalism/

Progressive Elites like socialism because they think they will be the rich upper class that always develops, while the masses starve. (Need I point to EVERY place it has been fully implemented?)

Is it ethical to lie about science to further a political agenda?

The climate change fearmongering has ticked up a notch recently, and the rhetoric of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is essentially arguing that climate change perils demand extensive government control of technology and the economy—that is, socialism, and less freedom— and the U.N., which is increasingly candid about its position that only world government, or at least a significant surrender of national interests and autonomy, can save the planet. These are really political positions rather than ecological ones,  and are germane to slickwilly’s assertion.

That does not mean that climate change is a hoax. It does mean, in my view, that the climate change doomsayers and the scientists who have foolishly allied with them, have permanently, yes permanently, destroyed their credibility and their relevance to policy. The recent government climate change assessment followed the trend.

Also crippling itself as a resource and asset is the news media, which have been in full-throated support of unproven environmental doomsday scenarios for decades, and have been unwilling or incapable of rendering unbiased and apolitical analysis. Instead, they strategically feature deliberately scary pieces like this, aimed at the gullible and scientifically dim:

…If we proceed to use up all the fossil fuels on Earth, it could warm by as much as 17 degrees Fahrenheit by 2300.

As the ocean warms, its oxygen levels will continue to drop. If ancient history is any guide, the consequences for life — especially marine life in the cooler parts of the ocean — will be disastrous.

“Left unchecked, climate warming is putting our future on the same scale as some of the worst events in geological history,” Dr. Deutsch said.

If…could…if…”on the same scale.” ARGHHH! That’s good enough for me! Who’s going to be the wise and benevolent dictator to save us?

Here is Michael West’s Comment of the Day on the climate change thread on the post, Open Forum Ethics

I think “science” benefits greatly from public ignorance of what science is. We have this notion in our minds of lab coated brainiacs running through deliberative experiments to either falsify or strengthen a “guess” (hypothesis) about some process. That’s only one *method* of science.

A lot of science, however, Climate Change Science among them, really consists of gathering VERY incomplete data, running a series of statistical models (all dubious…you know, lies, damn lies and statistics) and methods of “purifying” the data. In the end, those sciences are essentially advanced forms of what the ancient philosophers did: look around the world and try to draw inferences and conclusions from a bewildering amount of information in order for us to make sense of our world.

Knowing this, Climate Science is closer to religion and philosophy than it is to lab-coated men and women running rigorous and repetitive cycles of intentional experiments. At which point, we can only analyze the conclusions of such “scientists” in terms of their own worldview. Continue reading