The Five Worst Enemies of All Humanity

A guy named Adam Sacks—as in two—published a list of the five worst enemies of all mankind.

George W. Bush is there, of course. But then, he was put down from birth. There can be no denying Bush is the Secular Antichrist—there is scarcely an ill in the world for which he is not at least partly, if not wholly, responsible—so we would have been suspicious of the list’s veracity had Bush not been included.

Senator James Inhofe and inactivist Marc Morano take up two slots, but these gentlemen are politicians and so are accustomed to calumny.

But, strangely, MIT’s Dick Lindzen and Bjørn Lomborg are there. A dynamicist and an economist are “criminals against humanity, against planet Earth itself”, are “agents” of “lethal delay”?

The only thing I can figure is that Sacks must have had a harrowing experience in his college calculus and statistics classes. But then, a lot of people do; however, most do not snap as Sacks appears to have.

The abyss into which Sacks has dived is deep. He’s not really upset with our five Enemies—they can’t help their evil natures, after all. He’s frustrated, sad, and disappointed that his fellow activists aren’t weeping and gnashing their teeth as loudly as he.

We see in his words a mind well in the grip of True Religion. He says things like “disruption”, “utter collapse”, “[positive feedback] amplification hell”, “irreparably”, “lethal”. He claims true scientists (“untrue” scientists are those that don’t agree with him) admit privately that they are “panicked” but that they won’t say so publicly because of the fear of rejection from citizens who “can’t take” the truth. He tells of attending an activist conference where a

…cartoon flashes onto the screen, showing the entrance to two different movie theatres. One is showing “An Inconvenient Truth,” which has no customers. The other, “A Convenient Lie,” has drawn a large crowd. The implication, of course, is that the public (whom we chronically assume is dumb) doesn’t want to know.

Perhaps he, and the presenter, have forgotten that the public ate up Inconvenient Truth with a spoon. It was a big hit!

To Sacks, the End is not Near, it has already come and gone. We’re just not clever enough to have noticed. But somehow he hasn’t carried his premise through to its logical conclusion: that if his lovingly created worst fears are true, then we have nothing to worry about. Might as well pop another top and enjoy the chemically colored sunset while it lasts.

But, no. He is an activist and therefore recommends activity. His solution is that “we have to start telling the truth about climate. We have never actually tried it!” (emphasis in original).

I was relieved when I read that. By the time I had got that far in his melancholy screed, I would have bet good money that he would have touted the Progressive’s timeless call of “Off with their heads!” Silly words I can take, sharp blades wielded by slogan-chanting maniacs I cannot.

Anyway, the title Sacks awarded is just too cool. Enemy of All Mankind! I wanted it for myself. I know dynamics and statistics, so I felt envy at my name’s exclusion. I asked to be added:

[I]t really would be an honor and career topper. I wouldn’t take my duties as Enemy lightly, no sir. I would boast of it, even create a coffee cup with the logo “Stay Away! Enemy of All Humanity!” or words to that effect (I’d welcome suggestions, of course).

And I promise that whenever anybody asks me about the title’s origination, I’d mention your name.

My plea went unheard!

I would have been a good spokesman for Evil, too, dammit. I’m not as handsome as Lomborg, but I sure have Lindzen beat. Plus, I’m tall and look great in a suit. That should have meant something, especially since the title carries certain public relations obligations.

I’m a man of my word, too. I would have had that coffee cup made up. I could still do it, but I’d blush to tell people that the title is self-imposed. One just doesn’t label oneself an irredeemable Scourge of the Future: the title must be granted by others.

Sigh. The closest I have come to this kind of honor was back in school after I had answered an integration question a little too quickly, shaming my compatriots. In recognition of my feat, they drew up a “Calculus Dick of the Day Award” certificate (made from something peeled off a tennis shoe). Which to this day I display proudly.

26 Comments

  1. <blockquoteSigh. The closest I have come to this kind of honor was back in school after I had answered an integration question a little too quickly, shaming my compatriots.

    Yeah, I know what you’re talking about. I too remember when once a geometry teacher was making a conical perspective with planes, volumes, rotations and all that stuff in the board (with incredible precision, as if drawn with ruler and compass!) and I dared say “Ahh, sorry, you made a mistake there“, which he did and corrected (and politely thanked), while all my compatriots stared at me negatively, since they had stopped trying to figure out what the hell he was drawing 15 minutes before. Oh darn.

    Climate McCarthyism at its best.

  2. Good post. Grist is actually not a bad website although they are solidly in the global warming camp, they can have some well reasoned posts. Of course they also give space to the true nuts like this Adam Sacks who are the global warming true religious believers.

  3. Matt:

    It’s been a while since I have posted. Family stuff.

    I wonder how soon it will be that “science” rues the day it go sucked into the global warning policy vortex. As Anysely Kellow oberved (did you ever spring for his book?) science should provide facts, not make policy. As science becomes an advocate it trades its authority for power. Not a good trade in my view.

    You can see this playing out in the Sacks post. The syntax of the argument has more in common with religious discussions than with scientific ones. In this case, the transubstantiation is a beneficial substance, carbon dioxide, trasmuting into an evil one. I won’t rehash the debate, only to say, that what ever it is, science should take only a limited role in it, not the leadership role that it does.

    If the warmers are wrong, if, as in the past, we live in a sliver of warmth surrounded by a frozen future and frozen past, then we face a much worse situation. We will have invested in the wrong solution and will likely have developed an inabiltiy to understand what is happing to us as the paradigm (models, data colleciton methods and scientific scripture) will be wrong.

    Likely someone will wonder, “if science got this much wrong, what else did it get wrong?” Then the piper will need to be paid.

    David C.

  4. Very nice post William .
    I agree that being ranked with such as W.Bush not mentionning smaller fish like Trotski , Pol Pot or Mussolini would doubtlessly be a great achievement that you would be understandably proud of .
    Regardless .
    There have been times not so far ago , where gentle man in white coats would have taken this poor Adam in custody in a nice , warm thickly padded room and lovingly fed him with tea spoons of tasty soup untill the end of his days .
    Something went horribly wrong in our society when individuals like him are let alone and exposed to the dangerous , pressure rising Internet .

  5. Tom,

    Trotsky was a piker next to Inhofe!

    Ari,

    I’m way behind on South Park; a decade or so, I guess. It’s on past my bed time.

    David C,

    Hope all is well at home. No, I didn’t buy the book. Too expensive. But I’m glad you jogged my memory. Maybe I can find it through inter-library loan.

    Mike,

    Site is new to me. Looks OK on the whole.

    Luis,

    You always were a troublemaker.

  6. David C. I think there will always be “Scientists” [in name only] who will jump on any given bandwagon and attempt to set the pace for almost any type of parade. Of course the moment they do they are no longer “scientific”, but if you’re out front leading and strutting like a drum major, who’s to care? If only there were some higher licensing authority that could recall the “Scientist” designation, but then none us of would need to think for ourselves, would we?

    My nominees for the list would be the guy that invented Speed Trap Traffic Cams, the person who first decided to only put 8 buns in hot dog bun packages, the guy drving the retired and un-repainted cop car 10 mph slower than normal traffic three miles ahead on the freeway, the husband of the lady struggling with her cranky toddler in the airline seat ahead of me who is too busy playing games on his computer to be a father to his child, and last but not least is the neighbor with the yappy dog – at 3 AM – behind me. Names upon request. But I digress.

  7. Oh man, if I could get on that list. I’d have a doormat, instead of saying “WELCOME”, it would say “Enemy of All Humanity – This Means You”.

    But so often, being the Enemy of All Humanity has to be its own reward. Even without recognition, I have the pride of workmanship. Look at the shape All Humanity is in. I helped do that.

  8. At least you can console yourself with the knowledge that you were in Marc Morano’s Pack Of Climate Denial Jokers at the Wonk Room, so there’s a good chance if the Sacks’ list was longer then you’d be on it.

    I bet Mr. Sacks is no more impressed with the people I chided for driving their air-conditioned cars to an air-conditioned theater to see “An Inconvenient Truth” then driving back to their air-conditioned homes then spouting off about global warming in the local paper.

    I just thought of a possible solution to AGW that might meet the approval of Mr. Sacks. What if all the believers tied plastic bags over their heads to capture the carbon dioxide? For the really “green” types, a helpful neighbor could loan them a plastic bag, or maybe someone knows of a green substitute.

  9. I wouldn’t want the spotlight associated with “Worst Enemy of Humanity.” Maybe, “Advisor to Enemy of Humanity.” “Evil Genius” has a nice ring to it.

    The poster that follows Briggs request to be added to the list of most evil makes this adorably naive statement.

    “Our political and economic systems are broken. Very few people understand that it’s the variations of the worldwide everyone-for-themselves paradigm that have to be replaced by a Highest Good For All model.”

    The Eutopian Idealogue is the worst enemy to humanity.

  10. Francis
    I followed your link, and near as I can tell a covariant derivative is used for casting some kind of spell. My spellchecker doesn’t even like the word covariant. You should be thankful you weren’t banished for using witchcraft.

  11. Besides the fact that Statistics Professors are already seen widely as the Enemy of Mankind or at least Climate Scientists, I am torn between seeing humor as the antidote to this type of fanatacism and the realization that it takes so little to turn this same extremism into a bloodbath a la Ft Hood.
    Here in Massachusetts, we just had a bout with Raymond Luc Levasseur founder of the United Freedom Front, a radical group from the 60s involved in bombings and murder, who was asked to speak at UMass. These folks are genuinely and dangerously crazy. Is Adam Sacks that different? What type of emails do you think he sends to Prof. Lindzen? Probably the kind that would lead to a visit from some very unsympathetic men (to quote Spike Milligan in the Four Musketeers) from the Secret Service, if he sent the same type of email to President George W. Bush.

  12. From Sacks’s post: “I don’t mean to pick on them—they have a lot of co-enablers—but they are real scientists, for goodness sake!”

    What on earth is a “co-enabler”? I wondered if it meant carbon monoxide, but I presume not.

  13. Besides the fact that Statistics Professors are already seen widely as the Enemy of Mankind…

    Bernie,
    Really?! Should I make my house bullet proof? I don’t look like any of the people listed in this post, so I cannot be the Enemy of Mankind. I know Statistics professors are not perfect, but what have we done to deserve such ‘respect’? ^_^

  14. All,

    It might be worth your time to head back over to Grist and look at the new comments. There’s the usual back and forth (“It’s getting hot!”, “No, it’s not!”), but then there are the disquieting comments by the faithful. One guy speaks of Masters having Minions (I’ve always wanted a few), but, unless I’m mistaken, he speaks seriously.

    There are a lot of folks there touched with frenzy. They have an excess of belief beyond which any evidence can possibly inform. This is surely religion, and as Bernie and others suggest, it’s a little frightening.

  15. JH,
    But I always got an A in maths, does that count? I mean do teachers count? Female ones?
    Only a professor of statistics can answer that one.

  16. Joy,

    Darn, my silly guess was way off, but I see that you’ve never had a statistics course. I was hoping that you would enlighten me as to why you think that Statistics professors are the enemy of mankind. My first guess failed, and I don’t have a “second guess.” So, I’ll have to give up and accept it as a mystery that’s none of my business.

    Anyway, you haven’t posted comments as frequent and as detailed as usual. I hope everything is going well for you.

    Oh… I had so many statistics professors during my many years of education in Statistics that gave me a permanent head damage, and I have never stopped learning about Statistics including Bayesian Statistics and its philosophy (many thanks to Mr. Briggs for this).

  17. JH,
    I’m sure you know I don’t consider you an enemy of all mankind, quite the opposite. You are a rose amongst thorns. You know that chief knockonpotty(head cook and bottlewasher) wants people to think him evil, I was humouring him. I was being a sycophant!
    The best thing about maths is the answer’s right or wrong, black or white. That’s what I love about numbers. There’s a sort of perfection about them that is not really reality and this is why to some degree they are escapism. If I can persuade the local maths professor to teach me I will start again from the beginning. A very good place to start!

    You are right though, it’s not a good time.

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