William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Crisis: Leaked Laudato Lamented

Not so fossil fuels.

Not so fossil fuels.

I’m still in the midst of teaching. We go all day, 9 to 5. I have no access to the Internet or email during this time. And after, I head right for the watering hole.

Today’s post is at Crisis: “Leaked Laudato Lamented”. Ain’t that a pretty title?

Laudato begins its climate portion by claiming a scientific “consensus exists that indicates that we are very firm in presence of a worrisome warming of the climate system.” This isn’t so. Many scientists—real climatologists, that is; see this video starting at 17 minutes—do say there might, in the future, be “worrisome warming.” But other scientists say there will not. The fictional “97% Consensus” you hear endlessly has been debunked in the scientific literature. But the press has no interest in reporting this.

Go there to read the rest.

The interesting question is, if a scientific proposition relied upon in the document turns out to be false, can the exhortation that follows be abandoned. As a matter of logic, I’d say yes. You?

There’s obviously lots and lots more to do and say about all this.

11 Comments

  1. I think there’s an apt metaphor for an incorrect premise in Matt 7:26-27.
    “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

  2. Gary: I don’t think they teach that verse anymore. Now, you build your house on sand, buy flood insurance and sue the contractor when the house falls. If none of the afore mentioned work, you go on the news and cry and people send you money. There exists no modern day equivalent of said verse in America at least. (Which might explain the success of the global warming movement and the watering down of religion.)

  3. It’s important to establish decisively that A is really “relied upon” before you can say that B is falsified. For instance, even if a papal sentence read, “Since global warming is real, then Jesus is the Son of God,” that doesn’t refute the profession. At best, all you can say is that the profession doesn’t follow from the preliminaries.

    An interesting but nevertheless possibly relevant point is that some of the most solemn Catholic professions (e.g., those at the Council of Chalcedon) pointedly ignore all swirling theological controversies, do not ‘resolve’ them in the least except by implicitly finding them irrelevant, and instead more precisely define and affirm what has been ‘handed on’.

    Implicitly also, Chalcedon’s subject matter, and its manner of profession, is quite a contrast to this “best of the (19)70s” pontificate. This pontificate is groovy and all, I suppose, and it hits us where we really live and sometimes lays a really heavy trip on us, which is good, I guess.

    Pope Francis is, like, totally far out.

  4. John K, when you say “far out”, do you mean “far out”, as in
    “unconventional or avant-garde.
    ‘far-out politics’ “,
    or
    “informal, excellent.
    ‘it’s really far out!’ ”
    ???

  5. Bob:

    In the context … prefacing it with ‘like’ and ‘totally’, I’d say the third definition applies

  6. (I guess the second – there is no third)

  7. The Pope has turned into a watermelon or maybe he is now showing his true colors.

  8. @Bob Kurland, @JohnB():

    JohnB() was right the first time. It was the third definition.

    Obviously, then, (understood from a semiotic perspective), as one expresses the phrase, “Pope Francis is, like, totally far out.” one constructs — or rather, bifurcates a construction — or rather, invites a reader to bifurcate a construction — that has the semiotic quality of *flicker*, in which ‘a’ meaning is not fixed, but rather, ‘flickers’ between two or more possibilities, each equally ‘valid’.

    In this way a subtextual irony can be ever-latent, while simultaneously, the possibility of meaning in the ‘foundationalist’ sense is not entirely ruled out; which also has the effect of making a latent irony ever-pungent, without collapsing into the kind of boring nihilism that Oscar Wilde, for one, pointedly disdained.

    In short, as this is a “best of the 70’s” pontificate; that is, a pontificate that expresses the mind (if that is the correct term) of a pope who as a priest and a bishop was schooled, steeped, in the 70s, and apparently still finds the 1970s most satisfactory, it is vitally important to remember how awful almost all of it actually was, at virtually every level of discourse, from popular to academic.

    In order to keep ourselves from taking any of it too seriously, when it repeats itself now.

  9. While this is a brilliant article, it could be made slightly better by anticipating and responding to criticism of it towards the end. The article will be attacked using arguments from authority and the precautionary principle. A paragraph or two deconstructing those would have been useful. (The reference to the ‘97%’ claim does partly address this.) Although if there is a word count limit, I suspect you could not have done better than you did.

  10. Looks like you picked the wrong week to start teaching….

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