William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Stream: The Joys of Divesting from Reality (And Not Just Oil)

Oil has many purposes.

Oil has many purposes.

Okay, sisters and brothers, only a handful of folks clicked over to the National Association of Scholars to read their must-read (but not-yet-read) report Inside Divestment: The Illiberal Movement to Turn a Generation Against Fossil Fuels, a duty on your part not the least because this important document has an essay by Yours Truly. The Stream very kindly reproduced that essay, and you must go there to read it. Must.

To Be Young (And Uneducated) Is Very Bliss

Imagine this:

Vladimir Putin sits as his desk doodling on a map of Europe. He erases Istanbul and is about to pencil in Constantinople when Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rushes in and announces, “Mr President! The Rhode Island School of Design, enrollment 2,420 students, has voted to divest from direct investments in fossil-fuel extraction companies. They will sell all 1,000 shares of Gazprom!”

Putin sits stunned. After what seems like an hour he rises slowly, snaps his pencil in two, tears his shirt, and says, “I see now that I must do my part to save the planet. Withdraw the troops. Shut down all gas production facilities. When the snow melts in Siberia, slaughter the remaining cattle and install organic solar panels. And bring in that man that does face piercings.”

Something very like this little fantasy is playing out in the minds of thousands of college students and their spiritual guides (professors) across these once United States. How thrilling to believe that the mere selling of oil and coal stocks to eager buyers can topple the mightiest and save from certain doom our dear, living, breathing planet—Gaia herself!

Go on, now. Head on over. Yes: you have to. And not only that, you have to pass this on to others so that they too might be encouraged to read the NAS report. Tell them Uncle Briggs sent you.

14 Comments

  1. Read it and commented yesterday. So to change the subject, what caused (or at least “is associated with”) the onslaught of nasty trolling recently?

  2. Briggs

    November 12, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Gary,

    That piece I wrote dissecting that absurd “altruism” study was picked up at The Guardian, home of Social Justice Warriors. They’re not used to being told they’re wrong.

  3. Never forget: SJWs always lie. The “Divestment” activists are no exception. Note the lying about how they took down South Africa.

  4. Something very like this little fantasy is playing out in the minds of thousands of college students and their spiritual guides (professors) across these once United States.

    Briggs,

    This little fantasy has definitely been played out in your mind.

    Spiritual guide? College professors don’t have the illusion that we could actually undo what students’ parents have or have not bestowed upon them! Such illusion, though flattering, would be an insult to their parents.

  5. They’re not used to being told they’re wrong.

    Who is? It is not uncommon to cry ”troll” when someone expresses a different opinion in the internet. Neither is to call others “ignorant” when someone expresses a different opinion.

  6. While I agree with you that divesting doesn’t do anything. There is always another buyer to buy the shares that the divesting institution sells.

    But, if someone says, “I am unwilling to put myself in a place were I will profit from an institution I believe is evil.” That is a different stand.

    We can debate whether the petroleum industry is in fact evil.

    What probably doesn’t get enough discussion is what power a collection of students should have over the administration and finances of the university. The students think that they are #1. Where would the university be without the student body? Not realizing that there are thousands people waiting in the wings to replace them. Of all of the stakeholders in the University, the students are involved for the shortest amount of time. The student body is least committed to the long-term health of the institution.

  7. Briggs

    November 12, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Hey, JH: you’re wrong.

  8. 2 degrees C change in the global average temperature. Since the GAT is not a real number, there is no location in which that 2 degrees will actually apply. Changes everywhere can be up to down zero to 10 or more degrees in any season and the GAT can stay the same. It’s a magical number, with no relationship to weather or any real place on earth. The period chosen matters not, either. I’ve seen many different choices. (As I have noted elsewhere, the North Pole could cool to ?100C and the equator raise to 150 degreesC and it would have the same effect on the average as the North Pole raising 50 degrees and the equator cooling 50 degrees when looking at the average (numbers are just for show—I didn’t do the actual calculations). The practical concerns in each case are very different.)

    I disagree that model failure means the theory is wrong. It means the theory is not proven. The theory has the same proven truth at this point as “There are leprechauns living under my house but I still don’t have a picture or proof” or “We are entering an new ice age and we will all freeze”. It’s a theory without proof. Which is why we should not be “doing something” about global warming any more than someone needs to be spending billions looking for those leprechauns, though a deal could be made for more research if enough compensation was offered.

    I’ve read that even the colleges that say they will divest they really do not do so. It seems it works for all involved just to SAY something is being done and that’s all that counts. When living in a fictional world, no real action is required from any side, short of a resignation or two along the way.

    Doug M: The proper behaviour here is to leave the college or not go there in the first place. It’s not the student’s college and no one forced them to go there. Going into someone else’s place of business and demanding they change to match your ideals is basically stealing the hard work the person put into the business and using it to further your agenda. It’s fine to let the colleges know why you are not going there–in case they decide to reconsider their beliefs and ideas. You’re spot on that the student body can be replaced in a flash, but for some reason the administrators don’t get that.

  9. I disagree that model failure means the theory is wrong. It means the theory is not proven. The theory has the same proven truth at this point as “There are leprechauns living under my house but I still don’t have a picture or proof”

    If your hypothesis states you will find a dozen or more leprechauns under the house and you find none then the hypothesis is false.The hypothesis embodied in the climate models predicts a rise in average global temperature as CO2 concentration rises and, while CO2 concentration has risen, average global temperature has not — for almost two decades. The hypothesis is wrong (as in false).

  10. Hey Briggs,

    What am I wrong about? Oh… I see, the illusion that college professors have the power to influence your children’s ideologies was not (Of course not!) meant to flatter college professors like D. Ruppert. It was meant to flatter the parents instead. Or it was not meant to flatter anyone but anti-academic propaganda in general?

    Better not send your kids to college to become liberal because young people cannot think for themselves. You can attest to this because you children have become liberal after college. Well, I am sure I am wrong again.

    While some universities are trying to deal with intemperate student’s protests, some people are taking this opportunities to further their anti-academic agenda. Well, I am sure you think I am wrong again.

  11. “I disagree that model failure means the theory is wrong. It means the theory is not proven. ”

    It means the people who tell us to believe in them because the models are right are wrong .

    “You’re spot on that the student body can be replaced in a flash, but for some reason the administrators don’t get that.”

    Often the administrators are working with the perfessers to create just that delusional sense in the students. They are happy to go along even if it means falling on their sword as the head of ol Mizou did this week.

  12. DAV: For over 50 years, physicists searched for the Higgs Boson and did not find it. Therefore, the Higgs Boson does not exist. (And I did not specify the number of leprechauns under my house.)

    KuhnKat: Yes, it means the people who tell us to believe in the models are wrong.
    As for universities and professors, I really don’t understand any of what goes on there anymore. You’re probably right on everyone creating a delusional sense in students. Whatever the actions and reason for them, they certainly result in delusional students.

  13. Sheri, the difference is that GAT rise with CO2 rise isn’t some elusive thing to be sought. It’s a core prediction that failed hence the theory behind the prediction did as well. There may be parts of the theory that can be salvaged to be incorporated into an new theory but the theory as it stands is incorrect.

  14. DAV: I’ll let it go at that.

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