Regular readers will have expected the next installment in our tour of Summa Contra Gentiles. This will appear next week after my class is over. I may say that the day-after effects of copious wine and sunshine are more than sufficient proof for God’s divine instruction, and therefore it follows God exists.
Have you noticed, really noticed, that the concept of proof has all but disappeared from major media stories on global warming?
Proof-stories are those that say “The science predicted this-and-such, and here is the evidence verifying the prediction.” These were common in the early days of the panic, back in the late ’90s when temperatures cooperated with climate models, but are now as rare as conservatives in Liberal Arts departments.
The reason is simple: there is little in the way of proof that the dire predictions of global warming are true, and much evidence, plain to the senses, that they are false.
Global warming stories still appear with the same frequency as before, but they have changed character. The new stories demonstrate convincingly, if there was any doubt left, that global warming “science” is purely political.
This is because people believe global warming not because of the science but because they desire its “solution.”
Take this example from the San Francisco Chronicle, “Democrats use climate change as wedge issue on Republicans“.
When President Obama stood before students in Southern California a week ago ridiculing those who deny climate science, he wasn’t just road testing a new political strategy to a friendly audience. He was trying to drive a wedge between younger voters and the Republican Party.
Democrats are convinced that climate change is the new same-sex marriage, an issue that is moving irreversibly in their favor…
Wedge issues are those in which one side believes strongly that it has the moral high ground.
In other words, the president and his party want the only acceptable argument to be “I believe“. Anybody who offers calm, logical arguments against the theory of “catastrophic” man-made global warming, such as observing models do not make skillful predictions, must be shouted down, shunned, driven from polite society, called evil, labeled as brutes, shamed, fired, de-funded, imprisoned.
When a True Believer meets a skeptic he sticks his fingers in his ears, stamps his feet, and screeches “Denier!” (or “Bigot!”) as if this is a knock-down devastating rebuttal. In the True Believer’s favor, a rampaging mob does earn a certain respect.
It’s rather funny in its way. Who with me recalls the academic other-way-of-knowing culture war of the 1990s which griped the academy? The literature, sociology, education, and other soft professors insisted that science had no special cause for respect, that scientific knowledge was just “another way of knowing”, that truth must always be accompanied by scare quotes because “truth” belonged to whoever was in power, etc., etc.
The war culminated in physicist Alan Sokal’s famous hoax, where he managed to get a prestigious other-way-of-knowing peer-reviewed journal to publish an article of scientific gibberish. Embarrassed, relativists sounded the general retreat and thereafter were sure to make themselves seen endorsing science whenever they could; they even adopted scientific techniques for their own research, even when this was clearly nonsensical.
Right after Sokal came global warming. The timing was perfect. Here was a science that accorded perfectly with the politics of the relativists. It was embraced with gusto. “We’re all scientists now!” they said. Global warming meant global, top-down “solutions.” Man-made catastrophic global warming was not “true”, but capital-T TRUE. A clear victory for Science.
Climate scientists were feted and funded, and many understandably gave in to the temptation to be pampered publicly. Adulation is a strong drug and addicting. To keep the supply steady, these scientists regularly ratcheted up their rhetoric, soon passing well beyond the evidence and venturing into wild speculation. Audiences were enraptured. Facts were long forgotten. All that could be seen were “solutions.”
The UN, knowing a good deal when it saw one, got involved. So did those politicians which saw they could use global warming as a “wedge issue” to harm their opponents. Governments which had higher things on its minds ignored or downplayed the movement, except when they could benefit from it. For instance, Uganda “will on Saturday 12th July host the first ever International Climate Change Conference for Children.” Ugandan leaders smell money.
And now, at rock bottom, we have our president acting like an addled college student attending an “awareness raising” rally calling out “Nyah nyah nyah.”
The point is this: the relativists were right all along. They should not have capitulated. Science—I mean its practice and not the facts—is just another way of knowing. Research which gets funded is that which is aligned with the reigning politics. “Truth” is what those in power say it is. Power, even voting, determines “reality.”