Free Markets, Free People

“Check your premise”

One of the first things you learn when you’re putting an argument forward is to check the premise of your argument to ensure it is valid.  Obviously if it isn’t, then you end up battling a straw man and looking like a bit of a fool.

We have a practical example of not checking your premise (that’s giving him the benefit of the doubt- in fact it may be a case of creating a false premise on purpose) in the New York Times today by a professor of classics and anthropology at George Washington University.  Professor Cline writes an op/ed there in which he attempts to prove that climate change doomed the ancients and that the history of that time replicates the danger we face at this time.

Uh, ok.  But, of course, that’s not the real purpose of his history lesson as soon becomes evident.  It is to take a political shot at “climate deniers” by using Senator James Inhofe  as a proxy for AGW skeptics – without ever naming them as such:

THIS month, a report issued by a prominent military advisory board concluded that climate change posed a serious threat to America’s national security.

The authors, 16 retired high-ranking officers, warned that droughts, rising seas and extreme weather events, among other environmental threats, were already causing global “instability and conflict.”

But Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a stalwart believer that global warming is a “hoax,” dismissed the report as a publicity stunt.

Perhaps the senator needs a history lesson, because climate change has been leading to global conflict — and even the collapse of civilizations — for more than 3,000 years. Drought and famine led to internal rebellions in some societies and the sacking of others, as people fleeing hardship at home became conquerors abroad.

Note how he switches from “global warming” to “climate change” – a term he will use throughout the rest of his article.  He knows “global warming” has become a loaded term.  But it is clear, the premise he is putting forward is that Senator Inhofe is denying the climate is changing and calling it all a hoax.

But, in fact, Senator Inhofe has never denied “climate change”.  Who would?  Our climate changes – constantly.  Instead,  what he has denied is that man is causing it.  He’s been quite clear about that.

Inhofe, former chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, does not believe that human activities cause climate change.


“I have to admit—and, you know, confession is good for the soul… I, too, once thought that catastrophic global warming was caused by anthropogenic gases—because everyone said it was.” [emphasis mine]

That’s right – everyone said it was.  And some never bothered to investigate it themselves, but took it on faith that the nonsense being touted was factual and true.  But subsequent study of the actual science, not that which had been manipulated (and now discredited), as well as the history of temperature change in the last 17 years (it hasn’t changed) vs what the models said would happen, have led him and many others to believe the entire basis of AGW was flawed and a “hoax”.

Go figure.

By leaving out the fact that Inhofe thinks that ” man made” climate change is a “hoax”, Cline creates a false premise – that Inhofe doesn’t believe climate change is real.  And by addressing only “climate change”, he then can attempt to make Inhofe look like a science denier who isn’t acting in the best interest of our nation and our military.  By doing that he marginalizes Inhofe.

So why would Senator Inhofe call a report on the impact of climate change on our national security a hoax if we all know the climate always changes and, at some point in the future, could indeed impact our national security?  He probably wouldn’t.  He didn’t call it a hoax for that reason.  He called it a hoax because of a couple of paragraphs in the report’s executive summary that clearly, if not implicitly, put AGW to the fore as the reason for this climate change as well as calling for emissions to be limited:

“Scientists around the globe are increasing their confidence, narrowing their projections, and reaffirming the likely causes of climate change.  As described in Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Assessment: “Heat trapping gases already in the atmosphere have committed us to a hotter future with more climate related impacts over the next few decades.  The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades depends primarily on the amount of heat trapping gasses emitted globally, now and in the future.”


Climate mitigation and adaptation efforts are emerging in various places around the world, but the extent of these efforts to mitigate and adapt to the projections are insufficient to avoid significant potential water, food and energy insecurity; political instability; extreme weather events; and other manifestations of climate change.  Coordinated, wide-scale and well-executed actions to limit heat-trapping gasses and increase resilience to help prevent and protect against the worst projected climate change impacts are required – now.

Obviously you can’t stop or limit the “amount of heat trapping gasses” emitted by nature, so what gasses are the authors talking about here? Why what else – those emitted by man.  IOW, they’ve carefully danced around not saying “man-made global warming” but it is precisely what they’re talking about.  And that, given the evidence now available in the present, is what Inhofe is calling a hoax.

Cline lays out his history lesson based on this false premise.  As far as the history goes, meh, it’s okay.  I’m not sure it proves much of anything concerning whether or not this was happening globally, but the regional change obviously had an effect.  A hint that it was a regional phenomenon is found in one of Cline’s paragraphs:

While sea levels may not have been rising then, as they are now, changes in the water temperature may have been to blame for making life virtually unlivable in parts of the region.

Guess the glaciers and such located around the globe must have been pretty stable, even while all this was going on in the area noted, huh?

Anyway, he concludes with this little gem:

We live in a world that has more similarities to that of the Late Bronze Age than one might suspect, including, as the British archaeologist Susan Sherratt has put it, an “increasingly homogeneous yet uncontrollable global economy and culture” in which “political uncertainties on one side of the world can drastically affect the economies of regions thousands of miles away.”

But there is one important difference. The Late Bronze Age civilizations collapsed at the hands of Mother Nature. It remains to be seen if we will cause the collapse of our own.

And there it is.  While refusing to call it “man-made global warming” through the entire piece,  his last few words give away the game [emphasis mine].  He’s just another pedantic alarmist using a false premise to try to attack someone who disagrees with the obviously flawed “consensus”.  Somehow he thinks relating a cyclical climate event from centuries ago where man obviously couldn’t have influenced it even if he tried to what is happening (or  not happening in reality) today somehow makes a compelling case.  You know, it couldn’t just be the same cause that precipitated the events back then coming to visit us again could it?  Nope, it has to be man.

This guy is teaching your children folks.  And this is the quality of his work.  The irony is he just prostituted his academic credibility to take a political shot at someone – and missed.


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11 Responses to “Check your premise”

  • AGW….and
    “We live in a world that has more similarities to that of the Late Bronze Age than one might suspect, including, as the British archaeologist Susan Sherratt has put it, an “increasingly homogeneous yet uncontrollable global economy and culture” in which “political uncertainties on one side of the world can drastically affect the economies of regions thousands of miles away.”
    So much educated stupidity, so little time.
    What, Yak butter from Ulaangom imported by Hunnish merchants to Thuringia and sold to Etruscan traders?   Only to have the trade network broken up by those annoying descendents of Romulus and Remus?
    Uh, Kokopelli statutes from Acoti transported by slaves to Tuxpan, carried by Phoenician trade ships to Carthage, marked up by 12 Tyrian coins and sold to Hebrews in Babylon – network wrecked by the fall of Cyrus the Cheese Eater?
    Potatoes from lake Titicaca moved by llama back to the airport at Nazca and flown by Icarus Airlines to early Thebes?
    Viking long ship trading vessels selling bad copies of Mjollnir and the latest goat drawn chariots to the Mohawks?
    Did I miss something in my euro centric history classes and the news over the last 50 years that should change my world view of the GLOBAL trade network and politics of the Late Bronze Age?
    And then there’s the issue of METHANE from babbling brooks…. MORE greenhouse gasses!!! Ohhhhh Noooooo Mr Bill!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Quick, ban the cars!  Close down the power plants!  we must DOOOOOOOOOOOOO somethings!!!!!!!   So what if we’re wrong, what do we have to lose!!!!!

    • “And then there’s the issue of METHANE from babbling brooks….”
      One of my favorite sequences from Blazing Saddles.  That Brooks is a genius…!!!  Those cowboys were doing some HIGH issuing…!!!

      • Have to have a permit for that scene now – methane trading credits and all that.

  • The real problem with the entire Global Warming .. err .. Climate Change .. err .. Global Climate disruption has been defining the scope of the discussion.
    The nature urge is to simplify the terms but as soon as you do that, the discussion usually is doomed.
    First, CO2 is a green house gas.  So is water vapor, and water vapor is a much better green house gas.
    Second, climate change (with small “C”s) is real.  Even, global warming is real, when global cooling isn’t occurring.
    Finally, the problem is bifurcated.  The two major ingredients that cause are problem are when you intro the notion of what is anthropogenic, and what can of needs to be done about it.
    The Earth has been warming in the centuries since the last Ice Age.  That warming was been causing the ice to melt and the seas to rise.
    What part of current warming is part of the end of the Ice Age and what part is anthropogenic is quite debatable .. and that is before we begin to ask the questions about can the government cure the weather.

    Jeffrey Pelt: Listen, I’m a politician which means I’m a cheat and a liar, and when I’m not kissing babies I’m stealing their lollipops. But it also means I keep my options open.

    Now, inject a bunch of politicians.  They get sloppy about terms like “Climate Change”, “Global Warming” and “Gorebal Warming”.  Of course to them, they are all the same and if you are with us, you are against us.
    I have three big problem with this “Global Warming” meme.  First, those who make the most noise are also the ones with the biggest “carbon footprints”, and the biggest tie in to the Climate Industrial Complex.  Secondly, the IPCC over a decade ago said that CO2 alone would not be that dangerous, but that there should be a multiplier involving water vapor, a much stronger green house gas, occurring 18 km above the tropics creating a warming “signature.”  To date, there has been no instance of this “signature” of extra warming due to water vapor detected .. by anybody.  And thirdly, when has the government or the UN ever been able to affect the weather.  Even the Montreal Protocol on CFCs has had very mixed results, with success being loudly declared, followed by quiet failures.

    • What part of: Money, Power and Societal Control are you not getting?
      The AGW Theory (scam) has more holes in it than a fishing net.
      But if the goal is to take your money and dictate every aspect of your life then this lie can only have one conclusion… the facts be damned, stubborn as they may be.
      Which goes a long way in explaining the substance and timing of the Lying King’s West Point address.
      Bambi sees the gathering storm, his time is running out, one final stab at the heart of the Republic is about all he has left.

  • Coordinated, wide-scale and well-executed actions to limit heat-trapping gasses and increase resilience to help prevent and protect against the worst projected climate change impacts are required – now.
    No.  They are not only NOT “required–now”, there is nothing good that would obtain if we did them…now.  We aren’t going to change the climate BACK to what it was in 1800, and couldn’t in any event.
    And I, speaking for myself, will not alter my standard of living to mitigate someone’s projection.  (Sounds sorta dirty, dunnit…?)

    • anthropogenic heat-trapping gasses… right back where they started: Anthropogenic Glowbull Warming. (AGW)
      In twenty years of dire predictions, we should be all treading in tropical waters here in the northeast
      Last night in New Hampshire we had record cold May the 29th, water froze in the up-turned lid of my cooler…
      Because we all know how Heat Trapping Greenhouse Gasses trigger record cold.
      There has to be a word for when someone pees on their leg, they insist with Jim Jones fervor that it is raining.
      Rabidly Stuck-On-Stupid just doesn’t flow off the tongue quite well enough.

  • One truly frightening part of all this is the number of people who think humans can affect the weather by any meaningful measure.
    The second most frightening aspect is they are the ones in charge.
    Remember, it was YOUR pickup truck that caused the demise of Tyrannosaurus Rex.

    Talk about flushing money down a toilet…  Everybody connected with that should face criminal charges.

  • I propose the following test:
    I want the global alarmists to settle on their “doomsday” estimate – is it 5 years, 1 year, 20 days?  And the doomsday scenario – ice pack melt, rise of seas, polar bears extinct etc.  Whichever they want.
    Now do nothing at all. Given that timeframe minus 3 months or so – if the doomsday scenario is on track to come through, we put them in complete and total charge to right the ship.
    And if it isn’t, we line every single one of them up against the wall and blow them away.
    Who here wouldn’t sign for that deal?

  • The professor likes his appeals to authority:

    The authors, 16 retired high-ranking officers, warned that droughts…

    Do you think he’d ever write something similar for something he disagrees with?

    The authors, 16 high-ranking officers, warned that eliminating private ownership of guns…


    The authors, 16 high-ranking doctors and attorneys, warned that abortion is equivalent to murder…