It never fails. At some point, the mask slips among the “tolerant” members of academia and we are exposed to their real controlling and authoritarian face. Over the past few weeks there have been two good examples of this. At Harvard, we had senior Sandra Korn (“a joint history of science and studies of women, gender and sexuality concentrator”, whatever that might be) declare that academic freedom is an outdated concept and that “academic justice” is a much better concept:
In its oft-cited Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the American Association of University Professors declares that “Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results.” In principle, this policy seems sound: It would not do for academics to have their research restricted by the political whims of the moment.
Yet the liberal obsession with “academic freedom” seems a bit misplaced to me. After all, no one ever has “full freedom” in research and publication. Which research proposals receive funding and what papers are accepted for publication are always contingent on political priorities. The words used to articulate a research question can have implications for its outcome. No academic question is ever “free” from political realities. If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”?
Instead, I would like to propose a more rigorous standard: one of “academic justice.” When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.
Tolerance of ideas you don’t like or agree with? Forget about it. Instead, refuse to fund research that doesn’t conform to your agenda and we’ll call that “academic justice”. Feel a little chill?
Now we have an assistant professor of philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology who would like to see those who disagree with him on climate change put in jail. Apparently freedom of thought and speech and the right to disagree are outdated concepts as well. Eric Owens at the Daily Caller brings us up to date:
The professor is Lawrence Torcello. Last week, he published a 900-word-plus essay at an academic website called The Conversation.
His main complaint is his belief that certain nefarious, unidentified individuals have organized a “campaign funding misinformation.” Such a campaign, he argues, “ought to be considered criminally negligent.”
Torcello, who has a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo, explains that there are times when criminal negligence and “science misinformation” must be linked. The threat of climate change, he says, is one of those times.
Throughout the piece, he refers to the bizarre political aftermath of an earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy, which saw six scientists imprisoned for six years each because they failed to “clearly communicate risks to the public” about living in an earthquake zone.
“Consider cases in which science communication is intentionally undermined for political and financial gain,” the assistant professor urges.
“Imagine if in L’Aquila, scientists themselves had made every effort to communicate the risks of living in an earthquake zone,” Torcello argues, but evil “financiers” of a “denialist campaign” “funded an organised [sic] campaign to discredit the consensus findings of seismology, and for that reason no preparations were made.”
“I submit that this is just what is happening with the current, well documented funding of global warming denialism,” Torcello asserts.
No mention of the current, well documented funding of global warming alarmism (Al Gore, call your booking agent). No mention of the science that counters many of the claims of alarmists. No mention of the unexplained 15 year temperature pause. In fact, no mention of anything that might derail his argument. But that’s par for the course among alarmists, and Torcello is certainly one of them. And, as he makes clear, he will not tolerate deniers because they’re not only wrong, they’re criminals:
Torcello says that people are already dying because of global warming. “Nonetheless, climate denial remains a serious deterrent against meaningful political action in the very countries most responsible for the crisis.”
As such, Torcello wants governments to make “the funding of climate denial” a crime.
“The charge of criminal and moral negligence ought to extend to all activities of the climate deniers who receive funding as part of a sustained campaign to undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus.”
Of course the reason he’s so upset is this new fangled thing called the internet has enabled anyone who is curious about the climate debate to actually see both sides of the argument layed out before them. For the alarmists, that has inconveniently helped a majority of people realize that the science behind the alarmism is weak at best and fraudulent in some cases. It has also helped them understand that the alarmist science that Torcello wants enshrined as “truth” was gathered from deeply flawed computer models and fudged data. And, it has also let the voices of dissenting scientists be heard. Finally, this ability for the public to weigh the arguments has found most of the public viewing climate change as a minor problem at best.
Torcello would like to make all of that a crimnal activity based simply on his belief that the alarmist argument is the accurate argument. He’d jail the heretics and deny the public the opposing argument. This is what you’re reduced to when you have no real scientifically based counter-arugment and are just pushing a belief.
The Torcellos of the world once tried to do this to a man named Gallileo. And we know how that worked out.
It is always easy to wave away those like Torcello and claim they’re an anomoly. But it seems we see more and more of them popping up each day. The struggle to gain and maintain freedom is a daily struggle. It is the Torcellos and the Korns of the world who would – for your own good, of course – be happy to help incrementally rob you of your freedoms. They must be called out each and every time they do so and exposed for what they are.
When irony won’t do:
It’s not easy being green these days, especially if you’re a die-hard doomsayer of the global warming persuasion. In perhaps the cruelest blow of all, the believers learned just this week — in a study released by the National Opinion Research Center at Barack Obama’s University of Chicago no less — that the skeptics haven’t been marginalized as science-denying ignoramuses all these years. To the contrary, unbeknownst to the doomsayers, they themselves have been on the margins of society in their belief that the global warming threat to the planet is the most consequential issue of our times, if not all times.
Those that have attempted to foist this travesty are indeed on the margins. Mainstream thought discounts heavily any of the myriad of doomsday scenarios that the alarmists have been trying to ram down our throats for years:
As documented in painful detail in Public Attitudes towards Climate Change & Other Environmental Issues across Time and Countries, 1993-2010, a 17-year study of attitudes conducted by the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) in 33 countries, most people in all countries rank global warming way down their list of concerns. In Norway, just 4% considered global warming to be the country’s most important issue — and Norwegians were the most concerned of all of the citizens studied. In Canada, also high up the list, the figure was just 3%; in Great Britain less than 1% and in the U.S. the concern and was less than one half of 1%.
Not surprisingly, in most countries few people even consider global warming — whether or not caused by man — to rise to the level of being extremely dangerous: In Norway, a mere 11.8% of the population fear it, in Great Britain 16.3%, in the U.S. 19.6%. Even in relatively alarmist Canada the great majority take global warming in stride — only 27.8% see it as doom-worthy.
Ice cover in Antarctica is up since 1979 when we first began measuring it by satellite. Disasters are down, with the US “suffering” a drought of land strikes by Cat 3 hurricanes and above. And temperature? Well despite their dire predictions based only on modeling, even the most die-hard alarmists have had to admit we’ve haven’t warmed much at all:
The Holy Grail of proof to most doomsayers, of course, is the temperature, which global warming models insisted would rise in lock-step with increases in carbon dioxide. When the temperatures started to plateau in the late 1990s, doomsayers scoffed at the skeptics who noted that the models failed, taking comfort from the global warming leadership who explained every which way that the skeptics were torturing the statistics to falsely show warming had stopped. Now the leadership itself — the U.K.’s Met Office, NASA’s Jim Hansen, and the IPCC’s Rajendra Pachauri — all admit to temperatures having reached a standstill for the better part of two decades. The lowly global warming believer is left with little but the promises from their leaders that, sooner or later, those temperatures will rise again.
In fact, we found out, it wasn’t skeptics who were “torturing statistics” but the “hide the decline” alarmists.
What we were given, by Al Gore and his like wasn’t science, it was alarmism dressed up as science. It was unproven theory presented as fact. And when science finally had had enough of this claim that consensus proved the alarmist right, they simply dismantled the theory with actual, factual data.
One of the more wonderful bits of fallout? The demise of a once strident voice of the alarmists:
The New York Times is discontinuing the Green blog, which was created to track environmental and energy news and to foster lively discussion of developments in both areas. This change will allow us to direct production resources to other online projects.
Not content to be a political hack, Krugman expands his field of hackery into climate alarmism.
Commenting on the hot summer, corn and the drought, Krugman says:
But that’s not all: really extreme high temperatures, the kind of thing that used to happen very rarely in the past, have now become fairly common. Think of it as rolling two sixes, which happens less than 3 percent of the time with fair dice, but more often when the dice are loaded. And this rising incidence of extreme events, reflecting the same variability of weather that can obscure the reality of climate change, means that the costs of climate change aren’t a distant prospect, decades in the future. On the contrary, they’re already here, even though so far global temperatures are only about 1 degree Fahrenheit above their historical norms, a small fraction of their eventual rise if we don’t act.
The great Midwestern drought is a case in point. This drought has already sent corn prices to their highest level ever. If it continues, it could cause a global food crisis, because the U.S. heartland is still the world’s breadbasket. And yes, the drought is linked to climate change: such events have happened before, but they’re much more likely now than they used to be.
Facts are indeed an “inconvenient truth” when considering these alarmist screeds.
First, droughts in general, these findings from actual scientists:
Here is Andreadis and Lettenmaier (2006) in GRL (PDF):
[D]roughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, less severe, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century.
Well never mind.
But those corn prices! Highest level ever! And, and … people are going to starve! We just aren’t going to have enough!
Economist Mark Perry disposes of that nonsense:
Then prices (inflation adjusted):
You’d think a Nobel laureate economist could at least manage that, right? Research inflation adjusted pricing on a commodity?
Well it depends, I guess, on which hat you’re wearing that day. Hack or economist. Krugman continues to wear the first much more often than the second these days.
Interesting. True confession time I guess.
James Lovelock, the maverick scientist who became a guru to the environmental movement with his “Gaia” theory of the Earth as a single organism, has admitted to being “alarmist” about climate change and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were too.
Gee, we’d have never guessed.
Lovelock goes into some further detail:
“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.
“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said.
“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added.
So in essence, what Lovelock is saying is a) he was wrong about his predictions and b) in actuality they really don’t know what is happening although they have this theory which isn’t panning out the way they thought it would.
So much for the value of consensus huh?
To his credit, at least, Lovelock admits to the mistake.
Would that the rest of the alarmists had that sort of integrity. Instead, many choose to double down and make themselves even less credible. One wonders if Lovelock’s admission might give some others the courage to recant as well.
Oh, and Lovelock makes an important point:
Asked if he was now a climate skeptic, Lovelock told msnbc.com: “It depends what you mean by a skeptic. I’m not a denier.”
Yeah, neither am I. I’m a skeptic. Climate changes. It has throughout the history of the planet. And we’ve had periods of higher CO2 and higher temperatures in our history, neither of which could be linked to man. Additionally:
He said human-caused carbon dioxide emissions were driving an increase in the global temperature, but added that the effect of the oceans was not well enough understood and could have a key role.
“It (the sea) could make all the difference between a hot age and an ice age,” he said.
I am skeptical of his first statement and much more likely to find credence in the second, i.e. it is the oceans of this world that drive climate change, not man. Additionally, it seems to me that, at least to this point, the skeptic’s theory of low sensitivity of the climate to CO2 seems to be more valid than the alarmists theory of high sensitivity. Had the alarmists been right, as Lovelock points out, we should be frying right now.
Most importantly is his admission that “twelve years is a reasonable time”. It has provided enough time for a trend to develop that debunks the alarmist’s predictions.
Finally Lovelock admits that which has been painfully evident to most skeptics, given the trend of those 12 years – “we don’t know what the climate is doing.”
That is correct. And until we do we need to quit trying to make economy killing policy based on what the evidence is currently telling us is a faulty theory.
Or said another way, we need to use actual science to drive policy, not pseudo-science that supports a political agenda.
I should be able to get consensus on that, no?
This is becoming almost laughable. James Taylor, from the Heartland Institute and writing in Forbes brings us the story that new data from NASA has all but proven the alarmist climate model predictions are clearly and demonstrably wrong.
NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.
Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.
"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."
In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.
The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.
Well it should indeed dramatically alter the debate, but there’s really no debate going on. On the one side you have those who continue to pile scientific fact after scientific fact on the collapsing theory of AGW. And on the other side you have those who stopped looking at the science after the last IPCC report and stubbornly cling to the anti-science belief in “consensus” while charging full-speed ahead trying to pass a regime of insane taxation. The reason should be obvious by now – politics and big bucks.
Here’s what this new information means:
Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is "not much"). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds. Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.
The new NASA Terra satellite data are consistent with long-term NOAA and NASA data indicating atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds are not increasing in the manner predicted by alarmist computer models. The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA’s ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.
So that means:
In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth’s atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.
Or, if the relevancy and accuracy of alarmist computer models hasn’t been called into question before, if it isn’t now, you’re just simply unwilling to consider new facts or science and should be treated accordingly.
Oh, and before I forget it, the “polar bears are drowning” guy is in a bit of hot water – no pun intended:
A federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.
Charles Monnett, an Anchorage-based scientist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or BOEMRE, was told July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending results of an investigation into "integrity issues." But he has not yet been informed by the inspector general’s office of specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
Just a little FYI. Meanwhile Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) thinks is pretty sure that all this opposition against the theory of AGW is just a result of “vested interests” in the oil and coal industries and it is imperative that the government start educating people about why this stuff is serious (and why they need to let government tax the crap out of them as a result):
The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday urged Energy Secretary Steven Chu to launch a national climate-change-education campaign.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), in a letter to Chu, said the public’s understanding of climate change is “diminishing” in part because there are “powerful vested interests in the oil and coal industries successfully fanning disbelief.”
“I ask you to investigate the disconnect that appears to be growing between the scientific and the public understanding of climate change,” Waxman said. “I hope you will then decide to lead a national effort to ensure the public is fully and accurately informed about the science of climate change and its implications for human health and welfare.”
Facts? We don’t need no stinkin’ facts. Not when billions in revenue for government are at stake. And they wonder why no one trusts them.