How often have we seen the picture of Galileo Galilei facing the Office of the Inquisition in 1632? Galileo is held up as a scientific martyr today, because he fiercely defended the Copernican solar system against the Inquisition, which finally ordered him to stop publishing those ideas. Cardinal Bellarmine denounced Copernican theory as “a very dangerous thing, not only by irritating all the philosophers and scholastic theologians, but also by injuring our holy faith and rendering the Holy Scriptures false.”
Today we have a radical role reversal. Climate heretics like Dr. Fred Singer and MIT’s Prof. Richard Lindzen are telling truth to power — and they are bitterly criticized by our science politicians, just as the pope criticized Galileo. Singer and Lindzen are our Galileos, telling a truth that the leftist establishment and its organs of propaganda do not want to hear.
Today we have our own official science czar in the White House. John Holdren is a true believer in the imaginary faith of global warming. We even have an office for the propagation of the faith, spearheaded by NASA’s James Hansen. It is Hansen who goes around saying that the oceans could rise by 20 feet and that heretics — like oil company execs — deserve to be put on trial for “high crimes against humanity and nature.” This witch-hunting talk apparently passes for normal scientific discourse in Dr. Hansen’s mind. Hansen has not yet proposed burning oil company execs at the stake, but he is no longer a scientist — he is a true believer, just like a Scientologist. Real scientists don’t know the answers before the evidence is in. Hansen and Holdren know the answers — their faith passeth mere human understanding.
Now John Holdren has spoken up in an interview with the Associated Press, itself a big propaganda outfit. AP tells us that “Holdren outlined several ‘tipping points’ involving global warming that could be fast approaching.” (Notice the weaseling here. Anything could be fast approaching, like maybe a screaming intergalactic turtle, all ready to crash into the earth. Prove to me it ain’t so!)
The AP continues: “Once such milestones are reached, such as complete loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic, it increases chances of ‘really intolerable consequences,’ he [Holdren] said.” But wait! This just in from the excellent skeptical site Watt’s Up With That? Steven Goddard writes:
The WUWT Arctic Ice Thickness Survey … is collected from the US military web site. All of the active military buoys show significant thickening ice over the past six months to a year.
Hmmm. I wonder if Dr. Holdren knows that the Arctic ice is actually getting thicker? Or maybe he just doesn’t care? Well, whatever. Holdren is convinced that doom is about to come upon us. As the AP tells it, “Twice in a half-hour interview, Holdren compared global warming to being ‘in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog.’” He forgot to add, “with a hallucinating driver conjuring up imaginary dangers.” But that’s closer to the truth. Our real problem is not the earth or the CO2; it is the human beings who are now in power, fully prepared to scare the daylights out of us to squeeze out more power and more money for themselves.
Dr. Holdren knows he can’t just repeat the old cliches. If he wants big headlines around the world, he has to give the AP a new angle — the media beast demands to be fed. So Dr. Holdren obliges by holding out the hope of geoengineering, super-gigantic-expialidocious projects to give the earth a kind of aluminum foil layer, able to reflect the sun’s rays and thereby cool the earth. In the AP’s fawning prose:
The president’s new science adviser said Wednesday that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth’s air. … John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays. …
“It’s got to be looked at,” he said. “We don’t have the luxury of taking any approach off the table.”
Needless to say, this is so total science fiction. Nobody has ever done anything like it, but H.G. Wells could have thought it up a hundred years ago.
Real engineering is based on good science, but there is no good science here. Climate modeling is baby science — still crawling around in wet diapers. There is a huge difference between settled science, like the solar system, and baby science. Climate modeling has no track record of solid performance. That is why climate predictions have to be made for a hundred years from now, because that makes them impossible to disprove. Nobody is going to wait 100 years to find out. But the money has to be taxed now, to empower science frauds and hype-mongers who promise to save our hides in 2100. Give me your money now to save the earth in 2100!
“Global warming” is more Scientology than science. It is an act of pure imagination. The only thing climate models have in common with real science is the word “science.” All the climate prophets are playing on public ignorance. If you confuse Scientology with science, you can confuse climate modeling with real science.
The key is that the science establishment, like any power class, wants to control the media narrative. That is why our Galileos today are told to shut up by hype peddlers like James Hansen and John Holdren.
Political establishments haven’t changed since Galileo. They don’t care if they are defending theology or secular ideology; they just want more and more power. Obama didn’t appoint our new “science czar” to ensure honesty and integrity in the climate debate. On the contrary, this guy was appointed for political loyalty, exactly the reason why the pope appointed Galileo’s inquisitor.
The very idea of a science czar is Stalinist.
True science always respects the skeptics. Einstein disagreed profoundly with Nils Bohr about quantum mechanics, but can you imagine Albert Einstein demanding that Bohr be put on trial for his beliefs? Or vice versa? But that’s what James Hansen has been saying.
These people are totalitarians in spirit. But healthy science must stay open, because nature always comes up with big surprises — as Einstein found out about quantum mechanics. Skeptics are just as necessary to healthy science as passionate advocates; neither one can presume to know the truth before the evidence comes in. Look at Science or Nature magazine any week and you will find both confirmation and negation of leading-edge hypotheses. To close one’s mind prematurely is to attack science itself.
The only real sin in science is to apply totalitarian methods to punish free and open debate. That is a sure road to disaster. What’s alarming today is not hypothetical global warming, but a very real infiltration of Stalinist thinking into universities and research institutions.