Bad things in good times 2

Mark Steyn talks about bad things in a recently published (April 25, 2016) video: environmentalism, Islam, state-created art.

Well worth the 27+ minutes it takes to hear it through.

We like the last few minutes best, starting at about 24.40 when he talks about how lucky we are to be living in a warm period.

Posted under Canada, Climate, Commentary, Environmentalism, government, Health, History, India, Islam, Leftism, Muslims, Science, Somalia, Sweden, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 21, 2016

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“The Great Die-Off” 6

… that never happened.

On the first Earth Day in 1970, environmentalists predicted the direst imaginable consequences, including the possible extinction of the human race, within 30 years.

That is, if we earthlings didn’t obey them and go back to living the life of the savage: “poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.  They didn’t put it that way exactly. But that’s what their wishes would have brought us to.

“Solitary” should also be in that quotation from Thomas Hobbes, but that wouldn’t be the case because the doomsday environmentalists are collectivists to a man and feminist.

Not a single one of their predictions has come true.

Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute writes:

In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled Earth Day, Then and Now to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day, and in the years following, there was a “torrent of apocalyptic predictions” and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article. Well, it’s now the 46th anniversary of  Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 16 years ago: How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970? The answer: “The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong,” according to Bailey. Here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started:

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind”. 

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By 1975 some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off”. 

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support … the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution … by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half. …”

10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone”. Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945″. Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946 … now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out.

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate … that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any’.”

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it”.

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

The Daily Caller notes just how wrong some of those predictions have turned out to be:

1: “Civilization Will End Within 15 Or 30 Years”

Harvard biologist Dr. George Wald warned shortly before the first Earth Day in 1970 that civilization would soon end “unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind”. Three years before his projection, Wald was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Wald was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War and the nuclear arms race. He even flew to Moscow at one point to advise the leader of the Soviet Union on environmental policy. Despite his assistance to a communist government, civilization still exists. The percentage of Americans who are concerned about environmental threats has fallen as civilization failed to end by environmental catastrophe.

2: “100-200 Million People Per Year Will Be Starving To Death During The Next Ten Years”

Stanford professor Dr. Paul Ehrlich declared in April 1970 that mass starvation was imminent. His dire predictions failed to materialize as the number of people living in poverty has significantly declined and the amount of food per person has steadily increased, despite population growth. The world’s Gross Domestic Product per person has immeasurably grown despite increases in population.

Ehrlich is largely responsible for this view, having co-published The Population Bomb with The Sierra Club in 1968. The book made a number of claims including that millions of humans would starve to death in the 1970s and 1980s, mass famines would sweep England leading to the country’s demise, and that ecological destruction would devastate the planet causing the collapse of civilization.

3: “Population Will Inevitably And Completely Outstrip Whatever Small Increases In Food Supplies We Make”

Paul Ehrlich also made the above claim in 1970, shortly before an agricultural revolution that caused the world’s food supply to rapidly increase.

Ehrlich has consistently failed to revise his predictions when confronted with the fact that they did not occur, stating in 2009 that “perhaps the most serious flaw in The Bomb was that it was much too optimistic about the future”.

4: “Demographers Agree Almost Unanimously … Thirty Years From Now, The Entire World … Will Be In Famine”

Environmentalists in 1970 truly believed in a scientific consensus predicting global famine due to population growth in the developing world, especially in India. …

[But] India, where the famines were supposed to begin, recently became one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products and food supply per person in the country has drastically increased in recent years. In fact, the number of people in every country listed by Gunter has risen dramatically since 1970.

5: “In A Decade, Urban Dwellers Will Have To Wear Gas Masks To Survive Air Pollution”

Life magazine stated in January 1970 that scientist had “solid experimental and theoretical evidence” to believe that “in a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution … by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by one half”.

Despite the prediction, air quality has been improving worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Air pollution has also sharply declined in industrialized countries.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas environmentalists are worried about today, is odorless, invisible and harmless to humans in normal amounts.

6: “Childbearing [Will Be] A Punishable Crime Against Society, Unless The Parents Hold A Government License”

David Brower, the first executive director of The Sierra Club made the above claim and went on to say that “all potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing”. Brower was also essential in founding Friends of the Earth and the League Of Conservation Voters and much of the modern environmental movement.

Brower believed that most environmental problems were ultimately attributable to new technology that allowed humans to pass natural limits on population size. He famously stated before his death in 2000 that “all technology should be assumed guilty until proven innocent” and repeatedly advocated for mandatory birth control.

Today, the only major government to ever get close to his vision has been China, which ended its one-child policy last October.

7: “By The Year 2000 … There Won’t Be Any More Crude Oil”

On Earth Day in 1970 ecologist Kenneth Watt famously predicted that the world would run out of oil saying, “You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any’.”

Numerous academics like Watt predicted that American oil production peaked in 1970 and would gradually decline, likely causing a global economic meltdown. However, the successful application of massive hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, caused American oil production to come roaring back and there is currently too much oil on the market.

American oil and natural gas reserves are at their highest levels since 1972 and American oil production in 2014 was 80 percent higher than in 2008 thanks to fracking.

Furthermore, the U.S. now controls the world’s largest untapped oil reserve, the Green River Formation in Colorado. This formation alone contains up to 3 trillion barrels of untapped oil shale, half of which may be recoverable. That’s five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined.

We’ll give Mark Perry the last word:

Let’s keep those spectacularly wrong predictions from the first Earth Day 1970 in mind when we’re bombarded [around Earth Day 2016] with media hype, and claims like this from the 2015 Earth Day website:

Scientists warn us that climate change could accelerate beyond our control, threatening our survival and everything we love. We call on you to keep global temperature rise under the unacceptably dangerous level of 2 degrees C, by phasing out carbon pollution to zero. To achieve this, you must urgently forge realistic global, national and local agreements, to rapidly shift our societies and economies to 100% clean energy by 2050. Do this fairly, with support to the most vulnerable among us. Our world is worth saving and now is our moment to act. But to change everything, we need everyone. Join us.

Finally, think about this question, posed by Ronald Bailey in 2000: What will Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030? Bailey predicts a much cleaner, and much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty, and longer life expectancy, and with lower mineral and metal prices.

But he makes one final prediction about Earth Day 2030: “There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future – and the present – never looked so bleak.”

In other words, the hype, hysteria and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, promoted by the “environmental grievance hustlers”.

Greens conspire to allege a conspiracy 7

This is about the criminalization of doubt.

The US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that not only has she discussed internally the possibility of pursuing civil actions against “climate change deniers”, but she has also “referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action”. 

Some Environmentalists are so absolutely convinced that human activity is really changing the climate of the planet, is really making it dangerously hotter, that they think big rich companies who deal in fossil fuels – the burning of which, they say, causes the alleged hotting up – simply must know this; must have done their own research and discovered it for themselves; and are hiding the documentation, which must exist, and which proves they know it; are deliberately concealing their knowledge and its proofs so that they can go on selling their “evil” product for the “evil” motive of profit, uncaring that it is “doing harm to the planet”, and continuing to deny that there is such a thing as man-made global warming; so they are criminals who need to be prosecuted and punished.

Just think what a heap of suppositions is being compiled here:

  1. That the earth is heating up.
  2. That  human activity is heating up the earth.
  3. That the earth’s heating up is dangerous to human health.
  4. That the burning of fossil fuels is one of the chief human activities to blame for the earth’s heating up.
  5. That the fossil fuel companies have done their own research into these “facts”.
  6. That their research proves – must prove – that their products are much to blame for the earth’s heating up and damaging human health.
  7. That despite having found out all that for themselves they choose to lie about it and say that they do not know these “facts”.
  8. That they are lying when they say they do not have the documentation of their research which “proves” that they do know; and furthermore
  9. That they are doing all this lying and concealing and deceiving in order to be able to continue to sell their products while knowing that they are damaging human health.
  10. That therefore they are committing a variety of crimes including a crime against humanity in general.

We quote from an article at Watts Up With That?:

This is in the news today via “Climate NEXUS”, which is a Madison Ave. PR firm:

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he is launching a legal probe into Exxon’s climate denial. The inquiry will look into both consumer and investor protection laws, covering the oil giant’s activity dating back to the 1970s. Schneiderman’s investigation could open “a sweeping new legal front in the battle over climate change”, says the New York Times, which broke the story. Two separate reports by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times uncovered that Exxon has known about the dangers of climate change since the 1970s but sowed doubt by funding climate change skeptics to preserve its business. Exxon has been compared extensively to the tobacco industry, which was convicted of racketeering in 2000 for deliberately deceiving the public about the dangers of its products.

Behind all that is an orchestrated plan; a nasty, spiteful. wholly unjustifiable conspiracy.

So where do these strange ideas come from?

Step forward “Climate Accountability Institute”.

The Climate Accountability Institute (CAI) is …  attempting to marry “climate concerns” to environmentalism and tobacco prohibitionist tactics. …

In 2012 the CAI held a “workshop” in La Jolla California. It was “conceived” by Naomi Oreskes and others, and called Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Lessons from Tobacco Control.

So from the beginning, these persecutors, these witch-hunters, these self-righteous busybodies had it fixed in their heads that, as with smoking, human health is at issue.

Stanton Glantz, a prominent tobacco control activist scientist was present as were a clutch of lawyers, climate scientists, communication professionals, PR agency heads, bloggers and journalists.

They released a report:

The workshop was an “exploratory, open-ended dialogue” on the use of  “lessons from tobacco-related education, laws, and litigation to address climate change“.

A key breakthrough in the public and legal case for tobacco control came when internal documents came to light showing the tobacco industry had knowingly misled the public. Similar documents may well exist in the vaults of the fossil fuel industry and their trade associations and front groups…

Why do these mythical documents need to be unearthed?

While we currently lack a compelling public narrative about climate change in the United States, we may be close to coalescing around one. Furthermore, climate change may loom larger today in the public mind than tobacco did when public health advocates began winning policy victories.

The reader should take a moment to grasp the momentous logic: We know legally “incriminating documents” (their choice of words) “may” exist, because tobacco activists had a breakthrough with such documents. They need to be found in order to make climate change a “looming threat”  in the public mind.

Try thinking of a more reverse-engineered form of activism.

The first chapter in the report is Lessons from Tobacco Control. It is mainly one section called The Importance of Documents in Tobacco Litigation.

We learn next to nothing about these supposed “documents” from the report. After all, they haven’t been released or even found.

… many participants suggested that incriminating documents may exist that demonstrate collusion among the major fossil fuel companies …

But “the documents” were very valuable. … Since they were so sure they exist, careful plotting was needed on companies whose vaults to raid. …

Stanton Glantz was a vocal workshop participant. … [He] was so excited he proposed using the tobacco archives platform at the University of California San Francisco for climate documents (which were yet to be found). …

In what mode were the documents to be used?

Most importantly, the release of these documents meant that charges of conspiracy or racketeering could become a crucial component of tobacco litigation

Having firmly established that documents convenient to their strategy existed, the delegates moved on to discussing how to obtain them.

The answer was once again clear: “lawsuits”. It was not just lawsuits, it was “Congressional hearings”, “sympathetic state attorney generals” and “false advertising claims”.

State attorneys general can also subpoena documents, raising the possibility that a single sympathetic state attorney general might have substantial success in bringing key internal documents to light

The would-be litigators were inspired to think of other grounds for lawsuits: “False advertising”. “Libel suits”.

Now you know where the line on how “fossil fuel companies ‘knew’ they were doing wrong but yet did it” comes from.

The cries of “it’s a conspiracy!’”are planned and pre-meditated, on lawyers’ advice.

There certainly is a conspiracy underway – of these climate-change fanatics to do as much damage as possible to the fossil fuel industry.

This is where RICO [the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act] came in:

Richard Ayres, an experienced environmental attorney, suggested that the RICO Act, which had been used effectively against the tobacco industry, could similarly be used to bring a lawsuit against carbon producers. ..

[He] knew starting lawsuits against productive companies wouldn’t look good. They needed to be spun … By dressing [the lawsuits] up as injury “compensation”.

Even if your ultimate goal might be to shut down a company, you still might be wise to start out by asking for compensation for injured parties.

The conspiracy plot thickened:

The suggestions appeared to grow outlandish at every turn. Richard Heede, one of CAI’s members, had come up with a system for blaming individual companies … [His] bizarre formulas, we learn, were received “positively” by “most of the workshop’s participants”. One UCS participant felt that “it could potentially be useful as part of a coordinated campaign to identify key climate ‘wrongdoers'”. Another felt it was useful in blaming faceless corporate entities instead of countries thereby bypassing provoking patriotic impulses in international negotiations.

Heede’s work was funded by Greenpeace. Of note, Greenpeace counsel Jasper Teulings was present at the meeting.

Greenpeace is a profoundly evil organization, as we have explained here.

… Naomi Oreskes suggested that some portion of sea level rise could be attributed to the emissions caused by a single carbon-producing company.

The oil company Exxon made its appearance in her example:

She suggested, “You might be able to say, ‘Here’s Exxon’s contribution to what’s happening to Key West or Venice’.” 

So now we see how they suck statements of “scientific fact” out of their thumbs. 

This was a strategy Glantz liked:

…Stanton Glantz expressed some enthusiasm about such a strategy, based on his experience with tobacco litigation. As he put it, “I would be surprised if the industry chose to attack the calculation that one foot of flooding in Key West could be attributed to ExxonMobil.”

We cannot resist repeating that: They expect that “the industry” will not “attack the calculation that one foot of flooding in Key West could be attributed to ExxonMobil”. !

The conspiratorial tide did not recede. Former computer scientist John Mashey claimed collusion between “climate change deniers” and fossil fuel companies:

[Mashey] presented a brief overview of some of his research, which traces funding, personnel, and messaging connections between roughly 600 individuals …

The penultimate section in the report is on how delegates planned to win “public opinion”.  … (“RICO is not easy. It is certainly not a sure win” – Ayres) and others were wary of drawing the attention of “hostile legislators who might seek to undermine them”.

With public opinion, the delegates were clearly divided. PR mavens, lawyers and activists wanted to cry fraud, paint up villains and create outrage:

To mobilize, people often need to be outraged.

Daniel Yankelovich a “public opinion researcher” involved in “citizen education” appears to have balked at the “sue, sue, sue” chanting. Court cases are useful only after the public had been won over, he said. …

The workshop ended and there was “agreement”. “Documents” needed to be obtained. Legal action was needed both for “wresting potentially useful internal documents” and ‘maintaining pressure on the industry’.

A consensus had emerged.

… an emerging consensus on a strategy that incorporates legal action with a narrative that creates public outrage.

The participants, we learn

…made commitments to try to coordinate future efforts, continue discussing strategies for gaining access to internal documents from the fossil fuel industry and its affiliated climate denial network 

Why is the report important? Because climate activists have done everything the delegates said they wanted done, in the report.

[This includes] the latest letter from US Senators to Exxon, the conspiratorial ‘Exxon Knew’ campaign with the portrayal of old Exxon reports by InsideClimateNews as “internal documents”, the RICO letter from scientists and much more.  … It is almost as if climate activists have willed [incriminating] “documents” into existence – just as they were advised.

Almost as if? That’s exactly what they have done.

And the campaign to criminalize the businessmen who run the fossil fuel industry is gathering pace.

Matthew Vadum writes at Front Page:

Led by agenda-setting New York State and radical left-winger Al Gore the progressive persecution of climate change skeptics by the states is underway.

Top law enforcement officers in several states are joining with the Chicken Littles of green activism to weaponize the scientifically dubious argument that human activity is not only changing the earth’s climate but that unprecedented world catastrophe awaits unless draconian, economy-killing carbon emission controls are imposed more or less immediately.

The litigation offensive has nothing to do with justice. It is aimed at forcing those few remaining holdouts in the business community who stubbornly cling to science to confess their thought crimes and submit to the know-nothing Left’s climate superstitions. It is part of modern-day environmentalism’s ongoing assault on knowledge, human progress, markets, and the rule of law.

Repent and embrace the true green faith or else you’ll be investigated and denounced as a climate criminal, is the message of “Inspector Gotcha,” New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

“It’s too early to say what we’re going to find,” he said of the five-month-old witch hunt aimed at his current target, the gigantic ExxonMobil, at a press conference this week in Lower Manhattan. “We intend to work as aggressively as possible, but also as carefully as possible.”

The New York Times previously reported that Schneiderman is looking into “whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business. … For several years, advocacy groups with expertise in financial analysis have been warning that fossil fuel companies might be overvalued in the stock market, since the need to limit climate change might require that much of their coal, oil and natural gas be left in the ground.

“The First Amendment, ladies and gentlemen, does not give you the right to commit fraud,” Schneiderman said this week.

Of course that assertion is true on its face but that doesn’t necessarily mean whatever he’s calling fraud is actually fraud. How can rejecting a theory – a wild, unproven, apocalyptic theory based on creative computer modeling and little else – about future climate conditions constitute fraud?

The New York Times now reports that the attorneys general of Massachusetts and the Virgin Islands said this week they would join Schneiderman’s politically motivated so-called investigation into whether ExxonMobil lied to investors and the public for years about the alleged threat posed by climate change. California opened its own investigation into the company last year. …

At Schneiderman’s press conference, former Vice President Gore, whose understanding of science roughly mirrors that of the Unabomber, was in attendance along with the attorneys general of Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, and the Virgin Islands.

Gore implied ExxonMobil was just as bad as the tobacco industry which allegedly denied risks posed by its products for years. State attorneys general were an important part of the effort to nail Big Tobacco, he said.

“I do think the analogy may hold up rather precisely,” said Gore whose longtime meal ticket has been global warming. … Gore reportedly had a net worth of about $1.7 million at the turn of the century. But global warming hysteria cultivated by Gore grew over the years and by 2013 his fortune had grown to more than $200 million.

Schneiderman, a left-wing fanatic, is gearing up for what amounts to political show trials to enforce the Left’s party line on anthropogenic global warming. …

This radical inquisitor whom Politico reported had “spent his career building an ideological infrastructure for the left,” is building a gallows for those with the temerity to reject the lies of the misanthropic global-warmist agenda.

And what is his deep, emotional, fanatical motive?

Schneiderman is a leftist’s leftist, a zealous true believer intent on, in his own words, “slow[ing] down the bone-crushing machinery of the contemporary conservative movement.” …

The business community is wary of Schneiderman — and for good reason. …

It needs to be said that Schneiderman’s pursuit of ExxonMobil sure smells like political payback.

As Dr. Steven J. Allen, my learned Capital Research Center colleague, has reported, ExxonMobil used to be a major contributor to the scandal-plagued Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, as well as a sponsor of the annual meetings of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). But as the foundation became inundated by adverse publicity related to the fact that it functions as a clearinghouse for future presidential favors from Hillary Clinton, ExxonMobil reportedly stopped giving it money.

It’s no coincidence that Secretary Clinton turned on the company last fall, demanding it be investigated for giving grants to warming-skeptic organizations. “There’s a lot of evidence that they misled the public,” she declared.

Allen writes:

“In November, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — a top supporter of Clinton — launched an investigation into the company that, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, ‘marks a dangerous new escalation of the Left’s attempt to stamp out all disagreement on global-warming science and policy … demanding Exxon’s documents on climate research from 1977 to 2015’.”

Was Schneiderman’s newfound interest in ExxonMobil piqued by green idealism?

The question answers itself.

We would say, “Let that be a lesson to all companies that bribed, or were subjected to extortion by the Clintons!” – but we know it won’t be. Only if Hillary Clinton fails to win the presidency will companies (and foreign governments) even consider turning their backs on the Clintons and closing their purses.

Is it not passing strange that such monuments of capitalism as Exxonmobil, so likely to be targets of the Left, habitually give huge donations to leftist politicians like the Clintons? Does it never strike them that in the long run – though the short-term benefits they buy may be sweet – they are paying for their own destruction?

Islamic science 7

Let’s laugh while we may.

When Islam rules the West, everyone will believe this or else:

Posted under Islam, Muslims, Science by Jillian Becker on Friday, March 4, 2016

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Atheism, science, and the law 9

Any idea that needs a law to protect it from criticism is ipso facto a bad idea.

That is our own maxim. We repeat it often. It cannot be repeated often enough.

There used to be laws, in Western secular states, protecting religious ideas; usually the ideas of a particular religion favored by the state. The crime was called “blasphemy”.

Such a crime, carrying severe punishment, including the death sentence, still exists in Islamic countries.

And the crime still exists in Communist countries. As Communists do not acknowledge their ideology to be a religion, they do not call it blasphemy. It is called an offense against the state, or “dissidence”. It was often treated as a mental illness in the Soviet Union. It was also often punished by execution, not only in Russia but wherever the iron fist of the Soviet regime was the law.

In America the First Amendment to the Constituion, as everybody knows, enshrined freedom of belief and freedom of speech. Yet there lingers in the mores of the American people, generation after generation, the notion that religious beliefs should not be publicly criticized. Such criticism is felt to be a discourtesy at best, and at worst an actual defiance of the First Amendment itself!

Even some scientists respect this social taboo.

We quote a good article on the subject from the New Yorker, by Lawrence M. Krauss:

As a physicist, I do a lot of writing and public speaking about the remarkable nature of our cosmos, primarily because I think science is a key part of our cultural heritage and needs to be shared more broadly. Sometimes, I refer to the fact that religion and science are often in conflict; from time to time, I ridicule religious dogma. When I do, I sometimes get accused in public of being a “militant atheist”. Even a surprising number of my colleagues politely ask if it wouldn’t be better to avoid alienating religious people. Shouldn’t we respect religious sensibilities, masking potential conflicts and building common ground with religious groups so as to create a better, more equitable world?

I found myself thinking about those questions this week as I followed the story of Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who directly disobeyed a federal judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and, as a result, was jailed for contempt of court. Davis’s supporters, including the Kentucky senator and Presidential candidate Rand Paul, are protesting what they believe to be an affront to her religious freedom. It is “absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberties”, Paul said, on CNN.

The Kim Davis story raises a basic question: To what extent should we allow people to break the law if their religious views are in conflict with it? It’s possible to take that question to an extreme that even Senator Paul might find absurd: imagine, for example, a jihadist whose interpretation of the Koran suggested that he should be allowed to behead infidels and apostates. Should he be allowed to break the law? Or — to consider a less extreme case — imagine an Islamic-fundamentalist county clerk who would not let unmarried men and women enter the courthouse together, or grant marriage licenses to unveiled women. For Rand Paul, what separates these cases from Kim Davis’s? The biggest difference, I suspect, is that Senator Paul agrees with Kim Davis’s religious views but disagrees with those of the hypothetical Islamic fundamentalist.

The problem, obviously, is that what is sacred to one person can be meaningless (or repugnant) to another. That’s one of the reasons why a modern secular society generally legislates against actions, not ideas. No idea or belief should be illegal; conversely, no idea should be so sacred that it legally justifies actions that would otherwise be illegal. Davis is free to believe whatever she wants, just as the jihadist is free to believe whatever he wants; in both cases, the law constrains not what they believe but what they do.

In recent years, this territory has grown murkier. Under the banner of religious freedom, individuals, states, and even — in the case of Hobby Lobby — corporations have been arguing that they should be exempt from the law on religious grounds. (The laws from which they wish to claim exemption do not focus on religion; instead, they have to do with social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage.) The government has a compelling interest in insuring that all citizens are treated equally. But “religious freedom” advocates argue that religious ideals should be elevated above all others as a rationale for action. In a secular society, this is inappropriate.

The Kim Davis controversy exists because, as a culture, we have elevated respect for religious sensibilities to an inappropriate level that makes society less free, not more. Religious liberty should mean that no set of religious ideals are treated differently from other ideals. Laws should not be enacted whose sole purpose is to denigrate them, but, by the same token, the law shouldn’t elevate them, either.

In science, of course, the very word “sacred” is profane. No ideas, religious or otherwise, get a free pass. The notion that some idea or concept is beyond question or attack is anathema to the entire scientific undertaking. This commitment to open questioning is deeply tied to the fact that science is an atheistic enterprise. “My practice as a scientist is atheistic,” the biologist J.B.S. Haldane wrote, in 1934. “That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career.” It’s ironic, really, that so many people are fixated on the relationship between science and religion: basically, there isn’t one. In my more than thirty years as a practicing physicist, I have never heard the word “God” mentioned in a scientific meeting. Belief or nonbelief in God is irrelevant to our understanding of the workings of nature—just as it’s irrelevant to the question of whether or not citizens are obligated to follow the law.

Because science holds that no idea is sacred, it’s inevitable that it draws people away from religion. The more we learn about the workings of the universe, the more purposeless it seems. Scientists have an obligation not to lie about the natural world. Even so, to avoid offense, they sometimes misleadingly imply that today’s discoveries exist in easy harmony with preëxisting religious doctrines, or remain silent rather than pointing out contradictions between science and religious doctrine. It’s a strange inconsistency, since scientists often happily disagree with other kinds of beliefs. Astronomers have no problem ridiculing the claims of astrologists, even though a significant fraction of the public believes these claims. Doctors have no problem condemning the actions of anti-vaccine activists who endanger children. And yet, for reasons of decorum, many scientists worry that ridiculing certain religious claims alienates the public from science. When they do so, they are being condescending at best and hypocritical at worst.

Ultimately, when we hesitate to openly question beliefs because we don’t want to risk offense, questioning itself becomes taboo. It is here that the imperative for scientists to speak out seems to me to be most urgent. As a result of speaking out on issues of science and religion, I have heard from many young people about the shame and ostracism they experience after merely questioning their family’s faith. Sometimes, they find themselves denied rights and privileges because their actions confront the faith of others. Scientists need to be prepared to demonstrate by example that questioning perceived truth, especially “sacred truth”, is an essential part of living in a free country.

I see a direct link, in short, between the ethics that guide science and those that guide civic life. Cosmology, my specialty, may appear to be far removed from Kim Davis’s refusal to grant marriage licenses to gay couples, but in fact the same values apply in both realms. Whenever scientific claims are presented as unquestionable, they undermine science. Similarly, when religious actions or claims about sanctity can be made with impunity in our society, we undermine the very basis of modern secular democracy. We owe it to ourselves and to our children not to give a free pass to governments — totalitarian, theocratic, or democratic — that endorse, encourage, enforce, or otherwise legitimize the suppression of open questioning in order to protect ideas that are considered “sacred”. Five hundred years of science have liberated humanity from the shackles of enforced ignorance. We should celebrate this openly and enthusiastically, regardless of whom it may offend.

If that is what causes someone to be called a militant atheist, then no scientist should be ashamed of the label.

We have said it is a good article. And what we have quoted, we heartily agree with.

But we left out one paragraph (where the dots are).

Here it is:

This reticence can have significant consequences. Consider the example of Planned Parenthood. Lawmakers are calling for a government shutdown unless federal funds for Planned Parenthood are stripped from spending bills for the fiscal year starting October 1st. Why? Because Planned Parenthood provides fetal tissue samples from abortions to scientific researchers hoping to cure diseases, from Alzheimer’s to cancer. (Storing and safeguarding that tissue requires resources, and Planned Parenthood charges researchers for the costs.) It’s clear that many of the people protesting Planned Parenthood are opposed to abortion on religious grounds and are, to varying degrees, anti-science. Should this cause scientists to clam up at the risk of further offending or alienating them? Or should we speak out loudly to point out that, independent of one’s beliefs about what is sacred, this tissue would otherwise be thrown away, even though it could help improve and save lives?

Either the author did not watch the videos that recorded Planned Parnethood personnel talking about their trade in the body parts of aborted fetuses, or he did not hear, or chose to forget, some statements they made. The videos make it perfecty clear that the organization was not just selling the parts in order to cover costs, but carryng on the trade for profit.

Now we have nothing against trade for profit. On the contrary, we think the making of profit is the morally best and most socially useful reason for selling anything and providing any service.

But it happens that the selling of the body parts of aborted fetuses for profit is against the law.  So exactly the same objection that Lawrence Krauss makes to Kim Davis’s action – that she broke the law – applies to Planned Parenthood’s action.

What seems to cloud his judgment in the case of Planned Parenthood – if he did watch the videos and take in what was said –  is the fact that the body parts went to scientists for the great cause (and we do think it is a great cause) of scientific research.

But however good the cause that the illegal trade was serving, it was still illegal.

In fact, what emerges from those videos is criminal action more morally outrageous than just selling the parts of aborted fetuses. (Note, please, that we are calling them fetuses, not “babies”, in order not to use controversial language.) It is revealed, in an interview with an employee of a firm that bought the body parts, that Planned Parenthood was urging pregnant women to have an abortion – even when they were uncertain that they wanted one, and even in one case when the woman was inclined NOT to have one – so that Planned Parenthood could sell the fetus’s body parts and so make a profit. 

That is iniquity.

Now scientists like Lawrence Krauss might argue persuasively that there should not be a law forbidding the selling of fetuses, whole or in parts, for profit. Just as Kim Davis might argue that there should not be a law that compels her to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. But there are such laws. And if it is wrong for Kim Davis to break the law on the grounds that it does a disservice to her idea of a higher good, so it is wrong for Planned Parenthood to break the law even if by doing so it is serving the genuinely higher good of science.

We have said that Lawrence Krauss’s judgment may be clouded by his belief in the supreme goodness of scientific research. We will not go so far as to say that he holds that end to be “sacred”, because we agree with him that the word has no place in the vocabulary of atheism. So we toss the accusation aside.

It could be said that our moral judgment of Planned Parenthood – accurate though our allegation is that the organization broke the law – may be clouded by our extreme distaste for their abortion services. (Note that we call them “services”, firmly resisting the temptation to call them “abuses”.) It  is true that we have an arguably irrational prejudice in favor of human life. We very much dislike abortion – while acknowledging that there are reasonable grounds for it in certain cases, and on no account arguing for it to be made wholly illegal. But obviously our objection to it is not on religious grounds. We do not believe that it frustrates “God’s purposes”. We are against it because we are against the deliberate destruction of human life  unless the human in question has forfeited his or her life by taking someone else’s.

Those who are for abortion on demand accuse those of us who are against it of being inconsistent when we call ourselves “pro-life”, because many of us are for the death penalty. By the same token, we can accuse them of inconsistency when they are for the destruction of life in the womb, but against putting convicted murderers to death. We are for saving the innocent and punishing the guilty, while they are for destroying the innocent and saving the guilty.

 

(Hat-tip for the article to our reader, Stephen)

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Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science is a new book by Richard Dawkins.

It is mentioned in this video as a sequel to an earlier book, An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist.

They are two parts of an autobiography.

Not much about either is said in the discussion filmed here. There is much more about his first book The Selfish Gene. 

As always when he talks about evolution, Dawkins is rewarding to listen to.

Posted under Science, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, October 15, 2015

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The manifest godlessness of nature 23

In this video, published yesterday, physicist Sean Carroll eloquently and amusingly wins a debate with his arguments on whether there is “life” after death.

He also demonstrates that naturalism reflects the world as it is, whereas theism merely describes a world as some would want it to be but it isn’t.

Posted under Atheism, Religion general, Science, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, September 26, 2015

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A physicist smashes the global warming hoax 2

Here is a very informative, very gratifying video of a great physicist demonstrating that there is no global warming, no unusual climate change, no extreme weather …

Norwegian Nobel Laureate Ivar Giaever’s speech at a Nobel Laureates Meeting, July 1, 2015:

 

(Hat-tip to our Facebook commenter, Patrick Pulley.)

Posted under Climate, Commentary, Environmentalism, Science by Jillian Becker on Monday, September 7, 2015

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A clean, cool, beautiful, fertile planet – praised be mankind 12

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, an Argentinian Communist and Pope, is telling whoppers.

Fortunately, Christopher S. Carson puts him right with a wonderfully cheerful story. It comes from Front Page. We slightly abbreviate it:

Last week, Pope Francis released his controversial environmental Encyclical, Praised Be, to the public.  It is not simply a matter of global warming endangering the planet, he writes.  The Pope has a comprehensively dark vision of the world.  He writes that

The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth … beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish … Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years.

In other words, the Industrial Revolution is to blame for covering the planet in rubbish.  But if it’s covered in trash, it’s a strange kind of trash that has caused global crop yields to increase by 160 percent since 1961 and deaths from droughts to be reduced by 99.8 percent since the 1920s.

It’s an odd kind of “mistreatment” of the planet over the life of the Industrial Revolution that’s resulted in the global life expectancy rising from 26 years in 1750 to 69 years in 2009.  This is in spite of the fact that Earth’s population increased from 760 million to 6.8 billion and incomes (in real dollars) rose from $640 to $7,300 during the same period. …

If the globe were truly turning into a great heap of exploited waste, you would expect natural resources to become more expensive as the cost of extracting rises and scarcity becomes the norm.  But natural commodities are cheaper today than ever.  The real price of almost all natural resources – from iron to salt to coal – is cheaper today in than 50 or 500 years ago.  In Britain, artificial light is 20,000 times cheaper per man hour worked than it was in 1300.

On a global scale, with only a few exceptions like China, air and water is cleaner than ever. Since the late 1970s, pollutants in the air have plunged.  In advanced countries, lead pollution declined by almost 100 percent, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide by more than 50 percent; ozone and nitrogen dioxide declined as well.

A car today emits less pollution cruising at full speed than a parked car did in 1970.

In the America of 1900, about 25% of all deaths were from contaminated drinking water.  Today, hardly anyone here dies from this scourge.  The Pope seems oblivious to the fact that the richer the nation is, the cleaner its environment.

Despite the masses wading around in the Pope’s seas of “filth,” and despite a world population of 7.3 billion, the poorer countries’ incomes have surged since 1975; since 1981, the number of Earth’s people in extreme poverty fell by an amazing 1 billion, even as the population increased by more than 1.5 billion.

But if there is one environmental issue that most exercises the Supreme Pontiff, it is global warming.  “A very solid scientific consensus,” he writes, “indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events.”

Well, the warming over “recent decades” apparently does not include the last two decades, because over the past 18 years no net increase in global temperature has been recorded, despite the atmosphere’s CO2 content rising by 8 percent.  Both the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica have this year posted record high ice packs.

The Pope’s letter seems quite concerned about the poor of Africa experiencing crop failures as a result of global CO2 emissions.  But the opposite appears to be true: CO2 is plant food, and the rising CO2 levels are helping to water and green the continent.

According to a 2007 study in the science journal Geology, Africa is currently “experiencing an unusually prolonged period of stable, wet conditions in comparison to previous centuries of the past millennium. … The patterns and variability of 20th century rainfall in central Africa have been unusually conducive to human welfare in the context of the past 1400 years.”

If the trends of higher CO2 concentrations continue, and political strife abates, Africa, far from being a ruined land of desiccated drought, could well become the breadbasket of the world.  All it needs from the West is fertilizer and genetically hardened crop strains that resist insect damage.

“Praised be” … Mankind, which has so rapidly improved his lot and that of his Earthly home.

Roman red 1

The Catholic Church is now officially, doctrinally, the Universal Church of Jesus Marxist.

Or the Universal Church of Jesus and Karl.

Which name will it choose? It needs to choose one or the other, or something along the same lines, to describe itself accurately.

It has a Pope who embraces International Communism. Which requires world government. Perhaps Pope Francis sees the Vatican as the Communist capital of the world – rather than the UN, as other world-government campaigners do.

Although as yet he and his fellow performance artists, costumed in their gorgeous gowns and priceless bling, do not allow any of these labels, they are nevertheless accurate.

This is from PowerLine by John Hinderaker:

Pope Francis has become a deeply problematic figure, all the more so after his encyclical on global warming was leaked to an Italian publication. The letter, some 129 pages long, is directed to Catholic bishops, but Francis grandly says that it is intended for every person in the world. The letter has not yet been translated into English in its entirety, but portions of it have been run through Google Translator. Even from these bits, some conclusions are obvious.

First, the Pope has no idea what he is talking about. His letter is full of factual errors. For example:

Scientific consensus exists indicating firmly that we are in the presence of a worrisome warming of the climate system.

This is false. There has been no net global warming for something like 18 years, according to satellite data, the most reliable that we have.

In recent decades, that the heating was accompanied by the constant rise in the sea level….

Sea level has been rising for approximately 12,000 years, first dramatically as the Earth warmed rapidly at the end of the last Ice Age, and much more slowly in recent millennia. Currently, the rate of rise of sea level is not increasing.

…and is also hard not to relate it to the increase in extreme weather events, regardless of the fact that we can not attribute a cause scientifically determined to each particular phenomenon.

Wrong again. Extreme weather events are not increasing. This isn’t an opinion, it is a fact: there is no plausible empirical claim to the contrary. In fact, for what it is worth, the climate models that are the sole basis for warming hysteria predict fewer extreme weather events, not more, because the temperature differential between the equator and the poles will diminish.

It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanism, and the variations of the orbit of the Earth, the solar cycle), but numerous scientific studies indicate that most of the global warming of recent decades is due to the large concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other) issued mainly because of human activity.

Putting aside the fact that there hasn’t been any net warming during the last two decades, this is precisely the issue that is the subject of intense scientific debate–a debate that, it becomes increasingly clear, the realists are winning. For the Pope to wade into this controversy would be nearly inexplicable, absent some overriding motive.

That motive is, apparently, hostility toward free enterprise and the prosperity that it creates. Francis has manifested such hostility in previous statements, and it comes through again in his anti-global warming letter. Francis sounds like just another leftist: the solution to global warming is more state control to dictate how people live, and new international organizations to direct vast transfers of wealth and power.

The fact is that through human history, freedom has rarely been popular. That goes for the history of the papacy, too: John Paul II is the most notable exception in modern times. People offer various definitions of American exceptionalism. In my opinion, American exceptionalism resides chiefly in the fact that, for one brief shining moment, at least, a large majority of Americans really believed in freedom. I don’t think Pope Francis has much sympathy with that sentiment.

The Pope’s letter is full of concern for the poor, of course. But the poor would suffer most from any prohibition against efficient energy (i.e., fossil fuels). Francis’s suggestion that “rich” countries – that means us, how rich do you feel? – should subsidize the majority of the planet, apparently forever, is fatuous. … There is no prospect that leftist energy policies will help poor nations. The poor need, as much as anything, cheap energy, which frees resources for everything else. To deprive poor nations of cheap energy is to condemn them to long-lasting if not permanent poverty.

The Papal flag should be be changed to deepest red.

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