Scientism and Totalitarianism
There's a totalitarian subtext to scientism. Scientism entails a militant certainty of truth, and an utter intolerance for dissent that is remarkably akin to totalitarian political movements. Scientism is increasingly a spawn of the political left, which has been the primary source of totalitarianism in the past century.
The reaction of Darwinists or of global warming scientists to even the most mild skepticism is remarkably vicious. They hunt down skeptics and suppress differing opinions using practically any means at their disposal. If a school district attaches a sticker to a textbook that says "Darwin's theory is a theory, not a fact, and evidence for and against it should be considered." it will find itself in federal court, facing financial ruin, with jail a possibility for individuals who don't comply. Who would have imagined, a few decades ago, that scientists would use courts to settle scientific disputes?
As the ClimateGate emails amply demonstrate, scientists who believe in global warming systematically exclude and professionally destroy scientists who express skepticism. The emails show a remarkable demand for doctrinal purity in climate science. These pro-global warming scientists manufacture a "consensus" using strong-arm tactics, and enforce it with singular purpose. And when asked why scientists use such brutal tactics, they reply 'because it's consensus science!"
Particularly disturbing to me is the appellation "denialism" applied to mere questioning of scientific orthodoxy. It's an effort to drive anyone who questions orthodoxy out of acceptable society. Bourgeoisie, reactionaries, revisionists, denialists. It fits well in the Leninist lexicon.
Melanie Phillips at the British Spectator has a fine essay on this totalitarian current in the global warming movement. It applies as well to other encroachments of scientism in our civilization.
Lord Lawson was right to call in today's Times for an inquiry into the global warming scandal. As noted below, through a set of hacked emails a group of some of the most influential scientific proponents of anthropogenic global warming have been revealed to have been manipulating, suppressing and distorting scientific evidence in order to bolster their claim. They in turn have said the email messages have been taken out of context. And with so much material now in the public domain, it is possible that some of it has an innocent explanation. But in an awful lot of it it is hard to see such innocence. As Lawson observes:There may be a perfectly innocent explanation. But what is clear is that the integrity of the scientific evidence on which not merely the British Government, but other countries, too, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, claim to base far-reaching and hugely expensive policy decisions, has been called into question. And the reputation of British science has been seriously tarnished. A high-level independent inquiry must be set up without delay.
This is the kind of thing these emails have revealed.
Here is lead IPCC scientist Keith Briffa admitting:I tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC, which were not always the same.
Here are Phil Jones, Director of the Hadley Centre's Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University and Michael Mann, creator of the infamous (and false) 'hockey stick curve' that underpinned AGW theory, discussing how to suppress the work of AGW sceptics, including changing the peer-review rules to do so:In one e-mail, the center's director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University's Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science.
"I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report," Jones writes. "Kevin and I will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"
In another, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. "Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal," Mann writes. "I will be emailing the journal to tell them I'm having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor," Jones replies.
Here is Phil Jones proposing to delete data to avoid having to reveal it under a Freedom of Information request:The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone.
And here is lead IPCC scientist Kevin Trenberth effectively acknowledging the sceptics' case. On a thread fretting about the likely influence of the BBC's 'climate change reporter' Richard Black in reporting that there had been no warming since 1998 and that Pacific oscillations would 'force cooling for the next 20-30 years', Trenberth wails:Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low. This is January weather (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather)... The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't... The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!
This material has revealed what has been described as 'Nixonian-style paranoid plotting' by these scientists to defraud the public. Actually, I think it reveals something even worse.
What appears to be the case is that these scientists did not set out to mislead the world so much as try to force data which did not correspond to their ideology of anthropogenic global warming to support that ideology. For me, one of the most telling emails was this one from Phil Jones on the Medieval Warm Period (MWP):
Bottom line - their is no way the MWP (whenever it was) was as warm globally as the last 20 years. There is also no way a whole decade in the LIA period was more than 1 deg C on a global basis cooler than the 1961-90 mean. This is all gut feeling, no science, but years of experience of dealing with global scales and varaibility. (My emphasis)
In other words, despite the fact that science (or history) tells us that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today, thus destroying the basis of the AGW myth that we are living through an unprecedented warming of the climate caused by carbon dioxide arising from industrialisation, it cannot be true -- because the Hadley CRU Director's 'gut' tells him so.
All the manipulation, distortion and suppression revealed by these emails took place because it would seem these scientists knew their belief was not only correct but unchallengeable; and so when faced with evidence that showed it was false, they tried every which way to make the data fit the prior agenda. And those who questioned that agenda themselves had to be airbrushed out of the record, because to question it was simply impossible. Only AGW zealots get to decide, apparently, what science is. Truth is what fits their ideological agenda. Anything else is to be expunged.
Which is the more terrifying and devastating: if people are bent and deliberately try to deceive others, or if they are so much in thrall to an ideology that they genuinely have lost the power to think objectively and rationally?
I think that the terrible history of mankind provides the answer to that question. Nixon was a crook. But what we are dealing with here is the totalitarian personality. One thing is now absolutely clear for all to see about the anthropogenic global warming scam: science this is not.