Corrupted Climate Science Exploited Basic Human Realities

October 18, 2010 12:12

Two major factors explain how the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) people got away with massive deception.

Dr. Tim Ball at Canada Free Press

“Since public opinion is the only force that has any validity in democracy it must be an informed public opinion.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

At the first (2008) Heartland Institute Conference on Climate Change in New York my opening comments addressed two important issues necessary to change the course of action against the corruption of climate science. The first point identified climatology as a generalist discipline. The second was the need to explain complex science so the public could understand. Both points were of little interest to the specialist scientists in the audience who think they understand. They know about singular errors but few have a context for the extent of the problem in climatology. This was before exposure of the corruption known as Climategate, but is still critical today. Attendees who deal directly with the public understood the challenge.

Two major factors explain how the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) people got away with massive deception. First is exploitation of fear – the Chicken Little factor – and in this case the claim the sky literally is falling. Second is their exploitation of people’s lack of knowledge or understanding of science.

You can essentially divide the world into two groups. This is said with trepidation because H. L. Mencken argued you could divide the world into two groups, those who will divide it and those who won’t. Lack of knowledge or understanding is more easily exploited because of the distribution of people that understand science and those who have no idea and are often proud of the fact. After 25 years of teaching a science credit course for arts students my experience was that 80 percent of university students avoided science courses and 20 percent took them. Less than one percent was comfortable and did well in both. Interestingly, this percentage increased as more women moved in to sciences.

Few exploited these population realities better than Al Gore

Few exploited these population realities better than Al Gore. Few used it with more cynicism and arrogance than the people at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) who controlled climate science through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They treated the public with disdain and through RealClimate, William Connolley, Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann and others sneered at scientists who challenged the science.

Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” was a brilliant piece of propaganda. It didn’t deserve a Nobel Peace Prize because of the scientific errors that fooled many of those specialist scientists. It deserved the Oscar as a make-believe story in the best entertainment tradition. The challenge was to take complex scientific ideas and present them in an entertaining, highly emotional way. Home Box Office (HBO) producer Davis Guggenheim succeeded by falsifying, distorting, and misrepresenting facts and the science.

The challenge facing anyone trying to counter the exploiters is to bring logic, clarity and understanding in a way a majority of people can understand. You can write a book or make a movie that satisfies scientists, but the general public will not understand. Or you can write for a wider audience and scientists will say it oversimplifies. Many have faced the challenge with documentaries and books about climate. Martin Durkin faced the challenge commendably with his documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle.” A good book that straddled the dichotomy is Essex and McKitrick’s “Taken By Storm” (Revised edition). I recommend it, but many say they get lost.

It’s a problem most science books face even if they’re tailored for the general market. How many people read and understand Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”. Yet it was a massive best seller. Many buy books simply because it’s a book club offering, but that doesn’t explain continuance at the top of the list.  High sales and lack of understanding also applies to novels. For example, Umberto Eco’s book “The Name of The Rose” was top of the New York Times bestseller list for a long time.  The newspaper briefly added a column that identified the percentage of people finishing a book. Eco’s book had a very low percentage. As one reviewer wrote, “The novel, with its labyrinthine plot, deep philosophical discussions, and medieval setting, seemed an unlikely candidate for worldwide success.

It’s a problem “Scientific American” faced as a journal on science for general consumption. Scientists reading articles outside their discipline found them interesting, albeit slightly arcane. However, with one in their discipline they realized it was over-simplified and inadequate.  As a business and losing market share they decided to boost sales by becoming sensational, which included touting the false science of climate change.
A major challenge for education is to prepare people for the evolving scientific and technologically dominated world. I subtitled the course the science credit course for Arts students. “The Way the Earth Works.” Citizens of the global village need a general idea of the dynamics so they can’t be exploited, as they have been by environmentalists and scientists with political agendas.

Many universities have different combinations of ‘required’ courses. These variably include a science credit for arts students, and humanities or social science courses for all students. At the University of Winnipeg, because many Arts students complained about the difficulty of science courses, they created a course titled, “History of Science”, but it wasn’t science. It was an excellent course and as a graduate student I marked papers for the professor and later as a professor gave guest lectures. However, it bypassed the original intent of a true liberal arts degree. It should have been a required course for all science students. All students need to understand science, but all science students must know the history of science, the social impacts and therefore responsibility its practice requires.

In his 1961 retirement speech, President Eisenhower anticipated the corruption of climate science of the last thirty years. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. We can only achieve by overcoming the general public fear of science through education. Then they can spot exploitation like that practiced by the CRU, IPCC, and extreme environmentalists or at least understand what the few skeptics who refused to be silenced were saying.

“Dr. Tim Ball is a renowned environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg.  Dr. Ball employs his extensive background in climatology and other fields as an advisor to the International Climate Science Coalition, Friends of Science and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.” Dr. Ball is a regular contributor to

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