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Climate Change:How Much Blame Must Science Take?
After the Copenhagen climate summit failed to agree a plan of action to combat climate change the science lobby have been quick to blame capitalism, business, politicians and the public. But a critical and objective analysis reveals there is oly one culprit. Science alone is to blame.
Climate Change:How Much Blame Must Science Take?
by Ian R Thorpe
2009-12-21
CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.
KEYWORDS: science, scientific, climate change, health, economy, economic, global warming, AGW, human, Europe, USA, technology

21 December 2009


by Ian R Thorpe

I have often said that as a campaigner on climate change for thirty years I began to doubt the current generation of climate scientists when they invented the word "anthropogenic" in an attempt to pin all the blame for climate change on human economic progress and particularly carbon emissions from industrial activity. Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), although we should not use the misleading term global warming and nobody should be in any doubt as to why after the weather systems that have brought much of Europe and the North East USA to a near standstill since the Copenhagen Summit on Global Warming ended and the delegates went home, is a convenient term to divert attention from the many interwoven aspects of the horribly complex processes that are driving climate change.

When scientists start to make up words in a bid to baffle lay observers it is a sure sign they do not have a clue what is going on. As a former Information Technology consultant myself I deplore the stance being taken by the science lobby on this issue. They claim to be dedicated to advancing human knowledge but many have abandoned objectivity and critical thinking and seem to be convinced all human problems may be reduced to mathematical equations and resolved by doctoring data until the formula produces the required answer. This approach may pass as "scientific rigour" but such laziness and dishonesty would not be tolerated in, say, an engineering or manufacturing environment.

As the climate scientists continue to protest that making up data is acceptable scientific practice let me propose that many of the problems we now face are the fault of science, specifically the scientists tunnel vision and inability to consider the broader consequences of their actions.

In the run up to Copenhagen, as the intensity of propaganda promoting climate change science reached the level of hysteria there were a number of science related stories published in mainstream media that illustrate the problem with science. These concerned contraception, human fertility and cancer.

All of us who write for The Daily Stirrer accept the climate is changing and we face massive problems because of this. It has become de rigeur among AGW enthusiasts however to brand anybody who expresses the least degree of scepticism about their wild guesses and sweeping assumptions as a climate change denier. This is a way of stifling discussion because these people do not have a case to argue and would not know how to argue it if they had. To dismiss all opposition in such a way is insulting to the many intelligent and thoughtful people who have questioned the shaky science. Another factor in the loss of confidence in the Climate Science industry is the way they have adopted a particularly unpleasant, paternalistic socialism and the moral superiority that always goes with it.

One of the biggest contributors to climate change is over population. There are too many people on the planet for the resources we have available. In the short term we could feed and provide for everybody but we know that economically extractable oil reserves are approaching exhaustion. Few people however understand the dependence of factory farming on oil. Oil is indispensable in the manufacture of chemical fertilizer, in providing conditioned environments needed for intensive horticulture and animal husbandry and in providing the means to haul supplies the astounding distances food must travel on its way from the low cost production systems of the east and Africa, via the processing and packing operations to supermarket shelves in the wealthy western economies. Greed has created this lunatic system but science alone has provided the means to make it work. The more people we have the more oil we need. Creating oil is not a realistic option though. Similarly food producers need land to produce their crops or raise their animals. Each person needs an allocation of land on which their food can be produced even though it is several hundred years since each peasant had their own plot to farm. The more people there are the less land is available to each.

The eradication of disease, distribution of clean water and better quality food and availability of medicines increased life expectancy greatly in the 20th century. Infant mortality rates were reduced to a fraction of what they had been in the previous century and contraception along with better nutrition increased women's fertility span by many years. All those things are in themselves great achievements for the sciences involved, or "science" as the current generation of practitioners would have it, there is no question of that. Put all the benefits together though and there is a problem. What do we do with all these extra people, where do we put them and how do we feed them? So long as we talk of "the sciences" we can see the people behind these advances as highly focused specialists and leave the politicians, social managers, church leaders and philosophers to resolve the social issues. While we have "scientists" investing their trade with an almost religious mystique and presenting this vague, nebulous thing called science as the panacea for all humanity's problems we will continue along the path that leads to science creating two problems for every one it solves. And while we have politicians who are addicted to change and intent on spinning propaganda that suggests all change is improvement nobody in power is prepared to point out the very obvious flaws in much scientific reasoning. The fear that like the people in the fairytale who dared not point out that the emperor had no clothes for fear they might be ridiculed keeps the political leaders loyal to the bogis science even when ordinary people can see the scientist has no clothes.

What of the "scientific breakthrough" stories mentioned above. The breakthrough in early diagnosis of cancer is a good starting point. If we look at it from a narrow perspective as a scientist would, we see the eradication of cancer as a worthwhile goal. Dying of cancer is a horrible way to leave this life, even providing palliative care for canger patients is enormously expensive. Cure cancer and everybody wins. We must remembered though that death cannot be abolished. Where the causes of some cancers can easily be identified and dealt with it cancer generically is largely a disease of old age. Many, perhaps most, cancers develop simply because our bodies start to wear out. The longer people live the more frail and dependent many of us become. It is a clasic Catch 22 situation. The advance in cancer treatment gives people an extra ten years of life during which many will suffer dementia and have a more personally humiliating, long drawn out and socially costly exit from life. Science has proved very good at prolonging life to the extent now where it would be possible at enormous expense to keep most people's vital systems functioning for centuries although whether their state of existence could be called life is a question for philosophy not medical science. Where science has not succeeded anything like so well however is in prolonging active, healthy, productive life.

In addition to the increased life span and the economic drain of the old we have the birthrate. One of the pre-Copenhagen "scientific triumphs" referenced briefly was the advance in Contraception. This links directly to the climate change summit because a group attending the meetings was demanding developing nations to more to make contraception available. If only it was as simple to change attitudes as it is to develop reliable contraceptives. International agencies are very efficient in distributing contraceptives in developing nations. The failure here is of understanding. We can supply wester drugs but we cannot impose the western mindset. Some third world countries have doubled their population in just over a decade. In others, where numbers have remained stable it is because they are being controlled by famine and hunger.

The greatest insanity of science though the development likely to have the least effect is in the relentless drive to develop fertility drugs. When Robert Winston and Patrick Steptoe pioneered in vitro fertilization in the 1970s it was as a method of enabling infertile couples to conceive their own biological child. A wonderful advance in its way but tarnished by the drive to develop more efficient fertility drugs and techniques capable of producing multiple births, enabling women well into old age to carry a child and to turn women in nations where male status is boosted by fathering many children into baby factories.

Factor into the equation alongside this frenetic quest for new ways in which scientists can demonstrate their ability to play God by controlling nature, the certain knowledge that every modern scientific advance since Abraham Darby fired up his first blast furnace three hundred years ago this year has been extracted a price for the environment, even modern technology such as the internet requires millions of tons per year of carbon fuels in running the networks that carry data and making the computer equipment needed by end users. On top of that the economics of technology demans a pace of advance so rapid we must throw away perfectly functional machines with many years life left in them after around three years in order to kep pace with change.

Again it is not the intention to suggest these technologies should be abandoned in a return to medievalism. Members of the science lobby who will be bristling with indignation at this article can get off their high horse. At some point we must, bearing in mind every resource is finite, look at our accelerating rate of consumption. It is impossible to sustain. Instead of ventures like the ill advised and totally counter productive (unless its purpose was to facilitate the printing of Monopoly Money) Cash for Clunkers programme it would be more constructive to impose a scrappage tax to levy a fee on all premature destruction of high tech consumer goods. There is no reason why a ten year old mobile phone cannot still be used. Few people do things on their computers they could not have done on a Pentium 2 with a decent operating system. The levels of waste are quite ludicrous. In The Grapes Of Wrath John Steinbeck likened the economy to a monster that must be fed constantly so it can continue to grow because if it does not grow the monster dies. Steinbeck was describing the aftermath of the 1929 economic collapse but his words are no less applicable to the financial meltdown of 2009.

The scientists who promote the benefits of ever accelerating technological advance then are nothing more than zookeepers who must work to feed the monster. It is time we all developed a sense of perspective about this. Modern science serves the monster not humanity. It is turning the world we inhabit into a nightmare existence. Whatever happened to "the pursuit of happiness", was it trampled in the stampede that passed by in pursuit of material possessions?

There we see why "science" must take much of the blame for the current crop of crises. The common thread in all these illustrations is an ability in scientists to see only straight ahead and not use peripheral vision to spot undesirable and unintended consequences, an inability to know when to draw the line and say "We have gone far enough at least for the present. We must give other areas of social development the chance to adapt to the changes to which these developments have led". The world is not about "science" it is about human societies. Once societies break down, once the cultural threads that bind us are broken no science can save us from chaos and a dystopic future.

The argument is not intended as a denunciation of the sciences. Without scientific and technological advanced we would not have such comfortable or interesting lives. We should always remember however that everything affects many other things. For that reason we need to step back from every advance o that we can clearly see the big picture, see what other things are affected by what is being proposed and whether those effects are beneficial or detrimental to the whole.

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Watching BBC Question Time last Thursday, I was struck once again by the way it was left to one of the stock hate figures of the left, Melanie Phillips, to actually pronounce the great, clunking truth that the online activities of left wing hate mobs have rendered unsayable.

Mediterranean Boat People Crisis Threatens European Identity
As European leaders gathere for a summit meeting on the Mediterranean Immigrant crisis, Italy's Matteo Renzi has warned that Europe must find a solution to the ever increasing flow of migrants from third world locations or risk losing its identity.

Saying The Unsayable: Today, Melanie Phillips
Watching BBC Question Time last Thursday, I was struck once again by the way it was left to one of the stock hate figures of the left, Melanie Phillips, to actually pronounce the great, clunking truth that left wing hate mobs have made unsayable.

Russia Outmanoeuvres the west again
While mainstream media (and even some of the more rabidly fascistic left wing bloggers) have been trying to demonize Russia as a way of drumming up public sympathy for Barack Obama's efforts to start a shooting war with Moscow, we Boggart Bloggers and ...

America and UK Lead the World in Climate Scepticism Several times now it has looked as if the climate chance scare was over as the enthusiasm of climate scitentists for changing real world data to fit in with the predictions of their mathematical models has been exposed. But as the scare was never about the environment, but was a scam to redistribute wealth from rich to poor countries, the politicians are throwing their propaganda budgets behind it again.

Sham Marriages To Beat Immigration Laws Are Out Of Control
With main immigration news on being dominated by the Mediterranean boat people crisis and the masses at Calais hoping to stow away in a freight container, we forget that another way of getting somebody into the country is the sham marriage. Numbers involved may be small, but it is another indication of our governments' failure to address the immigration problem.

Mediterranean Immigrant Composite
The flow of undocumented migrants from Africa trying to cross the Mediterranean from the coast of Libya to Italian, Greek and Maltese territory seems unstoppable. Two factors in the problem however have been western (particlarly American meddling in the internal affairs of African states, and wester aid leading to a population explosion national infrastructures are unable to cope with. And of course European leaders haven't a clue how to deal with the problem.

De-Dollarization Du Jour: Russia's Largest Bank Issues Yuan-Denominated Guarantees
Leading the charge to multipolarity and de-dollarization are Russia, resugent despite economic sanctions and the rising superpower in waiting, China. The downgrading of the dollar is clearly demonstrated in the launch of the BRICS bank and the establishment of the AIIB.

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