Friday, July 22, 2016

Resist the Echo Chamber of Confirmation Bias and Presumptive Thought

Nothing like politics to constrain + manifest social media as an echo chamber of presumption + confirmation bias. Such a massive waste of technology. People are seriously afraid to think for themselves, to cast a wide net in what they read, watch + listen to. Change is not our enemy. Throughout history, progress is the manifestation of change + intellectual growth. What is the point of education if all it does is confine + bully people into an acceptance of presumptive narratives and memes? Educational indoctrination breeds convergence and followers, not creative, dynamic learners. The world is not static and the future needs divergent, creative thinkers, not drones who conflate a GPA with actual understanding and comprehension. The echo chamber is the intellectual closed mind. It is a norm that deserves and requires our active resistance.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

environmentalism as misanthropic narcissism

In the latest in his series of excellent posts, Ben Pile considers the central conundrum of contemporary environmentalism that as a popular movement it is fundamentally elitist and in opposition to most actions, ideas and beliefs that stem from the principle of individual liberty. Environmentalism as an ideology is profoundly, and irrevocably, a stasist instrument for the enforcement of conformity to elite constructs.

Pile notes that while the ideology of environmentalism is primarily a political construct, it is never presented as such.  Rather,environmentalism is present as a moral imperative and compliance always is couched in terms of deep guilt and emotional rhetoric.

In its substance, environmentalism relies upon presumption, axiomatic constructs and referrals to authority to bolster its assertion of preferred, nay, essential actions to avoid the coming Armageddon.  In reality, the substance is always rather less dystopian and most, if not all, doom scenarios are invalidated and rendered moot by prosperity and continued advancements in technology -- a premise that environmentalism dismisses with derision rather than any valid consideration of the historical precedent of civilization to date.

Pile concludes that environmentalism is merely misanthropic narcissism. It is less real political ideology and more performance art, a contemporary theater of illusion to delude, seduce and ultimately suppress the masses into conformity and compliance with the preferences of an elite who are removed from the restrictions they impose on others. The environment is a prop and its vagaries a mere contrivance to be used as necessary to invoke fear and provide justification for continued control of society.

Environmentalism has assumed the mantle of political ideology as a proxy measure that illustrates the absence of true political debate and analysis. It is the last vestige of stasist control in an era when stasism is an anachronism and the realization of individual freedom has never been greater in history.

Far from being progressive, contemporary environmentalism is a fundamentalist, reactionary imposition of stasism.  And like all forms of fundamentalism, it will be overthrown by the progression of change that is immutable because it is definitive to the human experience: basic to change is the liberation of the individual. 

Sustainability is change. Change is sustainability.  Environmentalism adopted the slogan but has never understood the defining construct of the narrative.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

When politics doesn't provide options

Recent elections in Britain caused great dismay and conjecture, causing many observers to condemn the irrationality and sanity of the populace.  This is part of a wider trend observable in all Western democracies of alienation of the ruling elites (a.k.a. the Clerisy) from large parts of a populace disenfranchised by the edicts of an elite whose values they neither share nor embrace.  Popular movements such as the Tea Party in the US are vilified by the intellectual elite and the mainstream media.  Both largely misunderstand both the genesis and motives of such expressions of discontent.  The elite are simply unable to understand why their ideology could be rejected and, thus, they condemn what they can neither condone nor comprehend.  Their ideology is inviolate, so axiomatic that it can only be that the populace must be lacking in morality, social responsibility or intelligence.

In Starship Troopers, Heinlein takes time to discuss the nature of morality and social responsibility.  He writes:

  • Man has no moral instinct. He is not born with moral sense. You were not born with it, I was not ...We acquire moral sense, when we do, through training, experience, and hard sweat of the mind. 
  • The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it. Anything that conflicts with the survival instinct acts sooner or later to eliminate the individual and thereby fails to show up in future generations. 
  • A scientifically verifiable theory of morals must be rooted in the individual's instinct to survive--and nowhere else!--and must correctly describe the hierarchy of survival, note the motivations at each level, and resolve all conflicts.
  • We have such a theory now; we can solve any moral problem, on any level. Self-interest, love of family, duty to country, responsibility toward the human race . 
  • The basis of all morality is duty, a concept with the same relation to group that self-interest has to individual.  
  • Social responsibility above the level of family, or at most of tribe, requires imagination-- devotion, loyalty, all the higher virtues -- which a man must develop himself; if he has them forced down him, he will vomit them out.
The lesson that Heinlein provides is powerful.  There can be no social responsibility where there is no shared identity nor sense of community.  If an elite ideology of politics, intellectualism and environmentalism is sufficiently removed from the populace to be merely the perspective of the oligarchy which it benefits, then there will be no resonance, no acquired sense of morality, no behavioral change in compliance with that ideology.  There will only ever be resentment, disconnection and political ennui.  Provided the elite do not over-step their intrusion into daily life, they will be tolerated.  The political process offers a small range of alternative elites from which to choose.  But when the intellectual and political elites become too intrusive, too incumbent on daily life and too arrogant to perceive the discontent they are prompting, then a change will occur.

Revolution is a big jump for any democracy.  So instead, discontent first manifests itself in the recognition of populist movements.  Many of these may appear to be simplistic, xenophobic and divisive in their ideology.  No matter.  It is not the substance of the movement that appeals to the disenfranchised: it is the very act of signifying rejection of the status quo, of the dogma, morality, ideology and accompanying polices being imposed by the oligarchy.

For environmentalists especially, this is a hard message to absorb, as it contrasts so markedly with their own image they have of themselves.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

IPCC over estimates climate sensitivity

Posted over at WUWT is a link to a significant new report by Lewis and Crick examining climate sensitivity.  

Along with the report, is a foreword by Judith Curry in which she writes:
  • The sensitivity of our climate to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide is at the heart of the scientific debate on anthropogenic climate change, and also the public debate on the appropriate policy response to increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 
  • Climate sensitivity and estimates of its uncertainty are key inputs into the economic models that drive cost-benefit analyses and estimates of the social cost of carbon.
  • This report by Nic Lewis and Marcel Crok addresses this gap between the IPCC assessments and the primary scientific literature by providing an overview of the different methods for estimating climate sensitivity and a historical perspective on IPCC’s assessments of climate sensitivity. 
  •  The report also provides an independent assessment of the different methods for estimating climate sensitivity and a critique of the IPCC AR4 and AR5 assessments of climate sensitivity.
As Lewis notes, the report is significant as it
  •  ...shows that – contrary to the impression given by the Summary for Policymakers – the observational, scientific evidence in the main IPCC AR5 report actually supports much lower estimates of how sensitive the climate system is to greenhouse gas levels, both in the long term and over the remainder of this century...
The narrative for CAGW has been loosing impetus for some time. Despite this, the data are still being juiced to imply and promote a crisis not evidenced by empirical observation.  Bottom line:
  • The GCMs overestimate future warming by 1.7–2 times relative to an estimate based on the best observational evidence.
CAGW isn't happening.  Won't be happening in the future, probably never was happening.  Climate changes as a dynamic natural system. Always has, always will.  Humans do modify both the weather and the climate, but not near to the degree that has been implied nor implicated in advocacy of the CAGW narrative.  Severe weather has always been a feature of human occupancy of the planet and there is insifficient evidence to support the contention that either the frequency nor intensity of weather events has changed in a manner inconsistent with the historical record.

Climate was and remains a proxy for a supposed scientific imperative for a set of political policies designed to suppress growth, control economic development, centralize governance and curtail globalization.  These policies reflect a particular morality and ideology that is both elitist in design and lacking on poplar support and resonance, hence the attempt to co-opt science as a mechanism to compel compliance by invoking an authority that is difficult to challenge and contradict.

After all this  (the IPCC, the Hockey Stick, the blogs, Climategate and the constant revisionism from global warming to AGW to CAGW) the central issue remains the provision of cheap energy and not climate.

And without the stigma of CAGW, what is the rationale for windmills? For solar panels? For constraint and increasing carbon taxes?  Fracking has removed the peril of an energy crisis for the West.  What is the cheap energy option for Africa?  Why is energy not dropping in price and fueling a new age of innovation and economic prosperity?

And, lastly, absent of any climate crisis, what possible purpose is there to zero-carbon as a goal?

Remove the presumption of CAGW, dismiss the narrative, and the value of pursuing zero-carbon as a goal is similarly removed.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Scary bananas: How environmental exaggeration harms emerging economies: ...

ennui or just resignation?

Read Dale Franks post over at QandO today about how his blogging had lost its passion and become steadily less frequent, less inspired and less purposeful.  I empathized.

Then I read Don Easterbrook's rebuttal to the reaction he'd received to a previous post pointing out the correlation between PDO cycles and temperature cycles and Tim Ball's post on climate as a political dichotomy and not one of science.  And I despaired.  What they write is so transparently obvious to anyone with an open mind on the topic but, apparently, open minds are in short supply despite the age of enlightenment and the extant technology to bring that enlightenment to all.

Between my empathy and my despair, was I enveloped with a profound sense of ennui with the continued intransigence of political authority and the academy to neither see nor accept what people like Easterbrook and Ball so eloquently and clearly expose?  Or was I overcome with a deepening resignation born from personal empathy with their situation?

My own blogging has become sporadic.  I have spent a career trying to change the system from within and it appears that far from taking either Manhattan or Berlin, I have failed to hold even my own home court in the form of my own academic institution.  Ennui or resignation?  Am I simply tired of the stupidity of others? Or am I conceding the field and ceasing to engage in an artificial war of words in which there can be no resolution as the other side simply refuses to accept any evidence as factual that does not accord with their narrative?  When academics blithely and routinely ignore empirical data as irrelevant, the medium has not just become the message, it has become the sole narrative of Big Brother University as funded by Big Brother Government in the cause of Big Brother Media.

Is it ennui or resignation to reject a worldview as promulgated by mass media social theorists?  Moreover, when did social theorist cease being an oxymoron?

In a conscious act of personal salvation and sanity, I have moved my teaching into a large course on tourism and an interactive senior seminar on change.  Professionally, I can survive, still exercise and extend my creative juices in the ongoing delivery and improvement of my pedagogy, and draw considerable satisfaction from the response of those students who value what I offer them: the opportunity to think, reflect and create.

I still believe in the power of education, but I am less confident that there is sufficient interest in using both the extant and future technology to enlighten, to educate and to empower.  Instead, I have a deep sense of ennui with the axiomatic dogma peddled by self-interested stasists and a sense of resignation that the forces of conformity will persist in suppressing ideas in the ongoing oppression of true freedom.

But hope is a funny persists despite all rationality and tiredness.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Road to Redemption

I have long contended that the faux concern over AGW had little basis in the science of climate change and large reliance upon the symbolic use of climate as a contrivance for compliance with environmentalist control and censure ideology.  The science was co-opted merely as a tool to embed an axiomatic authority to the alarmist and dystopian assertions activists invoke to compel compliance with their command and control agendas.  Thus, the muted media reaction to the 5th IPCC Assessment is indicative that the conversation on climate is now closed.

In the wake of IPCC5 we have indictments of the IPCC as failed instrument of enforced international consensus, its incoherence and lack of scientific credibility, some insight into the manipulations and deceit utilized to obscure and hide facts within the Summary most media use for their summaries and some excellent summations of the present state of affairs.

I was recently faced by two different requests at my own institution. One was for a repeat of a debate on climate change I had participated in a decade ago.  The second was to promote a student event on the 'growing climate conversation". 

I decided to decline the first: nothing good can come of disabusing people of their faith and that's all a belief in AGW is today, all it ever has been.  Any pretense of scientific imperative, of pending crisis and human induced catastrophe has ceased to exist with the release of the very data contained within the full version of IPCC5.  Climate sensitivity is now estimated at its highest to be below the lowest of the lowest possible scenarios contemplated within previous IPCC supported AGW hysteria.  Moreover, climate change at 0.8 degrees Celsius per 100 yrs. can't be spun as alarming to anyone let alone a developed, technocratic and fast changing world.

And yet, the student run environmental association on campus is still in thrall with the anti-hydro carbon, zero-carbon, environmental Armageddon caused by humans message that both initiated and fueled the AGW myth.  Ignorance is pervasive, especially within the academy that has feasted at the AGW trough for the past two decades, that thrives on the clarion call for intellectually derived command and control compliance with expertise and authority acting in consensus and uses intimidation politics to marginalize its critics.

I decided to use the second request as a teaching example of the pervasiveness of environmentalism as a religion and as a placebo for real caring, real action and real implementation of change.

Its been a long 20 years of futility, chasing a false God and a mythical Holy Grail.  The AGW myth has been a blight on intellectualism, academic integrity, environmental thought and effective policy making.  The only question facing its proponents, adherents and inductees is how quickly they will recant and at what cost to their own personal integrity, careers and credibility.

The road to Damascus will indeed be crowded.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

why blogs persist and scare stasists

Here is the latest excellent post from Ben Pile.  Given the flurry of discussion this week over the sate of the climate blogosphere, why it exists and what it does, Ben's points are important:
  • This blog has always identified itself as sceptical of environmentalism — environmental politics, especially climate politics — rather than climate science.
  •  Environmentalists ... simply do not recognise their own perspective as ‘ideological’. ‘Ideology’ is what other people do. The conceit — in all senses of the word — being that the environmentalist simply takes ‘science’ at face value, whereas those he points his fingers at refuse to see the science because they are somehow blinded by ‘ideology’. 
  • Putting it simply, the ‘ideology’ of the political establishment is a system of ideas that would put political institutions above democratic oversight, and under the direction of panels of technical experts. But one can agree or disagree with the scientific consensus independently of one’s view that political institutions should be arranged in that way. One can disagree with policies independently of the consensus. In other words, the idea that the scientific consensus is equivalent to the configuration of supranational and national political institutions and their respective policies is ‘ideological’. Indeed, as this blog has also pointed out, ad nauseum, the notion of the scientific consensus is used in political and policy debates at all levels, with no regard for the substance of the consensus. As I explain it elsewhere, it is a consensus without an object.  
For some unknown reason the very basis and logic eloquently summarized by Ben is ignored, missed or simply mis-understood by those who persist in wishing to demonize, silence and otherwise marginalize those of us who blog to question the ideology of environmentalism and the effects it has on contemporary society, politics and public policy.

As Ben concludes:
  • The problem is not now, nor has it ever been, ‘ideology’. Ideology has not itself turned people blind to science or anything else. ‘Ideology’ is nothing more than a system of ideas, or beliefs, much of which is embedded in, and transmitted through, culture. 
  • The problem is instead an inability to reflect...
  • The problem, then, is the same as with any religious zealot, ideologue, tyrant or bigot. Proponents of orthodoxies do not recognise themselves as vulnerable to ideology. Why should they, since prevailing hegemonies don’t need to justify themselves — their preferences and prejudices appear to them as manifestly ‘common sense’, and challenges to their authority seem impertinent and obtuse.  
The environmentalist imperative has always rested on the certitude of the science that its adherents assert to compel compliance with their political edicts.  As a consequence, environmentalism has become shrill, anti-humanist and devoid of meaningful morality and ethics.

But to see that from within takes an element of self-reflection most zealots are unwilling and/or unable to achieve. (Sadly it is a capacity even many reasoned, moderates fail to practice). Instead they cast aspersions with invective language at those with the temerity to deviate from their sense of correctness, of compliance, of consensus and then they seek to use the social tools of media, authority and fear to bolster their believe in scenarios of doom and gloom that the science itself does not support, validate nor justify.

The climate blogosphere is not one uniform template of ideas, focus or expertise.  There are technical blogs that assess data and methods (like Climate Audit) there are sites that discuss environmentalism (like this one and Climate Resistance), there are those that act as window on the "climate debate" (such as WUWT ,Bishop Hill and Climate Etc), those that act as a news clearing house for environmental stories (Tom Nelson) and those that present investigative insight and revelations (No Frakking Consensus).  Beyond this, I am not sure what a mapping of the blogosphere achieves -- it appears to me an exercise without clear intellectual purpose, unless that purpose is merely to box all the deviants together ready for metaphorical or literal abuse.

That an effort was made to map the climate blogosphere reveals the extent to which the intellectual and political elite (the climatocracy) is threatened and has failed in its attempts to use climate as a contrivance to compel compliance with its message of austerity chic as a necessary ethic for the masses.

And then, of course, there's this:

  • I urge the minister, in the light of all the evidence that has come out about the lack of any change in temperature over the past 15 years, to think again about the Climate Change Act and to revoke it, amend it and support home owners and British businesses.
David Davies MP

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A quick summary

I mentioned  the latest article from Peter Foster in the last post but it is worth pulling some excerpts because he so nicely summarizes the present situation with climate alarmism.

As he writes, the
  • alleged climate catastrophe is based not on “simple” atmospheric physics but on the computer models of the... IPCC
  • which assume that CO2 drives the climate
  • then assume the multiplication of that driving force via positive feedbacks
  • then assume the worst possible implications.
All of these assumptions can and have been successfully challenged. Some would say debunked and discredited.

Meanwhile, there is no disputing that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have now reached 400 ppm.  However, the breathless reporting of this figure reflects numerical mysticism, not science, especially as the  period of years during which there has been no warming is now 16 years.

Not only is the science not settled but the situation is muddied further by that fact that
  • ...the policy measures taken to address this alleged existential crisis have been (a) climatically pointless, and (b) economically disastrous.
  •  However, any suggestion of revisiting the science is treated with primal screams because the climate industry has succeeded in framing this as a “moral issue,” all about hurting poor people and recklessly endangering the future of the planet. 
  •  This moral crusade has been so successful because it is fed by the anti-capitalist psychological compost that has been piling up since Marx stalked the earth.
  • The issue also remains politically toxic due to the vast and disproportionate power of radical environmental NGOs, who have very deliberately been cultivated both within the UN and by nodes of Global Salvationism
Anyone who persists in positing climate policy as an issue of science is both disingenuous and misleading.  Climate policy has always been an environmental morality play and the role of science has been as a tool of authority to bully and intimidate people into conforming with prescribed policy outcomes that conform to an elitist ideology of environmentalism that in practice contrasts markedly with the pragmatic environmental ethics of common sense.

The underlying problem with any elitist ideology is that it is not sustainable in a free democratic society.  Zombies, vampires and ghosts make for good scary stories but they are ephemeral and as mythical as the sky is falling alarmism of climate catastrophe.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Can Climateagate Mann evolve?

Sometimes students will ask me why if everything I am telling them is the truth (and it is!) do other professors and the media still propagate the myths I have just exposed?

I can think of no better example than the continued and ongoing attempts to re-assert the sky is falling, climate alarmism narrative, long after that ship has sailed (much like my efforts to avoid mixed metaphors).  In the wake of Climategate 3.0, we have yet another example of climate scientists acting badly.  

In this superb summary, Roger Pielke Jr. is careful to leave everyone's dignity intact.  He is polite, constructive and wonderfully constrained.  I admire his patience and continued belief that accidents can and persistently do happen.  Sadly, what he sees as accidental is all too easily construed as intentional malfeasance (again).

What this latest example demonstrates is how "findings" are spun, spiral into "facts" and become embedded as the dominant narrative of consensus science.  Along the way, there is an embrace of misrepresentation, the inclusion of significant impropriety and the adoption of an attitude that is especially illuminating and immoral in the post-Climategate era.

No more. No longer. Get it together and act honorably as scientists should. Embrace some ethics, work on your integrity and check you personal ideology at the door.  Enough already.  Personally I am tired of professional colleagues who should know better not doing better because they lack the will to try.

Cartoon from Josh
and a real world up date from Peter Foster who offers the insight that ...facts always need perspective. 
A sentiment heartily endorsed by this blog!