The Tyranny of the Scientific Consensus

Professor Paul Reiter, in his submission to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs, declared

In the age of information, popular knowledge of scientific issues – particularly issues of health and environment – is awash in a tide of misinformation, much of it presented in the “big talk” of professional scientists. Alarmist activists operating in well-funded advocacy groups have a lead role in creating this misinformation. In many cases, they manipulate public perceptions with emotive and fiercely judgmental “scientific” pronouncements, adding a tone of danger and urgency to attract media coverage. Their skill in promoting notions of scientific “fact” sidesteps the complexities of the issues involved, and is a potent influence in education, public opinion and the political process.

In his testimony to the United States Senate he stated

A galling aspect of the debate is that this spurious ‘science’ is endorsed in the public forum by influential panels of ‘experts.’ I refer particularly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)… [which] publishes a ‘consensus of the world’s top scientists’ on all aspects of climate change…such consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science…A public that is unaware of this is vulnerable to abuse.

The so-called ‘scientific consensus’ is being used to ram through huge measures of political control. We are told that there is a scientific consensus on this or that, when there is no consensus at all. To question the consensus, or whether such a consensus exists, is to be a ‘denier’ or a modern-day heretic, who must be silenced, or at the very least humiliated. Scientists who challenge the ‘consensus’ are being increasingly marginalized, especially in areas where the big money is flowing to support a particular political line – for example, in the climate change area. Those who present evidence contrary to the so-called consensus are called ‘traitors’ ,

…and we need to start treating them like traitors

says Robert F. Kennedy Jr, so there are calls for them to be tried for treason, ‘crimes against humanity’ and genocide. As The Daily Telegraph reported last month of James Hanson, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies:

Hansen has been for 20 years the world’s leading scientific advocate of global warming (and Al Gore’s closest ally). But in the past year a number of expert US scientists have been conducting a public investigation, through scientific blogs, which raises large question marks over the methods used to arrive at his figures…

Hansen himself is notoriously impatient of any criticism of his methods: earlier this month he appealed to Congress that the leaders of those who question global warming should be put on trial.

Bill McGuire, an earth sciences professor stated

We have Holocaust deniers; we have climate change deniers. And to be honest, I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference.

That’s a fatuous comparison, of course, because one is a fact that is amenable to historical verification, whereas the other deals with contingencies and future projections, which are highly questionable, to say the least. Yet those scientists whose honesty and integrity lead them to dissent from the political ‘consensus’ are not merely branded the same as Holocaust deniers, but as equivalent to those who actually planned and executed the Holocaust itself. Thus the ‘environmentalist’ journalist David Roberts:

We should have war crimes trials for these bastards – some sort of climate Nuremberg

The irony of all this is that the very ones who are encouraging this line of thought are the ones behaving like the fascists who were in the dock at Nuremberg, who destroyed freedom, and spread lies and propaganda.

NASA was justly celebrated for its tremendous scientific and engineering achievement of landing 12 men on the moon and returning them safely. That was magnificent. But now, with Hansen in the driving seat, it is cynically being used to cook the books. The ‘consensus’ must be maintained by nefarious means. Thus, as reported by Booker,

…searching questions have been raised over Hansen’s figures…by Steve McIntyre, the computer analyst who earlier exposed the notorious “hockeystick” graph that was shamelessly exploited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore. (This used a flawed computer model to suppress evidence that the world was hotter in the Middle Ages than today)…It was McIntyre who last year forced Hansen to publish revised figures for US surface temperatures, to show that the hottest years of the 20th century were not in the 1990s, as Hansen had claimed, but in the 1930s. He has now shown that Hansen had been adjusting almost all his pre-1970 global temperature figures downwards, by as much as 0.5 degrees, and his post-1970 figures upwards.

Science doesn’t make any advances based on ‘consensus’. In fact, whenever you hear the term ‘consensus’ you can be sure a political statement is being made. Politicians (and scientists playing politics, as well as false religions) use the term to elevate and promote a dodgy belief as ‘the truth’. But every single scientific consensus in the history of the world has been wrong.

When people talk about scientific consensus they can only mean a consensus about a hypothesis, which is nonsense – or are they suggesting we can determine the laws of nature by a democratic vote? But a working hypothesis is merely a falsifiable contention that has not yet been falsified. Contrary to the erroneous view of many non-scientists, science does not make progress by designing experiments to prove hypotheses; it makes observations, and designs experiments to attempt to falsify hypotheses. No amount of observation can ever prove a hypothesis, so scientific progress can never be made by attempting to find such proof. But one single valid observation can falsify a hypothesis, and by eliminating false hypotheses the subset of incorrect explanations of causality etc is reduced. Eventually, after eliminating falsified hypotheses, a logically self-consistent framework for describing behaviour based on fundamental principles may emerge, and this is known as a theory. But even then, a theory must be falsifiable – it must be possible to conceive of an experiment to demonstrate whether it is false, even if the apparatus is not yet available to conduct such an experiment. A non-falsifiable theory – the idea that no evidence could or should ever be adduced to challenge a theory and falsify it – is a crackpot idea, and an unscientific position. That is dogma.

On these grounds, so-called anthropogenic climate change ‘science’ is seen to be nothing more than tomfoolery, from a scientific perspective. It is embracing a false and/or an unfalsifiable hypothesis. The hypothesis that human carbon dioxide emissions are the cause of global warming to date is readily falsified by historical and proxy records – in the past few thousand years, temperatures have been higher and lower than now, but such changes cannot be attributed to human carbon emissions.

So the hypothesis is amended to state that, though major climate change was not attributable to carbon emissions in the past, it will be so in the future. This remarkable hypothesis seems completely irrational; still, to be fair, hypotheses in science are permitted to come from any source, even from dreams and myths, provided they are falsifiable – no proposed falsifiable hypothesis, however wacky it first appears, should be eliminated except by falsification. But this particular future-oriented hypothesis is not falsifiable, because it is not possible to test this one world we live in with and without ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions – how would one separate out the major natural climate change (as seen in the past) from any minor man-made climate change, if it even occurs? Such a thing is impossible. The hypothesis, having been falsified looking backwards into the past, and being seen to be untestable and unfalsifiable into the future, and therefore outside the realm of natural science and into the realm of faith and belief, should have been abandoned long ago as having no scientific value whatsoever.

Yet, these dogmatists still cling on. Such people who cling to this phoney science, including those at the Royal Society (sad to say, considering their heritage), are the real deniers, the real sceptics, the fundamentalist dogmatists who have fashioned a religion of their own making – they deny logic, they deny rationally, they deny scientific method, and they deny evidence. They have moved into the realm of a false, dogmatic eco-religion. They construct complicated computer models to try to ‘prove’ their hypothesis – something that can never be done within scientific enquiry, as explained earlier. Notwithstanding, if the models have been realistic enough to ‘test’ the hypotheses, the hypotheses have thereby been falsified: they predicted certain temperatures in the atmosphere, land and oceans that have proved to be false. As Christopher Booker remarked in The Daily Telegraph,

…the fact is that not one of those vaunted computer models predicted what has happened to temperatures in recent years. Yet it is on those models (and Hansen’s alarmist figures) that our politicians are basing all their proposals for irrevocably changing our lives.

Thus they are shown to be false prophets peddling a false religion. Not to abandon a thoroughly discredited hypothesis at this stage is to indulge in an abuse of science, and a wilful propagation of deceit.


1 Response to “The Tyranny of the Scientific Consensus”

  1. 1 Dr Peter Naylor October 18, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    If the hypothesis of global warming was supported by good evidence, then those who propound it would have no fear of those who deny it. What do I make of their aggressive intolerance of anyone who holds a different view? Their determination to silence any questioning voices betrays their fear, and that fear must be the product of the weakness of their dogma. They give themselves away!

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