The American Interest
Essays & Longer Thoughts
Published on May 14, 2010
Global Green Meltdown Gains Momentum

Volcanoes blast; glaciers melt; economies implode; currencies nose dive and voters revolt.  It is the worst of worlds for the climate change movement, and the outlook continues to darken.
None of this dimmed the glory of the majestic moment in Amsterdam yesterday as the part-time IPCC chair and part-time sleazy book author Rajendra Pachauri emerged from the seclusion in which he has unwillingly been lurking since international outrage over some high profile and amateurish errors at the IPCC and his vituperative and vindictive attacks on quite justified critics made him an international laughingstock at the beginning of the year.

The occasion for the prominent Indian novelist’s return to the limelight was the first open session of a review commission convened by the United Nations to examine the work of the IPCC and, hopefully, to make recommendations that will insure that the IPCC’s next report on climate change will be less vulnerable to critics than the document produced under Dr. Pachauri’s lackadaisical supervision last time.
Politically, the commission will fail.  That is, the panel will not satisfy the hundreds of engaged and vocal critics pushing back against the ‘consensus’ on climate change — and will do even less to convince an increasingly skeptical public opinion that a strict global treaty on climate change is humanity’s only hope of escaping devastating consequences in the near future.

Gallup_March_2010_Global_WarmingNo matter what the commission does, the world will continue to walk away from the corpse of the global climate change movement of the past decade.  The structure of the international system, the different agendas and timetables of the different countries involved in negotiations, and the clumsy architecture of the UN’s cumbersome treaty-making procedures ensure that any global treaty will be an anti-climax: too weak to work, too poorly designed to be cheap or efficient, too vague to be effectively enforced, too inflexible and too clumsy to serve as a policy guide as knowledge and circumstances change, and, it it achieves anything substantive at all, it will be too unpalatable to win the two thirds majority needed for ratification in the United States Senate.
Movement toward conservation, renewable and alternative fuels, and a decreasing reliance on hydrocarbon fuels per unit of GDP will continue and, I think, accelerate in most of the world’s most important advanced and developing economies.  This will happen whether or not the IPCC issues another report, because it is in the interests of the major economies to cut fuel use to be economically competitive and to increase their national security.  Efforts to establish comprehensive monitoring of CO2 emissions around the world will also continue — if for no other reason than that agencies like the CIA, organizations like the IMF and corporations like hedge funds and investment banks would like to have faster access to reliable data on shifts in global economic activity.  The sheer blind bureaucratic lust for power that drives the culture of the United Nations and the world’s governments will also ensure continuing efforts to give politicians and their appointees the last word on regulating as much economic activity as possible.
In other words, the review panel in Amsterdam, like the IPCC itself, is something of a sideshow.  To use the kind of simile that might appeal to an author of Dr. Pachauri’s ambitions, the IPCC and the review panel are like the piano in a house of ill repute: useful for establishing atmosphere, but playing no substantive role in the core operations of the firm.
This is partly because the goal that the climate change movement so unwisely set out (Al Gore, what were you thinking?) is so unrealistic that almost nothing could make it work.  A universal treaty that effectively regulates global economic activity would be a revolution in the international system significantly greater than the establishment of the United Nations and the world is very far from ready for that kind of change.  But the climate change movement is also in trouble because it relies on a social vision that never worked well and is now melting faster than a Himalayan glacier.  That model is gnostocracy: the rule of experts. (The initial ‘g’ is silent in English.)
The word blends two Greek words: Γνωσις (pronounced GNOsis with the ‘o’ long and the ‘g’ audible) meaning ‘knowledge’ and the word meaning ‘to rule’.  In a perfect gnostocracy, the smartest, best educated people make all the decisions for the rest of us.  This system of government by experts and peer-reviewed literature is what William F. Buckley denounced when he famously said that he’d rather be ruled by the first three hundred names in the Cambridge phone book than by the faculty of Harvard.
(Note to younger readers: back in the old days the telephone company would publish an alphabetically arranged listing of everyone who had what we now call a land line.  In those days nobody had cell phones but almost everyone had a land line.  The ‘telephone book’ contained almost every name in town.)
Gnostocracy, like all systems of government, works much better in theory than in practice.  In theory, having the smartest, wisest and most qualified experts make all the decisions means that most of the decisions will be the best that can be made.  In some ways gnostocracy comes closest to the proposals Plato made in his famous Republic, when he calls for the rule of ‘philosopher kings’.  Let the best and the brightest among us rule: the Harvard and Yale kids with the best law school grades should be on the Supreme Court.  Congress and the President should hand over authority to unelected boards of experts who can decide political questions on the basis of actual knowledge rather than letting the dirty scramble of lobbies and interest groups (to say nothing of the foolish preferences of the ignorant rabble) decide important matters.
In practice it has only five little flaws.  Gnostocrats even at their best are prone to mistakes because scientific knowledge is by its nature evolving; the social sciences and the science of extremely complicated systems (think economics) most vital to politics like economics are the most error prone and the least capable of achieving accurate knowledge; political choices involve matters of morals and personal preference which cannot be decided by scientific procedures; no process of selection can be designed which promotes only ‘good’ and ‘honest’ gnostocrats to power and keeps out the charlatans, and the frauds; and finally as a group scientists have interests other than pure science and knowledge (such as promoting gnostocracy thereby gaining power and wealth for themselves).Laputa
The closest fictional representation of a perfect gnostocracy appears in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels in the floating island of Laputa governed by absent minded professors.  It is far and away the least happy and the most ludicrous of the imaginary places Gulliver visits.  It’s intrinsic to the Blue social model I’ve written about earlier on this blog, and the climate change movement wants to enshrine something very like it at the heart of global economic and development policy through the complex ramifications of the global climate control mechanisms they hope to introduce through treaty and legislation.
The trouble for the climate change movement is that this, the most ambitious and grandiose gnostocratic initiative ever proposed, comes just as faith in the experts is receding worldwide.  Faith in experts is often a product of early economic development: the scientists have so many new ideas, and new technologies have such prestige that many people in society begin to think that the guys in the white coats have all the answers.  Sit down, hicks, backwoods boys and rednecks.  Shut up, Bubba, and let the smart guys get on with business.  Let the scientists and the planners design your cities and your educational system.
In rapidly developing countries like the US in the 1920s (and China today), the experts and technocrats have enormous prestige.  Emptying whole districts of the countryside to make lakes, uprooting neighborhoods to build highways, re-engineering whole ecosystems to improve productivity; challenging ancient and traditional religious and cultural values in the name of modernity: the scientists and technicians are like wizards, waving their wands and producing unimaginable changes.
In Europe, the dispassionate scientists and civil servants gained enormous moral and political authority after the horrors and disasters of the first half of the twentieth century.  Populism brought communism, fascism and war.  Dispassionate experts and civil servants like Jean Monnet (founder of the European Union) ended conflicts and engineered prosperity and peace.  It was better to ignore the siren songs of left and right populism and turn instead to the technocratic politics of Brussels. Government by qualified civil servants guided by the best available technical knowledge made sense — certainly better sense than entrusting your affairs to a charismatic failed Austrian art student.
But faith in gnostocracy is taking a beating these days.  After all, it was experts armed with extremely complex computer models who devised the financial system now falling down around our ears.  Experts and economists told the Europeans that their new ‘euro’ currency was ready for prime time.  Experts and computer models produced the massive and apparently unnecessary shut down of air travel in Europe following the Icelandic eruption. Experts and computer models were telling us that the hazards of undersea drilling in the Gulf of Mexico were well understood.
In some ways it’s a healthy trend, in other ways it’s quite dangerous, but the Atlantic world today is in the grip of populist revolt.  On the left (as in Greece) and on the right (just ask your local Tea Party chapter) people feel lied to and betrayed.  The emperors have no clothes; the experts busy certifying one another and vouching for each others procedures and computer models seem less and less relevant to real life.
Meanwhile, life is becoming more expensive.  The Europeans now have their own trillion dollar bailout to boast of, and more may still be to come.  All of the advanced industrial economies are looking at years if not decades of financial austerity as rising taxes and falling budgets cramp incomes and cut services.
We trust the experts less and less, but they keep coming to us for money.
In this atmosphere, the fight for a massive global treaty to fight climate change that involves annual payments of $100 billion and more to (mostly) corrupt and incompetent governments in developing countries that make Greece look as tidy as Sweden has no chance.  Taxpayers will want to keep their money closer to home and they will be worried about disasters like the euro blowing up next week rather than the sea level rising twenty years down the road.
Experts armed with computer models are just guessing: that is the corrosive message coming out of the economic and political turmoil that has engulfed the world economy in the last three years.  Look for the populist backlash to grow, and look for the global climate treaty to be one of its victims.

  • nadine

    ” In some ways gnostocracy comes closest to the proposals Plato made in his famous Republic, when he calls for the rule of ‘philosopher kings’. Let the best and the brightest among us rule: the Harvard and Yale kids with the best law school grades should be on the Supreme Court. Congress and the President should hand over authority to unelected boards of experts who can decide political questions on the basis of actual knowledge rather than letting the dirty scramble of lobbies and interest groups (to say nothing of the foolish preferences of the ignorant rabble) decide important matters.”

    I think you have just described the Obama administration and all its programs. There isn’t one among them who has ever run a hot dog stand for a profit, yet they are sublimely confident that the Federal Government knows how to take over everyone’s business.

  • http://realclearpolitics dan shaw

    Very well done. One of the best explanations I have seen. Thank you.

  • Pingback: Global Green Meltdown gains Momentum …Walter Russell Mead « Newsbeat1

  • trafamadore

    The bottom line is that the earth is warming and the only thing that explains the warming is the increase in CO2; not solar, volcanos or Zeus. This is documented in the scientific literature, go read it. GW denialists really need to get their act together and demonstrate that either the earth is not warmer than it should be (and publish it) or find out another reason the earth is warming (and publish it).

    So far, they sound like fools working for industry or conservative “think” tanks.

    That their disinformation is affecting pols is only a sad statement on the power of slander; it worked to slow the attack on cigarettes, and it works now.

  • billybob

    Well done! have always thought that the climate move was about a lot more than climate, but the discussion always seems to center on the narrower question of is/ isn’t warming versus the larger global shifts demanded by the proponents. also, the notion of gnostocracy crystallizes the horror that most folks I know hold of large govt and business, particularly in the time of Obamacites. we’d all prefer a lot less command and control and more creative competition. Just our perspective.

  • Paul R. Johnson

    Your repeated references to Ivy League universities highlight an additional flaw in gnostocracy: how to pick the “best” educated. Buckley’s complaint was not with bright people altogether, but with the insular nature of Harvard. Gnostocracy would seem to be an extension of meritocracy, but its really just an oligarchy of professors imposing their ideas on the future ruling class.

  • SouthernGent

    I’ll be honest, I am no intellectual. It is difficult for me to get to the heart of most complex matters. This article, to me, is nothing short of brilliant in cutting through the forest to the root. Thank you, Mr. Mead.

  • Akatsukami

    “The bottom line is that the earth is warming and the only thing that explains the warming is the increase in CO2; not solar, volcanos or Zeus. This is documented in the scientific literature, go read it. ”

    But since the so-called “scientific literature” is based on the cooked data fabricated by the corrupt, bullying thugs of the warmist cult, it is worthless.

  • Jim in Colorado

    I have a question for trafamadore, above.

    Why has the temperature on Mars increased in the last century? Is it AGW from two tiny robotic rovers? As you say, get your act together and go read the scentific literature so you can teach us bumpkins about the correlation between Earth and Mars warming. I think you have it backwards: you “smart” people must first prove AGW by credible science before you take over the world with it

    You might start your research with that scientific icon East Anglia: “why can’t we explain the decline”

  • Danram

    “The bottom line is that the earth is warming and the only thing that explains the warming is the increase in CO2; not solar, volcanos or Zeus.” — Transformadore

    Transformadore, you are 100% wrong. There is absolutely ZERO evidence to support the theory that atmospheric CO2 levels drive climate change. If you’ll take a magnifying glass to Al Gore’s infamous graph that he uses in “An Inconvenient Truth” which supposedly shows a near perfect corellation between CO2 levels and temperature levels, you’ll see that CO2 levels actually LAG changes in planetary temperatures, usually by several hundred years, when global warming theory requires they should LEAD them if CO2 is actually a prime driver of temperature levels. In short, the planet doesn’t get warmer because CO2 increases. The evidence clearly shows the exact opposite: CO2 levels increase because the planet gets warmer.

    There have been periods in the Earth’s distant past when CO2 levels were 12 to 15 times higher than they are now, and yet planetary temperatures were about the same as they are now. 430 million years ago at the end of the Ordovician Period, CO2 levels were about 4,000 ppm, which is over 10 times greater than they are now. Know how the Ordocivian Period ended? With an ice age, that’s how.

    Wanna know what really causes climate change? Climate change is a regular occurrence and is caused by …

    a) changes in the energy output of the sun
    b) changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun
    c) changes in the Earth’s angle of rotation on its axis
    d) gradual topographic changes to the surface of the Earth as well as ocean currents which alter weather patterns.

    Compared to these, mankind’s burning of fossil fuels for a mere 150 years is laughable in its insignificance. Thankfully, most of the public is now starting to wake up to these facts. I suggest you Google “The Great Global Warming Swindle” and watch it if you want to be brought into the light too.

  • http://rhhardin.blogspot.com rhhardin

    Agnostocracy would violate a rule on unaccented leading syllables, though.

  • Harvard Delenda Est

    Myself personally, I would not [spit] on your average “harard man” if she were on fire in the street. The type of worm who manages to slither through that swamp of depravity, treason, and delusion has no place in the leadership of a free society. I don’t care how fast their “processors” spin; Garbage in, Garbage out. I’t’s all about the software. (A. K. A. character)

  • Ron

    GW alarmists answer all debate with the following points: the hacked emails are “cherry picked” and they prove nothing, there is no valid peer reviewed documentation other than what we have to offer and prove your case (even though the climate system is so complex [like Economics] that we have never been able to prove much of anything ourselves).

    Were the Emails Cherry Picked? The Emails show the pretentious Climatologists’ warped mode of thinking and how their review work was actually brought about with their extremely selfish and political motivations. It should be noted that all scientists are often forced to pick or smooth data. But then they are then obliged to candidly highlight their omissions and the logic they used to do such. In climatology today this is not the case – the careerist experts avoid any data that would weaken their case by hiding it. Data selection by honest scientists is not driven by financial or political motivations.

    It has been stated that the significance of hacked emails is trifling compared to the masses of peer reviewed data observed by climatologists over decades. The problem with that thesis is that the climate database is massive and that it takes divine-like judgement to capture its meaning. The Emails show certain grandstanding scientists using poor judgement, weak ethics and lack of common sense. Would you trust your children to teachers who have been shown to secretly advocate pedophilia? Is that trifling to you?

    Peer review has become nonsense in “climatetology” today. Only the confirmed believers are allowed to “back up” the “correct” point of view which necessarily reinforces their selfish views. This false “climatology” peer review would be like confirmed alchemists passing final judgement on all science publications. All future nonalchemical thoughts would then be suppressed or skewed to the alchemists’ view and everything else would be labeled as “denialist”.

    The GW alarmists cry “prove it!” – “Show us your data”! Of course that is not possible when the alarmists have captured most of the media. Very little contrary to their reasoning will ever make it into the public eye. Anything that does see the light of day (as in book form) is mocked and dismissed as bogus.

  • Engram

    for trafamadore:

    “In his paper, Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, shows how CFCs – compounds once widely used as refrigerants – and cosmic rays – energy particles originating in outer space – are mostly to blame for climate change, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. His paper, derived from observations of satellite, ground-based and balloon measurements as well as an innovative use of an established mechanism, was published online in the prestigious journal Physics Reports.”

    http://insciences.org/article.php?article_id=8012

    This is a peer-reviewed scientific journal with a high impact factor. That doesn’t make it right, but it does make it worth considering.

  • ChrisM

    Just to pile on:

    a) just because it’s in the scientific literature doesn’t make it immune to challenge — it means it should be challenged.
    b) it’s not the GW deniers’ job to “prove” anything if what we want is the status quo. It’s the alarmists’ job to prove not only that there is warming, but that it is man made, and that the benefit of trying to stop it outweighs the cost. I would say the alarmist movement is 1% of the way there.

  • Jack

    I guess the facts that Hadley CRU, Al Gore and the rest of the warmists have been systematically lying, smearing their critics and falsifying the data aren’t reasons worth mentioning.

    Nope, couldn’t be anything to do with that. Nor, I guess, could it be that the marks in the global warming con are finally waking up.

  • Emerson

    Without the guidance of our betters we’re doomed. At least wait until the messiah Al Gore becomes a billionaire. Only then will he build an energy-efficient home – Xanadu. Then will Gaia rise up and slay the naysayers.

  • pnkearns

    A belief in gnostocracy may be 1/2 of the issue with the global green movement. The other 1/2 seems to be that followers of the global green movement substitute their belief in “green” for religion in their life. They truly feel they are saving the planet, and anything “green” is immediately spiritually good by act of faith. “Green” science, and even the “green” gnostocracy, are ignored if “green” is believed and the Gaia planet spirit of Earth is to be saved.

  • juandos

    Maybe trafamadore should consider that the SUPREME GORON no longer fears rising oceans

  • Chad

    Ironically, Mr. Mead has more lies, distortions and mistakes in his first paragraph than were ever found in the multi-thousand page IPCC report.

    This demonstrates that Mr. Mead is a wild and flagrant hypocrite. I would like to refer him to Matthew 23:24. You do realize what happens to hypocrites, don’t you? You might want to worry a bit more about your eternal soul and a bit less about saving a few bucks on your electric bill.

  • Ted

    Rising levels of CO2 are directly measured in Hawaii among other places and have been since the 1950′s. They are rising steadily and something the denier cult always glosses over is that the physics of greenhouse gases have not changed since they were discovered well before Al Gore was born. Greenhouse properties of CO2 are essential for life on earth, but they also inevitably lead to warmer temperatures as we humans raise the level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    The earth is warming, and while the denier cult loves to talk about ‘growing grapes in Greenland in medieval times’ they never seem to want to talk about the study last year (google 2000 year temperature arctic) that looks at the WHOLE arctic, not just small parts that Europeans happen to be familiar with.

    Dont get your science from political sites like this one (or those on the left), get your science from scientists.

  • http://realclearpolitics regis

    Transformadore, 20 million years ago the sea levels were 250 feet higher than where it is today causing massive sand dunes to form through the central Carolinas of NA. How did this happen? There were no people on earth to increase CO2 and melt the ice caps. ITS A NATURAL CYCLE.

    The Sandhills is a region in the interior of the U.S. states of North Carolina and South Carolina. It is a strip of ancient beach dunes which generally divides the Piedmont from the coastal plain, and is the evidence of a former coastline when the ocean level was higher. The beach deposits were formed principally during the Miocene Epoch, circa 20 million years before the present. Typical beach fossils are found along the front edges. The coastal plain is terraced from other ocean levels, but none appear to have been so long-lasting, so as to build up dunes of this size.

    The green movement has become a pagan religion and mother earth is their god. Just like the Neanderthals,and cave dwellers believed.

  • Chad

    There have been periods in the Earth’s distant past when CO2 levels were 12 to 15 times higher than they are now, and yet planetary temperatures were about the same as they are now.

    Yes, and the geology and biology of the planet were completely different, and the composition of the atmosphere different as well. You can’t change a hundred variables at once and then attribute the cause to one of them.

    Wanna know what really causes climate change? Climate change is a regular occurrence and is caused by …

    a) changes in the energy output of the sun
    b) changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun
    c) changes in the Earth’s angle of rotation on its axis
    d) gradual topographic changes to the surface of the Earth as well as ocean currents which alter weather patterns.

    And none of these have changed significantly recently, now have they? So you must be missing something. Additionally, these things do not change *enough* to cause the changes in climate that followed them. Something amplifies the tiny effects they have. Hmmm…what could that be? Oh, yeah. Greenhouse gases and ice melt.

  • Ted

    For the denier cultists who are too lazy (or uninterested in actual science) here is a nice quote from the first link.

    “The study found that the 10 years from 1999 to 2008 was the warmest in the Arctic in two millennia. Arctic temperatures are now 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 C) warmer than in 1900.

    “The amount of energy we’re getting from the sun in the 20th century continued to go down, but the temperature went up higher than anything we’ve seen in the last 2,000 years,” said team member Nicholas P. McKay of The University of Arizona in Tucson.”

  • a.n.ditchfield

    RULE BY BUSYBODY
    a.n.ditchfield
    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    The proper conduct of a rational being starts with respect for the minds of others.
    In science, this means the exposure of one’s ideas to the scrutiny of other minds, often with conflicting views, in the peer-review process. In the study of human affairs such respect unfolds into curiosity about the working of different cultures and the role of mystical experiences in them, aroused by religious practices. Ultimately, law and institutions for its enforcement reflect religious concepts of what is right and what is wrong.
    This was the approach taken by Richard Francis Burton, one of the greatest among the gifted Victorian scholars. His forty narratives of travels to exotic or uncharted spaces are well known, but his quest for ultimate knowledge through religious experience is revealed in Burton’s biography, written by Edward Rice.
    As a secret agent of the Indian Army, in mid 19th century, Burton dressed the garb that suited the mission, developed fluency in languages and observed customs on the troublesome Northwest border, along Afghanistan. Burton was so thorough in his inquiries among Sikhs that he completed studies of holy books and went through the rituals to be accepted as a Sikh sage and preacher. He dedicated greater and longer attention to Islam and capped it with his pilgrimage to Mecca, the site forbidden to infidels.
    At a time when Europeans despised what they saw as backward cultures, Burton and a group of like scholars approached them with open minds. From their findings emerged the college of oriental studies in Oxford, instrumental in shaping the nation-building effort that unified India into the biggest democracy in the world. European secularists would do well to apply their claimed scientific detachment to the study of the Christian religion as earnestly as Burton did.
    In the opposite direction the Mother of Parliaments, now in her second childhood, is making real Orwell’s nightmare of 1984. This is recent. In the 18th century all Europe was known as Christendom. On the Continent the French revolution broke the political power of the clergy and, in the 19th century, secularists continued the hostility in anti-clerical campaigns that swept Europe. English-speaking countries were untouched by these upheavals and have remained, to this day, the Christian societies they were in the 18th century.
    Anti-clericals say that religious people are unenlightened enemies of science. Reason would rule the world if religion did not exist; there would be no more hatred to abet war and tyranny. Those of this persuasion preach scientism not science — the belief that science can explain all meaning of existence. They scorn religious believers and yet their own belief leads them to support things with no rhyme or reason and plenty of poison when scientism overreaches itself and morphs into European ideologies.
    In an alternative view Michael Crichton, with the authority of a Harvard trained medical doctor and former professor of anthropology at Cambridge, suggests that religion may be hardwired into the human brain. Suppressed in one form, it returns in another.
    In a vast body of philosophical thought the Biblical kind of religion underpins reason. Historically, Western science preceded the 18th century Enlightenment. The work of Newton can be traced to the biblical belief that the universe is the product of a rational Creator, who endowed man with reason so that he could ask questions about the natural world. Noted religious-minded thinkers answered plenty of questions, from Newton and Descartes to Pasteur, to Mendel, Curie, and Zichichi. Their religious belief obviously had no adverse effect on the quality of their scientific work.
    Biblical ethics form the backbone of Anglo-Saxon political institutions that evolved over one thousand years; they are not a code of conduct devised by enlightened 18th century gentlemen, as some secularists hold. One gentleman of the time was Jean Jacques Rousseau who devised a plan for a society ruled by reason in obedience to a nebulous “general will”, that would come when altar and throne were overturned. What came from following the plan? A Europe devastated by 25 years of war contrived by the ambition of tyrants. Their thought fermented during the 19th century and distilled into the totalitarian creeds of the 20th century, a witches’ brew so intoxicating that it exalts violence as the highest form of human activity.
    Even after the discredit of Nazism and Communism, the two spurious sons of the Enlightenment, the effect lingers on. With the ascent of its secularism in the West, the drive to believe did not fade away. Contemporary secularists stopped practicing religious faiths – but their urge was channeled into secular religions, as predicted by Crichton. Those prevalent today in leftist circles — scientism, relativism, environmentalism, egalitarianism, multiculturalism, anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism — have a track record as enemies of liberty, science and reason. What is new is the spread of these ersatz creeds to English speaking countries.
    Take environmentalism, a badge that identifies the modern “progressive”. It is irrational by Western standards. Ecology was a term coined by Ernst Haeckel, a biologist/philosopher anti-Christian politician who roamed forests to enter into communion with Nature. His ruminations, based on a mystical belief in the organic harmony of the universe, grew out of pagan ideas that reject reason. They demoted man from the biblically assigned post of master of creation to that of serf of demagogues beyond the pale of a rational brain. Haeckel’s ideas were expanded in the doctrine of Lebensraum, the pan-German geopolitics, the March to the East, eugenics; all converged to Nazism.
    This came about because ideology, when it twists evidence to fit prejudice, stands against reason and so sacrifices the scientific search for truth to a grab for power. Environmentalism’s current cause, man-made global warming theory, is such a grab by unsavory interests. Politicians look forward to trillions of dollars of revenues by taxing energy; government bureaucrats crave the power that goes with the licensing of energy production and the rationing of its use; the traffic in carbon credits has fallen into the grip of racketeers.
    Incredible is the spectacle of public policies designed to scrap industrial economies, based on a global warming hypothesis that may never be proven. It has alternative hypotheses against it and shows signs that much of the supporting “science” is at best sloppy and at worst fraudulent.
    Like other ideologies, global warming alarmism claims immunity to questioning, however sound the objection against it. In 1992 Al Gore proclaimed that the debate about global warming was over and the science settled, with all the certitude of a lawyer who says: “Case closed”. This claim of consensus irks those with training in science. They know that original scientific thought arises in independent minds questioning conventional wisdom and that no case is ever closed; true science recognizes no authority above proof backed by experimental evidence. In contrast, ideologues hold nothing to be scrutinized in a rational way; only ideology thrust on the faithful — and imposed with witch hunts against doubters.
    Over fifteen years, 50 billion dollars of public funds were misspent to fabricate a “scientific consensus” that man-made global warming threatens the planet, based on questionable computer models that deliver what the political agenda of the sponsor demands.
    On the other side stand scientists who study and propose alternatives to the richly endowed man-made global warming hypothesis. Branded as Deniers, Flat-earthers, they find little funding for research, suffer character assassination or professional exclusion. That was the fate of many earnest scientists on the wrong side of the tracks, but among them are scientists with stature too great be dismissed with name-calling:
    · Richard Lindzen. Professor of meteorology at MIT. His studies are directed to the effect of water vapor and cloud cover on climate change, factors that he sees as much greater than man-made carbon dioxide.
    · Henrik Svensmark. Recently explained the role of cosmic rays in the ionization of water vapor in the lower troposphere and the formation of clouds. UN models assume a constant cloud cover over the planet but a 4% shift in it has a bearing on climate equivalent to that of all of man-made carbon dioxide over two centuries. The importance of this study of the physics and chemistry of clouds may well be realized.
    · S. Baliunas and W. Soon are two Harvard scientists who linked the long cycles of ice ages to matching astronomical cycles.
    In addition, renowned physicists with achievements based on mathematical models, question the validity of models of climate with tenuous links to experimental evidence.
    · Antonino Zichichi. The foremost physicist of Italy, discoverer of anti-matter, as scientific advisor of the Vatican, warned the clergy to stay away from the politics of global warming that rests on invalid computer models.
    · Freeman Dyson. The architect of the merger of three versions of quantum electrodynamics, and arguably the greatest British physicist alive, studied climate computer models and found them wanting.
    · Claude Allegre, of the Institute of Geophysics of Paris, devised a dating system for rocks, based on isotopes, which revolutionized the study of the chronology of geological changes. He recently published a book: L’Imposture Climatique, ou la Fausse Écologie, a title that shows a piece of his mind. An early supporter of the global warming cause, he turned away in disgust at the antics of environmental activists.
    The vitriolic attacks of environmental propaganda backfire when they vilify scientists of this caliber as shills of the big bad oil companies.
    The claim of Al Gore that 2500 United Nations climate scientists hold the last word, as trained professionals, has deceived a credulous public into believing that there is a climate science with predictive capacity, known to the select few. Until recent times no university offered a B.Sc. degree in climate science. Climate studies draw on one hundred different fields, such as: meteorology; oceanography; mathematics, physics; chemistry; geology; fluid mechanics; paleontology; botany; zoology; etc. There is no scientific consensus and no 2500 climate scientists around.
    Another false claim is that the climate studies summarized in the four Assessment Reports of the UN since 1990 are based on peer-reviewed science. What the Climategate scandals revealed is the failure of peer review, when a narrow circle of researchers under the same roof reviewed their own work, carried away by the notion that they were saving the planet.
    What transpires is that peer-review of such studies remains to be done. If a paper on climate is found wanting, it should be withdrawn and all subsequent papers, based on it, should also be withdrawn, even if this means scrapping all Assessment Reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as a prelude to a fresh and unbiased start. As they stand, such UN Reports offer no justification for radical public policies to de-carbonize the world economy to roll it back to an 18th century agrarian economy.
    Welcome to 1984, when the former Workshop of the World would be denuded of industry in order to save the planet. Air travel should cease because it is against Nature. “If God wanted man to fly, man would have wings” is not a Christian belief; it is a tenet of environmental true believers.
    There are calls by the relativistic ideologues to do away with science, since they say it is uncertain and blocks prompt action. In its place they demand “societal values”. The legal requirement that public regulatory powers be based on sound science now takes second place to the “precautionary principle”. In a nutshell, it establishes that where science is not settled, bureaucratic whim trumps science. An egregious case was the ban on use of aluminum sulfate in water supply treatment of a large Australian city, because some medical research had pointed to a possible link of aluminum to Alzheimer’s disease, Further medical research has since refuted such a link, but the ban remains because it is politically correct.
    Such perversion by “post-normal science” finds a parallel in the secularist corrosion of political institutions of English speaking countries, previously thought to be immune to it. The onslaught against civil liberties in Britain during the New Labour years now spreads to the United States.
    New Labour introduced Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs), decrees that tell individuals to behave how the authorities want – or else… A local authority can issue an ASBO forbidding an individual from walking down a certain street, from swearing in public or from wearing specific clothes, with no legal proof that the citizen is guilty of anything. ASBOs are rulings at the whim of local officials and on the basis of hearsay, not evidence. Those who disobey an ASBO may be jailed for five years without trial. It is now popular, but will come full circle against those who find it fun to pester neighbors over trivialities. Civil liberties that hark back to Magna Charta will once again be cherished.
    New Labour proposes ID cards, unheard of in English speaking countries; a list of suspect citizens in the hands of the powers-that-be. Only Czarist Russia had them, a century ago, when the world had abolished passports as a relic of 18th century oppressive regimes. Russians were then the butt of jokes: “A Russian has three parts: body, soul, and ID papers”. Mussolini liked the idea perfected by Lenin, and brought it to Italy, where citizens did not deserve the confidence of Fascist authorities. The ultimate use of ID is seen in North Korea: the owner of a bicycle must first call at a police station to record the route he intends to follow.
    In 1997 there were few CCTV surveillance cameras in the UK. Today Britain has one fifth of the world’s CCTV cameras, more than five million, one camera for every three households. Some cameras are equipped with automatic number-plate recognition, face recognition and behavior recognition, with software to analyze movements in images in search of suspicious behavior. Operators in bunkers use loudspeakers to shout orders at those who litter, loiter, or display movements deemed suspect to them.
    Parliament had long refused to allow the creation of a police force in Britain, uncongenial with tradition and in view of the evil reputation of Continental police. But London was riddled with pickpockets. Robert Peel, as Home Secretary in 1829, got authority to form the Metropolitan Police, with the pledge that his “Bobbies” would remain unarmed. Firearms were kept under lock, and could only be carried by policemen after written authorization that laid down in precise terms the circumstances under which they could be fired. In the 21st century, New Labour gave policemen arms and discretion in their use. There are now thousands of them on the streets, and an early victim was an innocent electrician, murdered by policemen while on his way to work.
    A quest in British schools aims at finding “socially conscious” children to be pressed into service of the government to “remind adults to act responsibly on our streets,” as an official press release puts it. Turning children into informers is the practice of totalitarian regimes.
    Pubs were traditionally free from restraints, as places where you could smoke, get drunk, shout, and swear to your heart’s content. Smoking is now banned in all pubs, clubs and workplaces across the UK. Toilets are now pasted with public health posters warning of the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, sexually transmitted diseases and drugs.
    New Labour has turned the pub and other things into outlets for its propaganda. In 2005, the “Football and Health” drive was launched to harness the mass appeal of football to promote healthy living. “Football is an important part of many people’s lives; it provides great opportunities to get across key messages about healthy, active lives,” brazenly justified one New Labour minister. Football fans, that pay to enter a stadium to see a match, are now served leaflets, they never asked for, about sexual health, the dangers of smoking, how much fruit they should eat.
    Couples who want to adopt a child to be brought up by a mother and father are rejected by adoption panels and vilified as “homophobic” when they declare themselves Christians. Secularists fear a biblical morality that regards an anti-human lifestyle as sinful.
    Since Biblical religion underpins reason and morality, the erosion of science and civil liberties in the West has followed the erosion of traditional religion. In its place emerges lawless rule by busybody, as it has been for most of history and still is, in much of a world that gropes to climb out of it.

  • EconRon

    I would love to see a Gallop question: do you believe the natural cycles of mother nature have an impact on the climate?

  • Chad

    you’ll take a magnifying glass to Al Gore’s infamous graph that he uses in “An Inconvenient Truth” which supposedly shows a near perfect corellation between CO2 levels and temperature levels, you’ll see that CO2 levels actually LAG changes in planetary temperatures, usually by several hundred years,

    Wrong on two accounts. First, the temperature increases and CO2 increases overlap for most of their respective increases, which endured for thousands of years. Second, you do not even seem to have a basic grasp of the idea of a postive feedback: IT DOES NOT MATTER WHICH HAPPENS FIRST.

    Yes, historically, A caused B, which caused A, which caused B and C, both of which caused more A, which caused more B and C, etc. Your claim seems to be that B cannot set off the same feedback loop, which is obviously wrong.

    So historically, you are correct: a bunch of CO2 did not magically fly out of the ground, warming the planet, which then melted ice and released more CO2, further warming the planet, etc. Rather, warming occured for other reasons (usually astronomical and/or geological), which then caused a release of greenhouse gases and ice melt, which then caused more warming and set off the loop. But that is nothing more than trivia. The point is that the feedback exists, not which one happens to trigger it naturally.

    Oh, and before you get confused, not all positive feedback loops are run-away. Depending on how the numbers work out, they may simply work as an amplifier. For example, if each A causes a B, and each B causes half an A, you will get ~2 A’s for each one that is added externally (the one you added plus the one from feedback). Only if you get more than one A for each B (or vice versa) will you get a runaway scenario. Venus serves as an example of the latter.

  • http://www.freespeechamerica.org Alex Hart

    Aside from the fact that global warming may or may not be true; and if , that this is man-made, the environmentalists, in their misguided zeal to prove a political agenda, are their own worst enemies.

    Had they spent their time perfecting their computer models and verifying that their research, and data, was indeed correct, they might have come off as credible. As it turns out, through their MO, they have torpedoed the very thing they desired; action.

    Fools are present on both sides of every issue. The most valid of points will become mote when mote people are allowed to muck up the works.

  • EconRon

    Ted, the earth may be warming (that is debatable, of course) but even if it is, it is not at its WARMEST It has been warmer in the past: hundreds of years ago; thousands of years ago; hundreds of thousands of years ago; millions of years ago.

    The real denier are those that deny Mother Nature’s natural fluctuations.

    Google science ROTFLMAO.

  • EconRon

    Chad there is no proof of positive feedback. Roy Spencer suggests negative feedback.

    You deniers of nature fail to deal with Greenland being green in the past and an ice free north coast of Canada such that one could take a sailing ship from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

    All you deniers of mother nature do is time slice.

  • kcom

    The observation by Paul on the relationship between gnostocracy and meritocracy was very perceptive.

    The first would seem to be a direct consequence of the second but, as the author of the post points out, it is impossible to design a system (among human beings, at least) “which promotes only ‘good’ and ‘honest’ gnostocrats to power and keeps out the charlatans, and the frauds.” There is no objective standard for what constitutes “merit” and I’m sure my idea of what is meritable would not correspond with the ideas of your average writer at the New York Times – no matter how convinced they were that they were right.

  • Akatsukami

    “something the denier cult always glosses over is that the physics of greenhouse gases have not changed since they were discovered well before Al Gore was born. ”

    That’s correct, Ted. So why does the green denier cult expect us to believe that an optically-thick concentrayion of carbon dioxide will trap an infinite amount of energy? Are they merely assuming that people are as innumerate as they are, or are they hoping to slake their greed and lust for power?

  • http://revolution.calling.you.wordpress.com RCY

    added by trofmodore:

    The bottom line is that the earth is warming and the only thing that explains the warming is the increase in CO2; not solar, volcanos or Zeus. This is documented in the scientific literature, go read it. GW denialists really need to get their act together and demonstrate that either the earth is not warmer than it should be (and publish it) or find out another reason the earth is warming (and publish it).

    This is as ass-backwards as it can be. First off, much of what has been published in favor of global warming has been debunked. So let’s not pretend what been published has any more scientific value that Greek Mythology. And with that said, we can happily assume that the Earth should actually be warmer than it is today, and other factors provide a ‘drag’ on that global temperature. It’s as good an explanation as what is being farmed out by the global warming cult.

  • http://www.archaeopteyxgr.blogspot.com archaeopteryx

    Another 15 or so points to go. This is insane! Have you people, in the US, dropped high school physics? Or do you suddendly trust railway engineers with your wallet?

  • Rick Jones

    The author has once again skewered the righteous purveyers of purported wisdom and expertise.

    The Obama Administration is the perfect example of the gnostacracy that the author warns of.

    Why should any of us be surprised with Barack Obama’s abysmal failure to meet the challenges that history has provided to him.

    Obama and his cohorts are the greatest collection of inexperienced, ignorant neophytes incapable of learning from their mistakes that we have seen since the days of Jimmy Carter. At least Carter had his goofy family for comic relief and one term under his belt as the governor of the great state of Georgia.

    Barack Obama is perfect proof how the product of an elite education married to social-democratic-corporatists ideology that is delivered in silky reassuring tones will completely fail to even come close to solving the great economic and political issues of the day.

    Liberals and their enablers have done us all a favor of giving Homo Americanus a good example of what happens when unhinged liberalism has a go at running a country as large, complex and important as the USA.

    Liberals, I thank you for your contribution to building the future conservative majority that will guide us out of this collectivist wilderness.

  • russ in nc

    All these political fights over science makes a mockery of Obama’s pledge to “put science back in its rightful place” as a driver of policy. Consider for a moment that the Human Race could cease to exist tomorrow and the global temperature would cool by only one-half of one degree. Humans are not capable of cooling the globe. Also consider that Humans suffered terribly in cooler “ice ages” gone by. Warmer is better. And it’s not just Humans. Jungles do not exist in cold latitudes but along the equator where it is warmest. Political policies that focus on cooling the globe are precisely backwards.

  • K2K

    I lost my faith in the gnosticrats at a town meeting on ‘greening’ two years ago. I suggested people could plant long-lived, high-carbon sequestring trees like oak and white pine on their property. The gnostic-facilitator warned that was a bda idea because 1) in one hundred years, those trees would die and release the carbon back in the atmosphere, and 2) planting trees on my 1/3 acre plot would dangerously reduce the albedo effect of snow cover in the winter.

    I went home and planted another red oak, and then used my electric dryer to dry a load of towels to protest the insanity.

  • John Barker

    “Gnostocracy”

    Has Mead invented a new word? Somebody should contact the OED people.

  • thestate

    trafamadore wrote:

    >>and the only thing that explains the warming is the increase in CO2<>GW denialists really need to get their act together and demonstrate that either the earth is not warmer than it should be (and publish it) or find out another reason the earth is warming (and publish it<<

    Bollocks! The burden of proof has always been on the claimant not on the skeptic. The alarmists have not satisfied their burden of proof and to make matters worse purposefully omitted uncertainty analysis in their data.

    Sources: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,694484,00.html

    http://discovermagazine.com/2010/apr/10-it.s-gettin-hot-in-here-big-battle-over-climate-science

    And lastly if you want a published scientific (physics) objection to the claims made by climatologists, read LEFT WING rabble-rouser Alexander Cockburn (which therefore obliterates your assertion that "denialists" work for "industry or conservative think tanks"), who cites German scientists who have published their claim that "greenhouse" theory violates the second law of thermodynamics.

    Cockburn: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/12/24/anthropogenic_global_warming_is_a_farce.html

  • thestate

    The first part of my post was to address that CO2 is most certainly NOT the only explanation for the earth’s warming, and that it in fact is a very poor explanation as it violates the second law of thermodynamics.

  • Peter

    Yes, the man-made global warming hoax is dying, havibng been exposed as a big government power grab based on shoddy science.

    As to what Al Gore was thinking: He was thinking of all the money he was going to get (and did get) by feecing the suckers.

  • Chad

    Chad there is no proof of positive feedback. Roy Spencer suggests negative feedback.

    You deniers of nature fail to deal with Greenland being green in the past and an ice free north coast of Canada such that one could take a sailing ship from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

    All you deniers of mother nature do is time slice.

    Roy Spencer can “suggest” anything he likes. But he has to back it up with data, which he lacks. The major negative feedback that deniers have hanging your hats on – clouds – very well might be positive

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/Clement-et-al-cloud-feedback-Science-2009.pdf

    and even if it isn’t, it is small…far too small to stop the many known and documented positive feedbacks.

  • Chad

    Chad there is no proof of positive feedback. Roy Spencer suggests negative feedback.

    Which of the following do you not believe has been proven:

    1: Water’s vapor pressure increases with temperature

    2: Ice melts when you heat it

    3: Ice has a higher albedo than rock

    You would have to demonstrate that at least two of those are false in order to defend your claim that positive feedbacks aren’t proven. It is only a question of how big they are, and multiple lines of evidence lead to the same conclusion: doubling CO2 equals 3C in the short term, and probably a bit more in the long term

  • ken anthony

    Chad you are arguing that the lives of billions of people should be put into the hands of those both intellectual AND ignorant.

    If both A increases B and B increases A, it doesn’t matter how small the increases if they don’t change you have a runaway effect. Only if A or B decreases the other will stability occur.

    Is climate stable or runaway. History suggests very stable. It seems to have more to do with solar habitable zones than anything else. We can adapt to the variations without intellectuals taking over everybody elses lives.

  • Bart

    What do you want to bet that “trafamadore (sic)”, Chad, and Ted have no formal training of their own in a scientific or technological field? Idiots.

  • max

    gnostocracy is poor neologism to describe the system you envision, gnosis connotes knowledge based upon revelation instead of education (episteme is the cognate of knowledge in the sense of that which is learned in schools, and no I am not going to look up the coding for the Greek alphabet) . A better choice would be technocracy, rule by experts (scientists, engineers and such), a word which has been used before and fits well with your argument.

    Other than that I like the argument but gnostocracy doesn’t really fit with it.

  • Arty

    I don’t know a single individual who ‘believes in’ global warming that has made anything other than the most insignificant changes to their lives to combat global warming. They all own multiple vehicles, buy the biggest house they can afford and fly to Thiland or the Cook Islands for their vacations. They give lip service to paying higher taxes while sheltering as much money as they can get away with. Climate change was cool and edgy for a few years but people’s livlihoods are now being threatened and they are moving on to more imporatant things, like reality. So Chad and Ted and Thermodor, you’re out of sync with what’s going on around you and if you’re not careful you’ll end up looking like those guys who were still wearing duck-tail haircuts and white socks in the sixties. It’s done, it’s over! Do the words ‘get a life’ mean anything to you?

  • Legalize

    @Chad,

    The energy output of the sun has changed significantly in the past three years. The sun has entered a deep solar minimum and hasn’t hit bottom yet. You are ignorant of solar science.

    The MSM censors any info on the state change the sun has undergone b/c it contradicts Global Warming and the MSM’s job is to filter information that might confuse the masses.

    Still, you could have an inquistive mind and discover this on your own. But prob the only thing u learned in school was to use a #2 pencil to choose between preselected As, Bs, Cs, and Ds.

    – Scott

  • EconRon

    “Which of the following do you not believe has been proven:
    “1: Water’s vapor pressure increases with temperature

    2: Ice melts when you heat it

    3: Ice has a higher albedo than rock

    You would have to demonstrate that at least two of those are false in order to defend your claim that positive feedbacks aren’t prove:”

    Strawman. Clouds. Clouds prove negative feedback. This is like arguing religion with you people. It is like arguing with a moslem that altering the sex organs of young girls are bad. If you believe sending your child out of the US to be mutilated there is no arguing with you people.

    You guys are pathetic. You are the deniers. You deny Mother Nature. The climate is NOT at its warmest, but you claim that CO2 is at the highest. That is the fundamental flaw in your theory. Every thing else from you AGW types is mental masturbation.

  • http://wmdaly.blogspot.com Pink Pig

    Well said.

  • Chad

    What do you want to bet that “trafamadore (sic)”, Chad, and Ted have no formal training of their own in a scientific or technological field? Idiots

    How much you willing to bet?

    And how much of a bonus to I get for not only proving you wrong on this point, but utterly leaping over whatever criteria you set? Btw, you might want to read up on Dunning-Kruger effect before you continue to debate me.

  • Chad

    If both A increases B and B increases A, it doesn’t matter how small the increases if they don’t change you have a runaway effect. Only if A or B decreases the other will stability occur.M

    Wrong. You clearly did not understand my math above. Please try harder. Positive feedbacks do not always lead to runaway effects. They only “runaway” if a loop from A to B to A creates at least one new unit of A (or vice versa). If the positive feedback creates between zero and one units of A for each A-B-A loop, the number of A’s that would result from an initial pulse of A is finite. In the case of AGW, it is around three or so. The CO2 we are likely to release would heat the planet by about a degree on its own, and both basic physics and the historical record indicate this will get amplified by a factor of three or more due to water vapor, greenhouse gases, and ice albedo (among others).

    “Stability” is not a dichotomy, as you are trying to make it out to be.

  • John Barker

    Max

    I like gnostocracy since I have read critiques by physicists charging that humanities professors often have a superficial understanding of science derived from reading popular rather than professional literature; they use their own interpretation of popular simplifications and apply them broadly in contexts that make little sense to the scientists. This approach has been successfully parodied. Moreover, economists have almost created a cult about the free market. Remember that Ayn Rand was present at Greenspan’s confirmation. Is this not evidence of a Devotional Order of Ayn? Is this reason or faith?

  • mac

    Chaddy, Teddy,

    You boys just don’t get it, do you? Not surprising. Changes in solar output have been happening, and quite recently. If you want to see a graph that tracks Earth’s temperature changes far better than any of the bilge Al Gore promotes, check out sunspot activity. It’s gone way down, and with it has gone the warming you AGW folks were screaming about.

    AGW partisans are either fools or knaves. If there is any silver lining to the economic disaster that is now unfolding worldwide, it will be that nonsense such as AGW gets binned without further ado. You animists can go back to worshipping trees and let the adults get on with running the planet.

  • Tim 0

    Hmm. Yes. We should listen to plumbers rather than scientists, Catholic priests rather than astronomers, Glen Beck rather than Paul Krugman. Lets examine your five flaws:
    1) Gnostocrats even at their best are prone to mistakes because scientific knowledge is by its nature evolving; the social sciences and the science of extremely complicated systems (think economics) most vital to politics like economics are the most error prone and the least capable of achieving accurate knowledge.

    True, but I would rather have Warren Buffet tell me how to invest my money than the guy catching the bus on the street corner. We’re ALL prone to mistakes, but if somebody’s going to dump chemicals into the ocean, I’d rather have it be somebody who had some idea of what the possible ramifications of the action might be than my next door neighbor who routinely pours turpentine down the drain.

    2) Political choices involve matters of morals and personal preference which cannot be decided by scientific procedures.

    Some can, some can not. But informed choices are generally better than uninformed choices.

    3) No process of selection can be designed which promotes only ‘good’ and ‘honest’ gnostocrats to power and keeps out the charlatans, and the frauds.

    Personally I’d trust a scientist over the CEO of an oil company any day of the week. It just is not that easy to get a near majority of a scientific community to get on board with a theory. It happens and mistakes are made, but generally the frauds stand out like a big fat sore thumb.

    4) Finally as a group scientists have interests other than pure science and knowledge (such as promoting gnostocracy thereby gaining power and wealth for themselves).

    No doubt. But scientists usually get into science for more than just a profit motivation, whereas financial analysts, oil guys, cookie guys – their bottom line is the buck — and since they control the politicians at this point, I’d rather have an expert in some kind of actual field than a person picked out of a phone book.

    Bottom line is this. No, you probably don’t want a government made up of ‘experts’. But you don’t want a government made up of people who haven’t demonstrated a degree of intellectual curiosity, a respect for science, a long term interest in history, etc. These are people who are best able to seek the counsel of ‘experts’ while having some cynicism in regard to the extent of an single individual to have a lock on knowledge. In other words – no Sarah Palins.

  • mogar

    Global Warming theory is a farce and a fraud perpetrated by a bunch of carnival barker’s intent on make either a buck or a name for themselves or both.
    The theory itself has so many holes in it and of such a size that it couldn’t hold dump trucks let alone water. These twits see an ice cube melting on a sidewalk and start shouting GLOBAL WARMING!

  • trafamadore

    I have a question for trafamadore, above. Why has the temperature on Mars increased in the last century?

    …the article you are referring to only covers 3 martian years and is based on the southern ice cap. The changes on our own arctic cap are much more dramatic.

    Transformadore, you are 100% wrong. There is absolutely ZERO evidence to support the theory that atmospheric CO2 levels drive climate change.

    …100% wrong? Even GW denialists are not 100% wrong. More like 99%…anyway, CO2 in the past did not always force the climate; now it is. Deal with it.

    for trafamadore:“In his paper, Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, shows how CFCs – compounds once widely used as refrigerants – and cosmic rays – energy particles originating in outer space – are mostly to blame for climate change, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

    if you read the paper not the web summary, you will see they are mainly talking about the south pole, and suggest that the reason we dont see GW there is because it may have already happened.

    Maybe trafamadore should consider that the SUPREME GORON no longer fears rising oceans…

    …maybe I should become a millionare….

    Transformadore, 20 million years ago the sea levels were 250 feet higher than where it is today causing massive sand dunes to form through the central Carolinas of NA.

    …20 million years ago there werent cities 1 m above sea level.

    The burden of proof has always been on the claimant not on the skeptic.

    …the null hypothesis was that GW wasnt happening, and that has been shown to be incorrect. Hence, now YOU haf to show that the hundreds of studies are somehow incorrect. Sorry, that’s the way science works. Get you little thermometer out and start measuring!!!

    What do you want to bet that “trafamadore (sic)”, Chad, and Ted have no formal training of their own in a scientific or technological field?

    …dream on

  • valwayne

    I’d have to say my confidence in Climate experts sunk to 0 when I found out they manipulated the data to show the results they wanted, destroyed raw data, refused to share any data or results that contradicted what they wanted to show, worked to censor and destroy people who questioned them, etc etc etc. Can you imagine anybody taking a new drug if you knew the results had been manipulated and the raw data destroyed merely because the scientists said never mind all that we’re still right…we think? Not likely, and yet politicians like Al Gore and Obama want to spend trillions, radically increase the power of Government, and reduce the living standards of all living Americans….except of course for rich liberals who are, and apparently plan to continue flying around in private jets and having a higher carbon footprints than the average working American has in a 1000 years. No thank you…for the time being I’ll keep my freedom, and my money, until honest reliable scientists, not politicians and phonies, prove the case and present a plan of action that makes sense.

  • Jim F

    Chad: You are an idiot and a contentious fool. Global climate changes all the time. Humans have little to do with it, historically, currently or in the future. As to CO2 content of the atmosphere, we are near the lowest value known in the last 600 million years (for which reasonably good values obtain; prior to the, who knows). Take your religion and go away.

  • bigpurpleguy
  • Karl Maier

    The simple fact that they had to change the name from “Global Warming” to “Climate Change” is a sure sign that we are being fed a line of BS.

  • JS

    The word isn’t gnostocracy, it’s Noocracy (for philosopher-kings) or Technocracy (for scientist-kings).

  • DaMav

    Absolutely excellent analysis — perhaps an actual paradigm shift (which is more elusive than a Higgs Boson).

    Not the Global Warming part, but the gnostocracy model. Expand that in a future article please. Contrast Kennedy’s best and brightest vs Obama as the gnostocrat believed by many to be embued with magical powers.

  • max

    John Barker

    I also like the word, it has uses (like the IMF some times – I’m a free-marketeer but I think they have gone overboard at times with pushing free-markets) but the system being described isn’t one. The system described is a plain old technocracy (like the USSR used to have) and while gnostocracy is a good word it isn’t a good descriptor of the system as presented.

    Mind you there is an argument to be made that the anti-CO2-global-government would be a gnostocracy, but the article doesn’t make it.

  • Julius Mopper

    About this whole thing, the post, the comments, everything: Wow, just wow. I can’t even think of where to begin.

    Mazel Tov, America.

  • Pingback: the failure of gnostocracy

  • http://thingumbobesquire.blogspot.com/ Thingumbobesquire

    There is another Greek term which quite aptly applies to the foregoing screed on this blog: Delphic. It misdirects the poor, misguided “rabble” in much the same way as they are shackled in Plato’s myth of the cave. It pretends to be oracular like those priests of Delphi, when in actual fact it is only babbling on about the illusory shadows cast on the cave wall. There is the malodorous whiff of a Karl Popper-like enraged hatred of Plato that pervades this blog.
    The truth is that our “Republic” was set up as the rule of the wise. But the wise are not the oligarchs that whipped up the rabble for Socrates’ judicial murder on the specious charge that he was blaspheming the gods (who, of course, were made in the image of those very same capricious oligarchs that hated Socrates.) The wise are not the Harvard Boston Brahmins, who along with their British kissing cousins traded and in opium and grew wealthy on their ill gotten gains. Their heirs are today’s one worlders and radical environmentalists, just as in the past they were the back to nature Boston Brahmin sponsored transcendental “frogpondians,” to use Edgar Alan Poe’s term.
    Mr Swift not only saw through the control of faked”science” by them in his tale of Laputa, he also saw through their control over politics with their tactic of setting the populace at each others throats over nothing more than which side of the egg they chose to crack. This is what the Lilliputians were going to war over. This is the tactic of creating a gang and a counter gang. Like Kitson’s Mau Mau operation.
    So, while it is quite the truth that global warming is junk science like the Laputans carried out. We must not fall into the Delphic snare of irrational populist hatred of true science. For the truth is that it is the destiny of humanity to defeat today’s would be Olympian gods that hate the Promethean nature of science to transform society by uplifting the standard of living of the “rabble’” through ever more breakthroughs in discovery and control of energy dense technologies. Today that means nuclear energy from a virtually unlimited supply of thorium, tomorrow it means thermonuclear fusion. Farther down along the road we will discover how to control matter/anti-matter reactions.

  • Chad

    Chaddy, Teddy,

    You boys just don’t get it, do you? Not surprising. Changes in solar output have been happening, and quite recently.

    Umm, we are stuck in one of the deepest soloar minimums in centuries and have been setting record-setting temperatures for months on end, and you are blaming the sun. *facepalm* *double facepalm* *quadruple facepalm*

    Please review the Dunning-Kruger effect. You really are missing it’s main point (which only goes to prove it).

    <iIIf you want to see a graph that tracks Earth’s temperature changes far better than any of the bilge Al Gore promotes, check out sunspot activity. It’s gone way down, and with it has gone the warming you AGW folks were screaming about.

    Dear God. What are you talking about?

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

    Unfortunately, this chart ends a couple years ago. The temperature data is now (literally) off that chart, while the sunspot activity has just begun to climb out of its very deep hole.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

  • Chad

    Chad: You are an idiot and a contentious fool. Global climate changes all the time. Humans have little to do with it, historically, currently or in the future. As to CO2 content of the atmosphere, we are near the lowest value known in the last 600 million years (for which reasonably good values obtain; prior to the, who knows). Take your religion and go away

    The last time CO2 was as high as it will be later this century, most of the middle latitudes were desert, and the “temperate” latitudes had giant lizards as the dominant biological paradigm. I am sorry, but my “religion” says passing through a mass extinction and making a significant fraction of the earth’s surface uninhabitable for anything other than cockroaches and bacteria, all so the few of us who survive can watch dinosaurs re-evolve in Siberia, is not a good idea. Of course, that’s towards the extreme end of predictions…but so is your “well, nothing bad will happen because I have my fingers in my ears and am wishing really hard”.

  • Rosemary

    In ten or twenty years I see Al Gore’s Invconvenient Truth becoming the equivalent of “Reefer Madness”. a prior generations hysteria becomes a future generations comic relief. Someone should do some side by side cutaway clip comparisons.

  • itsspideyman

    Wrong on two accounts. First, the temperature increases and CO2 increases overlap for most of their respective increases, which endured for thousands of years. Second, you do not even seem to have a basic grasp of the idea of a postive feedback: IT DOES NOT MATTER WHICH HAPPENS FIRST.

    Doesn’t matter? It violates one of the principles of causal relationships: temporal sequencing. B must follow A in order for A to affect B. Now it could be conomittant variation, in which B moves in alignment with A, and they have a correlation. But without temporal sequencing the principle of causal relationship breaks down.

  • http://taxdaytampabay.com/index.html Jacksonian

    Mead: “This is partly because the goal that the climate change movement so unwisely set out (Al Gore, what were you thinking?) is so unrealistic that almost nothing could make it work. ”

    What was the Left thinking? Heh, they were thinking the AGW Alarmism was a god-send because it justified everything they wanted to do already: create the most invasive administration state possible.

    The AGW constituency is divided between the rubes (who were the true believers) and those on the Left (for who AGW was just the most effective weapon against limited government that they had at hand.) The later knew that the purported issue was not the real issue; the real issue was obtaining power.

  • Cornel

    “Cult: pejoratively refers to a group whose beliefs or practices could be, reasonably or unreasonably, considered strange.[1] The term originally denoted a system of ritual practices. The narrower, derogatory sense of the word is a product of the 20th century, especially since the 1980s, and is considered subjective, and is a result of the anti-cult movement, which uses the term in reference to groups seen as authoritarian, exploitative and possibly dangerous.

    The popular, derogatory sense of the term has no currency in academic studies of religions, where “cults” are subsumed under the neutral label of “new religious movement”, while academic sociology has partly adopted the popular meaning of the term.[2][3][4]”

    That’s from Wikipedia. It seems to me that “cult” is a better term to describe the “alarmists” rather than the “deniers”.

  • Legalize

    @Chad,

    The link you have to global temps is made-up data. We didn’t have a global network of temperature stations in 1895. It relies on incomplete, massaged data.

    This past winter had record cold and snow in the US, Europe and Asia. But the GW scientists say it was the warmest winter *ever*. They say it was superhot in all the places where no one lives and that more than balanced out the cold in places where people live.

    Who are you going to believe, Al Gore or your lying eyes?

    Temps flatlined 10 years ago and began a rapid descent 3 years ago.

    Try this logic.

    As said before, established science has always linked climate to:

    a) changes in the energy output of the sun
    b) changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun
    c) changes in the Earth’s angle of rotation on its axis
    d) gradual topographic changes to the surface of the Earth as well as ocean currents which alter weather patterns.

    Along comes AGW “science” which says CO2 is not only a new cause (unproven) but it *invalidates* all points a) through d). There are no new published papers in solar or oceanic literature showing their own science wrong. But AGW says, just ignore it.

  • Chad

    Doesn’t matter? It violates one of the principles of causal relationships: temporal sequencing. B must follow A in order for A to affect B. Now it could be conomittant variation, in which B moves in alignment with A, and they have a correlation. But without temporal sequencing the principle of causal relationship breaks down.M

    *facepalm* You don’t even have half a clue how stupid you are, do you? We are talking about FEEDBACKS, you twit. A causes B *and* B causes A. Duh.

    And in that case, no, it doesn’t matter which happens first.

  • JC

    Overall an excellent article. I do believe, however, that you misconstrue the Greek for “gnostocracy.” I’m no expert, but I’m reasonably certain that “-cracy” comes from ‘kratos’ (or the verb ‘krateo’) meaning strength or might or perhaps rule. That doesn’t really change how you use the term which strikes me (contra Max above) as a perfect neologism for this phenomenon. Global warming comes off as an article of faith first and only then does the science follow to confirm it sort of like Intelligent Design. I also like the resonance between ‘gnostic’ and Voegelin’s use of the term which again seems apt. Finally, there are those who think that the ‘best city in speech’ that Plato has Socrates create is intended ironically to show defects of the rule of philosophers, not to advocate it.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      Good catch! Thanks.

  • Chad

    The link you have to global temps is made-up data. We didn’t have a global network of temperature stations in 1895. It relies on incomplete, massaged data.

    Uh huh. The data is all made up. Is that the best argument you can come up with? If so, you have no argument at all.

    This past winter had record cold and snow in the US, Europe and Asia. But the GW scientists say it was the warmest winter *ever*.

    Ever heard of this thing called “Earth”? It contains a lot of places other than the few that you listed.

    They say it was superhot in all the places where no one lives and that more than balanced out the cold in places where people live.

    Well, except for the billions who DON’T live in those areas.

    Temps flatlined 10 years ago and began a rapid descent 3 years ago.

    Citation, please. This is a quadruple dog dare.

    a) changes in the energy output of the sun

    Not consistent with numerous lines of data, and changes are both too weak to have caused the changes AND do not correlate anyway.

    b) changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun
    c) changes in the Earth’s angle of rotation on its axis
    d) gradual topographic changes to the surface of the Earth as well as ocean currents which alter weather patterns.

    Have not changed.

    You are a prime example of Dunning-Kruger. You aren’t even smart enough to realize that you don’t have half a clue.

  • Bart

    Comment by Chad – May 15, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

    “And how much of a bonus to I get for not only proving you wrong on this point, but utterly leaping over whatever criteria you set?”

    As I detail below, you already failed the test.

    Comment by Chad – May 15, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    “If the positive feedback creates between zero and one units of A for each A-B-A loop, the number of A’s that would result from an initial pulse of A is finite.”

    Incorrect. This is negative feedback. If a feedback creates between zero and one units of A for each A-B-A loop, then it is indicative of negative feedback, which is naturally stabilizing.

    I encounter this a lot with “climate science” people. They have no idea of the provenance of the terms “positive” and “negative” feedback. They think a positive feedback is when you have a variable x at step k, which I will denote x(k), which obeys a difference equation of the type

    x(k) = a*x(k-1)

    and “a” is a positive number. But, negative and positive feedback are terms which evolved from the study of analog systems which obeyed differential equations of the type

    xdot = b*x

    where “xdot” is the derivative with respect to time. Negative feedback is when the number “b” is negative. Then, one can show that x goes to zero exponentially. If b is positive, x will grow without bound. This is the entire raison d’etre of the terms “negative” and “positive” for describing feedback. It determines the boundary between stable and unstable systems. In your paradigm, I can have “a” equal a negative number with magnitude greater than one and still have an unstable system. There is no particular utility in speaking of feedbacks as “positive” or “negative” in discrete time systems, except insofar as they refer to the feedback sign in the continuous time counterpart.

    One can discretize the differential equation such that, at the kth time instant

    x(k) = exp(b*T)*x(k-1)

    where T is the time period between samples. The term exp(b*T) is less than unit magnitude if “b” is negative, and greater than unit magnitude if “b” is positive. Thus, in the first difference equation above, a value of “a” between zero and unity represents negative feedback, whereas a value greater than unity represents positive feedback. The difference between positive and negative feedback thus depends on the logarithm of the “units of A for each A-B-A loop”.

    The only way a truly positive feedback can be stabilized is if it is embedded within a system with more powerful negative feedback. The Earth’s temperature system has this property, as T^4 radiation represents a veritably insurmountable negative feedback. However, within such an overall negative feedback system, a locally positive feedback can generate amplification. That is THE key to the discussion: the entire AGW hysteria depends on the assertion of locally positive water vapor feedback, which is built into ALL the GCMs. However, Spencer, Lindzen et al. have provided strong evidence that this key feedback is dominated by cloud dynamics, and is at worst neutral, and likely negative. If the latter, then the clouds act as a thermostat mechanism, and a small, finite increase in the rate of CO2 generation will only result in a small, finite increase in global temperature. Indeed, it is almost certainly the latter, because without thermostat feedback, global temperature would be a random walk, and would long ago have wandered off to an extreme boundary.

    No bonus points for you.

  • Bart

    Note to Chad: please read the above carefully and completely before responding. It is, every bit of it, true and correct, no matter what your initial impression. It is standard, elementary control systems theory, which has been researched and refined over centuries of intense study, and thus has a far deeper pedigree than anything you might have learned in your “climate science” classes.

    I grow tired of repeating the same instruction to persons of your limited experience and learning. I always get the same half-baked, shallow, and/or clueless responses. I really hope you have greater patience to take the time to learn, because it really depresses me when I have to repeat the same lecture over and over again.

    If, however, you play true to form, you will pick out some verbiage, twist it to a completely different meaning, pummel that strawman to the ground, and declare victory. If so, I hope you get an endorphin rush from it, because it is unlikely I will revisit this particular page anytime soon, and my further instruction, which would not do any good anyway, because you will just repeat the above procedure, would be to a stale forum which nobody would read. Hasta la vista.

  • Tester

    “The amount of energy we’re getting from the sun in the 20th century continued to go down, but the temperature went up higher than anything we’ve seen in the last 2,000 years,” said team member Nicholas P. McKay of The University of Arizona in Tucson.”

    Wow, you learn something every day. I have always been interested in ancient history but until now I didn’t know that the Romans had temperature measurement stations in in Arctic.

    And the barbarians kept them going after the Romans were finished, amazing! And the Dark Age kings, popes, caliphs etc carried right on keeping the Arctic temperature record up until the Renaissance rulers took over…

    Seems the CRU at East Anglia is older than I thought. Perhaps there was something relevant in the Sutton Hoo site or would that be taking things out of context?

    I wonder why there are practically no temperature measurement stations in the Arctic today? Perhaps they should reactive the old Roman ones and start using the Roman and Visigoth thermometers once again.

    Or perhaps there is no need. They can continue to measure the whole Arctic by using those handful of near Arctic temperature stations which are so handily placed on the cleared tarmac of a few airports near to where the jet exhausts often spew out.

  • Tester

    Choices, choices. What to believe?

    Is Sea-level rising?
    The global warming scientists say sea-level is rising because of global warming. I have lived by the sea for over 50 years and can see that it is the same as when I was a child. Do I believe my eyes or do I believe those scientists?

    Is it hotter than ever?
    I hear that it is now the hottest ever from the scientists but see on the TV and the web that there has been record snowfall from China to Europe to America. I see people died from cold last winter in India and Bangladesh. How can this happen when it is the hottest ever?

    Does Global warming cause bad weather?
    I hear from the global warming crowd that global warming leads to more rain, less rain, more wind, less wind, drought and flood. In fact just about every single piece of bad weather is because of global warming. But I read about floods, droughts etc in ancient, medieval and modern records. What caused all of that bad weather? What dried up the Sahara?

    Is Warming bad?
    Global warming scientists say warming is bad. But I see that people die of cold, crops have failed because of cold and people starved. People constantly migrate to warmer climes when they can safely do so. My fuel bills rise when it gets colder. Why is warming bad?

  • http://inheritedtigers.blogspot.com Jonathan Nolan

    Even in Plato’s model fascism, the gnostocrats as you call them wouldn’t be those called upon to rule. Plato’s ideal rulers were ALL ROUNDERS- military men, athletic, ruthless- as well as being mentally gifted. Not the chicken necked slobs of modern decadent academia.

  • Howlin Wolfe

    Publish or die, GW deniers. “Cooked” as the data may be (in your tiny minds, that is) you dimwits have no proven explanation for the data.
    Enjoy the return of medieval times, “intellectuals”. Try not to stay stuck in front of the mirrors admiring yourselve too much.

  • Kim

    “Publish or die, GW deniers.”

    WE control all the journals. BWAA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

    ‘“Cooked” as the data may be (in your tiny minds, that is) you dimwits have no proven explanation for the data.’

    And, neither do we! But, we’re still going to return you to a pre-industrial, medieval existence. BWAA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

  • Legalize

    @Chad,

    You insult rather than argue your points. Other posters have pointed this out, but I repeat it b/c you insult me.

    Just one of your many inane points:

    Me: This past winter had record cold and snow in the US, Europe and Asia. But the GW scientists say it was the warmest winter *ever*.

    You: Ever heard of this thing called “Earth”? It contains a lot of places other than the few that you listed.

    Requires no comment — I’ll leave it as is for others to judge.

  • Legalize

    @Bart writes:

    Note to Chad: …I grow tired of repeating the same instruction to persons of your limited experience and learning. I always get the same half-baked, shallow, and/or clueless responses.

    You nailed it Bart!

  • Legalize

    @Chad,

    Me: Temps flatlined 10 years ago and began a rapid descent 3 years ago.

    You: Citation, please. This is a quadruple dog dare.

    Here is the NOAA Gov chart showing exactly what I said. This is 115 years of temps for the U.S., not the planet. I use this chart b/c these are reasonably reliable temperatures. No tree rings, no Nazi or Soviet data sets, no guesswork for entirely missing data sets at the poles, etc.

    More importantly, our side predicted the drop you see since 2007 based on the deep solar minimum. Your side predicted the exact opposite. In the end, science is about accurate predictions, not debate points.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/get-file.php?report=national&image=timeseries02&byear=2009&bmonth=01&year=2009&month=12&ext=gif&id=110-00

  • Legalize

    @The Open Minded,

    Today we hit 800 blank suns for this minimum! Woo-hoo! Brrr…

    For comparison:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_solar_cycles

  • Tom Quirk

    Jonathan Swift anticipated the federal structure of Australia. Canberra is the floating Laputa that hovers over distressed citizens of the mainland as it constructs new taxes based on elegant theoretical models

    Worse still, the transfer of incomplete technology from Laputa to the domain below wrecks the economy. Renewable sources of energy?

    But it was a satire on the Royal Society which now seems to be following his script.

  • Pingback: Walter Russell Mead: ‘Green Meltdown’? | Serve to Lead® | James Strock

  • http://www.myhelpmedicalbillingandcoding.com Jennie J.

    “if for no other reason than that agencies like the CIA, organizations like the IMF and corporations like hedge funds and investment banks would like to have faster access to reliable data on shifts in global economic activity.” ~ Yeah, if you think about it, the CO2 emissions is a clear indicator of progress and industrialization on one country or continent, so it can indeed be a basis for as a sign of shift in economic activity..You know what they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

  • http://www.nspioc.org/nspioc/6296 fasting kefir grains

    He who knows little quickly tells it. – Italian Proverb