Increasingly over the last few centuries, science has become the dominant narrative of the West. The spectacular success of natural science in understanding, controlling, and transforming the material world has given science an authority that transcends the old certainties of faith, custom, and tradition. These authorities are now seen as retrograde, illiberal, and dangerous, the realm of superstition and myths that impede the ultimate triumph of progress and the utopia our cognitive elite “brights” who “follow the science” will create once the forces of reaction and unreason are corrected or eliminated.
Yet human nature––“the crooked timber,” as Kant put it, from which “nothing straight can be made”––continues to thwart this optimistic orthodoxy, partly because of our own hubris. We arrogantly claim more knowledge and wisdom and certainty than we actually have, even when talking about the natural world, let alone the unpredictable springs and consequences of our frequently irrational choices and actions. Hence the beliefs and ideals that we think are the fruit of science and reason, often end up to be the detritus of old myths we dress up in the formulas and rhetoric of science.
In a time like the present––with a brutally destructive, potentially nuclear war in Ukraine, a looming global economic disaster, and especially an energy crisis created by our own irrational or venal polices that confuse science and myth––such policies are increasingly suicidal.
The threats to energy supplies, and the punitive costs of the fossil-fuel products that comprise 80% of all the energy we use, are a lesson in the dangers of claiming the unearned certainty of our science, and substituting gratify myths for established facts. Indeed, our current energy difficulties are the direct consequence of the progressives’ feckless “green” energy cult of zero-carbon emissions, and its misguided attempts to replace cheap, abundant fossil fuels with unreliable, expensive “renewable” solar and wind power.
Contrary to its proponents’ assertions, these dangerous policies are not the outcome of real science. The obvious tell is the green cultists’ and grifters’ unscientific, vicious assaults on the critics of the greenhouse-gas hypothesis. Those who challenge the consensus are smeared as “deniers,” a despicable echo of holocaust deniers; or dismissed as tools of Big Oil who should be censored, “cancelled,” and deplatformed for spreading dangerous “disinformation.”
These attempts to shut down critics, apart from violating the First Amendment, contradict the foundational tenet of the scientific method, which is “the method of bold conjectures and ingenious and severe attempts to refute them,” as Karl Popper put it. It’s what physicist Richard Feynman called “a kind of scientific integrity” that requires you “report everything that you think might make [an experiment] invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results.”
But all these efforts, abetted by an establishment media, schools, and popular culture that shill for official climate-change orthodoxy, have not stopped the revisionist researchers who have continued to practice honest science. For decades the claims of anthropogenic, catastrophic global warming have been steadily challenged by more empirically based evidence of an alternative hypothesis to the establishment orthodoxy that CO2 is the most important factor in global warming, as well as the even more dubious claim that in the coming decades, CO2 emitted by humans will heat the planet to catastrophic levels.
The revisionist explanation of global climate warming is laid out in the revised and updated 2007 edition of Unstoppable Global Warning: Every 1500 Years. As authors S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery summarized this research, “The earth is warming but physical evidence from around the world tells us that human-emitted CO2 (carbon dioxide) has played only a minor role. Instead, the mild warming seems to be part of a natural 1,500-year [later revised to 2500 years] climate cycle (plus or minus 500 years) that goes back at least one million years.”
Rather than warmer climate being a dangerous anomaly, “The Earth continually warms and cools. The cycle is undeniable, ancient, often abrupt, and global. It is also unstoppable. Isotopes in the ice and sediment cores, ancient tree rings, and stalagmites tell us it is linked to small changes in the irradiation of the sun.” These cycles also comport with the historical record of the last 2000 years, which documents alternating cycles like the Roman Warming, the Medieval Warming, and the Little Ice Age that ended in 1850, the beginning of the Modern Warming we are now living through.
So, based on an unproven hypothesis that ignores or dismisses alternatives, the developed nations of the West are trying to eliminate the cheap, abundant energy that has created modern, affluent economies. Does that sound like “scientific integrity”?
But even if Singer and Avery and other revisionists are wrong, all the proposed “green” solutions for lowering these apocalyptic temperatures––such as wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, and the most destructive, eliminating fossil fuels––even if achieved will not lower temperatures enough to make a difference despite the trillions of dollars it will cost.
For example, the Wall Street Journal’s Bjorn Lomborg points out that the “International Energy Agency estimates that in 2040 fossil fuels will still meet three-quarters of world energy needs, even if the Paris agreement is fully implemented. The U.N. body responsible for the accord estimates that if every country fulfills every pledge by 2030, CO2 emissions will be cut by 60 billion tons by 2030. That’s less than 1% of what is needed to keep temperature rises below 2.7 degrees. And achieving even that fraction would be vastly expensive—reducing world-wide growth $1 trillion to $2 trillion each year by 2030.”
And when China emits more carbon than the U.S. and the EU combined, it’s irrelevant what the West does to mitigate global warming. Meanwhile, our climate policies and “green new deals” are steering us toward economic disaster.
What explains this unprecedented, collective delusion that a mere hypothesis is “settled science” and adequate enough to justify destroying our economies and immiserating billions of people? Money, of course, is the perennial explanation for human folly. The climate-change industrial complex generates billions, if not trillions of dollars for rent-seeking corporations and venal researchers.
Next, our cultural deference to science, real and imagined, that typifies the modern world leaves us prey to bad ideas as long as they sport the quantitative data and forbidding jargon of real science. And humans, as Carl Sagan once remarked, are loath to let go of a meaningful narrative that defines their identity, status, and virtue: “If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth.” That’s how pernicious ideas like “scientific racism” and eugenics dominated our cognitive elites in the early 20th century.
Another factor less recognized is the persistence of old myths that still influence our understanding of the natural world and humanity’s relationship to it. One of the oldest is the myth of the Golden Age in the Greek poet Hesiod’s Works and Days (c. 700B.C.) The poet describes a people who “lived like gods, without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief . . . and dwelt in ease and peace upon their lands and with many good things.”
What makes this utopia possible is that the natural world “on its own” provides people enough sustenance without the need for human labor or technology. But the cycle has turned, and now that world has degenerated into the Iron Age, a time when “men never rest from labor and sorrow by day, and from the perishing night; and the gods shall lay sore troubles upon them.”
Later versions of the myth, like the first-century B.C. Roman poet Ovid’s, explicitly link these Iron Age technologies like agriculture, mining, metallurgy, cities, laws, and urban civilization to the evils of the Iron Age. Those innovations in turn created private property, seafaring, trade, and wealth, which nurture the “wicked lust for possession,” as Ovid calls it, that foments crime and starts wars. Civilization is the root of all evil, for it has alienated humans from their once harmonious, simple life provided by a beneficent natural world.
These ideals were popularized during the Romantic movement of the late 18th century. That’s when an incipient industrialization––with its rapid social dislocation and clouds of coal smoke from what poet William Blake called “satanic mills” ––made such wish-fulling myths more attractive. More important, Marxism’s hatred of private property and capitalism also found the Golden Age myth a useful weapon for attacking and demonizing free-market economies. Hence the continuing symbiosis today between “green” political parties and socialism, what in Europe is called “watermelons”: green on the outside, red in the inside.
This sensibility of nature-love and discontent with the trade-offs of modern capitalist civilization has permeated environmentalism for decades now, appearing in popular culture and school curricula, and replete with redemptive rituals like Earth Day and recycling. Or take Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg delivering hysterical sermons to world leaders, and predicting doom brough on by their selfishness and greed.
Finally, the green cult is another consequence of secularism, the banishment of faith to the subjective realm of private taste. The place of religion has been taken by an imperious science, the “creed,” G.K. Chesterton presciently wrote in 1922, “that really is levying tithes and capturing schools, the creed that really is enforced by fine and imprisonment, the creed that really is proclaimed not in sermons but statutes, and spread not by pilgrims but by police.”
The green cult that degrades science into scientism is a more dangerous version of such a creed. Without a restoration of the integrity of real science, and its disentanglement from gratifying myths and fantasies, we may well see the apocalypse arrive––not from carbon, but from bad political ideas and policies about the energy that has created the richest, freest, best-fed people in human history.
Barry Spinello says
PUTNAM: “Convention wears a double face.Truth, love, loyalty, honor, all that we most value in ourselves and others, are things fought for, slowly won, and preserved in ritual from one generation to the next. But these rituals, that represent the highest ideal, also represent the worst lie. The new first emerges not as satisfaction of these ideals, but as a contradiction in them. It emerges as hate, as a standing inescapably outside the universal.
But with it’s solution: with an understanding of “the self” in neuroscientific terms, we return to the very rituals that we were forced to reject at first, and now they wear a very different face, symbolizing the highest ideal. After a man has been through suffering, on the other side, when he returns with a task needing implementation, then the very rituals which first appeared as a mask of hypocracy and lie, emerge as the avenues to a greater simplicity and accuracy of expression. They then feel at no point burden, but rather a needed means to economy and openess.
Barry Spinello says
Putnam: “The great nets of science in sweeping the ocean of subjectivity to try and catch a grounding in life, are drawn in upon themselves by their own laws to reveal precisely nothing. Only God is.” Linkage of Syntax, 1966,
Mo de Profit says
95% of scientists discover whatever the organisation who pays them wants them to discover.
The other 5% are censored.
Jeff Bargholz says
Anthony Fraudci is an example of the type of fake scientists in the 95%.
it wasn’t always like that.. They are violating every once agreed upon code, many levels of ethics that used to be in place, rules and laws today. Very sad. Extremely detrimental. May be apocalyptically deadly.
Disturbing as your figures are, I fear that they might be accurate, or close to accurate.
Condolences on the Schwab-Soros-AmorphousBlob takeover of your government. First the flawed but adequate Johnson for whatever stupid reasons his own hubris caused and the AmorphousBlob turned into a loud and righteous casus belli, and then poor Truss the Unready, whose good ideas were never given a chance. I rather liked her but they sure showed her the revolving door fast.
Nothing in modern society can exist without the use of “fossil” fuels, coal, oil and gas. NOTHING.
Jeff Bargholz says
You mean I can’t power my apartment and car if I cover them with windmills and solar panels? I can still use electric planes and boats for vacations, right?
No need for EV charging stations. Just mount a windmill to the roof of your car. The faster you go, the more electricity you make.
It works best if you have pedals in addition to the windmill. Pedal fast, generate electricity!
Algorithmic Analyst says
lol, good one 🙂
Craig Austin says
Everything the MSM gets behind is exactly false, not 2×2=4 but 2×2=-4. CO2 is the gas of life, we are in an exceptionally cold period in the Earth’s existence, the “greenhouse gas” theory is just a theory, not a law, people flock toward the warm parts of the planet to avoid cold. Cold kills everyone, heat kills the weak, human contributions to CO2 are well within the error bars for the natural contributions, negligible at best.
Jeff Bargholz says
Yeah, CO2 is composed of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms, it doesn’t heat the atmosphere or anything else, and it’s necessary for nearly all life on planet Earth. Without it, plants would die out and without plants, animals would die out. If carbon is a pollutant then terrestrial life is a pollutant because it’s all carbon based.
And the world would be better off if it were warmer. Follow the fake science.
CO-2 levels have increased a lot in the past couple of centuries and thank G0d for that! (Who else did you think runs things around here?) If those levels dropped by, say, 100 ppm (to about 300 ppm) vegetation would not grow as well. If they dropped by 200 or more ppm, where it was a couple of hundred years ago, there would be a lot of starvation. But that’s what the greenies want, isn’t it?
By the way, have you seen NASA’s photographs of the Sahara over the past few decades since their geosynchronous satellites have been able to photograph that area on a regular basis? If you go on a year-by-year basis you see the desert shrinking as is filled in by more and more green; if you look at it decade-by-decade it’s a gratifying surprise to behold. Some of the greening is a result of intentional tree-planting by people living to the south of the desert, mostly women, but their efforts are enhanced by natural means of increased CO-2.
Algorithmic Analyst says
Thanks, very interesting.
THX 1138 says
Plato, Immanuel Kant, Hegel.
The three philosophers of unreason, supernaturalism, and mysticism that are responsible for the West’s ongoing and growing collapse into a New Dark Age of Unreason. Without a new philosophy that validates reason as an absolute, Kantian unreason will win by default. Kant claimed to have “limited” reason, i.e., discredited reason. By so claiming that he had successfully “proven” that reason is “limited” he opened the door to any and every form of unreason. Kant made the IRRATIONAL — respectable and acceptable.
“I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge [rational knowledge, ie., reason], in order to make room for faith” – Immanuel Kant
“The man who . . . closed the door of philosophy to reason, was Immanuel Kant. . . .
Kant’s expressly stated purpose was to save the morality of self-abnegation and self-sacrifice. He knew that it could not survive without a mystic base—and what it had to be saved from was reason.” – Ayn Rand
THX 1138 says
“It is not the special sciences that teach man to think; it is [rational] philosophy that lays down the epistemological criteria of all special sciences….
Science was born as a result and consequence of [a reason and logic based Aristotelian not Platonic] philosophy; it cannot survive without [that] philosophical (particularly epistemological) [reason and logic Aristotelian] base. If [Aristotelian rational] philosophy perishes, science will be next to go….
The disintegration of philosophy in the nineteenth century and its collapse in the twentieth have led to a similar, though much slower and less obvious, process in the course of modern science.
Today’s frantic development in the field of technology has a quality reminiscent of the days preceding the economic crash of 1929: riding on the momentum of the past, on the unacknowledged remnants of an Aristotelian epistemology, it is a hectic, feverish expansion, heedless of the fact that its theoretical account is long since overdrawn—that in the field of scientific theory, unable to integrate or interpret their own data, scientists are abetting the resurgence of a primitive mysticism. In the humanities, however, the crash is past, the depression has set in, and the collapse of science is all but complete. .” – Ayn Rand
Jeff Bargholz says
Reason gave us selfishness, eugenics, abortion, genocide and plenty of other nasty shit, so it isn’t the be all and end all of society.
THX 1138 says
Plato is the father of Kant, Kant is the father of Hegel, the three together are the fathers of the unreason and irrationality of Marxism and Nazism.
What is rational about a pseudo-science? What is rational about racism or genocide? Please demonstrate to me how reality, reason, and logic are the basis for racism?
“Progressively abandoning their Aristotelian heritage, the philosophers of the Enlightenment had reached a state of formal bankruptcy in the skepticism of David Hume. Hume claimed that neither the senses nor reason can yield reliable knowledge. He concluded that man is a helpless creature caught in an unintelligible universe. Meanwhile a variety of lesser figures (such as Rousseau, the admirer of the “noble savage”) were foreshadowing the era to come. They were suggesting that reason had had its chance but had failed, and that something else, something opposite, holds the key to reality and the future….
THX 1138 says
The two figures who created the new era and made this viewpoint the norm in the West — the two who welded the mystic stirrings of the late eighteenth century into a powerful, self-conscious, intellectually respectable voice, and who placed that voice at the base of all later philosophy — were Kant and Hegel. Kant is the father of the romanticist movement. It is he who claimed to have proved for the first time that existence is in principle unknowable to man’s mind. Thereafter, Hegel, Kant’s chief heir, most powerfully articulated the new movement’s central ideas, in every branch of philosophy.
But neither Kant nor Hegel is a full romanticist. Kant opened the door to the movement, but hesitated to walk firmly through. Hegel did walk through, but paid vigorous lip service to reason all the way. There were many, however, who did not hesitate and who did little to mask their views. In Germany the most influential of these men were J.G. Herder (another hero of the Nazis), Fichte, Friedrich Schlegel, Schelling, Schleimacher, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. The product of this main romanticist line was an army of lesser intellectuals and fellow travelers (generally cruder and more open than their mentors), who helped to spread the new approach to every corner of Germany….
THX 1138 says
The romanticists held (following Kant) that reason is a faculty restricted to a surface world of appearances and incapable of penetrating true reality. Man’s true source of knowledge, they declared (drawing explicitly the conclusion Kant had implied), is feeling — or passion, or intuition, or faith, etc. Man in this view is not a rational being: he is in essence an emotional being, and he must seek the truth and live his life accordingly.
Although most of the romanticists advocated some form of religion, religion is not an essential component of this philosophy. On the whole, the romanticists were more modern than that. They offered a somewhat secularized version of the earlier religious approach, stressing instinct more than revelation, the voice of the subconscious more than of the supernatural. But they never forgot their philosophic ancestors and brothers-in-spirit. While condemning the civilization of the Enlightenment, they passionately admired two cultures: the medieval and the Oriental.” – Objectivist philosopher Leonard Peikoff, from his book “The Ominous Parallels: The End Of Freedom In America”
Must you dominate conversations with your incessant and repetitious blather and Rand quotes that we all know already? When you have something of your own to contribute it’s worth reading, but this is a bit much.
THX 1138 says
I didn’t quote Ayn Rand, I quoted Leonard Peikoff.
I’m not quoting these Leonard Peikoff pearls for you and your “we” but for anyone who cares to read them, digest them, and actually THINK.
Regarding the “misguided attempts to replace cheap, abundant fossil fuels with unreliable, expensive ‘renewable’ solar and wind power.” You can’t call something “misguided” unless you know what they are trying to accomplish. And what are they (the leftist green cultists) trying to accomplish? “Reducing world-wide growth $1 trillion to $2 trillion each year.” Yep. That’s deliberate. It means the impoverishment and destruction of western civilization. That’s what the greens really want. That’s why Communist China doesn’t have to go along with it.
Massive population reduction is another goal. Given what segments of the world population have the most to gain by increased use of fossil fuels and the most to lose by their decreased use, it looks from this distance (in time and space and information availability) as if brown and black people will suffer the greatest losses. A rather horrible thought, but it looks as if the NWO crowd really are descendants of the Sanger-Hitler eugenics continuum.
THX 1138 says
“What explains this unprecedented, collective delusion [?]… the persistence of old myths that still influence our understanding of the natural world and humanity’s relationship to it. One of the oldest is the myth of the Golden Age in the Greek poet Hesiod’s Works and Days (c. 700B.C.) The poet describes a people who “lived like gods, without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief . . . and dwelt in ease and peace upon their lands and with many good things.”
This is precisely what the Judeo-Christian MYTH of the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve represents. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all old mythologies which influence our understanding of the natural world and humanity’s relationship to it.
What does Judeo-Christianity tell the true-believer? That once upon a magical time everything was perfect in the magical, supernatural, world of God’s Garden of Eden. Then Adam and Eve disobeyed Yaweh by eating the Fruit of Knowledge, they became rational animals capable of science and technology, and were banished and punished for it, to live and die on earth. The goal of Judeo-Christianity and Islam is to get back to that magical, supernatural, UTOPIA.
Oh, do be quiet. You become tiresome sometimes.
THX 1138 says
“Later versions of the myth, like the first-century B.C. Roman poet Ovid’s, explicitly link these Iron Age technologies like agriculture, mining, metallurgy, cities, laws, and urban civilization to the evils of the Iron Age. Those innovations in turn created private property, seafaring, trade, and wealth, which nurture the “wicked lust for possession,” as Ovid calls it, that foments crime and starts wars. Civilization is the root of all evil, for it has alienated humans from their once harmonious, simple life provided by a beneficent natural world.”
The Greco-Roman pagans ridiculed the members of the invading Oriental, Middle-Eastern (it is easy to forget or ignore that Judaism and Christianity, like Islam, are not Western but Oriental in nature and origin), Cult of Jesus precisely for this reason — that the Oriental Cult of Jesus had stolen and plagiarized Ovid not the other way around.
And do stop your anti-Asian racism. Remember that your goddess Ayn Rand was born Alice Zinovyevna Rosenbaum, a Jew, hence one of your despised Asiatics who allegedly conquered your — and her — beloved Aryan West.
THX 1138 says
When I speak of the origins of the Cult of Abraham, the Cult of Jesus, and the Cult of Mohammed, I am not referring to genetics or DNA. I’m referring to geographical point of origin and most importantly to the philosophical, mystical, roots of those cults. They were and are not based on Western reason but on Oriental mysticism, like Hinduism, Buddhism, or Shintoism.
It was the ancient Greeks who gave the Romans and the barbarians who eventually became the Germans rational philosophy, logic, literature, drama, comedy, science, mathematics, history, etc.
Hitler and the Nazis would certainly have sent the swarthy Ancient Greeks to the gas chamber.
THX 1138 says
When I speak of Western versus Oriental I’m speaking of cultural-philosophical orientation. Is a given nation-country’s culture predominantly orientated towards reason or unreason?
Today Japan and Israel, geographically Eastern, are predominantly culturally-philosophically Western. Even as America and Western Europe are collapsing into mysticism and unreason.
Cuba and Venezuela, western nations, have now collapsed into their own Dark Ages of Unreason. A republic of reason if you can keep it.
“Amazingly, Edgerton points out, Tasmanians could not take advantage of the ocean surrounding their island, because although they once learned how to fish, they forgot or gave up the practice. Thus many Tasmanians perished of starvation despite the availability of a plentiful food source all around them.” – Dinesh D’Souza
“It’s what physicist Richard Feynman called “a kind of scientific integrity” that requires you “report everything that you think might make [an experiment] invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results.”
Wonder how the 1619 Project and CRT would be viewed with respect to the above statement?
Those things are about as far from science as they are from Pluto. In fact given their pedigrees and intellectual integrity, they appear to have been pulled from Uranus. (Not yours, but their authors’.)
Oblivio Lancer says
The belief that “fossil” fuels are the result of decaying plants and animals is the result of lazy thinking. When bombarded with this lie, we just shrug and accept that decaying organisms just turned into hydrocarbons below ground. If so, surely they must run out some day. Really?
Saturn’s largest moon Titan is similar to Earth. Clouds cover the sky. It rains. Streams turn into rivers and run into seas. The difference is that the seas are made of hydrocarbons and the rain is liquid methane (natural gas). Is it possible that whatever mechanism produced the abundance of hydrocarbons on Titan has also produced them on Earth? Or, maybe it’s decaying dinosaurs after all.
You’re positing the abiotic theory of oil’s origin. And although it has for some reason been pooh-poohed here in the West since it was first suggested in the 1930’s, it was pursued in Russia for a longer period and perhaps still is. It makes sense and might be correct, and certainly needs further investigation.
Coal, however, certainly appears to be made from ancient biomass. If you look at some coal deposits they contain really beautiful fossils, s0 it would be accurate to call coal a fossil fuel.
Algorithmic Analyst says
Thanks Bruce, nice article.