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For P, and anyone else inclined to give too much weight to scientific consensus just now

Jim Kunstler on the astonishing derelictions of duty shown by a whole segment of supposedly science-honouring technocrats, medical professionals, etc.

Jim’s summary gives extra weight to Dennis Rancourt’s assertion - under discussion in the climate-shift thread just below - that the whole rectitude of scientific research and peer-review is currently in severe doubt. When doctors, nurses, scientific researchers-and-developers and such are this recalcitrant, whoTF can you trust?

When the Wicked Try to Flee - Kunstler

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The scientific consensus could be wrong. The way you show that is to do the actual work to show it. Do the experiments. Do the theory. Do the maths. Gather data. Show your working to other scientists, get their feedback. Publish your results, even in preprint form.

Unless you can show me where Rancourt has done any of this then I don’t think he can be taken seriously.

Again, I ask you, if someone told you that Ukraine’s army was getting ready to march on Moscow, how much weight would you give that?

Seriously. How much credibility would you give that person?

Those who would say that, or that Ukraine is winning or whatever have done the same amount of work. None.

You can’t magic away the effect of CO2 on the earth’s temperature because you don’t like it.

The solution to our climate emergency is not to wish it away.

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But look at that assertion, P. It starts from the assumption that there is a climate emergency. Yet what we see is a controversy, where plenty of people - some of whom strike me, at least, as arguably credible - assert that that hasn’t been proven conclusively. They insist that the question is open.

Other than that, for further enlightenment I can only look around me. And what I see with my own lying eyes is weather which, over 80 years, has become just slightly more mediterranean; the sort of constant variation that palaeontology shows has been happening continually during the life of the Earth; well within those observed variations. That much - like a good, unbought scientist - I’ve actually observed, and duly noted.

If I put the whole argument about climate shift into the ‘quite probable, but not wholly proven’ slot, I think that’s a fair assessment of the current state of the argument. There are too many people who don’t strike me as wholly substanceless who stand on the ‘no emergency’ side of the argument. I don’t see that the arguments of all of them can be written off simply as substanceless intellectual dishonesty. Some, sure. Monckton’s, for example. But ALL of them; no, don’t think so.

And if you look at that Off-G panel discussion which I linked, you see five witnesses, all of whom strike me as credible, who have a persuasive thesis that the whole climate/CO2 miasma can be seen - entirely credibly, I think - as a gic-scam, in exactly the same way that the whole covid thing is now coming clear as a determined effort at mass-manipulation; by that same class of gic villains; clearly on the authoritarian make, as the world runs, unmistakably, into Interesting Times of great, chaotic change.

I feel your anguished passion about the climate controversy, P. But I can’t go with the two assertions: that it’s all beyond doubt; and that people like DR must be charlatans. It just doesn’t look like that to me.

I’ll tell you my present-time hunch, fwiw: There really is a rough time up ahead, part of which will be a contribution from some sort of climate-shift, though how much and how bad is really beyond our current capabilities of computation. But still, all our current huge population numbers, with all the disruptive effects that we’re having on the ecosphere, must have some palpable effect; that’s unavoidably true. Regrettably, though, as with the population-overshoot (which is also disputed by some, of course) we, hom-sap, won’t be doing anything effectual about climate-shift. But - as with the overshoot - Mam Gaia’s innately-imponderable-in-detail homeostatic capabilities will deal with it, even though we won’t. Life will once again triumph over the challenges.

Given all the above, I don’t see some degree of scepticism about a climate emergency as wishful thinking at all; just open-minded realism in the face of innately-imponderable puzzles. Cheers bro.

Just a quick note now and a better reply later. Filling buckets for mushies today.

How much data, collected by how many thousands of working scientists, over how many decades do you need?

It’s hard to point to a subject with more data that all points in the same direction. There is a literally overwhelming collection of evidence that shows we are at an emergency point now. Too much evidence to even list it all easily. All of this has to be wrong for Rancourt to be right.

Think about my Ukraine example that you keep ignoring. How much credibility do you give an armchair general who confidently tells you that Ukraine’s is heading to Moscow next week? Just like the Rancourts of this world they are ignoring all the evidence.

Would you say that the question of whether Ukraine is just about to march on Moscow is still open? Why not? Some things are just facts. Facts that we ignore at our peril (if you’re Ukrainian especially)

This is simply not true. The “controversy” is a false one, just like the controversy over whether smoking causes cancer. Exactly identical, in fact, as the same tactics have been shown to be at play by some of the same players even. In fact almost all scientists who do the work and spend the time to understand the data, gather the data and move the subject along are in agreement.

Oreskes did some work on that, and is worth a read.

Like the scientists who tried to cast doubt on the smoking/lung cancer connection, those who are doing the same with climate change are in a similar category.

The smoking group were paid shills, stooges and charlatans. We are dealing with the same group now.

Perhaps Rancourt is being sincere. But I’ve still seen no evidence that he’s done the required work to have any credibility.

More later


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So, let me get this straight: Chesterfields really dont soothe a sore throat?

The analogy with the Bernayses of this world, who rigged photo opportunities to encourage women to smoke (and many other evils besides) is bang on target.

Is the phrase “climate emergency” used for any particular reason @PontiusPrimate?
It may be the perfect description but the use of states of exception, as Agamben cautions, is so very widespread, and so nakedly obviously promulgated by the same bands of thieves as all the other emergencies, that it invites cynicism.

What an absolute mess.


M & I will never believe any ‘scientific consensus’ ever again (or any other ‘consensus’ for that matter). Here’s another clue:

Did smoking cause lung cancer before the advent of radio wave pollution? Only asking.

You’ve lost me, mate. The actions of microbes in the wider ecosystem, including the human body, is not something I’m interested in debating. Life’s way to short.

I’m regularly growing fungi and (by accident) bacterial colonies in agar plates for my mushroom farm. I’m not interested in arguing that they don’t exist or don’t affect health.

Stay well


Thanks for the chuckle, @KarenEliot.

It is a mess, and the increasing number of vested interests makes it worse than ever.

I used the word emergency somewhat unthinkingly, picked up from reading some XR stuff recently. To be honest I don’t know if I think that’s a good framing of the situation.

I mean, strictly speaking we are in an exponentially worsening emergency situation. But when governments and corporations start getting onboard with the phrasing of emergency then who knows what paths that will take us down. It’s unlikely to be one of more liberty or democracy…

As you say - a mess.

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This is why I thought this covid affair was so destructive, with its artificial consensus from medical officials and politicians. One has to be careful we don’t chuck the baby out with the bath water. Should you no longer believe in how gravity works, how electricity works, magnetism, chemical reactions, photosynthesis etc. The list is pretty long. If one stopped believing these why would you trust a computer to work? A kettle to boil?

The issue strikes me as very similar to the trouble with Wikipedia. What’s written there is pretty accurate and honest if the topic is not politicised or impinges on the interest of powerful groups. So checking concepts in pure mathematics is absolutely fine, as are tonnes of other stuff.

Regarding the issue at stake “climate change”, this was written about for decades by scientists and a consensus more or less reached. Their warnings and predictions however were continually minimised – because there was an imperative on governments and big business do make changes (a bit like having to to something about lung cancer due to smoking). Since recently though (about ~7 years) the issue of climate change has become more mainstream, partly because it is undeniable that global temperatures have been going up at unprecedented rates (with records being smashed repeatedly).

Actually, like Rhis, I think the Gics realize things cannot continue as have been for a variety of reasons (not just climate change) that they now want to use (like covid) the “climate emergency” to usher in some sort of controlled collapse, rather than an uncontrolled one. Again, that doesn’t mean there is no climate emergency. We should just be very wary of the “solutions” offered. Forcing people to use less fuel while building up a massive military is one glaring absurdity.


Well said @Willem - you are exactly right

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Hear hear.

One of the key issues right now - it isn’t new - is the polarisation of just about everything into binaries. You’re pro or you’re against, you like/retweet (and run the risk of seeming to endorse someone who says something utterly stupid the next day) or post a frowning emoji . . . and can literally stand or fall if someone chooses to take exception to those. Absolute tone-deafness and refusal to recognise nuance, irony, let alone ‘poetic voice’.

This goes right across the political spectrum. Lefty types, which is a camp I used to feel at least a little at home with, will shriek about fascism, the rise of the Right, guns, abortion, and doing what the government says. The Right, which I seem to find myself agreeing with a surprising amount of the time lately, will shriek about socialism, the dead hand of the Chinese Communist Party controlling everything, guns, abortion, and definitely not doing what the government says.

I revived an old Safe For Work facebook account a few weeks back, having allowed old one to fester and then die about two years ago. Am keeping the ‘friends’ circle low and restricted to people I genuinely know. It’s shocking how many of them (in South Africa, Australia, the UK, and the US) are still banging on about covid, still Trump-deranged, still displaying the “I’ve had my vax” or “I stand with Ukraine” badge.

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A climate emergency…? I’ve banged on about this before, but instead will include an 8 minute vid that shows the amount of container shipping…

Why on Earth are 14 million containers being shipped around the world each year…? The amount of (totally unnecessary) pollution this creates is second only to the US military. One of these big container ships creates more pollution than a million cars.

The fact that the Greens, et al, never mention this stuff perhaps indicates that ‘climate change’ is all a total scam.

Go hug a tree, unless the US military want to drop agent Orange on it, or depleted uranium.

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“Should you no longer believe in how gravity works, how electricity works, magnetism, chemical reactions, photosynthesis etc. The list is pretty long. If one stopped believing these why would you trust a computer to work? A kettle to boil?” - Willem

These examples are very good, W. Notice, though, that every one of them can be put to immediate empirical tests: If I do the rule-of-thumb things that have been worked out by theory-plus-trial-and-error, do I get the expected results that have always worked out reliably before?

With all of your examples - though with things like gravity and electro-magnetism, even though we have a huge repertoire of rules-of-thumb that work reliably, yet we still have literally zero idea about what these things actually are - yet still, at least we know how to manipulate them empirically, with uniformly reliable results.

Jump over to climate and CO2. Here, there’s no uniformity of established rules that work:

We have no clear, universally-established way to manage climate. In fact it’s doubtful whether we ever will have. And in any case, despite all the trial-and-error tinkering that some claim will be useful, we don’t at all understand with any degree of adequacy the complex, interlacing geophysical, geobiological, and geochemical mechanisms which influence climate. Also - because of this being a probablistic rather than a deterministic reality, inherently there are all sorts of things which we’re never going to be able to know - in principle; because of inherent indeterminacy.

This being so, the idea that anyone at all is intellectually-justified in laying down the law about what ‘will certainly’ happen is simply self-deluding. It can’t be done. We just don’t know.

But nevertheless, if I don my bookie’s persona for a moment, I agree that it’s possible to make a reasonably likely bet. But that’s all it will ever be. My bet is that so many humans - in our current population-overshoot episode - making so many disruptive demands on the ecosphere simply has to have many upheaving effects (during the transitional time when Mam Gaia is getting busy slapping everything back down into some semblance of a new state of global-homeostatic stability). Some of those upheavals are likely to be climatic perturbations; and some are going to be seriously hairy.

When overshoots and perturbations correct, incidents such as disastrous crop-failures* and lemming panic stampedes happen, and lots of individuals die untimely. But other effects - a majority of them, my bookie says - will be much more like slow, almost-unnoticeable-in-real-time, tightening down of screws. Slow, but relentless…

And that brings me to another vital factor around climate, population and other large issues: Even if you allow for the sake of argument (though strictly speaking, I don’t) that humans are actually technically-capable in principle of managing weather, global ecosystems, population dynamics, and other such large, inherently-complex assemblies… would we actually be able to organise ourselves, worldwide, to do it in a controlled, equitable, glasnostic, democratically-endorsed way?

You only have to ask the question to understand why my bookie is laughing helplessly as he contemplates that idea; and willingly offers anyone who wants to take them million-to-one-against odds, for you to shovel free money into his hands.

Even if a global restraint, remediation, and healing policy were doable in technical principle, we - feckless hom-sap - are just not going to be arsed to do it.

Fortunately for us, Mam will.

Oh, and re. Wikideceivia: Anything, anything at all, that’s pulled out of a spectacularly-toxic cess pit is never going to come up smelling of roses. It’s ALL going to have a taint of shysterish unreliability about it, because the crew running it has zero intellectual honesty and reliability. And since the crew are a bunch of incorrigible shysters on the make, it’s a fool’s act to give it any credibility, by interacting with it at all. It’s not as if there aren’t other, more trustworthily-honourable sources available. Wikedeceivia delenda est!

*In my teens, in the '50s, there was a vogue for apocalyptic near-future sci-fi which my mates and I consumed with an odd enthusiasm. John Wyndham’s ‘Day Of The Triffids’ is probably the poster-child of that genre. Another of the ilk, though, was John Christopher’s ‘The Death Of Grass’. It just posed the simple question: what would happen to global society if grass-species were suddenly all wiped out by a terrible pandemic…? You know, the species which feed our domestic grazing animals; and which give us edible, storable grains of wheat, barley, oats, etc…

Think about it!

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Sorry Rhis, we posted at the same time.

A magnificent piece you’ve just posted!

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If planned obsolescence wasn’t a thing the numbers could be cut massively, I’m sure.

The computer hardware industry is one I know quite well and it’s an absolute disgrace with perfectly adequate machinery dumped because the software keeps bloating and/or due to “security concerns”. Cripple the PC with continual “improvements” and people soon want another. Hardware failure, eg a motherboard that fries? Very rare. And in any case not hard to replace.

I’m not a technician but the number of laser printers that are ditched because “the printouts are smudged/creased” must be very high. in most cases these are fixable by replacing some inexpensive rubber rollers. Over time the rubber degrades, but the rest of the machine is fine. Division of labour and everyone sticking to their lane means no one has the time to maintain stuff anymore, just buy another.

Because lead times have multiplied enormously (6-12 weeks is now not uncommon for an HP desktop PC) people who desperately “need” to replace kit are paying way over the odds to get the same kit quicker. A PC that cost ~£475 two years ago is now available for ~£680 if you can wait up to three months, or ~£875 for the “they’re going fast” stock that can arrive next week.

Nothing wrong with hugging trees bwana!

No argument from me about the horrendous pollution of cargo ships and the US military. I’d do away with both if I could!


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PP, I assume you’re familiar with what’s going on in Holland at the moment…

Good point. This incessant demand for new products, made cheaply for western markets on the back of low wage labour, is incredibly destructive and polluting. I’ve been amazed at the explosion of all sorts of gadgets (all with a very short life span) that have sprung up over the last few decades which have apparently become “necessary” to live a decent life. I won’t shed any tears if this madness stops.


Willem, a little addendum to this: earlier in the year we had to replace the electric fan oven in our kitchen. The fan oven was a good make, a Bosch, but it was years old and on its last legs. We bought a new fan oven from a local shop. Within two weeks the new fan oven set fire to the cabinet it was sitting in (it had been installed correctly). It was lucky we were close by at the time, otherwise we could have had a major fire in the kitchen.

The local shop immediately sent two guys to remove the damaged fan oven. I can’t now remember the make of the manky fan oven. The two guys who came to collect it told us that this particular model was assembled in Romania with parts sent from China.

The local shop would not accept any responsibility for almost burning down our kitchen. However, the shop did give us a replacement fan oven - a much better model, another Bosch - at no extra cost.

I’d forgotten how heavy electric fan ovens are; or maybe I’m just getting old.