Welcome to Quadrant Online | Login/ Register Cart (0) $0 View Cart
Menu
January 15th 2016 print

Peter Smith

Polls Apart from Reality

That we are beset by halfwits is no less self-evident than the spectacle of reporters genuflecting before the alleged wisdom of the latest climate scientist to snaffle a career-boosting grant or three. These days, if the mob cheers, that's good government

snake oilDonning a sweater and switching on a heater in Sydney in January? And twice! ‘If this ain’t the start of global cooling I don’t know what it is,’ I said to myself during the recent rains. Alas it is warm as I write. Back, presumably, to global warming and to dire warnings of our approaching demise.

But hold on, there is a problem. Human beings have pain-forgetting and immunological genes wrought by natural selection. Dire warnings have a short lifespan unless continually reinforced and augmented by even more dire warnings. Temperature records must be broken, and frequently.

This is why 2014, based on land and ocean measures, was described as the hottest year on record a year ago when it wasn’t? This is also why 2015 will likely be described as the hottest year on record when it also wasn’t?

The more accurate satellite (lower troposphere) temperature records — RSS and UAH — show that 2015 was the third-hottest year since satellite measurement began in 1979. It was hotter on average in 2010 and hotter still in 1998. This will get no airplay. Inconvenient facts must be suppressed lest they quieten alarm.

Yet if the agenda were not so alarmist the facts are sellable enough. It appears that the planet warmed significantly from around the mid 1970s to around 2000. My back-of-the-envelope calculation of the satellite data shows that the average temperature in the period 1998 to 2015 was about 0.25 degrees higher than the average temperature from 1979 to 1997. Moreover, even accounting for the possibility of data manipulation, it is probably reasonable to conclude that 1998, 2010 and 2015 were the three hottest years since land and ocean-based record-keeping began — HadCRUT going back to1850 and GISTEMP going back to 1880.

Since around the period 1998 to 2000, temperatures have oscillated around a flat trend with no sign yet whether they will start systematically rising again or fall. Those who think they know don’t. Of course, temperatures will have a tendency to resume an upward path if the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, which will go on rising steeply rising, has the impact many (though not all) climate scientists believe it has.

In my (infrequent) better moments, I remain above the fray on the temperature. I have no idea what will happen nor do I know whether the effects of CO2 are as deleterious, or nearly as deleterious, as the conventional wisdom asserts. I do believe that penalising the use of efficient energy while wasting money on inefficient renewal energy is an inane way to tackle the perceived problem. But that’s life in an age when common sense among the political elite has largely evaporated.

We are now governed by halfwits who excel in self-promotion. If you doubt that consider the childlike reaction to the toothless, sans-commitment agreement on climate in Paris. There is plenty more evidence outside of the climate pantomime. Think, as examples, of the self-destructive policies and pronouncements on refugees, the one-sided nuclear agreement with the fanatical mullahs in Iran, and the woeful excuses made for Islam and those who practice acts of violence in its name. In this context, it becomes par for the course for PC nincompoop Henriette Reker , the Mayor of Cologne , to say that women should adopt a code of conduct, including keep strange men [read Middle Eastern men and North African Muslim migrants] at arm’s length, to avoid being sexually assaulted.

If by good fortune a half-sensible politician like Tony Abbott miraculously emerges, the powers that be combine and converge to do him in. After all, what is stopping the boats, strengthening national security and standing up for patriotism, eliminating injurious carbon and mining taxes, signing free trade agreements and rooting out thuggery and corruption in the trade union movement, when set against the crime of knighting Prince Philip? Never mind, what we have in exchange is a more agile and innovative nation builder. Surely you must have noticed.

You haven’t? It doesn’t matter. The opinion polls are all that counts. We obviously get the politicians we deserve. Maybe the evaporation of common sense has made deep inroads into the populace. Possibly that is why ugly wind turbines, making intermittent, inefficient, heavily subsidised power, have become an accepted part of the landscape. On the other hand, and I am purely speculating here, maybe it’s all part of a revival of paganism – replacing Christianity and atheism — within which wind turbines soaring into the sky, sacrificially slicing birds, are totems for Gaia.

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [34]

  1. en passant says:

    Peter,
    I was right with you until you faltered with this piece of bad logic: “I am purely speculating here, maybe it’s all part of a revival of paganism – replacing Christianity and atheism …” Considering atheism is based on rationality and all religions are based on irrational beliefs you have jumped to confusion.
    Do that again and I will feel compelled to write an article of religion and the psychosis of all believers in sky dragons.

    • pgang says:

      Yes, atheism is based on philosophical rationalism. But rationalism can’t actually sustain itself by its own axiom as a total philosophy, (the concept of rationalism has no meaning within a rationalist reality). Nor does it go anywhere near explaining the cause of existence or human nature.

      I would actually consider a worldview based on rationalism to be a psychosis of cognitive dissonance, and atheism therefore to be an absurd belief system.

      Christianity, on the other hand, is a self sustaining worldview because it accepts the ultimate cause as supernatural (the only logical conclusion, as demonstrated by Godel), which in turn explains the philosophy which accepts it. It has also proven itself infallible at explaining the universe and life as we know it, when placed under proper scrutiny (ie – not the juvenile attacks of internet atheists).

      So I’ll take the non rationalistic but explainable worldview any day. Rationalism is actually a subset of the total Christian worldview anyway, but the ‘enlightened’ have always turned their blind eye of faith against that. Out of necessity I guess, to maintain that dissonance.

      You also assume that all religions are the same, I gather from your last sentence. Of course they are not.

      So I agree with you that Peter has jumped to confusion, because atheism and paganism are more or less the same thing – both are a cognitive dissonance which share very similar philosophical boundaries based on blind faith.

      • Rob Brighton says:

        Atheism makes no attempt to explain existence or human nature. The charge that it in some way ought to is a straw man.

        Infallible explanation of the universe? Really? Care to define what proper scrutiny is?

        “Rationalism: The mental attitude which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a system of philosophy and ethics verifiable by experience, independent of all arbitrary assumptions or authority.”

        Just how is that a subset of Christian world view>?

        Atheism is the non belief in god, “The concept of an agency outside of nature with the ability to reach into natural law and control events is the foundation of any religion. Belief in the existence of that agency is based on faith. We accept only that which is scientifically verifiable. Since god concepts are unverifiable, we do not accept them.”

        Paganism is a derogatory term to describe religions other than Judeo-Christian belief systems, how is one a subset of the other?

        Meaning of words are important lets use them properly.

    • Peter says:

      Hmmm? Not too sure of your logic there en passant. Implicitly I might have been lauding atheism as not falling for the climate caper. I suppose you objected to my juxtaposition of Christianity and atheism – which I should maybe have kept at arm’s length from each other. Christians, after all, are often at risk of being assaulted (verbally at least) by atheists. Peter

      • Rob Brighton says:

        Regrettably being Atheist is not an inoculation against climate voodoo. At best we may be more skeptical of what is presented as evidence, at worst accepting of the science.

    • Homer Sapien says:

      en passant:
      Does one have to have a psychosis to believe in quantum mechanics which is far stranger than Christianity?

  2. Bernard Tola says:

    Go ahead, do that, en passant. So far as I can see, you have never managed to do any better than pour scorn, derision and abuse against Christians and never an argument to be seen. No different from what leftist unbelievers do, actually.

  3. Alistair says:

    CO2 science needed a “for” and “contra” approach right from the start. For something as nebulous as climate, there is a problem even agreeing as to what the hard data is, nevermind what it actually represents. Is global ice receding or growing, is sea level rising or is it static, are temperatures rising or do we have a statistical artifact….etc, etc, etc.

    The whole alarm rests on a no-feedbacks calculated rise of 1.2C degrees for every presumed doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere,also presumed to then be tripled to 3C degrees by a positive water vapour feedback response. See David Evans work on Jo Nova’s blog for criticism of these basic assumptions; also that of a Japanese scientist on the German climate blog No Tricks Zone. When will the media begin to ask the hard questions about what is really known?

  4. Rob Brighton says:

    I object as an atheist to be included with the delusional, the very basis of my non belief is an attempt at living rational. Nevertheless there is something to be said that the rejection of Christianity has lead in part to Gaia – mother earth belief structures. The Dawkins religion gene has gone shopping for alternatives if you will.

    It strikes me that this is a failure of those who look for rational policies from our political masters. Specifically the conservative movement have failed encourage non believers as fellow political travellers.

    The 2006 census shows 18.7% of Australians are not religious, other reports show up to 30%, the number is not important to my point that there is a vast wellspring of people out there that do not make their decisions based on bronze age books regardless of how worthwhile they are perceived by those that do.

    If we want people to deal with realities of life, then we desperately need those who are skeptical, that mindset would be an excellent addition to our defense against the poor quality thinking that masquerades as politics today.

    • Bernard Tola says:

      Rob,
      The people who wrote what you dismissively refer to as “bronze age books” also were the first to produce bronze and thereby initiated manufacturing advances from which we all benefit nowadays.You have no right to be contemptuous of people just because they lived in the past.

      • Rob Brighton says:

        Whilst I have every right to be contemptuous of whomever I wish (at worst it is boorish behaviour which I readily admit), I do not believe in this case I am, an accusation of contempt for the book would be accurate but not the people who followed it then or now.

        May I also suggest that your post perfectly exemplifies my point, the rush to tell me what rights I do and don’t have is exactly what I mean when I suggest the conservative movement have failed to take advantage of my fellow travellers leaving them to the lunatics.

        • Bernard Tola says:

          You do have that right but you do not have the right to claim that it is rational when you have only put forward derision and abuse to back what you say.

          • Rob Brighton says:

            Are we in the same conversation? I ask as in your first post I had no right, now I do but it’s not a rational position, again telling me what I can and cannot believe and again supporting the point I tried to make that the conservative movement does not welcome people who believe strongly in limited government actions based on facts simply because they hold a different world view where it applies to religious belief.

            I have offered you no abuse and whilst I hold a derisive view of your books, I take no position on your choice to follow them as you wish, it would be nice if you would offer me the same respect and kept them to yourself but you and your fellow travellers don’t so I feel no compunction to stop replying in kind.

            To steal a school yard vernacular……you started it.

  5. mark says:

    Peter, I do not believe these people are half wits as you say, at least not in the higher echelons. They know exactly what they are doing and that is using “climate change” as a way of advancing their cause as proclaimed by George Bush Snr Sept 11 1991: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byxeOG_pZ1o

    Lord Monkton said Ban Ki Moon knew climate change was crap but needed it to impose the UN agenda and Tony Abbott was brought down because he was the only leader with balls enough to oppose it:
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/un-climate-conference/paris-un-climate-conference-2015-tony-abbott-was-brought-down-by-the-un-christopher-monckton-says-20151207-glhtco.html

    I think we need to wake up people. This is not a battle between “right” and “left” It is a battle b/w us and them.

    • Rob Brighton says:

      Instead of G.W. Bush making the mistake of exposing a super-duper-mega-big-take-over-the-world-plan, could he just be describing the aftermath of the cold war? What sounds more likely to you?

    • gardner.peter.d says:

      Tony Abbott and Stephen Harper were the two last bastions against global rule by activists via the UN and the EU. Vehicles include AGW alarmism, mass migration, assorted greenery and human rights which can exploit the financialisation of whole sectors of economies for the benefit of these new global elites.

      • Rob Brighton says:

        Certainly Abbott and Harper were resistant to the left, thats why they had to go (just ask the ABC) and agree that the UN and the EU are primarily socialist organisations.

        What I don’t get is the proposition that this is a shady conspiracy to take over the world which I read as the thrust of Mark’s comment.

        I guess the first question is to ask which brand of “New World Order” one subscribes to, is it the Jews are running the world one? The religious right mixed with biblical end times prophecies? or perhaps the left’s anti globalisation NWO, maybe we are heading way out on a limb and subscribing to the shape-shifting aliens in control of a secret cabal running the NWO.

  6. Rob Brighton says:

    “Lord Monckton said his other research included hunting for a cure for multiple sclerosis after self-diagnosis and pharmaceutical concoctions helped solve his own crippling illness.”

    Says it all really, Monckton only has a passing acquaintance with the mental state the rest of us call reality.

    • gardner.peter.d says:

      Cheap shot and inaccurate, Rob Brighton. Your remark is on a par with the spastic jokes of yesteryear. A friend of mine has MS. She is as lucid and insightful as anyone.

      • Rob Brighton says:

        Mr Gardener.
        You misunderstand my post entirely. The extract is in quotation marks as it was from the article posted by Mark. In the quoted sentence he states he self diagnosed MS and then successfully treated this terrible disease.

        I submit to you that this is an example of Moncktons tenuous connection with sanity.

        It is in no way any suggestion that those (like my uncle) who suffer from MS are in any way mentally deficient. It does however suggest those that claim to diagnose themselves and then treat themselves with pharmaceutical concoctions of their own devising are certifiably mad and in all likelihood charlatans of the first order.

        • Bernard Tola says:

          Once again, what you say about Lord Monckton amounts to abuse: “tenuous connection with sanity” is abusive unless you provide a cogent argument. Our original dispute was due to your reference to believers as being “delusional” followers of a “bronze age book”. This description was hardly intended as a compliment, not even as a neutral comment. It implied that the book to which you are referring is to be rejected because it was written in the bronze age and that because this was long ago it lacks validity with those who, like you, want to make an “attempt at living rational(sic)”. You may choose, as Chesterton said, to value Tuesday more highly because it comes after Monday, but there is nothing reasonable or rational about this preference.
          This is my last post on this subject (I think).

          • Rob Brighton says:

            How is it not cogent to suggest that someone who claims he self diagnosed then cured himself of MS is anything other than barking mad or a charlatan?

            I do not reject your book because it comes from the bronze age, I reject it and others of it’s ilk because of the words they contain, I find much of them contemptible and delusional, other parts are worthy of praise, you believe otherwise, live and let live say I, but you won’t, instead you conflate two different threads into one then draw an appeal to shame as the basis of argumentation where you try to instruct me on my rights to hold opinion or express them, how very PC of you, how very left.

            You may choose, as Chesterton said, to value Tuesday more highly because it comes after Monday, but there is nothing reasonable or rational about this preference……. right back at ya

        • mark says:

          Hi Rob,
          I think you have misinterpreted that.
          Lord Monckton was diagnosed with Graves disease (overactive thyroid gland) quite some time ago. This is what the “crippling illness” and “self-diagnosis” refers to. Thats why he has prominent eyes which is a legacy of this condition. If memory serves he is reported to have done some research on this condition and treated himself as well as having standard medical treatment. This does not surprise me. He is an extremely intelligent polymath. He now states he is doing research into MS. None of this means he is insane, it just means his intellectually gifted and has an inquiring mind.

  7. gardner.peter.d says:

    I remember when the Church’s decline in England became noticeable during the 60s sexual and other revolutions how people commented on the ever more grand new town halls reaching heavenwards being monuments to the folly of mankind. Windmills are taller yet.

  8. Bill Martin says:

    And now to return to the topic of Peter Smith’s article:

    Ultimately, the political process is the interaction between the populace and the political class. Consequently, the standard of politics depends on the standard of those interacting parties. The incompetence, dishonesty and venality of politicians seem to be the most obvious and most debated aspect of the relationship, while the character of the people is seldom, if ever, considered. One needs only to look at the mindless, inane trivia that passes for news and entertainment on all the media to get a good indication of the intellect of its consumers, the general public. Politicians and powerbrokers now very well that such mentally lazy and weak public is easy to manipulate with constant repetition of the most blatant of lies which thereby gradually acquire the guise of truth.

    As Peter Smith repeats the well worn phrase: we deserve the politicians we get.

    • mark says:

      I agree with you on one point. but I think you have got it back to front in the other areas.
      Who would want to be a politician now? The people see criminal politicians lauded and those who are morally upright crucified. That’s why we get party hacks.
      Who dumbed down the public? In the 60′s I was taught the parts of speech and long division in 3rd grade in an industrial western suburb of Melbourne.
      The media is now pushing what was once pornography. Who is responsible for that?
      A public that has no faith in its leaders, no basic education, and living in a culture that is saturated with pornography is easy to manipulate.

    • Rob Brighton says:

      Is this because of the conservative movement s failure to counter the lefts control of education and media Bill?

      • Bill Martin says:

        Answering yes to your question, Rob, would seem to be eminently appropriate.

      • mark says:

        I don’t know. I’ve met a few politicians from both sides and there are good and bad on both sides. I don’t believe in left and right anymore. I don’t know where this has come from but I don’t think your average mum and dad wants it. You can’t blame them as I said.

  9. Alice Thermopolis says:

    A propos Peter’s comments on temperature, Nobel laureate Ivar Giaever’s speech at the Nobel Laureates meeting 1st July 2015 is worth watching here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCy_UOjEir0

    Giaever resigned from the American Physical Society because he was exasperated with its public position on ‘climate change’.

    Here are some of the issues he mentions in the 25-minute video.

    There are apparently only 8 thermometers only at South Pole. It has not been as cold there as it is right now for quite a while.

    Agency claims that they can determine a single average temperature for the whole Earth with an accuracy of a fraction of a degree are ‘ridiculous’.

    “Why do they now include the ocean in global temperature calculations, after a century of not doing so? Because land-plus-ocean temperatures are more accurate, or because they can fiddle with the data?”

    From 1888-1998, the global temperature increase was (allegedly) 0.8C. During this period, atmospheric CO2 increased by 72ppm, from 295 – 367ppm.

    From 1998 to 2015, atmospheric CO2 increased by 32ppm, from 367 to 403ppm. That represents half the amount for previous century, yet the global temperature over this period has been stable.

    Giaever: “How, therefore, can CO2 be a major climate gas?”

    “If global warming theory is right, the temperature today should be 0.4C warmer. Not so, therefore theory wrong.”

    [Unless believes the so-called 'missing heat' is hiding somewhere; or has been 'masked' (conveniently) by 'natural variability', and so on.]

    Giaever, a Norwegian, looked at the coldest and warmest temperature records from Greenland’s four main ports – from 1901 to 2000. He found no evidence of any recent warming. It was warmest there in 1930s.

    “Global warming is a ‘non-problem’. Learn to live with change.” QED

    His conclusion: let’s stop wasting money on grandiose schemes to ‘combat climate change’.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Alice:

      Giaever, a Norwegian, looked at the coldest and warmest temperature records from Greenland’s four main ports – from 1901 to 2000. He found no evidence of any recent warming. It was warmest there in 1930s.

      .
      All the world’s statisticians can read all the world’s thermometers, run whatever analyses they like, and come to whatever conclusions they might, provided they get it over with quickly and at medium to high altitude. Because if they were to be engaged in this process over say, 100 – 1,000 years, and at a low-altitude venue like say, Sydney Opera House, there would be consequences. On present trends, and sooner rather than later, they will have to dress up in gumboots or even scuba gear in order to keep on with it.
      .
      See http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
      http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/
      .
      This global sea-level rise can only be due to glacial melt and/or thermal expansion of the ocean water. Whichever way one looks at it, and regardless of atmospheric thermometry, it means that the planet is warming.
      And unless we can pin the blame on Mephistopheles & Co, the safest assumption is that it is due to the steadily-increasing load of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; put there by us and removable by us. Alternatively, we can be so foolish as to heed the advice of climatological neanderthals like Tony Abbott.

  10. Ian MacDougall says:

    (This comment is awaiting the verdict of the QUADRANT Censorship Collective.)
    .
    Alice:

    Giaever, a Norwegian, looked at the coldest and warmest temperature records from Greenland’s four main ports – from 1901 to 2000. He found no evidence of any recent warming. It was warmest there in 1930s.

    .
    All the world’s statisticians can read all the world’s thermometers, run whatever analyses they like, and come to whatever conclusions they might, provided they get it over with quickly and at medium to high altitude. Because if they were to be engaged in this process over say, 100 – 1,000 years, and at a low-altitude venue like say, Sydney Opera House, there would be consequences. On present trends, and sooner rather than later, they will have to dress up in gumboots or even scuba gear in order to keep on with it.
    .
    See http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
    http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/
    .
    The world’s ocean is rising. The mainstream scientific consensus says it is at the following rates (GMSL is Global Mean Sea Level):
    GMSL Rates
    CU: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    AVISO: 3.3 ± 0.6 mm/yr
    CSIRO: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NASA GSFC: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NOAA: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (w/ GIA)
    .
    This can only be due to glacial melt and/or thermal expansion of the ocean water. Whichever way one looks at it, and regardless of atmospheric thermometry, it means that the planet is warming.
    And unless we can pin the blame on Mephistopheles & Co, the safest assumption is that it is due to the steadily-increasing load of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; put there by us and removable by us. Alternatively, we can be so foolish as to heed the advice of climatological neanderthals like Tony Abbott.