The View From 1776
Monday, January 19, 2009
Robert Stapler Rebuts
You said “... what of the evidence of industry and government trying to alter or silence those who wish to promote the idea of climate change. We know the Bush Administration has gone so far as editing reports to change findings and prohibiting government scientists from speaking to the media. Yes, people are trying to advance certain political agendas on all sides of the issue, however, we do not have the “scientific establishment” carrying out an inquisition as this author claims.”
In 2006, NASA’s James Hanson loudly proclaimed he and others were suppressed by the Bush administration for their AGW activism. The media was all too happy to echo this refrain and give it substance. While true the administration imposed guidelines for the direction government research should take and how resources would be allocated, that is a perfectly valid function of every administration. Hanson was also highly critical of the Clinton administration, indicating a pattern of having hissy fits anytime he doesn’t get his way. Besides being a NASA scientist of some note, Hanson is a long time environmental activist who resorts to outsider activists to back his plays, including the Open Society Institute. Critics of Hanson also note he was a Kerry supporter who received grants from the Heinz Foundation (a conflict of interest).
Hanson’s main claims of suppression stem from his many criticisms made against his superiors at NASA. His principal taunts, however, had less to do with suppressing climate-science than suppressing Hanson’s highly uncomplimentary remarks at a December 2005 lecture and interview before the American Geophysical Union. Hanson’s work (bearing the NASA imprimatur) and that of others in NASA’s employ have been criticized both within NASA and publicly as “biased” science, essentially pursuing certain objects (e.g., anthropogenic global warming) while ignoring others that would result in opposite policy outcomes. NASA, quite rightly, wanted this to stop. Despite which, there is far more evidence these scientists ignored the administration and kept after these activist objects at public expense. It was only following the government’s public relations reaction that Hanson went public in a blistering attack in which he claimed the government was editing government press releases to downplay global warming. Big storm in a teapot, if you ask me.
In fact, it is not up to Hanson but his superiors what NASA press releases should or should not contain and how far AGW should be pushed as government policy. That does not constitute suppression of science and, if anything, it is Hanson with his terrorist tactics and media support that have succeeded in muzzling both NASA and Bush. At no time has Hanson or anyone else been prevented from publishing their opinions (privately) regarding global warming. What has been controlled is what or how much weight Hanson gives the “man-made” component of warming in official publications; which are not his to decide. That would be like me overriding my boss regarding what I can or cannot tell clients regarding our service policies. In any rational world, that would be grounds for dismissal. Yet, Hanson remains; untouched and untouchable.
I may not fully agree with the policies of an employer, but there are limits to ignoring employer wishes or criticizing unfairness. The unfairness should be substantial and legitimate (however substantial Hanson’s complaint, it was illegitimate because not his to make). I may even have a less than glowing opinion of some of those for whom I work, but this does not give me a right to exxagerate their foibles (or my biased sense of them). If I think my effort squandered, I can bring that to the attention of my superiors in the expectation they will, at least, hear me out and see the sense of my argument. I can also leave and go work somewhere more to my liking and thinking. In the case of public employees, the argument is sometimes made there are public objectives that supersede the administration of the moment. This is, in part true, but only to those objects that are basic to the framework of good government (e.g., reporting a boss pocketing public funds). Another argument made is that as the public is superior to the administration as Hanson’s employer, he was, therefore, simply taking his complaint to the next higher level not having gotten satisfaction at the lower. In fact, Hanson never took his complaint up the chain of command at all, jumping straight to the public forum bypassing chain of command altogether. In effect, he threw a fit and got away with it.
You, Todd, claim “evidence” of this suppression. I have looked into it and given you what little evidence there is of suppression. I find almost none that it was the ‘science’ that was suppressed; only certain “rogue” activist-scientists in government employ. The suppression of which you speak has to do with unacceptable behavior by an employee.
If anything, the obsessed pursuit of AGW pseudoscience at public expense has gone on far too long with nothing to show for it; and should, therefore, be terminated in order to pursue other, more legitimate, problems. But, that is a policy decision that only a government administration can make as guided by the most recent election. For now, it appears we are going to continue giving lipservice to nonsense until more rational heads prevail.
I have a more than a passing misgiving ‘proof’ is going to persuade you; that you are slyly trying to discredit Thomas rather than get information from him. Otherwise, you’d have realized it is not skeptics who need to prove that a campaign is being waged to silence dissent. That is loud enough and omnipresent enough that anyone with eyes can see or ears can hear it. What should offend the intelligence of any thinking person is the total lack of debate surrounding an issue of this magnitude, one reaching deep into our pockets and dictating the ways we must hereafter live. This should be especially true of the scientific community, but it is there dissent has been attacked most. I wrote on this problem in A Show of Hands: One Man’s Take on Climate-Change Consensus.
I have made numerous comments within these pages (responding to articles others posted); sometimes documenting this suppression of dissent. Climate-change suppression falls hardest and fastest precisely on those scientists of greatest caliber, integrity and credentials in the climate sciences, many of whom have been past contributors to the several IPCC compilations; whose work was then deliberately manipulated by IPCC to reach a preferred conclusion (http://www.sepp.org/Archive/NewSEPP/ipccreview.htm ) that misrepresents the science. The many complaints against IPCC (and others) are a matter of record and not just speculation. Similarly, there has also been an intensive effort to manipulate the peer-review process to preclude contrarian views finding their way into the literature and purge it of dissent.
Think about this for a minute. A mostly inchoate, but large and fast growing faction is neurotically demanding we take action on one crisis after another, all having as a common theme the vilifying of human industry and a beatific vision of ‘living harmoniously in nature’ (despite no one seems capable of specifying how without reversing 500 years of progress). They have been hammering environmental dogma into us and our children fully two generations. Skepticism regarding anything environmental, however absurd, has become politically-incorrect to the point we are shouted down if we so much as opine “this or that emperor has no clothes.” The environment, if not necessarily the environmentalists, have been thus rendered “sacrosanct” and untouchable without unleashing hordes of environment defenders. We even see environmentalists attacking environmentalists where they differ as to particulars. Each successive denunciation of human activity is invariably more costly and far reaching than the demand preceding it; despite, to date, not one of these predictions has resulted in anything quite so dire as advertised.
Tom DeWeese of the Canadian Free Press does, in fact, report one such case of overt suppression. Apparently, Senators Snowe (R) and Rockefeller (D) sent Exxon a letter in October 2007 reprimanding Exxon for its support of “climate denying” scientists, accusing Exxon of having “manufactured controversy, sown doubt, and impeded progress,” and comparing Exxon to the tobacco industry (a not so veiled threat Exxon would be next in the Congressional crosshairs). Predictably, Exxon folded (http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/deweese121406.htm ). I have no doubt a little digging would turn up more of this type, but that isn’t completely the point. If it were just a matter of big corporations like Exxon, suppression would be insufficient to keep AGW afloat. Therefore, a much wider net at the grassroots has been spread. Activist groups, many of them funded at our own expense, have worked diligently creating a climate of correctness based on fear and intimidation. If you don?t believe this, try testing the waters yourself. Ask yourself, what happens when we buck the environmentalist trend? What happens when you refuse to separate your trash in controlled communities? Invariably, you will are fined or “re-educated” right out of your Orwellian denial. And, if you proclaim at social gatherings you think global-warming is a load of steamy brown stuff, bet your bippy you’ll be set upon by a swarm of highly indignant group-think drones who never bother acquainting themselves with facts but are absolutely certain you are wrong. How can they be so certain? Because uncle Dan of the mighty nightly news or Katy of the morning coffee klatch would never steer them wrong.
In the sciences, political-incorrectness is similarly suppressed through funding, tenure, and relevance. Scientists refusing to play along find their careers stalled while PC mediocrities pass them by. In industry and commerce, we witness similar mediocrities making the climb upward for no greater accomplishment than being reliably mum or supportive where games are in play involving large sums.
The current demand for action (climate change) will cost, at minimum, a couple of trillion dollars annually for the next decade, and cannot possibly reverse the warming (assuming it really is man-made and not natural beyond our control) more than a few hundredths of a degree. Yet we talk of carbon-credits, fines, initiatives, action and sustainability as though these had meaning. The reason is simple: despite the harm it does to overall wellbeing, there are many winners among the losers. After all, somebody must be pocketing those trillions. A few will be mega-swindlers of the Al Gore ilk, but most are just go-along-to-get-along types pocketing a slice of the pie without giving much thought to what it is they peddle. With so much at stake, how can anyone doubt there will be at least some suppression against those who cry foul? And that it is both quick and vicious. Whether or not this suppression is conscious, semi-conscious or unconscious is less important than recognizing it happens and is widespread. Suppression is invariably by those defending weak propositions, not from those “in denial” of such propositions because skeptics have little to gain and much to lose for their whistle-blowing. We see it in government (as noted above), but more often in the media, academia, public education, corporate correctness, and (more than anything else) activism. Whether it is a simple snub, name-calling, social distancing, media black-balling, career sabotage, manipulating policy, string pulling, or co-opting, it involves the selling of hype; and, if hype, then some degree of suppression must be involved to have achieved the level of bilge acceptance AGW has managed. The bigger the fraud, the more healthy skepticism must be suppressed to keep it afloat.
It has been amply demonstrated, elsewhere, that AGW theory is built on a very shaky foundation. It depends almost entirely on the acceptance of mathematical models, none of which have ever been proved and all of which are deliberately fitted to filtered data supporting a warming trend. As such they represent a “worst case scenario” little different than postulating a comet could just possibly strike the earth sometime in the next 1,000 years. The historical record does support the idea of climate variability but not that it is particularly “man-made.” This reduces climate alarmism (though not climate science) to bunk.
You can see all comments on this post here: