Is the Western World going mad? Is the greatest civilisation of all, based on liberty, rational thought and science, now retreating into oppression, irrationalism and superstition? It seems so. And in fact not just “retreating” but rushing into a new dark age. (Sorry, this is unfair to the old Dark Ages, which contained figures of high learning and intellectual integrity such as Alfred the Great. It is difficult to find such figures now among our ruling establishment.)
Science is now under assault. Data is being suppressed. Critical thought is being replaced with blind faith. Any dissent is regarded as heresy. The witch-finders of the 17th Century are being re-incarnated. All this is happening on many fronts.
Climate hysteria is only one example of this madness but it is the leading example. Only this week I saw screaming headlines saying that 3 July 2023 was the hottest day since records began / since the beginning of civilisation / for the last 125,000 years / ever. On Friday from the Washington Post: “Deadly heat is an alarm bell of a planet on the brink. Massive floods. Record heat. Extreme ocean temperatures. Forest fires burning out of control. Climate alarm bells are ringing all over the planet.” All complete nonsense. All easily refuted by an enormous amount of good data.
The planet was warmer than now in several periods “since civilisation began” (last 10 000 years), and in those periods CO2 was lower than now. It was much hotter in the USA in 1936 than it is now. There has been no increase in floods or other weather extremes. Forest fires in the USA are far less intense than they were in the first half of the 19th Century – and would be still lower with proper forest management (which the greens often will not allow). Rising CO2 is doing nothing but good; it has little if no warming effect above 150 parts per million but a wonderfully beneficial effect on plants.
Climate alarm is perhaps the worst example of how the scientific establishment has been captured by the ideologues. The dreadful Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) poses as a scientific body but is in fact a political lobby group spreading fear and trying to replace science and the scientific method with superstition and dogma. Its first big scandal was the “Hockey Stick” graph, which appeared (many times) in its 2001 report and was then brandished around the world as proof-positive of dangerous manmade warning. Up to then, a huge body of evidence and record showed that from about 900 to 1200 AD the world was warmer than now in the “Medieval Warm Period (MWP)”, and then had a very cold period from about 1300 to 1850 AD in the “Little Ice Age”. In an instant the Hockey Stick threw out all the existing data and records and replaced it with a single graph of temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere from 1000 AD to present times.
It showed temperatures in a steady almost horizontal line from 1000 to 1900 AD (the shaft of an ice hockey stick) and then suddenly shooting up to an unprecedented high in the 20th Century (the blade of the hockey stick). Poof! The MWP and the LIA had been disappeared! This was exactly what the climate alarm establishment had always wanted. The lead author of the Hockey Stick, Michael Mann, unknown before, suddenly became the great green hero. The Hockey Stick was complete nonsense, of course, and soon shown to be fraudulent – blatantly so – but is still accepted as an article of faith by some of the captured science community. It relied on tree rings, a notoriously unreliable measure of past temperatures, and depended on a single series of tree rings, known to be suspect (because the trees had been stripped of bark).
The authors of the Hockey Stick had used a blatantly wrong statistical method that would have produced hockey sticks out of random noise. Most telling of all was the reaction of Michael Mann when he was challenged on the validity of his graph. He made no attempt to justify it and refused to show the computer codes he had used to derive the graph. He just tried to bully and threaten his critics into silence. He took out very expensive defamation cases against scientists and journalists who showed disagreement. Questioning was not allowed. Proper scientific challenge was cancelled. Data and science were not required. Blind faith was. Anybody who didn’t believe was a “denier!” and was to be hounded out of funding and publishing and might well lose her job.
In 2009 came the first tranche of “Climategate” emails. These were emails sent to each other by the small band of propagandists who control the climate alarm establishment. They were sent from the English University of East Anglia, a centre of climate alarm. They showed these scientists hiding or deleting data, manipulating IPCC reports, getting journals to publish only alarmist papers, perverting the scientific process and, above all, plotting to silence, demonise and threaten anybody who challenged the nonsense of dangerous manmade climate change. They did not want to win the debate. They wanted to stop it. (I’ve experienced this myself. Climate alarmists refuse to debate with me, even though I’ve said repeatedly I’m willing to debate with anyone on climate science, revealing all my qualifications, funding and interests. One well-known South African climate alarmist said, “I refuse to debate with denialists.”
Sometime later I actually did debate with him, online, and could see exactly why he had refused debate before. He hadn’t got a clue about the physics of climate change. He was frighteningly ignorant.) The Climategate scandal was made far worse by disgraceful in-house investigations – whitewashes – by the climate establishment who ruled that while the alarmists had been a bit naughty they had done nothing seriously wrong. It was as if Jacob Zuma had been found not guilty of state capture by an investigation led by the Gupta brothers.
In one of the emails, Phil Jones wrote to Mann and others: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temperatures to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”He was referring to tree ring measurements of past temperatures. In the past, it was supposed that the warmer the weather, the thicker the tree rings. But this did not happen to the only rings they could directly compare with temperatures, in the present area. So Jones decided to tuck the graph of these rings away behind other graphs.
In a very telling email of 2005, this same Phil Jones, who is a leading scientist in the IPCC, replied to a real scientist who asked for his data: “We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” This is the exact inverse of the proper scientific method, which invites criticism, which invites anybody to try to find the theory wrong. Both Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein put up their theories to the world and said, “There! Prove me wrong!” The philosopher Karl Popper codified this scientific system and called it “Falsification Theory”. The climate alarmists won’t allow any of their mad theories to be tested or falsified. They say, “This is my theory. You must believe it. If you criticise it I’ll call you a denialist and might sue you.”
You expect the woke mass media, such as the BBC, the Guardian, CNN, the New York Times, and our own Daily Maverick to swallow any fashionable crackpot theory that proves how awful capitalism and the West are (the driving ideology of climate alarm). But you don’t expect it of formerly critically thinking magazines such as The Economist or the formerly satirical British magazine, Private Eye. Both now believe every word of climate alarm and sneer at genuine scientists who tell the truth about it. Neither will publish letters or articles telling the truth about climate change. Even worse, decent scientific journals such as Nature and Scientific America have been captured.
The climate alarm establishment has succeeded in turning very good scientists into anathemas and turning ignorant ideologues into saviours. Judith Curry, a highly distinguished climate scientist of impeccable integrity, is vilified. Greta Thunberg, a silly Swedish schoolgirl, who knows nothing about climate science, who repeats stale discredited nonsense on it and who gives ludicrous warnings on impending climate catastrophe, is worshipped as a prophet. Google, Wikipedia and Fact Check guide the process on. Look up any proper climate scientist of distinction, such as Judith Curry or Richard Lindzen, and you are likely to be led first to links making personal attacks on them and smearing them.
Fear drives climate alarm: fear of being demonised; fear of losing your funding or your job; fear of never being published; fear of being sued; fear of being ostracised. This is why so many good scientists have been beaten into submission.
The madness over Covid-19 and covid vaccinations is even stranger than climate alarm. All such ideologies are driven by ideology and money. In the case of climate alarm the ideology came first: this was the idea that the West had sinned with industrialisation and capitalism and would be punished with climate catastrophe. Then followed the biggest funding gravy train in history, giving jobs, careers, research grants and conferences in agreeable locations to an immense army of academics, bureaucrats and politicians. With Covid the money seems to have come first. The big drug corporations saw the pandemic as a wonderful opportunity to make huge profits from Covid vaccines.
The politicians were happy to play along with them since it gave them a chance to boss everybody about and control their lives with ruinous lockdowns and restrictions. But what was the driving ideology? To worship the billion-dollar profits of the giant drug corporations? This seemed to be exactly what the wokes, who normally hate capitalism and big corporations, were doing, and they used their usual methods of vilification and fear to do so.
The usual proven medical methods of treatment of the illness and protection of vulnerable groups were abandoned in the case of covid. Massive reliance was placed on untested new covid vaccines. Sometimes they were made mandatory, even for people, such as the young and the healthy, who had almost no risk from Covid-19. Many nurses resigned rather than being forced to take covid vaccination. Data revealing the dangers of these vaccines were deliberately hidden from the public, with the approval of medical authorities.
Anybody who questioned their effectiveness and safety was shouted down as an “anti-vaxxer!” Very odd statistics were produced to show lives saved in a tiny group of vulnerable people. People who felt adverse effects after covid vaccination were too scared to report them. I was gullible enough and feeble enough to have a covid vaccination, which I now regret. If I had seen the data the drug corporations were trying to suppress, I should definitely not have taken it. I just hope that it has not caused me some permanent harm, say to my heart, that will only become evident in future years, and might shorten my life.
The Western Australian Government has now released data showing the adverse health effects of covid vaccines there. They are terrifying. There was a massive increase in vaccine adverse effects as soon as covid vaccination began – an increase in the number of adverse effects compared with the number of each type of vaccine. This data is freely available from the Western Australian Government but if you want a summary of it here is a video (16 minutes): Vaccination v excess deaths, correlation study – YouTube Will our mass media publicise these data? I doubt it.
There are other forms of Western madness, but here is my last example, and in some ways worst of all: transgenderism. Humans are by far the most sexually obsessed and depraved of all animals. We are, I believe, the only animal to engage in “recreational sex”, that is sex outside the purpose of breeding. Every human age, from ancient times to modern times, has seen orgies of sexual extremes and perversity. But nothing in the past compares with the evil nonsense of forced transgenderism, where confused, anxious and pliable little children, as young as eight, are persuaded that they are born into the wrong bodies and must take puberty blockers, sexual hormones and finally mutilating operations to change from a boy to a girl or a girl to a boy. This is horrible and mad. Where does it come from? Why are we going mad like this?
The history of rationalism and irrationalism, of science and superstition, is not at all simple. There is no smooth path from the past of increasing science and rationality. The Dark Ages, as I said, often showed much rational progress. The Middle Ages seemed fairly free of irrationalism. But in the 17th Century, the century of Galileo and Newton, there was a frenzy of witch-burning. (They thought their droughts, floods, famines and tempests were caused by witches – very similar in their thinking to modern climate alarmists.) There was one man at that time who did more than any other to end the evil nonsense of witch-burning. He was my hero of all ages: Alonso de Salazar Frias.
He was a Catholic priest and was commissioned by the Spanish Inquisition to investigate witchcraft in Spain. He did so by the best method of legal tribunals: testing the evidence objectively. He found very quickly that the witnesses to witchcraft were lying (for various reasons). He found no evidence for witchcraft or witches anywhere. The Spanish Church then declared belief in witches to be sinful and heretical. Witch-burning ceased in Spain – with no thanks to scientists.
The Enlightenment (Age of Reason) lifted humanity to its highest yet rationality, with a belief in empiricism (science conducted by experiment and observation not assumption and belief), with modern theories of economics and with scepticism as an essential partner of any enquiry. David Hume, Adam Smith and Rene Descartes were just some of the wonderful thinkers then. Living in that period you would expect, and hope, that the advance of rationalism would continue without end. It didn’t. In the 19th Century, the most influential thinker was Karl Marx, who was 10% rational and 90% irrational, basing himself more on poetic rage than scientific thought, and romanticisng violent struggle.
The 20th Century brought a catastrophe of irrational slaughter. Communism and National Socialism, two mad ideologies, killed tens of millions of people. After WW2, we advanced, becoming more prosperous and healthier, making immense strides in science and technology, and in many ways becoming more rational. But right now, we are descending into madness.
By “we”, I mean the West, the source of all the rationality and irrationality above. The rest of the world seems little affected by our present madness. China and India laugh at climate hysteria. Africa did much better than Europe with Covid-19 and you can’t help thinking that this might have had something to do with the fact that their covid vaccination rate was so low. Transgenderism seems absurd to ordinary Africans. (The film “What is a Woman” has a nice scene on this.) What the hell is happening to the West? Do we hate ourselves? Do we feel guilty about our staggering success in the past? Are we so rich and secure that we can afford to indulge in narcissistic neuroses? Is this why the rich, privileged, sheltered white elite (such as Robin DiAngelo) is so ashamed of other white people? Is this why President Biden says that the greatest threat to the USA is “white supremacy”?
More important, can we pull ourselves out of this? Only if honest men and women show courage.
The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR
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