CLIMATE WARS: KLEPTICS versus SKEPTICS Part 1

I have asked my good friend Steve Smith to share some of his research on Global Warming.  I have great respect for him as a thinker, I also love his unique perspectives.  This is the first in a series of three posts, look for the next installment soon.

Stephen Smith has a B.A. in Math from San Jose State University. During the day he is a Computer Systems Quality Engineer and programmer, so he understands well the ability of programmers to manipulate outcomes in computer models. In his spare time he researches and writes about issues related to maximizing individual and collective freedom, specializing in detecting manipulation, propaganda, and social engineering at various levels from interpersonal to international. Other areas of interest include history, music, linguistics, physics, “complex” systems, and chaos theory.

Part 1 of 3 — The Burden of Proof Lies with the Kleptics

After nine months of intermittent research and another three months of focusing on trying to make up my mind about Anthropogenic (man-made) Global Warming / Climate Change (AGW/ACC), I am calling it quits for a while. I’ve got other things to do. This morning I was still adding to my rainbow collection of sticky notes on the subject to a 33 inch by 34 inch work area pinned to my wall. But by the end of the day it will be taken down or covered up. The smaller collections of note cards and papers will be filed away, including the three sheets I have before me containing time lines covering 1000, 10,000, and 100,000 years of climate change. My spreadsheet containing sunspot number analysis will be ignored. It has been a challenging activity because the science has become politicized by both “believers” and “deniers”.

On the one hand are those I will call the Kleptics who are portrayed by their opponents as power mongers looking for any excuse to force human society to fit their particular vision of perfection. Government and university scientists who believe in AGW are portrayed by their opponents as being in the service of big brother or motivated by big government environmentalism. Those government scientists and university professors who don’t believe are sometimes threatened with a loss of funding and tenure. A lot of believers are associated with “green” industries and that is seen as okay by the Kleptics. Some Kleptic scientists, like Wallace Broecker who advises Global Research Technologies, are not paid, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t tied to a money trail. A lot of government money funds those who support AGW. The scientific consensus is based on coercion. Power can motivate as much or more than wealth. Global Warming is a government funded growth industry. Kleptics want to save the world from humans.

On the other hand are the Skeptics who are portrayed by their opponents as under-responsible hedonists and anti-science religionists looking for any excuse to continue with the status quo. Industry scientists are portrayed by those on the other side of the debates as motivated only by desire for profit, as if wanting a place to live and food to eat are somehow unique to those in the private sector. The Skeptics are called names, marginalized by the media, and threatened with a loss of funding for research that questions AGW. Some skeptical scientists, like Dr. Roy Spencer of NASA, retire early so that they can speak the truth as they see it without having to worry about workplace intimidation. Skepticism can be a choice of convenience but is is just as often an act of courageous defense of the principles underlying science.

Each side portrays themselves and their own supporters as the only rational systems thinkers in the debate. Both sides have their share of dogmatists who ironically are inadvertently doing their level best to prove true the stereo types that their opponents have about them. Among the dogmatists on both sides are very capable scientific technicians posing as scientists (dogma is the opposite of science). Both sides are supported by real scientists who are often dismissed by their opponents using the clever trick of lumping the scientists together with the dogmatists who agree with them. On the whole, it is the Kleptic scientific technicians who have acted the least scientific and the most dogmatic, all the while supposing themselves to be the true scientists and their opponents the dogmatists. Perhaps it is the least informed among the Skeptics that sound most dogmatic, but, ironically, the slightly superior arguments of the Kleptic dogmabots eventually do fall apart under scrutiny.

Those who are thoughtfully undecided face the serious problem of determining which side to support. We are told that the consequences of a poor choice are climate catastrophe on the one hand, and economic collapse on the other. It does seem to be a subject of great importance, one where the consequences of a bad solution are fairly significant. But making up one’s mind is hardly a walk in the park. Here are some of the more obvious options available for going about making a determination on the matter:

1) Preemptively choose one side or the other and look no further. On the surface it appears that this choice allows you a 50% chance of being correct with a minimum of effort, and is a reasonable choice as long as this guess isn’t then thrust upon others using government do-gooders as a proxy for personal tendencies toward oppressing others. Many people have little choice but to make a guess, given the demands placed upon them by prior commitments. The Kleptics may very well be counting on the fact that this is the case with many people and that most people will side with them given their “authority” as government scientists. This is what environmentalist Lucy Skywalker did, until she did her own research and became a Skeptic. Her web page provides an excellent overview of the subject matter. http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Curious.htm

2) Attempt to achieve the best of both extremes through a “moderate”, “balanced” approach (as if being in the middle of a false dichotomy is moderate or balanced, which it certainly isn’t). No matter which side of the debate is correct, this turns out to be a losing proposition.
3) Devote your life to first gathering enough data to allow you to decide which side to follow, and then defending that position until your position changes. (Be very glad that there are honest and intelligent people out their on both sides who are more willing and able to do this than you are. I know I am grateful for the vast amount of work being performed by others in this important area, especially those who volunteer their time to sorting this all out.)
4) Take a higher level philosophical approach that attempts to identify underlying assumptions, persistent behavior patterns, and over-riding facts, without denying verifiable facts (produced by those who chose option 3 above), to increase the chances of choosing well.

If you are going to try to take approach #3, then you can begin with the following web sites, and then go from there. Good luck. You can sleep when you are dead because there is an ocean of data on this subject that is both deep and wide.
Kleptics –
http://www.realclimate.org
http://www.skepticalscience.com
http://co2now.org/
Skeptics –
http://climateaudit.org/
http://wattsupwiththat.com/
http://anhonestclimatedebate.wordpress.com/

Having tried option #3 for hundreds of hours over the last 14 months, most of it since November 2009, I see now the difficulty of coming to any definitive conclusion that way. Option #4 is legitimate if the claims of both sides are taken seriously. For this blog entry series, only a few topics will be lightly touched upon. By now you are very likely able to see that I lean Skeptic. It isn’t easy to be balanced when the Kleptics act as if it is the Skeptics job to prove AGW/ACC wrong, when in fact they have it reversed, and it is the Kleptics that carry the burden of proof in a complex problem space where the science is very young.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “CLIMATE WARS: KLEPTICS versus SKEPTICS Part 1

  1. Pingback: Part 2 CLIMATE WARS: KLEPTICS versus SKEPTICS « Logic Of Liberty

  2. Pingback: CLIMATE WARS: KLEPTICS versus SKEPTICS Part 3 « Logic Of Liberty

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