Saturday, March 24, 2007

Warming advocates: trading truth for power.

First warming alarmist Al Gore admits that he thinks it entirely valid to “over-represent” (exaggerate) the dangers of global warming. Now another top bishop in the Church of Anthropogenic Warming, Mike Hulme from the University of East Anglia, says that we need to use a new kind of science to understand the issue. He calls it “post-normal” science. And it allows them to “trade (normal) truth for influence.”

Hulme’s problem with regular science is that: “Self-evidently dangerous change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking....” So, we won’t get the exact scare mongering out of the “normal scientific process” so we need a new process in order to get the correct inspiration for public policy.

Under this “post-normal” science “scientists -- and politicians -- must trade (normal) truth for influence.” That’s what Al Gore said when he admitted to exaggerating the dangers of warming. He said it “appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentation of how dangerous it is” in order to open up his film audience to his ideas. One of the granddad’s of warming hysteria, Stephen Schneider, suggested this tactic years ago, in 1989, when he said, “we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we have.” He calls this distortion of the facts a “right balance” between “being effective and being honest.” All three are saying it appropriate to distort facts in order to gain political influence, i.e. power.

All three of these prominent advocates of anthropogenic warming are saying that one must either distort science, exaggerate facts, or give up the normal scientific process in order to further the political agenda they have. Hulme says science is “provisional knowledge” that “can be modified through its interaction with society.” He says scientific knowledge is open “to change as it rubs up against society.”

What? Science is supposed to founded on facts of reality not on social perceptions, ideas or political opinions. We don’t take public opinion polls to determine facts. Opinions don’t change facts. Pasteur was right even if pulbic opinion was against him. Franklin’s lightening rod worked even if the clergy preached against it.

Hulme admits that the AGW theory is filled with uncertainties but says that circumstances require action before we know the facts - but then apparently “facts” are something of a social construct. He says his “post-normal” science has to be practiced “where the stakes are high, uncertainties large and decisions urgent.” Under this kind of “science” he says an important issue is “who has the ear of policy” that is, who sets the political agenda.

What sort of agenda? He describes this as “do we have confidence in technology; do we believe in collective action over private enterprise; do we believe we carry obligations to people invisible to us in geography and time?” And the problem with “normal” science, says Hulme, is that “it assumes science can first find truth, then speak truth to power, that broadly-based policy will then follow.” He finds that defective because it ignores “values, perspectives and political preferences.” This means “we have to take science off centre stage.” Get that! We have to move away from the science and concentrate on political preferences.

I have long argued that what was going on with these alarmists was an intentional substitution of political preferences for science. This confession, by a leading alarmist, confirms that. For Hulme “Climate change is too important to be left to scientists -- least of all the normal ones.” Instead it has go to politicians who share a specific set of values such as prefering “collective action” over private enterprise.

Photo: Mike Hulme, not a "normal" scientist.

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