Extinction Hype and Dubious Biodiversity COP15 in Montreal

Headlines Claim, But Details Deny

The advertising proverb says it all: “The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away.”

Unfortunately, climate science is rife with this. A research announcement is released and the same text appears in media articles everywhere, the only difference being who can attach the scariest headline. One list of things claimed to be caused by global warming numbers 883, including many head scratchers.
http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm

For example: species extinctions.

WWF claims “The rapid loss of species we are seeing today is estimated by experts to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. MSNBC laments the “fact” that 100,000 species of flora and fauna will no longer be with us by next Christmas. And yet, WWF also estimates the number of identified unique species to be between 1.4 to 1.8 million, an uncertainty of 400,000. As someone said, “Anytime extinctions are claimed, ask for the names.”

Note from California Academy of Sciences:

How many species on Earth?  Eight million, seven hundred thousand species! (Give or take 1.3 million.)

That is a new, estimated total number of species on Earth—the most precise calculation ever offered—with 6.5 million species found on land and 2.2 million dwelling in the ocean depths.

Until now, the number of species on Earth was said to fall somewhere within the large range of 3 and 100 million.

The new study, published yesterday in the open access journal PLoS Biology, says a staggering 86% of all species on land and 91% of those in the seas have yet to be discovered, described and catalogued.

The debunking is done in detail here:  Plenty of Wiggle Room in Scientific Certainty

They know that 99.9% of all species that ever existed on Earth are now extinct. They know that in the last 540 million years there have been five events in which more than half of the planet’s “animal genera” have died off. (They have not been able to link all of these events to the activities of Big Oil yet, but they’re working on it.) They know we are in the midst of Sixth Great Mass Extinction that the “experts” say is more destructive that the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Source: Phanerozoic_Biodiversity.png Author: SVG version by Albert Mestre

Chris D Thomas Professor of Evolutionary Biology, University of York writes in the Conversation New species are coming into existence faster than ever thanks to humans. Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.

Animals and plants are seemingly disappearing faster than at any time since the dinosaurs died out, 66m years ago. The death knell tolls for life on Earth. Rhinos will soon be gone unless we defend them, Mexico’s final few Vaquita porpoises are drowning in fishing nets, and in America, Franklin trees survive only in parks and gardens.

Yet the survivors are taking advantage of new opportunities created by humans. Many are spreading into new parts of the world, adapting to new conditions, and even evolving into new species. In some respects, diversity is actually increasing in the human epoch, the Anthropocene. It is these biological gains that I contemplate in a new book, Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature is Thriving in an Age of Extinction, in which I argue that it is no longer credible for us to take a loss-only view of the world’s biodiversity.

Entirely new species have even come into existence. The “apple fly” has evolved in North America, thanks to European colonials bringing fruit trees to the New World. And house sparrows mated with Mediterranean “Spanish” sparrows somewhere on an Italian farm. Their descendants represent a brand new species, the Italian sparrow. Life on Earth is no longer the same as it was before humans arrived on the scene.

There is no doubt that the rate at which species are dying out is very high, and we could well be in for a “Big Sixth” mass extinction. This represents a loss of biological diversity. Yet, we also know that the Big Five mass extinctions of the past half billion years ultimately led to increases in diversity. Could this happen again? It seems so, because the current rate at which new animals and plants (such as the apple fly, the Italian sparrow and Oxford ragwort) are coming into existence is unusually high – and it may be the highest ever. We are already on the verge of Genesis Number Six – a million or so years from now, the world could end up supporting more species, not fewer, as a consequence of the evolution of Homo sapiens.

China Practicing Sun Tzu’s Art of War?

Beyond the exaggeration and fear-mongering featured in all these UN gatherings, there are particular reasons to be skeptical of this Biodiversity COP15 in Montreal.  For one thing, it serves as a platform for Virtue-Signaler-in-Chief, Justin Trudeau, to burnish his social justice warrior creds.  And for another thing, there’s a devious collaboration with China’s despot.  Terry Glavin explains in his National Post article Trudeau Liberals too eager to buy into China’s green ‘co-operation’. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

No country has cooperated with China on environmental issues
more enthusiastically and obsequiously than Canada

China’s President Xi Jinping

As at least 10,000 delegates and observers from more than 190 countries gather in Montreal for the Convention of the Parties’ biodiversity summit this week, it’s difficult not to be dreary about the summit’s prospects for reversing the alarming trends that continue to push the earth’s animal and plant species over extinction’s cliff edge.

It’s not all bad news. But it’s pretty bad. And with Beijing as the co-host with Canada, it’s hard not to be at least a bit cynical about the whole thing.

The conference in Montreal was supposed to be convened two years ago in Kunming, China, but COVID-19 got in the way, so now the event is being held in Canada owing to the Trudeau government’s decision to oblige the Chinese. In the lead-up to Kunming, the United Nations’ Global Biodiversity Outlook prepared a report card on how the world had progressed by then on the 20 biodiversity targets set 10 years earlier when the parties met in Aichi, Japan. It’s pretty grim reading.

Of the 20 Aichi targets, none were met. Of the 60 “elements” within the targets, only seven were achieved and 13 registered no progress at all. The UN couldn’t figure out what was going on with a couple elements, but there was progress in 38 elements.

Numerical analyses don’t illuminate much on a global scale, but that’s the scale the COP15 gathering in Montreal is dealing with. The rate of global deforestation had slowed by a third over that decade, but overfishing has accelerated, and wetlands continued to vanish. Still, harmful invasive species were eradicated from islands in 200 projects. Also to the good: 44 per cent of the critical areas of the world identified as particularly rich in species diversity ended up with some degree of protection, up from 29 per cent identified at the Aichi gathering.

It doesn’t help to be cynical about these things but Beijing is, after all, in the wheelhouse here.

The hollowest banality you’ll hear when it comes to China is the one about how, sure, the Chinese Communist Party might be a world-devouring rogue state that we have to protect ourselves from, but gosh, we do have to get along with Chinese strongman Xi Jinping when it comes to big-picture challenges like the impact of climate change on human well-being and global biodiversity.

The way that platitude is put in Ottawa’s recently-unveiled Indo-Pacific Strategy: China may well be “an increasingly disruptive global power,” but “China’s sheer size and influence makes co-operation necessary to address some of the world’s existential pressures, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, global health and nuclear proliferation.”

And fair enough. It makes sense. But the thing is, we’ve been co-operating like crazy already, all along. No country has co-operated with China on environmental issues more enthusiastically and obsequiously than Canada. How’s that been working out? For all its much-lauded investments in electric cars and solar panels, China had given the green light to 8.63 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power in the first quarter of this year. China now emits more greenhouse gases than the entire developed-world output, combined.

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, but it’s hard to put your finger on a folly more obvious now than the 1981 decision by Pierre Trudeau’s government to rejig the Canadian International Development Agency’s eligibility requirements so as to allow China to qualify as a foreign-aid recipient. Within a year, CIDA’s role in China was fashioned to suit the purposes of the trade lobby, and that’s how CIDA was run in China until the agency was folded into Global Affairs in 2013.

China has used its “developing country” pretensions to evade a variety of the multilateral environmental and climate change obligations that burden “First World” countries. The result has been that in the existential challenge of global warming, you’d never know it but the greenhouse gas output from Europe and North America have pretty much flatlined over the past quarter of a century, while China’s output has quadrupled.

LULUCF refers to emissions from land use and forestry, which can be in addition or subtraction.

China has been at the forefront of assertions that it is the developed economies’ job to bear the greater costs of climate change mitigation, owing to the legacy of the Industrial Revolution. There’s a case to be made for that, but according to the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data project, the volume of carbon dioxide China has pumped into the atmosphere over the past eight years exceeds the two-century output of the United Kingdom, where the Industrial Revolution began.

So perhaps, yes, “China’s sheer size and influence makes co-operation necessary,” but Canada has never shied away from co-operating. Canada never stopped co-operating, in just the way Beijing wanted, long after CIDA was folded up.

Conclusion

Many know of the Latin phrase “caveat emptor,” meaning “Let the buyer beware”.

When it comes to UN climate science, remember also “caveat lector”–”Let the reader beware”.

Left Replaces Thinking with the “Stochastic Terror” Lie

Christopher F. Rufo explains in his City Journal article The “Stochastic Terror” Lie  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

The Left’s latest gambit for suppressing speech is built on preposterous grounds.

[Note: Those of us who follow the global warming/climate change alarmists see how the same mentality operates in order to avoid proving cause and effect.  Just watch how climate reparations are being pushed presuming that any loss or damage from natural events is caused by humans using fossil fuels.]

I browsed the news recently only to discover that, according to a popular science magazine, I was responsible for the attempted murder of Paul Pelosi, husband to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In an opinion piece for Scientific American, writer Bryn Nelson insinuated that my factual reporting on Drag Queen Story Hour was an example of “stochastic terrorism,” which he defines as “ideologically driven hate speech” that increases the likelihood of unpredictable acts of violence. On the night of the attack, Nelson argued, I had appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to discuss my reporting, and, hours later, the alleged attacker, David DePape, radicalized by “QAnon” conspiracy theories about “Democratic, Satan-worshipping pedophiles,” broke into the Pelosi residence and attacked Paul Pelosi with a hammer.

This is a bizarre claim that, for a magazine supposedly dedicated to “science,”
hardly meets a scientific standard of cause and effect.

There is no evidence that DePape watched or was motivated by Tucker Carlson’s program; moreover, nothing in my reporting on Drag Queen Story Hour encourages violence or mentions Nancy Pelosi, QAnon, or Satan-worshipping pedophiles. My appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight and DePape’s attack against Paul Pelosi are, in reality, two unrelated incidents in a large and complex universe.

And Nelson, a microbiologist specializing in human excrement, is full of it.  But Nelson isn’t trying to prove anything in a scientific sense. Under the concept of “stochastic terrorism,” logic, evidence, and causality are irrelevant. Any incident of violence can be politicized and attributed to any ideological opponent, regardless of facts.

The scheme works like this: left-wing media, activists, and officials designate a subject of discourse, such as Drag Queen Story Hour, off-limits; they treat any reporting on that subject as an expression of “hate speech”; and finally, if an incident of violence emerges that is related, even tangentially, to that subject, they assign guilt to their political opponents and call for the suppression of speech. The statistical concept of “stochasticity,” which means “randomly determined,” functions as a catch-all: the activists don’t have to prove causality—they simply assert it with a sophisticated turn of phrase and a vague appeal to probability.

Though framed in scientific terms, this gambit is a crude political weapon.

In practice, left-wing media, activists, and officials apply the “stochastic terrorism” designation only in one direction: rightward. They never attribute fire-bombings against pro-life pregnancy centers, arson attacks against Christian churches, or the attempted assassination of a Supreme Court justice to mere argumentation of left-wing activists, such as, say, opposition to the Court’s decision in Dobbs. In those cases, the Left correctly adopts the principle that it is incitement, rather than opinion, that constitutes a crime—but conveniently forgets that standard as soon as the debate shifts to the movement’s conservative opponents.

In recent years, the Left has not only monopolized the concept of “stochastic terrorism”
but also built a growing apparatus for enforcing it.

Last year, left-wing organizations and the Department of Justice collaborated on a campaign to suppress parents who oppose critical race theory, under the false claim that sometimes-heated school-board protests were incidents of “domestic terrorism.” Earlier this year, left-wing activists and medical associations called on social media companies and the Department of Justice to censor, investigate, and prosecute journalists who question.

If this process is left unchecked, the consequences will be disastrous.

Left-wing NGOs, social media companies, and federal security apparatchiks will gain unprecedented power to police speech and criminalize political opposition. Conservatives and old-line liberals who still care about civil liberties must expose the scheme and work to dismantle the apparatus that supports it. The line of argument is simple: speech is not violence; statistical abstraction is not a substitute for evidence; and free-association fantasies cannot determine guilt. But the politics of fighting back are more complex. It will require dislodging a network of professionals who see the concept of “stochastic terror” as a path to power.

That concept is built on a lie. It deserves to be exposed and discredited.

See also Science + Politics = Politics

Climate Reductionism

Goalless Solutions Make Things Worse

Thorsteinn Siglaugsson wrote at Brownstone Institute The Chief Cause of Problems Is Bad Solutions.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

When H. William Dettmer started working with Dr. Eli Goldratt’s Thinking Process framework for solving profound problems in the 1990s, he soon realised how very often people focused on the wrong problems, and then spent their time and effort on figuring out root causes behind often trivial issues.

Dettmer’s solution to this was based on a simple, yet profound insight: A problem is not really a problem unless it prevents us from reaching our goal. The first step in problem-solving should therefore be to define the goal, and in Dettmer’s amended framework not only a goal but also the factors critical to achieve it. This way, focus on what actually mattered would be ensured; the problem solver could rest assured he was not wasting his time on trivialities.

Source: Jordan Peterson’s Maps of Meaning

What we perceive as important problems are often things that annoy us, but which really do not matter in the bigger context. I might perceive a cluttered inbox or a broken coffee machine in the office as a major problem, while those are totally unimportant to the long-term success of the company.

As long as I realise such issues are important only to me personally, no harm is done. But as soon as my focus shifts to the trivial problems and I become obsessed with them, I may be headed for wrong decisions, a situation exemplified by Eric Sevareid’s insight:

Eli Goldratt’s book, The Goal, is one of the most influential management books of all time and his ideas have had a profound impact, especially in production and project management. Goldratt’s first axiom is that every decision must aim at furthering the company’s overall goal. Self-evident as it may sound, all senior managers know the constant effort it takes to maintain this focus.

What happens if we have no clear goal? In that case any undesired change may come to be perceived as an important problem. The more sudden or unexpected the change, the more likely this is.

If there is no goal, we have no way to judge the importance.

Source: Jordan Peterson’s Maps of Meaning

What Goals Directed Covid Responses? 

In the summer of 2020 I had a long discussion with a consultant friend in Paris, another of Goldratt’s disciples, on the situation and outlook after the Covid-19 crisis struck. Our first instinct was of course to try and define a goal. We agreed that when it comes to public health the goal should always be to minimise the loss of life-years, or rather quality-adjusted life-years, both now and in the future.

This was shortly after the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo had claimed that any severity of measures against the coronavirus was worth it, if they saved just one life. Across the world, national leaders constantly repeated the mantra of “following the science,” meaning the whole of society should be managed based on the advice of experts in a narrow field of medical science, focusing on suppressing or even eradicating a single disease. An ethics professor I interviewed in late 2020 said it was morally right to brush aside all concerns of collateral damage because we were “in a pandemic.”

Maximising the number of life-years might well be a proper goal for healthcare. It calls for both short and long-term strategies, including prevention, treatment, even nutritional policies and many other strategies. But when we look at society as a whole, the maximum number of life-years, even when “quality-adjusted,” is hardly a proper overall goal; it focuses on physical existence only, ignoring all the other complex factors which make life worth living.

What then about the goal of “following the science” or of preventing even just one death from a coronavirus at all costs? It should be obvious how absurd it is to view those as true goals when it comes to governing a society. But for some reason, over the past 30 months, those and other similar extremely narrow objectives became the chief goals of public health authorities and governments in almost the whole world.

There is little doubt that the phenomenon of mass formation described by Mattias Desmet has played a role here. I clearly remember how many people had convinced themselves that nothing mattered except to stop the virus in its tracks, to delay infections. And when I say nothing I mean nothing. “The only thing that matters is preventing infections,” someone told me back in 2020. And when I pressed him, asking if he meant the only thing that mattered in the whole wide world was slowing the spread of the virus, if everything else was really of no consequence, education, the economy, poverty, mental health; everything else, the answer was a resounding “Yes!”

Escaping the Problem Obsession Trap

What those cases have in common is how, in the absence of a goal, our focus is diverted towards a problem, otherwise insignificant, or at least not the only problem in the world, and eliminating the problem becomes the goal.

This is why the key to successful problem-solving is to first agree on a common goal, otherwise we may end up solving the wrong problems.

The loss of focus we have experienced during the past 30 months rests on two pillars. One is the power of mass formation. But the other one, no less important, is the loss of leadership. In both Sweden and the Faroe Islands the leadership, epidemiologist Anders Tegnell in the case of Sweden, and the government in the case of the Faroe Islands, never succumbed to irrational fear. If they had, it would surely have taken over in both countries.

The chief reason it didn’t was the stance taken by the leaders who, guided by common sense. never lost sight of the goal of government; ensuring the well-being of society as a whole, or, at the individual level, ensuring man’s possibility to live a full life, as Eli Goldratt once put it. Neither is clear-cut of course, but however fuzzy and imperfect the goal statement may be, once we lose sight of it, we are in grave danger of succumbing to mass formation. It only takes a sudden change or an unforeseen threat, blown out of proportion, unrestrained by the common goal.

When almost the whole world loses sight of the common goal of human society, and the elimination of a single problem, in the end a rather unimportant one, takes precedence over everything else, thus becoming the goal – a distorted and absurd one, a disastrous and ruinous one for sure – this is an indication of a fundamental loss of common sense.

A healthy society does not succumb to mass formation. The reason this can happen is that we have no common goal any more, no common sense. To get out of this situation and to avoid it in the future, we must find our goal again, we must reestablish our focus, we must regain our common sense.

Footnote:  Preface to The Goal by Eli Goldratt

I  view science as nothing more than an understanding of the way the world is and why it is that way. At any given time our scientific knowledge is simply the current state of the art of our understanding. I do not believe in absolute truths. I fear such beliefs because they block the search for better understanding. Whenever we think we have final answers progress, science, and better understanding ceases. Understanding of our world is not something to be pursued for its own sake, however. Knowledge should be pursued, I believe, to make our world better—to make life more fulfilling.

There are several reasons I chose a novel to explain my understanding of manufacturing—how it works (reality) and why it works that way. First, I want to make these principles more understandable and show how they can bring order to the chaos that so often exists in our plants. Second, I wanted to illustrate the power of this understanding and the benefits it can bring. The results achieved are not fantasy; they have been, and are being, achieved in real plants. The western world does not have to become a second or third rate manufacturing power. If we just understand and apply the correct principles, we can compete with anyone. I also hope that readers would see the validity and value of these principles in other organizations such as banks, hospitals, insurance companies and our families. Maybe the same potential for growth and improvement exists in all organizations.

Finally, and most importantly, I wanted to show that we can all be outstanding scientists. The secret of being a good scientist, I believe, lies not in our brain power. We have enough. We simply need to look at reality and think logically and precisely about what we see. The key ingredient is to have the courage to face inconsistencies between what we see and deduce and the way things are done. This challenging of basic assumptions is essential to breakthroughs. Almost everyone who has worked in a plant is at least uneasy about the use of cost accounting efficiencies to control our actions. Yet few have challenged this sacred cow directly. Progress in understanding requires that we challenge basic assumptions about how the world is  and why it is that way. If we can better understand our world and the principles that govern it, I suspect all our lives will be better.

Good luck in your search for these principles and for your own understanding of “The Goal.”

Link to The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eli Goldratt

Science + Politics = Politics

Jukka Savolainen writes at City Journal And Yet It Moves.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

A top scientific journal places political correctness above the search for truth.

Nature Human Behavior, one of the most prestigious journals for social science research, recently published an editorial titled “Science must respect the dignity and rights of all humans.” Though short, the article generated tremendous pushback among academics and intellectuals concerned about the spread of social-justice ideology into science. Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker said the journal was “no longer a peer-reviewed scientific journal but an enforcer of a political creed,” while Greg Lukianoff, the CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, described the journal’s statement as “an epistemic catastrophe.” What did the editorial say?

In short, it took the position that scientific truth should defer to politics. The journal now considers it appropriate to suppress research that “undermines—or could reasonably be perceived to undermine—the rights and dignities” of people or groups, as well as “text or images that disparage a person or group on the basis of socially constructed human groupings.” Researchers are urged to “consider the potential implications of research on human groups defined on the basis of social characteristics” and “to contextualise their findings to minimize as much as possible potential misuse or risks of harm to the studied groups in the public sphere.”

Anything that could be perceived as disparaging is now fair game for rejection or retraction.

The implications on scientific inquiry and truth-seeking are clear. As the journalist Jesse Singal observed, an empirically flawless study could be retracted under the guise of social justice. “What’s most alarming is that unless I’m missing something, research that is perfectly valid and well-executed could run afoul of these guidelines,” he wrote.

In the words of a scientist and commentator, the Nature Human Behavior editorial codifies policies “that most social science journals already have.” In his 2014 book The Sacred Project of American Sociology, Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith laments the discipline’s unwillingness to come clean with the reality that pursuing specific kinds of social-justice goals is its central mission. As regrettable as the new editorial guidelines of Nature Human Behavior may be, at least they express honestly how contemporary social science is actually practiced.

Indeed, scientific journals cannot afford to remain neutral—but they need to take a strong stand for the pursuit of truth, not for any political cause. Like democracy, scientific inquiry does not happen by default; it requires unwavering commitment among its participants to play by the rules.

It is not acceptable to retract or suppress a methodologically sound study
simply because you don’t like the results.

Background Post:  Science Discredited by “Scientists”

Toby Young writes at Spectator How science became politicized. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

New rules from a leading journal do not bode well

Here’s a paradox. Over the past two-and-a-half years, a cadre of senior politicians and their “expert” advisors across the world have successfully promoted a series of controversial public policies by claiming they’re based on “the science” rather than a particular moral or ideological vision. I’m thinking of lockdowns and net zero in particular. Yet at the same time, this group has engaged in behavior that has undermined public confidence in science.

Why appeal to the authority of science to win support for a series of politically contentious policies — and then diminish its authority?

Take Anthony Fauci, for instance, who recently announced he’s stepping down as chief medical advisor to Joe Biden. Even though he once claimed to “represent science” in the eyes of the American people:

♦ he misled them about the likely duration of the lockdowns (“fifteen days to slow the spread”),
♦ overstated the efficacy of the Covid vaccines when they were first rolled out,
♦ refused to countenance the possibility that Covid-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology
♦ it later emerged that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, under his leadership, had given a grant to the EcoHealth Alliance, which helped fund “gain-of-function” research at the Chinese lab,
♦  and he conspired with other prominent scientists, such as Francis Collins, to besmirch the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration (“There needs to be a quick and devastating published takedown of its premises,” Collins told Fauci in an email).

A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal concluded: “His legacy will be that millions of Americans will never trust government health experts in the same way again.”

Another case in point is a recent editorial in Nature Human Behaviour, one of several journals in the Nature Research stable, the world’s pre-eminent publisher of scientific research. “Although academic freedom is fundamental, it is not unbounded,” it begins, and then proceeds to set out rules that future academic papers will have to comply with in addition to meeting all the usual standards for publication, e.g. peer review. It says the journal won’t publish articles that might cause “potential harms” (even “inadvertently”) to individuals or groups that are most vulnerable to “racism, sexism, ableism or homophobia.” “Academic content that undermines the dignity or rights of specific groups; assumes that a human group is superior or inferior over another simply because of a social characteristic; includes hate speech or denigrating images; or promotes privileged, exclusionary perspectives raises ethics concerns that may require revisions or supersede the value of publication,” it says.

It should be obvious that far from being politically neutral, these rules embody a particular ideology and in future the truthfulness of a scientific finding will be subordinate to this perspective.

To see this, you just need to do a simple thought experiment, as Bo Winegard has done in Quillette. Imagine, he says, if this editorial had been written by political conservatives who announced that “any research promoting (even ‘inadvertently’) promiscuous sex, the breakdown of the nuclear family, agnosticism and atheism, or the decline of the nation state, would be suppressed or rejected lest it inflict unspecified ‘harm’ on vaguely defined groups or individuals.” Those progressive scientists applauding Nature Human Behaviour would throw up their arms in horror and point out – correctly — that these rules are at odds with one of the foundational principles of science, which is to pursue the truth, wherever it may lead.

This editorial is a disaster from the point of view of closet ideologues who want to appeal to the authority of science to promote lockdowns and net zero, including, I suspect, its authors. After all, the reason rhetorical phrases like “the science” are supposed to win round those who are skeptical about these policies — conservatives, for the most part — is that they invoke a popular conception of scientists as politically neutral, disinterested “experts” who are basing their guidance on reason and evidence, uncontaminated by value judgments.

Yet here is a group of senior scientific gatekeepers announcing that the only knowledge that will count as “scientific” is that which promotes their agenda.

It’s as if they’re saying that scientific research unconstrained by this progressive straitjacket, i.e. science as conventionally understood, will yield results that are incompatible with their radical egalitarian agenda and so ought to be suppressed. In other words, “the science” is actually at odds with their political views.

How to explain this own goal? As I say, it’s a head-scratcher.

Science Discredited by “Scientists”

Toby Young writes at Spectator How science became politicized. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

New rules from a leading journal do not bode well

Here’s a paradox. Over the past two-and-a-half years, a cadre of senior politicians and their “expert” advisors across the world have successfully promoted a series of controversial public policies by claiming they’re based on “the science” rather than a particular moral or ideological vision. I’m thinking of lockdowns and net zero in particular. Yet at the same time, this group has engaged in behavior that has undermined public confidence in science.

Why appeal to the authority of science to win support for a series of politically contentious policies — and then diminish its authority?

Take Anthony Fauci, for instance, who recently announced he’s stepping down as chief medical advisor to Joe Biden. Even though he once claimed to “represent science” in the eyes of the American people:

♦ he misled them about the likely duration of the lockdowns (“fifteen days to slow the spread”),
♦ overstated the efficacy of the Covid vaccines when they were first rolled out,
♦ refused to countenance the possibility that Covid-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology
♦ it later emerged that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, under his leadership, had given a grant to the EcoHealth Alliance, which helped fund “gain-of-function” research at the Chinese lab,
♦  and he conspired with other prominent scientists, such as Francis Collins, to besmirch the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration (“There needs to be a quick and devastating published takedown of its premises,” Collins told Fauci in an email).

A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal concluded: “His legacy will be that millions of Americans will never trust government health experts in the same way again.”

Another case in point is a recent editorial in Nature Human Behaviour, one of several journals in the Nature Research stable, the world’s pre-eminent publisher of scientific research. “Although academic freedom is fundamental, it is not unbounded,” it begins, and then proceeds to set out rules that future academic papers will have to comply with in addition to meeting all the usual standards for publication, e.g. peer review. It says the journal won’t publish articles that might cause “potential harms” (even “inadvertently”) to individuals or groups that are most vulnerable to “racism, sexism, ableism or homophobia.” “Academic content that undermines the dignity or rights of specific groups; assumes that a human group is superior or inferior over another simply because of a social characteristic; includes hate speech or denigrating images; or promotes privileged, exclusionary perspectives raises ethics concerns that may require revisions or supersede the value of publication,” it says.

It should be obvious that far from being politically neutral, these rules embody a particular ideology and in future the truthfulness of a scientific finding will be subordinate to this perspective.

To see this, you just need to do a simple thought experiment, as Bo Winegard has done in Quillette. Imagine, he says, if this editorial had been written by political conservatives who announced that “any research promoting (even ‘inadvertently’) promiscuous sex, the breakdown of the nuclear family, agnosticism and atheism, or the decline of the nation state, would be suppressed or rejected lest it inflict unspecified ‘harm’ on vaguely defined groups or individuals.” Those progressive scientists applauding Nature Human Behaviour would throw up their arms in horror and point out – correctly — that these rules are at odds with one of the foundational principles of science, which is to pursue the truth, wherever it may lead.

This editorial is a disaster from the point of view of closet ideologues who want to appeal to the authority of science to promote lockdowns and net zero, including, I suspect, its authors. After all, the reason rhetorical phrases like “the science” are supposed to win round those who are skeptical about these policies — conservatives, for the most part — is that they invoke a popular conception of scientists as politically neutral, disinterested “experts” who are basing their guidance on reason and evidence, uncontaminated by value judgments.

Yet here is a group of senior scientific gatekeepers announcing that the only knowledge that will count as “scientific” is that which promotes their agenda.

It’s as if they’re saying that scientific research unconstrained by this progressive straitjacket, i.e. science as conventionally understood, will yield results that are incompatible with their radical egalitarian agenda and so ought to be suppressed. In other words, “the science” is actually at odds with their political views.

How to explain this own goal? As I say, it’s a head-scratcher.

 

Examples of Debased Government Science

John Stossel explains with examples in his Town Hall article Scientific ‘Integrity’.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

“Trust the science,” say the media. Polls show that fewer Americans do. There’s good reason for that.

“They don’t trust science because science is increasingly untrustworthy,” says science writer Andrew Follet in my new video. “The only group that trusts science right now is Democrats.”  Sixty-four percent of Democrats have “a great deal” of confidence in the scientific community, compared to 34% of Republicans.

Of course, true science — using the scientific method — is important. But that’s not what much of “science” is these days.

Instead, today government science is misused by progressive politicians.

Example 1: Environmental activists want to limit commercial fishing. They want Congress to pass what they call the “Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act.” It claims climate change is the “greatest threat to America’s national security” and offers a dubious solution: close more of the ocean to commercial fishing.

The administration’s deputy director of Climate, Jane Lubchenco, told Congress that a scientific paper concludes that closing more of the ocean can actually increase catches of fish

Really? That doesn’t seem logical.  It isn’t. The paper was retracted. One scientist called its logic “biologically impossible.”   Also, Lubchenco’s didn’t tell Congress that the paper was written by her brother-in-law! And edited by her!

Did the White House punish Lubchenco for her ethics violations? No. In fact, after her testimony, she was appointed co-head of President Joe Biden’s Scientific Integrity Task Force!

Last week, the National Academy of Sciences banned her for five years. Yet she’s still on the White House’s Scientific Integrity Task Force.

Sadly, much of what’s called science today is simply left-wing advocacy.

“New fields like fat studies, African studies, Latinx studies, queer studies,” says Follet, “are essentially entirely fake.”  Fake? Well, they must be. “Experts” in those fields keep being fooled by people who submit gibberish.

Example 2:  Fat Studies

A ridiculous paper, “Embracing Fatness as Self-Care in the Era of Trump,” was accepted by Massey University’s “Fat Studies” conference. The conference then invited the paper’s author, “Sea Matheson,” to speak.

Attendees gave Matheson’s speech rave reviews, praising the paper’s description of Donald Trump’s “fatphobia” and inviting Matheson to review other work submitted to their “scientific” journal, Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society.

But Matheson is no scientist. “She” is actually comedian Steven Crowder, who disguised himself as an overweight woman to expose “ivory tower quackery.”

Crowder is just the latest person to fool today’s so-called science journals. James Lindsay, Peter Boghossian and Helen Pluckrose submitted nonsense papers to “grievance studies” journals like Fat Studies, Sexuality & Culture and Sex Roles.

Seven accepted ridiculous papers.

One that took a section of “Mein Kampf” but replaced references to “National Socialism” with “feminism,” was accepted by Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work.

Gender, Place and Culture accepted a paper that claimed there is rape culture at dog parks.

Follett blames this perversion of science on government. Its science agencies, like much of America, have been taken over by leftists hungry to promote themselves and their agenda.

In science, the way to promote yourself is to get papers published. That often gets you more funding. Government agencies like the National Science Foundation provide most of that funding.

“Nobody wants to publish something that goes against the paymaster,” says Follett. “You don’t get published unless the NSF likes your results.”

Example 3: The NSF gave nearly half a million dollars to a team that wrote a paper questioning glacier science because it “stems from knowledge created by men.”

Absurdities are pushed by the right, too. .Some people still claim that man plays no part in climate change or that the climate isn’t warming at all. Some say vaccines don’t work.  But the right’s junk science doesn’t get backed by government funds.

I’m angry that my tax dollars go to support leftist nonsense.

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t care. That’s probably because they don’t know that government throws so much money at ridiculous progressive advocacy.

“We’ll all start caring when the bridges start falling down and the planes start crashing,” says Follet. “That’s the inevitable end result of this.”

See also Trust Me, I’m a Scientist. Really?

 

See also Why Federalized Science is Rotten

Wrightstone’s Climate Truth Canceled by LinkedIn

Gregory R. Wrightstone writes at Real Clear Energy LinkedIn Shuts Out Truth — Again.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and some added images

Censors at LinkedIn have permanently banned me from the social media site after I presented data drawn from peer-reviewed data used by the preeminent promoter of the narrative that man-made global warming threatens the planet— the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

How can this be? Well, first, my offending posts placed today’s level of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the context of geological time, suggesting that life would be well served if there were more CO2 — exactly the opposite of what climate alarmists say. Secondly, I’ve had the audacity to publish facts — also know as the truth, multiple times on LinkedIn— that contradict the theory that humans face an “existential threat” from a harmless gas of which each of us daily exhales two pounds.

“Your account has violated the LinkedIn User Agreement and Professional Community Policies,” read the email from the site. “Due to the number and/or the severity of these violations, this account has been permanently restricted.”

The posts were of two charts. One showed that carbon dioxide levels were nearly 6,000 parts per million (ppm) 600 million years ago when many animal life forms first appeared in the Cambrian Era. Another illustrated a 140-million-year decline of CO2 levels — from 2,500 parts per million (ppm) to the current 420 ppm.

Implied in the data is that carbon dioxide levels eventually would drop to 150 ppm, at which point plants — and ultimately all life — begin to die from CO2 starvation. The concentration got as low as 180 ppm in the last ice age about 12,000 years ago. It was at 280 ppm at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century.

The addition of 140 ppm since then have likely come from man’s activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels. If so, human activity has saved the planet from the existential threat of too little CO2. In any case, more of the powerful plant food is a good thing, as evidenced by the overall greening of Earth and record crop harvests of recent decades.

As executive director of the CO2 Coalition, I’ve had previous run-ins with LinkedIn censors. One involved a post about a CO2 Coalition paper on global temperatures. Although LinkedIn did not identify the broken rules, the only possible “violation” would have been an admonition to “not share false or misleading content.” The censored paper, The Global Mean Temperature Anomaly Record, was fully sourced and written by two of the top climate scientists in the world, Richard Lindzen and John Christy.

These are no lightweight scientists. Dr. Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is an award recipient of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was a lead author of the IPCC’s third assessment report’s scientific volume.

Professor Christy is the director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and has been Alabama’s State Climatologist since 2000. Along with Dr. Roy Spencer, he has maintained one of the key global temperature data sets relied on by scientists and government bodies. For this achievement, they were awarded NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement.

Figure 4. As in Fig. 3 except for seasonal station and global anomalies. As noted in the text, the inhabitants of the Earth experience the anomalies as noted by the black circles, not the yellow squares.

The main thrust of the paper was to put the modest one-degree rise in temperature since 1900 in its proper perspective. When compared to wide swings in temperature experienced on a daily and yearly basis, that slight rise in global temperature over the last 120 years does not appear as alarming as portrayed by the purveyors of climate doom. Like so many others who challenge the notion of catastrophic man-made warming, the authors risked being censored by the intellectual elite — or those who identify as such. And they were.

The CO2 Coalition has been attacked by other climate cultists, including Facebook and members of a political class that insists on forcing its ideology on everybody. Obviously, we care more about the truth — and our freedom — than anybody’s approval.

As noted philosopher of science Karl Popper said, “Democracy (that is, a form of government devoted to the protection of the open society) cannot flourish if science becomes the exclusive possession of a closed set of specialists.”

Gregory Wrightstone is a geologist, executive director of the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Va., and author of “Inconvenient Facts: The science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know.” He has been an IPCC expert reviewer.

Trans Ideology Vs. Anthropology

The Lucy Exhibit, 3.2 million year old humanoid, National Museum of Ethiopia

The woke progressives are hell-bent on erasing all historical wisdom in order revolutionize society.  If you thought traditional disciplines like Archeology and Anthropology would be spared, think again.  The gender and racist zealots are outraged that ancestors like Lucy were given feminine names, (or others masculine ones) despite our not knowing whether or not they identified with their own anatomy.  And as well, it’s an insult to the living who want to keep their gender options open.

The woke worms are hard at work on the foundation of human knowledge about humans, as Christian Schneider writes at College Fix Gender activists push to bar anthropologists from identifying human remains as ‘male’ or ‘female’.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Argue scientists cannot know how an ancient individual identified themselves

As soon as ancient human remains are excavated, archaeologists begin the work of determining a number of traits about the individual, including age, race and gender.

But a new school of thought within archaeology is pushing scientists to think twice about assigning gender to ancient human remains.

It is possible to determine whether a skeleton is from a biological male or female using objective observations based on the size and shape of the bones. Criminal forensic detectives, for example, do it frequently in their line of work.

But gender activists argue scientists cannot know how an ancient individual identified themselves.

“You might know the argument that the archaeologists who find your bones one day will assign you the same gender as you had at birth, so regardless of whether you transition, you can’t escape your assigned sex,” tweeted Canadian Master’s degree candidate Emma Palladino last week.

She is not alone. Gender activists have formed a group called the Trans Doe Task Force to “explore ways in which current standards in forensic human identification do a disservice to people who do not clearly fit the gender binary.”

“We propose a gender-expansive approach to human identification by combing missing and unidentified databases looking for contextual clues such as decedents wearing clothing culturally coded to a gender other than their assigned sex,” the group’s mission statement reads.

This February, University of Kansas Associate Professor Jennifer Raff published “Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas,” in which she argued that there are “no neat divisions between physically or genetically ‘male’ or ‘female’ individuals.”

Raff suggested scientists cannot know the gender of a 9,000 year-old biologically Peruvian hunter because they don’t know whether the hunter identified as male or female – a “duality” concept she says was “imposed by Christian colonizers.”

Some archaeologists push back at the effort to de-gender human remains.

San Jose State archaeology Professor Elizabeth Weiss told The Fix that eliminating gender classifications amounts to “ideologically-motivated fudging.” Weiss said there is a move among academics “toward getting all of the academy’s favored shibboleths to accord with one another.”

Weiss said the recent explosion in the number of people identifying as transgender suggests that trend is “social and not biological,” so “retroactively de-sexing obscures this obvious fact.”

She noted that applying biological sex to remains often helps dispel myths detrimental to women.

“Some early anthropologists sometimes mistook some robust female skeletons as male skeletons, particularly in the Aleut and Inuit collections; this reinforced false stereotypes that females were not as hard working as males,” she said. “Over time, biological anthropologists and archaeologists worked hard to determine which traits are determined by sex, regardless of time and culture. This new policy of erasing this progress is a step back for science and women.”

“Sexing skeletal remains is a critical skill in forensics and any diminishing of this skill will negatively impact criminal investigations, denying the victims and their families justice,” she said.

Weiss is joined by University of Cambridge scholar Jennifer Chisolm, who has argued analyses that posit transgender individuals played a large part in Indigenous populations are often ahistorical, and can even distract “from the contemporary discrimination [such individuals] face within their own communities.”

Gender politics are not the only ideology to work its way into anthropology and archaeology. Some activists have called for scientists to cease classifying remains by race, as well.

“Ancestry estimation contributes to white supremacy,” DiGangi and Bethard wrote, labeling the practice “dangerous.”

Others have called for changing primate names that were derived from white white men from the northern hemisphere. The activists argue that continuing to use the current names is “perpetuating colonialism and white supremacy.”

“This is just another attempt to insert a current woke ideology where it doesn’t belong,” Weiss said.

 

 

 

 

 

Revenge of “Emotional Intelligence” Oxymorons

With the ongoing imposition of Critical Race and Gender theories along with identity politics and social justice warfare in the streets, it is clear that people imbued with postmodern progressive ideology have succumbed to a basic dichotomy (a la Animal Farm):  “Feelings Good, Reason Bad.” This is a fundamental overturning of western civics and consistent with people increasingly replacing ethics with immediate gratification, ie, reduction to the pain/pleasure principle of animals.

Warning: This post will express sincere thoughts that are politically incorrect, for example accepting that males and females have differing predominant behaviors and traits.

The title refers to a notion that came up in the fields of management science and industrial psychology, coincidental with increasing numbers of women practicing in those disciplines. I am prompted to write about this upon realizing that our present social divide is more fundamental than many think. This century, we see increasing numbers of people choosing to operate from emotions rather than intelligence. This pattern is in contradiction to the trajectory of Western civilization placing reason as primary and individual rights and freedoms as essential.

In a recent article thread (to be excerpted below) a comment caught my attention. “It has been said men rank, women exclude, and that is very true IMO.  All-female groups are very exclusionary to anyone who does not fit in.” That expression of Ranking vs. Excluding was new to me, and it may be changing this century, what with women competing with other women in sports, and with men as well in the workplace. Still, it points to our present social struggle whereby “diversity” is employed to divide a nation into identity groups to protest prejudice and claim reparations against grievances. The US as usual is the leading example of this culture war. Ironically, tribalism is rearing its ugly head in precisely the nation-state that so successfully created an American tribe that included any and all ethnic and religious groups.

Ranking vs. Excluding also explains such recent events as the Senate hearings on Judge Kavanaugh. Clearly his opponents sought to exclude him not only from the Judiciary, but to banish him from the human race. Their fierce and unrelenting animus to this day is frightening for the republic. Ironically, Kavanaugh prevailed in the process only by an emotional outburst, his outrage finally waking others up to the enormously evil beheading underway. This was out of character for a man by all accounts extremely reasonable and unprejudiced, and even in this testimony his intelligence was evident and in control.

It also shows up in the warfare between Trump and the leftist media. From the moment of Trump declaring candidacy, the left has been focused on excluding Trump from legitimacy, not only as President, but as an human being. Meanwhile, he is focused on the ranking: Winning is what matters, coming in first place. And despite the media’s attempts to paint him racist and sexist, I see no evidence that he excludes losers in a contest. On the contrary, he and Senator Rubio are on the same side pushing back against election fraud in Florida. The media can not recognize Trump is driven by intelligence despite his determined actions pursuing rational policy goals, and unbowed by social pressure and disapproval.

This modern tribalism emerges from the academic world and is now spreading into the wider society as graduates gain employment in private and public sector institutions. However, many of them carry a virus along with whatever knowledge and skills they have been able to acquire in their studies. A recent interview with Camille Paglia offers insight into the conversion of normal Americans into social dissenters. The article in Quillette is Camille Paglia: It’s Time for a New Map of the Gender World written by Claire Lehmann. Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.

Post-structuralism, along with identity politics, made huge gains in the 1970s, as the old guard professors proved helpless against a rising tide of rapid add-on programs and departments like women’s studies and African-American studies. The tenured professoriate seemed not to realize that change of some kind was necessary, and thus they failed to provide an alternative vision of a remodeled university of the future.

Most established professors in the 1970s probably believed that the new theory trend was a fad that would blow away like autumn leaves. The greatness of the complex and continuous Western tradition seemed self-evident: the canon would surely stand, even if supplemented by new names. Well, guess what? Helped along by a swelling horde of officious, overpaid administrators, North American universities became, decade by decade, political correctness camps. Out went half the classics, as well as pedagogically useful survey courses demonstrating sequential patterns in history (now dismissed as a “false narrative” by callow theorists). Bookish, introverted old-school professors were not prepared for guerrilla warfare to defend basic scholarly principles or to withstand waves of defamation and harassment.

The poisons of post-structuralism have now spread throughout academe and have done enormous damage to basic scholarly standards and disastrously undermined belief even in the possibility of knowledge. I suspect history will not be kind to the leading professors who appear to have put loyalty to friends and colleagues above defending scholarly values during a chaotic era of overt vandalism that has deprived several generations of students of a profound education in the humanities. The steady decline in humanities majors is an unmistakable signal that this once noble field has become a wasteland.

As an atheist, I have argued that if religion is erased, something must be put in its place. Belief systems are intrinsic to human intelligence and survival. They “frame” the flux of primary experience, which would otherwise flood the mind. Another persistent proposal of mine has been for comparative religion to become the undergraduate core curriculum, an authentically global multiculturalism.

My substitute for religion is art, which I have expanded to include all of popular culture. But when art is reduced to politics, as has been programmatically done in academe for 40 years, its spiritual dimension is gone. It is coarsely reductive to claim that value in the history of art is always determined by the power plays of a self-referential social elite. I take Marxist social analysis seriously: Arnold Hauser’s Marxist, multi-volume A Social History of Art (1951) was a major influence on me in graduate school. However, Hauser honored art and never condescended to it. A society that respects neither religion nor art cannot be called a civilization.

But politics cannot fill the gap. Society, with which Marxism is obsessed, is only a fragment of the totality of life. As I have written, Marxism has no metaphysics: it cannot even detect, much less comprehend, the enormity of the universe and the operations of nature. Those who invest all of their spiritual energies in politics will reap the whirlwind. The evidence is all around us—the paroxysms of inchoate, infantile rage suffered by those who have turned fallible politicians into saviors and devils, godlike avatars of Good versus Evil.

The headlong rush to judgment by so many well-educated, middle-class women in the #MeToo movement has been startling and dismaying. Their elevation of emotion and group solidarity over fact and logic has resurrected damaging stereotypes of women’s irrationality that were once used to deny us the vote. I found the blanket credulity given to women accusers during the recent U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh positively unnerving: it was the first time since college that I truly understood the sexist design of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, whose mob of vengeful Furies is superseded by formal courts of law, where evidence is weighed.

What I see in both the Women’s March and #MeToo is an atavistic rediscovery by Western women of the joy of their own mutually nurturing solidarity—a primary feature of daily life during 10,000 years of the agrarian era that has been lost over the past two centuries of industrialization. As I have often noted, the sexes throughout human history actually had very little to do with each other. There was the world of men and the world of women, each with its own spheres of influence and activity. Women didn’t take men that seriously, and vice versa. I know this because I am the product of an immigrant family (my mother and all four grandparents were born in Italy), and it wasn’t that long ago that we were tilling the stony soil of the earthquake-prone motherland.

Second, the nuclear family as a standard unit of social life is a relatively new and isolating phenomenon. Wives returning from work to an apartment or house are expecting their husbands to fulfill all the emotional and conversational needs that were once fulfilled by other women of multiple generations throughout the agrarian workday in the fields or at home (where the burdens of childcare and eldercare were group shared).

What I see spreading among professional middle-class women is a bitter resentment toward men that is in many cases unjust and misplaced. With divorce so easy since the sexual revolution, women find themselves competing with younger women in new and cruel ways. Agrarian women gained power as they aged: young women were brainless pawns whose marriages, pregnancies, childcare, cooking, and other chores were acerbically supervised and controlled by the dictatorial crones (forces of nature whom I fondly remember from childhood).

In short, #MeToo from a historical perspective is a cri de coeur from women who are realizing that the sexual revolution that many of us had once ecstatically embraced has in key ways devalued women, confused their private relationships, and complicated their smooth functioning in the workplace. It’s time for a new map of the gender world.

Camille Paglia is the University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Her eighth book, Provocations: Collected Essays, was released by Pantheon in Oct. 2018.

Footnote:

A previous post quoted an historian saying that the US civil war erupted because of two mutually exclusive definitions of justice.  One side said all people had equal rights and freedoms, while the other side said all people except slaves had equal rights and freedoms.  That war was fought and won to defeat the exclusionary principle.  Yes, the practice has not always lived up to the principle of inclusion.  But there is progress, and social justice warriors’ demands for racist examples exceeds the supply of such behavior.

Present day Americans are torn over the primacy of patriotism or multiculturalism
Details at Patriotism vs. Multiculturalism

Postcript:

Tom Wolfe wrote a book in which he skillfully dissected the descent of rationality and objectivity at the hands of modern academia. And I began to see the connection to climate change hysteria. The ruling force is “political correctness”, which translates into going along to get along in your tribe. And in the extreme, it means subordinating science and rationality to instincts of the herd, their fears, disappointments and desires ruling the day. My synopsis with links is Warmists and Rococo Marxists.

See Also:  Head, Heart and Science

Campus Thought Control

 

Trust Me, I’m a Scientist. Really?

Oh the Irony!  A 2015 cartoon where a vaccine scientist is miffed at incredibility displayed by climate scientists. Dennis Prager explains why these days citizens have lost trust in scientists of all stripes.  His American Greatness article is You’re a Scientist? So What?  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Scientists helped ruin millions of children’s educations and helped spur a sharp increase in depression, drug use, and suicide among young people. So, by all means,  question the science!

A caller to my radio show this week, a physician, took strong issue with me regarding COVID-19 therapeutics. He accused me of not believing in science. His last words before we had to go to a commercial break were, “I’m a scientist.”

Given that I am not a scientist, he assumed that comment would persuade me—or at least persuade many listeners—that I was not qualified to disagree with him.  If that was his assumption, he was wrong.

“I don’t care,” I responded. “It’s irrelevant. Scientists have given science a bad name.”

I would not have said that as recently as three years ago.  But in recent years, and especially in the past two years, some basic suppositions of mine have changed.

I no longer assume when I read a statement by a scientist that the statement is based on science. In fact, I believe I am more committed to scientific truth than many scientists are.

The American Medical Association advocates the removal of sex designation from birth certificates. If many doctors or other scientists have issued a dissent, I am not aware of it.

“Assigning sex using binary variables in the public portion of the birth certificate fails to recognize the medical spectrum of gender identity.” Those are the words of the author of the AMA report, Willie Underwood III, M.D.

Sarah Mae Smith, M.D., an AMA delegate from California, speaking on behalf of the Women Physicians Section, said, “We need to recognize gender is not a binary but a spectrum.”

When the American Medical Association and a plethora of physicians tell us that human beings, unlike every other animal above some reptilian species, are “not binary,” i.e., neither male nor female, the assertion “I am a scientist” becomes meaningless.

In mid-2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the medical community was demanding physical distancing, mask-wearing, and the lockdown of businesses and schools, more than a thousand health care professionals announced that the protests against racism then taking place—events with no social distancing, often no masks, plenty of yelling, and people “coughing uncontrollably” (New York Times description)—were medically necessary.

Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, tweeted, “We should always evaluate the risks and benefits of efforts to control the virus. In this moment the public health risks of not protesting to demand an end to systemic racism greatly exceed the harms of the virus.”

Over 1,000 health care professionals signed an “open letter advocating for an anti-racist public health response to demonstrations against systemic injustice occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The letter said, among other things, “Do not disband protests under the guise of maintaining public health for COVID-19 restrictions” and labeled “pervasive racism . . . the paramount public health problem.” That’s a left-wing cant, not science.

Now you can better appreciate why “I am a scientist” no longer means what it once did.

How about the cruelty of not allowing the dying to be visited by loved ones—even if they wore a hospital mask, even if they agreed to wear a hazmat suit? Did that enhance your view of scientists’ medical judgment?

Then there was the American medical community’s opposition to therapeutics, dismissing hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin (both used with zinc) as frauds despite the testimony of numerous physicians that they saved COVID-19 patients’ lives when used appropriately. State medical boards around the country threatened to revoke the medical license of any physician who prescribed these drugs to treat COVID-19—despite these drugs being among the safest prescription drugs available.

As early as July 2020, Harvey Risch, M.D., Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, wrote in Newsweek: “I myself know of two doctors who have saved the lives of hundreds of patients with these medications, but are now fighting state medical boards to save their licenses and reputations. The cases against them are completely without scientific merit.”

As a result of the American medical community’s opposition to therapeutics, Risch wrote, “tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily.”

Doctors throughout America were essentially telling COVID-19 patients, “Go home, get rest, and wait to see if your COVID-19 gets worse. If you can’t breathe, come to the hospital where we can put you on a ventilator.” Ventilators, it quickly became clear, were a virtual death sentence for COVID-19 patients. And then they died alone.

Another example of the decline of seriousness about science among scientists was National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins urging his colleagues to boycott any “high-level” scientific conference that doesn’t have women and underrepresented minorities in marquee speaking slots.

And another: Heather Mac Donald reported that in 2020, “The NIH announced a new round of ‘Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research.’ Academic science labs could get additional federal money if they hire ‘diverse’ researchers; no mention was made of relevant scientific qualifications” (emphasis added).

How many scientists protested the shutting down of schools for nearly two years? Some did, like those who signed the Great Barrington Declaration, but for the most part the scientific community was silent. In other words, scientists helped ruin millions of American children’s educations, not to mention abetted the unprecedented increase in depression, drug use, and suicide among young people.

These are only a few reasons not to take “I am a scientist” as seriously as we once did.

But there may be two consolations: One is that the same rule now applies to “I am a professor,” “I am a teacher,” “I am a rabbi,” “I am a priest,” “I am a pastor,” “I am a journalist,” and “I am a doctor.”

The other is that there are exceptions. Thank God.

Footnote:  Some Additional Reasons to Doubt Scientists