Climate change: “When you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had”

Michael Crichton in 1977
Michael Crichton in 1977

One of the very worst aspects of ‘climate change’ and the associated shenanigans and gravy trains is the abuse of science, and the corruption of the scientific process. In medicine that can get you struck off.

The Knife wrote twice about this recently. Only this week have we seen two scientists disagreeing regarding the floods. The highly paid head of the Met Office, Dame Julia Slingo, claiming that the floods were due in some mysterious way to climate change, but in the same breath conceding that there was no actual evidence for this. One of her colleagues, Professor Mat Collins, then denied her claim, pointing out – as he should – the complete lack of evidence.

Evidence being the key word in all this.

It’s also worth noting at this juncture the Met Office’s specific prediction in November for the next 3 months:  there was a “slight signal for below-average precipitation” for December, January and February.

Their credibility could be better, to put it politely.

The great Mark Steyn is about to enter into an epochal climate science free speech court battle. On his excellent, and very funny, website he has posted a few times on the late Michael Crichton‘s take on scientific method, and the dangers of a so-called consensus. Science relies on proof, not consensus. Crichton was the Harvard medical graduate and polymath who created, among many other successes, Jurassic Park and ER. He revered true science and the scientific spirit, and often wrote about it.

Here he is giving a lecture at Caltech in 2003. Read the whole thing, it’s brilliant  :

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world.

In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of. Let’s review a few cases.

In past centuries, the greatest killer of women was fever following childbirth. One woman in six died of this fever.

In 1795, Alexander Gordon of Aberdeen suggested that the fevers were infectious processes, and he was able to cure them. The consensus said no.

In 1843, Oliver Wendell Holmes claimed puerperal fever was contagious, and presented compelling evidence. The consensus said no.

In 1849, Semmelweiss demonstrated that sanitary techniques virtually eliminated puerperal fever in hospitals under his management. The consensus said he was a Jew, ignored him, and dismissed him from his post. There was in fact no agreement on puerperal fever until the start of the twentieth century. Thus the consensus took one hundred and twenty five years to arrive at the right conclusion despite the efforts of the prominent “skeptics” around the world, skeptics who were demeaned and ignored. And despite the constant ongoing deaths of women….

….I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough.

Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.

Bear in mind that Crichton was speaking 11 years ago, specifically about climate change, and the best that’s on offer today is still a ‘consensus’.  It’s pitiful, and, given the Met Office’s recent dud forecast mentioned above:

“Nobody believes a weather prediction twelve hours ahead. Now we’re asked to believe a prediction that goes out 100 years into the future? And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everybody lost their minds?”

Somerset, last week (or The Deluge, by Francis Danby, 1840. Tate Gallery)
Somerset, last week (or The Deluge, by Francis Danby, 1840. Tate Gallery)

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