Friday, March 13, 2015

#2 The Conspiracy - Dissecting Dr Lindzen's intrinsic obtuseness

#2  "government created monopoly" and further conspiracy ideation
{slight editing 3/13/15 noon}

 This is the second part (link to first one) of my review of an interview by Alex Epstein with Professor Richard Lindzen.  I've taken the time and trouble to transcribe much of it in order to focus on Lindzen's bizarre version of reality and to juxtapose it against history and the known science.  

In this installment we consider the possibility that 'alarmists' aren't all in on a grand conspiracy to take away your freedoms and that they are alarmed for good reasons.


Power Hour: Questioning Climate Science with Dr. Richard Lindzen October 22, 2012 | Alex Epstein
Richard Lindzen joins Alex Epstein to talk about perspectives on climate change:
  • Questions about climate
  • “Balance” in nature
  • The goals of environmentalists
1:45  Alex:  Whenever I read one of his (R.L.) papers I get almost emotional just by the level of clarity and diligence and utter lack of any kind of appeal to authority. ...
3:05  Lindzen: What bothers me about this issue is the intrinsic obtuseness of the questions. ...
5:00  Alex:  ... how science has become much more institutionalized, as you describe it reminded me of a government created monopoly.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Government created monopoly on climate science?  And he seriously believes it.  Can't leave the conspiracy ideation alone.  
 Here are the six characteristics associated with conspiracist ideation:( 
  • The folks behind any conspiracy are always nefarious. There aren’t any conspiracies for good purposes, only bad purposes.
  • The person claiming there is a conspiracy typically considers herself, at least tacitly, to be the brave antagonist of the nefarious intentions of the conspiracy; that is, the victim is also a potential hero.
  • The conspiracy theorist refuses to believe anything that does not fit into the conspiracy theory. Thus, nothing is at it seems, and all evidence points to hidden agendas or some other meaning that only the conspiracy theorist understands.
  • Nothing happens by accident. Small random events are woven into a conspiracy narrative and reinterpreted as indisputable evidence for the theory.
  • The underlying lack of trust and exaggerated suspicion contribute to a cognitive pattern whereby specific hypotheses may be abandoned when they become unsustainable, but those corrections do not impinge on the overall abstraction that ‘something must be wrong’ and the ‘official’ account must be based on deception. Princess Diana was murdered and Princess Diana faked her own death.
  • Contrary evidence is often interpreted as evidence for a conspiracy. This ideation relies on the notion that, the stronger the evidence against a conspiracy, the more the conspirators must want people to believe their version of events (“self-sealing reasoning”).
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What Alex ignores is that these developments (see the end of this post for a list of major Environmental Acts of the twentieth century) were driven by accumulating knowledge at the insistence of an informed electorate.  

It was demanded by "We The People" with US Reps. grudgingly bowing to the people's will.  Aren't we a democracy?

Timeline: The Modern Environmental Movement
- - -

As for Alex's loathed 'climate science' bureaucracy, come on, get real. it's no different than what's happened within every other human endeavor over this past half century - that's the price of unrestrained population growth and breakneck progress.  

Besides, grownups appreciate that without bureaucracy (imperfect though they are) our complex modern society would crumble.  Get over it.  
Alex:  It's method of communication switches from there's are a bunch of scientists who agree on some basic thing and disagree on a lot. There's a lot of different possibilities, switches from that to; we have a political goal, so we need something actionable to that leads to a deliberate oversimplification whereby the things people agree on is used as a pretext to act on things the people don't
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This conviction is based on a lie.

Climate scientists agree on all the important basics, there are various details of the global heat and moisture distribution engine remaining to be resolved, but they understand the climate trends of the past decades and know full well what the future holds, namely escalation of extreme heat and weather events.

It's simple to outline, like all basic truths.

The evidence for rapid climate change is compelling: 
Sea level rise 
Global temperature rise 
Warming oceans 
Shrinking ice sheets 
Declining Arctic sea ice 
Glacial retreat 
Extreme events 
Ocean acidification 
Decreased snow cover

"Oversimplification" not at all.
The basic geophysics is quite simple - and it's crazy to believe that arguments about fine accuracies of recording instruments supersedes the reality of what's happening to our planet's geophysical parameters.  See:

There are NO other realistic "different possibilities" to explain today's warming.  
There are NO other realistic "different possibilities" regarding the radiative physics of greenhouse gases.

What is realistic is that we are injecting over a super-volcano's (Think Yellowstone Caldera) worth of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere year, after year, after year - tell me professor Lindzen, how in hell is that not going to have a major impact on the climate system? 
5:40  Lindzen: Yeah, yeah,  no I agree with you on that Alex.  But, you know this began thirty, forty years ago on this subject.  It's always been a matter of some curiosity exactly which political agency (giggling) was pushing it.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Why not a word about the International Geophysical Year 1957/58, or the hyper-growth driven by computer, satellite and observation platform development during the 60s, 70s?  

Not a word about the excitement there was in the air.  We were learning about our vast planet like never before.  All those centuries old questions and mysteries that we inherited, and that yearning curiosity about what this planet was all about.  (I was most fortunate to have tasted the last days of that era as a youth, I'm not talking out-of a book.).  

Scientists finally had the tools at hand to tackle so many of the age old intractable questions regarding our planet, it's origins, geology, our evolution and our place in the universe.  It was an exciting ride of discoveries and revelations.  And now, within a few decades a new generation takes it all for granted and doesn't give it another thought.  So sad.

But, back to professor Lindzen, not a word about the fantastic age of discovery that it was.  Nor any sort of recognition that these governmental initiatives were rational responses to our collective growing awareness of the realities of how fossil fuels burning was altering our atmosphere among a variety of other self-created problems. 

The Discovery of Global Warming
A Hyperlinked History of Climate Change Science 
Spencer Weart & American Institute of Physics
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
by John Mason | 7, 2013
6:00  Alex:  Part of what I was really interested in for context, particularly after reading the "questions" article was more elaboration of what climate science, in so far as it existed back then used to be like,  You made some reference to how it was a fairly minor subject, but also the issue that it was less simulation oriented, and my guess is that it was in general much less political, and there was no pretense of everyone agrees on what political action to take.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Yes, the scientific field of climate studies started out fairly minor.  But isn't that how it went with all Earth sciences?  The more people learned and the more relevance it assumed in our rapidly developing world, then adding the technological revolution and of course, there was tremendous growth and change

And why snit at all the young people joining the adventure.  What's wrong with that?  And why not want to learn about our life sustaining planet?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"the issue that it was less simulation oriented" Here we have a favorite Republican/libertarian wiping boy - those dastardly models and of course the government conspiracy angle.  Why ignore all the non-model evidence for manmade global warming professor Lindzen?

27 -- The evidence for climate change WITHOUT computer models or the IPCC

Why never any curiosity to learn about what the models actually consist of?  
Or how they operate?  Or what scientists are learning from them?  
Nope!  Instead it's all about making paranoid claims assuming the worst of the scientists.  No evidence, just trash talk.  
Oh, about those models:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Easterbrooks:  Timeline of Climate Modeling
A history of climate modeling, from the 1850s to the present
by Steve Easterbrook on 9 February 2015 

- - -

TED x University of Toronto 2014: Computing the Climate

6:35 Lindzen: ...
7:40  92 with Rio and HW Bush increasing the funding immensely, all of a suddenly everyone became quote a "climate scientist" and.  The funding was increased so very much it couldn't be absorbed by existing climate scientists, so you got thousands of people who got into the area of quote "impacts" - this has been a peculiar burden on the field because these people had no background in the science underlying climate, but whatever they were studying, whether it be cockroaches, or obesity, or whatever, if they could say that it was related to climate it got (giggle) funded.  And of course they became major defenders and it became a major problem.  Because if it weren't why would you be worried about the impacts.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So sad, but so typical of the originals, the old boys feeling left out, now that it's not their private club any more.  

Truth be told, Lindzen resented, still does, the destruction of that Old Boy system he was nurtured within. That realization goes a long way to explaining his pathological pronouncements and public lies.

On top of that from his comments it sounds like he's got contempt for political action, and the public's concern for protecting and nurturing this planet that we all depend on. 

It explains why he never talks about the steady accumulation of observations and understanding. 

Back in the 60s and 70s the public learned about the facts of life on a crowded and shrinking planet, and the stark challenge that we the people had a few decades to make some serious changes in attitudes and consumption patterns or there was going to be an ugly reckoning.

But, faith in Hollyworld and obsession with maximizing profits and having 'a good time' won out.  We created an alternate media reality and most everyone believed we could ignore our life sustaining biosphere and the climate it depends on ... all the while our natural world was increasingly battered, with vast stretches being plundered and spit-out as wasteland at rates never imagined.  I went to high school in the early 70s and when I look at the numbers between then and now, it's astounding, yet most are blissfully unaware of what we've inflicted these past few decades and sadly they seem to want to keep it that way.

Our Imprint Deepens as Consumption Accelerates
8:40 Alex: I'm curious what you see as the parallels between this and the mania that ensued after Darwin published ... 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
There he goes, get as far away from looking at the fundamentals of our global heat and moisture distribution engine as possible.
10:00  Lindzen:  Where things fell apart with Darwin was that it became dogma...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So now Lindzen's an authority on Darwin also?  I'll step around this bag of dead cats and move along oops, but wait, now he's onto the Catholic Church and WWII, oh lordie.
11:30  Alex:  What's remarkable if you look at the climate community it resembles the Catholic Church in non-trivial ways.Lindzen: Well I think that's being unfair to the Catholic Church. ... 
12:00 Lindzen  (wondering off into WWII and Catholic behavior in France.) ... Science is trying to create its own unimpeachable authority, that the Pope was said to have.  Yea sure there's a similarity there.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This is lunacy... utterly ridiculous.  Here's what Lindzen does not want you to become familiar with. 

Academies of science (general science) 
Since 2001, 34 national science academies, three regional academies, and both the international InterAcademy Council and International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences have made formal declarations confirming human induced global warming and urging nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The 34 national science academy statements include 33 who have signed joint science academy statements and one individual declaration by the Polish Academy of Sciences in 2007. ( )

Oh sure, I suppose all that just shows that it's a global conspiracy?  

How about imaging that these are all groups of independent intelligent people working at their own behest and not following some master plan.  
12:55  Alex:  That get's into the issue that you've raised about 'science as a mode of inquiry vs, ah ... (Lindzen helps Alex remember) as opposed to being a source of authority. ...Alex:  As a source of authority exactly.  If you look at, I don't know the history of climate science too well, in terms of when things were discovered, but how say before the sixties, how much authoritarianism was there compared to now.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
He admits he doesn't know the history of climate science, yet Alex feels comfortable making these most uninformed declarations with complete faith in his certitude.  

That's got nothing to do with understanding science or learning - that's pure ego at work.  

Get an education:

A brief history of climate change
BBC NEWS |  September 20, 2013

Incidentally, whatever happened to a healthy sense of self-skepticism?
13:25  Lindzen(with emotion): Oh, vastly less. ... How should I put it, this is the point of that article, in the 60s, 50s, 40s, 30s the object of science was to have questions and, and offer possible answers, and testing them, and you know, people were competing, who can explain this, and people have different explanations and you know, how do you resolve those differences.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Considering Lindzen also sincerely believes climate science is as ossified, isolated and hierarchical as the Catholic Church, he ain't saying diddly squat. 

For those who are interested in what happened in the real world of science during those decades:

History of the greenhouse effect and global warming
By S.M. Enzler MSc

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As for today's community of scientists competing, arguing different interpretations of the data, striving to understand the data and defend it in the most realistic light, all that stuff is alive and well.  Hell, look at Trenberth's 'travesty", or the Hoerling/Francis disgreement, and there are plenty other examples.

Climate science is alive with competent, competitive, skeptical individuals - along with discussions, and arguments, and persuasions, along with the constant collection of new information that helps resolve issues, only to set up another round of refinement.  This process has succeeded in establishing the important basics beyond doubt.

But you have to be willing to give scientists a fair shake as being honorable professionals along with actually taking the time to learn about what climate scientists have to explain. 
This project results from a three-year collaboration between the faculty and student research team at the King's Centre for Visualization in Science (The King's University College, Edmonton, Canada) and chemists and educators from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC - UK), UNESCO, the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry's Committee on Chemistry Education (IUPAC CCE), the American Chemical Society (ACS - USA), and the Federation of African Societies of Chemistry (FASC).
15:00:  Alex:  In the new set up where we have this institution that really does, from economics remind me of a government chartered monopoly, I could see with the new institution you basically have people setting the goal from on high which is something like ultimately they want control of humanity in some form and they think humanity is going to destroy itself without them, and that set's the whole direction of everything. What set the direction of climate science in the past before this whole government hierarchy?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
What a hopeless conundrum, how to communicate with folks who's only desire is to impugn and prosecute, while resisting good-faith learning   

Why the war footing Alex (Lindzen)?  Do you actually believe that anyone who takes our planet's biosphere or future human welfare seriously, "ultimately wants to control humanity" and must be considered an extreme enemy?  It's ludicrous, but you guys seem convinced.

No matter that there is no monopoly, and that "this institution" are hundreds of independent institutions, world wide, working on various aspects of these scientific problems.  They include governments and universities and NGO's and their goals are to better understand the planet we depend on.  Why is that treated with such hatred?
Oh, and as for this "bureaucracy and laws" - well, don't you know, in the real world we need each other to keep ourselves honest - and regulations have their just place in a healthy modern complex society.  

Of course, to appreciate that, one must take the interest to do some homework and learn about these different regulatory agencies and why they were formed and what their duties are.  Not to say they are perfect, but we need them and they still belong.  Here's a list of these Acts, everyone Lindzen probably disapproves of, but what can we expect from an old Cold Warrior.  

For your convenience every Act is linked to it's background information:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

National Resources Defense Council list of 
United States Environmental Laws 
{I added the links}

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