The Soho Forum Global Warming Debate, And The Impact Of Scientific Arguments

As you may have noticed from the announcement that appeared for the past week or so on my sidebar, the Soho Forum held a debate Monday night on the issue of Global Warming. The official resolution for the debate was Resolved: There is little or no rigorous evidence that rising concentrations of carbon dioxide are causing dangerous global warming and threatening life on the planet. The debaters were Craig Idso for the affirmative, and Jeffrey Bennett for the negative.

For those who haven’t heard of it, the Soho Forum sponsors debates, roughly monthly, on current policy issues. The venue is usually the Subculture Theater, at 45 Bleecker Street in Manhattan. The Forum’s Director is long-time Barron’s senior editor Gene Epstein, and the Chief Operating Officer is my daughter Jane. Other recent Soho Forum debate topics have included things like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the causes of the 2008-09 financial crisis.

Holding a debate on the issue of global warming or “climate change” — and particularly one focused on the scientific question of whether empirical evidence supports or refutes the hypothesis of potential dangerous warming — is often difficult. Contrary to what you might think, the problem is not that it is hard to find scientifically-literate advocates for the skeptic position. Actually, there are plenty of those. Rather, the problem generally is that adherents to the alarmist cause refuse to debate anyone who disagrees with their position, often denigrating their adversaries as “climate deniers.” So Gene Epstein deserves credit for locating Mr. Bennett, and Mr. Bennett also deserves credit for being willing to put his position to the test.

On the other hand, the whole endeavor gave some real perspective on the practical limits of the human mind, or at least the large majority of even very intelligent human minds, to grapple with the basics of scientific reasoning and the scientific method. At its most fundamental, the scientific method is just an exercise in rigorous logic. . . .

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What Will It Take To End Anti-Greenhouse Gas Insanity?

It was nearly six years ago, in one of the very early posts on this blog, that I wrote as to the global warming scam, “[E]ven as the cause becomes more and more ridiculous, the advocates just double down again and again.” At the time, world temperatures had failed to rise in accordance with alarmist predictions for about 15 years running, and I still had the naive idea that the politics of this issue ultimately would follow the scientific method; in other words, that the hypothesis of catastrophic human-caused warming would inevitably be forced to face the test of empirical evidence. Over time, empirical evidence would accumulate. As it became more and more clear that the evidence failed to support the hypothesis, the whole thing would gradually fade away. But up to that point, as I reported in that April 2013 post, what was happening was closer to the opposite. Extremely weak or completely negative empirical evidence for the hypothesis only made the advocates more and more extreme in their demands for immediate transformation of the world economy to “save the planet.”

The intervening six years have seen the ongoing accumulation of considerably more evidence, essentially all of it negative to the catastrophic global warming hypothesis, but my faith that actual evidence could resolve the issue has been almost completely shattered. Massive alterations have been made to the world thermometer temperature records by US and UK bureaucrats — almost entirely to reduce early-year temperatures and thereby create an apparent warming trend far greater than exists in the raw data. I have covered this issue extensively in a now-twenty-two part series “The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time.” Meanwhile, every hurricane, tornado, drought, flood, or other damaging act of nature is presented by the progressive press as evidence of human-caused “climate change” — even as the actual occurrences of such events have been definitively shown to have no increasing trend over time. Actual evidence gets massively altered, buried and/or ignored.

And now here we are in 2019, and the demands of the anti-greenhouse gas activists have only become more shrill and strident. Exhibit A is the so-called Green New Deal, a call to end most or all GHG emissions by 2030 at a cost of maybe 100 trillion dollars or so. And we are treated to claims by seemingly serious elected officials that the world will end in 12 years if we do not follow these prescriptions. If mere adverse empirical evidence cannot end this insanity, what can? . . .

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The Arguments In Favor Of Brexit Are More Persuasive Than Ever

Back at the time of the UK’s referendum on “Brexit” in June 2016, I wrote two posts on the subject: one on the June 23 date of the vote, and the other four days later. The first advocated in favor of the “leave” position, and the second gave some reasons to believe that just-endorsed departure would be a good thing.

One of the things I predicted was that the actual departure would not happen quickly or easily. The reason was that the forces of “stay” controlled high positions in the government and other leading institutions, had much to lose personally, and would not give up easily:

[D]o not expect the totalitarians and vested interests to give up easily.  I anticipate a protracted campaign of obstruction and delay, as the grafters desperately fight and claw to hang onto every last grant and perk.

Boy was I right about that one! Here we are, going on three years later, and the Brexit has still not occurred. Meanwhile the Brexit “process” has turned into a Perils of Pauline soap opera, barely escaping one supposed disaster after another seemingly every few days.

In the intervening years, I have listened to many well-informed people presenting very persuasive reasons why staying in the EU would be a good thing for the UK. . . .

But to me, none of these things outweighs the fundamental issue, which is that the EU has somehow come to embody the progressive dream of rule by permanent bureaucrats, convinced of their own expertise, who impose increasingly burdensome rules at their whim, and who cannot be voted out or held accountable by any known mechanism. Just in the past couple of weeks, we have a couple of new examples of how far this can go. . . .

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April Fools Day Hoax Roundup

Does it seem to you that there have been a lot of big-time hoaxes lately? In late February the most widely-publicized alleged “hate crime” in years — the Jussie Smollett caper — was revealed as a hoax; and then just a few weeks after that the Mueller Report was completed, and it turned out that the single most intensely covered news event of my entire lifetime — the “Trump/Russia collusion” story — was also a hoax.

These were not minor or insignificant hoaxes. Both were a huge focus of mainstream press and media coverage and commentary, in the first case for several weeks, and in the second for over two years. Both fed the dominant media narrative of opposition to President Trump and hatred of him and his supporters. Both hoaxes were accepted uncritically and without a hint of skepticism by essentially all of the progressive press and media, who repeated and amplified them at great extent right up until they suddenly unraveled.

But with the extreme focus on these two hoaxes, perhaps you are losing track of the fact that these are just two of some dozens of similar hoaxes perpetrated by the same press and media players in recent years. Today, in honor of April Fools Day, the Manhattan Contrarian performs the public service of reminding you of the extent to which you are subject to a constant barrage of hoaxes originating from the mainstream press, media (including social media), and often also the government; hoaxes that are then endlessly repeated and amplified, all in the service of increased political power for the left.

Hate Crime Hoaxes

If you search the recesses of your memory, you will likely be able to come up with at least a few prior hate crime hoaxes that got big media play before the truth came out. One of the biggest was the University of Virginia fraternity gang rape hoax of 2014, originally perpetrated upon the world by Rolling Stone magazine. Going back several more years, there was the Duke lacrosse team gang rape hoax of 2006. If you follow this issue, you may also remember some others, . . .

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On The "Cost" Of The Green New Deal

A few weeks ago on February 7 and 8, I had a couple of posts (here and here) commenting on the so-called Green New Deal, which had just been dropped on Congress by the team of Socialist it-girl Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and long-time Massachusetts Congressman and now Senator Edward Markey. In those posts, I did not attempt to put any “cost” figures on these proposals, but rather offered this general reaction:

In short, in the aggregate, this would be the total takeover of all economic activity in the United States.

According to the FAQ released along with the GND resolution, at least the following Democratic candidates for President support the GND: Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Jeff Merkeley, Julian Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Jay Inslee.

In the interim, a few intrepid souls have gone where I had not, and have put some fairly specific cost estimates on the socialists’ proposals. Most notably, there is something called the American Action Forum, headed by Douglas Holtz-Eakin. On February 25, AAF came out with a Research Report titled “The Green New Deal: Scope, Scale, and Implications,” with Holtz-Eakin as the lead author. Holtz-Eakin is not nobody in this game, having headed the CBO for about three years (2003-05) during the George W. Bush administration. If there’s anybody who ought to be able to put credible cost figures on proposals for new government programs, it would be a former head of CBO. The fact that CBO is a non-partisan operation would also seem to give an added level of credibility to the conclusions of its former leaders.

After introducing their Report with a series of qualifiers (e.g., many of the changes “are impossible to quantify at this point”), the AAF guys nonetheless forge ahead with the exercise to at least put some broad ranges on the potential costs. In the aggregate the sums of the lows and highs of their ranges come to about $51 trillion to $93 trillion over the course of the 10 year span of the GND. The $93 trillion figure is the one most frequently attributed to the Report in subsequent press accounts.

$93 trillion compares to total U.S. GDP currently running at about $20 trillion per year. In other words, if you think that Holtz-Eakin and AAF are right, or even close to right, then they are saying that the GND will “cost” close to half of the entire U.S. GDP over the next decade or so. . . .

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More Flagrant Alteration Of The Past: Patrick Moore As Founder Of Greenpeace

By far the most-read posts on this site are the ones in my now twenty-two part series The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time. The specific subject of that series is the alteration by government bureaucrats of historical temperature data in the ongoing campaign to convince the public that there is dangerous global warming going on. At this point, the showing that earlier-year temperatures have been materially altered downward is completely definitive, made by simple comparison of currently-published official data to previously-published official data that can still be found online. Yet the bureaucrats at NOAA and NASA continue to disseminate the altered data, and even to make further ongoing “adjustments” to make the past appear to have been even cooler. And every time a NOAA or a NASA puts out a new breathless press release about the current year or month being the “hottest ever,” you can count on a dozen or more mainstream media sources to parrot the announcement without ever mentioning that the result derives entirely from fraudulently altered data.

The past has been changed. It’s official! Comparisons to the alteration of history by Stalin are completely appropriate.

In the last week, we have seen an even more ridiculous effort to change history in the enforcement of climate change orthodoxy. You may already have seen several references to it, but let me take you through the timeline of the story.

A week ago today (March 12) a guy named Patrick Moore appeared on the Fox morning news program “Fox and Friends.” I didn’t see the show, but apparently during his segment Moore was identified as a “co-founder” of the Greenpeace environmental group. Moore also took the occasion to call the so-called climate crisis “fake science.”

It seems that President Trump was watching the show. . . .

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