How do you blow the mind of someone from the political and clerical left? Show them that their evidence and settled science is not actually evidence nor settled science, and watch.
In 2015, a mildly amusing movie came out called the Kingsman. It was an attempt at a James Bond type story with an evil criminal trying to destroy the world and a good guy trying to stop him. In this case, the narrative was that over population was causing climate change, leading to an environmental catastrophe, and the only way to deal with it was through a massive culling of humans. The evil mastermind would select the best and brightest to survive and the rest, well, you can imagine the plan for them.
The movie broadly ends with all the heads of the best and brightest blowing up, to a lovely rendition of Pomp and Circumstance. See YouTube video at bottom.
Now the Kingsman story line follows a similar real life path. It was called eugenics and was last mass tried by the Nazis with a view to elimination of “defectives” from the human gene pool. You see, according to its proponents, the intellectuals and other elites, the problem that was to be solved by eugenics, the pollution of the gene pool, was also settled science.
At the time, it was considered that the best humans were not having enough children relative to the inferior humans or were mixing with the inferior humans. And who were the inferiors? At the time they included foreigners, immigrants, Jews, Blacks, gays, degenerates, the unfit and the ‘feeble minded’.
The proposed solution, I am sure you will not be surprised to hear, was an expansion of the scope and power of the state, and the abrogation of liberty through the government control of reproduction, thereby improving and cleansing the gene pool.
History will judge whether the science or the response were settled.
The thing about science is that it is never settled. One unexpected observation can disprove centuries of accepted wisdom. Nassim Taleb titled his book The Black Swan from the just this. In England in the middle ages, there used to be a saying, similar to pigs flying, …. you would sooner see a black swan. The science was settled. And then Australia was discovered.
The scientists understand that there is a difference between retrospective observations which can be generally agreed and prospective forecasts which are subject to debate. It is the zealots who cry settled science who don’t understand.
Recently, former Wall Street Journal opinion writer, Bret Stephens, wrote (would you be surprised) an opinion piece for the New York Times (NYT). This was Stephens’ first effort for the NYT, having possibly been recruited for his staunch Anti-Trump views.
Now in this first effort, Stephens did not write about President Trump. He wrote about climate change, and his words managed to blow the minds of the settled science Malthusian Armageddonist political left.
In essence, this is what Stephens wrote.
- It is agreed that temperatures have risen relative to the past.
- It is agreed that humans have contributed to this increase in temperatures
- It is not agreed by how much humans have contributed to increases in temperatures.
- It is not agreed that the only true and correct forecasts of future temperature change project Argmageddon; and
- It is not agreed that benefits of remedial climate action are worth the costs.
Basically, Stephens attempted to add some modesty and conservatism to the debate and challenge the unfounded certainty that prevails.
His critics decreed that, by not agreeing with the forecasts and the mandatory expansion of the state, Stephens not only needs to be fired from the New York Times, but also prosecuted for breaking the 11th commandment – though shalt not challenge the Climate Neo-Clericy.
Climate change is no longer a science. It is a religion. And heretics must be found and prosecuted.