Last week Cats contributed a heap of information and sources about scientists and others who have been punished for having unfashionable views on a certain topic. That will all contribute to a section of a work in progress under the working title The Dogs That Didn’t Bark.
The dogs are the academics working in the history and philosophy of science and science studies who might have warned us that something has gone wrong, except that they have mostly signed up to alarmism. The book will be lightly footnoted for a general readership and the heavy duty research will be in a companion website with copious links to primary materials.
In the background are some key points. For one, there have always been people going on about the end of the world and other disasters. People might like to give examples of their favourite cases.
More specifically there have been no end of failed predictions about impending climate disasters and statements from the likes to people like Prince Charles on the number of hours, days or months that we have left to start making drastic changes to avert disaster. I want to collect these cases as well, although comprehensive reporting might call for another book.
Another aspect is the history of popular delusions and the madness of crowds referencing an 1841 book on things like occultism, witch mania and financial episodes like the South Sea Company bubble of 1711-1720, the Mississippi Company bubble of 1719-1720, and the Dutch tulip mania.
This particular delusion may be unique in the way that it has obtained support from modern science, in the volume of the propaganda exercise supporting it and the amount of waste and destruction of resources that it is causing. More on those aspects another time.
In the meantime please comment on “end of the world” episodes and more specifically the predictions of climate disaster over the last 20 or 30 years. If you have too much for a comment, say that and I will get in touch by email.