Margarine, Global Warming, and the myth of settled science

margarine and global warming betray settled scienceMargarine and Global Warming seem to have little in common. But these two strange bed-fellows are examples of how settled science can come out and bite us on our behinds.

When I was a kid there were clinical studies published with great fanfare indicating beyond a reasonable doubt that butter produced from cows was unhealthy and should be replaced in one’s diet with margarine.

This bandwagon was soon embraced by Madison Avenue who touted “Everything is better with Blue Bonnet on it” and later gave us, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter,” in an attempt to fool consumers into thinking substitute products, although they were yellow in color, were just as satisfying as the real stuff.

Later, this type of thinking morphed into encouraging purchase of Whip and Chill artificial desert topping (beware of imitators) or sage advice given to buy only genuine Naugahyde and polyester as allegedly other  synthetic  products  didn’t work so well.

Of course this settled science was proven to be ridiculous, but no one back then questioned such postulations as three out of four doctors who believed margarine was healthier than butter could not possibly be wrong. But they were. A generation later, this debate was renewed as new studies indicated the trans-fats found in artificial spreads were actually worse than the real thing and was a leading cause of heart disease.

About the same time as Brittany Spears sang, “Oops I did it again,” 40 years of known scientific fact was dispelled. No one searched for the doctors who vouched for fake butter. Not even product liability attorney’s who sue corporations at the drop of the hat took up a class action suit for those individuals who had to endure with having to consume lobster with drawn margarine all those years. The charade was over.

Settled Science?

In much the same way the theory of global warming has been embraced (mostly by environmentalists and progressive liberals) as the wave of the future some fifteen years ago. According to so-called experts the vast consumption of fossil fuels has led to increased CO2 in the atmosphere thus resulting in warmer climates and weather changes that adversely affects mankind.

Under this scenario, ice caps are to eventually melt along with sea level rising. To complete this picture, famine, floods, droughts, hurricane’s and other abnormalities of nature are to become more frequent and destructive than similar events that have occurred  in the past.

To ward off  impending environmental catastrophes, these concerns championed by former Vice-President Al Gore, resulted  in new environmental laws and regulations being enacted throughout the United States.

Great theory but it fell short of expectations. Scientific data did not support the settled science that Global Warming was supposed to inflict at the rate predicted by the “Henny Pennies” of the world. The problem was that government has too much at stake for their policies to be reversed. While reducing water and air pollution has had excellent results, many other environmental measures have done little good.

As examples we find today groundless opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, hatred of energy companies  from the left (except when soliciting campaign contributions) and plans to build stack and packing housing in Project Development Areas  (PDAs) throughout California.   Despite all the money that is being wasted on doing complicated Environmental Impact Reports (EIR) carbon footprint reduction is by and large a fantasy.

There, I said it, scientific data does not support construction of high rise dwellings in urban areas doing much of anything for the environment or reducing pollution. Despite the onslaught of propaganda from 3 out of 4 scientists (or should we say political scientists) the Global Warming Theory has pretty much been debunked in recent years. So much for settled science.

Despite this reality, Progressives and their radical environmentalist buddies are not about to give up the fight. Instead they have changed their tune from Global Warming to Climate Change in order to justify their support of governmental  policies of subjugating people and gaining more control over people’s lives. Now settled science is telling people to just be quiet.

Climate Change is a real winner as it does not need much of any scientific backing. All it says is that because of the influence of man, nature is changing. There is no way to verify or refute such a theory as weather conditions, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes have gone on as in the past. They will continue to happen in the future as well.

It’s not as if a vaccine similar to what has virtually eliminated polio can be invented that can prevent tornadoes or hail storms. Even though we live in a high tech society, this does not give us the power to control the forces of nature or play the role of God so to speak.

But there are many positive things that can be done despite phony settled science:

1. Improve the efficiency of motor vehicles to reduce the use of non-renewable fossil fuels eventually replacing them with solar energy. (This has been partially accomplished in California greatly reducing air pollution).

2. Balance the need to reduce industrial pollution with the benefit of job creation. Have government be a partner with business rather than being an advisory.

3. Conserve water and build more dams and storage facilities to protect against years of below average rainfall. (This does not mean in California’s case to trash the Delta building diversion tunnels for water transfer to SOCAL)

4. Do a better job of recycling industrial and consumer waste to preserve resources.

5. Be open to new forms of clean energy production. At the same time embrace existing technologies including fracking and nuclear power which is still the cleanest form of energy production on the earth.

6. Make environmental policies in the United States non-partisan manner not being right vs. left or Democrats facing off against Republicans. Compared with other both developed and third world countries, we are wasting a lot of valuable monetary resources with political  bickering  which in recent years has helped to stagnant job creation in our economy.

I won’t be around fifty years from now to take part in the environmental debate that will undoubtedly take place then. It is almost certain people in the year 2065 will be laughing about the Progressive’s in the early 21st Century who thought they could save the world by constructing subsidized housing nearby transit hubs to reduce what will be proven to be fictional carbon footprints.

Of course by that time people will likely not be able to read about climate change as the public schools at the present rate of decline will likely by then eliminate the requirement to memorize the alphabet or be able to read.  Robots in this society will likely perform such tasks. Of course in such a world no one will know the difference as everyone will be a winner and diversity will rein supreme!

The good news is that people will still be consuming butter even if three doctors out of four doctors (or good critics) will say, “I can’t believe its not Margarine.” Hopefully we will still have our sense of taste.

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Comments

  1. SA Hawking says

    Living Dangerously is 60 percent politics and 40 percent scare tactics. Super Storm Sandy caused by Global Warming? Are you kidding me? I’ve seen better science on Star Trek.

    • Eva Travis says

      Out of a minimum of 16 special stories and significant and climate related experiences, you chose to sound bite material in order to discredit it. That’s unfortunate, but typical of the folks who seek to politicize things in order to deny them like the proverbial ostrich with it’s head in the ground. Thankfully, a finger in the dike won’t hold back the water of information, opinion or development of public perception. And those people’s whose lives have been significantly changed by this subject matter will eventually be in everybody’s public eye-albeit too late to save the lives of many-, and the story may someday be about you or any of us.
      Enlightened people will WATCH instead of reading the Cliff notes, and save the discrediting for the end of the episodes when they have spent better that 2 minutes involving themselves in the information.

  2. Eva Travis says

    I don’t know what phony settled science is…although significant science backs the theory of climate change and denial of it sounds a little like “thou doth protest too much”… I think the debate about the reality of climate change is relatively a mute point. There are situations all around the world requiring us to care about environmental changes that people have been warning about for 40 years. EIR’s are important but they rarely matter because of the politics that push for the real impacts to be “mitigated” with a cool check from the prevailing party. Fortunately our access to information has improved so much in that time that we can share the stories about what is actually happening, whether it be to our country or those around the world.

    There is a new series on Showtime called Years Of Living Dangerously, which provides a wealth of information and maybe we need to open our minds the way the people who are suffering through the catastrophes are having to come realizations they never wanted to. I believe the newest of the 9 part series is on tonight. I plan on going through the ones that have already aired, since these issues are so important and this series is so compelling.

    Wikipedia:
    Episode 1, “Dry Season”, follows three stories. Cheadle reports on the severe droughts in the Southwest United States, following scientist and devout Christian, Katharine Hayhoe, as she tries to communicate to religious audiences the connection between extreme weather and climate change; Ford visits Indonesia to learn how deforestation, driven by the worldwide appetite for products like palm oil and paper, contributes a large portion of the world’s carbon emissions, and he explores the struggle to resist it; and Thomas Friedman investigates how drought contributed to the civil war in Syria.[7]

    Executive producer and correspondent Schwarzenegger
    In Episode 2, “End of the Woods”, Schwarzenegger accompanies a team of elite firefighters in Western U.S. forests as they face the fire season made longer and more destructive by climate change. He learns, however, that even more destruction is caused by the proliferation of bark beetles, as longer summers enable them to reproduce up to twice each year. Ford continues his quest to stop Indonesian deforestation and the carbon emissions and displacement of animals and people that it causes, confronting officials including the President of Indonesia.[8]

    Later episodes from the show are slated to include the following segments:
    Alba reports on how Climate Corps fellows work to make the corporate sector more environmentally friendly;
    Bittman investigates rising sea levels and the environmental impact of producing natural gas;
    Damon explores the public health issues raised by heat waves;
    Ferrera reports on the political obstacles to the growth of wind and solar power;
    Friedman’s remaining segments include an interview on climate change with President Barack Obama;
    Hall travels to Bangladesh to see how climate change will impact the rest of the world in the coming decades;
    Chris Hayes reports on how Super Storm Sandy affected towns and families;
    Munn follows the new governor of Washington State, who is making the fight against global warming a top priority;
    M. Sanjayan circles the globe to see the effects of climate change firsthand;
    Somerhalder follows the daughter of Evangelical preacher Rick Joyner, as she tries to persuade congregations and preachers in North Carolina (including her father) to join the fight against global warming; and
    Stahl visits Greenland to view the effect of rising temperatures melting the arctic ice sheet.[4]

    Reaction

    The Globe and Mail calls the series “a lavish, gripping production focused on the real effect of climate change in real people’s lives around the world.”[6] The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media noted that the series shows what scientists do in the field “and why they’re reaching the conclusion that this problem is such a serious risk to the viability of our civilization and requires urgent action. … [The] actors [get] their ‘hands dirty’. … [The show] may … open new avenues for climate change communications.”[10] Skeptical Science terms the series “terrific and powerful. … The series sets a dramatic, powerful urgent tone.”[7]

    On The New York Times Dot Earth blog, Andrew C. Revkin wrote that “the Showtime team, at least in episode one, deserves plaudits for taking a compellingly fresh approach to showing the importance of climate hazards to human affairs … having the movie and television stars … asking questions and driving the story through their inquiry.”[11] The Sun Herald commented: “The stories are compelling, and were filmed as real news was happening around the participants.[12] A reviewer for The Hollywood Reporter thought: “The documentary does an excellent job of being simple and clear without being arrogant, and its convergence of science, politics, religion and industry proves its ultimate point.”[13]

    Distribution and schedule[edit]

    The show premiered on Showtime on Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 10:00pm Eastern and Pacific time. Episode 1 was made available freely on the internet on April 7, 2014, prior to its television debut. The series is scheduled to continue to air at 10:00pm ET/PT on Sundays, April 20 and 27 and May 4, before moving to Monday nights, May 12, 19, and 26 and June 2 and 9 at 8:00pm ET/PT.[14]

  3. says

    Edi, your priestly paean to the glories of Science (and on Easter Sunday!) illustrate the first fallacy, which is to pretend that science, as a form of human endeavor, is neutral and happens all by itself and is not greatly influenced at-bottom by religious and heartfelt presuppositions and assumptions.

    Secondly, I would wager that the positive impact of science can never be truly realized without free markets, democratic institutions and secular or some other revelatory assumptions about human dignity, creation and moral values. To claim that science by itself will build a better world is to be indeed blinded by science.

    Thirdly, the worn dialectical notion that “history is on our side” is ludicrous. To place history on such a pedestal is perforce to accept anything that happens as OK. Even bad science. Cause it happened. No judgment is allowed about utility, efficiency, or moral standing of right, wrong, good or evil. Do you really think we live in that kind of world?

    To defend the pseudoscientific propaganda of Global Warming and Climate Change alarmists and their false “consensus” pimped by an uncritical media itself indicates that more is going on than science.

    When social policy is based on models that can’t account for 17 years worth of data, declaring CO2 as bad, or insisting increases in CO2 cause global temperature increases despite the data to the contrary and from consideration of countless other climate factors including eons old oceanic and solar activity, there’s a lot more going on than science.

    100 years ago German, French, Swedish (up to 1975) and American scientists assured the world that Eugenics was settled science. The brown uniformed German colonial military then took what they “learned” about how to treat sub-humans and expanded it into Eastern Europe prior to and during WWII. And for how long did any white man not think they were racially superior to people of color. Settled science indeed.

    In the long run, the climate scare will be revealed as the most expensive hoax in the history of science.

    I found this article on Telling Noble Lies about Global Warming to be quite instructive.

    ====

    Over the past twenty years, we’ve been subjected to a barrage of catastrophic climate change forecasts, prophecies that would put Moses to shame. Coastal communities will be submerged due to rapid sea-level rise caused by soaring temperatures and glacier melt. Record heat waves, droughts, floods, insect infestations, and wildfires will result in millions of climate change refugees fleeing their ruined homelands. Competition over increasingly scarce water resources will lead to armed conflict. About all that has been missing from these doom and gloom predictions is alien invasion.

    Like Moses’ warnings to Pharaoh in the Bible, we are told there is a high price to pay if we are to avoid climate change-driven “death, injury, and disrupted livelihoods,” to quote from the March 31 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We must reduce our carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 70% by 2050 to keep so-called global temperature from exceeding 2° C above pre-industrial levels, the IPCC claims. This will require massive cuts in our use of coal, oil, and natural gas, the sources of 87% of world primary energy consumption. What’s also needed, according to yet another IPCC report, Climate Change 2014 – Mitigation of Climate Change, released on April 12, is nothing less than:

    a tripling to nearly a quadrupling of the share of zero‐ and low‐carbon energy supply from renewables, nuclear energy and fossil energy with carbon dioxide capture and storage [CCS, a technology the IPCC admit is currently problematic], or bioenergy with CCS by the year 2050.

    Former Vice President Al Gore tells us that “the survival of civilization as we know it” is at risk if we don’t take these kinds of actions.

    While historical evidence increasingly suggests that cataclysm really did follow Moses’ prophesies, modern-day forecasts of climate Armageddon are not coming true. The reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) reveal that there is nothing extraordinary about late twentieth century warming, a temperature rise that stopped over 17 years ago. The NIPCC explains that ice cover “is not melting at an enhanced rate; sea-level rise is not accelerating; and no systematic changes have been documented in evaporation or rainfall or in the magnitude or intensity of extreme meteorological events.”

    Contrary to the IPCC’s warnings, the NIPCC report released this month, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, shows that long-term warming and CO2 rise are benefitting nature and humanity, “causing a great greening of the Earth.”

    Faced with such good news, what are global warming activists to do?

    The latest IPCC reports demonstrate that many are following a strategy taught in law school: “if the facts are on your side, pound the facts. If the facts are not on your side, pound the table.” In their February 24, 2014 paper “Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements” published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Chinese professors Fuhai Hong and Zhao Xiaojian explain:

    The IPCC has tended to over-generalize its research results and accentuate the negative side of climate change. Following its lead, the mainstream media has gone even further.…Analyzing a sample of print, broadcast and online media coverage over a three-month period between 2005 and 2006, Ereaut and Segnit (2006) concluded that climate change was most commonly constructed through an “alarmist” repertoire as “awesome, terrible” and “immense,” characterized by “an inflated or extreme lexicon.”

    On the surface, this strategy appears to work. Hong and Xiaojian conclude that, when the climate change threat is not very severe, as the NIPCC demonstrates is the case today, exaggerating the dangers tends to increase public concern and so their countries’ participation in international climate change agreements. Gore clearly supports this approach, admitting in 2006,

    I believe it is appropriate to have an “over-representation” of the facts on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience.

    Taken to extremes, this approach can backfire. Fully one-third of Americans now believe that the media exaggerates the climate change problem, according to research reported on in Public Opinion Quarterly. In a U.S. Gallup poll conducted in early March, global warming ranked 14th out of 15 issues respondents were asked about. The survey showed that people care far more about unemployment and the economy than they do about climate change. After years of overplaying their hands, climate activists now find themselves tuned out by a large fraction of the population.

    So supporters of climate change mitigation are increasingly resorting to the “Noble Lie,” a political concept introduced by Plato in The Republic. Plato believed that most people lacked the intelligence to behave in ways that are in their own and society’s best interest. Therefore, he advocated creating religious lies that are fed to the public to keep them under control and happy with their lot in life. False propaganda to enhance public welfare is completely acceptable, Plato argued.

    Whether the real underlying purpose is to reduce pollution and energy consumption, or to promote foreign aid, crop biotechnology, alternative and nuclear energy, or even personal fitness, social justice, and world government, use of the Noble Lie has become common in the climate debate.

    Leading the pack is Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s commissioner for climate action. She told the London-based Telegraph newspaper in September 2013 that, even if the science backing the climate scare is wrong, the EU’s climate policies are still correct as they would, according to her, lead to more efficient use of resources. Hedegaard asks, “Would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?”

    Former U.S. Congressman and long-standing president of United Nations Foundation Timothy Wirth spelled out this strategy in 1998 when he said,

    What we’ve got to do in energy conservation is try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.

    Christine Stewart, the Liberal environment minister who negotiated in Kyoto on Canada’s behalf, went even further, asserting,

    No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits…climate change provides the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.

    There are undoubtedly many advocates of such objectives who doubt, or are agnostic about, human-caused climate change. However, they see benefits to promoting, or at least going along with, the climate scare because it furthers their objectives in other fields that they regard as beneficial to society. One of Canada’s top climate modellers said in private communications that, even though he did not believe that today’s computerized climate models made reliable forecasts, he would continue to promote them as if they did because he thought this would encourage the expansion of nuclear power, which he supported.

    But this seemingly pragmatic approach is a slippery slope.

    As the mistakes in the science backing man-made climate concerns become increasingly apparent, the primary rationale used by governments, environmental groups, and the press for energy conservation and other sensible actions evaporates. It is like teaching a child to behave well because Santa will otherwise cross them off his list. When they discover that they have been lied to about Santa, their behavior may quickly deteriorate. Similarly, the public naturally become cynical about conserving energy and protecting nature when they realize that they have been misled about climate change, currently the primary justification for environmentally conscious behaviour. Crying wolf over a non-issue eventually erodes public confidence in authorities and the reputation of sensible environmentalism and even science itself is damaged.

    Earth Hour, observed across the world on March 29, is a case in point. The event was created by World Wide Fund for Nature, Australia, working with American advertising company Leo Burnett Worldwide to increase awareness about the supposed climate crisis. Many people who normally would support energy conservation oppose Earth Hour because they recognize the climate scare to be unfounded. Some even intentionally increase their energy consumption during Earth Hour, partly as an act of defiance and partly to focus attention on the importance of inexpensive energy to our civilization. The International Climate Science Coalition has called for Earth Hour to be replaced with Energy Hour and carried out for the right reasons: to promote energy policy that will keep the lights on.

    Telling the Noble Lie that the science of climate change is “settled” so as to encourage moving quickly on “solutions” is also counterproductive. If the science is so certain, the public are bound to eventually ask, why should we fund climate research at all? We supposed know what the future holds in store for us, so public funding of climate research can be terminated. In reality, the science is so immature that we do not even know if warming or cooling lies ahead. So continuing climate research is important if we are to eventually develop the tools we need to predict climate change so as to prepare for whatever nature throws at us next.

    The lie that we know the future of the climate and how to control it has resulted in a situation where, of the approximately $1 billion a day spent on climate finance across the world, only 6% goes to helping real people today adapt to the climate threats they are facing, however caused. The rest goes to the vain goal of trying to control the climate to be experienced by people yet to be born. People from across the political spectrum are starting to realize the immorality of such an approach.

    Finally, the current focus on the impossible objective of “stopping climate change” has obscured the fact that we do indeed face a long-term energy crisis. It is that, as world usage of hydrocarbon fuels—coal, oil and natural gas—continues to rise, such inexpensive and plentiful sources of power will eventually become increasingly scarce and so more and more expensive. Planning for such a scenario requires that we engage in carefully planned, long-term research, not only to continue to improve the way we use hydrocarbon fuels, but also to develop alternatives that someday may actually be cost effective. Irrespective of the validity of climate change theories, there are good reasons to develop alternative sources of energy, but climate concerns is certainly not one of them.

    Yet, because of the current obsession with lessening CO2 emissions to solve the supposed climate crisis, billions of dollars are wasted on useless projects such as CCS and the widespread deployment of unsustainable technologies such as wind power. This impoverishes society, making us less able to afford the important research effort we need to eventually develop sustainable alternatives that actually have the potential to enhance long-term energy security.

    In the long run, the climate scare will be revealed as the most expensive hoax in the history of science. Statements such as that by Hedegaard, “why not create a world we like, with a climate we like — while we still have time?” will be seen as ridiculous and opportunistic.

    Scientists and others who knew this but promoted the deception for what they considered good reasons will be disgraced. Then no one will believe them when wolves really are at our doors.

  4. says

    First science is never settled, that why it is called science and not religion. Science at its core is a dedication to reason as supported by facts and related conclusions with the understanding that when new data and duplications through improved methodology are at variance that the science community changes its view.

    Second, in the course of history, science and its hand maiden technology has been the one reliable factor to over time improve the human condition. So following science has generally been a good bet.

    The issue of margarine is an interesting example that supports the view above in that there is a correction…but I still can’t believe its not butter.

    When your scientific community is overwhelmingly moving in one direction and you disagree with it, then you can count on the scientific fundamental concept that the truth will win out and come out and scientist as a mass will shift. However, there is also the very real possibility that when you are in such a small minority and discount the science about you, that maybe your simply wrong and have become the curmudgeon of the science field, ignoring the commitment to the reality about you.

    For me, play the odds, history is on our side.