Some weeks ago, the Capital Press gave space to two “environmentalists,” with credentials, who wished to work with farmers east of the mountains.
Close review of their letter, however, showed they were believers in climate change who only wished farmers to work with them. I did not see any willingness on their part to accommodate farmers, ranchers or the forestry and extractive industries. Their real platform consisted of threats, such as carbon taxes, regulations and dam removals. To them, clearly, “cooperation” only meant that farmers should do what they wanted, or else.
This is typical of many offers of “cooperation” these days in politics. In many U.S. cities, Antifa and others are running protection rackets: do what we demand, or your business is toast. The Mafia was more subtle.
Their letter contained the usual assumptions, e.g. of man-made deleterious climate change. To them, the “science” is settled, consensus. Those who dispute these assumptions are not to be taken seriously.
Two great lectures at Cal Tech, by Richard Feynman (The Cargo Cult Lecture) and Michael Crichton (Aliens Cause Global Warming), noted that “consensus was not science,” and that honesty in science was not as easy or as common as we might like.
Peer-reviewed journals, even at the highest level (e.g. Nature, Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine), suffer from statistical and logical nonsense and incoherence, lack of reproducibility, outright fraud and have been mocked with accepting nonsense articles. The prime axiom of statistics is that “correlation is not cause,” but most articles that use statistics infer cause from correlation — like squaring the circle: can’t be done, no matter what fancy name is given the process.
The “science” of polling, in the just-completed presidential election, has suffered like embarrassments, as it did in 2016. This includes “environmental” and “climate change” “science,” which has suffered many embarrassments, including decades of false predictions. I recommend Michael Crichton’s novel, “State of Fear.” In Japan of hari-kari, many suicides would have resolved this problem, but the false prophets keep on predicting. G.K. Chesterton (“The Napoleon of Notting Hill”) and Nassim Nicholas Taleb (“The Black Swan”) have dissected and ridiculed such “prophets” and their Gaussian/Bell Curve worlds, their models instead of experiments, their use of the map rather than the terrain.
Many good scientists, and books (e.g. Marc Morano’s 2018 “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change”), challenge or refute climate change assertions. Even if such occurred, and was man-caused, there is still the question of whether such changes are harmful. Polar bears are doing fine, and have survived millennia of climate change. New York City and Miami, and South Sea islands, are not under 20 feet of water. Ice and glaciers come and go, as they have in the past. Climate events, such as hurricanes, are not increasing in number or intensity. Barack Obama has purchased an estate by the ocean — he doesn’t really believe his estate is about to go under water. And so on.
There are real environmental problems, mostly caused by human mismanagement or habitat destruction, but many, especially in the U.S., have significantly improved.
I have been an environmentalist since a child in the 1950s, when I met Roger Tory Peterson, banded birds, and read all the great American naturalists. An acute child, I noticed that we no longer had glaciers in western Pennsylvania (that is, that global warming had occurred and North America was no longer covered with hundreds of feet of ice), and reasoned that without global warming the Asians could never have crossed the Bering Strait to become American Indians. I lived right on the glacial moraine, where the last glaciers had stopped, which still affected plants and animals. My first paper was on the northward spread of austral avian species, related (I concluded) to deforestation, not climate change (Occam’s Razor).
I have watched “environmentalists” kill industries and communities, e.g. coal communities back East, timber communities in the Pacific Northwest, and eliminate “multiple use” of federal lands to the detriment both of those lands and those who relied upon them.
I live on a farm. I like farmers. I was feeding pigs and ducks, digging up potatoes by hand, and shucking corn when still a boy. I would prefer real cooperation, like that from America’s agricultural colleges and agents, and fewer regulations and threats.