Fatalism & Will of God

Sep 2nd, 2009, in Opinion, by

Other worldly factors in climate change, are Indonesian students right?


A report in the Jakarta Post, which said that a significant proportion of young Indonesians were content to regard the current climate change panic as

God’s Will

caught my attention, even before my agnostic and atheist friends exploded into mirthful indignation. (Why is it that so many non-believers here, who’d not think to blare out their scepticism back home, tend to take on a noisy resemblance to the long-dead League of Militant Godless – is it a reaction to the local fanatics?)

I’m certainly not an especially godly sort, but it seems to me that these young folks have a broader perspective than the panic-merchants. The more we read of the Gore Brigade, the more we find that their hysteria is manufactured. Gore’s own film was faulted by a British court of law, which decreed that, not least in view of the various lies/errors/inaccuracies it contained, showing it in schools had to be accompanied by a bias health warning.

If we think there’s a God up there, or even just Mother Nature, then it is patently His, or Her, doing that the climate is changing. Many scientists tell us exactly that, and get stridently abused and even persecuted for saying so. Others insist the climate is not significantly changing, or even going the other way from that which the panickers tell us.

A while ago we had a lengthy thread of argument on IM about climate (Saving the Planet?) and it became so self-absorbed that I gave up reading it. Since then I have paid sporadic attention to the issue, mainly due to my interest in free speech, and what I’ve learned from reading back and forth into the past decade has worried me about the character of the scientific establishment. A lot of these guys want and need government grants and are unlikely to upset their cosy apple-carts by challenging the in-crowd’s prejudices. Why should those people quoted in the Jakarta Post article be held up to scorn for preferring explanations that don’t depend on vested interests?

An article in the Wall Street Journal by a Mr. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, in April 2006, reported that

Henk Tennekes was dismissed as research director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society after questioning the scientific underpinnings of global warming. Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director of the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization, was tarred by Bert Bolin, first head of the IPCC, as a tool of the coal industry for questioning climate alarmism. Respected Italian professors Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza disappeared from the debate in 1991, apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions.

He also states that censorship is in vogue in the journalistic sphere.. ‘At Science and Nature, such papers are commonly refused without review as being without interest.’ Not a very open dialogue, is it?

Lindzen’s own experience with a paper he worked on is also worrying.

‘…Normally, criticism of papers appears in the form of letters to the journal to which the original authors can respond immediately. However, in this case (and others) a flurry of hastily prepared papers appeared, claiming errors in our study, with our responses delayed months and longer. The delay permitted our paper to be commonly referred to as “discredited.” Indeed, there is a strange reluctance to actually find out how climate really behaves. In 2003, when the draft of the U.S. National Climate Plan urged a high priority for improving our knowledge of climate sensitivity, the National Research Council instead urged support to look at the impacts of the warming–not whether it would actually happen.’

God, Nature, man-made, inevitable…? We are not being given the whole story, for sure, and cui bono? In these circumstances, it makes more sense for Indonesians and the rest of us to seek answers from a level we trust, rather than bought-and-paid-for apparatchiks. What is really behind the panic? Is there a hidden agenda?

147 Comments on “Fatalism & Will of God”

  1. Odinius says:

    I think, at this point, it’s nuts to think climate change doesn’t exist. It’s been clearly demonstrated over and over again that average sea temperatures are rising. The climate is, in fact, changing as a result.

    It’s still out there, though more rational, to be skeptical of the claim that human activity is the cause of it all. But that’s a political position, not a scientific one. if you look at the science directly, you see that the claim isn’t that human activity is the cause of all climate change, but that human activity is influencing climate change in a way that is likely detrimental to humanity and the resources it depends upon.

    To put it another way: “the climate is changing too rapidly for us to assimilate the changes without deep and severe trauma, and with specific changes in behavior, we could likely slow the rate of change to one that is manageable and in our long-term interests as a species, as well as in the interests of the ecosystems we are a part of and rely upon.”

  2. Arie Brand says:

    “what bothers me is your avoidance of the issue that provoked my interest in this issue; persecution and censorship.”

    Ross, the only stuff you have come up with on that point had to do with a few statements by Lindzen. I commented on these at length and also indicated the place where you could find further comments. In answer you came up with your ragbag, sorry motley, list of contrarian comments. So who is avoiding what?

    As to your comment about ‘shady regimes’ like Obama’s and Brown’s throwing money at the problem: climate change research has been going on for the last thirty years at least, all over the world, under conservative and liberal regimes. The consensus is found in the IPCC reports which, according to many, have been toned down too much in order to embrace the broadest possible congregation. That consensus is that we are in dire trouble.

    And if you want to read about real censorship: the administration of Bush Jr. was notorious for it. See here: http://www.climateark.org/shared/search/welcome.aspx?searchtext=Hansen%20censorship

    “Some fool even called for critics of panic-propaganda to be put on trial! So much for the scientific method.”

    You are presumably referring to the speech of James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in Congress last year. He accused on that occasion CEO’s in the fossil fuel industry of deliberately spreading disinformation. He called that a criminal activity, and so do I. This has nothing to do with an attack on the ‘scientific method’. The boot is on the other foot. It is those deliberate spreaders of doubt who are anti-science. This is what Hansen said:

    “Special interests have blocked transition to our renewable energy future. Instead of
    moving heavily into renewable energies, fossil companies choose to spread doubt about global warming, as tobacco companies discredited the smoking-cancer link. Methods are sophisticated, including funding to help shape school textbook discussions of global warming. CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.
    Conviction of ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal CEOs will be no consolation, if we pass on
    a runaway climate to our children. Humanity would be impoverished by ravages of continually shifting shorelines and intensification of regional climate extremes. Loss of countless species would leave a more desolate planet.”

    Here is the address of the speech:

    I remember an internal memo of the American Petroleum Institute, a body largely funded by Exxon, that was leaked onto the internet, in which a special task force was told to do everything to prevent the public perception that there was no longer any doubt about certain things. These guys knew what they were doing and it is guys of that ilk who funded Mr.Dimmock, a shady deal that you portray as help to the little man to fight big government. Yeah, tell me an otheree …

  3. Arie Brand says:

    As I announced yesterday I would indicate some of the places where the assertions in the Wiki list are refuted. I have summarized them under the following points:

    1.It’s the increasing intensity in solar radiation (Khabibullo, Abdusamatov, Sallie Baliunas, George V.Chilingar, Ian Clark, Philip Stott, Claude Allegre):




    2.It is all due to natural variability : (William Kininmonth,, George Kukla, David Legates, Tad Musty, Tim Patterson, Harrison Schmitt, Tom Segalstad, Willie Soon, Roy Spencer):


    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/10/the_australians_war_on_science_23.php onth)


    3.Models are deficient (Henk Tennekes, Antonino Zichichi, John Christy):





    4.There has been no warming since 1998 (Robert Carter)




    5.CO2 follows climate change rather than driving it (Ian Plimer):




    6.Warming results indirectly from cosmic rays: (Henrik Svensmark):




    7.Warming is actually beneficial (Craig D.Idso, Sherwood Idso, Patrick Michaels):



    8.Warming is due to ocean circulation variations (William M.Gray):



  4. ET says:

    @ Ross

    ET makes much of my comment on the possibility of Exxon’s wealth influencing researchers -fair enough. But he declines to follow thorugh on my adjacent comment, that the vast resources – from tax-payers’ pockets – shady regimes like Obama’s and Brown’s might just direct their researchers down the desired path..

    This is the same kind of insinuating critique one gets at ExxonMobile if one dares to express intellectual doubt about the way matters are handled or distorted by Management (with a capital M). One is immediately transferred to the opposite camp and considered a leftist agent hostile to the Objectives (capital O) of the Company (capital M). Exxon Valdez anyone?

    It’s a pity that scientific matters have to show the colours of the funding parties, whatever these colours may be.

    No Ross, I’m not a pinko, far from it. I just can’t keep my mouth shut, for some equal to blasphemy.

  5. ET says:

    Company (capital M)

    Capital C of course.

  6. Ross says:

    “High crimes against humanity!” What a pompous, arrogant denunciation, equating attempts to provide a level playing field in the debate with Communis mass-murder or Nazi tyranny.

    Given the constant flow of bias on the media and in educational institutions, we should be grateful private enterprise, or some of it – I’m no fan of international monopoly capitalism – is funding people who come to different conclusions.
    Incidentally, I have freely admitted I’m not a scientist, and am arguing on free speech grounds.
    How qualified is Arie – and why is he getting so het up (no pun intended!)?

  7. Arie Brand says:

    Ross I have been blogging on this for years because, apparently unlike you, I took some trouble to study the matter. And Hansen got it exactly right: “high crimes against humanity”. If this thing is not stopped it will make more victims than the Nazi and Communist regimes together.

    “Level playing field”? My foot. They don’t want to appear there. Because their arguments don’t stack up. That is why they make use of the popular media.

    I didn’t know you were such an ardent defender of free speech. When it came to the victims of the McCarthy witch hunt you were of quite a different opinion. Free speech for those who share your prejudices huh? The usual thing.

  8. Arie Brand says:

    Oh and just one other thing: we saw that Lindzen was holding forth from his princely pedestal at the Wall Street Journal about the suppression of his opinions ( which are in fact more widely known than those of many a mainstream scientist). The WSJ would probably also classify that as the defense of free speech. But when Professor Ray Pierrehumbert tried to get a reasoned rejoinder placed that paper had suddenly forgotten that fine principle in favor of what they really are about: the defense of sectorial interests.

    You were talking about an attack on the ‘scientific method’ when referring to the condemnation of the nefarious disinformation techniques of the fossil fuel lobby. Now you are talking about a ‘level playing field’. The access to any playing field depends on willingness to play by the rules. In the forum of science that means coming up with stuff that can stand up to testing and reasoned argument. But these contrarians want a free pass for their theories. And because they can’t get that they have sought and obtained a wider forum in the popular media where they then complain about suppression (and get many a sucker to believe them).

  9. Ross says:

    McCarthy was after traitors, and found quite a lot.
    Free speech is something else, and Arie, you show scant respect for it. So you’ve been studying this topic for years, and yet you see nothing wrong with calling for your opponents in the debate to be put on trial.
    That’s more like the witch-hunting McCarthy was wrongly accused of.

  10. Arie Brand says:

    I won’t buy into the debate about McCarthyism. Sensible people have long since made up their mind about that.

    Opponents in a debate? Would you call the people who kept coming up with disinformation about the relation between smoking and lung cancer opponents in a debate? You must be joking. And partly the same people are involved now, the same techniques are being used but the stakes are much higher.

    To suggest that Hansen was talking about scientists who honestly disagreed with him is just being plain disingenuous. Those CEOs he was referring to couldn’t care less about science. Their interest is their balance sheets and the rest of us can go to hell.

  11. Ross says:

    Aaah, Arie, your closed mind is showing. So ‘sensible people’ – those who meet with your august approval – ‘have long since made up their minds’ on McCarthy’s brave fight, which exposed a lot of enemy agents.
    And once your mind is made up, it would take more than all the revelations since, notably the Venona transcripts and the books by respected scholars like Martin Redish and M. Stanton Evans.

    God forbid Arie might unmake up his mind by looking at what ‘non-sensible people,’ those who disagree with him, have to say and what their researches have uncovered.

    Similarly with climate panic, being used by state power junkies everywhere to expand the role of government; Arie won’t credit anybody who offers resistance to his own prejudices.

    Time will tell. Meanwhile those interested in objective truth will continue to support those suppressed by the establishment, in order that the in-crowd don’t get away with it.

  12. Odinius says:

    Arie’s right, though. McCarthy also “caught” a lot of non-traitors, and silenced a lot of free speech.

    Someone’s support for free speech can only be judged by whether that person extends it to those he disagrees with.

    I’m all for climate change skeptics having the right to shoot their mouths, just as I’m all for communists or fascists having theirs (given that no laws are broken). But that doesn’t make what they say worth listening to.

  13. Arie Brand says:

    “Meanwhile those interested in objective truth will continue to support those suppressed by the establishment, …”

    Support? You mean coming up with vague accusations and complaints? I don’t see any sign that you have actually looked at the merits of the arguments pro and contra.

    And what establishment are you talking about? I don’t know of any paper that is more ‘establishment’ than the Wall Street Journal. The same holds for the British Daily Telegraph.

  14. Ross says:

    Actually, the British Daily Telegraph is about the only serious paper in the UK that dissents from the prevailing left-liberal consensus. And the ‘mainstream media’ in America are entirely in the left-liberal camp, as witness their overtly pro-Obama bias in the last election.
    This is why the Washington establishment is looking hard at ways to curb talk-radio, the only audible source of opposition – Fox News does afford alternative opinion a platform, but that was a purely commercial decision by Murdoch, who was shrewd enough to see a space that could be filled.
    Now he’s in there, of course, Fox is shifting steadily away from dissent.

  15. Arie Brand says:

    It is in a way amusing to encounter somebody who finds Fox not right wing enough. Does that dangerous Red O’Reilly disturb your sleep Ross?

  16. Ross says:

    You reckon Fox is still as consistently fair and free as it started off? You evidently don’t watch it much; it’s not bad, but it has started funding undesirables.
    Murdoch himself, of course, had his New York Post mouthpiece endorse the famously conservative Mrs. Clinton.

  17. Odinius says:


    You miss the boat on the American media. They are not left or right; they are bandwagoners. In 2002 and 2003, the NYT and WP were uncritically publishing hack job press releases from Cheney’s office about WMD in Iraq, while that’s all you saw on CNN and the mainstream news. When the mood of the country turned, so did the media. In 2008, Obama could do no wrong. Now he can do nothing right. MSNBC was a Fox clone until 2006; then it became the “liberal Fox.” etc.

  18. Arie Brand says:

    David Attenborough managed to get this instructive graph on a clear scale:

  19. Ross says:

    You could do well by looking at the comparative leanings of US journos in the 50s and 60s as against today, Odinius. Onbce fairly well-balanced, today’s crop are overwhelmingly left-lib, and the journo schools are churning ’em out still.

    ‘MSNBC took a look at 144 journalists who donated political contributions from 2004 to the start of the 2008 campaign:
    …according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 17 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.
    The donors include CNN’s Guy Raz, now covering the Pentagon for NPR, who gave to Kerry the same month he was embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq; New Yorker war correspondent George Packer; a producer for Bill O’Reilly at Fox; MSNBC TV host Joe Scarborough; political writers at Vanity Fair; the editor of The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition; local TV anchors in Washington, Minneapolis, Memphis and Wichita; the ethics columnist at The New York Times; and even MTV’s former presidential campaign correspondent.
    That number can be rounded off to 87% of those journalists on the list giving to causes and politicians on the left side of the aisle.’
    ================or agian
    The website of the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) reports the findings from a new book, “The American Journalist in the 21st Century: US News People at the Dawn of a New Millennium.” It finds that 40 percent of journalists described themselves as being on the left side of the political spectrum and conservatives were only 25 percent. Moderates made up 33 percent.

    In terms of political party affiliation, 36 percent of journalists said they were Democrats, but only 18 percent said they were Republicans.

    Viewed in context, citing Gallup poll data on the ideological make-up of the public, the article on the PEJ website says that 40 percent of the journalists are liberal but only 17 percent of the public is. While 41 percent of the public is conservative, only 25 percent of the journalists are. That means there is a tremendous gulf in terms of the political views of journalists and the public.

    As for the NYT, they are and have long been firmly in the grip of the ultra-left. The MSM have been going left since Ed Murrow, then Walter Cronkite fooled America by telling his trusting audience that the Tet Offensive was a defeat for America, rather than the fine victory it actually was. These people have done a fearfully effective job of undermining their own country.
    In Aussie too, you have people like David Marr, who says if you ain’t a pinko, you should steer clear of journalism. As for Britain’s BBC, it’s just a joke.

  20. trane says:

    Ross, come to your senses if you have any.

    You tell people to be objective, look at the facts, respect other people’s opinion. But as soon as someone addresses your facts, the objectivity of your sources, the validity of your claims, you turn to something else. And you whine: Conspiracy! McCarthy! Leftists!


    P.S. Here is a link to someone who thinks that Gore is very wrong: http://fora.tv/2009/08/18/A_REALLY_Inconvenient_Truth_Dan_Miller

  21. Ross says:

    Trane, you get very testy when presented with unpalatable ( or dare I say inconvenient)truths.
    I certainly haven’t whined, simply wearied of Arie’s refusal to admit the obvious, that dissenters are being given a hard time, not by reasoned argument, but by threats, both legal, and financial.
    Since Joe McCarthy has been slandered mercilessly by all manner of wierdoes since his death, it is time to even up the balance, and the authors I mentioned have done so – try reading them.
    Reading the other side’s ideas is good for you. I have to do it every time I open a newspaper, which is a problem you left-libs don’t have. The climate panickers seem to hog every page.

  22. trane says:

    OK, Ross.

    I don’t think you have read any of the authors you mention, apart from the snippets you have posted. Have you?

    If so, who would prefer that I read? Who is the more convincing voice among the choir of ‘skeptics’?

    Have you tried reading what ‘the other other side’ has to say about that voice?

    If so, do those counter-claims sound reasonable to you?

    If we are to have something approaching a reasoned discussion, we had better focus on the work of just one of the authors you mention. So pick one and let’s discuss.

    Arie has tried to discuss with you, but every time he has made a concrete point, you dodge it, run to the other end of the room and start yelling. Stop it, sit down, focus on one issue, and discuss. It would be good for you.



  23. Arie Brand says:

    “I certainly haven’t whined, simply wearied of Arie’s refusal to admit the obvious, that dissenters are being given a hard time, not by reasoned argument, but by threats, both legal, and financial.”

    Ross, can you provide some telling examples of those legal and financial threats? The only court case I know of was the other way round. Some benefactors of mankind came up with sixty thousand quid in order to distract attention from the main issues by nitpicking arguments in court against Gore’s message.

    If by ‘threats’ you refer to what Hansen said in Congress you are wrong on two counts: Hansen wasn’t in a position to make ‘threats’ and he wasn’t referring to people who have ‘reasoned arguments’, only hefty budgets to run a misleading PR-campaign.

    Incidentally, all the website addresses I provided came up with ‘reasoned arguments’ against the contrarians. You haven’t addressed any of them.

    And about those ‘climate panickers’ hogging ‘every page’ of the newspapers: you are an expert in putting the boot on the wrong foot. For long years newspapers have, in the name of ‘balance’ in reporting, magnified the message of the minority of contrarians, thus creating the misleading impression that there was still substantial uncertainty about the anthropogenic origin of global warming.

    Here is an early report of an actual inquiry in this matter by the organization for fairness and accuracy in reporting (‘FAIR’):

    “In our study called “Balance as Bias: Global Warming and the U.S. Prestige Press”—presented at the 2002 Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change in Berlin and published in the July 2004 issue of the journal Global Environmental Change —we analyzed articles about human contributions to global warming that appeared between 1988 and 2002 in the U.S. prestige press: the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.

    Using the search term “global warming,” we collected articles from this time period and focused on what is considered “hard news,” excluding editorials, opinion columns, letters to the editor and book reviews. Approximately 41 percent of articles came from the New York Times, 29 percent from the Washington Post, 25 percent from the Los Angeles Times, and 5 percent from the Wall Street Journal.

    From a total of 3,543 articles, we examined a random sample of 636 articles. Our results showed that the majority of these stories were, in fact, structured on the journalistic norm of balanced reporting, giving the impression that the scientific community was embroiled in a rip-roaring debate on whether or not humans were contributing to global warming.

    More specifically, we discovered that:

    * 53 percent of the articles gave roughly equal attention to the views that humans contribute to global warming and that climate change is exclusively the result of natural fluctuations.

    * 35 percent emphasized the role of humans while presenting both sides of the debate, which more accurately reflects scientific thinking about global warming.

    * 6 percent emphasized doubts about the claim that human-caused global warming exists, while another 6 percent only included the predominant scientific view that humans are contributing to Earth’s temperature increases.

    Through statistical analyses, we found that coverage significantly diverged from the IPCC consensus on human contributions to global warming from 1990 through 2002. In other words, through adherence to the norm of balance, the U.S. press systematically proliferated an informational bias.”

    I don’t think that the situation has substantially improved. To limit myself to a local example: in Australia the only national paper (“The Australian”) is conducting a veritable ‘war on science’ by systematically pushing the views of certain contrarians, the most recent example being those of Ian Plimer.

    Contrarians have generally been much better at PR than ‘reasoned argument’.

  24. Arie Brand says:

    And here is a fragment from the “Access Library” website about television coverage:

    “Scientific consensus that humans have caused global warming coalesced in about 1995. Yet for the next decade many Americans still believed that humankind’s role in the emerging crisis was a matter of great debate. A new study lays some of the blame for that national misconception on the nightly TV news shows. To avoid the appearance of bias, they continued to air contrarian viewpoints long after the scientific debate was settled.

    Maxwell T. Boykoff of the University of Oxford analyzed 143 news segments about climate change that were broadcast between 1995 and 2004 on programs ranging from the CBS Evening News to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports. Only 28 percent of the segments paralleled scientific opinion in portraying humans as the main cause …”

  25. Ross says:

    Oke, Arie. So it seems the media were still daring to air ‘contrarian’ views after the debate was ‘settled!’
    Gosh, that’s bad. How dare they! But that seems to have died out..even the kiddies’ programmes get tainted with panickers’ propaganda nowadays.
    Since neither Arie nor I are experts in these things, we have both been producing extracts from other people’s reports and I’m happy to continue doing so, at the risk of boring those IM afficionados who are following our little chat.
    But today there are mudik matters to be handled. I will have time on my hands after the weekend and will return to this then.
    Trane, you have adopted a rather abrasive manner, and I am not going to respond in kind. If you think you know what books I read, have read or will read, your presumption is all the more alarming.
    Stick with the Ross-Arie exchanges and you will get plenty of reading to keep you busy till Jakarta re-opens after Idul Fitri!

  26. Arie Brand says:

    Ross, you want to have it both ways. First you claim that the ‘panickers hog every page’ and when it is then pointed out to you that that is not exactly the case you come up with fake indignation about the fact that people have dared to reveal that.

  27. Ross says:

    “Oke, Arie. So it seems the media were still daring to air ‘contrarian’ views after the debate was ’settled!’
    Gosh, that’s bad. How dare they! But that seems to have died out..even”

    WERE refers to the past, and as I have said, with rare exceptions, nowadays…..even children’s tv and weather reports get imbued with brainless references to warming and climate change, which are open to debate as you say but are not relevant to every mention of the weather.

    Monday is a lazy day, and subject to global climactic change, I’ll dish out some more stuff then.

  28. Arie Brand says:

    “Creationists and climate change deniers have this in common: they don’t answer their critics. They make what they say are definitive refutations of the science. When these refutations are shown to be nonsense, they do not seek to defend them. They simply switch to another line of attack. They never retract, never apologise, never explain, just raise the volume, keep moving and hope that people won’t notice the trail of broken claims in their wake. …”

    The quote above is from Guardian journalist Monbiot.

  29. Ross says:

    Well, I didn’t think it likely to have been culled from the W
    Washington Times.!

  30. Oigal says:

    Guardian journalist Monbiot.

    Laugh does anyone really consider Monbiot anything but a loon?

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