I’m breaking this up into a series of posts, since each of the areas I am covering has its own features of interest. The overall theme is that mathematical models are in many ways doing more harm than good because of the way they are used by society.
I won’t in this post go into how much I loathe the “climate-change” racket, except to say that at the most primordial fundamental level I can break it down to, there are people in positions of wealth, power and influence who wish to gain more wealth, power and influence by the equivalent of an energy tax, which cannot be sold to people as in their interest without scare-mongering, and when the scare-mongering fails by guilt-tripping, and that the brilliantly evil thing about this energy tax is that the proceeds are sluiced directly into new “green” enterprises controlled by the very people behind the tax in the first place, rather than being used for some more conventional public purpose which would have public benefits that, while a less efficient use of the tax money, were at least real.
Here is an op-ed piece which is so ripe a target for criticism I don’t know where to start, so I’ll let the commenters have fun tearing it apart:
And here, at a much higher intellectual level, is the exact same thing: a writer, Kenneth Brower, who, incapable of understanding the real science at the core of the controversy at the required level, accepts a manufactured consensus as an article of faith. This story is a particularly sad example, because Brower wrote a good book about Freeman Dyson a long time ago and is now slandering him.
Brower quotes Dyson’s 2008 remark “Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion” but has no idea how truly it applies to him. A careful reading shows that he has nothing but “the argument from authority” to counter Dyson with, and that Dyson all by himself is a better authority than the entire “climate science” establishment, but Brower can’t see this even though it is all there in his article.
The reason this is “math abuse” is that the climate models are extremely inadequate and leave lots of important factors out, and the data that goes into the models is manipulated and cherry-picked, and the whole enterprise is driven by incentives to get one particular result, and the math is both obfuscated and reverenced so that people like Brower feel that they cannot understand it and should therefore trust those who claim they can. What’s actually going on mathematically, and how outrageous it all is, is not very difficult to explain, though I’ll save that for the comments or another post.
A final remark about environmentalism as a religion: I used to think it was a serious argument against Christianity that it led to persecutions of “heretics”, refusal to listen to counterarguments fairly, social one-upmanship and bullying, exploitation of people’s emotions of guilt, fear, and shame, and efforts by believers to reduce the freedom of non-believers. Well, at times Christians have done all these things, and the histories and fiction I read which portrayed them were not wrong, but it’s obvious from the way our current secular establishment behaves that these are universal human failings that are in no way specific to Christianity. Thus, one of the major anti-Christian arguments is countered, and the Christian faith is therefore strengthened. (Thanks, Al!)