New Year’s Resolution: “Do not believe a word I say”

From The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

Science is not a belief system. It is a rigorous, meticulous process of observation, enquiry, investigation, measurement, calculation, evaluation and checking, checking, checking. Therefore, anyone who declares that he or she “believes” – still worse “believes passionately” – in any scientific proposition that has not been rigorously proven has misunderstood what science is all about.

The father of numerical weather forecasting, Edward Lorenz, proved in 1963 that the the very long-run future evolution of the complex, non-linear, mathematically-chaotic object that is the climate cannot be reliably predicted by any method. “Very long-run”, in this context, means “more than a few weeks ahead”. In short, Lorenz proved that proof about the past, present, or long-run future behavior of the climate is impossible.

Yet the UN’s climate panel, whose case for alarm about the climate is founded almost exclusively upon numerical modeling rather than upon observation and measurement, invites us to believe, or even to believe passionately, that there is a 90% probability that more than 50% of the warming of the past half-century was manmade, and it presumes to tell us what the climate will be doing 100 years hence.

I am not as confident as the UN. Therefore, in my lectures on the climate worldwide, I always begin with the words, “Do not believe a word I say!” Many of my listeners find this approach rather startling. They are used to the Al Gores and Rajendra Pachauris of this world telling them that it is their duty to Believe. No, no, and thrice no. It is the duty of every “seeker after truth”, as the 11th-century Iraqi natural philosopher Al-Haytham called scientists, not to believe. It is the truth-seeker’s duty to be skeptical of all sides of any scientific debate.

The evolutionary biologist TH Huxley put it this way in 1860: “The improver of knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, skepticism is the highest of duties: blind faith the one unpardonable sin.” The bed-wetters are beginning to realize that calling us “skeptics” is in fact a compliment, which is why they are more often using yah-boo words like “denialist” or “contrarian” these days. Of course, the term “bed-wetter” is a yah-boo word too, but sometimes even Homer nods.

So, do not believe a word I say. Everything that I say about the climate is rooted in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, in the data, and in my own calculations. All of these can be checked. You can check any of them for yourselves. Be at least as skeptical of me as you are of the supposed “consensus”. But also be skeptical of the assertion that, on the climate, there is a “consensus”. This assertion was first promulgated by a Leftist think-tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research, in the UK late in 2006. The Institute circulated like-minded institutions (many of them taxpayer-funded) and suggested that, in future, the Left should pretend that “the science is settled, the debate is over, and now we must act.” It was a simple, appealing, successful but entirely dishonest political strategy.

Science is not done by consensus. It is particularly important to understand this today, when 99% of all scientific research is funded by taxpayers. Science, these days, is a monopsony: there is only one customer, The State. The pressures on scientists to conform to whatever The State – their paymaster – finds expedient, congenial, or profitable are very great, and it is no surprise that the majority of scientists crumble in the face of these pressures.

A reader from Holland puts it this way –

“Dear Lord Monckton, – Your challenge to us, the public, to check the original data rather than believe in the new religion is compelling. However, I am not a scientist. I’m not even any good at math. But I know people.

“If we add up all dead scientists, and also add up the number of scientists alive today, subtract one from the other, and we’ll probably see that today more scientists are alive than have ever lived in all history.

“This makes for quite a number of mouths to feed. Their deceased predecessors already had a tough time securing funding, so it’s a huge challenge being a scientist and make a living out of it today. Huge competition, because the money needs to be funded by taxpayers, and that is limited.

“So imagine a young scientist in need of a salary. His options: Take a current topic, and scream: “It’s even worse than anyone thought! Give me your money, and I will prove it!”, or “No, it is not true. I know everybody thinks I’m bonkers, but give me your money, and I will prove them all wrong!” Chances are nearly all scientists will take the first option, and understandably so.

“This is what we see daily in the media. ‘Knife-to-throat’-type of statements on any subject, coined by someone who has an interest in us believing the statement and wanting to do something about it (a.k.a. ‘give us lots of taxpayers’ money.’).

“In the climate debate we now see that there are too many of them who jumped on the bandwagon. Not enough money to go around. So the collective need to team up and broaden the capabilities to generate more income. Further taxation, global governance … hmmm.

“So, although you tend to refer to the left side of the political spectrum, I don’t think concerted political forces are at the basis of the climate scam. It’s scientists trying to secure their share of ‘money for free’.

“Politicians like this a lot. Since the sixties they’ve been looking for anything that will regain their control over society. Control that was waning as religion went into decline, climate being the new religion with all the usual aspects – deny yourself all joy and you’ll be a saint. For politicians, the climate scare is a Godsend.

“By your own invitation, I don’t believe what you say either, but I thoroughly enjoy the points you make, and the way you make them. Keep up the good work!”

Bottom line: Do not believe a word I say, but do not believe a word They say either. The grubby network of senior climate scientists whose sheer malevolence is so starkly evident in the Climategate emails have gained power, status, influence, and wealth as a result of the scare they have manufactured and peddled: and they have only gotten away with it because they have been able to rely on the general public not to have the time, knowledge, or inclination to check what “Scientists Say”.

“Scientists Say”. Those two words exasperate me every time some dopey enviro-zomb in the media trots them out in support of whatever fatuous exaggeration some sinister environmental group has put out in its latest press release. As a rule of thumb, disbelieve every supposed fact or finding preceded by the words “Scientists Say”. Check, check, and check again. The alternative is to abdicate politically, as the UK Conservative opposition’s chief of policy has done. Oliver Letwin once told me: “We cannot question what the scientists say.” If so, Oliver, then get out of politics and let the scientists run things directly. I, for one, will not be voting Conservative at the next UK election: there’s no point, now that the party has half-wittedly, cravenly abdicated in favor of whatever “Scientists Say”.

A very happy New Year to one and all. We are firmly snowed in here in Rannoch, though an aristocrat from the next glen with a chauffeur, a shovel, and a four-wheel-drive Range Rover is going to try to rescue us this evening. “Global warming”? What “global warming”? If you find any, please send us some. In the far Highlands of Scotland, we could do with all the “global warming” we can get.