it is wise to affect ignorance.
— Baltasar Gracian
“Truthiness” is the recent colloquialism that describes things that are thought to be facts merely because they “feel” right. The word is new, but the phenomenon isn’t, as reflected by the Mark Twain quote at the top of this page all this week: “We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking.” I knew I was going to throw that quote up there as soon as I saw the Super Bowl commercial on Sunday claiming that 50,000 (or whatever) people die of second-hand smoke this year, and wondering if I was “alright with that.” It actually made me wonder how many billions of dollars was going to be burned due to second-hand statistics this year in the name of politically-correct junk science.
Actually, it is in the name of an ever-more-grasping (and brazen) attempt to choke off individual freedoms and liberty, supposedly for our own good, whether the issue is city-wide, state-wide or nation-wide smoking bans, or the latest global warming power-play. The strategy is all-too-familiar; get yourself some “science”, declare it reflects a consensus and then shout-down any opposition in an effort to intimidate or marginalize scientists with differing views and evidence and in the hopes of the public can be beaten into such a stupor that it can’t think or reason for itself. The effort is so obvious it is almost comical except that it the stakes are getting far too high.
The scientific method of observation, hypotheses, prediction, correction and ultimately verification by repetition to determine facts is being readily replaced by obfuscation, hypocrisy, perversion and political correction ultimately verified by repeating the lie over and over again. For centuries we’ve been told that religious fanatics are those who cling to their dubious “facts” in the face of scientific evidence to the contrary, yet the anti-smokers and the global-warmers often do the same thing today and will go after those who differ with them with a fervor and vitriol that Galileo would recognize. Whether it’s out of religious fervor, a desire for political power or something as prosaic as profit, there is no shortage of those who apparently picked up their scientific knowledge while staying at a Holiday Inn Express. They’re even going so far in some places in Europe to outlaw anyone who dissents from the global-warming consensus (which will come in handy when they try to squelch the reporting on how poorly Europe is doing in meeting its own Kyoto-mandated objectives).
Facts, as they say, are stubborn things, and they aren’t illegal yet. There is, in fact, some significant evidence mitigating or even opposing the new flavors of scientific consensus, whether it’s the effects of second hand smoke or the causes for changes in the environment (and whenever one side accuses the other of having an agenda, it’s useful to look at which group is trying to examine the facts and which is exercising personal attacks). By all means, check out the American Lung Association on second-hand smoke, but then look at Dave Hitt’s site, The Facts to see how the ALA’s studies hold up (Dave, too, has an agenda, it’s listed here).
There’s also — at least for now — a wealth of information on global warming that differs from the “consensus”; including a recent, peer-reviewed report that suggests global cooling“>global cooling is on the way. This week Bogus Gold linked a handy reference for Refuting the Climate Goebbels that features a series of articles in The National Post (Canada) describing a series of “Global Warming Deniers” — extremely credible scientists, climatologists, statisticians, and more — who are braving the group-think to focus on the facts. I’ve read through the first couple in the series and I think it’s worth linking all ten here for easy reference.
Canada.com — The Deniers Series
Statistics Needed — Part 1
Warming is real, and has benefits — Part II
The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science — Part III
Polar scientists on thin ice — Part IV
The original denier: into the cold — Part V
The sun moves climate change — Part VI
Will the sun cool us? — Part VII
The limits of predictability — Part VIII
Look to Mars for the truth on global warming — Part IX
Limited role for CO2 — Part X