Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
Having been informed a couple of weeks ago that I was a secret liberal longing for the election of the Democratic party, the establishment of abortion and the triumph of Marxist/Commie/Islamic atheist theocratic fascism, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that I was a conservative reactionary who hates and fears reason and shills for large corporate interests bent on denying the incontrovertible results of science.
It all started when I expressed skepticism about the hype surrounding
Anthropogenic Global Warming
Global Climate Disruption. Global warming is one of those things fraught with pseudoknowledge: Knowledge that people “know” not because they actually know it, but because a lot of people in the media have repeated it a lot and lots of other people you know look at you with disdain if you say, “But all you really know is what a lot of people in the media are repeating as fact.” Very few people are actual scientists with competence in the field. We are, by and large, laymen who trust in a white-coated priesthood to mediate reality to us.
The problem is, I don’t trust the priesthood and still less do I trust the media. The reason I don’t is that the media has lied to me in the past, not about global warming, but about global cooling. In 1975, the nearly unanimous consensus of scientists was that we were on the verge of a new Ice Age, Newsweek darkly warned. Now the unanimous consensus is that we are undergoing… something whose name keeps changing (always a sinister sign that a scam is being pulled). And, as this is happening, the record is being re-written in order to flush all those panicky global cooling alarums I remember from my youth down the Memory Hole:
“An enduring popular myth suggests that in the 1970s the climate science community was predicting ‘global cooling’ and an ‘imminent’ ice age, an observation frequently used by those who would undermine what climate scientists say today about the prospect of global warming. A review of the literature suggests that, on the contrary, greenhouse warming even then dominated scientists’ thinking as being one of the most important forces shaping Earth’s climate on human time scales.” Peterson, Thomas C., William M. Connolley, John Fleck, 2008: The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 89, 1325–1337.
Mhmm. Here’s the thing. I’ll buy this is good science when Hal Lewis does. Till then, his assessment of the influence of the “money flood” looks much more plausible to me:
“It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.”
Climate change science I don’t claim to know. But I know hype. I work in the media. And this stuff looks for all the world like it is founded on the fact that the seven basic elements of the modern scientific establishment are time, space, matter, energy, power, prestige, and funding. Of these seven, there abide these three: power, prestige, and funding. But the greatest of these is funding. The fact that guys like Lewis get smeared by AGW believers as corporate shills (without a jot of evidence) while the documented complaints they lodge against the shady hijinx of the American Physical Society go completely ignored tells me we are looking at two contending systems of faith, not at the scientific method. I prefer to get my Faith from the Holy Spirit at work in the Church, not from the sciences.