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The collective mind and the shuffling of feet

29 December 2013
Inside science

Velikovsky's 'Mankind in Amnesia' claimed that humans shut out facts they are not happy to dwell on and when it came to catastrophic events that involved large numbers of people being killed there was a kind of collective amnesia that set in, a desire not to court the nightmare of a world in upheaval.

Collective amnesia has a cousin – wilful amnesia, the refusal to admit one is wrong, that one has been barking up the wrong tree and the squirrel was too quick, leaping across the flimsiest of branches and is sitting in another tree, laughing at you. The ability of the mind to do somersaults in order to defend one point of view is legendary – but why can't we face up to reality. Why is the truth shut out even when it is blatantly obvious?

At http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/doug-proctor-essay-on-west-and… … there is a discussion on this after a commenter quoted a right wing article that was concerned with American politics but made the point it could equally apply to the climate change debate. Tall Bloke took it up and asks the question – why, when all the evidence says the global temperatures are not going up, and have not for some 15 years, do people insist that they are, glued to the models rather than the temperature guage or the satellite data. Why indeed? Not only that, the recent IPCC report even admitted there was a lull in CAGW and that it was currently far from catastrophic, in spite of all the model predictions, and yet the alarmists simply go on spouting more of the same doomsayings and completely shut out of their heads the bits in the IPCC report they find unpalatable. Yet, it was the IPCC that initially created the alarmism – and continued to promulgate it over 20 years or so. It weaned a lot of disciples and they are apparently committing wilful amnesia by turning their faces away from the evidence that now says it has all been in vain – warming is not happening. In desperation they point to typhoons and hurricanes, wind speeds and heavy rain, flooding and snowing – yes, even snow which is frozen rain is now considered to be all part of the CAGW meme. Amazing cartwheels in the mind – and they really think it is logical to say the new warming is in the frozen winters (which a few years ago were supposed to be a thing of the past). Even more bizarre is the current situation in the Antarctic where climate scientist Chris Turney, one of the better ones I might add, and his books are worth reading if you get the chance, sought to retrace an Antarctic expedition that took place a hundred years ago, in 1913. The idea was to do some research and to have a nose around and see what the differences might be between then and now. In other words, is there any evidence that global warming has taken place (see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/26/so-much-ice-in-antarctica-that-a-r…). The funding for the trip came from monies alotted to research into CAGW and that is the soundbites that Turney produces for the press, but he is clearly interested in a raft of things and not just how much ice has melted or accumulated. In fact, he knew before he went that Antarcitic sea ice had increased so he couldn't have gone there to measure it for nefarious reasons, as such, in spite of what some of the commenters may prefer to think. The 1913 expedition. at exactly the same time of year, was able to land on the shore of Antarctica without the aid of modern equipment of any kind. Turney's expedition on the other hand has come a cropper. His ship has become stuck in the sea ice and cannot move. A passing Chinese ice breaker was asked to lend a hand but that too became bogged down in the ice and was forced to retreat. A French ice breaker is hovering around the ice edge without attempting to make a passage to the stricken research ship as it is incapable of breaking through the amount of sea ice out there. However, an Australian ice breaker, much bigger and with a greater capacity, is steaming towards Antarctica at full throttle and hopefully the ship will be able to break free of the icey tendrils of doom. 

It is actually summer in the southern hemisphere and sea ice will not reach its minimum until February – so there is plenty of time for the ice to recede. What this tale does illustrate is the utter nonsense that CAGW is – it is now colder and more icey down at the South Pole than it was a hundred years ago and yet we are supposed to be living in a period of rising global temperatures. This is a classic case of reality snooking a finger upwards at the models.

However, continuing in a hoped for realistic vein, climate changes – and there are cycles. These cycles are driven by the Sun, and all we need to understand was that it was warmer in 1913 at the South Pole than it is now. Fact. Turney's trip was therefore a success. It disproved the CAGW narrative. The world is not going to frizzle and humans are not going to be toasted.

Bearing this in mind we now have to take into account wilful amnesia. We are all caught up in this state of mind as we meekly pay the subsidies for solar, wind and biofuels and cough up money when the NGOs make a christmas appeal, especially those ones most adept at fibbing. The good thing should be that when the bubble does eventually burst, as it will in the fullness of time (but with lots of enriched ones in the process) we become more cynical. However, that is contrary to wilful amnesia – and most people will fall for the next doomsaying issue, all over again. It is notable that it is middle aged and older people that have been more inclined to be CAGW sceptics and that is because they have lived through a succession of doomsayings and just grew tired of it all. Peter and the Wolf. Perhaps we should not be too keen to see an end to this doomsaying as it provides endless reams of amusement all round, especially the mental gymnastics involved in postulating accumulating sea ice in the southern ocean is all to do with rising temperatures – and there has actually been a published paper that says such as this. We may open our mouth's in wonder at this, and how it passed peer review – but it is out there, all part and parcel of the so called consensus. If we wish this doomsaying a quick end we may be wishing upon our heads an even more destructive doomsaying as another one will surely follow in close pursuit – and after that, over and over again. Wilful amnesia. The many headed hydra.


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