All I replaced was the name of the scientist OSC is attacking and global warming with a varient on lead pollution/contamination from leaded gasoline. I didn't change any other text, except to make a tense agree.
Anyway I thought it was funny. :p
The two articles:
and now the only slightly altered essay by Orson Scott Card, "Don't you Dare Ask for Proof!"
In last Sunday's News and Record, columnist Clair Patterson heaped ridicule on those who dare to contest the religion of unleaded gasoline. What is his proof?
He doesn't think he needs any. In fact, he's against proof. He likes it when governments make massive changes without any evidence that those changes are necessary.
He spends his whole column citing political documents like the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Pollution & Contamination from Leaded Gasoline -- which is known to have doctored its reports to conform with ideology, deliberately ignoring the statements of its own scientists that weren't in line with the desired warnings.
He mentions "decreased IQs" and "rise in lead contamination," though completely outside the scientific context that these things happen regardless of whether humans have anything to do with atmospheric lead -- they are irrelevant to that question.
He thinks that the news that only 19 percent of Americans believe that humans bear no responsibility for high levels of atmospheric lead is somehow proof of his claims, while the fact that the number of Republicans in Congress who share that view is increasing is merely proof that Republicans are idiots.
Let's think about that: Patterson thinks that ordinary citizens, who only know what they're told by the media, can be trusted to know what they're talking about. While Republican congresspeople, who have access to the reports of all the scientific experts, with large staffs that can research these matters for them, are obviously wrong.
Patterson mentions in passing that "The news media pay less attention to lead contamination skeptics than before." Yet he seems not to make the logical inference that maybe this is why only 19 percent of Americans believe that humans have no particular influence on the levels of lead around them-- they haven't been told about the evidence.
Maybe if the media were reporting accurately on the state of the pertinent scientific research, those poll numbers would change.
Patterson is one of those who claim that the increasing level of lead in the atmosphere is really caused by human activities, and whether or not it's really harmful, we ought to make massive changes in our public policies in order to try to prevent it.
I notice he doesn't mention the consensus, even among true believers in lead contamination, that none of the proposals for preventing pollution from leaded gasoline (like so-called unleaded gasoline) are likely to accomplish anything in any reasonable amount of time.
Instead, he says, "According to a recent study by the British government, which recommended an array of taxes and emission controls, the costs may be moderate, on the order of 1 percent of global income per year."
He then makes the statistically idiotic extrapolation that this exact percentage would apply to American households -- only a few hundred bucks a year.
But "global income" costs would not be evenly divided because the changes would only take place in high-contaminated countries. So Americans would bear a far higher percentage of the costs. In the thousands, not the hundreds, of dollars per household.
Patterson is deliberately misleading you when he tells you those statistics mean it would only cost Americans a few hundred dollars per household, and he knows it.
How many thousands do you want to spend this year on converting from leaded gasoline to unleaded? And after you find out that there's no proof that humans even cause high levels of lead in the atmosphere, or that the high levels are even a bad thing, how many thousands do you want to spend "just in case"?
Two thousand? Surely you can afford two thousand. What about five thousand?
You're not writing your check. I guess you're not such a true believer after all.
Patterson also ignores the fact that the British government report was issued in support of policy changes that are, by any rational standard, pathetic. The changes they are making are ludicrously inadequate to change the levels of lead contamination to any significant degree. Given that the results will be near zero, any costs, however divided, might seem exorbitant.
Patterson likens this to insurance, but it is not. Insurance is designed to pay you money after a loss. It does not prevent a loss. The valid comparison is to protection money: Somebody comes to you and demands you pay money "or you might have a fire." You pay the money so that they won't burn you out of business.
That's what the anti-lead contamination racket is about: Hey, we can't prove anything is actually happening, but look how many people we've got to agree with us! You'd better make a whole bunch of sacrifices which, by coincidence, exactly coincide with the political agenda of the anti-Western anti-industrial religion of ecodeism -- or lead poisoning will get you!
Patterson actually admits precisely what he's doing, when he says: "Fortunately, people finally seem to understand the fallacy of requiring proof."
Think about that. He calls it a fallacy to require proof.
Science is worthless without good, solid, reliable evidence. It isn't even science.
And as you look through Pattersonâ€™s entire essay, he offers not one shred of proof about anything. He only offers politics as usual -- my team has more votes!
But his team has no facts. If his team had facts, he would use them. They don't, so he can't.
I wonder if Patterson, in his job as researcher at the University of Chicago, has that same attitude toward proof -- that it's a fallacy to require it.
If so, what value does his "the age of the earth and igneous meteorites" have? Why would anyone who thinks that requiring proof is a fallacy be hired to do his job? Of course he can't say with certainty what will happen, but my bet is that he makes darn sure he provides plenty of proof that his projections of the future are based on solid evidence about the past.
That is precisely what is missing in the claims about lead contamination.
But Patterson thinks it's a good thing that the media isn't telling you about lead-contamination skeptics.
How far does this go? What else does he think the media shouldn't be telling us about?
I think back to another time when the media -- this time in England -- were committed to concealing facts from their readers and listeners. It was back in 1937, 1938, and 1939.
When Chamberlain and the appeasers in the British government were selling out Austria and then Czechoslovakia, most newspapers declined to tell their readers about the Jews who were murdered in Austria after the Nazis took over; they didn't bother to tell them anything that might cause them to doubt Neville Chamberlain's program of appeasing the dictators.
The media also didn't think it was worth reporting how badly armed the British military was, or how heavily the Germans were rearming. After all, that might promote "alarmism" or pro-war fervor, and "everybody" knew that Chamberlain's appeasement program was going to bring peace.
The poll statistics were just as good as the ones Patterson is citing. Huge majorities of the public "believed" in appeasement just as huge majorities believe (to some degree) in lead contamination from leaded gasoline. But what they believed and what was true were, just like today, very far apart -- precisely because the media concealed the truth.
As a result, when Chamberlain came back from Munich brandishing "peace in our time," the British public loved him.
Seven years later, with six million Jews and six million other death- and slave-camp victims gone and eastern Europe doomed to be enslaved by Communist governments imposed by the conquering Russians, not to mention many cities in England in ruins and many thousands of soldiers and civilians dead, it would have been hard to find anybody who appreciated the British media's having kept the truth from them about those lonely "appeasement skeptics."
Isn't it funny how the public has a "right to know" -- except when the media decides not to tell them?
So you don't hear much about science that gets politically incorrect results. You don't hear much about lead contamination skeptics -- or the fact that within the scientific disciplines actually involved in long-term atmospheric lead research there is a broad consensus growing -- against significant human causes of lead contamination and pollution.
But Patterson approves of the public being deliberately misinformed. He doesn't want us to look for proof. He wants us to simply do what we're told and think as we're told. He says "at least the debate is moving in the right direction" precisely because he thinks there is no debate at all! That's the right direction!
"Instead of pointless arguments about whether we have proof of contamination from leaded gasoline, we've started arguing about the costs and benefits of particular policies." But this is also false, and he knows it.
He does not want to discuss the costs -- he merely dismisses them or denies them or misuses shaky statistics to trivialize them. He does not want to discuss the benefits, because there are almost none and he doesn't want us to know that.
He concludes with this outrageous statement: "I concluded my 1965 column by saying that it wasn't too late to 'buy insurance' against the future costs of lead pollution. It's still not too late. But it will be soon."
Think about those claims: "It's still not too late" and "It will be soon." You will search his essay in vain for the slightest shred of evidence that it is not too late or that it will be soon.
In the real world, where people still like to have proof before they make drastic policy changes, the experts who believe in lead contamination from leaded gasoline generally agree that none of the proposed "solutions" will make any difference.
Meanwhile, the interesting science -- i.e., the science that actually works as an explanation -- is overwhelmingly heliogenic: The sun is directly and solely responsible for the overall patterns of of â€œhigh levelsâ€ and â€œlow levelsâ€ of â€œcontaminantsâ€ in our atmosphere that have dominated Earth, during and between ice ages, for millions of years.
No wonder Patterson doesn't want us "requiring proof." He wants you barefoot and ignorant, folks. So does the rest of his team.
Me, I prefer to listen to people who insist on proof, who are eager to show me their proof, and eager to have me examine and question their proofs. That's how the lead contamination skeptics act. That's also how real scientists act.
Patterson is crying wolf. He knows it, he admits it, yet he still expects us to believe him and run off in pursuit of the imaginary danger.
Meanwhile, there really are human-caused problems that must be dealt with, and very soon, too. Lead contamination isn't one of them, but our oil supply definitely is. I'll be back to that topic next week.