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  • Age and Guile

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on October 2nd, 2019 (All posts by )

    Age and guile, so the saying goes, beats out youth and speed by a long chalk. (As does possession of generous insurance policies.) Age and experience also build up an overflowing reservoir of cynicism about a lot of things; protestations of enduring love, promises by politicians campaigning for election, and belief in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, among a long, long list of other things.

    So it is with heartfelt convictions when it comes to media and academic protestations of “OMG, The Earth Is Gonna End and We Are All Gonna Die!” Sorry, if you’ve been around long enough (as I have been, long enough to collect Social Security while it still exists) you have been to this rodeo before. And to a good many performances, usually championed by the national media with their hair on fire; Existential doom – how many are there, shall I count the ways? The biggie when I was myself in grade school and for a goodly few decades thereafter was Immanent Nuclear War and Annihilation. Nuclear Winter afflicting any of us fortunate enough to survive that! Then there was the catastrophe of Global Cooling – the New Ice Age descending on us all! (insert extraneous exclamation points here.) We were all gonna freeze!

    Then it was the Massive Hole in the Ozone Layer! Followed by something called Future Shock, which somehow involved our inability to cope with technological innovation; a development which bogus futurist Alvin Toffler solemnly assured us would send us all back to our beds in the fetal position under an electric blanket turned to the highest setting. Then there was something about massive global overpopulation and subsequent mass starvation. Followed by Global Warming! (assisted apparently by a massive bit of unreproducible academic fraud) and then by the fallback position of so-called Climate Change! (insert additional exclamation points as required.)


    I believe that this is why the most current most prominent spokes-idiot for the cause of countering Global Climate Change is a sixteen-year old spoiled child of Euro-privilege and bad parental/educational practice. And I will maintain that it is bad parental practice to allow teachers and mass media to scare the snot out of your offspring on a regular basis. Responsible parents are supposed to stand in the way of cranks, busybodies and propagandists, all of whom apparently get a great deal of satisfaction leaping out of metaphorical closets and yelling “Boo! Yer all gonna die!” just as they are supposed to stand in the way of their kids doing stupid things like getting neck tattoos and STDs. Well, I suppose that not all those people getting a rise out of scaring the snot out of kids can make horror movies, be Stephen King or even organize neighborhood haunted houses.

    Seriously, having lived long enough to remember all of those dire world-ending, human-terminating prophecies – none of which ever seemed to come to pass, I refused to be moved to a belief in human-caused global climate change just because a pig-tailed Scandinavian Scoldilocks insists that I do, and to take her concerns to heart. It’s just another scare, sweetie – which your hippy-dippy parents should have told you in the first place. In Roman times, it was warm enough in England to grow wine grapes. In early Medieval times, it was also warm enough for Viking settlers in Greenland to do subsistence farming. In the seventeenth century it was cold enough for the Thames to freeze solid enough at London for frost fairs to be held on the ice. In pre-history, enormous glaciers covered our American Midwest, and once the Sahara Desert was an area of lush grass and lakes. That human beings had anything to do with these fluctuations is unlikely in the extreme – and that if anything we do at present will affect earth’s climate is likewise pretty remote.

    Yes, I’m a climate-change denier. Make of that what you will. And I also disapprove of deliberately setting about to frighten children in order to further a social or political cause. Comment as you wish.


    27 Responses to “Age and Guile”

    1. Lincoln Annie Says:

      “Your modern earthquake starts with a little buzzing noise. It’s the vibrations, you see. Traffic, road drills. Worst of all, bumble bees, mobile phones and electric razors…The tremors go through your cheek, down your neck, down your legs, into the ground. The ground is full of tremors from electric razors!…I keep telling people and nobody listens!”

      ~ Last of the Summer Wine

    2. Kirk Parker Says:

      bogus futurist Alvin Toffler

      Heh. My first clue as to Newt Gingrich’s own bogosity was his fascination with the Tofflers.

    3. Dan from Madison Says:

      “Scandinavian Scoldilocks” – I laughed literally out loud thanks.

    4. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      “Yes, I’m a climate-change denier.”

      No you are not, Sgt. Mom! You accept the overwhelming historical & geological evidence that the climate of Planet Earth has always been changing, as far back into the planet’s past as we are able to peer.

      It is those other guys with their hokey hockey stick who believe that the climate did not change for millenia until we started using fossil fuels. They are the real climate-change deniers.

      Matt Ridley’s book “The Rational Optimist” details how people have been expecting everything to go to Hell in a handbasket for centuries if not millenia — and all while the trends in human health & life have been generally positive. Today, the usual suspects are clearly pushing unscientific nonsense like Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming as a way to put their boot on our necks — but the human tendency to expect things to go south is deeply buried in our psyches.

    5. Gringo Says:

      Love it!

      I was an eco-freak in Berserkelely, back in the day. Having heard Paul Erlich speak to informal classes many times in Berserkeley, and also having read his books,and also having worked with one of his Master’s students, I was exposed to heavy doses of the population explosion cum resource exhaustion narrative.

      In retrospect, I wouldn’t call the facts underlying the narrative so much overdone as solved. Things got better. Had the fertility rate not dropped, things would have been a lot worse than they are now. Etc.

      There has been a lot of progress in 50 years.A half century later, I see that fertility rates are around replacement level everywhere but Africa. Fertility rates in Latin America have fallen from ~6 in 1967 to ~2 in 2017.

      Air in Los Angeles is much cleaner than it was 50 years ago, in spite of its population being much bigger. Granted, some of the pollution improvement in the US is due not to better controls, but to China doing much of our manufacturing these days.

      Resource exhaustion? Club of Rome ring a bell? Paul Erlich lost a bet on what natural resource prices would be in a decade or so. The Yates Field has been producing since 1930 or so.

      Having listened to “global cooling” back in the 1970s, and also having known from relatives and others about extreme heat and drought in the Southwest during the Depression and also in the 1950s, I am not all that alarmed about current weather trends. Having read a book about Leif Erikson when I was in 3rd grade, warmer Greenland didn’t escape my attention.

      I am also annoyed at innumerate people who couldn’t pass a 9th grade algebra exam if it were put in front of them screaming to me about how much they know compared to those ignorant doofuses who have the effrontery to disagree with them.I recall Future President Light-Bringer informing us in 2008 how tune-ups save us as much oil as could be gotten from increased drilling. Even in 2008,that was obviously nonsense, but Obama doubled down.Ditto four years later with “can’t drill our way to lower prices.”

      Oh yes, how his election would, like Canute, stop the oceans from rising.

      Al Gore- how many STEM courses beyond Physics for Poets did you take at Haavaad? (I will grant that Al the Goreacle would probably do OK on a 9th grade Algebra test today,as he got around high 600s on Math SAT.)

      Having seen how computer models have their limits – as in Limits to Growth/Club of Rome models- I am extremely skeptical about those “models” that predict AGW. Like they say, GIGO.


    6. Grurray Says:

      The girl looks malnourished from her vegan diet. If her parents just fed her a proper nutritionally dense diet with the correct amino acids profile, her outlook would undoubtedly improve. Some nice pasture-raised red meat can often work wonders.

      She’s clearly got serious neuro-physical issues, and for all we know she might have some legitimate gripes with someone somewhere about it, but atmospheric CO2 should be the least of her concerns. It’s a shame she’s being lied to and exploited like this. Years to come, when they finally figure out what’s going on with conditions like hers, her infamous UN tirade will be looked at like we now look at minstrel shows.

    7. PenGun Says:

      It is true we can detect no signs of intelligent life anywhere. There really should be a bunch of civilizations in this galaxy alone. There has been sufficient time, and the conditions at this point of the universe’s evolution, are very good.

      This is known as the Fermi paradox after Enrico Fermi who came up with it.

      Its probable that at some point in an intelligent specie’s development, they wipe themselves out. I call this the Fermi Award, and I would guess we are a serious candidate. Turning the planet into an analog of Venus would be quite possible. We have probably discovered that the event that made Venus a hell occurred some 700,000 years ago. A comet collision was enough to start the feedback process that turned Venus into a hell. A blink of the eye in cosmic time.

    8. David Foster Says:

      re the Fermi paradox, Don Sensing suggested an interesting variant on the “wipe themselves out” hypothesis:

    9. Grurray Says:

      There’s also the perfectly plausible idea that we are actually alone in the universe. The Fermi paradox is based on guesses. Similar to climate models, we can’t accurately calculate the probabilities of a complex system that we are inside of it. And like you mention, the distances are so vast that the observable universe is just a tiny insignificant part of the total universe.

    10. PenGun Says:

      The idea that we are all there is is so unlikely, as to be discarded by many of us.

      For me a Fermi Award would be a shame, its a nice species generally, but not a game breaker. Its a big universe and experimentation is to be expected. ;)

    11. Mike K Says:

      Turning the planet into an analog of Venus would be quite possible.

      The garbage truck driver with the PhD in astrophysics weighs in.

    12. David Foster Says:

      Whatever the truth about Don Sensing’s hypothesis that the aliens are so busy immersing themselves in computer games that they have no interest in space travel, I do think this is a danger for the population of Earth, a big part of that population anyway.

      CNN reported in 2010 that “James Cameron’s completely immersive spectacle “Avatar” may have been a little too real for some fans who say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora.”

      There were hundreds of posts to a forum for people trying to cope from the depression they experienced after seeing this film..and not being able to stay within it permanantly.

      When I saw this story, I immediately thought of the old Chinese opium dens…which were largely inhabited by people whose lives were so miserable that their desire to disappear in dreams was entirely understandable.

      But what misery or bleakness are the would-be permanant habitués of the Avatar den seeking to escape?

      Answers were suggested at the Chicago Boyz thread:

    13. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Received this from a friend this morning. It bears on the Global Warming Hoax.

      Something-something Hockey Stick something crosswise.

      Subotai Bahadur

    14. newrouter Says:

      Why is methane(natural gas) considered a “fossil fuel” if it is also found on one of Saturn’s moons Titan?

    15. B Dubya Says:

      Mom, it is plain that, at some point in your life, you heard the Limelighters sing their ode to Max Goolis, the Street Sweepin’ Man.

      “He raced home tearfully, leapt into bed, assumed the fetal position, and turned the electric blanket up to 9.”

      I, too, have that song permanently burned into my mental playlist.

    16. GWB Says:

      once the Sahara Desert was an area of lush grass and lakes
      Out of your list, they seem to cling tightly to this one, as an example of what happens when the world warms.
      [with hair on fire, running in circles] “Ohhh! Desertification everywhere!”[/prog]

      It’s almost like they have no understanding of ecology, geology, meteorology, or anything else involving “logy” (that is, the use of reason).

    17. Mike K Says:

      :It’s almost like they have no understanding of ecology, geology, meteorology, or anything else involving “logy” (that is, the use of reason).

      No, they have ideology down pat.

    18. OBloodyHell Says:

      Al Gore- how many STEM courses beyond Physics for Poets did you take at Haavaad? (I will grant that Al the Goreacle would probably do OK on a 9th grade Algebra test today,as he got around high 600s on Math SAT.)

      HEY HEY HEY!!!

      When Al Gore was born, there were only 7000 polar bears!!

      Now, today, only 30,000 remain of that beleaguered population!


      I think the only option is to declare open season…

      On environmental whackos.

    19. OBloodyHell Says:


      I have noted that current weather models do a mediocre job of predicting precipitation — rain, but even more, snow…

      I’m still trying to figure out how models that are not good enough to predict rain reliably three days from now (50% this Sunday, for me… will come back to note that as correct or incorrect) are operated by people able to believe that they can reliably predict the temperature — TO THE TENTH OF A DEGREE — 100 years hence.

    20. OBloodyHell Says:

      I find these two speeches by Michael Crichton

      Aliens Cause Global Warming


      Fear, Complexity, & Environmental Management in the 21st Century,%20Complexity,%20&%20Environmental%20Management%20in%20the%2021st%20Century.htm

      Along with his fictional novel, State of Fear, to be most useful and enlightening.

      It is singularly telling that both of those speeches were featured prominently on his official web page until a few months after he passed away, then disappeared. I recommend making a local backup, lest today’s internet magically “disappear” them forever — more possible than you think… the SJWs are even getting control over things like Project Gutenberg:

    21. OBloodyHell Says:

      We have probably discovered that the event that made Venus a hell occurred some 700,000 years ago. A comet collision was enough to start the feedback process that turned Venus into a hell. A blink of the eye in cosmic time.

      First I’ve heard of it.

      This is the only referent coming up within a couple pages to a search on “venus struck by comet”

      Now simulations have offered an intriguing—if still very early—theory: Venus developed its stifling atmosphere following a collision with a Texas-sized object.
      {long long snip}
      “No such impacts should have happened in the last 3 billion years or so,” Gillmann says.

      An interesting idea but still
      a) idle speculation — it’s based entirely on computer modeling, not on any actual evidence.
      b) a lot longer ago than you suggest, if it did happen.

      Pengun… Hint: Velikovsky was wrong.


      In regards to the Fermi Paradox, there are several things to note:

      1) See my link above, “Aliens Cause Global Warming”. Among other things, Crichton notes that the Drake equation, which such speculations are based on, is an absolutely stupid wild-assed guess, with so many unknown factors in it as to be less than useless, because it gives the appearance of being mathematical and scientific when it is nothing but total speculation. It is less than useless because it misleads people rather than enlightening them.

      2) There have been a number of articles written on this subject. One of the biggest hurdles is to realize is that, what we can search for are only radio waves. Who knows what other tech there might be which supplants using radio waves for communication, such that, in, say, 200 years, planet Earth stops radiating like a small pulsar and drops back to another black body? In other words, it is quite possible that any species runs through a development process which abandons the techs we can use for searching, and so would only be visible for 200, 1000, 10000 years, after which they are still there, just not visible to us. Given the sheer SIZE of the universe, and billions of years, it could be rare that two species are within detectable range of one another during that same phase in development.

    22. MarkM Says:

      “I see that fertility rates are around replacement level everywhere but Africa.” – Gringo

      I’m afraid they are actually below replacement rates in most of the developed world. The latest fertility rate for the US is an anemic 1.8. Anything below 2 is below replacement levels. Most of Europe has been below replacement levels for some time. See also, Japan (current projections are for a 30% population decrease by 2050, fertility rates are around 1.4 children/woman).

      Worse, there are a variety of reasons for questioning the population numbers being reported in the Third World – when the amount of foreign aid is determined by population, you get some very weird incentives to inflate the number of your people who need help.

    23. Anonymous Says:

      David, you may find interesting, if you don’t already know of it, John Barnes’ Thousand Cultures series.

      Thousand Cultures series
      The four novels in the Thousand Cultures series include the theme of the effects of globalization, at an interstellar scale, on isolated societies.

      A Million Open Doors (1992)
      Earth Made of Glass (1998)
      The Merchants of Souls (2001)
      The Armies of Memory (2006)

      Note: “Earth Made of Glass” has nothing to do with the documentary film of the same name.

      It’s kind of a depressing future (Barnes’ writing, while excellent, does trend in that direction, all too often), but one of the sub-elements is that which was characterized by comic Dennis Miller as, “Once you can sit in a BarcaLounger with a TV remote in one hand, a Foster’s in the other, and f*** Claudia Schiffer for $29.99, human civilization is doomed.”

      The stories themselves are set mostly off-Earth, but one of the sub-elements alluded to is that most of humanity has become pod-people entirely wrapped up in entertainment devices of a highly advanced nature.

      I think it’s reasonable to say that, while that, in itself, may happen, I see little reason why that means the end of the expansion of civilization. There will always be people who break out of such molds. It may well be that Star Trek has most of humanity sitting in pods… The only ones we are interested in is the active ones.

    24. OBloodyHell Says:

      The above anonymous was me.


      You may find this interesting. I suspect it’s less unique to Japan than we think, but it does offer an explanation of what is happening to some of those people…

      Hard to get laid when you never go out and meet anyone.

    25. Roger Ritter Says:

      You’re not a climate-change denier – you gave several examples of climate change. You’re an anthropogenic global warming denier, and that isn’t incompatible with the scientific evidence currently available. Keep it up – you’re doing great!

    26. Gringo Says:

      I’m still trying to figure out how models that are not good enough to predict rain reliably three days from now (50% this Sunday, for me… will come back to note that as correct or incorrect) are operated by people able to believe that they can reliably predict the temperature — TO THE TENTH OF A DEGREE — 100 years hence.

      Nitpicking, nitpicking… :)

    27. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Why, yes, B Dubya … I have a deeply cherished Limelighters tape, which I have practically played to pieces!

      Now I see that the Scandinavian Scoldilocks is up for a Nobel. Heinlein postulated the “Crazy Years” – but holy cow, he didn’t come close to predicting how “Hair on Fire, Running in Circles With Scissors, and Screaming Incoherently” those years would actually be.

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