Policy: Environment & Energy

Lack of science literacy helps global warmists spread their gospel

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Opinion,Ron Arnold,Columnists,Climate Change,Energy and Environment

Would it make any difference to the public whether the climate gurus in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are right or wrong about dangerous human-caused global warming if only a weak minority of Americans knew what carbon dioxide is? Or what the carbon in their carbon footprint is? Or that their own body is built with carbon-based molecules? Or what a molecule is?

Answer: No. That “if” is the real state of science literacy in the United States, according to nearly two decades of National Academy of Sciences studies. Most of us don’t know any of those things, nor does most of the world, for that matter, says an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development 2008 survey.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change can say anything it wants because only a literate minority is listening, much of which is listening with its attitudes and emotions and really, really wants catastrophic global warming to happen, as a number of IPCC scientists admit of themselves in private.

If the IPCC believers sound a bit like excitement-starved teenagers, that might be explained by the fact that literacy studies tend to focus on “what is learned by the time a student graduates from high school,” when learning contains fewer chemistry and physics courses than it does raging hormones and dominance fights.

College graduates aren’t much better. Universities seem to indoctrinate more than educate, which probably helps whip up educated ignorance into the brand of fear marketed by IPCC scientists.

The United States National Center for Education Statistics tells us that "scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity."

We're not inundated with that. Popular culture has no clue or care what scientists say anyway, and pop types probably think that IPCC is a new street drug. Climate fear certainly rates lower on the popular panic scale than would Kanye West leaving Kim Kardashian for Miley “Wrecking Ball” Cyrus because of Kim’s new facelift.

You can argue endlessly about the content of IPCC reports – what’s fact and what’s not – and IPCC denizens will keep on saying what the paymaster wants, because they’re human too, and need the personal income, the career advancement, and public recognition.

So, quarreling over “content” is pointless. “Context” is what’s important – the vast organizational structure with its self-serving rules and snooty hierarchy that shapes the IPCC and determines what content it produces.

Most importantly, IPCC science isn’t scientific. It is based upon consensus, a non-scientific process from decision-making theory. That’s politics.

Also, IPCC findings depend largely on computer models, which are notoriously wobbly. GIGO applies – the 1963 hacker acronym for "garbage in, garbage out." The IPCC first turned GIGO into "garbage in, gospel out," then after some experience, "gospel in, gospel out." That’s delusional.

IPCC scientists defend their gospel with envenomed fangs, for they have inserted into their computer models the long-sought Finagle’s variable constant, that number which, when added to, subtracted from, multiplied by or divided by the Wrong Answer, gives the Right Answer. That’s supernatural.

Not only is climate gospel protected by the god Finagle, but it also has a free pass from the power of his mad prophet, Murphy, whose law says, “Anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment,” thus assuring us of IPCC gospel infallibility.

You may recognize by now that this is humor, a heresy unknown among IPCC believers.

Now, in contravention of all glum political correctness, I sincerely wish you and yours a glorious, joyous, Merry Christmas!

RON ARNOLD, a Washington Examiner columnist, is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.
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