Monday, 8 December 2014

A noble cause

One of the best explanations of the passion behind climate orthodoxy is that believers see it as a noble cause. As with so many other noble causes, veracity is less important than inspirational myths and narratives and far less important than a pervading sense of righteousness. The tragedy of the human condition is that veracity itself is not particularly inspirational.

There are number of righteous causes in the orthodox climate narrative. They seem to be a loose and generally left-wing amalgam of egalitarian politics, anti-capitalism, environmental angst and a deep and abiding desire to get out from under the thumb of the rich – and maybe screw them into the bargain. 

There is a strong Malthusian element too. Too many people is an important but often covert subtext – possibly the most important of all. Yet oddly enough another important factor is the fashionable need to be caring.

So not so noble, but noble causes rarely are.

Okay I’ve left a tinge of sarcasm in there, but the noble cause is a pretty good explanation for the irrationally passionate behaviour we see from climate orthodoxy. To begin with it tells us why a protracted period without warming has yet to derail the cause. The cause is noble – it does not have to make sense.

That’s the useful idiots explained.

Another key aspect we need to explain is the corruption at the core of climate science. Why do people assert, albeit covertly, that climate scientists have built climate models with predictive skill extending over a number of decades.

Weather forecasts 5 days. Climate forecasts 30 years.

The assertion is so ludicrous, so wildly inappropriate for anyone purporting to be sane, let alone a scientist, so obviously false, so ridiculously exaggerated, so.... So why is it sitting there at the core of all climate catastrophe claims?

Because the cause is felt to be incorruptibly noble?

I think that’s it. There is serious mismatch between the science and the reporting of it, but that probably isn’t the emotional driver for most believers. The noble cause is a good explanation because it is a common explanation. It fits. It is what people have done throughout recorded history - they have subscribed to noble causes.

Noble causes have been the bane of human society for thousands of years. From religious wars to pogroms and persecutions, from wars of conquest to racial subjugation to religious subjugation, to every kind of mass oppression, much of our history is the dismal history of noble causes.

The causes may seem far from noble to our cynical eyes, but that’s how they were sold, how they attracted and held their acolytes, how they silenced sceptics, how they justified burning and butchering dissenters. A history of ends justifying means over and over and over again.

So what comes next? Noble causes don’t simply evaporate because they are not noble and certainly not because they fail to respect the rules of veracity. Veracity doesn’t count for anything if the cause is felt to be noble – that’s putting means before ends.

So the cause marches on.


Sackerson said...

"My science, right or wrong."

Demetrius said...

Perhaps Alfred P Doolittle might be the exception that proves the rule.

James Higham said...

Not just climate either, AKH - all PC is a 'noble cause' the left see as righteous.

A K Haart said...

Sackers - yes, among other things it's one consequence of a fragmented science.

Demetrius - he could, although I think there are quite a few outside the cause.

James - they do, it's what keeps it afloat.