Saturday, 27 February 2021
Spiderman doesn’t make sense but…
Popular culture brings us into close contact with all manner of scenarios which make no sense. Movies are full of them, from Spiderman to virtually all action movies, but what about scenarios outside popular culture? Climate change for example?
We could easily show how the orthodox climate narrative has been dragged into popular culture - it is more likely to be promoted by celebrities and pundits than scientists. Which is odd unless we assume that the point of dragging it into popular culture is to disguise the possibility that catastrophic climate scenarios do not make sense.
This is not quite the same as claiming that the science behind climate change scenarios is faulty, uncertain or unreliable. It a suggestion that the orthodox climate narrative does not make sense in much the same way that Spiderman does not make sense.
Suppose we look at it in a familiar enough way. We know that weather forecast reliability does not stretch much further than five days, yet climate forecasts are made for thirty years hence. It is easy enough to see that this may not make sense, just as Spiderman could not possibly eject an endless quantity of super strong, incredibly sticky webs from his wrists.
We easily imagine numerous scenarios which make no sense but we generally know them to be imaginary, just as Spiderman is imaginary. It’s a question of context, but manipulate the context for climate change and many people appear to be deceived. As if the familiar celebrity context mingled with a scientific context has allowed senseless imaginary scenarios to seem legitimate. As if the boundaries where we suspend our disbelief and where we don't have been blurred.
The problem is one Baruch Spinoza identified over three and a half centuries ago. We have a powerful ability to imagine scenarios which could not possibly be real. They violate natural laws, the facts of experience or both. Climate forecasting on a thirty year timescale is one of them.
Similarly one of the first political developments in the UK coronavirus debacle was to blur the line between celebrity and scientist by inviting scientists onto the stage. Drama and celebrity scientists were quickly woven into the overall narrative. Presumably for a reason.
Again we were confronted with imaginary pandemic scenarios we now know to have been dramatically exaggerated and based on inept epidemiological models. Maybe this comparison can be pushed too far, but it has a curious similarity with climate doom predictions. The context has been manipulated in a similar manner.