The intention of this blog is to open up discussion of the the significance of Global Warming Alarmism to the history and philosophy of science.
The first premise of this forum is that there is insufficient evidence to make the claim that CO2 emissions are causing catastrophic global warming. From this position of scepticism, for those interested in the history and philosophy of science, a whole bunch of questions arise:
- Why is this claim so widely and firmly pronounced as the overwhelming conclusion upon the science?
- How and why the suppression of debate?
- What was it in the history of science that lead up to this monumental distortion of the science?
- Has this sort of thing happened before?
- …and so forth
Towards the end of 2008 I began to consider these question while following the scientific debate. During 2009 I found heaps of relevant material and forged many hypotheses. And, as I explored the issue, more and more did I feel that the rise of Global Warming Alarmism is of significance to the historical of Western science. And so, if it is so significant, then answering these questions about Global Warming Alarmism is likely to give some insight into the general condition of science today.
However, to explore these issues requires discussion, and I could hardly find any! Such discussion tend to occur in fragments and on the fringes of the debates over the science and the politics. Most folks interested in history and philosophy of science are not also sceptics of Global Warming science. At the end of 2009 I thought that there might indeed be some interest, but only that there is not yet a forum for this discussion. Or there might be some discussion, but I haven’t found it yet. One way to find out was to start a discussion and see if anyone found me — and so at the end of 2009 I started this blog.
The style of my presentation in these posts is to point to, and summaries, various ideas, hypotheses, documents and controversial development that I judge relevant to these questions. It is not that I will try to remain neutral, but that I will endeavour to keep the discussion sufficiently open to allow readers and commenters to make their own assessments. That is at least how I see it at the moment. But I look forward to suggestions for modifying this approach. And, of course, I also encourage suggestions for new topics — some are already listed in my first post.
Since the late 1970s I have been an environmentalist. I have always been sceptical of the science behind anthropogenic global warming (AGW). But I have mostly been quietly sceptical.
By 2008 it was no longer possible to be quietly sceptical and an environmentalist. The issue of ‘climate change’ had come to overwhelm all other environmental issues and campaigns. My beloved Wilderness Society started a new campaign for our local old growth forests deeming them worthy for preservation as ‘carbon stores’ — any other rationale for their preservation paled in the face of the climate emergency. Late in 2008 the online political action group, Get Up!, sent me a members-survey to determine the popularity of broad areas of interest: Education issues? Health issues? Climate Change?…the usual ‘Environmental issues‘ had been usurped! This prompted me for the first time to look into the science at some depth. I was shocked at the appalling condition of the science. And I was saddened that this scare had become so completely identified with the environmental movement…and finally, I came to realise the danger to environmentalism of the back-lash when the bubble inevitably burst and the deception was exposed.
The more I told my greenie peers of my concern, the more I came to understand — through their incredulous responses — the very unexpected nature of the problem. I started reading Crichton and Lomborg, and I became fascinated with the question of the rise of this whole phenomenon within science. I knew well the long history of apocalyptic alarmism in our culture, and if this history taught one lesson it was to expect such movements in every age. But this movement had developed in a major way within the institutions of science. The very institutions established during the Enlightenment, and heralded as remedies for such enthusiasm were, themselves, promoting it as based on a phony science. My fascination with Global Warming alarmism was informed by my interest in the history of science, and I became increasingly convinced that here was something new and significant in this long history — and it was happening before my own eyes!
In Hearts of Darkness I recall Francis Ford Coppola explaining how he first thought of making a movie about the Vietnam War in Vietnam during the war. Running this blog during the AGW controversy feels as crazy and exciting as that — but without the danger to life and limb.
I am not an academic.
I may be contacted by email at BernardjlewinATgmail.com (please replace the ‘AT’ with @ when sending)
After Publishing Searching for the Catastrophe Signal, I have moved away from climate science and back to my abiding interest in Platonic Philosophy. See The Platonic Academy of Melbourne and the book Enthusiastic Mathematics. – BL 2019