Today's quiz has just one question.
(a) A body of knowledge that has been established and now may no longer be challenged.
(b) A process by which all that passes for human knowledge is always subject to challenge.
This is not a difficult quiz. At one point in my life I would have thought that 90 or more percent of people who had attended high school would have gotten the right answer. Even though it's a huge number of years ago, I can actually remember being taught about how lonely dissenters Copernicus and Galileo overturned the "consensus" of a geocentric universe through close observation of the heavens; and about how two guys, Michelson and Morley, with one experiment, overturned the "consensus" ("WAY more than 97%") of a background "ether" that mediated the transmission of light in the universe. Indeed, the history of science -- real science -- is a history of outlying skeptics overturning the accepted "consensus" on one subject after another. (Stomach ulcers are caused by stress and anxiety? Wrong! The continents don't move? Wrong! Dietary fat causes heart disease? Wrong!) Don't they teach these things to high school students any more?
Over the past weekend we have just been treated to a march of maybe a couple of hundred thousand people in several hundred cities, calling itself the "March for Science," where all the marchers unanimously seem to have thought that answer (a) above was the right one. OK, lots of people don't retain very well what they learn in high school. But hundreds of thousands of seemingly educated people unanimously getting such a simple thing completely wrong? Even more incredibly, it appears that many thousands of the marchers were people who work in fields that are somehow "scientific," and who call themselves "scientists" by profession. As John Stossel comments in a post titled "Earth Day Dopes," "The alarmists claim they’re marching for 'science,' but they’re really marching for a left-wing religion." It's obvious, but how is it possible that not a one of them can see it?
I would be inclined to just let the stupid fanatics have their delusions, except for one thing: somehow, this particular religion seems to call, as its route to salvation, for sacrifice of the world's poor at its altar. Three recent articles provide a roundup:
From Paul Driessen today at the Global Warming Policy Foundation, "Welcome To Green Energy Poverty Week." Excerpt:
[F]olks who actually care about poor, minority, elderly, working class and developing country families [have] again designated April 17-23 as Green Energy Poverty Week.
For industrialized nations, “green energy poverty” refers to households in which 10% or more of family incomes is spent on natural gas and electricity costs – due to policies that compel utilities to provide ever increasing amounts of expensive, less affordable, politically preferred “green” energy. It’s a regressive tax that disproportionately affects low and fixed income families which have little money to spend beyond energy, food, clothing, rent and other basic needs. Every energy price increase hammers them harder.
Beyond our borders, the concept underscores the lot of families that enjoy none of the living standards we take for granted. They have no electricity or get it a few hours a week at random times, burn wood and dung for cooking and heating, and spend hours every day collecting fuel and hauling filthy water from miles away. Corrupt, incompetent governments and constant pressure from callous environmentalist pressure groups in rich countries perpetuate the misery, joblessness, disease, starvation and early death.
Andrew Follett Saturday at The Daily Caller links to a post from a site called Money Supermarket, ranking the countries of the world based on their "human impact on the environment." Follett's post is titled "World's Greenest People Live in Ridiculously Poor Authoritarian Regimes." So, Money Supermarket, which countries of the world are the "greenest" in terms of their low impact on the environment? Yes, it's Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Zambia. They get, respectively, 99.87%, 99.43% and 99.71% of their energy from what MS calls "green energy" (which I presume means all or almost all animal dung, since I don't think they have much in the way of windmills or solar panels). And by the way, the energy consumption per capita per year in these countries is, respectively, 8.90, 1.75, and 10.64 BTU. (For comparison, annual per capita U.S. BTU consumption is given as 312.78.) Way to go, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Zambia! Your virtue is unsurpassed! Follett troubles to point out a slight downside: "The average person living in Mozambique earned $511.47 a year in 2015, which was 4 percent of the global average." Without doubt, to the extent there is any electricity in these countries, it all goes to the strongman and his close associates living in their palaces. For the masses, there is no electricity, no transportation other than walking, no heat when it's cold or air conditioning when it's hot, and you plow your field by dragging a manual plow behind an ox. And in a bad year for crops, you starve. Do our "science" marchers know that this is what they are seeking?
And finally, from NoTricksZone on March 3, discussing wealthy Germany:
The DPA German press agency reported yesterday on the rapidly spreading energy poverty now engulfing the country. The main driver is Germany’s skyrocketing electricity prices – primarily due to the legally mandatory feeding-in of wind and solar power. Currently regular household consumers are paying nearly 30 cents a kilowatt-hour – almost three times the rate paid in the USA. Many households are no longer able to afford electricity and are seeing themselves catapulted back to the 19th century. According to t-online.de here, “More than 330,000 households in Germany have seen their electricity cut off over the past year alone.” . . . According to Bulling-Schröter: “Energy poverty in Germany is a silent catastrophe for millions of people, especially in the cold and dark winter months.”
So, time for an official re-naming. It wasn't the March for "Science." It was the "March for Poverty." The March to keep those already poor trapped in enduring life-long poverty, and to throw millions more of those just outside of poverty back in.
And how about the state of the "science" behind this evil and immoral cause? That will be the subject of tomorrow's post.