Friday, March 21, 2008

One of our thermometers is missing!

Well done Jeffrey Tucker, who spotted the following story telling us that the world's oceans are apparently getting slightly cooler. Fancy that. It's probably being caused by global warming, ...err..., climate change, ...err..., Kylie Minogue's penchant for feathery head-dresses. D'oh!

Obviously, being a George Reisman style heretic on this myself, where I believe we're more likely headed towards another ice age, albeit within a volatile interglacial period, rather than headed towards a global oven, the news fails to surprise me. But neither would it if the world ocean temperatures were slightly warmer. (Though you can imagine the coverage this story would have received if this had been the case. It would have been the headline story on the BBC's Ten O'Clock News every night for a week, with updates every 15 minutes!)

So why would a temperature swing either way in the world's oceans fail to surprise me? Because we still know very little about what caused all of those ice ages over the last few million years, and which leg of the current interglacial we're living in, whether in the increasing temperature leg or the decreasing temperature leg. You would have thought, of course, with all the current hoo-hah from the ecomentalists, that there would be plenty of research into what causes ice ages, especially in the field of the volatility of solar energy output. But there's less out there on this topic than there is about the terrible life-threatening effects of plastic shopping bags.

Why is this? Well, in another fascinating article highlighted recently by Lew Rockwell, there exists the related effect of the intellectual price paid by scientists for having their work funded by the state. For if you eat from the iron rice bowl you must dance to the tune of the iron rice bowl's master, a.k.a. the state. And the state has certain Kuhnian scientific orthodoxies which must be adhered to otherwise you will suffer financial excommunication; all of these orthodoxies possess the same deterministic root, which is that any result you discover from your government-funded research must tend towards the correct answer.

The correct answer is, of course, that the glory of government needs to be granted yet more ratcheted power over the puny lives of individuals to make things better for the future of humanity. In this way, a religiously mandated list of mantras has been built up, much in the same way that the medieval catholic church built up its own series of papal bulls. Some of these are:
  1. Global warming is caused by humans

  2. AIDS is caused by a virus

  3. Radiation, cigarette smoke and other toxins are dangerous in proportion to their strength, no matter how small the dose

  4. Heart disease is caused by saturated fats

  5. Cancer is caused by mutations
Hence, (1), the Kyoto accords and related eco-taxes, (2), the need for the UN to co-ordinate a world wide effort by Big Pharma to subsidise politicians, sorry, fight this disease, (3) an increasing need for government to remove private property rights from people over their own bodies and over their own businesses - e.g. the smoking ban in Britain, (4) The coming-soon-to-a-shop-near-you fat tax, and governmental control of your personal fitness, diet, and health care, plus (5) State subsidised research by Big Pharma to enable them to pay for political campaigns and conferences, sorry, to find "the cure", which will probably involve you giving up even more of your freedom and eventually being subjected to daily physical screenings and health checks - we don't want our tax cattle getting unwell now, do we?

To suggest potential research to a government grant body and its state-appointed scientists, which deviates from these orthodoxies, is to go the way of Galileo and to suffer scientific house arrest. Hence, the absolute lack of information about the ice ages, possibly because a more intense look at the Sun's energy cycles could let the global warming cat out of the bag.

Strangely, many modern scientists, such as Stephen Hawking, cite Galileo as their hero. Is it because Galileo stood up to the catholic church? Or is it because he recanted his heliocentrism and eventually toed the orthodox line of a stationary Earth given to him by his statist masters, to make his life a little easier?

I wonder.

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