Two weeks ago I wrote an article here about global warming and the advocates -- call them warmists -- who tamper with Wikipedia to reflect their own biases. One warmist named William Connolley, a green ideologue in Britain, had rewritten 5,428 climate articles. His goal was to bring the articles into line with Green Party dogma.
A number of people responded, some taking the position that Wikipedia is a waste of time so why bother with it? But that is not satisfactory. Here is a better response, from Howard Hayden, a friend of mine. He puts out The Energy Advocate, a newsletter that raises many doubts about global warming and related energy issues. "Wiki is a great source of non-controversial information," he told me. "It's a shame it has been hijacked by true believers."
I agree. I find Wikipedia useful and I do use it. But I avoid it where science and controversy interact -- global warming, biodiversity, intelligent design, and a few other issues. There, Wiki cannot be relied upon. Political activists have enough time on their hands to make changes that suit their tastes.
I contacted Michael Fumento, a science writer who often endorses non-consensus positions. (He has done good work lately in drawing attention to the scare tactics of the "flu-pandemic" promoters; and, earlier, in questioning "AIDS" in Africa. It can be diagnosed there without an HIV test.) Fumento wrote:
The Wiki thing is highly problematic and Wikipedia has expressly been a thorn in my side. Problem is that despite what you hear, wikis are NOT self-correcting. They're last-person "correcting." If under the World Series entry on Wikipedia I write that the 2009 Series was won by the Cubs, that's what the entry says unless and until somebody else fixes it. Then I can go right back and change it. In short, wikis favor those with the most time on their hands -- a testament to the expression about idle hands…
As to those with time on their hands, the warmist activists often work for a website called RealClimate.org. Could they disclose the source of their funding? I keep hearing rumors that George Soros is among them. Global warming skeptics are likely to find themselves accused of being in the pay of oil companies. Could we get a clearer picture of who is paying the warmists? Come to think of it, lots of government grants no doubt go in their direction. Lately the Wikipedia entries on "global warming" and "climate change" have been "locked," which I guess means that the "warmist" position has been locked in, too.
I spoke to Fred Singer and Cato's Patrick Michaels recently. Both were once at the University of Virginia, along with that eager climate-grant go-getter, Michael Mann. Singer, a long-time skeptic, views the case for global warming as junk-science pure and simple. Satellite data disprove it. He also points out that a hundred interacting variables must be disentangled before we can conclude that humans have caused any warming at all. But that work has not been done and probably never will be because it is too complex.
One underlying problem: The advocates who decided to exploit the prestige of science and proclaim global warming a reality got into this field about a decade ahead of the skeptics. So they had the field to themselves for a long time.
The Hoover Institution's Thomas Sowell points out that this is not the first time that ideologues have used science to boost their cause. Karl Marx pretended to be scientific and socialism was once called "scientific socialism." It was nonsense from the beginning, yet intellectuals the world over fell for it. The academic field of Political Science today is probably nine parts politics and one part science.
I met George Will at a Washington event recently and congratulated him on having sided with the skeptics. He did so before the Climategate emails were leaked, too. It was freezing cold outside -- as it has been for the last month in Washington -- and Will said maybe Mother Nature will come to our rescue.
What is so striking about the old appeal to "science" by the socialists and those who appeal to it today is that both have identical goals. In proclaiming ours to be an era of man-made environmental degradation and ruin, the warmists make us suspicious even without having to look at the science. We see that they aim to put us right back where the "scientific socialists" wanted: Under government control.
The nice thing about calling yourself green is that you can henceforth consider yourself morally superior to the middle class -- to the rest of us. You want to get us out of our cars and into mass transit, to use only the electricity that wind turbines and photo-voltaics can produce, and to pay higher taxes because you know how to spend the money better than we do.
Some of the reporters in this field are worth studying. Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post has come under scrutiny because her husband works for a group that regards global warming as a crisis. De facto, that is her position, too, even though she says there is a wall of separation between her and her husband.
Nonetheless, she writes lots of articles about what must be done about global warming, the premise being that humans caused it. "The science is settled," in other words. Think what would be entailed if she were to decide that human-caused global warming is a fiction. She would be writing herself out of a job. Her bias is evident not in what she advocates but in those whom she chooses to quote.
Marc Morano -- the "Drudge of the climate-denialists," says Rolling Stone -- runs a widely read and recommended website called Climate Depot. He points out that the most biased reporter in the field these days is the AP's Seth Borenstein. Morano has also had the New York Times's Andrew Revkin in his sights. Rush Limbaugh also attacked him and I see that Revkin has now moved on from the NYT to "an academic position." He puts out a blog called Dot Earth and it will be interesting to see how free of bias that is.
Revkin has the perfect "green" bio. He wrote a book about the Amazon rain forest, lives in the Hudson River Valley, and sometimes accompanies Pete Seeger playing folk music. The word "sustainability" is not far from his lips.
What is so contemptible about these people -- journalists and others -- is their willingness to cluster around the cozy campfires of fashionable opinion, where the grants, awards, academic positions and emoluments are thick on the ground. Then, if they feel the slightest chilly wind from behind, they turn around and say to those on the outside: "You guys wouldn't be out there huffing and puffing if it wasn't for all that oil company money you accept."
Thanks guys. You begin to see why modern-day liberalism is held in such contempt.