Socialism and Scientific Illiteracy: A Content Analysis of Climate Change Legislation Proposals
Jason C. Diederich
Grantham University (all rights reserved)
Socialism and Scientific Illiteracy: A Content Analysis of Climate Change Legislation Proposals
Despite the burgeoning body of literature regarding policies to combat Anthropogenic Global Warming, there is very little in the way of rational argument to be found, and a disturbing similarity between proposed solutions and age-old Socialist arguments. This paper reviews peer-reviewed journal articles available in full-text .pdf format on EBSCOhost to determine the preponderance of pro-Socialist bias and its correlation to rational argumentation. Although the sample size is severely limited, the study demonstrates an overwhelming bias within the literature toward Socialist policies unsupported by rational argument. It is hoped that professional journals will begin to have higher standards for their peer-review process in the area of climatology, and that the public will demand more substantive argument before further Constitutional freedoms are infringed.
In 1633, the Roman Catholic Church, which had been the premier source of learning throughout the Middle Ages, committed its only act of scientific censorship—a single act which detractors to this day use to portray the Christian religion as anti-scientific (Linder, 2002). This act was the trial and condemnation of the astronomer Galileo Galilei as a heretic. Why was Galileo condemned? Because he published documents which revealed observable, repeatable data which supported the new Copernican astronomy, and discredited the established, Ptolemaic geo-centric view. Ptolemaic astronomy was centuries old, did an excellent job of predicting observed planetary movement, and had been officially endorsed by the Church. Because Galileo’s (and Copernicus’) view was contrary to what all learned men of the time believed, and despite the growing availability of data to support his beliefs, he was condemned and imprisoned.
Today, we have recognized that arguing that something must be true because someone in authority believes it (argumentum ad verecundiam, or “argument from authority”) or because many people believe it (argumentum ad populam, or “argument from the masses”) is irrational. It is just as irrational to argue that something must be treated as true because the potential consequences of treating it as false are unacceptable (argument from emotion). These are collectively known as “logical fallacies,” used in argument by people who either have a poor grasp of logic or are being deliberately dishonest. Consensus may be a useful political tool, but it is specifically political in nature–knowledge, and especially scientific knowledge, cannot be based upon consensus. Science may only be advanced through the discovery of empirical evidence and repeatable observable phenomena, the testing and reviewing of which is known as “the scientific method.” It did not matter, for instance, that almost every physicist in the world believed that the “luminiferous aether” was a sound theory, or that it had previously been the best possible explanation for the action of light as a wave; as soon as the venerable professor Albert Einstein demonstrated a single repeatable experiment which discredited it, the theory was abandoned (paving the way for modern quantum mechanics, one of the most tested and verified theories in physics). Such advancements in knowledge are made through the application of scientific methodology—the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a falsifiable hypothesis (falsifiability is essential, since without it, the hypothesis cannot be tested), the testing of the hypothesis, peer review of the experimental data, etc. Yet in the supposedly scientific endeavor of climatology, these rules are apparently being completely ignored.
When, for example, real-world data contradict the desired findings of the proponents of the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis, they are simply removed from the dataset—witness the much-touted “hockey-stick graph” which fails to show any data on the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age, and uses highly corrupt and incomplete thermometer data rather than the perfect and complete satellite temperature data (Michaels, 2005). This is very bad science—one must always construct the hypothesis from the data, not find data to support the hypothesis. Meanwhile, “consensus” is defended as a legitimate scientific methodology and any who question the “consensus” are demonized (Schmidt, Mann, Archer, Rahmstorf, & Connolley, 2007). Perhaps most damaging to the credibility of climatology (often nowadays referred to as “climate science,”) when real-world data failed to match the warming predictions of the International Panel on Climate Change year after year, the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis was simply re-named to “Global Climate Change,” and every possible variation in temperature or weather patterns were attributed to human-produced carbon dioxide emissions. It must be noted that “Global Climate Change” as an hypothesis is utterly unfalsifiable—since there is no condition which would ever contradict “climate change,” it cannot be tested, and is therefore totally without scientific merit. Despite the fact that this renders the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis completely pseudo-scientific, many researchers continue to trumpet that new policies must be written in the United States, taking away vital Constitutional freedoms, due to the dangers presented by Anthropogenic Global Warming. Private property must be abolished, technology must be developed only under the strict control of a new political ruling class, economic success for those not among the elites must be punished and failure rewarded (or even more cynically, votes must be bought)—the prescription for averting a Global Warming disaster sounds strangely similar to all of the demands made by socialists around the world for the last hundred years and more.
The driving force behind this clamor for policy change is, in fact, Socialism rather than science. Whether quoting easily-recognized Socialist philosophers such as John Rawles or even Karl Marx, or giving free rides to Communist nations in international “carbon treaties” to continue increasing output of the very carbon dioxide which the Socialists claim must be abandoned at all costs, the “undeniable” (unlike any other scientific hypothesis ever proposed) hypothesis of Anthropogenic Global Warming is used as leverage to increase Socialist control and remove individual liberty on every front. Governments—in particular, the U.S. Federal government—must immediately begin seizing private property, taking control of private business and regulating the very carbon dioxide we naturally exhale (apparently, human beings are living pollutants—although the carbon dioxide emissions of other animals are only rarely mentioned, and real pollution from other sources like volcanoes is completely glossed over). And yet, Socialist governments like China, among of the worst polluters in the world, are allowed free reign to continue developing all of the “dirty” technologies which the United States are being required to abandon.
Because these peer-reviewed papers are so often quoted by pro-Socialist laymen, the purpose of this study is to discover if the expected irrationality, scientific illiteracy and Socialist political bias does indeed exist in peer-reviewed Global Warming literature, and what link, if any, exists between them. The author’s assumption in beginning this paper is that the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis is being used as a method of social control to leverage Socialist reform, which has been largely unpopular in the United States and increasingly unpopular elsewhere, by threat. The expectation at the outset of the study is that not only will the vast majority of papers on the subject of Anthropogenic Global Warming demonstrate the expected pro-Socialist bias, but that the more strongly biased an individual paper is in favor of Socialism, the more irrational and scientifically illiterate it will be.
This paper is a content analysis of peer-reviewed literature on the topic of Anthropogenic Global Warming (Climate Change, Global Climate Disruption, et al.). Peer-reviewed articles which act as proponents for increasing Socialist legislation and regulation in the United States as a proposed response to Anthropogenic Global Warming were identified via searches of EBSCOhost databases. Sampling was performed by conducting a search of peer-reviewed articles containing any of the terms “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” or “Carbon Emission” or “Greenhouse Gas,” in conjunction with each of the following terms: “legislation,” “policy” or “regulation.” These searches were performed in the EBSCOhost “Academic Search Premier” and “Business Source Premier” databases. Only those articles with full text available in .pdf format were retained for this study, and due to the limitations of this paper, only the first two non-repeating articles of each of the twelve searches were reviewed. Of the twenty-four journal articles thus identified, thirteen of the papers were eventually rejected due to lack of relevance (usually because some variation of “Global Warming” had been used with poetic license in the title), leaving a total sample of eleven peer-reviewed papers for examination in this project.
The first rater used to analyze the eleven papers which met the criteria for the study was identification with the Socialist political agenda. In examining this rater, papers were divided among one of four possible categories: Strongly Pro-Socialist (those papers whose authors mandated an “economic revolution,” called for the end of private property rights, quoted the Communist Manifesto as an authority, etc. It would be proper to view the papers which met the criteria for this category as openly Communist or Fascist in nature.), Pro-Socialist (those papers whose authors use the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis to promote policy change with the express purpose of “wealth redistribution,” “social justice,” et al. It was not considered necessary for those exact words to be used; if for example the stated problem is carbon emissions from coal plants, but the solution is for only developed, democratic countries to cease energy production while “emerging,” dictatorial Socialist countries are allowed to increase carbon dioxide output, this would be considered a proposal for wealth redistribution.), Socialist-Neutral (a paper might be considered Socialist-Neutral if it advocated Socialist controls in conjunction with free-market reforms, but in practice this applied to those papers which did not advocate either type of reform), and Anti-Socialist (a paper which advocated against the adoption of Socialist controls, or in favor a free-market solution.). A “Strongly Anti-Socialist” category was originally conceived, but eventually dropped as irrelevant since only one anti-Socialist paper was identified among the sample group. For the purpose of this paper, the proposal of an increase in government regulation was not, in itself, viewed as Socialist.
The second rater used to analyze the papers was scientific reasoning. Within each of the four categories identified for the Socialism rater, papers were further divided into three potential categories of scientific reasoning: Rational (those papers which argued for or against Anthropogenic Global Warming purely in terms of empirical evidence and rational predicates), Non-Rational (those papers whose authors simply accepted the existence of Anthropogenic Global Warming without attempting to explain its inception or convince the reader that their point-of-view was correct), and Irrational (those papers which argued for or against Anthropogenic Global Warming in terms of logical fallacies). The most common fallacies were argument from authority (Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis is endorsed by scientists), argument from the masses (Anthropogenic Global Warming theory is endorsed by a consensus globally), and argument from emotion (the potential harm of ignoring Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis are too disastrous to allow the hypothesis to be questioned.). Although it would not have been inappropriate to classify the Non-Rational papers as falling prey to the fallacy of “begging the question,” and thus irrational, neither acceptance nor refutation of Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis was viewed as inherently rational nor irrational for the purposes of this paper.
Within the limitations of this study, it is clear that the original hypotheses were supported—the preponderance of peer-reviewed literature on Global Warming does reflect a Socialist bias, and supports the establishment of Socialist policy world-wide and in the United States in particular, largely through the use of irrational argument (and absolutely through avoidance of rational argument). Due to the size of the sample, it is possible that the study is not representative of the vast field of peer-reviewed Global Warming literature as a whole (this is particularly true due to the single anti-Socialist article identified, although that is also telling about the nature of the literature as a whole). It is also possible that the particular sampling method, the use of only the first two journal articles in each search, the limited number of searches, or the limitation of only EBSCOhost databases, may have introduced an inadvertent bias into the sample.
Of the eleven journal articles reviewed, three were found to be in the Strongly Pro-Socialist category (one openly quoting the Communist Manifesto and claiming Karl Marx by name as the sole potential savior of the world from ecological catastrophe) and five to be in the Pro-Socialist category (generally by advocation of cap-and-trade policy, usually describing it as ideally suited for wealth redistribution) in content. Of the remaining articles, two papers were found to be Socialist-Neutral (since they described potential effects of policy change rather than advocating a specific change in policy themselves), and the single remaining paper was Anti-Socialist (describing the potential negative outcomes of introducing further Socialist policy within the United States) in nature. Of the Strongly Pro-Socialist papers, two were demonstrably Irrational (committing not only the expected arguments from the masses, authority and emotion, but also generally making unsubstantiated claims such as “environmental law has been practiced in North America for 10,000 years (Wood, 2007)) and the third was Non-Rational in its presentation. Of the Pro-Socialist papers, one was Irrational (making argument from emotion) and four were Non-Rational. No papers identified as Strongly Pro-Socialist or Pro-Socialist were identified as Rational in argumentation; in fact, little attempt at rationality was made. Readers were expected to either accept a “scientific consensus” without question, or were demanded to accept action to avert some unsubstantiated calamity. Of the Socialist-Neutral papers, one was Non-Rational, one was Irrational (making argument from authority and from the masses), and none were Rational. The single Anti-Socialist paper was also the single Rational paper, detailing both benefits and detriments to suggested policy, and supporting them where appropriate.
The correlations of the study are as follows: there is a perfect correlation between anti-Socialism and rationality, a negative correlation between pro-Socialism and rationality, and a strong negative correlation between Communist or Fascist ideology (strong pro-Socialism) and rationality. Statistically speaking, of the Strongly Pro-Socialist papers, 66% were demonstrably irrational and 0% were demonstrably rational. Of the total number of Socialist papers, 38% were demonstrably irrational and 0% were demonstrably rational. Of all Anti-Socialist papers, 100% were demonstrably rational and 0% were demonstrably irrational. Even the Socialist-Neutral papers were not free from irrationality, with 50% (one of the two papers) describing Anthropogenic Global Warming theory in terms of a “scientific consensus” (Allen, Seaman, & DeLascio, 2009).
Unfortunately, this also means that there is an overwhelming political bias among peer-reviewed journals. 72% of the peer-reviewed literature regarding policies in reaction to the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis demonstrated a bias toward Socialist politics, and 27% are openly Communist or Fascist. A mere 9% (one paper) took the stance that introducing new Socialist policies would be unwarranted and probably even damaging to the United States. As previously noted, simply calling for an increase in government regulation to mitigate the effects of Anthropogenic Global Warming was not considered sufficient for a paper to be categorized as Pro-Socialist; the paper must cite wealth-redistribution or some other identifiably Socialist agenda for their policy. Overwhelmingly, this is the case.
Most of the articles reviewed came from three journals: three from Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, two from Environment, and two from Ecology Law Quarterly. The Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, in addition to being the most frequent contributor, was the worst offender against scientific reason. The Review had not only the strongest noted political bias (obviously in favor of Socialism), but also the least rational article of the group (Wood, 2007). The single Rational-category article reviewed came from the journal Regulation (it was noted that reproduction rights were held by the Cato Institute).
The history of the United States government has always been one of two opposing forces: whether they are called by the names modernism and post-modernism, conservatism and liberalism, or even (albeit less accurately) Republicans and Democrats, there is always a struggle between the group which is more in favor of promoting rationality and individual liberty, and the group which is more in favor of promoting identity politics and political elitism. This struggle became more pronounced with the rise of Progressivism in the early 20th century (after the discrediting of National Socialism during World War II, Progressives pre-empted the name “liberal”. Today, the term Progressive is coming back into vogue, but the two terms may be understood to be synonymous in modern American political speech.). “Precedent” has replaced the Constitution as the basis of American jurisprudence; Congress passes Omnibus bills thousands of pages long without even reading them; the President seeks to “fundamentally transform America.”
While the author may state with confidence that the warming predictions of the International Panel for Climate Change have never been close to having been met, whether the average surface temperature of the Earth is actually increasing is beyond the scope of this paper. What is certain is that the people who are calling upon the citizens of the United States of America to renounce the freedoms enumerated by Framers of the Constitution are not doing so out of any regard for the consequences of Anthropogenic Global Warming. Rather, they are using the threat of an imminent, man-caused disaster to persuade people to conform with Socialist programs that would never be brought to pass in the United States on their own merits.
They may argue from authority, assuring the public that a “scientific consensus” is infallible, and that inaction in the face of a “scientific consensus” on Anthropogenic Global Warming is tantamount to criminal liability (Bazerman, 2009). They may argue from emotion, deliberately misinterpreting Greek mythology to propose that wealth is evil, that nature-worship is good, and that imitating the fool-King Midas would be a virtue (Foster, 2009). They may even play the game of the Devil quoting scripture, attempting to establish a pseudo-Constitutional framework for their Socialist plans (Westmoreland, 2010).
What they have not done, as the statistics in this body of research demonstrate, is engage in a rational argument. Like the Renaissance Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church condemning Galileo as a heretic, they have an agenda to enforce, and they will not consider the validity of any data which undermines that agenda. Those who disagree with the “consensus” must be vilified and marginalized, so that their great goal of world-wide Socialism may be realized.
Allen, R.D., Seaman, S.M., & DeLascio, J.E. (2009). Emerging issues: global warming claims and coverage issues. Defense Counsel Journal, 76(1), 12-39. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Refreshingly, this article not only claims to be unbiased, but actually is. The authors take no stand as to whether Global Warming is a scientifically-valid phenomenon; they simply consider the impact of proposed Global Warming legislation (as of 2009) as they relate to economic activity in general and the insurance industry in particular. It also examines the alleged bases of the legislation as bases for insurance claims—for example, if “carbon emissions” have artificially raised temperatures, contributing to the man-caused reduction of the California snowpack, who can be held responsible for loss of fresh water and economic activities? It makes a special examination of legislation pending in the United States, from the perspective of abuse, negligence, et. al. It further considers the difficulty of plaintiffs in establishing fault on the part of defendants, and the liability of government regarding a duty to defend against such issues in the first place.
Bazerman, M. H. (2009). U. S. Energy Policy. Environment, 51(5), 22-34. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
This paper is a proposal for increasing global-warming-related legislation based upon what the author refers to as “predictable surprises.” Essentially, the author gives a series of hindsight observations of well-known events (i.e., the terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001), and then deems that, since we can identify contributing factors in hindsight, the actors should have been able to predict them and prevent them. The actors’ failure to do so is then attributed to various mental dysfunction, such as “egocentrism” and “positive illusion.” This is then spun to “explain” the relative inaction of Congress (compared to the author’s desires) regarding Global Warming legislation; it has nothing to do with scientific validity or even cost-benefit tradeoff; the author states that the United States have not crippled domestic energy production because we are irrational. The end is a series of “principles” (mostly involving “educating” those foolish enough to object) upon which greater political action for increased government authority can be based.
Foster, J., Clark, B., & York, R. (2009). The Midas Effect: A Critique of Climate Change Economics. Development & Change, 40(6), 1085-1097. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
This paper is an economic analysis of enacting Global Warming legislation, based largely on an comically but predictably flawed analogy between capitalism and the legend of King Midas from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (believing not only that the point of the story is that Midas abandoned wealth in favor of nature-worship, but that following Midas in this example would be virtuous). The author also makes reference to “mainstream economic” solutions to environmental policies as “alchemy” (i.e., “capitalists think that if copper runs out, we can simply turn something else into copper”). Regardless of how accurate that may be as a representation of capitalist opinion, it is especially interesting in comparison to the view that human activity is increasing the amount of carbon in the biosphere (which actually would require alchemy). The final position of this paper is that only a literal Marxist revolution will be able to save the human species from an environmentally-related extinction (despite the fact that Communist societies are demonstrably far more environmentally destructive than free-market societies).
Linder, D. (2002). The Trial of Galileo. Retrieved from http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/galileo/galileoaccount.html
Michaels, P. (2005, March 3). Hockey stick, 1998-2005, rip. Retrieved from http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2005/03/03/hockey-stick-1998-2005-rip/
Schmidt, G, Mann, M, Archer, D, Rahmstorf, S, & Connolley, W. (2007, January 3). Consensus as the new heresy. Retrieved from http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/01/consensus-as-the-new-heresy/
Westmoreland, J.K. (2010). Global warming and originalism: the role of the epa in the obama administration. Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, 37(1), 225-256. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
The author considers the problem of overcoming “conservative” resistance to “progressive environmental legislation,” but spends no time considering the validity of scientific objections. The purpose of this paper is simply to further the cause of increasing government control over private economic activity. To this end, he makes an argument strangely absent from college circles during the previous administration: that the President has sole authority to execute the law under the Constitution, and should not be constrained from protecting National interests by Congressional inaction. This paper is simultaneously a plea for action on behalf of the Obama administration to utilize the Environmental Protection Agency, under the aegis of the Clean Air Act, to create global-warming-related regulation regardless of Congressional or Popular approval. Although the author’s proposal of Original rather than Constructionist interpretation of the Constitution is refreshing, it is also disingenuous, since the EPA and similar organizations clearly violate the Original intent of the Constitution regarding individual self-governance.
Wood, M. (2007). NATURE’S TRUST: A LEGAL, POLITICAL AND MORAL FRAME FOR GLOBAL WARMING. Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, 34(3), 577-603. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
This paper is an amalgam of debunked resourced and unsupported claims to buttress the idea that the concept of private property must be abandoned in order to save the world from Global Warming. From the most controversial statements of the 2007 IPCC report, to the UN University’s claim that 2010 would see “fifty million environmental refugees,” to the claim that previous environmental legislation has been entirely beneficial (what about the millions of Africans who die every year because of an international embargo on DDT—a substance completely safe to humans and most animals?), the author has done a stunning job picking poor and biased source material. She also makes statements such as “environmental law… on this continent… stretches back 10,000 years.” The conclusion is that individuals cannot be trusted to make wise use of anything that they own, and that all rights of individual property must be abdicated to a central government in order to combat the dangers of Global Warming.