The Dogmatic Royal Society

This is a strange story:

Member of Parliament David Davies has warned of the stubborn nature of organisations like Britain’s Royal Society – the oldest grouping of eminent scientists in the world – who have admitted that they will not accept any other thinking on global warming for at least “fifty years”, even if the data shows otherwise.

Attending a speech on climate change in the House of Lords, the Welsh Tory MP spoke about on his surreal experience meeting two men from the Royal Society whom he said had been sent to persuade him and fellow climate realists Peter Lilley MP and John Redwood MP to embrace the idea of man-made climate change. He said that representatives from the Society – often lauded as the most eminent grouping of scientists, founded in the 1600s – told him that they would not change their mind for at least fifty years, regardless of the evidence.

Stubborn? Utterly dogmatic is more like it. They may as well have said, “We’re never going to change our minds.” After all, if anyone says that they won’t change their minds for 50 years, they’re effectively saying that they’re never going to change their minds.

It seems to me that these people have ceased to be scientists. Scientists have to be open to new thinking, because otherwise they’ll never have any new insights. And these people have just said that they’re no longer open to new thinking. Their minds are closed.

Why bother to listen to the Royal Society any more? Why consult them at all? Why fund them with taxpayers’ money?

I think that what has happened is that the dogmatists in the Royal Society have become more interested in a political goal than in doing science. They probably only got into science to use the prestige and standing of science as a political force. And what they’ll most likely end up doing is bringing science into disrepute.

And the pope is climbing on the bandwagon too:

Rich countries needed to re-examine their “throw-away” lifestyles, the pope said, in a document that is likely to upset the oil and gas industries, Republicans in the US and climate change sceptics.

That should make it all even more dogmatic. The Church doesn’t change its mind fro hundreds of years.


About Frank Davis

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24 Responses to The Dogmatic Royal Society

  1. castello2 says:

    And you aren’t dogmatic? You are denying 97% of the climate scientists. Keep listening to the oil barons.

    • junican says:

      Eh? 97% of zero is zero. There is no such thing as a ‘climate scientist’ as far as global warming is concerned; there is only a counter of temperature records from here and there. Thus, it is not possible for the result of the counting to be other than 100% correct. Thus, the ‘climate scientists’ which are being denied MUST be 100% and not the low figure of only 97%.
      Also, do the ‘climate scientists’ breed horses? Because, when the ‘oil barons’ stop work, then ‘climate scientists’ will have to take on the task of keeping the economy working. Breeding horses is the obvious solution. Or dogs, or cats, or donkeys.
      Or perhaps castello02 will take on the responsibility for keeping people warm, housing them, feeding them and watering them without resources other than the hot air of ‘Climate Scientists’. Have any of these people ever produced even one ‘calorie’ of energy?

    • Radical Rodent says:

      That 97% figure is from respondents to an on-line survey. Most of the 10,000 or so to whom the survey was sent ignored it; of those who answered (about 3,400), 77 were considered suitable to answer the question, 75 of whom gave answers closest to what the questioners wanted – in other words, it is a load of pig-swill.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Even supposing that 97% of climate scientists really do think that man-made CO2 is causing global warming, is there any obligation upon anybody to believe them? Just because some expert stands up and says something, why should I accept it as gospel truth? Isn’t it simple credulity that leads people to believe whatever experts tell them?

      The Pope is the Catholic Church’s reigning top expert on religious matters. He was elected by all the other expert bishops of the church. But does that mean I have to believe him in whatever he says?

      • castello2 says:

        So, you’re being just as dogmatic as the Royal Society you are criticizing.
        Big oil has changed the narrative on climate change so the 3% get just as much air time as the 97%.

  2. waltc says:

    Let us count all the 97+% consensus theories that have gone down in flames. Let us examine the allegedly empirical but often massaged–yea, fondled– basis of the climate consensus. Many people here are skeptical, or even agnostic, about it but neither attitude is dogmatic, in fact, the opposite. In the late 80’s, in the wake of the first Surgeon General’s Report to call isecondhand smoke deadly, I started out merely head-cocked skeptical about it –a kind of intellectual but open-minded “huh?” in which I was willing to be convinced by evidence. So I schlepped to the main public library and read all 500 or whatever pages of the damn thing and saw clearly that it proved…nothing. And further that the media was saying it said things that it clearly didn’t say. Only then, after doing my own source research and reading published critiques of its elements did I allow my skepticism to turn into “what the hell’s going on? disbelief. Which in turn led me to be skeptical of all consensus science with a clear political–and occasionally financial, quasi-religious or professionally toadying — agenda behind it. IOW, I earned my skepticism the hard way, Castello, have you earned your belief?

    And even if you really believe that man causes weather which compounds into climate, have you considered Bjorn Lomburg’s approach which doesn’t vilify energy but accepts its necessity and proposes to use it to counter or adapt to climate whatever its cause? If you think you can run an urban industrial society on windmills, I wish you luck. But until innovation produces a new, plentiful , practical, and affordable form of of energy, oil is your friend.

    • margo says:

      I agree, waltc – open mind needed. And it took doctors about 100 years to stop telling patients that masturbation caused many diseases – smoking is the new masturbation?

    • castello2 says:

      We can work our way away from oil and create many jobs by doing so. Big oil has the big bucks to change the narrative on climate change so the 3% get just as much air time as the 97%.

  3. petesquiz says:

    You write as though this is a new phenomenon. I remember in the 1980’s when it was proposed by two Australian scientists that stomach ulcers were caused by bacteria rather than by stress and poor diet. No scientist believed them until one of them actually infected himself with the bacteria, developed an ulcer and cured himself with antibiotics. They won the Nobel Prize in 2005.

    If you go further back, it took about 50 years for the theory of Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift to be believed after complete scepticism when it was first proposed in 1912.

    It is examples like these (and I’m sure there must be many more) that keep me being a sceptic about “scientific consensus” because that isn’t science!

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think that people saying that it’ll be 50 years before they’ll change their minds is a new departure. I don’t remember the stress-causes-ulcers brigade ever saying that it would be 50 years before they’d change their minds. In the event, it seems that it took just one man to demonstrate the bacterial cause of ulcers to them, at which point the consensus view changed. That’s an example of science working properly.

      And plate tectonics was accepted primarily because it was discovered that there were areas, mostly in the deep oceans, where the earth’s mantle was moving apart – something that wasn’t known in 1912. Again, that’s an example of science working properly.

      What we’re seeing with global warming is a dogmatic refusal to admit that it isn’t really happening, given nearly 20 years of no warming. From the Breitbart article I linked to, it seems that they were claiming that the theoretical extra heat was somehow getting absorbed by the oceans (without explaining how), and it was going to take 50 years before they stopped believing it. How come they’re so sure?

      It’s a bit like the idea I had a couple of days back, that IR light is radiated by warm eye retinas out into the cooler external world, and it’s this low level light which warms the skin of people who are being watched, and results in the Sense of Being Stared At. Sitting in the sunny pub garden with a couple of pints of beer inside me, it seemed like a very good idea, and a nice non-paranormal explanation of what seems to be a common experience. But by evening the doubts had set in. Wasn’t 20 microwatts far too small to ever be noticed? And wasn’t 10 micron IR light absorbed by the watery Vitreous Humour inside the eye? And was it optically possible to focus the 20 microwatts on a point on the surface of somebody’s skin, standing 50 feet away? By evening, the hypothesis was looking increasingly implausible. Enough for me to cast doubt on it. And it didn’t take 50 years: It took about 12 hours.

      But part of me still thinks it’s a good idea. So in my own internal debate, the radiant eye ‘alarmists’ were briefly triumphant, before being overwhelmed by my radiant eye ‘sceptics’. The sceptics agree that, in principle, warm retinas will be radiating heat to the cooler external world, but they think that it’s bound to be so weak as to be unnoticeable.

      However, my ‘alarmists’ have since rallied, and put forward their own ‘it’s in the ocean’ counter-arguments. They’ve found that that the absorption spectrum of vitreous humour has not been measured (due to some technical difficulty), and instead, because it’s composed 98% of water, it is assumed to have the same characteristics as liquid water, which is strongly absorptive of light in the 10 micron range. But if the vitreous humour has the same absorption characteristics as water vapour, 10 micron wavelength light would be easily transmitted.

      Furthermore, in my original pub garden hypothesis, I was assuming that the Sense of Being Stared At came from heating of the skin. But what if we have sensors all over our skin that are highly sensitive to light in the 10 micron range? Such a sensor would be something which had a vibration wavelength in the 10 micron range, and would start vibrating when bathed in 10 micron light.

      As for the optics, my ‘alarmists’ are now thinking along the lines suggested by MJM, of a narrow searchlight beam radiating from the fovea.

      I think this is how a good debate goes. It swings to and fro, with arguments being met with counterarguments. and the debate is never over.

      • petesquiz says:

        Fair point! Maybe it’s a sign that the ‘dogmatists’ believe that they have now taken over science and have grown cocky about it! I hope not; too much of what is passed off as science is patently rubbish, to those of us with a science education, but yet the masses choose to believe it. As long as there are people, like you, to speak out against the ‘consensus’ then maybe there is still hope!

        • Rose says:

          Peptic Ulcer was considered one of those “smoking related diseases” from way back.

          Tobacco Smoking as a Factor in the Production of Peptic Ulcer and Gastric Neurosis

          “During the last few years there has been put forward, especially by German workers, some evidence that the use of tobacco plays a role in the production of peptic ulcer, gastric neurosis and even carcinoma of the stomach.”

          Well worth a read for a variety of reasons.

          Having already heard the story of how Warren and Marshall got the Nobel prize for the discovery of Helicobacter Pylori on the radio in 2005, I was rather surprised to read Dr. Siegel still claiming it as smoking disease a couple of years later, though he was swiftly put right by the commenters.

          Timeline of peptic ulcer disease and Helicobacter pylori

          Palmer publishes a study which finds no bacteria in the human stomach. He concludes earlier discoveries were a result of contamination. Unfortunately, he chooses not to use a silver staining method, which will be later used to reveal H. pylori by Warren and Marshall

          A fascinating list of how many times it was nearly discovered, including –

          Charles Lieber and Andre Lefèvre discover that antibiotics reduce gastric urea to ammonia conversion

          Lieber and Lefèvre present their results at the World Congress of Gastroenterology in Washington. It is not well received because of the widespread belief that bacteria cannot survive in the human stomach, due to Palmer

          Lykoudis presents his antibiotic treatment for PUD at a meeting of the Medico-Surgical Society in Greece. He is largely shunned by the medical establishment.

          Lykoudis’ manuscript is rejected by the Journal of the American Medical Association

          Lykoudis is fined 4,000 drachmas for treating PUD patients with his treatment, which includes antibiotics.

      • Frank Davis says:

        In eye-related news, ScienceDaily:

        From an anatomical point of view, a normal, non-pathological eye is known as an emmetropic eye, and has been studied very little until now in comparison with myopic and hypermetropic eyes. The results show that healthy emmetropic women have a wider pupil diameter than men…

        “We know very little about emmetropic eyes even though they should be used for comparisons with myopic and hypermetropic eyes” Juan Alberto Sanchis-Gimeno, researcher at the University of Valencia and lead author of the study explained.

        Two interesting things there

        1) Women have larger eye pupils than men (which I can readily believe).

        2) Eye experts know very little about normal eyes. I think I can readily believe this as well, for the simple reason that ophthalmologists spend 99.99% of their time looking at abnormal eyes. They spend very little time studying normal eyes.

        • Rose says:

          Amazing what you find when you are looking for something else.

          Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade

          “Its name, ‘belladonna’, comes from its use by Venetian women to make themselves ‘beautiful ladies’ by causing their pupils to dilate.”

          Then this appears –

          “Divine Stramonium”: The Rise and Fall of Smoking for Asthma

          “In the fourth edition of The principles and practice of medicine, published in 1901, the Canadian physician and Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, William Osler, highlighted the pivotal role of smoking and fumigating as both therapeutic and prophylactic:

          The sedative antispasmodics, such as belladonna, henbane, stramonium, and lobelia, may be given in solution or used in the form of cigarettes. Nearly all the popular remedies either in this form or in pastilles contain some plant of the order solanaceae, with nitrate or chlorate of potash.

          Excellent cigarettes are now manufactured and asthmatics try various sorts, since one form benefits one patient, and another form another patient. Nitre paper made with a strong solution of nitrate of potash is very serviceable. Filling the room with the fumes of this paper prior to retiring will sometimes ward off a nocturnal attack.

          I have known several patients to whom tobacco smoke inhaled was quite as potent as the prepared cigarettes.”

          Irrelevant to the subject but very interesting nonetheless.

    • beobrigitte says:

      You write as though this is a new phenomenon. I remember in the 1980’s when it was proposed by two Australian scientists that stomach ulcers were caused by bacteria rather than by stress and poor diet. No scientist believed them until one of them actually infected himself with the bacteria, developed an ulcer and cured himself with antibiotics. They won the Nobel Prize in 2005.

      Actually, this refers more to stomach cancer than only stomach ulcers. (Not every stomach ulcer = stomach cancer.)
      I sure did work with a few people who developed a stomach ulcer because the nature of the job caused upset. When they changed their line of work, their stomach ulcer disappeared.
      On the other hand, one of my uncle developed a stomach ulcer “out-of-the-blue”. Stress wasn’t an issue; the guy had retired and was leading a happy life. Nevertheless, his stomach “ulcer” turned out to be stomach cancer – unfortunately the medical establishment had paid no attention to H. Pylori.

      To stress: there is stress on people created by “increase-productivity-drive” and there is stress from “personal-improvement/enjoyment drive”. I, personally prefer the latter – at least I can have a laugh! The first one might well cause an overproduction of hydrochloric acid in my stomach – that if I am stupid enough to take work home with me.
      I am not. I believe in balance.
      No stomach ulcer for me!
      Yet I do have to admit having suffered from severe gastritis – I took my brother’s death badly and could not eat. That is yet another kind of stress…

  4. roobeedoo2 says:

    No mention of smoking in the BBC article covering the story of the balcony collapse in California:

    Although smoking on the balconies is cited as an issue in the piece from the New York Times:

    • Frank Davis says:

      That’s a good point. I glanced at that story a couple of days ago, but it didn’t occur to me that they might have all been out there smoking.

      • Rose says:

        I had wondered what thirteen people were doing squeezed onto a small balcony and smoking was the first thing I thought of, it being New York, but couldn’t find any reference to that.

        • Frank Davis says:

          It wasn’t in New York, but in San Francisco, antismoking capital of the world.

        • Rose says:

          II stand corrected, are there any smokers left in San Francisco?

        • beobrigitte says:

          Rose, I thought the same when I went to Boston. I had no problem finding a hotel with smoker rooms and was told on arrival: “Hey, EVERYONE smokes here!” (I sure was offered about 10 times/day a dollar for a cigarette….

          To me it was obvious that there is only one reason 13 people crowd on a tiny balcony.

          Deborah Arnott can proudly announce more “smoking-related” deaths.

  5. beobrigitte says:

    He said that representatives from the Society – often lauded as the most eminent grouping of scientists, founded in the 1600s – told him that they would not change their mind for at least fifty years, regardless of the evidence.

    This isn’t only strange, it is SAD. And it is a confirmation that the end of REAL Science is here. All it takes to give the most ludicrous ideas ‘credibility’ is to drizzle the nonsense for 40 years non-stop onto the unsuspecting population.

    Only a few days ago I had a brief chat to one of my neighbours about “green” energy. It started off by my comment: “Hell, WHERE is this global warming? It’s June and I am wearing a long sleeved shirt…”
    A (my neighbour): It must be stuck somewhere.
    Me: It sure looks that way! By the way, I took a friend recently to the beach to see the ‘iron men’. The tide was going out but there were hardly any seagulls around. Weird, isn’t it?
    A: The windfarm will have got them.
    Me: That was my guess, too.
    A: I drove past XXX where there is a huge windfarm. I stopped to have a look – it looks like a bird slaughterhouse on the grass there.
    Me: Collateral damage, then, ey? All for our “green” energy because of this weird man-made global warming lark? Another thing; these windmills, to be as efficient as they can be, require Neodymium; which is extremely rare. So far it is only mined in China; a side effect of this mining is that it destroyed a lake and the surrounding farm land. Never mind, for as long as we look good going “green” we give a shit about others.

    At that point we started bitching real bad..

    It was very reassuring to hear that “Joe Average” people begin to ask questions. I have a lot of them – and the they would not change their mind for at least fifty years, regardless of the evidence is unwilling to even listen, let alone answer, any of them.

  6. Pingback: Can the Current Con/Lab/Lib Hegemony Survive? | Bolton Smokers Club

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