These days, if someone makes some scientific claim, it seems you only need to wait five minutes before somebody else refutes them.

The internet is chock full of refutations of global warming alarmists by sceptics. And it’s also chock full of refutations of sceptics by alarmists.

And it’s not just climate science. It’s the same everywhere else. Ever hear of the Grand Tack hypothesis? Me neither until a couple of days back. The classical theory of the formation of the solar system is that the Sun and planets condensed out of a spinning cloud of dust and gas several billion years back, and they’ve remained pretty much exactly where they were when they were formed. But in the Grand Tack hypothesis, Jupiter spiralled in towards the Sun, and so did Saturn, and the two then threw each other back out away from the Sun to their current positions. So they both first sailed towards the Sun, and then performed a grand nautical tack, and sailed away again. And basically the entire solar system was pretty chaotic for a long time, and the idea of a serene stability is old hat. It’s a contentious new idea, less than 5 years old, and it’s not hard to see what charges will be (and probably already have been) levelled against it: if nothing else it’s been constructed using computer simulation models (just like with global warming alarmism).

Science didn’t used to be like that. Scientists always used to agree with each other. Or used to seem to agree with each other. There actually was a “settled science” on which pretty much everyone was agreed.

How come that happened? How come science seems to be less and less settled these days?

Sitting outside a pub today with a beer and a few cigarettes, it seemed to me that one simple explanation was that, in the past, there were a lot fewer scientists than there are today. Back in the days of Copernicus and Galileo and Kepler and Newton, about the only scientists around were, well,… Copernicus and Galileo and Kepler and Newton. Very few people needed to be persuaded when one or other of them had a new idea. They could agree very quickly. And they did agree very quickly.

But these days when there are hundreds of thousands of scientists – many of them professionals in ways that Galileo and co weren’t – lots of scientists have to be persuaded when someone comes up with a new idea, like the Grand Tack hypothesis. And the more people that need to be persuaded, the harder it is to persuade them. And some of them never are persuaded. And so instead of there being a mono-polar science where everyone is pretty much agreed on everything, you start getting first a bi-polar science – e.g. alarmists and sceptics -, and then a multi-polar science with several – maybe even dozens of – rival views. And there ceases to be any “settled science” at all.

And in this circumstance, anyone who takes any interest in science is likely to find themselves being pulled first one way by one set of arguments, and then pulled another way by another set of arguments, and so on until they don’t know whether they’re coming or going. And I think that in this circumstance people are likely to end up being sceptical of everything, or at least be agnostic don’t-knows. And the persuasive power of science, which largely grew from scientists all agreeing with each other, is steadily eroded. Science loses its force. It loses its persuasive power.

The same goes with religions. When a new religion starts up, there’s a brief period when all concerned agree with each other, because they were all taught by the same guy – Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, or someone – , and there’s a settled Credo, and maybe even an accepted descendant Teacher or Pontiff. But as the religion grows, disagreements begin to multiply and divisions emerge, and you get Catholics and Protestants, Sunni and Shia, and the average joe in the middle of it all no longer knows what to believe, and ends up believing nothing.

Or, to use the older metaphor of the Tower of Babel, everyone speaks the same language and believes the same things when they start building the tower, but by the time it’s got to be 100 storeys high with lots of people working on different bits of it, they no longer speak the same language, or believe the same things.

And that was the thought that I had over a beer and a cigarette, sitting outside an English pub today.

What brand of beer, you ask?

Kozel. It’s a Czech lager. 4% proof. Slightly fruity.

If I’d been drinking German Becks or Dutch Grolsch or American Budweiser I’d have undoubtedly thought something completely different.


About Frank Davis

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27 Responses to Kozel

  1. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Belief systems are the downfall of all sciences.
    Until we all commit to no consensus of anything until a hypothesis is proven and reproduced to a station of known physical fact we will continue to be ruled by Fools and false prophets. Never suffer the fool abandon them and demand end point proof.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Castello most all of us have known since the 1970s when it was global cooling and we would get weekly scare reports from green wackos in the sierra club about deforestation in south America causing global cooling tha it all came together as the farce it was. Then roll onto 1983-4 it becomes global waming and then 2009 IPCC EMAILS it then becomes Climate change………………All it ever was,was a way to get socialism pushed thru in the UN thru its summits. That’s how we got the precautionary principle!

      The precautionary principle itself is a catch 22 argument. It entails giving no proof the same standing as actually having positive proof. In essence it makes a negative a positive which we all know you can never prove a negative. By using this principle we might as well all just kill ourselves as chance living with possible threats that might harm us. Its actually created to let the nazis claim whatever they want and get away with it! Its use must be destroyed as its led to total destruction of the scientific process trying to create proof where none exists to begin with,hense the mountain of evidence we hear the nazis preach all over the place without actually being held to any proof at all!

      The principle itself cannot stand, it means an end to all we hold dear TRUTH.

      Without truth we have no meaning,we have no future,we have no life,no culture. We have only created hazzards that never existed,a culture defeated by fanaticism and led by radical nut cases passing laws based upon NOTHING! It gives basis to outlawing anything based upon nothing,it lowers the standard of proof in court to that of hearsay evidence to now convict!

      How did it happen,quite simply ENVIROMENTALISM!

      Precaution as Customary Law
      The question whether the precautionary principle is a principle of customary international
      law has received a great deal of attention, particularly since the principle’s inclusion
      in the Rio Declaration.


      Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

      The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,


      Having met at Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992,

      Yes indeed the precautionary principle is an intregal part of GLOBAL GOVERNANCE and well taking over the world!

      • Cecily Collingridge says:

        I’m not an absolutist. I found the following publication interesting and thought provoking even if I did not always agree with everything:

        Late lessons from early warnings: science, precaution, innovation –
        “The 2013 Late lessons from early warnings report is the second of its type produced by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in collaboration with a broad range of external authors and peer reviewers. The case studies across both volumes of Late lessons from early warnings cover a diverse range of chemical and technological innovations, and highlight a number of systemic problems. The ‘Late Lessons Project’ illustrates how damaging and costly the misuse or neglect of the precautionary principle can be, using case studies and a synthesis of the lessons to be learned and applied to maximising innovations whilst minimising harms.”


      • castello2 says:

        So, we should just burn the fucking world down? Fuck the environment so the oil barons can get more money.

        • waltc says:

          Leaving tne first part of your argument aside, leaving with it that I haven’t heard the term “oil barons” since Teddy Roosevelt’s day,, from where comes the assumption that oil is only of benefit to its barons? Fossil fuels (all kinds) make the world go round–they heat, cool and light everybody’s homes, get people and products from here to there, make possible manufacturing –that in turn provides jobs, vital.as well as pleasurable products.and, not incidentally, revenue and trade. In that sense we’re all made richer by oil. Further, in the west in the last 40 years, we reduced industrial and automotive pollution –of both air and water– by way more than half. And while pollution did account for local conditions, I am not at all convinced that it causes “global warming” which itself remains equivocal. . Nor am I convinced that windmills and sun roofs can sustain any going, modern. society, or that rationing and taxing will do anything but contribute to the misery of the millions who are not themselves “barons.” So I turn your initial question on its head: we should just burn the fucking economy down so a group of impractical prognosticators of doom can get moral satisfaction?

        • Frank Davis says:

          When did the “environment” become more important than human life?

        • beobrigitte says:

          Fuck the environment so the oil barons can get more money.

          It isn’t as clear cut as that. Sure, the oil industry opposes to wind farms as much as I do – for a different reason, of course.
          My problem is that our “green” energy requires the destruction of Chinese farm land and lakes for the not abundant Neodymium as well as the destruction of wild (rare) birds, as well as noise and last but not least it’s inefficiency.

          The nuclear industry (and governments!!!!) oppose Thorium reactors, even though there is a fraction of waste, a much ‘safer’ way of producing energy as no Chernobyl or Fukushima repeat is possible and last but not least thorium is abundant and a cheap way for producing the ever increasing amount of energy required by our increasing and ageing population NOW..

  2. castello2 says:

    Okay. We will start fracking in your yard next Tuesday. You haven’t heard of oil barons since when? http://www.nationalobserver.com/2015/05/04/news/how-canada-made-koch-brothers-rich

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      One things for sure we all smoke and the nazis claim that’s pollution. So they criminalize us and would toss us in jail for it for any infraction of their laws. So Costello are we to support the same green whacks that have outlawed us with crazed environmentalism

    • smokervoter says:

      Make that Monday and where do I sign? I want to be a mini oil baron too ! Oil gets me from point A to point B and natural gas keeps me warm in the dreadful winter time.

      A little bit of sound-proofing, maybe a window relocation or two and I’m good to go.

      Extreme California environmentalists are the reason gasoline costs almost a dollar per gallon more here than in the rest of the nation. All so that greedy/green Government Employee Barons can keep their gold-plated pensions intact.

  3. Chuckles says:

    Sayres Law – ‘Competition in academia is so vicious because the stakes are so small.’

    I’d put it down to the change to funding coming from the public purse.

  4. kin_free says:

    This contradictory science has not been overlooked as pointed out by Castello and Harleyrider. That is the reason why The tobacco CONTROL industry pushed the FCTC, and in particular, article 15 that excludes any science produced by or for the tobacco industry – so only one side of the scientific argument is heard. Where there are winners and losers – no ‘side’ can be trusted.

    Science that favours one party or position to the detriment of another – is worthless. Science in this sort of scenario becomes nothing more than an advocacy tool and the winners are those who can smear their opponents the most effectively. In effect PROPAGANDISTS, not scientists, determine what science is to be believed and which to reject as untrue – the validity of the science is almost irrelevant. It comes down to belief – belief in who is good and who is bad, what is truth and what is lies, no different to religion.

    The precautionary principle (Pre P), in principle, is not a bad thing, we have been using it for generations. A good example is in criminal law. A suspected murder can be remanded in custody and sent to jail before he has been proven to be guilty – to prevent him committing more murders. BUT he can only be held for a limited period before his guilt MUST be PROVEN by his accusers – or released. Detention without trial was abused in the past, hence courts can use the writ of habeas corpus to determine if a state’s detention of a prisoner is valid.

    This is where the ‘new’ Pre P is flawed – there is no equivalent to habeas corpus that requires climate change believers to ‘put up or shut up’. With tobacco ‘harm’, it was Doll etc. who instigated the Pre P over 60 years ago and they have been trying to prove his correlation since, with no success. How much time do they need to produce the evidence! Tobacco CONTROL nutters did indeed try to ‘put up’ in the 2005 McTear v Imperial Tobacco Scottish legal case, intent on proving that smoking causes lung cancer. They FAILED but they didn’t ‘shut up’ and continued as if this case had not taken place or proved them wrong.

    The Pre P has become an end in itself, rather than a temporary measure used to produce the proof that would confirm the original suspicion. BUT no one is calling them to account, except voices in the wilderness such as us, here. The interim PreP period has not been used to find the truth, but to suppress any opposition and manufacture junk science on junk science. Because Tobacco CONTROL opponents have been silenced there is no real accountability and they can effectively do what they want with little fear of any come-back. It is not about finding the truth – it is about winning, regardless as the the consequences.

    But then, most here know all about this – It is the wider public and politicians who need to be made aware.

    • garyk30 says:

      It would seem that the “precautionary principle” shows that you can not use the “precautionary principle”.

      Unless it can be totally proven that your “precautionary principle” action will cause no harm, the “precautionary principle” says that you can not take that action.

      Take smoking bans for instance.
      Antis claimed that since it could not be totally proven that SHS does not cause harm, smoking bans are needed due to the “precautionary principle”.

      But, since it can not be totally proven that bans will cause no harm, the “precautionary principle” means that you can not implement bans.

      “Tobacco smoke in pubs causes employees to get sick.”

      Anyway there are govt agencies(OSHA/ the Health and Safety Exec) that are tasked with determining what is the safe level of contaminants in the air that workers breathe or are exposed to.

      Since none of those agencies have placed restrictions on the number of cigs that can be smoked at any one time in ANY workplace, bans are about a problem that does not exist.

      Those agencies have decided that there is NO UNSAFE level of exposure to SHS/ETS.

      Of course, the antis are terrified of there being a permissible level of smoking in any workplace, they want only total prohibition.

  5. Rose says:

    Having gone off on a mental tangent after reading Costello’s comment
    “So, we should just burn the fucking world down? Fuck the environment so the oil barons can get more money.

    And remembering the misquote “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period” which pulled me up so short that I could never be a believer again.

    The truth about ‘We have to get rid of the medieval warm period’

    I see that Dick has mentioned

    “foster an atmosphere where it was perceived that active smokers would injure those around them, especially their family and infants or young children who would be exposed involuntarily to the smoke in the air.”

    Which appears to be a quote from Passive Smoking How Great A Hazard

    “The generation, interpretation, and use of scientific and medical information about ETS has been influenced, and probably distorted, by a “social movement” to shift the emphasis on the adverse health effects of smoking in the active smoker to an implied health risk for the nonsmoker. The focus of this movement, initiated by Sir George Godber of the World Health Organization 15 years ago, was and is to emphasize that active cigarette smokers injure those around them, including their families and, especially, any infants that might be exposed involuntarily to ETS. By fostering the perception that secondhand smoke is unhealthy for nonsmokers, active smoking has become an undesirable and an antisocial behavior.”

    Which lead me to re-read Sir George Godber’s speech to the 3rd World Conference on Smoking and Health, June 2-5, 1975 and what he really said.

    The Worldwide Campaign Against Smoking” Sir George E. Godber Chairman, Expert Committee on Smoking and Health World Health Organization Text of speech includes at the end of page 6 (7 on the pdf) –

    Edited highlights

    “The fact that smoking by the mother during pregnancy is a material danger to the fetus. The knowledge that exposure to involuntary secondary smoking may cause an increase in carbon monoxide and even nicotine content of the blood of non-smokers or that the incidence of respiratory infection in the first year of life is increased in the infants whose parents smoke is probably not understood. The message that the penalty for cigarette smoking begins to be paid from the very earliest stage of life and is not something postponed until old age is certainly not well appreciated. The finding, most recently reported by Russell, that non-smokers in rooms have demonstrable increases in the circulating nicotine in their blood reinforces the importance of avoiding exposure of non-smokers to secondary smoking. The full story is set out in the report of WHO’s Expert Committee which is available to you here and nothing will be gained by my attempting to summarise it to you now.”

    Bearing in mind that they thought that nicotine was unique to tobacco and had no idea that nicotine was a common plant chemical in nightshade vegetables that everyone eats everyday, until it was pointed out to them in 1993

    He continues

    “I imagine that most of us here know full well that our target must be, in the long-term, the elimination of cigarette smoking. Many of us may feel and most governments have felt, that this is a target beyond our range at the present time. It is certainly not an objective which anybody can seriously hope to achieve in the next five years. Nevertheless I do not think we are right to behave as if it is not something that will not be substantially achieved in the next 25 years. We may not have eliminated cigarette smoking completely by the end of this century, but we ought to have reached a position where relatively few addicts still use cigarettes, but only in private at most in the company of consenting adults.”

    His timetable for the fruition of his master plan was out by only 7 years., 4 in Ireland and 6 in Scotland, it’s must have taken considerable organisation and strength of purpose to keep a campaign exactly on course for so long.

    He goes on

    “First we must ask ourselves whether our society is one in which the major influences exercised on public opinion are such as would convey the impression that smoking is a dirty, antisocial practice, spoiling the enjoyment of youth and accelerating the onset of the deteriorations of old age.”

    “Need there really be any difficulty about prohibiting smoking in more public places? The nicotine addicts would be petulant for a while, but why should we accord them any right to make the innocent suffer?”


    • Frank Davis says:

      By Dick, I imagine you mean Dick Puddlecote.

    • Frank Davis says:

      convey the impression that smoking is a dirty, antisocial practice, spoiling the enjoyment of youth and accelerating the onset of the deteriorations of old age.

      I don’t think smoking is any “dirtier” than food or sex or any number of other things. Anything can be made “dirty”. Neither do I think that it’s “antisocial”. The slight mist of smoke in a pub or party always seemed to bind people together, and I missed it as soon as it was gone. It worked in much the same way as candlelight, reducing visibility, and making what’s near seem closer. But they probably think that candles are antisocial too. And smoking is all part of the enjoyment of youth, and also old age.

      From Dick Puddlecote, this quote from Kirstie Mary Allsopp (whoever she is):

      “Anyone who drinks fizzy drinks, diet or otherwise, every day is an idiot. Water is what hydrates us, anything else is a waste of money.”

      Here’s someone who’d probably ban every single drink except water. Because water is all you need.

      • Harleyrider1978 says:

        They use to burn candles as a way to reduce smoke inside, at least I knew many women who did that. Don’t know if there’s any truth to it though could be an old wives tale.

      • prog says:

        Seems she retains a lot of water Frank – must be a human sponge…

      • Rose says:

        “convey the impression that smoking is a dirty, antisocial practice, spoiling the enjoyment of youth and accelerating the onset of the deteriorations of old age”.

        I don’t think smoking is any “dirtier” than food or sex or any number of other things. Anything can be made “dirty”

        Anti-tobacco is not original, it creates nothing, it only reacts to what is and portrays the opposite.

        That passage continues –

        “First we must ask ourselves whether our society is one in which the major influences exercised on public opinion are such as would convey the impression that smoking is a dirty, antisocial practice, spoiling the enjoyment of youth and accelerating the onset of the deteriorations of old age.

        The answer to that is very easy. The usual presentation to the public is in the contrary sense. The commercial expenditure and professional skill devoted to presenting a socially desirable, youthful, glamorous picture of cigarette smoking must be at least a hundred times that which is devoted by health interests to present the true and sordidd picture. Can we seriously expect our projection to be effective against such a barrage?

        Whenever there have been gains in the removal of advertising of tobacco products from television or from particular media they are countered by the clever presentation of the message in other ways.

        In Britain every hoarding seems to carry the utterly false message which commercial promoters of cigarette sales use”

        I simply would not believe it if the merchants of death tell me that they incur the enormous expenditure they do in this presentation without expecting or knowing that it achieves any commercial benefit for them. Of course it does, they are not doing it to beautify the lives of their fellow men.

        If we had the legal right to counter the falsity of this message by overprinting the poster with the truth set out in large letters in contrasting colours, the enemy would be hoist with his own petard.”

        What they find attractive they demand to uglify, as Chapman notes –

        “Cigarette packs were once elegant accoutrements of style, but today their designer boxes are desecrated with images that have tested strongly in focus group to repulse and unsettle large proportions of smokers.

        Godber’s influence can even be seen in the FCTC guidelines

        Whenever there have been gains in the removal of advertising of tobacco products from television or from particular media they are countered by the clever presentation of the message in other ways

        Article 13 FCTC

        12. Retail sale and display.

        “Display of tobacco products at point of sale in itself constitutes advertising and promotion.Display of products is a key means of promoting tobacco products and tobacco use,including by stimulating impulse purchases of tobacco products,giving the impression that tobacco use is socially acceptable and making it harder for tobacco users to quit.

        13.To ensure that points of sale of tobacco products do not have any promotional elements. Parties should introduce a total ban on any display and on the visibility of tobacco products at points of sale, including fixed retail outlets and street vendors.
        Only textual listing of products and their prices, without any promotional elements, would be allowed.”

        16. Plain packaging.

        The effect of advertising or promotion on packaging can be eliminated by requiring plain packaging: black and white or two contrasting colours, as prescribed by national authorities: nothing other than a brand name and/or manufacturer’s name, contact details and the quantity of the product in the packaging, without any logos or other features apart from health warnings, tax stamps and other government mandated information or markings: prescribed font style and size: and standardized shape, size and materials.
        There should be no advertising or promotion inside or attached to the package or on individual cigarettes or other tobacco products”

    • beobrigitte says:

      I see that Dick has mentioned

      “foster an atmosphere where it was perceived that active smokers would injure those around them, especially their family and infants or young children who would be exposed involuntarily to the smoke in the air.”

      …. and these then YOUNG CHIIIILDREN have grown into adults who now would like to claim their pension. Since the government parked the pensions for the baby-boomers in the sand we are now being told that the baby-boomers are soooo healthy that they wish to continue work life.

      I would like an explanation.

      “Need there really be any difficulty about prohibiting smoking in more public places? The nicotine addicts would be petulant for a while, but why should we accord them any right to make the innocent suffer?”

      The “innocents” 40, 50, 60 years ago are still around. Suffer? I don’t remember any suffering unlike the health-obsessed suicidal generation nowadays with all sorts of previously unknown mental defects we old ones work for now…

  6. Joe L. says:

    From: American Defector From Islamic State Admits ‘Bad Decision’:

    An American who said he defected from the Islamic State has admitted he “wasn’t thinking straight” when he decided to go to the Middle East and join the militant group earlier this year.

    “It was pretty hard to live in Mosul. It’s not like Western countries. It’s very strict. There’s no smoking,” Khweis said during the interview, which also showed him puffing on a cigarette. “The lifestyle in Mosul was very difficult – not just for me, for everybody there. … I stayed there for about a month.”

    I completely disagree–I think Mosul sounds remarkably similar to Western countries. Today, if I leave my home, I can pretty much only smoke on public sidewalks, and I have a feeling even that isn’t going to be allowed for much longer.

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Well that’s when every smoker just simply smokes where they want too then. Your left nothing so you have nothing to lose by smoking wherever we want then. I can handle jail or a fight to some extent if they want to push it. Which you know they will!

    • Cecily Collingridge says:

      I’m not drinking Kozel… a tiny whisky and ginger ale has prompted the thought that all that needs to be done to destabilise and potentially overthrow ISIS is for mass temptation in the form of tons and tons of tobacco products be airdropped over Mosul and other ISIS-held areas. A sudden loss of discipline, desertion and a thriving black market could be exploited by Western powers.

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