Wave The Magic Wand

I was thinking about magic and magic wands and magical thinking this morning when I came across something Leggie had written, which contained an image

And I thought: There’s the magic wand I’m looking for.

Leggie said it was Nisakiman’s elegant idea for a “smokers welcome here” sign. And it is indeed very elegant.

But for me it was a magic wand being waved. It was the magic wand I was thinking about this morning, and which had now materialised in front of my eyes.

And what I was thinking this morning was that cigarettes had become magic wands which could do anything. Absolutely anything.

I’ve been collecting the health warnings on tobacco packs. My current set, carefully cut out with scissors, declare that Smoking Clogs Your Arteries, Smokers’ Children Are More Likely To Start Smoking, Smoking Increases The Risk Of Blindness, Quit Smoking – Stay Alive For Those Close To You, Smoking Can Kill Your Unborn Child, Smoking Increases The Risk Of Impotence, Smoking Causes Strokes And Disability, Your Smoke Harms Your Children, Family And Friends.

All you need do is wave the little magic wand, and your arteries will clog, and you’ll suffer a stroke, and become disabled, blind, and impotent. And so will your children and friends and family, if you’ve got any.

And there are plenty more things that the little magic wand can do. It can do more or less anything. I’ve yet to hear of anything it can’t do.

Magical thinking is the belief that all you need do is wave some magic wand, and something remarkable will happen. That from some very small cause (waving a wand) some very large effect (the death of millions) will follow.

Homeopathy is based on the same idea: that the more dilute some medicament becomes, the more powerful its effect.

And I think that the same kind of magical thinking is present in global warming alarmism. And here the magic wand is trace amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Just the slightest sprinkling of this magic dust, and the atmosphere will heat up and roast everybody alive.

And that’s really why I’m as interested and engaged in the global warming scare as I am in the smoking scare: because they’re both the same sort of scare. They both have the same structure and logic underlying them.

We live in an age of magical thinking. And I’m fighting against magical thinking.

Currently, as I construct a new explanation for the global warming we’re enjoying in our current Holocene interglacial period, I’m proposing that carbon dioxide has next to nothing to do with it, and it’s instead being caused by the release of heat locked up deep inside the Earth.

For I think that the magical thinkers in the climate science community were looking round for something that could cause ice sheets to melt, and carbon dioxide was the only thing they could find that might have done it. And if it wasn’t at all obvious that this trace gas could perform this herculean task, they constructed elaborate arguments to show how its effects could be amplified, in a sort of chain reaction.

And this seems to be how magical thinking starts. Some cause for something is proposed (smoking for lung cancer, carbon dioxide for global warming), and in the absence of a better explanation, the initial modest proposal rapidly hardens into an unquestionable dogma. It becomes a fact of life. Anyone who doubts it is ridiculed, and even fired from their job.

The only real answer in such circumstances is to find the true cause. If carbon dioxide is to be acquitted of causing global warming, the real culprit must be tracked down. And if cigarettes are to be acquitted of the crime of causing lung cancer, the real culprit must be found.

I have no idea what causes lung cancer (although I have entertained some ideas). I just don’t believe that it’s caused by the little magic wand of the cigarette. But now that the blame has been pinned on cigarettes, there will be no end to the persecution of tobacco, tobacco companies, and smokers while the true culprit remains elusive.

But I have (I believe) a very good idea of what the true culprit behind global warming is. It’s the elephant in the room: it’s the vast bulk of the Earth beneath our feet. That’s what’s been causing the warming.

And if I’ve been able to spot this possibility, it’s because for many years I used to be a university researcher who built heat flow models of buildings, and I got to have a bit of a feel for heat flow. And not many people build such models. The laws of physics governing heat flow are well known to millions of scientists and engineers, but most of them aren’t actually working with those laws. They’re looking at stars and atoms and electrons and neutrinos. Their eyes are fixed elsewhere. They’re trying to solve different problems. And many of them are very good at solving those problems. All I’ve done is to use my experience in building conductive heat flow models many years ago to build a conductive heat flow model of the Earth, or rather a radial 6,371 km long column into the Earth. And what I’m seeing is very similar to what I used to see so many years ago.

Of course I may be wrong, but if I am wrong then all the heat flow equations I’ve been using must be wrong too.

Magical thinking grows from exaggerating the likelihood or the effect of something, magnifying the improbable into the certain, the ineffectual into the omnipotent. It’s perhaps a natural propensity, once some causal agency has been identified, to disregard any alternative explanation, and to grow ever more convinced of that explanation.

But it would seem that it is also powered by an intense need to find an explanation. For when, a century ago, cases of lung cancer started multiplying, it became a matter of urgency to discover the cause of this new epidemic.

And there is equally well an urgent need for us humans to discover the cause of the very real global warming that has occurred in the past 15,000 – 20,000 years, without which we would still be living in an ice age. We really need to know why that happened, and what might stop it happening. The lives of all of us depend on it. And not just us, but every future generation of men and women and plants and animals living on this little planet of ours. It’s imperative that we find out. It’s a far greater imperative than finding out what causes lung cancer. It’s a far more serious problem.

They think that the warming was caused by carbon dioxide. But I think they’ve been engaging in magical thinking. I think they’ve vastly exaggerated the amount of warming carbon dioxide might cause. I think they’re conducting a witch hunt against not just carbon dioxide, but the element Carbon.

If some other cause of the warming can be found, the witch hunt will come to an end. And the certainty and the zealotry of the global warming alarmists will dissolve. And if they realise they were barking up the wrong tree in one matter, it might encourage them to see that they could be barking up the wrong tree in other matters as well. Like with smoking and cancer.

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About Frank Davis

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12 Responses to Wave The Magic Wand

  1. Rose says:

    If some other cause of the warming can be found, the witch hunt will come to an end

    You are being too logical.
    The witch hunt won’t end because all those with time, money and personal belief invested in it will fight like fury to keep it going. Nobody likes to be made to look a fool.

  2. Dmitry Kosyrev says:

    Stole your idea for my next column, with a bit of my own thoughts. Sorry, and thanks.

  3. torquaymada says:

    An elegant touch of Gitanes about it.

  4. “And this seems to be how magical thinking starts. Some cause for something is proposed (smoking for lung cancer, carbon dioxide for global warming), and in the absence of a better explanation, the initial modest proposal rapidly hardens into an unquestionable dogma. It becomes a fact of life. Anyone who doubts it is ridiculed, and even fired from their job.”

    In both scenarios, the “magic thinking” of the causes, results in the necessity to control behavior and remove freedoms. It’s the classic scam of creating a problem so one can implement a solution, with far reaching consequences. That is the real elephant in the room. The true answers aren’t sought or welcomed by anyone who operates the control structure. Magic thinking is only ever a red herring, a made up problem in order to implement a solution and gain control over people.

  5. waltc says:

    I have to agree they’ll fight tooth and claw to protect their “the debate is over” hypothesis. Look what happened to James Enstrom. And the guys whose study said cancer was random bad luck got attacked every whichway by the lifestyle mongers

    http://blogs.plos.org/onscienceblogs/2015/01/16/cancer-bad-luck-bad-science-writing-maybe-bad-paper/#comment-31414

    And then, in a later paper, recanted, saying that while most cancers were random, lung cancer was definitely caused by smoking.

  6. Rose says:

    Unlike Frank’s theory of Ice Ages which may well be true but doesn’t blame anyone and therefore can never make any money, Climate Change makes lots of money and keeps lots of people employed.

    Quantifying historical carbon and climate debts among nations
    2015

    “Large fractions of this debt are carried by industrialized countries, but also by countries with high levels of deforestation and agriculture. These calculations could contribute to discussions of climate responsibility by providing a tangible way to quantify historical inequalities, which could then inform the funding of mitigation, adaptation and the costs of loss and damages in those countries that have contributed less to historical warming.”
    https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate2774

    Suggesting any warming phase is only part of the global cycles of the Earth is going to make a lot of people very cross.

    Bear in mind that we may still have the freedom to think because we we born before it started, but later generations have not.

    A bedtime story about drowning kittens and puppies… Labour’s £6m campaign to highlight the dangers of climate change

    2009
    “The ad, being broadcast at prime-time as part of a £6million campaign, shows a father telling his daughter a story about climate change destroying the world.
    Cartoon images appear on screen: A puppy drowns in floods, a kitten floats by on an upturned table and a rabbit weeps as drought sweeps the earth.

    The father tells his daughter that scientists say the ‘strange weather’ is being caused ‘by too much CO2, which went up into the sky when the grown ups used too much energy’.
    He tells her that if ‘grown-ups’ turned off things such as lightbulbs ‘maybe they could save the land for the little children’. The child looks up at her father and asks: ‘Is there a happy ending?’

    A female voice-over then says: ‘It’s up to us how it ends. See what you can do.’ The Department of Energy and Climate Change launched the commercial as part of its Act on CO2 campaign. But critics say the 70-second ad is misleading because it presents as fact disputed scientific evidence that humans have caused climate change.

    A Downing Street petition that calls on the Government to ‘stop wasting taxpayers’ money on climate change propaganda designed to frighten our children’ has attracted more than 100 signatures.

    Tory MP Philip Davies called the film ‘ludicrously appalling’. He said: ‘This advert shows how threadbare the Government’s argument is when it has to resort to scaring children about climate change.
    ‘If the Government really wanted to stop puppies drowning it would stop building thousands of new houses on flood plains.”
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1221577/A-bedtime-story-drowning-kittens-puppies–Labours-6m-campaign-highlight-dangers-climate-change.html

    Now look up the Climate Change programmes for schools.
    That’s some powerful religion.

  7. Joe L. says:

    But it would seem that it is also powered by an intense need to find an explanation. For when, a century ago, cases of lung cancer started multiplying, it became a matter of urgency to discover the cause of this new epidemic.

    This sense of urgency is manufactured. It is the result of what Some Other Tom describes above: creating a “problem” in order to implement a pre-determined, desired “solution.” The likes of Tobacco Control and Climate Control stir up fear and axiety of some frightening unknown (lung cancer, global warming, etc.). They then supplant the unknown with something tangible (smoking, carbon dioxide, etc.), thus directing the fears and anxieties of the public toward a bogeyman of their choosing. And they do this under the guise of science, even though there is never any real, conclusive scientific evidence to back up their claims. They don’t need any because among the general public, science is gospel and fears and emotions are far more prominent and powerful than skepticism and rational, critical thought.

    This is the contemporary blueprint for social engineering which, when effective, results in widespread, unquestionable “magical thinking.”

    • Frank Davis says:

      In answer to both you and Tom, it’s my impression that instead of Tobacco Control and Climate Control creating a “problem”, they always join the bandwagon of some legitimate existing concern, and hijack it for their own purposes.

      For example, the environmental movement of the 1960s and 70s was primarily concerned about the environment, and wasn’t overtly political in its goals. But it got taken over by assorted leftists whose interests were primarily political, and they started using it as another stick with which to beat capitalism. Patrick Moore, who was a founder member of Greenpeace has described the process, which ended up with him leaving it.

      I get the impression that climate science was another little backwater discipline, in which people were interested in, well, climate, until it became similarly politicised.

  8. Rose says:

    All you need do is wave the little magic wand, and your arteries will clog, and you’ll suffer a stroke, and become disabled, blind, and impotent. And so will your children and friends and family, if you’ve got any

    Quite the reverse, you are describing a curse using sigils printed all over the packaging that has cleverly been designed to make sure that you carry it close to your person inside your clothes.

    “A sigil is a symbol used in magic. The term has usually referred to a type of pictorial signature of a demon or other entity; in modern usage, especially in the context of chaos magic, it refers to a symbolic representation of the magician’s desired outcome”

    Your shirt design reflects those images and words back outwards and could theoretically be a used as a shield. Magical thinking is not what you believe it to be as you are using that expression as a derogatory term.

    After all, anti-tobacco has tried everything from religion and animal experiments to epidemiology, “science” and the massive power of government and still hasn’t truly won, now it’s resorting to extremes.

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