Childish Myths that We Know Perfectly Well

Sir David Attenborough is a British institution. He’s a 93 year old naturalist and broadcaster. I can’t remember a time when he wasn’t on television, fronting one documentary or other about the natural world of plants and animals.

I don’t remember him as being a particularly political figure, but in recent years he’s become increasingly outspoken about Global Warming. The latest:

“The moment of crisis has come” in efforts to tackle climate change, Sir David Attenborough has warned.

According to the renowned naturalist and broadcaster, “we have been putting things off for year after year”.

“As I speak, south east Australia is on fire. Why? Because the temperatures of the Earth are increasing,” he said.

Sir David’s comments came in a BBC News interview to launch a year of special coverage on the subject of climate change.

He told me it was “palpable nonsense” for some politicians and commentators to suggest that the Australian fires were nothing to do with the world becoming warmer.

“We know perfectly well,” he said, that human activity is behind the heating of the planet…

Another Briton, almost as illustrious as Sir David, is 67 year old polymath Lord Christopher Monckton, who writes:

This will be a long posting, because it is necessary to nail the childish myth that global warming caused the bushfires in Australia. The long, severe drought in Australia, culminating in the most extensive bushfires in recent history, ought to have aroused sympathy for the cattle-ranchers who have lost their livestock and the citizens who have lost their homes. But no. Instead, those who profiteer by asserting that global warming is the cause of every extreme-weather event have rushed to state – falsely – that an “overwhelming scientific consensus” (to cite the Greens’ website) blames the incidence, extent, duration and severity of the drought and bushfires on the somewhat warmer weather caused by our having increased the atmospheric CO2 concentration by about 1 part in 10,000 from 0.03% to 0.04% by volume.

Nearly all of the news media have taken the line that capitalism in general and the non-socialist governing coalition in particular are to blame. Nearly all have failed to mention the true causes of the current firestorm…

So which is it? Do we “know perfectly well” that humans are causing global warming? Or is it just a “childish myth”? Who should you believe: Sir David or Lord Christopher? Both speak with equal conviction.

Is it any wonder if some people will believe one, and some will believe the other? And others will be left confused?

My own inclination is to place more trust in Christopher Monckton than in David Attenborough, because the former has a good understanding of the physics of heat exchange, and the latter does not. Not that this is particularly meaningful, as plenty of climate alarmists also have a good understanding of the physics, and plenty of climate sceptics do not.

My own view is that climate change is a largely imaginary threat, in the same way that environmental tobacco smoke is an imaginary threat. But it seems to be a feature of our time that imaginary threats are built up into terrifying proportions.

I also think that meat, sugar, butter, fat, salt, chocolate, and fast food are imaginary threats.

About Frank Davis

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10 Responses to Childish Myths that We Know Perfectly Well

  1. mandy vincent says:

    It is refreshing to hear different opinions on news in Australia, ours would not dare say anything against the new climate alarmists. Gave up watching Sir David, when he never shut up about global warming in his last few shows. –

  2. Vlad says:

    ”I also think that meat, sugar, butter, fat, salt, chocolate, and fast food are imaginary threats.” I think you’re wrong about sugar and particularly sugar/fat (as in seed oils/sugar) combinations. We’re not evolved to handle the amount of sugar or the type of garbage (sugar/fat combinations) that fill a good part of supermarket shelves nowadays. That’s clear from an evolutionary point, epidemiological and lab studies, both on animals and humans. In contrast with smoking, where evolutionary speaking, there’s a case to be made that we’ve adapted to smoke from burning plants, animal lab studies show no harm but benefits from smoking and epidemiological studies are a mixed bag.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’ve been sweetening my tea with granulated white sugar for the past 60 years of my life, and I have no intention of stopping doing so. I reject ALL their health advice as a matter of principle, and do the opposite of what they advise. If nothing else, it’sbecause I think they’re trying to kill us all.

      • waltc says:

        All things in moderation.

      • Vlad says:

        Even a broken watch is right twice a day, isn’t it? It’s not the sugar in tea/coffee that’s the issue…but the amount of sugar in cereals, coke, sweets etc and the sugar/fats in most prepackaged foods which make them high calorie but low nutrient. Put a kid on this type of diet coupled with lack of exercise (which in part is mediated by the crappy food) and you get a sick population and cries of ‘the NHS is bursting at the seams’. Just because ‘public health’ is a disgrace and tries to solve these problems with ridiculous measures like banning smoking in hospitals’ car parks and putting a sugar tax on coke, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of ourselves and eat whatever there is on the supermarket shelf.

        • Frank Davis says:

          high calorie but low nutrient

          What does that mean? Energy – calories – is what we need to power everything we do. The rest – proteins, vitamins, and minerals – are concerned with the maintenance of the engine that does the work, Usually we need far more energy than anything else, in the same way that cars need far more petrol than they need lubricating oil. So “high calorie but low nutrient” always looks just fine to me. The only problem with high calorie food is if you consume more calories than you burn, and start building up fat. But that fat is just stored energy which can be burnt off. So what’s so bad about that? Thin guys like me won’t survive famines, but fat guys are much more likely to do so.

        • Vlad says:

          donuts, crisps, coke – high calorie but low/no nutrient…a constant diet of this stuff gives the body lots of energy to be stored as fat and wreaks havoc with the metabolism, one consequence being that the body is constantly hungry (for micro-nutrients, proteins) despite being provided with more than enough energy. So one ends up malnourished (with all the negative consequences of that – from all sorts of diseases to low energy) and overweight/obese – apparently a paradox, as we associate malnourished with pictures of starving kids from Africa.

          I can’t imagine a scenario where ”high calorie but low nutrient” would be fine…even when one does a lot of effort like weightlifting, running which would take care of the ”high calorie” part, the ”low nutrient” part would lead to injuries, fatigue etc.

  3. David says:

    Perhaps you should read some of the articles on the site you linked to where the Monckton article is published, in particular ‘The Great CO2 Swindle.’ I remain moderately skeptical about the seriousness of global warming, but anyone who thinks it’s forbidden by the 2nd law of thermodynamics is scientifically illiterate.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I suspect that Monckton published the original piece elsewhere, and it got re-posted somewhere else, and that’s where I came across it. Also I usually judge articles on their own merits, or on the merits of their authors, rather than the platform or the company company on which they’re found.

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