Allan Takes Aim Blog

Will year 13 prove lucky for some people?

Posted on: 20 December 2012

No doubt the Mayans, would be disappointed that their prediction of the world ending on December 21 didn’t happen. I venture to suggest that the IPCC scientists who predict earthly doom due to global warming and climate change will be equally disappointed.

Will year 13 prove lucky for some people?

It’s coming to the end of 2012, a year which has had some momentous moments that will be remembered more for the tragedy they engendered than the joy they brought. Hopefully year 13 will not only prove lucky for some but lucky for everyone and a year when nightmares economic, political and social will not be a year that causes sleepless nights.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if on January 1st of the coming year, politicians the world over made New Year resolutions they actually meant to keep not ambiguous resolutions that allow them to wriggle out of promises they made to voters. Perhaps when making promises they will think of the following words: ‘a gram of truth is worth more than a million kilos of false promises.’

And perhaps ‘expert’ scientists will do the same and spend less time saying this, probably is what will happen, an adroit method of avoiding telling people the truth without telling a lie. A good example of scientists doing this can be seen in the current climate change debate where scientists from the IPCC predict the probability an apocalyptic global warming that will cause climate change and consign the earth and themselves to extinction if humans do not change their ways.

Unfortunately, more and more scientists as knowledgeable about global warming and climate change as IPCC scientists, dissent from these predictions. They accept that as time goes by global warming will occur, that climates in various parts of the world will change and also accept that the change can be attributed, in part, to anthropogenic activity.

They say these changes have been a continuing process in the world since the evolution of man but that over the millenniums man developed technology to help him survive these changes. That say also that while technology such as wind power, solar panels and the multitude of other energy saving systems will do little to conserve energy use they will destroy the earth’s visual landscape. Then there are dissenters who, even if not scientists, believe that, even if the world changes, man with his innovative capacity will survive long into the future because he will have developed new survival technology not only for the near future but for the countless millenniums to come.

That apart, what I find disturbing about global warming and climate change scientists is their seeming lack of common sense. Their vision of limited range sees the future only in terms of what they see around them today or at best a few decades. Unfortunately there is no Copernicus or Galileo – whose imaginations created pictures of the future that their contemporaries neither understood nor believed right or possible- to disturb their vision.

Many scientists today mentally inhabit a world that would not be unfamiliar to da Vinci. They doubt unorthodox thinking. They see progress only in terms they understand. They are the people who dip their toes into the ocean’s edge at low tide but never go further. I venture to suggest also, that had those early dissenters been listened to, the world today would be a vastly different place.

Unfortunate as it is, people with imagination, even if well qualified, are still regarded as eccentrics by those in their peer group whose minds run on tracks that never deviate and never stop at either the Inventiveness or Imagination stations. The truth is, many scientists today are like well – trained mechanics, they can mend machines but cannot invent them.

Fortunately, and although scarce, many scientists with imagination are to be found among the great contributors to the science fiction novel genre. Let me list a few: Arthur C Clarke, with degrees in mathematics and physics from Kings College London; Isaac Asimov with a Ph.D in Biochemistry from Columbia Universit in the US; or Ursula K.Le Guin with an MA also from Columbia.

I have never met any of these scientists and am never likely to be in a position to tell them that many of their ideas about a future world will actually come to pass. At the same time however, I would ask them also why do they think so many scientists see the world of the future as they see the world today?

Do they think perhaps, that the latter are members of the Julius Sextus Frontinus club, a club formed in honour of a senior Roman engineer who in 10 AD said: ‘Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments?’

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15 Responses to "Will year 13 prove lucky for some people?"

I must point out that Frontinus was specifically refering to “engines of war” not all invention. I take it you are unswayed by the recently leaked draft report, the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), from the IPCC showing that their past predictions, after adjustment for factors not included in the original predictions, are close to the observed data nor the data showing that non anthropogenic warming such as solar variabilty or cosmic rays or volcanism contribute much to the current trend. When you eliminate the natural causes it becomes increasingly difficult to sustain a non-anthropogenic argument.

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