There is a neat little story here at the Times on-âline about the world being âoemisledâ regardÂing the disÂapÂpearÂance of HimÂalayan glaciers.
Well, no, letâ(TM)s cut to the FACTS for once.
1. In 1999 the New SciÂentÂist teleÂphones a chap called Syed Hasnain, who was workÂing at the JawaÂharlal Nehru UniÂverÂsity in Delhi.
2. Syed specÂuÂlates that HimÂalayan glaÂciers could vanÂish by AD 2035. Syed has ZERO formal research to supÂport this idle speculation.
3. The New SciÂentÂist pubÂlishes Syedâ(TM)s unsupÂporÂted idle specÂuÂlaÂtion as a facÂtual scare story.
4. In 2007, the IPCC (InterÂgovÂernÂmental Panel on CliÂmate Change) havÂing read the New SciÂentÂist, repeats Syedâ(TM)s idle specÂuÂlaÂtion as a facÂtual scare story.
Just to be absoÂlutely clear here, this scare story is total bullshit.
This isnâ(TM)t an isolÂated incidÂent, you can look at any subÂject you choose and find basicÂally the exact same story.
What could be more difÂferÂent from global warmÂing, man made or othÂerÂwise, than rape?
Well, sad to say, it is the same story with rape, the claim that âoeless than 2% of rape claims are falseâ has exactly the same basis, a specÂuÂlatÂive comÂment, backed up by preÂcisely ZERO formal research, in that case stated by one Susan BrownÂmiller, who herÂself pulled this figÂure from a mimeoÂgraph handout
And yet, today this âoe2%â figÂure is banÂdied about by sex crime proÂfesÂsionÂals in exactly the same manÂner as the âoeglaÂciers gone by 2035â was banÂdied about by cliÂmate proÂfesÂsionÂals. ThankÂfully, not all of them.
The infamÂous 2001 Nigeran YelÂlowÂcake scanÂdal is yet another example. Not only is is trivial to uncover more examples of this kind of intelÂlecÂtual disÂhonÂesty and short cirÂcuitÂing, it is herÂculean borÂderÂing on impossible to tabÂuÂlate all examples of this kind of intelÂlecÂtual disÂhonÂesty and short cirÂcuitÂing, simply because it is such a comÂmonÂplace occurrence.
THIS IS THE POINT.
These are the leadÂing proÂfesÂsionÂals in their respectÂive fields, talkÂing comÂplete and utter bullshit.
So where does this leave othÂerÂwise intelÂliÂgent and eduÂcated people, who do not hapÂpen to be experts in the area in question?
ObviÂously, given that even leadÂing proÂfesÂsionÂals in their own fields of expertÂise are apt to simply abort all logical thought and simply accept as gosÂpel, anyÂthing said by anyÂone who appears to be a felÂlow expert in a simÂilar or related field, the options for intelÂliÂgent and eduÂcated people who are not experts in said parÂticÂuÂlar field are slim indeed.
One would have thought that with the advent of InformÂaÂtion TechÂnoÂlogy, a lot of this would be addressed, e.g. interÂnet access to weather staÂtions around the world via the web would allow us to verify claims that, for example, NorÂilsk is the coldÂest city on earth, on average.
Sadly, that has not happened, what has happened is InformÂaÂtion TechÂnoÂlogy has transÂformed into DisÂinÂformÂaÂtion TechÂnoÂlogy, we are left with a conÂsensus view, which is the exact opposÂite of a sciÂentific view.
The conÂsensus view states that the sun revolves around the earth, and the earth itself is flat.
The conÂsensus view in many USA states is that the earth is 4,000 years old and dinoÂsaur fossils are carÂbon datÂing et al are just tricks put there by God to test our faith in Him.
The conÂsensus view is WikiÂpeÂdia. If you are extremely lucky, it will tell you a small part of the truth, and a few lies, while omitÂting the bulk of the truth needed to have a sciÂenÂtificÂally accurÂate overÂall view and underÂstandÂing of a subject.
Only a few weeks ago someone hacked Van Morrisonâ(TM)s webÂsite, and announced that he was a father, again, at the age of 64, within a very short space of time every major newsÂpaÂper on the planet is statÂing this as fact. See The Times again.
There is an old adage about a stopped watch telling the corÂrect time twice a day (thus being more accurÂate than a watch that loses 5 second every hour).
We are enterÂing an era of DisÂinÂformÂaÂtion TechÂnoÂlogy where we need a new adage, âoeDo not believe a single thing that you read, see, or hearâ because you will be wrong less often than if you do what most of us do now, and believe, at least partly, much of what we read, see or hear.