Charles Philip Arthur George, the prince of Wales and the man who would unfortunately be king, sees doomsday in the near future. Apparently his foreknowledge is a function of his royal super powers. He’s seeing something no one else is.
Of course there’s good reason for that.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Prince Charles, addressing foreign ministers from around the Commonwealth last week. “I am firmly of the view that the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survivable levels and to restore nature to the equilibrium we need for our survival.”
The prince wasn’t wearing a sandwich board sign declaring “The End Is Nigh.” It wouldn’t have been expected of a distinguished gentlemen from a royal bloodline. But it would have been fitting.
A little more than a decade ago, about 124 months in the past, the prince announced the world had “less than 100 months” to save itself. He revised his doomsday prediction in 2015 to 35 years. Now he’s certain that it’s 18 months. What he’ll be predicting next week is anyone’s guess.
But being a global warming alarmist means never having to admit error.
Al Gore, who invented both the Internet and global warming, predicted in 2006 there would be no Arctic within five years. In 2007, 2008, and 2009 he said the pole would be ice-free some time around 2013.
Also in 2006, “while preening at the Sundance Film Festival,” he declared “unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases” were “taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return.” We would be suffering “a true planetary emergency.”
He was wrong on all counts. As have all the other global warming prophets who’ve warned us disaster is imminent. Yet they continue to stir fears, and speak with a dead-set certainty that leaves no room for backtracking.
What these zealots have forgotten, or maybe have never known, is that no one knows what will happen in the future. A few events are predictable. Economics accurately predicts what will occur when supply and/or demand change. But beyond that, history shows that we have no idea what’s coming next.
Author Michael Crichton made this clear in a 2002 speech in which he said “nobody knows what the future holds.”
Paul Ehrlich, described by Crichton as a “brilliant academic,” has been, for example, “wrong in nearly all his major predictions,” including prophecies “about diminishing resources … the population explosion” and the loss of half of all species.
The late Crichton listed quite a few real-world misses — including Y2K — before quoting Mark Twain, who said, “I’ve seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it never came to pass.”
In another speech the following year, Crichton elaborated on scientific “consensus,” which he regarded “as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks.”
“It is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. When you hear the consensus of scientists agree on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.”
Consensus, said Crichton, is the “business of politics,” not science. It is, in fact, “irrelevant” in science.
“If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”
Crichton cites a number of pivotal moments in history when the “consensus” was wrong: the pellagra outbreak in the 1920s, a half-century of denying continental drift, ideas on smallpox, germ theory, margarine, and nuclear winter — his list of “dramatic, damaging errors of the consensus goes on and on.”
Remember this when Gore says a consensus among researchers has settled the science on global warming, or when a journalist lazily, and uncritically, claims there is overwhelming evidence that human production of carbon dioxide is overheating Earth. Skepticism is healthy.
Continually menacing the populace with empty doomsday predictions, however, is not.
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