Y2K, global warming, Christian rightwing fundamentalism, Marxist sectarianism

Jose G. Perez jgperez at SPAMfreepcmail.com
Sat Aug 21 18:31:01 MDT 1999

Thanks for your thoughtful comment on the Global Warming discussion.

I have been sceptical of claims that X, Y or Z is going to happen to the
weather since hearing a scientist debunk the "coming ice age" scare of a
couple of decades ago (remember that one?).

The news media plays an enormous role in creating these periodic phobias
with the most vulgar sort of "reporting." It was an everyday occurrence
until a couple of years ago that any particularly warm summer day would be
linked by the local weathercaster or newsanchor to global warming, to the
point where the Federal Government organized a symposium for weathermen in
D.C. to basically tell them to cut it out, that their "surprising" series of
record highs were due to the way statistics work, and to the heat island
effect of expanding urban zones, and not at all to a fraction of a degree
change in the mean global temperature over the previous year.

CNN's role in creating out of whole cloth the cell phone/brain cancer
hysteria has been well documented. I happened to catch the Larry King show
where this was put into circulation and was appalled by the utter
irresponsibility the network displayed, as it was clear as could be that
neither King nor his guests were capable intelligently discussing the topic,
and that what was involved was another one of those aberrations of the
American legal system and not even the slightest hint of scientific


-----Original Message-----
From: E.C.Apling <E.C.Apling at btinternet.com>
To: marxism at lists.panix.com <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Date: Tuesday, August 10, 1999 3:01 PM
Subject: RE: Y2K, global warming, Christian rightwing fundamentalism,
Marxist sectarianism

>A late response to Lou's comments on the second topic in the subject list:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: owner-marxism at lists.panix.com
>> [mailto:owner-marxism at lists.panix.com]On Behalf Of Louis Proyect
>> Sent: 06 August 1999 01:58
>> To: marxism at lists.panix.com
>> Subject: Re: Y2K, global warming, Christian rightwing fundamentalism,
>> Marxist sectarianism
>> Welch:
>> >Creative analysis might ask how the anti-capitalist
>> >demand for reduced growth tallies with bourgeois thought, how the rise
>> >environmentalism fits in with the current period of reaction and
>> so forth.
>> This is ridiculous. The need to reduce greenhouse emissions is one of the
>> must fundamental challenges to the survival of humanity. Coal and gas
>> to replaced by alternative energy sources, or else global warming
>> will kill
>> millions of people and wreak economic ruin on exactly those people who
>> Marxism seeks to lead to liberation. Severe weather patterns, such as
>> Hurricane Mitch last year, caused the death of over 100,000 Central
>> Americans. It is directly attributable to a more intense occurrence of El
>> Niño.
>> Scientists at MIT, Princeton and my own university Columbia, have
>> developed
>> computer models of global warming. There no longer is any
>> speculation about
>> its reality from credible sources. The tiny handful of skeptics are all
>> being funded by oil and gas companies.
>Not all skeptic scientists work for oil and gas companies - [I for one
>worked all my life in connection with FOOD and general "environmental
>questions"] - and these remarks almost provoked a sarcastic response at the
>time, but I am now prompted to comment by a series of letters published in
>the current issue of Chemistry in Britain - the monthly journal of the
>Society of Chemistry.  {Not for nothing was one of the first texts of
>chemistry, by Robert Boyle (1661) entitled "The Sceptical Chymist").
>The first point to make is that computer models are by no means the final
>word on any topic - they are completely subject to the problem referred to
>as GIGO (garbage in - garbage out), i.e. entirely subject to the
>and COMPLETENESS of the data entered into the model.  Global warming, in
>sense of indications of an increase in mean temperature of the earth over
>the, in geological terms, EXTREMELY SHORT time that data from satellites
>been recorded, is a FACT.  The PREDICTION that this will continue - or that
>its extent is caused by or can be altered by human intervention - is no
>and no less than a computer prediction, the reliability of which is
>Furthermore conclusions to the effect that global warming will lead to "the
>kill[ing} of millions of people and wreak economic ruin on exactly those
>people who Marxism seeks to lead to liberation" is completely ridiculous.
>There is, on the other hand, a case to be made that THIS is just what the
>political decisions made by governments on the specious excuse of
>"protecting the environment" can all too easily lead to....
>Since the origins of our species on this earth the climate has gone through
>a series of very (in geological terms) violent changes - to which our
>ancestors adapted ... it is nonsense to conclude that current climate
>changes must be entirely disastrous.  Climate changes have very different
>effects in different climatic regions of the world; clearly a substantial
>rise in sea level WOULD be disastrous for such areas as Bangladesh, the
>Netherlands and many island communities in the Pacific or elsewhere; but
>rise in CO2 levels INCREASE plant growth and in many areas of the world
>would help to INCREASE food production, provided always that sufficient
>water is available (and since water covers 2/3 of the earth's surface it
>should not be beyond the wit of man to ensure sufficient is available where
>required - even if at present the removal of salt from sea-water and
>transport of fresh water to where it is in short supply still remains a
>global problem!!!).
>I am reminded of the aphorism of H.L.Mencken to the effect that (sorry
>cannot find the exact reference - can someone else help?) a major ploy of
>politicians was to keep the populace in fear of (often imaginary) dangers
>order to maintain their support - and to quote from one of the letters in
>this month's Chemistry in Britain (from a US scientist):
>"Many environmental scientists are uncomfortably aware that the emperor is
>unclothed.  So why do we continue to preface our grant applications (me
>mea culpa) with solemn statements to the effect that our little proposed
>contribution may help to solve this horrible Cd/As/Hg, or whatever problem?
>The answer is professional survival."  [interpolation in brackets in the
>There is a horrible tendency to take any scientist's prediction of disaster
>as "gospel" and to ignore the fact that science is all about the TESTING of
>hypotheses.  Predictions are hypotheses to be tested by seeking further
>data - not just to be blindly accepted as if they are incontrovertible
>PS  The start of this thread concerned related issues - such as the furore
>about GMfoods - but I will leave further comment on that for the present,
>tho' some might may be interested to read the information on various links
>from my web-site at <http://www.btinternet.com/~e.c.apling/food.htm>.
>Mailto:E.C.Apling at btinternet.com

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