Climate Scientology, Islam, and Religious Fanaticism

William Happer on contemporary Climate Scientologists: “Disagreeing with them is like going to Saudi Arabia and criticizing Muhammad.”

Eric Hoffer: “[A]bsolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.”

 The so-called “Climate Gate” e-mail scandal simply confirms fraudulent activity masquerading as (albeit stubbornly contested) pseudo-scientific “modeling errors” which I reviewed last Christmas (12/25/08)—a bitterly cold day.

 Today (12/10/09) Paul Mulshine blogging at at the Star Ledger/, includes these revealing extracts from an interview with Princeton University Physics Professor, and Director of Research at the U.S. Department of Energy from 1990-1993, William Happer. Dr. Happer’s conclusion is that a religious cult of Climate Scientologists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has evolved, whose fanaticism he characterizes thusly:

“Disagreeing with them is like going to Saudi Arabia and criticizing Muhammad.”

And Happer’s apposite comparison recalls the late Eric Hoffer’s (d. 1983) observations on Islam from his seminal study of fanatical mass movements, The True Believer.  Below is the full context of Dr. Happer’s remarks from the Mulshine interview, followed by Hoffer’s insights regarding Islamic fanaticism (from The True Believer), and his related thoughts from other writings.

From the Mulshine interview, of Princeton Professor William Happer:

…Happer is a professor of physics at Princeton who has spent a lifetime studying the interactions of radiation with gases, a primary force behind the greenhouse effect. I gave him a call the other day to ask his reaction to the those e-mails originating from the University of East Anglia in England.“This has done a lot of damage to the reputation of science and the climate-science business in particular,” Hopper said. “I hope it is not transferred to all areas of science.” The e-mails revealed what amounted to a political campaign to promote the notion of anthropogenic global warming. This didn’t surprise Happer. He served as the director of energy research at the U.S. Department of Energy from 1990 to 1993. In that capacity, he supervised all of DOE’s work on climate change. Happer said he quickly realized the climate scientists were different from typical scientists. “They were a strange group of people, very politicized,” he said. “They would look at you and you could see them thinking, ‘What sort of answer does he want?’”

The answer the climate scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ended up giving has been immortalized in that notorious “hockey stick” graph. In testimony to Congress earlier this year, Happer described his initial reaction to that graph. “I could hardly believe my eyes,” he testified. “Both the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period were gone, and the newly revised temperature of the world since the year 1000 had suddenly become absolutely flat until the last hundred years, when it shot up like the blade on a hockey stick.”

We all learned about the Medieval Warm Period in grammar school, Happer noted. That was a warming period during which Greenland was literally green, and the Vikings colonized and farmed it. As for the Little Ice Age, that describes a period around the turn of the 19th century when the Thames River in London regularly froze over in winter.

Whatever caused those huge fluctuations, it wasn’t carbon dioxide, he said. Solar activity and changing ocean currents provide much more persuasive explanations. So why the emphasis on CO2? Simple. “If you want to get rid of CO2, you want to get rid of people,” he said. We humans are CO2 machines. Every breath you exhale has more than 100 times the carbon dioxide of the air you inhaled. And almost everything you do generates CO2 in one way or another.

In Happer’s opinion, the carbon-control movement is really a population-control movement. He traces it back through the “Population Bomb” movement of the late 1960s all the way to the 18th-century writings of Thomas Malthus.

Other scientists have said the same, but Happer says it the loudest. He terms the IPCC crowd a “religious cult” and says, “Disagreeing with them is like going to Saudi Arabia and criticizing Muhammad.” As for the media, we’ve been guilty of putting our faith in the carbon cult as well, he said. “In spite of what you read in the papers, there has been no warming for 10 years,” said Happer.

Eric Hoffer, from The True Believer (pp. 107-108) on Islamic fanaticism, and its coercive imposition:

There is evidence that the coerced convert is often as fanatical in his adherence to the new faith as the persuaded convert, and sometimes even more so. It is not always true that ‘He who complies against his will is of his own opinion still.’ [Note: Or as per Koran 2:256, ‘There is no compulsion religion’—best understood as a statement of disappointed resignation, not an affirmation of “Islamic tolerance,”—an idea which the great Koranic scholar Rudy Paret left for us to learn] Islam imposed its faith by force, yet the coerced Muslims displayed a devotion to the new faith more ardent than that of the first Arabs engaged in the movement…Islam obtained from its coerced converts ‘a faith ever tending to grow stronger.’ Fanatical orthodoxy is in all movements a late development. It comes when the movement is in full possession of power and can impose its faith by force as well as by persuasion.

Subsequently Hoffer would note (from, “Thoughts of Eric Hoffer, Including: ‘Absolute Faith Corrupts Absolutely,’” The New York Times Magazine, April 25, 1971, p. 24.),

There are similarities between absolute power and absolute faith: a demand for absolute obedience, a readiness to attempt the impossible, a bias for simple solutions—to cut the knot rather than unravel it, the viewing of compromise as surrender. Both absolute power and absolute faith are instruments of dehumanization. Hence, absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.

And in The Temper of Our Time (p. 124), Hoffer provided this assessment regarding the noble, but sober aspirations of decent, ordinary citizens of free societies, which are antithetical to the utopian yearnings of both Climate Scientology adherents, and fanatical votaries of Islam:

“Free men are aware of the imperfection inherent in human affairs, and they are willing to fight and die for that which is not perfect. They know that basic human problems can have no final solutions, that our freedom, justice, equality, etc. are far from absolute, and that the good life is compounded of half measures, compromises, lesser evils, and gropings toward the perfect. The rejection of approximations and the insistence on absolutes are the manifestation of a nihilism that loathes freedom, tolerance, and equity.”

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