“The Silence is Settled”: Breaking the Science on Climate Change

 

The following remarks, by Prof. Patrick McGorry AO FAA FASSA FRCP FRANZCP, were made at the Hearing Aid climate concert in Melbourne last Saturday. (Dr McGorry was introduced by special guest George Marshall, according to the Australian custom of flying in celebrities from better countries to lend gravitas to an occasion.) Many thanks to Antipodean correspondent Brad Keyes for the transcript.

Thank you George. Dr Marshall’s gracious words remind me of a poem about suppressed and censored peoples.

From coast to coast the cry rang out:
We are silenced; we dare not speak out!

This breathtaking couplet captures the plight of the average climate advocate in today’s anti-climate atmosphere so poignantly, I think, that it’s hard to believe it was penned by one Leslie Fiedler, a philosopher of the 1950s.

Ironically, Fiedler was a notorious opponent of communism, so he must be spinning in his grave to be quoted at a concert for climate action! [Pause for laughter.]

But—just as we revere the music of Wagner above all others—surely we’re allowed to appreciate the lyricism of a writer whose personal views we find abhorrent.

Anyway, today is all about global-warming silence.

I’ve always said the tragedy of climate change is that nobody ever mentions it in any medium.

mcgorry

A voice for sanity: Prof. McGorry [in foreground, texting while walking] considers climate change “the greatest civilizational threat since the Allies faced the Nazis, or the Japanese faced the Americans.” He is best known for his crusade against mental-illness funding, which he describes as “throwing good money after mad.”

Sadly, the problem (of reticence, not of global warming itself!) starts with the very people we call simply The Scientists.

For various interesting reasons which are far too interesting to go into here, the climate-academic community has never really embraced the limelight as readily as their less talented, but more telegenic, colleagues in such “feel good” areas as bowel-cancer and diabetes research. As a result, climatology has completely missed out on the massive funding bonanza from which the other, “sexier” sciences have benefited in recent decades.

Aliens will one day look back on the last years of our civilization and shake their pumpkin-sized heads in sadness to think of our societal priorities, which (if you’ll excuse my French) are completely fucked up jusqu’à en être.

Even as the Earth’s seas “literally boil” in the words of one respected oceanographer, what do we do?

We squander research grants and celebrity endorsements and intellectual capital on purely theoretical dangers like Alzheimer’s, a disease which—as its shrillest proponents are forced to admit!—they can’t even guarantee will affect any specific member of the community, and even if it does, may or may not be a causative factor in their death.

Yes, you heard right: there’s a very real chance that you might never die of dementia.

Of course, it’s not in the interests of the pharmaceutical cartels, carers’ groups or a whole phalanx of “charities” for you to know this—we don’t call it a victimhood industry for nothing!—but it’s true. Take a look beyond the panic and the hype—look at the statistics behind the panic and the hype, and you’ll be appalled by the facts about Alzheimer’s.

For example, did you know that the closest the average Australian will come to experiencing it is having to nurse a dying, confused relative through their final years of suffering and terror? Of course not. And you’d never guess from the hysteria with which we’ve been taught to agonize over the academic possibility of losing our own marbles, would you?

We truly do live in a culture of fear.

Yet whether you’re a mathematical biologist or a climate psychiatrist like me, just try asking for a few bucks to study the devastating impacts of climate change on your field.

You’re likely to be met with blank stares and furrowed brows. “Global whatting? Whattal warming?”

Unless and until “climate change” becomes a household phrase in English, what hope do we have, as a species, of responding in time to save our children’s lives? Slim to Buckley’s.

That’s why I’ve always supported the work of people like George Marshall, a leader in the field of getting us—the people—to talk about the dangers of not talking about our culture of climate silence.

Just the other week, in my beloved home town [pause for cheers], I had the honor of cutting the ribbon on a multimillion-dollar Centre of Excellence for the understanding of popular indifference and governmental neglect around the global-warming issue.

MICIR, the Melbourne Institute for Climate Ignorance Research, has a simple mission: to make Australia a world leader, or at least a world player, in tackling a threat which threatens all of us, particularly those too small and cute to defend themselves—our children, and their children before them.

So I want to thank everyone who’s made these historic Hearing Aid concerts so successful. But you didn’t come here to hear me, no pun intended, did you? Without further ado, let me vacate the stage for my close personal acquaintance “Chris Martin,” the eco-friendly ‘rockstar of rock,’ and his amazing band “Cosplay.” Enjoy, and don’t forget to give generously.

Together, we can broach the topic of climate change.◼︎

Pat McGorry is a world-respected, highly-paid professor whose mental health and other achievements were recognized in 2010 by the award of Australian of the Year.


UPDATE: In the comments section of Dr George Marshall’s climate-silence blog, un certain agent provocateur based—where else?—in France and named—what else?—Geoff Chambers has the bad man­ners to sow doubts as to Lord Marshall’s basic numeracy. Darrell Harb informs us that he tried to come to the academic’s aid by neutralizing the agitator, but that Distinguished Professor Marshall was too embarrassed by the praise implicit in his comment to allow it to be published. It is therefore our duty to reproduce it here.

Geoff,

Professor Marshall is a busy climate math­ematician who teaches and carries out groundbreaking research in climate arithmetic with a special focus on the plus operator. He isn’t giving you the climate-silent treatment as you so poisonously insinuate, it just sounds that way to you—a phenomenon the British academic Jonathan Rowson has dubbed “stealth silence.”

George,

I fully understand the temptation not to have a substantial conversation with Mr Chambers, a notorious silence denier and something of a rockstar to the anti-silence crowd—indeed, on 24 percent of occasions, I myself have Frequently or Very Frequently avoided substantial conversation with him. However, call me a conspiracy ideator if you will, but I have these intrusive paranoid thoughts that it may be a strategic mistake on your part. Denialists and other opponents of climate silence are already sharpening their knives and drafting sarcastic headlines attacking you as a Leading Silentist [who is] Strangely Silent When Asked Awkward Questions.

You and I know that’s a lie, but that won’t matter—in the end, the climate debate isn’t about the silence; it’s a PR war.

As we speak, they’re drooling at the thought of misrepresenting your (understandable) refusal to respond as some sort of silence. You can actually hear their saliva glands pumping if you listen real hard on a silent night.

That would be a shame, for we would lose a leading voice in what American academic Michael E. Mann pithily dubs ‘the Silence Wars.’

11 thoughts on ““The Silence is Settled”: Breaking the Science on Climate Change

  1. At the link to George Marshall’s blog in your first paragraph
    http://climateoutreach.org/naming-challenging-breaking-climate-silence/
    Marshall says: “..our research … finds that climate silence is not accidental but has been socially constructed to create distance and defend ourselves from uncomfortable truths.”

    In a comment three days ago I asked him a question about his research, but have met only climate silence. That certainly creates distance. I wonder what uncomfortable truth he’s defending himself against?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. In 2013 both my parents who were also my best friends died of Vascular Dementia (Alzheimer’s less famous brother) and I concluded that a great deal of money is being wasted and not just on pointless research. How many times have drugs been developed only to find that they’re unaffordable? Where did all that research money go to if it wasn’t to gain possession of the outcome? But worse, we’ve slipped into the sorry habit of continuously pushing boundaries while letting the basics go to hell.

    Out there, we have scientists studying all sorts of things from planets circling distant stars to whether dropped food is still safe to eat if you pick it up before three seconds are up. There is gene therapy and the psychology of climate deniers. Vulcanology and the mating habits of penguins. But how much of it is just studying for studying sake?

    Take hospital – people are saved every day by the rich field of medicine and surgery but people die every day for the most pitiful of reasons. One of the first things a person will experience on attending A&E is that they won’t let patients drink. Their theory is that they might need an operation and if they drink they’ll have to wait longer. In reality they hardly ever operate immediately unless someone is pumping blood on the floor or have had a heart attack anyway. Most elderly patients they won’t operate on no matter what, because they will decide that they’re too frail to be treated or too old to make it financially worthwhile. But even if someone comes in with dehydration or a urinary infection they refuse them the basic necessity of water. Whatever a person comes in for will be exacerbated by hours of wait with zero fluids. Even if they’re admitted they often forgo giving the patient a drink in the rush to get them stashed for the night. And don’t think that canula they fit as standard will be used to give fluid, it’s just for extracting blood so they can diagnose dehydration or infection, not for quickly rectifying the problem.

    And if someone has dementia or dehydration or pneumonia (which both emulate dementia), there is more torture in store. Firstly they put a jug of lukewarm water on the table and lie the person flat, to stop the person wandering about and being a nuisance. But this ensures that their lungs fill with fluid unlike their belly which won’t get any until a nurse decides to help them. Eating and drinking are hard in a hospital bed at the best of times but with dementia there’s a high probability that a person will need help, which almost certainly won’t arrive until their meal is cold and revolting (if it didn’t arrive that way). When they refuse it the nurses will assume that they’re not hungry or thirsty. According to the staff most old people aren’t hungry or thirsty, even if they were before they went into hospital. It couldn’t possibly be that they’ve been served a drink (eg tea) that they hate or that the food ordered for the previous occupant of the bed isn’t to their taste?

    And woe betide them if they choke on the food and water in their semi reclining position with growing pneumonia clogging their lungs. If that happens they’ll be stuck on a puree diet and thickened drinks. If you think hospital food is bad, puree food is the white, bland, mushy excrement of devils. The stale water is mixed with wall paper paste and stuck into spouted cups where after an hour the paste becomes too thick to suck. If they’re lucky someone will get a spoon and put a few mouthfuls into the gasping pensioner before getting bored and reacting to some more interesting emergency.

    The emergency they won’t react to swiftly is a patient need the toilet. Far easier for them to leave a patient sitting in their own mess until a relative comes along and insists they be helped. And if that habit increases urinary infections and sepsis from infected bed sores, well, too bad.

    And talking of relatives, the staff really don’t like them. Those annoying people who insist their relative should be eating something or having some treatment. Visiting times are deliberately between meal times so that caring children and friends can’t prolong the life of their loved ones. In poor countries they insist that basic care is provided by relative but in the UK they ban it. They say it’s because they aren’t trained to lift or that they might make their parent choke but the reality is that since some people have nobody, they don’t want the lucky few to do better than the rest. We all have an equal right to be neglected here.

    There comes a point where the staff consciously stop supplying the needs of the dying. They used to call it the Liverpool Care Pathway and since it was publicly condemned, now it’s just agreed between staff with a wink and a nod. Instead of a generous dose of pain killer (pre Harold Shipman) they just neglect the patients to death.

    And through all the long months between good health and death, the NHS documents everything. It’s a cruel parody of science where nobody learns anything. They just cover their backs because it’s not just one person who stands by and watches the patients fester, it’s all of them. The patients notes will be inches thick, peppered with the scribbled initials of people who didn’t have the basic humanity to either put the patient out of misery or give them a sodding drink of water.

    And climate change is much the same. There are the countless boffins who study obscure stuff that will make almost no difference to the outcome. There are the day to day staff who are doing stuff that doesn’t work but makes everyone feel that something is being done. There are the government ministers who assure us that they will do something but have no idea what and randomly throw money at shysters who promise a solution. The politicians in opposition are endlessly telling us that they are the ones who truly want to solve the problem but don’t know even the basic things about it. There are the shifty manufacturers selling cures they know don’t work but who don’t care so long as they get rich. There are the idiot do-gooders who demand stuff nobody wants or needs and just bleed cash and good will, while whining for the impossible. And there are the public and whistle blowers telling anyone who will listen what the problems are but nobody cares. And real or not, nothing gets fixed. Money bleeds away on a million initiatives because nobody wants to do the hard drudgery that is needed. Far more fun to rub shoulders with celebs to ‘raise awareness’ or raise money. Far more fun to fly round the world to conferences and seminars than just cut their own CO2. Far easier to record the decline of penguins than to try and solve the principle but boring causes of their decline (eg over fishing). Think of all the nuclear stations, the rain forest land, the insulation and energy efficient equipment that could have been bought with the money that has been frittered studying the problem rather than getting on with simple things that we know would help.

    So yes, a lot of the money spent on useless research in all sciences could be far better spent on something that really does work but I won’t hold my breath for the climate equivalent of a simple glass of water.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Thanks for your comment, TinyCO2. It should be required reading for everybody in the health-care system, not to mention everybody who has any say in the allocation of science dollars, pounds or Euros. A more moving lecture on the iatrogenic (or nursogenic, or systemogenic) genocide of our elders would be hard to come by. Watch it—much more of this and we risk becoming a serious blog.

    Indebted to you.

    PS I wouldn’t read too much into the canula thing—unlike the other Kafkaesque practices you’ve described with rational rage, there may be a good reason for using a separate line to push urgently-needed fluids into a patient’s body. If you want to stop dehydration progressing to shock, you want to deliver hundreds of millilitres of H2O fairly rapidly, which often necessitates a wider bore than a standard 22-gauge blood-sampling needle. It’s frustrating, not to mention painful for the patient, but that second jab is usually justifiable.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sorry Brad, it was a bit gloomy after your wickedly tongue in cheek post. I’m just a bit weary of all the activity out there with no results. Climate change is just another priority to add to the bunch being failed already.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. TinyCO2,

    My nominee for “the climate equivalent of a glass of water” would be a model that can reproduce the Mpemba effect (the phenomenon whereby a glass of hot water, placed in a freezer, can freeze sooner than an adjacent glass of cold water). No such model exists.

    But never mind—climate computobologists might be unable to model the behavior of two glasses of water, but they’re the world’s leetest haxx0rs when it comes to simulating the behavior of the fluid envelope surrounding our planet. Which is a comparatively trivial problem, obviously, so let’s all just trust them, OK?

    Like

  6. fun to read “Climate Outreach” Purpose web page after the above “remarks, by Prof. Patrick McGorry”

    “Our purpose is to ensure that climate change and its impacts are understood, accepted and acted upon across the breadth of society.
    Climate Outreach was set up in 2004, with a mission to help people understand climate change in their own voice, and we’ve become Europe’s leading climate communication organisation.”

    mission ongoing then “George Marshall-Co-Founder & Director of Projects”

    as Prof. McGorry says “Enjoy, and don’t forget to give generously.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. O/T but have to add this from the “Team” page – http://climateoutreach.org/our-staff-and-trustees/

    2Alex Randall
    Climate change & Migration Project Manager
    Alex is mainly focused on communications work for the UK Climate Change and Migration Coalition – an alliance that exists to challenge the lack of long-term strategies to support and protect people at risk of displacement linked to environmental change. Before joining Climate Outreach, he worked at the Centre for Alternative Technology. He has also worked for the Public Interest Research Centre on their Values and Frames project. He co-founded Cheat Neutral, a spoof offsetting company, and UN Fair Play, an organisation that works with small island states at international climate change negotiations.”

    Cheat Neutral, a spoof offsetting company !!! and they wonder why the public think this is all B/S posturing ?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: On a Lighter Note: Dyke Again | Climate Scepticism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s