Greta

Educating Greta

Three weeks ago, on 15th February, Greta Thunberg burst onto the world scene with the Student Climate Strike. Next Friday she and her collaborators aim to do the same but bigger. Whatever else you think of the operation, and its many adult cheerleaders, this instance of Google My Maps showing the global extent is both colourful and impressive.

Two days after the original strike in the UK I found myself on Twitter coining the phrase that becomes my title now:

Note the surprise agreement. There was also this yesterday:

I’m not used to that kind of thing in the climate wars, to be frank. Maybe I got polite. Or went soft. Anyhow, the thrust of both conversations will play a part in what follows.

Before I outline some ways in which I think it would be valuable, for the world’s sake, for Greta to be educated, let me single out another response to her I found from January:

I like the respect shown to Greta there but I don’t think suggesting that video as potential education hit the mark. (I’d prefer Richard Lindzen at the GWPF in October if it has to be about the science. Because, as ever, the canny veteran doesn’t commit to warming being down to the Sun or any other single cause. The scientific method tells us that we don’t yet know.)

Since 17th February I’ve been thinking about how I would educate Greta. Finally, I think I do have something to say. There are four stages in her possible enlightenment for me now:

  1. The Guenier
  2. The Gates
  3. The Drake
  4. The Ring

As you’ll see these are going to be sketchy and category-based, to get the precocious youngster to think. And I hope the materials I point to in the process may even stimulate the grey cells of other readers.

The Guenier

In my world, Robin Guenier gives the budding young climate thinker the choice of being a realist or not. As a barrister, he doesn’t claim to know enough to judge the science and takes the IPCC as read before he begins to argue. That doesn’t stop him being accused of being a denier, as happened hilariously on The Conversation five months ago. But that’s all I have for Greta from Guenier. Is she going to become a realist?

The Gates

Bill Gates’s comments on renewables in December are fascinating in many ways, not least how he divides the world of energy pundits, young and old, into three:

The three options according to Gates, as simplified by Drake:

  1. Climate denial
  2. Sensible
  3. The “climate change is easy to solve” group.

I’m assuming Greta is unlikely to sign up for the first group. But Gates says the third one is a bigger block to making progress even than me. Is Greta going to end up agreeing with that? (I recommend the full video. H/t David Rose for alerting me to it.)

The Drake

This is bound to take longer than the other sections.

This was my tweet on the day of the original strike – well, in the early hours of the following morning UK time – that led to a fruitful discussion with another software engineer, Jason Green, as evidenced above:

One more time with emphasis: “Chances are, based on polls, neither they nor their teachers do.” I’m going mainly on the copious research of Hans Rosling and family there.

A younger collector of such stats, Max Roser, had tweeted his colleague’s findings less than half an hour before. There’s much more of the same at his outstanding Our World in Data. My assumption is that Greta, so far, won’t be a heavy visitor to that site. Not only that, when the right questions are posed by responsible pollsters, much older people in the West are shown to be incredibly ignorant of this kind of good news.

One person who didn’t miss the significance was Ben Pile in Spiked two days later in an excellent piece called Stop scaring kids stiff about climate change:

In 1992, when I was still at school, 13-year-old Severn Cullis-Suzuki read almost the same script to the UN’s Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit. She claimed to be fighting for future generations. Twenty-seven years on, Cullis-Suzuki and I are now part of the generation of grown-ups who are said to have failed the young.

But have we really failed them? Nine per cent of children born in 1992 did not reach their fifth birthday. By 2015, that number had halved: approximately 10,000 fewer infants die per day than in the 1990s. The average child born in the world in 1992 had a life expectancy of 64.5. Children born in 2015 have a life expectancy of 71.43. The world is improving for future generations on almost every conceivable measure. And this is largely thanks to the very economic development that is held responsible for climate change and therefore for endangering these children’s futures.

But, important though all this is, the Drake level of Greta Thunberg’s putative education, for the purposes of Cliscep, is much narrower. It goes back a month more, as pointed to in the comments of my post Project Fear:

I was very happy to echo Lomborg in the days of Thunberg because I’d been trying to point people to this extraordinary time series since November-December 2011.

The more I go on I feel that this is the key climate time series. Any organisation that gets involved in the debate on policy should mention it – and explain how exactly they feel this graph will be reversed in future, with us reaching 1920 levels again in … when? 2120? It should be front and central.

So the three simple categories I would like explained to Greta are:

  1. Those who don’t know how deaths from extreme climate events have gone since 1920 (which I imagine includes a fair proportion of sceptics, even today)
  2. Those who never mention it
  3. Those who both know it and mention it (like the great Bjorn Lomborg).

In the course of such an explanation she would at least be moved to group 2. She might also find this video of Lomborg talking to Peter Robinson helpful, released in the last week:

Among other things, Lomborg explains that hurricanes (and cyclones), the most damaging of climate extremes, will go from costing 0.04% of world GDP to sort out today to 0.02% in a hundred years. And that’s based on them getting twice as bad due to the global warming he expects to be in the pipeline. I doubt that part of his numbers very much. But look at how insignificant the projected doom is. We have to be really careful how we quibble, lest young guns like Greta miss the big picture.

The Ring

I’m referring here to the four broad categories described by Edward Ring in his excellent The Politics, Science, and Politicized Science of Climate Change last weekend:

  1. Socialist Environmentalists
  2. Liberal Environmentalists
  3. Libertarian Environmentalists
  4. Practical Skeptics

Which of the four is the place for an idealistic thinker like Greta? She must decide. Thanks to Judith Curry for the pointer. Worth reading indeed.

Conclusion

There really isn’t one. Greta has to make up her own mind. But I feel we sceptics need to be extremely flexible in the way we argue, as she and her generation emerge from Winston’s “no heart” into the “no mind” phase. Or whoever it was. (Thanks in passing to Joani Walsh, brave independent journalist, for reminding me of that one on Tuesday.)

 

100 thoughts on “Educating Greta

  1. Richard, alas, Greta doesn’t need educating (or rather, it wouldn’t do much good). She needs de-radicalising. Her young impressionable mind has been pumped full of extremist garbage and she’s just regurgitating that on the world stage. Unfortunately, I think she may even be as far gone as Shamima Begum whose warped viewpoint is at least not globally endorsed by hordes of admiring sycophants.

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  2. I guessed that would bring out some gasps from the woodwork. The extremism which infects her synapses is obviously of very different character from IS terrorism, mass rape, torture and murder. But it is extremism, none the less and, on a global scale, probably at least as, if not more dangerous.

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  3. Jaime’s comparison of Greta with Shamima Begum is an excellent one. Both are impressionable young girls who have adopted extremist views relayed, partly by the internet, and partly by family members – we don’t know which influence is the more effective or dangerous. I doubt whether Greta would be influenced by listening to the excellent Bill Gates clips, any more than Shamima would benefit from a chat with a moderate Imam. Both are effectively cut off from receiving the kind of normal human contact that might save them, Greta by a ruthless media circus, and Shamima by a politician’s need to get tough with a bereaved mother.

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  4. For those who don’t like video clips, here’s a transcription of the first Bill Gates clip: (just add a Woody Allen accent in your head, and have a good chuckle):

    Interviewer: A lot of people are very optimistic as you know, with wind and solar costs coming down, renewable costs are coming down, the battery costs are coming down. Do you think that’s enough, or…?

    Bill Gates: No. That is so – disappointing – I mean, really. Vaslav (?) yesterday, he said, OK, here’s Tokyo, 27 million people. You have three days of the cyclone, basically, every year. It’s 22 gigawatts, rate, over three days. You know, tell me, what battery solution is going to sit there and provide that power? I mean, let’s not ? Around. Your multiples of magnitude, a hundred dollars per kilowatt, that’s nothing, that doesn’t solve the reliability problem. And remember, electricity is 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. Whenever we came up with this term “clean energy,” I thin k it screwed up people’s minds. Now they don’t understand – I was at this conference in New York, I won’t name it, and they were saying, all these financial guys got on stage and said: “We’re gonna rate companies in terms of their CO2 output and we’re gonna say this company puts out a lot of CO2 and financial markets are magical, and all of a sudden the CO2 will stop being emitted.”

    And I was, like: “OK, well how are you gonna make steel? Do you guys on Wall Street, do you have something in your desks that makes steel? What? Where’s the fertiliser? Cement? Plastic? Where’s it going to come from? You know, do planes fly through the sky because of some number you put on a spreadsheet? So, the madness of this so called finance solution, I just don’t get that. There is no substitute for how the industrial economy runs today.

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  5. Why does Greta need educating? She’s doing quite well by herself; she’s had her fifteen minutes of fame, and some. She’s had the ear of, and the smile from, the high and mighty, and is on the verge of replacing “Garbo” when people ask “Greta who”.

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  6. Many youngsters inculcated into religion are engaged in perfectly legitimate and peaceful activities, in that most of what the major religions do (and ditto for most minor ones too), is accepted as legitimate activity whether or not it involves protest or proselytizing, etc. But nevertheless they are still inculcated. This happens most commonly when the child grows up in a religious environment, and we don’t consider the result to be at all unusual, albeit some who oppose religions may not like it. We are simply less used to this for secular cultures, but Jaime is on the right track here; indeed Greta believes and preaches stuff that is not supported by mainstream science (so not even a need for any skeptical reference point), such as imminent global climate catastrophe, and also that governments have done ‘nothing’ regarding the countering of climate change, which is not so. These are cultural beliefs, not evidence based positions.

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  7. Thanks for the initial comments. For me, this is an example of a time that a critical response from ATTP (or anyone) has had value – in terms of a balance of viewpoints, not as a final word.

    I need to finish my third section, which I will try and do later today, so I won’t respond in much detail now.

    However, “Vaslav (?)” refers to Vaclav Smil and that’s important. I intend to read Smil’s latest book, as Bill Gates recommends, in the next month. Even if it proves impossible to educate Greta, at any time between 15 to 60, which I doubt, I believe that I can be, even starting beyond that range. (My younger brother is 60 today, which is kinda neat mathematically, thanks Hugh.)

    The point about Shamima Begum is an agonising one. I think it did need some pushback here, though I would have phrased it differently to Ken. Speaking personally, the day before coining “educating Greta” I tweeted this:

    and within a couple of days I went into another Twitter fast, because I was so bothered by the lack of care being shown towards such victims of genocide. Even late last night I lost patience with a Guardian journalist I don’t follow, and a radical feminist I do (and respect in other areas), and tweeted as follows

    I don’t think the parallels are enough. The damage done by crass energy policies over the next 45 years, say, will not be down to one fifteen-year-old in 2019, who will not have directly beaten and enslaved the victims. And I don’t think anyone at that age is incapable of learning (and that does apply to both girls). But I’ve said too much already here. Please check the main article for additions before the end of today.

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  8. I think it might be a challenge for many children to break free from indoctrination when grown adults around them are essentially repeating Greta Thunberg’s message over and over, in classrooms and in the media. Case in point, a recent BBC interview with the “BirthStrike” co-founders:

    “… our planet is in a kind of collapse – the natural world is collapsing around us and it’s happening right now”…

    “Each day is for me a struggle… I’m so depressed, I feel so hopeless… I’m reading, just in the last couple of months even, that insect numbers are plummeting so fast that it now threatens the collapse of nature, that we’re losing – well, we’re not losing, we’re destroying biodiversity so quickly that it threatens our food and the UN have said that could lead to the risk of our own extinction, David Attenborough going on TV to say that the collapse of civilisation could come from this, and I know that is so really hard to sit with and take in…

    “And I think that there’s a lot of people that are having to deal with this massive cognitive dissonance of everything seems normal but actually, like I think it was Kate Marvel from NASA – and she’s a scientist and she’s using the words, you know this is a “slow-motion horror story”, and we really aren’t being carried by the authorities through this crisis, no-one is managing this”.

    Imagine being an impressionable child and being repeatedly told by adults that everything might seem normal but that David Attenborough, Kate Marvel and the UN have determined that we’re living in the end times.

    Hopefully there will be more children who start to develop the habit of thinking for themselves: how exactly do we know this? So nature is collapsing right now: who’s saying this and where’s the evidence?

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  9. Thanks very much for that Alex. I’d picked up the #BirthStrike movement (or hashtag) but not seen that video. One of the most basic things to say is that it’s more than climate change that is being feared – it’s the whole of perceived, imminent ecological disaster. So cli-sci Kate Marvel is joined by generalist David Attenborough in the doomsters being cited.

    A slow-motion horror story indeed. Look at the last hundred years:

    Sorry, had to repeat that. We can see slow-motion horror all over the past century, can’t we?

    I’d wanted to post this on 8th March for one reason not yet mentioned: it’s the date every year of International Women’s Day. This year #IWD2019 and #BirthStrike were a key combination. The numbers on the latter are probably still very small. But I agree that if adults fail to present the facts of human progress it’s hard for kids to escape the fear. And Victoria Derbyshire didn’t challenge these young things in any way whatsoever.

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  10. Alex Cull: Pepino and Brown probably aren’t grown adults – particularly Brown, who is very obviously drunk or stoned in that video.

    Pepino does have a lovely voice, though. This is her singing in support of consumerism in 2016:

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  11. Thanks Ron. Ring’s is a very helpful framework, isn’t it? I have no more to add to the main post now, by the way. I’ll use comments from tomorrow for any further thoughts.

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  12. Prof. Rice,
    Jaime is comparing being radicalized yo being radicalized.
    And since your sides radical agenda would involve imposing radical destruction on hundreds of millions of peoples lives and livelihoods for the sake if your radical ideology, I think the comparison is ok.
    Only someone who lacks critical thinking skills and honesty wouldn’t get the comparison.

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  13. She’s a radical but with a gift for marketing. As I was finishing this post yesterday …

    I haven’t watched it. Not yet anyway. I only spotted the tweet because Joani Walsh (mentioned at the end of the main post) was arguing about how we should view 19-year-old radical Shamima Begum with an older woman who’s very critical of the radical trans activists (just as Joani is). And Margaret had retweeted Greta, with deep approval (it seems clear), like many of the radical feminists I’ve got to know through that other debate. Sigh.

    As Ron said, it can all be a “discouraging reminder of what skeptics are facing”. But better to face it.

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  14. Heard about the latest pathetic, disgusting, anti- scientific climate consensus fad, the anti-birth movement, just this past week
    Which is personally ironic since my first grandchild, a girl, was born this past week as well.
    Reflecting on her beauty and innocence and the manifestation of hope that she embodies, a lot of things come to mind. The personal thoughts and feelings for this amazing new life and her young parents are filled with love, hope, excitement, joy.
    When I consider the dystopic culture emerging devolving from the climate consensus, and it’s impact on my granddaughter, I am concerned:
    The Prof. Rice’s of the world support robbing us of a future of freedom, rational thought, data based decisions, basic liberty and more all in the name of their climate obsessed apocalyptic claptrap. So now uneducated children, ignorant extremist former bar tenders, and billionaire oligarchs are telling us it is all doom, nothing to do, might as well just die off quietly.
    At least under Stalin he would do the killing part for you, sending Beria’s thugs to do an at home pickup.
    Climate consensus extremists, so far at least, just want us to quietly die off by ourselves alone and in despair someplace. Preferably, I guess, a small flat heated by the occasional wind power that nature provides.
    All Lent, no Easter. All Winter, no Christmas.
    What a disgusting legacy the climate change consensus is building.
    Manipulated children, despairing childless mothers, corrupted academia, and more.
    Prof. Rice should be so proud of his little role.
    Yet when I look at my granddaughter, face filled with wonder as she looks at her adoring parents, makes her first tentative vocalizations, and clearly starts to consider just how things fit together I see the future. I know that despite the social madness of our time, the consensus rejection of science, of civil society, if life itself, they will fail.
    The climate will continue to ignore the cargo cult prophecies of the consensus. Civil society will prevail. Rational thought will be once again embraced.

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  15. When will our intrepid child prodigy be embarking upon an oil-powered expedition to the Antarctic and Greenland in search of calving icebergs as further devastating evidence of the unfolding climate crisis I wonder? Greta Thunberg’s ‘Great Berg Hunt’, you might say. It would make a great documentary for the BBC, rather like Michael Palin’s ‘Pole to Pole’ adventure, though I imagine to save time between her busy schedule of lectures, they would have to fly her direct from Norway to South Australia.

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  16. What did Andy Wahol say? “In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” And rocker David Lee Roth used to say about pop music fame: “Here today, gone later today”. We live in the warp drive world of the instant “it girl” and now the “it child.” Come back, Marwah, you were for real at least.

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  17. Malala’s a lovely counter-example to think about, thanks Ron. But I’d like if I may to go back to a few earlier comments, starting with Geoff:

    I doubt whether Greta would be influenced by listening to the excellent Bill Gates clips, any more than Shamima would benefit from a chat with a moderate Imam.

    I’ll go the long way round by showing this response to a 37-year-old new US Congresswoman on the day of the first big strike:

    No retweets, no likes and no responses. So was it worth tweeting?

    Omar was of course in the news more recently:

    30,601 retweets, 123,131 likes and 21k responses, not all positive, surprisingly enough.

    It was interesting though for one of the first Muslim congresspeople to express something very Greta-ish on the “existential threat to all life on the planet” on the day of the strike. Not mere human extinction but amoebas as well? The 280 characters didn’t let the new lawmaker divulge and I fully sympathise with that.

    The genius in my method in the main post (and I use the word advisedly) is that Greta need not even watch the short Bill Gates clips. It’s all about the categories. Does she want to be a bigger block on progress even than those into climate denial?

    Gates’s opinion, obviously. But I am throughout presuming that there is an educator with friendly access to Greta, to explain to her the four (or twelve) choices. And I accept that this is where Geoff sees a snag. But it’s better to travel hopefully in one’s imagination than be stuck on the congested M25 of reality, at best circling the centres of power. Or something.

    It’s all about the categories. For my section, for example, I should have named them:

    1. Clueless
    2. Dishonest
    3. First base

    I am strangely indebted to Andy for this approach but he needn’t take the blame.

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  18. Alex Cull @ 09 Mar 19 at 4:04 pm
    Thanks for that BBC Link.
    so sad how the BBC regularly give airtime to this type of climate doom people.

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  19. Happily, that wasn’t the only BBC programme in which Pepino and Brown appeared. I’ve admired Nihal Arthanayake since seeing him on This Week discussing such things as racism and rape gangs with Andrew Neil, Diane Abbott and Michael Portillo in March 2015. His questioning of the two women on Radio 5 Live last Monday (from ~8 mins in) was far better than that of Victoria Derbyshire on the box. But the contribution of Joanna Haigh of the Grantham Institute, and Nihal’s deference to her, was not for me as ‘inspiring’ as she claimed to find the younger women. Worth a listen. I’d be grateful for any feedback on it if anyone gives it a try. (I gave up when Dr Haigh left the conversation – the other two then answered listeners’ questions for a while no doubt.)

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  20. Three quarters of the four-part division of “public intellectuals” and their attitudes to climate change that you quote from Edward Ring comes from an interesting article by Matthew Nisbet here
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wcc.317
    It’s intelligent and well argued and therefore a perfect example of the intellectual brick wall we’re up against, because, despite quoting approvingly Michel Foucault’s claim that the main contribution of the public intellectual is to ‘question over and over again what is postulated as self‐evident, to disturb people’s mental habits, the way they do and think things, to dissipate what is familiar and accepted, to reexamine rules and institutions’, Nisbet doesn’t actually include sceptics in his schema. Ring excuses him, saying:

    The failure of Nisbet to include climate skeptics as a fourth category may be a forgivable oversight on his part, because climate skeptics almost have been erased from public dialogue. As a result, it makes sense that Nisbet would not consider the members of this group to qualify as influential public intellectuals.

    Yeah, right. What worked for Solzhenitsyn should work for Lindzen.

    Nisbet’s article “detail[s] how public intellectuals establish their authority, spread their ideas, and shape political discourse, analyzing the contrasting stories that they tell about the causes and solutions to climate change” using as examples such disparate examples as Monbiot, Suzuki, McKibben, Gore, Stern, and Pielke Jnr.

    I wonder where Greta would place herself in this galaxy?

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  21. Having read that Greta’s mother was writing a book, I wondered what Thunberg Snr’s climate education was like. The book’s cover can be seen here,
    http://libris.kb.se/cover.jsp?url=https%3a%2f%2fxinfo.libris.kb.se%2fxinfo%2fgetxinfo%3fidentifier%3d%2fPICTURE%2fbokrondellen%2fisbn%2f9789177951339%2f9789177951339.jpg%2forginal

    It was published in August 2018 in hardback with just a portrait of her mother, Malena Ernman, on the cover. Greta started striking in October, I believe, and the paperback with Greta and her “schoolstrike for climate” placard came out in December. Volume two, by Greta alone, is due out in 2020.

    The only account in English I could find said this:

    Opera singer Malena Ernman shines on the cover for his privacy in the book “Scenes from the Heart”, depicting “life behind the surface, a day of dissolution, the teenage dying diagnoses and a desperate struggle for the right help”. Co-author of the book is Ernman’s husband Svante Thunberg and daughter Greta, who also writes about “the planet’s crisis, how our lifestyle threatens everyone’s future survival and what we need to understand for hope to exist”.  “It is my duty because I have the opportunity to be heard,” Malena Ernman said in a press release. 

    Translation of the Swedish blurb:

    This story is about me and my family and the crisis that hit us. But it is above all a story about the crisis that surrounds us all. Perhaps it is about burnt-out people on a burned-out planet where weather, wind and everyday life are increasing in strength every day. Keeping together as people and finding sustainability is the heart of this book. / Malena Ernman

    Malena represented Sweden in the Eurovision song contest in 2009, but who hasn’t done something terrible in their lives? She’s also done Dido and Aeneas with William Christie, so she can’t be all bad.

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  22. Geoff:

    It’s intelligent and well argued and therefore a perfect example of the intellectual brick wall we’re up against, because, despite quoting approvingly Michel Foucault’s claim that the main contribution of the public intellectual is to ‘question over and over again what is postulated as self‐evident, to disturb people’s mental habits, the way they do and think things, to dissipate what is familiar and accepted, to reexamine rules and institutions’, Nisbet doesn’t actually include sceptics in his schema. Ring excuses him, saying … Yeah, right. What worked for Solzhenitsyn should work for Lindzen.

    Thanks very much for reading the Ring and the Nisbet (which I haven’t, at least in the last few weeks). Your punchline devastates Nisbet and rightly honours Lindzen. But I like very much how Ring calmly puts the lacuna right by adding the adjective ‘practical’ to sceptics – who does that leave out? – as well as making the ecomodernists libertarian environmentalists. I wondered at once where Matt Ridley would fit. It’s one of those last two. And is Curry in 2019 happy to be squarely in the same box as Lindzen? Whatever, I think the resultant schema is much more useful than anything I’ve seen before. The intellectual brick wall demolished. (He says with no retweets and no likes. But does he care?)

    Nisbet’s article “detail[s] how public intellectuals establish their authority, spread their ideas, and shape political discourse, analyzing the contrasting stories that they tell about the causes and solutions to climate change” using as examples such disparate examples as Monbiot, Suzuki, McKibben, Gore, Stern, and Pielke Jnr.

    I wonder where Greta would place herself in this galaxy?

    Greta even knowing that there are four legitimate categories, with the massive money-grabbers being in the second, would be a major step. And indeed Pielke and Lomborg in the third. The 16-year-old (sorry I missed that birthday) may never have the full galaxy properly in view in her life. But in the tweet that led to the title I said:

    I’m not debating anything except that the amazing good news of the last 200 years should be front and centre in educating Greta and all schoolchildren. I believe that would deeply affect their approach. It would make them grateful to be alive at this time and better policy wonks.

    The last two of Edward Ring’s categories are squarely facing up to the terrible news, for our generation, that the news for humanity has actually been really wonderful 1820 – 2019 and we are the beneficiaries. The other two aren’t. There have to be some schoolchildren who are becoming aware of this as we speak (not necessarily as a result of us speaking). Springs eternal.

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  23. Here’s a review of Malena Ernman’s book (translation by Google) from
    https://www.expressen.se/kultur/en-rasop-mot-den-radande-ordningen/

    Now, this is the book that the far right claimed was the real reason for 15-year-old Greta Thunberg’s climate strike before the election. Which in itself is an argument for the very existence of the book itself: That people seriously think that a child would strike for weeks – and also be so completely lacking in their own political ideas – in order to sell their famous mother’s book can only happen in a society so permeated by apolitical market liberalism like ours.

    “Scenes from the heart” is an emotional cruel rape against the prevailing system of eternal growth, brand maximization and competition to death. It begins with a painful skinless depiction of how the above-mentioned Greta tiger crashes into severe self-starvation and anxiety as a result of undiagnosed Aspberger and a school that lacked tools and willingness to “manage” also different children, and ends in an appeal for a new and on the purchase feminist world order in harmony with nature.

    So it really is all about Greta’s mental health problems, after all. I begin to see why it hasn’t been translated into English.

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  24. “It’s intelligent and well argued and therefore a perfect example of the intellectual brick wall we’re up against, because, despite quoting approvingly Michel Foucault’s claim that the main contribution of the public intellectual is to ‘question over and over again what is postulated as self‐evident, to disturb people’s mental habits, the way they do and think things, to dissipate what is familiar and accepted, to reexamine rules and institutions’, Nisbet doesn’t actually include sceptics in his schema.”

    No more would atheists be included within accepted European intellectual categories prior to about the French Revolution; acceptable categories could include those who questioned certain denominations or church practices (even if this was grudging), but not the actual existence of God. Which is not to say a few risked raising their heads above the parapet, to literally lose them in some cases (or often, other grisly fates). Strong cultural belief holds the intellect of adherents in its service. For the case of climate skeptics its ironic that most don’t question the presence of some AGW, but cultural reaction tends often not to be nuanced, and in the end even Lukewarmers don’t believe in a truly existential (and imminent) level of threat, which is the heart of the climate cultural narrative (and indeed propagated by Greta along with presidents, prime ministers, UN elite and all the rest).

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  25. There is a parallel here between Greta and the very troubled gender dysphoric teenagers, mostly born female, many of whom are already autistic and self-harming, who have become poster children for wealthy middle-aged transgender activists, mostly born male. A very modern and woke form of child abuse in both cases.

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  26. Re ‘educating Greta’, whatever the wisdom in the proposed program / categorisations above, one probably can’t. Attempts at educating culturally convinced folks (which is to say, demonstrating to them and persuading them that their cultural conviction is misplaced) ‘from the outside’, have proved unproductive. There are attempts to do it more from the inside, or at least from under a corner of the cultural cloak, e.g. here: https://quillette.com/2017/10/28/combating-creationism/

    Re the data about amazing decrease in mortality with increase in wealth & health, this will probably receive a response along the lines of the past being no guide to the (apocalyptic) future. There are always escape routes to take, and despite these frequently imply huge contradiction between the necessary ducks and weaves, strong cultural conviction will not allow these contradictions to be perceived by adherents.

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  27. Richard
    I agree that the Nesbit schema is useful, even if one can criticise the exact definition of the boxes. Its principle merit is that it’s designed by a human intelligence, and not some cluster analysis by a word-counting bot. The criticism I’d make is that there’s no particular logic connecting the groups with the attitudes expressed (problem framing, outlook on Nature, etc.) But that’s humans for you. Even a Monbiot or a McKibben my sometimes jump out of his box and surprise you.

    The other problem is that no-one except a sceptic or a professional activist will have heard of more than a couple of these people. Even if a million people have heard of Monbiot or Revkin, how many people on the planet could identify, say, fifteen of the eighteen names on the list? 50,000? 100,000? We’re still talking mainly to ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Andy, I’ve had some recent experience on your “probably receive a response” part. I was going to try to give some examples in comments. I don’t think there’s an iron grip on everyone, witness Jason Ian Green’s response at the top of the thread. I think this is a very important direction of attack for us, compared to, say, adjustments to temperature records. The good news may never reach Greta herself but could impact thousands of others. If I get time I’ll give some more examples.

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  29. “I don’t think there’s an iron grip on everyone…”

    I’d agree with that. Nevertheless, addressing a mass group-belief phenomenon merely with the standard tools of education plus even undisputed real-world data (e.g. Rosling), cannot possibly work. Or at least it can’t work on the kind of timescales and penetration I think you’re hoping for, as history has demonstrated. For the creationism case in the US, it still hasn’t worked after 150 years even when for much of that time, certainly over the last few decades, the great weight of the education system itself has been on right side. Whereas in the climate case, the educational system itself (school system and higher education) is mostly hooked on the narrative of climate catastrophe.

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  30. Andy: creationism makes for an interesting compare and contrast. I don’t think it’s as damaging as climate catastrophism and I don’t think there’s the same kind or weight of empirical evidence in the very recent past that screams that it’s totally wrong. (Young earth creationism is wrong but those that stubbornly hold to it, including the vast majority of Muslims, a close Palestinian friend and expert Java programmer once told me, are in a different place to Greta and ecological catastrophists.) But I’m going to deem that off topic for the moment. Thanks though for the critique.

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  31. I feel I need to go back to HUNTERSON7 (4:30pm yesterday) because that video from Friends of Science caused me to return to the tweet of theirs I gently criticised in the main post. And only then I noticed that they had pointed to two videos. The first is I think a really excellent, respectful response to Greta from the same lady in early January, referring to the youngster’s speech at COP24:

    Mea culpa there. (And no doubt many other places. Keep on bashing away. The worst that can happen is that Drake is educated.)

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  32. Richard,

    “I don’t think it’s as damaging as climate catastrophism…”

    The level of social damage that mass belief in a culture may cause (and indeed separately, the net damage or benefit, as there’s typically some of both over the long term), is independent of the shared characteristics of belief / behaviour that mark a cultural phenomenon.

    “… and I don’t think there’s the same kind or weight of empirical evidence in the very recent past that screams that it’s totally wrong.”

    The central belief of ‘climate catastrophism’ is as its name implies a belief in a certainty of imminent (decades) global climate catastrophe (absent dramatic action). But the dispute that splits mainstream science from sceptical science in no way provides an evidential fig leaf for said catastrophism even though it does provide a useful ‘enemy’, because *neither* side believes in this, and so the evidence from both sides clearly says the cultural narrative is wrong.

    “Young earth creationism is wrong but those that stubbornly hold to it, including the vast majority of Muslims, a close Palestinian friend and expert Java programmer once told me, are in a different place to Greta and ecological catastrophists.) But I’m going to deem that off topic for the moment.”

    Pity. I would very likely challenge their basis for saying that (and indeed, strong believers of one cultural strand, or even culturally allied sympathisers of same, do not typically bear that belief to be compared to other dissimilar cultures, because this essentially amounts to assault / undermining of values via a different route). Comparing say one strand of belief in a God, to another strand of belief in the same God, may be acceptable. Cultures all emerge in different contexts / eras / social strata, and so many surface features are very obviously different. But the underlying mechanisms of belief are the same, and this is ultimately what any education plan would face.

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  33. Off topic just for a moment Andy. (And I will not delete a word if you wish to pursue it when I’m onto other things so feel free 🙂 )

    First, Alex Cull and the #BirthStrike (09 Mar 19 at 4:04 pm), which, though small in numbers, is I think relevant to the ever-developing cultural landscape. I responded:

    I’d wanted to post this on 8th March for one reason not yet mentioned: it’s the date every year of International Women’s Day. This year #IWD2019 and #BirthStrike were a key combination.

    Well, great minds think alike:

    Don’t you love it when consensus luminaries back your own hunches?

    Going back further, to the day of the school strike on 15th Feb, and what we might call Congresswoman Omar’s extinction tweet, I did enjoy this rejoinder from an accountant in an oil company in Texas:

    And here’s a feisty Iranian/Australian woman also remembering some recent history:

    1989 was fourteen years before Greta was born and the man from UNEP said it would all be over bar the shouting by 2000, three years before she was born. She really does need some (even slightly) older women with good memories to help her, doesn’t she?

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  34. Here are some children cheerfully parroting doomtastic falsehoods about climate change outside Downing Street last Saturday:

    One of them said ‘fuck’ and got a big cheer. Hurrah for naughty children! For they are wise and must rule the Earth and all that is in it until all that is in it is as they say it should be. Hurrah!

    Note also the placard held by the pomo-faced adult at 38 secs: ‘Those killing the planet have names & addresses’. XR has itself tweeted similar things. Apparently non-violent direct action remains non-violent as long as you don’t give detailed instructions on how to be violent towards Dr Evil Exxon McFossilface and his collaborators, with their suits and ties and cars and jobs and all that sort of thing.

    Liked by 4 people

  35. ANDY (11 Mar 19, 4.59pm)

    Strong cultural belief holds the intellect of adherents in its service. For the case of climate skeptics its ironic that most don’t question the presence of some AGW, but cultural reaction tends often not to be nuanced…

    Well, my reactions are nuanced, why aren’t theirs? I don’t see what explanation you can give other than either:
    1) I’m as blinded as those I’m opposing, because we all have our cultural beliefs, or
    2) I’m not blinded, because I’m nuanced, and my cultural belief happens to be the right one.
    Either way, I don’t see what is added in this case by bringing in cultural beliefs, which isn’t already in the argument. Which is not to say that cultural beliefs are irrelevant. Indeed, I strongly support bringing them in, where they can be used to distinguish between different cultures. But you and I and Richard and Nisbet and Greta and her mother all belong to the same culture. But some believe one thing, and some another, as the great philosopher Archestratus said, on the subject of the best way to cook fish.

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  36. Vinny, thanks very much for that. There was a nice moment on Twitter in the last couple of weeks when one radical helpfully predicted that Bjorn Lomborg would one day be killed by these loving young people. Bit down the track but clearly, it was felt, fully deserved for what he’s been saying these past years. Let that be a warning to us all. I was already going to dig out that series of tweets for a comment here, hopefully before too many of us do in fact get the chop.

    On the some-would-say shallow category option game I’ve been playing (taking in Geoff’s criticisms but not necessarily answering them) another helpful input for me on Friday, in addition to the Grantham tweet, was this from a forthright US Catholic: Understanding The Left’s Victimization Flow Chart, which finishes:

    This also explains why leftists will casually compare the plight of modern American homosexuals to that of African slaves in the 19th century. And it explains why, even in the midst of the #MeToo movement, young girls are still often forced to share their bathrooms and locker rooms with gender-confused men. The victimhood rules must always be followed, no matter what. And that means Ilhan Omar can say whatever the hell she wants to say.

    Nothing about climate in that article – but it made me feel better about the zero retweets and likes I got from Twitter when I had the temerity to challenge the same Ilhan Omar on Greta’s special day.

    And it’s because of that woke approach to both victimhood and knowledge itself that I, with tongue ever so slightly in cheek, have suggested that Greta only needs to know the names of the category of person that she will be becoming by making these key choices. Does she really want to be worse than a climate denier, at least to Bill Gates? And so on and so forth. It’s not fully respectful, I say with shame, but it coheres with what I pick up about the way those who will surely want to kill me too think about the world. So one has at least to try.

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  37. Geoff,

    See inserts to help clarify:
    “Well, my reactions are nuanced [in this domain], why aren’t theirs? [in the same domain]”

    Because they have a strong cultural belief in this domain, which you do not share. Nor does your opposition suggest you are even allied to their culture for partial belief / sympathy, e.g. via your left leanings as has a higher statistical chance in the UK, or in Germany would be a higher chance for right leanings. Hence you are more likely to be using reason, rather than emotive conviction, to navigate the issue. However, see innate scepticism (c) below.

    “1) I’m as blinded as those I’m opposing, because we all have our cultural beliefs, or…”

    We all have (multiple) cultural beliefs, in different domains and also of different strengths (though this doesn’t necessarily mean an individual is dominated by such within any domain). But in this domain of climate change, you happen not to. A lack of core cultural belief doesn’t necessarily mean one wholly is free of cultural mechanisms on the issue, because beliefs can a) still be influenced by allied culture for instance, which per above for you seems not to be the case, or b) by opposition to an allied culture (but you don’t oppose the left in this country), or c) also by innate resistance / scepticism to cultural invasion (nothing to do with reasoned scepticism, and is cultural value dependent, triggered by a culture alien to values, or a native one that goes way too far – this is a balance mechanism). c) is possible for you, this is very likely the reason for the bulk of scepticism in the UK where there is nowhere near as much political polarisation as in the US, and this also tends to lack nuance because ultimately it comes from instinct and not from domain knowledge (the public doesn’t have domain knowledge!) However, c) can also lead eventually to reasoned scepticism for some, hence a gain of nuance, plus ultimately if you do not share the cultural belief in climate catastrophe you could simply have been using reason from the off.

    “2) I’m not blinded, because I’m nuanced, and my cultural belief happens to be the right one.”

    There is no ‘right’ for (strong) cultural beliefs. They are all wrong (they serve the purpose of uniting a group in the face of uncertainty, and this purpose is incompatible with truth). You can have a culture on the right side, but this doesn’t make the culture ‘right’, it is on the right side for the wrong reason. So for instance in the US, where politics is even more polarised than here, a strong alliance between Dem / Lib culture and Climate Catastrophe culture formed, which therefore pulled Rep / Cons in on the side of scepticism, but not because of reasoned navigation of the CC domain to arrive at scepticism, merely because of who they are and their Rep / Con identity / belief. The vast majority of the public on *both* sides occupy the position they do because of cultural identity as expressed by Rep / Con or Lib / Dem values. Neither got there by reason or its exercise on domain knowledge.

    “But you and I and Richard and Nisbet and Greta and her mother all belong to the same culture.”

    *In this domain*, we absolutely do not. Greta and her mother are adherents of a very powerful culture which you and Richard and I do not belong to. The fact that we may also share some cultural values *in a different domain* is not tantamount to common membership of a strong cultural entity such as say Catholicism or an extremist brand of politics, and even if this happened to be the case, it *still* would not mean that we share membership of catastrophic climate culture. Humans are perfectly capable of being in, or emphatically out of, several clubs at once, and while multiple memberships are often ‘compatible’, which is to say those which are locally allied or at least not in open opposition, even this is by no means the case for everyone either.

    “Either way, I don’t see what is added in this case by bringing in cultural beliefs, which isn’t already in the argument.”

    Well, only that it explains what is happening underneath. And this is handy for many insights, for instance when proposing an educational solution per this thread, which whether it happens to work upon a single individual or not (such as Greta), per other cultural examples like creationism is very unlikely to work in bulk at anything like the desired timescale or penetration, because per all the above this is not ultimately a knowledge deficit problem. And, on a practical front, the education system itself appears to be largely invested in the culture too, albeit we can’t know the difference between its official stance and how many truly believe or instead harbour hidden scepticism. On the upside, unlike religion where the existence of God(s) can never be formally disproved, the CC culture hitched its wagon to something that one day, probably can be; this ought to be helpful, although so far the lack of support from mainstream science for a certainty of catastrophe appears to have been no impediment at all.

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  38. Here’s where Bjorn Lomborg registered that it’d been predicted he would be killed:

    However, the tweet in question has been deleted. It was in response to Bob Ward criticising Lomborg and one thing that struck me about it was that Ward made no complaint to the guy about this effective death threat. That’s from memory, of course, and cannot now be checked against the record.

    My response at the time:

    Lovely people.

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  39. “The victimhood rules must always be followed, no matter what.”

    This is a misconception. There is one glaring exception to the victimhood rules and that’s “everyone that disagrees with us”. You go straight to the bottom of the victimhood ladder for stepping out of line, no matter what your victim status. Their “fight” against your “oppressors” does not come free of charge. Failure to provide support makes you a traitor.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Of course that is right DaveJR. And happily, gone are the days when Walter Williams joked to his friend Thomas Sowell that they must never take a flight together because a crash would end the black conservative movement! Those two bore the brunt of this kind of rejection. However, Walsh has a point about what has happened with Ilhan Omar, I believe. The identity politics left is incredibly stuck on this kind of thing.

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  41. The latest from Twitter.

    Striking that Greta is taking an interest in the history of the CAGW movement, at least. The Bish was responding to this:

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  42. On the “climate change is easy to solve” group, I would say that group is more or less equivalent to the “Green Blob”. I’ve always had a suspicion that a significant proportion of the Blob doesn’t really think climate change is easy to solve, but it just happens to be expedient for them to behave as though it is easy to solve.

    To give some evidence for my suspicion, consider this paragraph from Jonathon Porritt’s book “Seeing Green” (Porritt was the leading figure in the British Green movement in the 1980s, and probably the most important British Greenie of the last forty years), page 41, 1986 reprint, where he gives his observations on the climate change issue back in 1986:

    “The least precise and tangible of all the many threats to the environment concerns the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We are engaged in a dangerous planetary experiment. When fossil fuels are burned, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. There’s no technological fix that can do anything about this, and at the present rates of consumption, CO2 concentrations will have doubled by the middle of next century. This may well trigger off the ‘greenhouse effect’, causing significant and socially traumatic climate changes. An increase of 2°C would be enough to melt much of the Antarctic.”

    His last sentence about a 2°C temperature rise melting most of the Antarctic seems to be a bit more alarmist than what people would claim today, and he doesn’t seem to understand that the ‘greenhouse effect’ is present all the time and doesn’t get ‘triggered’. But the most interesting thing in the paragraph is his candid assertion that “There’s no technological fix that can do anything about this”.

    By about 1990, Climate change had become an issue of international concern (with Margaret Thatcher playing a leading role in establishing this concern), and the United Nations became heavily involved. Once that happened, the Green movement seemed to decide that there were in fact technological fixes to the problem, and these fixes turned out to be the same as ones for the 1970s Oil Crisis, that is to use wind power, solar power and burn wood.

    So I think it is expedient for the Green Blob to claim that climate change is easy to solve. They get two things out of it:

    a) If they put forward their own favoured technological fixes, that ‘crowds out’ other technological fixes that they definitely don’t like, such as nuclear power and geo-engineering.

    b) Climate change provides an effective substitute for the ‘we’re running out of fossil fuel’ argument which was the previous argument (and an argument that is a bit difficult to keep going) for increased use of their favoured technologies – wind power, solar power and burning wood.

    Liked by 2 people

  43. I find that both helpful and unconvincing Dave!

    It’s an attempt to explain some very complex history and, as such, I applaud it.

    But why on earth did ‘wind power, solar power and burning wood’ have to remain their favoured technologies?

    I can think of a conspiracist reason but no rational one.

    Thanks for attending to the crucial Gates category though. They say it’s easy, however insincerely, and I think if Greta or anyone else starts to realise that the white male ageing billionaire is right that this is the main blocker to progress then the rest of the game is up.

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  44. So Prophetess Greta now acknowledges “something has been done” regarding what she has been taught is the climate apocalypse.
    Big improvement.
    Now if she will only receive revelation about what the best actions regarding climate actually are, and how she has been deceived and manipulated regarding catastrophist ideation.

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  45. “But why on earth did ‘wind power, solar power and burning wood’ have to remain their favoured technologies?”

    Because what is favoured (like all the rest of the narrative) does not come from reason but from emotive conviction, generated over many years via iterative selection. So these particular ‘solutions’ must create more emotive penetration within that competition.

    “…if Greta or anyone else starts to realise that the white male ageing billionaire is right that this is the main blocker to progress then the rest of the game is up…”

    While I agree with you that messages like this and the Rosling data are likely to be far more impactful than arcane stuff on temperature measurements, and indeed Gates being such an influencer means his speaking up on the renewables issue is a milestone of note, it’s also true that the information is far from new. Plus Gates is still a believer in the main narrative. These points both speak to the inertial weight that must be overcome, ringed by an ‘intellectual brick wall’ as Geoff put it, because for adherents intellect is (to varying extents) in service to cultural belief. Some articles about why Bill G was wrong already exist, meaning this angle will likely develop into just another skirmish in the long narrative war, which will then generate material that Greta or others will inevitably reference regarding their side, if challenged.

    Predicting anything about cultures is pretty much impossible. The ‘game (i.e. the cultural phenomenon of CAGW) could be over’ in a day or in 50 years or more. But the shorter the time then the more ‘on fire’ or critically penetrating opposing messages must be for some reason, as they must still overcome the same inertia. Trying to make them on fire also risks making them not true. Anyhow, milestone maybe, but it’s not looking like a fire to me, or on its own sufficiently powerful to fundamentally change the mind of folks who are emotively convinced that catastrophe is coming, like Greta.

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  46. Andy:

    Because what is favoured … does not come from reason but from emotive conviction

    That doesn’t explain the Green Blob staying with wind power, solar power and burning wood for me. But I do agree with you, and with Dominic Cummings in his against-the-odds struggle to get Vote Leave over the line in 2016 (with uncertain consequences right now), that emotions are key.

    And on that front, I think there is some good news to which I’ve not yet drawn attention. Bill Gates is not your run-of-the-mill multi-billionaire. Sure, he is pale and male but he emerged much younger from his mega-successful career than the likes of Rockefeller or Buffet and, under the benevolent influence of his new wife, well, not many would find it in their hearts to be highly critical of how he has spent a major chunk of his great fortune and his time since.

    The emotions of the many, in other words, will be insulated from the worst forms of attempted demonisation in his case (although I’m sure you’re right attempts will have already been made).

    As an aside, but backing your point about the unpredictability of culture wars, it’s been fascinating to see Microsoft’s progress in the last few years in winning over the highly idealistic open source community that used to hate it with a passion. I noticed the shift first I think with Yehuda Katz praising his new Windows laptop. Just as I was thinking of this in the last hour Yehuda retweeted the following:

    That won’t make much sense to many readers and really isn’t meant to! But Katz is one of the modern movers and shakers of open source, appointed to help Tim Berners-Lee think through the future of the World Wide Web a few years ago – until that committee work became too boring for the guy. And now Microsoft owns GitHub and its own open-source development environment VS Code, based on GitHub’s own Electron framework, which Danny of this parish knows well, is all the rage among younger open source devotees. See the Text Editors graph on this page of a December 2018 online report for example.

    Now that represents an extraordinary cultural turnaround within my little world. And it couldn’t have happened if Gates had remained at the helm at Microsoft. (Nor his old sidekick Steve Ballmer for that matter.)

    Money isn’t everything but it surely has helped Microsoft to achieve this. In the climate case there is much money now vested to keep alarmism going. So when I said “game over” if Greta or one of her contemporaries begins to listen to Gates I mean just in their individual case. Battle won but certainly not yet the war.

    Melinda is another key voice for sanity and indeed for women. They both accept more of the IPCC view than most of us here but I think we should, like Cummings, be willing to simplify 🙂

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  47. “That doesn’t explain the Green Blob staying with wind power, solar power and burning wood for me.”

    These are dogmatically viewed as the most “environmentally friendly” forms of energy generation and who wasn’t dazzled as a child by all this “free” energy waiting to be used! They’ve been shown time and time again to be extremely effective and money saving (ignoring installation costs etc) in small scale situations and so it must simply be a lack of will and greed holding them back from greater penetration. It’s also why hydro is frequently excluded as a form of renewable energy. Flooding valleys and upsetting the flow of rivers.is bad.

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  48. DaveJR: That makes a fair amount of sense to me. But as you say

    it must simply be a lack of will and greed holding them back from greater penetration

    That demonisation is an inescapable part of what prevents people seeing a very complex picture.

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  49. Richard: “That doesn’t explain the Green Blob staying with wind power, solar power and burning wood for me.”

    I’m interested to know what other candidates there are. Vested interests and worse can build up around large-scale actions of this sort, but are not ultimately causal. Meanwhile throughout history the well-known cultural mechanism has caused groups of every size to bend everything they can towards goals framed by emergent idealised narratives, and frequently act in utter defiance of reason (as seen from the outside) so to do. Regarding what’s happening in society overall regarding catastrophic climate change, the expected behaviours are a great match.

    DaveJR: “These are dogmatically viewed as the most “environmentally friendly” forms of energy generation…”

    Absolutely. ‘Dogmatic’ is one of the words we use to describe a key aspect (systemic unreasonableness) of the well-known mechanisms / behaviours that per above have occurred throughout history. The dogma will be aligned to the emergent idealised narrative.

    Richard: “That demonisation is an inescapable part of what prevents people seeing a very complex picture.”

    Indeed. “Demonisation” is another key systemic aspect of the well-known mechanisms / behaviours that per above have occurred throughout history. Demonization is of the out-group, which is all those people and / or ideas that are deemed to oppose, or even to come up short against, the idealised emergent narrative.

    “…if Greta or one of her contemporaries begins to listen to Gates I mean just in their individual case.”

    Okay.

    Re Open Source; a blend of Open and Commercial principles was always the way to go. Like life, the optimum is neither complete co-operation or complete competition, but co-opetition. In my experience (embedded part of the market), most commercial companies grasped this and were willing to input to the community (despite some exceptions), but over the years I’ve seen some pretty strong idealism from the Open side.

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  50. Andy: what you say about open source is all fine – but I still say that Microsoft’s cultural conquest of that world was not very predictable. At least I speak for my own crystal ball. I have to draw down my contributions to Cliscep from around now. I still have hope for Greta and many like her. PS to Hunter: congratulations on the birth of your grandchild. I missed that comment till today – was it stuck in moderation? Moving and uplifting.

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  51. Richard:

    “but I still say that Microsoft’s cultural conquest of that world was not very predictable”

    Well for sure I’d agree with that.

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  52. Manipulating children is what gurus do. Common Core K-12 values transformational learning, using emotion to replace critical thinking. Emotion is effective to reinforce message. Mao knew it as every guru before and after knew it, and Soros et Al today, occupy their heads.

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  53. Richard: “But why on earth did ‘wind power, solar power and burning wood’ have to remain their favoured technologies?”

    I don’t know, it’s just what they do. I must confess to being amazed that burning wood is being implemented as a solution to climate change. About half the UK’s renewable energy currently comes from burning wood pellets. It does have the advantage of not being intermittent, unlike wind power and solar power.

    The original version of the burning wood idea was that it was the hippy alternative to nuclear power in the 1970s, and the campaigning slogan was “Split Wood Not Atoms”. Some images of the “Split Wood Not Atoms” campaign for people not familiar with it:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=split+wood+not+atoms&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjAipiwkv_gAhWBQxUIHSSnDT4QsAR6BAgFEAE&biw=1366&bih=613

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  54. This was the idiotic recommendation of Gummer’s climate change committee. So our pathetic chancellor is basically kow-towing to the corrupt Lord Deben – he who has his finger stuck deep in the Green pie – using the pathetic excuse that he is doing so in order to address the concerns of brainwashed child climate protester zombies. I can’t believe how much worse this heady brew of rampant Green corruption, suicidal incompetence and bare-naked mass delusion has become and is becoming.

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  55. Here is Rowan Williams speaking in support of XR and the Thunberg-inspired school strike on Friday:

    It really isn’t an exaggeration to say that the future of the human race is now at stake.

    As cheerful as ever, eh?* (Back in 2006 he seemed to say that if the British government didn’t strictly enforce the 70mph speed limit then the world’s economy would collapse and billions of people would die.)

    In happier news, another vicar has joined XR. This one is good value. He talks like an angry alcoholic with a bad hangover:

    I particularly like the ending:

    One life carries all life and all life carries one life. And that, my friend, is our future.

    I have absolutely no idea what that means but the delivery is superb.

    ===
    *But much more forthright than he used to be. See, for example:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/craigbrown/3555063/Dr-Rowan-Williams-Cat-Sat-On-The-Mat.html

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  56. That’s hilarious Vinny. (He says from semi-retirement. But these are too good not to trigger the relevant responses. Lord in your mercy hear our guffaws.)

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  57. Vinny,

    “I have absolutely no idea what that means but the delivery is superb.”

    He’d probably tell you it means something like we each as individuals all have to carry (care for) each other, and by so doing ‘properly’, the planet too, which in turn carries all of us. Along the lines of U2:

    Sisters and my brothers
    One life
    But we’re not the same
    We get to carry each other, carry each other
    One, one
    One, one
    One
    One love, one life

    …but with added existential / planetary / apocalypse extrapolation, and love extending to global care.

    But really, it doesn’t actually mean anything at all. It’s just a nonsense sentence, but… it’s the right sort of nonsense. Some of the best (i.e. highly propagating) memes have very vague meanings and this is actually a benefit to their multiplication if the vagueness is of the just right kind, i.e. they comes across as (neatly packaged) deep wisdom that gives readers / listeners a quick dose of the right emotional vibes when they hear it (which means they’ll want to share the ‘deep meaning’ that must lurk there). That emotive vibe often bypasses our reason. This one is also deployed as a sealant meme, i.e. it’s bolted onto the end as a way of sealing in the lecture and increasing the chances of propagating the whole thing, though such memes will also detach and propagate on their own. I’ve not come across this one before. Such memes evolve / merge constantly and their paths can sometimes be traced, I see from a quick search there are various (mainly religious) mumbo-jumbo precursors, e.g. (asterisks mine):

    ‘When rivalries develop between the branches of Christianity, one may claim to be purer or truer than others. Jesus did not recognize any inherent superiority of of one branch over another, for each is an outgrowth of one trunk which *carries one life* to *all*.’

    ‘It is true that the other creatures also participate in life, but man synthesizes them: he *carries all life* within himself and thus becomes the spokesman for *all life*, the vertical axis where life opens onto the spirit and where it becomes spirit. ‘

    ‘Water *carries all life*. But water is beyond time, for it bears in its flow the seeds of *future life*, as well as the memory of past life.’ later in same source ‘Goethe understood that *all life is one*…’

    ‘The eight polarities of I Ching… 2. Earth: Yielding, docile, receptive; associated with the womb, nourishment, the great wagon of the earth that *carries all life*.’

    Given he’s a vicar he might be primed on such forms. I see he’s been using your quoted lines since at least 2011 (and the ‘life cairn’, monument to extinctions), plus at greenchristian.org.uk was tinkering with a more basic form: ‘We have been a seed and it is now time to start to grow, to bear fruit. We need to be much bolder now because the ground has been laid. We now all of us need to start living on it. *All life in one life, one life in all life*. A commenter on one of his pieces had a slightly different variant: ‘All life to carry one life, one life to carry all life’, which is the same way around as the basic form but reversed from your quoted version, and I wonder if he/she was partially the source.

    I find the evolution of such forms and their merges / splits / transforms, highly interesting. Many are relatively harmless nonsense but depending upon context some are or can become essentially ‘words that think for us’ (their emotive triggering bypassing reason), and so harmful in this respect. However, one does tend to end up in the arcane, in this case quite quickly:

    ‘The true Vedic ascetic must primarily occupy himself in his thought-courses with One all-comprehensive life ( eka sat ), and would then realise that He alone was to be loved, and every thing through His all-comprehensive life, and all acts were to be guided^ by this attachment to *All -life in One Life*.’ (from The Bhakti Cult In Ancient India).

    ‘…”the universality of *all life in One Life*,” this doctrine became the basic credo of the Theosophical Society, founded in New York in 1875.’

    Feel free to let this go right past you 0:

    Liked by 1 person

  58. A counterpoint to Greta:

    http://daysgt.blogspot.com/2019/01/girl-climate-speech.html

    Hello, I’m Agnes. I’m 16 years old. I’m glad to have the opportunity to address this conference. (clapping).
    I’m not known for being particularly sweet, so brace yourselves for what I have to say. (chuckles).
    I’m not naive, and I have made my homework before addressing you here tonight, so bear with me. (some concern).

    Let’s stop being stupid. Prematurely reducing our fossil fuel consumption would swing back the clock, cause the starvation of billions and turn most of the survivors into paupers including almost everybody in my generation. We cannot allow this to happen. …

    Liked by 4 people

  59. We can only imagine what this 16 year old girl would say, because pragmatism and realism tends not to become an obsessive ’cause celebre’ among the young and impressionable and certainly those adults who may tend to be pragmatic, rational and realistic are unlikely to infect the younger generation with their ‘radical’ ideas, either incidentally or intentionally.

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  60. Thanks, Andy. I’m not sure your explanation of what the vicar meant fits with what he actually said but he probably did have something like that in mind. It might be relevant that he used to work in advertising, where it’s often considered more important to project associations and feelings than to convey facts or meaning.

    As it happens, the ‘All life to carry one life, one life to carry all life’ version you dug up was by the bloke who made that Owen-Jones video: Andreas Kornevall. He runs a holiday company offering Earthwatch-style volunteering trips to far-flung places like Costa Rica and Vietnam. Quite how he squares that with his apocalyptic concerns about climate change is a mystery. All life to carry the can but not his life, perhaps?

    Back to Greta land. Has everyone seen this yet?

    Seven-year-olds worrying about there not being a liveable planet when they reach their late 50s. The words spoken by the children were written by the comedian (really) who also wrote this poem about President Trump slitting her daughter’s throat:

    What a cheerful bunch!

    Liked by 2 people

  61. BETHTHESERF (13 MAR 19 8.52AM)

    Manipulating children is what gurus do… Mao knew it…

    I corrected the comment, as requested.
    I found the photo of little Maoists touching, and I’m trying to work out why. I’ve read enough accounts of the horrors of the cultural revolution not to have any illusions. China had experienced a half century of humiliation, invasion, and civil war. A peasant-led revolution took revenge on the bourgeoisie (and on a large proportion of the population, practically at random.) Perhaps a million died. (But millions died anyway, every decade or so, in avoidable catastrophes.) That no longer happens, thanks to the economic development initiated by the communist revolution.

    However manipulated by a dictatorial régime, those little Chinese girls had something to wave their fists about. What’s Thunberg got to complain about? According to her mother in her book, the Swedish welfare state failed her daughter in some undefined way (defined in Swedish in her mother’s book, but not available in any of the thousands of articles available in the English-speaking press.) And, (still according to her mother) there’s a link between the failings of the Swedish welfare state and our failure to stop climate change.

    Putting kids first in your culture-stroke-propaganda (Andy note how I’ve taken your message on board) reveals a lot about your culture. From Hollywood’s version of Nazi propaganda

    to today’s students’ strikes – is that such a big jump?
    I prefer Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz -our own sceptic in plaits.

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  62. Beth, that’s happened to me on occasion. On this blog there is a very large white space extending from the ‘like’ text, going right up to the point where comments wrap, that is clickable for the like. Extremely easy to click on it by accident when clicking in the window to bring to front, or scrolling up and down too casually without much concern for the mouse button (normally don’t need to worry, in the white space it shouldn’t activate anything). Annoying!

    Like

  63. Here’s an old man in Parliament Square calmly eating a mysterious orange substance with a disposable spoon while children next to him squeak loud and expletive-laden political slogans:

    Some questions.

    1) What the hell is he eating?

    2) Is he deaf or just a very calm dude? (Perhaps even a reincarnation of Mahatma Gandhi, whose statue is a few yards to his right.)

    3) Who taught the children that Theresa May is a fucking whore and Jeremy Corbyn is fucking great?

    4) Do the children and their handlers think that May’s whoredom and Corbyn’s greatness have any relevance to apocalyptic climate change?

    Liked by 1 person

  64. Credit to Willis. We in England can boast even better than that. Two degrees catastrophic warming? Hell, been there, done that, got the T-shirt, ages ago (before T-shirts were even invented) between 1690 and 1730. 2C in just 40 years! OK, it’s not planet-sized or even continental sized, but dear old Blighty doesn’t seem to have suffered too much then and it’s certainly not suffering now, even though we’re up to 2.5C warming now. In fact, Thermageddon was distinctly pleasant in February; March, not so much, but that’s not on account of too much global warming around these parts – quite the opposite! Grottie Spinberg should come see us Little Englanders some time and we’ll educate her on real climate, regional climate (the only type that really matters) and actual climate change.

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  65. The Earth climate system deals twice a year with around a 4C jump in ‘average surface temperature’ according to data you can pick out bit by bit from this NOAA site: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc
    Their results for the 20th century have the average for January at 12.0C and the average for July at 15.8C. That at least hints at a climate system fairly robust to variations in average surface temperatures of, for example, the much dreaded 2C magnitude.

    Liked by 2 people

  66. That 7 video is profoundly evil.
    Whoever manipulated these children into parroting such anti-scientific completely false garbage is straight out of the Komkomsol, or the Red Scarf Brigade, or that unmentionable certain German who’s youth movement trained kids to really love nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  67. As I argue in my 57th edition Serf Under_ground Journal, slavery begins with the mind. Beware your gurus who target our minds, some like Edward Bernays want to sell you goods, but by far the worst are yr Plato and Soros Big Bros, would be philosopher kings of privileged insight who would rule and control society to their own plan, and always an authoritative plan. Education is their battleground where ‘occupy their heads’ is the driving policy to fix habits of social justice warrior make over to guru plan’ .

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  68. The Earth March guy sounds like someone who chose the “11” option on his stereo volume control.

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  69. Here is a good idea for those behind the “spontaneous” children’s movements, from an old school community organizer

    By the way, it is disturbing to find out how difficult it is to find the large number of films where despots used children as props as well easy marks for indoctrination.

    Liked by 1 person

  70. Vinny Burgoo
    It took me a while to spot the man eating something with a plastic spoon. The kids are shouting : “What does democracy look like?” (response): “This is what democracy looks like.” No. Haranguing a crowd from a podium is not what democracy looks like.
    The good thing about the “Seven” video you link to is that only 2096 people have viewed it on Youtube. Before the word “paedophilia” became current it was called “interfering with children.” This film interferes with children bigly.
    On the use of kids for propaganda purposes: It’s not only Mao and Stalin who practiced it. Until recently, British parliamentary candidates were expected to kiss babies, while in France they’re expected to pat cows’ backsides affectionately, and in Germany, according to numerous photos in der Spiegel the last time I looked, to cuddle piglets. Call me a reactionary, but I think I prefer the British / Stalinist / Maoist way.

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  71. Geoff, you’re right. Haranguing a crowd from a podium isn’t what democracy looks like. It looks like half a dozen puzzled angels corralling two puzzled children behind a pink swag fence:

    Like

  72. Greta and her sweary groupies have said that they have no actual plan for how to save the planet (as have XR’s psychedelic Quakers). They just want to get noticed.

    Not good enough. Here’s an actual plan for them: large environmental NGOs should give 2% of their annual revenues to Angela Merkel.

    This will work because Mrs Merkel has accepted an invitation from the spirit world to act as the Planetary Consciousness of Planet Earth and as long as she receives enough funding to fulfil this role we won’t need a Planet B. Mrs Merkel will be able to put an end to climate change, overpopulation and nasty chemicals and our home planet will become sustainable again – to use the analogy presented at the start of that video, we will no longer need a backup supply of winter sweaters because with Mrs Merkel in charge the winter sweaters that we usually wear won’t go missing.

    And we mustn’t complain about being constrained. Consider Mrs McGonagill’s dog. Despite its complaints, it isn’t actually constrained by its lead because it actually needs to be on a lead and necessity constrains the actuality of constrainment – in such cases, constrainment isn’t actually there.

    Then there are the otherwordly spies living inside Mrs McGonagill’s goose. They were sent by Wise Minds Above to observe us. Does the unwillingness of these spies to translate what the goose says about their presence within its body have a parallel with the lack of support for Mrs Merkel’s role as Planetary Consciousness?

    Why are you putting these souls in a goose and then not have anybody upstairs who can translate goose? Why are you doing that? Why do you give Angela Merkel the job and then not give her the resources with which to do the job?

    There are more than a thousand of these videos. They are top-notch woo-woo. I haven’t encountered anything quite this wootastic since discovering that for several years Thom Hartmann was the disciple of an Italian vaudeville artist who claimed to be an Egyptian fakir who claimed to be able to hypnotize headless chickens into levitating.

    But is Mrs McGonagill a vaudeville con-artist or a sincere fakir? There goes my weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

  73. David (dpy): Thank you for pointing us to that excellent piece in Quillette. It’s come to something when Alinsky is quoted as a voice of moderation and common sense at the end:

    Activism might be driven by passionate conviction and founded on good intentions, but as Saul Alinsky, the radical American writer and community organiser, once observed: “Young protagonists are one moment reminiscent of the idealistic early Christians, yet they also urge violence and cry, ‘Burn the system down!’ They have no illusions about the system, but plenty of illusions about the way to change our world.”

    Vinny: You are watching these videos so that I don’t have to. At least I sincerely hope.

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  74. I was going to sing Quillette’s praises more generally in my last comment, given how upset many academics already are with the little startup, but this would take it a stage further:

    Like

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