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A Sucker Born Every Minute

By Greg L | 29 November 2009 | National Politics | 21 Comments

Before Congress and the Obama Administration continue to push forward with their jobs-destroying plan to address “global warming,” they better come up with some answers quickly about the growing evidence that the scientific process was subverted in order to push a political agenda.  Over the past week a steady stream of hugely embarassing revelations about raw data being erased, contradictory data being ignored, and nonconforming scientific viewpoints being censored has strongly suggested that the whole “crisis” was deliberately manufactured.  Worse yet, the behavior of the scientific community in this regard has deeply damaged the reputation of science as a whole.

Perhaps it will be a good thing that the public will in the future treat any new pronouncements about scientific “consensus” with a skeptic’s eye.  It certainly will be a good thing for the public to approach with great skepticism cases when political hacks start barnstorming tours to tout their allegedly science-based policy objectives that will forestall or prevent global catastrophe.  When the “global warming” movement put Al Gore out front as their point man, screaming that certain twenty foot rises in seal levels are going to kill us all, a lot of us guffawed, but certainly not enough of us.  After the ashes of the whole “human induced climate change is going to kill us all” mantra have cooled a bit, maybe, just maybe a bit more of the public at large is going to start demanding a little more than flashy propaganda before they swallow garbage like this.

Or perhaps not.

I remember as a young boy seeing a huge stone carving of a man that was the center of another hoax.  Some enterprising guy made this rather crude statute and “discovered” it in a hole about a century or so ago.  For quite a while folks was abuzz about the discovery of some ancient race of humanoid giants while the entrepreneur who “discovered” it basked in glory, fame, and some pretty substantial fiancial rewards.  After a while, people with a bit of common sense figured out that this was a pretty crude piece of rather uninspired artwork and managed to explode this little myth, chastizing the gullibility of the public with a quote that has long survived the author, and which I’ll talk about in a minute.  I couldn’t figure out why it took folks as long as it did, as it was pretty obvious this was a rather pathetic fake.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

I also remember as a boy hearing all about some woman in Philadelphia named Betsy Ross who supposedly invented the American Flag.  In another case of self-promotion, a family decided to invent a nice little story that just happened to handsomely benefit themselves by turning their property into something akin to a national landmark for which they charged admission fees.  The public, eager to sop up any heart-warming tale about George Washington and the founding of our nation, couldn’t hand over their quarters fast enough in order to glipse artifacts of this manufactured reality.  Finally some historians, wondering why they hadn’t heard of this woman before, did a little research and figured out that the Betsy Ross story was about as credible as a circus sideshow.  It took quite a while for truth to prevail, and still there are people out there ignorantly promoting it.

The point is that Americans are willing to believe all sorts of thinly-veiled malarky, especially if the prankster can get someone with a recognizable name or some other means of an appeal to authority to believe all sorts of things.  In just about every case, few seem to immediately notice that the people promoting the falsehoods have some sort of obvious vested financial incentive to promote and perpetuate it.  When Al Gore jumped into the entertainment business after his political career flamed out, not a whole lot of people wondered whether his road tour and personality-cult development efforts had more to do with padding his wallet than anything else.  They should have.  Instead, the fawning media circus started lending credibility to their sideshow, giving Gore they traditional type of promotion the Cardiff Giant got in the late 1800’s.

The Cardiff Giant fiasco is precisely where we got the quote “there’s a sucker born every minute” after P.T. Barnum took the thing on a promotional tour that earned him millions, from “suckers.”  Only now, those “suckers” aren’t each paying a quarter to see a crude rock carving of no significance, they’re getting Congress to spend trillions of taxpayer dollars in order to avert a fake catastrophe.  A few get rich, and just about infinitely more get scammed.  Again.

This is going to happen again.  Mark my words.  There will be another stupid, expensive hoax someday, some will have a vested financial interest in promoting it, and few will ask the hard questions that clearly need to be raised.  The public will be swindled.  Since government is where the money is these days, that’s where the swindle will be perpetuated, and lots of people are going to fall for it.  Again.

There’s a sucker born every minute, and there will continue to be.  Al Gore is our modern day P.T. Barnum right now.  Someone will outdo him soon enough, leaving a lot of people wondering “how did we get fooled by this?”  Again.

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  1. 200 Grande said on 29 Nov 2009 at 11:24 pm:
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    This is the scam of the century.

  2. Greg S said on 30 Nov 2009 at 1:03 am:
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    A more recent scam was the Y2K fascicle. Millions were made touting the demise of civilization. “never waste a perfectly good crisis”

  3. Kevin C. said on 30 Nov 2009 at 1:18 am:
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    By Greg L: “there’s a sucker born every minute”

    Gee, and I always thought it was, “For every seat there’s an ASS!”

  4. Johnson said on 30 Nov 2009 at 7:39 am:
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    …and if there’s no crisis to support your cause, create one! How did we ever manage to survive between the Clinton “health care crisis” and the recently Obamao manufactured crisis? THERE SHOULD BE A LAW!!! Or change…hope?

  5. Ayn Rand IS Right! said on 30 Nov 2009 at 8:19 am:
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    As a child, I remember watching “hard science” shows that predicted a coming ice-age. So when the whole “global warming” mantra chant started, I thought “can’t they make up their minds?” After some contradictory data started to leak out, regarding the fact that the average temperature is DECREASING, notice that the words “global warming” started to be replaced with “climate change”. The argument that the eco-crazies make is that the cause of this climate change is man. This is pure horse-fruit, and I have always said so. The only thing that can effect the Earth’s climate in a global fashion is the Sun. Anyone with a basic understanding of Earth Science would know this. There has always been cliamte change on the Earth: IT’S CALLED WEATHER! If sheeple would take a moment to understand how weather is actually created, they would know that heating and cooling cycles of the Earth correspond exactly with the cycles of the sun. Massive volcanic erruptions may have a temporary, minor effect on temps, but usually, the heating from “green house gases” is counter-acted by the cooling effects of shade, a result of ash in the air.

    Now, a few words about carbon. Carbon is everywhere, and in everything. Plants need it to survive. They pull it from CO2, and release the O2 back into the atmosphere. Almost every molecule of Carbon that existed at the formation of the Earth is still here (except very miniscule amounts that where part of the probes we have shot into space). Burn fossil fuels, and carbon is released into the atmosphere. Burn wood, the same thing happens. But also, the decomposition of every living thing on the Earth releases carbon. You know all those leaves you hate to rake? They break down and release carbon. There isn’t any more carbon in the environment now, as there was 10,000 years ago.

    What people need to understand is there is a big difference between global climates, and micro climates. A micro climate can be impacted by man. Chop down a forest, and the immediate area (exposed to the Sun) will get warmer. But, equalibrium will be maintained. It’s basic physics. The rising heat will increase evaporation, which will cause clouds to form, and eventually, it will rain somewhere else, and COOL that micro-climate.

    Now, I am not saying we shouldn’t worry about air quality around places like LA and San Diego, or we shouldn’t limit the amount of pollution that runs into our watershed, because we have to breath the air and drink the water. We should look for ways to increase energy effeciency, recycle, etc. Why, because effeciencies lead to cost-savings. But to wreck our economy by doing something drastic, based on lies, is pure foolishness, and we can only take so many fools.

  6. Dittyman8 said on 30 Nov 2009 at 9:06 am:
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    This whole “global warming” hoax always smacked to me as a shameless power grab by the left wing to increase government control over people’s lives and money. CO2 is a natural by-product of breathing, for crying out loud. The science of studying climates is still in its early stages. There are many factors which can account for climate change such as solar activity/flares, magnetic storms, shifts in ocean currents. I serious doubt that climate change can be controlled by spending trillions of dollars or having governments monitor how much trash you put out (as they’re trying to do in the UK - I bet George Orwell is laughing from the afterlife somewhere.)

    I thought it was amusing how CNN put of a story shortly after the e-mails got released about how giant icebergs are being seen heading towards New Zealand. News flash - it’s springtime down there; icebergs break off from Antarctica almost every year. They usually melt before hitting land anyplace.

    Like Ayn Rand Is Right, I remembered the same hysteria back in the 1970s about a new ice age coming. Hopefully, when my son is old enough to learn science, this will another example which demonstrates why one needs to think critically about scientific theories before implementing public policy based on them.

  7. Joe D said on 30 Nov 2009 at 10:53 am:
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    Well in, Ayn.

  8. Slick said on 30 Nov 2009 at 11:50 am:
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    200 Grande said on 29 Nov 2009 at 11:24 pm:

    This is the scam of the century.

    I disagree, the election as US president of a foreign born muslim who had never run anything so big as a lemonade stand and who has open affiliations with communists, terrorists and racist ministers, all the while the leftist media covered for, now that is the fraud of the millennium.

  9. Ron said on 30 Nov 2009 at 12:30 pm:
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    Good reading here:



  10. Rhyme Time said on 30 Nov 2009 at 1:03 pm:
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    Religious “experts” through well planned contrivance,
    Lent creedence to biblical giants,
    Now both faux climatologist, and planet pathologist,
    Must convince using well-vetted science.

  11. 200 Grande said on 30 Nov 2009 at 1:05 pm:
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    @ Slick: Touche.

  12. Citizenofmanassas said on 30 Nov 2009 at 4:41 pm:
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    As with the health care bill, facts prove out it will ruin our health care system, it will add costs, and it will be horrible for the Nation. Has that stopped obama and his fellow libs? Nope. They are not going to let facts get in the way of them passing this cap and tax bill. They have an agenda and are sticking to it.

  13. Patty said on 30 Nov 2009 at 5:10 pm:
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    Here is a link to a video about global warming: http://www.answersingenesis.org/media/video/ondemand/global-warming

    It gives a scientific and Biblical (Christian) perspective. There is a critique of Al Gore’s film. There are some insightful and refreshing comments from scientists about the science community. This video is about 50 minutes long but well worth viewing. And yes these people are real scientists. If you doubt that just google on their names and find out yourself. Dr. Jason Lisle is an astrophysicist. He mentions sunspot activity in relation to temperature change. The correlation is incredible.

  14. Fran Kendrick said on 30 Nov 2009 at 6:49 pm:
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    Slick, you are absolutely 100% accurate!! I wonder how many others are
    thinking the same thing? OneBigAssedMistakeAmerica. Too bad we all have
    to suffer fools.

  15. Groveton said on 30 Nov 2009 at 9:17 pm:
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    I am not so sure either way. I’ve been to places like Beijing and Dehli. The smog hangs in the air like a blanket. LA has its moments and Denver was pretty bad until it was cleaned up. It seems to me that you can only keep taking carbon from solid objects and burning it into the atmosphere for so long before you change something.

    The Cheasapeake Bay has certainly gone downhill since I was a kid. I remember going fishing and seeing schools of breaking bluefish. Rockfish were plentiful as were oysters and crabs. Not so much anymore. The rockfish have come back but the blues are way down and oysters seem almost extinct. That wasn’t sunspots.

    Are you guys sure that a century of industrial pollution has changed nothing?

    I don’t like the pseudo-religious zealots in the “green movement” much myself. I just wonder whether some of what they have been saying might be true.

  16. gurduloo said on 30 Nov 2009 at 10:25 pm:
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    Groveton: Good points. Even if someone doesn’t believe in global warming, that’s no reason to support more pollution?

  17. Slick said on 30 Nov 2009 at 11:07 pm:
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    No one is saying we want more pollution, that is absurd even in political rhetoric. As a child growing up in the 70’s I watched many shows on PBS about the coming ice age backed up by reams of “scientific evidence”. Now the VERY SAME “scientists” say they had it all wrong back then and we are actually in a man made warming scenario. Conservatives want clean air, pristine waters, we love the outdoors and all the yummy animals they contain. We just don’t want to enter into agreements with third world countries that will cripple our economy based on sketchy “science”.

    Just think for a minute exactly who these “scientists” are. For the most part they are city dwelling egg heads who couldn’t kill a buck or catch a fish to save their own lives. These are the dorks you knew in school who got 1600 on their SAT but cant figure out how to change a bicycle tire. They spend their days in climate controlled lofty ivory towers, daydreaming of the great socialist, one world govt they can create through the powers of environmental regulation. They have no real connection with nature (climate). They don’t even have a basic understanding of what they are supposedly experts on.

  18. Peter Danlyn said on 1 Dec 2009 at 4:58 am:
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    Did scientists predict an impending ice age in the 1970s?
    The notion that the 1970s scientific consensus was for impending global cooling is incorrect. In actuality, there were significantly more papers in the 1970s predicting warming than cooling.
    Scientific studies in the 1970’s re global cooling
    Most predictions of an impending ice age came from the popular press (eg - Newsweek, NY Times, National Geographic, Time Magazine). As far as peer reviewed scientific papers in the 1970s, very few papers (7 in total) predicted global cooling. Significantly more papers (42 in total) predicted global warming due to CO2.
    In no year were there more cooling papers than warming papers (Peterson 2008).
    Rasool and Schneider’s ice age “projection”
    The main study cited by skeptics is Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols: Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate (Rasool 1971). The paper doesn’t actually predict an ice age. Instead, it projects a possible scenario - if aerosol levels increased 6 to 8 times then sustained those levels for several years, it may trigger an ice age. Historically, what happened was aerosol levels fell. While it’s unclear whether Rasool’s calculations re aerosol cooling were accurate, one inaccuracy was they underestimated climate’s sensitivity to CO2 by a factor of 3.
    In the decades since their 1971 paper, many studies constraining climate sensitivity calculate that if atmospheric CO2 was doubled, global temperatures would rise around 3°C. These studies employ different methods (modelling, calculations from empirical observations) looking at different time periods (the 20th century, the Holocene, past ice ages), different aspects of climate (surface temperature, mid-tropospheric temperature, ocean heat intake) and response to different forcings (volcanic, CO2, solar).
    National Academy of Sciences - now and then
    The most comprehensive study on the subject (and the closest thing to a scientific consensus at the time) was the 1975 US National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Report. Their basic conclusion was “…we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate…”
    Contrast this with the US National Academy of Science’s current position: “there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring… It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities… The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action.” This is in a joint statement with the Academies of Science from Brazil, France, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom.
    Other indications of current consensus
    Other scientific bodies that have released statements endorsing anthropogenic global warming include:
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    Environmental Protection Agency
    NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies
    American Geophysical Union
    American Institute of Physics
    National Center for Atmospheric Research
    American Meteorological Society
    The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) draws upon the work of over 850 peer reviewed studies
    None of these bodies (at least the ones that existed back then) endorsed ice age predictions in the 70s.
    So global cooling predictions in the 70s amounted to media and a handful of studies, even then outweighed by global warming predictions. Today, an avalanche of studies and overwhelming scientific consensus endorse anthropogenic global warming. To compare cooling predictions in the 70s to the current situation is both inappropriate and misleading.
    © Copyright 2009 www.skepticalscience.com
    You base your complete denial on a handful of anomalous studies?   Such studies serve to focus scientific thought, but their quantity is insufficient to significantly add or detract from the preponderance of evidence.  Using the recent ones as a primary argument is akin to relying only on Newsweek for facts about Sarah Palin and the death of the Republican Party.  Citing the old ones is like dragging a thirty-year old Masters thesis into the selection process for a new governor.
    Is that the standard of knowledge and insight that you want to apply to this discussion?

  19. Kevin C. said on 1 Dec 2009 at 7:22 am:
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    For thousands of years it has been proven, time and time again, that the BEST way to control a population is to keep the “people” at each others throats.

    The politicians in this country prove that EVERY DAY!

    Johnson said on 30 Nov 2009 at 7:39 am: “…and if there’s no crisis to support your cause, create one!”

  20. Ayn Rand IS Right! said on 1 Dec 2009 at 4:25 pm:
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    Your comments are disjointed, and yet, strangely irrelevant. These “scientists” have violated just about every aspect of the accepted “scientific method”, and we are supposed to listen to them now? We are supposed to listen to you?

  21. anklenipper said on 1 Dec 2009 at 7:19 pm:
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    The above mentioned scientific bodies are funded by whom? Also, not every scientist in the EPA and NOAA is on board with the “consensus”

    IPCC stinks of a one world government which (just a hunch of mine) Obama will be in the ranks of. This global plan wouldn’t be worth a cow fart if the US wasn’t included.

    I see seretary general of the UN as Obamas ultimate goal.

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