Thursday, April 15, 2021

Francis Menton: Lessons In Woke "Science" - Covid-19 And Climate

Over time, I have had many posts on the scientific method, most recently in January 2021 here. You posit a falsifiable hypothesis. Then you collect and examine the evidence. If the evidence contradicts your hypothesis you must abandon it and move on. Really, that’s the whole thing.

Then there is woke “science,” most visible these days in the arenas of response to the Covid-19 virus and of climate change. Here the principles are a little different. In woke “science” there is no falsifiable hypothesis. In place of that, we have the official orthodox consensus view. The official orthodox consensus view has been arrived at by all the smartest people, because it just seems like it must be right. The official orthodox consensus view must not be contradicted, particularly by the little people like you. Based on the official orthodox consensus view, those in power can take away all your freedom (Covid) and/or transform the entire economy (climate). After all, it’s the “science.”

But what if evidence seems to contradict the official orthodox consensus view? I’m sorry, but as I said the official orthodox consensus view must not be contradicted. Today’s news brings a couple of extreme examples of that, one on the virus front, and the other relating to climate. Both of these are from Europe, so you may not have seen them.

On the virus front, we consider the case of Germany. For some reason, Germany has been relatively lightly hit by the virus, at least so far. According to the latest from Worldometers, Germany has had 940 deaths per million population to date. This compares, for example to 2,593 deaths per million in Czechia (worst of all countries), 1,864 in the UK, and 1,732 in the U.S. But starting in about mid-March, Germany has seen a renewed “surge” of cases. Why? Some might say that the virus is just going to get you sooner or later. But on March 23 German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a new three-week “lockdown” of the strictest variety, which included the forced closing of most stores from April 1 - 5. And with that three-week period about to expire, the website No Tricks Zone (German speakers) reports today that even further extensions are under consideration:

The German government is looking to impose even stricter lockdown measures. Liberty has been suspended indefinitely in Europe.

The problem here is that if the proposition that lockdowns work were a falsifiable hypothesis, it would have been falsified by now. The most striking data come from here in the U.S., where strict lockdown states like New York (2642 deaths per million as of today), New Jersey (2800), Illinois (1878) and Michigan (1759) continue to get shown up by wide open places like Florida (1584) and Texas (1705). Try to find any actual data for the efficacy of lockdowns, and you can’t. That is, except for their efficacy in generating an unemployment rate of 13% in New York City versus 4.8% in Florida.

But Germany, like the blue U.S. states, operates by the alternative principles of woke “science.” After all, data or no data, all the smartest people know that lockdowns must work. No Tricks Zone reports today on a news conference that took place on Friday (April 9) in Germany. An independent journalist named Boris Reitschuster got a chance to pose a question to Oliver Ewald, a spokesman for the German Ministry of Health. Here is the question (translation from NTZ):

Herr Ewald, [a journalist] at the WZ wrote in a report that the German government has no proof of the effectiveness of lockdowns. So my question is: what scientific studies do you have?Thank you.”

And here is the initial response, plus some further back and forth:

Ewald: Herr Reitschuster, you know that as a fundamental rule, we do not assess comments from journalists, and so here I will stick to that.”

Reitschuster: There’s a misunderstanding, Herr Ewald, I only brought up a quote and then followed it up with a stand-alone question, and this question has nothing to do with the quote. I’ll gladly repeat the question once again; what scientific study…”

Ewald: When you read one sentence from this comment here and request an assessment without, so to speak, providing further context or basis, I can’t say anything on that.”

Reitschuster: Completely without the sentence, for the third time, what scientific study does the German government have? Thank you.”

Ewald: I’ve said what I have to say say on that!”

NTZ comments: “We all know there is no study that supports lockdowns, and so spokesman Ewald is clearly trapped.” However, you should expect the lockdown to continue in Germany.

Over to the subject of climate change. As you may have read, last week brought record-breaking cold to much of Europe which, given that we are well into April, caused substantial damage to crops in their early stages of Spring growth. Actually, it’s likely that you didn’t read about that at all. That’s because the U.S. mainstream media mostly only report on record warmth, not record cold. As an example, I can’t find any mention of the subject of Europe’s cold snap in the New York Times (although I do find an article in the Washington Post).

But, particularly given the extensive crop damage, let alone the readership personally experiencing the bitter cold temperatures, the European press can’t avoid reporting on the subject. Doesn’t this extreme cold kind of undermine the official orthodox consensus view that the climate is rapidly getting warmer?

Here is the story from France’s Le Figaro, April 9 (my translation):

A bout of severe frost struck numerous crops this week in France. Temperatures plummeted, in some places, below 0 degrees C (32 F) at a speed never seen since 1947 for the month of April.

Quick, somebody needs to explain how that is consistent with “global warming.” Le Figaro calls in one Thierry Castel, identified as a “climatology researcher.” Here’s his explanation:

This is well linked [to global warming]. The differences in temperatures between the polar zones and the mid-latitudes are decreasing. That process modulates the undulations of the jet stream (the fast winds over the North Atlantic that play a big role in atmospheric circulation). Because of that, we are faced with the descent of cold Arctic air, and the more important northward movement of warm air.

Sure, Thierry. Meanwhile, the UAH guys report another substantial drop in world atmospheric temperature in March 2021. The global temperature anomaly for the month is -0.01 deg C (as against the 30 year average of 1991-2020). That brings us back down to about the same temperature we had back in 1988. Needless to say, Le Figaro was way too polite to confront M. Castel with this information.

Here is the latest UAH chart of global temperatures, going back to 1979:

Francis Menton is a retired New York lawyer who blogs at the Manhattan Contrarian HERE.

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