That Old Time Religion; That Old Time Science

Separation of church and state has long been a fundamental part of the U.S. Constitution, as it prohibits the imposition of a federal religion.  Various interpretations of this principle as stated in the First Amendment to the Constitution have been employed by those wishing to abolish any and all religious expression in federal and state affairs.  Vociferous outcries and legal challenges await those attempting the mere reference to our Judeo-Christian heritage within the confines of any branch of government.

Yet a new religion has been imposed upon the citizens of this country.  It  emanates from the highest federal levels; it has found its voice in the White House bully pulpit.  It is promulgated with a religious fervor reminiscent of the fictional Elmer Gantry.  This religion is complete with warnings and admonitions of coming days of doom for mankind lest the new tenets be rejected by anyone.

In this era of electronic communications, this new religion's commandments have been dispersed via the internet, which obviated the inconvenience of another trip to Mt. Sinai.  The 2014 tablets bear the title of the third “National Climate Assessment (NCA)" report.

At over 800 pages, this federal document of secular religion – based on human guilt and the presumptive sin of having eaten excessively of fossil fuel – outstrips the Ten Commandments by a mile in word count.  Man-made carbon dioxide has been targeted by the high priests of the profane as some sort of original sin staining the purity of the virgin Earth, thereby bringing the wrath of devil-like climate change in punishment.  Heat waves, excessive rainfall, floods, ocean rise, crop failures are retributions awaiting mankind should the new Federal religion be violated by human-caused carbon dioxide emanations. 

Lacking a true Biblical source, the high priests of this federal climate religion have relied on their man-made computers to foretell these days of doom, should mankind not renounce this essential, life-giving gas…carbon dioxide.  The reality of years of climate observations has not supported the prophecies of these priestly climate computers.   Two federal agencies, NOAA and NASA, both confirm that there has been no increase in global temperature for the past 17 years, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased over 9 percent.  Risking running afoul of Voltaire’s admonition – “It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong” – McKitrick, Spencer, and others have published the failures of these foundational computer engines of the new federal climate dogma.  Heck, even the ancient Oracle at Delphi had a better track record of forecasting, albeit with the benefit of a few whiffs of earthly hydrocarbon gases, including ethylene.

Post-normal science has been enlisted to aid the weak dogmatic foundations of the NCA.  The halls of federally funded academia overflow with a cornucopia of papers supporting the climate catastrophes prophesied in the federal climate dogma.  These advocates would have one believe that the climate has never wandered far from some fictional present-day perfect weather that exists in their climate models.

A most perplexing question for these alarmists is “When has the climate not changed?”

What about that "old time religion," or at least that old time science?  Traditional science as exemplified by Karl Popper and Richard Feynman should be good enough for anyone.  If the facts do not match the theoretical predictions, go back to square one, and find a different theory that can stand the test of reality and your best efforts to disprove it.  The NCA relies on fear and unproved claims of future disasters, and computer fabrications.  Climate change is happening now; it is going to get worse; it will be a catastrophe…this is not the language of traditional science, it is the lingua franca of the political ruling class, crony capitalists, and Gaia cultists.

Is there even such a thing as a climate?  Is there a normal climate, and for whom, where, and at what time?  The father of chaos theory pondered these questions.  Meteorologist Edward Lorenz predates post-normal science, and his writings reflect the thought processes of traditional science.  From his 1964 paper: “In the special case of the atmosphere, theory alone does not tell us that a climate exists.  Recourse to observations is not much more enlightening; the weather of the current century does seem to resemble the weather of the past century, but the weather of the past 12,000 years presumably does not resemble that of the previous 12,000 years, when an ice age flourished. Next, even if a climate does exist, there is no a priori reason why this climate should be unique.”

From Lorenz’s 1966 paper:

Failure to produce perfect weather forecasts at any range of prediction must be ascribable to one or more of three general causes:

1. The atmospheric system is not deterministic; the present and past states of the atmosphere and its environment do not uniquely determine the state at all future times.

2. Observations are insufficient: regardless of whether the atmospheric system is deterministic, the observed present and past states of those portions of the atmosphere and its environment which are observed do not uniquely determine the future states.

3. Forecasting procedures are inadequate; presently used techniques do not duplicate the behavior of the atmosphere and its environment.

Nearly 50 years later, the true scientists of climatology have not yet fully resolved these basic questions.  Post-normal science has given us “abby normal” science, as Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein might have expressed it, and placed it in the corpus of the NCA.  The Federal NAC is a political corpse of might-have-been-science, with an “abby normal” brain.  It fails as science and it even fails as credible dogma.

Give me that old time religion, and give me that old time science.

Charles Battig, M.D., Piedmont Chapter president, VA-Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE).  His website is