When dishonest collaboration with others arises from ideological zealotry we can create our own web of deceit that ensnares us and can forever discredit what we prize so highly. Our integrity.
Hypocrites, liars, cheats and thieves will often over step reasonable limits in their practices and eventually ensnare themselves with their own inflated self views. Joe McCarthy finally fell from grace when he demonstrated he had no decency in his delusional attacks on alleged communists in America. Bernie Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of investors of billions of dollars finally came unravelled and sent him to prison for life. The lies of George W. Bush were legendary and along side his general incompetence will eventually put him with the likes of Warren G. Harding, Millard Fillmore, Ulysses Grant, John Tyler and James Buchanan
Their excesses were their own undoing but it took the work of others to expose their malfeasance. So, when someone who engages in unethical practices becomes their own condemner it becomes so much more rewarding for those of us who have battled with them to reveal them as the frauds they are. It is with great delight then that I present the case against conservative columnist Walter Williams who has been part of the echo chamber of misinformation regarding climate change.
Williams over the years has berated the specialist in the field of climate science for being a part of what his companion in the U.S. Senate, James Inhofe, has called “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”. As part of the fraternity of climate deniers people like Williams and Inhofe have taken the talking points of the fossil fuel industry and tried to convey a legitimate authority that disputes the evidence from specialists in their field. Evidence that strongly suggests that CO2 from burning oil, coal and even natural gas is adding to the natural limits of CO2 in our atmosphere and thus creating a barrier making it more difficult for the suns rays from escaping back out into space.
In doing this we are warming the planet quicker than any historical natural incidence of warming and dooming future generations to a planet that most species will perish from and many civilizations will also be unable to recover from, Adaptability will likely not be able to overcome the devastating impacts of multiple monstrous climate disasters. The frequency of such destructive forces like the Japanese tsunami, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and severe drought in Africa, parts of Russia and most of the lower 48 states will overwhelm human resources and capabilities to marginalize, if not defeat, their effectiveness.
Large populations will have to be relocated as sea levels rise from melting polar caps and mountain glaciers. This melting will also contribute to dangerous acidic levels in the seas and oceans destroying the marine life that is vital as a food source for millions of people. Farming land will turn to deserts as droughts continue to impoverish the soils reducing not only food supplies for human consumption but necessary feed stock for meat and dairy suppliers. The economic impacts will begin to create chaos around the world. More arid regions means less plant life needed to carry out the photosynthesis necessary to generate the oxygen all life requires.
Had we listened to the climate scientists like Dr. James Hansen over two decades ago that warned us of this impending threat, our ability to stave off the worst aspects of man-made global warming could likely have prevented much of what we are currently experiencing. But once the monied interests that infects the fossil fuel industry devised their scheme to create doubt about the climate science warnings, the pubic became too unwilling to listen with their minds and instead allowed people like Walter Williams to convince them that conspiracies were afoot to rob them of their hard-earned money. A notion created out of thin air but none-the-less, when cleverly presented, strikes at the concerns of most working people’s hearts and pocket books.
How ironic then, when after years of disputing the climate science by people who themselves were not specialist with this field, that Walter Williams has come to tell us now that we should be leery of the claims made by people whose expertise lies outside the authority of those they judge. In one of his ethereal tangents Williams attempts to remove any notion of deity from certain experts, citing examples throughout history of people who were “the greatest and most influential scientist” in their field but whose credibility suffered when they stepped into areas that belied any expertise.
The take-home lesson is that experts are notoriously fallible outside of their fields of endeavor — and especially so when making predictions. … The bottom line is that the fact that a person has academic degrees, honors and status is no reason for us to abandon our tools of critical thinking. SOURCE
And yet throughout the last few years Williams has on numerous occasions tried to act as some sort of expert in the field of divining who the authorities were that could best tell us what does or doesn’t impact our climate these days. Climate science is a special field of science and as things stand today, 98% of climate scientists support the consensus that man-made climate change is real. That’s up 2% from a just a few short years ago when a clear 96% believed this.
Yet Williams, throughout his years of reporting on climate change and man-made global warming, has insisted that the opposite is true and that the planet is more likely cooling down rather than heating up. Using the disputed claims of two geologists, Williams violates his recent claim about using “experts” outside their field of expertise to bolster the notion that “an increasing amount of climate research suggests a possibility of global cooling” is occurring.
Like many of his fellow deniers Williams provides no numbers or predictions to support most of his contentions beyond the vague and un-sourced assertions he makes. Rather he engages in what many in the climate denier camp do, using false equivalents that presumes there are equally legitimate arguments to dispute the data of climate scientists.
In January, 2010, never citing any irrefutable evidence from a legitimate climate scientist, Williams made the audacious claim that “many climatologists have been intimidated into silence.” I can count on one hand how many real climate scientist still associate with the deniers. Williams, an economics professor at George Mason University, syndicated columnist and author is also on record for saying that “there is absolutely no close relationship between CO2 levels and temperature.” Ask anyone who owns a greenhouse if the energy exchange between the suns rays and the emitted CO2 given off from their plants that gets trapped does not generate heat.
When Williams talks about numerous scientists who refute the claims of man-made global warming he is talking about a list cited in one of James Inhofe’s senate presentations where he said that more than 650 International Scientists dissented over man-made global warming claims. Upon close scrutiny of this list the vast majority of these people were either not scientist or practiced in fields other than the climate sciences. Experts, Williams tells us, that can be “notoriously fallible outside of their fields of endeavor”.
So I concur with Mr. Williams in his assessment about how a person’s “academic degrees, honors and status is no reason for us to abandon our tools of critical thinking”. Now if only he would reflect on this about himself he may fully understand how it has come about that he has firmly planted his foot in his own mouth.