Written by Dr. Steven J. Allen
Another week, another Global Warming scare.
This time, the claim is that the increasing temperatures caused by Global Warming, or perhaps the warming caused by increasing temperatures, make the world a more violent place, with a higher number of wars, invasions, riots, cases of wife-beating, and fights at baseball games.
"A new study found that climate change may cause people to be more violent," CBS News reported last week. The study appears in the journal Science, which, despite its name that suggests objectivity, is published by a political advocacy group, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In essence, the study claims that people are more likely to be peeved and act violently when it's hot outside or when they're hungry or thirsty.
As scientists say: Well, duh.
This supposedly scientific study simply assumes that environmentalists' theories about warming are true. (They're not. In science, the test of a theory is its usefulness in making predictions, and Warmers' predictions have failed time and time again, from their prediction that New York and Washington would be under water by the year 2000 to their more recent models that failed to show the current temperature "plateau.") Most of the news media are treating the study as proof of Global Warming theory, or "climate change" as they wrongly refer to it, when, in fact, the study makes no effort at all to prove GW theory; it just assumes.
Ironically, the study adds to the mountain of evidence suggesting that whatever Global Warming or "climate change" may be occurring is the result of natural processes, not human activity. The idea that warming occurs naturally shouldn't come as a surprise, given that the earth is emerging from an Ice Age (England was connected to the Continent as recently as 8,000 years ago) and that a cool period known as the Little Ice Age affected the Northern Hemisphere as recently as A.D. 1850. Without natural warming, New York City would currently be under four thousand feet of ice.
A press release accompanying the study noted that it "shows that Earth's climate plays a more influential role in human affairs than previously thought."
Previously thought by whom? For decades, supporters of a pro-science ("skeptical") approach to the issue of Catastrophic Manmade Global Warming (CMGW) have pointed to a flaw in the logic of global warming alarmists—that flaw being a lack of recognition of the significant role that climate change has played in human history. Because the bigger that role, the weaker the case for CMGW.
Consider: Alarmists raise fears of increased temperatures by noting the decline or collapse of empires such as the Romans and the Vikings and the spread of the Black Death, which wiped out a third of Europe. (The new study highlights the collapse of the Mayans and of China's Tang Dynasty, among others.) The alarmists warn that Global Warming catastrophe is just around the corner, and that we may soon suffer a similar fate as folks in olden times. Simultaneously, they argue that any climate change, however minor, must be the result of human activity such as manufacturing, transportation, and electricity generation.
So... Climate change is caused by factories, coal-burning power plants, and people driving around in SUVs, yet climate change was causing the collapse of civilizations centuries ago, long before factories, coal-burning power plants, and people driving around in SUVs. (Skeptics pointed to this problem in the Warmers' logic have sometimes faced ridicule. For example, a recent ad by Obama supporters made fun of Republican "deniers" for noting that the Vikings' empire was undone by climate change.)
Next week, I'll look at some of the other issues raised by the climate/violence study and the media coverage associated with it: Is it ethical to mix science and politics? Is it ethical for reporters to present academic research as fact without actually reading the research, much less scrutinizing it? And what is it about people in the Third World that makes environmentalists want to kill them?
Dr. Steven J. Allen, Capital Research Center
Capital Research Center (CRC) was established in 1984 to promote a better understanding of charity and philanthropy. We support the principles of individual liberty, a free market economy and limited constitutional government: These are the cornerstones of American society. They are the foundation of private enterprise, economic growth and wealth creation. They also make possible wise and generous philanthropic giving.