We’ve been had – again!

Conspiracy theories. There’s a conspiracy about them. If you believe that, then the whole picture gets even more complicated. The JFK conspiracy story is a case in point. Whole libraries have been written about it along with the making of a major Hollywood film. Let’s take the film by Oliver Stone.

This purports to be a fact based docu-drama about the shooting. But then we learn Mr Stone has made up characters and inserted them into the story to help with the narrative. So bits of it is not based on fact; bits of it is a fairy story. Ultimately, it is not based on truth or uses any scientific method.

Years later I watched an in-depth documentary about the JFK shooting which insisted it was based on the facts alone and used hard science to investigate the conspiracy theorists claims of a ‘magic bullet’ etc. It blew all the conspiracy theories surrounding JFK’s killing out of the water. On the evidence it presented, it all made logical sense and the only conclusion you were left with at the end was that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and that Jack Ruby also acted alone. The extensive research into Oswald’s past also confirmed his motive and modus operandi.

The conspiracy theories resulted from the inability of the American public to comprehend how a ‘nobody’ could kill a ’somebody’. It was then compounded by the televised slaying of Oswald by the small time, grief stricken crook, Ruby.

It was a powerful lesson for me, how we are at the mercy of the media, and how it is truth that invariably suffers because it is not sexy enough.

And so another in-depth documentary was aired a few nights ago investigating another conspiracy. It was called ‘The great global warming swindle‘, presumably echoing the title of the Sex Pistols film ‘The great rock n roll swindle‘ in which the line “Ever been had?” is uttered. I thought it important to watch this documentary because I had bought the climate change story wholesale and I needed to know what the counter arguments were. I was not disappointed.

After fifteen minutes of general denial my wife looked at me with an expression that suggested ‘what do you think?’ and I said, “Where’s the science?” The science arrived shortly after.

I will not go into detail about the facts discussed but to summarize, the points were these;

  • the sun is the biggest factor influencing our climate, the more energy it puts out, the warmer the earth gets.
  • the oceans are the biggest manufacturer of carbon dioxide. As they warm up, they produce more. The CO2 graph line which echoes global temperature fluctuations graph line is actually hundreds of years behind the temperature line. CO2 values are a result of temperature change and not the other way around.
  • The CO2 content of the atmosphere is minuscule – 0.05% or something, it’s largely irrelevant.
  • All computer models of the weather system are woefully inadequate and none has ever been accurate in the long term, the system is simply too complex.
  • The massive media coverage of the ‘problem’ is a political manifestation and now too many people have too much money invested in the concept that no-one is willing to shout “But the theory is not wearing any clothes!” Or at least until this documentary.
  • The science made perfect sense from a layman’s point of view and it always disturbs me when someone flags up the fact that other important facts in the argument have been left out – usually facts that don’t fit the polemic. As I went to bed that evening I had a horrible vision of George W Bush with a smug expression saying “Told y’all so!”

    On reflection, I concluded several things;

  • If global warming is a red herring, it still has the beneficial effect of making the world look at its practices and become more prudent and responsible with the limited resources it has. We don’t need computer models to show us we are running out of landfill sites and that fish stocks are declining. Profligacy is not an option.
  • The pernicious consequences of the theory (as stated in the programme) are that developing countries will be unfairly censured in their carbon use and that they will find it harder to industrialize themselves out of poverty even though they have oil and coal.
  • The lesson for us all is that we must rid ourselves of learned helplessness and not rely on received wisdom especially if it comes from the media. It was only a few weeks ago that we had the snow storm of the century and if you had only seen the media reports you would have assumed a catastrophe had struck the UK, but a simple glance out of the window revealed all the reports were blown hugely out of proportion (the news stations want NEWS, not the mundane). The problem with a subject such as global warming is that we cannot do the science for ourselves – it is too complex, too big. We have to rely on large organizations to keep us informed and almost invariably that information will have a hidden, political agenda. We need to be constantly vigilant to this reality. We have no way of verifying the science from either camp. Another documentary could be aired next week that claims it’s people drinking too many carbonated drinks and burping too much and we would have no way of confirming or refuting the ‘facts’ contained within the programme.
  • It was a timely reminder that we still have the voodoo thinking that made us burn witches at the stake. It will be interesting to see if, in a couple of hundred years’ time, scientists will discuss this period in history as the superstitious beliefs of a deluded people who failed to look at the facts objectively.
  • I have amended my beliefs accordingly.

    Addendum: this documentary was later discredited, see here.

    2 Responses to “We’ve been had – again!”

    1. Chaunte says:

      Your comment about the “news…doctored within the parameters of the law to suit a propagandists point of view.” (In the link) This is completely true in the US. I noticed this first in Fox News; they tend to rudely interrupt their guests, but only the democratic and liberal ones. This got on my nerves, because when the “reporter” asked the question, I actually expected them to sit quietly and listen to the response or at least one sentence before interrupting their “guest.” It just made the reporter sound stupid for not listening.

      So I started to research these things online, mainly, because I was interested in their guest’s responses that were not shown. They definitely were not the Barbra Walter’s reports I was use to. I found a video, “Outfoxed.” Although it is specific to Fox, I think it could explain how the flashiness and “news” title gets us all in the end. I have been purposely seeking out opposite opinions to mine to get the full story. I wish other people would do the same. It’s hard to debate someone when they don’t have the full story. I am pretty sure a lot of people would have a different opinion if they stopped watching Fox.

      About the global warming documentary, even though it was not true… Even when Bush denied anything about global warming existing, people were still having breathing problems and health problems due to mainly the lawn mower and car emissions. So even if people were not on board with global warming, they should have still been on board for the health of the citizens. As I am finding out now though with this universal healthcare issue in our coming election, there are a lot of heartless people in America that think that 18,000 Americans dying every year from preventable diseases is OK. Maybe my mind is too small, but I just can’t wrap my thoughts around someone thinking that US spending more in medical care than any other nation and receiving less, people dying daily here and yet sending billions daily to other countries while borrowing from another country is OK. The thought that people like that exist makes me sick to my stomach.

      Bush now admitted global warming is a problem. I thought they were suppose to be on top of all of this?

    2. bathrooms says:

      Keep up the great work I’ve been following your blog with anticipation for the end.. Do you have any more I can follow?

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