Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Monday, May 6, 2013

Building Sand Castles and Consensus

     The word, “Consensus” implies a general or widespread agreement among all the members of a particular group.  The group may be a religious group, political group, or even a scientific group.
            I once received an unexpected conference call and suddenly found myself on the line with the CEO of the internet company I sometimes write for and an administrator with the EPA in Washington, D.C.  Evidently my disagreement with the trendy belief that man is the cause of “climate change” didn’t sit well with this bureaucrat and her agency.  But she controlled a federal grant that our CEO and the company depended upon.

            She knew by my writing on the company website that I didn’t agree with her on man-made global warming.  There are many reasons for my skepticism, including the fact that scientists have now discovered that our planet has actually cooled by 0.7 degree over the past 100 years.  She stated emphatically, albeit inaccurately, that there is a general “consensus” among scientist that global warming is a fact. There’s that word, “consensus.”

Imagine the indignity suffered by this cow with a plastic tank
on its back and a hose stuck in its rear end.  Scientists were
measuring methane gas and its impact on the environment.
            Australian scientists claim that back in 1991 Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines spewed more CO2 into the atmosphere than the entire human race has produced since we entered the scene.  That’s only one eruption.  There are more than 200 active volcanoes belching gases into the atmosphere as I write this.  But I have this weird and subversive idea that the sun and other forces of nature have more to do with our climate than outdoor barbeques and bovine flatulence.

            Plants live on carbon dioxide and without CO2 there would be no life on earth.  It turns out that CO2 is actually being purchased and injected into greenhouses to maximize plant growth.  They need more CO2.  It’s a nutrient. Remember the process of photosynthesis?  Consider the amount of CO2 that must have been in the environment to support the tremendous amount of foliage necessary to feed that old Brontosaurus dude. He is the archetype for vegetarians everywhere and he loved vegetables.
           The same geniuses who want to save the planet by reducing CO2 are the ones who decided it’s a great idea to burn food for fuel, i.e. corn.  So Brazilians are cutting down rain forests, which are irreplaceable, to plant corn. Aside from the fact that these forests provide needed oxygen, the soil can’t support corn crops and is washed away by the rains.  So now we’ve lost rain forests that benefit our environment and produce many of the components necessary for medicine.  

            But there was a “consensus” among enlightened bureaucrats that burning food was a great idea.  Having burned food myself, even I know better than that.

            You notice that “global warming” has now been replaced with “climate change.” Changing language is a good way to change culture. (Always keep that in mind.) The world’s climate has fluctuated since the creation of the earth.  But by defining it as “climate change” there is more latitude for the “consensus-builders.”

            Science is not as objective as we may think.  It has always been driven by philosophy, but when there is “consensus” among scientists, we tend to think they’ve hit on absolute truth.

            The ancient Greek culture had “consensus” that Atlas, a primordial Titan, held our celestial sphere on his shoulders.

            Christopher Columbus was born in the same Italian town as my grandfather, Genoa, Italy.  As a child, I remember helping Uncle Chris pick raviolis and cannelloni in his orchard.  Columbus was expected to fall off the edge of the world, because the “consensus” was that the earth was flat.

            Prior to Galileo, the scientific “consensus” was that the earth was the center of the universe.  This geocentric view had its basis in philosophy and Galileo was rewarded for his blasphemy with prison. No good deed goes unpunished.

            The Theory of Evolution had a “consensus,” which, again, was based on a philosophy.  We had to get rid of a Creator.  If Darwin and his minions had our modern technology and were able to witness the complexity of the genome and DNA, the childish idea that the complexity of life happened by chance or luck or magic or was “just there,” as the atheist Bertrand Russell said, Darwinism would have been dead in the water.  But a “consensus” developed and remains stuck to our conventional wisdom like a barnacle.   

            The moral of the story is that sometimes it’s a mistake to confuse “consensus” with truth. 


  1. AnonymousMay 6, 2013 at 10:49 AM
    We all know by now that most bureucrats are full of gas!!
    Living in their climate makes me ill!


    1. John -
      Your comment landed on the wrong post, so I moved it here. It shouldn't be under my name, but this blog process seems to be messed up.

      Anyway - I think many of us are "ill" breathing political flatulence.

  2. Ralph. Boy there are quite a few hoops to getting on your blog.

  3. Chuck - I had to put some "hoops" for comments, because I was getting a lot of spam and comments using my blog for advertising. Sorry. I don't know how to make it easier and still keep people from "piggy-backing" on my blog. Thanks for wading through it all.

  4. Wonderful subject and the references to "consensus" were excellent. It was a fun read for me and I never did buy into the man caused global warming "consensus". Our planet has been changing from the beginning and we are lucky enough to be experiencing a good streak. So far anyway. Give your beautiful wife a nice big hug from me.
    Love to you both,
    Jim Loar

    1. Not everyone agrees with me, but I am very concerned about the environment and how we pollute it. There's an island of trash floating in the Pacific where tides come together that is larger than the state of Texas. I don't think there's any excuse for man-made pollution. I just don't believe that on a global level we have as much of an influence on world climate as many people think.

      I'll hug Gayle for you if I can catch her.

  5. What the cow is wearing is, in medical terms, a Flatulometer. Very handy for research in the field of man's most persistent maladie. Just thought you'd like to know... and yes they do have flatulometers for people. - Jody

    1. Jody - You've got to be kidding...For people? I don't want to know the "mechanics" of the system, but if there's a "collector" of some sort, like the plastic tank on the cow, it must carry a warning to avoid campfires, smokers, and, in case of a malfunction, elevators and enclosed areas.

  6. I agree with what you have said on this global warming subject. Wasn't this global warming started by Al Gore after he left office, thereby creating a 'job' for himself, as well as creating "Green Jobs" for other unemployed people? (Which were stuck with, and nobody actually knows what they really do). To me, the word consensus is and has been used in government as a tatic to show power and popularity behind whatever is trying to be sold to the public. And basically that word works. Who wants to be left out of the norm right?

    1. Sharon -
      Gore made a fortune pushing the global warming thing. After leaving office he owned a .liberal TV network that was described as a flop. But he sold the "flop" to Al Jazeera from Qatar for something like 70 million dollars. Interesting that the oil he hated so much in his "green push" comes from the Arabs he does business with. Typical hypocrisy.

  7. Sharon StoneMay 9, 2013 at 1:35 AM
    You know Ralph, controversial is ok. It gets people thinking, and if it ruffles a litle feathers, that's ok too. The majority of individuals come to your site because they like the material you're providing. If you enjoy posting your thoughts, and people enjoy reading them, that is a win win situation.

    1. Sharon - I guess I may ruffle feathers now and then, but I try to mix it up.

      Your comment ended up on a different post, but I moved it back here. That seems to happen and I don't know how to move a comment without it posting under my name.