Saturday, March 12, 2016

Infantile Egoism and Environmental "Science"

Betsy Gorisch is a geologist with an interesting theory, which she articulates at the American Thinker entitled Infantile Egoism and Environmental Science. I was of course aware that children often think that their thoughts and actions have great effects on the material world. One thinks of adults who practice "magic" as being a little off. No amount of incantations by you or me can change the materiel world, make someone love us, cause someone else to have a disease, and so forth. But I had not realized that the condition had a name, but it does: infantile egoism.

Gorisch takes a number of examples from everyday life of people who associate phenomena with the actions of people.  This association occurs despite the fact that it has happened many times in the past, when either the technology had not been invented, or even when the human race did not yet exist.  One that I find fascinating is honey bee deaths termed Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD.  Gorisch writes:
A species of infantile egoism appears to occur amongst humans more generally in cases where they see themselves as similarly responsible for natural environmental dysfunctions and destructions. The primary symptom is a perception that human activity is the probable cause of dysfunction and destruction in otherwise fully functional and harmonious natural systems. The by now both famed and largely, if not entirely, debunked mass extinction of honeybees is a notable recent example: honeybees have been said to be dying in the mysterious but certainly, according to believers, human-triggered phenomenon known as colony-collapse disorder (CCD). Its colloquial names include “bee-pocalypse” and “bee-mageddon.” People throughout the U.S. have been warned to prepare for life without honeybees, including the dietary deprivations that would result from an end to both honey production and, far more destructively, natural crop pollination.
Human development and use of neonicotinoid pesticides, known colloquially as neonics, and genetically modified crops are the best-known alleged culprits. The neonics have by now been largely ruled out, as CNN published in a less widely known but equally human-agent suggestion in 2010: CCD may be, at least in part, the result of cell phone use. But no evidence has ever been produced in support of the cell-phone theory.
A less well-publicized but perhaps more probable CCD cause may be a function of chaotic population decline-and-expansion patterns, which are poorly understood and unpredictable. They are also not discussed in media coverage, as they provide no guilt with which humans may rationalize imposing burdensome penitential power upon themselves. As Bjorn Lomborg pointed out in 2013,
Honeybee deaths are also nothing new. The Breakthrough Institute reports that, in 1853, Lorenzo Langstroth, the 19th-century bee-keeper who invented the modern hive, described colonies that were ‘found, on being examined one morning, to be utterly deserted. The comb was empty, and the only symptom of life was the poor queen herself.’ In 1891 and 1896, large clusters of bees vanished in a case known as May Disease. In the 1960s, bees vanished mysteriously in Texas, Louisiana and California. In 1975, a similar epidemic cropped up in Australia, Mexico and 27 U.S. states. There were heavy losses in France from 1998 to 2000 and also in California.
Bees are interesting creatures, and having time and the space, I kept a few colonies for several years. Eventually, all of my hives succumbed, and I abandoned the effort. I suspect that despite extensive reading on bees, that I simply did not provide the right environment for bees to stick around, and they absconded. So much for my career as a beekeeper.

Beekeepers are a fairly small, self select group of people, and the theories as to why the bees don't seem to want to stay where they are put don't really affect anyone outside the group.  Pollination companies that supply bees for pollination services will also develop the ability to provide bees as needed, and will continue to travel with their bees to wherever they are need.

On the other hand, though, are the alarmists who promote the theory of man caused climate change.  As Gorisch notes, the climate has been changing since the world began.  At one time, it was so warm that their were no glaciers at all.  It has also been so cold that humans barely survived.  Gorisch continues:
Much of what is adduced to support a finding of climate change by human causation in the present Holocene epoch has been altered if not both deliberately leaked and/or outright faked, rendering most (if not all) of it highly suspect. Other evidence has been denied, such as the by-now nearly 20 year period without warming that should, following the scientific method, be considered to have ruled the entire theory out -- as Richard Feynman famously said, “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” I would expand his statement to include a theory’s being wrong if it does not agree with real-world evidence. Instead, frequent attempts are made to neuter the contrary evidence by claiming that the theory itself accounts for it, rendering the theory itself unfalsifiable -- it is credited with predicting everything that happens, so nothing can rule it out. There are a great many sources confirming these statements; daily high-level and in-depth updates, drawing on numerous solid research authorities on the matter, are available at the Watts Up With That blog, among others.
The unfalsifiable nature of the global warming theory should have rendered it dead on arrival, but so few people today understand science. They view it as if it were a revealed religion, instead of being the method by which men and women struggle to understand our world and God's creation.  Too, many people suffer from being too close to the earth. If you live in Manhattan, for example, the buildings seem so big, the people crush you from every angle, and you get a magnified sense of what so huanity can do. It might help if these people reflected on occasion on the apparent insignificance of our species on the face of the planet and in the universe. We are just not that big, or powerful.  Remember that 70% of the planet surface is water, and the oceans are a huge sink for carbon dioxide.

Judging by the number of shows on popular television featuring vampires, werewolves, demons, and people calling forth demons, I suspect that a lot of people sense that the world is not under their control.  Infantile egoism helps them to feel that, even if the can't do anything, they at least know why.  But a solution based in infantile egoism is not based on reality.  Instead, it might help, if more people prayed to God, and, as they used to say, minded their own knitting.  I may not be powerful, but He is omnipotent, and can in his own time, effect changes.  It also helps if you are praying for His will to be done.

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