July 7th, 2010


Photon Football

I've been thinking of building a computer simulation model of a football game. The ball is kicked upfield from the goal, and it's picked up by one of the players, who spins on his heels with it, and kicks it randomly in some direction. The ball is then picked up by another player, who does the same. In this manner, the ball moves up and down the field until it either goes into one goal or the other. I've been wondering which side would score more goals. Well, that's pretty much what football's like. Particularly if you're listening to it on the radio.

But it wasn't my renewed interest in football during the World Cup (which I now think Germany will win) that underlies my simulation model. No. Not at all. Instead it's my interest in Global Warming. And it's not really a model of a football game, but of a photon of light (the ball) emitted (kicked) by the earth's surface (the goal) into the atmosphere (the football field) where it's captured by a CO2 molecule (a football player) which retains it for a brief period before re-emitting it in some random direction. And I've been wondering whether more photons leave the atmosphere to outer space (the other goal), or return to the earth's surface. If most leave, that's a heat loss to outer space, and there's only a small greenhouse effect. If most return to earth, to warm the earth's surface, then there's a large greenhouse effect.

I spent a while today asking climate sceptics on WUWT and climate alarmists on Realclimate what they thought of my proposed Photon Football model, and whether it reflected what was actually happening. And the general impression I've gained is that this is more or less what actually happens in the atmosphere. Photons of light - packets of energy - get kicked about in it.

Being a climate sceptic, I don't spend much time on Realclimate, and so while I was there it was rather odd to encounter their upsidedown world. And they were worried. Public belief in global warming was sliding, and they were wondering how to restore confidence and trust. They felt they had to explain things better. More clearly. More simply. In their view it was quite simple: on one side there was a bunch of smart, trained, professional scientists, and on the other side there was the bunch of morons known as the general public. How did you get the knowledge of the former into the thick heads of the latter?

They'll never succeed. And they won't succeed because in their own view they are authorities, and they think that everyone should listen to them like the congregation in a church listening to the vicar's sermon. And it's not really like that. For the congregation in the church isn't actually made up of numbskulls. It's made up a lot of people with a lot of different abilities and skills, and a lot of different dreams and hopes and fears. And they don't like being talked down to. Furthermore, any one of them can, at any moment in time, become a climate scientist. A scientist is just someone who takes a close interest in something. F'rinstance me. When I've written my photon football simulation model, I'll have become a climate scientist. Not a very good one, of course. But I bet I'm the only person in Devon who's building his own simple climate simulation model. Perhaps the only person in Britain. Apart from all the salaried boffins in the Met Office and the UEA, that is. And my climate simulation model will be just as inaccurate as theirs. Only more so.

The whole approach of climate scientists, of talking down to people, is more or less guaranteed to get up people's noses. Some of us are not very trusting. Particularly of self-styled experts of any sort whatsoever. And particularly me. I want to be treated as an equal, not as some sort of moron.

That's part of their problem. But the other part is that people have been finding out how climate scientists have been altering raw data (temperature measurements), and how their climate simulation models don't work very well because there are all sorts of natural processes which are not understood very well (like the formation of clouds), and because they've been very unwilling to share their data and their methods, and they've worked to prevent papers by sceptics being published. A lot of this got learned with the Climategate scandal. People may not understand climate science at all, but they can understand dishonesty and deception and exaggeration. And that's really why public belief in global warming has been sliding. And when people lose trust in other people, it's almost impossible to regain it. After Iraq, would anyone trust Tony Blair again? So, after Climategate, climate scientists have an even bigger mountain to climb to get anyone to understand and believe them.

But it gets even worse. What climate scientists want to do is to decarbonise Western civilisation. And that would entail huge changes in culture and lifestyle. There'd be no cars. Houses would all be low energy housing with no heating, lit by low power dimbulbs. These are huge cultural changes being called for by 'experts' who alter their raw data and whose science is still in its infancy and whose simulation models don't work. Why should anyone give up their traditional way of life, and change it in every detail, just because some expert somewhere thinks they should? They're not going to like it. In fact, they're going to hate it. And they're going to resist it. And anyway, what if the new state-planned life in the new windmill-powered low energy houses turns out to be unliveable? Because they got something wrong, and the windmills were too small or something.

Seen this way, my objection to climate science and decarbonising economies has exactly the same origins as my objection to the smoking ban which was, once again, demanded by a bunch of self-appointed experts who think they know better than everyone else how people should live their lives. The new 'smoke-free' pubs are awful. And they have destroyed my social life, and the social lives of millions of other people, and bankrupted thousands of pubs and clubs all over Britain. And now another bunch of 'experts', the climate scientists, want to destroy my culture some more. And I already know that that's going to be another disaster. But I'll have no more of a say in that than I had with the smoking ban. My opinion doesn't count. But then, that's always how it is when you're dealing with people who regard themselves as authorities of one sort or other.

Same with the EU. That's another huge cultural change being forced on people without their consent. No more MPs in Westminster, and our lives will be run by faceless bureaucrats in Brussels. They already are, very largely, run by them through their willing proxies in the British government, whose faces we can at least see on TV every day (those of us who still have TVs, that is). Somehow or other, political pundits have decided that we should all belong in a European superstate, in which everything has been 'harmonised', which means that all cultural differences will be eradicated, and everywhere in Europe will be like everywhere else. And it'll be 'smokefree' too, because the EU parliament has already passed legislation for a draconian smoking ban over the whole of Europe. It just hasn't been put into effect yet. And this is another huge assault on traditional cultures which have grown and evolved over centuries. And to which the planners of the new utopian superstate are utterly indifferent. It'll be a complete disaster, of course. There is no possible other outcome. And the cracks are already opening as the one-size-fits-all euro has come under growing pressure. I can see why a lot of people compare the EU to the Soviet Union. Like Mikhail Gorbachev:

"The EU is the old Soviet Union dressed in Western clothes"

And Vladimir Bukovsky:

“I have lived in your future ….and it doesn’t work”

They knew what they were talking about. They knew why it didn't work. Now it seems all Europe is going to have to learn the same lesson the hard way, as central state planning and regulation drives the whole of Europe into a new dark age.

Because state planning and state control throttles everything. And it's bound to do so, as Friedrich von Hayek explained in The Road to Serfdom. We are all being made into serfs that are managed by antismoking climate alarmists in Brussels. For our own good. Because they know better than we do how we should live our lives.

At the moment it's just a few demonised and marginalised smokers and climate denialists and eurosceptics who hate the lot of them. But soon it will be everybody. Absolutely everyone will hate these arrogant, strutting bastards.

And it'll probably be much worse than in the Soviet Union. Stalin was a cigarette smoker, and so smokers didn't get persecuted in the Soviet Union. Nor were the soviets climate alarmists. So people could have incandescent lightbulbs and log fires. In the new gulags which will spring up over Europe, there'll be no smoking, and there'll be no heating. And no meat or sugar or salt.

What drives it all is a conviction that everything must be centrally controlled, because otherwise there'll be chaos. In fact the opposite is true, and things work best when people are left to "chaotically" make their own individual choices, and not have to conform to some central 5-year plan. But that doesn't make sense to authoritarians. And once they've embarked on the path of centralised, authoritarian control, they can only keep going that way. And it's this logic which leads to the gulags. The camp commandants are already waiting in the wings. There was one (and only one, mercifully) on Realclimate today. His name was Veidicar Decarian, and he wrote:

"Do you expect to improve things when you appeal to a minute minority between those who are smart enough to understand the science and who are already convinced, and those who will remain willfully ignorant to the grave?

Your chosen method [of patient education] might make some progress over the next 30 to 60 years, as it has with smoking.

I think progress is needed at a slightly faster rate.

Don’t you?...

Rapidity requires breaking some heads."

Anyway, tomorrow I'll try to start to put together my Photon Football simulation model.

When they come to take me away to the gulags, I will insist that they see my simulation model results first. I'll show them. They'll see. And I'm sure they'll understand. They'll understand that everything they're doing is utterly nonsensical and self-defeating. And they will shake my hand in gratitude. Oh yes.