November 10, 2011
People understand that Congress is unspeakably corrupt. Many also understand that our “news” media suppress and distort the news; that our public schools and colleges make their students dumber instead of smarter; or even that certain churches train their congregations more in the way of worldliness than godliness.
But Science! There’s an institution we can still believe in. And most of us still do—as if fallen, sinful human beings turn into angels the moment they don lab coats.
Thanks to Science we have learned to believe in some of the most preposterous and malignant notions ever dreamed up in this poor, sin-laden world. We believe, for instance, in Evolution, or in Man-made Global Warming—because we are told, over and over and over again, that we must believe in it.
Unhappily for Science, but happily for us, Global Warming scientists have been caught cheating more times than all the convicts on Riker’s Island put together; so we now have insight into the magical process that transforms 100% pure humbug into “settled science” that no one is allowed to question. This process can be boiled down to five basic techniques, to be used as often as required.
The appeal to awe-inspiring authority often takes the form of a question, such as: “Who are you to challenge so eminent a scientist as Dr. Doozy? How dare you?” The question is usually followed by a recitation of Dr. Doozy’s credentials as an oracle: past president of the United Nations Panel on Piffle, winner of a Nobel Prize for Self-Esteem, scientific adviser to the Quebec Progressive Collective, and so on. Obviously, anyone who doubts the word of such an icon is no better than a knave. “Didn’t you see Dr. Doozy on PBS last night? I’ll bet nobody saw you on PBS!”
Brandish mumbo-jumbo every chance you get, with the not-so-subtle intimation that anyone who doesn’t understand it had better just shut up. What you actually say doesn’t have to mean a blessed thing; it only has to be unintelligible. It is virtually invincible when coupled with the name of a prominent authority.
Shower your audience with equations, computer models, abstruse terminology and double-talk, references to research studies published only in the Wendish dialect of Lithuanian, and whatever else seems most impressive. Yes, you may have to deal with some smart-aleck who insists that “anything that can’t be said in plain language is probably not true.” But most people are afraid to reveal ignorance: much safer to nod their heads sagely while you’re lecturing, as if they actually understood what you were talking about.
Dodge the tricky stuff! How often have you seen some poor Darwinian be made to look foolish because he can’t explain the origin of life? How many Climate Change enthusiasts stumble over the Medieval Warm Period? Learn to avoid skating on such thin ice.
When you give a talk, only take questions that have been screen in advance, from persons whom you know to be your allies. Don’t get involved with anyone who’s going to ask you why horseshoe crabs never evolved out of being horseshoe crabs, or why there were palm trees growing in the polar regions long before anybody ever drove an SUV.
If you can’t get out of such a situation, square your shoulders, puff out your chest, declare that “the science is settled”—and glide immediately into the next technique.
Humiliate and demonize your critics. This is the crown jewel of scientific argument—to declare that there can be no argument. No one would ever disagree with you unless he was being paid to do it by Big Oil. Only religious fanatics of the Christian Taliban would ever question your computer models. And one screening of Inherit the Wind is worth 100 hours of debate.
If your critics do strike back—say, by making fun of you—sue ‘em! You’ve got plenty of grant money: find a lawyer and scare the scoffers into silence. If your critics also happen to be scientists, politic behind the scenes to get their grants cut off, tenure applications rejected, their children denied admission to the university of their choice—whatever it takes to shut them up. Meanwhile, out in the open, denounce them as deniers, haters, corporate shills, religious bigots and know-nothings, etc. This all becomes superlatively easy once you’ve mastered the next technique.
Always seek allies outside the realm of science. Find friends in Congress and the media. All right, maybe, like James Hansen of NASA, you really enjoy publicly frothing at the mouth and demanding that your critics be jailed. But it’s really more effective when a media professional does it for you. Let Bill Maher climb down into the gutter for the mud-fight, while you strike a pious pose and remain above it all.
Politicians are invaluable as allies. They’re the ones who steer the grants your way, and who can translate your passion into legislation. Politicians were quick to see the usefulness of Man-made Global Warming as a license for them to do anything they pleased. The alliance between Warmist scientists and statist politicians is more solid than the ties that bind the United States and Britain, and vastly more lucrative.
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Scientists who become proficient in these five techniques will find themselves liberated from all kinds of annoyances—like having to prove what they say, having to debate issues, having to convince people instead of just rolling right over them, or being required, at odd intervals, to tell the truth. As a famous New York Times columnist has pointed out, things would be a great deal easier for scientists and politicians if only we had a nice, firm communist government like China’s.
But until that gl0rious day dawns, and the last vestiges of America’s troublesome liberties go up in smoke, scientists and other experts will just have to handle the American people as they’ve always done, and quite successfully—
© 2011 Lee Duigon - All Rights Reserved
Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, is a former newspaper reporter and editor, small businessman, teacher, and horror novelist. He has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. See his new fantasy/adventure novels, Bell Mountain and The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, available on www.amazon.com