Global Warming and the Credentialist Fallacy

by N. M. GUARIGLIA September 24, 2013

Here's one of the great stories of the past 25 years, entirely ignored by the dying legacy media: the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)-the bureaucratic authority that gave us global warming-is taking it all back.  The new IPCC report concedes that its former prognostications were incorrect.  Not only were their statistical models wrong, but IPCC scientists now "accept their forecast computers may have exaggerated the effect of increased carbon emissions on world temperatures-and not taken enough notice of natural variability." 

Six years ago, Al "Internet" Gore-who has made millions on global warming hysteria-said the North Pole could be "ice-free by 2013."  Well, it's 2013... and the Arctic has grown by 60 percent.  That's more than half the size of Europe.

This is what happens when you let nefarious political bodies-replete with special-interest lobbyists, "former" communists, and kleptocratic power-hungry globalists-dominate the scientific method.  Oxford climate scientist Myles Allen-a member of the IPCC panel himself-predicts this latest IPCC assessment will be the last of its kind because "the idea of producing a document of near-biblical infallibility is a misrepresentation of how science works."  Which is, more or less, what the "global warming deniers" have been saying for more than a decade.

None of this is to say climate change is not happening.  It is to say, however, that if climate change is in fact happening, it may be due to heretofore unmeasured-and, in retrospect, somewhat obvious-"natural variables," such as the behavior of the Sun.  Nevertheless, President Obama is gearing up for a push of his anti-CO2 climate change agenda, this time by unconstitutionally using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to bureaucratically enforce, through fiat regulation, what his administration cannot get passed democratically through Congress.  And remember, this is the same EPA that spawned the outbreak of the once nearly-eradicated malaria by arbitrarily banning the insecticide DDT (to the silence of environmentalists, humanitarians, and journalists the world over).

This phenomenon-the trillions wasted by the IPCC; the millions dead because of the EPA-is the result of what can only be called "the credentialist fallacy."  The credentialist fallacy is a dogmatic interpretation of reality, one where greater importance is placed on an authority's credentials than on its merits.

The credentialist fallacy is why we have "doctor worship" in this country; this sick psychological parlour game where patients acquiescence all personal autonomy to a guy in a white coat.  He knows more about our anatomy than we do, and we know this, and he knows that we know this, and so he crudely plays god.  Never mind that preventable medical malpractice kills between 210,000 and 400,000 Americans annually.  That's a World War II's worth of fatalities every year.  Still, the more arrogant and unprofessional the doctor, the more glory bestowed by the culture-as evident in those vapid TV shows.

Anywhere you look, the disastrous consequences of the credentialist fallacy are plain to see.  Just last week, the Federal Reserve-comprised of the "smartest" economists in the world-announced a continuation of their historically unprecedented monetary policies.  Any rational spectator could tell you that these policies have destroyed the value of the U.S. dollar and have led to the ruination of our currency.  "But why," we ask, "would such credentialed economists and bankers come to such a wrong conclusion?"

The answer lies not in an authority's intelligence, but in the merit of their methodology.  The statisticians and analyticists at the Fed are brilliant, let there be no doubt.  But they are methodologically incorrect to equate economics with statistics, to put monetary economics on par with a hard science.  Economics is not a hard science, for there are too many unknowns-"natural variables"-in human behavior.  As such, economics is the study of human action; being far closer to anthropology than mathematics.  The field of economics-like the fields of law, medicine, politics, and higher education-is poisoned by the contemporary societal valuation of credentials over merit.

It is true that a man or woman's credentials grants them the right to be heard on the topic of their expertise.  An ignoramus has no business arguing the periodic table with a chemist.  The problem, though, is we've seem to become a nation of highly-credentialized ignoramuses with advanced degrees.  Whereas we used to champion polymaths and Renaissance types, we now espouse the inane creed of hyper-specialization.  This invariably leads to a collective failure of individual deductive logic.  Observational reason, the ability to assess what does and does not possess merit, is castigated as being a "know-it-all." 

The truth is just the opposite.  It is those who rest on their laurels-who take up false security in their credentials-that unjustifiably claim total omniscience.  With the new global warming report, this has led to one of the great ironies in modern scientific history: the supposed "champions of science," due to their awe of the IPCC's credentials, were used as tools in a cynical game of global power-politics, whereas the so-called "science deniers," due to their preference for merit, were the only ones actually upholding the scientific method all the while.

Contributing Editor N.M. Guariglia is an essayist who writes on Islam and Middle Eastern geopolitics.

 



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